FROM ROUTE 66 TO SANTA FE NEW MEXICO, COLORADO, UTAH, NEVADA TO THE EASTERN SIERRAS, CALIFORNIA. UNPARALLELED BEAUTY AND ADVENTURE.
Starting the trip off – pina coladas at the Avi Hotel
On the Museum’s Spring Bird Walk led by Kimball Garrett, collections manager at the Los Angeles County of Natural History, the group spotted 47 species of birds and then drove up to the San Gabriel Dam on Highway 39 above Azusa to get a look at a nesting immature bald eagle.
The walk began at the Duarte Museum in Encanto Park and took the birders along the bioswale trail, across the Puente Largo Bridge and north on the bike trail to the first weir. A few of the birds spotted included Yellow Chevroned Parakeets, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Red-crowned Parrots, Hooded and Bullock’s Orioles, Western Tanager, Townsends and Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Orange-crowned Warbler and a Red whiskered Bulbul. Yellow warbler photo by Candace Dougherty.
After a number of extraordinary desert trips, we opted to spend New Years on the coast with the family. Cold but clear with afternoon sun warming us.
FROM PISMO TO MORRO BAY – A RIDE IN THE BAY ON THE TIKI WITH A STOP ON THE ISLAND TO LOOK FOR PIRATE COINS. OTTERS AND SEA LIONS WERE CONSTANTLY WITH US.
MOONSTONE BEACH AND CAMBRIA –
CELEBRATING THE 62ND 49ER ENCAMPMENT AT FURNACE CREEK DEATH VALLEY.
STRANGEST THINGS OUT HERE IN THE DESERT – AND EVEN STRANGER AS WE TOOK OUR FRIENDS PETE & CHARLOTTE FRIES TO RHYOLITE AND THEN THROUGH TITUS CANYON.
HUNKERING DOWN IN SHOSHONE WE WAITED OUT A FIERCE WINDSTORM THEN DROVE THROUGH BAKER, 29 PALMS, JOSHUA TREE AND CAMPED AT THE SALTON SEA. THE SEA NEVER DISAPPOINTS!
HOLIDAY HELLER, JOHN WEST AND BJ CASAREZ, HAILEY AND ALEXIS. THAT LOVELY CAR IS JOHN WEST’S 1932 FORD!
Happy birthday Zoe and Mary! Cake by Sweet Nothings in Duarte.
THE BOOK LAUNCHING PARTY ON OCTOBER 23, 2015 – 6:30 P.M. AT THE DUARTE HISTORICAL MUSEUM, WAS A GREAT SUCCESS. MANY BOOKS WERE SOLD AND A PORTION OF THE PROFITS WERE DONATED TO THE MUSEUM.
TO ORDER YOUR SIGNED COPY, SEND CHECK PAYABLE TO CLAUDIA HELLER 277 OPAL CANYON ROAD, DUARTE, CA 91010 ($25.00 COVERS BOOK AND POSTAGE). A COPY WILL BE MAILED TO YOU RIGHT AWAY. FREE DELIVERY WITHIN DUARTE IS AVAILABLE. BELOW ARE A FEW OF THE ADVENTURES FEATURED IN OUR BOOK.
iT WAS A 3 WEEK ROAD TRIP UP THE CALIFORNIA COAST TO MOSS LANDING, NORTH TO ARCATA AND THEN ON THE KLAMATH RIVER ROAD TO THE TOWN OF HAPPY CAMP, POPULATION SOME 950 PLUS. WHEN THERE WAS A MORATORIUM PUT ON THE LOGGING OF THE OLD GROWTH FOREST, HAPPY CAMP SUFFERED THE LOSS OF MANY RESIDENTS. IN THE HEART OF BIGFOOT COUNTRY, IT IS WHERE MY SISTER LIVES – 180 ACRE RANCH BORDERED BY THE MIGHTY KLAMATH. IT IS VACATION TIME GALORE WITH THE HOSPITALITY OFFERED!
SAID OUR FAREWELLS AND SENT OUR THANKS TO THE CHAMBERS FAMILY AND HEADED OFF TO WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE KLAMATH FALLS. SAW A CAMPING SIGN AND TOOK AN UNEXPECTED LEFT TURN WHICH TOOK US TO WHAT IS NOW ONE OF OUR FAVORITE PLACES! ROCKY POINT ON THE UPPER KLAMATH LAKE.
RIGHT AT THE CAMPGROUND IS A BEAUTIFUL RESTAURANT CALLED THE ROCKY POINT RESORT LODGE RESTAURANT WITH WONDERFUL FOOD, GREAT SERVICE, TERRIFIC CREATIVE DRINKS AND A VEIW TO DIE FOR! AFTER DINNER WE DRANK OUR BAILEYS ON THE ROCKS AROUND OUR CAMPFIRE WITH OUR NEW FRIENDS
FROM ROCKY POINT IT IS A COUPLE OF HOURS TO CRATER LAKE. THE SKIES WERE STORMY AND WE WERE WORRIED WE’D HAVE A REPEAT OF OUR LAST VISIT THERE WHEN THE LAKE WAS SO FOGGED IN THAT WE COULDN’T SEE IT. THIS IS WHAT WE FOUND:
CAMPING AT LAVA BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT WE SPENT A DAY AT THE TULE LAKE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE – ALAN, HEATHER AND I HAD THE BEST DAY BIRDING EVER! WE WERE ESPECIALLY THRILLED TO SEE THE WHITE FACED IBIS AND THE BALD EAGLES. THE EAGLES POSED FOR US, SEEMINGLY UNDISTURBED BY OUR PRESENCE AS THOUGH THEY KNOW THEY ARE PROTECTED!
LAVA BEDS IS MODOC COUNTRY! IT IS WHERE TENSIONS AROSE BETWEEN THE MODOC AND SETTLERS, SPARKING THE MODOC WAR OF 1872-1873. ALAN AND I HIKED TO CAPTAIN JACK’S STRONGHOLD – NOT A FUN HIKE IN THE ROCKY TERRAIN, THERE ARE ALSO PLENTY OF LAVA CAVES TO EXPLORE.
ABOVE WE CAMPED AT LASSEN AND TOOK THE LOVELY DRIVE OVER THE SNOW COVERED SUMMIT. HEATHER LOBBED A SNOWBALL AT ALAN WHICH LANDED ALMOST ON HER FOOT. THE WILDFLOWERS WERRE SO PICTURESQUE AND THE MUD POTS WERE BOILING!.
Taos Pueblo is an ancient pueblo belonging to a Tiwa-speaking American Tribe of Native Americans puebloans. The town of Taos nearby is full of traffic, construction, congenstion, tourists shops and restaurants. The Pueblo, however, is quietly enveloped in its history.
OUR TOUR WAS LED BY A STUDENT NAMED SUMMER. SHE WAS A LITTLE NERVOUS BUT AFTER A WHILE SHE LOOSENED UP AND EXPLAINED THE HISTORY OF THE PUEBLO. BELOW IS THE SAN FRANCISCO de ASIS MISSION CHURCH.
AN EATERY IN THE PUBELO SERVES BLUE CORN TORTILLAS AND HONEY.
Still in use, these ovens are used to bake bread and other food items.
A STARK CONTRAST TO TAOS WHERE NATIVE AMERICANS STILL LIVE, IS CHACO CANYON, NOW KNOWN AS CHACO CULTURE NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK. IT IS THE LARGEST CONCENTRATION OF PUEBLOS IN THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST.
The park is located in northwestern New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Farmington, in a remote canyon. Containing the most sweeping collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico, the park preserves one of the United States’ most important pre-Columbian cultural and historical areas.
To walk through these silent ruins, is to visit history and stand where these ancient puebloans once stood.
FOR A CHANGE OF SCENERY WE SPENT A DAY IN LAS VEGAS NEW MEXICO – A GREAT LITTLE ROUTE 66 TOWN WITH LOTS TO SEE. THEY WERE MAKING A MOVIE IN THE PLAZA THAT DAY.
ABOVE IS THE PLAZA HOTEL, BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED BY THE SAME OWNER OF OUR FAVORITE HOTEL IN WINSLOW, THE LA POSADA, AND ALSO THE UNDER-RENOVATION IN LAS VEGAS NM – THE CASTENADA HOTEL (below)
Across from the Plaza Hotel is the lovely plaza. Kept free of crowds because of the filming, one could only imagine the plaza in the evening with live music, dancing and picnicing New Mexicans.
Above is El Sanctuario de Chimayo where you can get holy dirt for free!
Above is the foyer of the Twin Arrows Casino where you can lose your money for free!
A stop in Winslow took us to our favorite hotel, the La Posada! The eclectic art, the martini bar and 5 star restaurant, the trains chugging by at the hotel’s rear entrance and Route 66 in the front! (below)
AND WHILE IN WINSLOW IT IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST THAT YOU STAND ON THE CORNER.
AND WHAT ELSE DID WE FIND IN WINSLOW? A BIG SURPRISE. HAVE YOU HEARD OF THE TRAIL OF THE WHISPERING GIANTS? LOOK IT UP – IT IS A FASCINATING STORY. AND WE FOUND ONE RIGHT THERE IN WINSLOW!
ANOTHER QUEST IN OUR TRAVELS IS TO FIND THE FIBREGLASS PEOPLE REMINISCENT OF ROUTE 66 ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS. WE WERE SURPRISED TO FIND ONE IN GALLUP DEPICTED AS COWBOY MAN! (he has a brother at the Salton Sea).
IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO FIND MORE BEAUTIFUL COLORS THAN IN THE PAINTED DESERT.
ALWAYS HAVE TO STOP IN HOLBROOK TO VISIT THE WIGWAM HOTEL. THERE IS ALSO ONE ON THE RIALTO/SAN BERNARDINO BORDER IN SO. CAL.
It was touted to be the “miracle tree,” a sure opportunity to get rich quick. It was the turn of the century and with redwood forests quickly disappearing at a time when re-planting was not the norm, future building was threatened. Enter the Eucalyptus tree, imported from Australia, with promises of solving the problem. It was said to produce medicinal and industrial oils, excellent timber and fuel. It would grow quickly in a variety of conditions and when felled, its roots would quickly sprout another tree. A frenzy of orders for this magical tree began and countless acres of Eucalyptus groves were planted with promises of tidy profits. More than 100 companies became involved in the industry and this craze changed the landscape of California.
Once they realized that eucalyptus were not strong enough for building, leached a poison that threatened native trees and created a fire hazard because they are extremely flammable, eucalyptus farmers abandoned their groves. The city of Duarte has hired the fire department to remove the diseased and dying trees in a canyon on the Duarte mesa. Work crews cut and remove the trees during certain months of the year.
Above, evidence of burrowing beatles is found in limbs of a eucalytus log.
The canyon is lovely — a Shangri-La. It is designated as watershed and wilderness land and is not open to the public. Because it is in a canyon, there is a downdraft, which increases the fire problem. The work crews are chopping down diseased and dying eucs and clearing brush away. There are remnants of the old euc farm. We have photographed the artifacts for history’s sake. They are quite interesting, and some are puzzling.
Tamara Hanna, deputy forester, pointed out where bears have clawed a tree. These marks were made by a very large bear! See below:
One of the artifacts of interest is a ten foot section of a narrow gauge rail. Was there a railway there? Was it brought in for scrap metal? It is a mystery – see below.
ZOE OSBURN OF THE DUARTE HISTORICAL SOCIETY INVESTIGATES A FOUNDATION THAT REMAINS AS EVIDENCE OF PAST ENDEAVORS
a red velvet ant goes about his business
A modern piece of equipment seems out of place. Presumably it will be used when the work crews continue clearing the area.