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Ian McAnoy

2019-05-10 – Airstream Caravan Travels – Springtime in Kentucky; Butcher Holler and the Coal Miner’s Daughter – Day #16

We began today by spending time at OSCAR, the Oil Springs Cultural Arts and Recreation center; it is located in a school that was sold off in 1955 when the mining industry shut down and the population plummeted… (more on the mines later…)  The school was purchased by a local businessman who has lent it to OSCAR for the past many years…

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We did crafts.  Just like – well, you know… There was wood carving, tin punching, painting, wire art, and several other things that we could try our hand at…  We spent the morning crafting away, and they even provided a tasty mid-morning snack…

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I did a little relief carving of an apple…

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Lynda made something out of tin…

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Some others made these wall plaques…

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The sky was roiling when we returned to the Villa; we had a light lunch in the Airstream, and then we headed out for our next tour.  The rain held off for the rest of the day…

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We carpooled to the town of Van Lear, and the Webb General Store… About 1 1/2 miles down the road from the store is Butcher Hollow, or, in Kentuckian, Butcher Holler…

Here the story begins…

Loretta Lynn was born Loretta Webb on April 14, 1932, in Butcher Holler, in the “house” that is still standing today.  She is the eldest daughter and second child born to Clary and Ted Webb.  Ted was a coal miner and subsistence farmer.  The youngest Webb daughter was Crystal Gayle (born Brenda Gail Webb).  There were six other children born to Clary and Ted, but you only need to remember Herman, Loretta’s immediate younger brother.

Butcher Holler was one of many communities that loosely made up the town of Van Lear, KY.  There were five coal and slate mines in the area dating from the early 20th century, with 2,500 miners, and four railroad lines serving the mines.  These mines supported a community of 15,000 to 20,000 people.  When the mines closed in 1955 the population plummeted.  There is little remaining today of this thriving community.  Today, even with recent “suburban” style growth, Van Lear has fewer than 2,000 people.

On January 10, 1948, 15-year-old Loretta Webb married Oliver Lynn, better known as “Doo”, or “Mooney”.  They had met only a month earlier.  Despite Doo’s promise to Loretta’s father never to take her away from Butcher Holler, the Lynns left Kentucky and moved to the logging community of Custer, Washington, north of Bellingham, when Loretta was seven months pregnant with the first of their six children.  The happiness and heartache of her early years of marriage would help to inspire Lynn’s songwriting.  In 1953, Doo bought her a $17 Harmony guitar.  She taught herself to play the instrument, and over the following three years, she worked to improve her guitar playing.  With Doo’s encouragement, Lynn began singing in local clubs in the late 1950s.  (In the Movie, “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, she mentions that she was going to be playing in a “nasty ol’ honky tonk over to Lyndon”.  I sincerely doubt that Lyndon ever had a “nasty ol’ honky tonk”…) 

Lynn signed her first recording contract and cut her first record, “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl”, in February 1960.  Her first album was recorded in Hollywood.  The Lynns toured the country to promote the release to country stations.  By the time the Lynns reached Nashville, the song was a hit, climbing to No. 14 on Billboard’s Country and Western chart, prompting her first appearances on the Grand Ole Opry in 1960.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Her best-selling 1976 autobiography, Coal Miner’s Daughter, was made into an Academy Award–winning film of the same title in 1980, starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones.  Spacek won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Lynn.

Back to Lynn’s brother, Herman Webb.  After the mines closed most of the Webb family moved to Indiana.  But Herman always wanted to return.  In 1975, he bought the local general store near Butcher Holler.  He named it Webb’s Store and ran it until his death in 2018.  Today his son and daughter run the store and offer tours of the house where Loretta Lynn grew up…

Butcher Holler is a fer piece down the road, about 2 miles past Van Lear, and about 10 miles past Paintsville, (pop. 5,700 today).  Butcher Holler is way back in the hills…

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This is Webb’s store…

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The sign is a little worn…

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There are signs everywhere hawking the tours in case no one is at the store…

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A shuttle took us up the 1 1/2 mile one lane road to the house.  We shouldn’t complain – when the Webbs lived here there was no road, just a footpath.  (In the movie, “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, Doo drives his Jeep to the house by driving in the creek…)

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The house is pretty much original.  When Herman moved back to Butcher Holler in 1975 he did shore up the foundation and replace much of the front porch using 1970s techniques and design.  (If you notice the front porch guardrail you will see that it is VERY similar guardrails in 1970s era apartment buildings in Orange County, CA…)

Inside the house we were given a tour by Hermasina, Herman’s daughter.  There are four rooms plus two attic bedrooms.  Much of the furniture is original to the house; there is a lot of memorabilia from the Webb and Lynn families…

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This view up the valley was not like this when the mines were operation.  There were few trees; any tree over 6″ in diameter would be needed as shoring in the mines, so this view would have extended miles up the valley.  The area would be farmland for residents to raise their own vegetable gardens…

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It was a great tour – very authentic and not too much hype and certainly no glossy brochures…

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This road was only a footpath in the 1940s…

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We forewent the shuttle ride and walked back to the Webb Store…

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We did pass one of the entrances to one of the mines…

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The store isn’t much – more memorabilia, a few staples, candy, and lots of moon pies and RC Colas…

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Other than the store, just about all evidence of this thriving community is gone… No train tracks, no industry, no other businesses, very few people…

So we returned to the Villa.  We had a little FaceTime with our grandson, Ian.  He is five years old this week!

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In the evening we returned to the Highway 23 Museum.  We enjoyed a nice dinner, then the pickers began… Bluegrass music!

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There was music, dancing, singing, and even some square dancing!

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-07 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Travel to Carencro, LA

This is the last travel day for the Caravan – our next stop is the final one – only 4 nights left…

We walked the park again a few times, then hitched up and left Eunice about 11:30 am…  Of course, we soon were delayed by a train… And I love trains!

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It was 50 miles to Carenco, on the outskirts of Lafayette.  We stopped for a quick lunch at GoBears!

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Unfortunately, their tiny lunch room was closed – no idea why… So we walked next door to McDonalds.  They have all automated touch screens for ordering.  During the lunch rush there was one cashier, wandering around with nothing to do… Progress???

We arrived at the Bayou Wilderness RV Resort.  Nice place with full hook-ups, including cable, plus clear skies for satellite TV.  The sites are a little rustic, though…

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We hooked up, set up, checked out the store and other amenities, and walked around a bit.  There is an actual swamp out back… lots of Bald Cypress trees growing out of the water.  Those funny little pointy stumps are roots growing up out of the ground.  They are called, “Knees”.

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At about 4:00 pm it started to rain, with thunder and lightning, of course.  It was still pouring down when it was time to meet the other Airstreamers in the meeting room here in the RV park for pizza and ice cream…

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By the time we were ready to walk back to the villa after dinner it was still raining, but not nearly so hard.

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

The McAnoy baseball team…

Ian, almost 5:

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Roisin, age 6:

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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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2019-02-28 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…

2018-12-31 – New Years Eve – Emerald Desert RV Resort, Palm Desert, CA

We are off to new adventures today!  It’s been a busy Christmas Season and we are ready to head out to ring in the new year.

As a bit of a recap:

Christmas Eve was spent with extended family on my mother’s side… More than forty people – several cousins, more second cousins, and many more third cousins.  We took the opportunity to get one photo of all of my mother’s direct descendants present:

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Notice the boys’ feet… It must be something genetic… This is me at their age in 1954:

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Christmas day was spent with the grandchildren in Burbank:

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Roisin was quite pleased with the art supplies she received…

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After Christmas comes our son John’s birthday, celebrated, as usual, by several visits by friends and family to various fine dining establishments…

So today is New Year’s Eve, and we are heading to Palm Desert in The Villa.  We checked into Emerald Desert RV Resort, and spent the afternoon getting in our walking time…

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As I’ve reported in the past, Emerald Desert is a beautiful place and we always enjoy our time here.  We watched some football, and at 5:00 pm we headed out to visit like minded friends for the evening.

We enjoyed hors d’ouevres that included shrimp cocktail, caviar, and various chips and dips.  Dinner started with crab cakes (with Justin sauvignon blanc), Caesar salad (with Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay), and roast lamb with a dried cherry sauce (with 2000 Ridge Montebello cabernet sauvignon).  Dessert was a blackberry and raspberry pie.  I found it particularly interesting, because I love the taste of boysenberry, which, as you know, is a cross between raspberry and blackberry.  Thank you Mr. Boysen and Walter Knott…!

We rang in the new year with a special cocktail provided by our hosts, and an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-11-13 – Disneyland and the happiest place on earth…

Today was Disneyland Day!

This required leaving the house at 7:30 am and fighting traffic to Anaheim, finding the way to the Toy Story parking lots, finding the Accessible parking stalls, getting John in his wheelchair out of the van and over to the shuttle bus, onto the bus and thus to the entrance to the park.  Everything went flawlessly and with no drama.

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The meet-up with Erin and her three oldest kids also went well and the day went off without a hitch…

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Waiting for the teacups…

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On the Teacups…

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Roisin even got to sit on the forward deck of the boat as they floated into the whale’s mouth…!

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The funny story about this photo is that shortly after this was taken, another little girl walked by, leaned over, and took a nice long slurp off George’s ice cream …!

This was George’s first trip to Disneyland.  He declared that his favorite ride was “Bungo” (or Dumbo) but we didn’t get any photos, so here is one from Small World.

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And what about “The Happiest Place on earth”?  Not at Disneyland – It was right here in Redlands, where I spent the day dog-sitting Yan…

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And an enjoyable time was definitely had by me and Yan…

2018-11-06 – Leaving Emerald Desert RV Resort, arriving Paso Robles – Day 6

Today is a travel day.  We left Palm Desert and headed towards Paso Robles.  Our route took us within 1/2 mile of our house in Redlands, but we rolled on without stopping…

For most of the drive it was relatively bleak – over the Cajon pass, and through the Antelope Valley…

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We continued west on Highway 46, past the James Dean Memorial Intersection… Here he is, as a giant painted plywood cutout.  Lynda snapped this as we drove by, there being no place to stop…

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Not much happening here, but the road is great and it was an easy drive…

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On the far eastern outskirts of Paso Robles we stopped at Tobin James Cellars… This will be our home for the next few days…

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(Lynda may or may not have her eyes closed, but the late afternoon sun was intense…)

We parked the Airstream across the street from the winery, all alone, in the wilderness…

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Well, we weren’t quite alone – there was another camper here as well…

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Actually it was just a giant dirt parking lot, used for employee parking and as a staging area for UPS trucks…

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img_0234But it was free!  Thank you, Harvest Hosts!

We did some wine tasting, bought a few bottles, and spent the evening in the Villa…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

And today we celebrate National Redhead Day with our grandson, Ian:

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2018-11-01 – South Coast Airstream Club – Emerald Desert RV Resort – Day 1

This weekend is our regular camp-out/rally for out home WBCCI club – South Coast California Unit, soon to be renamed “South Coast Airstream Club”.  We meet for a weekend rally on the first Friday of every month, with few exceptions.  Due to our travel this year for the Southwest Adventure Caravan, and our move earlier in the year, we have missed several rallies, and it is great to be back, to have a weekend rally, and see old friends again.  We’ll even meet some new friends this weekend…

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Even though today is Thursday, we packed up and left Redlands this morning and arrived in Palm Desert at about 1:00.  It is a one hour drive… After living so far from this part of the desert for so many years this is a real treat!  Emerald Desert RV Resort is a true RV resort, with many amenities and services, beautiful grounds, and great facilities.

(In the interest of full disclosure, the one downside of Emerald Desert is that it not only is adjacent to the 10 freeway, but between the freeway and the RV resort are railroad tracks.  About once per hour, 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, a giant, 150+ car freight train rumbles past…)

But, despite the trains, we love this place, we are thrilled to come in a day early, and we will be staying two days after the official end of the rally on Sunday, taking full advantage of the opportunity to camp here at club rates…

When we leave here, on Tuesday (election day), we will travel about 6 hours, to Paso Robles, for five days or relaxing in beautiful wine country… More later – stay tuned!

So after we arrived here we had to wait to check in; being the first day of November, there is a huge influx of “snow birds” who come to stay for “the season”.  Most come for four to six months, enjoying the great weather in this beautiful place.

We finally secured our site assignment and started to get settled.  Soon we were joined by six other Airstreamers who were also coming in one day early.  It was great to see these people again after so long.  Happy hours soon ensued, and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset…

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And, in case you missed it, yesterday was Halloween…

Here are our four grandchildren on their first Halloween, at ages 5 mo., 7 mo., 9 mo., and 12 months…

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And here they are as they looked yesterday, at age 5 yrs, 4 yrs, 3 yrs, and 7 months…

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

 

 

 

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