A Slightly Different SF View

Every visitor to San Francisco must take photos of the street cars – it is a requirement when visiting the city :).

I am not immune to the street car photos either. They are unique to this city and part of its significant charm. I also enjoy wondering down the street and just capturing shots of almost any subject if the composition strikes me as “interesting”.

Selma, CA – An Old Fashion Agricultural Town

On a recent business trip to the Central Valley in California, I picked a hotel close to Selma, CA so I could be partially on my way to LA the next morning. It was a random location choice – just close enough to our meeting to be commutable but far enough down CA HWY 99 to make it worthwhile.

With a population of just over 20,000, Selma has retained it small town feeling with most restaurants, stores, and other businesses decidedly local owned.

As River Road Turns from Asphalt to Gravel

To me, there are few things in life more pleasurable than exploring a quiet country road and for this reason the Maryland countryside is very familiar to me. I’ve been driving all over Maryland since I was barely a teenager, yet I still enjoy seeing new sights.

River Road extends from the Washington, DC beltway westward, past the affluent community of Potomac, MD. It’s hard to imagine we are so close to Washington D.C. once we are out of the areas clinging to the 20854 zip. Just past Seneca, MD is when the real beauty of the area begins.

The roads lose their centers line, the houses lose their fences and ultimately even asphalt disappears. Fields replace subdivisions and wood replace shopping centers.

Growing up in Baltimore County, yet still close to the city, created a real appreciation for space for me. I was fortunate that my Dad lived in the Maryland countryside and I was able to escape the near-city like environment weekly to enjoy wide open spaces, mostly. This combination – medium-density living during the week and rural-living on the weekends – cemented my need for both lifestyles, though now sort my life is reversed in how I spend my time in these disparate environments.

Bank barns are a common site in the mid-Atlantic country areas

Throughout my entire adulthood, I feel better in the countryside during my times at home. My 6.5 acres at home in Northern Virginia feels a bit too small now – I can see other houses during the winter season and there are more cars on our small private (unmaintained) road than I’d prefer. When I travel, however, which is quite often, I like to be in the city within walking distance of all the activity – complete opposite of my relaxing home life.

This random Sunday, however, was a day for the Maryland countryside, along the Potomac River, to explore the rural communities which are full of Civil War history.

White’s Ferry is one of the only active ferry crossings across the Potomac that were the only transport across the river during the Civil War days. Sites like Edwards Ferry still exist and signs explain their role during the war.

Further up river, the landscape becomes costal farmland, gorgeous and full of life, even in early winter.

Remnants of Autumn remain as the deep freeze of mid-Winter has not arrived yet, thankfully.

Community is very important to these small farming areas. I need to spend more time doing some photographic studies of the area when I have time. Driving along these roads will reveal a little village areas every 20-30 minutes, so there is always an incentive to stay clear of the major bypasses and enjoy the slower speeds and more pure sights in the countryside.

Every American village seems to have at least one church, if not several.

The river plays a big part of the community, sometimes, however, in very destructive ways. That said, it was still advantageous to live close as the Potomac was the commerce superhighway until widespread adoption of the internal combustion engine.

Speaking of engines and cars, I love seeing the various autos for sale or in the yards of these rural areas.

Mercedes Benz Unimog in the background. I could not imagine a better vehicle – half truck/half tractor – for any rural area. I really NEED one of these! 🙂

Closing out my short 1/2 day trip in the coastal farm land west of Potomac, MD, I stumbled on a managed wildlife area adjacent to the river with acres and acres of gorgeous land reserved for hunting.

The wildlife management preserve was well maintained and gorgeous. With a bright sun and an unseasonably warm day, I was surprised no one was at this lovely quiet spot. I started to hear gunfire after 10 minutes or so of walking deeper in the preserve and thought it would be better for me to leave an active hunting area.

But not before I got one last photo….