Sunday, September 25, 2016

Visiting with the Grandkids

Highway 395 heads due south towards San Diego, and 2 of my grandkids. On the way, I stopped at another gorgeous BLM campground, this one near Lone Pine.

When I arrived in San Diego, Mara made dinner the first night -

While Jonathan took silly selfies with my phone.

Okay, here's one that not too bad. Fifi the granddog is never far away. She just wants to be petted ALL the time.

Fuzzball allowed me to take a picture of him, but once again, Fifi is not far away.

To celebrate Mara's birthday, we all went to The Melting Pot, a very unique restaurant. Jonathan was having fun with Mara and her friend, Keira.

The appetizer was 2 different kinds of cheese dipping sauce. The main course, which I didn't get a picture of because I was too busy eating, was various meats and shrimp, which you cook yourself in some flavored broth.

Then dessert was various yummy things that you dip in 2 kinds of chocolate. Wow!

I also got to take Mara to swim practice.

There she goes!

They're going to be moving soon to a new house. While it's similar to their old house (big house on tiny lot), it's in a better school district for when the kids are in high school. And in their current house, they have a view of a brick wall - but this will be the view in the new house! Not bad, huh?

Monday, September 19, 2016

My Favorite Hike, Once Again

From Mono Lake, I moved down Hwy 395 to Bishop, CA. I stayed at one of my favorite campgrounds, Horton Creek BLM C/G, only $2.50 per day with your Senior Pass for this gorgeous view!

Back up the hill, turn left at Tom's Place on Rock Creek Lake Rd, and go to the end of the road, to get to my all-time favorite hike - Little Lakes Valley.

It's hard to believe that the trail used to be an old mining road.

The trail starts at 10,000 ft elevation, so there isn't too much climbing. It goes past lake, after lake, after lake. This is Marsh Lake.

And there is Heart Lake in the distance.

What a gorgeous backdrop!

The top of the heart at Heart Lake.

And looking back at the bottom.

I got distracted by this Clark's Nutcracker, busy gathering seeds for it's huge stash. The bird was named by William Clark, of Lewis and Clark, in 1805.

Got it!

While in Bishop, I also did a little hike along South Lake -

And Lake Sabrina. There was a whole lot more water in the lake than there was 3 years ago when I was last here.

In 2013, there was hardly any water in the lake, and we were able to drive through the lake bed!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mono Lake and Yosemite

From Springfield, OR, I moved south pretty fast, stopping at 3 Walmarts overnight along the way. The one in Klamath Falls, OR was very popular with the gulls.

I headed down Hwy 395 to my favorite spot overlooking Mono Lake. I found this spot several years ago, but now it's listed in Allstays and, so I had lots of company. They were nice people though, and I enjoyed the conversations.

I went down to South Tufa to do the nature trail there.

Loved this arch!

And all the other interesting formations.

The water level is still down from where it used to be, but higher than it was the last time I was here.

I also drove up to the Tuolumne Meadows section of Yosemite National Park. First stop was this waterfall, before you even get into the park.

Along the road there were some very interesting rock formations.

I stopped at Tuolumne Meadows and went on a short walk along the Tuolumne River.

Even met another new friend!

Next stop was Tenaya Lake, where these crazy people were actually swimming in the frigid water.

And then I went on to Olmsted Point, where you can see Half Dome off in the distance.

If you zoom in, you can see climbers going up the rope ladder to the top.

See them now? It was still early in the morning, but it gets really crowded later in the day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Visiting with Homer Simpson

From Salem, I moved south to the Eugene/Springfield, OR area. First up was the Owen Rose Garden in Eugene.

Most of the roses were a little past-peak, but there was still plenty to see.

The Oregon Heritage Cherry Tree is very old and has to be held up with posts.

Springfield is the home town of Homer Simpson, of TV fame. Of course, which Springfield is the question, but here they think it's Springfield, Oregon. There's a nice mural downtown -

With a slightly delusional Marge painting a picture of Homer.

There are also lots of other nice murals nearby.

While in the area, I stayed at the Springfield Moose lodge. They have lots of hookups on the other side of the lot, but they are all taken up with storage units. Really weird... And they charge the same with or without hookups. I don't think I'll stay there again.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Salem, Oregon

After our stop in Forks, the WINs moved on to Ocean Shores, but it was cold and rainy so I didn't stay long. I decided to start my journey south. My first big stop was Salem, Oregon, where I first went to see the Capitol. It's an Art Deco design, one of only 5 Art Deco state capitols in the US.

There are relief sculptures on both sides of the stairs. I liked this one of Lewis and Clark led by Sacagawea. (I'm a big Lewis and Clark fan...)

And inside the Capitol is a mural of Lewis and Clark arriving at Celilo Falls on their way to the Pacific in 1805.

I went on a tour to the top of the rotunda to see the 23-foot tall gold-leaf statue of the Oregon Pioneer.

From the top you get a good view of the city and the neighboring college campus.

I then went to see the Carousel.

They are continually carving new animals for the Carousel.

And they were also doing painting that day.

I happened to be in town when the State Fair was going on. What a deal! $1 for seniors, and it includes the evening concert.

There were the usual animal competitions.

This goat was a winner! But he's not posing very well for the camera...

There were some very cute chickens -

And rabbits.

Even the Clydesdales were there!

It was a huge fair. There was one building just for Oregon authors. Imagine my surprise when the first one I see is William Sullivan - I love his hiking books of Oregon, and have all 5 of his regional books. He has hiked every trail there is in Oregon!

While in Salem, I stayed at the Elks Lodge - a very nice place, and even had a great sunset.