Toured Alcatraz on a summer evening. The buildings are crumbling, but the birds don’t seem to care.
Even though the audio tour inside the jail “wowed” me, I’d rather show you the pics I took outside. Like this lineup of gulls:
Or the giant mutant succulents (and gull):
Nice views of the city and Bay Bridge, even with a little fog. And this was a SUMMER eve.
Of course, getting to and fro is half the fun. The ferry boat was comfy warm after the chilling ocean air. And for the trek back to the parking garage, I’d highly recommend a rickshaw:
Spent an active afternoon hiking around Van Sickle Bi-State park in the South Lake Tahoe area. If you’re wondering what a Van Sickle is, its the generous family that donated the land for this park.
This park is unusual because its right on the border between California and Nevada — the only bi-state park in the country!
We hiked up the burn area. Some fool threw a cigarette from the Heavenly ski gondola and it burned hundreds of acres.
Fabulous views of the lake!
Eventually, the time came to declare victory and head down the mountain.
I can’t believe how the Doobie Brothers still rock! They sound terrific — tight and spot on!
Chicago, missing the original lead singer, unfortunately sounds more like a tribute band than their old selves. Still the original horn section is still game.
But what the heck, its 30 years since their comeback tour!
Had a delightful treat of an Elton John concert while in Las Vegas to present at the MoneyShow. He and his band rocked!
Elton’s fingers still fly with an amazing reach to play his signature chords and get down with a little rock and roll boogie woogie piano.
Got an extra half-hour with Elton John engaging the audience between every song and often stepping out from behind the piano to chat us up. Evidently the show two days before was cut short when Elton John threw a tantrum and left the stage after 35 minutes. Now he seemed eager to make it up.
As you can see, the chameleon piano morphs its skin to match the nifty visuals on the background screen.
With three percussionists, the band made itself felt. When they reached a crescendo, my clothes would literally vibrate.
Good vibes indeed!
I just like the feel of gravel under my feet.
In this case, the gravel is at San Antonio Valley Ranch.
This Nature Conservancy property is on the way to becoming an ecological preserve. It is home to a herd of elk — no photos sorry. But elk! Just over the hill to the east of silicon valley!
Here is the fun and scenic route we took that day. The hybrid was so quiet, we surprised a bobcat on the road. No photos of that either. She ran the other way in an instant.
Back at the ranch, the newly planted trees are fenced to protect the new kids on the block from browsing animals.
If you appreciate the Nature Conservancy’s work, or just want to do a Good Thing, please visit my personal fund-raising page and consider a donation.
On a recent hike around Shoreline, caught a view of Google HQ from the weeds:
Of course the Google-plex has its share of parking lots, but maybe more interesting is the alternate transportation. Over the hill lounge the shuttle buses, waiting to take the Googlers home.
Further down the bay are the NASA blimp hangers, in process of restoration by Google execs in exchange for parking spots for their personal jets.
Maybe not as curious as cats, but still the horses wonder about their new house guest…
Maybe wondering if the new human is a feeder…
Plenty of grass to go around, even early in the season
A day off from dressage for this self-assured athlete:
What can I say about this beast that hasn’t already been said by the dog?
Here’s what the horse thinks of that!
In the end, I made a new friend
Castle Rock is a park on the edge in two respects:
- It sits right up at the top of Skyline and drops steeply to the southwest, giving expansive views of the redwood forest out to Monterey Bay
- Its on and off and on the closure list of state parks, which means you might want to check out those views while you still can.
On Feb 26, I acted as the sweep for a Sempervirens Fund hike around the Saratoga Gap and Ridge Trails. Hike leader Scott Peden snapped excellent photos, including a panel of wildflowers. He also got a great shot of the woodpecker we saw.
Here’s Scott pointing out all the land across the San Lorenzo watershed — half of which is scheduled for closure in July if it can’t find funding.
Along the trail…my role as caboose gives a nice vantage point.
Nobody can resist touching the Madrone “refrigerator trees”. Old growth redwoods live in Castle Rock, too.
When you visit Castle Rock State Park, I just have one request: Please pony up for parking or buy a parks pass. Your dollars count towards keeping the parks open and maintained.
Accompanied my mother to the senior center for a game of “high stakes” bingo with all the trimmings. They rip through the numbers at a quick pace for a newbie with 18 cards and a hot dog to manage!