Blind eyes and scorched birds.

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When driving on Interstate 15 near the Nevada/California border, keep your sunglasses on.image image

We could not figure out what these blinding lights were as we drove into California. We saw these huge towers in the desert.   We had all kinds of guesses. Was this some kind of tourist attraction? Were they huge searchlights to attract people or grow something in the desert? Nope not even close. This is the new solar generating station created in 2014. Some people did not want the plant built because of the environmental impact to the Mojave Desert. This plant pitted environmentalists who want clean power against environmentalists who did not want any impact on the desert landscape.

Now some are reporting that birds are being scorched by this solar plant. See this story from the Daily Mail.

 

 

 

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Hey Montezuma! What’s it with your name?

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I have heard of Montezuma’s Revenge but not his castle. As you travel Interstate 17, south of Sedona, stop at Camp Verde to see Montezuma’s Castle. It is worth the short drive from the highway.IMG_4631
This striking cliff dwelling is an amazing structure considering construction by the Sinagua Indians started 900 years ago.IMG_4638
So about the name…..it was a mistake. This is an excerpt from the Native American Netroots website –
“In the mid-nineteenth century, the abandoned pueblo was “discovered” by Americans who arrogantly assumed that such a complex and elaborate structure could not have been built by the “primitive” Indians of North America and thus believed that it had been built by the Mexican Aztecs. They named it Montezuma Castle based on this belief, naively unaware that the structure predated the rise of the Aztecs in Mexico.”

There is a lot of history and interesting information about Native Americans at the national park but alas for some…… it is just too overwhelming.IMG_4652

Holy motorcycle Batman!

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I remember watching the batcycle in the 1960s Batman. The Caped Crusader got to ride the cycle normally and Robin had to crouch forward in the side car. Holy back ache!IMG_4189
IMG_4168The batcycle was part of a car (or vehicle) show at the Reagan Library. Michael Keaton’s Batmobile was also on display.IMG_4185 IMG_4184

What’s attacking the saguaro cacti?

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The iconic saguaro cactus – usually pictured with two uneven arms – is a favorite. In Arizona, we saw many that towered 20 to 40 feet tall.

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So while driving and hiking around Scottsdale and in Pinnacle Peak park, we were quite distressed to see cacti that looked like this.

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We assumed they were dying. We asked a park official at Pinnacle what was killing them. She said despite the holes and brown, rotten-looking bases, the suguaro are quite healthy.

The outer green covering on the saguaro is poisonous, but for some reason it doesn’t bother the desert pack rats. They are the culprits for the damage near the bottom, chewing away the outer layer.  But the park official said the inner layer is very tough and even the pack rats can’t chew through it.

The holes often seen near the top are caused by woodpeckers. But after the hole is made, the saguaro forms a tough “scab” over it to protect the center.

We are happy these giant cacti will be around to delight Arizona visitors for a long time. And I do mean a long time – saguaro live for 100-150 years!

 

Edward R. Murrow might be more proud of his Hollywood Walk of Fame Radio star.

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By Mark Bergmann

Edward R. Murrow has two Hollywood Walk of Fame stars, one for his work in radio and one for his television work.IMG_4258
With the problems Brian Williams is having today and those of Dan Rather in the past, my guess is that Murrow might be a little more proud of his radio star rather than his TV star.
P.S. And don’t say Murrow is probably rolling over in his grave. He was cremated.

Do this, don’t do that – Can’t you read the sign?

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“Signs, signs, everywhere a sign, Do this, don’t do that, Can’t you read the signs?” — Five Man Electrical Band

This song kept playing in my head while we were in Ventura, because everywhere we went we saw signs that said, in various ways from polite to angry, “Only customers can use our restrooms.”

We eventually figured out that the high population of homeless people had prompted businesses to post the warnings.  Our favorite? The succinct shop sign, “No pay, no pee.”

We’ve seen other signs on our travels that prompted a smile…

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While some made us snicker…

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And still others made us wince…

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We saw business names that were startling…

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And business slogans that were PERFECT.

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