Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Back in Southern California

It is Wednesday evening and I am sitting in my motel room in Palm Springs, CA. I spent all day flying from NC to Los Angeles, and then driving 2+ hours out to Palm Springs. Since there are no rare birds that I still need being reported right now in SOCAL, I am planning to spend tomorrow birding the Salton Sea to see if I might be able to find something of interest.

As I said in a recent post, I also want to comment on the non-birding part of my big year at this 3/4's point. For starters, I still am having fun pursuing all the different elements of my 2010 travel adventure. I have seen many friends, some of them more than once as I have criss-crossed the country. I have been able to slow down at times and "smell the other roses" of this year, but probably not quite as much as I had originally intended. The balancing of the birding agenda and the rest of the travel adventure has tilted more towards the birding than I had thought it might. I believe this is a function of how much I like to be out birding in general, and more specifically because of the success I have had in finding so many birds.

As a result, my hunt for great hamburgers and pizzas has not been as extensive as I had planned. As I said earlier, I feel much better overall about the quality of the wood-fired pizzas that I have thoroughly enjoyed eating than I do about the hamburgers that I have consumed. I still have 3 months to improve on this and hope that the quality of the hamburgers yet to be eaten prove to be better than they have so far. And of course I want the pizzas to stay at the same high level.

As far as "fine dining" during the year, I have had some very good meals, most recently in Las Vegas. And I anticipate a few more before the year is out. What I have once again come to more fully appreciate is just how fortunate I am to have some truly outstanding restaurants right where I live in North Carolina. And as good as the food I have eaten at places like Cochon in New Orleans, and Bouchon and Rosemary's in Vegas, the best meals of the year have been those I shared with my wife at the Magnolia Grill in Durham, NC.

The only thing about the big year at this juncture that is "getting old" is the constant driving required to get between birding spots. I had originally thought I would drive 40-45,000 miles for the year, but I am already at 58,000. By year's end it will be around 65,000 miles. And the flying miles will probably be about the same. While I usually like driving, I have to say that this year has definitely pushed me over the limit. I will be very glad to be back to a normal year of driving in 2011. And I know of no one who particularly enjoys air travel anymore.

Over the past 2 days 7 more new birds were seen for the week. With the Salton Sea's birding abundance, the number should climb tomorrow. There is an updated travel map. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

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