A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Coming and Going

Winnemucca, Nevada

Coming home on the long home stretch through the west from our cross country trips I have several nice free places to camp at in Wyoming, Utah and Nevada which are a comfortable days drive between each point.  Only around Winnemucca, Nevada I've never had a good place pre-selected. RV parks there are a rip-off and in town around the gambling joints are too noisy or unwelcoming.  Each time we stayed in Winnemucca left me for wanting better.  You certainly would not want to live there.  This time I stopped at the BLM office (Bureau of Land Management, a Federal agency) and they gladly directed me to some BLM land just a few miles out of town.  The nice thing about BLM land is that it is free to camp on.  It was a short steep climb into the mountains and the view was wonderful.

The polarizing filter overworked itself on this image I think.

I don't know what the camera focused on but nothing here at least.

Water Canyon. This is a good place to stop for the night from now on.

This pretty much concludes all of the places and sites we saw on our Gulf Coast Tour from this past Spring.  I may have another alligator picture or two yet.  It is now Fall and so Sinbad and I will leave tomorrow on a Fall Colors Tour.  We won't be gone for as long (it'll get too cold) and will be sticking closer to home most likely not leaving California.  I might be able to post something while on the road.  Be good, have fun and hold down the fort while we're away.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Chieftan Speedtrap

Chieftan, Florida

I guess it is safe to tell this story now.

We had left behind us the bad weather at Gulf Island National Seashore and were finally enjoying the famous sunny skies of Florida.  It was mile upon mile scenery like this and I was getting somewhat bored not being able to see anything.  People say driving across Texas is boring.  Give me Texas or any vast desert expanse of the southwest any day over this.

Finally things opened up as we approached the town of Chieftan.  From what was to soon transpire, I've downloaded these images from Google Earth so as to be able to tell the story.  Notice the 35 mph sign of which I noticed at the time.  Now look far in the distance to the sign hanging above the car in the middle of the road.  Remember it.  So, whenever I enter a town I am driving slow so as to not miss seeing anything worth seeing, maybe a photo opportunity might appear, plus I am watching for signs like the green one to the right so I can make the turn I need and stay on track.  I saw that 35 mph sign and was going about between 25 and 30 mph here.

Now you can see the hanging sign.  School Zone 15 MPH when flashing.  Well I never saw it.  I was looking about from side to side and the overhang of the front of the Little House on the Highway would block my view as I passed beneath it.

At this point the road curves to the right and I was concerned about a junction of highways coming up and wanted to be sure to stay on Hwy 19 & 98. You can see the green highway signs overhead around the bend and I am watching for them still going around 25 mph.

Right now several things happened all at once: 1. I need to keep going straight, 2. I see a bunch of kids on the sidewalk and instinctively ease up on the gas, 3. All of a sudden I see that 15 mph sign on the grass in the middle of the photo, 4. I check my speed (23 mph) and move my foot over and gently brake when, 5. this young man in uniform (think: rent-a-cop) leaps from his white plastic chair where the white X is on the grass and aims a radar gun at me.  I look at him, he checks his gun and points his finger at me with a big grin on his face - "Gotcha!"

I brake harder down to 15 mph but now it is too late.  I am shocked.  Adrenaline courses through my body.  I can't believe this.  Damn!  This thoroughly ruined my day and as I drive on I think about what this will cost. Two hundred dollars at least?  Florida!  Out of state driver.  From California?  Double that!!  Did he get a good picture with the license plate?  He acted like he did.  Sick at my stomach I spent the next several hours driving, making notes of the letter that would accompany my traffic fine check to the Chieftan Police Department.  I haven't had a ticket since I was 20 years old and got a speeding ticket at 11 at night as I was driving around town trying to find a drug store that was open so I could get some formula for my baby daughter.  I agonized over this for days which planted the seed for my ultimate dislike for the state of Florida.  I tried to get it out of my mind for the remainder of the trip.

Days before I was to arrive back home the incident began to fester in my mind once again.  Would there be a legal-size envelope from the Chieftan Police Department in the mail waiting for me?  I pulled up at home, got Sinbad out and greeted my wife.  Casually I walked over to my stack of mail waiting for me.  Nothing.  A month had passed since the awful day in Florida.  Well I'm not out of the woods yet.  It could still arrive...any day now.

It has now been six months and still nothing.  I think I can relax.
I'd like to think that his radar gun camera didn't get a good enough image of the front license plate.  Better still, I'd like to think that the police department realized "This is just an old man from California who was going 23 in a 15.  We'll never see him again, let it slide."
Yeah right, what a dreamer I am.

Friday, October 17, 2014

John Tyler

Along the James River in Virginia

John Tyler.  Does the name sound familiar?  To most probably not.  John Tyler was the tenth President of the United Sates (1841-1845).  No, even I wouldn't have thought although I know the name once went to a President.  I was driving along a beautiful two-lane county road in Virginia - aren't they all? - when I came across a sign John Tyler's Home Sherwood Forest Plantation.

All the buildings on the 1600 acre plantation are original from 1680 to 1850.  Now get this: his grandson Harrison Ruffin Tyler lives in the house to this day.  Yes, his grandson.  Harrison's father, Lyon Gardiner Tyler was 75 when he fathered Harrison in 1928.  John Tyler was 63 when he fathered Lyon in 1853.  And, Harrison has a brother Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr, who is 4 years older than him. 
Yep, that's right, John Tyler the tenth President of the United States has two living grandsons. 

One can tour the grand house if you make an appointment beforehand and pay the $35 fee.  I just happened to drop in that day plus am too cheap to pay $35 to tour a house.  Instead I was content with viewing the Tyler Pet Cemetery.  Every dog, cat, goat and horse the Tyler family ever had is buried here in Sherwood Forest.

Whereas Abraham Lincoln's family was very short lived, John Tyler more than made up for it.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

One Tired Old Good Fence

Sutherland, Nebraska

In my Good Fences post of last week searching for the Mormon Pioneer Trail (see here)  
I came by this poor old fence that desperately wanted to be on Good Fences.

This fence was near the Sutherland State Aid Arched Bridge.  There were 77 or so state aid structures built throughout the state of Nebraska between 1912 and 1936 and only 17 remain in use.

Of the 17 multiple arch bridges built during the state aid program all but the Sutherland Bridge have been destroyed or substantially altered.  The Sutherland Bridge is also the best example in the state of the concrete arch construction. 

The bridge spans the North Platte River and it was very peaceful there that day.

For more Good Fences go to TexWisGirl's GOOD FENCES

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dining for Two - Wild Bird Wednesday

Everglades, Florida

Several commented on the Roseate Spoonbill alongside the Wood Stork using his wing as a sunshade in last week's Wild Bird Post.  Here are more of the dining couple.

And this one would rather dine alone.

Who me?


For more birds go to Stewart's Wild Bird Wednesday

Outside Abraham Lincoln's Tomb

Springfield, Illinois

You may recall my bringing your attention to Abe's left foot inside the tomb, well outside his poor nose has really taken some abuse.  There is a cornball belief that rubbing Abe's nose will bring you good luck.  In fact all it will give you his a handful of very nasty germs. 

You can see Abe had only a short distance to go 
to his final resting place above and behind his temporary abode.

 Good grief people, must we touch everything?  I just don't get it.

I had to take pictures through the bars of the top half of the iron gates for the rest of the photos.

Hmm...does this mean there are zombies in the woods nearby?

 I thought the green was mold but looking up it made me think
it was the coloring in the marble perhaps.

Gee, someone could put the doors back on the zombie vaults and sweep up the leaves ya think? 
That wouldn't require much but then it wouldn't give me something to rag about on my blog either.

It doesn't appear being a Lincoln was a good thing in the long run.

We, the people, are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts - not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution.
-Abraham Lincoln

This country, with its institutions, belong to the people who inhabit it.  Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or the revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.
- Abraham Lincoln

Monday, October 13, 2014

Abraham Lincoln's Tomb

Springfield, Illinois

I stopped to see this as it was close to the path we were taking through Illinois.

As I said on post at the time from the road, it was creepy inside.  Real quiet, cold (a sign informed me to remove my hat) and with voices kept low.  I could still hear words echo through the halls.  It was like being in a mausoleum.  Wait, I was in a mausoleum wasn't I?

 In trying to avoid a busload that followed me inside I went to the right when they went the opposite way which means I probably saw it all backwards, but I don't think it mattered.

Ooo...that's a long way to walk by myself, alone.  
Gee I hope no wall shuts down behind me and traps me in here.

Notice Abe's left shoe.  People, keep your hands in your pockets!  Oh it gets worse later.

Okay, that sign doesn't say it all.  Abe is inside a lead lined cedar wood coffin, inside a metal steel cage, inside a cement chamber,  deep in the ground ten feet down.  Poor old Abe's coffin has been moved 17 times and opened 6 times over the years.  Not any more I bet.

Abe's family except for son Robert are in the wall facing Abe.

Okay, I just want out of here. Which way Abe?

I hope this is the way.

Tomorrow we'll see outside where Abe was before this place.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Little Story

Gulf Island National Seashore, Florida

   It was the end of a long day's drive and I was happy to find the that the Park Service campground had a few sites available.  And I was especially happy having just spotted my first alligator while pulling into this campground. With the prospect of stormy weather coming this looked like a good place to hole up for a day while the storm passed.  What could go wrong?  
   I had just parked and got "camp" set up which really amounts to hardly nothing. I heated a pot of water, brewed a cup of tea then stepped out to walk around a little bit.
   Right off I spotted this stone by the tree in camp that had all the appearances of a tombstone marker.  That's odd, I thought to myself.  I walked over to it and saw it was blank. Perhaps the writing is on the other side and I set about trying to flip it over with my foot since I had my tea cup in my hand.  When it flipped over the leaves stuck to it and so I brushed the leaves away with my foot. Huh, gold colored mud.  Then I realized it wasn't mud sticking the leaves to the stone, it was dog poop! Someone covered their dog's deposit with this stone and I now had "gold colored mud" on my shoe!

I was wearing flip-flops.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

More Alligators

Everglades, Florida

I think alligators have become my favorite animal to photograph.

They sit still.

Can you see me?

Imagine walking along that path staring down at your iPhone composing a text message.