Tag Archives: 2022

Hawaii Five-Oh!

Early morning light at the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, Maui

Well, we made it! Kathy & I arrived on Maui this past Tuesday, and that marks our 50th state visited. We’ll be here about 10 days, home on Friday, March 4.

We’ve got a pretty busy schedule and I’ve been taking a lot of photos. But I don’t think I’m going to spend much of my time at the computer, so here are a few shots from our first evening and first morning to give you all something to look at.

The scenery here is amazing, the people are terrific, the weather is beautiful and we are eating lots of fish. I love Poke, and like lobster in Maine, Hawaii is the place for Poke! 😉

Early morning light on the beach near the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, Maui
Early morning light on the beach near the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, Maui
Early morning light on the beach near the Fairmont Kea Lani Hotel in Wailea, Maui
Early morning light on the Maui shoreline near Wailea
Early morning light on the Maui shoreline near Wailea

Something In Red

Siena, Italy

These aren’t all “decor” photos, but they are RED!

Tom’s Mustang at the Davis General Store in Croft, North Carolina
Karman GhiaCars & Coffee in Charlotte, NC August 3, 2013
Ferrari
Red Corvette
National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky
St. Petersburg, Florida
John Hippley gardens and public park in Columbiana, Ohio
Videographer aboard Sea Princess departing from San Francisco, California
Ship’s photographer in Victoria British Columbia
Skagway, Alaska
Neil’s Harbour, Nova Scotia
Motif #1 at Rockport Harbor, Rockport, Massachusetts
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Loch Katrine, Scotland
Tabasco Factory in Avery Island, Louisiana
“Big Red Lighthouse” at Holland State Park in Holland, Michigan
Fall Colors near Linville Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Hollywood Beach, Florida
Golden Rock Plantation Inn in Nevis, West Indies

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Magic Wings Butterfly House, Durham, North Carolina

Going with the green theme on a Friday!

Golden Rock Plantation Inn in Nevis, West Indies
Little Glade Mill Pond Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway MP 230
Romney Manor, home of Caribelle Batik on the island of St Kitts
Key West, Florida
Romney Manor on St Kitts, home of Caribelle Batik
Jungle Gardens in Avery Island, Louisiana
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Limberlost Trail, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Morris Childers’ 1938 Chevy
John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum, Waterloo, Iowa
Green Giant Statue, Blue Earth, Minnesota

“Big Daddy” Don Garlits’ Museum of Drag Racing

“Big Daddy” Don Garlits himself! Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida

Whew! After the (not) overwhelming response from my last post I needed a break. Actually, I just kind of got distracted and forgot that I hadn’t finished the series from our Florida trip.

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida

If I had any boyhood heroes that weren’t astronauts, one of them would certainly be drag racing legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits.  Garlits’ name is to drag racing fans what Richard Petty’s or Mario Andretti’s names are to stock car and Indy car racing.  Old fans, at least. 😉

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida

As we were driving past Ocala, FL on I-75, I saw a sign that said “Drag Racing Museum Next Exit.” Then I saw whose museum it was! We didn’t have time to stop on our way south, but made a point to visit on the way back home from St. Petersburg. Yes, it was another museum, and art of a different kind than painting and glass! And of course Kathy was thrilled to have something else to look at besides airplanes. 🙂

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida

Here are way too many photos from our visit. But there were way too many cars, and even this is a small sliver of what we saw.  Highlight of our visit, of course, was that “Big Daddy” himself was there, giving a personal tour to a small group of fans. We listened to a few stories before they disappeared behind a door that said “Employees Only.”

Garlits has assembled an impressive collection of not only his own cars, but cars from the history of drag racing.  And that is just in one building! A second building houses hundreds of mostly stock cars from the 30s forward. A few even older than that. Many of the cars are from Garlits’ personal collection, but a lot of them have been donated over the years by thoughtful and generous owners. We spent a couple of hours there. I could have spent longer, but we needed to move on up the road. So we could get home just in time for a winter storm!

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida

Enjoy the photos!

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala, Florida

Thoughts On Personal Opinion And Individual Choice

Sticker Shock

Kathy and I were walking through the neighborhood yesterday and passed a neighbor taking out her trash.  “Let me ask you a question,” she said as we walked by. She then proceeded to ask a question (it was related to Covid), but asked it in a way that indicated that she wasn’t looking for our opinion – she was only looking for an opportunity to tell us hers.  We listened politely for a couple of minutes, uttered a couple of pleasantries, then continued our walk. I then decided to add Covid to the list of things I don’t discuss with others, which includes religion, politics and money.

Social

A day doesn’t go by without someone posting on antisocial media that they are “quitting” something.  The latest thing is Spotify, which I think is ironic because they cite a couple of musicians – who are famous and opinionated – quitting because of some other famous and opinionated guy who they disagree with. Also ironic is these folks, some of whom had previously “quit” Facebook, post about it on Facebook. As an aside, I wonder how many of these former listeners were ad-supported listeners and never actually paid any money. Just yesterday someone announced that they were quitting Facebook and Instagram because their account was “hacked.” It probably wasn’t, but anyway…. There are plenty of reasons to actually quit Facebook, and privacy and security are two of the biggest.

Old Rockers

It is fortunate that we live in a country that allows for personal opinion and individual decisions. Personal Freedom, we call it.  Some folks carry things a bit too far, some way too far. But everyone has the ability to have their own opinion, influenced by whatever influences them and using whatever ideas and facts they are comfortable with. Where things get really sideways is when someone feels that others’ opinions should be the same as their own, and if they aren’t the others are “wrong” and feel the need to “prove” or “fix” it.

Hosed

Right and wrong is often a continuum, not just a Yay or Nay, Yes or No. There are some real extreme opinions everywhere.  I hesitate to use the words that come to mind because it would imply judgement, and I don’t wish to judge. Every position is someone’s Right and someone else’s Wrong. Suffice it to say that it is possible to find someone who you align with, regardless of where you fall on a given issue. The trick is to make it our own choice, not someone else’s that has been imposed on us.

Ball point

Since Spotify is the flavor of the week, I’ll use that example.  I am an avid listener of Spotify and use it daily. I pay for a subscription to support the company and so I can listen without advertising (I also pay for ad-free XM, Pandora and Jazz Radio – all for a fraction of what cable TV would cost).  I play Spotify on my computer, in the car and through Sonos.  I love that I can find just about any album ever made and listen to it online, for less than the cost of a CD or download each month. I even listen to a few podcasts through Spotify, (although my favorite one hasn’t posted since May 😉 ).

Dirty Book Sale

There are lots of things I don’t listen to on Spotify, and probably a lot of things I would find annoying or even offensive. But that is the case with all media.  There are even people at the NY Times and Washington Post I disagree with, but I still subscribe because overall I find value. A lot of attention is currently being focused on one person, and I know the name but have never been interested in listening.  A lot of people are fans and Spotify paid a bunch of money to carry his program, some of which comes from my subscription money. But as long as the service gives me what I want and costs a reasonable amount, I’ll stay with it. I know that a lot of musicians don’t love Spotify because they don’t care for the payment structure, so they also choose. Hopefully they can do better on their own or with Apple Music, Amazon or Tidal, but those companies aren’t exactly known as being artist-friendly either.  But they – and we – can choose.  Vote with our feet, as it were.

Two Windows, Salisbury North Carolina
For Sale or Rent
Salisbury, North Carolina

Should there be some kind of limits on content? Probably, but who gets to decide? Whose “facts” are we going to base our decisions on? There is a fine line between content moderation and censorship – anyone tasked with that role is going to have their own biases.  We already can’t agree on anything, so trying to limit content would likely just make things worse.

The Boys. Washington, North Carolina

Anyway, listen on! Be polite to your neighbors regardless of their opinions.  But have a pre-rehearsed statement that allows you to excuse yourself when the conversation gets uncomfortable.  And perhaps don’t walk through the neighborhood at 3:00 on Trash Day. That’s  the time the HOA says you can put out your can and by 3:15 half of them are out!

Doing The Bada Bing Thing

When a restaurant bills itself as “The Best Italian Restaurant in St. Petersburg” and is walking distance from your motel, you need to go, right?  Such was the case with Gratzzi Grille.  Yeah, maybe the name isn’t spelled ‘correctly’ but I’ll bet it gets pronounced correctly!

One of the items on their menu is what they call ‘Cavatelli Bada Bing.’  It’s prepared tableside by one of the owners, and uses a lot of flaming vodka to prepare a very cheesy, very delicious cavatelli dish.  I had to try it! It’s a bit more of a show than it is an example of fine Italian cuisine, but it was fun.

I didn’t take photos or videos, because I just wanted to watch.  But the video below shows it better than anything I could have shot anyway.  And the guy doing the cooking is the guy who did mine.

And that’s the Bada Bing! 🙂

YouTube player

A Visit To The Dali’ Museum – St. Petersburg

The Helical Staircase in The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida

Despite being a photographer for years, I’ve never had much more than a passing interest in art, and artists, in general.  Sure, I’m aware of a lot of the famous names.  We’ve attended galleries and shows, and even a few art auctions on cruise ships.

The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida
The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida

After visiting The Dali’ – the museum dedicated to art by Salvador Dali’ – I now know that Dali’ was much more than the guy with the weird mustache that painted even weirder pictures.  After reading and learning about the surrealist movement and the motivations and inspirations behind it, it starts – starts – to make a bit more sense.  I have to believe that substances of some kind must have been involved.

“The Hallucinogenic Toreador” The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida
The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus. The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida
The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida
“The Ecumenical Council” The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida

Admittedly, though, seeing Dali’s art in person doesn’t really make it easier to understand or explain the imagination that must have been crucial to developing the ideas and concepts that resulted in this work.  But that is what genius is.

We missed by a week being able to see work by another famous artist – Picasso.  A Picasso exhibition was opening the week after our visit.  That would also have been interesting, but will have to wait for another time.

Dali’s Galacidalacidesoxiribunucleicacid (Homage to Crick and Watson). The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida

Visiting both the Dali’ and the Chihuly museums is a strong reminder that there are lots of fine and worthy galleries everywhere.  Charlotte even has a number of them, and we need to keep that in mind as we think about things to do and places to go.

“The Ecumenical Council” The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida

One of the other positive things I found in both museums is that in each of them, signs said that “Photography is encouraged!”  Of course they want you to tag them on social media, but that’s OK.  It was a welcome approach in this age of restrictions and paranoia.

The Helical Staircase in The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida

Dale Chihuly: A Master Of Glass

Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida

One of the highlights of our visit to St. Petersburg was The Chihuly Collection, part of the Morean Arts Center.  I’ve been familiar with Chihuly’s works for years, of course, having seen pieces in several locations throughout the country.  There was an exhibit in Asheville some time ago, but we didn’t make it to that one.  Our most familiar example is the ceiling in the visitor center at Makers Mark Distillery in Kentucky.

Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida

I suppose all of Chihuly’s works are portable in some way, although the large chandeliers and huge static pieces would require a bit of planning, effort and logistics.  It was nice to see such a nice selection all in one place.

Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida

One tip I learned at the Dali’ museum (which we visited before this but I’m going out of order) was to be sure and watch the video presentations.  Although the video room at The Chihuly Collection comes near the end of the exhibit, it is still worth taking the time to learn more about the person and the process, both the artistic process as well as the actual making of the art.  Quite the place!

Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Glass works by Dale Chihuly at The Chihuly Collection at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida

Exploring St. Petersburg, Florida

Monument commemorating The St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line, the world’s first airline. On the pier in St. Petersburg, Florida

As I mentioned in a previous post, once we found out that our cruise had been cancelled, we began looking for something interesting to do for a few days.  We originally looked into a beach resort, but the temperature forecast – while warmer than North Carolina and a lot warmer than places farther north – did not seem to us to be warm enough for beach time.  Maybe it was just a letdown from not being able to go to Cozumel? 😉

Hampton Inn. St. Petersburg, Florida
Hampton Inn. St. Petersburg, Florida
Railing shadows. St. Petersburg, Florida
Railing shadows. St. Petersburg, Florida

We settled on St. Petersburg for a number of reasons.  We had never been there, it is on the water (Tampa Bay), has a number of interesting museums and looked to have some interesting restaurants.  We found a Hampton Inn right downtown near the waterfront for a reasonable price, and headed that way after our time in Lake Wales.

Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida

We found St. Petersburg to be a youngish town, and in a lot of ways it reminds me of Fort Collins, but with water instead of mountains, sandals instead of hiking boots.  There is a vibrant arts scene there, plenty of public space, a good selection of restaurants of all kinds, and a pretty open and accepting mindset toward people of all kinds, ages and preferences.  We really felt welcome there.

Teak Restaurant. On the pier in St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Pete Pier. St. Petersburg, Florida
Mural at the St. Pete Sailing Center. St. Petersburg, Florida
Duke Energy Center For The Arts. St. Petersburg, Florida
The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum). St. Petersburg, Florida

After visiting a town, Kathy & I often wonder aloud about how it would be to live there.  The downtown area has plenty of condos and apartments, and there were at least two grocery stores within easy walking distance of our motel.  With the restaurants, shops, waterfront and museums, there would be plenty to keep anyone occupied. Of course we aren’t looking to relocate, but the hypothetical is still interesting. It looks like it would be pretty expensive, and one of the things we love about where we are is that it is not expensive, which allows us to do the travel we do.  So we visit!

This boat owner is not going to be happy! Pelicans. St. Petersburg, Florida
Wild Nanday Parakeets In St Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida

I’ll write separately about the museums, but wanted to share a few of the photos I made while wandering around the town on our various outings.  We had lovely weather which helped a lot.  There is nothing like a blue sky and sunshine to provide a feeling of warmth, especially when it is 25 degrees with snow on the ground as I write this!

Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Fountain in South Straub Park. St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Internationally renowned artist and Tampa Bay native Janet Echelman has created one of her famous billowing net sculptures to dazzle Pier visitors. “Bending Arc” measures a massive 76 feet at its highest point and 428 feet at its widest and is perpetually in motion with the wind. The artist titled the sculpture Bending Arc in reference to MLK’s words: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” St. Pete Pier, St. Petersburg, Florida
Teak Restaurant. On the pier in St. Petersburg, Florida
Skyline from the Teak Restaurant on the pier in St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida
Mural at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida
Building. St. Petersburg, Florida

In Lake Wales, Florida: Bok Tower Gardens

The Singing Tower. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida

We had driven past the entrance to Bok Tower Gardens several times, but it took us until the 4th visit to our friends Bill and Cathy to actually get there.  It is quite a beautiful place!

The Singing Tower. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
The Singing Tower. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Door detail. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida. Edward Bok’s grave is marked by the flower basket
Sundial – what time is it? Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida

The tower and gardens are the creation of Edward Bok, who was editor of the magazine The Ladies Home Journal.  Ed gets most of the credit, although it appears that the money actually came from his wife, Mary Louise Curtis Bok.  Mary Louise was the only child of newspaper and magazine magnate Cyrus H.K. Curtis, founder of, among other publications, The Ladies Home Journal (coincidence? 😉 ).  With her daddy’s money Mary Louise founded the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.  She also did a lot of other good and charitable work, especially toward supporting talented young musicians.

Entry flower display. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Bamboo. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida

The tower and gardens are on the National Register of Historic Places and the grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr., son of Frederick Law Olmstead, Sr., known for his work with the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, Central Park in New York City and other important landmarks.

Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Photo spot. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Photo spot. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida

In 1925, Bok decided build a stone water-and-bell tower. He hired architect Milton B. Medary to design “the most beautiful tower in the world”. The 60-bell carillon occupies only the top of the Singing Tower, some of the rest contained large water tanks to irrigate the gardens, with Bok’s baronial study at the base. The 15-foot-wide moat surrounding the tower’s base now serves as a koi pond.

The Gothic Revival tower was built at the highest elevation of the site, south of a reflecting pool that reflects its full image. The tower is 51 feet square at its base, changing at the height of 150 feet to an octagon, with each of the eight sides 37 feet wide. It is built of pink Etowah marble and gray Creole marble, mined in Tate, Georgia, and coquina stone from St. Augustine, Florida.

The tower’s 60-bell carillon was cast by Taylor & Company, of Loughborough, England. The bell chamber is on the eighth floor of the tower, and just below it is a playing room that houses the clavier, or keyboard, that controls the bells. The bells are stationary, only the clappers move to sound them. The sixth floor is a studio for the carillon player. Recitals are given daily.  We got to hear one of the recitals, with the carillonneur easily viewed via video feed to a sitting area within view of the tower.

Peace Lantern. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Gate detail. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Gate detail. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Gate detail. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Gate detail. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Gate detail. Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Florida

We were very thankful to have visited the tower and gardens on a day that was relatively cool, with low humidity.  I can only imagine how warm and sticky it would get on a sunny day, especially in summer.

For anyone wishing to figure out the sundial, we visited on January 9.  By following the instructions below the dial, it is pretty easy to calculate the (approximate) time.  Yes, the answer can be found in my metadata (convert from GMT). 🙂

I haven’t felt especially wordy lately so I haven’t been posting much.  But I did finish processing the photos from our recent visit to Florida.  I have posted a gallery on Adobe Portfolio of a selection of all of my photos from this trip.