Hike near home in Toiyabe National Forest

Duke and I did a great hike today from Sierra Canyon where we live north up into the Toiyabe National Forest. We were on Forest Service Roads the whole time but the only vehicle we saw was one motorcycle. We went a total of just over 10 miles and went from an elevation of 5,313 feet to 6,587 feet when we turned around. The weather was beautiful, the wild flowers were out and we saw a snake. (not a rattle snake)
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If you would like to see all the pictures from the hike you can see them on Flickr here.

What happened at the Republican Convention in Reno

Bob Beers was the chairman of the Nevada Republican Convention Saturday in Reno. If you are interested in the chairman’s perspective of what happened at the convention and why we adjourned without completing our business you should read Bob Beers blog.  I subscribed to Beer’s blog after the convention. It is very readable. I understand he came second in the gubernatorial primary last time around. I was impressed with him at the convention and would vote for him if he ran for state wide office again,

Nevada Republican State Convention

 

The Nevada Republican convention yesterday started with the
McQueen High School Band Color Guard marching in with the flag. As they played
snippets from It’s a Grand Old Flag, Anchor’s Away, The Marine Corps Song –
"From the Halls of Iwo Jima to the shores of Tripoli" and Sousa marches
like The Stars and Stripes  Forever my
heart swelled and I felt proud to be a small part of our political process. By
the end of the day most if not all of the participants at the convention felt
disappointed if not disgusted by the convention. I suspect the objective of the
party leaders was to have a pep rally for John McCain but it didn’t turn out
that way.

I blogged earlier about the caucuses and being a delegate to
the county convention.  I was looking
forward to attending the state convention and although it was a long shot I
applied to be a delegate to the national
convention.

The state convention did not get off to an auspicious start.
Congressman Dean Heller spoke first. He talked about what he believes that
Republicans believe. His priorities were weird and to me unbelievable. First was
his strong opposition to Gay marriage, second his opposition to illegal
immigration and the need to build a fence, third the need for English to be the
official language.  Next he got to things
like the need for an energy policy, the importance of mining and how hunting
and fishing are much more important than wilderness areas. Finally he got to
the war and not wanting to “cut and run”.  He ended by  saying that someone who can’t
score better than a 40 bowling is not fit to be President nor is someone who
can’t remember if they have been under sniper fire fit to answer the white house crisis phone when it rings at 3 in the morning.

I was disgusted. If he represents  what it means to be a Republican maybe I
should change my registration. I am a conservative.  I am very concerned about the war and how we
are going to get out of this mess. I believe that the economy is in serious
trouble. I believe that tax and spend policies like those of this administration
are a disaster.  I support gay marriage,
I think immigration is what has made this country strong, I am not in the least
concerned about our ‘official language’,  I treasure our wilderness areas, I don’t
think that electing a liberal is they way out but I also don’t think that Dean
Heller represents my views. I certainly won’t be voting for him.

Governor Jim Gibbons spoke next. He was much more
impressive. He talked about the challenges of the state economy and how he will
handle the state budget problems while not raising taxes. He talked about
living within our means,  his commitment
to no tax and spend fiscal irresponsibility and that we have a spending problem
not a revenue problem. He got a lot of cheers  when he said we can just turn to California to
see “What a tax and spend Democratic State will get you”. He said “businesses
can just keep on coming to Nevada as an alternative”

Then  Mitt Romney
spoke. He addressed what he sees  as the
major problems facing our country. His priorities were in stark contrast to
those of Congressman Heller and were much closer to mine. First was Radical
Violent Jihadism, second was the economy which he said is the worst since World
War II, third was the need to solve our energy challenges and the fact that we
send over a billion dollars a day to other countries for energy. Finally he talked about culture. He referred
to the book “The Wealth and Poverty of Nations” which he quoted as saying that “culture
makes all the difference”.  Romney and I
don’t agree on what is necessary to nurture and protect our culture but
otherwise his priorities are right on. His
ending was inspiring as he talked about his optimism about the future. It was a
good speech.

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While all this was going on the credential committee was
doing their work. They took a really long time to total up the numbers of delegates
and seat the alternates. Until the Credential committee’s  report was completed and accepted no real
business could be done. Finally they reported that there were 1,347 delegates
present and we could get down to work.

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But first Ron Paul had to speak. He received  by far the biggest ovation of anyone at the
convention. His statements like “The Republican party needs to stick to its
roots and be a conservative party” ,  “The
purpose of government is to secure and preserve liberty”,  and  that the “constitution is meant to restrain the government and not government
to restrain the people” are why he is so
popular. But when he gets  to his kooky
ideas like we need to get rid of the Federal Reserve System, we should have no
income tax or IRS, We should quit having military bases abroad to “maintain our
empire” he loses any credibility.  Even
though he was wildly popular with many at the convention he is just too much of
a nut for me.

OK,  now we could get
down to business. The objective of the convention is to elect delegates to the
national convention and elect a platform. It quickly became clear as the rules
were debated that the Ron Paul supporters were staging a coup. After wild debate and several votes,  the establishment of the party was overruled. The
most vocal and time consuming speaker was a guy names Mike Weber. What a jerk.
He sure loved to hear himself talk. The convention voted to not  accept  the
slate of delegates to the National convention recommended by the nominating
committee and instead take nominations  from
the floor.

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Apparently many people never got the form to apply to be delegates
and anyway people really wanted to elect Ron Paul delegates. To make the
process workable it was suggested that we each vote for 5 and the top vote getters would be delegates.
But that was overruled and the majority wanted each of us to vote for 34 delegates
and  34 alternates. Given that there were
at least 300 people who were going to nominated either from the applications or
from the floor the whole process was controlled chaos. Just to vote on the
three delegates that had to be elected from each congressional district took
over an hour. For our district the vote counters had to count  over 700 ballots, each with  three hand written names from a list of over
100 candidates.  By 6:00 the results were
still not in and we hadn’t even started selecting the  delegates at large.

Meanwhile the platform was presented. It was a compromise document
and contained a little bit of everything of what any and all Republican’s in the state want. We
didn’t even start considering it until after 5:00. The option to consider the
platform plank by plank was voted down. Out of what I think was shear fatigue the
platform was accepted as a whole with virtually no debate. To me the platform
is an embarrassment. It includes things like “livestock grazing shall be increased
immediately on federal land”, “We support the withdrawal of the United States
from the United Nations” ,  “We support
the repeal of the Federal Reserve Act” and “We demand a return to a gold and/or
silver backed currency”.  But there was no way the platform was going to
get fixed and of course it has no impact and will never be used for anything –
it doesn’t matter. So I’ll admit I voted
to just accept it and move on.

I figured we would be there well into the night to choose
the delegates to the national convention. I couldn’t even imagine how the logisitics
of getting it done were going to work.  Then
abruptly at about 5:55 the chairman announced that we were going into overtime for
the Peppermill contract and with a bang of his gavel the convention was
adjourned to be reconvened at a future date and time to be announced by Monday.

The delegates were dumbfounded “What the Hell??” was the most
common statement I heard as I was leaving.  So, the  bottom line is that the convention is to be
continued…  Maybe this will give the
establishment of the party time to figure out how to get control back. I wonder
how many people will show up for the reconvened convention. How many people will
travel to Reno or wherever. I know I
have plans for the next few weeks so I don’t know if I will be there. It will
be interesting to see what happens.

According to the Reno Gazette Journal this morning I
guess I left too soon. Ron Paul supporters led by the obnoxious Mike Weber
tried to reconvene the convention but didn’t have a quorum. It sounds like there was a lot of shouting
and heckling.

My big take away from the convention is that the rank and
file of the Republican Party is fed up and disillusioned with where the current
administration has taken the Republican Party. To paraphrase Hess, the guy who
sat next to me –  “ McCain is the nominee
of the party.  I know that Ron Paul doesn’t
have a chance and I can’t support some of his weirder positions but,  voting for Ron Paul is making a statement that
we are fed up and disgusted with the  where the establishment is taking this party.
This is our way to stand up and be heard.”

Ice cream with Mitt

Last Thursday I got an invitation to "Meet Mitt Romney" at an ice cream social Friday night before the Nevada Republican Convention Saturday. Duke and I went and had ice cream. We saw Mitt but we didn’t push our way in to ‘meet’ him. He didn’t speak and other than good ice cream the event was pretty much a dud.

Since Duke is a Democrat I’m thinking I may be able to use this picture for bribery.
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Here I am with ‘Mitt’ 🙂
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Earthquake!

We had a 4.7 earthquake at 11:40 tonight. Duke and I were at a Blackjack table at the Peppermill. It felt very strong there but it must have been really bad at our house which is within about a mile of the epicenter. When we got home we found broken dishes, books on the floor, pictures crooked and a big mess. If we had been here when it happened it would have been really scarey The noise as stuff came off the shelves and started breaking would have been awful. We have had a few smaller quakes since we got home but hopefully we won’t have any more big ones!!

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Hiking the Stevens Trail with the Sierra Canyon Hiking Group

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Spring is here and tax season is over. That means that the Sierra Canyon hiking and snowshoeing group just switched from snow shoeing to hiking for our Monday activities. It also means that since Duke is done working as a tax preparer he can hike with me during the week. Yesterday we hiked the Stevens Trail, a nine mile out and back hike that starts just of of Interstate 80 in the town of Colfax at an elevation of 2352 ft and descends to the North Fork of the American River at an elevation of 1360 ft.

According to the BLM description of the trail "The Stevens Trail is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places." It was built during the gold rush and was used from 1870-1895.

The trail is fairly easy and the views are stunning.
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It was a cool clear day. The trail was lush and green and the wildflowers were out in abundance. I’m trying to learn the names of a few of the wild flowers we saw. I think this is Bush Lupine.

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I’m not sure what this is but we saw quite a lot of it along the trail.

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Our lunch spot was right next to the river.

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If you would like to see all of my pictures of the hike you can see them on Flickr here.

I really enjoyed snowshoeing but it was great to be hiking again and it was great to be hiking with Duke again.

Sierra Canyon snowshoeing hike to Andesite Peak

Duke and I live in an over 55 community in Reno, Nevada called Sierra Canyon. A lot of people in our community love to hike , ski, and snowshoe. Many of the skiers have skied 50 or more days this year. Although I don’t ski I learned to snowshoe and I love it.

Monday was our last snowshoeing hike of the year. We went to the same place that we went on New Year’s Eve last year – Andesite Peak. The snow was a bit slushy but there was still lots of it. The hike starts just across from Boreal Ski Resort (Boreal is now closed for the season) at the summit of Donner Pass off of interstate 80.

Last time there were no rocks to be seen on top but this time we could see the sign at the top. DSC_0378

The wind was blowing at the top but the views are breathtaking.

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We had a  lunch this time on an exposed log.

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Next Monday we are going to the American River canyon, at least 6000 feet lower elevation.

If you would like to see all of my pictures from the Andesite Peak hike you can see them here.

Mountain View Cemetery

I was in Oakland last Saturday for my daughter’s birthday. It was a sunny warm day. She and I took a docent led tour of Mountain View cemetery. When she told people that we were going to tour the cemetery on her birthday many people thought that was a bit weird and asked Why?? She and I are both big history buffs. The Cemetery is full of famous and familiar names as well as not so famous people whose lives are still interesting. Hearing their stories makes history come alive.

I’ve loaded all my pictures on to Flickr and I’ve added captions to most of them based on my notes and what I’ve discovered searching the web since I got home. You can look at them all on Flickr here but I’ll also include a few here

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Sara Plummer Lemmon and her husband John Lemmon were both self taught botanists. The tomb stone says "The California Poppy was named the state flower in 1903 due to the persistent efforts of Sara Lemmon" In searching the web I also found a blog written by a woman who had just climbed Mount Lemmon outside of Tucson. She includes more of the Lemmons’ story.

"According to an article we found at the new community center in Summerhaven (on top of Mt. Lemmon), written by Eileen Palese:

"The
mountain was named for the first white woman who dared to climb it, a
vibrant, curious woman who was challenged by the beauty of the mountain’s plant life and the harshness of its precipices.
It
was in 1881, when the US Cavalry still pursued Apaches and gunslingers
fought it out at Tombstone’s OK Corral that Sara Allen Plummer Lemmon,
a slender, dark-haired woman of 45, challenged and then conquered the
mountain that loomed over the old Spanish community called Tucson.
Sara
arrived in Tucson with her husband, John Gill Lemmon, on the first
train ever to reach the town. He was a self-educated botanist, respectfully called the "professor", whose health had been permanently undermined during the Civil War when he was imprisoned by the
Confederates in the notorious camp at Andersonville, Georgia.
Sara
and John had met in 1876 at a lecture he gave in Santa Barbara,
California, where she owned a lending library and stationery store. She
already had an unbounded interest in botany, and, when they married
four years later, she was qualified to assist her husband in an
ambitious effort to catalog the plants of southern Arizona, a part of
the world few botanists then had visited.
Their first ascent
into the Santa Catalina Mountains was up the south face, the one
closest to Tucson, along roughly the same path that the Catalina
Highway follows today.

[I’ve left out much of the story which you can read on Alanna’s blog]

Though largely self-taught as a botanist, her work was
outstanding. She published many scientific papers, and, thanks largely
to her efforts, California adopted the golden poppy as its state
flower. She lived to be 93.

A mountain peak is not all that
bears her name. An entire group of plants was named for her by Harvard’s
Asa Gray, one of the outstanding botanists in the United States in the
19th century.
Perhaps the best description of Sara Lemmon,
was provided by her grandnephew, Dr. Harold St. John: ‘She was
enthusiastic, sincere, intense, a driver and an organizer, cultured,
literary and scientific.’
All in all, she was a woman far ahead of her times"

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These are pictures of our tour. I think but am not sure that the man in the middle of the pictures in the checked shirt is Michael Colbruno. Colbruno has done a lot of research on the stories of people buried in Mountain View and has created a wonderful blog of these stories. The stories he shared on our tour added immensely to the tour.

Mountain View Cemetery is 220 acres and was founded in 1883. Over 170,000 people are buried there. It  has views of San Francisco, Oakland and the Bay. It was one of the first garden cemeteries. The annual tulip festival was a couple of weeks ago. It is full of the stories of people’s lives from Domingo Ghirardelli to Henry Kaiser, to Julia Morgan to John Lee Hooker.

Allison and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit and will go back again.

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Earthquakes!!!

Today has been a nerve racking day. By my count we have had 8  earthquakes so far. The Nevada Seismological laboratory at the University o f Nevada has a story about the swarm of quakes. They haven’t even added the ones this afternoon. Our house is in the area on the map just to the west of the epicenters.

When I look a the official list I see I have missed several of the smaller ones.This is the list I have been compiling looking at the USGS earthquake map. If you look at the USGS list we have had 22 earthquakes so far today. The list below is just the ones I have noted. Other than the damage to my nerves we don’t seem to have any damage so far.

Earthquakes Tuesday April 15, 2008

7:59 am magnitude 3.4 (nn00241152)
8:20 am magnitude 2.6 (nn00241158)
11:32 am magnitude 2.5 (nn00241206)
2:26 pm magnitude 2.8 (nn00241226)
2:29 pm magnitude 1.9 (nn00241228)
2:32 pm magnitude 3.3
2:47 pm  magnitude 1.8

Amtrak from Reno to Emeryville

Last Friday I took the Amtrak train, The California Zephyr, from Reno to Emeryville just across the bay from San Francisco. On Sunday I took the California Zephyr for the return trip. I was going down to Oakland to celebrate my daughter’s birthday with her. I have been wanting to make this trip for some time. The round trip cost for the train was $92. The driving distance is about 420 miles. At 20 miles per gallon and with gas costing $3.85 driving would have cost me $80.

The route over the Sierras is basically the same route that the first transcontinental railroad took. The trip was incredibly scenic, very relaxing and comfortable. I enjoyed the trip immensely.

This train has a reputation for rarely being on time and often being hours late. I don’t know if that is an accurate representation of its record but for my trip we were only about an hour late on Friday and coming home we were only a few minutes late. Since the  trip takes about six hours I just relaxed and didn’t worry about any schedules.

Next time I am going to try another train route. Amtrak offers bus service from Reno to Sacramento where you can catch the Capitol Corridor train. The cost is the same.

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