On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Good Morning All,
This weekday feature is for Balloon Juicers who are on the road, travelling, etc. and wish to share notes, links, pictures, stories, etc. from their escapades. As the US mainland begins the end of the Earth day as we measure it, many of us rise to read about our friends and their transient locales.
So, please, speak up and share some of your adventures, observations, and sights as you explore, no matter where you are. By concentrating travel updates here, it’s easier for all to keep up-to-date on the adventures of our fellow Commentariat. And it makes finding some travel tips or ideas from 6 months ago so much easier to find…
Have at ’em, and have a safe day of travels!
Should you have any pictures (tasteful, relevant, etc….) you can email them to [email protected] or just use this nifty link to start an email: Start an Email to send a Picture to Post on Balloon Juice
Let’s peek over the fold!
This morning, all are from JRinWV:
Back before Europeans arrived this area was covered with these huge earthworks most are gone now and covered by the city. The only other surviving set is on a golf course, there’s an open octagon which predicts moon rise and setting positions.
This is an artifact in the Mound Builder National Park museum in Chillicothe, OH, made of native copper from the U P of Michigan. Thought to be a Carolina Parakeet, extinct since about 1910. There’s a ceremonial ax head too. Interestingly, the Carolina Parakeet, actually a parrot, was likely poisonous and ate poisonous seeds routinely. The Mound Builders had here had artifacts made from materials from Yellowstone obsidian, Michigan copper, mica from North Carolina, and birds from the tropics, so they traveled a bit in their time.
This is the Serpent Mound, difficult to see all at once as it’s quite large and spread out. Carefully engineered of different materials to last despite erosion, there’s a clear head biting at or swallowing or disgorging an ovid shape, winding for 1,348 feet on a sloping bluff above OHio Brush Creec, from which creek bed the gravel inside the mound was carried up to the bluff, probably around 321 BCE, a very long time ago.
And the final batch for this morning, with more for tomorrow!
Regarding the few Monument Valley shots, commonly the valley floor looks nearly flat or rolling with the desert giants in the distance. In reality, the valley floor is crossed by steep sided and rocky arroyos which make it nearly impassible as rock ledges thrust out preventing you from climbing out. It’s tougher to get good shots than you would think, they are so huge and impressive, but far away you lose that feeling of size. These worked out OK.
While we were there the tribe was building a sweet visitors lodge on the edge of the valley, all the rooms with a view of the monument! Done now.
I can provide a little more detail on many of the photos if you want, but the titled ones are kind of self explanatory. To not make this email a novel.
Just gorgeous! I’ve been there twice now and hope to get back there in the next few years. Pictures like these make it harder to resist. And sad as it may be, I do love buying jewelry, etc. from Navajo and other tribes there and in the general area as I explore off the beaten path.
If you ever get the chance to go to Monument Valley, try to spend the night in a hogan with the Navajo locals and get a better picture of what third world American living is like (and I do not mean that in a touristy way). The stories I heard of children torn from their homes and taken to Indian Schools, of being brought up to root for the cowboy and look down on the Indians, etc. And of course now the endemic poverty and hopes for a better life for their children through education. Just amazing stories that more folks should hear first-hand.
Nice shots. I need to get the wife to Monument Valley.
STL was once known as Mound City because of all the mounds (hundreds IIRC) built during the Mississippian age. There’s only one left now (not counting those across the river in Cahokia) on South Broadway. It was recently sold to the Osage tribe (I think). I am unsure of their plans but I believe they intend to build a cultural center.
The Monument valley pictures are absolutely gorgeous ???
Re:Jr inWV: Lovely shots. Were those in WV or OH.? Our metroparks in NE Ohio has some Indian mounds. They write about it on the website but redacted the GPS coordinates so that idiots are less inclined to mess with the sites
Good article about “The Searchers”.
We have our annual computing conference at this state park.
My spouse wants to go out West to see what ain’t in the Midwest. I am reluctant becase I have lived outWest, and I remember it as the Midwest with more sun and less family. He is determined to see the Grand Canyon. I think we should see Boulder/Hoover Dam. What else should we see?
@Sab: Uh, The West is sort of big.
Obviously we should see Monument Valley. Gorgeous pictures.
@Raven: I know that. I lived there. Spouse doesn’t. I am thinking about near Grand Canyon. I have family near San Diego and San Francisco but that would have to be a whole different trip or two.
@Sab: There is much to be seen in the 4 corners area, so many National Parks and Monuments, You really can’t go wrong visiting any of them and visiting all of them would take years (OK, it would take me years because I’d want to spend a month in each) but Arches National Park would have to be high on the list.
@Raven: That’s a terrific book.
@OzarkHillbillyThanks. It’s on our list now.
@Sab: Well that’s a little different. Go to Jerome.
@Phylllis: We started watching “Five Came Back” about Ford, John Huston, William Wyler, Frank Capra and George Stevens and WW2 film. Good stuff, I didn’t know that Ford was wounded at Midway.
I know it’s a lot to ask, esp on shots from the past, but info on camera used and lens would be cool. f stop, speed etc not really important to me: I understand space limitations.
Also too; really nice stuff!
@Raven: It is a singular movie, very raw.
@Raven: Jerome Where? Jerone AZ looks bleak. Is it not bleak, or is there another Jerome nearby?
mai naem mobile
Monument Valley is spectacular. You feel like you’re looking at postcard pictures. There’s also the Petrified Forest and Meteor Crater up there. Going into Southern Colorado you have the Durango Silverton train which is a cool train ride. There’s parts of the ride where the train is hugging pretty close to the edge of the mountain. Not that far is Alamogordo with White Sands which is also a crazy sight to see. Actual white sand and not beach like sand. White white sand. This country has some crazy sights.
Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes
Love the mounds.
Last summer, we went camping at the state park at Giant City, in Illinois. There is an odd rock wall built there by the pre-Columbian residents (the moundbuilders) of the area, the purpose of which eludes researchers.
@Sab: It’s a mining town on top of a mountain, insane view!
@Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes: Great place to trip if memory serves.
Thanks. Also on the list.
@Raven: That’s on tap for this coming weekend (and that book is well worth the read as well). What with all the Gamecock basketball & going to Drive Chip & Putt on Sunday, our weekend was packed.
@Sab: if you can hurry, you should go to Anzo Borrego to see the desert in bloom. It’s staggeringly beautiful due to ample rains this year.
Two retired friends.just got back and the photos are wild with color.
I miss Poco.
Beautiful pictures! Especially the Monument Valley ones. Loved my day there 3 weeks ago. A bit more touristy than I expected. Can’t imagine how it would be with the bumper to bumper traffic everyone told me about that comes with summer tourists. I did the drive on my own (with Poco in his “room” of the 2 bedroom Escape). Those open jeep tours looked way too dusty and crowded for me…plus no Pocos allowed.
Poco misses his “fame” too. He was just asking when would I ever take his picture again?. I reminded him that his NC beach trip is coming up soon. We were on an April schedule for his first years…my family home and my mom’s birthday. She died a little over a year ago. Going next month, so he will get his beach time…and I continue on the task of going through a house that I grew up in…53 years of memories. Poco is a wonderful comfort when we are there. Tough job…I’m an only born of two onlies…someone has to do it.❤ All the kind words and interest in my SW trip really meant alot in February and March. I know it sounds corny, but I checked in with you guys on those mornings…in the past always had a long morning talk from the road with her.
@Quinerly: Outer Banks? How far down?
Jerome, AZ is a great village. Just there about a month ago. Quite frankly, I wish I had spent more time there and less in Sedona. Thrilled that I was in Monument Valley but have to give a shout out to the less crowded and less commercialized nearby Valley of the Gods. I would go back there on every trip…not so with Monument valley. The Moki Dugway road with its 11% grade and fantastic views is a must (for the less adventurous, you can get to the valley floor from a regular road, but “Why?”). I used Bluff, UT as a home base for a week for the area…ready to do it again! Canyon de Chelly is 90 miles away, Shiprock close by. Had a fantastic stay at an old haunt of Tony Hillerman…The Recapture Lodge…family owned and Jim was Tony’s guide on his stays there. The village is sweet, great cemetery, fantastic area hiking. The Lodge owners and staff treated Poco and me like family. Community breakfast included each morning…great time for a lot of sharing about what everyone is planning for his/her day.
Southern Outer Banks..Bogue Island (specifically Pine Knoll Shores) near Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Beaufort, NC. Family second home that we have had since the 1960’s. I grew up in a little town in Pitt County (Grifton)…about an hour away. I’ll work on packing/organizing there for a week, then clear my head for a week at the beach. I’m very fortunate to have it…it has saved my sanity on three trips back. Does anyone have any coastal NC connections? That would be neat.?
If you make it to Monument Valley, try to take the time after leaving the park to check out Goulding Trading Post and its funky movie museum. Time stood still there in the 1950’s. Wonderful people. It’s a not for profit that is free admission but takes donations for near by Monument Valley Highschool scholarships. The day I was there, I was the only one in the museum..spent over an hour just chatting with the Navajo lady about the area and her growing up on tribal lands (in the actual park). She was friendly and bored and I was looking for a less touristy experience.
They keep the dirt paths through Monument Valley pitted and rutted. I tried driving myself and it didn’t work out well for me or my Toyota Avalon. Next time, dusty Jeep ride with professional driver.
I wouldn’t try it in a regular car. Saw a very unhappy German couple with a healthy portion of their exhaust ripped out on their rented Mercedes. It looked like they had just barreled through at the very beginning without any care.
since everyone has covered the most popular areas, I’ll chime in on one a little less known…
On the way to the canyon, North out of Flagstaff on US 180… before you get too far out of town, you can visit Sunset Crater National Park. Cool volcanic rock formations that are fairly accessible for just a small trek from the parking areas. It’s just a bit different from everything else up there (Meteor crater, painted desert, grand canyon, canyon de chelle) which is what makes it kind of wicked in its own way.
Also, if you’re going to spend time up at the grand canyon and are managing to fit in arches and canyonlands, bryce and zion are also “relatively” close by.
If you’re into cliff dwellings, you also have Montezumas village not too far away (Camp Verde) from Jerome as well.
Loved Camp Verde and Sunset Crater. I stayed for a week in Cameron, AZ and used it as a base. Lee’s Ferry, Marble Canyon, and the Vermillion Cliffs are also a must just a little north of Cameron. Two wonderful nights at the Marble Canyon Lodge. Loved that place.
J R in WV
All those pictures of Adena mounds were in Ohio, although there are many mounds in WV, KY southern IN and IL. The vast majority of these mounds have been plowed under in farm fields or dozed for building lots.
I hope to spend a day at the Cahokia mounds across the river from St Louis. That must have been a happening place before the European plagues wiped out most people living in the Americas after 1492.
@J R in WV:
Cahokia is wonderful. Poco loves the trails! The museum is quite lovely. All worth a visit.
J R in WV
All these photos were taken with a Nikon D70s, and edited using Graphic Image Manipulation Program on Linix Ubuntu OS. For lenses, I have an 18-70 mm F.3.5; a 55-200mm F 4 and a 60 mm Macro Nikkor F 2.8… it weighs a ton all told.
More recently I have a Panasonic FZ200 [lens is 25-600 mm F 2.8] which was used for many spring flower photos and a trip to Spain and France when we toured caves with prehistoric (30K year old) paintings, as well as old towns, cathedrals, museums, etc.
I just recently got a Panasonic FZ1000 [lens is 24-400mm F 2.8] for the larger chip size, these cameras are both so called super zoom point and shoot, but are quite controllable if you need to specify shutter speed, ISO or F-stop. I wish they were more weather resistant, but there are always tradeoffs. Both these cameras shoot macro close-ups pretty well too.
@J R in WV: That’s not true. The civilization had largely disappeared by 1400. Good article here: https://arstechnica.com/features/2016/12/theres-a-1000-year-old-lost-city-beneath-the-st-louis-suburbs/