Sunday, August 17, 2008

Madison Ribberfest & Southern Indiana

I went down to southern Indiana this weekend to the Madison Ribberfest. What a great party! The festival featured about 50 or so competion BBQ'ers, some terrific blues bands, and a number of hot air balloons. The weather was excellent all weekend. I had first heard about the fest on the Teardrop trailer forum (they were doing a rally), but I decided to stay at Clifty Falls State Park that had hook-ups, rather than with the rest of the teardroppers at their park.

Here are a few shots at the festival:

At the end of the evening, the hot air balloons did a "balloon glow" from the Kentucky side of the river across from the festival. The reflections on the water were terrific, but pretty hard to photograph when this dark.

An added benefit was the full moon rising over the bridge between Madison and Kentucky.

The next morning, I got up early to catch the sunrise at the same spot. This time there was a barge coming through just as I got there. What luck!

I then headed to downtown Madison to photograph a few of the historic buildings. It's one of the largest and best-preserved concentrations of historical buildings I've seen in the Midwest (well over 300 of them).

On my way back to Chicago, I decided to drive only scenic 2-lane roads all the way home, so started out driving west and then north on highway 135 through Brown County Indiana. I came across a little crossroads called Story, Indiana with an old general store that was now a restaurant and inn. The "town" was so small, it took me a couple miles before I could turn the car and T@B around to head back to photograph it. But what a spectacular scene!

I had discovered this road sign on my way down to the Turkey Run T@B rally last spring but never had time to stop. So, this time I decided to make make a detour to drive my T@B through Tab, Indiana!

The town of Tab isn't nearly as cute as the trailer-- it was basically a grain elevator along the railroad tracks, with about 20 old rundown houses around it (likely for employees who used to work at the grain elevator). It's a 5 to 10 mile drive along gravel roads to get there, and not even big enough to post town welcome signs at it's borders. So, I shot the T@B next to Tab's grain elevator as the sun was setting, and made my way back to the main road to drive home.

While Madison and the Ohio River were quite beautiful, one thing that was not so picturesque were a number of coal-burning power plants that dotted it's banks with their large stack pipes billowing carbon into the air. There was a large plant right next to the state park and it really was sad to hike up to a beautiful scenic vista, only to see the large smoke stacks on the horizon.

Fortunately, on my drive home, I found a much prettier power generator to photograph-- a new wind power plant along the Indiana/Illinois border. I can't wait to see more of these graceful, clean, and quiet turbines dot our midwestern farm fields in the future....and replace those damn coal plants!