Morning has broken…

We’ve made the big effort to rise in time for sunrise several days this week….and have felt suitably rewarded each time.

We, along with 1000 of our closest friends….

If you click on any of these photos, they’ll reward you by filling your screen. Then notice details like our 1000 friends crowded along railings that keep them from falling off the cliffs. Or the one guy waaaay out on a rock with arms raised to the glorious scene before him!

Can you tell we’re having fun?

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The lone soldier

Much is made of the rocks and gravel of the Grand Canyon, but the forests grow right up to the edge…and over it…in most areas.

Life for these trees is rough, starting with the dry, rocky soil. And the weather here is merciless in its extremes, with frequent howling winds.

I’ve been drawn to some of the sturdy standout trees that have anchored themselves right near the edge. It seems as though they’ve set themselves up as sentinels for this national treasure.

Herewith, our pictorial salute:

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A really bad case of erosion

Pretty amazing to realize this whole Grand Canyon exists because of erosion!

We’re visiting some of the same spots over multiple days, because the views change with the hour of the day, and our perspective changes as we learn more.

Nice time of year to visit….many fewer tourists, and the ones who are here seem to be attentive and interested. We get a special pass to drive Hermit Road because of Ross & Ryan’s limitations with public transportation….the road is usually limited to the free shuttle buses…and it allows us to stop right next to what interests us, and reduce the walking.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised how closely they run the road and parking lots to the edge of the Canyon…very, very convenient!

Here are a few of our favorite things…so far….
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ABQ

After just 3 days in town, we’ve practically become natives of Albuquerque…starting with how to abbreviate that name!

Actually, we barely have scratched the surface of this happy, sunny, dry, dusty, large, new, old, rocky, prickly, spread-out, bustling, well-kept, happening place!

And it has idiosyncrasies: for one, the stores don’t even bother stocking “mild” salsa…only medium and hot. I’d be dead in a week if I lived here!

Robyn discovered another one yesterday morning: hot air balloons have the right of way everywhere except the nearby air force base! She and Ryan were driving and came upon this scene:

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The balloon initially landed beside the road, but a chase crew member moved it across in front of Robyn to the narrow median, where they deflated the balloon and put it all away.

The Sandia Mountains overlook the city, and provide a lovely backdrop to most scenes. We enjoyed seeing the efforts people make to tame the mountain: the longest passenger tram in North America, and settlements of adobe homes scattered across the foothills.

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As you can see, the countryside is certainly not lush and cozy. A sweeping look would cause you to saddle up and keep on riding. But a closer look reveals a lot of variety to the terrain…in the plants, the colors, and the topography.

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DSC_3420_aAn interesting phenomenon occurs nearly every evening….the mountains turn a deep reddish orange during the last minutes of the setting sun.

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We had a little extra fun on our last day in town….with a solar eclipse! I managed to get hold of some throw-away sunglasses that were made especially dark for the event, and I held one side in front of my camera lens to get this shot. That is some kind of sun spot in the middle, not dust on my lens.

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So long, farewell

We’ve finally gotten up our courage, and plan to hit the road again. Ryan still consumes a massive amount of attention, but the attention is mostly preventive and his behaviors are mostly appropriate.

In the coming days we plan to head west again, probably through Albuquerque, with stops at Grand Canyon and Zion national parks!

The best part is that Robyn’s dad will fly to meet us at Grand Canyon, and will ride the rest of the way with us to our destination on this loop: just outside McKinleyville, CA where he lives…right in the midst of California’s North Coast…redwoods, surf, eagles, cool temps year-round, marijuana.

Medicinal marijuana.

The area is where we spent last winter, so we’ll pick up where we left off…enjoying nature at its best!

We leave the Dayton area with parting shots of sunsets and moonrises. The next bright pictures we post will be from somewhere in the west…

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Rocking Hocking

The Hocking Hills region of Ohio is a remarkable geological gem, and quite a departure in terrain…if your only contact with Ohio consists of interstate travel!

Our recent journey through the region gave short shrift to the many, many really lovely features….partly because the travel to and from occupied so much of the day, and partly because some areas require climbing too many steps or traveling along forest paths that are too rough to be sensible with Ross & Ryan.

But Ash Cave had a fairly short and nicely paved path from the parking lot, as did Cantwell Cliffs (but not clear to the cliffs…).

The jewel we discovered was Rock House….

Late in the day, when the boys were done in, we came to this very rugged section of the park. Many uneven steps, very steep hillside climb, and quite a distance from the parking lot to the main feature.

I ran the course with my camera and monopod, and got lucky. Lucky, because the so-called rock house is unmarked…and it’s not at the bottom of the hillside, so you could go waaaaay past it and have to come clear back to see it! My luck was in the form of a nice older couple who were on their way back up, who told me how to find the house.

Cave, actually.

And apparently it’s the only true cave in the whole area. I wouldn’t know what is required to be a true cave, but you can see from the first two pictures below that what is called Ash Cave is actually just a large, deep area under massive overhanging rock.

Gotta go back sometime and get more pictures of the Rock House gorge, and more detailed photos of the cave!

Quite a treasure, Hocking Hills….

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Cornucopia

Farms occupy a large portion of the real estate around Dayton. As we approach harvest time, the colors of fields change, and shortly they undergo rapid changes in shape and texture as tall crops are cut to ground level.

We love the fall season for its many transitions, and share these pictures from our daily drives of late.

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Weekend of wings

We were fortunate to catch the annual fly-in for Waco planes at the airfield north of Dayton where they were built in the late 1920s and early 30s.

About 25 planes were flown by their private owners for the weekend….all lovingly and painstakingly restored to perfection….and shown to crowds of admirers.

As originally built, each plane was custom in its design and decoration, but all had double wings and a single engine in front. Notice that some were open cockpit, some had a single canopy for two seats front-to-back, and some had a modern cabin.

In the final picture, notice the unusual arrival with two wings….(you’ll probably need to click on it and view on a large screen)….

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