Yosemite To Ourselves

I was on a business trip in January – we drove…. as in the great American road-trip. But instead of going across the country (West to East), we went South to North. The landscape north of San Francisco is great – lots of nature, green rolling hills, forested area, less densely populated that the Bay area or the LA area.

But this post is not about the urban centers of the sunshine state. No this is about a few days we enjoyed on our way back, where we stopped in Yosemite NP for a few great days of nature, hardly any people and lots of quiet.This is how the valley welcomed us as we drove in – imposing. It has been a long while since we had been to Yosemite. The park and especially this view is so ubiquitous, that when you see it in in person, one is surprised how overwhelming it feels to see it in person. The next day we went into the park and hiked up to Vernal Falls. The gentle warmth of the  Winter sun made the hike perfect. he Winter sun also produces a different light, much softer, less bright and more honey golden.

….too bad, that the rest of the images are all black and white. However, I hop that they convey the beauty and serenity we experienced during our stay.

Nevada Falls, seen as we walk down to the top of Vernal Falls.

Vernal Falls, from somewhere in between the trail as we walk from the top of the falls to the bottom.

Because the park was essentially empty, we could take our time and enjoy the sights and our surroundings.

Bridal Veil Falls – it was a thin whispy vail, but nonetheless a veil

The captain “El Capitan” at sunset. El Capitan is so majestic and so iconic. I remember the first time I had heard of it, in fact the first time I heard of Yosemite, El Capitan and Half Dome. Yosemite, was an abstract concept to my 7 or 8 year old mind, like Disney World or Wonderland. But when you stand close to El Capitan and all you see is grey monolithic rock, it is literally an awesome experience. Bring binoculars, you can usually find climbers and their bivouac tents secured to and squeezed against the faces of the mountain.

El Capitan at midday, just making sure who’s king of the valley.

A look toward the other major player in Yosemite Valley – Half Dome. Just as iconic as El Capitan, but a very different character.Yosemite Valley looking back from the trail to Vernal Falls.

I can only highly recommend visiting any of the fantastic California National Parks during non-peak times. It is absolutely worth it, especially, if you venture out and hike a bit.

Now, I say, “wear your face-mask, celebrate your Independence and stay sharp”

Yours Markus \m/

Grateful

I have said this a few times over the years, or at least I have eluded to it. You can find beauty at odd times, in odd places , but you can find it. I found it today, after a bike ride. The wind was blowing gently from the sea, as the sun was slowly inching a little lower towards the horizon.

Looking South
Looking West

These are tough times. There is a pandemic raging, some leaders to lead others don’t. Some people feel betrayed and abandoned, left alone. Many families have lost family members because of it. As a consequence of the pandemic, we have to deal with the economic consequences. I think, that it will get worse before it will get better.

However, for the first time in many decades we have an opportunity to look out for each other and make a positive difference in peoples lives without much effort.

And I’d say, even though it might feel new, give it a try. Try random acts of kindness. Nothing big, start with something small, see how it feels.

Cheers and stay sharp gang.

Markus \m/

The Other Day In The High Desert

We drove to Joshua Tree recently – a much needed change of scenery. By now, I am way more familiar with my dwelling than I ever wanted to be. We got there by 8-ish in the morning. Unbeknownst to us, our nice time in the park was limited to about only 3h. At around 11:00 that party crowds rolled in with loud boom-boom music….while I firmly believe in “Chaqun a son gôut”, I wasn’t too impressed with the experience of the quiet and serenity the park normally offer being disrupted by the artificial sounds of loud basses and sequencers.

Anyway, it was a great time – a Spa day for the soul.

Stay safe, take it easy and go for that change of scenery every now and then…..even if it is just a headstand (which changes your viewpoint).

Stay sharp

Cheers Markus \m/

When People Stare

I rode my Mountain bike today with a colleague. We rode in the Latina Wilderness and it was sunny, pretty hot, sweaty ….so overall MOST EXCELLENT. After we parted, I had a great downhill from the top of the hills to PCH….great flow, a few banked turns, I was exuberant as one can only be when the read wheel drifts gently out at the apex of a turn and you don’t loose any speed, when it just rolls. Riding a long PCH, I was grinning ear to ear. Riding past Newport Coast, I saw them….a bunch of super exclusive Porsches in the wild.

The super coveted Carrera GT and its successors the 918…sure that one is also coveted, but it is no Carrera GT. But, hey, who am I to complain. I saw them. In fact we had seen them earlier crossing an intersection, when we had a red light and the6 of course had green. So, now, obviously, just like a bunch of other men (interesting, no women were looking at these beauties), I stopped and shot a few pictures.

There’s my baby, a Carrera GT with its raisable/retractable rear wing and the cowlings behind the riders as an homage to proper racing cars from the past.

Staring down towards the furious engine with its two chimney sized exhaust pipes.

Come one, these are beautiful, even if you are not a motorhead, the aesthetics, the lines, beautiful.

So that’s what it did. I stared.

Stay sharp and stare every now and then, when you can actually and believable justify it.

Cheers Markus \m/

A Day At The Beach

We had visitors last week. Visitors is usually great. With Shawn, Emily and Audrey it sure was great. We showed them around the neighborhood and, yes, we went to the beach.

Broken surf underneath Balboa Pier

I saw this unfold and had to think of the Beatles Abbey Road Photograph.

Anyway, life is pretty good when you have people you have fun with in your life…..I KNOW THIS SOUNDS LIKE “MOTHER’S LIVE AND WARM APPLE-PIE”

Stay sharp

Markus \m/

I Hate To Brag, But…

….this still works and back in the day, owning one of these and knowing how to program it meant serious bragging right. It meant you were an engineer, even though you were still a wet-behind-the-ears freshman. Probably the most reliable and coveted device HP ever built……

Behold the ever-awesome HP48!!!

Stay sharp and appreciate your old faithful calculators, even though there are sexy smartphones doing almost the thing…

Cheers Markus \m/

Conflicted

Yesterday, we rode our bikes. It was an excellent day to ride – sunny and about 18C. We rode fro our house towards the Santa Ana Bike Trail and rode that one down to Huntington Beach. The Santa Ana Bike Trail is a flood channel, one of these channels made famous by movies such as the motorcycle chase in “Terminator 2” or the beginning scenes from “In Time”.

From Huntington, we rode south along the coast towards Newport with one of the many pelotons that ride the coast highway on weekends. The cities along the coast between Huntington and Camp Pendleton are all pretty posh and Newport in particular has a high density of exotic car dealers. So it was not too surprising when we saw Lamborghini pass us….and then another and then four more and then two more and then five more and then a BMW One series M with a gigantic rear wing and then another handful of Lamborghinis. It was quite a spectacle. I loved it. The cars were ridiculous, with almost comical colour – there we purples, shades of gray angular camouflage, greens, blues, everything but the traditional colours of Italian sports cars of my youth: red or black. So these guys are having a ball, including the gunshots like bangs from misfirings. We were all waiting at a traffic light and everyone was very civilized, when I noticed the exhaust smell. And that’s where my inner conflict started. The Motörhead inside of me loved it – all of it. However, my cyclist-self was less amused. The smell, the stench not funny. But I also felt a little sorry for these guys. There they are with these kick-ass cars, performance out the wazoo, yesterday confined to public roads with traffic light and us fragile bicyclists. I imagine, that it would be so much more fun to race the car around a track balls out, where the driver’s inadequacies would be compensated by large and generous sand or pebble run-outs. The light turned green, these guys accelerated and enjoyed a wrinkle free state of being for a few seconds and then they had to stop again at the next red light, where they kept going straight and we turn towards the bay.

I know pretty unexciting, but I wonder, why on a weekend, they wouldn’t go rent a track and go bonkers – I would.

Stay sharp

Markus \m/

Confused or Christmas Full Throttle

By now you have gathered, that we have landed in Southern California. And we are at the back end of Black Friday, the shopping highlight of the ThanksGiving weekend. This also means we are officially entering the Christmas season and we are on the final stretch for 2018…..a year that I will never forget, it’s been too entertaining. Anyway, Christmas, Full Throttle.

This is the giant Christmas tree in the mall near our house – it is one of the many Christmas decorations set up prominently in the mall’s common spaces. So, yes this sets the mood….Christmas time….yes, yes, yes, I forgot, when you look at this picture and slide into memories from your childhood Christmasses, play the Peanuts Christmas soundtrack in the back of your head. that way your have the full experience. But when you leave the mall, this is what you see.

The sky looks like ocean waves crashing, the sun is out and I haven’t even mentioned the palm trees. But, when you are outside you can sense it is Winter – sans the real chilly cold and the snow. I mean it is nippy when I ride in shorts and a short sleeve jersey on my bike. But that traditional Christmas feeling that I remember from my childhood, will just not surface, yet. Maybe tomorrow after my ride, I will indulge in a hot cocoa and put on Vince Guaraldi (a Peanuts Christmas), that should do it, I suppose.

Stay sharp gang and cheers

Markus \m/

Loose Ends From The Road

I was north of San Francisco for a few days on business. Work, work, work, toil, toil, toil.

But, I was still able to keep eyes and ears open and thus took a few pictures that are disjointed, but nonetheless, I want to share them with you.

My flight passed right over San Francisco giving me this beautiful view of San Francisco Bay with Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The above two images I took during my lunch break, when the sun crated and the guard rails on our outside patio at work, created these stark contrast shadows.

And that’s really that. Stay sharp and take some time to look around you.

Cheers Markus \m/