Bryce Canyon Memories

All I remember about Bryce Canyon National Park is how beautiful and strange and daunting the landscape was. A two hour tour of Bryce doesn’t really qualify me to say anything about it. But we had bitten off too many miles for our week in Utah so a quick view was all I got. Just remember that if you include Zion and/or Bryce in your itinerary along with the Moab spots, you are in for a lot of driving. Even if it is on the beautiful Utah Hwy 12, a road I hope to enjoy again soon.

So, we had a quick stop enroute to Kodachrome State Park that day. Weather was warm but beautiful for mid-September, and the bike/hike trail from the Bryce Visitors Center to the lookout was great. From there a short hike up a steep hill and there it was. Bryce Canyon. It haunts me as I cycle through my memories of all the beautiful spots we enjoyed that week.

Bryce Canyon Overlook on a beautiful September day. (Click to enlarge)

Standing at the rim enjoying the beautiful vista, I didn’t really know what to think. It was simply awe inspiring, like so many of our National Parks.

So fast-forward till I am home a week or 2 later and as I look through my photos I see a trail winding through the canyon. How did I miss that? Guess I was blinded by the gorgeous panorama before me. I am sure it is one of many, and as I sit here I realize that I have to return to Bryce. I have to get down into that strange landscape and see it up close. See the views from within, as the sun fills in after sunrise. Experience the heat and bright light of mid-day. And so and so…I continue to ponder Bryce Canyon…and Utah.

Hiking trail in Bryce Canyon (Click to enlarge)

This link will lead you to some great photos and information about Bryce. I hope you enjoy it.


And here is the link to the Bryce Canyon National Park Site.

Visit Utah. And give yourself plenty of time!

Carrizo Plain National Monument

In 2012 I was looking for a nice ride near Bakersfield while on my way home from buying my bucket-list motorcycle in Redlands. I decided to head west on Hwy 58, through the fossil fuel maze around McKittrick, to enjoy a ride into the hills and see some wildflowers at Carrizo Plain. It was a great springtime ride, and I loved the countryside there in central California. Rolling hills all the way over to Carrizo, which is sort of a little Death Valley. It was just a quick stop as I looked out over Soda Lake, but I knew I had to return someday.

From the BLM website…Three hundred years ago, California’s Central Valley was vast grassland where antelope and elk grazed and wildflowers swept the spring landscape. Today, amid urban and agriculture development, a remnant remains in the Carrizo Plain National Monument. In 2001, Bill Clinton designated Carrizo Plain a National Monument and here’s a link to the proclamation, which is good reading:

Soda Lake, Carrizo Plain National Monument
Soda Lake

We finally returned in March this year, traveling in our Solis and spending a couple of nights at Selby Campground. We hiked from the camp, relaxed, played guitar, enjoyed the sun, and talked to a few very interesting people. Our two favorites were octogenarians with 20+ years of RVing experience and still enjoying it immensely, whether traveling alone or with company. One was solo-traveling for six weeks over to the Grand Canyon! I admired their independence and resourcefulness.

Selby camp is a special place to spend time and we especially enjoyed those dramatic moments each day as the sun passed over the horizon. As for the other campground, KCL, we’ll have to stay there next time. We heard it is quite different and frequented by a pair of great horned owls.

Selby Campground

Sunrise colors of Carrizo. March 2021
Carrizo Plain
Our Solis
Selby Rocks
Sunrise over Selby Camp

A Rainy Wintery Day

Lots of rain in San Francisco. And snow in the Sierras. Happy New Year. We found a nice spot to sit through a leisurely lunch, even though it took some wet walking. Pelted with rain. But BART works good. Wonderful soul food at Brenda’s, and a great place to enjoy a  stormy day.


Brenda’s French Soul Food. Nice menu, great food.


Taking care of business at Brenda’s.

Oakland West

Oakland West. Open air, after the trip under the Bay.

Greece 2018

Greece 2018 was a very good trip.

For us, all Greece trips start in Athens since we have connections and fond memories of friends and places there. Between arriving and departing from Athens we had a number of days, and enjoyed the Niarchos Cultural Center (SNFCC), the Athens downtown Triangle, a cool spot with new and exciting places to eat, and pedestrianization on the way. We also had dinner in Exarchia with friends, not to mention a quick visit to the Acropolis and lots of fun wandering in Koukaki. I also visited friends out on the Greek Riviera, as it is known, down the coast in Voula and Varkiza.

SNFCC – Summer Nostos Festival 1

Anyway, more about Greek food and places to eat later on in another post.

Fresh made hortopita, filled with garden greens. At Hyiati Coffee Bar and Restaurant, Alonissos.

After Athens, our first stop was Mykonos to visit friends. Tourist season is not the time to visit Mykonos, if you can avoid it. The small town becomes overwhelmed, especially on days when the 2-3 cruise ships disgorge 6000+ tourists for the day. Be very careful on the roads. But if you visit a beautiful spot like Fokos Beach for a swim and a leisurely lunch at the exceptional seaside restaurant, you will know why people love Mykonos. And seeing the ruins on nearby Delos should be on everyone’s itinerary! Thanks to Anika and family for a wonderful stay with them in Kalafati…far from the crowds!

Ikaria was an experience from the minute we got in the taxi from the port of Evdilos over to our hotel in Armenistis. Dashing over the hilly roads along the coast, Fotis told us about the Panagiri in the mountains that night. So off we went after freshening up in our lovely room at the Cavos Bay Hotel. Panagiris happen regularly over the summer and this one included all the wonderful dancing, live music and local foods that is typical. Coming down the mountain later that night, we knew we were in a magical place. And the next 7 days proved it true, with lots to enjoy combined with a slow pace. Think no crowds, safe roads, good food, very nice beaches, and friendly people living in a stress-free way. That is Ikaria!

With no itinerary in mind after Ikaria, we decided to go to Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, and explore places like Naoussa, and Halkidiki. But after a nice couple of days in the city of Thessaloniki, the islands were calling again, when we found a ferry direct to the Sporades Group, including Alonissos.

So off we went to Alonissos without a hotel reservation. This led to us staying at the lovely Pension’ Votsi, as well as a lovely small villa down the coast in Vamvakies’, complete with private swimming dock. Alonissos is a small island that has a great vibe as well as beautiful waters and beaches all around. It looks to be ideal for a sailing vacation. We swam in some beautiful spots, ate great food and stayed with some very nice people who made us feel very welcome.

Leaving Alonissos after too few days, we took a ferry down to Kymi where our driver Vagellis awaited to drive us to Athens. Much better and faster than the bus connection. Resting up in Athens and visiting friends included a trip to Poros for Vicki. As for me, I stayed in Athens.

As for all the great food and places to eat in Greece…we’ll write more about that later.

Thanks to all our friends, new and old, for your time and friendship during our stay.

Were we ready to leave after 29 days? Yes, we wanted to get back home, but the lure of Greece remains and I can envision more time there in the future.

Horses at the Moraga Library

I have been enjoying the lovely and abstract horse sculptures at Moraga Library. Beautifully created by Amy Evans.

Moraga library is just off the Bike trail and very close to Moraga Commons. Young children frequently enjoy the fun of the playground at the Commons as well as a story at the library.

Support your local Library!

Family 2016
Horse 2; Sculpture by Amy Evans
Family 2016-2
Horse 3; Sculpture by Amy Evans

Athens this Month – June 2016

Hot hot hot!
Hotels fully booked with tourists and conventioneers.
But few signs of refugees.
Glad to see the Posidonia shipping crowd leave town at the end of their biennial bacchanal bash!
The Niarchos Cultural Center in Kallithea is rising! Sure to be a beautiful spot bringing life to Kallithea. Athens needs a new trendy area!
Streets are full of traffic. Especially when protesters take over the Center!
Made it to the kick-off event of the Athens-Epidaurus Festival. Big out-door concert by 10+vocalists and brass and bouzoukia and accordion! And Mr. Cheimerinoi Kolymvites was the highlight of the evening!  O φίλος μου  Γιώργος ξέρει καλή μουσική!
Kukaki, just south of the Acropolis Museum. My new favorite part of town.
Mani Mani is still serving great food. At a great price with great service! Meanwhile, Indian restaurants seem to be on the rise!
People are still smoking like it isn’t 2016 and we don’t know better! Oh the cost…to family friends co-workers and self!
Taxis are still cheap and plentiful. But watch out for the jalopies!
Be sure to strike up a conversation with a local. Greeks love to talk…and you might end up with a friend for life!
And so Athens, my dusty old friend. I will be gone and back again…before you know it!

Refugee Children in Greece

A photo exhibit by GMB Akash at the Benaki Museum of Athens. 21 May 2016

This exhibit brings the refugee crisis to life. My compliments to Mr. GMB Akash for his efforts in documenting the people caught in this struggle. The work is artfully presented, using only the photo roll paper set low to the ground, which is so often our vantage point when looking at children.


Tulips in Manhattan


Tulips in Manhattan – April 2016

I can’t think of a nicer Tulip Garden than this one in the West Side Community Garden on W89th Street in Manhattan. This 40 year old garden is a triumph of community action and is supported solely by volunteers. It is a wonderful spot for relaxation not to mention enjoying the flora.

Visit their website to learn more and find out about upcoming events.

Enjoy my tulip photos.



A Walk through 2 Boroughs – 29 August 2015

Photos from a stroll from Manhattan to The Bronx, across the High Bridge at 170th Street.

The Apollo Theater on 125th Street

The Apollo Theater on 125th Street

The High Bridge, seen from Manhattan.

The High Bridge, seen from Manhattan.

Looking North.

Looking North from the High Bridge.

One of many commemorative plaques on the High Bridge.

One of many commemorative plaques on the High Bridge.

Strolling West on the High Bridge, towards Manhattan

Strolling West on the High Bridge, towards Manhattan

Enjoying the morning air - Bronx Style!

Enjoying the morning air – Bronx Style!

Saturday Morning in the Bronx.

Saturday Morning in the Bronx.

Fun on a hot day at Nelson Playground in the Bronx.

Fun on a hot day at Nelson Playground in the Bronx.

Under the El on Jerome Avenue.

Under the El on Jerome Avenue.

Shop Workers - waiting for Yankee Fans.

Shop Workers – waiting for Yankee Fans.

McCombs Dam Park on the edge of Yankee Stadium.

McCombs Dam Park on the edge of Yankee Stadium.