Sunday, June 5, 2016

Yosemite 2016

With a near normal snowpack in the Central Sierra this year, the waterfalls in Yosemite National Park are flowing with great gusto once again.  It's been four years since this has happened.  Who knows what the future holds for precipitation, so if you are a waterfall enthusiast, it was high time to high tail it down to Yosemite.

I joined a hiking buddy, Surjit Dhillon, on a 3-day impromptu trip to Yosemite after the Memorial Weekend to check out the waterfalls.  A highlight of the trip was an 8 mile RT hike on the John Muir and Mist Trails which does a circuit of Vernal and Nevada Falls ascending and descending approximately 2,000'.

We also took in heady views of the valley from Glacier Point and Tunnel Viewpoint, and a drive to Olmsted Point and Lake Tenaya on Tioga Pass Road.

To view the album, click on "Yosemite 2016" below the photo:

From Yosemite 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

2016 Amgen Tour of CA - Stage 8

The 8th and final stage of the Tour of CA ended in Sacramento after traveling south to north from San Diego.  The 8 stage, 700 mile route took in the southern CA mountains, the central coast, the mountains of Lake Tahoe and foothills of Folsom, the Sonoma coast before ending in Sacramento.

Stage 8 was won by Mark Cavendish, Team Dimension Data.  Peter Sagan, Team Tinkoff and Alexander Kristoff, Team Katusha, came in 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Julian Alaphilippe, Team Etixx-Quick Step, won the GC with Rohan Dennis and Brent Bookwalter, both of Team BMC, in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

The 4th and final stage of the women's race was won by Kristen Wild, Team HPU.  Lisa Brennauer, Team LPR, and Marriane Vos, Team RBW, took 2nd and 3rd respectively.

To view some highlight pics from Stage 8, click on "2016 Amgen Tour of CA - Stage 8" below the photo:

From 2016 Amgen Tour of CA - Stage 8

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


It's been multiple decades since I visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).  In the 1980's, I used to have the "out of town" membership to the museum and would visit frequently.

The years passed and my activities moved on to other things but my interest in contemporary art has been rekindled with the expansion and decided to renew my membership.

SFMOMA officially reopens to the public on May 14th but as a member, one is entitled to a member's only preview before the grand opening.  We went on the 2nd day of the pre-view period and nearly had the museum to ourselves.

I invited Eric Saur to join me on a pre-view excursion to The City and we took my favorite means of traveling to the Bay Area - by public transit - the Capitol Corridor Train and BART.  We took the train to the Richmond Station and transferred to BART which zipped us within two blocks of MOMA at the Montgomery Street Station.

Brief history of SFMOMA:  The museum was established in 1935 and in its first 60 years occupied the 4th floor of the War Memorial Veterans Building at the Civic Center on Van Ness Ave.  It was the first institution on the West Coast devoted solely to 20th Century art.

In 1995, a new 50,000 s.f. museum building with its iconic striped cylinder and step-backed stone facade designed by Mario Botta opened across the street from the Yerba Buena Gardens.

In 2013, the museum closed for 2 1/2 years for a 235,000 s.f. expansion.  The seven-story addition was designed by the Norwegian architectural firm of SNOHETTA.

To view the photo album of our visit, click on "SFMOMA' below photo:


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Fairy Falls Hike 2016

A swift-moving spring storm swept through Northern California the day preceding the April hike of the Sacramento County Hikers making way for an ideal day of hiking to Fairy Falls in the little known Spenceville Wildlife Area (SWA).  SWA is located directly east of Beale Air Force Base and the Camp Far West Reservoir .

The temps were in the low 70s, the hills were green, the brilliant blue sky was full of puffy cumulus clouds and the trail was a moderately easy 2 1/2 miles to the water falls.  It was literally a picture perfect day for a day hike.

Sixteen hikers participated in today's hike organized by Rich Blackmarr.

To view the hike pics, click on "Fairy Falls Hike 2016" below the photo:

From Fairy Falls Hike 2016

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Mt. Diablo - The Grand Loop Hike

With heavy winter rains breaking the strangle-hold of four years of drought, the hills in Northern California are finally vibrantly green and beautiful.

Rich Blackmarr, the Sac County hike leader, selected the Grand Loop Trail on Mt. Diablo as the destination for the March hike.  Grand Loop, aptly named, circumnavigates the upper tier of Mt. Diablo and offers grand vistas in 360 degree directions.

The hike is rated very strenuous descending and climbing 2000' over 7 miles of pretty tough terrain.  But the superlative views from high vantage points makes the effort definitely worth-while.

It was a mildly cool but clear day at the top of Mt. Diablo and a fabulous day for a hike.

To view the hike album, click on "Mt. Diablo - Grand Loop Hike" below the photo:

From Mt. Diablo - Grand Loop Hike

Saturday, February 27, 2016

NAHBS 2016

The North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) made its second appearance in Sacramento over its 11 year history.  More than 175 custom bicycle builders and bicycle related merchandisers took up most of the exhibition space in the Sacramento Convention Center.

NAHBS keeps getting bigger and better and with an increasing number of bike builders from Asia and Europe participating this show has grown to become an international exhibition.

If you're a bike geek, it was time to affix a drool cup to your chin.  The exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail of the bike builders are beyond belief.  They are as much amazing artists as they are engineers/craftsmen.

Some highlights from this show are posted on this blog.  To view the album, click on "NAHBS 2016" below the photo:

From NAHBS 2016

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Road Scholar Tour of Mexico

It's winter time in Sactown so it's time to head south.  Mexico City, known for its cutting edge architecture and modern art, has been on my bucket list for sometime and I finally decided to fit it into my travel schedule this year.

Road Scholar, a travel company I have not toured with before, offered an intriguing program which took in three fascinating colonial cities - Guanajuato, San Miguel de Allende, Queretaro - in addition to Mexico City.

I knew nothing of these cities but friends spoke highly of them so I decided to sign up.  Five other friends from Sacramento - Tom Graham, Peter Saucerman, Susan Twining, David and Kristina Vandershaf - were also interested in the trip and decided to sign on.

The "Sactown Six" joined 18 other travelers from across the U.S. and Canada for the Road Scholar Tour named "Mexico's Orgins: Silver, Culture and Revolution."

Road Scholar tours are known for its educational component and our daily itinerary included lectures by a historian on the history and culture of Mexico.  And in particular, the relevance of the cities to be visited to its history.

In addition, two local guides led the tours of the sites we visited.  The tour was very well organized and very interesting.  We learned a lot over the 14 days of the tour.

The Road Scholar program - itinerary, lodging, food, transportation and staff were all great.  There will be more Road Scholar tours in my future.

Guanajuato, a World Heritage site,  was the first of four cities we visited.  As it turned out, of the four cities, Guanajuato turned out to be my favorite (as well as for many of the others).

From an engineering standpoint, Guanajuato has a unique street system of tunnels interlaced under the city due to it being sited in a steep gorge.  The city is a visual feast for the eyes with the homes painted in bright colors as it rises up the two mountainsides.  The architecture, city parks, lively street life, especially at night, made this city a most memorable experience.

There are individual blog posts for the other three cities - San Miguel de Allende, Queretaro and Mexico City.  After viewing each post, return to the homepage, scroll to the next city and click the link to the relevant photo album.

To view the album, click on "Guanajuato" below the photo:

From Guanajuato