High Mountain Doings

From 8200 feet along one side of the Upper Arkansas River Valley in central Colorado, my blog is about many things: travel including river and bicycle trips, and other experiences as well. The focus is on photography, not lots of text.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another Day in Ohio

Our guide at Wilberforce University, during a visit to a local cemetery to visit the gravestone of an important Underground Railroad historical figure.

The old train station, maintained at South Charleston, Ohio. This was one of our lunch stops.

This is the Mama Rafael food trailer that was at each of our camps. I never saw it move, but it seems to have been pulled by a truck that also pulled a second trailer, I believe with electrical generator equipment.

This caboose was on display at Xenia, Ohio, which has a history as a railroad hub, now a rails to trails hub.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Drive to Santa Fe

We planned to leave by ten. In effect, after a stop at Wally World in Salida, it was effectively eleven. We also stopped at the Golden Arches in Salida, Colorado, and then at KFC in Alamosa. But presently, there we were, driving south into New Mexico. The geography is rugged, but because of the overhead sun, not so visually exciting at mid-day, except compared to the majority of places where it isn't so rugged.

We got to Susanna's, a friend of Patty's, who lives several miles southeast of Santa Fe. The GPS system did fairly well, given the address, except we had to figure out the last quarter mile or so ourselves. All was well. We were eating soon, and on our way to the Santa Fe Opera for a performance of La Traviata at eight. We GPS'd some of the turns we needed to take, in hopes of arriving back again in the dark of night.

Into Santa Fe in the morning for several purposes. My purposes were ill-defined, while Patty would meet with a lady who will be going to El Salvador in two weeks, to share relevant information. We went downtown, but soon decided to go back to our temporary home until later. Tonight we're heading back to the Santa Fe Opera for Don Giovanni. Home for both of us on Friday.

Don Giovanni will be a powerful opera. A derivation of the Don Juan legend, the complex story plays out and the don is eventually consumed by the fires of Hell, to appropriate orchestral chords.

I didn't understand a word of La Traviota (sung in Italian last night) but the role of Violetta was superbly performed by Natalie Dessay. What a powerhouse performance! I was thinking during the performance about the relationship between the singers and the orchestra—the exact timing of everything, the utter precision, the sometimes-quiet and sometimes-thunderous notes of the instruments, and how the conductor keeps it all working.

Patty combines the visual, the map, and the GPS and we get where we're going in fine fashion. Or else she drives, and I apply myself to the navigational problems at hand. It's a good combo.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

To Xenia, Ohio

Here is Xenia, Ohio, formerly a railroad hub. Now it's a rails-to-trails hub, and a nicely done town. Our destination for the night was Wilberforce University, in Wilberforce, just a few more miles along another bike trail.

More tents. Actually, these are the same tents as before. Just a slightly different view of them.

Morning has come. This is Ginny Sullivan, a representative on the trip from Adventure Cycling which is located in Missoula, Montana. I recently read that Ginny is the head of Adventure Cycling's effort to map bicycling routes.

This was our first camp. It was on a large lawn surrounding Loveland High School in Loveland, Ohio, which is only a few miles from Cincinnati. We made a lot more miles (about 27) along the streets and bike trail than we did in a straight line.

Bike trail, which we followed for most of two days. I'm unable to identify the places along it from memory, but by numbers in the photo filenames, this must not have been far out of Cincinnati.

Three of our group about to leave the Harriet Beecher Stowe house, which was actually more her father's house than hers. She only lived there three years. Her father was well known too, but I can't remember why. The house used to be far from the city but now it's well within the city.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to Papaturro, and the Swimming Hole

Here is the main part of the swimming hole, just a few meters below the cascade shown in the photo below. Patty, Susanna, and others enjoy the cool water.

Papaturro, El Salvador, again for a moment. This is the stream entering a popular swimming hole a short walk from the community. The photograph is an illustration of something I've been working on lately--high density range, or HDR. This scene had a very broad range of brightnesses--far too great to be recorded in a single exposure. So I photographed it using two exposures. One was two stops overexposed and the other two stops underexposed, favoring the dark and the light areas, respectively. Then the two were merged. There's a way to do this in Photoshop. Results so far have been very interesting. I wouldn't say it absolutely requires a tripod, but a tripod is very helpful. It certainly does require a steady support for the camera.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Individualized signage! I'm not sure whether this bottom sign was placed because George is a strong cyclist, or because he had a desire to follow the official Underground Railroad tour route as marked on the Adventure Cycling map. Anyway, turning right led to a beautiful ride shown in the photo below, while George's route went right over a big hill! George did in fact go over the hill.

Elsewhere, we had taken a turn off the route to reach one of our camps. When we left the camp, we took a shortcut back to the official route. But one or two people actually rode back in order to follow the marked route exactly! Somebody usually wants do this though I'm not sure why. The "official" route is just as arbitrary as another that is close, though it'll probably, except here, be the most well-chosen route overall.

Most of our tour was on roads like this one, not on city streets! This particular place was not right out of the city, but was in fact several days into the tour. This was actually a detour around a good-sized hill.

This was once the home of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. After this, we rode a few blocks and got onto a bike trail that led out of the city.

The first leg of our tour was to ride out this city street on the east side of Cincinnati. It was uphill all the way.

This was once a "slave pen" in which newly arrived slaves were kept, up top above the beams. It's displayed inside the Freedom Center.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center near the riverfront in Cincinnati, where our bicycle tour began. Before starting, we toured the Center.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Underground Raiilroad Bicycle Tour, Ohio

On the road, finally! We bicycled 27 miles to Loveland, Ohio, on this day.

Downtown Cincinnati, seen through the windows of the Freedom Center.

Carl, who I think is the director, gives us a tour of the Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Our baggage went into this Enterprise truck that was at each of our camps. This is what's meant by a supported ride. Cindi gets her bike ready.

Near the Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, which is between the baseball and football stadia there. This is where our Adventure Cycling tour called Underground Railroad began. We took the cars to the Enterprise truck lot to park, toured the Freedom Center, had lunch, and bicycled away.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Flying Home

Airborne over El Salvador, having taken off and flown southward for probably fifteen miles before turning northward in the direction of the Caribbean and Houston, Texas.
"Pushing back" at the San Salvador airport, in view of one of the several volcanic peaks in the country.

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Ah, yes!

There were two young cats living at Lolo and Esperanza's in Papaturro. There is no cat food in Papaturro. These guys live on scraps and whatever else they can find, and they seem to be busy at this most of the time.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Papaturro, El Salvador, again

Lolo and Patty on the porch of his son's new house in Papaturro

A pot on a fire

Red leaves

Friday, August 14, 2009

Papaturro, El Salvador

This is a more distant neighbor with whom we visited. This man understood the politics of the region very well, having lived in Honduras also for a while.

Patty sits on her porch with a group of neighborhood kids.

This is the porch of Lolo and Esperanza, near-neighbors of Patty where we often ate.

This is Patty's house in Papaturro. A large porch is a common feature in this warm country where it rains a lot. Her house is not crooked. I could not figure out perspective control in this version of Photoshop.

House across the walkway from Patty's. This was taken from her porch.

Large leaves that must have a real name, but I think of them as "elephant ears!" Behind Patty's house.

A butterfly lands on a flower right behind Patty's house.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Teresa's Neighborhood

Down the tracks, across the next street, morning light shines on a walking man, playing kids, and several less-than-energetic dogs.

Teresa's home fronts this railroad track and a branching walkway, in which these boys are playing a game using a ball.

This is Teresa, a friend of Patty's for years, who once helped care for Patty's now-grown kids, and at whose home we've stayed twice now. Last year and this year, while we were enroute to Joya de Ceren.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

San Martin, El Salvador

The market areas seem to be along sidewalks sheltered underneath a curtain that hangs from the side of a building. This would protect a bit from sun and rain.

Here is another selling area just a few meters from the other, also under a canopy hung from above.

This stack of bread was off the sidewalk at the end of the block, just inside a wide entryway, not designed to be wheeled out. Looks like a feast of well-made breads.

This seller was displaying his goods, which were mostly if not all breads, right beside the bus a few minutes earlier.

San Martin is actually a part of San Salvador, the capital city. Or at least adjacent. Here, on a crowded city street, the green bus has just turned the corner and gone on, so the street is for walkers again.