Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Quake Prep

I got up early to beat the garbage man and get the recycle and compost stuff out. I installed the replacement AGM battery that came just after we left on this trip. The neighbor was nice enough, and strong enough, to move it off the door step. One of the six AGM batteries I ordered a couple of months ago was damaged. I returned it and The Inverter Store replaced it. It is the same part number battery but has a different top and the case is about an 1/8' bigger. I hope the age difference and design differences in this third pair of batteries don't present a problem.

I then woke up the RV again and drove up to Redwood City to get the Propane tank filled. Always good to have an nice emergency residence with all the supplies when disasters like earthquakes occur. Not worried, just wise.

The final task was sifting through the mail. That pretty much ruined the day.

Shake, Rattle And Roll

Big Sur Campsite.JPG Big Sur Campsite.JPG
Tuesday: I tinkered in the RV most of the morning leaving Big Sur about 11:30. The weather was a bit cloudy in the direction of the sun but dry and clear otherwise.

River At Big Sur Campground.JPG
The river was flowing nicely. This was about 50 feet from my campsite.
Highway 1 View South at Breakfast.JPG Highway 1 View Down at Breakfast.JPG
I stopped at an overlook along the coast toward Monterey with a beautiful view of the water and rocky shore. I prepared breakfast of pancakes and sausage while I enjoyed the view.

Highway 1 View North at Breakfast.JPG RV's View At Breakfast Site On Highway 1.JPG
Getting in to these pullouts is fairly easy. Getting out when your on the wrong side of the road is a challenge.
Point Lobos.JPG Point Lobos.JPG
Next stop, Point Lobos State Preserve. I parked out by the rocks. There's no beach here but nice looking rocks. There are a lot of seals out on some of the rocks further out in the ocean. I couldn't get a clear picture today since I didn't walk out to the point closest to the colony.

I continued down to Seaside and looked around a while. Lunch/dinner was at the Grande Buffet, a pretty good Chinese buffet in Seaside.

Classic Cars In Monterey.JPG Metropolitan Rambler Car.JPG
I then moved down to the park near Fisherman's Wharf and got out the bike to ride on down to the wharf. I found a classic car show with a very good rock-an-roll band playing. Their version of Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman couldn't be distinguished from the original. almost. I looked and listened. The Nash above is one of my favorite older cars. My uncle Doug once had one.
Morse Miner Woddy Wagon.JPG Fisher Man's Wharf Seals.JPG
The Morse Miner Woody Wagon above is cute. I don't think I'd fit in either of these cars but they are cute. I like the idea of Wood driving a "woody." I also walked out the wharf to see the seals then headed back to the RV as it was getting dark.

At the wharf, I determined that the whales we saw in Pismo beach may have been pigmy killer whales, pigmy north whales or one of a few varieties of dolphin. They had the dorsal fin but were all dark colored, no white? Never will know.

I headed on toward home on Highway 1 to Highway 17 and home. I did some window shopping on the way and at one of the shops in Los Gatos, about 8:05, I felt the earth move, quite a bit, in fact. We had a 5.6 earthquake, the strongest since the 1989 quake. Fortunately, I was off the road, not in the middle of a turn on highway 17. Nothing serious, no damage. I stopped for gas on the way home and arrived home about 9:30.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Highway 1 To Big Sur

Sunny Pismo Beach.JPG
Up early, really! Cooked a nice breakfast of potatoes, onions, red pepper and Italian sausage. While it mellowed, I took my shower, then ate breakfast. I finished preparing to leave and then took a walk out to the beach. It was nice and sunny this morning. Now it shines? I was out onto the road at a bit before 9am. I stopped in San Luis Obispo at the market to restock.

As I came close to Morro Bay the sun disappeared in the fog. As I continued the fog changed to clouds and they leaked with sprinkles most of the way North and some rain.

SLO Botanical Garden Gate .JPG Flower At El Churro Park.JPG
After shopping, I stopped at El Churro Regional Park. I visited the SLO Botanical Gardens. They are looking a little better but still show signs of the freeze damage last year. I brought out my camera and a tripod to get some pictures. There weren't too many flowers. There were a lot of the red trumpet type flowers that the humming birds love.

Humming Bird.JPG Humming Bird.JPG
Here are some better shops of the humming birds using the tripod. i'm usually too lazy to carry the tripod.

Humming Bird.JPG Humming Bird.JPG
And some more. Some don't have ie great color. At one point, I was waiting near their favorite flowers and about four humming birds buzzed around my head one even thumped my ear.
Orange Butterfly.JPG White Butterfly.JPG
There were also some butterflies, or moths.

Brown Butterfly.JPG
This one is really pretty.

Elephant Seals At piedras Blancas.JPG Elephant Seals At piedras Blancas.JPG
I stopped at Piedras Blancas to watch the Elephant seals on the beech. There were a lot of them very close in to watch. No really big guys though.

Trail To Harbor At Milemarker Stream On Trail To Harbor At Milemarker

The Tunnel Harbor At Milemarker The Harbor At Milemarker
I also stopped at Mile marker "Mon 38" and hiked the trail down to an old cove where ships loaded bark used for tanning. The trail was a road that came down and goes through a tunnel to a deep water slot in the solid rock cliff than ships used to come in to be loaded. It must have been tricky getting in and out of this one ship harbor. There a really nice stream along the trail near the bottom.

Big Sur Campsite.JPG
When I arrived at Pfiffer Big Sur State Park it was raining. I selected a nice site with a view of the sky. There are only a few that have that view and I wanted it for both solar and satellite. It turns out I didn't need the satellite view since that have nice Att-wifi here and I have an account so am using it instead. It uses less power and is faster. As evening came the rain stopped.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fall In Pismo

Sunday: After examining the local newspaper, we went over to the Pantry for breakfast. A nice home cooking diner nearby here in Bakersfield. There were then some chores to do around Uncle Doug's place to ready them for a trip to the coast. We finally got on the road toward Pismo Beach at 3:30 pm. arriving a bit after 6:30pm at the Pismo Beach SB North Campground, our usual haunt. In fact, we got the same campsite, #19, that we had on our last visit. It's a nice spot, especially since the park is surprisingly full. Uncle Doug and Helen will head over tomorrow. Their friend Darwin will head over Wednesday. Doug and Darwin are both members of Holiday RV Park. Cousin Judy and here husband Don are supposedly already there at the Pismo Coast RV Resort. Fortunately, all these sites are next door to each other.

It's a lot warmer than usual here at the beach but fortunately, there is a good breeze now so it is really quite nice. Hopefully tomorrow, during the mid day heat there is still a breeze. It's supposed to be in the 80's tomorrow. Usually when we're here you need a sweater.


Pismo Beech North Campground Site.JPG Buzzards on Pismo Beech.JPG
Our campsite at North Campground. We had breakfast and then took a walk down the beach and saw these buzzards. I guess to then sand is sand, desert or beech?
A complete Jelly Fish On Pismo Beech.JPG Dawn and Lou walking on Pismo Beech.JPG
Dawn found this complete jellyfish. Usually we just see pieces. On the right are Dawn and Lou walking toward the pier at Pismo.
Ducks In Pond At Pismo Beech.JPG An Eggret Perched In A Tree.JPG
A couple of ducks showing their best for the camera at a pond near our camp.
High Tide At Pismo.JPG
The tide was unusually high and spilled over the rise of sand near the waters edge.
Humming Bird At Pismo Beech North Campground.JPG Humming Bird At Pismo Beech North Campground.JPG
Humming birds are hard for me to capture with the camera I have. By the time I find them they move. Someday?
We also went over to the eucalyptus grove to see if the Monarch butterflies were there. They weren't. Just a few fluttering about. When we returned I woke up the RV printer and Internet so Dawn could print and email here homework. We then got the car loaded for Lou and Dawn's trip back home. After they departed, I tinkered on the Internet for a while. It's best to use power when the sun shines. I walked downtown to the hardware store. I got a couple of screws for the range top cover. It's always coming loose. Maybe it won't now. Don and Judy came over to the my campsite about 4pm. We chatted until about 530 when it got too cold to be outside. They head back to their camp.

Doug At His Site St Holliday RV Park.JPG
Doug and Helen arrived about 6pm. I walked over to help them setup at Holiday RV Park. Don came over too. After they were settled, Don took off and Doug, Helen and I went downtown for dinner. Unfortunately, the Pismo Fish and Chip restaurant is closed Monday's so we went over to the Splash. Nowhere near as good but good enough for dinner. I then went home for the evening.

Tuesday: I pulled out the folding bike this morning. I rode over to Uncle Doug's place about 9am. There were a few tasks to do to fix up the RV. About 1130, we headed out to the Girls on Grand Ave in Grove Beach, for breakfast. After "breakfast," We checked out Brisco's hardware and found some brass rollers that looked like they would work to replace the sliding glass door rollers. They did and it now glides smoothly. We didn't fare as well with the other parts to repair the refrigerator shelves, but did find the door latch. Tasks completed it was time to visit. Don and Judy came by about 5pm and we went to dinner about 6pm, at, of course, the Pismo Fish and Chips restaurant. Then it was time for me to retunr home and check in with the computer to see if it needed me. By the way, we had a nice day, mid 70's, no wind.

Wednesday: I don't seem to get going too early the past few mornings. That must mean the neighbors here in the campground are good, quiet neighbors. When I did get moving, i went over to Doug's place and we went over to Francisco’s Country Kitchen for breakfast. I enjoyed a nice homemade corned beef hash and eggs, Doug had the standard bacon and eggs and Helen had another standard, oatmeal. After our return, I rode the bike up to Arroyo Grande checking things out along the way. I enjoyed a cream puff at the Éclair Bakery there in Arroyo Grande.

Thursday: Breakfast at Francisco’s Country Kitchen again this morning with Doug, Helen, Darwin, and Goldie. Same corned beef and hash for me. Really good. After breakfast i returned to the RV. I went on line for a little while while i ran the generator to catch up on the battery charge. The solar doesn't seem to catch up, possibly due to the smoke in the air? Can't see too much nor smell it but it's there. Dirty air. I then went over to Don and Judy's at Pismo Coast Resort for a chat. Lou called and said she was on her eway back.

SLO Farmers Market.JPG
Don, Judy and I went down to San Luis Obispo to the Farmers Market for dinner and to shop. Dinner was from McClintock's Barbecue. Very good. Lou and Dawn arrived and met us about 7pm. They finished off my dinner which was enough. The girls then hit the vegetable mongers. They sure have nice vegetables at the market.

Friday: We started our day with a walk on the beach. The tide was higher than we've ever seen it. As we started our walk, we got a call for breakfast from Helen so we returned to camp and headed off to breakfast at Francisco's. Very good , as usual. I had my other standard, chicken fried steak. It was home made and good but not the best I've had. I talked Lou into the corned beef hash. Dawn had some great French toast with cream cheese and home made applesauce.
I then showed Lou and Dawn to a couple of thrift stores I'd seen on my bike ride that I thought they might not have visited yet. They hadn't and did. We then had to do some preliminary work for Doug's birthday dinner tonight. Helen suggested an Ice cream cake from a place I didn't know and that the dinner would be at a location of a restaurant I didn't know so we explored, found the restaurant and found an ice cream cake. Doc Burstein's Ice Cream Laboratory in Arroyo Grande is near the McClintock restuarant that we'd be having dinner at so I arranged to pick up the cake just before dinner after it was decorated. RV's don't have big freezers, so that was convenient.

The gang at Doug's Dinner.JPG Doug And His Frozen Cake.JPG
Everyone arrived at the right place on time for a nice birthday dinner. They do fix some nice meat at McClintock's. A nice 80'th birthday dinner for Doug.

Saturday: We were up early (For me anyway) to get our showers and have breakfast before our beach walk. This morning at 10:38 was supposed to be the highest tide during our stay here and we wanted to see it. It was a fizzle, not as high as yesterday morning, which was higher than we've seen here before.

Before we left the beach though, there was a school? of whales passing by headed North? 30 or more, many jumping out of the water. Many were passing just at the crest of the waves near the beach a 100-150' from the waters edge. The most and best whale spotting we've ever enjoyed.

We then went up to San Luis Obispo to look around. Dawn wanted to see several book stores, Lou Beverly's craft store and me, nothing in particular, just a nice walk around town. We had lunch at the Golden China Buffet on Monterey St near Nipomo Street.

High Water In A Stream Downtown SLO.JPG
It started to sprinkle while we were in the restaurant and that turned into heavy rain after that. The stream above had a small flow earlier in the day and then increased to the full width of the channel, which these ducks enjoyed. Unlike ducks, we needed dprotection. Since we had umbrellas, we continued our looking around/shopping.

We returned about 5pm and Lou and Dawn packed up and headed toward home. They have a concert to attend in Mountain View tomorrow, then classes next week. I'll remain here for a coupe of more days then head North along the coast via Highway 1.

Sunday: Foggy morning, but sun returned later in the day to allow some good solar generation to charge the batteries today. They haven't done too well during the cloudy and smoky period. i went out to breakfast again at Francisco's with the gang. This time I had what Dawn had last ime, French toast Supreme with cream cheese and applesauce. Very good. I spent much of the rest of the day chatting but returned to the RV to dump and fill and prepare to leave tomorrow.

Dinner was with all the gang at the sizzler. I had the salad buffet. Very good, maybe too good.

Ready to leave in the morning.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Dust Bowl Day, Weedpatch, Ca

Friday, we came down to Bakersfield to Uncle Doug's place. We arrived about 9:30pm, just time enough for setup and a quick visit before bed time.

Saturday morning, we headed out to Weedpatch, just Southeast of Bakersfield and south of Lamont. There was an old government farm labor camp, Weedpatch Camp, there during the dust bowl era (1930-40's). Parts of the movie "The Grapes Of Wrath" were filmed there. We had breakfast there as well. Biscuits and gravy, Peach cobbler, chili beans , and corn bread. Not great food but for a good cause. We also walked the short distance from the Sunset School where the event was at to the area where the preserved buildings are. Earl Shelton, who was a kid at the camp when it was active, gave us a little idea of what life was like in the camp and at the camp school.
Dawn and I attended this festival a couple of years ago. She did some research then on camp life for a report for school.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fresno, Ca

A quick note on a slow connection.

Thursday: Dawn worked over a Stanford today. Lou and I finished packing and preparing the RV to go. At 3pm we headed South toward Fresno. Traffic was getting bad before we got out of town. We stopped at Walmart's in Los Banos for a stretch then headed on. We arrived at Lu's sister Kathy's place in Fresno a little after 7pm. her son Mitchell had prepared a very nice dinner.
Friday: Today was a thrift shop day. We stopped at the Country Depot and then at Samonian's Fruit Stand. Then it was off to downtown to a bunch of thrift shops there. I looked around nearby since I generally don't like to thrift. I stopped by a used RV lot and saw a couple of nice vintage RV's. I also stopped by Pep boys auto store and saw the canopy cover we just got at the flea market for about 2/3's the cost. Next time? I then wandered to around the downtown mall which is mostly vacant. Too bad. Then it was time to return home for a snack

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Body Worlds

The Body Worlds exhibit is at the The Tech Museum in San Jose. Body World is a traveling show of real human bodies that have been plasticized and disassembled in various ways so you can see how the human body is assembled in great detail. I wasn't really interested in going to see it but Dawn and Lou were. Yesterday evening was free for students so Dawn got in free. Since Lou wasn't feeling well, I took Dawn and helped with the narrative for Dawn reading the small print and pointing out things that are a bit easier for people with better sight.

It is a typical traveling museum show but unlike the Tut exhibit we saw in LA, it had adequate room for the crowd, excellent lighting and there was no rushing people out. The specimens were interesting and I now know more than I'd like to know about the human body. If you get the opportunity to see it you should.

As to The Tech Museum. It's not really very interesting. It's sort of a third rate Exploritorium, a really nice "hands on" museum in San Francisco.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Batteries Don’t Last Forever?

It's been overcast sand drizzly over the weekend and today.

Today started badly. On Mondays, the street sweeper comes by on our street. It's always around 830 in the morning and headed on the opposite side of the road. It provides enough warning to go move our car so they can sweep along our curb rather than leave the debris as they dodge our car. There's no requirement to move the car, it just saves having to sweep the gutter myself. With the construction across the street there is more dirt and debris on the street so a good cleaning makes it look better too. The problem here is that Lou dashed out to move the car and it wouldn't start. So I tried as well and oddly, it still didn't. Dead batteries tend to work that way. Evidently the strain on the battery with all the hard starting recently due to the engine problems killed the battery. It had no problems prior to that. I don't think the fact the battery was nearly 10 years old had anything to do with it.

I dashed down to the local Orchard Supply Hardware. I got the last starting battery for the RV there a few years ago. They have carried Diehard batteries since Sears bought them several years ago. I remember seeing them there a couple of weeks ago, but none today. Evidently they didn't sell as well as Christmas decorations?. So I stopped by Sears. They didn't have one for our model car and I wasn't really interested when I saw the prices anyway. Next stop WalMart. They didn't have one for our year of Volvo (87) so I got one for a newer model of Volvo (92). As if there was really any difference. The only difference is the battery capacity. The battery mount is the same in both cars. The battery was half the cost. I hope the fact it came from China doesn't really affect it. The warranty is good enough, two year replacement 7 year prorated. And this is their lowest level battery. The car now has plenty of voom when starting.

Lou hasn't been feeling well so went to see a doctor yesterday afternoon. Nothing obvious found but they kept some of her blood. She and Dawn had classes in San Jose. Dawn's was canceled, Lou decided she didn't want to attend her doll class so they returned. Lou usually stays at Dawn's for her two days of classes Tuesday and Wednesday.

I started forming for some more sidewalk in the back yard but I got tired of the mud and drizzle so gave up and played with the computer.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Beam Me Down

Wednesday: The rain did come. It rained very heavily from about 6pm last night until after 8am this morning. It then cleared. I remained inside most of the day playing with the computer. It was quite soggy outside. I did get out late in the afternoon to strip the forms on the fence post anchors i poured yesterday. Lou and Dawn remained in San Jose for their classes and etc and, of course, enjoyed the return trip visiting several thrift stores on the way home.
Wilton Front Fence Post Anchor Wilton New Front Fence Hides RV
Thursday: One of the new post anchors inserted into the existing mow strip. The old fence was actually adjacent to the mow strip. I moved it into alignment with the lot line and the rest of the fence on that side. The fence boards now rest on the mow strip. I can attest to the strength of the concrete in the mow strip. It's 7 inches thick and 7" wide with a 1" pipe as the rebar. Chipping it out was good exercise. I installed the fence on the new anchors today. The result seems to have been worth it. The RV hides behind the new fence as before. The posts and rails are all new but the split redwood fence boards are the same. I like the patina.
Wilton House Construction Crane Wilton House Construction
Thursday started with the arrival of a crane at the house construction site across the street. They needed to drop in a couple of beams to support the first floor. Note, the carpenter working in the basement is not a short guy, he's about 6 feet tall.
Wilton House Construction Beam Installation
Placing a steel beam. This house isn't going to be cheap. They started with a perfectly good old house, which they "de-constructed". Now, their constructing an over designed new house on the site. The total investment will be much more than i could sleep with. And all this before the general housing cost downturn that has affected most of the country, but fortunately not this area, yet. If it does? I do like the effect of these monsters on our estimated home value, I just don't really like the shadow they cast due to the second floor in an older single story neighborhood.

Wilton New Canopy
On a simpler. and cheaper construction project, here is the new canopy by our shop. It was installed just before the rain, a rare good timing event.

Dawn and I enjoyed an evening walk down to the San Antonio Shopping Center in Mountain View. No purpose other than the walk, but we did look around while there.