Monday, September 29, 2014

September 2014 Trip - 2

Hi, After spending the night in Liberal, KS, about 1/2 hour south of Sublette, where we had quit photographing the previous day, we got an early start and headed for Quinlan, OK on Curtis Hill. As I recall this took about 2 1/2 hours.

I will present images in geographical order from west to east although we did do some back and forth driving.   Note that the grade here is ascending westbound.

Following Bill Kalkaman's instructions (he was the only one of the four of us who had been to Curtis Hill previously) we turned left off US 412 about 20 miles east of Woodward and soon came to a new bridge over the BNSF track (above and below).  Earlier in the morning the sun is on the other side of the tracks and I will include an image with that sun angle in my next post.

Our next spot for the day was another overpass about 4 miles east of Quinlan.  This spot works for westbound trains from mid morning to sunset.  Eastbound trains are best in early morning.

This eastbound train was photographed about 11:15 AM CDT.

At the far eastern end of the scenic area of Curtis hill there are some really interesting cliffs.  We photographed from along side the road here and would return the next day for some different angles.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September 2014 Trip - 1

Hi, I was joined by friends Bill Kalkman, Dale Diacont and Stan Short on a 12 day trip to parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri from September 11 through September 22. The first and the last day of the trip were travel days basically.

Stan, Dale and I arrived in Kansas City, MO about 10:00 AM.  However, Bill did not arrive until 1:40 PM.  We picked him up at 2:00 PM and headed for Dodge City, Kansas, where we spent the night.

On the way we got a ho hum BNSF photo in cloudy weather (not included here) and Bill got a local train among some grain elevators.

The next morning we took a look around Dodge City, which is the eastern end of the Cimarron Valley (our target for the day), but nothing was happening. Therefore, we elected to head for Satanta, KS, the headquarters of the Cimarron Valley to see if we could get some information on operations for the day.  We found three out of service  GP30s, one of which is shown above at right, and an active GP30 switching.

Checking with the office we learned that the crew would soon be leaving for Ulysses (above) and that a crew would be leaving Dodge City about 1:00 PM to bring a train to Satanta.

We immediately returned to Dodge City and found the train just leaving at about 12:15 PM.  The above photo was taken from the US 400 overpass just southwest of town.

The area between Dodge City and Ensign has numerous timber pile trestles, two of which are shown above and below.

Every town along the route has at least one grain elevator.  Above and below are photos of the one at Ensign, the first town west of Dodge City.

Montezuma had two more grain elevators and

a new trestle west of town.

An original ATSF station sign still stood in Copeland just next to another grain elevator.

Our final photos were at Sublette which had at least five elevators, including the one shown above.

Thanks for looking.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Galapagos Trip - 3

Hi, As the day was not very nice and I was still not 100% I chose a light activity.  Thus, Ruthe, I, and Ellen and her family all did our own thing on this date and I am grouping our photos according to who took them.    I took the first group.

This probably is a mother and her pup.

Most of the islands are of volcanic origin and the solidified lava is everywhere.  Also, even though located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, most of the islands are partially or totally arid.

Small birds, like this Yellow Warbler, tended to flit around and making them difficult to photograph.

A pair of female Great Frigate birds are perched in a dead tree.

Ruthe probably took another Zodiac ride where she saw this Brown Pelican grooming itself,

this pair of Blue Boobies courting, and

this Blue Booby posed on some rocks.

Sally Lightfoot crabs were all over the rocks near the ocean on many, if not all, of the islands.

Bill caught this pair of Black Necked Stilts during the morning hike.

In the afternoon Ellen and her family went ashore at Post Office Bay to visit the old rum barrel used by whalers in the 18th century to send letters home (below).  While they were disembarking from the Zodiacs this Ray cruised by.

Outbound whalers would leave letters for back home in this barrel (although I don't know it is the original) and ships headed home would stop so their sailors could pick up mail.  They would sort through the mail in the barrel and take letters addressed to areas they could reach for hand delivery. 
Here Scott has his right hand on some post cards and Ryan poses with a goat skull.

Goats were a real problem for awhile.  They were brought to the island by visitors in the 18th century, e.g., pirates and whalers, and set free to serve as living larders.  However, over time their numbers increased to over 80,000 causing substantial harm to this unique ecosystem so they were hunted and now are almost gone.

Thanks for looking.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Galapagos Trip - 2

Hi, This post will cover August 10th and 11th.

This was the view of part of the city and the surrounding Andes Mountains when we woke up on August 10.

We spent the day traveling to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands where we boarded our ship the Celebrity Expedition.  The ship has a capacity of 98 passengers.  In the Galapagos wildlife viewing groups are limited to fewer than 100 persons.

We set sail about 4:00 PM and circumnavigated Daphne Island before setting out for our first destination: Espanola Island.

While we sailed around Daphne Island Great Frigate Birds (a male is shown above) and

a Waved Albatross circled overhead.

Because I did not feel well on August 1th I remained on the ship.  The next two photos were taken by Ruthe.  Whenever we left or boarded the ship we traveled on these Zodiacs.

Ruthe did not go ashore on this day.  She took this photo during a short Zodiac ride.

Starting with the photo above of Ryan, a mother sea lion and her pup the remaining photos were taken by our son in law Bill.

Lava Lizards were very common.

Here is a Mocking Bird.

Scott and sea lions.  It was easy to get very close although we were warned to stay back at least eight feet.

This is an American Oyster Catcher.

A pair of Galapagos Hawks are tending to a chick.  One has killed a lizard.

This is an Albatross chick.

Albatross mate for life.  They go to sea to feed for most of the year and only return to land to have and rear chicks.  When they arrive on land and find each other the pair will go through a "dance" ritual to reacquaint.

This Blue Footed Booby is guarding a nest with eggs.  Other types of Booby are Nazca and Red Footed.  Thanks for looking.