Sunday, September 28, 2014

Hiking in Uvas Canyon County Park

What a gem, what a surprise doing the Waterfall Loop in Uvas Canyon County Park.  Biked along Croy Road (entrance) to the park many times but never hiked it.

My hiking companion and I worked up a sweat because the path is steep in parts but well worth it.

Road Trip to Monterey, part 2

Saturday, Sept 27th

While at the evening event at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we took in the Jellies Experience.  Wow.

Wow, again. 

Check out the eel.  I really enjoyed the sea otter feeding time.  They were given blocks of ice that the otters smashed against the rocks to get to the shrimp, but, they also like eating the ice.  Apparently it's like soda pop for them.  Here's live webcam of them frolicking.

Hard to see but that's a shrimp.   We also watched a diver feed leopard sharks and other fish in the Kelp Forest, a true marvel.  Here's live webcam of the forest.  The Open Sea live webcam is not to be missed either.

Another highlight of the evening besides the dessert tray and cheese and nuts spread was the outstanding presentation by Dr. Stephen Palumbi of Stanford along with his son.  They co-authored The Extreme Life of the Sea.  They shared fascinating stories and why we must take care of our precious oceans and the life that life that lives within and beyond. The solutions are in front of us. 

After studying the flippers of humpback whales and expecting there to be drag (in which there isn't despite the enormous size of the flippers) eventually led to and inspired changes in the shape of ordinary fan blades; so, new fans coming out should be more efficient in distributing air flow as well being energy efficient.

There are fish that live in artic waters but their fluids don't freeze and they don't get ice crystals either.  They have an antifreeze protein to protect them.  Scientists were able to clone this protein using yeast and apparently it is why low fat icecream doesn't form ice crystals.  Wow.

My favorite story is about the hideous looking Anglerfish.  Scientists couldn't figure out where the males were. All of the anglerfish studied were female.  Turns out that the little attachment under the fish is actually the male.  Scientists originally though they were parasites.  Hmm, let's think about that for a moment .... anyway, the male is good for one thing only (reproduction) and after that, they just atrophy and become rather irrelevant, perhaps useless.  Hmm, let's think about that for a moment ....

Loved the evening.  Fantastic time.   I learned so much about ecological, evolutionary, and conservation issues.   Thanks to Miss P.  And to the wonderful Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Road Trip to Monterey, part 1

Saturday, Sept 27th

Oooh, I was treated by Miss P. with a trip to Monterey for an evening event at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  But first we wandered around nearby on Cannery Row, taking in the scenery.

Can't go wrong in Monterey with its views.  

Time to head off to the aquarium to celebrate its 30 anniversary.  One of the things I've always appreciated about this aquarium and well there's so much to appreciate is the Seafood Watch Program.  Next up, photos from the event.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Time for SS&M

I haven't done Montevina or Soda Springs in quite some time nor have I ever done Montevina and Soda Springs in the same ride.  So, I jumped (well, not really) at Miss P's club ride to do both today.  I was exhausted the whole week, perhaps due to too many chocolates and not enough sex or maybe too much sex and not enough chocolates.  But, what the heck, off I went.

Ha ha ha, not quite true but we conquered both climbs.  The smells were heavenly, too.

And the views swell.  The air was a bit crisp.  A lot of traffic on Montevina due to some event in the neighborhood.  Made descending a bit tricky.  I didn't do the very last bit of Montevina.  Next time.

Nevertheless, I gave myself a gold star for effort and lots of sweating.  Good prep for the LKHC season starting next weekend.  I'm ready now....  sure.  Ha ha ha.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pescadero with Pals

Back on home turf and ready to ride in our beautiful neck of the woods.  Today's club ride leader, Miss Marcia, a grand dame, led 10 cyclists from La Honda over to Stage and Highway 1 and back down Stage over to Pescadero.

The temperature was cool but not cold and a welcome relief from the humid weather we've been having in the Bay Area.  Lovely smells everywhere, especially the Eucalyptus trees.  I should have snapped a photo of the redwoods when we climbed Pescadero Road.  A pretty contrast to our Eastern Sierras trip. 

Oh boy, a doe sprinted across Pescadero right in front of Miss P.  What a sight!

The pigs were adorable, snorting and rubbing against the fence.  If only I took a photo of their snouts.  A hoot.  Made me feel a little bit bad for loving the flavor that bacon imparts in cooking.  Oh well.  We did enjoy the artichoke and garlic bread, warm and crunchy on the stop in Pescadero.  A blissful 31 mile ride with only a tiny struggle on the exposed part of the climb going up Pescadero Road.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Eastern Sierras - Horseshoe Meadows

Friday, Sept 12th

The reason we returned for another Eastern Sierras trip (well for me it was all about Happy Hour each day) --- to do what we were unable to do last year due to gusty winds --- our piece de resistance:  Horseshoe Meadows.  We'd already done Whitney Portal and Onion Valley in previous years, and perhaps more challenging but with those rides, you don't have the daunting zigzags in your face from the start.  Like the mark of Zorro.

I suffer from vertigo.  God, I sound pitiful.  I expected to stare at The Boyfriend's ass the whole ride up but he trailed behind me in case I had a panic attack from the sheer drops showcasing Owens Valley.   It wasn't as exposed as we thought and I was okay for the most part.

Here I contemplate the meaning of life while munching on a banana.  I had a mini meltdown.  I couldn't stop to stretch (my whole body hurt ; I was not one with the bike on this ride) because of the steepness until after 10 miles or so of climbing.  The poor BF bore the brunt of my hysterical moment.  Suck it up, Mister.  Well, I apologized for my appalling behavior....

I made it to the false summit and decided I was done.  The BF, macho man that he is, continued on for the remaining few miles (not an easy feat).  He feared leaving me alone.  Sweet. Took some convincing that I'd be alrighty and no crazed person or animal would drag me into the woods never to be found again.

And then, alone, I discovered the strange objects, clearly, devices used by the aliens.... Later, The BF would try to convince me the equipment had to do with a weather station.  Yeah, sure, Mister.

Yay,  time to descend.  I was way overdressed.  It was not cold like it was when we did Whitney Portal and Onion Valley in previous years.  Not at all.  In fact, the weather conditions were ideal.  However, the road conditions sucked.  Rough like cobblestone and quite unpleasant.  Spoiled some of this magnificent climb.

One final view to show you this mountain.  In the distance, you can see the road we started on, way in the distance.  It was a challenging climb, one we conquered, well, The BF fared much better than I.  Then again, he is so manly.  But, we did it and that concludes our lovely Eastern Sierras 2014 trip.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Eastern Sierras - Around the Lake and Alabama Hills

Thursday, Sept 11th

Today, we bid farewell to our friends on the Eastern Sierras trip as we had other plans.  Naturally, my plans including frolicking in bed, eating bonbons, and perhaps go shopping for a new boy toy.  Naturally, my plans were ignored.  The Boyfriend wanted to do the bit of the ride he missed, the pretty scenic dam that Miss P. and I had already done since we actually read and followed the route sheet from the other day ....

Occasionally, I let The BF think he's in charge and let him lead ....  In any case, "I don't want to set the world on fire. I just want to start a flame in your heart. In my heart I have but one desire. And that one is you. No other will do." [The Ink Spots].  Something I tell all my men and something they think I only say to them alone....  

So, before leaving Bishop, we did a 20 mile or so loop that included the section he missed.

We then moved on by car to Lone Pine, ate lunch, and tackled the wonderful Alabama Hills off Horseshoe Meadows.  This is a must do ride.

It was rather toasty in the late afternoon but not as hot as last year.  We're here in Lone Pine to do the one ride we missed last year due to weather conditions -- tomorrow we tackle it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Eastern Sierras - Rock Creek and Crowley Lake Roads

Wednesday, Sept 10th

In the words of The Boyfriend, "What, no firemen, no strapping runners stripped to the waist, not even a BF reference!  Your followers will drift away without their daily titilation."

Apparently, someone is miffed that I have been remiss in not being titillating.  As Steve Martin once said, "Well, excuse me."

Today's ride was 51 miles with 5900 feet of climbing.  And what would be known as The Real Ride at our daily happy hour.  You see, only Miss P, Tony and I did the "real ride" whereas everyone else for various reasons didn't do it all.  Yes, at happy hour, of which Miss P and I were late (because you know, we did the Real Ride), we went on and on about doing the real ride, all 51 miles.  But, let's back up to the beginning, shall we.  I wouldn't want to continue mentioning how Miss P., Tony and I, slowest of the gang, did the Real Ride.  I wouldn't want to rub it in, you know, about how Miss P., Tony and I did the Real Ride.

First, we did Lower Rock Creek Road, a 9.3 mile slug of a climb with only a short but beautiful descent for a break (first photo in this blog).  Everyone passed me of course.  Miss P. caught up to me and we began our journey together.  I suppose at this point, to be titillating, I should mention that when I bought the hat for the hike (back in Mammoths Lakes), I had two young strapping men wait upon me, eager to please. They did a good sell.  That is all I will say.

Back to the ride.  After Rock Creek, we came upon US-395 being paved.  We had only one mile but it was dicey until the construction workers told us to get in the middle lane protected by cones.  How fabulous to be on a highway and insulated. We stopped at Tom's Place (elevation 7100).  We went up Rock Creek Road, again under construction.  This is where most of the other riders didn't realize that it was fine to do so.  We had a lovely chat with a construction worker who told us about encountering bears.  The photo above has nothing to do with this bit, it comes later (McGee Creek Road).

 Having done the bit that others hadn't, we were far far far behind.  That was okay because, you know, we were the only ones doing The Real Ride....  We were told that next up was McGee Creek Road and that it was really hard with 13% pitches.  Not.  Miss P. and I and Tony laughed as we did the climb.  Miss P. said that it was probably only 8.9 percent or so.  Maybe a pitch here and there was steep but like for a second.  I think the other riders did everything so hard and fast that they burned out and forgot to smell the roses, you know.  Did I mention the shirtless runners that I followed while walking around in Mammoth Lakes.  Ah, so young, so fine, so lean, so nice to watch.  But I digress, from you know, The Real Ride that we did.

McGee Creek Road affords wonderful views of Crowley Lake, a reservoir on the upper Owens River in southern Mono County, created in 1941.  We made it to the bakery at 2:30pm (it closed at 3pm).   Boy did I need a snack, especially after doing The Real Ride.  We hammered it back to base camp, aka The Best Western in Bishop, a bit late for Happy Hour, but then again, we did The Real Ride.  Miss P. and I did come across a lone male cyclist on yesterday's ride, who fired up our engines.  He probably could have taken us on a real ride, too....

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Eastern Sierras - Pine Creek

Tuesday, Sept 9th

The gang headed to Bishop for the next round of rides on our Eastern Sierras trip.  Next up, Pine Creek, with 48 miles and 3550 feet of climbing.  Guess who's here!  My ride partner, Miss P.!!

Leaving Mammoth Lakes means leaving behind a lovely resort town full of lakes but also dropping considerably in elevation (until of course one climbs).  The air is warmer and the scenery drier.

Apparently, only Miss P and I read the route sheet, different from last year's ride, and we were blessed with riding in a canyon with a river.  What a lovely surprise.

It was quiet and beautiful.  The gang truly missed out.

Miss P. later learned that this is pumice.  It was much pinker in person.  We had a blast.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Eastern Sierras - Crystal Lake Hike

Monday, Sept 8th

Today, most of our group decided to do a hike, starting at 9,020 feet, in Crystal Lake, a short drive from Main Street in Mammoth Lakes.  It was a "take it easy day" or do what you want day.  Good thing because the weather was iffy and we got rained on a bit.

The BF and I only did 2.6 miles but boy it was stunning every inch of the way, except for the smell of horse doo doo. 

The sky turned gray but the scenery remained spectacular.

A view of the lake.

A view of The BF.  The sun came out and blue skies returned briefly.  What I love about this trip -- incredible vistas, hang out with nice people, bike, eat, sleep, recharge the batteries, and repeat.  Pretty darn simple way of life and much appreciated, at least for a short while.  Vacation -- it does a body good.

Eastern Sierras - Devil's PostPile & Lake Mary

Sunday, Sept 7th

Today's outing, starting once again on Main Street in Mammoth Lakes at the Best Western, took us to the geologic wonder known as Devil's Postpile National Monument (established in 1911) and considered one of the world's finest examples of columnar basalt (good to know for cocktail chitchat). 

It was stunning but our ride of 41 miles and 4600 feet of climbing afforded us with many other impressive scenes of nature. 

Some club members were staying at a lodge and had treats waiting for us during our ride.  How marvelous.  Speaking of treats, not 5 minutes after The Boyfriend left me as we climbed out of Devil's Postpile (a long slug of a climb), a mtn. biker came upon me and told me that he liked watching me swing and sway on my bike, dancing away to the music on my iPod Nano. 

Another stunning view from the Crystal Crag Lodge.

Stark but still beautiful at Horseshoe Lake.

Horseshoe Lake.  Yes, once again, I lagged behind everyone else but it didn't matter thanks to the generosity of the club members hosting the party at the Crystal Crag Lodge and the breathtaking scenery.  Occasionally I stumbled upon the group and that was swell.  The Mammoth Lakes area is simply beautiful. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Eastern Sierras - Convict Lake

Saturday, Sept 6th

The first ride for our Eastern Sierras adventure was a new one for The BF and me -- Convict Lake, nestled in the aspens of Convict Canyon in the Sherwin Range of the Sierra Nevada, and apparently an ideal location for weddings.  According to the Wikipedia entry (if we are to believe the details to be correct), the lake is named after an incident in 1871 involving escapees from a Carson City prison.

We started from the Best Western Hotel in Mammoth Lakes at 8:30am.  Well, as The BF and I discovered, our hotel room clock was 8 minutes off and the gang almost left without us.  The ride was 38 miles with 3,000 ft of climbing.

As mentioned in the previous entry, we didn't realize that the Fall Century was happening and it was fun being swept up the event, especially as we traveled on US-395 with a police escort.  As mentioned in the previous entry, I lagged far behind but eventually caught up with The BF at Convict Lake and we biked together back to Mammoth Lakes.  The photo above is the lovely bike path in town.  A good first outing.