Memory Monday, Week 27


Stopping for gas in Melrose, Montana

Today I decided the best way to tell the story of our trip home from Christmas in Montana was through a few excerpts from my travel journal.

Monday, December 28, 1992 — “When we left [heading home] on Sunday we drove through Missoula and took 90 East to avoid the Lost Trail Pass on 93, thinking the snow conditions might be bad in the Bitterroots. The way we went was longer but the roads were wider and less likely to require chains. There was snow on the ground, but it wasn’t too bad until we got to Monida Pass, on the state line, in the Continental Divide — then we had such bad blowing and drifting snow that at times we could see only ten feet or less in front of the car. It was a complete white-out. But we made it through all right.”


“We’ve heard there’s a storm in the Sierra Nevadas, but the weather so far is beautiful, bright, and sunny. The Nevada landscape is pretty boring, but it’s better with snow than without.”



We spent Sunday night in Elko, Nevada

Tuesday, December 29 at 4 PM: Interstate 80, Reno, Nevada — “Well, we got past Reno, almost to the California state line, and then we were turned back because the wind and snow were so bad they can’t keep the road clear. We stopped to put our chains on before reaching this point, and the traffic crept for what seemed like hours, all for nothing. It’s snowing here, and we’re trying to decide what to do, hoping we’ll make it home some time tonight.”

[What we decided to do was to abandon I-80 and head for South Lake Tahoe, to reach home via westbound Highway 50.]



Tuesday, 6:40 PM, South Lake Tahoe — “It’s still snowing and blowing, but we made it here, and it looks like we’ll make it home — hopefully. We stopped at a deli and got something to eat. We heard on the radio that Interstate 80 is open again… oh well.”

Tuesday, 9:55 PM, South Lake Tahoe — “We’re spending the night at the Silver Dollar Motel. They closed 50 until 2 AM because of an avalanche. This place is tiny and chintzy, but the guy knows when he’s got it good — he’s charging $60.00 a room: one full-size bed and not much room to walk around it — sort of claustrophobic.”


[Well, at that point I had stopped taking pictures — I think I ran out of film. I wasn’t in much of a photographic mood; the highway remained blocked, and we were stuck in our cramped motel rooms from late Tuesday night until Thursday morning. At that point the weather seemed to be clearing and we thought we might have a chance at getting through.]

Thursday, December 31, South Lake Tahoe — “We ate a quick breakfast and drove out to get into [the line of cars waiting for the road to open]. After waiting over an hour, a California Highway Patrol came by and made everyone turn around and go back. It was 11:30 AM and he said the road would open in an hour, but everyone in the front of the line had to go to the back. The line behind us stretched for miles!

“After that, it was just a matter of being patient. We must have played 500 hands of poker — all four of us, but that’s the only way we survived. Finally, about 5:30 PM or so, when it was nearly dark, we reached the inspection station at Myers. It was still slow going for a ways after that, but we made it down the hill and got home about 8 PM. Home never looked so good — even though it was a muddy, grubby, doggy-smelling MESS.”


Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge — Odd Rocks


Hiking trail secret code

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: May 21, 2017.


Under the bridge


Someone left this nest on granite beside the bike trail


Giant cross near American River Canyon and bike trail

Proud as a…


When visiting the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary, you’ll soon discover that pea fowl — mostly the males — are in charge of running the place and spend all their time proudly walking inspection throughout the park. One may escort you patiently along the path… or help keep you from inadvertently dropping off to sleep with its raucous and penetrating calls. Be sure to yield to the blue uniforms, and always remember to say thank you to these colorful docents when concluding your visit!




An example I often use to illustrate the reality of vanity, is this: look at the peacock; it’s beautiful if you look at it from the front. But if you look at it from behind, you discover the truth… Whoever gives in to such self-absorbed vanity has huge misery hiding inside them — Pope Francis

Crossing Lake Natoma

DSCF6620I’m not the only one who enjoys hanging out near Lake Natoma’s three bridges in the mornings.

My first image was taken while standing on the 1893 pedestrian bridge, looking downstream. The second image is from the same bridge, looking upstream. And my final image was taken below the newest bridge, the Lake Natoma Crossing — if you look carefully (to the right of the path), you might see a squirrel scurrying away. Clearly he didn’t appreciate having his picture taken.



Cat napping, Part 3


Last December I got some pretty nice shots of some Sumatran tigers at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. They live in a fairly large, almost jungle-like enclosure but have to put up with great numbers of humans gawking at them every day as they lurk and pace:



The Folsom Zoo Sanctuary is much smaller; the animals’ quarters are well designed but far less elaborate than those at the Safari Park. These tigers have been rescued from some heartbreaking situations, including illegal trade. They certainly are not tame, but maybe they’re a little more habituated to human contact.


When I visited the Folsom Zoo with my mom last Tuesday morning, we saw only one tiger. Rather than pacing, it seemed to be relaxed and reasonably content.



It’s always difficult for me to see wild animals, especially the big cats, living inside cages, no matter how comfy the enclosures might be. In a perfect world, these animals would healthy and free, stalking the jungle, rarely if ever seen by humans. But sadly, we don’t live in that world. We live in a world where tigers are mistreated and killed and traded as commodities, and sometimes the next best thing we can do is to keep them safe in an artificial environment.

In situations like this, I hope these magnificent animals somehow understand that we truly care about their well-being, and I hope there is at least some measure of contentment in their lives.



Cat napping, Part 2


The Folsom Zoo Sanctuary currently has three or four big mountain lions; I’m not sure which one this is, but she was relaxing up on her high shelf. All I had to do was wait a moment for her to turn her head…


WPC: Heritage


The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge for the week of May 17, 2017.

This week, share a photo that channels a living tradition, whether it’s your own or someone else’s.

Out of all the fascinating objects I’ve seen at the Roseville flea market this spring, I’m always especially drawn to those that remind me of items my family bought on our trips to Mexico — especially at the Mercado Libertad in Guadalajara — and kept around our house for decoration. They certainly reflected the good memories of our travels, but they also echoed reminders of a family history, on my dad’s side, that I might otherwise have lost completely.

Among other items, there was the Aztec calendar, the brown ceramic jug, the wonderful acoustic guitars, and a sugar skull adorned with the name “Fernando.”


The Adventure Continues… Terra Cotta


Lincoln is a little town not too far up the road from my house, and I’ve never spent much time there at all. So I was very surprised when I first saw this episode of California’s Gold to realize there is such an important and historical company located there. From the Brooks Brothers emblem to light standards for a bridge in Moosejaw, Canada, these guys create art for public spaces, and every piece is created by hand.


Step back in time with Huell to the olden days of making pottery the Gladding McBean way. The 118-year-old company in rural Lincoln, near Sacramento, is the nation’s only remaining major manufacturer of terra cotta. From decorative to functional, McBean’s terra cotta is acclaimed for its distinctive style which graces landmark buildings in big cities and small towns across our state.

(Click on the linked image below to see the video.)