Archive for the ‘Local’ Category

h1

Day 31 – Denali National Park – Day 1

August 10, 2017

I spent three days in Denali, and got into just the right amount of trouble.

In terms of facilities, Denali comes somewhere between the thoroughly developed national parks like Yosemite and the more austere parks like Gates of the Arctic. A major highway runs adjacent to the park, and near the park entrance you’ll find all the facilities you’d expect: campgrounds, visitor centers, book stores, general stores, etc.

Things drop off pretty quickly after that. Where Yosemite has over 800 miles of hiking trails, Denali has less than 40, mostly short trails clustered near the park entrance. When it comes to hiking, the idea in Denali isn’t to follow provided trails, it’s to strike out on your own, whether for a few hours or a few weeks.

Other than backcountry hiking, the only way into Denali other than single engine aircraft is Park Road, which runs 92 miles from the park entrance to Kantishna, a former mining town and current home to a gravel airstrip and several private lodges. The first 15 miles is paved and open to all traffic. The remaining 77 miles are gravel and open only to transit buses, tour buses, and cyclists. The transit buses are hop on, hop off, so you can take a bus into the park, get off 60 miles in, scale a mountain or two, get back to the road, and flag down a returning bus to get back to your car. The transit buses have bike racks as well, so you can ride Park Road however far you legs will take you and then take a bus back. Just make sure you don’t miss the last bus back to the park entrance. If you do, you’re going to be in a for a long night in the wilderness. (That there was foreshadowing)

Read the rest of this entry ?

Advertisements
h1

Day 27 – Dalton Highway, Northbound – Part 1

August 5, 2017

I’ve spent the last four days traveling the Dalton Highway, and can say that most of the info I’d read on the Dalton Highway was alarmist. From what I’d read (The Wikitravel entry in particular) it sounded like traveling “The Dalton” was some kind of ultra-badass expedition that I wasn’t sure I was up for.

I needn’t have worried; it really hasn’t been that big of a deal. I’m betting the conditions are very different in the winter, but in the summer, it’s just a long, rough road.

That’s not to say it’s completely pedestrian, but the real reason for caution isn’t that the likelihood of something going wrong is higher than on any other dirt or gravel road you can think of, it’s not. It’s that the consequences of something going wrong are much higher. Still, even those consequences are along the lines of time and money rather than life and limb.

If your car breaks down on the Dalton Highway, you’re not going to die (again, at least not in the summer. I can’t speak to the winter), but you are probably about to spend days and hundreds or thousands dollars getting everything sorted out. You could probably buy a small car for what a tow would cost. Shipping parts from Fairbanks or Anchorage would be difficult and expensive as well.

Overall, as long as you don’t drive like an idiot, have a sturdy, high ground clearance vehicle that you trust, and are prepared to spend the night in that vehicle if things go bad at the wrong time of night, you’ll be fine.

Even though it wasn’t quite the Robinson Crusoe / Mad Max experience I was anticipating / afraid of, the Dalton Highway and the land it travels through is a different sort of place than I’d ever experienced, and I’m glad I was able to get acquainted with it. I’m going to be covering the 800 mile out-and-back in probably three posts, with this post taking care of Day 1.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Wandering on a Sunday – Canyons, Trails, and a Roller Coaster

August 20, 2012

One of the nice things about Los Angeles is that even though it’s a sprawling monstrosity, there are couple mountain ranges that got in the way of the developers and city planners.  So there are actually quite a lot of open spaces and canyons and things to visit.  On a lazy Sunday a while back, I decided to get off the couch and into the world.  So, choosing pretty much at random, I got on my bike, headed southwest, and wound up at Red Rock Canyon Park, a smaller park about 20 miles due west from Hollywood.

Finding the place is a little bit of an exercise itself.  First, you have to find Old Topanga Canyon Road (Not to be confused with Topanga Canyon Blvd), which is off of Mulholland Highway (Not to be confused with Mulholland Drive).

While on Old Topanga, I saw a road sigh that read “Summit to Summit Mountain Way”.  Being that it sounded like something out of Middle Earth, I took a quick look.  It’s not Great East Road or anything, but it is a cool fire road that I’ll definitely explore in greater depth later.

Summit to Summit Mountain Way

Moving on, as you continue down Old Topanga, you’ll want to keep scanning the roadside to your right, making sure you don’t miss the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it turn-off onto Red Rock Road.  Red Rock Road is a narrow dirt road that winds between trees and rustic houses.  It feels more like West Virginia than LA County, except for the odd house here and there that definitely had a larger construction budget than just about anything in West Virginia.  Eventually, you find a small dirt parking lot with a self pay box.  Welcome to Red Rock Canyon Park

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Cycling CicLAvia

June 12, 2012

CicLAvia is an awkwardly named semi-regular event in downtown Los Angeles where a selection of major streets are closed to automobile traffic for an afternoon and given over to other uses.  The name comes from the more general term ciclovía, which directly translates from Spanish as “bike path.”  LA’s ciclovía apparently drew its inspiration from a similar but larger, longer standing, and much more regular practice in Bogatá.

CicLAvia is only in it’s second year, so as far as metro events go, it’s just getting started.  Still, it’s kind of a big deal.  Apparently, somewhere over 100,000 people had turned out for previous events.  I wanted to see what 100,000 people walking and biking around the urban core of the most famously car centric city on the planet looked like.  So I grabbed my camera, got on my bike, and headed towards 7th Street, one of the main CicLAvia thoroughfares.

I spent the afternoon wandering the CicLAvia route, seeing what I could see.  What I found was bikes.  Lots and lots of bikes.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Staying On Top of Things

June 18, 2011

So I have this thing about being on the roofs of things.  It’s something I like to do.   This has worked out well the last few years, as the house I’ve been living at has practically a playland of angles and platforms on top of it.

Seriously, it looks like something out of Mario64.

What with the banquet of off-kilter angles, I”ve found myself up there more than a few times with camera in hand.  I thought it would be fun to share a few of the photos, as well as some of my other roof-top exploits.

h1

My Life in Purgatory

September 4, 2009

Right.  Well.  It’s been a while since I last posted anything.  I haven’t been dead, but I haven’t been all that lively either.  That fact that I’ve been doing so little of interest day-to-day lately may be part of the reason I haven’t been champing at the bit to post anything.  However, I have to admit that at the base of it, I’ve been being That Guy. You know the one.   The one with a readership-of-one blog that almost never posts, and when he does, it’s to apologize for the lack of posts.  I hate that guy.  And that guy is me.

I’ve got a couple of hopefully worthwhile posts simmering, but for now, all I’ve got is a smattering of Random Ohioishness:

First off, while wandering around Big Lots a while back, I spotted a most unfortunately named product:

Because sometimes I just need to get my hands on a nice milky muffin top.

Because sometimes I just need to get my hands on a nice milky muffin top.

For those  blissfully unaware of why this is funny, which apparently includes the team of crack brand managers at Malt-O-Meal, I’ve drawn up the following diagram for clarification:

You are what you eat?

You are what you eat?

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

About the Hinterland

May 6, 2009

Early last month, I got on the bike and wandered around the county a bit.  If you wander around Wood County for more than a few minutes, you’ll soon find yourself neck deep in a thick swill of rural expanse.  There are interesting things to look at here and there, more than you might expect at any rate.

Railroad crossing on Ridge Line Road

Railroad crossing on Ridge Line Road

Read the rest of this entry ?