31 March 2008

a picture story

I drove around Northeastern Alabama last week. Who knew there are mountains there? Ok, I say mountains, but I mean highly-eroded, ancient Appalachian sandstone mountains that are now more like table-top hills. Plateaus, if you will. Ok, so not like the Western US plateaus. But still flat-topped. Eroded! Let's just stick with that. Aside from that, the geography of Alabama is really cool now that I read up on it.

Deciding not to take a single interstate from Huntsville to Atlanta (normally a good 3.5 hr drive) turned into an 9-hr backroad tour. I did, however, eat lunch in the 'official sock capital of the world' which also turned out to be the hometown of the country band, Alabama. That was the town of Ft. Payne, AL, by the way.

There is a point to all of this.

I happened upon Little River Canyon National Preserve at some point in extreme eastern Alabama. Apparently it's reported to be one of the cleanest rivers in the South and mostly undammed. 14,000+ acres of protected area--just awesome. So here are the falls near the top of the river/canyon.

As I walked around the falls, I kept reading signs about the canyon rim road that ran along the opposite side. So, without anything else to do in my spare time until my career job starts in, oh, a month and a half, I decided to go on a trek.

The road was definitely a canyon rim road that winded and bounced along the way for 12 miles until it came to an abrupt stop sign.

I didn't understand if "truck" meant 'any ol' truck' or just 'over-sized 18-wheeler trucks.' So there I sat at the top of this giant, slightly paved hill in my Tacoma pickup. Questioning my intelligence. Thinking. Contemplating the repercussions of 'what-if' scenarios. (and speaking in fragments, apparently).

But I caved in, put the Yota in first and went for it

It was quite the drive, I must say. Until I came to another stop sign 5 miles away. And at that point, I took this picture. And upon looking at it later, I thought it sure looked crooked, but no, it's right. I was sitting on an incline that has a decline on the left that led to the steepest road I may have ever driven on in my life.

So I went for it..

And I drove and drove. And lo and behold, I came to another stop sign with another warning sign. Only this time, this one was more serious than the first. If the first one wasn't there to scare/ward off the frightened, then this one surely was. Basically I read it as "wow, you made it this far? well, just turn around now and go back. or close your eyes and hope for the best!"

So I took what I thought to be
the last picture on the camera before I plummeted off the side of the mountain type of picture and started rolling down the road. Ah, but it was fun. No worries. I survived. From switchback to switchback, I seemed to have a good playlist blaring from the ipod with the windows down and enjoying it all. And the Yota survived the plummet.

(ok, mom, you can start reading again)

The end.

28 March 2008

Wii Fit parody

ocean meeting land

This picture has me laughing. It's a recent trip to St. Simons Island, GA where the wind, though not clearly visible in this photo, was so windy, that we could barely stand up. Dually noting that even though this represents only half of our group, everyone here seems to be bundled up except me--who could not stand to be at the beach and not wear shorts, t-shirts and chacos.

21 March 2008

at my window

Earlier in the week I found myself sitting in front of my open window when I noticed a white van careening around the cul-de-sac outside in the neighborhood. Realizing this was something that had occurred before, I didn't really think twice about it.

Except, this time, the van was definitely in high-speed-I-want-to-be-done mode. By the time it reached the driveway, I noticed the driver chucked a cumbersome phone book at our mailbox. It missed the mailbox, but hit a sign and landed in the flower bed with a kerplunk. I don't know how they manage to stay on the road when the driver is the one throwing 5 pound phone books at houses while maintaining what seems to be a good 20mph pace.

Best part? On the outside of this, what would appear to be a van used for kidnapping, had sticker letters that only said "Phone Book Company."

17 March 2008

warning sign

The only photo I took of my hour and half of driving around looking at tornado damage:

There was just something disturbing about taking pictures of the damage. I felt bad enough just being near it. But I saw this tree from a distance and made my trek towards it. When I got closer I realized that a large amount of insulation was plastered in the tree (red and white). The eerie, clear, blue sky and light breeze was strange as there was such aftermath on the ground.

14 March 2008

and then there were these 9 horses..



At some point in the past few weeks, the pasture adjacent to my parents farm became occupied with the coolest horses ever. Nine of them. The first one you met above is going back to Atlanta with me to live in the suburbs.

Ok so maybe there are zoning laws. So what?

11 March 2008

ain't looking closely today

I just wrapped up some parts of my taxes and received this statement from the software:

Good news!
You can deduct every single penny of the student loan interest you paid. That's $36!

So sad.

04 March 2008

and there was this rock

A long time ago, in a land far, far away...

Ok, so it's California. And it's 1991. And I've been on another summer road trip across the United States with my family. Only this time it wasn't in the 1979 yellow Datsun B-210 that beeped (inside, nonetheless) when you had it in reverse.

At some point while visiting my grandparents and my aunt and uncle in San Bernardino, it was decided that we would visit a giant rock. Giant Rock to be exact. Exactly a year later there was a 7.3 earthquake in this area. 8 years later a 1/3 of the southern side of Giant Rock split off exposing a unique white granite interior. Some say it was a fulfillment of a prophecy from Mother Earth denoting a new era would take place. Others say there was a campfire underneath the rock. Yes, under. When we were there, I do recall seeing where a guy had lived for a long time. Even had a piano under there in a cave.

At over 7 stories high, it also has claims of being the largest free-standing boulder in the world.

I'm not quite sure where I am in this picture, but here we have my uncle, dad, grandmother, grandfather and said Giant Rock. I was probably running laps around the rock to relieve the impact of being in the car.

Was that the year we were driving a lemon?

So that's it. A big rock. Was this the start of my earth science interest?