In The Countryside: A Leisurely Walk Along A Trail, A Quiet Study In Contrasts

The sun came out over the weekend so we went for a walk along a biking + walking trail that runs through the area.  [Read a previous post about it HERE.]

Usually when we walk this trail going out into the countryside the trees are leafy green so we cannot see what is beside the trail, but this being late winter the leaves on the trees didn’t obscure the views.

This is what we saw.  Much of it was new to me, even though it’s been there all along, just hidden from view.

I’m sure there’s a lesson in this post but I’ll leave it to you, kids, to discern it.  I’m still trying to figure out what time it is.  Spring forward, my Aunt Fanny.

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The trail out into the countryside seen with hardly a soul on it.

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An old house with a bowed roof that appears to be someone’s home.

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A McMansion in the process of being built next door to the previous house.

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Three trailers parked across the way from the McMansion.

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A gazebo in a township park close to the trailers seen above.

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A rustic creek with new apartment complex overlooking it.

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Bicycle sculptures with benches, a place to rest along the trail.

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Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Charmingly cynical. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Fond of words.

117 thoughts on “In The Countryside: A Leisurely Walk Along A Trail, A Quiet Study In Contrasts”

    1. Rivergirl, that’s my thinking, too. I don’t know why anyone would want a house that large, but like you said, wouldn’t you want it in a better neighborhood. Unless I suppose the whole point is to have a large house to brag about. I dunno.

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    1. Jill, no kidding? I didn’t know that about FL real estate. In this case the location ain’t all that [middle of nowhere], but I suppose the price of the land was right. 🤷‍♀️

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  1. I like the contrast, in some ways. Better than going in a neighborhood that is ALL McMansions (shiver) or in a neighborhood that is all tiny run down homes. I could see a story here, where the woman from the McMansion (a bit cold, too skinny, lost soul) befriends the woman who lives in the run-down home (matronly, funny, loss-in-her-life, poet) and they become best friends. ❤

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    1. Pam, your story is great. It’s one that would make for an interesting novel, filled with the shattering of preconceived notions. I haven’t seen too many McMansion neighborhoods around here, but then I don’t go looking for them nor do I know people inclined to live in one.

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        1. Pam, no kidding! I guess I’m not surprised. You’d have to have lots of furniture to absorb sound and to make the spaces look inviting. I wonder how high the ceilings are in this particular McMansion? I was amazed by the square foot, never thought about the ceilings.

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  2. A McMansion being built and trailers nearby? My first thought was the family was living there, keeping an eye on the workers, the kids already in their new school, parents settling into their new jobs. But three? Maybe the teenage daughter, who’d eventually get her own suite in the new house , wanted her own trainer, far from that annoying younger brother of hers … and on we go. That was fun.

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    1. Janet, you’re weaving a good tale here. It could be the true story of these trailers, but I’ll tell you, when that family moves into their new house they’re going to have a lot of square footage to decorate. Couldn’t see how far back it went but from the front I’d guess that this building was probably somewhere between 5,000 to 6,000 square feet. 😳

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  3. The photos are charming Ally Bean – thanks for sharing them. I think I’ll get myself out for a good walk later this afternoon … it’s a bit damp and cool here, unsure whether this is early winter approaching. But the contrasts of the weather never fail to amaze me. The other day we
    were baking and all was bright and beautiful. Now, all not so bright but rather beautiful (apart from other stuff) ..

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    1. Susan, I hope you get to go for your walk, weather cooperating of course. On our recent walk we had a lovely dose of sunshine. By the time we get back to this trail again the leaves will be in bloom, obscuring what’s going on behind the trees. It all changes, doesn’t it?

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  4. I can see building in that neighborhood just because of the neighborhood — it may be family land they don’t want to leave, and they may be building to accomodate a multi-generational family. Love the gazebo. It’s almost a perfect match to the one in our town square, but we don’t have those bicycles. They’re colorful and fun.

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    1. shoreacres, I wondered if this was to be a multi-generational home, too. The garages were juxtaposed such as to make it seem like it could be. Gazebos are charming, but the pragmatist in me sees lots of maintenance when I look at one. Now the colorful bikes, those are a delight.

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  5. Lovely shots, Ally. Interesting mix. I’d love to see someone fix up that little house. It looks like it could be charming with a little (OK, a lotta) work. The McMansion, on the other hand, can never be charming. So many of them and what will happen to them all, in coming years? Will they be cut up into apartments like many grand old Victorian-era homes? Seems unlikely when they are set apart, onto huge lots of land.

    Deb

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    1. Deb, I don’t understand the need/motivation for building a McMansion, but I realize they are a thing. I wonder if you’re right that eventually they’ll become the equivalent of those old Victorain homes, now apartment buildings? I was surprised to see one being built where it is, but not surprised to see next door to it the smaller house in need of some love.

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      1. I think of McMansions as “statement homes”. The owner is saying – Look! I made it! These types of homes have never interested me, at any stage of my life. I love (and have) fixed up existing homes and buildings. Personally much more satisfying. And as I am getting older (and packing for my next adventure) I find I want my next place to be smaller, with much less stuff to keep in it😁. If this train of thought progresses much farther, I’ll be living in a van soon.😜

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        1. That’s a good way of explaining the McMansions. After having this house built 20 years ago when I see a house being built I immediately start calculating how much expense there’ll be for upkeep and repairs and replacing the roof, et cetera. Living in a van does have its appeal, but maybe you need to try a smaller pied-à-terre before you go that extreme. Just a thought. 😊

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  6. Not a huge fan of the McMansions myself. I don’t know why people need that much space. We feel guilty we don’t use our basement much. I would imagine they are looking for some solitude given the lack of people on that trail. Not sure I love the little house either though, but if I were an architect, it would be a fun project to revamp! I bet there are some cool things to preserve inside. I might turn it into a modern tiny house, with big windows, solar panels, fun lights, a fire pit. The neighbors may love the trailers more! 😂

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    1. Pam, I have no desire to live in a McMansion, but considering where it is most of the year it’ll be private. I hadn’t thought about a basement, but I wonder if it has one that runs under the whole of it? The amount of square footage would double then. 🤔

      The little house might be cute when fixed up, but it’s close to the road so I’d be surprised if anyone ever bought it to do that. Still, I was surprised by most of what I saw along the trail so what do I know?

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    1. AutumnAshbough, I like the greenness around here, too. I was fascinated by what I was seeing along the trail considering I’ve been on it many times before, but had no idea what was there. The things we learn!

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    1. nance, yes I’m sure you’re right about the purpose of those sculptures. The trail is popular, but this time was a new experience peeking behind the trees, seeing a different world.

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  7. This post was relaxing to read, Ally. I guess someone should call in HGTV to take care of the house with the bowed roofline. Alternative: Get an artist to paint it. Pictures of derelict houses sell, supposedly.

    You notice, pay attention, observe, good for you!

    I see your husband, like mine, likes to comment. Swell! 😉

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    1. Marian, the walk that prompted this post was relaxing so I’m glad that comes through here. Paintings of derelict houses are a thing? Good to know, I guess. From the looks of this one if anyone is going to paint it, it better be sooner than later.

      Yes, Z-D likes to comment here, which is fun for me/us. The more commenters the merrier.

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  8. Hmmm…wonder if those trailers are the family staying there to keep an eye on stealing or maybe construction trailers. In any case I wonder if they will go when the house is done. The development next to me is all mcmansions well in the multiple millions in price. I love to look at them and then I get practical. Don’t wanna heat them, pay taxes on them, clean them, well…you get the picture. I’d have to drop corn to find my way around.

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    1. Kate, you may be right about why those trailers are where they are. I only noticed them because the leaves were down. I’m like you when it comes to McMansions. The first thing I think of is: how much will it cost to replace that roof when the time comes? Then I start wondering how you’d keep it clean and how much furniture you’d need to fill it. I’m much too pragmatic to live in one, that’s for sure. But to each his or her own.

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  9. Beautiful trail, McMansion-in-the-making notwithstanding. There’s a house on a hill above ours that is usually hidden by foliage…except in the winter months. One more reason to “pine” for summer!

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    1. Swinged Cat, it’s a beautiful trail to wander, both out into the countryside and into the city. The McMansion was a surprise, but I guess if’n that’s what you want, that’s what you’ll build. Having been outdoors for this walk I pine for summer, oh yes I do. 😉

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  10. Beautiful trail to walk. We don’t see those kinds of contrasts in housing very much where I live because of zoning laws and neighborhood associations.

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    1. Jean, I was surprised by what we saw behind the trees as we walked along. We were heading out in the countryside where I guess zoning laws don’t exist. It was a hodgepodge of dwellings.

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  11. Marian mentioned it first but I was going to say something about how cute it is that your hubby comments. He always manages to say just the right thing. I, personally, would love the McMansion as long as I had enough people to clean it. In point of fact though, I’d like someone to clean my house now, which definitely IS NOT a McMansion. We have a gazebo in our city park and at one time I thought about renewing our wedding vows there. We are at 36 years this year so maybe in 4 years, if they start allowing people to gather together again!

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    1. Janet, Zen-Den is a good one! He doesn’t always have the time to read my blog, but when he does he likes to comment.

      You make a good point about the McMansion. IF I didn’t have to deal with cleaning it personally I could live there. Of course this particular one is in the middle of nowhere so I’d have to have a driver to take me places, but if I wanted to go for a walk on a trail it’d be convenient.

      I like your idea about getting remarried in a gazebo. I don’t know if they do that around here or not.

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  12. It looks alike a peaceful quiet place to walk, but quite a contrast in views. If the McMansion people have a lot of money in the stockmarket they might be soon living in the trailers!

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    1. Joni, this trail was quiet when we walked it. Usually people and bikes are every which way on it, but maybe because of the time of year [or the coronavirus?] it was deserted. Excellent point about the people building the McMansion, who knows what yesterday’s drop in the markets did to their portfolio. One thing for sure, though– regardless of where they live along there, they’ll be close to the trail.

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        1. Good point. That’s really what these two houses out in the countryside are an example of. I found it interesting, but like you said nature is there for all of us. And I don’t live near this area so *hey* have at it, people.

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          1. I see lots of that here too in the rural countryside, there will be a McMansion beside a run down old paint peeling farmhouse. They tend to look out of place in the country but the owners want the big lots and the privacy. Or worse a water-front monstrosity of a house right beside a beach shack on the lake. If I lived in the country I’d build a two story Victorian looking farmhouse with a big wrap around front veranda…..oh and a couple of horse barns…..and some white fencing…..one can dream.

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            1. This was the first time I’ve noticed anything like these two houses juxtaposed such as they are. It startled me. Like you IF we were going to build a house out in the country I’d have one exactly like the one you’ve described. It’d be in keeping with a country vibe and not so huge as to take up the whole lot. But this house is a McMansion plopped down in the middle of nowhere. I wonder if I’ll start seeing more of them now that I’m aware of them?

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    1. L. Marie, I wonder the same thing. I’d no idea that McMansions were being built this far out into the countryside, nor this close to the trail, but where there’s one I suppose there’ll be others. Seems like the middle of nowhere to me, though. 🤔

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        1. Probably so. I wouldn’t like to live out in the country like that, so much more driving than where we are now. But if you want to avoid people it’d be the place to be.

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    1. Jan, ha! Sure they could be living in the trailers, I suppose. These photos aren’t from my neighborhood. They were taken while walking along a few miles of the Little Miami Conservancy Trail that runs through 5 counties in SW Ohio. Our neighborhood is much more inviting & connected to city living!

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    1. Nancy, these two houses actually startled me. I cannot quite wrap my head around the differences between them, but then no one asked me to! None of my business, but you’re so right: only 4 garages? Clearly they’re clueless about what is expected in a McMansion. 😉

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    1. Margaret, these photos were interesting to me because even though we’ve walked this part of the trail before I had no idea what was behind the trees. Contrasts to be sure.

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  13. We have a few McMansions around here… and a few more are currently being built. We live in an area with homes situated right next to each other so the McMansions are built up, not out. Either way, they look terribly out of place. Perhaps they also purchased that little house next door… you know, for the staff to live in.

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    1. Janis, we don’t live near anything like this McMansion and it was so large. I felt like a kid staring at it with my eyes bugging out. I can imagine how odd it’d be to see a tall McMansion next to more reasonable homes. Weird that. I like your idea about the house next door. You are right of course, the staff will have to live somewhere. 😊

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  14. In the mountains of NC, “winter views” can sell a house. I noticed and fell in love with our year-round view from the back porch. I didn’t realize until winter that we had a lovely view of other mountains from our bedroom. That view is now visible all the time, since we cut down five tall trees and replaced them with shorter ones. Neighbors applauded, because it improved their view, too.

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    1. Anne, I’ve never heard of the concept of “winter views” yet it makes perfect sense. I’m glad you found a way to extend your view all year round while not upsetting your neighbors in the process. You found yourself in a great place in NC. So pretty.

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  15. I like the bicycle sculptures! Cute! Very pretty walk, I’d enjoy that.
    In the winter, from my sofa spot I can see my neighbor one street over’s barn shed thing, and it’s blue like their house, but it has a bright red door. Only in the winter.

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    1. joey, the bicycle sculptures are cute and a nice visual along the trail. It’s fascinating what we can see in the winter that is obscured the rest of the year. I never thought about it until this walk. I’d like seeing a red door. They’re my favorite ones.

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    1. Endless Weekend, that’s exactly what happened on this walk. I’m pleased that I saw what I saw, if for no other reason than I’m curious and this was something new for me to ponder. Different lens, different walk.

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  16. The trail sounds like a great place to get out and commune with nature. We live in McMansion heaven out here in Colorado. I’ll never really understand the whys and wherefores about them, but I have been in many. I’ll take the cottage, thanks. Trailer in a pinch, but a tiny home – ooo, my dream!

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    1. Eileen, the trail goes on for around 80 miles through 5 counties in SW Ohio. We walk pieces of it every so often, but I’ve never been on it this time of year. Hence, the study in contrasts.

      I’d no idea about that McMansion, but the smaller house and trailers make some sense to me. I’ve been to a party at a McMansion and I was fascinated by how many rooms there were. I wouldn’t want to live in one, but if I did I’d build it near some other McMansions– not out in the middle of nowhere. No tiny home for me either. I like a middle-sized dwelling, which fortunately we’ve got.

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  17. Lovely pics & delightful post about what’s hidden in plain sight. Interesting juxtaposition of homing options there & like many, I find that little place with the bowed roof charming. I’ve downsized over the years & keep looking at Tiny Houses, although don’t believe I’m disciplined enough for anything quite that small. Still … they’re kinda cute 🙂

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    1. Deb, the three different dwellings near each other were odd. I’d no idea that a McMansion would be built along this trail, but the older smaller house makes sense that it’d be there. It could be a cute place, but rather doubt anyone will buy it to fix it up. I couldn’t live in a Tiny House and I wouldn’t want to live in a McMansion either. Does that make me fussy? 😊

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      1. Fussy? No, not at all. I think it’s important to have an ability to be all Goldilocks about things by identifying what is “just right” for us. I think I’ve come close to the limit of my downsizing and don’t expect ever to be able to live in a converted Soviet era radio truck as Himself has a sneaky yen to do! 😀

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  18. Ally – this would be my kind of walk … a little country in a nature setting. I’m hoping to get out this morning … we had rain yesterday and now it’s so dark in the morning again, so it will cut down on my walks during the week. The contrast between the two houses here is amazing … bet the big house owners will make a move to buy that property with the bowed roof house at sometime down the line. I especially like the bike sculptures. Our City of Wyandotte is kind of like that – lots of fun sculptures around the business district and parks. Last weekend I discovered a new riverfront park down the street from a park I go to all the time … the only thing separating the two riverfront parks was the downtown business district of Wyandotte. I took some shots of the new park and the downtown business district totem pole and some other landmark fun stuff – I felt like Yvette doing street shots. 🙂 It was a gorgeous day. In Wyandotte, they had a very cool idea a few years ago, until people started stealing the bikes for resale (maybe for scrap metal?) But they had several stations of bike stands and people could just grab a bike and go – totally on the honor system, didn’t cost a penny to ride them. Sad that happened.

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    1. Linda, this is a lovely trail that goes for close to 80 miles, although we walk pieces of it when the mood strikes us. I was amazed by the dwellings that I saw along the way, having never seen them before, but thanks to no leaves there they were.

      The City of Wyandotte sounds like a fun place with its eye to the future. Pity about the bike thefts, but I suppose I’m not entirely surprised. Some communities have those rent-a-bike companies [don’t know the names of them] that seem to do well. When I think of totem poles I think of Alaska, not Michigan– which just goes to show you how I need to not make assumptions.

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      1. Yes, we get glimpses of civilization sometimes when the trees are bare. I find that in the park I walk every day. It is so close to the houses, that when the trees and bushes are bare, I can see across the water into outskirts of Wyandotte. Just about four miles from there is the heart of the business district in Wyandotte. This time, with the camera in tow, I took some fun pictures, as if I were a tourist, like the igloo dining was the most-interesting thing I’ve seen in a long time. I took some pictures of these heated domes which had bulky blankets on each chair to wrap up in while you dine. The City had an American Indian settlement originally, so there are sculptures reflecting that and the 36-foot cedar totem pole was a gift to the City from a bank when it celebrated its 100th anniversary. Our City has no rich history except Pat Paulsen declared his candidacy for President here and Bob Seger lived here – that’s it for Lincoln Park.

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    1. Laurie, on previous visits to this trail there are been lots of runners and cyclists, but this time it was almost deserted. The weather was pleasant, but the people weren’t there. We were surprised, to be honest. However it was a peaceful walk this time.

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    1. Mary, I had no idea what was beside this trail. We were headed out of town, so I figured it’d be farmlands, but I was wrong. A different perspective for sure. The colorful bikes are cute, aren’t they?

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        1. I like seeing nature along trails but I’ll admit to being curious about what else is along the trail, too. Of course I’d be happy to be seeing anything on a warm spring day. So tired of winter cold and gloom.

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  19. Beautiful scenery, Ally. I can’t seem to talk my significant other into walks lately, and since we’re temporarily stopped going to the gym I want to try to change her of that. I’ll have to show her this post. Keep walking! – Marty

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    1. Marty, I like walking outside better than on a treadmill. This walk was pretty in that late winter/weak sunshine sort of way. Other times of the year this trail is gloriously green and filled with people, so seeing it like this was unusual. You keep walking, too.

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  20. Well, I like the green roof on the old wood house, and the path looks lovely.

    From where I moved from that house doesn’t look very McMansion to me, but I’m thinking that’s subjective. It looks like a lovely house. Is the view good?

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    1. Deborah, the trail is a delight. I wish we’d get over to it more often. Around here that is a McMansion, but you’re right in that real estate varies dramatically depending on where you live. Being in the middle of nowhere on an old county road, it has an awful view of that road and some trees. Still, there it is, so someone liked the lot.

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  21. Thank you, I love farmers market, but there are none around closely.
    Love this trail – so straight! Here all trails are all corners. Even the highway (88) here, the locals say “the 13 corners” and we were warned to drive slower in winter, when it’s slick from rain or snow.. Hope you are joining Thurs. Doors with these houses?

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    1. DrJunieper, this trail is straight because it follows the old railroad lines. It’s a fine contrast to the roads I drive on, so maybe that’s part of its appeal to me. 13 corners would be difficult! 😳

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  22. Very interesting Ally, also on the concept of perspective. Same trail, different time of year. Very much the contrasts. I would like to think how different folks from different walks of life can live amicably beside each other. I am seeing bicycle sculptures more often in different cities. Thanks for taking me along on your walk.

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    1. Erica/Erika, I wonder how these neighbors will get along, too. It could be amicable, but the contrasts among those three ways of living gave me pause. I like bike sculptures. They seem happy and carefree no matter where they are.

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