Here are all the pictures I use in the blog’s banner and how those pictures came to be.
For my 50th birthday in 2015, I took a trip to San Francisco. San Francisco has a couple of great bridges including the Golden Gate bridge and the Bay Bridge.
I drove south of San Francisco to Monterey and beyond that where the Pacific Coast Highway runs along some beautiful coastline, including this picture and the Bixby Creek Bridge.
In that same area is a great state park called Point Lobos State Reserve which lets you get up close the shore.
On Mom’s 75th birthday cruise, one of the stops was Cozumel, Mexico. We hired a van and stopped at a beach with some neat rock and a blowhole that wasn’t working due to low tide.
Colorado National Monument and Arches National Park
In September 2013 I drove a U Haul truck out to Salt Lake City and we stopped by these two national parks. This first image is Colorado National Monument, a panorama image from the Grand View viewpoint:
And here is a shot from Arches National Park of the South Window:
Yellowstone and Grand Tetons
In May 2013 I went out to Salt Lake City and visited the Bonneville Salt Flats, Golden Spike National Historic Site, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. This first picture was taken at Golden Spike where they have replica trains and replica train tracks from the completion of the transcontinental railroad:
Later that day I drove out to the Bonneville Salt Flats and took this picture:
Also at Bonneville I took this picture of the sun setting over Nevada:
In Grand Teton National Park I took this picture of the Tetons from the Willow Flats area:
On the Cascade Canyon hike from Jenny Lake, Susan said she liked the texture of this log:
Then in Yellowstone, I took this picture of the Sapphire Pool hot spring:
Also in Yellowstone, I took this picture of travertine terrace formations at Mammoth Hot Springs:
A lot of pictures come from my July 2008 trip to Ireland (gallery). In chronological order, they pretty much tell everywhere I went. We started in Dublin, and while Susan’s choir was practicing, I walked down to the River Liffey and took pictures of a lot of different cool bridges. This is the Mellows Bridge. I uploaded this picture to Wikipedia.
Then we went to Killarney in County Kerry. We walked out to the lake on another drizzly day (they actually had some flooding after all this rain, so it was a lot of rain even for Ireland). There are boats you can hire, but we got there at the end of the day, so the boats were just idle.
At that same lake there were some swans. This one ugly duckling was following these two swans.
After the choir trip was over we went directly from seeing everyone off at the Shannon airport up to see the Cliffs of Mohrer, which were amazing even though it was still kind of overcast at this point.
After seeing the cliffs we headed south back down to County Kerry. As a ferry was departing to take us across the Shannon River, I took this picture of the hillside. There is something about how the sun falls on Ireland that makes it look amazing.
That evening we made it to Trallee. The next morning we wanted to go to the Dingle Peninsula and the Bed and Breakfast owner suggested we take the Connor Pass, the highest road in Ireland, taking us over the spine of the Slieve Mish Mountains. I took this panorama at the top looking back towards Trallee.
Like the Ring of Kerry, you just drive along the coast of Dingle. This part is called Slea Head.
And just up from Slea Head was this spot. This is another panorama shot stitched from several individual pictures. I like the sawtooth bluffs in the distance.
There are a bunch of old stone ruins featuring beehive construction. Probably the nicest one is called Gallarus Oratory.
These are pictures of balloon flowers I used to have growing in the flower bed in front of my house. They make these little puffy balls that open into flowers. So here is a before and after shot of these two balloon flowers, talked about here.
A couple of feet away are some irises. When I first moved in they were planted around the birdbath in the shade, but my neighbor warned me they wouldn’t grow there. I moved them and they have been come back every year.
And a couple of feet from the irises are some purple cone flowers. One day there was a butterfly hanging out and I was able to get this picture, talked about here.
It seems like I should have a picture of flashlights, so after my experiment with baking flashlights in the oven, I added this to the rotation:
In May 2017, my monthly Disney Movie Club mailing included a packet of Gloriosa Daisy seeds. These flowering perennials are in the same family as black eyed susans. I planted them in two containers and kept an eye on them all summer. By the end of September I had four mature plants and one flower:
One of the best trips I have ever taken was in 2002 to the Galapagos Islands (web page). The animals there aren’t afraid of people so you can get some great pictures, including this sea lion that swam around me while I was snorkeling.
Here’s another picture taken with the disposable underwater camera looking down at me in some pretty deep water.
One of the first islands we visted was Espanola. It has this great very active shore where tons of birds nest.
One day instead of going on a walk with everyone else, I just sat on the beach. And there was a gull gathering little black lava rocks from the beach.
Gulf of California
In 2004 I took a cruise in the Gulf of California in Mexico (web page). Even though all the places are on the ocean, they are very arid onshore. We learned about a lot of different kinds of cactus from the naturalists on board, including cholla cactus (the two L’s sound like a y). “Cholla” means chain which is what the dead stems look like:
It was similar to the Galapagos in a lot of ways, including islands where sea lions would hang out. As we stayed offshore in motorboats, these guys were making an awful racket barking:
One morning they woke us up at sunrise and the sun was shining on these hills on shore:
We also saw a lot of whales since the Gulf of California is a breeding ground for different kinds of whales. Here is a humpback:
Unlike humpback whales, when sperm whales dive their tails go up in the air. It was not easy getting pictures of whales.
In 2005 I went to a Peace Corps reunion in Colorado (web page). In Denver I went to the zoo where I saw these polar bears. I love the little one on the right who looks like he is very happy.
I think on that same day when I got back to the hotel, there was this family of ducks in the swimming pool. I don’t know why they were there, but there was a ramp for them to get in and out.
Also in Denver I went to the botanical gardens. I saw this flower, blue columbine, which is the state flower of Colorado.
On the way back from the reunion I went through Rocky Mountain National Park and over the Rockies on Trail Ridge Road. This road goes way up, above the treeline. Denver is a mile high, but these mountains are two miles high.
In 2010 I went out to Utah to visit Susan. On our way to Bryce Canyon, we passed by (through?) Red Canyon in the Dixie National Forest. It is called “Dixie” because Brigham Young sent settlers there to plant cotton.
Here is a part of Bryce Canyon, which is famous for its eroded columns of rock, called hoodoos.
After Bryce Canyon we went to Zion Canyon. This was taken from the bottom of the canyon looking up where the sun was still shining on the top of the cliffs above us.
Back in Salt Lake City we went to the zoo where we saw this cluster of fruit bats, which I wrote about here.
We also went to the botanical gardens where I got this picture of these odd purple pricky ball flowers (some kind of thistle) . This one didn’t turn out as well as I wanted, but it’s kind of interesting with the out-of-focus ones in the background.
This isn’t a picture I took, but I did put some work into fixing up this M.C. Escher drawing so that it would tile endlessly. I love these lizards and they are the background of my home page.
In 2004 I went to see the kangaroo farm in Dawsonville and took this picture. Jeb has a post related to that trip here. He also wrote about the one looking back towards us because it reminds him of Clyde.
And here is a family I hang out with.