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Friday, January 24, 2014


“Reflect upon your present blessings -- of which every man has many -- not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” - Charles Dickens

Its in my cynical nature, I suppose, to seldom remember that our lives can be wondrous. A bit of a hindrance to a photographer, I admit. There are those who see the glass as either half full or half empty.
Then there's me: I see that the glass has a crack in it.
While this attitude serves me well when dealing with various mechanical or procedural challenges I may face, either on the bike, in the garage, or behind the camera, I'm aware it can poison my outlook to the point where I forget that the challenges of everyday life are in themselves a gift and blessing (beats the alternative, eh?). So what follows is a brief recap (via my photos of course) of the many blessings I've been fortunate to experience just in the last few years:

Way back in 2007, my wife and I were fortunate enough to make our first ever sojourn overseas to Italy. Just a few years ago, in 2011, we were able to also travel to Ireland with good friends and a bunch of other great people:

Blasket Islands, Ireland
Gallarus Oratory, Ireland
Ha'Penny Bridge over the Liffy, Dublin, Ireland

2012 was a blessed year for me indeed. I acquired a new steed to the stable - the FJR1300:
2007 FJR1300 right after I installed the topcase rack
My then new-to-me FJR next to Dad's Harley (with standard Red Solo cup) on a trip
up to Floyd Virginia

The summer of 2012, my brother, Dad and I made an epic ride up to Caribou, Maine. We tagged on Quebec for good measure, clocking off more than 3000 miles in 10 days:
Portland Head lighthouse, Maine

All the way up to where America's first mile, of US1, begins.
Boardwalk, and the Chateau, in Quebec
Participating in a bit of history at La Citadel
Quebec old city from the Citadel
Riding some covered bridges in Vermont
Safe end of our first epic ride

Just months later, I had an amazing opportunity to also travel the inner passage of Alaska:
The deck of our cruise ship as it leaves Seattle - where's Gopher?
I managed to get off a few shots of the Blue Angels practicing for an airshow over Seattle
Outside Ketchikan, Alaska
One remote lighthouse
Small 'bergs in Tracy Arm
Morning mist in Tracy Arm Fjord
Everything in Tracy Arm Fjord is big...
Another 'berg as we approach Sawyer Glacier
I just couldn't make enough photos here

Sawyer Glacier, still more than a mile away

Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm Fjord, from about a mile away

storm shapes up on the way in to Juneau
Our ship, as it lies in port at Juneau
White Pass railroad in Skagway

This year, I was able to return to Italy with my wife and good friends. We saw the new Pope, sang with the vatican choir as part of their 500th anniversary (!), and generally experienced more great sites, great food, and great wine than a person has a right to. Here's just a few outtakes:
Looking towards Piazza Venezia from the Altar of the Fatherland monument, Rome
Dome of St. Peter's from across the Tiber at night
Foro Romano at night
So, this being our third trip abroad, my friends, wife and I always come away with a lot of "night shots", many of which are actually made in the early morning before the sun comes up as well. Others on the same trip seem astonished at this. They always ask "when did you get that"? Or "how late/early were you out"? Hey, at these prices, who's sleeping on a trip like this? I want to see it all.

Rome is dense. Real dense.
Looking towards Victor Emmanuelle monument from the Castel San't Angelo

The latest McDonalds to open in Rome

Yes, we actually did go to see Pope Francis.
This was truly awesome.
The Duomo in Florence from the Bell tower
I got a workout on those steps!
The baptistry and the Florence skyline from the Bell tower
It all looked a bit like a painting - the light was really nice that day.
Ahh - Assisi
Perhaps still my favorite place in Italy
I made far too many photos of Vespas on this trip, but this is my favorite
Assisi, Italy
Rocca Minor and the "backside" of Assisi, Mount Subasio in the background
Sunset over the Umbrian valley
Looking toward the church of San Domenico, Siena Italy
Looking down on Piazza del Campo, Siena Italy
from the unfinished 14c wall of the Duomo

My next adventure awaits, and is already in the works. After years of thinking about it and daydreaming, I've actually taken the first steps towards racing a motorcycle out on the Salt Flats of Bonneville. This is as iconic as riding Route 66, only faster. Here's a pic of my newest bike, acquired specifically for the task:

My memory is such (ie-bad) that I'm happy to be a photographer. Looking back over my photos is almost like reliving the experience, and a reminder to me how lucky I am. So no matter what has happened in the past, or what trials are yet to come, I'll still have these moments, so long as I remember to enjoy them and be thankful.

Thanks to my wife, family and close travel friends for traveling with me, enduring my personality, and making these adventures all the more colorful and treasured.

And thank you, gentle reader, for taking this pictorial trip back thru my recent history.

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