Saturday, January 31, 2015

Lancair Bay Tour

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to get an invite from captain Tom to go for a fly in his Lancair 235.

He even came and picked me up from my doorstep (Reid Hillview Airport, how cool is that? We took off and were instantly over Alum Rock park, where Heidi and I like to mountain bike.

From there we did a quick flyby of Mission peak, a popular hiking peak above Fremont.

Then looking at Mt Diablo over Pleasanton Ridge.

Pleasanton Ridge looks like it would be a nice place to fly. And on our left side to the west was a nice view of Carquinez Strait looking out to San Francisco.

Just for fun Tom performed a roll.

And a loop over Suisun Bay.

We passed over Napa and Sonoma, and landed at Petaluma Municipal for a bit to eat. Not that we were tired it was only a 40 min dogleg !

There were some neat planes in Petaluma, A couple of Rutan VariEze's and a Honet STOL Toms' Lancair of course :) and I don't remember what this one is...

From there we went southwest over Tiberon, passed Angel Island, the Golden gate bridge,

and San Francisco.

A quick fly-by of Funston to wave at a few of our buddies.

The famous Mavericks surf spot and Half moon Bay airport.

Back over the coastal hills over Stanford University. 

Across the South Bay and home. I feel pretty lucky to have had this opportunity, and on an unusually clear day to boot ! Thanks Tom :)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Elkhorn slough paddle

A group of us went for a fun paddle around the Elkhorn Slough yesterday.

We put in at Moss landing before high tide and went up to Kirby landing, where we had staged a car.

It's a pretty mellow day.

Plenty of wildlife to see.

JT likes Pelicans

Going through a few of the channels.

Took a picnic.

It was pretty handy having google earth to hand. Knowing where you are in the channels is tricky when the tide is changing all the time. It would be very easy to get lost and stuck in the mud.

JT and Wendy


Tuesday, January 6, 2015


New Years Day, we set off for Pinnacles National Park. The scenery is fantastic, it's not too far away and with a 3 wheeler it's has some challenges, something I enjoy.

It has some interesting geology too. It is half the insides of the Neenach volcano that straddles the San Andreas Fault, the other half got eroded near present-day Lancaster, California, some 195 miles south.

Wikipedia has the plates moving at an average 35mm/year so in 23 million years, it should have moved ~800km, which is x2.5 too much. Perhaps the math doesn't work because the fault and the plates are not rigidly together ? I thought it interesting to do the math.

There are fantastic views all the way round the high peaks loop, and the winter lighting makes the photos prettier. It gets Arizona hot there in the summer.

There are only a few spots where the 3 wheeler couldn't go, so I just folded it up and carried it for those short sections.

Fantastic trail.

There are bats flying in the caves in the evening.

Just a couple hour walk even with the stroller and lunch stops. Happy New Year !!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Bear Valley

We left Maddy behind with Grandma to go see Lance and his family and play in the snow for a day. The weather forecast wasn't that great but these days opertunities are limited. So we jumped on it :)

We went up to Bear Valley, but with the wind only the two novice lifts were open. So I took a few discounted rides and was happy. It must have been 6 years since I last rode a Tray. Is that still the cool name for a snowboard? - I don't even know.

After a quick warm up - It was 8'F + 40 mph wind chill, we decided to go rent snow mobiles. I'd never riden one before and Heidi rode one to the school bus in the winter as a kid.

Lance showed us around, the upper town of Bear Valley, not accessable by car.

The sun came out and it was really pretty.

We rode up a ridge for a short while, it's truely amazing how much ground you can cover in a short space of time on these things! One could get into serious trouble if they rode 40 miles out and ran out of gas!

That was a pretty great day ! We Celebrated in the old Bear Valley hotel.

The next morning we goofed around on some old motorcycles Lance had. That was really fun too! They were not running that great which in the frosty snow only added to the entertainment.

There are some great little trails around his house.

Lance is finishing up a California "Cabin" up in the forest.

On the way home we stopped off at the Calaveras Big Trees Park. The tree stump Heidi is standing on must have 30 feet across! It's always humbling to be around these giant redwoods. Or inside them !