Pumpkin Run 2016 Clermont County OH

Good times had at the Pumpkin Run in Clermont County Ohio.  Despite the rain I was able to get several good photographs.  Each photograph has been creatively enhanced using computer software to highlight the unique details of each vehicle.

The owners were very gracious with their time explaining to me the history of their vehicle and the time and money spent over the years creating their vision.  I felt after to speaking to the owners that the process of rebuilding cars/trucks is truly an art form and definitely a lifetime labor of love.

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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!