• The General battles the wind of the plains

    Persevering through the rugged landscape and relentless wind of Wyoming.

    The sculpture of Maj.-Gen Sir Isaac Brock pulled into North Platte, Nebraska by Thursday night, knocking off another 930 kilometres of his ride home, even as the Great Plains wind lived up to its reputation and pummelled his protective tarps.

    He crossed Wyoming on the I-80 from west to east, encountering a state whose first half is a moonscape of rocky outcrops and strikingly sculpted, flat-topped buttes. The place is probably an archaeologist’s dream vacation, fossils abounding in hillsides whose faces are striped with perfectly exposed layers of the harsh crust.

    You look at this desolation and think no irrigation will ever turn it into arable land. Few animals graze, the barren flats looking too baked and harshly mineralized to allow much vegetation. But eagles do soar, and antelope looked over at passing transport trucks with their own passing curiosity. Continue reading

    Tag(s): , , ,
  • Rolling, rolling, rolling…

    IMG_20150312_110606_cropped

    The General is more than half-way across Wyoming, passed the continental divide a half hour ago, which looks a lot less formidable on the prairie than it does in, say, a mountain pass.

    He’s stopping for lunch in Laramie and is looking to make Lexington, Nebraska before nightfall.

    Continue reading

  • Day 3: Keep heading east

    Road sign pointing to Bliss and Twin Falls

    Back to the I-80 to bring The General Home.

    Heavy-looking skies today. We’ll figure out the evening destination later today when we get a sense of how we’re rolling and what’s do-able. The agenda just says Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and so on.

    Now about that rhetorical question in the previous post, the one about why would more people live in Alaska than Wyoming. A fully-researched evidence-based answer is of course preferred, especially for a university web page, but all we’re equipped for today is some anecdotal pondering. Continue reading

  • Under big skies, The General keeps moving

    EVANSTON, Wyoming — Even a general has to obey the law.

    The large bronze sculpture of Maj.-Gen. Sir Isaac Brock started the day’s travels pulling into an Oregon truck stop, where driver Ken applied a pair of those “WIDE LOAD” banners to the front and back of the truck. It’s because of the sculpture’s height from the ground, and the need to meet regulations in some of the jurisdictions ahead.

    But while this attention-getting measure was done to comply with rules of the road, it’s also fitting that The General’s one-vehicle motorcade be garnished with something that tells the world this is no ordinary cargo. Continue reading

    Tag(s): , , ,
  • Nearing the Idaho state line

    Out of the higher mountains now so I can blog on the bb.

    The General slept well last night in a WalMart parking lot. The driver, a very affable Californian named Ken, makes a point of staying in his sleeper cab overnight to be near the General at all times.

    Hit the I-84 this morning, just changed time zones to Mountain Time, and are rolling through cowboy landscapes. Probably reaching the Idaho state line in 20 minutes or so.

    After yesterday’s sunshine and 21C temperatures, today is grey with occasional spits of very light rain. But very comfortable and good, dry driving conditions.

     

  • A gritty western town gives birth to beautiful art

    Some of the Valley Bronze crew sending the General home.

    In sparsely-populated eastern Oregon, the town of Joseph, pop. 1,054, is the end of the line. To get there from the I-84, drive 100 kilometres along the Wallowa River, past occasional cattle and sheep, across Hurricane Creek, through ranchland and some dramatic hills to the end of Route 82. To leave, turn around and drive 100 km back out.

    As a town, Joseph is one long central avenue with several sidestreets reaching out a block or two from the main spine. Being a western town, it has plenty of pickup trucks. Unlike most western towns, it has at least 10 bronze sculptures lining that main street, and a majestic mountain backdrop that looks like someone cloned a few Alps. Continue reading

    Tag(s): , , ,
  • We have liftoff

    General Brock has left the building — the Valley Bronze foundry, that is — and has begun his long journey home.

    The flatbed truck carrying the General left facility in Joseph, Oregon at 4 pm local time today. Weather conditions were ideal, sunny and 70 degrees F, as the journey began.

    More to come later.

  • Getting close

    Drove into the night after a marathon day of, literally, planes, trains and automobiles. Then fatigue outvoted adrenaline and suggested a few hours’ stop at a motel in Ellensburg, Washington would be a good idea.

    Back on the road before dawn, coffee to go. We have to reach General Brock today. It’s been nearly two years of writing about the project, seeing drawings, looking at photos of progress as he materialized, anticipating it all. Today, we finally meet.

    About four hours of driving left until we reach him. We’re getting close. Can’t wait.

  • The General is coming home

    sitting-on-arm-cropped

    In a foundry in Joseph, Oregon, the final coatings of protectant are being applied to an expressive bronze sculpture of Maj.-Gen Sir Isaac Brock.

    During the week of March 9, when the finish has set and The General is fit to travel, he will be wrapped for protection, put into a shipping “cradle” and carefully loaded onto a flatbed truck for the 4,000-kilometre drive across the USA, into Canada and, ultimately, to his permanent home at Brock University.

    The General is expected to arrive at the campus sometime during the week of March 16, and will be installed on a plinth in front of the Schmon Tower. Continue reading