Category Archives: Travel

North Carolina Color

Not as much as I might have hoped for, but then again, I’m a Vermont expat.

There were a few trees doing their best to lead the charge, and I applaud them for the effort! But given the temperatures, the rains, and the changing climate in general, it looks like it will be early to mid November before peak color comes to central North Carolina.

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What Did The Hydrants Do?

I’m confused. Granted, there are differences from community to community, state to state, region to region about what certain things mean and now they’re indicated in local signage, but I really don’t understand here –

Just what did the hydrants do to deserve this sort of campaign of negativity?

Maybe it’s a voting thing – God knows there are enough election-related signs everywhere urging us to vote for this guy, against that guy, for this proposal, against this other stupid idea… Maybe there’s some local ordinance that’s being protested?

Just what did the hydrants do to deserve this?

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Opportunities Exchanged

Sometimes the universe offers interesting opportunities. No doubt it’s all just coincidence as filtered through the forebrains of some slightly evolved apes who have a knack for pattern recognition and not some higher power trying to guide us. But still…

Last Thursday, John Scalzi was in Los Angeles on his latest book tour. (“The Consuming Fire” just came out last week and I finished it on the plane today – it’s very, VERY good, I enjoyed it tremendously, FYI.) I’ve gone to see him on his last four or five book tours and I highly recommend catching him if you ever can.

But last Thursday I couldn’t, or didn’t, make it out to see him on tour this time around. Too many priorities, a location that I would have loved to see but is harder to get to during rush hour, etc. Lots of reasons to not go and not enough excuses to make it happen. I was disappointed, but not devastated.

Then I noticed in his schedule that tonight he was going to be in Raleigh, NC, on the other side of the continent. By sheer coincidence, I’m in Raleigh, NC tonight, for a family wedding this weekend.

Coincidence? Or message from the gods??!!

Right. Coincidence. Still…

There’s one opportunity. While we were travelling all day to get here and had to be getting to our hotel and meeting family for dinner and so on when we did get into town, it might be possible to boogie out of the family events by 7:00 PM. Maybe. The signing tour site isn’t that far from our hotel, and by LA standards (where “across town” can be 120 miles and six hours at rush hour) it’s literally almost walking distance. (Granted, I’ve run marathons and enjoy walking, so two miles might mean something different to me than it does to others.)

That’s one opportunity.

On the other hand, at dinner I got to meet my new grand-niece-in-law (?!) for the first time. She’s a two-year-old sweetie and I need to get started early on being a bad influence for this next generation. I am, after all, the “funcle” in the family. (A certain amount of exhaustion and some challenges in getting a two-year-old dressed to go down to dinner led me to being labeled “Funcle Pants” at one point, but that’s a story for another day.

That’s another opportunity.

In the end I chose to spend time with my new future co-conspirator, which earned me both hugs and the pride and joy of hearing her learn the phrase “Funcle Paul.” I’ve seen Scalzi before, and will no doubt see him again many times in the future. But there’s only one chance to become Funcle Paul.

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Favorite Pictures – October 14th

Have I mentioned that I take a **LOT** of pictures? (Hint — I have)

As proof that if you do that, eventually you’ll take one that just pops, where you look at it and say, “Damn! I took that picture and it’s just about perfect!”

Here’s one of those that I took.

September 2009, Ventura, CA

One of the things about taking ***LOTS*** of pictures is that you get lucky every once in a while. Like when I was out on the Ventura Pier and this gull decided to buzz me and head down to the water. I take a lot of pictures of critters, and the critters are often flying. Occasionally I get lucky. Volume helps the odds.

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Someplace Special – September 22nd

Mazatlan, Mexico

This picture was taken as the cruise ship left harbor right at sunset. It was magical and beautiful.

The city itself during the day was interesting to explore. It was far more industrial than the other cities we saw on this cruise, especially the harbor area. Lot after lot of cars being imported or exported, large fuel tanks, acre after acre of shipping containers. However, once the odd little tourist taxis got us off into the city it was fun to wander about on foot, looking at the cathedrals, occasional plaza and monument, and the rows of tourist trap shops and vendors along the beach.

But that sunset departure – that was special!

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Someplace Special – September 08th

Grand Canyon, Arizona

If you ever get a chance to visit, take it. Inconceivable (to me at least) in this day and age where travel around the planet is accessible to so many and so economically reasonable that anyone would live their four score and ten without finding a way to get here for at least a day. If you can make it to Las Vegas, you can get here. (Literally, they’re not that far apart.)

This is from the South Rim which is the most easily accessible, has the most restaurants, camping/lodging facilities, tourist amenities, parking, etc. The North Rim is better IMNSHO, but requires a bunch of hours more driving each way and is considerably more limited in the facilities available. (Psst – it’s worth it!)

Either way, GO!

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Favorite Pictures – September 03rd

Have I mentioned that I take a **LOT** of pictures? (Hint — I have)

As proof that if you do that, eventually you’ll take one that just pops, where you look at it and say, “Damn! I took that picture and it’s just about perfect!”

Here’s one of those that I took.

October 2010, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

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