Tuesday, May 27, 2014

(NO) Waterfalls Trail Loop, Mt. Diablo

 A lot of these pictures you can play "Where's Brian?" with . 
 That hill was covered with wild flowers, more than just yellow, but yellow is all the camera picked up.
 Here's some pretty purple ones.

 Brian is in the above, and below pictures.  We round the corner of the hill we're on and head back into the valley that is behind there.  That is where the waterfalls would normally be.
 Above, he's a little below center of the picture, all you cans see are arms, legs, and head.

 No waterfalls really, but any water we did get to was a gift! It was very hot, we rinsed off and wet down our shirts at each water hole.
 That was a doozy of a short, steep, loose gravel downhill!
 I'm really not sure what all I touched running through here, but we rinsed off good once we got through this section.

 Above - a Wild White Bush.  Below, getting too hot!

 A few more Gopher Snake pictures.  Man, this was a pretty snake! After I was done getting pictures, I tried to flick his tail to get him to move, instead he started rattling it in the grass. Smart move, but he didn't fool me. I do think it's pretty cool that they've learned to pretend to be rattlers as a defense mechanism, though.

 It's not fun anymore. : ) I don't do 90's and grassland.

It felt like we finished this running across the surface of the sun. I loath having to finish runs with crossing the grass lands!!  We knew the whole run that the last 1.5 miles was going to be harder than the climbing earlier in the morning, just because there is zero cover and that dirt radiates the heat back up into your face.  All in all, it was a treat to get Brian out on the mountain. This was his first run of any kind in over a month.  He had gotten some random infection in the lymphatic channel in his leg - as in it hurt, was swollen, and he had a bright red line up the inside of his leg.  So that took it's toll, and time, to work out.  BUT, we have  a few exciting runs coming up, and we're getting back at it!

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Few From This Mornings Run

 A beautiful flower on the mountain.....
My shirt soaked in a mountain creek....................

And this...one of my favorite shots I've taken! 
Lots more pictures to come tomorrow. Just wanted to share these today.
Hope you are all having a wonderful 3 day weekend!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Camping - Antlers Campground, Lake Shasta

 We lost a day off the front end of our trip....that day consisted of Brian sitting at Les Schwab from 10 - 3:30 getting the brake line replaced in the van.  We headed out of town in the evening, started setting up camp at 11pm. When we pulled into the campground, we discovered 2/3rds of it (including the 4 campsites we love and had been excited to have our pick of because none of them were reserved) was closed.  Oh, also the water in the spigots was off, so no water. We had a cooler full of food we got in Redding, and needed to get ice, so after camp was set up, Brian headed for the gas station..which closed 15 minutes early because it was slow. He ended up having to go into the local joint called The bASShole, (spelled just like that)  and asking some well endowed ladies if there was ice anywhere on the premises. One "lady" went in the back and came out with a garbage bag full of ice. I think he was traumatized for life by what he saw that night, lol.  Lets just say...the trip started off a bit rocky...or bouncy?? : )
 Above, that's us getting on the road...and below, we'll just fast forward to the first morning in camp, after everything was set up, and we could finally relax.
 There was lots of Lupine all around the camp,  a little hard to see here, but they are beautiful purple flowers.
 After my first pot of camping coffee, I was finally starting to be a happy camper!
 Brian is an excellent camp chef.  If there's any real cooking while camping, he does it all. Mostly we just roast stuff, but he makes a mean camping breakfast.
 Well, this is a nice look at what the lake looks like right now. It's not pretty, but makes a good shot of where mountains, desert, and a few drops of water meet.

 We definitely spent more time in camp this trip since getting to the lake was no easy task.
  One day we drove to a different part of the lake to see if getting to water was any easier. It wasn't, but we did check out a new campground (it was a dud). I took the below picture because I was thinking one of these trips, I would love to actually see a bear or a rattle snake. Not sure why I think this would be cool, but somehow I figure it would enhance our camping experience.

 Wallah- less than 5 minutes later, Brian spotted this good sized rattler.

 Coloring a map of the lake.

This shot gives you a great look at how steep the bank is down to the water. Some of the banks had roads that would get you down close to the water....but not in a mini van.

It was nice to get a way for a few days, and I'm glad we went now because by the end of summer when we would normally go again....we could easily be down to just the Sacramento river running through here and no more lake left.  Unless the level comes up somehow, we'll be looking for alternative camping.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Sophie's Solo

Sophie's 4th grade play was this morning. She was super nervous, but she did great. They performed it yesterday for the school, and today for the parents. She had a solo at the very end.  She gets super nervous in front of people, so this was a big, big deal, and she did great!  Our friend Carly came too, and she has a sweet truck, so Sophie got to ride to her performance in a "Country Limo".

Our original plan was to pull the kids out of school right after the play and head for Shasta. However, life, or rather...the van's brakes, had different plans.

Yesterday while driving, I went to brake and the brake went all the way down to the floor w/no resistance....and the car did not stop.  It slowed down, and eventually stopped....but lets just say it was not a good feeling.  Then the dash started flashing all types of warnings - Service traction system, Service stability system.....then the emergency brake light came on even though the brake was not set, and then the Low brake fluid warning came on.  Thing is...we just got new brakes not even 2 months ago, so I refused to believe anything was wrong. It's not allowed to go wrong - first we just spent a ton of money on brakes, second we have no money to fix anything, third we are leaving to go camping. So I pulled over, turned the car off, then turned it back on thinking maybe the computer just went wonky and nothings really wrong...but after pumping the brakes a few times, i knew something was really wrong.
To keep this short, and not reveal anything that would freak my parents out....I got the van to the bart station (where brian would be getting back from work), spent 2 hours at starbucks, discovered a pool of brake fluid by the rear right brake, took a scary ride to Chevron for brake fluid, then home w/Brian, and he's now sitting at Les Schwabb waiting for the part to arrive at 4 this evening. Yes, since we only have one car, Brian has to sit there all day, then it has to get installed (new brake line).  They did say they should have caught it when they replaced the brakes, so we only have to pay for the part, not the labor.

It is without fail that when Brian has a long weekend something like this happens. Every time. He called me to say he reserved a patio boat for a day on the lake...within 5 minutes the brakes quit working, I texted him that something was really wrong with the car, and he immediately called back the boat place and cancelled it. I feel so bad for him that something always happens.  There are very few things that Brian really really enjoys and looks forward to getting to do, and being on the lake is at the top of the list. We are to the point where we are just waiting for something to go majorly wrong whenever he takes time off. 

Anyway....hopefully the part does come at 4, is installed today, and we head up either tonight or early tomorrow.  : )

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Gone Camping

We will be out camping till next week up at Shasta....which is looking more like a river and less like a lake these days.  Above is an older picture, below is from April of this year. Hiking down to the water will be interesting, but we are looking forward to getting away for a few days and relaxing regardless of how low the water is.

Below is the bridge the kids usually jump off of. They swim out to the arch and jump off of it.  90% of our swimming is usually done back in that spot behind the bridge. This pic was back in Feb. of this year. No jumping allowed this trip, and we're going to have to find a new swimming hole.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Going Back to Last Month.....

 Last month I finally got to go on a field trip with one of my kids!! The only field trip that has happened so far this year.  I didn't know we'd be starting off with wine, but that is a good incentive to get more parents to volunteer!  Anyhow, we were heading off to Sacramento to visit the capitol building, Sutter's Fort, Old Town Sac, and the Train Museum.  That's really a lot for one day!

 Yes, I found it hilarious that we were going to be pulling up to the state capitol building in these wine tour buses, and that a long line of kids would come staggering out.  What actually happened is that Sophie's teacher, Mr. Nick, missed the last step getting off the bus and landed face first on the pavement.  Must have been some fumes from the last tour left over in the bus. So these pictures are not in order and it's 100 here today and I'm cranky, so you will have to deal with them being out of order because I'm not fixing them : )
 After we went to the state capitol, we spent some time with our group of kids wandering around Old Town Sac before we went to the Train Museum.  I bought my group some of Old Towns famous mini fried donuts and later some Icee's cuz it was hot!

  Then it was finally time to go see the trains!
 But before we went to the train museum, we went to Sutter's Fort.

 They were using the sun and a magnifying glass to burn their names into the wood, it was surprisingly fast!

And below, last in this post, but first on the actual day we went....the inside of the state capitol building.  Did you know you can just walk up, go through a metal detector, and walk around inside?? Who knew.  In fact, the rooms where they pass the laws and debate stuff have audience seating upstairs because it has to be open to the public.

 Inside of the dome.
Twas a fun day. Long. But fun.