Buenos Aires, by Noelia Diaco. Photo is not visible, used only for sharing on social networks.

Motorcycle camping: Salt Point State Park

August 9, 2017
We loaded up the motorcycle last weekend for an overnight trip to Salt Point State Park. Admittedly, the motorcycle's been a bit neglected lately, especially during the rainy winter, but we've been trying to remedy that with weekend rides and camping trips.

The campground at Salt Point is rather nondescript — we've been multiple times and neither of us could remember what it looked like before we arrived. The real reason we go is for the drive. The stretch of Route 1 between Jenner and Salt Point is one of our favorite parts of California coast, with dramatic cliffs and mostly empty stretches of road. Plus it winds through a number of cute coastal towns. I left my camera at home, so I don't have photos of the drive, but I took a few last year.

Russian River in Jenner

Live music at Cafe Aquatica in Jenner


Table Top farmstand in Point Reyes Station


- Steph

San Franciso touring

July 26, 2017
A few photos of me during recent San Francisco explorations.


- Steph (photos kindly taken by visiting students from Tohoku University)

Weekend getaway: Austin

February 22, 2017
We've been taking advantage of the Southwest Companion Pass to visit new cities within the U.S. We've been to Santa Fe (first time for both of us), Chicago (first time for me), New Orleans (first time for me), and now Austin (first time for Ben). We took it slow — hung out in coffee shops, walked along South Congress, listened to music, visited the Bullock Texas State History Museum, and ate tacos, of course. I took most of these on our last morning wandering around downtown Austin (I didn't bring my camera on the trip).


- Steph

New Year's at Calpine Fire Lookout

January 8, 2017
Last weekend, we stayed at the Calpine Fire Lookout in the Tahoe National Forest. The forecast called for a major snowstorm, so we geared up for cross-country skiing and winter backpacking (including our tent, in case we got waylaid by the storm hiking in). Sunday morning, we drove to Sierraville and hiked 2 miles in (with 1000 feet of elevation gain), carrying 4 gallons of water (since there is no running water at the tower) and our XC skis (since the ground was pretty clear on the first day).

The forecast was correct – it started snowing the first night and continued for days (which gave us plenty of fresh snow to melt/filter/boil for extra water). We played Scrabble and card games, read, drank hot chocolate, (re)-learned to XC-ski, and ate good camping food. (The place turned out to have a very well-equipped kitchen, minus running water, which augmented our usual backpacking kit.)

On Tuesday, with 2-3 feet of fresh snow (still coming down), we geared up and slogged back down the trail. (The thin XC skis fell right through the snow, so we were basically plowing with our legs the whole way.) We had a great time and would definitely go back.

Calpine fire lookout, upon arrival.
Calpine fire lookout, upon deparature.
Hiking in, skis strapped to our packs.
Not much snow on the ground when we arrived.
We made it!
Ben carried four gallons of water.
View from the lookout - day 1.
Cabin balcony - day 1.
Cabin balcony - day 2.
The beginnings of a Scrabble game.
Writing in the visitor's log
Nighttime

View from the lookout - day 2.
Re-learning how to XC ski.
XC ski boots keep your feet warm and dry.
Ben all geared up for skiing back to the car.

Making New Year's resolutions.
We made a snowman.

A few more photos of the lookout.

Storm blowing in
- Steph (photos) and Ben (video)