Saturday, April 20, 2024

North Carolina Road Trip

Woolworth store in Greensboro
Earlier this week we decided to see some of the other local sites available near us in North Carolina. On Monday we drove to Greensboro, where I had pre-purchased tickets to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum. It was at the F.W. Woolworth's counter on February 1, 1960 that four black North Carolina Agricultural & Technical College freshman conducted a sit-in at the whites-only counter of the store. They did this to protest segregation, and refused to leave when denied service, staying until the store closed. Their non-violent protest sparked a movement across America.

The above is just one part of the museum, and we were not allowed to take any photos inside. As a photographer, it was hard to hold back from taking a picture of the actual lunch counter inside the museum. But our tour guide was excellent as he led us through the various rooms and exhibits. Though I learned a lot of information in history classes growing up, it was totally different to experience it through the museum and Darren's story-telling.

We had lunch in town and then visited several of the beautiful gardens in the area. We found the street art to be interesting as well.

scenes from Greensboro
We left Greensboro later in the afternoon and headed to Asheboro, where we spent the night. On Tuesday we drove the short distance to the North Carolina Zoo. On the zoo's website they suggested you avoid coming towards the end of the week as that is when the school kids come. Much to our surprise (and the zoo's, apparently) the place was teeming with kids. It was not the experience we were looking for as the sidewalks were nearly impassable with the crowds, not to mention getting close to the exhibits was quite difficult.

Nevertheless we persevered, and enjoyed the nearly five mile walk to see the different areas of the zoo. We would very much like to go back when our granddaughter gets a little older to share the experience with her.
North Carolina Zoo

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

A (not so) Total Eclipse of the Sun

83% eclipse of the sun
Yesterday a solar eclipse traveled across America. We were headed back from visiting our son and his family in Virginia, and did not think we would have an opportunity to see any of the eclipse. Charlotte was to get only a little over 83% totality at any rate. Surprisingly traffic was light on the interstates we traveled on. I guess everyone was clogging up the highways on their way to total eclipse sites, so the east coast was in the clear.

The moon eclipsed the sun around 3:11, and we were home in plenty of time to see what 83% gets you. Our next door neighbor was in her back yard with out of town guests, and they had extra glasses for us to borrow. Someone even had the protective cover for the phone lens, but I was quite unsuccessful in capturing any photos with my iPhone. It was fun to watch the moon in progress, but while the light dimmed a bit, it was still quite bright out.

In 2017 we had totality where we lived in Missouri, and that was an amazing experience and quite different from what occurred yesterday. Then it got completely dark out, the birds stopped chirping, the night insects began making noise, and the streetlights came on. I guess because we were able to take part in the one seven years ago, I was not in a rush to drive many hours to see the one this year.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

On Island Time

Folly Field Beach
Last week I drove to Hilton Head Island to meet up with a good friend from St. Louis. Diane has a timeshare on the island, and invited me to join her. When I picked the week I wanted to come, I did not realize that it was going to be Easter week. Hoo boy, was the area ever crowded! Traffic was heavy on my drive down and very stop and go once I got close to Hilton Head.

While the weather could have been better, there were still plenty of activities to keep us busy. With all my skin cancer, I'm not one to sit out on the beach anyway. Though I do like to walk it in the morning and evening to catch the sunrise/sunset colors on the water.

Folly Field Beach sunrises
A weird occurrence that I have seen every time I have come to this area is the abundance of jellyfish on the beach. Since they are not really fish, it is more appropriate to call them jellies. Usually I have just seen one jelly here and one jelly there, but this time there was a large grouping of them on the beach by our condo. I guess that jellies travel in "blooms", and they can be washed up on shore together. I wondered what happened to them once they are on the beach, and then in the morning I saw seagulls eating them. Turtles also like to consume jellies. The circle of life...

Folly Field Beach jellies

It was wonderful to get away for a week and spend time with Diane as I only get to see her every couple of years or so. It was a rejuvenating time for both of us.