Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Riding The Rails

Today all transit was free, the way it always should be! The air quality district foots the bill for what the estimate are the worst air quality days in order to get people out of their cars and onto transit. There are a few more people that ride, like us. Though we just go on excursions since we really don't have a destination.

We were out and about rather ate in the morning, like just before noon. We stopped for "breakfast" at the Hong Kong bakery then walked the two blocks to the light rail station in Mountain View. That line goes to downtown Campbell. From downtown San Jose it's a new line to Campbell which we hadn't yet been on. We got off at the Hamilton Avenue Station. It was a short walk over to Bascom Avenue where the Rasputin's book store is located. Dawn likes the place. The have used and new books and lots that just are not available at the best seller stores. Dawn was extremely happy when they open a branch in Mountain View. Wait, didn't we start near there? Used book stores always have different and unusual stock so they aren't the same.

We then headed back toward Home. Lou and Dawn had an appointment in Menlo Park at 5:15 so we picked up some Gyros for a quick dinner.

City life can be interesting.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Visiting Home

We returned Sunday afternoon and after a good relaxation period did the usual cleanup and unpacking.

Monday was more of the same. I spent some time "working" in preparation for a business meeting Wednesday. Lou's been cleaning and working on her hobbies. Dawn's been busy preparing for school and enjoying the last of her break.
I had a dentist appointment Tuesday. Always fun! Otherwise more of the same.

Wednesday Dawn and I went down to San Jose. Dawn worked on reorganizing her apartment. It had been packed up due to the reflooring project. I had a business meeting. Though I really enjoy retirement I may actually do a dab of work. I actually hope it isn't habit forming.

Friday morning Dawn got a surprise when she went in the kitchen. It was kind of sticky. She had made a bunch of root beer the night before and one had exploded. Quite a mess with spots of root beer all over everything ceiling, walls and floor. Luckily nobody was injured as a result of the disaster.

I've been trying to equalize my AGM batteries. They haven't been working well since they were fully discharged a couple of months ago. The Freedom inverter charger can't do it because it's only exercise voltage is 16.2 volts. The sealed AGM batteries want no more than 15.5 volts. As it happens, the SolarBoost 2000E charge controller can. It has a 15.2 volt equalize voltage. (actually 1.2 volts over the adjustable charge voltage of 14 volts) I adjusted the charge voltage so the the equalize voltage was 15.5 volts. I had to move the RV to expose the panels to accomplish the task. The neighbors tree has to be trimmed regularly for the RV to fit in the driveway but still shades the panels when backed in as usual. I pulled the RV in forward and the panels are exposed so the charger can do its job. We'll see how it goes and if the batteries can be resurrected. It will probably take several cycles to resurrect them if possible.

Saturday was more of the same. i have to be present when the batteries are under equalizing charge so I tinkered on the computer most of the day. Among other things i found a good deal on replacement batteries, if the price is still true. Therir still 33% more than last time but at least not 100% more like most all other vendors. Evidently the cost of lead makes a BIG difference.

Lou and Dawn hit a few garage sales and tinkered on crafts.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Summer Break Almost Over

We left Ukiah early arriving in Hopland before 8:30am. We had breakfast of the cinnamon roll purchased last night along with some sausage. Quick and easy on the road eating. We had planned on visition the Alternative Living Center just South of town but, unfortunately, they were having the Solfest there this weekend. While some day we'd like to attend this, we only planned a short visit to shop in their store and paying $25 each to get in  to do that didn't seem worth it for an hour.

We continued on to Santa Rosa to the Charles Schultz museum for a short visit. It's always good for a chuckle.

Back on the road again but now there was heavy slow traffic, all the way down to San Rafael. It opened up from there on after they cleared a stalled car from the right lane just as we approached. The amateur drivers really demonstrate there driving abilities on 19th avenue through San Francisco. The lanes are only 10 feet wide which means the 8 foot wide RV has to go down the middle of the lane to keep the mirrors on. Why is it that people driving a car only 6 feet wide can't find a way to keep it in one lane?

We stopped in Milbrea at the Tanforan shopping center for a walk. It was quite crowded due to a fan fest or something  filling the place with trading card and poster vendors. We then headed South a little to Burlingame to Neil's Coffee Shop for lunch. Lou and Dawn shared a liver and onions and I had a corned beef hash breakfast.

We then headed off toward home with a fuel stop just before. It was nice to see the $2.99 price for gas in Redwood City. A nice drop since we left. It hasn't been less than $3 for a long time here.

Home looks much the same as before we left.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It Pays To Know Where You’re Going

We left Westport after a walk on the cliff trail and beach. We stopped in Fort Bragg for a walk around town and a look in some shops.

We departed heading East on highway 20 toward Willits. It's a nice road but a good grade up and down. Not as bad as yesterday coming over to the coast on highway 1. We got to Willits by 4pm but missed our mark. We were headed to the Alternative Living Center and thought it was here. It's in Hopland a ways South so we looked around here. Dawn found an excellent bookstore where she traded some books in and bought some interesting stuff as well.

We continued South to Ukiah stopping at WalMart for the night. Seems familiar here. This was our stop for the first night of this trip as well.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Westport - Union Landing SP, Ca

We left Prairie Creek Redwoods SP shortly after 8am. We stopped fro breakfast at Trinidad Eatery. We started with a shared black berry cobbler and topped that off with a couple of breakfasts. Mine had peppers that were the hottest I've tried to eat. We ended u with lots of left overs.

We then went back to the fairgrounds to see the cats. I raised the dish an handled some email while they went to see the cats. The cats wouldn't have anything to do with them. Lou figures they were mad at them for leaving.

We then got gas in the RV and went by the Alternative Building Center to look at some interesting thing done with food products changed to building products. It's harder to be allergic to food than chemicals.

Our next stop was Loleta to visi the Loleta Cheese Factory. We stocked up on cheese and had lunch of spaghetti.

Next stop was the Bear Creek Casino just down the road at Highway 101 as you're leaving Loleta. They were lucky there on the last visit and had to try again. I put the dish up again and handled some more email. They weren't as lucky this time.

Next stop Fortuna. Dawn wanted to look at a video store there and I needed to get LPG. With both missions accomplished, we were on the road.

We headed South to Legget and turned onto Highway 1. There's some good grades and curves on this road getting to the coast but the coast is a nice place to visit so off we go.

We pulled in to Westport-Union Landing SP as it was getting dark. We looked through three campground sections, all full, before finding lots of room and a perfect site at the fourth. This campground wasn't open and was in ruins on our last visit here. It is pretty much a mowed grass field with fire rings and tables added along with pit toilets but there was enough room for us to just pull through our site so we didn't have to unhook the towed car.

Breakfast was leftovers from yesterday with some added cheese and some bratwurst sausages cooked the other night.

On our morning stroll along the trail we spotted this vulture looking out over the beach.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

More From The Prairie

Sunday: I relaxed in camp while Lou and Dawn took a few short excursions including a visit to Orick’s shops.

We went to the evening campfire program which was about birds here in the park.

Monday: Just relaxing around camp and the prairie today. We enjoyed a nice campfire of our own this evening.

Our campsite on the prairie.

Tuesday: I got up early to hike around the prairie. The elk heard was seen in the orchard South of the ranger housing. They hang out there a lot. We haven’t seen them on the prairie yet. I walked the road because the Elk were up by the trial as it passes behind the ranger housing. I don’t need another close encounter.

At the South end of the prairie on the hillside, a couple of male elk jousted in the morning. The sun through the fog on the prairie provides a differnt look for the park than the sunny days.

Lots of wildlife still around early in the morning. The deer on the left above were hanging around the prairie near the entrance kiosk. The quail on the right enjoyed the last of the morning quiet as the fog was lifting.

The heavy morning fog left all the spider webs dripping wet so they are quite visible in the morning light.

Elk Prairie Trail is a nice varied trail some in the trees, some along the creek, some through the prairie.

A bridge on Elk Prairie trail. On the right, our campsite is just across the prairie at the far tree line in the center of the picture.
At the South end of the prairie where the Elk Prairie Trail crosses, there is a power pole. As I was approaching, I saw a large light brown bird flying from the top away from me into the forest. I thought, owl! When I was closer, I was rewarded with the hoot-hoot as proof, it was. It was just daylight and I guess it was enjoying a rest before heading in for the day. I continued on around the end of the prairie on the trail back to camp.

We enjoyed our breakfast of cereal and then Lou headed off to get us checked in for another day. We then proceeded as usual with doing nothing, flying the planes, watching all the campers come and go etc. Real hard work.

Later in the afternoon, we went out to the beach on Davison Road to Fern Canyon. The march above is on the ocean side of the road.

We met an interesting couple as we entered the canyon and hiked with them as we chatted. They were nice enough to take our picture as we did for them. That's one of the rare pictures you'll find of us in the blog. As the sun was setting we headed back and went in to Orick to the Palms Café for dinner. They make most items from scratch and everything was great. Lou had baked pork ribs in home made saurkraught wit baked beans. I had the usual chicken fried steak and baked potato. Dawn had a bowl of chicken soup and a slice of coconut cream pie.

Wednesday: Up early again to hike around the prairie. We got checked in for another night.

After morning tea, we started with our morning flights. Dawn is being buzzed by Lou's plane.
My morning flight was shared with an eight year old boy in the camp next to ours. He’d been popping out each time we flew and was real excited by each flight and crash. I gave him a chance at the stick. Toward the end of the flight time, before the battery went dead, we also shared with a couple of girls from another camp who had come out. Martha was about five and her cousin was older. They both flew well and enjoyed their flight before the battery died. Luckily, the plane survived and wasn’t in the top of the trees or middle of the prairie thanks to their good flying abilities.

Breakfast was Lou’s famous breakfast burritos.

We headed off North for the day. We stopped at the Little Lagoon North of Klamath. We continued on to Crescent City.

We stopped at a couple of thrift shops downtown. One had lots of musicasl instruments and interesting books. The proprietor was named Don and evidently didn’t have many visitors to the shop because he really like to chat. We left knowing his life history. It was all interesting though.. Dawn left with a pile of books.

Of course, we had lunch at the Chart Room. Oddly, it was much the same as a couple of days ago, two fish and chip lunches shared after an appetizer of a couple of slices of home made pie.

Lou and Dawn needed to return to one of the thrift shops visited last time. We then continued North to the Lucky 7 Casino for a very short visit. Neither Lou nor Dawn did well here. I did as usual since I didn’t gamble.

On we went arriving in Brookings Oregon. We filled the gas tank with the wonderfully cheaper gas here. 36 cents cheaper than in Crescent City. Dawn visited a nice books store and We also Stopped by Fred Meyers. We did our grocery shopping before leaving. We arrived home about 9:30 pm.

Thursday: We enjoyed the usual watching of departing campers. Flew the planes again. I was assisted again this morning by the little girl, Martha. Martha mentioned that her mother was a girl scout and had cooked biscuits on the campfire this morning. That did sound tasty. As it happens, Lou was doing a slightly more modern version in the RV with canned biscuits and her sausage gravy.

Crafts, reading, short walks, and computer time filled the day. Vacation is nice.
This evening I was chief cook. I fired up the oven and cooked a pork loin roast and the 18 bratwurst sausages. I also prepared my special spaghetti. I did a huge batch of it. We had it for dinner and put away the other 2/3rds. Now we're restocked for quick and easy meals the rest of the way home and then some. It's much easier to do a bunch than a smidgen and firing up the oven is done sparingly in the summer time.

We leave tomorrow and haven't even taken a real hike during the entire visit, unlike most stays here. They have the best hiking available so it is unusual. I usually have severe blisters on my feet after the first day. We've all been so busy before this trip that we all opted to relax rather than wear ourselves out.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

More Determination Than I

It's not to difficult to find someone with more determination than I have but we may have met the extreme here in Crescent City. We came up here from our camp at Prairie Creek to do laundry. When we finished the laundry duty we needed lunch so we went to our favorite fish house, the Chart Room. They have absolutely the best fish and chips. While dining, we observed a small boat coming into the harbor. It looked like and was a row boat, but not like any we have seen before.

Roz Savages Row Boat Roz Savage on her boat
After lunch, we went over to the harbor and found the boat, an ocean going single person row boat. We also met the captain and crew, Roz Savage. She's preparing to head across the Pacific Ocean, solo, the first woman to do so. Read more about her adventures here. She heads off Tomorrow morning.

Due to some problems with double booking day use in the park, our campsite didn't become available until 7pm. That didn't bother us since we were gone all day and didn't return until after 8 pm.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Prairie Creek Redwoods SP, Ca

Our Campsite at Prairie Creek
We got on the road early and made our way to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. We had a little difficulty but finally got a spot for the night in the Elk Prairie Campground. We're at the mercy of cancellations as to whether we can stay in the campground tomorrow and likely will have to move each day depending on that availability. They have a 24 foot rig limit here that we know can be exceeded, but only on the prairie sites. The reservation system isn't very helpful as half of the sites on the prairie can't be reserved. So we dropped in in hopes of getting a spot, and did. If we have to leave we'll just move out to one of the RV parks nearby.

I've (Don) also managed to catch a cold so don't feel to well. Hopefully it's gone soon.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Humboldt Count Fair

Farmers Market on F Street
We stopped by a farmers market at Harris and 7th Street in the morning. Interesting ly, one of the musicians we saw last year at Blue Lake was playing for the shoppers, Lilia Nelson.
We then went on to our destination for the day, the Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale, California. It's the fairground we usually stay at when we're in the area but we had to go to Redwood Acres Fairground in Eureka because of the fair in Ferndale. Not a bad move at all because we have full hookups there and only water and electric at Ferndale but the ambiance is so nice there, camped next to a cow pasture.

Humboldt Fair Displays Humboldt Fair Main Street Humboldt Fair Cows Merv George at Humboldt Fair
This was the first day of the fair so some things were not set up yet but the fair is different each day anyway so it really doesn't matter too much. We enjoy the fact that this is a real community fair with lots of local participation and little commercial exhibits and a small carnival. Lots of animals, home made things like pies cakes, cookies and canned goods. Lots of local art and photography. And lots of animals.

In the evening we enjoyed, really enjoyed, Merv George and his group (last photo above). His band is a local rock and roll legend that played around the area for 30 years or more years. He worked for the city in Eureka for those 30 years as well and retired. He evidently hasn't been played for while so it was a treat for us to discover him. The group plays all types of music but especially old rock and roll. We stayed for his entire 3 hour show. George is also active in the Hoopa Indian Tribe. A sample of the music of Merv George.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Bike Ride to Downtown Eureka

Lou and Dawn really enjoy detailed examination of antique and thrift shops. My visits are usually a long as it takes to briskly walk through. So I stayed at the RV this morning working on the computer while they examined Olde Town and Downtown. About 2pm I ventured off on my bike to explore and ended up in Olde Town where they were. I loaded the bike back into the car and did some exploration myself and we all returned together.

We also enjoyed a lengthy visit with the cats today. Each time we visit them, we're introduced to more cats.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Lots Of Cats

We like cats. Unfortunately our cat passed away about a year ago. We've thought of getting a new cat but then discovered that our daughter Dawn was allergic to them. She had asthma symptoms occasionally that disappeared after the cat was gone. We eventually noticed the relationship. Fortunately just before we were about to get a new cat. We prefer Dawn to the cat. We do, however, still like cats. We now take small doses of cat. The occasional cat met on the street, friends cats etc. We enjoyed the recent visit to Don Bradners house and visiting with his cats.

Cat at Redwood Acres Cat at Redwood Acres Cat at Redwood Acres Cats at Redwood Acres Cat at Redwood Acres Cats at Redwood Acres Cat at Redwood Acres Cats at Redwood Acres Cat at Redwood Acres
We are also enjoying our visit here at the Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Eureka, California. There are, of course, horse barns here. They are rented out to people to board their horses all year. There are about 47 cats, we're told, hanging around the barns that are taken care of by the people with the horses. They've all just been dropped off but found a good home. What's really odd is that they are all friendly. As you walk around there, they all need petting. It's tough work, but someone has to do it. Unfortunately, there are a few skunks that hang around as well. We try to be sure to not to pet the black cats with white strips.

Mare and Colt Redwood Acres Pig at Redwood Acres Garden at Redwood Acres Barns
There are also other things around the barns as well. Horses, A pig, and a few gardens.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Wildwood Days In Rio Dell

The cars at Rio Dell
We got a late start this morning heading to Rio Dell about 20 miles south of our campsite. The event is the Wildwood Days, a small community get together. They had many restored old cars on display. We especially liked the old Volvo coupe. They also had a small vendor area and a barbecue . We passed on the barbecue but enjoyed everything else. There were also a few garage sales to examine.

We stopped at the Ell River Brewing restaurant for a late lunch. The food was really good. Dawn had a huge hamburger that was smothered with Lolita cheese, a local producer. She also had some beer battered onion rings. I had an open faced roast beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables. Lou had an order of fries. Of course we shared everything but still had too much to eat. Everything was homemade, not from a freezer. We really enjoyed it. We tried the place a few years ago when we stayed at the River Walk RV Park next door.

We stopped by at the Eureka mall before heading home. It really has a lot of vacancies, which seems odd since it's what killed the downtown area earlier. The economy must be in worse shape then last year when we were here.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Thrifty Visit

We explored "F" Street near Harris in Eureka. There are several thrift shops there as well as a nice pet store and other shops. We also headed South of town a bit to the Grange Hall for a rummage sale. All that shopping made us hungry so we went to the Samoa Cookhouse for lunch. Its a former lumbermill cookhouse that's been open to the pubic for years. Good as always.

We stopped for a visit with Don Bradner and Joy Langle. Don is the guru of Datastorm Users. We had a nice visit and met all their pets and got a tour of the "new" coach, the Blue Thunder, A 1990 bluebird Wanderlodge.

Tonight there are auto races next to the RV park here at the fair grounds. That adds a little ambiance.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Eureka, Plan B

We really like Ukiah because of Friedman Brothers building Supply. We examined the store thoroughly and then checked out the Tractor Supply (TSC) across the street. In between all this activity, we enjoyed a pancake breakfast at the RV. We finally headed North about 13:30. We stopped in Willits, 30 miles North, at a couple of nice antique stores on the North edge of town. We also stopped in Garberville at Ray's market to pick up dinner. A final stop in Scotia to check on the tours of the mill and we headed on to Ferndale.

Our home at Redwood Acres
Being people who dislike schedules, we didn't check ahead. We arrived at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds in Ferndale to learn that we would only be able to stay one night since there would be no public use from August 4-21 due to the fair so we headed on to Eureka to the Redwood Acres Fairground. we'll be here at least a couple of days, possibly more?

Some of the hourse corrals at Redwood Acres One of the many cats at Redwood Acres
We took a walk around the fairgrounds, met many friendly horses, saw a pair of skunks searching around at the stables and met some vary friendly cats there as well. We enjoyed a salad with ravioli and toast for dinner. Very good.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

On The Road Again

The wisteria did recover on the new arbor The deck fountain.
Over the summer, the wisteria did recover on the new arbor. As did the plants around the fountain on the deck that we rattled earlier as well.
Wednesday: We were packing and prepping to leave most of the day. I took the RV down to Oil Changers to get the oil changed. I also emptied and filled the appropriate tanks. The RV windows were all washed as well as all the toad. The final stowing of things that have returned from the project in San Jose was completed as well.

Dawn had an interview at Stanford for an internship. She said it went well.

Basement Walls Done
Thursday: The neighbors basment is coming along. The basement walls are done.

It's always hard to actually get away after being home for a while. We finally got away about 13:30. We headed North on Highway 280. Traffic through San Francisco was nice except for the occasional SUV driver that can't stay in their lane. Lanes are kind of tight there and there isn't enough room to share a lane. There were quite a few construction zones heading North which caused many slow ups. We stopped in Petaluma about 15:30 to look at the military museum there. Dawn' loves it. We also took a walk around downtown as well. There are some very interesting antique shops there. We were back on the road about 17:30. Traffic started backing up coming into Santa Rosa so we stopped at a Safeway to do some shopping. We picked up dinner of a salad and big sandwich which we all shared.

We continued North to Ukiah and stopped at the WalMart for the night. Its quite warm here tonight.