Category Archives: Travel

Wild Turkeys

We just had THAT holiday and most of us had some sort of turkey – and most of us are STILL eating turkey.

Turkeys’ range is known to cover most of North America east of the Rockies, but west of the Great Plains the range is spottier. The map actually doesn’t show them much of anywhere down in Southern California – but I have evidence that they’re here, at least in the San Diego / Mount Palomar area as of 2007.

The Mount Palomar Observatory with the world famous 200″ telescope is extremely cool to visit. I recommend it if you visit the Southern California / San Diego area.

The problem with getting down the mountain is that our brakes started overheating, and when they heat up they don’t brake. This is bad.

There are pull-outs and rest stops for just this sort of thing, so we stopped for a few minutes to let the brakes cool. It’s a heavily wooded area and after a couple minutes, on the other side of the road, I noticed movement in the bushes.

Naturally, I grabbed my camera, crossed the road, and hoped it wasn’t bears or something hungry and fanged. It wasn’t, it was a flock of wild turkeys.

They were off in the bushes, moving in and out of sunshine, so it was tough getting a good photo. There were seven or eight total, and the coloration on them was astonishing. Their feathers were iridescent when the sun caught them.

So believe it or not, there are wild turkeys in the Southern California mountains. I have proof, and now so do you!

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Filed under Astronomy, Critters, Photography, Travel

Random Old Photos – November 25th

The seed thought for tonight’s random photo generator brainwave was, “What was I doing ten years ago?”

Wandering around down by the waterfront at a UC Berkeley facility after a storm, apparently.

WHY was I at Berkeley? That’s a long story. Let’s say that I was chasing wild geese and still getting a pay check for doing it. But it was interesting.

Have a safe Thanksgiving tomorrow if you’re in the US. I hope you’re able to stay home if possible. Missing Thanksgiving dinner sucks. But not nearly as much as being intubated, being a “long hauler,” or being a statistic.

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Random Old Photos – November 11th

The WWII memorial in Washington, DC. Seems appropriate today.

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No Context For You – October 07th

Jeez, it’s been 14 years… Okay, 14 years and 9 days, give or take a time zone.

I always figured I would be back long, long before now.

We were talking about this the other day re: COVID and being in lockdown for coming up on seven months. It was regarding baseball, how we hadn’t been to an Angels or Dodgers game in a couple of years because we always just assumed that we could go whenever we want. Until we can’t.

So after this is behind us and the world returns to some semblance of “normal,” we’re going to not take for granted things like ball games and little trips and big trips. My daughter referred to it as something like a “rush of FOMO” – pretty much!

 

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Filed under Photography, Travel

Random Old Photos – September 25th

The setting should be familiar, even if you’ve never been there yourself.

American Falls on the left, Horseshoe Falls in the distance in the center-right.

It was an okay day, we had fun. One of those places that I spent a couple hours at where I wouldn’t mind going back for a day or two to explore more.

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Random Old Photos – September 15th

Leaving Essex, New York, heading across Lake Champlain.

I’ve only been on a ferry once or twice. This was in June – I kept wondering what this trip would be like, if they can do it at all, in January or February. Their web site says that it’s all-year – weather & ice conditions permitting. The lake does free over, although these days (climate change, like it or not!) it’s about three times a decade instead of seven or eight times a decade.

I’ll guarantee you won’t see this guy out here in mid-winter. I’m just glad that he saw us and we saw him.

Pulling into Charlotte, Vermont, just south of Burlington, where we were flying out of to get back home after a week in Vermont and New York.

I do think about being there all the time and then coming back to LA for a week or so every couple of years instead of the other way around. I always seem to be happier arriving there than I do getting back here.

That might be a sign. If happiness counts.

 

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Someplace Special – April 08th

Fenway Park, Boston

August, 2004. I took most of the family (The Son was overseas in the Air Force) to Boston. Being us, we had to go to a baseball game there in what was to them a new baseball stadium. In what was to me a cathedral, and old friend, a long-lost happy place.

It had been sort of a shitty vacation up to that point. We had been up in Vermont visiting my mother, which was nice, and had gone to visit Montreal, which was nice right up until our car got broken into, our luggage and my briefcase stolen, and we got the pleasure of spending most of the next three days trying to cancel credit cards and bank accounts before the identity theft got too bad.

We were going to the 2004 Worldcon in Boston and knew the Angels were in town against the Red Sox, so we spent more on 3rd row seats behind the Angels dugout than we spent on airfare. (Thank goodness the tickets had been left in Vermont and weren’t in my stolen briefcase!)

The Sox were up early and after seven innings the Angels were losing, 10-1. The Daughters had brought their rally monkeys (which were ALL the rage that year) and were waving them wildly despite the score. And we scored two in the eighth inning. And then scored four in the ninth inning…

I remember having at least one guy still on base and maybe two, so the tying run was at the plate before they finally got us out and won the game. A lot of the Boston faithful had left early, but those that remained were giving us some serious stink eye.

It was glorious.


I know the world has an abnormally high ratio of shit in it right now – but it also still has a lot of good things, and good things that will come back to us. It’s important to remember that. So let’s remember that and hold onto it when we need it.

Our family and many others are missing the simple pleasures now, like going to a ballgame, or even just watching one on television. It sucks. It’s a constant, nagging reminder that things are not right.

But so far we’re all healthy – I hope you are too. This will pass, and the baseball games will return.

We need to be doing this now in order to help as many of us as possible be around when they do.

Wash your hands. Wear a face mask. Maintain physical distancing.

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Filed under LA Angels, Photography, Sports, Travel

High & Fast

As always on a crisp, cold morning, when the contrails are razor sharp…

…I wonder where they’re going and wishing that I was going along.

Christmas with family? A holiday getaway from the daily grind? A honeymoon? A funeral?

Off they went to their adventures. Off I went to my routine.

On general principles, I started the day behind on points.

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New York, New York (Pictures Day 21)

In summary: New York City had a life of it’s own in my head. In early August 2016, I visited there for the first time. On the first afternoon we visited Central Park and were there for hours, despite the jet lag. Day One started with a tour of the Intrepid and the Space Shuttle Enterprise, followed by the full two and a half hour cruise around Manhattan – south down the Hudson River into the Upper Harbor, up the East River under the “BMW” bridges, past Midtown and the UN, into the Harlem River, back south into the Hudson River, underneath the George Washington Bridge, past Grant’s Tomb, and finally back into port. To finish Day Two we had a death march to find a cab, went to the Mets game, left early only to miss the best part, and inadvertently stiffed a nice cab driver. Bright & early on Day Three we headed out toward Liberty Island – it’s hard to take a bad picture there, then went to Ellis Island. Bank on Manhattan, we went to World Trade Center Museum, which was emotional & grueling. Day Four started out with a trip to Times Square, after which we headed to the Empire State Building. The views of Manhattan were spectacular! Then we went to Yankee Stadium for a game.


Because it was Alex Rodriguez’s final game, there was a huge crowd and a big pre-game ceremony planned. The weather, on the other hand, had other ideas and the grounds crew got ready to roll out the tarp.

And not a moment too soon. We were just a row or two under the 2nd deck overhang, so we were relatively safe from being too soaked.

As the storm moved over the stadium, the winds started roaring (see the flags?) and the underside of the storm cell looked like movie special effects for “all Hell’s going to break loose.”

Despite the fact that it was something like 90 minutes before sunset, it got black as night with thunder rumbling constantly out of the clouds right overhead. Good thing we weren’t sitting right next to a humongous yellow steel pole sticking up in the air a hundred feet or so, right?!!

That sick yellow color on the underside of the clouds doesn’t make you feel better about the situation when 30 seconds before it was pitch black.

ARod was out there trying to be ceremonial. My concern was that he was out there with his family and a few dignitaries while the end of the freakin’ world was rolling in from the west. Don’t they understand what bad PR it would be for ARod and his family to be killed by lightning in the middle of this farewell ceremony?

And these dudes out there warming up? I can only conclude that they wanted to make sure that ARod didn’t get fricasseed alive alone by Thor throwing thunderbolts. Probably a team camaraderie thing. Or they’re really freakin’ stupid, I could go either way.

The skies finally opened up and they cut the ARod ceremony short. See, there IS a god!

The rain passed after a half-hour or so of downpour and the game finally got underway . We almost never leave a ballgame before the end, but we were exhausted and chose to bug out early. Someday I’ll get back to Yankee Stadium and take a more thorough tour, camera in hand.

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Filed under Photography, Sports, Travel, Weather

LOOK!!

Tonight on Twitter, someone wrote:

…which prompted a response from someone I follow…

…to which I said…

But seriously, folks! Why does everyone on the plane shut the window shade throughout the whole flight these days??!!

Being at 5,000, or 25,000, or 45,000 feet gives us a viewpoint on the world that was flat out impossible only 100 years ago, and was still highly unusual to the average person 60 or 70 years ago. Even today, despite how commonplace air travel has begun, for 90%+ of us it’s something we might see once or twice a year. For probably half of the US population or more it’s something they experience only every few years.

The world is a different place seen from above. The clouds come in myriad shapes and forms, flowing over vast distances, breaking up into puffy cotton balls, building into monstrous thunderheads. Sunrise from high altitude is the closest most of us will come to seeing an orbital sunrise, while sunset lingers and elongates time as the sky darkens and the stars come out.

You’ll always know where I’m sitting on the plane if I get a window seat. It doesn’t matter if it’s night – there might be aurora or stars. It doesn’t matter if it’s cloudy – I love looking at the clouds. It doesn’t matter if it’s a ten-hour flight over open water – I’ll watch for ships or islands or whales or mermaids.

I’ve seen full double rainbows while dodging thunderstorms on final into DFW. I’ve seen the Grand Canyon as a gash in the earth, while the Rockies covered with snow even in April and May look like the Earth’s ragged teeth. Rivers meandering, from the Mississippi to the Rio Grande and Potomac, tributaries branching off like poster children for fractal math.

Whole cities can be laid out before you. The Las Vegas Strip at night with enough neon to scare away the stars themselves. Washington DC laid out like a model, monuments and tourist sites elbow to elbow. New York City with Central Park beckoning and a lady standing in her harbor, Seattle with Mt. Rainier on guard, the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco to its neighbors, Chicago and Lake Michigan spreading out like the spokes of a wheel. And for me, the American City of Lights, Los Angeles, lit up like a jewel for 100 miles in every direction, freeways like ribbons of light, the Hollywood sign off to the north, and the fireworks from Disneyland in Anaheim to the south.

Yet on almost flight I’ve taken in the past couple of years, by the time we’ve taxied out and are taking off, 90% of the shades are down. People have logged onto the plane’s wifi and they’re doing the exact same damn things they were doing on the ground. They’re answering boring emails, watching idiot videos, or playing mindless games. While outside, just a few inches away, are wonders and fantastic sights.

We’re jaded. We’ve lost our sense of wonder.

We’ve lost our minds.

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Filed under Flying, Travel