Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Giant Sequoias and The America's Cup: Northern California Adventure

 Chris' brother Scott has a new cabin in the Western Sierras between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, and he invited us up to check it out. But first we had to get there from Southern California. Road trip!

                                        We passed this wildfire in Wrightwood, California on the way

                                                              Interesting sight at a truck stop

      I had to pee in the middle of the Mojave Desert, so we pulled over and I did my business  in the shadow of this discarded sewer pipe.  Coincidentally, a street artist had painted the words "You go, girl!" on the I did! :-)

                                                             Wind farm and entrails

                                    Many folks consider the drive between northern and southern
                                          California drudgery, but there is beauty if you look...

                                                            truck trail

                                                        Thousands and thousands of oaks

                        Soon, we arrived at Scott's cabin in Arnold, California. It's right
                   in the middle of the the Stanislaus National Forest, so we went for a hike.

   This section of the Western Sierras is a lovely combination of pines and blooming dogwoods

                                                    Brothers sharing a laugh and catching up

                                                                    Happy to be here

                                                                   Not bad for a backyard, huh?

                                                         My feet after the hike on the dusty trail

                     That evening we relaxed after the hike with some Texas Hold 'Em.
                                                Scott's wife Sachiko deals us in.

                          Only 3 miles from Scott's cabin is the Big Pines State Park,
                        home to one of the few groves of Giant Sequoias on the planet

                                                   The Giant Sequoias are a must see.
                              My nephew Ronald REALLY WAS glad to be there. I promise.  :-)

                                  There's an easy one mile trail which weaves through the park

                                             Wild berries! Wow! Free food always excites me.   :-)

                                            Looks like a brown bear may have been here first

                                                 Dogwoods bloom amongst the Sequoias

                          These roots of a toppled Sequoia are hundreds of years old


                                               Being amongst such grandeur in nature is
                                                conducive to major mother/son bonding

               A tiny burst of red leaves reminds us that autumn is just around the corner

                                                                     Men amongst trees

                   Next on the agenda, we headed to Scott's home on the San Francisco Bay.

                                       The next morning, we took the ferry under
                                         the Oakland Bay Bridge and into the city

                                       It was a typical foggy, cold morning in San Francisco.
                                                      Hard to believe it was August!

                                           Not too many people were taking advantage
                                                 of the bikes for rent in San Francisco

                           OK, normally I'm a big proponent of promoting bicycles in cities.
                                                          But in San Francisco?

                                                                Uh.....I don't think so.

                                         These impatiens helped brighten the foggy day

                                      So, one guy builds a wall to display a poem...
                                    and then another guys plant trees in front of it...
                           Sigh. Sometimes I have to wonder if anybody is in charge.

                                                             A San Francisco free spirit

                           Next stop, our ultimate destination: America's Cup Village!

                     We were a bit bummed because there was no racing planned for the day.
                                But we didn't let this minor detail spoil our fun!

                                                            It was pretty cool just being there

                Not long ago, one of the boats capsized, and a sailor drowned

                 Tom Cruise was here racing with Team New Zealand a couple of weeks ago.
                        Note the SCUBA regulator on the shoulder of the Team NZ sailor.
                                       This was added for safety after the drowning death.

                                        We had fun at the Team New Zealand racing simulator

                                          These New Zealand Airways stewardesses flirted
                                                                 shamelessly with the boys

                      These same stewardesses were flirting with Tom Cruise here at the
                         Village not long ago. By the way, take a close look at the photo.
                                      Um...Tom seems really happy to be there, yes?
                               Well, Tom is a bachelor again, so I suppose stewardesses
                                                    are fair game for this superstar.

                                 There were all sorts of million dollar yachts tied to the America's
                                   Cup Village dock -- and most of them flew these Cayman
                                              Islands flags for the tax exempt status.

                                                                 Disco America's Cup!

                               We did get to see Oracle and Team New Zealand practice
                                         out on the water, so it wasn't a complete bust.

                              But in the end, the best view we got of the racing was this
                                   America's Cup movie they showed at the Village.

                                  We took the Ferry back to Scott's house for a final evening
                                      with family before heading home the next morning.

        Brother #3 Kevin came up from Silicon Valley, and a brotherly jam session ensued

                                                                          Such fun!

                         We headed home to Green Valley Lake the next day.
                           Big boats, bigger trees and a giant chunk of family.
                              Not a bad way to spend a long weekend.    :-)

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