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2018-09-29 – WBCCI 2018 Southwest Adventure Caravan – Day 42 – Gallup, New Mexico…

Another quiet day on the caravan.  We began by visiting an Indian Trading post and learning about Pawn.  Among the Indians, Pawn is nothing like the typical pawn shop where folks down on their luck borrow a few dollars on something semi-valuable that they own.  For the Indians, Pawn is a combination bank and safe deposit box.  Since there is little private ownership of land, and semi-communal living is common, there is no place secure for the Indians to store their valuables.  So they bring them to the Pawn and Trading Post; the trading post will store the valuables and give a token “loan” to the owner.  The owner then comes in every 2-3-4 months and pays a fee to keep the items in pawn.  When they need their possession back, they pay back the “loan” and claim their goods.

This trading post has over 1,800 saddles in Pawn.  I doubt there are even 1,800 horses in this part of the reservation… There are also guns, ceremonial head dresses and boots, lots of jewelry, and many other things the Indians deem valuable…

The saddles…

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After listening to the Pawn explanation we saw an artist demonstrate his craft.  He showed us how he sketches and etches his design (in this case a silver bracelet) into a piece of soft stone.  This makes a mold, into which he pours the molten silver.  Out comes the rough bracelet, which he then polishes and finishes into a fine piece of jewelry…

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Most caravaners then proceeded to spend lots of money…

We returned to the Villa.  We enjoyed a Saturday afternoon watching college football.  While the internet service is terrible here in New Mexico, the satellite TV is great!

We had many Happy Hours with our Airstream neighbors, then watched football again well into the night…

And again we have a short day, so here I present Erin and George expressing their feelings about spending all day Saturday watching T-Ball…

img_9071And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-09-15 – WBCCI 2018 Southwest Adventure Caravan – Day 28 – Bryce Canyon National Park

Today we enjoyed the famous Mule-Horse Trail Ride down into the amphitheater of Bryce Canyon National Park…

I had heard from previous caravaners that this ride was terrifying – that the mules walk along the outer edge of the trail above vertical cliffs, that the mules make turns at the last minute, when their heads are cantilevered over the vast emptiness below.  Frankly, I found that the ride was more like the kiddie pony rides offered at Griffith Park…

We began our adventure at the corral, where, after an excruciatingly long wait, we were shown to our trusty steeds…

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Finally we set out down the trail… at a plodding pace…

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The first thing we enjoyed along the trail was to be up close with the hoodoos and pinnacles and other rock formations here…

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All along the trails, up, and down, these mules and horses walked at their plodding pace.  They walk these trails twice a day, and they have been doing it for years.  They are sure footed and very responsive, plodding along, following the animal in front of them.  Very little drama…

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After an hour and a half we returned to the corral…

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Upon dismounting, we learned that our limbs had been stretched into an unusual position for the last two hours.  Getting them back to their normal positions took a little time… We were not alone – everyone was walking funny…

All in all, it was interesting.  I wouldn’t exactly call it fun.  Interesting to see these animals do there jobs, interesting to see how other people react to the animals… It was great to see the rocks up close… And it was not terrifying or dangerous…

We returned to the RV park, stopping along the way for fuel and groceries.  We relaxed in The Villa, watching football… After all, it is Saturday…!  Too bad, Auburn, UCLA, Florida State, USC…

We walked about a bit. We found a lake nearby, and we found teepees that you can rent if you want to camp this way…

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We shared happy hours from 5:00 to 9:30 with several other caravaners…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-09-08 – WBCCI 2018 Southwest Adventure Caravan – Day 21 – Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park

Another long day enjoying the beauty that is Utah…

We started with Dead Horse Point State Park.  This park in on one of the many mesas or plateaus, with steep cliffs all around dropping precipitously into the canyon below.  At the bottom of the canyons is a river.  In the case of today’s parks, it is either the Green River or the Colorado River…

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One of the fingers of the mesa sticks our as a point or peninsula, connected to the main mesa by a narrow neck, about 90 feet wide.  Legend tells the story of cowboys who rounded up a herd of wild Mustang horses.  They herded them onto the point and blocked the neck with rocks and branches.  It made for a natural corral.  But these cowboys took the horses they wanted, and left the others penned up on the point to die… Thus the name.  I don’t know if the legend is true, but it just may be apocryphal…

We do know that in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the various points were used as natural corrals for herds of sheep from time to time…

Anyhow, we drove out to the park.  Along the way we stopped off to see the Monitor and Merrimac…

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I don’t always get the images some people see in the rocks, but I’ll take their word for it…

We stopped at the Visitors Center… Quite a nice building, by the way…

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We hiked from the Visitors Center to the viewpoint of the point.  It is hot this time of the year in Moab – about 100 degrees…

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This is the point, with the narrow neck…

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And so we pressed on – lots of territory to get through today…

Canyonlands National Park has three sections, each separated by steep canyons.  Island in the Sky, Needles, and The Maze.  You cannot get from one to the other unless you hike, or have a 4WD vehicle and you drive the steep gravel roads cut into the sides of the canyons.  While we do have 4WD in the big red truck, we chose to confine our visit to Island in the Sky…

Our first stop was the Mesa Arch.  It was a short walk off the road.  What is so special is not only the view through the arch, but the fact that the arch is literally on the edge of the mesa.  Walk through it and you will drop over 1,000 feet to the canyon below…

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The drop is precipitous…

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The view through the arch is fascinating…

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The views all around show the rugged canyons below…

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Walking back to the big red truck we found it interesting that the park service builds cairns or Ebeneezers to mark the trails…

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We stopped at several overlooks and viewed the canyons below…

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We found these posters interesting in that they explained why the canyons and mountains look like they do…

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But it was time to go.  We headed back to The Villa and relaxed.  It was close to 100 degrees, so we huddled inside with the AC on.  We had a little Happy Hours and light supper.

This evening we had another Fandango, meeting new friends.  We had met all the folks already, but we still enjoyed learning a bit more about their lives.

After the Fandango, when we returned to The Villa, we found that college football was in full force.  Great games were aplenty…

Florida was beaten by Kentucky for the first time in, like, a millennium.  Big Bad (over-rated) Clemson barely survived Texas A&M, LSU and Alabama both beat up poor Jr. College gimmie games that are so much a part of their soft schedules.  Stanfurd played U$C, which is always difficult for us, because we want them both to lose… U$C scored the fewest point against Stanfurd in 86 years, and didn’t even score a touchdown.  UCLA got walloped by another mediocre school for the second time this season, and Colorado beat Big Red Nebraska.

And, 190 miles north of here, in Provo, Utah, Cal beat BYU !  Go Bears!

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

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.

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

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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…

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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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-10-07 Westbound; Urban Rally in Carson City…

Saturday morning in Carson City dawned bright and clear.  We walked down Carson St. and went to Mom and Pops Diner for breakfast.  As we walked down the street we saw all the Airstreams that were parked along the street:

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After breakfast we returned to the Villa and prepared it for the Open House.  The local papers had advertised that all are welcome to see the Airstreams.  So we cleaned up, put away stuff, and made the Villa look as nice as possible… We were told to be available from 10:00 am to Noon.

People started arriving at 10:00 am.  They were still coming through at 6:00 pm.  Apparently the newspapers said “all day”… But we don’t mind…

We did sneak away for a few minutes in the afternoon to do the “Wine Walk”.  Downtown Carson City does this the first Saturday every month. (On the third Saturday they do a beer crawl…)

We signed up, paid our $15.00, and received our wrist bands and our glasses.  There were over 60 merchants pouring wine throughout the downtown district.

Some had set up tables on the sidewalk, others had you come into their stores.  Note that this wasn’t some delicate wine tasting with good wines and tiny pours.  These were fairly average wines with full glass pours.  Ant no one was keeping count on how many times you asked for a glass of wine…  Between stores, there were throngs of people, carrying and drinking glasses of wine, and walking along the sidewalk… We’re not in California anymore!

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Some places had entertainment: Irish music, similar to what we heard at the Ceilidhs in Nova Scotia…

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Our final wine stop was at the local Elks Lodge.  After drinking our wine, and enjoying some of the food they had set out, we sat at the bar and watched college football.  And, since the bar was open, we were allowed to order drinks.  Let me tell you, if you like to drink and have the opportunity to drink in an Elks Club bar, you are in heaven!!!

We made our way back to the Villa and fixed a quick dinner; lookieloos were still coming through…  We left and walked to see an outdoor concert put on by some local musicians:

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An added benefit of the concert was the ice cream store right there on the square:

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We had a nice time hanging out in Carson City.  It is a friendly, nice little town.  They have just spent a ton of money redoing their streets, curbs, and sidewalks.  Now they just need to get a few more upscale businesses and fill in the “missing teeth” of the storefronts along the street.

We started to return to the Villa, but were distracted by a casino bar that had both the CAL game and the Dodgers game on the TVs just above the bar.  Drinks ensued and an enjoyable time was had by all.

 

PS:  The Dodgers had a better night than CAL…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-30 Westbound; Family day in Maple Valley…

Today is all about Lynda spending quality time with her sisters.  I spent quality time watching football!

We are in Maple Valley, WA, at the home of Lynda’s sister and her husband, Barb and Terry DeKruyf:

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Lynda’s sister Maria Van Zanen is visiting from South Carolina as well:

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The Villa is parked in their front yard:

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Terry was working this weekend; Lynda, Barb, and Maria visited and played Scrabble; I watched football:

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Mid-day I went for a walk to meet some of the neighbors:

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Later in the afternoon we drove about 30 minutes southwest to the home of Barb’s son, Andy, and his wife, Danae.  Andy cooked a great dinner of salmon and Kobe beef.  Maria read to Andy’s daughter, Riley:

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It was a nice day of relaxing and visiting family.  An enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2017-09-29 Westbound; The Olympic Peninsula Rain Forest…

We hitched up and left Port Townsend at about 8:30 am; we are heading west to see the Olympic National Forest, along the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula.

The Olympic National Forest is home to four temperate rain forests; they are part of a huge and historic Pacific Northwest rain forest that once stretched from Oregon’s southern coast to southeastern Alaska.  They are the Hoh, Quinault, Queets and Bogchiel rain forests.  We were in the coastal plains of the Hoh rain forest.

But what makes a temperate forest?  Rain.  Rain.  And more rain ⎯ 12-14 feet per year, to be exact.  Climate is also an important factor.  Temperatures rarely drop below freezing or go above 80F, enabling an incredibly unique ecosystem to grow.  Mosses, ferns, Douglas fir, red alders, Western hemlocks, and Sitka spruce thrive in these temperate rain forests, as do epiphytes, which are plants growing on other plants.  Cat-tail moss and licorice ferns are two types of epiphytes you will find in the Olympic National Forest.

Another characteristic of temperate rain forests are nurse logs, which are the remnants of downed trees.  They become vibrant places for seeds to grow, small mammals to live and insects to burrow.

So we drove through the rain, amongst trees and plains; we drove along Lake Crescent:

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We finally arrived at the Storm King Ranger Station, the trail head for the hike to Marymere Falls.  Or, I should say, we almost reached it.  About 1 1/2 miles before the turn-off we were stopped for construction.  We sat for over 1/2 hour, waiting.  Finally we were allowed to proceed.  Then we saw it: a huge rock wall, extending hundreds of feet up the mountain; about half way up were three or four men dangling from harnesses, working on the rock face.  Apparently they have discovered several fissures that are threatening to break loose; the workmen are blasting away the loose rock to prevent it from falling onto the highway and into the lake below.

So we parked near the ranger station and the shores of Crescent Lake:

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The trail led under the highway, and up through the rain forest:

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PS:  Lynda always says she takes pictures of me so that she will have pictures to show at my funeral.  I told her that the photo above is the one I want printed, enlarged to 11 x 17, and framed, to be placed on my casket…

The rain forest is really amazing, with the moss, the colors, and the nurse logs:

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We saw the river and crossed over some bridges; one bridge was even made from a fallen log:

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We finally reached the falls; they are about 90 feet tall:

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It was a nice hike; it was an easy-to-follow trail.  It started sloping moderately, but near the falls it became very steep; many parts of the trail were steps.  It was just about two miles, round trip, to where we had parked the Villa.

So, after having our exercise for the day, we drove back east. We again had to wait at the construction site, but it must have been lunch time, because the wait was only about five minutes.  And, speaking of lunch, we stopped in at Granny’s Cafe:

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Apparently the current owner bought the cafe from her mother, the original Granny… We had a lovely lunch:

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We even had a view of the Villa:

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Now our destination is Maple Valley, to visit both of  Lynda’s sisters.  We chose to take the scenic route, along the west shore of the Hood Canal:

Hood Canal is a fjord forming the western lobe, and one of the four main basins, of Puget Sound.  Hood Canal is not a canal in the sense of being a man-made waterway—it is a natural waterway.  It is simply long and narrow, with an average width of 1.5 miles and a mean depth of  about 175 ft.  It has about 215 miles of shoreline, most of it dotted with vacation houses.  Along its entire length, Hood Canal separates the Kitsap Peninsula from the Olympic Peninsula.

It is beautiful:

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After fighting Friday afternoon rush hour traffic on the 5 we arrived in Maple Valley.  Happy hours with Lynda’s sisters ensued as the moon rose over the Villa:

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And there was football… And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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