Lens-Artists #104: Summer

This July “Seasons” will be the theme for the entire month with a different season featured each week. Amy is starting the challenge with “summer”. For this challenge I’m taking a trip down memory lane to some of my most memorable summer road trips.

When I was growing up my family took a road trip every summer to visit relatives. However, the most memorable summer road trip from my childhood didn’t revolve around visiting family. In the summer of 1959, when I was eight years old, my father’s work required him to spend several weeks in California. My whole family went with him on a cross country road trip to see America. I spent many hours sitting between my two brothers in the back seat of our  Ford station wagon as we made our way to the west coast. We stopped at national parks, a Santa Claus village, prairie dog towns, and bought cowboy hats. While in California we panned for gold, went to Disneyland, San Francisco, and Yosemite. On the return trip back east we saw more national parks and many more road side attractions. There’s more about my 1959 adventure at Revisiting My Childhood in Pictures.

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Our family of 5 traveled cross country and back in this Ford Station wagon in 1959
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Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone National Park, 1959 ~ photo from my Dad’s digitized slide
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San Francisco street, 1959 ~ photo digitized from my Dad’s slide

Now flash forward to 2006 when Henry and I made our first cross country RV trip. Our main destinations were the Grand Canyon North Rim, Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, three Utah National Parks, the Black Hills and lots of places in between.

Grand Canyon North Rim Roosevelt Point Overlook
Grand Canyon North Rim Roosevelt Point Overlook
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Wandering Dawgs at Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park in 2006
Arches National Park - Delicate Arch
Arches National Park – Delicate Arch (Utah)

Our biggest summer road trip was our four month long RV trip to Alaska in 2013. Truly the trip of a lifetime!

Watching for whales in Haines, Alaska
Watching for whales in Haines, Alaska
Polychrome Overlook, Denali National Park, Alaska
Polychrome Overlook, Denali National Park, Alaska
Mama bear looking for more fish
Mama bear looking for more fish near Valdez
Pair of Orcas on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez
A pair of Orcas on Columbia Glacier tour from Valdez

Sadly, this summer there will be no long summer road trips for us. Stay tuned for more about a short weekend trip we have coming up next week.

Do you have a road trip planned this summer?

Amy, thank you for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Summer

Lens-Artists #103: Surprise

This week our host Ann-Christine has challenged us to show anything that was a surprise.

I’ve had a few surprises in the garden this summer. When I found two unidentified plants growing in one of my small beds I left them alone to see what would happen. I was surprised when they turned out to be Black Eyed Susans that I planted about two years ago.

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Black Eyed Susan

I’ve seen plenty of cicada skins attached to things around the exterior of our house but I was surprised to find one hanging onto a zinnia while it was shedding its skin. A few days later, the skin was still there.

Another time a mama diamond back terrapin decided that underneath the salvia would be a perfect place to lay her eggs.

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Female Diamond Terrapin laying eggs in the garden

Thank you Ann-Christine for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Surprise

Lens-Artists #102: A Quiet Moment

This week our host Patti has challenged us to capture a quiet moment.

My favorite thing to do on a hot summer day is hop in our 17 foot boat and go for a ride in the salt water creeks and rivers near our home. Getting out on the water is always soothing and sometimes we can enjoy some quiet moments as we go along.

This week we took a scenic ride through narrow, twisting creeks through the salt marsh.

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Quiet boat ride through the salt marsh

We found some quiet moments as we slowly made our way through the twists and turns. Except for when we met a boat going the other way we were the only humans in the area. As we were treated to sightings of snowy egrets, herons, and wood storks the only sounds were those of nature and our quiet engine. Even the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins surfacing for a breath of air made little noise. I was too busy enjoying the moment to get any photos of the wildlife.

Ride along with us in this video.

Thank you Patti for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge -A Quiet Moment

Lens-Artists #101: One Single Flower

This week guest host Cee of Cee’s Photo Challenges has challenged us to show images of one single flower.

This is a fun challenge for me because I spend a lot of time in my butterfly garden and enjoy capturing images of the flowers.

This year the zinnias are growing like crazy. In addition to the seeds I planted there are volunteers coming up all over the place from the seeds spread naturally from last years flowers.

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Zinnia
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Zinnia
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Zinnia

This gardenia is the only bloom from my three gardenia bushes in another flower bed.

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Gardenia

Thank you to Cee for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge -One Single Flower

Lens-Artists #100: Long and Winding Road

This week Tina has chosen “The Long and Winding Road” as our challenge. During our travels we have driven on so many long and winding roads I wasn’t sure which ones to include.

As I thought about how to approach this challenge, my mind kept going back to our 2013 RV trip to Alaska.  There were many long and winding roads during our journey but I decided to focus on just one.

Exactly seven years ago today we were in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada at the start of the Alaska Highway (also called the AlCan). Before returning home we would travel on every mile of this long and winding road.

The United States military began construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942 to provide an overland route to Alaska. The approximately 1400 mile road from Dawson Creek, BC to Delta Junction, Alaska was completed in 8 months and 12 days.

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Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway! in Dawson Creek, BC

As you can see from the photo above, like many other travelers, we posed for a picture at the famous sign marking the beginning of the Alaska Highway. (The actual location of mile marker 0 is in downtown Dawson Creek, BC). There’s more about our stay in Dawson Creek at Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway.

Part of the road was paved, part was gravel, and part was under construction. There were frost heaves and pot holes, some marked with signs and some not. Sometimes we would go for miles without seeing another vehicle. We stopped at pull outs for breaks and never had a problem finding campgrounds or diesel fuel.

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Gravel section of the Alaska Highway in the Yukon

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The Alaska HIghway in the Yukon

We drove slowly and enjoyed the wildlife and magnificent views.

Moose on the Alaska Highway
Moose on the Alaska Highway

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Alaska Highway

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Alaska Highway

As I worked on this post I thought of how empty this road must be this summer with the U.S./Canadian border still closed. I remember the campgrounds, restaurants, and stores we stopped at along the way in Canada and Alaska. These businesses have a short season and depend on summer travelers to make it through the rest of the year. I hope that they will be able to make it until next year when hopefully people will be traveling again.

I am so grateful we made this trip when we did. I still dream of returning to Alaska. Next time we will not be towing our fifth wheel along the Alaska Highway. Instead, I see airplanes and ships in our future.

Thank you to Tina for this weeks Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Long and Winding Road