Taking on the Billy Goat Trail

Although hiking the Billy Goat Trail was more of an effort at 52 than I remember it being at 22, I did make it to the end! I’d forgotten what a spectacular hike it is. Definitely going back again soon.

Hope you enjoy this video.

Marin County

If all goes accordingly (and doesn’t it always?) Marin County in Northern California will be my final resting place. OK, that sounds kind of morbid… let’s say rather that my wife and I would love to die there! Uh… wait… what I mean is we hope Northern California is where we’ll live out our days. You know, retire. Or something like that.

“Retire” is such an ugly word, though, isn’t it? Maybe “repurpose” is what I want. Rachel and I hope to one day repurpose ourselves in Northern California. Yeah, that’s better.

So why Northern California? Well…

Did this artist find her spot or what!

Did this artist find herself a spot or what!

The No Name Bar at night.

Bar. Yes, that’s the actual name. Bar. It’s old and gritty and has no kitchen; but you can bring in a burger
from down the street if you like. Like a 1967 VW it sits among the Rolls Royce establishments of Sausalito.
No frills, no food, no name. It’s almost perfect.

 posted about this fellow earlier this year. His name is Matt Jaffe. Super cool.

I posted about this fellow earlier this year. (do a search) His name is Matt Jaffe. A troubadour; storyteller.
The Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley hosts big names and locals.
We happened upon this open mic night and it was pure fun.

Found this motif in the patio of a great place in Bolinas. The Coast Cafe. Had fried oyster benedict for breakfast. I will never forget it. (I mean that in a good way!)

I could not pass up this nautical motif in the back patio of a joint in Bolinas. The Coast Cafe.
Had fried oyster benedict for breakfast. I will never forget it. (And I mean that in a good way!)

For a different view at sunset, drive down to Fort Baker on the east side of the GG Bridge. Less crowds and unique view.

The sky changes by the second this time of the evening. Magentas and violets fight for supremacy. Darkness wins, ultimately.

Redwoods in Mill Valley. Majestic is an over-used word... but really, that's what these are.

Majestic is an over-used descriptor… but really, that’s what they are. Mill Valley Redwoods.

Howard was his name. As you might guess, totally laid back and groovy.

Howard. As you might guess, totally laid back and groovy.

Surfers show off their shit at Rodeo Beach.

This dude at Rodeo Beach had some stuff going on. Dancing across the waves like some manic ballerino.

A city nestled in the fog. San Francisco viewed from Mt. Tamlapais.

San Francisco viewed from Mt. Tamlapais; a city nestled in the fog.

 

There is no better place to goof off in the evening than Stinson Beach.

The interplay of light and shadows at Stinson Beach.

 

A sunset not to be missed. Stinson Beach.

The warm sunset of a cool evening.

 

Northern California. Works for us.

Matt Jaffe, Open Mic Night at the Sweetwater Music Hall & Cafe

Open Mic Night at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley, CA.

Quite a turn out. Good music, bad music. Quirky characters, serious artists. Young and old. Lots of regulars and locals on stage and in the audience.

Then there was this kid.

Matt Jaffe at the Sweetwater Music Hall open mic night. Mill Valley, CA.

Matt Jaffe at the Sweetwater Music Hall open mic night. Mill Valley, CA.

He’s Matt Jaffe. An impressive young rocker who is kind of a cross between Elvis Costello and Brian Setzer. His two song set really stood out. It would not surprise me at all if you were to hear from him in the near future.

Key West, Still groovy after all these years.

 

key west. fishing at fort zachary taylor

 

Talk to anyone who went to Key West in the 1970s or early 1980s and you will, without question, hear some version of, “Oh you should have seen it back when I first went down there! It was so cool back then. No chain restaurants, no Starbucks, no fast-food joints, everything was local and unique. Now it’s just a big tourist trap!”

Everyone laments the commercialization of their favorite vacation spots, it’s true. Its never fun to go back years later and discover the bar you thought was so choice, and that probably only you and a few locals even knew existed, is now an Au Bon Pain. Jimmy Buffett, one of the original troubadours of Key West, the man who many times in concert complained about the commercialization of this once funky, drunken town…even HE opened a cheesy restaurant/bar/gift shop down on Duval Street, naming it after one of his songs!

But in spite all of this, Key West is still Key West. It still has groovy, local-flavor joints to hang out in. Little hideaways. Quiet places that the large crowds never seem to find. Sure, the Weekend Warriors from Miami descend most Friday nights, turning Duval Street into The French Quarter during Mardi Gras for a couple days. But big deal. Who really wants to hang out on Duval Street anyway?

Go down for a week and do things when everyone else isn’t. Don’t go to Mallory Square for sunset. Don’t eat at Sloppy Joe’s. (Or worse, Cheeseburger In Paradise!) Don’t let the crowds coming in from cruise ships bother you. They’re only there for a while. The place will settle down again once they’re gone.

The unique and funky version of Key West is still there. You just need to dig a little deeper to find it. Guide books have their place, for sure, but the great thing about traveling is the exploring, searching and discovering. You never know what might be just around the corner.

 

key west. city signs on tree

key west. street artist.

key west. woman at butterfly and nature conservatory

key west. beer delivery to Green Parrot bar.

key west. Woman looking out Capt. Tony's doorway.

key west. shipwreck treasures museum.

key west. B.O.s fish wagon.

key west. Sunset at Simonton Street.

Above sunset not at Mallory Square.

Fuji X100S in Black & White

Found myself in the ever snowful Washington, DC the other day.

Thought I’d put the camera through it’s paces in B&W mode. Went with the Yellow filter effect. Not much post processing in Lightroom. Little contrast here and there and a couple needed lightening. Otherwise all just out of camera.

washington dc, lincoln memorial with tourists

silhouette of man at Lincoln Memorial taking a photo of Washington Monument. Washington DC

lincoln memorial interior, washington dc

woman walking out of Lincoln Memorial visitor Center

vendor showing off his stars and stripes

tree shadows on snow

seagull near Lincoln Memorial, washington dc

washington dc, c & o canal, cross country skis, man with dog