Happy New Year!
Wow, it’s the third day of the new year already. I always relish the beginning of the year as it seems like a new beginning, reflect and leave the past behind (take the valuable lessons learned, apply, and let the other stuff go) and look to the future. So I’m looking forward to 2016 with hope and expectations for a great year.
Before I get to the reflection and resolution part, an update on our day of post Christmas travel on Monday December 28. We left State College right on time, 7 AM EST knowing that we might run into some bad weather. Travel and roads were great until we experienced a little mist around Cleveland. It got worse as we proceeded west on 1-80 into Indiana, it had snowed 4-6 inches earlier then lots of rain on top of the snow making for slush on the road. There were times we were going 30 on the Interstate, there were a few cars in the ditch, mostly from driving too fast for conditions, and snow plows clearing and salting the roads. It actually got a little better as we got closer to Chicago, the problem there was some localized street flooding on the expressway so had to slow way down to get around and through the water. When we reached the northern suburbs, the roads were snow packed in places and the wind was blowing out of the NE at 25-30 so the going got dicier as we got closer to Wisconsin. The roads in WI were the worst of the trip, not sure how much plowing and salting was done. We finally made it home at 9 PM CST, about 4 hours longer than expected. There were some in our party of three who wished we would have pulled off and made the rest of the trip on Tuesday morning after the weather had passed. But I say we didn’t have an accident or need towing out of the ditch so I think it was successful although very stressful and tiring.
First, the reflections. We had a great year all around but especially traveling and camping in our travel trailer. In today’s Wisconsin State Journal, there was a great travel section article on Crater Lake National Park. We were at this park the second week of September and really enjoyed the jaw dropping views. It’s a place that should be on everyone’s bucket list, yes that beautiful! Here’s a panorama (8 photos stitched) I took from the southwest rim of the lake.
Here’s a photo of the Phantom Ship from one of the Lake overlooks.
And one of Wizard Island, the largest on the Lake.
You may notice the haze in the above photos, that’s from the many fires that were burning in and around the Park this summer. Here’s a photo of one of fires burning on the westside of the Park. A ranger told us that the fire was being left to burn out on it’s own as it’s in a remote, hard to access area of the Park. The previous night there was some rain and light snow that helped to dampen the flames. Just saw a Facebook post from the Park that they had the snowiest December on record, 196.7 inches, that’s a lot of snow but they really need it.
In future posts, I’ll reflect on a few more of our 2015 travel highlights. So it’s time for those resolutions. I’m not one to make a lot of New Year’s resolutions like losing weight and exercising more (although I need to do more of both!) and etc., most of the time I don’t make any. One year, I resolved to be kinder at work, that actually worked out pretty good so I kept doing it, I got better anyway. Another year, I resolved to reduce my swearing (mostly at work), that didn’t work out very well, I figured I used a years quota of swear words in the first month! So I gave up on that one after trying pretty hard.
This year I’m resolving to keep a daily journal. Since I’ve written it down here, we can check in 12 months how I did, you’ll have to trust me! I’ve always enjoyed writing but didn’t take the time to do much of it. In one of adult education classes here at UW-Madison, Professor Jerry Apps encouraged journaling as a way to improve writing and clarifying thoughts. I didn’t take his excellent suggestion then so I’m going to start now. I’ll do my best to write something everyday, more than just what I did but hopefully some deeper thoughts and feelings. For example, yesterday, I wrote about someone I met for the first time and some reflections on friendship from a novel I’m reading titled “Crossing to Safety” by Wallace Stegner. Writing helps to clarify my thinking which I need a lot of help with!
Enough for this week, kind of heavy, watch for more photos from 2015 in next week’s post.
Until then, I wish you peace and happiness in 2016.