Four Months In…

Four months into the restoration process, the vehicle is completely disassembled in the garage and on Monday it will depart for the mechanic for engine work and the stripping company to be blasted and an epoxy primer.  This work will likely take about two months.

Beginning of the Great Bus Restoration – 40 years of VW living

This year marks the 40th year of my VW camper bus. It has seen a lot of action in the western US and Canada. And now it is time to give it a good scrub and overhaul.

First step – dismantling


Holidays inTX

Quality family time in Texas

Parts Unknown and a Treat

At the request of Julia (Karen’s sister) and Chris (our brother-in-law), Karen and I hiked with them (and Oakley the nearly one year old) out of Mosquito Flat, up-canyon from Tom’s Place in the eastern Sierras off Hwy. 395 just south of Mammoth.  In a word, “wow.”

This region is beautiful, easy to access, and even with its high popularity you still could feel completely alone should you walk just a quarter mile off the trail to any one of the many small lakes tucked beneath the towering 12,000-14,000 foot peaks.

According to many of the hikers, angling was good too.

Fisher to Mama Bear, bring Baby Bear to Camp Half Dome

Karen and I, in our continuing adventure to hike all trail miles in Yosemite National Park, struck out on a two-day backpack along trails that we felt were unlikely to produce any adventure.  We were mistaken on that account.

Our trip began just after Olmsted Point and just before Tenaya Lake, at a trail crossing that connects May Lake with Tenaya Lake.  It is rarely used by people and so we’ve found it a convenient parking spot twice now.  The trail follows the highway until Olmsted Point, at which point it follows Tenaya Gorge down for a mile before turning north again and rising over a ridge then dropping into Snow Creek.  This was approx. 7 miles.

What we found, to our pleasure, is that you can’t find an ugly part of Yosemite.  We were treated with views of Clouds Rest and Half Dome for well over half the hike in.  In fact, it was some of our closest views of Clouds Rest.  The textured and sculpted valley walls were incredible.

We selected a camp site out on the end of a peninsula of rock just where Snow Creek turns into Snow Creek Falls and tumbles into the Valley some 1,500 feet below.  Directly across from our camp was Half Dome.  It was as if we could reach out and touch it.


We had been approached by a ranger mid-afternoon and through talking with him about the trails he has hiked this season found out that the resident bear was headed back our direction… with a cub in tow.

The night passed without incident, although it was one of the windiest nights we have experienced in Yosemite.

Packing up the next morning, we hit the trail just after 9 o’clock, and walked back up Snow Creek towards May Lake.  It wasn’t more than 15 minutes out of camp when we spotted the bear, and her TWO cubs.  Adorable and tumbly, we watched the three bears for several minutes as they decided to walk away from us and the trail.  So we continued.

Approximately 6.4 miles later, and roughly 2,400 vertical feet higher, we spotted a very rare creature for Yosemite; we saw either an endangered Pacific Fisher (member of the weasel family) or American Marten scampering off having just made a kill of a ground squirrel.  It was a momentary sighting and I was unable to get my camera started before it was too far into the brush.  Still, it was a neat sight to see.

The hike wrapped up uneventfully, but with lots of great scenery.  Here are some photos.


11th, 4th and the Stanislaus

Karen and I spent our 11th anniversary over 4th of July weekend backpacking along the Stanislaus River in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness.  The trailhead was up several miles of dirt road, which required Vader to drive very very slowly at times, and at others to utilize the banked dirt walls as roads themselves.  The hike wrapped around the Dardanelles, a group of mountains with mysterious volcanic origins (oooooooh).  We camped at the eastern-most point on Spicer Meadow Reservoir, and went on a looping day hike over toward Bull Run Peak on Sunday.  Good thing that Karen remembered her map and compass.  We ended up loosing the trail several times (as we were probably the first humans to walk on it in years) and cross-country hiking down a watershed that conveniently led us precisely back to our camp.  Yay us.  Quite a lovely time with virtually no one around except us two love-birds and enough bear activity to keep things lively.  Enjoy.

SE Asia v2.0

Karen and I headed back over to Asia, but this time with an underwater twist.

C-15 Relaunched

Just over one year ago I received in Stockton my father’s old C-15, which had been in storage for just over a decade.  This is the boat in which my father taught us kids how to sail and race.  This weekend the boat was relaunched after a year of overhaul.  Here’s a bit of the photo history of this project.

A Surprise Trip

One of the perks of Karen’s job is surprise trips to fun places.

Aloha Hawaii.


First time visitor.  Enjoyed it.