Hurricane Matt: The Unusual Storm That Ate Its Way Across Florida

When I’d cover the topic of hurricanes in the course on Natural Disasters that I taught for many years at my former university, I’d sometimes joke that these storms seemed to have an uncanny knack, an amazing ability to aim for highly vulnerable mobile home parks. Well, not unlike a Category 5 hurricane, I recently cut a swath across Florida’s midsection from the Gulf to the Atlantic, and while mobile home parks remained safe and untouched, every highly rated restaurant on tripadvisor.com was directly in my path. Hurricane Matt, the first unofficial storm of the 2021 Hurricane Season, left his mark on the Sunshine State. Let’s retrace the path of this culinary storm.

Hurricane Matt brewing in the Gulf?
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A Month of “Panhandling”: An Idyllic Stay in Pensacola Beach, Florida

It was about 6PM when I arrived at my AirBnB rental in Pensacola Beach, located at the far western end of the Florida Panhandle. It was raining as I dragged my luggage up three flights of stairs on an outside stairwell. Only later did I discover that there was an elevator in the building! A cold wind bore down upon me, nearly ripping the glass storm door from its hinges as I fought to type in the key code to get into my apartment. It was 44 degrees and the weather report was calling for lows in the mid-20s that night. This was not exactly the way I’d envisioned my winter getaway to sunny Florida to begin.

A spectacular sunset on Pensacola Beach
Continue reading “A Month of “Panhandling”: An Idyllic Stay in Pensacola Beach, Florida”

Navigating the COVID Minefield: A Five Month Long Journey

If you’re like me, the LAST thing you probably want to read about at this point is anything related to COVID. And yet, we also all know that it is an unavoidable topic of conversation, whether we like it or not. Rest assured that this will ultimately be a travel blog, but I really can’t tell the tale without bringing up the pandemic.

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Escape from San Francisco and the COVID Road Trip

When I made my initial decision to move out of California almost two years ago, it seemed like an eternity before I would actually be leaving. But time sneaks up on us, and in the strange time warp that the COVID crisis has created, weeks and months have run together and made a lot of us lose track of time. I should have used my time more constructively while I was sheltering in place to clear out my apartment after 29 years of living there, but I procrastinated and due to the crisis, I kept pushing back my date of departure from May 31, to June 15, to June 30, to July 7 and that gave me the sense that I had all the time in the world. All I can say to those of you who have lived in one place for a long time and are thinking of moving anytime within the next 50 years, is “Start TODAY!” Let me be your cautionary tale.

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The Final (Round-Trip) Road Trip, Winter 2020

For the 10 or 15 years I’ve driven cross country from San Francisco to New England (making many stops along the way) every summer and every Christmas. If you’ve read some of my other road trip blog posts, you already know that these trips are probably some of the happiest times I’ve ever experienced…

Driving SUnset
The freedom of the road… chasing the sunset.

Let’s go… one more time!

The Greek Islands: Naxos, Milos, Rodos and Symi

In prior postings I’ve described my time in Athens and on the Greek Islands of Santorini and Mykonos. Now I want to share with you my visits to some of the lesser-known of the Greek Islands, each of which was a unique and wonderful experience in its own way. So settle in for a tale that will take you to four other Greek islands: Naxos, Milos, Rodos and Symi.

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All aboard for Naxos!

Athens and Santorini: The Wonders of Greece

One place that I’ve neglected to say much about so far in my travel blogs is Greece, and in particular, the Greek Islands. My first trip there was with faculty and students from my university back in 2003 when I saw a Athens and spent time on the islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Crete. A few years later I returned with another student group and saw much of the mainland before returning to Santorini for a second time. Since then I’ve made several more trips on my own and with friends, often returning to Santorini and Mykonos (which I did talk about in a prior blog post). I’ve also visited the islands of Naxos, Milos, Rodos, Symi and Corfu, so I thought it was time to share some of my experiences and show you why Greece is probably, after Italy and Hawaii, one of my very favorite destinations. To avoid an overly long post, I’ll talk about Athens and Santorini in this blog and follow up with another blog about some of the other islands soon, so stay tuned.

Let’s head to Athens and Santorini!

Revisiting the Land of Pele: Hawaii’s Big Island

Hawaii’s “Big Island” was the first of the Hawaiian islands I ever visited, way back in 1994. That trip began a 25 year love affair with Hawaii, and while Maui remains my favorite island, I have a special place in my soul reserved for the still volcanically active Big Island.

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The summit of Mauna Kea from the slopes of Mauna Loa on Hawaii’s Big Island

Read more… Pele would want you to!

Croatia: Surviving the Heat, the Stairs and the Cruise Ship Hordes

Two years ago I went on a Mediterranean cruise as part of a study abroad experience with three of my faculty colleagues and about 25 students from my university. We boarded a very small cruise ship of only 250 passengers and went from Venice, Italy to Nice, France with stops at Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia, the Greek island of Corfu, Taormina, Sicily, and along the west coast of Italy.

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St, John Fortress,  Dubrovnik Harbor

First stop: Dubrovnik!