Thursday, July 26, 2012

Oatman, Arizona and Meteor Crater

This contains another section of our travels to and from Las Vegas, Nevada. We went to the quilt show out at the fairgrounds here in Alamogordo, New Mexico several weeks ago. While talking to one lady in a booth there, we mentioned our upcoming trip. She said, "You must go a little off the beaten path on your way home and take in Oatman, Arizona."

Oatman is a little mining town that was revived and is noted for its burros that wander around town, in and out of the shops and pretty much anywhere they want to go. They are extremely docile and will walk right up to you or a vehicle if the notion strikes them.

This is the first sign that we are nearing Oatman on Historic Route 66
This will give you some idea of where we are in this mountainous area.
As far as we can tell, this is the only street in town.
Here am I having a conversation with Flapjack, the only male burro in town.
As you can see by this poster, they've found unique ways to entertain the tourists.
This is Historic Route 66 running right through the middle of Oatman.
This is one smart burro because she's staged herself out of the direct heat.
As you can see, she is very pregnant!
So is this one! That Flapjack is doing a fine job!
We thought you might find this signage interesting.
They have a cute little post office too.
Two more of Flapjack's pregnant harem.
The old Oatman Hotel turned out to be a very interesting building.
The sign over the stairs states "Gable-Lombard Honeymoon Suite"
The Oatman Hotel no longer operates as a hotel and people can no longer go upstairs to experience the Clark Gable/Carole Lombard honeymoon suite because it's too unstable. Gable and Lombard got married in Kingman, Arizona and spent their honeymoon here.

This tells all about what is available and some history.
This is the bar area. Note all of the dollar bills hanging everywhere.
We ate lunch here with live entertainment and more dollar bills.
The place is literally papered with dollar bills signed by past guests and stuck up on the walls for posterity. The cowboy singing and picking was pretty good too. Normally at about 2:00 p.m., they have a gun fight in the middle of the street, but some people were missing that day so they cancelled it.

This gives you an idea of old Route 66 as we left Oatman behind.
Back in the 1930's Route 66 was the only way to get to California and this particular section of the road had so many hairpin curves and switchbacks that it was considered the most dangerous area of Route 66. The story is that young men would drive cars through this area for a buck or two because people were too fearful to drive it themselves. We thoroughly enjoyed this little side trip.

Another short stop during our trip was to see Meteor Crater in Arizona. This crater was formed about 50,000 years ago by a huge iron-nickel meteorite estimated to have been about 150 feet across and weighing several hundred thousand tons, which struck this rocky plain with an explosive force greater than 20 million tons of TNT. The result of all this violent activity was the excavation of a giant bowl-shaped cavity. It is said to be 700 feet deep and 4000 feet across.

From 1964 through 1972, the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA provided extensive science training at Meteor Crater for Apollo astronauts in preparation for going to the moon. This helped them to understand what materials lay on the lunar surface as well as what was beneath the surface.

As we are walking to the building this perfect picture frame is built right into the outside wall.
Meteor Crater in all its glory. Astounding!
They have free telescopes for a close up view of sites in the crater on this overhang.
You have to look really close to see the astronaut and the American flag at the very bottom.
Here's Carla at the bottom of the crater - NOT
Getting up close and personal with a small section of the original meteorite!
We also viewed an award winning film created by the Parks Department that gave us a greater understanding of how this all came about. My only complaint was that it was over much too soon!

Thanks to Doug for his able photography.

This is all I have to say for now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hoover Dam and Little Colorado River

On our road trip to Las Vegas, we stopped to visit Hoover Dam. What an incredible man-made creation! I went to Las Vegas High School Class of '56 and believe me the Hoover Dam has changed tremendously. For one thing, people can no longer drive across it on Highway 93, but must take a by-pass, the name of which honors Mike O'Callaghan and Pat Tillman.

There were 112 deaths associated with construction of the dam, the first death occurring on December 20, 1922 when J. G. Tierney, a surveyor, drowned. His son, Patrick W. Tierney was the last man to die thirteen years to the day later. There are myths that men caught in the pour of the dam are entombed in the dam, but engineers would never have permitted a flaw caused by the presence of a human body so it is truly a myth.

Swedish born, naturalized American citizen, Oskar Hansen created a memorial at the dam which reads in part "They died to make the desert bloom". Also, Denver artist Allen Tupper True was hired to handle the design and decoration of the walls and floors. He incorporated motifs of the Navajo and Pueblo tribes of the region, researching authentic decorative motifs from Indian sand paintings, textiles, baskets and ceramics. The images and colors are based on Indian visions of rain, lightning, water, clouds and local animals--lizards, serpents and birds--and on the Southwestern landscape of stepped mesas.

Many legal battles have been launched over distribution of water from Hoover Dam and many are still ongoing. It mainly provides power to Southern California, states of Nevada and Arizona and Los Angeles, California.

This is an explanation of the overpasses built especially for the Big Horn Sheep
The Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman By-Pass
We are actually driving over the dam on the old Highway 93.
A grab shot of Lake Mead as we drove over the dam.
Many people enjoying the artwork and massiveness of the dam.
"Winged Figures of the Republic"
These sculptures by Oskar J.W. Hansen are 30 feet high bronze figures, each formed in a continuous pour. To put such large figures in place without marring the highly polished bronze surface, they were placed on ice and guided into position as the ice melted. These can be viewed in the dedication plaza.

Great shot of the dam and Lake Mead.
The face of Hoover Dam, a monumental achievement.
Thanks, Doug for all of your fabulous photography. It certainly adds much to a travelogue!

As I stated in the beginning of the road trip, I will be jumping around so that places are not necessarily in chronological order. This next section is a place we visited when we left Grand Canyon. We spied a sign on the highway "Navajo Little Colorado Tribal Park" and it piqued our curiosity.

This may be the Little Colorado River, but just look at these canyons!
It's a looong way down, believe me!
Here, we see the river bed where water is traveling underground.
The river bed from another perspective.
Makes one feel rather insignificant.
There just isn't any substitute for desert hues.
And this is just what the Little Colorado River has accomplished!
The travelogue continues so I will be back when my wonderful photographer gets more pictures ready.

This is all I have to say for now.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Grand Canyon Flora & Fauna

This is the Grand Canyon section of our road trip made from June 25 through July 3, 2012. We were only here for one day so we barely scratched the surface of this magnificent national park. What we did take in were awe inspiring and breath taking views of thousands of years of natural sculpture by the Colorado River. If you ever get the chance to see this, jump on it. The Grand Canyon should be on everyone's bucket list.

We visited several scenic overviews and here am I at the first one.
Words can not describe the majesty of this creation.
Here I am daring to get closer to the edge.
This is as close as I got and was Doug ever nervous!
This one might have been a wee bit closer, but I was sitting down.
Rock formations that resemble Mayan temples, don't you think?
Doug, the photographer, at yet another scenic overlook.
Look at that immense background and the various hues of color.
This was only our third stop and the view is ever changing.
We finally found the Colorado River!
Great shot of the rapids doing what rapids do.
Another shot of the rapids from another viewing spot.
Even the dead trees are beautiful formations.
Can you believe this is the stream that started all of this?
This is "Papa Raven" of the family lurking at one of the scenic view spots.
My first encounter with ravens was at the Tower of London when Doug and I were there with a large group of Red Hatters. The raven is the most intelligent of birds. They are savvy, sociable and problem solvers. They use sticks to dig bugs out of wood and have been known to put that stick away for later use. They are not the least bit afraid of humans and, in fact, like human food so much, they wait around to see if you will drop a tidbit of something on the ground. Their feathers look very much like "I've washed my hair and can't do a thing with it" especially when flying. They are acrobatic fliers and can be seen flying upside down, doing barrel rolls and making flips looking, for all the world, like they are having the time of their lives. They have a wing span of 4ft and can weigh between 2 and 4 pounds.

The females lay between four and seven eggs and nests are built in trees and on rocky cliffs. They have been known to drop stones on predators threatening their nests. They keep the family together up to six months after the babies fledge. Ravens mate for life although some males have been known to visit other females when their mate isn't around. Some of the offspring stay with the parents up to five years, but most of them leave the nest and travel in gangs for about three years when they begin to pair off.

Another shot of Papa Raven. He was making little sounds all the while.
This is "Mama Raven" grooming an offspring. Fascinating creatures!
I spotted a critter way below and just as I was going to photograph it, Doug yelled, "You're too close!"
Unimaginable sculptures created by nature.
This one looks like a one-eyed monster to me.
Just another magnificent view of the mighty Colorado River.
I call this majestic formation the cathedral organ.
Greater view of the Colorado River.
Looks like a dragon to me!
Touched by nature's paint brush!
Raven guarding the viewing tower built by the Fred Harvey Company.
The Fred Harvey Company pioneered restaurant and hotel facilities throughout the emerging Western United States, most notably along railroad routes. Many of these beautiful old inns have been restored and are in use today. They worked to make their buildings blend with the surrounding area rather than intrude. Thus, you see the tower above is built from natural stones taken from the Grand Canyon area.

Another view of the tower with attached gift shop.
Another shot of my favorite photographer! Thanks, Doug for all the great photos!

One last view of the Colorado River winding its way along.
Doug took several hundred photos of our road trip. This is so easy to do with digital cameras, but, then you have to go through all of them and decide which to use. We had a great time sorting and choosing and hope you will enjoy this birds eye view we have shared with you as much as we enjoyed being there.

Coming up are more stories and photos of the Little Colorado River and Oatman, Arizona.

This is all I have to say for now.