That New Vehicle Smell

My destination on Thursday was the teeming metropolis of San Francisco (where I'd be spending the next couple of days) so I decided to go ahead and get my day's walk in first thing while I was still smack dab in the middle of the awesome redwood forests of northern California - pretty much a no brainer given how much I love that area and generally cherish any time spent there.

After leaving my beautiful room at the Curly Pine Lodge behind (slept like a log - sorry, just had to say it) and being diverted briefly for a breakfast of grossly inferior pie, I stopped at a state park visitor center to get some advice from seasoned professionals about what the best use of a one hour hike might be.  The enthusiastic woman that helped me suggested I visit Humboldt Redwoods State Park which sits right off the road called the Avenue of the Giants, which in my view forms the backbone of the quintessential redwood experience.  She told me the drive out to the park was well worth the trip alone, more than enough to convince me.

I soon found myself weaving back and forth through the redwoods at speeds averaging about 15 m.p.h., a far cry from the scene in the second Star Wars movie when they're riding those fancy floating motorbikes through the forest. And it is in fact the same exact forest, but I labored under an obvious handicap since the Cadillac hasn't yet been equipped with levitation.

As soon as I'd parked and set off down the trail, I noticed all sorts of interesting wildflowers springing up in random places.  Scads of pale lavender irises, green-petaled trillium and several others I'd never seen before, flourishing in what must have been their spring blooming season.  It was a pleasant enough walk, but it wasn't until I'd looped back around and was almost back to the trail head that I decided to veer off the gravel trail and go explore the nearby riverbed - the promise of which had been calling to me throughout the duration of my walk.  It was time to go down and see what I could find at the water's edge.

It wasn't long before I realized what I'd discovered was the perfect spot for a rock stack  A stately hollow log hovered several yards above a deep pocket in the stream bed, just begging for an embellishment.  It felt like the most logical thing in the world to peel off my socks and boots, roll up my pants and start hunting up some nice looking rocks.    The first time I waded into the stream, I just about leapt right out.  I'm guessing the water was snow melt, but it was cold as ice one way or another!  I found I could only stay in for a minute or so before my flesh would start aching and I'd have to wade out again.  That was okay, though - the discomfort helped me focus on my task and allow me to let go of the plan more quickly when something didn't go as I imagined (a frequent occurrence in rock stacking).

After gingerly coaxing the last pea sized stone onto the very top of the stack, I took a seat on the dry part of the stream bed where I could sit and admire my handiwork. I was well pleased.  Not only had I found the perfect location, but I'd managed to assemble a mighty handsome group of rocks to boot.  Some days, things just seem to take care of themselves with very little intervention on my behalf.  I really enjoy those luxurious times when I get to be the vehicle.

After enjoying my moment of perfect contentment for the day, I put my socks and boots back on, walked to my vehicle and drove to the city forthwith.

San Francisco sidewalk scenery: red eucalyptus pistils in white quartz gravel

San Francisco is a city I've spent a fair amount of time in, and yet I never seem to tire of returning there.  It helps that I'm lucky enough to have constant and willing hosts who maintain the impression that having me there is is no problem.

I was fortunate that while I was in town, Kurt, Marty, Rich and I were able to attend a really fun annual event called Maker Faire.  It's the high school prom of the geek world, and naturally we had to go and check out what all the other kids were doing.  I was really smitten with the spinning ring of LEDs that was programmed to display animation (e.g., the world - in the picture above) using persistence of vision technology.  I also really enjoyed a talk presented by Gever Tulley who's written a book called Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Do With Your Kids).   In it, he encourages parents and mentors to do dangerous things with kids - have a picnic on the roof, for example - as a way of training them how to cope with real life, and do it safely.  It was really interesting to hear his take on our safety obsessed culture, although he was definitely preaching to the converted in me, at least.  That's why one day I will run "Aunt Shiree's Danger Camp" as once suggested by my wonderful pals Ray and Hazel.

And that flurry of cognitive activity my friends, is the essence of why I return to San Francisco time and again.  The very air of the place seems to serve as a catalyst for me - zinging as it does with novel ideas and crazy notions.  Not to mention it's a city populated with people just wacky enough to try some of the bizarre stuff that gets dreamed up so there's never a lack of things to see and do.

A mere three days in town yielded a high density of  entertainment, including a dinner made with exotic lion's mane mushrooms from the farmer's market (delicious with crab ravioli and red walnuts), a chance meeting at Dynamo Doughnuts with a wonderful family visiting from Canada (maple glazed apple and bacon doughnuts-yum!) and several excellent walks roving the hills north of the Mission district.  I planned to depart just after brunch on Sunday to begin my drive home, stopping in Vegas to pick up my friend Betsy who would ride  the rest of the way back to Texas with me.  I had several exciting stops planned along the way and looked forward to getting started.

No comments: