31 December 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE ARIZONA DESERT

©Kinsey Barnard

30 December 2008

WE SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO THOMAS JEFFERSON

Tucson, Arizona 12-30-08

Our forefathers were so wise why have we chosen to forsake them?

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous then standing armies.
If the Americans ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency.
The banks and corporations that grow up around them will deprive
the people of their property until their children wake up homeless on the
Continent their fathers conquered" --- Thomas Jefferson

It was another beautiful day in Tucson. Must have maxed out at around 75. I checked in on the Eureka web-cam and it was 14. Uhmmm, I think I like 75 better.

The news wasn’t so hot again today. The Israelis and the Palestinians were hard at it. I just can’t figure out how that mess is ever going to get settled.

Here are some figures I stumbled on as regards the National Debt. They will watered my eyeballs. The National Debt. And, here’s a companion piece that suggests Bernard Madoff was very small potatoes The Dollar Ponzi Scheme.

The markets were in their usual pre-holiday range of boredom. The main averages managed to close up even though consumer confidence fell through the floor. Consumer Confidence Lowest on Record.

This quote from they article made me laugh out loud. “The Consumer Confidence Index measured by the Conference Board, a private research group, fell to 38 in December from a revised 44.7 in November. That is its lowest point since the group began compiling the index in 1967, and below the previous low of 38.8 in October. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected the index to rise incrementally to 45.” Let’s hear it for those economists! They really know their stuff. They are so wrong so much of the time they could almost be used as contrary indicators i.e. whatever they say act as though the opposite will happen. Man have we been bamboozeled by these so called “experts”.

On the other hand I think Mark Faber had a pretty good handle on events before they happened. Of course, he was mocked a lot for being so “gloomy”. I’m certainly glad I listened and got out of the US equity markets before the crash. It’s funny, when people hear what they want to hear the speaker is a guru. But, when the speaker says things that are not so sunny, that person is negative and just doesn’t get it.
Marc Faber Interview.

I can't find much to photograph when the sky is straight sunny and cloudless so Koty and I took a walk to Pet Smart and I let him drag me around the store whilst he sniffed everything in site. I really prefer PetCo "Where the pets go." But, the nearest one is 10 miles away! I don't think koty give s fig one way or the other.

I spent a little time this morning going through some photos of last years shoot. We surely did love that trip. It was cold and rainy but the surf and ocean was breathtaking. We could shoot everyday and come up with something that dropped the jaw. The photo below is of Monterey in January.

29 December 2008

CONFLICT, CHARACTER AND PREDICTIONS

12-29-08 Tucson, Arizona

Friday night was freezing here in Tucson. Water was a little sluggish getting through the pipes. Saturday was quite chilly as well. The mountains surrounding the valley all had snow. We braved the elements and headed over to Saguaro National Park East. Dogs are not allowed on National Park trails so we just walk the eight mile loop. It was refreshing!

Saturday night was another freezer. Got down to 37 in the RV. These things don’t have much insulation. Of course, I could turn on the heater but I prefer to pile on the blankets and sleep in the cold. Koty likes it better that way too.

On Friday it seemed all we had to worry about was India and Pakistan getting into a fight. But Israel pre-empted them and attacked Gaza. They warned that they would retaliate and they sure did. It seems like everything runs a cropper at the same time.

This thought occurred to me over the weekend. I keep writing, “People believe what they want to believe”. I wonder if the same principal can’t be applied to Obama. Will Obama be another Bernard Madoff? Most of Madoff’s investors were Jewish and believed they could trust one of their own. I also wonder if a lot of African Americans are not setting themselves up for future disappointment. What made me think of this was Farrakhan’s unqualified support for Obama. And, it is only natural that the majority of African Americans are looking toward him to be a savior. Of course, there are millions of white Americans that think he is a savior too. But, history is replete with the disappointment of false profits. Will Obama be another? Only time will tell.

Obama spends $740 million to get elected. Anybody who raises this much money to win an election has a lot of favors to repay. Frankly, I think it is disgusting that so much money is wasted to buy an election. Because all this is pre-payment for expected favors. These elections have just gotten totally out of hand. Too bad there isn’t some way to just give each candidate a certain sum, which would be a hell of a lot less than $740 million, and that’s all they get to spend. This is just obscene. I sure hope people get what they paid for.

This article says a lot about the man’s strength of character. He can’t even quit smoking, great example setting. Obama’s Efforts to Quit.

Maybe I’m all wet about this fellow. I certainly hope so. One of the reasons I want to put this all down in writing is I want to be able to check back on myself. Check my perceptions against how thing actually unfolded. I’d be happy as hell to be wrong about this guy.
I just don’t understand why investors in Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme are so shocked. There was plenty written about him and his fund, starting way back, that would give pause to a prudent investor. People believe what they want to believe. Early Suspicions About Bernard Madoff.

Here’s an off the wall prediction from a fellow who no doubt has an ax to grind. The only good thing about his prediction is that I get to be a part of Canada. Of the available choices on his map Canada would be mine. As If Things Weren’t Bad Enough

Here’s a prediction from James Sinclair that I really want to keep track of.

“Dear Friends,

Here is my New Years gift to you, my extended family.

There is no way that the CONSEQUENCES of the largest creation of paper money since it was invented can be avoided or even modified. Odds now favor Alf Field’s price objective.

January 14th 2011 to June 21st, 2012:

The best part of this gift is not the one you already know, which is January 14th 2011, but rather the date that a new currency form will replace the form of the US dollar as you know it today which is the third week of June 2012.

Don’t laugh! Write this down and do not forget about it!

Happy (sort of) New Year,
Jim”

I think those who believe this bear market will be over shortly are in for a nasty surprise. People believe what they want to believe. I very much agree with this study’s conclusions. So far it’s bang on. Anatomy of A Bear


We couldn't justify watching anymore of the market action, this is kind of like the Twilight Zone, so we headed out for Catalina State Park. We found the "50 Year Trail" and headed down it. It was a great hike. A yawner for photos, on this day at this moment. But, it was lovely. It followed the ridge opposite the Catalina mountains and I see great potential if one can get the moment right. I shall watch carefully until I go.

We returned to our place at the RV park and decided to have the meal we had planned for Christmas, a great huge porterhouse steak. It was beyond divine.

So times are uncertain but life is still very good. I don't think being realistic and enjoying life are mutually exclusive. I think we are in for really hard times but Koty and I are still living each day to the fullest.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring. All of life is just speculation. I prefer to meet life with no stars in my eyes. To quote from the book I am now reading "Hong Kong" by Stephen Coonts "The world turns seven times a week".


Mt. Lemmon 12-27-08

24 December 2008

CHRISTMAS EVE

Tucson, Arizona 12-24-08

Drat! Maybe the POO hasn't bottomed. It's hard to imagine inventories are up with gasoline prices so low. Here in Tucson you can barely move around on the streets they are so crowded. Add to that the extreme low temperatures across the country and one would think prices would be on the rise. It must surely be some kind of reverse conspiracy. ;) I'll wager Russia hopes we find a bottom soon.

I'm dabbling with the idea of buying some Vanguard High Yield. "High Yield" is synonymous with junk bonds. It's a risky business. I think a lot of big names are going to go belly up in the coming year. Who will survive? Government can't bail them all out. Although, I suspect they will try. Need to look over Vanguard's portfolio and see what's in there.

Wow! This article sure makes the future clear to me. Deflation vs. Hyperinflation. Certainly glad I loaded my boat with the barbaric relic. I once thought gold might go to $1,500 an ounce. But, I never in my wildest dreams envisioned the magnitude of the printathon at the Fed. Now, I believe it will go much higher.

Sunsrise was pretty darned nice this morning. Not good enough to photograph but certainly wonderful to watch.

Last night it was a war zone again but not just with police sirens this time. In addition to the sirens there was a helicopter that circled the wash for about 20 minutes. That wash is a dangerous place after dark IMO. Tucson doesn't feel like a safe place to me. I never worry about hiking alone in Montana. I certainly do here.

Koty was a real pain in the neck this morning. Had to walk him four times before he was satisfied. I'm very happy, so far, with how the Natural Balance is working out. See Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance. My hunch that Koty would be able to stomach a total switch right off the bat was correct. He had no problem adjusting and he is eating with relative gusto. One of the things that attracted me to this product was the fact that it is for adults and puppies. That told me this is a gentle product and well thought out product. And so it has been.

This afternoon was beautiful. Mostly sunny with puffy white clouds. Koty and I took a walk on the Bajada Loop at Saguaro National Park. It was a great way to end the day.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

21 December 2008

I'M A SLACKER

12-20-08 Tucson, Arizona

I can't say as I'm particularly fond of Tucson but I'm certainly certainly beginning to appreciate the weather. My home town of Eureka, Montana is having the snowiest, coldest December since I moved there six years ago. You can see for yourself .

Global warming indeed. What a sham that concept is. I am truly amazed by the American ability to make something out of nothing and money for nothing. We quite literally have take this ability from an art form to a science.

There is no one on this planet that has more regard for nature than I and very few who spend as much time in her company. I tell you this, and you won't even have to give me a $500,000 grant, when Mother Nature has had enough of our foolishness she will take care of it just as she has for billions of years. Our arrogance to think we have any clue what is "normal", when our entire history on this planet is beyond insignificant, is a marvel. In truth, there is quite a lot of scientific evidence that we are actually moving toward a new ice age.

Do not misunderstand, I think each and everyone of us should do all that we can not to poop in our own nest. But, that's just common sense and shouldn't cost billions of dollars to implement. Although, common sense does seem to be a commodity in very short supply. And, because we seem to be so devoid of it every slick shyster on the planet is out there just ready to lighten your load. Did you hear the one about every American gets to live like a millionaire just by investing in the stock market and real estate? What's in your wallet?

Ok, enough ranting, on with my day which was not very productive. It was beautiful, sunny and in the 60's. Koty and I took a morning walk over to the Pet Smart store a couple of miles from the RV park. I like to take this walk because it's a nice distance and Koty loves to go into the store. I just let him have his head and go wherever his nose leads him, which is usually the bird or fish sections. My boy isn't interested in food in a package. He likes to catch his own! It really is fun to watch!

After a little RV housekeeping I put my sweats back on and jumped back in bed with a book which I polished off over the course of the day. The book was "Cruel Justice" by William Bernhardt. I don't know why but I am addicted to murder mysteries. I don't think I'm very unique in this regard. Half the television shows are some type of police/murder tale. I watch most of them myself. My favorite is NCIS but I think that may be because I find Mark Harmon delicious. He is aging so very well. My least favorite is CSI Miami. That Horatio Caine is without a doubt the most one dimensional character on television. Every time he strikes that pose with his hand on his hips, which is usually fifty per episode, I want to barf! How any self respecting woman can find that wimp sexy is beyond me.

Anyway, I finished off Cruel Justice and got a new volume to entertain myself, Sandra Brown's "The Alibi". Don't look for these books on the bestseller's list. I got them from the park library and they are more than ten years old.

I was able to pretty much fritter away the whole day in these pursuits. I didn't even attempt to go out to the desert to see about a sunset. There wasn't a cloud in the sky.

A friend sent me this link which only goes to show I'm not the only one that has non-productive days! According to the meter nearly 50 million! :)

29 November 2008

SAGUARO BEFORE THE STORM



The saguaro truly are stately creatures. An impending storm really shows them off quite dramatically I think.

Moments are so important in photography. Another day, another time, different lighting and you would walk right by this scene without even noticing it. Timing in life is everything.

Available as a NOTE CARD.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

28 November 2008

MOTHER NATURE THROWS ME A BONE



Well, after driving down hundreds of miles of dusty roads and hiking many, many trails Mother Nature finally relented and let me see her beauty once again. I don't think I have ever worked so hard to photograph a subject. The desert is a real challenge for this photographer.

Photography is a lot like life. If you persevere eventually you will be rewarded. Your pot of gold is out there somewhere. Never stop believing.

VIEW IN HIGH RESOLUTION

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

27 November 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!



Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends and readers! We hope you have a wonderful day with friends and family!

Photo taken at our ranch in Montana.

Montana's Dynamic Duo
Koty Bear & Kinsey

26 November 2008

25 November 2008

WABASSO WONDER



Hope you aren't tiring of lake landscapes. I'm certainly enjoying them. This photo is of Wabasso Lake in Jasper National Park. I get a real sense of "Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh" when I look at it. Which is the point of this exercise. Have a great day!

View High Resolution Image

©Kiinsey Barnard Photography

24 November 2008

23 November 2008

BET YOU'VE NEVER SEEN A HORSESHOE SO BLUE



This photo was taken at Horseshoe Lake in Jasper National Park in the fall. The color of the water was simply mesmerizing.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

22 November 2008

MARGARITAVILLE



Ok, boys and girls, it's the weekend. It's been a tough week for a lot of people as the stock market swooned and thousands lost their jobs. Take a deep breath. Forget your worries. Enjoy yourselves. And remember, sunsets are free!

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

21 November 2008

MOUNTAINS AND CONTRAST - OPINIONS PLEASE



I'm really starting to enjoy this re-living photo shoots. This particular photograph has never been made public because I wasn't sure people would like the contrast as much as I do. I really like it. It also falls short on the thirds principle which I personally find a boring and pedestrian concept. What say you? Should this photograph go into Koty Bear's gallery?

The photo was taken in Jasper National Park, Alberta

20 November 2008

NOTHING MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN THE BOW



Bow Lake, in Banff National Park, is unquestionably one of the most beautiful lakes in all the world. The melting glaciers give it color beyond imagining and it changes all the time depending on lighting conditions.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

PS: Christmas is coming so here is a gift idea under $20. Choose five note cards and tie them in a packet with a pretty satin ribbon. Your gift will be unique and personal.

19 November 2008

AUTUMN CREEK - BRIDAL VEIL



We are still struggling with the heat down here in Tucson. So, we turn again to past visions of beauty for our solace. How precious is water?

This photo was taken last fall in the Columbia Gorge in Oregon.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

PS: Christmas is coming so here is a gift idea under $20. Choose five note cards and tie them with a little satin ribbon. Your gift will be unique and personal.

18 November 2008

CALIFORNIA DREAMING



Well, we finally had to throw in the towel and stay home. I took not one photograph. This is painful. Almost never does a day go by that I am not photographing. Another first. We went to Mt. Lemmon Sunday and after 45 minutes Koty stopped turned around and headed back down the trail. Normally, he can't get enough trail time.

So, I spent some time going through photos from last year's coastal shoot. Gads what I wouldn't give for some clouds and rain! This photograph did for me what I hope they each do for you. Take you away for a moment, away from whatever curve ball life may be throwing you or give just a quiet reflective moment in which to be grateful for all that you do have.

This photograph was taken at Keogh Beach, Pt. Reyes National Seashore in Northern California.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

PS: Christmas is coming so here is a gift idea under $20. Choose five note cards and tie them with a little satin ribbon. Your gift will be unique and personal.

17 November 2008

SAGUARO IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT



Saguaro, I am finding, are stately creatures that do fine on their own without the gimmickry of a fancy sunset.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

VIEW LARGER IMAGE If you put your cursor in the top right hand side of the photograph you can enlarge it to near original size.

16 November 2008

THE LADY TAKES A BATH



Nature does some incredible sculpting and I think this is a case in point. To my active imagination the rock shown in the center of this photo looks like a lady's bare bottom as she bends over to bath in Madera Creek, Arizona.

Sometimes it almost seems black and white is more "colorful" and this was one such instance for me.

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

VIEW LARGER IMAGE

15 November 2008

MT. TUCSON PARK AT SUNSET



Only about 10 miles from Tucson this park is a lovely place to watch Mother Nature paint.

Make someone else's day. Send them some beauty and a PERSONAL NOTE.

Have a wonderful day. It's Mother Nature's gift to you!

14 November 2008

SOLITARY SAGUARO AT SUNSET


©KINSEY BARNARD PHOTOGRAPHY

A solitary saguaro cactus watches the passing of another day in the desert.

*It is not possible to make the photograph any larger at this blogging site, at least I can't figure out how to make them larger. If you would like to see it larger and with higher resolution please CLICK HERE

13 November 2008

ANNOUNCEMENT

I have come to realize that this blog is just taking too much of my time. I am not a travel writer. I am a photographer. I must get back to what I know and love.

So, beginning tomorrow I am going to rename the blog "A PHOTO A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY" I will choose just one photo I feel is particularly lovely or uplifting. There will be very little dialogue. My intention is to provide you with something beautiful with which to fill your senses each day.

In these troubled and turbulent times I think we all need to take a moment and let the beauty that surrounds us come into our lives to refresh and remind us of what is truly important. Surely, one beautiful photograph is as good as an apple.

In the meantime I invite you to go to my Limited Editions Collection. This is where my heart and soul lives. Just take a moment to watch the short slide show. I am so honored and grateful to have this beauty to share with you.

Many thanks to all my loyal readers.

With much love,

Koty & Kinsey

12 November 2008

SAN XAVIER MISSION - TOHONO O'ODHAM TRIBE



We haven't even started our preliminary research into the area let alone started to map out places we would like to try and shoot so we just got in the car and headed south on HWY 19 just for fun.

Not very far down the road we saw off in the distance a gleaming white structure which turned out to be San Xavier Mission on the San Xavier Indian Reservation. We swung onto the exit to take a closer look.



The mission is quite impressive. We didn't go inside because it was too hot to leave the Koty Bear in the car so we just walked the grounds. If you'd like to see a photo of the inside, it's quite beautiful, you can see one here



There is a small hill you can walk up to where a grotto is guarded by two impressive rather regal lions.



Whilst wandering the little hill I got my first up close an personal view of some native plant life. I am so looking forward to photographing the interesting plants here. Everything is so different from what I see in the Rockies. This character is a barrel cactus, I believe of the fish hook variety. I've got a lot of learning to do.



The Indian tribe that inhabits this reservation is called the Tohono O'odham. More about them can be found here. I always find these roadside graves interesting and this one was just along the road on the reservation. If you look real close you will see a little dog figurine. I wondered if it was a dog buried there or a little person who loved a dog.



Cemeteries always intrigued me and I was especially intrigued by this one on the reservation. The graves were all decked out and the American flag was flying, I imagine in honor of Veterans Day. Made me think of the sad story of that brave man Ira Hays. Thanks be to all those who have given so much so we could enjoy a freedom the politicians seem bent on taking away.

Ciao for now,
Koty & Kinsey

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

11 November 2008

THANK GAWD FOR GINNIE GPS! OR, GPS'S ARE GREAT BUT YOU GOTTA TURN 'EM ON.



Before heading out from Wickenburg we took a good long morning walk in the lugga. Oh, sorry that's swahili for wash or riverbed. I use it because it reminded me so much of luggas I have tramped in Kenya, stories about which I will one day get to at my Musings and Memories blog.



I couldn't resist a snap of this punk rock cacti I saw in the park. So cute! Anyway, another travel day so not much photography.

Technology is a wonderful thing but one of it's short comings is that if you don't use it, it doesn't help much. Such is the case with my Garmin GPS. I bought the thing on last year's shoot of the Pacific Coast (if you want to look at some photos you can visit my SEASCAPES GALLERY) The GPS is a minor miracle.

The thing has a female voice that gives you verbal directions which is great especially for a solo flyer because reading maps whilst driving can be hazardous to your health. As you know by now I have a penchant for naming everything and the GPS was dubbed Ginnie. Ginnie can do so much. In addition to getting you where you want to go she'll find all the places you need when you get there. When I arrive in a place, that's largest enough, my first two inputs are Costco and Wal-Mart. You just punch in your desire and Ginnie takes you there like you've lived in town all your life. It is so cool!

But, there are a couple of problems. First, in case you haven't guess it, I am the dinosaur and it IS hard to teach old dogs new tricks. After forty plus years of traveling all over this continent, and several others, I'm still mentally geared to paper maps and my innate sense of direction. I am forever forgetting about poor Ginnie. The other problem is that I doubt her. She tells me to do something and I don't believe it's right. And, the girl has attitude. When I don't follow her directions she says in a very put out and exasperated tone "Recalculating!" I usually tell her to stuff it. :) Actually, sometimes ignoring her is a good idea because she is programmed to take you the shortest route to your destination without any regard for your mode of transportation. So, if you're in the boonies driving and RV you might want to consult the old map too. Ginnie doesn't know it but all routes are not created equal.

Today, thank goodness, I got old Ginnie routed in for Tucson and it's a darned good thing I did. I thought the shot south to Tucson would be a no-brainer. All I can say is if Ginnie hadn't been guiding me I would still be wandering the highways trying to find my way around Phoenix. My sense of direction would have been all but useless. The way to Tucson is via Interstate 10 East! Now I defy you to look at any map and tell me Tucson is East of Phoenix. I'm told, the highway does go east but that's after you have driven over a hundred miles south! Anyway, if we hadn't had Ginnie, we would have been like that poor guy beneath the streets of Boston who never returned. Mind you this whole, nerve wracking time, Koty Ko-pilot was sound asleep in the co-pilot's seat. Thank you Koty Bear!

But, we're here and wowser I've never been in an RV park like this one. It's enormous. It's also like a cruise ship, a gazillion activities and schedules. Ain't no kinda place for this country girl. But, as always, we'll make the best of it. I would like to thank hurricane Ike for messing up my plans to shoot the Gulf Coast of Texas. Thank you IKE!


If you're dying for photos you can see all of our trip so far in high resolution at TRIP GALLERY.
Ciao for now,
Koty & Kinsey

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

10 November 2008

WATCH OUT FOR THE TIRE SCAM IN KINGMAN, ARIZONA

Today was a travel day so no photos. It's certainly not because there wasn't anything to photograph! The scenery between St. George and the Nevada border was nothing less than breathtaking in the early morning hours.

Our path took me across Hoover Dam and that was quite an experience. It looks like they are in the process of building a by-pass so the road doesn't cross over the damn anymore. Obviously, there are security concerns and every vehicle not a passenger car must stop for a thorough inspection. But, back to the by-pass my goodness what an engineering feat. I do wish I could have photographed it for you because I can't really explain it except to say it's going to be a suspended bridge high above the dam. Check out this link Colorado River Bridge for photos and info on it. It really is going to be an amazing span.

The security guards were very thorough but also very pleasant. Koty even got a cookie. The little tramp! He simply seduces everyone. :)

From Hoover Dam to Kingman, Arizona it's pretty much just a divided road through the desert so we just zoomed right through. When we got to Kingman I pulled into a Chevron station to get diesel. BIG MISTAKE! When I was a kid I used only Chevron. This may have had something to do with my father giving me a Chevron gas card. Of course, in those days a gallon of gas was thirty-five cents! Over the years I started avoiding them because they seemed to be consistently more expensive than anyone else.

Anyway, I go against my better judgment and pull into the one in Kingman. The first thing I notice is the price is $3.45/gal. Since this is my first fill up in Arizona I'm thinking, "Wow, they have high road taxes here.", because in Utah I had paid $2.99. I'm unhappily filling up when a fellow comes around and tells me I have low tire pressure over on the other side. But, he says, if I pull over to their tire store he'll check it for me. I look at the tire and it looks fine to me but I say OK anyway. I pay my outlandish gas bill and pull over to the tire center. Next thing I know the guy is asking how old the rig is cuz this tire looks awful bad. I say it's a 2007 and says yeah but the tire says 2006! Like, a two year old tire is way round the bend. Mind you these are Michelin tires with 13,000 miles on them. He then asks where am I headed and I say Tucson "Oh," he says "I don't think you can make that."

I might not be the brightest bulb in the pack but this wasn't smelling right to me. So, I handed the guy a buck for a nice try and went on my way. Down the street a few blocks I see another tire place and a big motorhome up on blocks with the tires off. Looked like that guy was getting a complete new set. Then just outside of Kingman we pass a gas station on the left that was selling diesel for $2.89! My first thought was to be really mad about getting scammed fifty-five cents a gallon on the diesel but I decided I should be grateful I didn't get scammed on tires too! I advise watching your wallet if you're traveling through Kingman, AZ.

Nevertheless, I held on tighter to the steering wheel all the way to Wickenburg. More photo ops were to be had south of Kingman as we drove Joshua Forest Scenic Drive. The Joshua trees are simply beautiful.

By the time we reached Wickenburg I was pooped. I hadn't picked out an RV park in advance, which I normally do and that was a mistake too. We passed through town without seeing anything enticing and ended up pulling in to the first RV park I saw south of town for fear of missing out altogether. The last pull through had been let just moments before we arrived. When I stay just overnight I don't like to have to detach Shadow and go through all that rigamarole. Well, all they had was a place right in the roadway with nothing but water and power. I took one look at it and thought "Good grief" but I was too tired to fight it and it was only for the night. They actually put orange cones out to keep people from running in to us.

As it turned out this may be one of the friendliest parks we've ever stayed at. I hadn't noticed the name of the place when I pulled in but it's "Horsepitality" and it provides not only RV parking but horse boarding as well. In just a couple of hours we had met more people from Montana that we would in a year of living there. We even met two gals from Kalispell, practically neighbors. Lacking as the accommodation was it was more than made up for by the really cool people.

Oh, and about those tires. When we got parked I was going around looking at the tires, which all looked the same to me, a couple of fellows came up and asked if I was having a problem. I told them my Kingman story. They looked at the tires and said they couldn't see anything wrong with them. I'm sure if we get a flat you'll be hearing about it. So, we'll see what happens.

If you're dying for photos you can see all of our trip so far in high resolution at TRIP GALLERY.

Ciao for now,
Koty & Kinsey

©Kinsey Barnard Photography

09 November 2008

MT. CARMEL MR. TOAD'S WILD RIDE



This was our last day for exploring around "color country". We need to be on our way to Tucson. So, for our final adventure we took the drive out Mt. Carmel Highway and boy it was a beauty.



The rock formations in this part of the park are the best yet. Unfortunately, I didn't get any acceptable shots of the individual rocks. For some reason they look just great to my eye but they seem to lose something in translation to pixels. Another reason to spend a winter here. I might could figure out how to capture these clever little sculptures in an appealing way. But, some of the landscapes turned out mighty fine even if I do say so myself. :)



The drive up this canyon is like the Mr. Toad ride at Disneyland. It's narrow and windy. At one point there is an unlighted tunnel that runs 1.1 miles into the mountain. If you are claustrophobic you'll have fun with this one. The tunnel is so small they have to stop traffic to let tour buses go through. It's so dark they have signs telling you to remove your sunglasses before entering. I imagine in the summer this is a real log jam but at this time of year it was a breeze.



You may wonder what the excitement over the above photo is about. It's just one of my "things". The sage set against the azure sky was just awesomely beautiful to me. It seems to me that there is beautiful art being made no matter where you look in nature. We humans often get all impressed with our art making. But, in my opinion, we are simply posers. Mother Nature is the only true artist.



Once you leave the park the landscape is still pretty interesting but in a rural way. The windmill above is made of wood and is part of a windmill well pump. It seemed an elegant structure and the wheel was especially alluring.



And, we came across this old covered carriage along the road. We traveled all the way out to Hwy 89 and had intended to go up to 14 and over to Cedar City but we'd dawdled so long on the Mt. Carmel Highway we just went up the road a piece. But, again it looked like fine fodder for the photographer. There was all kinds of interesting rural subjects to try and capture. So much to do. So little time. We'll spend more time here on our next visit that's a for sure.

So we bid fond farewell to Zion National Park and environs and look ahead to the next stop.

You can see all of our trip so far in high resolution at TRIP GALLERY.

Ciao for now,
Koty & Kinsey

©Kinsey Barnard

08 November 2008

THE PA'RUS TRAIL - ZION NATIONAL PARK



We've been working mighty hard the past couple of weeks so we decided to take it easy. We went back to the Pa'rus Trail in Zion Cayon for a good morning walk. I think if one walked this trail everyday they would never tire of it.



The Virgin River, which is the river that runs through this section of the park, was looking particularly beautiful. It was fuller and clearer than it was when we walked it earlier. I cannot begin to tell you what a great time of year this is to visit this park. I'm half tempted to come back and spend the whole winter some day. The park is open year round and I'll bet after a snow storm there is a whole other kind of beauty to be found.



The Pa'rus trail may be a little tame and we certainly don't care for asphalt trails but you must admit this is a beautiful trail and it really provides a lot of people with a lot of pleasure they might not otherwise experience. If we did come back here for an extended stay I'd probably have to abandon Koty a time or two and try some of the people only trails. There are numerous day care facilities in the area. He would probably disown me but, oh well.



Some people have been wondering how I get the vibrant colors. Well, truth is I don't do much of anything special. The colors here are just that vibrant! This park is a color lovers' fantasy island! In point of fact, with some of the photos I have actually had to try and drain a little color.



After lunch and a siesta we decided to take another walk. We first tried Sand Hollow State Park but they wanted $10.00 dollars to get in. We passed on that. We ended up walking the asphalt trails in Coral Canyon which is basically just a big housing development. I took the above picture because I wanted to show you how steep the trail was and it's for bikes too! Gads, I couldn't imagine riding a bike down that thing. If your brakes failed or you squeezed too hard it wouldn't be pretty!



I must say the landscaping around here is exceptionally beautiful. The above is some type of grass that is used a lot and I find it really lovely. Not that this photo does it any kind of justice but you can at least get the idea.

That's all we did, a couple of walks and a lot of relaxing.

You can see all of our trip so far in high resolution at TRIP GALLERY.

Ciao for now,
Koty & Kinsey

©Kinsey Barnard

07 November 2008

SOMEWHERE IN SOUTHWESTERN UTAH ON THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED



We took off thinking we were going to take a back road to Cedar Breaks and Cedar City. It wasn't long before we were hitting snow and ice. The maps we were using showed conflicting information. One said you could go all the way to Hwy 14 and Cedar City but another said the road ended at Kolob Reservoir. New to the area and no four wheel drive we decided to wander around on the plateau where we found ourselves.



Koty was all for it because this wasn't Federal land so he could get out and stretch his legs and try his paws at a little rabbit catching.



We are very respectful of no trespassing signs. After all we are property owners too and don't take kindly to trespassers ourselves. But, we didn't see any so we just headed out across the landscape. I figured if we were in the wrong place someone would come along and let us know. A few pickups looked like they slowed to glass us but then just drove on.



We discovered this big guy. Looks like an indian chief to me. I have no way of knowing if this natural sculpture has an official name.



We just love to get off the beaten path you just never know what you're going to find. But, usually you'll find some interesting treasures.



Our explorations were suddenly halted as we soon discovered that we were high up on a plateau and it was a long way down. The vistas are amazing but they seldom photograph all that well. I recommend you come see for yourself. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.



So, today we took the road less traveled and we not in the least disappointed in what we found. Truth is we seldom are.

To view high resolution photos of our trip so far check out TRIP GALLERY.

Also, be sure and check out Koty's 2009 calendar. The calender sells for $20.90. No charge for looking. :)

Ciao for now,
Koty & Kinsey

06 November 2008

THE KOLOB CANYONS - ZION NATIONAL PARK



We took a drive up to Kolob Canyons. It is part of Zion but you have have to drive north on I15 to access it. It rained most of the day so we did get a lot of photos. I an still fascinated with the red roads! They are so darned pretty. :)



And, the color! My goodness the color. It's truly unreal! Mother Nature really went wild with Her palette down here!



The drive is only about five miles into the canyons but as my photos would indicate it's a drive well worth taking.



It was a pretty short day for us. The Kolob Canyons being about all we took in for this day.

You can see all of our trip photos in high resolution at our TRIP GALLERY