Monday, November 30, 2009

Waterloo and Misc

I'm still trying to catch up with photos I took during my travels. While downstate, I tried to go hiking as much as time would allow. Thanks to my friend, Marsha, we hiked the Waterloo Recreation 3 times. It had been years since I visited the Discovery Center there -- so we checked it out. Below are a few shots including a display about Beavers, the lake next to the Hickory Ridge hiking trail, and information about the Thunder Bay Amethyst mine -- which I didn't expect to see at a Michigan science center. I also threw in a photo I took in the walkway at Detroit Metro, on my way to the gate to fly to Vermont.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Stowe Vermont -- Second Post

The day before I left Vermont, Kevin and Jericho had to work all day. I worked on the agate book research in the morning, and headed out hiking with their dog, Quincy, in the afternoon. There is a pass between the two mountain ranges located adjacent to the Stowe Ski resort. In the winter, the road is closed to "Smugglers Notch" so it provided a great opportunity to hike. We did a little hiking on some o the side trails, but they were icy and steep, so for the most part we stayed on the road. Even the road was steep!

After the hike, I walked around downtown. It is a quaint village wherein most of the buildings are between 100 and 200 years old. Don't look for any chain stores or fast food places in Stowe -- they don't exist. My daughter-in-law works in Marketing at the Green Mountain Inn. When you drive around Stowe, it is clear that it is a tourist-related town. There are inns and bed and breakfast establishments everywhere, but very few motels. Vermont is also known for its covered bridges. The one pictured is right downtown.

The last morning, we went on my fifth hike in 4 days. We hiked up the Peek-a-boo trail. A few minutes after we left the car, we saw a large moose in the trail, around 80 feet in front of us. There was a curve in the trail, so we didn't get a great view through the trees -- but he was big! Since we had the dog with us and you have to be careful with moose anyway, we stopped until he sauntered off. Here is the view from the top of the trail. At the top, there were swings and benches, which provides hikers a nice way to enjoy the view.

The final shot I took at the airport in Burlington, located around 40 miles west of Stowe. You can see the profile of a face. The highest point to the left is the highest point in Vermont: the chin. To the right of that is the nose and the forehead. The view from the airport doesn't allow you to see the profile as well as you can from Stowe, but you can still make it out. All in all, it was a great first trip to Vermont, and a terrific visit with Kevin, Jericho, and Quincy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stowe, VT--First Post

In between the art shows down state, I used a free airline ticket to go to Stowe, Vermont to visit my son, Kevin, and his wife, Jericho. During my corporate careers and various hiking trips, I have been to 40 states. Now it is 41: it was my first trip to Vermont.

From what Kevin says, there are only 800,000 people or so who live in the state. In some ways, it reminds me of the Upper Peninsula, except that there is a lot more elevation change. The highest point in the U.P. is near Baraga: it is only 1,900 feet or so. The highest point in Vermont is near 5,000 feet in elevation.

In the 4 days I was there, I went on 5 hikes. The most rigorous was on a glorious Tuesday afternoon. It was sunny and in the upper 50s -- perfect for hiking. Although the hike was only 3 miles long, a good part of that required that we scramble over boulders or climb up log slide like steepness. This hike was in the C.C. Putnam State Forest, and took you up to the Stowe Pinnacle. It is a rock outcropping overlooking the valley in which Stowe is located. The first photo was taken at the top, which gave us a great view looking over the valley. There is then a shot of the 4 of us, including Quincy. The two ice photos show how the ground sometimes squeezes the water out to form intricate crystals. They were 1-4 inches long and truly nature's art.

One of the other hikes was in the Smugglers Notch State Park. We walked back to see Bingham Falls.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mason, MI Gem and Mineral Show

I am finally back from travelling -- at least for a week and a half! This last trip, I went to the UofM - Purdue football game (terrible second half!), visited with friends and relatives all over southern Michigan, dropped off custom agate product orders, spent time at the UofM library doing research for the next agate book, sold art at the Saline and Grand Rapids shows, visited my son and daughter-in-law in Vermont, and met with a book publisher. Thanks to everyone who shared their time, helped me in the booth, and offered their hospitality. In the next few days, I'll catch up with the photos and stories on this blog.

This post has photos from the Mason Show, which took place the weekend of October 24th. This is the first time I exhibited at this show. I'll definately go back. First, here are a few photos of my booth -- which is the largest I have had yet for any show. It must have been 40 feet by 20 feet! If any of you are interested in purchasing one of the 3 lamps shown, I'll offer a blog special of 10% off the regular price.

I didn't get much time to walk around at the Mason show. I took a few photos, but forgor to write down the names of the people who sponsored the displays. First, is a photo of a neat display of cabachons. There were several displays of Michigan fossils, including the next photo. I enjoyed the datalite specimens, and included here the information sign about datalite. Then, there is a picture of one of my favorite agates in the world: a coyamito agate from Northern Mexico.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

UofM Botanical Gardens etc.

While I was down state, I gave my agate talk at the Rock Shoppe, located in Plymouth at the intersection of North Territorial and Gotfredson Road. I had never been there before and was quite surprised. This is a landscaping supply company that sells to contractors, as well as to individual home owners. If you want ANY kind of rock or landscaping material, it is worth the drive. I want to thank the owners Helena and Marco for sponsoring the talk, and for letting me set up my mineral art to sell. I would also like to thank all of those who attended. Below is a shot of the entrance sign, and one of just part of the vast yard storing and displaying rocks for sale from all over the world.

While in Ann Arbor, after visiting with both my sons, I stayed a couple of days with my friend, Marsha. We had a number of outings, including a hike at Waterloo and a visit to the UofM Botanical Gardens. When I lived in the Ann Arbor area, my kids and I were regular visitors to the gardens. Although rocks are my passion, I also enjoy taking photos of flowers. I visit the Botanical Gardens almost every time I am down state. Below are a few photos I took while at the gardens this last time.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Travel Photos

After the Wisconsin/Minnesota trip, I was home for a couple of days before I left for Sault Saint Marie, Ontario to speak at the Soo Naturalist meeting. After staying the night in the Soo, I returned home to pack the car and leave again for a two-week trip down state. It was a crazy two weeks since I stayed with 9 different friends/relatives. In addition to the two shows at which I exhibited my mineral art, I also attended my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary party. It was great to see my 3 cousins, who are the only cousins I have. I also enjoyed seeing two of my sister's. After the anniversary party, I headed back to southeastern Michigan. Since my son who lives in Vermont was in Michigan for a wedding, I was able to spend time with both my sons (Kevin and Jonathan). I would like to thank all the people who put me up during my travels.

Below are miscellaneous photos I took during the trip. The frog and hawk photos were taken at the UofM Botanical Gardens. The lizard and parrot photos were taken at my friend, Marsha's, vet clinic. The fall color and fungi photos were taken while on a hike near Interlochen. The "fisherman" and restaurant photos were taken while driving near Cadillac.