A Travellerspoint blog

Yellowstone

Three days in the park

all seasons in one day
View 2017 Summer on randjb's travel map.

Yellowstone tries hard to keep the experience of the park as close to nature as it can, a tradition that dates back at least to the early 20th century when the superintendent wanted to prohibit cars in favor of keeping stagecoaches. Today, the hotel rooms have indoor bathrooms and heat, but TVs and the internet are still not available so the only time you tend to spend in the room is for sleeping.
Consequently, in three days we covered a lot of the park: the three geyser basins, the lake, the Grand Loop Road, Mammoth Springs, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. We saw numerous bison and mule tail deer, a couple of bears, and Debbie and Chesirae saw a big horn sheep while I was driving.
My favorite spots were Minerva Terrace and the waterfalls at the top of the Grand Canyon, the first a unique natural structure, nothing like it in my experience; the second dramatic action in a spectacular setting.
Wedged in-between the family gathering and parties in Jackson and our trip to Paris, Yellowstone was a quiet oasis, oddly away from people even though tens of thousands of people visit the park each day.

Posted by randjb 05:49 Archived in USA Tagged park national yellowstone Comments (0)

Jackson Hole

Living in the now

all seasons in one day 60 °F
View 2017 Summer on randjb's travel map.

We have finally begun our summer trip, our graduation present to Chesirae.
The first stop was my sister's 70th birthday celebration in Jackson Hole, WY. Details would include parties, trips up the mountain, meals and shopping in Jackson, but frankly I don't think that's of much interest to anyone who wasn't there.
Instead, I want to share an insight Debbie and I had as we realized we would be on the road for over three months and not returning to the Bay Area and our home except as visitors.
We discovered that "home" is now wherever we happen to be at the moment. We have no place we have to go, no place we have to return to, no schedule we have to meet, and no one we have to answer to. We are, perhaps for the first time, truly living in the here and now. Each day is its own experience with the choices about what we want to do today. Tomorrow will take care of itself when we get there.
I think we are going to need a few months to get used to this new reality. Being travelers along a road we cannot predict but that we can choose each day is going to be special, an experience I wish for all of you, if not for years of your life, at least for some time. The feeling of freedom is unparalleled, living in the moment exhilarating.
We hope each of you will choose to join us for parts of this journey.
Rand

Posted by randjb 09:38 Archived in USA Tagged the in living now Comments (0)

Moving to San Diego

Via Yosemite

sunny 65 °F
View Moving to San Diego via Yosemite & Wedding and move from Cabot Court on randjb's travel map.

Having a place to live in San Diego before we left for Europe was unexpected and brought about more changes. We had already planned to see Yosemite in May given that they turned the falls on this year, but that trip now needed to be part of our move to San Diego. We drove up on Tuesday, May 16, had a wonderful day of sightseeing on Wednesday, including breakfast at the Ahwahnee (don't ask me to call if the Majestic), and finished the day with dinner at the Wawona Hotel. Our room in the hotel was a visit to the past, perhaps a little too authentic as we had no bathroom. I guess the good news was that we had a short stay, waking up at 3 a.m. to begin the drive to San Diego.
Turned out that though I wanted the movers to come Friday, the best they could do was Thursday. I negotiated a starting time of noon, so we needed to get from Yosemite to San Diego before lunch. Not too many cars on the road at 3:30 a.m. but, surprisingly, we were not completely alone even while driving in the Sierras. We ended up in the LA basin just in time for rush hour and therefore turned east until we reached Ontario. From there, we took I-15 into San Diego, arriving at 11 a.m.
The movers worked hard an got all our furniture and boxes into the condo and storage area that afternoon. Debbie and I spent the next week getting most of the boxes unpacked and the furniture arranged, altogether making considerably more progress than I thought we would, especially as our contractor, Ray, needed us to make some decisions we hadn't planned on such as selecting the lighting fixtures and mirrors we wanted installed.
We got most everything done in the next week and flew to the Bay Area just long enough to pickup Chesirae and fly back to LA for Sharry's sushi party, which also provided us a chance to give Chesirae a surprise graduation party. Mom, Dan and Kim, Lysa and Todd, and Tyler all were also there, as well as Kasey and her girls.
Debbie and Chesirae returned to the Bay Area on Sunday while I took a train on Memorial Day back to San Diego. I spent the week continuing the unpacking and organizing of the condo. Dan became our first guest as he came down for an overnight visit. On Friday, I moved all the furniture into whatever spaces I could find that were out of the way, as construction starts Monday, June 5. With that, I flew back to the Bay Area, one more week before we begin our summer trip to Europe.

Posted by randjb 11:14 Archived in USA Tagged san diego yosemite moving Comments (0)

Wine tasting weekend

Travels with Karen and Doug Perry

sunny 78 °F
View Wine Tasting through Sonoma and Napa to Clearlake & Wedding and move from Cabot Court on randjb's travel map.

The morning after Debbie retired from VMware, we began our travels by taking a car trip with Karen and Doug Perry into wine country. Our first stop was my favorite winery, Dry Creek Vineyards. We spent a good deal of time tasting their reds and eventually stocked up by buying 16 bottles and rejoining their wine club. We had been members before we had Chesirae but had let the membership slide. We are back and highly recommend their wines. As Karen said after tasting their 2014 45th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon, "Oh my God!"
After enjoying the fruits of the vine, we took the short drive back to Healdsburg for a delicious lunch of tapas at Bravas Bar de Tapas. Another "Oh my God!" selection. If you are in the vicinity, this little restaurant is a jewel, though hardly undiscovered. You needed reservations at lunch to get a table outside. Inside worked fine, however.
After lunch, we visited Amista Winery, also in Dry Creek; not that exciting though we all liked their dessert wine. We then drove to Clearlake for the evening. (See photos) The view from the Airbnb was magnificent and the sun set nicely over the lake and western hills to bring a lovely ending to the evening. At 4 a.m., an almost full orange moon set over the same hills, reflecting across the lake. While the sunset was pretty, the moon set was spectacular. Unfortunately, the picture I took did not turn out; iPhone cameras don't do night.
We took our time next morning, warming up with excellent coffee thanks to Karen, and collected ourselves to leave at 11 a.m. At the base of the lake, we stopped for brunch at The Spot in the small town of Clearlake. Very good food with outside seating that extended to the shoreline. Turned out to truly be "the spot."
We finished the trip by driving over the windy road to Calistoga, Doug taking the turns fast enough to make me a little queasy :-) Once on the Silverado Trail, we visited three wineries: Fairwinds Estate Winery where we bought an excellent Petite Sirah (which we were told is neither petite nor a Sirah), then Franklin Vineyards a beautiful setting, and finally Rombauer Vineyards. The last winery was where the picture of the flowers with the valley in the background was taken. A stunning setting and a great place to finish before driving home.

Posted by randjb 14:52 Archived in USA Tagged country wine clearlake Comments (0)

We bought a new home

sunny
View Buying a new home & Wedding and move from Cabot Court on randjb's travel map.

We didn't really think we'd find someplace in San Diego so quickly, and with all the other changes, we didn't need to add this one. However, the place is right where we want to be, two blocks from the bay and easy walking distance to Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter.
We won't get to be there much before we leave for the summer, but now we have a beautiful place to return to.

Posted by randjb 12:17 Archived in USA Tagged home san diego condo grande Comments (0)

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