Tuesday, November 22, 2011

On The Hope Valley Overlook Trail

Soon after returning from Italy, I joined Howdy and his gang of hikers for a weekday hike in the Hope Valley area off Highway 88 in the Sierra's. The timing could not have been better for fall colors. The Hope Valley Overlook Trail starts near Sorenson's Resort and ascends 1,200 feet for a round trip of approximately 5 miles. Besides great fall colors, this hike offers great views of Hope Valley. Click on the picture below to go to my photos on Picasa. Once there, start a slideshow or view manually.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bike Travel

Here are some of my favorite bike pictures from travel and locally. Go to my photos on Picasa by clicking on the picture below. Once there, start a slideshow or view manually. Comments welcomed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Travels in Italy

Kay and I finally travel to Italy, a country we've wanted to visit for many years. We had one week each in Venice and Florence followed by two weeks in Rome. The amount of time allotted for each city was much more than the average visitor, but it gave us the time to proceed at a more relaxed and sustainable pace over the four weeks. We flew into Venice, trained to Florence and Rome, and flew home from Rome. It's a popular route and perfect for our first trip to Italy. Each of these cities exude its own unique character. Venice is romantic and mysterious with its maze of canals, narrow streets and alleys; Florence is charming and enchanting with a big city feel and the distinction of once being the Capitol of Italy; and Rome is exciting, bustling and timeless; but all were historic. To live in these cities is to live within your history. Historic buildings and sights can be found at every turn dating back hundreds to thousands of years, and older if you're willing to dig. For our culinary taste, Venice had the best pastas and cannoli, Florence had the best gelato, and Rome had the best pizza and tiramisu. Kay still talks about her lamb shank dinner in Rome. This trip was everything we had hoped it to be and more leaving us with many fond memories. For a pictorial of our travels, please go to our pictures on Picasa. The pictures are grouped by city. Click on the picture below to go to each photo set in Picasa. Once there, start a slideshow or view manually. I welcome any comments.




Northeastern Bike Tour

During the summer of 2011, four friends and I completed a self-contained bicycle tour through the northeastern states of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The four of us from California flew into the Buffalo International Airport and cycled to Niagara Falls, Ontario to meet up with Tom who cycled from his home in Watertown, NY. It was a good to have a local in our midst since this was my first trip to this region. Our pace was reasonably comfortable for a bike tour, the group had good camaraderie, and the touring conditions were better than expected. I feel comfortable in saying that the countrysides of upstate NY offered some of the best cycling roads I‘ve encountered to date. Weather wise, there were brief periods of high heat and humidity as well as rain, including a record setting day of 102 deg., but nothing sustained and unmanageable. Our accommodations, whether camping or in motels, were nice enough for the likes of us. The northeastern states proved outstanding for touring with lots of history, great local sights and eateries along with wonderful scenery. Our travels included places like Niagara Falls, Finger Lakes, Thousand Islands, Adirondacks, Kancamagus Highway and Acadia National Park to name a few. To conclusion, it was another great tour!

Although I had created an itinerary, we followed it loosely at best. The itinerary did prove helpful, however, in keeping us on track as we progressed eastward ensuring we would complete our tour within the allotted time frame since we had prearranged flights out of Portland, Maine. My Smart-phone and Bob’s GPS proved themselves as invaluable tools for bicycle touring. Besides making calls, the devices enabled us to easily get information on accommodations, eateries, schedules, etc., and to find bike friendly routes in uncharted regions. The devices gave us the freedom to head off the plan route and still meet our needs for food, comfort and shelter quickly. They are now a permanent part of my travel kit. It took time and effort to determine the route and to find accommodations for the five of us during this trip, but I love bicycle touring and I was glad to be able to share this tour with friends. Total distance was 1,360 miles with 60,100 feet of total climbing, 260 miles more than our itinerary. For a pictorial of our tour, go to my photos on Picasa by clicking on the picture below. Once there, start a slideshow or view manually. I welcome any comments.