Post 300 + 1! – A Look Back – Part 2

Hi everyone,

Welcome back to Part 2 of my look back on the three hundreds articles I’ve posted in nearly six years of blogging. You may have noticed this site is not monetized or does it contains ads. I pay WordPress extra to keeps commercials from popping in your face as you check out my blog. My original purpose for starting this blog was to write for myself, display some of my many photographs, and hope a few others would take a look to see what I was up to. Now I have over 400 regular followers and a few that check in via Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Thanks for sticking with me all these years. I appreciate your loyalty.

Over the three hundred posts, I’ve displayed over 8,000 photos and videos. Yes, there are some duplicates but even counting those, each post contains an average of about 25 photographs. I realize that in some articles, I got carried away with way too many photos. I more recent times, I consciously tried to limit the number of photos. I’ll keep trying!

Last week, I brought you a few of my favorite articles. There’s more this week. I hope you enjoy the look back on some of travels and photos.


In October and November 2019, I spent three and a half weeks in Australia. Two of those weeks I did two home-stays through Friendship Force. Our hosts were superb and shared the culture of Australia with us. It was delightful. Prior to the home-stays, I spent time in beautiful Sydney and then flew half-way across the continent to the “Red Centre” to see the iconic Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock. Below is a paragraph about my first glimpse at this scared place. To read about my full experience and see all the photos click here.

The driver made the full route around the base of Uluru picking up a few passengers before pulling into the sunset viewing area. There were a few buses and some cars in the parking lot but it was by no means full. The driver suggested taking the path leading to the top of the dunes for the best photos. He was right. While waiting for the sun to set, I struck up conversations with some of the other travelers, a couple of young ladies from Germany, a guy from Japan and a couple of photographers. But I was always keeping an eye on the sun and guessing when the best light would shine on the big rock. Below is the progression of my photos that evening. Some were taken with my DSLR Canon 7D II and some with my iPhone 11 Pro.IMG_6234IMG_6245


In January 2019, my Traveling Partner and I signed up for a Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) tour of the Panama Canal. The highlight of this experience was the ten hour transit of the Canal beginning on the west coast near Panama City traveling to the east coast near Colon. It was a memorable experience, one I’ll never forget and never get tired talking about! Below is the introductory paragraph about the vessel we took through the Canal followed by a few photos of our passage. If you are interested click here to read more.

If the vessel we were about to board, the M/N Islamorada, could talk, I’m sure the stories would be both entertaining and hair raising! The Islamorada was built in 1912 in Massachusetts as a luxury yacht with wealthy clientele in mind. And indeed one of the early owners was Al Capone, the notorious Chicago Mafia boss, who used this boat from 1919-1933 to run rum from Cuba and the Dominican Republic to Florida. It’s said that the boat had luxury suites, a casino and a bar for friends and clients of Capone. When Capone was arrested in 1931 and sentenced to prison for tax evasion, the Islamorada was confiscated by the U. S. Government. It was then used as a mine sweeper by the Army during World War II. After the war, the vessel made it’s way to Panama and used as a hotel and tour boat. It’s now owned by the Canal and Bay Tours Company capable of taking up to 104 passengers through the Panama Canal.Transit-0571

We made the transit through the six locks (three on each side) paired with the Star Laguna, a Norwegian vessel that transported grain. Transit-0618Transit-0648Transit-0707

In the late afternoon we reached the end our of journey and passed to the Caribbean side of the Panama Canal.Transit-0761

Fayette, North Dakota

One of my popular blog posts is on the now extinct town of Fayette, North Dakota. My guess is that people Google “Fayette” and end up at my site instead of any of the fourteen U.S. towns or cities named Fayette. I’m glad they stopped by! Here’s little about what I wrote about Fayette. To read and see more, click here.

This week we’ll stop at another ghost town, Fayette, North Dakota located in western Dunn County near the northeast corner of Billings County. The photos that are a part of this post were taken in April a couple of years ago. My plan was to take some winter photos but with all the snow that is covering North Dakota this winter, snowshoes would be required!

What peaked my interest was that my wife, Donna, grew up near Fayette and that at one time their address was Fayette. So while I had recent photos, I didn’t have much historical information about the town. A Google search yielded a few very brief descriptions but did bring up the Dunn County Historical Society and Museum website. I sent off an email to the Historical Society and soon had a call from one of the directors, it’s an all volunteer board and the museum is closed for the winter. Since I was in the area, she arranged for me meet two directors with knowledge of Fayette, Kathy Trampe and Neil Thomas. A big shout out and thanks to them for their time and helping me learn about some of the history of Fayette.

First a little history. Fayette was founded in 1896 by Frank Little, originally from Maine. He came to North Dakota for his lung ailment on the advice of his doctor. Little arrived in North Dakota in 1880 and for a time worked on an oxen wagon train hauling supplies from Bismarck to the Standing Rock Agency in the Black Hills. Once fully recovered, he decided to homestead in western North Dakota at the leading edge of white settlement of the vast short grass prairie.  Little and his wife Isabelle found the area around the future site of Fayette to have plenty of grass for grazing sheep and cattle, a spring for water and the rolling hills shelter for the livestock. As more homesteaders arrived, the need for regular mail delivery became  apparent so a petition for a post office was drawn. When approved in 1898, Isabelle Little was appointed the postmistress, a job she held until age 80 in 1940 when she was forced to retire as a result of postal regulations. At first the post office was in the home of the Little’s and in 1900 Frank constructed a sod one story building on the homestead where the post office was located. In addition, this building was a prairie general store where most anything required by area farmers and ranchers could be ordered or purchased. As happens in many small communities, the store and post office became a gathering place for socializing and passing messages between community members. Fayette was named for the first name of his friend and business partner, Dr. Fayette Kendrick of Bismarck and later of St. Paul, Minnesota. By the way, Fayette is French for little fairy. The following are a few photos of photos from the Dunn County Museum that show early Fayette.img_1783

Now on to photos of the current state of affairs in Fayette. Not much left except the remnants of Anna Fisher’s house, the chicken coop, granary and a smokehouse. Here’s a photo taken when approaching present day Fayette. The corrals in the foreground are more recent additions to Fayette likely by the current owner.fayette-9166

The following are close up photos of Anna Fisher’s house.fayette-9165

Mannhaven, North Dakota

Another post that attracts visitors is one of my early posts from January 2017. How and why folks land here, I don’t have a clue. But it’s one of my favorites as it causes waves nostalgia. To me it’s one of the most beautiful places on earth with it’s rugged hills and flat valleys bordered by the Missouri River. If you’d like to see more, click here.

This week I take you to the abandoned river town of Mannhaven, North Dakota along the beautiful Missouri River about 6-7 miles from where I grew up. It’s actually more than the old town site, it’s a place that has been near and dear to me since I was a kid. Allow me to explain. My Grandpa Isaak purchased the 276 acres of pastureland in 1950, the year I was born. My earliest remembrance is picnicking with family below the bluff on the left side of the photo below. Later as I became a little older, I rode my pony, Penny and later horse, Tom, behind about 100 cows and calves as we trailed them the 10 miles from my Grandpa’s farm to this pasture. After about 7-8 miles, we stopped for a sumptuous lunch made by my Grandma and gave the cows a rest before crossing a state highway. Up the road a few miles, the cows were finally at their destination and immediately headed to the watering hole for a drink. Now you can image an 8-10 year old kid eating dust and chasing cows just like they did on those tv westerns. It was the life and I still recall it with great fondness. Mannhaven-3515.jpgIMG_3551.JPGIMG_0288.JPG


On November 13, 2015 I posted my very first blog. I didn’t know what I was doing but was just happy to begin. In that post, I pledged to post once a week. I’ve met that pledge. The next morning, the world learned of the terrorist attack in Paris. One hundred thirty people were murdered and four hundred sixteen were injured in the attacks. I was so moved that I dug into my archives for photos that I took on a trip to France in 2013 and wrote blog post number 2. Below is what I wrote that day. To see the photos, click here.

I know, I know that less than 24 hours ago I said I would be putting up a post once a week but with the horrific events that took place in Paris last night, I felt the need to reach out and support the people of France. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to families of the victims and the whole country. May they find peace during this difficult time.

France is such a fabulous country, filled with great people, and a nation that has made so many contributions to the world. For example, our third President Thomas Jefferson served as the US ambassador to France for five years. He was enthralled by the music, art, architecture, engineering, education, and experienced the French enlightenment that helped to shape his thinking and actions when he returned to the US.

In September 2013, The Youngest and I traveled to Italy to attend the wedding of one of her housemates when she studied abroad. From Venice, we took a Ryan Air flight to Marseille in the south of France, then a train to Arles, where we stayed six days. It was so much fun, the old town, the markets and beautiful countryside and Mediterranean were interesting and beautiful. But even better were the people. I heard the French could be cold and arrogant but in my experience were just the opposite, warm, kind and inviting. Arles is a melting pot city so lots of diversity. One day we took a tour to the French countryside and our guide thanked us as Americans for helping them out in two world wars. Arles was occupied by the Nazi’s during WWII and the American military helped to liberate the city. It was also a hotbed of the Resistance. So the people were great, like many that we’ve met in our travels, they want to provide for their families and have a good life. So again our hearts go out to the people of France.


There a lot of other blog posts and photos that I could have featured. You realize these stories and photos are my babies, I treasure them all for better or worse! I could have featured Cuba, Ukraine, London, or Washington, DC. Closer to home I could have featured Madeline Island, Adventures in Campground Hosting, Madison, and many others.

As long as I’m able and have something to say (I’m rarely at a loss for words!), I’ll continue to put out a story a week. For the next few weeks watch for some new stories on Door County.

Thanks for riding along.

Until next week, happy travels!



2 thoughts on “Post 300 + 1! – A Look Back – Part 2

  1. I’m jealous. When I was 8-10 years old I badly wanted to be a cowgirl and have a horse. That was my dream and you got to live it! Enjoy reading your posts Tom.

    1. Thanks Helen Ann. At the time, I didn’t think it was anything too special, all the kids in our neighborhood had a horse. Almost every Sunday afternoon, we’d gather up and go riding, exploring, etc. It’s just what we did.

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