San Antonio,Texas

San Antonio,Texas
The riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Alamo and Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas

When I knew I would be passing through San Antonio, Texas, I decided to stop and see the Alamo.
 Originally the Alamo was a mission, Mission San Antonio de Valero, and was home to missionaries and Indian converts for nearly 70 years. In the early 1800's the Spanish military stationed a cavalry unit at the former mission. The soldiers referred to the old mission as the Alamo, in honor of their hometown, Alamo de Parras, Coahuila.
 The military, Spanish, Rebel and then Mexican occupied the Alamo until the Texas Revolution. It was the Alamo's role in the Texas Revolution that made the Alamo and its defenders so famous.
From December of 1835 to March of 1836, the Texians and Tejano volunteers battled Mexican troops quartered in the city. Although the volunteers who defended the Alamo were outnumbered, they fought victoriously until the 13th day of the siege, when Santa Anna's soldiers scaled the walls and rushed into the compound. By sunrise the battle had ended and the garrison was slain.
 Although the facts are often debated, the battle itself has come to symbolize the heroic struggle against overwhelming odds; a place where men made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. I want to honor all those who fight and give their lives for what they believe in, and no matter what the odds, continue courageously forward until the battle is over.
 After my time in the Alamo, I explored the city of San Antonio. I love all the old buildings and history surrounding them.
 Both old and new join together down at the San Antonio River, where a beautiful walkway flanks both sides of the river.
 It is always so much fun for me to explore and see new places. I loved walking along the river, going into the shops and eating ice cream.
 I also experimented with an airbnb room, right outside the city. It looked nothing like this building, believe me, and was enough to make me never want to try rooming with strangers again. Wished I had stayed here!
 Lots of people were using the water taxis, and taking the boat rides. I did not. Saving my money for the trip ahead. A long journey that will cover nearly 8000 miles. I just keep telling myself to be careful, but I keep getting little things that I have to squish underneath the seats in my Subee.
 Modern art in and old city. I like that.
This old guy has been sitting there for so long, he has frozen in position!
As always, its time to say goodbye! I am off on a new adventure and will keep posting my pics as I go along. Blessings to you and yours. Susan Little

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Flower Fields at the Carlsbad Ranch in southern California

The Carlsbad Flower Fields are a sight to behold when in full bloom. This is the time of year when color is popping out all over the place!
The Flower Fields at the Carlsbad Ranch are a result of almost 100 years of hard work and cultivation. Luther Gage settled  in Carlsbad in the early 1920's and brought with him the Ranunculus seeds that he grew in his fields next to Frank Frazee. After 1930, Frazee also started growing Ranunculus, the flowers shown in the photo above. 
 In 1965, Frazee moved his flowers over to the current site, which was owned by the Ecke family
  in Encinitas. They had previously used the land to grow poinsettias, but had moved the operation to greenhouses. When Frazee retired, Paul Ecke took over the business and brought in Mellano and Company to take over the growing of the Ranunculus.
People come from all over the world to see the gorgeous display of colorful flowers and plants.
I love all plants, but especially the succulents. So sturdy and strong, able to adapt.
 In direct contrast is the rose garden, filled with sweet frail beauty, so soft and delicate.
Wide paths lead in and out of the fragrant flowers. In the distance you can see the Encina Power Station's 400 foot tall smokestack and on a clear day, the ocean. It was a beautiful morning, a wonderful day! Link to the Flower Fields at the Carlsbad Ranch.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sonoran Desert Beauty

 My visits out to Arizona to see my daughter-in-law Cara and my two grandsons, Ethan and Wyatt, have been fun, crazy, wild, and filled with family and desert beauty. The Saguaro Cactus are only found in a small portion of the United States, and thrive in the Tucson and Phoenix areas of  Arizona.
 This strange cactus was very tall and thin, with ribs of spiny needles running up and down the stem.
I love flowers and took pictures of these desert beauties while walking through the neighborhoods with Cara's gigantic dog, Ollie.
My buddy, Ollie, is a great protector of the family. In the absence of my son, it is a comfort to know that Ollie is at home with Cara and the kids, guarding the house, and always looking out for them. Such a lover-boy.
So many colors, shapes and sizes are found in desert flowers.
On my way home from Cara's house, I stopped again at Whitewater Preserve. The river was magnificent. These shots were taken from up on the highway while looking down into the valley below.
 The river that runs through the Whitewater preserve is year round. It starts at the highest point in southern California on the southeastern slopes of Mt. San Gorgonio and it ends at the Salton Sea.  The river is fed by rainwater and melted snow, and branches off into smaller streams along the way.
At times you cant even see the river, like this view from the winding street that leads up to the Preserve. I kept pulling over and hopping out of the car to take pictures. Such a beautiful spot!
 Yellow daisies were blooming all over the hillsides like a blanket of golden sunshine.
Must admit, I look a bit wild, as I had just dunked my head in the river and was dripping wet with joy and happiness. Snagged some guy to take my picture in the middle of all those flowers.
   The Whitewater Preserve consists of more than 2800 acres that are part of a larger 33,000 acre Sand to Snow Preserve. At one time the preserve was home to the Whitewater Trout company, but was sold in 2006 to the Wildlands Conservancy. They transformed the old hatchery into this beautiful preserve we see today.
 Fishing is no longer allowed at the preserve but huge trout are still gracefully swimming in the crystal clear ponds. I am sure that it would make any fisherman's mouth water.
It's very peaceful sitting over near the ponds. Still water always causes me to pause and reflect which is a good thing.
After walking around the ponds, I walked down to the river. The river water runs over the street, creating this little waterfall. The down side is that you have to drive through the water in order to get up to the top. My Subee had no trouble, but several cars refused to attempt the river crossing. That would be me, loving life.
View from the Visitor Center overlooking one of the ponds. They do allow camping at Whitewater Preserve, no campfires though, and the camping is free. You just have to call to make a reservation. I've never camped there, but intend to do that soon!
On my way down the mountain, I stopped get a few more photos of the mountain's and desert.
 Good bye to one and all. May your journeys be exciting, your sleep sweet and your life filled with the love of God! Susan Little

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in California

Last week after visiting my son Jon in San Luis Obispo, I headed up to Pollock Pines to visit Tom and Judy. It was quite the experience. Cloudy and gray most of the time. Plus with all the recent flooding, there were landslides, swollen rivers, sinkholes, dams threatening to burst, and the saddest was seeing houses in water halfway up their sides, trees drowning, and lots of standing water where there had not been any before. We took a trip up to my nephews house and stopped at the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park. 
It is an incredible place that celebrates the discovery of gold in 1848, on the South Fork of the American River at Sutter's Mill, in the town of Coloma located in El Dorado County. Yes the grass is that green from all the recent rainfall, so green it hurt!
I love cloudy days,  especially when they are the backdrop for one lone tree in the green, green grass; kind of a melancholic's dream.
This is the South Fork of the American River, swollen from rain, muddy and belligerent.  It was awesome.
The ruins of the original Coloma jail are still standing in the park. Below you can see how small it is. Above you can see how the men were kept in.....heavy iron doors. The inside was so miserable and dreary that I couldn't even take a picture of it. A brutal place to be incarcerated.

Reflections in the gray water. How cool is that? I just love it.
We then took the shortest State Hwy, California 153, up the hill to the monument.
The monument to James Marshall, the man who first discovered gold in the mill he shared with his buddy John Sutter. Once the gold was discovered, the lumber mill was abandoned and everybody and his brother began panning for gold. The mountains behind the monument, are alive with the late afternoon golden rays of the sun... the only gold I saw at the park!
Me and my sister Judy, brother in law Tom, niece Michele with little Jade Rose and Kelly with Carson and Olivia. Great times with great people. Blessings to you all! Susan Little

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park, California

A lone Joshua Tree in Joshua Tree National Park. Last week, after visiting with Cara, Ethan and Wyatt in Arizona, I stopped in the desert to look for rocks and take pictures. I love the Saguaro cactus, as they look like people and are so very strong. Birds nest in small holes and little spaces where the arms grow out from the trunk.
This one reminded me of a mother and child, holding tight to each other.
I stopped in Joshua Tree National Park to camp for one night before heading home. I did get my $10.00 Senior pass which allows me to get into the parks for free for the rest of my life and get 1/2 price on all campsites within the parks. One happy old person over here.
Joshua Tree is so incredibly beautiful. I had to change campsites once, as  one other old person was certain I had camped next to him because I was over the moon for him. In truth, I never even saw him until I had set up camp, then he wouldn't leave me alone, so I quietly packed back up and drove away when he wasn't looking. Sometimes a girl's got to do what she has to do.
Gorgeous Cholla Cactus. Even though they are gorgeous, they are vicious and attach themselves to any part of your body that touches it. I got poked in the foot, then when I tried to pick it out of my foot, it got stuck in my finger, then when I tried to get it out with the other finger, I got poked again. When you get poked, the needles stay in your clothing or skin, and it hurts like you cant believe.

I walked all through the desert taking pictures, and enjoying the scenery. What a place! Huge boulders, amazing Joshua Trees, ocotillo, cholla cactus. So amazing.

This is the campsite I ended up at. No strange men, just lots of wide open spaces. I brought enough wood for a campfire but not any food for dinner. I did have tea with milk and some Fritos. A very nice couple from Canada came over and joined me at the fire. So interesting to talk with them.
I walked around behind my campsite and found the most interesting trails and scenery.

Just at sunset, Michael, the Canadian, climbed this rock directly opposite my campsite. I grabbed my camera and got a shot of him at the top.
On the week before, on my way home from Cara's, I stopped in Whitewater Preserve which  is just outside of Joshua Tree. It is a beautiful preserve with a small year-round creek running through it. Endless trails, gorgeous scenery, and it is free to camp there! Still haven't camped there, but love to stop and walk through the trails.
 Ice cold water runs down the wash.
 On the day I stopped there, I had Cara's dog, Ollie, and together we walked through the trails and explored. Ollie loved it!
Snow capped mountains made the preserve even more beautiful. Thank you Lord for a wonderful day! May God bless and be with you and yours. Susan Little

Copyright©2009 Susan Little, All rights reserved. Use of photos requires written permission.