Thursday, May 31, 2007

Reno Atlantis Casino

After our look around the Donner memorial Museum, we headed on down to Boomtown for a short visit, then on to Reno.

We moved to the Atlantis Casino in Reno. Very convenient place to stay. Nice lot that allows overnight parking, a nice market and the public library next door, and easy access to all the rest of Reno. Lou and Dawn have visits to all the thrift shops planed. Also a pet store and ceramic shop are planed visits. And, there will likely be a visit or two to the casinos. I plan to relax, mostly.

For dinner, we went downtown to the El Dorado. The buffet was excellent and also the earliest to open, a significant factor in our choice since we were very hungry. Everything was excellent, not the norm for buffets. We then explored the casinos, El Dorado, Silvery Legacy and Circus Circus. We all won enough to cover the cost of dinner and our playing time. Also not the norm.

While the days can get quite hot here in Reno, it cools off nicely in the evening and stays nice well in to the morning.. Today will supposedly get to the mid 90's but now at 10:00am, it's still very nice. Lou fixed some nice breakfast burritos and then prepared a map for their attack of the thrift shops.

While I updated the blog and handled other business, they went over to the Atlantis. When I was done an hour or so later, I joined them. The morning flew by and it was time for lunch. Dawn was thinking Basque food so off we went to Louis's Basque Corner, 301 E Fourth St. We've eaten here before. We had a pork chop lunch and rabbit lunch, and a "set-up" (as in everything except a main dish. plenty for us all. We do like Basque food. Bakersfield is famous for it and we often eat it there. Reno is probably the second best area for it.

After lunch, Lou and Dawn took off with their list of shops, many very near the restaurant. I walked back downtown.

Reno Western Tow Show Reno Western Tow Show
The Western States Tow Show was still going on. There were all sorts of tow trucks, especially big rig wreckers. Neat stuff. They were playing picking up buses, and big trucks with the wreckers. I had to watch.

Reno Silver Legacy Fire
While I watched, all the fire trucks in town responded to a three alarm fire in the Silvery Legacy Hotel. It was a minor fire, a little smoke puffing from the roof of the fourth floor. The same floor and right next to where we parked the car yesterday.

After their shopping binge, Lou and Dawn picked me up and we returned to the RV for a taco salad for dinner in the RV.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Donner Memorial, SP, California

The trip out from our campsite at Folsom Lake was much easier than the way in, at night. We drove back to Auburn and looked around old town and downtown. Dawn found some nice old books at one of the stores.

We then headed over to Grass Valley on Highway 49 for lunch at Cousin Jack's Pasties shop. Ummm, good! We did some grocery shopping at Safeway there as well. Then we were off toward Donner Lake on highway 20. We stopped and looked around one of the campgrounds but there weren't any level spots so we continued on.

Our Campsite At Donner Memorial SP Chipmonk At Donner Memorial SP
At Donner Memorial SP, we found a great spot with a view of the sky, one of only a couple there. There were several chipmunks scampering about.
Our Little Lake At Donner Memorial SP Our Stream At Donner Memorial SP
Our campsite was right next to a small lake to the South of the park, not Donner Lake. There was a lot of noise due to being located between the freeway and the railroad tracks but really a nice spot. There was a nice nature trail heading from the campground to the Donner Memorial. It passed through some nice wetlands and along a stream. We looked through the memorial learning all about the Donner party. A distant relative from my mothers side and his wife were in the party and survived. Their daughter didn't. He went on to San Jose and became the sheriff. Dawn is quite interested in history and discovers these things.

After our museum and memorial visit, we headed off to Reno.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Folsom Lake, SRA

Tuesday: We're headed toward Reno via the California foothills. Weathers great sunny and moderate.

Lou and Dawn had some business to take care of this morning so we didn't get away until just before noon. I fueled up, filled the water bottles, cleaned the dash ans windows, gave myself a haircut, updated the blog and browsed the Internet for a while while waiting for them at a shopping center on the way out of town. When they finished, they met me and after hookup, off we went. We headed up I680, then I80 to Old Town Sacramento. We drove through with the rig first hoping there would be a spot to park. No to be found, so we headed out a little ways and drove the toad back. A good stretch of the legs there and a look at a few shops and the old hardware store and we were off. It was getting into the evening commute rush so we pulled off the highway into a shopping center and went to the theater there to see the movie Shrek the Third. Good movie. Not the typical sequel.

Now it was getting late so we wanted to find a place to stay. We saw Folsom Lake State Recreation Area had some campgrounds and we wanted to stop in Auborn so we tried to stay near there. Near turned out to be 20 miles over hills and dales on narrow roads including some 14% grades. Interesting drive. When we found the place, we were one of two campers. The other campers came in about an hour before us. There is a host as well so it is a little crowded. 97 empty sites, come on by. We're here for the one night only though, so more room will be available.


Our Campsite At Folsom Lake Folsom Lake
Our campsite. Typical dry oak woodlands. The blue of the lake, the yellow grass and the green trees. What more do ou need in a view? Lots of beasts to be seen in the morning.

Vulture At Folsom Lake Vultures At Folsom Lake
On a fence rail in the camp next to ours, a couple of vultures rested and contemplated there next move while overlooking the canyon. Cute aren't they?

Geese At  Folsom Lake Turkey At Folsom Lake
There were hundreds of geese at the lake. They weren't too friendly though. They hurried to the lake when I approached even though I was several hundred feet away.

Deer At Folsom Lake Flowers At Folsom Lake
I even got a glimpse of a deer below our camp. Lou saw several on her morning walk. There were even some flowers about. Mostly small dry flowers, but still colorful. The one above was still fresh.
There are a lot of foxtail weeds covering most of the hills and, reportedly, a lot of rattle snakes around as well. Maybe that's why the road down here is named Rattlesnake Bar Road. Luckily, we didn't see any!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Carnival, San Francisco

I went up to the Carnival Parade in San Francisco. I like this parade because it's what a parade should be. Heavy on the people, light on the cars and floats. Lots of bands. And definitely not short. It starts about 10:00 and continues past 2:00 pm. Now that's a parade.

The weather wasn't too good though. i didn't see the sun until 3:45 while walking back to the train.

I enjoyed a burrito at La Corneta Taqueria on Mission Street on my way to catch up to where the parade was. It was excellent.

I was a bit late so I followed the 2 mile parade path to find the parade. It had only gone a few blocks in the 40 minutes since it was supposed to start.

Carnival San Francisco 2007 4858 Carnival San Francisco 2007 4868
The parade has about a two mile route. The best viewing is on this smaller street. I like the village look. Listen to these samples of the music:
Sound Byte #1, Sound Byte #2 from Carnival bands.

Carnival San Francisco 2007 4872 Carnival San Francisco 2007 4882
There is a precision garbage men drill team. I think the float on the right has the best idea, pedal power. Actually it is just the steering and the propulsion is runners on the side of the float.

Carnival San Francisco 2007 4884 Carnival San Francisco 2007 4887
Colorful costumes abound as well as stilt walkers.

Carnival San Francisco 2007 4896 Carnival San Francisco 2007 4907
Everyone seems to enjoy the parade, even the dogs. There were also some not so costumed revelers.

Carnival San Francisco 2007 4934 Carnival San Francisco 2007 4936
These marionette like walkers are interesting. It's a good thing there wasn't any wind with all those feathers.

Carnival San Francisco 2007 4964 Carnival San Francisco 2007 4999
Lots of fun parading as a dancer or as Zorro.

I'm working on uploading a couple of videos.
Video #1, Video #2 from Carnival.

Lou and Dawn had been busy with garage sales and such. They enjoyed breakfast outside and a few blackberries from our bushes. Sorry I missed that. Dawn also took a bunch of videos to a local video/record store to sell. She buys cheap and sells a little higher.

Dawn's Wheel Loom 4850 Dawn's Wheel Loom 5014
Lou was busy looking for parts for a hand operated loom that Dawn bought. If it can be made to work a little more smoothly, it will be easier for Dawn to use than the conventional loom she has. No foot pedals on the new one.

Lou called as I was getting close to home and i found out they were in Mountain View returning the videos and looking for hardware and such, so I didn't get off the train at our station but continued to the next station in Mountain View to meet them.

Now I'm limping again. These long walks have worn me out the past two weekends. Time to recover. We're headed over to Reno Tuesday for a day or three. There will be some stops on the way to and from as well.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Home For Memorial Day

We arrived home about 3pm. We wanted to get home before the holiday rush traffic appeared. It was a very quick trip home from our camp at Half Moon Bay SB. The climb over the mountains was much easier than I expected. The weather is quite a bit warmer here. The coast was foggy and cool most of our visit. Here we're probably in the Low 80's.

The Remco disconnect worked flawlessly when we disconnected the toad at home. There might be something to this lubrication thing. I'll have to remind the mechanic to check it whenever we get a lube job.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Half Moon Bay State Beach, Ca

Thursday: We moved up from Santa Cruz this morning. Short drive, but worth it. There was a little construction activity along the way causing a couple of short delays for flagging but otherwise a nice trip. It's a little foggy so it's nice and cool.

San Gregorio 4842 Half Moon Bay SB 4846
Above left, we stopped in San Gregorio to get some of our favorite bread. One of the two markets bakes the best breads. We got an artichoke cheese loaf and a basil herb loaf. We then enjoyed homemade roast beef sandwiches made from the bread at the RV overlooking a really nice garden that is used by Duarte's restaurant there as well. I've just described most of the businesses in town.

We then headed further North to Half Moon Bay State Beach, just West of the town of Half Moon Bay. Wonderful park.

While I do a little catching up with the blog, Lou and Dawn are shopping in downtown Half Moon Bay, one of their favorite shopping places. Nice art galleries and some country stores. Since we haven't had Internet for the past two nights , there's a little to catch up with. I hate getting too far behind because my memory is so poor.

Half Moon Bay SB Campsite 4845 Half Moon Bay SB Campsite 4848
A couple of views of our campsite here. No problem with solar nor satellite access here.

I did see that there was WiFi in the park. It's provided by ATT, my DSL provider so I tried it out. It costs $1.99/month for DSL customers so why not? When i finally got my password straightened out, it worked well, for a while then disappeared. Looks like the power to it disappeared. Did someone use a hair drier at the restroom? Back to satellite for now. Good to have a backup. The WiFi returned after over an hour of outage.

A follow-up report: When we returned home from our last trip, the Remco disconnect was having a lot of difficulty re-connecting. When the car went in to get the starting problem fixed, I ask the mechanic to lubricate the disconnect as well. We hadn't tried it out until this trip. It works so much better! How nice!

Friday: We got up about 7am, took a walk around the campground to look at all our neighbors. There were a couple of bicycle troupes occupying several campsites as well as every other type of RV or tent. Always interesting. We utilized the sanitary dump as we moved the RV out to the day use area. We left it there and drove up the coast to Pacifica, exploring on the way to and way back. We stopped at James Fitzgerold Marine Reserve to check out some nice tide pools and look at the harbor seals on the rocks. We also stopped to look at the San Andreas Fault as it goes into the sea. There were a few shops to visit as well. One very nice surprise was the donut shop across from Safeway in Pacifica. Since our favorite Lou's Donuts closed in San Jose, we've (me) have been looking for a shop that makes good donuts. We finally found one with this shop. Excellent crumb donuts. Excellent coffee too.

With all these important discoveries out of the way, we went back to the Half Moon Bay SB to get the RV and head home.

Sorry, no pictures today. Seems that a camera is needed to capture them and I forgot to take it with me..

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Santa Cruz Harbor, Ca

We left about noon Tuesday and headed to Santa Cruz Harbor RV Park. There are about 12 spaces rented by the Harbor for RV's. They have full hookups and are right next to the boat docks in the upper harbor. A downside is the $40/night cost, but the location is great, except for the fact that only two of the sites have a view of the sky for satellite so we were without Internet for the two nights of our stay here. Torture!

Capitola Beach Sand Grooming 4834 Santa Cruz Wharf Stagnaro's 4831
When we visited Capitola Beach, they were busy grooming the beach in preparation for the big Memorial Day weekend. Just after we arrived, we stopped by Stagnaro's for lunch.

Santa Cruz Beach And Boardwalk 4818 Santa Cruz Boardwalk 4832
The Beach and Boardwalk as seen from the Wharf and a view on the Boardwalk on the right.

Santa Cruz Wharf 4833 Santa Cruz Wharf Corvette Bike Trailer 4830
The wharf as seen from the Boardwalk. On the right above was a neat motorcycle trailer that looked like a tiny corvette.

Santa Cruz Wharf Sea Lions 4820 Santa Cruz Wharf Sea Lions 4829
There are sea lions on and under the wharf. Even a couple of baby sea lions. The one on the right must remember us from a previous visit since he waved to us.

Santa Cruz Harbor Local Band 4839 Santa Cruz Harbor Wednesday Night Sailing 4836
We were lucky enough to be here at the harbor on Wednesday night. A lot of the sail boats head out for a sail in the early evening each Wednesday. Fun to watch. The viewing was to the accompaniment of a band playing 60's tunes on the beach.

Santa Cruz Harbor Campsite 4814
Our campsite at the harbor was nice but the trees behind the RV are in the way of the satellite so no Internet.

Monday, May 14, 2007

New Arrival

Monday: The laptop is almost usable again. My eyes are much better as well as the cold being mostly gone. Now there isn't a good excuse for doing nothing. I'll have to be creative. The weather was perfect, about 74 degrees high. This is Dawn's last full week of school. We'll head out for a bit when she's off next week.

Tuesday: The new refrigerator arrived this morning. For some reason, it's much larger inside? The delivery window was 9am-1pm but they arrived just before 9am. That really saved the day.

Wednesday: This morning i went to a Traffic Signal Association meeting. There was an interesting presentation on a new microwave traffic sensor. Quite interesting but not as interesting as the free Armadillo Willy's Barbecue lunch and a visit with friends. Lou meanwhile, gave herself a new permanent.) If they're permanent, why do they have to be redone so often?) She's also been working on cleaning up her pottery shed.

The Red Eye Special

Monday: Dawn had a class today. She had to make an oral presentation to the class today. She and Lou went shopping after that. I relaxed at home trying to recuperate.

Quite warm today, mid 90’s in the shade today.

Tuesday: A little yard work this morning and then off to Menlo Park for breakfast at Ann’s Cafe. We then looked at a pet store there for cats and at the Palo Alto Animal Control.

It’s much cooler today a little over 85 degrees in the shade. We should be in the 70’s this time of year.

Note: I do have a couple of pictures to post but it may be a while. I intend to have the laptop setup first.

Wednesday: We awoke to a warm refrigerator. We moved a lot of stuff to the RV and bought some ice. In additon, we started using up some of the stuff that was in there. We also went out looking at new refrigerators. After checking Sears, Home Depot and Ikea, we found the perfect model next door at Fry's. We should have just started there. We needed to fine an odd sized unit. It can only be 66.25 inches tall. Most full size units start at 67.5 inches tall and get taller. We wanted a bottom freezer and that made the finding even more difficult. There appears to only be one such animal and it's made by Amana. Even though the Fry's store is only five blocks away, the refrigerator wont be delivered until Tuesday. Thats a lot of ice!

The weather is getting cooler, more normal. My eyes may finally be getting better. I've been tinkering with the laptop trying to get it back to normal but not really accomplishing much due to the cold.

Thursday: This morning was all Doctors appointments for me (Don). When i phoned about my eyr infection, the nurse scheduled me for my bi-annual checkup and also for an eye exam. It's been three years since the eyes were checked an a couple since a physical. lou drove me over and had some lab work done on herself. My checkups went well. No problems found and the eyes are the same so no new glasses needed. Now we'll see how the blood work goes.

Friday: I'm not exactly sure of the day of the decision but it looks like we will remain cat-less. Dawn and Lou are both allergic to cats and we have gotten along by regular bathing of Mr Milo when we had him. Dawn has always had bouts of breathing problems but has been fine for the past few months. She had an attack when we last visited cats and we finally realized cats may be most of the problem. We like having Dawn around more than starting a new life with cat so this brought an end to the hunt.
Saturday: Rummage sale day for Lou, Dawn and our neighbor Maylei. They had some fun but no great finds.

I did some pruning of the apricot tree in the back yard. The freeze killed a lot of the little branches and i haven't pruned it in about three years. So it was groomed and looks pretty good though, as old as it is, it may not last too much longer. I also tinkered with the laptop some more and then relaxed the rest of the day. I'm quite good at that.

Sunday: The end of another week. Nothing much accomplished this week.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Home Again

Tuesday: We left Pismo Beach about 08:30. Drove North on Highway 101. Stopped for a rest break and Breakfast North of Camp Roberts at a rest stop. Our next stop was in Gilroy at the Camping World Store. I had a few rebate checks to use so we used them up. One thing we got was a chair rack for the RV ladder so we can take our chairs out of the back of the car. The car was just too crowded with the bikes in the there as well.
We made arrangements to pickup Dawn at her apartment in San Jose as we came through. That was a little more difficult than usual because her street is closed for construction work. It's difficult enough with all the traffic diversion curbs they've installed in the area. With Dawn on board, we arrived home a little after 4 pm. Nice trip, though we wouldn't have missed most of the snow. The Durango, Co train trip in the snow being the main exception.

We all drove up to San Bruno to pickup my laptop from Comp-USA. It's been patiently waitng there for over a month now. The four year warrantey expired a few days after I turned it in to them. The laptop power supply had died. They've been good about replacing the whole computer on day two due to a hard drive failure, replacing the hard drive again a couple of years later and replacing the DVD/CD drive about 6 months ago. The only real problem is the two weeks they keep it each time. This time was a bit upsetting though. The only problem was that the power supply module (the ugly black wart that's always in the way) had died. The computer started up properly with the battery but, of course the battery was now dead and wouldn't charge with a dead PS. So why did they find it necessary to restore the hard drive in the repair process? Now I get to restore all my programs and files from backups and re-install all the non-factory programs. And then there's all the time to make it look and feel right. So I'll be unnecessarily busy for the next month or so getting the computer back to they way it should have come home. I'm not happy, except for having my computer back in working order. Actually, it's probably a good thing to clean it out, I just didn't want to have to do it.

We had dinner at Neil's restaurant in Burlingame since we were nearby. It's a favorite local beanery.

Some statistics: This trip totaled 3,404 miles lasting 38 days. We used about 440.4 gallons of gas totaling about $1327.23 for an average fuel cost of 3.01/gallon and 7.9 mpg. We also used about 27.6 gallons of LPG costing about $86.20.

Wednesday: We relaxed today. Didn't do much unpacking, just enjoyed being home. When we arrived, the car gave us more trouble. Like several of the most recent stops, I had difficulty re-engaging the driveline disconnect. In addition, if wouldn't start again like last Novemnber in Santa Fe. Oh Boy! I left it alone yesterday. Today I went out and got it into gear. A little silicone spray lube helped, but didn't fix it. The starting is still intermittent, mostly not.

I worked on restoring the files to my hard drive. I'm glad I setup Memeo on the computer and have mulitple automatic backups (external HD, Jump drive and an online backup service). Now the real test of how good the backups really are.

Thursday: The toad went to the repair shop today. It's nice to have a good shop familiar with the car.

I setup my office in the RV. It's nice and quiet there and has a good view. A couple of weeks ago, the router in the RV for Internet access lost its security settings. I've been using it without them since then, waiting until i returned home to fix it. I restored all the settings and it's working well but no reason for why it lost them? May die again and then it would be replaced.

Friday: I went to a TSA business meeting in the morning.

Lou picked up the car form the shop. They did the regular servie on the car, repaired the starter and lubricated the driveline disconnect. Turns out that the starting problem is just an intermittent connection to a harness on the transmission switch assembly. The switch that was replaced in Santa Fe was probably good. Volvos seem to have a lot of these connector problems. The other car has a connector under the hood to wiggle if it won't start. That one is an ignition problem this one is a cranking problem. The mechanic show where to wiggle it to make it work. The lubricated driveline disconnect runs more quietly but we'll find out how well it re-engages on our next trip. Older cars are fun.

Saturday: Lou and I went over to Pleasanton to the fairgrounds for the Orchard Supply Hardware "How-To" show. It's free and we haven't been to one in a while. Not much new to be seen. We'll go again in about five years. I picked up a cold or alergy attack.

Sunday: I called Kaiser about my allergy attack or infection. My eys are red so here come the antibiotic eye drops.

We looked at cats at a couple of Pet-Smarts. We're on an active hunt for a replacement cat.