France Travel Log

A Past Due Travel Log

This past summer I spent two wonderful weeks traveling throughout France as part of several recent milestones in our family.  We traveled throughout France starting in Paris then to Normandy, South to Mont Saint Michele, a few days in the Loire Valley, then along the Mediterranean to Airlie and finally Avignon before returning to Paris.

We met many many wonderful people, enjoyed decadent food, mostly with an egg, and saw more wonderful sights than I thought possible in two short weeks.  The memories are numerous, but there are a few special ones that will stay close to my heart.  I felt immense gratitude standing under the Arc de Triomphe for the opportunity to travel with our sons and share these important places in the world as they develop their own understanding of their place in it. As I compared the sights of Paris to the sights we saw in Rome a few years before made me appreciate the gift of travel with our children.  At that moment I felt truly blest.  Sharing these icons of Paris like the Arc, the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre are special.  I remember the afternoon in the impressionist museum and seeing my son discover his own love of these great artists.

I remember the laughter we shared during a meal that went wrong at Mont Saint-Michel. My wife was so excited to share this place with us and it was nothing like we expected, resulting in a  comedy of errors.  I remember how much I enjoyed watching my sons laugh together when we got ice cream at a cafe in Paris.  Any time we were all together laughing was a special moment for me.

I will never forget the incredible awe I felt as we traveled through Normandy and visited the various D-Day battlefields. I never grasped the complexity and scale of what was required to go into the D-Day invasion.  A civilian cannot grasp what an underrated event this was in our World History and has led me to even greater respect for our “greatest generation”.   I remember the sadness of walking through the American cemetery and the thought that I would not be able to share that experience with my father who fought in World War II.  He was never able to share much, no matter how much I inquired.  When we visited the monument at Utah Beach I was reminded of the Band of Brothers and that “Easy Company” had taken out a German battery nearby.  I grabbed the boys and Google maps and found the monument at a generic cross road.

I remember the opportunity to see the Tour de France in the wonderful town of Sarlat.  It was unplanned, unexpected and ultimately exciting and over too quick.

Here are some of my photographs and moments I captured along the journey.  At the end is a link to my complete gallery.

Favorite Photos Gallery

Complete Trip Photo Full Album

OBX Weekend

I was lucky enough to get to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for the first time since 2009.  This stretch of sand is probably my favorite places on earth.  As soon as my tires hit the bridge heading over Currituck Sound on Rt 168 it feels like I’m pulling into the driveway of my childhood home.  A weight is lifted off my shoulders and I have no worries until I get back to the mainland.

The weather was not great, but it was wonderful to be there for two days.  Hanging out with old friends, fishing on the pier, relaxing on the beach and enjoying some good food.  I already can’t wait to get back.  I just need to make sure it is not another seven years.

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Back in the Woods

It has not been exactly a harsh winter, but it has been 8 months since I’ve been on the trail.  Coming off 10 days at Philmont Scout Ranch.  This trip was not that, but still a great time.  We took my son’s scout patrol on an overnight near Elizabeth Furnace.

I have hiked Signal Knob several times, and its a great hike.  The challenge is that sections are rocky and easy to twist an ankle.  Also, the second ascent back up to Meneka peak is tough and steep.  Its not one I enjoy with a pack on.

We found a great trip for some of the new hikers in our group called Mudhole Gap.  You work backwards up to Meneka Peak which is a nice rolling incline.  We reached the peak around 12:30 and had a nice lunch.  We worked our way down to the fire road and headed toward Strasburg reservoir.

The afternoon was a great hike on rolling terrain through pine forests.  When we hit pavement, we turned left through mudhole gap.  The forest got thicker and around 4pm, we found a nice site along little passage creek.  What a great site.  It was just big enough for a few tents, and I found a great spot over the creek for my hammock.

Our young cooks boiled up a delicious batch of ramen noodles and chicken.  Although they are no longer cub scouts, the boys could not wait to get a fire to make smores.  I’m not sure how the crackers made it without being crushed.  With a full belly and a long day, we hung bear bags, and hit the sack.  I climbed into my hammock and the roar of the creek drowned out the boys card game and quickly rocked me to sleep.

Sunday we woke to drizzle and cloudy skies, but well rested.  Some coffee for me, and oatmeal all around before packing up.  One young scout learned a valuable lesson not to add too much water, and in the outdoors, you have to deal with your messes.  Although expecting he would eat it, instead the innovative young man put it in a zip lock bag and carried it out.  They named him “Ronathan”.

The hike out was a nice rolling hike of about 3 miles, as the rain steadily increased.
It was a nice weekend to get back outdoors and a nice warm up for better things to come this spring and summer.

Our Trek Here

Another Walk in the Woods

Saturday, I found a couple of hours to do one of my favorite activities, wander around in the woods.  I feel like I was able to capture a few nice pictures here.  I saw a flock of about 12 turkeys (do you call them a flock), but could not get close enough for any meaningful pictures.  Here are my favorites.