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Archive for October, 2011

For those who have been wondering why the heck I havent been posting from the Smoky Mountains— I wasnt able to make it to Tennessee. Its a shame, as I love my yearly fall trips to the Smokies, but I spent the past week down with a head cold.

Fall colors are arriving here on the eastern shore of Maryland. I hope to take advantage of the wonderful color we will have here and update the blog with new photographs and reports on local travels.

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‘Sunset Near Sage Creek’
My first evening in Badlands National Park was my first real chance to photograph during this last trip.  I’d spent most of the previous days of the trip focussed on driving.  I had settled into camp and ready to tackle both hiking and photographing. Climbing a few hills brought me to this location, where its calm and  beauty and colors made me think of my sister, Heidi, and her admonishments for not taking more landscape format photos. :)

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Home and Oh, So, Busy!

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

I’m playing a lot of catch-up at home with the things that have been neglected while I’ve been away. 

I’ve somehow managed to get through a few of these photos, though none are up on the web site quite yet.  But the work looks promising!

You may also have noticed, at the top of this blog, I’ve added a new page: “Businesses I Support”

There are so many wonderful restaurants, shops and businesses that contribute to the fun of my travels, I thought they all deserved some word-of-mouth.  I’ll be adding to the list, and adding info on each business as I go.

Back to work…I’ve got a lot to finish up before I head to Tennessee on the 21st!

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I was halfway through my last day of travel returning home from Denver when I called my husband to ask if he would check out Happy Cow  for a location for me to grab lunch in Columbus, Ohio. 

Loving Hut Vegan Cuisine was only a couple of miles off the highway, in Reynoldsburg outside of Columbus, and had really great reviews, so I headed there.

Loving Hut was easy to find and the interior was bright, clean and friendly. The staff was also very friendly. My waiter, a constantly smiling older gentleman, did not immediately know I was there and apologized profusely, though I’d only been waiting a few minutes. He kept calling me “lady” in such a way that I had to fight not to giggle every time.

Unfortunately, the food was far from excellent. I ordered the Crispy Spring Rolls, Kung Pao and Thai Iced Tea. The spring rolls were actually quite good, as was the Thai Iced Tea, which, though matcha, somehow reminded me of carrot juice (which I love). The Kung Pao, though, was easily one of the worst dishes I’ve ever eaten. The ‘crispy texted veggie protein’ was mostly tasteless and had an unappetizing combination of consistencies ranging from somewhat crispy to somewhat spongy. The vegetables had the taste one gets when you scorch the rice at the bottom of the pot, but try to salvage the unblackened bits – in other words, the burnt taste overwhelmed everything else. The jasmine rice was fine.

I was in a hurry to get back on the road and after he dropped off my food, my waiter never returned, instead sitting on the other side of the room, with his back to me as he watched television, so I choked down what I could, went to the register to pay my bill and chalked it up to them having an off day.

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The day started out with me sleeping an hour longer than planned because while I realized I was now in Central Time, I’d forgotten to tell my cell phone.  Oops.

But I was still up at 7 and out the door shortly after, having repacked my car, decided against the hotels free Maxwell House coffee in styrofoam cups and checked what brand the mattress was so I could buy one when I got home.

The drive was much easier than the day before, namely because there was no Kansas.  Besides a few stops for gas I kept a steady pace until I needed to find lunch.  My husband kindly checked Happy Cow for Columbus, Ohio, which was only an hour or so away at that point.   I’ll be posting a review for “Loving Hut”, where I had lunch, separately after I finish this entry.

After lunch I continued on.  I ignored my GPS in favor of staying on 70 all the way, avoiding Western Maryland where  twice in a row I’ve gotten bombarded my insane rains that made me pull over to wait them out.  I didn’t lose more than a few minutes in time taking 70 all the way and before I knew it I was in familiar territory.

I got home around 9:30 and spent very little time awake.  I awoke very confused at one point in the night wondering where the heck I was, which I found funny once my head cleared.  I guess I’d been away too long for my subconscious to remember my own bed. :)

So, now comes the huge task of processing all these photos, which must first be transferred from my laptop to my desk top.  I  better get to it…I’ve only got a couple of weeks before I’m heading down to Tennessee to photograph the Smoky Mountains and meet up with my dear friend, Pam.

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I departed Denver shortly before 5:30 this morning, then turned back 15 minutes later because I’d forgotten to return John’s apartment key.  Figures.  I was still on the road by 6.

I made decent time and rolled into Kansas a few hours later.  Immediately, Kansas set out to make a bad impression.  Road construction began for the first quarter to half a mile, dropping the speed limit to 60.  Then it returned to 75 for about half a mile.  Then construction for half a mile.  And back and forth for the first 7 miles or so.  Maybe they were trying to be funny.

Then the wind kicked up.  For hours I drove fighting gusts of wind every inch of the way.  My usual mpg dropped from 25-28 down to 17 through two entire tanks of gas.  Added to this fun was the adenture of dodging motor homes whose drivers couldnt contain themselves within thier own lanes for more than 20 feet at a time.

Then came the bilboards. There was the one  that read “Prairie Dog Town! Russian Boar! LIVE FIVE LEGGED COW! This Exit!” and then the ‘Adoption Stop a Beating Heart’ sign with bullet holes in it.

Also, I-70 is a toll road and the ONLY route I’ve taken which only accepts the transponder boxes from thier own states program.

Yes, Kansas was interesting.  I’ve been there and will likely never return. :P

I made it into Effingham, IL shortly after 9 pm.  The first hotel I’d noted was booked, but the second I tried was nicer and I got a better deal due the awesome desk guy who “pfffed” at priceline’s deal.

Up bright and early in the morning to head the rest of the way home!

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Day 35.

I spent yesterday working through some photos, running a few errands and then heading to Boulder for the night to check out the Avery Brewery with my friend Graham.  This morning I was back in Denver and preparing to head out.  Yup, its that time…I’ve got to hit the road back to Maryland.  I’ll be leaving early in the morning and I may, depending on how ambitious I feel with my driving through tomorrow, be back home Friday evening/night.

I’ve got ideas for things to do back on the East Coast and I’ll be visiting the Smoky Mountains in a few weeks, so the blog won’t be as quiet as it has been earlier in the year…

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