Saturday, December 30, 2017

USA 2017: San Diego Zoo

My final posting is from the San Diego Zoo, plus some pics from Albie and Court's abode and a final one from LA.

His name's Bosch. He's a cutie.
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Bosch and Coco.
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A big, dirty, ole polar bear stretched out.
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Ellie. We saw bigger ones in South Africa.
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I believe these are California condors.
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Awwww... it a baby giraffe. It cute.
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Yours truly on the shuttle from Avis to LAX. Naturally, I'm deeply skeptical of leaving the US.
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Thursday, December 28, 2017

USA 2017: The Rooster Cogburn Ranch

The last touristy thing I did in Arizona, was go visit the Rooster Cogburn ostrich ranch, which lies appx. 45 mins northwest of Tucson. They had some ostriches, true, but mainly a bunch of other animals you could feed and/or pet. Ever the sucker for fluffy animals, I forked over the entrance money and was given a few cups with various food and was instructed on when to feed what to whom. I then spent a couple of hours walking around doing precisely that.

They advertise themselves as the darndest place you'll ever see. I'm not ready to go that far, but as these things go, they're pretty darned.
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The first animal I encountered was this little donkey, who seemed only interested in the food I had. No love there.
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Then I went over to a large bird cage, where insanity ensued every time I stuck this pin, dipped in birdseeds, in between the railings.
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I then walked over to the deer enclosure, where almost every animal was dozing in the shadow, out of the blistering midday sun. Only this little fella was prowling the fence, posing for photos and getting his litte snout stuffed.
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Right next to the deer enclosure was the goat penthouse, basically a cage hoisted way up in the air, with goats in it. You could then transport food up to them via the five tubes you can see in the photo. At first I thought it somewhat cruel, but apparently the goats themselves love it and fight every morning for the change to get in.
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The rest of the goats are busy trying to get a space on the wall, where they will feed frantically on whatever you give 'em. The name "Hole in the wall gang" refers to the famous bandit gang of yore, up in Wyoming, which at times included Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid.
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An ostrich. From everything I've seen of these birds, they're as intelligent as they look.
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A video of an ostrich. Very messy eaters.


Here, one of 'em is trying to kill a plastic food cup. Very intelligent indeed.
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These goats were possibly the cutest bunch at the ranch. Playful and cuddly.
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This guy was licking the wood with something approaching ecstacy. I dunno if they coat it with salt or heroin, but he was licking away the whole time I was there.
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Bunneeeeeeeeeeeees.
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A duck making a fool out of himself. Honestly, have some dignity.
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The lorikeet enclosure was possbily the highlight of the tour. I read the "476 cheeseburgers a day" part and knew I'd gotten a new spirit animal.
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Birdbrain. Oh, and an actual bird.
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They'd frequently come sit on your hands, and at one point I had two; one on each arm. They're greedy lil' fuckers but I liked them.
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Video of a lorikeet feeding from my hand... and probably telling his fellow featherballs to fuck off.


The last post on the tour was the pool, where they had a bunch of stingrays. They were cheeky and inquisitive and surprisingy soft to the touch. I talked a bit to some of the employees and they all said the stingrays were their favorites. Whoda thunk it?
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Excuse me, Sir! Do you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior, Aquaman?
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Video of the stingrays.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

USA 2017: Return to Old Tucson

I'd spent a wonderful day in Tucson six years earlier, and was determined to repeat the success. However, as I was still feeling under the weather, I really only did a quick run through Old Tucson.

The place has served as a stand in for dozens of moves and TV-series and if not for the throngs og tourists, you could imagine yourself in the Old West - or maybe Westworld.
A choo-choo train for the little ones. I think being a conductor on one of these trains would rapidly drain away my last vestige of joie de vivre.
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Only the clothes have really changed.
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Stagecoach, where one could take a brief tour if one was so inclined.
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I had no food, so he paid no interest in me.
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Still no Wu or his pigs.
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The front of a Spanish style church building.
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Three stuntmen kept us amused for a while with jokes and shenanigans.
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Ah bought thish.
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Not that it helped me much in the end.
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USA 2017: Phoenix

Tuesday, I made my way, nice and slow, from Ridgecrest down to Blythe, just a few miles from the Arizona border. Wednesday I've done three touristy things, two of 'em in Phoenix.

The first place I stopped at was Barry Goldwater Memorial Park. It is a very peaceful and well construed little park, at the intersection of two busy streets.
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Placards on this wall enumerate some of Barry's many achievements.
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The park has cacti.
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And bushes.
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And running water.
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The piece de la resistance is this larger than life statue of Barry Goldwater. It kinda looks like he's got a beer can in one hand, but upon closer look, you'll find it is a camera. Photography and filming was a great passion of his, and he spent countless hours documenting the landscapes of this beautiful state and its inhabitants, including the injuns Natives, whom he had great respect for.
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The Ghost and his namesake.
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Now, I'd heard that maybe there were some items at the Arizona State Capitol Museum related to Barry , but the lady I spoke to at the information desk had no knowledge of such things and a couple of hours spent perusing the place revealed sweet nuffin'. Still, it was a nice enough visit.

The old chamber where the AZ House of Representatives used to meet. The corresponding Senate room was closed, I believe because they were having some sort of staff meeting there.
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Water is of the utmost importance in these parts and could literally be a question of life and death back in the day.
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An old voting machine. Be still, my fluttering heart!
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A bust of senator Carl Hayden, a contemporary of Barry Goldwater in the US Senate.
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Yours truly in a cutout of Uncle Sam. Since I was all alone in the world (sniffles), I had to stretch out one arm to take the selfie and still the angle only just allowed me to take the pic.
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Monday, December 25, 2017

USA 2017: Death Valley & Mount Whitney

Sunday we left Yosemite; mah crew went home to San Diego while I was unceremoniously dumped at the airport in Bakersfield to fend for myself. Ok, not really. Anyways, I drove up to Ridgecrest and then Monday on to Death Valley, as far as the sand dunes of Mesquite Flats. Then, I drove CA-190 and CA-136 from Panamint Valley, over the mountains into lovely, quaint, cozy, snug, little Lone Pine. After lunch at the country's purdiest McDonald's, I drove up to the parking lot under Mount Whitney and then down to Ridgecrest again. The route is as close to a pilgrimage as I'll ever come.

I took this video on the way from Ridgecrest to Death Valley, just to give y'all an idea of how barren and lifeless it all looks.


I am skeptical of the sand dunes.
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Video of said dunes.


Video from the vista point where the road starts to descend into Owen's Valley. It is a view that never fails to lift the spirit... and make me dance around, while reciting from The Sound of Music. Again, not really, but I had you going there for a second? Eh? Eh?


Video of the mountains as seen from the valley floor.


Mount Whitney in all its glory.
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The aforementioned McDonald's in Lone Pine. One could do worse than stuff face with a double quarterpounder with cheese there.
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The stream was frozen, but you could hear water run underneath. The air is so crisp and clear up there, every breath is pure bliss.
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The light patch of asphalt is where I'd witnessed the rock slide with mah San Diego crew back in the winter of 2014.
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Owen's Valley as seen from a vista point halfway up Mount Whitney.
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Video from the same spot.