Sunday, June 2, 2019

Spring 2019

Street scene in Mazatlan

     With a new adventure beginning in just three days, I decided I'd best get busy and do an update from my last post.  Watch this summer for photos and stories from Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains.  I will be working at Idaho Rocky Mountain Ranch, a guest ranch in Stanley, ID.  The scenery should be stunning and I will want to share it.
     Early in the year, while helping with the Wednesday movie night hot dogs and chili, fellow park member, Carolyn, announced she had found a great deal on a cruise to Mexico.  Was anyone interested in joining her?   I asked a few questions and said I needed to think it over.  By the time I had gotten home, I was 90% sure, did a little checking of my schedule and the cruise.  I called her the next morning to say I was "in.
      I knew if she said it was a good deal, it would be.  She worked for one of the cruise lines as an on-board nurse and has cruised extensively.   She and her husband are experienced travelers, but Ken says he will still do land travel but has done enough cruises. Therefore Carolyn needed a roommate to make the deal a real deal.  My only other large cruise ship experience didn't sell me on cruising.  It was a photo workshop using the ship as our base.  We didn't partake in any cruise ship activities other than eating and every day was a port with the frustration of not getting early morning or evening time ashore.    But I decided this would be different experience; lss an exploration of land than a relaxing vacation with several sea days.    With that attitude and a fantastic roommate, I had a great time.

      We sailed from San Francisco which made it easy.  We took Amtrak.  Ken took us to Madera and we rode the train to Emeryville, caught the Amtrak bus which took us one block from our dock.  Doesn't get any easier.  Food was superb, enjoyed a great naturalist (retired national park ranger), live entertainment, movies under the stars, time to read and relax.  We got plenty of exercise walking on board and on land (we made a mistake of thinking we could walk from the dock to downtown Puerto Vallarta! ) and I actually arrived home a couple pounds lighter.  

      I'd been to both Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, but those trips were over 35 years ago.  The towns have changed dramatically, although wandering side streets still has some of the feel and I love the architecture, whether an abandoned building like the one above or a gussied up older building occupied by the large ex-pat population.   Some people complain about people coming to this country from Latin America, but Americans going to other countries impacts their local housing prices and society.     

     Here are some photos.  Our stops were Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo (less impact of tourism here) Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas.   I didn't explore Cabo by land, but went on a whale watching trip and was rewarded with a lot of sightings although nothing spectacular in the way of breaching or spy hopping.  I've been fortunate to see those when working at Heceta Lighthouse and Ketchikan.  And  years ago, in small boat, in Alaska, saw bubble net feeding.  But this was still good.

Note:  I am working on laptop in a motel room in Boise, ID.  I don't have my usual color corrected monitor and new laptop has huge variation in exposure depending on the angle one looks at it, I am hopeful these photos show up okay on your screen.   Also, as always, you can click on one and see the entire selection as a slide show in full screen.

   We began with a few familiar scenes of San Francisco Bay:

The new span of the Bay Bridge visible with East Bay in background

Going under the Golden Gate Bridge

Scenes from Puerto Vallarta.

And from Manzanillo:

From Mazatlan:

From Cabo

Another member from our park, Cindy, was in Cabo the same day Carolyn and I were.  That's her ship.  She was snorkeling.  We waved at the ship but didn't see her.


Interesting shirt messages from shops in towns.

Ice carving demonstration on board.

Spring also included a weekend trip to the coast with Chris.  We stayed in this delightful Airbnb in Moss Landing.  Nancy, our host, is an artist and we lived in the colorful atmosphere she has created, inside and out.
Having difficulty downloading this photo....will try later.

An update on this spring would not be complete without some photos from Park of the Sierras where I now have my home base.   With all the rains, California had terrific wildflowers this year.  Included is a sample.  And I have become an avid backyard birdwatcher.  My site is open woodland which encourages all kinds of birds....and other wildlife.  I keep my bird book and binoculars on the bookshelf in front of the window. 

A small causeway crosses Coarsegold Creek.  I leads from the main part
of our park to the natural area where any development is precluded.  There were a
couple of guided wildflower trips this spring, one of which you see as the golf carts cross the creek.

Verna Baker was the leader of the wildflower tour I took.  We have a
couple of wildflower experts in the park

The bird house was intended for Western Bluebirds but an Oak Titmouse pair decided it was theirs.

I had Cedar Waxwings for 2-3 weeks as they migrated through.  They
seemed to particularly like my solar fountain\bird bath.

I have seen deer, wild turkey, and someday  hope to see a bobcat.  They are in the park.  I've seen evidence of raccoons, we have some feral cats which have been captured and spayed and neutered.  I worry about the birds, but am delighted I have seen no evidence of mice.  Now if they will just catch the gophers who dig holes under my patio, by my propane tank and elsewhere.  

I like most of the wildlife although I could do without the constantly digging gophers.  Here it
is digging right beside my cement pad.  AGH!!1

And finally, my stage least in speaking part.  The skit was written by park members.  Here, at
the end, Madame Board (or Bored) President, aka me, presents a membership packet to reward our new Sheriff, Pele Koka, for ridding the park of gophers.   This skit was part of our 4 day annual fundraiser.  I also was the Madam for casino night