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Category Archives: Vacations

It’s Only Twelve Weeks Long…

Here in Minnesota we celebrate summer after the long winter.  The problem is how to pack as much as you can into the summer.  It was a few years ago when our kids were graduating from high school that we came to the realization that the summer is only 12 weeks long and everyone tries to pack everything into those 12 weekends.

It starts with Memorial Day weekend with the parades and local remembrance services and directly into the graduation parties for the recent graduates.  Now in a small town of 400 no one wants to miss each others parties so the last of the parties may well be into July.  Spring and summer are traditionally wedding seasons here as the brides hope for the perfect spring or summer day.

July brings the Fourth of July activities with parades and local town celebrations.  We are surrounded by several other small towns each having their own celebration and then our town celebration of Heritage Days is the second weekend of August each summer.  This year is the biggie, 100 years since our town was incorporated.

Summer is the traditional time for vacations and camping when the kids are out of school so those of us who don’t have kids in school or our kids are grown work while others take their vacation with their kids.  Its okay with me because I prefer to duck out of town in the middle of winter for a little warm weather elsewhere.

Before we know it the back to school shopping season is upon us and Labor Day.  The boats are off the lakes and put away and everyone wonders what happened to summer.

My response lately is that summer is only 12 weeks long.

That being said we have already packed so much into the spring/summer season already it feels like it should be done but I am delighted to realize that we are not half way through yet.

We’ve been up north to Two Harbors to work on my brother’s new land he purchased to develop into a rustic retreat.  We’ve been to San Francisco to celebrate our nephew’s wedding.  We’ve attended several graduation parties and helped host a family reunion for my mom’s family from all over the United States.

Our most exciting news is welcoming our first granddaughter to the family.  We’ve welcomed two more grandsons to the mix since I last blogged and will be adding a daughter-in-law to the family in January.  Life is good…but short…celebrate accordingly.

 

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Just another brick in the wall…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The year was 1974.  We had lived in our new house in St. Paul for a year and it was finally summer vacation.  The past school year had been difficult.  Starting a new school in the eighth grade was not fun especially when I didn’t want to move.  One good thing from the school year was I finally had a new friend and her family invited me to go with them on a camping trip for a week.  My parents agreed to let me go.

My friend invited me to go and her older brother invited his friend to go.  We slept in one tent and her brother and friend slept another tent and their parents in a small camper.  It was one of the best weeks of my junior high days.  All day long we spent time on the Cannon River either swimming or fishing and just laying in the sun.

My friend’s brother had discovered Pink Floyd as his new latest, greatest band.  He played the cassette tape over and over all week-long.  I’m sure everyone in the campground was tired of it by the time we went home.  The words of Pink Floyd will forever be etched in my brain like Just Another Brick in the Wall and song Money.  I can still hear the sound of the cash register from the beginning of Money.

The brick wall pictured above is downtown Detroit.  It was next to a parking lot for a bar we ate lunch at last fall when we visited Detroit.  It was unlike any other brick wall I had seen because it didn’t look like they took any pride in their work.  It was still unique to look at along with everything else nearby the bar.

 

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Architecture, Fall, Family, Life Happens, Photography, Vacations

 

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Not My Ordinary Day Off

Last week my husband and I took a rare day off. We traveled with eight others in our church van to the Science Museum of St Paul.

Our next door neighbors are retired missionaries from Peru. They donated their collection from Aguarana Indians  to the Science Museum and we were invited to go see the private collection.

When we arrived at the museum we spent some time individually to see the exhibits and had lunch at the museum.

At 1:00 we met as a group to go to the collections area of the museum. Our neighbor, Dennis, directed us to the part of the collections where his collection was cataloged and stored in special cabinets at the museum. I didn’t take any photos of the collection because that requires special permission.

I was impressed at the collections that are stored in the museum that will probably never see the light of day to the average person because of the lack of funds and time to display them in the museum.  They are hoping to  post the photographic images of the collections online so people can see what the museum has in its collections department. People are welcome to see the collections if they ask permission and have a guide to show them.

While we were waiting to meet someone for our tour at the museum I looked out the window to the south of the museum and saw this riverboat.

When I was processing this photo I enlarged the sign on the boat to find its name and was surprised to discover that it is a bed and breakfast named the Covington Inn. I think it would be a very interesting place to spend a night or two. I may have to investigate the possibilities.

Another view out the museum window was of these trees. I loved the way it depicted a cheerful winter day. The science museum is about 100 miles south of where I live and it is unusual for there to be snow there but not at home. Right now our yard is nothing but brown grass and barren trees except for the pines.

One of my favorite inside photos was of this sculpture. In the entry of the museum an entire wall is covered with these blue acrylic tiles that look like sails complete with rigging. I loved how the tiles changed colors as the sun hit them. I love sailing and I had no trouble picturing hundreds of tiny sailboats at sea when looking at the sculpture.A  lovely reminder of one of my favorite summer memories.

Our day off ended as many do combining business with pleasure. On our way home they dropped off my husband and I at a transportation lot to pick up two vehicles for our lot. It was not without a bit of trouble. One of the vehicles had a dead battery. We had sent the others on their way home before we discovered the dead battery so we needed to go buy a set of jumper cables to get it started before we could finish our trip home.

Perhaps last Thursday was a glimpse into our retirement years when we will ride in vans or busses in large numbers to a designated destination. We were the two youngest in the group. The oldest was an 80 something retired teacher. I hope that when I am her age I will be interested in going to new places and seeing new things.

Every day you learn something new is a good day!

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Photography, Uncategorized, Vacations

 

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Looking Back At St. Pete’s Beach

 

 

This evening after an afternoon working out in the cold winds finishing up a few fall projects my mind wandered back to last February and our trip to St. Pete’s Beach.

One afternoon while we were out walking around St. Pete’s Beach we wandered past this old car parked in a driveway. It looked like something off an old postcard advertising Florida, palm trees and all.

I was uploading some photos for my husband when I located my photos from our trip. I played with the photo in Photoshop and this was the final result. I was looking for a picture that had a vintage feel to it.

I think it would make an interesting canvas photo for framing or a jigsaw puzzle. Learning Photoshop in the past year has made photography more fun. I love taking pictures with my Nikon D3100 and all the possibilities with Photoshop.

This is the photograph that I took in St. Pete’s Beach before post-processing.

I love the original photograph just as it is but the post-processing makes it something fun and whimsical.

Enjoy your week.

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Photography, Vacations

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge:Fall

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This past week my husband and I spent the week driving home from Michigan. We were blessed to see most of the state adorned in beautiful fall colors. Part of our trip took us to Bond Falls, Michigan. It was tucked away in a beautiful hillside just waiting to be discovered. While we were there we were treated to sun showers off and on all afternoon as we explored.

We are home again and the colors are starting to peak where we live. I am home with a new love and appreciation for where we live.

 

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Detroit Reflections and Investigating the Thumb

We are on the road again. My husband and I flew out of Mpls. on Tuesday afternoon for Milwaukee, WI with a destination of Flint, Michigan. We are once again combining business and pleasure. We decided to seek out some fall colors. He purchased two cars both in Michigan that we will drive back to Minnesota through a northern route of Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

We had an hour lay over in Milwaukee around sunset. Loved our flight with Frontier except for the sales rep that sat two seats behind us and never stopped talking to a women also sitting behind us. I think he tried to impart all his wisdom in that one hour. It’s a good thing that our flight wasn’t any longer I fear he might have run out of knowledge to impart.

Before we left our Super 8 in Flint, Michigan this morning I had to take a picture of one of the oddest things I’ve seen in a motel.

I don’t know about you but the last place I want to talk on the phone is in the bathroom. There was another phone on the night stand in the room. I forgot to ask before we left if all the rooms had a phone in the bathroom or was it just our room.

We headed for downtown Detroit because neither of us had been there before. We found a great restaurant downtown The Sweetwater Tavern. They had excellent food and it reminded me a little of the Cheers bar from the tv show.

My favorite part of downtown was the reflections I saw on buildings of other buildings. Both looked like paintings on the other buildings.

This was my favorite of the two but both were fun to photograph.

We rode the People Mover around downtown before we left. It took about 15 minutes for a lap around the city above the street. Just 50 cents a piece to ride. What a bargain.

After we left Detroit we headed north up the east side of Michigan affectionately called the thumb of Michigan. We stopped at Port Sanilac, MI

After we left Port Sanilac we continued north to Harbor Beach, MI where we planned on finding a room to spend the night. We tried to find a hotel using the Magellan navigation system that we purchased in Detroit. We followed the directions and ended up on a dead-end street near this pier but no hotel.

 We didn’t find a hotel to stay in this town so we headed west to Bad Axe, MI which was where we planned on going in the morning to pick up our second car that we are driving home. We looked to see if there was a hotel in Bad Axe for the night. Our Magellan told us there was a Holiday Express in Bad Axe. We followed the directions which took us all the way through town and out-of-town, right off the main road out on a gravel road and proudly announced “You have arrived”.

I don’t think so, we were surrounded by corn fields. We turned around and went back into town and found out that everything in town was booked. Apparently there are a lot of construction workers erecting wind generators and have snatched up all the rooms. We asked at the Econolodge if there was a Holiday Express in town and they directed us to it.

I waited in the car while my husband went inside to see if they had any rooms. He was in there for a long time while the desk clerk called all over town for a room for us. There were none. He said “We have one more possibility.” Someone had a reservation but had not arrived yet. They tried to run their card for the room but could not get it to go through. They tried calling the phone number provided to confirm the card number for the reservation but could not reach the party. It was 9:30 already and they hadn’t checked in yet. They gave us their room.

I am thankful for the room but can’t help but wonder if someone will arrive later this evening to no room in a town with no vacancies.

Tomorrow the adventure continues north and west.

 

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Decisions, decisions…

Last evening I received a phone call from my Uncle Harold in Illinois. He called to congratulate my on earning my private pilot’s certificate. He’s an old railroad man but he is also a pilot.

He called to chat for a bit about flying. He is in his 80’s. He quizzed me a bit on my flying, asking me about VFR minimums and weather. It was sort of a mini flight review. He used to be a CFI and was anxious to impart his wisdom for which I was happy to receive.

I asked him how he heard of me earning my PPL and he said he thought Aunt Dorothy told him.  Now Aunt Dorothy lives in Forsyth, MT about 500 nautical miles west of where I live in Central Minnesota. My mom’s family is spread out from Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Arizona, and a few other states but this summer there is a family reunion in June at my Aunt Dorothy’s. He ended his conversation with “We’re looking forward to seeing you at the reunion!”

The reunion in on a Saturday and I have been contemplating renting a plane and flying out for the reunion. There is an airport in Forsyth, MT. I checked and there are several other airports along the way. It would be a little over five hours of flying from home to Forsyth. It would be a true “cross-country” flight in my book.

While in flight training we had to plan a long-cross country flight. It did not take the kind of planning that would be required for a five-hour flight. I’m excited at the prospect of taking the flight if the weather permits.

One thing I know for sure from flying is that weather is unpredictable. So while I would love to fly to Montana if the weather isn’t good, I won’t. This means that I will have to be watching the weather for days in advance to look at the weather patterns and make a decision. If the weather is at all iffy that means hopping in the car and driving instead of flying. If I wait too long to decide then I won’t make it to the reunion.

It’s a common dilemma for pilots. Some make bad decisions and put themselves and others at risk because they have their heart set on flying and not driving or they don’t allow enough driving time to attend an event if the weather seems to turn.

Even if the weather looks good for my departure time and I decide to fly there is always the possibility of not making the reunion because of the weather changing in some part of my route. If the weather doesn’t look good all the way through to the destination and back at the time of my departure, I will have to cancel and miss the reunion.

Between now and the reunion I have to decide. What is more important, attending the reunion or flying? If it is attending the reunion then I had better plan on driving and allow enough time for it. If it is some flying time then I will choose to fly to Montana for the reunion but if the weather is not great then I will cancel my flying time and look for another flying adventure at another time.

I hope the stars align for some flying.

 

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Art on the Fly:Photography While Driving

The list of things that you shouldn’t do while driving keeps growing with more technology advances and desire for multi-tasking. People want to feel that their every moment is being used well.

Ever since I got my new camera in January I carry it with me wherever I go. I find myself trying to looking through the view finder while driving to get a shot of something while I am driving. Definitely not a good idea. I haven’t had an accident yet but the potential for one is possible.

On our trip to Florida I got this shot while my husband was driving.

It’s amazing what you see along the road when traveling. Whoever made this chicken has a lot more imagination than me for sure.

One of my greatest temptations while driving is a shot of a sunset or sunrise. I confess I took this shot while driving in Illinois near Rockford.

One of my favorite things to photograph are bridges. They are rarely in a good place to stop especially on a freeway. I’ve seen this bridge from my car window in Tennessee and tried taking pictures while driving with limited success. Some day I will have unlimited time to wander and photograph bridges.

You can tell that this is from the inside of my car from the window tinting near the top of the photo.

I’m not sure what this is growing along the roadside in Tennessee but the beautiful yellowish-green color caught my eye.

This last photo is of an old barn near St. Joseph, Minnesota. It is only about 30 miles from home. I’ve seen it often and want to take some pictures but not from my car. The only problem is I can’t figure out what road it is on in the country to get to it. I think I will have to find someone with a GPS in the their car so I can drive to it. This shot is out of focus but I still love the old barn.

I played with the framing of the picture in Photoshop to try to make it look a little more interesting even though it is out of focus.

Have a great weekend everyone and Happy Mother’s Day.

Every woman can have a positive impact on the life of a child whether you gave birth to him or her or choose to be a part of their life in an encouraging way. Our local librarian is a fine example of nurturing children in a positive way though she has none of her own.

 

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Back home again but not without more trouble!

We finally drove into our small town of 400 at 3:00 pm. Everything looked pretty much the way we left it which was not what we were expecting when we got home. We had lined up some deals and work to be done while we were gone but they still looked undone when we got home.

After leaving our motel this morning at 8:30 we planned on being home by 1:30 but about an hour into our last leg of our trip we blew another tire on the truck. Unfortunately more damage was done to the truck only on the passenger side this time instead of the driver’s side.

My poor husband had to change yet another tire along the freeway. Note to self…If you plan on driving a vehicle all the way from Florida to Minnesota make sure it is on good tires with no bad wheel bearings.

After we dropped off our suitcase and unpacked the car we headed into work to catch up on our messages and got home at 6:30pm tonight exhausted. We went for a walk with our grandson and then collapsed in our chairs.

It’s good to be home!  Hopefully I won’t be driving in my sleep. 🙂

 

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Fortunately, Unfortunately: Adventures in travel with a used car dealer.

Fortunately my husband got a good deal on a 3/4 ton truck in Florida he needed for a customer and a Corvette in Birmingham, Alabama. Unfortunately the auto transport company could not pick either of them up until the third week in May due a combination of the high gas prices, high car prices, and snowbirds wanting to get their cars back to Minnesota.

Fortunately we were able to get a good price on one way tickets but unfortunately we needed to leave for the airport at 4:00am on a Sunday morning.

Fortunately our flight arrived on time and we were able to catch the city bus that would take us from the Orlando airport north to the Sanford Auto Auction. Unfortunately it took us nearly two hours to go the thirty miles but only cost us $2.00 each for our bus tickets. We did get to observe a lot while on the bus and as we traveled from the airport to the auction. A bit of local flavor for sure.

Fortunately when we arrived at the auto auction we were able to pick up our truck after a mile and a half walk from the bus stop to the auction. Unfortunately the truck had a dead battery and a noisy wheel bearing. They were able to jump start the truck and we were on our way.

Fortunately we found an Auto Zone store open nearby and purchased some Murphy’s insurance for our trip home. We bought a tool set, hammer, chisel, flashlight and a wheel bearing. Unfortunately we needed to use all of the above later in our trip.

Fortunately we were able to resume our trip west to Birmingham to pick up the Corvette after staying in Quincy, Floriday overnight. Unfortunately while stopping to get some pictures of the sunset and pink flowers I picked up some poison ivy and a woodtick.

Fortunately when we arrived at Adessa Birmingham we were able to pick up an undamaged Corvette. There we some cars there that had been damaged by the recent tornadoes. Unfortunately the Corvette had a dead battery and one flat tire. Also the two front tires were in far worse condition than reported and needed to be replaced before we could continue our travels.

Fortunately the lot guys directed us to a nearby tire dealer who was able to replace the two tires at a very reasonable price and short order. Unfortunately it put us a little behind schedule wanting to be out of the Birmingham area before rush hour traffic.

Fortunately we were able to leave after getting the tires replaced and headed out of town. Unfortunately the left rear tire on the truck I was driving blew out in the middle of Birmingham in rush hour traffic.

Fortunately I am married to a mechanic and he was able to change the tire on the truck. He was able to drop the spare tire down from under the truck and put it on the truck safely on the roadside during rush hour traffic. Unfortunately when the tire blew it did some damage to the truck around the area of the tire. Nothing that would prevent us from driving it.

Fortunately we were once again on the road heading north of Birmingham when stopped two purchase four new tires for the truck. Unfortunately they only had two of the four that we needed and it took two and a half hours to have them put on the truck. The guys that put the new tires on the Corvette did it in fifteen minutes. The guys that put the tires on the Corvette operated like a pit crew and the guys that put the tires on the truck like the three stooges.

Fortunately while they were putting the tires on the truck we were able to sit down for some supper and once again get back on the road. Unfortunately about an hour later the wheel bearing on the truck decided that it had gone about as far as it wanted to go and we changed the wheel bearing in a truck stop parking lot in Athens, Alabama.

Fortunately the rest of our trip to Nashville was uneventful. Unfortunately all the day’s events put us behind schedule and didn’t leave any time for any fun stuff like sightseeing or many photographs. 

Fortunately as I write this post I am tucked into bed in a motel in Tomah, Wisconsin after thirteen hours of driving today with only stopping for gas and food. Unfortunately we need to be up early to finish our last five hours of driving back home tomorrow morning and back to work tomorrow afternoon. Sleep tight!

 

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