Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dwarf Car Museum, Maricopa, Arizona

The "Father of the Dwarf Car," Ernie Adams, hand-builds operational classic car replicas at 5/8 scale. It takes between one and five years to make one, and he builds them entirely by hand. They are fully street legal. You'll see finished and in-progress versions of these one-of-a-kind creations. The mini machines started as race cars meant as affordable alternatives to stock cars, and the "Dwarf Racer" circuit Adams created still exists today, but nowadays he only builds the sexy "cruisers." He never sells anything he builds, so don't even try to buy one. "I don't build things to make money," he said. "It's what I do to have something no one else has got. "Every day at 4:30pm is 'break time,'" when nearby friends and neighbors stop whatever they're doing to gather at the space and shoot the breeze; this is the best time to visit. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coolidge, Arizona

This National Monument was named Casa Grande ("Great House") by early Spanish explorers who discovered the area in the 1600s.  Built by the the Ancestral People of the Sonoran Desert it was four stories high and 60 feet long, with the platform mount filling the first floor, it is the largest known structure of these ancient peoples. Its walls face the four cardinal points of the compass. A circular hole in the upper west wall aligns with the setting sun at the summer solstice. Other openings align with the sun and moon at specific times.

See Jim in lower left corner

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Joshua Tree National Park, California

Joshua Tree National Park is a combination of the Mojave Desert and Colorado Desert. The western half of the park is the Mojave Desert with elevations above 3,000 feet.  Here are the pinyon pines, junipers, scrub oaks, Mojave yuccas, and Mojave prickly pear cacti. The Joshua Tree is abundant in the Mojave Desert.  I don't know why it is called a "tree," because it is really a species of yucca. Its waxy, spiny leaves expose little surface area, conserving moisture.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Aunt Carol and the Dobbs' Sisters

We are staying in Redlands, California for a few days.  Our main visit here was to see Jim's relatives, whom he has not seen for about 40 years. We have seen Charley when she traveled to Atlanta with her Mom, Aunt Mary, but Jim has not seen the others for a very long time. It was real good to see meet and see everyone again.  We had lunch with Aunt Carol, who is his father's younger sister by 20 years; along with Aunt Mary's daughters, Lorrie, Charley and Bonnie Dobbs. It was really nice meeting them and Jim was happy to see all of them again as well.

Lorrie, Charley, Aunt Carol, Jim, Bonnie, Gayle

Monday, September 5, 2016

Bellagio Conservatory Gardens & Water Light Show, Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

John & Rebecca took us to the Bellagio Conservatory to see the gardens at night when they were all lite up. We saw the summer garden, and what a sight it was. The Bellagio changes their gardens five times a year: Chinese New Year, spring, summer, fall and winter. 

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Hoover Dam & Lake Mead, Nevada

While in Las Vegas a trip to the Hoover Dam was a must see.  The Hoover Dam is located about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas. Construction began in 1931 and was completed in 1936. At that time it was the largest concrete structure in the world. The Hoover Dam was named for President Herbert Hoover dedicated by President Roosevelt at a cost of $49 million and 112 lives. The newest addition to the canyon is the Colorado River Bridge, 900 feet above the river and a quarter of a mile from the Dam.

Before the Dam was built

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Automobile Collection -- Linq Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada

The automobile collection at the Linq features over 250 classic cars that have been restored to peak performance. Most of them are for sale, so if you have a little extra cash laying around burning a hole in your pocket, head to Las Vegas Linq Hotel's classic car collection and take your pick.  Below are some of the featured cars.

1964 Thunderbird Sport Coupe ($34,500)