Buffalo, Paris, and Chimney Pots.

Twenty four years ago I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express on Chippewa and Main in Buffalo, NY,  and was intrigued by the adjoining roof top of an early 20th century two-story building, rimmed with tens of classic chimney pots. 

Years later while in France, the view from the Eiffel Tower brought those chimney pots to mind…

Just for perspective because I like the image, here is a view from the top-level of the Eiffel Tower on September 25, 2012. I wonder how many of these “pots” would be within this view! 

As usual, click on the image for a closer look, and thanks for viewing. Comments are always welcome. M 🙂

Breaking News Release: Two Young Women Arrested in Park

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Last night, police, acting on a tip, arrested two suspicious young women in the the park. “Boom Boom S——,” and “Wiggle Wiggle H—–,” were obviously taken by surprise on a raid conducted moments after a tipster, only identified as one of the perpetrator’s sisters, alerted authorities of unusual activity in the park. The pair were released after being charged with impersonating broccoli. They promised never to do it again.

A retrospect inspired some years ago by my 4 year old daughter; and best friend at dance school. Neither grew up to become either dance stars, …or green vegetables. 

Thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcomed. M 🙂

Ominous Vortex over New Jersey! Just Stormy Summer Weather… or More?

There are four images in this post!

This awesome sight at the Jersey Shore on July 19,  caused a little bit of concern….> 

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As part of a weather front ahead of thunder and lightning, the sea gull was also a bit mystified. >

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I watched curiously to see if a flying saucer or other extra-terrestrial visitor would emerge from the turmoil. >

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Was the shadow on the flag an ominous sign? >

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As usual, these hi res images can be explored in more detail by clicking, tapping or swiping; and comments are always welcome. Thanks for viewing.

Vincent van Gogh, Greatness and Demise; An Afternoon in Auvers, France, 2012

 

A flashback to an experience we shared on vacation two years ago.

Short on time? Just browse the images and click for full resolution. 

This post contains nine images.

As one of history’s creative luminaries, Vincent van Gogh, the Dutch post-impressionist painter, fit the irony linking talented genius with mental affliction, (as so well discussed in a recent article by Nancy C. Anderson, “The Atlantic” magazine, July/August 2014.) In his last days, at the age of 37, van Gogh resided in a small one room apartment above Auberge Revoux, an inn in rural Auvers-Sur-Oise, France, about 27 km NW of Paris. During the brief seventy days spent there in 1890, he was artistic greatness…..but dealing with demons,  eventually resulting in his probable suicide that spring. 

In September of 2012, Jeanne and I had the privilege of visiting this very special place, the experience intensified by gloomy weather befitting its historical nature. Below is a photographic taste of that day – a side tour from our Avalon Seine River cruise.

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Room #5, his room, preserved as it was with barely enough space for a bed and sparse furnishings – and place to hang and dry paintings

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Our small group walks along narrow lanes and thru evocative gateways as rain begins to fall under darkening skies…
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to the Romanesque/Gothic church, which was inspiration for van Gogh’s “Church at Auvers,” shown below.

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We continued with a slow-paced, contemplative walk up this primitive lane towards the hilltop cemetery, the weather suggestive of a day here 122 years earlier, imaged by the strokes of the painter – but emphasizing the brighter, sunlit foreground against the storm clouds as seen below.
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(This and other source credits to Wikipedia)
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And in the gentle peace of the light rainfall, but troubled sky, we paid tribute to Vincent and his brother, Theo, at the cemetery… their neatly tended graves seen below with one of our groups older members – he slowly walking past while paying his silent homage.
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As a post script, the man above, a solo traveler unknown to the 15 or so others in our group, caused some anxiety while we waited on the bus to leave the small village. The driver/guide and others looked in adjacent quaint shops and inns searching in vain, as the rendezvous time came and went. Perhaps in his early nineties, concern was universal among us. At the last moment, this quiet unassuming man appeared, slowly made his way down the bus aisle in silence as we all wondered where he had been. As he slowly and purposefully reached his seat – not even looking up – he unceremoniously said, “I’m sure you all want to know… her name was Annette!”

D-Day – Normandy Beach – 70 Years Later

June 6th 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the liberation leading to the end of World War Two. On the northern coastline of France in Normandy, nearly 4500 Allied troops lost their lives this first day among 12,000 casualties, – 2000 on Omaha Beach alone.

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A while ago we visited the region, including Omaha Beach, shown here. Peaceful, reflective… tourists mostly walk silently on the sands and among the memorials. These images seemed to support the long healing process and recovery these sands have seen – including the gulls above, the shells in the sand…

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The monument…

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But the exoskeleton below was hauntingly reminiscent of a skull… numbing!

Perhaps,  it was a sign… that the beach remembers!

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 Click on Images for larger view, and as usual, Thanks for Viewing

 

 

 

LETS GO TO THE TOP – A High Perspective (initial edition)

Some Close-Up Views of the Very Top of  Four Iconic Landmarks 

Can You Recognize These?

(Full images follow below)

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ONE – 2012
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TWO – 1975
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THREE – 1980
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FOUR – 2013

 

All four have two things in common:  New York City, (and at one time or another,) were the tallest buildings in the city.

Chrysler Building
Chrysler Building – 1930 to 1931
Empire State Building
Empire State Building – 1931 to 1972; 2001 to 2013
World Trade Center
World Trade Center  – 1972 to 2001

 

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One World Trade Center – 2013 to present

   

As usual, comments are always welcome.

THANKS FOR VIEWING

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROMANCING THE… SNOW – Travel Theme: Romance

Cold, disruptive, slippery, dangerous and beautifully romantic! That’s how I “Picture” this exceptional winter’s snow and ice storms. Part one (of two) is here: “The icing on the snow,” (storm # 11, but who’s counting anymore!)

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Above: A thick layer of ice coated one of the accumulating snow storms providing this glossy coating, as seen from Eagle Rock Reservation, East Orange, New Jersey. NYC is in view, about 13 miles (21 Km) to the east.

Below: 9/11 loved ones, are wonderfully remembered by this memorial. 

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Below: Snow and ice coated benches always present themselves well in the cold sunny days after a storm, and icicles confirm the brutal temperatures.Image

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Below: Sandy Paws the dog is easily supported by the crusted snow, and a slight glimmer of spring to come is captured in the Rhododendron’s bud.Image

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Alisa’s Travel Theme this week is “Romance.”

The Great American Road-Trip – Last Two Days, 10 and 11

Moments, in words and photos, of our 7704 mile (12,398 km,) 11 day trip across the USA and back in a 1965 MGB roadster.

This series began here

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Thanks!        Likes and Comments are the lifeblood of our work, and always appreciated

Approximate return route from San Francisco to New Jersey

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DAY 10:

Tuesday, Aug. 22nd, 1967      956 miles (1,539 km)    ~16 driving hours 

 Western Kansas to Ohio

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Sometime in the middle of the night, Tom moved out of our luxury duplex apartment (car!) to the spaciousness of the grass, but apparently had some issues with insects, as close examination of the photo shows a can of RAID nearby.

60 miles west of Hays, Kansas. Rest area on Interstate 70.   Another fine nights sleep, at roadside America

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I continued sleeping while Tom started us moving at about 8:45 AM CDT, our primary objective now was simply getting home. Our secondary objective was a much overdue shower, which might explain why Tom left me in the car overnight, and why we were grumpy. About two hours later we dropped down about 20 miles to Kanapolis State Park, with wonderful facilities including showers, and snacks on the edge of it’s lake. We spent about an hour there, before winding our way back up to Interstate 70 in Salina, myself behind the wheel.

 Kanapolis State Park, Kansas       Ice cream cones, $.15; Malts and shakes, $.30; Sundaes, $.20 to $.30

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The weather was nice; the top down, and Kansas was uneventful. The turnpike from Topeka to Kansas City was $1.10, fairly expensive. Tom would take the wheel again after I drove about 220 miles and by twilight we were crossing the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri on the Rt. 66/Rt. 40 bridge where we had a nice view of the new Gateway-to-the-West Arch, and Busch Stadium II; the latter lit up for a Cardinals game.

 Crossing the Mississippi, the new St. Louis Gateway Arch, and Busch Memorial Stadium II, under the lights.

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An incident happened right after the bridge. An over rambunctious group of drunk kids in a wreck of a car came along side (at 65 mph,) yelled obscenities, and threw a bottle at us. It missed, but for a long several minutes they were harassing us, Tom understandably mad as hell, even AFTER they sped away. It was an interesting way to break the tedium of driving! It also was similar, but very different from the malt shake incident in Las Vegas! 

Interstate 70 was not complete through most of Illinois, and US 40 was relatively slow. At one point in the night, my straw hat blew out of the car and was instantly run over by a large truck! Sympathetically, Tom went back, and we stuffed the remains in the trunk. I’m afraid that was the highlight for the roughly 350-mile nighttime drive across Illinois and Indiana. I do recall hearing a Chicago radio station, and the mention of “Cousin Brucie” the popular WABC-AM DJ from New York City. But for the most part, I was asleep as Tom did over 500 miles (804 km) before stopping 3 miles beyond the Indiana state line, in Ohio. It was about 2 AM EDT.

 

DAY 11:

Wednesday, Aug. 23rd, 1967   676 miles (1,088 km) ~12.5 hours  

Western Ohio to Home

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The highway rest area just inside Ohio was the best we had seen. Spacious, clean cut grass, beautiful. There is no picture, because we didn’t care! It was 7:00 AM; we were 700 something miles from home, and to us, akin to a hop, skip and jump. Rt. 40 and Interstate 70 traded places across the state, we gassed up in Springfield, 12.9 gallons, costing $4.80, and would do it again a couple of hours later in Pennsylvania.

Looking back at the Wheeling Tunnel, just east of the Ohio River

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About 150 miles further, now on the Pennsylvania Turnpike we drove through Rays Hill Tunnel, one of several along the highway.

Rays Hill Tunnel, Pennsylvania Turnpike near Breesewood

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 Historical Note: A year after we were here, Rays Hill Tunnel along with nearby Sideling Tunnel, was abandoned (1968) when a new 4 lane by-pass was opened. When this original section of the turnpike opened in 1940, it utilized several railroad tunnels bored in the early 1880’s through the ancient Appalachian Mountains in southern Pennsylvania. Ultimately its purpose, the South Pennsylvania Railroad, was never completed and the tunnels remained unused for 55 years. But for 28 more years they served as the new Super Highway’s right of way until its narrow two lanes proved inadequate for traffic volume. Of note in our 1967 picture above is the original stainless steel lettering. Today (2013) the tunnels are a biking and hiking treasure, maintained by the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy. (Credit to Wikipedia)

 Current (2013) map showing abandoned tunnels of the Pennsylvania Turnpike

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The final stretch of our adventure, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, we took Rt. 22 into New Jersey, to the Garden State Parkway, and arrived home in Bergenfield at 7:25 PM, after 676 miles (1088 km) today, and a total of 7704 miles (12,398 km) to complete our incredibly memorable trip of a lifetime. 

 Seconds after stepping out of the MGB – one final picture, dirt and all

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Some Statistics

Miles on odometer:           7704 (12,398 km) +  roughly 50 additional  miles on family miles tour in Los Angeles.

Most in one day:                 1118 miles (1799 km) 21 hours.

Total time:                          ~10 days, 19 hours

Total driving time:            183/2 = roughly 90 hours each

Average Gas cost:             $.409 per gallon

Highest:                               $.449  (Grand Canyon/Yosemite); $.439,  Flagstaff Arizona

Lowest:                                $.309 (LA); $.319 (Western Pennsylvania)

Gas and oil used:               289 US Gal., $117.80. 13 US Qts. Oil, Av. $.568  per quart

Average mpg                       26.8

All expenses:                       Food, room, purchases, entertainment, tolls,  film, etc.: (~$150 each.) 

Performance of car:          Exceptional. No issues except Pikes Peak; no  needed repairs; engaging to drive; and  surprisingly comfortable.

 

Thanks for your many likes, and comments and taking time to make  this project successful.

“Likes” and “Comments” are always appreciated.

Marty

The Great American Road-Trip – Day 5

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Just visit the photos, Thanks! and, comments are always appreciated

Approximate route of Day 5, 420 miles, about 12 hours

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Day 5:     

         Thursday, Aug. 17, 1967 – Las Vegas to Los Angeles via Hoover Dam

Waking up around 8:00 in North Las Vegas, Nevada, the small motel gave us our first good night’s sleep since leaving New Jersey. Outside, the temperatures would be well over 100 today and after driving past Fremont Street and the strip again, we headed out on Rt 95/93 towards the Hoover Dam area, some 40 miles to the south-east.

Our well appreciated $8.00 motel in North Las Vegas

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Hoover Dam (formerly Boulder Dam) was our destination, but a few miles before, we took a detour to a campground and swimming area on Lake Mead, the largest reservoir (by volume) in the United States, created about 32 years earlier when the dam was constructed on the Colorado River. It was refreshing to spend an hour there, our pace a bit more leisurely today. 

Boulder Beach on Lake Mead – a moment to rest, swim and cool off

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The world’s 7th largest kw capacity dam was not far, easy to find as high tension wires seemed to converge on that one point and dive into the base of the massive concrete structure. Spot parking allowed for rock climbing and pictures. (Historical Note: Today, (2013,) it is ranked number 60 in capacity – ref. Wikipedia)

Rt. 93 switch-backs down and over the dam to Arizona, with Lake Mead beyond

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Note the transmission lines taking power out of the generators below

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Walking across the dam afforded great views, but the best part was the many water fountains from which we drank plenty in the searing heat. (Historical Note: Narrow, twisty and fun Rt.93 was replaced in 2010 by a new through route, over a new bypass bridge.) 

Not keen on waiting in one of several hot and sweaty tour lines, we hastened back to the hot and sweaty car, retreating towards Interstate 15, about 30 miles west, towards Los Angeles. The super-highway connects Las Vegas with Southern California for several hundred miles through the barren, alien Mojave Desert.

Still in Nevada, the Mojave Desert is sand, dry shrubs, Joshua trees and intense heat

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The MGB, with about 25,000 miles on the odometer, had been running very well up to now, but this stretch would put it to the test. With a black-pavement road temperature well over 115 F (46.6 C,) the car’s water temperature was hugging the boiling point. Every slight rise  would tax it to its limits, with down slopes giving a few degrees relief. It was a tense, tedious, and extremely hot several hour stretch in mid-afternoon, with over-heated cars all along the shoulders and rest areas. The admirable, little car persevered, as did Tom and I. At the California line, we dared not stop the engine after  pulling over to savor the milestone. Both Tom and I were cooked by now, our canteens low and we gave-in to putting the top on for shade. (To increase open space in the car proper – behind the seats – we had been storing the normally folding top and frame in the trunk.) 

The sign was like a checkered flag, as…we had arrived. California, here we are, 2:15 PM, PDT, about 3400 miles in 4 1/2 days.

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At the small desert town of Baker, California, we spotted a soda machine in what appeared as an abandoned service station. It was not. Out of nowhere, a dusty, sort of ghostly-like older man, was …just there, by the old pumps, kinda shimmering in the heat! We did not need gas, and did not linger. Just got our cold sodas and…left. We do not have pictures!        Baker’s average daytime high at this time of year is 110 F (43.3 C) and it’s all time record is 124 F (46 C) making this one of the hottest places on earth.

140 miles from Las Vegas, is Barstow, where we would meet Rt. 66 again, merging as part of I. 15. It is the first of any sizable towns along our desert route, but still an hour or so till  the San Bernardino Mountains – and eventually, Interstate 10.  

The sign (right, below) tells it, and about 35 miles later,  we were in Los Angeles

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We arrived into “The City of Angels” at 6:20 PM, 3645 trip miles, with the still relentless, but smog-paled sun, glaring right down in our faces as the freeway pierced the city. The L.A. City Hall Building was familiar to us as the iconic symbol of the popular TV police-series, Dragnet. 

Soon we would meet and be welcomed with wonderful hospitality by two of Tom’s uncles, and their families in Van Nuys. After dinner and introducing us to lemon and orange trees by their backyard patio, Cousin Fred (and I believe his sister, and one of the uncles) would take us for a most impressive late evening tour of Hollywood, Century City and other highlights. It would be 1 or 2 AM before sleep, we the grateful guests in their home for the night.

Day 6: Los Angeles and The Pacific Ocean   http://wp.me/p37YEI-LQ