While I was migrating to new servers, I realized I have a lot of stuff buried on my server that predates my blogging days. Much of it was created with an image program called Arles. Previously, I was linking to much of this from the left rail of my page, but it really didn’t do justice to it. So I created this page to provide links and more detail so it doesn’t get completely lost.
London photos, Fall 2006: A link to a Flickr page of photos I shot while I was in London speaking at a conference.
Tampa fishing trip, Fall 2006: Wes, Rusty and I fish the flats in Tampa Bay.
New England, 2006: A trip Lara and I took to Maine and Vermont. There also are photos here of one of Joanne’s Pickin’ Parties.
Denver, 2006: A trip Lara and I took to Denver, including a visit to the new offices of the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News. Gone, but not forgotten.
Cabo San Lucas 2005: Wes and I run amok in Mexico. Another great travel adventure with a great friend.
Helsinki 2005: Daytrip we took across the Baltic Sea during a European vacation. We flew from Tallinn, Estonia, to Helsinki via helicopter here.
Paris 2005: Images on Flickr from our trip to Paris during a European vacation.
Amsterdam 2005: Images on Flickr from our trip to the Netherlands during a European vacation.
Stairway to Europe 2005: During our European vacation, we encountered lots of funky stairways.
Tallinn, Estonia 2005: Images on Flickr from our trip to Tallinn for my cousin’s wedding during a European vacation.
Jamaica 2003: Our first trip to Jamaica. We fell in love with the island, the people and the communities in Treasure Beach during that trip and returned several times to Villa Hikaru, an amazing beachfront villa on th south coast.
Anasazi ruins 2003: After my lab cross, PigPen (aka Bubba) died, I wanted to return to New Mexico to spread his ashes. After carefully labeling the bag of ashes in my luggage so the Department of Homeland Security wouldn’t think they were something nefarious and toss me in jail, I took Bubba back home (he was born in Algadones).
Blackberry Farm 2001: We celebrate Lara’s birthday at Blackberry Farm in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Incredible place, and she got to try trout fishing.
Big South Fork 2001: A fall 2001 hike at Big South Fork on the Tennessee/Kentucky line with my friend, Maria, and Xena, my Newf.
Frozen Head State Park 2001: A hike at my favorite Tennessee hiking spot with Jim Sexton and our dogs.
Frozen Head hike, New Year’s Day, 2005: Lara and I take the dogs for a walk to ring in the new year.
Yellowstone 1997: The sole survivor from my work at GoWest, and online outdoor site where Lara and I worked. This was taken with a Kodak DC40, my first digital camera. It was all digital from there. This trip to Yellowstone is one of my all time favorites. It was punctuated by watching an eagle soar over Old Faithful shortly before the geyser erupted.
Wes vs. the grouper 2003: Another Benz-Jackson harassment of innocent grouper. This time off Clearwater, Florida.
Blue Ridge Parkway 1998: A drive along the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway on my way to Joanne’s annual Pickin’ Party in Pennsyltucky. Highight of the trip: Bubba gets bitten by a rattlesnake, and lives to howl about it.
Princess goes to Key West: An amazing trip to Key West with several co-workers. This was a long, strange one. Not sure of the year, but I’m thinking this was late ’90s. Maybe ’98 or ’99?
Bob and Lara in Key West 2001: Lara and I vacation in Key West.
New Orleans 1999: Another co-worker trip, this one to New Orleans. Much mayhem.
Dallas 2005: A few photos I took in Deep Ellum while we were in Dallas for a conference. This included the infamous “Jay is Elaine’s bitch” incident.
Wailin’ in Wales 1996: While I was working for GoWest, the outdoors site, I went to Wales to go mountain biking with Richy and company. Great guys. Wales is incredible, especially the Brecon Beacons area.
LBJ and Me: A Photo Essay: I’m a man of infinite obsessions. A tiny LBJ filled that need for about a year or two. It was a lot of fun taking the little president around the world.
Friends & Family
It’s a ‘Burgh thing: My return to the Benz tribal homeland of Pittsburgh for my nephew’s graduation.
Heather on Wheels: My niece, Heather, in my convertible.
Knapp Family reunion 2o00: A gathering of my mother’s side of the family.
Pickin’ & Grinnin’ 2000: One of many trips to Joanne’s for the annual Pickin’ Party near Harrisburg, Pa.
Pickin’ & Grinnin’ 2002 One of many trips to Joanne’s for the annual Pickin’ Party near Harrisburg, Pa
Scripps New Media flotilla 2000: My staff and I head out to Norris Lake in Tennessee to float and ski.
Edge Thanksgiving 2000: Lara and I travel to Arkansas to celebrate Turkey Day with the Edges.
My birthday, 2003: Photos of a morning hike at Melton Hill park on my birthday as well as shots of our late friend Boogie and her son and daughter.
Chile Cookoff: Photos from a chile cookoff my staff held while we were still at the Digital Crossing offices.
Christmas tree parties and invites: When Lara and I were married in 1989, we started a tradition where all of our friends came over to decorate our Christmas tree. The only rule was that the ornament had to be homemade and it couldn’t offend small children or vegetarians. We’ve done it every year since, sometimes with big, audacious bashes featuring Yankee Jass Bands and sometimes with just a handful of friends. But it’s a tradition we cherish, and it’s produced a lot of great memories. The invites themselves were pretty amusing at times, especially in 1998. Here are links to invites and party photos …
- 1996 invite
- 1997 invite
- 1998 invite
- 1999 invite
- 2000 invite
- Xmas Tree Party 2000
- 2001 invite
- Xmas Tree Party 2001
- Xmas Tree Party 2002
- 2002 invite
- 2003 invite
- Xmas Tree Party 2004
- Xmas Tree Party 2005
- Xmas Tree Party 2006
Fireplace Project 2000: After buying an old farmhouse in Hardin Valley, Lara and I opened up a fireplace that had been boarded up.
Rusty in East Tennessee 2001: The RustyMan visits Tennessee and gets the full tour.
Joanne turns 40: Joanne, one of our dearest friends, celebrates her 40th birthday in Pennsylvania. Lara and I dropped in to surprise her, despite the snowstorm we wandered into.
Christmas 2001: Photos from Christmas when my brother, Steve, came to visit.
My 40th birthday bash 2002: In perhaps the coolest thing anyone ever has done for me, Lara managed to convinced a group of my best friends to come to Tennessee to surprise me on my 40th birthday. We spent several days on a house boat on Dale Hollow Lake playing guitars, raising hell and swimming.
Benzes visit Tennessee: My brother Jeff and his family visit us at our house in Hardin Valley.
LornaFest 2003: When Lorna interned with us, I told her she could stay with me and Lara to help her save money. She arrived a snarky intern and left a friend.
Canaan 2003: Photos of the Canaan Bitches celebrating their annual wild women in the woods weekend in West Virginia. Terrifying. Truly terrifying.
The Cellar Dwellers 1997: When Lara and I moved to Tennessee from Austin, Texas, we found a small, horrible basement apartment to keep us until we found a house. This is the tale of the experience. It’s still one of my favorite web creations, despite how rough it is.
Assorted dog photos: This are photos in my Flickr set dedicated to dogs. My dogs. Friends’ dogs. Strangers dog. Dogs on their own. Yes, dogs are another of my obsessions.
Bubba: The late, great Bubba, aka PigPen. Born on a farm in Algadones, New Mexico. Survivor of a rattlesnake bite. And one of the coolest canines I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. He was a lab/golden cross, but we always suspected he had a bit of Newf in him.
Crystal: My first dog as an adult. Her mother was Brandy, a cocker spaniel my sister-in-law owned. Lara bought the pup for me as a Christmas present during our first Christmas together in 1989. Crystal and Bubba were bosom buddies.
Xena: Xena was a birthday present in 1999. She’s a big, happy-go-lucky Newf who has been the source of more smiles than I can count. It’s also worth checking out Xena vs. the Crab, an encounter between Newf and crustacean.
Fluffy: When Lara and I finally escaped the basement, we decided to add another member to our pack. Poor Fluffy was a chow-cross who was the victim of a divorce. Neither owner could or wanted to keep her, so we took her in. She was a strange though intensely loyal dog.
Sydney: The cockatoo from hell. He’s 20+ years old as of this writing (01/10) and he’s just getting started. We purchased Sydney after Lara’s Amazon parrot, Taco, died of a stroke. Despite his destructive streak, Sydney is a sweet, amusing cockatoo.
Kesey: A tired old collie who was dumped at Melton Hill Park, which is where I used to walk my dogs. When I found him there, I couldn’t leave him out in the cold. So we took him in and the pack expanded to four.
Ozzy: Another dog that was dumped at Melton Hill Park. Why anyone would dump him is beyond me. He’s some kind of retriever/hound/chow cross. Very sweet.
Gilligan: Yet another dog dumped at Melton Hill Park. Yes, there’s a trend there. We took him in reluctantly because he was completely wired, but he’s calmed down pretty well and has given me a humbling lesson in dealing with hounds. I hate him. I love him.
Mully Jingles: When Lara’s best buddy from college, Boogie, died, she left behind a 5-pound Maltese who needed a home. We took him in and changed his name from Jingles to Mully. The name is a shortening of Golbaste Mamarem Evlame Gurdile Shefin Mully Ully Gue, Most Mighty Emperor of Lilliput, delight and terror of the universe. Indeed, he is.
Jackie Sings Swing Low: The late, great Jackie Brown sings Swing Low at one of our Christmas parties. I only wish I’d shot the entire song …
Christmas Carols: More singing by Jackie Brown at one of our Christmas parties.
Xena women howl: This has to be seen/heard to be believed. It’s a ritual shout of the Xena women after they do a shot of tequila at a Christmas party. Frightening. Invigorating. Makes me grave a bit of Patron …
Now that I can strap my kayak to my truck, I’m striking out and paddling new places. My first trip was Fontana Lake in North Carolina. Next up was Melton Hill Lake, much closer to home.
I’ve wanted to paddle Melton Hill for a while. It’s a special place to me. For years when we lived in Hardin Valley, I took the dogs up there every weekend morning to stretch there legs and harass rabbits. That’s where I found the abandoned Ozzy, Gilligan and the late, great Kesey. That park conjures a lot of great, soul cleansing moments.
I decided to put in at Solway Park, which is near Oak Ridge, and paddle downstream to Melton Hill Park. It was a great trip, and it turned out to be one of the longest I’ve done at almost 14 miles. Melton Hill Lake is much different from Loudon or Fontana. The main channel gets very narrow in several spots, and even the bass boats where obeying the channel markers, which leads me to believe there are some nasty shallow spots in there. The water was murkier, too.
When I reached Melton Hill Park, I landed on a sandy beach where I used to toss tennis balls in the water for Xena and Gilligan. To my surprise, there was a tennis ball sitting there. But I doubt it was a relic from our days at the park.
After taking a break, I got back in the kayak and paddled over to Bull Bluff, which I’d seen numerous times from the opposite shoreline. It’s an impressive cliff. From there, I paddled back. I got caught out