Oregon/California Trail mural: Monday Mural

This large mural is inside the National Oregon/California Trail Center in Montpelier, Idaho. The mural is by artist Gary Stone. While researching the painting, Stone traveled parts of the pioneer trail crossing Idaho and nearby states.

Oregon/California Trail mural

Gary Stone read emigrant journals and diaries and depicted what travelers experienced along the trail. You can tell he put his heart into getting the scenes shown right.

Here’s a closer view of the details on the mural.

pioneer mural

Monday Mural

Moments of Magic in Oregon: LAPC, WWP

Remembering moments of magic in Oregon

Rambling past remnants of history with curious children in tow

Moments of magic
Wreck of the Peter Iredale, Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon

Watching bird broods on windswept islands stretch their wings to flutter and fly

Seabird colony
Seabird colony, Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, Oregon

Feeling the pounding rhythm of roiling water and the softness of its spray

moments of magic Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Listening to voices from long ago telling tales of hardship and happiness

Fort Rock Homestead Village Museum
Fort Rock Homestead Village Museum, Oregon

Pausing to marvel at moments of magic in colorful soil, layer by layer

Painted Hills
Painted Hills Unit, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – Magical

Weekend Writing Prompt (WWP) – Rhythm (67 words)

Carter Wyoming. Population 6: Wordless Wednesday

Carter, Wyoming

The ghost town of Carter, Wyoming

Flag mural

Population 6 in July 2023

Wordless Wednesday

Northern winds haiku: WHPPC

northern winds swirl, sting
snowflakes dance, drift, and alight
kisses of winter

northern winds

Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge (WHPPC) – Sting & Kiss

Purple clematis up close: MM & FOTD

Purple Clematis

Here’s a picture of beautiful purple clematis blossoms up close in July of last year.

Clematis vines do well in sunny locations with moist, well-drained soil. A thick layer of mulch over their roots helps keep them cool, which they prefer. Once mature, these plants can reach a height of 10 to 20 feet. There are nearly 300 species of clematis. The distinctive blossoms of clematis come in a wide variety of colors, including white, yellow, pink, purple, blue, green, and bi-color.

Macro Monday (MM)

Flower of the Day (FOTD)

Hot Springs State Park: LAPC

You’ll see unique sights if you visit Hot Springs State Park in central Wyoming. Unlike other state parks in Wyoming, entrance to this park, located in the city of Thermopolis, is free. I’ve included a map of this day-use park at the end of this post.

Springs in Thermopolis

History of the park

In 1897, Big Horn Hot Springs State Reserve became Wyoming’s first state park. The park, now called Hot Springs State Park, has always been famous for its therapeutic mineral hot springs.

On the iconic Monument Hill, you’ll see the words “World’s Largest Mineral Hot Springs” in large white letters.

Thermopolis sign
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Painted turtles drawing & photos: First Friday Art

Today I’m sharing a pen and ink drawing I did of a painted turtle. I have fond memories of them as a child, when I kept painted turtles as pets.

Painted turtle

I’m also sharing a couple photos of them I took in Custer State Park in South Dakota. When we made a quick stop to walk the dogs, I was surprised to see this “island” near the road.

Turtles in the sun

When I took a closer look, I discovered the island was covered with painted turtles, taking a break in the warm sun. Cool! 🙂


Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.

First Friday Art (FFA)

Jewel of a truck: WPWC

A jewel of a truck is currently on display at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. Artist Laurel Porcari covered this 1941 Ford panel truck with a colorful mosaic of tiles. This piece is titled Voyager.

On one side you can see the iconic volcanoes that border Oregon’s High Desert.

jewel of a truck

On the other side, you’ll see a lunar landscape, with views of a planet-filled sky.

Mosaic covered truck

The artistry of this piece looks beautiful from any angle.

Mosaic covered truck

Weekly Prompts Wednesday Challenge (WPWC) – Artistry

Emptiness around memorable sights: LAPC

On our road trip last June, we saw several memorable sights that were notable for the emptiness around them.

We drove past miles and miles of vast landscapes with few occupants. Near Carter, Wyoming, we spotted hundreds of sheep grazing by the road.

Sheep grazing

A little bit farther down the road, we were fortunate to see sheepherders and their five dogs at work guiding this herd.

emptiness on the range

On our way to South Dakota, we took a side trip to see a unique attraction near Sundance, Wyoming.

Emptiness on the road
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South Falls Loop hike in Oregon: RDP

In July, I hiked the 2.6-mile South Falls Loop trail through the wilderness of Silver Falls State Park, Oregon. This route, past South Falls and Lower South Falls, is part of the Trail of Ten Falls. See the map of the trails at the end of this post.

I parked in the lot near South Falls, hiking north along the Canyon Trail and then heading south along Maple Ridge Trail. Though I’ve visited the park before, I had my dogs, and they are only allowed on a few trails. This time I was going solo.

I took the short trail to the South Falls overlook from the parking area. You get great views from above of the 177-foot-tall waterfall.

If you have limited time, take the ¼-mile trail to the South Falls overlook. If you have more time, walk the 1-mile loop trail behind the falls.

Loop trail – clockwise route

After a brief stop at the overlook, I walked to the lower trail that goes behind the falls. Cool (literally)!

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If birds can glide… : Wordless Wednesday

if birds can glide

If birds can glide for long periods of time, then… why can’t I?

Orville Wright

Wright Flyer replica, Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, McMinnville, Oregon

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Dinosaur National Monument: LAPC

Visitors can enjoy unique attractions at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Colorado. While visiting here, I found myself constantly shifting my field of view to things above and below me. Colorful tilting rocks in vast landscapes showed geology in action. Petroglyphs and pictographs told stories of Indigenous people from long ago. An amazing collection of dinosaur fossils took me even further back in time.


The Monument also includes places to hike, fish, river raft, picnic, and camp. There’s a visitor center in Utah, and another in Colorado.

Stegosaurus sculpture

The small Visitor Center in Utah features informational exhibits and a store.

Visitor Center
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A fall view: Pull Up a Seat

A fall view by the Bend Whitewater Park in Bend, Oregon. The path leads to two benches surrounded by fall leaves. You can also see a few realistic-looking Canada Geese sculptures in the foreground.

A fall view

Pull Up a Seat Photo Challenge

Green up close: LAPC & MM

Green up close
In triangular Vanilla Leaf leaves
And tiny Huckleberry leaves

Green up close

In splitting Gingko leaves

Gingko leaves

Green up close
In frond fans of Maidenhair Fern

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2023 Bloopers #6: CFFC

Yes, I know you’ve all been waiting to see more of my blooper photos. This is where I share pictures that don’t quite fit into any category so I try to add a little humor to them. Here are a few 2023 bloopers to entertain you. 😀

2023 bloopers dog

“Am I still your good girl?”

the cause of global warming

I believe I finally found the true cause of global warming.

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Time accelerates haiku: SS, HPC, FOL, NPC

time accelerates
color flies through restless leaves
the end of autumn

time accelerates

Sunday Stills (SS) – Leaves, Autumn or Spring; Monthly Color Challenge – Brown

Haiku Prompt Challenge (HPC) – Time & flies

Festival of Leaves (FOL) 2023

Nature Photo Challenge (NPC)- Autumn colours

Similarities and differences on display: LAPC

Last week, I showed symmetrical displays of history at the Museum of the American West in Lander, Wyoming. However, history is not always balanced. A good museum shows our similarities and differences. Here are more items on display at the Museum.

At times, our differences stand out.

similarities and differences

Though what we wear differs, from practical and utilitarian…

Cowboy clothing

To ornamental and symbolic, our clothing reflects who we are.

Native American beadwork
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Happy Hyopsodus 3 ways: First Friday Art

While visiting Wyoming, I noticed the interesting pose of this happy Hyopsodus wortmani fossil at one of our stops. To me, it looked like a dog asleep on its back.

Extinct small mammal

I thought I’d try to draw what it may have looked like based on the fossil. The first drawing is in pencil.

Happy Hyopsodus drawing

The second one is pen and ink, drawn with a dip pen with a pointed nib tip dipped in ink.

happy Hyopsodus

On the last one, I added a light wash of acrylic paint.


You may have noticed the Hyopsodus I drew is smiling. Do mammals smile?

Here’s a recent picture of one of my dogs, hogging both dog beds. You be the judge. 😉

bed hog dog

Check out the happy Hyopsodus and many other amazing fossils at Fossil Butte National Monument in Kemmerer, Wyoming.

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.

First Friday Art (FFA)

A scary carriage: SSMCC

I saw a scary carriage at Beyond the Ranch, an antique store in Redmond, Oregon. The skeletal coachman guides his skeletal horse while the occupant waves a bony hand. A frightful sight for your Halloween!

A scary carriage

Sunday Stills Monthly Color Challenge (SSMCC) – Black or Metallic

Treasures of the Old West: LAPC & MM

Here are some treasures of the Old West at the Museum of the American West, in Lander, Wyoming, shown in both color and black and white. Click on the arrows to see monochrome versions highlighting their symmetry.

Wheels may carry you forward, towards new horizons

  • Carriage wheels
  • Carriage wheels

Or back, to a final resting place

  • treasures of the Old West
  • 1880 hearse

You may choose to wander in another’s shoes

  • treasures of the Old West
  • moccasins
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Beer bike rack in Bend: Sculpture Saturday

I saw this creative beer bike rack in Bend at On Tap. This is one of seven “pods” where food trucks can park. Customers can enjoy a wide variety of food from the trucks and beer and other beverages on tap inside the main building.

Beer bike rack

I LOVE the Rush’s Squares pizza food truck here! My favorite is the Pesto Margherita pizza.

Rush's Squares Pesto Margherita

Sculpture Saturday

Jailbird jay: Bird of the Week

I saw this jailbird jay while out walking in Bend. It perched on a rock behind the heavy bars of a fence around the Hayden Homes Amphitheatre.

jailbird jay

This is a California Scrub-jay. Here’s a closer look.

California Scrub-jay

In 2016, the American Ornithological Union (AOU) split the Western Scrub-jay into two species, the California Scrub-jay, Aphelocoma californica, and Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay, Aphelocoma woodhouseii. They appear very similar. This post by Andy Birch describes and shows the characteristics of each species.

Bird of the Week

Fine feather I found: Macro Monday

This a fine feather I found while walking in a park in Bend, Oregon. This large feather belonged to some kind of raptor.

fine feather

Macro Monday

Unique Roadside Signs: LAPC

After recently covering indoor signs on my post about the National Neon Sign Museum, I thought I’d feature some unique roadside signs today.

A giant jackalope?

The first picture is of a unique animal of the Wild West. It’s a jackalope, part jackrabbit, part antelope. Maybe you’ve heard of them. Are they real or another legend of the West? Chainsaw carver Jarrett Dahl paid tribute to these animals in an impressive 40-foot sculpture near the iconic Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota.

Giant jackalope

Completed in 2022, the jackalope is holding a sign that says, “Believe.” Though it looks like it’s just a big carving, it’s hollow inside with a stairway leading to a balcony. Inside, you’ll find carved jackalopes, murals, and 71 wood spirits, hidden within its cracks and crevices.

Devil’s Tower stories

The next sign is at the cafe and gift store by Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. You can see a bear next to the tower on the sign and the real tower in the background. In the oral stories of Native Americans, the tower formed in different ways. In several versions, a bear tries to claw its way to the peak, thereby creating its distinctive appearance.

unique roadside signs
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Bend’s leaves of fall: NPC & FOL

This morning, while out walking along the Mill A Loop Trail, I noticed many of Bend’s leaves of fall.

This aspen tree was surrounded by gold and green.

Bend's leaves of fall

The towers of Deschutes Brewery and the old train station were framed by trees of red, gold, orange, and green leaves.

Deschutes Brewing & fall foliage

The red stems and leaves of red osier dogwood stand out in contrast with green shrubs growing nearby.

Bend's leaves of fall
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Oregon Outback morning: 1-to-3 Challenge

Last Saturday, we had an Oregon Outback morning. We drove south of Silver Lake, Oregon to get a good view of the annular eclipse. Unfortunately, the clouds never cleared during the peak minutes of the eclipse. For today’s One-to-Three Photo Processing Challenge, I decided to make lemonade out of lemons.

Beautiful cloudscapes hung over the land, highlighting the Basin and Range topography. We stood in the middle of a basin surrounded by low mountains and buttes.

I used Corel PaintShopPro 2021 for different photo processing effects. In the original image I slightly increased the contrast and fill light and cropped the edges.

Oregon Outback morning photo effects

The first two show the original photograph and the same picture with a Black and White effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Black and White Film. I used the BW Heavy setting because it works well on clouds.

Oregon Outback morningBlack and white cloudscape

The next two show the original photograph and the same picture with a neon effect. For this image I went to Adjust>Hue & Saturation>Hue map>Neon glow. I liked how this effect enhances the mysticism associated with High Desert environments.

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Whispers of autumn poem: WWP

Whispers of autumn
Blown in on
Northern winds
Cool and crisp
Leaves turn
From verdant to
Golden, orange,
Drifting gently
To Earth

Whispers of Autumn

Weekend Writing Prompt (WWP) – Whisper (24 words)

Differences in nature: LAPC

There are many differences in nature.


May be foggy and humid near ocean beaches,

differences in nature
Indian Beach, Ecola State Park, Oregon

Or sprinkled with clouds over an arid land.

Steens Mountain
Steens Mountain summit, Oregon


May pound down mountainsides in narrow waterfalls,

Tumalo Falls
Tumalo Falls, Oregon
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High Desert dahlia: FOTD

Here’s a pretty lavender-colored High Desert dahlia seen on a garden tour in Bend, Oregon last year. These popular plants prefer full sun and good drainage. Though this one was seen in July, they are treasured for blooming well into the fall months.

High Desert dahlia

This was one of the many flowers in bloom we saw on the tour. I think the color of this one made it my favorite High Desert dahlia seen that day.

Flower of the Day (FOTD)

Sinclair Oil: Monday Mural

I saw this Sinclair Oil advertisement on the side of a building in Hudson, Wyoming. Though it has faded over the years, it’s still a great ad. I made it look even older by using a vignette effect and showing it in a frame that looks like a piece of film.

Sinclair oil ad

Monday Mural

Wyoming Dinosaur Center: LAPC

If you’re travelling to Wyoming and like dinosaurs, consider stopping at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center (WDC) in Thermopolis. In 1993, dinosaur fossils were discovered near here at the Warm Springs Ranch. Fossils discovered here and elsewhere are on display at WDC. Visitors will see fifty-eight articulated dinosaur skeletons and a wide variety of fossils.

Wyoming Dinosaur Center

You’ll see dinosaur skeletons large and small in the display hall. Some are real, others are recreated from casts of fossils.

Remember the Velociraptors in “Jurassic Park?” Here’s one, blending into the background.


I especially liked this one because it shows a Tyrannosaurus dinosaur attacking a Stegosaurus.

Tyrannosaurus vs Stegosaurus
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Tough terrier painting: First Friday Art

Today I’m sharing an acrylic painting I did of a tough terrier. He’s resting comfortably within the spines of my cactus garden. Juniper berries and branches cushion his bed.

tough terrier

I used to sell my artwork at craft shows and a customer requested this rock. The elderly woman described her dog’s two-colored face. Unfortunately, I never saw her again. Maybe she passed away.

The spirit of her dog “Charlie” lives on in this little rock, guarding my garden.

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.

First Friday Art (FFA)

Scenes near the sea, Northern Ireland: LAPC, WWE

Scenes near the sea on a stormy winter day

A bridge of rope, swinging and swaying

Carrick-a-Rede Bridge
Carrick-a-Rede Bridge

An ancient castle, deteriorating yet persisting

scenes near the sea
Dunluce Castle

A seaside cafe, satiating and breathtaking

Roark's Kitchen
Roark’s Kitchen, Ballintoy Car Park

A shoreline sculpted by waves, ebbing and flowing

scenes near the sea
Giant’s Causeway, County Antrim, Northern Ireland February 2020

Scenes near the sea on a stormy winter day

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – On the edge

Water, Water Everywhere (WWE)

Sitka spruce at Fort Clatsop: TTL

We saw this large Sitka spruce, Picea sitchensis, tree at Fort Clatsop, Oregon. This is where the Lewis and Clark expedition spent a long, wet winter in 1806. Lewis noted how this tree was commonly 27 feet in girth, with some trees reaching 36 feet around. This tree’s height averages 125-180 feet, and may reach over 250 feet. Sitka spruce can live up to 800 years.

Sitka spruce

Indigenous people used parts of spruce trees in several ways. Roots and cedar bark were woven into baskets and hats. The pitch was used as a varnish, to waterproof canoes, and chewed like gum. Various parts were used to treat diarrhea, constipation, and back aches. Sitka spruce was thought to possess “mystical powers and provided protection against evil thoughts.”

The tree’s fine-grained wood is both strong and lightweight. It is used in turbine blades, aircraft, sailboats, racing sculls, and oars. its unique qualities also make it a favorite in making musical instruments, including guitars, harps, violins, pianos, and flutes created by Native Americans.

Thursday Tree Love (TTL)

Driving into Hood River: SS & CWWC

Here’s the view as we were driving across the Columbia River into Hood River, Oregon on a recent trip. You can see Mount Hood peeking over the hills on the left side of the picture.

driving into Hood River

We happened to be there when the annual Association of Wind + Watersports Industries event was taking place. Here’s a picture of the Hood River Bridge from the Oregon side. Can you see all the windsurfers out there?

Windsurfers on the Columbia

Sunday Stills (SS) – Bridges to everywhere

Cee’s Which Way Challenge (CWWC) – Any type of bridge

Ripples of summer haiku: WHC, SS, CWWC

lamplit paths tremble
a bridge arises from green
ripples of summer

ripples of summer

Weekly Haiku Challenge (WHC) – Lamp & path

Sunday Stills (SS) – Bridges to everywhere

Cee’s Which Way Challenge (CWWC) – Any kind of bridge