Growing up, our family didn't travel a lot. Each summer, we spent a few weeks at our place on Paradise Lake in northern Michigan, which was terrific. We could swim and fish, occasionally making the short trip into Mackinaw City for ice cream and to watch the Mackinac Bridge light up at night. We did make one trip to Gettysburg and Washington, D.C. when I was 13, but that was about it. Ann hadn't traveled much in her youth, either, but had done a lot more in her adult life, including a number of trips to Europe. We have traveled quite a bit since we've been together, and I have really enjoyed seeing the country and the world, and am quite grateful to have had the opportunity to do so. So far, I've been to 37 states and 10 foreign countries, and enjoyed absorbing the local cultures, not only abroad but here in the United States as we've traveled from region to region. Even though I was a photojournalist, my travel photography was not great early on. I have become better more recently. There are still many places to visit on our vacation wish list, just as long as I get to work in a few trips back to northern Michigan to go fishing. Here are some highlighted trips and my photos from the last 20 years:
This was my first trip overseas, and it was overwhelming at times, starting with a long flight. We began our three-week trip by attending a wedding in the Netherlands, then made a grand tour driving through Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France. Along the way we spent a couple days in a convent, and had a lot of great food.
I did the driving this time, and had to learn quickly how to drive on the other side of the road. Another three-week trip took us from London through York and into Scotland, including a side trip to St. Andrews. We visited the Lake District, took the ferry to Ireland and back, and made our way to London, where we saw Rod Stewart in Hyde Park.
We arrived in West Yellowstone on the first day of summer, where we were greeted by a snowstorm that closed some mountain passes. It was chilly, but an incredible view into nature and geology. We made two side trips to the Tetons after the first day was fogged in. We completed the full Yellowstone loop and had a huge buffalo walked right next to our car.
The first time in the city was celebrating Ann's retirement. The second time I went for a conference and Ann tagged along. We did all the tourist stuff the first visit, then expanded our range on the second, including a side trip to Muir Woods. We walked a lot and made several restaurant stops in North Beach.
I don't mind cities. I love Chicago. and its energy. But New York City in an entirely different animal. I quickly got my bearings on its enormity and really enjoyed it. This was pretty much a tourist trip. A boat tour around Manhattan really showed its enormity, and gave us a good overview of the city. We did a lot, but only made a small dent into what the city offers.
I've been to Memphis many times, but this time the family gathered for the wedding of our nephew. We did make a trip to the National Civil Rights Museum, which somber and amazing at the same time. Of course, there was Beale Street, great food at Central Barbecue, and the obligatory trip out to Graceland, where I ran into the Lady Elvii.
We had been to St. Andrews before on a day trip, but this time we were there for the week-long Open Championship. It was an amazing time with crazy Scottish weather and great golf. We added some additional time to explore more of Scotland. We even got to tour the castle from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”
Ann and I love history and politics, so this trip was long overdue. We got a special tour of the Capitol Building, and hit all the highlights. It's really a walkable city. We even caught a glimpse of President Obama as he boarded the Marine One helicopter on the White House lawn. I was like a little kid at the Air & Space Museum.
Ann and I had been wanting to explore some of Indiana's parks and sites, and historic Madison and nearby Clifty Falls State Park had been near the top of the list. It was fall, and the autumn colors were near peak and made for some nice photos. A lack of rain left the falls no more than a trickle, but it was a nice, relaxing few days nonetheless.
Another trip built around a sporting event, as several members of the family gathered for the Notre Dame-Navy football game in Dublin. With Ann's brother, John, we traveled around Ireland a few days before getting back to Dublin for the game. We tried but failed to keep track of Guinnesses consumed.
This was a trip back to St. Andrews for the Open Championship. The weather was just as wacky, but just as much fun. Once again, we spent the week previous driving around Scotland, joined by Ann's brother, John. We drove up into the Highlands, which were spectacular. We drove up Loch Ness, and even took a ride on the train from the "Harry Potter" movies.
I love the mountains, but hate driving in them. We still wanted to go to Colorado. With our nephew, Alex, there, it gave us another reason to visit. We stayed in Estes Park for a few days, including a guided tour up Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. In Denver, we went to the Botanical Gardens, and Alex took me fishing around Winter Park.
I had been wanting to visit Acadia National Park for many years, and Ann also had a desire to go, so we combined the Maine trip with a few days in Boston. The history of Boston was terrific, and we did the Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour that always gives a great overview of the city. Bar Harbor and Acadia were spectacular, and I had plenty of lobster rolls.
Many friends and family had visited the Finger Lakes region in New York, and it had been on our radar for a while. We built in stops at Gettysburg and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. We hired a tour guide in Gettysburg, and she was wonderful. Seneca Falls. NY, also offered plenty of history, and the lakes were lined with beautiful vistas and tons of wineries.
In between the big vacations, there are a number of road trips I take each year. It might be a weekend in Chicago, or a day trip to the Lake Michigan shore. We often go on the road for football games or other events, and I've gone out of town on some work trips. I always try and snap a few pictures along the way.