October 30 thru the weekend, 2015 -- Visiting Mike and Amanda in LA

    Maybe we'll look at trees or sea lions.  I'm really happy to be seeing both Amanda and Mike today.  I'll be at their home early in the afternoon, in time to take Eddie for a long walk.  I miss that little guy too.  He's a Corgi with a heart of gold.  When I do my next post, I'll have a good picture of him.    But for now, I'm storing away the laptop and don't expect to have it out for at least a week.

 

Eddie in his hot dog costume

 

Amanda and Mike as salt and pepper shakers for Halloween 2015

 

Saturday morning -- Point Dume State Park

    We went to this gorgeous spot on the California Coast hoping to catch the tidal pools at low tide.  To get out to the shoreline here, you have to climb a long stairway up a cliff then a long climb back down to a rocky beach.  Since we got there at high tide, we did a long walk along the beach to get to a very isolated sandy beach.  We were rewarded by a small flock of three Western Grebes.  These are the largest grebes and are found in the west, wintering on the California coast.   Their elegant necks, striking white and black necks, and piercing red eyes are distinctive.  We also saw California Thrashers, California Towhees, Brown Pelicans, a single juvenile Spotted Sandpiper, cormorants, gulls, willets, and a few sparrows that I wished I could have identified.   Even though we had to leave before low tide, the quiet day together on the beautiful and wild California coast was exactly what Mike and I needed.   

 

 

View from the cliff tops at Point Dume State Park, October, 2015

 

 

Western Grebe, Point Dume State Park, October, 2015.

 

 

Juvenile Spotted Sandpiper.  Note the uniform and crisp feathers and white breast. Point Dume State Park, October, 2015.

 

 

California Towhee, Point Dume State Park, October, 2015.

 

 

Mike scoping out tidal pools at Point Dume State Park, October, 2015.

 

Monday morning, November 2, 2015 -- Start driving home

    I think that I will be on Route 40 and plan to go straight back.   No side trips planned.

    Well I did what I said I might do.  I drove out to Joshua Tree and birded at some cool places along the way.  I kept this journal up-to-date along the way and even edited and uploaded the pictures.  I'm going to let these entries stand, except for fixing the typos and any misinformation, including wrong bird ids.  Or if I think of a joke, I'll add that.  If anyone sees a bad id, please let me know.   When I get home, one of my next tasks is to add a module to the web-site to make it easy for you to post remarks.   I'm not doing the "capture the joy of being a new birder" thing anymore and want to get the details correct, even if my ego has to take a few shots. 

    Which reminds me that I meant to tell you that I got to use the line from the movie "The Producers" that goes "If you were trying to shoot an arrow through my heart, then -- (long pause) -- BULL'S EYE!"  It came up when I was leaving the Sonora Desert Museum and shouted out "Best Museum in the World!".  One of the docents asked me where I was from and then asked me about the Eagles on Monday Night Football.  I delivered the line perfectly and, even though the docents may not have known the movie reference, I still got a good response.

 

Didn't stop at the Grand Canyon, but a little while later saw this cool snow-topped mountain

 

In Oklahoma they sell gas at the Kum & Go and here's proof

 

Crossed the Mississippi on day three.  This country is huge!

 

 Thursday evening, November 5, 2015 -- Exton, PA  

    I made it back okay in four days.  It is about 2650 miles door to door.  Oklahoma City is the halfway point and St. Louis is more eastern than western.  This country is wonderful - big and beautiful in so many ways - the winding roads up the high California mountains, the red mesas in New Mexico, the deserts, the prairies, the many rivers, and the green rolling hills of the east.  My final odometer reading for the whole trip is 8294.  

    I entertained myself on the third day by making podcasts, which are now in their own module on the home page.