Day 3: Acadia National Park

I am up early – maybe emails woke me, maybe just my body rested enough after an early night. Either way I wake up refreshed. Read more of this post

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Day 2: Rockland to Bar Harbor

I wake early but fully rested, and – oh thank you Lord – the headache is finally gone. In fact, I feel better in every category. Read more of this post

Maine Day 1: Portland to Rockland

Technically I’ve been to all 50 states, but my visit to Maine, fuzzy at best in my memory because I was a child at the time, was a bit more “technical” than the rest.

So here I am, making this visit more official. Read more of this post

Day 3: Golden Circle (continued)

The long days and sleepless nights and trading being ice cold and then swelteringly hot inside (all those layers to keep putting on and off) conspire to make me sleep literally every time the bus moves more than 10 minutes. I want to stay up and see things, I just literally can’t.

We get to the Golden Waterfall. We need to put ice grips on our shoes now; it’s still colder here than anywhere we’ve been and the ground is sheets of black ice. Read more of this post

Day 3: Golden Circle

The temperatures keep dropping (and will as we travel farther away from Reykjavik throughout the day), but it’s our last full day on the tour and there is a lot to see… Read more of this post

Day 2: Reykjavik, Vikings and Wine

After we return from the Blue Lagoon, we all return to our respective rooms to pull ourselves together and prepare to go out.

A few hours later, we step out for a circuitous walk into Reykjavik for shopping and then a cab ride to the Viking House restaurant and hotel across town. Read more of this post

Day 1.5: Northern Lights hunt

We take a tour of Reykjavik but the overnight has taken its toll; I keep nodding off between stops to get out and see things.

4pm: sunset

Just as well; tonight will be a late one as the hunt for northern lights can run until midnight or 1am.

There are no guarantees. If we don’t see them tonight we’ll look again tomorrow, and if not we’ll try one last time the final night. Yesterday they were great, but past performance is no guarantee of future returns.

Still, the conditions are really good: 5/9 on the probably scale and clear skies over the area. We’ll head out past KEF airport into the dark and take our chances.

We pull out in time, scanning the skies even in the city lights. Our bus waits for another. We pull into a city lot for them…

I don’t know how long we wait; I fall asleep. It’s still Day 1, an interminably long day but hopefully worth it. I wake when we move again, the other bus still not anywhere to be seen.

There was just a super moon, and the sky is bright even outside the city. That will diminish how clearly we can see them, though our cameras might get them anyway.

No guarantees that we’ll see anything. Even if we do they could last seconds minutes or hours.

Our bus unloads us and turns off the lights. We are waiting in the dark and cold – oh so cold, even bundled. I’ve got a small tripod for my iPhone and the northern lights photo app loaded. It’s cold in my hands, even thru gloves. We don’t know which way to look, other than up. The second bus pulls in, lights on, unloading.

I start to think, if it could only last seconds, I don’t want to miss it because this bus still had its lights on… and then I have the most wonderful sense of assurance.

We are not going to miss it. God is going to show us this amazing part of His design and He knows that people are still arriving. His timing will be perfect as always.

The bus lights finally go out. We’re all spread out. The guides know what they’re looking for but most of us don’t other than it won’t be as colorful to the eye as it is in pictures. Opposite the moon it seems the sky is doing something, maybe, but maybe it’s my imagination. I take a picture just because I am not sure. I won’t see what I got until later.

Definitely a hint of green there

To our eye against the moonlight and dark sky it looks gray more then green but pretty soon there is a line of it clear across the sky

It could fade away but no, it spreads and more lines join and it dances in the sky and I laugh and laugh because God is sweeter and more gracious to me than I can describe, nor certainly ever deserve. To see it- well even if none of the pics come out I am so grateful!

The pics came out, it seems.

We are out there for hours and when we return they are still appearing in the sky even as close as our hotel.

But it’s cold and we’ve all had long, long days.

Bed will be another blessing.

First morning home

It’s quiet when I wake up. My eyes are still closed and my first thought is that it must be small hours, because there is no sound – no gurgle of coffee or the hushes of morning conversation. 

This wouldn’t be unusual: Most mornings I have awakened in small hours and put myself back to sleep, usually resulting in being among the last up and about.  Read more of this post

A week in Myrtle Beach

It isn’t a new destination for any of us, not by a longshot. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been, but it’s enough times that there was a pattern emerging of major career upheavals after every fourth visit.

(My company got bought while I was touring the Grand Canyon two years ago. I’m going to say that Myrtle Beach passed the torch.) ūüėČ

The weather was fine and sunny for the first few days, then overcast, then stormy, and then sunny and warm again.

And it all worked out pretty much perfectly.

There were fun and silly car games and beach days and arcade days and dinners at the places we traditionally try to fit in. (Chances are good that one of those is coming off the short list in future, the prices having stayed ridiculously low but the food quality seeming to have been reduced to match.) Read more of this post

Fly away home (if you can)

The Andes from above


My original flight plan would take me nearly 24 hours, inclusive of security lines and layovers, but on arrival to Miami I am able to get in an earlier flight, so I can already be home hours before my original flight would have been boarding. 

It’s a shock to the system, to get back on an American flight and the cramped space. Two days later I will hear something from the airlines – as they prepare to further restrict the space- about how passengers don’t mind because they don’t opt to pay more for a better seat. To which I call bullshit. Charging more for that space is a money-making device for the airline not a social experiment, don’t let’s kid ourselves, and there are certain fees we might avoid on principle in protest. (Example: I prefer and choose when I can the airlines that don’t charge for luggage, even if I’m not going to check a bag, for instance, and under no circumstances am I paying for a checked bag even if it means traveling that much lighter). In the same way that I might pay more to board early / ensure I can get my carry-on in the overhead compartment but, though it’s a distinction without a difference, I will promptly stop flying an airline that charges me for bin space. Count on it. 

I back that up with action: They supposedly get the best ratings of any major US carrier and invested a lot in improved customer experience (recent news articles notwithstanding) but there is one airline with whom MY experiences were so bad that I will not fly with them. Period. Even if it costs more. Even if it means having to make stops/layovers. If there is literally ANY other airline option, I take it. Because all I can do is vote my displeasure with my wallet. 

/End rant. 

In any event, it is good to be home. To shower in clean water. To be able to brush my teeth from the tap. To drink iced drinks and eat raw, fresh vegetables. ( Salad! Oh I missed salad! )

To sleep in my own bed. 

Yes!