Among the Giant Sequoias

Darlene and I loaded up the van and the cats and headed out this past week for a short adventure.  First stop was to overnight under some dark skies in the San Benito mountains for a potential meteor storm from Tau Herculids.  (There was a decent meteor shower, but no full-on storm.)  We then spent the next five days in and around Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park, hiking among the magnificent giant sequoia trees, checking out Kings Canyon and exploring the Sequoia National Forest between the two national parks.  We also attempted an extended mountain bike ride from Buck Rock to Lookout Peak but had to abort due to a failure / total destruction of my rear hub – resulting in a long bike walk back.

We came across some black bears while hiking in Sequoia National Park.

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Central Nevada Road Trip

After a week in Mt. Bachelor, and with Darlene still visiting her mom, my intention had been to explore southeastern Oregon, but a series of forecasted storms would make many of those dirt roads impassable so I headed back south and ended up on a trip through central Nevada with the ultimate goal of visiting Great Basin National Park near the Utah border. (Separate post and gallery here.)

This trip involved traveling lots of remote routes, both paved and unpaved, and finding interesting places to camp.  Along the way, I spent some time trying out the mountain bike trails near Ely at Ward Mountain, visited the Lunar Crater National Landmark and explored the amazing clay formations at Cathedral Gorge State Park.  No alien encounters (although I was buzzed by what might have been an F-22 Raptor) and unfortunately the ghost town / fossil site Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park is currently closed for road repairs.

 

(If this HDR video can’t play in your browser, here’s a more basic, non-HDR version .)

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Great Basin National Park

Looking towards Doso Doyabi (center) and Wheeler Peak (right).

These are pictures from spending four days in Great Basin National Park in mid-April (with the cats, of course) – driving up to the Mather Overlook (the road was still closed beyond that point due to snow), hiking up the Baker Creek Trail and the Lehman Creek Trail, taking the Lehman Caves tour and venturing around to the remote southern tip of the park to hike up to Lexington Arch.

I want to go back sometime and do the hike to the top of Wheeler Peak (elevation 13,065 ft / 3982 m).

(If this HDR video can’t play in your browser, here’s a more basic, non-HDR version.)

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Ski Trip to Mt. Bachelor

With a long overdue incoming winter storm, Troy and I decided to make an impromptu road trip to Mt. Bachelor in Oregon for fresh powder – and we got plenty!

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Rachel in Virtual Reality

Rachel and Vishal get a taste of virtual reality (VR):

And a bit of Quacks of Quedlinburg:

(See more VR demos here)

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Greg’s 50th Birthday

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Ski Weekends at Homewood

These are pictures and videos from several more ski weekends at Homewood in Tahoe with Troy, Resi, Aiden and Darlene over February and March.

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Tahoe Ski Week

Darlene and I joined Bill, Stan and Jon for our yearly ski vacation week, this time in Tahoe in early March.  We hit up Northstar and Palisades Tahoe during the week, with lots of board gaming in between of course.  On Saturday, Stan and Jon joined us at Homewood with Troy and Aiden to enjoy a bit of new snow.

(3.3 minute video montage of our ski week)

And a little VR demo-ing:

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A High Speed Tour of the Tahoe Ski Areas

I took off in an F/A-18E jet from Truckee airport and visited most of the Tahoe area ski resorts in 12 minutes or less:

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Kevin & Vanessa’s Wedding

February 22, 2022 at Saratoga Springs, California:

 

 

 

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Gamers Gone Skiing

A four-minute video montage of our skiing days.

We got our gaming group together in Tahoe in early February for a few days of skiing and board gaming. Geof and Nacho joined me on the slopes at Tahoe Palisades while Jennifer, Adriana, Laurie and Richard checked out the lake and old town Truckee – and Laurie got in an afternoon at Northstar.

We had exploding potions in Quacks of Quedlinburg, color confusion in Hues and Cues, pushed our luck in Diamant, placed our bets in Wits & Wagers, rolled for the top in Mountain Goats, intercepted secret codes in Decrypto, managed our tricks in both The Crew and Instinct, swam with sharks in Survive: Escape from Atlantis!, built up a map of cities and roads in Carcassonne, dodged avalanches in Slide 5, and laid out our “stained glass” dice windows in Sagrada.

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Let The Games Continue

Starting with the wonderfully imposing monolith from Return to Dark Tower:

…and continuing with clan conflict in Inis, a jungle race in The Quest for El Dorado, city planning in Suburbia, back-stabbing cooperation in Cutthroat Caverns, murderous philosophy in Trial by Trolley, breeding pea plants in Genotype, holding back the inevitable dike failure in Lowlands, interstellar warfare in Cosmic Encounter, rail building in Iberian Gauge and feeding your friends to sharks and sea monsters in Survive: Escape from Atlantis!

More gaming in early February at the Tahoe house: Gamers Gone Skiing.

March update: Surviving an alien infestation in Nemesis, wheeling and dealing in Chinatown real estate, running around an Istanbul market, building power plants in Power Grid, working the financial markets in Speculation, evolving your sea creatures in Oceans, getting your pirates out in Cartagena, reaching the dramatic end to our months-long campaign in the The King’s Dilemma, arranging a group photo in Picture Perfect, betting and cheating on horses in Long Shot: The Dice Game, surviving in the paleolithic in Paleo, fighting foes in Return to Dark Tower, pulling off a difficult heist in Burgle Bros and racing crazed camels in Camel Up.

Also lots of game sessions without pictures: horse racing bets and cheats in Long Shot: The Dice Game, maneuvering a Parade of Alice in Wonderland characters, deducing the murderer and motive in Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, serving up beer in Taverns of Tiefenthal, shooting it out with Finger Guns at High Noon, more clan conflict in Inis, and a bunch of sessions with The Crew: The Quest for Planet Nine and The Crew: Mission Deep Sea.

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Paddling Elkhorn Slough

 

While Darlene was out here visiting for a few days from Wisconsin, ;-)  we took the kayak out for a late morning paddle in Elkhorn Slough.  And of course we saw the usual array of sea lions, sea otters, pelicans, etc:

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Skiing With Friends Again

We got piles of snow at the end of December, setting new records for the month (17 feet).  The storm kept all the highways closed for many days, but Troy, Resi, Aiden and I were eventually able to get up to Tahoe – and ski together for the first time since before the Covid-19 pandemic.

A little four-minute video montage of our ski adventures.

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Merry Christmas from Tesla

I just received a software update for my Tesla Model Y today – just in time for Christmas.  Among many other changes and additions, it now includes the light show for all of their current models.  As a friend noted, it appears to be possessed by a ghost of Christmas:

Apparently it’s now possible for owners to create and load new light show arrangements.  The provided one is set to the tune of Carol of the Bells.

Update (12/27): As expected, folks are already making tons of new song and light show arrangements, like Eye of the Tiger, Star Wars Imperial March, Darude’s Sandstorm, Daft Punk “The Grid” from Tron: Legacy, etc.  Here’s a repository coming together to find and download them.

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High Speed Bear Crossing

The noise you hear is a snow plow operating nearby, probably clearing the road intersection off-camera to the left.  An hour later, apparently while I was editing the original video clip of his dash across the road, the bear came back – with the snow plow still operating nearby — and he tried crossing again several times.  (I’ve now combined all the clips together.)

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