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Archive for the ‘retirement’ Category

Days 5-7

Day 5:  Most of this day was spent driving through the mountains, stopping often just to look and take pictures.  It was soothing to my soul–moountains do something for me that no other landscape–or seascape–does, however beautiful it may be.  Especially the high Rockies. (more…)

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Four days on the road so far.  This trip will be about ten weeks, if it goes according to my rather vague plans.  Which are subject to change–indeed, have changed already.

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Not as wet as further north, or as I gather parts of England are, but wetter than the past couple of years.

This is the entry to the little county park where I often walk CJ.  It always floods in wet years, but this is the highest I’ve ever seen the water there. 

Here’s a little different perspective that shows how high the water is on the sign. (more…)

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A couple of old friends (in both senses of the phrase) are getting married Saturday. I am one of the few privileged non-family-members to be invited, so I left Monday afternoon to head to California.  I am, frankly, getting a little bored with the I-5 corridor, so on Tuesday I left I-5 at Yreka and headed up to Trinity Lake on Highway 3, and did a loop that ultimately came out at Red Bluff.   (more…)

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The big as-yet-unresolved issue with having acquired travel cats is the fact that they are nocturnal.  Further, they regard the van as their very own bedroom/playroom, having slept in it almost every night since I got them.  This has worked as desired in terms of making them comfortable in the van and regarding as their “safe place” when on the road.  However, it also means they see no good reason to accommodate my sleep pattern when we are camping.  Which is a problem.  I am a light sleeper to begin with, and I do not do well when shorted on sleep.  Not only do general coping skills decline precipitously, enjoyment of life drops to zero, and I turn into a rabid monster.    (more…)

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(Note:  Two requests for identification are at the end of the post, one flower and one bird, so ID gurus–you know who you are– may want to skip to the end to check them out and give me your best guesses.)

People call Silver Falls the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks system, at least according to its website, and you couldn’t disprove it by me.  I just got back from a couple of most excellent days/nights there and took lots of pictures, so this is a long post.

The first day, my brother and his wife took a day trip down from Portland and we got to discover things together.  First, a couple of pictures of my first view of the South Falls (there will be more later.  You have been warned.) (more…)

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Had what is probably the second peak experience of the trip this afternoon.  The first was Carlsbad Caverns, which I never finished posting pictures of even on FB.  Will post today’s pictures here with a few comments in between, but mostly—just look at the pictures.

First, to give credit where credit is due, the tour company is Swamp Adventures.  If you ever make it to New Orleans, I totally recommend them.  They offer 10-person airboat tours and 6-person tours; I took the latter, and am glad I did.  There were only 4 of us on the boat, and because of that, and the rain last night, the guide. . .

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(I think his name is Jerry, but I’m not sure.  Bad at names, you know.  But I’ll call him Jerry anyway.  He has the most lovely Cajun accent.  I wanted to go have a beer with him afterwards, but didn’t quite have the nerve to propose it.)

Anyway, Jerry decided to take us off into little a little “trail” he said he’d only done maybe 5 times since October.  For whatever reason, the territory he took us into was just beautiful—close to as surreal as Carlsbad.

First a few pics of the avenues. . .

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Those were a bit tricky to get, as the boat was going quite fast down those avenues, and I had to hold my hat on.  But he slowed way down to make the turns, and that gave me the chance to snap a few.

Here are some deeper in to his small trails:

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Those give a flavor of the beauty of the place, but as with Carlsbad Caverns, you really have to experience it for real.

Jerry asked us at the beginning what we wanted to see, and of course we all said “alligators”.  Up to that point, I had only seen two—one in Texas, and one at Palmetto.  Now I’ve seen way more—I lost count after about 6.  The smaller ones are quite pretty.  We saw a lot of them from a couple of feet long to maybe four feet long, but they were quick and I didn’t get many pictures of them.  This first one you’ll have to look hard to spot.  Look for the head near the center of the photo.

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Here are a couple of one a bit easier to see.

 

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Jerry said the open-mouth pose is for expelling gasses–alligator burping, I guess.

The bigger ones get more lethargic and less pretty, but are of course more exciting to see.

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Those last two Jerry obviously knows well—he knew right where to go to find them.  A male and a female.  He tossed the female some chunks of fish–of which she deigned to eat one, the one that literally hit her on the snout.

He also knows this next one well—he called her Madame Robicheaux, and he took us right to her at the beginning of the tour.  I think he’d spotted her earlier in the day.

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Soon after turning into the smaller “trail”, he stopped and hooted a bit, explaining he was calling his “buddy”, an owl he has known since it was a baby.  As proof, he showed us a picture of a baby owl.  And by darn, the owl came.

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There’s no doubt it was responding to Jerry’s calls.  It watched us for several minutes, from more than one tree, and it followed us quite a ways after we resumed the tour.  Jerry has named it, but of course I forgot the name.  He says it’s a barred owl—I wouldn’t know, but would take his word for it.

 

 

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If I had the money, I’d go do this a couple more times—my only complaint about the experience was that it was too short, I want more.

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