August 31, 2008

My Storm-Chasing Mom

When I asked for some time off work to take my Mom to the Lookout on her birthday, my boss said, "You're doing what for her birthday?" What she didn't know about my Mom is that she LOVES to do things like that. She goes on storm-chasing vacations where they have in-car Doppler radar to chase tornadoes. All my life she has sought out the dirt roads and adventures, and I have no doubt that seeing the Tower was a perfect birthday gift for her.

We were pretty excited when the Weather Service issued a flash-flood warning before we headed up the mountain, but unfortunately, we had clear skies during the whole trip. That made for a great evening of watching the city lights six-thousand feet below us. There was also a lot of time to catch up on family gossip before we set up camp.

I was up with the sun and started puttering around the Tower. Our new picnic table at the Tower was salvaged from somewhere else and came with a bunch of tagging on it. I had picked up a gallon of paint from the "oops-bin" at Lowe's and gave it three coats of pistachio green before going in-service for my shift.

One of the great views from the Tower is looking toward Mount San Jacinto in the distance. The flat topped peak in the foreground is a family favorite, as it shares our name: Harrison Mountain.

August 3, 2008

Strawberry Overnight

I usually just work my volunteer shifts in the Strawberry Peak Fire Lookout Tower and go home, but this weekend I spent the night in the tower. This is the view from my bed inside the tower. Pretty cool, huh? This is looking out over San Bernardino, Riverside, Corona and Santiago Peak. From the tower I can also see Hesperia, Victorville, Palmdale, Lancaster, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga and points west. Due to the curvature of the Earth, the view is limited to 106 miles, but on a really clear day you can see Mt. Whitney, 150 miles away, but only because it is tall enough to poke out above the curved horizon. When it isn't smoggy, you can see the Channel Islands. In all there is a 340 degree panorama (damn trees) covering a huge chunk of Southern California.