"Where's Coop...thought he was out here and all set to go?"
"He's not coming, told us to go ahead."
"Secret mission....what's that?"
"He says he'll meet us later either back here or wherever we're going for dinner tonight....wants to go solo today."
This wasn't an exact conversation but close enough and captures the gist of what our little riding group went through on more than one location and at multiple times during the 2021 Riding Season. More often than not, especially in the olden days passed, I was the one that was having the most fun establishing GPS Routes and as a result, with those Routes created and loaded, it made sense for me to be out in front on our group rides. I've enjoyed it and have been told that I'm sometimes proficient enough to be followed.
Back in May 2021, the Secret Mission threw a left-handed wrench into the works.
I can't take credit for the concept, it was borrowed from a local reporter's response when the world, or those close to his inner world, wondered where he'd suddenly disappeared to. "Secret Mission" was his response. Luckily my secret mission didn't involve help with drug/alcohol addiction with weeks spent at a famous treatment center like his did. I wanted to come up with something that could accompany my smile when I shook my head "No, not this time" and the Secret Mission moniker seemed apt.
My mission involved stops, lots and lots of stops, an impossibly large number of frustrating (for others, not for me!) stops that I did not want to subject anyone else to. Each stop involved pulling out one of the cameras and from the roadway's edge, the ditch and every so often, making a stand on the fog line to take a photo. These photos all involved what I perceived to be dairy barns, past and present. There were many stops, many more than the 600+ photos taken by late in the riding season. It was only after I'd taken a couple of dozen did the idea dawn on me that I should come up with some threshold quantity. Once begun, the stops started piling up fast and it one of those No Brainer's to decide on a nice round five hundred.
The photos had started to accumulate before the quota idea struck, "rush of brains to the head" to somehow share a quantity and density of these many farm buildings. A new fresh start was then made, this time photos were taken with GPS coordinates embedded in each photo. My Lumix does not have that capability, so all of the photos included in the 500 count were taken on my phone.
Barn books, hundreds of barn books already exist and you probably own at least 4 or 5 already. I purchased a dozen of them, studied and read other historical references and spent some very delightful hours in our own County's Historical Society Reference Library, hoping that I'd be able to offer something new and a bit different. I tried to focus more on ideas with some facts sprinkled within, please know that there are countless resources that drill in on the details from real authors.
I learned a lot, learned that some of my assumptions were wrong and was delighted to be corrected. The motorcycles get one mention in the book and that is enough, they were utilized in making the adventure just that much more fun but the story was not about them. I discovered that some of the machines were much better than others for what I was doing, a lesson in itself. An author friend (he the professional sort) advised, "the researching is much more fun than the actual writing", something that I've come to appreciate. He doesn't even ride!
You can find it here
My advice in general, reinforced especially so while enjoying this project?
Be curious, explore!