Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dawn’s Big Day

Dawn had her laser surgery today. She's fine but relaxing. They numbed her in preperation for the procedure and it kind of disconnected her brain for the day. She should be up and around tomorrow. Lou and I are taking the day off as well.

Carried Away

My "planned" projects got deferred again because the neighbor across the street is going to demolish the house they just bought and build a much bigger house, a very common thing around here? They asked if we wanted anything. They had some brick walkways , a 10x15 shed and a new heat pump. We thought we'd take these. Then reality set in and we realized our age and decided against trying to move the building (even if broken into 6 pieces, each would weigh about 1000 lbs, its real redwood timbers and siding and 10 feet tall), and the heat pump (it would be difficult to duct to our house). Boy I'm glad we had second thoughts. However, the bricks were "easy" to get and can always be used. The easy part changed when there were three times as many as i originally estimated. There was a lot of plant litter on the ground hiding 2/3s of the bricks. Couldn't pass them up so it took a little longer to move the 770 bricks. Every day is exciting. I had planned on pouring some of the sidewalk today.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Live And Learn

Lou spent the night at Dawn's place, more organizing to be done.

I went out to Cubberly Community Center to do the morning flying. While I was setting up the big plane for its flight, a nice gentleman and his dog came over. He said I might not want to fly there because it was prohibited. His friend got an $87 ticket for doing it a while back. He pointed to a sign down the fence on which the rules of use were posted. One bullet said "Portable barbecues and flying model planes is prohibited. We weren't barbecuing so never read on. We've enjoyed the place about five times previously. Lucky us. There aren't any parks with large open areas where it is allowed in Palo Alto. Too bad! I'll have to contact the city to try and get the prohibition changed. Seems like we arrive in the wake of some inconsiderate users. Electric RC planes aren't noisy , so that shouldn't be a problem. The field is empty during the week every morning , so that shouldn't be a problem. I wonder if there are reasonable people on the Parks Department staff?

I went over to the San Antonio Regional Park and open space in Cupertino. There is a designated flying area there but it's 12 miles away. It's also on a hill top, not good for my underpowered plane when the breeze picks up. There were a lot of very experienced pilots there with some very nice toys. They were fun to watch. I probably won't be able to go there very often because the temptation to get new toys might be too great. I did try to fly mine but the wind just blew it down. Still looking for a good place. When we hit the road, there's no problems in the desert, anywhere.

I stopped by the hardware store for some stuff to relocate the sump pump discharge pipe. It needed to be moved in anticipation of installing the sidewalk on the side yard. Little by little, the project does move on. It's hard to concentrate on work when there's so much nothing to be done.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Big Picture

This morning we went to the park, as usual, to fly the planes, almost. I forgot the batteries for the big plane. Lou and Dawn enjoyed flying their AeroAces. Dawn is really good with her bi-plane.

The door lock on the RV hasn't been working right. I replaced the return springs cleared some burrs and lubed it and it works like new now.

I had a dentist appointment this afternoon. That's one of the hardest things to arrange around traveling.

I stopped by Fry's electronics and got a good wall mount for Dawn's new TV. I then met Lou and Dawn at Costco to get the TV, a VisIO 32 inch HD TV. Nice and only $799, almost half the cost of most of the others we've looked at. The mount at Fry's cost 25% of that at $199, ouch! It's now hanging from the wall of Dawn's apartment. Still some hookup and arranging to be done. A hanging TV needs a hanging shelf for the VCR/DVD etc. It really gives her more room now.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Palo Alto Festival

Yesterday was a working day. Lou and Dawn making copies of her text books, 11x17 copies. I did some more dig out for the sidewalk.

On the way to our adventure for the day, today, we were witness to a person adding graffiti to the Whole Foods Market wall. It was nice to attempt to do the right thing but futile. Too bad. More information here.

We went over to the Palo Alto Wine and Art Festival. This is one of the nicest such festivals in the bay area. It was even better this year because there were actually a lot of new creative artists showing their stuff this year. It had been stagnating.

Palo Alto Wine and Art Festival Palo Alto Wine and Art Festival
Lots of things to see at the festival

Al Fabrizio and Hugo Wainzinger
Above left, some of the art was rather large. Above right, Al Fabrizio (mandolin), Hugo Wainzinger (guitar and arrangements) played romantic Italian favorites near the sidewalk painting area. I could have listened to their music all day. Click here to listen to the group. The music groups were numerous and very good. It was hard to decide who to listen to. All of this on a perfect day, weather just right.

We then went shopping for a new TV for Dawn. We seem to have found it at Costco.

The evening was a cooking evening. We were all in the kitchen working. Dawn preparing some peaches for blintzes, Lou cooking the blintzes, and me preparing dough for a nice rhubarb pie and tarts and some meat pies for tomorrow. What fun!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Whole Family

RC Plane And Family
Yesterday I got the replacement receiver for the SloV plane. This morning, we took the whole family out for a flight. Lou and Dawn enjoyed flying the Jet and Bi-plane respectively.

I tried to fly the SloV. It flew nice and straight with a little adjustment for balance. Unfortunately, this being the weekend, we only had a small portion of the playing field due to soccer games starting up. So, there really wasn't enough space to have a nice flight. I was staying low as well to make sure the motor didn't stop as it had been doing with the old receiver/speed controller. All went well except that the motor does seem to be under powered so I may have to spring for another bigger battery? Anyway, the soccer field s filled up so we had to leave. We'll have better access during the week next week.

The bike bus took a trip in front of our house in the afternoon. They passed so quickly, all I got to see was the tail end. It remainds me of some of the Kenitic Art Race vehicles. Seems like a good idea with the high fuel prices of late.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Morning At The “Airport”

We all got up early and went over to Cubberly community Center to fly the planes. They have a large playing field that is often empty and it's ideal for us poor pilots. The bi-plane flies well. It likes to be lower and is easier for Dawn to see with its three colors and having red on it. the jet kind of blends in to the background and flies too fast as well. They are a thrill to fly.
While we waited for the planes to recharge, we went next door to Piazzo's Market and got breakfast. We'll have to plan better and bring picnic breakfasts with us next time. Looks like another plane will be needed!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Couldn’t Resist

RC Bi-plane
Lou and I stopped by Target and got another plane. This time, we opted for the bi-plane. I ran it out to the car and started it charging while we continued our shopping. It only takes 20 minutes to recharge and uses the batteries in the transmitter to charge the plane. With a full charge the plane flies at least 10 minutes.

We then headed over to Cubberly Community Center here in Palo Alto to fly the two planes. The wind was way to strong and the little bi-plane just blew away. The jet did better but we decided to wait for better weather.

We made our way toward Morgan Hill. I stopped at my favorite gas station in Sunnyvale on the way. Regular is 2.98 there, 3.23 in Palo Alto. Had breakfast at Scramblez. Same breakfast as I had yesterday but we ordered it split. We each had more than enough that way. We dropped in at the RV shop and it wasn't quite ready yet. So we explored some more, visiting a nice yard statuary shop. Lou saw a pig she likes.

When we got the RV back Lou headed up to pick up Dawn since she was out of her classes. Real short first week, one day. I drove the RV home and cleaned up the inside some and return the stuff that had to be removed for service like the printer. Ready to roll when the time comes.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Nice Bike Ride

Up early. I went down to Morgan Hill to Superior Automotive for service on the RV. This is where the RV went on it's last service over 10,000 miles back. I want to have a few things done and have a good checkup before we leave again. .
Lou got up early as well. Oddly, the toad had a service appointment as well this morning here in Palo Alto, so, since Lou and Dawn have other appointments today, I'll be riding the bike while I wait.

I rode over to Scramblez Restaurant about 2 miles South for breakfast. They do a nice breakfast. It has a fifties motif and homemade-like food to go with it. After a leisurely breakfast and newspaper read, I was on my way back when I got a call from the garage about the RV. No major problems. The brakes that I was concerned about are fine. The radiator needs a flush, rusted coolant. That with the other work will take more than today so I rode up to San Jose, about 8-10 miles to the light rail station and caught a ride toward home. It's 42 miles to home so I wasn't going to ride all the way home. . The Light Rail gets me up to Mountain View, about 3-4 miles from home for $1.75.

A benefit of this was that downtown Mountain View is where the Hong Kong bakery is so I stopped in for an egg tart. I was headed home when Lou called. They were free from their appointment and could pick me up. I mentioned my visit to the bakery so I had to go back and get more treats for them as well as some baked pork buns for breakfast tomorrow.

We did our grocery shopping and then we went out to fly my, or according to Dawn, her new plane. We went by a local schoolyard. Dawn and Lou got the basic instruction from me, the pilot with 20 minutes experience. They did very well. We only get 10 minutes per charge so since it was late only one charge. All went well except for one time when the plane was so high, the breeze kept it from coming back so it went over some trees and across a major street. Fortunately it made it across the street safely. We've got to find a bigger clear area to fly.

Dawn starts school again tomorrow at San Jose State. Summers over.

The toad made it back from the shop with some new brakes and a new battery among the other stuff. Ready to roll. It's been a costly week. Both cars and the RV serviced. Wow!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Another Flight Test

I got the interior of the RV cleaned out ready for service tomorrow. Among other things, the printer and it's holder have to be removed from on top of the engine compartment.

Got Lou's car back. Had to leave some money there to ransom it!

Since tomorrow is garbage day, the usual weekly cleanup occurred before, to fill up the containers.

Another flight of the little plane at the park. It is fun.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Eye Doctor

Lou and Dawn were busy at the eye doctor. All's well but Dawn does need to have some minor laser surgery on her good eye to stabilize some scar tissue on the retina. Scary!

I needed to have some service done to the RV before we leave again. I called the place I took it to last. Superior Automotive in Morgan Hill did a good job and seem to be easier than some of the other places to get an appointment. They could take it Wednesday or the following week. A little conflict since the toad is in the shop that day as well. But since I want to get it done, I take the first opportunity.. Always have the bike.

I took the new plane over to the neighborhood park for a flight. The parks a bit small but it worked out. It was a little windy so I stayed close to the ground. When I got higher, it would blow away. I hung it in the hedge and in a tree once. I had the help of a couple of little kids who always ran it down for me. It works well.

Lou's car was in for service. It had to stay over night to get a part for the rear door.

Some More Numbers:

Our summer trip up and down the coast of northern California and southern Oregon on Highway one totaled 1352 miles. Our average mpg was 7.0. We used 194.1 gallons, which cost us $630.21. Average cost per mile was $.47, average cost per gallon of gas was $3.25. We've now driven the RV 29,995 miles, which now has 53460 miles on the odometer.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Introducing The AeroAce

RC Jet
I dropped by Target to buy another toy. An AeroAce radio controlled plane. Cheap ($29) and it flys well. There really isn't too much difference in how it flies compared to the bigger, more expensive, SloV plane. The little AeroAce has two motors and it is controlled only by adjusting the speed of each to go up/down and left and right. No control surfaces. The bigger SloV has elevators on it's V tail so it flies more like a real plane. I ordered the replacement receiver for it and hopefully it will actually fly next week.

Lou and Dawn, on the other hand, have been busy cleaning Dawn's apartment.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

All Around Town

We wanted breakfast so we went over to the Midtown area of Palo Alto to Mikes restaurant. It's one of the two good breakfast places on out list. Jonie's on California avenue is the other. We all shared a nice everything omelette, pancakes and a pesto casserole. More than enough. We then walked around Midtown because they were having a festival. We really enjoyed the visit to a human society booth where they had about twenty extremely playful and cute kittens. We got a good dose and moved on.

I took Dawn's laptop in to get the display fixed. Half the screen is dead. Hope the extended warranty works. They seem to be paying off. Mine has had to be repaired twice.

I tried a couple of hobby shops looking for a new receiver for my RC plane. No luck so I'll get it through the Internet.
Dawn went over to the University to get her textbooks and she and Lou did a little cleaning of her apartment. While I replaced a broken window at the front of the house.

Dinner was at El Rincon, a restaurant across the street from where I worked in San Jose. I had chili relleno, Lou had a taco salad and Dawn a burrito. The place seems to have changed hands and tough good, it wasn't as good as before when I had lunch there most ever day. Darn!

Tomorrow, more things to be done on the growing list of things to do. I hope we can shorten the list so we can get on the road again.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Getting Into The Grove

Lou and Dawn were off early for a doctor's appointment.

When I finally got moving I responded to the pressures of watching TV and went out to lunch at Carl's Junior for a Pastrami Berger. Good sandwich, bad reason to go. Oh well, 50/50's not too bad.

I got a replacement small inverter for the satellite system. The existing one failed to maintain proper voltage, just like it's predecessor. I hope this isn't a regular occurrence. Fry's Electronics had a nice 400 watt for $39.

On way out of Fry's, I visited a construction site next door. I spoke with a worried engineer looking over the hole in the ground where a parking garage/swimming pool is being built. It will be two underground parking levels and a swimming pool on top, adjacent to a fitness center that's is about to open. There are few basements around here probably due to the water table being so high. However, this water is industrially contaminated and can't be pumped into the storm sewer. With their permits and treating, they can't get ahead of incoming water so they are stopped about three feet short of the depth the hole needs to be. Problems problems. I got so involved, I started to walk home, which I normally do. I had driven over. I only got a couple of blocks away before remembering. It would be embarrassing to be ready to leave the house and not have a car. It will happen.

Anyway, the inverter went in easily even though it was a slightly different configuration. This inverter is used to provide constant power from the batteries for the Datastorm satellite system. When the previous inverters failed, the power was changed to utility power or generator or the main inverter. This causes the system to loose connection when power transfers occur. The separate inverter allows uninterruptible power. See the Electrical System and the Satellite System articles for more information.

Next project, washing the RV and car. Seems like sea gulls and pelicans would be more polite. Maybe tomorrow will be more productive?

It is nice to be home. The yard is in good shape having survived the high temperatures while we were gone. Now I do have to get back in gear and do some more concrete work and other repairs.

Home Again

California Coast California Coast
We left Manchester about 10am headed toward home. The drive along Highway one provided some interesting views of the coast.

Petaluma Museum Petaluma Museum
We stopped for a while in Petaluma. We toured the museum in an old library. Quite nice.
Went to an interesting War museum/antique store. The basement has a nice war museum, there is also an lot of war souvenirs for sale as well. The first floor is a good antique store. It's located on Petaluma Ave a little north of Downtown Old Town. We had to drag Dawn away so I'm sure we'll be returning.

Traffic was nice going through San Francisco slightly before the evening rush hour. We were home a little before 6pm. Weather at home is a nice high 70's.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Manchester Beach SP

We explored further South today. We spent a good deal of time in Mendocino checking out all the shops and galleries.
Menocino California Art Studio Menocino California Lu's Kitchen
There are a lot of these old water towers around the village. This one was converted into an art studio. We had a very nice lunch at Lu's Kitchen. It's difficult to find if you're looking for it since it's in the back yard of a music shop with only a small sign out front and no obvious way to get to the place. We looked out the window of the music shop and saw some exciting looking food. Obviously we were ready for lunch. We shared a nice burrito and a pesto quesadilla. It was all vegetarian but very good all the same.

Manchester Beach SP Manchester Beach SP
We continued down Highway one to Manchester Beach State Park for the night. This park isn't too exciting but, like all the parks the last few days, has it's own character. The beach is quite a distance away and is difficult to get down to. There is a 15 foot buff that is constant along the whole beach. There are a couple of places where sand is piled up a ways and logs and notches cut into the bluff where it is possible to get up and down. We enjoyed a nice sunset.

Manchester Beach SP
Our campsite.

An interesting finding here. We saw a big building next to the park and what looked like a wooden water tower. Our curiosity required we check it out. The sign out front said Manchester Cable Station. I checked the web and found out it is the landing point for cables from Hawaii. This point is evidently the closest point to Hawaii from the west coast. Interesting.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Mackerricher State Park, Cleone, Ca

We moved South 15 miles to Cleone (3 miles North of Fort Bragg). We got a nice space in Mackerricher State Park. I'm barely able to get through the trees to the satellite here, but barely is enough.

Mackerricher State Park Mackerricher State Park
The boardwalk around lake Cleone. Lake Cleone was located next to our campsite.

Mackerricher State Park Mackerricher State Park
The beach with remnants from the old lumber mills that were here. Heavy surf at the beach.

Mackerricher State Park Mackerricher State Park
A pair of squirrels enjy lunch. A pair of seals surface for air.

The fog broke here in Fort Bragg. We looked all around town and the hike out tothe beach at the park. They have nice boardwalks that lead out to places to overlook the seals on the rocks. They also have tide pools whick we'll try to see tomorrow morning.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Union Landing SB, Westport, Ca


Another leisurely morning (seems to be a habit). We were moving on the road a little before 10am. First stop was Costco. I found a loose lug nut on the right rear tire so I stopped by for them to tighten it. The tires are about 90 days new. We were out in about 10 minutes all fixed up. While we were there, we picked up a package of our friends, the blue shop towels that we use for everything.

Next stop was Loleta to restocked our cheese supply. Then we stopped in Fortuna at a video store that Dawn wanted to visit. We also went by Safeway in the same shopping center.

Next stop, Scotia. On our last visit here we picked up a bunch of ham ends at $.69/lbs at the market there. It was great ham for everything from beans, to sandwiches, to steaks. Much cheaper than lunch meat. They still had it. Evidently they get it from their deli. When it starts to curve, they must trow it in a pile for sale in the market. Hey, a bargain is a bargain.

We finally actually left town heading South on Highway 101 to Highway 1 and the coast. When we got down off the mountain we came across Union Landing State Beach. It's on a short bluff with the waves coming right up to the base of the bluff. The camp sites are at the top of the bluff and Highway 1 is right on the other side. This is a primitive campground with no trees. It's a bit foggy now but probably about 65 degrees. Really nice.

Union Landing campsite Union Landing campsite
Union Landing campsite Union Landing Beach
Our campsite is quite nice here at Union Landing SB. Right over a nice beach. Access to walk on the beach is a little challenging though.


We decided to stay another night. It's really nice here, nice ocean view and quite (little traffic). Breakfast was one of Lou's omelets and sliced apple. Night before last, Lou was in a cooking mood and prepared a nice strudel for desert, some spaghetti and sausages, and an omelet. That took the chill off the night and left us with several breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Isn't the microwave wonderful!

Our neighbors left and there was a nice smoldering log left in their fire pit. That log along with our half burnt log from last night made a nice morning fire in no time. It's still foggy, visibility about 1/2 a mile, so the fire seemed nice. It isn't good for our solar generation though.

Buzzard Birds on Rock In Sea
A nice buzzard (at least it looks like one). A bunch of sea birds on a rock off shore.

Centipede Bunny
A centipede (or other caterpillar) on the road in camp. A bunny at our campsite.

Sea Arch Missing Road
An arch in the rocks below the bluffs near the campground. Some missing road on the old Highway 1 which is the road in the campground.


Westport Union Landing SB Westport Union Landing SB
We got up at went out to the beach for a walk.

Westport Union Landing SB Westport Union Landing SB

It's a nice beach just below our campsite but only accessable at low tide. We found some interesting polished shells and glass. We also found two waterfalls, eack about 30 feet.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Redwood Acres Fairground, Eureka

We made our way on to Eureka to Redwood Acres Fairgrounds. We weren't able to register because the host left for the day so we picked a spot and headed to the other fairgrounds in Ferndale. We had stayed there on our previous two visits last month but, of course with the fair there, there wouldn't be any RV camping there.

We made it to the fair a little before 11.

Western Dancers Kitchenaires
There were some intersting entertainment groups. We watched this western dance troup and the Kitchenaires band. We didn't want to miss an opportunity to see the Kitchenaires. They play kitchen implement instruments modified with kazoos, washtub bases, washboards, pan lids etc. Always fun to see.
Kitchenaires Instruments Kitchenaires Washboard
Kitchenaires Base Player
They play some mean kazoos and washtubs.
Handcrafts Building Weaving and Spinning
We enjoyed seeing the handiwork (quilts, furniture, crafts, art, photography, etc.)of all the participants.
Robert Duck Duckmaster Dawn With Her Duck
We especially enjoyed the duck races. The master of cerimonies is Robert Duck (his real name). Dawn got to race a duck named "Lord of The Wings"
Duck Race Duck Race Finish
Duck races are over in a flash. You can't blink. They are motivated to get to the finish line and a little swim and a snack.
Alpaca Llama Fushia Blossoms
The animals are a favorite as well. This alpaca llama, named Bibbidy-Bobbidy-Boo, is so cute. They had a table of little bowls of water with fushia blossoms. Really colorful.