Only In a Grocery Store!

I remember as a young single girl I was told that a great place to meet men was in the supermarket. I’m not sure I ever understood that but I think it had something to do with checking our the food in their carriage and you could tell from that if they were single.


Whatever it was, it never worked for me. You can get frostbite hanging out in the frozen food section!

I mention this only because I’ve never found standing in a check out line a place to strike up a conversation of any depth but I have to eat my words now. (Along with a tasty muffin)


Sunday morning I stopped in the local grocery store to pick up cat food and a lb of hamburger. I spent more on cat food than I did on my food but that;s not what I was getting to. What I wanted to share is that I got talking to this lovely lady that was in line behind me. I’m not even sure how it came about but before I knew it we were talking travel. She has a friend who just bought a home on the Big Island and she asked if I had ever been there. That led to a comparison of the various islands. She had been to Oahu and Maui.

We agreed that everyone should go to Oahu if for no other reason than to see Pearl Harbor but while you’re there visit the Polynesian Cultural Center too and I threw in a snorkel in Hanauma Bay.


We both like Maui for just general pleasantness.


Its more laid back than Oahu. But I think I still like the Big Island best. I love Volcano National Park and the excitement of an active volcano in the form of Kilauea.


From Hawaii we made a brief stop in Houston because of the upcoming Superbowl (Go Pats) and then veered off to Kentucky.


Neither of us had been there but one of her friends holds a Kentucky Derby Party every year with fancy hats and mint juleps.


Then our conversation took a big jump to Alaska and the pros and cons of doing a cruise. Don’t miss Denali!

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By the time I finally reached the check out, we were well on the way to discussing international travel. I have to say it made standing in line go by really fast. I never even got the lady’s name but here’s to Happy Travels!



” Flash Back” – South Dakota

To the Lakota Sioux it was the malo shika, “the bad lands”. To the French-Canadian fur trappers it was Les Mauvaises a traverser, ” bad lands to travel across”. In the book 1000 Places To See Before You Die, it’s “Nature’s High Drama”. Whatever you chose to call Badlands National Park in South Dakota it all comes back to spectacular.

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Yes, I’ve been to South Dakota and I’m ashamed to say that when my sister suggested a vacation there my first response was “What’s in South Dakota”. Her answer was  “Mount Rushmore”. 488 copy

Although that’s true and Mount Rushmore is certainly awe inspiring, there was so much more to our South Dakota vacation and we only explored the area from Rapid City to Pine Ridge. That’s just the southwestern corner of the state.063a

This rates as one of the best vacations I’ve taken. We flew into Rapid City in the afternoon. After checking in and getting dinner it was still light out so I wanted to begin exploring right away. Yes we were tired but why waste good light?  We turned our rental to interstate 90 and headed east about 80 miles to a turn off for Badlands National Park. What a way to start the vacation! In the golden light of the late afternoon we got our first look at the canyons and rock formations of the Bad Lands. It took my breath away. The amazing vistas are exceeded only by places like the Grand Canyon. And we saw animals!

071aRabbits and Mule Deer and a glimpse of some pronghorn.

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Over the rest of the week we explored Custer State Park where the buffalo, pronghorn, and prairie dogs are an everyday wonder.  (Where the deer and the antelope roam.) The wild “begging” burros  of the park had no shame in their quest for handouts!


After a critter jam of buffalo we entered Wind Cave National Park  following a ranger to a depth of 200 ft. below the surface.

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We drove the winding Iron Mountain Road from Custer State Park to Mount Rushmore, twisting and turning on the horse shoe turns and “pig tails”, not a road for the faint of heart.485 copy

We rode the 1880 train round trip from Hill City to Keystone and watched a family of Mountain sheep cross the road as we headed to the station. On the train ride we learned about the history of the black hills and saw “summer cows”…”Some are white, some are brown”….

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I’m still following the Wild Horse Sanctuary.

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What a day that was! But it didn’t end with wild horses, it ended with Mammoths at a dig in Hot Springs.


We went to the Pine Ridge Reservation  but got lost on “the longest dirt road in the world” (our name for  it) and never found the PowWow.

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And there was more but I’m running out of room. We never got to Deadwood, or Sturgis , and only saw Crazy Horse from the road. The Corn Palace is farther to the east in Mitchell, but we did go to Wall Drug Store where we had dinner and bought some mementos. And South Dakota is where I “met” little prairie dog with the flower. Totally unexpected and so sweet looking. Glad I caught this moment in time.

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Yes, I can count South Dakota as a YES on the countdown, but I’d like to go back again. The count now stands at 16 / 25

What Does The Future Hold?


I guess it’s because my birthday is only a couple of weeks away. I seem to be more introspective as I get older each year. I seem do more musing around this time than I do at New Year’s!


What is eating at me these days is my future at work. So far my job appears secure but I’m not the workaholic I once was. With all the changes at the company I wonder if I will still be there in 1 or 2 more years. Then I look at my financial obligations and remind myself that I need to work another 10 years.


So I decided to revisit an old revenue source.

A few years ago, probably 5 by now, I looked into stock photography. The myth is that you can upload pictures you’ve already taken and build an income stream. I didn’t have much luck the last time I tried but to be honest, I didn’t try very hard.

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Anyway, I thought about all these pictures I had sitting on my hard drive and thought I’d try again. According to what I’d read the minimum portfolio to start earning money is 300 pictures. That’s the magic number but more is better.


I signed up at a new stock company and started looking through my pictures. They have to look over your work to be accepted. That’s when I discovered that many of my photos were’d big enough. The minimum file size at this particular company is 4 MB. I was surprised to find that many of my favorite pictures were only 2-3 MB, just missing the minimum.

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Looks like I will have my work cut out for me. So I plan to print out some model releases and start taking my camera everywhere. I have a list of the most requested subjects and many are outside my comfort zone. Even so I owe it to myself to really give it a try this time.

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Are any of you stock photographers? Any advice?

I Was Just Thinking…

Awww, you know what that means. I was stumped for a subject to write about.  But seriously I do think sometimes.

I read a post from a fellow travel blogger titled 7 Questions all Long Term Travelers Hate.


 This is a very humorous blog but it did get me thinking. First of all she refers to eighty-year old adventurers and twenty something homebodies.

(We’re not 80 yet but we are getting up there)



When I was twenty something I never went on vacation unless it was to sit at my mother’s house usually with a book or two. I was convinced I couldn’t afford to travel. I soothed my wanderlust by moving my whole house every 2 years or so.


Back in the day (yes I said that on purpose) young women didn’t pack up and move on their own but I did. First I left my folks home in New York and moved to Massachusetts. Then I proceeded to move from town to town every 2-3 years. My family claimed they couldn’t keep up with all the address changes. Looking back it would have been cheaper to just travel a little and keep the same apartment.

 She goes on to say that Wanderlust is for life and I really think that’s true. The older I get the more things I want to see. I go through my “bucket” list all the time. It doesn’t get shorter with each vacation, it gets longer! In my mind I have vacations for the next 2 years all planned out! I just have to keep healthy and the money coming in to cover the trips. I don’t think I’m cut out for “roughing it” anymore.


 I’m always looking for ways to increase my freedom and flexibility while developing multiple ways to pay for my travel addiction.

 What about you? Are you an arm chair traveler or do you have a touch of that wanderlust too?

Graves Light

Yesterday I mentioned Graves Light that marks the North Channel into Boston Harbor. It isn’t as “pretty” as Boston light but its history is just as colorful.


The lighthouse gets it’s ghoulish names from the tiny island it’s situated upon. “The Graves” is the outermost island of the Boston Harbor Islands National recreation Area, 9 miles off shore of downtown Boston.


The lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in the approach to the Port of Boston and until 1975 it was the most powerful lighthouse in New England. It is currently lit with a modern , solar-powered lamp that doesn’t compete with the original giant Fresnel Lens.


The Lighthouse was built in 1905 and equipped with a first-order Fresnel lens that shown with a 350,000 candlepower beam across the harbor. That lens was removed in 1975. Although not on display at this time it remains in the possession of the Smithsonian Institution. Any classic film buffs may remember that this light was the setting for the climatic storm in the 1948 movie “Portrait if Jennie”.


In recent years many lighthouses have gone up for public auction and Graves Light was no exception. In June of 2013 the lighthouse was put on the auction block. The starting bid was $26,000 but by the time the gavel dropped it had reached a record $933,888, the highest bid ever paid for  a U.S. Lighthouse.


In 2014 the new owners began a major restoration project that has been features on the s television show, This Old house.

Graves Light is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The lighthouse is still being used for navigational purposes and will remain so under the terms of the sale.

The lighthouse includes 2 bedrooms, a kitchen and a study but landing is difficult and entering the building requires crossing a 40 –foot ladder shown in this archival photo.


Still who wouldn’t want to own a real lighthouse?