Vegas Revisited

While we have been to Vegas in the last couple years, we haven’t stayed on the strip in some time. So with the encouragement of a friend, we took a brief respite and stayed on the Strip.

We aren’t huge gamblers, so we took the occasion to check out the brand new Resorts World casino which just opened up next to Circus Circus.

We walked our feet off wandering up and down the Strip. One of our favorite past times is to check out the art fixtures, which can be found hiding in any one of the casino’s.

One we always make a point to visit is Bellagio’s gardens with their ever changing scenes filled with live flowers. It’s always stunning and never disappoints. This time is was celebrating the rainforest.

For a change, we decided to try a new activity that John found intriguing… a Virtual Reality ‘arcade’. While I’ve heard of Virtual Reality, I had no idea what to expect. Apparently, there are any number of themes: car racing, golf, or shooting zombies. No surprise, but John wanted to shoot zombies. Not exactly my cup of tea, I compromised on the more sci-fi twist, ‘Singularity’ at the MGM Grand, where aliens invade a space station and the rescue team has to combat drones and aliens to save the ship and crew.

I’m not making this up! Now having done it… I can honestly say, I had a blast. It was great fun.

Thanks, Pat, for the wonderful opportunity. We had a great time.

Elusive Bulls

We haven’t seen any animals in some time. I think they are all hiding from the mountain lions, as mountain lion sightings have been on the rise. The storms do bring in animals, though. I love our rains… they are so good for our forests and animals.

We were lucky enough to see 2 bull elk, still in velvet. It was a rare treat and one we relished. They foraged in the grass and lingered around until they wandered off as the thunderstorms rolled in.

They looked like they had been through a rough year as they slowly wandered off. I was happy that they had a brief respite from their harsh environment.

Returning to the Scene

We decided to return to the scene of my award winning shot (see post here… https://kritterspix.com/category/photo-musings/ ) before the forest closed.

With all the fires in AZ at the moment, we got quite the red sun at sunrise. Unfortunately, we were unable to stay long, as the AZ Game & Fish came by to advise us the forest would be closing due to the fires.

Many of the AZ fires have been human caused, and with super dry conditions they are out of control with little containment. Firefighter resources are very thin, so any new fires would be difficult to fight. We are actually thankful they are closing the forests to keep our forest safe. Nonetheless, it was disappointing to have to leave such a glorious spot. I guess we’ll have to go back.

Industrious Mouse

We were at Schnebly Vista, (see my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2021/06/11/schnebly-hill-vista/ ), when we caught this little mouse gathering food.

We watched this little guy for quite a while, nibbling away on an agave, then proceed to carry this stalk probably 5x his size down into a his home.

How often is it you can watch a wild animal going about their daily activity?

While he knew we were there, he was more intent on gathering food, perhaps for his family.

Either way, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to witness him (or her) at work. Very cool.

Parker Creek

Having lived in AZ all of my adult life, we have traveled many of the places and roads that AZ has to offer. We have enjoyed exploring the off roads and the gorgeous scenery throughout our amazing state.

It’s always a treat when we find a new special place and scenic view.

Parker Creek was such a place. It had stunning views of Roosevelt Lake and Four Peaks. It was truly breath taking.

The only thing we missed were some great clouds and wonderful sunsets. We’ll have to go back.

Oregon Coast

We just got back from the Oregon Coast, a trip we have made now multiple times in the last few years.

There is something special about the scenery and the seafood. We took the opportunity to get a much needed respite for some relaxing views, and amazing seafood.

We saw deer, elk, turkey, and even sheep along the way, along with rock spires, docks, and ocean views. This time of year, the weather was windy and cool with occasion rain…. a bit chilly. But we got some nice walks in and visited some great seafood spots for some amazing fresh seafood.

We camped in mostly state parks which offered some terrific walking trails filled with wonderful vistas and colorful plants. We were especially enamored with the western skunk cabbage which we coined the more affectionate name, ‘sea lilies’, with great bright yellow lily looking flowers, amidst large green leaves.

We enjoyed fresh oysters and clams, cooked and raw; fresh fish (ling cod, rock fish, and petrole sole); and fantastic Dungeness crab. The 2021 dungeness crab season isn’t the best, but we did manage to get a few tastes in of some terrific crab, as we picked up fresh fish at the docks and markets, caught that day, and enjoyed that night in our camper every day.

The drive home was a sad one as we enjoyed the redwoods of Northern CA, and headed back home, ending our sabbatical too soon. I’m ready to do it again already.

See more photos here … https://kritterspix.com/2021/04/21/oregon/

Board & Brush, Prescott

I’ve said it many times before, do what you love and enjoy every day.

With all this isolation and stress in our lives, it’s more important than ever to do things for yourself and what you enjoy.

While John and I do a lot of our own projects, we rarely solicit or participate in DIY kits or workshops. Drastic times, call for drastic actions – it was time for a get away, and a little fun! So we opted to do “Board & Brush” in Prescott.

You’ve likely heard of those Paint & Sip kinds of workshops where you pick a project and the host / proprietor teaches you how to create your masterpiece. Board & Brush is the same sort of workshop, but with signs – sayings on distressed wood.

We were surprised when we got there that the boards were a very blond pine wood. Bailie, the proprietor, showed us how to sand, distress and wash the wood to make it look like old barn wood.

Bailie, at the Prescott Board & Brush was fantastic. I would go back and do another one, just to solicit her business. She was kind, patient, and informative. She gave us all the tools and knowledge to allow us to make decisions that resulted in the perfect end result.

We pre-choose our saying online, and the stencils were ready and waiting for us to embark on our project.

Then we picked our background and lettering colors and after preparing the boards, we were on our way to creating our individual projects.

It was great fun and we got to take home a terrific project that is our own. Of course, in true Ritter style, we had to further customize it, so I wood burned our logo onto a plate to make my saying truly our own.

I strongly recommend the outing to Prescott Board & Brush. It was a great respite and super fun afternoon.

Nelson, Nevada

We were ready for a diversion, so we headed out of town to a place on our ‘want to go’ list. We had been told that we could go to Nelson, Nevada at the end of the road, with a great view overlooking the Colorado River and see big horn sheep coming down for water.

We didn’t see any big horn sheep, but we saw lots of iconic old cars and old buildings, relics of a time gone by.

Instead we found this cute little, eclectic ghost town between Searchlight and Boulder City, NV. Back in its heyday, in the late 1800’s Nelson and the El Dorado Mining Camp was the largest city in NV (prior to Las Vegas casino’s). Gold mining was active in the mines here from 1858 through 1945.

We were thrilled to be able to take a mine tour and actually go inside the mine.

The El Dorado Mine has been featured in several notable movies, probably most popular Kurt Russell & Kevin Costner’s 2001 movie, ‘3000 Miles to Graceland’.

These days it’s main attraction is tourists who come by the hoards to wander through the scattered relics, and tour the mine for $15 per head.

We enjoyed our visit and the opportunity for a change in scenario that beckoned a different time.

Animal Sightings

It’s been a good week for animal sightings.

Antelope forages for food outside Chino Valley.

We not only saw antelope grazing in a field, but we also saw turkey running in the snow.

Turkey struts through the snow.

We even saw a herd of little horn sheep. I guess it does pay to get out.

You can see more big horn sheep photos here.. https://kritterspix.com/2021/02/18/little-horn-sheep/

Snow Foraging

Elk forages through the snow with bull elk behind.
Buck prowls through the deep snow.

I never realized the trouble our animals had trudging through thick snow. With the threat of predators, swift winds, and deep snow, animals hunker down during large snow falls.

I can only imagine them running in heavy snow, with unknown ground coverage, rocks, and trees beneath their feet.

It made me happy for what we have, and not have to fend for ourselves or our food. It can be a harsh world out there, so take the time to practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.

See my other posts, here… https://kritterspix.com/2021/01/29/a-world-of-friends/ and here… https://kritterspix.com/2021/01/27/we-got-snow/.