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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Did I say Newport?

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I dropped Dennis the hitch-hiker off in Newport, where he got a job on the docks. Interesting guy, Dennis. I hope he gets his boat back from La Paz, Mexico.

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I’m sitting in the yurt, the guest house, up in the mountains above Boulder Creek. Getting here was a thrill, finding one hidden road – track really – after another. Tys directions were superb, and the skull-on-a-stick was the clincher. I wish I had mounted my camera on the roof rails, so you could see the narrowness, the rutted-ness, the twists and turns of the track. The Subie was so much fun, being in her real element (outside of the snow and ice mode) for the first time. I didn’t even need the skid plates as she did her version of goat-on-hillside. On indicator of the climb was my mileage: 10.4 mpg! I just made one wrong turn towards the end, and was lucky to find a neighbor who told me how to backtrack to the skull thingy. And then I was there, May 31. Melissa saw me first, waving and smiling. Correction, Jack, their dog saw/heard me first and gave me a good once over almost jumping into the car.

To say I was in another world is an understatement. After five years of constant work and effort and design choices, they had their housewarming party just two weeks before. Their house is almost finished. And what a house it is. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking, but adobe walls play a big part of keeping the house cool/warm as needed. It was in the high 80’s that day, and going inside was a palatable relief. And they are off the grid, using solar for their electrical needs. No big screen TV (no TV at all) and no microwave, but in this Eden of theirs, who needs them? I will fill in more of the details later, but for now, these people have created, and live, in the real deal.

‘Later” is now. July 6

The five years of home building goes like this:

  • The “Year of Stone”
  • The “Year of Wood”
  • The “Year of Mud”
  • The “Year of Inside Finishing”
  • …and The “Year (plus) that IS”
If you would like to see more details (photos with text) you can visit his wonderful blog at: http://ideamountain.com/

All our meals have included fruits and veggies from their gardens. Gray water drains to some of the veggies that can use it. Their well, 340′ deep is pumped to a water reservoir. The 3/4 ton diesel pickup runs on waste vegetable oil, which an on-prem machine converts. Tys does his work remotely, connecting to the web from his phone’s modem. My phone showed “no service” but my Kindle got five bars. Go figure. When Tys and I go into town, I’ll upload the text and show pictures, but in the meantime I am incommunicado.

Their ten acres is natures cathedral, redwoods reaching for the sky far above. Sun glinting through here and there, birds, lizards and other critters unseen sharing the habitat. Melissa and I took a walk to their neighbors and from there, the Pacific was visible to the west. This is my second host family for US Servas. I am so glad that this volunteer organization exists, and doubly so for the great people I have met, and their unconditional hospitality. I am blessed.

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May(day) 10th, 2012

You know you’re in Nebraska when your GPS, mounted on the windscreen, doesn’t change one whit. (See photo).

One of the main presumptions I made about my road trip, was ubiquitous cell phone coverage, no matter my location. Here I am, racing to Southern California, traveling nothing but Interstates, and the coverage? Zip. I mean, I would pass obvious cell towers, and my little icon blinked back at me, mute. When I got to a metro area, quick as a rabbit, I’d call my sons to check in. (Getting them to pick up was another matter). I can just imagine, when they tried to call back, straight to voice mail. One explanation that came to me: is that there is nothing happening in Iowa or Nebraska.

Omaha = Obama…

After ten hours of driving across the platens we call “The Midwest,” my mind begins (sic) to wander. There, high above me, the contrails of  a western bound jet. Truth be known, I would give anything to be on board. Anything, you understand! Center seat, rear of plane, across from the lavatory, anything!

Note to self: I-80, Nebraska, mileage marker 119 – feed lot. Close all fresh ari vents beforehand. I’ve been warned.

I think the “end-of-time” people have a point. Here it is, 2012 CE, and the evidence is all around us. To wit: wind-power towers. There are so many now, that some time later this year, the our good ol’ US of A will be ripped from our ancestral moorings, and launched into oblivion. A kind of geophysical “rapture.” (Just you wait and see, it’ll happen, and bed sheets do not parachutes make.)

…later (much later) that day…

Arrived at my motel, a Super 8, in Sterling, CO, 800 miles from home. There’s a prison right next door, and its presence added to the bleakness of the area.

Sterling is northwest of Denver by about two hours, and my plan was to rise early, and – wait for it – go through Denver at rush hour. Bad plan. I waited in Sterling, puttering around until rush hour passed, and that worked just fine – and I flew through the metro. I had made reservations for the motel, on the fly, somewhere in Nebraska, at a gas stop. Hotels.com took my Amex card, but when I went to check out, someone else’s Mastercard was used, and for $20 less(?). Ah, technology. I’ll figure it our later…

The advertised “internet service” must have been dial-up, because I had very sporadic access. I was unable to get my blog updated until today (Sunday, May 13th) and so it goes. While traveling, cell phone coverage was also sporadic, but I think my car’s link and my cell were having a hissy fit. I think it’s fixed now. That said, I want to thank NPR for their talk shows, especially Public Radio Remix. Having voice in the car made me feel less a solo act. Yes, I have the “me, myself, and I” voices in my head, but that can carry me only so far! When the chats were enough, I would wander over to either Watercolors, or Spa, on Sirius satellite radio. In any event, it made the time fly by.

I did stop here and there, and sometimes you can see some pretty things.

May 12th

On my way to southwest Utah, I gave my US Servas/host family listings a shot. While at a lunch stop, I searched the rather sparse Utah hosts, and googled their cities. Bingo! Ivins, UT. Never heard of it, but the zip code was for St. George, UT. I called and talked with Sanjoy, who was most encouraging, and said he would call me back after talking with his wife, Benita. I hadn’t driving five minutes and he said that my spur of the moment request for a visit would be quite all right. Unbelievable! And this was in the afternoon, and I was 400 miles away, and would not be arriving until 9:00 p.m. or so. He suggested (and I’m glad I did) that I call from Cedar City, and hour away form their home for directions. I was received most warmly, and made to feel immediately at home. And what a lovely home it is. We chatted for an hour or so (truth be known I rambled rather than talked, but after another 800 mile day, what did I expect?) and I slept very soundly. In the morning Benita suggested we visist the amphitheater where there was a farmer’s market and car show going on in the parking area. The gem of the tour was the amphitheater itself: seating 2,000 with state of the art audio/video facilities, it is nestled between two gigantic bluffs (all bluffs in UT are gigantic, then again, coming from MN, what do you expect?).

Sanjoy and I then had a walk-around of their “zero-landscape” gardens – minimal watering required. I’ll let the pictures do the talking here, but I was most fortunate to see these wonderful, ancient plants in various stages of blossoming. I felt transported to an ancient time, where the environment was harsh and unforgiving.

 

 

 

 

Sanjoy & Benita – my wonderful hosts

May 13th

Getting to Las Vegas was a breeze. From Vegas to LA was another matter. Several 20 mile sections of interstate had a speed limit of 60, which I dropped down to 65 or so, thinking road construction or ??? Nobody else did however, and I almost got run over doing so. Back up to 78 mph I went. In the 400 mile run to LA, I saw three CHP troopers, all on the other side of the freeway. (I just saw the headlines here in CA: “Another financial crisis – $16B deficit”). With gas prices at $4.70/gallon I think they want me to fix it while I’m here.

Coming over the hill (I had been dropping in elevation) I saw a vision of hell: smog and power lines and stop and go traffic heading towards Vegas. Thank heavens Margie lives close to the ocean. With my white knuckles on the wheel, I’m perversely glad I couldn’t/wouldn’t take a picture.

Then the Garmin started sending me hither and yon. So I cobbled together a path that eventually got me to her home. I even went by my alma mater: Cal State Los Angeles. Long story short: I took Rosecrans Ave for nine miles across LA bypassing the 105. So what if it was stop and go, the air kept clearing, and the temperature kept dropping. And here I am, typing away.

Happy trails everyone – I’m off to the races!

[Note from editor: future postings will have, for the most part, slide shows instead of individual photos – I think they’re easier to view. We’ll “see”. For practice, here are ALL the photos from the last three days in slide show format.]

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Winter Photography

Among the other perks about my homestead, is the location. A bit of wilderness surrounds me on all sides. So, weather it’s early morning (the sunrise shots), or afternoon (snow patterns on the ground, or a winter’s night with a full moon high above, I try to give it my best shot. Here’s some humble examples.

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Spencer, Andrew, Brandon and Devon doing a photo shoot for their EP. Not much I can add to this, except my co-workers wondered where I was. Nothing new there either.

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Cooperative butterfly

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A summer sky and a visitor to the Memorial Garden

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Nice time lapse photography. Let’s see if this works, embedding it in WordPress. For full effect, be sure to go to full screen.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/22439234″>The Mountain</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/terjes”>Terje Sorgjerd</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

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