North Carolina the Outer Banks

How did I get to North Carolina I asked myself?  I left Pennsyvania and drove through Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.  On the way back from North Carolina through Virginia, then Maryland, over long stretches of bridges and tunnels into Delaware, on to New Jersey and the George Washington bridge to NYC.  Wow!  What a trip.  The Outer Banks is a beautiful wild place.  It was a fun week.

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Driving to Cape Hatteras I stopped at Kill Devil Hill to see the site that the Wright Brothers launched their first flight.

Another stop at The Bodie Lighthouse.

Arriving at Cape Hatteras and the house my daughter-in-law, son, 3 grandchildren, her parents, her niece, her brother and his child were staying in this week.  A swimming pool was right beside the house.  It was perfect for a week of great times.

 

I forgot to take a picture of the large seasoned shrimp as I couldn’t wait to bite into it.  Grits and pulled pork for lunch at Grill and Grits.  Soft vanilla ice cream swirled with fresh peaches!  Breakfast was made every morning by my son.  Life was good.

 

Driving through the sand in the 4 wheel SUV that my daughter-in-law and son rented we have fun on the beach.  Rip tides, rough surf, sand castles, fishing, painting on the beach, boogie boards, sand crabs and shells make us all happy.

We take the ferry to Ocracoke Island.  My grandson draws the ferry while crossing the inlet.

 

Painting on the ferry.

We cross the channel to the new Shelly Island Beach at low tide and hear about it the next day on National News ABC.  They warn people not to visit the island as they have had a lot of rescues.  We time it just right and get back with loads of awesome shells.

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We found so many shells with Hermit Crabs living in them.  It was nice wading through the water on the bay site hunting for shells, fishing, playing with the hermit crab, painting and watching the ferries crossing.

It was a wonderful time!

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.

 

Park City, Utah

Heading to Park City, I stop the first night at Snow Canyon State Park in St. George, Utah.

It is a beautiful spot!  The next day I head up the 15 to Park City, Utah.  At the rest stop I spot a Nut Mobile.

I check into my room at Westgate Resort.  It’s amazing.  I’m really having a good time exploring the environment and the weather while swimming in the indoor-outdoor pool and hot tub.  It’s a great vacation spot.  Monday I stay at the Resort and watch the snow falling.  It’s light snow and I still can go swimming.

 My daily routine  for the rest of the week. Read and eat breakfast than be out at 9:30 a.m. I try to catch some early morning sun.  The sun shinning on the Aspens makes the yellow color luminous. I drive to a spot to paint. I’ve decided the day before where I will go.  Today I went to the parking lot where they had The Farmers Market.  I paint at least 3 paintings.  Below is a truck with pizza oven on the back at the Farmer’s Market.

The Mountains are beautiful with fall colors and snow.

Today it is Olympic Park. I arrived just in time for the tour. The guide looked like

Robert Redford at 45.  He was a former Olympic member of the luge team and now is an announcer for the Olympics.  He is already signed up for South Korea Olympics.

It was so  interesting and scary.  I don’t know how they can do it. The tour was in a bus to 3 different Olympic spots. Next I went to a nice lunch at Squatters  Roadhouse.  Home for my swim in the pool.  I’m really relaxing.

I found a friend in downtown Park City.

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Park City owns this barn.  Some call the White Barn also known as McPolin Barn.  I walked a trail past the barn.  Paved trails run all over the city.

My wonderful Brother Bob passed away suddenly in August.  I wanted to post a blog all about him but I wasn’t able to do it yet.  He supported me in all my endeavors.

 

Leaving Ojai

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Scene from the back yard for my Aunt Lois.

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Chicken for Aunt Nancy!

Watercolor Postcards in the mailbox!

My sister and brother-in-law came to visit.

We celebrated my sister’s Birthday.  IMG_0039

We hiked The Shelf trail.

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Am I hiking or sitting? There were great views along the way.

Cozy Dell was our hike the next day.

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Mountain Overlook at Cozy Dell

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Along the Trail at Cozy Dell

We saw fields of beautiful wild flowers.IMG_0025

They looked at my collagraph prints in the studio.

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Me at the printing press

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 We had a Birthday dinner at Suzanne’s.  Delicious! They stayed in The Tree House.IMG_0035I did 2 more collagraph prints inspired by the meadows of wildflowers we saw.

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“Along the Trail” image size 12″x 8″

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“Mountain Meadow” image size 12″x 8″

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These are my magic pastels. They belonged to Leonora.

 I am packing now to leave Ojai.