Monday, December 28, 2009

Panama today!

If any of you are interested, we are heading back to Panama today, to continue traveling, but now on our sailing vessel Memory Rose. There is a link, off to the right side of the page, down under the list of Projects and Travels.
Otherwise, see you back here in the Spring. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Battery Park, NYC

The very southern end of Battery Park is probably the most historical part of the city, dating back to the first Dutch settlement.

Hosting the Staten Island ferry (free for pedestrians), the Regional Coast Guard facility, Tour boats for Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, entrance to the Holland Tunnel, Pier A (century long home of the NYC Fire Dept. Marine shops), St. Elizabeths(the oldest church in NYC.-George Washington and the boys prayed here before the uprising!), a fort or two, skyscrapers, hot dog and can you believe...."Silk Tie" stands.

Yes, and add to that- street performers, homeless, tons of world tourists and a couple of NY's Finest on horse back.

Just a note, but the fireboat is the McKean, named after a Fire Dept. Marine Engineer who died in the line of duty. He was a friend of my father. As a kid-I would sometimes go to work with my dad was also a F.D. marine engineer and stayed below decks while at the shops/ Pier A/ Marine 1. The McKean is 55 and still in service.
read more @ (

The bronze sculpture has been there for many years and I think is called Survival, dedicated to those mariners lost at sea.


Empire State Building, NYC

I never take this view for granted. It's beautiful and I've been lucky enough to have grown up viewing it often.

Seen here from the top of Rockefeller Center, looking south.

What a Doll! F.A.O Schwartz NYC

Yes, they both are!

The BIG Piano

Enjoying a stroll at the lower end of Central Park, we were facinated by the lovely store preparations already displayed. Window displays were awesome and I rarely use that word.

We had walked up to this area from Tiffany's, which is known for it's world class window displays for Christmas as well as during the year. We had just enough time to enter F.A.O. Schwartz, the famed Toy Store that was in the Tom Hanks film "BIG". Still present was the Big Piano and adults and kids were struttin' the keys, usually to wide smiles or chuckles.

Outside, I could't help hamin' it up with the Door Man.

Time and Time Again. NYC

NYC Empire State Building

One of the most memorable things from childhood, was my first visit to the Empire State Building. My dad had taken my brother and I in for the day.

Dorothy and I stepped out on the town, Empire State Building in the backround. We first went to Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral and more sites but thats an upcoming post.

I have been back many times. It has always been to show someone else the National Treasure of the Empire State Building and other sites, but the view and sense of wonder, at the engineering and logistics of the men of those days to erect something like this in one year and one month.

Enjoy the photos and click on any photos to enlarge them somewhat for better viewing.

On 34th Street looking West, the top is aglow with color of late afternoon sunset.

During holidays and special events the lighting of the top will be done in many different color themes.

The Chrysler building Art Deco upper floors bathed in white lights off to the NNE.

The streets below, with Macy's department store("The Largest Store in the World"-- the entire city block) sporting a wall hanging Christmas tree, (thousands of white lights on the face of the building.)

Another, looking North includes the darkness of Central Park(right edge), the glow of lights in Times Square(obvious, just slightly left of center).

A telephoto view, taken from the 86 th floor of the Empire State Building's west side. The face of Macy's Christmas Lights.

Downtown Manhattan is still a city of lights at 10 p.m. The bridges, left to right in the distance, is the Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, all crossing from Brooklyn to Manhattan and far off, the Verazano Bridge from Brooklyn to Staten Island.

New York City

We have taken a short visit to NYC to bury my father's ashes in a family plot, as per his wishes. That done, we are taking a few days to re visit the city of my youth and enjoy some of it's sites.

Yesterday we spent about 4 hours viewing the extraordinary exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium on Central Parks West Side. What a wonderful treat as always. I must have been in this museum 8-10 times over my lifetime and always enjoy the small portion I am able to see in one day. The amount of material they have for viewing is beyond one's ability to see in a week.

Some time was spent at first arrival attending the Space and Stars show, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. It was an Imax type of video lasting about 25 minutes but extremely good.

The dinosaur exhibit was next. I think it has the best and most complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex in the world and many many complete skeletons of virtually everything that lived, that has been discovered. From Tyrannosaurus rex to the smallest of creatures.

We also spent much time viewing rocks, gems, mineral displays/via Margaret Mead, North American birds,African mammals, forests dioramas,mammals,biodiversity, Plains Indians Eastern Woodland Indians, Pacific Peoples as well as all of the display rooms of the North American Indian displays.

Rockefeller Center Lobby, NYC

The walls and ceilings of the main lobby of Rockefeller Center are covered with murals depicting the struggle of mankind. Presently, it is undergoing restoration. Most people know of Rockefeller Center for it's Christmas Tree during the Christmas Season, and the outdoors ice skating rink.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Palm Tiki

The premier Tiki carver 'delivers'.

I'm way behind in posting photos and some text of the most interesting aspects of our motorhome trip this fall, but to catch up, I'm going to begin with Palm Tiki.

Always a good supply on hand, but on busy weekends, the cars line up with trunks open!

Palm Tiki, is actually Charlie Night or to some, Carlos Noche! Charlie is my wife's brother and his passion, well one of them, is carving. Carving with a chain saw to be more accurate. Years ago, he kind ran off to find himself and as a surfer, found home in Central America.

Safe procedures are necessary when working day after day with chain saws and other power equipment.

He juggled to make ends meet, but found wood carving dominating his days. Long story made short....Charlie is now WELL known, as Palm Tiki, an original in N.W. Florida and way beyond.

In the early 90's, I went to see his work at art shows. HUGE wood carvings, started with a chain saw then worked with grinders, then sanders, then ??, his work was beautiful and always unique. Did I mention LARGE? Some of his early pieces sold at auction for well over $20 grand. He still does special pieces and commissions, but the bread and butter pieces are the Palm Tikis.

These cypress poles are 20-25' long and up to 18" thick!

Carvings are also done out of hardwoods, like oak and maple and cypress. He will receive some unusual sections of trees from tree surgeons and others who have grown to know and respect his special talent for 'seeing' things in the wood that need to be brought to our eyes. He always amazes.

The Tikis and pelicans are available for viewing in and around his large shop and property off Hwy. 98 about 15 miles east of Pensacola. There are now others trying to compete now for his trade, but none compare. Tiki Huts come standard or custom built for discriminating homeowners, waterfront bars, restaurants and such.

The word of his work has spread far. Shown in some of these photos are custom made "Fruit" poles. A new resort in Central America has hired Charlie to produce an incredible amount of very large special wood carvings. Some, are not just carved, but he then stains, highlights or actually paints the wood to lifelike appearance.

We had stopped as we were passing through, and borrowed one of the Palm Tiki ladders, so that I could install the forward clearance lights I had just made and only a day before, finished painting.

I drove our motorhome off to the side of his studio, under a big tree for shade, and proceeded to finish my project.

Dorothy, took her camera and captured some of her brother's work. We forgot to take photos of the beautiful dolphin/reef and other fish sculptures inside his showroom but maybe I can procure some. If so, I'll edit this post.

Thatched roofs are another trick of his trade. Nice work

Enough text. Enjoy the photos. Charlie doesn't have much time for computers, but his basic site gives his contact info and more of his history in art.

for more:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Santa Fe to Ruidoso, N.M.

I've got to check my old B&W photos, but I think I took this same shot of my surname 42 years ago!

Leaving friends is always an unpleasant part of life. While traveling, it is no different. Along this path, I had been thinking much of a pair of friends I met and got to know in early service years, 43 years ago.

John and Quita and a map with an X on it s
howing their hidaway in Mexico!

Air Force Tech School was my focus, but in it, you meet people you wish you could know forever. John(Tony) and Quita(Marquita) George were 2. Thanks to the Internet, it was so easy now to use the "White pages" on Google and find out where they were and their phone number.

We reconnected and had a wonderful 2 days with them. Found out how interestingly parallel our interests in life have been... THAT is a curious thing I should contemplate more.

Santa Fe has always been a beautiful town. Now,.... just too touristy for us, but that is happening most everywhere.

Anyway, Santa Fe had grown extremely in 43 years, but it is still a really nice town. Well, OK, another comment... driving performances.....YIKES it's scary, but outside town...back in the countryside, art, beauty and slapstick were everywhere.

An "eye" for art and such are a big part of our travel's blank page with which we try to fill everyday. Out here, it is everywhere. Art is American and America is Art.

Dinner at the High Finance restaurant atop the Tram...a MUST DO if any of you visit this city, was superb. Not much matches this place. I think I only rate the now missing Window's of the World restaurant atop one of the World Trade Towers in New York City, or a wonderful restaurant overlooking Port o Prince, Haiti that I once frequented in the early 80's.

Thousands of feet above the city of Alburquerque, N.M. in near frigid fall air, the city appeared crisp and clear. The Tram ride up here was spectacular.

From Santa Fe south to Ruidoso/thru White Sands, we picked our dirt patch behind a Trucker's gas station and lived with the results.. not bad/not wonderful. Breakfast inside their establishment was HUGE and delicious/truckers portions of course.

Our quest for the day was the White Sands National Monument, west of Alamogordo N.M.
We arrived and did that. It was a very special place.. Gypsum had eroded from the mountains to settle into a lake below and then over millennium had drifted with the wind East to form what we now use as a military missile range and park system pleasure.

Our little Rat Terrier "Lady" thought this was a 'Day at the Beach'.

Afterwards, we had time to head N.E. to Ruidoso. A Ranger's guidance led us to a campground that would not be closed until it snowed here. WRONG!


Check Spelling
Sands of Gypsum floated dunes 30' tall for miles. Rather than Granite granules we are used to when we 'think' sand, this gypsum has eroded from cliffs far to the east, to compose and create this rare part of earth.

No squeaking underfoot, the gypsum White Sands were almost as hard as concrete to walk upon and drift slowly.

We arrived at 6:30 with the last of the days sun to find the signs wrong leading us 3 miles more of skinny mountain roads that began to scare the p___ out of Dorothy/ especially when I finally decided to turn around up there and hang the a__ end of this M.H. off the cliff to descend! :) twas fun for me!!

Although a bit stiff, maybe rigid, many in life shoot high...

After we went to bed, one apparent Apache awoke us with his unlocking of the gate behind us. We had backed up to the gate that was locked for the season... and off road for a 100 yds, thinking we were out of site and would not see anyone for 8 months. Wrong again, as 4-5 other 'Gate crashers' arrived during the night and morning. THEY, had the right, I'm sure; the Indian nations out here can hunt and fish and use the land as they should and I have no problem with that...I only felt a bit between a rock and hard place for the moment.

Some, just shoot 'straight'! (I'd advise standing to the side)

At 6:30 a.m. a guide for hunting in a massive pick-up truck,knocked hard on our door telling us to leave. I snapped upright in bed answering him, dressed pronto and got out to talk. He was OK and not as gruff as I originally thought.

Some, live quite 'contained' I'd just finished browsing thru a wonderful photo book on this eco-friendly lifestyle/archetecture...Find It for MORE!

He understood, I understood. An afterthought was, and this has happened over the last month, is that I think I would really love the experience of sitting and chatting with any of these men and women I have met from the Indian Nations here. They seem very friendly and engaging. It is MY fault for not finding a way to slow down my interests... I know that. Hmmm.?

Yet others seem duplicous, mulit- faceted, or schizo!
no matter, they are easy to read/only they don't know it! :)

I think my love for travel is also a love for knowledge and a love for connectivity. Along our path we are learning and growing. It's good.

But after all; It just might all be the impressions of a Jackass or Two. (Be easy on "Rusty", he doesn't get all my jokes!)

who said that!!