Thursday, October 30, 2008

Night Sounds

Sometimes a night can have strange sounds. I awoke in the middle of the night to hear, "Sit down please Jonah." The words were clear and persuasive. Then all was quiet again. When I mentioned it, Mom, who realizes she occasionally talks in her sleep, cutely said, "I really said that?" No more information was forthcoming. It's kind of tough to put together what the dream was about when one only hears one line of the script. I hope Jonah sat down.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Prehistoric Desert Dwellers

Last weekend we joined other buggistas in the Anza-Borrego desert. A private party has commissioned a metalworking sculptor to create life-sized facimilies of creatures that, according to the fossil record, once lived in the area. The figures are positioned throughout the desert, and though not widely known about, are starting to generate their own tourism.

Ancient Desert Camels. The baby has a strange hump on it's back.

Apparently three-toed sloth mothers carried their babies on their backs.

A sitting Giant Three-Toed Sloth. The grandkids will have fun picking me out in this picture.

I called this creature an elephant but was quickly corrected by a local resident. I forget what he called it, but it definitely isn't an elephant according to him. It has upper and lower tusks. The look is long and somewhat strange, but after seeing the other creature likenesses this representation must be what the non-elephant really looked like.

Mexican Standoff with whatever it is.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Oct 4 Weekend revisited.

These pictures were taken at the 9000 foot level in the Inyo Mountains. The road up was quite a challenge, even for a buggy. Early in the last century, before refrigeration, salt was a very valuable commodity used to preserve foods. An elaborate tram was constructed to take salt from Saline Valley over the range and down to the railroad on the other side. Most of the Salt Tram stanchions are still standing. One wonders how they built it and got the cables strung 100 plus years ago. You can barely see one of the remaining cables extending down in the picture below.

Looking the other way (west) across Owens Valley towards the Sierra Nevada range. Mount Whitney, at 14,000+ feet the tallest peak in the contiguous 48 states, is to the left in the background.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Jo's New Abode

An excited JoAnna and Family got the keys to their new house yesterday. We went over last evening and got to see it... from the inside this time. What better way to get to know a house than to play hide-n-seek with the kids. I think I got to see every closet. :-) There is something nice about a new house. The kids had sleeping bags rolled out on the floor, prepared to spend their first night.

Micah and Seth in their new room. Check out Micah's hat rack. Don't burn the place down bud!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A few minutes to kill

I had a little time to kill while waiting for our bank to open, so stopped by JoAnna's. As I left the thought hit me that this was perhaps the last time I will be visiting with her in that house. I'm happy for her. Next time I'll smile while I am waiting outside the bank.

This is the last official day the "Store" is open. The tenant says she will lose less money if they are closed than if they have to pay utilities and salary. They expect to vacate the premises within two weeks. The lease is still in force for a few more months, but we are definitely transitioning along with the store.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Grave Situation

I like to wander old cemeteries. A few years before GG died she took us to a secluded cemetery down a dirt road in the East Holland, Mich., where her grandparents and some of our other ancestors are interred. Though she hadn't lived there for nearly fifty years she was able to direct us to the approximate area from memory. I was amazed. The cemetery was small, perhaps only twenty-five graves, wooded on three sides, and unmaintained except for occasional cutting of the sparse grass by some volunteer. I enjoy these connections with family past and was surprised to learn cousins who live in the area didn't know this tucked-away family plot existed. There is now only one headstone to mark the four or five family graves. Some well-meaning relative of Mom had what simple markers remained removed, and put in one larger stone with only the family name on it. Trouble is over time we are left to wonder what their personal names were. I only remember that my great-grandparents and my grandfather's sister Jane, who died at 12 in the late 1800's, are interred there.

What brought that to mind is our latest desert trip. Old trash sites reveal a bit about when and were small communities existed, often dating back to the 49ers who came across the desert seeking gold. We drove a dirt road along an old narrow gauge railroad grade, tracks now gone, and chanced upon the remnants of such a dump. We stopped to check it out, looking for clues and old glass. My friend Dale chanced to see a marker in the distance. Closer inspection revealed about eight graves, though some were spaced well apart so there may be more between, now reclaimed by weather and the desert.

Two graves were marked by old weathered wooden crosses. We saw no fresh footprints in the area so the fresh tracks you see were made by us. You can see from the bushes that the desert is slowly reclaiming the resting place of these early settlers to this valley.

The other sites had stone markers. This broken headstone was laying flat on the sand. We traverse the desert in relative ease. These early settlers had it rough and often lived short lives.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

you tube time

This video is from a friend named Richard taken a week ago. The climb, especially at first, is steep, loose shale, long, and in thin air above 9000 feet. My buggy would hardly run up there. I think the total climb to the summit is about three minutes. For some reason pix don't look as steep as when seen by the naked eye. Take my word for it. The climb was steep. I didn't make it with the JSC buggy and had to be pushed to get going again. Enjoy.

More pix of our Lone Pine outing coming later.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Have you found what you are looking for? Yup

Subject: U2 Joshua Tree.
In the autumn of 2007 Paulette and I searched many hours for this item without success. At April's urging we were back recently, but shifted the search west about four miles due to clues seen in various photographs. I didn't find a single web post that disclosed accurate GPS coordinates, I think because they figure if someone is interested there are enough clues out there to be able to locate the tree, albeit with difficulty the first time. I've decided to observe the same protocol to keep the area from being overrun, lest the authorities close it. Hey, the detective work and chase make the find all the more satisfying. Why would I want to deny anyone else that satisfaction by making it easy. On various web sites some think the tree from the album is in Joshua Tree NP (for obvious reasons). Others say it is on Death Valley NP. The tree from the album is in neither place. (Should I say... where the streets have no name?) We isolated the area by matching the mountains (sort of a visual triangulation) from various posted pictures taken by visitors. A few other buggistas came along for the adventure. Most had no interest, but Wendy, the gal next to Paulette in the second picture, actually owns the Joshua Tree album and was all jazzed by the find. The location area is closed to vehicular traffic. All but two of us turned back after trekking on foot a while. I'm glad Richard (left in 2nd picture) and I persisted. Obviously the tree is not prominent now that it has died, apparently of natural causes. There is no easy silhouette and the various colorful momentos were stored out of view as well. If one has about thirteen hours round trip the site is reachable from Mentone. Here are a few more pix. Click on each pix to enlarge it. ENJOY (especially April and Adam)!!! Also, the large white pipe looking container contains an entry book for visitors, and various items left by admirers.
p.s. I wanted to have "Still haven't found what I'm looking for" play in the background but can't figure out how to do it. Can anyone offer help?
April: I walked away singing "April Come She Will." For real! (for the rest of you it's a private joke.)