Garden of Wonder and Delight

Carrots in the Candelabra!

Carrots in the Candelabra!

Recently my friend Cameon invited me to join her for a preview of the Museum of Wonder and Delight in Folsom, California. UC Davis Design Professor Dolph Gotelli, an internationally renowned collector of 19th and 20th century toys, folk art and games. The Museum will showcase his collections and opens this fall in old town Folsom (at 905 Leidesdorff Street across from Karen’s Bakery facing the plaza).Blue glass in the garden

A fundraiser sponsored by the UC Davis Design Department followed in a 2 acre garden in Granite Bay to benefit the museum. The garden was fun and beautiful and full of whimsey.

20150620_142000 mosaic wakways

Perfect Day for Rafting the American River

The blimp was over Carmichael to cover the Masters' Golf Tournament.

It was a high of 92 degrees with light cloud cover. Perfect for rafting, cycling, and golfing.

I stopped my bike along the American River Parkway to watch the hundreds of river rafters floating downstream. It brings back so many good memories of rafting as a teenager. My son and his friends also have spent many a day on the river. It is a lot of fun and best when hot but not too hot. You can rent a raft around the Sunrise Boulevard bridge or launch your own craft from one of the parks on either side of the river. It takes a couple of hours to float down to Ancil Hoffman park or to Arden Park. A small part of me worried that none of the boaters has their life jacket on and I know they are drinking alcohol.  (Boating and alcohol should not mix!) I did not wear a life jacket as a teenager either as tan lines were more important to me than safety. In spite of the drought Lake Natoma and the American River from Orangevale to where it meets the Sacramento River in downtown Sacramento are at normal summer levels because it is regulated by releases from the Folsom Lake reservoir.

Looking across to Negro Bar on Lake Natoma.

Looking across to Negro Bar on Lake Natoma. The Aquatic Center has hosted the NCAA Pacific Region rowing championships.

Lots of people were also boating on Lake Natoma. This manmade lake stretches from the Aquatic Center at Hazel Avenue to the Rainbow Bridge in Folsom (about 5 miles). The bike/horse trail makes a ring around it. I cycled 56 miles round trip from 9-2:30 today. I was still recovering from 30 miles yesterday in the 104 degree heat. This is all about preparing for RAGBRAI so it is miles + time in the saddle. Speed is less important. I am finding that it is a mental challenge as much as a physical challenge. I shared with my cousin John that I am worried I will not be able to ride the full length, and he chuckled and said he gives himself permission to take a day off and go play golf. I felt better and decided I will do my best. Keep my eye on the prize: have fun. On the ride home I noticed the blimp in the sky. At first I thought it must be passing through on its way to or fro an event in the Bay Area. Then I remembered the US Senior Open Golf Tournament in Carmichael. I hope none of the old duffers playing yesterday expired in the triple digit temperatures. I imagine today’s high of 92 with breeze was a relief. I hope the television gives the audience some views of the river.

SWATCH: Bunny and Elephant Riding the Mail

Bunny and Elephant jumped into a padded mail envelope and are flying off to the United Kingdom

Bunny and Elephant jumped into a padded mail envelope and are flying off to the United Kingdom to meet Lizzie and Christina.

My goals was to finish these two knitted animal dolls by UK Sarah’s visit. I downloaded the patterns from Little Cotton Rabbits. You can find the patterns at http://www.littlecottonrabbits.typepad.co.uk. Julie Williams has a blog called Little Cotton Rabbits: knitting and living with an autistic son. She is the Beatrix Potter of the knitting world. I am in love with these patterns and I love the results. They are a little fiddly to knit, so I will probably only make them rarely.

I am working on two more dresses so they have a change of clothes. I grew attached to Bunny and Elephant so it was hard not to name them. I will leave this to Lizzie (Christina is a bit young to have a say.)

Check out Julie Williams’ beautiful blog. If you are a knitter and you want a moderately challenging project that is hugely rewarding (you will be delighted), then order one of the patterns and give it a go.

Funky Flagstaff is Fun Stop

Hotel Monte Vista in downtown Flagstaff.

Hotel Monte Vista in downtown Flagstaff.

We only planned to stay in Flagstaff to make it easier to catch our flight to Phoenix with a connection to LAX. Originally I had a reservation at the Hampton Inn outside of town. Then a colleague with a love of Flagstaff gave me some great travel advice.

1. Stay at Hotel Monte V

This hotel has seen a lot of famous guests and after parties. It is clean but worn. The art deco lobby and most of the rooms have not been remodeled since opening. Cool except for the swamp coolers in the window. Our room was an unusual layout: 2 rooms with a double bed each separated by a jack and jill bathroom. The rooms are named after famous guests who have stayed at the hotel over the years. Ours was named after a whiskey.

The Hotel Monte V is lit up in neon at night.

The Hotel Monte V is lit up in neon at night.

2. Enjoy the night life.

We strolled across Route 66 and then the railroad tracks to our restaurant, The Tinderbox Kitchen. We enjoyed a relaxing, delicious meal and then strolled around town stopping to listen to a rooftop band and enjoying the variety of people on the street.

3. Appreciate the unique architecture of downtown Flagstaff.

The Grand Canyon Cafe is a blast from the past like so much of Flagstaff.

The Grand Canyon Cafe is a blast from the past like so much of Flagstaff.

Flagstaff must have built its downtown during a timber or other resource boom. The architecture is remarkable cohesive and attractive. We loved being right near the famous Route 66.

We ate breakfast at the Grand Canyon Cafe the next morning. The food was not anything special, but the ambiance was fun. Like Flagstaff.

Get Up, Get Up for Sunrise at the Grand Canyon!

Waiting for the sun to peak over the horizon, the crowds grew at Mather Point.

Waiting for the sun to peak over the horizon, the crowds grew at Mather Point.

We watched the sunset and so it seemed logical that we would get up at 4:30 a.m., throw on clothes and dash to Mather Point to watch the sunrise over the Grand Canyon.

We hoped our photos of the canyon would be lit in a way that allowed our phones to catch more accurately the canyon colors that we were seeing with our naked eye.

We drove the short distance from Market Plaza to the Visitor Center parking lot at Mather Point. We joined the crowds walking to the cement deck and rails to stake out spots and watch the sun rise.

There were groups of boisterous young people and contemplative adults. Families kidded one another and couples took turns taking photos of each other and the sunrise.

We enjoyed chatting with Jane from the UK.

The sunrise illuminates an already gorgeous canyon to new heights of breathtaking.

The sunrise illuminates an already gorgeous canyon to new heights of breathtaking.

After about an hour our craving for coffee and our hunger got the best of us and we turned for the car.

As we walked towards the parking lot we saw a herd of female elk. It was exciting and yet we remained cautious.

The National Park doesn’t pull punches. There are signs that are blunt: “Do not feed the squirrels. They have fleas that carry bubonic plague.” Or stay 75 feet from elk and other wild animals. They also warn you of the perils of going to close to the canyon edge. We witnessed people ignoring all of this advice. Sigh. I guess people feel they are special and nothing bad will happen to them.

Do not be the fool who gets injured by the wild elk.

Do not be the fool who gets injured by the wild elk.

So enjoy the beauty of the park. Appreciate our forefather and mothers who set aside these special places. Thank the people who dedicate themselves to protecting them today and making our experience possible. And respect the wildness of the place.

24 hours at the South Rim of Grand Canyon

Our first view of the Grand Canyon.

Our first view of the Grand Canyon.

Remote is not the best way to describe the crowded Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon National Park. However, it was our word of the day after we saw a funny t-shirt at the Market Plaza store: “Remote is not just the thing on the coffee table.” And as we hopped on and off the bus to Hermit’s Rest, we actually experienced that refreshing peace one does in a truly remote place between the Abyss and Mohave Point.

Looking back at the South Rim Village from Trailview Overlook.

Looking back at the South Rim Village from Trailview Overlook.

It was one of the few sections of the trail where it is not paved or without the rock barrier built by the CCC. We agreed as a security to stop if we were going to look at the canyon or take photos or gape at California Condors. It was quiet and beautiful and felt remote.

We had 24 hours to enjoy the Grand Canyon. We lucked in and grabbed one night in the Yavapai Lodge next to Market Plaza. We dropped our bags and walked about 40 minutes to view the South Rim for the first time (for my friend) about a mile from Veerkamp Visitor Center. Our goal was to mooch along the Rim Trail to Bright Angel Lodge and stop at anything of interest along the way.

We had 7:45 p.m. reservations at El Tovar dining room. This was also when the sun would have set and the bus would stop running to Hermit’s Rest. We planned to watch most of the sunset from Maricopa Point or Powell Point and catch the bus to El Tovar. Turns out that very few of the bus stops pick up/drop off in both directions. And we stopped to take photos so often that we reached Maricopa Point about the time we needed to turn around. That is when we discovered the only return bus stop was another half mile up the trail. We did not realize there was a 30 minute grace on our dinner reservation so we ended up dashing back on foot.

To see one riding the air currents wild and free was thrilling!

Finally I saw a California Condor! I have been reading about their decline and recovery my whole life! To see one riding the air currents wild and free was thrilling!

The El Tovar dining room is decorated in the classic Bavarian dark hunting lodge style. The patrons are noticeably grayer than the people we met on the trail. This is the only proper dining room we could find (the Yavapai Cafe was closed for remodeling) and it is expensive. The food was good, not great. Our server was competent but glum. And we were tired from hiking in the altitude and sun. It was a relief to get on the bus and ride back to Yavapai Lodge and crawl into bed.

We set the alarm for 4:30 a.m. so we could watch the sunrise. The Grand Canyon sunrise deserves a post of its own because it is delightful. Afterward, we ate breakfast at the cafeteria at the Market Plaza and bought sandwiches and salty snacks for our day pack. (We used my Nuun tablets to help us stay hydrated.) Our plan was spend the day riding the bus to Hermit’s Rest and hiking our way back.

Sunset: I have so many pictures on my phone of the Grand Canyon that it is a huge challenge to select photos for this post.

Sunset: I have so many pictures on my phone of the Grand Canyon that it is a huge challenge to select photos for this post.

It was a great day and not as hot as the previous afternoon. Wear sunscreen even when overcast! It looked like thundershowers might cross our paths but they were always at a distance. About 3 p.m. we were satiated. So much beauty!

Scavenger Hunt Game Card a Fun Way to Explore Midtown Sacramento

Download the game card from baydeltatourist.com or onyourradarmediaco.com.

This bike rack is not part of the scavenger hunt. This bike rack is not part of the scavenger hunt.

There is a new, fun activity your group or family can play in Midtown Sacramento. Download and print the game card–one per team–and then set a time for your group to start the game.

If your teams are on foot, then you might want to provide 3-4 hours to find the bike racks. If your teams are on bicycles, then you can set the time limit between 1-2 hours. Each team uses one smart phone to collect photographs with team members next to all 12 bike racks.

Reconvene at one of the many restaurants, coffee places or pubs in Midtown and tally the number of bike racks found by each team. If you need a tiebreaker, there are multiple bike racks at #4, #6, and #7 and teams can earn extra points for each of the extra racks.

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