John & Anne Wiley


Fire Water Mix

You probably saw this region in the news (and this blog), first for our drought and then our fires. For example, flying near Camarillo the Woolsey Fire provided a tragic sort of beauty looking toward Point Dume.


Woolsey Fire

Wind was whipping the water from the Oxnard area toward sunset beyond the Channel Islands, making for a otherworldly scene.


9575 Surreal Sunset

The coastal slopes of our own Santa Ynez Mountains had begun to recover from the horrific Thomas Fire, but were still mostly bare. Tangerine Falls just to the right of the bottom center, was scrubbed clean and nearly unrecognizable.


9688 Thomas Fire Recovery

By 11/22/2018 the popular Casa de Maria retreat center was struggling to recover from our Montecito debris flow disaster, caused by a torrential January downpour on those bare slopes.


9668 La Casa de Maria 11/22/2018

Hiking the Tucker’s Grove trail later that day provided a welcome reminder of how our creeks usually look. San Antonio Creek was relatively untouched by the fires and floods of that year.  Just looking at this pic again now, of the lively boulder alongside it, triggered a deep nourishing breath of serenity.


9695 Silent Boulder Garnish


Scene From Above

Here are a few more aerial views, starting with the geometry of field and stream in the CA Salinas Valley.


5074 Nature & Nurture

The last pic I ever snapped from Tripp was of the Laguna Blanca area of Hope Ranch on a smoky and hazy day, that for me evokes the mist of memory.


5187 Era’s End

As weather finally began to hint at drought relief, from a safe distance we enjoyed the look of clouds beyond the Santa Ynez Mountains.


8976 Beyond the Divide

It’s nice having the long zoom lens of the Sony RX-10m4 for pix like these.


9421 Cachuma & Clouds

A few days later we enjoyed this somehow rakish view of Lake Cachuma.


9004 Angles & Reflections

Though it was from a Cachuma dam release to replenish ground water in the Santa Ynez Valley, it was nice to see a thin strip of green amid bone dry scrub.


9495 Thirsty Land



It’s surprising to me how much has happened since the last post here! So finally today a little time opened up to share more pix since the end of our last big Tripp trip to the Pacific Northwest and UK/EU airline adventures. We were deep in an epic drought back in July, with wildfires running amok and smoke hanging over our brown hills.


4804 Veiled Brown

People were enjoying our beaches though, like this one next to the marina.


4966 Shape of Water

August brought much more of the same.


5007 Watersports

Including wildfires that felt overwhelming despite the courage of firefighters rushing toward the dense smoke.


5115 Defender

August also sadly saw our last flight in beautiful Tripp. There’s a story in the performing arts about how to get the most from every show: make it for two people. The person seeing it for the first time, and the person seeing it for the last time. Though we hope to see many more flights in small planes in coming years, harvesting pix of familiar sights from that last Tripp flight is extra special now.


5128 Kelp Harvest

Hendry’s Beach (Arroyo Burro) evokes the relaxed mood in our zoom pix as we rode our magic carpet offshore that last time.


5140 Relaxing



Endings & Beginnings

Our last day in London began the end of our memorable 3-week adventure in the UK and EU. Taking the tube from our hotel to Heathrow was surprisingly nostalgic, as we mingled with commuters, locals and a few visitors like us.

81941 Last Tube

81941 Last Tube

It felt like hours, and like seconds, before we were high over Greenland. Talking with the few other passengers huddled at the back, conversation turned to the melting glaciers.

053237 Greenland Browning

053237 Greenland Browning

Did sagging in the channels and ripples on the surface indicate it’s moving faster?

054122 Quickening?

054122 Quickening?

Is the vast size of it reassuring or scary? The discussion was perhaps made more somber by the fact we were awake while most passengers slept. In another “instant” hours later, we were descending into Phoenix for our connecting flight when the Grand Canyon passed below.

151704 Grand Canyon

151704 Grand Canyon

I can’t make out the lodge through hazy airline windows from this height. But that horizontal line from the right-center edge is the Grand Canyon airport (KGCN). I thought about how much more we’d enjoyed the canyon view from Tripp’s open windows, and the adventures we’ve enjoyed after landing at that airport and Marble Canyon. In a “moment” we took off again, glimpsing through scratched plastic the distant mountain outcrops we’ve seen closely from air and ground.

175139 Phoenix Takeoff

175139 Phoenix Takeoff

Our hearts quickened as we turned over the Santa Barbara Channel gliding down through the sunset to SBA, where the runway was already in gathering darkness beneath a cold blue moon.

185358 Day & Journey End

185358 Day & Journey End

This landing also marked a full beginning of our transition from Tripp to Tiger. That is, starting to take ever more and longer flights in the club’s AA5-B Grumman Tiger. Like this one a week later when we saw fluffy clouds announcing the impending start of rainy season.

9421 Riding The Tiger

9421 Riding The Tiger

Soon I’ll start sharing more pix from these recent flights, along with some older favorites from our last flights in Tripp. For now, thanks for sharing our UK/EU Adventure. 🙂


Last London

High on my list for this trip was going up in the Shard.

125726 The Shard

125726 The Shard

Though we walked past the base of it, enjoying that spectacular aerial view of London didn’t happen. Instead we went into the amazing and colorful open air Borough Market.

112356 Borough Market

112356 Borough Market

Such a vast variety of prepared food, and everything needed to create your own gourmet meal.

114452 Colorful Bounty

114452 Colorful Bounty

For some reason we snapped relatively few pix this day, but got this as we passed a throng of London cabbies protesting ride services like Uber. It seems cabbies are tested to prove exhaustive familiarity with the city and laws while their competition isn’t.

162535 Protesting Uber

162535 Protesting Uber

Among the many experiences of that last London day was the view of street life from this raised walkway from the river to Charing Cross Station.

182751 Popular Spot

182751 Popular Spot

We paid a second visit to Trafalgar Square, where later that night we saw that one of the lions was somehow lit up a brilliant florescent orange.

183937 Trafalgar Return

183937 Trafalgar Return

By then the storm had left a few ragged clouds accenting the moon for a blurry handheld pic as we ended the day with a short cabbie tour to the park outside Kensington Palace.

9403 Kensington Gardens Moon

9403 Kensington Gardens Moon

Noticing lights and movement inside the palace, we imagined it to be some sort of royal dinner party on the second floor.

9404 Palace Party?

9404 Palace Party?

What had seemed during planning to be a very long trip, now felt far too short as we got ready to fly home in the morning with our hearts full of memories.

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