Sunday, May 25, 2008

Carnival 2008

Sunday: (05/25) And now for a change of pace. Ernie and I were up early. Ernie wanted to get an early start toward Las Vegas and beat the holiday traffic. He made it home sometime after 9pm. I caught the train up to San Francisco to the Carnival Parade, one of my annual expeditions. Very festive.
Carnival Queen.JPG Carnival.JPG
Queen of the Carnival Parade. One of the dance groups in the parade.
The costumes, what there is of them, are very colorful.

Lou has a good cold which luckily came after all the festivities. Dawn is playing around with her friends Dawn and Courtney. They caught a movie.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dawn Graduates!

Thursday: (05/22) Some final preparation for guests. I checked the old video camera and bought a new one just to be sure we captured the events. Barely enough time to charge the battery and figure out how to operate it. That shows because the date is wrong on the video. Darn.
At 5pm, we all met in San Jose for Dawn's History Department Graduation ceremony. Ernie arrived just in time form Las Vegas. Dawn completed all the requirements for this degree in December but they only have one ceremony per year. She graduates Cum Laude and as a Dean's Scholar. I think Dawn is quite happy with the accomplishment, as are we all. Congratulations Dawn!

Ernie, Dawn Courtney, and the three of us met Dawn's teacher Barbara at the Palo Alto Grill f(Peninsula Creamery) or dinner. This is a traditional visit for graduations, though usually it's for ice cream.

Chef Ernie.JPG Assistant Chef Walter.JPG
Friday: (05/23) Ernie started the party preparation with a shopping trip to the market with Lou. Of course, they are fixing far too much but? Ernie couldn't have done the job without the help of his chief assistant Walter and assistants Dawn(s) and Courtney.

Dawn and Lou and Ernie's Rice Meatball Meal.JPG Walter and Wolfie Birthday Breakfast.JPG
Chef Ernie prepared his famous rice meat balls one night. Lou's very excited. The doggies, Wolfie above and Walter below, enjoy their birthday breakfast. They're eight years old. They hardly look seven.

At Graduation Ceremony.JPG Lou And The Girls In The Garden.JPG
Saturday: (05/24) Noon, we headed off to San Jose State University again for Dawn's second graduation ceremony for Anthropology. She finished all the requirements for this degree a couple of years ago but needed to finish the History degree before actually graduating. We're all so happy for her since she's the first close family member to actually get a sheep skin.

Courtney And Dawn1.JPG Lou And Dawn2.JPG
After all the ceremonies we returned home to the BarBQ. There was quite a crowd. (Sorry, no pictures but above the girls are relaxing in the back yard just before the ceremony) Dawn and Courtney Hackman from Boston who attended school with Dawn since pre school at San Jose State. Mark, Karen, Pat and Allen Don. Mark was in pre school and elementary school with Dawn and Pat was Dawn's History adviser at SJSU. Debbie and Pete Anderson. Their daughters attended elementary school with Dawn. Lou's sister Kathy, her daughter Rene and her husband Danny and their children Justin and Ashley from Clovis. Meile and Eric Mathrie our next door neighbors. Franny and Larry their kids Tamara, Gabriel, and Natan from across the street. There was far too much great food ala chef Ernie. Luckily, the deck held up the crowd. It was a nice party.

There were actually two additional events to celebrate. Larry's 40th birthday. i can hardly remember that far back. And Memorial day which Ernie has designated as a celebration of his doggies Wolfie and Walter's birthday every year.

Dawn History Graduation.JPG Dawn's Anthropology Graduation.JPG
Dawn with her sheep skins. A BA in History above left, a BA in Anthropology above right.

Dawn's Graduation Party.JPG Dawn's Graduation Party.JPG
The celebration included a wonderful cake from the Hong Kong bakery, Dawn's favorite cake.
Dawn's Graduation Party.JPG The Graduation Party Cake.JPG
The deck held up the crowd without collapse. Above right. Now that's the way to decorate a cake.
Chef Ernie at the party.JPG Dawn's Graduation Party.JPG
Chef Ernie preparing the vittles. The weather was very nice though a little cool.
Mark Courtney Dawn2 and Dawn.JPG Wolfie and Walter banished to the rear yard.JPG
Above left, Mark Courtney, Dawn2 and Dawn have known each other since pre school at San Jose State. It's interesting that Dawn started and to date ended her education at the same school San Jose State University.

The doggies weren't too happy with being banished to the rear yard but there were too many people and too much food.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cool In The Yard At Home

Saturday: (05/17) Our spring trip route was modified to head South because of unusually cool weather on the coast and in Oregon a few weeks ago. We came down highway 395 stopping several places. The weather was cool and windy all the way down to Red Rock State park near Mojave. There, we warmed up some but kept the wind. As we came through Bakersfield it was Hot with no wind, surprise and it was quite nice in Pismo Beach.

We returned home to Palo Alto at the end of a real heat wave but found the back yard quite sool in the shade of the big oak tree and wisteria arbor. Nice to be home. Now the fun begins. We need to clean up the place a little because we'll have guests later in the week for Dawn's graduation. If you know us, you realize clean is a relative term.

The arbor looks good.JPG
It looks like the wisteria was in full of bloom. Too bad we missed it. It is nice and lush providing a nice place to relax in the swing chairs that hang from the arbor. I started the attack by pruning back the wild fronds. Lou started by cleaning up the cooler. The high today was only 88, much hotter than normal but 9 degrees less than some recent temps.

Sunday: (05/18) Back to work. Darn. We need to prepare for a barBQ party for Dawn's Graduation so I started a few quick repairs to the wooden deck. It's a bit rotten and termite eaten and a crowd could be a problem for it. I started with a small repair that needed a new support beam. i then got to the bigger problem. The deck was evidently built in three sections, why i can't guess. There is the small 10'x10' that I already fixed. There is a bigger 10"x20" section that apears to be mostly OK. And there is a small 3'x20' section between them and our fountain garden. It is mostly unsupported. I demolished the existing deck saving the deck boards.

Monday: (05/19) I haven't been feeling well the past couple of days. A little flu like symptoms so I take the mornings easy and get to work later in the day. This morning I updated one of the websites. I stopped by Whole Foods for breakfast then I went by the bank. Next stop, WalMart's to pickup a couple of DTV converter boxes. I received my two purchase credits I wanted to use them before they expire, a common problem for me. I got two RCA converters. A final stop by Trader Joe's for some eggs and milk then home.

When I got home I installed both converters. They work very nicely. They only tune in the digital channels but there is pass through so the existing tuners also continue to work for now. I like the guide that shows the current program information and what's on next. The new DTV that we use in the RV doesn't do that. It's interesting to note that there are 50 over the air digital channels that it tuned in. If it received the analog channels there'd be a lot more. More indecision possible at channel change time now.

Bad deck removed.JPG Deck beams replaced.JPG
Then it was time to do some real work. I finished the demolition and installed some new, actually used lumber, support beams. It will be stronger than original. It's nice to have a project to use some of the used lumber that is piled around here. Most of this lumber came from the old wisteria arbor.

Deck repaired.JPG
I finished the rebuild except for the fact I need a lot more deck screws. My project for tomorrow, just screwing around.

Tuesday: (05/20) I still have my bug so didn't do anything today. Lou and Dawn went by San Jose State and Lou had her doll class.

A follow up to a previous rant. When we returned home from our recent trip one of the letters in the mail was from the City of Santa Cruz which contained a check refunding the parking ticket amount. At last someone who can read, think; and had some idea of California design standards and common sense was found. I've only gotten three tickets, all for "supposed" parking violations. Two I've taken to court and had reversed because they were obviously erroneously issued. The other reversal was for a ticket I received for violation of a temporary sign that was posted after I parked. The third, I paid and decided not to fight it even though it was also in error due to the effort and distances involved. For it I had been in San Diego months previously at the time that the violation supposedly occurred. I never received a ticket just a letter months later. Since I'd been there and didn't take any pictures and because it would have involved appearing there, a couple of hundred miles away, I paid, reluctantly. I hate people who flagrantly violate laws, even parking laws. I make an unusually strong effort to avoid being a scofflaw and take it seriously when an enforcement officer violates their oath and doesn't take the matter as seriously. I should be good for another 15 to 20 years before the next wrongful ticket.

Dawn's friends Dawn and Courtney arrived this evening from Amherst, Massachusetts. Their having a nice visit.

Wednesday: (05/21) I went to a Traffic Signal Association meeting this morning. When I returned i put some more screws in the deck and cleaned things up some in prep of the party.

Lou and Dawn were busy cleaning and preparing and then enjoyed visiting with Dawn and Courtney.

Wilton Arbor.JPG Wilton Deck and Fountain.JPG
The arbor is a great place to stay cool, the deck is a great place to get warm.
Wilton Fern.JPG Cactus Flower.JPG
The hanging ferns that we got from Uncle Doug a couple of years ago have never looked better. They must have finally become accustom to our climate.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pismo Beach, North Campground

Thursday: We took highway 166 then up highway 101 to Pismo Beach. It was getting hot in Bakersfield and we were looking forward to the cooler, we hope, beach. We returned to our favorite campground, North Campground of Pismo Beach State Park. All our favorite sites were taken at the campground and it was a little crowded in the better areas so we ventured out into new territory and found a nice site closer to the highway. After initial setup, we walked downtown to have fish and chips at the Pismo Fish And Chips restaurant, our usual stop. We then returned to relax a bit before we went up to San Luis Obispo for the Farmers Market, a must see every Thursday evening. It was a bit warm there. Kenzie found that one of here favorite bookstores is closing so she made a special inspection. We picked up some bread at the Bread Of Life shop and a small pie at one of the vendors.
Campsite at pismo beach.JPG Ice Plant Flower.JPG
Friday: Breakfast was the little apple pie we picked up last night. The 6” pie is just right for the three of us. I haven't been able to get Internet at this site. No problem with obstructions nor with connecting to the satellite, just no Internet. Sometimes that's the way things are?

Lou and Kenzie were starting a walk to the beach when Lou noticed that a campsite was being vacated along the beach side that we like, so I moved us into it. The neighbors are further away and we front on a grassy field with the beach beyond past a small grove of trees. Nice!

I raised the dish and surprise, connected to the Internet immediately. Nice! I needed to be quite anyway since two ducks came up and closed their eyes for a duck nap right outside the RV steps. Can't disturb the critters.

Lou and Kenzie are out looking at the thrift shops. Surprise! They want to get that done because it's supposed to be hot today and the shops are inland so will be even more hot.

I fixed a pot of saurkrught, potatoes and pork chops and sausage. It was ready in a few minutes using the pressure cooker. We enjoyed the pork chops and have lots of left overs for another meal.

Saturday: Lou an Kenzie went out to see a swap meet in SLO but it wasn't open. Only open Sunday. After they returned, Lou fixed a nice breakfast of the left over potatoes and saurkraught and sausage. Ummm! We then took a long walk on the beach. When we returned, we packed up and departed about 11:30. We made another camper very happy since they got to move from a site near the entrance to one of the better sites. Too bad we couldn't have stayed longer.

We hit the road North toward home, the final leg of this trip. We stopped for a walk and lunch at the rest stop 30 miles North of Paso Robles. The trip home was uneventful though the wind was a bid gusty. The dash air conditioner was able to keep up with the heat.We made a final stop in Gilroy at Walmart's. I filled up with gas while Lou and Kenzie stretched in the cool inside the store. This may be the last chance to pay less than $4 a gallon? It was $3.97.

Interesting toy hanging on the rear of a fellow campers rig.JPG
This RVer likes his toys. He brought his light parasail plane. it might look like it crashed into the rear of his RV

Monday, May 12, 2008

Kern River CG, Hart Park, Bakersfield, Ca

Monday: Lou and I took a walk along the Valley View nature Trail then on up to the ridge. Along the ridge of the bluffs there is a trail of sorts but most of the way it's like walking on a balance beam with an extremely steep drop off on either side of about 100-150 feet. I kind of enjoyed the walk but the 50-60 mph wind gusts made it more difficult. Lou began having second thoughts so we slide/hiked down the side where there wasn't a shear drop before reaching the bottom on the back side of the ridge opposite the campground. we looked around on that side then went back to camp via more civilized trail. The wind never let up but was less strong at the bottom than at the top.Today was 10 degrees cooler than yesterday less than 70 degrees all morning but it was fully overcast with a threat of rain possible.

Flower along Kern River in canyon.JPG Flower along Kern River in canyon.JPG Flower along Kern River in canyon.JPG
We left the Visitor Center parking lot about 2pm headed toward Bakersfield. It was quite a windy trip from Red Rock Canyon to Bakersfield. We headed North on highway 395 then West on highway 178 by Lake Isabella through the Kern Canyon along side the Kern River which had a heavy flow. We looked at a couple of potential campgrounds on the way but decided to continue on. We stopped and took a walk beside the river and found more flowers.
Kern River Campground.JPG Kern River Campground.JPG
We didn't find any place nice to camp along the way so we stopped at Hart Park's Kern River campground East of Bakersfield. there are lots of trees in a nicely groomed campground. Our site is right next to the river. there are very few other campers, maybe three others possibly because the campground is so far off the normal routes. The better for our visit.

Kern River at Kern River Campground.JPG
Tuesday: This morning there were another group of firemen were setting up in the camp across from us. Yesterday one of th camps was occupied by a group of firemen. We were told they were here to practice water rescues in the river. The river is quite swift and deceptively dangerous. With all these firemen around, Lou wants to stay here another day?

After a walk around the park by the river, we packed to roll. We pulled out a little after 9am. The sign at the campground entrance says that a ranger will drop by to give a permit. No ranger stopped by yesterday nor this morning. We stopped and asked a group of people working at a building on the way out and they said there was no ranger on duty today. W left with out paying. The same thing happened the last time I stayed here a coupl of years ago. Seems like they should set up a steel ranger to receive payments.

we went over to the Ranch Market on south H street for breakfast. Kenie and I shared a melinessa torta while Lou had a breakfast burrito. We topped it all with som flan. we did a little shopping then Lou an Kenzie departed for the thrift shops while i fueled the RV and got some LPG before heading over to Helen's house.

At 7PM we went over to Noriega's Hotel for a Basque dinner. It was great, in the old fashion way. Everything perfect.

Today was cooler, in the mid to high 80's. Tomorrow it's going to be hot per the forecast. We'll probably be leaving for the coast soon. We're so weak.

Wednesday: Lou and Kenzie toured a couple of more thrift shops to complete their route. Otherwise just visiting.

Dinner was some of Helen's son Jay's Chili Verde with rice and beans.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Red Rock Canyon SP, Mojave, Ca

Friday: We moved South to Red Rock Canyon State Park in Ricardo CG. I'm not sure why it's called "red rock" because all the rocks around us are gray with only slight traces of any red? We'll be here a couple of days.

As it turns out, they have a nice dump here at the park so we didn't have to stop and pay to dump at Boulder Creek RV Park in Lone Pine on our way down. Oh well, better empty than full. RV dump stations are becoming rare since most are being closed for no particular reason?

It's a little warmer here since we're further South and a few thousand feet lower but still nice since there is an easy breeze.

Saturday: We got up early, prepared a nice breakfast of leftover saurkraught potatoes and sausage. We then hit the road in the toad South to Landers, Ca to visit Don's aunt Mary. We left the RV in the camp at Red Rock Canyon next destination is to the West so we just took a day trip to see Mary.

We had a nice visit, and went down to the town of Yucca Valley for lunch at the Fish and Brew restaurant, then a tour of the local thrift stores.

On our return trip, we stopped in Adalanto for dinner. Lou and I shared some very good Chinese food at the Fresh Wok while Kenzie had some cold cuts and other stuff from the, Market next door.

We stopped for gas and some more of Mike's Roadhouse Cafe pie in Mojave before arriving home about 9:30 PM.

When we opened the door we found a note from the ranger advising that we needed to leave or pay for our site. Something to ask about tomorrow.

Sunday: Mother's day!

We had cereal for breakfast and then took a nice walk up the wash near camp. Lots of flowers, more never previously seen. Also some intresting beatles. When Lou and Kenzie decided to return toward camp, I headed on up the wash then up to the ridge. I followed th ridge bck to the bluffs oerlooking camp then along them back down to amp. Some nice vistas to be seen!

Lou went down and straightened out the site payment with the ranger receiving an apology for the note. Evidently an multitude of errors on their part. We weren't thrown out.
We relaxed in the shade much of the rest of the day. It was quite pleasant with a light intermittent breeze. We shared our shade with some travelers form Germany that were traveling by car and stopped to take a walk on the trail.

In the evening, we walked the nature trail near the visitor center and drove around looking at some other areas but the wind was quite strong and we were blown home.

Monday: What a difference today. The sky is overcast and it's cooler, much cooler. The forecast is for 74 degrees as the high. it was over 85 degrees yesterday.

Today we leave Red Rock Canyon headed toward Bakersfield via Lake Isabella on highway 178. Since it's cooler, we probably will take another hike before we leave.

Our campsite at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Seeking shade at Our campsite at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Campsite viwed from up high at Red Rock Canyon.JPG
I'll get these pictures integrated into the posting soon.
On a hike at Red Rock Canyon.JPG

Lou watching bugs.JPG Dawn watching bugs.JPG Cool black bettle at Red Rock Canyon.JPG

Red beetle at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Colorful bettle at Red Rock Canyon.JPG View from the top at Red Rock Canyon.JPG

View from the top at Red Rock Canyon.JPG View from the top at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Flower in wash at Red Rock Canyon.JPG

Flower at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Cactus flower at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Bush with puffs at Red Rock Canyon.JPG

Bush with puffs and flowers at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Bush with puffs and flowers at Red Rock Canyon.JPG White flower at Red Rock Canyon.JPG

Purple flowers at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Flower cluster at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Yellow flowers at Red Rock Canyon.JPG

Small lavender flower at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Flower explosion at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Yellow flowers at Red Rock Canyon.JPG

Trumpet flowers at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Yellow flowers at Red Rock Canyon.JPG White flowers at Red Rock Canyon.JPG

Flower in the wash at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Red flower at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Cotton like flower at Red Rock Canyon.JPG

Delicate flower on a bush at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Colorful bush at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Bee enjoyin lunch on a flower at Red Rock Canyon.JPG

Cholla Flower at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Purple flower at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Red headed beattle at Red Rock Canyon.JPG

Bean like pods on bush at Red Rock Canyon visitor center.JPG Yellow flowers at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Red and blue flowers at Red Rock Canyon.JPG

Loco Weed at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Homer Simpson's profile at Red Rock Canyon.JPG Joshua tree Blooms at Red Rock Canyon.JPG