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.
On the other side, you’ll see a lunar landscape, with views of a planet-filled sky.
The artistry of this piece looks beautiful from any angle.
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.
A little bit farther down the road, we were fortunate to see sheepherders and their five dogs at work guiding this herd.
On our way to South Dakota, we took a side trip to see a unique attraction near Sundance, Wyoming.
You’ve seen windsocks before, but have you seen one made from an airplane? This Beechcraft Twin Bonanza would have cost $200,000 to get in flying condition so the owners decided to turn it into a “whimsical windsock.”
I showed another aircraft on a pole in my recent Unique Roadside Signs post, but the Quaal plane rotates with the wind like a real windsock.
When we stopped to see Mount Rushmore in South Dakota early one morning, we were shocked to see something missing; People!
We walked closer and had a great view of this massive monument, framed by flags.
It was strange to experience emptiness at a site that hosts more than two million visitors a year. Lucky us!
After reviewing this post, I realized the skies are an important part of each photo. In some, the skies are clear and blue, while in others there are wisps and layers of puffy clouds.
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. 😀
“Am I still your good girl?”
I believe I finally found the true cause of global warming.
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.
I LOVE the Rush’s Squares pizza food truck here! My favorite is the Pesto Margherita pizza.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
It’s time once again to share a piece of my artwork for the First Friday Art prompt. I created this watercolor painting yesterday afternoon. This is a cholla cactus in bloom. For my inspiration this month, I looked in my own backyard.
We have a few kinds of cactus growing in our landscaping. You have to be careful when working around them or you’ll get poked by the barbed spines. I held my phone out at arm’s length and snapped a picture, but I couldn’t see the photo I took. It turned out surprisingly well, I thought. I like the how the spines radiate outward from the magenta blossom.
Several chollas grow in my backyard. I started a couple in the front yard by placing a cactus stem on the ground. There was no drip irrigation going to those parts of the landscaping, but the plants grew anyway.
Here’s one of the propagated cholla plants blooming. It’s doing great, and currently measures about three feet across.
Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.
This week, as part of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, host Ritva Sillanmäki asked us to show a photo of our favorite cup. My favorite mug features a wraparound image of Grand Prismatic Hot Spring at Yellowstone National Park. It’s beautiful, like its inspiration, and comfortable to hold. I also like how there is printing inside the mug near the rim.
Grand Prismatic Hot Spring is especially photogenic. Though I can’t get a drone shot like the one on my mug, I have taken many pictures of this hot spring. Here are a few that show its gorgeous colors.
My Grand Prismatic mug reminds me of this special place in Yellowstone everytime I use it.
This Deschutes Brewery mural was on the outside of their main factory on the westside of Bend, Oregon. I liked how they used different shades of rusted metal to make this work of art. The mountains reflect the peaks and foothills of the Cascades, near the brewery.
To learn more about one of the tours I recently went on here, see Barrel House Tour. Lots of tasty beers to sample while you’re checking out the Deschutes Brewery mural.
There are currently two food trucks in front of the brewery. I enjoyed the lunch I bought there recently from Da Nang Vietnamese Eatery. I later found out it was awarded the 2023 Food Cart of the Year by the Source Weekly. It was a well-deserved recognition!
Today, I’m featuring photos from the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site kitchen. I’ve posted about this historical site in John Day, Oregon, before. It was boarded up for many years when the doors were finally opened, it was like a time capsule inside.
Whenever I visit there, I think about how good the various shapes and textures would look in monotone pictures. However, the vibrant colors are also interesting. Since I was unable to decide which way to process the photos I took, I’m showing both color and monotone sepia versions. Move the slider to compare them. I used a dark vignette effect on all of the photos.
The first one shows a wood cooking stove with a small shrine behind it. I like how the orange color glows in the color version.
The second photo shows various products in this kitchen of the past. In this one, I like how the labels stand out in color.
The High Desert Museum, in Bend, Oregon, is currently hosting the Creations of Spirit exhibition. The pieces on display include historical artifacts and works by contemporary Native artists.
The beautiful pieces are enhanced by quotes throughout the gallery. I will let their words tell the stories.
Throughout the process, you continually impart yourself in the creation of that object. And when you’ve completed it, it takes on a life of its own.
Philip Cash Cash, Ph. D., Weyíiletpuu (Cayuse) and Niimpíipuu (Nez Perce) tribes
I wanted to have my own story in the baskets. I wanted to keep the traditional form and the shape, but I wanted to add iconography that talked to the present.
Joe Feddersen, Member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation
Root bag with multiple figures by Plateau artist (early 1900s); Basket with animal figures by Umatilla artist (mid-1900s); Round Dance pitcher & cup by Joe Feddersen, 2002; Berry-picking container by Vivian Harrison, (StuYat), Yakama/Palouse/Wishram, 2002
Most of my designs are from the petroglyphs along the Nch’i wana [Columbia River]. I love and appreciate where our people came from, and our people left animals as stories in our pictographs and petroglyphs. That’s why I want to instill them in my baskets and keep them alive. I want people to know that we’ve been seeing these animals for tens of thousands of years.
The sculpture of Crazy Horse in South Dakota stands out along the horizon as you drive north from Custer. We visited the site earlier this month, near the date of its 75th anniversary, to view the progress on the immense sculpture.
Crazy Horse Memorial
The Crazy Horse Memorial includes a Welcome Center, a gift store and restaurant, the family home of the sculptor, rotating exhibits, indoor and outdoor sculptures, the Native American Educational and Cultural Center, and the Indian Museum of North America. I’ll feature photos of the Museum in a later post. The nonprofit also manages the Indian University of North America.
One of my favorite things was a 1/34 scale model of the Crazy Horse sculpture. The size of the finished sculpture carved into the mountainside will be 641 feet long and 563 feet tall.
If you stand in just the right spot, you can capture an image that includes the scale model and the current sculpture.
In February, we went to see firepits at Winterfest at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond, Oregon. You never know what kinds of things the participants of the firepit section will come up with. The firepits used to be on display on park service land along the Deschutes River in Bend.
This one looks like a Viking ship, complete with dragon head and tail.
Here’s a closer look at its head. Look at those teeth!
Flowers and forest firepits
This firepit looked like a round flower, full of flame.
I saw this dressed up tree in downtown Bend a few days ago. I learned that this form of street art is called “yarn bombing.” Local crafters create unique knit and crocheted pieces to cover trees, statues, benches, bicycles, and other structures. Their work certainly brightens up a cloudy day.
Today I have the honor of serving as guest host for the Lens-Artist Photo Challenge. The prompt this week is glowing moments.
One of my earliest memories is of me sitting cross-legged in a darkened closet, awestruck by the glow cast from a jarful of lightning bugs. Though I don’t have pictures of that magical moment, I have captured many glowing moments since then.
A High Desert sunset glows with fiery colors.
While the rising moon shines in subdued tones.
Purple lupine flowers shine on a cool spring morning.
I created this mountain scene table with my husband twenty years ago. He made the table from milled birch wood and vine maple, cut from our property. I designed, painted, and carved around the mountain scene on the table’s top.
Here’s a picture of the table while I worked on it. I painted the mountain scene with acrylics and used different colored stains on the game boards to mimic marquetry. Real marquetry uses different colors and types of wood that is cut and pieced together.
This past weekend, I went on the Barrel House Tour at Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. The brewery offers several tours including public tours, private tours, and this one, where you learn specifically about barrel brews.
You begin and end the tour in the Bend Tasting Room & Beer Garden. As you can see, it’s full of visitors there to taste the brewery’s iconic beers.
On the tour, you walk to a nearby warehouse where you’ll see some of the ingredients used to make their beers. Deschutes Brewery currently sells their products in 32 states and a few countries. Black Butte Porter is their most well-known beer, but there are three dozen different beers, and a couple ciders, available at the tasting room location.