Wyndham Airport, $130/night
This unexpectedly-beautiful hotel sits about 300 yards from a runway at the Quito Airport, yet we never heard a single plane both nights we stayed there. It’s a great place to stay if you’re between flights in South America. It’s new, the rooms are big, there’s a restaurant on-site, it has excellent air conditioning (don’t under-estimate that!), and the staff is fantastic. The only con is that it’s 45 minutes away from Quito, so you have to make arrangements if you want to go into town (the hotel can help).
As I look back at this past year, and forward to more interesting travels in 2020, I’m amazed at the things I saw in Ecuador…the Galapagos Islands, on my bucket list for years; the Amazon rainforest, a place I never expected to find myself; and lovely Quito, the capitol of Ecuador. And it was all one trip, organized by Adventures for Solo Travelers. Continue reading
Historic Kansas City Foundation
Facebook page (the best place to keep up): https://www.facebook.com/HistoricKC/
QUALITY HILL HERITAGE HIKE
I’ve always been interested in history, and everywhere I travel I make an effort to learn about the local history, and take tours with local experts. I realized about a year ago that I could do that in my own hometown, but I hadn’t. I’m lucky to live in a city that values history and historic buildings, and cares enough to share both with the people who live here.
Disturbing Sculptures Art Gallery (that’s really the name)
1100 Highway 101
Crescent City, California
Well, if you’re gonna name your art gallery “disturbing,” you’d better deliver. And this Northern California roadside attraction earns its name. One minute you’re cruising north on Highway 101, almost to the Oregon state line and promised nirvana, and the next minute you’ve U-turned so fast your dog yelps.
According to a Roadside America article, this gallery is the home of 3 artists, two of whom appear to be quite normal (driftwood sculptures and chainsaw sculptures). But the third, who luckily was not on-site the day I visited, has some issues.
This weekend provides a rare opportunity to peek into an artist’s lair and walk away with a piece of it at a relatively-reasonable price. This estate sale is at the home studio of Kansas City artist Allan Winkler, who will be in and out during the sale and is happy to sign his art for you.
Mike and Roger Estate Sales, July 26-28, 2019, (816) 309-2728
Each week I look diligently through the online posts for estate sales — a chance to walk into a stranger’s house and look at all their stupid stuff (it’s the stupid stuff that sticks around for the sales), and snoop around their homes. It’s fascinating to see what people spend their money on. And then, on my way home with a car full of someone else’s old junk, a brief moment of self-awareness sometimes kicks in when I realize how I’m spending MY money.
But this week something unique caught my eye — a chance to walk into a strange artist’s home and look at all his piled-up art. I think most artists don’t appreciate their talent, so their basements collect piles of cast-aside art, in the same way my basement collects old clothes and impetuous garage sale finds. That certainly seems the case with local Kansas City artist Allan Winkler, the talented sculptor, painter, cut-paper artist, cut metal artist, potter, poured glass, collage artist. He’s well-known in art circles for his outsider art.
The Bread and Puppet Museum, Theater, and Paper-Mache Cathedral
753 Heights Rd
Glover, Vt 05839
From https://breadandpuppet.org/museum :
The Bread and Puppet Museum is a massive accumulation of the puppets, masks, paintings and graphics of the Bread and Puppet Theater, housed in a 150-year-old barn in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, 25 miles south of the Canadian border. It is one of the largest collections of some of the biggest puppets and masks in the world. It was created in 1974 when Bread and Puppet Theater moved to this former dairy farm after a residency at Goddard College, and before that close to a decade in New York City. The museum is full to the brim; its population density is an expression not only of the accumulations of time but of the urgencies which inspired the making of so much stuff: the poverty of the poor, the arrogance of the war-mongers, the despair of the victims, and maybe even stronger than that, the glory of this whole god-given world. And naturally, all this will decay in due course.
The Bread and Puppet Museum is an immersive experience, even when it’s closed. During the winter and spring months the museum is closed, but their website proclaims “…you’re welcome to come in, turn on the lights, and have a look around.” You just have to turn off the lights when you leave.
A former television executive does the formerly-unthinkable…and never looks back
I cut my cable (in my case, satellite) TV cord over 5 years ago. As a former television executive for 20+ years in Los Angeles, and a major TV fan, I never thought I could make it work. And it did take a few years for enough streaming channels to emerge to satisfy me. Plus, I had to move out of the Valley and to an area where I could get the local channels over the air with an antenna (which ended up being Missouri), and I had to wait for streaming to get fast enough to not annoy me with constant buffering.
My current combo: Continue reading
This was Days 16-20 of a fabulous Fall road trip a couple of years ago. This leg was Seattle to Ellensburg to Pullman, Washington — 289 miles. If you fly, Spokane is the closest airport.
Holiday Inn Express, Pullman, $121/night with a AAA discount + $20/night pet fee. Nice, recently-renovated hotel. Big room; lots of green space to walk the dog, and they don’t mind if you leave the dog in the room (they even give you a tag for the door that says Do Not Disturb/Dog Napping) (love that!). Located close to Washington State University, so be sure to book in advance on football game weekends. This is football country!
I’d wanted to visit The Palouse, famous for its photogenic landscapes, for years and finally made it part of my long roadtrip home (the move from California back to my home state, Missouri). Most photographers visit in the spring when the rolling hills of eastern Washington are like green velvet, but I think Fall in The Palouse is absolutely gorgeous, in a whole other beautiful way. I was there towards the end of October, long after the wheat harvest, and I used Pullman as my headquarters and spent 4 days wandering aimlessly around The Palouse, which I highly recommend. If your time is more restricted there are lots of local photographers there who offer photo tours, but I really enjoy wandering.
Fair warning: I include a LOT of highway shots from behind the wheel. I do it to remember the journey, and hopefully share the thrill of discovery. You can discover the beautiful red barn when I do, resting peacefully just off the highway in a beautiful field, or perched precariously near the highway curve because it was there long before the highway interrupted.
A Uniquely Ordinary Day in the Cuban Countryside
In March 2017 I went to Cuba for the first time, and I’m just now sharing my first Cuban photos. And, interestingly, they’re not photos of old buildings, old cars, or old people. But of the thousands of photos I took, these are the first I processed. And this was the most ordinary, and most unique, day of the trip. I went to Cuba on a photography workshop with Colby Brown Photography, and was thrilled that we didn’t just photograph all the usual suspects — old cars on the Malecon in Havana (we did that), colorful Trinidad (we did that, too) — but we went beyond the usual tourist attractions.
OK, who doesn’t love a bowl full of creepy clowns??? I snagged these charmers (cupcake toppers) for FREE at a garage sale (what? nobody else wanted them?), then found the beautiful aqua vintage tray at an estate sale for $5.
And now I’m happy.