Tag Archives: adventure

Kortum Trail

Kortum Trail

Saturday Saunterers

Beautiful hike on the Kortum Trail with the Saturday Saunterers led by Joe Tenn while Bob Martin is in Europe with Eva.

This hike follows the north section, from Blind Beach to Shell Beach. The trail starts from the cliffs above Blind Beach, overlooking Goat Rock just to the north. The trail heads south along the exposed coastal bluffs to Shell Beach, a sandy pocket beach surrounded by jagged offshore rocks. En route to the beach are southward views that span all the way to Point Reyes.

We visited the big rocks where Martha says that the smooth spots, high on the rocks, were rubbed to that glossy finish by mastodons with itchy backs. They were also festooned with chalk in the cracks from boulderers. The sky was clear and the Pacific very calm, the way it is in late September.

Sign at Shell Beach



We saw this tuft of pampas grass as we walked down to the black sand of Shell Beach. I suspect the black sand is not from shells, but from the black rocks that mark this sharp cliff. The walk back took a slightly different route which seemed even steeper. Kathy, hiking with us for the first time, got into some difficulty but old pals Rich and Richard made sure she got back to the cars safely.

I spent the walk back trying to find someone to go with me to Earlfest later that day. Jason and David already had tickets through Kaiser, and neither Marsha nor Frances wanted to go.

We drove down to Goat Rock beach and had a nice lunch on the logs and a chatty, fun ride back. Great day, until I got home and discovered my cell phone had fallen out of my pocket. Made some panicky calls to Rich and Richard and, whew! my phone was discovered and promptly returned. Completely blew Earlfest off my agenda. I sewed the pockets on those pants halfway closed before I went to bed that night. Hope I don’t make THAT mistake again!

Lake Berryessa Labor Day 2017

Lake Berryessa Labor Day 2017

Lakes Hennessey and Berryessa

I set a goal to boat at Lake Berryessa, and prepared for this on my way back from the Solar Eclipse by going to Winters on I-5 and learning the route past these two lakes to Calistoga. I got my chance on Labor Day, and boated with Cathey from Napa, and Brent Swinth. Because the temperatures had been wicked hot, we met at 8:30 a.m. which required leaving at 7 a.m. We were on the water by 9 and enjoyed several dips to cool off. We were off the water by 12:30 when the picnic grounds were filling up with music and fragrances of delicious food.

Lake Berryessa Labor Day 2017

Brazil Camp 2017

Brazil Camp 2017

Sue Nelson and I signed up for the second week of Brazil Camp, but Sue had to move her participation to the first week and I could not join her because of the eclipse — can’t move an eclipse! Here are a few photos from the Saturday 26 August celebration that started at 11 a.m. and danced and drummed and paraded on until the 3 p.m. feast.

Dance Finale Brazil Camp 2017

The lady on the left joined us for lunch. She is a forensic architect who works on construction defects cases and had a fascinating story of how she got into that unusual line of work. Sue is dancing at the two o’clock position above.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0ByZ1PCtxW2o4S1dSZ0tabV9IZFE 25 second clip of circle dance

Sue Dancing

Sue Nelson During Quiet Moment On Main Stage

Eclipse 2013

Eclipse 2013

Eclipse Path in Oregon

Took a 1300 mile road trip to see the Eclipse in Lebanon OR, which is near Corvallis and Albany. I visited Ashland for the first time to see some Shakespeare, visited my sisters in Portland, met sister Connie’s two newest grandchildren, and spent an interesting night in Redding on my way back.

Starting on Sunday morning, we took a leisurely trip up I-5, stopping in Oakland, Oregon, a quaint town a few miles away from the freeway. We had lunch at Tolly’s, where it took me three tries to get the hard-boiled egg for my Cobb Salad. So different from the solicitous restaurant service in Ashland! Sharon and I went shopping in the quaint town and visited their many antiques stores and unique museum while Steve, who had been doing the driving, took a nap after lunch. The Oakland Museum has

Rooms full of furniture typical of many early Oakland homes, a bank exhibit, post office, general store and more. There is a clothing display, toys, photographs, tools and stories of Oakland’s history.

Sharon at Tolly’s

Len Rummel, Joe Dunne, Linda Rummel

Even though we left fairly early on Sunday, it was a hot day and it took about six hours to get from the Emigrant Lake County Recreation Area near Ashland to the Speasl Road farm of Len and Linda Rummel, world travelers and parents of Loren, a classmate and business partner of Joe Dunne, the son of my first cousin Steve and his wife Sharon.

We arrived late in the afternoon on Sunday, and Steve and Sharon were thrilled to learn that the Rummel’s farm had a full hook-up for their trailer, complete with power, water and sewer. This was important because both Sharon and her son Joe were suffering from an intestinal bug that I was happy to have dodged. I met Steve and Sharon’s daughter Erin for the first time, when she arrived at Rummel’s farm with two of her friends who were on their way to a conference in the state of Washington. She had driven them to the beach earlier in the morning, then all the way back to Lebanon in the center of the state and in the zone of totality.

The Rummels were having their annual friends & family reunion so there was a big dinner Sunday night with barbecued hot dogs and lots of food at the long table seen in the background in the photo below. I contributed a package of award-winning hot dogs from Whole Foods, and some interesting grilling sausages from Trader Joe’s, plus a loaf from GoGuetteBread in Santa Rosa. I was pretty tired, though, so I skipped the group dinner and just had some bread and cheese in the trailer and called in an early night. The Big Day would start in the morning.

Viewing Eclipse at Rummel Farm

Engineer Len Rummel and educator Linda Rummel had plenty of eclipse glasses for viewing. My favorite part was the tour of the artworks in the house while we waited for the sun and the moon to do their dance. What an astonishing collection of art from all over the world, and Len’s tiny sculptures of insects, displayed on the vast terrain of his bedroom windowsill. Then, the treat of getting to chat with their remarkable range of friends.

Len and Linda’s children were born in Arabia where they lived for many years, Len working as an engineer and Linda as an educator. Their love for islamic art, textile and rugs is evident in their beautiful, comfortable home which has benefited from many update and upgrades since they purchased it more than twenty years ago.

I was interested to see how their animals would react to the eclipse, including their chickens. They usually have a large vegetable garden, but did not plant this year. Probably good, because there were so many fires this summer due to the heat that particulate matter in the air was high and air quality was poor.

Len and Hound

The image below comes closest to my experience of the eclipse. Most of the viewers had not seen totality before and I could not help but announce as it was commencing, “here it comes. Bailey’s beads!” I just sat in awe during totality, but there was something different time. At about the 5 o’clock position, there was a purple edged brightness that become more prominent as the moon’s passage continued, before everything exploded back into light. It was a solar flare.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival-2017

Oregon Shakespeare Festival-2017

First Cousin Steve and his wife Sharon at Festival Stage Where We Saw Julius Caesar

Had a great time visiting Steve and Sharon who had their luxurious trailer at Emigrant Lake, complete with son Joe and his delightful children Kiah and Liam. Early morning at the lake:

Emigrant Lake

On Friday night we saw an impressive Julius Caesar after a superb meal at the Hearsay Restaurant 49 South 1st Street Ashland. Elegant jazz-style room and delicious crushed fruit aperitif. Saturday night was “Off The Rails,” a Measure for Measure mash-up with a musical about the Old West — great fun. Dinner that night was the elegant Alchemy Restaurant 35 South 2nd Street Ashland. We tried to get to the free “Greenshow” both nights, but the air was hazy and filled with particulate matter from the surrounding forest fires, so the free performance was cancelled one of the nights. We amused ourselves in the comfortable Members Center — luckily Steve and Sharon are members!

Steve Outside the Big Theater Where We Saw Off The Rails

No photos during the performance, but believe me, they were fantastic!

Road Trip – To Williams

Road Trip – To Williams

I am writing this after the Santa Rosa wildfires and before I leave for the drive to Santa Barbara to start the Sierra Club boat trip to the Channel Islands. This road trip to Williams signifies when I took back my power to drive long distances alone through remote places. It has been 18 months and it was time to get back in my 23 year old Volvo and find the confidence that I could deal with a breakdown on a back road. Both the car and my failed marriage date back to 1994 and this was an important step to take back control of my life.

Back around 1985, I had driven up 101 from San Francisco to Portland in my Honda CVCC hatchback and swore I would never do it again. This time I took Route 5 because it would take me to Ashland, OR for the Shakespeare Festival. Two years earlier, Lake County had been devastated by wildfire and I finally had the nerve to drive over to look. I wanted to check out the way to Clear Lake only once and never to Lake Berryessa and wanted to learn more about the geography so that I could boat them when the opportunity arose.

Route 20 from Calistoga to Williams, CA passes near Clear Lake

I left before daybreak and managed to lost trying to find Mark West Springs Road. Google maps put me right, but by then I was being chased to morning commuters impatient with my tentative driving in the dark. Entering Calistoga, the trick is to turn left to Tubbs Rd. to get to Rt. 20 and Williams. I wound through the twisty road near Robert Louis Stevenson park which I have not yet visited although I have lived here since 2000. So many places I want to see. Went through the town of Lower Lake.

La Fortuna Bakers, Williams CA.

My goal was to have breakfast at La Fortuna bakery in Williams, which I had discovered on Yelp. I would have missed it without Google telling me where to take the right cut-off from Rt. 20 that goes to Williams. The voice navigation makes such a big difference to me, The Map Queen. I ordered an adobo sandwich and the coffee was so hot, it took 45 minutes to cool down enough to drink. By then I was back on the road, heading north on Interstate 5, past Redding, up to Oregon.

Mountain driving on two-lane roads with trucks is tricky. Mount Shasta was not as snowy as it has looked from a small plane, but the next big surprise was the spectacular appearance of Mount Lassen from the road. So glad I went.

Free Ride on Smart Train

Free Ride on Smart Train


Martha joined me for the June 29, 2017 Preview Ride on the SMART train from the Rohnert Park station to the Marin Civic Center station and back. The whole thing took two hours — from 10 a.m. to noon. Finding the parking lot was a little dicey — it is not well marked and Google maps did not have pinpoint accuracy. The entrance was in a curve of a small Rohnert Park street, and it was not really wide enough for two way traffic. I was lucky to find a parking spot in the small lot — I wonder how they are going to use it for commuters. It does not seem to be designed for easy access by bus, and is too far away from SSU to walk.

Martha snagged us seats at the table right behind the pilot cabin, so we chatted with the 50-ish driver who let us peer into the “wheelhouse.” It looked like a console for a river ship, something that is mainly designed to go forward in a single plane. There were plenty of security personnel, but they were friendly. A man in his 30’s came onboard with his bicycle and 10-year-old son, also with a bicycle. Even though the man was tall and strong, he had a hard time getting the bike on the gleaming, brushed stainless steel bike hooks that hung from the ceiling right behind where I was sitting.

He hung it handlebars-up and that was clearly wrong — I wouldn’t be able to get past the bike to get out the door. A security guard pointed to the directions, which were on the wall behind where the bike was hung so they were hard to see. The cyclist re-hung the bike handlebars-down, but the front wheel was flopping around.

The instructions were images-only, no words, and did not address where the handlebars should go. The security guard interpreted the images for the cyclist, saying that the bottom cleat first had to be slid up vertically, then folded forward to create a cradle for the bicycle tire. There was a lanyard to secure the wheel to the cradle, but the lanyard was clipped under the assembly. There was no room for the man to squeeze down to the floor between his bicycle and the back of my seat, so his 10-year-old son had to crawl in, release the lanyard, raise and flip forward the cradle, then thread the lanyard through the spokes to secure the tire.

When the boy crawled out backwards, it was clear that there was not enough room for his bike to be hung on the second ceiling hook. They put his bike in a separate bike compartment. Each bike compartment had two hooks but only room for one bike. A uniformed, pretty woman in her 30’s came by handing out literature and I asked if she worked for SMART. Yes, she was in marketing. I explained to her the inadequacy of the signage for securing bicycles. She said they had worked with the bicycle alliance to come up with this design.

[September 2017 update] Bikes on SMART Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition includes how-to video.

Martha and I did not get to chat much because the train sounded its horn three times at each rural grade crossing. It was silent only in Novato and Petaluma but quite noisy everywhere in between. The ride could be a little bouncy when we moved onto a short parallel track. There were toilets in our car and a snack bar in the corresponding section of the back-to-back attached car. It was easy to walk between the two cars, but of course we could not walk to the third car which was attached nose-to-nose.

The SMART train is single-track for much of the trip, with sidings so trains can pass, and one double-platform station (Petaluma). We got on the train, rode to the end, stepped out so they could sweep it, then stepped back into the same seats on the same train and rode back to where we started. It is hard to see the commuter possibilities for this right now, but when they build the spur from San Rafael to the Larkspur Ferry Landing, it will be much more useful.

Fingers crossed.

Woman Lives Undersea for 8 Days

Woman Lives Undersea for 8 Days


Here I am with Dr. Dawn Kernagis, a member of Women Diver’s Hall of Fame, who spoke at SRJC today about doing biomedical research on the effects living underwater for eight days as part of NASA’s NEEMO 21 crew. Here is a video of her talk, “Dr Dawn Kernagis talks about life undersea during NASA s NEEMO 21 Mission.” So impressive! This was part of Women’s History Month.

Sugarloaf Hike Springtime

Sugarloaf Hike Springtime

Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain

Yesterday, Wendy Gross led us (group shot below) on a four-hour, seven mile hike on Sugarloaf Mountain that was very steep. Halfway through the hike we were on a beautiful, seldom-used trail that was steeply up-and-down alongside a flowing creek. There were several stream crossings which were easy, even though Laura Tighe just walked through the water and skipped trying to balance on the rocks. She said, “it cools my feet.” She also commented that the entire group standing on a wooden bridge (below) was an interesting test of the strength of the bridge.

I was ready for the hike to end around noon, our usual stopping time, but it took until 1 p.m. to finish and we reached an altitude where the deciduous trees thinned out and we were seeing healthy conifers with cones so big Jason was marveling at their size and robustness. We thought Jason and Frances would join us afterwards at Midtown Cafe, but the 2 p.m. closing time was fast approaching, so they opted out. To give you an idea of how taxing the hike was, Jill ate the entire Duck Confit she ordered, and Ezra ate everything, too. He enjoyed the strenuous hike, but next time I will make sure that Wendy has actually hiked the trail previously before I follow her.

There were lots of pretty spring flowers in the cool, foggy weather, and we had a vigorous discussion about penstamen. Wendy finally opened up a flower and counted the stamens — five.

Back: Diane, Jill, Ned Middle: Wendy, Ezra, Jason Foreground: Frances, Ulla

Back: Diane, Jill, Ned
Middle: Wendy, Ezra, Jason
Foreground: Frances, Ulla

My Tick and Rash

My Tick and Rash

CDC  Lyme Disease Rash Pattern

CDC Lyme Disease Rash Pattern

Yikes! I just discovered a tick bite, about 24 hours after the hike. This is what was left after my friend broke off the body, which I will submit to the County for testing for only $31. My doctor dug out the tick’s head on Monday morning and prescribed doxycycline for me, reminding me that the rate of infection of Sonoma ticks is low. She searched the web from the computer in her office to show me the distinctive “target” rash for lyme disease, so I am including the image from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). I am told that Ezra got a tick, too.