Our Epic Trip West
Zabriskie Point in Death Valley

Our Epic Trip West

We started our 2019 Epic Road trip in Las Vegas. We traveled 3600 miles and I was posted photos of the places we are visiting and watercolors created. You can sign the guest book, too. Thank you for looking, Donna.

Newest posts are at the top. Some of the locals are linked. Just click on the photo for more information.

Boise, Idaho

World Center for the Birds of Prey in Boise

One of the great things to do in Idaho. Nothing like google to find things to do in an area. We were treated to volunteer talks about the different birds as well as a presentation of Winston the Screech Owl by Brandt. “This organization continues to successfully breed and release Aplomado Falcons and California Condors in the U.S. Live raptors and educational displays are highlights of the visitor center.”

Winston the Screech Owl at the World Center for the Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho
Winston the Screech Owl

Handsome Harpy at the World Center for the Birds of Prey
Handsome Harpy at the World Center for the Birds of Prey

Brandt with Winston at the World Center for Birds of Prey
Brandt with Winston at the World Center for Birds of Prey

Winston the Screech Owl with his handler Brandt
Winston the Screech Owl was terribly cute

This was one noisy Bald Eagle behind us. Well, he was waiting for his dinner and kept squawking whenever someone came close. We were all potential feeders.


We had a very rainy visit to Reno, four days worth. Had a good time at the Peppermill Casino where Steve’s Conference was located.

Napa River Inn

Thank You to the National Park Foundation for our three-day stay at this lovely historic hotel! We were in the Nautical Building and loved the complimentary breakfast from the Sweetie Pies Bakery and Wine Tastings in the Evening. All in all we had a fabulous time at this hotel. I was honored to received this three-day stay along with a National Park Pass for her submission of Handsome Paint(seen below) to the Share the Experience site.

Our Three-Days at the Napa River Inn
The Historic Napa River Inn
Handsome Mustang awarded best photo by the National Park Foundation for August
Handsome Mustang Monthly Winner in the Share The Experience Contest by the NPF

Napa Wines and Bikes

No trip to Napa would be complete without a wine tasting or two. Our first stop in Napa was at Trinitas Cellars. Shown here is Trinitas’s friendly and knowledgeable wine guide, Leslie, with one of their wonderful wines. She was a sweetheart. Oh, and we joined The Trinitas Club. Steve liked the Pinot Noir best and we both loved the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Trinitas Wines
Trinitas Wines
Wonderful wine and Ribeye at Napkins Bar and Grill - Love the light panel above the bar with the old photos of Napa.
Wonderful wine and Ribeye at Napkins Bar and Grill – Love the light panel above the bar with the old photos of Napa.
Dinner at the Bounty Hunter Wine Bar with good eats and friendly staff.
Dinner at the Bounty Hunter Wine Bar with good eats and friendly staff.

Of course we went biking! Beautiful views along the Napa Vine Bike Trail. Click here for the short YouTube video

Sherpa at work!

What bike ride would be complete without at least one flat? Well, this was my first flat in a while. It was a small piece of glass probably picked up as we biked through the town. That and I needed new tires. 😉 Steve knows his way around a bicycle and is a fast tire changer.

Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California

I do love B&W photography.

Pacific Coast Hwy on the way to Monterey
Pacific Coast Hwy
Oceanside views of PCH1
Oceanside views of PCH1
Beautiful California Pacific Coast in February. This was the most beautiful drive we have ever  experienced
Beautiful California Pacific Coast
One STEEP Hike down to the coast from Ragged Point on the Big Sur Coast..
One STEEP Hike down to the coast from Ragged Point on the Big Sur Coast..
Clam Chowder at the Ragged Point Restaurant
Clam Chowder at the Ragged Point Restaurant


Paso Robles

We drove through many almond orchards in and around Paso Robles. I read that there is a two-week window for blooms and we hit it just right. We did not realize at first what the blooms were. I opened the car door and did not smell citrus so googled it. These almond trees were so lovely.

Almond Tree Blooms
Almond Tree Blooms

Our decision to stop in Paso Robles came from a friend of our from ours who we met in the Marine Corps back in El Toro, CA. Paul loves the wine from this region and recommended it highly. We stopped to check it out. We had dinner at Jeffry’s Wine and Country BBQ which was Steve’s pick after googling places to eat in Paso Robles. I had their Mac & Cheese with pulled pork drizzled with BBQ sauce. Talk about serious, southern comfort food! We were fortunate to met the owner and chef, Jeff Wiesinger. We found him an interesting and nice fellow. He is a multi-award winner of The Mac & Cheese Fest and Pinot & Paella Festival.

Halter Ranch 2016 Synthesis Cabernet
Halter Ranch 2016 Synthesis Cabernet
Zebras in California? I thought we were back in South Africa!
Zebras in California? I thought we were back in South Africa!

Death Valley

This visit we stayed at The Ranch at Death Valley – We usually truck camp, but had a great night at The Ranch. The General Store has been carrying my photography since 2013 after Steve sent them a few of my photos. Our first trip to DVNP was in 2009.

Furnace Creek General Store carries some of Donna's Photography
Furnace Creek General Store carries some of Donna’s Photography

The Last Kind Words Saloon had been renovated and was quite a change. It was quite a good choice for dinner.
Newly Renovated Last Kind Words Saloon

Leaving Death Valley B&W
Leaving Death Valley

Panamint Dunes in Death Valley
Panamint Dunes in Death Valley
Death Valley Views
Death Valley Views

Leaving Death Valley always makes us a little sad.

One Last Look leaving Death Valley
One Last Look


Vegas Thursday 21st NANPA Conference

After purchasing the book East Africa Volume I, and the documentary To the Ends of the Earth, I found that Todd Gustafson was to give a presentation at the NANPA conference. I joined NANPA and signed up for his Super Session on Thursday the 21nd. Todd and Pelin gave a great presentation about his book, animals, travels, and life. It is an hour long PBS documentary.

As Jane Goodall observed, “Through Todd’s lens we see a vanishing natural world…a world we have the power to protect. Collectively, these photographs explore different aspects of the animals’ behavior, a visual commentary on what it means to be born free into the last wild places.”

Making new friends, Holbrook Travel, Pelin Karaca and Todd Gustafson
Making new friends, Holbrook Travel, Pelin Karaca and Todd Gustafson

To the Ends of the Earth
To the Ends of the Earth – Todd Gustafson
https://www.totheendsoftheearthllc.org/our-team/todd-gustafson/

I enjoyed meeting and talking to Todd Gustafson. He has been photographing nature, wildlife, and natural history around the world for the last two decades. Capturing beautiful light on intriguing subjects – in an artistic way – at the decisive moment – is his continuous personal goal. He has led photo safarias all across the globe, including Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Zanzibar, Madagascar, India, England, Scotland, Ireland, Brazil, and Namibia. Having grown up in Tanzania, where his father was a missionary, East Africa is his specialty and he travels there at least once a year to observe and photograph the birthing and river crossing season there.

A little about NANPA.ORG

NANPA Conference was well attended and my first. It was held at the Westgate Resort. I made a few new friends, learned a few things and overall enjoyed the conference. Over the past year, I have come to the realization that I love wildlife photography best and the North American Nature Photography Association fits the bill. I have been a lover of wildlife all my life.

NANPA promotes the art and science of nature photography as a medium of communication, nature appreciation, and environmental protection.

NANPA provides information, education, inspiration and opportunity for all persons interested in nature photography.

NANPA fosters excellence and ethical conduct in all aspects of our endeavors and especially encourages responsible photography in the wild.


Sidebar

I always enjoy visiting the M&M store in Vegas. This year I had to walk through some bad weather to get to my favorite candy spot. The snow was coming down in styrofoam-like balls this day. It was crazy weather for Vegas and the most snow since 1937.

New Flavors of M&S
New Flavors of M&S

Barry Manilow

The trip to Vegas included the NANPA conference at the Westgate and tickets to Barry Manilow. Both Steve and I love his music, but had never seen him in concert. He put on quite a performance and still has great pipes!

Barry Manilow on stage at Westgate Resort
Barry Manilow on stage at Westgate
75 Years Young and as he said, "It's only a number".
75 Years Young – It’s Just a Number he said.
Fanilows at the Barry Manilow show in Las Vegas
Donna & Steve Fanilows

Blast from the Past – 1987 wedding at Candlelight Wedding Chapel https://www.classiclasvegas.com/clv-history-blog/2012/2/11/candlelight-wedding-chapel.html

Vegas working from Hotel

February 19, 2019 watercolor painting in the room in Vegas. I brought some things to work on during down times at the hotel.

Watercolor painting of Koi fish
Study of Koi

Working from the hotel in Photoshop. This is a creation of an original Aspen photo. February 18, 2019

Aspens on the Grand Mesa with Photoshop filters
Playing in Photoshop
Epic Road Trip
Epic Road Trip

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