A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fossil Falls

Near Coso, California

I'll admit I wasn't expecting much at this site but once there I was genuinely impressed.

I take pictures of signs so that I have information to refer to for the post.
Here I'll just include the sign itself and you kind read or skip past.

It is really difficult to imagine this area east of the Sierra mountains a rich oasis as stated.
It is so dry, desolate and barren now.
Hard to picture, huh?

This is at the brink of the falls and think of the tremendous amount of water over how long a time to be able to sculpture and polish hard sharp basalt lava to look like this.

There were many places where a rock would get caught in a depression and the action of the swirling water would spin the rock around creating a deep hole over, again, how long a time?

Looking back towards the brink of the falls.
That is 200 feet down.

  I was wandering around there saying out loud how I wanted to look down and see the bottom but boy, I did not feel comfortable at all approaching the edge.  "I wanta look down!"
Finally I found a spot where I could get on my knees with the edge of a large piece of lava between me and the abyss, offering me a sense of security.  Oh to be young and carefree again.

Looking on out of the gorge.
The distant landscape does not look anything like that sign depicted.

Along one of the side of the gorge two holes drilled into the lava by the rushing water.

As I tripped and stumbled over the lava back to the parking lot I wondered how the Native American peoples walked around this stuff without any hard-soled foot ware.  Moccasins wouldn't last a day.

When I got back another lady was taking a picture of Beans in the window.
Another missed money-making opportunity.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Now I Know

I often wondered what Beans does when I am away from the RV. 
 I stopped in a small town to get a coffee and when I returned a young lady was taking a picture of the inside from the passenger side window.  Beans was sitting there posing for her.

Now if I could only figure out a way to attach a "tip jar" to the door 
this would help pay for her gourmet cat food.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Google Maps

It was a windy day and I pretty well spent most of the time inside taking shelter.  I was logging in on Google Maps places we had stayed by dropping pins and labeling the sites for future reference.  I eventually noticed that Google Maps had overlaid the area that had burned during the recent fires in California.  If you look in the center between the words Annadel State Park and Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, that unburned area is where my house is located.  
Way too close for comfort. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Windy times a'coming

Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California

Temperatures are still too high to move any further south and it is quite pleasant here so why move?  Well to get some variety of food to eat would be one good reason.  I went into town the other day and there is just one grocery store in Lone Pine.  A typical small town store with high prices.  I walked out with a quart of milk, a bag of salad rapidly approaching it's "best by" date and some bananas that quickly turned on me overnight.  

I've went off hiking in every direction here and feel I've seen it all although that is hardly the case.  But I've pretty well covered enough geology here on the blog that we might be just seeing pictures of Beans for awhile unless I make some new discoveries. 

Oh, I am having my picture taken.  I'll stick out my tongue."

Some 40 to 50 mph winds are predicted at midnight tonight until 8am.
That will be interesting. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Don't Crush the Brush

Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA.

Everyday I go for a hike in a different direction after Bean's concludes her morning lizard hunt.
This is just one of the many displays of the rock formations in this area.  What caught my interest here was how the rocks looked all squeezed together and the one big rock along the skyline neatly divided into four parts.

And this one here as is it were neatly fitted into an empty space.

All over various areas of the Alabama Hills are these little plastic wraps protecting new plantings.

Zoomed in on a hawk surveying his domain for a morning bite to eat.

 I reached the top of the ridge which afforded a view of the Owens Valley east of us.
Thanks to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Owens Valley is not the lush, green fertile valley which once had a vast lake within it a century ago.  Now it is an arid, wind-blown dust bowl home for a few thousand hardy souls living in four towns in the valley.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA.

I had to get a new phone a couple weeks ago.  It's a story I'll not get into here just that my old phone was handicapped and a retirement was in order for it.  Just a few days ago I discovered the camera on this phone does panorama pictures.  No more taking photos side by side like below.

The different type of rock layer forming this band I find intriguing. 

I wish I knew more about geology.

I wanted to capture the wide view I have from our home site

with the Sierra Mountains as a back drop.

Later I discovered the panorama feature on my new iPhone 5SE

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Fire Update - Tuesday Evening

The mandatory evacuation order was lifted today in our neighborhood.  Still very smokey there and firefighters are lighting back fires to sustain the advance and get a greater containment.  Got reports from neighbors who have returned that there is a lot of ash in the air and on the ground.  The inside of their homes smell of smoke.  Power was restored today also.  Now to clean out all that spoiled food in refrigerators and freezers.  Some rain is predicted for Thursday afternoon which will be a tremendous help for the firefighters and clear the air some for returning homeowners.  We were extremely fortunate only due to the relentless efforts of the firefighters.  Now I feel even sadder for those who lost everything, some family members and friends.

Three Boulders

Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California

I could see what looked like three boulders perched on top of a large rock.
I hiked over there one day and as I got closer, that is exactly what it was.

How on earth did this come to be?

Beans resting after chasing lizards.  
There are a lot of lizards around here and they are really very fast.
She only has caught one mainly because it didn't have a nearby bush to escape into.
It was released unharmed.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Wind-made Arches

Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, California

There are some arches to be found here and unlike those at Moab, Utah which some had help from water, these are solely created by wind-blown sand erosion.

Some day thousands of years from now this too will be an arch.

The skies are clear here at Lone Pine and I can see the mountain range on the far side of Owens Valley for the first time this week.  I hope conditions are likewise at the house in Santa Rosa.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Waiting Out the Inferno

                                       The Alabama Hills outside of Lone Pine, California.
                           This area is famous for all the old westerns that were filmed here.

This is our location while waiting to see what develops back at the house in Santa Rosa.
That is Mt. Whitney about one quarter of the frame over from the right side.
Mt. Whitney is the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states.

Even here smoke from fires somewhere in the southern part of the state fill the sky.
There is a mountain range in the distance to the left that you cannot see for all the smoke.

I think of all the deer, turkey, rabbit, fox, skunk, raccoon, yeah even the annoying squirrels that live in my Annadel State Park next door where the house is that have lost their homes and may have even probably perished in the fire that engulfs most of the wild land there.  
There are a couple of mountain lion that live there too.

Maybe they were able to run to a safe place

and find a new home.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fire Update - Friday evening

Friday, October 13.  

We knew today would not be a better day for high winds were to return Thursday evening and all day Friday.  The fire renewed itself and made for our neighborhood.  These images were of today from a friend who I don't know how she can be there as the evacuation order is still in effect.  The first two are at the east entrance to the neighborhood.  The last is Ledson Winery directly across Highway 12.  The fire retardant stopped the advance and the winds have died down some late in the afternoon.  One cannot thank the efforts of the fire fighters enough for all they do.  

We're still safe.  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Welcome to Hell

I wasn't planning to put any of the following on the blog but as I have thought about it more these past few days I decided to go ahead.  After all this blog is about my life (and Beans) and to ignore the events that have happened as if they didn't occur just did not seem the right thing to do.

While in Utah I received notice that the upcoming renewal of my drivers license this time required me to make an appearance for eye exam, thumb print and photo.  We were on our way back to the house in Sonoma County and all hell broke loose as we neared California.  In short time where I lived was under a mandatory evacuation order.  I would not be allowed to my house, the highway that runs by my neighborhood was closed down and the area for miles around was in utter chaos and devastation. There would be not a thing I could do if I continued on except be in the way.

A day later from what I could gather from news sources and a few friends and neighbors who had to evacuate, our little active adult community survived the initial conflagration.  Wineries around where we live are gone.  My Annadel Park where I always went to hike and ride my bike is in flames.  So many of the places in and around Santa Rosa are no more.  I cannot imagine what it is like there now.  No power, gas services shut off, getting around the town may be next to impossible.  As of this writing as far as I know my neighbors have still not been able to return to their homes and it is now five days from when the fires began last Sunday evening.

I've read in news sources that the smoke in the North and South Bay area has created the worst air quality known of modern time and no one would want to be in any of that.  Currently we are on the eastern side of the Sierra mountain range at Lone Pine which sits at the base of Mt. Whitney.  Sequoia  National Park is to the west of us, Death Valley to the east.  You'd think we were in a good place but even here the skies are filled with smoke and I can barely make out the mountain range on the eastern side of Owens valley.  This smoke must be blowing in from the fires in Southern California.

There is still a lot of uncertainty as flare-ups continue, strong winds fanning the flames are predicted once again and the evacuation order remains in effect.  We will stay where we are until the all clear is given then continue on with our adventures...hopefully.  And tomorrow is Friday the 13th.  Great!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Overnight Stop at a Truck Stop

An interesting sign which the second to last line I thought amusing.

Bugs vs. truck radiator grill.
Truck wins.  Bugs don't stand a chance.

And Ms. Beans in one of her favorite sleeping positions.
I've never had a cat that sleeps on their back like she does.

And speaking of the great huntress, this is one of the lizards she caught awhile back.  When she catches one she'll walk around carrying it in her mouth by the head.  Imagine having a lizard head in your mouth.  Imagine what the lizard is seeing inside her mouth.  Anyway, she'll eventually drop it and if the critter is fast enough it might elude her for a moment.  Then I'll try to distract her (fat chance at that!) but at least do my best to let the lizard get away.  This one did have a puncture wound but it wasn't mortal as when I went back a few minutes after taking this picture he overcame his state of shock and had skee-daddled.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The San Rafael Swell

The San Rafael Swell is a huge 75 by 40 mile dome shaped upheaval in central Utah.
Interstate 70 cuts right through it providing spectacular scenery
in eroded cliffs and deep canyons for the traveler.

It is sometimes referred to as the Little Grand Canyon.
Butch Cassidy and the boys used this area to hide from those looking for them.
Pretty good place to hide I think, as long as you can find your way out.