Fall is real estate tax season.


Harbor seal, or Phoca vitulina.

In La Jolla Cee-A (most expensive homes in the US of A).

Napping in the sun.

And paying no real estate taxes.

In ruins (swallow your tears [haha])


On a lark (haha), we stopped and did a quick walking tour of the remains of the mission San Juan Capistrano. I didn’t notice any swallow nests, except for a display on them.

Not surprisingly, the part of the grounds that I found most interesting were the ruins and the little bits of covered archaeological excavations.

Those aren’t rocks!


Yes, elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris).

These are members of a rookery of seals who hang out on beaches not far from San Simeon (yes, that San Simeon).

The public trust…


I know you probably heard the travel news of the day (alternately, the infrastructure deterioration problem of the day): San Francisco has another bridge closed from parts failure.

Fortunately, we didn’t plan to cross that bridge today, but we did plan to cross the Golden Gate—southbound. And this is what we encountered. Southbound lanes were squeezed to two, and the other four lanes were a flood of cars coming out of downtown. We made it just fine through the funnel of four-lanes-to-two, since out here people drive right up to the funnel before reducing lanes—smoothly and graciously—none of that get into the reduced lanes a mile back from the funnel, then frown at those who don’t also line up far from the funnel (if that makes sense).

We also wandered a bit through the decommissioned Presidio, very fascinating, but that’s a story for another day.

Freight train


Yup, that’s the root end of a giant redwood that fell a few years back. Nobody saw it fall, but a guy a few miles away said he heard what sounded like a freight train crash! And that’s the Guru standing back there to give you a sense of scale.

Having stood next to these gentle(?) giants, I’d say you pretty much have to use the vertical format more than you normally do in the out of doors. However, it’s still difficult to frame a whole tree even with a 16:9 aspect ratio.

I guess that’s why I’m rather partial to this photo (and others) of the tree-fall end of the redwood (spelled “rewood” on one of the state maps). You can see the robust roots do not extend far from the trunk, that there’s little buttressing, and that there’s no tap root. These guys are poorly anchored, at best. They need their brethren to help them stay upright. Another factor in this fall was that the ground was saturated from a lot of rainfall. I’d say wind is a great enemy of redwoods.

I just want to say that the two of us, having survived two tree falls—of oaks, mind you—maybe brought an unusual perspective on gravity and trees to our redwood time….

Oregon Trail


I was going to try to get the Guru to make a wee graphic for today that on the left had the letters “CAL” with one of those red circles with the slanty cross-bar, and on the right the letters “NO CAL,” but then I saw the redwoods and, pffft!, I changed my mind!

We did in fact cross Oregon today, as well as not a few miles of Washington, and, whew, we’re in the Governator’s fair state!

Great sunset over a marina-forest of masts and fishing-boat superstructures. Let’s hope the rain will be inland, or “behind” us, tomorrow.

C-ATL plant explorations


This morning we went to Lincoln Park (in West Seattle), because my Bro had heard there were old growth trees there. We did find some fine “older” trees, but no old growth ones.

Then, to be guaranteed a chance to see a few special plants, we stopped by The Conservatory at Volunteer Park. I enjoyed this cactus (New World only, of course; the other continents have similar plants that are succulents).

Urban poseurs?


The son part of “Father and Son,” 2005, by Louise Bourgeois; the father figure is behind the water on the right.

Spent a good part of the mid-day wandering the shoreline and in the SAM Sculpture Park, downtown C-ATL. I especially enjoyed watching two tugs nudge a full ship away from the “filling station” and out toward the shipping lanes, then go get a waiting ship and nudge it into the docking spot.

Leaves and blue


The sun played peek-a-boo, and we made the best of it!

Smell the (un-) roses


“What do you want to do while you’re here?”

No particular agenda, we say, engendering a look of slight confusion.

So, we’re doing our best to live up to that philosophy….