Well, this year has been a bit weird, eh? My big travel plans which included a trip to Yellowstone, Route 66 and the SABR Convention in Baltimore were canceled due to the virus. 2020 was supposed to be an epic travel year - oops! What's the expression? Man plans, God laughs?
As a result this years photographs - for the first time- are really slim pickings. A few years I've had trouble narrowing it down to ten - this year - I'm struggling to find ten. I do this each year because a fellow photographer, Jim Goldstein, puts together a compilation of top photos by many photographers and each year I participate. It's a cool project and here is the link to his website.
I'm sure, in time, we will all have much to say about this challenging time in our lives. Currently here in California the hospitals are overflowing and the death count marches on. It is, seemingly, a chaotic almost dystopian Hell. I was forced to visit the ER too a few weeks back after becoming short of breath in the middle of the night but, fortunately, it wasn't COVID. The doctor told me, "good thing you don't have to be admitted because we don't have room". That was over 2 weeks ago...I can't imagine what's happening right now.
So, yes, it is a terrible time for many. Recently, I was speaking to a fellow friend of Bill W. and we were discussing the importance of having, "an attitude of gratitude". We discussed our belief that those of us who luckily haven't lost family members and have avoided the virus or have not been terribly sickened by it have MUCH to be grateful for -in fact, probably more than other years in our lives.
I am grateful I was able to get out a tiny bit. I'm grateful for my family and their health and the new granddaughter on the way. I am grateful to be alive. I am grateful that you are reading this. I am grateful for you. I hope these photos take your mind off our troubles for a brief moment.
About a year ago we moved and my daily walk takes me by the nearby high school. Valencia High was built in 1933 and many of the buildings, including the auditorium and cafeteria, were built during the depression by the WPA. It's a beautiful school.
The next four photos are from my annual trip to Gaviota State Park and nearby Los Osos. The fog rolled in and, well, I love the fog.
I was also able to get out to Anza Borrego for a few nights with my pal, Dell. By now you are probably aware of my affinity for that place.
I was also able to get out to Colonel Allensworth State Historical Park and the nearby wildlife refuges. It's a place that I just feel at home.
Lupe and I spent Thanksgiving at Pinnacles National Park. The photo below is of Bear Gulch Reservoir from a frigid (29F) morning hike.
My favorite trip for photography this year- although it too was cut short - not by COVID but rather electrical issues with my Casita - was to the McGee Creek area of the Sierra Nevada. The first photo is of a nearby aspen grove and the second of McGee Creek Pass.
So, there you have it. I am still planning trips for 2021 although all in California, Nevada and Arizona. I will also be spending much of my time planning for 2022. That year will mark my 65th on the planet and I want to celebrate in style. First, with a huge backyard fiesta and then with a 3 month cross country trip - similar to Travels with Charley and Blue Highways - well, my version, anyway. I am excited about it - it will be the "trip of a lifetime" from sea to shining sea. It will feature nature and plains and mountains and National Parks I haven't previously visited with lots of baseball including a visit to Cooperstown and music - lots of music - including much of the Mississippi Blues Trail. I hope to see you when I'm on the road!
Now, let's stay safe - let's get through 2021 in style and and may you all have the happiest of holiday seasons.
Hola, my friends!
2020 continues to be a challenging year. Besides the virus, tragically, as I write this, much of California is burning again.
I'm checking in on all of you and thinking of you...
I thought I would share a few photos from around town and the backyard from the last few months and, also, lo and behold, I got away for a few days to the Eastern Sierra (see the photo above). May these photos offer a tiny respite from the bad news out there.
First off, I have taken some photos around here the last few months and I thought I'd share a few. We have been working at making our backyard a bird haven and we had a fascinating visitor a few weeks back. I took this photo of a majestic Cooper's Hawk back there. Normally we have a few dozen birds the backyard daily - finches, sparrows, crows, Black Phoebes, Western Bluebirds, Mourning Doves and Mockingbirds but- when he (she?) was around they were definitely not.
The next photo is of the nearby High School which was built in the 1930's with an art deco motif. Eerily, of course, no one has been around there for months now. It's a strange world.
Here are a few more photos from my daily walks.
And here are a few from the yard.
A Short Getaway
The following photos are from the McGee Creek area in the eastern Sierra Nevada. I'm sorry to report a few negative things about my little getaway. First, the campground was filled every night and the camp host (she was also the host at Convict Lake which she said was much worse) was nearly in tears. She said that, "this summer is a zoo" and that many people had no idea about social distancing and some even refused to wear masks (while in close proximity to her) even though she explained that she's lost family members to the virus and the she is high risk. She said she's never seen more selfish and disrespectful campers after several years of supplementing her pension by being a camp host. She was exhausted and stressed and said this was probably her last year - it has gotten too hard. I felt damn sorry for her.
Secondly, I had some strange electrical problems with my little trailer which necessitated an early return home. We still haven't figured out exactly what happened, but it is fixed, and thank heavens, all seems OK now - after all, I'm headed to Gaviota in a few weeks.
It was still a relief to finally get out - if only for a few days. McGee Creek is surrounded by Aspens and the photo below is an example.
Here are a few more from the area.
I must admit it was a blessing to be on the road again. It felt good to breathe in open spaces again and go for long walks in the woods. My plan, until there is a vaccine or the virus abates, is to do lots of short trips. In that vein I am going on my annual trip to Gaviota in mid-September. I was able to get the one spot where, even if the campground is full, I will be well away from other campers and the beach there is notoriously and happily uncrowded.
Thanks for allowing me to check in - please check in with me! I always enjoy seeing your comments and getting your emails. How are you holding up?
Let's talk soon, and until then, please be safe and stay well. Much love to all...
This will mostly be a journal of my travels. I may include other items that interest me. Feel free to join in.