Wednesday, August 31, 2011


One of my favorite things to do on a road trip, is to look around in small rural towns. I especially like the fact that many of the people living on the edges of these towns use their property as a warehouse, junk yard, trash dump, gallery, etc.  I'm not presenting the following photos as art, but as examples of what I'm talking about.  I hope you find them as interesting as I do.

Based on the crank starter, this pile 'o junk must be pretty old.

Talk about "curb appeal."

Nobody is walking to their mailbox in this area.

Not something I'd have sitting in my yard, but who am I to critique this guy's "art?"

Occasionally you run across that gold nugget. This truck is one of them.

So is this Chevy panel truck.

I wanted so badly to look inside of this Quonset hut.

Some sort of a tractor that doesn't have wheels.

One of these days there will be people chasing me out of their little towns with clubs and pitchforks. Oh wait, that has already happened. A long time ago, me and some of my friends went to see a haunted house in a very small rural town. It actually did end up with angry townsfolk "escorting" us out of town. I'll post that story another day...


Monday, August 29, 2011

Last Week

Just a few photos of the area we were camped at last week.

A quick right turn and we could lose 5000 feet in a big hurry. That's not why I took the photo though. It was very hot and this line of clouds appeared out of nowhere, in an otherwise pure blue sky. About three hours later, there was a fairly large thunderstorm. That's the Anza-Borrego desert down the mountain.  It's an amazing place with miles and miles of FWD roads, but it was about 115 degrees down there on that day (so there was no way we were going)!

A look back up the road. Once again, the clouds were really nice.

My granddaughter forgot her camera and insisted that I take this photo for her.  Once I saw it enlarged, I was glad I did so, but I wish I'd gotten the whole shadow in the photo. It was about 5 feet long. My favorite time of day to take photos. If you enlarge it, you'll see what I mean.

As barren as the first two photos looked, this little seasonal lake is only about a quarter mile away. Plenty of fish in it.

What outdoors post would be complete without at least one photo of a critter?
I have a few more posts coming from this trip. One from in and around the town of Julian, one from a side trip to the small town of Guatay, and one through part of the mountains of San Diego County that was devastated by fire a few years ago.



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Una Fria, Por Favor

my old neighborhood
was once full of taverns
now it's full of vacant lots
and bars with spanish names
I don't begrudge the spanish names at all
I begrudge the fact that nobody in them
knows who I am


I wrote this bit of gloom while in the middle of my Kauai blog post extravaganza. It didn't seen right to post it in the middle of all that happiness. It's not that I'm unhappy now either, but I'm sitting on top of a mountain, have an internet signal and can't think of a better time to post it...


Friday, August 19, 2011

Double Reflection

looks much better enlarged
The reflection in our patio door is not only of the sunset, but also of the reflection of the sunset off of the water in our swimming pool.

We'll be on the road for a week starting on Sunday. Our Internet connection is sure to be hit and miss, but I'll be checking in for sure! Have a great weekend everyone!

For reflections by other photographers go to Weekend Reflections by James.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Death by Gift

It's home canning season!
I have to admit that I'm more than a little leery of home canned foods. Especially so, when receiving them as gifts.

Do you know how to tell if there is botulism present in the home canned marmalade, pickles, kim chee, jams, or fruits and vegetables that someone gave to you? There is only one way, you die or wish you had!  Seriously, unless you have a Ronco (as seen on TV) home chemistry lab, there is no way of knowing.

Why do people insist in giving this stuff away as gifts? While it's true that botulism deaths are much rarer these days, it wasn't always so.  How about the home canners who ask you to return the Mason jar when it's empty? These folks get their jars back after they've sat in my cupboard for an appropriate and reasonable amount of time, that will make it seem like we've actually eaten the potentially rancid and deadly gift.

I appreciate your green thumb, kitchen skills and generosity,  but I'd really rather receive something that has zero chance of killing me.

I hope I haven't offended any of my family, or any of my gardening or rural friends with this post, but it really does bother me. Am I the only one who has worries about  this?


Friday, August 12, 2011

Weekend Reflections -- Santa Ynez River

The Santa Ynez river in Santa Barbara County, California.
I left the thick stuff at the left in the photo to show you what we had to battle through to get to this reflection.

For reflections by other photographers go to Weekend Reflections by James.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Santa Ynez Mountains - Rancho Oso 2

At the end of the trail was a beautiful waterfall and pool.  This canyon was at east 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the trail. We liked it so much that we also hiked up there the next day.
feel free to enlarge
I figured I'd get the obligatory blurred background photo out of the way early.

The water tumbling down towards the top of the photo is probably about 100 feet up.

One of my favorites. The water, ferns and rocks all at the same angle.

It was hard to show the scale of this because the canyon was so narrow at this point, that I couldn't get very far away.

Cat tails along the Santa Ynez river. I didn't post any photos of it, because it would spoil Friday's post.

Jimson Weed (Datura)

The southern California version of the blue jay. It's called a Scrub Jay.

They don't make airplanes out of empty beer and soda cans, but they still have a very interesting story.  This is James and Nikki. We met them at the campground. They are from New Zealand and have been living in England for several years.  They quit their jobs in England and are on their way back home to New Zealand, via the U.S. They've been here for about 4 months driving around in a rented RV. They've driven it thousands of miles and have had a bunch of experiences. Some good and some bad.  I was going to make this a much better post, but I'm too tired...


Monday, August 8, 2011

Santa Ynez Mountains - Rancho Oso 1

My last couple of posts were from some mountains in San Diego County. Right after returning from that trip, we went on another.  This time to the Santa Ynez Mountains, inland from the Beautiful town of Santa Barbara.

This campground was located on a working horse ranch

Where there are horses, there must be tack

Where there is tack, there must be bunk houses (rental cabins actually). No, we didn't stay in one these things. We were roughing it in our RV.

One reason we wanted to come here was the hiking trails. Here is my granddaughter looking pretty chipper at the beginning of a hike.

As you can see, the trail started to deteriorate quickly. I wasn't concerned because there was supposed to be a great payoff at the end of this hike.

This isn't the payoff, but it was still a very nice waterfall.

I'm thinking there will be only one person who sees and will know right away what it is.  For those of you who don't know, this one was about 9 inches long.  Okay Bossy Betty, what is it?

The hike continues on the next post...
Okay, it's a banana slug!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cuyamaca Mountains 2

One of our fellow campers.

This dirt road is part of a trail that connects with the Pacific Crest Trail. The PCT is over 2700 miles long and goes from Mexico to Canada, through California, Oregon and Washington. It takes 5 to 6 months to walk it.

Good fishing at this small lake in the middle of the campground.

What can I say, some things just look better in black and white.

Just one of the interesting things I saw

And again

And yet again... If that little band of clouds wasn't on the horizon, I'm pretty sure we'd be seeing the ocean in this photo.

Out of sequence, but this is an example of one of the beautiful little valleys we traveled through on our way there.

Just because

I just can't get enough of those woodpecker holes stuffed with acorns

It almost looks like a pattern

Lot's of interesting folks travel around and live full time in their RVs. This is Jim. He lives in various campgrounds two weeks at a time. Jim makes bi-planes out of aluminum cans to supplement his income. They are pretty cool and very detailed.

He told us he needs more doctor pepper cans so he can make red planes. I'm not sure if others will find what this guy does interesting, but I sure do. My wife just shakes her head at me, as what would ordinarily just be a "hello, how are you doing?" turns into a major interview. I can't help it, that's what I do...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Road Trip to the Cuyamaca Mountains

A few weeks ago we took a trip up to the Cuyamaca Mountains, up above the old mining town of Julian (I'm sure some of you are familiar with Julian and I'll post a photo tour of it soon).  The camp ground is one of our favorite places. The camp sites are very spread out and some of them have views that are truly AMAZING.  I'll only do a couple of blog posts on it right now because we've already gone and returned from another roadie to an awesome campground up the coast.

On the way down the coast we stopped at San Onofre State Park. It's not the best for camping but they do have miles and miles of awesome coastline.  The entire place is actually part of Camp Pendleton (USMC) base (ooh-rah!). Thanks to them, the state was allowed to put a state park on their property. Beautiful waves without a surfer in sight. I was stationed at this base MANY moons ago. This is a look to the south.

This is a view to the north. If you enlarge this photo you can see where my town's electricity comes from. The two huge domes in the background that look like a giant bra, is actually the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant.
Here's a couple of "bear with me" photos. This is yet another example of my fixation with closeups and out of focus backgrounds

A solitary (and empty) bench sitting on the cliff top. (this one's for you Faye).

I didn't want to take his pic, but he wouldn't stop begging.

Okay, finally up into the mountains and into the campground. See, I told you this place was spread out.  The raised antenna is a joke, we couldn't get a single TV station. But, hey we're supposed to be roughing it. Right?

The campground has been overrun by wildfires twice in the past 10 years. Here's an example of a scorched tree that may or may not make it. I thought it was pretty cool looking either way.

Note the woodpecker hard at work. Not only are there thousands of holes "pecked" into the bark of this huge tree...

The woodpeckers come back and put a single acorn into each and every hole. Thousands and thousands. Of course this leads to a not so delicate ballet between the squirrels and the woodpeckers.

This view is from a campsite we hope to get next time. It's on the very edge of the mountain and looks down into the Anza-Borrego Desert. In the far distance you can see the Salton Sea. The day I took this, it was about 75 degrees. It was close to 110 degrees down below.

Here I am contemplating. Contemplating what I have no idea. I was probably wondering if it was too early to invoke my own personal "happy hour."  Hey, this camping is tough and brutal, but somebody has to keep the pioneering spirit alive...