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Oregon 1

Looking into the sunrise; the Columbia Gorge
Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

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Laguna Beach 3

Holy smokes! America's on fire!

Two weeks ago, the day after I got to Laguna, the ocean air was clear enough to see Catalina Island off the coast for the first time in quite a few weeks. Then, the day after I left for Atlanta, it was on fire, shrouded in smoke.

So, I totally missed that, only to be wake up a week later to smoke-filled skies in Atlanta from the wildfires 250 miles away! Yuck! Al Gore! Save us!

(The tower barely visible in the distance is City Hall East, just over a mile away.)


Here are the last pics from Laguna (John at the beautiful Zinc Cafe in Laguna Beach is going to carry them - as well my faithful and tireless supporters at YES here in Atlanta.)

(They are the last new pics from Laguna...cuz camera and I are off to Oregon to hike in the snow this Wednesday!)

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Laguna Beach 2

Black and white at sunset
Crystal Cove - Bette Midler's "Beaches" shack

I would sooner walk on my tongue than say I had more fun photographing and hanging out in Laguna than I did in Oh-Hell-Hole...but... ...aaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyeeee.... aaddddddddddd.... ooorreee.... uuun.

NIGHTLIFE - One fun - almost mandatory - thing to do in Laguna is to go to the Boom Boom Room to see the boys dancing in their underwear. We had to pony up a couple of bucks before seeing all the "sights", because - all due respect to the movie - there's no such thing as Free Willy.

DRIVING - D & A were super sweet enough to let me borrow their jeep to drive the 1.5 hours up to see relatives in Woodland Hills. They asked me "can you drive a stick?"

Rising to the Man Challenge, I puffed out my chest and said "Sure!"

Now, while that may be true (I've driven a BMW on the Autobahn), knowing your way around a manual transmission is not the only preparation you need to drive a jeep. There's also "can you drive with no top, no sides, deep brakes, a shallow clutch, bouncy mirrors, flickering headlights, and occasional, random clunking noises?"

It was awesome! I was much more aware of being...transported. The wind, the sun, the car next to me, the sound of the engine, shifting, changing speeds, taking corners with my whole body. Even though I was constantly wrestling with the wheel and the gears (there is no checking of the map, answering of the cellphone, fixing your make-up in this vehicle), I loved it. I wasn't just steering...I was driving.

TAKING PICTURES - There's 2 things I hate - people who are intolerant of other cultures...and the Dutch.* I was just sitting there at the Getty Villa, minding my own business, waiting for the crowd to disperse and watching this spikey-haired, 55-ish woman with a camera/lens rig longer than my arm just breeze through the gallery, quickly and dutifully snapping a picture of each and every statue. She was literally cataloging everything in the museum as she worked her way towards me. Suddenly, she was standing next to me, shooting a wall plaque, and, spotting my camera, leaning over and whispering in my ear.

'I just hate people, don't you?'

I knew what was next - she was looking for a fellow photographer so she could brag about her camera. Before I could escape, she asked the question:

'I was just in Amsterdam in (insert Dutch name) Gaarten and I couldn't get a decent shot for all the people. What are you shooting with?'

I told her - a Canon 20D - and she replied - 'I had one of those; I sold it to my son and bought the 30D with the profits - it's really much, much better.'

I just hate people.

* Thanks to Michael Caine in "Austin Powers"

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Laguna Beach

Here is the photo most folks would expect of Laguna Beach; the beach is lovely, of course, but I had more fun taking pics while hiking first up Bluebird Canyon to the Top of the World, along the ridgeline, and down a different canyon on Park Ave to Main Beach.

It's no surprise that a 2600 sq. ft. house in this area is listed at $2.4 million!

The pics below are from that hike.
- 1st Laguna Moment - Standing at crosswalk w/1 guy carrying a surfboard wearing only shorts, 2nd guy in a wetsuit holding a ukelele, and a 3rd guy in jeans & a tweed jacket on a skateboard.

- 2nd Moment - Entering the ridgeline park and reading posted warnings that the fire danger is "extreme" and, by the way, watch out for ticks & rattlesnakes.

- 3rd Moment - While holding my camera on the beach, I was told by some drunk guy to 'take the pic man, really, cuz the light is perfect. No, really, a good friend of mine is the editor of Surf magazine. I should know. Now, excuse me, I've gotta go sit on my wife's $10,000 bench.'

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