The Lifewater 2015 Walk 4 Water

Last Saturday the Lifewater Walk 4 Water took place in San Luis Obispo at the Mission Plaza. Pam and I were there bright and early in the morning to help set things up and staff the event (Pam more so than me). I wandered around and took pictures after things were up and running.

A balloon archway, early in the morning.

A balloon archway, early in the morning.

Jerrican rentals (for those who were up for the challenge of making the walk carrying water).

Jerrican rentals (for those who were up for the challenge of making the walk carrying water).

People begin to arrive and peruse the displays.

People begin to arrive and peruse the displays.

The registration line begins to form.

The registration line begins to form.

The walk took place in downtown SLO, with volunteers holding signs with water facts to guide the way.

The walk took place in downtown SLO, with volunteers holding signs with water facts to guide the way.

The walk was an easy one, but much more difficult for those carrying water in jerricans.

The walk was an easy one, but much more difficult for those carrying water in jerricans.

People carried jerricans on their heads, shoulders, backs, and in their hands. One person also carried a baby.

People carried jerricans on their heads, shoulders, backs, and in their hands. One person also carried a baby.

The Lifewater Walk 4 Water.

The Lifewater Walk 4 Water.

It was a beautiful, fun day for a wonderful cause. More than $65,000 were raised for water, sanitation, and hygiene programs in southern Ethiopia. Pam and I comprised Team Hoover–thanks to everyone who sponsored us!

Walk4Water_125

A photo of Pam and me taken during the event by SLOtography.

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PLANET SCD 2015: Raleigh, NC

I coach the Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) Student Career Days (SCD) competition team. The event is an annual national landscape and horticulture Olympics-style competition. This was my third year as a coach. Two years ago we went to Auburn, AL. Last year we went to Fort Collins, CO. This year we went to Raleigh, NC.

Our team consisted of 8 students. We competed against 64 other schools in 19 events (Business Management, Irrigation Design, Maintenance Cost Estimating, Annual and Perennial ID, Exterior Landscape Design, Irrigation Assembly, Plant problem Diagnosis, Computer-Aided Landscape Design, Interior Plant ID, Hardscape Installation, Woody Ornamental Plant ID, Turf and Weed ID, Wood Construction, Interior Landscape Design, Landscape Plant Installation, Skid Steer Loader Operation, Landscape Maintenance Operations, Personnel Management, Truck and Trailer Operation).

Thank You Card Final

There will be no PLANET team next year, since PLANET is changing its name to the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). The SCD event will be be called the National Collegiate Landscape Competition (NCLC). So now I get to call myself the coach of the Cal Poly SLO National Collegiate Landscape Competition Team.

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Sugar in Breakfast Cereal

I’ve been thinking about sugar. More specifically, I’ve been thinking about the high level of sugar that exists in the typical American diet. I’ve been examining labels and tracking my sugar intake. As a breakfast (cold) cereal aficionado I’ve spent some time reading the sides of boxes.

I find it interesting to see what percentage of the cereal is sugar by weight. It’s a bit depressing. I now understand why Honey Smacks used to be called Sugar Smacks.

Breakfast cereal percent sugar on a weight by weight basis.

Breakfast cereal percent sugar on a weight by weight basis: the top five and bottom five of the cereals I analyzed.

Calories are another interesting thing to analyze with sugar.

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Breakfast cereal calories and sugar per cup plotted for some common products.

I’ve also looked at sugar and protein, which I plan to post about later. Right now I don’t have time to develop this post any further. . .

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Lane Splitting in California

Some things about California still amaze me. The Pacific Ocean. The palm trees. The perpetual summer. And lane splitting. In California there is no law prohibiting motorcyclists from driving beside another vehicle that is occupying a lane. I made a simple diagram in Paint for those of you not sure what this means:

Lane Splitting: The motorcyclist passes between the cars.

Lane Splitting: A motorcyclist passes between the cars.

When traffic is very slow or stopped I understand lane splitting to allow motorcycles to filter forward. Many motorcyclists only use lane splitting for this purpose. However, not all motorcyclists are that intelligent or polite. On U.S. Route 101 I see reckless lane splitting frequently. A few weeks ago a biker split a lane with me at 75 mph in heavy traffic. I also had a close call with a motorcycle that passed me on the right as I was preparing to take an exit off-ramp.

I fail to understand lane splitting on a simple level. As I see it, when a vehicle is in a lane the driver has the right of way for that lane. California is the only state in the United States that does not prohibit lane splitting (1). The 2015 California Driver Handbook states that “Motorcyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as automobile drivers” (2, pg 62).  On the very next page of the book these statements appear: “Allow the motorcycle a full lane width. Although it is not illegal to share lanes with motorcycles, it is unsafe.” And then: “Never try to pass a motorcycle in the same lane you are sharing with the motorcycle” (2, pg 63). So what I am hearing is this (lack of) logic:

– Motorcyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as automobile drivers.
– A motorcycle and automobile can legally share a lane.
– A motorcycle and automobile sharing a lane is unsafe.
– An automobile driver should never pass a motorcycle in the same lane.

I think allowing motorcycles to filter forward in slow traffic might make sense (when cars are stopped or driving <10 mph). However, if this is conceded, then it must be acknowledged that motorcyclists do not have the same rights and responsibilities as automobile drivers. The automobile driver has the responsibility to defer lane ownership to a motorcyclist, while in some cases the motorcyclist may invade the lane of the automobile driver.

Some things in California I like–lane splitting is not one of them.

(1). Bizjak, T. Motorcycle lane-splitting study finds: the more speed, the more danger. The Sacramento Bee. October 23, 2014. http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/transportation/article3204990.html

(2) California Department of Motor Vehicles. Driver Handbook. English. 2015.
https://apps.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/dl600.pdf

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A Valentine’s Day Hike on the Black Hill Trail

Yesterday Pam and I decided to go on a hike. A few weeks ago I mentioned to Pam that I wanted to hike Black Hill and Cerro Cabrillo (Cabrillo Peak), which are part of the Nine Sisters. And so we decided to tackle the Black Hill Trail on Valentine’s Day. We did the long version of the trail, which is an easy hike under 3 miles. Black Hill is the shortest of the Nine Sisters that can be hiked (only Morro Rock is shorter). The views of Morro Bay and the Pacific Ocean are excellent.

The Black Hill Trail winds under tree canopies.

The Black Hill Trail winds under tree canopies.

The trail moves through meadows, wooded stands, and rocky areas. In the lowest ravine we encountered many mosquitoes. It had been more than a year since I had been bitten by a mosquito–they’re just so rare on the Central Coast. As we gained elevation the views went from good to great.

Morro Rock is visible from the trail, though at times only through the trees.

Morro Rock is visible from the trail, though at times only through the trees.

Lizards were lounging in the sun by the trail. I’ve lived here more than two years, and lizards and palm trees still delight me.

A lizard sunbathing.

A lizard sunbathing.

The marker at the top of Black Hill.

The marker at the top of Black Hill.

When you stand on the top of Black Hill you see Morro Bay spread out in front of you like a model city. It looks something like a model train landscape.

Morro Bay viewed from Black Hill.

Morro Bay viewed from Black Hill.

The sights aren’t limited to Morro Bay. The estuary and sand spit are also visible.

A panorama from Black Hill, looking at the Morro Bay Estuary and Morro Rock.

A panorama from Black Hill, looking at the Morro Bay Estuary and Morro Rock.

The inland areas were also beautiful. Rolling green hills, with Hollister Peak serving as the most conspicuous sight.

Hollister Peak, another of the Nine Sisters.

Hollister Peak, another of the Nine Sisters, viewed from Black Hill.

At times Morro Bay is blanketed by fog, but not during our hike. The water was a brilliant blue. The grass was bright green. We could see for miles.

One last shot of Morro Rock from Black Hill, with boats on the bay on this sunny Saturday.

One last shot of Morro Rock from Black Hill, with boats on the bay on this sunny Saturday.

After the hike we went to Taco Temple in Morro Bay. I got a carnitas burrito that must have weighed close to three pounds (I regret that I did not have my scale with me). It is the first burrito that I have ordered that I was unable to finish.

Hiking and burritos with my lovely wife–not a bad Valentine’s Day.

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