I left home on the 22nd (a Saturday) intending to do a reprise of last years visit with my sister Bonnie at Christmas time.  My adventures always start close to home.  Since I wanted to go over the Tehachapi Pass South of Bakersfield and East of the Grape Vine, I knew I needed to get over to 5.  Did you know that it is a little bit slower but a lot more interesting to go through Coalinga instead of Pacheco Pass?  to get to hwy five?

Instead of queuing up for the 1 hour wait 2 lane feeder to Pacheco Pass moving at -15MPH, I went to Holister and took Hwy 25 towards the Pinnacles, then past the turnoff for King City and eventually Coalinga.  Then continuing East, I ended up on Hwy 5 South bound.  All these back roads go through the curviest  hilliest, most scenic, torrential down pour farm country imaginable.

As usual, I took a detour on the way down to my sister's, taking what I call an "Alligator Farm" detour to the "Devils Punch Bowl."  I took a hike around the "bowl" photographing some interesting flora and rocks. This shot for instance, could be the model tree from the "Haunted Forest."  Can you imagine it chasing you with all of those branches and hands and long thin fingers, thrashing back and fro as it closes in on you.  Screech!

A bird with it's very own polka dot bikini.  A European Starling in it's Fall plumage, normally it is without polka dots.

I'm always amazed how plants can carve out a niche for themselves in the most unlikely and inhospitable places.  This is rock, granite rock, not even close to being a plant nursery.  It is  located in the Devil's Punch Bowl, also.

In Devil's Punch Bowl, where there is a rock, there will be a lone aspiring climber.  I yelled out to him it might be quicker to have a buddy with him, a buddy who could call for an ambulance.
The Devil's Punch Bowl, a land of giant rock formations.

A sticky situation. I have observed some corporate CEOs, depicted like this in cartoons......
Also located near Aguanga.

Love is a many splentored thing.

Desert cabbage?

A really proud male plant located in the Devils Punch Bowl.

A Salton Sea Amusement Park for birds.

Somebody asked me if people swim here.  I told him I didn't think so but after seeing this, I would tell him, "No."

I really enjoy photographing the flight.  I never tire of it.  Just a plain GU11 but so French Curvy.

A Great Heron, Skimming the water of the Salton Sea.

Shooting the moon.  I Love this shot.  Taken with an 800mm (400mm with a 2x adapter) lens, f/16, 1/4000, iso-4000, Manual mode, manual focus (using mirror up 10x)  Canon EOS5D MKII.  Taken at -250' on the North Shore of the SS, 11:00 PM.  Right click to view the full 1:1 version.

Fishing the Salton Sea.

Obsidian?  Very shiny, very hard, like what you would think might make a GREAT arrow head.  More glass like then rock.  At the Salton Sea used to fill in a harbor.  Obsidian is created by volcanic activity.  This piece is about 3 feet across and it is located at Bombay Beach midway on the East side of "Salton Sea."

Another less fearsome haunted tree.  This is also located in the SS area and was photographed near sunset which accounts for the strange hue.

An ant hill with a close up of the debris piled around it.  It might be a burial mound, kind of like the story of the elephant burial grounds in Africa.


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