Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Unpacking

It’s a common sentiment, written about with great regularity, that the packing for a trip is often as exciting as the trip itself. The suspense, the planning, the first steps into what one eagerly anticipates being a glorious adventure. The rod selection, the preparation of flies, the compilation of outerwear, underwear, footwear, and where the hell’s that bug spray. It’s heady stuff, previewing the trip as one counts down the days to departure, but I have a confession to make. I like the unpacking better.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the lead up, but it’s not without tension. Truth is, I tend to overanalyze. What will I need? Do I go with just the big duffle or split out the gear into a rod case and pack some contingency clothing? What’s the weather going to be like? Which waders? How do I keep the big bag under fifty pounds and not have to lug lots of carryon around? What will TSA think of those 2/0 stingers? Take the 8wt and the 6wt, or just a 7? Will I carry too much? Will I carry too little? What truly essential, lifesaving item will I completely forget? The preparation is fun, but it’s stressful.

And since my forays of late have been to a wide variety of locations for a wide variety of fishing experiences, it’s been tough to get a pat checklist in place. Every trip has its peculiarities and its special considerations. Alaska is one thing. The Bahamas, another. (Yeah. I know. Big crocodile tears, right?) But take my word, starting from scratch every time has its challenges.

But when I get home, that load is lifted. There’s nothing to think about except unloading the bags and remembering the trip. I get to replay it all, what worked and what didn’t, as I dump the contents out on the floor of the office. I get to touch everything one more time.

I take note of what’s still clean and add that to the Exclude Next Time list, what’s well worn and dirty goes on the Frequent Flyer list, and what smells like fish on the Must Take Again. The new gear (for one must always take something new to try out) is assessed and what’s tried and true is once again acknowledged as the touchstones of my fishing life. And every item unpacked plays back into the adventure I’ve just experienced. Each piece bears a memory from the trip. Every object still resonates with the previous week’s travel.

And here’s where it gets weird. I get great joy from putting it all away.

You see, I have this obsessive/compulsive issue in which I derive insane pleasure in restocking the gear closet, returning everything to its proper place. The outwear hung in the right order, the fly lines stacked by ascending weight, the flies in their proper drawers or boxes, the rods standing neatly in the corner. Having that pile of dirty clothes laundered and hung gives me the giggles, the bags empty and stowed gives me peace.

And while that might seem odd, it makes perfect sense when you consider that this actually means that I’m just a bit ahead of you in the anticipation of the next trip. I’m poised, ready to start it all over, eagerly awaiting the time when I can pack it all up again and head out.

I’m ready to get ready to go. My pre-trip packing, whether I know where I’m going next or not, has already begun. I've just started early.

The unpacking simply closes my möbius fishing loop.

Note: This all comes to mind as I stare at the pile on the floor next to me. It smells of Saskatchewan here, and I know it was a good fishing trip because Zeppelin won’t keep his nose out of my duffle. Stick around for the next few days and I’ll tell you about it.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Photo Bin - May 2016

It was a last minute decision to attend the event and, like most such impulsive endeavors, it would either work out or it wouldn't. As it turned out, my last-minute detour into the heart of Tennessee did both. Hell, I was halfway there anyway; that is if you consider three hours into an eight-hour road trip to be halfway. I assure you, when there's fishing involved the equation balances perfectly.

I entered the tourney without a seat in a boat, reasoning that somewhere, somehow, someone might not make it and I could slide into an open spot. Just as likely, though, I wouldn't, and that would be cool too, giving me the freedom to roam around a bit, snap a few pictures, and relax. Regardless, boat or no, I'd catch up with some old friends, make a few new, and generally hang out with the cool kids.

I got off the water in Kings Mountain, NC, three hours west of home, after a good day chasing carp, filled the tank and hit the road for McMinnville. Stopped but once on the way, in Asheville, for provisions. A box of Wheat Thins, a bag of Snyder's Pieces (honey mustard and onion), and a couple of sixes of beer. You know. The basics.

But construction delays around Knoxville put a kink in the works and I ended up late to the party on Thursday night and unable to hook up with a boat for the next day. But no worries. It was all worth it and here's a handful of odds-and-ends pictures to prove it.

Perfect Photo Bin fare.

Above, the centerpiece of McMinnville musky culture, Buddy McMahon's mural on the backside of Collins River BBQ and Cafe, painted during last year's event. Very cool.

While the musky tournament was competitive, it couldn't hold a candle to the Thursday night beer pong rumble at the Franzen cabin. Here Mr. Paul Puckett shows his perfect form, in a losing cause. He and Kyle would avenge this loss later, after a few more rounds (on and off the table), with the battle cry "The higher they get, the taller they fall."

By that point in the evening, everyone understood what they meant.

Friday, while the contestants fished, I wandered around the county, taking odd pictures around McMinnville and trying to catch the occasional boat floating down some Caney Fork tributary.

I got more than a couple of suspicious stares from the locals as I hung out on the bridges, but the views were worth it.

I also wandered around town and picked up some odd images, my muse apparently still inebriated from the previous evening's beer pong. The textures in this city dumpster were of particular interest and, honestly, this image may be my favorite from the entire trip. Go figure.

More detritus from the old railroad part of town. I'm easily distracted with a camera in my hands.

The best part of the event, of course, is the people. Musky fishermen are an odd and varied lot, and no one understands that better than our host and tournament director, Todd Gregory, the founder and head honcho at Towee Boats. At least half of the craft floating in the tournament came out of his shop. Bloody good boats.

Todd also puts on a damn good weekend, including three good feeds and a preponderance of swag to go along with the fishing main event that brings anglers from all over North America. And of particular interest, to me at least, is each year's trophy; a customized guitar, a nod to Nashville, just an hour-and-a-half west. Todd's got connections in that town and lures some fine musicians, each year, to join in the fun.

Of note in this picture is the lad standing in the background. He became a bit of a celebrity for, the day before the tournament began, he caught his first musky - a feat that the vast majority of the real fisherman failed to do over the duration of the tournament. Good for you, little dude.

Since I was late in arriving, I compensated by leaving a day early (which makes every bit as much sense as three hours being half of eight, but that's how I roll sometimes). Todd had found me a possible seat for Day Two, but rather than inflicting my meager musky skills and rowing chops on perfect strangers (you only torture those that you love) I hit the road early, having been called back home for another last minute impulse. I'm a slave to my whims.

And while I was in McMinnville but briefly, I got the lay of the land and am prepared, already, for next year's Hardly, Strictly Musky, including a seat in a boat. My buddy Pipes and I will be ready.

Maybe I can fish like the kid.

Note: I can't get away without extending my deepest gratitude to Guy Franzen and his "team" (sons Patrick and Chris, Alan and Abbi, and the unsinkable Peter) for putting me up during my all-to-brief stay. Your hospitality made the trip work and for that I am in your debt.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Photo Bin - April 2016

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. It's the first week of June and here's the April photo bin. What can I say? I've been busy. I've been slack. I've been... well, I don't rightly know what I've been. Let's just ignore that and get on with the pics. April.

Actually, I have some shocking news for you (at least those of you who know me at all). I've kicked Mt. Dew. Blows your mind, doesn't it?

If you've followed the blog for any length of time, you'll recall that images of Mt. Dew bottles are ubiquitous.

Unrelated Aside: I've always loved that word, ubiquitous, and I use it every chance that I get, no doubt to the annoyance of others. But it reminds me of a Phillip K. Dick novel, Ubik, that I'd read as a teenager, about a future (now a past as the book was published in 1969 and looked ahead to a visionary 1992) drug scene and the government's... wait. No spoilers. I'll let you read it. One of PKD's best. I promise.

Anyway, Mt. Dew bottles images are everywhere on this blog because I drank it all day, every day, probably since the mid-seventies, in volumes that I'd hate to admit. Quick math (forty years, three-to-four twenty-ounce bottles a day) puts that in the neighborhood of seven-thousand gallons. I've pushed enough brominated vegetable oil (the ingredient that suspends that eerie green glow and keeps The Dew from being imported to the rest of the enlightened world due to cancer concerns) through me to fry a million florescent french fries. And the caffeine... Oh, the caffeine.

I mentioned my abstinence to Troy the other night at the local TU meeting and he looked at me like I had two heads. He's used to my stuffing a six-pack into the the skiff's live well (which doubles as a cooler for us C&R practitioners) and he tolerantly ignores the empty green bottles rattling around on the floor of the skiff.

But no more.

You don't just kick such addictions without some help. It's the habits and routines that are the hardest to change so a replacement is often the key. For this difficult transition I fell into the prefect replacement. Kombucha.

More on that a bit later. Let's get back to some photos.

If my Mt. Dew abstinence isn't shocking enough, how about me in a tie? Obviously, I didn't take this picture (Mary did) so it violates the photo bin rules, but...hey wait, I don't care. I like the picture.

I hang up the ball cap and dig out my grown-up threads from the back of the closet just twice a year, each time to attend university foundation endowment dinners at which we get to meet the wonderful young recipients of the memorial scholarships we've established in honor of our lost sons. This year, we were thrilled to be able to support two talented engineers-to-be through the Andy Sepelak Memorial Scholarship in Civil Engineering at North Carolina State University. Brian and Chris are terrific young men and perfect examples of why we do this. I couldn't have handpicked, myself, any better beneficiaries. Andy would have liked them.

Funny, I don't recall them standing on standing on chairs when this picture was taken.

April also held one of our favorite events, a fundraising cornhole double-elimination tournament for our other endowment, the Freeman York Memorial Athletic Scholarship at Georgia Tech. Organized and run by Freeman's friends in Charlotte, it carries on an annual spring tradition that Freeman himself started a decade before. It's a joyful celebration, even through the tears, and now helps support his academic and athletic legacy.

Above, a little friendly competition between Mary and Ben; Free's mom and brother. Trouble.

A good crew turned out. Here's those who stayed to the bitter end. Just as many had slipped away throughout the daylong event for other commitments or to lick their wounds. Our profound thanks go out to everyone who participated. See y'all next year.

A special treat, this year, was that we were able to scoot down to Atlanta, pre-tournament, and bring back to the gathering this year's scholarship recipient, Chiara, a bright and talented swimmer who hails from Sardinia, Italy. We hope she had fun, though cornhole was certainly a new experience for her. Competitor that she is, she took to it like a fish to water.

Sorry. Go Jackets.

Even Zeppelin got into the mood, wearing Georgia Tech colors and a Buzz on his splint. Poor guy suffered a frisbee mishap, a few days before, somehow acquiring a deep laceration in his large paw pad as he flew back and forth up our gravel driveway and the surrounding woods. The pad was laid open badly, and bleeding like sumbitch, but he wanted to keep fetching the disc. I had to hogtie him. We play hard around here.

He's healed up nicely (now that it's June) and is back on the run.

I promised I'd get back to kombucha. It's is fermented sweet tea, usually black or green, brewed a lot like beer (so it has that going for it) but without any appreciable alcohol. And sweet it isn't, as the fermentation process chews the natural sugars up, as fermentation is prone to do. What results is hard to describe. Slightly sour in a rich and wonderful way, with a hint of tea and herbal goodness, largely dependent on formulations, added ingredients, and the brewer's craft.

This particular brewer is incredible and we couldn't be prouder of what he's accomplishing. Okay, full disclaimer, he's our youngest son.

Again, what can I say?

What is a Photo Bin?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wild Horses

They idle up behind us, their two-hundred horsepower Merc loping like a Don Garlits dragster priming for its holeshot. Nitro heat pushing a low-slung, red metal flaked, NASCAR grade, ass haulin’, pile-carpeted rocket ship on water. Ready to rip some lips.

Hey guys. There’s a bunch of spotted bass over by those docks. They’d probably jump all over them flies.

Thanks. But we’re good here.

What ya fishin’ for?


Thirty seconds pass, awkward silence but for the potato-potato-potato of a couple-hundred fiery steeds straining at the reins. Begging to be cut loose. Finally…

You catch carp with those fly rods?

If we do it right.

The Merc skips a beat, shudders, but then gathers itself and resumes its steady, impatient thunder.

We’ve seen some awful big ones.

Yeah. That’s what we’re after.

With fly rods?

Yep. With fly rods.

A light breeze rises and the gas-guzzling growl seems to pause as if the ponies are suddenly unsure of their footing. Their world has tilted. But only for a moment. The rumble resumes.

Well, y’all have a good one.

Good luck to you too.

And in a blink they're up on plane and they're gone, like an odd thought, leaving only a stampede-driven wake and some perforated eardrums. They’re off like scalded cats. Off like wild horses.

Off like carp having taken a fly.

Not so long ago, most fly fishermen were as clueless about fishing for carp as those bassmasters were. But in the Charlotte area, Captain Paul Rose of Carolina Bonefishing has been chasing them for decades. Tales of his escapades were my first inkling of the golden bones and I was thrilled to finally spend a day on his home waters. And to sweeten the deal, I got to share it with my buddy Cameron Mortenson, a bit of a carp connoisseur himself, and watch him bend a few of those fiberglass candy sticks that he likes so much.

Many thanks to each of them for a day very well spent.

And I'd have paid good money to listen in on them Rapala jockeys when they found their point, stabled the horses, and switched over to their trolling motor.

Carp? On fly rods?!?! Those guys are nuts!

If they only knew.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Photo Bin - March 2016

Crap! I almost forgot the photo bin for last month!

Actually, there isn't much to show. I was catching my breath from a busy February and really didn't spend much time with the camera. But in keeping with the program, here's a handful of shots that tell March's story, along with a couple of holdovers from February, bumped by the glut of Abaco shots.

They're my rules. I can break them if I want.

After stealing away to the Bahamas on my own, Mary and I wandered down to the Keys to escape winter's last push. A week in the chain and I didn't fish a day. Yes, I took a rod and reel (and a box of bonefish flies, or two) but I enjoyed my wife's company and lounged in the sun enough that they stayed in the back of the Forester. Next time...

The trip, however, started with a night in St. Augustine and the top picture comes from a gift shop we wandered through on St. George Street. The place was a delight for the eye and this shot captures the quirkiness of the boutique. The challenge was using the mirror to fill the shot with even more chaos and give the photographer a Where's Waldo cameo.

The bulk of the trip was spent on Key West and then a few days in Islamorada. (Huge thanks out to Mike Agneta, Mr. Troutrageous himself, for the pointer to the Cheeca Lodge & Spa. We had a great visit.) We finished our trip off with an evening at the Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar, the best sunset and good-time spot on the island. Some good blues and country music and the funky magic of Michael Trixx. The show was a gas, soundtracked by good old, kick-ass, big hair rock. I forgot how much fun that can be.

March means weird weather here in North Carolina. You never know what's coming. One thing you can count on are some early year storms and some impressive electrical displays. Always a bit scary sitting up here on the ridge like we do.

One thing that we do to keep in touch with the Chicago-based grandkids is to send postcards created from photos taken here around Camp Redbud. This particular shot of Zeppelin, with his favorite frisbee, went to young Carter who, not all that long ago, was deathly afraid of the dog. Reasonably so, as their first encounters went less than easily. A skittish four-year-old and a nervous Aussie with a drive to herd, anything and everything, made for an interesting couple of visits. But during last year's camp they came to terms and are now fast friends.

Carter still wears gardening gloves when playing frisbee with Zep. The dog's slobber is impressive.

And finally, another couple of days on the water, also without a fly rod. Our Georgia Tech Freeman York Memorial Scholarship recipient is a swimmer, a darn good one, and we were thrilled to cheer her on as she competed in the ACC Swimming and Diving Championships in Greensboro. I've never followed the sport but I have to admit getting into it as the weekend progressed and we were incredibly proud of young Chichi's performance. She's a special young lady and we are pleased beyond words to be a part of her college experience.

Guess that's it for another month. Cheers!

What is a Photo Bin?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Plans Are Overrated

My return to this hidden staircase of rock and water didn't go quite as planned. The intent was to nick a few brookies and take some long exposure images of soft falls and emerging Spring. I was ready.

But the brookies were absent (I saw nary a fish, much less caught one) and the day, forecast to be heavily overcast, turned bluebird bright, and windy. There's not an ND filter made that can fix dancing rhododendrons. I snapped a few shots but my objectives went pretty well unrealized.

No worries, however. The three-hour drive was saved by a quintet of rough-coated whitetails that passed within twenty feet as I sat on the tailgate enjoying my lunch, a leisurely mid-day nap in the bed of the pickup, taken between half-mile rock hops (the first with a fly rod and the second, a tripod), and, after each climb and descent, a cold beer, tucked snuggly in a trailside plunge pool. Nature's perfect cooler.

So while things didn't go quite as planned, it was a joy to be out. To be on the road. On the stream. On the trail.

Besides. Plans, as you well know, are overrated.

Note: Click on the pics for a better look. I'm often disappointed with how Blogger represents them.

Acknowledgement: Thanks, here, to the good folks at Upslope Brewing Company for sending a six-pack of their fine lager. A perfect summer beer, light and flavorful, that would be even more perfect if I could get it here on the east coast. Just another reason that Boulder rocks. Oh, and no small thing, one percent (1%) of revenue from sales of this beer is donated to local chapters of Trouts Unlimited where their beers are sold. Well done, boys.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The 6wt E

At the intersection of passions there often lies magic. Overlapping devotions compound and exponentiate in weird and wonderful ways, lifting each to stimulating new heights. But, just as often, at those same crossroads lies madness and the sad truth is, when in the throws of passion, it’s hard to tell the difference between the two.

My love affair with fly fishing is well documented. But those who know me best are also aware that I have been recently consumed by another old flame. The guitar. I’ve owned a trio of acoustics for decades, sentimental pieces more than musical, but the fire was reignited with the purchase, last November, of a Fender Telecaster and Blues Junior amp (electrified devices, for those of you uninitiated in modern six-stringed instrumentation). Our quiet hide-away in the woods has become a little less quiet and a little less fishing has been going on.

And while the Telecaster has gotten the most attention, the increase in musical interest has blown back on my acoustics. I pick them up much more often now, especially when the urge to make noise surfaces and there’s too little time to set up the electric, or when Mary has the girls over and I must be sonically restrained.

Such was the case yesterday as Mary and Susan and Sherry were downstairs, working on their basketry. I picked up the quietest thing I owned, my Yamaha G-231 classical, a box that I hadn’t played in a while, and gave it a good strum. But, with that single rake of the pick, the top nylon E-string pinged at the bridge and I was down to five, the final string left hanging loosely from the headstock like some poor tenkara offering.

At that point, I could have easily set the Yamaha aside and picked up another guitar, but it’s not in my nature to leave things in such awkward states. My OCD won’t allow it. And a quick rummage in the case failed to produce the new set of D’Addarios that I was certain had been there. I had replacements for the Fenders, my steel-stringed acoustics, and a variety, 09s-to-11s, to try out on the Telecaster, but none for the 231’s nylons.

If the strings were not in the case, then they had to be in my toy closet - that cluttered hole in the wall filled with guitar accoutrements, camera gear, and all things fly fishing - and it was there that the passions overlapped. Once the nylon set couldn’t be found, my eyes fell on the carefully stacked boxes of fly lines.

Do you think...

I grabbed an old RIO bass line, a 7wt that I’d had for a while and was likely not to use again, cut out a four-foot length of running line and strung it up. It easily tuned to an E and I got a soft, mellow note, but it couldn’t be held for long. After a bluesy Stormy Monday, it went flat as a Lefty Kreh loop. And I didn’t like the feel of the textured line or the “round-wound buzz” that I got as I slid between notes. That sound’s okay down low, but not acceptable in the upper registers. A four-foot length of the tapered head faired a bit better and had a bit more warmth of tone, but also quickly lost tune after just two bars of an acoustic Layla. That and it felt a bit bulky for the top end. All-in-all, the 7wt was unsatisfying, but the concept showed promise. A more scientific analysis was needed.

Tension was not an issue. Guitars are normally strung in the neighborhood of fifteen pounds tension and a fly line should handle that and more. I’ve broken off enough 20lb floro tippet on bonefish and reds to know that to be true. Size and texture were next to be considered and the possibilities that lay between 5wts and 8, especially when factoring in the tapers, would give me plenty of options. Perhaps a newer line would help address the tuning issue as well. But in the end it would all come down to tone. It’s all about tone.

So I started experimenting. I grabbed a fresh box, a RIO Outbound Short Freshwater 8wt intermediate sinking line, thinking the running weight would be about right. In addition, the untextured, slick finish should reduce the buzz and the sink line might add some weight for a fuller sound. I hacked a few pieces, strung them up, and saw improvement, but the tuning issue remained. One full play of Down By the River and it was flat again. Worse, the coldwater coating began feeling tacky as it warmed under my fingers. Great for avoiding coiling issues in cold weather. Bad for warm hands and hot licks.

A tropical line, then. Snipped up another Outbound Short, this time a 9wt intermediate, but with a saltwater coating. Better texture under my fingers and a decent tone, but the bothersome tuning issue remained. Didn’t hold up through Day Tripper. Barely got through the intro. It was beginning to look like a show-stopper.

Another look into the closet and the light bulb went off. The lines' core was the key. If I could find a more stable core, perhaps it would hold. RIO’s low stretch ConnectCore might be the answer and I quickly took the scissors to a new 5wt Xtreme Indicator line. The running line proved a bit light, but a length of the head – the cool orange front taper – seemed closer. A rousing ten minutes of twelve-bar-blues jamming, bends not normally heard from an classical guitar, didn’t budge the tension an iota so the tuning issue was licked, but I’d lost the tone with the lighter line.

A 6wt InTouch Grand, then. The trimmed out green front taper wasn’t quite as cool, visually, but the tone was better. Not just better. Fantastic. Buddy Guy’s upper licks never sounded so good. Downright buttery.

I’d hit the sweet spot. Beautiful sound. Tuning stability. Silky feel. I’d solved my E string problem...

(with $400 worth of fly line)

…and wondered how fantastic it’d sound if I replaced the G and B strings as well.

Monday, March 21, 2016

No Snivelling

Papa would have hated it. Tourists packed shoulder to shoulder through the halls of his home. His hangouts filled to bursting with folks who thought that it was cool to be there, getting sloppy. The haunts of his Lost Generation replaced by the likes of Burger King and Salt Life.

He'd have freaked as he moved down Duval, carried along like just another head of cattle in the herd of beefy tourists sporting all manner of Steeler paraphernalia. I swear to God, upon landing at the docks, the gargantuan mothership hovering in the harbor had disgorged half of Pennsylvania, clad exclusively in yellow-and-black. I'd probably have retched too.

(No hate mail, please, all you Pittsburgh fans and Keystone State residents. Some of my best friends are so afflicted, bless their hearts.)

Ernest would have chaffed at the noise and the glitz and the commercialization he'd encountered as he moved down the main drag (and I use that term quite explicitly - not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not my thing) and I expect that he'd quickly have jumped over a block, west, probably no later than Eaton, to avoid the Duvallian circus. It's a bit more sane on Whitehead.

For those very same reasons, Mary and I took that route and, at the corner of Whitehead and Southard, just three blocks from Ernest's Key West home, found The Green Parrot. We stopped. Papa might have stopped too, wondering where the grocery store had gone.

Let me say, right up front, that the term parrotheads, associated with another Keys-based celebrity, was not generated here. That particular term, actually, originated in Cincinnati. Ohio. Enough said.

The Parrot was packed, but with a vibe unlike the cacophony of Duval. It was a happy buzz, generated, as it turns out, by a fun-loving mix of locals and "regulars" to Key West. Best blues joint on the island, the guide had confided in us as we sat up next to him on the front wheel well of the overpacked tour bus, getting the insider's scoop.

And while blues was not the musical genre for that particular evening, the band (Jeff Clark and the Rondo Rigs, an amalgam of local musicians, our bar mates knew the bass player) was a blast, full of unpretentious country and rock covers that they effectively and entertainingly made their own. Not an easy thing to pull off well. The crowd held a few first-timers, like ourselves, but it seemed many of the folks were regular island visitors who, like Papa and us, had learned to avoid the sightseer flash and landed here. A good crowd, at least the new best friends that surrounded us, and we happily drank and sang the evening away.

There were, of course, a few accommodations made in the name of tourism. Acknowledging the baby boomerish nature of the throngs that wash over the island, the band did two shows that night, starting at both 5:30 and 9:00. We old school rockers don't go as deep into the evenings as we once did.

The early show packs them in.

So after bitching and moaning all day over the state of Hemingway's beloved end-of-the-chain retreat, we finally found what we were looking for in Key West. Good folks and good times that filled the building and spilled out into the street. We could no longer complain, nor could have Papa, as it was plainly posted over the bar - there's no snivelling allowed at the Green Parrot.

None was warranted.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

End of the Line

Overseas Highway

Jewfish Creek, Lake Surprise, Key Largo, Tavernier Creek, Islamorada, Plantation Key, Snake Creek, Windley Key, Whale Harbor Channel, Upper Matecumbe Key, Tea Table, Indian Key Channel, Lignumvitae, Lower Matecumbe Key, Craig Key, Channel #5, Long Key, Fiesta Key, Conch Key, Toms Harbor Cut, Duck Key, Grassy Key, Marathon, Vaca Cut, Pigeon Key

Seven Mile Bridge

Little Duck Key, Ohio-Missouri Channel, Ohio-Bahia Honda Channel, Scout Key, Spanish Harbor Channel, Big Pine Key, No Name Key, North Pine Channel, South Pine Channel, Little Torch Key, Torch Key Channel, Big Torch Key, Torch Ramrod Channel, Ramrod Key, Niles Channel, Summerland Key, Kemp Channel, Cudjoe Key, Bow Channel, Sugarloaf Key, Park Channel, North Harris Channel, Harris Gap Channel, Lower Sugarloaf Key, Harris Channel, Lower Sugarloaf Channel, Saddle Bunch #2, Saddle Bunch #3, Saddle Bunch #4, Saddle Bunch #5, Shark Channel, Shark Key, Big Coppitt Key, Rockland Channel, East Rockland Key, Boca Chica Key, Boca Chica Channel, Cow Key Channel

Key West

The End of the Line

Monday, March 14, 2016

St. Augustine Textures

The tourists gave me a wide berth, changing sides of the street as they approached. Like I was crazy or something. Mothers gathered small children tight to their legs, hurrying them along the sidewalk to get past without making eye contact. Mary walked ahead with that determined "never saw him before in my life" stride that I've come to know so well.

All understandable, I suppose, considering I was facing relatively blank walls, inches away, intently focusing my camera on nothing. That's how they saw it, anyway. But I didn't notice as I was digging the textures.

St. Augustine is quite possibly the oldest city in the US. The climate is fantastic, the architecture's fascinating, and this particular evening's light was perfect. We had stopped for dinner and a quick overnight at an old-town B&B, breaking up the drive from home to Key West, and wandered along St. George Street to work the kinks out of our driving legs. Camera in hand, I became fascinated with the old walls (and probably a few that were just made to look old).

Old or faux, I was captured. So here's what came of that stroll. Pictures of nothing.

I might add, one night's not enough in St. Aug. We'll definitely go back and spend a few additional days as there's plenty to explore. History, architecture, gastronomy...

...and, most importantly, a lot more walls for the crazy man to stare at.