Tag Archives: RV Singles

Vanishing Historical Route 66

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http://www.amazon.com/Vanishing-Historical-Route-66-Pictures/dp/1535185244/

Vanishing Historical Route 66! The pictorial book with 904 color photos from the ‘Mother Road’ has been released. Starting in Chicago and ending at the Santa Monica Pier with 3,000 miles of adventure and nostalgia along the various routes of Highway 66.

I’m so excited to have completed this trip and had the opportunity to capture the Historical Route 66 in film to share. From 1926 to 2016 Route 66 has faithfully served the imagination of Americans and inspired TV Shows and movies. This piece of Americana is not to be missed. But be quick! Route 66 is vanishing before our very eyes. Both paperback and Kindle version in full color!

Route 66 celebrates 90 years of providing America with travel from Chicago to Los Angeles in 2016. Much of nostalgic sights along the route have disappeared and many more are in danger of deterioration. There are many communities across the 8 states that have embraced the spirit of the Historical Route 66. Within these communities there is an American pride that cannot be hidden. The photos I’ve taken along the way are provided to help maintain for future travelers what is here in 2016. I only wish I had taken this trip a decade ago to catch the fever and spirit of what is becoming a Forgotten Historical Route 66. Enjoy the photo journal as I pass through the ‘Mother Road’.

Valley of Fire and Lost City Museum Sep 2016

A visit to the Valley of Fire is a visit to a place where the rocks are on fire and history is alive. An outlaw occupied the area near the ‘Mouse Hole’ and there are petroglyphs reminding us that the Indians were here long before us.

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The Lost City Museum is located in a small town near Lake Meade and the Valley of Fire.

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Red Rock Canyon, Ash Meadows, Death Valley Sep 2016

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I’m in Las Vegas for a couple of weeks and I don’t gamble. What do you do in Vegas if you don’t go to the Casinos? Well I am traveling in an RV with a Jeep in tow so I decided to ask many of the more knowledgeable travelers on Facebook. From the many suggestions given to me I decided to visit the following areas:

Red Rock Canyon, Death Valley, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Valley of Fire, Lost City Museum, Hoover Dam, Lake Meade

Then there are many activities in Vegas that are free:

Fountains of Bellagio Water Show, The Botanical Conservatory at the Bellagio, Live Circus acts at the Circus-Circus casino, Atlantis Show & Aquarium at the Caesars Forum Shops, Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo, Viva Vision Light & Sound show at Fremont Street Experience, Live Music and Flair Bartenders at the Harrah’s Carnaval Court, “I lost my M” 3D movie at M&M’s World, Volcano at the Mirage, Saltwater Aquarium at the Mirage, Miracle Mile Fountain Water Show at Planet Hollywood, Mystic Falls Sunset Stampede Show at Sam’s Town, Interactive Fish Feeding Show at the Silverton, Mermaid Swims at the Silverton, Lake of Dreams at the Wynn

I began my adventure by taking on Red Rock Canyon and Death Valley first. Red Rock Canyon reminded me very much of the Badlands loop drive in South Dakota.

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Many movies were made using Red Rock Canyon as a backdrop.

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You can tour in a Pink Jeep!

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The Red Rock Canyon offers many, many hiking trails. Due to my schedule the day I visited I chose not to hike. This is definitely an area I will return to one day to hike through.

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And of course that is a Ferrari sitting by my Jeep!

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After completing the loop around Red Rock Canyon I headed toward Death Valley’s Devil Hole. Little did I know that the bonus was a trip through Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

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Devils Hole is part of Death Valley National Park but is quite a distance from Furnace Creek Visitors Center. At the gateway to Death Valley there is a beautiful hotel. It appears to be vacant however

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A burned out shell of a building is across the street.

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The lowest place in America is here too!

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Other views as I drove through Death Valley

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Redwood National Park, Mt Shasta and Walker Lake, NV Sep 2016

On the 19th I headed south to California where I could visit the Redwood National Park. I didn’t have an address for the park other than Crescent City and my GPS was taking me much further south than I wanted to go.

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But without this detour I would not have been able to view Paul Bunyan and Blue. A friend tells me that these have been stolen from Minnesota!

 

 

 

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Redwoods are found in many areas.

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Redwood National and State Park

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I did a U turn and traveled to Jedediah Smith Campground. I could only secure one night in the campground so I set out to maximize my time by walking along the river before visiting the groves in the morning.

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Stout Grove is an amazing sight!

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I departed Redwood National Park in the early afternoon and drove toward Mt Shasta with an ultimate goal of Zion National Park. You can see Mt Shasta from many miles away. I’ve captured my approach.

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The terrain changed and I thought these volcanic mountains were interesting.

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As I left the shade of Mt Shasta I drove on a scenic highway that took me through Reno on my way to a night’s stay at Walker Lake. The wind was exceptionally strong and I was fortunate to have found a beautiful setting for the night. The sunset was just beyond description.

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This beauty came with a price however. The wind blew and blew. At times it was so strong that I was concerned my RV might be tipped over. I had to pull in my slide with the bed as the canopy was flapping so hard I was afraid I’d lose it or damage it.

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Sunset over Walker Lake.

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Sunrise over Walker Lake

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The next morning over coffee a young traveler stopped by to enjoy the view and mentioned that there were now 83 wild horses at the other end of the lake and that they could be seen from the road.

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Cactus began to appear alongside the road

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Washington State – Summer of 2016

I apologize for not providing a travel blog for so long. Life happens and I got caught up in enjoying being alive and with other people. So forgive me for the length of this posting as I catch up on my summer of traveling in Washington and Oregon.

I left Yosemite after the Memorial Day weekend. This was a most wonderful week in one of America’s treasures. After a near disaster filling up with gas in Redding, CA I picked up a young man hitch-hiking to Portland. He and I enjoyed two days of traveling together. I provided him with a signed copy of Sandbox to Sandbox as his sister traveled a similar journey and perhaps my book could help her.

After depositing Joe at his home in Portland I traveled to the Lewis and Clark Campground and RV Park in North Bonneville, WA. The building itself is much like a museum with many artifacts and publications scattered throughout.

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This park is managed by my second cousin Janice that I have not seen or heard of for some 54 years. It was a great reunion and I promised to return in August to spend time with her. I did help build a spreadsheet to help her with billing utilities to the monthly occupants. It is nice to share my talent wherever I can.

I traveled to La Conner, WA where I enjoyed to sights of the beach, Anacortes, La Conner and Seattle.

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While here I was joined by Alexis, my daughter. She treated me to a whale watching cruise from Friday Island. What a wonderful experience.

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I joined Alexis and her childhood friend Libby in Seattle for a hike through Fort Lawton, an old Army Fort, to a lighthouse.

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During June I worked on completing the photo journal of my Route 66 trip. While the book is expensive on Amazon I did purchase 20 to sell at just $5 over what they cost me. If you are interested in a book portraying Route 66 with 904 color photos on 460 pages then email me and I’ll send you one for $40 + $5 shipping fee. To get a good view of what the interior is like go to Amazon.com and search for Paula Coffer and use the ‘look inside’ feature to read the first chapter.

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 July found me in Leavenworth, WA. Leavenworth is a Bavarian Village in the mountains of Washington State!

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I was able to enjoy mountain hikes, lakes and of course the quaint village itself.

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While here I visited Alexis again for a parade in Seattle. I just wanted to spend time with her. We had a great day together before I drove back to the quiet mountains of Leavenworth.

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We also attended International Day or Dragon Fest in downtown Seattle!

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I also learned that Washington State is big on Big Foot! I even caught a glimpse of him in a golf cart!

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July and on into August found me at Long Beach, WA. On the way to Long Beach I was able to visit Mount Saint Helen.

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Washington State is also home to many Christmas Tree farms. How cool is that?

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Long Beach hosts many international events. Here is part of the sand sculpture event just a week or so before the huge Kite event.

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I was joined in Long Beach by my battle buddy John’s wife Norma. She spent a week with me walking the beach finding sand dollars, ocean fishing for salmon and enjoying RV life. Then we went to the Lewis & Clark Campground & RV Park in North Bonneville before I took her to the Portland Airport for her trip back to Washington DC.

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We visited Cape Disappointment too.

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Cranberry pickers and separators at the Cranberry Museum

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There is just so much to see from Long Beach to Westport, WA. One day in the Jeep I drove over 20 miles along the beach. Eagles, Elk, Driftwood, dead fish, dead Sea Lions. So much to see and so little time!

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During this time I have also begun writing a travel guide to Washington State where I have an imaginary, magical traveling companion named Ralf. Ralf is a wire haired Dachshund. I have been fortunate in that a fellow traveler has a wire haired Dachshund that she has allowed me to photograph. No muss no fuss with a dog that doesn’t belong to me!

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In my RV

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In my Jeep

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Then came the Columbian Gorge and Beacon Rock.

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Marina at Hood River

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Adventurous souls in the wind of the Gorge

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Bridge of the Gods

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Bonneville Dam

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Historical Markers gifted to the Lewis & Clark Campground & RV Park

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Pear orchards near Hood River

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Then onto Seaside, Oregon for a few weeks before heading south.

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Haystack rock

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Yosemite May 29, 2016

May 29, 2016

There is such a wonderful feeling when you take a hike through nature. The smell of the woods, the beauty of even the smallest of delicate flowers. This morning I took a short hike near the Yosemite Lakes RV Park. The hike was of medium endurance that reminded me of the hikes Cheryl Korver and I took in Shenandoah. At the end of the hike was a dam and as I neared it I could hear the water falling across the rocks below. At the dam itself I find a group of a dad and his 2 young sons fishing. I’m watching another man stand on the dam fishing for the ‘big one’. I looked at the dad and mentioned that the water must be very cold and he tells me that he carried one of his sons across the damn on his back. “Every bone in my body ached it was so cold.” He tells me. And yet here this guy is standing in the cold swiftly running water casting for more trout. Mind over matter!

I think the thing I’ve most enjoyed about being at this particular campground is the sound of families. Most Thousand Trails parks are older people. This reminds me so very much of when I was a child camping with my parents and grandparents. Children floating on the river squealing or the sound of horse shoes clanking against the post and all combined with the sound of the wind whispering through the trees. I’ll remember Memorial Day weekend 2016 for many years to come as a truly enjoyable time in my life.

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to have a facebook friend drive 2 hours to visit with me for the afternoon. I grilled a salmon filet to mix into the fresh salad with avocado, orange bell pepper and sweet tomatoes. Karen Scot and I spent the afternoon just chatting and enjoying the serenity of my Yosemite campsite.

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Last night we had a live country band entertain us. I stopped by for a few moments before returning to the campsite where I sat by the river and read a few chapters in my book.

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From across the small South Fork of the Tuolumne River I can see my campsite.

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There are many butterflies frolicking among these flowers.

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My neighbors invited me to share a beer with them yesterday afternoon and we played a card game called Hand and Foot. Today all but the 80 year old Vietnam Veteran took off to see Yosemite Park in all its grandeur. A perfect day for the trip too as the weather is just great. I asked the ‘stay behind kid’ if he would like to join me for lunch when I noticed that he was still here. He accepted and I grilled a variety of vegetables – okra, bell pepper, zucchini, squash, onion, green beans, new potatoes – and shrimp that I had acquired off the boat while in Crystal River, Florida. Add a wonderful salad with the small avocados, bell peppers, tomatoes – the usual with an avocado dressing. A yummy lunch with an engaging conversation as well as a toast to our fallen comrades in arms.

 

Yosemite May 27, 2016

May 27, 2016

I woke up this morning, rolled over and looked out my back bedroom window at this quiet river:

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Today I tried to reach the heavens and traveled to the Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park. I packed a picnic lunch with a sandwich and peach, cherries and tangerines. My goal was to have lunch with a friend. It is a scenic 46 mile drive from the turnoff to the pass. Higher and higher I climbed. At 8,000 feet I took a photo of snow piled up beside the roadway. At 9,000 feet I stopped to be thankful for the lake formed by the melting snow and ice. At 9,945 feet I reached the Tioga Pass and I could see the Tioga Peak at 11,526 feet. I can’t get any closer to heaven today.

I parked the Jeep and pulled out my picnic basket. I had packed a beer for lunch but I left it alone because I had to return to the campground some 55 miles away going down the path I had just taken. I did make a toast to my friend Jacque that I came here to have lunch with. I’ve known her since the 5th grade, some 53 years. Usually at New Years and birthdays we would make the call and chat for an hour or so. A couple of times I actually trekked to Lovington, NM to visit with her and her family. Jacque is one of those people that doesn’t know a stranger. She never veered far from Lovington and other than Mexico I don’t think she has ever left the country. But while CP Coker and I went off to the military and then to work Jacque stayed home. CP and I saw the world, much more than we wanted to with Vietnam and then CP had a career in the oil fields overseas and I had my military career. Jacque though raised a couple of generations of children in Lovington. There are many who call her ‘mom’ as she gave them more guidance and time than their own parents did. You could always count on a plate at the table when you went to Jacque’s house because that is just that way it is. Jacque didn’t have a problem letting you know what her opinion was either. A strong willed woman with a generous heart and a loving soul.

So I set out my picnic to share with Jacque because this is as close as I can get to having lunch with her.  9,945 feet elevation, close to heaven and Jacque. I was in Albuquerque and considered taking the side trip to Lovington but the 900+ mile round trip did not appeal to me. I tried to call her and left a voice message but I didn’t get to hear her voice.

As I sit there with Jacque though I can just hear her say in her quick way “Well Paula Coffer I finally stopped smoking so you can just shut up”. Heck for 30 years I’ve been trying to get her to quit! We chatted about Lovington and my cousin Pam. We talked about how Bob’s business was doing in the current economy and where the kids are and what they are doing. Yea, even her ex-husbands came into the conversation as we rehashed from the last conversation we had. Jacque tells me she has to go and I thank her for her time and let her know how much I appreciated her sharing lunch with me. I’ll miss my childhood friend Jacque Ludecke Dennis as she goes to harass Saint Peter and surround herself with a more divine family. Rest in Peace Jacque, you’ve had a hard life and deserve heavens bounty.

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Tioga Peak

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My view for lunch. Pure unspoiled snow.

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The cold and wind must affect how these trees grow.

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8,000 Feet Elevation

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9,000 Feet Elevation.

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Again the scenic vistas were just overwhelming! The beauty of nature is always in season.

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Crystal clear pristine ice cold Tenaya Lake.

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Check out the tree growing out of the middle of this dome.

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Yosemite May 26, 2016

May 26, 2016

I was up early and on the road by 0800. With the Santa Cruz wine country in my rear view mirror I leave the Pacific Coast Highway and begin my journey to Yosemite National Park. This park is on my daughter Alexis’ bucket list and once I arrived and toured a part of it I could understand why. I almost think that this park is more impressive than Yellowstone National Park. Mary Eileen I wish you were here with me to see the grandeur of this park. There are no geysers like Old Faithful but there are a plethora of water falls and scenic views that challenge what is seen in Yellowstone. There was a fire here in the somewhat recent past as huge burned areas are seen on the mountainside.

The ride up to Yosemite was via back roads with much beauty in their own right. I’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to capture some of the beauty of the flowers growing along the narrow and winding road climbing to 6,000+ elevations. For much of the drive I was following the John Muir route. 

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 In this photo you can see the burned out trees on the mountaintop but look at the blooming roadside trees/bushes.

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I couldn’t really capture the beauty of the flowers covering the mountainside. It appears as if they are mountain lilac or something similar. A beautiful purple blanket covering the steep roadside incline.

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I arrived at the Thousand Trails Yosemite Lakes RV Park, checked in and set up the RV before heading to Yosemite National Park and Forest. I was determined to see what I could as I only had reservations for one night and the young girl at the check-in told me that there were no openings for additional nights. So I encounter a Park Ranger trying to catch speeders near the intersection of highways 120 and 140. I was wearing my Vietnam Veteran hat and he lets me know that he was a Marine infantryman in Vietnam during 1967. I asked him what he would do if he only had one afternoon to enjoy Yosemite Park. He recommended the Valley route as there were more waterfalls and other sights to view. The pass had just been opened and not much was happening up there except that you were at 10,000+ elevation. So off to the Valley route I go as another park visitor begins to ask him questions also.

Oh, this RV park has no Cell service and WiFi only at the lodge. I’m ok with that as this RV park is like the places I remember going as a child. I’m sitting directly on the river with a full hook-up and enjoying the sounds of birds and the breeze whispering through the trees while I sit and watch the clear water laden with trout.

After I returned from my whirlwind trip to Yosemite Park I stopped and spoke with the team at the check in to see if I could obtain additional nights here at the park. Wouldn’t you know it, I am now staying here until the 31st. I had not thought before about driving with all those rushing to return home on Monday for work on Tuesday. But this is such a nice environment and the people I have next to me are so nice that I’m very pleased to have been able to get an extended stay.  Now I’ll be able to get in some hiking and a trip to the highest elevation.

As you enter Yosemite you are first struck by the burned area. I can’t help but think a careless smoker caused this devastation by flicking their cigarette out the window. Sorry, just my thought.

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The waterfall comes from very high up and just cascades down the different paths in the hard rock formations.

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Before arriving at Yosemite I passed a small herd of deer grazing beside a dam. This deer has really fuzzy antlers.

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The Yosemite Lodge. I think the best way to see these major national parks is to plan in advance to make reservations to stay in the National Park. I’m flying by the seat of my pants and being spontaneous as to where I am. But if I had someone else traveling with me a plan could be created and followed.

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This lady was photographing something below the bridge and just wouldn’t move. Finally I took the photo anyway and then the next one is the other side of the bridge where the cascading waterfall continues.

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