When we heard the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was close to opening we got in the car and headed to one of the closed on ramps and waited for police to remove the barricades. Once the path was open we were among the first to cross from west to east.
The photo was taken on the return leg, from Oakland back to San Francisco. The most exciting moments were those spent passing through the tunnel full of curiosity about what the new span would look like. With 24 years in the planning and creation, it's a remarkable improvement over the old bridge, which now looks like an abandoned relic next to its lithe replacement.
A recent trip to Phoenix provided an opportunity for an excursion to the nearby town of Scottsdale, where Frank Lloyd Wright's winter residence, Taliesin West, is located. Because the 1937 structure is made of local stone, it's difficult to tell from a distance exactly where the desert ends and the structure begins. The low-slung buildings seem to emerge from out of the surrounding desert.
The Jordan winery is unusual in that it limit its tastings to 12 people at a time. With just two day's advance notice, we were lucky to obtain a reservation for a Saturday afternoon. This Alexander Valley winery is wonderfully focused in its offering: one Chardonnay and several vintages of Cabernet Sauvignon. We began the tasting in a reception room with the Chardonnay, paired with a stack of ahi, caviar, and cheese on toasted bread. From there we proceeded to the tasting room, where we each sat in front of an individual plate arrayed with a variety of cheeses, estate olive oil, bread and crackers. We worked our way through the 2003, 2005, and 2008 Cabernet Sauvignons. It was a pleasure to enjoy a leisurely-paced vertical tasting in such an intimate setting.
Los Angeles suddenly made more sense when I had a chance to view it from a higher perspective. Griffith Observatory provided an unmatched vantage point for seeing the city in its entirety.
I was captivated by the graphic nature of this early 60s building, located at 9720 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. The entry plaza continues the geometric theme with large white circles scattered over a darker surface.
While driving to Yountville, for lunch at Bistro Jeanty, we passed a field of brilliant yellow mustard. We did a u-turn to go back and have a closer look. The field attracted a number of people, nearly all of whom were busy taking photographs.
After lunch we walked along Washington Street to see The French Laundry. Across the street we noticed the vegetable garden that the restaurant cultivates. Surprisingly, it's completely open, without any fencing or barrier.
When I glanced toward the San Jacinto Mountains I realized I was watching the last sunset of 2011. I'm reminded of the question, "What's the best camera?" The usual response is "The one you have with you." In this case, I'm happy I had a phone with a camera.