Friends know that I’m a big fan of traveling and do so frequently by car. Whether I’m visiting relatives who live far away or I’m vacationing at distant places, it’s usually a cross country trek.
Anyone who has traveled on our extensive road system has driven past signs denoting names of places of which they’ve never heard. Those places that especially stick out to me are ones that have colorful names. One of my “hobbies” is to note these names and later (sometimes weeks, sometimes months later) find out more about these places.
One of these places is Argenta, Nevada and this is what I learned.
Argenta is a ghost down in central Nevada. In the mid 1860’s prospectors discovered silver in the area. The town was planning to develop as a shipping center for the nearby mines and in Austin to the south. However, the town of Battle Mountain had stronger ties to the silver industry and by 1871 the entire town moved to Battle Mountain making Argenta effectively a mining ghost town.
Argenta remained vacant until 1930 when barite was discovered nearby. This mine in Argenta Mountain was operated by the Baker Hughes Company until it closed in 2015.
One of the Baker Hughes operations alongside a railroad siding and Interstate 80
Well, that’s the short story about Argenta, NV.
Yet curiosity remains high and I hope to report on other interesting names of places that are part of my hobby.
I’m lucky to have had several interesting careers. One of these was to develop flight simulation software.
Among the most enjoyable parts of our business was to attend the well-known summer Oshkosh air shows. At Oshkosh are acres upon acres of aircraft of all makes and models from vintage to classic to state-of-the-art to futuristic.
As a history buff, I love wandering among the hundreds of war planes covering the fairgrounds. Rather than show you the warplanes themselves, I’ve collected a series of artistic pictures that adorn the noses of these aircraft.
Enjoy the nose art that inspired our courageous airmen in years gone by.
I thoroughly enjoy the outdoors, especially our fabulous National Park system of 400+ areas.
As a senior citizen, I’m entitled to a “special deal” for the Lifetime Senior Pass to visit these great places. I purchased my pass several years ago for an amazingly low price of $10. I’ve used my pass many, many times. In fact, these past three weeks we visited five national parks. So you can imagine how much we’ve enjoyed ourselves over the years.
On August 28, the price of the lifetime pass increases to $80 (which is still a bargain). However, if you hurry you can still take advantage of the low $10 price.
Yesterday I returned from a trade show in Las Vegas. While there, I heard about one of nature’s spectacles. In nearby Death Valley a rare happening was taking place. Armed with my camera, I made the 2-1/2 hour drive to experience the so called SuperBloom.
Death Valley is the driest, hottest place in North America. Although the climate isn’t very hospitable, wildflowers do appear each Spring. But I learned that this past October rainstorms set in motion a series of conditions that led to a literal explosion of colorful wildflowers that blanketed the normally harsh landscape of the park.
Here are a few recordings of my visit to the 2016 SuperBloom:
I’ve been fortunate to have visited Death Valley at least a dozen times previously but I’ve never seen as many visitors taking in the colorful wildflower as I saw two days ago.
Click here to see a Park Ranger describe a “once-in-a-lifetime” visit to Death Valley.
How lucky I was to be able to see this unexpected event.
Many friends and acquaintances tell me that they dislike long drives. On the other hand, I totally enjoy long drives, especially the cross-country variety that cover hundreds or even thousands of miles and span several days.
For my latest road trip I ferried Mom’s car from Grand Rapids to her Winter home in the Phoenix area.
I asked my 6 year old grandson to be my traveling companion, promising to visit a couple of “fun places” along the way. Logan and I packed our bags, hopped into the car and headed West for our week-long journey.
Here’s a photo essay of the places that we visited.
Arches National Park
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Grand Canyon National Park
Antelope Canyon Navajo Park
Phoenix and the Flight Home
Logan checking on the grapefruit
a snack on board the plane going home
What a nice getaway. We delivered Mom’s car to Arizona one day before she arrived from Grand Rapids. But just as importantly I was able to spend uninterrupted time with Logan and record it on film.
I just returned from another cross-country trip. This journey started from home in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Phoenix. However, I took a roundabout way: directly to Reno, through Yosemite NP, a quick stopover in Long Beach, down to San Diego, detour to Joshua Tree NP and finally to Phoenix.
In all I drove 3600 miles and most of these were on our amazing interstate highways. Although I drove solo, I was not alone on the highway.
As you can see below, here are some of the companions that I met along the way.