A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about landscape

Last Trip into Death Valley

One more trip into Death Valley. This time with grandkids, to pick up our RV

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The plan was to return to Death Valley, with our daughter-in-law and grandkids in tow, look at wildflowers and then tow our RV back home.

We finally picked up our truck and returned to Death Valley on Tuesday. It was dark, kids ran amuck while we made dinner. The kids found a dark place to view the sky and we walked out, unaided by flashlights, to star gaze.

I woke up early, wanting to have clearer skies. The sun was just coming up and the sky was a brilliant red. We woke up kids and drove out to the wildflowers. It had only been 2 days but already there were less flowers.
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Kids ran all over, finding flowers and rocks while we cooked breakfast. This time, breakfast was a bit more challenging as we’d forgotten our camp stove. We remembered that we had our smaller bbq in the back of the truck so hauled it out and into the field of flowers. We did find that we could make breakfast over the bbq, but then my dad used the BBQ when we went camping. Of course, we had to have a little Champagne with OJ.
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From breakfast, we drove down to the Artist Drive. We wanted for kids and Christine to see the beautiful colors. We stopped at several places where kids could run and we could all hike.
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We had toyed with the idea of stopping at the Visitor Center so kids could earn their Jr. Ranger badges. As we got closer to Furnace Creek the water temp on the truck went sky high. We were so over this!

Fortunately, we coasted into the Furnace Creek area with a gas station and a mechanic was on duty. Dale stayed with the truck while Christine (our daughter-in-law) and 3 grandkids went off to the Visitor’s Center.

We picked up the Jr. Ranger booklets and visited the Visitor Center, learning about people who lived in the area and how they lived. We then sat down and completed the booklets. Each kid earned their Jr. Ranger badge, took their oath and proudly wore their badge.

In the meantime, the mechanic found that a little ring had been left off, or it fell off when our cracked water
hose was changed. Fortunately, the mechanic replaced the piece and we were on our way.
We had an action packed 2 days and were off back home.

Posted by Miss Chris 18:37 Archived in USA Tagged nature walking landscape death_valley outdoors wildflowers grandkids champagne grandkids_travel death_valley_national_park Comments (0)

A Last Day in New York

Building memories

One last day in New York City.

I drove into the city this time; it was a very easy drive. Parking is a premium but I parked under the Metropolitan Museum of Art where we were to going visit. 1st we picked up a hot dog for Bel and warm nuts for me and we walked around Central Park. It was a nice break, just a chance to take a breather from life.
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After Central Park we walked back to the MMA. Bel was interested in early Greek and Roman history and was treated to a huge amount of artifacts. After lunch in the café we were on our way to see one more exhibit when we noticed rooms set up from King Louis time. We walked from room to room amazed; it was like being in a Palace in Europe.

From the MMA we drove to Battery Park for a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. Because of the government shutdown we could not tour the Statue of Liberty which Bel wanted to do so badly. We could only look across the bay at Elis Island and the Statute.

We had to leave the city and go to visit some old friends in Forest Hills, people Dale and I have known for years. After dinner and lots of talking Bel and I went back to Islip to pack for the trip home.

Not only did I make some money but got to spend some valued time with my granddaughter, memories which we will both take with us for life.

Posted by Miss Chris 13:37 Archived in USA Tagged new_york nature landscape travel outdoors central_park grandkids grandkids_travel Comments (0)

The East End of Long Island

A visit to the Montauk Lighthouse.

The deadline for our inspections to be completed was early Monday morning and since there were fewer of us at the end, we were working fast to finish up. But we all finished in the nick of time.

About 1 week before work ended I sent for my granddaughter, Bel. Bel is being home schooled this year so it seemed like something good. Bel could help out a little, do her school work when I’d be working and then we could spend a little time at the end just playing around New York.

Bel flew into JFK, fortunately while I was staying at the Marriott as it was lots closer to JFK than the Clarion. She helped keep the room organized, looked for restaurants while on the road and of course did her work. After finishing up on Monday we went to lunch with a couple of other adjusters; just had to clear the head a bit, then we went and started getting ready for home.

On Tuesday we drove out to Montauk Point Lighthouse, located on the easternmost point of Long Island.
On the way to the lighthouse there are lookouts, one the Oyster Pond. The Oyster Pond is a natural pond within the bay. The water fills it when the tides come and then fish are trapped inside when the tide goes out. The Indians would catch fish in it.
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Another lookout is Hither Overlook. http://www.hike-li.org/hitherhills.htm We did not know anything about this lookout, just stopped to see what the view was. Wow, we had the ocean on 2 sides and it was breathtaking.

Once at the lighthouse we paid our $8 and went on the self guided tour. http://www.montauklighthouse.com/ The lighthouse was authorized by President George Washington and completed in 1796. Surrounding buildings are newer and the ground has eroded behind the lighthouse. The erosion is quite a concern and there is a movement to stabilize the ground so that the lighthouse is not lost. There is a display which shows the lighthouse at the time of completion and the keeper’s house, then 3 more displays showing a display for every 100 years or so.
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The 1860 Keeper’s house is now a museum next to the lighthouse. There are lots of old original documents on the lighthouse and various commissions who Ok’d the work which are located in the house. After the museum we then walked up the 137 narrow steps to the top of the lighthouse. The light is operated by the Coast Guard so that part is off limits but there is a small lookout at the top of the house. One can see Connecticut across the bay.
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On the way home we found a farm selling warm fresh corn. So tasty!

Posted by Miss Chris 15:49 Archived in USA Tagged new_york nature landscape travel outdoors grandkids grandkids_travel long_island Comments (0)

One Last Night at Grover Hot Springs

Last night fun and reflections

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IMG_8267.jpgIMG_8272.jpgGrover Hot Springs has lots of stuff to do for all ages; rocks to climb and to watch stars by at night, trails to hike, trees to sit under with a glass of wine during the warm afternoon, a stream to play in and, of course, the pools. Kids, older and younger, have had fun walking, sleeping in late in the tent, sitting at the meadow, reading, dancing on the rocks and talking.

Clayton, Jen and their friends hiked out to the waterfall this morning 1-1/2 miles. We’d wanted to hike there but big kids weren’t awake yet and we didn’t know about walking with Zaya. When the group of friends came back they reported that the hike was not easy for kids and seemed long. So we were glad to be so lazy.

I made a bean salad from black and pinto beans, avocados, tomatoes, onions, and corn with a little lime juice for dressing. Then made a salsa from our chilies which paired with some beer made for a great lunch!

We have done nothing today. I’ve been sitting under trees sipping wine and writing blogs. Don’t know how we will make it when we return home tomorrow. The campground is mostly empty now and so quiet, more than it was before. Hate to think about leaving this place.

Tonight Dale made a last fire for the kids and they made smores while we washed dishes, it was about 9:45. Charlotte came in to find a flashlight as one kid said that they felt something brush against their leg. We found a flashlight for her and off she went. As she went around the corner of the RV all of the kids jumped out yelling BOO!. There were shrieks of laughter then and Charlotte took it all in stride. The 5 kids then all hiked up to sleep in the 4 person tent for one last night. They should be cozy.

Dale and I finished up the dishes and went to the dying fire. Moon wasn’t up yet so the stars between the silhouettes of the trees were amazing with little light pollution. We listened to the wind coming up between the trees then blowing on our faces when it reached us. We talked about camping trips we still want to take, some with grandkids and some just the 2 of us.

Now it is late, time to sleep so that we can pack up and leave in the morning.

Posted by Miss Chris 09:50 Archived in USA Tagged children night nature landscape travel family camping outdoors family_travel grover_hot_springs california_state_parks Comments (0)

The Underground Railroad Condensed Version

Making a very short tour of the Underground Railroad

DSCN0182.jpgAs we didn’t make it to the Dorchester Visitor’s Center on Sunday we got there by noon yesterday. I was already armed with a list of places I’d found on-line of Underground Railroad sites, needless to say, a very condensed list. I’d been to the place in Africa where kidnapped people were put onto the slave ships so now was the day to come full circle, where they ran for their freedom.

The Visitor’s Center is a great place to start; the docent’s will direct you to the closest sites, just blocks away. They also have a nice interpretive section downstairs. This is the place to start.

The docent directed us to the court house where people were sold into slavery on the courthouse steps, just up the street from the docks. The original courthouse was destroyed and then destroyed a 2nd time, but the front of the 2nd rebuild is still in the front. It was here that Ms. Tubman’s niece and 2 children were to be sold; Ms. Tubman helped with this rescue in which the niece’s husband, a free black, bought his wife and 2 children. But before he paid anything he left with them, sailing up the Chesapeake Bay to freedom. I love this story!!!!

Across the street from the courthouse you will find a very old, wonderful church with graves from the 1700’s. Some graves are above ground and some below with the very old ones right next to the church.

Next stop I’d found just poking around online was the Old Trinity Church, built in 1750. The exterior is original but the interior has been remodeled as per the info. The church was locked so we couldn’t peak inside but we enjoyed the quiet of the outside. The church is not visible at all from the road, but the road is marked by a sign. As with most churches here, graves surround the church, with one important grave belonging to Anna Ella Carroll, a successful war strategist for President Lincoln.
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We had the brilliant idea that we’d go have a quick and very late lunch at Old Salty’s only to find the restaurant closed on Monday’s. We had to settle for nutrition bars as we went on to our next stop, the canal built by hand. This is a 7 mile canal built by slaves and free people. You take a little road that drives along the canal but it is not marked.

From the canal it is an easy drive, or it should be, to the Bucktown Store. Our problem was that we didn’t read the maps, (yes maps) properly since GPS doesn’t work in those parts. So if you are going to do this I suggest you MapQuest first and have a good idea of your route or you will end up like we did; driving in circles for a couple of hours.

The waste of driving time, however, turned out to be in our favor. But 1st a very brief statement on the Bucktown Store: this store is where Ms. Tudjman was hit on the head by an overseer when she attempted to stop that overseer from hurting a slave. She was 13 years old.

We found the store, having read that if you are lucky you will get to go inside the store so I had only hoped to get inside. So we arrived but were unsure that this was the place; 1st the guide called the store the Blacktown Village Store and this Blacktown Store looks all spiffy plus has a sign “Blackwater Paddle and Pedal”. We started to drive on but then stopped just to make sure.

I went to the door and looked thru the glass to find the most amazing sight; what appeared to be original store, right from Ms. Tubman’s time. I noted that the floor had dips in it, thinking about the women who must have shopped at this store so many years ago. I called Dale to come look.

Dale was looking in the window when a van up pulled up with kayaks on a trailer; a sign that maybe this was associated with the store. A woman was driving then she pulled around to the back of the store and was unhitching her trailer. I asked if she was by chance someone who could let us see the inside of the store and she said “yes”.

As it turns out we had just met Susan Meredith, co-owner of the store; her husband is several generations from the original owner. Wow! Susan let us in and gave us lots of history, more than we could have imagined.

I’d love to go back and do some major photos shoots; I missed a major opportunity to shoot Susan in her environment and could kick myself. I’d also love to just spend a bunch of time taping her stories in the store, but since I’m not a professional that probably won’t happen. But still I’d love to just get some of this down. www.blackwaterpaddleandpedal.com

We’d hoped to make it to the Mason-Dixon line but it got dark as we were driving.
We didn’t make it to the Mason-Dixon line but the visit in that little store was so amazing that we didn’t care. And really it is the people that make the area.

Posted by Miss Chris 20:32 Archived in Japan Tagged landscape travel outdoors maryland bucktown underground_railroad harriet_tubman Comments (0)

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