Monthly Archives: October 2018

The Golden Chain and Mt Hamilton

Merced River Gorge along California 49

I didn’t expect to be able to squeeze another long ride in this year before the rains set in. But with Barbara heading off to Boston for a week, and a suddenly dried out forecast, the chance was too good to pass up.

Plus, I managed to complete, finally, my aborted ride past Mt Hamilton and the Lick Observatory.

Click on the motorcycle icons in the map image below for details (you can also click the Go Fullscreen button to enlarge the map).

You can download the Google Earth file from here; just ignore the warning about not being able to show you the file on the page that’ll open up. Click the download button and you’ll get the file.


Monterey Peninsula, Indian Valley & the Pinnacles

Or, rather, behind the Pinnacles. The Monterey shoreline, from the Pacific Coast Highway. And, no, I was stopped in traffic when I took this. You don’t think I’m insane enough to take a picture with my iPhone camera while I’m riding, do you?!?

This was a ride I did last week, starting out from and ending up in Santa Cruz. I was a little hesitant going the coastal route southbound, because of the possibility of rain, but I managed to avoid precipitation. Not counting riding through a cloud at one point, of course. But that wasn’t rain; it was just riding through water droplets suspended in the air.

The northbound leg, going off of US 101 at San Miguel, was stunning (so was the Monterey Peninsula, but one expects that). Hard to believe you were not that far away from one of the more heavily-traveled north/south roads in California. Definitely worth it.

The Google Earth map file is available here. Ignore the warning page you’ll land on after clicking the link — it’s just telling you there’s no previewer installed for Google Earth files — and click the download button to get the file.

Click on any of the icons below for details. You can also enlarge the map first.


 

Through Darkest Europe

Saint Thomas Aquinas, courtesy of Wikipedia

I just finished a new alternative history novel written by Harry Turtledove. I definitely recommend it…even though there’s no dramatic conclusion to it. Plenty of drama, lots of action, good character development…but no major wrap-up of an overriding theme.

Alternative histories are tales that explore what-might-have-beens had some critical event gone a different way. In this case, it was Thomas Aquinas, St. Aquinas, who, rather than trying to incorporate Aristotelian rationality into Christianity, rejected rational discourse in favor of maintaining faith. Because Al-Ghazali, a corresponding figure in the Muslim world, elevated the importance of rational discourse, the modern scientific, rational, increasingly secular world grew out of the Muslim kingdoms rather than their European counterparts.

By what was in effect our time, it’s the Muslim world that has to deal with European dictatorships, barely functional European states, European refugees and immigrants seeking a better life, European suicide bombers, etc.

If this road not taken sounds a bit arcane, you have to remember that Turtledove was at one time (and may still be) a professor of Byzantine history. He is intimately familiar with how the various Mediterranean/Western societies evolved. Some of his earliest alternative history tales are set in a world where the Byzantine Empire never fell…because Mohammed, later Saint Mohammed, became a devout Christian, rather than the founder of Islam.

All in all a fascinating speculation on what can happen when rationalism is rejected or accepted, regardless of a society’s underlying religious orientation.

North Coast Trip – May, 2018

I just realized that I never published anything on this blog about a great motorcycle trip I took up the north coast of California last May. Let’s rectify that right now!

Click on the icons in the image below for more information. You can also click on the Full Screen button first to enlarge the map.

You can download the Google Earth route file for this trip here. Be forewarned that you’ll first be taken to a page that complains about not being able to preview the file for you; just ignore the warning, and click on the download link that appears.