Sunday, December 31, 2006

Kelso Dunes

It's been about twenty years since I last climbed up these dunes. Beautiful day and although there were others heading up, I had the summit to myself. Great views towards Cima Dome and Mojave Sink, as well as Kelso itself - where they've done a nice of fixing up the old train station into the new Mojave Desert Preserve museum and visitor's center.

Mojave Desert

Thursday, I left M&D on their own for breakfast and the morning round and headed off for the California desert. Nice to get out of the traffic and the construction and the commercial schlock. South through Searchlight, then old Route 66 through Goffs and Amboy (where it doesn't look like you can buy a malt any more). Hiked up Kelso Dunes - beautiful, cloudless day, with almost no breeze. I still love the thick forest of Joshua Trees on Cima Dome.

Red Rock Canyon

During Round Four, M&I headed up to Red Rock Canyon. Nice contrast to the city, which is visible in the distance and whose suburbs have climbed the hill along West Charleston right up to the park boundary.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Boulder Canyon

On Tuesday, we drove down to Hoover Dam. Slowly -- since the traffic below Boulder City was terrible. The new bridge will be great, though I guess they haven't made much progress since the cranes collapsed in September. We didn't go on the tour - too crowded - but we did walk across the dam so D could add Arizona to his list of states visited. Parking garage was pretty cool the way they tucked it into a side canyon.

Las Vegas

We spent the holiday in Seattle, but flew to Las Vegas late Christmas Day for the four-day North American Open. D opted to play up, which is admirable, since his chance of winning the big bucks would have been better if he'd played in his own division. Besides playing chess, D has watched lots of ESPN. During the rounds M&I have wandered the strip, watching volcanoes and pirate ships. We walked across the both the Brooklyn and Rialto Bridges (different nights).

Bally's put us in the newly-renovated north tower the first night. Fine, except the phone didn't work, the toilet didn't work, and you had to walk through the casino to get to the tournament rooms. So we asked to move. They said the decor in the south tower might not be as nice, but it seems fine, and now we look out on the Eiffel Tower, with the New York skyline in the distance. We can watch the south half of the Bellagio music-fountain show, too.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

East Wenatchee

We headed for the Methow, looking forward to a few days in the snow before Christmas. We delayed our start so the Methow could put itself back together after last week's storm - at least get the electricity back up and the roads plowed. We left Monday morning and got as far as Bluett Pass before the water pump failed. Coasted down to U.S. 2, got pointed to a small garage in Dryden, and then got towed to another small garage in East Wenatchee. Where we spent two days learning about cooling systems, timing belts, and head gaskets. At least there was a motel next door and a good Italian restaurant (Garlini's). Headed home by bus yesterday, when it became clear that we had been blessed with the Subaru head gasket curse. Hope that job gets done fast so I can retrieve car before the holiday. M&D managed to light Chanukah candles in the hotel room without setting off the smoke detector. On a related note, I got to watch Davis furniture go up in flames across the river on Tuesday morning.

BLOG probably stands for belated-log or backlog. Somehow I made it through D's Bar Mitzvah, ultimate frisbee season, several chess tournaments, and a few family birthdays, all without posting anything. Maybe over the holidays I can fill some gaps - or maybe I'll just resolve to be better next year.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Safeco Field

We celebrated D's birthday at the Yankees Game. Given the occasion, I suppose it would have been nice if the Yankees had won, but D handled the loss well. The rest of us had no problem handling the loss at all! Randy Johnson pitched all 9 innings for NY and A-Rod was brought in at the very end (much to the crowd's delight, he struck out). The Mariners won 4-2.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Peace Arch

So what do bull kelp and the Peace Arch have to do with one another?

It turns out that kelp used to be harvested as a major source of potash for explosives. Given the current state of paranoid affairs in the U.S., the notion of someone smuggling potentially dangerous seaweed across the border, though not very practical and a bit harebrained, may be a high priority for DHS folks who have now filled several warehouses in Virginia with nail clippers and overly sharp pencils.

It started as a simple problem - we found a 20' strand of kelp on the beach at Fernwood and desperately needed to do something constructive with it. Fortunately, and just in time, we found a bumper to tie it to. It dutifully followed the poor tourists back to their cabin. Saturday morning, I found it hanging from a bush, suffering severely from road burn and dehydration. Somehow it ended up in our car. On the ferry to Tsawassen, it reattached itself to its original bumper. Where it stayed until the unwitting smugglers were pulled out of the line at the Peace Arch crossing and subjected to considerably more stress and humilation than they deserved.

We have learned some lessons: 1) Seaweed should stay in Canada. 2) Border agents should always ask whether you have let your vehicle out of your sight or whether strangers have asked you to drag strange plant material behind your car. 3) Friends shouldn't let friends drive with brown algae tied to their bumper. 4) Some things, like driving past friends pulled over by border guards, can make you feel really bad and yet be sort of funny at the same time.

Monday, August 21, 2006


This long red dock is just down the hill from the Raven Market, on the east side of the island facing Wallace and Galiano Islands.

St. Mary Lake

Salt Spring is surrounded by salt water, but when here, we surround ourselves with freshwater. The lake is warmer and fresher and safer and comes equipped with lots of paddle boats, kayaks, rafts, and a small beach carved out from the reeds. The sinking dock really was sinking this year.

Green Acres

It's nice to have a place to come back to. The kids get older, the parents get older, but until they tear down the cabins, Green Acres stays the same. Games, swimming, reading, and occasional pilgrimages into Ganges. The TV goes into the closet, the internet is several miles away, and our cell phones don't work.


Back to Canada. The Ramada was being remodeled this year, so we tried out the River Rock Casino. Nicer pool, but the waterslide was shorter. We skipped Julio Iglesias and the closest I got to gambling was a stroll through the casino.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Bikes in Stanley Park and kayaks on Granville Island.


Front row seats for China's exhibition.

Friday, August 04, 2006

English Bay

Nine years makes it a routine. The Sylvia Hotel, fireworks on the beach, and biking around Stanley Park. The only variable is the tides, which tonight were supposed to peak right during the show. We staked out our place based on my best guess, with 40 feet of dry sand between us and the sea at 5PM. M was reluctant to trust my optimistic judgement, while D gleefully predicted my doomed reputation as a coastal geologist. We got the tide right on, and despite some concern about a few little waves, we stayed dry.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Market Street

M&D headed off for San Francisco last week, while I stayed in Seattle getting some work done. I suspect they had more fun than I did.

D got introduced to the Market Street chess scene. I understand there was money involved, though not enough for it to count as a summer job. Maybe if he juggles on the side.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Route 192

We've headed back to the Radisson outside Disney, figuring it made a good staging area for today's trip over to Titusville to watch the Shuttle launch. And if they scrub the launch, we know the pool is a good one.

Last night we went back to Joe's (first one since Louisville) and then played mini-golf (something we've done many times this trip). Even the evening was still hot and muggy.