24-hour Dash Around San Francisco

24-hour Dash Around San Francisco

Kelsey took this shot as we gorged on an oversized banana split made with Ghirardelli goodness. The food and entertainment along Fishermans Wharf were both quite memorable and the chocolate...delicious!

This day could have set a record. Since I had recently visited San Francisco as a tourist and spent 10 days getting to know the city, I was able to give Kelsey an intense overview in just a day. For most people our agenda would have been considered ridiculously overburdened but not Kelsey. We started our tear around San Francisco at 8:00 AM on Saturday and except for sleeping we didn’t slow down till the next morning.

24-hour Dash Around San Francisco

Stanford University

We started the day with a drive around Apple’s campus at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino and continued on to a tour of Stanford University’s campus in Palo Alto. These are a company and a university which we both admire and wanted to see first-hand. We visited both these icons in one morning. The day had only begun! Continue reading

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The Sun-Beach Life

Sun-Beach Life

From the moment Kelsey arrived in Southern California the weather was perfect. Note the blue sky. Note the bright sun. Note the highway we were about to embark on. PCH, here we come!

Not wanting to be elsewhere when Kelsey arrived by plane in Los Angeles, I arrived the night before to avoid any potential unpleasantness. From Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument I zipped across southern California and descended into San Diego as the sun set. Very nice! From there is was a shot up I-5 to the Santa Anna Airport where I had a reservation at a near by motel for the night.

By now I’d been on the road for about 10 days. That meant this blog wasn’t current. That meant I hadn’t been swimming in way too long. That meant I needed to sit still for a while. In 24-hours I took care of all this getting my blog current in the Newport Beach Public Library and swimming in the Public Pool next door. By the time Kelsey arrived I was ready to go again!

The game plan was simple: drive up the west coast of the United States as close as possible to the Pacific ocean starting in Tijuana, MX and ending in Victoria, BC. She’d drive as much of it as possible and she’d fly home from Portland, OR after visiting with family. We had nine days to do it. That’s it. Continue reading

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Summary: Down to the Deep Southwest

Down to the Deep Southwest

I’ll return time and time again because the beauty of Carlsbad Caverns just sucks me in. Other caves are worth visiting but this place is something special. Next time I visit, I’ll be moving in for good! ; -)

From home, I had to get to the start of my adventure up the PCH with Kelsey and that meant driving from D.C. to San Diego. Not a huge deal. There’s always something new to explore along the way and this time I was going to focus on a section of the deep southwest I’ve usually just driven past.

Along the way I did a little bike riding and President hunting. Continue reading

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Keeping up with Kelsey (+1 year)

Keeping up with Kelsey

Famously Kelsey posted this napkin sketch of her travels on Facebook for all the world to see. Beyond my time with them in CA, she visited University of Michigan, Rice University and UVA. Six schools, four states, one week. Wow!

My daughters have both been seriously bitten by the travel bug. Given an opportunity to travel, they’ll take it. Kelsey is at the stage in life where she’s considering where to apply for college next year and during Spring Break is a convenient time to visit schools. Oh boy, and did she visit schools!

I didn’t catch up to them till I met them in San Francisco where I began my role as chauffeur. Prior to flying out to the West Coast Kelsey had already visited the University of Virginia in Charlottesville for the Engineering School Open House. Her odyssey had already begun. Continue reading

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A Green Green Desert

A Green Green Desert

Weather was almost perfect. After a rain the desert is greener and with little dust. However, it was partly cloudy which is always a challenge for a photographer as I spend much of my time “chasing the sun”.

A green desert? Yes. This part of the Sonoran desert has two rainy seasons and the result is a predictable green. And as my visit came after recent rains at the dawn of Spring, the desert was an especially radiant shade of green. Miniature flowers were in bloom across the desert floor, cacti of different types were baring blossoms, and a floral scent was in the air. In general, Organ Pipes Cactus National Monument was showing at its best!

A Green Green Desert

Blooms in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

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Caving as Performance Art

Caving as Performance Art

No, this has nothing to do with caving. It’s the center of Tombstone, AZ the symbol of the general lawlessness of the old west and the site of the O.K. Corral. Wow, they sure do sell their history well!

I’ve been in many caves and I have my favorites. Luray and Carlsbad Caverns were alone at the top of the list until today. Kartchner Caverns was revealed to the world in 1999 after over a decade of secretive development. Never before have I been in a cave so pristine, so well preserved, so artistically presented. The finale is a light show of a feature called Kubli Khan. It was beautiful and moving and extremely well done. Kartchner really rocks! Continue reading

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Cliff Dwellings in Nowhere

Cliff Dwellings in Nowhere

The road to the park was closed just before the washed out bridge. Here, my trusty steed poses as a taunt to all on-comers who had only the prospect of a long, warm hike up the hill to the dwellings.

Two months ago I tried to visit Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument but flooding from a recent snow storm had damaged the access bridge. It was closed. This time the park was open but the bridge remained out of commission so to visit you had to hike three miles. That is, you had to hike three miles if you didn’t travel with your own folding bike! Continue reading

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From 750’ Underground to 9,500’ Above

Underground to Over

When last I visited the International Space History Museum it was raining. Today was sunny. There was no way I wasn’t going back to take pictures of their outdoor exhibit: John P. Stapp Air and Space Park.

As a photographer, I’ve found no better cave than Carlsbad Caverns to visit and shoot. Its huge expanse of beautifully lit formations sets the stage. However, what really sets it apart is the freedom the National Park Service gives you to roam at your own pace, to set-up tripods and to take pictures. I’ve now visited four times and I most certainly plan to return. A gallery of pictures is forthcoming … but not today, I’ve got a road trip to continue!

A snow storm hit New Mexico when last I visited. This of course didn’t affect Carlsbad Caverns which lies 750 feet underground but it sure affected the National Solar Observatory at 9,500 feet in elevation! Sunspot, as its known, is an observatory dedicated to studying the sun with its many telescopes. At this elevation, at this latitude, with this weather it’s an ideal spot to study the sun. Here are some of the telescopes to be seen.

Underground to Over

National Solar Observatory

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Three Presidents and Three Governors in 24 Hours

Three Presidents and Three Governors

Two Presidents and two Governors lived here in Midland, TX. Jeb Bush was born here. A First Lady lived here too. They all called this home while H.W. was starting his oil company. What a house!

Who could they be? The answer may become apparent when I tell you I drove through Arkansas and Texas. Can you guess? Last hints: they’re four people and three were related. OK, now you must know!

The Clinton childhood home is in Hope, a town which appears to have benefited greatly from its affiliation the President. Redevelopment was everywhere when I visited. Obviously, he was both Governor and President. Continue reading

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Reprise of Riverside Rides

Reprise of Riverside Rides

Including my new bike in pictures is a novelty that hasn’t worn off. It’s so fast and easy to set-up and ride. So quick to fold and pack. I’m still enjoying the option to ride whenever a bike path calls out to me.

A few weeks ago I rode my new foldable bike along riverside paths in Knoxville, NashvilleMemphis, Little Rock, Albuquerque, and Sacramento. For midwinter I enjoyed amazing weather. My memories of these rides are of having a fantastic time (except Knoxville) in beautiful settings and, as I started across the country again, I found myself yearning for a repeat.

So why not?

In Memphis I took the picture above. Yes, again the weather stayed near-perfect as I also rode in Nashville and Little Rock. While Memphis was almost an identical experience my other rides were fairly different. Little Rock was done in the bright of day rather than at dusk which provided a different perspective on the city. Nashville was a different route along a riverside park across the Trinity River. All were fantastic rides.

With experiences so good you can expect to see my red bike in the future!

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