Sunday, May 27, 2018

Life After the Wild Ride

I have been busy, and now I can finally relax in our California house. Relax? Who's kidding who? Now the work begins!

To recap:

We travelled from southern Florida to the San Francisco Bay area. We arrived on Saturday before Mother's Day, so we could enjoy a lovely brunch with both of our sons, both of our grand kids and the other grandmother. I had the opportunity to visit the new (to us) house for exactly three days, then I was off to the airport.

I opted to take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from the station nearest our neighborhood to the airport so that the Mr. didn't have to drive all that way (31 miles). The trip went well - what a way to travel. Oh, and once I get my "Clipper Card" I will get special discounts as a senior!

I flew to Manchester, NH to visit with my BFF. She is also a quilter and secured a spot for me in a Bonnie Hunter workshop. offered by her quilt guild.  I have participated in a few of Bonnie's annual Mystery Quilts, so my BFF knew I'd love meeting the woman and participating in the fun. And... fun, it was! Of course, any time I'm with my special friend we manage to have fun!



Following my NH visit I flew to Denver to visit with my stepmom and my dad. I took Stepmom on quite a few shopping jaunts and accomplished a lot of minor "to do" items on her list. As for visiting Dad... well, the Assisted Living facility where he lives was shut down due to a rampant GI infection making its rounds. The Director was kind enough to let me gown up, mask up and don gloves to visit briefly with my dad, as long as I went directly to the airport and did not go back to the Independent Living section of the facility. I complied with his directives, gave my dad a kiss on the forehead before heading out. He was sound asleep! So much for my "visit"!

Finally, I arrived "home"... and have no plans to leave for a few weeks. I can settle in... maybe!

The Mr. and I had previously ordered electric assist bicycles. We figure we can use them to drive ride the 3 miles into town, and maybe brave the roads and do some shopping. On a recent Saturday we traveled almost 10 miles and met our son and granddaughter for a picnic. What fun!


I recently sent off for kitchen cabinet pulls and knobs. They arrived while I was away. All of the homes in this subdivision have no cabinet knobs and it drives me crazy! So, one of my tasks was to make a jig, drill holes and install the knobs. Ta-daa....


I purchased fabric for curtains... that may be my next post!


Let's just say I never have trouble falling asleep at night... and despite the fact that my body has no idea what time zone I might be in, I sleep late enough in the morning to find that my body is recharged and ready to go!


Friday, May 25, 2018

It's For the Birds

We ventured out to get some hardware things and picked up a hummingbird feeder. We used to feed the hummers and enjoyed their antics, so decided we could enjoy them again. Within 5 minutes of putting up the feeder we had a visitor. We didn't get a picture, but I found one online. It turns out that Hooded Orioles like hummingbird food as well.

Picture from the Internet

Big birds... little birds, they all deserve to be fed. The are all pretty. What the heck... drink on!


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

I'm on Top of the World

Our new home is built on a steep hillside. The road out of the development has an 11% grade.... going up from the house... and going down. You might get an idea of how high the hillside rises above the house from this picture. 


Or, perhaps this will give you a better idea of the "lay of the land". I circled the house, in yellow. There is a lot of hill behind it!!



We are surrounded by the Miller/Knox Regional Shoreline park. There are 295 acres with trails all over the hillside above the house. At the far end of our street there are a series of steps going up to the top of the trail. I am thinking there are at least 80 steps. I'll count them next time I venture out!


This marker is basically at our house. The altitude is 75 feet. If I walk down towards Brickyard Cove Pond I will shortly be at an elevation of about 20 feet!


At the highest point of the trail the elevation is 327 feet. My iPhone claims I traveled 25 flights of stairs!


The views from the trail are spectacular, although you just don't get the perspective in pictures. Wow! Here I am at the top of the stairs, near the spot where the pin is marking the highest elevation. I am looking southwest, over the basin and yacht club. 


This view is directly south of us. That's Treasure Island on the left and San Francisco on the right. 



Looking south and a bit further west. Alcatraz is just left of center.


Looking west and a bit north one sees the Richmond Bridge on I-580 heading toward San Quentin and San Rafael.


I am looking forward to exploring the trails in the park.... as long as I can stay upright!



Sunday, May 13, 2018

By the Numbers: Westward, Here!

We arrived in Point Richmond, CA with no other misadventures. Here are a few facts and images from the trip.

2: oceans we have seen
8: states we traversed
11: campgrounds where we stayed
17: fuel stops (it seemed like we were always pulling in for fuel. Only 17?!)
48: lowest temperature we experienced - Amelia Island, FL
108: highest temperature we experienced - Palm Desert, CA
325: approximate number of gallons of fuel we burned
3258: miles we traveled - 881.5 were in Texas, alone!
























This one is for Lori Skoog!






Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Mis-Adventure

We had a bit of a misadventure, which meant we missed an adventure. We stopped in Van Horn, TX for the night.
High desert in Van Horn, TX
Shortly after dinner we chatted with a fellow from a motorhome parked nearby and he mentioned that he was going to Carlsbad Caverns the next day. We looked at each other, and nodded... yes, we would do the same thing. Every time we drive through that area one of us mentions that we would like to go there some day. One of the reasons we bought the camper was to have the opportunity to poke around. Fast forward a few hours....

I return from walking the dogs and the Mister is outside with two guys at the power center for the camper. It turns out we have no power. None! No A/C... no TV... oh, and in the morning... no coffee! But, I am getting ahead of myself.

Our camper has a built-in surge protector. For whatever reason it decided that it didn't like the power the campground was providing, and it shut down. It would come on for a minute or two... then shut down. We finally gave up and opened the windows. Luckily, we were in the high desert and the cool night with a nice breeze was coming upon us.

Sunrise in the desert
 We slept fitfully, and the next morning decided that even if we did move to another site and had power, neither of us could trust that power and could not be comfortable leaving the dogs inside in temperatures close to 100 degrees.


So, we broke camp early  (taking the Keurig out to another camp site where they did have power so we could have coffee) and made the 430 mile trip to Lazy Days RV in Tucson, a certified Airstream dealer. We figured if we arrived at the campground and didn't have power, they might fit us in their service queue as an emergency case.

We each held our breath when we flipped on the 50 amp circuit. We peeked inside at the microwave...  the LED lights that show the time being a good indicator of the status of our power. Nothing. Oh... no! Then, there was a muffled thump of something being tripped, the microwave lit up, and later the AC came on (a good thing as it was 97 outside!) All seems to be in order.

I am sad that we missed going to the caverns. Maybe next time! We will stop at that campground again. They bent over backwards to help us. The campground was exceptionally neat and was better than the one where we previously would stay when we were in that area. They were so upset that they gave us our money back.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Oh, Deer!

We had a wonderful visit with our friends at Lake Medina. We had a full day and a half to talk, and talk, and talk some more. We had a long day ahead of us on the day we were leaving as the campgrounds in West Texas along I-10 become a bit sparse and we wanted to make it to Van Horn, TX. 

We got up at day break and set about our tasks. I took Tucker and Gypsy for their morning walk and tied them out at a tree. I felt badly for anyone trying to sleep along our chosen path because we bumped into small groups of deer on our walk, and of course Loud Mouth (Tucker) has to speak his piece to try to get the deer to move on. Oh, how he wished to run them off, and oh, how tempted was I too let him go! Dealing with a barking, lunging,70-pound Aussie is trying. 

Anyway, back at the camper, we set about our tasks: I worked on getting breakfast and the Mister began dumping tanks and unhooking cable, water, and power. He came inside to say, "Uh oh! We have a problem." (Too bad we had moved beyond Houston or he could have used that in context for a change!) I followed him outside to the back of the camper. He gestured his hand in the general direction of the back wheel, and said, "Look." I looked for a water leak. It wasn't that. I looked for a broken fitting, I didn't see any. I looked at the tire, it wasn't flat. Do you see the problem?


And then, I saw it. There was a newborn fawn curled up on the gravel between the wheel and the stabilizing jack. An itty, bitty speckled, darling, still showing marks where momma had licked it clean! Oh, my! 



I went over to our friends, who are early risers, and told them that we had a problem and bring a camera. He, being slightly hard of hearing, went and got his hammer. He's got a great sense of humor so we could all laugh at that. They were equally stunned at what we had found. 

We worked as quietly as we could to ready the camper for our departure. We figured that as long as we didn't touch the fawn, the doe would return. I did share messages with a friend who is a wildlife rescue and rehab person, and she confirmed it would be alright for us to make an exit and leave the little guy on the gravel. 


Our friends took up watch at a distance and we received a message about 5 minutes after we left that mom had returned to take her little one. We all heaved a great sigh of relief.
I am fortunate that we all got to witness this miracle. It was a truly special morning!

Side note : Newborn fawns have no scent as a protection from predators. They instinctually lie perfectly still where their mother has gently pushed them down. When I walked the dogs I passed within a few feet of the fawn. When I tied the dogs their ropes would have let them get less than 8 feet from the fawn. They didn't have a clue!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Water Views

For four five nights in a row we have stayed in a campground with a water view! We seem to have established a pattern!

First, we had an ocean front site at Beverly Beach:



Then, we were at the beach campground at Ft. Clinch. Although we were not strictly waterfront, we could catch a peek of the water over the dunes:



Then, we were on a peninsula between two lakes near Defuniak Springs, Fl. Our campsite backed up to one of the lakes:


And, then, near Livingston, LA, our campsite backed up against a small lake where we could watch swans, geese, ducks and see turtle heads popping up above the surface of the water:


I took the dogs for a walk around the lake. Two Tiffins were pulling in. It turns out they belonged to Carolyn and David Baltzell whom we met at Red Bay last year, and saw at the Okeechobee rally, and their friends, Linda & Wayne. It's a small world!

And then, we landed at Westlake RV Resort on the west side of Houston. I was all kinds of excited when the gal at the resort told me, over the phone, that we would have a creek-side lot. Immediately my mind brought up a stream of water twisting, turning and tumbling around boulders with overhanging tree branches. A beautiful glade with sunlight filtering through to the water. Nice picture but certainly not at all accurate!!


The good news was that there are two gates in the fence and one is allowed to walk dogs on the other side of the fence. One can (and did) let dogs run free on the other side of the fence. The campground also has a small lake, so it truly does fit into my "themed" camping. 

For the next few nights we will also be on the water at Lake Medina. We try to stop to see Donna and Carlos, friends we picked up years ago while traveling in Colorado. They have a permanent site at the lake, which comes and goes over the years. On our first visit there was only a small stream of water.The last time we visited the lake was full. Who knows what awaits us this year!


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Fernandina Beach

We stopped for a few days to visit with family on Fernandina Beach. Mr. Dreamy's mother (soon to be 96) and his sister and her husband live on the island. We often try to get a spot at Ft. Clinch State Park as it is relatively close to them. This year I was lucky. I checked for reservations around the time we had planned to head back. Evidently someone had just cancelled their reservation as there was an entire week available. I took three of the days and we enjoyed our stay.


We managed to go out to a few nice restaurants with Don and Sue. Don took me to play ping pong with his friends. I was lucky to get 4 points per game, on average! Sue treated me to aerial yoga. What a blast! My nagging hip seemed to respond to hanging upside down! I'll have to look for places in California!


I am pretending I'm Mary Martin and playing the part of Peter Pan. I'm swinging back and forth, although my legs have sunk to half mast at this point and it doesn't look like I'm doing anything. This picture was taken after the yoga class and I was tired!


I was surprised at how well the silks kept me balanced. 

We visited with Betty, Scott's mother. We saw her several times while we were on the island. She is living in an assisted living facility and has her good days and those that aren't so great. This day we visited after lunch and she was groggy from meds they give her after meals. She began to perk up after we were there for a while. Betty picked up a hat and had fun showing it off.


In this picture Scott was showing her a picture of her great-grandson. When Scott went to move the iPad and go to another picture she exclaimed, "No! Let me kiss that darling baby!"


Betty was tired and we gave her hugs and kisses as we left. Each time we visit and prepare to leave I realize that might be the last time I see her and I get a little teary eyed. But, each time I've returned she's been there for me. She's my favorite mother-in-law (a little joke there!) and I've loved her like a mom since I first met her.

The next morning we hitched up and began our trek to the west. 



Rock Monasteries in Bulgaria

October 8 We visited two different monasteries built within rocky cliffs. The first were the rock monasteries of Ivanovo, Bulgaria. These...