El Centro (Humorous Postcard 4) - Fig Lagoon

El Centrol Postcard # 4:


Fig Lagoon – The pond was created from the need to repair the Fig Drain, which was damaged during tropical storm Kathleen in September 1976. Flood waters from surrounding desert and agricultural drains washed out the drain outlet. During reconstruction of the area near the New River channel, the outlet was enlarged creating an evaporation pond, which reduced the amount of water flowing to the Salton Sea. As the pond filled with water, wildlife and waterfowl were attracted to the area. Fig Lagoon has become part of the National Watchable Wildlife Program. The 80 acres receives drain water from a combination of agricultural drainage and irrigation carriage water which ensures a year-around supply of water to support a large wildlife population.

Caution: Intense heat may make bird viewing difficult or impossible!

El Centro (Humorous Postcard 3) - Botanical Gardens

El Centro Postcard # 3:
The El Centro Botanical Gardens (Alfalfa fields); yield intense blooms (of weeds) several times a year.

El Centro (Humorous Postcard 2) - Hoo Whoo

El Centro Postcard # 2:
Burrowing Owl – can be almost one foot tall, found from Canada to So America. Generally found in low-lying grassland areas and semi-desert. They require open habitats that contain suitable nesting burrows, usually with short grasses and sparse shrubs. While they can dig their own burrows, they more commonly use vacated burrows made by mammals such as ground squirrels or similar holes in the ground. They are endangered in Canada and are listed as endangered or threatened in a number of states. Burrowing Owls are now federally listed as a Species of Management Concern and are a Species of Special Concern in California. They are opportunistic feeders eating a wide variety of things, as they become available. Imperial Irrigation Dist. Searches for owl burrows before any projects are started. If owls are found nesting within an area that may be effected by such a project the construction is delayed until the young have left the burrow.
I'm just full of worthless facts...hoo, who, hooooo.

El Centro (Humorous Postcard 1) - You Are Not Alone

I have had several requests to share my El Centro postcard series on this blog, therefore over the next 21 days I will post a postcard a day.
A few years ago I had a consulting job in El Centro, CA working for THE major employer of the community, Imperial Irrigation District, suppliers of water and power to the surrounding areas. No small task. With over 3,000 miles of canals and drains, IID is the largest irrigation district in the nation. El Centro is the largest city in the US to lie entirely below Sea Level (-50 feet). To find El Centro, from Los Angeles drive south towards San Diego and just before reaching San Diego go East for over 100 miles. El Centro is between the Desert View Tower and the sand dunes (see April 5). In the summer, it is beyond hot!! In Minnesota, I experienced temperatures of 40 degrees below zero, being unable to take a breath because the air itself felt frozen. In El Centro I experienced temperatures of 120 degrees, being unable to take a breath because the air was evaporating out of your body at the speed of light. During off hours when breathing was possible, I went around town taking picture that I could turn into humorous postcards, sending one a week to family & friends.

El Centro Postcard # 1:

         Things that go thump in the night!

Deco LA - April 19, 2008

Today, we took a Miracle Mile walking tour sponsored by the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles. It was narrated by Eric Lynxwiler who co-authored the book Wilshire Boulevard. His insights, knowledge of the area and portfolio of vintage photos he brought along, greatly added to the tour.
During the 20’s Deco era it was common for buildings to reflect the business they conducted such as this camera motif that housed a Darkroom store.
Here are some additional architectural details we saw:

Local Lighthouses - April 10, 2008

After returning home I toyed with the idea of continuing the daily TW photo but I was exhausted and didn’t want the pressure of a daily assignment while having to deal with household duties. There is nothing so dusty as a house being run for three months by three cats and a dog…although they had people to come in and feed them there was no one cleaning up after the kitty-litter dust. It took me over a week to unpack all my bags and I’m still trying to find space for the audio books I acquired during the drive. Now, I have decided to add to my blog as Tinky Winky and I travel around locally.

I had lunch in Redondo Beach today and decided to take the long scenic dive along the coast back to San Pedro. And, it hit me...I photographed several lighthouses in NC but have not shown TW the two lighthouses I have in my neighborhood.
This is Point Vicente Lighthouse on the Palos Verdes Peninsula:This lighthouse was placed in service on May 1, 1926 and has a 1000 watt bulb, focused through a five foot lens which can be seen for over 20 miles. The lens was hand ground by Parisian craftsmen in 1886 and was used for 40 years in Alaska before arriving here. This is Point Fermin Lighthouse located in Point Fermin Park, San Pedro: Built in 1874 with California redwood and a Fresnel Lens brought around the Cape Horn by sailing ships. The first lighthouse keepers were sisters, Mary & Ella Smith (1874 to 1882). Another woman, Thelma Austin, held the job from 1925 to 1941 when the light was extinguished to protect against enemy attacks.

Boarder Crossing - April 5, 2008

California here we come, right back where we started from…
You don’t have to go to Death Valley to see sand dunes, there are some lovely ones between Yuma and El Centro.

Tinky Winky, having no proof of being a “legal” alien, was nervous as we crossed through the Boarder Patrol.
We stopped at one of our favorite places in this part of the country, “The Desert View Tower” which has fabulous rock carvings.
This time we took the five minute hike up the cliff to see Miller’s Springs.
TW had to go skinny-dipping in the springs.
And the view is incredible…well worth the hike.

CA Registered Historical Landmark #939 - Plaque Inscription:
Bert Vaughn of Jacumba built the stone tower in 1922-23 to commemorate the pioneers and road and railroad builders who opened the area. In the 1930s W.T. Ratcliffe carved the stone animal figures which lurk in the rocks surrounding the tower, creating a fantasy world of surprise and strange beauty. This remarkable sculptural assemblage is one of California's exceptional folk art environments.

Beautiful and remarkable they are.
Only 3 hours from Los Angeles, this is a great place to take the family for a day trip.
And the entrance fee is less than AK’s Natural Bridge!

So much fun climbing the rocks and being one with the art.

Finally reaching home, Fuji gives us a proper welcome.

Roadrunner - 4 APR 2008

The only stop we made today was to check out the Roadrunner art outside of Las Cruces. 
This is what it looks like from Interstate 10. It’s located at a rest stop. 
And it’s made of recycled material.
The bird’s breast is made of tennis shoes. 
And the eyeball is a car headlight. 
There’s a whole lot of nothing to see between Las Cruces and Yuma…some beautiful Saguaro cactus but no place to pull over and photograph them.

Bull Art - 3 APR 2008

Plainview, NM had several painted steers although most of them were just decorated in advertisement. Tinky Winky went Bull Riding… 
Notice TW is getting thrown by the little one: 
You know you’re in the country when Enterprise has trailer hitches. 
Somewhere in the plains of TX, in a town so small it wasn't listed on my tripkit detail map, I stopped for lunch at a small local cafe called "Country Kitchen". Their sign read, "Please, remove spurs before dancing on tables." So I did. 
Later I found a very large insect:
Made it to Roswell, NM.
Found another white animal:

Horse Art - 2 APR 2008

Last night was spent in Shawnee, OK, a town that felt like an abused horse, one that had been rode hard and put away wet. Just like depressing Washington which had painted crabs this place had painted horses, Tinky Winky stopped for a short ride. 
We stopped at Elk City, OK and toured the Route 66 museum…TW jumping into exhibits such as directing the Grapes of Wrath... 
Sitting on the side of the road... 
And singing in Church:
We found another white animal today.
I've never seen geese standing on one leg, like flamingos, they were holding so still at first I thought they were lawn ornaments. 
OK also has those colorful trees that I liked in NC. 
Heading into TX we pass the leaning water tower of Britten off I-40 near Groom, just before that LARGE cross: