So much happening, so many decisions to make

When last I sat down my grandson Baby Colton arrived, and a week later my puppy-to-be made an appearance.

Three weeks later and much has happened. My 22-year-old grandson visited us for one week in February.

Sacramento Metropolitan Airport public sculpture. I see my red Samsonite!

I haven’t seen him in two years, and the visit ended with him saying, “Best vacation ever!” Not that he has taken many vacations in his short working life. It seems like for being on his own he is doing well. But there were a few details that needed to be addressed. Haircut, eyeglasses, cell phone upgrade, and work clothes set the stage for a busy week.

One thing I have to say about this guy is that he is a foodie. Straight away he planned to eat his way through Sacramento. Straight from the airport, we head to his favorite Fish and Chips place. Interestingly enough, the owners remember him. I guess he frequented this establishment when he lived close by. For dessert, I visited Icicles. Curled up icecream created right before your eyes.

Delicious. Never knew this existed. I plan to visit again.

After taking care of all those details, we planned a day out of town. At first we wanted to go to San Francisco to meet up wtih my son and family. With everyone having a different schedule this was difficult to arrange, and so we went with plan B. Headed east with Reno being our destination. This is the first February where we didn’t have a drop of rain. Weather is just lovely, but I am starting to hear talk of drought again.

First stop, Donner Summit. Checked out Donner Lake. I tried to imagine the Donner Party stuck here.

It was the end of February and there was no snow around.

My two guys!
Some fishermen getting ready to cast their lines.
Another tourist from the Sacramento area. Love the colorful sari.

Searched for a open restroom. Didn’t know this was a seasonal condition. LOL!

We visited the Donner Memorial State Park Visitor Center with a very nice restroom.

We continue on to Reno and arrived about lunchtime. Headed for miles of food buffet.

Buffet at the El Dorado Casino

My grandson first took a look at the miles of desserts.

Miles of tempting desserts

He then placed his drink order. He has a unique way of ordering his meal items. But he does it with a pleasant demeanor and the servers try to oblige him.

We walked around Circus Circus, but no performances to view. We checked out the arcade. We needed to walk off that meal!

Tried our hand at 25 cent poker machine, and quick when we were ahead. Winner of $0.55. It was nice sitting and talking while we tried to beat the machine.

Argggh!

Thanksgiving in February with all the trimmings, except pumpkin pie. My grandson requested this holiday meal back in November so I kept a turkey in the freezer for this occasion. He remembered that I usually put walnuts in my stuffing. Not this time. Oh well. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to cook for a couple of days afterward.

Been paying close attention to the upcoming presidential race in November. California moved up the primary vote, and Super Tuesday came and went. No further comment here. I just hope, upon hope that our next president will be someone other that our current ____. You fill in the blank. Decisions, decisions, but not the greatest of choices.

My grandson headed back to Knoxville, and we focused on our upcoming trip to New York City. Then the news of coronavirus ramped up. Decisions, pro/con. After much discussion, we decided that New York City will be there, and we would postpone our trip. Booking.com made it easy to cancel the hotel reservation. I had a harder time with AAA air travel. I purchased travel insurance for my Jet Blue tickets. But I would need to file a claim, and there would be a big hassle. I called Jet Blue and they agreed to give me a 1-year credit for the tickets.

So next up, was opening day of baseball. But it was rained out. Luckily, game was called early. Go figure!

Each day from 1 pm until 7 pm I get to watch puppy television, starring Ginger and her litter of 10. And after 4 weeks they are playing and eating gruel. Next weekend the plan is to drive up north and meet the pups in person. Ginger has 10 puppies. Three girls, and seven boys. I am pretty sure that we will be bringing home a little girl pup, but we will see after we meet all of them next week. We wanted a solid colored pup (only a couple of boys fit that description), but all are so cute and personalities are starting to form. That is more important in the decision process. So excited.

So that is it for the moment. Trying to stay healthy. Relaxing and getting ready for my new adventure.

Hope Valley Autumn

 

Two hours from Sacramento is Hope Valley. For this Tuesday my friend Anne and I head out to find some Autumn color. My Dad passed away 5 weeks ago, and it is time to look outward.

Traveling on Route 50 we stop in Strawberry. This unincorporated town was a stop for the Pony Express in the 1850’s. Strawberry Lodge was my introduction to snow in California. When my kids were little we came here to go sledding.

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Granite cliffs call to me. Do I see some faces there?

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The south fork of the American River in Strawberry, Ca.

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This Dodge truck just fits in this space

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The Sierras in the distance have been dusted with snow.

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Back on Route 50 we will turn south before Lake Tahoe

We stop for lunch at Sorensen’s Resort in Hope Valley. Great lunch. Cabins, pond, fire pit, rustic charm, and topiary make for fun picture exploring. This is just how I like to spend time out photographing with my friend.

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Just Fishin’

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On the lookout for picnic baskets, Bo0 Boo!

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Imagine Relaxing with a Good Book

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After a summer it is great to see Aspen color

Rain fell in the Sacramento Valley during the weekend leaving a dusting of snow along the Carson Pass at an elevation of 7800 feet.

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Caples Lake located in the Carson Pass

Many Sacramento photographers recently posted a cabin in the woods.

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Cabin in the Woods

 

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Goodbye Hope Valley. Glad to spend time wandering around just looking for beauty in nature.

 

Mono Lake Tufas inspire me to try new photo processing techniques

Mono Lake is an ancient  65 square miles lake located 13 miles east of Yosemite National Park. It has no outlet, and continues to become increasingly salty. Amazing limestone rock formations called tufas form from fresh water springs interacting with alkaline lake water.

Mono Lake Tufas
Mono Lake Tufas

Tufa spires start underwater. Thirty foot formations become more visible as the lake levels decrease due to water diversions to Southern California.

Tufa Watches Over Mono Lake
Tufa Watches Over Mono Lake

In 1994 the State Water Resource Control Board in an effort to protect Mono Lake set limits on amount of water that could be diverted.

Gently Floating Along
Gently Floating Along

All kind of objects spring to mind when I look at a tufa rock formation.

Kissing Lambs
Kissing Lambs

It is so easy to imagine faces, and animals.

Animal Look-A-Like Tufa
Animal Look-A-Like Tufa

Serious Tufa
Serious Tufa

I spend time in the late afternoon watching birds around the lake. Some nest on the tufa. Later I photograph a sunset on the South Tufa side of Mono Lake.

Sunset over Tufas
Sunset over Tufas

Tufa Sunset
Tufa Sunset

Dramatic Sunset Over Mono Lake
Dramatic Sunset Over Mono Lake

Getting up early provides photographic rewards.

Sunrise Over Mono Lake
Sunrise Over Mono Lake

Summer Sunrise Over Watchful Tufas
Summer Sunrise Over Watchful Tufas

Early Morning at Mono Lake
Early Morning at Mono Lake

The tufas on Mono Lake are somewhat other worldly, and my photo processing skills felt free to experiment. I used Adobe Lightroom 5.7, Photomatrix Pro 5 and Topaz Plug-Ins: Detail and Adjust.

I semi reluctantly returned to Bodie and Mono Lake with my photography friends Anne and Laura.  My first experience had been clouded by altitude sickness. I am so glad that I set aside my trepidations and I came away with some good photographic memories. Note to self, always set aside initial reservations, and get out and make new memories.