Saturday, June 16, 2018

Taste of Acadia
The most popular way to see Acadia National Park is to drive the Park Loop Road.  We did that one of the days we visited the area around Acadia, and I want to share some snippets with you.  Just informationally, Acadia is split into 3 distinct areas Park Loop Road on Mt. Desert Island, another island south of Mt. Desert Island, and Schoodic Peninsula.  We didn’t see the area south of Mt. Desert Island, and the Schoodic Peninsula will be covered in another post, but this one is devoted to the Park Loop Road.  Let’s get started!
Much of the Park Loop Road is driving along some lovely forested roads like this one.  I bet this looks amazing in the fall, but a lot of green looks lovely, too!
Driving on Park Loop Road
There is an area called Sieur de Monts Spring, where a spring flows and keeps plants and flowers there very well-watered.  Walking thru that area is like taking a walk thru a lovely, serene garden or small woods.  Not that many people (relatively speaking) were there I guess most were looking for the big views of other areas.  I found this area a nice respite from the “maddening crowd” LOL!
Fern Reflection
Lushness like this is not seen very often in our home state of New Mexico!  It was also nice to hear the gentle undercurrent of the creek gurgling thru all of this fed by the spring, of course.
Fern Floor Forest
As we moved down the road, we saw this lighthouse, which sits just off shore.  Altho not as dramatic as those we saw in the Cape Elizabeth area, the red roof of the keepers’ residence made for a nice pop of color.  Interestingly the lighthouse got its name because it sits on Egg Rock.  In years past, settlers used to visit this tiny island (it’s much smaller than it appears in this image) to collect the eggs of sea birds that laid them there.  At one point, a couple of different varieties of sea birds almost went extinct due to this activity.  Needless to say, no egg gathering is currently allowed. 
Egg Rock Lighthouse
I’m not certain what the occasion was, but we did see a tall ship sailing in Frenchman Bay, not far from Egg Rock Lighthouse.  Again, I love the spot of color the sails lend to the scene, and how lovely it was to see such a magnificent sailing craft.
Tall Ship Sailing in Frenchman Bay
Next along the road was an area called Sand Beach.  The parking near the path heading down to the beach was very crowded, so we opted to just catch a glimpse of the beach thru the trees. I actually really liked this view of what was a nice, small beach. 
Sand Beach
As the road ran close to the edge of the island, around the area called Otter Cliffs, we were able to see a bit of the shoreline that I was hoping to get a view of that makes Acadia famous.   
View from Otter Cliffs
Heading inland, one spur of the Park Loop Road headed up Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the island.  About halfway up, this was the view, looking out over the land mass that makes up Acadia.  We are looking out over Eagle Lake.  I do like the way the sunlight is dappled, due to the puffy clouds overhead.  
Dappled Light Cadillac Mountain View
At the top of Cadillac Mountain, looking off to the north, one can see the Cranberry Islands off shore.  These islands are named for the cranberry bogs that were once there.  The two largest islands are serviced by ferries and have people living on them year round.
Cranberry Islands from Cadillac Mountain
Looking off in the other direction allows you to see the tourist town of Bar Harbor and off that shore the Porcupine Islands.  During the French and Indian War (1754 -1763) French gunboats hid behind these islands to ambush the British vessels.  No such activity goes on now just a cruise boat anchored off Bar Harbor on this day!  The island closest to shore (on the left side of this image) is called Bar Island, and during low tide, a sand bar appears, allowing people to walk across the small channel that separates it from Mt. Desert Island.  One just needs to be careful not to get stuck there when the tide comes in!
Bar Island off Bar Harbor

Thursday, June 7, 2018

The Adventure Begins – June 1 – 7, 2018
Our latest adventure began on June 1st.  I’ve decided to try something different.  For the travel blog, I will select one image to represent the day.  Each blog post will cover 7 days, so there will be 7 travel highlights.  It may make it easier on those of you who diligently read each of my travel blogs, and frankly, easier on me, too!  Let’s get started…..
June 1st was a driving day, from home in Edgewood to Amarillo, Texas, as will be just about all the days that make up this first week, as we make our way to Maine.  I just started taking images as we drove along, with no plan in mind.  I figured things would become clear to me once I looked at all the images I took.  I had several images of landscapes, of old billboards that had seen better days, and of deserted homesteads (one of my favorite subjects!).  But, as I looked at everything I shot today, the one type of image that stood out for me was rather iconic of the West, and ranches or farms in the West – the windmill.  I processed this image to create a sort of vintage feel, as that’s what I felt like it represents.  
Tilting at Windmills
June 2 was quite the day!  The word of the day for today was WIND!  Originally, I planned to do some of the driving, to help out Jeff.  However, with cross winds at over 20 mph, Jeff said forget it – I would not be happy.  And, he was right – at times I wasn’t even happy being a passenger in that wind!  Our drive from Amarillo, Texas, to Tulsa, Oklahoma took longer than we thought it would, mainly because we went slower due to the wind.  This image just captured what the wind kept creating every time we looked around, it seemed!
Day 3, Sunday, was almost the polar opposite of yesterday.  Driving was very pleasant – no wind to speak of – and I even got a chance to help out with the driving!  The other major change was the color green!!  We entered into Missouri after about 1 ½ hours after the drive for the day began, and green took over as the primary color when we looked out the window.  In this image, you can see the cows/steer just lazing about in the shade.  Altho you can’t see it in this image, I do believe a small pond wasn’t too far from where they were.
Driving thru both Illinois and Indiana, a very common sight is of farmland and farms.  They are two of the states that make up the “bread basket” of the US, where most of the crops that we eat are grown.  So, today’s image is a tip of the hat to all the farmers out there – thanks!
Almost from the moment we entered Ohio, the skies began to cloud over.  We checked the forecast, and didn’t see any real mention of rain (maybe a 10% chance), but that 10% ended up being 100% wherever we were!!  The silver lining in all this is that at least this wasn’t a day we were going to explore some sights!  The sun did come out at the end of the day, so maybe tomorrow’s weather will be more cooperative.
Overcast Skies
As we drove along the highway in New York State, we passed a small cemetery that had a WWII fighter jet trainer sitting in the middle of it.  It seems to be the way they’ve chosen to honor the fallen.  We don’t know anything about who is buried here, but I am thinking it must be the veteran section of the cemetery.
Honor the Fallen
It’s been a week since we started on this adventure, and we began our last day of the first week with a walk around a pond in the campground where we stayed last night.  It was the perfect tonic for a week of miles and miles of miles and miles!  I always love to watch herons “fish”.
This is week 1 of a several week adventure.  Stay tuned for next week!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Big Nose Kate’s Saloon
In Tombstone, there’s a place that’s very popular – Big Nose Kate’s Saloon!  It used to be the Grand Hotel, but now is named for the “lady of the evening” who was also supposed to be Doc Holliday’s girlfriend.  On the menu in the saloon, there is a picture of Kate – and no, she doesn’t have a big nose!
Tombstone’s Miss Kitty
Kate definitely got the short end of the stick when it came to names, that’s for sure!  Miss Kitty, Matt Dillon’s girlfriend on the old Gunsmoke TV show, had a much classier name…..but does she have a saloon named after her?
Kate’s Sign
There is a bar that runs the length of the sitting area in the saloon and this sign is centered behind that bar!  It’s one of many pretty stained glass windows/signs in the saloon.
Interesting Drinks
There was your typical beers to choose from, in terms of beverages, and then some more interesting sounding drinks listed on the blackboard….Sex in the Desert??
Stained Glass
Altho the stained glass signs were meant to be read from the outside (this one promoting Tequila), they were much prettier from the inside, as the sun shone thru them!
Old Mine
And downstairs from the saloon, there is a peek into what ran under certain buildings in town – access to a mine!  This was blocked off, so people couldn’t get into the mine, or what’s left of it, but it’s also an interesting slice of what life may have been like back then!
A Step Back in Time
There was a movie about the town of Tombstone (actually, several) that called it “the town too tough to die”.  One day, Jeff and I decided to visit this tough Old West Town, and walk down its main street.  It is like a step back in time to walk down that dusty road….
Courthouse in Tombstone
If you’ve heard of the “shootout at the OK Corral” then you’ve heard of Tombstone!  Somehow, I can’t help but think that this courthouse (or the original one) got a lot of use “back in the day”, as they say!
Wyatt’s Hotel
One of the guys that hung out in Tombstone was Wyatt Earp, and this hotel has been named after him.  Did he actually own it…..or stay there often?  Who knows?  I can almost see him gazing out of the second story window, tho.
Main Street – Tombstone
The main street is actually just a couple of blocks long, and is clearly the main commercial section of town, so no, the entire town doesn’t look like this!  In any event, one does feel like one has stepped back in time when wandering down the street.
Street Signs
As we walked along, I noticed these cool street signs down one of the side streets.  I love the signs that hang out from the buildings.  Why don’t they do that more nowadays?  It would make it easier to spot the shops!
Vintage Town Scene
There were a couple of different stagecoaches that traveled up and down the main street area, with some historical information presented by the coach drivers.  I love the background of the mercantile.
Window Reflection
Just outside of Tombstone, there was a small historical village.  As those of you who follow my blog know, I am greatly attracted to windows with interesting reflections, and this one doesn’t disappoint!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Blooms and Barbs
I was hoping that I would be in Saguaro National Park during the spring blooming season for thee saguaro cactus.  Unfortunately, I was there a bit too early.  Blooming season is generally May into June (darn!).  But, there were interesting things to see among the other blooms and barbs!
Saguaro Texture
Theres something about the texture of the saguaro cactus that fascinates me.  I love the patterns that the rows of barbs make up. The stems of the saguaro generally measure between 18” and 24” thick, filled with water.
Barrel Cactus Bloom
One of the cactus that were blooming were some barrel cactus.  I think this is just getting ready to burst forth with blooms.  Or, its just finished, but still looks nice!  Im never sure!
Saguaro Cactus Points
Ouch!!  I felt like I needed to take a super close up of the saguaros barbs, to really get an idea of how painful it would be if I got stuck!  And, heaven forbid, one should fall on me!  Because they are full of water, they can weigh up to 8 tons!
Busy Bumble Bee
Im not sure what type of cactus bush plant sprouted this daisy like blooms.  But the bees were certainly happy around it!  I didnt notice bees anywhere else, except around these flowers.  It just seemed funny that I didnt even get a glimpse of one elsewhere!
Ocotillo Blooms
Well, the ocotillos must have gotten plenty of rain they were vibrant green and sprouting such bright rosy pink blooms at their very tips!  This is another cactus that I just am attracted to because of its quirkiness so tall and spindly, and can quickly change from this lovely green to what looks like a dried out stick, in a matter of days with no rain.  And, it will change back to green just as quickly when it does rain again!
Saguaro Thorns
I got pretty close to this saguaro to get this nice view of its barbs.  You can see this guy looks to have about 3 arms.  Ive read the record for number of arms is 50 on a giant saguaro somewhere in this national park, but I didnt see it on my travels this time around!

Saguaro National Park (East)
One day, while Jeff was in a technical class regarding our RV, I decided to take a most definite non-technical drive thru the east side of Saguaro National Park.  The interesting thing about Saguaro National Park is that the city of Tucson cuts it in half.  The east side is along the Rincon Mountains and is at about 8600 feet in elevation.  There are a number of hiking trails, but for todays photo shoot, I stuck to the road that meandered thru part of the park.
Saguaro Forest
The first thing that folks may notice is how GREEN it is here in the Sonoran Desert!  It is springtime, so perhaps that had something to do with it!  I love the shades of green that can be seen not only on the saguaro cactus, but the shrub bushes and then traveling up the lower portion of the mountains in the distance.
Ocotillo and Prickly Pear
In addition to the saguaro cactus, there are also prickly pear cactus and ocotillo.  For some reason, Ive always liked prickly pear cactus.  The round leaves are appealing to me, altho I dont ever get too close to the thorns sticking out from them!!  The ocotillo is such a cool plant, too.  When it has had enough water, its a lovely green (altho there are thorns on those long stems), but when the weather turns dry, it dries to a dead looking spindly thing.  However, just a bit of rain and it will green up again in a matter of a day or so!
Big Guy
Of course, the star of the show is the saguaro cactus.  This guy was really tall.  An interesting thing about them is that they will first sprout an arm between 75 100 years old, altho some never will sprout an arm.  They can grow up to 40 feet tall!!  The bloom from the saguaro cactus is the state flower of Arizona.
Cacti Landscape
Theres something about a desert landscape that is quite beautiful and striking, in a non-traditional way.  Its much more stark and unforgiving, in a way.  Almost more real, I feel.  One thing I definitely dont feel like laying down in it and gazing at the clouds!
Prickly Pear and Saguaro Cactus
And, here Im looking at my 2 favorite cacti the round, almost plump looking prickly pear and the tree-limbed saguaro.  Im not certain why I like these 2 so much, but I do.  I guess they have an amount of character that I like!
Saguaro on the Rise
One interesting thing about the saguaro cactus is that it only grows naturally in the Sonoran Desert, which is found in the southwest portion of North America.  This translates into this area of Arizona in the US.  I especially like to look at them as they are silhouetted against the sky.
Along the Road
The saguaro cactus sort of lined this part of the road that I traveled.  Since this is the only place in the US where you can see them growing (naturally), its rather a treat to see them growing somewhat haphazardly in nature.
Saguaro Shadow
I never knew this the word saguaro comes from the Latin, Carnegiea gigantean, which means gigantic candle.  It certainly looks like it in this image!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Haleakala After Glow
As is often the case with sunsets, the show isn’t over just because the sun as dropped below the horizon.  The sky often continues to put on a show from the sun’s rays that continue to sort of bounce around the sky.  And, as we drove down Haleakala, we continued to get a pretty fabulous show!
At first, the light was still the warm light that we saw from the sun as it set…..
Evening Warmth
But, then, the cool night sky began to claim its territory…..
After Glow
And, then, as night fell, the colors glowed with the cool pinks and purples of day’s end, before the pitch dark of night completely took over….
Evening Magic