We start with two pictures of the garden spider outside the kitchen window. Very colorful, but as we see in the second picture, he (definitely a he!) is a shameless exhibitionist!
We’re shocked! shocked! or well, I suppose we ought to be.
Saturday, 6 October 2012
I spent most of today buying a Kia Soul+. How long does it take to buy a car? Longer than you would think… I did get a loaner from the dealer and disappeared for a few hours to get a new battery for my watch, and get a computer for my new bicycle. But if I had intended to do anything else today, well, it didn’t happen.
Nice car. The first automatic transmission I have ever owned. Six speeds, better gas mileage than the manual, which is not available on this particular model.
Sunday, 7 October
No exercise yesterday, so I’ll do the Rose Peak killer hike that I deferred last weekend because of hundred-degree temperatures in the east bay. I haven’t been here since May, and I had remembered that the gates didn’t open at a reasonable hour. So I got there a few minutes after 7, and the gates only open at 8.
Drove up Welch Creek road, which I also remember as suboptimal. Yes, well, it’s one lane (if you like narrow lanes) and mostly blind. Not a good choice. But I parked at the lower Eagle View trailhead, and was on the trail by about 7:40.
The commercials always feature their car in some exotic adventure locale. Well, why not? Here’s the clean and shiny new Kia, looking better than it ever will again, high above Sunol.
An hour later, along Cerro Este road:
She was out of her den, sunning herself. “Please god, send me a horny male,” she thought. And the next thing she knew, there was Dave, taking pictures and being a general nuisance.
She retreated into her burrow. “Clarification: please god, send me a horny male tarantula.”
A sexy rear-view shot. Tarantulas rub hairs off their abdomens in defence. The little clouds of hairs cause distress in the nasal passages or eyes of predators. She has a fairly bare rump. I wonder if this is how she fights off horny males of the wrong species.
Today’s only other interesting small animal was a beautiful gopher snake.
Dry grass, not a whole lot of animal life. When I was last in the east bay, in early or mid September, there were only one or two early calves among the free-range cattle. Today, almost every cow has a calf, and the calves are old enough that the cows are beginning to lose their agressive protectiveness.
When I came over a little rise, three turkey vultures flew up and started circling. Circling me! Ha! Optimists.
But after a while, I saw a dead cow, and it was upwind. Fortunately the trail turned off a hundred meters away, so it was only mildly unpleasant, instead of revolting.
There is a section of trail that runs along the clifftop, and it slopes outward. Nothing below the trail but low bush, probably enough to catch a hiker who slipped, but I can certainly imagine a horse sliding on over the edge, and maybe a bike, too. Part of this trail is loose, steep and narrow, and is bordered with poison oak. Not really the best place to hike.
This is the first time I have done Rose Peak from the top of Welch Creek road. I had originally thought it would be substantially less work than the usual route from Sunol park headquarters. When I got back to the car, I was dragging my butt, and thought I was more out of shape than usual. But the GPS tells me it was 19.7 miles, while the normal route is only a shade more than 19 miles, and both routes include 5 000 feet of vertical gain.
A good day. Home for a shower, after which Jacky and I drove the new car to Menlo Park and wandered around looking for a restaurant. Found a Polish place on a side street, pretty good.
Some of us are seriously spoiled!