All aboard! Nature!

My Grandparents used to live in Oakhurst, CA, right outside of the southern entrance to Yosemite National Park. I was fortunate because this enabled me to visit the park, and surrounding places like Bass Lake, many times. The Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad is a memory straight from my childhood, as we stopped by top see this train many times.

This past Saturday was the first time I had a chance to actually ride on it. I’m not exactly sure why we never rode it as kids. I think it’s because whenever we stopped to see it, it was either on our way to or from visiting Yosemite itself. It was never really a destination.

The train takes a 4 mile round trip loop through the surrounding forest. It’s based on an old logging train, so much of the narration from the tour guide is focused on the logging history in the area. We opted for the first ride in the morning, 9:30 AM, and were joined by a tour bus full of Koreans on their way to the park.

While I started off taking pictures of everything I could, mostly to start getting used to the new camera, I ended up putting the camera away about halfway through the ride. The combination of the fresh mountain air, the scenery (the trees!), and just being “in the moment” with my wife and friends was far better than experiencing everything through a viewfinder.

It just felt good to be there. To take everything in. To relax. All in all, it was a fun way to spend the Saturday.

Two murals in Matsui Alley

Mural, by Josh: 20th and Matsui Alley. Still looking for some background on the mural and artist.

During yesterday’s visit to Federalist Public House, I captured two murals located nearby. All three locations (the murals and the restaurant) are within the same block in Matsui Alley. I really like both of them.

Chase Bank Mural, by Michelle Blade (2016): 21st and Matsui Alley

I love how dreamy this one looks, especially with the color combination the artist chose. It looks like Michelle Blade was commissioned not only for the mural on the outside but, the project continued on the inside of the Chase Bank building. You can see more pictures of the project on her website.

Weekend Getaway – Ventura, CA

It’s been far too long since my wife and I have had a chance to go out of town for the weekend. We knew it, and we knew that we were in complete control of when we would be able to. So, we made it happen this past weekend, opting to travel to my old hometown, Ventura.

Ventura feels like home, even though I didn’t grow up there. I grew up about 23 miles away. I was fortunate to have lived in Ventura for a few years, but I chose to move away in pursuit of some difficult to pass on career choices.

We spent the weekend doing what everyone should do on their vacation: absolutely nothing. We woke up when we wanted. We ate when we were hungry. We wandered around with no schedule or agenda.

Slow down. Live in the moment. Empty our minds. De-stress. It was amazing.

I didn’t even take my camera (all of these pics were taken with my phone). I knew that I didn’t want to take anything extra with me. And I also didn’t want to “think” about photography.

And, of course, I had to get at least one meal in at Taqueria Cuernavaca, one of my top 5 favorite restaurants anywhere.