La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (part 2)

In this post you will know more about this village we stayed.  La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.

When on vacations, I barely look at the calendar but I try to know what day of the week it is. We get up when we are ready. In La Cruz, we like to go for our morning walk before breakfast and before it gets too hot too. We walk by the marina. The smell is not very nice but it is fun to see the action. Customers come early to get fresh fish.

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Men are chatting. I notice how the Mexicans never run. Why should they? The sun rises. They get up. The sun moves slowly and when it sets, they also call it a day. No need to be stressed. They do not look stress but I also know that most of them are not rich. They have a simple house, a simple life.

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Many of them have never traveled outside their country. Our morning walk last about one hour. After that, I am ready for my second shower of the day!

La Cruz is a small village a few thousand people. Many people                  (Canadians  or Americans ) come here to spend winter away from snow, cold and rain. Here at Villa Amor del Mar, I enjoy the quiet garden. When I am too hot, I refresh in the pool for a few minutes.

I like to walk in the village. There are very few cars. Many streets are just cobblestones. I think the main street is paved and most of the streets are just like the one you see here.dsc00187

People hang their clothing to dry. Why not ? It is sunny and it will dry in no time.dsc00197

I will show you a few of the birds we see.  The first one is an egret.  Probably the snowy egret. Which is a small white heron.

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You might know more than me about those birds. If you do, tell me what you think those are. Thanks.

More on La Cruz in my next post. Hasta luego!

 

 

Palouse country ( part 3)

On this post, I will let the pictures do most of  the talking !!! You will see Palouse country at the end of a sunny afternoon with the wind-power turbines. Do you know how tall they are ? If you compare them to the Eiffel tower,  they are quite smaller.  The Eiffel Tower measures 301 meters. The Space Needle in Seattle measures 184 meters and those wind turbines measure 107 meters.

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From the top of Steptoe Butte, the car  down below looks very small.

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I surprised a  deer  munching in the yard of a house in Colfax.

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We saw many horses …

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And a sign to warn us about…

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and…

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Such an interesting  area. I am sure you would also enjoy it . There is so much to see . I couldn’t show you all and tell you all… you would be bored maybe ! Please come back to read my next post about a Bavarian village, not in Europe .

Thanks so much for reading my travel story. And many thanks for all taking time to say something … it is much appreciated because I know we have busy lives and we need sometimes to disconnect from the electronics.   Have a good day/evening….

 

 

 

Palouse Country.

This post is about our trip to Palouse Country, Washington State.  The origin of the name may have been from the Palus Indian Tribe. French-Canadian trappers and fur traders may have used the French word pelouse meaning “land with short, thick grass” to describe the area. The Palouse Hills extend out from Steptoe Butte and cover an estimated 3,000 square mile region in SE Washington and Northern Idaho.  We look out upon a sea of wind-blown hills dotted with ancient buttes surrounded by distant mountains. The fertile silty loess makes the Palouse a productive farming region. In the Palouse wheat is king.

We left home on Sunday morning (May 22) quite early.  Our very first interesting stop was to see Palouse Falls and the Palouse River.  It is a 198 foot falls with high volume of water (in the spring and the fall). The iconic falls has been deemed the official water falls of Washington State.  This is an amazing spot for photography.  We didn’t hike down to get close to the falls. I could see it was a narrow path and did not feel very safe. I noticed also that there were many places with no fence. The view of the river was also really nice.

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You can see here where the water flows …into the river.  You can see people just above the canyon. And if you look carefully you will notice a trail ( on the right of the image below) . This is to allow you to get closer to the fall . Personally, I think it is a bit  risky to walk there but we saw people doing it.

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After about one hour, we drove to Colfax where we were going to spend 3 nights. Colfax is a very small town with less than 3000 of population. On the main street, you find a few restaurants, banks, post office, gas station, grocery store and some businesses.

The next  morning, we were up bright and early and ready to go to Steptoe Butte, a National Natural Landmark.  A Steptoe is an isolated hill, or mountain, of older rock that is surrounded by younger lava flows. This island in a sea of stone (quartzite that is some of the oldest rock in Washington State) is 3612 feet. It has survived massive floods and burning lava.

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Driving over there from Colfax was not very long but the ride was nice with all the green and the rolling hills on each side of the road. We saw some sheep and lamas.  During our time in Palouse, we saw also  lots of horses and some cows.

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We arrived  to the butte and  drove slowly as I wanted to capture it all. When we got to the top, we had a 360 degree view on the whole area. It was cloudy, very windy and cold, about 8C. But the view was magnificent.

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We had two full days to explore the area and see as much as we could.  Not much traffic on the roads. The villages we visited were also very quiet.  We realized that there was not much work happening on the fields also. All the work must had  been done already.

We were  happy with our first day. Especially because we didn’t have much rain. Just a little in the afternoon. Those big clouds would eventually go away.  My next post will show you more of Palouse Country.  We even went back up to Steptoe Butte at the end of our second day as the sun was out and I knew the photos would be more interesting  ( the sky less  cloudy and gray).

Thanks for reading/commenting. It means a lot to me. MERCI.

 

Animals we see in Palm Desert

I though it would be fun to show you some animals we saw in Palm Desert. Not those we saw at the Living Desert as I already shared a post on it. Sometimes, when we went for a walk by a golf course, we saw  jack rabbits.

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Hares and jackrabbits are leporids   belonging to the genus   Lepus. Hares are classified into the same family as rabbits . They are similar in size and form to rabbits and eat the same diet. They are generally herbivorous and long-eared, they are fast runners, and they typically live  solitary  or in pairs. Hares are swift animals:  The five species of jackrabbits found in central and western North America are able to run at 64 km/h    (40 mph), and can leap up to 3 m (10 ft) at a time!!

It is not unusual also to spot some road runners. The greater roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) is a long-legged  bird  in the  cuckoo  family. The Latin name means “Californian earth-cuckoo”. Roadrunner prefers walking or running and is quick enough to catch and eat insects, lizards and rattlesnakes.

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The American coot, also known as a mud hen, is a bird of the family Rallidae. Though commonly mistaken to be ducks, American coots belong to a distinct order. American coots are found near water reed-ringed lakes and ponds, open marshes, and sluggish rivers.

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One day, I saw a woodpecker. I am always challenged to take photography of birds but I tried my best here.  With a little research I was able to identify the bird. It must be a   Nuttall’s woodpecker . This bird is not considered globally threatened although the range is restricted to the California  Endemic Bird Area.  They are fairly common in California with a total world population estimated at over 100,000 individuals. They have zygodactyl feet and stiff tail feathers which allows them to maintain a vertical position on trees; typical of woodpeckers.

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Thanks for reading this post. I have one more post to share about this trip in California.

 

 

 

1000 Palm Oasis

Another day, another adventure. This time, we went for a hike at the Thousand Palms Canyon of the Coachella Valley  Preserve. This nearly 20,000 acre Preserve is so close and yet far enough away  ( from Palm Desert) to immerse yourself in the beauty and solitude of the magnificent  Coachella Desert.  The San Andreas Fault, the most famous and visible fault of its kind in the word  is located in this area.

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We could admire the giant California fan palms with their stately trunks as high as 60 feet  and their grass skirts remaining still as a hula dancer at rest .

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The fruit of the fan palm was eaten raw, cooked or ground into flour for cakes by native Americans.

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The Cahuilla and related tribes used the leaves to make sandals, thatch  roofs and baskets. The stems were used to make cooking utensils.

We went for a hike  on a warm spring day ( it was the last day of February). We enjoyed the sight of many wild flowers like the desert sunflowers…

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the Indigo bush…

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and some hairy sand verbena…

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We also saw some  happy lizards sunbathing in the sun.  I believe they are Coachella fringe-toed lizards.

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We were happy with our day . Taking advantage of a nice warm day outside is always great. Thanks for reading my travel story. In my next post I will show you more flowers we can see in Palm Desert .

New Mexico

February  14-15 , 2016

I never had been to NM and I really wanted to go. There was not a better chance for us as we were already in Arizona and  we  had time to visit . Weather was good, so it was  perfect for us.

The nickname of New Mexico is The Land of Enchantment. It describes NM’s scenic beauty and its rich history.

After we left Arizona ( Bisbee), we drove to Las Cruces , a town in southern New Mexico. We visited the old town, La Mesilla. It was Sunday and it was quite busy. Interesting architecture. On the first photo, you’ll notice the chile pepper hanging by the wooden door.  This is called  a ristra, a string of dried chiles, garlic or other foodstuffs. But in New Mexico, when someone talks about a ristra, they’re referring to the string of red chile pods that can be found hanging as decoration on many New Mexican homes, especially those made of adobe.  You can see  ristras  along fences, on patios and on portals all over New Mexico. In the Fall, you can buy ristras at farmer’s markets and roadside stands. Ristras are sometimes used for decoration, and are said to bring good health and good luck. More often, they are hung up to dry for later cooking and eating. New Mexicans consume more Chile per capita than any other group in the United States. It is an essential ingredient of “Mexican or Southwestern food,” the fastest growing food sector in the United States.

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We  had a quiet  evening. I must say it was Valentine Day and we didn’t really try to find a fancy restaurant. We decided to walk to a fast food close by our hotel. Lota Burger is a chain  and you mostly find them in NM.

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The next day, we drove toward Santa Fe. We had many stops along the way. We enjoyed the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge  where we saw snow geese, sand-hill cranes,  ducks, turtles,  birds, deer and also an eagle. We could  not get very close to the geese and the cranes  but  it was still great to see them. As many of 50,000 snow geese and 15,000 sand-hill cranes spend the winter in this Refuge.

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Thank you for reading my  traveling story.  More on New Mexico on my next post.

 

 

 

Polo game in Indio, California.

January 2016

Here in another post about one outing we did while in Palm Desert. I discovered that there was polo  played  in Indio. On Sunday afternoon, two games are played. And for 10$  you get in with your car  and you can have you picnic while watching the games.  I never saw polo games before so I was quite interested to go. We got there and not long after we got a sheet explaining the game. Basically there are two teams with 4 players on each team. They are riding their pony  as they are trying to get a goal. Each time a goal is scored the teams change direction of play. It’s like hockey on horseback. The players use a solid bamboo cane with a hard wood head. It is called a mallet.The ball is solid plastic, a little larger than a baseball. It is a fast game.

Polo ponies run the equivalent of one to two miles during a seven-and-a-half-minute chukker, so they must be rested frequently.  At the high-goal level, players ideally will have a fresh horse every period although many will “double” on their best ponies. most ponies are former race horses. the field is 300 yard long and 160 yards wide.

A polo match is approximately one and one-half hours long and is divided into seven-minute time periods called chukkers. There are six chukkers in a high-goal match. Breaks between chukkers are three minutes long, with a 15-minute halftime.

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Free flowing manes and tails are a danger in polo because they can become entangled with players’ mallets or with the reins as the rider tries to control his horse.  Manes, therefore, are shaved and the ponies’ tails are wrapped or braided to prevent the hazard.  Wrapping or braiding long ago supplanted the crueller practice of docking (amputating) the horse’s tail near the base so all that remained was a short stump.

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It’s customary at polo matches to invite the public onto the field at halftime to tread in the divots kicked up by the horses.  The custom has a practical as well as a public-relations value: the field is repaired for the teams by the time they begin the second half of play. And as a reward for our “work”, we got a glass of champagne !

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I must say it was fun to see this game live . In Indio,  they play from early January until the beginning of April.

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Thanks for  reading and thanks for your comments/like.