September 12, 1998
In order to satisfy a deep-seated desire (some say compulsion ;o) to see the locations I wrote about in my Gravity Music stories, I went to the actual places (as close as possible), GPS receiver and camera in hand. Here are some of the pictures I took, and some of my observations.
When I wrote the stories, I used what maps I had available and my trusty copy of Street Atlas USA (Ver. 3.0 DeLorme Software). I guessed a lot as to what the actual terrain looked like and, as writers do, added whatever literary license was necessary to make things work. All-in-all, I don't think I did too badly, though you be the judge!
Here is a picture of the Small Park Howard stopped at on his way to the rendezvous point. This is also the first GPS location given in the story. The park is just a small strip of grass with picnic tables, wedged between a truck stop and a dance-hall, called for obvious reasons, "The Red Barn". To tell the truth, the park was a figment of my imagination. Imagine my surprise to find a real park not 30 meters from the coordinates given!
Proceeding up the road mentioned in the story, I came to the first turn,
about two kilometers from the park. The pavement ended here. On the map I used,
this road was un-named, but had a US Forest Service number. Surprise number
two! According to the road-sign, the
branching road that Howard would have taken is named "
I proceeded up the road to the coordinates given for Howard's fateful meeting and with considerable disappointment found a grassy hill-side where there should have been forest. Driving another 2 kilometers up the road the terrain changed to look exactly (well almost) as described in the story. Here's a picture of where Howard met Aarrl. The main difference between reality and fiction is botanical. I had imagined a typical temperate Douglas Fir forest, but the trees at the meeting location were pine.
Ok, out of the car and into the woods!
Soon, I'll be revising " Don't Go Into the Woods Today" to reflect some of my observations. Also, I have a lot more pictures I took along the way. If you're interested, e-mail me and I'll post a few more.
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