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2019-01-07 – South Coast Airstream Club – Pala Casino RV Resort – Day 6

Final day of this trip.  Time to head home…

We were on the road by 9:30 or so; we stopped in Temecula and dropped off the Villa at Airstream Inland Empire for routine service and a few minor repairs.  All its life this Airstream has been maintained by C&G in Bellflower; however, this past summer C&G closed, with Rod and Darlene retiring.  So we are trying Airstream IE…

As we were approaching home we marveled at the mountains adjacent to Redlands:

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The little rain “storm” we experienced at Pala left a lovely blanket of snow on the mountains down to about 4,500 feet… We’re happy the snow stayed in the mountains where it belongs…

We unpacked and cleaned up.  I took our son John to the Apple store in Rancho Cucamonga to have his 2 week old iPhone replaced.  We were in and out of the Apple store in about 10 minutes and we were soon back home.

I spent some time starting to begin planning our trip east in March… More on that coming soon…

We had a delightful evening watching the final college football game of the season – The championship game between Clemson and Alabama. (As usual)

Spoiler Alert:  Rant Coming…

You’ve heard me rant before that these top football schools have gamed the system, scheduling their entire seasons with “cupcake” games, playing competitive teams as little as possible; the powers that be let them get away with this, and the sports writers and commentators do, too, rarely watching these games, merely looking at the numbers.  So Alabama beat Citadel 50-17?  Alabama beat Louisiana 51-14?  Why is Alabama even allowed to play teams like this and get credit for it?  Alabama beat Mississippi 62-7 in an SEC conference game?  Ole Miss only won 1 conference game this year!  For me it was a very boring season.  On most Saturdays there was only one real competitive game.  Back in the BCS days when strength of schedule actually mattered, there would be three or four, because schools knew they had to play these games to earn top rankings.  No more.  Now it’s all about the numbers…  The sports writers and commentators all crowned Alabama as the Champion back before the season even started.  Alabama football players were only going through the motions…  And the same goes for all the “elite” football schools…

Don’t get me wrong – I like Alabama, probably more than any other SEC team.  They are VERY good and are fun to watch most of the time…

So, as expected and predicted at the beginning of the season, Alabama and Clemson went at it tonight, going through the motions awaiting Alabama’s coronation.  But a funny thing happened on Alabama’s first offensive drive:  A pass was intercepted by Clemson and it was run back for a touchdown!  Alabama fans and players were stunned and perplexed… And it went downhill from there, the final score being Clemson 44, Alabama 16; Alabama never scored a touchdown after the 1st quarter…  It was a great game to watch two great teams play football!

And an enjoyable time was had by all, except for the Alabama fans…

2019-01-01 – New Years Day – Emerald Desert RV Resort, Palm Desert, CA

New Years Day dawned bright and beautiful, and cold!  Frickin Freezing!  (Which is defined in Southern California as being below 60…)  We cozied up to the fireplace and watched the Rose Parade.  After, we walked to the local grocery store two miles away to buy some forgotten ingredients.  It was a stunningly beautiful walk!

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Upon our return we watched the Fiesta Bowl. At 1:30 we returned to the home of our hosts once more, in time to watch the Rose Bowl, then the Sugar Bowl… And that was New Years Day!

We returned to The Villa, exhausted… And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-11-30 – San Clemente State Beach – 2018-12-03

We took a quick trip to San Clemente State Beach this past weekend.  The occasion is the annual Airstream Club party wherein we swear in the new officers, cuss out the old officers, and enjoy hanging out with one another as we begin the Holiday season.

For the past 14 years we have been holding the party at the HOA clubhouse at Cypress Shores, an exclusive community of about 150 homes which sits adjacent to their one half mile long private beach… One of our members has lived in Cypress Shores since 1982, and they have generously offered this facility to us.

We arrived at the State Beach on Friday at 2:15 pm and were quickly and easily set up.  Within an hour of so there were five Airstreams here…

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Happy hours ensued rather early, and we were soon enjoying time with our friends…

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It was actually quite cold this evening – in the 50s, so we turned in early…

Saturday morning was even colder!  But we were walking to the pier by 7:30 or so.  Our destination is Bear Coast Coffee, where we can enjoy a great latte or cappuccino and some creative food.  We soon found out that there was a big surfing contest going on this weekend…

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But we enjoyed our coffee and were soon walking back to the campground.  As usual, the ocean was beautiful, but quite rough, due to the recent rain storms of the past week…

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While I spent the entire day watching football, Lynda actually walked back down to the sand.  The storms had left quite an impact on the beach…

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Happy hours again were had.  By now there were 7 Airstreams here…

Sunday morning it was even colder – into the 40s.  Walking along the beach in the shade of the bluffs was quite uncomfortable to us Californians… So we opted to have breakfast at The Fisherman, where we could sit indoors atop the pier.  The sun felt good, and the food was good as well…

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The ocean was again beautiful, and it was calming down a little…

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This afternoon was the party.  We drove over at about 2:00 pm.  The party was soon in full swing.  I found my usual introvert’s corner to try to maintain my sanity…

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I did spend a little time chatting with others…

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Some of our members were dressed quite festively!

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Here is the whole group…

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One of the highlights of this event is always the sunset view from the clubhouse balcony…

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Monday morning we once again walked to Bear Coast Coffee.  It was a beautiful day.  Back at the campground we marveled at all the empty sites, something we never see here in the summer or on weekends…

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We soon were packing up and heading back to Redlands… where we saw beautiful snow-capped mountains…

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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