Rochester Lightning Storm

It’s a good thing the RIT Big Shot took place earlier in the evening because shortly after it was all over a storm moved through the area so quickly and forcefully it felt like a hurricane.

I took the (rare) opportunity of being out alone and with my camera to attempt some lightning shots.

Boy am I glad I did!

Lightning in front of the Aqueduct Building

Lightning in front of the Aqueduct Building

A Dangerous Thing to do

As we look back on the years we’ve all said the phrase

“man I was dumb”

or

“what was I thinking?”

This one tops the cake, but it happened a long time ago so don’t worry, it’s just a tale of what could have been and almost was.

It was July 25th, the weekend of the democratic national convention in 2004 (Where Barack Obama was to speak ironically enough). My good friend (and roommate at the time) Brian and I were on our way to Boston to see some friends for the Whiskey Company BBQ. We were driving my stupid (pseudo) pimped-out cavalier (pictured at the Grand Canyon). Tinted windows, sound system, headlight covers, mirror-tint Chevy symbols in the rear windows, you get the idea. At about 1:30 in the morning on an empty 6 lane highway somewhere near Boston we got pulled over.

This cop came out of nowhere. I still don’t know whether he was in a turn-around watching for cars or whether he was just driving along. Either way he came up on us at about 90Mph lights blazing. I pulled off to the side thinking he was headed to some emergency but no he pulled up right behind us.

Awesome.

License and registration

“Sure thing” I answered while fumbling in my glove box. As I handed them over I politely asked, “Is there something wrong officer?”

I know everyone says they weren’t doing anything wrong but in this case we really weren’t. I couldn’t even fathom why he had pulled us over. He made some lame excuse about how we had changed lanes too quickly while passing a car and headed back to his car with my license and registration. This couldn’t have been farther from the truth since there was nobody else on the road. We hadn’t even been passed since being pulled over.

When the cop came back to my car it was the only time in my life he came back without a ticket. However he came back up on the PASSENGER side. He then asked for Brian’s license.  He handed it over without question.

The officer then proceeded to pester us both about “items we have in the car which he should be aware of”. After about the 8th time (no joke) I said “look, you can search the car if it’ll make you feel better”. He immediately responded “I’m gonna take you up on that, step out of the car please.”. wow, not the first and definitely not the last, but a BIG mistake on our part.

He had us walk away from the car and sit on the guard rail facing AWAY from the car while he searched.

We’re just gonna stop there for a second, let you absorb this picture.

He comes back to us, twirling my baseball bat in his fingers. ‘What’s this for?’

‘baseball’ I say. not much else to tell…

To be honest I don’t even remember what happened after that. The next thing I remember is driving down the road thinking ‘holy shit what the hell was that about’.

It could have ended a lot worse. a LOT worse.

Don’t ever turn your back on the only evidence proving your innocence.

If you’ve done nothing wrong and a police officer is harassing you, call the local police department or 911. don’t just put up with it and think “holy crap” after the fact like we did. it might not end that well for you.

We were lucky, very lucky.

Back to Portland

The DesertOur trek from Glacier National Park back to Portland was rather uneventful, and yet satisfying.  We drove all the way through, only stopping in Coeur D’Alene for lunch (which was a completely unexpected yet beautiful city in Idaho).  Again, somewhere in Montana we hit a giant hailstorm of bugs.  We seemed to literally drive through a wall of them with some as big as your fist.

As we drove through the dry areas, we watched the outside temperature gauge in the car reach as high as 106ºF.  Rachel wanted to know what that feels like, so at 70Mph we opened the windows and stuck our arms out.  It felt just like a blow dryer, and closed went the windows.

Dust DevilAlong the way we saw a ton of dust devils, which is kind of neat as I don’t remember ever seeing them this large before.  They look like mini tornadoes, and they seemed to tear across the skyline with a fury.

After crossing into Oregon we followed the Columbia River along I84, a large section of which we had taken before.  As the sun set, we were provided beautiful views of Mt Hood clear as day right over the river.  The most beautiful sight however was as we were passing Multnomah Falls and the sunlight was peaking through some clouds so only the falls were lit up.  It almost made us turn around, but we pushed on.

Mt Hood over the Columbia River

We arrived at George and Stacie’s with just enough time to show them some pictures and then head to bed.

Even just driving through, the scenery out here is beautiful and fulfilling.

Mt Hood and Columbia River Gorge

Mt HoodOne of the things on the must-see list in the Portland area is the Columbia River Gorge. A large group decided at dinner last night to meet up and head out for that at about 10am. Because we’re relatively early risers we thought we’d get a head start, do the Mt Hood loop and meet them out. It’s a good thing we did!

Multnomah FallsIf you get a chance to take the Mt Hood Scenic byway DO IT! That being said, we did. We saw the Oregon trail at laurel hill, the Salmon River, the White River and some fantastic views of Mt Hood. We also got some sweet cherries for a cool $1.50/lb at a local fruit stand. They cost more than $4/lb at home!

From there we met the group at Multnomah Falls along the Historic Columbia River Highway where a few of us hiked to the top. Getting to the top is quite a workout, 15 switchbacks and a mile later. The group headed back from there but since we hadn’t gotten a chance to see the Vista House, we stopped there for a vista and what a one it was.
vista house view
The whole loop : Highly suggested.

An awesome first day.

2 miles to go

29,998

29,998. That’s what my Odometer read today when I finally pulled into the car lot at Cortese. My Warranty conveniently runs out at 30,000. They say this is when stuff starts to happen. Maybe, but my current problem happened months ago and I just forgot to do anything about it until I was driving home from work today and realized.

holy crap I have 8 miles left on my warranty!

I’ve never cut anything so close in my life, except for maybe that time with the mailbox but that story is much more severe and for a different day. An electric problem for sure, this problem was just with my mirrors refusing to go up and down. I’m interested to see what money I saved by noticing my mileage today instead of tomorrow.

How much in our life happens purely by chance?

How much stuff that angers us happens purely by chance?

Would life be interesting at all without chance?

The Road to Hana

Today we took in the highly recommended road to Hana. The road to Hana is 42 miles long, includes 54 bridges and over 600 hairpin turns. It’s not so much the destination that’s important, but the trip. Driving the road is all we did today so we’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Wild Flower Scenery from the Road to Hana Waves breaking on Lava Rocks Wow!

Lone Survivor Black Sand Beach Eerie Last Stop

If you like those, there are lots more where they came from.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory

Uncle Jerry's Senior Photo

Aunt Pauline's

About a year ago I started a major project. The digital archiving of all my parents old photo albums. It’s a slow and painful process but often times very rewarding. I have been rather busy lately but for some reason today I decided to scan an album or two. I happened across 2 pictures of some importance. One of my uncle Jerry and another of my Aunt Pauline. Both of which I think may be their Senior pictures. The reason I think this is because they both look very nice and on the back of my Aunt Pauline’s picture it says her age at the time is 18. It’s amazing how much they still look the same even after more than 40 years.

With all the recent talk of alternative transportation and some of the photographs I found, it made me think about how things have changed so much already, but not as far as they said they would. In the 50’s people were claiming we’d be driving Nuclear powered cars. The 60’s gave us The Jetsons. What happened to all of the promises? Well as far as the Nuclear car goes, experiments soon led us to understand that even if it were possible it wouldn’t be safe. As far as the Flying car goes, I’ll let Dante and Randal explain:

Watching the video again made me think about what did happen to the flying car so I did some googling and came up with Urban Aeronautics. Seems crazy and a bit far fetched doesn’t it? I thought so to so I did some digging and their X-Hawk seems legit. Check it out. There actually seems to be quite a few examples so the flying car may not be as far off as it seems.