Friday, June 23, 2017

Trip Report - Day 3 - Fort Bragg

I've always been a beachcomber at heart. So when I received the itinerary for this trip and saw that we were staying overnight in Fort Bragg, California (not to be confused with Fort Bragg, North Carolina, a major military base), I knew right away that this was the location of the famous "sea glass beach".  This beach gets its fame from the fact that it is covered in sea glass pieces, the result of years of garbage dumping near the coastline in the past (described best in this Wikipedia entry).

Usually when you're walking on a beach, you find the occasional piece of glass.  As you can see from the photo below, there are several pieces of glass within a very small area.  It is very easy to find!
We had arrived in Fort Bragg after dark the night before and we were leaving immediately after breakfast the next morning.  As a result, I got myself up at 5 a.m. and was packed and out the door by 5:45, leaving my suitcase near the bus and walking 10 minutes or so to the beach.
There were a few other humans around, a couple of joggers waved as they went past, but I pretty much had the place to myself at that early hour of the morning.  I had checked the tide schedule and knew it was just after low tide, so no worries on that score. It is a very rocky coastline and it was a grey morning, with rain approaching. 
Some of the glass pieces were quite large, as you can see from the photo below, and worn smooth from the waves.
The rocks were quite interesting as well, especially this one, with its unusual indentations and colouring.
I was delighted to find this heart-shaped rock.
And almost immediately after, a heart-shaped piece of glass!
You're not allowed to remove the glass. The beach is part of a national park and it's against the law.  I found this collection of pieces on a rock, someone else had left it behind.
I only got to see a tiny bit of the area as my time was limited, I had to get back to meet the group for breakfast before the bus left town.  I would definitely like to go back to Fort Bragg and spend more time exploring this coastline.  Hopefully some day soon!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Trip Report - Day 2 - Sea Lions

While we were exploring Pier 39 on our day in San Francisco, we came across a whole bunch of sea lions lying on a number of docks.
The story we were told is that a few sea lions first appeared on these docks back in October of 1989, soon after a major earthquake hit San Francisco.  More and more kept arriving and they've kept coming back ever since.
They were fascinating to watch. Most of them were sleeping but some were falling or being knocked into the water and taking turns jumping back up on the docks.
There were frequent yawns.
And many very sleepy-looking sea lions!
And the occasional reminder that the sea lions are meant to be safe in this area, even if they weren't exactly welcomed when they first arrived.
What's the difference between a seal and a sea lion? Sea lions have external ear flaps. If you look closely at the following two photos, you can see them.
They really were fascinating to watch!

Day 80/100 - #100dayproject

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Trip Report - Day 2 - San Francisco

Our first full day in San Francisco started off quite foggy as I again admired the view from my 26th floor hotel room.
In the light, I discovered my window faced the waterfront. There were lots of ships out on the water, far off in the distance.
After breakfast, I had just enough time to take a short walk around the block. This large tree and the pretty turreted building beside it was quite a sight to see!
At 9 a.m., we all got on the bus and headed off for a tour of the city.  We saw many interesting sights but all rather blurry and quickly passed by. We drove past the stadium where the San Francisco Giants play baseball, which looked quite impressive. Hopefully I'll have a chance to see a game there some day.
We spent some time driving along the waterfront and got out of the bus for an hour or so to explore Pier 39.
Here's Mom and me, taking a look at Alcatraz.
Our next stop was the Golden Gate Bridge.  We had just enough time to get off the bus and take photos.  What a magnificent sight!
By the time we got to the ball park for the afternoon game, they were already in the middle of the fourth inning.  The final score was Toronto 7,  Oakland 5.
As soon as the game was over, we got back on the bus and headed off to northern California.  It was beautiful countryside.
We followed a very winding road from the highway towards the coast in the dark and sometimes rain. We arrived at our destination around 9 pm, the small town of Fort Bragg, California.  We had dinner in a local restaurant (not the best meal I've ever had) and then were driven to our hotel. Another late night!

Day 79/100 - #100dayproject

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Trip Report - Day 1 - Oakland

Two weeks ago today, my mom and I set off to visit the West Coast and see the Blue Jays play baseball. We were part of an organized tour with about 40 other participants. Here we are at the airport, wearing our team shirts.  
We landed in San Francisco around 4 p.m., picked up our luggage and got on a bus that drove us directly to Oakland Coliseum.  The rush hour traffic was quite heavy but we made it there about 6 p.m., ahead of the 7 o'clock start time for the first game on our tour.

As you enter the stadium, there are several murals depicting famous players in Oakland's history.  I remember the pitcher shown on the left in the picture below very well - Dennis Eckersley. He was quite a challenge for our boys in blue back in the late 80's and early 90's.
I was quite impressed by the large women's washroom and the fact that there were no lineups. Quite different from what you usually find at the ball park in Toronto!
We had no trouble recognizing our fellow Canadian fans! ;)
I liked the pictures they showed of the various Toronto players as they made their first at bat, especially the images of Skydome/Rogers Centre and the CN Tower in the background.
It was quite a cool evening and there were a lot of empty seats, so my mom and I moved down a little closer to the action.
We had a great view of all our boys, including Josh Donaldson, as they stepped up to bat.  (I posted more pictures in this blog post the other day.)
This hot dog vendor was quite entertaining and he actually carried this large metal box around the stadium, offering freshly cooked wieners to hungry fans.
There may not have been a lot of Oakland fans but there was a loud section out in right field making quite a ruckus with several musical instruments.
Unfortunately, the Jays lost to the Oakland A's 4-1.  It was full dark as we trouped out of the stadium to find our bus and head for our first night's accommodations.
By the time we got to our hotel that first night, it was close to 11 p.m.  I had no idea where we were but the view was quite pretty!

Day 78/100 - #100dayproject

Monday, June 19, 2017

The New Toonie

Have you seen the new toonie? (for those non-Canadians who might be reading this, the "toonie" is the two dollar coin we have here in Canada.)  The Royal Canadian Mint has issued a series of new coins to commemorate Canada's 150th anniversary.

This coin is described as follows: " The $2 coin, designed by British Columbia resident Dr. Timothy Hsia, features a pair of paddlers dwarfed by a night sky alive with the ever-shifting movement of the Northern Lights. ‘Dance of the Spirits' is the world’s very first glow-in-the-dark circulation coin."

I'm a bit skeptical about the glow in the dark claim, as I tested out the coin I have, trying to get a photo, and it didn't seem to be working! :(   Maybe it needs to somehow soak up light first before the glow will work, whereas I pulled mine out of a dark room.  Nevertheless, I really like the new design.

Okay, I left it out in the light for about five minutes and then took this picture - you can see a bit of the glow! I expect if I left it longer, it would be much more apparent but I'm too impatient!
According to this article, 3 million of these coins are being released into circulation. I am expecting that most people will keep them when they come across one, so when my 13 year old cousin offered to sell me this one for $3 on the weekend, I jumped at the chance.  Her mother was appalled that I would offer a whole dollar over the value of the coin itself and that her daughter would accept the profit but we were both very happy with our trade!

Day 77/100 - #100dayproject

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day 2017

Found this spray painted on the sidewalk last night as I was walking about the neighbourhood. Coincidence? I think not.
I miss my dad every day and more so on the holidays. So many happy memories.
Happy Father's Day to all who are celebrating today.

Day 76/100 - #100dayproject

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Junk Drawer

I bought tomato juice this week. Normally, I buy the set of six little single serving cans but they didn't have any of those on the shelf so I bought the 540 ml/19 fl oz size instead.  But when I got home and went to open the can, my can opener was nowhere to be found.

I have searched through my junk drawer several times, thinking it must be in there, but to no avail. There are so many other useful but rarely used items in there, surely this drawer is the logical place to keep the can opener which I can't remember using any time in the last decade??
I don't even know what to call the type of can opener I'm looking for - the one that punches tiny little triangles into the top of a can of liquid contents.  Not the one that cuts a circle around the top of the can, allowing you to lift the lid off.  The one that has a bottle cap opener on the other end, also known as a "church key".

A couple of days went by before that dusty corner of my brain where this particular tidbit of information was stored reminded me that there was a container full of even less frequently used kitchen utensils under my sink.  And sure enough, the can opener was in there (along with an egg timer, a wooden pate spreader, a spare pair of egg beaters, a gadget for measuring different serving sizes of spaghetti and a tarnished set of silver sugar tongs that have claws on them that look like birds' feet - where the heck did I get that?!).  

Now, as I sip on a cool glass of tomato juice, I have to ask myself: do I really need all the miscellaneous items jumbled up in my junk drawer?  And if so, why don't I use them more often?

Day 75/100 - #100dayproject (wow, 3/4 of the way done!)