Homer's Travels: January 2023

Monday, January 30, 2023

Key West Roadtrip 2023 - Day Twelve - The Lorraine Motel

UPDATED 02-04-2023

The Lorraine Motel where MLK Jr. was assassinated.
We finished the civil rights portion of our travels in Memphis, Tennessee at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.  We normally go through museums quickly but this one was very well done and we spent nearly two hours making our way from slavery to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The museum, located next to the Lorraine Motel where MLK Jr. was killed, gives the place more meaning.  As you work your way through the museum, knowing what is coming at the end, gives more importance to all the exhibits.

True then and true now.
The Wife was coming down with something so on the way out of Memphis we stopped at a drugstore for pain relievers and cough drops.  Hopefully a hot shower and a good night's sleep will get her through this.

The relatively short drive to St. Louis, Missouri was uneventful except for the fact the temperature dropped as we went further north.  At one point we had freezing mist on our windshield.  Fortunately for us it looks like the approaching freezing rain will stay south of St.Louis and shouldn't slow us down tomorrow.

Tomorrow we visit the Gateway Arch before driving home.  Tomorrow night we will be in our own beds.

Photos can be found in my 2023-01 Key West Roadtrip Google Photos album.

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Key West 2023 Roadtrip - Days Nine, Ten, And Eleven - NASA, Manatees, And Civil Rights

UPDATED 02-04-2023

Day Nine

We had some breakfast and headed to the Kennedy Space Center.  We arrived right before the parking lot opened and thirty minutes before the gates opened.  We ended up being first in line.  They opened the gates and we walked to the bus tour terminal.  We were following advice the Wife had read suggesting it was best to do the Bus and the Apollo/Saturn V exhibit along the route first before it got crowded.  The advice turned out to be right.

The Saturn V rocket with the insignia of the moon missions.
I'd visited the Kennedy Space Center when I was seven or eight and a lot had changed since I was there.  The command center for the Apollo moon program was now a visitor's center with a Saturn V rocket and displays about the moon landings.  They lead you from one introductory film to another until you exit into the main display room and the Saturn V rocket is revealed.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket being transported for reuse.
We got back on the bus and headed back to the main visitor's center.  Our trip back was interrupted briefly when a truck pulling a refurbished Falcon 9 rocket crossed the road.  I was surprised the refurbished rocket, that was being reused, still had carbon scoring from prior missions.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis.
Back at the visitor's center we did the Atlantis exhibit which covered the entire Space Shuttle program.  The exhibit was set up like the Apollo one - a movie opening to reveal the Space Shuttle Atlantis hanging in front of you.  The shuttle is a lot smaller than you think.  The exhibits include simulations of working in a zero-G environment, a model of the space station you can climb through (the Wife did ... I didn't), and a 'reentry' slide (the Wife did ... I didn't).  There was also a section about the astronauts lost during the Challenger and Columbia disasters.  The last thing we both did was a Space Shuttle launch simulator that was interesting and felt surprisingly real.

We ate some lunch and hit a few smaller exhibits about Mars and commercial space partners.  We finished with an attempted shopping spree in the "Largest Space Store".  I say attempted because nearly every shirt I liked was not available in my size.  We still managed to leave with three shirts and several magnets.

The rest of the day we drove back to the Wife's cousin's place for the night.  Google Maps tried to steer us away from congestion but just managed to add an extra hour to our travels.  The algorithm does weird things sometimes.  We filled up the car with family heirlooms to take back home to distribute to others in her family.  

Day Ten

A manatee and friends.
We left Tampa and headed an hour up the coast to Crystal River, Florida where we swam with the manatees.  First of all, it was cold that day with temps in the fifties.  We donned wetsuits and took a pontoon boat cruise through the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge.  Manatees need fresh water and there are five fresh water springs that feed into the refuge.

We found one early and we all got in the water.  It turns out it was warmer in the water than on the boat.  I got some good pictures of the feeding manatee and large fish in the area.  The manatees are huge.  Almost hippopotamus size fully grown.  I won't post pictures until I get home and have a chance to process the pictures on my camera.

We got back in the boat and froze out patootees off.  I developed the most severe case of the shakes I've ever experienced.  We did get some relief when we poured cups of hot water inside our wetsuits.

Momma and baby manatees ... they stay together for almost five years.
We moved to another spring and there were manatees everywhere so we got back in.  We saw a mother and baby along with others of all sizes.  We were making our way back towards the boat when a manatee swam under the Wife, turned over on its back, and grabbed the Wife with his fins.  They to cuddle her.  The Wife held still and stared down into the face of the manatee.  It probably was just trying to warm up.  It eventually let her go and swam away.  You can say the Wife got her money's worth on that tour.

A memorial to the victims of
water cannons made more
poignant by rain water running
down her face and chin.

We returned to a hot shower and dry clothes.  We left Crystal River and drove just over seven hours to just south of Birmingham, Alabama.  As we drove north several muscles in my neck, shoulders, and back started stiffening up and hurting.  I suspect it was a result of the shivering and cold water.  

Day Eleven

It was raining off and on this day when we drove into Birmingham to take a civil rights tour of the city.  We met with the guide and one other  tour member and had an interesting combination of walking and driving tour of the civil rights history of Birmingham.  The area was in iron country and back during the civil rights struggles the Klan had access to dynamite.  The result was fifty - sixty bombings against civil rights leaders giving Birmingham the nickname of Bombingham.

We learned about the children marches and the four children killed when a church was dynamited.  The twisting of the laws by white supremacist Bull Connor.  All this was with the backdrop of the dilapidated, run down city streets.  The poverty reeked.

History is important to learn no matter how painful it is.  It cannot be buried by bigotry for long.  It will always come back even stronger.

After the tour we drove towards Memphis, Tennessee in the pouring rain.  We were grateful that the hard rain held off until the end of our tour.  We stopped for the night just outside the city.

Tomorrow we drive into Memphis to visit their civil rights museum and the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.   We are hoping the upheaval caused by the recent killings by police there doesn't hamper our plans.

Photos can be found in my 2023-01 Key West Roadtrip Google Photos album.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Key West 2023 Roadtrip - Day Eight - Heading Towards The Stars

Today was a driving day.  We slept in late and left the Keys heading north-east towards Titusville, Florida.  The last twenty-four hours have resulted in a few changes to our Itinerary.  We decided to cancel our crawl through a cave near Birmingham.  We moved the Civil Rights tour a day earlier.  This gives us a less hectic final four days of our roadtrip.  The cave may have been interesting but I don't think it's going away anytime soon.

We arrived in Titusville a bit earlier than we usually do each day so we looked for things to do.  There is apparently only two things to do in Titusville.  One is to watch rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center - there are none at the moment.  The second is night kayaking through bioluminescent plankton which really looks cool - the plankton is seasonal and peaks between July and September so none for us.  We ended up just driving around looking for a cute downtown (none was found and what we found was closed early for some unknown reason) until we stopped to get milkshakes.

Speaking of hectic, I don't expect I will be posting over the next couple days.  I will try to catch up when things slow down a bit.

Over the next few days we will be visiting the Kennedy Space Center, snorkeling with manatees, and doing a Civil Rights tour in Birmingham, Alabama.  Hopefully I will find time to post after the tour.

Photos can be found in my 2023-01 Key West Roadtrip Google Photos album.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Key West Roadtrip 2023 - Day Seven - Key West (Part Two)

UPDATED 02-04-2023

Today was a day of relaxation.  We really only had one thing planned for the day and that required zero effort on our part.

The day started with a flash.  My alarm went off.  I turned it off and got back in bed.  We both just laid there with our eyes closed trying to decide if we wanted to get up when we both saw a flash.  Since our eyes were closed we have no idea what the flash was.  The sliding glass door was covered with a heavy curtain and the bathroom door was closed blocking the only other window in our room.  We both got out of bed but saw nothing (no sparking or scorching) and smelled nothing (no smoking electrical fire) so we decided it must have been Robert the Creepy Doll's fault and we got dressed.

Which way?
We stopped in Marathon, Florida at a place called Porky's for breakfast.  I had pulled pork for breakfast for the second time ever.  Not sure I'm convinced that anything with BBQ sauce should be considered breakfast food.  It was good though.  (The first time I had it was back in July in Gorham, New Hampshire before my Appalachian Trail hike started.)

From there we went to Fort Zachary Taylor Historical Park ... not for the fort but for the connected beach.  We spent four hours sunning ourselves.  Well, the Wife sunned herself.  I sat in the shade of a rented umbrella while I read my book (My feet and calves were exposed and they did burn to a crisp).  It was a bit windy but it was a nice 85℉ (29℃).  We had some rain yesterday and there is rain in the forecast tomorrow so things worked out for us.  (Thank you Robert?) 

How I spent my Key West vacation.
Tonight we went back to the Florida Boy Bar and Grill for dinner.  The food was good the last time we ate there so why risk a bad meal somewhere else.  My meal was ok - BBQ short rib grilled cheese - but there was fennel in the bread which I do not like.

Tomorrow we drive to Titusville, Florida where we will be close to some space age entertainment.

Photos can be found in my 2023-01 Key West Roadtrip Google Photos album.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Key West Roadtrip 2023 - Day Six - Key West (Part One)

UPDATED 02-04-2023

We got up early and drove to Stock Island which is right outside Key West. Here we got in our two person kayak and joined our guide and fellow kayakers on a tour of the mangrove forest. This turned out to be pretty cool. We kayaked through natural trails through the forests that build islands over the centuries, provide habitat to numerous wildlife, and protect the islands from hurricanes. We saw tree crabs, cassiopeia jellyfish that live upside down on the bottom of the shallows, sea hares which are shell-less snails about six inches or more in size, starfish, and nurse sharks. I will add some pictures of some of these creatures when I get home and can process my camera pictures.
Kayaking through the mangroves.
Southernmost point.
After the kayak we drove into Key West proper and tried to find a parking spot.  The first parking lot was full but, to our surprise, I managed to find a spot near the southernmost part of the continental United States.  We stopped at the Southernmost Point Bar for some lunch before exploring the town.  While we ate under the umbrella it poured rain.  Fortunately it was nearly over by the time we finished lunch.

First stop here was the Southernmost Point Marker.  Not much to see here really except a large painted marker.  Still cool though.  So far we have been at the most southern, western, and the most central part of the United States on our travels.

Next we walked to the Hemingway house and learned about the writer, his life, and his wives.  We saw the famous Hemingway cats - there are now fifty-seven of them - who are famous for having extra toes.  One cat we saw had one extra toe on the front paws and two extra toes on the back paws.

Where Hemingway did a lot of his writing.
Our next stop, not on our itinerary, was a lighthouse across the street from the Hemingway house. From the top of the eighty-eight steps you could see all of Key West and it was an interesting vantage point.  (I may be sore tomorrow not only from the kayak rowing but also from the stair climbing.)

Robert the Doll.
The Tennessee Williams exhibit that was on our itinerary was not open so it got skipped.

We returned to our car and drove to the Fort East Martello museum home of Robert the Creepy Doll. This museum actually was fun. We usually don't like museums but this was an eclectic mix of all sorts of random stuff including Robert who was, in fact, a very creepy doll.  The scary music right out of a bad horror movie set the atmosphere perfectly.  We also saw junk art and a few iguanas sunning themselves on the fort grounds.

We ended the day with a relaxing sit on out back porch watching the sun go down over Duck Key.

Tomorrow we return to Key West for some beach sitting and, perhaps, a few more stops in town.

Photos can be found in my 2023-01 Key West Roadtrip Google Photos album.
Sunset over Duck Key.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Key West Roadtrip 2023 - Days Three, Four, And Five - Mobile, Family, And Getting To The Keys.

UPDATED 02-04-2023

Day Three

Mobile - Home of
On day three we had a scheduled tour of the African-American Heritage Trail.   The tour, led by an excellent and knowledgeable guide, took us through the history of the Clotilda - the last slave ship to bring slaves from Africa - through the formation of Africatown by the descendants of the slaves.  The Clotilda was sent on a bet.  A rich landowner in Mobile bet that he could bring slaves from africa (at the time, while slavery was legal, the importation of african slaves was illegal on penalty of death) and get away with it.  So the last slaves brought to America from Africa were brought here on a bet.  *sigh*  The landowners family is one of the prominent families in Mobile today so they got away with it. *sigh*

The tour took us to places where once stood successful African-American businesses that were destroyed and turned into parking lots and vacant lots in the name of 'urban renewal'.  We learned a lot of history on this tour and it was all heartbreaking.

Outside the welcome center, where we started the tour, was Mardi-Gras square.  Mardi-Gras in Mobile, Alabama pre-dates the one in New Orleans.  The Christmas trees in the square and welcome center had been redecorated in the purple, yellow, and green of Mardi-Gras.

We left Mobile around noon in the rain and drove to Tampa, Florida to visit with the Wife's aunt and cousins.  That drive felt like it took forever.  This was likely because a lot of it was either in the rain or in the dark ... or both.

Day Four

Day four was spent with family at Mass and eating lunch at a great tapas bar/restaurant.  Most of the day was spent chatting about all sorts of things which is what we do when family gets together.

We walked around the block, bought lemonade from some girls' lemonade stand (we overpaid on purpose), and ended the day with a homemade chili dinner.

It was nice having a day where the Wife or I didn't have to drive.

Day Five

Day five was a travel day.  We drove from Tampa to Long Key in the Florida Keys.  The drive wasn't that bad until the last hour.  A bus had stalled on a bridge between keys.  The traffic was backed up ten to twelve miles and what should have taken us less than twenty minutes took over an hour.

The view from our back patio.  We share it with a few other rooms and at least one pelican.
Our hotel, the Edgewater Lodge is awesome.  The Wife picked a good one.  Our room backs to Gulf waters and we have a shared patio along the waterline.

The day ended with a steak, mac'n'cheese, and asparagus dinner at the Florida Boy Bar and Grill.  It was one of the best steaks I've had in a long time.

Tomorrow we kayak in a mangrove forest and explore Key West.  I forgot my SD card adapter so pictures I take with my waterproof camera will not be posted until I get home.  Sorry.  Silly me.

Photos can be found in my 2023-01 Key West Roadtrip Google Photos album.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Key West Roadtrip 2023 - Day Two - Digging Deeper

Our stop of the day.
On our second day we checked out of our hotel and went to Crater of Diamonds State Park.  The draw of this park are the diamonds that are 'easily' found near the surface.

We arrived, rented our screens and shovels, and headed out to the plowed field to look for our fortune in diamonds.  I figured we would be there for two to three hours.  After about an hour I was done.  We kept at it for another half hour maybe before we decided to quit.  We didn't find any diamonds.  The Wife found some quartz and some calcite that both look very diamond-like but aren't valuable.  I found out I wasn't patient enough to be a prospector.

The diamond field is periodically plowed to help stir up the diamonds.
We, of course, are just amateurs.  While we were there we saw people loading up dozens of buckets full of dirt to be sifted and looked through.  Diamonds one carat or more are commonly found here but not by us.

It was a chilly day but the filtered sun was warm while we unsuccessfully hunted for riches.
The rest of the day we drove to Mobile, Alabama (passing through Louisiana and Mississippi along the way).  We stopped for a great lunch in a little diner in Farmerville, Louisiana.  The Wife did most of the driving today.  The eight hours of driving felt like more than the ten hours of the day before.  I'm starting to wonder if I'm getting too old for road trips.

Tomorrow we take a tour of Africatown and learn about the Clotilda, the last slave ship before driving on to Tampa, Florida to visit family.

Photos can be found in my 2023-01 Key West Roadtrip Google Photos album.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Key West Roadtrip 2023 - Day One - Diving To The Deep South

UPDATED 02-04-2023

I got up early to clear the half inch or so of snow and spread deicer before we got on the road.  The road conditions were not nearly as bad as we expected.  Thank you Mother Nature for that.

The first part of the drive was kinda boring.  The vacation feeling arrived when we stopped at a Waffle House for brunch.  As the Wife says, the vacation doesn't start until you eat out in a restaurant you don't have back home.  We aren't picky ... Waffle House fit the bill.

The Waffle House ... the unofficial start to our vacation and famous for the Waffle House Index.
Once we got to southern Missouri the landscape changed to forest covered mountains with outcrops of rock.  The views along the way were very nice and will be beautiful once the trees leaf out.  Fall, with the changing colors of the leaves, are probably spectacular.

The vistas continued into Arkansas.  The last couple hours took us up, over, and around mountains and valleys.  Small towns, where churches outnumbered the people, added variety to the scenery.  The churches have names that look like someone tossed a bunch of semi-religious words into a bag and then randomly drew four or five and strung them all together.

Despite the gorgeous views, ten hours of driving through four states can be draining and I was drained (and a bit irritable) by the time we got to our hotel in Nashville, Arkansas.  My only regret on this day was not stopping at the Walmart Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.  It was a long driving day and it would have been hard to fit in.  (I'm only somewhat kidding here.)  Looking back I think we should have divided the driving over two days to make it less exhausting.

Tomorrow we dig for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park.

As I upload photos, you will be able to find them in my 2023-01 Key West Roadtrip Google Photos album.

It's Roadtripping Time!

Today the Wife and I are heading out on a roadtrip.  We are heading to the south ending up eventually in Key West.  We will be visiting the Wife's Aunt and cousin who live in Tampa along the way.

The Wife has planned an incredible itinerary for us.  Here are a few things we will be doing over the next couple of weeks:

  • Dig for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas.
  • Explore the history of Africatown and the Clotilda (the last slave ship) near Mobile, Alabama.
  • Kayak in a mangrove forest in the West Florida Keys.
  • In Key West we will:
    • Visit the Hemingway house.
    • Visit Robert the creepy doll.
    • Visit the Tennessee Williams museum.
    • Visit the Southernmost point of the United States.
  • Visit the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida
  • Snorkel with manatees in Crystal Springs, Florida
  • Explore a cave at Sims Cave State Park (this will require us to squeeze/crawl through narrow passages and you are asked to bring a set of dry clothing to change into after you exit the cave).
  • Take a civil rights tour in Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Visit the Lorraine Hotel and civil rights museum (where Martin Luther King was assassinated) in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • Visit the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.
Like our other trips, I do not know if I will post along the way or wait until we get back.  For some reason I feel like writing on the road this time but I know this has not worked in the past.  It all depends on how much energy I have at the end of the day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Book: Becky Chambers' "A Psalm For The Wild-Built"

I decided to move away from non-fiction for now.  The second book of 2023 was a novella written by Becky Chambers.  I've read four of her books.  I liked all four of them, not because they told compelling stories, but because the author created a colorful and complex world full of interesting and fleshed out characters.

Becky Chambers' "A Psalm for the Wild-Built" is not explicitly in the same world as the other four books but it could easily be in it.  It takes place on a habitable moon orbiting a gas giant.  A world where the machines in the factories accidentally gain sentience.  The people invite the sentient machines to join them as equals but the machines refuse.  They chose to go into the wilderness to live a peaceful life away from humans.  The humans, not knowing how the machines became sentient, chose to deindustrialize.  They still have technology but they do not use machines for manufacturing.

The story follows a monk in search for meaning in his life.  In a spontaneous action he leaves in search of meaning in his life, going into the wilderness to an old abandoned religious retreat.  Along the way he meets a robot who is trying to find out if humans are doing ok since the machines left.  Their meeting helps both work through their issues.  Actually, the robot has few issues compared to the issues the monk is working through.

I enjoyed this novella as I've enjoyed the author's other books.  I gave it four stars out of five on Goodreads because it made me think about meaning and freedom.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Travel Magnets - 2022 Fall Travels Edition

Seventy-Five.  That is the number of travel magnets we purchased on our travels through Israel, Turkey, Egypt, and Ethiopia.  It was a long trip with many things to see but that number still feels a bit excessive, even for me.  There are also some accidental duplicates (i.e. two magnets commemorating the same place) but that really doesn't account for the number.  There were just so many places to commemorate.

The magnets are a mix of generic and unique.  I always prefer the handmade one over the generic photo magnet but handmade ones can be hard to find. Here are a few of my favorite ones:

Jars similar to the ones the dead sea scrolls were found in.
A hand painted picture of a Gulet.
I hated my camel ride but I like this camel magnet.
The face of an Ethiopian woman.
The Travel Magnet folder now has six hundred and seven magnets.  We are once again running out of space to display them all.  I will have to add more metal panels to the pantry hall walls to display them all.

I've always had trouble photographing the 3-D magnets.  The flat ones can be scanned on our flatbed scanner.  The 3-D ones always had issues with weird shadows.  I fixed it this time by purchasing a cheap ring light.  The one I bought is a piece of sh!t but it works for me.

You can see all our magnets in the Travel Magnets tab at the top of the blog.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Weekly Ephemera #42

  • Played one-sided phone tag with the roofers.  Not looking good for getting this work scheduled in a timely fashion.
  • Took my Mom to her eye doctor appointment.  It went well so we rewarded ourselves with ice cream.  My eye appointment is coming up this week.
  • Walked twice this week for a total of 17.8 miles (28.7 km).  Didn't walk on Friday because I had to take the car in for routine maintenance.
  • Speaking of the car, we are leaving on a roadtrip later this week.  It's going to be a long drive so I wanted the car to be checked out and ready to go.  This trip is the domestic roadtrip I mentioned in my year end post.  I will post more about this.  Stay tuned.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Book: Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion"

The first book of 2023 was a book from 2012.  Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist, explores why humans divide themselves into groups and why these groups are often at odds with each other.

Haidt's "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion" is an interesting book.  The divisions between our religions and political parties that he tried to explain in 2012 only became worse - by orders of magnitude in my opinion - since the publication of the book.

Some of what the author talks about is not in my wheelhouse ... namely psychology.  Despite this most of the concepts he discusses are easy to understand.  You can see how the divisions are based on psychology  and evolution.

Understanding why we are so far apart, while interesting, is not very uplifting.  How do we correct millions of years of evolution?  How do you change how our unconscious mind reacts to differences?  it's all kind of depressing if you think about it.

I gave this book four stars out of five on Goodreads.  It was interesting enough.  I just wish the message was more positive.  I just wish I didn't see the same divisions in myself.

Sunday, January 08, 2023

Weekly Ephemera #41

  • The holidays are behind us.  The oak tree ornaments put away the Thursday before New Years.  The Wife put away the Christmas tree ornaments on Friday.  I took down the Christmas tree on Saturday.  The Outside lights and wreaths came down on New Years Day.  We stayed up New Years Eve and welcomed the arrival of 2023.  Hopefully 2023 will be an improvement over the past three years.
  • Spots appeared on the ceiling over several rooms.  A roofer was called in.  He found no leaks but it was wet inside the attic and, after consulting with more experienced roofers in his office, determined that there wasn't enough ventilation in the attic resulting in air/snow being sucked into the roof vents instead of air going out.  Combine this with the more efficient whole house humidifier we had installed with our new furnace and the frigid temps we've had recently, resulted in ice forming in the attic that eventually melted leaving the water spots on our ceiling.  The roofers will be adding three turbine vents (for FREE) and two bathroom vents (which were being vented incorrectly into the attic).  The price for all this was unexpectedly low which was a good thing.
  • Watched a lot of the Sh!tshow that was the Speaker of the House selection process.
  • I started scanning/taking pictures of the eighty or so travel magnets we purchased during our Fall Travels.  I've finished the 'easy' ones (i.e. flat magnets that can be scanned in batches on my flatbed scanner) and have about forty more to photograph.   I am uploading them after I've taken pictures and edited them.  You can see them on the Travel Magnet tab at the top of the blog.
  • I walked three times each week since Christmas.  During Christmas week I walked 23 miles (37 km).  For the first week of the year I managed 19.9 miles (32 km) which wasn't a bad start to 2023.

Sunday, January 01, 2023

Best Photo Of 2022

I took more pictures in 2022 but that was mostly a result of our fall travels.  When you visit four 'new' countries with so much to photograph it is hard not to take a few.  The rest of the year, when we weren't traveling, I took very few photos that grabbed me.

In 2022 I marked twenty photos as 'favorites'.  Of the photos, only two were not taken during our fall travels - two photos from my doomed Appalachian Trail hike.  Three were taken in Israel.  Eight were taken in Turkey.  One was taken in Egypt (this surprised and disappointed me).  Six were taken in Ethiopia.

My favorite photo of the year was an impromptu photo, taken through the windshield of our van, on the way out of Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.  I've wondered why I like it.  It doesn't capture some piece of history, nature, or art.  It captures an ordinary moment in time - a moment of life - in another place.  I suppose that is why I like this photo:

"Market Street"
by Bruce H.
(Taken the 9th of October, 2022)
I hope you had a happy and safe New Year's Eve.  2022 was, in general, a better year than I'd expected.  I hope this trend continues into 2023.  We have some travels planned this year and my camera will be with me to capture it all along the way.