Archive for September, 2009

In the past there has been the “Ten Bridges” bike ride. Behold: The “Five Presidents!” John Adams Boulevard to George Washington Boulevard to Abraham Lincoln Avenue to Thomas Jefferson Boulevard to Herbert Hoover Street. Roughly 25 miles along those thoroughfares, but overall maybe around 35 miles, starting and ending in Silver Lake. Stay tuned.


Here’s another one of my 30-second exposures, taken of the view outside our Lucia Lodge cabin in Big Sur at 9:21 p.m. September 3 (click for the bigger picture):


I’ve gotten a whole bunch of snaps up on Flickr in the following sets:

On Thursday night, our first at Lucia Lodge in the village of Lucia on the coast, Susan and I marveled not only at the full moon that had risen above the Santa Lucia Mountains at the exact time the sun set over the seas to the west, but also the fact that one of my favorite constellations — Scorpius — was fully visible in the south-by-southwestern skies.

So of course after dinner, I had to set up the tripod and pretend I knew what the hell I was doing in taking timed exposures of the moonlight cabins, coastline and waterscape, but it wasn’t until I offloaded images today that not unlike an amateur fisherman lucking into landing the big one on his first cast, I’d pointed the cam in the right direction and hauled Scorpius in all its glory from out of the inky blackness, see (click for the bigger picture):


Uh Scorpius? Where? Here, maybe this connect-the-stars will help (click for the bigger picture):


You know the mythology right? Scorpius is the creatures that killed Orion the Hunter, sent to do so by Artemis, the Goddess of the Earth, after Orion bragged that he could kill any animal on the planet that he wanted to. After he died from the scorpion’s sting Artemis put him among the stars where the scorpion still stalks him. Lucky for Orion he stays just out of reach. By the time Scorpius rises in the early summer, Orion’s already booked it below the western horizon.

Call it coincidence or an ultimate eventuality, but next to my Sunday edition of the New York Times (for which I have the privilege of paying a whopping discounted¬† rate of $7.45 per week for seven-day delivery) sat a solicitation from the L.A. Times encouraging me to return from my seven months of self-imposed exile into the land of disgruntled canceled subscribers for a special rate of $75 for a year’s worth of papers.

Not only is that a dang good deal standing on its own, but makes the $387.40-plus annual NYT outlay seem fiscally idiotic. While I’ve always known my stay would be a temporary one, I wasn’t yet in a rush to break up the relationship.

Not entirely convinced, I sat back with today’s NYT, and enjoyed it as usual, but when I got to the Sports section I dove in to the NCAA Football section hoping for the very least a brief on Alabama — my favorite college football team — and its season-opening victory last night over Virginia Tech.

Nothing. Literally. In the column running down the Top-25 teams in the nation, there was Alabama at No. 5 and the score showed 0-0. A couple rungs down the ladder was No. 7 VT’s place and their score, too, read 0-0. Right away I understood what happened. Being the national edition, the paper was probably starting its press run by the time the game, played in Georgia, had barely started. So instead of the 34-24 final score (or even the in-progress score), the editors could do nothing but go with what it knew at the time: 0-0.

Turns out those goose eggs broke the proverbial camel’s back and got me on the phone with NYT customer service wherein when the rep started to valiantly offer reasons why I shouldn’t cancel my subscription I pretty much shut down his script by telling him that perhaps I’m the only NYT subscriber in the entire country who gives two hoots about the Crimson Tide, but nevertheless if I’m expected to pay almost $400 each year for a newspaper, I don’t think I’m being unreasonable in expecting to read about the final score of my favorite college football team the day after they played.

He simply said “I understand” and processed my cancellation.

My next call was to the LA Times rep who set me up at the aforementioned rate. Notwithstanding my hometown paper’s institutional bias against Alabama (nurtured by columnist Jim Murray who was notorious in his disrespect and disdain for Coach Bear Bryant and his program), I can be sure that the press runs here in town are never so early as to prevent ‘Bama’s game results from making it into the paper I’ll hold in my hand on Sundays.

It’s certainly wonderful to be home, but pardon me if I dispense with the trivialities of being back from our fantastic four-day Highway 1 Getaway and get right to what was one of several highpoints of our trip: Big Sur’s Mill Creek Trail.

The Mill Creek Trail was a revelation — even moreso as it was something of a substitute for the Limekiln Trail that was to have been our farewell hike on our last day in Big Sur yesterday, but we were disappointed to find it closed from damage due to last year’s horrific Basin Complex Fire, which burned across five weeks last summer consuming more than 160,000 acres.

With the fog still pushing in from the sea, Susan and I entered at the hike’s entirely unassuming roadside trailhead wondering if the hike ahead would be worth the walk. But after winding our way inland on the narrow trail along the western wall of the canyon, eventually we descended down into the cooler air under the forest canopy¬† to the floor along Mill Creek where we basically stood among towering pines young, ancient and in-between and found pure beauty and serenity. If peace and tranquility are manufactured, then we were touring the factory.

Oh. My. God.

Or let me put it another way: I’ve found where you can scatter my ashes after I check out (click for the bigger picture):


Seriously, If I wasn’t getting humbled and awe-struck chills from the verdant and aromatic magnificence then I was literally tearing up from it. Or both.

And as a super bonus (in this unfortunate day and age of loud-mouthed disrespectful trailjackers), we had the entire place to ourselves. Literally. The only person we encountered along the entire out-and-back hike, was a solitary gentleman and that was just inside the trailhead as we were coming out, as if it were a relay.

It’s great to be home, and there will of course be more pictures and words and such, but until then I just wanted to check in with a post and urge you to put the Mill Creek Trail near the top of your list should you plan a trip to Big Sur.