Outdoors

Discovering the Nature of Nevada

When I lived in the southeast, I spent a good bit of time immersing myself in the nature of the Great Smoky Mountains. That included becoming a Certified Southern Appalachian Naturalist […]

Travel

A Camel Walks into a Saloon

It’s another severe clear summer day on the Comstock. I’m at the end of the bar nursing a cold beer. I’ve earned a drink or two to quench my thirst […]

Life

A Walk on the Freeway in Carson City

It’s not every day you get to walk on a brand-new interstate. Pristine pavement. Sharp, fresh striping. Hundreds of bicyclists, roller-skaters, skateboarders, and runners whizzing by you. I had that […]

Outdoors

Celebrating National Monuments For All of Us

Today marks the 111th anniversary of the 1906 Antiquities Act which gives presidents the ability to designate national monuments. National monument designations preserve historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other […]

thule atlantis 1600xt - val in real life
Travel

A Jillion Miles with a Thule Roof Box

For quite a few years my trusty Subaru Forester has served as the main adventure-mobile for my explorations with Fred and George. She’s been in semi-retirement as life has moved […]

Motorcycling

Playing the Odds, Managing the Risks

This week Motorcycle Awareness Month comes to a close here in the U.S. The timing coincides with seasonal riders surging to the roadways after a long winter’s nap. It’s an […]

Life

Celebrating Near-Perfect on Mother’s Day

I know, I know… it’s a Hallmark holiday. But my dear Fred happened to be born on Mother’s Day so I’m fond of it in my own way. And like birthdays […]

great smoky mountains institute at tremont - val in real life
Photography

Bad Weather and Good Friends at Tremont

Let’s face it, life dishes out the unexpected and undesired. A lot. The only thing we’re in control of is how we respond, right? I just returned from a whirlwind […]

Life

Awake: Finding my Inner Thelma

I imagine most of you are familiar with the movie Thelma and Louise and its tale of two women finding their strength through a series of unexpected and escalating ordeals. In one of the […]

nevada state parks passport - val in real life
Travel

Getting my Nevada State Parks Passport

I spent many of my years in Georgia exploring the vast offerings of its state park system. Much of that was with Fred and George in tow as we pursued […]

love note to the peach state
Travel

Love Note to the Peach State

Oh Peach State, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways—mountains, swamps, beaches, rivers, pinelands, farms, waterfalls, museums, gardens, rich history, beautiful people. The list goes on and […]

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Life

Life After Trauma

Today marks an unwelcome anniversary: the second year since my near-fatal motorcycle crash at the hands of a negligent driver. I intended to write this last year on the first anniversary. It […]

Motorcycling

Going Off-Road at the BMW U.S. Rider Academy

I’m a fan of proper training. The value of learning from qualified instructors is not lost on me, particularly when it comes to photography and motorcycling. Unlike photography, proper motorcycle […]

baja mañana spirit - val in real life
Travel

Bringing Home the Baja Mañana Spirit

I recently returned from my first trip to Baja, Mexico. Intent on living my life as well as I can in the moment right now, I rode my motorcycle 1,500-miles […]

birthday - val in real lie
Life

My Forty-Fifth Birthday: Celebrating with Adventure

I’ve published a birthday post every year since 2011. It’s a reflection of my outgoing year as I consider the new year ahead. In that first birthday post, I confessed […]

Value of an Image - Val in Real Life
Photography

The Value of an Image

What is the value of a photograph? In the digital age, unauthorized use of an image doesn’t seem like a big deal. It’s just pixels, right? No, it isn’t. What gives an […]

virginia city camel race - val in real life
Travel

Riding in the Virginia City Camel Races

Joe Hedrick wasn’t kidding. Camel racing isn’t for wussies. That’s what he told us in our introduction at Virginia City’s 57th International Camel and Ostrich Races. Along with my fellow […]

motorcycling california and oregon
Motorcycling

Motorcycling Through Northern California and Southern Oregon

“Shit!… are you kidding me?!? I don’t know about this. Shit-shit-shit-shit-shit!” (Or possibly stronger oaths.) Those are the words I gasped in my headset to my riding partner as the pavement […]

virginia city camel and ostrich races - val in real life
Travel

Getting to know the Virginia City International Camel and Ostrich Races

When I first visited Virginia City, Nevada two years ago, I arrived just after the conclusion of the annual Virginia City International Camel and Ostrich Races. I enjoyed exploring Virginia City […]

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Life

On Being OK

Today is the anniversary of the crash that changed my life. And yesterday I was out riding my motorcycle. It was an eerily similar scenario as far as weather and […]

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