Two Tales of Two Cities

NORLINS

What do you do if you have 5 hours to see all that New Orleans has to offer? Well, I did what I could. I saw Bourbon Street, tried to take some artsy photos, watched some street performers, ate some beignets (YUM!), waited in line for a fancy restaurant, ate crawfish etouffe, gumbo, and jambalaya, and drove around looking flood damage.

Yep, if I go back, I will do it in a little more organized fashion, and maybe even have a plan, but until I do make it back, I've at least got a frame of reference for when all those saints go marching in.
SAN ANTONE

I last went to San Antonio 22 years ago or so. Needless to say, I don't remember much (except some vague recollection of the movie Cloak and Dagger). Luckily, I had the chance to refresh my memory with a quick visit. We saw the Alamo* and the riverwalk.

Then someone on the street looking for a fight decided to punch me in the face 2 times. That's a first. It turns out that it doesn't feel so great. Luckily, San Antonio's finest* were right around the corner, so Mr. Firsticuffs shan't be bothering the nice River Walkers any longer.

Tuesday December 29 2009File under: travel, USA

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Bike Trip Recap

Start point:Pensacola, FL
End point:Slidell, LA
# of day:5-ish
# of nights:4*
Total miles travelled:200
Average miles per day:40
Actual mileage breakdown per day:18, 82, 28, 40, 30
# of states visited:4
# of geocaches found:4
# of all you can eat buffets:2
# of all you can eat buffets that were a bad idea:1
Ratio of angry horn honks to supporting honks:3:1
# of abondoned water parks explored by cover of darkness:1
# of days until my knees are regularly functinoal again:5? 15? 50?
# of photos taken:Not nearly enough
But still: x-mas beach fire, giant gorgeous tree in Bay St. Louis, frontage roads make me happy, drying clothes after a storm, on a ferry, biking rocks.

Sunday December 27 2009File under: travel, USA

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Travel Self Portraits

I've been criticized in the past for taking (or at least posting) too many self portrait style photos. I see the issue and how it can seem very egotistical. But I would like to make a defense.

Traveling alone means you are the only one taking pictures (unless you are the type to flag down a passer-by to take the shot, which I try to avoid but occasionally succumb to). So that means any photo of yourself is going to be self portrait style. I personally like photos with people in them more than just landscape shots or whatever. For example, I like this better than this, and this better than this. Furthermore, I feel the need less to explain a photo if I'm standing in it, as in the photo at the right: you can tell that I'm stoked to be getting fresh orange juice, eh? Just a picture of an orange pile wouldn't be the same.

Anyhoo, this was meant to be a dumping ground for a few of the self portraits I've taken recently, so here they are (with a mini-defense about their purpose): "hey look, I bought a bike" and "since sunset pics rarely turn out with my camera, maybe if I reflect it off my sunglasses".

I could go on about my defense of self portrait pictures, but I won't. Instead, I'll just concede; yep, I'm just that egotistical.*
Tuesday December 22 2009File under: travel, USA

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Epic Wrong Turn

Just so you don't have to learn the hard way, like I did, when the National Parks Service calls a route "scenic", it actually means "you are goin' to see all there is to see because you will be lucky if you actually make it out alive." Just keep that in mind*.

So, through a series of unfortunate events, I find myself back in a rental car. The downside is that I'm burning through the old travel budget much faster than I had hoped*. The positive side is that I get to explore the non-greater Miami part of Florida.

Once such leg of this "exploration" came in the form of an epic wrong turn. It took about 1.5 hours to get through 10-15 miles of this. Luckily, the scenery was beautiful. The wildlife wasn't so bad either. Now that I've survived the gators, the only thing I have to worry about is what the rental company is going to say. Perhaps it is time to look into a new form of transportation*...
Sunday December 20 2009File under: travel, USA

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Southernmost Post in the USA

It has been 13 years since I was last in Key West, FL, and from that last time, I don't remember anything except which Key Club girl(s)* I was chasing and who we dressed in drag and sent out on the town*. Fast forward 13 years and I've got a whole new impression.

Key West has a ton of lore associated with it in my life. First, there is all the Jimmy Buffett lore: Margaritaville, Duval Street, Capt. Tony's, A1A, conch fritters*, etc. Then there is the street preformer lore of Mallory Square. I went to two sunset celebrations down there and watched quite a number of shows. Nothing totally blew my socks off, but it was fun nonetheless. Finally, there is fiction lore. My favorite genre of book is the South Florida action/mystery*. A number of the books have parts set in Key West. Roaming around the streets gave me a better feel for the setting for those books.

I have a bunch I feel like I could say about Key West and how much I enjoyed spending a few days here. Instead, I'll just post these two totally cliched pictures: #1 and #2.
Friday December 18 2009File under: travel, USA

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Cold vs Hot


COLD*
VS
HOT*

On my drive from Pueblo, CO to the airport at Colorado Springs, it was -5°F. That's crazy cold. The night before, biking back from pub trivia, it was about the same. Riding a bike in that kind of cold is really cold. I quite literally had ice chunks in my beard when we got home, but I was still wearing a smile. (In fact, I was still game for a little experiment in alternative alternative transportation. Check out Ryan's blog for a write-up soon.)

When I arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, it was 85°F with about 135% humidity. Quite a change. This means that activities (such as geocaching) have to be planned at off peak hours to avoid the heat and time for an afternoon swim has to be taken into account everyday.

Life's tough...but fair. See:
85°+(-5°)
2
=45° (an average December
day in Anacortes)

Saturday December 12 2009File under: travel, USA

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Rambling Transportation Anecdote

Blog posts while I'm traveling are supposed to be interesting. That's half the reason I travel. But, with no offense intended to the wonderful visits I've had so far, "interesting" might not be the best word to describe what's I've been up to. While movies, food, puzzles, pub trivia, walking, and lots of chatting is always a recipe for good fun (esp. with such great people), it's not the same as, say, a corrupt border crossing agent shake down or a visit to a million year old temple. In fact, the most interesting part of this trip so far (or at least that which I end up talking the most about because people seem the most interested) is the transportation itself.

Instead of subjecting you to a rambling tale of less than smooth transportation (with no pictures), I thought I would instead give you the option of reading my account of one leg of this trip, with all its ins and outs, ups and downs, etc. I wouldn't take the time to write it all out if I didn't find it pretty interesting, but I know I'm slightly skewed towards alternative transportation.

Anyway, if you are intrigued, read on. If not, at least go check on your bingo card, as some unexpected squares might be marked off.


Thursday December 10 2009File under: travel, transportation

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Snow in Fort Collins

It's not really supposed to snow on a vacation unless you are skiing or something of the sort. Luckily this is neither a vacation nor am I looking for what is supposed to happen because it's pretty much been snowing non-stop since I've arrived in Fort Collins. Not only is there snow, but it is COLD*!

But we've not been deterred. Courtesy of my wonderful hosts, we've been having a great time. There's been playing in the snow, checking out the local garden's light show, and even a little productivity. Luckily we got the fireplace going so we've had some nice warmth and atmosphere to come home to.

But with all this cold weather and snow, I could really go for a little warmth. Hmmm...maybe I'll look into that*.
Monday December 7 2009File under: travel, USA

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Colorado Is Pretty


Not that I ever had any doubt, but I was struck today with the realization that a mountain vista with snow, sun, and water is a dang pretty sight (even if it is below freezing at midday). A couple of inches of snow are predicted for tonight which will give everything an even prettier glow. Yeah for scenicness!
Saturday December 5 2009File under: travel

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Transportation Bingo

Last time I did a meandering domestic adventure (spring 2008 through the Northeast, if you recall), I noticed how many forms of transportation I was using. Ferries, craigslist rides, biking, etc. This time around, I thought I'd make a game out of it.

Transportation Bingo works like this:
     * each person gets a card with many forms of transportation in a random arrangement. (The arrangement is based off a seed word which you might be asked for that allows for you to get the same arrangement from any computer. Capital letters matter.)
     * when I use a certain form of transportation on this trip, I will add it to the list of "used methods" which will cause that square to be red.
     * when someone gets 5 in a row, just like in bingo, they win.
     * prize for the winner is yet to be determined, but is bound to be "oh gee thanks, I guess" worthy.

The hope is that those who want to follow along for this latest adventure can do so by just checking in on the bingo page. "Oh, he just rode on a passenger only ferry across Mobile Harbor. Bingo!"

So the programming aspect of this was done kind of hastily without much cross-browser/cross-platform troubleshooting, so let me know if it isn't working for you. I wanted to get it posted before I get on the train to Denver this afternoon. Speaking of which, I had better go pack up and hop on the bus down to the station.
Tuesday December 1 2009File under: travel, coding

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