I've fallen behind on my blog writing, mostly because I needed a break. Everyone needs a break, and the posts I'm using to get back into things are appropriate. Part of my break was a mini-trip to Albany with Matt and Sarah. It was just the right amount of relaxing. The two topics are
How much of the world have you seen? And What was the best thing you ever saw on a trip?
I'm not sure what the percentage of the world that I've seen, especially since my travels outside of the United States are limited to Canada above Niagra Falls and a small trip in from Michigan, and two trips to Tiahuana, Mexico. So, all tourist attractions and not real experiences. I have seen and enjoyed a large portion of the U.S., first by living a bunch of places from the East Coast to the West Coast, and then also by vacations. Some vacations were road trips, where the trip was as much fun as the destination and stops for photo ops next to roadside attractions are expected. My favorite roadside picture is probably in Georgia, where I stopped next to a giant peanut with buck teeth for a photo. (For those unfamiliar with the reference, this was near the hometown of Jimmy Carter.)
My favorite spot was a relatively recent trip to Bear Mountain. The park itself was not open yet, so there weren't bus loads of tourists. It will be nice to go back when the lodge is open to hear more history, but the reason this is the best thing I've ever seen was because of the completeness of the scene. The hill and trees were green from an abundant spring rain. The air was fresh because we were far from the cities and interstates. The sun was waning, and finally setting as we left, but for the time we were there it brought light to our hike without forcing a sweat. A small stream highlighted scents of nature, both pleasant and not, but honest just the same. Canned "mountain stream" never smells like this. A few animals crossed our path, and we were able to see some in a small zoo kept on the premise. I don't know if anything could have improved the memory I have of that trip and that particular destination.