Monthly Archives: May 2020

Places Less Traveled – April 2020

Even under social distancing, sometimes you have to break down and shut off all your electronic toys. Get out and see for yourself, the places less traveled in the world around us.

Today we visited a closed, former railroad bridge on the Raccoon River Valley Trail, South of Jefferson, Iowa.

The rail line was built in 1891. The Pratt Truss bridge is dated at 1905. Some sources date the bridge as recent as 1945, which is unlikely since the Pratt Truss design fell into disuse after about 1910.
The bridge is 580′ in total length with a 112′ Pratt Truss Span.

The rail line was removed in 1990 and the present trail was completed in 1997. The bridge was partially destroyed in 2019 and is closed to the public.

There are also other remnants of the Milwaukee Road along the trail including evidence of a train wreck.

First Warning
First warning

Our intrepid explorer
Intrepid explorer
Long and winding road
long and winding road

No rest
This was the first of three rest stops we encountered on the trail.
no rest stop

Grade Crossing Marker
grade crossing marker

Train Wreckage
We found some remnants of a train wreck along the trail.
train wreckage

Brake Beam
This is the part of a railroad car where one of the brake pads would have been attached.
brake beam

Rest Stop
rest stop

The Bridge is in Sight
bridge is in sight

Final Warning
final warning

Trail Marker
We had parked our vehicle at the Winkleman’s Switch parking area which according to this sign, is 1.5 miles away.
trail marker

Healthy Snacks
Since I’ve been out of the military for over 15 years, this MRE Ranger Bar was at least that old and probably a few years older. So far, neither of us have gotten sick from eating it.
healthy snacks

Overview of the Bridge
The Bridge

Wipe Out
This is the section of the bridge that was destroyed by flooding in March of 2019. There are plans to repair the bridge, but so far, there is no timeline for when it will occur.
Hello Houston

Snitches Get Outed on Social Media

St. Louis, Missouri

A Sunshine Law request released the names and personal information of people that reported businesses that were in violation of the stay-at-home order.

Moral to this story:

Don’t rat on your neighbors.


Nazi Eugenics are Alive and Well in California.

Ken Turnage, a city official in Antioch, Calif. posted the following on his Facebook account:

“the nation and planet would strengthen when this is all settled.”

“this virus is like a human version of a forest fire, a forest fire will burn through and burn off all the dead trees, old trees, fallen brush, and scrub shrub-sucklings that drain the resources of the forest and causing it to be unhealthy.

”We would have significant loss of life, we would lose many elderly, that would reduce burdens in our defunct Social Security System, health care cost (once the wave subsided), make jobs available for others and it would also free up housing in which we are in dire need of,”

On Friday, Turnage was removed from his post by unanimous vote of the Antioch City Council.


Father Ecology 2020.

What follows are regular reflections on life from a polymath’s perspective tempered by the belief that the polymath does not exist to master all the disciplines, but to bridge the gaps that divide them.

Father Ecology takes its name from a long defunct secondhand store that was located in Hicksville, NY. The store’s business cards simply said: “Father Ecology – High Class Junk, Low Class Antiques.” The store and its proprietor have long since vanished. It’s even hard to find any reference that it ever even existed.

In the 40 years since I first visited that junk store, I’ve traveled all over the world, acquired many skills and seen many things.

Today, the spirit of that little junk store lives on in the reflections of the past that remain relevant today and into the future.