Archive for Environment

Camping in Barstow

Barstow on Route 66We’re camping in Barstow this evening after a six-hour drive here from Arizona. Today’s excursion was uneventful as we crossed from Arizona desert, across the Colorado River and into the California desert. We went through the Arizona Outback to Parker, up through Needles and across I-40 to Barstow.

We are facing some adverse weather tomorrow, starting with high winds in the desert. It is already gusting here this evening and is forecast to continue into tomorrow. Some gusts may reach 40Mph, according to the forecast. When we get into the South San Joaquin Valley, there is a 100 percent chance of rain in the forecast. We’re hoping and praying that we will make good time and be safe as we head for our family commitment in Stockton.

After Stockton, the plan is to take our time getting back home on a route through Nevada and Arizona. Our previous format for travel days has been to stay only one night in a place. The plan this time is to stay two or more nights in a place, being sure to relax and enjoy the time like a real vacation.

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Hedgehog Cactus in Bloom

Pink Hedgehog Cactus Flower

This is a flower in bloom on one of the transplant hedgehog cacti out front. This one used to be up on the hill behind us near the north property line. These beautiful flowers were mostly hidden under the desert brush up there until we moved it down here.

Our spring days continue to be beautiful with warm temperatures and sunshine. Today, we’re both in shorts and had a backyard BBQ session with filet mignon on the grill. Retirement in the Arizona desert is good.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Native Cacti

Compass Cactus Christmas Cactus Fishhook Barrel Cactus

I am still taking it easy and relaxing after surgery last Friday, but I wanted to get outside since it is a nice spring-like Arizona day. I took my Canon SL1 up the hill behind the house and took some photos of “stuff” I could see up there.

Once you’re behind the retention walls out back, it is all natural desert. The vegetation and wildlife are typical of the Sonoran Desert. Other than having moved a hedgehog cactus to the lower lot, nothing up there is managed.

The three cacti pictured above are all located in the natural part of the lot. Left to right, they are Compass Cactus, Christmas Cactus and California Barrel Cactus. I don’t know (or can’t remember) the binomial botanical names for these three. Click on the images to enlarge.

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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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Great American Solar Eclipse - Totality

Totality Sequence

The eclipse last month as seen from our vantage point in Casper, WY: early, mid and late totality. The moon was moving from the upper right to the lower left in this perspective. You will note the vignette of longer wavelength light along the lower left of the first image and along the upper right of the third image. The mid eclipse image did not have much direct sunlight refracting around the limb of the moon.

When you click on the image to enlarge it, you will need to scroll both horizontally and vertically since I left Damsel’s originals at full resolution, each being a bit over 1300 pixels square. You can view the early, mid and late totality by clicking the three previous links.

The images were taken at approximately 11:54, 11:55 and 11:56 AM, on August 21, 2017, Wyoming time. Totality lasted 2 minutes and 26 seconds from our vantage point in Casper.

The next American total eclipse which will take place on April 08, 2024 will have a totality lasting over four minutes from where we currently are planning to watch near Kerrville, Texas. The duration is longer, I guess, because the Earth will be closer to aphelion and the Moon will be closer to perigee than was the case two weeks ago.

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Camping - Sisseton, SD

t-storms

Tonight we’re camped in Sisseton, SD. We were camped in Jamestown, ND last night and drove through Fargo, ND today, stopping at the Roger Maris Museum for a few minutes to rest and pay tribute to a childhood baseball hero.

You can see that the weather is full-on plains states thunderstorms this evening (it is clearing up at the time I am writing this) but we are warm and dry in the RV. The weather along our route tomorrow will be partly cloudy with a slight chance for more T-storms. Sisseton is in the north east corner of SD in the radar map above.

The laptop came back to life with a little help from an on-line HP forum. I followed the procedure for rectifying the symptoms I was having and it recovered to normal operation. I am hoping that it will stay operational for the remainder of our boondoggle.

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