Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Road Trip photos & video: June 23 – La Jolla Cove

I pretty well covered our visit to La Jolla Cove when I wrote about it that afternoon back in June, but I’ve finally collected that day’s photos.

This was our first time touching the Pacific Ocean, and seeing seals and sea lions just out on the rocks and swimming in the surf, and even now, more than four months later, I get a little goosebumpy remembering that feeling of excitement and being far from home, surrounded by the unfamiliar and the breathtaking, and even the ordinary things feeling new and adventuresome.

I shot some video on the Flip, too (Though mine’s an older model, I still love its convenience and ease of use.), including this bit of the seals sunning and barking.

I had also all but forgotten this clip I shot of some tiny crabs in the tide pools – the photos I took didn’t come out too well (I hadn’t yet realized my Droid’s camera had a ‘macro’ setting), and while the picture on the video isn’t the greatest, either, what I was really after with the Flip was this creepycool clicking noise they were making down there in the crevices:

(That “snapkracklepop” Rice Krispies sort of sound? That’s it.)

November 5, 2010 Posted by | geek, photos, Science, Travel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A visit to La Jolla Cove

Jenn & Kelsey & Mom & Jeff & I made the short drive up to La Jolla Cove today and were so pleasantly surprised at what a neat and fun place it was.

(Funny thing: Using the spoken input option to start the GPS navigation, I had to pronounce our destination as “La Jaw-la,” although once we were getting close, the system pronounced it correctly itself while giving the directions.)

We found a parking spot right at the top of the cliffs and were immediately treated to our first close-up view of the Pacific shoreline and the sight of a massive rock formation just offshore packed with sunning sea lions and harbor seals.

This sign was at the top of the wooden stairs which we followed down to a small beach where we waded a little and climbed on the sandstone cliff.

Further along, an expanse of flat rock outcropping held some little tide pools where kids were trying to catch these little crabs:

They came in a couple striking color combinations – green and black and blue and purple – and ranged in size from about the size of the Lincoln monument on a penny to about 2 or 3 inches across. I shot a video clip of a couple of the bigger ones crawling around a crack and making these little clicking noises, but it’ll wait for upload until I’m home.

Of course, just around the corner from this spot was an even closer-to-shore sea lion lounge:

Lots of activity around and on this rock: sea lions barking and crawling around and swimming in the waves. Fun to watch.

Oh, and there were these little spotted ground squirrels, too:

Our timing couldn’t have been better: We got there just before 11 a.m., and left about 1 p.m., and on our way out, the highway running into La Jolla was bumper-to-bumper standstill.

We were only there for a couple hours, but I was unprepared for the thrill of exploring this fantastic little corner of California and finding so much to see and hear and remember.

June 24, 2010 Posted by | geek, Travel | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Road Trip Level 1 – complete!

…and my princesses are no longer in another castle: I picked up Jenn & Kelsey this morning at the San Diego International Airport, and we’re all together again for the YMCA Gymnastics Nationals, which kick off tomorrow.

My 25 hours in the Los Angeles area (Saturday to Sunday morning) were insanely fun, and I wish I could have stayed a little longer amidst such excellent and generous friends, soaking up their humor and creativity and kindness and inspiration and all the other things that make them just generally wonderful people to be around. (And yes, this even applies to those I just met for the first time. All of you rock, and you made my brief stay in L.A. Just Freaking Awesome.)

I mean, really, can you say enough nice things about the kind of people who treat you to, among other things, a visit to The Donut Man for fresh strawberry gut-busting goodness?

But back south I had to go, and a sunny drive and an afternoon nap and some backyard pool time and a scrumptious dinner and wine with some more great people made for the perfect end to a week on the road.

Here’s the view from our hotel, where my wife and daughter are currently enjoying a post-lunch doze, having left Ohio at oh-dark-thirty this morning:

I can hardly believe a week’s worth of this road trip has gone by, and Phase II is under way. We’ll spend the next four days here – my mom and her husband arrive tonight – enjoying San Diego and the gymnastics competition together – and then begin our separate journeys back home on Friday morning.

Life is good.

June 21, 2010 Posted by | geek, Ohio, Travel, writing | , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Tatooine and the western terminus

Knowing I was facing a relatively short drive of between six and seven hours yesterday, I had a nice breakfast with my kind friends and hosts near Phoenix and didn’t start logging highway time until just after 9 a.m.

Just before reaching Yuma via Interstate 8, I passed a cluster of what looked like distant fires – I don’t know if they were brushfires or controlled burns or something else entirely, but for a minute or so, the dark smoke at the core of one of them was caught in a swirl that took on that creepy life-of-its-own serpentine movement like the Wizard of Oz tornado.

Naturally, as soon as I’d roughed out my journey’s map and saw that it would take me through Yuma, I decided that if it was at all possible, I’d visit the area where the Sarlacc pit scenes were filmed for Return of the Jedi. I was thrilled to find that the place – a recreational area for off-road enthusiasts in particular – had its own dedicated exit right off the highway just inside the California border, so it became a must-see stop.

Before I got there, I stopped in Yuma to make a sandwich. And knowing that the Star Wars saga has sometimes drawn names and words from real-world inspirations, I couldn’t help but have my lunch here:

(Yes, I know that “fortuna” is a word that exists in several languages and had a long history well before it became Jabba the Hutt’s majordomo’s surname. Still.)

After about 15 more minutes of freeway driving, I got off at the Grays Well Road exit and parked myself on Tatooine.

There are, of course, fences and power lines and restrooms dotting the base of the dunes, and the highway’s right there, and parking lots and maintenance equipment, but even with all those real-world intrusions, it’s ridiculously easy to look at this stretch of sand and sky and feel like you’re on that made-up planet and imagine a Krayt dragon skeleton just over the horizon, or a jawa sandcrawler cresting the next dune.

Wait? Did I really bring an old Star Wars toy all the way across the country for a five-minute stop? Why yes. YES. I. DID. And I love the way this picture turned out, first try. (And yes, I am well aware that the dewback is a Star Wars toy and didn’t make a Jedi desert appearance. I chose it anyway.)

The trip finished up with a surprisingly fun drive 4000-plus feet up into the mountains –

and then down into the greater San Diego area, where i pulled into my friends’ driveway midafternoon, some 2,500 miles after leaving my own.

June 19, 2010 Posted by | Film, geek, science fiction, Travel, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments


%d bloggers like this: