Saturday, August 30, 2014


Regarding the daily news and the numbers of people killed:

"Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace..."

Imagine, Lyrics by John Lennon

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Desert Early Morning

To beat the heat of the day, hiking is first thing in the morning. When I arrive at the trailhead, the sun is rising over the Rincon Mountains in the east.

When I last hiked these trails in mid June the saguaros were nearing the end of their blossoming. There are always a few exceptions at the end of August as I noted a very few with buds and blossoms. While I was away at Prescott, the saguaro fruit had ripened and was harvested by birds and man.

With the recent monsoon rains, the desert is green. The ocotillo sticks are fully leafed out. Even the cactus looks greener. The moisture also provided an environment for bothersome insects. They would be gone by the middle of the day as it warmed up. Of course, I would also be gone.

A hazard with walking the trails at dawn is the over night migrations of spiders on their threads across the path. Threads at knee level are okay. Ptui is my reaction when they are at the level of my face. Then there was the very ambitious web built right across the trail. Not sure what that spider expected to catch, but I was too strong to be stopped.

This is the time of year for the barrel cactus bloom. The red halo of blossoms atop the barrel provides a striking contrast to the desert green.

The prickly pear fruit is ripe and ready to harvest. The few spines on the fruit keeps me from attempting a taste test. No doubt there is a way to deal with those spines since prickly pear jam is available for purchase.

After an early morning hike I found myself on my way home in the midst of commuter traffic.

Oy! The memories.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Constellation Trails Hike

Today's hike was the last before leaving Prescott on Saturday. This was a solo hike to enjoy the scenery and take photos. It was a good day. With the frequent monsoon rains, there was water and mud on the trails. That water also provided a very verdant ground cover compared to that first hike I took over two months ago. At that time it was dry and dusty and I managed to kick up lots of rocks into my shoes. That wasn't the case today.

Constellation Trails is a web of trails in the granite outcroppings north of Willow Lakes.

There was lots of flora and fauna along the trails that I meandered. First spotting was this curve billed thrasher.

A bit further along the trail was one of several very noisy western scrub jays.

Blue is my favorite color and the morning glories were in full bloom.

Then something caught my eye that caused me to stop suddenly. The brain is attuned to a world of the unusual in the landscape and that is what it saw. A snake! Sure looked like one. Fortunately, it was just a harmless stick.

With the rains, there was a variety of mushrooms. There is some discussion that the mushroom are more fauna than flora.

Rather than grouping in one or the other, some scientists give them their own group called -- Mushrooms.

Without a degree in mycology and no ability to identify the mushrooms, here are some specimens that I spotted along the trails.

Then there was this oddball. As this mushroom developed, I think some genes didn't get the message about the location of the gill structure. The gills are supposed to be under the mushroom cap. Gill side down!

It was a great day to be out and about enjoying the results of the recent rains.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Favored Color Is Blue

Yesterday was a gray day with frequent rains. Fortunately I am not prone to depression. If that were a health problem, the gray skies would have been a contributor to a really bad day.

Last evening near sunset there was a fleeting moment of blue sky seen through the clouds.

Over night, Nature moved those clouds east and this morning the sky was my favorite color. Blue. Beautiful.

More of the same is predicted for tomorrow. Off for a solo hike tomorrow morning.

That gray, overcast and cool day was a warning of cooler days to come. Last night's low was 57 degrees. Being a warm weather type guy, it is time to get a jump on the snowbird traffic heading south. :-))

Saturday morning I will pack up and head home to Tucson. With one or two stops (one in Phoenix) to stretch my legs along the way I will be back home by early afternoon.

With blue skies predicted for Saturday, it will be a good drive.

Note: If I happen to wake to a rainy day on Saturday, I will delay my journey awaiting blue skies. I don't drive long distances on rainy days. That was an established habit when I was towing a trailer around the country. There is no change in that habit.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Distant Rain At Sunset

This was a most unusual rain cloud in the distance. Looking across the horizon to the west is this single rain cloud. The small shaft of rain from the cloud to the ground is dropping rain on a very small portion of the terrain.

While taking photos of the sunset rain cloud, I was not fortunate to capture one of the frequent lightening bolts from the cloud. It would have made a great photo. A memory will have to suffice.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mercedes RV

Found this Mercedes four door sedan in a Prescott parking lot.

I am not sure what the intent was.

Could it have been a retro 1940s woodie wagon on a Mercedes frame. Or is this a very compact RV. There appears to be some kind of air conditioning unit on the top rear. Could that be a solar panel mid center near the top. To stretch the possibilities further, was it a recycled boat to provide a roof for this camping vehicle.

With no person around, there was no way to get the story behind what I assume to be a Mercedes RV.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wandrin Star

I was born under a wandrin' star,
I was born under a wandrin' star.

Could be. Could there be a genetic source for these itchy feet. Could some of those distant ancestors from Prussia in the mid 19th century had a "wandrin" gene. All those ancestors emigrated from Prussia and settled in the same small Wisconsin farming community and four generations later through a genetic crap shoot, the nomadic "wandrin" gene popped up when I arrived on the scene. Could be.

Wheels are made for rollin'
mules are made to pack.
I've never seen a sight that didn't look better looking back.
I was born under a wandrin' star.

For 13 years Silver Slug with Wandrin Wagon in tow I toured urban areas and the natural landscapes. Most of that wandrin was concentrated in the Southwest and the Rocky Mountains. After extended exploring of a place, there were times I regretted leaving, but there was more to see and explore further down the road.

Mud can make you prisoner, and the plains can bake you dry.
Snow can burn your eyes, but only people make you cry.

Twice I needed a tow to get the truck and the heavy trailer back onto a surface with better traction. There were many summer days when I longed for air conditioned comfort. In those thirteen years, there were two times when I found myself seeing snow flakes. Being semi-intelligent, I managed to move to the sunny south away from higher elevations and northern latitudes where the snow could accumulate.

Much of the nomadic journey was all about the people I met along the way. Some were full time RVers. Some were on cross country bicycle trips. Some were from other countries on round the world tours. Some were on short visits from other countries. They all had stories. Wonderful stories. Funny stories. Inspiring stories. And sometimes there were sad stories.

Home is made for comin' from, for dreams of goin' to,
which with any luck will never come true.

Where was that "home" that I came from. Although I have now settled in Tucson, is it home or a temporary base for dreams of future travel. The dream list of future travel is lengthy. Hopefully, I will satisfy just some of those wandrin dreams in the years ahead.

I was born under a wandrin' star,
I was born under a wandrin' star.

Do I know where hell is? Hell is in hello.
Heaven is in goodbye for ever, it's time for me to go.
I was born under a wandrin' star, a wandrin' wandrin' star.

There are more people to meet; more places to explore; more learning. I'm not ready to give up wandering -- or wondering -- just yet.

When I get to heaven tie me to a tree,
or I'll begin to roam, and soon you know where I will be.

Heaven is everywhere. And right here. Right now. Trust me. Please don't tie me down!

I was born under a wandrin' star, a wandrin' wandrin' star.

Note: I am a mere neophyte following a wandrin star. I've met people in my journeys who make my nomadic exploring appear as a visit to the local grocery.

The lyrics to Wand'rin' Star were written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe for the stage musical Paint Your Wagon. Lyrics copyright: Chappell & Co. Inc.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Toilet Operating Instructions

After arriving at the rental park model, I posted the blog entry Three Flush Toilet. The post was a tirade about the toilet needing three flushes to do what it should be design to do in one -- flush contents of the bowl.

Let's call it an operator error. About two weeks ago for some reason I held down the flush trigger a little longer than usual. A whole lot more water came swooshing into the bowl to send the contents to the sewer. With more testing and experimenting, I found that the toilet has a half -- and full flush. On rare occasions, I have had to do a second full flush.

I plead ignorance. Without operating instructions posted on the toilet, how was I to know the intricacies of how to flush this toilet.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Traffic Signal

100 years ago today, the first electrical traffic signal was installed in Cleveland, Ohio.

The next day there was a collision at that intersection.

Okay. The first statement is true. I made up the second one.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Group Selfie

When walking the Grand Canyon rim, I did a lot of observing. That included watching people wandering the rim. The photogenic Grand Canyon became part of the memories on Smart Phones, iPads, point and shoot cameras and a few professional cameras with some very nice lenses. Others were taking photos of a friend looking over the canyon.

When I first saw this group, I thought one was a leader with a "flag" leading the group. Oops. Turns out it is a gadget to hold your camera/smart phone for a group selfie.

I don't need anymore "things". I will do the old fashioned selfie as I hold the camera at arms length.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Living High On The South Rim

The El Tovar was a two night stay on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. This was a treat to myself to celebrate my birthday. It was a nice birthday present. I lived in luxury and dined sumptuously -- for some meals.

I was up early to get this photo without cars and people. It was about six -- in the morning.

The real reason to be out and about at that early hour was to get photos of the rising sun creating a palette of colors on the rock on the canyon walls.

The Grand Canyon is the epitome of why I like the southwest US. The exposed rock surfaces provide the color and texture of this scene that was a long time in its creation.

I didn't hike into the canyon, but walked along the canyon rim to get hundreds of photos. I never found that perfect photo of a juniper perched on the canyon edge. There were times when I found that perfect photo, but the people would not move on.

In previous visits to Grand Canyon, I visited in May. That was long before the throngs of tourists that arrived via car, bus and train. The visitors are from around the world with mostly foreign speakers.

This rock wall was built in the 1930s as a CCC project. Some unnamed mason included this heart shaped rock in the wall. Was it a Valentine.

Not infrequently, a visitor will stand atop this wall testing gravity. I saw a family who were jumping off the wall to the sidewalk as the photographer snapped a photo. On the other side of that wall it was a steep slope into trees and rock. Their actions were a test of immortality. A frequently updated book Over The Edge: Death In Grand Canyon documents the deaths. When I watched this family, I wondered if they might be trying to get an entry in the book.

When I was chatting with a ranger, I commented about the wall jumpers. I commented that they seemed to be trying to be a statistic. He shook his head in amazement and then said that there have already been 23 deaths in the canyon this year. That includes some deaths on the Colorado River. 

On the brink of extinction in 1987, all 22 California Condors were captured and a captive breeding program was begun. The progeny are now being released into various locations in the southwest US including the Grand Canyon. It may not appear to be a very attractive bird, but the opposite sex of the condor loves the look.

Continuing along the rim, I don't tire of the scene.

Time for a change on the scenery photos. How about a "selfie" on the rim of the Grand Canyon.

There is no table with a better view at any of the restaurants on the rim -- including the El Tovar dining room. Without a snack, I stopped momentarily to enjoy the view.

At the end of the day I joined the crowd of tourists gathering at the canyon rim to photo the rock shadows and setting sun reflecting off the colorful rock.

It was a great way to celebrate a birthday living high on the south rim of the Grand Canyon.