Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Lights


Last night, on Christmas Eve, I went for a walk in a nearby neighborhood and took pictures of several highly decorated houses. Traffic on these streets last night was more than I expected, with many people parking their cars and walking up the street to see the many decorated houses. People were laughing and talking and it was a very festive atmosphere.

You can click on the pictures for a larger version, tho these that I post have been reduced in size from the original.

Fortunately, it stopped raining/drizzling long enough to check out these lights.


Merry Christmas everyone!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Las Vegas Wedding

Drove to Las Vegas for a Dec 11 wedding - Sally and Ted got married. They live in Illinois, so it was nice that they had the wedding within driving distance of me. For those who don't know Sally, she's my sister.

Here's the happy couple:


The reception was in the Eiffel Tower restaurant in the Paris hotel on the strip. It was a small reception of just a couple dozen people. Photo below is of Brion, Sally, Ted and me.


As is normally the case, there was lots to see and do, but I didn't take any pictures. I snagged the pictures above from my sister's facebook page.

Spending Christmas in southern California. The kids are flying in from out of town, so it should be a fun time. Maybe I'll take some pictures while they're here...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Joshua Tree National Park

In 18 years of living in southern California, I'd never been to Joshua Tree. The high desert is beautiful, if a bit on the chilly side, this time of year.

Driving through the park, we stopped at the cholla gardens. There were thousands of these cactus plants in a small area. They're somewhat soft and fuzzy looking, aren't they? But DON'T TOUCH! They aren't soft at all!

There's an overlook where we stopped to take a look into the valley. You can see for miles and miles. The haze wasn't too bad on the day we stopped.

Now, big rocks and Joshua trees are what we come to see here! There are campsites among some of the big rocks. We didn't stay here this time, tho. Maybe in the springtime when it's warmer.


We hiked up to Lost Horse Mine. Approximately 10,000 ounces of gold were mined from here between 1894 and 1931. You can read about it here.


I'm hoping to visit all of the national parks in the west at some point. It may take a while, tho. Stay tuned.



Saturday, November 27, 2010

Turkeys and Dinosaurs

I'm happily in the desert again in Borrego Springs with the WINs.


I didn't take any pictures of turkey. I DID take a picture of the group (most, but not all of the group), but it wasn't with my own camera and I don't have the picture here to show you. However, you can see it and more on Barbara's blog.

Barbara and Ron let me tag along with them while checking out the sculptures in the desert. Here's my favorite of the dinosaurs.


Here's me checking out one of the smaller guys with the big guy in the background.


I liked these elephants.


There was quite a variety - camels, turtles, sloths, jeeps, sun gods, prospectors and more. They've been adding loads of sculptures each year. To learn more about them, click here.

Hope your Thanksgiving weekend was as much fun as mine!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

There's something about the desert...


I grew up on the ocean and have lived on both coasts. I'm not a beach or ocean person tho.

I lived in Colorado for 7 years and thought myself a mountain person. It IS beautiful in Colorado, you know. It's on my list of possible relocations areas.

I never cared for the desert - until recently, after spending some time in it. There's just a feeling to the desert that's indescribable. I love the desert in winter. It's warm during the day and cool (sometimes downright COLD) at night. The night sky is brilliant. Half a moon casts a shadow and lights up the ground. When the moon sets, the sky is alive with stars. I like lying on the roof of my rig at night and staring up at the stars. On a quiet, crisp, cool night, it's almost a religious experience.

I've got to get some tips on using this camera. I can't seem to capture the colors well. In any event, there's just no way to capture the beauty of the desert with a picture anyway, so maybe it doesn't matter. This was taken in Barstow this weekend.


I stayed at Owl Canyon, a BLM campground. No hookups. $6/night. What a deal!



I'll definitely be back to this one.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Halloween

I can't remember the last time I wore a Halloween costume. It was probably when I was 11 or 12 years old. That is, before THIS year. Can you find me in the picture below?


I met up with the WINs (Wandering Individual Network) for hiking, dancing and Halloween fun. It was my first get together with the WINs and not my last, I assure you. What a great, fun group!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Flowbee

It's hard enough to find and keep a decent hairdresser/barber when you live in one place, but when you're on the road, it's pretty much impossible. It can also be expensive, especially if you keep your hair short and so cut it often.

A friend told me that her brother has a Flowbee and he swears by it. I'd seen the ads long ago (in the 80's?) and thought it looked promising, but never knew anyone who had one. So, I looked it up online and checked out various reviews. Then I ordered one!


You attach the Flowbee to a vacuum cleaner hose. You can buy a vacuum with the Flowbee when you order it. Below is a promotional picture I found on amazon that shows how it's used:

There are several Youtube videos of folks using Flowbee as well. I'm not going to make a video myself, but I mean to tell you that I have the best haircut I've had in YEARS and it was quick and easy!! Wish I'd bought one of these years ago.

You can see my haircut in the previous post.

I'll bet you were wondering who cut my hair, right?


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

California visitors


The weekend before last, my friends Linda and Leroy flew in from San Antonio. Leroy was here for a work function and so we went out to lunch. It was a great visit, tho entirely too short. I visited with Linda and Leroy and their daughters earlier this year when I was in Texas.


On the same day that Linda and Leroy arrived, Sally and Ted arrived from southern Illinois. Sally is my sister. Ted is her fiance. They're getting married the end of this year. Sally was here for a conference for work, so we met and went out to dinner a couple nights. Pictured below: Ted, Sally, me, Brion.


Another good visit, tho again too short!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lone Pine, CA

Took the pictures below the weekend before last in Lone Pine, CA where I attended a get together of Lazy Daze Ladeze. It was my first get together with a group of RVers and it was awesome. Sorry I don't have more pictures.


While there, a few of us visited Manzanar National Historic Site. Manzanar War Relocation Center was one of ten camps where Japanese American citizens and resident Japanese aliens were interned during World War II.


If you're ever in the area, be sure to check it out. Note that it's likely to stir some emotions.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Columbia River Gorge

Well, it was nice to have a long weekend and I went for a drive on Saturday along the Columbia River Gorge. There aren't nearly as many turnouts for photo opportunities as I would expect, but it was a beautiful drive nonetheless.

My first stop was at Multnomah Falls.


I made a few other stops to enjoy the vistas. Beautiful, isn't it?

I think a boat ride through the gorge would be spectacular. Not this trip though.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Oregon

I can fully appreciate the fact that I've been living in a desert (southern California) when I come to a place like this. My first impression of Oregon is that it's so WET. There's lots and lots of green everywhere. Lots of trees and grasses and rivers, streams and lakes. It's like a jungle!

I went for a drive east of Eugene today and took a little hike to see some waterfalls. The air was misty and smelled so fresh and green.



After driving a while, I found a neat place to stop for lunch. I was surprised that there weren't more people here. Beautiful place, huh?


There are so many things to see and do around here that I'm not sure where to go these next couple weekends.

Stay tuned...


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Napa

Since I was driving north, I asked Debbie to join me for part of the trip - now that she's 21 and can fully appreciate the Napa Valley. We visited several of the 400 or so wineries there, but we'll have to go back to check out the rest at a later date. When Debbie got home she told me that it'll probably be a while before she drinks any wine again. We really did have a good time.


Orange County, CA - home

You know, Orange County, California is a beautiful place. I was glad to be there for a while, enjoying the perfect weather and visiting with family and friends. Brion lets me park in his driveway while I'm there and use his washer and dryer. I do laundry while on the road, of course, but what's special about doing laundry here is hanging stuff out on the line. There's nothing better than the smell of sunshine on your clothes and linens!


To the right of the clothesline is the avocado tree. We've eaten tons of avocados off this tree. I think I like picking them as much as I like eating them. There's something special about the home grown stuff, you know?


There's a white peach tree in the back as well. I didn't get a picture of it. I thought that the tree had died a few years ago, but it grew back and now has lots of fruit growing on it. The thing about peaches is that you need to pick them when they're ripe RIGHT NOW or you miss out. I think the pickin' time is less than a week between the time that they're ripe and the time that they're rotten. (We pick avocados for a few months).
There's also a fig tree out front that's got fruit growing on it and I took a picture of some figs here. I'm not a big fan of dried figs, but they're pretty good when they're fresh off the tree.


Now, here's a new experience for me while I was there. Some friends took me to a "high end" roach coach at around midnight one night. Only in California, folks! Seriously, it was after midnight on a Thursday night and this place had a line! I'm told the line was short compared to other times my friends had been there. The tofu tacos were excellent, by the way.










Sunday, June 13, 2010

Grand Canyon, Day 2

I'm way behind in posting to this blog. I did spend a 2nd day at the Grand Canyon and hiked down the Bright Angel trail a little way. Boy, am I out of shape!


I was stopped and enjoying the view and taking some pictures when a man asked if I'd like him to take a picture of me. I figured it was about time I posted a picture of myself on the blog and what better background than this one.



After my hike, I drove out the east entrance. I stopped to check out a scenic view and got a kick out of some of the signs posted there.





It was indeed a sheer cliff and interesting views.

I've since left Arizona and am now back in California where I started from.
More adventures to come, so stay tuned.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Grand Canyon

I got a later start this morning than I intended, but I didn't have a lot planned as far as touring, so it was an easy going day. For me, there's an incredible sense of freedom in driving and that feeling is intensified in the wide open spaces out here. I'm rejuventated!

I hadn't planned on going to the Grand Canyon, but ended up there anyway. I drove in through the east entrance for the first time ever.

There are a bazillion pictures of the Grand Canyon on the web, but here are a couple more. It's the best you'll get from me and not anywhere NEAR as beautiful as it is when you're actually there, but here you go. I didn't venture all the way into Grand Canyon Village, so these are just a couple shots from the east side. Tomorrow I'll get a couple more.


If you haven't ever been to the Grand Canyon, put it on your Bucket List. It's a must.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sedona and Jerome

Beautiful day! I rented a car for the 3-day weekend and got up early this morning and drove to Sedona. I've been wanting to go there for years and this was my first visit. I need to start by saying that no pictures do this place justice. Still, I should post a few.

I went on a jeep tour to Soldier's Pass. The tour guide was great and it was a REAL 4-wheeling adventure. I don't care for the 4-wheeling too much, but the surroundings were breath-taking.


This little town of Sedona has a number of sculptures right on the main street which I found quite beautiful. There are more than what I have here.







I did get a t-shirt. I originally planned to get one of the red dirt dyed t-shirts, but I don't care all that much for the rust color, as unique as they are. I had a difficult time deciding on what color shirt to get. Since I don't have a red tshirt, that's the one I got.


After Sedona, I decided to drive to Jerome. I looked at an RV in Prescott last summer and the folks there recommended I check out Jerome if I planned on hanging around for a couple days. What a unique place. It's an old mining town (copper mine) that kind of hangs on the side of a hill. Here's a picture taken from the town looking out/down. Some of the most incredible views I've seen yet.



I got a bit more sun than I expected today. Tomorrow I will probably hang out locally and then go to the Grand Canyon on Monday.

The campground where I'm staying has been quiet, but this being a holiday weekend, there are more people here and it's quite the hopping place. Lots of families and kids, which is great. There's a nice feeling to this place. And at 7000', it's very cool at night, which is nice too.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Flagstaff

The drive here from Santa Fe was very, VERY windy! In fact, part of the interstate (I-40) was closed because of the wind and resultant dust storms, so I had to take an alternate route. As it turned out, the alternate route was BEAUTIFUL and I'm glad to have taken the diversion. I didn't take any pictures though.


I'm at a gorgeous campground and there are plenty of hiking trails nearby. I did some hiking this morning, even though it was still very windy. I didn't go to the top of the hill because of the wind, but the views from halfway up were still quite stunning. Check it out.


I decided to get some hiking boots after my hike, so rode into town to get some. I hope they work out better than the last couple pair I bought. If these don't work, I'm giving up on hiking boots and getting myself a good pair of combat boots. Don't laugh. They're the most comfortable boots I've ever worn. Of course, finding the kind that I wore back in the 70's might be a trick. They don't make those particular ones any more.


The wind is still blowing outside and rocking the RV some. There are train whistles in the distance. I kind of like the sound of the train whistles.


The smell of the air here, that pine and woodsy smell, reminds me of weekends we spent at Chatfield Hollow State Park in Connecticut when I was a kid (long time ago). Good memories.


I really like it here. It's far enough from town and in the woods that it's quiet, with the distant train whistles, but close enough that it's accessible by public transportation (the bus stop is nearby). Grocery store is within walking distance, if you don't mind walking, and biking is an option - bike paths are good.


I might stay here a while.


I'll take more pictures next weekend, I promise.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pecos and Madrid

Sunday was the most gorgeous day of my trip, so far. Sunshine, scattered puffy clouds in the sky, a gentle breeze. It was perfect.

I drove out to Pecos National Monument to check out the ruins of the Pecos Pueblo. Pictures just don't do the place justice, but this will give you an idea.






After a walk around the ruins and some time spent in the museum, I took a drive out to Madrid, NM. It's a small, rather eccentric place with galleries and various art forms created and sold. It was fun walking along the main street here.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby!!

On this day, twenty one years ago, the most beautiful little girl I've ever known came into our lives. Here's a picture of her big brother welcoming her into this world.

Love you, baby!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cliff dwellings

I'm in Santa Fe now. Hard to believe that a couple weeks ago, it was hot and humid. Now, it's in the 40's at night.

I rented a car for the weekend to do some exploring. I drove to Bandelier National Monument and did some hiking. Great day! The cliff dwellings are awesome.



Afterwards, I drove over to Los Alamos and went to a couple of the museums there - the Los Alamos Historical museum and the Bradbury Science museum. I was only there for a few hours. I wouldn't mind going back again some time. There's a weird feeling to the place, though, maybe due to its history.

The drive today was great. The geography here is unique and beautiful.


I'm going out for another drive tomorrow.