Skiing Anthony Lakes, Oregon on Super Bowl Sunday

8 02 2020

Mike, Lisa and Myself. Fluffy snow!

I have a friend, Lisa, who lives a 4-hour drive east in La Grande. La Grande is blessed to be a 40-minute drive from Oregon’s best powder ski resort, Anthony Lakes. I try to make a pilgrimage out there from my home in Portland, OR, at least once a winter. The Grande Ronde Valley surrounds La Grande, and the mountains which ring the area have plenty of year round opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.

In winter, the Elkhorn Mountains, which rise above 9,000ft, offer Alpine skiing at Anthony Lakes as well as countless Nordic trails. You won’t find Portland area crowds. In fact this past weekend, which was Super Bowl Sunday, we did not have a line at the ski area. We pretty much had the slopes to ourselves.

Anthony Lakes is like skiing way back when. When fixed-grip chairlifts rules the resorts. When a $40 lift pass was the norm. And there was no hyper rush to get the best parking spot. Today, Anthony Lakes is still like that. Only you can get a weekend pass cheaper if you buy online early. And, tickets are $20 on Thursdays. It’s mostly advanced terrain. But, there are green-rated slopes from the top. BTW, there is excellent Nordic skiing from the lodge around the lakes, and your alpine pass is valid for the Nordic runs, too.

The plan was to start skiing early and then host a Super Bowl party at Lisa’s house. It was to be a perfect day! While it was stormy and icy Saturday, it snowed 6″ of dry fluff overnight. The weather on the hill was blizzard–>sun–>blizzard–>repeat. So we had filled-in tracks snow most of the time we were there.

Well, I didn’t bring my GoPro. So, in this video, I was holding ski poles, gloves, and bare-handing the cell phone. At least you can see how nice the snow was!

We departed in time to get back to town and make preparations for the Super Bowl. Friends arrived, we munched, and watched the best Super Bowl in years. Both teams, the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs were peaking in the weeks prior. I like both teams, but the Chiefs had a 50 year drought and I favored them. The 4th quarter did not disappoint. The chiefs came from behind with a spectacular defensive effort and three touchdowns!

Alameda, CA: Touring the USS Hornet CV-12

5 02 2020

My college roommate friend Mike Matthews lives on Alameda Island – this island has quite a variety of things going on. It has a container ship port, an old Navy base, beach access, high tech offices, a very beautiful old town with late 1800’s homes, and a generally fair climate – even in January.20200112_133935

On Sunday we took a tour of the aircraft carrier Hornet with Mike’s son Jake and friends. There were two USS Hornet aircraft carriers in the US Navy during World War II. The first, CV8, was essentially put out of action during the Battle of the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands. Japanese bombs and torpedoes knocked out all her power, and she lay a sitting duck in range of enemy planes. The US Navy scuttled her. The second USS Hornet, CV12, an Essex Class, was an entirely new “superweapon” of World War II. She was one of of 24 such aircraft carriers, each of which could carry 100 WWII planes and travel over 14,000 miles without refueling. The Hornet went 15 months without ever docking in port. She was attacked 59 times and was never hit by a bomb or torpedo. The American Navy, with 24 of these “portable air bases” moving about the Pacific, equipped with their new fighter planes, brought the Japanese Navy down.

The Hornet’s mission continued straight into the Apollo moon program. It was the Hornet that picked up the crew of Apollo 11, with Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on the moon.  The Hornet handled new jet airplanes in the 1950s – 1960s.

On top, Hornet has its flight deck, and we could see some of the planes out there. Below, the next deck is the hangar deck. On the hanger deck sits some propeller and jet fighter planes. But also there are Apollo and Gemini space capsules. And, super cool, the actual “Decontamination Trailer” the astronauts would go into as soon as they were brought on board.

To see the other decks, we crawled down stairs which were nicknamed “knee knockers” for good reason! Space is tight and they are steep. Down below, we checked out the crew quarters, ship’s store, ready room, the room where pilots would get their mission briefing, and the galley.

There was even a kitchen with “food” that the crew could select. All in all, it was a really interesting museum. Hard to imagine over a thousand people on board!



Marin Headlands, CA Hike with my Annapurna Sanctuary Trek-Mates!

5 02 2020

Rod, Cathy Ann, Annette, and Uli!

In early January 2020, I spent a weekend in the San Francisco Bay area. My college roommate Michael Matthews lives there, as does Cathy Ann Taylor, who was my guide on treks in Bhutan, Peru, and Nepal.

I contacted Cathy Ann and we decided to do a nice hour-or-so hike up in the Marin Headlands. Also joining on the hike were two of my Nepal trekking-mates! Annette Brinton and Ulrike (Uli) Koehne. In Nepal, we hiked about 38,000 vertical feet on the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek!

We met at the Tennessee Valley trailhead. It is in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The hike wound up the hills and, once over the saddles, we could see all the Bay area! I could see container ships coming in from the ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco and all the way to Oakland. There was no fog! Cathy Ann said at our highest point we were about 1,000ft above the ocean.


Cathy Ann kept up a brisk pace. I sweated a bit, but the breeze and my quick dry apparel made quick work of the wetness and by the end of the hike I was dry all over again.


With Uli!


Adrian, Annette, Rod, Michael, Amala, Thupten, and Cathy Ann

Following the hike, we met Michael at a dockside restaurant in Sausalito. There were other guests and one total surprise! Cathy Ann’s husband Thupten was with us, as was Annette’s husband. The surprise guest was Amala, Thupten’s mom! I met her in Nepal!

What a perfect day.