California Dreamin’ VI (Part I)

Rita’s been home for a month from her two-month long stay in San Marcos.  We have been home for 2 1/2 months from our stay with her.  And I’m about halfway through reporting on it!  Good thing I didn’t go into journalism!

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[After a week of sunning and beaching, The Biddies were up for something a little different.  How they came up with a safari is beyond me?  As it turns out, the “safari” was so humongous, it will take two postings to cover it all.]


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[The San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido.  Don’t ask me why?  Anyway, Escondido is contiguous to San Marcos, directly east.  I may have mentioned before (this is taking so long, who remembers?) that Escondido has a population of 139,000, one of hundreds such sized cities between San Diego and L.A.]

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[Lots of hiking again – we’re heading out onto the Serengeti!]

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[The entrée fee was beyond our, as part of the 47-per centers, abilities to pay, but fortunately “deniece and denephew” had member discount passes.  🙂  The place is huge – 1,800 acres – and the parking lot is bigger than North Dakota.  They obviously run shuttles in the busy season.  We got there early on a January weekday and were able to park almost directly across for the entry gate.]

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[I dunno, but it looked neat.]

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[The Biddies are psyched for adventure!]

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[But which way to go?]

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[Coordinating park maps with assorted GPS devices, we determined we “weren’t in Kansas anymore.”]

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[Rita and I pose with a sculpture of the rare horned pig.]

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[One shot is never enough!  ;-)]

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[Obviously a bird, with a yellow beak, no less.]

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[Our base camp – I can almost hear Henry’s Mancini’s theme from Hatari.]

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[Whom amongst us doesn’t like photos of hot air balloons?]

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[The King of Beasts . . .]

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[His name is Izu.]

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[The supervisor, who speaks fluent feline, has a chat with him.]

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[Can you find the critters?]

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[Ahhh, our first task was to find the tram, a/k/a, light rail transit, for a tour.  You have to walk all the way across the park to get there, but it’s best to do it as early as possible to avoid tourist rush hour.]

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[Didn’t we see these plants at Montage Laguna Beach?]

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[Da plains, da plains!]

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[Ungulates abound.]

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[Cheetah, a sub-dialect version of “cheater,” likely because they razzle-dazzle with speed.  They run them along a race way in the late afternoon, but we couldn’t stay that long because it conflicted with nap time.]

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[Lawn ornaments.]

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[Reetz enjoys the scenery from our first class seats.  Another mimosa, please.]

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[Trees doing an impersonation of a fireworks display.]

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[With my extensive knowledge of wildlife beyond city centers, I’m going to guess storks.]

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[Asses (well, they are!)]

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[Antelopes, genus and species unavailable at this time due to my dysfunctional brain.]

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[So, an okapi walks into a bar . . .]

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[Dumb joke, but how are the wife and kids?]

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[A bambino.]

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[Dead sticks for breakfast, dead sticks for lunch . . .]

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[It’s movie time!  Available from the supervisor at little or no cost.]

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[Hot, sunny day and they stick me in this concrete bunker.  Hey, I’m almost extinct, y’know?]

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[On second thought, maybe these are the asses?]

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[Who you calling an ass?]

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[Pelicans . . .]

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[Escapees from the lake behind Knute Nelson Stadium?]

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[No man, is an island.]

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[First, we have to swim the moat, then climb the mountains . . .]

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[I believe this is the northern white rhino . . .]

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[In any event, we were told this is the last guy of his species, on the planet!  Poor guy!  I would bet they have DNA samples for future cloning?]

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[Antelope of indeterminate lineage.]

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[Appears to be scimitar oryx.  Good names for crossword puzzles or Scrabble!]

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[I believe the Rothchild’s giraffe.]

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[Rothchilds gather for tea and crumpets.]

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[So, an okapi walks into a bar . . . have you heard this one before?]

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[Where’d everybody go?]

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[The joke wasn’t that bad!]

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[Tram ride done, anybody hungry?]

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[Flora not generally seen around beautiful Lake Darling.]

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[Leaving the depot after an entertaining field trip.]

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[Izu has been joined by lady friends, Mina and Oshana.]

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[A sign.]

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[An overhead sign, as The Biddies go in search of the rare and endangered “overlook.”]

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[Yeah, I liked taking photos of this.]

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[Can you spot the “overlook”?]

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[I wanna take you higher . . .]

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[Can you spot the real elephant?]

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[There they are.]

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[A new tiger area under construction.]

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[I included this shot because I have no idea why I took it.]

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[I’ve been trying for years to find wings that fit!]

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[Hey, don’t laugh.  There were probably 50-below wind chills in Minnesota on this day.]

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[Sometimes you just gotta go bats!]

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[The Biddies go batty!]

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[Bats impersonating humans wearing bat suits.]

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[The Biddies proudly display their lemur tails.  😉 ]

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[The supervisor practices her bird calls . . .]

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[Oh, there’s one!]

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[A lemur sign.]

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[A reminder that it was nap time.]

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[Asleep without the aid of golf on TV?]

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[A slow attacking root.]

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[A pig, profile.]

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[A pig, frontal.]

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[It was time for the bird show – and sitting in the stands, a condor.]

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[The launch pole.]

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[Same shot without telephoto.]

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[We have activity . . .]

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[We have lift-off!]

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[All alone and blue . . .]

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[Not a condor, different flight pattern.]

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[But you only get frequent flyer miles on alternate Tuesdays and all days of the week between Thursday and Friday.]

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[An East African crowned crane, which may occasionally be sighted in rural Villard.]

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[This gal, or guy, was apparently camera shy.]

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[Dived bombed by another monster avian!]

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[Have been know to capture Volkswagens.]

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[A white-winged black bird?]

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[Oh, it’s just the crane!  😉 ]

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[Hello?  Villard?]

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[Trick or treat?]

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[There’s something flying here?]

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[This, of course, is an owl.]

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[Brand name, I don’t recall?]

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[The quiet flyer.]

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[Come to Momma.]

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[Oh, oh, a raptor!]

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[Flying in under the radar . . .]

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[And we have touch down!  This is the 100th photo taken on the day, so a good time to cut off Part I.]

It’s somehow appropriate, that at this time as we are transitioning between months, we can note that March is going out like a lion and April is coming in like a . . . lion!  We just had a prelude, on the evening of the 31st, with a thunderstorm that included lightening, a down pour,  a hint of hail, and areas of tornado warnings, that will overnight transition to a blizzard.  We will, no doubt, awaken in the morning with a new fresh coat of white, of a depth yet to be determined.  Yup, also on the night when network news began their shows with new, more dire, warnings about climate change.

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