Friday, December 12, 2014

Yuma Territorial Prison

January 2014

From 1876-1909 the Territory of Arizona operated a prison in Yuma.  3,069 prisoners were incarcerated there, and today it is a tourist attraction.

Their crimes:
The conditions:

Despite the looks of it now, it was considered a model institution in its time, and called the "Country Club on the Colorado", because it was one of the few places that had electricity, running water, and flush toilets.  After the prison was closed, it was used as a school.  The Yuma Union High School Criminals played 4 seasons from this home after their previous building burned down.

They had an innovative way to do mug shots, saving 50% on film

 There was a famous escape attempt:

Some of the more interesting inmates:
 Related to Senator Flake, I wonder?

And in the courtyard, some humorous decorations

More pictures.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Las Noches de las Luminarias

December 2013

Every year the Desert Botanical Garden has a series of evening shows, with live entertainment.  Last year, it also featured lighted glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly.  Very large, elaborate, lighted glass sculptures

More pictures and movies of the bellringers.

Colorado River Oasis

November 2013

A park we've stayed at twice now, as it's a day's drive from PHX toward California, is in Ehrenberg, AZ, on the banks of the Colorado River
and across the street from it is a pioneer cemetery

Not as fancy as Boot Hill in Tombstone, but a fascinating piece of the Old West.

More pictures.

Bonita Falls

November 2013

While staying at an RV park in Lytle Creek, CA, north of San Bernadino, we took a hike up the wash
on a "trail" that wasn't marked at all, using instructions that said things like "when you see a big rock with red paint on it, ..." to a cute little waterfall called Bonita Falls

More pictures.

Napa Valley

October 2013

We went on a wine-tasting tour of the Napa Valley.  The only way to do it.  After 7 wineries with 4 tastes at each one, driving yourself around is no longer a good idea.  Vicki and I split our tastes, and skipped the last one completely.

The views were pretty
we got to see the grapes during harvest time
some interesting sculptures
a very interestingly named bottle
and of course the cellars
one was in an actual cave

California was looked down upon by French winemakers until a California Chardonnay beat them all in a blind taste test in 1976.  The winner was made by a Croatian immigrant named Miljenko Grgich.
Two of our fellow tourists brought their daughter.

Being young and strong, they each had their own tastings and skipped nothing.  And they were going out again the next day!

More pictures.

Santa Rosa

October 2013

I lived in Santa Rosa for 3 years (age 5-8), so we went to see my old haunts.  The house I lived in seems now to be occupied by the Clampetts, before they struck oil.  You can't see the 6 cars parked in the driveway, maybe one of them could start.

Here's what's left of the walnut orchard that was in our back yard.

The church and school I went to is still there, but the ball field is gone.
Santa Rosa's favorite son was Charles Schulz, so they have a museum for him.  What a fun place!

It was almost time for the Great Pumpkin to arrive
and there's things for kids to do there

Santa Rosa also has an obelisk, called the cyclisk, made out of bicycle parts
More pictures.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veterans' Day

I had a surprise treat today, free buffet for vets at the casino.  We were going there anyway, because it's prime rib night.  I've been getting emails for free breakfast or lunch, or appetizers and/or desserts at various dinner restaurants, but I didn't expect anything at the Fort McDowell buffet, much less a complete freebie.

After visiting Little Big Horn and learning about the history of the Old West and the relations of the US Army with the various tribes of that area (It was a Lakota Chief, Red Cloud, who said "The White Man made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they kept only one:  they promised to take our land, and they did."); and Canyon de Chelly on the Navaho reservation, learning about the Long Walk, and knowing only a tiny bit, so far, about what went on here at Fort McDowell, I thought it would be totally understandable if the Yavapai would hold a grudge against the US military, and not be one of the places offering goodies to veterans today.  But they did, to their credit.

We also visited the Crazy Horse monument this year.  There was a Lakota man there demonstrating some of his people's music and dance for the tourists.  After the show he took questions from the audience.  The news of the day was the flap about the nickname of the Washington, DC NFL team, and that was the first question.  His answer was that he didn't speak for anyone but himself, but his view was that they had bigger fish to fry.  When his people were no longer suffering from 50% unemployment on the reservation, from alcoholism and disease, when the kids could get a decent education, then maybe it would be time to worry about NFL team nicknames.

I've long thought it one of the delicious ironies of American history that the tribes have been reaping profits in their casinos from their customers who are, for the most part, descended from their former oppressors.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


October 2013

Exeter, CA is a little town in the central valley that, besides being home to my second cousins (once and twice removed), has murals painted on the outside walls of many of the buildings.  We took the mural tour, which includes searching for hidden images in the paintings.  In this one, can you find the cat?
And when we returned to the truck, we had a visitor
More pictures.

Helpful advice

from the Oregon DOT:
But, like all warning signs, they wouldn't be there unless somebody had done it!

Mount Shasta

October 2013

Driving I-5 from Oregon to California you go past Mt. Shasta, an impressive 14,000 foot double volcano in the ring of fire.  We didn't stop except to take a few pictures.

La Pine

I've been falling behind.  This post was due to be a golf course review, but my new golf course review system, wonderful though it is, takes some time to implement.  I've been stuck, but I will skip the golf courses for now, and carry on with our travels.

September 2013

La Pine, Oregon is just south of Bend, in an area of (good golf and) volcanic activity.  We hiked around Lava Butte

and drove up to Paulina Peak,

with views of Paulina Lake and East Lake, part of the Newberry volcano crater.  The road to the summit was narrow, winding, the mountain on one side and sheer cliffs on the other, snow-covered, and quite an adventure going up and down in the truck, maybe not as much of an adventure for us as it was for the family in the Subaru coming the other way.

We saw Paulina Falls
and the Big Obsidian Flow, huge chunks of it!

and hiked several places around the Deschutes River

And some of the mountains seemed vaguely familiar to me

More pictures and two waterfall videos.