Balloon Festival In Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Today was such a perfect day for a Balloon Festival. For several days the launching of the balloons had to be canceled due to high winds.  Scott and I got up early to try and capture these beauties that decorated the skies over Albuquerque, NM.  The traffic heading into Alameda was horrendous! We parked for a few minutes at a blocked off driveway so that I could try and get some pictures. I took some pretty nice ones from that location but most of my pictures were taken while Scott was driving back towards his parent’s place. Most of these pictures were taken from inside my van while we were going through all the heavy traffic in the area. Traffic in Albuquerque is always crazy it seems but even worse today because of this event. Here are the pictures that I captured in a slideshow. I chose this format because there are 22 images here and I felt for some of my fans that would take too much loading of individual images. Hope you enjoy!

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After leaving the Balloon Festival behind, I was admiring the beauty of the Sandia Mountains that seem to surround Albuquerque. So we drove up to take a closer look. It is truly beautiful and lush desert landscape. And of course, the skies personality shined through.

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A view of Albuquerque from the top.

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        I know that one of the most amazing pictures anyone can capture at a balloon festival is all the balloons lit up at night. Unfortunately, neither Scott nor I have good night vision and the traffic at night would be much more of a nightmare than in the daytime. Perhaps someday I will be able to capture a balloon festival at night. But for now, there are many other amazing photographers out there that have captured those images for you. I also know that some of the Youtubers that I follow have captured amazing video of the music of lights from balloon festivals they have attended.

In just a few more days, We will be heading to Arizona for the winter and we have a few places on our bucket list to check out. Arizona just has so much to see and do and so many places to camp. It will be our winter home this year and we will be sure to change the scenery of our backyard throughout the winter. HappyTrails everyone!

 

 

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It’s Mississippi Time!

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We have arrived in the beautiful State of Mississippi. My home for 28 years and where I raised my three Sons. We arrived into the State via the Natchez Trace Parkway which we started in Tennessee. The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile recreational road and scenic drive through three states- Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. It roughly follows the “Old Natchez Trace” a historic travel corridor used by American Indians. It is a beautiful, scenic drive of 10,000 years worth of southern history.

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We stopped for the night at a rest area on the Trace in Alabama. I am always in love with Sunsets and sunrises. I love photographing the southern skies because of their colors and activities. They are always expressive in some way.

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We made it to my Son’s house in Bentonia, MS much earlier than what we had anticipated. But the visit with him and his Fiance has been wonderful. The wedding day is this coming Friday on the 29th so this will be a week of crazy hectic activities. I am so proud of the man he has become and the choices he is making. By the wedding day I will be reunited with my other two sons as well and it will be the first time in several years that the 4 of us will be all together.

Yesterday, September 22nd, we spent the day at the Ross Barnett Reservoir in Ridgeland, MS. It is a beautiful and very popular area for all kinds of activities.

“Ridgeland is where water meets wonderful at the Barnett Reservoir. Named for the 52nd governor of the State of Mississippi, “The Rez” was created by impounding the Pearl River between Madison and Rankin Counties. Completed in 1965, it has 105 miles of shoreline and is bounded on the north by the historic Natchez Trace. The Barnett Reservoir creates a haven for many outdoor adventures. Boating, sailing, water sports, camping, fishing, picnicking or bird watching offer endless hours of pleasure. Visitors have the opportunity to view and participate in national and regional fishing tournaments, weekend regattas ,as well as the many festivals held at the reservoir.”
(Quoted from Reservoir Website: https://www.visitridgeland.com/attractions/ross-barnett-reservoir/)

Here are a few of the pictures I took of the reservoir. There was a lot of boating going on in the area where we were.

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Lot’s of young folks out having a good time!

 

There were even a few birds of a feather around enjoying the day.

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As the day went on, rain clouds started forming. I love to capture the beauty of the skies especially when clouds are present.

 

We all had a great time at the Reservoir!

My Son Christian, and his Fiance, Shannon

My Little super dog Wally in his chair.

 

Scott going for a swim

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My Son and Me
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And even Gypsy Rose seem to be enjoying the view

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It really was a great day and there will be many more to come. Getting ready for a wedding can be a bit stressful. But when there is love all around mixed with good times and endless smiles, you are ready for a day that will overflow with Love, Peace, and Blessings.

Hope you all enjoyed this trip with me. Remember there will be many more great trips to come.

 

 

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A Spiritual Journey At The Flight 93 Memorial

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On September 11, 2018 as we were traveling through Pennsylvania. We decided to visit the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pa.  As we arrived to the turn that leads to the entrance, there was quite a line of cars waiting to get in. It took us about 30 minutes to get in and then we had to park in the overflow parking area. From there. I was able to catch a shuttle to the Visitor center and the memorial wall.

The primary reason for all activities and chaos on this day was not just because it was the 17th anniversary of that 9-11 tragedy, but because President Trump was at the Memorial on this day. Of course he was already gone by the time we got there, but there was quite the craziness left behind from his visit.

Now I have to tell you, This place is absolutely beautiful and so intense. It is so peaceful and at times, as I walked through the small hiking trail that leads from the Visitor center to the Memorial wall, you can just feel the spirits of those who lost their lives at that crash site.  It felt like a sacred place that was being overrun with news media, the family members of those who lost their lives, visitors who were there to honor them…. so much going on and yet through it all you can still feel the peace of this final resting place.

These are the photos I took from The Memorial Wall and Visitor Center.
The walk that led to those tall walls at the visitor center had the marks of when each plane was crashed. It was quite haunting to see those times and the flight numbers. Inside the visitor center they played videos and memorials from that fateful day. There was so many people there it was pretty difficult to really capture everything.

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Below are the images from the Memorial wall. The Wall of Names is the most memorable feature of the Memorial, made of 40 individual slabs, each engraved with the name of a Flight 93 passenger or crew member (the four passenger/terrorists are not included). The wall follows the flight path of Flight 93, although its exact trajectory when it hit at 563 mph may have differed slightly.

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Below: Servicemen and family honoring those who lost their lives at the rock which is a marker to spot where the plane crashed._DSC0264_DSC0265 (2)_DSC0267_DSC0270
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Below: A ranger on duty at the Wall of Names. You can see the impact boulder in the weedy field beyond it, but the Gate is only opened for VIPs. The closest an average visitor will get to the crash site is about 200 feet away._DSC0272

A view from below of the Observation deck by the Visitor center. It is located at the end of the path with the dates and time of each hijacked plane. _DSC0274_DSC0276_DSC0282_DSC0285

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The serenity of this place should also be displayed. I captured the beauty of the landscape and flowers that adorned the fields and met us with whispers of its spirit.

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One of the things I really wanted to see on this trip was the Tower Of Voices. Unfortunately, because of all the activities due to the President having been there, they had it closed off so I did not get a chance to see this structure up close. We did catch a glimpse of it from a distance as we were being told to keep moving so that the traffic continues to flow and not back up again. So I did not capture the image of it. But you can read all about it and see this magnificent tower at this link below provided by The National Parks. Click on the image.

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To say that I was touched by this place is an understatement. You can’t visit this site and not leave there untouched. You take within your heart and memories every heroic soul that gave their lives so that no more had to die. You can truly feel their spirit and their energy as you take in the beauty of the surrounding rolling hills, farms, fields bright with colors of wildflowers. They are all there, embracing every visitor that comes to remember them. You will feel sadness as well as gratefulness for their actions on that day. I highly recommend taking time to come and see this place and allow it to touch you and fill your heart. It really is hard to put into words exactly how you may feel. It is a personal journey and not everyone will feel the same things. But I am sure it will leave you breathless from the experience of just being there.

 

You can also view all these images with music on my YouTube channel:
Flight 93 Memorial- My Personal Journey

 

 

 

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On The Road- The First Leg Of The Journey

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We are finally on the road and already it has been quite an adventure. After two years of not traveling we might as well admit to feeling as if this is all new to us. There has been a few challenges, but we are still so excited about being back on the road. After leaving Bangor, ME we headed to Vermont. Our worst nightmare happened. We went through Burlington, VT during rush hour not knowing how big of a city and college town that was. The traffic was bumper to bumper on 4 lanes and nothing but traffic as far as the eye can see. We just kept heading south… I want to say we were on route 107… but I can’t even remember anymore exactly what route it was. I do know there was a 7 in the number. We reached a Jiffy service station close to sunset and we were allowed to stay there for the night. It had everything we needed… McDonald’s, restrooms and wi-fi. It was a great stop and what I loved the most…. That night, I saw a sky full of bright stars. It had been 2 years of missing that nighttime sky and I was in awe once again.

The next morning we headed to a campground in Pulaski, NY called Bear Sleepy Hollow. They charged $10 a person per night with no amenities. I had to ask the lady for  receipt and she said she had to return to her trailer to get it. We found a spot down by a a creek, although it looked extremely murky and muddy. But it was a quiet spot for the night and were were pretty tired by that time. Our nerves were still settling down after what we experienced going through Burlington.  Below are a few pictures of the campsite at sunset.

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After leaving the campground, we made our way to Niagara Falls where we had already booked a room before we left Maine. I had never been there and Scott wanted to see the lights at night. Although it was pretty spectacular, It was not what we expected as far as being all lit up. And in my personal opinion, the waterfalls I saw in Yellowstone National Park were so much greater than these falls.  With the sun setting, my pictures did not come out as clear as I would have liked them to be. But the fact that we had to walk a ways to the Falls from our parking spot, did not help with our pain. We were both exhausted and hurting so those factors I believe contributed to us not really enjoying it as much as we thought we would. Here is a slideshow of the falls. Again, I could not get the right settings on my camera for the perfect shot of the Falls and for that I apologize because I do pride myself is being able to take great pictures.

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Here is a video I captured of the Falls.

 

 

 

There is a pretty big storm coming through this area, so we do not want to be on the road in it since we take all back roads and the storm is hitting right in the path we plan to take. They are reporting a lot of flooding as well so we decided to get a room in Amherst, NY for  couple of days and plan the rest of our journey as we slowly head to Mississippi. I am not a fan of the East Coast and all the traffic and cities, so I will be really happy to get away from the East coast soon. I will continue to update you on Facebook as much as I can. Life is an adventure that needs to be cautiously lived without fear.

 

 

 

 

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Miracles, Faith, And God

If Ever there was a question in anyone’s mind about the existence of God in our lives, it was answered this week by not just one, but two amazing rescues.

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© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Saved! All 12 players, pictured from top left clockwise, Adul Sam-on, 14, Panumas Saengdee, 13, Sompong Jaiwong, 13, Ekkarat Wongsookchan, 14, Pipat Bodhi, 15, Peerapat Sompiangjai, 16, Pornchai Kamluang, 16, Prajak Sutham, 14, Chanin Wiboonrungrueng, 11, Mongkol Boonpiam, 14, Nattawut ‘Tle’ Takamsai, 14 and Duangpetch Promthep, 13
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     Against all odds, when these boys and their coach were reported missing and then found after 9 days trapped in the cave. You all know the story s the whole world followed this amazing story and successful rescue. The fact that they were all found alive and well after 9 days was a miracle in itself.  To rescue all 12 boys and their coach successfully as flood waters began to rise due to the monsoon season is yet another miracle. Then, after everyone had been rescued and safe, the water pump breaks causing rescuers to scramble for their lives as the waters in the cave quickly rose. I have to believe that God had a hand in everything during that rescue. God’s hands were with the rescuers and everything held in place until everyone was safely out. How can anyone doubt that God was not right there in control of the situation? Yes, there was one death during the rescue attempts. One rescuer lost his life and that was a devastating loss to everyone. But his death was not in vain and everyone made sure that was the case. The success of that rescue was motivated by Faith and determination… no other life will be lost.

 

Then the second miracle and proof that God is with us… The miracle baby buried in the woods and missing out there for 9 hours was found alive. GOD IS SO GOOD!!!

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Image from People.com. Click here for the story.

“A 5-month-old baby was rescued after a man allegedly buried it in the wilderness of the Montana mountains.”

It just seems so clear to me that God took care of the helpless and innocent during these moments. I know there are many other cases where children have suffered and died due to abuse and I will never understand why those things happen. Why some are saved through miracles and others are not. But I believe that God has a reason far beyond what anyone of us will ever understand and it is just important to trust and have faith. I don’t know any of these people, but their lives affected my heart.

Through all the tragedies in life, I have often found some good that occurred. Sometimes we are so devastated by the tragedy that it seems impossible to see any good that can come from it. But there is always good in every situation even if we can’t see it right then. Only when we allow ourselves to rise above the heartbreak and devastation of any tragedy or loss will we be able to appreciate the small miracles of good that still surround us every day. The two amazing stories above made news all over the world, but there are so many stories like them happening every day in our world, and every day God’s hands are a part of it all.

As for me, I capture God’s amazing love for us through my camera. It is how I show the world the miracles we take for granted every day. It is God that points me to what He wants me to capture, it is what He wants the world to see through the eyes of just an ordinary person like me. I am someone who has experienced many traumatic events in my life and yet I always see the beauty of life and God’s love all around me. It is an amazing feeling to feel and know without any doubt that God has control over my life.

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I hope you are all able to find the beauty of life and God’s miracles all around you each day.  They are there for you to enjoy.

 

 

 

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The Journey Begins Again

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Here we go again. After 2 years of struggling, scraping and saving… of not being able to enjoy summers in the outdoors because we had no transportation… 2 years of suffering from deep depression and walking a tightrope of hopelessness… We have made it! We have found our home on wheels. This 1995 Chevy G20 Explorer is so much like our previous van but so far in much better shape. Everything that did not work in our old van works in this one. We are elated and our journey will begin the first week of August. Scott has decided that the first place he wants to head out to is Mount Rushmore. Although we had worked out in Yellowstone and had traveled in that area, we had never been there.

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I am looking forward to capturing my own images and experience of this amazing place and sharing it with all of you. From there we will be making our way down towards Mississippi by September 20th for the wedding of my middle son on September 29th. It will be the first time in more than 5 years that I will have all three of my sons together with me. You know I am going to capture every moment.

Now, I do have quite a bucket list of places I want to see that I have never been to so this is going to be an amazing life. I know my little dog Wally is just as excited. When we first got the van and I took him out for our regular walk, the first thing he did was head to the van and was waiting for me to open the door so he can hop in. He is truly a traveling dog. He already has his spot set up in between Scott and me.

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We have already enjoyed a couple of local trips and Wally was so happy in his element. He sat up tall and was just looking ahead at everything. You would think he was doing the driving!

Here are a few of the images I captured on a couple of local trips. A wooded park in Hamden, Pushaw Lake in Orono, and a beautiful picnic area in Acadia National Park called Frasier Point on the scenic Schoodic drive.

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Of course, I have some anxiety as we prepare for this journey. Anxiety due to a current situation I am living with that will accompany us as we begin our life on the road. I am praying and hoping that the Florida DMV will finally release my Driver’s License from Medical Review so that I can obtain a valid driver’s license here in Maine before we head out. That way I can help Scott do some of the driving. There are other issues as well that I worry about but I won’t get into it here. Perhaps I will write about it in a separate post.

     These are just a few of the places I am looking forward to visiting:
Yosemite National Park
Glacier National Park
Zion National Park
Bryce Canyon
Arches National Park
Mount Rainier
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Anza Borrego Desert State Park
Custard State Park
Smokey Mountains
Jacob Lake, AZ
Oatman, AZ
Monument Valley
Canyonlands National Park
The Wave in AZ
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And of course, I am looking forward to returning to Yellowstone National Park, The Grand Tetons, and Death Valley National Park to visit friends who still live and work there.

On top of all these places, we hope to meet up with many of our online friends and just enjoying the beauty of life. By next winter, we hope to be in Quartzsite AZ where many of my friends get together and spend the winter.

So, we have quite an adventure ahead of us and I am looking forward to sharing it all with you through photographs, videos, and blogging. So be sure to subscribe to this page for all new writing and information. I do have a YouTube channel and I will be uploading videos from my adventures so please subscribe to my channel on youtube as well. This is going to be fun!!!

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Yellowstone And The Grand Tetons National Parks

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I will never forget my time working in Yellowstone National Park for 2 summers. Yellowstone is such a beautiful and magical place and I look forward to returning once again. My fiance and I were seasonal workers in Grant Village during the summers of 2014 and 2015. We both worked in the Grant Village restaurant. He was a cook and I was a host. I loved that job more than any other job I have ever worked in my life.

 

        

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        These images I took during the time I was working at Grant Village in Yellowstone National Park.  This image above I took in Grant Village down by Yellowstone Lake. I had spent the night in my van by the lake in order to capture the first rays of the sunrise over the lake. As you can see I was not the only one with this plan. This Photographer was also out there capturing the beauty of the lake. You can click on the images to see them without the watermarks. 

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                    While working in Grant Village, We traveled to Jackson, Wyoming also known as Jackson Hole in order to get supplies during our days off. It was a 2-hour trip that took us through Grand Tetons National Park. There were always photo opportunities along the way, so while it was a trip to run errands, it was also always a sightseeing trip on the way and back.   The next few images below are some of my favorites and were captured from Colter Bay and Leeks Marina which are on located south of Yellowstone. The sunset with the mountains and the lake was just amazing.

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              Of course, the biggest attraction in these parks is the wildlife.  Yellowstone and The Grand Tetons are full of wildlife. This often causes major gridlocks as the tourist would literally stop up and down the roads whenever wildlife is spotted. Grant Village was full of Elks and during the mating season, you can just hear their bugling all over the park.  The Bison were also quite a treat to capture. I was fortunate enough to capture these far from all the tourists. Below is a slideshow of the wildlife I was able to capture. 

 

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Yellowstone is also famous for its many Hot Springs and Waterfalls. 

 

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Yellowstone and The Grand Tetons are just one of the most breathtaking places I have ever experienced. I look forward to returning once again and capturing more of its beauty. Below is the final slideshow of general images I captured during my time there. I hope you enjoy them and please support me and my work by making a purchase or buying me a cup of coffee or two. Thank You for stopping by!

 

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