Backstory opportunity

Dualie uhoh

You get out of town for a few days, and whoops, things happen. Someone with dailies used their wheels to push a don’t-cut-this-corner architectural rock a dozen feet down the road, and mashed down a traffic signpost in the process. Big doin’s that we missed!

Here’s your chance to create the backstory for this event….

RTT has ended

Six flags partial

Coming into Atlanta from the west, the interstate passes by a major amusement park just before it descends to cross the Chattahoochee River.

View E ATL

At night, the view of the city is…twinkly.

With this post, I report the end of the Rainbow Triangle Trip. Accomplished all goals, foremost among them seeing loved ones. Fun trip; and, simultaneously happy to be home.

Looking east

Ice antenna

This morning the fog was thick and the temp was such that the moisture attaching to the antenna as we zoomed down the highway froze!

Wind mills

Later, clearing was partial and we saw many wind mills; here’s an early one and many current models….

Llamas lone star

Genuine lone star llamas!

Cinnamon rolls Fresh remote

The oppressiveness I feel from all this packaging tells me it’s time to bring this Rainbow Tour to an end to escape all these cheerful protections….

Desert does not smell like rain

Mtns open

For dozens of miles crossing the desert this morning, the air smelled to me vaguely like burning plastic, an odor backnote I found rather unpleasant. Miles.

Yellow desert shrub flower

The plants, however: unfazed. Unknown grey-green leaved low shrub with yellow fliers…

Yucca top

…and a towering yucca (I think).

Today’s title references one of my favorite books, Gary Paul Nabhan’s The Desert Smells Like Rain: A Naturalist in Papago Indian Country (1987). This desert perhaps should have smelled like rain today, as rain came through this area in the wee hours overnight. In fact, we think we’ve had rain at some point every day beginning on the 26th of December, for a run of 19 days so far. Tomorrow we may well not see rain, however.

Inland in SoCal/AZ

Solar obscured

Once again, we find SoCal murky. More rain systems pushing in from the Pacific. Not good for solar panel action….

Chapel on flattopmd

Wearing my archaeo-hat, I would describe this as civic-ceremonial architecture on a flat-topped mound. You might say it’s a roadside chapel for some reason on a bulldozed hill.

Lettuce imperial valley

Lettuce? Lots left in the field…I assume to be plowed into the ground as green manure….

Irrigation pipes

Considerable irrigation required to make row-crops productive in the Imperial Valley….

Desert encampment

Our Arizona desert encampment for the afternoon and early evening…

Desert rainbow

…even more beautiful with a rainbow, arc en ciel, aka arco iris.

Quick walk

And MJ and I took a power walk while Droney flew…such stupendous light…so wonderful catching up with long-time friends…until next time…. Lucky us….

No rain today

Morning beach

Gulls/Terns and surfers under the marine layer. Here on this SoCal beach, lifeguards use red pickups.

Seal Beach

Police? Surveyors? close one side of a bridge (out of frame, right)…fortunately for us, not our direction. (Yay!)

Rooftop critters

Random rooftop critters. Extra points if you noticed the pigeon before this mention.

Lawn bowling

Note: lawn bowling is not bocce or pétanque.

Redwoods urban

This sample suggests that redwoods are not an urban species, or just a NoCal species that does not like SoCal.

Green church

Dramatic green lighting on this SoCal Episcopal church. So Cali.

Apologies: too fried to do more than extended captions. Luvya.

Change of perspective

Cloudlayer above

I think this morning we drove under the last of the dense cloud layers that we’re likely to see in Cali. I enjoyed seeing the sun on the flanks of the hills…

Drive up into cloud

…and ahead of us as we climbed into the visible humidity.


We even found at least two large herds of mechanical dragons.

Dry hills

Then, we crossed a pass, and, zip, no more clouds.

Bird Paradise

And into the city, the giant metro area. This species is the city flower. A showy choice as you’d expect for LA.


Here’s the City Hall tower; you’ve seen it in many movies and TV shows.


And, in the busy train station, a for-real shoeshine stand.

Under the tracks

Here’s the busy corridor that crosses under the tracks, allowing access to each of the tracks above. Cops arrived in the golf cart; the fine is at least $1500 for going up to the tracks without a valid ticket, the sign said. We just didn’t get caught. Heh.

BTW, this city traffic, wow, exhausting. Sleepy-time for this blahger….

Rain, some broken clouds

Vinyards rain

More rain as we continued our drive. For a while, with vineyards.

Rain swollen rivers

With rain rain rain, comes swollen rivers, irrigation canals, and ditches.

Robin Williams tunnel

Dry in this tunnel. Named to honor Robin Williams.


Wow! Big bridge! Clearing sky!

Little boxes

Little boxes. North of Daly City.

1951 Whirlwind rack MIT

Computers! A whole museum of them! I give you just one: a 1951 Whirlwind rack, MIT (the label said; I assume it’s correct!).

Apple donut

The giant, new Apple doughnut-building, side view. No entrance for civilians.

Apple VC

Instead, we can visit the roof of this “visitor center” aka Apple Store +. Note that the fancy white stone flooring (manufactured, polished quartz?) around the VC under the wide overhang, which is good for controlling sunlight/sun-heat, that stone paving is slippery when wet. Like today. On the order of a dozen security/employees were stationed outdoors under the overhang to remind people to be careful. Since I took my daily 30-minute walk circling the building over and over, I was reminded several times, then took to walking on the pebbly surface (not slippery) under the shrubby trees, as the rain was slacking off…. [I think the shrubby trees are Russian olives….] I’m all about form, function, and aesthetics, and the VC building was lovely. But. Slippery flooring? Hrrrumph. Also, the glass sandwiches making the railing for the rooftop viewing area: made in Dubai, and whoops in the Cali weather they expanded and had to be heated/dried (!!!) before they could fit together and be assembled properly. Heh.

Fresas fields

Fine sunset over strawberry fields. They fumigate (gas) under the plastic; not at all green or friendly to Ma Earth…a good reason to buy organic berries. We saw two rainbows today…no photos of one, lousy ones of the other. Imagine.

Divided road

Lighthouse lowprofile

Isn’t that the cutest low-profile lighthouse? Cali-cute!

Mar pacifico

And there’s the Mar Pacifico—today not terribly pacifico. You can’t see the wind and blowing rain. Elegant, enduring seastacks….

Pacifico long swells

Love the marching swells cut below by the long shallow sea-edge profile.

Elk herd grazing

NoCal tourism touts the elk herds. Here’s one. Grazing and resting. Classic elk-life, when carnivores are not threatening.

Avenue giants trees

Coastal NoCal also hosts trees—not only the giant redwoods pictured here.

Cloud forest

During the rainy season, the trees and clouds may merge. This shot is from a high-elevation meadow called in these parts a prairie. [Note: this use of “prairie” is not a Boontling term.]

Redwood newbies

We took our walk in a section of the 🎶redwood forest🎶 we had not walked in before. I remember almost always seeing lone trees, or perhaps pairs. Here’s a circle of relative newbie trees. I did not find out if they are clones of the dead stump in the center, or if the rotting stump provided a hospitable microenvironment for whatever seeds were at its base to germinate.

Redwood bark CU

For contrast: lichen growth on twists of redwood bark at a tree base.

Post title refers to a Cali term we kept encountering on road signs…which seemed to have been a pet term by some transportation engineers, rather than a road situation of great distinction for drivers. The first we encountered had a small curb between the two lanes that otherwise seemed like a regular two-lane road; another had merely a marked off paved area about a foot wide between the two directions—no elevation change whatsoever—and two lanes each way. Diversity in them thar divided roads….

Changing landscapes

Geese formationing

We drove up-valley for quite a while—flat agricultural fields, some green, some brown. And in the sky above, many geese formations. This one was the largest.

Upper valley

Finally, we got to the upper valley, and the hills closed in on us. We speculated that on the east side of the pond, some of the shrubs on the slopes would be gorse; not here.

Cloud shroud

Climbing out of the valley, we saw gushing streams and the clouds that fed them. We drove through cloud, even. Lucky us!

Redwood road

Descending the Other Side, we found the tree-giants. Rain makes the trees happy, and low-light makes the camera work hard. Nice effect, however.

Spirit of America

At some point, if you keep going west on this continent, you find the salt water of the Pacific, and perhaps a marina before dark. I heartily support the Spirit of America, with all minuscules or two inserted majuscules.