Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Post For 2011

That's it. There is no more. 2011 is past. Some celebrate its passing. Others celebrate the positives of an unknown future. Regardless, 2011 is history.

At the end of 2011, my hair is a little thinner, grayer and gravity continues its toll on once was my chest. Accept what is. No complaints really. I'm still here to look back. More importantly, I can look forward.

There were a great many moments of personal fascination in 2011 and some times details were posted on this blog.

Wondering what was the most viewed entry for 2011, I checked the Blogger stats. There was no real competitor for Herbie Around The World. Good news is that Zainab and Domi soon will begin the next leg of their journeys as they continue to South America. To follow their journeys, their travels are posted at Herbie's World Tour. Their scheduled travel plans will take them through Tucson. If all goes well, I  hope to meet them as they pass through Tucson so I can wish them a Bon Voyage on their continued Around The World Tour.

And with this last post of 2011.... My wish is for all my readers good health and a life in pursuit of happiness.

In the event any one wonders how I celebrate the arrival of the New Year.... Denver's commercial (1969-1995) classical music station, KVOD, had a long time tradition on New Years Eve to play all of Beethoven's symphonies. That was concluded with the ninth ending close to midnight.

I've continued that tradition with a modification. I end with the ninth closer to ten o'clock.

That and Crown Royal on the Rocks makes for a good way to bring in the New Year.

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why Save Money

While I was considering the purchase of the iPhone, I happened to recall my visit as a ten year old to the bank with Dad to open a savings account. With bars on the teller window and a bank president on site, it was a different time. Dad was no stranger to the bank as he borrowed as much as the bank would lend. A couple of years later, he was dealing with more than one bank.

When Dad explained to the bank president the reason for the visit with me in tow, we were ushered behind the barricade in front of the bank president's desk. Have no idea how much was deposited in the savings account that was opened. However, I do remember the visits to the bank far into my teenage years to deposit money and have the interest earned recorded -- in a savings passbook.

It was a nostalgic recollection. Interest was actually earned -- or at least recorded as being earned.

Today checking accounts and money market accounts have a paltry interest rate -- if any is actually paid. If interest were paid on the money in the account, there might be some way to stay even with the annual inflation rate.

So for me the obvious conclusion is that they -- the bankers; the economists; the Federal Reserve -- do not want me to save money. They want me to spend the money. A dollar today is worth a dollar. With inflation, tomorrow the dollar will be worth less.

So I might be reconsidering the iPhone purchase. If not the iPhone, I have no doubt there is some other want that will claim those depreciating dollars in my checking account.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Stockings

Already past the stage of believing in Santa at the age of nine or ten, I decided to check out the stocking tradition. Without a fireplace, the next best place to hang the stockings was on the 18 inch high box upon which the Christmas tree stood. Not sure what I expected to appear in the stockings. Perhaps some candy or perhaps a small trinket of some sort.

On Christmas morning, upon coming down stairs, I checked the stockings from a distance to see they didn't have anything in them. Wondering out loud to Mom why there wasn't anything in them, she said we should look closely. So I did. There was a lump at the toe of the sock. A positive outlook wondered if the lump might be some coins. Took the sock and reached far into the toe and pulled out -- a peanut.

That was a disappointment. Guess Mom must have seen our long faces. With a big grin, she allowed that a peanut was better than a lump of coal. Mom was always right. She also had a good sense of humor.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


de·crep·i·tude  Noun. The quality or condition of being weakened, worn out, impaired, or broken down by old age, illness, or hard use.

Decrepitude is an apt definition for this saguaro.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Three Month Stay

Arrived at Justin's Diamond J RV Park yesterday. No time was wasted this morning as I headed out for a hike in the desert immediately behind the RV park. Great that there is lots of hiking without a drive. Going to love this. At least I think I will.

This stay is a test of hitch itch since I plan to stay here for three months. Those three months will be the longest I have stayed at any one place in the past ten years. Wondering if Wandrin Lloyd can handle that.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Smart Phone Shopping

The cell phone was about four years old and the current two year contract was up. Great time to update to the iPhone.

Really was nothing wrong with that Motorola phone. Great little phone. It has a camera. It rings. It works each time I use it. Ear buds or blue tooth. Which I don't use. It has it all. Pretty modern. But. It is not smart.

Headed off to the Verizon store to check out the smart phones. Wow they were pretty nice. The iPhones were the object of my coveting. Since I was already addicted to Apple gadgets, it seemed only natural to add the iPhone to the line up with my investment in iProduct apps.

Happened to be relating my smart phone search to daughter Vanita. She wondered why I would want a smart phone when I had a Mi-Fi card and an iPad (or iPod Touch) with me most times. Knew I had a bright kid there. Probably takes after her mother. Appears she didn't get that gene from me.

Back to the Verizon store. Still coveted that iPhone. Wow. It would be $199 and a two year contract. What other charges would there be was the question of the lovely Verizon rep. On top of the talk minutes, any smart phone has an automatic $30 per month charge. Really. Didn't know that. No matter how much it is used -- if at all. Hmmm.

Daughter Vanita was onto something there. Already have a phone that works. Have an iPad and a Mi-Fi card with me all the time. Save $199 today and $30 a month. Wow. That adds up to a lot of money.

And that is the review of the iPhone. I may have wanted it. But I didn't need it. Perhaps I am smarter than a smart phone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rainy Weather

Long pants and an umbrella was the attire for yesterday. The weather service reported over an inch of rain. Not bad considering the average yearly rainfall for Yuma is about three inches.

Much of that green in the grocers' produce aisle comes from California's Imperial Valley and the area around Yuma. Colorado River water makes it all possible. And an occasional heavy rain.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beyond The Information Age

"When was the last time a company went public in the U.S. that actually manufactured a good? When was the last time a "hot" company went public selling a service that had nothing to do with marketing and that actually performed a valuable function?" -- Quote from post at Of Two Minds

About 25 years ago, I was having lunch with Joe -- a long time friend. As a long time student and investor in the stock markets, his comments of that day have not been forgotten.

Paraphrasing Joe's comments: It can't be a good thing for an economy when the US industry stops manufacturing a tangible product. Raw materials were exported to other countries to make a physical product which was imported to sell to the US consumer. The new product for US industry was the creation and selling of information. Not a product with a function.

That interchange 25 years ago was recalled as I read today's post at Of Two Minds where now the product to be sold is "social media." That is essentially nothing. Not a physical product. Not even information.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Book: Bad Dog

Bad Dog by Martin Kihn. With a subtitle in parenthesis -- a love story.

On top of his alcohol addiction, Martin Kihn gets a puppy who turns into a big untrained dog. The scary moments begin and his wife Gloria leaves. That was when the work began. Martin begins with alcohol recovery while working to train Hola (dog's name) to meet the highest of AKC's training standards. The goal is to prove to Gloria that she should return to the family.

How to train a dog. It takes lots of time to train the five year old dog while training the owner at the same time. Kihn succeeds in the last scene of the book as Gloria returns to see a well trained Hola and a recovering alcoholic.

This love story is funny and poignant. Hard to put down.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Book: Deep Survival

A book by Laurence Gonzales and subtitled Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why

With first rate research, interviews with survivors -- including his father's WWII experience, interviews with psychologists and personal experiences, Gonzales writes at times a very personal book about the stories of survivors. He describes in detail those persons who survive and those who die under the same circumstances. Separating emotion from the life threatening situation, accepting the reality, actively working to survive with intellect will be a major determinant for survival. Throw in some humor and you've got a pretty good chance to make it back to tell the story.

Quote from the last chapter of the author's book: "The perfect adventure shouldn't be that much more hazardous in a real sense than ordinary life, for that invisible rope that holds us here can always break. We can live a life of bored caution and die of cancer. Better to take the adventure, minimize the risks, get the information, and then go forward in the knowledge that we've done everything we can."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Adapting To Cold

The low last evening was 28 degrees. Fortunately, it is warmer inside Wandrin Wagon where I sleep. No plans to test my survival skills as long as I can afford propane.

That overnight low was the coldest over these past days. Most nights, the low temp was in the mid thirties. Cold enough. The daily highs are a comfortable low to mid sixties.

Recent local temperatures have been about ten degrees colder than average. However, since I am living in actual temperatures rather than historic averages, I have resorted to wearing long pants. Not all the time, but that is the start to most days. However, before heading out on a daily explore, a clothing change is made to shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. Wandrin Lloyd has an image to maintain.

A positive is required to deal with this cold weather. In less than two weeks, Wandrin Lloyd will be in Tucson for a three month stay. With Tucson's slightly colder temperatures, these recent temperatures are allowing my adaptation to the colder temperatures. Maybe.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'm With Scrooge

It is that time of year when XM radio decides that its listeners have been waiting all year so they can listen to Christmas themed music 24 hours a day. It may not be on all channels, but the Classical Pops is one of those that started yesterday. Why couldn't they mix it up. An occasional Christmas themed selection throughout the programming day would be great. 24 hours a day is too much. The good thing is that I can enjoy quiet. Turn off the noise.

A couple of days ago, Home Depot was the destination for wood slats for a project at Wandrin Wagon. Like every other retail store during November and December there is a whole section of Christmas decorations. Not only is there a large section of this stuff, the holiday decorations are throughout the store with what appeared to be directions how you can buy the materials to make the tacky kitchy item at home.

Who buys all that Christmas decoration stuff. Where do they store it. The answer: those storage units that are being built everywhere.

The only place during the Christmas season where I must shop is the grocery store. My stress level begins at the front door with the bell ringer. Inside the Christmas decorations abound. Of course over the PA system, some low budget Christmas music is broadcast and interrupted by "clean up on aisle 9".

Time to stop before I start off on a tirade about the 150 million people who shopped over the Thanksgiving weekend. All I can say is that some of those people vote. It's scarey.

Counting the days until this is over. Bah. Humbug.

And while I am on a rant. The very rare occasion to go inside a bank is to deposit a check or purchase dollar coins. The latest visit found a TV on the wall behind the teller windows. No doubt this is something the customers have been begging for. The CNN news was muted with the scrolled words for the hearing impaired. Looked around. There wasn't a single person in the bank looking at the TV. That included the three in line with me. One had ear buds and was concentrating on a cell phone.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


On my way to San Diego from Palm Springs, I stopped in to visit several road acquaintances who now have lots at the Jojoba Hills Escapee RV Park. That includes Brian -- my personal chef. Well. He is my personal chef when we happen to traveling in the same neighborhoods.

During my week long visit, Brian and other Jojoba Hills acquaintances were merciless in their touting the positives of their park. It would be easy to put my name on the list and -- probably -- in a year I would have a lot at Jojoba Hills. As I exited the park, I stopped at the office to get the paper work for placing my name on their list.

Jojoba Hills is located about a 20 minute drive east of Temecula. Extensive shopping alternatives and medical facilities abound in Temecula and nearby Murrieta. Local exploring includes wineries, hiking, and tourist attractions in Temecula or Julian. Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley is just over the mountains to the north. A San Diego visit to Vanita's house would be about 80 miles away. All positives for a lot at Jojoba Hills.

Now that I have been on the road for ten years, it seems attractive -- in the academic sense -- to stop for seven to eight winter months. However, the prospect actually scares me. In these past years, the longest I have stayed in any one RV park was for two months. A longer test is coming up when I head to Tucson in mid December. The reservation is for three months at which point the Wandrin travels will begin for 2012.

There are many places to consider for that extended winter stay. Jojoba Hills is just one of the several possibilities. Now there is something else to keep me awake at night.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Remote RV Park

From four and five lane congested freeways of San Diego to the Thousand Trails Pio Pico RV Park is fifteen miles. The last seven miles are a winding two lane road. Remote, but close to urban wants. This is my kind of place.

Want a really quiet stay, find a spot in the east end of the south side. Daytimes the crows and several species of birds frequent "my yard". At night it is the sound of coyote in the nearby hills.

Not entirely quiet. Wandrin Wagon is parked under an oak tree. The sound of an acorn dropping on the roof can be quite unsettling -- especially when sleep begins to take over consciousness.

The park is a good place for hiking the nearby hills. Today, the surrounding one time ranch tracks and trails are part of a network traveled by the Border Patrol looking for the illegals crossing from Mexico -- just seven miles distant. In past visits to this park, I hiked many of the tracks. After three days, still no hiking. Hoping to remedy that. Soon.

Final Wilson Sleek test.... The one negative with this park's location is cell phone reception. From no signal in some parts of the park to a weak signal in others. Hills all around and in the oak trees does impact the signal. In past visits, I found the E section to be one of the better places to park Wandrin Wagon -- to get cell signal. However, an amplifier is still needed.

This poor signal allows for another -- and final -- test of the Wilson Sleek. The mini antenna that came with the Sleek was used for these tests. Both the cell phone and the MiFi reported a signal with no bars. With the Sleek, the cell phone showed one bar. No call was tried. The MiFi card showed two bars. Throughput was as expected. Slow. Guessing that the trees have some impact on the sent and received reception. Sometimes, transmissions stop completely. Canceling and restarting the transmission may result in completion of the task.

Time on the internet is quite frustrating. Maybe that's a good thing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks For Each Day

This turkey was given a reprieve. He was just too good looking.

That tom turkey was thankful to see another day.

My thanks and gratitude center around this nomadic life style adopted ten years ago. Life could not be better. Every day there is an opportunity to explore and satisfy my never ending curiosity.

Today, I am thankful to be in San Diego spending the Thanksgiving holiday with daughter Vanita, Gabe and Gabe's family.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

To The 99% -- Buy Local

The nationwide retailers' annual sales are dependent on the yearly Christmas guilt** shoppers. When the multinational make their numbers, that is good for the stock prices and the CEOs get big bonuses. Some in the millions. That is not so good for the financial state of the 99%.

How about disappointing those corporations this year. Rather than spending guilt** shopping dollars for Christmas at a multinational retailer, do your shopping at a local retailer whose owner is part of the 99%. It may be the same product found at the nationwide chain. It might cost you a bit more.

Don't stop at your Christmas guilt** shopping. When eating out, head to the local eateries that are not part of some national chain.

Finally. Don't put your purchase on a credit card. (Another multinational money maker.) Use cash.

Corporations rate and rank success in terms of dollars. This cynic wonders whether the movement will go anywhere if these OWS people -- and their supporters -- at the end of the day end up shopping at the nationwide chain retailer or restaurant.

The message: Shop at local retailers that are part of the 99% rather than some Wall Street corporation.

** Guilt shopping is not a typo. It is "guilt" shopping for any gift to an adult. Gifts should be limited to children under ten. Even for those, one or two gifts are sufficient.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Wandrin Trail Relative

On my nomadic travels, crossing paths of friends and road acquaintances happens frequently. On rare occasions, the path is in a relative's neighborhood.

Each year the Palm Springs area is an extended stop on my way to San Diego. Area exploring includes a weekend day at the College Of The Desert Street Fair. (A year round weekend event.) Hundreds of booths offer a variety of stuff made in some Asian country. Booths are dedicated to hats, belts, purses, dresses, towels, toys, kitchen utensils, watches, sunglasses and reader glasses, and more. Some booths sell and market locally made products. The good part: rather than some nationwide chain, the booths are run by entrepreneurial Coachella Valley residents.

After walking the aisles and finding no stuff that I want or need, I check out the half dozen produce booths selling edibles. Finally found something I want -- or need. 

Eating is a requirement for shoppers. There are a large number of food concessions ready to serve any ethnic food and appetite. My food choice is a pork BBQ sandwich (without the bread) at Al's concession.

Al and I share an ancestor several generations back. Al left the cold and snow of Green Bay Wisconsin to enjoy the warmth of the desert. Packers green and gold still flow in his blood. In his booth, the Packers colors and logo are prominently displayed.

Daughter Amanda helps her dad every weekend efficiently taking orders for Al -- the cook/grill man. Next fall Amanda will be in Wisconsin attending the UW at Green Bay. Al will certainly miss her.

Next time in the Palm Springs area, be sure to drop by cousin Al's booth at the CoD Street Fair. Say hello to cousin Al -- in the Hawaiian shirt -- and have a natural beef hamburger.

Friday, November 11, 2011

TV Habit Kicked

"When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there for a day without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland." -- Newton Norman Minow as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in a speech given to the National Association of Broadcasters convention on May 9, 1961

The newly arrived RVs at the campground were setting up this afternoon. After hooking up to shore power, water, and sewer, the next item was to get a TV signal from a communication satellite. Those RVers on a smaller budget set up the tripod and mounted the dish. They then proceeded to point the dish at that satellite 22,000 miles out in space.  Soon there were the beeps and whines from the signal finders of the TV or the gadget until a picture is seen on the TV.

At one time, I was one of those RVers. However, most times my subscription to DirecTV was on vacation. Six months (or whatever that time was) later, billing started again. TV may have been a wasteland in 1961. Today it is a garbage dump.

I make the wild assumption that little has changed since I watched TV three to four years ago. That was when I quit the TV habit permanently. From the 200 channels, there were less than a dozen channels that I watched. The ones I recall were Discovery, History, Learning Channel and PBS out of New York. To get PBS, more money was shelled out for the east and west coast feeds from DirecTV.

The most frustrating thing was watching a one hour "educational show" on the History or Discovery channel. Every ten to fifteen minutes there were two to three minutes of commercials. The show returned as the narrator spent several minutes reviewing what was already seen. At the end of an hour, there may have been 35-40 minutes of "education". So I acquired one of those TIVO type devices. The shows were recorded and they were never viewed. It took a long time to realize I wasn't a TV watcher.

Essentially I was paying about $70 a month for four channels which I watched for perhaps a total of seven hours a week. Maybe. There were better ways to spend $70 a month. Buys lots of books.

Never been much of a TV watcher. Born before TV, I didn't grow up with the TV habit. At the University of Wisconsin, TV watching was at a bar on State Street. As a family man, I was reading or constructing something most times. That personal computer (an Apple IIe) in 1981 provided another diversion.

Looking back, I realize that the TV was there for others. It was a habit to have a TV in the house. Fortunately the TV habit was kicked.

A piece of trivia: The S. S. Minnow of the 1964–1967 television show "Gilligan's Island" was sarcastically named for N.N. Minow to express displeasure with his assessment of the quality of television.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


While in the Palm Springs area, most of my hikes have been at the Coachella Preserve. Wide open spaces with few people. My kind of place. Could be described as a minimalist environment with few bushes and no trees. Nothing blocks the expansive views. In some ways, it is like eastern Montana where the plains go on for tens of miles. Once again: my kind of place.

On a previous hike at the Preserve, I came across this Peace intaglio.

Yesterday, my hike took me past that same intaglio. A modification had been done. Why.

After repairing the changes and returning it to peace, I moved on.

Just a few feet away is a smiley face intaglio. After I fixed some minor facial features -- like the schnoz -- I took the portrait.

And with that I hope the intaglios survive to amuse or frustrate future hikers.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Calming Moment

Turned out to be more than a moment. When Mozart's Clarinet Concerto started play on iTunes shuffle, it became a calming experience. After a few bars, I sat back and enjoyed the entire concerto as nothing else mattered. Nothing did. No doubt my heart slowed down a beat or two.

Compared to other symphonic works, I cannot explain why that Mozart composition calms me every time it is heard.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hitchhiking With a Walker

The scene: several miles from the nearest building at a T intersection in the desert backroads between Palm Desert and Desert Hot Springs.

The hitchhiker is an advanced middle aged over weight lady. Leaning on a walker with her thumb out she has a temporary cloth brace on her leg. Perhaps the reason for the walker. There is a small tote bag and water bottle at her feet.

My reaction is shocked. Did she hitchhike to this point and now trying to get a lift into Palm Desert or Thousand Palms -- seven to eight miles distant.

She is thumbing for a ride in the direction I am coming from.

When I spotted her, I was in the process of relocating to another RV park heading in the other direction -- about 15 miles distant. Would I have stopped to offer a ride if going in her direction. Probably not. Seems heartless, but I don't give hitch hikers rides. Even those using walkers. And if I did stop, how would I get this lady and all her stuff into my truck. Most people have a hard time pulling themselves into Silver Slug. The step up is a challenge for even the able bodied.

Could she have been playing the sympathy factor with walker and leg brace. Could there be a gun in the tote bag and she is going to "car jack" my truck and trailer and leave me at the side of the road. Sounds like I've been watching too much TV. No TV in my life. How about calling it a creative imagination.

Alternatively, this might be part of a sociology class experiment at a nearby college. Were there college students with a camera hiding in the few distant creosote bushes.

Still stunned. It was a first. Seeing a hitchhiker with a walker.

As I wrote this post, I wondered about a non-emergency 911 call to report a hitchhiker with a walker needing a ride.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cool Hike

Palm Springs is in the midst of some cool weather. Today's hike was cool. Literally. With a wind out of the northwest, it was a cool hike with a couple of required layers to keep me warm. Temps were in the 60s.

In the distance was Mount San Jacinto with a dusting of snow. Good place for the stuff.

After that previous hike when I had all those forgotten profound thoughts, today I carried my digital voice recorder. For whatever reason, today there were no profound thoughts.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Don't You Get Lonely?

That is the usual question of me when questioners find I travel alone? What! I don't even have a dog for company. No doubt they conclude there is something wrong with this guy. Probably a psychopath.

Recently that same conversation resulted in an unusual question, "Don't you get bored?" That was a strange question regarding traveling solo. I was stumped for an answer. Somehow traveling alone never equated to boredom. My response to the questioner was that I didn't get bored. There was always something to keep me busy or drive my curiosity. Always found something to do -- either physically or mental challenging. Sometimes it is the maintenance of living.

Since the question was posed, I could not resolve how to equate loneliness with boredom. However, that may be the attitude of the extrovert. The extrovert needs an audience and becomes animated and alive when surrounded by others. Without others with whom to share or talk to, the extrovert becomes lonely and -- perhaps -- bored.

However, I am essentially an introvert. I can make a very comfortable and enjoyable life with solitary activities -- physical such as hiking or mental challenges such as crosswords.

Earlier this year, I happened to cross paths with a long time road acquaintance. As we chatted catching up on each others' travels and plans, my acquaintance advised that I really needed someone to travel with -- or at least in a tandem rig. When I responded that was not going to happen, he suggested that I should have a dog. I asked how that would change things. Don't recall the response, but no doubt a comedic exchange followed when I responded that I was not a dog person. My road acquaintance (an extrovert) was projecting his needs on me. The extrovert needs an audience. The introvert is happier alone. That introvert is who I am.

Nope. I am neither lonely. Or bored.

To quote Steve Jobs: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma–which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” -- From 2005 Commencement Speech at Stanford given by Steve Jobs

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hiking High

Not in elevation. But I do get a "high" when I am hiking. Alone. Time moves quickly.

Today my hike in the Coachella Preserve was no different. Perfect weather with a lot of elevation changes. Soon my mind was resolving very complex issues. As issues came to mind, I thought about how some would be good blog posts. The words and ideas flowed as each subject came to mind; the intro words; the text; the points to be made; the clever sentences. There were also some very clever post titles.

Sitting at the keyboard this evening, I have no recollection of those great thoughts -- or the wisdom. Would have been great to share.

However, the hike was a good workout. Even required an afternoon nap. Okay. So there is an afternoon nap many days. However, today I had an excuse.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Strike Two

That "super committee" made up of Federal legislators is doomed to fail. Everyone knows that they will not be able to agree -- let alone make some possible suggestions. Previous non partisan recommendations have failed.

No doubt there are big expenditures to be addressed. However, there are some small expenses that could be addressed. One of the suggestions by the committee was to stop the printing of dollar bills and use dollar coins. The life of a dollar bill is about 40 months. The coins will outlive the legislators.

Guess what. Follow the money. When the commitee made the recommendation for dollar coins instead of paper, immediately a Senate bill was introduced by Senators Kerry and Brown of Massachusetts to block the abandonment of paper dollars. Turns out that the cotton paper supply for paper money is provided by a Massachusetts company.

In a previous Speaking Of Budget post I had recommended getting the penny out of circulation to eliminate some needless spending. That won't happen either because the zinc miners appear to have a strong lobby.

If the legislators are serious about reducing government expenses, these are just two very minor items where some savings could be had. It's not going to happen. Not even one of the two.

My lonely promotion to get the penny out of circulation seems to be going no where.

Thanks to a recommendation from friend Phil of Tucson, there now are dollar coins in my pocket at all times instead of pennies. The dollar coins are great tip money. The bad part is finding banks who have rolls of dollar coins. When I happen across a bank with rolls, I buy several to keep me going until I run low once again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Close Call

Whew. That was close. Got out of Colorado just in time. Snowing in Denver this morning. Six inches in some Front Range cities north of Denver.

No snow here in Palm Springs. Nor is snow visible on nearby Mt. San Jacinto. Like it that way. Another day of shorts and Hawaiian shirts weather. However, the temps did cool down to the seventies for a few days.

Okay. So my last stay in Colorado was in early September. I managed to leave early to avoid getting caught in the first snow of the season. That happened in 2009. There is no desire to repeat that cold and miserable experience.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Man Thing

Sure looked like a "man thing" when wandering the car show in Lake Havasu City last weekend. There were hundreds of cars on the rough of the golf course where the event was held. Polishing and dusting the cars was a fulltime job for these owners on the dusty course. With tent gazebos set up and a cooler of liquid refreshment (that would be beer), the owners and their wives were watching the wanderers such as my self. Don't touch. Just admire.

Just as the owners were much older (my age plus or minus a decade), the wanderers were of a similar age bracket. The wanderers were 95% male with an occasion female wanderer. Did she really care about the cars -- or was the couple still in the dating stage. Did this cynic just write that.

No doubt there are ladies that restore cars, but it wasn't obvious from my exploring. When I did read the name of the owner, it was a man's name or a couple. Never did see one with just a lady's name. Autos and engines appears to be another of those traditional compartmentizing of males and females. Could this change in the 21st century.

There were cars of all vintages from the 1920s to the muscle cars of the 1960s -- including restored stock cars, art pieces, restored trucks, a Metropolitan, a 1965 RV on a Dodge chassis, some low rider art pieces, etc. The hoods were open on those where the engine wasn't stock or was chromed or painted some day glow color. Some times there were several males of the species standing around the engine getting the details about the engine from the owner.

Restorers of cars appear to be another of those subcultures of the USA population -- like the RVing subculture. In my strolling, I overheard conversations that were sharing information with others about the car restoring process, where to get the parts -- and one conversation was about his current 1956 project and he didn't know whether it was going to be stock or not.

Want a restored car. Many were for sale. Want to create your own. Rusting hulks were also for sale.

With lots of time and lots of money, soon you can have a restored car -- or an art piece. Blue is a good color. All chrome parts were stripped and everthing is blue on what appears to have been a late 1940s coupe. A low rider without a door handle.

Yup. Baby blue is a man thing.

It was a long walk a couple of times around to make sure I didn't miss anything. Fortunately, I had "sole protection" for my feet. Note these goat heads on the soles of my sandals.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lake Havasu

Build it and they will come.

Lake Havasu was created when the Parker Dam was built in the late 1930s. That brought the fishermen to the lake that was created. That created a fishing camp at the current location of Lake Havasu City. In 1964 it was incorporated.

The centerpiece and the tourist draw is the London Bridge built in 1971. The bridge was dismantled and moved across the Atlantic Ocean rock by rock from London and now spans a channel in Lake Havasu. Not that I have ever been to London, but I doubt this desert terrain in any way resembles London. More likely, fog would have been a usual feature.

People have been coming and building a life (or vacation home) at Lake Havasu City for the past 40 years. Recreation is the draw. On the water with jet skis and high powered jet boats. On the nearby desert hills can be found the four wheelers and the ATVs. Lots of those.

With large open expanses of water, warnings are required to mark the land forms that may prove hazardous to boats. Time to build a lighthouse. This one third size replica of the Split Rock lighthouse at Two Harbors Minnesota was built by the Lake Havasu Lighthouse Club.

The warm days and clear skies have been a daily occurrence with the exception of one day. Time to capture the sunset. Not a great sunset. So with Topaz plugins and Photoshop, this is an artist's (that would be me) representation of the end of the day on the east shore of Lake Havasu.

From the curmudgeon... When did Halloween turn into a major holiday. Halloween cards. Candy by the bushel. Pumpkins by the ton. Ready made costumes. Deserted retail space becomes a Halloween shopping bonanza for one month. Then there was the pumpkin carving kit. Huh.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Dog Story

When browsing Amazon looking for free books, the title of one caught my eye: Alaska Days With John Muir. The author was S. Hall Young. That name sounded familiar. Checked my "recommended to read" lists and there was the name. The note said to also read Stickeen by John Muir.

The recommendation ended on the list several years ago. Happened when I was waiting for a water tour of the Wisconsin Dells, I was in a conversation with the couple next to me. How the conversation got to her relative S. Hall Young in Alaska I don't recall. Young had a dog in Alaska name of Stickeen; the reason for the Muir book recommendation.

Alaska Days With John Muir by Young is about the Alaskan inside passage journeys Muir and he shared. Muir was exploring and observing the flora and fauna and mapping the area and its glaciers. On these same journeys, Young was bringing the white man's religion to the Indian tribes. Muir gets top billing in the book. However, not far behind is Stickeen playing a best supporting role.

Stickeen is a short story of one day in 1880 when Stickeen joined Muir on a cold and snowy day to traverse and explore a nearby glacier. With little fear, Muir challenges forbidding weather and a glacial terrain when most would have stayed in camp. The journey and including the hazardous return across glacial crevasses provide Muir with observations about the very unusual Stickeen.

Both books can be found as free eBooks on several internet sites.

Over the years, I've read several dog stories. The stories about Stickeen remind me of the book Merle's Door by Ted Kerasote. My mini review.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Leather Aroma

From the North Ranch SKP park, Wickenburg is down the road a few miles. Wickenburg is the home to the Desert Caballeros Western Museum. Pretty hard for me to pass up a museum about the west. However, I had visited the museum in my previous visit to Wickenburg.

So I continued my walk along the mostly western themed downtown.

Walking by Ben's Saddle Shop, the distinctive aroma of leather was in the air. Couldn't resist the fragrance of that smell. Had to get a closer whiff.

Soon I was in a conversation with Hawaiian shirt attired owner. Seems a bit out of place in a saddlery store. No. He doesn't wear Hawaiian when a horse.

Boots, hats, saddles, riding gear are among other items in the small store. Saddles were plain to ornately tooled leather.

Yeah. He could make saddles, and decorate them. However, there is better return on his time making repairs for shoes, boots, saddles and other leather goods.

Also less expensive to repair the old. New saddles are expensive. Hay is expensive. Beef cattle prices are high. Leather prices are high as a result. Asking the question of the guy why hay was expensive. He said that the hay was being exported to Saudi Arabia. Really!

Checked the internet and found that hay was being exported from the U.S. to many other countries in addition to Saudi Arabia. Southeast Asia is the largest importer of hay from the US. Much of it is shipped from southern California.

Asking if saddles were imported. Yup. It's all about cheap. They are imported by the container load from China and India. Do they fit the horse. Maybe. Hope I never find myself in a saddle with the imprint "Made In China". For me, it just hurts the mythical image of the American western cowboy.

American made saddles are expensive by comparison. In addition to the high price of beef, there are few leather tanning operations left in the US. My interviewee said there was only one U.S. operation that tanned leather for saddles. Today with chemicals hazardous to the enviroment and humans, US regs make it a difficult business. Other countries with fewer environmental and worker safety regs now tan and prepare leather for usage in leather products. Of course the product is also created before import to the US.

Nothing like the aromatic odor of leather to invite me in for the learning experience about exporting hay and importing saddles.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Reading Chinese

...or is it Japanese. One of my Hawaiian shirts has characters as part of the pattern. Are these Chinese or Japanese? The tag on the shirt says, "Made in Bangladesh". However, those characters are not Bangladesh writing.

A couple of years ago -- wearing that shirt -- I was standing in line. As we waited, I started a conversation with the guy behind me. Surprise that I would do that. :) As we chatted, he commented that he liked my my shirt. I said that I had always wondered what it said. Without missing a beat he said, "Made in China".

This is detail of the three sets of characters that repeat throughout the shirt.

Didn't know what those characters say. One day without anything better to do, I Googled "common Chinese characters" and "common Japanese characters". The characters looked more Chinese to this uneducated eye. Looking at the Chinese characters and reading the meaning, it appeared that there was some possibility that those characters did say something to the effect, "Made in China".

In case you are wondering, the wrinkles are part of my wardrobe.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Still Hot Here

South So Soon? was a post by Boonie. That would be me. Describes my recent journeys from southwestern Colorado to the shores of the Colorado River.

Arrived today on the east shore of the Colorado River at Lake Havasu City. Bit warm. Some would say hot. The thermometer (in the shade) on Wandrin Wagon shows 95 degrees at 2:00p.m. Yeah. That's warm. Sorry. Hot.

The temperatures will be around 90 degrees for the next ten days and then cooler temps are predicted with 80 degree days. Not too many days ago I was at 5000 feet at Prescott Arizona where the night time temps were in the 30s and the day times struggled to get into the 50s. Compared to that, I prefer the heat. Also a lot more comfortable in my usual shorts and Hawaiian shirts.

If it weren't for air conditioning, I wouldn't be here. Without air conditioning, Lake Havasu City would not be here -- strung out along the Colorado River.

Pretty quiet here since the Snowbirds have yet to arrive. Early Snowbird arrivals are few. From past observations, the first wave of Snowbirds arrive about the first of December -- right after Thanksgiving. The next wave (much larger) begins just a few days after Christmas and continues into the first week of January. January and February are peak occupancy. On March 1st, the Snowbirds begin their northward migration. By April first, the RV parks are quiet once again.

Whatever. Glad to be here and enjoy life -- the hot times and the cool times. Not the cold times! That is why there are tires under Wandrin Wagon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Testing Wilson Sleek

The Wilson Sleek was reviewed in a previous post. That test was done in trees with times where there was no signal. Testing the Sleek under those compromised conditions may not have been fair. Since that test, I have been trying to find remote (poor signal) locations to repeat the test.

Today was the lucky day as I traveled the remote sections of highway 10 between Prescott and Skull Valley. Pulled off the road atop a ridge with not a tree or hill to block the Verizon cell tower digital signal -- where ever it may be coming from.

For this test, I used the four inch high antenna supplied with the Sleek. The antenna was placed on the roof of Silver Slug and attached to the Sleek. The Sleek was plugged into 12 volt power and the test began.

The cell phone.... The cell phone showed it had a 1X signal, but no bars. Put the cell phone in the Sleek. Still 1X, but one bar appeared. No phone call was made.

The Verizon MiFi card.... The MiFi display showed signal strength of no bars. Placed the MiFi card into the Sleek. One bar appeared. To continue the test, I turned on the iPad connected to the MiFi. Pointed the Safari browser to my Google Reader page. At 1X speeds it takes a while, but eventually the page was displayed.

As I wrote that, I realized I should have tested the MIFi and iPad without the Sleek. Oh well. What did you expect from a retired software guy.

If there was a Verizon EVDO signal, no doubt the testing results would have been similar -- except for faster loading of the page from the internet. When I find a situation with poor EVDO signal, more tests will be run.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Lure of Stuff

Walking downtown Prescott and with nothing better to do, I wandered in and out of antique stores. Lots of stuff. Jewelery. Coins. Commemorative items. Dishware of all kinds. Toys. Stuff from the past. It was all there. For me it was more about nostalgia from my childhood. Didn't want or need any of it.

There was already stuff in Wandrin Wagon that had not been used (or seen) in many years. Sleeping bag. Wood carving/burning materials. Music CDs. Food blender. Microwave. Etc.

Yes. A microwave. After six years on the road, there was a weak moment when I was passing through Wal-Mart and noted the $49 microwave. The financial justification took about a minute. It would be great for last minute thawing; heating tea water; reheat soups rather than dirtying up a pan -- and -- a soup bowl. Unfortunately, I didn't ask myself how often I had soup.

Two years later the microwave is ballast. (A rock as ballast would provide more enjoyment.) That microwave is not plugged in. The easiest thing would be to donate it to a thrift store. Not so easy. It appears that I have placed some illogical value on it. Unfortunately, there is space to keep it.

Then there are the Hawaiian shirts. How many shirts do I really need. A personal wardrobe does not require 30 shirts. A wardrobe would be complete with a half dozen shirts. Couple of shorts. Underwear and socks. Launder once a week and the entire wardrobe can be quite small.

The accumulation of stuff happens so very slowly. How does this happen? Many RVers subscribe to the mantra, "When something comes into the RV, something else has to go." It's a good line, but in reality the latest acquisition always finds room.

Ten years ago when I became a nomadic explorer, I downsized from a 900 square foot home to Wandrin Wagon's 200 square feet. 98% of the stuff went to TJ, Vanita, thrift stores and the Denver library. Once I had gotten rid of all the stuff, I realized that I really didn't own any of it. It owned me. The stuff required maintenance. It was a freeing experience that I was no longer responsible for the stuff.

Why is stuff so alluring. Some TV or magazine ad told you that you needed it. Life would be much better with the new item. Note the shills in the ads. Before the purchase of the item, they are sad and talk depressed. After the new product is in their lives, they smile. Every other person in the ad is also smiling and having a good time. Doesn't matter what the product may be. Better larger TV (they didn't tell you the manufacturer will announce a larger one next month). New kitchen appliance to make life easier (they didn't tell you it clutters the counter). New music system with fantastic bass (annoys the neighbors). Household furniture from beds to recliners will make life great (incomplete without a dozen colorful pillows). Did you know you needed this stuff before you saw the ad.

No doubt I was lured in by the ads. That was then. Today however, I am a "recovering stuff purchaser".

There are exceptions. Shopping for Hawaiian shirts continues. It's an inexpensive vice that will be continued at thrift stores.

Buy experiences -- not things. You will remember the experiences. Things end at garage sales and thrift stores.

Wandrin Wagon is my storage. No renting space or shed for me. If I will need it, it travels with me.

Ever think about The Outrageous Cost of Storing Stuff

Or a Slate article: Storing More Stuff Than Ever

Or a TED video Less Stuff, More Happiness

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Car Show

When arriving in a new town, one of my first tasks is to get on the internet and search for "what to do in X town". Also search for "X town calendar of events". There will be many matches for both. The hits will also be covered with ads of where to stay and eat. However, I ignore all those ads and struggle to get the information. Going to a couple different sites, eventually I arrive at things I want to explore.

That is what I did when I arrived in the Prescott area. This weekend was a car show and art fair on the square in downtown Prescott. The art fair had the usual booths -- some of the same vendors were at Sedona at the last art fair I visited. Photography and wood carvers are the draw for me at art fairs. The plan is to get ideas for photography. A little chatting and compliments for artists and then I move on.

After the art fair, it was time to check out autos at the car show. Very few of the cars were stock. In many cases, it would be difficult to determine the original make. Seems many of the cars were turned into an art piece for the owner. Most of those cars did not come in those colors -- let alone the pin striping. Many of those art pieces are displayed with the hood open to show the frequently non-stock engine.

Trying to get photos of cars without people in the way is difficult. Requires lots of patience. Of which I have little.

Here is one of the few vehicles that was stock -- a 1959 Ford. Color seems a little bright for 1959, but I don't really know. (Some of that brightness was caused by a Topaz Photoshop plugin.)

Then there was the 1936 Ford towing sleeping accommodations. That would be a step up from tent camping. No sleeping on the ground for these folk.

After touring the car show and walking through the art fair one more time, I headed to some of the side streets in search of more photo ops.

How about this truck. This Ford was not part of the car show --- and it was stock. 1970's vintage?

Several motorcycle riders were walking the car show and art fair. If leathers can be called a uniform, most were in uniform. Then I saw this uniform. Don't think he was a motorcycle rider. Looks more like a cavalry man. With a crop in his right hand and a sword under his left arm, wonder if his horse was parked nearby.

Great day for a walk around the square. It warmed up today -- all the way into the 60s and no rain.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Apple IIe to iPad

The Apple IIe was the first of many personal computers over the past 30 plus years.

Today, it is Steve Jobs' iPad. The iPad is my most used gadget -- internet access, eReader, portable photo album, etc. Without a TV and getting my news from the internet, it was no surprise that it was on the iPad that I first read/heard of Steve Jobs' death. Doubt that I was the only one that received the news through that device.

I've always been fascinated with Steve Jobs. Several years ago, I became aware of Steve Jobs' commencement address given at Stanford in 2005. It was worth a reread at this time. For insight and philosophy of life and living, view the video at Ted or read the transcript of the address.

Wonder what Jobs envisioned after the iPad.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sky Of Clouds

Monsoon weather has filled the sky with the ever changing, billowing and colorful clouds. No camera can catch the millions of color shades that appear . The narrower focus of the camera also doesn't capture the ability of the eye to see 180 degrees. However, that doesn't stop me from sharing some cloud photos taken these past couple of days.

Time to admire and capture cloud scenery while there. Clear skies and warmer temperatures are predicted two days out.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Historical Sign

On the hill above the Verde Valley TT park is National Forest land with 14 day camping. Good location with great views to the Red Rocks of Sedona in the distance, good cell phone coverage and hiking. Before my TT membership and on weeks out of the park, I have dry camped there.

Even though I have hiked the area numerous times in previous visits to TT or parked there, I always manage to find something new. This time it was historical evidence of a one time "Stock Driveway".

Curiosity is what drives me. What does that sign mean. After decades of weather wear, the sign was hard to read. With the help of Photoshop and Topaz plugins, it was easier to read. The sign reads "BOUNDARY STOCK DRIVEWAY  SIGNS FACE TRAIL". The National Forest logo appears on the lower part of the sign.

Then it was onto the internet to research the story. There were stock driveways all across mountain west. Found several "Stock Driveways" identified on those searches. Today the few "driveways" that remain are used for biking, hiking and horse riding. Why was this one named "Boundary". I thought Boundary defined the boundaries of the trail. Not so. It was the name of this stock driveway.

Many years ago, unfenced land was usually forest service or BLM land. To control access across the lands,  the signs were erected. There may have been similar wording in some Federal law creating the sign I saw. Here is an exerpt from Alaska Administrative Code that define the reason for the signs: "In the event that an individual with livestock must cross the grazing lease of another, the livestock must be kept within the bounds of the stock driveway. The stock driveway will be adequately marked on both exterior boundaries."

Wondering how wide the defined trail was, I searched in the other direction for more signs to mark the other side of the driveway. No luck. Based on the location of the found signs, the driveway would lead over the escarpment and down arroyos to the Verde River below. Does it cross or follow the river. Don't know.

The found historic references about stock (sheep and cattle) driveways indicated that most were used into the 1930 to the 1950s. The Magdelena Stock Driveway appears to be the last used in 1970. The source for the story is from an enjoyable read: The Dave Farr Oral History -- The Magdalena Stock Driveway (PDF file).

Cattle and sheep drives are part of the west's agrarian past when the world seemed to move slower. Today, the stock is herded onto a truck and at market or the new pastures in just a few hours.

Hope you enjoyed the background for the found historical sign.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Just A Blade of Grass

The mantis is well camouflaged looking like a faded piece of grass.

Eagle eyed Wandrin Lloyd spotted the attempt at camouflage. With no movement, the mantis is probably pretty safe from avian species.

Cropping that same photo for a closer look, note the insect green matches the grass.

Wish that I had taken the first photo from eye height to relate what I first saw.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Should Have Read A Book

Been there before a couple of times. However with nothing better to do and with 90+ degree temps, I decided a return visit to Jerome would be a way to do some exploring.

Jerome wasn't new and I wasn't exploring. Been there. Did that. When I arrived on this visit, my first stop was at the art co-op. When I walked outside the art coop, I questioned my reasoning (sanity) for this journey to Jerome. In previous visits, I had walked the streets visiting some of the art galleries, antique shops, rock shops, etc. Then there are the "gift" shops where the intent is to sell something for the friends and relatives back home. What else would you call something that no one really wants.

After exiting the art co-op, I decided on (warm) exercise as I walked the streets looking for an intesting photo or two. (That also was done in previous visits). This sign on the wall dates to 1929. Without a doubt it has been touched up a few times in the past 80 years. Still admire its historic look.

Soon my wandering brought me back to Silver Slug and the journey back home. Where I picked up a book.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Internet Links To Share

Notational Velocity (Mac software) is used to keep track of blog thoughts, ideas, things to share, etc. The list of items became rather lengthy. Time to do some housekeeping. Writing a blog about some of those notes would take more time than I wish to expend this morning, so here are some internet links that I found fascinating and original.

"3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage... all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ....into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films....." My choice of the three films produced is Move. Watch the one minute video more than once to see the individual second(s) long great scenes.

I'm not a fan of rap, but videos by Aussie Christiaan Van Vuuren made while in TB quarantine are a pleasure to watch. One of those is Life In Quarantine.

A talented "Weird Al" Yankovic produces great parodies of pop music. However, by far the best of his material may be this Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me on YouTube.

Through DropBox and the SimpleNote App on the iPad and iPod Touch, I can keep all my note taking in sync with Notational Velocity on the MacBook.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mini Book Review -- Finding Everett Ruess

Written by David Roberts, the book is subtitled: The Life and Unsolved Disappearance of a Legendary Wilderness Explorer

To familiarize the reader with the subject of this book, check out the Wikipedia entry for Everett Ruess

My first read about Ruess was in my early nomadic years of 2002/2003 when I happened across the book A Vagabond for Beauty by W.L. Rusho's (published 1973 -- now available in Kindle format). Ruess' story has fascinated me ever since. His love and admiration of the rugged rock beauty of the Four Corners is like my own feelings for the area.

First half of Roberts' book a biography of Ruess. As a biography, it starts with Everett Ruess' childhood and ends with his disappearance in 1934. Original materials of letters, diaries, art work form the basis for the short productive years of Ruess' life. Other authors -- including Krakauer and Stegner -- have also been fascinated by Ruess and wrote about him. Roberts also includes edited material from those writers.

What has happened since 1934 is included in the second half of the book. It is a review of others' attempts to solve the disappearance -- the crack pots, con artists and the serious searchers. Then the author tries his hand to solve the 1934 disappearance of Ruess. The plot thickens as the author discovers that some of Ruess's original materials are in the hands of a private collector. Roberts includes the 2008 stories of discovery of bones in a crevice thought to be Ruess'. With forensic work and DNA tests, the first tests showed a match. However with questions outstanding, subsequent tests proved that the bones were American Indian.

The mystery of Everett Ruess remains. Perhaps that is best for a myth.

Roberts book is a great read covering everything about Ruess' short life and the 70 plus years since his disappearance.

From Everett Ruess' own writings, he may well have written his own autobiography:
Say that I starved; that I was lost and weary;
That I was burned and blinded by the desert sun;
Footsore, thirsty, sick with strange diseases;
Lonely and wet and cold... but that I kept my dream!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Moods of Monument Valley

Arrival at Monument Valley was in a light rain. Through the afternoon and evening, several photos were taken in attempt to relate the beauty of these rock monoliths. Not to bore the reader, here is a selection of the many photos that were taken.

Low hanging clouds provide the gray cast to the scene.

High clouds shade parts of the monoliths.

As an afternoon rain shower cleared, a rainbow appeared.

Closing the day with a sunlight reflection.

Following morning sunrise.

Up in the middle of the night, I checked that scene with an almost full moon. Thought about setting up the camera to capture the scene. Needed a tripod. Would have to take several photos before I "might" get one that my eyes see. I decided to rely on my memory for future recall. Imagine the rock monoliths silhouette in a world of grays with a blue cast.

There was a brave attempt to try to reproduce that image with an existing photo and Photoshop. Perhaps it could be done, but my skills with Photoshop were not up to the task. The results of my lame attempt: