Otto’s new book is out – help him get it published!

bk5_front-cover3_lg2Hello Friends!

I’m asking for your consideration, help, and a moment of your time. I’ve written a new book and I’m asking you to become a Kindle Scout, someone who can read new, never-before-published books and nominate those they would like to see published (like mine obviously!). If the book gets published everyone who nominated it will receive a free Kindle copy from Amazon.

The name of my book is Aquarian Rising, and it’s a novel in the Science Fiction genre. In this book you will find my fantasies about a nation of people genetically designed to live and work under the sea, and yes, I may have stretched the science involved a little, but it’s fiction, isn’t it?   So the next time you go to bed and have trouble sleeping I have a challenge for you. Take time to let your mind soar and dream your own dream along with mine.  Imagine yourself being able to live and breathe underwater, and conjure up your own fantasy about what it might be like to face the pleasures, dangers, and creepy things that might be involved in your daily life under the sea. While you’re doing that here’s a word of caution, you may love the sea as I do but never think for a minute that the sea loves you. Remember, it’s a dark and dangerous place deep down there, so beware.  Now create your own fictional adventure, be it a heaven or a hell, and then compare it to mine. There are an infinite numbers of possible stories that might be told. I offer my adventure as one possibility, and who knows how close it will come to the truth.

The first 5,000 words of Aquarian Rising are posted on the Kindle Scout website, and the URL access code is: .  Nominations have to be made before December the 9th. You can influence the probability of this book’s publishing success with your nomination and input by clicking the box at the bottom of the page. Oh, and one other thing. If you know of anyone else who might be interested in reviewing this book, and possibly receiving a free Kindle copy for their time, please pass this information on for their consideration, too. I need all the help I can get in support of my other fictional dream, the possible publication of Aquarian Rising.

More information about me and my interests are available on my web page at . I enjoyed writing this book and I hope you will enjoy reading it and support its publication with your nomination.

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The National Parks of Western North America: Sequoia and Kings Canyon


Otto at Tokopah Falls

Located in the central eastern part of California, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are a very popular camping and hiking attraction for tourists worldwide. Pam and I enjoyed a wonderful five-night/four-day vacation here in late June this year, and we’d like to share our experience and offer a few tips for those who might want to plan a future trip to this scenic area.


Along the Wuksachi Trail near Lodgepole

The parks are open almost year around, weather permitting, but most visitors prefer the warmer days of late spring through late fall before it turns wet and snowy during winter months. You can access this area from the south via Highways 65 or 99 to Highway 198 East, or from the north through the Fresno area via 180 East. From there, just follow the signs. If you’re towing or in a vehicle larger than 22 feet, the recommended route is through Fresno as the southern entrance road is very narrow with many switchbacks. Plan for speeds no greater than 30 miles per hour coming up the grade on this southern entry road. There is an entrance fee of $30 dollars per vehicle, which is good for one to seven nights. The usual passes are honored, and individual or group fees are also available. Camping reservations are a must as this is a very popular area throughout the summer and sites fill up fast. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance via (name your park). Wilderness permits are required for backpacking. There are cabins and other lodging facilities available within the park, and this is also a popular area for retreats and weddings. Pets are not permitted on any of the Park trails, but they are allowed in campgrounds and must be on leash at all times. There are restrictions on where you can bicycle. No hookups for trailers or RV’s are available. Check the website for Sequoia and Kings Canyon for more information.

DSC_3352creWe stayed at the centrally located Lodgepole Campground and found the surroundings very pleasant. The campground has paved roads, drinking water, and flush toilets. Each site features fire rings, food storage boxes (required because of the bears) and a tent pad. Our site overlooked the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River, which was quite nice. DSC_3113creLocations and tent pad sizes vary, but you can check the campground on to see the layout when you make your reservation. The campsites are fairly close together, but the surroundings are beautiful. Lodgepole Village is a short quarter mile away where there is a Visitors Center offering ranger programs, a small grocery store, a small deli-style restaurant, and three-minute showers available for a $1 fee (bring quarters). There is a limited free shuttle service available for travel to nearby areas from Memorial Day through Labor Day, which made access to most of the places we wanted to visit very easy.


There are a ton of hiking trails in the area, including the High Sierra Trail which will eventually lead you to Mount Whitney. You could spend months exploring all the different trails, but we were limited to four days so we hit the high spots with fairly easy day hikes. Of course, this included visits to several groves of giant sequoias including the General Sherman tree, the world’s largest tree. The sequoia groves are extremely popular and family friendly, so expect company almost anywhere you go. One day we went to the Giant Forest to see the General Sherman and General Grant trees, traveling by shuttle from the campground to easy walking trails at this grove near the Giant Forest Museum.

DSC_3127creWe followed that up with an afternoon hike around Crescent Meadows where we saw Tharp’s Log (a rustic home built inside of a fallen sequoia log), lots of wildflowers, and a bear in the meadow. Another day we hiked up the trail along the Kaweah River from our campground to see Tokopah Falls in the morning, and then took an afternoon road trip north to Stoney Creek Village to check DSC_3176cre
out other nearby areas including Dorst Creek Campground and the Lost Grove. A third day had us taking the shuttle from our campground to Wuksachi Lodge and then hiking the Wuksachi Trail and a part of the Twin Lakes Trail, a scenic, mostly downhill, hike back to our campground in the morning. We spent the afternoon sitting by the river at our campsite, just kicking back.

20160622_105322smeOne of the highlights of our trip was a morning tour of Crystal Cave, a cave featuring formations made from the action of water moving through and over marble and limestone. This is a popular spot—advance reservations are a must and should be scheduled early (you can book your tour reservations for Crystal Cave through Also, there is a fairly steep quarter mile hike down to the cave from the parking lot. Bring mosquito repellent and plan on a slow climb back up to the parking lot after the tour.

All-in-all, this was a wonderful experience for us and we recommend this area for a summer getaway if you’re so inclined. The scenic beauty here is marvelous and even breathtaking at times, and that makes this adventure more than worthwhile.

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West Coast Fishing Club – North Island Lodge, Langara Island, Review 2016


Dawn breaking over the fishing grounds off Langara Island

Pam and I both enjoyed our annual Canadian fishing trip. This year, we stayed at the West Coast Fishing Club’s North Island Lodge, and we’d like to share our experience with you in the following review:


Relaxing in the comfy lounge area after a day of fishing

Facilities: The North Island Lodge is located in a protected bay at the south end of Langara Island, just off the north end of Haida Gwaii (formerly Queen Charlotte Island). This is one of West Coast’s three facilities in this area. The North Island Lodge caters to people who want a more casual atmosphere, something we prefer. The facilities were quite comfortable for us featuring a standard two-person cabin room with two beds, a closet, dresser, and en suite bathroom complete with a shower.  There is a spacious lounge area you can retire to each day after fishing where soft drinks, beer, and wine are served at no extra cost, and tasty hors d’oeuvres are available to munch at your leisure before dinner. Hard liquor is also available at a nominal fee. Dinner is served at about 8:30 pm nightly in a comfortable dining area, and we found the meals to be quite good and nicely presented. Both areas feature a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and excellent views of the ocean. For lunch, you can opt to stay at sea or retu20160711_202744ern to the lodge. If you want to keep fishing through lunch, the staff will prepare sandwiches and snacks for you to take along in a cooler. They will also deliver soup and a hot sandwich to your boat at your request. Breakfast is standard continental fare with scrambled eggs, breakfast meats and potatoes, cereals and yogurts, and plenty of fruit. During our trip, the staff and service was superb—everyone was cheerful and helpful at all times, both on the docks and inside the lodge. It was one of the best staff groups we’ve experienced.


The dock is an extension off the floating lodge so your boat is ready when you are

Boats: We opted for a self-guided package and fished in a 19 ft. Eagle Craft center-console boat that was well equipped with downriggers, three salmon rods, two halibut rods, and all the other necessary gear and bait required for fishing. There was always a friendly crew member on the dock adjacent to the lodge to assist you when needed. Guided boats are slightly more spacious, but you will have to pay a bit more for that luxury. Still, if you aren’t familiar with fishing for salmon and halibut in the ocean it would be well worth the extra expense. Fishing with a knowledgeable guide makes it easier on you, too, but we’re too hard-headed (at least me) for that option.

Fishing: We have fished off Langara Island before so we were familiar with the area. One of the things we always liked here is the ability to fish either side of the island and get some protection from prevailing winds. Although we traveled in mid-summer, no one can control the weather, so it’s nice to have options for fishing grounds. We booked the longer trip (5 days/4 nights) which gave us three full fishing days with part days upon arrival and before departure. That maximizes your chances of success, especially if the weather turns nasty.


One day’s take included a medium-sized Chinook (26 pounds)

We’ve always done well at Langara and this year was no exception. The “take” limit in this area is eight salmon per person per trip, four of which can be Chinooks, and we managed to get our limits. On our trip, Coho (silver salmon) were reasonably plentiful, but you had to work for the Chinooks, which is normal after the month of June. We released many fish, too, mostly Pink salmon. The one hazard we did encounter was the local population of voracious sea lions which ate three of our salmon before we could get them onboard. One big sea lion striped all of the line off of the reel when he grabbed our fish, but we managed to cut the line loose before he could take the rod and reel with him, too. Oh well—all part of the fishing experience on Langara Island.

You have three fish processing options. Take your vacuum-packed and frozen catch home with you in boxes, have your catch custom-processed and shipped to you (extra charge), or take your catch home fresh. Be sure to get your Canadian fishing license and salmon stamp on line before departing for the trip (available on line at Fisheries and Oceans Canada).

Travel: Living near the Los Angeles area, we always fly to Vancouver, British Columbia the day before our trip and stay overnight in a hotel. We booked the Pacific Gateway Hotel at Vancouver Airport and were pleased with our accommodations. The hotel is less than 10 minutes away from Vancouver Airport’s South Terminal via a courtesy shuttle, which runs every 20 minutes. We also stay the night on the day of our return to Vancouver, and then fly home the next day. The hotel will put your packaged fish in its freezer overnight at no extra charge. On the day you start your trip, you have to be at the Vancouver South Terminal desk before 7:30 am to log in with West Coast. From the South Terminal, you will fly to Masset on Haida Gwaii. From there, it’s a 10-minute helicopter ride to the lodge. All transportation between Vancouver and the lodge is included as part of your trip package.  Your flight to and from home to Vancouver is at your own expense.

We had a great time on this trip, and we’re happy to recommend West Coast Fishing Club as an excellent option for a Canadian ocean fishing experience. Overall the trip was excellent, and the staff one of the best we’ve had the pleasure of working with. Langara Island is a good place to fish, and if you’re thinking of ocean fishing for salmon or halibut it’s a great area to visit. Try it, and we think you’ll like it.  I know we did.

West Coast Fishing Club is on line at or call 888-432-6666

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