Saturday, December 10, 2011

i think we did things in september...

we did, but we didn't really go-go anywhere...
 except the apple farm 

 our new apartment.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Los Angeles still has...

some purdy nifty eye candy. Sometimes I miss that gritty city (specifically for the grit but mostly for our friends). Today, tomorrow or this weekend, maybe you can grab yourself a camera of sorts and walk around yer fair city. We would love to see what you see.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

follow your piers...

It's summer here in a-go-go-land and we have been busy working  and unpacking (new digs!) with visits to the ocean in between. Someday, this space will have more posts, we promise.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why I ave been so busy

I have been so silly busy with a new job and a new place to live and this and that. The result has been no posts for months. For anyone who is still wondering and waiting for more here is a link to the bolg for my new place of employment, iFixit, and my first post there. I hope it will be the first of many... and I hope I can talk them into letting me post some less technical things.

Until we get our mess in order the posts here will continue to be rather thin, but we'll be back at it soon... I hope.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

a year ago today: june 19

was spent in NYC with the ever fabulous ms. j. there was subway riding, mermaid gawking, ice cream eatin' and a great walkabout.

Friday, June 17, 2011

a year ago today: june 17

mister a-go-go and i found ourselves lunching in Philadelphia. we picked a cheesecake place that was highly recommended by the road food duo and we're sorry to say it was pretty un-inspiring. driving in Philly was also a bit chaotic but the sites were nifty and the industrial peeks made the camera happy.
we crossed over into Maryland at some point just for fun and then we crossed the Delaware where i of course imagined that famous bit of American history.
the day ended with an overnight in New Jersey. next stop a lovely weekend with a lovely friend and an excursion into NYC for the infamous mermaid parade
click here for a breakdown of the BIG road trip!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Buchon Trail Revisited, Diablo Canyon, Power, and Six Billion Bears

The two little domes just right of center are the reactor buildings.
A while back we took a hike on the Buchon Trail which offers a view the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. Most folks living in the San Luis Obispo area are aware of the power plant, and more than a few work for Pacific Gas and Electric some at the plant itself. The power plant is on a rather secluded patch of coast line and it is hidden from view unless you work there or take time for the hike. Being out of sight it's easy to forget about. At the time of our hike the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the resulting radiation leaks at Fukushima were all in the future. None the less seeing the Diablo Canyon power plant made me think about how close we live to it. I've wondered about the domes of nuclear power plants since I was a kid. When we would drive past San Onofre I'd stare out the car window at the off-white globes until they disappeared over a slight rise in the freeway. When we'd visit my Aunt and Uncle in Atascadero I would imagine I could squint and see the Diablo Canyon plant from highway 101 where it darts inland just south of Avila Beach. I knew it was there and had seen pictures of the red brown domes but I never laid eyes on it.

Since the earthquake in Japan I have toyed with writing something about our local reactor. A brief internet search brings up many articles and gobs of angry comments regarding Diablo Canyon from both sides. There's the shut-it-down-now-it's-too-dangerous camp and there's the we-need-the-electricity-and-jobs camp. Before the earthquake the plant was already facing an uncertain future. Pacific Gas and Electric was applying to renew the plant's licence to operate for the next twenty years, and the debate was already heated. In the aftermath of the Japan's earthquake even more divisive attention has been heaped on Diablo Canyon. The safety of the plant's location has been in question since before it was built and each new fault discovered and each temblor in the local hills renews the issue. I can't add much to the debate over the new license and I won't try to add links to any articles as it would necessitate showing some kind of bias in what articles to choose. If you are interested I am sure you will have an easy time finding lots of articles on your own.

The opinions of seismologists working for Pacific Gas and Electric versus those outside the company will likely never agree. Predicting the volatility of any fault line is a difficult game. Nuclear disasters are still a rare thing and our history with the atomic stuff is still rather short. How much risk we are taking with any nuclear power plant I'm afraid will only be accurately judged in hindsight... but by then the mess is made and what's the point of judging. Keeping the plant operating seems to come down to how bad do we need the electricity and can we live with the worst if it arrives.

I'm in no position to figure that one out. It'll suck pretty bad for me and my neighbors if the worst arrives, but it isn't driving me to move away. As part of the emergency warning system for the power plant the air raid sirens around town are tested regularly. Hearing the tests is chilling, but again it isn't driving me to move away. Having electricity without burning anything is swell, but then there's all that nasty spent fuel that will far out live me. Nope, I have no answer.

Then a thing occurs to me. It's the same thing that comes to mind when ever I'm in a worrying mood. We fuss over nuclear power, oil, pollution, critters disappearing, illegal immigration, water rights, pesticides..... but one thing doesn't seem to have much voice. Population. There really are so damn many of us, and more and more of us want to have a car and electric lights. Can't say I blame anyone, it seems only right that anyone should be allowed to pursue these things. I suppose nuclear power along with every other form of power will have to be in play if everyone here is going to get to have some toys.

With population too I'm in no position to figure and point. I can't claim that we'd necessarily be better off if the population of the planet was cut in half... or a third... or less. And how does one go about arguing who stays and who goes.  Whoo boy... that leads down a dark hole, don't it?

Are we stuck with this? It kinda looks like we really don't need a nuclear war to wipe us out. Steady population growth will do the job... either through pestilence, shortage of water, or famine... slow and easy compared to nuclear disaster. Population growth scares me more than most things, and even with out our eating habits and toys we would eventually be a problem for ourselves. Heck, six billion bears would wreck the place about as fast as six billion people. It's getting close to seven billion by the way.

Ok, gotta go out and smell the flowers now. Sorry for the bummer folks. Just had to get it out.

Friday, May 13, 2011

the lost hard drive

my long lost Shenandoah drinking buddy
For anyone who was following our Big Trip of 2010 you may remember the hard drive crash in Rhode Island. We had to have a new drive installed in the laptop but the old drive took a mess of travel photos with it. mrs. a-go-go had uploaded some things to Flickr and a few things made it into blog posts but most of the photos from North Carolina to New York were in jeopardy. The folks who put in the new drive told us they could not recover what was on the drive and gave us the name of a company in California that might be able to retrieve something... for a price. Not having the dough or the time to deal with it, the old hard drive lived in a drawer with the hope that one day it could be resurrected.

Well folks, now I have a job at a little company, iFixit, that sells parts for apple laptops (among other things) and publishes free guides for the adventurous electronic device mechanic in the rest of us. Over the last two months or so working at iFixit I have learned a great deal about tinkering with computers. This gave me the confidence to see if I could get anything out of the old hard drive. Turns out it was no sweat! The directory on the old drive was a mess but I had no difficulty at all transferring the lost photos off the old drive. Hmmm... those nincompoops who put in the new drive didn't try very hard at all.

So here's to being bold and adventurous in travel and in electronics. And now, a short selection of the missing part of the Big Trip:
 Pisgah Covered Bridge, North Carolina
a wee water fall, Hanging Rock, North Carolina
fireflies! woo woo!
in Virginia a bit East of Shenandoah National Park
estuary on the Chesapeake
c'mon mr. Lincoln, jump!
so many D.C. museums yer head'll cave in
magic outsider art in Baltimore
people who died of smallpox in Philly
Coney Island mermaids
Washington Square, Manhattan, dance revolution
hail hail
flying over the Hudson on foot
more leaping in the cemetery
That's all folks. Thank you, Kingston, New York.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

beyond the moutain of gold

Buchon Trail, 2/3/2011

We made this hike way back in February, but I never found the time to write a little about it. Pacific Gas & Electric owns a large patch of coast on either side of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant but there are two trails along the bluffs that PG&E will let you hike if you follow the rules. Buchon Trail begins where Montaña de Oro State Park ends and makes its way about three miles along the bluffs.

The trail has little change in elevation and is not very strenuous but there are slippery bits if you're not sure of foot. The California Poppies and other wild flowers like this patch of coast so you may get a colorful show if you go in the spring. The craggy coast is spectacular and you may see some marine mammals foraging in the kelp. Coast birds of all sorts are a sure bet and maybe a pirate or two hiding in the little coves. Beware of the ground squirrels... cute little disease vectors. There are several places along the hike that provide a bench to rest your heels and be still for a while so plan on some extra time to dawdle.

The trail end takes you within sight of the Nuclear plant so the PG&E folks are not kidding about the rules and reservations for this hike. Trust me you are being watched the whole way. The folks at the entrance station know who is on the trail and what they are up to. Stay on the trail, don't even think of climbing the bluffs, there are porta-potties about two miles in so don't pee on the trail, and don't drop any litter. Behave yourself and PG&E will be very friendly... goof around out there and they will either come get you and escort you out or they will take you aside as you leave and kindly ask you not to come back for at least six months.

To get to the trail head take Los Osos Valley Road West from highway 101 just south of San Luis Obispo. This will turn into Pecho Valley Road when you get to the little town of Los Osos. Take Pecho Valley Road all the way to its dead end in Montaño de Oro State Park (no entrance fee). The road ends at a locked gate with a sign posting the trail hours and if it is open that day (rain? don't bother, they won't let you in). Park in the gravel lot and walk through the small pedestrian gate and down the paved road. This will take you to the entrance station where they will check you in and review the rules with you. There are more porta-potties here. Make use of them, it's a good walk to the next ones. The hike is free too but if you are going on a weekend or a nice summer day I do suggest using the reservation form for the trail and start out early. Depending on the season the trail closes at 4 or 5pm. If you arrive too late and the PG&E folks don't think you can make it out and back by closing they won't let you in.

We all get to hike this bit of coast as long as we stay in PG&E's good graces so be courteous. Plan ahead and this is a great hike on the far side of the mountain of gold.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

having a job

Goodness I have been short on posting for a long while. It's official, mr. a-go-go has a job. I have had it for about a month now and I hope that will explain my delinquency in posting. The only adventure I have to report is my purchase of a little telescope (that's the nephew a-go-go looking for "caves" on Bishop's Peak) as a I-have-a-job-at-last! gift. Getting in some amateur astronomy has been on my do-it-before-I-die list for a while. I have not had the chance to take the thing out to a really dark place yet but we have had fun looking at the crescent moon, a wobbly glimpse of Saturn, and some foggy peeps at the Orion Nebula. The sky here is a whole lot better than LA for looking at the night sky but there are still plenty of sodium vapor street lights spoiling things.

Maybe when I get settled into this new job I'll be able to settle my mind and scribble out some new posts. Until then... anyone who is still paying attention here.... well, I thank you for your patience.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

singing sands

Kelso Dunes, Mojave National Preserve, 3/5/2011

Boy howdy, with all my time eaten up by a new job, cold weather keeping us indoors, and all the birthday and anniversary activities the a-go-gos posts have been few and far between. With all that going on I did squeeze in a day trip to the Mojave National Preserve with some old pals. It was a four hour drive one way making for a long day of driving. We did visit other parts of the preserve, namely abandoned houses in Cima, the forest of Joshua Trees that gives Joshua Tree National Park a run for its prickly trees, and the cinder cones and lava flows of the North-West side of the preserve; but the highlight of the trip was a hike in the Kelso Dunes.
The dunes are one of only thirty sand dune sites known for their singing sands. The phenomenon is sometimes described as booming or thrumming and is apparently the result of the particular qualities of the sand grains at this site. Under particular wind conditions the steady cascade of sand scooting down the leeward side of the dunes develops an audible oscillation. On our visit we were not lucky enough to hear the sound of the sand as produced by the wind but our footsteps along the ridges dislodged smaller cascades on the dune faces. These cascades gave us a small taste of the thrumming. We could briefly hear the sound and feel the vibrations in our feet buried in the sand. I would describe it as similar to a distant prop airplane sputtering. It must be something else to hear the dunes on the occasions when the wind makes the whole dune complex vibrate.
We managed to arrive at the dunes at 9am on a mild day. To see the dunes in the best light get there near to sun rise or sun set. We were a bit late for the best light but we had a nice mild temperature for our walk. It goes without saying that in the summer this would be a poor choice for an afternoon hike, and in the winter the early morning and late afternoon is likely to be quite cold. Spring and Fall offer the best temperatures but the overnight winds typical of the in between seasons can make overnight camping in a tent a bit trying.

Our hike took about three hours including a nice snack break on one of the peaks of sand. Even on a cool day this is no hike for the timid. The sand really eats up your energy and the high slopes of the big dunes are surprisingly steep. Take your time and don't give up. With plenty of rest stops on the slope you can make it to the top of the world. After seeing the top the slide back down in a cascade of sand is well worth the hard work and a welcome reward in spite of the buckets of sand you'll be pouring out of your shoes and pockets... and nether regions. Take lots of water. The desert air will dry you out like cat turds in the litter box.
Wanna go? The dunes are south of the Kelso Depot (where you'll find the visitor center, and a lunch counter) on Kelbaker Road. The distances are longer than they look in this wide open place so fill up your gas tank before you get into the preserve. Kelbaker Road winds North-South between interstate 15 at Baker, CA to interstate 40. The whole big 'ol preserve fills much of the space East of Barstow, CA and West of the Nevada boarder. It's a whole lot of lonely out there.

The preserve offers much more than the dunes. mrs. a-go-go posted some photos of our first visit to the Mojave National Preserve in 2009. Take more than a day if you can, and stay overnight to catch the best morning and afternoon light. Now I just need to get some time off from my new job for another trip to the singing sands.


Related Posts with Thumbnails