Sunday, August 30, 2015

Photo-of-the-Week #226 Security With Style, Charleston, South Carolina, December 2004

There are bars and there are bars. No, I'm not talking about places you imbibe adult beverages or the kind you find in correctional institutions. I'm talking about the kind homes and businesses install on their windows and doors to keep the occupants of the house or business safe and secure from theft and physical harm. And who would perpetrate such theft and physical harm? They are the individuals who may patronize the bars where one imbibes alcoholic beverages and who often end up behind the bars in the correctional institutions.

Charleston, South Carolina is a city with a long history, including being recognized as the location of the start of the U.S. Civil War. It's a city of considerable charm. Many parts of the city feature homes and commercial areas dating back well over a hundred years and in many cases over three hundred years. There is an elegance in this city reminiscent of the "Old South." The wrought iron stylized bars on this window are indicative of the Old South and that elegance.

No plain bars on my windows, please. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Photo-of-the-Week #225 New York From The New Jersey Palisades, Northern New Jersey, October 2013

This photo is self-explanatory. During the second of my two New Jersey 2013 treks, this one in October, I was again retracing many of the "footsteps" of my youthful days growing up in Northern New Jersey. The actual purpose for this trek was to attend a wedding on the eastern end of Long Island. I had completed that part of the journey just before I was back in Jersey and cruising up along the Palisades (fairly sheer cliffs on the northern New Jersey side of the Hudson River).

As the sign indicates one can see a lot from this overlook on the edge of the Palisades. While I was only about 15 miles from where I lived in Clifton, New Jersey as a kid, I didn't get to this specific overlook very often back then. I did spend more time a few miles further south in the Fort Lee and Palisades Park area of the Palisades with the summer job I had during the summer breaks while attending college.

You can tell by the fall colors that this was definitely that time of year. Despite the fact this region is one of the most densely populated parts of the U.S., there is still a lot of wooded area. Some of the views along the Palisades are spectacular during the fall.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Inverter Reports: Thor TH400 and Bestek MRI10011

I have been buying and using all kinds of equipment, accessories and devices for my personal use in technology and in equipping my van, aka My McVansion, as an on the road, mobile tiny house. I've generally researched the items before making my purchases and, so far, I've made, what I would say are, excellent choices. It's time for me to share these items with you.

I have purchased two inverters for my van as seen in this photo. The inverters are mounted on a piece of plywood that covers my 8D8A 245 AH, sealed gel cell house battery. They are located in the storage area under my bunk. Both inverters came from Amazon after researching for best value and reliability.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Photos-of-the-Week #224 - Scenes From The Past, Asbury Park Palace Casino & Laingdon Hotel, Asbury Park & Ocean Grove, New Jersey, June 2014

Some things seem to pass the test of time like the Pyramids in Egypt, the Great Wall of China and a city like Venice, Italy. The U.S. isn't near as old as these other examples, but there are still some places that have that certain historic aura. Parts of the Jersey Shore are like that. For readers who are not from New Jersey, the Jersey Shore is the name used for at least a century for  the entire 141 mile New Jersey Atlantic Coast. You may also hear the phrase "down the shore" commonly used by those who frequent this major eastern resort area. And, yes, there was a cable TV show titled "Jersey Shore." Three guesses what it was about.

The photo above is what remains of the historic Asbury Park Palace Casino. To the very right edge of the photo you can see just a small portion of what was known as the Carousel Building where an historic merry-go-round resided for decades from the time it was originally built. The structure, or what remains of it, except for the part of the complex that extended out onto the beach and has been demolished, is undergoing restoration.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Photos-of-the-Week #223: Sweet Memories--Fall On The Ranch, Winchester, Virginia, October, 2008

Today's photos are about reminiscing. It's just nice to be able to stop, relax and recall some wonderful past memories. This is a photo I shot along the front fence line looking north with the early morning sunrise to my right and the long, relaxed shadows. It's obviously the fall of the year with the resplendent colors Mother Nature reveals during this season as the northern hemisphere prepares for the coming winter and its muted tones.

The ranch provided so many awesome Kodak moments. The rolling pastures, the stark black fences, the beautiful forested areas, lots of different kinds of wildlife and birds including eagles and hawks. Of course, the horses in the pastures were a subject unto themselves. They are not pictured in this photo.

This photo is the old ranch house with the morning sun lighting it up. This was during my last month living on the ranch, so it's particularly poignant. If you look closely, you'll see "stuff" on the porch I was eliminating through "moving sales" during this period. I have so many fond memories of standing (and sitting) on this porch in the early morning. It was glorious and the view was mine, all mine, for about six years of my life.

I also have fond memories of sitting on this porch in the evening as the sun was setting. The house faced east, so the sunset was behind the house and it was all wooded back there, so I didn't get to see the actual sunsets. But, Nature was kind and usually reflected the beautiful colors, albeit a bit more muted, in the front of the house.

Especially pleasant times were discussing any topic, typically, not earth shaking, with my buddy from our Air Force days, sitting on the porch in the evening and sipping a glass of 16 year old, single malt Scotch. Those were grand days. Dave and I speak of those days from time to time and how we miss them.

But, this is not the only beautiful place I've experienced, so, while it's nice to stop and reminisce once in a while, I look forward and onward to more awesome vistas.  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Photo-of-the-Week #222 -- Saved by a Song, Winslow, Arizona, June 2010

Here I am, "Standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona" on the legendary road from Chicago to the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, California, Route 66. As you can see, Route 66 runs through the Main Street, downtown area of Winslow.

Most people of an age remember Nat 'King' Cole's timeless hit song, "Get Your Kicks On Route 66." Cole did his 1946 version of the song the year it was written by Bobby Troup. It may be the most remembered version of the song. Troup's wife, Cynthia, actually came up with the title of the song based on a trip she and her husband took from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles. The song has been recorded by scores of artists and groups since then including The Rolling Stones. The highway even had its own TV drama from 1960 to 1964, titled "Route 66" starring Martin Milner for the entire series and George Maharis for the first three years and Glenn Corbett for the final year.

Yet, despite the fact that Route 66 goes right through Winslow, there was no mention of the small town in the song lyrics. Also, not one episode of the 116 shows from the Route 66 TV series was ever filmed in Winslow. Shows were shot on location all over the U.S. The majority of the shows were filmed in towns and cities I've been in during my life. Many of those cities were hundreds or even a thousand or more miles from Route 66. Winslow just didn't seem to have the appeal of Flagstaff or Kingman.

Then, along comes a group of troubadours by the name of the Eagles. Glenn Frey, one of the founders of the group, co-wrote a song with Jackson Browne titled, "Take It Easy." Browne started writing the song for himself, but couldn't come up with a second verse that worked. Frey liked what he heard and saw and convinced Browne to let him finish the song. The rest is history. "Take It Easy" became the Eagle's first hit single. And, though the name Winslow, Arizona is only mentioned one time in the second verse of the song, it has immortalized this little town that has all but been bypassed in time by Interstate 40.

So, what happens when you write a song with a name of a small Arizona town in the lyrics? First, a park is built in the center of the tiny town immortalizing "Standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona." A life sized bronze statue by sculptor Ron Adamson, is erected to immortalize the song's singer, Glenn Frey. A brick wall is erected with a trompe l'oeil mural by artist John Pugh, depicting the scene of standing on the corner when a flatbed Ford driven by a blonde girl drives by, reflected in the window of the storefront in the mural. And tourist trap stores capitalize on the name along with all kinds of knick-knacks, memorabilia, tee shirts, etc. spring up and this is the main thing . . . thousands of tourists flock to the little town each year to "Stand on the Corner" in front of the mural and next to the stature of Glenn Frey while their photo is snapped. It doesn't hurt that the huge Route 66 U.S. Highway shield is painted in the middle of the road at that particular intersection.

I'm sure Jackson Browne, Glenn Fry and the rest of the Eagles had no idea the impact that one line in a light rock song would have and, quite likely saved the small town of Winslow, Arizona. It's just another of the interesting things one learns when living free and traveling this country (or the world).