Day 63: Chautauqua and Motorcycles

If Dad’s in trouble, it’s a good bet that either Chuck or Russ is involved.

Russ works with Mom and Dad, and he’s one of those scientists with contagious love and enthusiasm for his work.


He studies and teaches a variety of different subjects, and his grin shows an understanding that they’re all connected. And if your truck breaks down in the middle of the desert, I hear he’s a wizard with baling wire and duct tape.

In 2004 while on a research trip, Russ, Mom and Dad discovered a woolly mammoth skull buried in a cliff in Baja. It’s an exciting and sad story involving shovels, guns and broken ladders. The photos from Dad’s camera are amazing. I’ll see if he’s posted them anywhere.

This week, Dad and Russ and Sara are teaching a class at a research station in Moss Landing, near Monterey. Their class consists of 15 math and science teachers from across the country. This is a multi-day chautauqua (a series of interesting discussions in interesting places).

I drive down to hang out with them in Monterey, stopping to eat at a great little roadside diner. Cindy runs the place, and I don’t leave hungry.

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I catch up with Dad at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I still can’t get enough of that Jellies exhibit.


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…but the real treat today is the chance to visit Ed Ricketts‘ laboratory. If you’ve read Cannery Row, you’re at least a little familiar with him.


Ricketts was a marine biologist, and his work was one of the most influential factors in the disciplines of environmental preservation. He was also the real-life influence for many of Steinbeck’s characters, including “Doc” in Cannery Row. His lab is located in Monterey, and is usually closed to the public, but educators can request special access.

A lot of important work happened in this little place.

Once we’re inside, Russ reads a passage from Cannery Row which describes the place we’re sitting.

Afterward, we wander around and explore the small house and lab.

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The roads are closed all around Cannery Row today, for the arrival of hundreds of motorcycles in a very cool event called MotoGP.
I can’t stay for the festivities, but here are some good pictures.

Random assertion: The location of a laboratory is usually at least as important as its contents.

Steganographic data: 1846/4.2

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