Les Baux

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Maybe it was the inability to find a parking space anywhere near the town, or the hundreds of tourists disgourging from tour buses and clogging the tiny streets, but I found Les Beux, a medieval fortress and town north of Arles, disappointing.

Once we wandered back into the surrounding countryside, the magic of Provence returned, particularly when viewing the remains of the Roman aqueduct that once provided water to Arles and surveying the surrounding olive groves.

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The Grand Canyon du Verdon

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A couple of winding hours (and a picnic) beyond Rings, we entered the Grand Canyon of Europe, the Canyon of Verdon.

Nothing around this place prepares you for the gorgeous ribbon of blue winding gracefully through such ancient, glacier-carved rock. A thin road clings to both sides of the canyon, tempting you to stop every few kilometers and peek out over the side.

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Riams

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Just down the road from Jouques, where we are staying, we stumbled into Rians, a picturesque village featuring a majestic church (almost a mini-cathedral) and two 12-century towers.

There is nothing about it in our guidebooks, and we appeared to be the only outsiders there on a sleepy Sunday. We got to experience that increasing rare feeling of discovery while traveling, especially while watching some old-timers play a few rounds of boules.

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The Castles of Southwestern France

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Katherine and I took the good advice from a friend and spent the day exploring various châteaus in the Hautes-Corbieres region of southwestern France.

There are châteaus spread throughout the mountainous area south of Carcassonne, which gained fame in the time of the Cathar religious sect of the 13th century and were fortified by French kings, when this area was part of the border with Spain.

We particularly enjoyed climbing to the top of the Château de Peyrepertuse, near the village of Duilhac. The wind blew fierce and cold, but we braved the elements to take in the unparalleled views that stretched nearly to Spain.

Tonight, we are staying in Aix-en-Provence, preparing to take possession of a small farmhouse on the outskirts of a Provence village. Here’s hoping the renter’s English is better than our French!

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Carcassonne!

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After three flights, a long drive, and about 24 of constant travel, Katherine and I arrived in Carcassonne this afternoon, relatively unphased. A jewel of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, Carcassonne features beautiful architecture and a well-trodden tourist trail through the old, recreated La Cite.

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One Second Everyday – January to March 2014

Some folks know that I’ve been doing the One Second Everyday thing since last year, as I bother them with recording my short films at different times. Anyway, here is my compilation of seconds for January, February, and March 2014, which includes two trips to New Orleans, a conference in St. Louis, some motorcycle riding, and a lot of cold, cold winter.

If you haven’t heard about One Second Everyday, it is a app you can load on your smartphone of choice that allows you to grab a second of video everyday and easily construct a movie of it. It is a great way to track where you’ve gone and what you’ve experienced over period of time.

Goodbye, Jake

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Today, we had to be put Jake to sleep. We were privileged to take care of him for over 16 years.

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Jake was unquestioningly loyal and protective.

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A wizard with the frisbee, as a young dog, he could leap over 5 feet in the air and run faster than we could throw it.

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Jake was a healthy dog, up until his final year. Even when ailing, though, he always lived up to being our best friend.

We’ll miss him.