Las Vegas to Death Valley

On the way, near Nellis Air Force Base, we saw the largest drone we had ever witnessed with our own eyes. Quite intimidating! Nothing the guys below ever experienced for certain!

Yes that tv show is where my thoughts about Death Valley were formed! How about yours? We were privileged to get to see the Valley with our own eyes. Granted it was a somewhat windy day, (never good in a sandy environment) but we were amazed at the contrasts. I was hoping to see the lake someone had told me formed recently from the torrential rains they had experienced. But it was all evaporated by the time we visited there.

We entered at Route 374 near Beatty, Nevada about 3307 ft elevation. The park is over 3,336,000 acres. We saw a tiny portion. Daylight pass was 4316 ft elevation. The basin of Death Valley lies at it’s deepest point 282 ft BELOW sea level. We went to -190 ft that day.

Sand, desolate environment. I cannot imagine being relocated to this area by the military from the Midwest or one of the coastal areas!

In one of my favorite stories, Hinds Feet on High Places, Much Afraid meets little flower called Acceptance-with-Joy.We thought we met that flower years ago when we first visited the Grand Canyon. She seemed to be here, too!

Bob and I both thought of the story when we saw this tiny yellow flower struggling in the harsh conditions.

An amazing place to see. So glad I do not have to live there or cross it in a covered wagon!

The Big Trip – Las Vegas Area

Las Vegas. Oy. I do not have much good to say about the downtown gambling areas. We went during the week for cheaper room rates. Used it as our base location to visit both the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest area and Death Valley.

We stayed at the Grand Hotel in “Old Vegas.” Bob took his quarters hoping to use them up with the slot machines. Disappointed that the machines all take paper money now and issue a paper voucher for your winnings. No rattling coins when there was a winner, but plenty of lights and noise! We were easy walking distance to the Fremont Avenue canopy that formed a pedestrian-only gambling mall. At night we saw zip line riders overhead, so many flashing neon lights coordinated with music for six minutes on the hour. Too many weird people. Women in scanty clothes and men too aroused for public display (in my opinion). We were amazed that tourists were there with their children. I never would have exposed my daugher to such behavior as a child or even as a teenager! Yes, I am old and fond of my values.

The “Strip” with the mega-hotels was also not to our liking. Bob was driving and the traffic was awful. Then a truck with a huge advertisement made with led lights pulled in front of us. It literally hurt our eyes. The sidewalks were crammed as bad or worse as the Avenues in New York. People shoulder to shoulder with shopping bags and jaws agape. We did not go into any of the huge hotels as parking was at a premium and we decided we were just not THAT interested.

The drive to the west of Las Vegas was so interesting. We were looking for Red Rock Canyon and did not manage to find it. But we found the scenic road into the National Forest and Charleston Peak Ski area. The cactus were blooming and very fragrant.

Notice one on the hilltop, too!

We noticed the cactus stopped growing at about 7000 feet in elevation, at least in this area. We drove to an elevation of 8,437 feet.

More new sights!

Words and Blog and Death

I am planning to close one of my blog sites and thinking about getting the blog printed so I do not lose the hard work and thought I have put into that. Perhaps one day my grandchildren would want to read it to learn more about me? Discovering entire worlds of on-line services to pay for to get ready to publish and then to actually print. Yikes. Decisions, decisions.

Then I am face-to-face with the reminder that no one will get out of this world alive unless the Lord comes soon. From my journal:

“Judy has died from cancer. Homer dead of cancer. Betty dead of old age and cancer form. Sonia’s mom dead from cancer. Surrounded by death of folks older and younger than me. Disposing of trapped chipmunks, killed on purpose by us.

1 Corinthians Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed,  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”  “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

1 Corinthians 15:51-55 (NRSV)

“Death and life, intertwined. There are just sometimes that the death is more clear than other times when we try to forget it, put it out of our minds, pretend it is not always near. No wonder the men in the NT Bible story did not want to help the man beaten, robbed and left for dead on the side of the road. It brought home the fact it could happen to any one of us and death is always near.

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.  Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

Luke 10:30-32 (NRSV)

“I fertilized new shoots I should not have fertilized. I too kill things. And I will die someday, the day the Lord has appointed for me. “

So perhaps it is important to preserve the blog writings for the next generation to read after my death? Or is it all words? Would I have liked a record of where my parents went in Michigan when they went fishing there years before I was born? Heck yes! All I have is a postcard they sent my uncle which I did not see until his daughters sent it to me after his death.

Is this the best way to spend my saved money? Perhaps it will be valued by my offspring in the future? Maybe not saving it is like killing those new shoots in the garden. The killing was accidental, yet still they are dead. Do I let those words and thoughts that have come out of me go – just perish in the dust of on-line words? Perhaps that is not a good use of my funds or talent.

Oh my, conundrum after conundrum. Would Judy’s boys cherish a memoir from their mother now that she is gone? Perhaps my adult children might cherish one?

I wrote this several years after my mother died suddenly.

Oh the ache
The wrenching tear at your heart
When you want to share joy
With one who has passed over.

Oh the void
When those too familiar arms
Are no longer there
To embrace you.

Tonight I shared an experience
With my daughter
That I once shared
With my mother
“Ice Capades,” with this wondrous four year old!

If my granddaughter ever delights
In the swirling spangles
And enchanted wonderland on ice,
I pray both she and my daughter be spared
The anguish I feel tonight.

Perhaps the future generations of our family might know the joys and challenges of my life by reading what a wrote about this past year. Guess I will pursue publishing. Scary.

Fort Collins to Grand Junction: A Long Day and Long Post!

We were going to drive to Grand Junction, but Bob decided we were too early to check in to a hotel, so we drove on the Arches National Park and then to Green River. What a long, exciting day.

10:58 AM which will matter as the day unfolds.

The drive from Fort Collins goes down towards Denver, then across the Rockies via I-70. This follows Glenwood canyon along the Colorado river. The mountain pass at Vail is 10,603 feet. We saw things that were too far to photograph and new to us. Like not just exits for skiing areas, but actual snowboard courses with people flying down them. Have seen that on TV, but cannot imagine actually DOING snowboarding, or skiing for that matter. I have never been known for my coordination or sports prowess. Ramps and ski jumps and things that amazed me, people willingly riding lifts to the top. I am also not a fan of heights, so there is that wonderment, too!

We saw signs for Aspen, Beaver Creek, Vail, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Arapahoe, and Keystone, all famous ski areas that we had never visited, but often heard about on news and sports channels.

Years ago we took our children to the west coast from Ohio on the Amtrak. The train followed parts of this same road. We were delighted to see the tracks and confirm our memories!

Colorado River 12:25
See the tracks on far side of river!

And such terrain change in one day! Huge mountain peaks, national forests, the glory of the mountains with snow, without snow, river canyon, tunnels, scenic overlooks and then on towards the Colorado plateau of eastern Utah with dry, rocky terrain anywhere from 4,500 to 6,500 feet in elevation at Arches.

Two hours later, 2:35, still Colorado!
Gives an entire new meaning to get out and stretch your legs! People walking along the lower edge, up the path with shadows, and on the ridge if you can see them! 3:11 PM
5:21 PM Long but amazing day! Now in Utah for certain.
5:30 Arches National Park
Is it a Sphynx or a dog?

Bob had to climb alone as the day was wearing me thin energy-wise. He made it into the big arch.

Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints! 6:14 PM
I appreciated the Three Wise Men (shadows) on our way out of the park at 6:40 PM

On our way to our hotel we agreed there were almost more landscape/environmental changes in one day than we could comprehend. Sort of sightseeing whiplash 😉

We also agreed the next day NOT to make such a long day again on this month-long journey.

Kearney to Cheyenne

We drove from river land into high desert and approached mountains.
“Arid prairies give way to craggy bluffs, table-like mesas, rocky pillars and stark buttes that loom across the landscape.” https://traveltips.usatoday.com/landforms-geographic-features-nebraska-59083.html There were almost more terrain changes than we could process. Our senses were highly tuned to watching out the windows and marveling at the differences 100 miles could make. Overall that day we saw countless Sandhill Cranes, 11 Hawks, 2 Eagle nests and wild Turkeys.

I already posted about Gothenburg and the Pony Express, decorating fences with cattle skulls and some of the other sights. Below is Chimney Rock in Nebraska. It rises about 300 feet above the North Platte River valley. It’s peak is 4,228 feet above sea level. It was a landmark for those traveling west in the mid-19th century. The shape has changed over the years due to lightning strikes, storms and erosion. At the Visitor Center run by History Nebraska, a woman told us of the recent five foot snow in her area. One man had to hook the tractor to the car and drag it to the road. Then loaded his family on the tractor wagon and took them to the car so they could get out to go to school!

Trust me, I WILL stay on the sidewalk!
Chimney Rock

Daffodils #6

We have a joke in our household. I often remember other things I meant to write or say, so many emails and return phone calls and texts begin with “And …”

And … I finally figured out how to capture a single photo out of a video and thereby retrieve one of my best daffodil memories to share with you! (I have not yet paid to upgrade my Word Press account to share videos .)

Once in 2014 I went out in my raincoat to pick daffodils. The sky was leaden and the rain was imminent. While I was on the hillside the heavens opened and the rain poured and poured. It was lovely to be childlike out in a spring rain. At my age, I had started to carry my iPhone in my pocket just in case I fell or found a new photo. You know the old saying, “never go in the woods alone!”

While selecting daffodils I heard flowing water. We do not have a constant stream on our property. Searching for the source of the sound, I looked up and to my surprise the walnut tree had created the steam! Here is a still from that video clip! The streaming water is creating bubbles as it flows. Wish I could send along the sound. Enjoy! Look closely at the top where the trunk appears wet and follow it down.

Living water! Psalm 36:9 (NRSV) For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.
“Come on and rain down on us Lord! All my fountains are in You!” Chris Tomlin