A New Adventure Awaits – or has it already started?

We are underway for our 4th summer in Yellowstone National Park

Finally, the long winter is over and Connie and I have broken loose from our ever growing bonds in Texas and are making our way back to our summer home in Yellowstone National Park.
Before this new chapter begins there are a few events to share from our spring.  Before I get too far I want to make sure not to offend any of our neighbors as I do not intend to discuss any of the many gatherings we have had over the fall, winter and spring.  It isn’t that I don’t cherish those events, I just need to be a bit careful in my discussions since this blog is now public and I wouldn’t want to give too much information to anyone who really does not need to know where we live.  So, suffice it to say that Connie and I had a great winter season with what has to be one of the best sets of neighbors anyone could have.
As the weather got warmer and the wildflowers started coming out, we were very happy to host one of our best friends from our many years living and camping in Camden County, Georgia, Trish McMillan.  We always enjoy Trish’s company and on this occasion she got to see our new home as well as a good bit of Central Texas.  In the week she was visiting we were able to get to The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, and bird and wildflower patches all over the area. Of course we also took her to some of our favorite restaurants and I even cooked a few meals for her.

We wanted Trish to see longhorn cattle, so we found a few not far from home.  Trish and I both took several photos.

You may have heard that there was a total lunar eclipse this year.  I stayed up really late and took a series of photos starting with just a smudge and ending with the above shot just prior to the total eclipse.  My exposure times were getting too long at this point and I started getting motion of the moon relative to the camera. I think this was a pretty fun experiment with dark sky photography.  The next day I realized I could have captured images with a longer effective focal length with our spotting scope and my cell phone camera using a new adapter I bought over the winter.  I will have to wait for the next eclipse to see how that works. By the way, this shot was taken from our backyard.

Our next event was to attend the wedding of the son of one of my closest friends.  Michael Patrick McGahan is the friend.  His son, Shaun McGahan married Mallory Wobbekind.  Shaun is a Lieutenant Junior Grade, Supply Corps, USN.  Mallory is a Certified Public Accountant.  Both are super people with wonderful parents.  The wedding which was held on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, was a great event.

This first photo was taken at a welcome party following the rehearsal dinner.  They were both doing their best to keep the smiles going while posing for anyone and everyone with a camera. They had to be exhausted.

This one was taken during the Wedding Mass.  They almost look like royalty, don’t they?

Shaun’s little brother Samuel was the ring bearer and all around great addition to the party spirit.

A few hours after the wedding with the newly minted couple, finally free from the professional photographers, arrived at a cocktail party in their honor just prior to the reception.  Of course they had to pose for even more photos.

I think during their first dance they finally realized they were married and it was time to have some fun.  I like this image for a lot of reasons. Not least of all that it shows Mallory’s dress so well and her beautiful smile.

The father of the groom, Pat, wore his Service Dress Whites in support of his son, so another of the many retired navy personnel in attendance, Ed Lancaster and I, wore our Service Dress Blues.  I was happy my uniform still fit and have to say it felt good to put it on again.  My bride looked pretty darned good herself.

Here is the father of the bride, Ken, sharing notes with the father of the groom.  Well, at least that is what I tell people they were doing.  It was an emotional day for both, but they were both so very happy for the addition to their respective families.

I spent a good bit of time chasing Mallory around the dance floor with my camera.  She caught me and finally gave me a bit of a pose.

Meanwhile, while the bride was dancing a storm, the groom was talking shop with Supply Corps Captain Keith Fargo, USN (retired).

I took nearly a thousand photos over the course of the weekend and didn’t come close to the number each of the four professionals took.  By the time I eliminated many of my blinks and open mouths I was well under 800 images to work through.  I cannot imagine how the pros figure out what to present to the bride and groom.  I had a great time taking pictures and chatting with the professionals who were very patient with me and shared space with me from time to time.

After the wedding we drove to Kingsland, Georgia and spent a few more days with Trish.  We flew back to Austin on Tuesday and we got underway for the summer on Monday.  If you are thinking there wasn’t much time there, you got it right.  In fact, we were so exhausted when we finally broke out that we drove only 130 miles on Monday before deciding we needed to stop for the day.

As I write this we are one day out of Denver where we intend to spend the holiday weekend with my brother and his family and my sister and her family who live in the Greeley area.  Also, as I write this, there is a terrible super cell that has passed over Denver International Airport and the accompanying system is working its way toward where we are spending the night in Garden City, KS.

So, the adventure has begun!



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