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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Grand Canyon – South Rim

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We just got back from the Grand Canyon – South Rim hoping to get some great storm cloudy pix.  It’s difficult if not impossible to schedule a trip around a storm, as getting reservations at the Canyon can be it’s own difficult task.  But we managed to get last minute reservations in one of their old ‘rustic’ cabins.

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A storm was predicted for the days we were there… but today’s weather forecasters are often wrong.  Furthermore, it’s hard to say if upon a storm one will get awesome clouds and interesting sky, or complete whiteout and washed out gray skies.

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The afternoon we arrived brought snow almost immediately.  The next day we were socked in and you couldn’t see the Canyon over the edge…. so I was glad I got the shots I did when I did.

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The day it snowed all day, we had hoped to get to see Hermit’s Rest, a Mary Colter building 7 miles off the main Grand Canyon loop.  Unfortunately, the road was closed due to all the snow we were having.  We got about 8″ in the day we were there.

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Going to the Grand Canyon is like touring the world…. people of all nationalities wander with you taking in the magnificent sights of the ‘big ditch’…. even in the snowy winter.

While we were out driving in the snow, we passed no less than 3 tow trucks towing multiple cars that had careened off the ice.  It was like a ice rink with rental cars as bumper cars, skidding into trees and into each other, many of whom had no doubt never before seen snow.  Roads were blocked with tow trucks clearing the way, making it impassable everywhere.

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We found these elk watching the traffic go by… munching the afternoon away after a short clearing.

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Check out my pix … here…. of Mary Colter’s Desert View Watchtower.

 

 

 

 

Buck Personality

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The more I study the animals, the more I am convinced that they each have their own personality.  The males of the species are much more spooky, while the females are more docile.

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We caught this nice little buck enjoying the day after a recent snow storm.  He was soaking up the snow looking for food and water.

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He seemed very content, and not in a hurry to get anywhere…. and I was happy to watch him and take it in.

 

 

 

Loneliest Road

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It’s been called The Loneliest Road, which ironically gave it fame and tourism otherwise unsolicited or deserved.  Route 50 cuts across Nevada from East to West, with nary a stop along the way.  It’s sole purpose to get from one end to the other… CA being on the West end, Utah being on the East.

Our destination was to cut across Northern CA to Great Basin National Park, on the Eastern edge of Nevada.  This time of year we were the only ones at Great Basin National Park, as the Park itself and all the roads, overlooks, and scenic drives were closed (unlike what their own website indicated).  One year round campground was open, so at least we had that.

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With snow on the ground, the temperatures were quite nippy.  It did provide for our first glimpse of a white turkey, though… so that was pretty cool.

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Lehman Caves was open, and provided a wonderful excursion and scenic site.   You can check out my photos of the Caves here….Lehman Caves

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We will have to imagine the park and it’s views since it wasn’t open when we were there.  But I can tell you that the babbling brook and creek running as the snow melted was very calming and serene.  The views of the snow packed peaked above us, surrounded by aspen and birch were stunning to behold.

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I can’t say it’s worth the drive, having seen so little of it… but it was a nice place to rest our head for the night.

 

 

 

 

Getty Museum

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I have definitely heard of the Getty Museum.  It has been open since 1997 in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles.  To view the grounds alone is mind blowing, with it’s expansive well groomed campus, home to 5 modern marble block buildings housing extensive collections of fine art dating all periods of Greek and Italian masters.

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To see the extent of the collections, which rotate – so you never see all of it, is stunning.  Portraits (or busts) of both famous and simple persons of centuries before, bestowing their wealth and stature; paintings dating back to Before Christ (BC); figurines of great importance and talent; photographs; and wood carvings.

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In a world where there is so much vanity, and ‘cheap’ entertainment, it is a welcome retreat to see such ‘real’ art.  The museum is akin to any great museum you might find in Europe.  It is extremely diverse, wide and varied in it’s mediums and artists.  Where else can you see items of such historical significance?

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In so many ways, it doesn’t seem like such a place should exist.  The history portrayed here is of Europe (much of it Italy) artifacts, not US.   But then, US has very little of our own history… we are all after all, mostly descended from Europe.   J Paul Getty, with all his wealth, fell in love with the Italian villas, and fascinated with Pompeii and the vast mosaics, artifacts, and history.  So much in fact, that he wanted to share it with his fellow Americans… hence the Getty Museum.

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Much of it is very religious is tone.  But irregardless of your religious affiliations… it is definitely a sight to see.

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