Posts Tagged ‘California’


Day 6 – Lava Beds National Monument

July 12, 2017
2017-07-06_4098_Hill Road

Morning View

It turns out that what you do at Lava Beds National Monument is you go caving. The main selling features of the park are the twenty or so lava tube caves with marked and developed entrances. For someone nursing a sunburn, spending most of the day underground is just about perfect.

Unfortunately, it turns out cave photography is really difficult, especially when all you have for light sources is a 50 lumens headlamp. So I didn’t really get much in the way of usable photos, and the photos I did get really don’t do these environments justice.

Oh well. What I did get follows. Read the rest of this entry ?


Day 5 – Lassen Volcanic National Park, Cont.

July 12, 2017

Another morning, another stand of pines to great me:

2017-07-05_3718_California 89

Today was, as expected, interesting. Also, very, very tiring. Actually, it wasn’t so much that today itself was all that tiring. It’s more that the bill from the last several days came due. In the weeks leading up to this trip, I was keenly aware that I was way out of shape, or at least not close to the kind of shape I wanted to be in for the kinds of hikes I was planning.

So I tried to dedicate time to getting back into shape. Tried, and failed. Just the bike ride from San Francisco to the Marin Headlands and back on Day 2 took a lot out of me. So I decided to take it easy the next day. Instead, I hiked a trail with a 2000′ elevation gain. After that and yesterday’s snow shenanigans, I woke up today not wanting to move. But, there were volcanoes and lava beds to see, so I worked out the kinks as best I could and headed towards a trailhead. Read the rest of this entry ?


Day 4 – Lassen Volcanic National Park

July 12, 2017

It turns out I shouldn’t have been surprised by the amount of snow I was seeing in the mountains above Truckee. That was only a light dusting compared to what I encountered today.

I started out in a large turnout off California 89, maybe five miles outside of Lassen Volcanic National Park, in Northeast California.

Upon seeing the surroundings in daylight, I found that the turnout was actually the start of a forest road. I had no idea where it lead, only that it went up, which was good enough for me.

2017-07-04_3304_Lassen National Forest

2017-07-04_3325_Lassen National Forest

2017-07-04_3310_Lassen National Forest

After some twists, turns, and dead ends, the forest road dumped me out onto an unmarked paved road. Not having a map of any kind, I figured “Down” would take me back to the highway, which it eventually did. Read the rest of this entry ?


Day 3 – Truckee, CA

July 12, 2017

Day 3 has taken me to Truckee, California, a town in the northern High Sierras that I’ve had in mind to visit since Amtrak took me through several years ago.  As much as anything else, I love the name. “Truckee” is indirectly derived from the Paiute word “Tro-Kay,” loosely translated as “It’s all alright.” Which is ironic, considering the most famous local landmark is Donner Pass.

I truck-camped off an access road in Donner Memorial State Park and was treated to the smell of pine when I woke up:


My plan was to go into town, find breakfast, then find a hiking trail. First though, I was distracted by a dirt road the went… somewhere.


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Days 1-2 – San Francisco

July 3, 2017

And… here we go.

Early on, I’d decided that my first stop on this trip was going to to San Francisco. I’ve got a number of friends up there who are always nice to see, and the city itself is one of my favorite places to visit. I’m not sure I’d ever want to live there, for various reasons, but it’s always treated me well a few days at a time.

Ordinarily, if I’m heading to San Fransisco for anything other than business, I’ll either take the scenic coastal route, or stop off of one of the numerous parklands that can be on the way. However, I decided for this trip to skip past anything that’s within day trip or weekend trip range. Spending time on things I can see or do on just about any weekend would only take time away from the things I may never have a chance to see or do again. So, I was taking the entirely business-like route, right up The 5 through the Central Valley, a 5-6 hour drive, depending on traffic.

I had been planning on leaving LA at 6am so that I would get into San Francisco by noon, having the rest of the day and the following day there. I realized by Friday evening that that wasn’t happening, so I resolved to still get up at 6, take care of all the remaining preparations, and leave no later that 10:00am. I pulled out of my parking garage promptly at 1:37pm. You’d think that at some point, I’d get better at this.

I’ve done this drive several times now, and it never gets any better.


Traffic leaving LA was about what you’d expect.


The Grapevine is always fun though.

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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

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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.

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