Tag Archives: nature

Travel Theme: Blossom

Beziers Flower Market, France

Flowers are a necessity, not a luxury. Did I choose our B & B in France because it was close to the Beziers Flower Market? Possibly.

Beziers Flower Market, France

So many lovely blooms. How could I ever make a decision?

Beziers Flower Market, France

My choice:

No, not him! The flowers in his hand!

Beziers Flower Market, France

Bloomin’ big blousy blossoms!

peonies, flowers

peonies, flowers

peonies, flowers

They are peonies by the way. And his name was André. He wasn’t for sale.

Ailsa’s Travel Theme this week is blossom.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art

Far from being an artist myself, I look for art through my camera lens.  Nature seldom disappoints. A much anticipated trip after our boat trip on Lake Powell to Rainbow Arch was a tour of Antelope Canyon.

On Navajo land, an Indian guide  takes you from the the town of Page Arizona on a rather hairy exhilarating ride in an open top truck through streets, then tire-sucking sand dunes to the entrance of the canyon.

Our patient Navajo guide, Bruce, pointed out good camera angles and whimsically named rock formations to overexcited tourists crowding through the narrow slot canyon.

An ordinary hole in the rock? Not so much:

Antelope Slot Canyon, Page AZ

The play of light on the water carved rock was astonishing:

Antelope Slot Canyon, Page AZ

“Lincoln’s Nose!”:

Antelope Slot Canyon, Page AZ

“Monument Valley”:

Antelope Slot Canyon, Page AZ

The site (we were told) of the original National Geographic photograph that captured the public’s imagination:

Antelope Slot Canyon, Page AZ

What more can I say? Wow! Nature doing the work for me.

Antelope Slot Canyon, Page AZ

Guided tours only through: Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation.

Press the blue button to join the challenge:

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Travel Theme: Rivers

Ailsa of Where’s my Backpack? has posted her travel theme this week of Rivers. Visit her post to learn how to join the challenge.

At first I thought I hadn’t any photos of rivers. But guess what? I’ve got loads. Oh no! I hear you say. I’ve whittled the number down to just a few (phew!):

The Niagara River tumbling over the falls from Lake Erie to lake Ontario:

Niagara Falls

Our practically mute and taciturn river guide at Magnolia Plantation near Charleston, South Carolina, cutting a wide swathe through the algal growth on the Ashley River and scaring away all the wildlife except Batman and Robin here:

In the town of Confolens, France, the river pictured is most probably the Vienne but possibly the Goire, as Confolens is at the confluence of the two rivers as the name suggests. Or I may have just made that up.

Confolens, France

The Chicago River. Happy daze in the Windy City on a not so windy day. We were gorging on Chicago-style hot dogs while others engaged in more energetic pursuits. Note the distinctive Willis Tower in the background:

Chicago River in Chicago

The Deschutes River in Olympia, Washington State after a heavy rain. Just upriver was a ‘no swimming’ sign. As if.

Deschutes River, Olympia, Washington State

“Drove my Chevy to the levee. But the levee was dry.” We didn’t drink whiskey and rye on the levee of the Mississippi River at St. Louis Missouri.

Chevy on the levee, St. Louis MO

The Rio Grande River at Big Bend National Park – Texas to the left, Mexico to the right:Rio Grande River at Big Bend National Park

Jude, at Travel Words asked in her Travel Theme: Rivers, have you taken a river cruise in England? Yes I have! And there is the very boat on the River Avon in Bath, England. We traveled upriver above the weir. What is a weir? Look here!

Avon River at Bath

Scared half to death as himself towed our travel trailer in narrow lanes of heavy traffic across the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River in New York City, I didn’t dare reach for the camera so Wikipedia will have to suffice:

George Washington Bridge
George Washington Bridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At this distance it looks a doddle. It wasn’t.

Is doddle a word in common usage in the United States?

 

 

 

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Travel Theme: Close Up

For a bit of light relief from my airport security issues (for you and for me) I have joined in a Travel Theme: Close Up with Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack by way of Hey Jude of Travel Words. All are welcome to join in. Visit Ailsa’s site to see how it’s done.

My close ups hail from Florida, California and Arizona.

I’m always drawn to pelicans. Hold that pose Mr P.

Pelican, Cedar Key, Florida

Flowers draw my eye and my shutter finger. This orchid in Florida is one of hundreds of flower photos or as himself would say, “More bloody flowers!”

Orchid, Sarasota, Florida

The Portuguese Man O’War is a jewel on the beach but don’t touch!

Portuguese Man O'War, Destin, Florida

Smile please! You’re on “Carol’s Camera!”

Alligator, Florida

Who can identify this? it was on a recent post.

Chihuly glass, Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona

Thanks for stopping by.

We’ll be back to the regularly scheduled program tomorrow.

******

 

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Poppy Pathos

I went hiking for some poppies,

Looking for the perfect shot.

I trekked and trekked and trekked some more,

And this is what I got.

The marigolds were perky.

The lupines were sublime.

But as for scrumptious poppy shots

It was a waste of time.

 

Was I looking far too early?

Did I get there much too late?

On my calendar from last year,

This was the perfect date.poppies

Should I go again tomorrow?

Was it the wrong time of day?

They bloom in March and April

But not as late as May.poppies and Chevy Silverado

Did javelinas eat them?

Did coyotes dig them out?

Did tarantulas eat all the seeds?

All of them? Surely not.

 

A few poppies danced in the wind

And gave some kicks and flicks

But disappointment brought me home

To look at last year’s pics.

California poppies

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What Happened to Nebraska?

Instead of the balmy east coast summer we’d expected halfway through our second circumnavigation of the U.S. we’d endured gales and torrential rain from Maine to Delaware.

After a serendipitous trip to the grocery store for dinner fixings and wine, we found ourselves marooned within half an hour of our return as rain lashed down and filled in a moat around us at the Cape Cod Seashore.

Cape Cod Bay, taken from the warmth of the car. Note the heavy sky.
Cape Cod Bay, taken from the warmth of the car. Note the heavy sky.

The de-humidifier, my special spaghetti and meatballs and a bottle of red wine kept us from caring too much.

Summer turned to autumn while we were in England and on our return we just caught the end of the leaf show on a trip through the Smokies; only a few tenacious leaves had clung to the trees for us. The rest made a carpet of gold for our drive from Nashville to North Carolina.

The southeast coast was unbearably humid for two people used to the weather of a northerly latitude on a par with Calgary. Thanksgiving in Fort Lauderdale was uncharacteristically muggy, as were the Keys where one felt wrapped in a warm wet cloth each time we stepped from our cool trailer cocoon.

Views from our idyllic but sweaty campsite:

Evenings ‘round the campfire on Long Key, which we felt were compulsory on our sublime beach front setting, became an endurance test. Covered from head to foot and slathered with insect repellant against the sand flies, we steamed as though in a sauna in the stifling night air.

“I don’t think I can stand this!” himself exclaimed on emerging from the air conditioning in full bug-proof regalia.

“I’ve already lit the fire,” I wined.

“This is ridiculous.”

“Go back in then.”

“No. I’m here now.” The seductive flames were already leaping and I knew he wouldn’t be able to resist sitting and staring at them. Our bodies would slowly warm up, become clammy and acclimatize.

Lighting a campfire in the sultry heat of the Keys was ludicrous, but bites and sweat apart, the night sky, the low rumble of the surf and a backdrop of firelight reflected on the ocean was enchanting. Shooting stars, satellites and one sighting of the Hubble were our entertainment,

“There’s one!”

“Where?”

“There! There!” until the sand flies penetrated our defenses and we dived into the cool depths of the trailer.

From the time it took us to get from Key West to Destin on the Panhandle, the temperature plummeted and in “tropical” Florida the iguanas, torpid with the freeze were dropping out of the trees like they’d been shot. They weren’t dead. Apparently they’d come round and amble off once the weather warmed up.

Gulf coast at Destin, Florida. Looks warm. Wasn't!
Gulf coast at Destin, Florida. Looks warm. Wasn’t!

We shivered through Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas. Tumbleweeds hopped around our fenced in campsite all night at Amarillo, with one giant tumbleweed landing at our door in the morning. Like daft tourists we each posed next to it, shivering, for a photo.

It was at this point that we’d planned to include Nebraska in our tour and see the sandhill cranes at the Rowe Sanctuary on their migration north but atypical cold and snow kept us on a more southerly route.

We were only 500 miles away. Good decision? There was more disagreeable weather to come.

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Derek the Laptop is Home from Rehab

The diagnostic testing was inconclusive so there is no treatment plan. Derek is slower than ever and I can only conclude that he’s sulking. The tech was too kind to say but my diagnosis is senescence as many of you have suggested although there was a degree of prejudice against his kind where a preference for an Apple exists.

Derek will be destined for an old people’s home while I find a toy boy, technologically speaking that is, but until we decide Which Way Now – USA or Europe – we will hang on to Derek as well as Bill and Bob the naughty 2G phones that refuse to play with the new cell phone tower next door.

Derek thanks everyone who has shown concern for his welfare but has been quite distressed at the number of people who feel I should trade him in for a piece of fruit.

Now he’s been mesmerized by this slide show of white-tailed deer at Ochlockonee River State Park in Florida:

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Did I Read That Right?

Beware Rattlesnakes!
Taken in the Badlands of South Dakota where you might expect a sign like this with a name like that!

Signs like this are common in the Southwest but shocking to an East Coast suburbanite! And rattlesnakes tend not to inhabit the places where the signs are. You stumble on them unexpectedly. Thank goodness for the warning rattle.

Derek, the laptop, is still in rehab. Posts will be a bit hit and miss for a week or so. He has the equivalent of a little head cold, nothing serious, just a little run down.