In the burbs around Boston I occasionally came across a “Thickly Settled” street sign. It struck me as rather funny and while I expected that it had something to do with it being a more crowded residential area, it really was meaningless. After all, I could see with my own eyes that I was in a residential neighborhood.
I looked it up and found all sorts of humorous comments about this and other street signs. “Slow Children” elicited a comment along the lines of “When I see a Slow Children sign I always wonder how all the slow children all ended up living in one neighborhood.” The best I can gather (I did not bother to dig into the MA government sites to verify this) is that the Thickly Settled sign is an indication to observe a speed limit of 30 mph even if it is not posted. I’m not entirely sure why they don’t just post the speed limit itself if they’re going to bother with putting up a sign at all. Maybe I’m wrong about all this…
On a semi-random note, I’ll give a shout out to Enterprise Car Rental since you can (barely) see the hood of my rental in the picture above. I typically rent from Hertz through my company. I have Hertz #1 Gold which allows me to bypass the rental car checkin. Having #1 Gold means I just show up in the Hertz garage, find my name and parking spot on the display, and the car is waiting in that parking spot with the keys and paperwork in it, ready to go. Pretty convenient. This time my admin set me up with Enterprise which was only $17 per day for an “intermediate” car. I arrived at the Enterprise counter in Boston sometime around midnight and after checking in asked if I had any choices regarding cars. The agent asked what I drive at home — a 4×4 crew cab pickup truck. Upon hearing that she said that since it was midnight I could pick anything in the lot at the $17 price, but mentioned that the sweet, black 2012 Chevy Tahoe might be best suited to my tastes. True enough…nice! Especially nice because I had added some personal time to my trip and was paying some of the days out of my pocket. I’ll pay $17 a day for a new Tahoe anytime.
This past weekend I took my 6 year old son on his first camping trip on the beach. Specifically, we went to Padre Island National Seashore, which has been the site of many camping trips with my oldest son over the years. It’s frankly not the prettiest, most pristine beach on earth but the solitude is hard to beat.
From the point where the blacktop dumps you on the beach, there are 63 miles of uninterrupted sand on which to camp. The first 5 miles or so are accessible by any vehicle but it’s 4×4 only after that point for the most part. That fact eliminates the casual beach trippers and helps keep the number of campers down.
Our normal modus operandi on our beach trips is be very minimalist and not set up a permanent camp. This allows us to be mobile and chase the fish so to speak (often you can drive and spot them silhouetted in the surf as the waves roll over). We might go up and down sections of the beach several times in a day. However, since it was this son’s first trip, we just set up a camp and concentrated on spending time together having fun rather than worrying about how good the fishing was. He had a grand time fishing, finding shells, chasing crabs, throwing the football, swimming…he was never bored for a single moment.
The picture above was taken by our campsite as the sun rose Saturday morning. As you can see, there isn’t anyone in sight as far as the eye can see. It was the same in the other direction. Those tire tracks represent the long road back to civilization — 28 miles to the blacktop in this case. No cell service available anywhere on that road. It’s great to be isolated like that occasionally…we’re headed back in a couple weeks.
The image is not an HDR (you know you do HDR a lot if you feel like you have to specify when it’s *not* an HDR). I had bracketed the shot with the thought of tonemapping mainly to bring out the texture in the sand. However, I ended up using Topaz Adjust, levels, and curves on a layer then masking the original sky back in.