Sundance cabin in Wyoming off Wyoming Highway 585
The Valley Gorge HUB mural, in The Dalles, Oregon, is one of my most favorite murals. This mural was painted in 2018 by Blaine Fontana, with help from Toma Villa, Jeremy Nichols, and Jeff Sheridan. This long mural is on E 1st St.
I took pictures of each section so you can see it more closely. This part features a Trout, Salmon, and Sturgeon.
This section shows a Black Bear, Bighorn sheep, and Cougar. A Yellow Warbler photo bombed this one.
This part shows a Yellow Warbler, Osprey, Blue Jay, and Raven.
The last section shows a Monarch Butterfly and a Chickadee. There’s a mural by another artist around the corner on this end of the building.
I’ve visited The Dalles in the past and didn’t realize the Valley Gorge HUB mural wrapped around the building. Here’s the mural on other parts of the building. You can see a Mule Deer, Red-winged Blackbirds, and an Egret.
I took pictures in The Dalles in 2022 of the Northwest Mural Fest. They now have 33 murals in the downtown area.
Here’s an updated map of their locations. I like how they added a red line to show which side of the building has murals. This map was updated in January of 2023.
Where do you go when you’re looking for a quick recharge? To the National Neon Sign Museum in The Dalles, Oregon, of course!
On the main floor, you’ll see a rainbow of neon colors. The signs on display are from the late 1800s through the 1960s.
Do you recognize any of these iconic signs?
How about this wall filled with Coca Cola signs?
You can see car dealerships and gas station signs here.
The flying horse from Mobile has always been one of my favorites.
The one from Cadillac is colorful and classy.
Some make you smile.
Even when not lit up, the artwork is impressive. I liked these three whimsical signs.
In another section of the main floor, there is a brief history of the process.
Signs from businesses line this room’s walls. I especially liked the 3-dimensional Regal cowboy boot.
French engineer and inventor Georges Claude is credited with inventing and commercializing neon lighting. He obtained a patent on his System of Illuminating by Luminescent Tubes on January 19, 1915. Claude held a monopoly on this type of product until the early 1930s.
The photo below, taken at the 1910 Paris Motor Show, shows the first public display of neon lights in the world.
The first picture below shows an early sign for the Claude Neon Sign business. The second shows the Claude Neon Float in the 1929 Shrine Electrical Pageant in Los Angeles, California.
National Neon Sign Museum Ballroom
Upstairs, there’s a large room, set up to look like an old town, called the Ballroom. As you may have guessed, you can rent it out for events.
You can see Medich’s BBQ restaurant and a shoe repair business below.
This picture shows Town Pride Frozen Custard restaurant.
Here’s a Philco store, complete with the iconic dog.
This shows a hat store, the BBQ restaurant, and the Vincent Hotel.
When we visited a week ago, they told us to stay tuned for big news. We just learned the National Neon Sign Museum was selected as the new home for the historic Jantzen Beach Carousel. Since the carousel uses more than 1,300 lightbulbs, it’s a good fit for the Museum.
Once restored, it will be placed on a lot next to the Museum. This large carousel measures 67 feet across and 28 feet high.
This carousel was located in Venice, California in 1921, then moved to Portland, Oregon in 1928. It operated at Jantzen Beach, and at another location nearby, until 2012. The carousel was donated to Restore Oregon in 2017. They will work in partnership with the Museum to repair and repaint the carousel’s 72 horses (and 10 spares).
This Beaded Horse Regalia is part of the exhibition at The Indian Museum of North America®. The beaded horse is on display at the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota. Douglas Fast Horse, Oglala Lakota, created this piece. He makes a point of creating work that replicates “historic Lakota regalia as a way to honor his heritage and help tell the story of Lakota Oyate.”
I’ve always admired beadwork such as this. This Beaded Horse Regalia piece shows what can be accomplished with many tiny glass beads, and a lot of patience.
A sedge of Sandhills near Burns, Oregon
These three sandstone formations are located in Tillamook Bay, north of Garibaldi, Oregon. Known locally as The Three Graces, they’re also called Crab Rocks. If the tides are low, they’re a great place to explore when out kayaking. Check tides before venturing there.
The Oregon coast has several seastacks near the shore. These are smaller in stature, but still very photogenic.
In June, I visited Legend Rock State Petroglyph Site near Thermopolis, Wyoming. The quarter-mile-long sandstone cliff at an isolated site is adorned with hundreds of Legend Rock petroglyphs. When you walk the trail beside these images, it is truly a step back in time.
Seeing Legend Rock petroglyphs up close
More than 300 petroglyphs have been identified on 92 rock panels. The oldest are at least 10,000 years old. The petroglyphs were carved by “ancestors of today’s Numic-speaking Eastern Shoshone tribe.”
Due to the fantastical nature of the images carved here, this site is thought to have been used by individuals on vision quests. The images were carved so long ago, their exact meanings are unknown.
In 1973, the state acquired the site and later that year, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Sites. The site included sections owned by the state and federal government, and private landowners. In 2015, local landowner Richard Wagner donated the last part needing protection.
Though some of the pictures are recognizable, like the small hoofed animal on the right side below, others are not. The figure on the right almost looks like it’s standing on legs on the top of its head.
Other Legend Rock petroglyphs are more geometric, like the nested circles in the middle right below.
The one pictured below looks like a figure within a figure.
Here’s a closer look.
Over time, some carvings have faded. This area sees cold, snowy winters and blazingly hot summers.
To see these petroglyphs more clearly, I’m sharing an enhanced picture. I used the Auto level and increase saturation settings on the Rock Art Enhancer app. This app includes several tools to enhance images.
Some of these show creatures not seen on other panels. The one on the right side looks like a lizard.
I liked the Legend Rock petroglyphs on both the left and right side on these panels.
I especially liked the thunderbird petroglyph. The more human-like figures nearby almost look like they have wings.
I’m sharing another image of these petroglyphs using the Rock Art Enhancer app. This time I used the D. stretch YUV setting. The psychedelic colors create a more mystical interpretation.
Several of the panels include hooved animals. This one was larger in scale than most of the others.
Some appear to be wearing elaborate headdresses, like the one shown near the bottom of this panel.
Others appear more human, like the one on the lower left.
The panel below shows a group of figures.
Unfortunately, visitors to Legend Rock defaced parts of the site with their own carvings. This one has “WH” carved on the left, “R.H. 1900” carved in the middle, and “MO 1911” carved on the right.
This panel shows more recent carvings. The left panel shows a modern day house. Someone carved the letters “JC” into the one on the right.
Disturbing sites like these can be a state and federal felony so please admire them from a distance. Security measures, including video-surveillance, helps protect the site from vandalism today. Thorny greasewood shrubs, and the occasional rattlesnake hiding among the boulders, should also discourage visitors from getting too close to this sacred site.
Visiting the site
Hot Springs State Park, in Thermopolis, manages this site. From May to September, the interpretive center is open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. The rest of the year, visitors can get a key for the center at the State Bath House, Thermopolis Chamber of Commerce, and Hot Springs County Museum.
Victor Alexander saddle at Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyoming
I saw this Burns Times Herald window in Burns, Oregon last April. Paintings of birds by schoolchildren decorated the Herald’s windows for the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival. Colorful paper streamers hung in the background.
I found paintings of ravens, jays, waxwings, eagles, hummingbirds, kestrels, warblers, and nuthatches. Can you find them?
I also liked the newspaper’s motto on their window. “Covering Harney County Like the Sage Brush.” The Burns Times Herald has been serving this community since 1887.
Monday Window (MW)
Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (FOWC) – Paint
While taking pictures of the Pioneer Village in Lander, Wyoming, I immediately thought of how they would look in sepia tones. I wanted to focus on their structure and emphasize their age.
The Pioneer Village buildings are part of the Museum of the American West. The main museum showcases a wide variety of artifacts from people who lived in this area in the mid-1800s to early-1900s.
The Guinard Cabin, circa 1902, has a rough plank and mortar construction. The overall brown color in the picture below hides the presence of a garden hose. A windmill and teepee blend into the background.
This storage shed and Saloon would fit right into an old time neighborhood.
The sepia tones highlight the lines on the Coutant House, circa 1890. There are great horizontal, vertical, angled, and rounded lines on this porch.
The rough construction of this Saloon’s exterior stands out in monochrome. The Hornecker Cabin was built in the early 1900s and renovated to show what early day saloons looked like.
Inside, supporting beams on the ceiling catch your eye. The mismatched furniture gives it a more realistic feel.
The Lander Fur and Wool Company building is a small, peeled log structure. The H.A. Smith Cabin is circa 1918.
The monochrome processing highlights the many textures and shapes inside this building. The sepia tones make everything appear older.
You can view short videos about each building on the Museum’s website. The buildings shown were moved from locations nearby.
Fort Rock Valley Homestead Village Museum in Oregon is similar to this site.
This month, I’m sharing an eagle drawing I created. This is a pencil sketch of Rapaz Nube, the evil character in one of the books I’m working on. Rapaz Nube translates as “Cloud Raptor.” He shifts shape and is always harassing the main character, Melodía. She and her companions go on a quest to return water to a parched land.
I’m also sharing a photograph I took of a Golden Eagle on its nest near Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. This nest is in the same area where my fictional novel takes place.
Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.
First Friday Art (FFA)
Bird of the Week (BOTW)
A drive by view in Deadwood, South Dakota
Florists and gardeners use red flowers to represent a wide variety of emotions and characteristics. You may associate them with love, but they have many other meanings.
Columbines are symbols of strength, wisdom, and peace. Red columbines symbolize love, intense emotions, and encouragement.
Hibiscus are symbols of youth, beauty, success, glory, and femininity. Red hibiscus symbolize romance and love.
Black-eyed Susans are symbols of justice, inspiring motivation and positive changes. They are sometimes associated with the sense of wonder of childhood.
Poppies are symbols of remembrance and hope. The flowers are used to recognize members of the Armed Forces around the world. In some cultures, red poppies represent love and success.
Indian paintbrush are symbols of creativity, passion, and the pursuit of dreams. Their red and orange flowers represent fiery energy and the drive needed to achieve your goals.
Red flowers stand out in both wild and cultivated landscapes.
Meanings of flowers may vary, depending on the source. For this post, I relied on information on Petal Republic.
Flower of the Day FOTD
Beneath a cloudy Wyoming sky
Bunchgrass buffeted by the wind
Wave a welcome to pronghorn
Sage embraces the herd
Distant thunder booms
A doe trembles
Weekend Sky (WS)
Do you need to weed? It’s not something we want to do, but it’s something we have to do.
Some weeds are pretty, but spread aggressively. I call this one the “Root of all Evil” because it can be hard to pull and develops seed heads almost as soon as it pops out of the ground.
About an acre of our land is planted with landscaping, fruit, or vegetable plants. We need to weed often, especially in the spring. Today I’ll share some tips and tools that may help you when you need to weed.
Need to weed tools
I have tried several seats while weeding, and this is my favorite. You can sit on it as a seat or flip it over and kneel on it.
My dogs like when I sit on it because then I’m at their level. Shelby thinks it’s the perfect opportunity to play fetch with me.
“Monkey tree can’t pinch me!” I remember saying that as a kid every time we drove past one of these odd trees on the way to our grandparents’ house. We would try to be the first one to pinch our siblings before they could pinch us. Did anyone else play that game?
Monkey puzzle trees, Araucaria auracana, are native to Chile and Argentina but grow well in many parts of the world. In their native habitat, they grow to a height of 100-130 feet, but in gardens in North America mature at 30-40 feet.
Their common name originated in 1850 when Charles Austin, who was visiting a friend’s garden in England, remarked, “It would puzzle a monkey to climb that.” Those triangular leaves have sharp edges and tips!
I took this picture of a foggy day at Boiler Bay, Oregon a couple weeks ago.
In 1910, the J. Marhoffer schooner ran aground here. Its engine caught on fire and the fuel tanks exploded, sending debris everywhere. During extremely low tides, you can still see its boiler, for which this site is named.
Last September, we visited the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, located in McMinnville, Oregon. This large facility is a great place to visit, whether you’re an aviator or not.
I featured their star attraction, the Spruce Goose, in a previous post. It dwarfs the other aircraft there. In several of my images, you’ll see parts of the Spruce Goose towering overhead.
I’ve divided this post by sections shown on the Museum map at the end of this post.
Several of the aircraft in this and other sections are replicas of the original. The first is a flying machine as envisioned by Leonardo Da Vinci, 400 years before the Wright brothers.
The next plane is a replica of a Curtiss Pusher.
This de Havilland DH-4 aircraft was used to deliver mail in the 1920s, as weather permitted.Continue reading
South Falls waterfall washing away worries at Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
South Falls from behind
A house of stone, west of Casper, Wyoming.
A glistening serpent slithers through a natural frame of duckweed and sedges
White calla lilies, surrounded by leathery green leaves, enlighten
Crimson canna lily leaves punctuate a layered landscape of greennessContinue reading
I saw this Cedar Bear Herbal Supplements mural while visiting Vernal, Utah. I especially liked the blue and green colors in this mural. The artist did a great job of painting liquid, not an easy thing to do. The light outlines of cresting waves filled out the space and gave a good sense of movement.
Today I’m sharing a hummingbird painting I painted. I did a quick drawing with pen and ink and later filled in the lines with acrylic paint. The colors of the fuschia flower and leaves are reflected in the plumage of the bird.
Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.
First Friday Art (FFA)
In early June, while driving the roads in Custer State Park, South Dakota, we saw these bison & bikes in front of us. YIKES!
It ends up we were driving through the Ride Across South Dakota (RASDak) annual event. The route for this six-day event changes every year. The part we saw had participants riding 37 miles from Hot Springs to Custer, South Dakota. Mileage of each leg of the 330-mile route varies by day.
Though a RASDak support vehicle parked nearby, I would be nervous being this close to bison with calves. In fact, visitors to Custer State Park are advised to “remain in your vehicle or stay at least 100 yards from bison, elk, and other animals.” I admired the bravery of these bike riders.
I’m sure the participants saw amazing sights along the entire route, but they were probably glad to get past this bison & bikes roadblock. What a great way to see the state!
Fluttering into a wild iris meadow
White-faced Ibis alight
Curved bills preen and probe
Iridescent feathers catch fading light
Casting rainbows over dusty hills
Awakening dormant wildflowers
Yearning for an opportunity
I like to walk the trails in Norris Geyser Basin when visiting Yellowstone National Park. One day, while I walked along a forested trail, I nodded at two people passing me going the opposite direction. Another person walked some distance ahead of me. All of them overlooked something alongside the trail. In fact, they missed it by a hare.
Can you spot what I saw near the trail?
Maybe everyone passing by was looking at this geyser on the other side of the trail and missed it.
I spotted a movement from a distance and stepped towards it for a closer look.
What is that? A new kind of rabbit? Maybe a pinto bunny?Continue reading
I saw this beautiful Western Tiger Swallowtail on a penstemon flower in my front yard recently. We try to plant flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. We’ve seen LOTS of butterflies this year.
Driving into Geology, Boysen State Park, Wyoming
This Curtiss JN-4A Jenny, shown without fabric covering, shows the structure of wings. This is one of the many aircraft on display at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
Here’s an informational poster next to the plane. Note the photo of a couple playing tennis on its wings!
Earlier this month, we went to the local Summer Festival here in Bend, Oregon.
If it’s a summer festival, you might see fairies walking down the street, right? Are those blurry spots behind them spots on my windshield? Nope, I’m pretty sure that’s a cloud of fairy dust. 😉
As the sign says, this festival features music, food, and art. It takes place downtown on three city blocks, plus a couple side streets. It’s estimated that 70,000 people attend this two and a half day festival.
The art booths have everything from jewelry and landscape art, to pillows featuring an image of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Various businesses feature their products and services in the Bend Business Showcase section.Continue reading
We recently returned from a long road trip through several western states and spotted hundreds of pronghorn along the way. I’m a big fan of this antelope of the west and love taking pictures of them.
Pronghorn, Antilocapra americana, also known as antelope or pronghorn antelope, are quirky animals in many ways. Their scientific name means “American goat-antelope.”
In September of 1804, upon first seeing pronghorn, Lewis and Clark expedition members assumed they were goats. Captain Lewis noted the “superior fleetness of this anamal which was to me really astonishing.” Upon examining them more closely, Lewis referred to them as antelope, based on their resemblance to African antelopes.
In reality, pronghorn are the only surviving members of the North American Antilocapridae family. Goats and true antelopes are in the Bovidae family.
In this post, I’ll share more about their natural history.
Pronghorn range from the southern prairie provinces of Canada, southward into the western states of America and into northern Mexico.
Old Soda Springs ranch in Idaho
Fencing of rock is heavy and enduring,
Guiding the way
And dividing the land to conserve it
A fence of rope is lightweight,
Preserving the past
On July 9th, I returned to Silverton, Oregon, to go on a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright house. When I think of simplicity in architecture, I think of Frank Lloyd Wright. I recently featured a view from the road of the Gordon House. Limited tours of the inside are available by reservation only.
Tour of Frank Lloyd Wright House
Our 45-minute tour began in the great room. Walls of floor-to-ceiling glass doors flanked towering ceilings. They opened to allow a welcome cross breeze on this warm summer day. As in all Wright houses, a fireplace served as a focal point. Red concrete slabs with radiant heat covered the floors, and they made the walls from concrete blocks. Built-in cabinets, desks, and tables are in nearly every room.
The design featured the fretwork seen here on the interior and exterior of the house. One of the workers joked how he’d gone through all the router bits in the state cutting the house’s fretwork. That was long before laser cutters!
I saw this grove of lovely maidenhair fern near South Falls, at Silver Falls State Park, Oregon. The 7.2-mile Trail of Ten Falls wanders through forested lands where you get great views of the waterfalls. You’ll also see many types of fern.
The genus name of maidenhairs is Adiantum. It comes from the Greek word for “unwetted” since this plant sheds water without getting wet.
Here’s a picture I took of some growing near Upper North Falls in the park. On this image, I increased the contrast, giving it an almost black background.
This fern, with its delicate, arching fronds growing in fanlike arrangements, is one of my favorites. I experimented with developing pictures of it in black and white when I first became interested in photography. Here’s a picture from my archives.
Simple scenes I’ve seen in Oregon
Ripples of sand forming near a single log
A foggy mist surrounding a lighthouse
A golden sunset shining within a blurred landscape