From Wikipedia: “Tilting at windmills is an English idiom that means attacking imaginary enemies. The expression is derived from Don Quixote, and the word “tilt” in this context comes from jousting.
The phrase is sometimes used to describe either confrontations where adversaries are incorrectly perceived, or courses of action that are based on misinterpreted or misapplied heroic, romantic, or idealistic justifications. It may also connote an importune, unfounded, and vain effort against adversaries real or imagined.”
Here in the east we don’t have many, if any, opportunities to see wind turbines in the huge farms like they have out west. There are a few in eastern North Carolina and I’m sure more in other locations, but I haven’t come across them in the numbers that we encountered out west. I had seen photos of wind farms in the west, but seeing them in person made an even greater impression.
Wind turbines are not without controversy, certainly, but I find them to have a graceful beauty, spinning like a dancer in slow motion. I don’t profess to be an expert on wind turbines or any other methods of producing electricity. But as someone living within 20 miles (technically 20.5 miles) of two nuclear plants, two coal plants and a few other types, I think I would rather see a few dozen (or hundred) wind mills on my horizon than the steam plumes from the cooling towers of nuclear plants. They may not work here or make sense for an area as densely populated as Charlotte, but I see turbines as a viable alternative for producing electricity, particularly in rural areas such as Nebraska, the Dakotas and Wyoming where constant wind is a fact of life.
We were fortunate enough to come across a few sites at times when it was conducive to making photographs, and I hope I’ve done a reasonable job of presenting them.
I know this may seem like boasting, but Kathy & I had a very good year. Kathy is the recordkeeper and spreadsheet queen around here, and by her count we were away from home for 125 nights during 2019. The two questions we get asked most often by friends and neighbors are “how long are you home for?” and “where are you off to next?” We love it!
Yes, it has cost us some money, possibly more than our financial advisor thinks is prudent. But I’m the financial guy and manage the flow of funds, and with the good year the markets have had I feel confident that we’ve done the right thing. We didn’t retire to sit home and watch Jeopardy or Faux News. We retired to spend time together and see the world.
So – no apologies.
Highlights of the past year:
- 4 cruises for a total of 43 days
- Added 18 new states, for a total of 32
- Over 19,000 photos
- Almost 20,000 car miles
I admit that traveling over a third of the year might be overdoing it. I suppose the reaction (or over-reaction) to retirement is normal and to be expected. But having the time to do anything we want means we want to do everything! Frankly, the biggest challenge has been keeping our weight under control because of all the eating out. We essentially broke even for the year, which should probably be considered a win. But we’re always looking for ways to manage that, since being able to sustain that amount of travel requires being healthy, and one of the best ways to be healthy is to maintain healthy eating and exercise routines while away from home. We do great at home, but find old habits hard to break when we’re away.
So, what’s in store for 2020? We’ve got a few weeks scheduled in Florida in February, where we’re going to go “cruise ship hopping” and spend some time near the Everglades. Sometime in April we’re going to head toward the Southwest to bag a few more states and explore Route 66. We’ll be celebrating our 40th anniversary in October with a – what else? – cruise. But there are a lot of empty spaces on the calendar which we’ll be filling in as we get closer. The year is young!
I’ve included a few of my favorite photos from 2019 in this post, and as I’ve been doing lately, I have added some more galleries to my Adobe Portfolio site. This should cover most of the highlights from the year. So stay tuned! I think 2020 will turn out to be another interesting year.
I never get tired of walking around Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Kathy & I spent two days there prior to our recent cruise on Celebrity Summit. Every time we go I photograph things I have seen before, plus there is always something new to find. For this visit, we concentrated on the two forts, Castillo San Cristobal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro, both part of the San Juan National Historic Site and managed by the U.S. National Park Service. So we were able to use our newly-acquired lifetime pass for admission and gather the appropriate stamps in Kathy’s Passport book. And of course we managed to wander around town a bit.
As I have been doing, I have posted a more complete collection of my photos from Old San Juan on my Adobe Portfolio site, with just a sample of some of the more “artsy” photos here. Take a look and tell me what you think!
Kathy & I recently returned from our most recent adventure, 14 days on the Celebrity Summit cruise ship out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. One of the downsides of cruising close to or during the holidays is that it compresses the holiday “to-do” list just a little. I added another 3500 photos to my inventory and am working my way through them. But I see the light at the end of the tunnel! 😉
Years ago I hung out with a bunch of guys who were pilots. Some of them owned their own planes – small homebuilt planes or private planes like a Piper Colt or Ercoupe. I actually got my own private pilot license, although I haven’t actually driven a plane in about 30 years. Photography is a very economical hobby compared to flying! But I still like planes, especially big noisy ones. 😉
One day a bunch of us were talking about going to the annual EAA Fly-In in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. For a week at the end of July, the EAA “AirVenture” as it is now called, is the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration®. Kathy was understandably skeptical about the idea of spending a week at an airport with a bunch of airplane geeks, so she asked, “is there anything to see there besides airplanes?” One of the guys looked up and said to her in all seriousness, “well yeah, there’s parts!” 🙂
We didn’t see many airplane parts on our western road trip, but we did see lots of planes. We visited the static displays at Scott Field in Illinois and Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota. There are a few photos here, but for those who need to see more, I’ve posted a gallery of airplane photos on my Adobe Portfolio site.
For golfers, this would make a great Par 3 hole, although it might be a little tough to get your ball back. 😉
I hardly ever see film anywhere any more. So I was a bit surprised to see this at a gift shop at Wall Drug. I didn’t check the expiration date. I wonder if they also sell Kodak mailers for processing? 😉
I’ll be the first to admit that we didn’t come anywhere close to doing Montana justice. We basically cut enough of the corner between Wyoming and North Dakota to count it as a “visit” (even still, it was 300 miles!) but purposely decided ahead of time that it was a state we would revisit later to explore in more detail.
Our visit was essentially limited to a stop at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. It was a cold, wet day with the precipitation fluctuating between rain and snow, and my photos reflect that. While I’m sure that sunny weather like we saw for most of our trip would have made it more beautiful, the gloomy weather made for appropriate conditions at a place that has such a dark role in American history.