'scene' along the way, adventure, family, finding my way, Just do it, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

Getting there…

Restrictions for Covid 19 finally caught up with me yesterday.  I wanted to see the Palo Duro Canyon park in Amarillo before I moved on, so I got there at 7:30 am, shortly after they opened.  I pulled up to the gate and the ranger asked me if I had a reservation.  I said that no, I wasn’t camping despite the trailer behind me, I just wanted to do the drive and take pictures.  Turns out they are limited in capacity for day use also, and they were all booked up.  I was able to take a couple of pictures there before I turned around and left. 07-03-20Paloduro

This riding stable was just outside the park.  I had pulled over to take a shot of the scenery I had just passed and found myself right there on the road beside the stable.  It was this lone building on the edge of a canyon that had caught my eye.07-03-20house2.jpg


When I was home thinking about this trip and looking at the map it was the wide open spaces of Texas that had caught my attention.  The more northern route would have had me skirting city after city with the traffic that would entail, but the road through most of Texas looked desolate enough that I wondered if I would find gas stations when I needed them.  But I did see that there was one big city I’d encounter on this route though, Dallas, which I’d passed through the day before but didn’t talk about.  Blotted it out I think.  I had told myself it would be fine, and it was.  But I wasn’t so sure as I found myself clutching the wheel trying to assure myself that I was in the right lane of traffic, when there were eight lanes of traffic to choose from, and the speed  limit was still 70 mph, and it seemed like everyone else had decided to change lanes.  Another of the things that Texas does bigger I guess.

But leaving the park I was soon back to wide open spaces, and on, and on, and that question of finding gas stations began to loom in my mind. I saw an old faded sign for The Hitching Post, where they promised gas and cold drinks and hot snacks.  The sign looked like it had been there forever I had to wonder if the place existed anymore, but thankfully it did.  And so it was on into New Mexico with it’s extinct volcanos.07-03-20volcano07-03-20sign07-03-20corral

Heading for Colorado had the road winding through these hills that had taken over the terrain.  I hadn’t been aware of the rising altitude, but my ears were popping as the road wound down and into Colorado.  I began to glimpse the Rockies through the clouds, and yet another thunderstorm loomed.  It was the end of the first leg of this trip, and I let myself feel how tired I was, and how happy I was to see my sister-in-law.  More pictures could wait…

'scene' along the way, adventure, finding my way, fun, go with the flow, Just do it, leap of faith, making memories, moments, nature, perseverance, photography, reality check, road trip, sky

Westward Ho, day three…

Fifteen minutes into the drive yesterday had me entering Texas, and soon the initial flat terrain gave way to green hills dotted with brush and stands of trees.  Just to the right of the road was a slightly raised railroad track, and it didn’t take long to see a train, and then a few more.  And, being Texas, everything was bigger.  The views in all directions, the sky, and even the train seemed miles long.  It was a pleasant view and soon reminded me of the cowboy shows I watched on TV as a kid.  I wouldn’t have been surprised to see some cowboys appear over the crest of a hill, wearing their bandanas over their faces, and not for Covid 19, but to chase down the train to rob it.  In those long ago TV shows the cowboys would catch the train, so when I found myself essentially racing a train I voice texted a friend who worked for CSX and asked him how come on TV the cowboys caught the train but I couldn’t out-run this one.  He said that was Hollywood, in real life the train always wins.  When I remarked about how long the train was, and complained about the lack of caboose, he said that in the caboose days the trains used to have five man crews, and now they have only two men working those huge long trains.  And they would like to have a one man crew but the union keeps fighting it.  Bigger trains equal less workforce, he said.  I thought it was just bigger in Texas.

I knew I would stop for the day in Amarillo, so before I left that morning I had checked online for what to see there.  Palo Duro Canyon state park came up right away and I hoped to get there early enough to do the drive through and get some pictures, so I decided to stop at a rest area to change the GPS to the park and drive straight there.  I took the feature photo, liking how the structure stood out against the sky, but the ‘watch for rattlesnakes’ signs made me pause.  I walked up the hill to this little overlook, but not until another gentleman was already there, in hopes he had scared off any rattlesnakes that might have been hanging around.  I was happy to catch another one of those endless trains passing by.  I didn’t stay long though, it was 102 degrees when I was there.07-02-20snakes 07-02-20trainfeature

And, like the day before, as I actually approached my destination the view had changed to this.  I checked the temperature and it had dropped to 64 degrees.07-02-20storm.jpg

Big sky, big storm, and the biggest lightning bolts you can imagine, each one seeming to hit the ground.  Of course I had to change my plan and head to a hotel in Amarillo instead.  Somehow the storm still seemed to be in the distance, to my right and left, so I took my opportunity to take some photos of the displays as you entered the parking area.  Not the photos I’d hoped to get, and I’m still undecided as to whether to head to the park before I leave for Colorado.  We will see what the morning brings.



'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, courage, finding my way, fun, Just do it, life, live and learn, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip

Westward Ho, day two…

Did this day really start in Florida?  That seems like so long ago.  I had never driven through the Florida panhandle before, and knowing that I was passing all those wonderful Gulf beaches just to the south of the highway was distressing.  I felt like there ought to be a view, or something.  I expected to be dying to stop for photos at Mobile, AL also, but maybe it was the dreary skies that stopped that from looking so enticing.  I loved the fabulous Alabama welcome center with it’s beautiful setting of rolling hills, but it turned out that I only dipped my toe in Alabama because I was in Mississippi in no time flat.

Aside from seeing signs for Laurel, MS, which made me want to go drive through the town and look for the houses I’ve seen on Home Town (love that show), there wasn’t much to see.  I was on smaller roads at this point, going through towns, and seeing little old houses looking weather worn and a bit tipsy.  I wished I dared to take a picture of that little slice of Americana, but it would have been rude.  I did see what I thought was a sign on the side of a barn, it announced, in big letters, Shelton Fireworks.  And in only slightly smaller letters underneath were the words, ‘No Smoking.”  I heard Charley say, plain as day, ‘No Shit Sherlock’.  That had me laughing for 20 miles at least.  My other take-away from driving through MS was that every time it was time to pay attention and look for my exit the skies would open and a downpour would totally blot out the view.  I began to take it personally.

My choice of the Southern of the two routes the GPS suggested was the right choice for me.  I had the cruise control on for at least 75% of the time, with a nice chunk of highway to myself.  Not much to see but an easy drive, and eventually a sign said that the Mississippi Welcome Center and rest area was a mile ahead.  I took the exit and panicked a little because the building was right there on the road and the parking lot was small and I was afraid I’d get trapped and have to back up.  But it was deceiving, there were pull through spaces for trucks, and the modest looking building I saw from the road belied the spectacular veranda and view of the Mississippi River and the two bridges, one of which I would find myself traveling over when I got back on the road.  I would have kicked myself if I hadn’t stopped.  And the bridge to the right was a railroad bridge I noticed.  It’s a shame I didn’t stick around a few more minutes because as I drove over the bridge I saw a train coming towards me heading for the other bridge.  It seemed miles long, I wish I’d gotten that picture.  When I landed on the other side of the bridge it was to the announcement that I was entering Louisiana. Three new states to me, and a lot of miles in one day, and as I drove I thought about how nice it would be to fall into comfy hotel bed, with wifi, and all the coffee I want in the morning.  So here I am, tired but happy, so I’ll just say goodnight from Shreveport LA.06-27-20BwelcometoMS07-01-20BMSbridge07-01-20BMSbridge207-01-20BMSbridge307-01-20MSveranda07-01-20crepemyrtle07-01-20MSsign



Westward Ho, day one…

The mileage on the car was 29,915 when I finally got underway yesterday. I was so proud of myself when I backed the car right under the trailer hitch in one try! You’d think I knew what I was doing. Only I couldn’t get it to hitch and had to call my uncle anyhow. Drive forward a half inch and I was good to go. Sheesh.

The road was straight and flat, and the scenery didn’t change as I drove, so I couldn’t help but notice the sky. And the travel info billboards that warned of severe thunderstorms, which materialized during the last 35 miles of my drive. I was heading to Marianna, FL. Which I’m told has more to recommend it than a Pilot Flying J travel center that’s open 24 hours. Maybe it would be a good destination for a winter camping trip, but this time it was just a place to stop. And get gas at the same $195.9 that I paid a few days ago. Prices were up by 15 cents everywhere except here. Slept like a baby…

Continue reading “Westward Ho, day one…”
a second look, adventure, fun, Just do it, leap of faith, life goes on, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

On the cusp…

My last full day at home before hitting the road found me wandering Walmart in search of snacks for the car, and a drill which will help in the setting up and taking down of the camper.  And whatever else I might think of.  My friends were sending coloring pages the other day and I have coloring books and colored pencils also, so I thought maybe I’d look for a new book.  Imagine my surprise to see A Hot Cup Of Joe nestled among the books of pretty flowers entwined with bible verses.  Of course I picked it up, wondering what pictures they were going to have on those pages.  And that’s when I realized that it was that Joe!  Joe Biden!  Arm wrestling Trump on one page.  I didn’t notice who was winning.  As coloring books go it just didn’t do it for me, and $11.98 was too much even for the comic effect.  Same for Bob Ross.  At least Bob doesn’t seem quite as off the wall as a coloring book.  Didn’t I just say that you can’t make this stuff up?  Or maybe I just don’t get out enough…06-29-20Bbross.jpg

But I will be getting out tomorrow, big time!  I bought a journal so that I can keep track of where I stopped for pictures because this more rustic camping trip might have me beat when it comes to wifi and/or keeping my various devices charged.  I’ll be seeing you from the road, just not sure when or where…

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Dusty sunrise…

It seems the Saharan dust is still with us.  Not much more than a blush in the sky at sunrise and sunset.  Lately I’ve seen some really interesting pictures of the sun as it was rising in a dusty sky.  Against the color of the sky the sun looked like a yellow ball, really more like a moon than the sun, with wispy clouds trailing across the view.  I think I was hoping for either/or this morning, a lovely sunrise or a photo of that unusual looking sun.  I got neither.  To the naked eye I clearly saw the circle of the sun, and with wispy clouds, but that doesn’t seem to be what the camera saw.  Birds were flying through my shots and I hoped that they would create a better shot than they did.  Even the iPhone shots were disappointing.  I had the phone in my new phone case with a tether, but I find that the tether isn’t long enough to put the phone in my pocket, and I didn’t want it to hang, so I did the next best thing, I tucked it in my bra.  That worked well until I heard the phone, still in my bra, snapping pictures on its own while I snapped pictures with the camera.  You can’t make this stuff up…


I took a photo class online yesterday and I should have tried working with the exposure compensation.  I hope I get another chance at it.