Friday, January 15, 2021

CALFORNIA: REDWOODS NATIONAL AND STATE PARKS, Day 2 Part 2, Tall Trees Trail

August 9, 2020

Like an expensive restaurant, the Tall Trees Trail requires advance reservations. Only 50 people are allowed on the 4-mile round-trip trail each day. Fortunately, we were three of those people. It is listed as a moderate to strenuous trail with 600 feet of elevation change. This grove has some of the tallest trees on earth, primarily redwoods and Douglas fir.

Entering these forests is like stepping into another world.

Pictures just don't capture the size of the trees, the stillness of the air, and the primeval atmosphere.


Sunday, January 10, 2021

CALIFORNIA: REDWOODS NATIONAL AND STATE PARKS, Day 2 Part 1, Stout Grove and False Klamath Cove

 August 9, 2020

Our second day in the Redwoods started out with a misty, magical morning. Look closely at his photo:


Did you spot the small elk herd? Eagle-eye Bob did and stopped to take some photos.

Of the entire trip, the next two hours hiking a 1.5 mile loop trail in Stout Memorial Grove in Jedediah State Park were my favorites. The original 44-acre grove was, ironically, donated to the Save the Redwoods League by Mrs. Clara Stout to memorialize her husband, lumber baron Frank D. Stout. More acres have been added over the years.

Friday, January 1, 2021

CALIFORNIA: REDWOODS NATIONAL AND STATE PARKS, Day 1

 August 8, 2020

After a good night's sleep, we left Redding and drove northwest towards the coast, passing through small towns like Willow Creek (population about 1,500), where we stopped for gas and had our first couple of sightings of Bigfoot. Northern California is obsessed with Bigfoot.Bigfoot, Willow Creek, CA

Big Foot, Willow Creek, CA

A little further on we made another stop for a bathroom break. I love the tacky decor.


The amazing thing was that just behind that gas station was a huge field of blackberries that were just becoming ripe. There were no signs telling us to keep out or to leave the berries alone, and I must confess that we ate a few--not many, but a few. They were delicious.

The name "Redwood National and State Parks" is a little confusing. Abbreviated as RNSP, it is a complex of one national and three state parks on the northern California coast, together comprising 139,000 acres. The state parks were established in the 1920s, and the national park was established in 1968. 

Our first stop was at the Trillium Falls Trail in one of the state parks (Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park).

Sunday, December 27, 2020

CALIFORNIA: TULE ELK RESERVE, THE CALIFORNIA STATE CAPITOL, AND SACRAMENTO MURALS

 August 7, 2020

Five months into The Great COVID-19 Epidemic of 2020, we were getting pretty tired of staying home, but we were hesitant to travel. However, when our son Sam proposed meeting up in Northern California to explore the Redwood and Sequoia National Parks and surrounding areas, we figured that was a trip we could make pretty safely at the time. The numbers of cases were down and we would be in a place where we could be outdoors almost all day.

The plan was to pick up Sam at the Redding Airport, so we got an early start and headed north. It is a 600-mile drive, and not always particularly interesting.


About the only excitement was this silo and mailbox painted with cherries. Yup, pretty boring.

Of course, Bob did have to take a side road when he saw a sign for the Tule Elk State Natural Reserve. It is located in the No-Man's Land 20 miles or so west of Bakersfield and three miles off the 5 freeway. Never heard of it? Neither had we.

Monday, December 14, 2020

NEW YORK CITY: EATING IN FLUSHING'S CHINATOWN

February 17, 2020

We had to be at JFK Airport by early afternoon for our flight home. Andrew was at work and we had the morning to kill, so we decided to go grazing in one of our favorite neighborhoods--Flushing, which is located in the borough of Queens.

The more I learn about Flushing, the more I wonder why I had never heard of it before Andrew introduced us to it in 2018. For example, it has the third busiest intersection in NYC, behind Times Square and Herald Square. Even now that I know about it, I never hear of anyone else who has been there.

Until about 1970, the population of Flushing was mostly white with a smattering of Japanese and South Koreans, but in 1970 a wave of Mandarin-speaking Taiwanese arrived in NYC and started to settle in Flushing. At the time, Manhattan's Chinatown was inhabited by primarily Cantonese speakers, so it makes sense that a separate neighborhood was formed. Flushing is now substantially larger than Manhattan's Chinatown (72,000 and 48,000, respectively), and is in fact the world's largest Chinatown. By the way, there actually are several other smaller Chinese neighborhoods in New York City, where 6% of the overall population is Chinese-American.

On our first trip to Flushing two years prior, Andrew took us to his favorite dumpling spot, White Bear, a little hole in the wall on Roosevelt Avenue. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

NEW YORK: LONG ISLAND

 February 16, 2020

Every time we visit Andrew we try to explore a different part of New York City or the surrounding area. On previous trips we have gone to places like Albany, Hyde Park, Valhalla, and Long Island's Sagamore Hill.

On our full day in New York, we rented a car and drove along the south side of Long Island, all the way to the Hamptons and the Montauk Lighthouse on the far end.

This obelisk near Jones Beach looks like a World War I or II memorial, but it is actually a fully functioning water tower that supplies the area with all its fresh water. Built in 1930, the inspiration for its design was the bell tower of St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy (picture on right). The Jones Beach Water Tower is somewhere between 188 and 231 feet tall, depending on whom you ask, and extends more than 1,000 feet underground.

Jones Beach Water Tower

We got out at Jones Beach and walked around a bit. It was cold and windy.
Jones Beach

Andrew found this empty egg sac of a skate, which we were amazed he could easily identify. He said it is also called a "mermaid's purse." 
Skate egg sac or "mermaid's purse"

Monday, December 7, 2020

NEW YORK CITY DAY 2: KATZ'S, HAMILTON, AND JAVA INDONESIAN

 February 15, 2020

By mid-February, winter is almost over in Southern California, so it was hard to face a day that only made it to 26° by noon and reached a high of 31° in the afternoon.


Andrew had to work, so we were on our own until evening. We desperately needed to catch up on sleep, having slept on the plane the previous night and then spending a very active day in NYC ending with a late night at the theater, so we slept in and got out of the hotel by about 10:15 AM. We had theater tickets for a 2:00 matinee, so we decided to eat lunch and then head to Broadway.

When we visited New York in January 2018, Andrew introduced us to Katz's Delicatessen. We thought we could get a quick bite to eat there, so we took an Uber from the hotel to the East Village. 

We underestimated the Saturday crowd. The line stretched from the counter to the door . . . 

. . . and a solid block further outside.