“Pic of the Week”. December 5, 2015: Bobcats, Living Desert Museum, Tucson, Arizona

Picture 243

Bobcats are fairly common and I’ve seen them everywhere from Southern California to the Yukon; in fact, they’re the most abundant wildcat in North America, with a wide range.  But they’re shy and rarely pose for photos, so I was glad to see them at the Living Desert Museum in Tucson.

They’re about a meter long and weigh up to 14 kg (30 lbs) — about twice the size of a big house-cat.   Most bobcats are brown or brownish red with a short, black-tipped tail (from which the cat derives its name as the tail appears to be cut or “bobbed”).

They’re great hunters and usually eat small game like rabbits, birds and squirrels.

(Click on thumbnail to enlarge)

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“Pic of the Week”, November 27, 2015. The Cabins, Valley of Fire State Park

02 Valley of The Fire StateP Park  (107)

These are “The Cabins” in Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park.  Three small rooms were built from the local sandstone in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), who did a lot of similar work in the parks and remote regions of the country during the Great Depression (‘make work’ projects, like trail and road construction).  These cabins were used by travelers for camping stays in Valley of the Fire, but have been abandoned.  I couldn’t find any good information on how long they were used, but it’s clear when you visit that they’ve not been inhabited for some time.  While the setting is beautiful, I think the summer heat would have been unbearable to many — …

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“Pic of the Week”, November 20, 2015. The Venetian, Las Vegas

60 Las Vegas 2015. Venetian and Palazzo resorts (12)

Las Vegas is often described as the “Disneyland for adults”.  Like Disneyland, the city does a great job of creating a variety of illusions and immersing you into them.  Unlike Disney there’s emphasis on adult entertainment in the form of gambling, alcohol and much more if that’s what you’re looking for (we weren’t).

I especially enjoyed our visit to the Venetian, a resort that tries to recreate the atmosphere of Venice, Italy.   From the winged lion of Venice, to canals and gondolas, to enjoying excellent coffee and gelato on St. Mark’s Square, one might argue that it’s the next best thing to being there.  It was fun, anyway.

Here’s some of that looks like.

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“Pic of the Week”, August 28, 2015: Surf and Turf

01 Newport Beach Crystal Cove State Park

I love spending time in Newport Beach, one of the Orange County beaches in Southern California.  A major reason for this is beautiful Crystal Cove State Beach, a 3 mile stretch of natural beach just north of Laguna Beach.  I’ve walked the length of that beach many times.

One time while walking along the cliffs overlooking the beach we came across this artist who was doing a rather nice job painting the rugged coast.  The middle photo below shows his subject matter.

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.All Trips / Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

Valley of The Fire StateP Park  (122)

Tired of the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas?  Had enough of the concrete canyons and smoked filled casinos of Sin City?  Not sure if it’s day or night (there are no clocks allowed in Vegas casinos)?  Then you should do what I do as often as I can when I visit Vegas — make a trip to Valley of Fire State Park and escape into the beautiful desert world that comprises much of Nevada.  No neon lights, no massive buffets, no dancing fountains (in fact, little water anywhere)!  Beyond usual Mojave desert landscapes, Valley of Fire has wonderful and interesting rock formations that alone are worth the journey. The park is is located 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Las Vegas and …

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.All Trips / Nevada / North America / Southwestern USA

Dessert anyone?

07 Bellagio 2015 dessert

I’m quick to confess — I’ve a weakness for dessert, especially of the oven-baked or gelato kind.  It’s nothing new, an affliction I’ve had for as long as I can remember, making me very sympathetic to the, “Let’s eat dessert first” crowd.  Fortunately, I don’t have a gluten allergy or diabetes (or I’d need to make some major and unwelcome adjustments).

Of the buffets I’ve visited in Las Vegas, my favorite is the Bellagio’s Sunday Brunch spread, which I always head back to when I’m in town on a weekend.  There are dozens and dozens of delicious hot and cold food items ranging from salads to sushi to carved ham and turkey, far too many choices for even a shutterbug like …

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“Pic of the Week”, April 24, 2015: Hats

60 Las Vegas 2015. Venetian and Palazzo resorts (38)

While strolling through the shops at the Venetian in Las Vegas, we came across a hat shop which had some of the most unusual hats I’ve seen in some time.  Elaborate, feathery, colorful, highly decorative — the kind of had you might expect to see atop Kate Middleton.

 

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.All Trips / California / North America / Southwestern USA

Palm Springs’ Amazing Air Museum!

California, Spring 2009  107a.  Palm Springs Air Museum

The Palm Springs Air Museum is located on the north side of the Palm Springs Airport.  The Air Museum is housed in an expansive structure that includes the two main display halls and hangars, a theater, gift shop, research library, flight simulator and education center.  It’s website indicates it’s been rated by CNN as one of the top 14 Air Museums in the World. The museum provides an up-close look at the legendary fighters and bombers of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.  The warm, dry desert climate is ideal for preserving planes, so in this regard the museum is well situated.    What’s most amazing is that most of these planes are flight-worthy (27 flyable aircraft), making

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