Sunday, November 16, 2014

November 2014: Sarasota, FL

Last trip of the year, this one to Sarasota in southwest Florida, which happened to coincide nicely with polar-vortex'ed Colorado of which I escaped just in time.

I'm a ten-minute beach person but Lido Beach was still nice.

Florida Sea Grape, which does well with sandy soil and salty air:

A Roseate Spoonbill:

Ed Smith Stadium, spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles, hosting some type of adult baseball league tournament:

Nice lot of croton plants.  Sometimes you see these as an inside plant in Colorado houses:

The original house of the famous tightroping Wallenda's.  7th generation Nik Wallenda just recently did a untethered, blindfolded walk between two Chicago skyscrapers on a windy night!

Some kayakers on Sarasota Bay, near the Katherine Harris mansion.  If that name doesn't ring a bell, she was the Florida Secretary of State during the controversial vote recount for the 2000 USA presidential election.

An orange tree in a neighborhood yard, probably six weeks away from harvest time.

Myakka River State Park, to the east of Sarasota, is a nice getaway to see the real Florida:

The park has a neat 74 foot tower that you can climb, which provides a view from above the treetops:

 The lizards are big here:

 Sunset from Sarasota Bay:

And from Lido Beach:

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October 2014: Santa Clara, California

Another nice trip to Santa Clara, almost all of it spent in the Rivermark area.  Not much to report other than the long awaited and much litigated Northside Branch Library is now open.  Previous mentionings here and here:


Monday, September 29, 2014

September 2014: Santa Fe, New Mexico

Santa Fe, NM.  Good to be back for a visit after ten or so years since my last time here. 

At the Santa Fe Plaza, downtown. 

The De Vargas Street House, one of the oldest buildings in the USA:

New Mexico State Capitol Building, and the Chambers of the NM House of Representatives.  The top three floors are also art galleries.


The Jean Cocteau Cinema, which was purchased and re-opened in 2013 by fulltime Santa Fe resident and author George R R Martin of Game of Thrones fame:

I had never seen the Santa Fe Railyard area before but I really liked it.   Unlike a lot of other rejuvenated railyard areas, there are real running passenger trains here, in addition to restaurants, a brewery, and a farmers market:

 I stumbled across a friendly vintage UK automobile show in the Railyard.  First, a 1953 Austin Healey Model 100:

 1958 MG MGA:

1961 Range Rover P4:

And finally, in the hills above Santa Fe around 8000 ft in elevation, the ski lodge at Hyde Memorial State Park, which can be rented out during the summer:

Friday, August 22, 2014

August 2014: Leadville and Twin Lakes, Colorado

In what seems like an annual August visit for me now, I was once again in Leadville, Colorado and its neighboring village, Twin Lakes.

One of the striking differences between Leadville and other Colorado mountain towns is that the ski industry is just a little too far away to reshape it from its original mining heritage look and feel.  You won't find condo compounds or chain coffee shops here, which is refreshing.

 Leadville is now known for its summer-long series of weekend athletic endurance events, including cycling, running, and burro-racing.  Although some residents have voiced opposition to the congestion and crowds that these events bring in, many local businesses make the majority of their revenue during these months and then try to hang on during the off-season.  At 10,000 feet in altitude, winters here are tough and visitor traffic slows considerably. 

The tiny village of Twin Lakes, mostly populated with vacation cabins and a general store. 

I never get tired of the views from Twin Lakes:

Twin Lakes gets an instant population boost on a weekend every August when the Leadville 100 Trail Run uses this area as an aid station, at miles 40 and 60 of the course.  Families and supporters of race entrants often set up a tent and chairs, and make a day out of it:

Sunday, August 3, 2014

July 2014: Bay Area, California

Out to the San Jose area in July for work.  I left at a convenient time, just as a heat wave hit the Colorado Front Range for a few days.  

I had half a Sunday to explore so I took the train from Santa Clara to San Francisco, soon after getting off the plane.

Santa Clara train station:

The Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco:

Stumbled upon Chinatown:

The distinctive Flatiron Building on Market Street:

Walking around the outside grounds of the baseball stadium (AT&T Park), I saw what looked like was bicycle accident, with some dented cars and a few police officers around:

And then saw some people on the ground, some with bloody faces.  Thought it may have been a protest or sit-in gone bad but one of the officers told me that they were filming a movie, and that I should keep moving.   I looked it up later in the day and it turns out it will be an earthquake disaster movie called San Andreas, starring wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. 

Nice day in the City, with mostly blue skies, but time to go back to the Valley.  My double-decker train at SF Caltrain Station:

In Santa Clara, beautiful California weather the whole week while I was there.  I'm usually here earlier in the year, in the rainy season:

The completed new Santa Clara NFL football stadium for the 49ers.  I've been watching this structure rise for a few years now.

Vegan hot dogs are not something you expect to be sold at a NFL stadium.  Let's see if it takes off at other places.

And just to track another stadium being built in the area, this is where the San Jose Earthquakes (Pro Soccer) will start playing next year, right next to the San Jose Airport.