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Thread: J. Dillon, 11 years on a 27 footer, WOW!!!

  1. #386
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    "Toole" and the Grand Canyon

    The sun was all ready up when I arrived at Bright Angle Lodge. Eager and expectant I heard the announcement that due to a last minute cancellation I was accepted. Nervously I signed the wavier, then weighed in at 165 lbs. Under the 180 lbs. maximum. I was then provided with a leather drinking bottle and a plastic bag to put my personal belongings in.
    At eight o clock all riders assembled in front of the corral where an assortment of totally indifferent mules stood lazily kicking the ground and twitching their ears.
    A wrangler appeared looking and sounding just what you would expect wearing a black 10 gallon hat sitting squarely on a bronzed weathered face.
    In a western drawl he relates what is expected of we neophyte mule riders. Safety is the goal and keep the mules under control by the bridle and liberal use of a switch to be provided.
    My mule "Toole" was the largest and oldest of a train of 12 to hit the trail this trip. Gary was to be our guide and we are not to mount or dismount without his aid.
    Now Gary was even more of a picture of a ole cow hand . His drawl was almost incomprehensible , it uttered forth from a face that saw too much sun. A weathered sweat stained hat capped his mustached face needing a shave. I noticed really bowled legs shaping faded demin jeans above beaten dusty boots with silver spurs. No switch for Gary. Hanging from a checkered shirt pocket I could see a "Bull Durham " tag, no Marlborough either , Gary rolled his own. Speaking up he announced

    "I don't care if yourn experts, youre ta wait fer me sos I kin help ya mount and dismount". Being a complete novice I thought it a good idea as I glanced over at some of the older gents looking apprehensively at the high stirrups hanging from their unconcerned mules.

    After mounting up I found myself looking down on everybody, some 9' off the ground. Even when not moving I could feel Toole beneath me as he seemed anxious to go shifting our weight from hoof to hoof.

    To get us started one old crusty wrangler led our mules out of the corral and we were on our way for the Bright Angel Trail. Well I guess there is nothing like jumping right in as I felt Toole beneath me transmit all his body movements to my bony bottom through an un padded western saddle. We hadn't gone 100 yards when I found my self peering down 1,000 ft or more into the abyss of the Grand Canyon.



    SSSteady TTolle

    From the elevated height of Toole we rushed headlong down the rather steep heavily eroded "trail".

    Disturbing thoughts raced through my troubled mind . Can I trust this dumb brute anxious to get to the bottom and food ?
    Has he the ability to negotiate this steep narrow trail with numerous 180 o switch backs turns ?
    What if he makes a mistake ?
    Can the condition of the trail be trusted ?
    Is he in good health ?
    Will he have a heart attack ?
    Will I ?

    I know my heart was racing and pounding along with my bottom being assaulted by Toole"s scraggly back bone.
    On we went all the time keeping up with the mule in front with little prompting from me. Toole knew his job and moved on with complete confidence on this another routine day for him.

    There were numerous hikers doing the Bright Angel. They would melt back hugging the sheer wall as we passed. Of course our mounts would move to the extreme outside of the trail and you could once more look straight down .



    Steady Toole

    After a while the near panic feeling left and mere fear settled in allowing a glimpse around noting we were now considerably below the rim. Of course our back sides were crying out and I thought that this day and age there must be better designed saddle.



    A view of a few switch backs

    Back and forth the switch backs changed our direction but down was the predominate heading.
    At one spot on the trail our mules took a Pee break . The first would stop relieve himself, move on to be replaced by the next animal all in turn on the same place, forming a new stream down the canyon.

    After a while we leveled out a bit and the incline down was somewhat reduced. Bright Angel trail was still narrow and I wondered how it stood the punishment of mules and hikers . It certainly was rough with deep ruts the normal condition . I did see an attempt to keep things solid by the use of steel rods driven into the outer edges to keep rocks in place.
    By now my bottom was crying out to stop. Why did I go on this madness ?
    Just in time we entered Indian Gardens our first stop to have lunch. We all drew our mules up to the hitching bar. Gary tied them up one at a time and assisted us off.



    JD & Toole Don't we make a good couple ?

    Well that was some feeling back on my own feet . I noted I could hardly walk my knees back and my bottom ached. All of us, young and old had the same trouble. Few, sat right away to partake the box lunch Gary with drew from the saddle bags. Beneath the shade of cotton wood trees 12 aching riders gained sustenance from cheese bread sausage chips peanuts apples all washed down with fruit juice.
    Near by there were toilet facilities, cabins, benches and a generally lush area with a creek running through reminded us that life can be pleasant after all.
    In a half hour Gary had us mount up and we once again were on our way. This time going was a bit easy as we were still on a plateau in which a creek slowly meandered to the Colorado. We did cross the creek twice and the distinctive sound of hoof on hard rounded rocks sounded sweet and romantic amid the splashing in the creek. It was not to last as a new series of switch backs presented itself.

    Slowly I felt myself letting go and trusting Toole. What a magnificent animal. He felt the turns deliberately placing each hoof in just the right place as he negotiated every bend with practiced confidence. Never glancing down or back, Toole avoided rocks, ruts, logs, people, the edge, the sheer side like a true champion. I came to love that mule, his twitching ears, a snort now and then and even the passing of a little gas was quite excusable. I was in the best of care. I doubt if he had any affection for me but it didn't matter I loved him any way. A truly noble creature. I could now trust him completely .








    This gave me a chance to look around me and see the Canyon . Those sheer walls, ever changing hues of sedimentary rock laid down before the dawn of time, the sky ,clouds, birds even a goat now and then. I even enjoyed the light rain that started falling. The beauty of it all overcame the feeling in my aching body.

    The sound of the mighty Colorado filtered into my senses and then suddenly we made a turn and there it was below me coursing down to its rendevous with Gulf of California. The trail leveled out considerably paralleling it we were on a northerly heading. A suspension bridge came into view to carry us across the mighty Colorado.



    My good buddy Toole and I view the mighty Colorado

    How haunting those 56 hooves sounded as they clippity clopped to the other side . A sound of yesterday modern man seldom if ever hears. The river had various rapid running rafts drifting by with nary a concern. Shortly we arrived at the ranch, dismounted once again to haltingly step forward on our own two feet. We had arrived at Phantom Ranch a bit worn but behind us an experience I will never to forget.

    JD

    Next more National parks and an encounter in a Ghost town
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  2. #387
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    Wow! I have been to the GC area but never down to the bottom. Now I have an idea what it's about..... Thanks!

  3. #388
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    First, it was a pleasure to meet you at Mystic... there were just so many people there that it was difficult to focus on any one person for any period of time, for which I feel the loss... I should have liked to talk with you at length.

    This is such a superb narrative discourse that I wonder at your desire for any dialogue: as others have said, it is doubtful that anything the majority of us could insert would add to it's impact.

    If I am any judge, you have a very salable little book a-building here which would appeal to many more than the Forum readers and I encourage you to think along that path.

    Excellent writing, delightful insights, superlative artwork and fascinating photos.... it's a winner in my book.

    Thanks for the time and effort to publish it for us!

    edited to add: I forgot: My parents went to the GC for their honeymoon in 1934 and took the mule trip to the bottom, but only because the advertisements read, "ascent will be made by easy stages". Mom says she was terrified all the way down to the bottom, although she loved the scenery, and then, when she discovered that the "easy stages" did NOT involve the wheeled transportation (stagecoaches) she had been expecting, she was even more terrified (and sulphurously irate with Dad!) on the way back up.

    How irate was she? I wasn't born until 1945. That's pretty irate.
    Last edited by Vince Brennan; 07-02-2007 at 07:30 PM.

  4. #389
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    Yes it was nice to meet people and attach a face to the names. Good thing there are pictures posted identifying all. Maybe next year we'll recognize each other more easily, that is if we still look the same.

    I guess Vince growing up with that story must of roused your curiosity. So when are you going there ?

    One of the things any one coming to the US as well as US citizens is to see the Grand Canyon. For me it's the most breathtaking thing of nature I've even seen. Including any sea coast any where.

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  5. #390
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    Grafton Utah ( ghost town )

    When we got to the Phantom Ranch a water pipe had broken This demanded teamwork form all guests to obtain water in buckets from a nearby steam to flush our toilets. After a rest It started raining and I missed most of the nature talk. There was an announcement that a woman had been killed from a rock slide on the very trail we traversed 2 hours ago. It seemed that rain loosened and set the conditions for this tragedy. Sad, but I wondered how may riders wondered we’d fare on the way up tomorrow The evening meal we had a great dinner of 1" thick steaks, vegetables, baked potato salad ice tea bread and dessert all served at the very table our vice president had sat at as well as other notables. In the evening it stopped raining long enough for a hike and a lecture on the Canyon wild life and conditions on the trail as Bright Angel was closed . We were to proceed up the Kiabab pass tomorrow. hit the sack an eventful day.

    I still looks like rain at 05:00 in the morning when I got up to kind of wash in the creek . We had breakfast at 07:00 of pancakes bacon scrambled eggs juice and coffee. Gary had our mules saddled up and ready to go. There was Toole. That noble animal would carry me back up to the rim safe and sound. Somehow my aches healed during the night to let me enjoy the ride up , not completely but the accent meant a different portion of my butt was to get the action this time. By now I was more relaxed mounted and could appreciate the journey to the rim. The switch backs seemed less formidable and the trip a bit smoother as this was a different trail .



    Going up the Kaibab pass

    We did take more breaks on the way up to rest the animals as this was tough going all up hill at a steeper angle. The sun even came out allowing better photography along the way ,something I did not attempt too much yesterday. Oh there were moments a bit scary , plenty of footing threatening but all in all a better day. The clouds rolled in again and it started raining with thunder which resounded off the canyon sides with added fury. We gained the top and I said good by to Toole I spoke affectionately to him and thanked him for putting up with me. I think he winked back at me but I do know all he did was to twitched is ear and passed a little wind. I gave him a few pats on his back and I was away. Once on the top the rain really let go with hail the size of peas. It turned cold nasty much like my stay in Shenendoha with on and off rain for the rest of the day. I took a hike along the rim to the museum to a talk about geology , then back to the van to run to the local supermarket here at the canyon. I arrived at my camp spot in the Kiabab national forest at 17:00 had a spaghetti dinner and off to bed at 21:00. It is quite cold in my mobile home but I have plenty of blankets.

    I stayed at this national treasure for almost another week to hike some of the trails, attend various lectures on geology and history of the region. On the Geology walk A pretty ranger told that the top of the canyon is the youngest at 250,000,000 years old . She pointed out assorted marine fossils like sponges and one unusual formation called a diaper one of only three known in the northern hemisphere. We went down 850 feet and 3/4 of a mile. It started to look like thunder showers as we could see some off in the distance. On the way up it did start to overcast and threatening. I also went to the ruin museum There they told of how the Ancient Hopi or Anazazi Indians lived .It seems they believed we came from under ground and, to this day they maintain a hole in their dwelling places to return in spirit.

    Got up at 06:00 to leave Grand Canyon . Took a couple of photos on the way out the same way I came in on route 64 through the Navajo reservation . This time there wasn't any body selling jewelry . I guess they weren't up yet . Gassed up in a small town of the Gap on Rt 89. one filling station and general store , that's it. Got into Utah at 10:48 pacific time or 11:48 Mountain time. The towns that I'm passing now look empty . They are probably all in the various parks around here. At Rt 9 you turn into Zion National park. When entering the park from the east you have to go in through a narrow tunnel which restricts a lot of traffic. To overcome this difficulty they sometimes block the tunnel to admit extra wide vehicle passage through one way. But if you are too high you have to enter and leave by the south entrance. While the Grand Canyon is majestic invoking grandeur, You’re up looking down into the abyss of the gorges, At Zion National Park you’re down looking up at the majesty of peaks against blue skies and clouds. You get an altogether different feeling as you are in the canyon this time. It was quite crowded when I got to Zion. "This is a holiday weekend".The ranger said " All the camp sites are full".



    Partial NP map of Zion Grafton Ghost town lower left

    Now I'll have scrounge for a place to stay.

    The ranger handed me a map of Zion National park. On it I noticed in small letters Grafton (ghost town).

    Thinking to my self “ I'll go and have a look.”

    Driving my camper I thought it a possibility for the night. The back roads were rutty and dusty. Signs declared "Roads Impassable when wet". Many windy turns, a hill or two, old cemeteries and some miles I pulled into Grafton Utah. I noticed barely legible writing on a weathered board nailed to a post. It said "This was one location for the movie Butch Cassidy & the Sun Dance Kid".

    Well, I’ll get out and look around. Then I spied a seedy looking gent with long white hair, tied in a bun. A motorcycle rested in the shade He sat on a wooden walk in front of a dilapidated old building. A flask was raised to his mouth. I walked closer. A golden ring hung from one ear, tattoo’s girdled both sweating arms. One said “Mom”. We started talking and I asked him about the sign. "Yep" he said "They made a few scenes here". “Remember Newman riding his gal on the bars of a bike"?

    " Yea, I think so." I replied.

    He took another snort, draining the bottle, got up, climbed his Harley, waved good bye and was gone in a cloud of dust.

    I was alone in Grafton.

    The town, or what was left of it, had an school house that probably doubled as a church. One stucco building and a beat up log cabin. A couple of cows browsed in it. Another completely collapsed house completed the picture. There was evidence that more buildings stood here but they have since burned down. The old log cabin I would judge dates back to when the town was first settled, possibly by Mormons right after the civil war. It had real character with dovetail joints in all corners. An addition on the back hinted of better times. Maybe a bigger family. In front, leaned a giant cotton wood tree. Only a few branches showed any leaves. One limb stretched over a dusty un paved road. Could it have supported a rope with a noose dangling? The rest looked rotten. I bet it pre dated the Civil war.

    Low rain clouds were moving in. The only sound I heard was the wind and a few cows mooing around. A murky sun settled down behind the old church. and some distant mountains.

    I felt secure for the night, crawled into my camper and went to sleep.
    Along about midnight ,( always a bewitching hour) , I was wakened by loud rock music and heavy rain. Peering from behind my curtains I could see a bunch of the " boys " and their "girls" had come here for a booze party in the old church. It wasn’t long before the party strayed outside the confines of the “church” I didn't know where it would eventually go. My mind envisioned satanic cults looking for a sacrificial goat... me. I felt apprehensive. Should I start up and make a run for it on a muddy, windy, un lit, pot holed impassable when wet road? Or sit tight and see what happens. I opted for the second choice. After all they were here for 15 minutes and hadn't come near me. Beside I couldn't find my glasses in my darkened hideaway.
    In time my hand relaxed a bit on my one weapon an ax. I had determined to go down swinging if necessary. The music got raucous and louder. Dancing figures more frenzied in their 4X4 headlight beams. I heard glass breaking. Girls and boys laughing amid shrieks and screaming louder then ever. I became sweaty despite a cool rainy night. Shots rang out.”What the hell are they shooting at “ I said out loud to myself. It was beer bottles they emptied. Nothing whistled past me even though I was in the middle of this wild scene.
    Well in about one hour they suddenly packed up their remaining beer bottles and girls, started up their 4 X 4, gunned the engines and sped off into the night, never coming near me. It was as if I wasn't there. Was I the ghost of Grafton Utah ? Invisible but present, scaring them away. Ha I was the one scared..... not them..
    I went back to a sound and undisturbed sleep.



    Grafton Utah The morning after the big party

    Would I sleep in a Ghost town again ? I asked myself . “You bet” I answered . ( I did but it was not a town but different kinds of ghosts, maybe real ones and fighting mad.

    Next Zion National park

    JD
    Last edited by J. Dillon; 07-09-2007 at 06:09 PM.
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  6. #391

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    Hi JD, it was great to meet you at Chez Lefty's I'll post the video one of these days!

    I'm like the rest. I was taught not to applaud between concert pieces, nor to interrupt a good story teller. I'd use the "views" as an indication of how popular your prose is.

    Now that I've jumped in, I'll just say that it is enjoyable reading your accounts. I've been to most of the places you are describing, however, curiously, I was usually traveling in the opposite direction :-)

    I've driven across the US at least 3 times, I think route 90, route 80 and once from West to East on route 40. I remember a stretch across Arizona and New Mexico that was so straight, I read the Stephen King book Tommyknockers (600+ pages) while driving.

    There was a great Indian jewelry stand in Gallup NM, Ortegas, that had the most beautiful Indian jewelry I've ever seen. The Ortegas in Santa Fe doesn't compare.

    I also stopped by the Meteor Crater in Arizona, that was featured in the film Star Man. Truely impressive to see that much Earth punched out of the desert in a fraction of a second.

    If any of you haven't driven across this country at least once, I recommend that you do at some point. Yes, there are long stretchs that are dull and boring and you can't drive fast enough to put them behind you, but then there are these little magical spots that you happen upon that make the whole trip something you'll never forget.

    Interestingly, those were usually found in campsites. I remember a campsite in Sedona, a little lake in Arkansas, a camp by a river in Ohio, near a large cliff that had been the scene of a battle between local settlers and the native Indians. The Indians jumped to their death from the cliff rather than surrender... that was the place I saw my first firefly (outside of Disney Land at least). Good stuff!
    "I want a boat that drinks 6, eats 4, and sleeps 2." -Ernest K. Gann

  7. #392
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    Twelve THOUSAND four hundred and ten views, three Hundred ninety eight responses. That says it all.

    Great story, I really appreciate the time and effort you are putting in to this.

    Jack
    Jack
    Nicotine free since 1 October 2009

  8. #393
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    Well, 400 replies obviously means something right?

    This has to be one of the best threads I have ever read on the internet!! Period!!

    Keep it coming

  9. #394
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    Thanks folks, glad you all are still enjoying it even though we are land bound for now. We'll have to be in a couple of land locked states before we hit the coast and up through California, Oregon and Washington state before we're afloat again with some colorfull characters aboard the trawler "Tora Maru" bound up the inside passage to Alaska. Then the South Pacific aboard a Top sail schooner.

    Been under the weather and doing a mast repair so a bit slow in the getting a story together.

    Another episode very soon.

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  10. #395
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    Been away for a while, just stopped in for my fix. Thanks again. Your story brought back my trip across country in '80. We stopped at the GC. We had a serendipitous treat. While we were in an old adobe tourist center/gift shop, a bus with a choir on it unloaded and lined the steps of a tower in the center and began singing. After all the surprised visitors enjoyed 15 minutes of beautiful choral music they got back on the bus and left. The story I got was that they were on tour. One of the members had scouted out locations with good acoustics along their path where they stopped and gave impromtu concerts.

  11. #396
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    Zion National Park

    It was gloomy when I got up, still thinking about the party here in Grafton. During the night It still poured down, but now in the morning, it stopped raining long enough to get some pictures of the Ghost Town I wanted and the other buildings, all in un salvageable condition.


    The approach to Zion National Park

    By 08:00 started back to Zion N.P. regretting not taking pix of the grave yard just outside the town. It was a quick drive and by 10:00 Parking wasn't too bad this time in the morning. At the visitors center I overheard the ranger emphasize to a young couple eager to move out and on the trail to carry out their toilet paper. I wonder how they do that and which pocket of their gear they stow it. I got a camp site and was soon trudging along for Temple of Sinawava hiking the narrows trail. but the trail was short. It really ended at the point the backpackers start for the inner reaches by permit only.

    Not equipped for an in depth hike I turned back. On the way, the wind came up launching seed pods of cotton wood trees. It is pleasant like a warm snow . It is a rather unique way to germinate like the dandelion but this time the small clusters of pea like pods open to release the fine like drawn cotton with a pin head size seed to journey in the wind. I wonder if a commercial`use of this cotton like fauna has ever been tried ? It certainly is well named. The day turned out pleasant cool and the sun finally broke out at 16:00. After driving to Weeping rock pull out, I hiked up the Hidden canyon trail .It was a bit more strenuous up hill most of the way but with all of the trails here rewarding .The views are fantastic.



    Just one of the views of Zion



    One of the more narrow trails at Zion. This one had a hip height steel cable, to hold on to just around the bend


    I even got one photo of my van from way up on the trail. When back down I saw a group of Japanese pull into a handicapped parking spot, even driving the wrong way to get in . None looked the least bit handicapped to me and there were no plates indicating that privilege on their rented motor home. I find them brash pushy and often shoulder their way to the front through a crowd waiting to ask for information at the visitors desk. Germans I find are the true hikers and all ages are backpacking to the more remote areas both here and at the Grand Canyon. The French speaking tourists seem to be near the places to eat. The Japanese do little hiking. Oh their are some, but not like the Germans. The Japanese often come in droves usually from a bus or two scatter in all directions with their cameras snap a few pictures and hurry back to the bus. Never really seeing the scene, that happens when they get back . I find little Spanish spoken here. This is reflected in the areas where messages are posted around in German French and Japanese at both parks. Since getting west of the Mississippi I have seen about a dozen blacks and only one hiking. The feeling I perceived at that Grand Canyon is age as it seemed a place for senior citizens . They could easily walk along the rim and drive to the various overlooks. Of course there is plenty of back packing but it is all down into the canyon. At Zion it definitely is more for the family and hiking trails for all levels. Like the Hidden canyon trail and the Three Emerald pool trails lower for the kids and granny’s, middle, for the more inclined for a bit of steepness and upper for the more challenged to do a bit of sweating .



    One of the most impressive water falls over 800 feet



    Children enjoying the cold water pool at Zion

    The views of all three are rewarding very lush. At the upper emerald pool the water comes cascading down from a height of 800 ' or more to be constantly directed by the wind to hit a various stretches of rocks . The water is very cold but the juniors are all wading in it bare footed. Everywhere I have hiked so far today there was always the sound of water either close or off in the distant. There are even swamps. Some of the trails have plaques relating to the flora and fauna along the way. The park is quite crowded and it is fun seeing everybody enjoying our national parks. There isn't much in the way of guided ranger talks today but something at the Amphi theater tonight. Walking the trails here at Zion I release the difference between the Grand Canyon and Zion . The Grand Canyon is kind of so awe inspiring like a beautiful woman you are struck speechless, she is un touchable distant remote like viewing a work of art except for the appointed few willing to back down all the way or even the tortuous often frightening mule trip to Phantom ranch. At Zion everybody can enjoy however your ability to rough it. But really Grand Canyon is for everybody too but in a different way to be inspired in whatever way and whatever level suits you. Its there for you to get what you can from viewing its majesty.

    Met a delightful family near my camp site Steven & Jo Ann Sunderland and their two little girls age about 5 and 6 Brittany and Ashley . The little girls came right over and started talking . All seemed to be curious about my van conversion. It seems any thing that is hand made and appointed has fascination for children. They can spot the difference instantly as it looks so different the factory made and produced. The appreciated that there was a place for everything and everything in its place. Rain started falling at about the time I made dinner. Later we tried to go to the show that was to be on in the amphi theater but the on again off again rain prevented that .However my harmonica was a hit and saved the day After dark we roasted marshmallows. Before sleep got the better of Brittany and Ashley. I gave Stephan some duct tape to repair their air pump used to inflate the mattresses. Tonight we all slept sound fully underneath a clearing sky. The stars so vivid not diminished by light pollution. It was good for me to interact with a family again , mine seemed so remote all grown up and on their own

    Next

    You can hear the erosion Bryce Canyon NP

    JD
    Last edited by J. Dillon; 07-18-2007 at 09:27 AM.
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  12. #397
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    Started out for Bryce Canyon National Park . As I move further up into the high country there is more forest growth along the road it looks a lot like New England. Getting close you enter Dixie national forest and the appearance is much like the interior of the park with only a few Hoodoos.



    Portion of Bryce Canyon National Park map



    Bryce Canyon National Park

    Obtaining the map at the visitors center I decided to scout the region to see what activities I will do the next day . Of course it immediately started to cloud up with a darkening sky to the east of me . I would say definitely thunder showers on the way . Rainbow Pt is the furthest spot away 18 miles with a lot of scenic overlooks along the way. I had wanted to go on the Ranger walk but I assumed that it would be canceled. Now this park is quite different then Grand C. and Zion the feeling here is vertical . In fact if I had to describe the three park with one word I would say Grand Canyon HORIZONTAL, Zion BUMPY, Bryce VERTICAL . The feeling here is vertical with the Hoodoos being the prominent characteristic. Hoodoos are formations caused by the wind and water erosion on the soft calcium carbonate soil formations. The wear is in a up and down configuration as compared to the vertical erosion at the Grand C. Indian legend has it that there were people at one time who angered the gods because they were bad , so he turned them into stone . Looking at them long enough I suppose you could see faces in them. Definitely resemblance to human figures standing erect. The elevations here at Bryce are up and down , not like the top of a plateau like the Grand Canyon. The trees are more the firs and evergreens not like the abundant Junipers. Driving between view points , one is struck by the Birch trees in such abundance but in tight clusters . They are quite lush reaching moderate heights of about 30' or so. Looking from the viewpoints one is struck at the sights you see . These Hoodoos as they are called are magnificent straight up they climb singularly and in groups , some capped complete with necks and heads Others strong shoulders as well . I'm reminded of a pipe organ gone wild with no conformity at all only the effort of building one with random structure. The dominant color is brownish red with streaks of light brown at various places but mostly at the tops. From Rainbow Point you can see for 130 miles to Navajo mountain . A sign said that it had the cleanest air in the lower 48 states. I took a deep breath and savored it thinking it is not like sea air but here mixed, hinting at wood. I had a clear day despite the rain mostly off in the distance and sure enough one could see it coming down off a distant cloud. It made one think of a wispy shadow softly dropping off a larger more menacing looking shadow One overlook was a natural arch not made by water but by wind. I'm not sure which hike I should take tomorrow as they all look good. An other visitor said that the rim of Fairyland point is good and an easy trail

    Tonight they have a star show at the visitor center. Coming back from Sunset Point it looked like the sun would be out , but to no avail. There is a decided lack of crowds at Bryce, perhaps most have gone back or this is not as popular park. It is a fantasy land with the master sculptor having a whim at humor or having a little fun from his labors of making the earth. . I can hear a robin chirping to the waning day, a guitar off in the distance and children playing at the next campsite behind me all pleasant sounds to end the day.


    Well the new day started off fine sunny and reasonably clear. Had breakfast and got on the trails by 08:30 Did the Queens garden and Navajo loop the first is rated as moderate and the loop moderate to strenuous. The chipmunks around as all game are quite tame. They come right up to expecting a hand out . Some people feed them despite heavy fines . It imprints on the animal "humans feed", then when winter comes they starve. I changed camp sites to park at Sunset camp. Went back to Bryce Pt to do the Hat shop trail which is rated as strenuous. Had difficulty getting a place to park but after three attempts got a space. You do have to aggressive . If the car in front of you is hesitating and don't know where to go, pull ahead of him and look for your own space. I lost out the first two times because I hesitated. Before embarking on the trail I had lunch filled up my water flask with cold water, and set out. The weather looked Ok. I wasn't down the trail thirty minutes when I heard thunder , turning around it sure looked threatening.



    The storm clouds start to roll in




    A view up In the canyon trail



    More views of the Bryce Canyon NP



    A few dead trees to give a little contrast to the fairyland nature of this park.



    What does your imagination say about this one ?

    Next more of Bryce Canyon National Park

    JD
    Last edited by J. Dillon; 07-23-2007 at 06:27 PM.
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  13. #398
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    Doing fine L. Boyle. Still traveling and enjoying retirement. Now where did I put my eyeglasses ?

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

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    Thankyou JD for the most excellent read. Living vicariously through your posts. Please do continue. Your writings are among the best I have ever read. The suspense, the hooks, and the memories. We all are waiting with baited breath.

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    The skies getting blacker and brandishing lightening streaks. The gods always seem to angry here. I decided the best thing to do was to turn back even though the rim is a dangerous place. My concern was flash floods proceeding down the trail I don't know what to expect. Gaining the rim once more it started to rain heavy with lots of lightening . A poncho might be a good idea for hiking around here . They are small and easy to carry in a day pack or even in my camera bag. None of the stores had them . That is the one general store in the park and the only one close outside the park. In "town" if you can call it that I saw signs for a rodeo. Since I have never seen one It might be a good place to go tonight if the rain stops. The locals say this sort of weather is more like July and August .I have determined that the way to see this place is to do the strenuous hikes early before the rains set in at about 13:00. Then do what ever the weather permits in the afternoon.

    Looking at the map I would like to go to Cedar Breaks tomorrow after I get a hike in the Peek a boo trail. Hiking the trails here the only kind of birds I see are ravens and cliff swallows. The thunder and lightening rolled in so I had to duck inside once more. It is quite cozy in the van very self contained for the most part . The only inconvenience is the dependency elsewhere for sanitation. Cooking and dinning , sleeping and just writing are provided for in the rolling vehicle I call home for now. A modern Gypsy. Will have to get some variety of reading material like a good book to sink my mind into. It is hard to get a good radio station. In some locations I pull in N P R pretty fair and other times not at all. They do tend to be repetitious after a while and the local all have lamenting lovers crying about their recent encounters. That is repetitious. I guess I can rule out the Rodeo tonight as the rain is coming down pretty heavy now .. but then again it could clear up. In a way I feel pity for the tenters. The pull into there spot and if they haven't set up before the rain starts they have to sleep in the car. Right now it is really coming down hail the size of peas. I guess this is part of the severe thunderstorm warning I heard posted for this region The tenters also have to eat a cold meal in this kind of weather or drive to a eatery of some kind. This storm will undoubtedly spawn some flash floods in the canyons , that's what makes the Hoodoos. I still cannot get over this weather, it rains all the time. Looking at my journal or log I do make mention of all the rain we have been having since I started. It is also cold in these higher elevations. In the beginning of the trip or rather in southern AZ & Texas I packed away all my cold weather gear in the remote recesses of the van . Now I have them all out and in full use daily especially my winter jacket. Well one consultation, the rings on the trees will be fat this year. Well I guess I'll call it a day and turn in, to be lulled off to sleep with the patter of rain on a tin roof.

    To confuse things the signs telling which way to go reminded me of the straw man in the wizard of Oz did, he pointed both ways when asked the way to Emerald city. Peek a boo had that quality The trail wondered up`and down for 6 miles but the final accent was all up to get back to the ridge. I did have a sense of accomplishment on the top, just under the time listed in the brochure. I wasn't trying to set a record and did take plenty of breaks on the way up.

    Now the time to leave Bryce was at hand. I filed up my water tanks and hit the road for Cedar Breaks National Monument. I gassed up at Panguitch a small town about 20 miles north of Bryce. The trip from there on Rt 143 got a little boring. Not that it didn't have a beauty of its own , tall magnificent silver birches that had a kind of luminosity quality about them under an ever increasing cloudy sky , but I felt a bit bored . Apprehension set in when I found my van laboring on the slightest grade. Did I get poor fuel quality at the last fill up ? Was the engine acting up ? What ? On the down grades it felt Ok but at the next incline it labored down to 35 mph. Then It dawned on me, We were at 10,000 feet above sea level . Just like me the engine was feeling the altitude. At the Cedar Breaks Information center I found out it was 10,305 feet and there was plenty of snow around all on the ground a bit spotty perhaps but very deep in spots. The temperature right now was 40 degrees.




    Over 10,000 ft in elevation. My van felt it to

    No place to camp for me here tonight . Now the way down was on rt 148 A long grade down to Rt 14 where you turn north to pick up Rt 15 at Cedar city , the biggest town in a while. Now the weather was getting worse and very threatening dark clouds with multiple lightening strokes. I was glad to be off the mountain. As I advanced down 15 it started to rain . I mean it came down the wind shield wiper could not keep up. Not only that, the rain drained off the road poorly . I could feel myself hydro planning . Time to get off. Fortunately a rest stop came up and in I went. I could see it clear a few miles ahead and started out once more in a rain lull. Mild fear appeared when it started to hail. I could hear it pelt the van . What a racket . It started to build up on the road like snow. Time to pull off again. This time I had plenty of company. Most sensible motorists were on the shoulder.



    I thought the hail would pound a hole in my plastic hatch.
    The tandem trucks never stopped just slowed down a bit


    The big trucks still came barreling along a bit slower perhaps but nevertheless coming. My fear at this point was what if they lost control on this down grade and come ploughing into all the pulled off vehicles . There were numerous cars in front and back of me all with there little hazard lights feebly giving warning to the 18 wheelers. I did see numerous triple tandem trucks roaring right along. Boy did that hail come down. There was a inch on the road the size of large peas to thumb dimensions. For a while I thought it would pulverize my little plastic opening vent on the roof. After a while it dissipated to the extent I ventured out once more in the tracks plowed by the trucks. In half an hour the road was dry and in 15 minutes sunny. 16:30 and time to look for a place to anchor for the night. I was near what was listed as Red Cliff camp grounds so I exited 15 to find it. Following the road as directed I came up to a sign saying" Free Camping". Well you can't expect much from that invitation can you ? Elation set in when I found out that I stumbled into Harrisburg Lakeside R.V. Resort Campground & Marina. I had to register of course. I sensed his obvious disappointment evident by the attitude of the " promoter", A fat sweaty man with a cigar hanging from a twisted mouth. Probably got that way from the stoggie that was a part of him as his dirty stained teeth .He signed me up for space A 5 . His aim was at the big RV rigs loaded with dough. There were plenty of them around. I noticed him glancing at my muddy Bryce canyon shoes and dirty burn gloves as he took my specs. I guess the gimmick is buying into the place. My site had electricity but the view was something to be desired all open with no shade and 1-15 roaring ½ mile behind me. So what, they had a pool, general store and complete ecstasy... a clean large shower with no limitation on time. Oh the pleasure I must have used mega watts taking that shower as well lakes of water.. Even had a free laundry which I will avail myself to in the morning. At 19:30 there is to be an Ice cream social at the office maybe I'll skip that one and the inevitable sales pitch. I attended the promotion of the RV park . It was short and soft sell. Others were of course were present . From the look of them I could smell money and time. All decked out in the latest boots and big ten gallon hats in various shades . One a lady wore had sequins on the brim that glittered on each turn of the head. One wonders where the money comes from. Maybe Las Vegas not far from here. For the most part I enjoyed invisibility. A coat of poverty protected me form inane conversation. The marina here is a man made small lake . I saw pictures of it in the sales office. Wondering around the park my van sure looked small and insignificant with all the big camping RV rigs here. It is definitely a retirement community and that is where the sales pitch was directed. Its fun to see these old folks meandering around hand in hand, pot belles bulging over shorts and big cowboy hats covering gray hair. In fact six guns would have made a ridiculous completion to their outfits . It sure would have gotten a big laugh from me. In a way you can get a bit envious, not from the obvious wealth but their seeming inability to do some good with it. What a thought, maybe their tax deductions for charity was quite generous.

    Near there was a masonry building on a hill close to the sales office. I could see it from the main highway when coming in here . It is well put together with a roof that had the rafters made of 12" logs running from gable to gable . On that ,conventional rafters laid flat supporting cross sheathing on which wooden shingles were fastened. It was fenced in and illuminated. I found it the most interesting structure here including all the fancy RV with their TV antennas. The sun has set behind the hills to the west and it still looks like we could have showers.

    Next

    Gambling in the Robert E. Lee, I can smell the Pacific ocean

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  16. #401
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    I stumbled across this thread/book in progress, yesterday and am sorry to have caught up to the end, cause now I have to wait like all the other posts I have read encouraging you to keep it up and post more. I've loved every word.

    Jonathan

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    Wow!! what happened ? I go away for a week end of canoeing & visiting the Herreshoff museum in RI and there over 250 "views "here. I guess I better post another episode soon.

    JD
    Last edited by J. Dillon; 07-29-2007 at 10:26 PM.
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  18. #403
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    Real life stories are much better than fiction.

    If you keep writing, I'll keep reading.
    =~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~=~

    When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

    Mark Twain

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    JD,
    I'll bet at least 10 of those "views" are me checking to see if the next installment is written!!!

    STILL loving every yarn, keep it up.

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    Although I haven´t read it all yet, I feel have to jump in here and say that this is one of the most remarkable threads on the forum. The air of authenticity and your writing style make it thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you JD.

  21. #406
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    Talking



    Today was a mileage day. With no intention to sight see Just getting distance to Menlo Park and time to do some things in southern California. I passed through some mountains where the road was cut or blasted right out. My course was S. westerly on Rt 15 It did have signs warning of a high wind area Passing through Mesique Nevada I noticed a large golf course with tall Royal Palms , I guess to look like Florida. The tall palms swayed in the dusty desert wind and seemed out of place and far from salty air and the sound of surf. Despite that they seemed to be thriving I decided to skip Las Vegas all together. I‘d seen lots of gambling casinos in the east , so this one is bigger but will kill my distance making intentions. A sign announced “Jean”, it was a little spot on the map but it betrayed what was really there.


    The “Robert E Lee “ a river boat that floats on your cash

    A giant replica of a Mississippi River paddle wheeler Robert E Lee It must ave been 800 " long and as beamy as an aircraft carrier. It tied up to “Nevada Landing.” My stomach demanded attention so I pulled into this place . Of course the signs there reading a $2.95 lunch consisting of three fish fillets, french fries, lemonade, vegetable soup, cole slaw was a strong inducement. It also tasted good and the ambiance was right in the gambling Casino, which what the “Robert E. Lee” was all about. You can even play Keno while dining. Forms are on the table that you can fill out give to the waitress along with your order and wait for the result on the electronic board placed for easy viewing. The rest rooms blared out winners exaltations even while your seated in a booth . It was impossible to escape the intentions of the place Everything was plush in the casino glittery with lights blinking on and off . There were large chandlers hanging from the ceiling . The gamblers were the usual I had seen at Atlantic city mesmerized with the slots and one arm bandits. The Black Jack tables were pretty empty at 12:00 Pacific time. I gassed up even though the tank was not that empty. I was about to cross the Mojave desert , no place to run out of fuel. Even the gas station had slot machines You could crank a slot arm with one arm and fuel with the other The reception on the radio is getting better now that I'm out of the mountain areas. It is much cheaper to eat out around here then to cook your self. Store bought food so far has been much more expensive then back east. At least in the regions around the parks I have been staying at. Got into California at 12:44. The desert I'm going through is really stark with a little bit of stage brush on one side if the road and nothing in the other. It looked like it might have been a salt flat at one time.


    Zzyzx CA

    The weather has cleared up and it is sunny and very hot. Passed a road turn off called Zzyzx, how's that for a winning scrabble word ? I have seen a lot of prefab houses moving along the road . One truck carries one half and the other truck the remaining half.` In the rest stops here in CA. warn of rattlesnakes and solicitors, I imagine you can tell the difference. The latter slither more while the former rattle. At “Barstow” I have a course change on to Rt 58 This is to avoid LA and brings me out eventually in San Luis , just below the Big Sur. This section of Rt. 58 is not divided and you have 18 wheelers coming right at you and their displaced air rock my van. They are building a divider but for now it is narrow. Looking at my Camper guides I see there are two possibilities, for a camp site one at Tehachapi and the other in Mojave. The latter is closer and I will duck in there for the night. There is a regulation when entering CA. about bringing in vegetables and fruits and at the stop you are asked if you have any. He did give me the once over and even looked on the roof. He took my word on the inside contents. My spot at the Rv park borders a farm with crowing roosters that never sleep. Doing there thing all night long . I have a balmy wind to get me to sleep tonight.


    Got up an out a little early as I do want to hit the California coast fairly early in order to get a camping space as it is the weekend. When I left Mojave it was nice and sunny and I even put away my wind breaker. Just out of Mojave is a airport but there are no planes flying in or out . Maybe it is where they store unused planes. There sure are a lot of them sitting on the runway doing nothing and no sign of activity at all. Maybe they were confiscated drug running planes. Along the way is a wind generating power plant . There must be thousands of them sitting on two levels the lower one is getting no wind at all but the upper`ones are rotating giving power to someplace. One or two are a bit idle I guess the bearings are rusted . Some are of the elongated ring design , needing no orientation to the wind. Probably more efficient. Most of them are on the slopes on either side of Rt 58. The hills I went through are all burnt out grass quite lumpy like an un made bed but all broken down to a soil supporting this grassy vegetation. I saw a rock here and there it looked lonely. When going through “Bakers field” Ca. and I did see what must be orange trees but no fruit is visible. A crop dusting plane drops low spewing a foul smelling excrement on the field. He flies a biplane . I wouldn’t want that job . I know he must be breathing this stuff and it smells bad. I don't know if it is fertilizer or pesticide. I do think he is dusting cotton. A sign back down the road said “Button Willow” cotton country . I did see special carriers about the size of a 18 wheeler trailer but with primitive looking wheels and a simple cage affair around the perimeter to contain the harvested cotton. There must be hundreds of them. But narry a human. Passed a lot of tumbleweed blowing across the road, some are collected against the embankment along the side of the road. This also must be oil country .. I could see well pumps cranking slowly away, no drilling towers just the pumps. It was weird looking to see all that machinery rocking in time with cattle chewing their cud with not a human in sight anywhere. A sign proclaimed land is owned by Shell and Texaco, What a contrast the creation of man pumping the innards of earth while cattle eat on the surface. This section of Rt 58 is sure remote I don’t see anybody no cars people nothing I feel like I'm on the moon. The hills still roll on and on and it got very curvy and very winding, you have to reduce speed to 15 mph on some of the curves. What a torturous road . Know wonder nobody comes this way. This condition went on for 60 miles and it is hard to make any time. To break it up I came across a whole field of solar collectors all arrayed to face the sun . I do not know if they track but there must be thousands of them . generating juice for somebody maybe the town of “McKittrick”. On I went still climbing and winding. I did pull into a small gas station but he charges 1.65 a gallon for gas . so I only got $10.00 worth . I thought it would be better to have some then to run out in this un traveled section. Behind me a tandem truck pulling two ore carriers. I pulled off to let him pass and he gave me two honks to say thanks. The hill are now on the down grade and get more foliage, even trees. On the horizon is some dirty looking clouds looking a lot like of pollution. with definite brown yellow in them. I, m under them , its cooler and fully overcast. I'll never take 58 again. Well I finally got through it all and on Rt 101 looking for RT 41 turn off to get over the coast. Taking RT 1 off 41 I found Morro Strand State park after asking two cops having lunch at a counter. I had to turn sideways to get past their protruding guns sticking far past their butts . But they gave good directions with the help of a waitress. Finally I get to the park to breathe sea air again I'm on the Pacific coast listening to the surf from space # 15 my home for the night. it cost 15.00 and the time 12:55.

    Next Driving North in California, Redwood forests and some memorable characters.

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  22. #407
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    Tallied up the miles to get to get from coast to coast. 5,098

    After a cross country drive a walk along the beach seems in order I came across a small seal just kind of ambling along . He seemed unafraid and sluggish in movement but didn’t appear to be hurt, maybe sick. After a while he went back into the ocean. I did see a dead seal and dolphin with 7 turkey vultures to keep the beach clean. I inquired about it to a couple walking along the beach and they said it was a bit unusual but not rare. They did say to stop at Jade beach if you look carefully you can find jades there,. Not gem quality but Jades non the less. After dinner at my camp site I watched the sun go down at about 20:12 Pacific time.

    Soon there after ,another young couple pulled in near my camp site. They had a hell of a time setting up a simple tent. They were obvious new lovers but after a while she looked puzzled by the whole thing. and probable doubted the nest making ability of her perspective partner They finally got it set up and left I suppose for dinner. They returned to now attempt a campfire to cook a meal. In th dimming light I could see the sweat pouring down his furred brow as he furiously fanned the fire. A lock of hair kept falling across his face aggravating his diminishing composure. Meanwhile she sits by head in hand , legs crossed and thoroughly dismayed. as hunger gnaws her innards. She never offered a hand or any encouraging words. I imagined she was used to be waited on. Darkness soon enveloped the scene. and only sounds and mumbling penetrated my senses. I thought about offering a hand but decided this is an affair I best keep my nose out of. Eventually they left , probably to a restaurant. Things are pretty quiet now and there appears to be no noisy campers here this night. Went to sleep with the crash and roar of Pacific surf not too far away..


    Got up early today as the game plan is to get further north and duck in early to get a camp site. People who know say they are all booked in advance but my hunch is since it is overcast and the week end after Memorial day there will be space available. Had breakfast and was on the road at 07:30 but going south to find Jade or Shell beach. Went down the coast just short of Pismo beach and turned off where the sign said Shell road. Well it is petty developed and no legitimate place to park . Drove down to Pismo and it was pretty much the same. There is a lot of real estate here not sold. A great many houses and developments faced the water. Pismo beach was bit touristy and a little dirty with dog do on the beach and I could not find any inkling of Jade, just dog poo. I decided to get back on Rt 1 north. Somehow I wound up on Rt 101 which takes you inland and up steep hills . Here cyclists are permitted to use the shoulders in California. Exiting off I finally got back on Rt 1 North. Well the area above where I was staying at Morro Strand is pretty undeveloped with cattle grazing right down to the water on brown grassy hills quite beautiful and serene. Once past San Simeon it got very hilly and windy again but not as bad as Rt 58 yesterday. It was much more dangerous for several reasons (1). There was fog`on the higher elevations (2). I did not have the road to myself (3).You had to be extremely attentive to your driving due to the curves with sheer drop off's for the unwary. (4). and finally some of the other drivers were poor to dangerous. One incident in particular. A camper pulling a large trailer was having tough going on the hills and curves . There was a string of vehicles behind him . One stupid driver attempted to pass on a blind curve and just ducked back in time, avoiding an on coming car. He did the same thing again. This told me I had better be aware that traffic coming the other way or towards me, could be trying the same thing . I saw this occur several times . Drivers exercising poor or reckless judgment. One jerk pulled in front of me just in time sending gravel back on me peppering my windshield. It was close . Driving with head lights burning was a smart move as well. This kind of road work went on for 100 miles . Every time Icame to a camp site it was full .There are plenty of pull off where you can get a look of the ocean also signs reading “No overnight parking or camping on the roadside. I finally pulled into a private Campgrounds called “Fernwood” They charge bucks for the night . It is very beautiful with tall red wood trees electricity and showers. I have a nice spot in plenty of shade. Pulled out after claiming my turf with my "Camp Site Occupied” sign and drove to the Andrew Molera State park to hike to the Big Sur beach 1 mile in .



    Some of the rough coast line of the Big Sur



    More pix of the Big Sur



    Thats where the rich folk live, Nice eh ?

    Will have to stop in Carmel tomorrow to get to a cash machine as I am down to 31 bucks enough to get me to San Francisco but I would like to have more money in my pocket as things in CA are expensive. At the beach took a few picture in a cloudy day at the sea shore but sunny a mile inland. Found a few "Jade Stones "And a snake or two once on the way in and on the way back. Tomorrow I think I will try to stay at Half Moon Bay State. Park for the night. Back at my campsite I explored around and blundered into a section I'll call “Potsville.” It’s King or maybe mayor was a character called Gus. Well Gus is a person left over from the protest groups .Clever but utterly dropped out of conventional society. He his employed here at Fernwood and gets a place to stay or should I say a space to stay off and out of sight of regular patrons.. Guss's space is a joke living in a junkyard, but somehow things work like the stove, ice box and fireplace , Oh there are no walls or a roof of any kind all outdoors I wondered how he kept out the rain . His truck is loaded with junk and on top sits a beat up foldboat with bits of debris hanging out of it. There are several axes strewn about as well as a dart and arrow stuck in a tree with a compound bow hanging from it. A bit of laundry was strewn on tree branches and a “his” and “her” tent and table. It seem Gusses girl friend lives here to, but in a separate “accommodation. Her table cloth had linen. His, raw boards with tree legs. I could see the flies buzzing around on his table. He also dressed game on it as he hunted in the woods bragging about the mountain lion he was after. After Gus sized me up as not being connected with the law. He offered a beer followed by a marijuana cigarette. I took the beer but declined the other. He was fun to talk to but had grandiose ideas as to where he has been too, mostly in his aspirations and dreams. He looked a bit like Grissly Adams complete with coarse red brown beard, that a rosy round nose protruded Gus had a hearty laugh that made his just visible earrings giggle. He wore no hat and I thought one would look ridiculous on that massive head. I could just see a faded tattoo below the sleeve of his checkered grimy shirt A jeweled handled sheath knife hung on his hip held up by a silvered belt with jade and turquoise stones set in it. It’s purpose was to hold up the tool and serve as a decorative divider between beer belly and barrel chest. The suspenders did the real holding of his dungarees strewn with holes from using too much bleach A buddy came by making Gus look like a prince holding court in his redwood kingdom. He was obviously high on something and maybe several degrees ahead of Gus who all ready had a few drinks, smokes or both of something. I saw it was a good time to ease out.

    The manager showed me an albino redwood the original had been cut down by an ignorant former owner thinking it was dead but the needles were all white where green should be it was white. The rest of the trees at Fernwood are over 1,900 to 2,000 years old very tall about 150 high and densely wooded. These are the first redwood trees I have seen in the wild and I guess they are small compared to the ones growing further north. The section of campgrounds I’m at is families and boy scouts. Gus tells me that this is all forest wild life area and mountain lions live nearby.



    (Authors note I visited here back in 92. It's good to see that the stump of the Albino red wood I saw is now flourishing)

    It was quiet when I turned in that night just a few families gathered around their campfires and the sound of children’s laughter. I wondered what Gus was up to ?

    Next more of CA and a visit with my daughter.

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  23. #408
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    J.D....I'm an avid reader.....you've been to many places that I have visited...but with you I can see it again. My aunt lived near Jal, N.M. and when visiting her we would go to Carlsbad...and when going out to Kalifornicatia we travelled much the same route. I am enjoying it. Just because I don't make a comment after each chapter dunno mean I ain't read it...
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
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    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  24. #409
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    Thanks Chuck . I'm glad you're still with this yarn. I do have a ways to go and I hope the places I yarn about inspire you to get busy with your more exciting tales.

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

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    Up early today had breakfast and out of my camp site at 07:10, with overcast skies and foggy.
    I looked around for Gus but his compound was empty. So I bade farewell to Fernwood and Gus and went into Carmel to use my bank card . Boy I love those machines when they work. Saw some interesting things on the way to Carmel and returned for a better look. The beach I passed was know locally for all the injuries of fatalities that occur there. Scuba people use this section of the beach for lessons and dives because the waves are generally calmer and the deep drop off right off the beach to over 100'. The instructor was showing the trainees to crawl up the beach when leaving the water. This keeps them stable in the surf of 2 to 3 feet and permits their partner to take off the flippers of the one in front of him. They entered the water sideways to backwards. Leaving there I went to PT. Lobos State preserve and walked around . It cost a few bucks to go in but it was worth it . The trails lead too all sorts of great views of the ocean from the Cypress lined paths There was nothing straight, the trees, paths roots, rocks all because of the unrelenting forces of nature wind, water, sun and weather stunting their growth. The tops of the Cypress were flecked with green. some had a Spanish moss hanging from them , while others the apparently dead ones had a rusty brown growth on the top surfaces. Walking one trail just after 08:00 I saw a deer. The shore line itself or the rocks were very peculiar in that they were well rounded rocks of all sizes imbedded in a hard sand stone displaying several layers and shades of brown . The sand stone was quite worn and contoured in every which way. You could imaging anything like kids looking at clouds. I could hear sea lions off in the distance and from seal point you could see them off basking themselves on a near by island. Some were in closer on a group of rocks near the water. It was amazing how they would just come up and fall asleep on the craggiest rock with no apparent discomfort. At first I thought they were dead but watching for time a twitch of the tail of flipper showed signs of life.



    Walrus sleeping on the beach. They almost look dead



    Do those rock look comfortable ?




    A rocky cove

    Viewing the surf beat on the rocks sending spray high in the air and the endless sound of the surf is quite mesmerizing., but different than staring into a camp fire. One has to just stop thinking for a while and just view and soak it all in. I took all of the trails right to the end of the park boundary , where I saw how the other half lives with modern homes facing the sea. The day was still very overcast and fog in the higher elevations. I left about 13:00 to head north and replenish some groceries in the local Safeway in Carmel. It is true wealthy do have a different look about them I cannot say just what it is but in the way they carry themselves. Maybe it was the well groomed tanned bodies pampered at health spas by muscled men and a face lift now and then can do wonders for your appearance and generally healthier look . Even the clothes are different blue jeans some how look expensive with tooled cowboy boots just peering out. Leaving Carmel north I passed`several state parks signs but it was to close and too early to find a place for the night. By now the sun had come out. Passing Maria while driving on Rt 1 I noticed hang gliders over the dunes . I pulled off and went to the beach to investigate. Wow you could get right up close as they soared right over you. It was a place they give lessons and a designated area of the beach for them



    This one soared right over my head

    They even had a launching ramp. In California things are geared for the active sports enthusiast. in a 25 mile section of beach I saw a place for 1. Cyclists 2. fishermen, skin & scuba divers, surfers , wind and regular, hang gliders and even a marina or two. One at Santa Cruz has moorings right on the Pacific Ocean with no protection from the ocean’s fury whatever. Leaving the gliders I went up the coast to New Brighton State Park for a campsite. The standard cost is $14.00 for seniors. After staking out my turf I looked around

    My Campsite . Had a view of the ocean and walruses on the rock below

    My spot is on a bluff 75'`over the beach. I could see sail boats to the north of me. Later I went into the town. I was lucky and found a parking space right away took a look around. It had lots of touristy glitter and junk shops including a new age store. Mostly young sun worshipers to attract the opposite gender. Also " There was a feint smell of beer in the salt air. It reminded me of a Navy liberty town minus the uniforms. My stomach was getting the better of me and`I didn't want to eat in this town so I headed back to my camp t cook up some left overs. Tomorrow I'll get into Palo Alto and take Carrie my daughter to dinner. On the way back from a the beach. I marveled at the Pelicans. They’re magnificent fliers and make catching fish seem a bit precarious . They glide over the water at different altitudes watching for fish. Seeing one, the wings maneuver to turn to the most advantages position to dive for the prey . At the last second wings fold the bird plunges headlong into the sea and usually comes with his quarry. It was fun to also watch the seagulls ambling for position on the incoming tide for bits of food brought up with the advancing waves. Comically they hastily ambled away when a wave threatened their spindly feet, just like people do. Waves were moving in from two directions on the beach . When they met the resulting collision would send a plume higher then ordinary some times catching a retreating gull. Some fires on the beach reminded it was summer despite a bit chilling temperatures from an dying on shore wind.

    Up and out early 07;15 to move north got on rt 1 but soon turned off to see the local marina or harbor. pretty much the same kind of boats as back home but more tightly packed . The security looked good with the dock area fenced in and locked. Got on Rt 1 again but turned off to see natural bridges. No big deal the place was deserted at 08:30 in the morning. Back on Rt 1 again but got off to see the sea lions and elephant seals at a local park. After a long walk through the nature preserve the final 1/4 `mile or so through soft sand that is slow and tough to navigate as you sink in so far. I got to the molting place for the elephant seals. At first they look like dead bodies on the beach all or most sleeping. Occasionally one would snort belch sneeze bark , bellow and make all sorts of noises unfit for polite company. However they are on their turf so they can do what they want. The day along shore was still cloudy and foggy in the higher altitudes. On the way to the molting site I encountered a mound of dirt on the trail right in front of me . It moved so I waited patiently for 5 minutes to see what would emerge. Not wanting to spend the day here I decided to move a few inches off the top to see what was there. Nothing not even a hole. I distinctly saw it move several times but found nothing. It must be the heat I thought . It was time to move on and when trying to contact my daughter living in Palo alto. I also will be contacting an ole shipmate now living in Modesto Ca. I drove across the local mountain on Rt 84 another winding road complete with idiots that totality ignore the double yellow line. I found my way to my daughter house but of course she wasn't home. Calling her next door friend Jo Ann she came over and let me in. Jo Ann also called Carrie from her job and Carrie called here at her place to get me. We had a fine dinner that night and a restaurant that seemed to be filled with college students and their parents . Then I remembered we were in a college town and parents looking over the prospect to sending their offspring in near by Sanford university

    Got up early and made a few phone calls. Back home and to Bill whom I would be soon rendezvous with for our trawler passage to Alaska. and to find out where the police dept. is, then to call“the Cardinal” my navy shipmate and arrange a day to come out to see him. Also to find out how to get into San Francisco leaving my car at my daughters appt.. I also wanted to get to see what is around here to do. Went to Police station to get parking permit for overnight street parking otherwise I could be towed. They gave me a permit I was to display on my windshield I also, got a haircut as I was beginning to look like Gus back in Fernwood at least hair wise. After a bit of lunch I drove to San Jose to a museum dealing with innovation. The museum was loaded with fun seeking children who for the most part just wanted to play and not delve into innovative thinking. Perhaps they should have been prepped by the teachers as how to behave in a museum and not think of it as a playground. Leaving in two hours I came back north to the NASA museum near Moffett Field . It was interesting in that you were shown various wind test tunnels and high performance aircraft. left at 16:00 and returned to my daughter where we had Chinese take out supper that night..

    Next reviving ole times and sea stories with a shipmate

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  26. #411
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    JD - You wondered why there aren't many comments and you answered yourself - It's a story, not a conversation.

    But FYI - Yours is the only thread that I'm subscribed to here on the forum and I check in for a nice read every week - without posting 'Cool photo' and other inane remarks.

    Please do keep the narrative going as all the other responders have said - it is a great story and we all enjoy reading it.

    Thank you.

    Best,

    Leo

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    That trip up the coast brought back fond memories for me too JD. I did it with a client back in early '92. Flew into SF, hired a car and over the weekend headed down 101 to some valley behind LA where our work was. That Big Sur coastline is just fabulous. I don't recall Walruses - but we did see Sea Otters and lots of Grey Whales. Great story - thanks.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

  28. #413
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    Big Fella,

    Glad you're reviving old memories of travel on the West coast of the US. The Oregon and Washington coasts are just as spectacular as well as Forumites will see.

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

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    JD
    I had a wonderful trip on the west coast this Spring, May to be exact, and I really should have logged in as you have to chronicle the journey...Experiences on the road have a certain point & clarity that one doesn't get in the day to day at home...
    My future trips will be televised on the WBF, I promise ;o)
    PH

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    Got at about 07:00 bound for Modesto. to visit the “Cardinal” I glanced in my mirror. A big 18 wheeler was tight on my stern. I expected the horn to blast me out of the way. I was doing the legal limit Instead he went over the double line and breezed past me, then gave me the finger. Thousands of wind generators hove into view. Some had their prop blades feathered to prohibit spinning and generating current. I guess they had enough juice developed. Eventually I dropped into a flat featureless valley that Modesto seemed to be in. The air hung heavy there and didn’t smell right . I guess the mountains surrounding the city trapped any freshness blowing in or maybe the wind generators killed the flow of air . It was laid out flat for the most part and loaded with small homes, one after an another. I could imagine it all was a lake in billions of years ago. After inquiring a few times in regions of Modesto as to where his house was I arrived at 15:00. I knew he would be home and expecting me. He was retired from the Miami police force years ago, settling in his wife’s home town. I rang the bell with apprehension . Would we have anything to talk about besides our navy days ? We kept in contact in superficial way with holiday cards and birth announcements. He opened the door and at once I knew everything would be OK. I didn’t recognize him by appearance as the years changed him, but rather by mannerisms. A certain gesture of hand or a twitch in his smile gave instant recognition that only the “Cardinal” possessed. It’s funny how one registers these things, never cataloging them deliberately but storing in your mind a persons essence. He carried himself in the same way despite a belly that absorbed too much beer. A weakness he acquired 40 year ago in the Navy His family was anxious to meet me as he related his stories and the many characters one meets while in service. We conjured up memories about other shipmates and pretty much agreed on how we recalled them. The Cardinal and I went on liberty often and assigned Shore Patrol together. One time was at the Gaiety Burlesque house in Norfolk Va. We saw all the shows for eight hours and they sure are repetitious between the strippers peeling their clothing. Hawkers would ply the isles selling junk and “refreshments”. The same “sailor” always found an electric razor in a box of popcorn. “Rose La Rose” was the queen then, supported by Sweet and petite “Mary Jane Porter”. She would come on stage all decked out in a Civil war era Southern Belle costume complete with a large hat with long ribbon, up to the elbows gloves, and voluminous hoop skirt. Underneath a laced up corset managed to push up her petite boobs giving them a “come hither look”. Slowly the out fit would peel off. in a very charming manner all to Stephen Foster music , like “I dream of Jennie” It was done quite tasteful., not like the bumps and grinds of “Rose La Rose”. The mostly sailors audience would howl approval, some silent maybe thinking of the girl next door back home. The “Cardinal” and I. approved..... quietly.

    Another Shore patrol assignment was out side a distributor of local moon shine liquor. It just was a door way but up stairs they sold the stuff by the gallon . Our job was to bar all military personnel in uniform from entering. Mostly merchant marine types frequented the place offering us a drink on the way out. One particular liberty we shared stands out in our minds. It was in Port Au Prince Haiti. Probably the poorest country I’ve ever been right up to today.

    Remember “Cardinal” that 50' liberty launch pulling away from the grey topsides of the USS Coral Sea.. ? I asked

    “Yea” he replied, “I remember”.

    The coxswain put the tiller hard over to point the bow shoreward. “The Cardinal”, sat alongside me . We had 12 hours ashore to see the sights of this Caribbean port.

    The rolling hills give way to low shacks and an oil tank or two just over the launches bow. To me, a foreign port, some time, and a few bucks in my pocket, was the formula for another adventure.

    I remembered the recruiting posters at that time “FUN, TRAVEL, ADVENTURE”join the US Navy.
    The coxswain rang up 4 bells signaling the engineer full throttle to bring the reversing prop and our launch neatly alongside a dilapidated pier. Immediately an invasion of white uniforms leaped on its stressed rotten timbers. Spicy smells, sounds of laughter, and colorful garb assaulted our senses. The usual peddlers were swarming us with the trinkets of Port au Prince, anything from orchids to fine mahogany boxes and virtuous girls. Most of the sailors were more eager to explore for themselves the delights only a foreign port can furnish. The “Cardinal” and I deferred as well, preferring to satisfy a thirst that somehow became urgent.




    Our last gulp was a signal for a hovering Haitian to approach us. For a few francs he,
    “Pierre”, would show us the real Port au Prince. I glanced at the “Cardinal” nodding approval. Away we went in the most beat up Chevy/Ford composite still rolling. All windows were cracked or long since gone and the door was held in place with a barrel bolt. A paint job was a distant memory, rust of different hues speckled the body. We roared along dusty roads finally arriving at a large thatched hut .Milling about were ragged men close to their vehicles. Our driver “Pierre” equally shabby but sporting shiny shoes and a pristine Panama hat, ambled over to a rotund Haitian and glancing our way, gesturing all the while. No women could be seen. The crowing of roosters became the dominant sound. We were at a cock fight. A deal was apparently made and our dazzling white uniforms mixed with the most threadbare raunchy gamblers yet seen. “Pierre” disappeared preferring to tinker with his throttle as it stuck full down most of the time. Two caged cock’s were brought in to a dirt floor surrounded by our yelling mob seated on make shift seats surrounding two fighting roosters. Our gamblers all black sputtered a musical French.

    Released but still tethered the cock’s clawed the ground crowing and flapping wings, eager to get at the other. Out of frayed and tattered pockets came US 20 dollar bills. I didn’t see a five or ten the whole time. Poverty existed elsewhere, not at a cock fight. “Cardinal” and I wagered a miserly 2.00 bill each which was eagerly grabbed up by sweaty black bodies. Released, the birds did the what they were bred for. It was a bloody mess.

    Our bird lost. The owner seeing defeat pulled his drooping bird off the arena to the howls of the victors as the money flew from hand to hand.

    Shadows were lengthening as we boarded our chariot of rust. “Pierre” now in a clean but stained white shirt promised us more real Haiti and Voodoo. Into the jungle our roaring un muffled engine echoed off drooping palm trees. On we went, it seemed like hours. “ Pierre” chatted all the while in his musical French English tongue. “ I tak you to real ting, real Voodoo dance”. “It after dark” he said. I nudged my shipmate “We’re supposed to be back before 24:00". “Don’t worry so much”, murmured the “Cardinal”. At a roadside stand we gulped a dinner of chicken legs and beer. Somehow I kept thinking of those poor creatures fighting for life.
    , wondering if this leg came from a “loser”

    Continued next post
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

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    The moon peered through trees illuminating a well built large thatched hut . It looked civilized. I sensed we were out of our element. Other cars were already there, some arriving like us. Out stepped Officers. “S- - t Cardinal, we’re in officers country”, I whispered. We felt betrayed. I looked at “Pierre” who just threw up his hands exclaiming, “You see real Voodoo, Zombie. Stay. Dey no bother you” He was right, they glanced our way once, then ignored us . I could see most were about our age, pilots, and out for a good time. Beside our Aviation rating badges gave us some status. We serviced their planes. So we relaxed and ordered a local rum drink.

    Somehow the drinks kept flowing in our direction as the dancers streamed in eyes aglow and bulging like dead fish. Drums beat rhythmically. My eyes kept seeing chickens as the dance floor whirled around faster and faster. Women gyrating their hips as breasts bulged threatening to liberate themselves. I couldn’t remember what the men did. It all seemed unreal but definitely touristy. Not the real thing. “Pierre” had lured us into a Island night spot. But so what, we enjoyed it. Even the officers were loosening up and buying us drinks. 24:00 came and went but we stayed.

    The “Cardinal” and I were over the hill.

    At the moment we didn’t care. The rum was sweet, camaraderie high as officers, enlisted men and some touring college girls found a common bond ...good booze and entertainment. Tomorrow will take care if itself.

    I looked up and saw Macrame curtains. The smooth hum of a well tuned engine tickled my ear drums. The “Cardinal” was shaking me. We were on an officers liberty boat and surrounded by ensigns and lieutenants. I sobered up fast. Glancing at my uniform it was still reasonably clean and ready for inspection. The Cardinal looked good too. The boat rocked a bit as it closed with the fwd. accommodation ladder. Reality set in as we prepared for the worst. Lady Luck was with us this time. Up we scrambled to face our own Asst. Division officer. He had the 04:00 to 08:00 Officer of the deck watch. “Get up to your bunks and don’t say a word to anybody about this”, he said in a disgusted tone. Saluting and taking his advice we shot away.

    A shake again woke me up. “You and the “Cardinal” have Shore Patrol today”, exclaimed our section leader. A shower, clean uniform some chow and the “Cardinal” and I were on a boat brandishing our SP badges, guard belt, and club. A truck took us into the jungle that somehow looked familiar. In time we arrived at the same night spot now glowing in day light. The Chief of Shore Patrol explained. “It seems some white hats were here last night and you birds are here to shoo them away, this club is off limits to enlisted men”. I glanced at the“Cardinal” who said. “With this luck I’m ready to do some betting again”. “Hell, Cardinal, we just ran into some good officers”, I replied.

    That night I stayed over at the Cardinals house recollected a few more experiences at breakfast and later bade farewell.

    Next,, San Francisco

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

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    Good stuff,thanks. Sal

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    Fisherman's wharf

    It took about an hour for the Caltrain and a trolley bus to get into San Francisco then a couple of blocks to walk. to the Fisherman’s Wharf section along the harbor, then to the Mariners museum.
    A astounding collection of models of sailing ships. One was a 20' or so model of a full rigged German barque Passat I think she had every piece of rigging the full ship carried including all bunt lies on all the sails. I studied it at length. It was easy to imagine one self aloft on this model as the tops of the masts were just about eyeball level. My mind closed out the busy museum back ground and the now swaying mast in heavy seas enabled my mind to join the crew furling the main royal. Some how this model transported me into the days of sail rather than being on deck of a full sized vessel tied to pier in gentle waters. An innocent jostle brought me back to reality as a another knee high admirer pressed his face against the case . There were also pieces of the ship themselves.



    San Francisco Maritime Museum

    Along the shore there was also the Balcutha ,but she was closed under going repairs. One of the vessels a coastal schooner the “C.A. Thayer” had a training crew from the neighborhood schools. It was heartening to see children so well disciplined. They took orders from the mate, remained quiet and still when so directed and took to raising a schoolmate up on a Bos'n chair. So different then the rowdy bunch I saw at the “Innovation museum” I saw the other day I don't know how he did it. All I can assume is that they wanted to learn or participate in an ancient sailoring art instead of a 20 th century skills . It could very well been the same children but the “prompting” of a bucko mate enthralled this bunch.

    Leaving I went to the touristy section and walked pier 39 and 41 with all the gift shops vying for the tourist buck. The tour boat Orsis went by Alcatraz island was full with long lines so I passed that one up and booked passage on the Blue and Gold tour boat for an hour covering both bridges, Golden Gate & the Bay bridge. . The vessel was fitted out with a lousy speaker system and you could hardly hear what was being said by the narrator. It just garbled on passengers looking at each other hoping their partner understood the dialogue. The day was quite cool and very windy . I noticed all the sail boats were shortened down some double reefed. It even looked like we might have fog rolling in.



    Some street scenes of San Francisco



    A very unusual wall mural sighted on the bus tour



    The famed trolley tracks



    The trolley itself

    When docked I boarded a trolley bus that did a narrated tour. The driver was extremely skillful dodging all the double parked cars as he narrated different sections of the city by the bay. If had of known sooner I would had taken the cable car ride up the hill but by the time I found out where she started from , the lines were far too long for me. Had another lunch of chowder, shrimp and fries.



    A little twist on the act, a hoop and some fire


    The typical juggler shows were apparent at Pier 39 but the different twist with performances on a tight rope while juggling. He also drafted employed members of the audience in his Schick. One of the different acts I saw were young blacks imitating robots with servo motor sounds when retrieving money from spectators after doing a little routine like a mechanical robot. A sign near the cup read " I don't like doing this for a living , it sucks but I need the bucks".A Peruvian band performed on wooden flutes guitars drums and plucking a fiddle they were very good playing jazzed up folk music from their homeland.



    A almost complete take over of this marina

    At the marina the walrus colony took over the docks. some even plopping them selves on the decks of boats. I understand once on an empty dock, the state protects them. evicting the tax paying boat owners. I Like any one day tour you cannot much of a city as big as San Francisco. It is also very exhausting. Next time I’ll look for and at different things beside the waterfront area.

    Today I went to the various beaches north of Half Moon Bay and did not find them as interesting as the beaches south of that point. Also went to a tag sale and an artist opening. I also gassed up the van and stocked the food I would need to bring along. My daughter and I went to dinner and saw Patriot Games , a good flick.

    Next pushing North to Oregon

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

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    Today Carrie and I must part as her job demands a cross continent flight to England and Norway. I had grown accustomed to luxury at her apt. moving a lot of my things in with her. Leaving it was sad for me as I would be again thrust into loneliness for a while. Back on the road again I headed out north once more my general course for the next 6 weeks, all the way to Juneau Alaska.

    Leaving the air port I will say the signs were pretty good on the freeway directing you to the Golden Gate bridge .Upon exiting though signs pointing the way left you on your own to find your way. I followed the flow for quiet a while heading generally west. Glancing at the map during the frequent stops for lights I noticed 19 th street went to the bridge. I finally came to that street took a right to head North and there it was ultimately that beautiful span right in front of me. I could see the numerous boats tacking toward the open sea beneath me. It looked grand, next time I’ll walk across. On the other side the state provided a pull off of some size enabling the traveler to view the spectacle he just crossed.




    A look back

    The bridge also enables a hiker to cross on foot by means of a liberal side walk.. I didn't dally too long but pressed on to Sausalito a short distance beyond. Parking was just a couple of bucks. I wondered the docks a little, but there was nothing unusual this day that I could see. Moving out again I turned onto Rt 1 for another series of curves to go over the mountains. This seemed to go on for ever but eventually I got to PT Reyes National Sea Shore to find they do not have camping spots for any vehicles. However they directed me to Olema Campground where I could stay for the night for $16.00. It turns out that this spot was the Epic center for the 1906 San Francisco quake. The San Andreas fault is right underneath me. The camp grounds are nice very shady with lots of trees but away from everything. I’ll go back to the Ranger station and do a few hikes in the morning along the beach. It is very cool and I have brought out my jacket again for about the 5 th time. This campsite on a Sunday is pretty desolate with few people around and a lot of empty sites. Is another quake pending ?

    A beautiful dawn but I got up at 07:00 and underway at 08:00 to explore Pt Reyes national seashore. This park or the entrance is a long way from the seashore 26 miles to the lighthouse. A 5 sec. white light. It is set down from the cliff to make more visible in the frequent fogs here . At one time it was on the top but proved infective as the fog obscured the light. The specs. mention that the light is the windiest and foggiest place on the Pacific coast. You have to take over 350 steps to get down to the light which is now not in the traditional structure but sits on a small platform in which rotates two lights timed to make the required sequence. The whole region reminded me of Block Island back east in RI. Grass covered treeless rolling hills, stark under a gray foggy sky. The only signs of life cattle peacefully grazing. Near the towering cliffs, Turkey vultures rode the on shore wind to ply back and forth in effortless soaring motion. I also hiked to the Chimney rock but that was a disappointment. Coming back to the 26 mile away information I hiked the Earthquake trail which goes right up to the San Andrea's fault that's marked of by a row of blue stakes





    Curious horses look me over as I examine the fault line

    A barn stands in the back ground on private property and a pair of grazing horses. The trail guide a few steps away calls attention to the fence that once was in line but the 1906 earthquake it moved one section 16 feet out of line. This is about the average shift all along the fault during that quake. The light house moved about the same distance but it had to be rebuilt. After lunch at I moved north once more along Rt 1. It still proved to be quite windy forcing slow driving. Several times I had to pull over to allow tailgating trucks to get past me.



    A "sleeper" wave can get you

    Continued next post
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

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    I made a few stops to admire the view noticing signs giving warning to" sleeper waves" a larger wave then usual that would engulf unwary beachcombers and eroding the sand beneath their feet sweeping them out to sea in the undercurrent. This was the first time I saw this kind of sign. The sun was out as the road wandered inland but out on the coast it hid behind the clouds shy to make an appearance. The price of gasoline I noticed displayed higher prices up to $1.69. I did not see many stations as well . Not needing any I moved on but determined to fill up if I could find a station for under $1.45. At about 16:00 I did find a small town called Anchor Bay that had a supermarket so I got a few things I hope at better prices then the Mom & pop stores I had been seeing for a while. Just past the Bay was a delightful camp for the night called the anchorage.


    I
    My campsite was just a few feet from here.

    It was right on the water and cost $18.00 with a senior discount. Now the sun came out to enhance the blueness of the sea and white of the sand. Rocks provided a rest for numerous seagulls standing out in sharp contrast against a deep blue sky. I noticed some alighting in a fresh water stream running into the Pacific. They would delight in a bath ducking their heads many times and fluffing the wings in the water just like people washing . They would also shake vigorously, the setting sun enhanced the flying water in its lowering rays. Swallows would also swoop down ahead of my feet to devour the sand fleas kicked up by my movements. The on shore wind blew the sand just over the surface also carrying the spray stirred up by the ever pounding surf. Anchor Bay is a beautiful place.

    Got underway today at 08:00 for a varied day with numerous activities. It dawned sunny after a very chilly night even though I had two blankets over me. I decided last night to do at least a 100 miles but with no curtailment on things to see. I would stop at whatever beach looked like it might be fun. I would like to find a abalone shell in pristine condition even though I haven' seen any so far. The first road marked beach access I turned on and drove in about two miles. This " access" was really for fishermen as it had a pier , no floats .The pier was rigged to fuel fishing boats. They would tie up to the pilings and hose lines passed down from 40' up to fuel their boats. Leaving there I pulled off at the next beach access. Driving in 3 miles to a dead end and sand dunes I started walking the trail for about a mile eventually I hit a high enough dune that provided me a view of another 3/4 mile walk all in soft sand. I could hardly make any progress . It took three steps forward to get progress one foot. I turned around and headed back , vowing not to pull off unless I could see the ocean was a reasonably distance away. In about an hour and numerous small towns, I hit the ideal beach. It had boulders, streams nearness, tidal pools, large rocks with holes in them but no abalone shells. I enjoyed the walk under a bright sun something rare along the seashore so far this trip.



    Each pull over had scenes like this

    Driving for about another half hour the beach came along that had abalone. I did get one small specimen in fine shape and two others a bit weathered from surf. I walked for about a mile along this fine beach enjoying the low tide conditions and picturesque rocks. Later moving along Rt 1 provided some fine examples of rock bound coasts I know rivaled Big Sur. This time I had the sun I needed to bring out the emerald green in the breaking surf. I knew I would be running out of Rt 1 soon as it ends swinging inland to become rt 101. It changed more abruptly then the map showed becoming 22 miles of torturous curves and inclines that emptied the motorist into a turnoff for the drive through a tree. It was well advertised by signs rivaling the redwoods themselves. For three bucks I got to drive up to a giant 340' high 2,400 years old tree with a square hole in it allowing a compact car to go through. I had my picture taken near it.



    You could probably build a boat from what they took out of this tree

    I had been in redwood country as soon as I left the coast with trucks hauling logs and dressed ready for market lumber. In fact one coastal town had a mill " Pacific N. West complete with railroad. Later moving along Rt 101 at a good clip 55 to 60 as it was divided and straighten could make up some time and get some distance made up. However one sign " Avenue of the Giants got me so I detoured entering Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Immense majestic redwoods dwarfed all cars , trucks buildings anything and everything man made. I entered in a area of eternal shade with only a few shafts of light penetrating the forest floor. It's some experience silently looking tress at trees that had been here at the time of Christ. One grove was dedicated to the first officer to fall in World war 1. I pulled off several times to take pictures and had to reduce shutter speed in order to get enough light . This night I decided to sleep amongst history. I registered for $12.00 and was assigned site 15 nestled between giants to protect me for the night. One harvested giant had a ring of 8 brothers around to defend and shade their fallen comrade. Its humbling walking in this forest. Some of these trees have been here since before the signing of the Magna Carter 1215. and will still be here long after my great grand children are gone. People do have a respect for old things but do you have to be 350 high to command it? How do they live so long ? On the larger trees the bark is nearly a foot thick has no resin and contains tannin acid repelling insects. It also protects them from even severe fires. The nearness to the coast gives the moisture they need and roots going only 12" deep have another network that intertwine underground in a vast network providing nutrients. Old age is the fate of those not felled by man. They seem to grow in groupings a large center tree surrounded by supporting lesser ones all stretching with full girth to the sky. A true wilderness cathedral. At just about dusk I found to my horror I had lost my camera bag. The camera I had . Thinking carefully I recalled where I last had it and it dawned on me that I left it near a rock way back in one of the groves when I took a picture using the timer. I got in the van and in the growing darkness retraced my steps back to the groove 7 miles back. Sure enough it was still there despite the fact that 3 or more hours elapsed. I must be more careful. Went to sleep feeling much relieved.

    Next

    A wild scene on an North California coast.
    Then Oregon and a ship wreck

    JD
    Last edited by J. Dillon; 08-26-2007 at 10:09 PM.
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

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