Sedona, Arizona

February 2016.

After leaving Williams, we took the direction for Sedona. Sedona is  surrounded by red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls and pine forests. It’s noted for its mild climate and vibrant arts community. Uptown Sedona is dense with New Age shops, spas and art galleries. We  have been visiting  shortly in 2010  but it was nice to have time to go back.  We decided to stop and admire the beautiful  red rocks. And depending of the light, we could see  many things and shapes. I  was happy that we had time to spend there before going back to Phoenix.

Here some  photos taken that day. In the first photo, Can you see a profile ?






It was really cool to see all this magnificent nature. In the town, we saw some funky art.


Sedona is quite touristic. It was fun to walk around on a very nice day.  Before we left, we saw more red rock and went to see the  Chapel of the Holy Cross. In 2007, Arizonans voted the Chapel to be one of the Seven Man-Made Wonders of Arizona, and it is also the site of one of the so-called  Sedona vortices.  A Vortex is a place in nature where the earth is exceptionally alive with energy. The term Vortex in Sedona refers to a place where the earth energy swirls and draws to it’s center everything that surrounds it like a tornado.


Another great day. I hope you enjoyed this part of our trip. More to come later.

Thanks for reading.





Route 66

February 2016

After our day at the Grand Canyon, we slept in Williams. This town in on Historic  Route 66.  Williams was the last town to have its section of Route 66  bypassed, due to lawsuits that kept the last section of  Interstate 40 in Arizona from being built around the town  (October 13, 1984) . U.S. Route 66 (US 66 or Route 66), also known as the Will Rogers Highway and also known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was one of the original highways within the  U.S. Highway System. US 66 was established on November 11, 1926, with road signs erected the following year. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in America, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona  before ending at  Santa Monica, California , covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km).

So we took some time in the morning to walk in the town. And of  course, to take a few pics. There was plenty of signs to remind us that the famous Route 66 was once going through the town.


Plenty of souvenirs  to buy but I think we were in the wrong season as most of the shops were closed. During  the warmer months , the community continues to thrive on tourism. Especially that the Grand Canyon is only one hour driving from there and the coast of accommodations are probably cheaper.


Murals and old cars  make it a fun  to look around. I read on the net that it is  the best-preserved stretch of Route 66…



We didn’t see  any cow-boys  but there were some wood sculptures .


So, we  saw the historic Williams. We would have enough time to stop in Sedona  and take more photography.

Thanks for reading.


Grand Canyon

February 2016.

Grand Canyon National Park is the  United States’ 15th oldest national park. Named a  UNESCO World Heritage Site  in 1979, the park is located in northwestern  Arizona  The park’s central feature is the  Grand Canyon , a gorge of the Colorado River , which is often considered one of the  Seven Natural Wonders of the world. The geology of the Grand Canyon area includes one of the most complete and studied sequences of rock on Earth. The nearly 40 major sedimentary rock layers exposed in the Grand Canyon and in the Grand Canyon National Park area range in age from about 200 million to nearly 2 billion years old. The Grand Canyon is a very big hole in the ground. It is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and more than a mile (6,000 feet / 1,800 meters) deep. It is the result of constant erosion by the Colorado River over millions of years.

Visiting the Grand Canyon for the second time. Such a special place. I was so happy    we could go back.  Once again at the South Rim. Our first visit was with our boys during another road trip (  2 days, summer 2010). We had walked down the canyon and watching the sunset. This time was different. One, it was winter and we could see snow. Two, we spent only one day  but a full one. We also stay until sunset  but it was not as spectacular as our experience of 2010 when we also got to see a  double  rainbow. I will share two pictures from that trip before showing you a few from this recent visit.

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It doesn’t matter if it is the first time or not. When you are there, it seems you do not have enough eyes to take it all in. I think I took at least 350 photos that  day. It is not easy to choose which one to share.  We saw some elks in the park. Here  are some interesting information about this animal.  They have brown bodies with lighter coloration on their rump. Dark, shaggy hair covers the neck. Males (bulls) are generally lighter in color than females (cows) and will grow antlers beginning in the late spring and keep them until the early spring of the following year. The elk in the park have lost their natural fear of humans- leading to interactions that hurt both elk and people. Elks are one of the most dangerous animals in the park. They are not usually aggressive, but will defend themselves if people get too close.  We should not approach elk, and  view them from at least 100 feet (30 m).

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The Grand Canyon is dominating a 277-mile stretch of the Colorado River.  River rafting is one of the most popular ways to experience the Colorado River. Fishing and kayaking are also popular activities on the river. We can see some of it way down below.  It looks quite browning water when I zoomed on it.


We saw mules going down the canyon, transporting material on their back.  It was impressive  to see them –  12 of them, divided in two groups, going down on the narrow trail  while some hikers where coming back up .  According to my research, one-hour and two-hour trail rides through the pines of the Kaibab National Forest and twilight campfire and wagon rides are available. Both horses and mules are used. Horses may be iconic to the American West, but the equine of choice at Grand Canyon has long been its hybrid relative, the mule. These animals combine the sure-footedness of a burro with the larger size and strength of a horse, and have carried canyon visitors since the late 1800’s. More than 600,000 people have taken Grand Canyon mule rides since they were first offered in 1887.


No matter where we look, the landscape is wonderful. And as the day progress and the light is changing, we start to see different shades on the rocks. That is the magic moment of the day.  We knew we had to stay until sunset  which was about 6:05 pm.


Around sunset time, most people gather in one spot and take lots of photos. We could see joy and happiness all around. We realized how lucky we were to have spent a great day in this beautiful setting.  I  am the photographer of the family and I don’t mind if I am not on each photo (although it is becoming easy to take selfies!!). Here,  a lady offer us to take a photo of both of us.


I was happy to share that special day with you. Thanks again for reading  and leaving a comment if you have time . MERCI !!



Petroglyphs in Arizona

February 5th, 2016

We drove by the Painted rock Petroglyph Site.  These pictures on boulders and rock panels are filled with mystery…

Petroglyphs are images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving, or abrading, as a form of rock art. Outside North America, scholars often use terms such as “carving”, “engraving”, or other descriptions of the technique to refer to such images.


The Gila style is a later tradition attributed to the group of farmers that archeologists call the Hohokam.  They lived in central and southern Arizona between about 300 BC and AD 1450. The style includes designs of animals, insects, human shapes, plants, circles and zigzags. the designs were made by artists who used stone tools  to peck images into the rock surface.

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As this site was away from the main road, it is probably not very popular with tourists. Two other time during our visit in Arizona, we saw more petroglyphs. I will end this post with a nice fence that was at this site.


Thanks  for reading . More story from our time in Arizona  will be shared very soon.




On the road again…

Thanks for taking time to read my blog on my travel to southern USA.  This post is a bit longer than most of my other posts. If you missed my story on our visit  to San Diego, you’ll have to go the archives of my blog. It was a great visit  but then, we had to get going after 4 full days visiting the San Diego  area.

Direction: Yuma , Arizona.  I was curious about this town as I only knew the name. The drive from San Diego was not very long.  173miles/277 km. Nothing really interesting to see . Only the highway. In one area, we could see some fields with green crop.  I am not really sure what it is  but  it needs good watering as weather gets really hot there from May to October.DSC01133

One thing was a bit strange for me was  to see the  fence  between  the USA and Mexico. We were quite close to the border as we were driving. We could see  the fence easily.  I never really knew about it  but now I know it is real. If you are curious about it, it is very easy to see more photos. You can just google : fence border USA Mexico and look at the photos. The U.S. states along the border, from west to east, are California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. The United States has 5,525 miles of border with Canada and 1,989 miles with Mexico.  My photos are not very good  as we didn’t stop  but I will post one here in order to  give you an idea. The steel  fence is about 18 foot high.


We organized to spend a full day in Yuma . We visited the  Yuma Territorial Sate Historic Park.  On July 1, 1876, the first seven inmates entered the Territorial Prison at Yuma and were locked into the new cells they had built themselves. The complex of buildings was a prison until 1909. A total of 3,069 prisoners, including 29 women, lived within these walls during the prison’s thirty-three years of operation. Their crimes ranged from murder to polygamy, with grand larceny being the most common. A majority served only portions of their sentences due to the ease with which paroles and pardons were obtained. One hundred eleven persons died while serving their sentences, most from tuberculosis, which was common throughout the territory. Of the many prisoners who attempted escape, twenty-six were successful, but only two were from within the prison confines.


By 1907, the prison was severely overcrowded, and there was no room on Prison Hill for expansion. The convicts constructed a new facility in Florence, Arizona.


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Let’s  say   the visit teaches you one or two things. People  had different reasons to go to jail. Some didn’t stay as long as the sentence they were given. Some women spent time in that jail .  Now , there are jails just for women ! The Bandit Queen, Pearl Hart, had quite a story !  One thing is sure , you can “enjoy” the visit  but you would not like to be there as a prisoner.

In Yuma, we also visited the Saguinetti House museum and gardens. Home of pioneer merchant Eugene Francis  Sanguinetti.  Born in California in 1867, he came to Yuma at age 15, penniless,  but quickly became a civic-minded businessman whose various enterprises such as electricity, ice house, ranching, farming, merchandising, banking, real estate- advanced his own well-being and that of he community he loved. It was interesting as our guide made it really fun and because  we were just a group of 4 we could ask all the questions we wanted.  We learned about ghost towns of the area and also about Mr. Sanguinetti ‘s story. The house was small  but they added rooms as they needed more space for their family.  Always fun to see how  people lived before we were born.

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We had a nice dinner on Main street. We had enough time to see  what was interesting in Yuma. We had time to walk along the  Colorado river  and relax.  Yuma is not so famous  but you probably heard about the movie   3:10 to Yuma . I haven’t seen it yet.  The next day, we  were ready to keep going on our adventure. Arizona has plenty of great places to discover….

Thanks again for reading.

Mission San Diego de Alcalá

One more  Spanish Mission  to see on that trip. On that day  (January 31) we got up  with rain and wind. No matter what, we were going to visit the mission. In fact, we even attended the 11 AM mass with hope that the rain would stop in order for us to see the garden. That  Mission , San Diego de Alcalá, was the first mission and is known as the “Mother of the Missions”. It was founded in July 1769 by Father Junipero Serra. The  first building was in another location  but fire and earthquakes  damaged previous  buildings. The present church was rebuilt in 1931 to look like the mission church of 1813.   Many  people came to attend the mass although the weather was terrible. In fact,  on Sunday,  there have  masses at 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 17:30.  At 11:00 , one mass in English and one mass in Spanish ( in the chapel) . Today, the church serves as an active parish for the Catholic community as a cultural center for people of all faiths.

We  visited the museum and the garden. I was happy to see it and now you will see it also with some photographs taken that day.






Thanks for viewing and reading.  More on San Diego in my next post.




San Diego ( part 3)

Hello readers !

My  travel story continues.  As we approach the park,  we  notice a cemetery called Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.  The cemetery is located about 10 miles (16 km) west of  Downtown San Diego , overlooking  San Diego Bay  and the city from one side, and the Pacific Ocean  on the other. Rows and rows of white tombstones is quite impressive. Burial in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is available for eligible veterans, their spouses and dependents. We do not stop so I take photos as we are driving by.


We are now just about  to visit the Cabrillo National Monument  on Point Loma. The monument commemorating Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo’s 1543 exploration of the area is an interesting historical backdrop to panoramic views of San Diego.


You can only imagine the conditions in those years for the adventurers ready to explore the world .  Cabrillo  was probably born in Portugal  but  was an explorer on behalf of the  Spanish Empire.  Cabrillo’s discoveries went largely unnoticed at the time, so none of his place names were permanently adopted. Despite this, Cabrillo is now remembered as the first European to travel the California coast, and many parks, schools, buildings and streets in California bear his name.

This must be the ship ( a miniature ) that  crossed the ocean to get to America.


The park offers a view of San Diego’s harbor and skyline, as well as  Coronado and  Naval Air Station North Island . On clear days, a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean,  Tijuana  (Mexico). A visitor center screens a film about Cabrillo’s voyage and has exhibits about the expedition. You could spend many hours there and learn  a lot but sometimes it is not possible to read it all.


Here is the Old Point Loma  Lighthouse. From November 1855 and for the next 36 years, except on foggy nights, it welcomed sailors to San Diego harbor. However, the lighthouse’s site on top of a 400-foot cliff meant that fog and low clouds often obscured the light from the view of ships.  On March 23, 1891, the flame was permanently extinguished and the light was replaced by the New Point Loma lighthouse at a lower elevation.


As it was getting late that day, we left the park but we came back another day to spend time close by the ocean.


Always fun to discover new places.  We still had time to see more of San Diego and it will be the topic of another post.  Thanks for reading.