Thursday, March 31, 2005

Chasing Lewis and Clark Across America

I discovered a great book this week. I have been very interested in Lewis and Clark for several years. After all, the most important part of their journey was in Washington - reaching the Columbia River and their first sight of the Pacific Ocean. OK, some people might have different opinions on this!! Ron Lowery built a twin-engine ultra-light airplane that carries two people. Writer Mary Walker joined him and together they took excellent photographs from St. Louis to Cape Disappointment, Washington. But they started in the wrong place. If you asked Meriwether Lewis where the expedition started he would tell you Pittsburg where the keel boat was loaded and the he departed with part of the team. Going down the Ohio River they came to Clarksville, Indiana where William Clark and more men joined in. St. Louis, though not the beginning, was where they spent the first winter, since they got a disppointingly late start. And it was the last "city" before they left civilization. Another interpretation: In Chalottesville, Virginia there is a monument to Lewis and President Jefferson. Of course the Lewis and Clark Expedition was born in the mind of Jefferson. When looking for a man he could trust with his pet project, he turned to a neighbor in Albemarle County, young Meriwether Lewis. Lowery took the photographs. Walker was also qualified to pilot the plane. But Lowery was well practiced in coordinating his photo taking with piloting the plane to get the right setting. So he did the flying during the photo sessions. They had a ground crew with an RV and a truck pulling a camping trailer. The ulta-light is of course open air and it is bright green. They usually flew low, so they got a lot of attention. For a book of color photographs in large format and 168 pages of heavy paper it is a good value for $45. Though, for some reason Third Place Books charged my less. See it at their web site:
Wind Sock Media

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