Conservatory at Bellagio

Our holiday season visit to the Conservatory at the Bellagio on 12/27/2010 with Christina Paine and her dad, Jim Herring on their post Christmas visit to Las Vegas to celebrate New Year's Eve and Jim's 60th birthday. Ending at the Bellagio, the evening's tour included the Mystic Falls show at Sam's Town and the Cactus Garden at Ethel "M's" Chocolate Factory. All in all it made for a very colorful and festive holiday evening.


Mt Charleston, Las Vegas NV

Mt. Charleston and the Spring Mountain Range

On an overcast cloudy, storm-like day, I took this picture in late November, 2010, while in the north end of town checking on Jim Herring's home. The Spring Mountains are a mountain range of southern Nevada that run generally northwest-southeast along the west side of Las Vegas and down to the border with California. Most land in the mountains is owned by the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management and managed as the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area within the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
Notes: Post editing included the creation of a panorama from two seperate pictures. I then enhanced the sky with Landscape Pro, increased the Contrast, Saturation, and the Sharpen.


2010 Cadillac Car Show

Description: This 2-page PDF file provides information and pictures of the Cadillac Car show held on 09/23/2010 in The District at Green Valley Ranch, just up the street from where we live.  I usually attended this annual show every couple of years. This year I decided to take some pictures highlighting the a variety of items such as insignias, lights, wheels, rims, etc. on some of the featured cars.
Viewing Tips: You can click anywhere on the page, or the scroll bar on the right side, to scroll down. If you have trouble reading the text, use the (+) button at the bottom of the page to "Zoom In" and the scroll bars to position text for reading. For best viewing, click the “Fullscreen” button on the bar shown above.

2010 Super Run Car Show

Description: This 2-page PDF file provides information and pictures of the Super Run Car show held on 09/23/2010 in The District at Green Valley Ranch, just up the street from where we live.  I have attended this annual show for the past four years. This year I decided to take some pictures highlighting the wheels and rims on some of the featured cars. A collage featuring these pictures is on the second page.

Viewing Tips: You can click anywhere on the page, or the scroll bar on the right side, to scroll down. If you have trouble reading the text, use the (+) button at the bottom of the page to "Zoom In" and the scroll bars to position text for reading. For best viewing, click the “Fullscreen” button on the bar shown above.

The slideshow below is designed to run automatically in place. Clicking anywhere in the black background area that surrounds the picture being shown will PAUSE the show and bring up the Pause, Forward and Back menu at the bottom of the slideshow window, allowing you to start, stop or manually forward pictures one at a time.

To view the slideshow full-screen, click in the middle of the running show. When the new browser window appears, click on the left side of the menu where it says "slideshow".

Slideshow Description: The slideshow above contains 47 pictures that were taken at the 2010 Super Run Car Show at The District at Green Valley Ranch.

Pahrump Valley Winery

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This page last updated on 04/13/2017

(Fig. 01)
Directions: The Pahrump Valley Winery is located a scenic one hour drive from the Las Vegas Strip. Take Highway NV-160 west. You will take a right at the first stop light (Winery Road), then half mile to winery on the left.

DescriptionThis estate vineyard is located here at the winery and consists of Zinfandel and Syrah. Planted in the early 1990's, this Zinfandel vineyard is also Nevada's oldest commercially producing red grape vineyard; it produced the state of Nevada's first commercial red wine in state history when it was harvested in 2005. You can imagine how delighted we were when these first 100 cases of Zinfandel, released in 2008, won 7 National Wine Awards, including a Gold! The 2006 vintage followed with another award winning year. It's easy to see that southern Nevada is becoming "Zinfandel" territory. In 2009 they added 1,200 Syrah and Zinfandel vines to their 3 acre vineyard. All the new vines were planted on drought resistant root stock and placed on a (VSP) vertical shoot position trellis system. In March of 2014 they released their first "estate" Syrah, our 2011 vintage. This wine exploded with juicy flavors and spice and it we won "GOLD" at the Tasters Guild International wine competition. It quickly became the fastest selling dry red wine in Nevada history. Both their Syrah and Zinfandel have been awarded GOLD medals in National Wine Competitions. They now partner with several other vineyards around the Silver State. In 2015 the combined efforts of these growers harvested nearly 30 tons of Nevada grown wine grapes. The combined efforts of these growers have contributed to the Pahrump Vallery Winery's 2 Double Gold, 13 Gold, 35 Silver and 20 Bronze medal winning wines! Capital challenges aside, the Loken's have renovated about 90 percent of the winery since they took it over in 2002. They gutted the restaurant and rebuild it from the ground up so it was 100 percent new. They then installed all new plant equipment, tanks, bottling, you name it. They renovated the tasting room and expanded the gift room. Last year they added a beautiful glass-in dining porch around the entire Zagot awarded restaurant and continue to renovate the surrounding grounds. Symphony's restaurant has received five Zagat ratings and is the only Pahrump establishment to have a Zagat rating.

Trip Visit Notes: Over the past several years I have visited the Pahrump Valley Winery (Fig. 01) on at least five occasions. Sometimes for a wine tasting, sometimes to have lunch in the Symphony restaurant. The first time I visited was in 2010 with my friend Jim Herring. When we got there we signed up for a tour of the grounds, the vineyards and the vine making operation inside. The lush grounds are well landscape and provide walking paths, water fountains and a gazebo (Fig 02). Today (08/05/2016), I made another visit with friends Bob Croke and Jim Herring. We started today's visit with another tours of the vineyards (Fig. 03) and always seem to come away with more information about the property. We were surprised to learn that about a 1/4 acre of vines (Fig. 04) could yield as much as a 1,000 bottles of wine. Including the grapes they import from other wineries, they produce more 100,000 bottles of wine a year (Fig. 05). (Figure 06) is a picture of the wine bottling machine. One things we learned today was that they use three different types of oak barrels (Fig. 07) for aging some of the wines. Some of these are barrels come from the US and some come from Italy and France and range in cost from $500 to more than $1,000 per barrel. And, that after being used for three harvests, they have to be thrown away. As of 2016, they have now produced more than 1 million bottles of wine. Since 2006, their NEVADA Wines have won 83 National Wine Awards; 18 Gold, 42 Silver and 23 Bronze (Fig. 08). (notes con't below)

(Fig. 02)
(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 07)

(Fig. 08)

Visit Notes Continued: While waiting for the tour, we sat in the leather couched, fire-placed lounge. One end is covered all of its award winning wines and the other end is its classed in wine storage area (Fig. 10). After the tour we enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Symphony's restaurant. This Zagot rated establishment is an up-scale casual restaurant that serves both lunch and dinner. On white linen clothed tables, in a very quiet, elegant atmosphere, the fine food is beautifully served, and is reasonably priced. Dining here is worth the trip to the winery all by itself. Since my first visit here, they have even improved the restaurant by adding more seating including an closed-in outside patio with a lovely, relaxing view (Fig. 11). The picture in (Fig. 12) shows a side view of the building and its glassed-in porch. After a very relaxing lunch, we bellied up to the wine tasting bar (Fig 09 -up) and sampled more than a half dozen different wines. Every visit we make here, we always end up buying several bottles of wine. Today some of us even bought olive oil and some jellies from the gift shop. The last picture (Fig. 14) is of an old vintage truck once used for hauling wine barrels.

(Fig. 09)

(Fig. 10)

(Fig. 11)
(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13)

Pahrump, NV – Pahrump Valley Winery

The single page PDF file below, another transfer from my "Travelogue Diary" site, provides information and pictures from a visit in July of 2010 that I made to the Pahrump Valley Winery with my friend Jim Herring on one of his many Las Vegas visits. To view for reading, click on the “Full Screen” Full Page Icon icon located at the very right of the Scribd menu bar at the bottom of the page.


Nancy Rubin Installation "Big Edge" at City Center

This page last updated on 03/24/2018

Big Edge
Designed by Nancy Rubins, this canoe sculpture located at the heart of City Center in downtown Las Vegas has become City Center's crown jewel. More than 200 aluminum boats — canoes, rowboats and flat-bottomed boats — make up the wild bouquet of color and shape juxtaposed against surrounding monochromatic glass buildings. Attached to an armature and to one another, the boats shoot upward and outward and are supported by cantilevers. It looks as if they were tossed into the air and captured in a freeze frame.

Artist Background: Nancy Rubins was born in Naples, TX, raised in Tullahoma, TN, and studied in Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore (BFA, 1974) and the University of California, Davis (MFA, 1976). She currently lives and works in Topanga Canyon, CA. For more than 25 years, Rubins has exhibited extensively around the world. For more go to [Nancy Rubins].

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Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata)

(Fig. 01)

(Fig. 01)
Picture Notes: The picture in (Fig. 01 was taken at the Las Vegas Springs Preserve on 04/17/2016. The pictures in (Figs. 02 & 03) were taken on 05/212010 on a daytrip to the Valley of Fire, near Overton, NV. It was the only plant of its kind visible in a very large open desert area. The picture in (Fig. 04) was taken on a hike to the Buffington Pockets in the Muddy Mountains.

Description: Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata) are annual flowers with relatively large, showy, yellow flowers that can turn the landscape yellow during a good year. The flower is a typical daisy (composite) flower. Desert Marigolds are common components of the spring wildflower display along washes and on bajadas in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zones.
(Fig. 02)
Typically an annual forb with basal leaves and upright flower stalks. Sometimes a perennial shrub to about 1-1/2 feet tall and 2-feet across. Its flower stems can grow to about 20 inches. Leafy parts usually to about 6 inches. Its flowers bloom in late spring to early summer, and sometimes again in the fall if conditions are right. The flower is a showy daisy-like flower (composite with disk and ray flowers), bright yellow to yellow-orange, to about 1-1/2 inches across. Inflorescence with one flower head per stem Flower: It likes dry, well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils on upper bajadas and moderate slopes in the lower mountains at elevations from about 2,000 to 5,000 feet.

(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)


Roadtrip - Pyramid Lake – Nixon, NV

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(Fig. 01)
05/11/2006 Trip Notes: While visiting my sister in Reno, we ended up taking a daytrip that took us to Pyramid Lake in Nixon, NV.  From Reno, take I-80 east bound, get off on exit 18 (Pyramid Lake/SR 445) head north for about 35 miles. The drive from Reno carries you through a succession of shallow depressions between low, brush-stubbled hills, a constant reminder of the desert's monotony. However, once you pass over the last hill, the eye searing expanse of Pyramid Lake stretched out before you (Fig. 01) is an almost shocking, staggering sight.
Lake Lahontan
(Fig. 02)
Lake History: Nearly 27 miles long and 11 miles wide, the view in (Fig. 01) above was taken from close to its It was named for the pyramid-shaped island (Fig. 03) just off the east shore by John C. Fremont who came upon the lake on January 10th, 1844. This remnant of ancient Lake Lahontan (Fig. 02), which during the ice age more than 12,700 years ago, covered approximately 8,450 square miles. The lake had largely disappeared in its extended form about 9,000 years ago. As the surface elevation dropped, the lake broke up into series of smaller lakes, most of which rapidly dried up, leaving only a playa. The only modern remnants existing as true lakes are Pyramid Lake and Walker Lake, far to the south.
The Pyramid Lake Indian reservation was created in 1859. In a fierce battle for the lake between the Paiute people and the white man in 1860 is said to have killed more white men than any other White-Indian engagement in the far west. In 1913, Anaho Island, just to the south - to the right of the Pyramid on (Fig. 04), was established as a National Wildlife Refuge and is today one of the largest white pelican nesting grounds in North America. The last view (Fig. 05) was taken from opposite the pyramid, looking towards the north end of the lake.
Widely acclaimed as North America’s most beautiful desert lake, it’s actually the world class fishery that has brought Pyramid Lake worldwide fame. Pyramid Lake is the only habitat in the world for the Cui-ui fish that has been around for over 2 million years. The Pyramid Lake fishery includes the famous Lohanton Cutthroat Trout that have grown to record sizes and have lured fisherman from around the world over for several decades. In 1925 a Paiute named Johnny Skimmerhorn caught the world's record cutthroat here; a 41-pounder.
Commercial fishermen harvested 100 tons of trout between winter 1888 and spring 1889, for shipment all over the U.S. Restocking began in the early 1950s, and today five to ten pounders are not uncommon at Pyramid. Tours can be taken at the fish hatcheries at Sutcliffe.
(Fig. 03)
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
The single page PDF file below was created in June of 2006 after a trip in May that took us to Pyramid Lake while on a roadtrip to Reno to visit my sister. To view for reading, click on the “Full Screen” Full Page Icon icon located at the very right of the Scribd menu bar at the bottom of the page. Directly below this file I have included a slideshow with some additional pictures of our visit.


Golden Barrel Cactus ( Echinocactus grusonii)

(Fig. 01)
Picture Notes: These pictures (Figs. 01-03) of mature Golden Barrel Cacti were taken on 03/18 and 04/15/2010 at the Botanical Cactus Garden at Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory in Las Vegas.

Description: Echinocactus grusonii, commonly called the Golden Barrel Cactus, Golden Ball or, amusingly, Mother-in-Law's Cushion, belongs to the small genus Echinocactus, which together with the related genus Ferocactus, are commonly referred to as barrel cacti.  Growing as a large roughly spherical globe, after many years, it may eventually reach over 3 feet in height. Large plants attain a size of over 2 feet across, and may remain single or produce plantlets at the side to form a clump. There may be up to 35 pronounced ribs in mature plants, though they are not evident in young plants, which may have a knobby appearance. Their flowers are also golden yellow in color, emerging from the large patch of wool at the center of the plant. They are produced a few at a time over a long period during the growing season in the warm months of the year. Note: Younger Golden Barrels do not look similar to the mature ones. The sharp spines are long, straight or slightly curved, and various shades of yellow or, occasionally, white. Small yellow flowers appear in summer around the crown of the plant, but only after twenty years or so.
Barrel cactus species have a lifespan ranging between 50 to 100 years, but some plants are known to survive for as long as 130 years. One extraordinary aspect of barrel cactus adaptations is their roots. The root system is designed to ensure that the plant is able to absorb every single drop of water available in the arid desert conditions. The specially designed roots also help the plant in fixation in desert soil, owing to which it is also seen growing on slopes as well as the walls of canyons. They come from Queretaro State in Mexico, but have become very scarce in the wild due to inundation of much of their natural habitat.
(Fig. 02)
(Fig. 03)


The Devil's Golf Course - Death Valley National Park

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This page last updated on 02/09/2018
On 04/11/2010 I drive out to an area on the valley’s floor called the Devil’s Golf Course. The surface n this area surely provides one of the most fascinating natural textures in existence.  It was so named after a line in the 1934 National Park Service guide book to Death Valley National Monument, which stated that " Only the devil could play golf " on its surface, due to a rough texture from the large Halite salt crystal formations.

Background: Lake Manly once covered the valley to a depth of more than 30 feet. The Halite salt crystals consists of the minerals that were dissolved in the lake's water and left behind in the Badwater Basin as the lake evaporated. With an elevation several feet above the valley floor at Badwater, this area remains dry, allowing weathering processes to sculpt the salt there into complicated forms. Through exploratory holes drilled by the Pacific Coast Borax Company, prior to Death Valley becoming a national monument in 1934, it was discovered that the salt and gravel beds of the valley floor in this location extend to a depth of more than 1,000 feet; later studies suggest that in places the depth ranges up to 9,000 feet.


Veer Towers at City Center

 I took this picture on a visit to City Center with some visiting relative in March of 2010. There is so much to see here, that I plan on making a several more picture taking visits. The wild slant of Las Vegas’s Veer Towers, designed by Helmut Jahn create one of the most eye-grabbing sights in Las Vegas. The twin 37-story trapezoidal-shaped towers tilt five degrees in opposite directions for a striking visual contrast of angles that seem suspended in time and space.  By contrast, the Leaning Tower of Pisa tilts just 3.9 degrees. A core of slanted columns hands off the load at the sixth, 19th and 32nd floors as the floorplates shift more than 35 feet across the 37-story height of the building. The result is an impossible-looking structure and, because the towers lean past each other, views from every room.Buildings are wrapped in a distinctive yellow checkerboard fritting that reduces heat gain while providing shading and privacy. It could be one of 2010's boldest examples of a true partnership between architect and engineer, in what Jahn calls “archineering.”

Area Description: CityCenter is a 16,797,000-square-foot mixed-use, massive urban complex on 76 acres located on the Las Vegas Strip. With a total cost of more than 11 billion dollars, the project, owned MGM Resorts International was the largest privately funded construction project in the history of the United States. Vdara, Aria and Mandarin Oriental (a mix of hotels, residences, casino and restaurants) and The Crystals (a high-end shopping mall) opened in December 2009. The Veer Towers and the Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino opened in 2010. Plagued by construction problems and lawsuits, The Harmon Hotel and  Residences has yet to open.


Grapevine Canyon

I first visited Grapevine Canyon on 02/23/2010 with my wife Connie on a return trip from Laughlin Nevada. This shot, looking south, was taken from just a few hundred feet up into the canyon.


Compass Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus)

(Fig. 01)
Picture Notes: I found this beautiful young barrel cactus (Fig. 01), seemingly growing right out of the rock, on a hike halfway up Grapevine Canyon on a return trip from one of our visits to Laughlin, NV back in February of 2010. The cacti in (Fig. 02 & 03) were found near the base of the canyon.

Description: Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus), a.k.a. the Red Compass Barrel Cactus, is a large, round, barrel-shaped cactus with ribs (flutes) running from bottom to top. Barrel cactus start out short and wide (globular), then grow to about 5-ft tall and 16 inches in diameter. The plants are covered with relatively long, stout, flattened spines. The spines are erect and spreading, the longest are recurved, and they have some red color. Yellow flowers form a ring around the top of the stem. Barrels are generally uncommon cactus of rocky hillsides, but they can be locally common. Barrel cactus most often occur in rocky places and cliffs in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zone, although they can be found on bajadas below cliff areas. One of the best places to see Barrel Cactus around Las Vegas is on Fossil Hill at Red Rock Canyon. View some more shots here [Barrel Cactus of Grapevine Canyon].

Area Description: You'll find the exit to amazing Grapevine Canyon just north of Laughlin, NV. It's a mile-and-a-half drive on a smooth, graded gravel road to the trailhead. Here you'll find a passageway that dates back centuries. As you walk up the easy, one-mile trail you will bear witness to the announcements of our continental forebears; petroglyphs carved into the rocky walls of the canyon mouth. These enigmatic looping, geometric and curvy lithic inscriptions are akin to the sacred frescoes found in cathedrals. During spring and summer, wild grapevines fill the canyon's stream bed. Small waterfalls can be found in wetter months, too. The rocky mountain peak above Grapevine Canyon is known as Spirit Mountain and is sacred, like the canyon, to the Yuman tribes of the lower Colorado River region.