'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, go with the flow, live and learn, nature, perseverance, photography, sky, sunset, weather

Saharan sunset…

A historic Saharan dust plume is headed our way.  ‘Our’ being Florida.  It’s big news, on the internet at least.  And with it will come fabulous sunrises and sunsets, so good news for the photographers out there.  That’s all we needed to hear, so last night we headed to Pine Island for the sunset, and I was disappointed.  As fabulous Florida sunsets go this one wasn’t going to win a prize.  As with everything these days, the predictions are all over the place.  Wednesday, Thursday. and Friday were supposed to be the best, or so I read.  This morning I saw a map that has the plume not reaching us until Sunday.  No wonder I pay no attention to the news these days.  And yet I’m sure I’ll be out there again…

06-24-20earlycloud06-24-20waiting06-24-20saharanman06-24-20saharanview 06-24-20saharanhouse06-24-20sahaboosted.jpg

adventure, facing facts, friends, fun, go with the flow, learning, making memories, natural wonders, old dogs new tricks, perseverance, photography

Milky Way Photography…

Honestly, the timing could have been better.  My cousin and I had gotten up at 3 AM to take my uncle to the VA Hospital for sinus surgery (all went perfectly), but in these days of social distancing we weren’t allowed in, and even though we had a nice breakfast out, we endlessly waited in the hospital parking lot.  Part of that waiting period included me thinking there would be a bathroom somewhere for people who were also in this situation.  Port-a-potties were out there, somewhere, they said.  I was pointed in various directions, and in .93 miles, during which I briefly considered climbing a fence, but instead opted to backtrack to where I started from and skirt a retaining pond instead, I was finally back in the car.  And still we waited.  And that’s when I got the message that friends were meeting at 2 AM on Pass-a-Grille beach to take photos of the Milky Way.  Like I said, not the greatest timing exhaustion-wise, but too perfect of a chance to learn something new to pass up.

With lots of hands-on instruction from my very helpful friends, I tried, I really did.  And even though my best (also heaviest) tripod was in the car I chose the lighter one.  And my best choice of lens wasn’t ideal, but adequate for the moment at least.  I say all this to distract myself from facing that it’s on me that instead of sharp stars in the sky my photos resembled a sky full of commas, flocks of birds, and tadpoles.  But in the photos you do see the Milky Way instead of the faint smudge in the sky, which is how it appeared to me in person.  It’s a start, and I hope to get a lot more practice on my next adventure.06-20-20milkyway406-20-20milkyway106-20-20milkyway7

a second look, Camping, courage, facing facts, finding my way, following the rules, go with the flow, Just do it, leap of faith, live and learn, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel


I sat down here at the computer a while ago, determined to look up the route for my potential trip this summer.  I had also been looking at it last week and the week before, trying to imagine myself traveling along that blue line on the computer screen, my car a little blinking light inching along toward the goal.  The computer offered me two routes for the beginning of the trip, both of which wound up merging eventually, and the last of the route passed right past my sister-in-law’s house where I would love to stop and visit.  Yay!  But the two early routes caused me stress of a sort.  Should I try to camp along the way?  If so where, and for how long?  And what wonderful sights might I miss, just a little way off of that blue line?  Or should I keep on moving, enjoy the one visit, but get to my destination first and figure out where else I might like to go from there?  

I do realize how lucky I am that these are the things causing me stress in my old age.  Not really problems, just my overactive brain.  So today I saw some mention of up-tics in the number of COVID-19 cases and I decided that the smart thing to do would be to check the quarantine rules for the states I’d be traveling through.  A heads-up for myself seemed like a good idea.  Paper and pen at the ready I started up the computer and asked for the route for probably the 10th time, and this time it gave me an entirely different route.  And one route only.  No options.  Almost from the minute I leave home it had me on different roads.  And this route has me bypassing the entire state where my SIL lives.  Does it know something?  Did it get tired of showing me the same old options, thought it would liven things up?  

This sort of thing makes me nuts.  There is a comfort in thinking that there is only one way to do things.  One route to follow.  If you stay on the path, follow the rules, then nothing bad can happen.  It’s probably pathetic that I still think that way after all these years, but I do.  It’s gotten me this far…

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Sunset at home…

I talk myself out of going out for the sunrise lately.  Sunset too since it’s fairly late these days.  This morning I decided I would go out, but by the time I got out of the shower (it had been a while) and ready to go, with barely enough time to get there, I remembered that I had to get gas or I wouldn’t make it to Aripeka.  So decided to check on One-Foot Fred tomorrow and poured another cup of coffee instead.

That’s what makes the trip out back for the sunset such a lucky break for me.  I did the same thing last night, but with 20 minutes to go I grabbed my phone,  jumped in the car, and zipped to the lake at the back of the park.  Which is when the car started yelling at me to get gas.  But I made it in time to see the sunset, the reflection of the sky in the water, and the ripples.  I loved the zigzag-y reflection of the palm trees with the ripples.  I guess you don’t really need a fancy location when Mother Nature is in charge of the show.06-10-20homesunsetripples06-10-20homesunsetcolor

'scene' along the way, birds, finding my way, Florida wildlife, go with the flow, life goes on, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Lake Lisa…

I decided that a walk was in order this morning, and John Chesnut park was going to be my destination.  My friend said that she couldn’t remember if shed been there before, and I reminded her that it could be called squirrel central.05-13-20squirrel

There are usually lots of birds to see, but instead I saw dragonflies, and a deer just off the path.05-13-20dragonfly205-13-20deer

But the red-winged blackbird was found at a pretty little park that I noticed on the way.  I must have driven past it quite a few times, but this time I took note of it and stopped to explore.  It’s close to home and will make a good choice for a walk the next time I’d like to get out of the house.  Or for the sunrise.  The sign said Lake Lisa, pretty place.05-13-20LakeLisa05-13-20LakeLisa05-13-20redwingedblackbird05-13-20lakelisaview05-13-20twducks05-13-20view205-13-20reflection