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Rare Air Episode 23 and November 2017 desktop calendar

Scroll way down for an original desktop calendar for November.

Wow. Two months ago, when I was preparing to post the next Rare Air episode, sharing more documentation from the beautiful day we spent on June 17, 2016, at Waterlemon Cay, I obviously had no idea that within a few days, Hurricane Irma would be reducing Saint John to a “wasteland.” That is the word used by The Washington Post’s Anthony Faiola in his Sept. 12 story describing the destruction of many popular island destinations we visited in 2016 – some of which we returned to this past July.

Unfortunately for us, when we circled back to the parking lot at the Annaberg Sugar Mill this year, it was raining cats and dogs. We sat in our Jeep and ate our lunch in the hopes of riding the storm out, but 40 minutes or so later, we gave up. Deciding to drive to the island’s West End in the hope of finding better weather – the plan paid off, and we were able to experience some unforgettable snorkeling at Hanson Bay. As a result, for the present, all I have to share from Waterlemon Cay comes from 2016. We still hope to return someday soon, but until then, I hope this will whet your appetite. Read more

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Rare Air Episode 22 and September 2017 desktop calendar

Scroll way down for an original desktop calendar for September.

One year and six “Rare Air” episodes ago, I posted an in-depth entry where I shared the full itinerary for our first-ever trip to Saint John. It has my hand-written notes compiled before our departure, and the places that made our short list for destinations as Beth read entries to me from island resident Pam Griffin’s book, “St. John Feet, Fins and Four Wheel Drive.” One of the most anticipated spots was Waterlemon Cay. Due to it having a short hike, it is one of the treks we made where the kids were allowed to stay behind at our villa. Pam’s description of the pristine setting and the “great snorkeling” were the main draws, and the intrigue of venturing out and around a small island or “cay” where we’d be able to rest on its sandy beach before swimming back drew us right in.

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Rare Air Episode 21 and July 2017 desktop calendar

An original desktop calendar for July appears at the bottom of this post.

In my earliest visions for “Rare Air,” I had a general sense of wanting to share nature with others in the loving spirit of some sage advice my late father-in-law Bill Kiefert gave me often, reminding me to stop and smell the flowers. This simple and essential idea goes a long way in defining what I am aspiring to do here… and yet, today I’m aware of a deeper lesson. Read more

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June 2017 desktop calendar


Featured Image: The view of Reef Bay from the St. John, USVI, villa we rented last June. Read more

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May 30, 2001: The Countdown Begins… Escape from LA, Part 1

All of this started playing out 16 years ago today – thought I’d bump it back to the top of this blog to rekindle the memories…

Escape from LA
by Roger Darnell

Wednesday, May 30, 2001: The Countdown Begins

As I sat at my desk at the end of the business day (night) on Tuesday, I knew I really needed to get some sleep to be ready to start loading the truck bright and early the next morning; surveying my office, though — still largely intact — it finally also sunk-in to me that I needed to get it packed, once and for all. Fast forward to 7:30 a.m. Wednesday morning: I’d worked all the way through the night, the office was 98% done, the house was a scattered array of semi-packed boxes, furniture and closed boxes, all ready for the truck, and we were off to pick up the truck from Budget in Van Nuys on Sepulveda Blvd., the same place where we’d returned our truck from the 1998 move West. This truck was a little bigger — a sign that the move was a success? — and the car carrier, destined to transport our Honda Accord back across the country, may have been the same one we picked up from New Orleans on the previous trip. Beth had slept very little as well, so the recollection of truck-packing day is a little blurry. We were smart enough to request a couple of movers to come to our house at 9 to load the truck, and by 11, they were done. By 5 p.m., Read more

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Rare Air Episode 20 and May 2017 desktop calendar

An original desktop calendar for May appears at the bottom of this post.

So far in life, we have only visited Saint John one time – it was our “vacation of vacations” last June, as you can read in other entries I’ve shared in the past. When I tell you that Beth and I are set to return this July, you probably won’t be very surprised. I don’t know how often we’ll make it there, but I’ve been pining away for the next trip since we booked it earlier this year. Read more

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Rare Air Episode 18 and January 2017 desktop calendar

An original desktop calendar for January appears at the bottom of this post.

For Beth and me, our conjoined “life before kids” began in about 1989… and before leaving Central Florida for Southern California on New Year’s Day, 1998, we toured the Sunshine State from top to bottom. Just before Amelia arrived in 2001, we returned to the Southeast. Since staking our claim in the Blue Ridge Mountains and welcoming Riley in 2003, we and our kids have continued to experience Florida as tourists. Read more

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December 2016 desktop calendar


Featured Image: Magic hour from April 1, 2016, at Crystal River, Florida. Read more

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Rare Air Episode 17: Saint John – Underwater

Scroll way down for an original desktop calendar for November.

June 11 is the date we planned to arrive in Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands, before staying on for another nine nights. In the months leading up to that, I spent a lot of time daydreaming about those moments we’d be spending in paradise. My inner photobug also drove me to great lengths to gear up for the trip, as I got serious about capturing more captivating moments to feed into new Rare Air chapters. Read more

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October 2016 desktop calendar


Featured Image: One of several casual, unforgettable encounters with a Saint John Sea Turtle. Read more

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