Palms in Monochrome

Back in June, we traveled to Las Vegas for the first time since early childhood.  Included in a jam packed 48 hour weekend were a few moments at the pool, which is where I was captivated by the sun shining through the palms.

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The fullness of life is keeping me from posting as I typically do, but after 6 yrs of blogging with WP, I am committed to this space in my world.  With a goal of returning to the norm later this year, I will for now, at least share my weekly image from Monochromia.

Osceola & Renegade in Monochrome

My contribution to Monochromia this week.

A friend and I traveled to Tallahassee for the Virginia Tech / Florida State game last weekend and during a tour of the beautiful FSU Campus, saw the famous statue of Osceola, the historic leader of the Seminoles, and his Appaloosa horse, Renegade.

We enjoyed Tallahassee and even better, won the game! Go Hokies!

Monochromia

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You’ve heard it before … I miss you all, and I’m trying to get back into regular posting.  Until then, I’m going to share my photos from Monochromia.

Believe it or not, I save all of the email notifications from your blogs.  Someday soon (I hope) I’ll be visiting!

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Located 17 miles west of Las Vegas, Red Rocks was designated as Nevada’s first National Conservation Area.

During a recent visit to Las Vegas, my friend Andrew took me to explore this incredible place.

From the first moment we entered Red Rocks, my jaw was dropping.

The vast, wide open landscape, with those incredible peaks rising to the sky, blew me away!

The colors of the desert are so varied, and I love the multiple layers shown in the next image.

It’s incredible to think that the Las Vegas strip is just a few miles away.

The conservation area showcases the most incredible sandstone red rock formations.  “These sandstone cliffs are made up of Aztec Sandstone.  The formations, 180-190 million years old, are comprised of lithified sand dunes that formed in the a vast desert that covered a large part of the southwestern United States during the Juraassic Time.  Lithification is the process of changing unconsolidated sediment into sedimentary rock”.

“The red color of some of the outcrops of the Aztec Sandstone is due to presence of iron oxide or hematite. Exposure to the elements caused iron minerals to oxidize or “rust,” resulting in red, orange, and brown-colored rocks. Areas where the rock is buff in color may be places where the iron has been leached out by subsurface water, or where the iron oxide was never deposited”

The highest point in Red Rocks is over 8000 ft high.

“In marked contrast to a town geared to entertainment and gaming, Red Rock offers enticements of a different nature including a 13-mile scenic drive, miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking, picnic areas, nature observing and visitor center with indoor and outdoor exhibits as well as a book store”.

 https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands/nevada/red-rock-canyon

Andrew and I followed the 13 mile scenic drive, and he was patient enough to pull over every time I said “Oh my gosh, look!”

The 100 degree temps required much drinking of water … and we were driving!

Next time, perhaps a winter visit is in order, and we can hit one of the many hiking trails within the conservation area.

Please visit here to see some amazing photography.  Just incredible!

Thanks, Andrew, for showing me the natural beauty of Nevada.

Thurmond West Virginia: Historic Train Town

Oh how I have missed riding the bike!

The passion for travel with my sweetie, the drive to elect women and men who share my values (ie the values of Presidents Obama and Carter), and the hours at work have diminished my time on the bike significantly.  The desire to ride, however, is ever present in my mind and two weeks ago, I finally had a weekend without travel. I spent one whole day riding 225 miles through Virginia and West Virginia. Happiness! The destination was Thurmond, West Virginia, an early 1900s boomtown.

We had many miles to ride before arriving in Thurmond, and our first stop was Bluestone Dam, a popular place for bass, catfish, crappie, and bluegill fishing.  After a brief stop to look at Bluestone Lake and dam, we were off through New River Gorge country.

  While the others took off down a gravel road, I stopped for some photography.  I did not know when shooting this image that I was looking towards the historic Thurmond bridge.

The bridge has been rebuilt and rehabbed a few times, but the original bridge was built in 1889.

If you know me, you know I love a bridge, and I had to park the bike and walk out to capture this image looking down into the river.

The view down river from the bridge

The National Park Service restored the Thurmond Depot as a Visitor’s Center in 1995, and the NPS has made learning the history of Thurmond a walkable experience.

Two major fires, the arrival of roads, and the switch from steam engine to diesel engine led to the town’s decline.  Thankfully, the outdoor adventure industry and commercial whitewater rafting through the New River Gorge National River, have revitalized the area.

“Presently, the park owns approximately 80% of the town of Thurmond, including the historic Thurmond Depot. Three times each week, Amtrak uses the Thurmond Depot as a passenger stop and coal trains continue to roll through town hourly.  Though it is a shell of its former self, the historic town of Thurmond still stands as a reminder of the past. It truly is where the River meets History”! http://thurmondwv.org/about/history

It was a gorgeous day, perfect for riding, only made better by being with good friends.  Learning some history just added to the experience.  One more thing: the movie Matewan was filmed in Thurmond, WVA.

#MySawyerBracelet

A friend’s 10 year old son Sawyer (nicknamed SOY) died unexpectedly in October 2016.  Sawyer’s loving and devastated family had bracelets made for their friends & family to wear and to remember Sawyer by.

To remember the joy of his life not the sadness of his death.

Sawyer’s mother, Jaime, created a blogspot so that folks can post pictures of the places they take the bracelets.  Having friends wear the bracelets helps the family connect with Sawyer’s memory and reminds them that he has not been forgotten.   As friends, we know that we are carrying the memory of Sawyer on the adventures we have and the places that we visit.

In addition to wearing #mysawyerbracelet throughout New Zealand and Australia, I wore a bracelet in honor of my friend David, who died in 2010.

The bracelets never left my wrist and accompanied me while I sat in the Chair for Contemplation at Rippon Winery in Wanaka New Zealand.

Through the pine forest along the Queenstown Hill Time Walk and when adding a rock to the pile

From the summit of Queenstown Hill

Overlooking Lake Wakatipu

From the top of Bob’s Peak

On the train to Sydney …

… and on the train back to Melbourne

While driving on the left side of the Great Ocean Road (and on the left side of the car)

While talking with another bracelet wearing bar patron about the friends and loved ones we carried along with us

Outside this tiny little house and over this tiny little door

and while enduring three rounds of incredibly “intimate” security checks.

#mysawyerbracelet was along with me while riding a gondola, a jetboat, a kayak, a 5 person trike, 3 summits, and 11 different planes.

It was an honor to bring the spirits of Sawyer and David along with me on this journey.

The Final Day Down Under

It had finally arrived (in “real time” 3 months ago): my last day in Australia and the final day of an amazing three week adventure.   I started the day in the mountains of Grampians National Park (Gariwerd) and finished it on the coast in Adelaide, the capital city of the state of South Australia.  After enjoying my breakfast under the watchful eyes of the Kangaroos, I was soon on my way.

A gorgeous morning sun burned off the mist and I was once again awed by the beauty of the countryside.

The road to Adelaide was sometimes tree lined and at other times led me through wide open spaces.

As I passed through Coonalpyn, I was stunned to see these incredible silos murals.

Created by artist Guido van Helten, these silo murals are “already paying dividends, with an increased number of cars passing through town,  stopping and spending their money there”

Van Helten says that the children represent the future of the town, and he hopes the giant art work might inspire those children and others “to a path through creative industries”.

Pretty incredible!  I just wish I’d taken more time to capture each of the 5 children depicted on the silos.  Please follow this link to see much better photos and to learn more about how “the tiny rural town of Coonalpyn is showing signs of rejuvenation and community pride”.

After almost 800 miles in 3 days, my little rental car carried me safely to Adelaide.  Driving on the left was pretty fun, and with only the occasional correction, I had little trouble.  After checking into my hotel, I walked down to the ocean.

It was a beautiful evening and people were out and about, enjoying the pier, the boardwalk, and the beach.  The surfers were out as well, and although I’ve never been much of a sports photographer, I had a blast trying to capture the scene.

RIP Jordy

All too soon, I had to pull myself away from the water, and walk back to the hotel.  My early flight to Melbourne required that I check out at 4am.

My time in Adelaide was all too brief, and I regretted not being able to explore.  Even still, I’m glad I was able to spend even a few hours there.

Next Post: Final Thoughts and more photos of the Blogging Babes!