Friday, December 15, 2017

Euro trip Xmas 2017

Back to England, first time for Maddy. Had the travel fairly well figured out, although there are more than one coach station at Heathrow, something to remember when catching the oxford express. We went to the wrong one to start with. Happily we missed the severe snow storm by just a couple of days.

First stop Brill. Where my sister lived for a short while.

Brill is know for its windmill without the snow. 

It was a fun village to visit a great change to meet the new nephews.

Having never met, Eli and Maddy had quite a few quirks in common.


Only there a couple of days but we did manage to go see Waddesdon manor a Victorian mansion built for Baron de Rothschild.

There was a cool light show just after it got dark, surprisingly some of the birds in the avairy were still active out.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

El Corte De Madera

A month back or so we found on Craigslist a new ride for Maddy. After a quick ride it seemed pretty worthy of off-road.

So we decided on El Corte De Madera : The cutting of wood ? Our new favorite place to ride We had hiked it a couple of weeks earlier.

I noticed the trails were nice and curvy through the trees, no too steep or bumpy, but still fun and even worthy of focus here and there. 

Maddy Loved it ! Laughing giddily all through the redwoods. I enjoyed it too.

Beautiful terrain, fresh and peaceful.

There are some trippy looking rocks in that park too! This is the Tafoni Sandstone Formation

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Birthday #3

Maddy is now old enough to get really excited for a party.

Though we had spent some time building up the excitement in preparation. We spent hours making this paper mache bee piñada.

Rolled out the fake grass, a few tables and chairs, some decorations.

The piñada was a real hit (unintended pun - sorry)

Mommy made some themed art activities. The theme was Jackson Pollock - known for his splatter art :)

Amazing how tough a few layers of paper can be. I thought it was going to fall apart right away with a nerf pool stick. But actually it took some heavy abuse with a wood chair leg. Everyone had fun and the party went late ;)

Friday, January 6, 2017

Pt Reyes


A Hike on Point Reyes, a pretty awesome place on the planet. Starting from Pierce Point Ranch.

Hog Island, with some strong memories from 3 years ago. 

There is a Tule Elk preserve on the north end of the peninsula. 

Didn't quite make it all the way to the end, but enough to get some good views.


Elk are impressive beasts, they do closely resemble red deer and caribou. 

Tamales Bay caused by San Andreas fault sliding up the coast, is the background.


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

USS Hornet

There are many good reasons to go see the USS_Hornet. From an engineering standpoint, it's amazing. It is pretty much it's own mobile city. It has a power station, water purification, an airport, communications, food entertainment. Docents lead tours in many facets of the ships features, with first hand stories of the experience of being in service on the vessel. 

There are 4 engines on the ship, here are the 11 oil burners to one of them. Essentially they heat seawater to steam.

The steam turns a turbine, which then through a transmission goes a propeller. The setup is repeated 4 times. Here is the control panel to control the furnace, the steam is also moved around the ship and used for heat and now distilled water. Bare in mind this is 1940's technology.

Up top in the bridge, there are control mechanisms, which you could mistakenly thing directly controlled the ship. The devices are more communication systems to the various devices that power and maneuver the ship.

Up in the bridge steering was not priority number one. Strategizing, commanding, communication

and navigation were more important most of the time.

The tower looks pretty small compared with the rest of the ship.

This F14 tomcat was used in top gun I believe.

The sense of scale is really incredible.

The navigation room is interesting too, before GPS LORAN was the primary.

Below deck is the "top gun" room where pilots were briefed among other stuff. The room has a completely different look than the rest of the ship. Which is sort of stainless steel and cream. All in all a fun interesting day out. 

The museum ship is moored in Alemada now, east across the bay from San Francisco.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Santa Cruz mountain redwoods

Another favorite walk - Henry Cowell Redwoods state park. So nice we went twice over Christmas.

One sunny, walk with views of the Monterey Bay.

The other deep in the virgin redwood grove.

Even Mum and Dad have been here multiple times.


We were lucky to catch the train, puffing through the forest, in the winter holidays it only runs once a day.


It's a spectacular sight watching it climb the mountain over the trestles, and it is a nice walk to boot.

Clam chowder bread bowls for Dinner on santa cruz wharf, overlooking steamer lane surf spot.