Jan 282015

The sculptures at Galleta Meadows Estates are the result of two men sharing a vision to provide public access to Sky Art, as entrepreneur Dennis Avery calls the prehistoric menagerie of Ricardo Breceda’s metal sculptures.  Some of these creatures once roamed the earth, others the imagination.

Serpent metal sculpture by Ricardo Breceda Galleta Meadows Borrego Springs CaliforniaWith at least 130 sculptures to choose from I began one afternoon with a few hours before a repair appointment in town.  About 1 1/2 miles north of Borrego Springs’ Christmas Circle I parked off road when I saw some large and unusual rust colored animals in an open sandy lot.  And even though I’d seen photos of Breceda’s art I wasn’t fully prepared for this safari of imagination.

Gomphothere metal sculpture by Ricardo Breceda Galleta Meadows Borrego Springs CaliforniaThey didn’t quite look like the elephants I’ve seen in South Africa, but certainly related.  The Gomphotheres (FT-10 on map below), who roamed this area 4 million years ago, were smaller than mammoths and about the same size as their descendants the modern elephant.  Both Avery and Breceda shared an obsession with the prehistoric and this gomphotheres was the first installment in 2008.

Gomphothere metal sculpture by Ricardo Breceda Galleta Meadows Borrego Springs CaliforniaThe detail of these rough metal sculptures is amazing.  I’ll never look at scrap metal the same.  Built of reinforcement bars, wire, and metal, Breceda uses various sized hammers, from screwdrivers to sledgehammers, to pound texture into the patches of metal he welds together.

Camelops metal sculpture by Ricardo Breceda Galleta Meadows Borrego Springs California

Camelops metal sculpture by Ricardo Breceda Galleta Meadows Borrego Springs CaliforniaNot far from these ancient almost elephants stood another animal that looked familiar.  The Camelops (FT-10) is an extinct genus of camel that once roamed western North America but disappeared at the end of the Pleistocene about 10,000 years ago.

Grasshopper & scorpion metal sculpture by Ricardo Breceda Galleta Meadows Borrego Springs CaliforniaA little further away I saw what looked like a grasshopper and scorpion (HN-5) faceoff.  Yet by now I took nothing for granted and approached with caution.  These two must be on steroids because when a couple walked by it looked like the scorpion could easily grab their mid-size dog.

After walking around the sandy lot for over an hour I discovered the keys to the camper had fallen off the hook on my belt loop.  Still had the truck key and figured a screwdriver would probably get me in the camper.  But I back tracked and fortunately found them near the camelops half buried under a footprint in the sand.

Sky Art map Galleta Meadows metal sculptures Borrego Springs CaliforniaBy the second visit I’d picked up a map at the Anza-Borrego visitor center of all the sculpture’s locations.  Then Grand Canyon friends came to visit and after a hike to the snake we made the rounds.  Dennis Avery, who died in 2012, owned Avery Labels and about three square miles of undeveloped property throughout Borrego Springs.  None of the scattered locations are more than 1/2 to 5 miles apart.

Merriam's Tapir metal sculptures Galleta Meadows by Ricardo Breceda Borrego Springs CaliforniaWe started off being stalked by Gracile Sabertooth Cats (FT-4) I shared before.  This robust 100-200 pound kitty, smallest of ancient Americas’ sabertooths, roamed the area when it was forest and swamp then went extinct about 10,000 years ago.  Nearby a family of Merriam’s Tapirs (FT-3) ate off the scrubby local growth and seemed oblivious of the cats they would have once shared a landscape with.

Velociraptor metal sculpture Galleta Meadows by Ricardo Breceda Borrego Springs California

Giant Tortoise metal sculptures Galleta Meadows by Ricardo Breceda Borrego Springs CaliforniaJust out of sight a pair of Velociraptor (WF-1) appeared to be in a trance-like dance with an audience of Giant Tortoise (FT-2) while nearby a mother peccary (FT-1), or javelina, stood suckling and paying no mind.  I wondered if the far more ancient tortoises were laughing at the dancing dinos.  Yet dinosaurs have been Brecada’s best seller from his ‘Perris Jurassic Park’ shop along Interstate 215 in Perris, California.

Indian Head metal sculpture Galleta Meadows by Ricardo Breceda Borrego Springs CaliforniaAs we drove south on Borrego Springs Road this guy called the Indian Head (HN-2) seemed trapped in the desert soil.  A very different theme here.

African elephant metal sculpture Galleta Meadows by Ricardo Breceda Borrego Springs CaliforniaA quarter mile away we saw African elephants (FT-6) that seemed out of place and just a little out of proportion from what I’ve seen in South Africa.

Serprent metal sculpture by Ricardo Breceda Galleta Meadows Borrego Springs California

Serprent metal sculpture by Ricardo Breceda Galleta Meadows Borrego Springs CaliforniaHalf mile further and our hearts all skipped beats as we witnessed a serpent (WF-2) crossing the road, actually going under the road with it’s 350’ length.  The most recent of Breceda’s installations and possibly created in response to his beginnings as a metal artist.  Originally from Durango, Mexico, and not an artist, one day he made a dinosaur statue for his daughter.  Later, after an accident lost him his job he pursued his art full-time.

Gracile Sabertooth Cat attacking Extinct Horse metal sculpture by Ricardo Breceda Galleta Meadows Borrego Springs CaliforniaOnce we caught our breaths and escaped to the car a drive to Christmas Circle and beyond to the south maybe 2.5 miles a Sabertooth attacking a now extinct horse (Ft-11) caught our eyes.  And not far away an Aiolornis (FT-12) stood on it’s nest.  Unfortunately this large bird stood against an ever darkening sky not conducive for photos.

1946 Willys Jeep metal sculpture by Ricardo Breceda Galleta Meadows Borrego Springs CaliforniaThe day I left Anza-Borrego for Agua Caliente I did one more drive past the Spanish Padre and a Saguaro (HN-3) and the 1946 Willys Jeep (HN-4) which I dreamed of using to explore more of this amazing desert.

Serpent metal sculpture by Ricardo Breceda Galleta Meadows Borrego Springs CaliforniaPlus I just couldn’t resist returning to the serpent.  And I still haven’t seen them all so a return visit is certainly in order.

What to know before you go

If you ever visit Borrego Springs California, a nice little town surrounded by Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, I highly recommend a visit to Ricardo Breceda’s Galleta Meadows Estates metal sculptures.  Probably be a good idea to ask for a map at either the park’s visitor center or in town at the ABF store.  The complete circuit of about 20 miles round trip offers safe places to pull off the road and some sand roads.  Please don’t make new roads and pay attention to soft sand.  Summer visits should include plenty of water, hat and sunscreen for this scorching desert environment.  And because Borrego Springs is a “Dark Sky Community” think about bringing your tripod for a starry background to the Sky Art of Ricardo Breceda.

18 DSCN1469ler Anza-Borrego Desert SP map CA g-2 (1024x793)

Jan 262015

Yellow balloons Plomosa Road BLM Quartzsite Arizona

I attended the first ever 2015 Blogger-Fest near Quartzsite Arizona and I’ll bet it won’t be the last of bloggers gathering in the desert.  Turn at the yellow balloons.

Jerri & Sandie & bloggers Plomosa Road BLM Quartzsite ArizonaA big thanks to Jerri and Sandie (standing in front of the group) for organizing this gathering attended by at least 50 people, mostly bloggers that full-time in their RV.  And there were mega-loads of RVs parked out on this BLM 14 day camping area off Plomosa Road north of Quartzsite.  Many of the folks attending parked within walking distance, drove a toad/towed/tower over or came from other nearby camp areas.  Started off with introductions then moved on to food and socializing with business cards handed around.

Gayle, Ivan & Judy Blogger-Fest Plomosa Road BLM Quartzsite ArizonaFinally met some bloggers I follow, some I’ve heard of, and others I didn’t know until now along with some of their mascot/pets.  I was happy to put faces with Gayle (standing) and Jim (in the hat and black sitting behind her) from Life’s Little Adventures  as their profile photo is an unbelievable hoot.  Ivan from Roadtrip travels with his cat Hailey exploring the southern US and Baja, Mexico during the winter and all over Alberta and Canada during the summer.   I’ve long heard of Judy Bell from Travels with Emma and although she’s a little behind posting I look forward to adding her to my reading list.

Nan, Kevin & Ruth Blogger-Fest Plomosa Road BLM Quartzsite ArizonaI met Nan from Trippin With the Talleys while camping at Anza-Borrego and I’ve followed Kevin and Ruth since their travels in Southern Africa last year and more recently returning to the States in their motorhome from Mexico.

Al & Kelly Blogger-Fest Plomosa Road BLM Quartzsite ArizonaAl & Kelly came down for the day from Congress, Arizona along with their famous Pheebs from The Bayfield Bunch.  I talked to but didn’t get photos of Jerry and Wanda with their adorable dog Sally from Eggrollings who I missed meeting when they visited the North Rim last fall.  Finally met Diana from Life on the Open Road who I’ve followed forever.  Met a whole lot of new people to add to the blog reader like Retired Rod, John and Sharon from On the Road to Retirement, Marianne of Frugal RV Travel,  and Doug with his dog Yuma from Missadventure Travels.  Plus I know there were more people I didn’t meet and I don’t remember everybody’s name so apologize for leaving some folks out.  In fact I could have spent more time chatting with everyone there and hope I get the chance to do that next year if not before.

Truck camper Plomosa Road BLM Quartzsite ArizonaAfterwards I drove out into the desert and spent a delightfully quiet night with barely another RV in sight.  Then Sunday I drove back to Yarnell to check on things in general and get some forgotten items.  I suspect it will be colder here than I like so I’ll soon be heading back south to warmer desert temperatures.

Sunset Plomosa Road BLM Quartzsite Arizona

Foto Friday Fun 95

 Posted by on January 23, 2015  Foto Friday Fun
Jan 232015

This week’s Foto Friday Fun features 6 images chosen by readers from my photo archives.  Our meme number for this week is 13.  Please link in any day this week by digging into your archives and sharing a photo and story on your blog.  Plus check out the other posts linked to the Foto Friday Fun meme.

Motorhome at Caves Creek campground Siskyou National Forest OregonJonker chose #13, “my fav number.”  Back when this was taken summer 2004 it was my “fav” RV so far and also the largest at 27 feet.  I remember thinking I’d moved into a palace.  In this shot I was backed into my camp host site at Cave Creek campground while I also worked at Oregon Caves.

Steenbok Kruger National Park South AfricaSherry chose #4567.  One of the small antelope and also rather shy, I got lucky with this photo of a steenbok in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Colorado R from Mohave Point Hermit Road South Rim Grand Canyon National Park ArizonaShane chose #677, a magnificent view of the Colorado River from Mohave Point along the South Rim’s Hermit Road.  Back in January 2012 I attended the 3rd Grand Canyon History Symposium and learned a whole lot from the speakers and tours. Plus I experienced plenty of snow on the rim which you can’t tell from this photo.

Dew on spider web along Cave Creek trail Siskyou National Forest OregonSallie forgot to choose a number this week, so her comment had 94 words and that’s what she gets.  Also from a time working at Oregon Caves National Monument while walking Cave Creek trail through a lush and diverse forest.  The unseen spider web hold dew drops above the forest floor.

Indian Ocean view from Scottburgh Caravan Park Scottburgh South AfricaYogi chose #5347.  An afternoon view across the Indian Ocean complete with fisherman from our camp at Scottburgh Caravan Park, South Africa.

Palm trees & San Ysidro Mts Henderson Canyon Borrego Springs CaliforniaDiane chose #1007, a planted grove of palm trees with a backdrop of the San Ysidro Mountains Borrego Springs, California.  Just beyond that grove are orchards of citrus fruit and a small unattended stand where I bought a 10 pound bag of juicy red grapefruits for only $4.

1946 Willys Jeep metal sculpture by Ricardo Breceda Galleta Meadows Borrego Springs CaliforniaAnd my choice for the week:  Being my truck camper can’t go everywhere I joined a jeeper who could.

Please join in by:

1) Sharing a #13 photo index number from your photo archives in a post on your blog with a story that goes with the photo.  Then add the URL from that post to Mr. Linky below along with your name (Gaelyn, AZ), and link back to Foto Friday Fun 95 in your post so others may read and join in.

2) You can also leave a number between 01 and 9000 in a comment for next week’s Foto Friday Fun.

3) One or both of the above.

First commenter will chose next week’s photo index number.

Do you have a favorite from this week?