Sunday, May 22, 2005

Austin Bat Flight


Bats
Originally uploaded by Daisyj.
Very cool to see, hard to photograph.

(And yes, this is the only thing I took pictures of in Texas. I was in a bad mood in Texas.)

One Album, One State

I guess I kind of slacked off on the picture-taking in New Mexico.

(But it's not Wednesday!)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Grand Canyon Photos

Will not be up for a while, as I haven't gotten them developed yet.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Homecoming

The flight home yesterday (through Washington and Denver, naturally) seemed almost as the trip out, but I made it eventually. My emotionally needy cat ignored me for the first twenty minutes or so, then spent the rest of the night following me everywhere I went. My birds, for their part, just seemed happy to resume their lifelong mission of trying to bite off my fingers.
I slept long and well in the best bed in the world, which is to say, my own. The cat sleeping on my legs was only a minor distraction. I spent most of today resting, recovering, and watching everything my tivo has recorded over the last month (I still have a ways to go on that one). I had most of a sourdough baguette for lunch, and in the afternoon Mom asked me to go out and check on the horses, since there'd been word that Casey had come up lame. So I was hiking up the hill to the upper pasture, on a warm day, under a bright blue sky with just a bit of a breeze, and I thought: California isn't really such a bad place to come home to. Even if you have to leave Key West.
Blogging will probably become lighter now that I don't have anything to say. (Not that I've ever let that stop me before.) I've got a bunch of pictures to post, and I'll try to get them up in the next week or so. Then who knows? Maybe something interesting will happen. Probably not, though. I think I've used up my quota of 'interesting' for a while.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

No More Days

I’m not counting days anymore, even though I am technically still travelling. The thing is, this isn’t where I want my trip to end. I want to remember it ending in when I ran out of road in Key West, with tropical breezes and random chickens, lazy days and warm nights. Not in southwest Florida, in strip malls and hot pavement and ordinary motel rooms with no internet. So I’m just going to pretend that this last part never happened.

It’s been quite a ride. I’m not quite sure what to make of this experience, but I think, overall, it was a good one. The memories have piled up so fast that it’s going to take me a while to sort through them all and get them in order. Knowing me, that’s going to involve throwing out anything bad, so that within about a month this whole experience will have turned into one long series of unending delights. Fortunately, I’ll have this blog to remind me that it wasn’t all lounge chairs and oysters.

Day 27- The Dry Tortugas

In Which Daisy Has A Minor Adventure, And Learns That They Really Do Mean It When They Say You Should Snorkel With A Buddy

Today I took a ferry out to the Dry Tortugas, a group of (basically) uninhabited islands about 70 miles west of Key West. It was kind of expensive, I kept hearing of it as something you really had to see, with this old, abandoned fort and great snorkeling. So I was really looking forward to it, and up to a point it lived up to my expectations. The fort was really cool, a giant, hexagonal total failure of engineering. The guide didn't say this- in fact, he was pretty defensive about the place. But it was too heavy for the site, and when it started settling it cracked the cisterns built under it, loosing the fort's only supply of drinking water. When they noticed the problem, they stopped adding things to the second level, which was never finished, although the first and third were, making it a strange kind of fortification with holes in the middle. It never saw a single shot of action (the guide stressed its' 'deterrent" properties) and was eventually turned into a military prison- a sort of super-Alcatraz. I don't mean to imply that I didn't enjoy seeing it- it was an impressive place, beautifully built and I actually found it more interesting than if it had been a rousing success as a defensive fortress. But that wasn't what I came for.
What I came for was snorkeling, but unfortunately that wasn't really to be. The day had started out as cloudy, but by the time we got to the island it was sunny and clear. Unfortunately, what had cleared off the clouds was the wind, which was blowing steadily. And the waves it made kicked up the sand in the water, making snorkeling an exercise in claustrophobia. I tried for a while to find the coral heads that were supposed to be in the water near the swimming beach, but eventually gave up, since I couldn't see more than about three feet in front of me. I turned to swim back to the beach, surfacing every once in a while to check my progress and orient myself, and that's when I realized that I might have a problem. Every time I came up, I was no closer than the last- in fact, the waves seemed to be pushing me further away from the land. I tried keeping my head above the water to see, but I kept getting mouthfuls of seawater. Then it occurred to me to take off my mask and breathe through my nose. That was better, but dog-paddling still wasn't getting me anywhere and I had to break into a full breaststroke before I could make it to shore. I probably wasn't in much danger- I was never very far from the beach and lots of people there, but it was still kind of unnerving.
I spent the rest of the afternoon lying on the beach, reading a book and taking occasional dips in the water to cool off. The book was a surprise, in a good way; I had bought it because it was by a local author and there were sharks on the cover- I will read anything with sharks on the cover- but it turned out to be pretty good too. The beach was sheltered from the wind and the water was warm, and it turned out to be a pretty nice day, if not quite worth what I paid to get there.
In the evening I went out drinking and dancing with my new friend from the hotel and had a great time (I’ll never hear a cover band do an extended rap medley without fond memories). This must be what they call ‘fun’. I should try it again some time.