Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Is Here

Monday: (10/27) Lou fixed biscuits and gravy for breakfast, one of her favorite breakfasts. She then made lots of progress cleaning and repairing kitchen appliances, moved into her new sewing cabinet, folded laundry, preparing here smoker to get to work and much more.

I took it easy and read all the election material and prepared my sample ballot. Since we're often on the road we're absentee voters.

In the afternoon we all took a trip. We tried to drop off Dawn's recycle cans and bottles but the dropoff is closed Mondays. Now we know. Lou is also looking for a sweater she lost and her favorite Luu's Noodle Restaurant is next to the recycle stop so she checked it, it wasn't there. We then went to lunch at one of my favorite Chinese buffets, the Sunny Buffet in Sunnyvale. We also stopped at Smart and Final looking for 55 gallon heavy gauge bags. Their bags are only 1.3 mil. Dawn wanted to browse at the used bookstore in Mountain view so Lou and I did a little grocery shopping picking up our favorite yogurt from an Middle Eastern market there and then stopped by Minton Lumber where I picked up a door sweep for the hotwater heater cabinet. I don't want any critters finding a warm home. From there we went by Costco and this time they had our family pack Italian sausage. Lou's in the smoking mood.

And another day is wasted.

Tuesday: (10/28) Lou and Dawn went South, to San Jose as usual.

I installed the door sweep for the water heater. Wow, a completed project!  I also went to the bank and laundromat.  The  pad we use in Lou's car got oil on it when I rented the jackhammer. Lou sprayed it with simple green and I washed it in someone else's machine. It came out fully clean to our surprise. Of course, this is the problem with using laundromats for the regular clothes.

Wednesday: (10/29) I cleaned up the shop in the tent so I can use it. It's collected a lot of junk recently so everything was putaway or whatever as appropriate.

I moved the wood piles in the backyard. One ws under the oak tree where I stacked it when I pruned it last year. The other was our longtime location for the pile which is where the new green house will go. I moved it further back in the yard. It wont be too long before we wont be able to ever have a real fire here due to air quality concerns but we still can so far.

Thursday: (10/30) It was overcast this morning with light showers and started raining in the afternoon. I tinkered inside much of the day. Later in the afternoon the rain letup to minor sprinkles so I went out and did a little work on the new green house. Most of the old green house framing will be used on the new one.

Lou and Dawn returned home from San Jose. Dinner was leftovers. Spaghetti goes a long way.

Friday: (10/31) More rain. Should last through the weekend. I worked some more on the green house.

Saturday: (11/01) Lou and Dawn are off to Fresno to visit Lou's sister Kathy. I went out in the drizzle and worked on the greenhouse framing. The roof is from the old green house and since the old one was really a roof from the house eves to the fence top, there were only two end walls and no side walls. the new location will use the fence for one wall but now needs a front wall. Also the doors will be on that front wall rather than on the ends so the end walls will be modified some. It will actually be as much work as a completely new building but will get most of the old one recycled. I got a couple of hours in before the rain picked up so I'm doing a little web surfing while I wait for it to let up.It didn't let up. How nice!

Sunday: (11/02) The weather was very nice today. No rain. I completed the green house framing. The framing is welded tubing. I still need to hang the doors then all the welding is complete. About 3pm I headed off to a late lunch and stopped by Lowe's to get some material including the new plastic panels for the green house.

On the way, I stopped to fill the gas tank. I couldn't resist the low price, $2.85. Our local station is $3.19. I have really enjoyed this time approaching the election when the price of gas dropped quite a bit as it always does. While the collapse of the economy caused an equal drop for which I'm not as happy about. The price has dropped a total of more than $2.00 from just a few months ago. When we do get back on the road after Thanksgiving, it would be nice if the price were still down.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Chill In The Air

Mornings are becoming nippy but daytime temps are summer like. Its nice fall weather.

Monday: (10/20) Lou and I went to Ann’s Restaurant in Menlo Park for breakfast. We shared pancakes and a Denver omlette. After a walk around town we stopped in at Trader Joe’s for a couple of items, then home. When we got home there was a big FedEx package at the door. What had we ordered? Lou commented how whatever it was it was delivered to the correct address. They evidently hired people who can read, unlike the Post Office. Turns out, not so. The package was for our street number but for a street 4 blocks away. Unlike the consistent errors the postperson makes, this was at least to the correct street number. We walked the package over to the correct address.

I worked more on the shed project. Not too much accomplished. Lou worked on her crafts. Lou fixed steaks served with an avocado half, sliced red peppers and carrot and Raisin salad. Exciting, isn’t it.

Tuesday: (10/21) One of the problems with staying home is that there isn't always anything memorable to post. This blog is actually a diary and so reflects at least some of what happened to us but since I make the posts, mostly to me. Perhaps someday Lou will add something.

So, today I had my usual easy morning. While Lou gets up with or before the sun, I wakeup about 8-9 am. Of course, I'm the night person staying awake until 1 or 2 am while Lou's through for the day by 10pm. I usually watch Rachael Ray or Regis and Kelly then the View while enjoying tea and breakfast. Then, some times, I get to work. By the way, this is the typical day when we're home. When we're on the road everything is different.

Today we started with a trip to downtown Mountain View to the Tap Plastic store. Tap Plastic sells sheet plastic, fiberglas materials and foams. I was interested in foams. I want to add some foam under the bathtub while the wall is open to help eliminate squeaks and creaks when taking a shower. Turns out that the latex foams at the hardware store may work as well and be much cheaper. We then went by Minton Lumber nearby. Lou was looking for a good mildew sealer.

We continued on to Lowe's in Sunnyvale and Lou found her sealer for half the price. I was just looking around. We stopped by the Sunny Chinese Buffet again for lunch.

All Cleaned Up Ready to Break Out Concrete.JPG Crack In Concrete
When we finally returned home, I started sawing the concrete slab so I can remove the old driveway that is cracked and tilted about 3 inches. The crack was actually 2 inches wide before I filled it many years ago. Once the concrete is out, I get to pour a new floor for the storage sheds to be. I sawed about half way today. The saw only saws about 2.5 inches through the 6 inch slab but it usually breaks with a clean edge. I'm leaving about a six foot wide section as a sidewalk. In between while the saw blade cooled off, I tinkered with other projects.

Wall Repair Bare Studs Wall Repair After Sealing
Lou sealed (painted) the framing in the wall that she is replacing in the living room.

Wednesday: (10/22) Typical morning, see above. I made corned beef hash for breakfast. I continued sawing the slab. Lou went down to San Jose for her doll class. I made a hardware store run to get another blade. They don't last too long. Some of the rock in the concrete seems to be harder than steel. I finished the cut as it was starting to get dark. I also trimmed up the blackberries by the fence where the sheds will go. They will be removed and relocated to pots for the winter hopefully surviving to be relocated in the spring. Lou stayed in San Jose with Dawn.

Thursday: (10/23)  Typical morning. The project of today is to breakup the concrete. Lou wants me to rent a jackhammer rather than break it out with my trusty 75 lb breaker bar as I usually do. Sounds like  a good idea.

Concrete Debris
The jackhammer did the job quickly but it started out weighing 60 lbs and seemed to weigh 200 lbs before I finished? I'll be busy hauling the debris away for the next few days. I think the garbage man would notice if I threw it in the garbage can. It's about 3.5 cu yds or 5-6 tons of debris.

For my late lunch (about 4:30) I had Chinese from our local fast food Chinese restaurant. It's only a block away and quite good.

Lou and Dawn were riding the rails around San Jose and Campbell this afternoon and evening. Dawn will be able to get to many places very easily on the light rail system so they are practicing travel.

San Francisco Zoo African Safari.JPG San Francisco Zoo Keeping Its Ducks In A Row.JPG
Friday: (10/24) A day at the Zoo. We headed up to the San Francisco Zoo this morning. On the way we stopped in San Bruno at Neil's Restaurant for breakfast.

It must have been a while since we were last there. i drove to where I thought the main gate was on Sloat and it was now closed. They've spent a lot of money on a new entrance. We liked the old one. The African Safari near the main gate was quite nice, and natural looking not just a pen. Above right, we found they are keeping their ducks in a row, and a turtle.

San Francisco Zoo Kangaroos.JPG San Francisco Zoo Merkats.JPG
The kangaroos looked happy. Don't they always? The picture on the right looks like one of our family pictures. We're all sitting at the beach. Actually a colony of merkats.

San Francisco Zoo Grissley Bears.JPG
There was a nice looking pair of grisly bears sisters.

In all we found many of the displays closed for construction. No elephants, no tigers, lions nor any big cats. It seemed smaller than on previous visits. Still a good zoo though.

Saturday: (10/25) I spent the day taking five loads of concrete rubble to the dump. Each load was estimated at from 1200-1500 pounds. That's a pretty good load for a little volvo station wagon. It's actually more than the neighbors little Toyota pickup can carry. Several years ago we moved a bunch of 300 pound concrete blocks using both our Toyota longbed pickup and the neighbors shortbed Toyota pickup. We could carry 9 blocks in pours and 3 in theirs. Looks like our wagon cound have carried the three as easily. Our pickup could carry a full load od dirt filled to the top of the sidewalls and mounded up, over a yard of material. Moving debris with the car is a little different. The concrete rubble was in two forms. block pieces of various sizes fron 30 to 100 pounds and rubble. Today was spent moving most of the blocks.

Lou and Dawn also started the day as usual with a garage and rummage sale run. Lou found a really nice new sewing cabinet for her sewing machine. She was busy rearranging her room to accept the cabinet and get ride of her older cabinet as well as a love seat.

Sunday: (10/26) Lou and Dawn went to the Bridge Concert at mountain View's Shoreline Amphitheater today. It was about a 10 hour concert. They go with a bunch of friends and had a good time. The weather was even pretty good.

Wilton Yard Concrete Removed.JPG
I spent the morning taking a couple of loads to the dump. That eliminated the concrete rubble pile and some other junk. The last load was about half concrete blocks and half concrete rubble in bags and a third half was the love seat that Lou is getting rid of. It isn't worh anything to the thrift shops. That gives you an idea of our furniture quality.

When I was starting to get rid of the concrete debris i really considered calling a hauling service or getting a dumpster. Either would have cost a lot more and I do have lots of time and labor available and not that much cash. Then there was the fact it was Saturday and I didn't think i would be too successful finding either someone to haul the debris over the weekend nor in getting a debris box delivered. Even though I originally estimated 10 trips would be needed with the car it only took 7 trips, total cost $70. Not too bad. I also thought it would take longer but it only took about one hour for each load and dump trip. It's now all cleared and ready for whatever is next.

I spent the evening relaxing!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Home Again

Sunday: (10/12) We were up early and back on the road. We stopped in Ukiah at Friedman Brothers Hardware and the TSC (Tractor Supply Company). These stores always require our attention when we're nearby.

Next stop, the Solar Living Center in Hopland. Always an interesting place to visit.

Back on the road. We ran into stop and barely go between Santa Rosa and Petaluma then again through San Francisco. Certainly reduced our fuel mileage.

We stopped in Redwood City to fuel up then went by Harry's Hofbrau for dinner. It's October fest time so we all shared Weinershcnitzel dinners. Finally home about 8pm.

Monday: (10/13)Lou and Dawn went down to San Jose. When I did get up, I emptied the car and washed it. I also washed the RV then completed washing the sheets and making the beds for the next trip. I delivered the toad to the shop for a scheduled service visit tomorrow. I stopped by our local China Mei restaurant for dinner.

Tuesday: (10/14) Since I'm without car today, I mainly goofed off today until Lou returned home late in the afternoon. We had left overs for dinner.

Wednesday: (10/15) I spent the morning designing my storage sheds and making material lists. I decided not to put a shed back up where the old shop was against the house. We really are enjoying the light that comes in the windows that were covered all these years. I'll build two sheds against the side fence about 15 feet from the house.

Canopy that was by old shop.JPG Temp Yard Shed location before.JPG
I started to work on moving the junk from where I'll be building our new yard sheds, two 10'x10' sheds. One will serve as a shop, the other for storage.

Wilton Living Room damage.JPG No drywall on wall.JPG
Lou attacked the living room wall. She removed the damaged drywall from the living room side of the shared bathroom wall. The shower leaked and damaged much of the wall previously. The bathroom was repaired years ago but the living room side repair was deferred. No need to have the whole house unlivable all at once. Why not a little unlivable all the time? Lou removed the drywall and cleaned up the debris placing it in the car.

Lou and I went to a new Chinese buffet in Sunnyvale, the Sunny Buffet on Matilda Avenue at Ross. The food was very good and Lou didn't have a reaction so I may get to visit the place again. If a restaurant uses cottonseed oil or MSG then Lou breaks out and we don't return. All went well!

No more canopy.JPG Canopy relocated and installed as temporary yard shed under the oak tree.JPG
Thursday: (10/16) Lou and I moved the canopy that was by the old shop to it's new home under the oak tree. I lowered it back down to the normal height and installed the walls. Previously I had raised it up 3 feet to just provide shade for the shop and to provide lots of headroom when moving around plywood sheets and the like. It will provide a home for the rest of the "stuff" from the old shop, the stuff that has collected under it and a home for all the bicycles. While I'm building the new permanent storage sheds where the old canopy was, the temp shelter will protect the "stuff" form the rain and winter weather, hopefully.

Lou washed down the framing to kill any mold and treated the carpet an padding as well. One reason for replacing the wall is her concern for a moldy smell she notices when we return home after having been away. I don't notice it but she does and she's dong the repair so I'm quite agreeable.

Lou working hard at arbor.JPG
Lou and I went to dinner at her favorite Chinese restaurant, the New Tung Kee in San Antonio Square in Mountain View. We then did some grocery shopping before returning home.

Friday: (10/17) Began with a run to the dump. Then we stopped by the IKEA store for breakfast. It's next door to the dump.

I then took some time to get the pictures uploaded and onto the blog. Lou replaced the rollup plastic door material for her pottery shed. I finally got outside late in the afternoon. Those darn pictures took quite a while to get posted. Enjoy! I started moving stuff into the relocated tent shed. The wood pile will have to wait until Sunday.

Lou fixed some a stir fry meal of tomatoes, onions peppers and spam. Quite good.

Saturday: (10/18) We had breakfast from Jack-in-the-box this morning. I had one of their new bowl breakfasts. Lou ordered a croissant but got a burrito. Breakfast was adequate and fast. We had to get going early.

Lou and our neighbor Meilie went to a rummage sale. I went to the doctor again. Seems like a habit recently. I called yesterday afternoon, at Lou's insistence, to have them check on my chest pain which I've pretty much determined is a recurrence of shingles. Fortunately, no rash yet but the same pain and sensitivity as was experienced 23 years ago when I first had an outbreak. Since the pain is over the heart, Kaiser is interested enough to see me again. A couple of weeks ago, in Eureka, when I went to the hospital, they cleared my heart with an EKG. The doctor did another EKG today and compared it to one I had in August for my pre-op then. No change or problem with the heart. So now, the determination by Kaiser here is the same as at St Josephs Hospital in Eureka. The heart is OK and I have a pain in the chest. So,  find a way to enjoy it? There's not much they can do for shingles. I'm starting to feel like a hypochondriac with all these doctor visits over the past few months. It's a good thing we've been hanging around home so much.

About 0930 Lou and I drove up to San Bruno and caught the BART train to San Francisco. Red Bull was having a soapbox race today at Delores Park in the Mission District. It was an interesting event. We sat on the grass in the park and watched the race on a Jumbotron TV. I forgot to bring my camera so I took some pictures with my phone. Someday they may end up here on the blog. Until then look at the Red Bull website for pictures. We could also look over at the end of the track but it was easier to see it on the big screen. The big screen died just before the end of the race so we headed down to Mission Street for a late lunch at El Herradero Restaurant 2224 Mission St. The place was crowded but we got right in before the big rush and our order was taken right away. Unfortunately, everyone in the restaurant was having a long wait for their orders to come out of the kitchen. Obviously prepared to order. Our order took about 50 minutes. Fortunately they had really good salsa and fresh chips. We then looked around a few shops then headed toward home.

Sunday: (10/19) I baked up a batch of Italian sausage and some pork rids and then fried some home fried potatoes for breakfast. Lou fixed the eggs and we had our breakfast. Most of the meat was then frozen for later use.

I went outside after updating the blog. I moved the wood pile into the relocated tent and also moved almost everything else from the patio so that the concrete can be broken out.

Lou was busy with crafts, her wall replacement project and ? Lou cooked a corned beef brisket and made sandwiches for dinner.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Prairie Creek Redwoods SP, Orick, Ca

Trinidad Harbor.JPG
Tuesday: (10/07) We headed North after filling up the gas tanks. We stopped for breakfast in Trinidad at the Trinidad bay Cafe, one of our must stops when we pass. We started breakfast sharing one of their berry cobblers then topped it off with an omlette that lou and i shared and Dawn had oatmeal.

We then headed on to the park about 20 miles further North arriving about 11am.

Our campsite at Prairie creek.JPG Prairie Creek by our camp.JPG
The park is half shut down and the kiosk is closed and almost nobody here so we found a nice spot on the prairie easily. It's overcast and threatening drizzle but quite nice.

The sun finally came out later inthe afternoon. We relaxed in camp then Lou got energetic and barbecued some chicken and steaks for dinner. Lots of leftovers for later.

Elk Prairie at Prairie Creek SP Wild rose pod at Prairie creek SP
About 6pm we took a hike around the prairie on the Elk Prairie Trail.

Wild rose pods at Prairie creek SP Wet spider  web on Elk Prairie
Always interesting things to see along the trail. A wet spider web. A pod on what we determined was a wild rose bush.

View of Elk Prairie.JPG Lou and Dawn on Elk Prairie Trail.JPG
Above left is the view of Elk Prairie. On the right are Lou and Dawn hiking the trail.

View overlooking our campsite along Elk Prairie trail.JPG Elk along Elk Prairie Trail.JPG
From across the prairie on the Elk Prairie Trail we got a nice view of our campsite from a rise on the trail. We also came upon the main elk herd.

When we arrived back at camp we had several new neighbors. The mist was rising from the prairie and the overcast returned. We stayed inside and watched TV, really ruffing it.

Wednesday: (10/08) The low foggy mist over the prairie burnt off really early and the sun was out. We enjoyed watching a fellow camper break camp and pack up. He was on a motorcycle touring the Northern route. He had all the comforts and seemed to be very organized putting it away and back on the bike. He retired a couple of years ago and takes a couple of the trips a year. Evidently his wife still works nd he uses a GPS device called a Scout to allow her to follow his location. He can also sent an OK message back through the satellite. When he camps for the night, he sends an OK message. It can also send a 911 call via satellite so it works in the boonies when he takes a hike. Sounds like something I really should get since i usually hake alone.

We broke out our planes for a little flying time until a little breeze came upo and we decided to quit rather than loose a plane iin the trees.

Dawn and Lou in Fern Canyon Dawn and Lou in Fern Canyon
Around noon, I packed a lunch and we drove out to Fern Canyon. It's about 4.5 miles by trail 12 miles by road to the canyon. There are several streams to forward on the beach road but today wasn't a hiking day.

Woolie Bollie on Coastal Trail At Prairie Creek SP Beetle on Coastal Trail At Prairie Creek SP
We found some critters along the trail, a caterpillar and a beetle.

Dawn and Lou on Coastal Trail at Prairie Creek SP Lou and Dawn at Gold Bluffs Beach, Prairie Creek SP
From Fern Canyon, we hiked along and by the beach.

Gold Bluffs Beach, Prairie Creek SP Interesting sand at Gold Bluffs Beach, Prairie Creek SP
It was a bit cool on the beach but the views are nice. The textured sand on the beach looks like the moon?

Elk in pond at Gold Bluffs Beach, Prairie Creek SP Lou and Dawn crossing stream at Gold Bluffs Beach

We passed a small elk herd and some bachelor elk on the way back to the car. Crossing the stream from the beach to the parking area was exciting.

From the end of the road it's about .1 mile to the mouth of the canyon, a narrow steep fern covered walled canyon. The trail is a bit wetter and muddier than usual due to the ecent rains. But it was as green and ferny as usual.

Of course we started with lunch overlooking the ocean then the hike.

When we returned to the mouth of the canyon we turned right instead of left toward to car. We decided to go see a waterfall that is about . mile further up the trail. Wee didn't find the waterfall probably due to several detours on the trail due to mud holes. e hailed up about a mile and then out to the beach then back the beach to the car. As we were hiking from the beach we saw a couple of old bachelor elk grazing in a pond right by the parking lot.

On our way home we went out to the Redwood National Park visitor center about a mile sout of the town of Orick. We also stopped at a couple of the craft vendors in Orick. There are only about 6 ventors left o the 15 that used to be here. Either a sign of the bad economy or that people really don't need redwood sculptures from China?

We stopped at the Palms Cafe for dinner.We started with a piece of homemade peach pie. Then I had an excellent chicken fried teak and Lou and Dawn shared a steak. Everything I homemade good.

The evening was topped of with a campfire. The weather was very nice today.

Thursday: (10/09) A nice clear morning. Breakfast was spaghetti. We relaxed around camp all morning and flew our planes. Lunch was leftovers, of course.

Lou and I took a hike a little ways out the james Irvine trail and back. It wasn't as much fun as planned. Fro some inexplicable reason thwy have eliminated to best part of the trail by rerouting it. It now totally bypasses the center of the best redwood forest to be found and is routed far away on the side of a hill a half mile away. Brilliant! Of course, it was still a good hike. How could it be anything else here, just not as good as it could have been.

Neighbor leopard cat at Prairie Creek.JPG
When we returned we had a new neighbor that had a friendly cat. The cat was interesting because it looked like a leopard. Acording to the owner, that's because it was. Evidently a cross between a cat and a small type of leopard cat found somewhere?

For dinner I fixed a bi batch of spaghetti. Enough to last the rest of our trip.

When we took our evening walk around camp to see who arrived, we met another cat. Seems like more and more people are camping with their cats.

Friday: (10/10) Breakfast was simple, spaghetti. After breakfast we flew the planes a while until the wind picked up.

Lunch was leftover saurkraught, potatoes, and pork.

Lou relaxing on our hike on the West Ridge Trail at Prairie Creek.JPG Forest View on West Ridge Trail at Prairie Creek SP
After lunch Lou and I took a hike up the West Ridge Trail to the Zig Zag #1 Trail over to the Prairie Creek Trail and back to camp, about 7 miles.

Tree Mushrooms at Prairie Creek Mushroom along James Irvine Trail at prairie Creek SP
Mushroom along Prairie Creek Trail at Prairie Creek SP A deer with two bodies at Prairie Creek
On our hikes we saw lots of fungi all quite interesting. We also saw this unusual deer with two bodies?

Lou examining a creek on James Irvine Trail.JPG Lou examining the creek on Prairie Creek Trail
Lou loves to look in the ponds and streams for living things.

Lou and Don on the Prairie Creek Trail.JPG Lou and Don on the Prairie Creek Trail.JPG
I wanted a picture of both of us on the trail so I used the timer feature. unfortunately I didn't have a tripod. I snapped a couple and couldn't decide on the best because they both show the wonderful forest.

It was a very nice hike.

For dinner, Lou fixed rotini and sausage soup.

Saturday: (10/11) There was a heavy frost on everything this morning. It must have been cool last night. The sky is clear this morning and it looks like another good day to be. We're leaving here today, heading back home. But first, another hike, this time with Dawn on the Prairie Creek Trail. It's a nice level trail along the river. After the hike, we returned to camp and departed just before noon.

We headed back down to Mackinleyille. Dawn wanted to pick up some plants at a nursury there. We then headed on down to Freshwater near Eureka to a native plant nursery to look for plants.

And, of course, since we were near, we stopped by the cookhouse for a late lunch (4pm). A little more shopping before heading on South out of town toward home. We stopped for the night just North of Willits at a rest stop.