Friday, January 30, 2009

A California Experience

It's cold outside and I've been having to go to work so there hasn't been much time for travling so I'm gonna tell you about my trip to California in 2004. There for a few years I spent a lot of time in various parts of California: Redding, Clearlake, Monterey and LA. In the summer of 2004 I had to go to LA for 3 months. On my days off I would get in the car and drive out of the city and go exploring. I went to all sorts of places but some stick in my head better than others. Yosemite is the best one. I actually didn't start out going to Yosemite..I just happened up on it. I headed north out of LA toward Death Valley on an early June morning. When I am at home in Mississippi I just get in the car and drive so that's what I did. Southern California is mostly desert and roads are limited and somewhere along the way I missed my turn and ended up in Independence, Ca. It is a small town lying between desert and mountains. I stopped for gas and a diet Coke. It is here that you get a glimpse of the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney. Its elevation is 14,505 feet.

I continued north, mostly because the view was so spectacular. Suddenly there was a road sign for Yosemite. How could I pass it up? I couldn't. The place is beyond words, a jaw dropping experience.

Yosemite covers 1,189 square miles in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with sheer granite cliffs, waterfalls, Giant Sequoia Trees, lakes and wilderness. More than 3.5 million people visit each year. I was lucky, it was a weekday and the park was not busy.

John Muir was a naturalist and active in the preservation of Yosemite. In 1903, he convinced President Theodore Roosevelt the area needed federal protection and then in 1916 Yosemite was transferred to the National Park Service.

"No Temple made with hands can compare with Yosemite", "The grandest of all special temples of nature". John Muir

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mobile, Alabama January21, 2009

We left early this morning in hopes of getting to Mobile before it got too late. My sister, Duanne and I, had originally planned to go to the Ruins of Windsor in Southwestern Mississippi but changed our minds because of travel time. Since this was a short day trip and we needed to be back to Petal, Mississippi by 4 or 4:30 PM. I picked her up at 6:15 and we hit highway 98 East just as the sun was coming over the tops of the trees. It was 23 degrees according to the thermometer in the car. After a stop for breakfast we arrived at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 2 South Claiborne Street. It is a large Catholic church downtown near the Exploreum. It was open and no one was there so we were free to look around and snap photos without disturbing anyone. A very stately place with huge columns on the front of the brick building. The church is 164 ft. long and 90 ft. wide. It has large 60 ft. arched ceilings with some sort of paintings and 12stained glass windows on the left and right walls plus on the walls of the 2 towers which are 103 feet tall, a large alter and a large statue of Christ. It also has a spiral staircase near the front that descends into an area that had a locked gate on it. Behind the gate was another alter and what appeared to be burial chamber...probably for priests and nuns. There was a large balcony with a gigantic organ.
The cathedral was completed for worship in 1850. The portico was added in 1870 and the towers were added in 1884.
The main stained glass windows on the left and right walls as you walk in are 23 feet tall and 8 feet wide and there are 6 on each side, each depicting an event involving Mary, Mother of Jesus. Two other windows are located under the towers flanking the portico.
We had to backtrack for our 2ND stop: The Visitation Monastery. I don't know what I was expecting but it wasn't a convent. As soon as we pulled in I started having flashbacks of my catholic school days at St. Jerome's in Baltimore and Mother Superior. I wouldn't even get out of the car. It was a pretty place but I just did not want to stay. We sat there for a few minutes and discussed it an finally to my relief went to our last destination...a graveyard. Much better.

The Historic Magnolia Cemetery is at 1202 Virginia Street and nicely kept. It is the third oldest cemetery on Mobile and covers 125 acres. It was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1986 and has literally hundreds and hundreds of architecturally artistic memorials covering 1700's to the present. Some pieces are damaged related to Hurricanes but from vandalism as well.

Just across the street is the National Cemetery where the veterans and those killed in action are buried and next to that is the Spring Hill Street Temple Cemetery.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

January 13, 2009 Working On The House

We have been doing some remodeling so these pics are works in progress. This room is the old living room. It is not very large and since we have a large 20x20 room we added on several years ago, we are changing this into a foyer/ sitting area. We painted the ceiling white and the walls have a new textured surface with new paint. The hardwood floors still need some work.

We put this door in between the old room and the new one and will close the old door up. I really thought we would screw up this job but it really turned out . Making a hole in a wall were there wasn't one is a little scary but we did it in 2 days.

These 2 supervised the whole project. The white cat is Tweety and she was very tired after 2 long days of construction. The tabby is Tiger and she supervises the supervisor.
Today I am working on the new room. I have to get the junk out that has been collecting there and clean and arrange the room. My work is cut out for me today.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Trip To Chichasawhay

Early on September 8, 2008, my sister and I went to Chickasawhay Wildlife Management Area. It is located just off of Highway 15 between Richton and Laurel. There was a mist in the woods as the sun rose behind the trees.
The forrest seems very quiet when you first enter but as you get in a little deeper you begin to hear the sounds of nature.

Such a beautiful place.

Friday, January 9, 2009

January 9, 2009 A Previous Trip

I've been pretty busy lately, with work and some home remodeling so I haven't had a chance to get out. So, I thought I would add something from our weekend trip to Turkey Fork. It's a recreation area located near Sand Hill, Mississippi. The thing that stood out the most about the park was the number of animals we saw. There were several deer, cranes, birds, lots of insects and frogs. Turkey Fork is one of the less known parks and is quite least it was on the weekend we went. It was September 2008 and school was back in session so the family groups usually found during the summer were not there. There were only 2 other campers in the camping area and they were a on the other side, leaving us all to ourselves.

After we got the campsite set up and to our liking I went out on a photowalk. I love to get those macroshots of things you would normally walk right past and never know was there. If you walk slowly,very slowly and really look, you will find scores of creatures hidden on the leaves and bushes. I spent a lot of time searching and it paid off. Spiders, dragonflies and caterpillers were
just a few of the small creatures I found.

Randy had taken the boat so we put it into the lake and trolled around the edges where there were alot of trees and bushes in the water. There were lots of birds. Most of the time when we do this we will see snakes..not this time..only a few turtles.

We had a great time and I got lots of photos.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 3, 2009 A New Year

I love the holidays just as much as the next person but I've got to say I am glad they are finally behind me. The hustle and bustle of shopping and especially the increase in traffic on the road always makes Christmas a hastle. So...I'm glad it's over.
Happy New Year to everyone!!
Randy and I discussed our next big trip and where we might go but that is not until September so if anyone out there has suggestions please pass them on. We want to see nature not cities. I was thinking about the northwestern part of the country: Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana. Last trip we had to skip Pikes Peak and Royal Gorge because of snow so maybe we can do those places.
Until then, there are some places closer to home: the Jackson Zoo, Vicksburg, the panhandle of Florida, bayous in Louisiana. Alot of times when I want to see new places I just get in the car and drive. Sometimes there is a destination but most of the time there is not so I end up finding all sorts of things. So the first chance I get I'll be back on the road.

October 30, 2008 Historic Biloxi Cemetery

On my 4Th day on the coast I visited the Historic Biloxi Cemetery. I love photographing in cemeteries because the memorials have such diversity in spiritual beliefs or none at all. Also known as The Old Biloxi Cemetery, it was established in 1934, but, headstones date back as far as 1811. Before 1811 it is believed to be a burial site as early as the early 1700's.

Due to the elevation the area was an excellent location for burials affording a little protection from the gulf waters.
No proof exists but legend has it that there were possible thousands of immigrants buried there between 1719-1721, a result of sickness and starvation. It is also possible there is a mass grave from the 1853 Yellow Fever epidemic.
The search for proof continues today.

Gulf Islands National Seashore was established in 1971 to protect the Mississippi, Alabama and Florida barrier islands. The reserve stretches 150 miles from Cat Island, Mississippi to Santa Rosa Island, Florida. Accessible by boat are forts, bayous, trails, wildlife sanctuaries with fishing, camping, birdwatching or a simple walk on the beach.

Close-up of a tree root.

Highway 15 to Highway 90 in Biloxi.

I am headed back to Hattiesburg in the morning. I have enjoyed my visit to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and hope to come back soon. There is so much more to see just not enough time.