Even though many voters usually don’t even start to pay attention until after the World Series is over,* Labor Day traditionally marks the start of campaign season.

I’ve expressed my fondness for covering politics, especially presidential campaigns, many times in this column, so this homestretch is like the Final Four, Super Bowl or World Series for me, as the nominees hit the trail hard — or at least as hard as COVID-19 permits — for the final two months.

(* The American and National League champions won’t even start to play each other until Oct. 23, and if the series goes to a seventh game, it will be played on Halloween — three days before the election.)

My other photographic love is hitting the highways on a Road Trip, and I’ve always tried to make one or two every summer. In fact, this online column began as a series of photo blogs written while I set out from the Inquirer building on a different road trip each week (the words survived the archives anyway, even if most of the pictures did not).

A couple of summers ago I hunted down nearby classic kitschy roadside attraction “Muffler Men,” and visited the New Jersey eateries cherished by the late Anthony Bourdain.

Last summer I was in Iowa as the Democratic presidential candidates got to know the voters, and I was in South Carolina for their primary, just before coronavirus changed everything.

So it was great to be back on the road this past week doing stories in Western and Central Pennsylvania for the first of what I hope will be many political stories between now and the end of the World Series/Election Day.

Since 1998, a black-and-white photo has appeared every Monday in staff photographer Tom Gralish’s photo column in The Inquirer’s local news section. Here are the most recent, in color: