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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Arizona's Rock Cliff Dwellers and the Vermllion Cliffs


The story of Cliff Dwellers begins during the Great Depression, when Blanche Russell gave up a highly successful dancing career back East to tend to her husband, Bill, who was suffering from tuberculosis. The couple packed up and moved to the Southwest, crossing the recently completed Navajo Bridge across the Colorado River south of Lees Ferry about 1927.




The Russells only made it a few more miles, however, before their car broke down near the big rocks. Blanche got it in her head that it wouldn't be a half-bad place to live and the couple threw up a lean-to of tarpaper and boards against the largest rock. Then, she started serving food to passers-by in return for labor as the house got larger.

Pretty soon, the couple had a full-scale restaurant on their hands and added a hand gasoline pump for some of the earliest motorists to the Canyon's North Rim. They also catered to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in wagons who were taking the Mormons' nearby Honeymoon Trail to have their marriages sanctified at the temple in St. George, Utah.

In the back of the house you can see how large the primary rock actually is.



This was the "out house".     I forgot to take a picture of the interior, but it looks like I remember from my grandparent's farm.   (minus the Sear's catalog)



A second kitchen stove



I think I may have found the guest house




Look, bunk beds..............



Now on to the scenery in this area...................

The Vermillion Cliffs were on an important route from Utah to Arizona used by settlers during the 19th Century. The area was explored by the Mormon pioneer and missionary Jacob Hamblin, who started a ranch at the base of the cliffs in House Rock Valley. Present day U.S. Highway 89A basically follows the old wagon route past the cliffs through House Rock Valley and up the Kaibab Plateau to Jacob Lake.



The Vermilion Cliffs are the second "step" up in the five-step Grand Staircase of the Colorado Plateau, in northern Arizona and southern Utah. They extend west from near Page, Arizona, for a considerable distance, in both Arizona and Utah.




112,500 acres of the region were designated as the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness in 1984. An even greater area was protected within Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in 2000.




On to Texas...................





Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cape Royal on the North Rim

My final group of pictures from the Grand Canyon.    It is indeed different from the South Rim.    Certainly less congested.

In the far distance you are able to see the Colorado River as well as the tall stone tower at Desert View on the South Rim.







Wotan's Throne is the large semi circle stone hedge in this picture.    It is the best known site on the North Rim







That's it for the North Rim.    


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

North Rim - Four Vista's


After leaving the Lodge area, we drove to several other vistas, Encantada, Roosevelt, Wallhalla and Angel's Window.








If you had visited this plateau 900 years ago, you would have encountered prehistoric Indians known as the Kayenta Anasai.      They are believed to be the ancestors of the present day Hopi Indians who live near the Grand Canyon.

About 1150 A.D. they left the Canyon, possibly because of a decline in rainfall which discouraged farming.     Can't blame them, could you imagine farming on these rocks?




The Unkar Creek runs through this area.




This opening is called Angel's Window.    You can barely see the Colorado River through the upper part of the opening.

You can also see the people on top of this huge rock.     I took some of the preceeding pictures from up there!



One more day of Grand Canyon North Rim pictures then we are moving on.......




Monday, May 23, 2016

Views from the North Rim's Grand Canyon Lodge

The Grand Canyon North Rim is seen by a small fraction of the total visitors to the Grand Canyon.   The North Rim offers a serene and enthralling experience because it is more remote and less developed.     Many think its viewpoints are the most spectacular since they are located at a higher elevation.



At an elevation of 8,000 to 8,800 feet above sea level, the North Rim is 1,000 feet higher than the more popular South Rim.     This higher elevation results in heavy winter snows and a shorter summer growing season.

The North Rim officially opens on May 15th of each year and closes October 15th because of the snow.    We saw a little snow at one spot only.  



The Grand Canyon is 10 miles wide at this point and the Colorado River is 9 miles away, but it is a 210 mile drive if you want to reach the South Rim by car.



California Condors are abundant here.     I saw many birds soaring, but have no idea if there were condors.

The two canyons immediately by the lodge are Roaring Springs Canyon and The Transept.




The previous pictures were taken from the two viewing stands that you see in this picture.   The first one is at the top of the white rocks on the right.    If you look carefully you can see people out there.    The second viewing spot is much more obvious in the lower middle of the picture.



The lodge was built in the 1920's but burned down a few years later.    It was rebuilt and reopened in 1937.      The lodge itself isn't huge, but there are many beautiful log cabins on the grounds with porches open to the views.     A handful of these cabins are right on the edge of the canyon.      That's where I would want to be!

The circular room jutting out in front is the Sun Room.     The next picture shows the interior.     There is a dining room off to the left which also has stunning views.




This Sun Room is intended for quiet meditation and reading.     Can you imagine trying to concentrate on your book with views like that?



The journey (and pictures) continue for the next few days.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chihuly Glass .......


Dale Chihuly is the artist who created “Fiori di Como,” the glass sculpture that hangs from the ceiling in Bellagio’s lobby.      The piece covers 2,100 square feet.       The reported price The Bellagio paid for this masterpiece was $10 million.



The sculpture consists of 2,000 hand-blown glass blossoms that weigh about 40,000 pounds.    They are supported by a 10,000-pound steel armature.     Every morning between 2 and 5 a.m., a team of eight to 10 engineers cleans and maintains the sculpture.











There is also a gallery down the street.



There were no signs posted about photography, so I discreetly took a couple pictures.






In 1976 Chihuly was involved in a serious car accident in England and lost sight in his left eye.   Shortly after that he was involved in a body surfing accident that left him physically unable to hold the glassblowing pipe.     Since then he has relied on a team of talented glassblowers to carry out his artistic vision.





Thursday, May 19, 2016

High Roller at the Linq.....


The High Roller is called the largest observation wheel in the world.     It tops out at 550 feet, which is 107 feet taller than the London Eye.






We are on board and starting our climb to the top.



This is what we saw when we were at the top.









Our condo is straight ahead about 6 miles toward that mountain in the middle.




I always try to get an "artistic" shot.      These are a few of the cables holding us together.     I converted this to black and white for impact.



There are 28 cabins and up to 40 people fit in each one.     It is 300 square feet and has floor to ceiling glass.       RJ and I felt very privileged to have the cabin entirely to ourselves.





The wheel never stops, even for loading and unloading.     It goes very slowly (one foot per second) and you just walk on and off.    The full circle takes 30 minutes  ---  Emma, I was wrong when I told you it took 60 minutes.     Grandma made a mistake.



We really enjoyed the views from above the strip.       If I were to do this again, though, I'd start about a half hour later so we could have gotten some of the lights of the casinos below.






Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Park at T-Mobile........

There is a new area open on the Strip.     The T-Mobile Arena is now open and a park area was created to connect Las Vegas Blvd. with it.     There are lots of trees, tables in the shade and misters throughout.





There are several groupings of these sculptures in the 3-acre park.    



The 20,000 seat T-Mobile Arena is already booked with some big-name entertainers.



The featured item in the park is the breathtaking, 40 foot tall sculpture of a dancing nude created by artist Marco Cochrane.

Bliss Dance is lit at night (unfortunately I didn't see it after dark)     I couldn't find an answer to this obvious question:    How do they replace the light bulbs?    She is covered in a mesh screen. and I couldn't find any "trap doors".




RJ is checking out her foot work.


For our friends who have visited the past couple years, the entry to this park is right next to Shake Shack, my favorite burger joint.