A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Aquaman Returns

   I am not a water person.
   Usually the water is cold and I don't like cold. If its not that, then there is the matter of floating. I don't float well. I've always known how to swim well enough to save my life. Fortunately I have never had to put that statement to the test.
   Long long ago when I used to run races, I got interested in bicycling soon after. This naturally led to the desire to try and do a triathlon so...I needed to learn to swim better. I took lessons and I practiced. After some time, and swallowing a lot of water, I was able to swim a mile.
   I did a few short triathlons and was usually one of the last to exit the water. The rest of the event was spent passing up people. After 10 years of this my knee gave out and it all came to a slow gradual end. That was over 20 years ago.
   Now for those of you new to this blog, I once again can run. This happened after we moved near the state park two years ago and I got into mountain biking. So now what do you think comes next?
   We are fortunate to live in a community where we have free access to 3 pools. I realized it is silly to not take advantage of these resources and with the encouragement from my wife, I went to the lap pool with her one afternoon. It all came back to me, just like riding a bicycle. I still had the technique I learned long long ago.
A lady who was swimming next to us had these fins on. They looked really comfortable and boy, do I need all the help I can get until my noodle arms get some strength back into them. I got a pair.
They really help in keeping my stern up instead of swimming like a wounded fish. Sinbad inspected them and they passed.
I didn't feel I needed goggles. Everything is blurry anyway without my glasses. Plus I remember my uncomfortable leaky old swim goggles that made my eyeballs bulge out like a gecko. But after that first time in the pool, later in the evening my eyes felt like sandpaper. I needed eye protection from all those chemicals. I remembered the goggles that lady had. I found them in a sports store and wow, what advances they have made in swim goggles over the past 20 years! Comfortable, no leakage and I don't look like a raccoon after I take them off.

So I am liking this swimming, more so than before. The water is warm and I am not dragging my ass-end in the water. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, I have absolutely NO interest in doing any triathlon.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Long Eared Owl

He looks very perturbed at me for taking his picture, but he always looks like that.
I think.
It was quite dark high up in that tree with lots of shadow and little sunlight. I was quite impressed on how my photo program was able to bring out his features so well under the very bad conditions.
Technology can be your friend at times.

Here is the original image.

You can see more birds at WORLD BIRD WEDNESDAY

Monday, June 27, 2011

Race Day

Well, I had the day right this time.

Here is the lead pack...
and the first woman.
There were young riders...
and the not so young.
Some had beards...
and extra body hardware.
Some were very serious...
some gritted their teeth...
gasped for air...
and others having way too much fun.
(you did notice those having all the fun were women?)
Some rode with their friends and dressed alike..
as did this father and son duo...
or alone and dressed a bit different.
And maybe you just came directly from work at CalTrans (Calif. Dept of Highways).
And don't let a little thing like a broken arm stop you.

But the most amazing person, well let me says persons, I saw came by just after I put my camera away unfortunately. It was a woman leading a blind man. She was non-stop constantly calling out directions to him, a bit left, right, rock left, uphill and he would repeat back acknowledging her. I am sure their was more to the communication than what I just wrote for I only heard a little bit as they rode by. I was blown away by this. Her rapid-fire telling him everything had to be exhausting in itself. I know blind people have taken part in triathlons with a guide person leading them by a tether for the swim, doing the run side by side touching elbows and riding the bike on the road is smooth and obstacle free. But riding a bike on a rough rocky trail with all kinds of countless hazards is beyond my comprehension. The courage this man had to ride a mountain bike for 14 miles over the roughest terrain imaginable, not to mention the faith he had in his partner, will be something I will never forget.

After that couple there were no more riders. Nearly 700 mountain bikers passed by this little flower and it survived because it chose to live in front of the big rock. I got on my bike and rode home, wishing I had entered the race and being careful not to crash with my nice DSLR camera in my bag.
Yes, I have crashed in the past and I can see where I am going.

Incidentally, all the funds generated from race fees for this event will be used to help keep Annadel Park open when the State Park closure goes into effect this September.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

It is a Tough Cruel World Out There

During our little Father's Day walk we took in the park, this Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly flittered about us in slow motion. Once he landed we could see why. It appears he had an close encounter with a bird who snipped off the trailing edge of his wing. Now he will become an easy catch for the next bird who happens by. So goes the life and death struggle in Nature, where the peaceful butterfly always come out on the losing end.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Day at the Races

There is a mountain bike race today up in my Annadel State Park playground. These photos are from a race last year. There are three courses, short, medium and long. The routes are kept secret until race day. Why, I don't know but for this outfit who puts on the race that is how they do it. So I am not sure really where to go to watch and take pictures. I'd like to be at a point where I can catch all three groups before they split off to go their own separate ways. I am looking forward to getting some creative shots of bike racers in action.

Now here is the fun part of this story. I put in 10 miles riding all around the trails last Saturday looking for the course and set myself up to watch. I found nothing and it wasn't until I got back home did I discover that I had the wrong weekend! It was the NEXT Saturday, today. I think I should rename this blog "The Misadventures of Sinbad and I".

Friday, June 24, 2011

Calla Lily

I took quite a few shots (by my standards) of this flower in our yard. These two are about as close to what I was trying to achieve. And just what was I trying to achieve? I don't know. I guess a "I really like that one" thought when I first see it on the computer screen. So as you can surmise I had this "That's okay...I guess" thought when viewing these two. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

7th Inning Stretch

We've never seen a quail lie down on its side, stretch out his legs and just lie there. After about a half a minute or so he got up and continued with his pecking and scratching for fallen seeds from the feeders. Normally the quail come to feed in pairs or a group but he was all alone. Having this strange habit of his I don't think he has many friends. 
"Hide, here comes Earl."

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Under Flower

This shot was inspired by a post on another blog I follow. Click here to see what inspired me. I don't think I pulled it off quite as well a she did so what does one do in that case? Go do some more under flower shots.
Now to find some flowers that I can crawl underneath of, lying on the ground with all the bugs, ants, turkey poop, poison oak, rattlesnakes...
See, this flower was in a pot of flowers my wife has on our deck - safe and sane shooting conditions.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Stuff We Can Eat

Here my sweet, we can eat this. It is what birds eat but we can eat it too.

Mommy, there is a hooman pointing something at us!

It is okay. It is inside it's home. It can't hurt us. Lick the bird food off your nose.

Now lets go around the front and I'll show you what rose bushes are.