graffiti walk: Oakland, California

Had an hour to burn on the way to the Oakland Airporta few weeks ago, so I stopped in downtown to see what they had wallwise. Turns out they have a lot! My first Google hit was a mural about water conservation (no joke!). Figuring that there would be other murals around, I wandered the area (and was not disappointed).

Oakland gets a bad rep, and it's probably justified. A block or two one direction or the other from the main street felt unsafe (lots of abandoned buildings,  and the homeless give you a detailed thrice over). No alley-walking on this visit...


dancing with architecture: Sonoma, California

Was out in Sonoma County for a water meeting a few weeks ago. Didn't have time to get out and gawk at too much, but I did go on a field trip to googoo eye watery things.

First stop was the UC Davis Bodega Marine Lab to learn about ocean monitoring and climate, especially related to the El Nino Southern Oscillation and atmospheric rivers (climatic fire hoses that stretch across the Pacific to dowse the West Coast with intense rainfall). Bodega Bay, the nearby town, is where Alfred Hitchcock filmed "The Birds".

Ocean temperature buoy

The facility was Brutalist a la Louis Khan.

Another ocean temperature device that can survey at depth.

Atmospheric river monitoring station

High-resolution vertical radar. Thing sounded like an enormous theremin when activated. 

Time to release a weather balloon!

Next, we headed off to talk about flooding and sea lions at the mouth of the Russian River:

After that, we gawked at a part of the Russian River where an inflatable dam diverts water to nearby infiltration basins to recharge the local aquifer. Because of spawning fish, the whole set-up has a fish run that allows spawners to swim upstream and bypass the dam. During high flows, the dam is deflated to prevent damage.


Now off to the Russian River Reservoir!

And to end the day, Dry Creek Vineyards to check out river restoration and (ahem) the local enhanced water.