Gateway to America

It’s widely accepted that the huge arch in St. Louis, Missouri is the gateway to the west. That being a fact and said, I just returned from a quick trip to the Utah mountains. The Wasatch Range of which we spent a majority of our time is the western edge of the Rockies. Mount Nebo at 11,928 feet is over two miles high and is the highest peak of the Wasatch that stretches into Idaho. This is a high, daunting, beautiful gateway to the greater northwest territory. I felt I was on the Top of the world looking down on creation.

After you cross this range you drop into Salt Lake City which is a huge valley much like Phoenix. It’s also the second most arid state after Nevada. Amazingly all 29 of Utah’s counties have mountains. That’s rough country.

There are almost countless canyons across the state that offer breathtaking views and can actually take your breath away because of the thin air. That doesn’t stop the hard-core bicyclists that climb these ascents constantly during the summer months.

Park City is in the Wasatch mountain range featured the 2002 winter Olympics and you can see the Olympic park from highway 224 which is maybe 10 minutes from town. The town is a huge ski destination but originally in the 1800’s was then known as the silver mining town.

Portion of life

For most people, if you look at a portion of their life that they enjoyed most it would be their vacations. Many of us live for the next vacation, it can’t come soon enough. Believe it or not, a good percentage of Americans can’t seem to find the time or have the means to take vacations. Because it’s a time we enjoy most it seems it should be a priority and if you can’t find the means at least you could take a day trip to enjoy nature and life.

Nearly two years ago I had a portion of the book I’ve been writing for years published in an international literary magazine called AOIS21 Media. Since then the road is like this. I have the bulk of the manuscript ready but every few days I work on it refining, changing, rearranging to make it ready to present to a publisher. I’ve also spent countless hours reading and listening to e-book publishers and speaking with some to get their advice on publishing. An arduous task at best.

Essentially this work of the heart has taken a portion of my life. I’m amazed by authors like James Patterson, one of my favorites, that releases books every couple months it seems.  I know he has a template or a formula which he starts from so it’s not as difficult as a brand new creation.

My wife and I are very fond of vacations though we get so tied up in life that there are way too many years when we skipped a vacation. At least when we didn’t find time for an actual vacation we’ve at least taken a getaway weekend to regain our sanity and remember how to breathe. That’s the key, remember how to breathe its an essential ingredient for living.

Can it always get better?

What can be better than just that for the Daily Post word? The term brings to mind for me the film As good as it gets, starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear and an all-star cast. That poses the question how often are things as good as it gets? How often can they be better?

Generally speaking when we’re trying to improve on something we’re working to get better at it. Let’s look back at Hollywood for a moment. When we see a movie the audience is typically moved by the performances but when it comes to the critics that may not be the story.  We sometimes think, did they see the same picture that we did? We loved it yet they gave it a very poor review sometimes with only one star. The critics thought the movie could have been better.

As ratings go there’s poor, good, better and best. As movies go opinions vary upon who you ask. The same is with people. Some think that someone is better than another or anyone else in some cases. For those that believe in God or a Supreme Being the deity sees all are the same in their eyes, it’s up to them to judge. The same God has provided values for us to go by. The evil perpetrators are just that. But those of us who think we’re better than the other should look at themselves first.  I’m impressed with Values.com.

Take this picture for example. It’s of the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, Arizona. The picture could be much better if it were zoomed in on the mountains. The picture was taken about six weeks ago and not only did the Peaks have snow but the Arizona snow bowl was still open for skiing. The Navajo nation’s term for these peaks means “peak that never thaws”. Yesterday we had our hottest day this year of 108 degrees. I know some of that snow is gone but it remains 30 to 50 degrees cooler than Phoenix year round. Flagstaff is over 7,000 feet in elevation, the peaks are the highest point in the state at over 12,600 feet. Surprised?

 

Arid desert alive and well

Years ago I used to listen to my favorite sports team live from Arizona. I heard all the fans cheering on their team and I thought I can’t image that many people down there j the desert. I thought how and why would they live there. It had to be hot, dry and awful in that arid climate without water.

Now after living here for over 20 years, I’ve learned to appreciate the desert. We may be in the middle of a 20-year drought but lately, we’ve been blessed with an unusual amount of rainfall. The desert has plenty of greenery, the only downside being we‘re going to have a bumper crop of tumbleweeds this summer. It’s amazing how those sagebrush grow every year and uproot travel with the wind coming to rest in a fence and sometimes the grille of your vehicle.

Every year people migrate to the southwest, some for vacation, like the snowbirds that are everywhere now. Others are told to move here in the arid climate for health reasons. Subsequently, the growth has presented new problems with not enough water to support the population. The primary source of water is the mighty Colorado river, its blessings of rainfall that renews our hope for tomorrow.

ARID Daily post

The flourishing zebra

We recently took a trip to “Out of Africa” a wildlife park that once was in the metro Phoenix area but moved to a larger facility up in Camp Verde, Arizona. This is the kind of place where you can easily spend an entire day. They have tours on converted buses that visitors can even get up close with a giraffe. They have lions and tigers and bears-oh my and much more to maintain your attention.

On the tour when we came across some zebra they said these particular ones were on a “time out” for misbehavior. I admit I did see two of them start bucking and kicking at one another. But what we soon found out is that the zebra was the one creature that they had an abundance of- even though the zebra is pregnant for over a year. They may have two dozen of the striped creatures (which you discover which color is the stripe on the tour) and all are females except the one king zebra who has his work cut out.

The title of the park is appropriate as these are the typical animals that you’d find on the African Savannah. They have a white rhino, water buffalo, gazelle and even snakes. Anyone interested in snakes will really enjoy the giant snake show. You know that big cats are afraid of water right? Which one is the exception, do you know? The Tiger splash is one of the big attraction of the park. There’s a nice, large shaded sitting area to watch the show.

There are also VIP tours and there’s the Racing raptor zip line both which are exciting upgrades. The proceeds go to take care of the animals so it’s a worthy cause and for the frugal people out there I have exiting news- they have discounts available. No, there’s more during the month of your birthday admission is free! Take advantage before they change their mind. Enjoy the call of the wild.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/flourish/”>Flourish</a&gt;

Sedona never again-nah

The views the red rocks of Sedona, to say I’d never want to see it again would be a lie. If you’re unable to return is one thing but how can you choose not to see all the awe inspiring scenery again?

For so many of us the trip can be part of a timeshare presentation. Ah yes a captive audience to hear a high pressure sales pitch. If only standard sales were that easy. Nonetheless it`s an uneasy situation enduring a timeshare vacation yet Sedona is so beautiful.

Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon in particular have served as the backdrop for many western movies. It`s just the kind of setting you expect to envision cowboys in. I know I look forward to the next trip not long after returning home.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/never-again/”>Never Again</a>

Amazing force of nature

Take the jellyfish. It’s beautiful to observe, it moves so slowly and gracefully and it’s unique. The creature is simple, elegant and deadly at the same time. Are they all the same- heavens no some are bigger than a person while others are as small as a pinhead. Jellyfish have been around much longer than mankind they may have been around before the dinosaurs.

There are many different types of jellyfish. There are many different looking ones, different colors and again sizes. They’re  found around the globe where the environment is just right for them. They are part of the circle of life serving as food to sea turtles and larger fish while they consume some very small ones, fish eggs and other things. Not all jellyfish have the tentacles that sting it’s prey with a toxin nor do they swim but merely drift or wander their way around.

They’re actually are a form of plankton. Not a typical one at that but they often travel in swarms or “blooms” as they are called and if you’ve run across them they were probably part of a bloom.

Just looking at this one one would think they were part of the squid family. They’re another wonder of nature that’s as beautiful as the sunset. Carry on my wayward jelly.

This photo was taken at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans

From the beginning after Labor Day

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Refreshing, relaxing mountaintop view.

Breathe it in, the peaceful and wonderfully sweet aromatic, fragrant air you’ll only find in Hawaii. Let the sunshine down on you be it in a dream vacation or experiencing the awe and beauty only found on our fiftieth state. The sights and views are breathtaking and abound so much that you should consider two weeks there instead of one because you’ll miss too much and when will you be back again?

All this is on Oahu the island with Honolulu, the capitol and there’s Pearl harbor with the USS Arizona memorial. The other islands hold even more adventures sure to take your breath away. There are all kinds of tours that cover most all of the island some including a luao party with music, dancing and food.

Sure this all sounds like a plug for a Hawaiian vacation but it’s actually a sample of just one form of writing you come across every day it’s called “copywriting”.