Thursday, January 18, 2018

The big question and answer.

The starting point is now, the end is up to you.  - Ron Kaufman.

Oh, hello blog pals.  I didn't see you there. I am about to wrap up my blog on my journey.  Here are some things I learned when I set out to find myself.
1) There are lots of quotes about finding one self on the internet, who knew?
2) Travel is always fun but it's good to get back home.
3) Don't be afraid to try new things.
and the million dollar question......did I find myself?????????  Well, yes.  Yes, I did.
Now that we got that taken care of it's time to return to regular programming.  I think I need to dust off my snowshoes, say hi to Sequoia, and start supervising my roommates so there is more time for adventure.  Oh yes, I better get Drunk Fox a gift for all of his help with the blog.  Hmm, I wonder if there is a gift shop on this trail?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Time to start heading north.

"The only journey is the journey within."  Rainer Maria Rilke

Blog pals ~ I hope all is going well. I have left California to head up to Northwest Washington.  Today,  my journey has taken me to Whidbey Island.  I started out my adventure at Whidbey Island's Deception Pass State Park.  Canada is in the foreground (way far in the foreground but I believe it's there).
The forest is calling.   Apparently, there is a hike to the Deception Pass Bridge and then a viewpoint beyond.    
There are some great views on this hike and it's not raining too hard. 
I made it to the Deception Pass Bridge (underneath the bridge, that is).
I wonder why they call it Deception Pass.  Aha, apparently Capt. Vancouver had a team of explorers explore the area (that's what they do) and they thought this island was a peninsula and when they found it was two islands they were deceived, hence Deception Pass. 
Now that I learned about the naming of this area it's time to explore.  There are lots of hikes around here (Deception Pass is Washington's most visited park).  I think I am going to check out the summit since the weather is holding out. 
Made it to the summit.  Now I wish I had a sandwich. I am hungry.
I hear that there is a place called Fort Casey in the area that has some great views.  Let's go!

There are the old barracks in the background.  Fort Casey isn't active anymore however it's being used as a conference center for a local university. 
I better be careful.
Fort Casey was one of three forts set up as defenses to the Puget Sound area in the late 1890s.  They put these big guns at different batteries throughout the park to sink any enemy ships that might want to enter Puget Sound.  Most of the guns at Fort Casey were removed during WWI and then the rest were scrapped during WWII.  With the invention of the airplane Fort Casey was too vulnerable to be a good for so they gave the land to the Washington State Park system. 
There is a lot of history at Fort Casey.  They have an old lighthouse that gives tours, a marine exploration area, hiking trails, and camping.   
I wonder if the lighthouse serves lunch?

Friday, January 5, 2018

A big adventure in Big Sur

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ― Lao Tzu

As with most of my adventures it starts with a warm cup of hot chocolate. As you can see I am in the seaside city of Carmel, California.
Once I fortified myself with hot chocolate I was off to explore.  There is an old mission in Carmel that is calling my name. This mission was part of the El Camino Real road, a trail that connected all the 21 Spanish  missions in California to each other.  
The mission was started around 1770 and then fell into disrepair in the 1830 it was divided and half the land was given back to the native american's and the other half went to the non-native american mission residents.  Around the 1860s the Roman Catholic Church took ownership of the mission and in the 1880s it began rebuilding. 
This mission is the only mission in California to have it's original bell tower. 
There is a mission school in operation now. 
 They also hold special events. I found a BBQ on the back end o the property, I am hoping they fire it up so I can get a nice snack.
Sigh, no snack for me. My next stop is to see Big Sur, California.   The geography of the beach looks similar to the Oregon Coast. 
I decided to stop at the Bixby Creek Bridge, one of the most photographed bridges in California. The bridge was built in 1932 and before the bridge the residents were cut off from Carmel and Monterrey during the winter as there was no safe passage.
I made it!  Big Sur Lodge, another famous lodge/hotel on my journey.  It looks beary nice with lots of trees, natural light and a unique entrance. 

The inside is just as you would expect.  Wood furniture, a fireplace, and lots of common areas to hang out it.  
Rumor has it that the land was owned by John and Florence Pffieffer from 1880 to 1933.  Florence decided to start charging visitors for food, rooms, and boarding for their animals around 1908.  Her business boomed especially since she was known as a good cook (and she stood up for animals who were mistreated, Yeah Florence!!!!!).   I hope some of Florence's legacy is still around in the restaurant of the lodge.  This fox is hungry.
Apparently, I am a little early for dinner.  That's OK, I will wait here till dinner service starts. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A relaxing time in Monterrey.

“Reach deep within, and reconnect with the essence of your being.” ― Bryant McGill

Yosemite was awesome and there were the lodge was amazing.  However, my time at Yosemite ended and I am off to explore other areas.

My first stop is Pinnacles National Park near Monterrey, California.  Pinnacles is a park known for it's wildflowers.  Apparently, Spring is the best time to visit, when I visited it was about 100 + degrees.  Hot for a fox. 
Those mountains, or dare I say Pinnacles in the background are really cool .  I hear there is some good hiking in the spring.  Perhaps my humans will get the hint. 
More Pinnacles at Pinnacles National Park. This trail leads to an old mine.  This little fox like to stay above ground, thank you. 
More trails to explore. I must come back in the Spring. 
Pinnacles was nice, it was smaller and less crowded than Yosemite but it has potential.  Did I mention it was hot?  I heard that Monterrey, California is nice. Looks like they have a nice Marriot to explore.  
Once I settled into my room I decided to go out and about in Monterrey.  They have a ton of historic buildings and a history walk.  Apparently, Monterrey was the capital of Spain's holdings on the west coast. They had a customs house and a presidio.  Eventually, Mexico gained it's independence from Spain and Monterrey sided with Mexico and became part of that country until Northern California was named part of the United States and not Mexico around 1848.
Amazing trees in the customs hall. 
An old general store.  An ice cream would hit the spot right now.  
As you may recall my journey started as an exploration of the Grand Lodges and Hotels.  I have found one in Monterrey.   This lobby is amazing and this chair is so comfy.  A fox could get used to the good life. 
A beautiful sculpture on display outside of the lobby.  Do you see the bay in the background?
Speaking of Monterrey Bay......lots of nice sail boats in the harbor. 
No visit to Monterrey can be complete without a visit to Cannery Row. 
It's a tad touristy.  It does have a Ghirardelli shop that gave out free, yes free samples. 
I also saw this treat that Droopy might like. 
This fox is tired and needs a rest.  Perhaps I will sit on this promenade and enjoy the scenery for a while. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

I interrupt my  philosophical journey to wish all of my blog pals a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Yosemite on my mind.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

Spending the night in a tent cabin at Yosemite isn't the most daring adventure in the world but it's a lot of fun.  This fox needs hot chocolate, luckily there was plenty of dining options at the park. 
I read that they have a famous hotel here at Yosemite, called the Awanhee Hotel and it's pretty darn nice (and expensive).  However, it fits into my mission of seeing the great hotels.
I took a tour to learn more.

I can't believe I have the mural room all to myself. Where's room service? I could use a cup of hot chocolate. 
I am a sucker for a good mural and a forest scene to boot.  Right up my alley.
After the mural room I headed upstairs to wander around. 
The main hall was used as a hospital after WWII for recovering soldiers.  A the height of the recovery there were 900 hospital beds.  Of course, back in the day smoking was allowed in hospitals and with 900 soldiers recovering from service there was a lot of smoking going on and that being said some of the decor was damaged.  
Here is the great hall today.  Notice the rug on the wall?
The Awanhee Hotel has one of the largest Turkish rug collection in the world.  The builder of the hotel noticed the rugs being used a packing material for crates on San Francisco harbor.  There were lots and lots of rugs and they were cheap (my kind of guy) and so they bought them, used them in the Awanhee Hotel and the rest is history.

This room looks comfy.
A great hotel but it's time to explore the valley. 
Is that Half Dome or El Capitan?
Yosemite Falls is in full motion.  This year there was record rainfall in California so the falls are flowing strong. 
I decided to take a day trip to Glacier Point.  Nice view but the wildfires are restricting my view. Phooey.  
After a few minutes and a few miles on the trail the view opened up.  

After a few more miles on the trail I ended up at the base of Vernall Falls.  
All of these falls flow into the Merced River.  Interesting fact: Merced was a close contender for naming the dog, Sequoia.

Time to leave the valley. 
Waiting for the bus
The bus took me to Mariposa, California and dropped me off in front of a brewery.  My kind of bus line.