Tully Lake, Central Massachusetts

Tully Lake, Central Massachusetts

Great blue heron in my riparian native state.

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American Basin, near Cinnamon Pass, Colorado

American Basin, near Cinnamon Pass, Colorado

Welcome to Chris Daley’s blog on travel with photos, watercolors, birdwatching and some thoughtful insights. To journey means a path, the means or process to get somewhere. While the destination is necessary, the time, the road brings meditation, like the painting and looking for birds. From New England sea level to the high lonesome, I’ve chronicled a life of Becoming and Being, intertwined as a Unity of experience, stream of consciousness. I enjoy the adventure of trivia like gas stations, motels, campgrounds, RV parks, where to eat, cheap (and expensive thrills), unusual characters, yes pretty women, old folks, law enforcement (be respectful), historic sites, great shopping, public lands, ski resorts, watersports and just cruising. Please scroll down, click onto arrows for images from within and out there. The destination can be the step to another…

Bridges

Bridges

Rip Van Winkle Bridge across the Hudson river, near the Catskills, NY route 23. Bridges are very important when traveling obviously; they cross obstacles like rivers, other roads, by pass cities or bring you into a city. A bridge can be exciting, mundane, dramatic or even dangerous. Bridges have a spiritual quality too like connections between people and ideas. Feats of engineering, they can represent the best of workmanship, with iron, trusses, suspension, roadbed-provided they’re maintained. Noteworthy bridges in my life journeys include: Sagamore US 6 Cape Cod Canal, Mississippi river crossings at Dubuque, Clinton and Burlington Iowa; the narrow but scenic US 60 bridges at Cairo, Illinois over both the Ohio and Mississippi into the Missouri heartland; the Missouri river is crossed at Chamberlain, SD on I-90, and on small spans at Rulo, Nebraska, Blair US 30, Portsmouth Iowa toll on US 34 and Amelia Earhart’s hometown Atchinson Kansas on US 59 into St. Joseph, MO. Texas has lots of causeways on the Gulf, the Sabine Pass bridge near Port Arthur and Queen Isabella from Brownsville to So. Padre Island. The US 90 Langtry bridge crosses the Pecos in West Texas. In Colorado you can drive or walk across Royal Gorge over the Arkansas river 1,053 feet below. I-70 parallels the Colorado river in Glenwood Canyon with a series of tunnels and bridges; in the Lake Powell region of Utah UT95 crosses a span there; a bridge in New Mexico crosses the upper Rio Grande Gorge near Taos. A floating bridge in Seattle links Bellevue suburbs with the I-90 Mercer Is. bridge across Lake Washington. In 1976 I rode in a red convertible hitchhiking over the Golden Gate from San Francisco to Sausalito. Other bridges in America crossed by this sojourner: Mackinac to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Chesapeake Bay (both tolled), the Ashley river bridge into Charleston, SC; Bonner Bridge onto the North Carolina Outer Banks at Cape Hatteras and the newer I-155 Mississippi crossing from Dyersburg Tennessee into S. Missouri and Arkansas. Newport RI, the George Washington, Triborough, newer Boston I-93 Zakim Bridge, Queechee Gorge Vermont, I-95 Portsmouth NH-Maine, and Lake Champlain spans all interconnect the busy Northeast.  The Brenner Pass bridge links Innsbruck, Austria with Sud Tirol, northern Italy.  Yes there are many bridges to cross and I’ve crossed some of ’em!

Meet Slim, the Spirit of 76

Meet Slim, the Spirit of 76

Harry “Bud” Hoisington or Colorado Slim has been a dear friend since 1984. He hails from Iowa farm country, loves entertaining and can fix ANYTHING. If there’s a garage sale, a car to look at, a door lock to install, grass to mow, a porch to repair, he’s there! Back in Olin Iowa he used to work in a movie theatre. During World War II, ineligible for the military, he performed in USO shows instead, playing the fiddle, guitar and accordian. He helped quell a prison riot with a country show for the inmates in the 1950s. He performed for WWI vets in a Clinton nursing home. In Colorado where we met, he runs his music car in the Granby Fourth of July parades. He belongs to the local Masonic fraternity. We once braved a heavy rainstorm to see the movie The Da Vinci Code with early Mason origins. He married a Russian woman so she could get her green card to work in the US, probably paying more than he bargained for. Under a car’s hood or crawling down into the Wildlife Area chemical dry toilet maintenance closet space, Slim knows how to solve a problem. He records and edits music, watches PBS and smokes Lucky Strikes, though less so with his asthma. He stays in touch with his Iowa roots, taking the Amtrak. His late mother’s house sits next to a horse-boarding spread on the Wapsipinicon River, with a grain mill also nearby. In 2003 I slept in his garage sofa, next to a stored Cadillac waiting his arrival by train from Denver. His hometown friends include a trucker, an antique salesman and retired coffee drinkers! I enjoyed the player piano and hundreds of tools in his buddy’s garage, cars too. Slim also visits his younger brother in North Dakota, helping him through health issues. This last spring I accompanied Slim to the annual Colorado Division of Wildlfe picnic, where he was awarded his 5 year pin, caring for the Granby rest area at the nearby Windy Gap resevoir. There we all met game wardens who enforce our hunting/fishing laws, land conservation, fire, logging and pine beetle mitigation matters. I’m grateful to have a friend who is always cheerful, active in town, well-informed and so talented, creative with life.

Slim’s Music Car in Granby CO

Slim's Music Car in Granby CO

His 1901 Oldsmobile actually pulls a trailer that plays recorded music in Granby and Grand Lake parades. He controls switches that play patriotic themes, jazz and big band sounds. In fall 2003 his dark green 1928 Model A performed in a parade in Anamosa Iowa, near his hometown of Olin. Slim once built a locomotive for the Granby CO Fourth, using another Model A chassis-the best creative parade piece I ever saw!

Windy Gap Resevoir near Granby, CO

Windy Gap Resevoir near Granby, CO

Colorado Division of Wildlife and Parks wildlife viewing rest area along US 40 offers a comfort stop, covered tables and a trail for birdwatchers. I’ve seen white pelicans, marbled godwits, phalaropes, assorted ducks and grebes, bald eagle, even an errant black-necked stilt here once. The small dam run by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District manages the upper Colorado river as part of the Denver water supply as well as downstream flow levels. My friend Slim maintains the park, helped put in the interpretive signs, even built bird houses! The area is surrounded by ranch country and forest lands of Grand County. Gold medal waters below the dam offers some of this nation’s best fly fishing.