Journal archives for May 2013

May 01, 2013

The Curley Redwood Inn

On our recent trip we stopped coming back in Crescent City, at the Curley Redwood Inn.

Home in Santa Rosa we've the "Church of One Tree"; a charming craftsman-style structure built in the early 20th. century from the bones of one of our Coast Redwoods. If you're old enough, you may remember this from a posting in Ripley's 'Believe it or Not'; a widely circulated, large-panel colored comic section institution of 1950's America, which weekly featured a few of the curious oddities discovered by Mr. R.... Largely forgotten today, Ripley was a long time the syndication star of Sonoma county; until displaced by Charles Schultz and his "Peanuts". You can see his proud remains in our downtown Rural Cemetery; and of course may visit the peripatetic COOT(moved once or twice after being decommissioned as a house of worship) in our Julliard Park.
The Curley Inn is of similar provence; made from 8 huge quarter sections taken from an immense tree at Midcentury. At the desk, friendly staff will proudly show you an album of photos documenting this impressive feat. But instead of a Christian Chapel, this king's ransom of heartwood was allotted to embellish the emerging new american religion of the endless road with a rather fine Motel. I don't recall it ever made it to the funny papers, although full worthy.

I suppose this is taking a bit of a sardonic tone; and in I do regret that
In fact, I loved the Curley Inn. It's in every way a classic of it's kind; and can only be described as beautiful. This is more than the tasteful use of the fabulous wood. The place is beautifully proportioned, lovingly maintained and entirely faithful in every detail to the best of the 1950-60 road aesthetic. The staff are hospitality itself. Inexplicably overshadowed by a handful of new hideous chain Motels, there's plenty of room at the Inn. If you need to pause in Crescent City, please check it out. Save the Curley Inn!

There's of course a lot of regret to share around concerning the loss of most of our aboriginal Redwood Forest. Some does remain--some wonderful trees are passed in the last few miles coming down to C.C. from the north-- but so much was squandered that preserving bits of the best in the Curley Inn cannot be censured. I'll never forget my trip through Arcada in 1976; hearing a belligerent voice on the local radio heaping scorn on the tree-huggers because 'there was almost 10% of the old-growth forest yet uncut'. Anyone know what the figure is today?

Posted on May 01, 2013 01:54 by icosahedron icosahedron | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 29, 2013

Long and winding trail to the False Indigo

For the last year or so I've suffered a minor obsession to find the False Indigo.

My interest stems from a childhood peak experience. In 1960 I netted a male California Dogface in our Los Angeles neighborhood. I instantly recognized this iconic insect; and with remarkable presence of mind, deftly gathered it in to take to my brothers killing jars and spreading boards. It then had pride of place in his well-organized collection. Sadly that great work of obsessive love was to be gifted a decade later by our clueless sister to a hippie friend to hang in her cannibis-scented pad... I'm still hoping to get over the casual stupidity of that loss.

Anyway, few years after my triumph, Mr. Reagan signed this beast into official status as our 'state insect'. Despite my esteem for the dogface, I really couldn't agree. While locally abundant, the Dogface is rarely seen in most of California. So a bit too elitist a choice. There's the further issue that that master communicator should have given approval to the 'Flying Pansy' to represent our great state. Had he'd asked me, it would have been the Western Tiger... Likely, another example of his delegating essential decisions to his staff.

I only saw my second Dogface after moving to Sonoma county. I didn't expect it here--it's more a SoCal bug-- but have learned through Inat that it can occur. So this brings up the matter of the False Indigo. Just how prevalent is that?

In principle, we've at hand formidable resources in finding these sorts of things, but it still took a while. Looking at the few posted images didn't help much. Maybe it's me; but I've a lot of trouble working from a few photos and then going out to locate something. It works great the other way: from my own pictures I can go to Calflora or another member's site and be rather sure. Sadly, photographs deceive even as they inform. Proportions are often distorted badly, key features are often not included or blurred. Do others find these problems?

Calflora helps with its site mapping of observations; but in this case not much. Almost all of the places are inaccessible without trespassing. The one exception for A. californica was a Santa Rosa site now covered by a freeway sound wall. The other public spot in a park was within 1/2 acre thicket subsequently enclosed in a 7' fence by the California Native Plant Society...

The key for me was a nice online movie made in the San Bernadino mountains by a lepidopterist. This includes movies of impressive stands of the plant stirring in the alpine breezes. Seeing this was a revelation: Movies are a huge improvement when you want to get the necessary gestalt for rapid visual ID. In the future, maybe video clips will replace the static images of today. We shall see.

Thus prepared, i found a specimen the next day; right along a trail I'd hiked the week before, looking for Amorpha. It was providently still carrying a bit of bloom; but I'd swear i recognized it swaying gracefully in the light breeze just as in the movie clip. Makes me think: how rare is it, really? Not sure how questions of species prevalence are answered.

If it really is disappearing, maybe I'll try to grow a bit myself.

Posted on May 29, 2013 15:14 by icosahedron icosahedron | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment