Zeb the Duck Meets Leonardo da Vinci

We all know Leonardo da Vinci as the painter of Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, but there is so much more.    We went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to see the temporary exhibit about Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci at Denver Museum of Nature and Science

If this exhibit comes near you, you really should see it.   Many of Leonardo da Vinci’s notes have been found and preserved.

Leonardo’s hand written notes

This bicycle was built from notes found in his papers.   However, he did not draw the sketch.

Bicycle

We now know that the graphite used in the sketch was not discovered until after his death in 1519.   Perhaps this was drawn from memory by one of his students?  Here is an early odometer.

Odometer

This measures the distance traveled.   The wheel rotates, moves a vertical gear, causing the horizontal wheel to move one notch and releases a pebble into the box.   The distance is calculated by multiplying the number of pebbles by the circumference of the wheel.  Cars and self driving cars were also in Leonardo’s mind.

About car

This may well be the first self driving car.

car

Many things were made of tin.   So, he invented the Rolling Mill.

Rolling Mill

Used to produce sheets of tin, the concept is still used today without major variations.   Leonardo sought to master the anatomy of the human body.

Drawings of human anatomy

He was the first to discover atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries.   Three and a half centuries later his drawings set the style and form for anatomical drawings in the textbook, Gray’s Anatomy.   While Leonardo loved observing and inventing, he did need money to survive.   So, he designed weapons of war for the wealthy in Milan and Florence.   This is his steam cannon.

Steam Cannon

Steam power was used to project missiles from a cannon.   No gunpowder was required, and the cannon was easily moved over battlefields.   The assault ladder.

Assault ladder

This ladder was portable and could be lengthened or shortened.   The incline was adjustable for different angles.   There is a crank below the wheel.   Perhaps this was the forerunner of the modern machine gun.

Forerunner of modern machine gun

Three sets of ten shells could be used at one time, for a total of thirty shots.   While on the move, a bridge may be needed.

Bridge

This bridge could quickly be erected from small tree trunks found on the edge of rivers.   Nothing else was needed and the bridge constructed ton made it very strong.   And beyond war, the birds were a subject of interest to Leonardo.

Flying machine

This was his idea for a flying machine.   The wings were movable, similar to wings of a bird.   A few of da Vinci’s paintings (reproductions) were on display.

Lady with an Ermine

Lady with an Ermine was featured, the original in Krakow, Poland.

La Madonna Renois

Also La Madonna Benois, the original at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.    A film was showing about the Last Supper and the restoration process.

Last Supper

As you can see, the painting was over an archway.   This painting was completed in 1498.   Now restored, the painting has survived over 5 centuries.  The painting is in Milan, Italy.   An entire room was dedicated to Mona Lisa.

Mona Lisa

We learned much about the restoration, the materials used for paint and colors, but let’s talk about eyelashes and eyebrows.   We have always been told Mona Lisa had none.   Nobody knew why.   But, perhaps she did originally have them.   During restoration evidence was found to show she may have had eyelashes and eyebrows.   So, where did they go?

Eyebrows and eyelashes??

These are the three main theories.   We will leave it to you to decide what you think.   The original Mona Lisa is at the Louvre in Paris, France.   As if that wasn’t enough for Leonardo to accomplish, let’s not forget costume designing.

A designer

These costumes would look great in theaters today.

Designed for the theater

Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452 and died in 1519.   While the world now recognizes his genius, he apparently did not feel very accomplished.   These words are said to be Leonardo da Vinci’s own words.   “I have offended God and mankind because my work didn’t reach the quality it should have.”  We really enjoyed this exhibit and hope when it comes to your town, you will visit.

Last Day of Road Trip for Colorado Traveling Ducks

We should be home today, but the weather in Denver is definitely not as nice as it is here in northern Montana.   So, we get another day of road trip vacation.   We love it!   Our National Parks do not allow dogs to go on trails, so we are not in the park today.   The dogs may bark or try to chase the wildlife.  A dog trying to chase a bear, moose or elk may not end well.   We are following the river along the southern boundary.

Driving along southern boundary of Glacier National Park in Montana

Now humans, ducks and Chloe, the Colorado Traveling Dog, can all enjoy walking by the river.   We saw the turn off for a boat ramp, and had to get to the river.

Boat ramp. Middle Fork of the Flathead River

This is the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.   Back closer to the road we looked through the trees and wanted to get to this part of the river.

We want to walk on those rocks

But the river bank was rather steep.   This thick vegetation was green and beautiful.

Dense forest

Not a group to give up, we did get down the embankment to the river.   Chloe followed the humans and now is frolicking and exploring.

Chloe by the river

Soapy’s mom walked along the river looking at the different types of rocks.

Soapy’s mom looking at rocks

We spent most of the day wandering along rivers.   Another stop at Dairy Queen, then off to Bozeman, Montana for the night.   Our moms said we could drive from Bozeman to Denver the next day, but it would be a long drive.   Not much stopping.   When we left the motel in the morning, the weather had certainly changed.

Stormy sky leaving Bozeman, Montana

Leaving Bozeman, we really didn’t want to stop much and walk along trails.   Those storm clouds look serious.   From Montana, we drove into and through Wyoming.

Stormy through Montana and into Wyoming

The sky stills looks stormy.   We had some sun, some clouds, and of course, some rain.   So, humans….Why are we heading home today?    But it is OK.   The sun will shine soon in Denver and we are only an hour away from the Continental Divide and our 14,000 foot mountains.    We loved our trip, but we love Colorado also.

Hello Montana. Colorado Traveling Ducks Return to the United States

I, Zeb the Duck, and my fellow Colorado Traveling Ducks, Soapy Smith Duck, and Eider Duck, loved our road trip.   We loved visiting Alaska.  We appreciated the beauty and friendly people in Canada.   But it is always good to get back home.   While not near Colorado yet, we entered the United States and are now in the state of Montana.

Entering Montana, USA

Entering Montana just east of Glacier National Park, we are in the Blackfeet Nation.

Entering Blackfeet Nation

Such a beautiful area.   This was late May so the snow covered mountains greeted us.   We appreciated these metal sculptures.

Metal sculptures

This, Chief Mountain, is 9080 feet ( 2768 meters) above sea level.

Chief Mountain

While we were admiring Chief Mountain, a Montana State Patrol car pulled over to talk to us.   Yes, mom was a little nervous.  Why do humans get nervous when police cars stop to talk to them?   He was so nice.  He just wanted to tell us to take the first right turn ahead and we would see great scenery and better views of Chief Mountain.   We took the advice of the officer.   He was right.   This is Chief Mountain.

Chief Mountain

Continuing, we soon entered Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park

Driving on the road, the mountains were beautiful with a sunbeam shining through the clouds and trees and steam from the road rising to meet us.

Beautiful

Isn’t the world a beautiful place?   Driving and admiring the mountains, we entered Waterton Glacier International Peace Park.   Glacier National Park is in the USA and Waterton National Park is in Canada.

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Our countries have good relations so the two parks are the International Peace Park.   These snowy mountains fascinate us.

Snowy mountain

This is late May and the weather is getting warmer.   As the mountain snow melts, we begin to see small streams and small rapids.

Snow is melting

Now we have arrived at another customs station.

US Canada Customs station

We do not want to return to Canada tonight, so we turn around and admire more scenery.

Chief Mountain with lake

Chief Mountain is a great backdrop for this lake.   But we also encountered these horses grazing.

Horses

This gray horse is grazing close to the road.

Horse

He seems more interested in the grass than he is in us.   Hey humans, it is getting late and we have not seen any motels that are open.   Many will open this weekend.   Monday is Memorial Day, the official beginning of summer traveling season.   Driving further we can’t resist one more photo of the Rocky Mountains.

Evening mountain view

Ok, now to get serious and look for a motel.   We spend the night in Browning, Montana.   Next time we will show you more of Montana, during the day.

Sasquatch, Giant Beaver, Huge Sundial as Colorado Traveling Ducks head back to USA

I, Zeb the Duck, don’t like what I’m hearing from the humans.   Again, we have to hurry to get back to Colorado.   But, of course, we ducks will insist on a few stops.

Sasquatch at Sasquatch Crossing

Here we are at Sasquatch Crossing.   Sasquatch is in front of his restaurant.   Too bad we already ate.   Still heading towards the United States, but still on the Alaska Highway, we stop for Muffler Man a little north of Fort St. John.

Muffler Man north of Fort St. John

We stopped for the night at Fort St. John while heading north.   As you may remember, there was snow.   We had snow every day while heading north.   It is nice now, so Chloe took us all for a walk.

Walk time for Chloe and her mom

She needs exercise, and so do all of us.   Back with Muffler Man, we ducks sit on his shoes and on the top of posts.

We are all here with Muffler Man. And his really big axe

Can you find us?  We have arrived at Dawson Creek, the official southern end of the Alaska Highway, or AlCan (Alaska Canada) Highway.

Beginning of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, B.C. Canada

From this point there are a couple choices of roads to arrive in the USA.   The most scenic way isn’t safe yet.   The lakes are still frozen and the roads are icy and closed in places.   Another trip to Canada’s parks and beautiful lakes in the mountains will be needed.   We continue east and stop at Beaverlodge, Alberta, Canada.

World’s Largest Beaver in Beaverlodge, Alberta, Canada

We saw this giant beaver last year and we just had to stop here again.   We stop for the night at Grands Prairie at the Stonebridge Hotel.

Stonebridge Hotel, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada

The hotel was nice, comfortable and clean, but the complimentary breakfast was incredible.   Definitely the best complimentary breakfast ever.   A huge buffet, white tablecloths, selections of fresh cut fruit, pastries, assortment of cheeses and cold cuts.   Variety of yogurt, cereal, boiled eggs, and two types scrambled eggs.   Warming trays of bacon and sausage.   Bagels, assorted breads and a waffle station.   And even more that we forgot.   We don’t usually describe our food, but this was a fabulous complimentary buffet.   The Stonebridge Hotel in Grand Prairie certainly deserves recognition for this.   And the employees were so efficient and so nice.   A great hotel experience for us.    In the morning we stopped at the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center.

Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada

This is a huge sundial.

Giant sundial

The sundial is tall and casts a shadow on or between posts to show visitors the time.

Ducks on post. Posts for time with sundial

Here we are on the post for 12:00.   The brick circle of cement identifies Grande Prairie AB (Alberta) Canada.

Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada

We love this sundial.   But it is time to head south again.   Those humans have commitments in Colorado in a few days.   So off we go.  And I’ll tell you now, we only made a few fun stops between Grande Prairie and the USA, but they were delicious.   A couple stops at Dairy Queen for Blizzards.   Canada has flavors that we don’t have at home.   We had to try as many as we could.   Our moms really loved the Oh Henry Peanut Butter Blizzard.   Just heavenly.   But no photos.   Those humans want no evidence of these Dairy Queen stops.