Memory Monday, Week 32


The Big Guy and buddy Steve hunting for ghost shrimp near Bodega Bay

Back in 1987 we had more free time than money on our hands, and we spent a lot of that free time going fishing — whether in our local area or on the Northern California coast. Bodega Bay and the Sonoma coast was one of our favorite places, and we had discovered that winter was a great time to be over there. The crowds were small to nonexistent, and the weather was surprisingly mild.


We traveled with our camping tent and supplies plus German Shepherd Zack and pitbull Phoebe in our black 1976 Camaro. Setting up camp at The Dunes campground just north of Bodega Bay, we would then proceed to visit a string of beaches, fishing for surf perch.


Coleman Beach:



Even though the ocean was fairly calm in January, the weather wasn’t exactly toasty warm. At Schoolhouse Beach, Phoebe huddled up with Zack to keep warm, and I tried to help by wrapping a long-sleeved shirt around her. She was sweet and patient, as usual, but I know she would have much rather been at home, snoozing in front of the heater!



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Zack’s main concern was not letting The Big Guy out of his sight for more than a minute. He didn’t like it one bit when his dad climbed over some rocks and disappeared around the corner in his search for fish — and that was why Zack very nearly went for an unplanned swim in the ocean and gave us a bit of a scare in the process.




Next week, more fishing adventures with dogs!

Sutter and Riley


Sutter Street has gone through many changes since the 1850s. I’m quite interested in the story behind this building, located in Historic Folsom on the corner of Sutter and Riley streets. The green building in the background is the Folsom Hotel; its history is easier to dig up (I plan to post about that in the near future). But Google was less than helpful about its neighbor to the northeast. After wading through 10 pages I gave up!

This view always makes me think of Hitchcock’s movie Vertigo. 😀

Snipes-Pershing Ravine


About 18 years ago, the State of California acquired the roughly 45 acres of land known as Snipes-Pershing Ravine. Several groups and individuals, including the Sacramento Valley Open Space Conservancy, had been pushing for a long time for preservation of the area. It’s surrounded on three sides by suburban housing, with Lake Natoma to the east. It’s a great place to hike and a refuge for wildlife — I’ve seen black-tail deer, wild turkeys, hawks, snakes, and lizards while walking along the main trail through the ravine.



In 2013, an 83-foot long wooden bridge was built over the small creek running through the ravine. The bridge was dedicated to Norma Jean Hamlin, who lived in Orangevale for many years and was a hard-working advocate for saving this ravine for future generations to enjoy.








I’m just standing here, reflecting


It’s always a treat to spot a Great Blue Heron, and even better to get a decent picture. I spotted this one just upstream from the Lake Natoma Crossing in July 2014. According to my Peterson Field Guide to Birds, at 4 feet tall these graceful waders are the second largest long-legged bird in the West (after the Sandhill Crane).


Great escape


At the moment it seems like most of the northern hemisphere is experiencing a fairly miserable heat wave — and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s more than ready for cooler weather. If I could just take off and head to the coast or the mountains, I’d be gone! Today the projected high temperature in my part of town is 111°F (43°C), while up the road in the mountains it’s 80° (26°C). Wouldn’t I love to be up there right now.


I have a few different coping strategies to deal with the heat. Mostly I stay inside the house, drink plenty of water, and find ways to stay busy without working up a sweat. One oppressive summer I dug out some old episodes of Northern Exposure, specifically ones with snow and icy weather in them, and pretended it was actually the middle of winter. Another trick is simply thinking back to happy memories of places and times where the climate was much more comfortable. In August 2014, looking to escape the valley heat for awhile, The Big Guy and I drove up to Caples Lake, near Kirkwood in the Sierra Nevadas.



The Big Guy was after trout, while I hunted around for things to shoot with my Nikon Coolpix 5700 (I still love that camera!). We’d brought along a nice lunch, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. So even though we’d forgotten to bring any music to listen to during the drive, and even though at the end of the day it was back to the oven-like Sacramento Valley, this was a good day and one I still enjoy looking back on nearly three years later.







WPC: Transient


The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge for the week of June 21, 2017.

Drifters, nomads, and even the state of impermanence: this week, share your photos of transient.










The Adventure Continues… San Luis Obispo Train


Engine No. 13, California State Railroad Museum

I can’t believe this is my very first time watching this episode of California’s Gold! It’s absolutely packed with beautiful scenery as well as history — of the railroad, of the Chinese who helped build it, and even a bit of musical history.  The central coast of California has some stunning scenery, and I haven’t seen nearly enough of it. One of these days I’ve got to ride Amtrak’s Coast Starlight down along this stretch. It may not be as good as the old steam train, but it will have to do!


Join Huell in the centennial celebration of the arrival of the first steam train to this isolated mid-coastal town. As part of the celebrations, the town’s citizens have recreated the events exactly as they happened a century before. Huell passes through the historic tunnels and tressels in a period steam engine as he descends into this festive town.

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

Let’s play!


The theme for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is Teddy Bears, Dolls, Toys.

Toys of all sorts for both girls and boys as well as big boys and girls (meaning adults) are all allowed in this weeks challenge.  See how creative you can get on this challenge.  Have fun with this challenge.


Oh, if only I had more room at home!

Memory Monday, Week 31


Back in January 1987, The Big Guy decided we should make a list of San Francisco Bay Area fishing piers and hit them all, one by one. That was why, at 8 AM on this particular day, I was sitting in an improvised chair in the back of our 1976 Camaro watching the rain pour down at Ballena Bay in Alameda. From my journal:

“We left home about 5 AM… now we’re sitting head-on to the bay; the tide is high, the water gray/green and wild. It’s hard to see the fishing rods  through the fogged up glass. I’m fairly comfortable in the back [of the car]. My seat is two old wooden stereo covers and two pillows, with 2-inch foam to cushion my back. There’s not much leg room or head room, but I have a pretty good view.

“It just pours harder and louder, and a big fishing boat chugs by, tooting its horn. Down off the shore below the craggy rocks the canvasbacks are riding the waves. It’s the bay, but it looks like open sea. And the sky is one long flat grey blanket for as far as you can see.”


We soon gave up on Ballena Bay and headed for the perch hot spot on Bay Farm Island — but we stopped to check out the Bay Farm Island Bridge and stayed awhile, waiting out a furious cloudburst. The spot was nice enough, but the fishing wasn’t too productive. So it was on to our next stop, the Dumbarton Pier. We walked out about a mile to the end of the pier and stayed there, fishing until 4:30 in the afternoon.


While there we saw a sea lion swim down the bay under the pier on our left, then it disappeared and re-appeared on our right. It floated on the surface awhile, then dove and popped up somewhere else. Of course, the fishermen weren’t too thrilled to have a sea lion playing near their bait!


I’ve shared this picture before, but it’s one of my favorites

Our fishing trip to San Francisco’s Fort Point was on another day — unfortunately I can’t track down the exact date, but it was somewhere around the same time period. And I can’t tell you how successful the fishermen were, but I had a blast exploring around this incredible historic site (scroll down for some really great images at that link!) with my camera while they baited their hooks and waited for a big striped bass to hit. In the end, we managed to make it to only three or four of the Bay’s fishing piers, but we had some fun adventures anyway.


Under the Golden Gate Bridge


Alcatraz in the distance