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Monday, November 3, 2014

Our Time in the Department of Lot, Midi-Pyrénnées

 Exhibit at the Musée des Augustins: Jorge Prado, American artist

 St. Cirq la Popie

 Our lovely gite, Liberté at Cremps, France

 Part of the grounds at Liberté

Enjoying a local wine at Escamps

 Countryside on the way to the Tarn-Garonne area

 A beautiful medieval village on the Tarn: Bruniquel

 Baba au Rhum

Monday, January 27, 2014

Relaxing Away From The Cold In Savannah


At Clary's Cafe, Savannah

The biggest and best eclair I have had the pleasure of sharing with Janet. We managed only one half.

The sayings go: In Charleston SC they ask What is your Family. In Atlanta they ask What Do You Do. In Savannah they ask What Do You Drink.

Drinking seems to be allowed in the streets, at least where we were. If you have not finished your drink in a bar, they will pour it into a paper cup, and you can go on to the next place.

We recommend reading the book and/or seeing the Clint Eastwood movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil as a precursor to your visit to Savannah.

We loved our stay at the Presidents' Quarters in the historic district. Right behind it was our favorite go to Pub called the 1790 Tavern. Sit at the bar and order Fried Green Tomatoes and Crab Cakes and chat with the locals. The tavern is also well known for its Planters Rum Punch. which we loved.

We went to the evening Compline at the local Anglican Cathedral.

We had tea at the Gryphon Tea Room owned and operated by students of the Savannah School of Art and Design, a very famous art school. Do not fail to browse in its shop across from the Tea Room.

Another great place to eat is the Crystal Beer Parlor where I recommend the deviled crab and sweet potato fries. Lots of locals.

Savannah is built around 24 squares. We walked through most of them from one end to the other. Charlton Street and many other streets have magnificent mansions which you can visit. It is also fun to take the Pedicabs or bicycle rickshaws if you are tired of walking. Apparently, the fee is whatever you wish to give.

We walked by the Mercer House where Jim Williams lived. He was a well known antiques dealer and was tried for murder. There are many silver shops in the historic district. 

We had Sweet Tea, a southern drink, at Clarys Cafe which also figures in the book and is a great place to go for breakfast or lunch (especially if you like eclairs).

For a really delicious and gracious place to eat, I recommend Alligator Soul. The shrimp and grits are to die for. Lovely service. 

We walked Bay and River Streets and had a morning cappuccino at the Paris Market. We bought pecan pralines, a southern specialty.

Do not miss the Jepson Museum. Incredible modern architecture and great gift shop. It is part of the Telfair Museums of which there are three. At the Jepson, there is a nice cafe, too. We visited all three.

Another place that we ate at was the Olde Pink House. A bit touristy but it is said locals eat here, too. We liked Alligator Soul better.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Back East


After viewing Vertigo the exhibit of Wyeth paintings (three generations, N.C., Andrew and Jamie) at the Shelburne Vermont Museum, we biked on the Island Line Trail from Burlington to a point on Lake Champlain where we could go no further without waiting several days for a ferry.

 Island Line Trail
 Colchester Causeway on Lake Champlain

 The "Gap"

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah


We have often camped in this magnificent part of Utah; this time, instead, we stayed at a lovely B&B, the "Kiva Kottage" midway between the villages of Boulder and Escalante. We enjoyed a couple of hours watching the sun set on the cliffs and valleys around us from our terrace. There are two cottages, appropriately named Sunset (ours) and Sunrise. Today, we hiked in perfect weather to a unique falls in this part of the country.

 View from our terrace looking east towards Capitol Reef National Park
 The Kiva Koffeehouse and Sunset Cottage
This and the two shots below we viewed from our terrace as the sun set.


Hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls:


 Janet on the trail as we near the Falls
 Desert Varnish on the cliffs above Calf Creek
What is "desert varnish"? See,  http://minerals.caltech.edu/FILES/VARNISH/

Lower Calf Creek Falls

Monday, September 9, 2013

Montana: Whitefish, Polson, Flathead Lake, the National Bison Range; Idaho: Route of the Hiawatha


We had a fun evening at the Blue Moon Bar and its adjacent Blue Moon Rodeo Arena. The Rodeo contestants were all local cowboys and cowgirls from northwestern Montana. The audience, local as well, mostly were from Whitefish. Being from a distant home, we were celebrities - the announcer pointed out that tonight we had folks from Massachusetts and Australia in the audience.

video
Off he goes, give 'em a hand for trying...

Will he make it-8 seconds in the saddle?

video
Success!
Local Rodeo at Whitefish, Montana (near Glacier National park)
http://www.glaciercountryrodeo.com/summer.htm
Why the 8 second ride?
"The 8 second length of a qualified ride was devised purely for the safety and well-being of the animals involved. After 8 seconds the horse or bulls bucking ability decreases because of fatigue, adrenaline loss, etc.
In order to prevent the animal from becoming overly stressed, the buzzer or horn will sound to signal the rider to end the ride and prepare to dismount. This keeps the animals spirit high and healthy and keeps them from 'breaking' or taming down. The 8 second ride allows rodeo stock to continue competing at the best of their ability at the next rodeo and throughout their career in the arena." from the website: 
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Before the rodeo we visited the Hockaday Museum in Kalispell (near Whitefish) where we met the  artist Peter Moore whose paintings were on display. See,
http://www.hockadaymuseum.org/index.cfm?inc=page&page=493&page_content=Peter-Moore-Up-the-North-Fork-Exhibition-at-the-Hockaday-Museum-of-Art
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In the morning we attended the Polson Annual Fly-In; owners of vintage and experimental aircraft have a chance to show off their restorations and creations.

video


Nearby, we roamed for a few hours among the bison and Pronghorn Antelope that are cared for at the National Bison Range at Moiese, Montana:



"Fleet-footed pronghorns are among the speediest animals in North America. They can run at more than 53 miles (86 kilometers) an hour, leaving pursuing coyotes and bobcats in the dust."  from the website: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/antelope/

... after which we relaxed at Flathead Lake, near Polson:


Janet does "Downward Facing Dog" yoga position. The water was surprisingly warm, liked a heated swimming pool. 
Flathead Lake is the largest body of fresh water west of the Mississippi River.
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A couple hours' drive from this area took us to a remote mountain area where we biked the spectacular "Route of the Hiawatha," a rail-to-trail project. The trail begins with a tunnel of 1.67 miles that traverses Taft Mountain. There are a a number of smaller tunnels and several high trestles by which we crossed over deep valleys in the Bitterroot Mountains.

 a trestle of the Route of the Hiawatha in the Bitterroot Mountains near the Montana-Idaho border - and view from the trestle:

 "What is today the Route of the Hiawatha was also known as one of the most scenic stretches of railroad in the country. When the Milwaukee Railroad was operating, the trains traversed through eleven tunnels and over nine high trestles, covering a 46-mile route that crossed the rugged Bitterroot Mountains between Idaho and Montana. The Route of the Hiawatha's most well-known feature is the long St. Paul Pass, or Taft Tunnel, which burrows 8,771 feet (1.6 miles) under the Bitterroot Mountains at the state line between Idaho and Montana." from the website: http://www.traillink.com/trail/route-of-the-hiawatha-.aspx


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Madison, Wisconsin to Whitefish, Montana


(Please click on photos to enlarge)

Janet on the Glacial Drumlin Rail-to-Trail near Madison, Wisconsin

Lock 1, Upper Mississippi River at Minneapolis, Minnesota


Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota, near the Montana border - http://www.nps.gov/thro/index.htm. Roosevelt wrote of his life in the wilderness:
http://www.amazon.com/Hunting-Ranchman-Sketches-Northern-ebook/dp/B005JPEEJY/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378404166&sr=1-5

 Grinnell Argellite rock seen in Avalanche Creek at Glacier National Park, Montana; the blue-green water results from glacial silts:

http://blogs.agu.org/mountainbeltway/2010/08/23/rocks-of-glacier-national-park/


We saw six glaciers on our drive along the "Going to the Sun" highway. 

Unfortunately:


"It has been estimated that there were approximately 150 glaciers present in 1850, and most glaciers were still present in 1910 when the park was established. In 2010, we consider there to be only 25 glaciers larger than 25 acres remaining in GNP." (Excerpt from this website: http://nrmsc.usgs.gov/research/glacier_retreat.htm.



 at Glacier National Park, Montana, with the 1938 "Red Jammer" in the background

Saint Mary Lake with Wild Goose Island, Glacier National Park, Montana - a place of romance and fantasy, Note, we were told that the placidity of the lake as we saw it on September 4th is unusual. See:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/locosteve/6001947119/

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Our 2013 Road Trip, days 4 and 5


The Glacial Drumlin rail-to-trail is well maintained "toll" rail-to-trail pathway is described in the TrailLink website:

"It is common on a rail-trail to be reminded of railroading history; it is quite another experience to be taken back thousands of years and witness the effects of ancient ice flows on the landscape. This is the case with the 52-mile Glacial Drumlin State Trail, particularly at its western end. As gigantic sheets of ice bore down on this area, they created wetlands, ponds and rivers, as well as hundreds of low, cigar-shaped hills called drumlins." 


What a glorious day to ride on this peaceful, well maintained trail. We did less than half of the trail before turning back to the trailhead in Cottage Grove, just east of Madison, Wisconsin.

                                                 The Glacial Drumlin Trail, Wisconsin

Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studios at Spring Green, Wisconsin. Architecture critic Robert Campbell says that Taliesin is "the greatest single building in America."


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Our Second Long Road and Bicycle Trip


Days 1 to 3: our drive took us from Cambridge through Pittsfield, MA, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo and today to DeKalb, Il. We have made visits along the way to son Brendan, to old friends and friends newly made. We entered a heat wave today and drove through cornfields which will produce ethanol (we pray this product does not get shipped by rail behind our condo as has been proposed). We do not think growing corn for ethanol is the way this land should be used. Please see the recent article, “More Corn Ethanol In 2013 Means Environment, Consumers Lose Out” at this link:

Cornfields in Ohio

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Hawaii 2013

Hanalei is a favorite area of Hawaii for us:

 Beach near Hanalei
 Just relaxing
 The Best Mai Tai around - at the Hanalei Gourmet
Looking inland from near Hanalei, Kauai

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Road and Bike Trip is Fun.


Riding some Rails-to-Trails is a fun way to do a holiday and an interesting way to get some exercise. 



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Garden at the Thiaroye Lycée

This beautiful, productive garden at the high school in Thiaroye, Senegal, was empty space behind the school, when my late, close friend Bill Griff decided to collaborate with the former principal of the school, Abdou Salam Deme to create a school garden.  Now, a couple of years later, with the hard work of the students and staff and the support of the municipality, the new school principal El Hadji Sao and Peace Corps Volunteers David Vaughn and Danny White, the garden is flourishing and greatly productive.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Panama Hat

Here is how to put it on:

video

In Hawaii

At the Wedding:



After the wedding:
 a beach at Hanalei, Kauai
our favorite for Mai Tai - Hanalei Gourmet 
 Hanalei pasture, north coast
for a nice hat: NEWT at the Royal