Friday, September 30, 2016

Golden Gate

We spent a lot of time in the Japanese gardens
Steve on top bridge
Taiwanese pavilion ceiling
Cranes are special to Asian culture yet hard to keep live cranes in their gardens  Solution: fake cranes

various flavored jellies we had for snacks in the tea house

this scrub jay let us come within a foot of him
hooded merganser among the ducks
Muscovy ugly

the water looked like pearlized green paint. This is Storr Lake
We headed off Sunday to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Not a cloud in the sky. The little bit of wind was from the arid east yielding record high temps. For the most part, we were on the cooler, western part of the city but still plenty hot. And we did go to the east side to pick up my niece and have dim sum in Chinatown. One of the dishes we selected was "house special noodle' What made it special? Tripe, geoduck and a few parts I couldn't identify along with scallops and shrimp. After walking around Storr Lake and on its island, we visited the Japanese Tea Garden. Very pretty. Then off to find the various tiled staircases I had found on line which I have pictured in an earlier blog. I was unaware how many flights these staircases consisted of. And up to Grandview Park, 300 or so stairs later. A hot day for stir climbing. iPhones suck for views so I will include Steve's at some point.

We are back to Michigan. Sad to see that so many of my flowers are dead in our absence though they are annuals and will be dead from frost in a few weeks anyway. The beds got watered at least. Rain started the day we returned. I assume flights were delayed because our plane had to fly in circles for 45 minutes waiting for a gate. We were thrilled to get TSA pre-check again but not thrilled that the precheck line was 3x as long as the regular security. A couple in front of us left to go through regular security. Even though our line was longer, we made it through faster than they did plus Steve didn't have to slowly take off his shoes and put them on again along with his belt.

Back to running in the woods so different than running along the ocean.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Running through sun and fog

Every morning while Steve goes off to have breakfast and coffee, he drops me off at various beaches. Even on the record heat days, it is always cool in the morning. So pretty and soothes my soul

A scary road to a scary town

One of the most annoying aspects of the Blogger app is that it limits how much text and where one can put it so until I have a computer, these posts are very incomplete and choppy.  I am writing this on our last day in California listening to a fog horn, which goes off every 7 seconds night or day, sea lions barking and an aquarium water pump. Over the past week, we've gone many places and have taken lots of photos. Will straighten this mess up once I return 

Downtown Coulterville with only one business, a small grocery store where we bought microwaveable stuff for dinner.  the nearest restaurant was 20 miles away in the mountains.  We at least had a microwave
So the people come together from the surrounding hills for this. They even have kids compete. One can make good money imitating a coyote. It brings them closer to be shot. They cause big losses for the ranchers along with the mountain lions and bobcat. The Great Pyrenees mixed dog on site has allegedly killed all three
This was on a road called Chinatown. I assume years ago the Chinese helped build the road. Our  place might have looked nice if it weren't for the tents and construction debris all over the place. Not pictured is the hot tub that attracted loud drunks until 2am right outside our window
Handwritten signs gave our 'resort' that touch of class
Surrounding hills

A week before we left, I noticed on Living Social a  reasonably priced resort in the mountains that included a bottle of wine if I acted within 30 minutes to buy it. I didn't have time to read the reviews until we stopped for lunch about an hour away  OMG!  Tales of people paying for a room and then being given a tent to sleep in with no alternative in that ghost town. steve would not be happy. I was in a bad mood already because my lunch was so horrible. we were near a potentially cute town but had stopped too early at a dive.  Then there was the drive to our place: much scarier than the Tioga Pass (highest in California) that we went over that morning. Our car started making alarm sounds. turns out it does if there is the potential for ice. Well the car will be dinging a lot in Michigan 
On the map, it implied we had only 2 miles to go but it seemed to be 10 miles of steep switchbacks dropping 2000 feet ( need google earth to confirm). Did we miss a road, a major one that we had taken the southern part of the first night?we did see a minor road but assumed it would be scary. Then once we had dropped down to the reservoir, back up into the mountains to get to our place

Monday, September 26, 2016

Stairways to heaven

steve in the early morning at our winery motel
The photos below are of 3 separate tiled staircases in San Francisco

We have been busy going here and there since we came to California. We flew in last Tuesday and immediately drove east across the Bay mired for hours in traffic until we got to Merced. Then we headed on a relatively deserted road across the desert foothills as the sun set. beautiful light. I think I posted some photos last week.  Internet has been spotty and time limited. right now Steve feels sick and is taking an afternoon nap.  We were real nervous about driving at night in the mountains plus it was close to 11 pm Michigan time by the time we got to our motel. We stayed at a winery but it was too late for the tasting. We found a nearby bbq place and sat outside in the cool
Mountain air.  I woke up well before breakfast as my body was still on Michigan time. Our place was on a river deep in the woods surrounded by gardens.  Lots of hummingbirds but they flitted around too fast for me to identify. There was a leaky pipe the birds took turns to drink from including the hummers. At one point, an acorn woodpecker was on it. I looked way up and saw a whole colony of them. They are the only social woodpecker They will drill thousands of holes in a given tree and store acorns in them. The trees are called granaries. I got Steve and the good camera:
I had never seen one before. we enteredYosemite from the south, convenient to the Mariposa Grove of sequoias which are the biggest in California.  but it was closed!   Very disappointed.  Should we take a trip to the Sequoia National Park?  It wasn't far as the crow flies but involved a lot of mountainous roads so we are making do with the coastal redwoods of San Mateo county
Since we have become geezers, we can purchase a pass for $10 that will get us into any national park for the rest of our lives. such a deal as Yosemite cost $30
we climbed higher and higher. soon we stopped at an overlook of the valley
note haziness due to controlled burnings and rain coming in. it allegedly never rains in September but lucky us, it rained our first day. Due to dryness, the streams and waterfalls were almost bare
bridal falls. usually a torrent of water but not during a drought
Due to construction and crowds, it was slow going in the valley. sometimes it was too crowded to park. We did stop at the fancy hotel
We watched some climber scale El Capitan. That used to take days but now a good climber can do it in 3 hours
On to the Tioga road which goes over the highest pass in California. It usually closes by the end of October and sometimes doesn't open until July. being at high elevations for 2 days gave me a headache but I never was breathless
Lots of pretty places along it though it was cold and rainy
I apologize for the choppiness   It is very hard to edit on an iPhone 
To be continued.....

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Chip and Dale's western cousin. The park warns to keep away from rodents as they carry Hanta virus and the Plague
Netaya Lake

Tuolumne River
Approaching the Tioga Pass from the East.  a sunny day instead of the rain the day before
The day before
Steve at the Omstead


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