A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Creosote Bush

Most of the year these plants are not much to look at.  But in the spring they do have nice yellow flowers and the leaves have a brighter green to them.

Native Americans have long used this plant for it's medicinal properties.  Among the ailments they used it for are tuberculosis, chicken pox, and sexually transmitted diseases.  Just because they used it doesn't necessarily mean it was effective against TB, the Pox or STDs.  But since they used it successfully for snakebites they must have thought it would be worth a try against these terribly bad nasties given to them by the white man.
Naturally the USFDA has issued warnings discouraging it's use for any medicinal purposes.
What do Indians know anyway?

The creosote bush can withstand severe droughts and will shed all of it's leaves if it has to and still survive. Their root systems are so effective in absorbing water that this inhibits any other plants from growing near it thus producing a plant-free zone around every plant.  They are long living plants with the oldest known individual residing in the Mojave desert and is estimated to be 11,700 years old.

The bees like them.

There is no connection between this plant and the chemical preservative used for wood. I could not find as to how it came by it's name.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

How Hot?

Hot hot does it get in the desert?
Hot enough to peel paint from a wall.
But Christmas lights hold up well.

This is linked to Jan's

Flowers for Leontien

For a lady who is going through a tough patch right now.

Click here to see other flower contributions and perhaps add one of your own.

Funny how I traveled over a 1000 miles in search of cactus blooming only to come home and find them doing so right in my own cactus garden?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Searching for a Winner

Isn't it just wonderful to have strato-streaks in your photos? They add so much interest.

These are Smoke Trees. A few years back I took a photo of one, in this very same arroyo. I kind of liked it and entered it in a low key online contest and got an  honorable mention or something. No big deal but now every time I go back I'm always looking around trying to get another "winner". This one here has too much tree.

A bit simpler which was more like what the "winner" was.

A seperate shot with the polarizing filter getting into the action.

I am still working through those messed up settings pictures blowing off dozens of images not worth putting onto the blog. It was really dumb of me to mess with what already worked but at least this wasn't a major trip that I ruined a lot of pictures on. Fortunately I eventually put the camera back to right and we'll be in those pictures soon. But hey, no dust on the lens this time!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Diarrhea Photos

You may recall I referred to my pictures of a morning early on in the trip looking like diarrhea. This was due to my following a suggestion on camera settings from a "pro" in a book my wife had brought along.
Here are some examples:
His suggestion which gives "warmer colors". What do you think? To me this is not how it looks in real life.
Again with the changed setting.
The rest of the morning pictures were all done with the change to the settings and I have no regular setting to compare them against. In my little LCD screen they looked nice so I left the camera changed. It wasn't until I put them onto the computer screen that evening did I see what they really looked like, too much brown I think, much like...well you get the idea.

These next two I was playing with the polarizing filter.

Here's a couple of my little buddy. I corrected the brown back to his real orange color with my photo program.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Main Street

The nice thing about Randsburg in the middle of the week is you don't have people getting in the way of your picture taking.

This building had a little bit of a lot going on. I particularly liked the unpainted CAFE sign.
Notice the bird house too. That is a piece from metal Budweiser can on the side, a miniature metal Coca Cola bottle bottom front and a faded daguerreotype photo above the entry. The big sign below is for Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Dried spinal column bones hang by the door and antique wrenches grace the window frame. The sign to the far left reads:
No Shoulder 
Blind Curves 
Steep Upgrade 
Big Semi's 
Good Luck

Out houses were a popular visual commodity. Only that this one got TV reception. The sign in front states: We Got Our Bail Out. Notice the bar-b-que. Nothing goes to waste.

He got tired of being told to put the seat down.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Randsburg, CA.

After our first night at Red Rock Canyon State Park north of Mojave we motored the 27 miles east to Randsburg. Gold was discovered here in 1895. Today it is mostly tourism that keeps the few antique shops, general store and ice cream parlor going. With a population of around 70, this is my kind of place.

I found this little place on a side street and briefly imagined living here, but would I? No, as this is the high desert and it does get snow in the winter. I'll take a place in the deserts further south, on flatland where I can see for miles and miles in all directions.

Then I walked around to the side and saw it required just a little bit more work than I am interested in doing at this stage in my life. Plus there is nowhere to park the Little House on the Highway.

One of the shops on the main street. Everything is closed on weekdays. On weekends some open if the proprietor feels like it. I love that rust on the facade. And look at all those cool bottles in the window.

Monday, April 23, 2012


While we were away our resident California Towhee laid three eggs in the shrubbery right outside our kitchen/dining area window. This blessed event takes precedence over my showing pictures from the desert. Besides, technically we should still be there, not home, so just pretend I am still away from any Internet.
Maybe the babies will hatch before I offically get back?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Back Home

When you are sitting in the shade and your chair sinks into the asphalt that pretty much makes it clear you went to the desert a few weeks too late. A 30+ degree change in temperature all at once was a bit much .

Also, this new format for Blogger draws a vacuum.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I've Been Thinking...

...I should get some new tires for the Little House on the Highway after this trip.

We are in Anza Borrego State Park in San Diego County just north of the Mexican border. As the desert wildflower hot line site stated...there are no flowers. Why would I think otherwise? The Ocotillo have some residual flowers left on them but all their little green leaves have fallen away. We stayed our first night north of Mojave, CA. in the high desert. Although they just had a recent rainstorm - standing water along the roadside - no flowers there either. The temperature here is in the mid 80's, 20 degrees higher than at home. This will take a few days to acclimate.

Something learned: Don't read a photography book your wife brings along on a road trip and re-adjust the settings in your camera as the "professional" suggested. All the pictures I took this morning look like diarrhea. Stick to what you know that works. On the road away from home is NOT the time to experiment.

Thank you all for the well wishes to have a nice time. Will post again in a couple of days.
Oh and Sinbad? He is flithy dirty, enjoys his evening desert walks and is now sleeping in the closet.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I'm Off...

...but not by much.

We're heading south to the deserts in search of wildflowers and adventure. Reports on the desert wildflower hotline site read that little to nothing is to be seen or that what there was is all over with now. I'll not allow that to deter me; it only increases the challenge. A good time will be had regardless. I will make posts if and when at a place where I am able to get online. We will be back the first week of May.
Happy trails.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

At the Flea Market

Not exactly my first camera. I think maybe the second.
Pretty sure though the first camera after being married.

The Brownie Starflash was where it all began.
(not my picture - snatched from the Internet)

This fellow was so involved at looking through an old Hot Rod magazine from the 50's, he was oblivious to anyone around him. With the black knit Navy watchcap, beat-up leather coat, Levis, black converse lowtop shoes and long grey beard you knew he had lived it.

Nope, didn't buy anything. Just enjoy going and looking around.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gas for Less

Just as we don't see neat old signs like this much anymore, we'll never see gas for less again.

This begged for a black and white version.

This is linked to Lesley's signs, signs

Yesterday's Discoveries

During a little walkabout in the woods.

This fungus was a bit higher up than me and my tripod so I didn't get all the color I was after.
But I'll take those drops of water.

I do not know what this is. It is on a plant that looks sorta like a fern, but ferns do not flower.

This handsome fungus is 4 to 5 inches across.

And a egg shell fragment found on the ground.
I am always fascinated by the coloration of bird eggs.

And I discovered another whole area of my park (Annadel State Park) which if I hadn't known better I would have thought I had been dropped in the middle of the Hoh Rain Forest of Olympic National Park in Washington along the Pacific Northwest. Simply wonderful.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Black-crowned Night Heron

This heron was in with everyone else from the posts of the last two days.
I couldn't ignore him.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Business of Nest Building

Great Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
Cattle Egret
and the Black-crowned Night-Heron a couple more times.

The Snowy Egret I was unable to catch bringing home nesting material.

This is linked to World Bird Wednesday