Solbit Wanders Magical Canyonlands on a Cloudy Day

Dear Nicalai,

Do you have any idea the strength of water?  Yes, that stuff you drink, bathe in, and that just slops through your hands into the sink and disappears down the drain.  I never, never thought of water as having strength.  Muscles have strength, dynamite has strength, but I thought water was just a weak liquid.  Wrong.

When Nona and Papa took me to a national park called Canyonlands, I learned about the amazing strength of water.  Canyons opened my eyes to what water can do.

Oh, I read this on Wikipedia: Author Edward Abbey, a frequent visitor, described the Canyonlands as “the most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth—there is nothing else like it anywhere.”

When you see rocks in the distance like those in my photo, you’ve got to ask yourself a question, “How did those rocks get like that?”  Papa says that asking yourself questions and seeking answers to them might be the best part of growing up, although he liked riding his bike, too.  So, that’s when I popped my question, “How did those rocks get like that, Papa?” He replied with a question, “What do you think, Solbit?” He does that a lot.

Meanwhile, Nona’s thoughts were up in the clouds.

Nona, our photographer-in-chief, says that she likes cloudy-day lighting for photos — not for lightening but for lighting.

Girl, I like clouds too, but no way clouds made these deep gouges in the earth that we call canyons.  “Nona, let’s forget the clouds and focus, please,” I appealed to her.  “Let’s think about my question, what made these canyons and these towers of rocks?”

Papa and I like cloudy-day lighting for hiking. He doesn’t get so sunburned, and I don’t get more orange than I already am.

That’s when Nona and Papa chimed in together, “Clouds, Solbit.  Clouds drop water on the ground. Clouds begin to answer your question. Now, tell us, what happens after the water hits the ground?”

Well, I knew the answer to that.  The ground soaks up the water. “Yes, but, Solbit, what if there’s too much water to soak up?” I knew! Then we get creeks and rivers and waterfalls where the water moves.  “Right. Rivers like the Colorado and the Green Rivers. Now, what makes the water move?”  Gravity? I asked.  “Yes, and over millions of years, what does that moving water do to the ground and the rock?” It gets worn away, right? “Right!”

Just imagine how may strong bulldozers and workers it would have taken to make these canyons and towers.  Couldn’t be done.  No way! But water did that.  Well, water and gravity.

Papa led the way through this deep slot in the rocks. Water and gravity carved out this lovely place.  We enjoyed going into places like this and being surprised by what we saw on the other side.

Canyonlands is full of surprises…all thanks to water and gravity! What a great day we had wandering around the canyons and asking questions.  Just one of my best days ever, magical.

Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

 

 

 

Solbit

May 2017

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit asks, “What? Who buys rugs in a remote canyon?”

Dear Nicalai,

If you were going to buy a rug, you’d go to a department store or a rug store, right?  That’s what I’d do, too.  Makes sense.  Not Nona and Papa and our friends, Robert and Carolyn.  (We were camping with them. We’re in a tent.  They have a modest size RV.) No, those 4 got a Navajo guide, Don, and he took us to see his aunt who lives in Canyon de Chelly.  She makes rugs.  Beautiful rugs.

Ms Katherine Paymella sits just like this at her loom to make beautiful Navajo rugs.

She is amazing! She raises her own sheep to produce the wool.  She shears the sheep.  She cards their wool.  She cultivates special plants to make dyes to color the wool. She spins the wool into yarn.  Then she puts the yarns on her loom. Yarns going in one direction are the warp and in another direction the woof.  After all that loving labor, she starts to weave what will become a handmade Navajo rug.

We could select a handmade rug from these and others at Ms Katherine’s hogan.

She said her designs are based on traditional Navajo designs, but she creates her own designs. Imagine how smart and talented you have to be to create a complicated design and then weave it into a rug.  Also, just imagine too that someone — or maybe several someones — took the time and interest to nurture her talent and to teach her how to do all those different things.

Remember that I said we went to a canyon to buy rugs?  Here’s where we went.

Can you tell that we were in a canyon? Ms. Katherine holds up the two rugs that we selected.

Robert and Carolyn got one rug, and we got the other.  I worried that our footsteps would get dirty marks all over our rug, but Nona explained away my worry.  She said that our Navajo rug is a work of art, and we would display it on our wall at home so that no one would ever step on it but many eyes would fall on  it.

Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

 

 

 

Solbit

May 2017

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit Sick at Sea

Dear Nicalai,

Wait a minute … our ship is rolling … I’m not feeling well … wish we could get off this ship … ‘cuse me, be back … oh, I gotta lie down …

When Papa said he got seasick and was using a seasickness patch, I thought, “Hey, too bad for you, but I’m plastic so bring it on!” Big mistake. Jurassic’s like me just were not meant to be at sea.

When Papa said he got seasick and was using a seasickness patch, I thought, “Hey, too bad for you, but I’m plastic so bring it on!” Big mistake. Jurassic’s like me just were not meant to be at sea.

Seasick: that’s pretty much been my first days in Galapagos, when we haven’t been walking or sitting on an island.  Right now I’m sitting with Nona at an internet cafe on shore, just so I can write my letter to you.  I don’t even want to think about our ship or our panga.

Here’s what I do when I’m on our Ecoventura ship, The Eric:

Well, even though I wish it would go away, I have to admit that this Frigate bird is graceful, effortless, and, well, beautiful.

Well, even though I wish it would go away, I have to admit that this Frigate bird is graceful, effortless, and, well, beautiful.

That’s me lying down on the top deck looking straight up into the sky.  That Frigate bird has been flying over me for ten minutes, and I’m beginning to think that it thinks (can Frigate birds think?) that I’m an easy, tasty morsel. What, it’s not enough for me to be seasick; I also have to feel like a tasty tidbit for a big Frigate bird. (Just to be clear. I’m not cursing, I said “F-r-i-g-a-t-e bird.”) Uncomfortable.  That’s what I am.

Then, when we get into our panga (small boat) for an excursion along shore, I’m surrounded by human giants who keep moving around trying to get the best view or best camera angel of some marine animal in the water.

I’m under their butts all the time in this little dingy.

I’m under their butts all the time in this little dingy.

Some of my fellow shipmates are so clueless that they actually invited me to go snorkeling.  “What’s snorkeling?” you ask. That’s where land animals who breathe air  — like human beings — pretend to be marine animals by stuffing big pieces of plastic tubing into their mouths and hard plastic covers over their eyes and jump backwards into water.  They pay money to do that?!

Even Nona and Papa snorkel.  They claim they get great views of fish and other marine life. We iguanodons don’t snorkel.

Even Nona and Papa snorkel.  They claim they get great views of fish and other marine life. We iguanodons don’t snorkel.

Papa’s seasickness patch seems to work for him. I may get one next time, but I’m not going snorkeling. Have you ever gone snorkeling?  Am I being too, you know, too timid?

I’ve got to say that we have just the best crew on our ship ever.  They really want us to learn a lot, to have a good time, and to enjoy our meals.  Every time we come back to the ship, Hugo, the bartender, has snacks and juice waiting for us on deck.  Hugo never smiles, but I still like him.

The crew members tell me that I’ll adjust to the sea and feel better soon.  I hope so.

The crew members tell me that I’ll adjust to the sea and feel better soon.  I hope so. They made this and put it on my bed to cheer me up.

Nona and Papa said we’re going to see some new animals when we go to another island tomorrow.  I hope I’m better by then.  Now I have to send this, because Nona says we have to leave this internet cafe and go back to our panga.  The panga will take us back to our ship…back to my sick at sea feeling and that hovering Frigate bird. Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

April 2016

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit wonders, “What strange places are you taking me?”

Dear Nicalai,

I feel like we’ve been traveling and traveling north and away from you guys in California.  And we have, but, can you believe – we’re still here – in California that is.  What a big state!

No complaints though. Look at that beautiful bridge. It’s called the Sundial Bridge.

I don’t think the Sundial Bridge looks like a sundial, but, then, I don’t think Turtle Bay looks like a turtle either.

I don’t think the Sundial Bridge looks like a sundial, but, then, I don’t think Turtle Bay looks like a turtle either.

We’ve been driving in Nona and Papa’s old beat up Honda Civic, that’s an automobile, you know. It’s 20 years old. Don’t tell Nona and Papa that I said this, but it looks like junkyard material.  The air-conditioning is broken. No problem for me, I’m plastic, but Nona and Papa are old and the car gets hot. I asked them, “Why don’t you get that fixed?” Papa said, “Costs too much.” Nona said, “Have to stay within our budget.”  I’ve got a word for that: “penny pinchers.”

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The views as we drive north in California are great, but, oh, girl, the car is hot without air conditioning.

Oh, hey, here’s a question: What are Red Bluff, Weed, and Klamath Falls?  If you said, a red cliff, a plant nobody wants, and a place where water falls over a cliff, then you would be WRONG! They are towns we’ve stayed in along the way. Strange place names, huh?

I wondered, “Why go to these towns?” – but then overheard them talking excitedly, “60 species today and 5 that are new to us! Wow!”  Well, you know what they’re excited about: birds.  Just say the words “White-fronted goose” or “Bullock’s Oriole” and binoculars materialize in front of their eyes before you can say “Stop It.”  They like watching birds.  I heard someone call them “Twitchers” when we were in Australia.  Yes, I did.

Well, birds are ok, but, for me, I like the long view, like this one of Mount Shasta that we got to see as we drove up the road toward Oregon.

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Sitting in our hot car looking out to that cold snow covered mountain peak.  Ah, so good.

We’re almost at our next stop, something about “a dead volcano.” Do I want to go see “dead” things?  I’ll let you know next time.  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

April 2015

*New reader? Get oriented below.

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”