Monday, December 11, 2017

Touring with friends

One of my former co-workers, Joe, and his wife, Barbara, live about 10 miles away from the campground where we are staying (Wilderness Lakes near Menifee). They invited us to go on a drive on Saturday with them, and we happily agreed! We met them at their home in Murrieta, and Joe drove us west up through the mountains between us and the coast - I don't have the precise route, but we went through De Luz and Fallbrook.

In Fallbrook we hit a snag as the route (76) we were planning to take to continue west over to Oceanside was closed due to the Lilac Fire. You can see some smoke down the closed road.

So, we went over to I-15 and south a little ways to route 78 to head west instead. We could see some smoke in the hills from the interstate as well.

Route 78 brought us west to the ocean just between Oceanside and Carlsbad.

We stopped for lunch at The Poseidon Restaurant in Del Mar - 
It was right on the ocean - gorgeous!

After lunch we headed further south down the coast, stopping at the Torrey Pines Gliderport.

Unfortunately we were a little too late in the day to see anyone flying on the gliders (they were packing up the equipment).

There were beautiful views down the coast (that's La Jolla on the spit of land in the distance).

A bunny on the lawn where the handgliders would land...

... and a very rotund squirrel just below us!
There were really pretty succulents in a garden area just below us. Barbara told me that the low ground cover was called "Ice Plant" (

A bee on one of the ice plant flowers.
Barbara and Joe - our friends and tourguides!

We ended our day at La Jolla Shores Beach Park.

It, and the whole day, were lovely. 
We so enjoyed getting a private guided tour along routes that we probably never would have found on our own! Many thanks to Joe and Barbara!!!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Current information on Liberty Fire

Just wanted to update friends and family that were concerned about the fact that I indicated that a fire was near where we are located. Today the update that I found indicates:
Firefighters have fully contained the Liberty Fire, which burned 300 acres near Los Alamos Rd and Clinton Keith Rd. One structure and six outbuildings were destroyed. Sources indicate that all mandatory evacuation have been lifted in the area.
We met up with friends who live near here (just off Clinton Keith) on Saturday, and while we were out with them, I asked what the designation of a "percentage" and "contained" or "controlled" meant. After we left their house, he got information from their city that addressed that particular question (ignore typos on the title from their site) and sent to me - thought y'all might be interested.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Christmas According to Children

This video was published a couple of years ago by Southland Christian Church - love the take on the Christmas story by children and the adults acting it out!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Just for us!

I blogged a couple of weeks ago about "Cartwright's Meat Market" in Grants Pass, OR.
We purchased some pickles while we were there...

See - they are made especially for US!
Do you think there are that many people named "Cartwright" to make it worthwhile to make pickles just for them?!?!?!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Updated: Wind and fires

California, at least, southern California, is still experiencing fires, and we're having VERY windy conditions this week - today's winds were expected to be hurricane force winds (level 1 hurricane, 80 MPH) according to this article:

This is the link I use to look at the fire map:

We are currently in the area just north of the location where I-15 and I-215 meet, and we are east of I-215.

According to information from that site, a fire was reported at 1:14pm about 5-6 miles from us. By 3:24pm it had grown to 220 acres. 
At this time, the winds seem to be out of the northeast (blowing the fire away from the direction where we are). It is hard to think I am thankful for that when it means that others are potentially losing their homes....

We're praying for the firefighters and that the winds will die down.

Update on 12/8: the winds have died down and it is a glorious day here today. From one report it seems that the fire that is closest to us is now 60% contained:

We are thankful!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

What *is* the code on that thing?

We have a few compartments on the inside of the bus, and nearly all of the outside compartments, on which the doors are held up by gas springs or gas struts. Some of them are not holding so well anymore, so we were thinking that we should replace them.
On some of them, we could see the name of the item (for this one, for one of the cabinets over the driver compartment, we were able to remove it and easily able to get the information).

This is the information that is needed to order a replacement - the brand is "Lift-O-Mat" (which is no longer made, I guess), and its number is 75754 0100N. The last numbers, 221/99, I found out, indicate when it was made - maybe the 221st day of 1999? (definitely 1999, not sure about what the 221 means)
This is the one from the under-bed storage - it is 752983 0500N - also manufactured sometime in 1999.
The number with the "N" after it is the strength of the gas spring in "Newtons".
In physics, the newton (symbol: N) is the SI unit of force, named after Sir Isaac Newton in recognition of his work on classical mechanics. It was first used around 1904, but not until 1948 was it officially adopted by the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) as the name for the mks unit of force. (source:
There are about 4.45 pounds in a newton. So, the overhead cabinet gas spring should support about 22.5 pounds, and the under-bed storage gas spring should support about 112.5 pounds.

We had discovered that a source for getting these gas springs is Orr&Orr ( and we were able to order replacement ones for the gas springs that we have.

The gas spring on the door that allows us access to the the generator controls outside the bus is also weak, so we wanted to order a replacement gas spring for it as well. Unfortunately, getting to the label proved to be a bigger job than we could resolve...
Using a mirror, we could find the brand label...

Zoomed in on that... (remember it is a mirror image!) "Lift-O-Mat High Pressure Do not open. Do not heat. Observe disposal instructions. Mexico - " (and a city and state in Mexico - cannot read it on this picture).
But we could not find the set of numbers that identify the size and weight rating anywhere on the shaft of the gas spring... We tried taking it off, but compressing it is harder than we seemed to be able to manage... so... getting it replaced is going on the "Jimmy" list for the next time we're at the farm!!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Wilderness Lakes Campground and Christmas Lights

We moved to Wilderness Lakes Thousand Trails Campground near Menifee, CA, on Monday (just a couple hour drive from Soledad Canyon Thousand Trails)...

We were able to find a pull-thru 50A site, not on one of the lakes... near a restroom and right by the trashbins (not our preference, but other characteristics were good!).

We enjoyed a walk around the campground in the evening to see the decorations that many have out!
Right across from us - many of the lights come on and off or change colors! Snazzy!

This one may not be Christmas lights... a lot of folks light under the perimeter of their RV... there are some who say that it will prevent mice or packrats from coming on board!

This campground has "lakes" and the reflections in the lakes made the lights look so pretty!

Lights inside and outside!

This didn't come out so good but they were two pretty little trees and lit up presents underneath - very cute!

This one is funny because the "green" lights in the background (across the lake) are really white lights at the restrooms... I don't know why they came out green, but they look festive!

Some more lights across the lake...

These were around their patio area.

That pink spire reflecting into the lake is actually *our* flagpole - we're not right on the lake, but could see it over the RV that is between us and the lake.