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Adventures in the Villa

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Redlands

2021-09-06 – 2021-09-11 – Traveling from Puyallup, WA to Redlands, CA

We are heading home…

September 6; Labor Day…

Last day of summer! (Even though school started three weeks ago – it’s still summer!)

Our grandchildren enjoyed a day at the beach!

We left Puyallop and headed south…

The Columbia River never ceases to please…

Remember when I said one barge on the Columbia River holds enough grain to fill 160 railroad cars? Here is where the barges offload the grain, where it is loaded into the railroad cars…

Portland has some great bridges…

And we are set up at a very nice RV Park in Salem, OR.

With a beautiful sky…

Tuesday, September 7:

We left early – we have a long day… The fog was a nice relief from the heat…

Wait! That’s not fog – it’s smoke!

There are four wildfires to the east of us, just over the hills… The whole length of the state…

At a rest stop we couldn’t see the mountains…

We passed through the delightful little town of Jacksonville, OR, located about 20 miles off the 5, west of Medford… We found out camping spot for the night – Valley View Winery, part of the Harvest Host program…

Still a little smoky…

We were the gusts for dinner at old Airstream friends who live a few miles from the winery… They lave 7 acres and a lovely house overlooking the Applegate River…

Fiery sunset over the river…

After a lovely dinner we returned to the Villa…

Wednesday, September 8:

As we left the winey in the morning we found a few wild turkeys…

We soon returned to California! Yay!

We saw lots of evidence of last year’s fires…

And we had some more smoke as well…

But soon the skies cleared as we approached Clear Lake…

After a tortuous drive over Hwy 175 we arrived in Cloverdale in time for a lovely sunset sky…

Thursday, September 9:

We awoke to clear skies and headed down the road…

We crossed over the Richmond bridge and the San Francisco Bay…

Still a little smoggy, but we could see the Golden Gate Bridge…

Still a little smoggy, but we could make out the city skyline…

Oakland is noted for its giant cargo container cranes…

And downtown Oakland is looking good…

BART running past us… We love cities!

We arrived at our RV park in Marina, just outside Monterey…

We drove into Carmel to stroll the town before dinner…

The beach is lovely, but cold!

We had a delightful dinner at a “Contemporary Mexican Restaurant”. First Mexican food since we left California on July 23… (We don’t eat Mexican food outside California – way too many disappointing meals over the past years…)

Friday, September 10

As we headed out of Marina across the Salinas Valley we saw fields and fields of lettuce…

Soon we saw vineyards…

We arrive in Paso Robles and parked just outside downtown. And a lovely town it is…

We stopped in for a wine tasting, hosted by this charming fellow…

But we are on a tight schedule, so we head south again, arriving at Los Olivos at about 4:00 pm…

We enjoyed a little wine tasting on the front patio…

Plenty of parking in Los Olivos, even on a Friday afternoon…

We parked in the Saarloos vineyard for the night, and shared dinner with Airstream friends at Bell’s in Los Alamos…

Saturday, September 11:

We arrived home in Redlands, California…

We shared happy hours drinking beer on the front porch with our son…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

Seven weeks and one day… twelve states… 7,000 miles.

The End

2021-05-23 – Springtime in the Rockies caravan…Traveling to Las Vegas

This is an exciting day! We are leaving for our first caravan in two years! Our last caravan was Springtime in Kentucky, which was completed on May 16, 2019. Today we head towards Estes Park, Colorado; the Springtime in the Rockies caravan will begin on May 27, 2021.

Yesterday I brought the Airstream home, and parked it in front of our house. We don’t do this often, because the street is narrow, and it curves. And the trees! They have been trimmed up over the street to a height of 10′, so I know we clear. But it is always a challenge to get parked close to the curb and avoid parked cars. But it’s a real convenience to be able to load for a long trip such as this. We will be on the road for 36 days, returning home late June.

Springtime in the Rockies will bring us to all the scenic points in the Rockies, including Rocky Mountain National Park, Pike’s Peak, and Yellowstone National Park, among many others. We will do some hiking, some white water rafting, and we will ride bicycles on Pike’s Peak – down, not up! They will bus us to the top, we will have breakfast, we will climb on bikes and coast down 26 miles, and then they serve us lunch. Sounds like fun to me!

So we left home at about 10:5 am today. Our destination is Las Vegas – a cheap RV park in North Las Vegas. No casino hopping for us!

Quite by chance we “met” on Facebook another couple traveling to the caravan. They are from Nebraska, but they were spending a week or so in SoCal, visiting family; we are traveling with them. We met up in a rest stop just outside Baker, CA. We traveled along with them to Las Vegas.

The Mohave Desert is quite am amazingly stark place! Note to people who thing Eastern Oregon is a desert: This is what a desert looks like…

We found the unique crossroad of Zzyzx:

We drove the freeway past Las Vegas. ‘Nuff said…

We found the Hitchen’ Post RV Park, and set up quickly. We met our new friends for Happy Hours and turned in for the night.

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-04-24 – Scouting The California Architecture Food and Wine caravan…

Bakersfield to Redlands and Home

We had an uneventful trip home today. We left Bakersfield, stopped for fuel in Tehachapi; Very windy! We arrived home about 2:00 pm.

Happy hours ensued; we ordered Italian take out for dinner…

An enjoyable time was had by all…

We leave for the “Springtime in the Rockies Caravan of May 23, 2021!

2021-04-17 – Scouting the California AFW Caravan…

Saturday, April 17: Redlands to Lodi

We left Redlands at the crack of dawn. We have a long day of driving ahead of us We are driving to Lodi….

Update: We last posted in July of 2019; we had returned home from our 2019 caravans and were spending the week at San Clemente State Beach with family and friends, many of whom we had not seen in many months. But as we anticipated staying close to home we were less energized to be blogging every little local trip we were taking. We were scheduled for four caravans in 2020, and we were saving our blogging energy until then. And Covid happened…

We were camping with the Airstream Club at Pechanga in Temecula on my birthday weekend of March 8, 2020, when news of widespread Covid hit. On March 11 I did my stint as a docent at the Hollyhock House, traveling back and forth via train. I saw one person wearing a mask – about average. That night the NBA cancelled its season, and things were beginning to be shutdown left and right. On Friday, March 13, we had invited new friends from the neighborhood to dinner. They were all still working as school administrators; 15 minutes before dinner was to start they called to cancel, saying that they were being required to work all night to figure out what to do about schools being closed. Luckily we had other friends nearby who had not started dinner who agreed to come by and help us eat all the food that Lynda had already prepared… Tuesday, March17, I did my last session volunteering at a homeless shelter; it, too, was closing. And the rest is history…

All four of our 2020 caravans were cancelled. We didn’t take out the Airstream for over three months – a record! We hunkered down, spending our stimulus checks on ordering food for take out and delivery to keep our local restaurants afloat. Finally, in June, with all the state parks still closed, we spent 4 days in Temecula, at the Pechanga RV Resort. (Indians don’t have to listen to Governor Newsom…) The park was nearly empty and we had a lovely time just relaxing and walking on different streets for a change. We did this two more times before the state parks re-opened. We spent a week at San Clemente in August. And so the year dragged on. The Airstream Club had a few camp-outs as usual, but different because lack of potlucks and group dinners.

With the surge in Covid in December we forwent our annual New Years trip to Palm Desert. The winter progressed much the same.

So today we start a one week “scouting” trip in preparation of the caravan we will be leading next year. More on that later…

We left at about 5:15, as the sun was breaking in the east. Luckily, we drove west, towards Los Angeles and north over “The Grapevine”. After a brief breakfast stop outside Arvin, we continued north up the 5. Long boring drive; but it was fun to be on the road again after so long. We refueled in Lodi and easily found out campsite for the night – Van Ruiten Family Wines, vineyards, an outdoor tasting area, and “free” overnight parking…

We found a table in the tasting area and enjoyed sample of 10 wines, plus cheese and crackers.

After a lovely time here, much of it spent talking to a couple from Ventura who were also camping overnight, we retired to the Villa. An enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-05-29 – Traveling West – Nashville and Memphis, TN

Yesterday we flew back from Redlands to Nashville.  We Ubered back to the Villa in Franklin, KY… It was still there…

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Our host invited us to his patio where we shared a few bottles of wine…

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This morning we waved, “goodbye” and headed south, towards Nashville.  We were going to visit Hermitage, the plantation home of Andrew Jackson, the 7th president of the US… The house was built in the early 19th century, like most plantation houses… It is set in 1,100 acres of “park” land, although in Jackson’s day it was a working plantation, earning Jackson his money via cotton through the the hard work of slaves…

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As lovely as it is, the mansion was originally built as a simple house, but it burned down in its early years.  The house was rebuilt, but after Jackson became president, he had the house enlarged again and remodeled to its current Greek Revival form… thus these awkward “false fronts”…

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As was common at the time, economy often was a big feature; these “stone” columns are actually wood, with a faux-finish added to resemble stone.  At least they now have internal ventilation to reduce the likelihood of rot, mold, and wood deterioration…

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The trim around the doors was also wood with faux-finish…

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At the rear of the house the columns are allowed to look like wood…

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Hermitage had an interesting museum telling of the life and times of Andrew Jackson… Some interesting facts, firsts, and lasts…

  • He fought in the Revolutionary War (as a messenger, at age 13).  He was captured and spent time as a Prisoner of War (the only President to have been a POW…)
  • He fought in the War of 1812, and is known for his leadership in the Battle of New Orleans, the final defeat for the British in the war…
  • He was an orphan with no surviving siblings by the age of 20…
  • Both South Carolina and North Carolina claim his birthplace location is in their state…
  • He was the first Representative to Congress from Tennessee; he also was a Senator from Tennessee… He also became a Tennessee Supreme Court Judge…
  • He was the last President to have personally known all prior Presidents (Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and J.Q. Adams)…
  • He was the first President who was not from the American aristocracy; all prior Presidents were born either in Virginia or Massachusetts…
  • He was the only President whose parents were born outside the country…
  • His wife was a bigamist and adulteress; she died just before Jackson’s inauguration; he never remarried…
  • He adopted two Native American children and raised them as his own; he also raised at least 8 foster children.  He was also the leader of the harsh and brutal removal and relocation of the Native Americans that lead to the “trail of tears”.
  • He was an unapologetic slave holder, and he did not free any of his slaves; all records do show that he treated his slaves relatively “fairly”, he kept slave families together, and he allowed them to cultivate their own gardens for their own use…
  • Jackson faced the threat of secession by South Carolina over “nullification”; South Carolina opposed the “Tariff of Abominations” and refused to comply; the crisis was defused when the tariff was amended, and Jackson threatened the use of military force if South Carolina attempted to secede.  (You would have thought that South Carolina would have learned its lesson that nullification and secession was frowned upon by the Union…)
  •  Jackson became the only president to completely pay off the national debt, in 1835…
  • In 1806 Jackson fought a duel with Charles Dickinson, whom he shot and killed..

The house tour was very interesting.  It is a fairly typical plantation “big house” in that it has a central hall with two rooms on either side, on both floors.  One unique feature of this house is that two ground floor rooms were bedrooms and there is a secondary hallway between the bedrooms leading from the central hall to a side door.  The house was enlarged when Jackson was president to add a large Dining Room on one side and two offices on the side of the bedrooms.  A back stair was also added at the side door.

The main central hall has this spectacular wallpaper:

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(Have you ever heard me rave about wallpaper???)

We were able to enjoy the balcony at the front of the house, which was a social space for family and guests…

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(Hint:  That is not the ocean out there…)

We also saw the back porch, which was a work area for the slaves; this nice grassy yard was a dirt yard for pigs and chickens in Jackson’s day…

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An interesting note about the tours at Hermitage…

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“Uncle” Alfred was a slave, who lived almost his entire life at Hermitage.  This is his cabin:

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Alfred was in charge of horses, one of Jackson’s interests. (He raised race horses, even while President)…  As such, Alfred held a place of honor among the slaves, and he is the only slave buried in the family graveyard, which contains the remains of four generations of Jacksons…

After Jackson’s death in 1845 his adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr., let the plantation become dilapidated.  In 1858 he sold the plantation to the Tennessee government to repay debts.  The family was allowed to remain living in the big house.

In 1889 the Ladies’ Hermitage Society was formed to maintain Hermitage and to offer tours.  Some of the 3rd and 4th generations of the Jacksons were still living upstairs when tours of the downstairs began being offered.  Who was one of the first tour guides?  Alfred, the longtime slave!  Alfred lived to the age of 98, dying in 1901; he was a slave during Jackson’s presidency, was emancipated the Civil War, was a guide for tourists curious about this house, and still lived in his former slave cabin…

It was an enjoyable tour, but it was very hot.  We were happy to start our drive to Memphis…

We arrived in Memphis about 5:00, really late compared with our normal scheduling… We did find a neat little place for dinner:

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Uncle Lou’s was featured on the Food Network, and a version of Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken is served at Playground, in Santa Ana, CA…

We returned to the Villa, turned on the AC, and turned in early…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-05-25 to 2019-05-27 – Memorial Day Weekend

We returned from Indian Wells on Saturday mid day.  I visited my mother in Artesia, and had nice Happy Hours on the front porch back in Redlands.  While we were Airstreaming over the past 2 1/2 months we have several new neighbors.  We chatted briefly with them and we hope to get better acquainted upon our return in Mid-June…

We received several nice photos from our grandchildren’s visit to Griffith Park and the remnants of the old LA Zoo…

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Sunday we enjoyed church at The River CRC, we had a relaxing afternoon, then we had a very enjoyable evening dining out with Rodger and Cyndi, neighbors who often help our son while we are away… walking the dog, picking him up when he falls, and cleaning up broken glass… The only down side was that it was raining, so we were unable to walk to the restaurant…

On Monday, Memorial Day, we were visited by The Thundering Herd.  The weather cooperated to the point that we could hang out in the back yard on the deck… (The deck was finished in October, but it has been too cold to use it until today…)

Lynda took the kids for a walk…

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The kids built a tower with blocks, with only a little help from me…

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I was able to get reacquainted with the lovely Evelyn…

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By early evening they piled into the car and headed home.  We cleaned up the house and prepared to fly tomorrow…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-05-21 to 2019-05–25 – The Desert Trip – Indian Wells, CA

Our annual trip to Indian Wells, CA, near Palm Springs, began on Tuesday morning… Indian Wells is a one hour drive from Redlands.  For 5 days we sat by the pools, walked through the resort, and had breakfast, lunch, happy hours, and dinner in all the hotel’s dining venues…

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It was freezing cold all week, until Friday.  Most days were in the high 60s.  On Friday it reached the high 80s, so we could finally enjoy happy hours and dinner outdoors…

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After dinner we enjoyed a nice stroll around the resort…

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Saturday morning, as the resort filled up with families for the holiday weekend, we headed back to Redlands…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2018-11-14 – The Return of the Eames Chair

As you may recall, on September 5, my Eames chair broke while we were camping in Bluff, Utah. (And since you probably don’t know where Bluff is, I’ll tell you:  it’s about 20 miles south of Blanding…)img_7206

After we returned in mid-October, I took it in for repair to Hume Modern in Los Angeles.  (Highly recommended!)

Today I fought the traffic once again and retrieved it, all bright and shiny like new…

When happy hours came around, an enjoyable time was had by me…

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2018-11-11 – Returning home from Paso Robles – Day 11

Last day.  We packed up and hitched up early and hit the road…

Farewell, Record vineyards!

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We once again passed through the James Dean Memorial intersection on Highway 46… Lynda snapped this photo as we drove by…

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Soon we were enjoying the bleakness that is the Antelope Valley…

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We arrived safely home and began to adjust to living in a house for a while.  Next destination:  San Clemente State Beach on November 30.  But first, we’ll have a trip to Disneyland, my mother’s 97th birthday, Big Game, Thanksgiving, and the return of my repaired Eames chair…

Happy hours ensued on the front porch…

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

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