Lake Pleasant, Arizona

Pleasant is the story here. Nice warm weather. A beautiful lake to gaze at and swim in. A very nice campsite with free showers. It’s also quiet here. What a pleasant place to relax. That’s what I did for the day.I was really excited about the night sky. It was warm with a slight breeze and a full moon. Oh! Pleasant Lake, I wonder who named it?

The saguaros all have these tuffs on their tops. I couldn’t figure it out until I saw a few of the white and yellow blooms. The saguaro Cactus is plentiful around here and so fun to paint.I went swimming in the lake. So nice. I sat on the shore reading and painting, watching the kayaks go by.

The air is so dry here I’m drinking water like crazy. I forgot to bring my towel to the shower and only realized it as I was finishing. No problem, I was practically dry by the time I got back to my campsite

I’m on my way today to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s nice to be on the road again!

Heading West on I-70

 

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Leaving Mt. Gretna, Pennsylvania I headed west to Ohio.   I love being on the road, in my head I review all that I did this summer from Maine to North Carolina, Connecticut to Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania’s  beautiful farm land starts me singing. “This Land is your land, this land is my land, From California to the New York Island.”   Thank you Woodie Guthrie for writing this song in 1944.

 372 miles on my speedmeter to a KOA at Buckeye Lake in Ohio.  It starts to rain just as I am registering.  I grab my umbrella, bathing suit and head for the swimming pool.  Umbrella and swimming pool, no wonder I am the only one there.  I look across the pool and see cows.  Are they real?  No they are cow sculptures.

Early the next morning and full of energy the next landmark is   Columbus, Ohio and then to Indianapolis, Indiana.   I stop at the Illinois Welcome Center.  They are preparing for the Solar Eclipse on Aug. 21.  The woman tells me there will be an Ozzie Osborne concert.  I’m glad to miss that one.

399 miles to Mulberry Grove, Illinois.  The campground is next to the pavilion.  No events right now so I have my own bathroom, refrigerator, stove and roof.

Morning comes and I’m on my way to St. Louis, Missouri, a coyote crosses Highway 70 as the fog was lifting.

 Endless skyway through Missouri to Kansas.  There was a lot going on in Missouri.  Signs on the highway posted Solar Eclipse, August 21, Expect Delays,  Heavy Traffic.  Highway 70 was also closed at one point.  I started making a list of all the unusual church names.

Element Church, Faith Church Family Church, FCFC,  Liberty Church, Reach Church, Victory Baptist Church and Praise Assembly of God.

398 miles landing in Paxco Kansas!

The man that checked me in at the campground in Paxico, Kansas said he didn’t like any people from California.  I said, “There are all kinds of people in California.”  He had no use for any of them.  BUT, he took my $25. and gave me a nice campsite.  He told me about the storm shelter in case of ??

I’m still trying to figure out what it would be like to live in Kansas.

And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling, ,This land was made for you and me.

“Don’t I get tired?” people ask.   I did driving through Kansas!!  I had finished my book on tape “little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Kansas seemed so big.  I  kept driving.  I pulled into a rest area and listened to my power nap app on my phone.  Drinking lots of water, coffee and tea and stopping often.  I started a new book.

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429 miles from Paxico, Kansas to Limon, Colorado.  I wan’t sure what my next step was but I was still in flat eastern Colorado.  I went for a swim at the KOA and decided to head the next morning for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

When the sun came shining and I was strolling.

 253 miles from Limon, Colorado to the KOA in the town of Gunnison, Colorado.  I stopped at a Safeway to load up on groceries.  I had a space in the campground all to myself with a pavilion right beside it.  It had tables, a stove, sink and roof over my head.

IMG_662579 miles to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  Kansas was straight and flat and now Colorado was curvy and high. Be careful what you wish for,  my sister often says to me.  It was a challenge for Vanna and me around and around the mountain curves.

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Mountain sketch

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Campground in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  I went to a Ranger Program that night and learned more about the dark skies.  This Park and the Grand Canyon are dark skies National Parks.

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The canyon was dark and deep.  One picture shows the empire state building at the bottom of the canyon.IMG_6659

 208 miles to Mesa Verde National Park.   I find a nice campsite.  4 drives around the campground to pick just the right spot.   Many spots were available.  Why weren’t more people camping here.  I had a tour for  Cliff Palace Dwelling at 3 p.m.  More curvy winding roads to the Cliff Palace.  It was a great tour.  The Park Ranger was full of information and interesting stories.P1050442

I’m currently working on paintings of the Cliff Dwellings.  The ancestral Pueblo people is the term used now.  Anasazi name is no longer correct.

Polishing off the best burrito breakfast at 9a.m. sent me on my way to the East entrance of the Grand Canyon past the 4 Corners.

I found a campsite and took a trail to the canyon.  I was happy to return here.  It felt like a good place.  I loved the dark sky at night.  It was wonderful looking up at the milky way.

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I love the Grand Canyon

HOME!

P1050475This Land is your land, this land is my land

From California to the New York Island  (and all that’s in between)

From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream water

This land was made for you and me.

Lobster rolls and More

Disclaimer:  This is hard to look at and read if you crave lobster rolls.  It will make you want to bite into one sooner rather than later.

 

My friend and I went camping at Hammonasset State park.  We walked to Lenny and Joes’s  Seafood many times and ate the best hot buttered Lobster Rolls.


We met a man in Madison while we were shopping for car coasters and books.  He told us we must go to The Clam Castle and have a grilled cheese Lobster sandwich.  It was totally wonderful to eat BUT I’ll still need my lobster rolls.

We continued to eat another Hot Lobster roll while camping at the beach.  Can you get too much of a good thing?  Not according to Liberace the musician who said “Too much of a good thing is Wonderful.”  I agree!

We switched out one meal to whole belly fried clams from The Clam Castle.  They were good and I had leftovers.

On my way to Deer Isle, Maine for my workshop at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.  I camped overnight in Freeport, Maine.  Before I visited L.L.Bean I stopped for a lobster roll.  On the menu was a combination mini lobster and crab roll.  I made a wise decision when I ordered that!  Yummy, and it gave me the energy to shop at L.L.Bean.

The next morning I made my way to Belfast, Maine.  I was hunting for SueCakes a store run by a former elementary school student of mine.  She is quite the pastry artist.  I enjoyed seeing her, drinking a delicious smoothie and looking at her gluten free cake creations.

I went on my way, winding around back roads forever, when I spotted a roadside stand filled with cars.  I stopped at the best cold lobster roll place of my whole trip.  It was on the lake.  I found a parking spot and had a Spectacular Lobster roll.IMG_6386

At Haystack Mountain School of Crafts on Saturday night we could order a Lobster to be served as a picnic on the rocks.  The people that lived in Maine didn’t order but all the rest of the people ordered a $20. lobster. I don’t know if it was the price, or eating lobster on the rocks?   I didn’t get a picture as it was enough of a challenge to eat the lobster without managing a camera.  It was a soft shell, good but not as full.   Leaving Deer Isle, Maine I went to Bar Harbor, Maine and had a blueberry soft serve and did a sketch along the ocean walk.

A little store by the campground at Acadia National Park had a take out Lobster Dinner.  Add a box of wine to go with all this Lobster.

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On the way to Acadia National Park I stopped here.

 

I visited Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens a beautiful place.  It was lunch time.  I saw a Lobster roll on the menu but the man behind the counter said they were out of Lobster.

I left and saw a $9.99 Lobster roll back on the road.  How could they be out of Lobster the man said?

I picked up my friend and we went to Ogunquit, Maine.  We enjoyed the Marginal Way.

Lobster enjoyed with my friend at the Lobster Pound in Ogunquit, Maine.

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I can’t believe what I am seeing in this post.  It is from June until August but it’s a lot of Lobster!

My next post will be my cross country trip.

Arriving in Connecticut

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Dudley welcomes me to Connecticut

It was a good trip across the USA.  This is the story of my stops and mileage.

Leaving the Grand Canyon last Sunday June 4th I drove 348 miles to Grant, New Mexico and camped at the KOA.  No pictures, I was still thinking of the awesome Grand Canyon.  No time for sketches either.

 

Next stop overnight was KOA in Amarillo, Texas for a drive of 382 miles. The campground had a shuttle to the Steak House. I enjoyed prime rib and had 3 meals out of it.  On the drive to the campsite I viewed Cadillac Ranch.  Old Cadillac’s were sticking out of mud.  People were busy spray painting on them.  The site was littered with empty cans and tops.  It smelled of paint spray.  I didn’t want to linger.P1040552

I  stopped in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the KOA that was a part of a Race Track and Casino.  I had traveled 416 miles that day and was glad for dinner at the Casino.  While drinking morning coffee I watched the horses doing laps around the track.  I hated to rush off.P1040558

Stopping at Crystal Bridges Art museum for a few hours I then headed for Springfield, Missouri 233 miles.  KOA in the Ozarks with a nice swimming pool and shower.  I camped under the trees.P1040629

365 miles to Casey, Illinois.

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387 miles to  KOA in Homerville, Ohio.  I loved that campground in Amish Country.  It had a beautiful swimming pool.  One woman I met invited me to dinner, I declined as she didn’t say what her menu was.  Another woman invited me to their campfire that evening but I was way too tired.  It was a friendly place that was very quiet in the morning at 7 a.m. when I left.

I drove a manic 628 miles from Homerville, Ohio  to arrive at my friend’s house in Northeastern Connecticut on Sat. June 10.  I was glad to reach my destination.  The weather had been great all along the way.  I finished 2 books on tape and started a third.

 

It was good to see my friends and visit in Connecticut.

I was only there a few days when I took the train from New London, CT to NY.  I went to my granddaughters last day of preschool.

I took a quick trip into Manhattan and bought this art work from a happy street artist.IMG_6037

Saturday Night was a Retirement Dinner for Three Wonderful Teacher Friends.

It was a Great Tribute to them and a reunion for all of us attending.

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More People and Places to Come!

 

Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri

Oklahoma: Sitting at the picnic table eating breakfast and watching the horses workout around the track at Tulsa’s Will Rogers Downs KOA campground was a great way to start the day.  Canada geese where in the center of the race track.   I went from Tulsa, Ok. , Bentonville, AK and ended up in Springfield ,MO for 235 miles today.

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Gas is 1.99 and I thought that was low until I saw it for 1.95 and then 1.92.  Maybe it’s gone down in price in Calif.???

I stopped at Crystal Bridges for 3 hours on my journey.  I love this this free museum that Alice Walden started with her Walmart money.  However the Chihuly exhibit in the Gallery and in the Forest was $20.  I got my ticket and headed to the Forest!

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This is part of Crystal Bridges Art Museum

P1040585Chihuly in the Forest.  These are the blown glass Belugas.

I liked some of his early work in the Gallery.

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An installation by Sol LeWitt

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My campsite at the KOA in Springfield, Missouri.  I’m still outside on their wonderful WIFI typing my Blog.  They also have a swimming pool I sampled.  The birds are singing loudly.  It’s very nice here.  Later:  The WiFi gave out on me this morning.  NOW:  I’m in Casey, Illinois at a nice KOA campground with WiFi, a swimming pool and laundry enjoying my evening.

Drawing on the Edge – the Grand Canyon

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Fun sketching all day. The Grand Canyon is a challenge to draw! 

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I wish we had this sign at The Overlook by the Ocean in Corona del Mar!

P1040533I arrived for my drawing class at the Grand Canyon  once again drawn by the mysteries of the Canyon.IMG_5978

 

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Looking at the Colorado River and wishing to be on one of the boats at Hermit Falls.

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The instructor Allen Petersen doing a demonstration  on drawing the canyon.

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AT Last I have GOOD WIFI.  I’m in Amarillo, Texas.  Sitting under a tree, just went swimming in the pool and now I’m waiting for a shuttle to go to the Big Texan Steak Ranch.  Life is good.  Oh, I also have a glass of vino and a fan by my side. More to come!

Before I left on my trip I saw the beautiful glass sculptures at Sherman Library and Gardens.  Be sure to see them this summer if you live near-by.  I loved them!

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Coming on June 17, 2017, Happy Anniversary 50 Wonderful Years! I love you Both and Wish you the Best!

The Best of Southern Arizona

Postcards from South of Tucson.

Over One of several Margaritas on our trip.  We picked the Best of the Best. The Top Ten!  These are the highlights of the trip not the order of the sights.

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1. Sandhill Cranes

What a wonderful sight.  We arrived via dirt roads and strange gps routes to Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area in SE Arizona.  20,000 to 30,000 birds flew in as we walked to the water’s edge.  They fly from as far both as Siberia to spend the winter.  It was a spectacular noisy sight to see them.  We thought they might have already gone north to Nebraska as it was March 1 the day we arrived. These are pictures Diane took.  She’s an excellent photographer.

2. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

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Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is the only place in the United States where you can see large stands of organ pipe cacti growing naturally.  Diane, Colin and I joined a Road Scholar Hiking Group for the week.  We met 15 people from all over the United States to hike in the Sonoran Desert.  At Organ Pipe we hiked for 3 days.  Drink lots of water, drink more water and then drink some more water.

8 miles to the border of Mexico.  Lots and lots of border patrol!  More on that later.

3. Kartchner Caverns State Park

The Cave Tour at Kartchner Caverns was at the end of our trip but one of the highlights. Ranger Joe gave a wonderful almost 2 hour tour through The Great Room in the cave.  We also learned about the bats that will return to the cave in April.  I took some pictures in the museum.  No pictures allowed in the cave.  It was amazing.  They even found sloth bones.  IMG_5593

The campsite was very nice until the third day . It was still nice but windy.

4.  Saguaro National Park East and West

We hiked  with the Road Scholar hiking group to Bridal Wreath falls in East Saguaro National Park.  It was a huffing and puffing, I think I can, drink more water and then more water hike.  Diane and Colin were in front and I was at the rear.  I made it.

The hiking group hiked in Saguaro Park West the next day.  A nice hike up the wash, no huffing and puffing.  We see rock art and hear bird song.  If you hear the Cactus Wren it means you are in a beautiful spot said out guide.

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Saguaro Park West trail we hiked before we met the hiking group.

5.  Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

Wonderful things to see in the Desert Museum.  The Hummingbird garden was amazing. The Ocotillo Cafe had great food too.

 

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Tamale and Black Beans

The end of Part One in the Top Ten Best of Southern Arizona.  Next post will be More of the Best starting at #6.  I have so much to tell.