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December 3, 2017

San Francisco: The Embarcadero


Looking back at the Embarcadero waterfront: Perhaps the best thing that happened as a consequence of the Loma Prieta Earthquake was the demise of the freeway that once dominated this area.

San Francisco has a storied freeway history. There were once grand plans to build a web of cross-city freeways. These plans fell to the determined opposition from the city’s residents. In the end, only the stubs of the planned highways were built. San Francisco remains to this day without a through freeway link between the US Highway 101 to the north and south of the City. Though it is less convenient for drivers, there is little doubt blocking the construction of the cross-city freeways preserved the character of many San Franciscan neighborhoods. (more…)

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November 28, 2017

San Francisco: Conservatory of Flowers


A water lily blooms inside the Conservatory of Flowers.

Construction of San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers was completed in 1879. It is the oldest building in Golden Gate Park. The conservatory is worth a visit not just for the collection of rare and exotic plants but also for the building itself. As an added bonus in 2017, when we visited, there was a special exhibition, “Butterflies and Blooms,” featuring an assortment of North American butterflies and moths. (more…)

San Francisco: The Haight and the Grateful Dead House


Haight-Ashbury has become a brand.

A little over fifty years ago, in 1967, it was the Summer of Love in San Francisco. In many ways the Summer of Love represents the peak of the hippie movement. That summer an estimated 100,000 hippies came to the City by the Bay to celebrate peace, love, and all things countercultural. Within the City the epicenter of the movement was Golden Gate Park and the Haight-Ashbury District. (more…)

November 11, 2017

San Francisco: A Tourist in One’s Hometown?


The Embarcadero at twilight

More than 30 years of my life have been spent in the San Francisco Bay Area. When asked by people overseas where I’m from, I usually say San Francisco. But that’s not really the case. Living on the San Francisco peninsula or in Berkeley for 30 years is not quite the same thing as living in the City. (more…)

San Francisco: Nike Missile Site SF-88


A docent at SF-88 explains the Nike missile launch procedures.

In 2017, on the first Saturday of March, we loaded onto Muni bus 76X at the intersection of Sansome and Sutter in San Francisco’s financial district. After a fifty-minute ride the city bus arrived at the former base, Site SF-88, in the Marin Headlands. SF-88 is one of over 200 former Cold War era anti-ballistic missile sites in the United States. Managed under the auspices of the National Park System, SF-88 is open to visitors on weekends. (more…)

January 3, 2015

Southwest: Sedona in the Snow, Take Two


Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock

Judging by the response of the locals, snow, particularly heavy snow, is a rare event in Sedona Arizona. At the end of 2014, the weather forecasts predicted that a major winter storm would hit northern Arizona. In a normally dry desert area, the impending precipitation sent residents and visitors alike scurrying to the grocery stores to stock up on supplies for the coming snow apocalypse. The forecasts were not wrong. By New Year’s Day, several inches of snow were on the ground and the red rocks where splotched with white patches. (more…)

December 22, 2014

United States National Monuments: Pipe Springs and Vermillion Cliffs


An ornery resident at Pipe Springs National Monument

An ornery resident at Pipe Springs National Monument

 In Arizona, just across the border from Utah, are two contrasting National Monuments, tiny Pipe Springs and massive Vermillion Cliffs. (more…)

December 19, 2014

United States: San Francisco’s Financial District


The old and the new in San Francisco's Financial District

The old and the new in San Francisco’s Financial District

San Francisco is a city of distinctive neighborhoods. Each area of the city has it own character and its own appeal. As in all cities, some districts are harder to love than others. San Francisco’s Financial District, with its shaded streets between its tall buildings won’t win a casual popularity contest. But if you look closer, the Financial District is more interesting than it deserves to be. Amongst the modern steel and glass monoliths are remnants of the post 1906 earthquake rebuild. The older buildings, the Neo-gothic high-rises and ornate bank buildings of the 1920’s, elegantly hold their place amongst the modern buildings. Oddly, in San Francisco’s Financial District, the old and the new look as if to belong together. (more…)

January 1, 2014

Pictures of the Year


Axl on his throne.

Axl on his throne.

In the spirit of the New Year, I’ve selected an arbitrary set as my favorite pictures of the year.  There’s no particular order to the pictures.  It was hard enough to the trim the possibles to twenty.

(more…)

June 30, 2013

Hawai’i: Star of the Sea Painted Church


DSC_4258_HDR-Edit-EditA favorite stop for photographers near Hawai’i’s Volcanoes National Park is the Star of the Sea Painted Church.  Though it looks older, the church was built in 1927-1928 under (more…)

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