Category Archives: Travel

Meet the Dennings

Sometimes — every now and then, you stumble across the neatest people on the internet.

Meet the Dennings.

What an incredible story. I don’t want to tell it for them. To see what they are about click the photo and it will take you to their site.

What I will tell you is what their story touched in me. I don’t think my childhood is that much different from many others in my generation. A father who worked all the time and gone a lot, a mother somewhat out of touch with reality (although she would never say that.) I was a strong willed child carving a framework of rebellion from an early age. I guess what I am getting at is I never had a sense of family growing up. My brother and sister were much older than me so they were gone before I ever started to school.

In many ways I was taught to be independent. I was shipped off to military school at an early age so I learned the advantage of a good geographical cure. “If you can’t solve it, move it.”

Anyway, reading this family’s experience I think back to the family stuff I missed in my childhood for various reasons. And then carrying those difficulties of connecting with family into adulthood and how I interacted with my children. It’s hard to break that cycle.

So when I read their story and I began to think about the courage, the zest for life and adventure these children will develop in their journeys, it touched me in hidden places.

Let me know what it touched in you.

Meet the Denning family at:

Weirdo Wednesday – June 1, 2011

Last month we traveled around the World Wide Web, peeking at various weird places on the internet. We were treated to some pretty bizarre stuff and frankly… we barely scratched the surface. There is a cornucopia of weirdness out there just waiting for cyber explorers to drop by.

This month, I thought we would climb out of the internet and drop in on some of the weird places this rock we call Earth has to offer. While researching the weirdness I was presented with a dilemma of vast proportions. With as much weird as the planet has to offer, which one comes first.

The “Hanging Monastery” of Datong, China, built more than 1,500 years ago is attached to a precipice high above the wooded Golden Dragon River (Jinlong he). Its Chinese name is Xuankong Si, sometimes written as Xuan Kong Si, which literally translates as the Monastery in Mid Air.

The cliff-side structures were built in 491 AD using architectural techniques way ahead of its time. Horizontal shafts were bored into the side of the mountain to serve as anchor points. Large wooden dowels were cut from single trees and then driven into the holes.  The depth of the holes and the hardness of the rock provided a strong cantilevered base to build on.

The reason Xuankong Si was built so high above the ground may be one of practicality – defense against marauders or protection from floods.  The more romantic version is that the Monks were dedicated to silence and so high above the ground they might achieve this ideal.  It is said that they were forbidden to hear the barking of dog, the wailing of a child or even the sound of a rooster crowing as it welcomed the dawn. It is now largely a tourist attraction but caretakers are said to still live in its caves and halls.


Weirdo Wednesday – April 27, 2011

This headline got my attention:

“Florida: America’s Weirdest State”

AOL always has the best weirdo stuff and having spent a lot of time in the Sunshine State, I had no choice but to dig deeper.

According to Fark admin and AOL Weird News contributor, Tony Deconinck,  “Other states have odd stories come out of them, but no state can challenge Florida. It’s the heavyweight champion of weirdness.”

That last line convinced me to include God’s waiting room in the archives of Weirdo Wednesday.

Once upon a time, while out serving my country, I was stationed at MacDill AFB in Tampa. I should of known when I got my first look at Jai-Alai I was dealing with a population existing in another dimension of weirdness. Between the odd sport and the seedy side of town where I found myself on occasion, the weirdness of Florida totaly escaped me. (More than likely that’s because in the early 70’s I was somewhat weird myself, but let’s not pursue that.)

Florida resident and weird news legend Chuck Shepherd claims that Florida became capital of America’s weird news a little more than a decade ago. I’ll see your hanging chad and raise you one Presidential Election.

AOL Weird News claims their journalists have written more weird news stories about Florida than any other state — and with pieces about a mom accused of driving her son’s getaway car, an orthodontist who repairs turtle shellsbags of stolen dildos, and a bikini brawl at a Burger King — I think it’s safe to say they have plenty of weirdness to deal with.

They are so weird they even have their own book about it. (Amazon: Weird Florida)

So I am verrrrrrry comfortable presenting you this week’s weirdo: The State of Florida.

If you’d like to read more about Florida’s weirdness check out the AOL Weird News story HERE.

And the weirdest house in America is where?


Sunday Morning in Shawnee

The wind pushed me all the way yesterday. The weather outlook for Sunday was not very promising so I decided to ride it all the way. I’d rather ride a dry night than a wet day.

Anyway, I caught a brief storm near Henryetta, OK., last night. The experience of hail storms bouncing off my helmet was a new experience. I rode about eight miles in it until I finally got to an exit. I was soaked and getting cold. The ride in from there after a thirty minute stop was dry, albeit a bit cold.

650 miles – 14 hours

It’s good to be home.

San Francisco to Paris in Two Minutes

Found this little gem at AOL Travel

Nate Bolt is my new favorite photographer. Not so much because he takes marvelous photos, (and I’m sure he does) but because he had the creative chops to come up with the idea and implement it so perfectly.

Nate Bolt - YouTube Video

On a recent flight from San Francisco to Paris, France, Nate set up his Canon 5D2 by the window and during the roughly 11 hour flight from SFO to CDG (Paris-Charles de Gaulle) took 2,459 photos and then compressed the duration into a two minute YouTube. (The music is pretty good too)

Nate Bolt, you are a YouTube/Time Lapse god!

Visible at different points along the 5,500 mile journey are the Northern Lights and the Canadian frozen tundra.

I know what many of you are thinking. Don’t the airlines have rules about using “Electronic Devices” during take-off and landing? They do, and according to Nate, “The photos during take-off and landing are all computer models and totally rendered because I would never use an electronic device during times when the FAA prohibits them. I did get lucky and have a whole row to myself to setup the tripod and gear.”

At the YouTube video, Nate also describes the technical aspects of the experience: Shot with a 5d2, a time-lapse controller, and a 16mm – 35mm, mixed with some iPhone shots. The music is a modified demo track “Gain” by DETUNE ltd. denkitribe on the Korg iMS20 iPad App. I’m pretty sure the track is copyrighted but it’s My First Synthesizer score so I’m hoping denkitribe is cool with it. Edits and pans in After Effects CS5 and iMovie.

Tag along with Nate and his fellow sleeping passengers as they zip you from the city by the bay to the city of lights.


The Prodigal Scribe Tour 2009


The bulk of HAUNTING INJUSTICE was written on the road. Many nights in the tent were spent hammering out chapters and making progress. Sometimes, I would pull into a picnic area and get some writing done sitting at a table. I wrote some in a truck stop, a doughnut shop, a Starbucks, and the Pomona KOA. I spent ten days in a campground in Tombstone. I was able to get several thousand words done there. It was the most productive time of the trip. I was caught off guard by the impromptu hail storm in the middle of the afternoon. In case you ever wondered, hailstones banging on canvas is very loud. It actually roars.

I want to thank everybody who visited “The Scribe” while on the trip. It was the chance of a lifeltime that I won’t soon forget.

“What’s in store for me in the direction I don’t take?” ~ Jack Kerouac