RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


Floating down the Snake River

Floating down the Snake River affords some great views… and the scenery is spectacular too! Aside from being very cute, our float guide was personable and knowledgeable and made the trip even more interesting. The Snake River flows from Yellowstone National Park meandering southwards to the Grand Tetons.

Last year I survived a similar float trip down the Bow River near Banff. It’s a terrific way to get up close and personal with nature.

Floating along listening to the waves lapping at the sides of the raft and the sound of the oar dipping into the water is extremely relaxing.

Civilization seems to be a million miles away.

Sit back and enjoy a peaceful trip down the river…

We encountered several fishermen along the way.

The skyscape in this part of the country is as gorgeous as the landscape.

As I mentioned before, this was my second visit to the Grand Tetons. The area is so amazing I hope at some point I will have the opportunity to make it a third time.

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Mammoth Hot Springs at Yellowstone

Three years ago my same traveling companions and I took a Sierra Club trip to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons. It was an in depth look at these areas with plenty of hikes and walks. This trip with Caravan only touched on the places at those two areas. But we got to visit some other places we didn’t see on the previous trip. You lose some, you win some. And in general I was very happy with what we saw on this trip.

I have to admit that the stop at Mammoth Hot Springs was pretty disappointing. It is such a spectacular area. On the Sierra Club trip we started at the top and walked all the way down to the bottom with plenty of time to stop for photo ops. On this tour we were dropped off at the bottom and we had only a short time to view the springs on the lower level.

I felt sorry for the people who had never seen Mammoth Hot Springs before and would never come again… but on the other hand, what they don’t know, they probably wouldn’t miss! I counted my blessings I was able to see the whole of the Springs on my previous trip.


You can see my photos of the previous trip to Mammoth Hot Springs at my former blog, One Good Life Travels.

Mammoth Hot Springs is a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine in Yellowstone National Park adjacent to Fort Yellowstone and the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District.[3] It was created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate (over two tons flow into Mammoth each day in a solution). Because of the huge amount of geothermal vents, travertine flourishes.[4] Although these springs lie outside the caldera boundary, their energy has been attributed to the same magmatic system that fuels other Yellowstone geothermal areas. – Wikipedia

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Crazy Horse Memorial

Korczak Ziolkowski began work on Crazy Horse Memorial in 1948. Once complete, this tribute to the Lakota leader will be the largest mountain carving in South Dakota, and the world.

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument under construction on privately held land in the Black Hills, in Custer County, South Dakota, United States. The sculpture’s final dimensions are planned to be 641 feet (195 m) long and 563 feet (172 m) high. The arm of Crazy Horse will be 263 feet (80 m) long and the head 87 feet (27 m) high; by comparison, the heads of the four U.S. Presidents at Mount Rushmore are each 60 feet (18 m) high.

Model for final sculpture  The monument is being carved out of Thunderhead Mountain, on land considered sacred by some Oglala Lakota, between Custer and Hill City, roughly 17 miles (27 km) from Mount Rushmore.

Schematic for final mountain sculpture.

Cat fitting the color scheme stopped to wash itself, not caring about the bust of Wild Bill Hickock.

Henry Standing Bear (“Mato Naji”), an Oglala Lakota chief, and well-known statesman and elder in the Native American community, recruited and commissioned Polish-American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to build the Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota. In October 1931.

These 46 feet long & 8 to 10 high steel gates with 270 brass silhouettes of animals were created by famous Polish-American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski.

The memorial is a non-profit undertaking, and does not accept federal or state funding. The Memorial Foundation finances the project by charging fees for its visitor centers, earning revenue from its gift shops and receiving contributions. Ziolkowski reportedly was offered US$10 million for the project from the federal government on two occasions, but he turned the offers down. He felt the project was more than just a mountain carving, and he feared that his plans for the broader educational and cultural goals of the memorial would be overturned by federal involvement.[11]

After Ziolkowski died in 1982 at age 74, his widow Ruth Ziolkowski, took charge of the sculpture, overseeing work on the project as CEO from the 1980s to the 2010s.[12][13] Ruth Ziolkowski decided to focus on the completion of Crazy Horse’s face first, instead of the horse as her husband had originally planned. She believed that Crazy Horse’s face, once completed, would increase the sculpture’s draw as a tourist attraction, which would provide additional funding.[12] She also oversaw the staff, which included seven of her children.[13]

Sixteen years later, in 1998, the face of Crazy Horse was completed and dedicated; Crazy Horse’s eyes are 17 feet (5 m) wide.[14] Ruth Ziolkowski and seven of the Ziolkowskis’ 10 children carried on work at the memorial.[15] Ruth’s daughter, Monique Ziolkowski, herself a sculptor, modified some of her father’s plans to ensure that the weight of the outstretched arm was supported sufficiently.[16] The foundation commissioned reports from two engineering firms in 2009 to help guide completion of the project.[16] Work commenced on the horse after two years of careful planning and measurements.[12]

Ruth Ziolkowski died 21 May 2014, aged 87.[17] Monique Ziolkowski, Ruth’s daughter, became CEO and three of her siblings continue to work on the project, as well as three of Monique’s nephews.[18]

Credit to Wikipedia (which I support annually) for info.



Santa Barbara – part one – a saunter through Lotusland

A friend and I drove up to Santa Barbara last week partly to visit Lotusland, which has been on my bucket list for a while, and partly to enjoy the city. Lotusland is actually located in Montecito, an affluent unincorporated community in Santa Barbara County, California, east of the City of Santa Barbara.

I first heard of Lotusland while visiting Santa Barbara for the Summer Solstice Festival in June, 2017. That was quite a different scene with thousands of people thronging the streets. Click here to view my blog post of that event.

Lotusland sits on 37 acres and unless you are a member you must walk through it on a tour with a docent.

It is billed as one of the top ten most beautiful gardens in the entire world. Well, it is very nice and I enjoyed the visit but I’m not sure I would go that far. Maybe we are spoiled for lovely gardens in Southern California but other gardens in other parts of the world spring to mind. Top 100 might be more realistic although I haven’t traveled enough to back that up! But it was worth seeing, for sure.

I took 240 photos during the walk and it was very hard to decide which ones to display… I could easily have included 100 in this post… but I decided to spare you and cut it down to a mere 56 with as much variety as possible… which means some of my favorites hit the cutting room floor… that hurt!

This turquoise glass slag lines the pathways… a very effective and beautiful border.

Lotusland contains about 21 different garden areas with more than 3,000 different plants from around the world. Please click on an image below to begin the slide show.

I’ll be uploading a couple more posts of our trip to the Santa Barbara area so stay tuned!


Something about a train – day trip to Oceanside

oceanside california

There’s something about the sound of a train that’s very romantic and nostalgic and hopeful. – Paul Simon

My friend KL obtained two free tickets for the MetroLink train and after several aborted attempts over several weeks, we were finally able to use the tickets last Saturday. We decided to go to Oceanside, the end of the line, and hang out for a few hours with nothing in particular planned.

Oceanside California

I took my little Canon G15 point & shoot camera to capture a few snapshots. It was a very glary day with the sun beating down on the white sand and sparkling water so I had a lot of problems controlling the exposure. But you get the general idea. Sometimes I just don’t want to deal with the DSLR.

Oceanside (population approximately 173,000,) is about 95 miles south of Los Angeles and about 40 miles north of San Diego.

Oceanside California

As we had been riding the rails for a few hours all the way from Culver City we were both starving. A passenger on the train who was familiar with the area recommended “the restaurant under the pier.”

This turned out to be the Tin Fish and what a great suggestion it was!

Oceanside California

My friend ordered the fish ‘n chips but (British blood notwithstanding) I am more partial to fish tacos. I figured there would be one small cut of fish in each taco so I went for the double order.

oceanside, california

That was a mistake! Each taco was big enough to feed two people! And look at those waffle fries…

But trooper that I am, I managed to eat everything minus the second taco shell. Oh my, highly recommended if you ever find yourself hungry in Oceanside.

Oceanside California

Southern California has been experiencing excessive heat lately. We thought we would cool off by the beach. But no such luck. It was a very warm day.

Oceanside California

I cannot be exposed to the sun and I don’t use sunscreen (all those chemicals leaking into my body, no thank you) so I go to the beach covered from head to toe. People are always asking me, when the temperature gets up there, “aren’t you hot under all those clothes?” Actually no. I believe in the Bedouin approach to sun protection: the stronger the sun, the more clothes to protect me from it!

Oceanside California

After our delicious lunch we strolled along the 1,942 ft (592 m) wooden pier. This is not an amusement pier, except for the entertainment provided by looking at the waves and watching the people.

Oceanside California

Mostly it seems to be a fishing pier. And as you can see, these fisherman agree with me about sun protection… I’m not so dumb after all!

Oceanside California

Although the fishermen were no doubt enjoying themselves, the fish, not so much…

Oceanside California

Although I don’t eat four-legged animals, I do love me some fish… so what can I say? Fish gotta be caught in order to be eaten…

Oceanside California

Nevertheless, I had to resist the urge to throw the poor creatures back in the ocean so they could frolick another day.

Oceanside California

The fish were obviously prolific around the pier as they were being hauled up all the time. You would think the fish would learn. Pier = people = dinner.

Oceanside California

The color of the water was really spectacular.

Oceanside California

Like golf, fishing has never appealed to me as a past time. But I’m sure it’s more satisfying to catch your own dinner than to buy it at the supermarket.

Oceanside California

I couldn’t get over all the hoards of people elbow to elbow on the beach soaking up the dangerous UV rays from the sun. In my twenties I lived at the beach, literally, and paid my dues with sunburns and heat stroke.

Oceanside California

As we left the pier and walked along Pacific Street, we saw several young men driving up in their tricked out classic cars. I can’t remember what model this car is. Not a Chevy Malibu but a….. oh well, whatever it is I thought it was tastefully painted.

Oceanside California

The walkway and bicycle path leading to the downtown area. The train station is just a hop and a skip from the beach.

Oceanside California

A mural in downtown depicting Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside Harbor and pier.

Oceanside California

The main drag through Oceanside. It’s a very cute little town. My friend is thinking about retiring there. If so, I will be visiting. But I’m a big city girl myself and all things being equal, I intend to stay put.


Some beach front properties.

Oceanside California

We discovered the pink cottages have a senior citizen rate if you stay for three months. Sounds tempting but I would go nuts after about a week!

Oceanside California

Bikes, pedal cars and pickup trucks all share the Strand.


Oceanside California

Sand, sand, sand and then water, water, water.

I was watching the PBS three-night series Big Blue Live. It is crazy how many animals live out there off the California coast (albeit the show was concentrating on Monterey). Then multiply that by all the oceans in the world. And we humans are solely responsible for polluting those oceans. Oh well, another story entirely.

Oceanside California

Another day, another adventure. As we rode the rails, we followed Interstate 5 which was backed up with traffic all the way down. Going home it was still backed up. The train is the only way to go by land. I don’t know why people would want to sit for hours all cramped up in their tiny cars when they could travel in the spaciousness of the train, looking out the window and not having to worry about whether the car behind you or next to you or in front of you is about to do something stupid. I really don’t enjoy driving anymore.

And besides, I’ll take a train over any other kind of transportation, any day! Paul Simon was right!

Oceanside California

With the sun still shining brightly in the background it was time for us to walk the few blocks to the train station to catch the 5:45 back to LA.

The California Surf Museum

According to Wikipedia:

Oceanside is home to The California Surf Museum (we popped into the museum store for a look), and has been the official start of the 3,000 mile bicycle race, Race Across America since 2006, and has played host to The Beach Soccer Championships since 2007.

I’ve been gallavanting about a lot recently and when I am home I’m working on a myriad of projects. So I’ve fallen behind with my blogging duties. Not enough time for everything!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


My Oregon trip postings

I’ll be posting photos from my Oregon trip to my One Good Life Travels blog so if you are following that blog you will be seeing all my postings. If not, you may go there now and sign up! After this I will no longer be posting links to that site. Thanks!

To get started, the first post is here: https://onegoodlifetravels.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/oregon-crater-lake-national-park-part-one/

See you there!


Walking with the Valley bikers

valley cicLAvia 2015

CicLAvia is a City of Los Angeles event where streets are closed to motorized vehicles allowing people to walk, bike and skate through the open streets that are usually clogged with traffic. CicLavia is a nonprofit organization formed to promote the awareness of riding bicycles and taking public transportation instead of driving around in cars.

The first Valley event (as in the San Fernando Valley) was held yesterday and I decided to join some friends who were planning to walk the route. valley ciclavia

I took the Expo Line to the Red Line to meet up with everybody at Universal Studios Station which is the penultimate stop on the Red Line. It was the perfect weather for walking or cycling as the temperature was in the low to mid 70s F (low to mid 20s C) and overcast. My kind of weather! The sun broke through early afternoon to brighten everything up but by then we were on the return leg so it worked out well.

CicLAvia Valley

Some nice bougainvillea along the way.

The City of Los Angeles is divided into two major land masses cut in two by the Santa Monica Mountains. South of the mountains is the LA Basin. North of the mountains lies the San Fernando Valley.

So the Red Line train travels under the mountains from the Hollywood and Highland Station to arrive at Universal Studios in North Hollywood.

CicLAvia Valley

Once I transferred to the Red Line it was obvious I was going in the right direction. The station platform was jammed with people and their bicycles all squeezing on to a train that was already jammed with people and their bicycles! As I had not eaten breakfast I decided to get off at Hollywood & Highland to grab a bagel. That set off a chain reaction of people having to move their bikes along the car to let me out!

valley cicLAvia

I don’t have any really stunning photos from yesterday. But it was cool to see so many bikes in place of cars on a major thoroughfare like Ventura Boulevard. Above is a photo of Chase Bank that was formerly a Home Savings. Millard Sheets is well known in Southern California as an artist and designer who designed a multitude of buildings for Home Savings. This is one of his many beautiful mosaics at the entrance.

valley cicLAvia

CicLAvia has been going since 2010, planned as an annual event but as the first one turned out to be so popular, in 2011 and 2012 there were two each year. In 2013 and 2014 there were three. And this year there will be four events.

The turnout for the Valley CicLAvia was estimated between 50,000 to 75,000 people. From what I understand, some of these events have attracted up to 100,000 participants. It would be fun to know how many Valley-ites actually took part as opposed to the number of people coming in from other areas. But not everybody wants to trek all the way out there!

valley cicLAvia

This was the turnaround point. We had walked about 3.5 miles by now. But don’t worry, we had stopped a couple of blocks earlier to refuel at Jerry’s Deli. I ordered a mushroom omelette and was ready for the walk back. Maybe you can tell from the photo that the sun was starting to peak through.

valley cicLAvia

We were entertained by this marching band. Many of the cyclists were giving them the thumbs up in appreciation as they rode by.

The route included Studio City, Universal City and North Hollywood. As we walked through Studio City I noticed the sidewalk was imbedded with plaques to commemorate the “B” movies made by Republic Pictures that had been located in that neighborhood, and also some TV shows filmed at the Studio City branch of CBS.

People coming from out of state always think of the LA district of “Hollywood” as being that magical place from where all movies and TV shows originate… but that could not be further from the truth as the studios and movie industry are spread out all over the Los Angeles area.

By the time we had turned around and reached our starting point we had walked seven miles. It was good to be back on the train and sitting down. I don’t have much reason to spend time in the Valley so it was nice to be out there walking around on the other side of the Santa Monica Mountains! As LA is so vast one of the aims of CicLAvia is to get people out of their own neighborhoods to visit other parts of town.

I just found out that one of the 2015 CicLAvias will have its starting point in Culver City…. I am assuming at the Culver City Expo Line Station. The end point will be at the ocean in Venice. So I will be sure to take part in that one on August 9. Make your plans now and I’ll meet you at the station!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


The big crash

My computer went down for the final time… kerasssh! Fortunately I was all backed up… I hope..

It’s kinda hard to post from my smartphone… so I’ll see you in a couple of weeks or so when my new computer arrives and is all set up.

Happy New Year to all.