On the road again: Getting to Glacier National Park

Our trailer is smaller, our trip is going to take less time, but we’re still excited about our first long trip since our cross country trip in 2013. This is the fourth day of driving the highways through California, Nevada, Oregon and Idaho. While Richard is getting the truck lubed, I thought I’d write this blog.

Our first night was in Sparks, Nevada. We decided to take our time, Richard needs his naps so 300 miles a day would be enough. They did build a nice, small marina right near our RV park, and we took a walk. The featured image is of this marina and so are these below.


Our trailer brakes weren’t working the next morning, so we were delayed and hit the road later in the afternoon. Desert is desolate. Some are prettier than others, but the long stretch of straight road can be daunting. Being a bored passenger, I did some drive by shots. I actually liked the shadows on the mountains.

We stayed overnight at an RV park in Winnemucca, NV and then pushed on to Boise, ID where we are currently. Thanks to Karen B. who made this trip last month, we stopped at the Rome Station in Oregon for lunch. The food was terrific and the place was photogenic.

After dinner, we went to see the Idaho State Capitol building and part of downtown Boise. They had just closed the Capitol building to visitors, but I did get to shoot the outside in the golden hour. Downtown was just the kind of place you’d like to walk. There were many upscale stores, small boutiques, banks, and parking that was free for an hour.

So, here I sit, waiting for Richard. We’ll eat lunch and then get on our way. Next stop–Kamiah, ID, and then to Columbia Falls, MT for a two-week stay visiting Glacier and surrounding area.

Jet lag: Peachtree City, Georgia

I woke up at 3:30 a.m in spite of my trying to stay up until 9 p.m. last night–jet lag wins. I’m happy to be home, but brought back sad, happy and exciting memories from my trip to Peachtree City, Georgia and to family.

It was great seeing family again. It’s been 2 1/2 years since we were last there. But, it was sad knowing my brother is gravely ill, with Louie Body Dementia, and visiting him for what may be the last time. The exciting memory came when my great nephew took me for a ride in their small plane. I’ll show you those images in my next post.

My goals this trip were to see my brother and take my sister-in-law to places she had not visited since moving to Georgia from California 3 years ago. I’m so glad I brought my GPS along! We were busy! My niece took us to Serenbe one afternoon. This is a fairly new community and well planned. We stopped for coffee on the way back at an antique shop that served delicious coffees.

It was a great getaway, and I enjoyed spending time with my niece. This type of visit is difficult, but I found that having my camera, got us out and away from the sadness for a while.

Meanwhile, I guess I’m going to try again to get my body clock back on Pacific coast time today.

Bittersweet visit: Historic Senoia, Georgia

Today I visited Chuck, my older brother, by myself. My visit to Peachtree City, Georgia is almost coming to a close and it has been bittersweet. Chuck, is fighting Louie Body Dementia and has been placed in an assisted living home. I knew he wouldn’t know who I was, because he stopped recognizing me on the phone a while ago. But today was a special visit. I was able to help feed him, and he ate a little bit food I knew he wasn’t fond of. It gave me time to gain some emotional closure over his ordeal. He’s fought cancer and won; had heart surgery and bounced back, but this illness has no turn around. I was soon joined by his son-in-law Greg and we were able to joke, not with him, but between ourselves. It made things less real.

Dementia is difficult for the caregiver and other family members, but this form is even more so since it involves Parkinsons also. I care gave to my mom, who had dementia, for 9 years, but she had a strong body. Chuck is suffering on all accounts. Through it all, the family here continues to take amazing care of him.

During my week’s visit, I told my sister-in-law, Brenda, that I wanted to take her places, getting her away from the house to relax. Brenda doesn’t drive, so we go to visit Chuck and then take off. Taking off sounds like we go a distance, we don’t. Everything is close here.

Through it all, photography has brought me out of the sorrow and into a different time and space. Our first get away was to Senoia, a small town with a Main Street shopping area. It was an easy walk through and fun. Since then, we visited Starrs Mill and Serenbe. My niece Roberta took us to Serenbe yesterday, and it was a lovely afternoon drive. And, last night, we joined the rest of the family for a birthday dinner celebration–the first without Chuck present.

Today’s images are of Senoia. I probably won’t have time to post from here again before I return home. And I’ll be taking sweet memories back with me.

The last from the desert: Painted Canyon, Mecca

We got a late start, we got lost, we finally found our way. That pretty much sums up why we arrived at the Painted Canyon in Mecca California so late in the day. Richard and I visited the Painted Desert in Arizona during our 2013 cross country trip, so what could compare to it? Was I surprised!

Even though we just got a taste of it, I want to go back. The approach to the Canyon is on a 3-mile dirt road. The golden hour had just begun as we parked the car. I talked to a couple who had just come out of the canyon and found out that it’s a slot canyon with narrow passages and involves a good deal of climbing. When I said we were not able to climb, I was told that there was another way around that was flat with a good view of the colorful mountains, but was a 5-mile round trip. Again, due to our current physical limitations and late arrival, that was impossible this trip.

So, I did what I usually do, made the most of what I could do. I walked to where the slot canyon began and was amazed that there was so much color already. The minerals created such beautiful orange and green effects. Also, the entrance to the canyon was majestic.

Enough talk, take a look for yourself. Next year, it will be get up early, go the direct way, and be able to walk the 5-miles!

Broken routine: The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Palm Desert

You don’t know how important your routine is until it’s broken. I’ve been without a computer for a day and a half. Not so bad? Yes, bad…grumble, grumble. Richard is installing a new modem/router and the computers were off limits. Therefore, no email (cell phone worked for that), no reading the newspaper (difficult to do on a cell phone), no solitaire games and no writing my blog. Again, grumble, grumble!

I didn’t realize how important my morning routine was until we joined my cousins in Palm Desert for the week. I was the first one up in the morning and enjoyed my routine of reading emails, reading the newspaper and processing photos.

This morning, the computer is working, and I can get on the internet to write this blog about a hidden gem in the desert–The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert. We took a docent tour through the gardens, and since cousin Ernie is a retired landscape architect, the discussion was informative. We talked about various cacti, shrubs and trees. Of course our docent had to put up with my veering off to shoot pictures. But, after the tour, she did ask me to send her my pictures.

Then we went on to the zoo. This was so unlike my local Sacramento Zoo. Habitats were large and the animals were those adapted to the desert. You’ll see what I mean in the picture gallery. It was a great visit. If we go back to the desert, I’d not hesitate to visit there again.

Oh, Richard woke up and is working on his computer. I’d better finish this blog–just in case my routine gets interrupted again!


Coming home: Palm Springs Indian Canyons

It took us two days to get to Desert Palms and my cousins two hours! But, I think it was worth it for both of us. We had vacationed in that desert area before, but never had seen so much.

Our first outing was to the Palm Springs Indian Canyons. “Fifteen miles long, Palm Canyon is one of the areas of great beauty in Western North America. Its indigenous flora and fauna, which the Cahuilla people so expertly used and its abundant Washingtonia filifera (California Fan Palm) are breathtaking contrasts to the stark rocky gorges and barren desert lands beyond. A moderately graded, foot path winds down into the canyon for picnicking near the stream, meditating, exploring, hiking or horseback riding. While in Palm Canyon visit the Trading Post for hiking maps, refreshments, Indian art and artifacts, books, jewelry, pottery, baskets, weaving, and conversational cultural lore,” taken from their website.

The images in this post are from Murray and Palm Canyons. These oasis are amazing and beautiful. At Murray Canyon a Ranger gave us a talk on the history and unique features of they canyons. It was fascinating that water was flowing enough in this harsh desert to create these oasis.

Take a look at what we experienced.

Back from Death Valley, the final chapter

Good news, this is the last post of Death Valley National Park. Bad news, this is the last post of Death Valley National Park! It was so pretty, unusual and amazing there, I wish I had more to show you. But then, you may have seen enough. We are so fortunate to have spectacular National Parks here in the U.S. And seven or more are right here in California.

Today I’m showing you scenes from the Artist Drive, another drive through canyon, and Natural Bridge Canyon, a short hike to an amazing natural rock bridge. I will admit that I almost didn’t walk it because of the cold and bad back I was suffering from, but I was glad I did.

If you have a chance, visit Death Valley. Just don’t go in the summer when temperatures are HOT!

Back from Death Valley with more to show you, part 4

You may have heard in the news that after a 3-year drought, California is experiencing a severe wind and rain storm. With that being a prominent concern, we dead headed from Death Valley and drove 11 hours to home yesterday to avoid getting caught in 60 mph winds that hit last night.

But, I still have so much more to show you. Death Valley is full of surprises and one of them is Scotty’s Castle. It’s called Scotty’s Castle because Scotty was the person most associated with the vacation home of millionaires Albert and Bessie Johnson. Scotty and Albert’s relationship was born out of a swindle (on Scotty’s part) and went on to become a friendship that would last Albert’s lifetime. People came from all over to meet Scotty and hear his tall tales. The Johnsons rented rooms and had private guests. The tour guide told us that when friends came, Bessie would play their favorite song from the clock tower as they were approaching. More of the history can be found at the two links I’ve provided.

My next post will show you the Devils Corn Field, Sand Dunes and Mosaic Canyon.

Now for the Castle images.

On the road again; journey’s end: bits and pieces; Evan’s wedding

Don’t worry, I’m not going to have you wade through a massive amount of wedding shots. Well, maybe just a few! All the images in this post were shot with my new small, inexpensive point and shoot. It worked well for most shots, but didn’t do as well inside in the low-light room. But, I’m happy because I captured the essence of the day.

Speaking of the day, it was cold, cloudy and windy. This is not the most welcome weather for an outdoor wedding! I felt for the bridal party gals in their strapless gowns. Fortunately, the party was held inside, hence the low light. This small camera is actually fool-proof, taking charge and deciding on its own what settings to use.

And since it shoots JPEG only, it limits editing abilities in Lightroom. But, it went where no SLR could go–in my small purse! And, it didn’t interfere with the professionals and their SLRs. Overall, I’m happy with the small camera and had a terrific time at the rehearsal dinner and wedding.

Here are just a few images!

Cross Country: Nashville (The Parthenon and honky tonkin)

June 26, 2013

Carol, my dear friend, we made it to Pigeon Forge and the Great Smokey Mountains today. This seems to be home to various attractions including Dollywood!

Yes, I know I said that we would try to make it to the Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, but we changed our minds and came east to Pigeon Forge which is near the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. But, I think we are getting more than we bargained for!

Yesterday we visited the Parthenon in Nashville and then went honky tonkin (Nashville speak for clubbing). I was sort of disappointed in both. First let’s talk about the Parthenon. While I thought the building not spectacular, the reason for it being there was.

Nashville built this full-sized replica of the Greek temple for the Goddess Athena for the 1897 Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition. Other states and countries also built pavilions for the celebration. These structures were built so they could be torn down after the Centennial. However, the Parthenon, which housed a world-wide art exhibition, was a hit. So, they kept it up; and, in 1920, rebuilt the structure that stands today.

I thought the art was poorly displayed, and the only floor that we could take pictures on was full of headless, armless and legless statues—and, of course Athena! I did find some things I want to show you. I could show you more of the pictures, but I won’t.

After the Parthenon, we had dinner and were smart not to eat downtown. Remember I said Memphis was expensive? Well, Nashville is worse. We paid $14 to park instead of $4. And on it goes. Also, the clubs were more spread out. Memphis’s Beale Street was just three blocks and was closed to cars. It was easy to jump from one club to the other. Also, I think I didn’t enjoy it as much because we are not big country music fans. I did get some shots that I will show you. Please let me know if I’m putting in too many images.

Tomorrow, we will try to sort out all the attractions we stumbled upon and find the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Carol, I’m not so sure we will make it into Dollywood.