Sunday, July 20, 2014

Salinas Rodeo

I heard about the Salinas California Rodeo (here it is pronounced ro DE o) most of my life. When arrived here in Hollister, Ca. and fired up the tv, one of the first ads I saw was for the rodeo. For once our timing was just right, at least for the rodeo. We arrived here on a Monday, the day after the Hollister Motorcycle Rally.....DANG.... missed it by a day.
Saturday, Louise and I hopped (well, stepped)  on the motorcycle and headed for Salinas. We got there in time to get lunch and find our seats. We didn't take time to shop all the booths that were selling everything cowboy and more.  The Grand Entry was pretty impressive with lots of Armed Forces and county sheriffs recognized for their service. 

This rodeo started and ended with bull riding. There were 32 bull riders leave that left the chutes but only one made it to the whistle.

There were a lot of kids try their hand mutton bustin'.

Calf roping
bareback broncs
Team roping.
My son and I were involved with team roping when we lived in Ohio. It's always fun for me to watch the pros do what we use to do. The problem is realizing how good they are compared to how good we  Duane Jr. still ropes some in Texas where he now lives.

This was the first rodeo that I have ever been to that ran a second arena at the same time. There was something going on all the time. There was a motorcycle stunt show during one of the alternate events. There were 3 riders doing things that I would never, even in my younger days try.

Saddle Bronc
Bull Dogging
Barrel racing

The other acts were trick riding, rope spinning, the finals of a hackamore working cow horse class and of course the rodeo clown. We enjoyed our day at the rodeo. I was very glad that I was able to attend this famous show. We went to lot of rodeos over the years and this one ranks right up there with the National Finals in Vegas. The big difference is the Vegas show has to top 15 cowboys in world so there are a lot more rides made and cows roped then there were at this event. That said, the entertainment value was better at this show.
We will heading out of Hollister Monday, heading to son Matt's house for about 3 weeks. Louise needs a grankid fix. Well, maybe I do to.
Til next time
Duane and Louise

Morgan Hill Ride

The day after our hike at Pinnacles, the neighbors went to visit their son while we biked to Salinas.  After several false starts and two calls to the local H-D store, we finally found it at 333 N. Main St.  It turns out that there are two 333 N. Main Streets--one in Old Town, starting at the National Steinbeck Center, and the new N. Main which is also Monterey St. and CA 68 which is where the dealership is located.  Whew!  From there we found the Sports Complex and got our Rodeo tickets for the following Saturday.  Too bad we didn't plan to play tourist here.  There were some other Steinbeck-related buildings to explore.

We spent the next couple of days goofing off in camp, playing shuffle board and cards, and taking walks and photographs before we felt the urge to mount up and take a ride.  When we opted to stay at this park we decided not to stay at the park near Morgan Hill.  We decided to make a day trip to check it out.  On the way I saw this sign.  Last time I looked, Los Banos (ban yos) was Spanish for the bathrooms!

We took the long way around and ended up at Coyote Lake Harvey Bear Ranch County Park.  Apparently the ranch was donated land and the lake is a dammed up creek or river.  There are several entrances to the park, including this one  for day use picnicking and boating, and overnight camping, and a horse trail entrance and parking,  

Skier just to the left

The road was curvy and hilly this way but that's what we like.

We did a quick tour of the park (the guard gave us a free 30 min for a look-around) then stopped in the town of Morgan Hill for gas and a water break.  I found this wall of (I think) Lombardy poplars very interesting in that it was about a mile long with no dead trees to offer a peek at whatever was on the other side.  At the end it made a right angle and effectively blocked my view. 

We picked up Dunne Ave. and rode up into the hills on the other side of town,

where we found Anderson Lake County Park.  We enjoyed this view while we relaxed over lunch.

This view is unusual in that most fields in this area aren't square but rather long and narrow.  This looks as if it came from the mid-west farm belt.

We took the shorter, flatter road home through Hollister.  Too bad we didn't plan a tour of this historic town either. In 1947 the first  motorcycle race held here were the basis of the picture The Wild One with Marlon Brando.  Other than a few arrests for drunkenness and fighting, the whole affair was pretty quiet and orderly.  Hollywood must have drama, however, so bike riders gained a bad (and mostly undeserved) reputation. We arrived here the day after the annual motorcycle rally....dang, we missed it. Need to do a little better planning in the future. Today Hollister is a sprawling city but the downtown area still retains some of its original architecture.

We can't leave the area without a few more bike rides.  Stay tuned!

Louise and Duane

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pinnacles National Park

Apparently we hadn't been busy enough our first week in the San Benito Valley (San Benito is Spanish diminutive for Saint Benedict).  Bill and Diane and we decided to take a hike in Pinnacles National Park.  Pinnacles had been a national monument since 1908, but only made national park status last year.  It now emcompasses over 26,000 acres, 16,000 acres designated as wilderness.  It was formed by volcanic activity, tectonic plate movement, faulting (the whole area we have been exploring the last month lies along the San Andreas Fault) and erosion resulting in talus caves formed when boulders fell into deep, narrow gorges and lodged between the rock walls.  The Elevations range from 825' to 3304' with not only caves and spires but lots of rolling hills. The park boasts of a healthy and diverse range of animals.  It is especially proud to be a nesting area for the California condor, a year-round abode for a colony of Townsend's big-eared bats, the protectors of a reviving colony of California's largest native frog--the red-legged frog, and home to one of the largest diversity of bees in a single place in North America.   

Besides the fantastic views, visitors can take advantage of rock climbing cliffs

caves to explore

peaks to conquer

a variety of trails to wander (from strolling to hiking capabilities)

odd natural formations of rock and living things (this tree literally went to great lengths to survive!)

things to awe you

delight you (this open-ended cave had a little stream of water gurgling through it)

and make you glad you weren't there when something happened.

Bill and Diane led us on their favorite hike on the Bear Gulch Cave Trail which loops around the end of Bear Gulch Reservoir, the home of the red-legged frogs.  They are nocturnal so we didn't see any, but we did see 

this beauty with its vivid yellow and black stripes.

This was a fairly easy hike but took us through some very interesting terrain.

After our hike we enjoyed our picnic in one of the many picnic areas.  The park is used mainly by daily visitors but does offer one campground with tent, rv, and group sites, showers and a store.

Next up, another bike trip.

Louise and Duane

Friday, July 18, 2014

San Bautista Mission and ride to FreemontState Park

The neighbors decided to accompany us to visit San Juan Bautista State Historic Park.  The Office, Visitors' Center and gift shop are all located in the lobby of the historic Plaza Hotel.  The hotel was a one story adobe built in 1814 in the Spanish colonial style.  In 1856 Italian immigrant Angelo Zanetta leased the building and added a redwood second story and opened the Plaza Hotel in 1859.  It became an attraction for both its fine French and Italian cuisine and its saloon.  Travelers from around the world were guests at the hotel.   The hotel is now a museum.

Click on any picture for reading or viewing details.

Hotel saloon and pool room

Be sure to read this

Connected to the hotel by the upper walkway is the outhouse--two one seat rooms down divided by a one seater between and over them.  Very high class!

The park complex depicts a Spanish pueblo consisting of several buildings including three  houses of different sizes-one shown the way it was when lived in, the other a history museum and one a settlers cabin,the blacksmith shop, of course, wash house, and other utilitarian buildings all built around a central courtyard or plaza.  The plaza was used for bullfights, bearfights, cockfights, parades and social gatherings.  Early residents baked bread in outdoor ovens and dried cowhides in the plaza.  The plaza is bordered on two sides by park buildings, on one side by the old mission and on the fourth by the original El Camino Real.  Real, pronounced ray-all, means road.

carriage house and barn with old wagons and carriages on display

Back on the bikes we took the road to Fremont Peak State Park. 

Yes, that is our road.

This is a very nice limited use park with camping, picnic areas, restrooms and hiking trails. San Juan Bautista is somewhere in the distance.

We ate our picnic in one of the many picnic areas then took a trail to the top.  The bikes are parked directly below.  

The marine layer made an appearance.

Bill and Diane headed for the top.

The sign depicts Fremont and his crew as being strictly expeditionary but of course was suspected of spying for the federal government during the Civil War.

Today we visited two of California's many state parks.  Here's how the system got started.  In 1864 as the Civil War threatened, CA became the first state in the nation to establish a state park.  With little opposition, Congress and President Lincoln granted Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove to the State.  This historic legislation marked the beginning of land preservation designed for public use.  Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove remained a CA state park until 1906 when it became a national park.  In 1902 a San Jose photographer became instrurmental in establishing Big Basin Redwoods State Park, now CA's oldest state park.  In 1917 the official CA State Park Commission was established and appointed Newton B. Drury as Executive Director.  He served for 20 years before leaving to lead the National Park Service.   Californians can be proud of their state parks and their history.

After our state park tour, we went home for supper, then met again for an evening of cards.  The fun never ends!

Louise and Duane