Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Playing around with loonapix online and made the following holiday "card". This online service is free and fun to play with. It's for those of us who don't have the software or otherwise know how to "photoshop" pictures.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Here's hoping all your dreams come true in 2012!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving in the desert

Drove out to Borrego Springs on Thanksgiving again this year. Spent a day driving around looking at the sculptures. Here's one that I missed last year - The Prospector.

The newest one, added since my last visit, is a dragon/serpent. It's in 5 sections, 3 on one side of the street and 2 sections on the opposite side of the street. I didn't get all the sections in one shot though. Here's the serpent from the front. Note my rig in the distance.

Here he is from the street, so you can only see the front 3 sections.
You can click on any picture to get an enlarged version.

There are a few other pictures of sculptures here from last year.

The best part of the trip was spending time with some friends who I hadn't seen in a while. Wish I could have stayed longer.

The weather was splendid, though and the night sky was bursting with stars. Borrego Springs is where I first fell in love with the desert just before I started blogging. I love going back there.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Death Valley

This was my first trip to Death Valley and it will not likely be my last. What a beautiful place! Now, I love the desert, but this was not at all what I expected and I heard the same from other first timers.

The colors and textures of the hills in Death Valley are gorgeous. This was taken at a place called Artist's Pallette due to the colors in the hills.

We took a short hike up a hill to a natural bridge. Look at the texture of the hills here.

And here's the natural bridge.

The Devil's Golf Course named because only the devil could play golf on its surface due to a rough texture from the large halite salt. Notice the snow on some of the mountain peaks behind me.

Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level, the lowest elevation in the western hemisphere. The red arrow points to a marker in the hill that indicates where sea level is.

Scotty's Castle, 56 miles north of where we were camped in Furnace Creek, is not really a castle and not built or owned by Scotty. This villa, which was built in the 1920's, more than 50 miles from its nearest neighbor, has always had running water and electricity.

I particularly liked the kitchen which was very modern for one built way back then with an electric refrigerator, gas stove, hot and cold running water (the hot water was solar heated).

The music room was also pretty awesome with player piano and organ and other instruments.

Ubehebe Crater is a volcanic crater in Death Valley not far from Scotty's Castle. If we'd had more time, I would like to have hiked the trail around the top of the crater. Maybe next visit.

We also participated in some of the Death Valley 49ers Encampment festivities. Some of the entertainment in the evenings was pretty good. It was chilly at night under the stars, but worth it to hear a couple of the singers they had there. Belinda Gail and Mary Kaye were my favorites. Those girls sure could sing.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cars, cars and more cars

Among the "Top 10 Automobile Museums" per is the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

There are a few interesting dioramas like this one with a 1901 Breer, a steam engine car built by 17-year Carl Breer in his father's blacksmith shop.

The Peterson is more than a collection of cars and their history, however. There's a lot of information on how cars have affected and shaped our culture with gas stations, strip malls, drive-in theaters, insurance, roads, highways, taxes, muscle cars, racing, etc.

On the 2nd floor, there are special exhibits, at least some of which are temporary. Alternative fuels was the subject of one of the exhibits. There was an electric car from 1897 and a new electric car of 2010.

Here's a 1974 Dutcher which runs on steam. This one is from the Jay Leno collection.

And here's a 2005 Nissan fuel cell car.

There are some famous Hollywood cars, including a 1989 Batmobile.

One of the special exhibits was on Scooters.

Another special exhibit was a tribute to Phil Hill, a legendary American racing champion. He also collected and restored cars like this one which was my favorite car in the museum, a 1912 Packard which won a Best in Class award at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Of course, no auto museum is complete without at least one old or otherwise unique RV. This is a 1938 Curtiss Aerocar.

It's pulled by a 1938 Reo. Both of these are one of a kind.

Other auto museums I've been to which you might be interested in:

In Las Vegas, the collecton at the Imperial Palace is billed as the world's largest classic car showroom.

If you like Ferraris and race cars, check out the Marconi Museum in Tustin, CA.

If you're in San Diego and visiting Balboa Park, the San Diego Auto Museum is a small but worthwhile collection to take a look at.

And one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITES is the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, CA. They also have the most elegant website. Check it out.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Auto Museum

The National Automobile Museum in Reno is a car lovers paradise.

The history of the automobile is documented here with cars from the Harrah Collection beautifully displayed with other artifacts from the same era in each of a few different hallways and rooms.

If you like to see beautifully restored antique and classic cars, you'll love this museum.

I took dozens of pictures, but I'll just post a few that are most notable.

Here's a 1903 Ford Model A. It's not the oldest car in the museum, but it's the oldest Ford and the first affordable automobile for the general public at $850.

Here's a 1914 Detroit Electric car built by the Anderson Electric Car Company. These were produced between 1907 and 1938.

Check out some of the 40 batteries under the hood.

Here's a 1921 Ford Model T with the Lamsteed KampKar body. It could seat 6 adults, sleep 4, had a folding table, two-burner stove, 8 gallon water supply plus ample storage for blankets and clothing.
"...its only flaw was that it predated the R.V. craze by about 50 years."

The American-made Thomas Flyer won the world's first around-the-globe race in 1908. It made the 22,000-mile trip in 169 days. You can read more about it here.

There were many, many more cars, but the pictures don't do them justice. You really need to experience this place to fully appreciate it.

Since I have a great love of cars, especially old ones, there will be more car museum pictures coming soon.

Monday, October 17, 2011


This was my first journey through the redwoods. What a great drive! Thanks to Barbara for the following shot of my rig driving down the Avenue of the Giants.

We took a walk through Founder's Grove.

And we paid $1 to see the interior of a One log house. Worth the buck.

The bedroom was in the middle of the log.

The kitchen was on one end.

The living/dining room on the other end.

It was hauled around at one time. Could this be my next RV?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Blue Ox

The WINs toured the Blue Ox Millworks. Eric, the founder of Blue Ox, was our tour guide and host. Here he is standing in front of some of the antique equipment he acquired long ago. He didn't get the equipment to start a museum - he got whatever he could in order to start and run his business.

(You can click on any picture to enlarge it.)

Here's a closeup of these human-powered jigsaws. Some of these date back to the 1870's or thereabouts.  Eric demonstrated their use. He no longer uses these, but the kids who go to school here DO use these. More on the school in a bit.

Eric makes custom pieces for new houses and restorations all over the country. He showed us pictures of some of his work and here he's showing a sample of one type of work he's done.

Here's a picture of the lathe room.

Here's Eric demonstrating the use of a human-powered printing press in the printing room.

The printing press is used by the kids who go to school here. They print their own yearbooks as well as cards and poems, etc.

Regarding the school, this is from the Blue Ox Mill website:
"In 1989, the Blue Ox Millworks began hosting area students for the first time.  Through a partnership with the Humboldt Office of Education, this program was expanded in 1999 to include a full time high school.  Students of the Blue Ox spend three days of their week in a regular classroom setting, and spend the remainder of their days at the Ox participating in project based learning.  After 4-6 years they graduate with a regular high school diploma and a valuable trade. "

We were told that the kids that attend school here are those who haven't done well in regular school and were considered "trouble". There are 24 kids who go to school at Blue Ox. We had the opportunity to meet some of them who were working in the ceramic shop (sorry, no picture for that) and one of the students who became an instructor in the blacksmith shop.

The kids also learn how to smoke fish and can it. They learn to work in all the different shops and they make things that are sold in the gift store. The kids get half of the sale price and the other half goes into the program.

I enjoyed this tour as much as I'd enjoyed any tour anywhere and I highly recommend it to anyone in or around Eureka, CA.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oregon Coast

I met up with the WINs in Winchester Bay where they were parked at a marina. I was only there a day before they moved on, but really liked the views and the feel of the place. Reminded me more of a New England coastal town than anything west coast.

From there, we went to North Bend where we did some hiking and touring. One day, we went to a Myrtlewood factory, House of Myrtlewood. Myrtlewood is a hardwood that grows only in this area (OR and CA). Each piece that's made with myrtlewood is unique as the grain varies tremendously in color and design. There was plenty for sale.

After going there, we just HAD to check out the largest myrtlewood tree in Oregon while hiking one day.

We also hiked to some waterfalls. This one is Silver Falls.

We visited a candy factory, Cranberry Sweets. I loved the displays.

And watching the candy being made.

It was also fun to check out some of the dozens of samples. I did buy a couple treats which I'm rationing while driving down the coast.

In Gold Beach, we were parked next to the Rogue river in a field of anise.

I just loved stepping out of the rig in the morning and smelling the "licorice".

Further down the coast now and it's raining. Again. If you find the pitter-patter of rain on the roof soothing and peaceful, then this is the place for you. Personally, I hear my beloved desert calling me home.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ladeze and Wildlife

The annual Lazy Daze Ladeze event in southern Oregon was a rollicking good time.

Here are our hosts, Joan and Lorna.

This is a girls only event.

There was no group picture taken this year. And you know that I didn't take many pictures, as usual. I hope that someone else did and posts them. If so, I'll put a link here. (Lorna's pics are here).

One day, some of the gals went on a river rafting trip. I didn't do the rafting, but instead, went with Kate into town. We saw a sign for Wildlife Images and decided to see what that was. When we parked the car, a guy was coming out to the front of the building with a bald eagle on his arm for a photo op with some other folks.

It's a wildlife rehabilitation and education center. Very beautiful place. You can go on a tour and see some of their permanent residents. I thought it was kind of cool to stand a few feet from a grizzly bear. When this guy stands up, he's about 9' tall. The fence between us is electric.