A few remarkables

To date, with my wife, family, friends and colleagues, I have . . .

Climbed:

  • to the summit of Mt. Washington, and around and down a foggy Tuckerman’s Ravine (not recommended!) of New Hampshire’s White Mountains;
  • the Fortress Masada in Israel;
  • the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe in Paris;
  • the grand mosque in Kampala, Uganda;
  • to the summit, at daybreak, of the Blue Mountains in Jamaica;
  • into an inner chamber of the Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt;
  • up to and into the firing positions of two WWII anti-aircraft guns formerly guarding the approach to Bora Bora, French Polynesia;
  • a spiraling 125 feet, to the top of Astoria Tower, Oregon;
  • around the stadium rows of the Colosseum in Rome;
  • to the top of the dome at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London;
  • into a stalactite-crusted cave at Ha Long Bay, Vietnam;
  • to the top of newly dug rainwater harvesting bunds, across farm fields in Hunsur Tibetan Settlement, India;
  • to the top of the ham radio tower at the Jamaican Red Cross HQ in Kingston;
  • to the top of Diamond Head on Oahu, Hawaii;
  • aboard a US Coastguard patrol boat darting across Puget Sound.

Traveled:

  • by car and truck, across the United States three times;
  • by motorcycle, at dusk, evading elephants, on return to Tibetan monastery sleeping quarters in southern India;
  • by jeep, intentionally over mounds of millet in rural India to help with “auto threshing”;
  • by 4WD van through Murchison and Queen Elizabeth national parks of Uganda;
  • by canoe, through the copper-colored rivers and sunken logs amid the Pine Barrens of New Jersey;
  • by tube, down the upper Delaware River;
  • by raft, over Snake River whitewater rapids in Jackson Hole, WY;
  • by auto ferry, aboard the Blue Nose, from Maine to Nova Scotia;
  • by hovercraft, across the English Channel;
  • by airplane, a three-seater Cessna, on a winter’s night round trip from Knoxville to Nashville, Tennessee — checking for wing icing with a flashlight along the way;
  • by bicycle, into the former riverbed now residual mud flow region caused by the eruption of Mt. St. Helens;
  • by elevator, in 1983, to the top of a World Trade Center tower in New York City;
  • by “ambulance”, with an acute lumbar strain, in a short-bed Tata 4-wheel drive vehicle, from Kollegal to Mysore, India;
  • by camel, around the Great Pyramids at Ghiza;
  • by ferry to the stormy Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland;
  • by train, at 120+ miles per hour, on the TGV from Paris to Canne, France;
  • by mag-lev train, at 120+ miles per hour, from greater Shanghai to Pudong International Airport, China;
  • by bullet-train, at 120+ miles per hour, from Tokyo to Kyoto and Kyoto to Hiroshima, Japan;
  • by train, at 50+ miles per hour, south to north, on the famous Indian Railways, from Mundgod to Mysore, Mysore to Bangalore, Bangalore to Delhi, and Delhi to Pathankot, India;
  • by foot, to view the amazing Terra Cotta warriors of Xian, China;
  • by 4×4 truck, to the 14,000 ft summit of Mauna Kea, Island of Hawaii;
  • by amateur radio contact, to the Kingdom of Tonga (among many other places of the world);
  • by boat, along the Yangtze River, from Shanghai to mouth and Chongqing to Three Gorges Dam;
  • by boat, along the Nile River, to visit the Temple Karnak;
  • by boat, along the Seine River (and under Napoleon’s bridge), for a view of Paris at water’s edge;
  • by boat, along the Rhine River, with compulsory wine & beer-tasting stops along the way;
  • by boat, to retrieve lobster traps, off the coast of Cape Breton, Canada;
  • by boat, to reach flooded villages in rural Bangladesh;
  • by cable cars, along the streets of San Francisco, to the summit of the Grand Teton mountains, across the valleys of Hong Kong, to an approach of the Great Wall of China at Simitai, to the summit of Japan’s Miyajima Peace Island in Hiroshima, and to ski runs in the Catskill mountains of New York;

Encountered:

  • gun fire shoot-outs in Kingston, Jamaica;
  • friendly people, great food and irie music in Kingston, Jamaica;
  • a tornado spinning through Knoxville, Tennessee;
  • a hammer-head shark off the coast of Florida;
  • a crocodile off the coast of Jamaica;
  • alligators in Florida’s Okeefenokee Swamp and Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge;
  • hundreds of curious monkeys in the Rajiv Gandhi National Forest, India;
  • families of chimps and gorillas in Uganda;
  • thousands of island-dwelling sea birds off the coast Neah Bay, the most northwestern point of the lower 48 United States;
  • thousands of island-dwelling sea birds nesting at Alcatraz Island;
  • the results of in-situ vitrification of nuclear waste gone wrong (process for immobilizing nuclear waste contaminated soils by inserting high voltage electrodes to melt the soil into glass globules) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory — high voltage + underground aquifer water = steam = explosion and rupturing of vacuum hood designed to contain releases = spewed molten soil glass (like lava) and release of radioactive emissions to atmosphere = big mess;
  • the rings of Saturn via telescope on the slopes of Mauna Kea, Hawaii;
  • the tidal bore at the Bay of Fundy;
  • the “never-gets-old” joys of new graduates with their families at annual university commencement ceremonies;

Designed / built / repaired / produced:

  • with a student intern, a 150-gallon water catchment;
  • with my father, a 220-gallon water catchment;
  • with Jamaican contractors, a 9600-gallon rainwater catchment;
  • a solar air convention heater (like the one pictured within the “appropriate technology” page);
  • 90w and 520w, 12-volt solar PV systems for our home;
  • a 12-volt LED lighting system (design published in Home Power magazine #73);
  • an innovative LED lighting company — Scherchlight Designs, LLC;
  • co-founded an integrated stormwater management / low-impact design firm — Living Systems Design, LLC;
  • co-created an integrated biosystem (pictured on P.54 in Josh Tickell’s (2000) book From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank);
  • coat-hanger amateur radio antennas for 2-meter and 70 centimeter bands;
  • with members of the Jamaica Amateur Radio Association, their antenna rotor atop the tower at the Jamaica Red Cross in Kingston;
  • with members of the Zhejiang Radio Sport Association, their antenna and 2m repeater serving Lin’an, China;
  • with a local hiking club, re-chinked a Smoky Mountain trail cabin on the Appalachian Trail;
  • with my wife, home-brewed tasty lagers, ales and stouts.  🙂

In addition, I have:

  • pushed the famous launch button once used for the Saturn V rocket at Cape Canaveral, Florida;
  • pushed (with the help of farm workers) the fruit & vegetable truck I was driving out of a ditch (full of corn, peaches, and tomatoes) in south New Jersey;
  • hiked the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania in summer and winter (visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Falling Waters” home along the way), many parts of the Appalachian Trail, the Tianmu Mountain in China, and the interior of Denali National Park, Alaska;
  • walked the halls of the Louvre, Versailles, the Smithsonian, and Museums of Cairo, London, and Shanghai;
  • walked the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, the paths of Stonehenge, and among the tikis of Tahiti;
  • walked the back streets of Florence, the hills of Mt. St. Michelle, the beaches of Canne, and the halls of Notre Dame in Paris;
  • walked the Vatican, the Coliseum, and the Sistine Chapel;
  • walked two sections of the Great Wall of China (Badaling and Simitai), Windsor Castle, and the Taj Mahal;
  • walked the streets of San Francisco (like Karl Malden) and the bazaars of Jaipur;
  • walked the passages of the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” in Vietnam, and of Alcatraz in San Francisco;
  • sat in the famous Myles Horton rocking chairs for meetings at the Highlander Center in Tennessee, and in the pews for Evensong at Westminster Abbey in London;
  • hosted a regionally-broadcast weekly radio program for the Radio Information Service, in Pittsburgh, for two years, reading an edition of The Pittsburgh Press newspaper for blind and visually-impaired audiences (before the internet).

. . . just for starters.  🙂

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