Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas In July

I left off the last post in Kansas where there was, well, nothing, so we'll continue on to St. Louis, Missouri in my quest to have this blog home by Christmas. Here we have...
...the Gateway Arch.
Hiding behind an old Cathedral
630 feet high...
...and 630 feet wide.
The country's largest monument, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.
This guy was talking to me in the Museum of Westward Expansion underneath the Arch.
Entrance to the tram that travels...
...from the base...

...all the way to the top.

View from one of the bases.

The mighty Mississippi is still high.
The road is submerged here with barges in the background...
...and a couple that wanted to test the waters.
If you look close, you'll see the windows in the top.

Trying to be artistic.

Lay on the ground underneath the Arch and take a panoramic...

...with only mild distortions after piecing the pictures together.
I'm still amazed at the engineering that went into the tram design.

Sun shimmering off the stainless steel shell.
Another view.
Rising into thin air...

Of course.

Another view.
Now for the explanation...
...and the last piece goes in.
Door to the tram cab...
...where six people duck and squeeze into an oblong capsule for the quick ride to the top.
Sunset from the top.
Looking westward.
Heliport surrounded by the Mississippi
Stairs leading from the tram to the viewing windows on top.
Downtown St. Louis including the Cardinals stadium.
One more view as the sun neared the horizon.
Old Courthouse.
Leaning out the viewing windows on top.

Glamour night shots.
Courthouse lit up.
If you click on it, you'll see hints of the full moon rising between the clouds at the base of the Arch.
City lights reflecting...
The moon begins its ascent.
The shaky cameraman struggled to capture the beauty of the moon rising below the Arch, so just imagine.
Continuing on my journey home... are you having turkey for Christmas?
I tried to capture state signs along the way, but wasn't very successful.
I paid $2.15 in tolls to drive 3,000 miles from Idaho to New York and over $15 to drive 300 miles across New York.
Welcome home as the sun sets on another journey.
242,189... how far will it go?

One last handstand... but this isn't me... but it's got me thinking...

Home for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'll Be Home for Christmas

The adventures never end, but 20 months after leaving for Idaho, I would meander back to the much loved and missed state of New York. Many of you have followed me on my journeys, probably more out of concern for my safety than out of interest, pictured many handstands around the West and wondered when I would be home for good! Granted, these blog posts are a few months behind, but hopefully they will inspire you to explore God's wonderful creation and most importantly, to know Him personally. As it says in 3 John 1:4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." My journey will only last a lifetime, but my eternity, forever. Find hope this Christmas in the birth of a Savior born for me and for you!

Before this next journey, I would need to say goodbye to those that taught, guided and mentored me on the job and on adventures. They're gift to me?
A cake... with a really scary picture printed on it! Thanks so much to those who made work a ton of fun! That was often part of the adventure and a big part of the great memories of Idaho...
...followed closely by the Tetons. This would be my last view of the Tetons before heading in to Yellowstone National Park one last time and spying on a...
...moose and of course...

...the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone from Artist Point.
Here's another view of the colorful chasm and...
...framed waterfalls.
The wildlife in New York will never seem as interesting as the elk...
...and tourists, I mean, bears out West.
Nearby was another large black bear sauntering around...
...before laying down just across from the first black bear! As you could tell from the other pictures, these weren't far from the road either.
I had never left Yellowstone from the northeast Cooke City entrance and was impressed by the Beartooth Highway as it wound up...
...and up... high I was close to the sun... it reflected in the nearly frozen ponds and... the walls of snow still hardened along the way.
The high alpine terrain was beautiful as the moon rose above the craggy rocks and...
...daring landscapes.
The road is typically only open six months a year as it rises to about 11,000 feet in elevation through a series of steep zigzags and switchbacks.
But on this day, with the sun dropping, the sparse, lonely landscape was pretty.
And you thought Schenectady was hard to pronounce and spell!
My next stop was Little Bighorn Battlefield...
...known for Lt. Col. Custer's "Last Stand".
The last stand hill cemetery overlooking the battlefield and...
A'kavehe'onahe's casualty marker. I bet he knew how to pronounce Baaxuwuaashe.
Custer National Cemetery
There he is!
Little did I know that I was one day shy of the anniversary and reenactment of the battle. So I beat the traffic and found this...
...not the safest of ways to travel at 60 mph.
Optimal location, great views, maintenance free but steep front yard. Well, until there's a mudslide.
An odd, out-of-place sighting as your driving through the rolling green hills of northern Wyoming is...
Devils Tower National Monument.

There seemed to be a number of Native American legends accompanying this geological oddity, of which many had to do with bears. That's about all I got out of it.
A beautiful day with the flag blowing in the warm breeze.
The tower is considered sacred by many Native American tribes which involves different forms of worship.
Known as a monolithic igneous intrusion or volcanic neck (I understood the last two words)... rises 1,267 feet above the surrounding terrain!

If you look close, you can see a spot of yellow from a climber resting on a ledge.

Zooming in on him. It has become a popular spot to climb, except for the month of June when many climbers honor a voluntary climbing ban on the "sacred" tower. Ironically... the month was June.
Another view of this random "volcanic neck" in color...
...and black and white. Ever seen a bunch of prairie dogs?
You can see their heads sticking out in the field.
There's only a few in this picture, but the field was covered with them!
I'm thankful for escaping Idaho without a cracked windshield, a common occurrence due to the paving methods.
If you click on the picture and look close, you'll see a full moon rising.
There it is - thanks to Canon for capturing it!
Faux buffalo.
The next stop would be Rocky Mountain National Park.
Rocky mountains... and a marmot of some kind if you look close.
My next vehicle and my next job. I'll have to work up to the tour bus.
Expansive views...
...and more rocky mountains...
...alpine tundras...
...and a panoramic of the Rockies.
The highest visitor center in the country.
If this Caddy could make it, there was no doubt my Pontiac could!
Almost July, but no lack of snow or...
...some kind of unidentified animal. They are similar in size to elk, but aren't elk. Any guesses?
From Colorado, I headed back down to sea level, traveling across the long, straight and incredibly boring plains of Kansas, right in to the middle of a billowing thunderstorm. These are the clouds as the sun set behind me. Nearly half way across the United States, the next blog will get me home via the Gateway to the West, so stay tuned... cause I'll be home for Christmas!