Ann Arbor: Hanging with the Autumn Leaves at Parker Mill.

The annual Fall foliage has reached its peak in many parts of the Midwestern United States, Ann Arbor in Michigan being no exception. Parker Mill County Park on the east-end of town got most of my attention. Every few days at different times of the day I went to hangout in the park and along Fleming Creek to capture the Autumn leaves.

Parker Mill County Park, Autumn color, fall foilage, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Parker Mill County Park, Autumn color, fall foilage, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Parker Mill County Park, Autumn color, fall foilage, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Parker Mill County Park, Autumn color, fall foilage, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Parker Mill County Park, Autumn color, fall foilage, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Parker Mill County Park, Autumn color, fall foilage, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Parker Mill County Park, Autumn color, fall foilage, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Parker Mill County Park, Autumn color, fall foilage, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Parker Mill County Park, Autumn color, fall foilage, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Parker Mill County Park, Autumn color, fall foilage, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Parker Mill County Park, Autumn color, fall foilage, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Parker Mill County Park, Autumn color, fall foilage, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Parker Mill County Park, Autumn color, fall foilage, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Decided to give some love to the fallen leaves and hangout with them. :) Off in the distance and within the park is the historic Parker Mill Grist Mill which gets to see this scene every year.

ann-arbor-leaves-05

Where are some memorable spots that you captured and hung out with the Fall colors?

Out on the Open Michigan Autumn Dirt Road.

Every year, around this same time, I make the trek over to Huron Meadows Metropark in Brighton, Michigan. Each time I head out onto the open dirt road, with oak-hickory forest on either side, to capture Autumn and the changing of the colors. This multi-mile stretch of road leads to the main parking area and Huron River on the south end of the park.

The variety of Fall colors, the remote feel, being able to see what lies way ahead, I don’t know what it is about this stretch of road. It’s just one of those places that I find myself compelled to return to every year. Well without further ado.

Micihigan, Autumn, Huron Meadows Metro Park

Micihigan, Autumn, Huron Meadows Metro Park

Micihigan, Autumn, Huron Meadows Metro Park

Micihigan, Autumn, Huron Meadows Metro Park

Micihigan, Autumn, Huron Meadows Metro Park

Micihigan, Autumn, Huron Meadows Metro Park

Micihigan, Autumn, Huron Meadows Metro Park

Micihigan, Autumn, Huron Meadows Metro Park

Micihigan, Autumn, Huron Meadows Metro Park

Micihigan, Autumn, Huron Meadows Metro Park

Micihigan, Autumn, Huron Meadows Metro Park

If you get off the dirt road and head into the woods this time of year, this is what awaits! :)

Is there a place you return to every Autumn to capture and soak in the colors of the season?

A First Taste of Autumn Color in Ohio.

The calendar has flipped to October. Cooler air has definitely taken hold in Ohio, the Midwest and around the Great Lakes. With that the color green is being replaced all around by red, yellow, orange and the other colors of Fall.

My first taste of Autumn color came while walking the meadow trails of Wildwood Preserve Metropark in Toledo.

Wildwood Preserve Metro Park, Toledo, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

Wildwood Preserve Metro Park, Toledo, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

Wildwood Preserve Metro Park, Toledo, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

Wildwood Preserve Metro Park, Toledo, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

Wildwood Preserve Metro Park, Toledo, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

Wildwood Preserve Metro Park, Toledo, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

Wildwood Preserve Metro Park, Toledo, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

Wildwood Preserve Metro Park, Toledo, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

Wildwood Preserve Metro Park, Toledo, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

The colors of Autumn also started dotting the landscape as I walked in Side Cut Metropark and along the Maumee River in Maumee.

Side Cut Metropark, Maumee, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

Side Cut Metropark, Maumee, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

Side Cut Metropark, Maumee, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

A couple of small waterfalls and the colors of the season make for a scenic backdrop. It looks like I stumbled upon an upcoming wedding.

Side Cut Metropark, Maumee, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

Side Cut Metropark, Maumee, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

Side Cut Metropark, Maumee, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

Side Cut Metropark, Maumee, Ohio, Autumn, fall colors

Have you gotten that first taste of Autumn color yet? Where are your favorite places to see the colors of Fall?

Out on the New Zealand Open Road in Pictures.

Being in New Zealand will make you feel like you are in your own version of Lord of the Rings as you go from rainforest to mountains to prairie to countryside in the blink of eye when roadtripping. Along the way you will come across waterfalls, hot springs, meat pies, backpackers, new friends and countless sheep. Some of my best memrories traveling have occurred when being on a road trip in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

It makes me think back to my original post: New Zealand: On The Open Road. Below are enlarged versions of the photos in that post along with some additional ones highlighting what it is like to be out on the New Zealand open road.

State Highway 8, South Island, New Zealand road trip

State Highway 8 heading towards Lake Pukaki and Mount Cook Village.

State Highway 8, South Island, New Zealand road trip

State Highway 8 heading towards Lake Pukaki and Mount Cook Village.

State Highway 8, South Island, New Zealand road trip

State Highway 8 staring at Lake Pukaki and Mount Cook.

State Highway 80, South Island, New Zealand road trip

State Highway 80 heading south away from Mount Cook Village.

State Highway 6, Cromwell, New Zealand road trip

State Highway 6 along the Kawarau River in Cromwell.

State Highway 6, Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand road trip

State Highway 6 along Lake Hawea.

State Highway 6, Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand road trip

State Highway 6 along Lake Hawea.

State Highway 6, West Coast, South Island, New Zealand road trip

State Highway 6 along the West Coast of the South Island.

State Highway 13, South Island, New Zealand road trip

State Highway 13 between Arthur’s Pass and Christchurch.

State Highway 73, Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand road trip

State Highway 73 heading towards Christchurch.

Speaking of countless sheep. :) Lots of mingling time.

Mngling with the sheep, South Island, New Zealand road trip

What are your favorite memories from being on a road trip in New Zealand?

An Early Morning Stroll Along Pass-a-Grille Beach.

The gulf coast in Florida, especially St. Pete Beach, is well-known for their beautiful sunsets. Waking up right after sunrise one summer morning, I found the area to be just as scenic during the early morning hours.

I approached Pass-a-Grille Beach and the historic district alongside near St. Pete Beach’s southern most point. Some small dunes were all that separated Gulf Way and myself from the sugar-soft sands and the Gulf of Mexico. It was time to walk the short wooden bridge and see more of the gulf with every step.

St. Pete Beach, Gulf of Mexico, Florida

St. Pete Beach, Gulf of Mexico, Florida

The early morning sun, some blue skies, a calmness to the water and not a sole around, I had this part of the beach all to myself.

St. Pete Beach, Gulf of Mexico, Florida

St. Pete Beach, Gulf of Mexico, Florida

St. Pete Beach, Gulf of Mexico, Florida

Well almost! Some people were hanging out on the pier off in the distance and I hope that other person wasn’t taking a bath haha. :)

St. Pete Beach, Gulf of Mexico, Florida

It wouldn’t be a morning along the beach in these parts without a bunch of seaweed that washed ashore overnight.

St. Pete Beach, Gulf of Mexico, Florida

The romantic park bench was just hanging out waiting for someone to sit. A beautiful place to just hang out and stare off into the vast, turquoise waters of the gulf. The sun continued overhead, but off in the distance storm clouds were forming over the water. Just par for the course in Florida. :)

St. Pete Beach, Gulf of Mexico, Florida

Who is that guy checking out the “Welcome To” sign? :)

St. Pete Beach, Gulf of Mexico, Florida

Pass-a-Grille and this part of St. Pete Beach is off the beaten path, a mile or two south off the main highway. It’s a recommended stop. You’ll find shopping, ice cream, restaurants and fishing opportunities to go with the beach. Merry Pier is definitely worth a look.

Checkout the beauty of a St. Pete Beach area sunset. Are there any off the beaten path beach spots you would recommend along the Florida Gulf Coast?

Some Random Roadtripping in Atlanta Thoughts.

Driving through, around and from A to B in any big city can be challenging. Atlanta is no different, offering the driver its own unique challenges. Spending a lot of time driving and observing in the ATL, these random thoughts about being out on the open road immediately came to mind.

Where are you? I’m on Peachtree! The city alone has 71 streets that contain the word Peachtree, countless others in suburbia. Avenues, boulevards, drives, lanes, streets, you name it, you will probably be on a Peachtree something at some point. Peachtree Street, the main street of Atlanta, confuses people all by itself. Giving the answer of “I’m on Peachtree!” will definitely mask where you are at.

Peachtree St. in the heart of Midtown, Atlanta, Georgia

Peachtree Street in the heart of Midtown.

Peachtree Industrial Blvd, Gwinnett County, Georgia

Peachtree Industrial Blvd in suburban Gwinnett County.

Where is the skyline? Atlanta is known, especially on the north side, for lots of hills and greenery. While driving in parts of Georgia’s state capital you’ll think you are in the middle of a forest or the woods versus a big city. You are very close to the Midtown skyline, but you just don’t know it. Then wallah it is right in front of you!

Once it does come into view, the skyline might look foreign even if you have visited before. If you’re in town say once a year, you will notice buildings that were not there before or new ones going up. The skyline from just a decade ago is nothing like what it is today. Atlantic Station, a modern neighborhood with lots of shopping and entertainment options and various tall buildings, popped up out of nowhere in the 2000’s.

Atlanta Midtown & Atlantic Station skylines from The Sun Dial Restaurant Bar & View

Atlantic Station & Midtown skylines from up-top The Sun Dial Restaurant Bar & View.

You will hear “the Perimeter” phrase frequently. When stopping to ask for directions there is a good chance the answer will include something in relation to “the Perimeter”. “The Perimeter” refers to I-285 an interstate which circles the city. You’ll hear place x is just inside the perimeter, it’s 20 miles northeast of the perimeter, etc.

Are there really speed limits? People do seem to drive faster on average around the ATL. At the top end of “the Perimeter”, where most of the heavy traffic is, the speed limit is posted at 55 m.p.h. Really? It seems like you’ll get run off the road if you aren’t doing at least 70-75.

How high in the air can I get while driving?! When driving into Spaghetti Junction where the east end of the “The Perimeter” and I-85 meet you will find five decks/levels of ramps, the highest being 90 feet tall. I guess that is one spot to get nervous at during rush hour and gridlock. On the bright side you might as well get the camera out to capture the views up-top. :)

What direction am I going in? Once off the interstate, with all the hills and trees you’d be hard pressed to find a long, straight stretch of road. One minute the road your on is going north, then east, then you have no idea. Better have that GPS or compass handy.

Sixteen Lanes of Madness. Your driving on I-75 or I-85 on the far outskirts of town and the interstate is four lanes, then it becomes six, then eight and that is still manageable. Then all of a sudden it becomes a sixteen lane free for all around Midtown and Downtown, known as the Downtown Connector. I wonder if that stretch of real estate is part of local drivers education driving? That would be the ultimate test.

The Atlanta Downtown Connector from the 17th Street Bridge.

The Downtown Connector from the 17th Street Bridge.

Atlanta Downtown Connector from The Varsity

The Downtown Connector from The Varsity.

The Atlanta Downtown Connector from the 17th Street Bridge.

The Downtown Connector from the 17th Street Bridge.

Atlanta Downtown Connector from up-top The Sun Dial Restaurant Bar & View.

The Downtown Connector from The Sun Dial Restaurant Bar & View

What state am I in? Between all the northern transplants and everyone else passing through, if you just woke up and got on the road, you could have no idea what state you are in. You’ll see a lot less Georgia license plates then you might think while driving.

Is Waffle House the only dining option? You might think that if your on the interstate in suburbia. There seems to be one at every exit. Up until not to long ago there was one on each side of I-85 in Suwanee. One can only experience so much loaded hash browns! :)

Road tripping in the ATL, like any big city, can be an adventure. Checkout my previous post, Atlanta: Driving Through the Heart, on what a city interstate drive is like.

What unique characteristics or random thoughts come to mind in the city you live in or drive around frequently? Any additional Atlanta tidbits?

The “Magical” Place in New Zealand for me is…

When a lot of people think of New Zealand they think of Lord of the Rings, which showcases one magical scene after another. Road tripping around the country in real life gives off that same feeling.

While driving the North Island, an off the beaten path spot instantly became the “magical” place in New Zealand for me. That place is the Kerosene Creek hot springs.

Kerosene Creek, Rotorua, New Zealand, hot springs

The Kerosene Creek hot spring is a place that makes me dream. It’s a place that makes you put all your worries aside. It’s a place that makes the body feel relaxed sitting in a hot thermal pool alongside a waterfall. It’s a place I got to experience with my best friend.

Kerosene Creek, Rotorua, New Zealand, hot springs, waterfall

Kerosene Creek, Rotorua, New Zealand, hot springs

To get to Kerosene Creek drive along State Highway 5 in-between Rotorua (30 kilometers from) and Taupo (55 kilometers from) and turn onto Old Waiotapu Road. Go about two kilometers, on gravel not in the best condition, and park alongside the road. There will be minimal signage. Once on foot it will be a ten minute or less walk along some lush native bush.

There is the elATLboy! :)

Kerosene Creek, Rotorua, New Zealand, hot springs

Kerosene Creek, Rotorua, New Zealand, hot springs

Kerosene Creek, Rotorua, New Zealand, hot springs

You feel like you are in a fairy tale, a million miles from nowhere.

Kerosene Creek, Rotorua, New Zealand, hot springs

The great thing about Kerosene Creek is that it is free! Because you are in the middle of nature you won’t find a restroom or a place to change. When you are ready to hop in it’s very easy to sit in the pool as it is shallow all around. The water temperature was perfect for us, though I hear it can vary depending on how much rain it gets. Also, the creek does have a bit of a smell, hence the Kerosene name. :)

Kerosene Creek, Rotorua, New Zealand, hot springs

Kerosene Creek, Rotorua, New Zealand, hot springs

It was a great place to soak in (literally) with my best friend. I hope to get back to the “magical” place for me in New Zealand again soon. It is definitely classified as a #NZMustDo!

What is the “magical” place for you in New Zealand? What other hot springs would you recommend around Rotorua?