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.
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!
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.
Every year in December, the Tumalo Creek Holiday Lights Paddle Parade takes place on the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon. This year, I took pictures of them paddling through the snow. I thought maybe there wouldn’t be as many participants, but a little snow falling didn’t stop people from joining in on this annual event.
Here’s a short video of paddlers on the river.
Paddlers decorate their kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and canoes with holiday lights and paddle from Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe for about a half mile to the Flag Bridge in the Old Mill district.
You can see a snow-covered inflatable reindeer on the kayak on the left side of the photo below. I enjoy seeing reindeer wherever I can.
On a desert wander, clouds fill my head. A scrub jay calls to me in its raucous voice and my attention shifts. I stumble over a rock, plain and gray. The rock beckons me to pull it from the sandy soil. Just a rock, I think. Dark and hardened, like my thoughts. It’s stuck fast in the soil and I pry it loose with a juniper twig.
I cup the rock in my hand and feel its weight. Though it appeared ordinary in the soil, it is not. Other hands have held this rock. They chipped away the darkness to reveal a shining edge. My fingers trace its sharpness; an unforeseen treasure from the past brought to light. My desert wander turns to wonder. As dawn breaks, the clouds lining the horizon disappear.