Sunday, January 28, 2007

RV Show

We went over to Pleasanton to the RV show. We shared a breakfast at our usual stop, the Rising Loafer in the village (428 Main St) nearby. An Italian sausage, green pepper and Swiss omelet along with a nice blueberry muffin.

We entered the show about 11:15. It's a big mostly indoor show. Motorhomes , 5th wheels, trailers ad other stuff was in abundance. The most expensive MH we toured was a Country Coach for $1,300,000. It's not in our search price. We saw a couple of nice RV's. My favorite models were the Monaco SVE, 30SFS, a 30' with a full slide. The most roomy short RV we've seem. And of course, we saw our other favorite, the Fleetwood 39V Excursion. Quite a bit of difference in length. One is more for fulltiming and staying in State and federal Parks. The other is just the most roomy, nicely built RV, good for fulltiming but not for parks. Obviously, we're still thinking. Another interesting coach was the Georgetown 35.9TS. It's on the new Workhorse UFO rear engine chassis, a gas rear engine coach. Very nice!

We saw a lot of the same looking, not to functional RVs. There were some nice discounts on some. We managed to resist all salesmen.

We were disappointed. We didn't see any National RV's at the show. None. Rather Odd since Alpine Recreation was supposed to have a Pacifica there. They may have, but "it" was on the road for a test drive the times we stopped by and since the other National dealer, I think it was Manteca RV was supposed to be there with the other models including what I wanted Lou to see, the Surfside. Manteca wasn't at the show even though the shows website indicated they would be a couple of days previous. Odd. Anyway, Lou still hasn't seen the Surfside, that I like due to its size, features, and price. I've seen it at Quartzite, last year and in Bakersfield last week. Lou missed both opportunities.

We also didn't like the food and drink prices. $3 for a bottle of water. Odd that none of the drinking fountains were turned on. We left about 4pm and had dinner nearby at Mexico Lindo (6690 Koll Center Pkwy). Good food.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Another Geek Outing

Caltrain Station at California Ave, Palo Alto Adobe Building SF
About 2pm I headed to the California Avenue Caltrain Station in Palo Alto. I went up to San Francisco, 4th and Townsend St. It's a short walk down Townsend Street to the Adobe (formerly Macromedia) building at 7th. I went to attend another Adobe flex seminar "Meet the Flex Team". These are the guys that developed Flex and Apollo. The products are supposed to be able to create desktop applications that can be deployed on any platform. Just what I'm interested in. Live and learn!

My friends Arnold and Andy were there. They are real professionals. My skills would best be described as emerging. It was nice to get all the questions and concerns addressed. For me, it doesn't look quite ready enough but for the long run it looks good. Again, there was pizza and other stuff like salad and most importantly, beer. Since I was riding and not driving, I enjoyed one. I thought the free beer thing had died due to liability concerns. It's nice to see some people are still living.

Headed To Caltrain Station From Adobe
A short walk back up Townsend Street to the train station and I was on the way home.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Bad Dog Meeting


Nothing to do with animals.

I went up to San Francisco to the BAADAUG (Adobe User group) meeting. I was going to drive up with my friend Bill but he canceled just before 4:00 pm and that left enough time to get to the CalTrain station, about 10 blocks away, and catch the 4:11 train to the city. The following train at 5:11 pm would make it a little tight trying to get to the meeting site in time. There's about a mile walk to a new unfamiliar meeting site in the big city. The costs for taking the train are lower for one person but two people can drive up and pay for parking and save a little. The train arrived in San Francisco at 5:00 pm. That was a fast trip.

The meeting was a little orientation to Flex, an Adobe web development tool. It was Interesting, and of course, the pizza was good.

Lou delivered Dawn to her apartment and got her settled in for the start of school tomorrow.


Since I'm trying to learn all these Adobe products, I signed up for a bunch of online seminars. This morning was the first on the use of CSS with Dreamweaver 8. It was informative. The biggest problem I have with these seminars is that they are scheduled. Since retiring, me and schedules have difficulties since I usually don't know what day it is let alone what time. It's always Saturday.


Tinkered in the RV cleaning up after our trip including the unenviable task of dumping the holding tanks. Quite easy actually with the macerator.

At noon, another Adobe seminar on the use of XML, DTD, and XSL files with Dreamweaver. Interesting. I use an XML data file for the map GPS locations on the Camp and Route Map pages. There's a lot more I'd like to do so look out, someday.

Monday, January 22, 2007



We discovered that Camping World doesn't sell LPG on Sunday so we headed over to the Ranch Market for breakfast. The Ranch Market, on South H Street at Wilson Rd, is a full service super market that happens to be a Mexican market as well. It's always festive and they have the best Mexican food, fish and meats.

Lou had some pork soup, Dawn some chicken soup and I had a Torta Cubana (a roast pork and ham sandwich). Great breakfast!

We then went over to Uncle Doug's and arrived shortly before they returned from a Yucca Valley visit to his brother (Don's uncle,) Emery's place. We had a nice visit.


On Monday morning, the RV was fueled and gassed (LPGed) and ready to roll. We were then on the road a little after noon. We stopped for a late lunch at Harris Ranch restaurant. Lou and Dawn shared liver and onions and I had another breakfast of their homemade corned beef hash. All very good.

We arrived home about 6:30 pm, did the usual mad vehicle shuffle to get everything parked and started the usual return to home task of going through the mail.

We enjoyed our trip but all good things, even short trips, come to an end.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Reagan Presidential Library

We puttered around this morning finally on the road sightly before noon. We headed a bit North to Simi Valley to the Reagan Presidential Library. We just added these visits to our itinerary as we pass them. This is our first such visit.

Reagan Library Entrance Reagan Library Buckles
It's an interesting place. We were there until after 4:30 examining it. It is about 80 percent propaganda but interesting all the same. The gifts are quite interesting. Among them, Reagan received a lot of belt buckles.
Reagan Library Sign The fine print on the sign.
Can you see the sign, we didn't. The sign under the stop sign basically says "No RV's". We traveled into the parking lot. It was a little tight and there was only one other RV there. Before we left, a little scooter stopped by to say we couldn't park there.

Reagan Library Parking
We had to park down on the street about a 1/4 mile back.

After a nice dinner of leftovers at the RV, we then headed toward Bakersfield stopping for the night at Camping World. We need LPG so will get it tomorrow morning before heading over to my Uncle Doug's place.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hollywood, Ca


We moseyed down to Hollywood for the day.
Av group of deer paid a vist near our campsite.
On our way, there were some more deer.

The Rodeo Drive shopping area was one of our stops.

Interesting Tree Interesting Tree's Bark
We found these two interesting trees on Rodeo Drive at Santa Monica in Beverly Hills. Don't know what they are but the bark and fruit are interesting. There are two on each side of the street here and at the adjacent streets on Santa Monica, gateways to the district.
We then went to the Farmers Market and Grove Shopping Center. We had a late lunch at the New York Cheesecake Factory. They happen to be next door to our real destination for the day. We came here to attend the taping of the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson at the CBS Television Studios. Guests were Chevy Chase and Hannah Storm.

I finally got some pictures up for the past few days.


We went back toward Hollywood, stopping on Melrose Avenue at a few Antique and other shops.

Grauman's Chinese Theater Hand Prints Roy Roger and Trigger at Grauman's Chinese Theater
Our visit to Hollywood Blvd included a stop at Grauman's Chinese Theater. Lots of concrete imperfections here. I wish they'd control the vandals writing their names and placing hand prints in the concrete. .

Elvis in Hollywood My Star On Hollywood Blvd
Some unusual looking people were to be seen out front of the theater. I did find my star on the sidewalk on Hollywood Blvd. I wish they'd quit including the "s". There's only one real Don Wood!

With a little other shopping on the route, that pretty much filled the day. We got home about 8pm.

There are a few more people in our campground now.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Malibu Creek State Park, Ca

While Lou and Dawn did some final shopping in SLO and visited the Post Office, I hung around our campsite. I got the rig ready to go and puttered on the Internet.

Butterfly Sign Butterflies
I did take a walk over to the monarch butterfly grove next door. It's hard to believe many would survive with this cold spell but they appear to be OK. They congregate like leaves on the trees and look rather pale until they open their wings.
Butterflies Butterfly
Then, they look as they should. A few brave soles were out and about on this cold morning.
Lou  And Dawn on Pismo Beach
When they returned, we took a quick walk on the beach and then hooked up the toad and rolled out.

Pismo Fish Pismo Cole Slaw
First stop, just a short distance, was at the Pismo Fish and Chips Restaurant. They were open today and it was lunch time. On the left is a three piece, lightly battered plate of fish. I opted to the coleslaw rather than chips. It's the best coleslaw made! The fish is normally made with a thicker batter but we find the lightly battered better.

Frosty Camp at Malibu
After lunch, we were on highway 101 southbound toward Malibu. After getting some fuel, we exited at Las Virgines Road heading West about 4 miles off Highway 101 to the park. Lots of room for us even without reservations. We were one of about five campers here. This looks like a very nice park. They do lock you in at nigh so you have to be home by 10:00 pm.

We took off for an emergency purchase of paper plates and looked around the area returning a little after 9pm. There was already frost on the ground. It's about 30 degrees here.

Big Bird Deer At Malibu
We were greeted to our campsite by this big bird. When we left for the day, the deer met us on the way out.

We'll be headed in to Hollywood for a visit tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Slo and Pismo Beach

San Lorenzo Campsite Cold Fish
The required photo of our campsite at San Lorenzo Park. There was one lone Koi fish in the pond but he looked cold, under the ice.
Boy were our morning showers refreshing. This park has a very nice and clean shower room. However, the weather is normally pleasant here, not freezing. There is no door to the shower room and they are not heated. This makes for a refreshing shower.

We left King city about 1030. We made our way to Paso Robles and looked around downtown at the antique shops and farmers market. We then went down to Pismo Beach and selected our site.

Pismo Campsite Pismo Beach
All our favorite sites were full. surprising for this time of year and this weather. We found a nice sunny site that had a clear shot at the satellite. We then went downtown for a late lunch. Our favorite restaurant was closed for the real MLK day so we went on to Brads for our fish and chips.

We then went on back to San Luis Obispo to look around downtown.

Monday, January 15, 2007

San Lorenzo County Park

We hit the road about 11:30 this morning. It really took a while to get ready. Seems like the longer we've been at home, the longer it takes to get back on the road. Things seem to leave the RV and wander inside the house. We're on a short trip for Dawn before she heads back to classes.

We stopped for a late breakfast at Scrambl'z Diner, 775 East Dunne Avenue, Morgan Hill, CA. They do breakfast right.

We didn't make it far before we stopped again. The Factory Outlets in Gilroy were calling Lou and Dawn. We departed there a little after 4pm.

We stopped for the night here in King City at San Lorenzo County Park. They have a very nice, now uncrowded, RV park. It will be nice to have electricity to fight the cold. With the freeze, nothing else will be hooked up.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Rather Cold Everywhere

It's been rather cold here. I looked at the temperature forecasts for the Southern California Coast and LA areas and they are the same forecasts as here, very cold. We're going to head South anyway seeing some indoor stuff if it remains cold as forecast.

We've been down in the low twenty's at night and in the 40's for daytime highs some days. I know this isn't really cold compared to some areas and that this cold blanket covers most of the West but it is rather unusual to even freeze here, at all. When we moved here in 1990, they had just had a heavy freeze that killed a lot of trees and bushes. This year may match it though so far no pipes have burst. I really hate the "global warming". Its soooo cold.

We've been specializing in indoor activities recently due to the cold. We did have some reasonable periods and I did get the arbor removed and wisteria pruned way back. I removed a couple of 8 inch vine trunks leaving less than half of the vine.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

And Now For Something Different

Lou and I were on the road about 10am. First stop, get gas. The car seems to like the stuff and the gauge had been in red for a while.
Next stop, Target in Redwood City. We've been looking for reading lites for our bedroom and Lou had seen some she liked at that Target. We've stopped by others as we pasted them and none had lites. Odd. With the lites successfully obtained after having to point out the charged us twice what they were marked and then getting the correct price, we were then back on the road. We headed North stopping for breakfast in Millbrae for breakfast at Neil's Coffee Shop. We shared a breakfast of homemade corned beef hash, home fries, eggs and pancakes. More than enough for two. Then we were back on the road headed across the Bay Bridge to Vallejo to the Solano Fairgrounds and an RV show. It's one of those one dealer traveling RV shows but it was indoors with lots of RVs. Most of the stuff, frankly, is very poorly constructed. We did like the Fleetwood Discovery 39V, one of their new full body slide models. It's not going to happen, but is nice to dream.
We headed home about 4pm and traffic was backing up so we pulled off into Berkeley at University Avenue. We stopped at Spenger's Fresh Fish Grotto for Dinner. Again, We shared, fish and chips and some clam chowder.

Berekeley 4th Street
We then took a walk around the shops nearby on 4th street. This is a nice area with some interesting shops. Traffic was still heavy so we went downtown to Shattuck avenue by the Berkeley University Campus. This area has really gone downhill from our last visit. It now being 7pm we hit the road for home.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Waiting For The Big Top

While Dawn was working on cleaning up her papers from last semester, and Lou did the laundry, I attacked the big fountain in the back yard. This fountain has consisted of four wine barrels, three about 30" in diameter and one about 40 inches in diameter at the bottom. They're located by our wood deck, The water flows from one to the next making that nice gurgly sound that Lou loves. I have a lot of succulents planted around the barrels along with bamboo and other plants we collected. It all looks nice during the summer but during the colder periods, I remove most of the plants to the green house so it looks a little ragged then. Anyway, the big wine barrel sprung a leak a few months ago so we replaced it with a similar sized plastic barrel that we had. That worked for a while until another barrel sprung a leak. In rearranging the fountain for one less barrel, one of the other barrels sprung a leak as well. I think I'm going to need to start looking for replacements. It's now setup with just one small barrel and the big barrel but the remaining wood barrel is on it's last legs as well. This spring, I'll redo the while mess.

We arose this morning expecting to see a large day glow tented house next door. The house is supposed to be fumigated.

Neighbors House Fumigation
The crew finally showed up about 3 pm. After a couple of hours, they had tented the house and separate garage and squirted the gas and were on their way shortly after dark. Now we just hope the wend is blowing toward th tented house.

There is a row of 40' tall cypress trees along the fence between our house and the new neighbor that is having the house fumigated. I would really like to see them gone since they shade our house, continually drop debris, and possibly present a fire hazard. I've started a campaign to try to convince the new neighbor to remove the trees. I hope the campaign is successful, eventually. If they were gone I might be able to install solar panels. With them there, they're no use.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

A Nice Walk

Lou and Dawn are away, so I get to play.

I had a nice breakfast at Whole Foods and then headed for the hills.

Looking on where the Tarwater trail is
I went to Pescadero Creek Park on the other side of the mountains West of Palo Alto.

Nice View Begin The Hike
There is a trailhead off Alpine Road for the Tarwater Loop Trail. This is probably my favorite trail in the area. Even though it doesn't meet one of my standard criteria for favorite trails in that it goes downhill on the way out and you have to climb back up on the way back. Oh well, rules were meant to be broken. I usually walk in the clockwise direction on the trail (Opposite from the description in the link).

Tarwater Trail Tarwater Trail
The trail was a bit slick due to the recent rains but in pretty good shape due to little abuse by horsemen and bikers (both prohibited at this time of year). The litter of leaves and small branches on the trail actually helped a lot. The weather was a bit cold but the sun was out and provided some welcome warmth at the occasional clearing.

Banana Slug Wild Boar Ruts
I like this trail because of the variety of trees and scenery and because of the animals. I've seen bobcats, mountain lions, coyote, fox, and of course a variety of birds, squirrel and slugs. There is lots of disturbed earth, a sign of the wild boar that are so prevalent in the area and which I have been fortunate enough not to have ever seen.

Mossy Log Grandfather Tree
Some places look much like a rain forest. On the right is a picture of the grandfather tree.
Old Apple Orchard Survivors Pescadero Creek
At the finish of the trail you enter an old ranch. They had an apple orchard and some of the trees survive. This area is where a herd of deer usually hang out and where I've seen coyote before. Nothing today. On the right, a picture of Pescadero Creek.

There are lots of other trails in this basin but this trail provides a good variety and is about the right length (about 5 miles).

This park was originally intended for a reservoir but environmentalists stopped its construction. The lake would have been useful and pretty but the area now provides more than 8000 acres of nice views and great hiking. Combine that with the adjacent Portola Redwoods State Park and all the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District land and you can hike for miles. I once even hiked from this trailhead all the way to Big Basin Redwood State Park (one way) possibly 10-12 Miles? West. Lou was nice enough to pick me up for the return trip by car.

Dinner was some nice Spanish rice prepared from some leftovers. Rice, peppers, onions, diced olives, black beans, a couple of Italian sausage, and some salsa. Very good!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Time Alone

After a morning eye checkup for Dawn, Lou and Dawn went down to Fresno to Lou's sister Kathy. They are sure to have a good visit.

I spent the morning finishing up the cleanup from yesterdays tree trimming. All the debris needs to fit into the compost barrels so there is a lot of clipping to make it fit. Job done, now for some fun.

While the cats are away....

I have been looking for a good DVD video recorder and finally decided on a Panasonic model DMR-ES46VS. It is a combo VCR/DVD recorder. I'm sad to admit it came from Costco but they had the best unit at the best price so I'll have to live with that. It provides an HDMI output as well. I'm amazed at how easy it is to use. The setup was sooo easy.

It records on all DVD formats. I can program it to capture up to 8 hours on a standard DVD for about $.25 per disk. No more need to try to find a blank VHS tape and the DVD's are so much easier to store, or toss. They even make a good frisbee when your through. I also like the DVD method more that a TIVO or VHS recorder because of the minimal cost and effectively infinite amount of storage. I never bought a Tivo and now I'm glad technology has made it obsolete, before I bought it, a rarity.

Now a problem. I may have to get another. While it is possible to record one show while playing back another recording or the same recording time shifted on the same disk without conflict, sometimes there are two good shows on at the same time. Why, with all the garbage on TV and so few somewhat adequate shows, do the networks put the better ones on against each other? And then there is the conflict of interests. Dawn or Lou may have their own opinions of what to record. I hope that doesn't mean three!

Dinner was a nice hash of potatoes, onion, peppers and Italian sausage served with a little cheese melted on it. I'm not a great cook but I can cook what I like. I like hash and casserole type meals.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Time For A Trim

I felt a little ambitious so I attacked a little trimming of the oak tree. I removed a big limb (about 6" diameter) that hangs down to the roof of our sun room. Of course, the trick is not dropping the limb trough the roof so a little forethought prevented that. Strategic trimming from the limb and the use of a rope did the trick. The result though, was a big pile of debris that had to fit into the compost barrels. I started that task after the garbage man had picked up the previous efforts from last week. I've been filling the barrels with the wisteria trimmings. The oak tree was a little off track. There is still a little bit more wisteria to trim but with the storms happening recently, I switched to the oak tree. I packed about half the debris into a barrel and called it a day. Tomorrow, the other barrel. There is more trimming to do to the oak tree as well but I've been trying to only trim what will fit into the barrels, so another day. I may also get another toy, a pole chain saw to complete the trimming. The 20 foot ladder I used for this recent trimming is a little too high for this old man.

I'm even thinking of removing an entire 18" diameter limb that hangs over the house and causes the tree to lean toward the house. I'll be examining that possibility more. I don't want to ruin the tree so I'll want to maintain a balance. Then there is the fact that that would require many weeks of barrel filling. It would yield a few cords of fire wood though. I'll do a lot more thinking!