Walkabout Wednesday – Rachel Nevada

Greetings sentient life forms! Today I thought we’d take a tiny (and I do mean tiny) walk about Rachel Nevada, take in some high desert scenery and art.

Welcome to Rachel, Nevada, elevation 4,840 feet. Above, an exhausted Rver stands beside the Time Capsule Beacon.

In case you can’t make it out, the plaque reads:

On the eighteenth day of April, AD 1996
Twentieth Century Fox dedicates
this time capsule and beacon
for visitors from distant stars,
to the state of Nevada and the
“Extraterrestrial Highway”

This time capsule will serve as a beacon
to be opened in the year A.D., 2050
by which time interplanetary travelers
should be regular guests of our planet earth.

Alien face mosaic of local stone at the base of the time capsule.

Side of the restaurant/gift shop/motel check-in building. Rachel’s population was 48 as of the 2020 census and I think most of them worked here at the A’Le’Inn.

Rachel is the nearest “human” habitation to Nellis Air Force Range and Area 51, located along the scenic(?) Extraterrestrial Highway where, apparently, parking rules are strictly enforced. And, Yes, there is an “Area 51 Do Not Cross Use of Deadly Force Authorized” sign and NO I did not hike out into the desert to take a picture of it.

This post inspired by:

Sunday Stills – Deserts or Desserts
Marsha’s PPAC # 57 – where we find that Aliens are everywhere

Til next time remember:

“There is no unknown, only that which is temporarily hidden.” ~James T. Kirk

~Peace ~JP

Walkabout Wednesday – The Road Traveled

Speaking of road trips, we were speaking of road trips weren’t we? We didn’t make one this year. We had plans to take a road trip to Paradise and tiny hamlet on Lake Michigan with BIL and his family, no RV, just car and motels. Shortly before our scheduled departure date, Superhubs’ diabetes went brittle, again. Our destination resort is some distance from medical care and I was uneasy about the trip so we ended up canceling reservations and deciding on a “staycation” instead. Then, lo and behold, the day before our intended departure date, Hubs tested positive for COVID and 3 days later your truly followed suit. So, no road trips or even staycations this year. I thought perhaps we’d take a short trip down the old memory lane to last fall.

Halloween moon over South Dakota

Barren Optimus Lite

We left South Dakota and our beloved Optimus Lite (our 5th wheel) along with 15 years of life on the road as full-time RVers behind with a grateful prayer and a thankful heart on October 31, 2021.

Cactus bread

Our first stop was Sturgis, SD where we (OK I) indulged in a final taste of that South Dakota delicacy known as “cactus bread.” The next morning Superhubs had his annual cerebral MRI and we headed out.

Ceramic brick wall quilt squares

In all honesty, about the only stops we made or pictures we took were at roadside rests and restaurants. We made the entire 1325 mile trip in 3 days (which is a LOT of driving for a couple of spoonies). Above a quick stop at a rest area in “quilt country” I’m sorry I’ve forgotten what state it was in. There were quilts and quilt art everywhere including this tile display on the exterior walls which I found fabulous enough to warrant a quick pic.

A reminder of my long lost Fall

Ahhhh FALL!

Along the way I was graphically reminded what I have missed so much the past 15 years – FALL! I am such a fall kind of person and it’s such an incredibly short season in most of the states we’ve lived in over the past decade and a half. WOW, I so totally needed that.

Kentucky, the bourbon state?

Finally, we entered the Bourbon State. I always thought Kentucky was the Bluegrass State but apparently, they’ve kind of changed their marketing focus. *insert rolling eyes*

First roadside rest in Kentucky

It is, thankfully, still known as the “Front Porch of the South” and possibly the “horse statue and reference” capital of something I’m sure.

A new view

Finally, after many long months of waiting and working, the plans all finally came together and we watched our first sunset on our new porch.

This week’s walkabout inspired by:

Sunday Stills – Road Trippin – do pop over for some great virtual sightseeing
Marsha’s PPAC #56 where things are going full circle

Til next time ~ Keep you feet on the ground, but keep reaching for the stars ~JP

Walkabout Wednesday – More art, travels and coffee

Today I’m taking us back to River Rock Roasters in Laverkin, Utah. We saw examples of tabletop art last week, and today we’ll take another look.

Big Whirlygigs

Heading into the building, we are greeted by some fun whirlygig wind sculptures. Fascinating to watch and really appropriate for an area where the wind blows every day. The adjacent town, just about a mile south is named “Hurricane” for good reason.

Acrylic resin pour art

The place is half coffee shop, half art gallery for local artists. Nearly everything on the walls is “for sale.” Here two epoxy pour paintings. They reflect light very well (see the ceiling light in the “blue marble”) and have intricate designs and depth.

Enough solitude

And, of course a quote from Royden Card a favorite local artist

Moon in daytime over the Virgin River

Heading out, we must stop and admire the view. I always make it a point to admire a daytime moon and in the crystal clear skies of southern Utah it’s so worth it.

View from I-15

And so, we head on out, leaving the River Rock Roasting Company behind as we resume our travel.

Virgin River Gorge wall

Passing through the Virgin River Gorge the walls of the gorge are massive and steep, prime public land for rock climbers. Captured this little slice of gorge wall looking out of the car window as we went by at 60 mph. 😉

Linking up to Marsha’s PPAC # 55 do pop over and enjoy a bit of horsing around. 🙂

Til next time

~May your Mondays be short and your weekends be long
May your memories be sweet, and your coffee be strong ~JP

Wednesday Wandering – Tabletop Art

For our Wednesday Walkabout as we made our was back to South Dakota last year we revisited some old favorite places, many of them coffee shops. I find coffee shops fascinating with their artsy feel and soft jazz, and … well coffee. River Rock Roasting Company in Laverkin, Utah was a frequent haunt of ours during the years we wintered in Southwestern Utah. On our last visit, we made note of the new furnishings, table tops done in eclectic designs.

PENNIES!

Here a square table top decorated with pennies. The pennies are glued to the surface and then resin is poured to cover. There’s, obviously a lot more to the process but you can look that up if you’re interested. I just loved the local “epoxy artist” work. It give such dimension and depth to the table.

Can you get to the center of the maze?

Here is a maze replica. I apologize for the blurry shot but as you can tell, the lighting was intensely bright. In the upper right corner you can see a bit of the next table which was done in keys.

Hotter’n a pepper sprout

My personal favorite was this smokin’ hot number, which we ultimately decided to sit at. The table top itself is a piece of old plywood that has been reclaimed and refurbished, topped with chili peppers and epoxy resin.

the result of too many “scratch and sniffs?”

And finally, because after all it is a coffee shop. A tiny section of the “coffee” table. Those are coffee beans. Again, the shot itself is lacking but this table was badly scratched and marred and this section was the best I could salvage.

This post brought to you by Marsha’s PPAC #54 do go take a look at some of the Fascinating/Gorgeous offerings this week! And inspired by my deep-seated, nearly pathological need for COFFEE. Yeah, I’m really tired of being tired. ;-p

Til next time ~May your coffee be strong ~JP

Walkabout Wednesday, PPAC and coping with COVID

As you may have deduced from the title, Castle Serenity has been invaded by the dreaded COVID-19. Superhubs and I both tested positive and are sick as the proverbial dogs. Although we are both fully vaccinated and boosted, my pulmonologist is standing by with prescriptions for Paxlovid and, of course, prednisone. *insert raspberry pllllttttt* So our walkabout this week is a quick tour of some chalkboard art found in the Starbucks in Casper Wyoming, which was about all of the town we got to see on our way back to South Dakota due to last summer’s encounter with the Delta variant.

Coffee and inspiration, always a winning combination

I love these quotes and the creative decorative drawings on the chalkboard.

Inspired by Marsha’s PPAC # 53

Til next time ~Stay safe, stay sanitized and choose wisely ~JP

Walkabout Wednesday – Willamette Hatchery

During our trip to Oregon last year we visited the Fish Hatchery near Oakridge, Oregon. The hatchery raises rainbow trout and chinook salmon for release into the Willamette River system. They also have a sturgeon pond some of which are over 50 years old and 10 feet in length.

Upon arrival, we discovered that, like most entertainment venues in the area, the hatchery was closed. But, the public areas remained open so we had the opportunity to take a short hike through the wooded areas and the exterior portions of the hatchery.

Salmon Sculpture

A tribute to the might salmon, a carved wood and driftwood sculpture erected over the base of a burned out tree.

Bighorn Sheep – Cool Dude!

A wood carving of a bighorn sheep, playing it cool in the summer sun. It was exceedingly bright the day we visited and shades were absolutely essential. No, those are not my sunglasses. 😉

Eagle carrying a salmon

When does a map become art? Often in my opinion but here it’s obvious. This magnificent carved wood map of the Willamette River System was too long to capture in one shot and appears to be made of a single plank of wood.

Map of Willamette River System

The rest of the carved river map. I love the way the wood whorls, knots and grain give the carving such depth.

Leaping salmon Batman

Ultimately, we made our way to the salmon pools where fingerling hatchery salmon are already practicing jumping the falls. At this stage they are about two inches long. We stood watching their antics until the relentless summer sun finally sent us dragging ourselves back to the car, the air-conditioned, cool and inviting car.

Inspiration for this post brought to you by Marsha’s PPAC #52

Til next time ~Stay cool hippies ~JP

Walkabout Wednesday – Westfir Oregon and some Public Art

Western Tiger Swallowtail on a HUGE buddelia

We quickly acclimated ourselves to the local flora and fauna and spent many days watching the Western Tiger Swallowtail butterflies cavort among the profuse blossoms of the biggest buddleia (butterfly bush) I have ever seen .

Look at those pinecones

We enjoyed some meals at an adorable little cafe which was about the only restaurant in town that was open for dine-in. Friendly staff and good food. I adore the hand painted mural on the concrete walls and check out the size of those pinecones!

More than a mouthful

The lumber country feel of the place was both fun and soothing. This hand-made wood sign would have been perfectly at home hanging over a camp cook’s stove.

More mural art

More of the forest mural on the concrete block walls.

Chambers Railroad Bridge

While driving here and there, we stopped at some of the covered bridges. The Chambers Railroad Bridge is the only remaining covered railroad bridge west of the Mississippi. It was constructed in 1925 by lumberman J.H. Chambers to transport logs across the Coast Fork Willamette River. In the 1950s, the railroad was sold and the bridge, no longer in use, it began to decay. By 2006, the bridge had experienced significant structural damage

The City of Cottage Grove raised grants, awards, and funds from many sources to repair and refurbish the once grand bridge. The bridge was dismantled, rebuilt, and restored on-site; and in November 2011, it reopened. Original material was reused when feasible and the rebuilding was done as historically accurate as possible. Interpretive panels were installed along with iron artwork depicting the steam engines that once passed through. Today, this former “bridge to nowhere” in the middle of Cottage Grove, Oregon, is a beautiful tribute to the past, a historical triumph, and a proud testament to the power of hard work and imagination.

Linking up to Marsha’s PPAC this week do come on over and see some great art.

Til next time ~Not All Who Wander Are Lost ~JP

Wednesday Walkabout – Red Canyon Utah

I’m back with another episode of Walkabout Wednesday where we’ll take a short walk in some of the places we’ve visited. Today we’re stopping off in Red Canyon, Utah. Located along Highway 12 in Southern Utah, just 13 miles from Bryce National Park lies Red Canyon. Part of the Dixie National Forest, it is home to several hiking trails and lots of fantasy spires and hoodoos for which the area is famous.

Hoodoos – rocks or sculptures?

We stopped by the visitor center only to learn that it was closed due to covid concerns. The restrooms and trails were open though so off we went. Poor air quality from wild fires conspired with an elevation of 7400 feet to keep us on the bunny trail which goes around the visitor center and back away off the road.

Legend People

We are surrounded by water and ice-shaped sculptures affectionately known as hoodoos. The hoodoo’s tall, knobby and eerie shapes have earned them many names throughout history. The Paiute Indians of this area call them “legend people.” When Anglo settlers saw the formations, they called them “fairy chimneys” from their own myths. This hoodoo rich area was dubbed “Utah’s Fairyland.”

Legend Person fall down, go boom

Legend person fall down, go boom. BIG boom. It is not uncommon to see fallen rocks from breaks in the formations and rock slides. The sandstone formations are permeable and over time break down which is how they were formed after all.

Symbiosis at work

We came across this stunning boulder in varying states of decomposition. The black and colored specks are lichen which makes it a stunning example of nature’s symbiosis.

Oh, that’s what symbiosis is

Above, for those of you who were wondering what the heck red rocks have to do with symbiosis …. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough lichen in the world to filter out that much ozone and smoke so we headed off to our next destination, Vernal Utah.

Vernal Dino Land

We had plans to visit all of the dino attractions and had been looking forward to this section of the trip in particular. Unfortunately, upon arriving I discovered that the throbbing headache I’d been fighting all day was accompanied by a fever. Quick call to my PCP back in South Dakota advised that it could be Covid delta variant (that was making the rounds last year) we were both fully vaccinated so best advice was to treat it like a flu, rest, water, and self-quarantine for 5 days.

Dino Art At Last!

So this towel sculpture at our hotel was as close as we got to the dino-art I was hoping to photograph. The museums and activities would have to wait for another time as we spent our 5 day stay in the hotel. On the upside, we did find several restaurants that delivered to our hotel, so we didn’t starve and honestly, the virus laid me out too bad to do much but sleep anyway.

Linking up to Marsha’s PPAC #50 this week. Do go check out some of the posts so much fun 🙂

That’s the conclusion of our walkabout this week.

From Castle Serenity ~Remember there is beauty as far as the eye can see ~JP

Wednesday Walkabout – St. George Utah Pioneer Square

Ahhhh I have a computer … FINALLY so I thought we’d go walkabout in St. George, UT and see what we can find for Marsha’s PPAC along the way. Last summer was a crazy kind of blur running from every disaster known to man, crowds, fires, air quality (or lack there of), hail storms, you name it. During the mad dash across the west, we spent some time in St. George, UT when a blown wheel bearing caused some rescheduling. Never one to shirk from the unexpected day trip, we set off on an adventure while the cheese-mobile was in the shop. We stopped at “Pioneer Square” in downtown St. George to visit some museums and other artsy spots

Sushi at Pioneer Square

First Stop was lunch at Benja Thai & Sushi. Good food and cool inside. With temps over 110° f, this was a major consideration. We lingered over cold noodle bowls, sushi and iced green tea for as long as we could ;-).

Landscape Art

Venturing into the heat of the afternoon and came upon a nifty little water feature which provided a natural cooling ambiance. Water features are works of art in the desert as humans endeavor to make the stark landscape more palatable. The heat quickly overcame us though so we headed back indoors to find the aforementioned museums and art galleries.

A welcome cool-down spot

Regrettably, all museums and galleries within our walking distance (albeit very short distance in the heat), were closed due to pandemic concerns. Southern Utah got hit pretty hard and “elective” services were few and far between. Our driver told us that several restaurants and other entertainment venues remained closed through summer 2021. We quickly became seriously overheated and so very happy to come across this lovely little cafe. I love the graphics on the sign, as well as the name of the place and the greenery along the building.

Chalkboard Art – and beignets

I just adore chalkboard art. The graphics and colors for some reason just call to me. I may have to do a spread on chalkboard art. Not to mention that iced coffee and a lovely little treat was just the restorative I needed. The beignets looked lovely but in that kind of heat, fried food is just not for me so I opted for a beautiful little fruit tart and a half-sweet iced chai. Yummmm….

vintage looking tile mosaic

This vintage-looking floor mosaic really captured my attention. I love tile floors for their vintage feel and the sheer artistry involved in making them. Alas, this was about all the art we found with the galleries either closed or beyond my walking distance.

hotel room view – smoke haze in the distance

Time to pick up the car and head to a local hotel for the next couple of days. This is the view off of our room’s balcony. If you can look beyond the traffic and signs the mountains are really beautiful. The skies were filled with haze from distant fires filtering south. No matter where we went, pervasive smoke drove us ever on.

Dino art

And so, the next morning we headed out to the local grocery for supplies. I was delighted by this lobby display of the local velociraptor guarding the chips. There are several dinosaur track attractions nearby featuring velociraptor tracks and I do adore all things Dino. 😉

That’s all from Castle Serenity for today. Til next time remember, there is beauty everywhere if you look for it. If you can’t see it, look again. And if you still can’t see it, look harder. ~JP

Ducks and Cranes and Goslings … Oh My – a Sunday Stills Adventure

For Terri’s Sunday Stills let’s have a little feathery fun. My Grandmother called me her Little Feather when I was small, because I danced like a feather in the wind, everywhere I went so I’ve always rather had a thing for feathered friends. My apologies for any repeats, I am sans computer currently, my laptop bit the dust and we’re have trouble with the new replacement. So I’m working off of my cellphone. Yikes 😳

Mallards

A sord of mallards make themselves right at home. We have a pair that are too old to fly and stay year round. These are younger, seasonal residents. At last count they numbered 23 drake’s. Yep the young whippersnappers are all boys. Figures 😉

Great blue heron at my lake

It was cloudy for this shot, and I don’t seem to have much in the way of photo editing available at the moment, but this Great Blue Heron is a frequent visitor here and he was standing so majestically. Like he was saying “is this my best side”

Our new goslings

Spring is all about life and renewal. We have a single breeding pair of Canadian geese who summer here at our tiny lake. For the past couple of years they have nested here and this year was no exception. I watched intently as they built their floating nest, then about a week ago, both parents started flapping and fussing at the nest site and shortly 7 little puffballs emerged. We watched as they took their first swim and the next day they had found their way to our tree, out of the sun. Sigh … I love little baby things.

A young Robin hopped by to say hello. I referred to them as South Dakota Roadrunners because we so seldom saw them fly. Mostly they just zip along on the grass, pausing to search for a juicy worm.

A bird sculpture at the Rapid City airport. Fitting isn’t it?

Also linking up today to John bo’s cellpicsunday since all of these were taken with my cellphone as I don’t have access to my archives. And Marsha’s #PPAC for the lovely airport sculpture.

Til next time — be kind to each other — JP