Monday, July 31, 2017

Skyscrapers of Glass


I traveled to Houston for the first time to visit my Aunt and my Grandma, who both moved there some time ago. I love traveling to new places, and I especially love big cities so I was definitely looking forward to exploring downtown Houston during my visit. I didn't really know anything at all about this city, so I had no idea what to expect when I traveled there.
(Except I recognized the brown pointy Bank of America building from the Sim City game I played years ago!)


I soon came to discover that Houston is a sprawling metropolis made up of gigantic interstates and new buildings being built all the time. Although Houston had a rather large downtown, the city was very spread out and not just centered around the downtown area.  Just about anywhere you drove, you were not far from places to eat or from large shopping centers. There is just so much "stuff" in Houston. It is also the fourth biggest city in the US, which I had no idea of until I traveled there.


We drove around downtown on a Saturday afternoon and I took pictures through the windshield of my Aunt's car as we ventured past all the glass skyscrapers, towering over the street. The city felt very new and shiny. It also felt very quiet. Surprisingly there were not many people walking around, and there were very few cars on the street, which I can only guess was because there are so many interesting things to do throughout the entire city, and not just downtown.







The glass on the buildings reflected the blue sky, and the palm trees scattered around made for a very bright and tropical feeling city. It was definitely different than other cities I had been to. (Also the stoplights are turned the wrong way??!!!)





Visiting Houston and seeing palm trees and big blue skies, made me want to travel father west. I wonder what the next new city I visit will be....

Friday, July 28, 2017

Beach Adventures



One final walk along the shore on the last day at the beach a year ago. We drove up to the end of the island to reach a less traveled beach where we raced across the long stretch of blistering hot sand to get to the water.


This part of the beach faces the shipping port, where all sorts of tugboats and ships can be seen cruising back and forth all day. 




There were many intriguing things to be found on this less traveled beach.

Including a polka dot moth!!


Further up along the beach was an interesting rock formation. I'm not sure why it's there or what it's for, but it was an unusual sight to see.








Around the base of the rock formation was a trove of tiny shells. I tried to collect them but the waves got me!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Cemetery in a Christmas Tree Farm


My friend has been researching her family history and visiting the graves of her ancestors. Her recent search led her to some coordinates which pointed to an old cemetery plot that was located in the mountains in the middle of what is now a Christmas tree farm. It sounded like an adventure waiting to happen, so one Sunday morning, my friend, her sister and I piled in the car, made quick stop at Trader Joe’s for some road trip snacks,  and we set off in hopes of finding this hidden cemetery.


The coordinates took us down the interstate away from the city, and then through some twisting curvy country roads that got smaller and smaller, until we found ourselves way up in the Blue Ridge mountains. We are very much city folk so we began to freak out a bit as our travels took us more and more into the middle of nowhere; into some region of the state that none of us even knew existed.
We eventually turned down a gravel road just wide enough for one car, and followed it to the very end. According to the coordinates the cemetery was just through the woods ahead of us!  The only problem was the big fence surrounding the woods and all the no trespassing signs. There a were a few houses close by and we were concerned someone may call the cops at the sight of a strange car parked on the side of the road. After contemplating trying to find a more secretive way in, we decided just to leave a note and a flower on the windshield explaining why we were there, and then we jumped the fenced and started our trek through the woods.



We climbed up a giant hill and then came to a barbed wire fence. Just beyond the fence we could see the Christmas Tree farm, with little trees for as far as the eye could see. There was some talk of turning back at the sight of the barbed fence, but the coordinates showed that the cemetery was very close so we crawled carefully through the barbs and continued one.


We found ourselves on the very top of a large hill filled with little future Christmas trees and an incredible view. The country is simultaneously beautiful and terrifying at the same time.


As we walked through the row of little trees I glanced to the side, and there I saw what appeared to be headstones! It was the little cemetery!  We could hardly believe we actually found it. And so quickly! My friends laid flowers on their distant relatives graves, and we tried to imagine what it had been like when they lived and worked on this land.







This was such a peaceful spot.


On our way back down to the car, we spotted these animal bones!  As we were checking them out, we saw a woman walking down the gravel road, on the phone, staring into the woods towards us!  We were afraid she was calling the police! But then she didn’t seem like she had seen us and began walking away.  We stayed hidden and waited for her to walk further back down the road before climbing over the fence. I didn’t think we would be in huge trouble, but my worst fear when I saw her was that we would have to awkwardly climb back over the fence while she angrily stared us down and I would die of awkwardness. Luckily that didn’t happen and we made it back to the car without being spotted.
Visiting this little cemetery in the Christmas tree farm was definitely quite an adventure. We were all so excited that we were able to find it, and make it in and out without any problems. We travled back down the mountain, ate some pizza at some biker stop right off the Blue Ridge Parkway and discussed the days next adventure..

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Neighborhood




With the the days being longer, I like to make the most of them by taking walks as
often as possible.  Even if it is just a quick wander through the neighborhood.
In the spring and summer it feels like my favorite time of day, dusk, lasts so much longer. In the winter it seems that as soon as the sun begins to fade, it’s night in a matter of minutes. But during these warm months, the sun just hangs out on the edge of the horizon for quite some time.  This is my favorite to to take a walk.  I love how the landscape looks in the setting sun’s golden glow.










Monday, July 17, 2017

Central Park





While in New York City for a few days last December, a visit to Central Park was something to check off our to do list. I hadn't given the park much thought before visiting, but when we got there, it was a bit of a strange experience to stand someplace that has been so popular in countless TV shows and movies. It was hard to believe I was actually there. 




One moment you are making your way through streets lined with skyscrapers so tall they block out the sun, while dodging mobs of people and crazy taxis. The next moment, you find yourself surrounded by trees and nature and feel like you have been instantly transported into another universe. 





But before you can forget where you are, a quick glance up towards the sky, and the sunlight you forgot existed, reveals all the huge buildings towering up over the tree tops. It is a surreal sight. 




















My pictures may give a false illusion that the park was quite secluded, when really it was quite the opposite!  People were everywhere of course! 




I found myself being very impressed with central park. The woodland landscape against the biggest buildings I have ever seen was a very picturesque sight. 

We wandered around the park for a while, ate a pretzel from a street cart, took in the sights, and then got stopped by a man dressed as a monk who put bracelets on our wrists before we knew what was happening then tried to make us pay $20 each for them. We gave him one $5 and ran away. All in all, a pretty successful walk in Central Park.