Nature’s Cycle

“In towering splendor once I stood
A regal monarch of the wood,
My branches once reached to the sky
See me now but do not cry.
The Creator’s work has yet to cease
I’ve become a shelter for bird and beast,
And when at last I fall to the Earth
The life I leave will inspire new birth;
A seedling springs forth from the ground
Nature’s cycle goes round and round.”
S. Edward Palmer, Spirit Tree

I was devastated when a storm caused this tree to uproot and collapse earlier this year. It’s at a park where I walk often and I once looked forward to the shade it generously provided.

Now the mere sight of it hurts.

Imagine my joy last week when I turned the corner and saw a splash of color in the water. Fall is amazing for many reasons, not the least of which is how decay becomes beautiful and joy can be found in the most unexpected moments.

October is my month. It’s beautiful, cooler and packed with fun things to do. Falling leaves dance in the crisp air and the aroma of dry leaves mixed with campfire smoke is intoxicating.

Sadly, it’s fleeting and the weather is fickle so I try to make the best of every day. It’s easier to do that when you realize there’s evidence of change and something new to see around every bend.

Here’s to beautiful weekend weather and lots of opportunities to get out and enjoy it!

Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church

I went to West Virginia on a little hiking trip with friends last month. We spent the night in Elkins, arriving in time for dinner, a little exploring around town and an early bedtime.

There are stories waiting to be told here but I’m starting in an unorthodox place with this old church.

You see, I have several great memories from the trip but one of my favorites is of the way the light hit the roof of this church.

Silly, I know.

Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church seemed to sparkle in the late September sun and was positively captivating. Near magical, in fact.

It is also sprawling and impossible to capture in one photo.

Check out the roof tile. Pictures don’t do it justice but, in that moment, I had never seen a roof so dazzling.

These are side doors.

And the front door.

Yes, I’m still fascinated with doors even though I don’t publish as many pictures of them here as I once did.

This was one of those experiences that I likely couldn’t replicate if I tried. I can’t recommend that you drive to Elkins, West Virginia and look at the sparkly roof because you might go on a cloudy day or at noon instead of the exact moment 35 minutes before sunset or whenever it was we stood there.

Again, this is one of the things I hope you take away from my daily ramblings. Adventuring isn’t about the destination. It’s about the unexpected moments and places and people and sights you find along the way. It’s about the perfect timing that gets you to these things. It’s about keeping your eyes peeled and your mind open so you are ready to see, hear and feel what’s waiting.

You see what you’re looking for and you receive what you’re ready for. Keep yourself open and ready. You won’t regret it.

Durango

Of all the places we visited in Colorado this summer, Durango is the one I truly hated to leave.

The climate was pleasant and the town is the rare combination of charming AND prepared for guests. There’s a ton of opportunity to get outside and plenty of places to be entertained and engaged.

This southwest Colorado town was founded in 1880. It has a rich railroad history and is near Mesa Verde National Park which I enjoyed immensely (aside from the snake).

The Animas River cuts through town and there’s a River Walk that gives you a beautiful place to view the water while getting some exercise.

The historic downtown district has a host of restaurants and cute shops including some great used bookstores. We had a few delicious meals here too.

My friend was especially thrilled to find that the local humane society runs a thrift store. It was a nice one too, arranged more like a boutique than a traditional thrift store which always seem a little too messy.

This area is blessed with charm, beauty and so much opportunity for exploration I regretted not scheduling more time to enjoy it.

I’m already plotting a return trip next year. This time, I’ll be with two friends and I’m hoping to find a good Airbnb in Durango to use as home base while we adventure.

Isn’t it wonderful having a place to look forward to exploring?

Jack O’Lantern Walk

Why, hello October! It’s so good to welcome the Autumn season here in southern Ohio. The weather has turned decidedly cooler and it’s beginning to look and smell like fall.

Last night, my cousin Sherrie and I strolled through a corn maze lit with Jack O’Lanterns at Walker Farm near Logan, Ohio. I recently interviewed the owners for a story at work so I was more than happy to say yes when Sherrie wanted to go.

The sky was magnificent and the company was good. I can’t imagine a better way to kick off what I hope will be a festive, busy season.

1953 Ford F-100

Is it odd to follow a classic vehicle into a store parking lot just to get a closer look?

If so, I don’t want to be normal.

The owner was in the store by the time I made it there but I paused a moment to appreciate his 1953 Ford F-100 in terrific shape. Spotting cool old vehicles out in the wild is a priceless gift.

Ford Tri-Motor Airplane

If you’ve ever wondered what a time machine looks like, I’m pretty sure I rode in one yesterday. This magic ride was in a nearly century old airplane called the Ford Tri-Motor.

Ford designed this plane in 1925, producing just 199 of them before suspending production in 1933.

Think about it. Just 199 of these planes were ever made. Many are museum pieces. Some have been lost to time.

Only a handful remain airworthy today and I got to ride in one!!

This plane is a product of a time when air travel was accessible only to the wealthy. You wouldn’t be allowed to board this plane in casual clothes as people were expected to dress up for travel. People wore their Sunday best when traveling and flying was an expensive, special occasion.

The plane is all metal construction with elegant wood paneling inside the cabin. The seats in this plane have been upgraded from the original wicker seats and were comfortable. There are curtains at the windows and each seat has a light and air conditioning. There’s even a lavatory in the back with an incredibly narrow door.

I have read that passengers back in the day were treated to lavish food and drinks even though I can’t imagine where that might have been stored in this cramped, narrow space.

Before taking off, our pilot demonstrated accessing the luggage hold – in the wings! That was a helpful reminder of how little baggage people carried with them back in the day. My typical carry-on bag would barely fit in there and would leave no room for anyone else’s stuff.

I was on the first flight of the day – there were twelve passengers including one who paid extra to sit in the co-pilot’s seat. I found it surprisingly comfortable given the age of the plane and the fact that three large motors are pretty noisy.

From inside this plane, looking out at a largely rural area below felt like I had slipped back a century to view the world in a whole new way.

You do fly relatively low. In this picture from around landing, it looks like the plane and the shadow are racing!

It was an extraordinary ride.

I also want to give my pilot credit for the most gentle landing I have ever experienced in any plane- big or small. It was smooth, like melted butter.

This plane is based at Port Clinton, Ohio. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) pays to travel with it, giving rides at local airports across the region every year. My friend Darlene is involved with the EAA and was key to bringing it to Chillicothe this weekend.

Want to take a ride? You can do it today at the Ross County, Ohio Airport or check the schedule for another upcoming opportunity. Check that out here. You can find information on other EAA events on their website too. And boy, they do some great events.

If you’re on the fence, it’s worth the drive, the money or whatever else you’re worried about. I seriously considered taking a second ride before we even landed. That’s how much I enjoyed the experience. Instead, I settled for watching it take off and land before heading out on the next part of my Saturday adventure.

If given the opportunity, I will absolutely go again and encourage you to go enjoy it as well. After all, how often do you get to fly in a time machine?

If you follow Make The Journey Fun on Facebook, you’ll find some videos there. Check them out!