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THE SUNTOUCH
The 2018 JOURNEY

The 2018 Suntouch Journey Go Down Go Up
This year begins like most in the past decade, near the banks of the Rio Grande River at Falcon State park. This is a place where I have often found great sunsets as the sun sinks from the sky to behind the Sierra Madre south of me in Mexico. The times here at Falcon recalls to my mind the one winter that I was in those south of the border mountains.

The January Suntouch Go Down Go Up
January Camping on the Rio Grande
While staying in the city to go to the meeting, I make a couple of drives north to Falcon State Park and overnight in the tent camping area.
Sierra Madre as seen
from Falcon campsite
(m5da-st-18-01.20180104.1750) Sierra Madre seen from Falcon campsite, Texas
Sierra Madre as seen
from Falcon campsite
(m5da-st-18-01.20180104.1756) Sierra Madre seen from Falcon campsite, Texas
Sierra Madre as seen
from Falcon campsite
(m5da-st-18-01.20180104.1757) Sierra Madre seen from Falcon campsite, Texas
Returning eleven days later, I request the same site because it is slightly elevated with a good view of Falcon Lake. This year, it seem that fewer have come to spend the winter at this state park.
Sierra Madre as seen
from Falcon campsite
(m5da-st-18-01.20180115.1805) Sierra Madre seen from Falcon campsite, Texas
Sierra Madre as seen
from Falcon campsite
(m5da-st-18-01.20180115.1806) Sierra Madre seen from Falcon campsite, Texas
Sierra Madre as seen
from Falcon campsite
(m5da-st-18-01.20180115.1806a) Sierra Madre seen from Falcon campsite, Texas
Sierra Madre as seen
from Falcon campsite
(m5da-st-18-01.20180115.1806b) Sierra Madre seen from Falcon campsite, Texas

The February Suntouch Go Down Go Up
California Desert Palms
In February, I receive a call from Richard for me to join him to do work on his property. He lets me stay at an empty rental while I am working for him. Winter in the desert is great for suntouch photos.
Suntouch in the
California Desert
(m5da-st-18-02.20180220.1733) Desert Palms Suntouch in Hemet, California

The May Suntouch Go Down Go Up
The first day of May this year finds me crossing the central Oregon desert. I had just come from Kam Wah Chung in John Day, Oregon and was so impressed with this fully preserved example of Chinese-American culture.
The May, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-05.20180501.1945) Evening Unity Lake State Park, Oregon
Stopping at Unity Lake State Park, it is very cold but I still get out with my camera and take some photographs.

The July Suntouch Go Down Go Up
After traveling back to Washington to tend to some business, I return by way of the Northern Tier Route and once I am driving in the great plains of central Montana, I leave off the Northern Tier and drive south to Bozeman to make the midweek meeting.
The July, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-07.20180709.2014) Evening Suntouch in Bozeman, MT
Finding Bozeman just as hot and the rest of Montana, I decide to drive south into Yellowstone park because it has higher elevation which just must be cooler.
The July, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-07.20180711.1953) Evening Suntouch driving into Yellowstone
The July, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-07.20180711.1954) Evening Suntouch driving into Yellowstone
I was not in Yellowstone five days and found it to be warmer that I have ever experienced. Needless to say, I choose to spend the rest of this summer on the west coast camping in the Oregon state parks.
However, before I begin my journey back west, I drive south again to visit the congregation and some long time friends of my in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

The August Suntouch Go Down Go Up
Upon arriving in Rock Springs, I have hope that it will not be too hot here but find it well above my heat tolerance level. I do stay for a couple of weeks but then finally say my good byes and begin my drive to the Oregon coast.
The August, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-08.20180804.1912) Evening Suntouch in Rock Springs, WY
The August, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-08.20180804.1912a) Evening Suntouch in Rock Springs, WY
The August, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-08.20180804.1912b) Evening Suntouch in Rock Springs, WY
The August, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-08.20180804.1912c) Evening Suntouch in Rock Springs, WY
The August, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-08.20180804.1913) Evening Suntouch in Rock Springs, WY
After driving to the Oregon coast in early August to get away from the oppressive heat in the Rocky Mountains, I really enjoy being cold during the month of August.
Too, even with the better temperatures on the coast, I must needs deal with the hoards of Turkeys also flocking to get out of their hot cities. Further, with the thick cloud layers, there are absolutely no suntouch or sunsets to watch during my entire stay on the coast.
Still, the coastal good times never last long and all too soon, I need to begin my drive back eastward to spend one more visit in Yellowstone before my escape southward to stay well ahead of the coming winter snows.
Stopping in Bend, Oregon to visit Gordon, I find out that the congregation here is having a Circuit Overseers visit, so I stick around to get the encouraging talks.
The August, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-08.20180825.1947) Evening Suntouch on Pilot Butte, Bend, OR.
The August, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-08.20180825.1948) Evening Suntouch on Pilot Butte, Bend, OR.
On one evening, when the smoke had all blow out of town, I drive to the top of Pilot Butte for the two events, first, the red sunset and then immediately following, the full Sturgeon moon which, from the smoke is as red as some of the blood moons I have seen.

The September Suntouch Go Down Go Up
After leaving Bend, Oregon, I travel though the Snake river valley, then up to Craters of the Moon national monument and here too, the smoke lies thick on the western horizon making for another spectacular display.
The September, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-09.20180905.1844) Evening Suntouch, Lava Flow Campground, ID
The September, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-09.20180905.1853) Evening Suntouch, Lava Flow Campground, ID
I spend just one night at the Lava Flow Campground in the park before driving through Idaho, into Montana and arrive in Bozeman to go to the weekend meeting with the congregation here.
Short Stop at Mesa Verde National Park
This is the first time that I have stayed in the Morefield campground and although pricey, wow, it gets a rating of Nine.
September Suntouch
Mesa Verde National Park
(m5da-st-18-09.20180920.1911) Suntouch In Mesa Verde

Tuesday, 25 September 2018, Navajo National Monument, UT.
(Day 35 TG) 45°F. 6:00 am, sunny
Sunset Campground, Space # 7. CRS: 7.0
Last even, there was a grand evening sunset display like I have not seen for a long time. The sunset display began with crepuscular rays, the a sunglow with radiating beams continuing to join the increasing thunder storm with repeated lightning flashes.
The September, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-09.20180924.1914) Evening Suntouch at Navajo Nat Monument
The September, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-09.20180924.1915) Evening Suntouch at Navajo Nat Monument
The September, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-09.20180924.1916) Evening Suntouch at Navajo Nat Monument
The September, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-09.20180924.1917) Evening Suntouch at Navajo Nat Monument
The September, 2018 Suntouch
(m5da-st-18-09.20180924.19158) Evening Suntouch at Navajo Nat Monument

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by Thom Buras
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