Saturday, June 30, 2007

Hunter and Dad's Eastern NC Trip

Hunter and I made a trip "down east" to the Aurora Fossil museum (among other places). We are trying to go somewhere every month at least this summer while Hunter is out of school and I am on a stretch off of work. Aurora has always been a destination that I have wanted to go to as we pass the ferry going there every year while traveling to Ocracoke. Of course, then we have no time!

We left fairly early in the morning on Thursday. Our plan was to make the trip east while stopping frequently in the areas we were traveling through to geocache. My new GPSr has a mapping feature, so as you travel, it will show geocaches in the area. If one is convenient, we would look it up on my pda (yes, I do paperless geocaching now - what a geek!) and if it looked interesting, we would stop to find it. Although this does not make for fast traveling, it does add a lot of interesting stops along the way.

We got to Aurora middle of the afternoon, and it was hot. The museum in Aurora is very nice with lots of fossil displays. We spent the first of our time in Aurora looking through the museum. It was air conditioned! Later, we were in the pilings out front looking for some fossils of our own. The pile that we looked through had lots of sharks teeth, coral pieces and other small fossils. No big ones would ever be found, as this material had been pumped through a sludge pump. To find the really nice, larger teeth and bones, it is necessary to go into the phosphate mine itself, and this requires forsight and cash. You have to apply and pay a membership fee.

After a couple hours there, we left to go towards New Bern. After stopping at Charlie's restaurant to have a bite, we got into New Bern about dark. I did my normal routine - drove into a neighborhood and found some wireless access, looked up local motels on google and started calling. Within a few minutes, I had us a room at the Comfort Inn on the waterfront. We got in our room and took a walk in Federal Park on the waterfront. Lots of history there. This is on the point overlooking the river and the site of the Union takeover in the War of Northern Aggression.

Next morning, Hunter and I went to Tryon Palace, paid the fees and started touring the grounds. Hot and dry! We were there on a day that was not busy. We got to meet a family dressed in period clothes and on the tour of the palace, we got to meet Governor Tryon himself! Hunter had a few questions for him. The palace grounds have lots of gardens. Some of them were suffering from the heat and drought, but overall, very pretty.

After seeing the palace, we left New Bern and began the trip towards Wilmington. We still had some geocaching to do, as well as a trip to Hammock's Beach State Park. I would recommend it to anyone with half a day or more to spare. A very beautiful beach, and lightly used. The sea turtles had laid eggs in the dunes the night before. We almost got stranded on the island (you have to take a boat to the island), but we caught the last boat off just as a thunderstorm was approaching. We got back to the car, found a couple more geocaches on our trip towards Wilmington, and ate pizza at a small pizza joint on the way. Got to Steve's place just after dark. Joy and the rest of the family were on there way, but had not gotten there yet. They did arrive very late that night.

The next morning, Joy, Walker and I went out to the yard sales, something we do a lot of Saturday mornings. We didn't find any interesting steals however, so we went back to the house. The rest of the day was spent between the pier, in the kayak and the deck on the house where we set up Walker's kiddy pool. He had a great time in the pool! Next day after lunch, we began the trip back. Took it kind of slow and got back late in the day. Glad to be home, but all in all, a great trip!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Visit to NC Museum of Natural History

Hunter and I took a trip to Raleigh on Tuesday to vist the museum. What prodded us to go was a display of Todd Pusser's photography there, but as all know, I can get lost in any museum, particularly natural history.

When we got into town, our first challenge was finding a parking space. I had come to town with no cash, so I could not put money in a parking meter nor could I pay the attendent in the parking lots. I had to drive around to find a teller, then we had to go back downtown and find a lot with vacancies. All in all, it took awhile.

The museum tour was nice. Hunter and I both got an audio tourguide that told us about the exhibits as we went. We probably spent too much time there, at least according to Hunter. I believe that we were there at least 4 hours!

I got Hunter's picture (above) at the entrance to the museum on our way out. It really was a beautiful day! We left Raleigh on our way to Streets of Southpoint to see the exhibition (Bodies: the exhibition). I really thought it was incredible. Every organ and system in the body was seen from virtually every angle. If you have not seen it, you should go. It is expensive ($25), but if you are interested in this sort of thing, it is well worth it. I saw a comment from someone saying it made them appreciate and want to take care of their body. It made me feel that way too. Once again, I believe I probably enjoyed it more than Hunter, but it was good for us both.

Afterward, we ate at the California Pizza factory (way overpriced and over hyped) and on our way home.

Next week, Hunter and I are going to Aurora to look for marine fossils! Look for more to come then!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

New Blogger Google Widget for Macs

Well, it is the middle of the night and I am at work.  Things are running smoothly, so I found this google widget to do blog postings on our blogger website.  You may remember that I have tried "Performancing", which is a Firefox addon that you can use to post to blogger with. Performancing has been nice but spotty.  Also, you cannot post pictures directly to blogger using it.  If you have the pictures hosted on another site, you can post links to them.  I believe this google widget will have that limitation as well, but at least it will probably work each time you try to use it.  It does make it a lot easier to post an entry if you do not have to go to the site, log in, etc etc.  

Well, that is it for tonight.