The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.--Richard Bode

Monday, May 16, 2016


It has been a long time since I posted anything to this blog. That's because I left my bike with a friend in Madrid and flew home from my daughter's graduation from college. More about that in a little while, but first I need to bring the blog up-to-date.

In my last post I was telling about visiting the modern arts and science center in Valencia. It was a wonderful place. One of the things I wanted to do there was spend a day visiting the Marine building.

I like the wildlife that live at that place. I didn't take many pictures of the sea creatures, but I did get some shots of the outdoor critters. These flamingos were standing around, one-legged, thinking that they were about the prettiest birds on the planet.

Hey! What about us? We're pretty too.

Yeah? Well, come over here you stuck up birds. I'll show you what I can do to pretty animals.

Don't be so vile, crocodile. You are giving all the reptiles here a bad name.

Of all the animals in the Marine Center, I liked these Rosette Spoonbills the best:

Valencia has several parks. One of the best runs for miles along a dry river bed. I borrowed a bicycle and rode the entire length of it one day.  There were some interesting things to see there. What do you think of this playground. I would have loved something like that when I was a child.

There was certainly a lot to see in Valencia. It is one of my favorite cities. I rode my borrowed bike to the wharf and salivated over the sailboats moored there, and to the beach where I watched people playing sandlot volleyball, and to the old city center where I got my pocket picked (my own fault-- I should never have had my Kindle Paperwhite e-reader sticking up out of my back pocket).

Unfortunately, I did not take many pictures, and all too soon it was time to move on, riding Odysseus toward Madrid.

I am so amazed at the mountains and gorges and bridges in Spain.

Once in Madrid, which is not all that far from Valencia, I stayed at the Apartment of Maria and Carlos. They were great hosts. Thanks for putting up with me Maria and Carlos.

Carlos is working hard on learning to speak English. Between his rudimentary English and my poor Spanish we were able to communicate pretty well. Carlos was intrigued with my motorcycle.

It was very rainy in Madrid. That is kind of a rare thing for them. It is usually sunny and warm. I spent my time inside museums mostly, looking at art work by famous Spanish artists: Picasso, El Greco, Salvador Dali, Goya and so forth. The sun came out sometimes, but only in rare sunny moments. When that happened, out would come the street performers also. Look at this guy. I would have been exhausted lying around on my stomach like that all day. What a hard way to make a living.

Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, is pretty famous there in Madrid.

One of the most intriguing things in Madrid, in my opinion, is the growing wall. It is close to the famous Prado Museum, and it is covered with plants. People sure did like taking pictures of it, even though it is very hard to get a good picture of.

One reason I was in Madrid was because it was a convenient place to leave Odysseus for a week while I went home for Victoria's graduation. I left Odysseus with a man I met through the Horizons Unlimited Club of world motorcycle travelers that I belong to. His name is Victor Rider, which I think is a perfect name for a motorcycle guy.


Victor has the perfect place for leaving a motorcycle. He is just a few miles from the Madrid airport, and only 5 minutes from a Metro Station. Thanks for watching over Odysseus for me while I went home Victor. I really appreciate it.

It was good to see my wife at the airport when I got back to the good ole USA. There were a lot of chores waiting for me, but mostly she had been doing a lot of the work I should be doing myself while I was gone. After a few days, it was time to go to the University of Illinois and see Victoria get her degree in Psychology.

It was really cold sitting up there in the stands at the football stadium. Patrice and I were bundled up. Unfortunately for the graduates, they had to sit in the wind down on the stadium grounds in their flimsy gowns. No bundling up for them.

Graduation was a two day affair. First was the general graduation.

The next day, Sunday, was the "real" graduation. Each School at the University had its own graduation ceremony where the graduates were actually handed their diplomas. It was inside and much warmer.

And here she is ladies and gentlemen, ta da, Victoria. We are sure proud of you girl.

And now, Victoria comes home for a while and starts looking for work, and I go back to Madrid to pick up Odysseus and commence the long ride to take him back up to Heidelberg where I keep him. So, bye bye, Patrice and Victoria. I always miss you while I am gone.

I leave tomorrow, and arrive in Madrid the next day (yawn). Jessica, my eldest daughter, and I will meet up at the airport there in Madrid, and a few days later her husband, Renaud, will be there also. We plan to spend some time at Grenada seeing the famous Alhambra there. I promise to take a lot of pictures of the three of us there.

Adios for now.

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