Thursday, August 28, 2008

In Cordoba, I have what I need

Surfer near Camel Rock.8.28.08


Wow! What a beautiful day. I squeezed in a quick ride to Trinidad on the Cannondale and stopped to watch the surfers at Camel Rock.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Checking out the crumbling bluffs before armoring begins

Barring some bureaucratic delay , work should begin soon on the Mad River bluff project. With this in mind, I decided to get some photos this evening to document the bluffs before construction begins. I grabbed my camera and left my secret compound, located near School Road and U.S. Highway 101, on foot.


I crossed the Hammond Bridge. My Dad once told me that if you want to build something solid, use triangles. It's a pretty simple concept that keeps this big, honking piece of steel suspended over the Mad. There's something else interesting about this photo – the steel plate in the middle is not symmetrical. Maybe the bridge was handmade in more ways than one.


Yep. Lots of triangles. Count them. There will be a quiz later.


This blue heron is completely uncooperative when it comes to photos. I say "this" because I think I see the same one all the time. The little bastard is always facing the wrong direction and flies away every time I get close.


I stumbled over the dunes and tried to get to the east bank of the Mad. Damn. The spit was a lot wider and longer than I imagined. On the left are giant dunes, with the Pacific on the other side. To the right is a willow forest, with the Mad on the other side.


After cutting through a forest that looked like something from the Blair Witch Project, I came to my destination. Here's the crumbling river bank that our tax dollars will armor. That power pole on the right is at the foot of School Road. You can click on any of these images to see a larger version.


As you can see, someone already tried to armor the bluff. This was done without permits. But that's OK. Sometimes you have to ignore the law and do what needs to be done, right? The cement chunks didn't hurt anything, but they probably didn't help anything. In a big storm these chunks would wash away in a second. The Mad is bigger, smarter and more powerful than us silly humans. It was here before us and it will be here long after we're gone.


I took a lot more shots, but those are for the files. Then I hiked west, climbed a massive dune and took this shot. The house to the far left is near the foot of Ocean Drive.


This is called Mad River Beach. At some point north if becomes Clam Beach. I'm not sure where the name changes. One could argue that Clam Beach is north of the Mad River's mouth, but the location of the mouth changes all the time. Right now it's just south of the foot of Murray Road.


Check out the size of this stump at the beach. A so goes another day in paradise.

So how many triangles did you count?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Google maps

I was catching up this evening on some of the local blogs when I clicked on The Petch House and read his post about google maps.

I was somewhat familiar with google maps but didn't really appreciate how shocking it was until I punched in my own address and saw a picture of my house from a variety of angles! I guess it's kind of like torture and the suspension of habeas corpus – you don't really think about it until it happens to you.

Anyway, I'm just glad the google streetview camera car didn't come by when I was mowing the lawn, which I usually do buck naked. I don't like to get grass clippings on my clothes.

African savannah


I wandered out my front door this evening and suddenly I was in an African savannah. There were water buffalo everywhere.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Milking time at the Fischer Ranch, McKinleyville.8.23.08


"Milking time,
It's milking time.
Milking time,
It's milking time.
Milking time,
It's milking time,
Go! Go! Go!."

– sung by Lydia, age 7, as the cows were gathered near the Hammond Bridge before marching up the trail to the milking barn

Friday, August 22, 2008

Shopping for boats

If I had a big wad of cash, I would consider purchasing this boat in Crescent City. Dock it at Woodley Island and you'd have a nice liveaboard, eh? Price: $50,000

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mad River Estuary/Hammond Bridge




hammondin the mist

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

California Red-sided Gartersnake on Hammond Trail.8.19.08


Monday, August 18, 2008

Memo to Laboratory employees: New emergency exits


For your safety, we recently installed emergency exits on the second and third floors of the laboratory. In the event of a fire, please exit single file and in an orderly manner.

Thank you for your time and remember – Think Safety!

Getting chips out of a chip truck


OK. So now I know how they empty chip trucks.

You probably already knew. Or more likely you don't care.

Fine. Be that way.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Everybody run around screaming!!!!

Earthquake at 10:57 p.m. Nice north-south jerk, back and forth a couple times. Desk lamp sways, maybe a half an inch or less side to side. Mini blinds gently sway. Animals quiet.

No disruption of utilities.

And so it goes here in McKinleyville near School Road and U.S Highway 101. And you?

More on Bigfoot....

Here's more credible evidence of Bigfoot's existence, courtesy the redwoodcoaster.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bigfoot is real – case closed

I thought NASA's confirmation a few months ago that there is water on Mars ranked right up there as one of the most important scientific accomplishments in years, but that seems like small potatoes compared to today's confirmation of the existence of Bigfoot.

Surprisingly, Humboldt County blogs have been silent on this topic except for the Northcoast Journal Blogthing.

This is big news and the sources are clearly solid. We've gone to war with less credible evidence than these guys have.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Evening walk to Mad River Beach





Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Alaska Trip Part III – Glacier Bay

Our boat made its way up Glacier Bay.


We kept a watch for wildlife.


I scoped out the location of the lifejackets and read the directions on this emergency raft. Based on these drawings, it looks like in the worst-case scenario, everything would go swimmingly.


Sea lions!



I hate to be judgmental, but has anyone considered the possibility that these animals are just plain crazy?


There were lots of birds. Love is a beautiful thing.


Capt. Don sailed further into the wilds.


Then we came across some blood thirsty grizzlies.


The view was amazing.


I like to take photos of mountain tops.


I'm not sure what glacier this is, but my guess is that it's either the Reid or Carroll glacier.



Here's the Margerie Glacier. To give you a sense of scale, the cruise ship is 900 feet long and carries 2,000 passengers.


Let's take a closer look.


Examine the layers.


Check out the top.


Here's your humble photographer with a goofy grin, as usual.


We started back and came across more grizzlies. That's fireweed in the background.


If you haven't seen the documentary "Grizzly Man," please do so.


Further down the bay, we came across even more grizzlies!


I wonder what they're saying to each other? Probably something like "Have you seen the documentary Grizzly Man? The ending is awesome!"



The captain decided to take us up the Geikie Inlet where they had previously spotted something called a Glacier Bear. We weren't disappointed.


We also saw some bald eagles.

I didn't see any whales, but I was in no position to get greedy considering all the amazing stuff I saw and the fact I saw whales in Humboldt the week before. After the tour, we flew back to Juneau, dined at a greasy spoon and then left early the next morning to Seattle. I took off on my own, flying to Portland then Humboldt.

On the flight home, a thought occurred to me – I would have had almost as much fun with my family if we spent the week in downtown Stockton. I just like being around them. Then again, let's keep this our own little secret. I've got a hankering to return to Alaska and no desire to go to Stockton.


Before I got to Portland I finished reading "Into the Wild." Yeah, that kid made some stupid mistakes, but he also had something very important figured out. Nuff said.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Alaska Trip Part II – Gustavus & The Lodge

The flight from Juneau to Gustavus is only about 50 miles by air – a trip so short that there’s no time to remove your seat belt or use the lavatory. That was fine with me, because I don’t care much for flying. I prefer to just get it over with. Within about 20 minutes or less, we were in Gustavus, which has a population of 1,000 in the summer and about 400 in the winter. I imagine they freeze their asses off in the winter.


After landing, we jumped on this “vintage” bus for the 10 mile ride to Glacier Bay Lodge, located at Bartlett Cove. This is near the entrance to Glacier Bay.


Here’s the lodge, where I got to see how the other half lives.


I admired museum-quality art before eating in the Fairweather Dining Room, where we enjoyed a “free” meal. Well, it wasn’t really free. It was part of the package deal that my parents paid for and probably cost an arm and a leg. Still, with our tickets we got a three-course meal and could pick anything for an appetizer, entree and dessert. Life was good.


They didn’t have my usual Peter Vella in a box, so we had to settle for this swill.


For an appetizer I had the wild Alaskan salmon cakes served with a spicy sweet chili seaweed and cucumber topped with a lemon aioli. As you can see, the chef had fun with his or her plastic squirt bottles.


For an entree I had the wild Alaskan salmon served with sweet onion, carrot and summer squash ragout, Yukon gold whipped potatoes and a red wine syrup. For some reason fancy dinners are supposed to be “tall,” which is why the salmon is propped up on the potatoes. The salmon was fantastic. Once again, those squirt bottles were liberally used in the kitchen.


I was way too full for dessert, but ordered it anyway. This is called The Queen, which is ice cream served on a flour-free brownie. At first I thought “Big deal. I could make that at home anytime.” Wrong! The flour-free brownie is like some sort of chocolate merengue. It’s light and airy and decadently delicious.


After dinner, it was time to explore. We admired this Tinglit canoe, carved from a Sitka spruce.


We hiked the Forest Loop Trail near the lodge.


This is a classic Alaskan landscape. Surprisingly, I didn’t notice any mosquitoes.


We made our way to Bartlett Cove, skipped some rocks and then called it a night. I returned to my stylish room, made some orange tea and flipped through some books about Glacier Bay.


The next morning we returned to the Fairweather Dining Room for breakfast before our boat ride up Glacier Bay. Check out this incredible hand-carved piece in the dining room.


Then again, such art is even better when it’s oozing with sap, like this piece carved in a tree on the path to the dock.


Here’s the view from the dock. It was foggy, but it looked like it would burn off.


Our boat was waiting for us. The Fairweather Express II is a 78.5-foot-long aluminum catamaran propelled by water jets.


Upon boarding the boat, we were each given a plastic cup, shown above, for our beverages, as well as a map. The circle at the bottom is the dock near the lodge. The circle at the top was our destination.

Coming next: Glaciers, grizzlies and mountain goats

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