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.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Best Birthday Gift Ever

Yesterday was my birthday, not something I would normally advertise, but I will in this case for having received the best gift ever - my Sinbad is still with me.  I honestly felt he would not be when my birthday came.  In fact he's been his normal self ever since coming home from the vet last week after being diagnosed with early stages of kidney failure.  I cannot believe this special prescription food he's been eating is responsible but I am a believer for the time it has given to us.
Every day has been a gift.

My wife made me an apple birthday pie.

Friday, November 21, 2014

From Humble Beginnings Comes Dangerous Things

Beavertail Cactus

I've never found baby Beavertail in the wild before, until now.

A full grown mature plant.

Each one of those little spots are called areoles where hundreds of tiny hair-like spines grow.  The grouping of spines are known as glochids.  Getting these into your skin you do not want to do.

 They are very irritating although you do not immediately feel the irritation.  It usually makes itself apparent an hour or so later.  It is then I stop whatever I am doing and proceed to get the spine out with tweezers and a magnifying glass for the longer they remain the worse it will become.

I have a beavertail in my cactus garden at home.  Every time I have got spines in my hand it wasn't from touching the plant itself.  I got it from something else that had touched the plant.  Now look at the third photo again and you will see where birds have sat on the edge and pooped and where somebody has nibbled away at two of the paddles.  How do they do it?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lost and Found

Another day, another walkabout.

I wonder who lives here?

Well hello there.

Just another fascinating shape in the rock.

 Huh!  See what I see?  Right in the middle of the sand.

Well, I'll be darned.  Someone has been through here before, but there were no footprints around.
(The footprints you see above are mine.  I only thought of the potential blog post after I picked it up so I reset the scene for the picture)

It couldn't have been too long for the batteries were still good...kind of.

As I always told my kids, You'll never find your fortune by looking up in the sky.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Rocks and Boulders

Looks like someone took a meat cleaver to that rock.

A little window.

Yep, I wanted to climb up there but there was no least for someone my age.

Most all of the rock has a very rough texture to it.  It is very abrasive and guaranteed to ruin a good pair of pants if you slid down on it.  Imagine what it would do to your hide.

I didn't even consider going up there on this one.

 Another example of that seam of rock running through the boulders into the distance.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Plant Life

This is just a sample of the plant life at the Alabama Hills

Yesterday I said I wish I knew more about Geology.  Today I can say the same for botany.
I don't know what this is but I thought it unique.

It likes to live close to the ground.  Maybe to be out from the wind?

I must return to this area in the spring and see the plants flowering.

The grasses provide good nesting material for the little mice and rats that live in the area.

This shrub, possibly a sage, is appearing to grow right out from the rock.

This one coming out from a narrow crack between the rocks.  I saw many examples of this including cacti growing in the most unlikely places.  It would make me wonder how it came to be in that spot in the first place.

Monday, November 17, 2014


That Alabama Hills I imagine is a geologist's paradise.

This is exfoliation where the rock breaks away in slabs due to expansion and contraction from the extreme weather temperatures.  Lizards and small mammals like the gaps left behind using them for protection from predators.

Same rock outcropping from a different angle.  This was one of those times (and they happen with more frequency of late) I started to climb up wanting to get a picture through the opening and part way realized I have no business doing this and slowly eased myself back down to the ground.  I cursed myself for growing old and no longer having the agility, bravado and foolishness of youth.

I saw this rock formation in several places.  The seam is of a different type of rock material and was only an inch or so wide.  Some places it was visible stretching far off into the distance.

It is times like this I wish I knew more about geology just to know what really happened here to create this so very long ago.  Whatever it was I know at least that this land has since been tilted up on its edge by 90 degrees.  You can see that in the first photo also.

There was a lot of lichen to be found too.  That is a whole other science

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Morning Walks

Each day I would go for a walk in a different direction, like the spokes of a wheel.

I have a lot of cactus photos,

and rocks too.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

First Morning

This looks more like a sunset but it really is the sun rising in the east.

The morning sun on Mt. Whitney.  
There's my little buddy.

  It was around 30 years ago when I was last on that road.  We camped at Whitney Portal Campground then the kids and I hiked to the top.  Once was enough.  I had to stop a couple times on the drive back down that road to let the brakes cool off in the old Land Rover.  Once was enough for that too.  Motor homes are not advised.  Take my word on that.    

Photo Taken with a 300mm lens.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Home Again

We are back home.  We weren't gone that long and have been home for a couple of weeks.  Sinbad wasn't doing well and we went to the vet to see how his thyroid was doing.  The doctor found his kidneys were failing.  This is not what I wanted to hear.  I've had cats all my life and a fair number have had kidney failure.  This is common among older cats.  Sinbad stayed with the vet for 5 days; five miserable days for both of us.  The vet was able to get his levels back to near normal and he came home this week.  He is his old self again but I know this is just buying time.  I've been trying to come to terms with the inevitable and working on the process of letting go.  Meanwhile we've been spending as much quality time together as possible.  He is always by my side and seemingly fears I will abandon him again.  I will not.  When it is time, I will let him go.

I have pictures to share from our last trip but just don't seem to have the motivation with the blog right now, yet I will try.  We spent a week at the Alabama Hills on the eastern side of the Sierra Mountains at the base of Mt. Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states.  This is a popular location for the movie industry and most recognizable for the old westerns of the 1930's, 40's and 50's.

This was our camp for nearly a week

and this was our view from the door.

Mt. Whitney is just off center to the right, above that zig-zag cut for the road leading to Whitney Portal.  Although the singular dome point of Whitney doesn't look as tall as the other mountains to it's left and right, that is because it sets back further.  
Mt. Whitney stands at 14,505 feet (4421 meters) high.

I apologize for not checking in with all of your blogs as I normally do.  I just am not into it right now. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Coming and Going

Winnemucca, Nevada

Coming home on the long home stretch through the west from our cross country trips I have several nice free places to camp at in Wyoming, Utah and Nevada which are a comfortable days drive between each point.  Only around Winnemucca, Nevada I've never had a good place pre-selected. RV parks there are a rip-off and in town around the gambling joints are too noisy or unwelcoming.  Each time we stayed in Winnemucca left me for wanting better.  You certainly would not want to live there.  This time I stopped at the BLM office (Bureau of Land Management, a Federal agency) and they gladly directed me to some BLM land just a few miles out of town.  The nice thing about BLM land is that it is free to camp on.  It was a short steep climb into the mountains and the view was wonderful.

The polarizing filter overworked itself on this image I think.

I don't know what the camera focused on but nothing here at least.

Water Canyon. This is a good place to stop for the night from now on.

This pretty much concludes all of the places and sites we saw on our Gulf Coast Tour from this past Spring.  I may have another alligator picture or two yet.  It is now Fall and so Sinbad and I will leave tomorrow on a Fall Colors Tour.  We won't be gone for as long (it'll get too cold) and will be sticking closer to home most likely not leaving California.  I might be able to post something while on the road.  Be good, have fun and hold down the fort while we're away.