Soul's Retreat to California
Published Sunday, February 25, 2007 by SROmgmt | E-mail this post
I took a little getaway to California, which provided a lot of "firsts" for me. I stopped at a local hot spring in Ukiah and later found myself sweaty-palmed in a VW hugging tight switchbacks down towards California's Redwoods. It is there where I happened upon Montgomery Woods, which is one of the most remote old growth forests in California. The trees were massive and it was my first time that I set foot into the West Coast's old growth forests. The ecosystem was beyond breathtaking. It is the scene where children's fairy tales and prehistoric musings are borne.
After my day hike in Montogomery, I took the road back down to San Francisco only to catch a next-day flight to Los Angeles. I hubbed from there to Joshua Tree. A photographer notified me to keep a lookout for the acres of windmills on the road to the park. I dozed off for much of the trip, only to be awakened just in time to see the windmills reveal their graceful and magnificent stilt-like frames over the horizon. Pretty soon they surrounded the car on all sides and I snapped a few quick photos with my cell phone cam.
Joshua Tree was grand. The alienesque landscape provided a stellar background for our shoot. I cannot take credit for the first photo below. I absconded it from the web and give Ovidiu Predescu credit. (I took the two less impressive photos below with my handy cell phone). To really experience Joshua Tree, however, you must go. If I were brave enough, perhaps I'd try scaling the rocks like so many of the rock climbers that passed through the area. I'm sure they have the dual pleasure of the finest views and adrenaline highs the park has to offer. Joshua Trees are a member of the yucca family. The name Joshua tree was given by a band of Mormons who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The tree's unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky.
By far one of the coolest experiences was my drive in the all-electric Tango Car. President Rick Woodbury brought it down and Norman (the photographer) and I took it for a spin [and at way too high of speeds for my blood]. I would like to confirm to everyone that it does indeed go from 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds. More importantly, however, its a great zero-emission, all electric vehicle.
I took a shot of Ranger Don Roberts and friend next to the car. And yes, everyone thought it was the coolest thing ever.
Back in San Francisco, I headed to a fundraiser for World Bicycle Relief, a non-profit I was made aware by through a few friends. It's goal is to bring 30 million bicycles to Africa by 2010 ($109 per bike factored in around a 2.8 billion dollar cost to implement). Since diseases, such as AIDS, have ravaged the African nations, bicycles allow more native volunteers to tend to the sick and distribute medicine, as well as give people ways to build more efficient businesses. WBR gives a 2-year "work to ride" contract for Africans - giving them a bike so that they can help lift themselves and their families out of extreme poverty. President F.K. Day spoke in the private gathering. Highly support this non-profit. Biking in Zambia with World Bicycle Relief (above) and the Critical Mass Ride which happens every [last] Friday of every month in San Francisco - here again, shot with my handy cell phone (below). Quite a spectacle to see and participate in!
While in San Francisco, much needed trips to the Farmer's Market, Amoeba Records and then a grand finale at the Commonwealth Club. On February 22nd, the Commonwealth Club hosted its 19th annual Distinguished Citizens Awards at the Fairmont Hotel. The focus of the awards was on sustainable energy production.
It was a way-to-long but very stimulating night of practical and progressive thinking on the future of sustainable energy. Award recipients and participants in the panel included: The Energy Foundation, a San Francisco partnership of six foundations involved in research and production; Timothy Draper, founder of a $30 million fund that invests in clean energy technology; Denis Hayes, co-founder of Earth Day and director of the Bullitt Foundation, which funds environmentally friendly projects in the Pacific Northwest; Michael Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission; and Daniel M. Kammen, director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at UC Berkeley. Arthur Rosenfeld, a California Energy Commission commissioner who led a Nobel Prize-winning group in particle physics at UC Berkeley, recieved the club's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ed Begley was there too, giving a bit more star-power to the mix. Denis Hayes, however, was by far the most entertaining of the mix. Peter Darbee, the Chairman, CEO and President of PG&E Corporation had some very progressive views on how to pressure our government towards energy efficiency...Draper blathered way too much about the Tesla.
snapped some fuzzy friends at the Commonwealth Club