Friday, April 28, 2006


Flowers from my yard

I have a flowering tree in the yard that has a lot of beautiful pink flowers on it each year in April for a short time, then they seem to change to leaves. Actually, the petals do fall to the ground but it looks almost like they are changing into the leaves. It was in the month of August when we first saw this house and this tree didn't look like anything special, it just had green leaves on it. The following spring we were off on our first long Snowbird trip in the RV and didn't get back home until early May. By then the leaves were back, just like the previous year. But last year we got home at the end of March and we were real surprised in April when these beautiful flowers came out! Does anyone know what kind of a tree this is?
Yard flowers 1

Here is a closer view of some of the flowers, with one that is just changing from a bud into a flower:
Yard flowers 2

Here is an even closer view. You'd never guess that I really like taking closeup and macro type photos:
Yard flowers 3

These photos were taken last Sunday. When the weather is nice here in the north west it is really beautiful, with clear blue skies and lots of sunshine. We had a bit of a drop in temperatures and some clouds Tuesday with trace amounts of rain overnight but by Wednesday afternoon the weather was back to being pretty nice. I started mowing my lawn Tue because I thought from the weather report we were to have rain overnight and into Wed morning, but there didn't turn out to be much. Seattle gets ten inches a year more precipitation than my town of Mt. Vernon, 60 miles north of Seattle. The weather reports are on a Seattle TV station. I did get the lawn mowing finished this morning.

Annie was the Queen and the lady who started the Little Mountain Red Hatter chapter here in Mt. Vernon. So, when she bought tulips you can bet that they were red and purple. I didn't get them planted before we left on our Snowbird trip in Dec, 2004 but one of our great neighbors did plant them for her while we were gone. This is their second season and they are beautiful. Here is a photo showing one of the purple ones and a couple of the reds along with it:
Yard flowers 4

I don't know what the yellow flowers in the background are either. They are kind of a ground cover type thing, small in size. Here's a close up of a purple tulip:
Yard flowers 5

I have a macro lens that I like to play with and it allows photos so close you get a one to one size. I moved in nearly that close for this next macro shot looking down into one of the red tulips:
Yard flowers 6

I have a bunch of these smaller yellow flowers, many of them in the grass. Yeah, I do know what they are and they are too prolific, but they actually are kind of pretty in their own way, too. The white flowers in the background are another of the ground cover type ones in the garden:
Yard flowers 7

If you want to see any of these in a larger size, just click on it with your mouse and you will be whisked to my photo site on Flickr. Click on "All Sizes" at the top of the photo and it will come up in the largest size. I usually upload them to Flickr in the 800 by about 542 pixel size.

Today I spent time at church helping to setup for tomorrow's plant and book sale, with an English tea lunch served also. Annie worked on it last year and I felt I wanted to lend a hand helping this year as she can't do it this time. Of course I also bought some books and will probably find more tomorrow that I want (need.) There are over 3300 books there to choose from. I will take my camera and see if I can't get some photos of the event and maybe post some later.

Monday, April 24, 2006


25th annual MG Car Club Tulip Rallye

I drove in the 25th annual Tulip Rallye sponsored by the MG Car Club Northwest Centre this past Saturday, April 22nd. It was a beautiful sunny day and there were 254 cars that entered the event, making it the largest ever of all 25. My friend, L B, who is the instructor of the digital imaging class I took last fall at the local college went along with me as my navigator. I started at the Starbucks across the street from the shopping center where the rally started, so I did get my mocha. When L arrived we drove across the street and picked up our entry stuff, learning we were car number 80.

Here is a scene of people talking with each other and enjoying looking at the cars before the start of the event:
Tulip Rallye 1

One of the entrants was a green MGA with it's mascot traveling on the luggage rack that mounts on the trunk (boot for those closer to their British roots.) Here is that car & mascot:
Tulip Rallye 2

The cars started leaving from three seperate lanes in groups of twenty. We were in the fourth group as car #80. You couldn't just follow another car as there were three seperate sets of instructions, so they didn't all go the same way. Also, that other car might be lost. We drove through Burlington & Mt. Vernon, soon getting out of town. This area is well known as a nesting area for eagles and we spotted this nest in the top of a tree, still visible because the leaves are not out in full yet:
Tulip Rallye 3

We spent a lot of time on Whidbey Island. You should have seen all the sports cars in the towns of Oak Harbor and Coupville! Plus they were going all directions. Remember there were three seperate sets of instructions. We paused on the way into Coupville to take a couple of photos of the landscape:
Tulip Rallye 4

Here is the second one from the same location. This one has Mt. Baker in the background across Puget Sound:
Tulip Rallye 5

It becomes a challenge to come up with a place large enough to end an event like this, with so many cars and people. 254 entrants plus those working on the event. For the second year in a row they used the Swinomish Indian Tribe's Northern Lights Casino on SR20 near Anacortes, WA. I was able to take a lot of photos of cars while we were waiting for others to come in and the results were computed.

This first one is probably the oldest car in the event. I talked with the owner but do not remember what year it was built. I know there were not too many of these built and some were melted down for their aluminum to build WW2 aircraft. The guy who has this one has owned it for six years and drives it often. There is the front of a Triumph TR3 in the corner of the photo. This is a Bentley, a British car that I believe is still being built and is in a class with Rolls Royce:
Tulip Rallye 6

This is the interior of the Bentley. The owner and his navigator wore period costumes, including leather head wrapping helmets while on the road:
Tulip Rallye 7

I have loved the look of the Jaguar XKE since it was introduced, I think about 1961. It's lines just kind of epitomize what I think a sports car should look like. I think there are some similarities in shape with the Miata and that may be why I like Miatas so well. This is a great example of an XKE:
Tulip Rallye 8

The last MGBs were built in 1980. By then the company had been sold and was under the same ownership as Triumph. The owner's decided to drop the MG sports car and concentrate on building the Triumph line. Some years later a British heritage group acquired the molds for body panels for the MGB and started building a few cars, using the aluminum V8 that Rover had purchased from General Motors and was used in Buick & Oldsmobile mid-size care in the early 1960s. This made a pretty high performance car out of the MGB.

I don't know if this is one of those cars but think it is a US car from the late 1970s that the owner has modified. But, he has added that same V8 engine & 5-speed transmission, along with a nitrous oxide system for additional power when wanted. The engine seems to fit pretty well:
Tulip Rallye 9

Any car club that had at least three entries of their members was competing for a trophy. My Club Miata NW had six or eight and the winner of our trophy also won last year and I think someone told me she won the year before. She likes this event and is always an early entrant. Here is her Miata, with it's number 18 on the windshield:
Tulip Rallye 10

One of the more exotic of the newer sports cars is the Lotus Elise. There were two of them in the event, including this yellow 2005 model. Cars with fewer than 3, or not in a car club, competed in an open category against each other for a trophy:
Tulip Rallye 11

I like this photo as it combines two veteran British sports cars, a Morgan in the foreground and an MGB behind it. The other Lotus is behind the Morgan but you can't see much of it. Mt. Baker is also visible in the background:
Tulip Rallye 12

I have other car photos and may use them at times in the future. This was the first car rally I have been on in quite a few years. Annie & I used to go on this event on a regular basis and enjoyed it a lot. It was still as much fun but as much as I like L, I wish my Annie were still here to go on them with me. I guess maybe she is still there in the car. Wonderful memories.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Me, my Miata and some tulips

The weather has finally gotten better here in the northwest and I was able to take the top down on my Miata. After getting a mocha today I asked my neighbor to take some photo of me in the car while that top is down. Here is the one I liked best:
Me & my Miata

Yesterday I went to the tulip fields to visit Tulip Town with my son & his family. Here are some photos from that trip. Mount Vernon, Washington is the biggest supplier of tulip bulbs in the USA and this is one of the two largest farms with over two million bulbs. The flowers are beautiful but the real "crop" is the bulbs that are shipped all over the world. The month of April is the Tulip Festival here and the farms like to always have tulips in bloom during that time, so they stagger their planting to make sure that they bloom over the whole month. Due to that you will see areas in the photos where the blooms have been removed. Here is a general view of some of those fields, with the mountains in the background and kites flying overhead. The mountains show some of the snow that arrived above 1500' over last weekend and had not yet melted as of yesterday:
Tulips, kites & mountains

This another general scene that shows how there are multiple rows with different colors of blooms. This also shows Mount Baker, our NW Washington State volcano, that is about 30 miles away and around 12,000 feet high. It regularly has the most snowfall of all mountains in the northwest and has snow, lots of it, all year:
Tulips & Mt Baker

One of the areas that has already had the blooms stripped is visible in the foreground. Notice how many different colors there are, and this is just a small part of them:
Tulips in rows

There always seems to be an odd color that manages to slip in & this shows one. There is nothing wrong with this odd tulip but when the blooms have been removed & the bulb dug up, it will look just like the others. Gleaners will move through the fields and remove these odd ones so it will not get mixed in with the intended colored ones:
Tulips & the odd one

I like macros so here is one, looking straight down into one of the blooms:
Tulip macro

I couldn't resist taking some photos of my grand daughter, K, who to me looks better than any of the flowers:
Katie & the Tulips

Tulip Town charges an admission to enter the grounds but they have built up some nice exhibits of things to look at. Here is one of them, with a few tulips in the foreground and a neat barn in the background. The wind had settled down and you can see the kites that earlier were flying now lying on the ground in the middle background:
Tulip Town scene

I wanted to do some playing with Photoshop Elements 4 that I use on my digital images. This is one that I used the watercolor option on. The program has a lot of different "filters" and I guess I need to take the same photo and apply different ones to the same photo, then print them so I can easily see the differences:
Tulips as watercolor

I took about a hundred photos there and these just represent some of them. I may use others during slack times, when I haven't done something interesting or exciting to post about. But this is enough photos for one post. If you want to see them in a larger size you can click on one of them and be whisked to my photo site on Flickr. When there you will come in on the photo you clicked on. If you then click on the spot to the right where it says "Dick Phillips' photostream" you will be shown a palate of about ten thumbnail photos I have uploaded. There are other palates at the bottom of the screen to move around, with about ten per selection. I have 182 photos there as of today. Click on one of those photos to bring it up, then click on "All Sizes" at the top of the photo to go to the largest size. I save most of them in 800 by whatever size they turn out to be resulution. Enjoy.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Time to catch this up.....

I have been remiss on writing posts for the last few days. Partially because I wasn't sure what I was going to do this weekend. One of my cousins lost his wife to cancer a week ago on the 6th and her Memorial Service is tomorrow in Spokane, about 340 miles and a mountain pass away. Annie will be laid to rest (and me too, eventually) in the new Memorial Garden at our church here in Mt. Vernon and that space is to be consecrated Sunday and I really want to be there for that. Also, it seems winter has returned to the northwest with February type snow falling in the mountains & cold temperatures this weekend. I don't think I could put chains on the Miata, even if I had them. With all these things going on, I have decided to not go over now. From my own experience last summer after Annie died I know B is not alone now but in a couple of weeks he will not have as many people around, so I will go over then to visit and spend some time with him.

I have a photo I want to post. It is of my older son, B, when he was one year old. We owned a photography studio, Holly Tree Studio, on Vashon Island in Puget Sound at that time. I took a series of photos with our Mamiya RB67 camera and this was our favorite. The following spring we entered it in the Professional Photographers of Washington annual convention competition in Children's Portraits and it was picked for 2nd place. The judges didn't like the bright red clothes, but that was one thing we did like. I guess it shows that judges do not always look at things the same way parents do. We have a 16 x 20 inch print of this hanging on our wall at home still. This is the same baby that is in the B&W photo with Annie that is in my January archives:
Baby at one year old

I took the Miata to the dealer on Tue & they were not able to determine if the 30,000 mile service had been done. At that time, after driving it home from Arizona, the car had 33,500 miles so I had them do the service. I also bought two more keys & had them programmed so I now have three keys. There was one recall that had not been done so they took care of that, too. The car sure drives nice now and, although the service and new tires added another $1,000 to my costs, it should be in good condition for quite a few miles & months.

Last night I went to a camera club meeting. They meet at a pizza place in the town of Anacortes, about 15 miles from my home. It seems to be an interesting group and I think I will probably join them. I left my email address & should soon be getting a copy of their newsletter.

The weather report sounds like spring may come back by mid-week. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival goes on all month and the fields are in bloom now. I think son & DIL M & J will be coming up Mon or Tue and we will go with cameras to the fields. I have never done that, even though I have lived here now through three festivals. The first year we were here we were not back from our Snowbird trip in time & last year we didn't want to fight the traffic. It is like a zoo down there on the weekends, especially if the weather is good, but I don't think it is too bad on weekdays. I should hopefully have some photos from there to post after that trip. In the meantime, so we can feel that summer really does exist & should return, here is a photo taken last summer in Riverfront Park in Spokane, WA, with lots of flowers:
Summer flowers

Until next time, stay warm & dry and think SPRING!

Monday, April 10, 2006


Some nice photos on a friend's blog

I am getting a few things caught up around home & will have to make a short trip to Eastern Washington State this weekend to attend a Memorial Service, but don't plan any big trips in the near future. On April 22nd I'll go on the 25th annual Tulip Rallye sponsored by the MG Car Club Northwest Centre and I will take some photos there to post. My navigator on the rally will be the instructor from the digital imaging class I took at the local college last fall.

In the meantime, Padriac is a friend, Escapees RV Club member and fulltime RVer who is currently in Benson, Arizona. He has been taking and posting some beautiful photos on his blog, RV Escapades. If you want to see some great travel photos, go check him out. I also have a link to his blog in my side bar.

I went to the local Mazda place today to check about things on my new car. They said one recall item has not been taken care of. They also have the keys for my car in stock and they are half the price here that the dealer in Tucson wanted for them, so I guess it is good that I waited. They are still $25 each plus they have to be programed. This is part of the theft protection system. They didn't have a way to check whether the former owners had done the 30,000 mile service but said it should show up in the shop so I have to have the car there at 8am tomorrow morning. If they do that service it takes 5 hours. They will also do the recall item and program the new keys. Then it should be in fine shape for the trip to Spokane and back at the end of the week.

Meow, I asked son B where he visited in Australia. He didn't get to Melbourne but was in Sidney, Darwin, McKay and Perth. He says those ports were probably the best ones he has visited.

Friday, April 07, 2006


The trip to bring the Miata home

I arrived home about 15:00 this afternoon. Huggy seemed glad to see me and is still staying pretty close all the time. The weather was good for all of the trip home from Sacramento and the car performed fine all the way from Tucson. I am happy that I did go ahead and purchase the new tires Wed in Sacramento as I was planning to do so when home anyway and it made the trip safer. I have eleven photos to post from activities during the week.

This first one was taken from the airplane as we approached the airport in Tucson, AZ. For most of the three hour flight there were clouds so nothing could be seen on the ground, but the last 20 minutes or so it cleared up and the weather was fine in Tucson. This will show you a bit of the landscape in the area and you can see part of the city in the background:
Get Miata trip 1

This second photo is of the front of my cousins J & V's home in Tucson. I like the style of houses there. They selected the style of roof with a slope to it and tiles rather than the flat roof sometimes used there. I think this is better since it does rain there and it is often a hard rain when it does. Notice how the landscaping is planned for minimum water needs and also ease of maintenance:
Get Miata trip 2

Here I am last Friday morning in front of their house, ready to start the trip:
Get Miata trip 3

That afternoon I visited with RV friends D & J S at their RV in Yuma. D & I worked together for years at Metro Transit in the Seattle area. They travel fulltime in their RV and with three cats. This is Bif, their 30 pounder:
Get Miata trip 4

My cousins R & M in Sacramento, CA have this sign in their kitchen. Its message is pretty self-explanitory:
Get Miata trip 5

I spent four days in Sacramento and we visited the State Railroad Museum, among other things. I have a lot of HO gauge model railroad things that I want to setup when (if?) I ever find the time. The museum there is primarily about the way the railroads helped in the settling of the state but there are also some models in the upstairs part of the building. This is the sign on the wall outside:
Get Miata trip 6

This is one of the locomotives on exhibit. The "man" is not real but very well done:
Get Miata trip 7

The railroad I want to model is the Great Northern RR from about 1960, here in the northwest. This is the inside of a Great Northern mail car from about that era. It was actually a post office on rails where the stamps were cancelled and the letters sorted as to their final destinations. This was all done by hand:
Get Miata trip 8

This is a beautiful example of another of the older steam powered locomotives on display there in the museum:
Get Miata trip 9

There was a large model railroad setup behind glass but it was the larger G scale rather than the HO gauge that I will use. This is a small diorama of a round house in a rail yard that was done in HO scale and displayed in a glass case:
Get Miata trip 10

People talk about the various scale model sizes but it really doesn't mean much unless you can see the differences. This photo shows the same Santa Fe RR diesel locomotive in six different model sizes. The largest is G, the smallest Z. My HO scale is the third smallest of those shown here:
Get Miata trip 11

While in Sacramento we also toured the Crocker Mansion which is now a nice art museum and we attended a music production on Wed that is a weekly noon program at a local church. It is free and aimed at the lunch hour crowd. The program this past week was three ladies who sing songs from the 1920s to the 1950s. Sacramento is also blessed with many Starbucks outlets so we had no problem finding my daily mocha. It rained through Wed and my cousins like to go on a daily walk, so we walked in a local mall. When we drove the Miata to the Les Schwab store for my new tires, the exit we were to take was closed due to a flooded road. It took awhile to find the place since our directions didn't work. It really does rain in California!

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I'm back on the road heading north today.

I plan to leave Sacramento this morning & drive to Eugene, Oregon today. I have a reservation tonight in a Motel 6 there. No, it's not $6 either, but it was $4.20 cheaper by making my reservation online. That's a long drive in one day but the sun is about to rise here & it looks like no rain, so the "weather window" is good for a road trip.

I was planning to get new tires for the car tomorrow in Eugene but instead got them yesterday here in Sacramento. Oregon has no sales tax so I'd have saved some money but the old tires were in poor condition, especially the treads if the road were wet. They should make the trip safer & sure do ride smoother. It turns out that California doesn't charge sales tax on manual labor, so it was only figured on the tires themselves, at under $22 in tax. I think it is worth that for the safety & I'd have been cutting it pretty short on time tomorrow when I plan to drive from Eugene to home.

It is time now to put this computer away & get my things packed to go. I will try to add another note tonight from Eugene and add a photo then.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


What kind of chocolate are you?

Miss Cellania's blog today has a link to a test to determine what your chocolate personality is. It didn't list mochas so I figured the closest option was chocolate syrup. It is fun. Click on the link to her blog in my sidebar. Her subject today is sweets, yesterday's was underwear.

It started raining in Sacramento about two hours after I arrived Sunday & has rained most of the time since. The newspaper today predicts it will continue the next ten days. I don't know if it is expected to end then or if that is all the farther out they want to predict at this time. Maybe it will keep raining in California but be nice when I get to the soggy northwest. Maybe?

Yesterday we visited the California State Parks Railroad Museum here in town. It was great & I have photos but will have to wait until I get home to upload them. It is a very well done exhibit and well worth the time to go. It cost more to park the car in the lot across the street than it did to go into the museum!

Here is a photo for the day of my grand daughter K with a two week old alpaca. This was taken last Memorial Day weekend (in May) at an alpaca farm on the south side of Mt. Vernon, WA:
Kimmy and the Alpaca

Sunday, April 02, 2006



East of Holbrook, AZ along the I-40 freeway the local Indian tribe has built a very nice dinosaur museum. It offers both a good inside display and a fairly long drive that lets you see a lot of the area, where these creatures used to roam. This is at the edge of the Petrified Forest National Park and has a lot of petrified logs to view. There are many large statues of dinosauers that have been built depicting what we think these looked like, and here is a photo of one of those scenes:
Out of the past.....

If you ever have the chance to visit this area, be sure to include this museum as well as the Petrified Forest NP and the Painted Desert which is included in the NP.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


There's a rodeo in town

I made it to the Swedish Inn at Kingsburg, CA about 18:30 Calif. time but they were full. It seems there is a rodeo nearby and it has brought a lot of people into all the inns that are anywhere close. The lady there sent me north five more miles to the town of Selma,CA and the Super 8 Motel, which by the way does NOT cost $8 a night. It is clean & nice with places nearby to eat so will work fine for me and I am actually five miles closer to where I go tomorrow than I'd have been in Kingsburg.

The drive today was fine, good weather all the way but it certainly is cooler over here out of the desert. When I stopped for gas & lunch just north of Lake Havasu City it was almost hot. I did run the air conditioner (I have the top up on the car) to stay cool but it sure isn't needed here in California. I bought gas three times today - when I started in Yuma (& a mocha), just before leaving Arizona for California because it was cheaper there and again in Bakersfield. At the first two stops, both in Arizona, the price was $2.599/gallon but in Bakersfield, CA it was $2.859/gal. All were Chevron brand and the same grade of fuel. Part of the difference may be a higher tax in CA.

Tomorrow I have less than 200 miles to go to the home of G & C M in Sacramento. G is a friend from high school who I haven't seen in years but I recently learned he has been in Sac for 35 years & we got in contact via email. It will be fun to touch bases again & meet his wife. Hopefully we can all get together again in Spokane later this summer at a reunion of old friends that G R is putting together there in late July. After that visit I will go to the home of cousins R & M R. Do you notice that I have a lot of cousins? I do, and I enjoy them all. I look forward to seeing these two again.

More later.


Happy April Fool's Day from Yuma, AZ

The trip to Tucson Thursday on Alaska Airlines was fine & cousin's J & V met me at the airport. They drove up just as I walked out of the door. Perfect timing! I left their home north of Tucson yesterday morning about 09:30 & arrived at cousin's J & S's home in Yuma just after 13:00. I won't be making as many miles today since my miles today in Arizona will mostly be on two-lane roads with a lower speed limit, and once in California the speed limit isn't as high as it is in Arizona. I think I'll get to Bakersfield or maybe Kingsburg by tonight & find a motel for the night. I know where there is a Starbucks at Kingsburg & there is probably a motel close to it.

The car has been working fine & is fun to drive. I found the second half of the fuel tank goes down faster on the gauge then the first half, but my speed on the freeway was about 85 most of the way here. The mileage will probably be better with lower speeds today. Now to go find a gas station & a stop at Zodiak Internet Cafe for a mocha for the road. I'll try to add a bit to this tonight when I stop, wherever that will be.

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