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Welcome!

I currently live in Greer, South Carolina in the Upstate, but am originally from Poway, California. I've lived in the Southeastern US since my college days at Arkansas State. 

I enjoy traveling the backroads of America with my wife Patrice (also a great photographer), photography (my favorites), railroads, and learning about technology and how it will change our lives in every way. 

I've had the chance to work for a variety of companies in many industries over the years and had the chance to live all over the South while working in Manufacturing Management.

You can learn more "About Gene" where I discuss some of my influences.

Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]

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Who knows what we'll find on the backroads of life one story and one photo at a time.

 

 

Dealing with change

June 19, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

ChangeChange

 

Change can evoke various emotions - excitement, fear, or a mix of both, impacting our lives, careers, and organizations. When change is unplanned, it can lead to chaos, instilling fear in teams about the unknown.


Alternatively, planned changes signify progress and improvement. Each change is a step towards achieving goals, requiring thoughtful consideration and team involvement from the outset. Quick wins boost engagement, with public celebrations fueling momentum and fostering a culture of improvement without the need for external consultants. Targeting small areas for enhancements can yield significant results, paving the way for a brighter future.
 

 


Father's Day Reflections

June 16, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

mom and dad 1963mom and dad 1963

My Dad.

Charles "Chuck" Bowker, Jr. - 1941 - 1986.

My dad was always doing something.

He escaped Bakersfield, to serve in the US Navy, he learned electronics and was assigned as a radar operator and electrical specialists on E-2 Hawkeyes. Their squadron had two deployments to Vietnam where the E-2's were the airborne controllers for the planes conducting missions and also the airborne eyes for the Carrier Group detecting potential threats.

After his 2nd tour, he decided to leave the Navy and joined NCR in the suburbs of San Diego as a systems analysis. This was the era when NCR was developing something called the "Automated teller" which we know as ATMs. He would help with the designs and sourcing of parts for a generation without the benefit of AUTOCAD the tools we take for granted today.

He worked a full-time job there and loved still electronics. He built us an Apple II clone have at home. He knew that stuff. All without a college degree, but with that experience from the Navy.

He joined the USN Reserves and worked on electronics at Miramar (when it was still home to Top Gun) on his weekend a month and two weeks during the summer to support the squadrons which were still protecting America during the cold war.

He joined the San Diego Sheriff's Reserves which we trained volunteers which supplemented the regulars on patrol and with events. Later he moved into the Search and Rescue team where they were on 24/7 call to help locate missing persons in San Diego County. Lots of training, meetings, and activities. He brought me along as much as he could and I enjoyed spending time with him and the team.

He was a band dad. When I was in Ozzie's youth band and school bands, he'd take a day off from work to help drive the equipment van. He'd take me all over Southern California to watch the Emerald Brigade at Poway High compete in competitions. He reminded me that someday soon I'd be out there with them. He paid for music lessons outside of school to help me improve, etc...

When I got to Poway High finally he helped the equipment team and the band doing all sorts of behind the scenes things, setting up for field shows, carrying the ladder for our warm-ups or whatever else was needed. He was always around and I loved that time with him, being there in person.

November 1986

My mom woke me up and said "something's wrong". Paramedics were called and he was transported to the hospital. Severe stroke was the diagnosis.

He was moved to the ICU where he passed away 2 weeks later. Our local friends stepped up to help, but we didn't have a family close by. His dad had passed away in January his year and his mom died when he was just a teenager.

He donated his body to medical science as a living donor. We arranged a memorial service to be held a couple of weeks later. My mom and I attended a small church in Poway, but as people reached out to want to attend we realized it would be to small for people who wanted to be there.

At the service, people from all of the groups above attended. The USN was there, the Sheriff's, co-workers from NCR and many of the students and families that he had somehow touched through the band years. Lot's of comments about how he always was there to help. One of the toughest, but also one of the most memorable days in my life.

No he wasn't perfect. No one is of course.

Life after his passing.

My mom told me we'd stay in Poway if I wanted so I could stay in band. We became closer and she went out of her way to support me in things, but she was a long way from her parents and family back in Arkansas.

Losing him so young, he wasn't there to see me graduate High School, College, or give advice about my career and life. He wasn't there to celebrate successes or reach out to for help. He wasn't there in person, but he was always there with me in his spirit.

Happy Father's Day

If your father is still alive today, tell him how much you appreciate him. If he isn't there, do what I do each year and remember him in your own way and how he still influences your life.

 

 


Comfort Control..

June 15, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

comfort control (1 of 1)comfort control (1 of 1)

Someone liked it hot with the heater set like that.

The room controls in this vintage pullman's roomette were pretty basic.  Wow, even a non-grounded 110V AC outlet to shave in the lighted mirror.

No USB's, no checking for wifi, and no cell signals!  Is there a better reason to sit back and enjoy the view of life passing by the windows?

 

 

 


Looking Up and looking out.

June 13, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Ferris WheelFerris WheelWhen I lived in Aiken, South Carolina years ago, I visited the annual fair.

The Ferris wheel provided a nice subject for some shots from different angles with my old Canon G1X camera.

When I was a kid growing up in San Diego, I really looked forward to going to the Del Mar Fair each year.  The fair was full of fun things to do, cool rides, lots of exhibits and good food.

My dad volunteered with the San Diego County sheriff's reserve which helped do traffic and crowd control for the fair, so he'd take me along several days or nights and I'd get free admission and some pocket money to spend.

The hardest choice back then was did I want to go spend it on rides, play some games on the midway, or even spend it on foods I wouldn't eat the rest of the year, or maybe some sort of cool souvenir.   

Then I'd spend hours walking through the exhibition halls, seeing the animals, and all the different categories of competitions they had back then.  The grounds were huge, so it was hard to take it all in or really see it.  Even the paper maps they providedreally didn't help that much.

But they always had a giant ferris wheel on the midway. Made of steel and equipped with gondolas, it was fun to look up, especially after dark while in line to ride. 

When your turn came, you loaded up and rode up and down, but my favorite part of the ride was during the reloading when you'd be stopped at the very top.

Off to one side, was the Santa Fe railroad with Amtrak trains and the beaches beyond that on the Pacific.  On the other side, it was the one chance to see just how big the fairgrounds really were.

Life has those times where you are waiting for something to change, the climb can seem impossible from where you are.  If you wait sometimes, the chance to climb on board and get a view of the big picture from the can be just a few reloads away.

 

 


Union Cotton Mills Mural

June 10, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

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This is the way to welcome someone to your town isn't it?

My wife Patrice Christian (be sure to check out her FLICKR) took this picture as we were driving on our way out of town after our photo-walk in downtown Union, South Carolina this weekend.

At one time this mural must have been really stunning to see, but the closer you look now the more you realize it could use some TLC to get back to it's original glory.

Shout out to Patrice:

Speaking of Patrice Christian, we met through photography back in the days of Google+ where we were both part of the large photo community on there.  She's a great photographer and has her own style of images which are really great.  It's wonderful to have a partner in life who shares a passion with you!  She's also my "editor" on the blog and helps me be clear in what I'm trying to say here and communicate more clearly!  I told her yesterday that she really is my "VP Editorial and IT" for all the great advice she gives me on here.

That advice extends way beyond photography to all aspects of my life.  It's great having someone in your corner who isn't afraid to tell you what she really thinks.  She's the reason I enjoy taking outings like Saturday's to Union!  I always am amazed at how we can both be in the same place but see completely different things while we are there!  I can't wait for our next road-trip on the backroads of our life together!

Besides her FLICKR account where she shares most of her photos, she's also now on Instagram!  I hope you will take the time to check out her work and give her a follow on IG where I hope she is going to be more active soon!

Photo Credit: Patrice Christian