Category Archives: Travel

Vacation 2017

Scaly Mountian North Carolina & The Appalachian Mountains

Jake and I spent a week at Dave & Lisa’s cabin at Scaly Mountain in North Carolina. At the end of the trip, we drove to see my grandparent’s old house in Gate City VA.

Highlights and impressions!

Best Weiner Schnitzel west of Vienna at Wolfgang’s in Highlands (I first ate here about 20 years ago – still a fixture in the Highlands).

Rain all day Monday – Laura brought it with her when she came 😉 charged the waterfalls and made for two great hikes to see them.

Jake loves to hike – does great on the trails!

Almost got lost on the trail on the way out on the second hike! Jake assured me everything would be just fine.

Asheville NC reminded me of a smaller version of Atlanta complete with bad traffic and a snarled up downtown. However – everyone I saw looked like an ad for REI! It does, however, boast to be the most friendly dog city in the South (or some such).

Beautiful drive to Gate City from the cabin. This must have been a similar route we traveled in the 60s but with no interstates. Gorgeous scenery!

Gate City and surrounding area seemed about the same as I remembered 50+ years ago except the cars were newer :-0

Summer break

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. It has been a busy Summer and I am back home for a while which feels good.

Serenity

At the beginning of Summer I bought my first boat – a kayak that I have named Serenity.

My first boat!
Serenity – a 11 1/2 foot Ocean Kayak – my first boat!

I grew up here in Florida on boats that belonged to the family or my friends but I never truly had a boat that was mine. As a kid we would spend hours (seemed like days) in our boats exploring the waterways of the natural and man-made islands in the Indian River lagoon. As I got older I learned to waterski and spent many a morning before school skiing after my paper route.

So far I have been out a couple of times in my old home town of Cocoa Beach – in the places I used to spend days when I was a kid – in the ocean right up the road from me where I am now living, and a number of times in Panama City when visiting my family.

AA 80th Annual International Convention

Over the July 4th weekend I traveled back to Atlanta to attend the 80th International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The 80th International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous was held in my old stomping ground of Atlanta this Summer.
The 80th International Convention of Alcoholics Anonymous was held in my old stomping ground of Atlanta this Summer.

I went and stayed with my friend Mike. The convention was attended by over 57,000 people from all over the world. I met many of my friends from Atlanta, here in Florida and others I have met along the way in my own journey of recovery. I also made many new friends from all over the world. Happy, joyous and free indeed!

Diving

I rekindled an early love of SCUBA diving and underwater photography this Summer. I learned to dive growing up here while attending Brevard Community College  (now called Eastern Florida State College) in 1974. I have done a lot of diving and have done it consistently since then although I tapered back over the past 15 years being distracted elsewhere.

Underwater Camera Upgrade

Eddie with Nikonos V amphibious camera
Eddie with Nikonos V amphibious camera

I bought (and still own) my first underwater camera while going to college in California. It is a Nikonos II which was one of the very early amphibious cameras made by Nikon. While living in Europe I upgraded to a Nikonos V which was with out a doubt the most popular underwater camera ever made. I sunk thousands into these rigs only to have them made obsolete with the coming of digital cameras.

Eddie with Nikonos V amphibious camera
Eddie with Nikonos V amphibious camera

In my humble opinion there is still no amphibious digital camera that lives up to the quality and versatility of the Nikonos series cameras and (most importantly) lenses. However, there are a lot of great housing that work with very good digital cameras. I am also glad I waited until the advent of the mirrorless digital camera systems which are substantially smaller and very high quality as compared to the very popular DSLR.

Olympus OM-D E-5 Camera with Sea & sea YS-D1 Strobe
Olympus OM-D E-5 Camera with Sea & sea YS-D1 Strobe

I had been looking at the Olympus OM-D series mirrorless cameras for a while now and when they upgraded the E-5 to the E-5 Mark II there were some great deals on the E-5 with the Olympus housing. At the same time I had to upgrade my underwater strobe to take advantage of the fiber optic based triggering so I purchased a Sea & Sea YS-D1 to replace my old Ikelight Ai-n strobe. It’s a fraction of the size of my old strobe, very easy to setup and works really well. I have made 6 dives with the rig so far and slowly getting the hang of shooting with it.

West Palm Beach – June

My first local dive trip after moving back to Florida. I went out with the dive charter ‘Narcosis’ out of Riviera Beach. It was also my first mixed air dive after getting certified in late May. Finally, it was also the first dive on my new camera rig. I didn’t quite have my camera settings right but I did manage to get some good shots. We dove in the morning on two spots – Breakers and Bath & Tennis. Both names are from landmarks on West Palm Beach where the dives are located. I missed the first reef since I was not paying attention messing around with the camera. I did come across a turtle on the first dive. the second dive was my best so far this Summer where there were ton’s of fish and pretty nice reefs.

Panama City Beach – August

I dove in Panama City while visiting my Mom for my birthday. I went out with Panama City Diving dive charter on the ‘Steel Slinger.’ I had dove Panama City in the 1990s and remembered it as a pretty bad couple of dive with almost no visibility. This experience was much better. We dove on two wrecks about 12 miles offshore – the Chippewa and a wreck on what’s knows as Mac’s Reef. Both were in about 100 feet of water. The visibility on the second dive was a bit better than the first – maybe 40 feet. There were huge schools of fish on both wrecks. On the second wreck I saw my first Goliath Grouper.

West Palm Beach – August

My last dive was back at West Palm Beach – this time with Paul Walker’s dive charter on the boat ‘The Wetter The Better.’ Unfortunately, there was an upwelling of cold water the day I dove which plummeted the water temperatures into the low 70s and reduced the visibility to between 10 to 20 feet. We dove on Shark Canyon for the first dive and the wreck Danny on the second. I missed the first reef (again) but managed to find a couple of good spots where there were fish and some other marine life. The second dive was a bust visibility wish but the wreck had maybe a half dozen Goliath Grouper living on it. I got some decent – and rather eerie – video of the grouper on the wreck.

Woodworking

I started back into my woodworking in the Spring and have completed a number of new projects. The first was a restart of a project I started some 3 or 4 years ago while still living in Atlanta. I was coming off a major project and had a lot of milled hardwoods of various types on hand. I glued up a bunch of them with the idea of building a large jewelry box as a gift. One thing led to another and the project got put on hold for a while. One of the glued up boards was even used as a cutting board for a period of time!

I restarted the project to make a nice big box for myself with lots of room for small personal items I have collected over the years in addition to the couple of pieces of jewelry I still own.  I wanted to use dovetail joints on the construction so to get started I out making a simple oak box using my dovetail jig for practice. I quickly realized that it was not going to work on the jewelry box so I starting constructing i t using standard reinforced mitred corners.

At the same time I was given a fabric painting of an African drummer by my nephew Carl who has been living in Ghana working with the peace Corps the past two years (he is coming home next month). I started making a frame for it and wanted to try my hand at some simply inlay work. I extended that to the oak box I was building to add an interesting detail to it’s design.

Finally, my old friend Rik Thwaties had long ago given me a slate carving with the word Valhalla on it. I used it when I build my house in Colorado in the 90s but kept it when I moved twenty years ago. I finally made a simple wooden mount for it. So all in all I was working on four projects are the same time. Here are some pictures:

Panama City

I made a couple of trips – one in July and one in August – to stay with Mom in Panama City. My brother Dave and his wife Lisa have been taking care of her for the past year and needed a break while they did some Summer traveling.

Brother Dave's house and boat from the water
Brother Dave’s house and boat from the water

My brother Dave lives on a bayou that leads to St Andrew Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. He has always been a boater and now owns a small motor boat. I took it out several times on both trips and explored the bay and even went into the Gulf once. It was especially nice taking it out early in the morning when the wind was still calm and getting up on a plane in the calm waters.

 

 

 

For the trip in august I took Serenity and launched it from Dave’s dock to explore the bayou. I managed to get out 10 times in the two weeks I was there! The highlight was getting close to a very large container ship that was leaving the dock from the cardboard plant across the bayou from Dave’s house.

My 60th Birthday

From my good friend Margaret on my birthday.
From my good friend Margaret on my birthday.
Eddie Nose
A picture of me a long time ago, far, far away when I was living in Germany.

Finally, I turned 60 in early August while visiting my Mom. I am happy to report that I survived the episode intact and am now no longer a middle-aged idiot but instead a supremely serene senior (well – on a good day). Thanks to all that wished me a happy birthday on Facebook or with your cards. Especially a couple of wonderful friends that posted these shots.

Steamboat – February 2015

I am grateful that I was able to go to Steamboat Springs and Steamboat ski resort this year! I went with Myhra Tubridy and the NASA ski club. We spent 7 days at the Boat with 5 incredible days of skiing. After the driest January in history, it started to snow on the bus ride from the airport. It kept skiing through mid-week and the last two days were sunny and warm. The snow was perfect and I got many fresh tracks and freshly groomed cruizers. Other highlight including spending time with Myhra (my brother Rick’s wife), a trip to Strawberry Park – a natural hot springs in the woods outside of Steamboat Springs – and a western BBQ dinner & dance at Thunderhead Lodge at the top of the Gondola. I used to ski Steamboat regularly when I lived in Colorado in the 1990s – it was good to be back after 14 years!

Cruise to the Edge

I made reservations with my good friends Robin and Laura to ‘Cruise to the Edge‘ this November. We will leave out of Miami on a four night cruise listening to old and new progressive rock bands featuring my all-time favorite Yes.

I last saw them just last summer with Robin in Orlando. It’s a shame that lead singer Jon Anderson has left the band but the singer that they replaced him with Jon Davidson does a a great job as well as having the same first name!

 

Christmas Trip

2013 – The End (of the year)

I spent last Christmas in Idaho. The highlight was two days of skiing at Brundage Mountain — my first time back on the sticks in nearly thirteen years.

Like they say – it’s like riding a bicycle. Within an hour or two I felt the old rhythm coming back. I have to say that the equipment – particularly the skis – have changed. Instead of 210 cm it was more like 160 – 170 cm and at least twice as wide. It was weird at first – being on such short skis. But after a while I really appreciated how much easier they are to turn and how well the absorb vibration.

I stayed at Bear Creek Lodge just outside of McCall. You could see the ski mountain from the lodge. It was a very nice lodge and I enjoyed talking with the guy that owned the place.

It was an interesting end to 2013. I can tell you that it will not be another 13 years before I ski again though!

You can view a full HD version on my YouTube channel.