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Thursday, February 26, 2015

First Friday Celebrations

First Friday celebrations on Fremont Street are quite entertaining (in a variety of ways).
This musician works out of the back of a nice pickup truck and is probably the most
talented performer out there tonight.

 Exhibitionists abound!    

This kiosk is quite popular with people getting an oxygen hit.     Has anyone done this?      What does it do for you?      I'm not quite sure where the "spa" is.     Perhaps I don't want to know.......

Does this guy crave attention?     Does he really think people will mistake him for a Hollywood legend?

Yes, people bring their kids down here, so they need entertainers, too.

This guy is really good with spray paint and pieces of heavy stock paper.      His pictures are popular souvenirs, but I don't know how he can stand all the fumes.  

Money is changing hands, but it's for the chance to have his photo taken with them (I think)

 Who is this guy pretending to be????    Oh wait, it's the real RJ

Wouldn't you be proud to share this photo with your golf/poker buddies.....

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snow in Las Vegas ???

It's true.     We haven't totally escaped from the snow.      Granted, there was no snow at our condo, but we can see it on the mountains and some of the areas closer to the mountains got an inch or two.   There is a ski resort up on Mount Charleston and they got 10 inches of powder.    

These pictures were taken on the road that skirts Red Rock Canyon.     The park isn't open because the snow on the road hasn't all melted yet, making it too dangerous.      Okay.......

 By the weekend I will be out here in warm weather clothes taking pictures of the cacti in bloom.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Zion - Page Two

Zion is an incredible park.      We were fortunate to have very warm weather for our visit this year and were able to do a couple hikes that were closed other years.

These photos are on the drive to the "other" exit from the park.     You drive up a very windy road and then go thru a mile long tunnel.       Right after the exit is another trail we have never been able to do.      We made it about 3/4 of the way to the end, but it became a little to dangerous for me to continue (narrow wet ledge for about 25 feet with no rail, etc).       It was a fun hike to that point, I just didn't get to see the view others told me about.    Adventures are fun, but safety comes first!

This is what happens to the mountains late during Sunset.     There is no photoshop magic in this photo - this is truly what it looked like off of our balcony during that magic time.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Zion - The Waterfall

We go back to Zion every year.      It's a fun one or two night get away.      

This waterfall is the star of this post.     You will see it in one form or another in all the pictures today.    

There are three levels of pools that come down this mountain face.    You can see the top ledge and the middle one.     The water cascades down each level.

This is the first year that we are able to walk behind the falls by the lower pool.     Although it is only February 19th, there is no ice closing the trail.     What a treat!

I am behind the falls looking down on the lower pool.     Okay, it's not great falls or pools like we are used to in the UP of Michigan or Northern MN and WI, but we are in a desert.      It's thrilling just to see water......

RJ has the camera, so he caught me taking a break on the hike up to the Middle Pools.      The trail wasn't this clear all the way but it was a lot of upward climbing.    

There were two pools at the middle level.  

The pool in the previous picture drips over the ledge creating part of the waterfall that we walked behind.

The falls created from that dripping pool.

On the trip back down I snapped this - I love the simplicity of it.

Tomorrow - more pictures from Zion

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Irish Wives Garden Club Reunited

The Irish Wives Garden Club was a much loved group.      It was obviously a garden club and was very selective in who was admitted,  so much so that the club only had the two originating members.    It was in existence for several years.      We had a 3-ring binder to hold minutes of our meetings along with brochures of new nurseries that we found in our travels.      We thought nothing of driving down to Iowa to get a single plant from the breeder.     We knew all the plant stops between Onalaska and Minneapolis, as well as all of them once we arrived.     We covered most of the state of Wisconsin looking for those perfect plants.      If we happened upon a small nursery that wasn't open that day, we would tour it anyway.      Once, we bought plants from a nursery after hours and just left the money for them.

Our husband's never understood how we could start out at 7 am, spend all day together, arrive back at 9 pm and still sit in the drive way to continue talking.

As often happens, however, the club eventually broke up.      It's hard to continue in the quest for the perfect plant when Irish Wife #1 sold her home and RV's full time around the country.      Then, Irish Wife #2 sold her home and travels the world full time.

This past week, we found ourselves within a few hours of each other.    RJ and I hopped in our car and drove to Mesa.

May I introduce the two Irish Men and their (formerly gardening) wives.   I'm not sure why RJ was pulling Cheryl's hair.......

Lake Havasu City is always a favorite stop when we are traveling south of Las Vegas.     We took the long way back after visiting Mesa and enjoyed the oasis for a couple hours.

I saw this t-shirt in a window and couldn't resist taking a picture.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Secret Gardens

The Mirage has a fun Secret Garden.        It consists of two distinctive parts.        We started at the back.     This garden is a showcase of animals belonging to or are part of the stage show of Siegfried & Roy.      These animals are dearly loved by the famous duo and the animals are actually housed at their home outside the city.      A few big cats are brought in each morning and around 1 p.m. they are removed and new animals are brought in.      They only spend three hours in these enclosures before returning to their home.

There are three  cubs who are 9 months old.     Although they still act like cubs, they each weigh about 180 pounds.     It was fun watching two of them playfully fight over a favorite toy.

The other part of this location is the Dolphin Habitat.      There are three large water areas as well as an underground viewing area.     The total pool size is eight times larger than regulations require and the human-made seawater is cycled and cleaned every two hours.     The well being of these animals is paramount to Sigfried & Roy.   
Did you know that in nature, the males and females keep separate,  males traveling together and females in another group with the young.      This segregation is also followed here.

One of the “tricks” the dolphins do is painting pictures.     This young girls family paid to give her this experience.      She got to hold the frame and the trainer puts a paint bottle with brush in the mouth of the dolphin who then paints a picture with head movements.     What a thrill for a child (or adult).

This dolphin is telling us thank you for visiting

Good bye from the Secret Garden at the Mirage........

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Hiking in Red Rock Canyon

Hiking in Red Rock is always fun (at least before the summer heat arrives).      A lot of people do rock climbing, but the only part that looks like fun is rappelling down.      Too much work getting up there.    I like what they do on Amazing Race – you take an elevator to the top of a building and rappel down.    That I would do!

Despite being in a desert, you can find water (and trees) if you know which trail to take.     

You can even find a 15 foot waterfall.     Okay, I have to confess, RJ took this picture.     The climb out onto that rock to get the shot looked a little dangerous with my balance issues.  

If you get to Las Vegas, this is a beautiful park to drive through and enjoy and it’s just a couple miles outside the city.     No hiking (or rock climbing) is necessary to see the beauty of this park.