Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Manzanita Lake

We have driven through Northern California and thought it would be nice to visit Lassen Volcano National Park but had no real idea what to expect. It far exceeded any expectations that we may have had. We pulled into our reserved spot which turned out to be too snug. The camp host told us to look in B loop and see if there was something we would like there. We found a nice pull thru that we stayed in for 6 nights. Most of the time we like full hookups but the solar kept our
battery 3/4 full all of the time.
 Manzanita Lake was so peaceful with eagles and osprey in the trees. The temps were in the 40s at night and 70s in the day.We only had Verizon service while hiking high in the mountains so we could check and see if all was well with our
families. It was so quiet and peaceful with the breezes thru the trees.

 The Devestation area where the avalanche came thru after the eruption in 1915.


The cascades were on our hike to Paradise Meadows which was a suggested hike by a couple from Redding that were up for the day to cool down after temps near 100 degrees. We appreciated the suggestion since there were too many trails to choose from. When
we got above the meadow the breeze blowing over the mountain snow felt like air conditioning. The sun can get pretty intense.

The trailhead to Bumpass Hell was closed due to too much snow. This rock had been moved here after the avalanche.

Helen Lake and the crazy blue water.The deep blue color is due to the minerals present in it and its depth which reaches 110 ft.

There are nine seismographs in the park with this being the first by Mr. Loomis. We didn't feel any rumbling.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Cycling the vineyards

I decided to use the campground's showers instead of the one we have for a change. When I walked out of the shower, Mike was standing at the sink. He asked what I was doing in the Men's showers. I did some quick thinking and told him "now that there are new laws I can use which ever restrooms I please." He didn't buy it.

We are loving riding these country roads. We drove to Geyserville  to check out their roads on a Saturday and there were plenty of cyclists to be found. Two vans full of Backroads Cycle Tours pulled up as we left Starbucks.

The shaded roads along the vineyards were great since things were heating up after a couple of rainy days. I enjoy when there are clouds and sprinkles while riding. But the sunshine felt good after the morning fog lifted.

Sonoma's art along the roads. This one is called cartwheels, a grocery cart filled with bike rims?

I have to make myself pay attention to the road for obstacles. It is too easy to get distracted out here. 

This old store from the 1880s is one of the few delis on the country roads and Saturday there were many cyclists stopping for a pit stop and snacks. A small sandwich is $13. They kept filling the counter with them.
There is a huge amount of baby grapes. Looks like it will be a fruitful harvest.

We stopped at a couple of wineries but they were serving Zins which are not a favorite of ours. We will have to check and see what is offered next time we stop. There are so many wineries, it can be overwhelming.

Several wineries have made caves in the side of their hills.

 It has been so nice to wake up in the morning and walk along the Russian River before the kids get out on their inner tubes and float. Actually, watching them is pretty good too.

Friday nights in Cloverdale's plaza has a farmer's market with food vendors and a band. The band was from San Francisco and quite good. There was an eclectic group of fun local people that many looked that they have moved here after the 60s in San Francisco. The towns here have had a nice small town feel.

It has been such a good week here in the Russian River and Alexander Valleys. We are excited to see what is next down the road.

Monday, June 20, 2016

City of 10,000 Buddas

We took a short 20 minute drive to Mendocino County to the town of Ukiah, which is haiku spelled backwards.  
The City Of Ten Thousand Buddhas is an international Buddhist community and monastery founded by Hsuan Hua, the venerable leader. It is at the former state hospital.
We stopped by the entrance to register and get instructions on where we could go. The monk at the registration is from Tiawan and had been here for 20 years.

We walked though the history rooms.

Some of the monks were repainting the buddas that were made by their leader.

Each painting on the temple have different meanings.
This male was dancing and shaking his feathers while trying to get close to the female.

These are liberated peacocks.

An incense is placed here before going into the temple for chanting.

A small girl's schools.

A monk saw me looking around and came to visit and explained things to us. She had another monk show us where we could go and listen while they would chant and bow on the kneeling pads after lighting incense.
This drum and bell were played during the chants.

Their venerable leader

This statue has many hand for helping.

We could have had a vegetarian lunch while here but when we finished it would still be an hour. We love miso soup but saw a Quiznos in town and have missed eating there since many have closed.

It is a little hard to see the monk's apparel in this picture.

Mike has done all of the cooking for quite some time. I decided to make some quinoa and spilled some on the floor. It didn't seem like much until I started sweeping and vacuuming. It just grew. I thought about sweeping it out the door but was concerned about the birds eating it and their bellies expanding and exploding. Since the Buddhist's are against killing any creatures and we had just left their temple, I kept vacuuming. No we are not shaving our heads and joining up.

Cuenca, Ecuador

An Expat Destination The morning after returning to Quito we boarded an hour-long flight to Cuenca. Driving up the winding roads would have ...