Wednesday, March 30, 2016

San Francisco, CA - Bunny Ears and Selfies

Hey, remember when Easter came and you wanted the bunny with the big chocolate ears? Well, look what we found in a local store. Tiny bunnies, BIG EARS. Sometimes manufacturers actually listen and fulfill their customers’ ‘needs’ and I know that this was a 'YUGE' need.
Meanwhile I’ll you the indignities of being injured. I’ve mentioned that I couldn’t dry my own feet in the shower on the first few days of my injury and here is Gary tying my shoes for me a few days ago. He even had to help me slip my left foot into the shoe. But, today, I’m to the point now where I can dress myself - I can put my own clothes on, my own shoes and I can even tie the laces. And, I can dry my own feet after a shower. I can’t bring my left foot up to my hands to dry it but I can take the towel down to the floor. Luckily, I’m somewhat limber.
Here’s one of my typical poses these days: icing down the knee. And, there’s my huge knee brace off to the left in the picture. Velcro is great because it catches on everything - but, that’s the problem, it catches on everything.
Taking a short spin around the campground. I just had to get out of the RV for a bit. I’m not used to being cooped up and almost immobile. I have just gotten some mail - my copy of the 2016 Milepost - so I can drool over the thought of our trip to Alaska.
We like this campground since it is so close to everything: San Francisco, the Marin Headlands, Muir Woods, the ferry system, Point Reyes, Charles Schulz Museum, etc. but then it is so close. And, here’s what I mean - we can see right into our neighbor’s windows. We don’t have neighbors every night but the sites are tight.
Gary has kept close tabs on our travels. Here is a map showing our where we have traveled in our Winnebago Journey. These points are everywhere we have bought gas. You can see that one year we went up the west coast and the next year we went up the east coast but - we always end up in Iowa. We always said that Iowa was the middle of nowhere BUT the center of everything.

What is it about selfies? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a good one. Gary and I are obviously looking at my iPad but I can’t recall what we’re looking at. Possibly, I’m practicing how to take selfies - and, judging by this picture, I need to practice lots more - or give it up. Gary says to ‘bury this picture.’

‘Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.’

                                        Charles M. Schulz, Charlie Brown's Little Book of Wisdom

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

San Francisco, CA - What in the World is a Bay Model?

Big day today - we’re going back to the scene of the crime - the dock where I fell in. But, we have some other adventures in mind too. First, we stopped at the local Jeep dealer to see about a replacement for my key, the one that fell in the drink when I did. I sat in the car while Gary went in - soon he returned with an ashen face. ‘Guess what a new key would cost?’ I could tell my his pained expression that it was a lot of money. ‘$400.00’ he told me. ‘$198.00 for the key and $198 for the labor to re-program it.’ Holy Toledo. Hmmm. I immediately thought that we might get a key further away from here, a rather expensive area of California (as if California itself isn’t expensive.)

First we called Des Moines to find out what it would cost where we actually bought the Jeep. $240. Ah, much better but they needed to have the car there to check it. Nope, not gonna happen. Then we looked down the road to where we were headed and called Newport, OR. $250. Well, we can do that. We have another regular key for emergencies. Problem with that one is that since it is not programmed, when we open the car with it, the alarm sounds. But, that’s easy to stop - just stick the key in the starter. So, that’s our plan: get the key in Newport.

Our next stop was at the Bay Model. Hmmm How to describe this amazing structure. How’s this from the Bay Model brochure: ’It is a three-dimensional representation of San Francisco Bay and the Delta capable of simulating tides, currents and river inflows?’ OR, how’s this from Wikipedia: ‘The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Bay Model is a working hydraulic scale model of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta System.’ Good but I don’t think that they really describe what it is you have to see it for yourself and that is what we are doing.

But, first, a map of the territory the Bay Model covers - all of the land which is the part of the San Francisco Bay system. There’s the Pacific Ocean off to the left, San Francisco Bay off to the left of San Francisco, San Pedro Bay NE of where we are (the grey dot) and several other bays and canals and rivers in the upper right of the map. Pretty big and pretty important to the economic and environmental health of the area. One bad move, like an oil spill or a dam near Antioch or a fish kill or a huge new shipping channel would cause havoc all over.
The Bay Model includes all of the water within this map. Covering 2.5 times the size of a football field or 1.5 acres, it is an exact replica in height and width of the bay. It has correct depths, correct currents and - it even has tides, though the tides take only 14 minutes to go in and out rather than 24 hours. I couldn’t get a picture of the whole thing, it is too big and the walkways over it for viewing get in the way. But, here’s a picture of the most recognizable section - the Golden Gate Bridge section. Here you can see the bridge, labels on other land forms like Angel Island in front, the walkways in the model which are really land forms but, in the model, enable people to walk around it and observe. (These people are standing in what really is Sausalito, the first town north of the GG Bridge. In fact, the Bay Model is in Sausalito and that is where we are. Since the modelers were really interested only in the bay, they did not fill in the land forms.) Note that the lighter the color, the shallower the water in that spot. Or, the lower in elevation of the land. Also note the mural painted on the back wall.
Why in the world would someone build something like this? Well, back in the 1950’s a guy wanted to dam up the bay and create two fresh water lakes between the Sierras and San Francisco. To test whether this would be workable and/or environmentally sound, the US Army Corps of Engineers built this this model. The tests scuttled the dams by proving that the lakes would evaporate faster than they would fill. For the next 40 years, scientists and engineers used the Model to learn what would happen if man or nature made other changes to the physical environment of the San Francisco Bay estuary. Now, of course, computer simulation is used and the purpose of the Model has changed from modeling to education.

Here’s another picture showing the possibilities. We did not see this and I got the picture from Bay Area Travel Writers. One of the tests that the model would demonstrate is the release of something like oil from a tanker or chemicals from a bayside factory and how they would flow through the SF Bay. Where would these chemicals or oil go? How fast would they flow? What areas would be affected?
Disneyland it ain’t but fascinating. So that’s the description. Here’s our visit. The first thing we saw as we entered the building was an exhibit showing the whole watershed flowing into the SF Bay, from the Sierra Nevada Mts. to the ocean off San Francisco. And, we got to ‘melt’ the snow of the Sierras and watch it flow down the mountains, into the valley and out to sea. I’ve taken 3 pictures showing where it goes. First the snow in the mountains,
next the snow melt
then the snowmelt fills the two major river systems in the area,
finally the fresh water flowing into the bay. This is a huge watershed all flowing under the Golden Gate Bridge and out to the Pacific. No wonder they wanted to study it as a whole since all the parts are inter-related. And, it’s very obvious, no snow in the Sierras, no water in the valleys to grow the crops we all eat.

Pretty cool, huh? We then walked through a section showing how the interaction between the salt water and the fresh water rejuvenate and replenish the bay. Finally we learned about the invasive species in the Bay and how they have spread and are threatening the bay. We also saw a movie showing the history of the Model and then we walked out on a walkway over the Bay Model which was supposed to be from 11,000’ above it all. Kind of like being in a Google Map program. Here you get an expansive view of the whole model. I watched one section to see the tides go in and out. Cool. To do that you have to watch one section for a few minutes to see the flow. I focused on the end of a dock to see it flow.

We also walked around the whole model. Here’s a section showing some of the rivers and canals in the NW corner of the model. But, again, you can see how large this thing is.

And, here you can see how you can walk around it and study it.
Quite frankly, we were somewhat surprised to see lots of other people circling it. We hadn’t expected to see so many other people here. There was a mother with her young son and baby. There was a family with two kids. There were other couples and then there were the school groups trying to get in their last field trip. We see a lot of school groups in our travels and I’m always amazed at how some teachers prep their kids and how others are just trying to get in a field trip. This group was just trying to get in a field trip. They were not taking notes, the teacher was not leading them through and explaining each facet. They were just playing on their own as they raced through.
I’m thinking it’s time for lunch and there are several picnic tables out side right on the boardwalk of the bay. Sunny, relaxing and by the water.

San Francisco, CA - Back to the Scene of the Crime

But, then it was time for lunch and we headed out to some picnic tables along the boardwalk and watched the ships in the water. A tall ship is in the harbor this month and we watched two guys furl the sails.
We watched several families kayaking in the bay.

We then took some time to view the exhibits they had about wartime shipbuilding in this area but then we headed on down the pathway to the scene of the crime, the dock where I walked off.

We walked down the dock towards the end. Here’s my picture showing the dock and the bulkhead that I fell between, from about 20’ away. Beautiful view over the bay and, remember, I wanted to watch some paddleboarders on the bay and leaned onto the bulkhead - then stepped out with my right foot - but there was no dock to step on. And, I went into the water between this bulkhead and the end of the dock. That space doesn’t look like it’s very wide here, does it? Well, it isn’t and I’ve got some more pictures to show it to you.
And, here are some more pictures showing the distance between the dock and the bulkhead. Now, Gary is reaching out from the dock to the actual pillars on the bulkhead - see thatboard at the top of the picture? It’s about 6” wide and sticks out from the bulkhead. Now, subtract that 6” from Gary’s reach and how much space do you get? 18” or so? that’s what we guess I fell into: 18” of water between two hard boards. How ever did I fall in this narrow space and not damage anything more than my knee?
This must have been the step that I took. Doesn’t that water look like a swimming pool you’d like to jump into? Yecch.
And, finally, this is looking almost right straight down - boy, did I ever thread the needle here.
Enough of that. I”m going to relish being alive with only a bum knee. We’re in San Francisco, let’s enjoy it. Off to see the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin Headlands north above it. But, as were driving there, we saw this marvelous view of San Francisco with the sun on it. Coit Tower off the left and the TransAmerica tower in the middle.
And, Angel Island in the bay.
But at the Headlands, lots of other tourists with the same idea. Understandable. Lots of others wanting to do the same thing and all scrambling for the few parking spots available. We found one and snapped away.
Can you beat this view? Absolutely not - and we’ll probably take other shots of the bridge in our short time left here.

Well, maybe the view the opposite direction out towards the Pacific as the sun heads lower. You know me, I love pictures of the sun on water.
But, you know how we like rock structures. Look at these rocks on the Headlands. How gnarly they are and what forces of nature caused these?
Time to head home A full day.

Monday, March 28, 2016

San Francisco, CA - It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Schulz’s comics were so good that I thought a whole page devoted to them would be good and bring back many memories. First, however, we have an actual picture of me, composing this blog. Just like Snoopy when he’s composing his ‘Dark and Stormy Night’ stories, I also write on a typewriter - though mine is a bit newer. Although, this is the kind of typewriter I typed all of my high school papers on. I didn’t get a real typewriter until I went to college.
First a paean to unrequited love. I got tired of standing in the museum with my knee in this heavy cumbersome brace and went out to the lobby to sit down and relax. Here I found a notebook with lots of the Red Headed Girl themed comics in it with plastic over them. That’s why the color might be a bit off and there is a sheen in a few places.
I saw this one on the wall and started to laugh when Lucy was sliding down the pitcher’s mound and then erupted when Charley Brown said they’d have a better team if she had something under her cap. ‘Baseball is the best sport for a cartoon strip, because you don’t have to have too much action. . . . Baseball is perfect because little kids do play it at that age. And they aren’t very good at it. But, boy, do they suffer at it.’ Charles M. Schulz.
’There’s something funny about unrequited love, I suppose it’s because we can all identify with it.’ Charles M. Schulz. Sally used everything she knew how to win the affections of Linus but he continually dismissed her affectionate use of the expression ‘Sweet Babboo’, a phrase Jean Schulz coined for her husband.
Neuroses were a favorite topic of Schulz. “I get a lot of ideas when I feel most depressed.’ Charles M. Schulz
And, again the Little Red Headed Girl. Didn’t we all have a little red headed girl in their life? Mine was named Ken and when he chose another, it took me a while to get over it. But, boy, when I did get over it, I was really over it. Luckily, I didn’t get stuck with Ken. Whew. I found my own Sweet Babboo.
Good Grief.

San Francisco, CA - Happiness is a Warm Puppy

The first floor has several special exhibits with his cartoons. One of the special exhibits in the museum is a whole collection of Snoopy as the WWI flying ace. Here we saw the small model airplanes that one of his sons, Monte, put together from kits. It was from these models that Schulz got his ideas of making Snoopy’s imaginary life as a WWI flying ace and the first comic with this appeared in October 10, 1965. Schulz described drawing a small fighter ace helmet on Snoopy and ‘suddenly got the idea for it.’ He immediately recognized the potential of the Flying Ace, acknowledging, “I knew I had one of the best things I had thought of in a long time.”

The walls of this room were decorated with comics of Snoopy in his alter life.

And, a room devoted to Charley Brown’s baseball team comics and the football comics.

I also found one that hit home with me.
Another room had several props that ‘kids’ could play with and have their pictures taken with. Well, we’re not going to let this pass us by. We wandered in when several of these props were not being used and took these pictures. Strangely, most of the people posing with these props were adults.
After we roamed around the museum, we headed over to Snoopy’s Home Ice, the ice rink that Schulz built next door to his home. We ordered lunch in The Warm Puppy snack shop and enjoyed the activity around us.
I hadn’t expected to see so many people on the ice rink and in the snack shop with their skates on. Kids, teens, adults, families. It was pretty full. Schulz (from Minnesota) enjoyed ice hockey and played on a team in this rink. One time they put a tennis court on top and Billie Jean King played here. They hold concerts here and teams from town practice here. A real community center.
In the gift shop were quite a few pretty special Charley Brown art work. Like this rug wall with Snoopy leading the scouts on a hiking trip.
And, this beautiful stained glass window.
And, this Mona Lucy.
Here is what another comic artist has said about Charles Schulz. What a good summary. I think we all like Peanuts not for its belly laughs but for its subtle humanity. We could see ourselves in the characters, in their plights and in their relationship to others. That Charles Schulz could come up with a new idea every day for 50 years is truly amazing. Let's see: 50 x 365 = 18,250 different ideas, different drawings and different strips. Amazing.
It was then time to head home and, even though the forecast said sunny, we found ourselves first in a bit of virga rain and then in a full blown rainstorm.
A wonderful museum and we'd recommend it. A fine day.