August 10th 2009

Collage Photo Meme

Collage Photo Meme

The concept:

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.

2. Using only the first page of results, and pick one image.

3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers  (use 4X4 with large center layout).

The questions:

1. What is your first name?

2. What is your favorite food? right now?

3. What high school did you go to?

4. What is your favorite color?

5. Who is your celebrity crush?

6. What is your favorite drink?

7. What is your dream vacation?

8. What is your favorite dessert?

9. What do you want to be when you grow up?

10. What do you love most in life?

11. What is one word that describes you?

12. What is your flickr name?

13. What do you want to be remembered for?

My answers: 1. David, 2. Lasagna, 3. McLane High School, 4. Green, 5. Caroline Kennedy, 6. Black Label and water, 7. the Andes, 8. tapioca pudding, 9. at peace with myself, 10. creativity, 11. reclusive, 12. water.rodent, 13. laughter

Credits: 1. David Gareja, 2. Vegetarian Lasagna (w/recipe), 3. McLane High School, 4. GReeN°JeLLy°@, 5. John F. Kennedy, wife Jacqueline and daughter Caroline. , 6. Black Label & water . . ., 7. Andes Mountains (Peru), 8. tapioca pudding 0872.jpg, 9. Peaceful, 10. Create .UR. Reality, 11.

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July 16th 2009

Moto-Camping: Sedona

Moto-Camping: Sedona

My last day before heading home, I took a short jaunt down to Sedona.  The city itself is not much of a draw–it’s main drag is touristy to the max–but its setting is amazing. The ride there and back was beautiful; just as I remembered it.

Instead of wandering the shops, which doesn’t interest me, I visited Red Rock Canyon State Park and dropped in on several picnic sites along Oak Creek, dipping my tired feet in the cool water, reading and taking pictures.  Tomorrow’s ride is the longest of the entire trip: roughly 600 miles.  My sore butt isn’t looking forward, so it was nice to take it easy today.

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July 16th 2009

Moto-Camping: More Critters

Moto-Camping:  More Critters

More critters, these from near Sedona (Red Rock Canyon State Park).

The lead image is a Cooper’s Hawk, I’m sure, the darker bird is a Zone Hawk, I think.

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July 16th 2009

Moto-Camping: Mesa Verde

Moto-Camping:  Mesa Verde

Day 9 was spent getting to and then hiking Mesa Verde National Park.  The photos attached to this post also include the morning of Day 10–there was too much to see!

The alcove dwellings of the ancient Pueblo (we no longer use the Navajo “Anasazi”) are fun to visit, even in the heat.  The pictures barely do justice to the structures–and being one of 50 to 60 tourists per tour, it was difficult to “feel” the place.  But I’m glad I went.

I had a great camping spot in a small grove of Utah Juniper which was both shady and a great spot to stretch the hammock a last time.  It rained so much in the Black Canyon that I slept in the tent the whole time.  It threatened to rain here, but I gave it a shot and was rewarded!  I love my backpack hammock!

I was reading an email post of “Harrison Bergeron”, that great Kurt Vonnegut story and I thought about these National Parks–so much access, made as easy as possible.  As a result, humongoloid Winnebagoes disgorge overweight white people in store-bought tie-dyed shirts, bermuda shorts, and flip-flops at the visitor centers and tour kiosks, and these people huff and puff through the sites, exclaim at the heat, balk at the 30′ ladders, get mad at their husbands for taking pictures of their butts as they climb, condescend to their children, and never, never, shut up.  Maybe, just maybe, we should not aim for the politically correct–maybe access to these sites should be harder so people will have to work at it.  Of course, Winnebagoes would go extinct, their rusty carcasses scattered through weedy, abandoned RV parks across the West.

It makes me feel worse, of course, to be 1) white and 2) overweight.

Anyway, loads of pictures.  By the way, Facebook posts these blog entries as “Notes” and the pictures are there, but you have to open them one at a time.  If you’d rather see them in slideshow or lightbox formats (easier to skim through), visit my blog:

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July 16th 2009

Moto-Camping: The Critters (and Flowers)

Moto-Camping: The Critters (and Flowers)

The really cool part about nature is being there in its presence.  I’ve seen too many mule deer to count and they always seem to show up when I can’t get to my camera, but I did manage to capture a few critters and their habitats.

My favoritest is the owl I managed to capture on a trail in Black Canyon.  I tentatively have identified it as a Western Screech Owl, but I need to sit down with a good bird book to confirm.  I haven’t identified the hawk yet, but he was cool too.

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July 16th 2009

Moto-Camping Days 7-8 (late post)

Moto-Camping Days 7-8 (late post)

I spent the rest of my time at Black Canyon seeing as much as I could of the area.  I hiked a bunch and took off on a bike tour to the north rim.

On the drive back, it rained pretty hard, but when I got through it, I dried off pretty quickly.  With soap, I’d have been somewhat clean!

The history of the Black Canyon is interesting, and illustrates the complicated situation of the West.  Exploration of the area was entirely prompted by commercial interest–first a railway magnate attempted to forge a railroad through the gorge (partly succeeding) and then agricultural interests pushed for a water tunnel through the south rim mountains to irrigate the Uncompagre Valley (a high desert whose river runs dry in summer).  This latter pursuit was a success, if damming a wild river and diverting some of its flow can be considered a success.

So, the early explorers of the canyon (other than the native tribes, who avoided it) were surveyors–and they were an intrepid lot.  Only two actually went all the way through the main gorge and their tale is a good one.  Essentially, they went down the river (class 5 rapids with huge boulders) on a large rubber raft with supplies.  They tied a rope to each other and to the raft.  Then, one would jump in and make his way to a spot on the riverbank that could concievably be called a bank, he would tug on the line and the upstream man would follow.  Somehow the raft was pulled along as well.  At one particularly hairy spot, legend has it, in the jaws of the gorge (where the water descends 95 feet in a one-mile stretch), the lead guy, Abraham Lincoln Fellows, gave his last wishes to his survey partner, Will Torrence, and jumped in.  He survived and the rest is history…

Except that the reason for the expedition was to find a suitable site for the diversion tunnel–and they did, at East Portal, where I camped.  Thus began the taming of the river, a story told too many times across the West.  And the Uncompagre Valley is fertile and prospering–like the San Joaquin Valley, I suppose.

This is where it all gets complicated. That railroad magnate forged his way miles up the canyon (and he cuts a dashing, if odd, figure in photos)–on the backs of Irish and German immigrants working for virtually nothing.  And although that rail line is gone, the bed remains (and there’s a visitor center), but who know the stories of those laborers?  And as captivating as the Fellows-Torrence story goes, there’s still that damned dam and the diversion tunnel and the politics of water in an arid land.

I took pictures along a loop trail and of the bike after “my” storm.  The next post will have pictures of critters I encountered during my stay.

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