Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Grand Canyon with Jenny and Jerry!

What a wonderful trip we took recently!  John's parents flew to California to visit, suggesting they could drive back to Texas instead of fly.  Well, why not make a little detour to the Grand Canyon along the way?  Turns out, that's what they were thinking all along.  Sweet!  They had never been and we've been wanting for years to join them there.  A few bookings (rental car, Maswik lodge, flights back to CA for us) and we were ready for adventure.

John's cousin Tommie and her husband Daniel drove up from LA to join us, what a bonus!

Saturday afternoon - our first view of the snowy canyon - oh right, it's winter here...

Jerry got a nice photo of us all bundled and huddled:

Wow, our first time to see snow from the rim, what a neat experience:

The snow highlights the layers and changes all the colors, and even though we'll never get tired of looking at the Grand Canyon, this new perspective was stunning:

An excellent viewing spot inside the (warm) geology museum, with great views and displays to read:

Looking out the window from the museum:

Jerry using the zoom on his camera to get a closer look:

What a beautiful day (and we were very lucky to miss a couple recent storms in this area):

Tommie joining me for a sunset selfie:

Sunset over the Beards:

Better lighting - and where did John get the coffee?

Dusk over the landscape:

That night we attended a performance by Teddy Roosevelt, acted by a talented man named Derek Evans who gradually morphed into TR by donning the vest, coat, spectacles and mannerisms.  We were completely engrossed, but unfortunately he had to stop early due to some breathing issues.  I just found out that he recovered and is doing well, happy to hear!  And if you ever get a chance to see his show, I highly recommend it.

The next day John and Jerry hiked partway down Bright Angel trail, admiring the archway cut into the hillside:

I'm pretty sure Jerry paid attention to this sign:

There was also a trip to Desert View which I hear is a neat spot for canyon gazing.

Meanwhile I had a lovely hike down South Kaibab to see the river, starting with more gawking at the snow in the side canyons:

Microspikes were helpful in the steeper sections with all the snow, even though I didn't find any icy spots:

I smiled a lot that weekend:

Raven overseeing the eating of snacks:

Totally new perspective on a trail that's normally hot and dry (at least when we're usually here):

So happy to be back in the desert, even if this trail alternated between snow and mud most of the way down:

Older rocks closer to the bottom, and I can't say I've ever noticed this arch before (usually I'm actually running and not just picking my way down the trail):

The "grand" feeling is everywhere:

Bridge over the Colorado River:

I never get tired of the tunnel/bridge combo at the bottom of South Kaibab trail:

Ah, such lovely weather down here!  I was definitely wearing too many clothes for this lower altitude, but ran out of room in my small pack to shed more layers.  Oh well, it would cool off soon enough on my hike back up.

I passed several people who were hiking down to camp at the bottom - now that's a lovely idea for a February camping trip.

Coming up Bright Angel trail and admiring sections of the canyon wall that were no longer part of the wall:

Bright Angel was in great shape (possibly helped by the mules being rerouted to South Kaibab), much less mud over here:

Then the trail abruptly switched to snow and mostly stayed that way, making it easy to decide when to don the microspikes (probably also helped by the shade).  A lovely white path back to the south rim:

3 miles from the top:

John came down to meet me and shoot a couple photos, thanks John!

Lesson for the day - don't overheat in the canyon:

Strange yellow icicles, maybe I shouldn't ask...

One last morning, and we were motivated to get up early to see the sunrise.  It turned out to be a great decision.  So beautiful!

Cold but it was worth it!

Come get in the photo, Tommie and Daniel!

Someone took pity on my attempts at selfies and helped get this group shot:

Sunrise over the snowman:

Then the sunbeams lit up the opposite walls and we moved to the other side of the museum to admire the dramatic lighting - let's see what John can do with the camera:

Beautiful sunrise shot courtesy of Jerry:

And then the clouds took over and the amazing light was gone.  Time for breakfast!

Happy 100th anniversary, Grand Canyon National Park and thank you for the awesome weekend!

A brief stop while driving east through Arizona, because I can't help myself:

There's a Waffle House right next to our Albuquerque hotel?  What are the odds?

Thank you John, Jenny, Jerry, Tommie, and Daniel!  Spending time with you at the Grand Canyon was wonderful and highly memorable.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Jenny and Jerry's visit to CA

We've been lucky to have multiple visitors while hanging out in the Bay Area (thank you Kip for having an extra guest room and lots of hospitality!).  Two more parents came to see us last week, John's parental units Jenny and Jerry.  Welcome back!

John suggested we check out the Moffett Field museum, and we were happy that he did.  It's a small building containing a bunch of great artifacts and a couple funny and helpful docents.  Plus this is by far the closest we've been to Hangar One at Moffett Field, very cool (posing with our electric Leaf):

The hangar was built to house military dirigibles back in the early 1900's.  Yep, we had military blimps, including the USS Macon here at Moffett Field.  Not only that, but there were little planes that flew under the Macon, hooked ONTO it in midair, and were pulled up inside for storage.  How have I never heard about this?  Pretty amazing.

This photo was originally classified because I guess they didn't want to show the world that a dirigible could accidentally get lifted vertically while still moored at the front end (everyone was OK but the kitchenware ended up at the front end of the airship) - happily it's OK to display it in public now:

John and Jerry getting some jet fighter training:

Hangar One - quite the landmark (now owned by Google):

The next day John and Jerry went to experience ziplining in the redwoods - Mom, Kip, and I had such a good time with it last fall that we told them they shouldn't pass up this opportunity:

"Happy to be in a harness" face:

One quick training run:

Climbing up the suspension bridge to start the tour in the tall trees:

Jerry's in this picture, sort of:

John moving through the redwoods at high speed:

Having fun at 150 feet in the air!

Jerry coming in for a landing:

An interesting shot from my perspective on the sidelines:

Afterward we went down to Santa Cruz for lunch, ice cream (Penny Ice!), and a brief stop at the ocean:

Hardcore surfers in the middle of winter:

Another quick stop in Watsonville so John could finish up a solar job; also a look at his new telescoping ladder:

That all was mostly just a prelude to a bigger adventure... we picked up a rental car and started driving east.  Along the way we found some snow, including in the bed of this truck:

To be continued!