"BOO!" goingsolo's Profile

Scenes from Old Florida

Hanging onto promises and songs of yesterday
But I've made up my mind; I ain't wasting no more time.

I haven't been on here in so long! Feel real badly that I've lost touch with some of you. Can't promise I'll be back on here much. Just don't have the time these days.

The profile pic was taken at the summit of Mount Washington. Home of the World's Worst Weather. But not that day. Under unusually blue skies, I made the summit in December, 2010 and carried with me a picture of my dad. He passed away unexpectedly on June 30, 2010. I miss him more than you can imagine.

As I write this, I'm in a hotel room in North Conway, New Hampshire. Going to do a 2 day mountaineering course and then a Mount Washington climb. I hae Dad's picture with me but I don't know if I'm going to take it with me on summit day. Its supposed to snow and he always hated the cold. :)

The photo was taken at O'Leno State Park just outside of Gainesville. It was a quick trip around Christmastime which ended abruptly for reasons I can't even explain.

Sticking closer to home these days. Its given me a chance to see things in my home state that I've never seen. Its almost amazing the opportunities life creates. I'm not sure that sinkholes and swamps can really be described as opportunities in the grandest sense. But if there are trails and natures, there's something out there to be found.

Happy holidays and happy New Year to all!

Never fear those mountains in the distance

"When stars collide, like you and I, no shadows block the sun"


We came, we saw, we climbed!
In May 2006, I set out over Memorial Day weekend to climb Mount Hood. The somewhat unusual snowstorm kept me and my group of aspiring climbers off the mountain. After waiting an entire year, I returned to Mount Hood. This time, there were no gray skies covering the mountain and snow was found at the upper elevations, which is perfect for a climb.

I couldn't help but think about all of the differences between the two years. How so many things just fell into place between now and then. And how much more rewarding the climb was this time than it would have been last year.

I completed my Hood page and told the tale of the trek that began at 2 a.m., culminated in reaching the summit just after sunrise and the long slog back to civilization. Hardly an easy day.

After Hood, there were a couple of forays into the Eastern Sierras of California. Those can be found on my Mammoth Lakes page. I'm still hoping to tackle Mount Ranier. Getting pretty tired of saying "Next year, Ranier", even though it is a bit catchy. After all, next year is almost here. A lot will have to fall into place in order for that to happen, but, now that I'm living in "Plan B", I suppose anything is possible.

Climbing mountains isn't easy, even in the best of conditions. The long trek takes so much out of you. But there are moments along the way that make it all worthwhile. After all, its the journey that really matters. In mountains, and in life

New Pages/Updates
Mount Hood (the climb, take II)- most of the page is complete, but subject to revision.

Salida- Riding the rapids in Southwest Colorado

Upcoming Trips
Never final till I get there and subject to cash flow shortages, flights of fancy and other forces beyond my control

October 2008
Big Cypress National Preserve- Camping in the Florida wilderness and trying to pretend that is not an oxymoron.

November, 2008

South Carolina: A weekend jaunt to some out of the way locations.

Torreya State Park: Short trip to the Florida panhandle.

March 2009

I hope, I hope, I hope New Mexico/Arizona: Could be one heck of a road trip if I can pull it off!

VT Superlatives! Salem Sue

Here is this week's winner:

SALEM SUE- The largest roadside cow.... in the entire world?

The good folks of North Dakota must endure some lonely winters and travel even lonelier stretches of road. To keep things interesting, they have built several larger than life roadside attractions. The largest of which is Salem Sue.

Sue is A Holstein cow, for those of you who care about such things. She is 38 feet high and 50 feet long. I'm not sure who measured her but I'm glad it was not me. She was created to honor the cows of New Salem's dairy rich past. No, I'm not making that up. I read it on the website, and we all know websites never lie. Thanks to a generous donation of $40,000 from the New Salem Lyons Club in 1974 (further proof that the wrong people have access to large sums of money), Sue stands tall alongside the highway and can be seen from miles away.

There is no charge for visiting Sue, but a large milkcan sits nearby, requesting $1 donations to assist with her maintenance. Thats a small price to pay to have your picture taken beneath her udders, which is apparently a popular activity in this region (of the country, that is).

So there you have it, the largest Holstein Cow IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!!!

It was time for the VT Personals to go! Many thanks to those of you who supported it and I apologize that I wasn't always able to post your submissons. Sadly, despite the efforts of this wonderful community, we met with no success, at least none to my knowledge.

So I've come up with something else to fill this spot. The VT Superlatives- the best and worst of travel related information. I plan to post the first set of superlatives next week, unless I get busy doing something else and don't get around to it. But here are the rules of the game:

1. No best member/homepage/photo. These have been done. Let's shoot for less generic categories and more creative: Best vacation spot for someone with only $20 in their wallet, worst hotel, etc, best tourist attraction, etc.. I challenge all of you to submit unique categories for submission.

2. Please, please, please, do not submit your own tips! Let's not be so focused on our own adventures and look into exploring those of others.

3. Any accepted superlatives will be posted here along with a link to the tipmaker's page containing the superlative. Please, please, please, please, this has nothing to do with ratings!! As we all know, ratings can be used as a tax deduction or redeemed for cash and have other significant value of extreme importance. Why else would people email other members and ask for ratings? O.k., rant over, but you see what I mean.

So, get creative and send me some good material!

No fear

Sometimes, I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear.
And I can't help but ask myself
how much I'll let the fear
take the wheel and steer.

It's driven me before,
and it seems to have a vague, haunting mass appeal.
But, lately, I am beginning to find out that I should be the one behind the wheel.

Whatever tomorrow brings,
I'll be there
with open arms and open eyes.

So if I decide
to waiver my
chance to be one of the hive
will I choose water over wine
and hold my own and drive?

It's driven me before
and it seems to be the way
that everyone else gets around.
But lately I'm
beginning to find that when
I drive myself my light is found.

Incubus Drive

Rock climbing was one of the scariest activities I've ever tried. I'm terrified of heights. Actually, I'm terrified of falling to the ground which manifests itself in my being afraid of being up high and hence my fear of heights. But it always looked like so much fun, so I decided to give it a try.

And, in a few weeks, I'll try again. I doubt I'll even climb the world class routes, but I just want to make it to the top this time.

Scaling a 60 (or so) foot rock wall is hardly an extreme sport or an intense physical challenge. Let's face it: it wasn't Everest. But for me, hanging on to the rock wall, heart pounding, practically hyperventilating and depending on someone else to hold the rope which secured my life, it might as well have been, It was then that I learned that the ultimate physical challenges involve mostly mental energy and controlling fear. You'll never know what you can reach until you learn to not let fear control you.

Traveling alone (or "going solo") poses similar mental and sometimes physical challenges. Fear is at the core of all of those challenges: fear of meeting new people, fear of not meeting new people and wandering around alone, fear of unfamiliar surroundings and the dangers that lurk within them and, most of all fear of the unknown.

Traveling is a lot like rock climbing, especially when you do it alone (traveling, that is. It is highly recommended that you never attempt rock climbing alone if for no other reason than there would be no one securing the rope.) But mental energy and resolve can transform a scary situation into an exhiliarating one.

Your stories, and perhaps your fears, may differ from mine. But, as travelers, we have a common mantra:
Don't let fear hold you back.* Follow your path, whether it is by boat, by car, on foot or otherwise. Explore the magic and mystery that this world has to offer that only we humans can perceive and experience. Travel with your spouse, your family, your friends, or even if you have to or want to, go solo.


Those road trips

There's nothing like a road trip. Clear blue skies, the cool breeze from a open car window, scenery passing by, and, of course, the tunes. In my opinion, music is an essential component of any road trip. It becomes part of the journey. In fact, music is the soundtrack to our lives.

Certain lyrics are intertwined with my memories of past trips or even certain specific moments along those trips. I hear the words and I can remember that moment in time. Sometimes the memory is so vivid that I can feel the cool air, hear the wind or see the sights in my mind as I witnessed them then.

Travels in the USA

For the last few years. all of my trips have been within the US. I know that's so limiting, but its hard to find the time to get away for more than a few days at a time. Since I can't quit working, I'm following the words of Ernest Hemingway and have decided to "See America First." I love this country and I'm enjoying exploring its 4 corners and all the nooks and crannies contained within. Someday soon, I hope to expand my travels abroad. For now, you'll find me driving the open roads and hiking America's Nat'l Parks and I'll resign myself to visiting all of your pages on the places I've yet to see.

Some of my favorite places:

Las Vegas



Bryce Canyon National Park


Yosemite National Park


My pages

One of the things I've noticed about VT is that most people have their unique style of building pages. I try to build mine as a combination of factual information and personal impressions. I think this serves two purposes: 1. It gives the reader information he or she may find useful in their own travels, 2. It allows the reader to draw his or her own conclusion about what are the "must see" places in an area. Just because I like something, or don't, doesn't mean that someone else will feel the same way; and 3. It adds depth to the experience. As an aspiring travel writer, I try to walk people through the experience and paint a bit of the picture for whomever happens to be reading.

My pages are a mixture of factual information and my perceptions of the places I've been. I try to strike a balance between sharing practical and useful information and giving my impression of a particular place. I know that anyone can get the general background on a location by browsing Lonely Planet, but some people do use this site for trip research. In fact, that's how I found it and a lot of that practical information served me well. So I guess I'm trying to return the favor and include the useful guide book style info along with the rest.

Most, if not all of my pages are works in progress. I try to build them when I have time and add to them when I have the chance to return to a place. I believe that there's always more to explore, even in the places we call home. So I try to record my impressions and information about these new discoveries on my pages as often as I can. So feel free to check back and feel free to email me if you have any questions about places on my map.

I spend a great deal of my travel time visiting National Parks, state parks and just about any outdoor recreation area I can find. I also enjoy historical sites and have a bunch of pages on those destinations, usually with some bacjground information I've collected along with my thoughts and impressions. I do a bit of business travel, so, whenever I can, I'll give some feedback on places I've stayed and such. As for cities, I visit them and sometimes even enjoy them. They are usually not the highlight or the purpose of a trip and my pages often reflect that. Basically, you'll find a hodge podge of information here, some practical and some perhaps not.

Answers to FAQ's & Rules of the Road

Since I keep getting asked these questions, I figured I'd post some of the answers here. Also, some information and explanations about the popular Vt Personals

1. I am neither alone nor lonely. But my sincere thanks to those of you who have written to ask me that. Goingsolo is the name of a short story I wrote after the first road trip I took alone. I used it here because I thought it fit. It is not an advertisement, declaration or suggestion.

2. I am neither uninterested in traveling abroad nor ethnocentric. Over the past several years, my travels have been restricted, for reasons I'm not going into here. Simply put: I usually have a short time to travel and may need to get back immediately. That has not allowed me to visit many places I desperately want to go. I love traveling in the USA, but recognize that there is far more out there to explore. I hope to do that someday.

3. The countries listed on my travel page are places I have visited. Since it was many years ago and I have no photographs from these trips, I haven't built pages on them. I don't think it helps anyone to have information that it so outdated and not based on personal experience. It is nothing against these places or the people who live in them.

4. I sincerely enjoy corresponding with the friends I have made on this website. I sincerely enjoy it because these people are sincere, if that makes any sense. While I'm open to new correspondence and, generally respond, time permitting, the key word here is sincere. Those who fall under the category of VT Personals advertisers are not, in my opinion, sincere and time does not permit me to respond. Comments about marital or relationship status, invitations to visit far flung regions to visit unknown single males and other invitations and suggestions of that sort are permitted by neither time nor Significant Other.

5. I am always willing to try and help with questions about travel. That being said, I know very little about Miami nightlife. I'm not the best person to ask about that.

6. We all have our pet peeves. Mine is common courtesy. I have no problem trying to help with questions about places I've been or the place I call home in between travels. But, if someone takes the time to respond to your request for information, a simple thank you is not too much to ask.

7. I do not run a hostel or boardinghouse out of my tiny abode. Friends are welcome to come and stay, but single men who are strangers and write to enquire whether there is space available should best look elsewhere.

The VT Personals- The VT Personals are meant to be in fun. I think most people take them that way, but for the couple of you who wrote to express concerns, let me give you my take on things. I think there is nothing wrong with writing to someone of the same or opposite gender if you liked something they wrote or are interested in the place where they live or a place they have visited. I also think its great that people have met and married as a result of this website. But I think there is a difference between people who wish to interact and those that harass. I never have a problem with someone writing to share a travel related story or to comment on something I've written. I do not consider this harassment and I do not assume that anyone who writes an email is a VT Personals contestant. To me, the line is pretty clear. I hope this made it clearer for you as well.

Any questions?

Top 10 lessons learned from road trips.

1. Unless its a threat to health, safety or well being, its not that important.

2. Never forget Rule #1 and, remember, things that happen which do not fall within those categories are things you'll laugh about later. Then again, things that fall into those categories, when viewed retrospectively, will probably make you smile as well.

3. Sometimes, taking a detour down a side road leads to unexpected and wonderful discoveries. More often than not, it just lengthens the amount of time spent in the car.

4. The most unexpected people you meet will inspire you, motivate you or become your heroes.

5. We all have preconceptions and think in stereotypes. Unless the situation falls within the ambit of Rule #1, disregard them.

6. Duct tape has many, many uses.

7. Never take more luggage than you can carry.

8. Never set out on a road trip with expectations of what will happen or what it will be like.

9. You can learn something from anyone, even your chatty airplane seatmate.

10. Its cliche but true that the best people you meet, you meet on The Road.

Small Wonder

This is my niece, Helena Esther, named after both of her grandmothers. She was born on October 10, 2007, weighing in at 8 lbs and she has not stopped growing since. She's an angel, isn't she?

  • Intro Updated Feb 24, 2011
  • Report Abuse

Comments (269)

Share your travels with the world!

Join Now!
goingsolo's Profile Photo


“"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life."”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 1 3 1
Real Name
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Member Since
Jun 26, 2002

Badges & Stats

  • 2,750 Reviews
  • 3,141 Photos
  • 893,247PageViews
  • 4 Countries
  • 192 Cities

Latest Activity

See All Activity

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (5)