Tuesday, December 30, 2014

On the "Selfie"

It's been around for a while. 

Holding the camera out at arm's length and clicking is fun and quick. But with a bit more effort the self portrait can be taken up a notch ...


Galen Rowell's work was always on an impressively high level (so to speak). For more, see mountainlight.com

To bring us down to earth, here's the author enjoying a few favorite pursuits (cool-weather hiking, photography, and eating), all caught in one shot:


Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Trio of Teutonic Typers - Part III

Torpedo 18B Typewriter

We come to the third and last of the results of my September typewriter acquisition binge. And possibly the best one. ZetiX was spot on with his x-ray vision identifying the contents of that gray case on the left being a Torpedo Model 18B. Robert Messenger provides an excellent presentation of the evolution of the brand, which originated from a typewriter factory near Frankfurt in 1907. Mr.Messenger refers to the Model 18 as "Magnificent" and "Of all the interesting typewriters I own, the Torpedo 18 is my favorite writing machine for its light and precise action".

Well, I would agree, and at least in part because it is so similar to my venerable high school Olympia SM-3, as I explain below.

1961 Torpedo Model 18B
Isn't that a lovely thing? It took me longer than it ought to type out the following, as I would stop so frequently to pet it or just stare and admire.

The font is similar to, if not the same as Olympia Script No. 75 as shown in the 1964 NOMDA Blue Book on Ted Monk's page.

Of course it has that paper support that extends to double as an end-of-page gauge. And basket shift and the numeral "1"!

Shiny precision
This one lives in the office as a daily user. I think if I continue collecting in this direction, there may be a typewriter traffic condition here.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Paddling the Rivers of the Mendocino Coast

Three fine paddling destinations enter the Pacific Ocean along the Mendocino Coast. Thanks to Sierra Club trip leaders Larry and Shelly, who organized this outing, a small group of us were able to enjoy them all during a well-organized outing in November, 2014.

Strictly, these rivers, the Noyo, Big, and Albion, are semi-mature, tide dominated, drowned valley estuaries. Meaning that their winding meanders originally formed as they flowed across a level coastal plain, since uplifted to form the mountains and seacoast terraces that characterize the present day Mendocino Coast.

Russian Gulch

Russian Gulch
Russian Gulch State park contains the essence of the Mendocino Coast within its boundaries that stretch from bluffs with views of a huge sink hole, rock arches, and booming Pacific rollers, to a narrow canyon filled with overhanging redwoods, quiet birdsong, ferns, and a delicate waterfall.

During time off from paddling, I lingered with our little motor home on the bluffs here. I walked, read, and hibernated through one restorative drizzly day. Later in the week when the sky was clear I photographed the magic hours in the morning and evening. 

The waterfall at Russian Gulch SP


The "Magic Hour"
The best light happens when other people are eating - Galen Rowel
Backlight on waves and early morning mist
Its best to watch your feet when walking the bluff-edge paths; both to avoid a stumble as well as to see the beauty underfoot.
Early morning light at Russian Gulch
“Twice each day the cool, blue light of night interacts with the warm tones of daylight. Luckily for color photographers, these events, though predictable, are not consistent. For a full hour at either end of the day colors of light mix together in endless combinations, as if someone in the sky were shaking a kaleidoscope.”---- Galen Rowell (1940-2002)

The Rivers

These rivers once provided pathways for moving harvested redwoods from their primeval forests to the seacoast where they were loaded onto sailing vessels. Towns grew up at the river mouths, which exist now as destinations for those that come to enjoy this lovely area. The old pilings in the rivers, once used as wharves during the lumber trade, are now rotting, and serve as perches for the great blue herons, kingfishers, and egrets. Curious seals poke their heads from the water, and river otters enjoy their meals seemingly unconcerned as paddlers drift by.

The tides flow in, and the tides flow out. And if you can catch them just right, as we did for three days in a row on the Noyo, Big, and Albion Rivers, paddling through these lovely canyons and enjoying their wildlife is all that more fun.

Big River

Aptly named, this estuary can be paddled for at least seven miles inland from where it enters the ocean just south of the town of Mendocino. I always like to check in with the folks at Catch-A-Canoe, where colorful watercraft that can be rented for paddling and even sailing the river line the pier below the humble but cozy building that clings to the cliffs at the river mouth. If I've forgotten anything from a windbreaker to paddles they can provide them. But usually I just quiz them on the tide schedule. It is surprising how even a small current flowing against you can make it feel as if your canoe or kayak is dragging an anchor, or how delightful and encouraging a little helpful push can be when returning, tired and paddling against the wind that always comes in from the ocean later in the day.

The launching point is on the opposite, north shore, where a road from the north end of the Highway 1 bridge leads across a bar to a gently sloping ramp. The tide was coming in quickly and rising fast - we had to continually pull our boats up as folks were getting sorted out, to keep them from drifting away.

The put-in at Big River is one of my happy places. I first paddled here with my sons in the late 1970's. My wife and I have paddled its length in a Coleman, and later in our pretty red We-No-Nah several times, always coming back from the adventure in that mellow and refreshed mood that follows a bit of an outdoor workout.
Great blue heron at ease
Always fun to sneak around the obstacles on the river's edge. As you can see, the tide was quite high. We caught the tides perfectly on all three days - going upstream with the rise and out with the ebb.
Happiness on the water
Heading back down river. We were fortunate not only to have the tide with us, but only light winds from the west as well.
Big River road was probably originally put in as a logging road.
A river otter looked up from a snack - then continued with his meal.
A curious river otter

The Albion River

The launching point is from the Schooner's Landing Marina at the end of Albion River North Side Road. There is a $5 fee. 

Floating weekend cottages on the Albion River

Afternoon light on the Albion

Lunch stop on the Albion

We chatted up the owner of this floating home. He built it and has lived there since the 1970's. A mellow fellow, says he likes watching the light and the critters.

The Noyo River

The smallest of the estuaries we paddled, the mouth of the Noyo forms the areas largest harbor, with hundreds of fishing and pleasure boats moored in it. We launched from a public ramp along South River Road.
As a long-time fishing harbor, the upper reaches of the marina house some picturesque hulks.

Launching was observed by a lone swan

Happy paddlers. Author in blue life jacket.

Paddling the Noyo. the high tide allowed us to paddle further than any of us had been able to go before.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Trio of Teutonic typers - Part II

It was back in the middle of October that I began to document a September binge which resulted in the acquisition of three typewriters. A binge with its focus on German typewriters of the 1960's and earlier. This is consistent with my typewriter roots, as not only was my high school typer a 1957 Olympia SM3, but most of my grandparents originated in Germany as well. All solid, reliable, and pleasant to spend time with.

Part I focused on an Adler J3:

Part II will cover this Optima Super


Protruding from the base of the typewriter is the release for the spring-loaded ribbon cover.
My thumb covers the left-hand case release lever; its mate is opposite on the right. Above the case release levers is another pair of levers that release the ribbon cover, allowing it to be completely removed.

The paper support can be extended making a gauge to help you stop at the bottom of page margin. 

The key with the plus sign sets tabs. The odd blue lever below and to its left is the key de-jammer.

The nice leatherette case, with that nifty hold-down system. Simple, secure, and easy to use. The case to the left holds the subject of Part III of this mini-series on my September Teutonic Trio - guesses anyone?