a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Tour de Clothing

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Tour de Clothing

SUMMARY: Can't actually go anywhere. Thanks, COVID-19.

But I WANT to! I wanna I wanna I wanna! But I can't.

So, instead, I took my own long trip to places I've been before, down a dark desert highway and all the rest. On my Tour de Clothing (Shirts) May 2020 during COVID Lockdown!  Revisiting places for which I have shirts. Only those places … Well, maybe I digress on occasion. But mostly that’s the rule: No shirt, no service.

You're welcome to join me. Condensed version, by video, for those inclined. (Also I did take photos of each individually. But I'm out of energy to process and post, now, anyway. This, a sudden whim, has taken me hours and hours.) Otherwise:  Here are photos and a whole lot of details that ran through my head as I drove. In my head.

WORDS IN ALL CAPS for things that match a shirt. And off you go. Take a clean hanky, clean underwear, and some healthy snack bars--no time to stop.
And a camera, because I know you're going to stop anyway. Tsk.

First strip: Read left to right.

We start our long, long journey of the Tour de Clothing at the nearly 300-acre agricultural historic park with modern visitor center, picnic areas, sprawling lawns, and much about the agricultural background of the Santa Clara Valley. Donated by a family who could’ve likely gotten multiple millions of dollars for the property. Opened in 2014. Very close to Ellen’s home.

CYNOSPORT: South down US-101 about 20 minutes to MORGAN HILL, where USDAA held one of its annual National/World Championship Cynosports events. Ellen volunteered and took photos.

WESTERN REGIONAL: Another 20 minutes south to PRUNEDALE at the privately owned Manzanita Park recreation park where The Bay Team and SMART have each held many USDAA competitions over the years, including the USDAA Western Regional Championship over a couple of decades and ongoing. Competed with all of my dogs there SO many times.

TEAM SHAKESPEARE: From Prunedale, cut through the hills out to the coast to CA Route 1 and north to Santa Cruz, 30-40 minutes away, at the northern tip of Monterey Bay. Way back when, for many years, Ellen held season subscriptions to SHAKESPEARE SANTA CRUZ at UCSC. There’s much else there in SC—you know, beaches, boardwalks, like that. Ice cream. Eclectic building codes.

THE GREAT QUAKE: Just b, cut back into the Forest of Nicene Marks State Park, where you can hike into the hills to the side of Loma Prieta peak above the epicenter of the GREAT LOMA PRIETA QUAKE OF 1989. Because of our backtracking, this is only about 10 miles as a sober crow flies south of where we started.

JELLYFISH: Follow back down Hwy 1 around Monterey Bay to the southern tip of the Bay, about 90 minutes of driving, to Monterey and the fabulous MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM on Cannery Row (yes, that Cannery Row). They focus on the amazingly rich life in the amazingly deep Monterey Bay. One giant tank replicates a forest of Giant Kelp with all of its denizens; another more giagantic tank with a 90’ window replicates the open sea and often features sea turtles, sharks, and many more. They also do scads of research and training. I can easily spend a day there if I can handle being on my feet that long, maybe with a break for lunch. Many restaurants right there.

CLEAN RUN & POWER PAWS: Then we make a crazy break, driving for four hours across the coast range, passing 101, then pas I-5, way east into the Central Valley and then north to Turlock on CA-99. Many agility events have been held there at the fairgrounds (or nearby private field), including CLEAN RUN POWER PAWS CAMP, an amazing week (or very long weekend?) of agility learning with excellent instructions from around the world. Jake and Remington and I attended once or twice there. (Didn’t include shirts from a couple of other locations we attended in other years.)

MAP OF CALIFORNIA: We leave agility for a little while and cruise down 99 for 2 hours to Visalia, where my BROTHER-IN-LAW’S BIRTHDAY PARTY (“VICON”) was held every August for 20? 30? years, camping in the back yard by the swimming pool. Wonderful warm gathering of close friends and relatives.

MADONNA INN TIE-DYE: We bid a sad farewell to VICON, now several years in the past, and go straight southwest for an hour and a half back to US-101, not far from the coast, in San Luis Obispo (site of Cal Poly), to the kitschy MADONNA INN, where every room is different and crazily creative. Maybe get lunch in the cafe, shop in the intriguing gift shops, and wander through all the amazingly pink public areas. We opt not to go to nearby Hearst Castle, with more square footage in rooms than national parks have in square miles, because I don’t have a t-shirt for it. Don’t linger too long, because we are now on our way to—

DISNEYLAND: Anaheim! And you know what that means. Down 101 along the gorgeous CA coast all the way to Los Angeles, then take I-5 south to DISNEYLAND, 3 1/2 to 6 hours depending on the horrid traffic.

Second strip, read right to left.

MAIN STREET PHOTO SUPPLY CO: In Disneyland, so many things to do and see. I do NOT have t-shirts for all of them, but here are favorites: MAIN STREET PHOTO SUPPLY, where you can get any film that you nee…. oh, well, maybe not any more. Veer right into TOMORROWLAND for a while, then shoot back past Main Street, through Adventureland, and into New Orleans Square to visit favorite rides PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and HAUNTED MANSION (where there is only one way in… and one way out…). I’ve been dozens of times. Never get tired of it. Except maybe late on the 4th day… Then, alas, we run out of money and must go…

CYNOSPORT 2000: …spend more money going to another one of USDAA’S 2000 AND 2001 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP events at Del Mar this time: An hour and a quarter south on I-5, along the coast through San Clemente, past Camp Pendleton South, to Del Mar not far north of San Diego. Held there 2 years, qualified for and competed with Remington and Jake both years.

LASSO/CYNOSPORTS: And because we haven’t spent enough money YET on dog agility Cynosports World Championships, we head due east on I-8, the southernmost route here, skimming the border of Mexico, thru Yuma, slight jog north until six hours later when we arrive in Phoenix, or more specifically, the ginormous Westworld Horsepark, nearly 400 acres of horsie paradise for CYNOSPORTS IN SCOTTSDALE, AZ. Swanky town, pricey. I competed 4 different years there with Jake, Boost, and Tika, or some combo thereof. If you stick around after it’s done, you can tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesen West, his “summer camp” for architects (no t-shirt, just interesting). Not as fancy as Hearst’s “summer camp” back near San Luis Obispo, but still…

GRAND CANYON: NOW we’re done done done with agility for this trip. So, backtrack west a little, then north up the long spur road to GRAND CANYON Village on the south rim. From there, you can see the North Rim, just about 10 miles across the canyon. You can opt to hike there—one vertical mile down, several miles across, and more than a mile up again. In the desert. Or you can wait until later into our Tour de Clothing.

3rd strip, read left to right

HERMIT's REST: A road goes along the Grand Canyon rim in both directions from the Village, but the RimTrail is also available for walking, depending on your energy level and the heat. Can get very hot. And it’s over 8 miles going west to HERMIT’S REST, with a squillion different viewpoints along the way. Or you can take the free shuttle between viewpoints. At some times during the year, you can drive it, but not often. Hermit’s rest has the best-tasting refreshments… or is that just because I just walked 3 miles? The walk is stunning. You see things you don’t see from the shuttle, including, well into the summer, desert wildflowers popping up everywhere, if you look.

PETRIFIED FOREST: Ready for a 3.5-hour drive, if you don’t stop in Winslow Arizona to check out the girl my lord in a flatbed ford or the guy standing on the corner… back all the way south on the road from GC Village east to PETRIFIED FOREST NATIONAL PARK. Amazing colors, amazing petrified wood and history there. (No comment about how much has been stolen through the decades. Sigh.)

CANYON DE CHELLY: Another couple of hours north to CANYON DE CHELLY, in which many ancient cliff dwellings remain, most that you can’t get into, but you can see them with a native Navajo in a tour, riding in an Indiana Jones Ride style vehicle that outdoes the ride by a factor of 3 in terms of comfort. Well—ok, actually thinking of my neck, it’s tamer than the ride, but you get a tour through history and through Navajo country where people still farm and herd as they have for centuries. You can also hike in some places.

GRAND CANYON: Next, you head west for about 6 hours (because it’s a twisty windy road to the NORTH RIM OF THE GRAND CANYON. And, you turn south onto a long long spur road to get there, because, like the Haunted Mansion—other than the hike we mentioned earlier,—, there is only one way in… and one way out… The view is completely different from here; on the south rim, all you see is Canyon. On the north rim, you’re looking down at the south rim across the way, so you can actually see much of the wild land spread out south of the canyon. Grand Canyon has two scrumptious early-1900s lodges at the south rim and one at the North Rim. Check them out. Go for a little hike to get the different views.

BRYCE CANYON: Now—back out that long spur and straight north for just over 3 hours to BRYCE CANYON with its world-famous, hard-to-believe-until-you-see-them-up-close hoodoos and wind-eroded mini-canyons. Photographers love this place; sometimes the orange rock seems to glow from within. Seriously. Go there.

TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE: And, since I have no shirts from any of the other strong cluster of amazing national parks and monuments in the same area, we simply blast straight north for almost the whole 8 hours, thru Salt Lake City, and then on north through beautiful winding roads to the small town of Victor in Idaho, just across the Tetons from Jackson Hole Wyoming. I’m sure you’ve heard of the latter. We stayed in VICTOR FOR THE TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE a couple of years back and I fell in love with the area. Of course, it was August, weather was perfect. Haven’t tried going back to sit through a blizzard or two.

YELLOWSTONE: Then we bip across said Grand Tetons and, crossing the border into Wyoming, we’re in Grand Teton National Park, amazing mountains and other scenery, which blends, as we turn north, directly into YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK. The place is huge. Huge. At roughly 3,600 square miles (9325 square km), it’s bigger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. OK, admittedly they’re really tiny states… But then, considering that Wyoming is the 9th largest of the US states at 97,000 square miles, I guess it’s… um… small? But it is the 8th largest park in the U.S. Given that 6 of the other 7 are in Alaska, which has room to spare, it’s still pretty darn big. So many things to see. An amazing place. Cannot begin to say how often I’d say, “wow, really? This is real?!”

4th strip, read right to left

ZOMBIE TEA MUMMIES: By the time you leave Yellowstone crossing the border north into Montana (assuming that you haven’t stopped along the way, jeez), you’ve driven 5 hours from Victor. After crossing that border, drive a mere additional 8.5 hours northwest along I-90 and then a sudden drop south to MOSCOW, IDAHO. It might claim to be an interstate, but it travels through some pretty rough country, as in, mountains all the way. And you know what mountain roads are like.

BUT I digress. Back in the early ‘90s, I drove with a friend from San Jose to Moscow for a fabulous one-week SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY WRITING WORKSHOP given by the late great amazing Algys Budrys. I loved every minute of the long long long long long long LONG trip (easier with a friend, isn’t it!) and the workshop and meeting the people. Including prolific author Nina Kiriki Hoffman.

BUTCHART GARDENS: But there’s no workshop there at the moment, so we leave , return north to I-90 and blast our way allllll the way west across the state of Washington for 9 hours without stopping even as we bypass Seattle (yep, no t-shirts, so that’s that), take a ferry for about 2 hours, and while we’re on the water, we cross Canada, ending up in VICTORIA on Vancouver Island. A beautiful city on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. And also host to BUTCHART GARDENS, which was a huge ginormous eyesore of a former quarry until the quarry owner’s wife turned it into 22 ha (55 acres) of peaceful, colorful, delightful gardens of various themes. It’s lit spectacularly in the evening, and since it’s far enough north, in June, twilight doesn’t end until after 10 PM.

Now, sadly, we must take that lonnnnng 2-hr ferry ride back across the Canadian border to Washington, drive another 5 hours south after that on I-5, which we last saw near the Mexican border, 1050 miles (1690 kilometers) south from Victoria. See how this is wrapping up kinda neatly?

TIMBERLINE LODGE: Our next Tour de Clothing stop is down in Oregon on the side of the kinda dormant volcano Mount Hood. That is, it is “a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc”, and if you want to know what a stratovolcano in the Cascades does when it decides to become active, look up before and after photos of Mount St. Helens’s 1980 eruption, “the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in U.S. history”. Well, yes, “U.S.” history. U.S. Isn’t that old. Actually. But still. Everyone here on the west coast who was old enough to be aware, was in fact aware of it. That was all the conversation at the wedding reception I was attending that day. Sorry, Joe & Lois. And that was before we knew the half of it.

Um, yes, anyway, it has another lovely craftsman style lodge, TIMBERLINE LODGE, there on its side, hoping that Hood minds his manners. Yes, that’s the lodge where Jack Nicholson — yes, that movie.

TAKE A HIKE: We’re running low on t-shirts; pass through all the rest of Oregon (not even Crater Lake, sorry) continuing on I-5 for about 10 hours well into California and then another hour and a half west out to the rugged northern California coast and POINT ARENA, which has a lovely tall thin lighthouse, one of many up and down the west coast. And places to hike. And eat. And, like, sleep. Well worth a visit to that area, including Fort Bragg, originally built by the Russians back in fur-trading days.

CONFRANCISCO: Annnnnd then take the stunningly scenic Hwy 1 down along the side of a cliff along rugged, rugged coast, and believe me you won’t want to take in the stunning scenery because of your death grip on the steering wheel as you slow to 25 around curves to avoid plunging hundreds of feet into the Pacific. It’s delightful, really it is. Fortunately you can cut inland after about 2 hours, back to US 101 continuing south across the Golden Gate Bridge (also really beautiful and you *can* take glimpses at it without fearing for your very life) to San Francisco, and the giant Moscone Convention Center, where there have a been a couple of WORLD SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTIONS that I attended. So many authors and artists! And books! And art of so many kinds! And the dealer’s room! (not…not … that kind of dealer) Hope you brought your wallet.

Then, finally, a leisurely hour continuing south on 101 down the Peninsula to home in San Jose.

Final strip, read right to left

LONDON ENGLAND: Where you quickly hop onto an airplane and fly for some godforsaken number of hours* northeast across the U. S. of A., back into Canada, still going northeast, cross the tip of Greenland, and suddenly plunk down in LONDON. For a truly wonderful, history-filled, art-filled, photo op filled, four days in London with just your camera as your companion and you couldn’t be happier! Especially after you bought a shirt for your Tour de Clothing!

* Probably only 14-17. Not including arriving at the airport 2 hours in advance, etc.

WALT DISNEY WORLD: When done there, hop again back across the Atlantic to Orlando, Florida* , and find your way to WALT DISNEY WORLD. Which contains within its borders the entire Epcot Center, which is quite large and surrounds a big lake; a whole ‘nother Disneyland except much more spread out than the one in Anaheim; an Animal Kingdom of many many many acres of actual animals running loose or tastefully fenced in; and more. Huge. You need a vehicle to get from park to park therein. You probably need a vehicle to get from the far side of the parking lot at the transportation center to the train (“monorail”) which is the only way to get to its Disneyland (“Magic Kingdom”. I am not making this up. I had never been there until 2015. Now have been thrice. That’s not enough.

*Probably only another 14-16 hours. Hey, how come we end up all the way across north america from where we started, but the flights are the same length? No, no, please don’t go into geometries and jet streams and like that with me at this time of day.

ISLAND LIFE and ALOHA: Then ANOTHER little joyride of a plane trip (merely 12 hours now) to the middle of the Pacific (weren’t we just on the far side of the Atlantic?) to Honolulu, on the island of Oahu in the state of HAWAII. The island of Hawaii is also in Hawaii but it is a major, major change of scenery. Can you say lava, both ancient and currently red hot? Have been to the state twice and would love to go back.

THEN back across the water to San Jose (5-6 hours), and home.

Whew! Time for a nap! Fortunately I did not add up all those miles or I’d want a really really long nap.

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