Podcast: Too much driving

… but, hey, with good reason at least.

As you might have been able to tell from several hints in the past few posts, I recently took a long road trip up north, specifically to Ohio and New York, and engaged in various activities while thereins. Some of it really was photo-related, but some of it was family-related, and some of it was simply blowing off steam – I can’t necessarily call it ‘relaxing’ (see previous podcast,) but it was worthwhile nonetheless. It was easier to relate it through my manic and untrained harpy-screeching, and so here it is:

Walkabout podcast – Too much driving

A few related links:

Go Ape! Treetop Adventure – this is the one we did, but there’s another much closer to Walkabout Studios in central NC, and that may be featured here later on.

Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio – But if you have the faintest interest, the link is probably superfluous to you.

Montezuma Wildlife Refuge – We go way back – like, 30 years before this pic even.

Watkins Glen State Park

But while I’m at it, at left is the first drop on Steel Vengeance, taken from the vantage point of the queue to get onto the ride – you can get even closer than this, but we blew through the best view between trains, since the line was moving pretty well at that point.

And I’ll embed a video (not mine) below for the first-person experience. The mic without a wind screen is kinda annoying, but Cedar Point’s official video lacks riders or even park attendees, so this has more atmosphere.

And Maverick – the photo here was taken on a flip-phone back in 2006 when it was under construction (I believe my friend actually took this, since I didn’t have a cell phone then.) I visited the park at least twice after it opened and never got the chance to ride it, so this year was actually my first time, after it was already old enough to pay adult prices at the movie theater. Sheesh.

And I’ll include a video of this one too, also not mine. Most of the videos that I found were from cameras with rotten iris control, meaning there was several seconds of ‘blindness’ after the tunnel, so this one wins the lottery.

Below is Millennium Force’s first hill, with the train stopped pretty much exactly where we’d been.

train stopped on Millennium Force roller coaster at Cedar Point, Ohio
And you can find a video of Millennium Force here, if you like.

On the day that I drove from Ohio to New York, the weather was clear and pleasant – up until I actually reached the region where I’d grown up. It very quickly clouded over and became lightly overcast, pretty much as I entered Montezuma Wildlife Refuge, so the light conditions were far from ideal. But you work with what you get, especially when you don’t have as much opportunity to choose your visits.

great egrets Ardea alba squabbling in shallow pool
I’m used to great egrets (Ardea alba) being a shore bird, with the occasional rare appearance in this area of North Carolina, so seeing a flock of them inland at the refuge seemed peculiar, but hey, I’ll take it. There was a lot of squabbling going on, lots of territorial disputes as they crowded together in the center of a very shallow pool, but apparently this was prime real estate to them, with an easy commute and good schools. Ha! Get it? “Good schools,” because they’re fish-eaters and fish-… oh, never mind.

common tern Sterna hirundo skimming water in flight
There was a flock of common terns (Sterna hirundo) there as well, and I tracked one as it flew low over the water, occasionally skimming the surface with its beak. I wasn’t sure if it was drinking or after little critters near the surface, but it still made a nice shot (tightly cropped, I admit – the distance was pretty significant.)

By the way, this was, after much digging through the Sibley Guide, determined to be a common tern by the dark wedge visible on the underside of the wings near the tips – that’s more than just a shadow that you’re seeing.

Meanwhile, out on the main road but still within refuge property, a number of large nests atop high-tension electrical towers showed the occasional sentry.

osprey Pandion haliaetus in likely eagle's nest on electrical tower
That’s an osprey (Pandion haliaetus,) which I’d never seen around Cayuga Lake back when I’d lived there (early seventies through eighties,) but were now visible all over the place. The nest, however, is awfully damn big for an osprey, and I suspect it’s actually a bald eagle’s nest from previous years. Especially since we’re now well past nesting season, and it was likely only being used as a perch or eating spot.

This is long enough right now, and I’ve got a lot more photos from the trip to feature, so I’ll simply close with one of the sunsets from Cayuga Lake that I witnessed while there. I have to admit, I saw a lot better skies in just a few days than I’ve seen in weeks or more around here – the weather and cloud conditions in New York lend themselves better to sunsets than do those in North Carolina, it would seem. But since this is probably because there are a lot more rainy days, I suppose I’ll take the good with the bad where I am.

dramatic clouds at sunset over Cayuga Lake
[A quick observation: to me at least, it appears as if the sun is physically breaking through the cloud deck here, and the clouds visible below it are actually farther away than the sun is, an amusing thought.]