Weird and Dead Stuff

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Late OCTOBER 2008

Driving trip from SC to WI to see Heidi's son and family

 A fun Halloween pumpkin tent

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A strange combination - a huge white cross and church, and an Adults Only store, got a chuckle from us 

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The bridges around Lexington Kentucky were a phenomenal photo op

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New Albany and Salem Railroad (The Monon).  Fugitive slaves' use of this Railroad in escapes caused controversy in the 1850's.

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Natural mountain stone walls, common when driving through the mountains in Tennessee/ Kentucky, always beautiful.  The timing of the trip meant the beautiful autumn colors were rampant, what a treat.  Some photos looks like Impressionist paintings, and still cannot capture what we saw and felt.  We never get tired of it.

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We enjoyed seeing this tank humorously painted like an ear of corn, you can see how the Gutwein gourmet popcorn company  www.gpopcorn.com , 13 miles north of Indianapolis (Exit 141, Lafayette IN) processing the corn right from the fields.

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KENTUCKY ARTISAN'S Center and town

Birthplace of Handicraft Revival

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An impressive store of Kentucky artisan crafts is well worth the stop.  The rest of the town has plenty of little artsy shops to visit

Lost & Found, basketry and wood creation

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POSSUM gourd, great folk art piece

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Woven and wood basketry & vase

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Large bentwood chair and bench in the entryway of the Center

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Chris Ramsey turned wooden HATS are world-famous

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Artists decorated giant hands all around town
On the sidewalk leading to the Center

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OLD TOWN ARTISAN'S VILLAGE, where we found the rest of the Hands

The Power of Make-Be-Leaf

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Outside the bank, "Headed Home"

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Photo tour of


Elmhurst IL - Link below to Rocks Page 7:

Lizzadro Lapidary Museum, Illinois Virtual Tour



Travel is FATAL to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness.

(Mark Twain)



July 26 through August 5, 2008

The Washington Memorial in D.C.

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Jerry's Gemstones in Saco, Maine where we delivered 600 pounds of fossils & crystals

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Heidi with Mary in front of Mary's shop she runs with her husband Jerry

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LEN LIBBY Chocolate House, Saco

Lenny, the world's only life-size chocolate moose, 1700 pounds of milk chocolate, sculpted in 4 weeks, made in 1997.  A life-size bear in milk chocolate is beside it.

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Funtown, Splashtown Adventure theme park in Saco, LOOK at the big cone slide.  I am a little unsure how it works, but it looks FUN!

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Our favorite coffee (Tim Horton's, a Canadian based company) has PLENTY of cafes in Maine, what heaven! 

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Adorable rental cottages everywhere in Maine

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A spillway behind the town Old Town, Maine.  A refreshing place

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Maine Indian Basket Weaver's Alliance co-op, a wonderful place to see unique basket work and hunting clubs, but no photography allowed. 

The Wabanaki Arts Center Gallery carries the work of the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Indians using ash & sweetgrasses.

Old Town, ME

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Princess Watahwaso's teepee (Bright Star of the Penobscot), a Family Museum, Indian Island ME.  Built in 1947, also called Chief Poolaw's Teepee.  It features Native crafts.  A great place.

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Root Clubs made from root bundles of immature gray birch trees (not war clubs, there was no word for war among this tribal nation) new & old.  Short clubs used to finish off a kill on an injured animal, longer clubs made later to stave off soldiers that had spears as weapons.  They believed they were releasing the spirits of animals & birds from the wood they were carving.  The clubs were also carried in dances and religious ceremonies.

Penobscot Native people in Maine sold off some of their ancestor's clubs, then began making new ones, and re-purchasing the ancient ones, to preserve their Penobscot & Wabanaki cultures.

Below is Museum Coordinator James Neptune sharing these stories of the Penobscot Nation with us, as we viewed thousands of years of their Native American history.  Our thanks!

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This particular wood has unusual roots that are sanded and sharpened to enhance the club's effect. A fascinating find!

Ancient ceremonial root club

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Assortment of new root clubs

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The first  COMPOUND BOW, pre-European

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Large, ancient rootclub

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New walking sticks using old techniques & paint styles

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Folk art wooden snake, we both fell in love with it!

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New Tomahawks

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Art using feathers and a bird, in a wooden bowl

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Unique Eastern Woodland ash basketry

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UPDATE August 2009 - guess what we found in an antique store in Vermont?  You guessed it - a ROOT CLUB from the Penobscot Indian tribe.  AND that night we checked online and found (and bought) two tiny ones on eBay.  Photos below.  At an appropriate time when we go back to Maine, we will present these as gifts to the museum, as these clubs must come Home.
Small club #1 found on eBay, says "Omega in the Woods" and incomplete name N.E. Con...  dated 1935

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Small club #2 found on eBay

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Large club found in Vermont, the root top is decorated like a bird's head with beak

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A cemetery mausoleum grown over, wonderfully unique (Old Town ME)

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The expected Moose Caution sign along the road in Maine

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Typical Maine wild blueberries.  Maine exports more wild blueberries than any other state or country in the world.  We ATE SO MANY BLUEBERRIES!

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Antiques, Books & Wine

A memorable book store in Ellsworth ME.  A wine tasting area will eventually be located in the tower.

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KISMA Preserve, Ellsworth ME

Out front is a moose made of mixed media, benches made into alligators, and a view of a llama.  We do not prefer to see caged animals, and do not recommend this..

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Glenn and I enjoyed the WHALE WATCHING out of Bar Harbor, aboard the Catamaran Friendship V. Here is the harbor and one of the Catamarans, and a whale replica to enjoy.

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We viewed numerous Finback Whales that surfaced to blow, breath and dive.

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We relaxed in the comfort of the large cabin when traveling out and back.

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The Bar Harbor dock, made with limestone, was quite picturesque

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Tide is out, many enjoyed walking to the island and back during high tide, collecting finds along the way

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at the College of the Atlantic Natural History Museum

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within the Wonderview Inn complex, overlooks Bar Harbor from high above.  A truly beautiful sight of the harbor, lovely restaurant, superb dining and service, especially since we were alone as we went early

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Ancient Whale, Ambulocetus natans, 49 million years old 

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Minke Whale, stranded near South Harpswell ME April of 1987

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Atlantic White-sided Dolphin (Lagenorhynchus acutus)

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Long-finned pilot whale, Globicephala melaena 

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Pygmy sperm whale (Kogia breviceps).  This mature PREGNANT female stranded & died on Dyer Island off Vinalhaven ME due to gut blockage from a knotted plastic bag found in her intestines

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True's Beaked Whale (Mesoplodon mirus)

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Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina concolor)

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Humpback whale skull (megaptera novaeangliae), from whale named Incubus, stranded 1994 on Falmouth, Cape Cod, cause of death unknown

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Harbor seal mother and pup

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Common bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)

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Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena Phocoena)

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Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)

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Dolphin &  seal skulls in a row, individually photographed abovemaine84.jpg (129013 bytes)  Exploding Harpoon gun, originates back to 1860's

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Whale skeleton suspended from ceiling

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FORT KNOX Historical Site, Seabreeze Restaurant

and Penobscot Narrows Observatory & Bridge

Looking towards Fort Knox State Historical Site.  "Protector of the Penobscot", this fort was quarried from Mt. Waldo, 5 miles upriver (last 2 photos).  Note the bridge in the background.

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The Penobscot Narrows Observatory & Bridge contains a tower on one end that is actually an Observatory.

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The mine from which the stones for the Fort were quarried

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Verona Island, ME

A cozy place where we laughed when orders were switched, ate beans for breakfast (among other things), a specialty in this area.  Good people and good food!

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Janica Danforth & Laurie Ames are the ladies that made the restaurant memorable

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Unique Rock Shop in Verona Island ME had painted the floor like a giant specimen of amber with bugs.  A great little place to stop!

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Wood carving, man & dog, Frankfort ME

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Trunks carved with faces, outside a sewing shop in Belfast, Maine

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 Update December 2009: A customer wrote us after finding our wooden totem photos (above), trying to find the source to buy one.  They had also visited Belfast, found the garden faces, and he wanted to buy one for his wife for Christmas.  Here is Rudy's wife (Oct. 2009) in front of the same artist's work in Belfast.  He was able to get enough info to track down the artist and buy the piece he wanted.

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Flowers in Belfast

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Bronze moose, outside Belfast ME

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Car with torpedo on top, in Camden ME, advertising the Hope Jazz Festival

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Harbor Park


Huge metal lobster, and a giant red lobster, at the fest

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The lobster cookers

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We expected to taste lobster in many different dishes.  Instead, there was the lobster dinner, or lobster roll, clam chowder, and a few other seafood places, but not the diversity of foods we expected.

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We listened to the Lou Gramm musical concert sponsored there at the Festival.  We still find ways to enjoy, anywhere we are, however, as this Pirate threatened to cut Glenn's throat, and Glenn is actually laughing.  It was a great moment..

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A wooden alligator in a private yard, we spotted it from far away on the road.  Neat!

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Bees and flowers in front of the Lie-Nielsen Toolworks in Warren, Maine, a manufacturer & showroom of impressive hand made heirloom quality tools.


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Always angling for another special photo, here is one of the remains of a pier on a waterfront in Maine

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A really large, new CHOCOLATE HOUSE in Freeport, Maine

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The Udder Place Coffee hut (Brunswick Maine), charming!

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We overnighted with friends Rhode Island, meeting again after 7 years since we had our shop in Boulder City Nevada.  It was wonderful to see how the kids had grown, and re-connect with Kevin & Kim.  We will never forget you.

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The Zakim Bridge, completed in October 2002,  the jewel of the Big Dig, Boston's new cable stay bridge over the Charles River.  It was a challenge to figure out how to get the new highway across the Charles River without disturbing the existing double-deck I-93 bridge or the MBTA's underwater Orange Line subway tunnel.  The solution was provided by world-renowned Swiss bridge architect Christian Menn.  Read more!


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Named for Zakim, a man who built an impressive resume as a social justice activist, serving for two decades as executive director of the New England office of the Anti-Defamation League.

Fortress Storage, Boston, LOOK at the SIZE of the PADLOCK and CHAIN!

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Heading west from New York City to western NY, a bad storm was on its way into NYC that downed trees and took down electrical grids

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We visited an old friend, Henry, near Buffalo NY, in his lakeside home.  He and Glenn posed for me, amazing to see two grumps smiling, AT THE SAME TIME.

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Henry's geraniums

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The Grand Canyon of the East, along the Genesee River, just 35 miles from Rochester NY.  A refreshing visit, though some scenic views were somewhat overgrown with foliage.  The Wolf Creek drops 


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Flowers left by a visitor on the rock barrier, on Tea Table Rock

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A kayaker far below

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A buzzard on the ledge

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First of three major waterfalls, this one is on the Wolf Creek that cascades 225 feet

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A wind farm energy project in upstate New York State, seen off Hwy 14 built along a mountain ridge, a real surprise!

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The first familiar view of kudzu (we adore the formations of kudzu), in Virginia, on our way back home.  Our alien antenna ball adds a surreal vision.

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A doe and fawn in our own yard, we're really HOME!

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JUNE 2008


New Orleans, Gulfport, Biloxi

One of the split bridges we crossed in Alabama on the way to New Orleans (called the Crescent City because of its location at the bend of the Mississippi.  We were here shortly after the major Mississippi River flooding in Iowa and other Midwestern states bordering the river, though it did not affect New Orleans

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View of Lake Pontchartrain showing the new bridge (left) and the old bridge never fixed (right), and the view through the reeds of the sunset

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Going back over the new bridge, note the destroyed road through the slats of the bridge railing, and the railroad bridge further in the distance, it was nice to be able to make an art form of the view:

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Plenty of other road and bridge building going on close to New Orleans:

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Canal Street, some original buildings, some demolished, some being remodeled.  It looked better than I had expected though I am not kidding myself on the work going on behind closed doors and the frustrating delays.  Here is a grand building on Canal Street, street cars, a horse wearing a hat, pulling a carriage crossing the street

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Downtown New Orleans, near Harrah's Casino, the Mardi Gras theme is evident

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Downtown New Orleans, still beautiful, music in the air, horse or mule drawn carriages.  Here was an unusual white mule we saw:

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We're on Decatur Street in New Orleans in the French Market area. Here's a Joan of Arc statue at the beginning of the Market

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We spotted a wonderfully strange van embellished with glass dinner plates, saucers, stained glass, glass nuggets, etc. what a sight!  The Motto:  "It's better to go somewhere slow, than nowhere fast".  Note the top of the van that has a glass chess set glued to it, and many drinking glasses.

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This man painted silver uses a special powder that breathes so it is not harmful to skin, he shows us the jar.  He is part of the "Silver Alliance", a group that paint themselves silver and walk or ride through New Orleans.  Others paint themselves gold.  This is a growing group that do this 

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A restaurant was boiling crawfish by the handful from this cooler, the hostess showed us how to break them apart and suck out the meat. 

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Many original buildings showed evidences of humidity (grass growing from the bricks) as well as permanent damage from Katrina, though the charm was surprisingly  intact.  We were saddened and proud at the same time, very conflicted feelings.  Those who live here and remember the Way it Was will never be fully reconciled with this New Normal, as many historical buildings & homes are gone forever.

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Note the interesting piano keyboard railing, and armored knights:

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One store (Auntie Sally's) making chocolate pralines, we couldn't resist buying a box after seeing so many throughout the French Market.  They were delicious. 

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Music evident everywhere, here is a musician pulling his specialized guitar in a rolling cart

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Colorful tile mural and sculptures

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A donut with no hole, covered in powdered sugar called a "Beignet" is popular everywhere in New Orleans.  This is a typical "post-Beignet table".  They taste much like Spanish Sopapillas but with powdered sugar instead of honey:

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We heard jazz music and followed it to an art center with a terrific band, Glen Andrews and the Lazy Six, music to heal the soul and bring laughter back:

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A sampling of the beautiful flowers in the French Market

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We had a panoramic view from our Hilton Hotel room, overlooking the Mississippi River, the bridge, the tugboats pushing barges, the cruise ships, plenty of activity to appreciate

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Oops - a SPIDER on the window outside, looks like the Monster Spider that Ate New Orleans:

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In a Mardi Gras store, an appropriate T-shirt statement we could agree with..."Make Levees Not War".  There's Heidi, masking for the camera

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Here we are in Irish Bayou, a tiny town virtually untouched since Katrina.  Here a unique castle home is leaning into the bayou, damaged from Katrina.  Note the steps to nowhere beside the castle

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This beautiful new marker is on Lake Pontchartrain on Highway 10 at the beginning of the bridge

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Evidence of many piers that used to dot the Crescent coastline, now just the supports remain, though one or two of the piers have been rebuilt, along with a marina.  The beaches were scraped clean.  We saw hardly any tourists walking the beach, as the infrastructure is still scanty though you can drive to hotels and casinos not far away.  The one beach where we saw umbrellas and flying American flags was like an oasis

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A historic beachfront property with Spanish style buildings that comprised the VETERAN'S HOME in Gulfport was uninhabitable.  It was more than sad to see the empty buildings.  A whole lot of work to rebuild.

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This "Gator's Souvenir City" structure is being re-created as it was before, a welcome sight along the coast:

Post Katrina

Another destroyed structure, very typical of almost endless work yet to be done.  I could not possibly document more than a tiny bit, but I hope this gives you an idea.

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The rebuilding of the casinos has been the first order of business, and though the residents are grateful for the money & tourism it brings to the area, they don't always appreciate how the casino money has taken over the coastal towns.  The hotel owners on Highway 90 are 100% booked most of the time, just with construction workers for the casinos, road building, bridge building, etc.

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by the Mississippi Master Gardener Association, 

Operation Rejuvenation Project

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One of the most heartening sights we documented were the dead trees along Highway 90 (in the median and on the north side of the road) on the coast between Bay St. Louis, Gulfport and Biloxi that have been transformed into animal carvings of dolphins, pelicans, sailfish, shark, sea turtles, cranes, eagles, parrots and seahorses.  The sight of these lifted our spirits as I am sure they do to thousands of others every single day.  Making lemonade from lemons.  Bravo.

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On Highway 90 in Biloxi, we found the Camille Memorial, a beautiful hurricane shaped mosaic, surrounded by black marble tablets with the names of the victims.  The bent flagpole is the intentional message of the impact of Camille.

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Unfortunately, we did not learn about the Katrina Memorial built by the Extreme Makeover folks in Biloxi (and the same mosaic artist that did the Camille hurricane swirl did the Katrina wave) until we returned home and did some research:


One of the beautiful live oaks, many did survive the onslaught of Katrina, a welcome sight:

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A link to view some of the significant damage documented by the Gulf Coast News and some of the progress.  A lot of these landmarks and certain areas mean a lot more to us after being there:


OHR-O'KEEFE MUSEUMS OF ART, Highway 90, Biloxi

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This was under construction at the time Katrina hit, there has not been a lot of progress to rebuild this as yet, but it looks like there are plans in the making.  They are operating out of another transitional building elsewhere in the meantime.  Great simple art hanging on the fencing too, bright and cheerful

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Welcome humor with this toy caterpillar road grader  bungied into place on this big flatbed trailer, spotted in Alabama on the way home.  Or it shrunk!

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Across from the Creek Poarch Casino right off the freeway near Atmore, Alabama was a little gas station with R. J's Hickory House, Barbecue & Grill inside, the best barbecue we'd had in quite awhile, strange but true

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THE VARSITY Restaurant, Atlanta

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We couldn't resist a stop in downtown Atlanta, right off the freeway, to our favorite hot dog joint. "What'll ya have?" is their favorite phrase to keep the lines moving with placing their orders.  It is ALWAYS busy but seldom a long wait.  Three levels - the main level where the food is made & served, another level with tables, a third area of parking with roller-skate servers to your cars.  Generations of customers continue to come for all the obvious reasons, the food and the atmosphere.

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 We looked for long-time employee Erby Walker to serve us, it turned out he had passed away the week before.  A wonderful tribute was displayed in appreciation.

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Alaska trip posted on its own pages



We added plenty of great photos of the Festival, Museum and the Fossil Club's displays, posted to Fossils page 9, link below:

Fossils Page 9



A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour


MAY 24-26, 2008

Immediately after the Aurora Fossil Festival, we felt time for a walkabout, and struck out for the


all the way from the south end, Okracoke Island, taking the car ferries between islands north to Roanoke Island (staying overnight at Cedar Island)

On the Okracoke Ferry

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Pelicans and cormorants on the pilings, and seagulls:

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On Okracoke Island, you can see how close the road is to the beach, though there is always a dune between them.  The snow fencing makes for postcard photography

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Gas prices, we did not know they would spiral DOWN shortly after this trip

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The architecture of the Outer Banks is distinctive in height, as most homes must be this high to see the ocean beyond the dunes near the ocean shores

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In contrast, the tiny Salyo NC Post office is primitively tiny:

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A surprise Space ship House on Cape Hatteras, near the Shore Birds & More store.  It is an uninhabited residence

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Another surprise, a cactus blooming outside an ice cream shop

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Manteo, Roanoke Island

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The Elizabethan Gardens is a glorious living memorial to the men and women of the Roanoke Voyages (1584-1587) who tried to carve out a living in a strange new world. Over 500 different plant species are found in the 10-acre site on the north end of Roanoke Island, adjacent to Waterside Theater (where the Lost Colony play is re-enacted).

The bronze statue of Queen Elizabeth I , the largest of its kind in the world:

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Pansies & violets abounded

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Heidi is enjoying herself, guaranteed when she is among trees and flowers:

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Unforgettable trees and vines

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A gorgeous form of Begonia(?)

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Marble statue of Virginia Dare, one of the vanished members of the Lost Colony.  Chiseled in 1859, it was lost in a shipwreck off the coast of Spain, recovered 2 years later to complete its journey to the U.S.

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The Sea Gypsy IV, a PIRATE SHIP that takes on tourists, Manteo harbor, Roanoke Island

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If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, YOU MIGHT BETTER STAY HOME.

(James Michener)


MAY 2008


A simple leaf stuck on our car after a storm in Franklin, NC during the gem show became an art form:

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Flowers behind our hotel in Cherokee NC

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We look forward to seeing the poppy fields in Franklin, what a sight for sore eyes!

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And unexpectedly, a flowering prickly pear cactus

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Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from COAST TO COAST without seeing ANYTHING

(Charles Kuralt)


APRIL 26-28, 2008

A walk on the beach, 

Myrtle Beach SC


Fun watching the birds run from the waves, finding shells, fossils and sharks teeth.  Always a relaxing time for both of us:

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Jellyfish on the shore this particular week, we attempted to make an art form of it through our photography.  There is beauty even in death.

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We found a single artist to feature from this show, as he was so outstanding.

Nnamdi Okonkwo is based in Atlanta, Georgia.  He created these huge bronze sculptures of women.  They are phenomenal.  He has a workshop and gallery in Atlanta, visit his site at:


Here he is, sitting beside one of his Ladies

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Here is a setting of 3 of his bronze ladies in various poses.  It stops every single person in amazement at the sheer size and grace of them, here are five angles of the same grouping.  This is one of those things that must be felt in person to be understood, though we attempted to capture the mood with our photography.

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Mother and child, two different sculptures

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Three other small sculptures, just as beautiful and moving as the larger ones:

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APRIL 2008


Featuring UTAN, the largest croc in captivity in the United States

Link to Gators page 7 to view the Virtual Tour:

Gators Page 7


MARCH 2008


An unexpected stop on the way back from NYC in Aurora, NC at the AURORA MUSEUM to see the new fossil Toothed Whale on display.  View that visit on 

Fossils Page 9


MARCH 2008


We made another unexpected stop at our friends on Easter, who were not home.  We, instead, took pictures of all their Spring flowers to surprise them.

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He considered re-locating the glass specimens in their garden, and decided instead to leave a gator foot mug.  Glenn knew for sure they would know it was US who had invaded their yard

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MARCH 2008


A quick stop to see Williamsburg, VA and the Visitor's Center.  The pansies were in full bloom, and a form of berry.

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MARCH 13-17, 2008


We left for a slingshot trip to the City Thursday night & Friday to deliver our 10 foot gator taxidermy mount to a buyer there.  We delivered it at 1:30 p.m. right in the heart of the Theater District on 46th Street on Good Friday, the New Orleans themed restaurant is called 


We drew quite a crowd to see all the OTHER gator items we had brought. But since we were parked in a cockeyed position (no parking spaces, of course)

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we spent just a few minutes inside.  I'm sure once they position him at his best, he will be quite impressive!  The restaurant is beautiful, two stories high, with wrought iron railings, a huge wooden mantel behind the bar, Mr. Gator on the right hand side. A real re-creation of the flavor of New Orleans.

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We "Toured the City"  from the car for less than an hour before shooting back through the Lincoln Tunnel and heading home on a more leisurely drive.  As everyone knows, you can't expect to take your car to NYC and expect to actually park.  You need to park it at an Auto Train Parking Lot and take the train in to do any serious sightseeing and enjoy the restaurants and shopping.  But Glenn adapted to driving like the best of 'em, you can be sure, weaving across traffic as they all do.  It IS as crazy as they say.
Approaching NYC from the South

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Through the Lincoln Tunnel:

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Broadway & 7th

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A sandwich board ad for a barber shop on a street corner

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A Clydesdale & trailer statue for kids, at the entrance to Central Park

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A Statue of Liberty on the edge of Central Park  (not THE Statue, however).  This wasn't an ad for a Tax Prep company, maybe someone else knows what it was for (?)

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Times Square

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Double decker bus

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The Fashion District (a/k/a The Garment District), a giant button on top of a kiosk, and a common sight of fabric rolls being unloaded:

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Leaving NYC, through the Lincoln Tunnel "No Honking $350 Fine" (right)

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Leaving the City behind

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A beautiful place we saw on our way out

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Entering New Jersey, already the pace has decreased.  Whew!  Of course, then a plane landing at Newark airport flew overhead less than 100 feet above us.  But that was awesome.

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PHOENIX, BENSON Arizona trip

The fact that this was a dual birthday for both Glenn's brother Frank and Frank's wife Diane made this a special trip from the start.

Here's Frank & Glenn in front of Glenn's birthday gift to him last year, a big jasper rock for their yard

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Benson, Arizona

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We went to the Kartchner Caverns in Benson Arizona, though no cameras, purses, anything carried or in your pockets are allowed in.  A mist sprayed at the entrance kept lint attached to our clothing for the duration, we went on tours through two different caverns (The Rotunda  Room, and the Throne Room where we saw the Xanadu Kubla Khan throne).  We were impressed at the policies and care taken to keep this growing, virgin cave alive and as pristine as possible for future generations to enjoy.  It is closed part of the year, as it is a bat habitat, during the breeding season.

Discovered in 1974, it was kept a secret for 14 years until laws and plans were in place to protect it from vandalism, exploitation and ensure the survival of its delicate ecosystem.


Flowing Rock (calcium deposits from flowing water)

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And an angel wings "Shield Rock" that is not on the public tour..

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Due to a malfunction, the entire cave was lit, rather than the lights shutting off behind us, so we had a rare panoramic view of the caverns that even some of the guides had never seen before.

Heidi was even "Cave-Kissed" by a drop of water falling from the roof to what would have been a developing stalagmite that was now a walkway.

We learned about Fried Egg Stalagmites

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Bacon drapery Stalactites

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Soda straw stalactites

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Also Popcorn Stalactites, and Helictites (stalactites that grow every which way)
Photos compliments of the Kartchner Caverns State Park booklet purchased at their gift shop
GARDENS outside the Kartchner Caverns Visitor Center

A restful area to relax and talk, photos of Glenn with his brother Frank, special people in a special place.

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Herds of steer are grazing on this STEEP hillside, what a chuckle we had seeing this!

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The Salt River Valley, a panoramic view enjoyed by all

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Note the crashed car halfway down the slope, we saw quite a few of these unfortunate vehicles, not to mention their former occupants

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How did they  manage to stack this wood this high on this truck?  An imponderable!  We saw this at a small town on the way to Frank and Diane's property where they will eventually build a home

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On their property I found a "Pretzel Tree" I promptly dubbed with that name.  Frank & Diane are looking forward to building here, it is beautiful country.

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We had a casual dinner at the 

Apple Tree Restaurant in Benson, Arizona

our quirky waitress made us laugh at her antics and forgetfulness, the rest of the staff joined in the fun.  We haven't had such a great time in years. What an appropriate end to a cheerful trip!




On our way home from the Charleston Airport, after returning from Arizona, on a whim we drove into McLellanville after seeing a billboard for a new seafood restaurant - T W Graham & Co.

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Glenn opted for the baby clams for which he was glad, I had the home made coconut custard pie that was like no other, I took another piece with me of that and the Charleston chocolate pie. Wow!

Inside we found a gigantic wooden head, there on display from a local artist.

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The owner has such a sense of humor, we saw a fantasy creature made of a deer skull, (gator or dolphin, unidentified but assuredly legal) skeleton and a horned tail.

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A giant shrimp that kids & adults would pull a string to make it "swim" through the air

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And a Crab from Hell (keep your sense of humor and your fingers to yourself!)

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They also had an impressive array of found fossils on display, we helped identify a few for the owner.  Another pleasant experience.  We will be back!



Atlantic City, NEW JERSEY SHORE Trip

The Visitor's Center near Atlantic City is a real landmark:

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The Jersey Shore is memorable, especially the 5+mile boardwalk.  Here we are at the beach 

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A side trip to a craft show brought us to Smithville NJ, where there was a great row of shops including this wonderful carousel:

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At the Noyes Museum of Art (Absecon/Oceanville), we were more intrigued with the wood marquetry flooring.  I'm sure they thought we were nuts...

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Of course, photos of Trump's Taj Mahal could not be avoided:

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Surprisingly, they have wind generators here (this is the view from Absecon NJ), they are amazing structures.

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November 1-2, 2007

another visit to New Jersey, though not so warm this time.

Ocean City, a beautiful mural on a building wall, downtown

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A hurricane worked its way up the coast, we left Myrtle Beach after it had passed, only to land in New Jersey, drive to Ocean City, and see the hurricane causing enormous waves for brave surfers.  Wave runners pulled divers out far enough to ride the waves.  What a spectacle!  We shot some photos from the beautiful pavilion, due to the cold wind & spray:

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The ocean & sky made for postcard pictures:

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The boardwalk in Ocean City was just as special as that in Atlantic City.  Most of the vendors were open, brave souls!  Of course Heidi always orders the custard wherever she can find it.

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Then we came upon the taffy store... they've been here since 1898 (109 YEARS!)

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Notice the beautiful wood showcases, the stained glass windows, the store has delicious products and so much character, it invited us to linger...

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The candy train, and the gorgeous, huge Victorian mirror:

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And the white chocolate figures such as horses, stagecoaches, flowers, and man & woman figures that can be ordered for weddings, etc.:

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And all the chocolate, pralines & taffy choices to make, it was AWFULLY HARD (smile)

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The fudge, pralines and taffy for which they are famous, are made right on site:

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A terrific great white shark model display, and a goofy fish at the mini golf:

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FREE PIZZA if you can eat one in an hour or less.  The record time?  NINE MINUTES!!  Look at the SIZE of these pizza pies!

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While driving through the area, we found this alcove with beautiful homes.  In fact, the architecture on the Jersey shore is unique, enough as a destination just for the viewing

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Linwood, New Jersey

LAVA ROCK stone FACES!  Not just a great garden & landscaping company.  The owner carves huge boulders into faces, and has an eye for growing & arranging beautiful flowers and vegetables into a cornucopia of art.

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Here are some examples of the face boulders:

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 And a boulder pile waiting for him to create more faces:

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A picturesque and soothing koi pond, beautifully  landscaped with bamboo trees

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An unusual draping tree

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And an incredible mural of a hand in nature

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Overpasses and concrete highway walls in the Seattle area often have hanging vines and growing things naturally adorning them

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First view of the Space Needle

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Pike Place Market

Home of the Flying Fish

The fishmongers there found they attracted a crowd when they threw big salmon from person to person behind the counter, with plenty of shouting and hoop-la.  It helped their business, that's for sure!  We watched the fun as the did this several times while we observed, then they would throw a fish into the crowd who screamed and backed away, only to find out that a plush salmon toy (looking like the real thing) had actually been thrown.  The joke was on them!

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The first thing that struck us was the incredibly colorful FLOWER MARKET area.  Not only were the blooms huge, the flowers appeared exotic but were actually local (dahlias, kale flowers, etc) and the prices were more than reasonable.  IF we lived here, we'd be getting an armful every few days.  I apologize for the volume of photos, we couldn't decide which to leave out!

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The hanging flowers and roof shrubs across from the Pike

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Also outside, a decorative chili tent, WOW

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Tiny Patti pan squash

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Specialty colorful PASTA at the Pappardelle's

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Halibut cheeks, shrimp, jumbo scampi, Alaska king crab, Dungeness crab

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Jumbo scallops and HUGE lobster tails

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Asian musician just inside the market

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A slightly scary balloon maker

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A Puget Sound wolf fish (a type of eel), a truly fearsome critter

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A wooden box carver, nothing ordinary!!  Of course I purchased one of these unique gnarly boxes

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Piroshky (pirogies) a wonderful ethnic Polish food, across from the Market

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Across the street from the Market was a Starbucks Coffee (remember, Starbucks was BORN here), there was a country band playing, accompanied by two patient dogs

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Slate & brass art, these are embedded right in the concrete of the sidewalks near the Market.  This one reads:  I have always known that at last I would take this road.  But yesterday, i did not know it would be today.  Narihira (9th century, Japan)

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Roses at a shop in the blocks near the Market

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Decorative sewer piping on the side of a brick building, near the Market.  An art form can be ANYTHING!

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A crow broadcasts his opinion from the roof of a store near the water's edge (Puget Sound)

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Downtown Seattle, water's edge, Puget Sound

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Just about as interesting as our OWN store was (and our website now is), we reveled in the wonderful dusty weirdness of this unique store

A fantasy creature created from several critters put together, yeeks!

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A gnarly mako shark jaw with a float ball in its mouth

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Wolf fish head

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Real shrunken heads

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A rare shrunken TORSO of a Jivaro Ecudorian head hunter

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Smallest shrunken head 

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A walrus skull with THREE tusks

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Shoulder blade of a whale, and a vintage harpoon gun

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A view of Puget Sound, and Mount Rainier (between the bridge spans)

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at an Art Gallery,  near the waterfront, Seattle

Since we love glass and Dale Chihuly's work, stopping here was not an option.  A few photos show comparisons of the same glass art piece, as seen through Glenn's and Heidi's camera lenses

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FREMONT OPEN AIR MARKET (suburb of Seattle)
Photos of the Space Needle at night, and from the top

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At a weekly outdoor market in  , a wood fired stove where they make pizza - yum!

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It looks like a hybrid of cauliflower & broccoli, I am unsure, but it was just fascinating

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A truly amazing sight, this huge troll created of concrete lurks under the north end of the Aurora bridge in Fremont (a suburb of Seattle) is a MUST SEE if you are in the Seattle area.  He is "crushing" a VW bug in his hand.  His one eye is a car's hubcap.

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Other attractions in Fremont include:  a 20' statue of Lenin (no one knows why), an old rocket mounted on the side of a building that blows smoke every hour, and dinosaurs carved of living hedges.  We'll catch photos of that NEXT TIME!



October 2007

Quilt Museum
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A "quilt" tile

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An exquisite quilt done with puffins:

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The gift shop itself was worth the trip to the Quilt Museum, though we thoroughly enjoyed both.

Barges on the Ohio River, Port of Paducah
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You can get a sense of the size of the barge from the car on shore

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A birdhouse near the river's edge, bent no doubt from the wind

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A Train on display near the Port of Paducah

Illinois Central

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And close up photos of some of its working parts

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Hancock Fabrics, Paducah

(not affiliated with the chain) a HUGE store we had looked forward to visiting again.  Here are quilts hanging from the ceiling

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Flowers that would be a raffle award at a Farmer's market near the Quilt Museum

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A friendly cat at the motel where we stayed, of course Glenn couldn't resist feeding & petting it

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Flowers blooming along the highway

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JULY 2007
The work of a skilled sculptor?

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Actually this is exhaust pipe from a Loris salvage shop!


MAY 2007


Here's an example of the crystals from Brazil you can see at the show

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One booth showing the calcite display items available

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Uncut LAPIS LAZULI gemstone from Afghanistan

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The nearby town of Sylva, NC was displaying their Confederate Flags on the Courthouse, not your typical choice for a patriotic statement

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Our friends Renee & Dale bought a carved moose from wood carvers "The Bear Necessity", as a symbol of their new business "Outside the Norm".  They sure bought enough inventory to get a good start!

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Renee and Heidi in the parking lot of the Whistle Stop Mall, having a light-hearted girly moment

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We visited our favorite furniture store in the Whistle Stop Mall, Amish-made log furniture.  We will own one of these beds one day, if we can ever get it home and have a ceiling high enough!

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A baby miniature pony, along with its mother, our "Awwww" photo of the moment

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Across the street from the miniature horses was this wolf-dog on the porch (I shot the photo from a distance, for safety sake!)

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MAY 18-28, 2007

EL PASO, Texas

We actually went to El Paso to cross to Juarez to get dental work done (American-trained dentists that do terrific work on crowns & root canals for a fraction of the American prices).  We, of course, explored the surroundings and have much to share!


The Don Juan de Onate Salazar (holding the La Toma Declaration in his hand), riding on an Andalusian horse unveiled in April of 2007 (the month before we arrived) is the largest & heaviest equestrian statue in the world at 34 feet tall, 18 tons.

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At the post office near the airport, there was a LONG line...it turned out this was a designated day to file your passport papers for the new regulations.  This is a big deal for a border state such as El Paso.  Here is Glenn with Margie, the postal clerk who explained it to us.  Thankfully for us, the SHORT line was for postage. A great and friendly post office!

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A place everyone must visit when coming to El Paso, it retains the flavor of the Old West, and the colorful Mexican history as well

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Great vintage cars in the parking lot

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The traditional Wooden Indian near the entrance

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A view of the main showroom, there are so many rugs and blankets it will boggle the mind

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The front desk, flanked by colorful Great Danes

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The pottery & artifacts room

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Dream catchers made of jaws, and religious crosses

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Lots of cow horns to choose from

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Artifact costumes & pottery for the Day of the Dead parades

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Other incredibly colorful pottery of roosters, bulls etc.

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Leather saddles galore

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Hand painting work-in-progress on a cow skull

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Local foods always interest us, here in El Paso was an endless selection of hot peppers, rice, beans, big cinnamon sticks, and pickled pork skins

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El Paso...a walkabout the town
Tradicione's furniture store on Gateway Blvd.  with unique wrought iron animal figures on the fence, and a beautiful mural:

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Right next to that, the "YES" store with Tropical Colorful prom dresses that were such a treat to the eye!  A number of designers display in this store, see the link below for even more.  Wow!

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An Oriental Imports store that had a huge vase with crystalline glaze (the glaze has real quartz crystals within it that GROW when they are put in the kiln to fire.  Heidi has a collection of them, but none this big!  If only we knew how to get it home...

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The stone used in many buildings, fences, garages and other structures made the architecture of El Paso interesting, we drove many miles to view the handiwork in stone:

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Then an unusual kiosk

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The famous Rosa's Cantina from the song "El Paso" by Marty Robbins:

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Another colorful restaurant:

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Floral delivery trucks - what a great idea!

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This private residence was full of what appeared to be Hindu goddesses or gargoyles or both:

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Many of the overpasses were made into art forms with mosaics of brick & colors 

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Just outside of the Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino entrance, an enterprising three-some created shade and seats to fish in the canal.  We met Buddy, Irma and Sam

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Beautiful blooms right in El Paso

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Outside of El Paso, this eclectic store took up some of our time to explore.  Cast animal figures of ram, cow, gator, horse, bear, gargoyles, cactus, wrought iron gates, dinosaurs, buffalo, bulldogs, pigs, Indians, cats, elephants, elk, hippo - and that was just OUTSIDE

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Even live koi in a large pond:

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Mariachi band of musicians in iron..

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INSIDE - a taxidermy raccoon that was hilarious--who scared him?  And a llama made of shag carpet?

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A silver belt buckle just for "Diane", what a story that must have been...

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THE PASTRY CHEF (A European Bakery & Restaurant)

Turtle Cove Shopping Center, El Paso

A wonderful surprise to find, especially the gifted Polish pastry chef Kazimiera Helinski that we complimented on her delicious & beautiful hard work.  How can you resist the ladybug & butterfly cookies?  And so many other pastries to choose from.  She came here in 1981 at the age of 41 as a refugee from the Polish Revolution.  We are glad you came!

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a HUGE horse head at the entryway

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Elegy on the death of Cesar  Chavez

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An upended boat sculpture

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Hmmm, a shapely form, but a but cold for Glenn's taste:

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The Fireman

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Right in El Paso, another pleasant surprise was a beautifully well-kept rose garden, that included a ball park too.  Just enjoy the variety and exquisite formation of the roses...

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 To comfort man--to whisper hope, when e'er his faith is dim, for who so careth for the flowers will care much more for him.

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We drove by the office of, a one-armed man handy with a gun!  Glenn tells of his Corvette fitted with cuffs for knives, guns, etc. that he could switch his artificial arm over in a jiffy.

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A patriotic flower flag at the Wal-Mart store

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An unforgettable view from Rim Road on Memorial Day, of the Wells Fargo Bank in El Paso displaying an American flag on its building

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Glenn's old friend and neighbor Darlene, a fellow horse lover, is still thriving in her home and enjoying her horses out back

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BALLOON FEST at the Water Park

An extravaganza of balloons launching, we saw it all from the bluff at the Water Park, starting at dawn (free, the bluff road runs alongside the water park).  What an experience!  You will see the progress from a field of cars to an explosion of color.  The sound of the propane heaters, the colors growing, then rising, multiplying.  Everyone's a kid at heart when you see something like this.  An uplifting experience!

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Tweety Bird!

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The winds had begun to change, becoming dangerous for one balloon that landed near the road

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An ENORMOUS Rain Forest Tree balloon with parrots & toucans, it took a long time to fill, then due to the wind change, it never took off.

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This balloon also never had time to inflate before the winds changed a different direction and they had to deflate.

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A Huge Purple People Eater balloon, another unusual balloon!

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Not to be confused with other Cattleman's Restaurant Chains, this is a single entity, at Indian Cliffs Ranch, 35 minutes from El Paso.  Started & continued by proud German Dieter Gerzymisch, first to accommodate the dining needs and horse rental for the soldiers at Fort Bliss, it kept growing to the entertainment destination you see today.  It has also been a movie location for numerous films shot here.


Always a dining experience, it was a pleasure to re-visit.

An extensive array of bronze animals scattered throughout the spacious acreage

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The entryway carport was alive with the noise of small birds

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Cannons & bells adorn the entry

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  Glenn was already planning to have the "Dinosaur Ribs" from the longhorn cattle famous in the area

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Plenty of ambience of the Wild  West, with memorabilia and Western saddles everywhere

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Is this a happy man or what?

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Movies shot on location here

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An exotic animal zoo, including ostriches (with eggs)

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Sicilian burro

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Brahman bull

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Fascinating El Paso fashion is for the young women to wear high heels with  Capri pants, I snapped this picture in the parking lot, but we saw this often during our stay in El Paso.

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NEW MEXICO (May 18-28, 2007)

Since it had rained recently, we experienced the wonderful bonus of seeing the desert bloom as never before

Soapstone yucca

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Of course, while taking this photo, I picked up this little friend on the hem of my pants, ouch!

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 Prickly pear cactus in bloom

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Other wondrous desert blooms

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Two-Room School House, Hwy 54 (on the way from El Paso to Alamagordo), Oro Grande NM

We saw a sign for a "Beggar's Festival & Hobo Convention" and turned in out of curiosity. 

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We found an interesting gentleman caretaker who explained the unique roof water collection, and how he continues to raise money to restore the school house.  He also told how the school bell had been shot at and eventually stolen.

Turtle race!  This was for the festival

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Post office, across the street, for Oro Grande NM

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Bird of Paradise bushes

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Purple & yellow flowers near the school house

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Hobosaurus - a new species of dinosaur!

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Inside the schoolhouse, it was a re-sale shop

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"All hoboes & beggars must leave town after festivities concluded"

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Hand made wooden cars & trucks, made by a retired colonel turned cowboy

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The Wishing Well (a toilet full of rocks, inside a truck tire)

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The Wishing Well  Token you get for making a donation:

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Outside of Alamagordo approaching Cloudcroft, we saw this quonset building and had to stop.  They did indeed have a rattlesnake pit, folks would reach a fishing pole with a balloon down there for the snakes to bite & pop the balloon. 

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Inside was a big re-sale store, in the back room was a REALLY LARGE rattlesnake, though without a size reference this will not impact you as it did us:

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What we did find of interest was a LARGE zebra skin in pristine condition, which we bought and kept till we chose to sell it in December of '07:

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Alamagordo, New Mexico

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A unique 275 square miles of PURE WHITE GYPSUM SAND, the world's largest. To the north is the White Sands Missile Testing Range.  The dunes grow and change by the minute, though due to the surrounding hills (the Tularosa Basin), the gypsum never escapes. So it dissolves when it rains, grows beautiful gypsum crystal formations, then the wind breaks them back down to sand again.

Changing from desert to what appears to be snow but it is just the white sand

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Selenite, satin spar, desert rose, and gypsum flowers are the four crystalline varieties of gypsum

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Examples of gypsum, selenite rosettes, gypsum made into wallboard, and into plaster of paris

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Examples of river sand, Hawaii volcanic sand, Florida coquina shell sand, and the gypsum white sand

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The shapes of the dunes: dome, ripple transverse, crescent barchun, and hairpin parabolic

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The view of the entire Tularosa Basin showing the white sands and dry "playa" Lake Lucero

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Some vegetation can survive rooted in the sand

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Heidi squinting at the bright white of the sand

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You would swear you were driving in a snow covered region.  The appearance of a "snow plow" did nothing to dispel this thought.

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Some vegetation has to have long roots to withstand the shifting sands

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An area with covered picnic tables where we wrote up postcards to mail, one of the more unusual picnic spots we've been!

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More of the succulent cactus flowers in the landscaped area of the Visitor's Center.  A colorful ending to a highly unusual experience

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(previously known as the International Space Hall of Fame).  28 countries furnished artifacts and other exhibits of man's conquest of space.

Alamagordo NM (we did not go in, but here are a few photos of the space capsule and the John Stapp Space Park).  There is also an Astronaut Memorial Garden, dedicated to the memory of the 7 astronauts who perished when the Shuttle Challenger exploded on 1/28/86 as we can all never forget.  There is an observatory in the background.

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Ever see where pistachios grow?  We did.  They even produce WINE!  One miles NE of Alamogordo on Hwy 82 towards Cloudcroft, we came upon this lovely log store. They even sold koi fish in a pond out front.  Yummy pistachios in flavors you never even imagined (hot hot hot)


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LAS CRUCES - Farmer's Market
We found a lady (Chris Crafts) making hats from plastic bags (30 in each hat, machine washable, it takes her 8 hours to make one.  She uses bags from: Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes Target, IGA, Walgreen's, Hobby Lobby, Best Buy, Unravel Yarn Shop, and Albertson's, also Hefty and Ruffies bags. to get the variety of colors she sells.  Of course, Heidi bought one.

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March 2007


The town of Cripple Creek, 9,494 foot altitude - we flew here from Myrtle Beach (sea level, -0- altitude), to almost 10,000 feet - no WONDER we were short of breath when viewing this quaint gold-mining themed Casino area

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Burros bronze statue, near the visitor's center, which was an old railroad car, the inside was very cozy:

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On the road from Woodland Park to Cripple Creek, a hilarious Roadside Americana scene of the Flintstones and dinosaurs. Note the blowing snow on the last statue, we were missing the mild temperatures of South Carolina!

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Gorgeous views of many mountain peaks, including Pike's Peak

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On the road from Denver to Trinidad, Colorado, a herd of antelope blend with the best of camouflage into the surrounding fields:

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A huge wooden carved ostrich at a Pottery Shop we found between Colorado Springs and Woodland Park

A beautiful lodge home for sale in a Woodland Hills neighborhood

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Deer are comfortable walking through a residential neighborhood in Woodland Park

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(Manitou Springs, Colorado, at the foot of Pike's Peak, near Colorado Springs)

An ancient Anasazi Native American dwelling built into the natural red sandstone cliffs, 700+ years ago (they built these and lived here from 1200 BC to AD 1300).  It is a touch and experience place to walk through and marvel at their handiwork and culture.

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And a beautiful and well stocked gift shop for visitors:

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A cactus thriving in the desert scenery, though I guarantee the snowman will be temporary, in the warm sun on the picnic table:

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