Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home For The Holidays

Wednesday: (12/22) Lou was busy moving back into the house. I hope she doesn't move too much so we can get back out easily after new years. I relaxed most of the day. I did get out to visit Ernie's dogs. They missed us. I also took a walk around the neighborhood to see what changed. Lou and Dawn visited San Jose's Christmas In The Park downtown and also a lot of thrift stores. They never get tired of thrift stores. Breakfast was leftover French toast and sausage. Lunch was leftover white beans and a half a leftover sandwich. Dinner was a black eyed bean and leek soup from the crock pot. There was a little rain this afternoon but it was mostly a nice day.

Thursday: (12/23) I fixed a Don McMuffin for breakfast. Lou and Dawn had been up longer and handled their own. We made a run the redwood city. Dawn visited the library and a thrift store while Lou and I visited the Grocery Outlet store. They have the best deal on our Italian sausage and other items. I baked a couple of batches for use when we hit the road. I fixed spaghetti for dinner.

Friday: (12/24) Lou fixed a vegetable omelet for breakfast. Lou was busy baking apple cake and pies. I cleaned some rain gutters since it was nice out. For dinner I fixed sauerkraut potatoes and pork chops.

Today is a notable day. 100 years ago today, and every Christmas eve since has been the birthday of both Lou's and my mothers. Both are gone now, Lou's 45 years ago and mine  20 years ago. Both had the misfortune of never having a real birthday party because the day was overshadowed by someone who had a birthday the day after. Happy birthday mom!

Christmas lights on Palo Alto Street Christmas lights on Palo Alto Street
We took a drive over to look at some Christmas lights in Palo Alto.

Saturday: (12/25) Christmas day. Leftover vegetable omelet for breakfast. We had a nice morning. The sun was even out for a while. Lou, Dawn and I went out to find a couple of geocaches. It was Lou's first search. Unfortunately, she doesn't seem too interested. It's a technical thing.

Ernie fixed a nice orange glazed ham,orange and maple sugar carrots, potatoes au gratin,  and a fruit salad. There was also a green salad and some of Dawn's bread. For desert there was an apple pie, a buttermilk pie, and an apple cake.

The rain returned in the afternoon and evening but we were cozy inside with a fire.

Sunday: (12/26) Leftovers for breakfast and dinner. Lunch was at LUU Noodle house, our usual combination chow fun. Pretty much did away with the holiday leftovers. Now to attack the regular leftovers.

Monday: (12/27) I started with a visit to Kaiser to leave some blood. That meant I was in Mountain View close to our Hong Kong Bakery so breakfast was from there. The sun is supposed to be out today before it disappears for a few more days of rain. I washed the RV, jeep and car. Probably a wasted effort because rain will return tomorrow but they really needed it and there may not be another dry day before we head out again. Spaghetti for lunch. Dinner was leftover black eyed bean soup and dawn's bread.

Tuesday: (12/28) Lou fixed French toast for breakfast. We headed off to Gilroy for the day. I needed to visit Camping World for some caulk for the RV. We then hit the Gilroy Discount malls. I concentrated on Home Depot. Lowe's and Best Buy. The other stores only get a glace from me while many are examined well by Lou. We had lunch at King Eggroll. they make great sandwiches. Dawn and I had BBQ pork sandwiches and I also had a couple of their excellent eggrolls. Lou had a combination with chowmein. They used to had a place near where I worked in San Jose which I enjoyed visiting for lunch. We managed to stay long enough that the evening commute traffic wasn't a problem for our return home. Our late dinner was leftover pork, sauerkraut and potatoes. Not much of anything accomplished but a nice day. It stprinkled all day and as we arrived home it started to rain heavily and continued until late that night. Our back yard had an inch of water everywhere. Definitely a good soak.

(12/29) We woke to a sunny morning and the water had drained off the backyard but it was still very wet. However some sprinkles returned occasionally. Dawn's friend Andrea dropped by for a visit. Lunch was from the Hong Kong bakery. Baked pork buns and assorted other delicacies. Dinner was navy bean soup and some bread from San Luis obispo's House Of Bread. I was busy tinkering with the computer much of the day.

Thursday: (12/30) Oatmeal fro breakfast. Leftover spaghetti for lunch. Cabbage with wieners for dinner. I tinkered at the computer most of the day except for some plumbing work. i replaced the filler valve and flapper valve in the toilet. The flapper didn't need to be replaced but the new one is a two level flush valve with a cable actuator. The old lever for the old flapper would hang up occasionally. Not now. Also should save a bunch of water now.

Friday: (12/31) New Years Eve Day. It was cold outside with some sprinkles otherwise usually known as an inside day. Computer tinkering and doll making with a couple of walks. Lou and Dawn slipped in a thrift store visit as well on one walk, a problem of having one withing a few blocks. They came home with a little porch seat/shoebox that looks great on the front porch and eliminates the pile of shoes there. Relly nice day until the kitchen sink got clogged.

Leftover soup for breakfast. Horderves for dinner. We managed to minimize Ernies Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners menu efforts mostly by not having no horderves. For New Years Eve, that was all we had and Ernie really outdid himself.

Saturday: (01/01) New Years Day. More leftover soup for breakfast. The project of the day is to try to unclog the kitchen sink, always a real difficult and messy effort. Maybe next year's project will be to re-plumb it to eliminate the kinks.

Well, that was easy. Unlike every other clog for our sink that always takes all day to coax from the depths of the drain line as it wanders along the wall under the windows toward where it finally goes to the main drain pipe, this clog was where it was supposed to be, in the trap. Egg shells and plastic, a nice solid waterproof clog. Maybe deviled eggs wont be on the menu next year? Now what to do for the rest of the day?

Dinner was home made tamales and enchiladas with rice and beans.

Sunday: (01/02) A day at the races. Breakfast was soft boiled eggs and cinnamon toast. None of us have ever been to the race track before so today was the day to solve that. Today was dollar day at Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley. It's the last remaining race track in the bay area. Tanforan became a shopping center many years ago and Bay Meadows became condos more recently. Before Golden Gate fields closes we thought we'd better get out for our day at the races. Dollar day made it more acceptable with $1 parking, hotdogs, beer and soft drinks. We watched 3-4 races before calling it a day due to the cold and drippy weather. I managed to pick the winner of one of the races. Lunch was hotdogs and beer, of course. We eventually made it home and enjoyed super nachos ala Lou for dinner.

Monday: (01/03) Leftover enchiladas for breakfast. I started the day with a hike at Shoreline Park in Mountain View. I tried to meet up with the Monday Hikers group but was late and missed them. I had a nice walk by the baylands with all the geese and other fowl. Next, I went to where I used to work for a visit. They're doing so well now that I don't work there? Lunch was a chili relleno from the nearby El Rincon restaurant near work. Dinner was more enchiladas. Lou and Dawn were busy packing the RV to leave again, possibly on Thursday?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Oceana State Beach, Ca

Sunday: (12/19) We managed to spend most of the day home today. It continued to rain all day.

Our New Oceana Campsite Half of our current camp is flooded.
Here is our new campsite in Oceana CG. Our site is one of two occupied in the non-hookup area. The other is some folks in tents. Hope they are staying dry? The picture on the right shows how campsite selection is important. It is one half of  our new campground. it was not flooded yesterday when we came in. It would have to rise another two feet to get us.

Mushrooms near our Oceana Campsite Mushrooms near our Oceana Campsite
It's wet but some things seem to like it. there are mushrooms everywhere.

About 3pm we headed over to our old campground to see how it was doing. we had sveral detours due to flooding. Highway 1 was closed by our new campground heading toward our old one. We had to wind around through the neighborhoods to make our way close to the campground at the end of grand Avenue. Highway one was closed both direction from Grand Avenue. I walked in to the campground via a beach trail while Lou and Dawn enjoyed some spiked hot cocoa at the bar there by the beach.

Flooding At North CG Flooding At North CG
When we left yesterday it was because we wanted to, not because the campground was closed. Today they closed it but probably too late. Our old campsite is under 2-3 feet of water and it was relatively high ground there. Our old site was just to the left in the photo on the left above. Our table has floated over  to the bank that the water is flowing over.

Flooding At North CG Flooding At North CG
This is one of the bridges on the path to the beach. Another to the right is probably under two feet of water.

Flooding At North CG Flooding At North CG
The water coming from the creek and campground has cut a bank twenty feet high where we used to walk out to the beach on a slope . One trail has a twenty foot drop, the other a ten foot drop. Watch that last step! On the right above looking back from into camp from a dune south of camp. All that water is was the campground.

We thought the flooding last year was bad. This year is much worse, maybe two feet deeper. I don't think the campground will be reopening for a little while. The only RV left in the park belonged to a contractor working in the park. They probably left for the weekend. It looks to be under a foot or more of water.

Our white bean soup was hot and ready having been slow cooking in the pressure cooker with it's cozy cotton blanket and reflective bubble wrap case. Still hot enough to have to blow on to cool off the first bites.

Monday: (12/20) It wasn't raining as heavy today but did rain until late afternoon. We relaxed in camp until about 11:30 then headed up to SLO to see a movie and look around. We watched Harry Potters latest flick which was pretty good. Unfortunately, it had moved from the big, old, Fremont theater where it was last Thursday and was now in one of the adjacent typical multi-cinema screens. I was looking forward to killing two birds with one admission, see harry Potter and watch it in an older restored theater. Unfortunately I wasn't interested in Tron which was now showing in the Fremont. Maybe another time. After the move we walked around downtown. On the way home we stopped for dinner at Francisco's Country Kitchen, again. Tonight was rib night Lou and I ate our fill. Dawn enjoyed some fajitas.

This morning, most of our current camp had drained off as the adjacent pond drained. We were able to leave camp via highway 1, which was now reopened. Even our camp road was dry instead of the 4 inch puddles that had been there. North Campground was still fully flooded though.

Tuesday: (12/21) A nice day. High clouds with the sun peaking through ocassionally. no rain and probably none all night. The park is drained off and and pretty much looks normal except for a few trees thet fell over due to the ground being so wet. Lou and I started with a walk around the park. Breakfast was French toast with sausage. About 10:30, a ranger stopped by to tell us the park was closed and we would have to leave. They are expecting 20-70 mph winds and more rain tonight. They are afraid more trees will come down in the storm. We had already paid for tonight yesterday so they refunded our fees. Yesterday evening when we came into camp out near the entrance where they had the road closed to the beach. It said closed, no RV's or camping beyond. We thought it was misplaced. Our camp is beside the road to the maintenance yard. There have been at least 100 official vehicles pass by this morning, mostly the same 6 vehicles every few minutes. They must be paid by the mile rather than the product? Odd no one mentioned the park was closed. The ranger said they asked everyone to leave yesterday but missed us. We were intending to leave tomorrow and spend our last day out closer to home but will now head that way today. Still some things to do here before we go though. It was so nice being the only campers in the park. Too bad we have to leave.

Retiree's weekly sand caastle project. Lou and Dawn on Pismo Beach
We took a walk over to North Campground at Pismo Beach before we left. The fellow above left comes out to the beach once a week and builds his sand castles. the store made the beach look different.

Receeding water in North Pismo CG Flooded campsite
The water had dropped to below the road pavement level.

Wandering picnic table Gophers can't swim
Many of the picnic tables wandered during the flooding. We also found proof that gophers can't swim.

Picnic table doing exercises High water mark on Camp Host's wood shed
More wild tables above left. The high water mark shows on the wood shed of the camp host site.

High water marks in gravel pile Flooded contractor's trailer and equipment
The water lap marks on a gravel pile in one of the campsites show how high the water was. A contractors site was flooded.

Crawdad crossing campground road High water marks on entrance station.
With the high water, even the crawdads were out checking parts of the campground they normally don't.

Wandering table High water marks to road shoulder stripe

The picnic table on the left above almost made an escape from the park on the entrance road. The water rose all the way to the highway one shold painted strip. The water had been up above the level of the pavement on highway one. We finally finished up and departed about 3:30 headed home. It's a couple of days early but with the storms we might as well. Don't want to close another state park. We were home a little after 6pm. Dinner was leftover white bean soup.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pismo Beach, One Of Our Favorite Camps

Tuesday: (12/14) Leftovers for breakfast. It was raining this morning so we broke camp quickly. If it had been sunny, we would have stayed one more day. We were on our way by 9am. We headed South on Highway 1 to Highway 183 into Salinas. We stopped in Salinas at the mall for a walk. We stopped at the rest area near Bradley for lunch. More leftovers and some wieners. We stopped in Paso Robles to visit the thrift store, or at least Dawn and Lou did. I walked around the village while they shopped. We made it to Pismo Beach about 4:30 and found a nice spot near the beach. I took care of the dumping and filling which I didn't do before we left New Brighten because of the rain. It was dark as I parked the RV in the camp site. We went to Francisco's Country Kitchen for dinner. I had the chicken fried steak, Lou had liver and onions and Dawn fettuccine Alfredo.

Wednesday: (12/15) We got up with the sun and took a walk on the beach. I fixed eggs Benedict without the sauce for breakfast. Pan toasted bread with cheese, ham and fried eggs on top. I tinkered with Dawn's phone and laptop trying to get them tethered so she could work today but they wouldn't connect. Her laptop would connect using my phone so we traded for the day. Lou and I did the laundry and some grocery shopping. We stopped for lunch at the Girl's Cafe on Grand Avenue in Grover Beach. Lou had a ham steak and I had a chili verde special. As the sun set, or at least we assume it was since it was time but cloudy, we took another walk along the beach. The sun never came out today. It was overcast all day but no rain. Somehow our solar did its job today and gave us a good charge even with the overcast.

Thursday: (12/16) We started the day with a beach walk.

Our Jeep On Oceana Beach
In the afternoon we took the jeep out onto the beach for a drive. It does well on the sand. After dinner we went to the Farmer's Market in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Oatmeal with yogurt and honey for breakfast. Baked beans for lunch. Tortellini for dinner.

Friday: (12/17) We went to breakfast at the Country Kitchen restaurant. Lou and Dawn shared a bowl of oatmeal while I had their corned beef hash and eggs. After breakfast Lou and Dawn took off to visit all the thrift shops nearby. There are quite a few. I walked back to camp from the restaurant in Arroyo Grande. Along the way I located four geocashes and browsed many stores as well. I finally made it home about 5pm. I nibbled along the way on a donut, a piece of chicken and an ice cream cone. Lou and Dawn stopped by a fish and chips place. They returned from their bargain search about 6pm as it was starting to rain. Dinner was leftover tortellini.

Saturday: (12/18) It rained heavily all night. The little drain ditch between us and the beach was filled with a little water and 3-4 feet wide. Breakfast was leftovers. I had pancakes, Lou and Dawn oatmeal. Then they were off to complete their visits to the thrift stores in San Luis Obispo I stayed in camp and tinkered with the computer all morning watching the water rise.

Ducks floating around our campsite Our flooding camp at North Pismo Beach Campground
It was still raining heavy and our little ditch was now 30 feet wide lapping at the feet of our table. Earlier a flock of ducks floated around in the new pond.

Our flooding camp at North Pismo Beach Campground Our flooding camp at North Pismo Beach Campground
I checked the stream across from us and it was full and spilling out. It was up to the base of a little bridge that goes over to the butterfly grove.

Stream From North Pismo Beach Campground Flowing To Ocean
I walked out to the beach and the tide was up and now our stream had created a lagoon and had burst through to start draining.

When Lou returned she was interested in leaving so we moved down to Oceana campground where we had to move during last year's storm. Northbeach campground was not closed yet but when we left, there was only one camper left. The water was 6 inches deep on the road leaving the park. Lunch was leftover lima beans chased by apple pie. Dawn was busy at Nan's recycled book shop and traded some in as well as getting some.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Exploring Around Santa Cruz

Friday: (12/10) Our first task today was to change campsites because our current camp was reserved.

After lunch we drove up to Santa Cruz to explore today. There are lots of interesting things to see. Nice book stores. Interesting people watching. It's pretty busy on Friday night.

Oatmeal with pecans and honey for breakfast. Spaghetti squash with shrimp for lunch. Macaroni and cheese, clam chowder, and a ham and cheese sandwich shared for dinner at a Lulu Carpenter's cafe in Santa Cruz. The chowder was excellent, the mackey soso, and the sandwich good.

Woodpecker In A Tree
A woodpecker busy in a tree near our camp.

Saturday: (12/11) Waffles for breakfast. Lou and Dawn were off to the local thrift stores. Lou prepared a map with all their location marked before departing.

Our Campsite At New Brighton SB View Of Capitola From New Brighton SB
Our second campsite at New Brighton SB. On the right a view of Capitola from Above New Brighton Beach

I spent some time at the computer catching up with the blog and found a couple of nearby geocaches and didn't find a third. The sun actually came out nicely in the afternoon.

I took a walk along the cliffs and along the railroad tracks nearby and made my way to Capitola Village. I looked around the shops and had a slice of pizza for lunch. I found a couple of geocaches a couldn't'locate another that was supposed to be on the wharf. After that excitement, I continued on to 41st St by the beach and watched the surfers for a while. Then I walked up 41st St to the Capitola Mall passing all the surf shops along the way. I had dinner at a Chinese fast food restaurant. Garlic salmon, pineapple chicken, with pad Thai noodles. Lou and Dawn finished up in Santa Cruz and picked me up to return to camp.

Sunday: (12/12) The day started out looking great, sunny in the morning. I hope it stays that way. Normally, if the sun appears at all it's after burning off the morning fog. Lou fixed corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast which we enjoyed outside. Lou and Dawn were off to the flea market this morning. I stayed home to move us to a cliff side spot for toningt since it's such a nice day we'll have a campfire tonight. Since we don't have reservations here, we have to play a game each day to renew at noon. They really are disorganized in the state park system. While I waited for noon, I cleaned house and tinkered at the computer.

Monday: (12/13) Dawn spent the day in Santa Cruz at a weaving class and the book stores. Lou and I relaxed in camp. It didn't rain today but it didn't shine either. Lou fixed pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Olive loaf sandwiches for lunch. We tried to use the solar today and use the crock pot for some beans but the sun didn't cooperate so we tried paln "B". Lou made some cozys for the pressure cooler of the beans went into the pressure cooker, were brought to a boils then closed up and placed in the cozys. There is a blanket and a reflective bubble wrap case. They work like a charm and our lima beans and ham dinner was perfect even with no sun.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another Palo Alto Short Story Win

Dawn At Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Ceremony Dawn Addressing The Audience
The reason for our trip was for Dawn to attend the presentation of awards ceremony for the Palo Alto Weekly newspapers short story contest. Her story "Solitaire" won second place in the adult category. A video of the ceremony can be found here.

A Quick Visit Home

: (12/09) Today we were off toward home for the day. We cruised over the mountains to Los Gates to start. We had a few hours to waste, so we looked around in the shops. It sure has changed since we started going there in the 70's. Not really for the better. Back then it was full of arts and crafts made there. We had lunch at Galley's cafe. We then headed home.

Scooterland in Los Gatos Scooterland Sign
I enjoyed looking around the Scooterland Store there. They have a couple of stores, one in San jose and the one here.

Inside Scooterland Store Los Gatos
The salesman (on right above) in the shop turned out to be the designer of most of the electric scooters in the shop. they have all types and I'll definitely have to come back to look them over more thoroughly later.
We met Ernie for dinner at Pizza'a Chicago then we headed off to Keppler's Book Store in Menlo Park. We all watched Dawn receive here award for the short story contest.

After the ceremony, we hightailed back over the mountains to our camp in Capitol.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New Brighton State Beach

Tuesday: (12/07) We arrived at our new campground in Capitola, Ca.

Sunrise Mushrooms
Wednesday: (12/08) We started today getting up to see a nice colorful sunrise. They we continued down from our lofty perch above the cliff to the beach below. Along the trail there were lots of colorful "mushrooms".

New Brighton Beach Looking West New Brighton Beach Looking East
We hiked East on the beach past the Seacliff Pier then back through the neighborhoods and open space above the cliffs back to our camp, about 4-5 miles. the open space is an additional unimproved section of new Brighton SB that is seperated from the developed part by a group of homes. the two sections are of about equal size. Too bad for the poorly located homes. The neighborhood is private and the only way to get around it is on  a frontage road by the highway or the beach.

I went out to refill our drinking water and other than that we lounged at home today. It was fairly clear when we got up but it drizzled later in the morning and had a low overcast or fog the rest of the day turning into rain in the evening.

We had leftover Denver omelet with cheese and toasted artichoke bread for breakfast. Fondue with bread for lunch. Dinner was Lou's excellent chili beans.

We arrived at our new campground in Capitola, Ca.