Archive for December, 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year form us to you.

Luke 2:11-14 King James Version (KJV)

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Amen!

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SpaceX Satellite Launch

SpaceX Satellite Launch

As Damsel and I were relaxing last evening, we were startled by a knocking at the back porch. It was the UPS delivery guy with a package we ordered from Amazon. But the package drop-off wasn’t the end of it. The driver said “Come out here and look at this!”

We walked down the driveway looking west and we pretty much saw the image depicted above, although we’re in a darker location than the Phoenix area where the photo was taken.

The phenomenon was attributed to a SpaceX Iridium Satellite launch:

At 5:30 pm on Dec. 22nd, SpaceX launched a 2-stage rocket from Vandenburg Air Force Base near the California coast.

The rocket launched 10 communications satellites to low-Earth orbit, adding to the growing Iridium NEXT constellation. This is the fourth such mission that SpaceX has flown for Iridium. Moreover, the rocket used for this mission had been used before. The Falcon 9 previously flew in June for the second Iridium mission.

It was quite spectacular as we watched the rocket move across the sky with its trail of gas lit up by sunlight high in the atmosphere. We’re glad that the UPS guy alerted us to this unusual event.

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First Day of Winter

winter.jpgWell, the first day of winter officially began at 0928 Arizona time this morning. The image snippet I captured from Archaeoastronomy.com shows the time of the solstice in UTC. Arizona time is seven hours earlier.

I know that those in chronically colder places will regard this as whining, but it’s very cold here in the desert today. When I was out with the dogs this morning, it was 43° and wind gusts to 25 knots. I was wearing sweats and, believe me, the wind went right through the thin flannel. Neither I, nor the dogs, could wait to get back into the nice warm 68° inside temperature.

Although the temperature never exceeded 52° here today, the forecast for Christmas weekend is for less wind and warmer with highs back up in the 70s. Today, we’re looking ahead to that.

On a different winter topic, The Patriot Post featured this Rick McKee cartoon with reference to the recently passed GOP Tax Reform:

grinch-dems.jpg

The fine print disclaimer includes apologies to Dr. Seuss. :lol:

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Persistent Second Spring Weather

Bottle Brush Devil’s Tongue Cactus Flower

The butterflies, bees and hummingbirds are still going strong even though we’re in the middle of December. Our daytime temperatures have been in the mid to upper seventies and the nights, although cool, have been mild in the upper forties to lower fifties.

I took both of these photos today. The flower on the left is on a bottle brush shrub in the courtyard and the flower on the right is on a Devil’s Tongue barrel cactus in the rock and cactus xeriscape garden across the driveway to the west.

The official first day of winter will be in a week or so, but we are hoping that our spring-like days will continue for a while. Click on either image to enlarge.

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Desolation

CA Hwy 62

This is a view of the scenery we saw yesterday along CA Hwy 62 in San Bernadino County as we crossed the great desolate Mojave Desert on the last leg of our trip. Damsel took this photo after our departure from Twentynine Palms. We were just north of Joshua Tree National Park, which, in itself, is a very large chunk of real estate.

Other than a few lightly populated areas and the larger town of Parker, AZ, the trip yesterday had us looking at bare desert. The difference between the California deserts and Arizona deserts would be that there are saguaro cacti east of the Colorado River and not so much west of there.

Still, both deserts are amazing examples of geological variety and wonder, with scrub brush and jagged mountains. We enjoyed the crossing very much on a clear, calm and beautiful day.

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Journey’s End

Home Again

This is just a short post to log the fact that we are again home after a safe arrival this afternoon. It was a good trip with light traffic and plenty of blue skies and sunshine along a scenic and desolate desert drive. We can hardly wait for the next excursion, but we have pressing issues at home.

Drake, the neighbor’s dog came to welcome Damsel home. Click on the image to enlarge.

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High Desert Camping

Twentynine Palms Resort

After the second leg (of three) on our return home, we find ourselves in Twentynine Palms in the Mojave, CA high desert. Today was an interesting drive which, in part, took us both to areas of the high desert where we had yet to see, to wit: Lucerne and Johnson Valleys. It is quite the scenic drive with desolate areas, giant rock formations and the usual desert flora and fauna.

The campground here is at elevation 1730 MSL according to the GPS. We are experiencing warmer weather than that we had in Northern California, where fall has definitely become quite brisk. Here, the temperatures are forecast for between lows of high fifties and highs of low eighties. We expect much of the same when we arrive home tomorrow.

Our drive tomorrow will be through the rest of the California Outback, across the Colorado river at Earp, CA/Parker, AZ and continuing through the Arizona Outback the rest of the way home. Weather and traffic are not expected to be factors during the last leg home.

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