Monday, 19 May 2008

We drove out of Las Vegas heading west along I-15 and into California. We stopped in Baker and had a fresh strawberry milkshake at the Mad Greek. Just across the street you can see the world's largest thermometer.
You can see the dry Silver Lake with the mountains in the background.
Joshua Trees dot the landscape in this area, they are found in the Mojave desert in California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada at 2,000'-6,000'.
This tree was some blooms on it. They often become very top heavy and fall over.
Here is a corner of Lake Shasta.
I found a road that took us under the bridge along I-5 in the Lake Shasta area.
Mount Shasta is an amazing site, this is a view from Weeds, California.

A favourite stop along the I-5 in Springfield, Oregon at the antique shop called "At Ruthie B's". They serve a lovely tomato basil soup, you can have lunch in one of the display rooms.
This was a pretty pink dogwood that we found in full bloom along the way. Our next stop was home.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

We arrived in Las Cruces and went to Mesilla where we had lunch at La Posta. It used to be an old stagecoach station. Then we went walking around the old plaza.I love the painted doors and window frames in this area of the world. I've seen similar colours when I travelled in Greece.
This is a detail picture of an old bench sitting in the plaza for you to take a brief rest upon.
Once again the quilting image is found on the grill work, a hand along the top.
Different ristras of chilies drying waiting to be taken to someones home. Then we went to the White Sands National Monument.
Look closely, you never know when you will see flowers quietly blooming. If you look again you can see some footprints of a critter or two in the sand.
Keep looking, you never know when a flower will suddenly appear.
These columns are formed by the root systems when the surrounding sands are blown away.
The yucca is the state flower of New Mexico and is found all over the landscape.
The landscape is constantly changing with new plants emerging from where none were before.
At times you would think you were driving through plowed roads where snow has fallen, and then you realize how hot it is.
These picnic shelters are to protect you from the wind and the sand coming from the west. They almost look like ice boats with billowing sails.
I found the lines of this plant to be amazing and the sky behind it breathtaking!
We then headed up the Rio Grande and into Albuquerque. Then we drove onto Santa Fe where we walked around the old Plaza neighbour hood.
The carvings around the top of this building were quite spectacular.
The burro bronze is around the corner on Burro Alley, there are several paintings on the wall along the street.
Looking in on a alcove off the main walk.
I love the look of the banners at the top and the columns along the side with the sun streaming in.
Then we changed direction and arrived in Las Vegas, talk about a different way to look at things. All the neon lights and colours!
At 11:00 p.m. we went for a walk and enjoyed Andrea Bocelli singing as the waters danced at the Bellagio Hotel. Then we walked along the strip and looked at all the lights dancing in the desert.
The Flamingo Hotel has undergone a face lift from the first time I went to Las Vegas. Many of the old hotels are just faded memories and photographs.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

I think he went maybe thataway....nope...thataway? I don't know which way he went.
The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is a must when you visit. You will find cacti of differnt shapes, colour and sizes. The first time I went it was over 100F this time we went earlier in the day but the temperature still climbed up quickly.
There are birds everywhere you go, some sitting on cacti, some singing, some attending to their young. If you look closely you might see some lizards and other wildlife.

The saguaro cacti blooms late at night when the air cools down, the flowers wilt in the heat of the day.

You never know what part of the cacti the flowers will appear. I found this to be an unusual place for them to grow.
These unusal cacti caught my eye. I also took some just of the top of it, they almost look like creatures from outer space.

This Anna's Hummingbird was flying around and I couldn't get a picture of it feeding until it took a rest on the branch.

Here is a closer view of the saguaro blossoms. I was delighted to see the bee in my picture.

This little round tail squirrel scampered past us on the path and then stopped to check us out. I wish I could have helped him turn on the tap for a cool drink.

It is interesting to see how the different the cacti shapes can be.

Everywhere you looked you could see cacti in bloom. You could spend hours taking pictures and wondering around the paths.

We then left Phoenix and headed down to Tucson we stopped in at the Saguaro National Park.
Once again some interesting shapes and colours.
I found this view to be quite awe inspiring, I love how the mountains disappear in the background.

The next day we drove south of Tucson, down to Nogales. We then turned around and stopped in Tubac an artists colony.

I think if I look back at my 2001 trip photos I may have a picture of this same cactus. This time it was a lovely rich colour.

I found it interesting that the grillwork was the classic clamshell shape used by quilters. This is part of San Xavier del Bac. This church is called the white dove of the desert.

They are currently restoring the left side of the church, so I just tried to get the right side in. People were entering the church for Sunday mass, so I tried not to disturb them.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Along Rte 12 we drove a winding road above the snow line. We went into Zion National Park Kolob Canyon and drove around.
The roadbed blended nicely with the surrounding area, the skies were an incredible shade of blue with clouds floating by.
We drove over to the Springdale entrance to Zion and drove through the Zion Mount Carmel tunnel and found some amazing topography and views.
The checkerboard mesa is a well photographed site.
Later we drove to the Grand Canyon for some incredible vistas. The far rim is almost 18 miles away.
Almost a mile below the Colorado River winds it way down exposing the layers of the canyon. A watchful raven takes in the views everyday.

If you look closely you can see the river in this photo in the right.
The canyons around Sedona are also breath-taking, can you imagine waking up to this view every day?