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Wild Beauty at Modini Mayacamas Preserves

By Alexa Chipman May 29, 2017

More clambering exploration than a hike in the traditional sense, the experience lives up to the motto of Audubon Canyon Ranch—conservation in action. The preserve requires a guide, unless you take the orientation class, after which there are 1,400 acres open to hiking with an additional 1,600 closed to the public and used for research. Dramatic hills surround idyllic creeks, woodlands and meadows.

Modini Mayacamas Preserves Healdsburg

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Step Into History at Pier 45 in San Francisco

By Alexa Chipman May 25, 2017

On a secluded pier, hidden from the bustle of Pier 39, is a colorful banner indicating “Historic Pier 45” arched across an entrance next to the Musee Mecanique. Behind its cheerful red and blue is a miniature World War II maritime museum, with the liberty ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien and submarine USS Pampanito (SS-383), both primarily independently operated and open for tours with a small fee.

USS Pampanito

USS Pampanito in San Francisco

Built for long-range patrols on the hunt for enemy shipping, Pampanito is a sleek, dangerous boat with the most advanced technology of her time on board—volunteers have scoured the world in an attempt to bring her as close to original specifications as possible, and their attention to detail shows. Forerunners of modern computing are on board—the cypher machine to send and receive encrypted messages, and the Torpedo Data Computer (TDC), which assisted with the complex calculations needed to determine range and firing angle between two constantly moving platforms. This “futuristic” technology was unique to United States submarines, allowing for more accurate firing from a safe distance, protecting crews from going in close where the mostly surface vessel was vulnerable. (more…)

Modern Winemaking Techniques from Around the World

By Alexa Chipman May 21, 2017

There is an inherent prejudice against advancing winemaking technology, since it is a field that is steeped with history and carefully curated handcrafting of the perfect product. Techniques are handed down through generations of vintners and winemakers, and they work well—but what if the process could be improved? Why should we continue to make the same mistakes, just because it was done by previous generations? Innovators from around the world are questioning age old customs, trying to streamline and improve traditional methods.

New Zealand Vineyard (more…)