Christmas 2013 with family

MacClafferty family
MacClafferty family

A very nice Christmas Day with family. Family is my sister Jane and her husband John, nieces Kimberly and Allison, with Allison and her husband with daughter Lily, my grand-niece, and Kimberly’s boyfriend Jabari. Pictured at right: Allison, Jane, John, Dan, Lily (with dog Pip), Vincent, Kimberly, and Jabari.

We opened presents in the morning, later than my sister wanted, but early enough for everyone else. The most interesting present to my mind was the stilts Lily got. Though she struggled with them initially, she had become pretty proficient with them. Reminds me of the stilts we made out of 2x4s when I was a kid, though these are metal and quite a bit fancier.

There were visitors during the day, K.C. with Kelly and Kyle, and Roxie and Justin, with Roxie pregnant. Later, Kelli and her children Tristan and Mia. It is the only time of year I generally see these other people, so that is enjoyable. All are long time friends of the family.

Photos on Flickr.

Uncle Lester

Uncle Lester with my cousin Kurt, photo from Kurt

My uncle Lester Olaf Jorgensen passed last week. He was the last of that generation of my mother (Ruth Margaret Allison) who passed in March, and her sister (Anna Irene Downey) who passed in 1984. My dad (John Daniel Bradshaw Allison Jr), who passed in 2005, was the last of his generation on that side of my family. I miss all of them.

As a result of Lester’s passing, I started up again on family history (genealogy), updating my web pages and creating a new presence on I’m not sure whether I’ll continue on – it has some resources unavailable elsewhere including family trees that others have created and fill details out at the edge of mine, but it is also expensive. The family trees are accessible only to members of, so I’ll maintain my own web pages as well.

I also reactivated my account on Facebook (!) so that I could keep better touch with relatives. For those of you who know me, Facebook brings some mixed feelings.

Ruth Allison

20120401-160040.jpgMy mom, Ruth Allison, passed away on Friday in Henderson, Nevada. I’d like to recognize her, and my dad Jack Allison who passed away in 2005, for being wonderful parents and wonderful people. They both lived good lives, did what they believed in, helped other people, and made their way through the world quietly but with good hearts.

She was born in Helper, Utah, where helper engines were put on the trains for the long climb over the mountains. Her father, Nick Jorgensen, was a conductor for the Denver and Rio Grande Western railroad. She got a teaching credential from Fresno State and was a teacher of disabled students and those home-bound with sickness for a number of years, and then a substitute teacher. Her passions were bridge and golf, both of which she was quite good at, I think.

My mom’s brother Lester is alive and living in Colorado. The remainder of the direct family is my sister Jane and I, my nieces Allison and Kimberly, and Allison’s daughter Lily who was the joy of my mom’s life.

Some of my family genealogy is at

friends in Southern Oregon

Bonnie, Clem, and Echo

I spent the last week in Southern Oregon visiting friends who I’d not seen in three years, or longer. In Phoenix I visited Bruce Meek, who I lived with while living in Ashland  to get my master’s in Environmental Education, 1978 to 1982. Bruce’s family is Christy Hope and James, and Christy’s sister and nephew were also visiting. I had lunch with Ty Hisatomi in Ashland, catching up after longer than three years. I also spent some time just looking at Ashland to see what has change and what remains the same. Lithia Park is as always a pleasure and unchanged, but there is a tremendous amount of housing that wasn’t there before, and the town must be much busier and crowded.

I then visited Bonnie Brown and Clem outside of Gold Hill. They are still there, and as they said, will always be there. They live up Sardine Creek Road on a place with a large garden and fruit trees and forest. We hiked up to an old mine, and spent a lot of time just hanging out and talking. Very, very enjoyable.

The whole trip was done on public transportation and bike. I took Amtrak to Klamath Falls, and the bus to Medford, rode to Bruce’s, rode to Ashland and back, and rode from Medford to Gold Hill, including along the Rogue River in the (ex-) Gold Ray Dam section. They back to the bus and back to the train and back home.

Photos at I neglected to get any photos of Bruce and family, so I’ll just have to visit again.

Traffic Skills in Redding

TS101 group at Sundial Bridge in Redding
TS101 group at Sundial Bridge in Redding

Yesterday I instructed a Traffic Skills 101 course in Redding, California, along with Pete Hollingsworth and Peter Massoletti, who are from Chico. We had nine participants including the course host Sara Sundquist, Safe Route to School Coordinator for Healthy Shasta. On Friday I rode around downtown Redding, laying out the road skills portion of the course. I stayed with Anne and Jeff Thomas who are part of the Redding cycling community, which is strong and passionate. Saturday we had good weather for the course, almost a spring day. After the morning classroom and schoolyard parking lot drills, we rode to Grilla Bites for lunch, then around and around through various intersection with left turns, straights, and right turns, all while occupying the lane. Then we rode to Sundial Bridge, for the road experiences along the way and just for the fun of it.

Photos on PicasaWeb, including some of bike facilities in Redding from the day before.

I used to live in Redding and Whiskeytown in the 1970’s and it was interesting to see how it has changed. There are some great new bike facilities, the Sundial Bridge, the Sacramento River Trail, the Downtown to Dana multi-use trail across the river, the Cypress Street Bridge with new bike lanes. But there is also a lot more traffic, as Redding has grown tremendously during the time. The mountains are still close on the horizon: Lassen, Shasta, and Shasta Bally, and I remember them fondly.

On Friday I also visited my friends Bob and Carol Grom who live in Redding. I’ve not seen them in about 10 years. Bob and I took a walk in the Clover Creek open space near their house, and then we all had a light lunch and talked for quite  a while. Bob is working on rehabilitating an interesting classic recumbent bike.

I got to Redding on Amtrak, got around on my Brompton folding bike, caught a ride back to Chico with Pete and Peter, and caught Amtrak back to Sacramento. And slept most of today!

Mendocino with Steffani

Heavy SurfMy good friend Steffani Lazier invited several of her friends to Mendocino for a weekend, and included me! Steffani and I drove over Friday, stopped in Healdsburg at Oakville Grocery for lunch, and arriving in time to take a walk in Russian Gulch State Park in the rain, that turned to a driving cold rain just as we got back. The house Steffani rented is almost adjacent to the park. Dave and Rama arrived, and Lisa and Michael.

Saturday dawned clear. We went on a walk through the park and out to all the points, watching the amazing storm surf. In the afternoon we went to the town of Mendocino, in search of dinner ingredients such as bread, and just wandered around enjoying the town. Steffani honeymooned in Mendocino long ago and was remembering. Jane arrived Saturday afternoon, and everyone contributed to a delicious and varied dinner. We ended with a hot tub on the bluff above the ocean.

Sunday was rainy again, and some of us headed back to town for hot soup and warm sandwiches before going our separate ways.

More photos on PicasaWeb at

Bowl of Fire on horse

Joe Herbst
Joe Herbst with Sassy & Ellie

On the day after Christmas, Joe Herbst and I did our annual (more or less) horse ride out in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. This year we rode in the Bowl of Fire, off the North Shore Road. Driving up Callville Wash, which was not possible last year with the washed our road and deep mud, we parked the trailer and unloaded Sassy, Ellie, and Ruby. We then headed further up the wash and over a nearly invisible saddle to the back side of the Bowl of Fire, then headed west behind the bluffs, and wound down through a narrow wash and back to the truck. The weather was perfect, a brilliant blue sky of the sort I never see in Sacramento where I now live.

Joe and I have been friends for 48 years or so, starting out hiking, backpacking and climbing with Howard Booth. We lost touch for a while as we both went off to do different things, but have reconnected for about the last 10 years, and immensely enjoy our time together. Our biggest adventure was a 2007 week-long series of rides in the Escalante Canyons of Utah, but we’ve been doing at least one trip a year (last year, in the same area).

After the ride, we went out to dinner with Joe’s wife Pam, which was the first time I’d gotten to spend much time with Pam.

Photos on Picasa at

With my irregular posting, I miss a lot of things, which I often think I’ll go back and pick up later, but don’t. Recently, my life included seeing friends Ann Pitchford, Jeff vanEe, Howard Booth and Ursula Wilson, Mike Pearson, Mark Vranesh, and Norma Biggar, all long-standing Las Vegas area friends. I spent Christmas with my mom, sister, nieces, and grandniece. Earlier in December I attended the Gaskell Ball and one day of the Dickens Fair, and spent time with Michael Charnofsky. I saw several movies over the month, out at theaters which is rare for me. By far my favorite was Hugo.

Bridge Spring Canyon

Howard and Ursula
Howard and Ursula in Bridge Spring Canyon

I went out for a wonderful mid-day hike with Howard Booth and Ursula Wilson, in the Nelson area southeast of Boulder City. Though I’d hiked a little in the area, and had often gone there for spring wildflower displays, I’d never been to the area we went, Bridge Spring Canyon and Oak Creek Canyon. Bridge Spring Canyon of course has a bridge, a natural rock arch over a waterway (bridges span waterways, arches don’t), a seep below, and quite a lot of oaks (Quercus turbinella). We then went over a ridge and into Oak Creek Canyon, which has no creek except after rains, and only scattered oaks in damp or shady areas. I forget when I’m away from the desert how much I enjoy being out in the clean air with distant views and wonderful close-in details. Though I thought I might go back to Sacramento early, this hike reminded me that I won’t give up any days in the desert. Thanks, as always, to Howard for these days out.

Photos on Picasa at

Waterfall with Danita

Danita at upper waterfall
Danita at upper waterfall

Friday Danita and I hiked up the waterfall creek off Kings Canyon. We walked up on the new (to me) trail to the big waterfall, then headed up the cliffs to the upper creek. Higher up there is a little trail along the creek and we spent time exploring and photographing. Talked for quite a while and just spaced out watching the creek. Then went higher up, found the trail being laid out by Jeff Potter and others, and the upper waterfall. More photos of moss and flowing water. Water is abundant this year, of course, and everything very green, but not a lot of flowers. The weather was perfect and so was the company. It’s great to have good friends and good mountains.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Spring Equinox

I’ve fallen a month behind on posts, so I’ll catch up here today.

Peony Peak
Peony Peak

Spring Equinox

Yesterday, March 20, was the spring equinox. It is hard to believe, as it was a grey cold day, and today is snowy and colder. Despite that, I walked up Peony Peak, my favorite local walk, and often though not always destination on the equinoxes and solstices. Being Sunday, there was much less noise from the freeway, so it was a quiet day of watching. The clouds were down over the Carson Range, and around the valley’s edge, making the valley seem even more of an enclosed bowl than it already does. I’ve been in California several times over this last month, and there it has been spring for a while, though a rainy spring, and it is sometimes hard to come back to winter in Nevada.

Continue reading “Spring Equinox”