2022 · Days of The Week · Florida · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival & Akershus Royal Banquet Hall ~ Walt Disney World, Florida 2011

The following day, we made a trip to EPCOT to enjoy lunch with the Disney Princesses in Norway. There I wanted to see if Sara likes some fish. She dug into the fish and vegetables like her life depends on them. When the Disney Princesses came to our table, Katelynn and Rylee were ready for photos. Sara on the other hand rather enjoyed her meal.

After lunch, we walked around in the park. At that time of the year, Disney has the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival. A lot of Disney characters with wonderful flowers are on Display. Sara was tired; Katelynn and Rylee wanted to go into the Resort’s pool. So, we made our way back to the room to rest and change into bathing suites. The girls had a blast at the pool.

… to be continued …

2022

National & World Days (3) 🐰🐨🦍

  • International Rabbit Day promotes protecting and caring for domestic and wild rabbits every year on the fourth Saturday of September. Who doesn’t love a cute bunny rabbit? These soft, furry animals are enjoyed by many around the world. Often used as a symbol of fertility and or rebirth, many associate these adorable animals with spring and Easter.
  • Every year on the last Friday in September, Save the Koala Day raises awareness for the plight of the koala. It’s also a day to educate the public on the importance of conserving the koala’s natural habitat. Even though it’s called a koala bear, the koala isn’t actually a bear. Instead, the koala is a marsupial. This means that the koala is a mammal that carries its young in a pouch. In the late 18th century, English-speaking settlers in Australia called the animal a bear. These settlers thought the koala looked and behaved like a bear. Since then, many people call these animals koala bears. Australia provides the only natural habitat in the world for koala. Known as tree-hugging mammals, koalas live in eucalyptus trees. They grow up to 3 feet tall and weigh anywhere from 9 to 30 pounds.
  • September 24th is World Gorilla Day! Gorillas are one of the most endangered apes, whose population counts between 100,000 and 200,000 specimens. These giant apes are from Equatorial Africa and display behavior and emotions surprisingly similar to humans. We humans actually share no less than 98.3% of our genetic code with them. Along with chimpanzees and bonobos, we all descend from a single common ape-like ancestry!

Happy International Rabbit Day!
Happy Save The Koala Day!
Happy World Gorilla Day!

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/september-international-days/
https://www.internationaldays.co/item-detail/world-gorilla-day-2022/r/recuJvQ2CAywRJLnf

2022 · Canada · My Travel Journal · Ontario · Texas · USA

Travel Journal, Day 2 (Part I): Niagara Falls State Park, Niagara Falls, New York (2)

September 10, 2022

Since Kevin parked on Goat Island, we walked from the Canadian Falls over to Luna Island. And from there we hiked the trail along Hell’s Half Acre, crossing the Goat Island pedestrian bridge to get to Prospect Point/Observation Point. Kevin, Sara, and I spent a little while there before we walked back to the parking lot on Goat Island. We had lunch in Wheatfield before we got ready for the wedding and the reception.

… to be continued …

2022 · Alabama · Days of The Week · Florida · Louisiana · Mississippi · My Travel Journal · Texas · Travel Tuesday · USA

Driving From Texas To Florida ~ 2011

Kevin and I planned a trip to Walt Disney World for Spring 2011. While we were traveling from Texas, the girl’s aunt, uncle, and cousins came from North Carolina to join us. Getting from Texas to Florida was quite an adventure. Two hours into the drive, Sara didn’t feel well and barfed all over her cute dress and new car seat. Once, she had it out of her system and we cleaned everything up as good as we could (the car seat smelled like barf on the whole round trip), we made it into Louisiana, where we spent the night.

The next morning, Sara looked much better. After a light breakfast, we moved on. In Louisiana, we’ve looked at swamps, crossed the Horace Wilkinson Bridge in Baton Rouge, and drove on Interstate 12 to avoid New Orleans on the way to Florida. In Mobile, Alabama it was busy due to people trying to get to the Cruise ship at the Mobile River. Therefore, it took us a while to get through the George Wallace Tunnel, which is located under the river. Once we got off the tunnel, we had a good view of the USS Alabama, which is now a retired battleship and U.S. National Historic Landmark and is located in the waters of Mobile Bay next to the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park, south of Interstate 10.

Pensacola, Florida is the home of the Navy Blue Angels. We’ve stopped in a rest area nearby to stretch out for a little bit. Katelynn ran up and down the hill to get the energy flowing before we ended up in Ocala for the night. The following morning, we met up with family to drive the rest of the stretch to Buena Vista.

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · South Dakota · Travel Tuesday · USA

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota 2010

Leaving Wyoming, we entered the Black Hill National Forest, where we made our way to Mount Rushmore. But first, we drove through Custer, passed Crazy Horse, and looked at some interesting stone formations, while driving on US 385 and US 244.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial & Keystone, South Dakota

After visiting South Dakota, Kevin, the kids and I made it to Nebraska for the night. That night, they had a lot of tornado warnings. So, we tried to find a motel as soon as possible. The following day, all the storms were out of the area. And we could make our way all the way back to Dallas, Texas. We were happy to be back home.

~ THE END ~

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA · Wyoming

Along US Highway 14, Wyoming 2010

It was time to leave Yellowstone National Park. We still had quite a way to drive to South Dakota. But in the meantime, we enjoyed the landscape along US Hwy 14. There were some cool mountain peaks and stone formations. We passed the Buffalo Bill Reservoir before we arrived in Cody. Cody had only one room left, due to a famous rodeo in that area. But we were not willing to pay over $200 for a tiny room. So, we had dinner and moved on. We made it through the Bighorn National Forest before we got into a motel close to Sheridan.

The following morning, we all cleaned up, had breakfast, and were ready to drive the next leg to South Dakota. All these years, I still wish we made it to the Devils Tower. But due to a time crunch, it was either the Devils Tower in Wyoming or Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. We chose the latter. It’s another reason to visit Wyoming again. 😉

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA · Wyoming

Upper Geyser Basin In Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 2010

Old Faithful Geyser at the Upper Geyser Basin

Yellowstone National Park has approximately half of the world’s geysers—and most of them are located in the Upper Geyser Basin. One square mile contains at least 150 of these hydrothermal wonders, making this area the most densely concentrated geyser region in the world. Five major geysers—Old Faithful, Grand, Castle, Daisy, and Riverside are located here.

At the time, when we visited the Upper Geyser Basin. The National Park was building the new Old Faithful Visitor and Education Center. It is a museum with a store where educational exhibits such as volcanic geology are on display. There is also a big glass window, where visitors can see the eruption of Old Faithful and look over the Upper Geyser Basin on a rainy day. I just wouldn’t recommend visiting this area from 12 – 6 pm, due to tour buses being full of tourists. It reminds me of the very first episode of Spongebob Squarepants, where the tourist anchovies run into the Krusty Krab, making a lot of ruckuses until Spongebob has every single anchovy served with a Krabby Patty. We went to the Upper Geyser Basin in the morning. So, it was comfortable to walk with a stroller.

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA · Wyoming

Midway Geyser Basin In Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming 2010

Midway Geyser Basin: Exelsior Geyser Crater – Grand Prismatic Spring

The next stop was Midway Geyser Basin at the Firehole River. The Midway Geyser Basin is very famous for being the home of the Grand Prismatic Spring. The Grand Prismatic Spring is famous for its size and colors. With being deeper than a 10-story building and larger than a football field, it is the thrid largest hot spring in the world. The Grand Prismatic Spring gets its rainbow colors from the bacteria that lives in progressively cooler water. And the water scatters the blue wavelenght of light, and therefore the center reflects blue back to our eyes.

The Excelsior Geyser Crater is a dormant geyser, but a steamy blue spring. It is so hot, that the runoff water is still boiling, when it hits the surface of the Firehole River. The last time the geyser erupted about 80 feet (25 meters) high for two days was in 1985. Back in the 1800s it could reach a height up to 300 feet (90 meters).

When we visited, we also could see wildlife and wildflowers across the river. We’ve seen a big male bison grassing in the meadow, a relaxing female elk, a couple of ravens, and a big Flame Skimmer dragonfly. There were also wild roses and beautiful pine trees in the area. After the Midway Geyser basin visit, Kevin and I called it a day. We all were hungry and tired for walking around. Sara needed a small nap, before we had dinner at the camp ground. That night, we went to bed early to have an early start the following morning.

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Texas · Throwback Thursday · USA

Long-exposure Photography At High Five Interchange In Dallas, Texas

February 2017

A couple of weeks ago, I went with our local photography group to shoot long exposure photos at the High Five Interchange in Dallas (Interstate 635/US Highway 75). Opening the shutter for almost half-minute, it will leave a nice car light trail. Using the higher Aperture (ƒ-setting), the street light will show a starburst. And putting the ISO low, won’t over-expose the photo with too much light.

This is something I learned at a carnival over two years ago. I’d always shoot photos in “automatic”. But one night, at the American Heroes Festival in The Colony, a fellow photographer from the group showed me, how to shoot my photos in “manual” with the right Shutter Speed/Aperture/ISO. What an amazing discovery it was for me. From that night forward, I never captured my photos in “automatic”. I always shoot in “manual”. And I love it! 

Here are some of the images, I’ve captured at the High Five Interchange in Dallas, Texas on February 7, while having fun photographing with the group further south of the Interchange.

2022 · Arizona · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

Colorado River Discovery – River Rafting In The Glen Canyon, Arizona 2008

In the afternoon, we went with the raft from the Glen Canyon Dam to Lee’s Ferry. It was a 4½ hour tour on the Colorado River in the Glen Canyon. Chuck, our tour guide and rafter, told us interesting stories and read us poems about the canyon. At the NE corner of the Horseshoe Bend, we stopped and looked at the Ancient Anasazi Petroglyphs. Some of these petroglyphs symbolize that these native people found a herd of pronghorns close by. A more hidden one shows what we believe to be an eagle. Back on the raft and further down the river, we saw some very interesting stone formations. My favorite one is Finger Arch. The afternoon trip on the river was fun and definitely not boring. We were surprised, Katelynn lasted that long. But she crashed in my arms on the tour bus, when we were on our way back to Page. It was a long day for her. She was sleeping in the car all the way back to the Grand Canyon Village. And she was very happy to snuggle with her little lamb “Mimi” in her sleeping bag that night.

… to be continued …

2022 · Arizona · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona 2008

On Monday, we had our busiest tour day. Since we planned to go to Page to see the Antelope Canyon, we also planned a trip down the Colorado River as well. We organized this all in early March. And all what we had to do is show up and tell the receptionists we had arrived for the tours. Everything was paid ahead. Therefore, it all went very smoothly. In the morning, we had a Navajo tour guide showing us, in a small group, the Antelope Canyon. It’s one of the most photographed places on the planet. I was fascinated by what water can do to sandstone over all those years.

… to be continued …

2022 · My Travel Journal · Rhode Island · USA

Travel Journal: Newport, Rhode Island (Part II)

April 15, 2022

Kevin, Sara and I had a late lunch at the Brick Oven Pizzeria on Thames Street, before we made our way to Goat Island. We saw the famous Bannister’s and Bowen’s Wharves. A lot of people enjoyed sitting outside, eating, drinking and being social. The glass walls protected them from the wind. And the sun was warm. My face got sunburned a little bit. Sara got herself one of those Amethyst crystals, I talked about in Part I. As we kept walking, we’ve got a good look at the Oliver Hazard Perry sailboat in Newport Harbor. Almost halfway up on the bridge to Goat Island, I could capture some photos, I usually see on the frontpage of Newport tourist magazines: The Goat Island Lighthouse and the Claiborne Pell/Newport Bridge in the background. We didn’t make it all across the Goat End Connector, the bridge that connects Goat Island with Aquidneck Island. It was too darn windy. However, Kevin, Sara and I had a good time in Newport. We’ve got to see some places. Now, we know the size of Newport and Aquidneck Island. Next time, we can plan the trip better and know what to expect.

~ THE END ~

2022 · My Travel Journal · Rhode Island · USA

Travel Journal: Newport, Rhode Island (Part I)

April 15, 2022

Sara talked for months about going to Rhode Island. Since the girls have Spring Break, I started making plans for the last couple of weeks. Yesterday, Kevin, Sara and I drove to Newport and looked around a little bit. Mainly, we stayed in Thames Street, King Park, King Park Beach, Bowen’s Wharf, Washington Street, and Goat Island. The wind was gusty and cold at Newport Harbor. So, we made it short.

The photos above are from King Park and King Park Beach. Originally, we wanted to see Fort Adams. But we parked the car in Thames Street. And it was a long way to walk to the State Park. So, we took a nice stroll along King Park Beach to get to Rochambeau Statue and Monument. Kevin, Sara and I had a nice view of Newport across Newport Harbor. Newport has tons of wharves. Right now, it is still too early for sailing. But I can imagine the harbor will be full with boats in Summer. Newport also has a lot of history. It would take days to visit all these places and take all the information in. I believe this will be more interesting for Sara, when she’s older and hangs out with her friends. However, she got herself a nice small piece of Amethyst crystal in one of the tourist stores. She loves to collect crystal stones.

… to be continued …

2022 · Arizona · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona 2008 (Part I)

Kevin, Katelynn and I spent three nights at the Grand Canyon. On the day of arrival, we put up the tent, checked out the Village and looked in the canyon from the South Rim. I remember very well how I reacted when I was standing at the rim for the first time. First, I looked all the way down. I have fear of heights, and for some reason it comforted me looking down. And as I went up with my head looking at this vast Grand Canyon, my jaw stayed in place wide open. My eyes began to water. And I must have been standing there like this for a while. Because Kevin asked me: “When are you going to shoot some photos?” Let me say something to you: If you ever need a reality check and you need to come back down to the carpet, go to the Grand Canyon. This is one of the most sacred places, which will definitely put you in your place as a human being on this beautiful planet. We are literally only a speck of dust.

The following day, we did some more hiking at the canyon. Katelynn got a Junior Ranger Patch for doing some research, with the help of her parents of course. Kevin and I learned a lot of fun facts about the canyon and its surrounding area as well. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be explained in adult words. It is nice, when it is as simple that even a 4-year-old can understand it. And we did a little tour with a Park Ranger. We really enjoyed it. And we look at the desert in a whole new way. Before the tour, I thought the desert was a dry, dead place. But the Park Ranger advised us that the desert is very alive.

… to be continued …

2022 · Days of The Week · Wildlife Wednesday

European Fallow Deer (Dama dama)

Fallow Deer at the Land Between the Lakes in Kentucky

The European fallow deer also known as the common fallow deer or simply just fallow deer (Dama dama) is a species of ruminant mammal belonging to the family Cervidae. It is native to Turkey and possibly the Italian Peninsula, Balkan Peninsula, and the island of Rhodes in Europe but has also been introduced to other parts of Europe and the rest of the world.

Outside of Europe, this species has been introduced to Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Cape Verde, Cyprus, Fernando Pó, Israel, Lebanon, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Morocco, New Zealand, Peru, Réunion, São Tomé, South Africa, the Comoros, the Falk Islands, the Seychelles, Tunesia, and the United States.

Resource: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_fallow_deer

2022 · Arizona · Days of The Week · My Travel Journal · Travel Tuesday · USA

Barringer Meteor Crater, Arizona 2008

Meteor Crater, also called Barringer Meteorite Crater, Coon Butte, Arizona Meteor Crater, or Canyon Diablo, rimmed, bowl-shaped pit produced by a large meteorite in the rolling plain of the Canyon Diablo region, 19 miles (30 km) west of Winslow, Arizona, U.S. The crater is 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) in diameter and about 600 feet (180 meters) deep inside its rim, which rises nearly 200 feet (60 meters) above the plain. Drillings reveal undisturbed rock beneath 700–800 feet (213–244 meters) of fill. The strata forming the rim of the crater are upturned and covered with the debris of the same bedrock, which shows an inverted stratigraphy.

Discovered in 1891, its age has been variously estimated at between 5,000 and 50,000 years. Large numbers of nickel–iron fragments from gravel size to 1,400 pounds (640 kg) have been found in a 100-square-mile (260-square-kilometre) area. The distribution and composition of several thousand tons of sand-grain size nickel–iron droplets indicate that they condensed from a cloud of metallic vapors. Surveys show only fragments within the pit, but the 1960 discovery there of high-pressure modifications of silica, helped to confirm the crater’s meteoritic origin, a position that had been argued for 27 years by Philadelphia mining engineer D.M. Barringer.

Resource: https://www.britannica.com/place/Meteor-Crater

◊◊◊◊◊

In May 2008. Kevin, Katelynn and I drove to Amarillo, Texas to get to I-40, which brought us through Albuquerque, New Mexico again. And from there it wasn’t too far to get to Arizona. We wanted to visit the Petrified Forest National Park first. But we arrived in Arizona in the wee hours of the morning. So, we decided to keep driving and take that National Park on the way back home.

Around 6 am, we arrived at the Barringer Meteor Crater. Katelynn just woke up in her car seat. And we still had two hours to wait, before the place operated. After we ate some breakfast we had in the cooler, I put some warmer clothes on top of my shirt and shorts on. It gets an itsy bitsy more frigid in the desert and at the higher altitude. Katelynn and I walked around for a little bit, while Kevin took a short nap behind the stirring wheel. (No worries! The Jeep was parked by the gate.) After sitting in the car for so long, it was nice to stretch out our muscles. I took a good look at the rim of the crater, and noticed how massive it was seeing it just from outside.

At eight o’clock the gate opened, and we could access the parking lot at the crater. After we paid the entry fee, we looked at some neat stuff, like the Apollo Test Capsule, the “Window to the Desert”, and the biggest fragment that has been found from the meteor, which impacted the area. While we waited for our tour guide, we could look outside a window to see the crater. Kevin and my jaws dropped. With being about 3,900ft (1,200m) in diameter and some 560ft (170m) deep, it is a huge hole in the ground. The tour guide told us stories about the impact of the meteor, a plane crash in 1964, Mr. Barringer’s findings, and the NASA training for the Apollo Missions to the Moon in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The tour and the higher elevation made us hungry. We decided to have lunch at the Subway inside the center, before we traveled to the canyon. By the time we arrive, our camping lot should be ready.

… to be continued …