Jim Carter



Finally, it's been 3 or 4 years since I've had a real vacation. So I'm off to explore parts of southern and central Cal. I left today Aug. 25 2007 at 5:00 am from San Diego on my way to Lone Pine CA. Portal to Mt Whitney on the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas and western movie location capital of the US.

Here are a few pictures of the trip so far check back daily for updates.

Day One 8/25 San Diego to Lone Pine

Sunrise through the smog outside of San Bernardino...
Is it any wonder I left the "Inland Empire" as soon as I was
old enough to get the hell out of there?

I'm on my way now!

The Sierras from Lone Pine Mt Whitney is actually the smaller looking
peak to the right, it's just further away.

The mountains from camp, those little puffy clouds will eventually
develop into a thunder storm.

There's the rain in the mountains, in a little while it'll get down to me.

...luckily I was able to get the rain fly up on the tent then jump into the
car and wait it out. No flash flooding. Later it stopped raining and turned
into a lovely afternoon and evening. More tomorrow.


Day 2 Lone Pine, Alabama Hills

The Alabama Hills are west of Lone Pine and east of the Sierras, they
are beautiful granite rock formations where Hollywood has been shooting
movies since the 30s.

I went mountain biking through them for a little while then had some breakfast.

After breakfast I walked back to my bike and had a flat tire.

Luckily the car wasn't too far of a walk.

When I got back to camp it started raining again, this time it lasted a good
part of the afternoon. I brought plenty of books though.


Day 3 Lone Pine, Manzanar

A lot of thunder and lighting last night, kept me awake. This morning I drove out to Manzanar the WWII Concentration Camp, where the United States interred Nipponese and Americans of Nipponese decent. But it was raining so I didn't wander around a lot.

Military guard shack entering the prison camp.

Obelisk in the Nipponese Cemetery

Lei on Obelisk

Were is Buddha?

Tomorrow I'm heading north!


After getting back to camp I decided to take a little bike ride, there's
little dirt road that takes off up the alluvial towards the sierras roughly
paralleling the creek.

So after about two hours of riding and pushing (mostly pushing) I got up here to where the pine trees start. It was a 20 minute ride back down to camp no pedaling!

I wish I could show you what this moon did to the mountains last night
but those pictures just didn't come out.

Tomorrow North to Yosemite!


Day 4 Lone Pine to Yosemite

I always forget what a beautiful drive 395 is.

Yosemite so what's the big deal anyway?

Halfdome in the distance from Hwy 120 tomorrow I should have a
little closer view.


Day 5 Yosemite

Today was quite a day I spent 4 or 5 hours in Yosemite Valley. It wasn't as
crowded as I thought it might be. Mostly I road my bike on the intended paths.

According to Bruce Lee, under Nipponese occupation in Shanghai Dogs and Chinese were not allowed in Parks. At Yosemite well... "Got to keep the loonies on the path" Pink Floyd

I did get to see the tallest waterfall in North America, oops where's the water?

But seriously Yosemite is a beautiful place, I enjoyed it a lot. There is
an Ansel Adams Gallery which has a lot of good photography. And a Museum where they had an exhibit by a guy named Chiura Obata who painted nature both before and after being locked up in an internment camp during WWII.

I also did laundry Mariposa and then drove to Merced where I'm ensconced in a cheap motel (they didn't have any in Mariposa), with internet and TV. I'm not sure where I'm going tomorrow.

Day 6 Merced to Big Sur

Well I never thought I'd end up here. This morning before I took off I was still trying to decide between going back into the Sierras or to the City or
San Luis Obispo or WHAT? Then I found a campground in Big Sur that
was first come first serve and $10.00 a night. So I was off to the races,
thinking that if I could get in here I could have a place to stay over the holiday weekend. And here I am.

Central Valley with rain. Yesterday is the only day I haven't seen rain on this trip.

Nice Kitty. The campground where I'm at, Andrew Molera State Park is
is about two miles from River Inn in Big Sur and come complete with
Kitties this one is a bobcat that was in the campground as I pulled in
on my bike with a load of stuff. The campground is about a 1/3 mile
from the parking lot so I had to ferry supplies by bike, tent bedding food
on and on... Then I took a break and came here to River Inn

One more from day 5 this is a shot looking back into the park from
the beach, the Big Sur river empties into the ocean right here.


Day 7 Big Sur, Monterey, Salinas

A pretty busy day I went to Monterey and checked out Cannery Row and Fisherman's Wharf. Then to complete my Steinbeck day I went to the Stienbeck Center in Salinas, the town where I was born. All pretty commercial but what did I expect? Still to walk the streets that inspired Steinbeck, a thrill.

This morning before I took off I took this one down at the beach that
is the Big Sur river

Monterey fisherman's Worf er Wharf

Steinbeck Center in Salinas in the foreground one of those older buildings to the right was a restaurant that had a sign "Steinbeck ate here". Tomorrow I think I'll stay in camp and hike and or ride.


Day 8 Big Sur

Well today I took a hike, I figure from camp it was only about 3 miles each
way but it was also about 1500 feet in elevation, give or take...

It was a long hike out and the trail was so steep that it was difficult
coming back too.

The morning started out innocently enough with a walk along the Big Sur river

The climb starts in earnest.

The switchbacks are visible here starting about halfway up on the right
going towards the left then back near the top of the ridge.

The first switchback starts where the trail appears to end with a hard left.

And camp gets further away.

Finally that stand of Redwoods ahead is supposed to be the end...

And the view is great from there,

Really nice, over that last ridge is the Salinas Valley.

But I could go higher and on the way there is Yucca.

And now those redwoods are below me.

And camp is really far down, as I said about 1500 feet, all that was left was the downhill. It was pretty hard too, kind of blew out my knee, not too bad though, should by fine in six to eight weeks...not really should be fine tomorrow. Well that's our little hike for today thanks for coming along!

Climb addendum

I actually took this the next day (today) but it's such a good view of the hike
I just had to put it in plus if you put your mouse over it I've marked the trail.


Day 10 Big Sur

Today I took it easy, hiked about six miles but it was nothing like yesterday, I was either on the beach or on the bluffs above it. This is Molera Point, where the Big Sur river empties and it's also the Northern boundry of the Park.

Waaaay out there is Cooper Point the Southern boundry, we'll get closer. Cooper was the second owner of the land and Molera was the owner after that all part of the same familly, and all related to the first owner who got it as a Mexican Land Grant. Rancho Del Sur still runs to the North just smaller.

A little further from Molera

A little closer to Cooper.

Closer still. I wanted to get all the way there but the tide was not in my
favor and I'm never one to go against the tide.

Looking North you can see the buildings of the working ranch (in the trees) and the cultivated land to the left.

Once again I've wasted a part of the afternoon indoors playing with my web site rather than being in the great out doors frolicking with all the woodland creatures. More tomorrow


Day11 (9/03/07) Big Sur/Monterey

About the most difficult part of this trip has been getting showers, for the most part WiFi is easier than showering... So after sneaking into Piffer State Park this morning for a shower I hit the road for Monterey to get groceries and to also walk around a little again to sort of give it another try. I'm glad I did I haven't gone back to Cannery Row but am hanging out in the downtown area.

There was fog along the coast on the way into Monterey, it may mean
cooler weather.

This is the Cooper Molina Adobe, that familly sure does get around.

This is Colton Hall where California's first Constitution was debated and
adopted in 1849.

Monterey just feels historic it's as if downtown San Diego were built around
Old Town and Old Town was bigger than it is and downtown was smaller.


Day 12 Big Sur

Yesterday when I got home from Monterey I saw my little Kitty friend again

This time I got a little better shot of him. Today when I started my hike I I saw two more but they took off as I got close. Where one of them jummped into the brush it was no more than 10 feet away as I passed by, I did not stop to take it's pic.

Todays hike was 10 miles basically from the North end of the park to the
South about 5 miles each way.

Up and down, unlike the one the other day which was just up

Went through a little bit of forrest

Here I'm up about 1100 feet which was the max for this hike.

Looking South, I had breakfast up here then headed back.

Tomorrow North to Big Basin Redwoods


Day 13 Big Sur to Big Basin Redwoods

Well it was great in Big Sur had a lot of fun. Today was pretty boring Did laundry in Santa Cruz then came up here to Big Basin Redwoods. Screaming children, everybody choking the air with camp fires, thankfuly there's no idiots with their stereos going.

Bye Big Sur

Hello Big Basin

Crazy Bird, I gave one little Blue Jay crust of bread and the next thing I know
there's like 10 of them in my camp feed me feed me.

Yep that's me working on this, no WiFi I'll post tomorrow.


Day 14 (9/6/07) The Long Valley

The Salinas Valley was a little obscured by smoke from a fire at the Henery Coe State Park, but it is still the setting for many Steinbeck stories and a really cool place to drive through. For a lot of the drive I was on side roads rather than US 101.

Our food is grown here.


A cactus farm?

Another farm through the walls of the ruins of an old Spanish Mission.

What would a drive down the coast be without a stop at Anderson's.
Big Oil, Country, and Anderson's Split Pea Soup

Yes San Diego Fwy. I decided to push on through and give myself a little time to get ready for work. I wish someone would pay me to travel around the country, alas. It's been a great trip, thanks for coming along.