Ready-Set-Road Trip

“The freedom of the open road is seductive, serendipitous and absolutely liberating.” (Aaron Lauritsen, 100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)

Excitement rises again as Ruth and I make plans for our spring 2019 road trip across America from our Fort Lauderdale, Fla. home beginning on March 10. Choosing a more challenging, counterclockwise route, we will meander through cooler mountainous regions of Arkansas, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and California for much of our March/April driving time. On our similarly demanding, easterly return home in May/early June, we traverse the vast distances of Texas, a long, northerly jaunt to the Midwest, and a winding path through the rugged Appalachian Mountain region. With added storage space and impressive safety features in our recently purchased 2018 Honda CRV, however, we feel confident that a relaxing vacation can be consistently attained throughout this three month journey.

For the past two months, we have organized diligently for our latest cross-country adventure. In particular,we 1) screened Air B&B for exclusively “Super Host” room bookings of multiple day stays, (2) downloaded offline map updates for key destinations using travel apps Triposo and Maps.me, 3) refined our collapsible storage bag system into both short/long term need categories to more efficiently access our possessions, 4) envisioned additional cargo storage space using our CRV hatchback feature capacity and 5) reconfirmed planned visits to family/friends to avoid anticipated host emergencies and resultant situational conflict.

For my featured picture preceding this blog, I’ve presented a detailed map overview of our 2019 planned itinerary. As I anticipate composing new blog entries 2-3 times each week. in conjunction with key destinations visited, twenty topic questions of “word worthy” blog interest stand out below.

(1) How has “Epcot” in Orlando changed in the 20 years since my last visit?

(2) What memories can we share in Atlanta, Ga. with former college roommates about the University of South Florida 1970s past?

(3) What new directions in overcoming racism and prejudice today exist at the Birmingham Ala. Civil Rights Institute?

(4) What does it feel like to bathe in a thermal pool in Hot Springs, Ark.?

(5) What soldier survival stories to inspire world peace now exist at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Missouri?

(6) When and where will “Progressive” marches take place in Colorado, California and Washington D.C?

(7) How can we best embrace the “college town” experience in Boise, Idaho, San Luis Obispo, Calif. and Flagstaff, Ariz?

(8) How might our attendance at my cousin’s wedding in Asheville, North Carolina rekindle mutual efforts to “stay in touch” more?

(9) What innovative buildings of interest are being built in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, Nevada?

(10) What new opportunities exist to improve our spiritual enlightenment in Sedona, Arizona?

(11) Will the Cleveland Indians perform well in home games against rival Minnesota Twins during our June stadium visit?

(12) Does Pagosa Springs Colorado offer a viable place for an extended stay?

(13) What volunteer opportunities exist during our ten-day stay in Morro Bay California region?

(14) What natural wonders near Moab, Utah will attract our walking interest?

(15) Has the Pacific Coast Highway in California been opened for the entire north-south distance to vehicular traffic?

(16) To what extent do extreme weather conditions in the Rockies/Appalachians alter our planned dates and destinations of travel?

(17) What town visits will best provide glimpses of authentic “antebellum” traditions along the southerly shores of the Mississippi River?

(18) Does 2020 elections bode well for Democrats or Republicans based on informal conversation with local residents in key states visited?

(19) How can we best manage weight gain issues to counteract our daily sedentary driving?

(20) How can we make best use of public transportation to visit Washington D.C?

Jubilant! Jazzy! Journey!

“Jazz is something you have to feel, something you have to live”(Ray Brown)

What makes jazz music so appealing to me as a traveler? Having experienced the musical “high” of performing as a jazz trombonist in both a big band and small combo setting in the past, jazz musical language now speaks to me as a prime motivator to explore the world around me. In traditional jazz, I think of the smoothly creative sounds of saxophonist, John Coltrane or the technical proficiency of trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis. In more modern times, guitarist Pat Metheny’s brilliant infusion of jazz with classical, rock, funk, and new age genres or Snarky Puppy’s diverse assemblage of multitalented musicians performing in intimate live settings equally attracts my attention here. 

The jazz medium connection to my travel  interest can be best explained by identifying those  musical elements which make jazz unique. In the two videos below, numerous examples of this “bag of jazz tricks” motivating my “wandering ways” vividly come to mind. Do you recognize them?

IMPROVISATIONAL SPIRIT

In jazz music, the solo performer freely explores his own interpretation of a recurring musical melody or theme within the confines of the musical chords provided. Feeling equally spontaneous on our Europe-based vacations, using a Eurail pass combined with a Paris Metro map in France has provided great flexibility in interpreting where my wife and I go next as the moment strikes us each day. The future focus of arriving at our destination thus feels secondary to the “now” enjoyment of moving from place to place each day.

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EXTENDED NOTE RANGE

A jazz performer occasionally finds a challenging opportunity to test the limits of his ability by playing beyond the normal sound ranges of his/her musical instrument. In travel, my binoculars similarly serve as the primary outlet for extending my range of exploration in inaccessible locations. On the west coast of California, steep cliff overlooks, jagged rock formations, and pounding surf tides along the shoreline frequently prevent us from accessing beaches of interesting natural beauty. Yet a methodical scan of a such a remote beach with my binoculars of a tide pool inflow or hidden cave, have revealed to me a priceless look at a living ecosystem of marine sea life beyond my normal view.
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GHOST CONDUCTOR

In jazz performance, one plays to the hidden beat felt by the music presented. In fact, on many occasions, the band plays on with no conductor on stage. Likewise, there have been times where WiFi, GPS service and map reference are useless along walking trails on our American roadtrip vacations in the remote locations in Nevada, Colorado, and Utah. We are thus in fact lost. In the absence of our directional conductor, then, reliance on our senses to look for obscure trail markings placed by previous trekkers have provided a successfully strategy for finding our way back to safe haven.

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COLLECTIVE WILL

The success of a jazz performance by one musician in a band requires a commitment to hear how others are playing simultaneous to his/her efforts. A drummer, guitar and bass player may play “tight” together” to produce a pulsating harmonic vibe while a refreshing brassy interlude resonates the melody in coordinated tandem. In related fashion, we have wandered the world for a glimpse of such live performance unity of expression as a spectator of football, baseball, and more recently soccer sporting events. On our past London trip, I excitedly witnessed such “call and response” synergy at an English Premier League football match at Emirates Stadium. Notably, joyous Arsenal fans sang traditional hymns loudly throughout the stadium as Arsenal players respectfully nodded to the crowd entering the field. The chants intensified throughout the game as the home team responded by putting on an impressive scoring display to soundly defeat their overmatched opponent.

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SYNCOPATION AND BLUE NOTES

Jazz players typically defy accepted rules of musical composition by reinterpreting traditional rules of rhythm and sound in unpredictable ways. Skipping the assigned beat, lessening or lengthening an audible note or making the sound slightly higher or lower makes jazz sound somewhat odd to the dance-pleasing eye. Yet such creative alterations to predetermined touring routes in travel have often come in handy. In medieval  “old towns” of Lisbon, London, and Venice…, for example, a challenging  walk taken through unmarked, crowded corridors  and narrow cobblestone streets frequently has required an irregular variance in course and direction from our more direct and unimpeded traveling norm.

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GLOBAL OUTLOOK

One of the more enduring qualities of of jazz  relates to its cultural sensitivity to time/place. A nightly show performer might for instance freely incorporate Afro- Caribbean salsa, Mississippi Delta Blues or Asian Zen Mysticism as a plausible way to express his/her unique variation of a jazz tune “standard.”  In essence, then, jazz serves as a “world music”, offering unity of “humankind” throughout the world.  On our recent India tour last spring, we thus sought authentic spiritual settings there that inspired similar vibes of positive optimism.  We thus embraced with our “open” jazz mind, New Delhi street monuments and sculptures, portraying  the spiritual bonds of its many diverse cultures/religions coexisting in this overpopulated and poverty stricken city. 

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Sources:

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Syncopation

https://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/jazz1.htm

https://wyntonmarsalis.org/news/entry/music-what-jazz-is-and-isnt

https://www.pure.com/uk/blog/november-2016/the-5-best-jazz-songs-of-all-time

Satisfying Sojourn Sensibilities

*Note To Reader – I am making slight changes to my blog format. All pictures corresponding with key thoughts made in my writings will now be placed together at the bottom of each entry.

One’s best thoughts in life often come at the most unexpected places and times. Amidst the complex challenge of survival in today’s urban world, many Americans choose to feverishly program their days with tight deadlines to accomplish familiar routines. In my past experience as a world traveler, however, I treasured each moment’s potential for a more spontaneous use of my time. Thinking creatively “outside the box” under those conditions, I noticed greater willingness to release my mental comfort zone to consider taking creatively alternative actions. What were these right brain dominant “juices”, then that released my fixated mind from retaining its routinized dull doldrums?

Give “Self Ego” A Rest

As a somewhat egocentric individual who strives to work independently, sharing of effort to achieve “interdependent solutions” to problems does not come easily. Thus my unselfish decision to participate in an Earth Day cooperative effort to clean up debris at Volunteer Park in Seattle last spring seemed refreshingly new to me. Working with this hardworking team on my hands and knees to complete hoeing, pruning and raking tasks for public landscape preservation no doubt provided humbling satisfaction for putting aside my own well being then for the sake of the “greater good. ”

Find A Home Anywhere

A home embodies how we best live and see ourselves. When we create a home that meets our fullest needs and expresses our true character, we enrich our lives. Adopting the principle that my South Florida residence induces such inner sanctity, new places experienced in travel often trigger similar home memories of personal privacy and neighborhood engagement that I prominently value. Two examples make this concept clearer. By gazing at the green grass along the outfield of famed Wrigley Field in Chicago, fond memories surfaced of a child who rejoiced in those times of playing catch with his best friend in the back yard of his childhood house. Furthermore, in finding a sheltered spot on top deck of our cruise ship on a recent transatlantic adventure, a safe sanctuary for reading silently in private was assured.

Imagine History As It Really Was

Being a passionate history buff, I deeply desire to obtain firsthand knowledge about important events in travel. Seeing for myself the hallowed grounds of Gettysburg battlefield as well as taking a scenic drive along the historic paths of the Oregon Trail – Route 66 highway would provide vivid reminders of the true, American timeline “story”. Accordingly, by engaging in a heated conversation about slavery at the Springhouse Tavern along the town’s historic Tarrytown Road as well as “firing up” up the jukebox and enjoying an ice cream soda at Kingman Arizona’s retro, 1950s Drive In, I could also sense realistic vestiges of these two, significant time periods.

Free Play Cures A Cluttered Mind

Real life crisis often spoils a restful vacation as obsessions about health, money, or career often weigh heavily in my “Monkey Mind.” Amidst the stark silence of wild nature, however, such negative introspection often becomes suddenly silent. At Redwoods National Park last spring, I exhilarated in the refreshing absence of mental clutter. “Lightening up” in my demeanor then, I proceeded to hug a tree, sing lullabies with birds, and imagine face-like cloud shapes with my eyes “painting” the sky.

Cultural “Wakeup” With An Open Mind

With each new journey, I encounter new sounds, smells, languages, tastes, sensations and sights of various cultures. Accepting the idea that all human beings can live together in peace in spite of such differences, I strive for empathy toward  others who clash with my own cultural perspective. In my 2017 visit to India last, no doubt I felt great concern for the unyielding poverty inflicted on the lower caste “untouchables“ in New Delhi in spite of my somewhat “sheltered from reality” lifestyle in middle class, suburban America.

Savor “Uphill” Enjoyment

I have often embraced hiking designated trails in U.S National Parks in spite of its physical/emotional challenges. Steep ascents over treacherous cliff-sides in past treks along the California Sierra Mountains have commonly provoked “uphill” fear of failure thoughts. Yet my self induced stress along these arduous ascensions has consistently been balanced with positive auras as I gazed awestruck at the amazing vistas sighted beyond my view.

References:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/03/for-a-more-creative-brain-travel/388135/

https://nomadsworld.com/travel-helps-creativity/

Inside – Out Traveler

Outer beauty attracts but inner beauty captivates.”
(Kate Angel)

Finding beauty in people/place when I travel resides in the “inner reflections” of my “traveling mind. The following poem reveals how positive thoughts can transcend false visions of ugly encounters

An Unsightly Place Sends Dull Glimpses Of Glory
But So Much Beauty Inside Might Spring Sensational Story
I Never Know Where A Hate Splattered Wall Leads
Numb Urge For Flawed Perfect “Barbie Doll” Mind Misreads

I May Scoff At Drab Oldness In Fast Track To Please Me
Yet Inner Peace Flows From Strivers Who Drink Bittersweet Tea
Shabby Street Man Blows Jazz Cool For Hopeful Attention
A  Brief Stop To Listen Would Ease Rush Filled Tension

This Inside Out Traveler Can Find Sublime In Grim Grime
In Endlessly Searching For Self Growth In Good Time

Musical Energy Wandering

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” (Plato)

Wherever I travel, music supplies the positive drug that fuels my traveling soul. On long flights overseas I tune out from the monotony of prolonged stillness and cabin fever to a musical dream of upcoming adventure. Traversing long distances on American Interstate Highways as I travel west, the pleasant interplay of melody and harmony allows me to immerse myself emotionally into the beauty of my natural surroundings. Riding the rails of a speeding passenger train, the “clickery-clack” of wheel meets track pulsates in steady rhythm as I notice my tune of listening choice similarly hypnotize me into a blissful traveling motion. On long sea days along transatlantic cruises when homesickness sets in, a nostalgic song elicits vivid reminders of a return home to loving family and friends.

The following list below thus provides a sample playlist of ten inspiring travel songs I most value to feed my traveling mind. The corresponding videos associated with each selection provide a strong sensory feel for the wandering soul that I so preciously cherish.

Marc Cohn – “Walking In Memphis”

Chuck Mangione – “Land of Make Believe Mangione”

Tim Janis – “Beautiful America”

Enya – “Caribbean Blue”

Moody Blues – “English Sunset”

Traveling Wilburys – “End of The Line”

Alan Parsons – “ Days Are Numbered”

Toto – “Africa”

Dixie Chicks “The Long Way Around”

Ray Charles – “America The Beautiful”

Journey Onto Leadership Greatness

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

How does one’s curiosity to visit new places, cultures, and peoples mold leadership character? As an avid travel blogger, I recently sought American Presidential biographies to answer that perplexing question. Focusing on the extraordinary abilities of four U.S. Presidents in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s new novel, “Leadership in Turbulent Times.”, I learned that early exposures to travel shaped each man’s leadership style for achieving later success as President.

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ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Born to desperate poverty in rural Kentucky, tall and gawky Abe sought refuge in reading books and telling stories. With little to read at home, he would walk for miles seeking something to read. In his one room school, he particularly enjoyed the travel adventures of Aesop’s Fables, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Robinson Crusoe. When Lincoln turned 21, he set out on his own for New Salem, Illinois, a bustling river town. Here he worked as a general store clerk, land surveyor, and flatboat captain, honing his genius for storytelling and ability to show plain spoken empathy with both friend/foe. Such communicative lessons would soon pay dividends for him as he wandered from town to town performing his duties as an Illinois lawyer and state representative. Clearly, his early adaptability to visit new places/people would impact him later as President in his resolve to heal the deep, sectional divisions about slavery during the American Civil War.

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THEODORE ROOSEVELT

Born as a sickly child afflicted with asthma to a wealthy philanthropist family, Teddy learned quickly that his life success would not come easily. Foregoing the entitlement privileges of his social class status, he sought refuge in nature to help him breathe better and grow physically stronger. Always curious to learn new ideas on his long wanderings, he followed bird calls, collected new bug specimens… while showing no fear of “backwoods” dangers. Such childhood interest to challenge his physical/mental limits in the outdoor world would ultimately inspire him in adulthood to explore ranching in the remote Badlands of North Dakota, game hunting in Sub Saharan Africa, and river captaining in the Malaria- infested jungles of South America. As Teddy had thus boldly ventured into new lands for risky adventure, he would similarly strive boldly with progressive minded ideas to solve big business corruption, labor strike disturbance, and tenement housing poverty as a reform seeking President. “Speak softly and carry a big stick” would thus fittingly become his mainstay slogan in the political arena for the rest of his life.

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FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT

As 5th cousin to Teddy, FDR shared the privileged Roosevelt name. Amidst the comforting presence of private tutor education and close family relationships, he experienced a happily contented childhood, at Hyde Park Estate, New York. Having free run to explore his own interests, he often tagged along on outdoor outings with his father, James. When the elder Roosevelt, became incapacitated by a heart attack, FDR began to spend more of his time inside the home. He soon took an intellectual interest in the world around him immersing his mind in new hobbies: reading maps, collecting coin/stamps collections and reading tales of the sea. As Teddy assumed his role as U.S. Presiden during this period, FDR then realized that his activist cousin would be a new role model of strong leadership in his life. Rising to editor of the college newspaper as a student at Harvard University, FDR would then urge students in opinion columns to engage distressed groups and individuals in finding impactful “real life” solutions to solve urban problems. Tragically contracting polio as his political career began to blossom, FDR sought hope for his debilitating condition in the healing power of sun and water. Seeking refuge in mineral water baths of Warm Spring, Georgia, he learned to empathize with the plight of the handicapped there who shared similar afflictions. Becoming America’s longest serving President, FDR’s past travel exposures had taught him some fundamental life lessons. Crisis management for a “New Deal” in our country to end the Great Depression would require a compassionate commitment to pass fair and equitable laws for serving the public will to the best of his abilities.

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LYNDON B. JOHNSON

Raised on a small town ranch amidst the prairie frontier of Central Texas, LBJ frequently accompanied his father, State Representative Sam Johnson, in his “barnstorming ” tours throughout the state to secure votes for upcoming Congressional elections. As a precociously inquisitive child, LBJ enjoyed engaging in one-on- one chats with strangers he met then. With his father’s gregarious role model in mind, LBJ thus seemed poised to similarly enter the Texas political arena. Finding little opportunity for such political work during the Great Depression, however, he embarked on a career in education. Moving from the family ranch to become a debate teacher and later principal at impoverished schools along the Texas/ Mexican border would present a formidable challenge for LBJ, while providing ample opportunities for him to refine his powerful leadership skills. In a deeply segregated, mid 20th century America, LBJ would later learn as President to apply his genius for conversational persuasion with Congress to achieve Civil Rights/Voting Rights reform.

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IMPLICATIONS FOR TODAY’S PRESIDENCY

America cannot “wall itself in” to solve our country’s immigration problem. The enlightened leadership of four Presidents described in this blog point out that our current executive leader must look beyond his  trusting base and suffocating affluence to sell a winning deal for National Security in our country. Tweet less and visit the poor people. If the government shutdown to be safe means for him a test of wills, realize that many Americans (including your followers) now feel unsafe in his indifference. If I were him ,“Don’t Listen to What They Say.Go See” (Chinese Proverb)

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Daring Dilemma Unsolved

In the following short story, a teen age tragedy provides important life lessons to be learned about becoming a better person.

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”(James Thurber)

Jeff got up every day at 3:00 am. to bundle his newspapers and throw his assigned paper route. He truly appreciated the satisfaction of performing this job alone in nightly silence. Yet he did not want his parents nagging ways to interfere with such solitude in his life as he approached his senior year of high school. Lately it seemed, however, late night parties, barking dogs, and drunken drivers along his daily driving route in this suburban community seemed an increasingly difficult distraction to him.

Being a careful driver, Jeff had normally stacked his folded newspapers in the back of his sports utility vehicle without obstructing his driving vision. Yet tonight, feeling more stressed than usual, he had rushed to pile up his newspaper bundles to the tip of the interior roof in a more haphazard fashion. With his “tunnel vision” eyes nervously focusing only in front of him, now, Jeff drove off on this fateful delivery night, clenching the steering wheel more tightly. If only he had remembered to re-stack his papers more carefully to unblock his rear/side vision!

With only 25 out 350 papers delivered in the first hour tonight, Jeff obsessed that he was running late on his nightly schedule. Suddenly he smelled the unmistakable stench of burning smoke and heard desperate screams emanating from the darkness behind his car. Ignoring this potential calamity seemed out of the question yet Jeff’s preoccupied mind combined with his cluttered back seat surrounding had adversely affected his rational judgment. As a result, Jeff would make the tragic decision to continue along his paper route robotically fixated solely on the need to “make up” for lost time.

Whining Cat Blues

“I don’t own a cat. My cat owns a human.” (Jarod Kintz)

A most challenging kind of travel in my experience would have to be the experience of moving. I especially feel empathy for domestic pets who must relinquish their accustomed territories to be “dragged along the way” so to speak. Fittingly then, a close elderly family member of mine moved this week from the spacious environment of her three bedroom house with adjoining yard to the intimate confines of a one bedroom unit in an independent living facility. The following poem thus written below expresses my observations of her outdoor cat, Molly, as she ponders the anticipated disruptions to her life on the morning of this impending move.

Whining Cat Blues

Amber Eyes Stare Sadly So Dazed By Confusion
Untamed By Boxed Madness So Far From Home
No Chance To Chase Lizards In Paralyzed Panic
Bird Prey In Mocked Chase It Seems I Am Grounded

How Dare You Cold Cage Me With No Place To Hide?
Run Swift In Vined Shadows I Must Ever Roam Wild,
Splattered Rain In Pooped Pathway No Litter I Mind
As Long As You Leave Me Free Reign To Outside

Where Can I Sleep As Cat Comfort Confines?
I’m Tired Of Playing Hear My Wickedest Whines

Dazzling Desires Delivered

“I am not bound to win, I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the light I have.”(Abraham Lincoln”

It has been a disappointing year for my favorite Florida sports teams in 2018. The Miami Dolphins remain mired in perpetual mediocre performance on the field with key injuries, a porous defense, inconsistent blocking and quarterback problems. The Miami Hurricanes face the sudden resignation of their head coach after a disappointing bowl game loss to Wisconsin. The Miami Marlins shed payroll in a questionably located new stadium to satisfy economic profit at the expense of “top notch” hitting/pitching  performance. In spite of my unflappable gratitude for my undergraduate college alumnus,the University of South Florida, the loss of last year’s quarterback and questionably conservative  coaching calls at the end of the football season inevitably doomed my self optimism for this team’s winning direction after a most promising season start.

THE EXPERIMENT

Thus needing a break from my sports gloom as the New Year approached, I savored the opportunity to attend the highly anticipated 2018 Orange Bowl with my wife on January 7. For a surprisingly affordable price of $60.00 per ticket, I thus purchased two east end zone seats for this playoff match between the Oklahoma Sooners and Alabama Crimson Tide at Hard Rock Stadium. The expected excitement of seeing this game was clear. The winning team would advance to the College Football Championship on January 7.

Other thoughts about overcoming past game frustrations soon crossed my mind. No more throwing my binoculars during fierce game action, hiding from others in post loss seclusion, or booing mindlessly for subpar player performance. Tonight, I would also accept the challenge to minimize my obsession on team strategy, or individual statistical performance as after all, the participant players had volunteered to play for the team. Most importantly, I would willingly experiment with positive behaviors to avoid stressing about the win/loss outcome on the field. How important it now felt to spend more quality time with my wife, interacting “one on one” with surrounding spectators and simply absorbing the positive energy of “rah rah” college enthusiasm.

POSTGAME BLOG OBSERVATIONS

Throughout Hard Rock Stadium tonight, a mesmerizing show of sight/sound captivated my first attention. I noted then a vast “sea” of Alabama ruddy crimson throughout the stadium with a smaller contingent of Oklahoma red rose confined to a few sections in the west end zone. I also noticed then that vertical support poles throughout the stadium lit up in bright orange while the field surface projected more boldly green than usual tonight. As game time neared, both college marching bands slowly encircled the field setting the stage for two, polished pregame shows to further arouse the crowd.

Alabama football tonight also meant “Roll Tide Roll” with maximum efficiency. With “Tide” amassing a convincing lead of 28-0 in the first half, I felt great need to rise from my seat to cheer in unison with the ”Bama” crazed crowd. After thrusting a nearby “Pom-Pom” shaker in the air, I gave “high fives” to adjacent spectators multiple times as well. At halftime, how strange it felt to ignore  my typical scurry for the stadium corridors opting instead  to watch the youthful energy of a pulsating rap music show on the field. As the outcome of the game became uncertain in the second half, the crowd grew increasingly hostile. Yet spectacularly acrobatic plays on both teams continued to be made, the impressive bands played on and people watching behavior seemed most interesting then.

I usually find it very difficult to concentrate as a spectator on a stadium sporting event without  texting, posting, or web surfing on my I phone. Tonight however, “played out” quite differently from my past multitasking norm as shifting  my point of view from performance competition to life enjoyment seemed the key ingredient to motivate me to shut off my device then. How  inspiring it was as well that the absence of Internet caused me to strike up several courteous conversations with “Bama” fans tonight.

What have I learned most about sports passion by attending my first  meaningful  bowl game?  Make the “now” moment of happiness matter most. Ominous attention on  future results can spoil your fun for the game. Don’t feel bad if you need to not follow the game action. Be cognizant of those who share your passion for the team but don’t boo and rant toward the opposing side or angrily question referee calls. Realize that the true essence of home field advantage lies within your inner being as your positive energy resonates no matter what the score.

For your interest, I present my favorite photographs from the Orange Bowl below:

 

Nature Choice Matters

America’s National Parks represent a featured highlight of our road trip travels. The potential environmental impact of park closings due to our current government shutdown thus provided the writing inspiration for the following poem.

“The nation behaves well if it treats its natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.” (Theodore Roosevelt)

Why Challenge Raw Nature In Such Thoughtlessness Shame?
Foul Mouth Springs Park Shutdown In Mindless Spin Game
Deep Chasms Rocked Healing So Stunningly Wide
Open Hearts To Preserve Nature No Need To Take Side

Why Curse Barren Heat Or Blame Shiver Storm Cold?
Pastoral Pure Pleasure A More Comfortable Mold
Crater Steamed Madness Blue Cauldron Of Hope
Impassable Snowdrift White Gold On Steep Slope    

Plentiful Wilderness Sustains Species Survive
National Park Treasures No Need To Deprive

Note: Witness the exquisite natural beauty of Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Everglades,and Grand Canyon National Parks in past photographs taken below.