Monday, September 28, 2015


For the Super Blood Moon Eclipse, I wanted to be in a place to view the moonrise close to the horizon.  This was a challenge along the hills of the Oregon Coast.  I’d noticed a big parking lot next to Nehalem Bay boat launch on my way to my motel and went back there with my Nikon and tripod.

There was a great high spot just across the highway where I set up just as the sun went down.  Then I noticed cars gathering in the parking lot, all facing away from the water and to the east.  It looked like people gathering to watch a drive-in movie and the sky was the screen.

Before long I was joined at my location by two other cars with ladies toting cameras and tripods.  As we waited we struck up a casual conversation and we all wondered why the heck the moon was taking so long to rise.

People in the parking lot were out of their cars all looking toward the horizon and finally someone yelled, “Hey! There it is!”  The moon had been up for several minutes before we all noticed the pale, pink ghost just above the trees.

The two other ladies and I started fiddling with our cameras.  We had to go old school manual because our fancy cameras couldn’t find anything to focus on.

As the sky gradually darkened my two new friends and I joked about the warned End of Days.  We’d heard there was a punch card available with a list of ten predicted apocalypses.  When nine of them were punched, the last one was free. 

While the moon gradually moved out of the earth’s shadow we monkeyed with shutter speeds and chatted.  We learned we were all from other places with not much in common except cameras and an appreciation for the earth and sky. 

We joked how we probably could have made some cash selling popcorn to the impromptu crowd gathered across the highway.  Then we decided, since it was supposed to be the end of the world, we personally would go all out for Ben and Jerry’s ice cream ourselves.

After an hour or so of geeking about the moon, the crowd began to scatter.  I gathered my gear and went back to my motel where I discovered I had a great view of the “Super Moon” right from the parking lot.

I set up my tripod and took a few more shots.

Later from my room I continued to watch a show much better than anything available on a tiny screen—with no commercials.

Finally, Lady Luna appeared in her full brilliance.  It was fun to think about the group of friendly people of all ages who found themselves in the same place gazing like looneys at the evening sky.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Seven years ago on September 17, I created "Side Trips" and put out my words on the world wide web. It was a challenging time for me. The care of my aging parents had become my responsibility. I had to make the choice to put my father in assisted living where he later passed away. Not long after that my mother followed. The clearing out and sale of their home also fell upon my shoulders. My siblings seemed to feel the less they knew about the situation the better. It's very difficult to face the decline and death of loved ones and much easier to hold on to good memories and pass over the truth.  That reality was brought into focus when my younger brother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away a few months later.  I treasure the comments he made on my blog in the time before he became ill.
At the time I didn't realize it but "Side Trips" was an outlet and a therapy for me. I've tried over the years to find the positive and humor in life. Focusing on bitterness and fear can make a person grumpy and is just a big waste of energy.

Since that day I've written almost a thousand posts.  I've made many friends all over the world who I'll probably never met and a few that I've talked to face to face and found to be just as welcoming and entertaining as their writing.  I like to think this little exercise has kept my own writing skills from getting too stale.  Another benefit is several three-ring binders full of memories and records of events.  I've almost always composed my blog posts first in Microsoft Word;  photos included.  When I've checked things over a couple of times I print them out and then transfer the writing and pictures to "Side Trips."  Reviewing is a real trip down a rabbit hole.

So, happy birthday, blog, and thanks to any followers who've checked in occasionally and kept me cheered and amused with your comments.