Running in Palm Desert

Nov 8, 2017

For a runner, the beauty of the Bay Area are all of the hills and trails for running.  But not in Palm Desert.  Lots of flat, boring concrete.  Makes a run feel like work.  Yuck.

Here’s what passes for a hill in this neck of the woods 😦

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Emerald Desert in Palm Desert

Nov 6, 2017

After our Trilogy visit, we headed south to Palm Desert in the Coachella Valley.  Other than a long weekend 20 yrs ago, we haven’t spent any time down here so thought the stop would be worth it.

The plan is to stay for 21 days at the Emerald Desert RV Resort before heading to Mesa, AZ to visit with my parents.

Emerald Desert is a high end park at >$100 per night but it’s really beautiful.  Unlike the Marin RV park that is a gravel parking lot, Emerald Desert is landscaped with lots of lush grass.  There are even two golf holes left from the days when they had a nine hole course.

Here’s the view from behind the green and that’s our Airstream center right.  This is probably the plushest site we’ve had over our 15 months of travel.

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This brings up one of my pet peeves about Southern California:  What the f are they doing planting so much grass in the middle of an f’in desert?

Heading South Before the Rain

Oct 31, 2017

Happy Holloween everyone!

After an wonderful ten weeks in Marin County, we packed up and started our journey south.  We’ve never been snowbirds (rain birds?) before but this will be our second winter in AZ.  We’re looking forward to it.

Our timing couldn’t have been better as the rain moved in a couple of days after we left 🙂

But first, we decided to spend a few days in the Central Coast area and another three weeks in the Palm Springs area before AZ.

Our itinerary was simple:  a night near San Juan Batista, another near Paso Robles and then two nights at Trilogy at Monach Dunes.  The latter is an active retirement community and we’re considering it for a potential retirement home.

Trilogy is a Shea Homes development and we’re well aware of the risks of planned communities.  But it has some of the key things we’re looking for:  cool year round weather (it’s only a few miles from the coast), golf, gym, restaurant, etc.

Trilogy hosted us in one of the model homes and we enjoyed a round of golf and dinner in their bistro.  The residents were really nice and we have no complaints except perhaps the dust that blows off of the sand dunes.  It was everywhere.

The development is 70% sold out and here’s the view from the model home.  Yes those are vineyard that they’re putting in.

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Wine Country Fires

Oct 9, 2017

Late on the evening of Oct 8, the winds kicked up in Wine Country knocking down trees and branches throughout the area.  Tragically, power lines were taken down and are the likely source of the fires that destroyed more than 7,500 structures and killed 43 people.

Absolutely tragic.

We were in Marin Park RV and woke up to the smell of smoke and ash falling out of the air.  Carol likes to leave her car windows cracked to prevent overheating.  Here’s what we found in the morning.

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And the not so lovely smoke.

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Settled In Marin

Sat, Aug 26, 2017

Carol and I are back in the RV park near Corte Madera, just a short drove from our home in Mill Valley.

Since we’ve leased our home for another year, we’ll be spending year two in our Airstream.  But no adventure this time.  Two months in Marin.  Another in Southern Cal on our way to AZ.  Then four months in Palm Creek RV in Casa Grande, AZ and then back to the RV Park next April for the spring and summer.  Easy Peasy.

Without the adventure, I’ll probably be off-line until we hit the road in Nov.

Happy travels, everyone.

The Post Eclipse Carmageddon

Wed, Aug 23, 2017

Central Oregon was a popular place to see the eclipse.  And why not?  The likelihood of a clear sky was somewhere in the upper 90%.  The highest across the path of totality.

In the days leading up to the eclipse, there were plenty of doom and gloom traffic forecasts but that didn’t happen (except at the entrances to the festivals).  Reason is that people came in over a three or four day period.

But then the post eclipse crowd hit the road and all hell brook loose.  Highway 97 that connects Madras and Bend to Interstate 5 was jammed.  Since we planned to use the same route, we knew we could be in trouble.  But boy, we had no idea.

On Tue morning, we made it exactly 78.3 miles during the first four hours of nonstop driving.  A mere 19 mph on a highway with a 65 mph limit.  And no crashes to slow things down.  Congestion, pure and simple.  Yuck.

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The Great Solar Eclipse

Mon, Aug 21, 2017

Today’s the big day and we have clear skies here in Redmond, OR for the 9:06 AM start.

I’ve been practicing by shooting the sun the past few days.  Been playing with exposure, settings, etc and at different times of the day.  But the morning is where it’s at and I’ve settled on 1/1000 sec, ISO 200 and f8.

I’m shooting my Nikon D800, 200mm f2 lens coupled to my TC-20E III teleconverter giving an effective 400mm focal length.  This is a full frame camera but I’ll be shooting in DX mode to reduce the file size since all of the shots will be cropped anyway.  I used a Baader solar filter that’s known for sharpness.

The sun has a solar cycle in which the sun spot activity varies from its minimum to maximum.  The period is 11 years and unfortunately we’re right at the minimum.  So I was pleased to see some sun spots since there weren’t any a few days ago.

I took ten photos showing the progression of the eclipse.  The sun’s natural color is white but I’ve colored it yellow to give a more pleasing image.  Here they are:

 

Sorry no pictures of totality but it was spectacular and eerie at the same time.  Can’t wait to see it again.

Eclipse Sun Rise

Mon, Aug 21, 2017

We woke up this morning excited as if it were Christmas for an 8 yr old.  Went outside to check it out and there were clouds to the east.  Uh oh 😦

No worries as the eclipse was still three hours away and sure enough, the sky was perfectly clear by the 9:06 start 🙂

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Eclipse Day Minus 1

Sun, Aug 20, 2017

We’ve regrouped with our Baja friends, the ’86ers’, at a site near Redmond, OR.

We’re about 25 niles south of Madras in the southern part of the path of totality.  We’ll have about 48 seconds of darkness instead of the 2-1/2 minutes further north.

As many of you may know, there are several large forest fires burning to the west of us.  The wind forecast is favorable and we don’t expect the smoke to affect us.

Here’s a shot looking down the street and that’s the smoke.  Thank goodness for the northerly wind. 🙂

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