Adventures

Journey – Cheyenne Bottoms & Geographic Center

  • 07/18/2017

A Wiley Prayer Journey and Adventure... This past winter, we were discussing where we wanted to visit on our next journey. At that time, the election was just around the corner. During the conversation we wondered where the Geographic Center of the United States was located. Upon searching the internet, we discovered there was a historical marker near Lebanon, Kansas for the geographic center of the contiguous United States. The center of the lower 48 states. This turned out to be about a 2 1/2 hour drive from Cheyenne Bottoms. Which is the largest wetland in the interior United States. Where...

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New Tank Crew Member on Buffalo Soldiers

  • 02/03/2017
New Tank Crew Member on Buffalo Soldiers

In Honor of Tank Crews Everywhere A humorous and timeless window into how Soldiers live and think in the field. It could be any Service Branch or Any War; but this time Vietnam.   SITREP: Part 1 (Multi-Part Series):  New Loader In School Hot Zone Near Nui Ba Dinh (Black Virgin Mountain) / Iron Triangle / South Vietnam / August 1971 / G Troop - 2nd Squadron - 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Nui Bah Dinh - Black Virgin Mountain The four-man crew is riding aboard “Buffalo Soldiers”… …a slow, loud, lumbering M551 Sheridan Light Tank in the back of a circular Recon In Force…...

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Pelicans, Paragliders, Lighthouse and a Beautiful Sunset in South Carolina

  • 06/20/2016
Pelicans, Paragliders, Lighthouse and a Beautiful Sunset in South Carolina

Our South Carolina Adventure Continues... A God Thing... We appreciate America in all Her Glory -  and wanted to Experience Our Southeastern Coastline.  Truly, SC is to be joined into your memories.  Birds, foliage, animals, reptiles, and history.  "Oh" - that we could ALL spend Time there. Live, Laugh, LOVE Within and on the Perimeters of this Southern Adventure! We camped at the Edisto Beach State Park...which was a very nice treed campground on Edisto Island.  The Atlantic Coast and the proximity to Charleston were the main reasons for using it as our base camp.  Then, we drove...

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Adventure – Alligators at the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge

  • 06/03/2016
Adventure – Alligators at the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge

South Carolina Adventure Our visit to the  Ernest F. Hollings Ace Basin National Wildlife Refuge Dixie "Had The Eye" as per usual... noticing what I had not seen. Two Nested Juveniles which to most would have stood out...but, not me today.   HOW did She DO this... picking out the reptiles from out of All This? From out of acres and acres of vastness... I must have been distracted by whatever...   Agitators...Well, Of COURSE... The American Alligator... this 8-Footer. 8 Feet Below... In a old rice field with moss-stagnant water Unmoving...Sunning...so,...

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Denver – Best Pizza, Aloft Hotel, Family & More

  • 01/04/2016
Denver – Best Pizza, Aloft Hotel, Family & More

Another Wiley Adventure We returned from a visit to meet our 7-week old granddaughter in Denver, Colorado.  The weather was perfect on a Friday when we landed; but we knew Denver was expecting a few inches of snow on Saturday.  Virginia was experiencing temperatures in the upper 60's...and still are Monday when I started this post. Yay!  BUT, I'm finishing this 3 weeks later due to both of us catching the flu, and then celebrating Christmas and New Years. Meeting Blake for the first time was super special for us...holding a precious life that will bring much joy to everyone she meets...is...

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Weekend Escapes to the Chesapeake Bay Area

  • 09/20/2015
Weekend Escapes to the Chesapeake Bay Area

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North America.  According to Wikipedia "An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea."  The Bay lies between Virginia and Maryland with colonial towns, major cities, fishing villages and farms on both sides. This year we have enjoyed two weekend getaways to the Chesapeake Bay area on Maryland's eastern shore.  Both trips we found our favorite town was St. Michaels...located on the Miles River with restaurants on the harbor.  This small...

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Gettysburg Inspirations

  • 09/07/2015
Gettysburg Inspirations

GETTYSBURG   A Childhood Fascination - and now another Family Trip...nothing uncommon to some maybe...but a Great Time nonetheless. Preceding the family visit was a detailed guided tour of the Battlefield - then followed by son Ryan's Visit - where he said I had my "Full Geek On" as I reiterated  what happened. He got a new grasp of the vast extent of the Gettysburg Battle on all three days - and was struck by what both sides had done. Gettysburg - to us - is the Signature Battle of the Central War of American History. Our thought is that Everyone should go there, think, and absorb. Each...

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Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Trip

  • 07/26/2015
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Trip

We recently made a trip to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge; though a few months later then planned. We were set to visit the refuge in February...when the migratory birds stop by on their way north. However, it snowed several inches in Virginia and Maryland so the trip was postponed. Nevertheless, Eagles, Osprey, Cranes, Ducks, Turtles abounded, and our favorite...Blue Herons. And a special treat: the over-sized Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel...on the endangered species list. This was our first serious time out with Olympus E-M5 Mark IIs and various lenses...a time of gear shake down...

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150th Gettysburg Reenactment Illustration: “Saddle Sniper”

  • 08/23/2013

  A LOT of Research and Thought on This One... Sometimes, I feel their valiant excellence... Scene is 4:30 Pm, 2 July 1863 at the southern end of Rose Woods tree line above and behind the Devil’s Den. The three Confederate Snipers from Hood’s Division are firing east-southeast at Union Skirmishers and Snipers on General Sickles’ extreme southern flank which have been pushed back to the northwest face of Round Top. Little Round Top, where the Union will flee, is visible behind the trees center to upper left. The Saddle Sniper, like the other two, is equipped with a captured Sharps...

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Lighthouses on National Lighthouse Day

  • 08/07/2013
Lighthouses on National Lighthouse Day

Lighthouse: a tower or other structure displaying or flashing a very bright light for the guidance of ships in avoiding dangerous areas, in following certain routes, etc. On many of our adventures we enjoy stopping at lighthouses...each one is unique...each one has a different view...both from the ground...and up on the Lantern Gallery.  Some lighthouses are even for sale...several have been purchased by individuals that have turned them into private homes. Here are 8 lighthouses we have visited over the years...only ones we have digital photos.  We should revisit those we don't have photos...

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150th Gettysburg Reenactment Photos: Day 3

  • 07/12/2013
150th Gettysburg Reenactment Photos: Day 3

Day 3:  150th Gettysburg Reenactment Photographs The Aftermath of Pickett's Charge... ...hot, tired, seared by events, these "wounded" and exhausted Confederate Reenactors reminded me of what survivors of Pickett's Charge - "The Grande Charge" - might have looked and felt like once they retreated back to the tree line of Seminary Ridge... ...facial expressions portray remaining confidence, defiance, exhaustion, pain, that "Thousand Yard Stare", and that oft-asked question; "Why did I make it when so many went down?"... ...things that only combat survivors truly know... As I made my way off the battlefield...

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150th Gettysburg Reenactment Photos: Day 2

  • 07/12/2013
150th Gettysburg Reenactment Photos: Day 2

Day 2:  150th Gettysburg Reenactment Photographs Day 2 events included Devil's Den, Little Round Top, The Wheat Field and The Peach Orchard.  The photographs taken depict behind battle scenes and more.  What we remember most about Day 2 is the physical affects of fatigue caused by forming up, moving with positioning troops, and then following them through rough terrain to sketch and takes pics as we all progressed through the various events.  Dixie was especially tired - as she had suffered heat exhaustion on Day 1 - but what a trooper she was - overcoming her affliction to take some hard-to-get...

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150th Gettysburg Reenactment Photos: Day 1

  • 07/12/2013
150th Gettysburg Reenactment Photos: Day 1

Day 1:  150th Gettysburg Reenactment Photographs Culp's Hill Assault, Seminary Ridge, etc., and a hodgepodge of troops forming up, Union and Confederate Officers and NCOs on Horseback and Foot, and a series of family and reenactor friends going about their business.  Fortunate to be in the right spot as events unfolded because of our Media Passes and Battlefield Illustrator and Ice Angle Roles, we were able to get shots not available to others.  Artillery positioned and firing close up is one example.  Ammunition and water support wagons, horses, mules, is another.  And about mules, I formed...

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150th Gettysburg Reenactment Photos: Family

  • 07/11/2013
150th Gettysburg Reenactment Photos: Family

Family at Camp Sites and Engagements throughout the Blue Gray Alliance 150th Gettysburg Reenactment.  Top Pic Left to right:  Luke, Bethany, Dixie, Doc, Paige, Brian, Michelle, and Dennis.  8th Tennessee tents and gear all around.  "Couples" follow:  Doc and Dixie, Dennis and Michelle, Luke and Bethany, Brian and Paige... ..."Awl quite fetchin' in thar duds ah'd say!!!"   Doc and The Colonel Tippin' Hats to Mizz Dixie!!! Hope you enjoyed seeing photos of our family! 150th Gettysburg Reenactment Photos: Day 1 150th Gettysburg Reenactment Photos:...

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Gettysburg Ice Angle Wife and Battlefield Illustrator

  • 06/26/2013
Gettysburg Ice Angle Wife and Battlefield Illustrator

"ARMISTEAD'S ENCOURAGEMENT" Working Action Sketches to Period Battlefield Illustrations, And Beyond --- Artistic Goals: Attend the Blue Gray Alliance 150th Gettysburg Reenactment as a Civilian Civil War Ice Angle and Battlefield Illustrator, follow the 8th Tennessee / Cleburne’s Division - nephew Dennis Ash’s assigned unit, and produce photography and period style sketches from live action for development into finished works.  Three days of intense work.  Estimates are that between 80K and 100K visitors will show for the Blue Gray Alliance Reenactment of the 150th Gettysburg Alliance...

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Wiley Studio – 150th Gettysburg Reenactment Beginning

  • 05/15/2013
Wiley Studio – 150th Gettysburg Reenactment Beginning

150th Gettysburg Re-Enactment Wiley / Ash Family Adventure: My Nephew Dennis is a Confederate Civil War Reenactor... ...and a Cancer Patient... ...which is why I was inspired to illustrate Dennis, his son Brian, and their Dog Carmela in "Gettysburg:  Ash's At The Angle" out ahead of the 150th Gettysburg Re-Enactment - done in late June.  Dennis was in the movie "Gettysburg" and fully participated in the 150th - because health allowed. Dennis - in "Gettysburg:  Ash's At The Angle" - is left center with 3-Strap Enfield, Son Brian is the Drummer, Carmela their dog.  General Armistead...

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Cherry Blossoms – a Springtime Celebration!

  • 03/04/2013
Cherry Blossoms – a Springtime Celebration!

The Cherry Blossom Trees around the tidal basin in Washington D.C. draw crowds of people every year. The 2013 National Cherry Blossom Festival will be held March 20 - April 14. And the National Park Service is predicting that the peak bloom will be March 26 - March 30. 2013 marks the 101st anniversary of the gift of trees from Japan.  Scott and I have try and view the blooming blossoms every couple of years.  These are photo from our 2011 visit. It was really crowded and I didn't really get to spend as much time as I wanted since we went right after Scott got off work on Saturday.  I highly...

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Our Latest Adventure – OpSail 2012 Virginia Beach

  • 06/16/2012
Our Latest Adventure – OpSail 2012 Virginia Beach

Scott and I enjoyed our recent adventure to Virginia Beach for OpSail 2012. We stayed at the Wyndham Virginia Beach Oceanfront which is not far from the First Landings State Park where the Tall Ships were anchored overnight for the start of the Parade of Sails on June 8th. They were expecting around 30+ ships but there were only 15+/- ships. We have vacationed in Virginia Beach numerous times and enjoy the visiting the aquarium. We both love wildlife... so off we went to the aquarium. Turtle at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center Tall Ships at OpSail 2012 Snowy Egret White...

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Stunning Display of Cherry Blossoms in DC

  • 02/29/2012
Stunning Display of Cherry Blossoms in DC

2012 - The National Cherry Blossom Festival begins March 20 and runs for 5 weeks... ending April 27.  2012 is the 100th anniversary of the gift of these beautiful trees from Japan.  Check out the website for festival events National Cherry Blossom Festival Looking forward to springtime in Washington DC and Northern Virginia.  Here are some photos we took in 2011. 2011 - It was a beautiful but cool day for the beginning of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. on Saturday. Today it is snowing with about an inch on the ground and another inch expected. Cherry trees...

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Waterfall in Shenandoah National Park

  • 02/25/2012
Waterfall in Shenandoah National Park

"The mountains are calling and I must go."  John Muir Thursday the weather was ideal for hiking in Shenandoah National Park.  So Scott and I drove into the park at Front Royal and stopped at several of the overlooks to look out over the Shenandoah Valley.  We decided to hike down to see Dark Hollow Falls to take some photos.  The hike is 1 1/4 miles to the falls so we ended up hiking down and back up... 2 1/2 miles total.  We did see a few people on the trail and throughout the park.  I was happy the only ice we came across was along the side of Skyline Drive.   Ice along Skyline...

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Day at the National Harbor

  • 12/12/2011
Day at the National Harbor

I just recently spent the day at the National Harbor which is just across the Potomac River in Maryland. The sun was out... it was not crowded... so it was a perfect day to stroll around checking out the shops and restaurants! I ate lunch at Nature's Table and the Roast Beef Bluez Panini was very good. I will stop back in Nature's Table on a future visit during warmer months for a Smoothie or Gelato... and another Panini. The National Harbor offers something for all ages... right now the Gaylord National has ICE! featuring DreamWorks' Merry Madagascar now through January 8th... Fireworks Friday...

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Our Trip to Maine – Acadia National Park

  • 06/13/2011
Our Trip to Maine – Acadia National Park

We just got home from our trip to Maine to visit Acadia National Park and Baxter State Park.  Acadia was truly spectacular with picturesque vistas, sparkling lakes, wildlife and abundant lobster. We camped at the Seawall Campground within the national park. It was cool most mornings and evenings and warmed up during the day... enough to get a tan. June was not the high tourist season so the campground was less than 25% full. We ate lunch at Jordan Pond House... famous for their popovers. We sat outside and had a view of Jordan Pond and watched people trekking off to walk around...

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5 Mile Hike and Picnic in Shenandoah National Park

  • 03/21/2011
5 Mile Hike and Picnic in Shenandoah National Park

Scott and I enjoyed the 75° weather to take a 5 mile hike in Shenandoah National Park and to enjoy a picnic afterward. We took the Sugarloaf short circuit trail which starts on the Appalachian trail heading north and then we turned right on to the Sugarloaf Trail descending a few feet, passing through mountain laurel and crossing Piney Branch. We then turned left onto the Pole Bridge Link Trail and hiked for about 1/2 mile and came upon the Fourway junction. Turned left onto Keyser Run Fire Road. Spring is a great time along the fire road since it isn't overgrown with grass and weeds....

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Chocolate Lovers Festival Fairfax Virginia

  • 02/27/2011

March 5-6, 2011 SAT 8:00AM - 5:00PM SUN NOON - 4:00PM The Chocolate Lovers Festival is an annual two day event held each year in Old Town Fairfax. This is a community favorite and features The Chocolate Challenge, an arts contest featuring breathtaking art made completely of chocolate. The festival is a great Valentine’s Day event with chocolate vendors offering samples and selling their products at the Taste of Chocolate. Other activities include the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, featuring chocolate chip pancakes, historic re-enactments, children's activities, a craft show and more. More...

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Alexandria, VA – “Most Romantic” city in the U.S.

  • 02/09/2011
Alexandria, VA – “Most Romantic” city in the U.S.

Amazon.com announced the Top 20 Most Romantic cities in the U.S. Some information is taken from Amazon's press release Feb 08, 2011. For the second year in a row Alexandria, Va has received the "most romantic" city in the U.S.. Since Virginia's motto is Virginia is for Lovers, why wouldn't we expect the top "most romantic" city to be in Virginia and another Virginia city, Arlington to rank 15. My husband and I live in Arlington for a year back in 2002-2003 and then moved to Alexandria and we reside there now. We have walked the streets of both Arlington and Alexandria. And really enjoy...

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