Friday, January 10, 2020

Christmas 2019 Road Trip

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
This was at the main entrance to the self guided tour of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. A great sign of a safe hike.

While Carlsbad Caverns National Park is actually 119 caves, this is the natural entrance to the 'show' cave that is considered the main attraction of the park. This entrance is where the bats fly out in the summer, but will take you 75 stories underground to 'The Big Room' about 2 miles down the trail.

A small section of the 'The Big Room'

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, TX
We got the last campsite when we rolled in, but still found a great sunrise in the morning.

Setting out in the early morning light to try and summit Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at 8,751 ft.

Kin-Ling on top of Texas!

Carlsbad Caverns National Park ranger guided tour of King's Palace.
The King's Palace at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

White Sands National Park, NM
White Sands National Park was our take on a White Christmas for 2019!

Kin-Ling has little patience for my photo experiments.

and is really happy to be done with them!

Hiking the Alkali Flat trail.

If you have heard of White Sands, it is usually a missile test site. Sometimes you cannot get to the park because the highway is closed for missile tests.

That's gypsum sand, not snow!

Las Cruces, NM and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, NM

I think we got these photos above on our way up to Truth or Consequences, NM which had some amazing river side hot springs. You can run 30 feet and go right from your 104 degree pool to whatever temperature the Rio Grande happens to be at.

Somewhere off I-10 in Arizona.
We saw these crazy looking storms off to the south where we were about to drive!

 We were really happy to get back to a paved road after Kin-Ling's expert googling took us over a muddy mountain pass with no rear suspension (thank you 12 boxes of textbooks!). On the way, we did not take the next turn google wanted because a gate was padlocked which was probably lucky because we had already passed by one car stuck in a ditch 

Chiricahua National Park, AZ
This national monument used to be called the "Wonderland of Rocks" as a tourist destination.

Echo Park looks like a crazy wind storm had torn up all the trees, but was home to a cute woodpeckers.

Kin-Ling's next yearbook photo.

The Echo Canyon Grotto

It was crazy to see the drastic difference between where we were and the distance flatter landscape.

A view from the Heart of Rocks loop

Saguaro National Park, AZ
Saguaro is pronounced sa-WAH-roh. The park is named for the giant cacti.

If a cactus is as tall as you, you are about the same sage. These cacti can live to 200 years old

We went hiking in the desert on a rainy day and were treated to a number of small waterfalls. My memory is that we were hiking up to a tank, but this was definitely not a tank.

Another waterfall. We almost thought this was the entire hike.

No matter what Brian says. This is him destroying federally protected private land.

The park is broken up into two areas about 40 miles a part - Rincon Mountain District (East) and Tucson Mountain District (West). The photos below are from the Tucson Mountain District.

You probably can't tell, but this is taken from about 50 miles from the photos above in Saguaro National Park west

The colored dirt is from the closed Gould Mine which was used for copper.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

London leftovers

One last post on last year's London adventures with some photos that fell through the cracks.

While I have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world, I had never stepped foot in the United Kingdom before. I always wanted to go to more 'exotic' places, but I can't overstate just how wonderful living in London was. Well technically, KLS' tells me that we were living in Greenwich, near a wonderful park and with easy access to London. The diversity, the ease of getting around without a car, the beautiful countryside, the local culture, and so much more made it such a great city for us. Given the chance to live in that fabulous flat along the Thames and take a ferry to work on the company dollar again, we'd move back to Greenwich in a heartbeat. We definitely shared some of our favorite experiences while living there.

On the flip side, KLS said living in central London was too noisy and the sheer number of people was overwhelming. She was miserable there. The expat that we had inherited the flat in Greenwich from had moved there from the same residence in central London as KLS . Before he found the flat, he was looking for ways to get himself deported to get out of his employment contract with no penalties because he was struggling with big city living. I guess it just depends on your day to day set up.

The National Portrait gallery beside Trafalgar Square on a rare sunny day.

This might be a photo of the National Portrait gallery on a sunny day, but it is actually a photo of the Clockwork Lion's bum made out of clockwork machinery.

A close up of the Clockwork Lion, a temporary animatronic lion in Trafalgar Square that is meant to draw attention to the countdown to the actual cats' extinction.

White Hall Gardens where KLS and I shared a few wonderful lunches along the Thames River. The building in the background is One Whitehall Place at the Royal Horseguards Hotel, which was the first building in London to be fully illuminated with electrical lighting.

A clever way to collect money from passerbys while building elaborate sand structures along the Thames.

This luxury tree house was built along the South Bank as part of a contest and advertisement to get people to vacation in African countries.

A view from the South Bank.

KLS' after work pub carried beer that is brewed in Steven's Point, WI, just 15 minutes from my mom's house in central Wisconsin.

As Americans, we might still have a lot to learn from the British.

The leftovers of KLS' amazing Spanish jamon (ham) party.

This one is for my sister who can call her dog with the big crinkle a chip bag makes.

This dusting of snow in Greenwich Park in front of the Royal Observatory before ultimate frisbee pickup is the only snow that I saw in London all winter.

All Saints' Church in Blackheath.
At the start of our stay, KLS and I would take a local train to a regional train to get to the market. By the end of our stay, we learned, we could just want 1.5 miles through Greenwich Park to the same market. Maps are your friends.

The view over London from the Royal Observatory - central London on the left and Canary Wharf on the right. You can see the top of our apartment building on the left side of the picture on the near side of the Thames.

The best cake that KLS and I had on our visit to London. Yum, yum, yum!

The very end result of opening a wine bottle by placing it in a shoe and smacking the base flatly off a hard surface (about 25-40 times).