Took a break from the heat by heading to the coast. Island Packers has a combo trip that goes to Prisoners harbor on Santa Cruz Island and then on around to Painted cave. We had a great trip out as the ocean was particularly calm so we were able to see even more dolphins then I spotted on previous trips.
The cave is big enough (approx. 1225′ long) they can drive the whole boat inside it! Dad spotted some interesting Dudlyea growing near the entrance.
Back at the Harbor, we got a little confused since I was used to landing at Scorpion bay and prisoners harbor is a completely different end of the island! We went for a short walk then ate lunch and watched an island fox sneak around looking for leftovers.
All too soon it was time for the trip home. We had a delicious sea food dinner in Ventura before heading back to the heat.
After a year of staying at home, it’s been a relief to head out and see some of the world again.
I did a couple of trips in June to escape the heat in the valley. Drove up to Tehachapi to see if my spark ev would make it -it didn’t, had to get towed the last couple miles to the charger 😦 . Next I took a ride up Kern Canyon. There was a slight delay in the canyon(I178) due to construction but otherwise lots of easy riding through plenty of twisties- went to Kernville for lunch then on to Sequoia and the lovely cool trees. Saw the sad aftermath of the fires near Camp Nelson. Then returned to the insufferable heat in the valley.
As I previously wrote I chose to fly to Cairns primarily because It allowed me to visit the Barrier Reef and join the caving trip to Chillagoe, but as it turned out, Cairns was a pretty neat destination on its own.
I had chosen to save a few bucks by staying at a backpackers hostel and consider myself fortunate to have chosen one that was not on one of the blocks crammed with nightclubs etc. so I was able to get some sleep though like with all hostels there was a fair bit of noise at night. I picked Caravella on Esplanade, the pictures on the website were a little misleading though. The bay is not really visible from the hotel and consists of a tidal flat so most of the time your looking at mud not picturesque water. It was a great opportunity for bird watching though and the boardwalk the ran along the shore makes a great place for a stroll.
The unplanned shopping trip I had to make due to my bag being delayed gave me a chance to walk around town and see what was there. I spotted a large colony of flying foxes roosting in the trees near the city library.
These are amazing to watch not only because of their huge size but their social behavior and the way they interact is very interesting. Just watch where you step.
Perhaps to make up for the fact you can’t swim in the bay they have one of the largest public pools I’ve ever seen over looking the waterfront.
I went for a walk out towards the edge of town and founf the botanical gardens which was a great spot to spend some time and photograph Australian bush turkeys, flowers, interesting plants and butterflies.
Then it was back to walking along the Esplanade to find a restaurant for dinner. I really enjoyed Cairns and of course its proximity to the Barrier Reef!
It turned out the reason we didn’t have reservations in Henderson for the trip home from Ely was because I had booked a non-refundable night for the following weekend, So what the heck it’s only 700 miles or so round-trip so I loaded the bike and off I went.
My first obstacle was as I neared Baker a huge dust storm hit. These are pretty impressive in a car, on a bike not really something I’d recommend experiencing. The pictures don’t really do it justice since I hid my camera away to protect it during the worst of it.
I made it through though and stopped in Baker to wash off some of the dust and check out Alien jerky.
I also stopped by a large solar collector field that had an unearthly glow as the focused sun beams shone through the dust still in the air.
I arrived in Henderson Nevada to find Dinosaurs had taken over the town!
I made it safely to my hotel though (T-Rex didn’t get me) and checked in and went and got some dinner before heading out to see the Vegas strip. I decided to take a ride on the new “High Roller” Ferris wheel. you start out by stepping into one of these.
Before long you are climbing into the sky, they have screens that remind you how high.
and the view once you’re up there is wonderful…
I walked along the strip a bit then cruised it a couple of times on the bike before the crowded traffic got to me and it was time to call it a night. So I headed back to the hotel in Henderson.
I decided to head out this weekend on the motorcycle and escape the heat here in Bakersfield. In hindsight maybe heading into the desert wasn’t the best choice for this but overall it worked out very well. Early morning riding past Tehachapi was nice and cool and it wasn’t till I neared Mojave that the smoke from nearby forest fires clouded the air.
I continued North up through Red rock Canyon and soon I was riding in clean cool air again though as the sun beat down it was getting noticeably warmer. By midday it was becoming hot so I was glad to take a ride up Whitney Portal road. This very steep road soon had me up at cooler climes and I was able to relax near a stream for awhile. I had intended to pop into the portal shop for a bite to eat but there was a considerable crowd up by the trail head/ parking area so I decided to make my way down back towards 395 instead. Progressing along the interstate it wasn’t long before I realized a. it was pretty darn hot out and b. the air quality was significantly worsening as more smoke flowed out of the forest fires. The smoggy skies did make for an impressive sunset as I passed back through Red Rock Canyon so I stopped for a few pictures and as I headed towards Mojave a gusty wind started blowing which while it made riding a little uncomfortable did cool things off.
450 miles later I was home, a very enjoyable outing.