Tuesday, April 28, 2015

California Campin', 3: Pinecrest

We stayed in Menlo Park until P's 4th birthday...















Thus















And thus















And then headed up to Stanislaus National Forest and its
wonderful Pinecrest campground...recommended by one of
Rebecca's neighbors...a snow flurry had passed by, but it all
melted away within a day or two

















The beach at Pinecrest Lake















Campground amphitheater; sort of after the Greek model















Moonshine and treetops















Lunchtime view, walking around the lake















OK, it's not a lake, it's a reservoir















Vicki walking across the dam















The dam















Cultural note: "and forge the uncreated conscience of my race"?















All this on the Pinecrest National Recreational Trail















On a rock face, a precarious existence in this historically dry year

Sunday, April 19, 2015

California Campin', 2: Pinnacles National Park, Again

During her spring break, we took P down to Pinnacles National Park. We were there in December, but our stay was shortened by the Pineapple Express...probably the last significant rain this place will see for many months. Anyhow, despite a cold, P enjoyed it, hiked like a trooper, took up entomology, and earned her Junior Ranger's badge.
Our campsite at Pinnacles...rather more crowded than in
December, particularly with school groups
















On a hike to the Bear Gulch cave















Bug of the day; these warm and dry climate-loving fellows
have now devoured about 20% of the West's forests, I've read;
and seen, everywhere















Close observation led to the conclusion that maybe this one was
too big and icky to capture; alas, two of the ladybugs did not
survive their overnight captivity in the bug house, although two
others did and were freed the next morning; as part of her
Junior Ranger oath, P later swore not to feed nor capture any of
the Park's animal residents--we'll see if this oath holds against the
interests of Science; earlier she learned the hard way not to touch
unknown plants; note Junior Ranger vest...





















Part of the trail



















Pinnacles















The "cave" is mostly chock-stones over a
narrow defile




















Steps in the cave



















Outside and atop the cave; a lot of people
come to Pinnacles for the practice climbing
areas; the conglomerate makes for easy
foot- and hand-holds





















With appropriate ironmongery















Thus















Lizard of the day















Another day, Grandma and P became the audience for a NPS
videography session (not shown...two afternoons at the unheated
pool, braved by Grandpa)

















The talk was about Pinnacles' significant population of
California Condors...9 foot wingspread; alas, we only saw
turkey vultures

















Alas, alack, all of Pinnacles is under a fire-ban
that probably will last until next fall's rainy
season begins; we saw many years of drought
in Montana and many such fire bans there; and
fires; not a pleasant thought with talk of a
mega-drought affecting the US West...traveling
the West, and now California, I have an ominous
feeling of seeing so much now for the last time...
beetles and fires and drought don't leave a
pretty aftermath

California Update

So for the last five weeks or so we have been here in Middle California, camped mostly in daughter Rebecca's driveway (quiet, good hook-ups) but with several trips elsewhere. We got the Roadtrek all fixed up, and, scarcely more than a week on the market, sold it to a nice couple from Santa Cruz. We really hated to see it go--but are relieved to be down to a more reasonable number of campers. Much of our time has been spent with Princess P, watching her while Mommy graded, and then while Mommy and Daddy enjoyed a respite in the Sandwich Islands (Rebecca's spring break), and then camping at Pinnacles National Park (P's spring break)(next post). We'll be here in Rebecca's driveway through Shakespeare's birthday (also P's) but then will head out for a couple weeks' travel hereabouts before venturing back to Florida and then Europe for the summer.
For a couple weeks, Rebecca's front yard looked like this...
fortunately, she has nice and tolerant neighbors
















Our stay included my birthday



















And Vicki's (after her visit to Chicago to see
young Wesley, parents and grandparents)




















Our visit also included Easter, and the making,
under Mama's supervision, of Easter eggs




















Thus



















Easter morning















Enjoying a chocolate ice cream bar at Oakland's
Childrens' Fairyland




















She did all the rides, most more than once, took in the puppet
show,  and insisted on seeing the magic show twice; but the old
favorite is still her favorite

















Building a replica of one of Aunt Rachel's
towers (Grandpa also did another family photo
digitization project)





















You know you're in Middle California when the bill-board
advertising is about crowd-funding
















And a driver-less Googlemobile pulls up next to you at a San
Antonio Road intersection