Canals in Venice

I’ve been staying in Venice. Venice, Los Angeles, the area between Santa Monica and Marina del Ray on the Pacific coast. And this Venice actually does have canals as well as a beach. The whole area was once a marshy wasteland, until a man named Abbot Kinney came to live in Santa Monica in 1886. He was a developer and a conservationist, and one of main streets in Venice, near where my daughter is staying, is called Abbot Kinney.

According to Wikipedia:

By mid-January 1906, an area was built along the edge of the Grand
Lagoon patterned after the amusement thoroughfares of the great 19th and
20th century expositions. It featured foreign exhibits, amusements, and
freak shows. Trolley service was available from Downtown Los Angeles
and nearby Santa Monica. Visitors were dazzled by the system of canals complete with gondalas and gondoliers brought in from Venice, Italy. 

The area eventually went downhill, many of the canals were paved over.
In the 1990s the canals were cleaned up and now it’s an area for people with a lot of money. And me? Well, I’ve enjoyed going there birdwatching in the mornings. there are always hummingbirds hovering over the water, or sucking nectar from the flowers…

Frankly, I never knew it existed. Given the lack of greenery generally around Los Angeles, this place is a lovely oasis… The canals are tidal.

Marooned at Cobra, Part 2

 The few days spent at Cobra Station waiting for the new tyre to arrive turned out to be interesting ones. We weren’t bored for a moment. There were walks to take, flowers to admire, hills to climb, scenery to enjoy…
 You can always tell when there’s a car passing, just spot the dust.

 With me, it’s so often the little things I love to look at. And the rocks were just marvellous…

 And then it’s great to wonder at just how plants survive in a hostile environment…
 The gibber plains shine in the light…
 Trees – not all that common – twist and claw in their struggle to grow and survive
 …and can produce such beauty in their flowers…
… and strangeness in their bark
 Only along the river do trees thrive, though the water is scarce!
 My husband took interest in a nearby working for gold…
 And the ingenuity of the outback dweller abounds. 
There’s no hardware store down the road, so you improvise.
 Below is the manager of Cobra and some other marooned travellers…
 And below, having a try at panning for gold.
 Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Today’s purchases…

Dropped into the Santa Monica Barnes & Noble today and signed a couple of my books. And made a couple of purchases, including these two — photographed on our coffee table in prestigious company, the Emmy’s programme from last Sunday…

It’s launch day for Anton Strout’s “Alchemystic” and it’s always nice to know your book sells on day 1; and I thought Lee (who’s a pal from my hometown) might like to see his book basking in Los Angeles…

Besides, I want to read them both.

And then…disaster

 I read recently that 97% of every location in the lower 48 states of the US is within 3.2 miles of a road.* In Australia it’s probably the other way around: 97% of Australia is further (much further?) than 3.2 miles from any road…

Some more from our trip to the Gascoyne. After leaving the Kennedy
Range, we headed towards Mt Augustus, another national park, this time a
slightly more upmarket one. You know, with a few luxuries like running
water, electricity, a shop, petrol/diesel pumps, hot showers and flush
toilets. Not, you understand, that we didn’t enjoy our time in the

And so, there we are bowling down a road that looks like this, with nary a car in sight (and in fact, hardly a car seen in either direction for over 100km):
…when we had a puncture. In fact, two punctures, at same time — which in a place like this, is a bit of a disaster, as we only have only one spare tyre.
Fortunately for us there is someone around with a sense of humour, witness the sign.

Cobra Station. Or, for American readers, Cobra Ranch.
Otherwise known as the Old Bangemall Inn, once the local pub for station hands…
The station is called Cobra because of the cobra snake-like shape of the land concession.

 One of the tyres blew up when an attempt was made to mend it in the station workshop — so we have no spare and are not happy with the idea of continuing on without one. We take decide to stay put and settle in to the Cobra caravan park.

The caravan park at dusk, day 1
We order a tyre from Carnarvon, back on the coast (some 400 kms away). Deliveries via Gascoyne Traders take place once a week, but we are hoping there will be someone else coming through earlier. And so we begin our wait.
We sit outside the van, sipping a glass of wine as the sun settles behind the trees. 
Things could have been a lot worse…

*USDA Forest Service figures as quoted in Wired Science Sept 19, 2012

Kennedy Range

A few miscellaneous shots from areas around the Kennedy Range campsite camp site and from the nearby Temple Gorge. And by the way, if your knees give you problems while climbing I have come a huge believer in using a stick. Mine has an inner spring and is adjustable. It made the impossible a breeze…

Weird stone (Inner circle about a handspan across)
All the walking trails are marked by those coloured circles…
Inside Temple Gorge
Inside Temple Gorge
Husband with another odd boulder
Odd bent stone with walking stick for size comparison
A track made by kangaroos near the caravan park
Heading towards the temple in Temple Gorge
Inside Temple Gorge

Honeycomb Gorge

Ok, so I do know I am in L.A. at the moment, but I haven’t finished posting pix of our West Australian trip into the Gasgoyne division.These are taken in Honeycomb Gorge, one of the many gorges accessible around the Kennedy Ranges.

The waterfall you can see has water only when it rains…
All these are of natural formations, made by wind and rain and water over millenia
To give an idea of size–there’s me standing at the base, in the middle.
Close up
Husband and …hieroglyphics?
This was one of the weird formations — about 40cm across.