Monuments vs. Parks

This past Sunday we went to Mesa Verde National Park.

All I can say it “Wow!”

But not the good “wow”; the surprised “wow”.  And I’m not talking about the scenery.

The parking lot at the visitors center was practically full.  Meaning everyone was inside.  Either souvenir shopping, telling the kids “No, you don’t need that” or waiting in line hoping to get tickets for one of the many tours that leave every 30 minutes.  Sold out. *Groan*

Then car after car of slow moving (25 in a 45mph) tourists most likely arguing about not getting that tour they wanted and/or the cost of the tour.

When we finally got up Mesa Verde, I got to watch all the people.  And “people watch” I did.  I swear it’s better than an airport.  From “One-button-guy“- the guy that only needs to use 1 of his 9 buttons on his shirt and his wife “Boobs McGee”- bright orange, super tight sweater.  There were also the 2 older ladies with their big hair, manicured nails, giant gold necklaces, wedge sandals, and carrying their little dogs after they let them pee on the sidewalk.  Have I mentioned we’re in the Southwest? It’s mostly dirt and these ladies couldn’t just move the dog off of the one sidewalk!  Of course, lets not forget the whining/crying children with the over-perfumers for parents.  That kids not tired or hungry, he just can’t breathe because his air passages are on fire! (I have bad reactions to perfumes) Seriously, all you scented folk. Ease up.  You’re outside.  The birds don’t give a crap what you’re wearing.

Ohhh, the people!

Everyone shooting with their iPhone, Android, Full Size Tablets, etc…  Yep.  Full size tablet.  I couldn’t believe it either.  Shoulder to shoulder.  All of them like lemmings for the same photo.  Then the tour groups gather together and they get shuffled down some stairs to the main viewing area.  Hardly anyone carrying water because, hey it’s only 8000 feet above sea level. *Shakes head*.  If they’re lucky, {read with sarcasm} they’ll get at least 10-15 minutes of shooting in.  If you don’t mind having heads in your photos, then you’d have no problem here.

Tour group with one on the way down

Tour group getting toured with another group on the way down.

Then we went to Hovenweep National Monument. *Note this is not a Nat’l Park*  I “Wowed” again.  But this time it wasn’t because of the people or the parking situation.  Well it was, but it wasn’t.  You see, Hovenweep had a whopping 14 cars in the parking lot.  I saw a handful of the visitors.

Why?  Because there’s so much to do.  You can walk the entire loop around and through the little canyon.  Ancient Indian ruins lining the rim and inside of the canyon.  Self guided, no hurry, you get to keep your own pace.

One of the many ruins that can be found here.

One of the many ruins that can be found here.

There’s a 4 mile trail that you can hike taking you to another set of ruins called the Holly Group.  Another place where I saw no one and yet there was so much to see.  I couldn’t believe we were the only people there.  With all the people at the National Park, I was sure we would’ve seen some of them trickle down to the less crowded National Monument.  Nope.  Not a soul. We had the place to ourselves.

Holly Group of Hovenweep National Monument

Holly Group of the Hovenweep National Monument

How many people do you think know about these beautiful places?  Do you know about them?  Do you know there are 109 National Monuments in the U.S.?  44 of those are located in the four-corners region (AZ, NM, CO, UT).

There’s a great Kickstarter happening right now.  There’s only 12 days left to reach the goal.  This Kickstarter is for the RVer’s Guide to the National Monuments of the Southwest.  Click the link and check out a free downloadable sample chapter of the Hovenweep National Monument.

We all know where the National Parks are.  We barely know where the National Monuments lie.  They’re usually in between all the pricey parks.  You can find them on a side road, down a dirt road, and occasionally down a desert sand dune-like road.  They are the little brown or green signs you drive by all the time.

Get on board with this Guide book.  There are incentives, from postcards and prints, to E-books and a hardcover photography book.  Maybe you want to go on a photography trip in/around Page, AZ.  That’s an option too.

Get your copy of the RVer’s Guide to the National Monuments of the Southwest.


To RVer’s & travelers! Be Part of a First Ever…

Hi RVer’s and travelers!!

Be part of the first ever crowdfunded RVer’s Guide to the National Monuments of the Southwest.

I’m not just talking about a little book of the most popular Monuments with paved roads and happy pull-off view points, but rather every single National Monument in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico.

There are 44 of the 109 National Monuments just in the 4 corners region! Did you know that?! I bet you didn’t.  Did you know the majority of these National Monuments are owned by the National Parks Service and BLM(Bureau of Land Management)?  That means you can set up a tent, pull up your RV, and park anywhere that allows it! You know you love boondocking…I do.

So, if you own an RV or just like a good roadtrip and would like to own a digital guide book entailing how to find and enjoy all these places(including professional photos not shot with an iPhone), click this happy highlighted link and donate a couple bucks to help make it happen.

Your name will be published in the guide book under the donors section.  Who doesn’t want their name in a book? You know you want your name attached to what seems to be the first book of its kind.  Go ahead and Google it.  Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ask, whichever search engine you prefer, type in “RV guide National Monuments” or “RV guide to Southwest National Monuments”.  There aren’t any.  ZERO.  ZILCH.  NADA.  So why not be part of a one-of-a-kind venture.  But hey, if  you don’t like unique things that are wicked awesome with your name on it….What am I saying?! Of course you like wicked awesome things!!!

More info on this super amazing, first ever project of its kind, can be found here and here.

Or click this pic.

This is in the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. Do you know how to get there? That Guide Book would help. *wink*wink*

Do you know where this is?  That Guide Book would help. *wink*wink*

  or this pic
Teddybear Cholla or Jumping Cactus with star trails.
Teddybear Cholla or Jumping Cactus with star trails.

#31 Jon Lester’s Last Home Game

Everyone who knows me knows how much of a HUGE Red Sox fan I am.  As a card carrying member of Red Sox Nation, arriving back on the East Coast June 1st, it was only a matter of time until “the craving” set in.

July 13th my cousin Sean called me to tell me he scored 2 Red Sox tickets from his restaurants Sam Adams rep.  Sweet Caroline, I was stoked! We were going to be near the Pesky Pole! R.F. Box 95 row MM seats 7 & 8.  Boston vs. Kansas City.  Oddly enough, all but 1 game I’ve seen at Fenway has always been against the Royals.  Most games were on a whim and every freaking time….Royals. Weird.

Now allow me to give you a little backstory.  Sean and I both grew up in Coventry, CT with our Grampa being a big Sox fan and Ted Williams as his hero.  The games were always playing on the tv or the radio.  Sometimes they were one of the greatest teams in baseball, but most of the time they were a “bunch of bums”.  Gotta love Grampa.

From the ages of 8-16, every Friday my mom would drop me off at my Grandparent’s house to spend the weekend.  Sean’s just a few years younger than me and lived about 4 miles away with his Mother, so he would come down and spend the weekend with me.  We’d get into harmless trouble, ride our bikes through the neighborhood, build forts in the woods, go down to the lake and go swimming(not past our waist tho) and wait to hear Grampa’s whistle signaling to us it was time to eat lunch or it was getting dark.  Sean was more of a brother to me than a cousin.  He played hockey and soccer.  I would go watch and cheer from the sideline.  But in all the time we spent together we had only gone to 1 Red Sox game together. Oh, and we both shared Bruins’ Ray Bourque #77 as a hero. Go B’s!

Needless to say, I was pretty excited that just the 2 of us would be venturing into Boston to catch a Red Sox game together.  Deciding to drive to Framingham and catch the T, I parked right at the platform as the T was rolling out.  “This is the T.” I thought. “Another one should roll through in 30 minutes.” Nope.  The purple T pulls up and the conductor/driver was nice enough to lean out the window(after seeing us in our Red Sox gear) to holler the next T to Boston won’t be for another 1.5 hours.  Awesome. Not really.

Argh. Now I have to drive into the city.  Thank god it was 1:30 start time. And thank god Sean knew how to get there…..kinda.

“Where the hell am I going to park?” I said to him.
He replies with “No worries. We’ll park where I parked for the Zac Brown Band Fenway show.  It’s just a few blocks from the park.”
“Cool.” Nope, not cool. I forgot how shitty people are when driving into Boston.  After getting cutoff a few times and being forced to let way too many drivers into my lane, I asked Sean. “So where exactly is this parking lot?”
“Um, well, I was pretty drunk but I think you’re gonna want to make a right up here….I think.  Basically we got lost going to the concert and accidentally found the parking lot.  But we’ll find it. We’ll get lost and find it.”
Great. I’m relying on my cousin’s possible memory. lol.
Suddenly he says “You probably should’ve turned right back there. Yeah, that was your turn. Ooo! Take this right! Yeah. This is it! When we got lost, we missed that first turn and had to take this one.  I think this is the right way. Just keep right.”
I did and suddenly there was the Citgo sign in the distance and a parking lot on my right.
Good ‘ol Sean.

We walked the few blocks to Fenway, hit up the Souvenir Shop for some new hats, then went in to find our seats and stuff our faces with some Fenway Franks.

I felt like a kid again walking into Fenway for the first time, seeing the Green Monster, the well manicured outfield, and the tiniest seats ever to be sat in at a ballpark. I was in heaven.

Unbeknownst to Sean and I, this was to be Jon Lester’s last home game.  Not too long after that he was benched while trade rumors floated around.  “They’re not going to trade Lester. There’s no way. He’s our best pitcher” was pretty much what every Sox fan was saying.  But they did.  They traded Lester and Gomes to the A’s for Yoenis Cespedes.  Good trade for a bat, but come on, Jon Lester?

I’m glad I got to see his last home stand.  He got the W giving up only a few hits and no runs.  The Sox won 6-0 with some great plays.  I got to bring my Canon 7D with my super mega awesome lens (70-200mm).  I could “practically zoom into the players’ nose hairs” as Sean kept saying.

Here are a few of the images I shot that day.  Mostly game play but a few of the park as well. It was a special day being at Fenway with my cousin and seeing Jonny Lester #31 get his last W at home. Enjoy the photos.


And those were only a fraction of what I shot. I could photograph baseball all day. Actually, I would love to do that.