Monday, May 26, 2008

Joe's Family Portrait

All here- except for Jesse, on a mission in New Zealand.

Blooming Cactus!

Though sadly the cold wet spring we've had has delayed the bloom of cactus in the Escalante region, Capitol Reef had some gorgeous ones!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Full Moon

The moonrise was really cool, too.
My camera doesn't do a great job with night landscape, but these weren't too bad.

Consolation for Clouds

Though the clouds frustrated my evening light plans, they made a lovely addition to the sunset:

It was great to get some good silhouette foregrounds for this gorgeous sight:

I wound up for my final views at Ghost Rock overlook, on a ledge above one of the Swell's nifty canyons:

Small Scenic Detour (Or, Not What I Expected)

Seeing the gorgeous afternoon light from I-70 (this near Green River) I decided to head home via Salina rather than Price, so that I could photograph the San Rafael Swell lookouts in gorgeous evening light.

As I drove through Wolf Canyon, entering the Swell, it looked like all was going to plan:

And then a bank of clouds enveloped the late sun, and all I was getting was shadowy scenes like this:


Kansas Morning

Did you ever realize that southwest Kansas' natural terrain is a scrubby desert with yucca?
I never knew that!
(Until I camped there in an ultra-primitive 'state park').

This is a more typical morning view of Kansas, in my opinion:

Wheat is actually quite lovely!

Southwest Kansas

I hated to leave Birrd and her family but I needed to head home.
Driving through southwest Kansas in the evening light was lovely:

Moonrise over wheat fields!

Sunset against wild fields:

Nieces and Nephews

Here's my sister's eldest with her youngest:

And Sam with Ellie:

I got to meet Gwennie!
She would let me hold her, but only for about 5 minutes before she started fussing.

Ellie and Sam (and Joey) liked my company pretty well, though.

Ellie is particularly cuddly, and all three of them liked me to read to them.

The Birrd House

It was jolly to visit with the Birrd and her family:

And to celebrate her birthday party (early):

She made the yummiest cake!

Another Amazing Arkansas Meal

Up in the Ozarks, visiting Buffalo River NRA, the friendly ranger offered suggestions on everything from where to hike to where to eat.
She recommended the cafe in the nearby hamlet of Gilbert (pop. 55).
Here it is:

Cute decor, but not exactly busy (of course it was after the main lunch hour on a drizzly Monday afternoon):

The food was great, though hardly healthy.
Fried Southern cookin' at its tastiest.
Look how they decorated the table with fresh peonies:

I got the day's lunch special: chicken breast.
You wouldn't think that would be too unhealthy, would you?
Well, they started out by deep frying it.
Then they topped it with cheese.
And fried onions and sauteed mushrooms.
And put white gravy over the whole.
It was actually pretty tasty.
So was the fried okra (a first for me) and the summer salad (a mixture of chopped yellow crookneck squash, tomatoes, red onion, and celery tossed with Italian dressing).
There was also a toasted garlic cheese biscuit to go with.

For dessert I had bread pudding a la mode.
It was scrumptious!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Amazing Barbecue!

I stopped for the night in Conway, Arkansas, just a bit north of Little Rock.
I found the most wonderful barbecue restaurant!
It's called the Whole Hog Cafe and I found out that they have a site in Little Rock, too.
Apparently they won 'best barbecue in the state' award.
I can believe it.
They are GOOD.
And the sides (the cole slaw, beans and potato salad) are also fresh and delicious, which is rare.


More swamp images!

The trees really do grow right down into the water and flare out!

Southern Arkansas Bayous

I saw a REALIO TRULIO LIVE alligator in the southern Arkansas swamp!
Can you see its tail??

I got closer to these rat like critters:

What do you suppose they are?

Precolumbian Mounds: the Middle Mississippi Culture

I have also been to visit some of the Mississippi culture mound sites.
Angel Mounds in (very southern) Indiana:

And Chucalissa Mounds (the word means 'empty house' in Choctaw).

The mowing and reconstruction makes it easier to see the earthworks, of course, but it is hard to know how much of the site is then 'interpreted' and how much is real.
Nevertheless, they are fascinating.

Last But Not Least

The piece de resistance of the tour...

It gets better

Check out these duds from the fifties...

... and these jumpsuits from the late sixties...

... but the seventies blow me away!
I think I feel my temperature rising...

Wow, what a hunka hunka burning... sequins??

Elvis: King of Kitsch

This is Elvis' "jungle room."
Check out the green shag carpet... on the ceiling!

Not to mention the fur couches and the indoor 'waterfall' against the far wall...

This is the pool room.

Wow, ow, ow!


Oh, my.

Check out the stained glass peacocks...

... and the smoked glass mirrors in the dining room...

...and the mirrored ceiling and walls of the TV room!