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Hummers & Quail ~ Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum

Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum

2021 North Kinney Road

Tucson, Arizona

Wonderful, wonderful pricey-but-worth-it place: if you have the luxury of timing and choice do not go when it might be busy.

We like kids and people but that is not why we visit the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum.

On a visit during Christmas break week we retreated from the over-crowded live flight raptor demo to the Hummer House and the Aviary.

Expanded Image Gallery : Hummers & Quail ~ Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum


29 Dec 2016

Road Runner ~ Catalina State Park, Arizona

Catalina State Park


28 Dec 2016

Barrio Historico ~ Tucson, Arizona

Barrio Historico

Tucson, Arizona

Quiet and colorful neighborhood outside of the historic Presidio walls of Tucson, Arizona.

Loosely bounded by I-10/the railroad tracks, Stone Avenue, Cushing Street and 22nd Street

Based on some spot-on internet input we left the car at the neighborhood park at 19th and Meyer: a great place to start.

Mid-day light and its challenges.

The Monday after Christmas Sunday, a work holiday so everyone’s vehicle was parked out front and the trash receptacles were empty but out front as well.

Folks out and about were very welcoming, friendly and engaging. Many different peoples, all one neighborhood.

An enduring statement.

The We Stand With Rosa Sanctuary movement had a presence in the Barrio, from yard signs, and signs in windows to the organization’s humble building.

Tucson mother, Rosa Robles Loreto took sanctuary on 8/7/14 at Southside Presbyterian Church to keep her family together until her deportation is stopped.

Rosa has lived in Tucson for 16 years. In 2010, she was pulled over for a traffic stop, she was taken in by border patrol and sent to the Eloy detention center, before being placed on bond. In 2014, she was told she would be deported. Ever since, she has been fighting to stay in the U.S. with her family. (8/2015)

After living in sanctuary for 461 days, on Wednesday of this past week, Rosa Robles Loreto finally got to see what we have all seen for the past several months — a community blanketed in “We Stand With Rosa” signs. (11/2015)

Church Sanctuary Movement

Op-Ed Written by Reverend Alsion Harrington for the Arizona Daily Star, published Novemberv 14, 2015.

A front yard sign about the size of most political signs made the following statement in three languages, English, Spanish and an Arabic language:

No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.

This sentiment was prevalent through out our walk in the Barrio.

Extended Image Gallery : Barrio Historico ~ Tuscon, Arizona

27 Dec 2016

Martin Auto Museum ~Phoenix, Arizona

Martin Auto Museum

(FB Page)

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: 10am to 5pm

17641 N. Black Canyon Highway (I-17 frontage road)

Phoenix, Arizona 85023

Great collection. No single theme or focus other than the collector/owner’s interest.

Lots here, vehicles of all sort and stripe, associated automobile stuff, and automobile memorabilia and minutiae : Lots of stuff, nicely done.

Affordable : The $5.00 donation is more than fair for what is here.

Nice folks on site. Willing and friendly. Vehicles are accessible. I will go back again.

All of the images here : Extended Image Gallery

Martin Auto Museum FaceBook

23 Dec 2016

Death Valley National Park (and just beyond) ~ Rhyolite, Nevada

Rhyolite, Nevada

Founded in 1904 and dead by 1916.

Gold mining boom-town ghost town east of Death Valley NP, California and west of Beatty, Nevada a latter day gold mining boom-bust-town.

The National Park Service’s ‘take’ on Rhyolite’s history.

Legends of America Link.

John S. Cook & Co. Bank

Four story building in the center of town.

The second floor was Dr. Jewett’s Office and the basement was the Rhyolite Post Office.

HD & LD Porter Mercantile across and just down the main street from the John S. Cook & Co. Bank Main Street Rubble

Back Street RubbleSemi-restored and now protected from the overly-inquisitive-no-acquisitive-amongst-us, a Rhyolite residential building.Looking up through town from the restored residential building to the John S. Cook & Co. Bank in Rhyolite’s business center.

Rhyolite, Nevada and the Bullfrog Hills, 1909

Image Source

Just down the street from the residential building and near the jail house, the grave of Mona Bell.

Mona Bell was a young prostitute who’d been killed by her pimp. The respectable women of Rhyolite refused to allow her to be buried in the proper cemetery and so the miners, who loved her and grieved for her, dug this lonely grave out on the edge of town behind the red-light district. Before they consigned her to the earth, they carried her through the streets in a parade.

There is a story, legend buried here. Not sure which is more interesting the truth or the legend: Part 1 and Part 2Looking up through town to the mercantile and bank buildings in the town business center. Swedish modern art in remembrance of ‘Shorty’.Albert Szukalski’ The ‘Ghost Rider’

Part of the Goldwell Open Air Museum, a number of weird and bizarre works of art strewn around this ghost town.

18 Dec 2016

Death Valley National Park ~ Wildrose Charcoal Kilns

Death Valley National Park

Wildrose Area Charcoal Kilns

Low light, the perils of not knowing the area and not having specific timing guidelines.

Busted my butt and my tow car’s butt to get back into the Wildrose Peak area, up the Emigrant Canyon Road.

Saw beautiful country, high country. Way different from the Valley floor and sea level and below spots.

After making the turn off Emigrant Canyon Road I found myself on a narrowing paved road giving way to a rough high country stone road leading up and beyond to the recently snow-dusted Telescope Peak.

Deep within Wildrose Canyon and well below the 3 PM sun sit the ten Charcoal Kilns.

The available light was a photographic limitation.


In 1877 George Hearst’s Modock Consolidated Mining Company completed construction of the charcoal kilns in Wildrose Canyon. The charcoal produced by the kilns was to be used as fuel for two silver-lead smelters that Hearst had built in the Argus Range 25 miles to the west. The kilns operated until the summer of 1878 when the Argus mines, due to deteriorating ore quality, closed and the furnaces shut down.

The Wildrose kilns employed about 40 woodcutters and associated workmen, and the town of Wildrose, a temporary camp located somewhere nearby, was home to about 100 people. Remi Nadeau’s Cerro Gordo Freighting Company hauled the charcoal to the smelters by pack train and wagon.

Each of the 10 kilns stands about 25 feet tall and has a circumference of approximately 30 feet. Each kiln held 4 cords of pinyon pine logs and would, after burning for a week, produce 2,000 bushels of charcoal.

Considered to be the best surviving examples of such kilns to be found in the western states, the kilns owe their longevity to fine workmanship and to the fact that they were in use for such a short time.

The Wildrose Charcoal kilns are located in Wildrose Canyon on the western side of Death Valley National Park. Access the Wildrose Canyon road from California Highway 178 between Trona and Panamint Springs. From California Highway 190, take the Emigrant Canyon road south to the turnoff up the Wildrose Canyon road to the kilns. The last 3 miles of the road are unpaved and the road is subject to storm closures.

Wildrose Charcoal Kilns

excerpt from “Charcoal Kilns Historic Structures Report” 1970

The charcoal kilns complex in Wildrose Canyon is among the more remarkable historical-architectural features of Death Valley National Park. These ten beehive shaped masonry structures, about 25 feet high, are believed to be the best known surviving example of such kilns to be found in the western states.

Modock Mines

The Wildrose Charcoal Kilns were completed in 1877 by the Modock Consolidated Mining Company to provide a source of fuel suitable for use in two smelters adjacent to their group of lead-silver mines in the Argus Range west of Panamint Valley, about 25 miles distant from the kilns. Although the mines themselves were worked intermittently until about 1900, there is no clear evidence that the charcoal kilns were operational after 1879. Evidently either other fuel sources were located or it was found to be more profitable to ship the raw ore elsewhere for processing. This short life may help to explain the remarkably good condition of these kilns, more than 100 years after their construction.

Hearst Connection

One of the incorporators of the Modock Company, operating out of San Francisco, was George Hearst, Father of William Randolph Hearst. George Hearst became famous as a mine expert, and his immense wealth was derived from interest in various mines. However, the Modock group was not one of his great successes. Apparently it did not gross much more than $3,000,000 over a period of thirty years. Beginning about 1881 the mines were leased to others. They have been inactive since the turn of the century.

Transporting Charcoal

Associated with the Modock mines were the neighboring towns of Darwin and Lookout, rough towns which out-lived the more famous Panamint City. A trail from Lookout to Wildrose Canyon was constructed. Charcoal was transported to the smelters by jackass pack-trains, though wagons also were probably involved.

Building & Working the Kilns

A company man named Morris built the Wildrose kilns. Actual documentable details of the construction job and the operation are lacking, as is confirmation that the labor force included American Indians and Chinese. The presence of Mexicans is amply indicated. It seems logical that, with a fairly large labor force of wood-cutters, charcoal-burners and haulers, there would be a “settlement” of some kind, with tents and/or log cabins, and there is one hint of a town of “Wild Rose.” It was probably an ephemeral affair. Its exact location is unknown, but a fair guess would be that it was a summer camp near the kilns, where water would have to be hauled in; or else it was located in the vicinity of the life-giving Wildrose Spring, several miles downhill from the kilns.

Why Charcoal?

Charcoal is a black, porous form of carbon prepared by charring wood or organic matter in a kiln or retort from which air is excluded. Charcoal produced from wood retains its basic shape and texture but is converted to a 96% pure carbon content. In the 19th century and earlier, charcoal was used for a furnace fuel because it burned more slowly than wood and created a much greater heat that was needed for the refining of ores.

17 Dec 2016

Death Valley National Park ~ Golden Canyon

Death Valley National Park

Golden Canyon

Head of Golden Canyon : the Portal Going Up

The View From Above, Back Down the Canyon

16 Dec 2016

Death Valley National Park ~ Ubehebe Crater

Death Valley National Park

Ubehebe Crater

The Park Service literature rates the hike around the perimeter of the rim of Ubehebe Crater as a moderate hike.

Not a very long hike, 500 feet of elevation gain, seemingly all at once and in two-steps-forward-one-step-back volcanic gravel and pea stone the woman in loose ‘crocs’ without her hiking poles disagrees with the rating.

Stark Yet Colorful BeautyThe Leavings of a Geologically Relatively Recent Magma and Steam Induced ExplosionLittle Ubehebe Crater Note the ‘crocs’ masquerading as hiking boots.

15 Dec 2016

Death Valley National Park ~ Mesquite Flats

Death Valley National Park

Enormous Basin and Range Geologic Grandeur

In-Your-Face GeologyThe road to Badwater Basin and the lowest elevation in North America: 282 feet below sea level.

Huge park, huge distances.

Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes : Huge & Intimate Death Valley National Park ~ Harsh Beauty

15 Dec 2016

Bosque del Apache Nat’l Wildlife Refuge ~ 12/2016

Bosque del Apache Nat’l Wildlife Refuge ~ 12/2016

A couple images from each of a four day stay/photography workshop.

Jeff Parker ~ Explore In Focus

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Bosque del Apache NWR ~ 2013  Image Gallery

Bosque del Apache MWR ~ 2016 Image Gallery

12 Dec 2016

Hoover Dam from Black Canyon Bridge

Walked across the relatively new Tillman-O’Callaghan bypass bridge after driving over the Hoover Dam itself.

The bridge gave the better views and the better perspective.

Bridge and dam span the Colorado River at Black Canyon: Pretty impressive engineering on both counts.

The dam construction took place 1931 though 1935.

The bridge construction was the more recent: 2005 through 2010.


Debbie prepares to check one off her list: 😉dambridgeblackcanyon-12-11-20166y9a4875 dambridgeblackcanyon-12-11-20166y9a4889 dambridgeblackcanyon-12-11-20166y9a4911 dambridgeblackcanyon-12-11-20166y9a4943 dambridgeblackcanyon-12-11-20166y9a4961Debbie at the apex of the bridge over the Colorado River at the Black Canyon immediately below the Hoover Dam.

11 Dec 2016

Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park in the Painted Desert of Northern Arizona

A Wonderful Place

Active, In-Your-Face Geology

Based On Our Experience Here We Are Adding Bryce Canyon and Zion To Our List For the Future

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Just A Few

See the Rest : Petrified Forest National Park Image Gallery

9 Dec 2016

Bosque del Apache NWR – 12/02 2016

Bosque del Apache NWR

Glide Path ~ Sand Hill Cranes










~bosque12-2-20166y9a7285Aptly Named ~ Road Runner




2 Dec 2016

Bosque del Apache NWR – 12/01 2016

Bosque del Apache NWR – 12/01 2016

Arrival, Late Afternoon Grab Shots

Good To Be Here, Glad To Be So Close To Nature Again

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2 Dec 2016