Showing posts with label outdoor adventure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label outdoor adventure. Show all posts

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday's Hunt v2.16


This week's prompts are:  1) Starts with P   2) Week's favorite   3) Whole

My knees have been a hindrance this week, which means I haven't taken any photos. So I've chosen a photo I took a few weeks ago when the Husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. Our present to each other was a soaring adventure! We each experienced a whole ride to ourselves in the glider plane.  It was a spectacular ride lasting about 35 or so minutes.

In case it's not clear, P is for plane — the towing plane (the one at the bottom in the photo) and glider plane.  Heading into the sky is the Husband.

It was a whole lot of fun!  Wheeeeeeeeeee!

Friday's Hunt is a weekly meme hosted by Teresa of Eden Hills. Click here to check out other participants. Or, to join the fun.



Sunday, September 25, 2016

Friday's Hunt v2.13


The cues for this week are: 1) Starts with M  2) Week's Favorite  3) Work

M is for marriage. The Husband and I celebrated 20 years of marriage on Friday by taking a glider ride.  M is also for more than a mile up into the sky, which is how high up we went.  The Husband and I each soared individually with Pilot Bill. The Husband flew to the west, while I flew to the east.

I took lots and lots of photos. One of my favorite photos is the one of the little plane hard at work towing us in the sailplane towards the mountain ridge. When we got just above the ridge, Pilot Bill pressed a button to release the rope. Voila! We were sailing on the air at the greatest of ease.

I loved it!



Friday's Hunt is a weekly meme hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills. To check out other participants, please click here.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Rose for Me


I'm writing this yesterday. Not caring about proper grammar. Because today is my birthday. Giggle. 

This old lady is a young 6-2. Ha!

If the weather and my body cooperated,  and I didn't chicken out, Tilda-Hilda and I have begun my new adventure around the sun by pedaling our way over to San Juan Bautista for breakfast. The Husband shall have driven over and met us there. And, together we shall have figured how to tie Tilda-Hilda into the trunk for our trip back home. Knock on wood.

Until later, dear friends.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs

My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been

For many years, I've wanted to visit the Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs, a once-upon-a-time very popular resort in the foothills of the southern end of the Diablo Range. Now part of the Henry Coe State Park, this historic landmark is about 10 miles northeast of Gilroy, California, which is nearby my town of Hollister. Unless there are special events or planned guided tours by the all-volunteer, nonprofit group Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs (GYHS), the place is not open to the public.

Two weeks ago, GYHS held a special event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the hot springs being made a historic landmark. (It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places and also designated as a California Historical Landmark.) Yup, the Husband and I attended the event.



The grand hotel, club house, swimming pool,  soaking pools, and other magnificent structures of long ago no longer exist. Many of the guest cottages still stand. The GYHS has renovated several of the cottages already. One of the volunteers told us that because they are historic structures, they must be rebuilt in the same manner. That  means if something was built incorrectly, it can't be fixed, but built incorrectly again. The buildings were constructed between 1870s and 1920s, which, if you think of it,  incorrect construction isn't always all that bad.

The ladies' bathhouse

The Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs is a beautiful, peaceful place. I can see why people of long ago were willing to travel for hours on dusty trails to get there. San Franciscans, for example, traveled three hours by train to Gilroy, then another three hours in a horse and buggy after a night's stay in town. Staying a week or two in a luxurious resort in the wilderness had to be a lovely respite from the city.

The 24 cottages were named after the states.

The history of Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs goes back to 1855 when a shepherd stumbled upon it as he was looking for his sheep. Twenty years later, the hot springs became a big-time, fancy resort that attracted people from near and far, including the rich and famous, such as Mayor James Phelan of San Francisco and hot-shot industrialist Claus Spreckels.  

Prior to 1938, the place was known as the Gilroy Hot Springs and it was considered the best mineral springs in California. The springs are still there, but, they cannot be used. During our guided tour, we saw a small stream and hole. If I recall correctly, the water was about 110 degrees.  Interestingly, we learned that mineral springs are usually found near mercury deposits.



Watsonville lettuce grower Harry K. Sakata purchased the property in 1938, making it the only mineral spring resort in California owned by a Japanese American. This was a very big thing back then when Japanese were among the various minority groups being discriminated, whether they were immigrants or born in the United States. Under his ownership, Sakata added Yamato, which means Japanese, to the property's title.

This Shinto Shrine was originally part of the 1939 World's Fair Japanese Pavilion.

When the U.S. entered World War II, nearly all of the Japanese Americans, including Sakata, were placed in internment camps in remote areas of the United States. After the war, Sakata regained ownership of the hot springs and allowed interned Japanese Americans to reside there until they found places to live.

Laura Dominguez-Yon, one of the founding members of the GYHS, was born at the hot springs and lived there for several years with her family. She is an encyclopedia of information about the landmark. So, consider yourself fortunate if she is your tour guide or gives a presentation about the Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs.

Laura (far left) told us many stories about the hot springs. Up on the
hillside is one of the old-time cottages being renovated.

Gilroy Yamato Hot Springs is near the Hunting Hollow entrance to Henry Coe State Park, so you can take a longer hike before or after your visit. The hot springs is only accessible by GYHS guided tours, which are usually available on the 2nd Saturday and 4th Sunday of the month. Visit the GYHS website for more information.

Climbing to the mountain peak was a popular challenge of old-time resort visitors.

Another late day for me to take part in Alphabe Thursday, hosted by the lovely Jenny Matlock. It's the letter Y.  To read other posts or to participate, please click here.



Thursday, October 8, 2015

Up in the Sky

My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been

Look up in the sky. Is it a plane? Is it a bird? No. It's Su-sieee! Mac.

Nine years ago, I fell through the sky with my fellow Jumping Beans Jeanette, Jennifer, and Charlie. That was our big thing to mark being in our 50s.

Yes, yes, I know. I've mentioned my jump before in other posts.  But, I haven't ever described being up in the sky, free-falling, and then floating downward. It only took nine years to write about it.

Jennifer, Jeanette, Su-sieee! Mac, and Charlie
photo courtesy of Lisa Q.


We, jumping beans, waited four hours one Sunday afternoon to board a small plane, get attached to a professional skydiver, be dropped off at a certain point in the sky, and fall, then float, within minutes to the drop zone. Interestingly, none of our significant others wanted to experience it all with us.

Charlie and I opted to fall from the highest altitude—18,000 feet.  Gulp. I just came back from figuring how high that is—about 3.4 miles. Wowza (said in a little voice).


What do I still remember about being up there?

I was grinning like a crazy person on the plane ride. We reached a certain altitude and out came the oxygen masks. I felt fine without it, but still put it on. The view of the top of the Diablo Range was spectacular. I wondered if I was looking into a caldera at one point.

I sat on my instructor's (aka the professional skydiver) lap in order for him to attach him to me. I outweighed him by at least 30 pounds. I felt bad that I may have been crushing him. When it was time to jump, he and I inched our way to the door, me in front of him. The videographer jumped first. I hesitated at the door. The instructor pushed me, and voila I was yelling and "flying" away from the plane.

Supposedly I arched my back, and my legs bent back between the instructor's legs. He stretched my arms out in, I guess, a standard position. He motioned for me to yell, which I still don't understand why. The videographer flew up to us and motioned for me to look up at him and the camera.  I was more interested in looking around. I could see all the way to the Monterey Bay.


Think of all the superlatives you can and that's what it was like to be up in the sky.

It was very noisy up there. I suppose it was the sound of our bodies, clothing, and skin flapping about. I can almost approximate the sound when I lean my head out the car window when the Husband is driving at a good clip.

The deployment of the parachute was kind of jarring. It opened and we jerked up in the air. Then, we began a smooth, quiet descent. The instructor zig-zagged us downward over the golden hills of San Benito County. I became a chatterbox. The Husband said he could hear me from way below.


The drop zone was the field across from the small church where I was baptized as a baby. As we approached the drop zone, I held my legs straight out. Bump! I was down on the ground. And, then came the hardest part—getting up.

Soon after that day, I fantasized about being a very old lady shuffling to the plane every morning for my daily jump.

You never know.


It's the letter U (as in Up) at Alphabe Thursday, hosted by the delightful Jenny Matlock. To participate or check out other U posts, please click here.



Friday, September 25, 2015

A Special Wandering

My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been

September 23 was the first day of Autumn. It was also the Husband's and my 19th wedding anniversary. And, yes, it doesn't seem like it was that long ago we turned right at the xerox machine to get married. (For that story, head over here, if you like.)

Our day began with breakfast at our favorite coffee shop in San Juan Bautista—Vertigo Coffee. That's one of the few places I'll allow myself to drink coffee. The Husband had himself a mocha latte, which is an occasion in itself. Until yesterday, he hadn't drunk coffee in over two years.


We also ate BLT with soft scrambled egg panini sandwiches. Yummm! Using coffee stirrers as chopsticks to pick up the eggs that kept falling out of our sandwiches made the meal even more fun and special.


We drove over to the coast and headed north on Highway One. Roadwork was going on, but that didn't bother us. We were after all in no big hurry to get anywhere. We saw a lot of pampas grass growing alongside the road and hills. Did you know that pampas grass is originally from South America? I always thought it was from the east coast.


North of Santa Cruz, Highway One is a two-lane highway. It's a gorgeous drive, with the ocean on one side and hill and mountains on the other. Lots of farm land.  This time of the year, you can see quite a few fields full of bright orange pumpkins. I didn't get any photos of that, but I did get a photo of some trees in modern dance pose.


We stopped at Half Moon Bay, a cute little coastal town, to stretch our legs. We walked up and down the main street, window shopping and even wandered into a couple of them.  I posted photos of the various signs we saw on Main Street yesterday.


While I was taking a photo of the Husband pretending to ride a bike rack shaped in a bicycle, a woman stopped and laughed. "You've made my day," she said. "Let me take a photo of the two of you."


Our destination was Devil's Slide, about 17 minutes north of Half Moon Bay. Devil's Slide is a portion of Highway One that often got closed after heavy rains because of mudslides. After tunnels were drilled through the mountain to bypass this treacherous section, the road was turned into a trail. It opened in 2013.


I think the last time I drove Devil's Slide was 20 years ago. As we walked the trail from one end to the other and back, I was astounded that people used to drive this stretch. I don't recall the driving lanes being narrow at all.

The trail isn't long, 1.3 mile one way. There are a couple of steep inclines. Going up them was fine. Going down, ouch. My left knee was a whining diva. She didn't cry though, so that was good.

Remember that the Husband drank a mocha latte several hours earlier for breakfast. As we rested on a bench after walking down the steepest incline, the Husband mentioned how quiet he had been. "You've been talking the whole time we've been walking," I said.

"I have," he said.

"Yes."

The Husband is so darn cute.


We kept coming across people who exclaimed, "There's a whale!" A whale just went under!" or "Did you see the whale?" They pointed to somewhere in the ocean, describing where to look. "See the white water. The whale is near there." The Husband and I didn't see a thing.


After driving through the tunnel twice, we headed back to Half Moon Bay for dinner. We also checked out Ocean Books, the used bookstore on Main Street that unfortunately is going out of business after 19 years. There's nothing like wandering around a small, charming independent bookstore with an eclectic selection. It was one of the things that both the Husband and I hoped we would get to do on our special day of wandering.


Dinner was at Café Capistrano, which specializes in Mayan food. A local told us about this hole-in-wall restaurant, two blocks west of Main Street. The Husband and I shared an appetizer and a dinner plate, a perfect amount as both were generous portions. The appetizer was a bean stuffed tortilla topped with Mayan coleslaw, pickled onions, and shredded roasted chicken. Yummm! Our entree was pork adobo (two pieces of thin, tender pork grilled in achiote and lime) with black beans, red rice, guacamole, Mayan coleslaw, and corn tortillas. Double yummmm! Mayan adobo is very different from Filipino adobo.


It would've been nice to have stayed overnight in Half Moon Bay. But, the Mama and I had doctor appointments the following day, so back home the Husband and I went, jiggity jig, with the sun setting into the ocean.


It's the letter S at Alphabe Thursday. (Yes, I know it's Friday.) This weekly meme is hosted by the amazing Jenny Matlock.  To check out other S posts, please click here.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Rancho del Oso

My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been
A couple months ago I had a hankering to be by the ocean and the Husband wanted to be in a forest, so we drove to Rancho del Oso, the western portion of Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz County.  The entry point is across from Waddell Beach on State Highway 1, where you can see surfers and kiteboarders having fun.


It was our first time to visit Rancho del Oso, which translates to Bear Ranch. Once upon a time, the Grizzly Bear roamed the area. Thankfully, we did not meet any bears, but we did come across jack rabbits, squirrels, butterflies, lizards, and an occasional human.


We hiked over a couple of miles, the first half going up and along a mountain side and the trip back on a nice flat fire road. Unfortunately, my left knee flamed up on the way back, so it took us longer to get back to the car. On a positive note: We got to enjoy being under the redwoods longer.






It's the letter R at Alphabe Thursday, the weekly ABC meme hosted by the lovely Jenny Matlock. To read other R posts, please click here.



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Four-O-Clock Flowers


Pink four-o-clock flowers have been growing crazily and happily around the front and back yards this summer. These are among the late bloomers. The flowers open up in the afternoon, hence the name. Supposedly they stay open through the night.

Four-o-clock flowers are annuals. They're also called the Marvel of Peru, where the lovely flowers originated in the Andes Mountains. Four-o-clock flower and Marvel of Peru are both very pretty names. So is it's technical name—Mirabilis jalapa.

They showed up a couple of years ago in the front yard, near the sidewalk, just on our side of the property line. Mama saved the seeds from last year's blooms and threw them along the fence in the back and north side of the house.  I tossed them in the lawn, but nothing came up. Weeds did, so maybe I threw some other seeds. I won't get it wrong for next year.  The Mama has a large bucket full of seeds already, and I collected my own small bucket of seeds to toss around. We shall see what happens next year.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pinnacles National Park

My Alphabe Thursday theme: Places I've Been
The Pinnacles National Park is a comfortable drive away—about 30 to 40 minutes—through gorgeous rural landscape. I sometimes think that I can pedal Tilda-Hilda there one day. Yes, we're still going out nearly every day, but only around the neighborhood. I'll do an update about us tomorrow. Maybe. Back to the Pinnacles.


The Pinnacles is truly odd topography in Central Coast California. It's a lone mountain, straddling San Benito and Monterey counties. On the western side (Monterey County), the Pinnacles seems to pop up from no where above Salinas Valley. From the distance, you think it's simply a low, nondescript mountain. Nope. It's when you go into the park that you see the amazing, inspiring rocky spires for which the park got its name.


Once upon a time, millions upon millions of years ago, the rock formations that make up the park was part of the Neenach Volcano in Southern California.  Over the millions upon millions of years, the Pinnacles crept nearly 200 miles northward, with the help of the San Andreas Fault, to its current spot. Mind boggling, isn't it?


Congress designated the Pinnacles a national park a couple years ago, but it has been part of the National Park Service since 1908 when it was established as the Pinnacles National Monument.
Being a national park is different. There are more park rangers, more park programs and activities, and more marketing, which translates into more visitors. The Pinnacles has the distinction of being the only national park near the Pacific Coast, between San Francisco and Los Angeles.


Here are some of unique things about the Pinnacles National Park. To learn more about the park, check out its website.
  • The rock formations are made of ash, lava sand, and rocks that burst out of the ancient Neenach Volcano.
  • The caves are known as talus caves, which were formed by the way the huge boulders fell upon each other.
  • There are 400 bee species at the Pinnacles, which is the highest number of bees per unit area of any place in the world.
  • Twenty-three bat species live in the Pinnacles, including the Townsend's Big-eared bat.
  • The Pinnacles is a release site for juvenile California condors that were bred in captivity. Currently, 32 condors fly freely through the area.


The Pinnacles has two entrances, with not a road to connect the two. The western entrance is in Monterey County, while the eastern one in San Benito County. The campsites are on the eastern side of the park. The temperatures get into the triple digits during the summer months. Just saying.


The Pinnacles was one of the places where we took visitors for a picnic and a hike through the caves and up to the reservoir. Come to think of it, the Daddy and the other men stayed behind barbecuing while the women and children hiked.  When the Only and Older Brother was a youth counselor in San Francisco in the early 1970s, he brought a few of the kids down to the Pinnacles for their first camping experience. He invited me along, which my first-time camping too. I had no idea the stars could be even brighter.


The Mama loved going to the Pinnacles. She says the wind through the mountains reminds her of the Philippines.  The last time the Mama hiked in the Pinnacles was over 20 years ago. We were on the western side, heading for the caves. About halfway there, she decided to go back to the picnic tables. Not to worry, she said. "I know where to go."


When we got back an hour later, she wasn't there. Panic attack! Another hour passed before the Mama ambled into the parking lot on her own. She missed the turn to the parking lot and headed up the trail to the high peaks. She told us rather calmly that when she got up to a high point, she saw the parking lot, and turned back.

I told her that we thought she was lost and the rangers were out looking for her. She didn't like that at all. "I was okay," she said. "Tell them not to put my name in the newspaper." That's the Mama.


Click here to check out the other participants of Alphabe-Thursday, which is hosted by the wonderful Jenny Matlock. Yup, today is the letter P.