Capture the Colour #CTC13


Okay I am going to jump out into the sandbox and enter the “Capture the Colour” contest this year. I have never done anything like this, as I am petrified to even submit my photos. When you consider the excellent professionals that are involved I really don’t stand a chance, but what the hell, I have to start sometime. Travel Supermarket is sponsoring the contest and each contestant is required to submit five photos displaying their ability to reflect on the colors red, blue, yellow, white and green. Simple enough? Right? No it isn’t! I am here to tell you it took me two hours of pilfering through my collection, to narrow each color down to three or so possibilities. Absolutely nerve-racking! So here goes.


Red Ripe Cacao SeedPod

Red-Ripe Cacao Seed Pod



I took this photo on my most recent trip to Ecuador when I had the extreme pleasure of visiting and touring a Cacao Plantation in El Oro province. It was an awesome trip and as most people do, I love chocolate to death! I can eat it every day. Just ask my wife Kim!



Dessert at The Eucalyptus Cafe in Cuenca From My March Trip with Kim

Yellow-Dessert at The Eucalyptus Cafe in Cuenca From My March Trip with Kim



Kim and I were shopping at a local Home Depot one day this past fall I believe and stumbled upon a collection of potted orchids for sale. I though that they were outstanding and had not seen a blue orchid previously. Loved it and now I am using it in this contest. Wonders never cease!



Home Depot Orchids

Blue-Home Depot Orchids



We have three sons and lived in a house on the Mountain, in Austin Texas for approximately 18 years, while raising our sons. I will never forget this snowfall, as it rarely snows in Texas and I was out before sunup trying to get the right photo. This one showed the snow on the backyard umbrella and the trees in contrast to the other colors.



A Snow Fall in Austin Texas-Very Rare

White-A Snow Fall in Austin Texas-Very Rare



On Memorial Day of this year I was invited to partake in a project that our middle son’s company sponsors. Homes of Hope is a fantastic organization that builds homes for individuals that truly need help. This calla lily was outside the Rosarito Beach Hotel in Mexico where we stayed while working on the project. I will never forget the experience of turning the home over to the needy family! It was truly humbling!



Green-Calla Lily

Green-Calla Lily


Thanks to my friend Joe Newman at Cosmic Smudge for nominating me for the contest and forcing me to come out of my shell! I wish I could quote technical photographic data about my equipment like Joe did, but the simple truth is that I used my Nikon digital pocket camera on all the photos including this one that kind of displays all the colors together. (Uh oh I am jumping outside the spectrum). I may have used a little editing prerogative, but that is all.


Bridge View on Spadina In Toronto

Bridge View on Spadina In Toronto


Part of the contest and a way to increase the participants, which directly decreases my chances (Ha-I am joking. I know I have absolutely no chance against the pros!) is to nominate an additional five bloggers to enter. So here goes. Y’all don’t hate me and please enter this #CTC13 contest and blow the competition away!


Lisa Niver Rajna at We Said Go Travel

Will Castillo at I Will Travel

Karla Aguilar Perez at Traveller Soul

Lauren and Kenin Bassart at The Constant Rambler

Linda and Dan Bibb at As We Saw It

I am cutting my own throat as both Karla Aguilar Perez and Dan Bibb are wonderful photographers and do it professionally. Who know maybe this will help the out! A big “THANK YOU” to Travel Supermarket for allowing us to participate (definitely brown-nosing) and best of luck to all the competitors! Saludos mi amigos!









Photo of The Day #6

the Pier at The Rosarita Beach Hotel

 Pier at The Rosarito Beach Hotel



I was fortunate enough to help Homes of Hope over Memorial Day weekend in Tijuana, building a home for a deserving family. We stayed at the Rosarito Beach Hotel and I finally got a chance to explore the beach, the last night we were there for about 30 minutes. This photo spoke volumes to me and I loved the old pier. It appeared very sturdy still, yet in dire need of a good paint job.


I am guessing it went out over the water about a 300 to 4oo feet and had roughly 600-900 feet of pier over the sand when I walked it. The sky was overcast and I couldn’t help taking the photo. I was mesmerized by the iron rusted blue poles and the remaining deck worn down by time. So peaceful at that moment in Mexico!

Homes of Hope…Day Two

The wake up call came after my first cup of coffee and I took a quick shower. This allowed Sean an extra 30 minutes of sleep and I am guessing all three boys needed the sleep. I went to the lobby and found Dennis the Defender Direct man waiting. I then called Chris and Brad to make sure they were up and around. Slowly but surely the crowd managed to arrive and we finally boarded our bus at around 7:05 AM. Breakfast was at the YWAM/Homes of Hope campus and was actually fairly good, except I can’t eat bacon and it was the only meat this day. We received our last-minute instructions and anxiously hopped on the bus that took us to our home site.

The Current Home

The Current Home

We arrived after bouncing over many a pothole and chugging up a hill that I though the bus might not make. The Blue Team poured out and we looked the existing “home” over and most of us kept our eyes turned down, realizing that this family actually lived in the shack next to the concrete foundation poured ahead of time. The wife and children came out and met us all and joined in the circle for prayer. Colby our construction leader and other staff went over the procedures and safety rules. Felipe said a prayer for our safety and the home we were building. Colby and Brody the assistant construction leader, immediately divided up the team into painters, framers and the woodcutting team. Sean got on the framers and Chris, Brad and I were the team on the saw, cutting all the various lengths needed to complete the walls, windows and door jambs.

Felipe leading the prayer with Reina, Ariel her son, Sean, Chris and Brad

Chris, Brad, Sean, Felipe leading the prayer with Reina, Ariel her son

We emptied the van of all the tools and supplies that were not already on site. All the wood had to be divided up and carried to various stations prior to any work beginning. The team did a great job and everyone that could, pitched in and carried something. The siding and plywood stacked over by the painters. The 2×10’s, 2×8’s and 2×6’s were stacked by the cutting team. The 1×4’s went to the framers who immediately started framing the trusses. Sean joined Brody and they started hammering away with this group.

Sean Nailing Trusses

Sean Nailing Trusses with Brody

Each station had sawhorses that acted as tables to lay the wood on for prep. Brad and Chris secured the saw to a a couple of 2×6’s, set a jig in place after a few small cuts and away we went. We (Brad, Chris and I got a routine going (I should say Brad and Chris, as I was just trying not to get in the way). They tacked a piece of a 2×4 at the exact mark that would allow each piece of lumber to be dropped into the jig and cut it to the appropriate size. Bright young men I must say! I think they have done this before. In no time all the wood had been cut and marked in red, as to the lengths.

Nomadic Texan with Chris on Saw

Nomadic Texan with Chris on Saw

The framer teams nailed the two side walls together including the siding. Felipe our translator and really good carpenter put the middle wall together. We then lifted the two side walls and tacked the middle wall in place. I tacked 2×4 pieces to the side walls to provide support and stop the drifting. This was all done in a matter of an hour or two. I was astonished at the progress, the coordination, cooperation and organization of the Blue team! It was amazing.

Walls up with two side walls

Walls up with Middle Wall in Place

We then framed in the rear and front walls without the siding to get all four sides in place. I then climbed a ladder (against Kim’s direct orders) and tacked in the 2×4’s above the rear walls. I think Felipe did the front walls. The team then tacked the siding on the front and rear sides. Brad helped in the rear and I must say it was a precarious perch with only about 12″ of sand to work with and walk on.

Brad Nailing Siding and Trying Not to Fall Down the Hill

Brad Nailing Siding and Trying Not to Fall Down the Hill

Now that the walls were all secured the trusses were brought in and Chris and Brody hopped on the top headers and started installing the trusses. I had to look away as it made me very nervous for Chris to be up that high, with literally no support or safety net. Another team started putting Sheetrock up around the interior walls. Brad was working with Felipe and I started working with them and Colby to some extent and we finished most of the Sheetrock except a few small places by lunch.

Front View at Lunch

Front View at Lunch

I was on a step ladder and missed the second step on the way down. Tumbled head first into the concrete, scraped and bruised both knees badly. My pride was hurt more than my body I think! It was embarrassing to have the only injury of the build! Sean was elected to string wire and run the electrical in the house from the junction box to all outlets. This became a major task! Glad he knew what he was doing!

Sean Listening to the Other Old Guy Talk Electricity

Sean Listening to the Other Old Guy Talk Electricity

In the morning talk, the lady mentioned that we should each try and ask the family what they would like about their new home and what would make them most happy. Would it be a kitchen to make family meals in? New aesthetic wallpaper to make them feel proud of their home? There is a lot that they could choose from. During lunch, I asked one of the staff to translate for me and I asked Reina what would make her most happy about her new home. She stepped back and thought a brief second and responded with “I will be so happy not to be wet anymore”. It was all I could do to maintain my composure. I thanked her and turned away, losing it completely. My eyes swelled with tears, as I realized how lucky I am and the fact I am never concerned about my “roof” leaking on a dirt floor. Certainly, hiring roofing contractors Roanoke, America, or in other places could be quite convenient for many people whenever they encounter a leaking or damaged roof, but it is still a luxury for many throughout the world.

Reina with her Son Ariel and an Unidentified Gentleman

Reina with her Son Ariel and an Unidentified Gentleman

It got to a point in the afternoon where I could no longer lift my right arm. This could be due to the excess hammering while building the deck. Maybe we could have just hired a professional deck builder to do the job. Anyways, next time I must use a 2×4 piece ahead of the build and work my muscles up. I turned to the painting table and joined the fabulous Ruth in painting the plywood deck for the roof. I learned that her former husband was a painter by profession and she taught me a few tricks about painting with rollers and with brushes. Needless to say, all the paint did not get on the plywood, and my arms were covered with white paint by the time we stopped and started packing up the tools and supplies. That is when I realized that DIY is not always a good idea, whether you are painting a table or a room. Sometimes, it could be wise to visit the experts to get the room or the table painted.

Ruthless Ruth the 80 Year Old Trash Talker

Ruthless Ruth the 80 Year Old Trash Talker

Anyway, Chris and Brody got all but two pieces of the roof deck in place. Brad and his team got all the exterior siding and all but a few last minute Sheetrock cuts in place. We were a tired but happy bunch of workers. We loaded all the tools into the van, placed all the extra wood and supplies in the house and nailed a piece of plywood over the door. By this time the windows were also in place. We loaded up and left for dinner at the camp. Dinner was the “Taco Man” and the staff raved about the quality of the tacos. They did not mislead us. We ate until we couldn’t breathe and left for the hotel.

The Taco Man

The Taco Man

Sitting in the dining room I realized how tired I was and how emotional I got at Reina’s comment. This old man was ready for bed and I hit the hay without even taking a shower. Sean left and said he would see me later. It only took about 30 minutes and he came back and jumped in bed. It must have been about 7:00 PM. Were were both so tired that sleep came quickly. Wake up call left for 6:00 AM again and on to Day three!

Homes of Hope… Day One

I have anticipated this morning for some time, with both fear and consternation. Will I be able to keep up with these young men, I am attending this event with or will I collapse from exhaustion and have a heat stroke? The alarm goes off  at 3:00 AM sharp, stirring my wife and I arise, to discover if I have still have it in me to pull my part in this escapade of generosity. I packed the night before. The boys and I shower quickly and place our bags in the car. My son Chris, his roommate and life long friend Brad, spent the night and we leave to pick up my other son Sean. Of course the “Old Man” has issues with the gate code at Sean’s apartment and the two boys give me a hard time! We see Sean walking to the car once we are in the gate and turn around to leave. As we are about to go back through the gate Sean remembers his passport is still in his apartment. Thank goodness Sean remembered it before we were at the airport or worse yet going into Mexico. I am hounded, as they all say I am too anxious and we are getting to the airport too early.


We enter the parking site, board the shuttle and walk into the biggest mess I have ever seen at Southwest, an airline I rarely fly. The ticketing line is probably 300 people long and the “system is down”, not to mention we all realize its Memorial Day weekend. The young brains immediately go into high gear and Chris checks in over the Internet. Brad goes out to the short baggage line check-in. Sean and I scratch our heads, roll our eyes and worry what will we do if we miss this flight!. Luckily the system pops up, Brad texts Chris and we all get in line at the exterior baggage check-in. We then all receive our boarding passes in no more than five minutes. We go through security, which is always fun with me (Bi-Pap, shoes, back pack, camera, etc). It takes four or so totes and the boys are being nice, but I know they are frustrated with the “Old Man”!

The Three Amigos

The Three Amigos


We board the flight with a “C” pass and luckily don’t all have to sit in middle seats, as we have early “C’s”. Flight to Phoenix is shaky and up to 15,000 feet the plane shakes like a baby rattle. We finally climb out of the disturbance and land in Phoenix. We make our flight to San Diego with no issues and are okay until the landing when the plane tilts to the left and skids on the runway. Needless to say, I almost had to change my underwear. Finally we are out of the air and realize its a 3 hour wait for the bus to the Rosarito Beach Hotel. We keep looking outside and no one is at the designated pick up spot, so we wait. Finally about 20 minutes prior to the bus’s arrival people start gathering and its a gang of rather various proportion of ages, builds and personalities.


The Gang's All Here!!!

The Gang’s All Here!!!


Our bus arrives and we all board for the ride to Tijuana. The border gate is brand new and we all disembark, grab our bags and go through Mexican security. You push a button and “random” red alerts are done (you have to step aside and have your bags searched) and most are green. We get three reds and the “Old Man” is the only green! We then load our bags back under the bus and I am impressed with Sean’s energy and enthusiasm. He gets into the baggage hold and loads all bags for the entire group (proud papa — maybe the Monster Energy drink helped). We drive to Rosarito Beach Hotel, not knowing what to expect.  Sean’s company Defender Direct is leading this mission of compassion and has an unusual philosophy in this day and time. They actually believe they have a responsibility to their fellow human beings and share the bottom line profits with needy families. What a remarkable company! I learn later they will not take it public, as they know they cannot control the distrubtion of funds once that happens. Very admirable!


The Rosarita Beach Hotel

The Rosarita Beach Hotel


We get off the bus and enter a wonderful, historic old hotel that has served movie stars, celebrities and royalty over the years. We are given our keys and people are divided into three teams Blue, red and green. We are told to meet in the lobby in two hours for a trip to YWAM where we will learn the itinerary and eat dinner. Sean draws the short straw and has to room with (the Old Man-Nomadic Texan) me. We unload baggage in room and discover we have no electricity. We turn on all breakers, plug in the refrigerator and test stuff out. We then walk around the hotel until time to be picked up in a old school bus, that has seen better years.


Let's Get This Show on The Road and Get Started!!!

Let’s Get This Show on The Road and Get Started!!!


We arrive at the YWAM/Homes of Hope camp and take a traditional group picture and enter the campus’ main hall. We eat dinner and instructions are given out along with designated group leads, assistant leads and translators for each family team. Quick procedures and schedules are divulged to the group along with a prayer that we succeed. The food is actually good. We receive our bandannas and T-Shirts. Back to the hotel and the “Nomadic Texan” hits the hay while the young men go out for the evening and get involved in who knows what.


Where's My Room Key???

Where’s My Room Key???


I leave a wake up call for 6:00 AM, as we are to meet in front at 7:00 AM! I am worried that I am too old to hang with these young men ALL day and work without embarrassing them. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough! And the “test” will begin!


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Amateur Traveler Episode 471 - Travel to Austin, Texas