…well into the second 5 year mission!

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Desert Moisture

Wet weather in southern New Mexico is, to me, unusual.  We have just passed a storm system that brought first, a cooling, then two days of wet weather, then the storm cleared leaving cooler weather behind.

The clearing of the storm happened at dusk, with the dramatic clouds, moving east, lit by a setting sun.

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The next morning I awoke to see the lakebed, mostly dry, blanketed in white, a soft, smooth surface hiding the lowlands but letting prominent formations peek through.

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As the sun began to brush the cloud tops, the smoothness began to change, as if threads were pulling bits of cloud upward.

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The surface was quiet, almost unmoving, looking like a photo of stormy seas- still, but showing turbulent currents frozen by the lens.  The photo below is not of the sky.  It is looking down on the sunlit top of the cloud, with the ridge of the background mountain showing in the upper right.

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As the sun continued to rise, it pulled the cloud with it, dividing the lakebed from the peaks.

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In Search Of Color

My visit to the Colorado National Monument was about the land, physical features.  When I left there, I was searching for color, specifically fall colors.  I revisited the Cimarron CO area.  It had produced well in the past.

A few days of rain later, I was having my doubts.  Then, just at sunrise one morning, with more storm clouds coming in from the west, I woke to see this out my back window.

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OK, it wasn’t the color I was looking for, but it was nice, plus, one of the benefits of this lifestyle is that it is easy to be patient.  As the stormy weather cleared, it began to look like my wait might be rewarded.  That evening, the view to the west looked like this.

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The color was definitely coming.  The next morning, there was more color in the campground.

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Jim, Kathy and I went up to the area east of Owl Creek Pass.  We were rewarded for the drive with wonderful color.

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I can now head for New Mexico, having seen the golden aspens in full color.

 

Wandering about in the afternoon

Every hour, the light changes in Colorado National Monument.  Yesterday, I did a late morning wandering.  Today, I went to the south end in the early afternoon.

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The sign said, “Winding Road”…

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These look small in the photos, but I assure you – it is grand.

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Pedaling my A** Around Town – NOT

No need to pedal, and no town, but the bike is a lot of fun here.  I am at Colorado National Monument.  I’m not doing trails with the bike, but the road, in most areas, has no safe place to stop a car for a photo.  With the bike, I am able to stop almost anywhere and get the pic I want.  So yeah, I’m having fun!

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By the way, there are cars in the below pic – above the cliffs, just to the right of center…

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Stormy Weather – FINALLY!

It has been dry, dry, dry in the northwest.  That is finally starting to change.  We had a storm front come through midday today.

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In the distance there was some lightning.  Up close, some of the peaks looked like volcanoes fuming in anger.

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Mid-storm, we got some hail.  Yep, that’s what those white blurs and streaks are.

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It began to pass – all too soon, returning sun to the east face of Mount Moran.  We need a LOT more rain.

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It left us with the familiar range with a crown of clouds – and a bit of ice on the ground.

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Buffalo Valley Boondocking

For the past week, I have been hanging out at a snow plow turnaround off Buffalo Valley Road, overlooking Buffalo Fork.  I have seen lots of haze, but did not do much photography.

Last night, a front came through, preceded by showers.  This is what I saw just before going to bed.

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And this is what I awoke to this morning, my day of departure.

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Nice spot… but it is becoming “discovered”.  I had it to myself twice during the week.

Early Bike Explorations

I am dry camping a few miles east of the Grand Teton National Park, above the Buffalo Fork, a tributary to the Snake River.  Around me are fishing, camping and hunting access roads and wilderness trails.  I started out near the campsite, following a two rut path down toward the stream.

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You can see my RV and a neighbor, with whom I am sharing the site, in the photo above.

Next, I headed east along the road to a wilderness trail.  The north leg headed up, and the south leg headed down.  I went north.

About 50 feet later, having almost lost it three times, I turned around.  The bike was fine – it wanted to climb, but the trail was perhaps a foot wide, with uneven edges, several inches of dusty, very loose dirt, and underbrush right up to the edge of the trail, which had sharp angles in it.  The hoof prints showed it to be used primarily by horses.  Maybe with the reflexes and balance I had 40 years ago, I could have done it, but I decided, not now.

I headed further east and found a fishing access “road”.  It would be impassable for the Subaru due to deep ruts and sharp dips in places, but the bike enjoyed it.

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Finally, the scenery I wanted was beginning to open for me.

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OK, now THIS is NICE.  This is what I was hoping to find with my new legs.  I know, the light isn’t great.  I am shooting toward the sun.  There is haze in the air from wildfires to the west.  The peaks are far away.  Still – this put a smile on my face.

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OK, it is 4:30.  Time for a nap…

Trying out my new “legs”

Wow – three months since my last post…  I haven’t been dragging my feet.  Honest.  I have been really busy, looking for, and hopefully finding, a new way to get a bit off road for my photography.  What I found was an electric moped.

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I won’t belabor you with the path I followed, but it was challenging.  Finally, at the end of June, I received the bike and licensed it.  It will go 20 mph on the flat, but I wanted to see what it would climb.  I headed off to Glass Butte in Oregon to try some hills.

This spot is one that was too rough for my car and too far for last year’s legs, so I have never seen this view.  It isn’t spectacular, but it was new to me, a proof of concept, as it were, therefore exciting to me.

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I learned that the bike will pull me up a 15% grade briskly, will get me up an 18% grade, but presented with a 22% grade, it said, uh uh, not gonna do it.

I took a very short ride along the road in Idaho at a spot I stopped at for the night.

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Right now, I am close to West Yellowstone, in a nice little campground, so I took a tour with my camera.

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OK, I COULD have reached these spots with my car, but I would have had to park on the campground road for them, which would have been a concern for anyone passing by.  I wouldn’t have walked – too far.  So, these are pics, again, that I got with the bike but would not have gotten without it.

I think (I hope) this will work for me.

 

On To Capitol Reef

Working my to the northwest, the next stop for me was Capitol Reef.  Native Americans called this home long before Europeans saw it.

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For two days, I too called this home.

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My first day here was beneath grey skies.  The sun sneaked out on the afternoon of the second day, so I headed out.  I found the Capitol Dome…

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Further west, the views were expansive.

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This place is full of trails; it was frustrating to not be able to hike them.  Still, there is a road, called Scenic Drive, that gives a nice experience.

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A re-visit to Monument Valley

I visited Monument Valley in 2010, and decided it was time to return.  My buddy Jim jokingly urged me to get a sunrise shot, knowing that I tend to sleep in.  Well, usually…

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While sunrise was ok, the late day colors on the rock really do it for me.

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Of course, given the chance, I put myself in the photo.

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