We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Sunday, February 2. 2014
It's the time of year when people fuss over nailing down their schedule for the year. Choosing and planning takes a lot of time and thought.
We have a few good ones lined up this year - one a lazy grand luxe, one an exploration of Sicily (pick up Costco rental auto at the Palermo airport, and head on out, meander all around, hike up Mount Etna, take a ferry to Malta, probably get lost a few times despite the GPS, then eventually fly out from Catania), and the annual family reunion in Cape Cod with all the sibs, kids etc. Plus I hope the list will include a hunt trip for me and pals in the fall. Maine or Manitoba. Carpe Diem.
Here's one of the tenutas we chose - Tenuta Cammarana - (near Ragusa and Lampedusa, and not far from the ferry to Malta). In Italy, we always stay in tenutas (agriturismos) and I highly recommend doing that. Usually you'll be the only Americans there, which is not a bad thing when traveling. Karen Brown has researched them all for you.
I will take pics of Roger de Hauteville's ancestral Norman castles. Those crazy Vikings went everywhere, didn't they? Adventurers and warriors by nature, those Danskers.
I am already ahead of myself, because for 2015 (the good Lord willing) it will be a multi-bedroom villa in Tuscany, or maybe the Midi, with pool, cook, rental vehicles, etc., for ten days with room for friends and all the Bird Dog crew and any significant others. Not expensive, but something I want to do for all before I reach deep middle age.
What adventures and trips have y'all planned for 2014?
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Ten days in early spring at Zion to hike. We try to hike every trail twice. Followed by a week at the South rim of the Grand Canyon. So much more to see there if you look for it. We see more elk at the Grand Canyon then we do at Yellowstone. Then if the weather has warmed enough off to Mesa Verde. Hiking through the Anasazi ruins never gets old. If it's still too early then off to Arches and canyonland follwed by visits to the lesser known Anasazi ruins in the greater four corners area. Then North to Yellowstone. Spring isn't our favorite time to visit Yellowstone but it can still be awesome. The trick is to get up well before dawn and drive to some of the better sites to see wildlife. Sometimes it is a grizzly or wolf on a kill or maybe a heard of buffalo crossing the Yellowstone river. Then back home to make sure it's still there and off to Canada. I love the Canadian parks, Banff and Jasper, but they can be so crowded so we search for out of the way spots. Then if the roads are good we will take the Alaskan Highway to Alaska for a couple of weeks. Then the long drive back home.
Two weeks driving and golfing in Scotland, with some attention to the Whiskey Trail and the barbarians' castles.
We just had last September a wonderful vacation in Southeast Sicily. Stayed outside of Siracusa, in a nice hotel called Borgo Pantano, and visited Noto, Modica, Sampieri and of course, Ortigia. Great history. A little off the beaten tourist path, and although I wouldn't say the natives were extremely friendly, they are not unfriendly either. And great food, natch.
the shoulder of Orion in April, then off to the Tannhäuser Gate for the c-beam festival in early June.
Sicily has been invaded multiple times beginning with the Phoenicians in 1500 BCE I think they came in near Siracusa, Archimedes' birth place. Must sees: Segesta, middle of nowhere with a perfect Doric temple standing in a field; then Agrigento with close to a dozen Greek temples lined up near the coast; and then Erice with a Norman fortress and cobblestone streets.
I have a boat for a week out of Newport in the summer, banging around Cuttyhunk and the big islands.
I have a week in Jackson Hole for right after Christmas.
Long weekend hunt trips to be arranged.
I already live in the most interesting place in the world.
For family reasons I have a long holiday due this year, 7 weeks in Napa with a side trip to Utah. I should also get my annual couple of visits to Italy in as return airfare is $100 and 2 hours flying time.
A few long weekend trips around the Southeastern US, maybe a longer trip to west Texas or somewhere on the Atlantic in the off season.
Hmm, my Rock City bumper sticker is fading so Chattanooga beckons.
Back to Death Valley this year, come October. Well, actually, to Saline and Eureka Valleys, to the West. Planning 5 days this time to the Hot Springs. The driving is tough, even nerve wracking at times, and a true test of your mettle (not to mention your rig). Last year's trip through Steel Pass was made all the more adventurous by the late summer flash floods that rearranged the trail and left you at times wondering where it went. But all in all, the effort to get there is well worth it.
Death Valley is a favorite destination for my family, too.
Titus Canyon, Devil's Racetrack, the Charcoal Kilns, Augeberry Point, Dante's View, Scotty's Castle, hiking down Zabriskie Point; so much to do and see and yet, like so many seared landscapes, it seems like there's nothing there until you know where to look.
"Adventure" plans for 2014?
Continue to look for work in this Obamanation - I guess that means I should spend less time reading blogs and more time viewing job postings - except the job postings are too few!
None. Business is shitty, people seem hardly ever pay on time, and the kids school is so expensive that a vacation of more than a day or two is out of the question. I won't be taking one for the next four or five years, until they are out of school. Who knows what the economy will be like then. Good luck on all of yours, though.
1 month at lake Koocanusa at the cottage. Die with envy those of you who vacation in fever and mosquito infested humid climates. I got bit last year by 1 (one) - count 'em baby, mosquito. OK that's not adventure, that's paradise. Whyever does Montana not secede?
Then, from paradise, to a 1 month trip to the Czech Republic escorting the aged mother in law on probably her final tour. Did you lot know that elderly Czechs hold all conversations in a scream? They're not angry, they just scream. All day long. Thank God for Urquel, Litovel, the real Budweiser, et al.
Anyone got any tips? We'll be near a place called Veseli nad Moravou.
We are already HERE!
To answer Fred Z: Is that "from Paradise" from Paradise MT? MT will never officially secede--but we will ignore! It's the old frontier way--no unnecessary confrontation--just leave em alone they can't stand to be ignored! With any luck at all we will have 6 weeks of heavy--very heavy snowfall and extreme cold temperatures (down below -10) that'll clear the place out. Then all those Accorn types that have been brought in by the "agents of change" from WA state will have to go home!
Mid-March Trip to Florida
Mid-April Trip to Cancun
September Trip to Maine
The Vikings did get around. I've been enjoying Prof. Harl's Viking lectures from The Great Courses. My people seem mostly to be from Great Britain and Northern Europe, which means Scandis through and through. Just when the Brits thought they'd got the Danes at bay, there came the Normans, who were just Vikings who'd been recycled through northern France. But Prof. Harl's course showed me how ex-Vikings ended up in the Mediterranean, the Holy Land, and Russia. Pretty vigorous culture.