The test of an adventure is that when you are in the middle of it, you say to yourself, "Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home." And the sign that something is wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure. -Thornton Wilder

The nice thing about being confused is you get a chance to notice things a lot better than if you knew where you were going.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Sad Day

Sinbad is fine.  The title to this post might cause you to think otherwise so I'll put that out first.  
No, the sad day part is I sold my motorcycle last week.  Motorcycles have been a part of my life since my first one nearly 50 years ago.  So it is as if a chapter of my life has come to a close, and for me that is sad.  I just didn't ride it all that much anymore and it seemed silly to keep buying insurance and registration for something that just sat, unused.  Oh I still enjoyed riding but as of late it seemed I went for shorter and shorter rides feeling like I had went for a really long ride afterwards.  
Just part of getting old I guess.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Where I Live

Over several days I was trying out different camera set-ups for filming when driving while going back and forth between home and the shop to have some work done on the RV.  You will see the neighborhood I live in and the area around where I live.

  Interesting note:  YouTube picked up on the music that was being played over the radio at the end of the video and tagged it as copyrighted material even so far as identifying the piece, who wrote it and who and when performed it.  Amazing YouTube can figure that much out but not the fact that it was background noise rather than something I uploaded to the video.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Time to Leave

 Our time in the Mojave National Preserve draws to an end.
Before we go, one last flower, my favorite, the blossom of the Beavertail Cactus.

Maybe one more morning walkabout and then

Sinbad leads the way back to our home away from home,

where we begin the long drive back to where we started our journey.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Few Unknowns

These flowers I was unable to identify with any certainty.

This one here had a very nice design deep inside.

Yellow is the most common color of flowers in the desert it seems.

 If I have seen this plant before I most certainly have never seen the seed pods.

There are some very oddly different plants in the desert and for a good reason too no doubt.
This adaptation must insure its continued survival in some way.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Baby Joshua Trees

For all the times I have been to the desert I have never seen small starts of a Joshua Tree before.
This was a first for me.

New seedlings may grow 3 inches a year for the first 10 years 
and then slow down to 1.5 inches growth a year thereafter. 

 In the background you see one coming to its life's end.  Joshua trees can take as long as 60 years to fully mature and may live 500 years or more.  
The largest one known was 80 feet (24 meters) tall and thought to be 1000 years old.

Their trunks have thousands of small fibers and lack growth rings like normal trees do so it is difficult to tell there actual age in most case.  The bark is extremely hard and tough.  It'd have to be in that harsh desert environment which helps to conserve moisture. 

I just had to show this picture again of my little buddy near a very healthy and handsome Joshua Tree.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sinbad and the Dinosaur

When I returned to the RV I showed Sinbad what I found.
Really?  Do you have to set that thing here?

 Nearby our camp was this improvised gate designed to keep people from continuing on the road.

The gate was securely locked to keep anyone from opening it.
Now, what is wrong with this arrangement? 

    When we first arrived at our campsite I immediately went for a short walk leaving the 

camera behind which I soon regretted.  I walked up over the nearby hill and discovered someone's 

“camp” down on the other side.  It was a strange set-up.  There were no structures except for a 

broken down camper off to the side.  The guy must have had 10 to 15 handsaws of all types laying 

around on boxes, rocks or in the dirt.  He had a 50 gallon barrel stuck full of long items like a mop, 

fishing poles, crutches (several pairs of different styles) among other scraps of long metal and wood 

poles.  Another 50 gallon plastic barrel was full of water.  There were 5 gallon buckets scattered all 

about filled with things you'd have no use for in the desert like plumbing fixtures, door knobs and 

hinges. There was even an antique Seagull outboard boat motor lying there in the dirt which is quite 

the collectable.   Also numerous cases of empty beer bottles including a case of champagne bottles, a 

few looking yet uncorked.  He had a huge round wire cage where he tossed his empty food tins.   I 

looked to see what he ate.  Most of the cans were Alpo dog food.  I hoped he had a dog.  Whoever it 

was that lived there, it was he who designed that gate and I bet he would be quite interesting person 

to talk with.  Or maybe not.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Baby Dinosaur Tale

I was climbing around on the side of this hill looking for anything to take a picture of.

Anything, like this cactus for example.

The hill provided a nice view of the valley.  See the Little House on the Highway?  
Sinbad is asleep inside.

Well this was a surprise find!  I wondered how it came to be out here.  A little boy camping with his family where we were camped probably lost it somehow.  Now how could a little guy loose his toy dinosaur without knowing it?  I was soon to find out.

I thought it would be fun to pose the dinosaur in various settings, took several pictures and then stuck him in my pocket while I resumed looking for things to photograph.  Several minutes later I realized he was gone.  He'd fallen out of my pocket somehow.  I backtracked and eventually found him.  Back in my pocket he went.  Well I lost him again!  Each time I stooped down to take a picture he'd fall out.  I searched and searched.  What else did I have to do?   I even scrolled back through my pictures trying to help me retrace my steps.  I figured he was gone for good and was meant to stay here on the hill.  Finally, there he was!  This time I stuffed him all the way down in my pants.  

He now has a new home on the dash of the Little House on the Highway.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Monday Mural: Water Tank Bunny

Found in nowhere land of the Mojave National Preserve.

For more murals click on Oakland Daily Photo Monday-Mural

Just Stay Home

Yeah, each year I go off to the desert looking for cactus blooming meanwhile here at home...

Several more will open up tomorrow and the next day on this one. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

Flowers and Bugs

 This is a Desert Chicory, a Tobacco-weed or a Tackstem.  The white petals look the same on all three plants.  I'm going with the Tackstem for my desert flower guide book states it grows from Death Valley down into the eastern Mojave and that is where we were.  So Tackstem it is.

The Mojave Aster whose flowers can vary from blue violet to lavender to pinkish or nearly white.

The Wild-Heliotrope.  I should have tried to get closer but it was so small.
A lovely little flower.

Pencil Cholla for the stalk is not much thicker than a pencil.  I have some growing at home.  
They are usually green and I have never seen a purple one like this before.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Desert Debris

A rodent midden.  Little furry creatures gather up all the loose sticks and debris they can to make a safe home for themselves in the rocks.  Imagination how many trips back and forth this was.

This I could only surmise was an old prospector's camp site.  I looked all around for any signs of a mine, a hole in the ground or some type of digging but could not locate it.  

This was a remarkable rock formation but unfortunately my photo doesn't really show it very well.
 This is all one huge piece of granite and all of it beyond the crack was as flat as a pool table.

Here we needed more clouds for a dramatic sunset.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Wandering About

Wandering off into the desert I came across this fallen Joshua Tree and was surprised as to how shallow their root system is.  I guess it can gather more water along the surface than deep.

I thought this rock formation looked like a bear or buffalo.

This is a California Juniper tree. You wouldn't think a pine tree would be growing in the desert.  It was the only one around which begs the question as to how the seed from which it grew came to be here?  I guess a bird pooped here a long time ago.

Well one thing is for sure, you'll not find any better shade in the desert from the hot sun than right here.  Looks like a good place to camp.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

It's Getting Better

We moved on in the Mojave National Preserve 
and the further north we went the more flowering plants there were to be found.

The Joshua Tree which oddly enough belongs to the lily family.

Desert Indian Paintbrush

This cactus is similar to the Clustered Barrel Cactus I showed before but that cactus has yellow flowers.  Whatever cactus this is it has very pretty flowers.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Kelso Dunes

Next camp was at the Kelso Sand Dunes.

 There's nothing to see in sand dunes except evidence of the comings and goings of the locals.
A Pinacate beetle, otherwise known as a stinkbug.

A mouse.

 A Kangaroo Rat.  They drag their long tail.

At one time I would have climbed this dune, but these days the idea of sand-filled shoes don't appeal to me.  This dune is over 600 feet high.  That may not seem like much but when your slogging through soft sand slipping back a foot for every two feet gained, well you get the idea.