Thursday, January 23, 2014

Central California Coast

California Trip: October 2013

Big Sur, Kirk Creek, and Elephant Seals

Big Sur - Where the continent meets the deep blue sea.

The final leg of my California trip last October took me through the spectacular scenery along the central California coastline. Though I reached the coast at Monterrey, I had only limited time and didn't stop there or in Carmel, two gorgeous locales that you should visit if you haven't already.

Instead I proceeded down the coast to one of my favorite camping spots from years ago. Here are some photos from that trip down the coast, at Kirk Creek campground run by the National Park Service, and of the Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas.

One of the lovely arched bridges carrying Highway 1 south along the coast.

Looking south.

Looking North

Same viewpoint as above, but zoomed it a bit.

Evening: looking south from Kirk Creek campground.

Hwy 1 and trail from the campground down to the sea and Kirk Creek.

Sunset from Kirk Creek Campground

The full moon sets before dawn at Kirk Creek campground.

iPhone panorama from trailhead on bluff top at Kirk Creek campground. View larger.

Kirk Creek and trail to the sea.

Two image panorama of the rocks at the mouth of Kirk Creek. View larger.

Elephant Seal rookery at Piedras Blancas, just south of the Big Sur coastline.

Sweet dreamer

Just a quick dip

Napping with family and friends

Thanks for coming along on this photo journey to California. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse of a wonderful area of our country.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

California Trip: October 2013

The Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is an awesome and amazing place, unique in my experience. This natural inter-tidal area is situated just right to provide rocky, pools for a wide diversity of marine life and a viewing opportunity for us land bound humans. We can get a glimpse of this watery world when the tide goes out. At medium and high tides the area is underwater, awash with Pacific waves bringing in plankton and other nutrients for those critters who have rooted themselves to the rocks. Small fish, octopi, crabs and harbor seals prowl the rocks at high tide. The denizens have adapted over the eons to this environment which changes twice a day from water to air.

Here are a few photos I took on my last trip. I hope you enjoy them and encourage you to visit when next you find your way to the San Francisco area. It is not far down the coast near the town of Moss Beach. When you do, check the websites to arrange your visit for a zero or minus tide, which will allow you to wander out on the rocks and look down into the tide pools or to see what has washed up.

Friends of the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Website
Fitzgerald Marine Reserve County Park Website

The view as you enter the inter-tidal zone from the visitor center and parking lot.

Looking down into a tide pool with its seaweed, seagrass, anemones and other critters.

A Great Blue Heron prowls the other reaches of the tidal area looking for lunch.

A colorful hermit crab walks along the red seaweed (algae).

Two species of anenomes (elegantissima and xanthogrammica) in their closed posture.

Seagrass is the only vascular plant in the pools. The seaweeds are actually algae.

A beautiful xanthogrammica Sea Anemone fully open underwater.
Its "arms" reach out "looking" for food to grab and bring to its central mouth.

I spotted this amazing Chiton, a type of mollusk, that was almost a foot long.
The docents were super excited at this unusual find.

Closeup of a sola Sea Anemone

This Scupin, a type of rock fish, blends well with the pool bottom.

This anemone is almost fully closed and protected in the shallows.

A Hermit Crab in a colorful shell

Sola Sea Anemone

Gooseneck Barnacles

Hermit Crabs in colorful shell homes.

Bluff, beach, and inter-tidal area.

Hermit Crab

Limpets clinging to the rocks

Looking north along the rocks covered with mussels, barnacles, and seaweed algae.

A closer look at a Mussel colony and bunches of barnacles.

The only Sea Star spotted in the whole park this day.
No one knows why there are now so few of this previously abundant species.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Only one more post to go in my California October 2013 series.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Computer History Museum

California Trip: October 2013

The Computer History Museum opened officially in 2000 in Silicon Valley, though that is a bit of a simplistic explanation. Its roots go back to the Digital Computer Museum opened inside Digital Equipment Corporation's office in Marlborough, Massachusetts in 1979. But you are not here for a history of a high tech history museum. Click the link above for more information about the museum and to see their online exhibitions.

Here are a few photos I took on my visit to the Bay Area. There were lots of interesting gadgets and machines from the earliest days of computing, right up to today. Unfortunately, getting decent photos of the highly reflective displays in subdued lighting proved problematic, so these images are barely a representative glimpse of what was available to see.

Entranceway with a couple of Google bikes parked in front.

Early Card Tabulator

IBM Card Sorter - My first contact with "data processing."

IBM Mainframe Data Storage

UNIVAC Mainframe Control Console

Altair 8800 microcomputer with DEC VT100 terminal.

IMSAI 8080 microcomputer - You must key the first instruction via the front panel switches.

Southwest Technical Products microcomputer used the Motorola 6800 processor.

A PC compatible, the Macintosh, and the Lisa.

Apple II vs. the IBM PC

Various microcomputers, including TRS-80,  PET, Commodore, Sinclair ZX80, Amiga 1000 and Atari 800.

Various PC compatibles, including Compaq's Deskpro 286 and Portable Computer.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Pescadero Creek Park Complex

California Trip: October 2013

This photo blog presents images taken over two days within San Mateo County's Pescadero Creek Park Complex. This area include Memorial Co. Park, where I camped one night and hiked one afternoon; and Sam McDonald Park where I took a short day hike.

The few photos here are not particularly spectacular and they probably do not convey the serene beauty of this mountainous region deep within the San Francisco Peninsula. However, this area was one of my favorite get-aways while I was working the day-to-day grind in the Bay Area. Many trails were exclusively for foot traffic, but there were also trails that allowed mountain bikes and equestrians, such as the Long Haul Road, below.

It was wonderfully restorative to hike up a tree lined trail, under towering redwoods with the sun dappling the understory of ferns and trillium. On the ridge tops you would break out into full sun and an occasional view across the hills. On this trip I was lucky enough to spot and photograph a coyote and a small group of wild turkeys.

Memorial County Park, campground.
That is a full-size tent at the foot of the redwood tree.

Redwood Ferns

Pescadero Creek Park, Long Haul Road

Pescadero Creek Park

Pescadero Creek Park

Sam McDonald Park, Towne Trail

Sam McDonald Park, coyote

Sam McDonald Park, horse camp

Sam McDonald Park, wild turkeys

Sam McDonald Park, Ridge Trail