Saturday, October 31, 2015

Passing Of A Friend

Saturday: (10/31) We started with the weekly shopping. Not a good day. I was enjoying my morning on the computer when it died, dead. So, buying a new laptop went to the top of the list. Meanwhile, it ruined my day. Fortunately, there is likely no loss of data like all my recent photos both because most are backed up and the hard drive was probably not affected. I did have some fun. I bought a quad copter recently. Today I tried to have some fun and flew it for the first time. I have a lot to learn.  I hope it’s really durable. Shepherd’s pie for breakfast. Black bean chili for lunch.

Wilton Lou's Shed 1101151242 Amature Selfies 1101151902_HDR
Sunday: (11/01) The clocks looked odd this morning. I did remember to adjust all the clocks last night. The problem is, I set them forward rather than back. So we did get up earlier. We were fortunate to have a Black Bear Diner open in  nearby Sunnyvale. Ernie joined us for breakfast there this morning. It’s both good and bad to have one nearby. When we got home I started relaxing. My method of relaxation was different. I split logs most of the day. I burnt all the processed good (painted and treated lumber) leaving only clean wood for BBQing. Lou was busy smoking ribs for dinner. She made nice pear salads for lunch. Ribs. potatoes and Coleslaw for dinner. Nice mostly sunny day today. Another supposedly rainy day, not. Above right is why amateurs shouldn’t take selfies.
Monday: (11/02) Awoke at 0630 to the sound of a good rain. It was soaked outside. The sump was full. The pump has been turned off and we had a hose to the backyard to recycle any water that we needed to pump. So, I went out in the heavy rain and filled all our buckets with the sump water. I then tried to hook the pump discharge back to the pipe that goes out to the street but it appears to be blocked. So I pulled the hose out to the street. Too bad to have to waste the water but too much isn’t good. Popcorn for breakfast. Looks like a day for inside activities. The rain was finished by mid morning. Lou and I cleared the grass plug obstruction in the pump discharge pipe and it’s all hooked up as it should be, if we get more rain. In the afternoon I went out looking at computers. I’ve been looking at the Lenovo Yoga 900 2in1 computer. It’s a laptop and a tablet. They had one on display at the best Buy in San Carlos so I tried it out and I do like it. But, they aren’t in stock anywhere so I ordered it tonight. I should be back to happy on Wednesday. Breakfast sandwich for brunch. Ham and cheese pannini sandwich for dinner.
VTA Hacathon 1103151101_HDR VTA Hacathon 1103151117a_HDR
Tuesday: )11/03) I made a breakfast sandwich to start my day. Lou and Dawn were off to exercise class first thing. When they returned they dropped me off in San Jose at the transportation district office so I could attend the Hackathonawards ceremony. The photos show several of the apps being developed by the hackers.
VTA Hacathon 1103151129_HDR VTA Hacathon 1103151142_HDR
There wasn’t a crowd but winning is still worthwhile, even more so this time because there were monetary awards.
VTA Hacathon Bus Inerds 1103151202_HDR SJSU New Construction 1103151334_HDR
Above left is the information system that exists on a bus, On the right is a new building under construction on the San Jose State campus where I took a walk later in the day.
Lou and Dawn were then off thrifting. I then headed off to Dawn’s apartment to do a little taste trimming the drain outlet pipe and gluing some fittings to complete the system installation.  We stopped by Harbor Freight on the way home to pick up a spare sump pump just in case one fails during our upcoming El Nino storms. Vietnamese sandwich and coleslaw for lunch at the event. Leftovers for dinner.
Don's New Laptop 1104151753c_HDR
Wednesday: (11/04) Lou made biscuits and gravy for breakfast. She and Dawn headed off to Oakland to a couple of events today. I worked on Lou’s shed most of the day. I got most of the sill plates installed and started the framing. My new computer arrived about 1430 but being the dedicated guy I am, I put it in the house and didn’t play with it until after dinner. These shorter days sure do get dark early I stopped work about 1700, picked up dinner at Tacos El Gruelense down the street A nice super nachos. Lunch was a ham and cheese sandwich. After dinner I got to start playing with my new computer. Big boxes for a tiny computer. Nice. Lou and Dawn were off to a couple of meetings in Oakland today.
Wilton Lou's Shed 1105151216_HDR Wilton Lou's Shed 1105151439_HDR
Thursday: (11/05) Granola for breakfast. We’re starting to have cold mornings. In fact, we may have a freeze tonight or soon. I headed out before 0900 and started work on Lou’s shed. I got most of the framing done and the roof joists in and even some panels on the greenhouse side so that if it does freeze, there may be some protection. Tomorrow is a ply day with a hike so no more work until Saturday when I hope to get the roof on. Lou made a meal in one pasta dish for lunch. Macaroni and cheese with a spinach casserole for dinner. The new laptop is nice but there will be a lot of work involved in getting it setup right.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Foothills Park, Los Trancos Trail

Friday: (10/30) I made breakfast sandwiches this morning. Alex picked me up about 0900 to head off for our hike at Foothills Park. We bunched up in full cars to carpool in to the park. A nice 7.6 mile hike with a 2732 foot climb circling around much of the park.
Foothills Park Los Trancos Trail 1030151120 Foothills Park Los Trancos Trail 1030151224a
Mostly nice oak forest here in the lower portions of the park, The top of the hills are mostly chaparral.
Foothills Park Los Trancos Trail 1030151200b Foothills Park Los Trancos Trail 1030151158_Pano
A nice tree to enjoy lunch on. Jessica took the high path, Lynn used the tree as a hammock.
Foothills Park Los Trancos Trail 1030151120_Pano
Looking both up and down the trail above.
Foothills Park Los Trancos Trail 1030151159b_Pano
Our lunch spot
Foothills Park Los Trancos Trail 1030151223_Pano
A panoramic view at the top of the hill.
Black bean chilli for lunch. Dawn made Shepherd’s pie for dinner.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Thursday: (10/29) I emptied the Jeep from the San Jose project. I had brought my jobbox home as well as another 10 gallons of dirt leftover from the new sump pump outlet box installation. I then broke down a couple of the old cabinets from Lou’s workroom. I salvaged some good plywood panels from the cabinets for reuse. I cut up the unusable parts and we enjoyed a nice campfire when we burnt the wood in the evening. I finally got to work on Lou’s shed in the late afternoon. I managed to install just one piece of the sill plate for the shed. Granola for breakfast. Leftover pizza for lunch. Tongue tacos with black bean and corn salsa for dinner.

Wilton Campfire 1029151927
A nice campfire in the evening.
Wilton Campfire 1029151941_Pano
The backyard at night.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Computer History Museum

Wednesday: (10/28) A nice sunny morning when I awoke. It did become overcast about 0900 but we never got any of the forecast rain today.

Computer History Museum Babbage Difference Engine 1028151308 Computer History Museum 1401 computer 1028151505
Since I was on rainy day schedule, Dawn and I visited the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. I haven’t ever visited before.
Computer History Museum 1028151534a Computer History Museum 1028151535
I did donate a couple of my old computers to it a few years ago (Commodore B500 and an Ohio Scientific C4P). Neither were on display. We attended all the docent presentations and spent all day until they threw us out at the 1700 closing. It’s interesting that I have worked with so much of this stuff.
Computer History Museum CDC160 Computer Console1028151624a
They had a CDC160 control console (above) like the one I used to play with at the Satellite Test Center. Dawn enjoyed punching an IBM card and having an old mini computer print her name on a line printer. Dawn had to get dinner in a hurry and I drove her to her writer group meeting. A nice day off.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Waiting for Rain

Saturday: (10/24) Foggy all morning, but a nice sunny afternoon. Lou and I were off to do our weekly shopping early. Leftover potatoes with sausage and eggs for breakfast. Otherwise most of the late morning and early afternoon were spent napping. A ham and cheese sandwich for lunch.

Lou's Shed Starting 1024150918 Wilton Yard 1024150918a
When I finally got out I tinkered repairing a bad hinge on a screen door. I needed some material to fix it so I headed off the Home Depot. While there I got what I came for but also got some more material for Lou’s shed. Then it was time to cook dinner. I prepared pork chops with fresh asparagus and some rice with black bean salsa.
Wilton Tomato Plant 1024150918b
Our tomato monster bush.
Sunday: (10/25) I spent the morning watching the Sunday morning TV talk shows. Around 1100 I got to work on the tasks of the day. I finished repairing the garage screen door. It needed a hinge re-attached.
Lou's Shed Starting 1025151813 Moving Garden Water Lines 1025151813a
I trenched about 15 feet and installed some pipes and conduits. I also worked in the shop. I started with leftover breakfast potatoes for a morning snack. Lou made fresh peaches blintzes for brunch later. Lou made beef stroganoff for dinner.
Monday: (10/26) Another overcast morning and nice sunny afternoon. Leftovers for breakfast. I had beef stroganoff. I finally got outside to work about 1100. I finished digging a trench and installing pipes and conduit to extend  faucet and sprinkler valves to the garden from where they were about 30 feet away by Lou’s building to be. I only had to go to the store once to get a couple of conduit 45 degree ells. After I get Lou’s building built I’ll be laying a bunch of bricks behind a couple of other sheds and installing a roof to make a garden tool storage area, Lou brought home some dim sum for a late lunch. For dinner she made baked potatoes with fresh asparagus and steak. They were both off to an appointment and some shopping today. (see first two pictures below)
Tuesday: (10/27) I made breakfast sandwiches this morning. I then tried to work on Lou’s shed. I did get some rebar pins drilled and set on the slab to hold a brick riser. I then intended to lay some bricks but my tools are in San Jose. So, what to do next. I was about to start installing the sill plate on the rest of the slab but it was lunch time so we all went to lunch at LUU Noodle House. They left me there and went off to visit the Sunset Gardens which close permanently this Friday. I stopped by at Walmart and picked up some printer paper and caught the bus home.
Wilton Garden Water Line Move 1027151233 Wilton Garden Water Line Move 1027151233a San Jose Sump Pump Discharge 1027151723
I then loaded up the Jeep and headed down to San Jose. It was already 1530, a really bad time to be on the road. Traffic was terrible so I stayed off the freeway (parking lot). I arrived at the house about 1630. I needed to get my cement tools but they were locked in my job box there and I didn’t bring the key so I loaded the job box into the jeep. My other task was to install a pump outlet box which I hadn’t located when I dashed off to hike in April. We found it later in San Luis Obispo at a farm supply so I bought the box but hadn’t installed it yet. It went in easily with some drain rock as it’s base (above right). I finished up at 1730. I was almost out of gas so I filled the tank then stopped by the Orchard Supply Hardware store nearby to pickup two elbows to soften the discharge so it doesn’t lift the boxes lid. I had ordered a pizza when I left the store so after completing the box I headed off to the House Of Pizza to pick it up. Traffic wasn’t bad as I headed home at 1850. I enjoyed my pizza as I watched NCIS and vegg’d (pizza’d) the rest of the evening. All the way home there were very light sprinkles on the windshield. When I got home it turned into a short period of light rain. Tomorrow we’re supposed to get a real rain.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pescadero Creek Park Hike

Friday: (10/23) Alex picked me up and delivered us to Jessica’s house where we met Judd and jessica for a carpool up the hill to the Tarwater Trailhead in Pescadero Creek Park. We started downhill from the Tarwater Trailhead on the Shingle Creek Trail, stopped for a look at the Grandfather Tree and at the old Shingle Mill ruins. We continued out the Pomponio Trail to the Jones Gulch area for lunch by the creek. Then we returned on the Brook Trail and the Canyon Trail stopping at Tarwater Creek to smell and see the tar in the creek. Then we headed up to our cars on the Tarwater Trail. Wonderful park!
Pescadero Creek Park Hike Group 91445631336412
Our hiking group today.
Jones Gulch IN Pescadero Creek Park 1023151239c Jones Gulch IN Pescadero Creek Park 1023151239b Jones Gulch IN Pescadero Creek Park 1023151239
Jones gulch where we enjoyed lunch.
Jones Gulch IN Pescadero Creek Park 1023151237b Jones Gulch IN Pescadero Creek Park 1023151237
Lunch by the creek. On the right Alex examines the waterfall.
Breakfast at L&L Hawaiian, my usual egg, sausage and cheese English muffin and a maple bar. My lunch was a granola bar and some jerky. A meal that lasts on the trail. Lou made beef stroganoff with a new Brussels sprouts dish for dinner.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Back Home, And Getting Into Gear

Monday:(10/19) Granola for breakfast. I spent the day doing office work and making blog posts, working on photos etc. BBQ ribs baked potato, with salad for dinner. Nice weather. Lou was busy with laundry and moving back out of the RV.

Tuesday: (10/20) Lou and Dawn were off early to exercise class and a party and I relaxed at home. Lou brought home fresh tomales for brunch. I finally got to work after lunch and cleaned up the shop and put away stuff from recent projects. I also started clearing the slab where Lou’s building is to be built. it’s been acting as a patio and had lots of plants that needed new homes. Lou made a nice vegetable soup for dinner.
Wednesday: (10/21) It’s another fine day. I fixed a late breakfast of home fried potatoes with sausage and eggs. I spent the day preparing a shopping list and shopping for materials for Lou’s shed. On the way I had lunch at Mi Pueblo, a nice torta milanesa. Lou and I had dinner at LUU Noodle House. Dawn was at her writers club meeting.
Thursday: (10/22) Lou and Dawn were off to class. I grabbed breakfast at Jack In The Box on my way to San Jose. I needed some salt pellets and to find the best lumber for Lou’s shed. To get usable lumber at Home Depot or Lowe’s you need to find a just opened bundle and cull out the good pieces. I also had difficulty finding kiln dried lumber. Many stores don’t have any, just green lumber that drips and is usually warped. I was able to find good 2×4 8 foot but no 10 foot. Also the salt pellet price difference was up to 100%. It often pays to shop around. My destination was Dawn’s house in San Jose. The tenant called about a broken toilet flush handle. I eventually arrived before noon meeting my “see you in the morning” promise. I checked and was off to another HD to get the part. Installation went well. Next was to deliver the salt pellet bags to the softener in the basement. They are only 50lbs each but I didn’t want to strain my back getting them there. I forgot to bring a wagon so I stopped by Harbor Freight to pickup a big wheel flatbed wagon that I’ve been threatening to buy anyway. A stop for lunch from King Egg Roll on the way back to the house. I assembled the wagon moved the salt and reloaded the softener. I had also intended to install a better discharge outlet for the sump pump there but forgot a few things so it will get one later. Cottage cheese and fruit for dinner. In the evening we all went to the Los Altos Library where day was a story teller.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Dave’s Ranch

Friday: (10/16) We spotted a Black Bear Diner in Willows and stopped for breakfast. Another stop at a thrift store and Best Buy in Woodlands. We tried one final time stopping at a Best Buy store in Tracy looking for Dawns phone, no luck again. Dinner at the Golden Corral restaurant there. We came in to Dave’s ranch from Patterson off I5. The road is nicer than the approach from Livermore or over Mt Hamilton from San Jose. The RV had some power loss problems on the way in. Something else to have fixed.

Dave's Ranch 1017150811 Dave's Ranch 1017150811a
Saturday: (10/17) Lou made omelets with home fried potatoes for breakfast. The day was spent relaxing, chatting, hiking and dining. There were about 25 of Dave’s friends here (biking, hiking and Lion’s Club).
Dave's Ranch 1017151303_HDR Dave's Ranch 1017151405
The ranch is about 400 acres of ponds, woodlands, grassy slopes with trails and historical things to see.
Dave's Ranch 1017151817_HDR Dave's Ranch 1017152137a
We had a pot luck lunch after a hike led by Dave around the ranch. Steve, one of the attendees gave an RC air show on the landing strip. An evening campfire capped the evening.
Sunday: (10/18) French toast and ham for breakfast. Everyone was busy getting ready to leave. I readied the RV with the major project being washing the windshield. I took a walk on a new trail I found. We departed about 1230 heading out through Livermore abd across the San Mateo bridge to home. Time to relax after our road trip. Leftovers for dinner.
GPS: 37.370352, -121.465997

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Headed Toward Home

Thursday: (10/15) Bacon, potatoes and eggs for breakfast. We were on road at 0900. When we got to Arcata and had a good cell signal, Dawn bought tickets for a Prairie Home Companion radio show in San Diego this coming January. We were stopped in a shopping center that had a Chinese Buffet where we had lunch. The best Chinese Buffet we’ve had in years. We stopped in Weaverville at a book store. Another stop in Redding at a Best Buy looking for Dawn’s phone. None in stock. Hamburgers ala Lou for dinner. I looked at a Dick’s Sporting Goods store at kayaks. We also stopped at a Winco market stocking up for the weekend. A rest area in Red Bluff was our last stop where we spent the night.

GPS: 40.270603 -122.270124

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Prairie Creek Trail Hike

Wednesday: (10/14) Lou made biscuits and gravy again for breakfast. We all took a walk up the Prairie Creek Trail to the Big Tree Trail where Lou and Dawn waited and I returned to get the jeep. They had walked two miles.

Prarie Creek Trail Wave Barked Redwood Tree 1014151142a Prarie Creek Trail Wave Barked Redwood Tree 1014151142c
The above interesting tree is where they waited for me. It’s odd because of the zig-zag growth pattern of the wood and bark. Gee, I wonder if this is the source of the name if the zig-zag trail rather than the routing of the trail.
We then drove up Cal Barrel Road a road going up into the redwood forest. After a while we went down to Orick for lunch at the service station on the South end of town. They had gluten free sandwiches for Lou and Dawn and I had a homemade tamale and a cup of chili and a great milkshake. We examined a burle shop then returned home. I snoozed the rest of the afternoon. Lou cooked salmon with artichoke, chicken, rice and a green salad for dinner. Then we packed up all the outside things getting ready to leave tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Long Road Trip

Tuesday: (10/13) For breakfast a corned beef, corn and cheese omelet with fresh fried blueberry muffins that Lou baked last night. We started with a stop at the National Park Visitor Center in Orick where I picked up a map and asked some questions as Lou and Dawn walked on the beach. I thought today would be a good drive day and considered driving back roads to Etna for a late lunch but it was getting so late we decided to Drive up to Creaseant City for fish and chips at the Chart Room then continued North on Highway 199 to Obrian, Oregon where we caught a back road down to Happy Camp then South on Highway 96 stopping in Somes Bar for a walk and snack and on to Weitchpec where we caught the Bald Mountain Road over the hill back to Orick and then to camp arriving about 2140. At a stop on the top of the mountain we got a great view of the stars and Milky Way. Leftovers for dinner.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Coastal Trail and West Ridge Trail

Monday: (10/12) Lou made biscuits and gravy for breakfast. About 1020 they dropped me off on the North end of the park at the Coastal Trail trailhead.

Prarie Creek Coastal & West Ridge Trails 1012150737_HDR Prarie Creek Coastal & West Ridge Trails 1012151147a
I hiked down about half a mile to the beach and immediately began to wonder about today’s plan. There wasn’t much beach just a lot of water and waves, a bluff and some rocks. I tried to get by on the bluff side of a lagoon but couldn’t get past some rocks on the far side. Fortunately there was a sand bar on the ocean side of the lagoon with the high tide waves occasionally rolling over the top. I didn’t really count waves and got about half way across as I noticed a bigger wave coming in which rolled a bunch of water over the top. I didn’t make it back before the wave got my shoes wet, about 6 inches deep. OK, no need to worry about wading now.
Prarie Creek Coastal & West Ridge Trails 1012151154 Prarie Creek Coastal & West Ridge Trails 1012151156
The rest of the 1.5 miles of similar beach were no longer a concern. I stayed close to the bluff, scouted for a high ground escape path and dodged waves and rocks. Note to self, check the tide charts before taking this trail again. When I reached the South end of the bluffs and there was some higher ground, I climbed up the 10 feet to the high ground beach prairie only to find myself almost in the middle of an elk herd, All the does scattered off up the hill but the bull was giving me a look that concerned me. I scampered off South away from the heard and mean looking bull elk. Shades of an experience I had a number of years back when a bull elk made me run for the cover of a tiny tree. No trees around this beach.
Prarie Creek Coastal & West Ridge Trails 1012151220b Prarie Creek Coastal & West Ridge Trails 1012151223
Another mile South and I was at the West Ridge trailhead. Just before I arrived at the trailhead I heard coyote calls. They continued long enough for me to get my phone out and record the sounds as I did the last 1/8 mile to the trailhead. (I since managed to loose the recording) I had been following what I thought were coyote footprints on the beach as I came down the trail. This part of the West Ridge Trail was the wettest part of my hike a couple of days ago. I repeated about 2 miles of the same trail today. It wasn’t as wet today because of no rain. Still a little wet due to fog and dew.
Prarie Creek Coastal & West Ridge Trails 1012151307a_HDR Prarie Creek Coastal & West Ridge Trails 1012151557
I came down off the West Ridge Trail on the Zig Zag #2 trail to connect with the Prairie Creek Trail that follows the creek back to camp. But, at the bottom of the Zig Zag #2 trail where it connects with the Creek Trail, there was a crew working on a bridge and a sign that said “Trail Closed”. Being a good boy, and because I have been complaining about how little maintenance they seem to be doing on the park trails, I stayed off the trail and walked about a mile on the park road and connected back to the Prairie Creek trail at Zig Zag #1 Trail. I had forgotten how nice this area is even though it is right near the roadway passing along the creek through magnificent redwoods. I made it back to camp about 1630. A 14.3 mile hike today. Lou and Dawn were off to Arcata today. Dawn found a potential job in Arcata that they are going to check on. I had a ham and cheese sandwich for dinner.