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Our favorite wildlife sightings are Black Bears – usually, the yearlings that are so recently on their own they wander where they shouldn’t be, at times they shouldn’t. This little guy visited us one morning a couple of years ago and I shot this pic through the window. So far, this year’s visitors have been at night, protected by momma!

It’s great to take road trips around the USA and look for the quirky and unusual. I often rely on the app RoadsideAmerica to keep us entertained with trivia-Americana and alerts to unusual finds along the way. Even on those long roads to nowhere, it’s amazing what secrets are hidden off the next exit or slightly off the beaten path.  Here are a couple of my favorite surprises.

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The Corn Palace | Mitchell, South Dakota

Considered a folk-art wonder, the world’s only Corn Palace attracts half a million visitors a year (who knew)! A smaller version was built in 1892, and the tradition has continued ever since, culminating in a fall festival in late August. Utilizing 12 different colors of corn they completely redecorate the facade with a unique theme annually. Yes, there is even a Corn-Cam.

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Wisconsin Road Art | A picture’s worth 1000 words

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The House of Mugs | Collettsville, North Carolina

If you visit, it’s free, and mugs are welcome.

The House of Mugs, located in Collettsville, NC

 

Celebrate the USA

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As a country we are complicated. Diverse, argumentative, creative, strong-willed, fierce, generous, and I hope kinder to one another going forward. Let’s celebrate what we do have.

With a clear sky and full moon, it was a thrill to watch the 45-minute firework show over the Lincoln Memorial and Washington monument that flank the grassy National Mall in our nation’s capitol, Washington DC. The light show was preceded by an amazing airshow. The highlight for me, was seeing the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds flying together. If you have a minute to spare, check out these videos.

 

You inspired me to try a bit of selective color in this shot from Bodega Bay, California. BTW – amazingly delicious chowder and more at this spot, the Spud Point Crab Co. 

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Hudson River, NYC.

That halfway time, neither day nor night . . . . dusk. I always feel slightly suspended between two worlds.

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Madeira Island, Portugal.

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Whitefish Lake, Montana.

This may be a bit of a twist, but today I am featuring doors from three historic facilities that once housed prisoners. As you can see, in less than inspiring conditions . . .

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Secure locks at Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, Ireland.

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Prisoner’s quarters in the 16 century Tvdava Fortica (Spanish Fortress) in Hvar, Croatia.

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The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia touted “solitude with moral and vocational instruction” for its 300 prisoners.

“Since everything is a reflection of our minds, everything can be changed by our minds.”  – Buddha

For me, quiet moments are often times of reflection. Here are a couple of my pics from India illustrating “a quiet moment.”

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A quiet moment even along the crowded alleyways of Varanasi.

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Quiet contemplation in Agra.

I like taking pics of people I encounter on my travels and aspire to do more. Respecting privacy is paramount and I try not to be intrusive.  Kids are always great subjects, but you’ve gotta be fast. Here are a few for my “anything” contribution:

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Looking over the castle wall in Prague.

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Fun on a warm day in Salzburg.

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“Tryouts” for the changing of the guard in Prague.

All our friends know my husband is passionate about trains. Model trains, train exhibits, train museums, and travel by train – we are there. It’s nice to get to select a few train pics for this post. The selection includes shots from New Zealand, Alaska, North Carolina, and Nebraska. Black & White is a new concept for me and I had a bit of difficulty adapting, but here goes.

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I split my time between homes in tropical and mountain climates. While I am working very hard to learn about what I can grow in my summer mountain garden, here is one of my very favorite tropicals – a bright, happy hibiscus.

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“Earth laughs in flowers.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hope it made you smile. Have a beautiful day.

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