JULY 4, 2009 (posted out of order)

I spent July 4th home alone (by choice). I got used to it because when we had our dogs (and cats), I'd never leave them alone because they'd be afraid of the loud noises and flashes of the fireworks. I don't feel like I really missed anything because from my deck, I had a great view of one fireworks display as you can see.

July 2009 - FLY up to LAKE ALMANOR

Most of the photos were taken from the plane which had tinted windows .. and because it was such a hot day, there was a lot of haze ... I've done my best to clarify the photos so don't be harsh in your criticism.

My brother-in-law is having medical treatment so he couldn't stay at the lake house all summer but they hired a small plane and he'll be flying up on Friday and back on Mondays for a couple of weekends. The first weekend, I went with him. This is a photo of the 'small plane' which is based at the little town (pop. 2,500) of Chester in Plumas County, CA. Sterling is bending down to pick up his dog and Dan, the pilot, is watching. The plane seated the pilot and three passengers.

We flew over Auburn, west of Sacramento, over Lake Oroville then over the mountains to Lake Almanor. This shows the lake in the distance and you can just make out the airport - the sandy-colored area to the left of the lake. The lake has a peninsula jutting down north to south and that's where their house is located.

Here's a photo of the peninsula itself. The house is approximately one-third of the way in from the left, on the far side of the peninsula. That side of the peninsula is about two-thirds of the lake. It's a lovely area and a quick drive takes you to Mt. Lassen with its sulfur pits, bubbling mud and awesome hiking trails.

Here's Chester Airport as we're coming in for our landing. We had to circle it because of a rather strong tailwind. There's no control tower there .. it's just too small an area .. but it was used extensively last summer when there were several wildfires around the area.

In the 25+ years my sister has owned the house, there have been ospreys nesting nearby. I took this photos through a telescope on the house deck. When they first built the nest, it was at the top of the tree and each year they fix it up again. There's a tow rope and at least one tarp in the nest itself. Ospreys live 30 years on average, in the wild, so this couple may be the original birds.

When we were flying over the Sacramento valley, it made me feel extremely insignificant .. from 9,000 feet looking down on the land below. These are some of the many rice paddies in the valley .. those with the curved lines are the older fields and those with straight lines are the ones that have been leveled by laser to improve the watering efficiency.

As we were approaching the Bay Area, we passed Beale AFB then Travis AFB and I finally saw the 'mothball fleet'. In the distance is the Golden Gate (the break in the land mass) and to the left is the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island - you need to be familiar with the area to know where to look.

Here we are coming to for a landing at San Carlos airport .. which does have a control tower because it's next to the approach for San Francisco International! On the way we were passed from Travis to Oakland Airport and were required to drop to 4,000' to clear the way for a 737 coming in for a landing. It was so much fun listening to the chatter on the plane's radio.

My final photo is of my brother-in-law who was stretched out in the back seat (his choice). Dan, the pilot, gave us both headphones with microphones so we could talk to each other easily .. and listen to the air traffic controllers at the various airports between Chester and San Carlos. I asked enough questions on the way up there - he figured I was interested in what was going on. He was right!!



On our last day in England, we drove to Heathrow Airport to stay overnight so we didn't have to dash like crazy people to get to the airport in time.
We drove along the south coast going from west to east and I was checking the map for interesting sights when I saw "The Swannery" ... it's been in the current location since the 1300s and the over 600 swans have a great place to call home. You can walk freely along the paths and walk really close to the nests for good photos ... I only got hissed at one time!

Here's one of the first nests we saw ... you can just see two cygnets sticking out from underneath mum ... Most of the swans were still waiting for eggs to hatch but we saw two who had little ones already.

Here we have two cobs confronting each other. It didn't get nasty .. just a lot of wings flapping and attempts to make themselves look much larger ... it was over in a matter of a couple of minutes but it was quite impressive while it lasted.

This is a good view of the main part of the swannery ... there are some 'training pens' for parents to take their young to get them used to the water, etc. You can see how close they all are to each other and they get along great apparently ... even put up with visitors walking amongst them.



I went back to Oregon for a few days(the first time since my husband died in March '07) to see old homes .. visit friends .. and get back to the beauty that is Oregon. I stayed at the Riverside Inn, Grants Pass (55mi north of the CA border on I-5) .. we lived there for 10 years. They have these fantastic blue jet boats that take you on rides along the Rogue River, over rapids - trips that include lunch, dinner or just sightseeing. They're a 'must do' when you're in town.

This is a shot of the Rogue River just past Hell Gate canyon where they've filmed a few well-known westerns - and The River Wild. I have floated down the river a few times in an inflatable (Tahiti) one-person kayak .. so much fun!!

My friend took me and her daughter to a favorite camping spot of hers. It's not usually busy because it's out-of-the-way, there are no hookups or showers and it's quite secluded ... but it's beautiful. This stream is crystal clear and deep enough to swim in certain areas ..

Here's another photo of that beautiful area and the greenery that folds over the edges of the water, like Mother Nature tenderly caressing the stream.

I drove over to Brookings on the coast . just 10 miles north of the CA border .. we lived there for ten years too ... I'd still be there if it was a little bigger town - although I love the small-town feeling. Here's a pic of the Pacific from Crissey Field beach .. a new area they've created as a visitor center.