Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie
Heidi (in front) - The Staff to Rylie

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sequoia National Park

A couple of weeks ago I had a little look-see at Sequoia National Park. There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground and it rained while I was there, so it wasn't a good day for hiking. However, I did get to see the General Sherman tree, the largest tree in the world, by volume. It measures 275 feet high, and 52, 513 cubic feet. It is thought to be 2,300 to 2,700 years old. How would you like to climb that tree?

Yucca in Bloom

Visitor Center

Rylie's Notes:

Now that's the kind of tree I'd like to give the one leg salute.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Death Valley, Part 2

The Beauty of Death Valley

I love the texture and color in the mountains of Death Valley. If I were a good photographer like a lot of you folks out there, I would Photoshop or touch up my photos before I post them so they would really stand out, but I'm afraid I'm a lazy photographer, so you'll just have to view them in their original state. It's all that I can do to get them uploaded from the camera and resized for posting on the blog. I don't have time for all of that prettying up.

While I was in Death Valley, I visited the Borax Museum and home of the famous 20 Mule Train. I couldn't help thinking about how horrible it must have been for both the men and the animals to work in that shadeless summer furnace.

I've been trying to gradually increase the running that Rylie and I do in the morning, since we have both gained a few lbs. since we haven't been running as much in the past year. However, rewarding him with treats might be counter-productive. Ya think?

Borax Works

Borax Museum photos below:

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff's training is coming along nicely. I now have her giving me treats when I run with her in the morning. She already gives me a treat when she leaves for work. Next I will train her to treat me for napping.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Flat Tire...and Crawdaddy's

Normally I work on weekends when I'm doing Air Photo work. It's usually the best time to catch people at home. But today I drove over to I-5 to meet up with Cammie and Doug for lunch at Harris Ranch. They were driving back to the East Bay from LA, so we met up for a tasty lunch in the Horseshoe Bar. I was planning to head to work after meeting up with them, but got a flat tire, so I decided to have some fun instead.

My friend Charlee and I went to see Water for Elephants, which I enjoyed -- except for the fake animal cruelty parts -- and then we went to Crawdaddy's in downtown Visalia. I saw this place the other day and it reminded me of New Orleans, so I knew I had to go check it out. I love New Orleans. We had a bite to eat and listened to the band, Keith and the Crawdads. We had such a good time. The band is really good, but casual, and they allow the locals to join in and perform, singing, guitar playing -- whatever. I loved it. I'll definitely be going back there.

I'll deal with the flat tire tomorrow.

Rylie's Notes:

The Staff brought home a doggy bag from her lunch with The Junior Staff. I have her trained now. Yummy. Come to think of it, I didn't see any doggy bag coming back from Crawdaddy's. I guess I don't have her trained as well as I thought.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Death Valley, Part 1

Next stop, Death Valley. I visited Death Valley in March, after I left Las Vegas. But first, a couple of straggler photos from Hawaii and Las Vegas. I met this handsome guy sunbathing on a black sand beach on our way back from the Hilo side of the island:

While I was in Las Vegas we went to the Golden Nugget, and saw THE gold nugget. Wouldn't you have loved to be the people who found this? You can see its size in relation to the chandelier in the background.

Now, on to Death Valley. There weren't many wildflowers this year, but I did see a few. The photos below were taken in Badwater Basin, which is 282 feet below sea level.

If you double click on the photo below and look just left of center of the photo, you will see a tiny white sign high above Badwater Basin. It says "sea level". The next photo is a closer view.

More Death Valley photos to follow.

Rylie's Notes:

I found a tortoise in my yard once. Every time I tried to herd it, the darn thing just withdrew into its den and sat there. Carrying your den on your back is cheating.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Critter Update

I called the Lindsay Wildlife Hospital to check up on the 'possum babies I rescued a couple of weeks ago. All three are doing fine and living with foster families until they are old enough to be released back into the wild. That made me happy.

As for the black widow spider, she disappeared before I could deal with her. There was probably too much activity going on in my recycle bin. I wonder where she is?

For the past week, I have been awakened every morning around 6:00 a.m. with the sound of birds crashing into my window and pecking. This continues throughout the day. It upset Rylie, who growled, whined and barked the first few days, but I guess he has resigned himself to his fate now. The guy with the red beret in the photo below and his twin have been hanging out in the tree next to my window, trying to beat up their reflections:

There are tons of orange groves and orchards in this area. Below is one of the orange groves with the snow-covered Sierras in the background:

I passed the below orange grove the other day, and wondered about all of the fruit carpeting the ground. What a waste. Especially when you consider all of the water these trees require, and water is a precious commodity around here.

My final update is about ants. In my bedroom. I made the mistake of putting something under my motorhome, not realizing that it was touching the bottom of the motorhome. Those little stinkers made their way inside the motorhome and came out one of the drawers in my bedroom.

When I hooked up my portable propane tank after arriving here, it didn't work at first. I had to let it sit overnight, and then it magically starting working again without me doing anything. Weird.

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo. You know what that means: margaritas! Visalia is actually better than I was expecting.

Rylie's Notes:

If The Staff would open the widow and take off the screen, I could probably catch one of those annoying birds the next time it hangs by one leg to peck at the window. I told you she wouldn't do anything about that spider. At least she disposed of the ants. They taste funny.