Thursday, July 23, 2009

Home Again

Thursday: (07/23) It's a nice morning outside, the doggies were out as we enjoyed tea at the arbor. Breakfast was eggs, steak and English muffins. Lots of things to catch up on. The yard sheds are still needing to be built, my laptop is sick and needs fixing, the RV has problems with the generator and refrigerator, and more. Where to start? Time for more tea!

Ernie started with his laundry. I did get the car and RV washed. I did dispose of all of the stressed condiments and other food in the RV refrigerator. While I couldn't get it to cool enough for the last coulpe of days in the high desert heat. I did get it to cool after I emptied it and here in our coller environs. It's now at 33 degrees. I guess we'll have to stay out of the 110 degree weather.

Dinner was the KFC $12 chicken bucket special.

Friday: (07/24) Don's egg, sausage, horseradish cheese buns for breakfast.  Wash day. My laundry bag from the RV was running over as well as having dirty sheets so it was time to start the washer.

We decided to go look at fifth wheel RV's for Ernie. One of the few places left is SeeGrins in Gilroy. We arrived in Gilroy just in time for lunch at the Longhouse Restaurant. I had pancakes, eggs and bacon Ernie had ham and eggs with home fries and Lou and Dawn shared a garlic shrimp calamari with linguine. This is garlic country. In fact, this is the Garlic Festival weekend here in Gilroy. The fetival got too big for our enjoyment so we haven't been to it in years. Fortunately, the traffic wasn't too bad in the area. We found some nice new and used trailers and nw have an idea of what's available and for what cost.

Dinner was BBQ ribs with baked potatoes, and a green salad.

Saturday: (07/25) Breakfast was English muffins. Including our meal descriptions may be too much for some readers, especially when we're home and or the meals are nothing special. They serve a couple purposes though. My memory is totally ineffective and I would have no way of knowing what I had eaten if it weren't written down in this diary. Lou even used it while Ernie and I were away to verify we were eating somewhat properly. So, even though I might not need to have that kind of detail for our mundane home time, they will probably remain.

Ernie had the radio set from his truck installed in his car. Lunch was ham sandwiches.

Dinner was stuffed fluke fish, french fries, with carrot apple and raisin salad.

Sunday: (07/26) Ernie fixed biscuits and gravy for breakfast.

Lou and I went out looking at hardware stores. Among other things we were looking for a cart to hold our fire wood. The pile needs to be moved for the new sheds and it might as well be placed on wheels. There were none to be found and none of the utility dollys were riht either so we decided to use a little red wagon and some wire shelving to do the job. While we were out, we stopped at the Chinese Buffet in Sunnyvale on Mathilda Ave near Hwy 237. It was very good. When we got home I didn't get to work finding many things to do to avoid work.

Ernie was busy cleaning his car.

Dinner was whatever was in the fridge tonight. Lou fixed some stuffed raw mushrooms, the rest was first come first serve from the fridge.

Monday: (07/27) Ernie fixed a nice breakfast of eggs, bacon and his special hash brown potatoes ala heart attack. Very good! He's off this morning to Bakersfield. He'll be attending the funeral for Mark, Debra's son, who drowned last week. (see 07/23 "It's A Small World")

It was an auspicious day this morning, but we missed it. There are no baby birds in the nest any more, they "flew the coop" or nest this morning.
Lou thinks she saw them on the lawn early this morning but didn't connect it with our babies. It's amazing how quickly they become regular birds.

We went to our local pizzeria Pizz'a Chicago. We enjoy the frige pizza. It has everything on it and we haven't been there in a while.

I managed to get a couple of letters written and some work at the computer but nothing in the yard where I should be. Tomorrow won't be better since I'll be off to San Francisco for a meeting in the evening but will leave shortly after noon to enjoy the city for a while as well.

Since our pizza was a late lunch, we didn't need a real dinner so a salad was enough.

Tuesday: (07/28) Lou and I did our weekly grocery shopping.

I caught the train up to San Francisco for the BAADAUG (Bay Area Aplication Developers Adobe User Group) meeting. The guest speaker was Ossama Alami, Developer Advocate from Google talking about the new(er) Google Maps Flash API. An interesting meeting. As usual, the pizza was good too.

Oak Tree Before trim Oak Tree Being trimmed
Wednesday: (07/29) We started the day meeting the tree crew. He had our oak and redwood trees trimmed. Lou was concerned about the
health of our oak tree so she called the arborist that trimmed our cedar tree in San Jose a couple of years ago. They do it the old fashioned way, no aerial lift trucks. They climb around in it using a chain saw and pruners. The oak tree isn't a runt either being about 70+ feet tall. They throw a rope over a limb and pull themselves up then relocate the rope higher and can dance around doing the trimming with a safety line above. They thin the limbs out and remove the dead wood and the tree looks much better now.

Oak Tree After Trim Breakfast Under the Arbor
The tree looks much better after the trim. We enjoyed breakfast Thursday under the trimmed tree.

I went down to pick up Dawn in San Jose and fixed her computer and printer. The computer lost it's mind and the printer was jambed, or thought it was. Opening and closing all the doors fixed the printer. The computer evidently has a bad system memory battery. The clock needed to be reset. It all happend after the UPS tripped when the vacuum was plugged in to it.

I fixed pork, potatoes and sauerkraut in the slow cooker for dinner.

Thursday: (07/30) I worked on the sheds, sort of. I moved a bunch of lily of the Nile plants from the back yard flower bed to the front flower bed by the RV. The RV casts such a shadow that nothing likes to grow there. The lilies may survive there. i also potted a few in case I want them somewhere else after building the sheds. I also removed an old "potato" plant bush. I believe it must have the hardest wood of any plant in the yard. I think I need to sharpen the axe now.

Breakfast was sauerkrauted potatoes with eggs and bacon. Ham sandwich for lunch. Lou and Dawn fixed a nice homemade pesto sauce on ride rice noodles with vegetables and mushrooms. That was served with steamed spinach. Dawn grows her own herbs which she picked just before making the pesto.

Friday: (07/31) Wow, another week has slipped by. Note the extensive blog entries above. Breakfast was eggs, toast and fried European bologna. I made some progress moving dirt from the flower bed for the sheds. It's very slow work because it's 60% roots and 40% dirt. Lunch was ham sandwiches. Ernie had the dogs serviced at PetSmart. Ernie fixed turkey stroganoff and corn on the cob for dinner.

Removing Raised Dirt Pile Lots Of Roots In Raised Beds
Saturday: (08/01) Cereal for breakfast. I moved more dirt and started building the firewood rack.

Growing Dirt Pile
Lou and Dawn found some treasures at rummage sales and estate sales.Ernie fixed grilled bologna and cheese sandwiches for lunch. Dinner was leftovers.

New Wood Cart Loaded Wood Cart
(08/02) Breakfast was my morning sandwich commonly called the Don McMuffin but with a variation. I used the rye bread from our neighborhood Russian Market with an ege, cheese and fried European bologna. I finally assembled a wood cart using a wire shelf unit and some wheels off a wagon. It seems kind of sturdy. Lou attended her pottery class at the cultural center. Ernie went to Costco for new tires. Lunch was more leftovers Ernie's turkey stoganoff and Lou and Dawn's pesto creation.

Los Tracnos Reserve Sign Lost Tracnos Reserve Trail
In the afternoon I went up in the hills above town for a hike. I couldn't convince anyone else to go. I hikes in The Los Tracnos Reserve. It is located on the San Andreas Fault and has some easily observable effects of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

Fence Crossing San Andreas Fault offset In 1906 Post Delieate San Andreas Fault Path
The fence above was offset several feet during the quake in 1906. There are posts along the fault line. Even though we're constantly warned a big quake is coming, I didn't feel anything today.

The Only Flower Seen In Los Tracnos Reserve
This was the only flower seen in the reserve?

Dinner was Lou's Shepherds Pie. Very good!

Monday: (08/03) I took the day off today. I did one of my favorite duties, watching (inspecting) the contractors putting in a new gas line on the main street near our house. In particular, i watch them do the guided boring and place the 8 inch pipe. It's quite interesting that they can stear the bit to arrive at the correct depth in the center of the receiving trench. We haven't had a good project needing my inspection in the neighborhood for a while.

Tuesday: (08/04) I managed to spend (waste) another day watching the contractors again paving a school parking lot and patching some of the holes in the road for the gas line replacement. We had dinner at Harry's Haufbrau in Redwood City tonight.

Wednesday: (08/05) Breakfast was the usual breakfast sandwich. More digging. I removed the last of the dirt. Still need to shave a little more to get to grade. Lunch was Chinese vegetables and 5 flavor chicken from our local fast food place China Mei. Lou and I did the grocery shopping. Ernie fixed a roast and some pot roast vegetables. Lou had here pottery class this evening.

Thursday: (08/06)I had the usual breakfast sandwich. Everyone else had cereal or yogurt. Lou fixed chef's salads for lunch. I managed to wast the day doing little. Lou and I did go by Costco for a couple of things and to the hardware store.

In the afternoon, I made a second backup of the data and documents on my netbook then restored the drive to the original default state. Then, I began the arduous task of reinstalling all the applications. All this in the hope that the drive is actually good and it's just the worthless Windows operating system that is flaky. For dinner I fixed spaghetti. Lou had another ceramics class at the cultural center.

Friday: (08/07) Ernie fixed some cored beef hash and eggs for breakfast. I continued my task of re-installing appliction software on my netbook. That took all day to get most of it re-installed. For dinner I fixed oriental stir fried vegetables with pork and tofu.

Saturday: (08/08) Something different for breakfast. Dawn made apple fritters. Another day to avoid real work. Lou and I went on a tool hunt . She wants some groves place on the rim of the replacement wheel she made for her and Dawn's spinning wheel. After not finding the right router bit anywhere we (I) decided to make a jig and use whatever we have so that will be the task for tomorrow. We stopped by the Chavez Market in Redwood City for a shred Super Nacho for lunch. My only real accomplishment was installing a replacement shifter cable on my folding Dahon bike. The old cable and sheath got corroded somehow. Must have been ridden hard and put away wet once too often. Dinner was leftover spaghetti with grilled vegetables. I finally got all the applications installed on this laptop again. I do hope it stays healthy now.

It's A Small World

Thursday: (07/23) I started the day a little after 6am with the phone ringing. Aunt Helen gets up early and reads the newspaper, two things we don't do. Reading obituaries isn't one of our interests but, I guess that becomes much more important as the years accumulate. Anyway, she noticed the obituary of Mark. Mark is the son of our friend Debbie we all visited two days ago when we were in Bakersfield. That was the only time Helen heard of the name or met Debbie. Mark is also the Realtor that sold our house in Bakersfield a few years ago. He's well know in town. While we visited with Debbie, we reminisced about our canoe trips down the Russian River in Northern California many years ago and Debbie mentioned that Mark liked to float down the Kern River on inner tubes and that she had gone with him a couple of times recently. We have floated down the river ourselves in our youth. Mark was found in the river yesterday. It's a small world, you never know what might happen and how things might interrelate. It's a tragic loss! Our thoughts are with Debbie.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Heading Home The Long Way

Our Campsite At Alpine Summit
Saturday: (07/18) We headed down the mountain from our campsite at Alpine Summit on Highway 92 to Highway 189. We had to avoid contact with the many bicyclists on the road. Seems like a popular route. Actually a bicycle passing the RV on a 12 foot wide road is easier than a car.

Flower Near Alpine Summit Flower Near Alpine Summit
There were some nice flowers along the road.

Nice Views On Highway 92 Nice Views On Highway 92
We were lucky to have very nice weather and the views were great.

Bridal Veil Falls
We continued West stopping at Bridal Veil Falls just before meeting Highway 89 in Provo. We headed South on Highway 89 all day. B

Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon
We detoured off Highway 89 a bit to Bryce Canyon NP. We parked at Ruby;s Inn and rode the shuttle into the park to all the photo view points. We hiked between Inspiration Point and Sunset Lookout for the best views of the hoodoos. We made it out on the last shuttle then returned to Highwy 89 stopping oor some pictures in Red Canyon. Bryce Canyon looked good even though half the park was closed and in flames. The weather was perfect. We seemed to have avoided the hot spell for another day.

Flower At Bryce Canyon Hoodoos At Bryce Canyon
There were, of course, some nice flowers in Bryce.

Red Canyon SP, Utah Red Canyon SP, Utah
On our way back to Highway 89 we stopped in Red Canyon State Park.

Cafe Adobe In Hatch Utah
We had very nice dinners in Hatch a few miles further down Highway 89 at the Cafe Adobe. I had a Chile Relleno and a beef enchilada, both home made and excellent. Ernie had a beef enchilada and a tostada. He didn't complain either.

Our Campsite On The Way To Cedar Breaks NP
We exited Highway 89 taking Highway 14 toward Cedar Breaks NP. We stopped for the night in an ATV parking area off the road. We're going to call this dispersed camping.

Cedar Breaks Amphitheater
Sunday: (07/19) Breakfast of egg, bacon and cheese Don McBuns. We then headed on up to Cedar Breaks NP. We arrived early and the small Visitor Center lot was all but empty. We examined the amphitheater (the eroded rocks) on the cliffs. There were lots of very nice flowers including one we haven't seen before, the blue columbine, which seemed to be white to us. We hiked the trail toward the campground which was an excellent flower path.

Blue Columbines? Real Blue Columbines
We haven't seen this flower before but they were in abundance here at Cedar Breaks NP. They are supposedly blue columbines but almost all we saw were white. I did finaly capture a blue flowers plant.

Elkhead Elkhead
This is suposedly called an elkhead flower. Its quite impressive and popular with the bees. Its flower is a very faint purple though it looks white.

Small Sunflowers A Boquet
There were, of course, lots of flowers.

We then drove on up looking through the campground and stopping at all the view points. the campground was very nice and we'll probably return for a longer visit probably off season at another time. The park is small so seeing it ll didn't take too long. We started to bead out of the park to the North but changed our minds when we saw the 13% grade sign, just after it started downhill with no place to turn around a big rig. Fortunately about a 1/4 mile down the hill there was a wide spot to turn around, which we utilized. The way out the other direction that we came in isn't all that much better, it's 8% grades. The park is up in the clouds at 10,400 feet so there is a long way to come down.

We stopped in Cedar City to restock drinking water and a few other items at Walmarts and to get gas. We then had hamburgers and left over corn muffins for lunch. We headed West on Highway 56 which turned into Nevada 319. We then headed North on Highway 93 a short distance to the Cathedral Gorge SP and Visitor Center. We picked up some information about the nearby state parks then went out to the Cathedral Gorge and looked around the "caves" or eroded slots in the cliff. We also checked out the campground but decided to move on.

Cathedral Gorge Ernie At Cathedral Gorge
Our first stop in Nevada was the Cathedral Gorge State Park.

Our Campsite At Spring Valley SP Spring Valley Lake, Nevada
We headed North to Pioche then East on Highway 322 to the end of the road and our campground at Spring Valley SP. It had rained on the road shortly before we arrived and was heavily overcast with thunder sounding. We picked our spot and settled in for the night. There is a lake here as well. We're far enough from it to not have a lot of pesky bugs. We're at 5838 feet elevation so it's a bit cooler and the clouds help as well.

Dinner was ground turkey patties with Lima beans, cottage cheese, and apple sauce.

Monday: (07/20) Ernie cooked some biscuits in a frying pan and we had biscuits and gravy.

Spring Valley Dam With Rocky Crags Beyond
After breakfast we hiked across the dam to the top of the jagged rocks beyond. Great views of the area from there.

Beautiful Yellow Flowers Ernie Making His Way to The Top
On the way, we found some ornate yellow flowers that we hadn't seen before. Ernie wasn't even showing his age. He made it to the top. We're dangerous on hikes together.

Spring Valley Lake Spring Valley Lake Marina With Campground In Distance
The lake is full and quite nice. We're staying in the Horse Thief Gulch CG in the distance beyond the marina. We finally made it back to camp safely, we drove around the lake and looked at the other campground. It was not as nice as ours. We also looked at the Stone cabin, an old settlers rock house that's been restored. Unfortunately, it wasn't open.

Lunch was cheese, celery sticks and carrot sticks. We were on the road South just before the 2pm checkout time. We checked out a couple of other parks on the way. Echo Lake SP a few miles from our camp was kind of barren and hot as was Kershaw-Ryan SP down by Caliente. We luckily had decided on Spring Valley when we decided to settle in last night.

We arrived in Las Vegas and checked in to the Sam's Town RV Park about 7pm. We had dinner in the Firelight Buffet. We managed to actually do it right and only have one plate each. That makes for a good and cheap dinner. We were treated to a nice rain storm with lightening. While we get rain at home. Lightening is much more rare. Ernie went over to the Wild Wild West for a visit. He came home as the roads were a bit flooded.

Tuesday: (07/21) We started the day doing a bit of laundry in the RV park laundry room. A pleasant place wash $1, dry $,75, much less than half normal. We then returned to the buffet to have breakfast and managed to control ourselves again. Eating out may become the norm for the rest of the trip home. The refrigerator isn't working. the freezer is OK but the fridge is 60 degrees. Darn, we'll just have to eat out here in Las Vegas, In Bakersfield and at Pismo Beach, all places with great dining. When I get back home I really have to get the generator and now the refrigerator fixed, first thing. The generator has been on the fritz since last December when I had it serviced and still isn't running right. I tend to put off repairing the RV until just before we depart and now I've had two extra rush trips in it with out getting the generator fixed. No more.

Here in the RV park with the air conditioner running, It's quite comfy even though it was likely in the 90's when we got up before 7am. Ernie took the car and visited his storage space to make deposits and withdrawals. I went over to the AArdvark Clay store and picked up some doll slip for Lou to use making more dolls.

We left Las Vegas just after noon stopping  for lunch at the McDonald's in the Wisky Pete's Casino in Primm about 30 miles West of Las Vegas. Ernie had a fish fillet sandwich and a fruit salad (a pretty healthy choice for a McDonald's). I had a snack wrap and an ice cream sandwich.

Our Campsite West Of Cayuma On Highway 166

When we got to Bakersfield we stopped at Aunt Helen's place and went out to dinner a our friend Debbie's house for a short visit. About 10:30 we hit the road again toward the ocean. We stopped for the night at about MM34 (35.09619, -120.124) just East of Highway 101. The stars were amazingly vivid tonight.

Ernie At Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Tree Flower

Wednesday: (07/22) We headed on to Arroyo Grande for breakfast at Francesco's Restaurant. We both had their excellent homemaade corned beef hash breakfasts. We then stopped at the Pismo Beach SP and walked to the beach. Ernie's on a photo mission. We then stopped at the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden on Highway 1 about 20 miles North. It's at El Churro Park. The flowers were in great bloom but my camera wasn't charged so I couldn't take any pictures. The Environmental Center building is finished but not open. It looks like they intend to develop it and the gardens into something like the solar living center in Hopelkand, Ca.

The next stop was in Morro Bay to get a picture of Morro Rock, but that was not to be. The fog seems to be along the coast everywhere. It was hanging on to the top of the mountains as we dropped down to the coast on highway 166 and seems top be staying around. We could see any part of the rock when we arrived. We looked around some, had fish and chips for lunch at the Harbor Hut. We then were hanging around one of the piers looking at boats especially one that was kind of specially equipped. There were big bundles of kelp on the pier nearby. As we were ready to leave a big truck arrived. It had a sign on the door that said The Abalone Farm. So we watched as it loaded the 1000lb bundles of kelp. We learned from the driver that they take the boat out every morning and cut kelp to feed the abalone. This was the third trip the driver made so 18,000lbs of kelp were on the menu today, and every day for the abalone. The farm is just north of Morro Bay in Cayucos. Always something new to learn.

Beach Along Highway One Bridge North Of Big Sur
We headed North on Highway 1 along the coast toward Monerey. Ernie got a few pictures of the Hearst Castle from the road and we stopped several times for more photos of Elephant Seals, interesting bridges, and coastal views.

Beach Tunnel North Of Big Sur Elephant Seals Sunning On The Beach
Unfortunately, we passed through Monerey during evening commute so the trafic was stop and go all the way to Watsonville. We stopped for dinner in Capitola at a Chili's Restaurant. We had the special $20 appetizer, two dinners and desert. We had Texas cheese fries, Ernie had Country fried steak and I had ribs. That`was topped with chocolate cake ala mode. A good deal for a good meal. We arrived home a little after 9pm.