Mountains to Turf (CA trip part 2)

In case you missed it, California trip part 1 is here.

Before arriving in California, there was a scheme to go to Disneyland.  After a lot of discussion between me, my youngest brother and my dad, I decided against it.  I’ll do Disneyland another time, in the winter, when the crowds are smaller.

I had to decide an alternative.  So I pulled out the iPad and pored over the topographic maps looking for natural features to visit, which are not plentiful in southern California.  They specialize in man-made malls and beaches.

I came across Mount Palomar.  I don’t recall ever going there when I was a kid, so this was something new.  I consulted the website and saw that the observatory was open on weekdays, but without guided tours.  So my brother Darryl and I drove up to check it out.


Observatory dome for Hale 200 inch telescope.

Observatory dome for Hale 200 inch telescope.


The weather was quite warm that day and it was a 20 degrees cooler at this elevation.  There are several telescopes on Mt. Palomar, but only the largest is open to the public during the day. We visited the visitor center and then walked over to the dome housing the Hale 200 inch telescope.  The dome is 12 stories high.  I neglected to take any photos inside, but there are some pictures and drawings here.  The total number of tourists visiting the telescope: 4.

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Southwest Chief (CA trip part 1)

I had mixed feelings about taking this trip to California at this time of the year — the end of summer I’ve barely had any time to enjoy.  But various little things drew me out to southern California now instead of mid-winter like I had originally planned.

I traveled light, without my camera.  So all photos on this trip were taken with my phone.  Click on any photo for a larger version.



The trip started in La Junta in southern Colorado, leaving my mountain elevation of 8300 at 4:00 AM.  I was surprised at the amount of traffic in the Denver area at that time.  I don’t know why everybody was in such a frantic hurry to get to the jobs they hate before the crack of dawn on a Monday morning.  The energy of the other drivers was so frantic that by the time I got to Colorado Springs, I witnessed a huge car accident in progress.  I narrowly escaped hitting anybody or anything.  If I hadn’t been fully focused on driving, I would have ended up in the pile of other cars.  It wasn’t even 6:00 AM yet.

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In a nutshell

Work is still very busy, with both businesses.  I wish I had a little more time for the things I like, especially hiking and photography now that Spring is here.

Here’s what I’ve been up to (lots of photos and not much text):

Remember the big piles of wood, waiting to be lit on fire?  Here’s the smoldering remains of one:


The slash pile is still smoldering after days.  Note the heat has kept the snow melted.

The slash pile is still smoldering after days. Note the heat has kept the snow melted.


They burned all of the piles over the winter.

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