A weekend getaway to Parker, AZ (Part 2)

So on our 2nd day at Parker, we wasted no time getting pulled on the raft... which it seems fun until you get back there. Now I am not saying it was scary but it definitely made you feel nervous as we were on the edge of the waves many times. 

Later we realized that we needed to extend the rope out and get a bit further away from the waves that the boat was creating. This made it less nerve wracking and more enjoyable. 

As you can see my brother in law Billy is very much at home in these environments. 

So later in the day, I get a call from Billy that they dropped off my mother and father in law at the local casino. Then 20 mins later I get a call for a pick up. Looked like they weren't so lucky gambling the slots that day. They lost a good sum of money but them smiles... must of hurt bad lol.

I was burnt out most of the day because of yesterday's activities. So I do what I like to do best when I am chillin' at home, I cook! My mother in law grabbed some beautiful skirt flap meat at Costco the day before we left. This is one of my most favorite cuts of meats cause of its ability to absorb marinades and even more importantly, lime juice! 

I had some beautiful tomatoes, red onion and cilantro and made pico de gallo as a topping for our asada tacos. Only thing that was missing was some heat, habanero, serranos or my favorite, thai chilis. 

Loved watching the kids play a round of Monopoly... while the sounds of an old school movie played in the back. Now it was starting to feel like a vacation... 

Bishop was already back at fishing. He had caught a larger bass in the early morning and he was on the hunt for another. This boy loves fishing!

Took some landscapes of our view from the dock. You can see California across the river... the land where everything is expensive and taxes are high. It was nice to be on the AZ side.

At night, I decided to bring out the tripod and get some starscapes and various shots of the rocky terrain. The stars were shinny so bright that night. It was partly cloudy but more and more they started to dissipate. It gave me a chance to capture the stars and it was so dark outside, the stars really stood out.

As I noticed the Milky Way Galaxy above me and bummed that I didn't bring a lens wider than a 24mm, I only got smaller segments of the MWG. So instead I started to look for constellations. I was mainly looking for the Big Dipper because it has been so long since I have seen it. If you look at the photo above, you can see the Big Dipper if you look close enough. 

I photoshopped the lines above so it is easier to see the Big Dipper. It was so big above the horizon. I was blown away by its scale. One to remember for sure. 

Got a few shots of the house rental at night and one of the Milky Way and a shooting star blowing by. So cool...!

Next morning we started to pack up and then got together for a family portrait. Got one of the kids too... I already feel sad because I know they will look grow next year and we will look back at how small they were... ugh. :(

Found a local diner that served American Style Breakfast. I ordered the ham steak cause the waitress told me it was 1.5lbs. She wasn't kidding. The ham was super salty... but a good memory we had was when she came to check up on us later, she said, "The ham is really good. It is not salty or anything!". I nearly laughed my ass off when she said that but she was such a sweet old woman I left it as it is. Memories. lol.

On our way home, the Suburban got stopped. Needed to check and see if we weren't importing dangerous plants over from AZ. lol

There were so many beautiful clouds hanging around all day. The brown from the land and the blues form the skies were so harmonious. 

Then we found this... a place where people leave their shoes for some reason....? It smelt like a dingy old locker. So glad we stopped here. My life wouldn't have been complete without witnessing it. 

More landscapes and love's. Nuts and Iced Tea FTW.

Was a wonderful weekend to get away from the land of the crazy but glad to be back in action. 

I know a lot of you out there work a lot, don't work enough, wish you could travel more, etc. Stop making excuses in your life. Be the change you want to see. I know making change is not easy to do but with small steps, you can turn something mountainous and turn it into something you can handle on a day to day basis. 

Til the next,
Andrew Manley

A weekend getaway to Parker, AZ (Part 1)

Last weekend was Labor Day and as a majority of American's leave on their vacations, my family chills at home. Why you ask? Well because of the traffic, congestion and sheer number of frustrations that go on with a 3 day weekend. So we like to go vacay on an off weekend where the mood is more relaxed. We head off to Parker, AZ, where it is right on the border of the California and Arizona border, split by the Colorado River. West side of the river is California and East side is Arizona. So cool to be at two places at one time.


We woke up around 5:45am and started to get things ready for the trip... we did hit the snooze a handful of time but we still kept on schedule. 

We met up with the rest of the family where we switched cars and followed my bro/sis in law along with their new boat. 

The kids were so excited... you can see how tired Bishop was still.

Since we all ran out of the house this morning, no one had time for a proper breakfast. So we stopped by Yum Yum Donuts for a filler until we got to Parker. Donuts, croissants, bagels, muffins, juice.. we loaded as much as we could!

It wasn't until we got to Palm Springs where we had a more interesting landscape to photograph. In combination with the Marumi 82mm circular polarizer, the blues in the sky became rich and contrasty and made for a more dramatic scene. All the windmills were standing still so I guess there was a lack of wind that day. Did a roller of a Chevy Suburban and a boat on a trailer. The longest vehicle I ever did a roller on. Had to shoot 4 lanes over in the fast lane while they were in the slow lane. 

We made our only pit stop in Coachella Valley at this Shell Gas Station. I guess I knew I was in the hot desert when I was welcomed by these cacti. 

Now anyone who knows me knows that I am a freak for fried chicken. I love trying all types of fried chicken but still broasted chicken is still the best. They are getting harder and harder to find. Found this Chester Fried and you know I had to get a few pieces. 

Right under the heating lamp laid my snack. Now if you have been following along my blog, you would know that I started a "diet" where I eat what I want but all I do is portion my meal. I used to eat until I was full or 110% full which led to the constant stretching of my stomach. So now I try to eat only up to 70% of capacity. In the past week, I feel better and less bloated. Two dark meat with a biscuit came out to just under $5. Ain't cheap but even worse was that it wasn't anything special. Not that I was expecting much but I love it when life throws me a curve ball. 

My mother in law loves to play her chances on scratches and Lotto. Today she won $15 but only broke even cause she bought a few extra scratchers. So it was a win but not a win situation.

So as we hit the road again, we were faced with more dirt, rocks and sky. I used slow shutter speeds to give the images a bit more character. Shot them between 1/15 and 1/60th of a second. The shot of the of the road, we ended up pulling over for it but the road had a lot of peaks and valleys so it didn't end up looking like what I wanted it for and finally we got to Parker, AZ. 

Made a panoramic of the area we were staying at.

We ended up renting out a house, got our own garage and security gate as well. It was only a 100 degrees when we got there but it got hotter as the day went on.

We started to unload and walk towards the house. This was the first part of the waterfront we saw and the dock where the boat goes. It was pretty sweet alright.

The unit had three bedrooms with a secret bedroom which had another two beds. Could have invited some more people but oh well... lol... Loved the kitchen as it was spacious and allowed for all of us to have enough room to eat and move around. 

By brother in law Billy didn't waste anytime getting the boat on the water and getting ready for a test run on the Colorado. This is where his heart is and where he wants to dwell, perhaps one day brotha. We all jumped in for a quick tour of the land and water.

We eventually came back and went out again with the whole crew and in our bathing suits. We were ready to jump in the water... oh cause you know, it was burning like hell. lol... Plenty of mansion styled homes for sale. Set you back a million+ lol.

We headed up river and eventually docked by a mini market to get some goods and jumped in the Colorado. 

The water was warm but it cooled us off nicely... here is a nice snapshot of how the next hour went. My niece Jasmyn loved the shot above. It is pretty cool that exact moment, the moment where we were just happy to be...

Photos of the happy crew... minus me of course... photogaphers always get shun'd. 

We were told by sold locals to go a bit more upstream to check out the Parker Dam. So we headed out and this is what we saw. Then we decided to go for a dip in cooler waters. 

Got some fun snaps of the kids jumping in.

Once we headed we rested a bit and the kids started fishing. I loved watching the kids be with each other. The way they played, fought, searched for each other. Watching them enjoy life in it's purist form. To be one with the land and bond with each other. I pray that their bond will always be this tight. I love you kiddos.  

We brought along some baby back pork ribs and I started to smoke them ribs... here is a shot of them closer to the finished product.

It was a pleasant first day, we got to enjoy the water and had some great family moments. 

Bishop was so determined to catch a fish and an hour in, he grabbed himself a tiny Bass! Way to go buddy!

Our lives should be spent more with our loved ones building memories. Love is the master recipe to life's success. Love something, someone, God, community, family... it never fails. I know life is never easy... we are always faced with tough decisions... sometimes circumstances make us make bad decisions but when you have something to live for... the decision is always an easy one. 

I will have more on tomorrow's blog so make sure to check it out when I announce it on Instagram.