Today’s post is 1600 words, 28 photos, 1 video, an 8 minute read. Enjoy!
This past week, I reached another milestone with Traveling With Tom, my eighth anniversary of writing this blog. Every Sunday at 4:00 PM since mid-November 2015, I’ve posted an article along with photos about my travels and adventures. Some of those travels were to far off places, some were close to home in lovely Madison, Wisconsin.
Today is my 416th post. It’s hard to believe that I’ve kept at it for this long. I usually start something, keep it going for a while, then lose interest and move on to something else. This blog is the exception. I figure that I’ve written over 500,000 words (the average book has about 80,000 words) and included over 10,000 photographs. Just writing that sentence makes me tired and want to take a nap! This blog is something that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed creating for my readers and for myself. I appreciate all the comments, suggestions, and critiques, they’ve all helped me become a better writer and editor. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
I started this blog after my Traveling Partner and I did a six-week camping trip to the Northwest of the U.S. in August and September 2015. I had the idea to write about our adventures and share it with family and friends by email. During that trip, I wrote nine emails. I got good feedback, people seemed to enjoy what I was writing about. There were no photos, I wasn’t savvy enough to figure out how imbed a photo in an email. When we returned home, The Eldest (one of our two children, the other is The Youngest) suggested that I start writing a blog. I was intrigued and started researching how to write a blog. I found the WordPress site and as they say, the rest is history. My first blog was part 1 of our time on Madeline Island in northern Wisconsin. It was pretty pathetic but it was a start. The second part was the following week, it was better, I figured how to imbed photos between the paragraphs. And here we are, eight years later.
Let’s take look back at a few posts and photos from the past year.
In December 2022, I wrote two blogs about trees. To read those stories, click here and here. When I run out of travel stories, I scan my photo archives for ideas I can write about. That’s what happened in this case. Here’s a bit of a story about a tree that is no longer there.
A few years ago, I wrote about a tree that grew about a quarter mile down the road from the farmstead where I grew up. That tree grew for years in the ditch along a gravel road. I photographed it a number of times. I don’t know how it got there, likely through a seed dropped by a bird long ago. That seed laid dormant until the right conditions came along, germinated and grew. It persevered over the years until it was tall and stately but out of place for modern society. This tree was removed several years ago as a safety hazard. To me it left a gapping hole in the landscape. I wish I would have been present when it was cut down so I could count the rings and know more its history. I don’t know what kind of tree it was, likely an American Elm, they were common in our area. The top photo was taken facing north, the second facing south, and the third during a ground blizzard.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Christmas 2022 was spent with my mother in North Dakota, she turned 94 on Christmas Eve. The weather was very cold, windy, and there was a lot of snow on the ground. Not exactly the best time to visit my home state!
After our time in North Dakota, my Traveling Partner, The Eldest, The Son-in-law, and I ventured down to the Black Hills of South Dakota before heading back to Madison. The weather was much milder in the Black Hills, one day it was in the 50s.
At the top of our list was the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Here’s what we saw.
Looking up at the Presidents from Grand View Terrace is unforgettable. Even though it was a cool, partly cloudy day in late December, there were several family groups with kids of all ages, visiting this National Memorial. Most were taking selfies with the Presidents in the background. We did too.
Door County in the Winter
As many of my regular readers know, we visit Door County Wisconsin a lot. We enjoy the quiet and calm during the winter, much different than the crowds and busy highways in the summer. In the winter, rather than camp at Potawatomi State Park we stay at the Lily Pad located on the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. During this visit, Sturgeon Bay was having their annual Fire and Ice Festival. One of the features was the fireworks. Here’s what we saw
On Saturday evening, we watched the fireworks show from the comfort of the Lily Pad. It was a front row, warm seat. Here are a couple of photos and a video that I took of the show. I love fireworks shows, this one was right up there with some of the best. Maybe it was the cozy environment!
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
In late April, we head south, with interim stops in Paducah and Shiloh, to New Orleans for JazzFest. This was my twentieth time attending beginning in 2001 – it wasn’t held in 2020 and 2021 and I didn’t attend in 2022 for health reasons. This year is also the last time I’ll attend. While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the 20 times I attended, I saw a lot of great acts, and had some excellent food on the fairgrounds, the music and musicians are changing over from the stuff I listened to growing up on the prairie of North Dakota. To read what I wrote earlier this year, click here and here. With that said, here’s a few photos from our time at JazzFest.
After clearing security, we walked about a half mile from the entrance to the infield of the racetrack were set up at the Festival Stage where the headliners perform. The first group was already playing. Did I mention the line at the entrance was long and slow? It didn’t take long for the grounds to be covered with chairs, blankets, and tarps. This was the view from where we were setup
These Festers were cheering the performance of Trombone Shorty, the closing act of the 2023 JazzFest.
I was fortunate to come across The Roots of Music Marching Crusaders. This organization works to empower the youth of New Orleans through music, academic support, mentorship, and cultural learning. They sounded and looked great as they paraded around the Fairgrounds
Some of the fun of JazzFest is people watching. Here’s a couple of examples.
In early June, we had the pleasure of participating in a Friendship Force journey to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We had a grand time, click here, here, here, and here to see more about our time in Toronto. Here’s a few photos from Toronto.
After our time in Toronto, we made a two-day stop in Montreal before heading to Quebec City for a Road Scholar program. We had a great time exploring the Old Town and learned a lot about the history of Quebec. The food was excellent and the weather pleasant. I wrote four posts on Quebec, check them out by clicking here, here, here and here. Now a couple of photos.
Acadia National Park
After about two weeks visiting Canada, we were back in the U.S. at Acadia National Park in Maine. We spent three days in Acadia, it wasn’t enough. The scenery is stunning, the ocean mesmerizing. Click here, here, and here to read my three blogs on Acadia. Here are few photos to peak your interest.
It was foggy the morning we had tickets to Cadillac Mountain known as the first place in the U.S. that the sun touches as it peaks over the eastern horizon. Oh, the sun rose but we couldn’t see it. Here’s what we saw.
Well folks that gives you a bit of a flavor of what I wrote about and photographed in the last year. There is much more including some reminisce posts from past years. Thanks for joining me. I plan to keep writing this blog and am thinking of a book of some of my favorite stories and photographs. Maybe it will be ready by this time next year in time for my ninth anniversary.
This week is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. It’s a time set aside to be thankful and grateful for all that we have. Have a great Thanksgiving!
Until next week, happy travels!