Sunday, October 31, 2010

Catching Up

First off, I want to share a picture of the burgers we had last night at the Squeeze Inn in Roseville, California.

This was one of the best burgers I've ever tasted, and the chewy cheese skirt was a bonus that really put it over the top. If you're ever near one of their locations (Sacramento, Galt and Roseville), make it a point to stop in.

Now, on to what's going on with us . . .

As you can tell, we're back in California. I have to say, we aren't all that impressed. Within two feet of the border with Nevada (no kidding, it's right at the border) the roads get horrible, and it doesn't improve much from there on in.

Then there's the incredible amount of traffic and urban sprawl.

Or are we just so used to the wide open spaces of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Nevada? Whatever the reason, it isn't sitting well with either of us.

We had hopes that perhaps when we reached the Santa Cruz mountains, our attitudes would change. For many years, when returning to this area, I remember well the warmth and feeling of "home" that would invade my body, but it's just not here this time.

In fact, when we got out of the car and stepped out into the forest, we both looked at each other, stating "it's cold and damp".

And did I mention the dark?

So the plan is to try to deal with the house and get our bodies back to the southwest, which seems to have become out home, spiritually and otherwise.

That said, we'll be here a while and we hope to make the best of it. In that spirit, we decided we should take a drive down to look at the ocean.

Now that we like!

I didn't have my camera with me,
so I just got a few shots
with the phone.
The wharf at Santa Cruz at dusk.

"What do you want!"

This one pretty much says
what the evening was like.
If we lived at the beach,
our feelings might be different.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Few Days . . .

Note: I just looked at my blog on both Dave and Sue's computers monitors (Compaq and Dell) and realized that they are very dark. On my laptop (and Terry's, both Macs), they are quite bright and vibrant. Can you tell me if, in the middle picture of this post, the leaf on the right (the light green one) shows up? Or is it completely in shadow? This is a problem I wasn't aware of, so if this is happening, I'd sure like to know.

Thanks, Kate
We've been spending the last couple of days with good friends Dave and Sue (her blog is here) and having a wonderful time!

We'll be leaving tomorrow, but I wanted to share just a few photos I've taken over the last week.

When we went through Reno
(are we nuts or what?),
while at a stop signal,
we noticed the reflection of the rig
in a store window . . .

This morning,
Sue and I went out
into her lovely yard
to play photographer.
She did much better than me,
but I did like this one shot I got.

Then this afternoon,
they were showing us a bit of the area,
and as we were driving through Roseville,
we saw these turkeys,
off to the side of the road.
Cool, huh?

I'll be back in a day or so.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I've Looked at Clouds . . .

I have a whole other blog I was working on last night about music on the road, but the truth is, it needs a lot of work.

We're sitting in the parking lot of Boomtown, right outside of Reno, so I guess today will be the day we finally re-enter California . . .

VERY mixed feelings, but it has to be done.

Not in so much of a hurry to get back to the house, we will be visiting old friends we haven't seen for some time in the Sacramento area.

Then who knows.

I've decided that instead of taking a lot of time to finish the music blog, I'll just go backwards a bit and post some more pictures from the road.

It was a gorgeous day and it wasn't till I looked at them in the computer that I realized that once again, I'm taking pictures of clouds.

While I tend to think of myself as a sort of amateur landscape photographer, I guess a more precise name would be a cloud photographer.

They always seem to be included in the pictures I take.

Without too much comment,
enjoy the drive between Baker and Ely.

The snow on the mountains,
one of the reasons we didn't stay at
Great Basin National Park.
Another time.

The color on the hills,
it's fading fast.

Everyone says Nevada is so barren,
but that wasn't my impression.

But then I'm in love with the desert

We took a slight detour
to look at Cave Lake State Park.
Beautiful area,
but we wanted hookups
due to the cold.


More Clouds . . .

Whenever I see these,
I'm reminded
of the sentinels in the original
Planet of the Apes.
What would visitors from the future
make of these giants
straddling the land?

Down the road.

My beloved cloud shadows.
Will I see these in California?
I think not.

I'll get back to you soon.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ramblings From the Road


We traveled today, a whole one hundred and sixty miles, but still, a lot for us.

The weather in Ely was beautiful, but we had a lot of high mountain passes to go over, and since it looked like we might hit snow, we decided not to hook up the Suzuki. Terry said he wanted to drive the rig, so I drove the toad.

This isn't our usual mode of travel, but sometimes it seems the wisest thing to do.

So I'm driving along, and as always, my mind is flooded with thoughts, inspired by the ever changing scenery and the music from my iPhone.

Lately, rather than picking any song, album or artist, I just pick all the songs and hit shuffle. This gives me a varied play list that, like the scenery, engages my imagination.

When we're traveling together in the motorhome, I'm always taking pictures out the windows, 98% of which don't come out. When I drive, I don't have that luxury. But today I decided to try an experiment.

I set the Panasonic (it's much lighter than the Canon) to a three shot burst, and just shot out the window/windshield without looking at the screen or through the viewfinder. It was an interesting experiment, but most of the pictures really didn't come out very well. I completely forgot about the glare of the glass and the reflections, not to mention that the windows were less than spotless . . .

So be warned, this blog contains the many thoughts that flitter in and out of my head as I drive along, combined with some pictures that aren't as good as they should be, but still show some lovely country.

I'm looking at the amazing open skies,
imagining what it must have been like
for the pioneers.

Ghost Riders in the Sky
by Vaughn Monroe
comes on.

This kind of song seems
so apropos in this setting.
I can almost see the herd
thundering in the clouds overhead.

Next I hear Woody Guthrie.
I've written about him before,
he never fails to fire my imagination.

The beauty of this country of ours
always opens my heart.
It's an actual physical feeling.
Ain't Life Grand?

Next I hear the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band .
The phrase
"Home is anywhere
you choose to put your heart.
So be it."
Perfect phrase and perfectly true.
(and actually a John Denver song.)

As I drive behind Cholula Red,
once again, I'm struck
by what a very good looking motorhome
Lazy Daze has built for us.
We see literally thousands
of motorhomes, trailers,
campers and fifth wheels.

In my opinion,
none of them is as good looking
as the Lazy Daze.

But then I'm prejudiced
by how very reliable
this rig has been for us.
Not to mention the way
it has enhanced our lives.

She's a beauty.

Cole Porter comes on the play list.
Once again,
I'm enthralled by his talent.
The ability to write music
combined with smart lyrics,
what a talent.

Then, a song from
Judy at Carnegie Hall
comes on.
Immediately I know
that this is the music for today.
I take the iPhone off shuffle
and start the concert.

This is the music I love.
Great melodies,
words that stir the soul.
It's magic.

Next I hear
It's Almost Like Being in Love.
That song just knocks me out,
it has joy written into the lyrics.

My favorite is the Gene Kelly rendition
but Judy's version is right up there.

The concert winds down
right before we reach Austin, Nevada.

We pull into a small RV Park
(run by the local Baptist Church)
just as the snow starts to fall.

But it's all right,
we're safe and snug in Cholula Red.

Monday, October 25, 2010

This and That . . .

We came to Ely, Nevada almost a week ago. We were only going to spend the night, but after a look around, we decided to stay another day. After our day of exploration (another blog), I started feeling funky and we decided to stay another day.

This has always been our practice since we don't like to drive when both of us aren't 100%.

Then the wind picked up, so we added another day.

Then the rains came.

This morning it was snowing.

Now, it seems to be winding down. The sky is blue and clear and the snow has all melted. The weather reports say it will be a fine day for driving tomorrow, so we will be back on the road.

Since I've been watching the weather so closely, I thought I'd tell you about one of my favorite new toys, an iPhone ap. called Weather HD. I have several other weather aps, but this one is different. Rather than just giving you a weather report and forecast, this one shows you the current weather with really beautiful animations. When it's raining, you see a countryside with rain, at night you see the moon, today when it was snowing, it showed a constantly changing snowstorm. It's very cool, and if you have an iPod or an iPhone (or an iPad, for which I'm extremely jealous) it's more than worth the $.99.

I'm also a huge fan of HD Camera (as well as TrueHDR). I've written about TrueHDR before (you can see samples here), but lately I've been using HD Camera more.

After todays snow, the sky cleared up and I got these shots, right outside the windows of the rig.

If you click and enlarge this one,
you can see that I should have
opened the screen,
rather than shooting through it.
Still, it shows the detail nicely.

The mountains around Ely
are quite lovely,
especially when the clouds
cover them with shadows.

I really liked these mountaintops,
still dusted with snow.

So tomorrow,
we take off on Highway 50,
called the Loneliest Road in America.

Then we'll continue on our way west.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the Pioneer Register

First off, please let me know what you think of the new template for the blog.

Better? Worse? Don't Care?

It's been suggested that another background might make my pictures stand out a bit more, so I'm trying this new layout. Please let me know what you think.

And now on to the blog.


As you may have gathered, Capitol Reef was a revelation to both of us.

Everything in this park is huge, and there is so much to do, it seems like you would have to stay for months in order to experience it all. The combination of the light and the rocks will fire your imagination like nowhere else I've experienced.

As we wandered around, we found ourselves imagining all kinds of things, inspired by the rock formations and the play of light across them.

One of our favorite spots at Capitol Reef is simply called the Scenic Drive. It wanders some ten miles right outside the campground, and we visited it more than any other place in the park.

The Scenic Drive follows the original road that the pioneers used to enter the valley. At the Visitors Center you can see some great photos of Model Ts meandering through the narrow valleys.

The scenic drive ends in a hiking path called the Pioneer Register. It's called this because over the years, different folks engraved their names on the valley walls.

It's a lovely walk, and if you can only take one of the drive/hikes in the park, this is the one I recommend.

Once again, with minimal comments, here's my very last photo album from Capitol Reef.

all photos are clickable
for larger versions.

Here's the entry to the Register.

If you look closely near the top,
you can see a set of signatures.
We had to wonder
how they got so far up there!

Here's a closeup
of these first signatures.

I always enjoy the flowers.

This is the first "narrow"
enlarge it and look in the red square.

These holes permeate Capitol Reef.
We made up stories
about them being a written language
left here by aliens
millions of years ago.

The patterns in these rocks
are unlike any I've seen anywhere else.

More patterns,
this one is my favorite.

More Pioneer signatures.

This signature is the fanciest.
Must have taken quite a while to
scratch this into these rocks.

I love the way these narrows
frame the sky.

Black and white.

More patterns.

The sun was just setting
behind this rock.

A bit too much manipulation,
but I like the results.

There are also petroglyphs
in the Pioneer Register.

We had started
kind of late in the day.

But that meant
there were wonderful shadows.

Perfect for photography.

More Black and White.

Look at these patterns!

More shadows.
They change the look
of the canyon walls

Even back in these small canyons,
plants thrive.

There are also lots of trees
back in the canyons.
The green against the red walls,

More holes.
You can stand back
and see hundreds of pictures
in these rocks.

Faces, dinosaurs,
the mind races.

It is truly magical.

One final shadow shot.
Take the trip,
you wont regret it.