Random (but not really)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Visiting Fairbanks: Trees

Because I’m me, the other thing I paid a great deal of attention to in Fairbanks was the trees. The boreal forest (Taiga) is beautiful.The trees are very different from what I’m used to here, mostly being black spruce, white spruce, and birch, and all of them tall with thin trunks.

2019-01-31_Chena_051

2019-02-01_Fairbanks_106

2019-02-01_Fairbanks_109

2019-01-29_Fairbanks_027

These last two are probably my favorite pictures of the trip.

2019-01-29_Fairbanks_017

2019-01-29_Fairbanks_019

I wish I’d been more acclimated to the cold, because I could have spent quite awhile wandering along this creek / stream and finding others like it. But hopefully we’ll get to visit again and I’ll be more prepared for the cold.

Written by Michelle at 8:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Alaska,Photos,Travel  

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Visiting Fairbanks: The Chena River

As I live along a river, I tend to orient myself to water. I found myself unable to do this in Fairbanks, possibly because much of the water was frozen. Also, because I didn’t walk as much as I normally do, because I wasn’t really acclimated to the temperatures during our short visit.

But I did get to walk along the river, which was good.

2019-01-29_Fairbanks_013

SO! MANY! DUCKS!

2019-02-05_Fairbanks_293

2019-02-05_Fairbanks_297

2019-01-31_Chena_069

2019-02-02_Fairbanks_115

2019-02-05_Fairbanks_286

Written by Michelle at 6:36 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Alaska,Photos,Travel  

Visiting Fairbanks: The Roads

If I’ve been quieter than normal recently, it’s because we were getting ready for our big trip–heading north to visit Tania in Alaska! HUZZAH!

My goals were simple: Spend time with Tania and see the aurora. Both goals were accomplished! Although all my pictures of the aurora were blurry and out of focus, I didn’t mind, since I actually got to see the aurora, and it was amazing.

If you’ve spent much time reading here, you know that we spend a lot of time driving WV roads. Which are pretty abysmal. So of course I was interested in the Fairbanks roads and how very different they were from WV roads. First, being covered in snow was normal. Second, the scenery was so different from what I’m used to, I kept starting at it in fascination.

The angle of the light also made things look even more gorgeous than they already were.

Here are some of the roads Tania drives regularly.

2019-02-01_Fairbanks_085

2019-02-01_Fairbanks_075

2019-02-01_Fairbanks_076

Even more exciting, I got to expand my skill set and drive Tania’s car for a bit!

This may seem a strange place to start with our trip, but in rural areas transportation is how communities survive (or not) so I can’t help but be fascinated.

Written by Michelle at 12:28 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Alaska,Photos,Travel  

Monday, October 22, 2018

Traveling WV: Paw Paw Tunnel

Technically, this is in Maryland.

But it is labelled the Paw Paw tunnel, and Paw Paw is in WV.

I can’t believe we’d never been there before.

When building the C&O canal, they were in a race against the completion of rail lines, so they decided the it would be easier to build a tunnel than to follow the river (understandable really, because the river is really twisty and the riverbanks weren’t necessarily good for canal building).

It’s pretty impressive.

2018-10-20_Paw_Paw_006

2018-10-20_Paw_Paw_059

We totally counted all markers and found the four markers for shafts.

2018-10-20_Paw_Paw_062

2018-10-20_Paw_Paw_055

2018-10-20_Paw_Paw_037

Oops.

2018-10-20_Paw_Paw_040

2018-10-20_Paw_Paw_036

2018-10-20_Paw_Paw_025

2018-10-20_Paw_Paw_023

2018-10-20_Paw_Paw_019

2018-10-20_Paw_Paw_017

2018-10-20_Paw_Paw_016

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Maryland,National Park / Forest,Photos  

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Traveling: Washington DC

Friends were in DC for work on an overlapping weekend, so I went down so I could see them while they were closer than several days drive away.

Saturday, it was supposed to storm all afternoon, so we went to the Air & Space Museum Annex, to which I had never been.

One of the things I especially wanted to see was the shuttle.

2018-06-09_Air_and_Space_4

The heat tiles were more amazing that I had ever thought!

2018-06-09_Air_and_Space_1

2018-06-09_Air_and_Space_15

Seeing the amount of wear on the tiles was both amazing and also made me a little sad, thinking that the loss of a tile caused the death of astronauts.

2018-06-09_Air_and_Space_17

One of the things I especially wanted to see was the restoration area. Since it was a Saturday, no one was working, but you could see what they were working on.

The restoration of a wood frame plane next to a WWII plane being restored.

2018-06-09_Air_and_Space_33

To give you an idea of how complex these various restorations can be:

2018-06-09_Air_and_Space_29

I was tickled (green, rather than pink) by this control panel.

2018-06-09_Air_and_Space_10

2018-06-09_Air_and_Space_11

Michael figured out what the black rectangles below the phones were. That amused me even more.

2018-06-09_Air_and_Space_13

An odd looking piece of technology….

2018-06-09_Air_and_Space_8

With a name that amused me highly.

2018-06-09_Air_and_Space_7

I also looked at the WWI and WWII planes, because it astounds me that men were willing to go up into the air in those flimsy things and fight each other. I mean, the WWI planes had synchronizes for their machine guns so they could shoot *through* their spinning propeller without shooting themselves out of the sky.

One thing that surprised me was that the space section actually depressed me quite a bit–so many of the items in that are were for warfare. It seems so wrong that the achievement of leaving the planet was a small thing compared to the amount of time and money spent planning ways to destroy other humans.

But after further thought, it was more than that. The WWI and WWII planes didn’t bother me, because I could see the skill and bravery required to go up in one of those machines and engage in a duel with the enemy. (I have tremendous respect for all soldiers who place their own lives on the line to protect people they’ve never even met.)

Guided missiles, however, are ways to kill people from a great distance, requiring nothing more of the the person firing the weapon than to push a button.

Remember: I’m a pacifist. I believe that I personally cannot lash out at someone–even in self-defense. (It’s far more complicated than that, but that’s a decent summary.)

From that perspective, the idea of being able to kill without putting yourself in danger is mortifying. I understand the need for self-defense, even if I feel it is not an option I can take. But to kill without being in personal danger or to protect someone in your presence–that gives me cold chills.

So to see how much effort has gone into killing with missiles left me feeling shaken.

But besides that, I really enjoyed the museum–and even more enjoyed spending time with my friends: neurondoc, Jeri, and especially MWT, who I’d never met in person before.

I’m so glad I was able to spend all day Saturday with them.

Written by Michelle at 6:47 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: DC,Photos,Travel,UCF  

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Traveling WV: The GPS Really Is Trying To Kill You

It’s a running joke between Michael and I about how often we ignore the GPS, because it’s trying to kill us.

Here’s a road that is at least marked as inaccessible to cars, but that didn’t stop three vehicles trying to go down the road during our brief walk. Often, the roads are NOT marked as such, so take caution when turning down any gravel road in WV.

Because your GPS really is trying to kill you.

It doesn’t look too bad here. We stopped one SUV of foreigners from attempting the road. (“No! Your vehicle will NOT make it!”)

2018-05-27_Blackwater_Falls_24

Dappled light makes it difficult to see this is a puddle stretching completely across the road. You cannot tell how deep it is. (It’s there year round. It’s deep.)

2018-05-27_Blackwater_Falls_15

This is the first section of road that causes people to turn around. Most cars do not have the clearance to go over those rocks. Lots of trucks don’t have the clearance to go over those rocks.

2018-05-27_Blackwater_Falls_17

It’d been raining recently, so the creek across the road was unusually high. But even in dry weather there is always a small creek there.

There was a truck in the creek when we walked back. I think he was just playing around, but he was slipping while trying to turn.

2018-05-27_Blackwater_Falls_22

Now we’re past the creek, and the road really turns into a muddy mess.

2018-05-27_Blackwater_Falls_23

This is why I always advise people to NOT take a gravel or dirt road, unless that is their destination. A short cut really isn’t. Especially if you don’t have cell signal and are trying to find someone to tow you out.

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,Travel,West Virginia  

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Baltimore: National Aquarium

I’ll be honest, I haven’t been to the National Aquarium for years, because many of the tanks used to be bare, and I really disliked that.

They have remedied that, which makes me very happy. Rocks and other items make the tanks look natural, and the octopus even had multiple toys.

Even better, they had a huge jellyfish exhibit, although to my sadness, they didn’t have benches where you could just sit and watch.

Poison dart frogs!

20180427_Aquarium_025

Puffins!

20180427_Aquarium_014

20180427_Aquarium_012

But most importantly: JELLYFISH

20180427_Aquarium_075

20180427_Aquarium_063

20180427_Aquarium_039

20180427_Aquarium_011

20180427_Aquarium_056

20180427_Aquarium_044

It makes me ridiculously happy that so many of the pictures I took of the jellyfish turned out.

Written by Michelle at 7:00 am      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Maryland,Photos,Travel  
Next Page »

Powered by WordPress

books main pictures cats e-mail