Friday, September 18, 2009

Short on words, long on photos

After a much needed long overdue visit we headed back towards the Great Lakes...

actually near THE BIG great lake but this time decided to take a southern route. Once you get past Nevada (sorry) you wander eventually into the canyon areas of Utah etc. Until you go visit any of these canyons you think.. oh I will take just a couple pictures.. that should be plenty. After all it is just rock formations and how many photos can you take after all?

Well folks let me tell you. I took tons.

(you can click on any of these photos to see them bigger if you want...
just hit the back button when you are ready to return to reading)

You have to take a lot of photos because every time the sun drops a little, or rises a little the entire face of the rocks surrounding you changes. You get colors, and shapes, and shades you have never seen on rocks before. It becomes a little like watching the clouds move overhead and trying to make out different animals... vegetables.... minerals....

For a brief period I could even see a shadow off of the rocks above that reminded me of Bugs Bunny in a dress.
David could not see it.

Anyway... I will get back to that.. first..
Hawthorne Nevada.

We stayed at a nice RV park that is noted for having a 'Big flag"... we promised our brother-in-law Jeff that we would be sure to take a picture of it because he and David discussed it and they both were sure that since it was mentioned as a landmark it must be quite a sight.

Well. It was quite a sight.

And then did you know that the US Naval Undersea Warfare Center was in Hawthorne?

Me neither.
But that was probably a good idea... considering the last time I looked at a map it was landlocked. But that sign shows what appears to be water surrounding the state. Must have been in the olden days. Either way... the Navy must have got tired waiting for the tide to come back in over the Sierras so now the Army is in Hawthorne. I guess they are hiding hundreds of not so secretly hidden piles of arms out in the desert there.
Not those kind of arms... these kind:

glad to see those say 'empty' on it...

and check it out! You see those white round things in the background! Those are mines! Kind of like the one that washed into the lagoon at Gilligan's Island!

Watch this! I wonder what this button does...


Nevada is well known for it's interesting commerce.
No folks not the cat houses and gambling casino laundrymats...
I am talking about Fresh Alien Jerky.

Just Kidding... I know it says Alien Fresh Jerky.
I am sure that makes all the difference in the world.
Did not mean to confuse you.

Well, hold tough Nevada-ites. You got your revenge. Along the way out of the state I was tossing out some of Delta's water and the big honkin' spectralite /labradorite / moonstone whatever it was kind of stone got sucked right out of my ring and is lying somewhere on the highway there.

That is what I get for making fun of Nevada.
I'm talkin' Karma my friends.

In any case, we stayed the night in Hawthorne and headed on through Nevada towards Utah.

First on the list of canyons was Snow Canyon State Park in Utah. I have to tell you I think this was right up there being one of my favorites. It is MUCH smaller, much more accessible and it is a stunner! You are driving a long in a fairly nondescript landscape and blammo. You round a corner and there it is.

Then we were going to go to Zion but as the big National Parks now are charging a $25 cover fee... yes $25 to walk through the gate for each park. That is not one of those one time fee things where you can go to a couple different parks if any nearby. It is a one time shot. Sure you can return to THAT park for a few days with your pass but.... well... why? Also, that 25 buckaroos does not include camping fees if camping is even available... so we decided if this was going to be a one park day we would go to Bryce.

And speaking of Bryce Canyon..............

et voila'

and below is a "close up" of a hoodoo.
Hoodoo the voodoo that you do so well.
Well... that is actually phrased 'who do' but you get the idea.

Then on to Newspaper rock for a little prehistoric tagging

and then Canyonlands National Park. I think I took the most pictures of the sunset and sunrise at that park. We had the best spot for a sunset. (Campground A) People on our side of the park just pulled the chairs out to the end of the camp driveways and watched the sun go down on the rock faces, enjoying the change of colors.

It was similar to fireworks... you would expect to hear "oohs and aahhs" but instead people enjoyed the show in near silence just gesturing towards different formations, shadows, and colors... letting nature do the talking.

We split first thing in the morning and headed through Utah
(which I have to tell you in some spots rivals Nevada for... beauty)
and then cut the corner into Colorado and down into New Mexico.
Stopping of course at different spots along the way.

Those Anasazi musta been pretty compact folks.

Then finally onward to our next destination...
Taos, New Mexico.

I liked Taos a lot. The old town... center of town of course is where all the shops are as well as the historical area of town. When I say old this area is like New England old as far as non-native settlements. Apparently, Taos was established as a town/city in about 1615 by those adventurous and rather persistent Spaniards. However, there were pueblos here in the area for who knows exactly how long before that. The streets are very small and close together and the buildings are nearly all adobe. That architecture suits the surroundings well.

Kit Carson's home and a museum is there just off of one of the main streets. Pretty nondescript and was built in the adobe style with a center courtyard for daily living. David has been reading a book about Kit Carson called Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West by a man named Hampton Sides so it was apropos that Taos was on the list of places we planned on visiting. David has been to Taos before on a motorcycle trip... or two... but he had a bit more of the history in place during this visit because of the book he is enjoying.

We actually stayed in Taos a couple days and then headed diagonal mostly through the country to da U.P.

The visit in California was great as was our trip home.
We sure miss this rather serious looking fellow though:

Now we get back to the business of selling our house!
Spread the word...
If anyone is looking for a sportsmans/sportswomans family retreat on a lake...
hunting fishing atv snowmobile year round use surrounded by national forests...
we gotcha covered!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Old and new haunts.

Well, we have been having a great visit with the new grandson and since I am a new granny I get to whip out the pictures and show everyone every time everything he does because it is great and amazing and I bet no baby has ever done anything like that before kinda thing!

He should probably be in the record books or something!

heh heh.

and David and I are enjoying re-visiting many of our old haunts

while having fun finding some new haunts.

While on the west coast we took a trip... a trip within a trip... trippy eh?

Anyway... first we went up to Oregon for a little golfing and sightseeing. We took the camper and truly lucked out in finding a campsite at South Beach State Park. Summer time on the coast of Oregon is wild... if you plan on going to any of the state parks make a reservation! Like I said we lucked out. We got one of the last sites for one night only... but we planned on being in the area for two nights. So in the morning we checked out and made a u-turn around the ranger station and checked back in for another one night stay as their midnight computer check had shown a cancellation. It was a great park with nice trails and a beautiful flat beach.

David, Delta and I walked the beach

and this lady below apparently could not find a dog to walk...
so instead she walked her pony on the beach:

and of course, David golfed.

I don't golf... yet.

The only golfing I have done up to this point involves castles with moats, fiery volcanoes, and scary-ass clowns with mouths that chomp down on the neon blue golf balls if you don't hit it fast enough. Pretty traumatizing really.

While in Oregon we actually visited a couple of courses...
One on near Newport:

and the other near Portland:

and then we traveled on back down south through the redwoods to Mendocino County. We stopped at Prairie Creek State / National Park along the way. In his wanderings David (and Delta) came across a little hidden pond in the redwoods and a couple of trees he just had to show me.

We wandered like criminals off the well marked path and snuck off behind the ferns to a gorgeous redwood vignette. The spot just opened up before me and took my breath away.

There are NO forests like the redwood forests and I think everyone should see them at least once... at least then you would understand why people are so awed by them. I grew up spending time near these forests and I am humbled every single solitary time I am near them. I am pretty sure I have said that before but geez.

Anyway, what David wanted to show me was of course off the path... near a crystal clear pond surrounded by the huge ferns that grow near the redwoods. He had first stumbled upon the pond which was a pretty sight alone...

BUT then he turned and saw behind him a very large maple tree. This maple had grown up right next to a decent sized redwood tree.

The maple had twisted and turned and forced it's limbs in impossible angles to grow, and prosper, and live in the shade of this redwood.

The maple has obviously survived but I have never seen branches contorted on a maple like this one had. Here you can see part of the maple with the redwood behind it.

I like to believe it was a friendly competition not a struggle for survival. I also like to believe that the maple knew all along who would eventually win this race to the reach the sun but he gave it his best shot anyway.

The scope of these trees are hard to put into perspective in a photo, so I climbed up as close as I could get and David took a picture from a different angle so you can kinda grasp the scene. Behind me in the photo below obviously is the base of the redwood... to my right (the left side of photo) is the trunk of that large maple. Coming down into the photo on my left (right side of photo) is part of a branch of that maple.

I would love to see these trees when the maple has turned in the fall!
Humor me... just check it out once more... this is wonderful but just imagine it with the maple leaves yellow, red, and orange!

Later we made it to the Mendocino coast.
While there David golfed a little more at the Little River Inn.
Here is a shot of Little River Inn's golf course.

David met his friend Doug the premier super-duper cabinet man for a round. It is the only course on the Mendocino coast I guess and it has quite a view... of course the day they played it was a bit misty and foggy... not quite like the picture. Isn't that always the way on the coast though?

David and I traveled into the town of Mendocino to one of our old hang outs and to go to the farmer's market and the beach. First the hang out for the fabulous bloody mary's, a nostalgic game of pinball, and some tunes on their great jukebox...

This bar has been here for ages... I believe it may even be seen in the James Dean film East of Eden. My folks remember when James Dean was in town filming and as they were teens at the time it was a pretty big deal.

Eventually we made it to the farmer's market and the beach.

Note: If you look very closely behind me in the parking lot you can see a couple of sheriff vehicles in the parking lot. We hit the beach at just the right time, a rather professional type motorcycle rider was (carefully) doing some tricks on his bike in the lot while his buddy was filming it and although they really were being careful... I guess they are not supposed to do that... AND it was 'ticket people who had their dogs off leash on the beach day'... so... Delta remained on the leash and tried to play in the sand. Hmph. Party poopers.

Anyway, at the market we stocked up on goodies and traveled back towards the Trailer by the Sea to rest up before the music festival. Here is a tip about Farmer's Markets folks... just because it is someone selling at a farmer's market it does not mean the veggies etc are organically grown. ASK... you might be surprised. If I am going to pay a bit more for veggies at a market like that they better dang well be organic otherwise what is the point eh?

Anyway... all that golfing and haunting is simply exhausting!
So the next day after our farmer's market breakfast it was
on to Caspar for a little Mendo-relaxation.

No... not that kind of relaxation.. geez.

This kind of groovy relaxation:

Look... David is about ready to break into a dance!!!
Well.. almost.
Well... maybe not.

Along with seminars inside the buildings about self sufficiency and how to grow.... vegetables... it is a music festival. Both Saturday and Sunday there are a long list of musicians who play hour sets while folks visit, dance, eat, and hula hoop. We have gone to the festival before and have always enjoyed ourselves. A couple of our favorite bands/artists were :

The Blushin' Roulettes (click on the picture for their website):

they are kind of blue-grassy old-timey.. I dunno how to describe it but they are great. A local band too!
And then we also really liked Lila Nelson:

They did a couple songs together and we had actually seen a sneak peak of both of them the night before at Dick's in Mendocino. There was also a calypso band, a Senegalese drum group, a cajun/zydaco band, raggae, world groove, etc. Good fun... and interesting folks.

This man loved to dance... I think he dance to nearly every song while we were there... I just loved him. He moved so freely and with such joy to all of the music he reminded me of a bird... very Jonathan Livingston Seagull-ish in my mind. I read Jonathan's story when I was a kid but I remember that he loved to fly... more than anything and he did not care what the other gulls thought.

Anyway... we had a great time and then headed back to the family for more visiting and the beginning of our plan for our trip back to Michigan. We think we will head the southwest route and see some of the canyons down there that folks talk so much about... maybe even take a run into Taos.

How is the grandson and daughter you ask? ;)

they are tired...
and beautiful.


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