Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Quick Trip To Pismo Beach

Saturday: (08/31) Leftover spinach lasagna for breakfast. We headed down to San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach for the day. It was quite a drive but traffic wasn't bad, for a holiday. Effectively, we were on a shopping trip for Lou to get new shoes at her favorite shoe store in San Luis Obispo. A bonus was our dinner at Pismo Fish and Chips restaurant in Pismo Beach. And it was also a day out. It took us five hours to get to SLO because we stopped lots of places along the way. If fact, our first pit stop in Gilroy at Walmart provided me with some nice new, cheap short pants. At the next pit stop in Greenfield I found an excellent apple fritter, with apples in it at a mexican bakery there. In addition, the market there is an excellent Mexican market with a wonderful  Mexican deli and bakery. We had a good breakfast this morning so just snacked. Lou had a seafood cocktail and Dawn an apple and I had another goodie, a slice of Mexican cheese  cake. Yum! It's definitely where we will enjoy a good lunch of chili rellenos or tortas in the future. After another stop in Paso Robles at a thrift store and a garage sale we finally made it to SLO. Lou found two pairs of Birkenstocks in her style that fit, making the trip worthwhile. We looked around downtown for a while then headed off to an early fish and chips dinner. We finally left Pismo Beach a little after 7pm and were home about 11pm. Not a relaxing day for me with all the driving but a nice quick road trip. This trip reminds me of the kind we used to take while i was working. We rarely hurry when we travel in the RV but some times the RV is left parked in favor of the gas saving for a special trip like this.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Four Open Spaces Hike

Friday: (08/30) Ham, eggs and home fried potatoes for breakfast enjoyed in the backyard. I headed up the hill to lead a hike. This hike was a loop starting at Russian Ridge OSP, proceeding into the Coal Creek OSP, then up Alpine Road to the Monte Bello OSP, and finally back up to the Skyline OSP and returning to our start. 10 members of the San Jose Mid-Week Hikers Group enjoyed a nice clear day with good views of the bay and a clouded over Pacific Ocean. We could see the San Francisco skyline and some nice views of the canyons below on the bay side.  The trail nicely provided a good amount of shade and we had a consistent breeze, both of which helped make the hike pleasant with the high 80's temps. The trail this time of year was quite dusty. On our last hike of these trails, last November, we had just the opposite with some muddy trails. We'll have to return in the spring to see the wild flowers. Everytrail reported 8.1 miles and a 2406 foot climb with an altitude range of 1722-2428 feet. Maverick reported 7.98 miles with a 2346 foot climb over an altitude range of 1722-2421 feet. Here are a couple of links for tracks of this hike: GPSies Track and Everytrail Track
Here is the Everytrail Track for this hike:

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Here is the track at

Ham and cheese with cottage cheese and fresh peaches for lunch. An afternoon delight of avocado smoothies. Gluten and dairy free spinach lasagna for dinner. It was pretty good.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Cactus Needles Hurt

Saturday: (08/24) I made corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. I tinkered in the yard a little in the morning. I finished sawing off the slide from the swing. I went through 4 blades because the 'new" saws-all kept loosing its blade, damaging the blades when they came loose. I did get the job done though. Later, we drove down to Gilroy for the day. I stopped at the Camping World store in San Martin on the way looking for some parts for my broken drain pipes on the RV. They had nothing, at all. I was rather surprised! We continued to Gilroy to the outlet mall there. We saw nothing of interest. It was a very nice day for a drive though. Lunch was at King Egg Roll for me and the Black Bear Diner for Lou and Dawn. They had wonderful fruit and green salads. I had egg rolls and shrimp balls. To each their own. We didn't finish looking around until after 4:30 then headed up to home. For dinner Lou and Dawn made Shepherd's pie.

Sunday: (08/25) I prepared eggs with leftover corned beef hash for breakfast. I tinkered with the computer mush of the morning setting up to record a bunch of the '40's music Lou listens to from XM radio so she can relax in the hospital during her stay there in a couple of weeks. Then I went outside and played in the garden the rest of the morning. I positioned Lou's gigantic bird cage in my new cactus garden and planted a few more cacti adding a few needled under my skin. It looks pretty good for a bunch of junk topped with plants. Dawn was out to lunch with a friend so Lou and I went to lunch at LUU Noodle Restaurant sharing a pad Thai dish and I had some egg roll as well (my food of choice). We stopped by Walmart, as well. We were looking for a tray for Lou's scooter for under seat storage. We found a nice plastic storage box of just the right size to hang and wedge into just the right spot. Some time soon, Lou will make a better one out of sun screen fabric that will be able to remain in place when the scooter is folded. She also needed a new MP3 player. We found a nice one for $15. In the afternoon I repaired my broken saws-all reattaching the blade collet. It works great, again. Lou made pastrami with corn on the cob and spaghetti squash for dinner. I then packed up and headed home to San Jose.

 Monday: (08/26) Granola for breakfast. I headed off to the stores this morning. I wanted to get another sample of paint and continue looking at paint sprayers. I finally decided on a Wagner Flexio 590. It's not an airless but is a handheld. The way I'm piecemealing this job, a big airless sprayer wouldn't be much help. The 1.5 quart cup on this sprayer should work well and get the paint on the wall quickly followed with a little smoothing with a roller and/or brush. I got back just before lunch of a ham and cheese sandwich. I spent some time reading the manual and playing with the sprayer. Then I finally started a little real work caulking some until I ran short of that. I'm really organized today. So off to get some more. A nice day playing around. I headed back to Palo Alto tonight so I could take the RV down to San Jose tomorrow to get the generator repaired.

We went over to IKEA. Lou had paid a visit earlier in the day and had found a nice (enough) TV cabinet to sit under our BIG TV. We purchased it and I loaded into the JEEP then we had dinner. I had meatballs, Lou had chicken and Dawn had salmon. After dinner we took a look around before going home. When we got home Ernie helped me get it into the house and I moved the DVD and VCR stuff to the new cabinet. It turns out the old cabinet will make a good end table for the bedroom.

Tuesday: (08/27) I was up early, hitched up the Jeep and drove the RV down to Air Cooled Engine's in San Jose to get the RV repaired. The starter just spins but doesn't crank the motor. I had an appointment this morning. Greg pulled out the generator (1 hour) Found a sheared gear on the starter, replaced the starter (10 minutes) and reinstalled the generator (1 hour). This is an example of bad design both by both the generator manufacturer, Generac, and by National RV. Slides or placing the starter on the outside would definitely have helped. The generator was all fixed up and I was headed home by 11:30 just a little over $400 less in my pocket. Actually much less than expected. Now we could take a trip if we needed to with all systems go. I got off so early and had planned to drop the RV and go have breakfast but I wasn't chased away so I watched the repair. It should help if something needs to be done in the future. Myself and the shop dog Chance made sure everything was done properly. Lunch was at home, ham and cheese pieces with corn chips and apricot jam. Interesting. I returned to San Jose with the idea of doing some more work. That didn't happen though. I evidently was a little under the weather so I didn't get into gear. I did remove one of the decorative arms that "supports" the roof. They really don't support anything but over time the edge of the roof has warped a little so the hanging roof joist on the outside edge of the eve had dropped nearly an inch causing the decorative arm to sag away from the wall leaving too much space to caulk and still have the work look good. It was held in with some rather big nails most of which were only penetrating the 1/2 siding. I removed one, cleaned up the area.

Wednesday: (08/28) Granola for breakfast. I spent some time re-installing some software on my computer. I then went out and reinstalled the decorative arm. I dropped it about 1/2 inch down the wall and it now looks straight. I used screws to attach it and made a spacer block to help support the bottom. Due to the beveled angle on the siding it only actually touches the wall at about four points. The bottom didn't quite touch to to prevent future sagging. Lunch was a ham and cheese sandwich. After lunch I climbed onto the roof and prime painted the chimney. i also made and installed some molding to close off a large gap on the transom like windows near the fireplace. The wood looks better then 3/4 inch caulk. The windows aren't operatable any more nor have thy been previously. Dinner was some leftover apricot blintzes with sausage.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Sanborn County Park Hike

Friday: (08/23) Leftovers from Chevy's for breakfast. I met my hiking group for a hike at Sanborn County Park. This was an exploration hike in an undeveloped area of the park like my last hike here. We had hoped to find a good loop route, and we did, but it wasn't anything like we planned. We ended up returning on a road rather than discovering a loop around Lake Ranch Reservoir. It was rather embarrassing when the trail we thought might return us around the lake brought us right back to the trail we came up at an intersection just 1/10 mile back. Nice hike all the same. After the hike I met Lou and Dawn for lunch at the Country Inn in Cupertino. Lou had lamb, Dawn a fruit salad and I had a chorizo omelet. When i got home I reinforced one of our tomato plants that had fallen over. The plants just keep growing up and the one that fell over was about 7 feet tall. The tomato ring is only 4 feet tall. I made it taller by extending it with another ring. This is the short plant. The other is over 9 feet tall and was reinforced a couple of days ago. After that I finished cutting off the metal slide ends so I can make it into a bench later. Then I fished the day by relaxing to recover from my hike. Lou made super nacho chips for dinner.

Sanborn County Park, Southeast Trails 2

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hiding Some Dirt

Saturday: (08/17) A relaxing morning followed by a late breakfast. After breakfast I got to work in the backyard.

Starting the hike

I moved a bunch of heavy concrete blocks to make a retaining wall for my pile of dirt. Someday in the future when the pile grows big enough I'll get another dumpster and get rid of the dirt but for now, I try to hide it. I then plated a few aloe plats and other succulents as additional camouflage. After that i gave our recycle bins a good wash.

Wilton Swing 2094 Starting the hike

Next I got the sawsall out and cut off part of our old swing that made up some monkey bars and or a playhouse and observation deck that Dawn could use when she as little. More recently it just collected junk. Above left is as it was and above right is as it is now. I managed to break my 30 year old AC powered sawsall in the process. Most of the scrap metal made it into the recycle bin but I still need to cut some more when the batteries for my battery powered sawsall are ready. Breakfast at A Good Morning Restaurant. I had a bacon avocado omelet. Lou and Dawn shared ham and eggs while Ernie had pancakes. Very good but due to the weekend crowd it was served slowly. For dinner Dawn made a red pepper, onion, tomato and chicken soup something like hot gazpacho soup. Desert was different. Dawn had made some cordial from some of the fruit of our Asian pears tree. She had a mash left which she decided to turn into something like apple butter. When is was boiled down it reminded her of pumpkin filling so she made it into a pumpkin pie like thing. Very good. We're still waiting for the cordial to finish.

Sunday: (08/18) A relaxing morning. After our late breakfast, I did a little work, just a little. I chopped up all the rest of the part of the swing that i removed except for the slide. That would be too much for my cordless sawsall so will have to wait until I get a new one or fix the old one. The slide is made from a lot of 1/2 inch EMT conduit that has been welded together. The flat middle section will make a good bench for the yard, with a little work. I also planted a few more plants in my new cactus garden / dirt pile. After dinner I packed to head to San Jose. I met Lou at Harbor Freight where i bought a new, cheap sawsall and some work gloves. Lou got so better fitting grip gloves. I then continued on to Home Depot to return some things and to Lowe's where they had a special on water softener salt. The house in San Jose needs a water softener and it needs a stock of salt. Lou made bacon and eggs with potatoes for breakfast. Leftovers for lunch. I had Lima bean soup. For dinner we had asparagus with ramen noodles and meat loaf.

Starting the hike

Our tomato plants are doing pretty good. Still no ripe tomatoes but pretty soon the giant will climb down or Jack will go up.

Monday: (08/19) I spent some time on the computer doing some banking. Then i visited OSH hardware for some things and stopped by the bank then returned home to actually start work. I finished sanding the front of the house where i had been working, sanded all the v grooves in the eves and stripped some paint that I missed. I think I'm ready to do some caulking and filling tomorrow. Granola for breakfast. Carrot pineapple salad with a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Leftover red pepper, onion, tomato and chicken soup with leftover asparagus and some pastrami for dinner

Tuesday: (08/20) Our termite control maintenance requires a full inspection every three years so today was the day. No termites which is good but he did call a couple of minor fungi spots, white dust, so I'll probably have to crawl under the house sometime and spray them. After lunch I got to work, finally, doing some stucco patching on the fireplace and completing the paint removal on the chimney above the roof. I spent the evening repairing windows due to some windows being blank. Basically had to reinstall it so now I get to reinstall most of my programs. But I can see the windows now! Pancakes and sausage for breakfast. A super burrito from Super Taqueria for lunch. Chili and wieners for dinner.

Wednesday: (08/21) I repaired the stucco on the chimney around the flashing on the roof. I also did some spackleing and caulking. I then painted a section of the wall with primer trying a couple but the high build primer I got at Kelly Moore was worthless. I tried a couple of areas with the two sample colors I got a Kelly Moore as well. They look nice but the paint is very thin and will require a couple of coats and still be a thin coat. So, i stopped at Home Depot and got a sample of their paint to try. A chorizo burrito for breakfast at La Victoria taqueria. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Dinner at the Hometown Buffet on the way home to Palo Alto.

Thursday: (08/22) A doctor appointment visit in the morning. Lou had a dental appointment in the afternoon. Then we were off to San Jose where Lou got to look at the paint samples on the wall and I touched up the chimney stucco. Lou also stopped by and got our parking hangers for the Dan Jose house permit parking area. Spinach and tuna omelet for breakfast. Whole Foods for lunch. Lou and I had soup, Dawn a collection from the bar. A visit to Chevy's Fresh mex Restaurant for dinner.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fremont Older OSP Hike

Fremont Older OSP Hike Preying Mantis 2101
Friday: (08/16) A nice hike at Fremont Older Open Space Preserve up to Maisie's peak. It was rather warm but a nice hike with some new fellow hikers.

Fremont Older OSP Hike Preying Mantis 2102 Fremont Older OSP Hike Preying Mantis 2104
Toward the end of the hike we came upon two other hikers, two preying manta. One is on fellow hike Sharron's shoulder and the  other in the middle of the trail.

After the hike I had my usual lunch at the Country Inn which I have to pass by on the way toward home. I then visited several stores looking at airless paint sprayers. Open faced eggs, cheese and ham on biscuits for breakfast. Lunch at the Country Inn in Cupertino. A nice bacon, tomato and olive omelet with Swedish Pancakes. Cabbage onions and hotdogs for dinner.

Fremont Older OSP

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Darn Raccoons

Saturday: (08/10) Lou was out early as usual enjoying the backyard. When she came in she mentioned I'd not like something she had seen in the yard but wouldn't tell me what it was. So I went out and found several of my planters had been vandalized last night. We've been having a problem with raccoons recently. They completely removed all the baby tears that were growing around our fountain. Now they've moved on to my planters. Something will probably need to be done about them. The other day I weighed myself when I came home from working in San Jose I had gained three pounds. I don't want that to be a trend. When I was 18 working during the summer as a painters helper, pretty much what I'm doing now, I gained 25 pounds that summer.I'm going to have to watch myself, or quit working. I relaxed all day. Smoothies for breakfast. Chow fun noodles, pad Thai and egg rolls for lunch. Stir fry noodles for dinner.

Wilton Missing Brick Pile 2092 Wilton Pig Bath 2097
Sunday: (08/11) A little work in the backyard today. I relocated some bricks and did some cleanup, filling the recycle bin. The picture above shows where the bricks were piled, on top of the concrete wall. Lou had been busy while I was gone and added a pig to our birdbath. It came with a pheasant.

I also had a nice camp fire burning the siding I removed from the  San Jose house and other wood debris. In the evening, I returned to San Jose. Dawn was busy baking some more zucchini (apple) pies. Biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Cottage cheese and fruit for lunch. Pastrami with green beans and a baked potato for dinner.

Monday: (08/12) I finished up the paint stripping on the section I was working on. It took all day to do the small amount remaining. Now for some sanding, filling and caulking tomorrow. Granola with a banana for breakfast. Ham and cheese sandwich with squash soup for lunch followed with some of Dawn's zucchini (apple) pie. For dinner I walk over to the House Of Pizza for a pizza dinner. I love their confusion (combination) pizza. I haven't been here in a few years. It is one of the worlds greatest pizzas and worth the walk. I downloaded a new GPS tracking app for my phone. I decided to test it on this walk.

Tuesday: (08/13) I spent the day doing some sanding, finishing the right side of the fireplace. Lou had an allergic reaction this afternoon and ended up taking Benedryl so she couldn't drive home. Ernie picked her up. I returned home because we have some appointments tomorrow. I took the bus down and picked up her care as well. Of course, breakfast and lunch were pizza. I returned to Palo Alto for the night. Dinner was the usual chow fun, pad Thai and egg rolls for LUU Noodle House.

Wednesday: (08/14) Lou and I spent the day out. Lou and I stopped at Kaiser for  a lab tests. Granola for breakfast. Zucchini with squash and sausage for lunch. Dinner at Applebee's. Sirloin steaks for all each with different sides. Mine was shrimp fettuccine, Lou's and Dawn;s were different salads.

Thursday: (08/15) I spent the day working on the paint job. Still no paint though. I reset some loose bricks on the fireplace and then spent some time sanding the stripped area. Still a little more sanding to do before getting to the caulking. Pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Leftover pizza and ham and pepper salad for lunch. BBQ ribs, baked potato and green beans for dinner.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Razorback Ridge Hike

Razerback Ridge Hike 2063 Razerback Ridge Hike 2066
Friday: (08/09) Today was hike day. I met my hiking group at the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve and we hiked up the Eagle Trail to the Razorback Ridge Trail to the Lost Trail and then down the Hamm's Gulch Trail.

Razerback Ridge Hike 2067 Razerback Ridge Hike 2068
The hike was 10.1 miles and nobody complained. We hiked up to the top of the mountain on the Razorback Ridge Trail, a trail we haven't hiked, as a group before, and a hike I haven't done in over 20 years.

Razerback Ridge Hike 2069 Razerback Ridge Hike 2070
It is probably the best trail in the preserve. When i planned this hike it was to have a new hike that was mostly in the shade. It was.

Razerback Ridge Hike 2071 Razerback Ridge Hike 2072
We were also fortunate to hike up into the clouds which were causing the trees to drip and make the trail wet in many spots including causing quite a bit of slippery mud at many locations.

Razerback Ridge Hike _20130809_122051 Razerback Ridge Hike 2075
A nice change for a summer hike.

Razorback Ridge and Hamm's Gulch Trails

EveryTrail - Find the best Hiking in California

Ham, eggs and cheese Don McMuffin made with leftover bread sticks from the Olive Garden restaurant that Lou saved for me. Lou and Dawn had portobello mushrooms with egg and cheese and roast turkey. Lou and Dawn had salads for lunch, I stopped by Jack In The Box for a chicken sandwich for my lunch. Roast chicken with rice and broccoli for dinner.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Watch That Hazard

Saturday: (08/03) I made a hazardous waste run to the city sanitary distraic Hazardous Waste Day site. Just some flourscent tubes, paint stripper, pesticides and a big bag of potentially lead based paint. Next task was to cut a board for San Jose. Nothing special, just a 1.5/8" wide piece of redwood. That brought me to repairing a flat tire on my shop cart/workbench. It has pnumatic tires and i had a blowout on one. I stopped by Harbor Freight and picked up a solid rubber replacement tire and installed it. I also collected things I have noted down as needing for San Jose and loaded them into the Jeep. Many other related tasks filled the day. Zuchini with chorizo and onions for breakfast. Ham cucumber, and pepper salad for lunch. Lou made some glop for dinner (hamburger, kidney beans, macaroni and more.)

Sunday: (08/04) I loaded up our last CRT TV today, a real project hefting it out to the car. It was a big TV but still fit in the rear of the Hyundai. It's amazing what we can fit in that tiny trunk. Otherwisw, i mostly relxed and computed today. In the afternoon, i finished loading the Jeep for the the San Jpse project then after dinner I headed down for the night. Dawn baked some donuts for breakfast. Lo made grilled cheese and ham sandwiches for lunch and Shepard's pie for dinner.

Monday: (08/05) I managed to forget my laptop's power supply. I knew I would eventually so I solved the problem today by stopping in at Fry's Electronics and getting a spare to leave here in San Jose. I also stopped by where I used to work for a visit as well as making a stop at the County offices to turn in some paperwork for Lou's transition to Medicare. That all pretty much used up the morning.Cottage cheese and fruit for lunch. In the after noon, I crawled under the house to saw off an abandoned drain pipe that was in the way of repairing the siding. It used to be for the downspout. I also prime coated the replacement siding pieces back sides. And that used up the rest of the day. For dinner I went to KFC for their chicken and corn dinner.

Tuesday: (08/06) I was busy doing wood work most of the day. There was some rotted wood that needed  to be replaced. It's really fun repairing the damaged floor joists and sill plate to restore a good nailing base for the replacement siding. I also did a little more primer painting on a couple of vent covers after rebuilding them. At 4pm I headed off to meet Lou for a class and dinner. Granola for breakfast. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch, Chinese buffet for dinner.

Wednesday: (08/07) My first task was a visit to Kelly Moore paint to get some samples of a high build primer and the colors we thought would look good on th house. I plan on doing a teat spot on the house. When i returned, i continued with the wood work, replacing aiding and other repairs. Lou and Dawn dropped by about 4:30 bringing dinner. Last week when we had dinner at IKEA, I had some zucchini soup, something like a minestrone soup. It was pretty good. Dawn made some soup fashioned after the IKEA soup which was quite good. Home fried potatoes, sausage and eggs for breakfast. Leftover Shepherd's pie for lunch. Squash soup that Dawn made for dinner.

Thursday: (08/08) I made pancakes and sausage for breakfast. I then finished repairing the siding I had been working on. That required a quick trip to the lumber store for more 8" siding. Fortunately, I still have more 4" siding left so I don't have to remill it. After my ham and cheese sandwich lunch I started stripping more paint from the eves. Another good day and i should be finished with the first section at the front of the house, or about 30 feet of the house. I the cleaned up, did my house work and return to Palo Alto for the weekend. I only work a four day week. Dinner was some ham and bean soup followed by an interesting zucchini pie, that tasted exactly like an apple pie, that Dawn made.

12th St House Painting 2061 12th St House Painting 2062
The white siding is the store bought primed 8" bevel siding. I had to replace a few pieces of the 4" siding as well mostly between the new 8" siding. Not shown is the new siding I replaced behind the gas meter as well.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Sanborn Park Southwest Exploration Hike

Friday: (08/02) Today's hike was at Sanborn County Park, again. We explored an undeveloped section of the park. Evidently they are developing this area so there are some new and some old trails but not signs and no other facilities. It was about a 6.8 mile hike up to Skyline Ridge. Ten hikers completed the hike. We did take a little side trip on a dead-end section of the new, under construction Bay Area Ridge Trail being built through the park.

Lake Ranch Reservoir Sweetpeas by Lake Ranch Reservoir
Lake Ranch Reservoir on left, Sweetpeas by the Lake on the right.

Start of exploration trail Map of Sanborn County Park
Our hikers starting the  exploration trail, Map of Sanborn County Park. Our hike was from the lake to the "You Are Here" mark on the map. Notice there is no trail on the map.

Sanborn County Park, Southeast Trails

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I fixed breakfast. For me, my usual ham, egg, and cheese sandwich. For Dawn and Lou egg and cheese portobello mushrooms. For my after hike lunch I stopped at the Country Inn for a chorizo avocado omelet with Swedish pancakes. Dawn fixed baked potatoes with sausage for dinner.