Yellowstone to Jackson

This post covers the late afternoon of Friday, May 14, 2010 — Day 21: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming to Jackson, Wyoming. You can read about the activities we did in the morning here and the activities we did in the early afternoon here

We left West Thumb Geyser Basin and headed south towards Yellowstone’s southern exit. Bordering Yellowstone is yet another national park, The Grand Teton National Park, which features one of the world’s most spectacular mountain chains, the Teton Range. These precipitous mountains rise directly out of the beautiful Jackson Hole valley. Being geologically young, little erosion has taken place, leaving extremely jagged and photogenic peaks. The largest of the mountains in the Teton range is Grand Teton, which peaks at 13,770 feet. A series of beautiful lakes sit at the base of the mountains.

While the Grand Teton park is quite large at 310,000 acres (including 40 miles of mountain range), it is tiny compared to Yellowstone. The park was first established in 1929, but it was much smaller then. Between 1930s to 1950s, and then again in the 70s, surrounding land, particularly in Jackson Hole Valley, was purchased and added to the park.

Grand Teton is outside the volcanic caldera, so it does not have thermal attractions like Yellowstone does. But there are many things about the Grand Teton park that make it special beyond the scenic mountains. It is one of the few places where that still feature the same species of flora and fauna that have existed since prehistoric time. There is a rich ecosystem with more than 1,000 species of plants, dozens of species of mammals, 300 species of birds, more than a dozen fish species, and even reptiles and amphibians. There are about a dozen small glaciers in the highest regions. Some of the rocks in the park are 2.7 billion years old, the oldest of any US national park.

As much as we would have loved to do more sightseeing in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton, we were running out of time. We drove through the southern portion of Yellowstone and all of the Grand Teton park without stopping until we got to our destination of Jackson, Wyoming. As you can see, the drive was gorgeous! And we didn’t even capture it all. We’re not sure exactly where one park ends and the next begins, but we know the first photo was near West Thumb Geyser Basin and the last photo in this series is at Moran Junction, which is just south of Grand Teton Park.

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Occupy Oakland Riots

The Occupy Wall Street Movement started on September 17, 2011. While the movement was centered in New York City, many other cities around the country started similar movements at the same time. San Francisco’s Occupy Movement was centered in the Financial District near the Ferry Terminal, first at a Bank of America, then at the Federal Reserve Building. Christi often walked by the protestors on her way to her favorite Internet cafe.

Christi worked in the banking world from 1996 to 2007. In 2002, Christi became deeply troubled by the economic policies set by the Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As time went on, she became more troubled as the policies she viewed unfavorably were expanded. She wanted to join in the San Francisco protest, particularly once they moved to the Federal Reserve Building. Unfortunately, the peaceful protesters were harassed by police from the beginning. Eric made Christi promise never to go into the protest area because it wasn’t safe for a pregnant woman, particularly one who wasn’t yet showing.

After we moved Kosmos to Oakland, we saw that there was an Occupy Oakland protest set up in the park in front of City Hall, in the heart of downtown. Since it was across the street from the BART (train) station, we passed it often. Eric never went over to that side of the street to get a closer look, but Christi did several times.

In keeping her promise to Eric, she never actually went into the park, but she lingered around the sidewalk nearby and talked to some of the people that worked in the shops adjoining the park. There were a few more times she intended to stop by the park that she didn’t, though, because there was police wearing riot gear surrounding the park.

The more Christi talked to the locals, the clearer it became that this movement was different from the other Occupy Movements around the country. Instead of expressing anger about federal policies that have exacerbated income inequality, Oakland was more focused on Continue reading

Exploring Oakland, California

We knew that every Sunday morning there was a Farmer’s Market at Jack London Square. But when Sunday morning rolled around, we almost fell over from shock when we walked upstairs shortly after waking up to see this:

The booths were so close to Kosmos that we could have stood on the bow and stolen produce from the stands! Here is a shot from the other direction:

Having the Farmer’s Market come to us made shopping easy! It was an especially good market, too. We knew we’d miss it when we were gone.

We did a little exploring of downtown Oakland in the month we had Kosmos there. Oakland was officially made a town in 1852, the same time the shipping industry began on Oakland’s shores.  Oakland was prosperous from the beginning. In addition to the shipping wharves, Oakland became the main staging post for passengers and cargo journeying between the Bay Area and the Sierra foothills during the California Gold Rush. In the 1860s a railroad hub was put into Oakland and the town boomed even more, with shipbuilders, automobile manufacturing, canneries and many more industries developing there. Oakland’s history is rich with fascinating information, but we’re not going to get into the details in this post.

As we walked around downtown Oakland, we noticed that most of the buildings looked to be from the late 1800s to early 1900s. It was clear from the architecture, the quality of construction and the appointments that this was once a very wealthy city, and that it was beautiful in its heyday. Here are a couple of examples:

Oakland continued to flourish until World War II. During the war, an influx of Continue reading

Moving from Downtown San Francisco to Jack London Square in Oakland

As we mentioned in an earlier post, we docked Kosmos at South Beach Harbor Marina. We loved being in the heart of downtown. We could walk to many great restaurants and attractions. The marina entrance was steps from public transit that could easily and quickly take us anywhere beyond walking distance. The city was exciting and full of life, a fun place to be in general.

However, we didn’t love the marina. We were on an end tie, and it was a long walk to the boat from the gate — we estimate a full quarter mile. One of our friends commented that at night the dock was eerie — that it looked like the hallway from “The Shining.”

Our slip was exposed to the bay and very rocky — so much so that Christi Continue reading

Angel Island, San Francisco Bay

We thought that while we were in San Francisco we would spend tons of time playing tourist and sightseeing, but we really didn’t. We have a lot of friends and family that live up there, so most of our free time was devoted to eating out at fabulous restaurants with beloved people we rarely get to see.

One of the fun tourist activities we did was to take Kosmos overnight to Angel Island State Park, located about a mile south of Tiburon, near the Golden Gate Bridge. We chose an unusually clear and warm day to go over there. Here is a shot of our nephew and his girlfriend on the bow of Kosmos with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

Here is Kosmos moored in Ayala Cove, on the north side of the island. The moorings were different than any others we’ve seen before and were difficult to tie onto. Fortunately, the Continue reading