Menu   Email

a different azimuth
the website of johnny neel      www.neel505.com

my travels

"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." ~ George A. Moore

I've traveled the world on the Army's dime.  I loved it.  Now I want to see my own country.  I can go where I want and when I want, so I will chronicle it all here.

This page is for new travels, but I may reference my favorite places from the past as I write; I can't imagine not talking about Turkiye and Great Britain.  So forgive me if I begin to talk of old days, and old times, and favorite people.

I'll begin with a trip to Savannah to watch Cooper in late February, then there will be summer trips and a planned trip out West in October.  The Crater!  I have got to go see the Crater.

If I go overseas again, my heart wants to go back to Turkiye, but I'm thinking that I must do Greece and Italy first.  Kim's wats to go to Italy, specifically Tuscany, but I need to go stand at the pass at Thermopylae and visit the Archaic Greek sites like Mycenae and Pylos.  Knossos on Crete is a wish. 

I'm guessing I'll be going to Tuscany First.

A photo safari in Africa is a wish.  A night or two in the Grand Hotel on Mackinac would be nice. Kim has seen Niagara Falls, but I haven't.  That will have to take place, if we go, in the Summer; I will not do Canada in Winter ever again.

Savannah by Default, Feb 2018

My first trip after retirement became a puppy sitting adventure in Pooler Georgia for my Daughter.  I have always loved Savannah and have visited a number of times before she moved here.  My first trip was to visit Ed when he was in the Ranger Battalion,.  That was a good weekend of shooting cool Ranger firearms, hitting Tybee Island, eating at great restaurants, and going to the movies.  Kim met me there once while I was on exercise at Ft. Stewart and got a weekend off. We fell I  live with River Street.  I've been once with the VMI band for the Saint Patrick's Day parade, always a good time.

Since Elise moved here, I've been back to visit, move, or puppy-watch numerous times.  This time has been the best.  Left to our own devices, Cooper and I have traveled all around the city and area seeing and photographing the sights.  We've been Downtown, to Fort Pulaski, Fort James Jackson, and Jekyll Island on day trips.  Still on the docket are Tybee Island, River Street, and back to Forsyth Park.

Patricia Ann Byron Forest Preserve, 16 April, 2018

Highway 810 is amazing.  Recently resurfaced, sweeping well banked turns, and light traffic let me cruise along in Bess at a good clip, keeping my speed somewhere around the speed limit.  An obviously local guy ran up on my ass in a Sport Utility Vehicle, riding my bumper as if I were slowing him down or as if he could out-drive me.  I took Bess down to third and slid into a tight curve at twice the recommended limit, accelerated out, and gunned it on the straight.  The next curve was  the last I saw of him.

I was headed to Walton Mountain, yes, that Walton Mountain, and the county park just across the highway.  I had been there once before, but had forgotten.  I recognized it right off as soon as I pulled in the parking lot.  My goal was to get in a good hike in the sunny cool weather, and check out the trails for later visits.

These trails were tougher than I anticipated, almost equivalent to the trail up House Mountain that I did with the Corps while at VMI. Though not quite as steep, this was a longer walk.  It was more beautiful, by far, but I never got to one of the overlooks for any kind of view.  I doubt that they would even come close to the view from the top of Big House or Little House Mountains.  There were small waterfalls, beautiful streams, and huge rock formations to see and photograph.

Off in the distance a Pileated Woodpecker made his displeasure at my presence known.  Other than him, I didn't see another wild thing the whole day.  I took it slow coming back down, moving quietly and slowly, hoping to spot something. Though I was the only one out there, I didn't see a thing.

I started a little under 1000ft and walked up over 1000ft more,  I knew I was pretty close to the top when I started to see Mountain Laurel, still not blooming, that'll begin in May, but already turning green.  The trees at this height are just getting their leaves and the Red Buds are only just beginning to bloom.  There were wild flowers along the trail but only a few Common Blue Violets and Barren Strawberry.  My days identifying flowers as a First Sergeant still come in handy out on the trail.


By the time I got back to the car, I was pooped.  But not too tired to let my horse run back to the house.  The weather had warmed enough to let the windows down.  I turned the volume up on a little My Morning Jacket and let them sing me down the road.  It was good to be out of the house.