Fort Michilimackinac

Fortified: by a fort.

Flower fuss

Invigorated: by socially distant socializing with a long-time friend over cocktails.

Beyooootiful sunset

Enriched: by a wide expanse of beauty.

In which we see a Great Lake

Charcoal kilns ground

We felt the need for an outing today—a gen-u-wine Sunday drive. We stopped first at these charcoal kilns (at least, they’re for charcoal if I remember correctly). The smelting facilities were up on Lake Superior, but they established industrial-sized charcoal-making stations at some distance—this one is just a few miles north of Lake Michigan. And on private land, so I looked from the road.

Kilns above

And the Guru looked from above. The overhead drone shot shows the foundations of buildings that surrounded the kilns, and makes the complex look tiny rather than imposing. The arches in the shot above are probably 10 feet across.

Seul choix

Since we were close to Lake Michigan, we went down to Seul Choix lighthouse, although we didn’t go in. I wonder what the lighthouse staff would have thought if you could go back in time and show them GPS navigation….

Lk Michigan viewENE

And finally: Lake Michigan. This view is to the ENE, which is tricky on the north shore.

Look fast

Doomed building

Lately, about once a week I traipse by this building to see if it’s still standing. It began as a light industrial nexus adjacent to a railroad track.

Crepe myrtle trunks

Now the railroad track is gone, and the right-of-way is an artery for foot traffic, segways, bicycles, and the like. And the edifice was long ago converted into artist studios and apartments.

Such is the evolution of land use.

Topics of today

Petals aboard

Petals aboard.

Topics I spent time/energy on today, in no particular order….

Petals adrift

Petals adrift.

Stress…the basic physiology of it…from the what-happens-inside standpoint. This lead me to stress reduction…deep breathing techniques to calm the vagus nerve and reduce heart rate variability (aka HRV). My health tracker reports “stress” and HRV is what it measures. And my HRV numbers could be improved…so the lesson is: breathe differently. Well, how? Nasal breathing…for the inhale (new vocab: aka inspiration [haha; not kidding]), especially nasal diaphragmatic breathing, especially when exercising (expect a learning curve). Point of information: parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems—they work together/offset each other, and both are components of the autonomic nervous system—ANS)—you want to enhance the parasympathetic to reduce HRV. Somehow this also relates to fat-burning*. Man, this is a complex subject. Still learning/processing. Rather confused as the “breathing on the parasympathetic side” means increased HRV…I think. On the other hand, decreased HRV is not good as higher HRV is associated with reduced morbidity and mortality. Arrrrgh! Wait…a clarification: higher HRV with physical activity is fine/expected; it’s too-high HRV during rest/relaxation that is not-good.

Portrait coffee mug

Coffee mug, portrait/stage light. #computationalphotography

Ben Macintyre’s “The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War” (2018). True story. Read to learn about the KGB. For example…once KGB, always KGB…also: the KGB has been practicing effective “fake news” for generations. Are you thinking about the mental habits of VPutin? I am. [He joined the KGB in 1975, mind you.]

Fringe tree

Fringe tree, also portrait/stage light (iPhone 11 Pro).

Social distancing; life/love in the time of pandemic. Ancillary topic: soap is not detergent. Context: people keep saying wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Common phrase. HOWEVER, if the cleaner you are using is liquid, you may be using a detergent. [First-world whine, I know. Do not get me started on podium/lectern.]

Daffy front center

Magdalenian lifeways in the Paris Basin. [You KNEW archaeology would be in this list somehow, didn’t you?]

Hole in leg

Darning mushroom. I inherited one from Mom, but I think it’s up north, although I could use it now.

* Topic shelved for another day: fat-burning happens on exhale.

OTP Saturday

Russell Cave view out

I’ve been a bit antsy for several days to get out of town, that is: OTP—outside the perimeter. No rain today, so we scooted. And headed to Russell Cave, owned by these United States, up in far northeast Alabama. This is the view from the cave, used by way-back peoples. Today it was a bit damp, and the creek below had water, but was not in flood.

Hiking trail

We took what I thought was a short nature trail; I had it wrong. We went up and up, switchback after switchback. I kept thinking, “I’m glad it’s not wetter; this moss must get slippery!”

Valley view

With the leaves off, we had some views of Doran’s Cove, the valley below.

Turkey hens

And, as we left the cove, we saw a flock of wild turkeys. They were jumpy and headed for the woods when we stopped…only a few stragglers left. Pretty birds, these gals.

Ridge ride

Physiographically, this area is Ridge-and-Valley. Here we are heading up the west flank of Lookout Mountain, working our way back toward the ATL. Sun’s out!

Etowah view

The Guru mentioned how great the light angle was, so we headed over to that big mound site just outside Cartersville on the bank of the Etowah (clue there!). The Guru was right; the light was fantastic, and there was some wind, but Droney got the shots. And video (not posted). That line of trees between the plowed field and the grass around the mounds is in a massive ditch—defensive, plus where the fill to build the mounds came from, no?

Urban edits

Rehab oopsy

The former Masquerade club opened in the former DuPre Excelsior Mill (opened 1911) decades ago, and stayed groovy there for 27 years before mixed-use gremlins got the property. That transition has been underway for a while. The other day that rehab project…uhm, fell apart. haha Ooopsy.


Here’s part of a mural on the wall under the bridge between the old Masquerade and the new Kroger.

Reflection plastic grass

And this is a reflection on a glass wall bordering a terrace above the Kroger. Not sure why the plastic grass.

Kroger leg view

From the other end of the terrace, we could see through the legs supporting perhaps six stories of—not sure…office space? apartments? to…Ponce and beyond.

High sandhills

As we returned to the house, I heard sandhills above. Yay! Probably followed a different flyway than those we saw in Texas and New Mexico.

Refinement search

Rosemary bee

Unseasonably warm today, and I found bees busy on the neighbor’s rosemary. None of the Wise Dudes carried rosemary…too plebeian?

Weiner dog blowup

Possible proof that the critters in the manger (probably actually a house) included a Levantine wiener dog?

Bow outdoors

Outdoor bow…strong backlight…robust color…okay, I went for the EZ snapshot. Especially liked the twist tie.

Marcy Hill ramble

Supremecourt river

During today’s walk, I passed the NM Supreme Court building, with an entrance overlooking the Santa Fé River. I know it just looks like channelized run-off, but this river was a main water supply for pre-modern visitors.

Marcy hill view

I wound my way up Marcy Hill, and had this view back at the city. Fogged in. Fort Marcy is up here, just foundation ruins now, being worn down by foot traffic. A sign said it was the first fort built west of the Mississippi by the US military. It was not where the troops lived, but a place of secure refuge if needed. The star fort was built in 1846, and abandoned in 1868.

Deer marcy hill

I checked out a little-traveled area, and found this trio. Notice how the young one is trailing the adults and not so alert. Checking social media, perhaps.

Capital rear entrance

Homeward bound, I checked out the rear of the capital building. Looks like children engaged in tug-a-war. Metaphor for activities in the building?

Santafe trail marker

At some point I followed the Old Santa Fé Trail, and found this marker.

Faux stable

And a faux stable. No flies, I’m guessing.

Homeward (no angel)

Southern States

Proof that we’re southbound. Also, proof that it was sunny early on.

Spitty rain

We drove into rain, and never out. Some stretches had incipient rain, but the perception was that rain would restart any moment.

Cow catcher

We made the NC transportation museum our big stop. It’s centered on a roundhouse, but I even saw a dugout canoe and motorcycles. My digital dictionary indicates cow-catcher is hyphenated; coulda fooled me.

Wagon hub

Wagon hub. Looks like a fancy locking pin.


Have no idea why forty men and eight horses.

Dusty car

Dusty, chrome-laden car.

Stone mtn

Aha! Stone Mountain.


Aha! Atlanta traffique.

Mall walking plus

DC tunnel

Urban travel today is likely to involve routes underground, whether you are in a vehicle or afoot. A tunnel in the central civic-ceremonial zone of WashDC.

Parking ramp joke

Ronald Reagan building parking/security team joke.

Silver rose

A rose to you for getting through the traffic.

Ancient eraser type

How many US citizens under the age of, what?, 40? know what this is…that it’s not just an aesthetic combo of shapes and colors. Often, in my (limited) experience, the eraser would solidify and the bristles would get bent before the eraser was used up.

Verrocchio banner

Our first stop: the Verrocchio exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. Verrocchio has many names in the literature (WikiPee indicates his birth name was Andrea di Michele di Francesco de’ Cioni), but most cognoscenti refer to him as merely Verrocchio, referring to the goldsmith he trained under, poor guy. He was an accomplished goldsmith, architect, painter, and sculptor. One of his mentees was Leonardo da Vinci.

Alex the great

Verrocchio’s Alexander the Great. Is that a dragon on your head, sir?

Terrier feet

Love the sandal strap details. Many art historians think Leonardo painted the ghostly terrier.

Davids foot Goliaths head

This is Goliath’s head with David’s foot in Verrocchio’s version of the same moment as the famous Donatello statue of David. We saw the latter in Florence; I like both. Again: footwear detail.


We got lunch in a downstairs museum café, and headed to the mall. Left: view of Capitol Hill. We went that way last time. We went the opposite way this time.

Washington mon

Toward the Washington monument, all sparkly clean and open for business again.

Lincoln mem

And from the hill at its base, we could see our quarry, the Lincoln Monument. But first, at this end of the Reflecting Pool, the WWII Memorial.

WWII mem

Sobering to see over 4000 stars here, each representing 100 American war dead.


We climbed out, paralleled the pool, and worked our way through the crowds up the steps and into the main room of the Lincoln Monument, which the Romans would have called a cella. Many old guys in wheelchairs…this weekend’s groups of Honor Flight members and their attendees. One group whose members we kept encountering were from “Flag City,” Ohio.

Vietnam mem

We tore ourselves away from the Abe and visited the Vietnam Maya Lin wall. Sobering also. It’s all about the names, each life lost.

Mallows bay

Enough malling, we headed back to our parking garage. [Ended up with 16K steps for the day. Outdoor mall-walking.]

The “island” out there is a sunken ship. There are over 230 of them in shallow Mallows Bay, on the Maryland side of the Potomac, a bit downstream and opposite Quantico. Look at GooSatView and see how many you can count. Many are steam ships and many date from WWI.

Rappahannock bridge

We paid $6(!!) to cross this bridge over the Rappahannock, the next big river south of the Potomac, both flowing into Chesapeake Bay. The beams are pretty, and the light was nice, but I prefer the bridge that spans the two peninsulas way NNW of here, plus the crossing is cheaper.