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CosmicAdventures 2021

2/22/22 Hello world, we hope you are all doing great this year and had a most excellent 2021 to reflect on like we did. The 2020’s decade got off to a rough start, but last year was a big improvement and this year looks to be even better. We kept our travels regional last year, but still enjoyed a few nice trips to neighboring states. Here is the mashup of some of our 2021 adventures. Captions will be coming soon. Cheers!

The 2021 collage captions start in the upper left hand corner reads left to right like a book, except for a couple spots where otherwise noted in the caption comments.

1. Charlotte and Immy having fun on vacation in California.
2. A nice view of the Ventura coastline from a hike in the Botanical Gardens.
3. Immy celebrated her 7th birthday at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
4. Charlotte's "gray hair don't care" selfie at work."
5. Immy's first day of second grade school, distance learning at home via the Nevada Learning Academy through CCSD.
6. A beach vulture, I mean seagull, somewhere near Ventura.
7. Ventura Harbor, and yes we took Ventura Highway to get there, "chewing on a piece of grass, walking down the road..."
8. Blue Mesa trail in Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. This is an easy national park to visit if you are driving through Arizona via I-40, you can easily stop by for an hour, but if you spend the whole day there you get to see sights like this, which is totally worth it.
9. Red Rocks National Monument, just outside of Vegas.
10. The Serra cross located on a hillside above Ventura, CA.
11. More fun in Ventura, yep we made the best of that trip, we were long overdue to go somewhere away from the desert.
12. With travel on our minds, we explored some Airstreams at the local Airstream dealer in Vegas. It is one possible timeline of many, maybe maybe maybe...
13. Get your kicks on Route 66!
14. Immy's "The Cat" artwork.
15. A natural view of the desert, from the Barringer Meteor Crater near Winslow Arizona.
16. Immy creating some rock artwork in the house, pandemic day number 0982374...
17. Barringer Meteor Crater and space museum near Winslow, Arizona. This is a privately run site so it's a bit touristy, but the crater is huge and very well preserved with great overlooks, and the musuem is pretty cool too. It's definitely worth a stop if you are into astronomy and general science stuff.
18. Watson lake in Prescott Arizona. I've seen some amazing lakes around the world but this one is pretty unique. I'd put it in my personal top 10 list for sure.
19. Seligman Arizona, a classic stop along old route 66.
20. A view of the old Route 66 highway which meanders near I-40 through much of Arizona.
21. A stone house in Petrified Forest National park.
22. Below the stone house is a picture of some petrified wood blocks also in Petrified Forest NP.
23. A selfie on the old route 66.
24. Family hike in otherworldly Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
25. Another local hike close to Henderson Nevada in Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area.
26. Immy's second grade photo done at home with a backdrop of one of the many puzzles we've done over the last couple years.
27. Shopping with Immy, I want this one, and this one, and this one...
28. Immy posing at Lake Mead. When this lake and the others along the Colorado River dry up where will the water come from for the Southwest US, it's a serious question that nobody seems to have an answer for.
29. It's always a fun trip to the local Chocolate factory Ethel M Chocolate, they have a great cactus garden too. If you are wondering why we were still wearing masks, it's because they were mandatory at all indoor places in Nevada throughout most of of the pandemic. This isn't a political statement, everyone had to wear masks. That was a good thing however, you know because science is real (which is guess is a political statement these days).
30. Picture taken from a local hike south of Vegas at Park Peak. It's a sunset photo of a solo plane, likely taking off from Henderson Executive Airport. Other than being a nice photo it just kind of spoke to me seeing a single private airplane taking off in the sunset, probably going somewhere a lot of regular people could not go at that time. Sort of got me thinking of all the lost opportunities during the pandemic, places that people couldn't go to, things we couldn't do, opinions and attitudes of people changed, politics, protests, polarization, etc. After vaccines came about things relaxed a bit, but it still feels like life will never quite be the same as it was before.
31. Spending lots of time at home we were able to work on our karaoke skills, here the duet of Charlotte and Immy score a 91!
32. Another one of Immy's favorite places, the local library. We go here at least once per week and Immy always walk out with a bunch of books. Some of her favorites last year were Dogman, Cat Kid, Captain Underpants, Bad Kitty, Real Pigeons, Owl Diaries, Unicorn Diaries, Diary of a Pug, and of course The Bad Guys.
33. Local family hike around Black Mountain, in Henderson.
34. Christmas photo with some guy that looks like Santa Claus.
35. Photo taken during an 8-mile one-way point to point bike ride, starting at the McCullough Hills Trailhead and ending at the Anthem East trailhead in Henderson. It's a long grind through some great desert terrain that feels like a thousand miles from nowhere, even though the city is just on the other side of the mountains only a few miles away.
36. Standing on the Corner in Winslow Arizona, so cheesy but it had to be done. Take it easy...
37. A ZZ Top Eliminator car at Petrified Forest NP. Somewhere from beyond Dusty Hill is wearing cheap sunglasses and jamming out some bass riffs.
38. Just below the car is the Giganticus Headicus on old Route 66.
39. The annual family Christmas photo, pandemic edition.
40. Ventura beach at night with the Crowne Plaza right in the middle. We got to stay here for free thanks to a little travel/hotel hacking, good times!
41. A rock garden along the McCullough Hills Trail.
42. We got Immy a guitar, but she seems to have more of a drummer personality. Maybe it will be a future hobby.
43. Immy's artwork of bubble tea.
44. Just below the Bubble Tea is a digital artwork she made on the Ipad.
45. Ventura Highway, technically the PCH in Ventura, with some night traffic.
46. Immy and Charlotte walking along the Ventura Pier at dusk. We really like this town. Its far enough from LA to not be part of that megalopolis, but close enough to still feel like its happening there. Just a cool little surf town that still feels like classic California.
47. Walnut Canyon National Monument near Flagstaff AZ. The trail goes along some cliff overhangs where Native Americans made their homes. A real hidden gem of a National Monument and a nice little spot in Northern Arizona that feels more like Colorado.
48. Walnut Canyon was so nice I had to post a picture twice. Sometimes you go to a place like this and don't expect much but it just turns out to be a great day overall. I'm not saying this place will have a life changing effect on you like Grand Canyon or Yosemite Valley might, but it's a nice place to spend a few hours with some easy trails to enjoy. Your experience may be more underwhelming, but for me on that day everything felt right. The weather was perfect, the place and other people there had good vibes, it was easy to imagine the history of people who used to live there and spent most of their lives in that single location, and for a little while I forgot about the daily grind of everyday life. That is after all what traveling and vacation are supposed to be about.
49. I interviewed this Ostrich at Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary and asked him "so how has the pandemic been for you" No answer of course, but the look says it all. Maybe next year will be better for him, or maybe he just needs to take a trip to Walnut Canyon.