Saturday, October 29, 2011


It is Halloween at Houston Zoo and our Barbie Mariposa Fairy is coloring-in the animal poster.
Charlotte selected a pumpkin to decorate taking her time coloring each segment a different color, it was very pretty when finished.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A drive through the canyons

I started the day off by chasing a roadrunner around the parking lot for a photograph.  Got it!

It was a nail biting drive to Titus Canyon the scenery was more spectacular with each bend in the road. The day was bright, warm and sunny just like all the days in DVNP.

This is the road and the road keeps going up, it hairpins around the mountain in the distance. We must cross this range and a few others before arriving at Titus Canyon.
Garry wanted this shot it is apparently interesting geology, I think it looks a mess, maybe that is why Garry wanted the geology shot.
Up and over one range now to cross another.
The rocks change color with each bend  in the road.


We enter Titus Canyon which was about a three hour round trip from Furnace Creek Ranch. The road to the canyon is only suitable for 4WD, AWD or high clearance SUV's, we have rented an SUV. Once we turned off the main road onto the dirt track crossing the alluvial fan the road was rocky and bumpy.  The road goes up, up, up, around, and over the mountains behind the canyon.  It is a ONE WAY road which alleviated some fear but the steep drop up or down on the tight curves caused me to hold my breath.  In the canyon the views are breathtaking at times the canyon walls are only twenty feet apart.  The rocks are a mess, they are twisted in all directions but that makes them interesting to look at. The photographs show you the canyon and Petroglyphs along the way .....

We saw some yesterday and again today, quail.

We stopped at Salt Lake to see the Pup Fish and walked along the boardwalk over the Saltgrass to the lake.  Something was biting me and it was extremely hot.  A European couple were coming back from the walk so I asked if they saw any Pup Fish and they said, "no, it is all dried up".  So we turned around and continued on our travels.

The drive through Mustard Canyon is short, only about ten minutes, but it is very pretty and the rocks are indeed a mustard color.

On display at the Borax Museum is the equipment used for borax mining and transportation.
Where's the water? One bonus, at 178 feet below sea level is that we did not get altitude sickness, no huffing and puffing to go uphill.
Me, it is not the lowest point on the trip, but the the ranch is at 178 feet below sea level.

For a few miles along the highway between Furnace Creek, California and Las Vegas, Nevada there are Joshua Trees (Yucca brevifolia).

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Scotty's Castle and Moving rocks

Bev asked in an email this morning if we have seen the rocks that move on their own.  It is unexplained how the rocks move and remains so. The geologist in the family, Garry, cannot explain them, so ....

The tracks have curves and at places they are almost right angles.  The rocks vary in size and I have placed the photo of the car in front of the field to show scale. I thought they were much bigger rocks but they are quite small.  Bev, now we have seen this interesting place.

We visited Scotty Castle and the NP Ranger told us to forget visiting Racetrack (where the rocks can be seen within the park). He said that we could see them better if we left the National Park and drove into Nevada. His instructions were specific, drive a few miles into Nevada and at a SOFT EDGES sign there is a track onto the playa.  Sure enough there was the track and at the edge of the field, the moving rocks.
Photo: Garry Karner

What did I get from visiting this place? I saw a roadrunner up close and the Ranger gave us great directions to see the moving rocks. That was the good, then came the bad. We learned about Scotty. I would dislike Scotty if I met him (he is dead as are all the players in the story). This is a rather bizarre story of the friendship between a millionaire and the con-man who had swindled him. Scotty was a liar, cheat, rogue and story-teller, the type who sells mining rights to land he does not own. The greedy millionaire was aware of Scotty's lies but continued to fund him, was something else going on here? Sure, had to be. There again, the millionaire made his millions selling life insurance .... enough said!
The clock tower visible from the road.
The roadrunner in the parking lot.
The millionaire built the home on government land .... go figure!
Although she never visited Spain Mrs Johnson liked all things Spanish.  Some tiling comes from Spain but most tiling is imitation, made in the USA - same with the furniture. Ceiling beams are fake and on it goes - they were all about showing off their wealth.
I like the mining weather vane.
I do love the color of this plant.
See what I mean? Most of this is not real, not antique and not from Spain. I bet they these folks believed that they had class. Hmph!
Looks nice, but really .... fake!! The Johnson's were cheats just like Scotty. This was hard for me to hear the guide talk about. Just a month before I had been visiting Kees y Vicente in Madrid looking at an authentic Spanish mansion decorated with antiques - it was hard to wrap my head around these fakers.

We stop at the edge of the field of moving rocks.
The rocks in front of the car are the ones photographed on this page. Small aren't they?
Can you see the right angle turn? The track starts bottom right of the photograph.
Follow the forward rock's track back over to the right then up to two sharp right angles.

Well if you see a roadrunner then it follows that you would see a coyote.
Cotote catches Road Runner

To complete our day in the northern section of the park we drive to Ubehebe Crater to see hopefully and extinct volcano.

... and back at the ranch to moon comes up later tonight.