The TSA agent, in  a boring monotone voice, announced loudly, "Removeallcomptuters,liquids,gels,fromyourbags ....everythingfromyourpockets  ....removeshoesbelt .....anythingfromyourpockets...."

I was in line awaiting my turn in the Baton Rouge airport for my usual partial pat-down.   I stood patiently behind a group of New Orleans Jazzfest band members who had, for some reason, chosen Baton Rouge as their airport.  After removing everything from my pockets, the computer from my bag and my boots placed in the bin, I noticed one of the band members had started removing clothing.  There was a miniature huddle with a couple of his buddies, so he stopped with removing only  the shirt.

Standing at the entrance of the complicated scanning booth, he waited until a supervisor, the agent had called, arrived and told him gruffly, "You can't go through here without a shirt!"  With a little hesitation and having his point foiled, the guy slowly put his shirt back on while I and a dozen others in line waited.  The agent motioned him through the scanning device.  He managed to not do it right a couple of time before getting the OK from the scanner.

Once the line was moving again, I proceeded to have my junk scanned and got a partial pat-down probably because I was laughing so hard at how one guy pawned the TSA.


Three Rivers Petroglyphs

Located about 35 miles north of Alamogordo and 15 from Tularosa, a hill is home to as many as 21,400 petroglyphs.  The trail is probably ¾ mile up a rocky trail flanked with mesquite and sage.  The Three Rivers markings are so prolific, you wonder if they really are that real.  The docent down in the office said most are authentic,  but you couldn't help but notice the occasional "J M" or a peace sign someone had decorated a rock with.  Not knowing the reason for the Indian artwork, you might wonder if somehow this could also be some ancient graffiti.  Maybe the quadruped with the geometric design on the belly really said, "Grumbling Buffalo loves Squawking Bird."  Five thousand years from now, after our society has completely crashed, some budding anthropologist may think the graffiti painted on the side of some building is a discovery of social importance too.

Since the hill is several miles from the Sacramento Mountains, you have to speculate that this was either a burial or religious site to the Mogollon Indians who lived here for hundreds of years prior to the Mescalero Apaches.  I could imagine a burial party making their way to the top bringing with them, the body of a dead chief or medicine man.  The higher up the hill, the more important the deceased.

Although there is somewhat of a designated path, you are told that it is not necessary to stay on it.  The prehistoric markings are on virtually every rock with any size to it at all.

Looking to the west in the Chihuahuan Desert, you can see the glistening White Sands dunes and the San Andres mountain range. While the park literature advises you that rattlesnakes are common among the rocks, lizards were far more visible in the noon day heat.

The Desert

Leaving the San Francisco east bay, I landed in El Paso, Texas and headed north.   As I drove north into the New Mexico desert, I could hear strains of Eagles music drifting into my thoughts.

It's been several years since I'd been in the area and looked forward to working in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  The springtime still left some greenery in the plants and made you wonder how far you could wander out there in the desert before you stepped on a rattlesnake as big as your leg.

One particular place I was excited about was visiting White Sands National Monument.  Having walked the dunes back in 2004, I knew what to expect, so naturally my first Saturday gave me the opportunity.

Late in the afternoon, I took part in a "Sunset Stroll" hosted by a park ranger who pointed out some of the curiosities of the sands.

It's not the typical quartz beach sand but instead, it's gypsum and the same thing you find in drywall inside your home.  When it's wet, it crystallizes and when winds reach 16 miles an hour, the flakes move along breaking into smaller flakes and collects in the Tularosa Basin.  White Sands is the largest collection of this kind of sand in the world and encompasses 575 square miles of it.

Hopefully, I'll be able to get some very spectacular shots out there if I'm assigned here long enough.
Nice sunsets too.


Fremont, CA

Nice quiet little community.  Wonder what they do?

Actually, it's part of the Silicon Valley technology community.  I was only there for 3 days but enjoyed the cool climate, sunny days and the beauty of the area on the east side of the San Francisco Bay.
To an outsider, such as myself, in many ways California's internal folkways and mores seems like a paradox.  For example, motorcyclists engage in a practice of "lane splitting".  That's when a motorcyclist is allowed to pass slower vehicles by going between two lanes of cars.  At the same time, bikers aren't allowed to go without helmets.  That just doesn't compute in my head. 
In other ways, the poor and downtrodden are championed, yet there are more beggars and homeless there than most other places I've visited.  The poor just never become.....un-poor, even with the compassion.  Californians, and bay area citizens in particular are never without a "cause" they can engage in.  Just pick one.  There is a social injustice custom made for practically anyone.
I do like how you can be in a city but in minutes, find yourself on a canyon road watching wildlife that seem unafraid of humans.
The visit was short lived.  Onward to Alamogordo, New Mexico.


People Will Buy Anything

While the sun was still rising, the humidity was so thick it would wilt a crowbar, people mad their way down our street to the garage sale.

Admittedly, I went out and place signs on the highway and Darlene had put an ad on the internet but I was still amused as traffic lined up on the street to check out the collection of junk Darlene and Rebecca (niece/goddaughter) had laid out.  It was amazing at what people will buy.  It was basically, things that had been shoved aside at home for years.  Some clothing items had been worn only a couple times while others were just worn out.  It didn't matter.....25 cents for this, a buck for that, "...we'll bargain!",  Darlene proclaimed.

It was a good day, collecting a sizable income for what will become Rebecca's theater trip to New York.   That and just cleaning out the closets of accumulated junk.


On The Bayou

Recently, I've taken a break from the mountains, oceans and waterfalls to work near home.  For the past week and a half, I've been in Larose, Louisiana.  Because I'm completely embarrassed to turn in an expense ticket for a hotel over $175.00, I've elected to drive the 35 miles north each day to stay at a Hampton Inn in Thibodaux.

Usually, it's the same drive, day in and day out with a cane field on the left and a water hyacinth clogged Bayou Lafourche on the right.  This morning yielded a beauty that I really couldn't capture with the camera, but it was mesmerizing.

The sun  barely cut through the fog and Spanish Moss turning the landscape into a haunting grey which dramatized the atmosphere.

Further along, the fog began to lift and the sky brightened as I approached Larose, where the Intercostal Canal crossed over Bayou Lafourche.  Dozens of shrimp boats, offshore supply boats and push barges lay anchored in the peaceful waters.

Since I had arrived 15 minutes early, it gave me a chance to snap a few pictures.  Unfortunately, I consider none to be of outstanding beauty but at least I had a chance to exercise the Nikon.