Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #159 – Postcards

Our final guest host for the month of July is Ana Campo of Anvica’s Gallery. Her challenge is Postcards. She writes about thinking about how many postcards were used in the past “to congratulate, as a souvenir of the places we visited or simply as collectibles.” The above image is a real post card I brought back from our trip to Hawaii.

Once upon a time, when long distance phone calls were too expensive, before Facebook, Instagram, WordPress blogs, and many other internet options were available, travelers would mail postcards to their friends and family back home.

I love receiving postcards so when we were planning our first RV trip across the U.S. and Canada I knew I wanted to send postcards to our grand children. I have kept up that tradition for all our trips, whether we were gone for a few months or just a few days. I enjoy picking out the cards, writing to them about our adventures on the back of the card, and even searching for a mailbox to mail them.

The cards usually were 25 cents each and sometimes I could get 5 for a dollar. I still have a collection of extra cards that never got mailed.

Sometimes as I edited photos from a trip I would find one almost identical to a postcard I had purchased! For this challenge I chose to show three postcards and my similar photos. The cards are in the left column with my photos in the right.

I hope my grandkids had as much fun receiving the postcards as I had picking them out, writing them, and searching for a mailbox to mail them.

Many thanks to guest host Ana for this fun challenge. Be sure to visit her original post at Lens-Artists challenge #159: Postcards.

It was my pleasure to host last week’s Lens Artists Photo Challenge #158: Along Back Country Roads. Thank you Tina, Ann-Christine, Patti and Amy for inviting me to host. Many thanks to every one who contributed to the challenge. Your beautiful photos took me along back roads of the United States and Canada, and around the world to South America, Europe, the U.K, India, Kuwait and many more amazing places. Thank you!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #158 – Along Back Country Roads

I am honored to be guest hosting this week’s Lens-Artists photo challenge. As I pondered what topic to choose for the challenge I thought about how many of us are happy to be able to travel again. For this challenge I am asking you to show us your images that show your interpretation of going along a back country road. It can be a road where you walk, go for a bike ride, take a scenic drive, go off-roading in a jeep or four wheeler, or a road you take to get somewhere.

To me, a back country road can be any road that’s off the beaten track. The road can be paved, gravel or dirt. It can be one that takes you through farmland, desert, forests, quaint small towns, or in the middle of nowhere. It may even be one with quirky roadside attractions or funny signs you see along the way.

When we go on a road trip we enjoy getting off the main highways for a more scenic drive. Recently, we have even started avoiding interstate highways altogether. The header photo at the top of the page was taken on the Dalton Highway north of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Have you ever driven by a dirt road and wondered where it went? That’s just what we did one time when taking a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. We couldn’t resist turning on the road in the first image below. I don’t remember where we ended up but the beautiful stream shown in the second image ran beside the road.

Sometimes the only way to get where we want to go is on a dirt or gravel road. These next three images are examples of some we have taken in our adventures.

The Great River Road in Arkansas follows the Mississippi River
Top of the World Highway in Yukon Territory, Canada
A steep dirt and gravel road to Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina

On a recent trip to Orlando, we traveled over 1,000 miles without driving on an interstate or major highway. It was heaven not dealing with semis or drivers passing us like it was the Daytona 500.

The roads were paved, two lane roads with little traffic. There were some fun things to see as we drove along.

Bison farm near Darien, Georgia
Woodbine Fire Museum and Antique Shop on Highway 17 in Woodbine, Georgia
Businesses just outside the Ocala National Forest, Florida
I wondered where this road went in the Ocala National Forest
Lunch was delicious at this popular local restaurant in Salt Springs, Florida

I’m honored to be one of the guest hosts for the month of July while Tina, Ann-Christine, Patti and Amy took the month off.

In your post, please include a link to my original post and use the Lens-Artists tag so everyone can find your post in the WordPress reader. Be sure to check out the first three guest hosted challenges.

John Steiner of Journeys with JohnBo – On the Water

Anne Sandler of Slow Shutter Speed – Black and White

Bert and Rusha Sams of Oh the Places we see – Getting Away

Next week on July 31, please visit Ana Campo of Anvica’s Gallery for her challenge – “Postcards.”

I’m looking forward to seeing where your back country roads have taken you!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #157: Getting Away

Our guest hosts Bert and Rusha Sams of Oh The Places We See have challenged us with the theme: Getting Away.

Henry and I have always enjoyed getting away. When we were both working and raising our family, one of our favorite places to get away was to the Florida Keys. We started off camping in state parks there, first in a tent and later in a pop up trailer.

Beautiful day in the lower Florida Keys

In 2006, we bought our fifth wheel trailer and took off for our first RV road trip with no set schedule and no reservations. For two months we wandered around the United States and two Canadian Provinces. We loved exploring the National Parks and National Monuments and all of the places in between.

Mount Rushmore National Monument

After our first RV adventure we were hooked. We continued taking RV trips until the end of 2019. Our longest and most memorable trip was our four month journey to Alaska in 2013.

Majestic mountains and glacier in Alaska

This year we were able to get way to three completely different types of destinations for three short road trips . Oh, what a wonderful feeling to travel again!

In March we traveled to Cedar Key, Florida for a relaxing and fun weekend. Located on the Florida Gulf Coast in the area known as the Nature Coast, this small town was just what we needed for a short getaway.

After Sunset at Cedar Key

In May we traveled to our daughter’s home in Virginia for Mother’s Day. It was wonderful to visit with family and on Mother’s Day we enjoyed a relaxing walk together around Pandapas Pond.

Turtles at Pandapas Pond

We returned to Florida in June for a week long getaway to Orlando. While we didn’t visit any theme parks we still enjoyed a little Disney Magic with two memorable meals at Disney resorts. We had fun being kids again at a dinner with Mickey Mouse and friends. Another day we had a fantastic lunch with a view of animals in the savanna of Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Many thanks to Bert and Rusha Sams for this challenge. Please be sure to visit their original post at Lens-Artists Challenge #157: Getting Away

A Magical Birthday Week

That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up

Walt Disney

Henry and I both celebrated milestone birthdays this year. His was in May and mine was the last week of June. Sorry, you’ll have to guess our ages! What better way for two seniors to celebrate than to be kids again. We went to Disney World!

We took our time and stayed off the Interstates on the way to and from Orlando. We even broke up the trip on the way down with a night beside the St. John’s River in Palatka, Florida. Our room overlooked the Veteran’s Memorial Plaza and river walk beside the river. We enjoyed two fabulous waterside meals our first day. Lunch at Skippers in Darien, Georgia is always delicious. Corky Bells on the St. John’s River was crowded but we found two seats at the bar and enjoyed a great dinner.

The next day, our room was ready when we arrived at our resort in Orlando early in the afternoon. Our condo was about 15 minutes from any place we wanted to go at Disney World.

On most trips to Orlando we spend at least one day in one of the theme parks. This was not one of those trips. Our plans for the week were to relax, enjoy the amenities at the resort where we were staying, and get our Disney fix by dining at three Disney restaurants.

Our first Disney dining experience was at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Village Resort. As we explored outside before lunch we had fun reminiscing about our stay there about 40 years ago. Lunch was fabulous!

We weren’t going to a theme park but we still wanted to experience some Disney magic. What better way to do that than to go to Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Character Dinner at the Contemporary Resort on the night before my birthday.

We arrived at the Contemporary Resort about an hour before our reservation. Sipping a cocktail while watching an afternoon thunderstorm over the lake was a nice start to the evening.

Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck all made appearances. As each character walked through the restaurant they stopped in front of each table to wave and pose for pictures. Seeing the excitement in the kids eyes as each character came by was priceless. I don’t know who enjoyed it more – the little kids or us.

It was pouring down rain after dinner but before heading back to our condo we took a monorail ride around the lake.

The next day was my birthday. It would be hard to top dinner with Mickey Mouse but we did. Our lunch in Sanaa Restaurant in Kadani Village at the Animal Kingdom Lodge was amazing. The restaurant overlooks a savanna with giraffes, zebras, impalas, wildebeest, and other animals. Before and after our meal we watched the animals from an overlook outside. Our table was at a window with a great view of the animals as we ate. The meal was the best we had all week and the live entertainment outside the window was perfect.

When we weren’t out eating we enjoyed sitting on our screened in porch overlooking a pond or going to one of the pools. The pond attracted several Florida birds who came to the pond to fish. Great Blue Herons, a little blue heron, egrets, an osprey, and an ibis all made appearances.

We’ve been to Walt Disney World many times since the 1970’s. We learned on this trip that you can have fun without going to one of the theme parks. You are never too old to be a kid at heart!

I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.

Walt Disney

Forty Shades of Green

I close my eyes and picture the emerald of the sea
From the fishing boats at Dingle to the shores of Dunardee
I miss the river Shannon and the folks at Skibbereen
The moorlands and the midlands with their forty shades of green

~”Forty Shades of Green” by Johnny Cash

A year ago today was our first full day of a three week trip from the U. S. to Ireland and Scotland. One day as we toured the Ring of Kerry in Ireland, Dennis, our tour guide, played this Johnny Cash song for us.

I remembered the song this morning as I was thinking about our trip. Johnny Cash wrote it in 1959 while he was in Ireland.

We saw at least forty shades of green (and probably more) as we traveled around the beautiful Emerald Isle.

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Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

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Wild Atlantic Way, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

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Wild Atlantic Way, Ring of Kerry, Ireland

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Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland

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Lamb at the Fairy Fort on the Slea Head Drive, Dingle Peninsula

Here is Johnny Cash singing ‘Forty Shades of Green.’

I don’t know when we’ll be able to travel again but until then, I have my wonderful memories.