Adventures in the Villa


June 2018

2018-06-15 – Mini Wine tasting Trip to Sonoma County

After cancelling a 2 month Airstream trip (Springtime in the Rockies Caravan plus travel to the Airstream International Rally (or convention) in Salem, Oregon), we were looking for an excuse to do other shorter excursions.  We had been toying with extending the return trip from Salem into another Wine Tasting Caravan along the California Coast. This all came to fruition when another opportunity arose: One of our favorite wineries,  J. Rochioli Vineyard & Winery, invited us to their “Single Vineyard Celebration”.  This is an annual event wherein they offer wine tasting of their best wines along with fabulous food by the famous chef, Charlie Palmer.  Since we were able to take the time, we jumped at the opportunity!

The winery is located in the Russian River Valley of western Sonoma County, California, about 70 miles north of San Francisco. We planned a quick trip north, two days of wine tasting, and a quick trip back home.

This being the first time we were leaving from our new home in Redlands, we relished the thought of being able to travel north without having to drive through the heart of Los Angeles.  I’m very comfortable driving in LA, but we have done it so often that we were happy to be able to drive where we have never, or rarely, driven before.

We left bright and early on Friday, June 15; we drove up and over Cajon Pass; at an elevation of 3,776′, it was the last obstacle of the 19 century pioneers and dust bowl refugees before they left the desert behind and descended into the beauty of Southern California. Today it is all modern freeway, and most autos handle it without a thought…

Out destination today was Lodi, made famous by Creedence Clearwater Revival:

Just about a year ago
I set out on the road
Seekin’ my fame and fortune
Lookin’ for a pot of gold
Thing got bad things got worse
I guess you will know the tune
Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again

Apparently the author had never been to Lodi, but the town name fit the music, much like Williams, Arizona in another famous song ( and blog post) …

As I said, we drove over the Cajon Pass, then we headed west towards Palmdale and Lancaster, eventually reaching Bakersfield and continuing north along old Hwy 99, though the Central Valley,  one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions.  More than 230 crops are grown here. On less than 1 percent of the total farmland in the United States, the Central Valley produces 8 percent of the nation’s agricultural output.  Our stops were brief, mostly for fuel:


We arrived at our “camping spot” at just about 4:30.  This is later than normal for us, but, like I said, we were trying to make time.  We took advantage of our Harvest Host membership and parked in the vineyards of Van Ruiten Family Winery.  We did a little wine tasting, bought a little wine, checked Yelp for nearby restaurants, and hailed Uber for a short ride to dinner.


After dinner we walked the 2.7 miles back to the Airstream and turned in for the night…

Saturday morning we were up, out, and about quite early.  After stopping at Starbucks for a quick fix we headed west on Hwy 12, through Rio Vista, Fairfield, Napa, and on into Sonoma County. Once we were in the Russian River Valley we easily found River Bend RV Resort:


Luckily our site was vacant, and they let us check in early.  We quickly set up and checked out the park.  The RV sites and the Tenting sites leave something to be desired, but the river was beautiful!


Today our big event is the Rochioli Single Vineyard Celebration!  We drove through the forest until the vineyards appeared.


We were welcomed to the party with Rochioli Sparking Rose’, and then we heard chef Charlie Palmer explain some of the food offerings.  We made our way through the tasting room and into a large courtyard adjacent to the winery, where we found a table in the shade.


We spent the entire afternoon there, listening to the live band, meeting other Rochioli folks, and, of course, tasting many great wines and having some wonderful food!  Of course, the surroundings were great!


On Sunday we set out to research tasting opportunities to share with others on the 2018 WBCCI Wine Tasting Caravan.  We visited Woodenhead – very rustic,, quiet, and simple.


Then on to Williams Selyem… Not just a tasting room, or even a tasting salon, but a genuine tasting palace!  Very relaxed, personal, and spectacular wines…


Next was MacRosties.  Very formal (they asked if we had reservations), with individual tables, servers, menus… all in a very nice room:


Three very different experiences, all fun!

Monday was our return trip – reversing course through Sonoma, across the 12 to the 99, then down to Bakersfield for the night; Tuesday we were home.

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

















































2018-06-01 Catching up on Airstream Camping and Travels

So, between packing and moving and remodeling and unpacking (not all in that order…) and with more grandchildren to chase around, we have been sticking pretty close to home.  First, so that we could be in California for the blessed event (Evelyn) in March, we postponed our planned Cajun Country Caravan until next year.  Then, so that we could move and almost keep our sanity, we postponed the Springtime in the Rockies Caravan until next year.  However, we have been able to attend several local Unit rallies of the South Coast Airstream Club:

This is Hemet in January:


This is Pechanga in February:


And Camp Pendleton/Del Mar Beach in March:



And Chula Vista in April


There were assorted camping trips to San Clemente and Crystal Cove:


And that fairly well sums up our year so far…

Even with very busy lives, enjoyable times are being had by all…




2018-05-13 Mothers Day

Mothers Day 2018 was memorable for several reasons… First, of course, is to honor all the mothers among us.  This year our daughter became a mother again for the 4th time, with the birth of Evelyn:


We gathered for Mothers Day at their house in Burbank; they’ve been camping out in the guest house since Christmas, so it was great that they could celebrate in the newly remodeled “big house”…


Thirdly, we have been packing and moving and unpacking and remodeling and such since March, so this was a nice time to relax and spend time with family.

One more event in May:

Ian’s Birthday:


It was a long day, with lots of driving, but an enjoyable time was had by all…



















2018-05-11 – Where have we gone? Redlands, CA!

Big News:  We have moved from Irvine, in the OC, to Redlands, in the IE!



Yes, we traded the (semi) modern condo for a 1905 Victorian.  It has the best front porch in the neighborhood, and we are enjoying it immensely!

We love the small town feel, the historic neighborhoods, and the bustling downtown that is Redlands.  Days are warm (95 degrees is not uncommon – wait until summer!) but it cools off into the high 50s/low 60s by morning.  We walk to restaurants, grocery stores, church, and just about every other errand possible.  Thursday evenings the whole town gathers on State Street downtown for “Market Night”, where there is a Farmers Market, and many stalls hawking tchotskies, clothes, food (tamales!), Jesus, all forms of politics, and many other things.  And when it’s over, we have a quiet stroll home…


We’re spending a lot of time on the front porch, enjoying happy hours, waving to the neighbors, and just relaxing.  On June 22, continuing every Tuesday and Friday night through the summer, The Redlands Bowl, a 4,000 seat outdoor amphitheater, holds concerts and other entertainment.


The Bowl is about a 3 minute walk from the house. We look forward to the start of the season.

So we are getting settled in. We had “minor” remodeling to do, which is coming along slowly. Maybe some day we can enjoy the house and yard to its fullest…

And then an enjoyable time will be had by all…!





















2018-03-11 The Blessed Event

In the early morning hours of March 11, 2018, Evelyn Joy McAnoy was born to our daughter, Erin Joy McAnoy, and her husband, Kevin.


Her three older siblings are looking forward to meeting her!


Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Grandfather, and Father are all doing fine…


And an enjoyable time was had by all…











































2018-01-24 Frank Lloyd Wright and the Hollyhock House


On January 24, 2018, I began my training to become a docent (tour guide) at Hollyhock House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  It is located in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Hollywood, in Los Angeles.

If you followed our Blog last summer, you know that we visited several (15?) FLlW* buildings on that trip.  Somewhere along the way I said to myself, I could do this – spend my days in a beautiful house and tell people all about it all day…

When we returned home in October, 2017, I applied to be a docent at every Frank Lloyd Wright house in Southern California that is open to the public.   I found out that there is  exactly ONE Frank Lloyd Wright house in Southern California that is open to the public.  This house is known as Hollyhock House.


The Hollyhock was Aline Barnsdall’s (the client’s) favorite flower, and Wright put stylized images of the flower all over the house – hundreds of times.  The house is quite unusual in that it is unlike any other FLlW houses.  Not Arts and Crafts, not Prairie Style, not Textile Block, and not even modern.  It is also notable to be one of the first Southern California indoor-outdoor house – each room has a corresponding patio, terrace, or lawn, with French doors connecting the indoors with the outdoors.   FLlW deplored how so many houses in Los Angeles were little stucco boxes with tiny windows in the walls, ignoring the beautiful weather outside.  Hollyhock House was his response.


The house is also set atop a hill, something FLlW never did anywhere else.  The house dominates the hill, and has 360 degree views of all of Hollywood.   The house was originally intended to be part of a large theater and arts complex, which never came to be.   Only the main house, garage and chauffeur’s quarters, and two guest houses (A and B) were ever built.

The interiors are quite striking, with a spectacular Living Room with custom FLlW-designed furniture and bas relief artwork above the fireplace…


I could go on and on, but to learn everything I know you will have to come visit and take the tour…

On April 12, 2018, I passed my final exam, so I am now an official docent, with a name tag and everything…


And an enjoyable time was had by all…

  • I have used the initials FLlW several times in this piece.  Frank Lloyd Wright was very proud of his Welsh heritage, and the Welsh consider the double L, as in Lloyd, to be a single letter.  Frank Lloyd Wright always wrote his initials as FLlW, so I will, too…













2017-12-29 to 2018-01-02 New Years Weekend in Palm Desert

It’s been a long time since I have written our Blog, and there has been a lot of water over the bridge since you last heard from us.  Over the next few Blogs I will try to get us caught up on how our year has been going…

We packed up the truck and picked up the Villa from its storage space and set out for Palm Desert.  Emerald Desert RV Resort is one of our favorite places to camp and, this trip, it didn’t disappoint.  We were assigned to a nice grassy site with a clean concrete pad.  First order of the day was to get the Villa a bath – after sitting for a month with dry, dusty air and Santa Ana winds blowing it was filthy!Indian Wells RV Detailing told us they could wash the Villa the next day.


We spent a lot of time walking around the park, to get our daily exercises in…


We spent a lovely weekend with our friends, Doug and Lorraine Wilson, visiting most days in their condo in Palm Desert. We also met up with Rob, our favorite Palm Springs Realtor, for a quick lunch…


We even had time for a picture of ourselves!

It was a fun, relaxing weekend and a great way to begin the year – good friends, football, wine, and warm sunny weather – just what New Years Day is all about!

An enjoyable time was had by all…
























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