A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I went to the Occupy rally held yesterday in Santa Rosa.
I missed the first rally, not knowing about it.
Here is their brand new banner.
There were free materials available to make your own sign or use one left behind from the first rally.
This sign cost $2 to make.
This lady's sign, I liked the best.
This little protester was still in the designing stages for her poster.
By 2pm a sizable crowd peacefully assembled in front of city hall.
A few short speeches were made. One from a representative from the city. Contrary to events at some rallies across the nation, the city of Santa Rosa decided that as long as the group remained peaceful, and there were no alcohol, drugs or public urination, the police department had been ordered to stand down and the city would allow an encampment on the front lawn. This was met with a lot of whooping, hollering and jumping for joy.
We then lined up across the street to begin our march downtown.
And we're off, California style.
Power to the pooch!
The message behind this pooch's poster is to pull your money out of all the big banks and place it in small banks and credit unions, thus effectively hurting the big banks where it will hurt the most. One of the speakers said there was a nationwide movement to do this on a certain date in November but I forgot what date he said. It was all right though as we already use small local banks.
I had a good time and will attend the next rally but will not camp out overnight. Sinbad would not tolerate that. 
"Wall street no! Main street yes!"

Post Script: My wife and I did a drive-by this morning and I was surprised by the number of tents set up. A couple dozen or more? I didn't have my camera with me so no pictures but I thought that was way cool. And I bet it was cool last night too.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Nebraska National Forest Ahead

Don't get me wrong. I liked Nebraska. When I am driving along for miles and miles, hour upon hour and see scenery like this out the window...
...I am a happy traveler. And I definitely will visit Nebraska again.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Devil's Tower

Devil's Tower National Monument is situated in the northeast corner of Wyoming. It is probably best known for the role it played in Steven Spielberg's 1977 movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".
I like this picture with the Turkey Vulture included in with the tower. There were a lot of Turkey Vultures riding the thermals around the tower. I do not know what they feed on but there were quite of few climbers on the tower.

If you think they are nuts, consider this. Look closely in the picture below and in the center and you can see a wooden ladder.
Here is a close-up.
On July 4, 1893 William Rodgers and Willard Ripley made the first ascent of the tower using this wooden ladder they constructed earlier that spring. Two years later Mrs. Rodgers used her husband's ladder to become the first woman to reach the summit. I guess Mrs. Ripley had better sense.

Falling and becoming turkey food probably is a rare occurance for climbers what with all the safety gear they have these days. But what if a portion of the tower decides to peal away unexpectedly, like in this photo.
Believe me, it gave me the willies just to stand there and take this picture. I mean, what is holding the remaining rock in place? I moved on right away.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Before the Bear Arrived

These are the pictures I was working on before the black bear interrupted my creative moment.
Along Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park.

Looking through several inches of clear glacier water at a mosaic of stones.

If you missed the Bear! posting, click here to see what brought an end to it all. 

This is linked to Weekend Reflection.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Riding High Along the Canadian Border

We spent the better part of the day driving east across Montana on Highway 2 which parallels the border with Canada. That is Canada to the left of the grey vertical line on the GPS with Saskatchewan above the dotted line and Alberta below. The little blue triangle is the Little House on the Highway travelling east.

These folks are riding high class on the Amtrak train. I wonder where there are going. Chicago?

This load of crap, junk, freight from China is riding high to...hopefully far far away.

And there was this cyclist riding high for I suppose just a better view of the world around him.
I'd like to know how he manages when there is a strong side wind.

Sinbad though, he'll ride anywhere he pleases.

Sinbad and I are happy to not be on Hwy 2 now for it is snowing there today.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Down into a Prairie Dog Burrow

As I said on my previous prairie dog post, I could watch these little guys all day long. Now as I go through my pictures of them, I wish I had did just that...spent all day with them. While on site of whatever it is I am taking pictures of I usually think to myself "I've got enough pictures", yet I invariably realize much later, I should have spent much more time and taken many more pictures.

Here is another picture of Scarface. People seem to take a liking to him on that previous post.

Here I tried something different. I strapped my mini-mag flashlight to the monopod with the camera mounted and worked it down into the prairie dog burrow. This take was the only one that worked fairly well. All the other holes had a bend just a foot or so in which I was unable to negotiate past with the monopod. You can see that in the first hole. Turn your sound down a bit as it may be irritating with the camera rubbing against the wall of the burrow.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Longhorn Beetle

There is a vast array of Longhorn Beetles, like over 20,000 different species. Some are the most colorful insects of all. This guy, rather drab as longhorns go, was in the Charles Russel Wildlife Refuge, Montana.
I say drab, for some longhorn beetles are spectacular in their markings.

This is linked to Macro Monday at Lisa's Chaos

Saturday, October 22, 2011

C&L Diner

After Glacier National Park we headed east thinking we'd eat at a diner along the way. When in Montana, "along the way" is a long way between towns. It wasn't  until we reached Cut Bank, 50 some miles later did we finally locate a place to eat. The menu boards were amusing.
Regardless of the spelling, the food was great.

Visit Murrieta365 to see more images on Straight Out Out of the Camera Sunday.

Buffalo Tipping with an Itch

Cow tipping is the purported activity of sneaking up on a sleeping, upright cow and pushing it over for fun.
My wife, always the prankster, took this activity to a new level with this bison in South Dakota.

Okay, the truth here is the bison was really just taking a dust bath because it feels good and helps rid themselves of fleas, ticks and such..
This video shows one bison who really has an itch and is working it out for all she can. Meanwhile her calf stands patiently by waiting for mom to finish. As she continues working on her itch it soon turns into pure ecstasy, oh so it seems and junior grows impatient. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


 You may recall that when we drove up to the entrance to Glacier National Park the ranger lady welcomed us then tacked on "Now you know you are too big to drive all the way through the park." No we didn't and I'll not go into all that transpired afterward. We decided to make the best of it and drove as far as we could to Avalanche Lake, 18 miles in where there was the established big vehicle turn around.
On our way back we putzed along stopping at every turnout trying to make the most out of an otherwise unpleasant situation. Then at one stop, while I was waiting for this guy to get out of the way so I could get my prize winning photograph of Lake McDonald with the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, his partner casually remarked "Hey, here comes a bear." Sure enough, there was a black bear wandering along the shoreline in our direction. I ran back to the Little House on the Highway to get my wife's zoom telephoto lens for her and my movie making camera. I got back just in time to snap this...
...then started filming. This video is long at 4 1/2 minutes but hey, we may never see another bear again. It took over 30 years of traveling for my wife to finally see her first bear in the wild, this one. You will be able to watch him meander on along the shore foraging for whatever he can find to fatten himself up for winter. At the end you will be able to see the zooming ability of my new camera as I pull back. Pretty impressive. Anyway had we been able to drive through as we had planned, we would have missed this wonderful encounter. Glacier N.P. delivered.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Golden Eagle Enjoying Lunch

As we left the Klamath Basin Wildlife Refuge and headed back to our camp at the Lava beds N.M. I saw this bird on the road far up ahead of us. I knew right away by the size, we had an eagle and it was feeding on something in the road. That something turned out to be a Great Blue Heron. My thought was that the heron got hit by a car but talking to those who would know later on, they said it was highly unlikely a Great Blue would ever get hit by a car. The best case senario was the eagle killed the heron and was unable to carry it off or lost it's grasp and the bird fell to the road. We were able to park a reasonable distance away and observe for only a short time before the eagle flew off.
Anyway, during the entire short period of the encounter I had a bad case of buck fever, or in this case eagle fever. So excited I was that I neglected to zoom in my 70-300mm having it set at 70mm the entire time. I was hand holding the camera shooting through the windshield. Nevertheless, with the poor back lighting,  massively cropping the images and doing repairs with my photo program, I don't think they came out too bad...considering.

This is linked to World Bird Wednesday