Tag Archives: great days

W^2 – history

WARNING: it’s Wednesday so I titled the post W^2, but it’s hardly wordless.

It’s spring break and we’ve escaped then blustery chill of a midwestern early spring for the Florida Keys and sun, wind, and sand. Mostly sun.

I remember my first visit to the Keys with my in-laws in 2002. Our son had recently turned four and my wife was pregnant with our daughter. We arrived in Miami and were picked up by my in-laws at the airport.

Until then, my only experience with Florida had been passing through the airport on the way to somewhere else: Venezuela or England to spend the summer or Christmas with my dad and stepmother.

With my father-in-law at the wheel we wove our way through Miami traffic to Homestead and US1. US1 is the only road from the Florida mainland at the tip of the Florida peninsula to the Keys where it terminates at Key West.

US1 travels along the path of the defunct Miami to Key West extension of the Florida East Coast Railway. Construction of the railroad began in 1903 and was completed in 1913. The railway operated until 1935 when the Labor Day hurricane washed out the rail bed in Islamorada and the railroad abandoned the railroad. Two years later the Florida Highway Commission purchased the right of way and began construction of a highway to Key West. They used the old railroad bridges constructing roadbeds atop the concrete viaducts and bridges built by the railroad. Over the years, the highway has replaced the original railway bridges with wider end more modern concrete bridges.

The view from the bridge to the Atlantic Ocean

The first several miles of the two lane road travel along the path of the old railway. First through the thick mangrove swamps and across Lake Surprise before reaching Key Largo where the highway opens up to the Atlantic Ocean on the left and Florida Bay to the right.

As the highway bridges were replaced, the original railroad bridges were left in place. Most have been repurposed as fishing platforms or observation decks and others have been left to decay and breakdown in the elements. The Seven Mile Bridge has a two mile extension from Knight’s Key Key to Pigeon Key open to walkers and bicycles with breathtaking sunset views.

Anyway, Tuesday afternoon my buddy and I (we are here with another couple) took off on an adventure stopping at the western approach to the Bahia Honda Bridge.

The original railroad bridge on the left and the new highway bridge on the right. Looking west from Bahia Honda State Park – photo from 3/28/2017

The old bridge has been abandoned since the present bridge was completed in 1977. The original railroad bridge is an iron trestle bridge which was only wide enough for a single railroad track and the passage of a single train. The highway engineers decided to construct a two lane road atop the railroad trestle to connect the two keys, or islands.

Continue reading W^2 – history

Arch Rock, created slowly over time

Arch Rock Mackinac Island, Michigan USA

We toured Mackinac (pronounced – mack-i-naw) Island in a horse drawn carriage Monday with friends. One of the stops along our tour was Arch Rock. Our tour guide shared the Ojibwe legends of a young woman whose tears slowly created the arch and another of how angry pileated woodpeckers slowly pecked away at the rock so a maiden could see the lake. But erosion, and science, explains the arch.

Mackinac is the Ojibwe word meaning ‘turtle’ as the island looks like a giant turtle shell emerging from Lake Huron. The Ojibwe were the Native American tribe which inhabited the island and the region long before Europeans explored and settled the region in the seventeenth century.

We had a wonderful time with our friends on Mackinac Island. They returned home yesterday while we helped our daughter move into her college apartment before the new term begins. Sometimes, I should simply stick to six words as Debbie from Travel with Intent suggests.

It’s Saturday and today is going to be an amazing day. After week with friends it is back to life andI have a long list of chores with all sorts of diversions possible. But I am going to try to stick to six words and make the day count. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, carving away at the to-do list. (My Saturday six words)

What are your six words for your Saturday? Or Sunday?  

My video of our trip to and from the island on the ferry.

July’s peaches make the summer count

Dutch Farm Market, South Haven Michigan Friday July 28, 2023 11:16 AM

July peaches make the summer count. I stopped at Dutch Farm Market in South Haven on the way north yesterday. I only bought three things: peaches, blueberries, and beets. These three multiply the joy of summer from three words in to six, or more. Six Word Saturday Could’ve been,

  • I stopped at Dutch Farm Market, or
  • Summer’s harvest brings peaches, blueberries, beets, or even
  • Farmer Ed’s market sells Michigan peaches

But I settled on the title above. Today is going to be an amazing day and I am thankful for the blogging world to encourage me to stretch, even a little. Making the days count, one day at a time, six words in a sentence.

What six words describe you today?

A post for Six Word Saturday inspired by Debbie at Travel with Intent and my blogging friend Margaret at From Pyrenees to Pennines.

What I love about baseball

I am not exactly sure how my baseball bucket list adventures began, but I can backtrack the trail to Homer Bailey’s second no hitter on July 2, 2013.

I am sure you are wondering,

“How in the world can he be certain?”

Well, it started with Maribel, my late mother-in-law. She was up at the lake, and she wanted to listen the Cincinnati Reds game. Unfortunately, neither the Reds radio network nor the Reds television broadcast served norther lower Michigan. That area was Detroit Tigers territory. She was a Reds fan and she watched or listened to the Reds ballgames at home in southwestern Ohio.

 I signed up for MLB TV and we watched and listened to the ballgame using my computer in her bedroom. That night I signed up three times for MLB TV and I didn’t catch my mistake until my credit card billing statement arrived the following month. Thankfully, MLB TV was understanding and cancelled the two additional accounts. I’ve been renewing the package ever since.

About that time, my favorite team, the Houston Astros began to play better and since, I’ve been paying more attention since. Thank you, Maribel.

Since last summer, I’ve travelled to twelve cities and thirteen new ball parks in addition to the two ballparks in Chicago. I’ve met many people in my travels. I’ve attended all but one of those games by myself and each time I sit down to watch the game, I meet new people.

What I love about baseball is that I realize that it is truly America’s game. By attendance it is the most popular sport, but the baseball season is 162 games long and each team plays half of their games at home and the other half on the road. In 2022, over 64 million people watched a major league baseball game in person, attendance is down almost 10% compared to 2018.

the crowd in St. Louis with the Gateway Arch in the background

This past year MLB made rule changes to the game to speed up play and make the game more exciting. At first, I was apprehensive, but with four months (and seven games in a ballpark) into the season I agree. The game is more exciting and on average a ballgame is almost thirty minutes shorter this year compared to previous seasons. This season’s average is 2 hours and 39 minutes compared with the 2022 season average game length of 3 hours and 6 minutes. Continue reading What I love about baseball

W^2 – bite

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, July 19, 2023

It is Wednesday, again. I am in Denver, Colorado for another baseball game. Last night’s game didn’t turn out well for my team, but they play 162 games in a season for a reason.

I arrived yesterday morning and had a full day planned, capped with walking to and from the ballpark.

goofing around at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Denver, Colorado July 18, 2023 10:51 MDT

My plan was to visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, lunch with a blogger, then the game. Sometimes things don’t go your way or lot of other people have the same idea. It turned out that I was not the only person who wanted to get a jump start on their day and when I arrived at the car rental facility I was well back in the line. The line moved smoothly and did get my car, but I was more than an hour behind schedule. Continue reading W^2 – bite

reprise, black and white

In response to yesterday’s post W^2 – black and white, a reprise of sorts.

In hindsight, yesterday was a million and six times better than the day before.

Our nephew arrived with his wife and young children just as the storms began to roll across the lake. A few minutes later his brother, another nephew arrived. It was wonderful to see them. Since my wife’s parents died, our paths only cross for weddings, funerals, and graduations.

The kids were reluctant to get out of the car, but slowly warmed and by the end of their visit they were playing in the water, exploring the lake, toys, and all that our lake home has to offer.

It was delightful to visit, to catch up, and share our home with them.

Then storms rolled across the lake, one after another, and we stayed off the lake and out of the boats. More than once, we waded out to the boats, turning back when we saw lightning until we decided that we would get wet regardless of whether it was raining or not.

looking west northwest, as rain falls gently

While they boated, Fern and I stayed ashore. I waded into the lake and took the photos for this post. By the end of their visit every single beach towel was soaked, and the kids (and adults) were spent.

clouds over the lake, looking west north west in portrait mode

Yesterday WAS a million and six times better than the day before with family – our nephews and their kids bringing color to the lakeshore on a stormy day.

This morning began with steady rain, but the sun is breaking through and sunshine is on the way. Today is going to be an amazing day, it could be a million and six times better than yesterday. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count, one day at a time, black and white or in color.

Is it black, white, or colorful where you are?

W^2 – peanut

W^2, W2, or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Today is Day 23 and yesterday, I took the train from Chicagoland all the way to St. Louis. It was my first real train ride in the United States. Trains in the US were once a BIG deal, but with the advent of the car, a national road system, and air travel trains declined in my lifetime. I don’t recall ever riding a train to go anywhere until my brothers and I visited my father in Europe after my parents divorced. My first rail trip was to Glasgow from London on British Rail. We have a commuter rail system in Chicagoland, but I don’t use it often. However, I did take commuter rail into Union Station yesterday morning.

For this week’s Wordless Wednesday, I have a new peanut image from Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.

Last night I added to my list of cities where Major League Baseball is played, twenty-three. Every game reminds me of how baseball is an integral part of our culture. I could say sport, but I don’t get this feeling with football, basketball, or other sports and I don’t know why. But last night I sat amongst St. Louis Cardinal fans whom I’d never met and had a great talking baseball and life.

Last night’s seats were the best seats I have ever had for a baseball game. I decided to splurge on these seats when I was planning my trip. To my right were two couples out for the ballgame and to my left was a group of friends, and in front of me were a father and son. None of us were regulars in these seats. The woman to my right was a mom whose thins were headed off to college this fall, JP to right was a graphic artist, and the young man in front of me reminded me who was winning the game – the Cardinals. It was a great night at the ballpark.

I have seven cities left on my list: Denver, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Miami, Baltimore, Boston, and Toronto.

Today, I have a visit to the Gateway Arch, another baseball game tonight, and a train ride home tomorrow.

Today is going to be an amazing day, it could be a million and six times better than yesterday. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count, one day at a time, watching a baseball game, or enjoying the sights and sounds of a new city.

What will you explore today?

W^2 – summer

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, June 21, 2023

For this week’s Wordless Wednesday, I have two, errr three, images of summer captured in the spring. I chode baseball, but I could choose just about anything as an image of summer.

It is summer, officially at 10:57 AM CDT, but it’s felt like summer since school let the kiddos free June 2ndand me free the following Monday, the fifth.

a summer game played in the three seasons – April 6 at Target Field Minneapolis, Minnesota. Game time time temp low fifties. Beautiful day and great game Astros 2, Twins 3 in 10 innings

Today is Day 16 and it is a very different day than my first Day 16 post on MtDC:  Day 15 and 16: Takeoff and Landing – Day 1 in Paris. I look at those photos and remember each moment.

Last summer I got serious about my bucket list goal of visiting every major league baseball stadium with a seven day, seven game, six city, and ten baseball team trip beginning in New York City winding west finishing in Cleveland before driving home to Chicagoland. In all last year, I attended ten ballgames and watched one half of the teams in the MLB. I finished the 2022 season having seen 20 of the 30 present day ballparks.

T-Mobile Park in Seattle, Washington. Looking to left field. May 6th, Astros 5 Mariners 7.

This season, Continue reading W^2 – summer

Tuesday’s Tune: Fire and Rain

It’s Day 8 of summer break and I have completed one FULL week. Mostly it’s been catching up on the tasks that I said I’d do when school ended or working on the things that needed to be done to close out school, like packing my classroom and moving to another classroom, my twelfth classroom in twenty-two years. Moving is incomplete and I’ll finish moving later this week when I return home.

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.

I have spent Days 4 through 7 (and Day 9) at our lake house.

day lilies, drenched in June rain, awaiting July blooms

Our daughter is spending the summer by the lake working at a local veterinarian. The lake house is about a two-hour drive to where she attends university at Michigan State. When I was in middle school, I wanted to be a veterinarian, but by the time I finished high school I had changed my career path to being an engineer, and a couple of years later I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. It wasn’t until I went back to school in 1997 that I finally realized my middle school career aspiration of working with animals. Yes, there is a joke there, a dad joke, but a joke, nonetheless.

It’s been a dry spring in the Midwest and throughout southern Canada. Dry understates the problem.

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.

Wildfires have ravaged southern Canada and for the past month the air has been filled with smoke particles. The skies, normally a brilliant sky blue, have been a grayish white with the sun’s rays scattered as they pass through the atmosphere. Last week major league baseball cancelled three games in the northeast due to wildfire smoke in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.

Last week Saturday, June 4th a wildfire, sparked by an untended campfire, burned over 2000 acres near our lake house. Our daughter was here, she sent photos of Forest Service fire planes scooping water from the lake’s surface and helicopters filling buckets filled with water to douse the wildfire’s flames.

Continue reading Tuesday’s Tune: Fire and Rain

first day of summer ’23

List three books that have had an impact on you. Why?

It is Day 1 of summer 2023. I’ve been looking forward to this day for several weeks as my sixth graders began to ‘blossom’ into seventh graders. It happens every year and the answer is an eleven week break to rest, reset, and restore for new year and new crop of students.

Day 1 finds me in my ‘summer office’ plotting and planning the today and the remaining 75 days of summer break. This will be my fourteenth summer of this blog. I have chronicled every summer and fall, winter, and spring since that first post thirteen years ago.

I am trying something new with this post, a response to the daily prompt through WordPress. Today’s prompt is

List three books that have had an impact on you. Why?

Muhammad Ali once said,

“A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

I suppose if I had answered that question 30 years ago, or maybe even next week, the answer might be three different books, but at this moment there are three: the Bible, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella.

The Bible
I’ve been reading the Bible most of my life. This past winter, I was watching a football game and watched a commercial produced by an organization called, He gets Us. It was a commercial for Christianity and it got me curious. Who is He Gets Us?

After clicking, reading, watching, and clicking some more, I wound up here You Version: Jesus  – He Gets Us. I read, clicked, watched, listened, and downloaded the app. I began reading the Bible in a year. Since January 1, I’ve been following a plan to read the Bible in a year. There is so much to learn from the wisdom of the Bible, and I feel like I am only scratching the surface. If you are curious, it’s there for you to be curious, and less judgmental. Continue reading first day of summer ’23

List three books that have had an impact on you. Why?

It is Day 1 of summer 2023. I’ve been looking forward to this day for several weeks as my sixth graders began to ‘blossom’ into seventh graders. It happens every year and the answer is an eleven week break to rest, reset, and restore for new year and new crop of students.

Day 1 finds me in my ‘summer office’ plotting and planning the today and the remaining 75 days of summer break. This will be my fourteenth summer of this blog. I have chronicled every summer and fall, winter, and spring since that first post thirteen years ago.

I am trying something new with this post, a response to the daily prompt through WordPress. Today’s prompt is

List three books that have had an impact on you. Why?

Muhammad Ali once said,

“A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

I suppose if I had answered that question 30 years ago, or maybe even next week, the answer might be three different books, but at this moment there are three: the Bible, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella.

The Bible
I’ve been reading the Bible most of my life. This past winter, I was watching a football game and watched a commercial produced by an organization called, He gets Us. It was a commercial for Christianity and it got me curious. Who is He Gets Us?

After clicking, reading, watching, and clicking some more, I wound up here You Version: Jesus  – He Gets Us. I read, clicked, watched, listened, and downloaded the app. I began reading the Bible in a year. Since January 1, I’ve been following a plan to read the Bible in a year. There is so much to learn from the wisdom of the Bible, and I feel like I am only scratching the surface. If you are curious, it’s there for you to be curious, and less judgmental. Continue reading first day of summer ’23