Snow in November Snow in March

Home in Rocky Point Oregon: current temperature 36 Degrees F  high 43 low 25 partly sunny

snow flurries on Klamath Lake Winter is long in this part of Oregon.  The snows start in earnest in November, with a few skiffs sometimes showing up in October.  The snow can be deep, and while we can get down to zero F for a week or so, the winters aren’t nearly as bad as places like Minnesota or the Dakotas.  Still, they are long. I love winter at Christmas time.  I love winter in January when I can enjoy it and then take off for California.  I love winter in February least of all, and ever since I moved from California to snow country in Northern Idaho back in the early 70’s I have done everything possible to get out of winter in February. 

But winter in March is different.  Even though it is cold and the snow is really tiresome by now, it feels different.  The days are getting longer, just a bit, but it isn’t dark any more at 4:30 in the afternoon.  When it snows, it is usually a bit wetter, and there are patches of blue amid the fluff of snowy clouds. The air feels different.  And the birds are back.  snowgees

Early in the morning I can hear them down by the lake, but they are out on the water in places we can’t get to yet with the snow and ice all around.  Still, we walked down there this morning to get the mail.  Gingerly picking our way through the re-frozen slush in the driveway and hoping our boots didn’t crash through the crusty snow banks down by the water.  When I went in to town yesterday, in the midst of a blustery snow storm, I saw open water along the edges of the lake, and saw that the swans had returned.  I only had the iPad with me, and there was traffic and snow, so it was a quick photo, but it still made me really feel the difference between the deepening winter feeling of December and the promise of winter eventually ending.  Maybe not in March, but still eventually it will end.

There is an aerial survey of the birds in Klamath Basin that is updated regularly, and even back on January 30, we had almost 44,000 tundra swans in the refuge complex.  I love the swans especially, and the snow geese, they look like flapping sheets in the wind when they fly in unison and rise and fall over the landscape.

Horse Fever horses in Ocala will always bring back great memories of sharing this with BelI  am still having a bit of trouble writing about Florida.  My friend Bel, in my life for 19 years, passed away while I was there.  I was with her when she passed, probably the hardest thing I have ever done, and yet a gift I will always be grateful for. If you read my blog in the past, you know about Bel and my visits to her, my worries over her access to health care, some of her life difficulties.  This is our happy fun travel blog, how in the world do I talk about this here?  I guess I just can’t.  Up close family, up close friends, real words coming out of real mouths with sound, seem to be the only appropriate way for the moment.  I didn’t plan to say anything at all when I started this blog, and yet some of you are those real friends with real words who were there for me on the phone and on Facebook, of all places, as I was going through it.  So I needed to acknowledge that somehow after all and thank you.  Enough for now.

visiting Deb in San Antonio (15)On the way home from Florida I was so happy to have almost three full days in San Antonio with my daughter Deborah.  She took off work on Thursday and Friday and we spent our time together driving around to places she loved in her new home, seeing where she worked, eating great Texas food that her sweetie prepared for us.  I ate ribs and cole slaw and Texas beans and cheese bread and brisket and omigosh…the heartburn!  I am not used to eating like that, but it sure was fun to let go for a few days in spite of the heartburn.

IMG_3481 We checked out some quilt shops and picked out fabrics for the quilt I will make for her someday, we wandered off to Palmetto State Park and Lyndon B Johnson State Park, and spent a night in lovely Fredericksburg.  It was cool and breezy while I was there, but the sun was brilliant and gorgeous.  South Texas is a great place this time of year, even though the blue bonnets have yet to burst.  The grasses are greening up, and did I mention that sunshine?  Ahhhh.  It was so healing to be with Deborah, who knew and loved Bel, to have her to talk with about it.  I was blessed by two daughters on this trip actually, with Deanna re-routing a Tampa load to go through Ocala, where she met me for a long breakfast full of big hugs. Daughter Melody stayed with me on the phone a lot and son John called a few times as well, and of course Mo and Maryruth and my long time friend Laura from Coeur d Alene, a respiratory RN.  It was wonderful to have so much support and understanding.

It was good to get back home.  I did a deep clean on the house before I left, and Mo was away at her brother’s while I was gone, so we came home to a cozy, clean, wonderful home.  Mo beat me home by a day, so when I returned the house was still sparkly but was WARM with a nice big fire going.  Snow still on the ground, but sunshine and blue skies were wonderful.  And silence.  The nights are so dark and starry under the hot tub and the silence is just so SILENT!  No street lights, no traffic, no trains, all the stuff of towns and cities are absent here in the forest. 

We are settling in, enjoying home a bit before we decide just when to wander off to the cottage in Grants Pass and maybe get some beach time. Here at home I have a big quilt to finish binding, and fabric to play with, soil survey work waiting and all sorts of “retirement” projects that I still have yet to get to after three years as a retiree.  I am never, never bored.  Ever.

St Paddy's around home-002

May at Home in Rocky Point

(Remember to hover your mouse over photos for captions or click on them for the larger version)hostas.  I love them.I managed to keep the deer from eating all the buds on the azaleas 

I love May. It seems that no matter where I live, or where I am, May is the month that brings out the best in me.  October is probably a close second. When I make travel plans for the best time to be just about anywhere, it is usually May or October. Sometimes, though, here in the Klamath Basin, May can be a mixed blessing. This year we had beautiful days early in the month, and of course, when Memorial Day rolled around, it decided to snow.  I laughed and thought, “What’s new?” Snow in the basin on Memorial Day is only a touch more predictable than snow on the Fourth of July.

 

Susanne's Earthly Delights....the sign from my flower business from the 90'sOnce we arrived home with the MoHo after our meandering Covered Bridge Tour, life just settled in to a daily routine of gardening, cleaning up “stuff”,  and working at my “real” job.  (I may not have that real job much longer after the end of the fiscal year September 30, so I am trying to appreciate it instead of complaining about having to go to work all the time).  How dare I complain anyway!?  The job is something I love to do and I get to do it from home in my jammies if I want to most of the time.

 

the MoHo was spotless when we tucked it back into the MoHo shed, and we still have several cords of good firewoodI think it took the two of us the better part of a week to get the MoHo completely cleaned up after all our winter travels.  It was nice to get her back home where I could really vacuum and scrub and clean the cupboards out, while Mo washed and shined the outside.  She looks beautiful, (the MoHo) although now the spring pollen is coming and I see a light film of yellow on that shiny exterior, even with her tucked away in her shed.

 Mo is always trying to get the sprinklers properly adjusted In spite of the sketchy weather, May is the month when Mo and I spend most of our time cleaning up what is left of winter and getting ready for the prettiest time of year. We live in a beautiful forest, and that beautiful forest means we have beautiful (or not so beautiful) pine needles everywhere.  Lots of them.  It seems we are raking pine needles year round and my least favorite job is picking pine needles out of the rocky paths that meander around the property under the trees.

love the way the light plays through the aspens In the midst of chores, we took some time off for a little Mom’s day celebration at my daughter’s home. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday and it was wonderful to be treated to a lovely brunch and some delightful family time.  quilt for an as yet to be born baby girlThe following weekend we attended the annual Taste of Klamath celebration. Our little town has a lovely theater, and each year the “Taste” benefits the Ross Ragland and we get to amble around eating amazing little bites of various restaurant tastings and drinking our ten tickets worth of wine.  It is always fun, and as often happens, the sun left and the skies clouded up for the event.  Thankfully, most of the food is now inside the theater and under big tents. 

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park at the Taprock Grill on the Rogue Riversnow over the pass on Memorial Day weekendThe days flew by, faster than we could track, with lots of time spent each day working away in the gardens, raking, digging, planting, cleaning, more raking and more cleaning.  In between, when the skies were rainy, I took some time to quilt and to knit, and even managed to finish a little blanket for an as yet unborn baby girl coming to Mo’s family.

We traveled back over to Grants Pass one day to look around at some ideas for winter storage for the MoHo and pick up some  plants from my favorite nursery, and discovered a magnificent restaurant on the banks of the Rogue River.  The morning we left, the snow was coming down at home, but Grants Pass was sunny and gorgeous and it was a great respite from the cold.  I had no idea there was such a beautiful park right on the north bank of the river and the Taprock Northwest Grill was incredibly beautiful.  I could see why the town is touted as the “Best River Town in America”. 

Finally, as the month drew to a close, the weather started to warm up for real, and on June 1st, the morning dawned sunny and bright with daytime temperatures expected to be in the 80’s.  Plants were waiting to be planted, mulch was waiting to be spread, more needles were waiting to be picked out of the rocks and instead we just said, “It is TIME!”

blackbirds on the wocus at Recreation CreekMo and Abby at the Harriman Springs runThere is nothing quite as wonderful as getting out on the water so close to home.  So little effort, really, just the ability to walk away from the chores and take advantage of our beautiful location minutes from Pelican Bay on Klamath Lake. The snow on Mt McLoughlin was brilliant, the water was clear and the lake is up and the wocus had just started to bloom. 

We heard more birds than we saw, with blue herons, great egrets, and sandhill cranes all calling in the tall bulrushes but staying well hidden except for a single heron feeding along the edge of the marsh. I saw at least 50 white pelicans soaring high in the distance toward the north but none where we were paddling on this sunny morning. It was a perfect time on the water and once back home I happily finished up a few garden chores before relaxing into the evening.

lots of tender annuals that hopefully will survive the June 5th freeze predictionmulching the flower beds This morning we woke to weather alerts saying that the snow level is dropping to 4500 feet on Tuesday morning and the temperatures are dropping to 28 degrees. Sigh. I have just finished planting a ridiculous number of tender annuals in my flower beds and tomatoes and beans are in the greenhouse. The hot tub needed her bi annual cleaning and we thought it might be nice to get it done before the snow hits again. Mo repaired and painted the garden furniture while I finished scrubbing out the tub.

It seems as though I have traveled to town entirely too many times this month, especially with gasoline still running 4.29 per gallon for regular here in Klamath.  What’s with that?!?  Only in the east has the price actually been falling but the news keeps saying how great it is that gas is going down.  Down?  not here! I still have been driving in to work a couple of times a week, and then having to make a few additional trips with the small trailer to pick up loads of nice fine bark mulch for the flower beds.

IMG_2421 On the way home yesterday, I stopped to check out the new interpretive signs installed along Highway 140 on Doak Mountain, my route to and from town.  We do live in a magical area, and the signs reminded me again how special this part of the world really is. When driving that route so often, sometimes I just wish I lived closer to town and forget just how many folks would come to drive the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway for recreation.  Even as many times as I drive this road, every time I come over Doak Mountain and look out over the lake, I feel a tug on my heart.  It is home, it is beautiful, I am so lucky to live here. 

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Wocus just starting to bloom on Pelican Bay with Mt McLoughlin

The Bridge of Marion County

Mo checking out the new roof at Gallon House Bridge near Silvertonsquare portals at Gallon House Bridge near Silverton After so many days wandering the back roads of Oregon, searching for bridges, we decided to spend our last day out taking things easy.  One lovely bridge was on our agenda for the morning after a great rainy day breakfast at “The Gathering Spot” . On the menu were crepes with Black Forest Ham and swiss with arugula, and home fries with fresh baked pastries.  I even had a perfect cappuccino with floral designs in the foam in a big ceramic cup. 

Before traveling north the short distance from Silverton to the bridge, we walked around town a little bit, checking out the antique stores and a few other shops. I still don’t quite understand why there are always antique stores in these little towns. Is it a low overhead to run an “antique” store? Most of the stuff was certainly less than antique…more like oldish and used.Gallon House Bridge

Gallon House Covered Bridge was one of the older bridges we saw on this trip, built in 1916. We now recognized the old Howe trusses, and noticed that the portal was large and square, an indication that it had been redone to accommodate bigger logging rigs over the years. The roof was especially lovely, fresh with new lumber from a recent restoration.

morning rain at Silver Spur RV Park in Silverton Back to the park for a relaxing afternoon in the rain with books and movies felt wonderful after all the running around we had been doing. Silver Spur RV Park was a good place to be on a rainy day. The park was only about 1/3 full, with the majority of rigs grouped along the upper boundary near the fishing pond.  The lower area with huge pull-through sites was nearly empty.  We found out later that the upper sites are for longer stays with metered electricity.  In spite of the cloudy skies, the rain came and went and made everything look so fresh and clean.

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Woodburn Tulips_002 The next morning we planned a visit to the beautiful Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, right on the way via the back roads from Silverton to Mo’s brother’s place in Beaver Creek.  Our trip was coming to a close, with a night at Dan’s spent visiting family and picking up the log splitter that Mo had taken there previously to benefit from Dan’s amazing welding expertise.  We were treated to the most amazing display of tulips I have ever seen at the farm.Woodburn Tulips_021

Even though the “official” dates for the Woodburn Tulip Festival ended last weekend, the fields and store were still open for a few more days before closing up shop until fall for the Pumpkin Festival. Most of the huge fields of early tulips were long finished, but the display of late tulips still in bloom were breathtaking. Mo especially enjoyed the old wood burning steam powered tractors.

Woodburn Tulips_015

After spending a relaxing night at Dan’s, we put on our traveling shoes and headed straight home down I-5 and 140 over the pass to Rocky Point.  Using the power of the MoHo to pull the trailer loaded up with the splitter, I followed along in the Tracker. Not a speck of ambling, even though we knew there were bridges waiting for us near Myrtle Creek and other points south that we hadn’t yet explored.  Another time.  We were like horses going to the barn, ready to get back to Rocky Point to see if our very own tulips had opened.  Sure enough, all was well, and we didn’t miss that ephemeral moment of tulips in full bloom.

tulips at home

Pinnacles

the skies really were this blueOne hundred ninety five.  Miles.  That is the distance that the San Andreas Fault has slipped northwestward since the Pinnacles Volcanoes were formed between 20 and 30 million years ago.  What I found so incredibly fascinating about this place is that it was once just a simple stratovolcano, very similar to Mt St Helens before she blew.

Indian paintbrush on the Rim TrailIt erupted and exploded and flowed and rumbled for a few million years before going silent.  Then the Farallon plate that was diving below the American plate at last completely melted and finally stopped heating things up, and the Pacific Plate ran right up against the American Plate and instead of diving, it started sliding.  The huge stratovolcano was literally split in two, while two thirds rode north on the Pacific Plate and the other third stayed behind on the American Plate.

there they are, just learning.  They look like junior high age kids I thinkOver time and many climate changes, the entire volcano was buried under eons of sediments then uplifted and eroded again to expose the multicolored hues of various versions of rhyolitic volcanic rock.  The two thirds that forms the present day Pinnacles was uplifted more recently and is far more dramatic that the one third that has soft, old rounded landscapes, left behind 195 miles away somewhere in the vicinity of Lancaster. 

Mo climbed up here for a view of the kids climbing the rock below.  Not me!We came to Pinnacles mainly to hike some of its many trails and stand on the top of what remains of the old volcanoes.  We also came to possibly see the condors who are released here in a special breeding program attempting to bring them back from extinction.  Of course, we also came for warm sunshine in March and spring wildflowers. We got most of what we came for, but this evening, after a bit of research, I am pretty sure our condor sightings were really just big, beautiful turkey vultures soaring over the High Peaks.

CCC built this building of the local rhyoliteWaking to an absolutely gorgeous sunny morning at Coyote Lake, we drove less than five miles to Creature Comfort, a dog resort Mo found for Abby in nearby Gilroy.  Mo was nervous about leaving her, worried that she might figure a way out, but once we arrived, the many tall chain link fences underlain with plywood barriers to stop the diggers eased her mind a bit.  There were about 20 dogs running around all happy and of course they all had to come to the fence to greet the newcomer.  Abby thought the world was ending of course, and we were reluctant to leave, but the woman caretaker said, “It is like kids in a day care, you just need to get out of here, and she will be fine”.

The trip south to Pinnacles was just a bit over 50 miles, but once past the small town of Hollister, it seemed we were wandering off into an unknown world.  The green hills gave way to brown, even less rain here I guess, and there were a few huge estates and rolling acres of grapevines, surrounded by rangeland.

such a good boy today outside on his ownThe Verizon signal gave out and the ATT bars disappeared and we were completely disconnected for the next two  and a half days.  We had decided not to make reservations, since we were coming mid week, and that worked out just fine, this time.  In the future, we will probably make reservations since we learned later that this park can be completely full on weekends.  You just never know.  When we arrived, however, on a Wednesday afternoon, we had our choice of several of the electric only hookup sites in the main part of the RV park.

We settled in to a site with no reserved sign, and were told to come back after four to pay since there was no one capable of taking money at the visitor center.  Interesting.  There was a little store there as well, and I bought Fritos on the honor system, putting exact change in a brown envelope as instructed by the ranger at the desk..

beautiful sunny day, let's put the awning outThe park was quiet, the sun was warm, there was lots of space between sites with many of them empty.  Mo and I looked at each other and said, “Why not?”.  We let Jeremy out to play, off leash.  Sure enough, Jeremy was as great as I thought he would be, but it did help that there were no bushes or creeks for him to explore, just open space, and he hung around the motorhome sniffing and playing until he finally decided to go back inside on his own.  It was nice to let him have that bit of freedom.

Mo and I studied the park maps, the trails, the geology folders, the small booklet that I bought (with exact change of course), and decided that our afternoon hike should be the three miles or so up to the reservoir beyond the Moses Caves.  I had no desire to go through the caves, so we went around them and up some rather incredible stone stairs to the small dam built by the CCC and the reservoir.  It seems we also neglected to plan for the fact that this was spring break week in this part of California.

school kids writing their thoughts on There were lots of groups of kids in buses, and in the group tent sites, and on the trails. At the reservoir, we sat quietly with a small group of kids who were intently writing their reflections on “reflection” as they looked at the sky reflected in the water of the reservoir.Rather than retrace our steps, we took The Rim Trail which led up and back and around and down again to the parking area.  Perfect 3 mile hike for a perfect afternoon.  We knew we were saving the big one for the next day when we would have a full day to hike.

uhoh we have to climb those?Returning to the campground, I went back to the visitor center to pay my fee, only to discover that our site was technically reserved and we would have to move.  Seems as though whomever is responsible for putting out the reserved signs was letting down on the job.  We took down the awning, tucked everything into the rig and moved across the way to a site we liked better anyway.  It was lovely, with a huge live oak shading the picnic table and a perfect view of the mountain ridges to the south. We spent the evening entertained by turkey gobbles, quail calls and high clouds racing across the bright skies.

checking out the overlook on the Condor TrailThe next morning we packed up some tuna sandwiches and plenty of water to take on our planned six mile loop hike.  There are several options in the park, but with only this day for hiking we thought it would be good to get to the High Peaks Trail.  There are several ways to reach that trail, and we chose the Condor Trail, with an elevation of 1200 feet or so in 1.7 miles to the intersection.  The morning was sPut the awning away since the skies are clouding up a bit in the new siteunny but cool, perfect for hiking and the uphill climb seemed easy.  The views were expansive and gorgeous, looking back over the park down to Bear Gulch where we started.

At the intersection with the High Peaks Trail, we walked south a bit to see the views, and then continued back north for the 2.7 miles down to the Bench Trail.  During this time of week, there are no shuttles, so we stopped for lunch in the warm sunshine and rested our weary downhill legs.  All four knees held up, but I was really glad for my hiking poles!  It is a LOT of downhill with very few breaks. It was then another couple miles back to the parking area hiking along Bear Gulch, with more ups and downs than expected.  Amazing how much more we felt those little elevation changes after several miles of hiking!

intersection of the Condor trail and the HighPeaks trailIt was only mid afternoon when we returned, and we considered going back later to try a bit of the Old Pinnacles Trail.  However, neither of us were really up for another six mile hike and on the map it appeared that it was almost 3 miles one way to see the Balconies Caves.  Instead we decided to explore the campground a bit and discovered a huge complex of primitive campsites that could probably hold a small rig, but with no hookups, and every single one of them was reserved for the weekend, and many of those included Thursday night!  We couldn’t imagine all those tent campers showing up, but we left before finding out on Friday morning.

goldfields blooming at the top of the High Line TrailWhen we reached Bear Gulch Visitor Center after our hiking loop, there was a grad student from South Carolina taking a survey of your park experience.  It seems that the park is considering limiting access to large groups, perhaps limiting the number of people who can enter the trails at one time, and even requiring shuttle only entrance into the park area. We saw some illustrative posters of differing numbers of folks at different sites along the trail.  I was incredibly surprised. We had the entire morning and hiked the entire trail without seeing any other hikers until the very end where we met a young couple from Costa Rica, just up from the Bench Trail.  But at the parking lot there were suddenly screaming hordes of children, climbing over rocks, yelling, running up and down and generally doing what kids do on Spring Break.  Maybe the High Peaks trail is too long for them and the Moses Cave Trail and the Reservoir are the goal of a spring break day. The other goal seems to be rock climbing, with several areas filled with young ones attempting their first ascents.  We laughed as we overheard several children saying “not me” when asked who wanted to go first and then hearing the high voice of a young girl piping up with “I’ll go first!”

condor or buzzard?We were blessed with two days of perfectly gorgeous, coolish, sunny weather, an uncrowded campground, empty trails, wonderful hiking, lots of wildlife, and the possibility of seeing the endangered condor.  We studied the maps again, read Merikay’s account of hiking the southern loop of the High Peaks trail and decided, Yes, we will come back to this park again in the springtime.  We will avoid Spring Break Week, we will make a reservation in the campground, hopefully for number 91 again, and we will hike the rest of the trails that we didn’t have time to hike this time.

Yes, it is a bit out of the way, but it is a lovely place to spend a few days if you time it right.  Kinda nice being off the grid entirely.

03-22 Pinnacles

We found the sunshine on the Spring Equinox

green afternoon on the Spring EquinoxThere is a certain color of green in the California coastal range that comes after the winter rains.  Sometimes when the sunlight pours over the hills, that green can be so intense it feels as though it expands your vision into something psychedelic.  The timing has to be just right, and this year is a dry year so that neon green is a bit less dramatic, but still there if you look at just the right moment.

backlit hills from Coyote Ridge TrailOur moment was during a late afternoon hike to the Coyote Ridge Trail in Coyote Lake County Park, high above the hills of the Santa Clara Valley.  After waking to rain in Garberville, driving through rain as far south as Santa Rosa, negotiating huge lines of cars buying gas for 4.15 a gallon at Costco, and transiting the Bay Area freeways, we were happy to find our little park in the hills just a bit north of Gilroy off Highway 101.

the campground is open and today completely emptyWe found this one using Streets and Trips, researched it a bit, and made the decision that it would be a good overnight stop on our way to Pinnacles.  Just a few miles east of the freeway, the park could be in another world entirely. Rising from the valley, we drove a very narrow, winding road to the park entrance, and then after a couple of serious switchbacks, dropped down to the broad but small valley that is the home to Coyote Lake.

another good spot for a breakThe campground is lovely at this time of year.  I can imagine that the summer heat might be daunting, but right now the temperatures were a perfect 70 degrees when we arrived in late afternoon.  A large herd of resident deer wanders around the lush grassy site, and even now after dark I can hear the turkeys gobbling. 

I know it is mid week, but this park was completely empty when we arrived, and later this evening, one lone camper slipped in to a spot across the field from us.  There are 18 sites with hookups, not cheap at $30 per night, but that includes a fee for the dump station we passed on the way in. 

Is that our trail all the way over there? There are 28.5 miles of trails in this parkThe strangest thing about this park is the strict rule regarding NO swimming in the lake.  You can water ski, use jet skis, kayaks, motorboats, but you can’t swim.  Makes no sense to me at all.  Abby saw the water and got all excited so it was sad that we couldn’t take her down to the lake for a dip.

Coyote Lake from the Valley Oak TrailThe best thing about this park are the trails.  There are 28.5 miles of very nice trails, and we only managed to get out on 3 miles or so of the Coyote Ridge and Valley oak trail.  All are dog friendly, with leashes required of course, but with no one else in the park, it seemed fine to let Abby run free.  I did get a bit paranoid about the poison oak, but it wasn’t right on the trail in too many places, and hopefully we managed to keep Abby out of it.

We found amazing sunshine, and warm temperatures.  All the driving, all the rain, all behind us.  Sunshine ahead and I am sitting here after dark in capris and a tee shirt.  Great way to celebrate the beautiful balance of light and dark that this Equinox day brings.

Coyote Ridge to the topPS: As we packed up this morning, I learned some new things about the park.  On summer weekends it is packed.  During the week, however, there is almost always at least half of the hookup spaces available.  In summer it is hot and dry and brown.  The lake is kept at 55 percent of maximum because it is on the Calaveras Fault and they figure that the Anderson reservoir below Coyote Lake and above the Santa Clara Valley floodplain could hold the overflow in the event of dam breakage.  There are only a couple of mountain lions about, covering 100 square miles each, not enough to keep down the deer population.

I had no bars for Verizon MiFi and no bars for the ATT cell phone and no television signals.  I suppose someone with satellite would have had good open sky.  I am now posting from Highway 101 as we head for Pinnacles, another place with no bars.  We’ll be back in blogworld on Saturday.  There isn’t a cloud in the sky and the prediction for today is in the 70’s.  Yes!