“Help!” Solbit Cries Out in the Desert.

Dear Nicalai,

Do you have any idea what it’s like to be nearly strangled in the desert?  Well, I do, and I’ve got photographic evidence of the attack.

Walking along in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California with Nona, Papa, and their four friends from Sandpoint, Idaho — Steve and Elizabeth and Bob and Marty — I felt completely at ease … and safe.  Then I saw something in the dirt, and, well, you know that I am inquisitive, so I went over to take a look.

“What’s that?” I wondered and wandered over to get a closer look.

Then swish, bam, before I realized what was happening this anonymous hand came at my neck.

Well, I wasn’t expecting that! It’s not as if I had said, “Hey, give me a hand, will you?”

Where’d that miniature human hand come from? Is a little man under the dirt there? Does he want me to pull him out? Oh, no, he’s trying to strangle me! Help! Even though I panicked, I had time to wonder, “Hey, how does he keep his bare arm so clean under that dirt?”

Getting away wasn’t easy. I kept bogging down in the soft dirt. “Help!”

“OK, Solbit, that’s a take,” our friend Bob said. “Well, done.” Everyone applauded my performance, and, truth be told, I am a good actor.  Yes, we were just play acting. What fun!

What you see is not always what you get. Get it? We staged these photos, just for fun.

After that scene, we all sat around on the rocks and had a snack and some water to drink.  Then we hiked back down to town.

“I had no trouble getting down the canyon. Just hitched a ride in Nona’s pocket! She and the others did slip and slide, though.

You know what I learned today from our hike with our friends?  I learned that you don’t have to be a kid to kid around and have fun.  Even grown-ups enjoy play acting!

Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

 

 

 

Solbit

February 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 Sees the Extraordinary as Ordinary

Dear Nicalai,

“So, are you going to just keep smiling like a bump on a log and not answer me,” I asked in an annoyed tone of voice.  After all, I had introduced myself, “Hi, I’m Solbit. What’s your name?”  He just smiled and said nothing.  That bothered me…

…and then I realized, hey, that’s what he is: a bump in the log that someone had carved into the wood.  Fooled me! Just wood with a familiar pattern.

…and then I realized, hey, that’s what he is: a bump in the log that someone had carved into the wood.  Fooled me! Just wood with a familiar pattern.

We were walking in Moorten Botanical Garden when I saw another piece of wood with an interesting but unfamiliar pattern, and I enjoyed that, too.

If I were a sculptor, I would try to make a beautiful pattern in something — maybe a rock — that looked just like this piece of wood, and then watch to see if I fooled anyone into thinking the rock was wood.  Fun, huh?

If I were a sculptor, I would try to make a beautiful pattern in something — maybe a rock — that looked just like this piece of wood, and then watch to see if I fooled anyone into thinking the rock was wood.  Fun, huh?

Speaking of beautiful patterns, they don’t have to be complicated, you know.  Sometimes simple is best.

I just love the simplicity of this natural pattern in the rock.

I just love the simplicity of this natural pattern in the rock.

We saw the boulder at Joshua Tree National Park.

Maybe you can go to these places one day, and write me about the ordinary things you see that turn out to extraordinary, if you notice them as I did. I’m going to boast that no one appreciates what’s in view more than I do.

(Nona says that I shouldn’t boast, but, then, she also says I should always tell the truth.  In this case, how can I tell the truth about myself without boasting? I asked Papa about that, and he said, “Solbit, you’re on the horns of a dilemma.”  I pointed out that, actually, I was in his hand, not on any horns of any kind.  He just giggled.)

Hey, by the time you get this letter, we should already be in South America!  I’ll try to write you from Ecuador.  Bye!

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

January 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 Dragged Along In Search of Desert Greenery

Dear Nicalai,

Nona and Papa went hiking to see greenery in the desert here, but I knew that deserts aren’t green, so my goal was just to see the trees that are named for Uncle Joshua and find out what a Palm Oasis looks like.

Papa drove us to a place called Joshua Tree National Park. It is big. You can drive miles and miles in there. We stopped to hike at Barker Dam. That’s where I got up close to a Joshua Tree for the first time.

I have to disappoint you. The tree was named long before Uncle Joshua was even born, so they’re not named for him.

I have to disappoint you. The tree was named long before Uncle Joshua was even born, so they’re not named for him.

Well, even if Joshua trees came before Uncle Joshua, they do have the stubble look just like him. They’re kind of skinny like him too, don’t you think?

One of the reasons to like Joshua Trees is that they make really interesting shadows.

One of the reasons to like Joshua Trees is that they make really interesting shadows.

On another day, Papa drove us to the Coachella Valley Preserve.  Not preserve as in jam or jelly but a place to protect and preserve wildlife and plants. It has 20,000 acres!  They say that, if you come here, you can see what “The Old West” looked like.

The desert is so dry but right there in the middle of all that dry is a green patch, that’s the Oasis.

The desert is so dry but right there in the middle of all that dry is a green patch, that’s the Oasis.

The Oasis gets water mostly from underground. That’s where the California Fan Palms gather to drink water.  Looks like they’ve been drinking a lot.

Nona takes her camera everywhere we go, and she never has trouble finding something interesting for a picture.  I’m trying to learn from her.  She says I’m a good student.

Nona takes her camera everywhere we go, and she never has trouble finding something interesting for a picture.  I’m trying to learn from her.  She says I’m a good student.

Speaking of things to take pictures of reminds me, next time I’m going to show you some of my wood photos.  Sounds boring, huh?  Wait and see.  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

January 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 Finds Out Just What Papa Did On That “Bike Tour”

Dear Nicalai,

Aren’t bike tours a lot of hard, sweaty exercise?  I found out the truth about the bike tour Papa and his friend, Dale, took from looking at the photos of their 2012 ride in Northern California.  They started in Sacramento, cycled through Napa Valley, headed to Sea Ranch on the coast, then south all the way to Davenport.   Almost right away, I noticed a big problem with their bike ride.

No problem here. Early in their 500 mile California trip, they stopped to see this Wild West sculpture. Notice where the bike is: under the bike rider.

No problem here. Early in their 500 mile California trip, they stopped to see this Wild West sculpture. Notice where the bike is: under the bike rider.

 

Now, notice where the bike is: hanging on the inside of a Caltrain car next to the bike rider.

Now, notice where the bike is: hanging on the inside of a Caltrain car next to the bike rider.

 

When I saw this picture, I asked Papa, “Did you remember to bring your seasickness pills?

When I saw this picture, I asked Papa, “Did you remember to bring your seasickness pills?”

 

My first thought was,well, they just took the street car to get out of traffic and then ride, but then I see in this photo that they’re still sitting … on a ferry boat now

My first thought was,well, they just took the street car to get out of traffic and then ride, but then I see in this photo that they’re still sitting … on a ferry boat now.

Did you notice that the sign said, “Ryde,” but they weren’t riding; they were floating across the river.  I asked Papa about that.  He said, “Solbit, the ‘ride’ that you mean is spelled with an ‘i,’ and this ‘Ryde’ has a ‘y’ and is the name of a town.”  Ok, but someone needs to tell them both to ride the bikes. I think the sign was a sign, if you know what I mean.

You know what I think?  I think that, as Papa and Dale get older, they plan bike rides that call for more transportation than pedaling.  Don’t tell them that I said so, please, but, really, I don’t think they’re setting any mileage records these days.

However, Papa may be setting a record for most flat tires on a bike tour.  I saw a lot of photos like this one.

However, Papa may be setting a record for most flat tires on a bike tour.  I saw a lot of photos like this one.

OK, that’s it for bike tour pictures. The sun is out, Nona and Papa are taking me for a couple of hikes to a place where they have trees named after Uncle Joshua and another place with something they call a “Palm Oasis.”  I can’t wait to see what that is!

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

January 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’s Sort of Tour de Palm Springs

Dear Nicalai,

Guess what Papa did after we got settled into our rental place in Palm Springs?  He rented a bicycle, a good one, too.  Nona and I went with him to the rental place, because he was determined to rent a really good bike and she was determined to not spend too much money on it.

On the way, Papa told me that his friend Dale — they both went to Miami University, a long time ago — would come down the next week from Sacramento, and they would go on long rides around Palm Springs.  That sounded like fun, so I piped up, “Great, can I go with you?”  Nona jumped in, “Solbit, it’s a guys only thing.  You’ll keep me company.”

I guess Papa could feel the disappointment coming off me, and he said just the right thing, “Nona, if you would let Solbit go on our bike rides, Dale and I will watch our language, and Solbit will set a new record: first iguanodon ever to bike Palm Springs, sort of a Jurassic Tour de Palm Springs.”   So, that’s how I got to help Papa take this panorama photo.

The views Dale and Papa get on long bike rides reward them for their pedaling efforts.

The views Dale and Papa get on long bike rides reward them for their pedaling efforts.

Hey, did you know that Dale and Papa have biked the Trans-America Bike Trail?  They did that in 1997, but they only went from Missoula MT to Washington DC.  Both of them had more hair then, I’m pretty sure. If I remember right, it took them 54 days.  That’s a long way. I wonder: what’s the purpose in doing that?  Seems like a big waste of time, doesn’t it?

Papa liked the rental bike and Nona said it was affordable.

Papa liked the rental bike and Nona said it was affordable.

Papa’s rental bike had a big problem though: flat tires.  Four of them in two days is too much.  Papa learned that something called “goat head thorns” were puncturing the tires.  He needed to have something called “liners” in the tires.  Don’t ask me. I have no idea what those are, but now I do have a pretty good idea how to fix a bike’s flat tire on the road.

After a few days with Papa and Dale, I realized that they like to go on long bike rides for something more than the good views and the healthy exercise.

Here’s what I think Dale and Papa love most about biking: the reward at the end! Me, too!

Here’s what I think Dale and Papa love most about biking: the reward at the end! Me, too!

If more bakeries had been way out in the desert, I think we might have made many more stops along the way.  Hey, Nona says she can find me some photos of Dale and Papa on one of their long bike rides.  If she does, I’m gonna share those with you. I gotta send this and go.  Nona and Papa are taking me for a hike to something they call a “Palm Oasis.”  I can’t wait to see what that is!  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

January 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 exclaims, “It’s almost a family reunion!”

Dear Nicalai,

This letter may sound depressing, but, if you read all of it, it has a good ending.  I promise.

Maybe Papa or Nona have told you that I’ve been down in the dumps lately.  Don’t misunderstand, please.  I love them and you, but I kinda wish I had another family.  Oh, I want to be in your family.  What I mean is, I’d also like to have a family that, well, that looks more like me.  Sadly, as Papa explained, dinosaurs have gone extinct.  So, that’s not going to happen.

When he said that, I just crumbled. Not really crumbled, of course.  I’m a plastic jurassic, and plastic doesn’t crumble. No, I mean, emotionally, I crumbled.  Nona said, “Solbit, you look like you need a good walk.  Let’s go to Tule Lake!”  I replied that I’d rather just stay home and mope, thank you.

Of course, when Nona decides that you’re going to do something, you’re going to do something.  Off the three of us went to the lake.  I put on a good pout to show her that I was not pleased.

Almost as soon as we started walking at Tule Lake — that’s near Klamath Falls, CA where we’re staying, now — we started seeing different birds.

Lower Klamath NWR and Tule Lake NWR

First, we saw the long-billed dowitchers, pictured here. They are common at Tule Lake, but they were new birds for Nona and Papa. Me, too.

Lower Klamath NWR and Tule Lake NWR

Then we saw the American coot and the white pelican.

“Solbit, did you know that scientists think that these birds are modern day dinosaurs?” Papa asked me.  I glumly grumbled, “No way, Papa.  You’re making that up.”  Nona jumped in to back up Papa,  “Yes, Solbit, the scientists now think that today’s birds have a common ancestor in the dinosaurs.”

Then I understood what Papa said. It’s called an “Ah, ha!” moment.  I literally said, “Ah, ha! Does that mean that I could be related to these birds?”  Papa told me, “Yes, Solbit, you could say that, and guess what.  Some scientists now think that maybe some dinosaurs even had feathers.”

Well, my spirits soared. By the time we saw this American avocet, I blurted out, “Wow, coming to Tule Lake is sort of like a family reunion for me!  Isn’t it?”

Could the American avocet be a distant relative of mine?

Could the American avocet be a distant relative of mine?

“You could say that, I guess,” Papa answered. So, the next thing you know, I’m talking to Nona and Papa about planning another family reunion here for me, real soon. “Can we please come out here to the lake for another walk?” I asked.

Lower Klamath NWR and Tule Lake NWR

This bird is called a kildeer, but I’m sure it doesn’t hunt deer.  It’s too small and delicate. Wonder how it got its name?

The sun was setting on the lake, and we had to leave, but we could see more and more of my distant relatives flying into the lake to spend the night.  To see them flying in from different directions to spend the night here gave me a good, warm feeling, and I realized then that Nona was right — as she often is — what I needed was just a good walk to lift my spirits.  I’m glad I went on the walk with them today.  Bye.

I’m your friend.

Love,

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Solbit

May 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.”

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.”

DSC00512

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.

DSC00542

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.”