ADVENTURES FROM BIG SUR

My sister and her family introduced Pfeiffer Big Sur camping to the rest of our family. Each summer she books a week and different people would join them for a day, a night or the whole week. My daughter, MJ and I went for the first time in 2014 (Summer Waters). A year later, MJ had music camp and couldn’t go (Big Sur Scramble, Big Sur Circuit) so I booked a site for a night and took her and her 2 cousins, A and J (Beyond the Gorge). Again, we duplicated that feat in 2016 (The Big Surious) but made it two nights instead. Most of our time as you can see in the videos, is centered around the creek by the camp and the hike up to the Gorge, a swimming hole complete with a jumping rock.

TWO NATIONAL PARK ROAD TRIPS

The National Park Circuit

The goal of this roadtrip was to visit a friend (Tysonn) in Arizona so we (me, Jackie, Brandon) made a national park circuit out of it. The first day included a long drive to Las Vegas for the night. In Vegas, J and B got a hair cut from Bong and we ate at a buffet. A few hours of cards later, both boys won enough to make it a free hair cut and dinner-I threw away $10 at the poker machines. Day 2 was spent at Zion’s river walk. We camped just outside the east entrance. All camping on this trip were not reserved in advance. Day 3 included a lot of driving-a short drive up to Bryce Canyon and a longer drive to Arches National Park. We camped at the river a few miles east of Moab. Arches deserves at least 2 days of visiting but we got an afternoon in-viewing the Delicate Arch from a distance and a bit of fooling around at the Double Arches. Day 4 got us to Denver for brunch at Sassafras before we dropped B off at the airport to go home. J and I visited Garden of the Gods (it’s beautiful and free!). We camped nearby at Loneduck campground. The next night, we were at Grand Canyon’s South Rim. We grabbed a site at the Desert View campground early and went site seeing and then a bike ride. We saw a lot and wish we had spend 1 more night there but Arizona beckoned and that’s where we were the next day. After a night spent with Tysonn and his family, J and I camped our last night at Joshua Tree National Park. My first time there and hope to go back again. It’s the desert so biking with our shirts off was a must. The video is shown in 3 acts; all 3 travelers, just J and I, cycling.

Artwork “Our Shire”

Working from a photo of my brother and RS at Cache Creek in the Clear Lake area, I wanted to capture the laziness of this July 4th moment. In looking for an added element to the composition, I incorporated a setting from “The Hobbit”, the Shire. “The Hobbit” and “The┬áLord of the Rings” hold a special place in our literary hearts. Additionally, I challenged my artistic abilities by constraining myself to the use of a plastic palette knife for this painting.

OUR SHIRE, 2016
Oil on canvas with palette knife

YOSEMITE

First Solo Trip in the Yosemite Valley

Camped by myself for two nights in the Yosemite Valley. After setting up camp, I cycled around the valley and up to Tunnel View-heat and altitude made it a short tough climb but the view up there is always breathtaking. As if the ride was not enough, I hiked up to Vernal Falls via the Mist Trail in my flipflops. The next day, for the first time, I hiked to top of Yosemite Falls (in my Teva’s-got a few nasty blisters). The highlight of the trip is meeting lots of wonderful people and having brief but awesome conversations with them. June 2016.

CACHE CREEK RIVER RATS

My brother, Caleb who lives up in the Clear Lake area took us to Cache Creek for some light tubing. That specific spot along the creek, opposite a massive wall of gray clay, has earned a special place in our hearts. “The River” is a second installment with some thought put into it. It is an affectionate family portrait including 3 young men who played football for me in high school and my sister, Suzy’s neighbors. “The Tubing River Rats” is a lengthy video showcasing 5 different rides down a short stretch of the creek. Each ride is never the same and I wanted the kids to remember when they get older. Guests who came were; Jackie and his brother Gordon, Hunter with one of his high school friends, and Caleb’s high school friend, Alex.

EURO 2015 PARIS AGAIN

Many people think of Paris as the romantic city. I want to think of it as my city especially when I’m there-makes everything comfortable. I’ve seen the sites numerous times but each time there is something else to notice. Paris to me, is sitting with some breakfast or lunch in the Jardin du Luxembourg, watching the clouds go by, the trees sway, the people play, the kids with their boats at the fountain, the joggers, the policemen, the performances, the tourists taking photos, the locals taking a break from work, hearing the sounds of happy kids at the best playground in the city, and enjoying the Jardin’s metal but comfortable chairs.

EURO 2015 LYON, FRANCE

I went to Italy for the first time and it was the right time with the World Expo in Milan. The 4-man trip (Caleb, Jackie, RS) encompassed Milan, Venice, Florence, and Rome. I liked Florence (Firenze) so much I decided to stay by myself there for two more nights while the others went off to Rome-we would rendezvous in Paris. A plug here for Vimeo-I deleted the Firenze video from Vimeo and over a year later, I could not find it anywhere. I emailed Vimeo to see if they have it somewhere and within the hour, they replied saying that the video was restored and at no extra charge.

EURO 2015 CYCLING IN ITALY

I went to Italy for the first time and it was the right time with the World Expo in Milan. The 4-man trip (Caleb, Jackie, RS) encompassed Milan, Venice, Florence, and Rome. I liked Florence (Firenze) so much I decided to stay by myself there for two more nights while the others went off to Rome-we would rendezvous in Paris. A plug here for Vimeo-I deleted the Firenze video from Vimeo and over a year later, I could not find it anywhere. I emailed Vimeo to see if they have it somewhere and within the hour, they replied saying that the video was restored and at no extra charge.

EURO 2014 BY BIKE & SCOOTER

Jackie just finished college and my brother, Caleb has never been to Europe. So we took Paris & London by storm via Oxelo scooters purchased from the Decathlon store in Paris near the Arc de Triomphe. GoPro cam through rain, sun, people, day & night. The ride in London totaled a crazy 18 miles that day-it started with Jackie wanting to visit the nearest KFC. I highly encourage people to scooter and bike if they can in Europe. This was my first time doing both and I saw the cities in a whole different way.