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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eclipse 8-21-2017

Flew from Las Vegas to Seattle to go and see the total Eclipse. Tried to get a flight to Portland a couple months before the Eclipse but there were no seats available on any flight to Portland. An even worse sign was the lack of any hotel rooms in Portland for the Eclipse dates. Found a motel in Corvallis but was told they were $1,000 a night with a 2 night minimum. Did find a hotel in Springfield, 45 miles south of the Eclipse center, and even with all the dire traffic forecasts figured I could make it to the center by the 10:17 totality. If Hwy 5 was gridlock I had drawn up a map of all the backroad that could get there.
Secret UFO landing sight near Las Vegas or maybe a solar site

Crop circles

Lake somewhere north of Las Vegas

Mountains in Oregon

Over the Columbia River

Landing in Seattle
My friend Tom picked me up at the airport Sunday morning and we immediately left for Oregon. We were worried about traffic as the Governor of Oregon had declared an emergency and even called out the National Guard to handle traffic problems. Traffic was no problem and we made it to the motel in five hours and had plenty of time to check out where we wanted to be for the Totality. The next morning we left at 4 AM as we were warned it would take over three hours to get to Albany which was having a huge Eclipse event. Actually mad it passed Albany in less than an hour to get to the center of the Eclipse path.

The "Diamond Ring" right after Totality

Shadow on the cooler, light coming through the leaves after Totality

As we headed back north the traffic fears came true. It took eight hours to get back to Seattle. Still not as bad as expected. Maybe all the reports of gridlock kept a lot of people from coming. We saw no evidence of restaurants and stores running out of food or gas stations running out of gas.

It was definitely worth the trip. I have seen several partial eclipses but seeing the totality was indescribable. There was enormous excitement when it started "the crowd want wild", then silence durning most of the next two minutes of totality, and excitement again at the end. We had perfect weather with no clouds Monday but on the flight back to Vegas there were clouds all the way back with a few north of Las Vegas also.
Mountain somewhere in Oregon

Landing in Las Vegas

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Flying in the B-17

Ready to Fly

Reese Mead

Forward gun and bomb sight

Approaching town, Lake Havasu City

The London Bridge

Looking back to Lake Havasu City from Down  River

West side of Lake
Thanks to Reese got a chance to fly in EAA's B-17. Great day to fly and I was able to crawl into the Bombardiers compartment and get some photos as we flew over town. It is a big plane but very small and crowed inside as it has been restored just like they flew during the war with all original equipment including the bomb sight and machine guns in place.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017



The Experimental Aircraft Association's B-17 stopped in town this weekend and I have a chance to fly in it with Reese Mead.
This B-17G Flying Fortress was built in 1945 and restored by the EAA is one of only a few still flying. It is powered by four Curtiss Wright 9 cylinder radial engines and has a fuel capacity of 1700 gallons which are around $5 each at the airport. During the war it flew with a crew of ten which is how many passengers it now carries. Inside it is very crowded, you need to turn sideways to get through the bomb bay and to get to the nose gunners position you crawl through a narrow passageway. I'm sure the crew of 18-20 year olds had a much easier time than we did getting into through the tight spaces.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Salton Sea

Salton Sea

High and Dry

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu City seen from the California side of the Lake

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Box Canyon

Collapsed tree in Box Canyon
A smartphones, how smart are they really, GPS error sent us into Box Canyon. The road sort of parallels I-10 and the phone had been set to take us to Slab City. We realized it was directing us wrong when it said to merge with I-10 in 19 miles and continue on for more than two thousand miles. This was to get us to a place that we knew was only a few miles away near the Salton Sea. The narrow box part of Box Canyon was an interesting place of narrow canyons and great walls and formations.

Joshua Tree National Park

Snow on Mount Gorgonio

Evening at Hidden Valley

Oak Tree at Live Oak

Juniper and Monolith

Cholla Catcus Garden

Morning near Jumbo Rocks

Sunrise at Cracked Rock

On Cracked Rock Trail

At Cracked Rock

Three shot Pano

For the last fifty years I have driven past Joshua Tree National Park on the way to and back from California and never stopped. Last year on a photo trip my friend Don from Santa Fe stopped in for a visit cut short by horrible weather. This year he wanted to do a photo and printmaking workshop there and February looked like the best weather. After 12 days there I am ready to go back as there is a lot of variety there for photography and the Salton Sea and Box Canyon are nearby.

A RV park there has great cabins with full kitchens to rent which gave us room for Platinum Printmaking and we even found a great restaurant there at the 29 Palms Inn.

Saguaro Cactus

Saguaro Cactus are slow growing but have a life of 150-200 years. It may grow only an inch or two in the first ten years of its life and does best when it has the protection of a "nurse" tree to shade it some in the first part of its life. It is common to see one growing with a Palo Verde tree protecting it and in later years of its life surrounded  by the dead tree. On a trip to Joshua Tree Park we found this Palo Verde tree surrounded by six Saguaro Cactus. They are all over ten feet tall and one of them has an arm that normally means it is over a hundred years old. Certainly beyond the call of duty for this hardy Palo Verde tree.