A few years ago I took an all-night drive down the Pacific Coast Highway. The only rule was that I had to be back at the San Jose airport by eight in the morning. So I gassed up the rental, picked up a couple of Red Bulls, and started driving.
By day, it's one of the most scenic highways. By night, it feels like another world. Once you get below Carmel, there is no light pollution, and the stars are big and bright. As it happened, the moon illuminated the road, and my eyes got used to it, was more comfortable than daytime driving. I would stop at pullouts overlooking the coast and take long exposure images like this one at ten seconds.
Also, the lighthouses are fun to look at as they cast their rotating beams in the fog and low clouds. The one in the distance is Point Sur Lightstation. I made it down to San Simeon and turned the car around. It was a long drive back, but the sense of adventure (and Red Bull) kept me going. I made it back in time to grab my bags from the hotel and catch my flight home. And lucky for me, it was the pilot's turn to drive, so I slept all the way back to Florida.
This summer we drove back and forth across South Dakota. It was part of a road trip to see the land up close. I've crossed South Dakota a hundred times by air, but there isn't much to see from up there.
Except for a few small cities and towns, the landscape is wide open. For an urbanite like me, it was nice to drive for long hours without stopping because I could start to grasp the sense of scale. The entire state is a wide-open expanse.
Since most people drive through South Dakota, they have some amazing rest stops. Many had grocery store cafes where you could find every snack imaginable. My favorite was the robot frappuccino makers. Some stops have advertising signs for a hundred miles or more. I took this photo at one known as 1880's Old Town and Diner, where you could fill up, grab a bite, and see a pioneer town while you're at it.
This picture is a flashback from a year ago today in Venice. The view is from the deck of a ship as we sailed into port from the Adriatic. It was a unique introduction to the city from above the rooftops. We spent the next days down in the canals, bridges and narrow walkways.
For me, it's a city to get lost in; it's not so big that you can ever be truly lost, just enough to create a sense of wonder at every turn. While the central square is fun, wandering away from the crowds is where I found myself walking. It's also a convenient way to work up an appetite for an evening meal alongside the grand canal.
From this height, you get a quick glimpse of the tops of buildings and apartments. Cityscapes like this are anthropological snapshots that provide clues about the inhabitants. With a hi-res photo, I find myself zooming in to discover new artifacts. Has it been a year already?