Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Bear Crossing

Posted from Mono Lake State Reserve, California at 3:40 pm, December 29th, 2007

It’s usually a good day when you see a “bear crossing” sign; today was such a day. After five days of holiday cheer, super chicken burritos, and golfing I left the homestead late last night and spent the evening sleeping in the Subaru as snow fell along I-80 near Truckee. The morning took me to Lake Tahoe, and by afternoon I was wandering down Highway 395 on the eastern side of the Sierras. Tonight the Subaru is parked along the shores of Mono Lake, next to an array of weird volcanic formations that the lake is apparently famous for.

Tree Otters

Posted from Concord, California at 10:40 pm, December 23rd, 2007

After several false starts throughout the night due to sleepiness, limited mental capacity, and confusing the full moon for the morning sun, I finally got going as the sun was rising this morning and headed off to see the seals. In a world where habitat loss, global warming and other threats are pushing species to the brink the elephants seals are a nice change, with a population that was once threatened now expanding onto new beaches – Piedras Blancas had no seals only a few years ago, but today I saw hundreds.

In addition to the seals the trip up Highway One yielded tons of birds, a coyote, sea lions at Monterey, and a new find north of Monterey – Elkhorn Slough is a salt marsh that is being restored to its natural state, and today it was home to a harbor seal, at least five sea otters, thousands of birds, and one animal that I tentatively identified (from a distance) as a bulldog riding in a kayak and wearing a life jacket.

I Don’t Know From Dogs

Posted from Concord, California at 8:00 pm, December 23rd, 2007

Apparently it wasn’t a bulldog – Aaron says the photo below is a Boston terrier. Maybe the fact that it is wearing a life jacket and a wetsuit threw me off.

Boston terrier, in a kayak, wearing a life jacket, and a wetsuit

Boston terrier, in a kayak, wearing a life jacket and a wetsuit. This photo is magnified a LOT – he was far away.

Me and Charlie Talkin’

Posted from San Simeon, California at 9:40 pm, December 22nd, 2007

Due mostly to the fact that I ate lead paint chips as a child I’ve asked for only one day of vacation during the past twelve months, so the Christmas holiday was a chance to get more than three consecutive days away from the office. As a result I’m spending the evening in the comfortable confines of the Subaru for the first time in ages, and it feels pretty good. Given nine glorious days during which the powers that be at DirecTV freed me from my computer I decided to return to the Bay Area by way of Highway One, and am parked for the night just south of Hearst Castle, close enough to Piedras Blancas that I should be able to visit the seals at first light.

The drive is a good one to allow the mind to wander, and tonight I got to thinking about how the first two years of my thirties sort of blew by, but also how different things are from where I expected to be at this age. Like most people, my life turned out considerably different from the plans I made when I was a kid or attending school at Case, but I’m nevertheless pretty happy with how things have ended up. During high school it seemed impossible that by thirty I wouldn’t have things all figured out with a wife and a family, and during college it was unthinkable that eight years could pass without making a significant impact on the world, but the journey still feels like it’s heading in the right direction, and the stops along the way have been pretty awesome. Of course, I’m fully expecting that in another ten years I’ll be closer to the original plan, but when that doesn’t pan out I’m prepared to re-use the paint chip excuse to justify my inability to learn from experience.