Carrieres de Lumieres

 

lumin wave_IR.jpgJohn and I are all about repurposing things… whether it is a hunk a wood we make into a table or a slab of rock into a bench.  We love nature and using it for new and interesting useful things.  During our visit to France we went to this fascinating old Boxite quarry in Les Baux en Provence.

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The ‘mine’ itself was fascinating, but their repurposed use of it, was even more fantastic.

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They developed light shows of works of art that they shown onto the walls of the mine that played and faded with the music.  It was wonderful.

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The ‘shows’ change ever 6 months or so.  When we went it was works of the Picasso mixed in with The Spanish Masters and a Pop Culture show.

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It was one of the most interesting ‘shows’ we have seen… truly magical.  We stayed and watch it loop all the way through as we stumbled through the mine and watch the works of art unfold before us in full living color.  Just fantastic!

 

 

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South of France

I’ve said it before, everyone looks for something different in a vacation.  For some it might be a golf course, or white river rafting, maybe shopping or big adrenaline adventure.  For us, we like to see and experience something new.  We like the relaxation of walking around taking it all in… but also an activity to bring some excitement, and culture to round it all out.

Our relaxation came from the tradition of ‘paseo’, a term that actually means walk in Spanish, a time honored tradition of walking around the town square before dusk and dinner time.  It’s a time for the Spanish people to visit with old friends.  In France, the tradition takes another form, when the people sit at a table, turning their chairs to overlook the street and watch the people go by.  We practiced it often to be sure we got it right!

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Of course, the views while sitting watch the people go by, are stunning.  As you can see where we were overlooking the boats in Cassis or the old ruins in Arles.

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The ruins and history everywhere we went were fascinating.  It’s hard to imagine the stories these places could tell, and to be in the presence of something so old.  Some built as far back 7AD, others as new as 1600.

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The village overlooks were stunning.

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Even the streets themselves were fun to walk through, with their cobblestone walkways and decorative archways.

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We especially enjoyed the markets in all the villages with it’s own town as the backdrop.  Fresh veg and hand crafted goods were marketed with passion and pride.  Farmers carefully laid out their vegetables in an attractive presentation.  Lines formed behind favorite (and great) cheese and salami makers.  Amazing breads were everywhere, made with pride and passion.

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Which had to be our favorite part about the entire trip… the people.  It was not Rick Steves-afied, i.e popularized beyond belief.  It was real and genuine.  The people genuinely wanted to please and help.  They took pride in everything they did to make it the best they could, whatever it was they were doing.  They offered it and presented it in such a way to make it appealing and beautiful.  And everything was amazing.

 

 

Tinder Fire

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It started small… only 10 acres when we first saw it.  (These photos are ALL taken off our balcony.)  The Tinder Fire was 2-1/2 miles from us at Kinder Crossing.  We figured the Forest Service would put it out, and that would be that.  That was Friday.

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But it continued to grow… and fast.  By Saturday it was 500 acres and we were given pre-evacuation notices.  They were just being cautious… right?!  We just lost our truck and camper to a fire a mere 8 months ago.  We just finished settling with the insurance company.  There is just no way we could lose our home to a fire…. right?!

john firehose_IR.jpgWe sprayed water on our trees from a hydrant we had put in months before, and hose lines John had procured … just in case (thank god).

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It didn’t slow down.  It grew.  By Sunday it had jumped the lines and was headed toward us.    Our house is our masterpiece… we have made every piece of furniture in it, all the art… and the house itself.  This can’t be real.

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At noon the Sheriff knocked on the door and said we had to evacuate….  thank you, no thank you.  We’ll stay.

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This beast was coming, and there was no stopping it.  It looked like it was going to go around us and head east with the winds.  But then it caught an ill wind and was headed straight for us.orgsmoke_IR.jpg

There were Hot Shots at the bottom of our hill trying to keep it from coming up our hill and into our subdivision.  John was at the top, using sprinklers supplied by our insurance company fed by water out of an inflatable swimming pool, to douse our trees.  He had two hose lines attached to the fire hydrant to squirt water on the trees and on our neighbors to create a microclimate so the fire would divert.

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It was here.  It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen, and I have never been so sick to my stomach.  It was awful.  We were in the middle of it with fire, glow, and smoke all around us.   Flames licking up the trees, moving so fast in these ferocious winds.  It was coming at us from two different directions… from the bottom of our hill and flanking us from across the East side.  John was stomping out flames with his boots in our neighbors yard.  The HotShots came to help and dug a line to keep the fire from crossing over from the East, while they were still working the bottom of our hill.

By 4am it had caught new fuel and was making the movement again toward us.  John was out of water.  He didn’t think he could hold the line.  Thankfully, our fire dept sent 500 gallons to refill our pool so we could activate the sprinklers again.

We were lucky.  We were spared.

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In our subdivision of 60 built homes, we lost 4 homes.  The next subdivision up, lost about 30 homes.  It’s still an active fire, 0% contained, and at 11,000 acres as I type.  There is an awful chance that it could move into the next subdivision, but we are hoping not.  They are working it hard to control this unpredictable beast.

I cannot express my gratitude and joy over being spared.  Tears well up as I even think about the prospect.

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John worked hard and we were able to save our home.  Firefighters across the country rallied around in droves as Coconino County was declared a state of emergency to help us save our homes.  Our own Blue Ridge Fire Department were putting out imminent fires and saving homes right and left.  Some areas are more devastated than others.  It was the worst thing I have ever been through.. but thank god we lived to tell about it – no injuries reported at all – and we have homes to go home to. Unfotunately. some weren’t so lucky. My hearts goes out to them. It is so awful fine people lost their beautiful homes.

For now, we are still here, our subdivision is largely intact.  We are ecstatic.  The roads on 87 are still closed NB and SB, and all the subdivisions have sheriff’s posted at the entrance to them.  If we were to leave, we wouldn’t be allowed  back in.  Having said that, John went to work (the Firehouse) to see what he could do, now that we are safe.

We have no power, but have a generator (thank goodness, as it operated the pumps for the water sprinklers).  It’s a smallish generator (we are lucky to have it, thanks to a neighbor), so we have no heat, hot water or appliances.  But we’re grateful to be here and in our home.

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Spot fires continue, but we have a good vantage point, and John is watching them.

The fire crews have moved on to try to stop the growth, so John just went out to check on a spot fire across the way.  i think I’ll keep him!!!!

Ironically, for being a wannabe photographer, all these pics were taken with my cell phone.  I packed my camera gear, just in case.. and never even thought to dig it out and take a real photo.  We were a little busy.

To the (potential alleged)  firebug who started this… may you burn in hell.

 

 

Senator Highway

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John and I have traveled a lot of the back roads of Arizona.  But this road trip was a first for us.  We took the back road between Prescott and Crown King, called Senator’s Highway.  There are many ways to get to Crown King, some easier (via the freeway), some harder, like the nasty notorious back road – which I hope never to take again!

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Senator’s Highway is the old stagecoach route built in the late 1800’s.  It was the road that connected the many mineral mines like Bode Mine, Bradshaw Mine, and Crowned King mine.

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Arizona actually had 4 capitol cities before settling on Phoenix as it’s permanent capitol.  Back in 1864, Prescott was it’s capitol…. then in 1867 it moved to Tucson… in 1879 back to Prescott… until finally moving between Prescott & Tucson to Phoenix in 1889.  The old Senator’s Highway connects Prescott all the way to Phoenix.

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This old two track stage coach road is a seemingly endless meandering, incessant switchback of a road.  It took us 5 hours to get all of the 37 miles between Prescott and Crown King, and that was in our modern vehicle.  There’s a story that airplanes overhead can see the road at night because of all the glittering glass left over from the broken booze bottles that passengers would throw overboard when they would get liquored up for the tortuous trip.

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Not only does it host gorgeous views and grand vistas, it is also home to one of the oldest still standing stage coach stops, Palace Station.  Palace Station is still used by the Forest Service as quarters – off limits to the public.

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While it was a slow going road, it was well graded and a beautiful drive, well worth the trip… and a wonderful day’s adventure.

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Starry Cacti

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Admittedly, I am not great at night photography… but I’m learning, and the best way to get better is to go out and shoot.  So I tried my hand at some night shots of cacti.

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The clouds were troublesome… but cool.  It’s tough, as by the time the stars come out the foreground is dark.  Stomping around the cacti had me putting my foot in it – cactus, that is.  Here the moon is just shining through the clouds while the stars try to make an appearance.

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One this is for sure… I need more practice, and look forward to it.

 

Rocks in our Heads

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People think we have rocks in our heads for some of the projects we do.  But the rocks aren’t it our heads… they are in our trailer.  More specifically, they start with a need (like a mossy rock wall), or just a ‘find’, like these.  We saw these rocks and couldn’t resist.  So we spent half a day moving them into the trailer…. then had to get them out.

 

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Each of the ‘small’ square rocks we figured were 200 – 300 lbs, the 9′ long monster (we dubbed ‘Big Boy’) was likely 600 – 800 lbs.  We thought getting them into the trailer was hard!  Getting them out was an equally challenging task.  Fortunately, we had the advantage of our tractor to assist in the heavy lifting when we took them out of the trailer.

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We carefully tied each one onto the tractor bucket and ever so slowly lifted it and moved it into place.

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Once we had them set into the area we wanted them, we were ready to move Big Boy.

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We were going along pretty well until Big Boy fell off his log rollers and crashed sideways into the side of trailer.  (We now have a new project – trailer repair!)

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Since he was too heavy to move manually we were forced to drag him out the rest of the way.  Unfortunately in a lesson of physics, the weakest link gave way.  Our tractor didn’t have the strength to lift the monster rock, and the rope tied to the end snapped… and Big Boy crashed and burned, breaking the 9′ rock into two pieces.

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Darn!

Oh, well.  No one got hurt… except Big Boy.

But we’ll patch him together and finesse the rocks a bit more.

But our heavy find makes for a fine rock bench.

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