Tag Archives: Retired Military

New Orleans ~ St Patrick Day

The Weather


Leaving Austin, Texas we had one night stay at a private campground. From there it is was a straight shot into New Orleans, well not exactly! I was relying on my GPS to make all the exits, lane changes and everything else that goes with New Orleans traffic! Finally, we were in Belle Chase, just on the west bank of the Mississippi. In order to get there, one has to cross the “Old Muddy” twice. In Belle Chase, I had no time to check the tunnel height before entering the tunnel. All was good as I made the clearance, but the double lane was tense as cars whizzed by.

Naval Air Station Joint Base New Orleans

This “Station/Base” is comprised of Coast Guard, Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine. It is small Reserve Station. The MWR (Morale Welfare Recreation) RV campground is set up in two areas. The long-term guests and the short term staying guests. Good WiFi, clean restrooms, and laundry room. The facilities served our purpose.

The Basilica St Louis.jpg

The Basillica St Louis

New Orleans ~ The ferry 

One of the tips that Scott gave us on FB was to use the Ferry to cross the Mississippi River. Regular fare is $2.00, seniors $1.00! The campground office gave us directions, both written and by GPS coordinates to the ferry terminal. The problem was that the written directions took a different direction than the GPS. I mean totally getting there in nearly different directions! We tried the written way on the first night. Can you imagine the directions said to take a left and the GPS said to take a right? I gave up, tired and went back to the campground. The next morning the GPS took us right to the ferry terminal! We could either park on the street or in an open parking lot. We chose the $10 lot. The Cajun (African American) attendant asked if we came from Canada, “No,” I said, “Mais, Je parle français.” He answered me in French! “Wez in Cajun country!” I felt that the truck camper would be safe.

We got on the ferry the last two before they closed the gate! Wouldn’t you know I only had a one dollar bill! No change given! The attendant looked the other way! We were off to a good adventure in New Orleans!


The Tuba

Miming Around.jpg

Miming Around!

Blues Player.jpg

Blues Player!

Drummer Boy.jpg

Drummer Boy!

Answering the Call.jpg

Answering the Call!

The French Quarter

The ferry ride is just five minutes to the docks next to Harrahs Casino. We’ve been to the French Quarter a couple of times before and knew our way around fairly easily.

If I was to point out what is special about the French Quarter, it has to be the music! Man, you can’t listen to the street players without getting into the beat! The last time we were here, maybe five to seven years ago, there was a brass band playing jazz in front of the Cathedral~Basilica of St. Louis King of France. Well, guess what? Most of the original players were still playing the same great jazz/blues music!

We walked the streets and stopped at favorites. The “Café Du Monde” or “Café Beignet” are some of our favorites. Unfortunately, the Café Du Monde had a line 50 feet long! So, we moved on to looking at street architecture and people.

The Creole Townhouses with their Pontalba Apartments balconies and wrought iron railings!  The Double Gallery House, Greek Revival House and not to forget the Shotgun House who sits on narrow, but deep lots, hence called a “shotgun house”. As I mentioned above, the people watching experience is also great in the French Quarter! I couldn’t stop watching these kids, some as young as seven or eight, playing their joint compound drum cans! It’s in their blood and soul! One kid playing hard and then stopping as he listens to another kid playing a different beat, just trying to better his competition! It’s a great town and people!

We did manage to get the Beignets before heading towards the ferry terminal.


Styling Mule.jpg

Styling Mule



Put your Left First.jpg

Put Your Left Foot First!



Framing St Patty Day.jpg

Framing St Patty’s Day!


St Patricks Day 

Did I forget to mention that it was March 17, 2018…St Patricks Day? Of course the people we were watching also included all those green-clad Leprechauns! Of particular interest was back on the Algiers side of the “Big Muddy,” close to the ferry dock. “The Crown & Anchor Pub” noted for “Savor the whiskeys and scotches!”

Twelve miles later we were back at the campground, happy but exhausted!

That is what we saw and did!


Austin, Texas

Some of you have probably heard of the recent package bombings in Austin, TX. The latest one being this morning, some sort of tripwire IED explosive device. Well, rest assured that as I write this blog we are safe in Destin, Florida.

Austin City Limits

“Austin City Limits” is now the longest-running music series in American television history. This has nothing to do with our visit to Austin, but hearing that PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) TV ad always put that curiosity to visit this Texas Capital City.

I plug-in the City Center of Austin on the GPS and there we were, in the middle of a big city. I felt lucky because Austin has many “low clearance” overpasses, but we didn’t encounter one. Big cities are not RV friendly. I made my way through the tall buildings looking for a place to park. I could see, high on the top of a hill, the Capital building. It looked very prominent. I figured that might be a place to find some parking that wasn’t in a parking garage with low overhead clearance. I was right and only a block to the Capital Building and $2.50 cent meter parking also!

Capital Building Tour

We were so glad that the “truck camper” brought us here. What a magnificent building and grounds! The security was heavy, very comparable to airport security. Thank God for law enforcement protecting us!

Once inside, we walked through an arch into a massive Rotunda. Looking up several stories to the dome. I could see at least three levels of circular balconies. I’m a climber and wanted to get to the top. I can’t rush I told my self! So, we explored this floor with all the hallways and paintings. Davy Crockett at the Alamo, other prominent Texans!

I, being a General Contractor/Builder for 30 years was and am always interested in how things are built. The Capital building was no exception! From the inlaid marble floors to intricate wood moldings, handrails and everything in this Capital built for durability and beauty. I was impressed!

The Capital on the Hill.jpg

The Capital on the Hill

Movers in the Rotonda.jpg

Movers in the Rotunda

The Dome.JPG

The Dome!

Second Floor ~ House and Senate

Walking up wide large stairs, one can imagine whose footsteps preceded mine. To the left, the House of Representatives, walking into the chamber, I could see the well-appointed desks that the “Reps” use when in session. Windows on each side of the chamber let in daylight. The ceiling was extremely high, most likely to keep things cool on warmer days. At the rear of the chamber, a few offices for the “Sargeant at Arms” and other officials.

On the other end of the building, the Senate chamber is equally impressive. In the Senate Chamber, I got up to the podium and gave my speech! Yup, getting up and public speaking is the most feared phobia I have! (just kidding folks), no audience but a 9-year-old boy and his mother!


Mr Speaker!.JPG

Mr. Speaker!


The Senate.JPG

The Senate Chamber

The Gallery.JPG

The Gallery

Third Floor ~ Supreme Court

On the third floor, we weren’t allowed into the Supreme Court Room or the Appeals Court, but the view from the third-floor circular balcony, both looking up and down in the rotunda inspiring!

Supreme Court.JPG

Supreme Court ~ Me Working!

Capital Grounds ~ Texas Size

The grounds start at the Capital and roll down to the heart of the city! Large ancient Oak Trees are scattered with monuments and benches along the main path. To each side, more monuments kept us looking, reading and taking photos. A warm sunny day with families also enjoying Austin’s charm.


The Side Walk to Downtown.JPG

The Walkway to Downtown



A Walk in the Park.jpg

A Walk in the Park



African American History.JPG

African American History



Fire ~ Boom!.jpg

Fire ~ Boom!



Texas Longhorne Cattle.jpg

Texas Long Horne Cattle! The Lone Star State!


That is what we saw and did!

PS As I finish this blog Mar 21, 2018, the Austin bomber is dead!


El Paso, Ft Stockton, ​and Fredericksburg

Texas is a big, big State! Leaving El Paso, one finds endless flat land and on the first 114 miles, the Interstate road surface is serrated making the truck tires sing constantly, “Singing Sam Tire Song.” I also noticed that the oil boom is going on also in the I-10 area as it was on I-20 further north. Loads of drill equipment going and coming all the way for 300 miles!


Historic Fort Stockton Western Town.jpg

Historic Fort Stockton


Fort Stockton and Camp Walmart

Fort Stockton is a charming old historic town. It was time for a driving break and a little exploration. An overhead wrought iron welcoming sign invited us into the old town. Typical brick and adobe storefronts lined the old main street. Signs pointed to the old fort and museum, but we were looking for a local restaurant. Nothing that jumped at us. One store was loaded with ornaments on the sidewalk. It was still opened and we walked in just for curiosity. Some items were junky tourist stuff, but others really caught our eye. This store was linked to a furniture store. I walked in and was amazed at the bedroom sets. King and larger! Massive head and foot boards. I kept walking in deeper. To my surprise, I spotted two dummies sleeping on one of the king size beds. Oh, they weren’t dummies! I started to tiptoe away when some other kids came running by. It must have been the owners family members waiting for closing time at 6pm.

The one thing that I didn’t expect was “Spring School Break” week! It may seem that this wouldn’t have affected us, but it surely did. It is truly spring here in this part of Texas and many families head to camping areas! All State Parks were full, all privately owned RV Parks were also full. Hence, we settled for “Camp Walmart”! I recently read that there will be an additional one million more RV’s on the road in 2018. That’s fine, but I also read that there will be a shortage of RV campgrounds and more importantly highway upgrades (smoother pothole free highways). I’ve seen many RV’s along the roadside changing tires! Even the military campgrounds are running nearly full capacity!

Walmart was full of RVs, maybe dozens and no problems staying there. The interesting thing was in the early morning as three van loads of young oil field workers were leaving for work in the fields. All wearing class 3 safety vests with hardhats! Oh, yes the oil boom is here also.

The Decision ~ Austin?

In Fort Stockton, I made a decision not to head for San Antonio. We’d been there a couple of times, don’t get me wrong, it is a great city to explore, but it was time for a new adventure. In Junction, TX, I took US 290 straight for Austin. A four-lane rural highway with 65 mph speed limit instead of the 80 mph on I-10. It wasn’t long before trees (Live Oaks) filled the landscape. Pastures, cows, and horses were more abundant, the elevation dropped and we were in Texas “Hill Country.” The further we drove more wooden fenced properties came into view. This was Lady Bird Johnson’s country! Did you ever hear of “Blue Bells” flowers? That was Lady Bird’s passion, to line the highways with these and other types of flowers. They were in bloom!



Wisteria in full bloom!







Limestone Building.jpg

Limestone Block Building



Town gone to the dogs!.jpg

Town Gone to the Dogs!



Fredericksburg Meeting Hall.jpg

Fredericksburg Meeting Hall



Outside Dining.jpg

Outside Dining


Fredericksburg, TX ~ The Town That Is Alive!

Driving into town, it was unbelievable. Activities everywhere! People, kids, families all walking around the main street. I had to find a place to park on a side street. It was some sort of old home days or in reality, it was “Spring Break!” People occupying a town during mid-week makes you want to take part in what they are doing, watching or even eating. This was our sign to stay the night. A walking self-guided tour was a perfect focus for us. Old buildings and their original occupants kept us taking pictures, studying architecture. Local limestone blocks were used in many of these structures and have survived the test of time. Dinner was at “Cultures Grill and Bar”. Live music, good food and a perfect end to a good day!


Outside Dining.jpg

Outside Dining


Did I mention that all campgrounds in or near Fredericksburg were full? Camp Walmart to the rescue again. It’s nice to be self-contained and safe!

That is what we saw and did!

El Paso, Texas ~ All Roads Lead to Ft Bliss


The McGregor Range

Traveling down from Alamogordo, NM, on US 54, to El Paso, it wasn’t long before we were in the Ft Bliss McGregor Range. This training range is immense! Some of it is mountainous while other parts are flat and vast! We could see columns of desert dust rising in different directions. These were coming from military vehicles traveling on dusty roads. It brought back memories of Ft Drum, NY and our Field Artillery, Battalion and Battery convoys on rough, dust-filled roads. Howitzer crews, riding in the back, on 5-ton trucks filled with tons of equipment. The dust so bad that many guys wearing their gas mask! Ah, those were the days! NOT! I continued to drive south thinking of those soldiers, back then and now. Unless you ’ve experienced this dry, hot and dusty environment, you can’t fathom what soldiers put up with to protect the United States of America!


Site # 111 Ft Bliss.jpg

Site #111 ~ Ft Bliss


Ft Bliss RV Park ~ Friends

As we travel from one place to another, we meet people, make friends, stay in touch and so on. It is no different here at Ft Bliss. Our Tucson, Davis/Monthan AFB friends, Tom and Nancy were here at the park. A text from Nancy, as we left La Cruces, NM, indicated that Ft Bliss had availability. We had their site number and Nancy indicated not to take site 45 as it had a lot of kids next door. Checking in at the office, we got a perfect end of row site just three sites from Tom and Nancy. Life is Good at Ft Bliss!

Ft Bliss ~ The Lay of the Land

On our way west, we stayed at Ft Bliss two nights, really one full day. We didn’t get chance to explore this Army base. Here are some interesting facts: (I’m a facts guy)

  • Fort Bliss is the nation’s air defense headquarters
  • Fort Bliss is the second largest military installation in the US Army
  • Fort Bliss military community has grown to over 164,000 people
  • Females represent 48% of the military community at Fort Bliss
  • Approximately 58% of the military community at Fort Bliss is married

The heart of the growing Fort Bliss community is the Freedom Crossing. It is the first of its kind shopping center in the world! In addition to shops and restaurants, Freedom Crossing features a 10-screen, stadium seating first-run movie theatre. “The Grand Theatre”

In short, Fort Bliss is a good size city and very healthy! Even in the worship area, it has four dedicated chapels covering several faiths. We enjoyed exploring this military community!


Freedom Crossing ~ Ft Bliss.jpg

Freedom Crossing ~ Ft Bliss



Freedom Crossing Food Court.jpg

Freedom crossing ~ Food Court


El Paso ~ And The Zoo

On our first night at Fort Bliss, Tom and Nancy invited us over for dinner. We did a lot of catching up. The following day the four of us went to the El Paso Zoo. It took us the middle part of the day to view all the exhibits. By mid-afternoon, the sun had cooked the energy out of us and we called it a day! That evening we all ended up in the community room, doing internet stuff, Helen and Nancy looked at Nancy’s daughter’s wedding pictures. I watched some of my YouTube favorites and Tom did the same on his computer. That’s the age of electronic indulgences!


No Monkeying Around!.jpg

No Monkeying Around!



Saturday was a long-awaited re-supply day at Freedom Crossing. As mentioned above, Freedom Crossing is a world-class shopping mecca! We spent nearly all day shopping (groceries mostly) and exploring the complex. It is nice to have your refrigerator with you so you don’t have to run home to put away your frozen products. Lunch was at the food court with dozens and dozens of food outlets. Remember the base has 164,000 community members! A lot of customers!

We located the Catholic Chapel on base and went to 5pm mass. After mass, we had dinner in the camper on base. The plan here was to go the movies at the 7:05 showing of “Death Wish”. This 10 screen movie theatre does have first-run movies and charges $6 (military discount). Not bad for an evening first run movie. Oh, if you wanted popcorn, a “small” would cost you $6.50 and a large $8.50…No thanks, we just had dinner!


Tom, Nancy, Helen & Me.jpg

Tom, Nancy, Helen & Me


Sunday Morning ~ Blog Writing

You wouldn’t believe it but this Sunday morning is the first real day of rain since we left home in early November! It isn’t pouring, but more of a soaking drizzle. We are getting into the winter jet stream pattern. Yesterday, FaceTiming our granddaughter, Aspen, was a sobering reality of the snowy conditions back home in New Hampshire. We must, must slow down and crawl home so, so slowly! We leave here tomorrow morning!

Another footnote: I’ve been able to post my blogs’ frequently because of the reliable Internet. Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue this as we move Eastward!

That is what we saw and did!

Deming, White Sands, ​and El Paso

Leaving Tucson around mid-morning with no destination except East I headed on Kolb Rd and jumped onto I-10 East. Joan who works in the office mentioned a nice “Escapees” RV Park in Deming, NM. I wasn’t sure what we’d do, but it was possible night stay. I studied the Atlas at lunchtime. I looked at the surrounding map and was thinking of White Sands National Monument. We had been there a couple of times. I even have a picture of us laying down on the white sand on my Facebook Profile. Thinking it might be cool to take another similar photo with different colored clothes and five years of aging would be interesting. I also was thinking of how it was snowing back home and another photo shoot would be cool to have all of our winter clothes along with wool hats and gloves. In White Sands, they actually plow the roads to keep the sand clear of the roadway. It literally looks like a New Hampshire winter plowed road. More on this subject below.

Deming, NM & “The Escapees RV Park”

Mid-afternoon and I was getting tired of driving. I knew I was going to make El Paso and Deming looked better by the mile. I plugged in the coordinates to the Escapees park and soon we had a spot with full hookup. At four o’clock, in the community room, a bunch of escapees gathered for snacks, coffee and most of all conversations on many subjects. Today’s main subject was Windows 10 upgrades. I am a Mac guy, but found the subject because back home I have two desktops which run on Windows 10. After dinner, in the truck camper, we read until bedtime and a good nights sleep followed.

“Bataan Death March Marathon”

The decision in Las Cruces was to either continue east on I-10 or swing northeast towards on NM 70 to White Sands National Monument and onto Alamogordo and returning on NM 54. All of this would put us about 140 miles round trip out of our way. Go for it was my decision. The weather was good and the high thin cirrus clouds were dissipating. The ride brings you to a spectacular mountain range with overlooking views of the white sands missile range as far as the eye could see. It was a long ride up into the pass and then a long downhill run to the valley below. It brought back memories of our 2014 trip out here to support SMG Jerry D. Rouleau (retired) at the “Bataan Death March Marathon”. Jerry, a Berlin, NH native, and I go back a long way in our military careers. “Airborne” as Jerry would say!

Once on the valley floor, it is very flat and not much to look at except the distant mountain ranges to the left and right. The one sad occurrence on this part of the side trip was viewing a mountain lion road kill! He or she must have been running after a rabbit or something.

White Sands National Monument 

We pulled into the Visitor Center at exactly 10:45am. Got our National Park Passport book out and date stamped our visit. March 8, 2018, and our last visit March 19, 2014.

At the Visitor Center, the attendant said, “ The Park will be closing today at 11:00am until 1:30pm or later!” The US Army had scheduled a missile launch and the dunes are partially in the potential impact area. We could wait at the visitor center, go 15 minutes further and visit Alamogordo and come back after 1:30pm.

Remember my old saying? We are in a canoe, going down a river without a paddle, let us see where it will bring us! The other saying that Helen and I always mentioned is, “You can’t recreate a pastWhite Sands National Monument.jpg experience!”

In Alamogordo, we explored the town, had a wonderful “Beef and Cheddar” at Arby’s and headed towards Fort Bliss, Texas!

That’s what we did and saw!

California Dreaming ~ Not

A few words about California. First let me recap Earp, Ca. That was our homestay on the Colorado River. It was located in California, but so close to Parker, AZ that even the people in Earp didn’t change their watches to PTZ (Pacific Time Zone). A rural, nice place to stay, we were perfectly happy there.


Site #8 River Land resort.jpg

Our Site #8 River Land Resort ~ Earp, CA



The Grand View @ River Land resort.jpg

“The Grand View” @ River Land Resort


Indio and Palm Springs ~ Umm?

Yesterday our drive was pleasant, driving on rural state roads with little traffic. This would lead to I-10 West with more traffic. Ok, so far, more traffic was expected. I had programmed Fantasy Springs Resort Casino as our first destination, at exit 144. I easily followed the signs to the Casino. They allow RV’ers to park overnight in their overflow parking lot. I was amazed at how many RVs were there in early afternoon. This was a no-brainer as far as parking for the night. It was lunchtime, actually with the time change, one hour past our accustomed Arizona time and a drive on rural back roads with no coffee break. We were hungry! One exit up the interstate we had lunch, fast food, but we wanted to check-out Palm Springs, about 18 miles further up the road. I was thinking that this was a long ride from Indio to Palm Springs. Maybe we could find a closer Casino to stay at. Agua Caliente Casino was beautiful with a large overflow parking lot. The only problem was it was empty! Not a good sign! Sure enough, they didn’t allow overnight RV parking. Bummer! The next objective was to locate where in Palm Springs that they shut down a major street, in the uptown, for a weekly Thursday night venue. I didn’t have the name of the street or the venue and we spent some time looking. Palm Springs is vast! Disappointed we started to head back towards Indio. I stopped to refuel the truck. This is where “California things” started to change! The price on the sign said $3.09 per gal. I inserted my credit card and the sign said, “Cash or Debit”. I walked into the store and the cashier said the same thing. I asked her if my credit card info was still on at the pump. She said, no, it wasn’t, I left and found another gas station with the same result. The real price of gas is $3.09 plus .45 cents if you use a credit card! That’s $3.54 a gal! Thank You, California taxes! By the way, the gas price in Parker, AZ was $2.33 per gal! Oh, yes, another noticeable thing about California, we had been here a couple of hours and already had been approached for money, use of our cell phone and a battery jump! We are planning on leaving this area for Joshua Tree NP as soon as my board meeting is completed later this morning. I am not planning on going to San Diego as we don’t want to deal with congestion and California’s odd (Liberal) regulations!


San Jacinto Mountains Backdrop Palm Springs.jpg

San Jacinto Mountains, Backdrop ~ Palm Springs, CA


A Change of Heart!

A good nights’ sleep helped me focus a little better on our next move. I Googled a Visitor Center in uptown Palm Springs and off we went to again explore. The Visitor Center is located in an old Chevron Gas Station, which has a roof line in nearly the shape of a kite. It is also at the base of the Arial Tramway Road and a cool place with Palm Springs welcoming sign.


Palm Springs #1.JPG

Palm Springs ~ Visitor Center ~ Canyon Drive, Palm Springs


I found the name of the event is called “Village Fest” and located just down Canyon Drive, from the Visitor Center! Things were starting to look better than yesterday! My main concern for going to Village Fest was finding a good safe parking location. It was around 3:30pm and after driving around up and down the valley, I got antsy about finding suitable parking so that I headed towards Canyon Drive and its side streets. About two streets away, I found street parking with no hour limit, nonthreatening neighborhood. The police and public works department had already started to block off Canyon Drive for Village Fest. We walked the area and found it interesting with many shop and restaurants. Vendors setting up their easy-up shelters up and down the street gave us a good idea that the evening would be a good experience.


Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.JPG

Canyon Drive, Palm Springs


Village Fest

Time to eat again! Plenty of vendors on the street, but this Pizza Restaurant caught my eye and I love pizza! We struck up a conversation with a couple sitting at the same table. They were from the upper midwest (Minnesota). They were here on a Ukulele convention at the Hilton Hotel.

Now darkness took the evening as we departed from our new friends! The vendors, with well-lighted booths, presented their wares! Pretty amazing stuff! The jewelry was especially well crafted! From one end to the other, several blocks long we looked, smelled and even tasted samples. Our Canadian friends from Quartzite had highly recommended a certain type of dates. We found them, had a sample, and bought a pound. Did you know that “man” can survive with eating only dates and water? Well, I’m not ready to try that out yet, but an interesting fact! (not fact checked).

Wall-Mart Overnight?

The Visitor Center on Canyon Drive told us that we could park one night at Wall-Mart on Ramon Rd. That was a short distance from Village Fest. It was time to head to the truck two blocks east. On Canyon Drive, we had spotted a couple of cars being towed away, walking towards our parking spot. One has the anxiety that everything is ok with the camper. Accidentally, we overshot our street and were looking for that tall camper down the block! It only took a few seconds to get our bearings and navigate to the truck! All was well! Off to Wall-Mart on Ramon Rd. At Wall-Mart, we asked at the service desk and they said “No overnight parking”. Well, after asking a roving security patrol, he said that this store closes at mid-night and overnight is not allowed. Off to Fantasy Springs Resorts for the night!

That is what we did and saw!

Desert Animals

One would think that the desert is a barren waste land full of sand, cactus and rock. Well that is true. What really amazes me is the number of creatures that live here beside humans. I have already mentioned some of the animals we’ve encountered on our bike rides in the Sonoran Desert, but lets talk about a few more. The Coyote is very common, our neighbor, Jeff, saw two of them, while riding on Yuma Rd, on base, yesterday. A more sinister and beautiful creature around is the Arizona “Mountain Lion” I took a picture of one while in the West Saguaro National Park. It was relatively easy to get him or her to pose because we had Sallyanne, “Black Lab, ‘Angel’ ” with us and the Lion never stopped eyeing her. Another beautiful creature was a “Mexican Wolf”. A note at this point. I took these pictures at the Sonoran Desert Museum. These animals are in a natural setting, some are actually are outside in the open desert. Yes, they are alive! The birds actually free fly for food.

Great Horn Owl.jpg

Great Horn Owl ~ A Silent Hunter

The Raptors ~ Inches Above Our Heads

At 9am and again at 2pm, the museum, odd that it is not called a zoo, has a “Raptor Demonstration”. That is the coolest I’ve every seen! The first was of a Great Horn Owl. Here is how the museum crew work the Owl. We are all standing behind a fence, a crew member is about ten feet in front of us. Another crew member releases the Owl from its enclosure. The Owl comes to a perch close to the first crew member who has put a small bit size piece meat. Quickly the Owl finishes his bite size treat. Next, the Owl  flies inches above our heads to another crew member in back of us. We were forwarned not to raise cameras or iPad above our heads. I now could see why. I could feel the wind from his wings as he swiftly and silently flew above.

Hawk Landing.jpg

Harris Hawk ~ Landing

The next Raptor was the Harris Hawk. A Hawk is more aggressive looking than an Owl. His beak, looking like “vise grips” could snap a piece of barbed wire. Well, it looked that way anyhow. The Hawk did the same routine as the Owl, but was more bold in his eagerness to get more food. The Owl was extremely cautious after seeing Sallyanne’s dog. She had to keep the dog at a distance from the rest of the spectators. Actually, dogs are not allowed in the park! Now we understand how an Owl can rotate its head nearly 180º. Their large eyes look forward and the head rotation gives them a wide range of view.

Bird Photography

I discovered that it is nearly impossible to freeze bird wings in flight. Well, at least until I had a conversation with another neighbor who does bird photography. He told me to use a flash. That would freeze the motion of wings in flight. He knows what he’s talking about, you know those guys with a two foot telephoto lens on a tripod! He sometimes uses three or four slave flashes while he captures humming birds.

Black Tree Rattle Snake.jpg

Black Tree rattle Snake

Snakes ~ 13th varieties of Rattle Snakes!

I am not a snake lover! I do respect them and I’m constantly on the lookout for them. I, or we, haven’t seen one in the wild, yet!  Rattlesnake Types in Arizona   

The Sonoran Desert Museum certainly has many species of the “Rattlers” 13 species in Arizona, this along with 50 different species in the State. They are not all represented, but enough to get a good idea of what is around in the mountains and desert. Did you know that Arizona has more mountains than any other State? (3,928 mountain peaks!) While we were in the snake exhibit building, we were able to touch a non venomous snake. I was really surprised to the feel. It was smooth, almost like feeling plastic gimp. The handler told us to not go against the scales. This snake was white with redish markings, nearly looking fake, but it was real.

The Trainer & Hawk.jpg

The Trainer and Hawk!

The Raptor & The Crowd.jpg

The Hawk just above the crowd’s head!

Mexican Wolf X.jpg

Mexican Wolf

Two Coyotes.jpg

Two Coyotes ~ In the wild!

That is what we saw and did!