The Unhidden World

Now that I have gotten a few days of rest–and watched my share of TV for a couple of days–I can get back to the business of plotting out my novel and beginning the task of writing.  This week has been one of distractions, but they’re good distractions.  And tomorrow I’m thinking of taking a train ride . . . whee!  I probably won’t know if I’m going or not until sometime tonight, but it looks like I may be on the road early in the morning.

Yesterday I had another distraction, which was hunting down a railway.  Now, there are a lot of railroads out there, but this one I’d found a few months before when I was doing research on something and stumbled across the information.  I finally found it:  fifty miles of track stretching from The Salton Sea to Eagle Mountain Mine known as, you’ll be surprised, the Eagle Mountain Railroad.  If you want to follow it on Google Maps, start here and proceed in a northeasterly way.  There are a few sections washed out from floods ten years ago, but the rest of the route is visible.

I do this a lot.  All the time I’ve finding places through Google Maps, and then I keep hunting around to see what they are and where they go.  That’s how I found the Abandoned Turnpike, because I was planing my trip to The Burg, noticed the deviations on the maps, and started looking around.  While doing research for my current novel I spent a lot of time looking over the Russian Space Center at Baikonur, and many of the oil and gas fields far to the north.  I’ve found gigantic mines in northern Canada, observatories in Chile and New Mexico, even the location of the first atomic detonation–which, incidentally, is near two space ports, neither of which is near a huge crater made by another atomic detonation.

I go everywhere looking for things.  Sometimes this is research for a novel or story or whatever, and I’m checking out a location so I can create images in my mind.  Other times I do this for fun, because I’m curious, and I know I’ll never go to these places in my lifetime, so seeing them this way is the next best thing.

I’ve always been good with maps, going back to when I used to figure out where my family was going on vacation when I was seven or eight.  I’m a natural navigator, and I love seeing what I can find next.  I grew up in a time when there were still parts of the world that weren’t well know, but today, I can hop on the Internet and in a matter of minutes I can visit a dozen remote places.  Sometimes I even find cities that are pretty much abandoned . . .

If you’re a writer, you should be curious.  You should want to see those things that are unseen.  And once you see them, you make them a reality.

It’s so nice of the world to open itself up for us, don’t you think?