Saturday, February 04, 2006

Winter Hiatus

Looks like the blog novelty wore off pretty quick. Who really does have time, for this? I spent much of January in warmer climates: Phoenix Az. for 1 week, and Southern California (Santa Barbara area) for two. Weather in both places was fantastic. Az was a work trip but managed some recreation and a little bit of birding on a weekend. Did some hiking in the Lost Dutchman Mts. and some birding there and around Phoenix, mainly the botanical. The AZ bird list wasn't great, 41 species, nothing unusual, although I added two lifers, not saying much since I've only been to AZ once before. Was stuck in Seattle for a night due to the Augustine Volcano going off and cancelling my flight to Anchortown. THANKS DAD and PAM for getting me!!

California (1/17 to 1/31) was awesome, beautiful blue sunny warm skies the whole time. This was R&R, and my girlfriend for life, Susie, traveled with. Took a side trip to Monterrey via Hwy 1 then headed back south on 101 after squeezing (literally) a hike in at Pinnacles (West Side). Stopped for some wine tasting around Paso Robles (Tablas Creek, Wild Horse, Mastantuano, Norman), spent the night in a dumpy motel (Economy Inn -dont't go there).

What made up for the hotel though was the Thai restaurant Basil-excellent food and service!! Then went over to beautiful Morro Bay and woke up to the only day of rain. Much better hotel choices in Morro, we splurged on the Ascot Suites ($99), which included yet more free wine, jacuzzi tub, decent continental breakfast, very nice rooms. Ate at Sabetta's and had a pretty good pizza. Stopped in Santa Ynez area for some more tasting (Rusack, Morovino) and headed back to Carpinteria, where my mom lives (still, thanks Mom!) and I spent most of my younger years, graduated from high school, etc. Little bit better birding in CA, 126 species for the trip, although I have to admit, we did not bird like crazies and go after ever single possible rarity in the area, and missed some real easy ones. Our biggest day was pretty close to 70 - again not trying extemely hard. I like sitting in the sun on the beach (hardly anyone there but surfers cause its too cold) and saying "oh, hey, there goes a royal tern" or "there's a long-billed curlew. Sun sure feels nice!"
Party got over real quick, came back to Alaska and zero degree weather, which sooned turned to below zero for a couple of days. Suppose to warm up to teens for Super Bowl Sunday. oh boy, Go Seahawks. Funny thing both trips I stopped in SeaTac to change planes, both times dumping rain. Well not so funny if you live there. Its all relative. Cold and snow in AK, Rain in WA, sunny and warm in CA, sunnier AND warmer in AZ. Relative.

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