April 8, 2018

Sakura is cherry blossom in Japanese. Three years ago Lynn and I were in Japan at cherry blossom time.

This is Gotemba Peace Park.

This year Lynn’s annual Enrolled Actuaries meeting in DC fell during the Cherry Blossom Festival for the first time since I’ve been coming with him to the meeting.

In DC this year. The majority of the cherry trees are planted around the Tidal Basin. It is a 2 mile walk around the Tidal Basin. As well as the trees, the MLK, FDR and Jefferson Memorials are around the Tidal Basin. It was my first time visiting those monuments.

The walk was so crowded with visitors to the festival.

Roosevelt memorial was less crowded.

A ranger told us that the blossoms start out pink, then turn white and then back to pink before the petals drop. Most that I saw were white. In Japan we saw pale green and yellow blossoms as well though those were more rare.

This will be Lynn’s last year at this meeting since he has retired. I’m so glad I got to attend this beautiful festival.


Quilt Auction

While visiting Lynn’s sister Carolyn and brother in law Bob we went to the Mennonite Central Committee Relief Fund quilt auction at the Harrisburg Farm Show exposition center.

Quilt’s hanging to be viewed before the auction.

Auctioning the quilts. The highest price I heard of was $3400. I liked the blue one above but did not bid.

There was also a farm auction. There were many Amish as well as Mennonites in attendance.

Homemade ice cream was churned by bicycle and by electric engine.

A quilting demonstration. All but one of the quilts I saw were hand quilted. I saw one machine quilted.

We ended the day with a delicious dinner of prime rib at the Greystone Public House in Harrisburg.

Up, Up and Away

October 7, 2017

Albuquerque, NM is home to the world’s largest balloon festival. We were fortunate to be there for opening day. In order to view the Morning Glow, Dawn Patrol and Mass Ascension, we had to get up at 4 am. We drove to a shopping mall where we parked and got on a school bus to drive us to the balloon park.

Morning glow is when the balloons are lit up from the inside in the pre-dawn hour.

Dawn Patrol, an ascension of a dozen balloons pre-dawn.

One of the fun things was that we were not limited to viewing stands. We were walking among the balloons as they were inflated.

Mass Ascension

We enjoyed seeing the many different character shaped balloons.

It was definitely worth getting up early to experience. Oh, and it was quite cold as well.

After the ascension we viewed a chainsaw carving competition.

By 10am, the morning events are done. Tired as we were, we went back to our motel and walked to Old Town Albuquerque. This area dates back to the founding of Albuquerque in 1706. It now has shops, galleries and restaurants.

St Phillip Neri Church in Old Town.

The Albuquerque Museum of Art is next to Old Town. Admission is a bargain at $2 for seniors.

Albuquerque Museum of Art and History sculpture garden.

Long Logs

October 6, 2017

Heading east on I-40, just east of Holbrook is Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert. The petrified forest is the fossilized remains of a rain forest that existed when the area was near the equator before continental drift moved it to the present location. It is the only national park containing a portion of Route 66.

We started at the Rainbow Forest Visitor Center, in the SW area of the park. Adjacent is the Long Logs Trail, site of a Triassic log jam.

The logs are not sawn into pieces, they have a crystalline structure and break under their own weight.

The Visitor Center restroom gave fair warning, just like the rest area signs on the interstate. It fails to mention that Puerco Pueblo only has vault toilets (latrines)!

Blue Mesa is a badlands formation. This is part of the Painted Desert.

These formations are called The Teepees.

At the NE end of the park is the Painted Desert Visitor Center and the Painted Desert Inn. Built in 1920, it came under the management of the Fred Harvey Company in 1947. At that time, Mary Colter renovated and decorated the inn.

Painted Desert Inn

Doorway of the Inn framed with petrified wood.

Soda fountain at the Inn

Dining room decorated with Hopi sand painting.

This is the last of the Mary Colter buildings that we visited. We would like to see on our next trip west.

Standin’ on the Corner

October 5, 2015

We drove from Moab to Winslow, AZ, stopping for a picnic lunch at Hubbell Trading Post. Arriving at Meteor Crater 20 miles west of Winslow we saw an informative film. Meteor Crater is a private enterprise. There is a Crater viewing area on the rim. We are not allowed into the Crater because there is active research happening there. In addition to the film there is a guided tour. The tour usually takes place on the rim but this day it was held indoors because of the 40 mph winds.

Horses and cows on the road to the Crater, reminded me of bison on the road in Yellowstone.

Standin’ on the Corner Park in Winslow. Winslow is a pretty sad town these days. Route 66 goes through the town and the Santa Fe railroad has a depot. In its heyday, it was a destination on the way west. But now it is bypassed by I-40. Still, many people come just to stand on the corner.

The other point of interest in Winslow is La Posada Hotel. The hotel was designed by Mary Colter for the Fred Harvey Company at the Santa Fe railroad depot in 1929. The Amtrak railroad still stops there. It was saved from destruction in 1997 and has been restored. The hotel has an award winning restaurant, The Turquoise Room. While we were not able to get a room at the hotel, possibly because of a car show in Winslow, we were able to eat dinner in The Turquoise Room. It was delicious.

La Posada was designed to look like a hacienda.

Lots of beautiful iron work

The lobby features paintings by one of the owners. There is also a gallery of her paintings.

We enjoyed a Turquoise Margarita and a Prickly Pear Margarita at the Turquoise Room.

We saw prickly pear cactus growing in many of the parks we visited. We also saw prickly pear jelly and candy.

Island in the Sky

October 4, 2017

Island in the Sky is the northern district of Canyonlands National Park. We liked this area very much. The Mesa Arch was our favorite of all the arches we viewed.

Mesa Arch

Upheaval Dome is thought to be a collapsed salt dome.

Green River Overlook

A plein air painting class for kids at Green River Overlook. What a great idea!

Grand View Point Overlook was at the end of a strenuous 2 mile hike.

Arches, Arches and More Arches

October 3, 2017

Arches National Park is certainly aptly named but we did see arches in other parks also.

Balanced Rock is one of the formations in Arches.

Rock cairns used as trail markers.

Turret Arch

The Windows

Double Arch

Landscape Arch

Tunnel Arch

Pine Tree Arch

The most photographed arch in the park, the one on the Utah license plate, is Delicate Arch. It is at the end of a strenuous 3 hour hike. We opted to skip that so we could visit more areas of the park.

Arches was the most crowded park we visited. At some parking areas we feared we would not find a spot. I can’t imagine what it must be like in the summer!

Sculpture at Arches Visitor Center. We enjoyed the sculptures at several visitor centers.

Sculpture at bike shop in Moab, very amusing.