Sunday, June 27, 2010


We spent the last two days of our vacation in Sedona at the Canyon Wren Cabins bed and breakfast. The Canyon Wren is six miles up Oak Creek Canyon from Sedona. It's very cool, and you should go. We stayed in the Morning Glory, one of the four cabins on the property.

Here's the living room, with its wood-burning fireplace. In the 90°+ heat, we didn't need a fire.

The stairs go up to the sleeping loft. You can see the air conditioner opposite the skis. We love air conditioning, baton twirling, liking people, and living in America.

Here's the little kitchen, with the patio visible through the doors. Every day the proprietors left chocolate brownies with peanut butter and caramel in them on the counter.

Here's the sleeping loft.

A balcony is right off the loft.

The area around Sedona is famous for the red rock monoliths and formations and for the red dirt.

After our hike to one of the energy vortexes, the soles of my sneakers were stained by the red dirt. Even after washing, the soles are still reddish brown. Vortical coincidence? I think not.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The most colorful place in the world in black and white

Here are some images of the Grand Canyon that I saved as black and white. I really like the last one.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hero pictures and visitors

"One goes, not so much to see but to tell afterward."--John Steinbeck. These images prove that we went on vacation.

Michele at the Painted Desert

P-Doobie, ditto.

Here I am at Newspaper Rock. I was tickled by the visitors who were there with us.

Our companions at Newspaper Rock were some folks from France. I wish this image included sound, because they were all making gladsome noises and talking rapidly at once.

There's a reason for the guard rails, friend. Nice socks.

Here's Michele standin' on the corner in Winslow, Arizona. She's gonna Take It Easy.

We met our friends Jean and James, who flew in from New Jersey (and boy! were their arms tired!) at the Grand Canyon. We walked part of the Rim Trail together.

Michele and I went to the eastern part of the Park and sat for a while at a viewing area we now call Michael's Point. A young mom and her son, Michael, who had a developmental disability, stopped and asked us to take their picture. Michael's heart's desire was to see Meteor Crater, and the mom wanted to know whether they could see the crater, the Painted Desert, and Petrified Forest before they caught their 8:30 flight from Phoenix that evening. I hope that Michael got to see the crater. Here I am at Michael's Point.

We went on to Grandview Point, where a group of visitors from Japan used good teamwork to take pictures and stay out of the sun.

Michele took a break from the sun in Sedona.

Michele and I enjoyed the gentle hike along Oak Creek outside Sedona with Jean and James. We were near one of the energy vortexes.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Did you see Uranus?

After the Grand Canyon, Michele and I spent a couple days in Flagstaff; ever since she was little, Michele had always wanted to see the Lowell Observatory. We took the Pluto Tour. First stop for us was the Clark Telescope Dome, where Percival Lowell seached for Planet X. Here is the 24-inch Alvan Clark telescope that Lowell used.

The dome is constructed with wooden beams. It originally turned on a system of iron wheels and rails developed by two bicycle repairmen. In the mid 1950s pickup tires, complete with shiny hubcaps, replaced the worn-out wheels. Occasionally a tire will blow out or have a flat, and the observatory must order special reproductions.

Percival Lowell's chair sits on a special platform so he could comfortably use the telescope.

Lowell's mausoleum is right next to the Clark dome.

Here is the blink comparator that Clyde Tombaugh used to find Planet X, which was afterwards named Pluto. The blink comparator is a microscope that optically superimposes two photographic plates, "blinking" between them so rapidly that the two plates look like one. This device allowed Tombaugh to compare the plates and look for any discrepancies between them. It is way cool.

Here's what Tombaugh saw.

This is an early computing machine.

Tombaugh used photographic plates exposed for three hours. He'd make two photographs taken a couple days apart, then compare the images on the blink comparator. You can also see the clock drive that keeps the star or planet from drifting out of the field of view.

The roof of this little observatory slides onto the framework in the foreground. To the left is another small observatory used mostly for observing Titan, one of the moons of Saturn.

You should go. The Lowell Observatory is awesome!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona

We visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona. It was designed by one of Frank Lloyd Wright's students and built on the red sandstone that immediately identifies the area. I think the website for the chapel is cool because it focuses more on all the worldly gifts you can buy than on any spiritual gifts you might get.

Our friend James was in his camp counselor mode, so he urged me to walk with him down the road to take a picture of the chapel from below. I am always ready to oblige for a photo op.

Then we drove up to the parking lot. The walk up to the chapel was lined with cacti and other desert wildflowers.

We were told that a guy who developed LASIK surgery lives in the mansion below the chapel. I remembered traveling with our friends from Leeds to a stately home in Yorkshire, and Veda, our hostess, said of the home, "It cost a few quid, and I wouldn't mind living there. I can see myself with all those servants. I can hear them now: 'Veda! 'Elp me wit' t' weeds!'"

'E 'as a gardner to 'elp 'im wit' t' weeds.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Some critters

We enjoyed watching the wildlife on our trip. Click on the images to enlarge them.

At breakfast in Sedona, an acorn woodpecker checked us out.

It was also breakfast time for the lesser goldfinches.

Another resident of the Canyon Wren Bed and Breakfast is Frankie, a red-eared slider turtle. She is with turtlets, but the proprietors didn't know how far along she is.

When we hiked in Sedona, we saw a turtle basking on a rock in Oak Creek.

This was as close as we got to a mountain lion at the Grand Canyon.

This cliff chipmunk was on Rim Trail.

One of the highlights of the whole trip was seeing two California condors gliding above us. If you enlarge the [blurry] image, you can see the tags on their left wings.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Lizard smackdown!

In the Crystal Forest we saw a collared lizard basking on a piece of petrified wood. He was doing his push-ups to show us he wasn't to be trifled with. Click on an image to enlarge it.

When we went to the Rainbow Forest, we saw two male collared lizards grappling, apparently for territory. The lizard in the background has clamped his jaws on the other lizard.

They tumble over in the rocks.

The dominant lizard pursues his rival.

Finally both raced away on their hind legs. They can really cover a lot of territory.