Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wicked, Fox Theater, St Louis, MO

While I was in Seattle I noticed that Wicked was playing there. It was impossible for me to get a ticket for less than $175 so I decided to pass on seeing the show. But wouldn't you know that it opened in St Louis in mid December through mid January and I was able to snag some tickets for $75 each. My cousin, her friend and I went to the show and a good time was had by all. I saw it first in New York about eight years ago and was ready to see it again. It was just as good the second time around.

I really liked the restored Fox Theater in St Louis. It reminded me so much of NYCs Radio City Music Hall, though on a decidedly smaller scale. One day I will have to make it back to St Louis on a Saturday morning so I can take one of the theater tours and hear all about the restoration and the history of this fine theater.

Both of the shots were taken in the entry area of the theater using my Iphone.  Had I known photos were allowed I would've brought my good camera.  Better luck next time!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Horse Program, Shawnee National Forest, Illinois

After I finished my whirlwind trip to the Pacific Northwest, I continued on to Shawnee National Forest located in southeastern Illinois for an All About Horses Program which was sponsored by Road Scholar, a non-profit organization that focuses on travel and education.  It was all I had hoped it would be and more, since it took place during the most picturesque time of the fall and the weather was absolutely perfect the entire time.

Camp Ondessonk was our home base for the week and for a retreat/summer camp it was downright comfortable with large rooms, private bathrooms and beautiful views of the surrounding forest from every room you found yourself sitting.  They prepared very interesting meals for us and we even had a campfire sing-along that lasted a lot longer than I thought it would.  We were all having too much fun to leave.

There were two programs that week; one for horses and one for hiking and both groups seemed happy to share their day over the joint evening meal.  We each tried to bring folks from the other group to our activities, but there were no takers.

 We learned a lot about horses from grooming, to feeding, saddling and bridling, using curry combs, riding, walking and turning, cantering and trotting. Then we found out just how delicate these animals are and for those who might have be harboring thoughts of actually owning one, the time, money and effort far outweighs the ability of most to even consider it.

Here we are preparing for a lesson of the day in the fenced area.  A safety check is made before we proceed to more complicated maneuvers.  That is me on my horse Smokey.

 We took a two hour ride through the forest on day two; a preparation for the all-day ride later in the week to the waterfalls...
 The retreat grounds have lots of interesting attractions including zip lines, tree houses, many open air bunkhouses, several lakes and loads of trails.  This covered bridge looked so nice on that beautiful day

The hikers were looking forward to the long hike to the tallest free-falling waterfall in the state of Illinois and the riders were anticipating the ride to the same place, but on different days.  As luck would have it, the hikers went the day before the rain, so there was no waterfall to view.  The riders went the day after the nighttime storm so not only did we get water, but there was also a rainbow.  Perfectly fitting for my birthday, I thought.

This was a most enjoyable way to wrap up my Pacific Northwest trip.  Now I guess I better start thinking about what I will do next year.  So many places, so little time!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pikes Market, Seattle, Washington

I toured Pikes Market while in Seattle.  I had been looking forward to it the entire trip, but truth be told...after seeing the Granville Market in Vancouver, I was a little disappointed.

Fortunately, there was a little 'action' outside the market that put this part of the trip right up there at the top of the list for me.  I hope you get a smile out of the shots I got of this panhandler.  It still brings a smile to my heart.

On the Road--Victoria, Vancouver to San Juan Island, Washington

I took a walk along the waterfront in Victoria and found these cute houseboats docked all in a row. It was apparent to me that the folks that lived there made the deliberate choice, cramped in a little and really enjoyed everything about it. It was interesting how many different ways they found to store their kayaks

So just because you choose to live on the water doesn't mean that there will be no traffic issues. Here the traffic normally is made up of boats but often it is a plane or two as well. Folks here come up with all sorts of ways to get around.

Later on the group traveled to San Juan Island, which is actually a part of the United States, there we took several tours including one of an historical farm site and a one room school house.  I always like to tour them because I actually attended a one room school house when I was a child.  Almost always the ones I tour are nicer than the one I attended.  Hard to believe huh?

I could not pass up taking a picture of this sign.  The folks on San Juan Island are SERIOUS about smoking and littering!