The Unusual in Amboy, California with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

As humans say, “Back in the day”, Route 66 was the a highway in the United States.   What does that mean?   When automobiles were new, no super highways existed, and Americans wanted to take road trips, Route 66 was the answer.   Route 66 went from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica (Los Angeles) California.   Now, with interstate highways of 4 of more lanes, and bypassing many towns, Route 66 doesn’t have as much traffic, but it does hold fond, happy memories for so many Americans.   Leaving Arizona on Route 66, we entered the state of California.

Entering California from Arizona. Driving on Route 66

A few hours later, driving through the desert, we approached the now ghost town of Amboy, California.

Guardian lion of Route 66

This is one of two lions designated as Guardian Lions of Route 66.

Guardian lion of Route 66 with Zeb and Soapy

The side view of the guardian lion is nice, but Zeb and Soapy really add to the photo.    A few miles further and we are at Roy’s Cafe and Motel.

Roy’s Cafe and Motel

The sign is the tallest thing for miles in the desert.   Roy’s opened in the 1930’s and had its golden age in the 50’s and 60’s.   Driving near Amboy, the humans were reading Roadside America, learning about unusual roadside attractions.   There was a shoe tree near the guardian lions, but in 2010 the tree fell over.   Still a few shoes, but now a tree near Roy’s has shoes.

Shoe tree

We are ducks, but we don’t really understand why humans put their shoes in a tree.   But, our moms thought it was a great thing to see.   There are even more shoes on the ground.

More shoes

Guess it is not so easy to throw them into the tree.   Next we examined the trash pole.

Trash pole

Again, it must be a human thing.   But better to put trash on the pole than throw it on the ground.   We will never tell our moms, but it was rather fun to see this stuff.   I think Soapy’s mom put one of her business cards there with many other business cards.   Next stop was Amboy Crater.

Amboy Crater

This is a natural crater, and designated as a National Natural Landmark, by the United States government.   It is 250 feet high and 1,500 feet in diameter.  This is one of the youngest volcanic fields in the United States.   This crater is located in the Barstow-Bristol trough.   The crater straddles the boundary of the Mojave and Sonoran tectonic blocks.   The most recent eruption was 10,000 years ago.   Now, to the salt mines.

Tetra Technologies working salt mines

This area crosses Bristol Dry Lake and is the site of two large active salt mines.

Salt mines. Pyramids in front of salt from mine.

The row of pyramids in the foreground gets the attention on   These salt mines produce much of the sodium and sodium chloride used in high school chemistry classes.   Driving through the desert is fun, but I don’t think I would like to be here in summer with extremely high temperatures.   Amboy, California is south of the Mojave National Preserve and north of Joshua Tree National Park.  If you are traveling on Route 66 through the desert, we hope you will stop to see some unusual things, also.   Next time we will show you some unusual things in Baker, California, still in the desert.   It really is out of this world.


Casa Bonita with Zeb the Duck and Chanel the Bear

Our moms said we are going to Casa Bonita!   Exciting and we have never been there.   Moms have been there many times and now we can go.  Both our moms were teachers and this was a favorite place to bring students for lunch after visiting a museum or special performance.

Casa Bonita Restaurant in Denver, Colorado

Wow!  A big pink castle.   Entering the building, we follow the walkway.   Things look like Old Mexico.   Great decor.   Menus are available along the way.   We all order the beef deluxe dinner.   With this dinner we can get more of any item on our plate, whenever we want more.   We order, then continue along the walkway, get our tray, silverware and napkin.   Our very hot plate is placed on the tray, then our beverage is added; we continue along the path, and soon we are met by an employee that guides us to our table.   We are seated by the edge of the diving pool.   Diving pool in a restaurant?   Oh yes, this is Casa Bonita.   A waitress brings us beverage straws and chips and salsa.   We ask for our warm sopaipillas now also.

Lots of food for us. The raised red flag indicates we need our waitress.

This looks good.   These are sopaipillas.

Warm sopaipillas

Our moms love them.   After one taste, Zeb and Chanel are big sopaipilla fans also.  This is one of those restaurants that you don’t visit just for the food.   We think the food is fine.   It is not a small family run restaurant with the best green chili, but it is as good or better than Taco Bell.   And we bet you eat there.   Casa Bonita serves good food, but the entire experience is unique to Casa Bonita.   We have never been to any restaurant that has so much to see and there are so many places to explore here.   First let’s look at the pool.

Pool inside Casa Bonita. 30 foot waterfall here.

The waterfall, and one diving platform is 30 feet (9.1 m) high.   Frequently (about every 15 minutes) there will be a show above the pool, or a diver will perform for the guests.   The restaurant is similar to things you may see in Mexico, including the Acapulco cliff divers.   This man performed a dive where he twisted and turned before entering the water.

Diving into pool

We love water and we love watching the divers.  A gorilla stars in one of the short skits performed above the pool.

Short skit with gorilla.

Some skits result in one of the employees landing in the pool also.   We have eaten enough.   We all ordered extra tacos and lots of warm sopaipillas.   Honey on warm sopaipillas is delicious.   Now we will explore more of Casa Bonita.   This is where those addictive sopaipillas are made.

Where sopaipillas are made

Heading down the stairs, past the lower arcade (yes, there is another arcade on the upper level), we find the Quien Sabe Mine.

Entrance to Quien Sabe Mine dining room

Entering we discover another dining room resembling the inside of a mine.   The lights by each table offer plenty of light.

Table inside Quien Sabe Mine dining room

What a great dining room.   Leaving the mine, we soon enter this dining room with a fairly large stage.

A stage for entertainment while dining

Plenty of seating for diners here.   Each area has been decorated differently.   And very carefully to give a varied experience.   You could return and eat in a different room and have a different experience.   You can order the deluxe, all you can eat, dinner as we did, order other Mexican platters, try a salad, chile rellenos or fajitas.   American chicken fried steak or fried chicken breast is available, and also a kids menu.   We visited the dining room decorated as a cavern.   The stalagmites and stalactites were very realistic.   Here is a jail.

A Mexican jail

Moms are putting us in jail??

Zeb and Chanel are in jail??

But mom…   It is OK.   They got us out of jail.   Back up the stairs, past our dining area by the pool, into another room to the stage for the puppet show.

Stage for puppet show

Maybe we are performing here?   The stadium style seating is nice, but we are sitting under a gorilla to watch the puppet show?

Watching puppet show under a gorilla

There is another wall with a huge head of rock, but only one eye.   Rather close we discovered Black Bart’s Hideout.

Entrance to Black Bart’s Hideout

This is a favorite with guests.   We liked it also.   Next we wandered behind the waterfall that goes into the pool.   There are even tables for eating behind the waterfall.    This balcony reminds us of some seen in Mexico.

Mexican balcony. Another great dining location

Another great place to eat.   Up the stairs, we discovered more dining rooms and a different decor.   So many choices for dining here.   This restaurant can seat 1,100 guests at any time.   And with multiple dining rooms, you don’t feel crowded.   As we head toward the exit, we loved this stack of small plates.

We loved this stack of plates. Red flag is up. Zeb and Chanel want more sopaipillas.

We just had to smile seeing them.   Zeb and Chanel raised the flag; more sopaipillas, please??  But moms said no, time to go.   But, maybe just a quick look through the gift shop.   Some of my duck relatives live here.

Some relatives at Casa Bonita

There is so much more to see at Casa Bonita.   Strolling musicians, great mariachis entertain as you dine. Perhaps watch a magic show.  You can have a picture drawn, try the arcade games, see what the fortune telling machine predicts for you and explore even more areas of this restaurant.   Casa Bonita opened in Lakewood, Colorado in 1974 and has been entertaining visitors since. We had a wonderful afternoon at Casa Bonita.   We hope you visit, eat, explore and enjoy some time here also.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2018 with Colorado Traveling Ducks

Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day.   This is exciting when the actual day is on a Saturday.   We, the Colorado Traveling Ducks and our humans, wish you a happy and safe day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

St Patrick, an English person, moved to Ireland, became a priest, and introduced Christianity to Ireland in the year 432.   The shamrock, a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day, was used as a teaching tool and metaphor for the Holy Trinity.   St. Patrick is also credited with chasing all the snakes out of Ireland.   However, fossils show no evidence that there ever were snakes in Ireland.   Much of the world celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with parades, parties, corned beef and cabbage and lots of green beer.   Many people here, and elsewhere, celebrate with friends and family, in pubs and restaurants and many with huge dinners and fun at home.   Green is the color of the day.   Many things show up green that usually are not green.   In the US city of Chicago, Illinois, 40 tons of green dye (a secret recipe) are used to color the Chicago River just the correct shade of green for the day.   Some people add green food coloring to regular food, including green mashed potatoes.   This is a holiday for fun for everyone.   And on this day, everyone is a little bit Irish.

St. Patrick’s Day for all

Even our four legged friends.   You will often hear “Erin Go Bragh” in many establishments.   According to, this is a corruption of a phrase meaning “Ireland Forever.”   Have fun tomorrow, wear green and be safe.   Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Creatures of Light Exhibit with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

These creatures light up.   We don’t.   Yesterday at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, we saw animals with bioluminescence and biofluorescence, from tiny fireflies to strange creatures in the ocean depths.

Let’s see the Creatures of Light

Let’s explore!  That is a giant firefly.   You will notice that it is dark in here, so pictures of us with these lighting creatures just doesn’t work well.   So what does this bioluminescence mean?    Bioluminescence is visible light generated by a living organism through a chemical reaction.  Eighty percent of all bioluminescent groups are in the world’s oceans.   Not so many on land. There are some fungi and insects, but no flowering plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians or mammals that glow.   Look at this glowing mushroom.

Glowing mushroom. With Eider duck

It exists in eastern North America, where it grows on decaying wood in the forests.   This is a huge model of the mushroom.   They are really much smaller, just a normal mushroom size. And a glowing variety of a millipede.

Variety of millipede

We have never seen these, but they are fascinating.   And a dark New Zealand cave with simulated glowworms.

Cave with glowworms

In the cave, fungus gnat larvae drop sticky “fishing lines” from the cave roof.   Glowworms give the light and the sticky lines attract and catch food.    Most glowing creatures are found in the ocean.    Ponyfish also glow.  Here is the sign that explains a little about the glow.


Ponyfish are called Sapsap in the Philippines, where there are caught in huge numbers for soups and stews.   Guess they don’t glow when cooked.   These jelly fish, if poked or jostled, light up their rim.

These jellyfish also can light up

The jelly fish have both bioluminescent and fluorescent lighting.   This female anglerfish is a serious predator.

Female anglerfish

Have you ever heard of siphonophores?


Well, here is one and do you know how big they can grow?    Some are 130 feet long (40 meters).  That is longer than the largest known blue whale.   They attract fish for food by twitching and using light.     And the dinoflagellate became our favorite.   This model is huge, but a real dinoflagellate is about the size of the head of a pin.

Dinoflagellate. Really the size of a pin head.

When something bumps into a dinoflagellate, the impact triggers a chemical reaction that ends in a burst of light.  This is very active in Mosquito Bay, a quiet lagoon on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico.   When you touch the waves at night, your hand leaves a trail of sparks in the water.   The more activity, the more bright lights.   We have never seen this, but mom, we want to.   Can we go to the Caribbean??   There is so much more to see here and you will learn so much.   The exhibit runs until June 10, 2018.   When it leaves Denver, it may be coming near you.   We hope you see this exhibit.  In Denver, the exhibit is free with your paid admission to the museum.    But beware, as the ducks said, you will want to visit everywhere and see some of these creatures for yourself.   But take the risk and visit this exhibit.

An Alaskan Dog Sled Ride for Zeb and Eider Duck

Let’s ride on a dog sled!   Mom really said those words and we quickly agreed.   We are in North Pole, Alaska, near Fairbanks, to work on Eider’s dad’s estate, but not today.    Mom made reservations and our friend, Barbara, drove us to Sirius Winter Sled Dog Tours .   Arriving for our 6 mile, one hour trip, we watched our dog team get harnessed to our sleds.

This is our dog team and sleds. Ready to go

This is our sled, with mom.   Barbara has another set of sleds with her driver, or musher.   I, Zeb the Duck, and cousin Eider Duck are on the second sled.

Ducks on sled, ready to ride.

This is Avett, one our dogs.   While riding, Nita, our guide and musher, stood behind the first sled and guided the dogs.   We rode with mom, standing on the back of the second sled.   Standing gave us a great view, and wasn’t as cold as sitting so close to the snow.   Mom stood, with her knees bent, on the ride.   She said it felt like water skiing.   During our ride we did not take photos.   We were moving fast; going up and down small hills, and over frozen creeks.   Dog sleds on ice feel a little different.   During turns, Nita told us how to lean to make things easier for the dogs.   We loved our ride.   Here we are, sitting on the first sled, exhilarated after our exciting and wonderful tour.

Nita, our guide and musher is standing on the first sled, waving to mom.

We love these sleds and the Alaskan Huskies that pulled us through the wooded snow area.   The trails were groomed, but Nita told us the untouched snow would be almost waist deep.   That’s a lot of snow.   We just had to pose for another photo on our sled, with our dog, Avett.

Ducks with Avett

While we still wanted to go further, we aren’t ready for the Iditarod.   That famous dog sled race began Sunday, March 4, 2018.   The official start was crossing frozen Lake Willow, 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Anchorage.   The finish line in Nome, Alaska, on the Bering Strait, will be reached in about 9 days.   That is too much for us.   Isn’t this a great picture of the dogs pulling the sled?

Dogs pulling sled through woods

This photo came from Sirius Dog web page.   The only time we were on the trails with dogs, we were on the sled.     These winter sled dog tours are available from Sirius from November through March.   We hope you enjoy a dog sled ride soon.   Of course, they are available in Alaska, but many other locations also.   They are offered in Colorado, in many of our ski areas.   We had never been on a dog sled before, and we love it!   Maybe again sometime?   Driving back home, we again drove on snowy roads and under branches, bent from the heavy wet snow.

Driving on a snowy road with low hanging snow covered branched

This was a perfect day in Alaska.   This is the end to this Alaska trip.   But we want to show you one more photo.   This was taken about 15 minutes before official sunrise, from our back window.

So blue, just before sunrise

The morning really did not look so blue to us, but we heard that the time just before sunrise and after sunset has great light for photos.   We just love the blue in this photo.   We took many photos, but this one has the most blue.   Mom did not enhance or alter anything about the photo.    This is just how it came with our iPhone.   Next time we will show you more of our beautiful Colorado.

Christmas in Ice from North Pole, Alaska with Zeb and Eider

Zeb the Duck here with more from North Pole, Alaska.   Last time we showed you Santa’s house.   Well, behind Santa’s house, near the reindeer herd, is a Christmas in Ice park.

Christmas In Ice

These ice sculptures have been here since mid December, without melting.   The ice does have new snow, some added almost every day.   Santa’s reindeer are pulling the sleigh here.

Reindeer pulling sleigh

We also liked this one, but we are not really sure what it is.   Maybe a present with a bow.

We like this

Same here, but again, we like it.  An elf?

We like this one

This appears to be an ice sculpture of a globe, with a picture inside.   We appreciated the added colors.   Zeb and Eider joined this family, maybe heading for outdoor fun.

Family heading for winter fun

A moose of ice provided a resting place for Zeb and Eider Duck.

Moose chair

This bear continues guarding an igloo.

Bear guarding igloo

An igloo?   Let’s go inside.   Zeb and Eider like this igloo.

Inside an igloo

Did you know, people in Alaska do not live in igloos.   But sometimes it makes a good story.   Here we go.   Zeb and Eider gliding on ice.

Graceful on ice

You might correctly guess that after sitting on all that ice, I, Zeb the Duck and cousin Eider Duck are getting cold feathers.   We told mom and her friend that we wanted to sit in Santa’s chair.

We are in Santa’s chair

And that was enough ice for today.   We loved seeing the ice sculptures and we are happy that nothing melted or fell down in this ice park.   The winters here can really be cold.   We have another Alaskan adventure to show you next time.

Santa Claus Lives in North Pole, Alaska says Zeb the Duck

I, Zeb the Duck, have seen Santa’s house in North Pole, so I know he lives here.

Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska

I also saw this statue of Santa behind his sleigh.

Santa watching his sleigh

My cousin Eider Duck and I sat in Santa’s sleigh, but we didn’t fly anywhere.

Zeb and Eider ready for a sleigh ride

We were ready and eager to fly, but the reindeer were occupied.

Reindeer is eating. No flying for us today

This one was busy eating.   We guess reindeer need to eat to keep energy also.   For those of you that are curious, reindeer are also called caribou in Alaska.   There are large herds of migrating caribou or reindeer in northern Alaska.   But these reindeer are in pens so they are ready to fly for Santa.   When we were there a week ago, Santa’s house was not open to the public.   Santa is remodeling and many said he is adding a restaurant.   Mom has visited there before and she said they sell many great items.   Maybe next time Santa will be accepting visitors.   Santa’s House has been there since 1950 and he lives at 101 St. Nicholas Drive in North Pole, Alaska.   The entire town of North Pole seems to have the Christmas spirit all year.   The pole for the bank sign resembles a candy cane.

Many signs resemble candy canes

Yes, that temperature is correct.   The weeks before we arrived, the temperatures were well below 0.   Often -35 degrees F.  Brrrr.  But when we were there, the temperatures were above zero, often in the 20’s.   That 17 degrees on Mt. McKinley bank sign is correct.   We stopped at Wendy’s and it seemed like Christmas.

Christmas decorations at Wendy’s

This Christmas tree, presents, and even the picture on the wall remind us that every day can be like Christmas.   Even the trash can were decorated for Christmas.

Christmas reminder every day at Wendy’s in North Pole

Eider says that living there, every day seems like Christmas.   We saw lots of signs with candy canes.   We enjoyed our time in North Pole.   And we have more to show you next time.