All Four One

All Four One
Still smiling after 1800 miles

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

ET phone home

Sometimes it was a while between detailed posts, the reasons for which are varied. It was more of a challenge than I realized to be in WiFi range. Most of the sites we were scheduled to be in had WiFi, but not necessarily at our dining room table. And when we did have it, the signal strength was not consistent. The last place we were in, before Yosemite, was a campground in Lee Vining, pronounced Le Vining, California. It had pay as you go WiFi, but the bandwidth was ridiculously small, consequently I could not tell if pictures were posting to the site. Well, enough with the technical stuff that I don't understand but sounds impressive to put forth.
Well, maybe not. While we are on the subject of technology, I have been very aware of how it could ruin a great vacation. It would seem as though a battery would quit, or a signal would disappear as a result of malicious forethought, leading to nearly missing what was around us or what we were doing because we couldn't capture it digitally.

It Never Rains in Southern California

We turned in the camper , Wednesday the 8th,  then all piled into a Ford van, along with a Swiss family(not that one), and headed for the airport in order to pick up a rental van. The Swiss family was catching a flight home. The rental process went surprisingly smoothly, as I used the self serve kiosk since I had a reservation number. We did what the kiosk asked, grabbed our confirmation receipt, and headed out into the car area where we had our choice of  three vans. In the end we got a white one, and then I entered the queue leaving the garage, intending to pick up the crew at ground level, where they were guarding the bags. The attendant gave me directions, which I followed easily, and soon I found myself headed for San Jose, albeit by myself. I managed a rapid change of direction, without the help of the GPS (turning around when possible and no, it was not a legal U-turn), and headed back in the direction I had just come. I followed the route the RV shuttle driver had followed on the way to drop us off, and sure enough, there were my doughty little travellers, standing guard over the baggage. I pulled in, and after a moment or two of trying to figure out how to stow the back seats, an Alamo Car Rental attendant came over and set things aright. We loaded our bags, many of them, and headed of in the direction I had just come from, only this time with a full van, towards Pacific Grove.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Welcome to the S.S. JEREMIAH O'BRIEN

Welcome to the S.S. JEREMIAH O'BRIEN

Click on the link above to read the history of the O'Brien

The SS Jeremiah O'Brien, docked at San Francisco
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Chris on Fisherman's Wharf

Chris is standing in front of the USS Pompanito, a WWII submarine, retired and open for tours.
http://www.maritime.org/pamphome.htm

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Andy and the Man in the Bushes

The Grand Finale

Okay,
I am going to try to wrap this up in the next day or so. I will probably load some pictures. If I can figure out how to do an album page, putting several photos in all at once, I will do that. Also, I hope to add a few comments, chronologically, just for continuty sake and I like it better that way. That may be , as my dad would say, too much sugar for a nickel, but we'll see. And, I will try to tie it all together with some closing thoughts.

Click on Photos and be rewarded

New as I am to this blog business, it came as a pleasant surprise to discover that by clicking on the photos, they enlarge!

Tarantino's overlooking San Fran Fisherman's Wharf

Our last proper meal on the trip, lunch at Tarantino's on June 10. You can't see him, but outside our window, on the sidewalk below us, is a guy who holds a couple of cut branches from some bush. No telling where he gets them, but the point is, he "hides" behind the greenery and then drops it and "springs" out on unsuspecting passersby. For some unknown reason, some people reward this with "green stuff" in return. Evidently, this guy has done this everyday for 8 years. Yes, 8 years. I kept wondering what would happen if he did that in Shreveport, and where did he get the idea and how long was it before folk realized that they were to pay for this amusement, and at what point do you cease to be a nutcase and become an institution? Oh well, there is hope for my retirement years.

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Pacific Grove June 10

videoLast morning in Pacific Grove, just north of Monterey and 20 miles from Moss Landing, site of the whale cruise.

The Crew at Sanctuary Whale Cruises



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Friday, June 10, 2011

On to San Fran

On to one last blast around San Francisco and then we drop Andy and Chris off at the airport.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Avast there, Mateys! Whales to starb'd!

Anthea here.
I've never been struck so speechless as I have on this trip, and this morning's expedition was no exception.  We were supposed to be watching the whales, but at one point, we were the ones being watched.  A small group of humpback whales slicked through the water straight at our boat.  Was it frightening?  Not a bit, and then the lead whale seemed to roll just before the boat and I found myself (braced at the prow) looking into the benign eye of a gentle giant.  My camera's battery was dead but I had my camera phone at the ready.  Reviewing the pictures there is no record of that startlingly expressive face: the camera phone often needs to be manually operated onto the next frame, but I'm not too disappointed.  It was a privilege to see those great creatures, to see them, and to hear their wild calls, and the swoosh as they spouted, and to watch the choreography of flukes arcing down as they began their dive downwards.  Although I mumble and moan about the cold on a cool day in Louisiana, the damp spray and slicing wind didn't register when whales breached right in front of us.  A diverse group, we would all quietly murmur our wonder when that happened.

Before Lunch and after the Whales

About to dive



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The two little dark figures are Chris on the right and Anthea on the left.

Comments

If you have tried to leave a comment,  I am sorry that I had inadvertantly blocked comments. I have unblocked them.
30 min into tour! Seen a humpback!

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Off we go on a three hour tour!

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Modelling the latest in anti sea sick devices.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

We are in Pacific Grove California. Whales, hopefully, tomorrow. Too much to see, too much to do in just the 50 mile radius around us.

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Experiencing new food Subway Morgan Hill California.
Rv turned in. On to pick up rental minivan!

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I have seen $5 gas and it ain't pretty.

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Merced California about 110 miles from our last campsite in Oakland, just across the bay from San Francisco.

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Andy's Haj

El Cap has been tamed, at least the first 100 feet of it. Andy has been to the mountain.
Photos will follow when we get into mobile range, and later today or tonight when we get to a more easily accessible wifi signal. For now, today we are leaving Yosemite, and after a somewhat rocky(hmm, a pun, unintended), we have had a couple of excellent days.Again, more detail later, when we are in a warmer clime and when my fingers will obey out of gratitude for being able to feel  once again.
Today we head for Oakland, our last night in the RV, and then we pick up a minivan on Wednesday to continue the adventure in San Francisco and southern California(can you say whales).
We have a couple of things we hope to do today in the park and then we are off.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

We are entering the last week of our trip. This would be a good time to thank my boss for allowing me the time off and my coworkers for covering for me.
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Andy and El Cap and Gladys the Rv

Bridalveil falls

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Back up the mountain we go! 30 miles or so! Did I mention we were going up a mountain?

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I feel as though I am in an RV version of Gilligan's Island. We left this morning at 10 for a 3 hour trip. It is now 5 pm and we are still an hour and a half from our destination. I am posting from a phone and for some reason, sometimes it goes through and other times, only a portion makes it through the ionosphere.
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New Melones Lake at Angels Camp.



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In San Andreas through no fault of my own!

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Mountain tops

Tried Crossing Ebbetts Pass 8700 feet. but closed by snow. It was closed so drove to Kit Carson pass, 8100 feet.

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I have been to the mountaintop and I am glad to be down.

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There is a snow plow on front of us!



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Right now @ 9000 ft over the only open pass to Yosemite



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A fellow traveller in snow & rain



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We are trying to bypass closed mountain passes in order to get to yosemite. On east side, have to go around park instead of thro

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A Small Mountain

Spring has not fully sprung

Spring has not fully sprung here in the Sierra Nevadas. Rather cool in them there hills.

Purt near but not plumb

We are 66 miles as the crow flies from our campsite at Yosemite, but we are not crows and the passes across the Sierra Nevada are still closed due to heavy snowfall and late spring. We are going to attempt an alternate route, which may prove very exciting if doable. We are going to ask directions at the gate to the first pass we were scheduled to drive. If not doable, we may have to go further north  in order to find an open pass. We may have to drive 200 miles or more to get there.

My but it is quiet out here

June 3, 2011
It is the end of another remarkable day. It is very tempting to wonder how long can this go on. We got up this morning, some feeling a little the worse for wear digestively for our cowboy dinners the night before, and made preparation to leave. It has been a week that we have been traveling, and the days have flown by in a blur of activity and excitement. And for the second time in two days I have stood in a place where no sound made by man can be heard. On Tuesday, it was on the rim of the Grand Canyon, as I watched the sunrise.  Now it is the opposite end of the day. It is night, actually, in the middle of the state of Nevada, and I am not sure what kind of landscape surrounds, us. I do not know if it is desert or brush land, or what, but we are on the Extraterrestrial Highway, pulled over on the side of the road to utilize the self-containment of the RV. We are literally in the middle of Nevada, under the most star-filled sky I have ever seen. We can see the Milky Way, and this is only hours after standing on top of a snow capped mountain in Utah. .

Friday, June 3, 2011

California Gulls at Mono Lake California hundreds of miles inland.

Andy and Chris at Mono Lake California. Inland salt water lake noted for tufa formations left behind as water level drops. Regulations now in place to maintain the level

Nearly There.

California



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Going thru Nevada



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Blundell-Brock Extraterrestrial Highway RV Park

Just saw a mirage.

Just saw a mirage.
Along the Extraterrestrial Highway

Somewhere Under the Stars

June 3, 2011
It is the end of another remarkable day. It is very tempting to wonder how long this can go on. We got up this morning, some feeling a little the worse for wear digestively for our cowboy dinners the night before, and made preparation to leave. It has been a week that we have been traveling, and the days have flown by in a blur of activity and excitement. And for the second time in two days I have stood in a place where no sound made by man can be heard. On Tuesday, it was on the rim of the Grand Canyon, as I watched the sunrise.  Now it is the opposite end of the day.  It is night, actually, in the middle of the state of Nevada, and I am not sure what kind of landscape surrounds, us. I do not know if it is desert or brush land, or what, but we are on the Extraterrestrial Highway, pulled over on the side of the road to utilize the self-containment of the RV. We are literally in the middle of Nevada, under the most star-filled sky I have ever seen. We can see the Milky Way, and this is only hours after standing on top of a snow capped mountain in Utah. .

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It runs in the family

Somewhere in Nevada
Caliente Nevada on the way to California. Contemplating driving until we find someplace to pull off road in the desert and tryou

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I have never stood atop a snow capped mountain before today!

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Lunch @ 10,000 feet
We also have to come down it!

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Climbing very steep snow capped mountain to explore a hike off the beaten trail!

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Into the Void

We are leaving Bryce today and heading west across the Nevada desert. We may not have wifi for a couple of days, but should be able to upload updates via cellphone. Not to worry if you don't hear from us, we are going across a fairly remote area,(51) and the like. See you soon.
We had a real cowboy dinner. Now I know why cowboys spent so much time on the trail!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It wasn't all easy riding...



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Cattle drive.



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Rounding up the cattle thru the canyon

A real cowboy on a real horse on a real cattle drive.
Photo courtesy of Anthea!

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Wrapped up the day with dinner at Ebenezer's and a show by the Bar G Wranglers. Good food and great show!

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YouTube - St. Annes Reel - Bar G Wranglers Live

YouTube - St. Annes Reel - Bar G Wranglers Live

After a day of quad-biking, hiking, grocery shopping, and laundry, we are having a cowboy dinner and watch this group.

From Back to Front-Anthea, Chris, Andy, David the guide

video

On the trail.

Auntie Chris

Getting ready

On the way to ATV ride!

English tourists.40 degrees F -Bryce Utah
The day of the Great Trail Ride has dawned!

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This trip has been rough my head. I have a scab on my forehead from hitting my head on a coin slot on a washing machine and now I have another on top of my head from standing up under an open cabinet .

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ATV Rides near Bryce Canyon Utah, Bryce Canyon ATV Adventures

ATV Rides near Bryce Canyon Utah, Bryce Canyon ATV Adventures

Click on the ATV Rides... link above.

Wednesday, June 1, We are all going on the 3 hour guided tour. Hopefully video will be available, but certainly pictures and witty commentary. We are scheduled to return 12 noon our time, and then we strike out again on a 4 hour hike later in the day, after which we round off the day with......
Standing at shuttle stop watching a pronghorn antelope walk across a meadow bathed in evening sunlight.

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Hoodoo impersonators

Hoodoos @ Bryce

Bryce Canyon Utah

Grand Canyon Days

As I type this, I am sitting, literally, on the edge of the Grand Canyon at 0530, watching the sun come up over the rim. It is cold, not as cold as yesterday morning, but I am still having trouble making my fingers obey me. Today we leave the Grand Canyon for Bryce Canyon in Utah. For you movie buffs, it is where Clint Eastwood trained and learned how to climb before he filmed the Eiger Sanction. That movie was filmed in Utah and Switzerland, and Andy and Chris were at the Eiger in Switzerland two months ago.
When we arrived here on Sunday afternoon, the temperature was dropping rapidly, courtesy of a front and 50 mile per hour winds. The temp fell from 100 on the floor of the canyon and mid 80’s on the rim to low 30’s accompanied by snow. It is so easy to see how one could get in trouble out here. This is, in spite of all the people running around everywhere, wild country.
I am up early courtesy of the cold, and the various twinges and aches in my body. When we arrived Sunday, we strolled along a well-used trail on the rim, bringing us to several lookout points. For some reason the combination of the height, honestly you are just looking down for a mile, and the wind roaring, and roaring is the right word, really spooked me. It is hard to explain, but there it is. The others didn’t seem to mind so much, so they would happily ease out onto the lookouts and take pictures. At one point, I just had enough, and sat and waited for them.  After a not so quick visit to the gift shop, we made our way back to the RV, having walked a couple of miles at altitude, a good warm-up for the next day, Memorial Day, yesterday. The only maintained trail to the canyon floor is the Kaibab Trail, and it is the one the mule rides use. A lot. One stretch required some very careful stepping, but there were several areas where one had to pay extra attention. While we are on the subject, we believe we saw Mountain Lion scat. There is nothing else big enough here to leave what we saw.
There are several natural stopping points on the trail, and folk usually pick one and hike down to it, then back. The rule of thumb is it takes twice as long and twice as much energy to come back up as it does to go down. Therefore you decide on how long you want to hike, perform a quick algebraic problem where a= hiking down time, 2a= hiking up time and x= total hike time, grab enough water and food for the trip and off you go. Going down is relatively easy, but can be a little sobering as you pass people coming up who look like extras from Night of the Living Dead. It is hard to describe why it is hard, but I have an idea that might give some perspective. We went down for 2 hours, and then Andy went on for another ½ hour while I accompanied the ladies back up. During that two hour descent, we dropped over 1000 ft in altitude, a 100 story building. Then we had to come up it. Imagine climbing stairs for 4 hours, and you have a pretty good picture of the walk and add the sun, drop-offs (some pretty good), rough terrain, sandy terrain, and did I mention mule poo, and you get the idea. I accompanied the ladies back, and Chris being the experienced hiker, led the way and set the pace. The keys to climbing are a steady pace and if you get out of breath, you are walking too fast. She set a great pace, and we managed the climb up in a little over three hours, in spite of stopping a couple of times to rest, drink, or eat. It was thoroughly satisfying. At one point of the hike, I was sorry we hadn’t done this 10 years ago, yet glad we were doing it now, because I am not sure we could do it if we waited 5 more years.
We expected Andy back around 7, as he had gone further, but that lad is stout, to use a Southern US colloquialism, and in light of the speed of our ascent, I expected him sooner. Anthea and I had just stepped out of the RV to go to get something, and lo, here he comes at 5, walking down the road with a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale in his hand! He has pictures to prove he got where he said he went. He was all alone at Roaring Springs, and he said he heard some noise in the bushes that indicated large wildlife. He said he thought, “If it is a mountain lion, do I grab a stick or my camera.” The girls said stick, but I opted for camera so we could at least see what happened to him.
After a supper of gumbo, we finished off the day with a trip to the dumping station. There are little gauges in the RV with little red lights that indicate the levels of the different fluids, i.e., gray water, black water, fresh water, and propane. The gray water said it was full, but we thought we would have some lee way, only to find the gauge was pretty accurate as the water in the shower began to puddle around my ankles and not go down the drain. We drove very carefully to the dumping station, emptied and refilled the respective containers, and were back at our prime camp site on the rim of the canyon in about 20 minutes. After chatting for a while, it was time to call it a day, and a Grand day it was.
I am finishing this from in front of the general store of the park, as my battery died on the rim. We are on the way to Bryce.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Climb done, done in

Climb done, done in

Aspens. Hiking part way down canyon. Whole trip would be 28 miles round trip

Breakfast!

Generaj Store Grand Canyon Park notice snow on roof
been advised wifi at store

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May 30 Grand Canyon

Sunrise Grand Canyon

Sunrise Grand Canyon

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

North Rim Grand Canyon 2138 hours, May 29. After a day of the wind gusting to 70 plus it is now snowing. I still have a sunburn

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North Rim Grand Canyon 2138 hours, May 29. After a day of the wind gusting to 70 plus it is now snowing. I still have a sunburn

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No 3g here so photos will have to wait.

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Truly feel like old man as i watch kids breeze on by.

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Sittingon wall by the Grand Canyon waiting for others. 65mph wind gusts. Too nerve wracking for me to in on observation platforms.

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Yes that is my hand in the shot. Anthea and Andy , North Rim Grand Canyon

Chris and Vickie Chee, Navaho artisan.