Motoring Across America

With James "Alex" Alexander

with James "Alex" Alexander


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Blog 168: Quick Trip to Dusseldorf and Lund

Sunday: Day Seven of the European Tour
Sunday was a travel day as I made my way from London to Dusseldorf. I was fairly well rested, and the use of the hotel laundry service meant that my bag was once again full of clean clothes.


By late afternoon I was in my hotel. Too tired to walk the mile or so to a nice restaurant and too lazy to bother with a taxi, I walked a couple hundred yards to a huge MacDonald’s, anticipating a ten-minute round trip. Wrong, Alex! I think everyone in Germany was in line, with each person ordering at least ten meals! An hour later I was back in my room feasting on a Big Mac hybrid and a large fries.

Monday and Tuesday: Session in Dusseldorf
Working for the same client as last week, I facilitated a two-day session for the German team.

German Receptionist

View from German Training Room

It's True!

Great group, and things went very well. However, after the session things got a little more challenging. My plan was to fly from Dusseldorf to Copenhagen, and then take a taxi over the bridge to Lund, Sweden.

Bomb Threat!
I arrived at the Dusseldorf airport in plenty of time, however, the flashing red lights of police cars were the first indicator of trouble. People were queued up for hundreds of meters outside the locked doors of the airport. Later, people were let inside…later still, we were all kicked to the curb.

Bomb Threat #1

Bomb Threat #2

Bomb Threat #3

Bomb Threat #4

Uh, Oh...

Here’s a short video of the event:

When traveling, stuff happens. However, I had a session planned the next morning, so remedial action was required. I walked away from the airport mob until I found a taxi that transported me to the train station. I took the train to Munich that, after an hour or so, stopped at the Frankfort airport. Here, I dashed to the Lufthansa ticket counter, catching them as they prepared to close. An hour later, I was in the air, and I landed in Copenhagen airport a little after midnight. From there, I took a 30-minute cab drive and I was in my hotel by 1:30 in the morning--plenty of time for my next morning’s session.

Wednesday and Thursday: Session in Lund
Wednesday and Thursday was my final session of this two-week trek, facilitating the Nordic team. Another great session, with a smart, fun group. Since my journey home the next day started with a 6 a.m. flight, I took a taxi to the Copenhagen airport and stayed at the Hilton on premise. Here is a pic from my room.

View from Hilton

Friday, Day 13: Trip Home
Janny and the Kids picked me up in Traverse City, where they hauled me back to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Wonderful trip, but so nice to be back. Tired and a little jet-lagged, I started my rejuvenation.

Back at Camp
Gorgeous weather back in Michigan and it was good to sit around a campfire again. Here is a shot of Angel, another volunteer pup of our fellow camp host, Ramona. Also, here is a pic taken by Jan of Chico in retirement.



Old Signs
Here are two old signs from the Old Sign reserve.

Old Sign #1

Old Sign #2

Old Trucks
Here are three old trucks from the Old Truck Reserve.

Old Truck #1

Old Truck #2

Old Truck #3

See you next week as plans change!

Blog 167: Quick Trips to Madrid and London

Sunday: Day One of the European Tour
Sunday morning I arrived in Madrid after a mechanical problem and a little re-routing early in the journey. All in all, things ended up fine, just a few hours later than planned. I took a nap, enjoyed a tub, then went to an outdoor plaza to walk around and have a light evening meal. As continued the entire time in Madrid, the weather was awesome, the people were friendly. When I stopped for dinner, I had the best tuna I had ever tasted--seared, marinated in a special sauce, and the fried egg on the top added color and variety to the presentation.

Tuna in Madrid

I facilitated (in English) an intensive two-day session for my client’s Spanish and French teams. All smart, interested, and interesting people, all wanting to learn. Since the groups were split 50-50, everyone had a chance to better understand their colleagues from another country. Monday night we all went to Old Town for a traditional meal built upon tapas, and then I stayed out late (for me) with the crazy Frenchmen.

Upper Right

Plaza View

Plaza Ladies Table

Madrid at Night

Wednesday was a travel day, as I moved on to the town of Reading, 30 minutes west of central London. Once again, I was fortunate to have a deep soaking tub in my room that I took advantage of every one of the four days I stayed there. Since we don’t have a tub (at least not yet) in our motor coach, I appreciate having one all the more while traveling.

On these days I facilitated the same type of session as I did while in Madrid for my client’s UK office. Another great group.

After contemplating several options, I decided to take the train to Portsmouth to see the old British war ships. Here are a couple of photos taken from the train.

Train View #1

Train View #2

They had repaired/refurbished/rebuilt Admiral Nelson’s old flagship, “Victory,” to its original specifications. This is the ship he died on--they show you the spot on the deck where a French sharpshooter fatally wounded him in his victory at Trafalgar. It was just awesome! Also, I toured the first iron-hulled warship, “Warrior,” and saw it as it exactly was, as this ship never saw battle.

Warrior Gun Deck

Warrior View from Deck

Warrior Visitors


Victory Admiral's Table

Victory Deck

Victory Guns

Victory Stern View

Later I walked to the town center and stopped by this park.

Portsmouth Park

Old Signs
Here are a couple old signs from our Old Sign Reserve.

Old Sign #1

Old Sign #2

Old Trucks
Try as I could, I saw no old trucks in Madrid or London this week. Here are three from my Old Truck Reserve.

Old Truck #1

Old Truck #2

Old Truck #3

See you next week from Germany and Sweden.

Blog 166: Fancy Fungi and a Marvelous Moth

Morning After the Storm
Tuesday night we had one “wail” of a storm--buckets of rain, bolts of lightning, and blasts of thunder that would make the hell hounds howl. Here is a pre-drawn beach shot the morning after the storm.

Morning After the Storm

CC the Cecropi Moth Larva
A fellow camp host brought CC the Cecropi moth larva over to show off his good looks. This bad boy styles with a flair for color. He is fancier than a college coed on break at South Beach! After taking a few pics we returned him to nature, eating his way north (by now he is probably crossing the Mackinaw Bridge to the U.P.).

CC #1

CC #2

Want to see what this handsome fellow will look like as he passes through more larvae stages to become a moth? Check out this link and scroll toward the end:

Fancy Fungi
The moisture-temperature equation reached the optimum balance this week for sprouting mushrooms and their fungi family. Here are several specimens captured during a walk in the woods.

Fungi #1

Fungi #2

Fungi #3

Fungi #4

Fungi #5

Fungi #6

Fungi #7

Fungi #8

Fungi #9

Fungi #10

Fungi #11

Fungi #12

Fungi #13

Fungi #14

This and That
Here is a pic of the Empire donkey and a shot of Jerry and Mitzy in a grove of pine trees.


Pups in the Pines

Old Signs
Here are two old signs that Jan found and I shot.

Old Sign #1

Old Sign #2

Old Trucks
Here are three old trucks.

Old Truck #1

Old Truck #2

Old Truck #3

See you next week.

Blog 165: Yakety Yak

A quiet week up in the north country as the season has ended and the pace has slowed.

This and That
Here are some shots from the park along with a bull yak and cow.

Happy Campers


Dennis at Dawn


Old Signs
Here are two old signs that Jan found and I shot.

Old Sign #1

Old Sign #2

Old Trucks
We had this neat old pickup with camper in the campground this week. Also, Jan and I went to an old car and truck show in Traverse City and shot eight old trucks. Two are here and the other six went into our reserve for sparse future weeks.

Old Truck #1

Old Truck #2

Old Truck #3

See you next week.

Blog 164: Jerry Gets Promoted

Jerry Gets Promoted
For those of you who don’t know him, our rat terrier, Jerry, is one special guy. Strong as a Russian weightlifter, fast as an Olympic sprinter, and handsome enough to be on the cover of GQ--he’s a natural leader, you might say. Well, not really. Jerry has never had the desire to be an alpha dog, preferring to be the background vocals to lead-singer pups like his sister, Mitzy.

However, all his fine attributes and outstanding work at the campground have finally been recognized. Here is a picture of Jerry accepting the Smoky Bear Achievement Award--the first time it has ever been given to a dog!

Jerry Gets Promoted

I Just Love Aunt Deb

Overwhelmed by emotion, Jerry plants a big one on his hero (and supplier of homemade beef jerky), Aunt Deb.

Lake Michigan Blues
For those of you interested in seeing Jan’s latest painting, “Lake Michigan Blues,” click here.

Kalamazoo Visit
We drove the 200 miles-plus south to visit good friends in Kalamazoo. Naturally, we had a feast. Notice the individual “seated” at the far left.

The Feast

Of course there was a lot of chitchat, banter, and mutual admiration.

Oh, Alex


This and That
Here are a couple pics of a good-looking praying mantis and a very proud, new Junior Ranger.

Praying Mantis

Junior Ranger

Old Signs
Here are two old signs that Jan found.

Old Sign #1

Old Sign #2

Old Trucks
Here are three beauties.

Old Truck #1

Old Truck #2

Old Truck #3

See you next week.