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April 2009
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June 2009

Flower Power

05_09 cactus flower Flower Power in our front yard on a very hot May, almost June,  afternoon.

This red flower atop a cactus bloomed for exactly one day, already withering by sunset. Fortunately it was Saturday and I was home, so I braved the heat (102 degrees) to catch it just before the it started fading in the late afternoon.

(a geek note: these images are linked from my gallery site & are not embedded in the weblog like previous posts)

05_09 cactus flower closeup

The threat of bad weather

05_09 thumb sepia storm vertical A quick trip to Colorado Springs, CO- arrive the afternoon, spend the night and fly out the next afternoon.

After the heat of Phoenix (a record 14 consecutive days over 100 degrees), the mountain coolness was welcome, although the weather was somewhat threatening! Ironically, the rain we actually got was light sprinkles the next morning, only to return to Phoenix to find heavy thunderstorms and rain.  05_09 thumb sepia red storm 2

FREE highspeed internet from Google

05_09 tispFINALLY: FREE broadband. 

Best of all, the basic infrastructure is already installed in almost all but the most rural residences. It sounds too good to be true!! You can learn more about TiSP and sign up to be one of their BETA testers by clicking this link or go to

From the Google website:

Sick of paying for broadband that you have to, well, pay for?

Introducing Google TiSP (BETA), our new FREE in-home wireless broadband service. Sign up today and we'll send you your TiSP self-installation kit, which includes setup guide, fiber-optic cable, spindle, wireless router and installation CD.

TiSP in-home wireless broadband is:

  • Free, fast and highly reliable

  • Easy to install -- takes just minutes

  • Vacuum-sealed to prevent water damage

New Photo Galleries!! Check it out:

I have a new Photo Gallery website: The hosting site is built for photographers and really does an outstanding job displaying images. Among other things, it allows me to post full size images, instead of thumbs, that really "pop" when you click on them. Full high-def images will expand to fill your screen with really good image quality. The Grand Canyon Gallery is an example of how well the site presents images.

Just click on the link to see the galleries I have put up.

This is definitely a Work In Progress: I will be gradually setting up new galleries, moving images in as time allows and reding some images to take advantage of the high quality display capabilities.     

Technology meets the shower... with documentation

05_09 shower instructions I will cheerfully admit that I have taken a lot of showers in my life. It is, in fact, my preferred method of getting clean. I have also taken them in a large number of places over the years. It appears that technology has advanced to the point that I now require written instructions on how to take a shower. 

Is it a sign of age when you yearn for two controls... one for hot and one for cold, with an obvious knob to pull up to switch from tub to shower mode... all being something one could figure out without the aid of written instructions?

At least the toilet doesn't have instructions (although, in Japan, I am told...).

Image from the Fairfield Inn in Provo, UT, taken a short time after successfully following the guideline.  

A new venue: Scenes from the Beach

05_09 thumb treasure island view of beach Treasure Island, Florida: three days after returning from The Grand Adventure (see below), flew to Tampa and then on to Treasure Island (didn't really feel like an island) for five days of company meetings. It is tough duty but someone has to do it.  In between meetings, 'got a few minutes to wander the beach. 

(some of the images may be cropped in the blog: click on them to see full image)

OK, these last two are for the photographers in the crowd:

Racing to beat the tide
05_09 thumb treasure island racing to beat the tide

No Vacancy
05_09 thumb treasure island no vacancy

The Grand Adventure

11a thumb 04_24_09 scenic top of trail (revised 05/03)

For four days in April, Bill, Mike and Jodi went on a Grand Adventure deep into the wilds of a certain Canyon in Northern Arizona.

I took my trusty 35mm DSLR, rigged into an Opt/Tech harness so it wouldn't flop around, along with me. Over the course of the trip we went many places and had many a fine adventure. I have posted a photographic journey of each day. Your comments are, as always, more than welcome.

If you like an image, feel free to download it.  The only thing I ask is that if you show them around, please give credit where credit is due. I have created a special Gallery for the trip, with full size high-def images (the one on the blog are thumbs- reduced size and pixels). Just go to my Gallery site at and look at the Featured gallery. 

The Grand Adventure- Day 4- 04/27/09: End of the trek

Our final day was all about the hike out (and up). Bright Angel Trail is the easiest of the trails out but it is still a 4.7 mile climb with full packs... almost none of the trail is level, some of it is very steep and rough. We left about 9am and reached the trailhead at the top of the Canyon at about 1:30pm. It was a gorgeous day for hiking: mid-60's when we left Indian Gardens, light breeze and not a cloud in the sky.

Jodi's knee issues created real problems for her hiking: a lot of the trail is made up of "mule steps" (steps that are a bit too big and too long for people to hike with any kind of rhythm) and she couldn't bend her knee to step up. She persevered and, with a little help from Mike, we all made it to the top. The last 3000 feet or so of the trail is inundated with tourists who don't know the basic rule of hiking-- give those climbing up right-of-way-- so we had to struggle through them as well.

A view looking down on Bright Angel Trail. The trail near the bottom of the image is the Plateau Point Trail we hiked the night before.
Thumb 10 04_27 plateau point trail

This pinnacle is named "Battleship." It was named in honor of the USS Iowa by Teddy Roosevelt.Thumb 11 04_27 the battleship

Jodi met a friend at the Three Mile Stop (the climb is broken into three segments with water stops at 3 mile and 1.5 mile distances from the top). He actually clambered into her lap looking a a snack! When she was not forthcoming he lost interest and went to harass others
Thumb 12 04_27 jodi meets a friend

Looking back down the trail. If you look very carefully at the point where the trail leads you can see the building at the Three Mile Stop.
Thumb 13 04_27 3 mile rest

Last three scenics of the Canyon. Truth be told, I was way too focused on putting one foot in front of the other and making it the summit to be taking pictures.
Thumb 14 04_27 trail from the top

Thumb 15 04_27 near the top

Thumb 16 04_27 final view

The Bright Angel Trailhead at the top of the Grand Canyon. The end-point of our journey.
Thumb 17 04_27 trail head

The Grand Canyon is a magical place. Its beauty is overwhelming and hiking through it is a challenge that forces everything else to insignificance. This was our second trip and it was more awesome than the first. I had the pleasure of outstanding traveling companions who shared in the awesomeness of the journey (severe overuse of the word awesome, but it just fits too well). Our Grand Adventure was a life's milestone, over way too quickly... a memory to be cherished and valued. Pain and discomfort fade to triviality in light of the total experience.  The Rangers say 4-5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year and less than 1% go to the base of the Canyon. If you factor out the "mulies" and the "rafters" the number is even less. I am blessed that Jodi, Mike and I are part of that small number who have fully experienced the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Adventure- Day 3- 04/26/09, Part 2: Perfect Light

For photographers, there are times of the day we live for... when the light is perfect. Images gain a new complexity and beauty.

We met a Park Ranger at 6:11pm, an hour before sunset, for the 3 mile round trip hike out to Plateau Point from Indian Gardens. We were fifteen - twenty minutes too late for the sunset at Plateau Point but along the way the light became... perfect. The aches and pains, sore feet and all, went away: it was the Perfect Light. My humble attempts to catch the Light:  

The Grand Adventure- Day 3- 04/26/09, Part 1: On to Indian Gardens

Day 3 is uponst us and it is time to leave Phantom Ranch to start the two day trip out of the Grand Canyon. The day started with a 4.6 mile hike, with full packs, to Indian Gardens at the base of the Canyon wall. The hike was nice except for the dreaded Devil's Corkscrew, a winding steep preview to tomorrow's climb out. We went from the desert zone of Phantom Ranch to the riparian zone of Indian Gardens: the surroundings dictated by the creek running through the area and almost a wetlands area. We had also climbed a bit and the temperatures dropped about 10 degrees.

Jodi's unexpected problems with her knees escalated from an aggravation to a painful experience, a portend of problems for tomorrow's climb but at the same time showing her strength of character through a great attitude and unflinching willingness to keep going!

The second part of the day was highlighted by a 3 mile sunset into darkness hike... more on it in the next posting.