"Goat Your Hand Baggage"

"Cabra su equipaje de mano" or "Goat your hand baggage".
At least that's what my handy-dandy language  translator app told me about American Airlines' luggage size checking thingy.
I find if you reverse translate it 3 or 4 times back and forth between Spanish and English  you get an interesting variety of translations.
Now, if I could just get my AA flight app to work, I would be in business.


Thanksgiving in New Mexico

I've been working in Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico again so instead of flying home for the holidays, Ms Darlene flew out so we could cruise around from Albuquerque through Santa Fe and Taos.

Our first night (Wednesday) was in Santa Fe where we wandered around the Old Town sector and eating at a local restaurant called The Shed.

It's quite common for people to put out luminaries during holiday seasons.  Luminaries originally were paper bags with a candle in them.  We saw newer versions in store that amounted to a plastic version of the bag with battery powered candles in them.

For Thanksgiving Day, we made our way up to Taos and the Taos Ski Valley which had just opened for the season after receiving a bit of snow.  Unfortunately, Angel Fire was not due to open until later on in December.

Instead of taking the quick way up, we took the scenic route stopping often for the views.

  We were amused at how tame the deer seemed to be as we rode around the homes at Angelfire.

Our memorable Thanksgiving meal was a chicken sandwich from the ski shop but that's OK, we didn't over eat. 

We sat and watched the skiers for quite a while, marveling at the age of some on the slopes.

One little girl we talked to was only 4 and already quite the enthusiast.

Friday after Thanksgiving we drove around the Enchanted Circle through towns like Eagles Nest, Red River, Sipapu and Questa.  Red River and Sipapu had small ski slopes open and seemed to attract families on a budget.

 On past Questa, we drove across the Rio Grande Gorge bridge just north of Taos.  Now, that's a deep ditch.  After a walk halfway across it and back again, we enjoyed the sundown in the square in Taos.

The last night in Taos found us shopping for....well, just the sake of shopping but eventually wound up in El Prado and had dinner at Orlando's.

 Orlando's is pretty popular and located in an older, bright colored home with a fire pit outside. The only problem I had was while we waited outside at the fire pit, they would call people's names to be seated and the speaker was so loud, when it went off I nearly threw my cell phone in the fire...twice.

 Saturday we removed ourselves from Taos and headed back to Santa Fe in time to wander a bit more in the Old Town.

Visiting the cathedral there.

We had been advised to check out the crepes at a French bakery.

 Just as it began to darken, they lighted up the trees in the square where local musicians sang and drummed.

Over all we really enjoyed our 5 day weekend and ended it by driving back to Albuquerque to meet up with one of Darlene's long lost cousins.  The best part was we didn't have to eat Mexican food and enjoyed ourselves at Pappadeaux's cajun restaurant of all places.

So, Monday morning I put Ms Darlene on the plane and headed back south for Truth Or Consequences.


Quick visit to Oregon and Washington

After a quick ejection from Victoria, Texas, I found myself on a red-eye flight to Portland, Oregon and a job in Vancouver, Washington.

My co-worker and I, Toni, pretty much worked 10-11 hours daily and when Sunday came, it proved to be constant rain that dampened (was that a pun?) our sight seeing along the Columbia River.

However, as I was finishing up work mid afternoon last Saturday, I looked on the Weather Channel and saw there would be a 3 or 4 hour window of sunshine over at Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Wasting no time, I went back to the hotel, put on jeans and grabbed the Nikon for a 2 drive westward on highway 26.

Raining most of the way, there would be short bursts of sunshine and couldn't resist stopping off for a well timed selfie at a rest area with a really nice rainbow.

Moving on to Cannon Beach, I walked down on the beach near the Haystack rocks to take a few pictures.  Something that massive caused people to just stand at the shore and just gawk.  So did I.

It was just simply amazing.

Even though the sun was shining, the sunlight filtered through the haze like a flashlight shining through a dirty glass.

As sundown finally came, I drove the two hours back in the rainy darkness hoping I wouldn't meet a deer or elk along the way.

On early Sunday morning, I loaded up again hoping to find a little more scenery I could enjoy and drove up the Oregon side of the Columbia River past Troutdale toward Multnomah Falls which I've had the pleasure of climbing up the zig-zag trail beside it.

Today, there was just a whole lot more of rain than I was prepared to deal with.  Oddly enough, as wet as it was, I only saw one umbrella there wielded by a couple of Japanese tourists.  The locals just shrug it off.  I didn't have an umbrella either but it was because I'd failed to bring one.

I did drive up the road on old Scenic Highway 30 and took some hiking trails by some other falls and streams.

It was really nice walking under the canopy of trees which acted like a natural umbrella.

This trip is going to be short lived and expect to be out of here in a couple more days.  It's too bad I wasn't able to get my wife up here because she really enjoys this area.


Nerd alert

My first lunar eclipse.  

I got up pretty early in Victoria Texas, to see what it was all about and thought it was pretty nice. 

As I understand, the next one will not be until April 2015 and the next after that won't happen again for another 20 plus years.  If I'm still around by then, I probably won't know it or even care.

Also, there's supposed to be a partial solar eclipse on October 23 of this year.


Bootfest Victoria Texas

As summer winds down and the days become more tolerable, lots of towns put on some sort of festival and Victoria, Texas is no different, hosting it's own Bootfest.

(clicking on the photo increases the size and resolution)

It's pretty much the same as other and the idea of a Boot festival in south Texas is like having a Southern Drawl festival in Hattiesburg, Mississippi...everyone has one.

Young and old gathered, some young enough to be in strollers and others old enough to be in wheelchairs and walkers.  Around the square, the usual booths were there such as funnel cakes, barbeque, ice cream and of course, ... beer.  There was a line up of bands and of the couple I heard, they were pretty good.

One group from Cuero was a blend of country, hiphop and rock with a heavy dose of Mexican thrown in with the front man singing and speaking Spanglish   Another band played a mix of 70s music and country. I was really enjoying them until they tried make Van Morrison's Brown Eyed Girl into their own style.  That ended it for me.  Don't be messin' with Brown Eyed Girl.

Other venders included home crafted art, leather, boots and t-shirts.

What I found most interesting was the car show.  There was the usual restored 58 Corvette, 66 chevys, sports cars and trucks but what really stole my heart was a generous exhibit of Rat Rods.

Here's a few of my favorites that should be right at home on the set of Mel Gibson's Mad Max.


Never forget 9/11/2001

There are events you'll always remember where you were when it happened.

For me, I was arriving at my office in Baton Rouge, finding long line of people were waiting for the Tuesday Morning store to open just before 8:00 AM..  Two or three people had just received cell phone calls informing them that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings.

After logging on to my computer, I walked back to my break room and flipped on the TV to check the news.  Sure enough the crash event was on and I saw smoke billowing from one of the buildings.  Of course, my mind was racing on how in the world such a tragedy could have happened when I looked and saw the second airplane hit.

It didn't take long to process that and know, I had just witnessed an attack on America.

At that point, our lives had changed forever.  I'll never forget.

photo courtesy of www.pabloescobar.info


Harvest Moon - Victoria County, Texas

The moon was beautiful but the mosquitoes were more than plentiful.  

Checking my compass trying to decide where this thing was going to come up, I stood just off the road across from a small pond waiting for 8:09 pm to arrive when this moon would appear.

Just before the rise, it began to become much darker and I could hear a swarm of mosquitoes approaching with a whine like a loose fan belt on an old truck.  As the moon rose, I found myself 25 yards or so too far to the north so I scurried through the weeds trying to get this shot with the windmill in it.  When I stopped moving and began to focus those blasted insects finally caught up with me.

Sure I'd love to have taken a bit more time setting the camera just right on the tripod but I found it nearly impossible to do so swatting those things off my legs. *Note* It's foolish to go into the weeds wearing only shorts and sandals.

Anyway, a day later, I'm still scratching what is probably a hundred or more bites.



More Whales

Out today on the Mahana Naia for a snorkel trip.  The fish were ... eh...so-so but the whales coming back were crazy good.



Kamaole Beach I, Kihei, Maui, HI


More Whale Tails

More whale tails and a couple of highly manipulated (no shame) 
shots at Kamaole Beach 1 in Kihei, Maui, HI.