Buddy Medbery


Buddy Medbery

I work to dive and travel

North America » United States » South Carolina » Charleston November 26th 2020

Happy Thanksgiving to all!! This is a story I wrote about 5-6 years ago. The pecan Santa hangs in a place of honor on my tree. The Back-of-the-Tree Ornament The old man sat in the old overstuffed chair, sipping his apple cider with brandy, and listening to Jingle Bell Rock playing softly in the background. As he had always done, he had put up his Christmas tree, set out a few of the Dickens village buildings and figurines, and set up the crockpot with apple cider and mulling spices. It was harder now. Since his wife had died, it had taken more energy every year to put up the display she had so loved. But still he set the little skaters on the mirror with the magnets so they appeared to skate over a frozen pond. ... read more

North America » United States » Tennessee » Cumberland Gap October 25th 2020

In the posthumous Thomas Wolfe novel You Can't Go Home Again the protagonist is George Webber, a writer ostracized by his home community because of his unflattering portraits of the people of the town. The real-life background was more complicated. Wolfe's first novel Look Homeward Angel was one of the most thinly veiled autobiographies masquerading as fiction. The fictional town was Altamont, but the real-life hometown of Wolfe was Asheville. In his second novel, Of Time and the River, the people of Asheville were not included, and they were even more miffed at their exclusion. Wolfe did not go back to Asheville to visit family for 8 years after the publication of Look Homeward Angel, and barely reconciled with the town before his premature death from neurotuberculosis at age 38. Toward the end of You Can't ... read more
LMU sign on hillside 1954
Lincoln Memorial University Harrogate TN 102520
Mother with wild watercress 1954

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney » CBD March 4th 2020

We left this day for our return home. Last night we availed ourselves of a last opportunity to go to the Sydney Opera House and see La Bohème. Never a bad way to end a visit. We spent that day are-visiting Doyle's on the Beach for a last lunch of wonderful Australia and New Zealand seafood. WE embarked on our return with some trepidation. By that time the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic was getting into pretty serious action. The day after we left NZ they shut down incoming and outgoing flights. Australia was getting more serious than they already had been. There were beginning to be the first reports of cases of people who flew through LAX. Nonetheless, our options were limited, fo fly out we did for the somewhat shorter trip back than the outgoing trip (tailwinds ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Matamata March 1st 2020

Leaving Auckland, we headed a couple of hours south to Matamata. Nearby, on what used to be a 506 hectare (1250 acre) sheep farm, Sir Peter Jackson found what he felt was the perfect site to locate his set for The Shire. In particular, a large tree matched a tree described in Tolkien's works. He built the set using temporary materials for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. By agreement with the landowners, it was all torn down after filming was completed. When he decided to film the Hobbit trilogy, he approached the family that owned the land and they all agreed to build a permanent set, and use it as a tourist attraction after filming wrapped up. I believe the second set was identical to the first with the exception of the more durable materials ... read more
Hobbitton Movie Set
Hobbitton Movie Set
Hobbitton Movie Set

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Auckland » Central February 29th 2020

Leaving Paihia, we dawdled down the beautiful coast back to Auckland. All along the coast are wonderful vistas either at. sea level or from the heights above, and the coast is replete with wide sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. As in all places in New Zealand, tramping trails abound. We took some time working our way back to Auckland, since we had little desire to do anything there other than see the wonderful museum with its Maori treasures. The Auckland Museum surmounts a hill in the large park called the Auckland Domain, occupying an old volcanic crater. The park includes tree-lined drives, walking trails, and a glass-enclosed botanical garden, and occupies 75 hectares (185 acres) just southeast of the main downtown area of Auckland. The park was established in 1843, and the Auckland War Memorial Museum ... read more
Coastland north of Auckland
Maori sailing vessel
Large Maori war canoe

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Bay of Islands » Paihia February 28th 2020

The less I say about Auckland the better. People seem to be flocking there to live, but we failed to see the charm. Perhaps in the suburbs it is better, but downtown is crowded, noisy, congested, and lacking in charm, at least for us. The museum is magnificent - more about that later. After a night in Auckland, we headed back out on the road, this time going up the west coast of the North Island and then crossing over to the east side and the Bay of Islands area. In particular, in addition to just seeing more of the North island, we had our sights set on the kauri trees. Among the largest trees on earth, these also represent one of the oldest tree groups on earth, with representative species extending back to the Jurassic ... read more
Kauri slab
Kauri gum
Swamp kauri slab - 7600 years old

Crusin' and playing the radio With no particular place to go Chuck Berry After leaving Doubtful Sound, we had to make a long drive to the Fox Glacier area. We planned to see the glacier while we were there, but also had hoped to have great views of the Southern Alps from the western side along the way. We were frustrated in both aspirations. In the more southern part of the trip, we saw some beautiful lakes, such as Lake Wakatipu at Queenstown and the side-by-side lakes Wanaka and Hawea. But as you drive along the western coast of the South Island, you are largely in vegetation-covered foothills, and only rarely catch glimpses of the mountains themselves. We frequently crossed wide snow-fed alluvial streams, with the typical shoals of gravel, now barely flowing at the end ... read more
Lake Wakatipu
Lake Wanaka
Snow-fed alluvial river

Although enjoyable, the trip to Milford Sound was a little underwhelming, given its rank in the pantheon of world travel destinations. Lots of waterfalls, but small in size and little else to see on the Sound itself. However, the next day went the other way. Our day started with a short drive to another lodging in Te Anau with a large parking area, where we parked the car and took our small overnight bags for our overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound. Doubtful Sound is much more remote than Milford, perhaps accounting for its second place among South Island attractions. To get there, we took a van about 20 km from Te Anau to Manapouri, boarded a boat which took us about 35 km across Lake Manapouri to the Manapouri Hydro Station, then boarded a smaller van ... read more
Raging stream on way to Deep Cove
Doubtful Sound
Doubtful Sound

The highlight most anticipated by many visitors to New Zealand's South Island is a visit to Fiordland National Park, and for many that means a cruise on Milford Sound. In normal times, this means about a two hour car drive from Te Anau or a longer drive from Manapouri or Queenstown, followed by a relatively short cruise on what is a surprisingly small body of water. However, this was not normal times. Continuing our string of catastrophic near-misses, we arrived in Fiordland just days after an historic flood event devastated the road to Milford, stranding hundreds and requiring several air rescues. Over 39 inches of rain fell within a 60 hour period. https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/hundreds-stranded-flood-hit-fiordland The result of the consequent flooding was that the road into Milford was several damaged in several places. When you drive the road, ... read more
Eglington Valley
Mirror Lake
Mirror Lake

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Te Anau February 20th 2020

One of our unspoken rules is that the driver makes any real-time navigation decisions. Depending on the adventurousness of the driver, this can result in some expected destinations. And no, I am not currently talking about the scurrilous tale that I tried to drive us over a cliff in Spain. Our goal for the day was to follow what is known as the Great Southern Scenic Route along the south coast of the South Island, to Stirling Point, then on to Te Anau, our base of operations for the next couple of days. Stirling Point is in the small town of Bluff, the southernmost town (although not the southernmost point) in New Zealand, and the southern terminus of Hwy 1, which traverses the length of New Zealand. The southernmost point is actually Slope Point in the ... read more
Catlins Lake
Rainforest along trail to Purakaunui Falls
Purakaunui Falls

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