17 March 2008

St. Patrick's Day in Heppner


In the four years that I have been traveling around Oregon, I had yet to visit Heppner. That opportunity came last week. And it seems that I arrived on an auspicious day--the day they close down two blocks of Main Street to repaint the giant clover in preparation for the annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Really, you can’t plan these things. They just happen.

I was politely informed as I was photographing the emblem that it’s best not to ride a horse over it. “Horses stumble,” the gentleman intoned, “and lose their footing on the slippery surface nearly every year during the parade.” Yikes.

Main Street

So I thought in honor of my 3rd bloggiversary, which so conveniently coincides with this holiday, that I would create a “state of the blog” post for the curious among you. A compilation of sorts of the how and the what that brings people to my website.

Since 16 January 2007, 1552 unique visitors have read some part of my blog. And I average about 103 visitors each month. When compared to popular blogs with a daily readership, this is a paltry number. However, considering that I write this blog primarily as my lazy form of a travel journal and for a handful of friends and family, I am honored by every other visitor who deems my writing worthy of their time.

So where do these mysterious readers come from? Well, 88% live in North America. Almost 5% reside in Canada, 3.8% in the United Kingdom., and 1.22% in Italy. Belgium? Qatar? Serbia? Cyprus? Hungary? Poland? Philippines? Yep, there have been the occasional random hits from those countries as well.

What brings them here? Goat. Milking. Station. Seriously, this is the most popular web search that leads people to my blog. Google those three words and this blog will pop up as the second hit on the page. Go ahead. Try it. I’ll wait right here for you.

Nifty, huh?

People also land on my blog because they’re searching for things like a Samsonite Valet, the adventures of Flat Stanley, nuclear implosion, or are curious about urban exploration in Seattle or the history of Morgantina.

My most popular post to date has been The Curious Goat on the Mountainside. Really, who could resist with a title like that?

Monday is the most popular day to read my blog. And if you’re reading between 8-9 am or 9-10 pm? You’ll have some company.

I don’t know for how long this little adventure will continue. So, thanks for reading and may your animals be sure-footed!

shamrock flower pot

14 March 2008

An Ode To My First Digital Camera

Honeyman State Park2

March 17th will mark the 3rd anniversary of my little adventure into travel blogging. It started with my plans to visit Sicily in May 2005. The lingering lesson of my trip to Spain during 2002 was that I wished I had a digital camera!

So, I budgeted accordingly and splurged on a little Canon 520A, 4 mp, 4x optical zoom compact camera. Wow! I had never had such an expensive piece of technology in my hands. I laugh to think of it now -- because much better cameras are much cheaper these days. However, it served me well over the years and I still take it out on occasion.

The pictures in this post pay homage to its trusty service, and certainly show how much room I have to grow and learn as a photographer!


I bought the camera on my way out of town for a work trip to Florence. This was the second shot I took from the balcony of my motel room overlooking the bay. The little details like overhanging roofs and large trees blocking my focal point handn't really registered yet...


And then there is the occasional interesting pic where you can see my artistic vision developing...but still falling a bit short.

I think what has brought me the most joy over the past three years of digital photography discovery is exploring a new medium through which to share my travels and experiences. I've learned that I am more visual than I thought I was--and while never really creative nor artistic--I certainly am developing a keener sense of design and an appreciation for others who possess those skills.

05 March 2008

Bem-vindos a Amazonia


I haven't written much about Brazil. My first trip to South America. The enjoyment of sharing a trip with my parents to a place my mother once lived, but had not returned to in nearly 50 years. The hours spent in transit across a country as vast as the continental United States.

If there was a common thread woven throughout our travels, it seemed to be water:
  • The rush of a boat ride into La Garganta del Diablo (the Devil's Throat) at Iguacu Falls
  • The trepidation of a boat spinning in a springtime storm on the Black River in the Amazon
  • The beautiful port city of Porto Alegre
  • The breathtaking views of the bays surrounding Rio de Janeiro from Sugar Loaf Mountain and Corcovado
  • Squiggling toes in sand and surf on Copacabana Beach

And so I hope to write a bit more.


How did we get to Ariau Towers? By boat of course. And long, long wooden plank-ways leading to four-story treehouses.


This was, without a doubt, the most difficult and tiresome leg of our journey. But those are stories for another day.