Monday, March 31, 2014

What is The PCT?

The PCT is the Pacific Crest Trail, or more specifically the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. The actual lenght is supposed to be about 2663 miles before detours due to fires and endangered species needs. There are a few unofficial route options as well but generally it is a hike along the crest of the mountains in California, Oregon and Washington from the Mexico Border into Canada. There are other similar hikes like the CDT (Continental Divide Trail), AT (Appalachian Trail). If you do all three you are said to have done the Triple Crown.


Most people hike North starting near Campo, California. The finish is at Manning Park, BC, Canada.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Final Visit To The Tank Farm

Sunday: (03/30) Leftover corned beef hash and sausage for breakfast. We were out of eggs. We had an exciting morning planned.

Tank Farm In Portola Valley Tank Farm In Portola Valley
We drove up to Portola Valley to the Tank Farm to look over the many tanks at what used to be the private collection of Jacques Littlefield. Unfortunately for the “museum”, he passed away a couple of years ago.

Tank Farm In Portola Valley Tank Farm In Portola Valley
The estate is selling most of the collection and donated to best items to a museum in Massachusetts. These are the last few days they will be seen here. There are five barns full of tanks and military equipment.

Tank Farm In Portola Valley Tank Farm In Portola Valley

Tank Farm In Portola Valley Tank Farm In Portola Valley
Dawn got to try her hand with an anti aircraft gun. The half track on the right looks like the one in the movie Kelly’s Hero’s.

Tank Farm In Portola Valley Tank Farm In Portola Valley
One item, a Russian built scud missile launcher, is the only one in the US. It was used to develop a signature for aerial detection software by flying over his farm where he was requested to park the vehicle out on the 500 acre estate. A wonderful place to visit. Here is the link to our previous visit to the Tank Farm.

It’s interesting to note that the Tank Farm is adjacent to Foothills park and Los Trancos OSP which I hiked through last week.

Lunch at Applebee’s in Redwood City. Lou made creamed chicken and tomato soup for dinner.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Thinking About Hiking While It Rains

Saturday: (03/29) Off to our weekly grocery shopping run. Walmart, Trader Joe’s and Sprout’s. We even visited Safeway. I couldn’t locate Carnation Instant Breakfast. Safeway had it but my problem had been that’s not what is called anymore. It’s Carnation Essentials. Anyway, I wanted some to try out for the hike. Could make fore quick starts. Time is running out and I need to prepare my food supplies for the first few weeks of the hike. I think I’ll plan on preparing supplies for the hike from the border to Highway 58. That is 566 miles from the border and about one month along the trail. I can get a ride to Bakersfield and prepare supplies for the next phase. Depending on the snow reports I could hover in Bakersfield until conditions are good to go on through the Sierra’s.

We usually start the shopping morning with a breakfast sandwich for me and coffee for Lou and Dawn. Bad habit. Lou and Dawn made cheese blintzes and sausage for breakfast. It was a rainy day today with some good down pours in between sprinkles all day. I did get a little work done on the drip system mods needs for the new plants brought out from the greenhouse. Water isn’t needed now but it will be and I’ll be gone. I also cleaned up and unplugged the dishwasher. It had all sorts of things in the sprayers, pump and filters that were preventing it from cleaning the dishes. Now it works like new. Most of the day I was busy working on my pack list for the hike. On my spreadsheet my base pack weight (without water and food) is 22 pounds. Not great, but not at all bad.I’m also starting to finalize my schedule. Here it is in its infancy.

I also made a couple of doctor appointments for Monday to get checked out.

Dinner was BBQ ribs with some of the most garlic-ie potatoes ever made. Dawn also prepared artichoke stuffed mushrooms.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Pogonip Preserve

Friday: (03/28) I stopped at Jack In The Box for a breakfast sandwich before heading down to Los Gatos to meet Jack Borok at 0845 to commute to Santa Cruz for a hike at Pogonip Preserve near downtown.

Pogonip Hike Pogonip Hike
My San Jose Mid-week Hikers Meetup Group enjoyed a nice hike through the second growth redwoods, by the rock garden and lime kilns and past the old polo grounds led by our host Bob Rollin. Interesting place.

Pogonip Hike
A nice view of the Monterey Bay from Pogonip. After the hike several of us went to Vasilis Greek Restaurant for lunch. Excellent Gyros. I was back in Palo Alto by 1500. Lou and Dawn had appointments earlier today and this afternoon. For dinner we went out to dinner at Chili’s Restaurant.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Greenhouse Cleaning

Wednesday: (03/26) I washed by used hiking clothes today but was mostly occupied by working in the yard relocating plants from the green house to the yard, potting and re-potting plants and generally acting like the gardener I am. I rather like gardening but other than this twice annual plant migration to and from the greenhouse I don’t really do much. While I was gone on my hike, Lou and Dawn got the tomatoes and peppers planted in the garden. Corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. Squash soup for lunch. Evidently an unmemorable dinner.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hike, Palo Alto To Del Oso And Back

This is part of my Pacific Crest Trail hike preparation. Primarily it was to confirm if I can hike multiple days of 20 miles. It is also my inaugural backpack camping hike.

Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Ready To Go  Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Arastradero Preserve
Saturday: (03/22) Palo Alto to Long Ridge OSP.
I enjoyed a typical trail breakfast in the comfort of home, peanut butter pop tarts. I put on my fully loaded pack (43 lbs) for the first time and left about 0800. I walked up Page Mill Road, into the Arastradero Preserve through it to Foothills Park, through it to Los Trancos OSP, through it to Monte Bello Ridge, through it into Skyline OSP, and through it into Long Ridge OSP. I walked 19.6 miles with about 1900 feet elevation change. I stopped in Long Ridge OSP and just threw out my mattress and quilt. It was already dark because I hiked until 2000. I went to sleep to the serenade of an owl. On the way up I stopped at Arastradero Preserve and called Lou because I thought I had forgotten my map. She couldn’t find it where it had been at home so I must have it, somewhere?

Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Charging My Cell Phone At Foothills Park  Palo Alto To The Sea And Back King Snake
I stopped at Foothills Park for brunch of trail mix. While I ate I put a little charge into my phone (GPS). As I started out on the trail I met the nice King Snake above. It is the most wrinkled snake I’ve ever seen. It must be taking baby steps. I stopped for my dinner in Monte Bello Ridge OSP. I had Tuscan bean soup and jerky. I pulled some water from a stream near where I had dinner and filtered it but it still tasted link pond, just clean pond. The stream I got the water from was just below a pond even though a nice spring is what feeds it on the other side of the pond. Lesson learned, get water from before a pond. As I was getting ready to leave, a ranger stopped by to make sure I wasn’t going to camp in the OSP, they don’t allow it. So, to make him happy I told him I intended to camp in Portola State Park. I didn’t make it there though and did spend the night in an OSP, just not Monte Bello. A short ways down the trail I crossed Stevens Creek and got some very nice water filling my water bottles and a 2 liter bladder.

Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Begin Los Trancos Trail Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Los Trancos Trail Poppies
Above the start on the Los Trancos Trail In Foothills Park (left). Some nice California poppies along the trail (right).

Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Looking Back To PA From Loa Trancos Trail Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Los Trancos Trail
Ob the left above, a view back where I came from closer to the top in upper Foothills Park. On the right, in Los Trancos Preserve on the Ridge To The Bay trail.

Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Horseshoe Lake At Skyline OSP
Horse Shoe Lake in Skyline OSP.
This is the GPS track for the first day only. My phone/GPS battery was too low to do more and I couldn’t get it charged due to clouds, fog, and trees.

Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Clouds Over Portola SP
Sunday: (03/23) Long Ridge To Big Basin HQ.
I slept very cold. When I checked the thermometer it was 33 degrees but when I woke up at 0500 there was thick frost on everything. I probably could have made a snow ball. I had to pack my quilt and mattress away wet. I hit the trail immediately, it was so cold my fingers were useless. I thought we had left winter behind, not so. I just slept in my clothes. When I got up I put on my thermal top as well as my sun shirt. What a difference! Duh. I haven’t been able to find my Ibuprofen. Shouldn’t have forgotten that. There are a couple in the first aide kit if really needed. I didn’t feel at all bad this morning. 19.6 miles today. I hiked through Long Ridge OSP into Portola State Park. I used my headlite until I stopped for breakfast as the sun was about to rise. Before I entered Portola Park I intended to eat breakfast but I discovered my daybag of food had instant oatmeal. That would require getting out the stove for hot water. So I had some cheese that was for lunch that I could eat a walk with. At the Old Page Mill site in the park, I had the oatmeal for brunch. I nibbled trail mix the rest of the day and had the sausage that was for lunch as well.

Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Water Fall On Portola Trail Portola SP Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Portola Trail Portola SP
I walked through the park into Pescadero County Park and up to the 2200 foot Butano Ridge  I passed a very nice creek but failed to fill my water. I was looking for sun to stop and dry my quilt and mattress but never saw some until I was at the edge of Big Basin State Park. There was a big rock there at a road with plenty of sun where I laid out my quilt and mattress to dry. I also charged my phone a little. That was the first sunny spot since Long Ridge OSP. While I was there, a ranger came by and mentioned that the trail camp I said I was headed to wasn’t open yet. He asked where my car was and I said in Palo Alto where I started. He said he wouldn’t cite me but couldn’t say what other rangers would do. I was out of water and checked the campground and found no water so I hiked on another 6 miles to Park Headquarters. The closest place to camp. About half way to Headquarters I finally found a nice stream and filled a liter of water. Tasted good and made the hike nicer. I arrived at the headquarters trail camp at about 2000. I set my tent up then cooked a late dinner of mashed potatoes and jerky. They say to be sure to lock up your things in the nice lockers they have. One of the reasons they suggest it arrived to check out my camp as I was preparing dinner. A fat raccoon. I estimate I hiked over 25 miles today. My phone’s battery was dead and there was no sun until I stopped to dry things. So no phone, no GPS track of today’s hike. I’m in no real hurry tomorrow. I only have 1o.5 miles to the beach and there is a campground there that is open. 27 miles today.

Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Obstruction On Skyline To The Sea Trail Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Bridge On Sky Line To Sea Trail Near Berry Creek
Monday: (03/24) Big Basin HQ to the beach at Del Oso then return to Big Basin HQ.
I enjoyed sleeping in until after 0800. I broke camp and then walked down to the ranger station to pay. I had a little difficulty because the bike/trail camp wasn’t open yet. The ranger didn’t want to take my money? Odd. I finally convinced him to take it. He also confirmed there was camping at Waddell Creek Del Oso by the beach but only full priced $33 instead of $6 Trail Camping Fee. OK. I started out about 1000.

Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Bench With View Of Berry Creek Falls
I stopped for lunch overlooking Berry Creek Falls. I had tuna and cheese wraps.

Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Waddell Creek In Big Basin SP Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Log Crossing On Sky Line To Sea Trail
I continued out to the beach arriving about 1430. Along the way were some stream crossings. th one on the right at the far end of the trail was quite interesting crossing on a long narrow log. Too high to use poles for balance and too narrow for good balance. I made it.

Palo Alto To The Sea And Back View Of Ocean Sky Line To Sea Trail Palo Alto To The Sea And Back Kite Surfers At Del Oso Beach
No camping to be found at the beach end. Odd, two rangers have confirmed it? In a week all these trail camps will be open but I also have learned they must be reserved. Not good for me. I’d have to plan ahead. I decided to hike back to HQ and possibly stealth camp along the trail. I stopped for dinner at 1800 at the same place I had lunch over looking Berry Creek Falls. I had rice a roni chicken soup with jerky and hot tea. I filled my water bottles in the creek and continued on. At 1945 I had to turn on my headlite. I was back at Park Headquarters about 2030. Since the Trail camp was a no no, I tried their regular camp. Turns out it was closed as well. Too bad. The open camping at Park Headquarters is a few miles from HQ. I stealth camped at the trail camp I used last night. There is an owl hooting as I write this. Well, this trip may be quicker than planned. I should make it back to the ridge at Saratoga Gap tomorrow. I have to find another stealth camp site and then get home on Wednesday. This has been a good training hike. By the way. Today I found my map and Ibuprofen right where they were supposed to be. I thoroughly checked for them where they belonged previously and it wasn’t there. Gremlins on the trail. 21 miles today.

Tuesday: (03/25) Big Basin HQ to Saratoga Gap.
I rose at 0700 and had oatmeal for breakfast then broke camp. Since they don’t want my money I didn’t even stop by to pay as the camp was closed. I was on the trail by 0900. I filled up my 2 each 1 liter water bottles as well as a 2 liter bladder from a faucet as I was leaving. I don’t intend to run dry again at the top. I hiked up the Skyline To The Sea Trail. Actually it should be the Sea to the Skyline for this direction. Not too many people hike up as it is a 3000 climb from the beach. I came from the beach on it last night so today it’s only 2100 feet. Lots of hikers do hike down. It was an arduous climb. I enticed myself up the trail by checking my altimeter and rewarding myself ever 100 feet with a drink. I had to provide some extra rewards because the trail actually drops down from 2000 feet to 1500 feet a Waterman Gap and I got thirsty. I had trail snacks and stopped for a late lunch at Waterman Gap Trail Camp. It had started to rain intermittently several miles back. I finally had a cell signal so I called Lou and said I’d be at Saratoga Gap at the top of the hill by 8 pm. It is raining and I’ve proven enough for this hike. Let it rain. The hill seemed to go on forever but when I checked my map and altimeter about 1750 I knew I’d arrive at the top much earlier so I called Lou and she started to head up. I actually arrived at the top at 1810 and waited in the cold, fortunately the rain had stopped. Lou arrived about 1850. She was slowed getting there due those darned commuters cluttering the road. Only 17 miles today. 84.6 miles total for this trip. I lost five pounds on the hike. Now just four more hikes or a really long one to loose the rest of the weight I need to loose.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sanborn Park Hike To Skyline

Sanborn Park Hike 9139542583
Friday: (03/21) I met several fellow hikers here at the house for a carpool up to Sanborn Park for the hike. Bob Rollin led us up to Skyline Road and back making a very good conditioning hike with 6.8 miles and 1600 feet elevation change. 22 fellow hikers.

Apricot cobbler with bacon for breakfast. We went to LUU Noodle House for Lunch. I indulged myself with shrimp and egg rolls. Lou and Dawn shared a pad Thai. For dinner we had pesto pizza.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hike Preparation

Monday: (03/17) St Patrick’s Day. We already did our St Patrick’s Day thing yesterday so today is just another day wearing green. Nice weather today but cooler than last week. I completed sanding the porch eves and study wall.  Should be ready to paint tomorrow.  After cleanup I headed out to complete my grocery shopping to my hike. I also stopped by REI for some fuel for my stove. That was a mistake. I browsed too long and I was too late for Cost Plus (shelf safe cheese) and Grocery outlet (jerky steak). Leftover corned beef hash for breakfast. Cheese burger for lunch. 3 bean chili soup (dried soup mix, one of my backpack candidates) for dinner.

Tuesday: (03/18) I got to work about 0910 and finished the first coat of primer by 1900. After peeling as much of the paint from my hands and arms as I could and taking a shower I headed out to Cost Plus and Grocery Outlet to complete my food stocks for the hike. Leftover corned beef hash for breakfast. Peanut pop tarts and yogurt for lunch. A bacon and cheese wrap for afternoon break. A late dinner at Super Taqueria.

Wednesday: (03/19) I walked downtown to breakfast at La Victoria. Nice chorizo burrito. Last night I forgot to pickup more primer and I was out. A trip to Orchard fixed that. I finally got to work around 1000 putting a second coat of primer on the front of the house. It now looks pretty good but needs a third coat to be perfect. I finished painting about 1600, earlier than I thought I would. Lunch was a bacon and cheese wrap and some yogurt. I had a turkey pot pie for dinner. In the evening I prepared all my food for the test hike to Santa Cruz. There is a ziplock bag with a breakfast, lunch and dinner in it and there is one for each day. I’m taking 6 days of food. The pack is pretty heavy. A good test? Obviously I need to loose some things.

Thursday: (03/20) Another breakfast at La Victoria. I then rushed off to a 0900 dentist appointment. After the appointment I immediately went out to the car and at 1000 attended a webinar on AlphaAnywhere. On the way home I stopped by Best Buy and bought a Nexus 7 tablet computer to take on the hike. With much of the day gone I then decided to finish up some office work and then put away my scaffold and packed to leave. I need another primer coat and want it fresh to accept the color coat better so both can be done week after next. So I got back to Palo Alto earlier than usual. Dawn made kale sausage soup for dinner.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands

Saturday: (03/15) We did our weekly shopping run to Walmart’s and Sprout’s market first thing in the morning. Lou had two assignments for me to accomplish today. Move the washing machine outside for the season. During good weather it’s outside and waters the lawn. Task two was to clean out the cooler for the coming cooling season. With her tasks accomplished I started my task. Find a good home for all the dirt I’ve been collecting. I moved several big planters over to the slab that will eventually be Lou’s new potting shed. I haven’t gotten to completing that project yet. With the plants out of the way I relocated a bunch of concrete blocks arranged as retaining walls for another raised planter next to the arbor. The blocks aren’t light (200-250 lbs each) and are of varying heights so getting them in place and with a near even top edge took a while. I managed to move most of my spare dirt into it before I had to stop to clean up for our Bluegrass concert tonight and to have dinner. McDonald’s McGriddle sandwich for breakfast. Leftover pizza for lunch. Hamburgers for dinner.

In the evening we attended the Redwood Bluegrass Associates concert in Mountain View. Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands were playing. Laurie Lewis, Tom Rozum, Chad Manning, Patrick Sauber, Sharon Gilchrist made up the group. Excellent show. During the show Laurie mentioned a holiday I’ve heard of before but had forgotten about.  Evidently Silicon Valley has a Holiday on3/14 called Pie Day. I mean Pi Day. I missed celebrating it. Darn. Or are Holidays really just like being retired?

Sunday: (03/16) I made corned beef hash and eggs for breakfast. I was busy in the yard all day. I finished moving my extra dirt into the new raised planter. I also laid some weed fabric in the garden. Lou, Dawn and Ernie have been busy removing the bark and cleaning it. After it was reinstalled on the new fabric we can now ruin the new fabric by planting through it again. This year the garden will be smaller though. I also planted lots of cacti and succulents from the greenhouse in the new raised bed. It looks pretty good having just the right amount of room for my current surplus dirt. I will have more coming when I dig a sump pump pit in San Jose. I’m not sure where I’ll hide that dirt? Lunch was cheese, salami and crackers. Dinner was our St Patrick’s holiday corned beef and cabbage dinner with guests Courtney and Meili. After dinner I loaded up the car for my return to San Jose. I brought all my hiking gear because I haven’t had time to prepare my pack for my test hike starting this coming weekend. I’ll be hiking to Santa Cruz and back from Palo Alto starting either Friday afternoon after my weekly hike with my group or on Saturday morning. Looks like a busy week.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Castle Rock SP Hike

Friday: (03/14) Granola and sausage for breakfast. I met three fellow hikers in the front yard for a carpool to the park. We headed up Page Mill Road to Skyline Road then on to the park above Saratoga.

Castle Rock SP

EveryTrail – Find the best Hiking in California

SJMWH Group At Castle Rock SP 9139482187 SJMWH On the Saatoga Gap Trail
We met the other 22 hikers there. At one point we had 43 hikers signed up for this hike but fortunately several hikers changed their mind so it was a more comfortable sized group. The group has hiked this location several times and never before hiked by the namesake Castle Rock so this time we did it on the way out. This loop trail goes through some nice oak and madrone forests along the South side of the ridge giving some really nice views of the Santa Cruz Mountains. I managed to only take the group photo for this hike so you’ll have to trust me the views are nice.

Castle Rock SP Don On Goat
I had to climb up on Goat Rock and I managed to forget my camera so no photos from a great spot except this one by a fellow hiker.

Lou called and i met her and Dawn at LUU Noodle House for lunch. Great egg rolls and an avocado smoothie for me. Nice post hike treat. After lunch a nap was in order.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring Has Sprung

Monday: (03/10) Spring has sprung but I haven’t. I basically took the day off and did nothing. It was sprinkling this morning but not enough for a good excuse. The rest of the week is supposed to be really nice. My breakfast was leftover chorizo and eggs. For lunch I had hotdog and cheese wraps. Dinner was a trail meal test. I had a Knoor baby back ribs flavored rice. It’s a cook for 7 minutes meal that I just soaked in really hot water for 20 minutes. Pretty good but I need to remember to use about 3/4 of the designated amount of water. I also had some dried steak (really thick jerky). A good meal on the run.

Tuesday: (03/11) It was cold and windy this morning. Here I am ready for summer in my shorts and short sleeved shirt and no jacket and it feels like winter is on the way back. I walked across the San Jose State University campus for breakfast at La Victoria restaurant downtown. My usual bacon breakfast burrito. I got back home at 0930. The wind was gusting even stronger. I considered another day off but really need to get some work done. But with such winds, painting, stripping paint or sanding were out. So I considered trimming out some old sewer lines from under the house. They are fully abandoned now that the rain gutters have been routed elsewhere. That would be dirty but it would be out of the weather. However, they can be removed anytime. So I redirected myself to the outside portion of that project, installing the rest of the drain lines for the gutters at the front and South side of the house connecting a line I installed previously under the sidewalk on the North side. So I estimated the material and headed off to Home Depot (HD). I got most of the stuff I needed at one HD location and the rest at another HD location. Cruising down the freeway on my return I noticed the drain pipe wasn’t visible above the windshield anymore. Oops. I pulled off the freeway early and checked. As I stopped there was a thump and the pipes reappeared. The rack had come loose and the load was flying above the roof. No pipe damaged or lost. I put another strap on the rack to hold it down.

San Jose No Stumps
I stowed the material and then in my ADD ways, redirected my efforts to remove the stumps of the three bushes I had cut down in the front flowerbed. I will be installing the drain lines in that area as well as the sump and a sidewalk next to the house on the South side of the porch. I then loaded up some dirt in my 5 gallon buckets and filled the back of the jeep with the buckets. The flower bed is higher than the foundation of the house The sidewalk will be below the foundation lip so it will be sunken  a little from the yard and driveway. It will drain into the sump as well. I’ll have a couple more loads of dirt to haul lowering the flower bed and digging the sump but today was a start on this windy day. Lunch was a ham and cheese sandwich. For dinner I had a bowl of chili.

Wednesday: (03/12) The weather was nicer today, no wind. I sanded both sides of the front of the porch. I cooked some sausage and pancakes for breakfast. Lunch was a ham and cheese sandwich. Dinner at the Home Town Buffet on the way home. I dumped the load of dirt.

Thursday: (03/13) Lou and I had an appointment in the morning. I got back to work after lunch loading my buckets with more dirt. Another load headed to Palo Alto tonight. I moved the scaffolds and sanded the the edge joist of the roof. Next week I need to sand under the eves on both sides of the porch and then, do a lot of caulking and filling. Possibly a little paint will finally be applied next week? Dawn made hot cereal for breakfast. I picked up some egg rolls and a shrimp ball for lunch from King Egg Rolls. I stopped for dinner on the way home at Sweet Tomatoes. I try to make up for few vegetables during the week with a visit to the salad bar.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Relaxing By The Sea

Friday: (03/07) This morning it was more clear. I climbed on the roof and cleaned the solar panels which were VERY dirty making them much less effective. With no clouds today I hope to get a charge out of the sun today. We have been using a lot of power since there are three of us and usually the two TV’s are going in the evening. We use about 120-130 ampere hours each evening/night. I ran the generator about 40 minutes this morning to knock the top off the batteries and let the solar finish the charge all day. This morning they opened up the other half of the park for camping. next week the reservation system will start up. We were able to extend our stay in our nice space through Saturday night. We went to breakfast at the Country Kitchen Restaurant in Arroyo Grande. Dawn had oatmeal, Lou had a spinach omelet, and I had chicken fried steak. We made a quick stop at Walmart to get a phone card then returned to camp to relax. Lou made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.

Saturday: (03/08) Spring Forward Eve. I think I’m going to miss the hour? Lou and Dawn had how cereal with apple chunks for breakfast and I toasted the leftover biscuits and added honey for my breakfast. I took care of our tank duty and bought some gas for the RV this morning in order to avoid the Sunday morning rush. We had leftovers for lunch, Lou and Dawn had meatball and cheese sandwiches and I had spaghetti with meat ball.  About 1430 we finally left camp and I bought a replacement fuse for the small inverter. Dawn had inadvertently plugged the vacuum into it. It’s 600 watts but just for computers since it’s a sine wave inverter. RV World had the fuse. I was surprised since its a Max fuse. I always want to have a spare. We then drove to SLO to visit a couple of remaining unvisited thrift stores. We enjoyed ice cream from Rite-Aide (Thrifty). We (I) then stopped at Disk’s Sporting Goods. We don’t have one anywhere near our home and they are a good store. I fond a nice escape/emergency thermal sleeping bag. Basically a heavy duty foil bag. If my sleeping Quilt doesn’t keep me warm enough this thing will definitely supplement it until I’m too warm. It’s only 8.5 oz so doesn’t add much to my load. Lou and Dawn passed the time at Target while I look at Dick’s. Lou made Chinese chicken and vegetables with noodles for dinner. The weather today was excellent.

Pismo Beach No CG site 32 Pismo Beach No CG site 32
Lou insists I add something about our nice environment here. At night the frogs croak their serenades from the ponds and creek next to our campsite. There is an owl that joins in with its own hoots from the Eucalyptus grove across from the creek where earlier, the monarch butterflies had spent the winter. Now we just have a few fluttering about, the ones that thought flying 1500 miles North just wasn’t in their plans. The ocean waves adds to the music of the night. And then, the occasional train passing by just makes Lou’s day. We like trains.

There is a big difference in the park we experience during the week and on the weekends. During the week there a fewer campers and probably mostly retired folks and a few travelers spending just the night. On the weekends, which is basically Friday and Saturday nights, the campground is full. Lots of people come from the central valley with the family for the weekend. Lots of campfires and noisy conversation. Most of the campsites stretch the 8 person limit as do the number of vehicles. I stepped outside for a walk around the campground and, frankly, I would be hesitant to strike  a match in the park. The entire campground reeks of lighter fluid. On the weekend the campfires are bigger and evidently most are powered by lighter fluid. Not so during the week for the occasional campfire built with kindling I guess. Amateurs!

Sunday: (03/09) Sprung forward but still the usual clock confusion when we got home. Another wonderful day. I took a walk around the neighborhood near the park as well as around the park. Lou made chorizo scrambled eggs for breakfast. We relaxed around camp, visited the beach for one last time and were on the road. We stopped in Paso Robles to visit a thrift store and walk around downtown. We especially liked our visit to the Studios By The Park artists coop. We watched some silk dying and etching ink stamps. We had a snack of cheese and chips then were on to Greenfield where we stopped again at the San Miguel Market where I enjoyed a chili relleno, Dawn some Flan and Lou a shrimp salad. I dropped Lou and Dawn off with the Jeep in Los Altos. Dawn was gong to a story tellers meeting. i tried to get LPG and gas but the place i usually go was closed for LPG filling at 6pm and i arrived just before 7pm. Darn. Now I’ll have to move the RV next week to fill things. I got my stuff together and drove down to San Jose. i did a little grocery shopping and settled in to the apartment for work tomorrow. We have a chanc of rain tonght and tomorrow but the rest of the week should be good so I might get some paint on the house.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Shell/Avila Beach Bluff Trail

Thursday: (03/06) Last night we noticed that one of the “best” campsites, located by the creek, was vacant. We thought, we hoped it would still be in the morning. Lou and I took a walk through the campground and the campsite was occupied but the people looked like they were leaving. Oh great, some travelers. Lou sat while I got the jeep and moved it to the site. We were moved into our new site before 0800. Great view of the ocean, the butterfly forest and the meadow from the site. Lou made bacon, eggs and hash browns for breakfast.

RV City Water Inlet RV Broken Gray Water Line
Today Lou and Dawn visited Grover Beach and Arroyo Grande thrift stores and I visited RV World for parts. A connector for the city water inlet, a flange for the gray water valve, and a clearance light lens. Some things take a little time to fix and if the repair isn’t urgent, even longer. The city water coupler broke in Alaska a couple of years ago. We just use the tank water and have no problems. The gray water valve flange broke coming off the lift in Panguitch, Utah last May.  A little friction tape stopped the leak and now the connection is flexible. Still, they will eventually be repaired, especially now that I have the parts.

RV Broken Clearance Lamp Lens
Got the first two and still need the lens.

Then it was time for Lou to drop me off in Shell Beach for my hike. I hiked from Shell Beach to Cave Landing (near Avila) along the Bluff trail and back along the Ontario Ridge Trail.

A nice 3.7 mile hike with an elevation change of 771 feet, most of that in less than 1/4 mile. Some nice views of the ocean and area from the bluffs above the beach and way up on the mountain ridge above that on the return trip. Then I walked most of the way back to Pismo Beach before Lou picked me up.

Shell_Avila Bluff Trail South End Shell_Avila Bluff Trail Looking North
The South end of the Bluff trail at the end of the road North of Shell Beach. It passes along the top of the bluff. On the inland side there is a row of very expensive homes for the first part of the trail.

Shell_Avila Bluff Trail Pirates Cove Shell_Avila Bluff Trail Pirates Cove
Above left looking North towards Pirates Cove at Cave Landing. On the right is the bluff the trail pasted above as seen from Cave landing.

Shell_Avila Bluff Trail Cave Landing Shell_Avila Bluff Trail  Looking No To Avila
The cave at Cave Landing. On the right looking North from the sea side of the cave.

Shell_Avila Bluff Trail  Cave Landing Flowers Ontario Ridge Trail North End
Some flowers by the trail to the cave. On the right is the North end of the Ontario Ridge Trail. Both ends of the trail look very uninviting with “No Public Access” or “No Trespassing” signs. Evidently the signs mean nothing since there were a lot of fellow hikers on the trail and it’s well worn.

Ontario Ridge Trail Ontario Ridge Trail View Of Shell Beach
A nice view of the trail along the top of the ridge and a view of Shell Beach below.

Ontario Ridge Trail Ontario Ridge Trail South End
Another less glorious view of the ridge trail. The South end of the trail is as inviting as the North End.

Shell Beach Road Flowers
Some flowers along Shell Beach Road.

For dinner we returned to Pismo Fish and Chips. After dinner we went to SLO to the Farmers Market.