Sunday, April 22, 2012

17th Annual Earth Day Litter Pickup and Paper-making Extravaganza

Half the Crew
Day 12 (4/21/12)
It is time again for the Celebration of Earth Day and the “17th Annual Litter Pickup and Papermaking Extravaganza”. This year we decided to go all out. After a couple of years of bad weather this year was perfect. I had invited an old artist friend from our days in Minnesota to come and help out. With luck on our side Chris was able to get away and come and join us. It was also the first year that we were able to try out the new patio area behind the art room. I now had access to everything that was needed to make paper in one location. We started picking up liter at 10:00am and worked until noon. Because the weather has been so nice we didn’t get as much trash as other years but what we found was good. After a pizza lunch, it was time to start making paper. It was one of the best we had ever had; the students stayed on task and more importantly really seemed to have fun. We had two projects going at once. Some students were busy couching out paper that we had put wildflower seeds into. I had heard the idea somewhere and thought it would be fun to try. In theory after it is dry you can lay the paper on soil, water and eventually the flowers will sprout. I guess we will have to see if it works. The other students were busy helping me make a large scale piece which will eventually be hung in the school. We used some of the liter that we found earlier in the large piece. By 3:00pm we had used every screen and piece foam I had and were ready to call it a day. Thanks to some friends and students it was a very successful Earth Day Celebration.

Abby Road

Well look at That

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Another Roadside Attraction with Rattlesnakes and Aliens

Vaughn Desert Tower

Day 11 (3/29/12)
After spending a relaxing day on Weds trying out the local fair it is time to head it on back to San Diego. Our intention was to set out early but everyone knows what happens to the best intentions. Finally, after noon we say our goodbyes and hit the road. It is another beautiful Arizona/Southern California day. We make our way back west down Highway 8 through the dunes across the desert and finally start up the mountains. We have made this trip several times before but I am always impressed with the dunes and the mountains which look more like piles of stones. The last time we stopped and played in the dunes so we decided this time we would try the mountains. We started looking for a place to pull over and take some pictures when we came across a sign for the Vaughn Desert Tower and Springs. This was exactly what we were looking for so we turned off and headed towards Jacumba and the tower. Less than a mile down the road we found the tower. After finding an employee and buying our ticket we were off to explore. We climbed the tower and the view was breathtaking. In the distance you could still see the dunes of Yuma which had to be close to a hundred miles away. After soaking in the scenery we decided it was time to soak up the springs. We started up the trail which was well marked by old painted saw blades marking the way. Along the way through the stones we confronted all types of animals carved out of the raw stone. After finally making our way to the top of the peak we realize that the joke is on us. There in front of us is a collection of old steel springs. It was right about that time that Eileen saw a rattlesnake slithering across the trail. I tried to get a good picture of it but it just would not sit still. When we told an employee about it he said the good news is that they are one of the least aggressive rattlesnakes, the bad news is that they are one of the most venomous. We watch the trail much more carefully back down the mountain. After leaving the tower we are confronted by a bunch of aliens but they too were not very aggressive, must be a desert thing. We continued our way back to San Diego and much cooler temperatures.
Eileen at the Tower

Southern California

Eileen among the Rocks


More Critters

The Springs


Coming back down

Hoody Ninja Aliens

Another Alien

Bridge to Nowhere

Bridge to Nowhere

Day 10 (3/27/12)
 After breakfast our host Steve suggested we go have a look at the “bridge to nowhere”. Since we have done most of the more commercial attractions around the Yuma area on previous trips it sounded like an interesting way of enjoying the sunshine. It turns out that “McPhaul Bridge” is worth every cent of its admission price which is nothing. In the middle of the desert, spanning a river which no longer exists sits a smaller version of the “Golden Gate Bridge”. It turns out that it was designed by the same man who designed the Golden Gate Bridge and may have actually been a model for the much larger bridge. When it was built it spanned the untamed Gila River linking the mining operations of Castle Dome and the city of Yuma. Since that time the Gila has been tamed and then broken and now has been diverted off into irrigation canals leaving just a trickle of water that you could wade across flowing under the bridge. As Eileen stated, “It looks like some post-apocalyptic scene”. Of course I had to spend some time building in the rocks that surround the bridge. After checking out a little store, taking advantage of the tourist traffic at the bridge, it was back on the road to check out Imperial Dam the site at which the water of the Colorado is divided up into irrigation canals. It is both amazing and sad to see the mighty Colorado sliced up into concrete canals and diverted off to fields all over Arizona and Southern California.

Eileen and I at the Bridge

Fire Damage

Cairn at the Bridge

Colorado before Dam

Colorado after Dam

End of an Arizona Day