Great Getaways Photo Contest

Yesterday I was notified that I was the winner of the Great Getaways Photo Contest sponsored by Cincinnati Magazine and Madison Indiana.  I have to tell you that when I had submitted the now winning photo, I never thought in a million years that I would actually win.

The now winning photo was taken at the Crazy Horse Memorial in October of 2010.  My sister, Kathy Witt, is a travel writer and was traveling to Rapid City South Dakota with the Midwest Travel Writer’s Association of which she is a member and invited me along.  The trip was absolutely amazing!  We toured Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, Custer State Park, Deadwood, the Crazy Horse Memorial,  the Minutemen Missile Silo (very cool), Dahl Arts Center… the attractions in and around the city go on and on.

While at Mt. Rushmore, I met the last of the living legends that had help to carve the awesome monument and had a great time at the reception dinner for all of the writers. How often in life do you meet someone who has actually carved one or our monuments? I’d say that would be a Bucket List item, it was quite a night!

I also had the pleasure of touring the Badlands, gorgeous!  Which I must say, if you haven’t seen them in person, you don’t know what you’re missing.  The landscape is outstanding!

the Badlands

the Badlands

Just for fun, I got my picture taken with our late great 40th president, Ronald Reagan. Rapid City has bronze life-size statues of all of our presidents erected throughout the downtown area.  Very cool.

me and Ronald Reagan

me and Ronald Reagan

Something I thought that was very interesting in the city was Art Alley.  The alley is in the middle of Rapid City South Dakota and is an open platform for all artists to share their artwork. The artwork in the alley is continually being painted over by local artists, but as you can see from the photo below, the artwork is very captivating.

Art Alley

Art Alley

One day we took a jeep ride through Custer State Park and it was absolutely stunning! The buffalo, three thousand head or so, roam around the park as they did during the 1800’s.  If you’re a fan of western movies, as I am, this was quite a sight.  The city also has the set from the movie Dances with Wolves as one of the attractions.  Filming for much of the movie took place in and around the Badlands and Custer State Park.  And after seeing the movie, I can’t imagine any other film location!

There is so much to see, do and experience in Rapid City South Dakota and the surrounding area I can now understand why my photo won.  If you ever get the chance to head out west, try to make Rapid City South Dakota a stop and of course the Crazy Horse Memorial.  After all it’s a Winner!

"Crazy Horse - Reflected" winner of the  2013 Great Getaways Photo Contest

“Crazy Horse – Reflected” winner of the 2013 Great Getaways Photo Contest

Thanks again to the staff, judges, participants and of course the voters of the Cincinnati Magazine for selecting my photo as the winner.  Oh and one more note.  As the winner, I will receive round trip airfare for four aboard Ultimate Air Shuttle to New York City!!   I can’t wait to hop in that plane and head to the Big Apple along with my sister, of course, and check off another Bucket List Item.


Week at the Beach – Hilton Head Island South Carolina

If there is one place that I love to go and relax, it is on the beach.  For years now we have been making the drive to Hilton Head Island to relax, golf, ride bikes and view the local wildlife.  This vacation was not much different and that is one of the things that makes vacationing there so enjoyable.

The golf courses on the island are absolutely gorgeous!  The green carpeted fairways, the pristine white sand, the wind off the ocean, some of the toughest hole placements I’ve ever played, and don’t forget the wildlife.  The gators were everywhere!  Case in point, hole number 14.  It’s a nice long dog leg right with sand traps running along both sides leading you to the green and a large lake to your left and one big gator sunning himself.  So where do you suppose our foursome hit all four balls?  That’s right, about 10 yards in front of the mouth of the gator.  Go figure.

You would think that with all that open landscape and four people at least one of us would’ve hit the ball away from the gator.  No not this foursome, we hit our balls about 10 yards ahead of him and had to quickly make chip shots keeping one eye on him and one on the ball.  But we’re not out of the wood yet, our chip shots landed in a sand trap where another gator was hanging out!  Leave it to hacks to drive so close to a dangerous target.  Scary but very cool.

Riding bikes is another favorite on the island, sun up to sun down.  The bike trail winds its way along the island mirroring the roadway system but far enough away to be safe and relaxing.  The slow pace of riding offers the best way to view the landscape and the ocean.  Each morning I would hop on my bike and head to the beach.  Ah so relaxing.  Riding along the ocean each day I noticed on this visit the beach was littered with helmet crabs and jelly fish every morning.  I’m not sure why but it definitely creeped me out!  I thought my brother the Marine described it best when he said, “riding along the beach each morning is a little like dodging land mines.”  A bit overstated but once a Marine always a Marine.  🙂

I almost stepped on this nasty looking one!  It reminded me of the Predator movie when that thing took off his body armor.  Gross!!  The jellyfish are pretty nasty too and this other helmet crab was making a run for it!

One day we had a bit of bad weather, not rain so much, but very windy.  So I decided to walk up and down the beach with my camera and see if I could get any interesting shots.  I saw a beautiful flock of seagulls (wasn’t that an 80’s band), a dolphin, a shell still occupied and this guy reeled in this little shark just as I was leaving the beach.  Outstanding!

Another great week on the island and I’m certain it won’t be our last!

Rabbit Hash Kentucky, if you ain’t been you got to go

I’m not sure if this would classify for most as a must see destination, but the little town of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky is quite a site! To get there you take I-75 to Mt. Zion exit and go west.  Then drive to route 42, then to route 536.  Follow 536 down to Rabbit Hash hill road and from there you pretty much near drive until you drive into the Ohio river.  But just before you do, you veer slightly to the left, you’re there.

Here’s the famous general store.Rabbit Hash General Store

And last I had heard the Mayor of Rabbit Hash was Lucy Lou seen here after the 2008 elections, I guess she’s still Mayor.

2008 Candidate Lucy Lou

2008 Candidate
Lucy Lou

This dog was hanging around the General Store when I drove through town, must be the Sheriff.  He looks real busy.

This interesting building was yonder across the street from the General Store, but I’m not certain what actually goes on inside there…

The tours not over yet, if you cross the street you can eat at the

and git some pulled pork BBQ and baby back ribs, hoof lickin’ good!  Not sure why I’m writin’ with a southern drawl, but you git the picture.

It’s definitely an interesting town and has quite a history.  I enjoyed my drive to and from and if you’re ever in that neck of the woods stop by and check it out!  Oh and if you’re not sure how to git wherever your going when you leave, follow these signs.

Thanks for stopping by!!

I never thought I would be one to take a cake decorating class, but…

I’m taking a cake decorating class with my niece and I have to admit that it is a great deal of fun!  In the past I have been the type of person that can  cook/bake but would only do it on a need to eat kind of basis.  I never really took the time to venture into the kitchen and really try to bake let alone actually decorate something.  Well, now that I have, it appears I may have a knack for it.

Here it is my first decorated cake.  A round fish cake Ta-Da!

First decorated cake

Round Fish cake

To all of the real chefs and bakers out there, please do be kind when critiquing it is my first, but I’m thinking many more are to follow!  🙂  I’ll keep you posted.

Dances with Wolves film locaton – a must see!

As a kid and still to do this day, I love a good western movie; True Grit, Lonesome DoCowboyve, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Dances with Wolves…all very good westerns.  But one of the things I enjoy most about watching a good western is the scenery; wide open vistas, rock formations and always plenty of horses.  It’s the simplicity of a good western, good guy gets the bad guy and the good guy always gets the girl, simple.  Well, most of the time.

A few years ago I got to go on the dream vacation of a lifetime, well one of my dream vacations, with my sister, children’s’ book author and travel writer.  We traveled to Rapid City South Dakota to see the West.  Actually the Northwest, but the film location for the movie Dances with Wolves.  Excellent!  We saw the Crazy Horse monument, Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood, Custer State park, the Badlands (outstanding western movie backdrop) and the Minutemen Missile historic site.  But the one thing that struck me most were the outstanding views!

Yes, that’s me with Ronald Reagan and Crazy Horse is reflected in my sister’s sunglasses, the wide open expanse of the Badlands and Graffiti Alley.  Graffiti Alley is an interesting concept and a must see destination in Rapid City.  The graffiti artists are encouraged to tag only in the 4 block long alleyway with their art and this unique idea is publicized throughout the city!  What a great idea and well worth the investment in local talent.  Oh and that’s me looking down at a missile, how awesome is that!

Being a fan of western movies, the trip for me, was incredible!  I would definitely revisit the area.  If you’re a western movie fan or just a fan of the west, I highly recommend adding Rapid City South Dakota to your bucket list of travel destinations and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Entrepreneurship – The Way I See Things

The way I see things my recent experience with downsizing has given me the time to consider my options for a career change.  I have spent my life crunching numbers and analyzing data, but my true passion has always been of a more creative discipline, photography.  I have decided that the opportunity to turn my passion for photography into a business has arrived, no more putting it off.  The most important bucket list item of my career has just moved its way into the #1 spot, entrepreneurship.

Here is an example of the types of slide shows that would be available.

I have spent a lifetime taking pictures of anything and everything and I absolutely love it!  I know some would say that the field is overcrowded but I believe that I have the skills and passion to give it a go.  I have maintained, for some time now, the web site “The Way I See Things” and it is a grouping of the various photos that I have taken over the years, please check it out.  The main focus of my work is going to be slide show photography and photographic stories, as I feel ones life cannot merely be summed up in a portrait.

Bucket List Item #1 – Entrepreneurship.  Wish me well!

Kimberly Lentz

Next up – the ride of a lifetime

It was the summer of 1990, I was stationed at Camp Atterbury in Indiana participating in my two-week training requirement for the Army Reserve.    At work one evening I met the pilot of a UH-1H Huey helicopter that also was there for his training.  While we were talking, he mentioned that in the morning the crew would be flying to a nearby airport to fuel up and asked if any of us would like to go.  Now I have to admit I was a bit hesitant at first, but I agreed along with a couple of friends to be there in the morning.  It’ll be fun, right?

We left work that morning and walked over to the clearing where the Huey was parked and met with the crew and climbed aboard.  If you’re not familiar with this type of aircraft, the Huey was the work horse during the Vietnam war.  During the war, the aircraft equipped with 2.75 rockets, one on each side and .30 caliber machine guns.  The aircraft had been used as a gunship to escort Army and Marine transport helicopters.

I picked the seat in the back referred to as the gunner seat and tightened down the Army issue green canvas strap.  Sitting in this seat, with the door open, my boot tips hanging over the edge I felt both exhilarated and terrified!  The Huey we were now sitting in had actually flown missions during the Vietnam war and several bullet holes could be seen in the cabin.  I was riding in a piece of history, how awesome!  The lift off was smooth and uniquely different from taking off in an airplane and the sound from the propellers was deafening!  Now if you have ever ridden in a Huey or have seen any Vietnam war movies, you surely will know what I am speaking of when I say the sound of the rotating propellers are certainly not mistaken. (see video)

Once in the air, the pilots decided to test our metal, so to speak and began banking back and forth just above the treetops.  I was sitting in the rear on the right and each time we would bank to the right, I would rise out of my seat just a bit, wind blowing in my hair and look over my boots at the treetops.  OoohRah!  Cruising at a speed of 110 knots or about 126 mph, I was shaking with excitement!  For the pilots this was just another day at the office, but for me it was fantastic!  The pilots were able to get one of the guys that had come with us to use the on-board barf bag and both seemed to enjoy watching him in agony as they continued banking back and forth above the trees.  Mission accomplished! UH-1H Huey

This exhilarating ride continued for about 45 minutes and I could not have been happier!  When we landed the crew invited us back for another flight tomorrow.  Excellent!  We had to go back the next day for another rush, minus one from our group, but it is a bucket list memory that has not been forgotten!  If you ever get a chance to ride in a Huey, go for it, there is nothing like it!

Bucket List item # 3 – surviving Basic Training

In honor of our Veterans, I thought I would take a look back at my experience in the Military.  I joined the United States Army Reserve in 1987 as a Private First Class and headed off to Fort Jackson, South Carolina on one very hot August day to begin Basic Training.

Ft. Jackson SC
Basic Training Photo

Now for any of you that have served you know what I’m talking about when I say it is quite a culture shock and very challenging!  Military life is unlike any other and there is only one way to do everything and I mean everything and that is the Military way.  Basic Training is up at 4:15 a.m. run a couple of miles, knock out an hour or so of physical training (PT) and then head to breakfast.  Then the day really begins.

You are trained in the Military way to clean, dress, speak, march, drill, salute, fire a weapon, exercise, teamwork…and a huge amount of time will be spent practicing standing around in formation.

Oh and don’t forget the enormous amount of hat brim to forehead in your face screaming, a Drill Sargent specialty.  Ah I remember it as if it were yesterday.

I have to admit I was not a fan of all of the cleaning, marching, screaming and endless standing around, but I did enjoy firing the many weapons.  I threw a couple of hand grenades, exhilarating and terrifying at the same time!  Fired a grenade launcher and hit a tank, excellent!  And climbed into a standing fox hole and got my hands on the M-50 machine gun.  What a thrill!  Of course there is a down side to combat training and with the Military what seems to be a blast one minute is surely agony the next especially when you are walked into a concrete building filled with CS gas and made to take off your gas mask.  This bit of training I know I could have done without!

Overall I did enjoy the challenge and rigors of basic training and after a while even began to enjoy the screaming and at times thought it was pretty comical.  Oh there were some that cried and some that left, but for those of us that graduated it is an experience that is never forgotten.  So for this Veterans day, I would like to say OOHRAH! to all of my fellow Veterans those here with us and for those that have given the ultimate sacrifice and those currently serving.  And to remind everyone that Freedom is not Free and acknowledge the sacrifice each of our service members have given past and present.

Thanks Again for your Service!