Another day in the wild

Okay, maybe not so wild.

California is home to over fifty National Wildlife Refuges, a large number of which are located in the central and north-central valley; one of the most important wintering areas for waterfowl in North America.  The Bypasses offer thousands of acres as a haven (of sorts) for waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, migratory birds, as well as bats, turtles, toads, snakes, and other critters and creatures.  I say a haven ‘of sorts’ because most have some acres blocked off during the October to January hunting season so that waterfowl hunters can ply their hobby.

We are lucky enough to live within one to three hours driving time to many of the larger refuges.  I visit them often as I try to figure out my new telephoto lens and one of these days I’ll conquer it or at least the fear of it!

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Hope Valley, Ca.

There’s a magical place in the California Sierra Nevada mountains that transforms from a very pretty area during most of the year into a wondrous palette of autumn colors, the likes we don’t normally get to see on the West Coast. Granted, the types of trees and colors are not in par with the Northeast, but Californians can enjoy a little piece of fall colors here.

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Redding’s Kool April Nites – 2016

Over the past couple of years, we’ve made the annual trek to the Kool April Nites Cruise and Car Show in Redding, Ca. In its 27th year, Kool April Nites continues to please classic car owners and general auto fans alike. This year it was expected to register over 1,900 classic cars (aged 1979 or older) for the event with all proceeds going to local youth charities. The main draws of the week-long event are the Friday night cruise and the big Show & Shine on Saturday outside the Redding Civic Auditorium. Additionally, there are concerts, dances, and smaller Show & Shines at different locations during the week. The Redding weather in April can be hit and miss, but the show goes on rain or shine. This year, it stormed all day Friday with a huge amount of rain falling in the afternoon – by all accounts over 2 inches. But by Cruise time that evening, the rain had stopped, the Cruise began on time and it was an enormous hit yet again. There weren’t as many spectators as usual due to the weather earlier in the day, but many still came out along the route to enjoy the beauties (and some entries not so beautiful) drive by. Continue reading

Our ‘El Nino’ Year

It’s been so long that we’ve enjoyed a good rain year in California, that I find myself in awe of the lush and vibrant colors this El Nino winter. I just don’t remember when the fields were so green, the sky was filled with such beautiful winter clouds, the river had so many rapids, and the water was so clear. Just a few shots of what the West is experiencing. Continue reading

Winter finally comes to California

It’s been four long years of drought for California, leaving some reservoirs at record lows and some 12 million trees dead and dying due to stress from the extreme drought allowing the bark beetle infestation to run rampant.  And the stressed and dead trees added to the fuel that fed the devastating wildfires of 2015. Continue reading

Oradour France, a silent witness of Nazi atrocities.

Compelling article by Stephan Fouquaert about a little-publicized WWII horror.

Shooting Phase One

Oradour, a silent witness of Nazi atrocities.

February 1944,

The 2nd SS Pantser Division an elite division of the Nazi Waffen SS was stationed in Southern French waiting to be resupplied with new equipment and fresh troops. Their mission was to stop the Allied advance in the north. One of its units was the 4th SS Pantser Grenadier Regiment Commanded by Sylvester Stadler. While SS Storm ban fuhrer Adolf Diekmann commanded the 1st Battalion .   Otto Weidinger was with the regiment for familiarisation.

Oradour, main street. Untouched since the fatal day in 1944 Oradour, main street. Untouched since the fatal day in 1944

Early on the morning of 10 June 1944, Diekmann informed Weidinger that he had been approached by two members of the Militia,a paramilitary force of the Visie Regime.

The Militia claimed “ a Waffen SS officer Helmut Kampfe is held hostage by the Resistance in Oradour a nearby village, captured yesterday by the Resistance group Maquis du…

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A not-so-Hot August Nights

After experiencing some very hot days at the 2014 Hot August Nights in Reno, Nevada, we planned and prepared for another hot time in the old town this year.  Much to our surprise and delight, the temperature in Reno this year averaged about 85 degrees – about 15 to 20 degrees cooler than last year.   People actually donned jackets and sweaters in the evening as compared to last year when folks were removing as much clothing as possible!  Here are some shots from the 2015 event.
reno street

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Capitola Weekend and a Car Show

wharf2The Wharf at Capitola

It was a typical weekend on the coast – lots of misty fog, dull overcast and beautiful sunshine interspersed throughout each day.  The Capitola 10th Annual Rod & Custom Car Show was scheduled for June 6 & 7 and had about 300 reserved spots in the show for car clubs and individual enthusiasts.  It is a popular car show for entrants and the public alike due to the beautiful ocean-front venue, laid-back atmosphere, and the cool weather in what is looking to be a very hot and dry summer in California.  Even the horrific bumper-to-bumper traffic on Highway 17 coming over the hill from San Jose didn’t deter the throngs from driving to the coast. Continue reading

Kool April Nites in Redding, Ca


Thunderbird at the Kool April Nites Friday cruise.

Last year, we signed up for the Kool April Nites Car Show in Redding a few months in advance of the show.  As it got closer to the scheduled day, the weatherman predicted rain throughout the weekend and since our registered ’41 Chevy doesn’t sport windshield wipers, we opted not to drive the 210 miles to the show.  RainX only goes so far!  Of course, it didn’t rain as predicted, so we missed a great weekend seeing friends and ogling the great classics at the show.  Continue reading