Sunday, December 30, 2007

San Francisco - October 2007

I made a quick trip to San Francisco during fleet week in October. The weather was perfect and the Blue Angels were putting on an air show.

Bay Bridge

Blue Angels over Bay Bridge

Blue Angels over city

Yerba Buena Gardens

Transamerica Building

City view of SOMA neighborhood

Street shot - Bay Bridge in background

Golden Gate Bridge

I made a return trip in mid December. It was cold, raining, and I was busy working most of the time I was there. There are no pictures from the December trip.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Washington DC (Sept 29-Oct 2)

I had to make a quick trip to Washington DC for work. On one of the nights, there was a reception and dinner for us at the Smithsonian Castle. Since I had never been to the Castle before, it was a welcome change from a convention dinner at the hotel. During the post-dinner presentation, we also learned quite a bit about the history of the Smithsonian Institution.

Inside the castle....

I stayed at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza. For the most part, I was pleased with this hotel. The first night, I was rather grossed out when I pulled the comforter back and discovered this blanket on the bed.
I wasn't certain if this was a set-in stain or fresh (and had no plans to find out). I called housekeeping and asked them to send somebody up to give me new blankets. I guess I should have been more specific, because they just brought a new blanket. I'm sorry, but with something on the bed that looks that disgusting, I expect the entire bed to be stripped and made fresh. The woman from housekeeping had to make a second trip to get everything to completely make the bed from scratch. At least she was very polite about it.

Also, the in-room internet did not work reliably. You can go to the front desk for a signal booster, but they have limited quantities of those (they had already run out when I requested one). So, they got my $9.95 for internet, and I got a whopping 30 minutes (total - across multiple attempts within 24 hours) of connection. It's already a pet peeve of mine when $200+/night hotels charge for internet, but it's inexcusable when they charge and then can't deliver reliable service.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mount Rainier National Park

I spent a day visiting Mt. Rainier. It was nice coming from 110+ degree weather in Phoenix to see glaciers in the middle of August. Christine Falls

Eagle Peak Overlook


I didn't expect to see so many snakes. In one area, they were everywhere!
Narada Falls

Paradise Valley

Looking at the glaciers
Because I had limited time, I only went from the Nisqually entrance to the Paradise Valley loop and back down. I didn't have a chance to visit the east side of the park.

Seattle Washington (Aug 2007)

I went to Seattle for a few days to relax and visit my friend Crystal. She had to work during the week days, so I kept myself busy by playing tourist. She said no trip to Seattle was complete without visiting Pike Place Market. When people order fish, they throw the order to you. I guess this was supposed to be entertaining. I was more intriqued by all the painted pigs.
Since I wasn't cooking dinner, I bought a few peaches for a snack.

Later, I had lunch at a fish and chips place on the waterfront. Of course the gulls had to come and beg for food. Crazy people were feeding them most of their lunch.
After lunch, I decided to relax at Discovery Park. I went down to the beach to see the light house.

I saw a few interesting plants and animals near the beach.
There were lots of mollusks attached to rocks on the beach.
And lots of gulls

I spent a few hours watching boats go by and reading a book. It was a very relaxing day.

View of Seattle
Crystal had Saturday off so we made a trip to Snoqualmie Falls.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Grand Teton National Park (June 8)

I had to attend meetings in Jackson WY on June 7-8 at the Wort Hotel and decided to extend my trip a few days to visit the national parks in the area. My meeting ended around 3 pm on Friday afternoon, so I picked up my rental car. Just as they were handing me my keys, the rain that had been threatening for the past 2 days actually arrived.

Before leaving Jackson, I stopped by the grocery store and picked up a few bottles of water, some fruit, trail mix, and a couple bottles of Coke. Then I braved the pouring rain and headed to Grand Teton National Park.

I drove up 191 past the fish hatchery and entered the park. This is a view of the Tetons from one of the first pull outs in the park.

At Moose Junction, I decided to take the road that cuts through the interior of the park. It was raining pretty heavy (on and off) but by the time I got to the Lupine Meadows trailhead, the rain had let up. I got out and took a short walk on part of the trail. It was pretty muddy and slippery.
Then the rain started moving in again, so I hightailed it back to my car (I was really glad I splurged for the SUV).
The rain started to let up again, so I took the one-way road along Jenny Lake.
I decided to get out for a short walk at String Lake. It was sprinkling, but I tossed on my raincoat and grabbed my waterproof camera.

You can see the rain splashing in the lake as it falls.
By the time I finished my walk, I was chilled, so I cranked up the heat and let the windows defrost (and the rain let up, since it was pouring by the time I got back to the car).

I debated whether I should drive up Signal Mountain road, since the weather was less than ideal. Since I had the SUV, I decided to go for it. From the top, you can see the valley below.
On the other side, you can see Jackson Lake.

Coming back down the mountain, I decided to stop at this marshy area. I thought I saw a moose out of the corner of my eye.

I got out of the car and slogged through the mud, and found a mother and baby moose.
I was starting to lose daylight, so decided that I better head to Yellowstone before it got too late.
I saw a few elk on their evening forage.
And got one last look at the Tetons as the sun set.

By the time I reached my room at Grant Village Lodge in Yellowstone, it was black outside and all the restaurants were closed. I was happy that I had stopped at the grocery store before leaving Jackson.