Adventures in the Villa


2017 The Odyssey Part 3 – Westbound

2017-10-16 Westbound; Home!

We left the Visalia WalMart at about 8:15 this morning.  We pulled the Villa over the Grapevine, and arrived in Irvine:


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Our intrepid crew was waiting to greet us:

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Happy Hours and a home cooked meal ensued; an enjoyable time was had by all…

June 10-October 16

128 Nights

Over 15,000 miles, including about 1,000 miles as part of the WBCCI Nor’ by Nor’east Caravan

28 States, 5 Canadian Provinces, all 5 Great Lakes, 10 border crossings between US and Canada

Public transportation:  7 Train trips, 4 bus trips, and 3 Uber rides (not counting excursions as part of the Nor’ by Nor’east Caravan)

8 Frank Lloyd Wright buildings

5 Laura Ingalls Wilder sites and museums

Visited by our grandchildren:  2

12 Visits to friends and/or family

3 Visits for service on the Chevrolet Silverado truck

5 visits for service on the Airstream

143 Airstreams seen along the road or in RV parks ( plus 24 on the Nor’ by Nor’east Caravan, 31 at the Carson City Rally, 98 at the Jackson Rally, and many, many more at the various Airstream dealers we visited along the way…)













2017-10-15 Westbound; WBCCI Region 12 Rally, Last Day; on to Visalia…

Today the Region 12 Rally ends.  We are hitching up and getting ready to leave… The tent is coming down, and most of the campsites are already vacant…

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We drove about 4 hours south, through the central valley, to Visalia.  There we stopped by to see long time friends, Dave and Mary Baas.  We were last at their house in 2011, on or way home from another Airstream trip…

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We caught up on the news and family and friends.  We shared a lovely happy hour and had a nice dinner together.  It is great when old friends reconnect after many years.

We left their house about 8:00 and drove about 6 miles further south; we stopped to shop at Walmart and decided to make a night of it.  We parked the Villa where we were directed by the security guard, and we turned in for the night.

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2017-10-14 Westbound; WBCCI Region 12 Rally, Day 5…

It is Saturday, so we watched a lot of football!  There were many big, highly ranked teams that were upset, and we always like that.  As usual, the PAC 12 ate its own…

But we did venture out to drive through the beautiful countryside:

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We drove to Placerville to visit an old college friend, Harley Frazee.  He moved to Placerville about 2 1/2 years ago and lives on a sprawling property tended by sheep and enjoyed by his highly skilled agility dogs.  We had a nice chat and a tour of the property.  (Sorry – no pictures…)

We returned to the Villa, took many walks around the park, and watched more football.  Happy Hour ensued, then dinner with the Club, then the evening entertainment in the tent:

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We were able to catch up on South Coast Airstream happenings with our Unit President, Bob Kirkpatrick and his wife Karen:

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We returned to the Villa and enjoyed more football.  And an enjoyable time was had by all.














2017-10-13 Westbound; WBCCI Region 12 Rally, Day 4…

Today was a busy day.  The Warrens drove, and we left the RV park at about 10:30 am. Soon we arrived at Bella Grace Winery just outside of Plymouth:

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Bella Grace is owned by one of the Airstreamers at the Rally.  They hosted a wine tasting, and educational tour of the vineyards, and tours of the wine caves…

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The wines they were pouring were mostly their Italian varietals, and we enjoyed them a lot…

The vineyard talk was very interesting, learning about the farming aspect of wine and grapes:

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As much fun as this visit was, we had other things on the agenda today… We left and drove to the town of Plymouth; lunch was in order:

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We ate at Amador Vintage Market, which includes a great sandwich deli, a wine tasting bar, and lots of gourmet wine country types of things…

After lunch we walked the town a bit:

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Next, the Warrens took us to their house in El Dorado.  They built it about 15 years ago on 10 hilly acres studded with oak trees.  The views were lovely!  They have put a lot of work into the place to make it look really nice!

After our quick house tour we headed down the hill to Convergence Winery.  This a favorite of the Warrens.  We agreed:

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And by now, it was time for dinner.  In Plymouth, across the street from Amador Vintage Market, is Taste:

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Next door is their newly opened boutique hotel called Rest.  We went in to Taste and found seats at the wine bar:

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We ordered a bottle of Bella Grace Old Vines Zinfandel, and proceeded into dinner.  Lynda and I opted for small plates…

Steak Tartare:

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Flatbread with three cheeses:

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And something they called, Toma; cheese roasted on an oak plank, with honey , prosciutto, and grilled figs:

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It was a great meal!  Taste is a surprise gem in an otherwise very rustic, old town…

We returned to the RV Park.  Tonight’s entertainment put on by the club was a comedian; I stopped in to see what it was all about.  His jokes were OK, some were very amusing, but his real skill was in working the crowd… It was really fun!

After the comedian we watched Syracuse upset Clemson!  What could be more fun than that?  Well, I’ll tell you what:  CAL beat and humiliated a sleep-walking Washington State!  It was awesome!  Go Bears!

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…





























2017-10-12 Westbound; WBCCI Region 12 Rally, Day 3…

Not much going on today at the Region 12 Rally, except for some WBCCI business meetings in the RV park clubhouse:


I considered going, but I decided I would rather stick needles in my eyes…

The Rally provided “Continental Breakfast” today; this consisted of boxes and boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts.  Last time I was in France, I don’t recall any Krispy Kreme donuts at a Continental Breakfast… Besides, isn’t Krispy Kreme an oxymoron?

We did a lot of walking in the morning, and in the afternoon, too.  We really like the path around the RV park:

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The smokey skies were beginning to clear…

It was a good thing we walked a lot… For lunch we drove about 10 minutes away, to the hamlet of Pine Grove, to Giant Burgers 88:

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We sat at the counter; cheeseburgers were great!  I kept expecting John Belushi to walk in and slap some burgers onto the flat top…

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This evening, after Happy Hours, we had our traditional raffle, with a “The Price is Right” twist; Lynda was selected to “Come On Down”, and was presented with a selection of about 5 kitchen gadgets.  She nailed the price ($85 vs $86 actual) and proudly returned to the Villa with her loot!

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These skills for The Price Is Right must run in the family:  Here is our son John in 2003:

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…











2017-10-11 Westbound; WBCCI Region 12 Rally, Day 2…

Today we are seeing the results of the NorCal fires.  The air is very smokey and it smells smokey as well… There are no fires nearby, but Napa and Sonoma counties are really suffering…

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One of the features of this rally is the “Maintenance with Vinnie” seminar.  Vinnie Lamica runs an Airstream service and maintenance center here in NorCal; he spoke for 2 hours on all the things we need to know to keep our Airstreams in top shape.  Very informative.  I took copious notes and made lists of things for me to ask C&G to do to the Villa.

Otherwise we had a quiet day.  Lots of walks.  The campground sits on a plateau, sloping down into the canyon on most of its perimeter; there is a “nature path” all around the perimeter of the campground, part way down the slope.  It has a few ups and downs, and it is 3/4 mile from the door of the Villa and back again.  We have been walking this path several times each day.  For excitement, we walk clockwise sometimes, and counter- clockwise other times…

The highlight of the day:  Mexican dinner with the Warrens:

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Kathy and Larry Warren were on the Nor’ by Nor’East caravan, and they live about an half hour drive from here.  Since we refuse to eat Mexican food outside of California (some rare exceptions can be made for Arizona and New Mexico…) we have been over four months without having Mexican food.  So tonight was the night.

The Warrens selected El Torero, located down Hwy 88, just past Jackson.  It is located in a storefront in a grocery store strip center, and the interior was nondescript, but the food was just what we were looking for:

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It wasn’t fancy or authentic, but it was very satisfying!

We returned to the Villa, then gathered with several other Airstreamers in the big tent to play various games of Joker.

You’ve never heard of Joker?  Don’t worry – no one has, except Airstreamers.  It is a hokey version of Parcheesi, Sorry, or Kick-in-the-Pants, played on home-made boards.  (Some boards are extremely well made and beautiful art in their own right…)  Except that it uses normal playing cards (Devil Cards, to you Calvinists out there…) instead of dice, and each card does something different.  I hate games like this.  Games of chance that do not require much skill other than remembering all the rules are meaningless to me… We played three games.


Another light photo day, so here I present my grandson George X, getting a ride, compliments of his great-grandmother (my mother…):

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An enjoyable time was had by George X…


















2017-10-10 Westbound; WBCCI Region 12 Rally begins…

Today the Region 12 Rally begins!  The happy merry workers have arrived and they are setting up the big tent:

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We have the day free until 4:30, so we decided to go tour the town of Jackson.  It is very historic, with plaques on most of the buildings telling us that they had been built in the mid 19th century.  This is gold country; we are not far from Sutter Creek, and all the towns in the area are proud of their gold rush heritage.

Unfortunately, there is not much besides old buildings in Jackson:

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At the end of the street is the courthouse…

We walked up and down the streets.  Most were empty, closed, or under re-construction due to a recent fire (how recent, we don’t know…)

So we did not find a good place for lunch.  Maybe we’ll come back on the weekend – apparently more places are open on the weekends…

We returned to the Villa. Most sites are filled with Airstreams:

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Happy Hours started at 4:30 and dinner followed.  The entertainment for the evening was the playing of “Human Bingo”.  It is a “get acquainted” game… There are almost 100 Airstreams here; we had spent the weekend with many of them in Carson City, and many others that we have met in the past.  That is almost 200 people!  So I’ve been struggling with remembering names and circumstances all day long and I am peopled out.  I’ll meet the rest of the Airstreamers in the upcoming days at my own speed…

As we exited the tent after dinner the sky was putting on quite a show.  No, this is not fires – just a California sunset:

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…














2017-10-09 Westbound; San Francisco…

There are no planned activities today; the rally doesn’t officially start until tomorrow.  So, as we like to do, we decided to take a walk through an adjacent city; we decided upon San Francisco:

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Other than this selfie, we forgot to take any pictures while we were there… Oh, well!

In any case, we drove to Pleasanton, then took BART into The City (as the locals call it, as if it’s the only city in the world.  I thought it was silly when I first heard it in 1972, and I think it’s silly today…)

We did some walking and window shopping; Lynda wanted to do some serious shopping around Union Square, and I headed to Tadich Grill, where I met my former Partner at TCA, Thom Cox.  It was fun to be back in Tadich again, and it was great to catch up with Thom on the state of the world and the state of TCA.  I can’t comment on the state of the world, but apparently TCA is doing fine without me.  Yay!

After lunch, at about 3:00 pm, Lynda and I met up and returned to the Villa.

Happy Hours ensued, and an enjoyable time was had by all…


And since I have no other photos, here is our granddaughter, Roisin, outfitted for her Tae Kwon Do lesson…:

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2017-10-08 Westbound; California and a mountain pass at 8,574 feet elevation!

We once again started the day by walking to Mom and Pops for breakfast.  Then we joined other LTAC members in a hike to a local waterfall!

Yes!  It’s up there!

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It was a short hike, and pretty easy.  Carson City sits at about 4,800 feet elevation, and this was about a 200 feet climb (after a drive up the foothills…); we were almost a mile high!

Waterfalls never disappoint:

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Along the way we were treated to views of the valley, fall colors, and unusual rock formations:

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After the hike we returned to the Villa.  It was time to go…

We hit the road at about 1:00 pm.  We were shortly back in California.  We are headed to Jackson, CA, to attend the WBCCI Region 12 Rally.  We will be arriving early, so we will have some quiet time before the other 100 Airstreams arrive.

I didn’t think much about the drive; I just set the GPS in the truck and followed its directions.  As we wound our way through foothills, I casually asked Lynda to look on the map and see what the elevation of the pass was that we were driving through.  She said, “8,754′”.  What?  This may not be Rocky Mountain high, but it’s higher than we had ever been before.  Some people get altitude sickness at elevations like this.

Anyway, we drove around and around, and up and up.  We enjoyed the scenery:

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The roads were very busy with tourists stopping alongside the road to photograph the fall colors, along with hunters, parked along the road and heading out across the open fields with their dogs…

We scaled the summit at 8,754′, and we headed downhill.  Then we were heading up again, and scaled two other passes at about 8,000′.  It was an exciting drive.  And then we headed down and down and down.  Jackson is at 1,200’…

It was not an easy drive.  Steep downhills, sharp curves, lots of cars going both ways… But we made it to Rancheria RV Resort, at the Rancheria Casino… It is a beautiful RV park!  Large spaces, nice concrete pads, lots of grass:

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We set up, met a few of our neighbors (there are about 30 Airstreams in the park…), and Happy Hours ensued.  An enjoyable time was had by all…

PS:  In the middle of the night strong winds erupted suddenly.  Other than having to run outside to pull down the awnings, we had nothing much more than a lot of noise and a shaking Airstream.  However, this was the night that Napa and Sonoma counties caught on fire… We are glad it didn’t happen here…






















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