Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Small Garden

What started several years ago with potted tomato plants have now become two small raised bed vegetable gardens in our side yard. The hand picked tomatoes have been delightful this summer and I would have to admit to a certain satisfaction in taking the fruits of our garden directly into the kitchen. Alas, there is much to be learned about gardening, but we are encouraged by the success of this summer. We are now looking forward to a larger garden in the far corner of the backyard where the sunlight is better with fewer obstructions from nearby trees and structures. Use the link below to see all the pictures.
Link to Photo Album: A Small Garden

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hiking Round Top Mountain

On Wednesday, July 23rd, Geno and I hiked to the top of Round Top Mountain from Carson Pass off Highway 88. I wanted to do this hike as preparation for our coming climb to the top of Mt. Morgan at 13,748 feet. The Round Top Peak hike within the Mokelumne Wilderness is about 8.5 miles total, but hikers get a lot in return. The rewards are three serene lakes, patches of wildflower, a climb to 10,381 feet, and tremendous views. Unfortunately for us, smoke from valley fires made for hazy views. Use the link below to see my pictures.
Link to Photo Album: Hiking Round Top

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dale Chihuly Exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco

Kay and I decided to spend a day in San Francisco visiting the Dale Chihuly Exhibition at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. The visual spectacle of his artistic creations with its voluptuous colors and sheer size were stunning, akin to walking through a magical wonderland made of glass. The wow factor was a definite “Ten”. It was well worth the trip; however, it was very crowded on Saturday so go during a weekday if you can swing it. Use the link below to see my pictures.
Link to Photo Album: Chihuly

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Oregon 2008

The timing of our 2-week trip from June 28th thru July 11th to Oregon could not have been better to escape the smoke and haze in the central valley of California due to a multitude of fires throughout State. “What gives with all this trapped smoke in the valley?” It’s not as if this State hasn’t been inundated with fires in the past. Maybe it’s my age, but I just don’t remember smoky conditions as bad as that. It might be what weather people would call the “Prefect Storm” situation, a popular term these days. With the jet air stream moving northward during spring, most of the storms went north leaving California dry and primed for fires. Now, coupled with the lack of air flow, smoke from hundreds of natural and suspicious fires have been trapped in the State for nearly a month. The State is in a literal haze of polluted air leading to health issues and cancelled outdoor events. Perhaps, this can serve as a reminder for us not to take Mother Nature for granted. Either way, I was glad to spend some time in Oregon away from all the foul air.

If not for Kay, I probably would not have gone to Oregon. Alas, her trip to China was cancelled so she suggested this plan as an alternative. As for my perspective, I always enjoy the places I visit and this trip was no exception. We spent the first week along the Oregon coast in Lincoln City, an hour or so west of Salem. Our second week was in the shadows of Mount Bachelor just 5-miles west of downtown Bend staying with friends Dennis and Debbie who are part-time owners of a condominium at the Seventh Mountain Resort. In all, we spent one night in Grants Pass, 4 nights in Lincoln city, one night in Salem, and 7 nights in Bend. The pace of our travel gave us plenty of time to explore the region with side trips to Depoe Bay, Newport, Drift Creek Falls, Silver Falls State Park, Silverton, Smith Rock State Park, and Sisters.

We stayed active with walks on the beach, biking along the coast and into the mountains, hiking to waterfalls, shopping in town, and just hanging out at our homes away from home. Other than an occasional weather report, vacation meant no TV Sports or News. I even missed a great Wimbledon final between Federer and Nadal, the ultimate winner with his first Wimbledon title. As for the news, the problems of the world are endless and will still be there in one form or another when we return home so why not take a vacation from the world at large. Our evenings at the resort were centered on games like Gin-Rummy, Spades, and Dominoes while we consumed our share of wine to help the local wine industry. Our thanks to Dennis and Debbie for sharing their place! We had a great time with them hiking, riding tandems, and exploring the area both within and around Bend. I also enjoyed the opportunity to do some photography. Use the link below to see my pictures.
Link to Photo Album: Oregon 2008