I took far more photos and made far more journeys in this decade than the previous two. Whether that’s from having better photo gear or finding a travel partner who set me on the road to visiting Alaska, Europe, Australia, the Caribbean, and more, I don’t know. Whatever the cause, it made it so I had to split what was intended to be a three-part series into four parts.
The Year Two Thousand and Ten
I’ve always liked sports photography. It might even be my favorite, running back and forth on a basketball court or wandering around a racetrack to try an capture the excitement of the moment.
February, 2019. The rain poured nonstop and turned the Mission College Prep soccer field into a swamp for this season ending match. That’s not just a splash the kid is jumping over – if you look closely you’ll see another kid on the ground.
There’s a racing series for $500 cars known as the “24 Hours of LeMons.” Got a junker? Deck it out in a hot dog and burger and see if you have what it takes to win – or just survive – this two-day challenge.
In early 2010 I traveled to Costa Rica for a short visit and to fly my 88-year old mom home who had flown down a few months before to visit family. As it was, this turned out to be less the jungle adventure and more a family visit with a few small side trips.
One of the many farmer’s markets scattered around the San Jose suburbs.
Ever wonder why a cattle egret is called a cattle egret? Well, here you go…
This escolonia flower was on the trail leading from the visitor’s center to the crater of the Poas volcano.
Iglesia San Pedro de Poas in the small town of Poas near the foot of the volcano.
These small statues of Virgin Mary are scattered around the countryside in little alcoves carved behind the many roadside waterfalls.
In 2010 I met the most incredible travel companion. She not only has accompanied me on my travels, but has encouraged and, in fact, taken point on adventures that I would have never taken on my own. Any destinations you’ll see from this point onward that involve a plane or a ship can be directly attributed to her influence. But before we were heading overseas or on the seas, we took a road trip to northern California.
This is, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge.
This small cemetery is in the Point Reyes National Seashore.
2010 was the year I was introduced to cruising. I didn’t know if I would like it, so we booked a 5-day trip from Vancouver, BC, to Los Angeles, California, to get a taste. As you’ll see as you continue reading my blogs, I enjoyed cruising indeed.
Best $9 I ever spent. I got this sashimi plate at a place called MoMo Sushi in Vancouver, British Columbia, while waiting to board our ship.
My first close-up view of a cruise ship. And this is a little one by today’s standards!
Hours spent walking the decks resulted in a lot of photos of the ship’s details. This one of the funnel is one of my favorites.
The Pearl tied up in San Francisco. Unlike the Princess line that docked at Fisherman’s Wharf, we were relegated to “the docks” way down at Pier 30 and people had to take shuttle busses to Pier 39.
Of course the Princess passengers didn’t get a beautiful bay tour of the city and a cruise under the Oakland Bay Bridge like we did.
After cruising under the Golden Gate Bridge as the full moon rose behind us, this bicyclist was kind enough to be crossing at the perfect time. This was shot with a long zoom on a moving ship and with very little light so it took a lot of work to get this photo print-ready, hence the grungy black and white look.
Our cruise ended in Los Angeles where we picked up a rental car for our drive home. Before we left we stopped at the Long Beach Aquarium and got these photos of the Emerald Tree Boa and Moon Jellyfish.
Here are a couple of more “local” photos – and as usual local to me means anywhere in California! The first at Death Valley National Park, the second is from Bakersfield, California.
Badwater Basin in California section of Death Valley National Park, the lowest point in North America.
I met a talented musician on my 2008 train trip to Denver. In 2010 Patti Casey was in California playing with her band so we took a quick trip to Bakersfield to watch her play. The stage was across a pool of water from the audience, giving me this lovely reflection.
Two Thousand and Eleven
In January of 2011 I got a phone call at work – “I found a great deal on Travel Zoo! Do you want to go to Maui for five days?” Surprisingly I didn’t get many good photos on that trip, just a crab lounging on the beach and the famous neon sign in Lahaina.
With our first cruise being a success, we decided to take a longer one around the Mediterranean. We started in Barcelona, Spain, then on to Monaco and France, Italy, Turkey, and Greece.
After the Mediterranean cruise we took a couple of road trips. First was a weekend at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, then to Hoover Dam and the Eastern Sierras.
This Western Terrestrial Garter Snake being a bit less than terrestrial and spectacular rock formation were in Kings Canyon National Park
This fisheye view of Hoover Dam from the new Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge captures the old Highway 93, the dam, and the shadow of the bridge on the canyon wall.
Not all National Landmarks commemorate achievements and victories. Manzanar National Historic Landmark stands as a reminder of what prejudice and hysteria can lead to. In this case, over 120,000 innocent United States citizens were uprooted from their homes at gunpoint with only what they could carry, and moved to camps located in such lovely places as the California desert.
This is re-creation of one of the barracks at the Manzanar Japanese Internment Camp, not to be confused with a prisoner of war camp. Barbed wire fences and soldiers in towers with machine guns made sure the internees (don’t call them prisoners) didn’t leave until the end of World War II. I guess it can be confused with a POW camp after all.
Two Thousand and Twelve
Oh, no! Not another cruise! Our Mediterranean cruise ship experience was less than stellar. We still liked cruising and seeing the beautiful destinations, but our experience on board ship left us wary. We decided that our next cruise would be on a familiar ship and a shorter itinerary, and so we booked a 7-day cruise of the Alaska Inside Passage on the Norwegian Pearl. Our cruise took us to three Alaskan towns, plus Glacier Bay National Park and Victoria, British Columbia. The photos below are on board the Pearl, on the highway from Skagway to the Yukon Territory in Canada, Glacier Bay National Park, and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
These next photos are from home along the Central Coast of California.
The metal tags and wooden wall are at the granary in Templeton.
The Western Gull is from the north “T” pier in Morro Bay.
Mr. Ricks is in Avila Beach.
Two Thousand and Thirteen
This next series of photos is again from the local area – really local, not 200 mile away local.
Sunset silhouette over Morro Bay, California.
Oso Flaco Lake is a hidden gem near the tiny town of Guadalupe. It’s a peaceful spot unexpectedly located on the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area where birds, ducks, raccoons, and more are often seen.
I nearly walked into these cattails on a trail at Santa Margarita Lake.
These pelicans were on Stearns Wharf in Port San Luis near Avila Beach.
Could it be another cruise? Of course! Our Norwegian Pearl experience to Alaska hit the reset button after our negative Mediterranean experience. This time we booked on what has become our favorite cruise line, Celebrity Cruises. For this trip we flew from San Francisco to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and picked up the Celebrity Summit bound for the southern Caribbean.
We got into San Juan at about 4am and spent the night in a hostel. We had a day to visit old San Juan before our ship sailed that afternoon and I got this picture of two residents of the San Juan National Historic Site.
I can’t believe I slept right through both the Rapture AND the end of the world!
This warning was stuck on a wall in Barbados.
Looking down from the deck of the Celebrity Summit. Its amazing how the water in the Caribbean really does look as turquoise as it does in all those photographs you see.
I don’t know what it is about the United States, but it seems that everywhere else in the Americas is splashed with color! These colorful curtains were for sale in St. John’s, Antigua.
This is, by far, the most popular photo I’ve ever taken. I can put this on facebook and it gets five times as many views as my other photos. I put it on my new Flickr page and it got 250 hits in twelve hours. (I usually get about 10.) I need to stop taking pictures of rocks and start photographing naked people!
This is the famous Maho Beach in Saint Martin. Princess Juliana International Airport is across a fence just beyond the beach and tourists come from all over to stand under the airliners as they make their final approach. Sadly we had to leave before the 747 came in, which is twice the length of this 737.
After the Caribbean, we spent some more time around “home” before our next trip.
This Jaguar is at the Woodland Auto Display in the Estrella Warbird Museum in Paso Robles.
These two photos are from the old abandoned Los Angles Zoo in Griffith Park.
A close up of the old sign patinted on wall of the Piedras Blancas motel in San Simeon.
The San Luis Obispo Post Office in downtown has some great old post office boxes.
This sax player was in downtown San Luis Obispo.
Musicians playing traditional folk instruments in Chinatown, San Francisco.
The cliche shot of a streetcar under the Fishermans Wharf sign. Shouldn’t there be an apostrophe in that sign somewhere?
This pulley was on an old crane in Alameda, California. The crane is no longer there, which is a reminder to always take the shot when you see it because you never know if you’ll have another chance.
This shot of a container ship and dock in the Port of Oakland was taken from near the old crane in Alameda.
When we planned our Australia/New Zealand cruise, we decided that we’d fly in to Sydney early and rent a car for four days. Then we’d board the ship, sail from Sydney to Melbourne, then over to New Zealand.
This chrome statue was on the road between Singleton and Winsor, New South Wales.
Seeing cockatoos flying in the wild was definitely a high point for me.
This Australian Pelican was perched on a street lamp in a town south of Sydney.
We boarded our ship on Thursday but didn’t depart until Friday, so we got to spend a night on board. We couldn’t have asked for a better location, just across from the opera house and with the Sydney Harbour Bridge directly ahead.
Our first stop after we left Sydney was Melbourne, a city of some incredible architecture. This is the interior of the State Library of Victoria.
White-Fronted Terns are incredibly fast fliers, and I managed to get a couple of good shots while visiting Port Chalmers, New Zealand.
We found this small reading room in Akaroa.
I spotted this scene while at the railway station in Wellington.
This colorful fountain is on the the cruise ship Celebrity Solstice.
We couldn’t leave New Zealand without at least one picture of their famous sheep.
Finally, this is the scene of the dock in Tauranga, our last stop before disembarking in Auckland.
Two Thousand and Fourteen
After all that cruising to exotic lands, we decided in 2014 to do a Southwestern camping trip that would take us to six national parks.
We spent our first night at what we call “The Round Bed Motel” (it’s actually the Route 66 Motel) in Barstow, California. This small motel has a collection of old cars in the parking lot, including this old Cadillac.
This old tree was in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. Just beyond the tree are the incredible amphitheaters the park is known for.
We planned on driving from Bryce Canyon to Arches in one day, but we got a late start and ended up camping in Capitol Reef National Park in Utah.
Just like the hoodoos aren’t all there is to see at Bryce Canyon, arches aren’t the only thing to see at Arches National Park.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah, where the canyons are inside even bigger canyons.
This is Newspaper Rock State Historic Park in southern Utah.
We had visited Zion National Park before, so we just drove though on the way home.
Stay tuned for the next installment which I’m expecting to cover 2015 to 2019.