Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Travel, chili, and yet more travel.

I've been absent. For most of you who follow me (thanks to both of you!) I've been working at a new company that has me on the road. Often.

So I have all sorts of stories and pictures to share. One is about the roadtrip I took in a massive Sprinter of luxurious luxury, and another about a trip to the Wolfsburg VW museum. And a Dutch VW repair shop.

I'll start with our annual January campout.

The Anti-superbowl campout was always poorly named. It's not as if we are anti- anything, including the Superbowl. It's a timely name, one that describes the weekend that it is held. But it isn't accurate.

We found a new name: The Chili bowl. It's often chilly there, and we make chili annually. Perfect name.

This Campout has traditionally been a mix of Motorcycles and VW's. Ask Joe about it. so Chris showed up on this:

And as usual, we find ways of keeping ourselves warm.

I suspiciously have not taken as many pictures on this trip. It is possible that I was being social after being a troglodyte for a while. So let me make this easy for you. Click here.

Enjoy the road.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

High Sierra Camping part two

It's Saturday morning, and after a short light breakfast, (yogurt and granola - breakfast of camping champions) We are off to Mono lake for a canoe tour.

Mono lake is filled with brine shrimp and flies, and has been the subject of a large conservation effort since Los Angeles county began diverting water away in 1941. It's been a long slow recovery.

The valley is filled with Sage - so strong you can almost drink in the scent.

We get in our not-so-stable canoes and learn a little about he history of the lake.
The Ospreys are slowly returning and making nests at the tops of the tufas.

It's beautiful and serene. Paddling on such a calm surface reminds you of just how small you are...

There are other birds that fill the area. This is a Says Phoebe.

And this is another osprey warming its wings.

I did mention the flies, didn't I?

There is other wildlife too.

Time, salt, mud and some erosion makes these little structures that could be mesa houses if they were larger. As they stand, they are about 8 inches high.

The lake is very salty. This is what happens when you take your water shoes off.
The gulls don't seem to mind.

We finish our tour after about an hour and walk around. One of our team heads home a day early, the rest of us head back to Mammoth and sit still for the afternoon.

I leave early the next morning. It's a pretty ride through Yosemite, I'm not in a rush and enjoy the meadows and lakes of the upper section while slowly working my way around tourist vans and busses.

I make it down to Groveland and the valley has the distinct smell of smoke. Apparently I threaded a needle - a wild fire had taken over the area and they would be evacuating some sections later that day. It would have been a long ride back the other direction.

Arrived at home at 3:00pm. I'm unpacking the sage I harvest from the campsite and placing it all around the house. For the next six days, the house is filled with the smell of the high sierras, and I'm sleeping better.

Friday, November 22, 2013

High Sierra Camping

I didn't have the time to take my bus on this mini-campout. I had to leave late, and I had to make good time.

My ridiculously awesome friends sensed that I needed to get out of town, so they insisted and I went on my other german vehicle. (BMW motorcycle, two cylinders, horizontally opposed, don't hate me.)

Typically, when I go to this part of California, I drive along hwy 120, and turn right on 49, heading to Yosemite. This time, it was 120 to 108 all the way up into MonoVista, Twain Harte, and the Stanislaus National Forest. I'm heading for Buckeye Hot Springs

The Pass at Sonora is at 9,623', and at one point, reaches a 23% grade. It's a twist of the wrist and a lean left, then forward to balance the weight, then right, and a downshift, then... you get the picture.

Here's the map if you want to get an idea of just how twisted this road is.

I connect to 395 at 9:00pm, and make it to Bridgeport  by 9:30. The instructions say to turn toward twin lakes, and look for signs to the hot springs - difficult at night. I miss the turn off, and make it all the way back to Twin Lakes Resort. The bartender there is closing up (at 10???) and tells me where I'm going.

It's another dirt road, and a couple of cliffs, and I'm riding on them at night. Magically, I find the campsite, and my VW friends are there, with food.

I awake to this the next morning.

The hot springs are about a mile walk, none of us are interested.  We opt for Travertine hot springs just outside of Bridgeport instead. So I ride out first, and in hindsight, have no idea how I found this place last night.

I refill in Bridgeport after a brisk paced ride through some beautiful turns on a perfect sunny morning, Bridgeport has the dubious distinction of the most expensive gas in California. I think it was 5.35/gallon. I didn't take a picture of it, my camera would have shattered it's lens in protest.

Travertine Hot springs are located here. I've got a moment to unwind and let my sore shoulders and wrist decompress.

 The water is at about 110f and cools to around 100 be the time it hits the pool.

We warm up, relax, and then head to Mammoth, our second night for camping.

We are just outside of monolake and it's time for a panoramic photo.

We arrive in Mammoth lakes,  and the campsite is full of other vehicles. We find our site and I set up the tent. It's not as comfy as my bus, but I sleep fine in it.

Mike and I decide to explore some of the other vehicles. Hwy 395 is famous for offroad adventures, We were sure to find some machines that had too much money poured into them - not that there is anything wrong with that.

This beast was towing a re-purposed army trailer complete with fold outs for easy access.

I'm a sucker for a sportsmobile. The owner told me that the two screaming children inside were for sale. I think they had a rough day.

We didn't do much other than warm ourselves by a fire, we had a day of Kayaking ahead.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Airhead Treffen 2013

If you have a couple of weeks free, you may want to join the Airhead team on their annual treffen (trip/gathering).

They drive through San Francisco and do their best to get a good photo op in each year.

Here a a few of this years photos, in the same location as 2011.

Just for reference, here are my choices from previous years:



Friday, October 11, 2013

Yahoo Photo Happiness

As long as I'm the topic of Bus photos...

If you use Yahoo Mail, you may use the "themes" to enhance your background or personalize your mail. They have all sorts of generic clouds, rainbows, etc. But recently, they started using peoples images on Flickr, which they own. (Flickr, not the pictures).

I got contacted about this picture:

They wanted to use it. I gave them permission. And now, if you use Yahoo mail, you can use it as a background. Note: To get the background on your iphone/pad download the yahoo mail app. The themes button is at the bottom of the left hand menu.

The rest of the pictures that they use are curated here.

I might be a little bit proud. A little.

And in case you want to know, Hwy 128 outside of Moab in Uath, near Castle Creek. Also, no editing, that's the raw image. It was a good day.