Sunday, January 17, 2010

Coffee and Pictures in Fresno

I mentioned yesterday, at my Facebook, that I'm in Fresno visiting family. Actually, my wife's uncle's in intensive care, and we're not sure how long he's got (he had a stroke two years ago and pneumonia now; breathing tubes have been inserted, etc.). We're staying at my wife's sister's house, in Clovis, out by Herndon and Fowler. We did our visiting at the hospital yesterday, and I didn't take a camera. So, I took the camera today when I went out for coffee this morning. Driving south down Fowler I slowed down to take pictures of a couple of turkey vultures that were making themselves at home in front of a nearby farmhouse. I stopped the van and walked over to the fence to get a look. The pictures of the vultures are blurry. Sorry. I'm not sure why, but I'm using the zoom. It's a Canon digital, my wife's, and I hope to get something more advanced soon. I'm starting to have fun again with photography:

I took a few shots of these birds. Normally soaring overhead, they are pretty majestic, although scavengers get a bad rap. One of the guys got spooked and took off just as I was walking up, here. After I took this picture below, this guy flew up here.

Here's the house. I already noticed it yesterday. Twenty years ago this part of town was all agriculture. There's wasn't a bit of track-housing development, but you can't stop progress, I guess. It's all a mix of old farms with horses and such, and modern urban development:

I stopped off for coffee at Starbucks. I thought about buying a copy of the New York Times, but at $6.00 for the Sunday paper, I decided just to read inside the store for a bit. The Times is going to a full subscription mode soon. I think it's a mistake (folks want to blog it anyway, so forget about it if you gotta pay). But the paper's so dreadfully liberal I won't make too much difference in my blogging, in any case:

I drove for a ways, back down Highway 99, and took the Highway 43 cutoff west toward Hanford. It started raining pretty good. I wanted to get a picture of this country store a few miles down the road. We saw the place yesteday, and the El Mexicano advertising really stuckout:

I'm still kind of shy about taking folks' pictures, but I did click one guy as he headed back out to his car. His clothes looked like he'd been working, worn and soiled. His face was haggard as well, perhaps from many years in the hot sun:

I took one more shot after the cars cleared out:

I started back west on Conejo. I stopped by a dairy farm, Nash Holsteins, according to the sign next to the farmhouse:

Walking down the side fenced area, some friendly cows came over to say hello:

Really nice cows. They were just feeding across the way, so I don't think they were looking for a handout, like animals at a park or something. They just like people, it turns out (more here, here and here):

I like the farm homes throughout this valley. Reminds me of Small-Town America. This one was up the road from the Nash Dairy Farm. It's real country out here, like it's been for decades and decades:

Before heading back home to my sister-in-law's, I wanted to get a couple of shots of this funky old gas station with a warplane sticking out of the roof. This is along old Highway 41, which is really Elm Avenue. This used to be the main highway southwest, toward Paso Robles and Morro Bay. I used to travel this road all the time when I was at UCSB in the 1990s:

Here's another angle. Sorry I don't know the make and model of this plane (vintage WWII, by the looks of it):

Almost back home, I snapped a shot of downtown Fresno heading north on Highway 41:

Then I got another cup of coffee at Starbucks:

My wife and I are loading my boys up in the van early tomorrow. We have some business to attend to at home, and I'm looking to report from the GOP Orange County Central Committee Meeting tomorrow night. Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots is expected to speak, so check back late tomorrow or Tuesday for that entry (if I can get it done).

P.S. I'm getting a lot spam, so comment moderation is enabled. I won't be able to clear 'em till way later, but don't be shy in any case ...


Left Coast Rebel said...

Great blog post Donald - I have seen the gas station with the war plane as well! Small world, I have venture across much of that area of CA, I spent many 'a moon in Morro Bay as well. Good memories.

AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks LCR!!

LewWaters said...

My guess on the old WW2 plane is it was one of the trainers used, but that is just a guess.

It does look like you had fun with your camera. I take tons with my Sony digital and even though going on 6 years old, still works fairly well.

My pride Photo remains to be the shot I captured in 2004 near Mt. St. Helens of a Chipmunk who was eating wildflowers. by pure chance, I got it as he had the flower in front of his nose, a million in one shot.

If you care to view it, click on Chipmunk

Keep taking photos and posting them, I enjoy seeing others talent with their cameras

kreiz1 said...

Only been through that area once, and I missed the gas station. No one told me about it! Rats.

What always astounds me about California is its wonderful diversity- of culture, of geography, of climate- what a great place. The agricultural feel of Fresno look like parts of eastern Colorado. No wonder people love it out there- it's a country, not a state.

Cuffy Meigs said...

With a bit of research, found teh fighter plane likely is a US Navy BT-13 trainer called the "Vultee Valiant". The Quik Stop Mini Mart is known locally in Caruthers as the "Plane Crash Gas Station"; you can get more detailed info on it by using that name as a search term.

These planes were very cheap to buy after the war (around $100 each), so that might be why this particular model was chosen as a prop for a gas station (assuming this is an actual BT-13).

PrivatePigg said...

Nice shots! Turkey vultures are awesome.

lady di said...

This was my first visit to your blog and enjoyed your pictorial. Not much farming done here on the North Shore of Massachusetts anymore but reminded me of the one that was across the street when I was a child.

Bernie said...

I stumbeled upon your entry from the link at Doug Ross. I am surprised to see that you were in my neck of the woods, I am just outside of Lemoore (with three horses, three dogs, a cat, etc.). When i first came to Lemoore (1990) people were excited that a McDonalds had recently opened. As they say, it used to be the only way to get there is if you were going there.

All the best, God Bless America.

Rusty Walker said...

I like your photos of the vultures!

May I suggest dome things: Being an artist, I photograph everywhere I go. )n my experience, it is not good to try to sneak off a shot of someone. Just ask people if you can take their photo. Say, “Hi, I am amateur photographer. I’m taking photos for my travel journal. May I take a quick snapshot of you for my collection?” If they ask, “why me?” Say, “you have an interesting face.” People generally are VERY flattered – even hard-core bikers! I have never been refused. This will net you some very good photos of the people from a region. In Morocco I used to give the men Bic lighters and the women flower seeds from the U.S.

Great photography towards Sequoia State Park up 198, has great river to the left and the hills and horse ranches are very picturesque.

Clovis: I know the Clovis-Visalia area well. Great farming country, My mother-in-Law and sister-in-law and nieces all live in Clovis and Visalia. I HIGHY recommend dining at the Depot in Visalia. Romantic high-end cuisine (I always had Salmon and chocolate dessert is wonderful). Vintage architecture of the original train depot.

Rusty Walker said...

Also, that shack is an old "shotgun house!"

Stogie said...

I think that plane was a Navy carrier plane - note how the wings are hinged and foldable, probably for storage under deck in an aircraft carrier.

No doubt the vultures are waiting for the California economy to finally die off so they can feast! :)

Philippe Öhlund said...

I hope your wife's uncle will be alright, Donald!

Nice pictures by the way.

You can always trust a Canon camera.

My computer broke down Friday.

Hopefully I will get it back with a new hard drive in a couple of days.

Til then I'll read your blog on my iPhone.

I got fired from my job today.

This happened at least ten times in my life before.

Not many companies have the required management skill to tame the beast which makes up my outstanding gentleness and performance.

Luckily, I constantly win on gambling.

Horses understand me.

I'll make some thinking while gambling the coming days!

Keep well! :-)

Blazingcatfur said...

A reader informs me the plane is a Vultee Valiant:

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

It's funny you should be in Fresno. Funny odd, not funny hah-hah.

My wife's family lived in Fresno. Her mother died there in 2007, of pancreatic cancer -- which presented and then killed her in the span of three short months. We attended the funeral and then never looked back.

Interestingly, politically and Fornicalia-speaking, Fresno County has the highest unemployment rate in the state due to the water issue with farmers and the ridiculous delta smelt -- up to 40% unemployment.

I've been to Fresno but we won't be back. Too many bad memories for my wife.