Hay Loft

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Hay Loft
Raising Hay to the Loft
Pioneer Village
LaPorte County Fairgrounds
LaPorte, Indiana

A visit to the LaPorte County Fair would not be complete without stopping by the Pioneer Village area. This collection of buildings provides a look back into the days of early settlers in the area. A barn, home, store, school, post office and blacksmith shop are all included in the village. People in period dress staff the buildings and demonstrate how difficult life was before modern technology.

After the Catch

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After the Catch
East Pierhead Light
Michigan City, Indiana

Fishermen leave the pier as the sun sets over Lake Michigan on a calm, summer evening. The lake was almost perfectly still, rippled only by the occasional boat wake or late swimmer.

Solar Beacon

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Solar Beacon: Who Needs Electricity?
Illuminating the Dusk
Michigan City, Indiana

It was a great end to a great day in Michigan City, Indiana. A weekend day that was supposed to be a washout turned out great. We spent a few hours on the beach goofing around in the sand and in Lake Michigan, then did some shopping at the local malls, had dinner and headed back to the beach for sunset. It's kind of nice to have a very remote looking, dune filled beach VERY close to civilization and lots of stores and restaurants. Everyone's happy - beach goers, shoppers and lighthouse lovers alike.

I See You!

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Hello There!
Danny looking at his new friend

Danny was fascinated by this little grasshopper or leafhopper. He was tiny but didn't seem to mind being handled as long as he was standing upright.

We let him go soon after.

Non-tornadic Waterspout

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Waterspout in the Gulf of Mexico
Fort Desoto Park

After our visit to the fort, we headed to the beaches of Fort DeSoto Park. The North Beach was rated one of America's top beaches, so we wanted to check it out. On our way, we noticed a storm system in the distance, but it appeared to be moving in another direction and would not hit us. We also noticed a line dropping from the clouds to the water - a waterspout!

It wasn't too easy to see as it was the same color as the clouds behind it, but you could make out the spinning funnel and the splash of water at the base.

It was the first time the family saw a waterspout - (I saw one last year too) so it was a pretty cool thing to watch. This one lasted about 10 minutes and then disappeared.

The beach was filled with people, yet nobody left, they all watched the waterspout and continued swimming.

The storm never did come near the beach.

Non-tornadic or fair weather waterspouts are pretty common in Florida (400 a year in the keys alone). They're much weaker than tornadoes associated with supercell storms, and usually have winds of only 65 mph. They tend to be static as the clouds are forming vertically, not moving horizontally, so they're little concern of the waterspout moving toward you.

Visiting an Old Friend

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Pastel Sunset
Peaceful End to a Beautiful Day
Clearwater Beach, Florida

There's nothing like visiting an old friend, and to me, Clearwater Beach is an old friend. Spending well over 40 vacations on this little island has made it a kind of second home - a familiar place with lots of friends. In this case, my friends were the motels and businesses (and a few people who would visit each year).

It was always interesting to see how things in Clearwater Beach changed from year to year, which hotels and restaurants changed names, remodeled, got new pools and paint jobs. Lately lots of the little motels have been bought out by developers who intend to build condos in their place. With all the construction and change, we decided to stay a few miles south where things are still at a slower pace.

It's still nice to stop by Clearwater Beach and walk along the shore where I first set foot in the Gulf of Mexico, built my first sand castle, casted my first fishing line, watched the fishing boats come in, collected brochures with my brother, found bags and bags of seashells, watched countless thunderstorms over the Gulf, enjoyed Howard Johnson's hot fudge sundaes, chased lizards, learned to swim..................

Anyway, it was great to walk along that beach again - even if it looks so much smaller now as compared to Treasure Island!

Gravity is Beautiful

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Refreshing Falls
The bottom of Lake Falls
Matthiessen State Park

On a hot day at Matthiessen State Park near Utica, Illinois, it's worth the trip down to the bottom of the canyon. Not only for the beautiful view of the stream, sandstone cliffs and waterfalls, but it's much cooler at the bottom. If you get near the falls, the falling water creates a breeze that carries a cool spray of water.

Worth the trip - even if it's cool outside.

Michigan City Sunset

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Michigan City Light at Sunset
Michigan City Lighthouse
Washington Park Beach
Michigan City, Indiana

A hot summer evening and an almost perfect sunset marked the end of the Independence Day Weekend. Guess we just didn't get enough of the sun and the beach over the last few weeks.

I've got over 2400 vacation photos to sort through, so I hope to keep posting them regularly.

Happy 4th of July

Have a great day

sent by cellphone.....