theautolounge.net
January 23, 2018, 05:26:54 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: SMF - Just Installed!
 
  Home   Forum   Help Search Calendar Login Register  
Pages: 1 ... 7 8 [9] 10
  Print  
Author Topic: Hi, I'm Todd. Welcome to my world . . .  (Read 35037 times)
Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« Reply #120 on: March 29, 2013, 01:06:01 AM »

Thanks Adam !  I do like to talk a lot.  I've called this writing thing a good form of "therapy" for a while now .  .  .
Logged

Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« Reply #121 on: May 30, 2013, 01:37:56 AM »

Working on the garage .  .  .
May 27, 2013





When my ex-wife and I first looked at this house back in April 2009, the garage area looked quite different.  


April 18, 2009



Technically speaking, this wasn't actually a "garage" because it had no door.  Like so many other houses in this neighborhood, this house had only a carport, and a rather empty one at that.


April 18, 2009



The first order of business after purchase in May 2009 was to have a garage door installed.  And all seemed well.


July 23, 2009



However, I soon discovered that my spacious garage had lots of room for "stuff," but no place to actually put any of it.  I decided to add some functionality to the garage in the form of "Gladiator" adjustable shelving.  By the door to the house, I added a small shelving unit to hang things like the brooms, a dust pan, and a step ladder.  On the other side of that door, I added two wire-mesh shelves.  On the other walls, I added more Gladiator shelving mainly for hanging stuff.  The differences are apparent in the photo below.


May 26, 2012



I have said many times in the past that Lowe's can be a really dangerous place.  Last week, I picked up several more shelving tracks, a few more hangers, a small wire shelf, and mesh basket.  I decided to use the mesh basket for my shop vac accessories which used to be tucked away in a corner of the small utility room.  Putting everything where it is easily accessible will, hopefully, encourage me to use it more often.





I also spotted the magic word  -  "Clearance."  





Lowe's had several Gladiator parts and accessories marked "Clearance."  I'm not sure if they are making room for new parts and accessories, or if Lowe's is actually going to discontinue the whole line.  All I know is that this Gladiator Utility Cabinet that normally sells for $230 was on "Clearance" for $127.  





Some assembly required .  .  .





I bolted the parts together and anchored it directly to the wall.  By locating the cabinet next to the garage door, I was thinking I could use it for stuff like gardening supplies and car wash/wax accessories.  





The cabinet door is hinged at the bottom and folds downward so it can be used as a "work station," and feels quite solid.  When not in use, the door folds upward and latches in the closed position.





Below the cabinet, I added one shelving track and some small hangers.  Gardening stuff will fit nicely here.





I added two more shelving tracks and a bunch more hooks and hangers to the existing track on the other side of the utility room door.





I'm quite happy with the results .  .  .


« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 12:22:20 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

LSixer
Grand Master
******
Posts: 3386


Resident asshole of TAL


View Profile
« Reply #122 on: May 30, 2013, 04:14:27 PM »

Liking the flower display.  Cheesy

Your garage is actually quite big. I'll need to get some shots of mine here. Right now, the door is broken, and the inside is full-o-shit.  Tongue
Logged

Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« Reply #123 on: May 31, 2013, 10:36:28 AM »

Liking the flower display.  Cheesy

Your garage is actually quite big. I'll need to get some shots of mine here. Right now, the door is broken, and the inside is full-o-shit.  Tongue


lmao


That wreath has been hanging on the front door for several years, and was beginning to show the effects of the weather.  My front door seldom gets used. This "quiet" was, apparently, attractive enough to a bird looking for a home in a quiet neighborhood.  After calling the top of the wreath "home" for a while, he moved out .  .  .
« Last Edit: September 07, 2013, 12:03:16 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« Reply #124 on: June 08, 2013, 08:55:52 PM »

Some cool scenery .  .  .
June 7, 2013





This time of year in Northern Georgia, the weather can get unpredictable on occasion.  Thunderstorms do occur, and some can be pretty intense.  I keep waiting for Mother Nature to unload on Athens-Clarke County some day and sweep it up into the sky.  Rest assured if she does, it will be filmed and posted here.

In the meantime, we're stuck with a lot of "teasers."  The sky darkens, thunder and lightning make their presence known, and a couple of raindrops fall from the sky.  After a few minutes of this, life returns to normal.  I feel as if I'm stuck in the Grumpy Cat's "Worst Apocalypse Ever" internet meme.  





Mother Nature will occasionally look upon my disappointment and offer a reason for me to smile.  At work on Friday night June 7, the typical recurring pattern played itself out once again.  Only this time, I saw something different .  .  .





Directly above me, the sky had begun to lighten, but not so off in the distance, making for a great color contrast.





As seen from the parking area by the gas pumps .  .  .





I backed up into the employee parking area .  .  .  











I seem to remember a legend from my childhood that refers to a "pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."  However, I don't recall the legend specifying at which end of the rainbow to search.  The image above seems to indicate that it must be located somewhere in the rear of our parking lot, near the rental department.  The image below would seem to indicate that this wealth could be located near the greenhouses in the complex next door.





I'll have to check both on Monday .  .  .


« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 12:31:28 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« Reply #125 on: July 20, 2013, 01:11:54 AM »

Be careful what you wish for .  .  .
July 9, 2013






This time of year in Northern Georgia, the weather can get unpredictable on occasion.  Thunderstorms do occur, and some can be pretty intense.  I keep waiting for Mother Nature to unload on Athens-Clarke County some day and sweep it up into the sky.  Rest assured if she does, it will be filmed and posted here.



It seems like it has been raining almost daily in Northern Georgia for the last month or so.  Most of the recent events have played out like my previous post, (i.e. clouds, thunder, a small amount of rain, then back to normal).  But others are much more intense.  Tuesday July 9, 2013, I was finishing up my paperwork and preparing to head home for the evening.  Mother Nature decided to give me a good reason to hang around for a while .  .  .


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48xMB-nr8mE" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48xMB-nr8mE</a>


I managed to capture a few nice lightning strikes, including the one in my signature .  .  .
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 12:32:34 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

Lone Fox
Senior Member
****
Posts: 330


View Profile
« Reply #126 on: July 20, 2013, 11:34:38 AM »

Its thundering, abit scarcely, and raining outside as I type this.
Logged
Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« Reply #127 on: September 14, 2013, 11:56:14 PM »

My favorite place on earth .  .  .
June 23, 2013






It's probably a good thing that my house sits about 4 1/2 hours away from Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, otherwise I'd be there a lot more than I should.  I've said many times in the past how much I enjoy being there, and make a point to schedule at least one trip each year, (last year's story of my annual Christmas Day Buffet at The Westin Resort is chronicled HERE).  The distance involved does a good job of ensuring that the trip will always remain an out-of-the-ordinary experience, something to look forward to.  

I don't do a whole lot when I'm there. The time element involved allows for roughly 5 - 6 available hours for hanging out on the beach, wading in the ocean, and people-watching.  Add exploring a new road or two and having a meal of some kind, and the time goes by quite fast.

I decided to reward myself for successfully making it to age 47 with another Hilton Head trip on Sunday June 23.  My intent was to relax and enjoy the world around me.  And while I would have really liked to have the roof down the whole time, Mother Nature had other ideas.  Oh well.





The weather on that day could best be described as "hit or miss."  Normally, my location at any given moment almost guarantees a "hit," as evidenced by my previous Christmas trips.  The 2012 trip ended up being somewhat of a turning point, meaning I was able to enjoy a nice walk on the beach before the rain arrived.  Hopefully, that trend would continue today.

What follows is a picture show of my adventure.  Nothing too intense .  .  .





C. C. Haigh, Jr. Landing .  .  .
The C. C. Haigh, Jr. Landing sits along US Route 278, Fording Island Road, (the main route onto and off of the island), where Skull and Mackay Creeks intersect.  The Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge sits directly across the street.  I love the scenery in the parking area, which is precisely the effect I am striving for in my back yard.





The Landing consists of a public boat ramp .  .  .





.  .  . a fixed pier area .  .  .





.  .  . and a wonderful view of the water.





Across Mackay Creek sits the Sunset Bay Restaurant, a place that I have previously been referring to as the Sea Trawler Restaurant.  Not sure when the name changed.





I've seen this buildup on the concrete posts of the pier on past visits.  Whatever it is, it's pretty cool.





But this is why I'm here.





I thought I saw something move.








I know nothing about what kind of sharks inhabit the area, (if any).  But I was able to capture a few pics of something that looked an awful lot like a shark of some kind.








Someone else on the pier mentioned "dolphin."  Once again, I have no idea.  Whatever he was, he seemed to be enjoying himself.  





On a side note, that's quite an impressive property in the background !





I could see a bunch of small crabs wandering around along the shore.





Love this camera's zoom lens !





They were everywhere !











I'm playing with the focus on the camera.








They were just hanging out, enjoying the day, doing whatever it is that crabs do.








I hung out with the crabs and sharks for a while, then continued on my journey .  .  .





Coligny Beach .  .  .
I made my way east on US 278 to Pope Avenue and Coligny Beach.  A bunch of other people also had that same idea.





The beach was quite crowded in both directions.





Judging by the distance between the water and the beach entrance, I'm going to call this "low tide," even though I have no idea if this is correct.








Way off in the distance, I could see a cargo ship of some kind.  I set the camera on the "sports" setting, which is for action shots.  My thinking is that the more zoom I apply, the shakier the camera movements appear.  I pointed and clicked and managed to get some decent shots.  Here, I'm using maximum optical zoom of 35x.




This camera can add a 4x digital zoom on top of that, bringing the total available zoom to 140x.  The picture gets pretty unstable at that distance, though.





I could also see a smaller boat on the move.








I managed to get a shot of the two vessels together.





I also spotted a large container ship off in the distance.





This ship was traveling from left to right in the photo, meaning it was probably heading for the Port of Savannah.  





A little more definition could be seen when the ship got closer to the shore.





If I ever hit the lottery, a home along the beach would be one of my first purchases.





I came across this guy just hanging out on the beach.





If my research is correct, this is a Great Blue Heron.





He just stood there, staring out into the water.  Not sure what he was looking at.  But according to this allaboutbirds.org page, "Hunting Great Blue Herons wade slowly or stand statue-like, stalking fish and other prey in shallow water .  .  ."





There was someone in the water fishing.  Maybe he was looking for an opportunity to enjoy some dinner.  I guess his patience ran out.  





He flew up the shore a short distance to hang out there.





I spotted some air traffic just off shore.  





Low flying air traffic.





I spent some time wandering aimlessly, taking in what the Universe felt like saying.  Eventually, I did have to head home, and return to the real world.  But it's distractions like this that make me smile and enjoy life.  I should do this more often .  .  .
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 12:32:55 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« Reply #128 on: September 21, 2013, 11:05:12 PM »

A much needed improvement .  .  .
August 14, 2013





My ex-wife and I moved into this home in May 2009.  Right away, I noticed a couple of issues with the entrance doors.  None of the three wanted to open and close easily, especially the back door where a pro wrestling-like shoulder block was the only way to make it move.  I also had gaps at the bottom of the doors which allowed a variety of critters to wander in whenever they felt the urge.  But there were also issues with the vertical sealing of each door against the door frame weatherstripping.  It's as if the door was tilted with respect to the position of the frame.  Meaning, the door may seal near the bottom, but have a gap at the top.  

I installed some new thresholds and did what I could with weatherstripping in order to keep the critters outdoors.  That worked ok, especially in front where the gap under the door was quite large.  Things got a little more serious when I discovered rotting wood on the back door frame.  The back door, itself, had been replaced prior to my ownership.  But the frame had not, (it was plainly obvious that the two didn't match, or work together very well).

This summer, I got tired of trying to make a mismatched load of parts work and decided to order two new doors, one for the front, and one for the back.





I want to call my house a "Colonial Revival," although I'm not exactly sure.  


June 3, 2012



I am told that painting the front door a different color, like bright red for example, is appropriate for this style house.  It makes the door stand out.  To my mildly autistic self, this certainly "stands out," but not in a good way.  I've seen this before, and I just don't get it.  My autism-friendly house has a "neat and orderly" appearance where everything matches.  In the photo above, you can see that the door and windows are white, and the surrounding trim, (or shudders) are blue.  In the back of the house, this is backwards.  The door is blue and all the trim is white.


December 3, 2011



I decided to stick with the matching idea and make both doors white.  That way, the white door with blue trim matches the front, and the white door with white trim matches the overall appearance of the back.  The primary goals were to keep the outside out, improve overall functionality, and prevent my mind from stuttering every time I look at them.  





Decisions, decisions .  .  .
My current front door was a standard 6-panel with no windows.  





With this setup, the foyer is quite dark.  I decided to go with a 4-panel door with a glass arch hoping to lighten things up a bit.





The existing back door was also a standard 6-panel.  The rotting wood at the bottom of the frame is also visible in the photo below.





Here, I decided to go with a half glass door that incorporates a blind within the glass panes.





I scheduled a morning installation knowing that I had to be at work by 3 PM.  The installer said this would not be a problem.  So let's begin .  .  .





Out with the old, in with the new .  .  .
The front door was the first to go. Removal was surprisingly easy, so much so that the installers had it out before I could get a photo.  The photo I did get, however, was blurry.  Don't know why I keep having this problem.  But it's quite annoying .  .  .





The biggest question was whether or not the exterior trim would have to be removed.  With the interior trim gone, it was actually pretty easy to cut the fasteners and pull the frame out from the inside leaving the exterior trim intact.





The best news here is that fact that behind the door framing, everything was completely dry !





You never know what you'll find tearing into a 40 year old home.  In this case, I found nothing, which is great !  Mike Holmes may flag me for the drywall behind the brick, however .  .  .





Installing the new door was a matter of sliding the frame into place.





After the necessary shimming, the trim can be reinstalled.





It is from this point of view where the arched glass will make the biggest difference.  The light shining through the glass arch should light up my steps in the morning.





While finishing work continued in front, work began at the back door.





After taking the door off the hinges, the brick mold was removed to allow access to the door frame.





The frame has to be pulled out piece by piece.





Here is where the rotted wood was located.  I could, literally, pick pieces of the sill away with my fingernail.





I was concerned that there would be more damage under the sill plate.  Thankfully, the damage found was minimal and mainly cosmetic.





Aside from that first board, everything else was intact and dry.





A little bit of bleach will take care of the mold.





A sawzall made quick work of the rest of the door frame.





Just like in front, the new door went into place.  After the necessary shimming, the trim was re-installed and the hardware attached.





On the outside, the new brick mold was installed finishing the installation process.








The end result .  .  .
It was time to check out the new doors, but only after some cleanup first.





I love the front door !





Not only does it match with the rest of the house, it's functional.  I can actually open and close it !








The same is true with the back door.  No more John Cena flying shoulder blocks to open/close the door.





The sill plates on both doors are rot-proof, and should last a lot longer than me.





And, just like with the front door, the window will lighten things up a bit.





All is well.  Now, I have to do something about the excessive growth due to all the rain we've had here lately .  .  .


« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 12:20:36 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

Rather B.Blown
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 1820



View Profile
« Reply #129 on: October 03, 2013, 02:28:17 AM »

What rain? It hasn't rained in Ga. this summer. 
Logged



Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« Reply #130 on: October 04, 2013, 12:35:25 AM »

Of course not.  What was I thinking .  .  .


 Grin


According to the data I'm seeing, the average precipitation for Athens, Georgia is 46.33 inches annually.  As of October 1, we've already had 48.58 inches, and there are still 3 months left in the year.  I guess we had more than double the monthly average rainfall for June and July .  .  .
Logged

Rather B.Blown
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 1820



View Profile
« Reply #131 on: October 04, 2013, 12:55:04 AM »

Of course not.  What was I thinking .  .  .


 Grin


According to the data I'm seeing, the average precipitation for Athens, Georgia is 46.33 inches annually.  As of October 1, we've already had 48.58 inches, and there are still 3 months left in the year.  I guess we had more than double the monthly average rainfall for June and July .  .  .

I've been down on the Gulf for a few weeks, but when I left up there I believe we were almost 25 inches above normal for the year. We surpassed the yearly average around the first of August.  

Now I'm waiting on a hurricane to hit here this weekend. Can't win for losing.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2013, 01:00:22 AM by Rather B.Blown » Logged



Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« Reply #132 on: October 05, 2013, 10:21:31 PM »

Late summer cleaning .  .  .
August 24, 2013





I mentioned above that I needed to do something about the excessive growth present everywhere in my yard.  Northern Georgia has had quite a bit of rain this year, including double the monthly average for June and July.  Yes, rain can be depressing in large quantities.  But stuff grows pretty quick when it rains.  Normally by this time, the intense heat and dry weather has taken its toll on greenery.  This year, my yard has never looked better this late in the summer.  I'm most impressed with my mailbox area and the way it has exploded.





The drawback to all of the rain is the need to mow and trim more often than normal.  When I took the above photos of the new doors being installed, the excessive growth can be seen pretty clearly.


August 14, 2013  



I need to mow out front, something I'll be doing more frequently as the leaves begin to fall.  I also decided to scale the front shrubs back a little.  But before I could do anything, I had to fill the gas can for the lawn mower.  As I was leaving, I found this visitor hanging out on my garage door.





I'm going to call this guy a Walking Stick, even though I have no idea what the correct terminology is.





He hung out on my garage door for a while, and soon disappeared.





As a rule of thumb, the Jag only comes out of the garage on nice days.  The Boxster, however, is pretty water tight, and does see quite a bit of rain.  This means the Cirrus doesn't get a whole lot of use over the summer months.  I decided to take it to the gas station to fill up the cans.  When I opened the door and took a seat, it was pretty obvious that I hadn't started it, (or even opened the door) for a good while.





 


Spiders seem to like this area a bunch.  Around this time each year, we begin to see a lot of them at work.  Apparently, I have them at home as well.











With a full tank of gas in the mower, I attacked the weed patch I call my front lawn.  Then, I set my sights on the shrubs.  My neighbor says to cut from the top.  This way, new growth will occur lower on the base, allowing the plant to grow in thicker.  





This was the second time this year I have cut the two large shrubs on the left side of the above photo, (next to the Crape Myrtle).  I followed his advice the first time, and new growth has definitely occurred near the base of each.





The Yoshino Cherry tree in back will sprout new growth directly from the exposed roots as seen in the photo below.  In the spring and summer, this is fine because everything is green.


April 13, 2013  



By now, the leaves have fallen off, leaving a bunch of sticks growing out of the ground.  I decided to get rid of them also.





I cut a bunch of branches off of the Yoshino Cherry tree, giving the area a much cleaner appearance.





And since I had gas for the mower, I hit part of the back yard also.  





As much as I like the "wilderness" look, I have to admit that I prefer the "neat and orderly" approach .  .  .
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 12:35:05 AM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« Reply #133 on: December 22, 2013, 03:31:13 PM »

'Tis the season .  .  . 
December 14, 2013





I was out to dinner last weekend in the town of Madison, Georgia about 30 minutes south of Athens.  Madison is a small town, (population around 4,000), known for its sizable collection of historic homes, (almost 100 restored Antebellum homes !  Check this one out to see what I mean). 

After dinner I took a walk around the historic downtown area to take a few pictures.  More than anything, I wanted to play with some of the camera settings in low light situations.  Beginning at the bottom center of the map below (where Washington and Hancock Streets are labeled), I am walking counter-clockwise around the square in the center of town where the Post Office sits.





This is at the corner of Hancock & E Washington Streets.





The downtown businesses get into the holiday spirit and decorate the Town Square area.





The Madison Tea Room & Garden on Hancock Street is small event facility that specializes in the tradition of "Afternoon Tea," and has garnered its share of national attention as such.





Next to the Madison Tea Room is the Morgan County Courthouse.





The Courthouse dates to 1905.





I took several photos while playing with some of the settings on the camera.  All turned out quite well.








Below are probably the two best photos of the bunch in terms of clarity and white balance.  Don't know how I did it, but it worked .  .  .








I turned left at the Courthouse and headed toward the main thoroughfare through town aptly named Main Street.  This is actually the business route for US 441.  Heading north on 441 takes me back to Athens.  But even better than that, Main Street is also US Route 278.  This means if I head east on 278, I'll be in Hilton Head in around 5 hours ! 

The next corner I encountered was that of Main & Jefferson Streets.





Just north of this intersection sits Madison City Hall which was also decorated for the holiday season.





Following Jefferson Street north takes you to the Town Park, which would begin at the next block off in the distance in the photo below.





I turned left onto Main Street in front of the Post Office.








I turned left again at the next intersection, (Main & Washington Streets) and headed back to the car. 





This is one of the best things about living in Georgia.  Temperatures in the low 60s in December allow for a nice walk in town .  .  .
Logged

Oldcarsarecool
Senior Turd Polisher
Administrator
Grand Master
*****
Posts: 4657


A blind squirrel looking for a nut . . .


View Profile
« Reply #134 on: December 30, 2013, 12:23:10 AM »

A rain-free Christmas for a change .  .  .  
December 25, 2013





I’ve made my annual Christmas pilgrimage to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina during 4 of the last 5 Holiday seasons, (I was unable to make the trek in 2010).  My agenda has been and continues to be the same each year  -  Christmas Brunch at the Westin Resort accompanied by a walk on the beach.  This is my way of enjoying a great buffet at my favorite place on earth, reflecting on the events of the past year, and relaxing for a few hours.  And each year, Mother Nature has deemed it necessary to rain on my parade.  

The skies opened up in the middle of my 2009 walk on the beach where I just happened to be about a quarter mile from the hotel and without an umbrella.  I didn't even take 10 steps in the sand before the raindrops arrived in 2011.  Conditions were greatly improved last year.  I was able to actually finish my walk on the beach before the rain arrived.

So yes, you read the above title correctly.  For the first time since I have been making this annual journey, the skies, while not completely clear, were precipitation-free for the entire trip.  I don't know if Mother Nature forgot what day it was, or found it necessary to balance the statistics a little bit, or actually decided to give me a break.  Whatever the reason, I stayed dry !  She was even nice enough to wake me up with a beautiful Georgia sunrise on Christmas morning.





I took these pics in the 8 AM time frame right before I left the house.








Traveling east means I’ll be driving right into the sun.  No worries.  I've got dark glasses and sun visors that work.  The trade-off will be worth it.





There is one other catch to this agreement.  As I was taking those sunrise pictures, I couldn't help but notice how cold it actually was outside.  My in-car thermometer confirmed my suspicions by telling me that temperatures were in the upper 20s.  My new coat does a great job of keeping me warm during my 10 minute ride home from work when the temperature drops below freezing.  But a 4 ½ hour ride to Hilton Head at that same temperature may be over-extending its design limits.  

This means, unfortunately, the Boxster's roof will have to remain up.  Forecast high temperatures in the low 50s with wind also means that I will probably still need my coat while on the beach.  However, I know for sure that I will not need my windshield wipers this year.  This should be a nice change of pace .  .  .





Business as usual .  .  .
The nice thing about traveling on Christmas morning is that the roads are usually empty.  Most of my journey takes place on secondary roads, some of which are only two lanes wide.  Less traffic is always appreciated here.  But today, even on the interstates, crowds were pretty thin everywhere.  Both I-20 toward Augusta, Georgia and the I-520 Augusta Bypass were in good shape.  The heavily traveled I-95 seemed empty by comparison to the way it usually has been in the past.  I’ve spent lots of time in heavy traffic during my travels up and down I-95 in the 1990s, and will happy to take a clear road anytime I can get it when traveling in that area.

The only road onto or off of Hilton Head Island is US Route 278 which, depending on your location in Beaufort County, is known by three different names.  From I-95 to the University of South Carolina Beaufort’s Hilton Head campus, Route 278 is known as Independence Boulevard.  From USCB to the Karl S. Bowers Bridge and Pinckney Island, it’s known as Fording Island Road.  From Pinckney Island across the J. Wilton Graves Bridge to Hilton Head Island and all points east, it’s known as the William Hilton Parkway.  Traffic during the high season can be unbelievable.  On this Christmas day, not so much.  

Before crossing the Graves Bridge, I made my usual stop at the C. C. Haigh Jr. public boat ramp to take in the always delightful scenery.  The Haigh boat ramp is located at the southern end of Pinckney Island, a 4,053 acre wildlife refuge that sits between the mainland and Hilton Head Island.    





 


I’ve always found this to be a great place to stretch my legs not only because of all the photo-ops, but also because I have yet to encounter a crowd of any kind here.  Today was no exception.  I had the place to myself.





I'm not sure why this place appeals to me so much.  Maybe it's the familiarity.  Routine can be quite comforting and often times necessary.  I said hello to the familiar cluster of palm trees by the parking area.








These two fallen trees that still appear to be alive even though it looks like they shouldn't be have become old friends of mine as well.








There was, however, something different about this place today.  Since my last visit to the Island back in June, the water level in Mackay Creek has risen substantially.


June 23, 2013



Today



June 23, 2013



Today



I made my way from the parking area to the pier, saying hello to one of the locals on the way.





This is probably the real reason why I like this place so much.





I can see that the Sea Trawler is still docked across Mackay Creek.  With the water level being higher than it has been, the vessel actually seems to be afloat today.





The Sunset Bay Restaurant used to be called the Sea Trawler Restaurant.  But in a which-came-first scenario, I don't know if the boat was named for the restaurant or the restaurant was named for the boat.





I'm not actually sure if the Sea Trawler ever goes anywhere.  I could be wrong.  But it seems like it's been in that same position for years.





From the pier, I headed down the left-hand ramp to the dock below to take a few more pictures.








I remember seeing some kind of growth all over these cement posts during previous visits.


December 25, 2012



Most of it appears to have been removed, and some is probably underwater today.





I don’t normally walk down the right-hand ramp to the other dock, (not quite sure why, actually).  Having the place to myself today, I decided to also check out the view from that side of the pier.





I’m not sure why these three giant posts are tied and bolted together.  But there are a few sets of them on this side of the pier.





The increased water level makes the actual boat ramp seem very small.





This is looking west toward the mainland.  The boat ramp sits directly below the Karl S. Bowers Bridge which connects the mainland to Pinckney Island.





The higher water level becomes quite obvious looking back at the pier entrance and parking area.





Normally, a lot more of the sign post is visible.





I really like this place.  I stop here every time I visit Hilton Head Island for no reason other than I find it very relaxing.





I wandered around for a few more minutes before heading back to the car.  A right turn out of the parking lot takes me across the J. Wilton Graves Bridge which connects Pinckney and Hilton Head Islands.  There is a right turn at the bottom of the hill coming off the bridge that has always intrigued me.  I've often wondered where that road goes only because its proximity to the water leads me to believe it should go nowhere.  Today seemed like the perfect opportunity to answer that question.  

Two neighborhoods are accessed via a right turn onto Blue Heron Point Road which dead ends at the aptly named Blue Heron Point neighborhood.  Along the way, the back corner of the Windmill Harbour neighborhood sits off to the left.  Judging by the size of the homes, this is a pretty nice place.





The Windmill Harbour neighborhood is shrouded by the trees to the left in the photos above and below.  





The small body of water off in the distance in the photos above and below provides direct access to Calibogue Sound.  This means residents with boats have access not only to the Atlantic Ocean, but also to all the other secluded islands of the area that are accessible only   by boat.  A couple of boats can be seen docked off in the distance.  





The locals didn't seem too concerned that I was taking pictures.





At this point, the Westin is only about 10 minutes away, located at the edge of the 1,024 acre Port Royal Plantation gated community.  Access to the Westin is via Coggins Point Road.





The residential community, itself, is gated.  The Westin, (and next-door neighbor Marriott Barony Bay), are not, but are accessed via the same entrance.  So basically, I'm driving through the non-gated portion of the gated community, if that makes any sense.  On my left in the photo below are fairways 1, 2, & 3 of the Barony Golf Course.  And on my right is the 18th fairway of the Planter's Row Golf Course, (there are three 18-hole golf courses on the property).  The setting is absolutely beautiful !





And with that, I have arrived at my destination.








Something old, something new .  .  .
I had roughly 2 ½ hours to kill before my 3:30 PM Feast reservation, which is more than enough to enjoy a nice walk on the beach, especially since it's not raining.  These obviously happy Brunch customers I saw on my way from the car made me look forward to my Feast even more.





I've always liked the fountain area in front of the hotel lobby.  





A really nice garden area surrounds the fountain.  





I don't know how they do it.  But the Westin staff always manages to keep this area perfectly manicured.  





This looks like a nice place to sit in the evenings and relax while listening to the water.  I believe the fountain is also lighted at night, which would be even better.





Once in the hotel lobby, I encountered something new in the form of a complete renovation.  





The overall look is quite different than in years past.


December 25, 2011



Today



It looks like designers were aiming for a more sublet yet elegant look, which I think was accomplished.  





Renovations continued outdoors to the pool area where a lot of significant changes have been made.


December 25, 2012



Today



The most significant change has occurred in the area formally occupied by a gazebo-style gathering space.


December 25, 2012



This has been replaced with View 32,   a new poolside bar.





The "32" in the venue's name refers to the 32nd Parallel North on which Hilton Head Island sits.





I took a seat in one of the chairs and called my brother to wish him a Merry Christmas and to catch up on recent happenings in his life.  He was outside with his platoon of dogs when I called.  All is well in Altoona, Pennsylvania, generally speaking.  The good news was that the 8 - 10 inches of snow that was in his back yard had melted thanks to a couple of warmer days last week.  The downside to this was that the dogs were having a wonderful time running around in a newly formed mud pit.  Currently, he was experiencing temperatures in the low 20s accompanied by a rather strong wind.  I told him that I would keep that in mind as I walk on the beach in the sunshine and low 50s.  





Speaking of which .  .  .








"I can see clearly now, the rain is gone .  .  ."
This is the real reason why I'm here today .  .  .








I saw a few people on the beach today, but nothing to get excited about.  I'll call it a light but steady stream of people rather than an actual crowd.





Among the most vocal beach goers were these two guys who were just happy to be alive today.  Between all the new sights, sounds, and smells as well as all the attention from people like me, they were really enjoying themselves.  This is a lesson that all of us could benefit from, and one that I have been trying to relearn.





Now this looks interesting.





I wonder what they're doing.





I don't know much about RC helicopters.  But this one struck me as more than the typical "toy" you get at Hobby Town.  This craft seemed like a high-end piece of equipment in terms of speed and maneuverability.  The operator flew it all around the immediate beach area as the kids were chasing after it.  After heading out over the ocean quite a ways, he brought it back inland and landed it in the sand.





It rained earlier in the week here.  Once the storm system passed, the wind picked up quite a bit making for some rougher than normal seas.








This is by no means “bad” at all, just not the typical calm atmosphere normally seen here.




 


I headed north toward Port Royal Sound last year.  This year, I decided to head south, something I haven’t done since the infamous downpour incident in 2009.





As near as I can determine, I am heading toward the Palmetto Dunes Resort and Villamare Villas Condominium complex.





Hilton Head Island is flanked by Port Royal Sound to the north and Calibogue Sound to the south.  Port Royal Sound is only about ½ mile north of the Westin, (I was easily able to get there last year).  Calibogue Sound sits almost 12 miles to the south.  That won't happen today, (I don't have that kind of time or endurance).  I decided to head that way and turn around whenever the mood struck me.





Next time someone at work wants to add some Sea Foam to one of our vehicles, I should pull up this picture and ask if this is what he/she means.





It's easy to understand why so many nice homes line the beach north of the Westin.  The Port Royal Plantation community occupies, quite literally, the entire space between the hotel and Port Royal Sound.  Large beachfront homes can also be seen heading south.





Impressive condominium complexes are interspersed among the nice homes.  I'm not sure which one this is.  But a bright sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean seen from those windows would be great to wake up to each morning.





I noticed that the overall shape of the terrain was slightly different in this area.  A long and narrow low point in the sand has been formed that allows water to pool when larger waves come ashore.  I suspect the changing tide has a lot to do with this.





The principle is pretty straight forward.  Larger waves come ashore and drain into the low point in the sand, thus creating a long and narrow pool of water.  Waves that are able to reach this pool area sometimes create a smaller "wave" that makes its way down the length of the pool.  





This is actually a really cool effect to see as it is happening.  It’s like watching dominos fall, only with water.





This pool became wider and deeper the further south I went.  The now isolated sand area in between the pool and the ocean seemed like a great gathering spot for the local bird population.








It looked the birds were all gathered off to the side in order to watch the Christmas Day Parade of humans pass by.








This setup was perfect for the birds because they didn't have to worry about those pesky humans getting too close.





Some of the birds, for whatever reason, don't mind getting close.  This guy landed about 6 feet away from me while I was photographing the group of birds.  He landed next to me and just stood there.





I'm not quite sure what he wanted.  But he seemed pretty comfortable with me being nearby.





After a minute or so, he was joined by a friend who wasn’t as brave.








He may not have minded me being so close.  But that doesn't mean he didn't keep an eye on me the whole time.  I'm going to call the expression on his face the "don't-try-anything-funny" look.


 


I walked about ½ mile south of the Westin before turning around and heading back.  This much-needed bit of exercise was also successful in making me hungry.  My 3:30 PM Feast reservation time could be seen on the horizon.  I’m really looking forward to this meal !





What do you mean there’s no buffet ?
“No sir, we don't have a Buffet Brunch.”  





“We’re doing something different this year.  Instead of a Brunch Buffet, we’re doing a 4-course Holiday Dinner.”    Oh .  .  . I see .  .  .

I have reached the point in my life where I no longer get bothered or upset when something like this occurs.  In the grand scheme of things, this is not a big deal.  However, like Stone Cold Steve Austin above, I was extremely confused, specifically how I managed to overlook this critical piece of information when I made my reservation.  I asked to make a reservation for the “Christmas Brunch” when I called.  I suspect the person on the other end of the line penciled me in for 3:30 PM for what she referred to as the “Christmas Dinner,” and even called on Monday to reconfirm my reservation.  The name change didn't raise any flags, so I never asked about it.  

It may not have been what I was expecting.  But I can say with confidence that I was not disappointed in any way with the finished product.  The presentation was wonderful and the food was awesome !  I chose a French dish that I was neither familiar with nor able to pronounce for my first course appetizer, (the words “braised rib” in the description caught my eye).  I chose a ham-based dish for my second course salad.  I've never been a salad eater, and have had an overwhelming mental block with cold veggies and cheese since my grade school days.  I’m happy to report that I didn't die after eating some of each.  I had to have the Prime Rib for my third course entrée, medium rare, naturally.  And all of this goodness was accompanied by a great view from my table.





Thoroughly stuffed, I headed back out to the beach to take advantage of the now cloudy but still rain-free weather.  





By this time, the beach traffic had dissipated.  I spent some time wandering near the water listening to the waves.








I spotted a couple of things off in the distance I didn't notice when I was wandering around before dinner.  





Normally, I would think I am seeing the tower on a cargo ship.  But this object remained in the same position for a while.  I'm probably seeing a couple of navigation buoys.





I am looking toward Port Royal Sound.  So it would make sense to see a few of them near the entrance.  I tried to zoom in, but found the picture unstable when I zoomed in that much.





The sea was still somewhat rough way out there.








This would probably not be the best time to be out on an ocean cruise, unless you enjoy getting seasick.  I wouldn't last 5 minutes on a boat in that weather.





And with that, my Christmas Day adventure to Hilton Head Island had come to an end .  .  .





As this year draws to a close .  .  .
I don't know about the rest of you.  But for me, this year absolutely flew by !   Time seems to pass at an accelerated rate as I age.  But it still doesn't seem like that much time has passed since I had to get used to writing "2013" on everything.  

After my mom and my second marriage both died in April 2011, (which is approaching 3 year ago        a concept that I am still having a hard time grasping !), it became crystal clear that I needed to be fixed.  Some of my thoughts and ideas regarding the world around me, as well as the manner in which I approached life in general were either broken altogether, or really in need of an update.  This past year has been one of continuous growth.  

~  I continue to realize the benefits of trying not to let stuff bother me.  Call it a continuous attitude adjustment, if you will.  Learning to redirect negativity has had a profound effect on my mental well-being.  I've still got a long way to go in this area, but I'm making progress.
~  I am learning to find value in everything I do regardless of how trivial the activity.  This provides a purpose which makes whatever I'm doing have some meaning.  
~  I'm learning that stepping away from "business as usual" isn't as scary as it first appears.  As much as humans like routine, keeping an open mind can be very rewarding.

I hope everyone had a fulfilling Holiday season, and that your 2013 met your expectations the way mine did.  And I want to wish everyone much success for the new year.  Thanks for reading .  .  .


« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 12:57:33 PM by Oldcarsarecool » Logged

Pages: 1 ... 7 8 [9] 10
  Print  
 
Jump to:  


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC
SimplePortal 2.2 © 2008-2009
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!