Monday, September 26, 2011

Vacation: Fairytale

This is actually a wall in the Blanchard Spring Cavern; but with a bit of imagination, it looks like a fairy tale castle.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Vacation: Casual

We are in Mountain View, Arkansas, in the Ozarks. It's a town of just over 4000 people, but music seems to be it's heart. On Saturday evenings, groups of musicians gather together at different spots along one of the main roads to play traditional/bluegrass music. We even heard an incredibly talented six year old making amazing sounds on her fiddle.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Vacation: Vivid

We're in Hot Springs, Arkansas. We spent the day hiking & kayaking. After dinner, we went out to the airport where there was a balloon glow and a free concert by the Charlie Daniels Band. A full day, to say the least!

Thursday, September 22, 2011


A camper across the way from us in Hot Springs, Arkansas has a deer skull as an ornament. Not my taste, but to each his/her own.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The tugboat is pushing a massive block of 48 barges upstream on the Mississippi. It is about to negotiate a hairpin curve in the river. The captain of the tugboat somehow achieved a sense of unity with the barges, nursing them around the bend. It was an awesome thing to watch.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Vacation Day ?

The sun goes down over the Mississippi River at Vicksburg.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Vacation Day ?

We left Tennessee in a driving rain. Our destination was Vicksburg, Mississippi; our route to follow the Natchez Trace as far as possible. Rain dogged us; but the Trace is as easy to drive as it is lovely. Between the distance we had to cover & the weather, we didn't make many stops. This is a typical view of the fields we passed along the way.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Vacation Day ?: (Statue)

My husband is a big Civil War buff. Me, not so much. Where he sees strategy, I see senseless slaughter. But I also like to see him happy, so I found a way to get him to the battlefield. Typical of most Civil War battlefields, there's a self-guided driving tour that is punctuated by monuments. Most of them date to the Victorian era, which was rich in symbolism. This one represents "defeated Victory," (which I said was a contradictory concept, earning me a growl.) It represents how one side almost won the first day, only to be routed on the second. Victory is handing off the wreath to Death and Night...a pretty powerful representation of the feelings of the people who commissioned the statue.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vacation Day ? (Packaging)

It's all part of the surreal packaging at the massive Oprylands Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee--including a quarter mile indoor river that even features boat rides.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Vacation Day 8 (Body parts)

Today was a driving day, from the Great Smokies to Nashville. At a rest stop we were parked along side a car transport truck. I was struck by the basic colors of grey, black and red.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Vacation Day 7 (Cheese--as in cheesy)

To our distress, we found that Dollywood was closed today. Plus it was raining. We are bummed. We thought of staying another day, but our campsite is booked for tomorrow, so we have to move on. However, just by driving through Gatlinburg, Tennessee, we were able to fill our Vacation Tackiness Quota.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Vacation Day 6 (Landscape)

Four and a half hour hike today, most of it along a pristine mountain stream. This was the view near the end. Totally worth the effort! Added bonus--as we were driving back to the campground, we took a detour along a "motor nature trail" and we saw a bear.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Vacation Day 5 (Motion)

Laurel Fall in the Great Smokey National Park.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vacation Day 4 (Earth tones)

John found this praying mantis at our campsite near the Great Smokies. It was a rich earth brown, the better to sneak up on its victims.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vacation Day 3 (House/home)

This looks much like the cottages my ancestors live in back in Ireland. This building actually comes from Northern Ireland. It was taken apart and reconstructed at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, Virginia. The museum has farms from the Old World cultures that formed frontier society in the Shenandoah Valley: English, German, Scots-Irish & West African (the latter having arrived unwillingly as slaves.) These are compared to American farms from 1740, 1820 & 1850. It's fascinating. We spent nearly the entire day there.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Vacation Day 2

The sun sets at our campground in the Shenandoah Valley.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Vacation Day 1

Rather than call down the Theme Police--or stress my brain stretching things when I'm supposed to be relaxing--I
figure I'll just use the Vacation theme for the duration of our journey. This is the campground where we're staying outside Allentown PA. We've stayed here before, and that roiling steam is usually a placid "crick." Last week, after Irene, the campground was under water.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Headed for Arkansas

Tomorrow, we're leaving for a 3 1/2 week camping trip to Arkansas. We'll also put Mississippi and Louisiana on the map on the side of our camper (leaving only the three on the west coast out of the 48 contiguous states.) We hope to visit the Natchez Trace, Vicksburg, Nashville, the Great Smokies and even Dollywood along the way. I should be able to post photos from my iPhone; but I probably won't be spending a lot of time on line--so I hope it's OK if I catch up on your blogs when we get back. I take great pleasure in wandering through what I consider to be the 365 museum, and reveling in the gifts of your work. But when we're on vacation, we really do tend to separate ourselves from the virtual world and immerse ourselves in the wonders to be experienced as we traverse this amazing continent.


Footsteps from the rain on a cement walkway.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


John serves out the Tuscan chicken I made for dinner tonight. It includes some of heirloom tomatoes from my garden.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


A school of fish...well, maybe just a class of fish. They were in a tank at a doctor's office.

Monday, September 5, 2011


Move in day at college--delayed by nearly a week due to damage from tropical storm Irene. It was a long haul from the parking lot to the dorm. Need I say that things got a bit prickly between father and daughter?

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Hartford, Connecticut

Saturday, September 3, 2011


On Thursday, we're leaving for a 3 1/2 week camping trip to Arkansas. Part of the prep was today's expedition to Whole Foods to stock up on gluten free staples that might be hard to come by on the road. This cheerful clerk made a routine errand a pleasure.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Nature: water, sky, moon, and life along the edges of a pond.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Ripples on the surface of Paper Goods Pond.