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2019-03-19 – Airstream Caravans Travel – Day 7 – Mesilla and Las Cruces, NM

Another easy day.  We did some chores around the Villa, then at 10:15 we walked the 1/3 mile to the Las Cruces Railroad Museum.

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It was a simple, low key, and fun place.  Lots of history, from when the first train came to town in 1881 until the last train stopped here in 1988.  Also we learned the interesting story about how Las Cruces won the Railroaid stop over the much bigger (then) town of Mesilla… It seems the railroad wrote to both towns asking about the possibility of locating the train station in their town.  Las Cruces boosters got on board, secretly bought up all the land they could, then offered the railroad the land for everything they needed.  Mesilla never responded, and seemed surprised when the railroad went to Las Cruces.  Today Mesilla is a tiny suburb, absorbed into the city limits of Las Cruces, which became a major crossroads in Southern New Mexico.  So, now: Have you ever heard of Mesilla?

Adjacent to the railroad station/museum is a caboose:

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The caboose was put in service in the 1890s, and retired in 1960.  In 1969 a local Las Cruces family purchased it for $50 as one of 300 cabooses offered for sale.  They cleaned it up, added a kitchen and a shower, and lived in it while they were building their ranch house just outside of town.  It stayed in the family until 2010 when it was donated to the Railroad Museum… And here it sits…

We walked back to the Villa, then we drove to Mesilla.  Remember Mesilla?  They have a very nice original town plaza surrounded by shoppes and restaurants.  The town church is relatively new, replacing the original church built in 1852.

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One of the shoppes is in the old courthouse where Billy the Kid was tried and convicted of murder and sentenced to death by hanging…

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Of course, while en route to his hanging Billy the Kid escaped, killing his two guards.  After running for two months, he was finally shot to death in Fort Sumner, NM, by Pat Garrett.  (Fun fact:  In my early days as an architect, I worked in an office with another architect who claimed he was a descendant of Pat Garrett…)

The plaza and surrounding shoppes are nice…

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The above building claims to be the oldest brick building in New Mexico, built in 1860 from bricks manufactured on site…  The building didn’t have an auspicious start – one by one the first three owners were murdered right here…

We decided on Josephine’s Cafe for lunch… lighter fare than generally available around here… And EXCELLENT Sangria!

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After lunch we fueled up the truck and returned to the Villa.  More chores were done and a leisurely evening ensured…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-03-18 – Airstream Caravans Travel – Day 6 – Hatch and Las Cruces, NM

Another leisurely day… We drove about 35 miles north of here to visit the town of Hatch, NM… of chili fame.

The town takes its famous Hatch chili seriously, as evidenced by the names of the local businesses…

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We strolled the town, looked into all the shoppes, and finally settled on the Valley Cafe for lunch.  Very spicy and flavorful, but not up to our standards for Mexican food… Maybe we’re spoiled…

We returned to the Villa and had a leisurely evening…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-03-17 – Airstream Caravans Travel – Day 5 – Las Cruces and Alamogordo, NM

This Sunday morning we started walking at 7:30 am in 35 degree temperatures.  There is a nice United Methodist church about 1/2 mile from here.  However we wonder at the wisdom of holding a church service at 8:00 am… It was a beautiful church, but only 50 people were in attendance. I was reassured that their later two services were better attended… ( a total of about 300+ people each Sunday…)

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While walking back to the Villa we passed the Railroad Museum.  We may need to return here in a day or two…

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We packed a lunch and pointed the truck towards Alamogordo… The road to Alamogordo is named the “Bataan March Memorial Highway”.  White Sands Missile range was closed today while they do an re-enactment of the Bataan Death March – without the disease, torture, bugs, humidity, starvation, and death… This is an annual event since 2002.  Hundreds of people (maybe thousands) were walking along the highway and on the roads in the missile range…

We continued on to Alamogordo, to the New Mexico Space History Museum, which includes the International Hall of Fame, along with a Planetarium…

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We walked around the outdoor exhibits…

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This is a memorial for the astronauts who died in the Apollo 1 fire and the two Space Shuttle crashes…

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They also have here the grave site of HAM, the first space chimp, who flew into space in 1961, and died in 1983…

Inside were four floors of exhibits of space exploration:  early astronomers, rockets, the cold war space race, all the manned space missions, and on and on… Some of it was esoteric technology and other exhibits were current events for us… Lots of hands-on exhibits for kids, too.

Also outside was an acceleration/deceleration track, where various devices were tested for both going fast and stopping from going fast.  I’m no mathematician (they said there would be no math in retirement…), but one rocket used on the track accelerated from 0 to mach 1.3 in 4.2 seconds.  I think that is even faster than a Tesla…

From the hill at the museum we could see the White Sands National Monument… It isn’t really clear in the photo, but these white sand dunes extend for 275 miles…

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White Sands National Monument was our next destination for the day… There are 150,000 acres of, well, white sand…

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I dressed as the invisible pedestrian.  You can almost see me in this photo…

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We returned to the Villa, had lovely happy hours and dinner…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

2019-03-16 – Airstream Caravans Travel – Day 4 – Las Cruces, NM

We rolled out of the Queen Mine RV Park at about 9:30.  Today we are heading to Las Cruces, NM.  We are traveling in southeast Arizona in some of the most remote areas we have ever seen…

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Some of the mountains are still covered in snow… There is also “snow” or the slushy remnants of hail, alongside the road…

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We stopped at a monument commemorating the surrender of Geronimo, the Apache chief, to the US Army in 1886.  He was the last Apache chief to surrender…

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New Mexico welcomed us!

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There was even more snow on the ground in New Mexico!

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We pulled into Sunny Acres RV Park in Las Cruces at about 3:30.  In, connected, and paid for…

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Happy Hours ensured… And an enjoyable time was had by all…

And, as is our custom on travel days, here are pictures of our great grandchildren…

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2019-03-15 – Airstream Caravans Travel – Day 3 – Bisbee, AZ

Once again we awoke to sub-freezing temperatures.  But between the fireplace, the heat pump, and the furnace we were able to keep warm and keep the pipes from freezing…

We began the day with a tour of the Queen Mine…

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We were outfitted with hard hats, miner’s lights, and safety vests… We mounted the mine tourist train and headed into the mine…

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About 700 feet into the mine we dismounted and walked up some wooden stairs to a large cavern…

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We were told about the various jobs going on in the mines at any one time.  Our tour guide worked in the mines for about 15 years, starting two days after he graduated from Bisbee High School…

 

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We were told about the various ways to make the holes for the dynamite and how these methods changed over the years, from hammering a steel spike in 1915 to pneumatic drills in the 1960s… Every few years improvements were made to efficiency and safety…

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Sometimes the shoring seems a little improvised…

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These are the ore cars and the chutes from above where the ore is dumped…

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The supervisors traveled up to 10 miles per day around the mines, mounted on these rail-cycles…

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After another train ride we dismounted at the 1,500 mark and walked down a cross-tunnel…

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There are fire doors every 500 feet or so…

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Next was the lesson on where to drill holes and how to set off the dynamite to get the largest cavity possible…

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Finally we saw a typical 11-man elevator cage…

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And the porta-potty…

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Tour over, we walked back to the train and we were returned to fresh air…

After lunch we spent more time walking about the town. We visited The Bisbee Mining Museum, and enjoyed browsing the many vintage, antique, and junk shoppes…

This evening we returned for an anniversary dinner – It has been 51 years since our first date… The town was lit up and it was a beautiful sight…

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We had asked all over town for recommendations for the best fine dining, white tablecloth restaurant.  Every person we asked stated, without hesitation, “Roka”.

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They were right.  Great service, interesting, innovative food, and a lovely bottle of Turley wine…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-03-14 – Airstream Caravans Travel – Day 2 – Bisbee and Tombstone, AZ

Overnight in Bisbee the temperatures dropped into the mid- to high-twenties!  This is ridiculously cold for us Californians.

We began the day by walking down to the Queen Mine and made reservations for tomorrow for the mine tour.  Then we walked into Old Bisbee and explored.  Since most businesses were not open it was very quiet.  We walked up and down hills, looking at anything that seemed interesting.  It’s a great little town!

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There is the “Copper Man” sculpture, in honor of copper’s importance to the town, sharing a small plaza with a telephone pole…

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There are several churches, this one seeming to be the most prestigious…

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The County Courthouse…

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The County Administration Building…

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Lynda found a comfortable chair at a gas station-turned-restaurant…

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The old cinema is now an event venue…

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The Grand Hotel…

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What we found very interesting were the number of stairs leading up and down the hills, providing shortcuts between streets and access to houses far above or below the street…

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Adjacent to the stair pictured above was this lovely sculpture garden, or some such thing.  It appears to be a private space…

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There are quite a few partially demolished buildings, but with remnants of walls, doors, and fireplaces remaining…

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After our walk around town we returned to the Villa and drove to Tombstone, about 25 miles away.  It contained all the requisite tourist venues, and lots of historic buildings…

The main street is nicely car-free… the streets around town are very busy and parking is hard to find, even on this mid-week day…

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You can take a tour around town in a stagecoach; (we didn’t…)

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In its heyday there were over 110 saloons and many 24 hour gambling parlors…

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You can watch a “humorous gunfight re-enactment”; (we didn’t…)

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We saw the County Courthouse from the days before the county seat moved to Bisbee…

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You can have lunch and drinks at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon; (we did…!)

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After lunch we returned to the Villa and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon; about 4:30 we walked back into Bisbee and had cocktails at two of the town’s many bars…

First was Room 4 Bar, located in the Silver King Hotel.  It has room for four!  It bills itself as Arizona’s smallest bar.  Great fun.  For most of the time we were the only patrons there, and then three others came in.  It was packed!

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Next stop was the Copper Queen Hotel…

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It was fun and relaxing.  We walked back to the Villa, enjoyed a light supper, and retired early once again…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-03-13 – Airstream Caravans Travel – Day 1 – Bisbee, AZ

We’re off!  We left Redlands at a very leisurely 6:00 am.  We are heading east to Arizona and New Mexico for a week or so, then on through Texas to Louisiana, where we will meet up with the Cajun Country Caravan, starting March 26.  Interestingly, the Airstream Club is running this caravan twice this year because it is so popular and the waiting list is so long.  The first run started March 5, and we have been reading blogs and seeing posts on Facebook about it.  Sort of a “sneak preview”, so to speak…

After the Cajun Country Caravan we will wander around the south, mostly looking at Architecture and visiting friends and relatives.  April 25 we will meet up with another caravan – Springtime in Kentucky.  After it is over we will meander home, expecting to return sometime in mid-June…

But for today, we are driving through the desert.  It’s amazing how much traffic there is at 6:00 am…

The desert is always a boring drive, but today, at least, we were seeing a lot of green, due to the unusually heavy rains we have been having lately…

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We crossed over into Arizona… The Grand Canyon State welcomed us!

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As is our custom, we stopped once per hour to stretch our legs and keep our Apple watches happy. Sometimes we used rest stops, sometimes we simply pulled of on the side of a road.  A short walk was always in order…

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We were making good time.  Our original idea was to stop for the night in Mesa, AZ, but we weren’t really ready to stop.  We made a few telephone calls and changed our destination for this day to be Bisbee, located in the far southeast corner of Arizona, about five minutes from Mexico and about one hour from New Mexico.  It made for a long day, but after a brief nap it was no problem.

About 4:30 pm we pulled into the RV park in Bisbee, the Queen Mine RV Park.  Not surprisingly, it is located directly adjacent to the Queen Mine.  It is a pretty basic park – nothing but gravel, and only 25 sites.  We found RVs from 11 different states and four (4!) Airstreams!

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Since it was late in the day we set up quickly and settled in for dinner. We walked about the park and enjoyed the views of the strip mine and the town of Bisbee…

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Bisbee is located in Cochise County, Arizona, 92 miles southeast of Tucson.  The population of the city is 5,575.  The city is the county seat of Cochise County, having been moved here from Tombstone in 1929. 

Mining in the Mule Mountains proved quite successful: in the early 20th century the population of Bisbee soared.  Incorporated in 1902, by 1910 its population had swelled to 9,019, and it sported a constellation of suburbs, including Warren, Lowell, and San Jose, some of which had been founded on their own (ultimately less successful) mines. In 1917, open-pit mining was successfully introduced to meet the copper demand during World War I.

The mines were all closed by 1975; the town struggled trying to reinvent itself.  Today it is a popular tourist destination with many art galleries, restaurants, tours and other attractions.

After our long day we turned in early; an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-02-28 to 2019 03 04 – Airstream Club Rally at Pechanga

We left San Clemente at 10:30 am and arrived at Pechanga RV Resort (at the Pechanga Casino in Temecula) at 11:40 am.  We are the first of the club to arrive, and we set up easily.

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The others of the club who are arriving a day early soon started showing up, and by 4:00 pm we had 11-12 rigs here.  While we usually stay pretty close to “home” on these early rally days, tonight a few of us set out for Old Town Temecula to visit a restaurant named Devilicious.  The restaurant is pretty unremarkable, but behind the hostess stand is a hidden door, and behind the door is a tiny “Speakeasy” – a “hidden” bar.  We ducked through the hidden door and through the dark curtain and we pretty much had the place to ourselves…

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We enjoyed some interesting food – fried olives, charcuterie platter, bacon-wrapped dates… And, of course, some nice drinks… Luckily, I was not driving, and we had a lovely evening.

Friday was another rainy day.  We found this morning out that our daughter had taken her 4-year-old son to Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles with Appendicitis.  We’ll know more later in the day.

We had a nice breakfast at the golf clubhouse at the Pechanga Resort.  The Clubhouse has always been my favorite part of golf… We spent the rest of the day greeting the other club members as they arrived.  The rain cleared a bit.

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Pechanga RV Resort is a very nice place.  We were parked next to the pool.  I don’t think it has been used much lately – we just heard that this February was the first time in history that SoCal never got above 70 degrees!

Lynda went wine tasting with some of the others while I enjoyed a few good movies.

At 5:00 we joined the others for Happy Hours…

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We heard this evening that our grandson’s surgery went well and everything was as well as could be expected…

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We turned in early…

About 4:00 am the rain started again.  It is always lovely to hear the rain in the Villa…

Breakfast was at 9:00.  We had a text message from our daughter saying that Ian had had a rough night.  Lynda wanted to be there to help out juggling the other three kids, so I unhitched the Villa and we drove the truck home.  Lynda drove to Burbank, then to the hospital.  Things were going better today…

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I returned to Pechanga, where I set up my new internet connection – an A&TT hotspot.  My other hotspot is Verizon, and there are some places where we get zero Verizon signal – such as here at Pechanga.  When we travel for long trips across the country we often find places where one service or the other works well, or vice versa.  So having both is my solution.  A&TT works great here.  I even set up Apple TV and watched a movie on Netflix!

Lynda reported that Ian was intently watching a video on YouTube and he didn’t really care that she was there, but she felt better…

Dinner tonight was meat with a side order of meat.  And chicken.  The other women had completed Lynda’s puzzle:

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Dinner was great.  Everyone enjoyed the time together, as we usually do…

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The rain continued into the evening but was starting to fade… I returned to the Villa and turned in early…

Sunday morning was rainy but it soon stopped.  Breakfast was had once again in the Club House, and I went back to the Villa and had a lovely quiet day.  At 2:00 a bunch of us again returned to the Speakeasy, then afterwards returned to the Villa to drink some more…

So Monday morning I cleaned up the Villa, hitched up, and returned home.  I spent the day catching up on mail and putting things away…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-02-21 to 2019 02 28 – San Clemente State Beach

We’re off again for 11 days… First stop is San Clemente State Beach, one of the best ocean front RV parks in California – large sites, full hook-ups, 30-45 minute walk to town and the pier, shops, restaurants.  It’s a little further to the Rainbow Sandal Store, but we will walk there one day during this trip…

We packed up the truck and headed out at 11:00 am on Thursday.  We picked up the Villa in Temecula where we had left it for service at Airstream IE.  So far they have been OK, but I’m not overly impressed after two visits.  We’ll see…

We arrived at the campground promptly at 2:00, found our site, and tried to set up.  After several tries in various locations we were able to get decent satellite TV service.  However: OOPS!  the utility post prevented the slide from opening!  So we had to un-stabilize, re-hitch, and re-position.  Now that the slide opens we can’t put out the awning due to an unfortunately placed tree… We have such first world problems!

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But we are set up and a quiet evening alone was had.  Happy Hours occurred.  The sun set, and all was well.

Friday morning dawned bright and cold!  42 degrees!  (It had snowed the day before in many parts of LA…)  So we walked to the pier a little later than usual.  But it was delightful in the sun and the coffee at Bear Coast was wonderful.

We did see evidence if the recent heavy rains:

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The rest of the day was spent reading and doing income taxes.  Much fun…

At 2:00 pm or so three cousins arrived and set up.  We had a little casual conversation with them, but we retreated back to the Villa as the sun set and it got really cold again.  Happy Hours and dinner inside were had and all was well…

Saturday is the big day and the reason for this trip.  We will meet up with many of my cousins, plus the various inlaws and outlaws.  We’ve been doing this for about five years, mainly since so many of us have birthdays around this time…

We did walk to the pier for coffee, of course…

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Around 1:00 we started to gather and by 2:00  we had a nice crowd, although it was smaller than some previous years… We counted six first cousins, plus about 12-15 others, including kids and grandkids, and the aforementioned inlaws and outlaws…

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These are the six cousins, standing in age order.  I have no idea what I was looking at…

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Just some of our motley crew…

We spent the afternoon getting reacquainted, lying and bragging about our kids and grandkids, and, for some, great grandkids.  (Note that the other five cousins are all a LOT order than I am…)

There was much food and wine and even a little bourbon…

Again it was quite cold, so we turned in relatively early… All was well…

Sunday was another big day.  It is Lynda’s birthday!  We are the same age for about two weeks… And we will be visited by our daughter and her thundering herd…

We walked to Bear Coast Coffee once again, then we returned to the Villa and 30 minutes of peace before the McAnoy clan arrived…

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They soon decided they needed to walk down to the beach…

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Evelyn enjoyed her first time crawling about in the sand…

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After a walk to the pier and a brief snack and they all departed for home… We were exhausted…

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We turned in early… And all was well…

Monday we decided it was time for an epic walk… First to the pier for coffee, then to the Outlet Mall in North San Clemente.  Lynda found a few bargains for the kids, then we headed over to Rainbow Sandals to buy new flips for the kids.  We walked back through town, stopped for used books, and then returned to the Villa – a total of 9 miles and about 20,000 steps.  Then it was nap time!  In the evening we joined the few remaining cousins for a light dinner and another day was in the books… And all was well…

Tuesday again found us at Bear Coast Coffee…

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It was the first day we could walk to the pier without wearing jackets… As we were walking we received word that Evelyn has received her first birthday present:

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The others have also received their own chair on each of their first birthdays…

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Today we went through all the cupboards and storage areas in the Villa and removed anything not necessary for our upcoming three month trip to the east coast and back… We don’t need 16 wine glasses, six water hoses, etc.  We feel much lighter now…

Since last Sunday was Lynda’s birthday, tonight we walked in to Ave. Del Mar and went out to dinner at Brussels Bistro…

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It was OK – nice Old Fashioneds, pretty good frites, good meatballs, OK mussels… Good, friendly service… We took Uber back to the Villa and turned in early… All was well…

It’s Thursday morning and it’s time to go.  We walked for coffee one last time… The coast was lovely as usual…

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We packed up, hooked up, and left San Clemente about 10:30 am… We are off to Pechanga RV Resort in Temecula!

We’ll be back to camp in San Clemente in June…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

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