Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Atlantic Ocean Road, a bucket list prospect

Waves splash over the Norway Atlantic Ocean Road (Courtesy Norway travel agency)

On our Baltic Sea cruise last year we were close to Norway, but visiting that country wasn’t part of the trip.

Somehow I wish that it had been.

Especially if I could have driven what is called the Norway Atlantic Ocean Road.

In my searching around the Internet and You Tube, I came across information on the noted byway. I also found a number of You Tube videos which lets one get a feeling of being there in the moment.

The route offers an interesting perspective. Only about five miles long, the road travels over the ocean with water sloshing in from both sides. 

It probably gives tourists an exhilarating feeling as they may think they are putting their lives in jeopardy, which at times, it seems that they may.

Waves can be seen periodically rushing over the roadway and makes one, especially me, wonder if I really would drive it if I had the chance.

Yes, I would, with there would be a screaming wife sitting next to me.

Next post: June 7, 20167

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

High plains area offers alluring towns

A family-friendly event (Photo: Westcliffe website)
There are places that we have passed through and later wondered why we didn’t spend more time there.

With our family, we don’t spend a lot of time anywhere when we’ve been on the road a long time and our van is headed home.

Even so, there are times when we think back to what could have been.

And Westcliffe, CO is one of those places that I think of now and then and go to a website or two concerning the town.

It was eight years ago, on a 30-day road trip, that we encountered the high plains western town.

We had headed east from San Francisco (after being on the road for three weeks) and was planning on making it home in seven days.

And that’s why the county seat of Custer County received short shrift with us. We had turned south off US 50 at Cotapati onto Highway 1A. And then the road connected with Colorado 69.

It was sometime in mid afternoon when we headed south on 69, not knowing what was ahead.

But approaching Westcliffe, it looked like an amiable town. We got off the main highway and drove through their business district, even though  being a small town,  seemed rather busy, especially at one of the local eating spots.

We took a look, drove on by, hit a few of the town’s roads and then it was back onto the main highway. But the town has an appealing allure.

It was getting late and we needed to cover more mileage. We were headed home, and at the time, that allure wasn’t enough.

In the 2010 census, the town had a population  of 568, and increase of only 151 in 10 years on only 1.2 square miles at an elevation of 7867 feet. The town’s website indicates there are now 587 residents.

The town sits east of the Sangre De Christos mountains.

Somehow, I wondered how life would be there.

I live in what could be considered a small town with a population hovering around the 18,000 mark. We are in a metropolitan area of more than 100,000 people.

This week’s temperature here will be lows in the 70s and highs in the 80s.

In Westcliffe, the lows will be in the low 40s and high 30s with highs in the 50s and 60s.

Quite a difference. Our lows in the winter may get down to the high 20s for a day or so and then warm back up. The highs in the summer hits the 90s a lot and sometimes 100.

In the high plains, the summer July temps last year look to be like ours with some days hitting the 90s and lows in the 60s.

But the big difference is the humidity. On the Mississippi Coast it’s usually around 90 percent, but in the high country it’s more like 50 percent.

We always think about other places and moving there. But that’s too involved. It just good to know that, if we desire, we can experience a lot of different places through travel, and then return to the comfort of “home.”

Next post: May 31, 2016

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Searching "Fresh Market" for new menu item

Visitors browse the venue known at the "Fresh Market" in Ocean Sprigs, MS

My wife and I haven’t been on the road much lately.

So, we’re experiencing things closer to home, which we should have been doing anyway. You know, help the local economy.

Just recently we went down to what was years ago, the Railroad Depot, but is now home to the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce and a commercial establishment.

We had heard that someone was selling fresh goat cheese at the weekly “Fresh Market” that sets up there each Saturday morning. So we decided to make an appearance.

Goat cheese has been on my food radar for about a year or so since we ordered a salad at our favorite coffee shop, Coffee Fusion, which had that ingredient in it.

It was a salad that featured walnuts, cranberries and goat cheese along with greens and other garden items.

I had never knowingly had goat cheese prior to that event. And I liked it.

Later, I was at our favorite superstore, making plans for a salad. I put in a call to the coffee shop to find out exactly what kind of cheese it was.

I now always seem to keep some on hand in the refrigerator.

Our trek to the Ocean Springs Fresh Market didn’t result in us buying any of their goat cheese. It was a tad different in looks and taste and didn’t appeal to me as much as the kind I had already purchased.

But we enjoyed the local outing anyway, and it helped make up for not being somewhere else down the road.

Next post: May 24, 2016

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Memories and fleeting times

Waiting for our connection during a layover in Paris, May 2015

My, how the time flies!

It is hard to believe that on this day last year (May 10), and at this particular time of the day, my wife and I were aboard the Norwegian Star beginning our nine-day Baltics Sea cruise.

We boarded in Copenhagen, Denmark after a short layover in Paris. We started our journey leaving our hometown airport in Gulfport, MS, followed by another layover in Atlanta, GA.

The other hard thing to believe, is that sometimes, at my age, I wonder if we actually made that cruise.

There was such a buildup to it with more than six months planning, not to mention dreaming about taking the cruise for a number off years.

And then all of a sudden, it is over, we are back home, and I think of St. Petersburg, Russia. Was I really there? Did I really see all those sights?

Well, no matter what my mind tells me, pictures don’t lie. We have hundreds of photos taken on the cruise that show us the reality of the trip.

The Baltics Cruise was the big trip of the year. We haven’t taken another cruise, although my wife and I are considering such a trip out of New Orleans.

Our biggest endeavor, which trumped everything else this past year following the cruise, was the culmination of having our personally designed new home built.

We have been living in it for the past three weeks.

During the course of the 49 years of married life, travel has been on the top of the list of things to do. My mother liked to travel, and I do too.

We may not hit the road as much, because of our age, but we can dream about new places. We  can also look into our storehouse of memories which offer a wide variety of joyful and interesting events over those years.

Next post: Mat 17, 2016

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cheaha offers panoramic view, pyrotechnics

Cheaha Resort restaurant offers panoramic views
When the weather’s fine, one can see forever from the top of Cheaha Mountain where the Cheaha State Park Resort is located.

After all, it is the highest point in the state of Alabama at 2,407 feet above sea level.

But sometimes, one can’t see very far at all.

The view from the resort restaurant was limited when heavy rains moved in

As the weather moved around, skies began to temporarily clear

And then guests moved into the out-of-doors for a scenic sunset

And that it what happened to my wife and I on our two overnight stays at the resort, one about eight years ago and the other this past Sunday.

Both times it rained, but later cleared.

On Sunday night, it didn’t just rain, it poured. And from the vantage point of the Cheaha Resort restaurant, we could see lightning popping just outside the windows. And the sound from the thunder matched the lightning in its own way.

My wife and I checked in earlier in the day, and later in the afternoon headed over to the restaurant for supper, just before the big event.

There was an ebb and flow of clouds and overcast skies.

And then all of a sudden, you know what broke loose.

The waitress moved our table a few feet farther away from the windows. She said normally, the curtains by the windows are pulled down in order to protect guests in case of heavy winds and shattering glass.

It wasn’t that bad. Well, there wasn’t any shattering glass. The pyrotechnics were great and the lights inside the restaurant, on a number of occasions, dimmed and then came back up to full strength.

At one point, the rain was so heavy, one couldn’t see more than just past the edge of the walkway just outside the restaurant.

The rain broke, the skies cleared a little and we enjoyed our meal and were able to get back to our room before another downpour.

The resort itself sports motel-like rooms, cabins, a campground and a campstore.

We like it because of the elevation, and it is a good stopover on the way to or back from seeing relatives in Georgia.

Next post: May 10, 2016