Friday, February 27, 2015

Go to where your clothes fit... huh?

A couple of weeks ago, we met Marla and Danny in Idyllwild. Danny shared a quote that resonated with what our travel plan is... I think he said, "Go to where your clothes fit" - which would imply a diet location, I suspect.  But we rephrased it to "Go to where the weather fits your clothes."

Our goal is to be where we can wear jeans and tee shirts - so no freezing, and not much above 85*F either.

There is snow predicted near where we are here in Descanso, coming in tomorrow, so we're heading back to Arizona for a while. Hoping to be able to relax a few days in Yuma before heading to Tucson for the Escapade.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A new sound, a new site...

Yesterday we drove from San Diego (Mission Bay) to Pio Pico RV Preserve (Thousand Trails) near Jamul (Ha-mul), California.

On our way there, we started hearing a "thunk" sound that was a bit concerning. When we got to our campsite, we didn't have Verizon internet or phone service, so we drove into "town" (the hardware store). We called our trusty family mechanic (my brother, Jimmy) and described the problem. He gave us some ideas to try.

We tried the suggestions Jimmy gave us this morning, but couldn't find anything amiss. Not having phone or internet access was a bit disconcerting, so we decided that we would only stay one night at Pio Pico and moved on to our next site at Oakzanita Springs RV Preserve (Thousand Trails) near Descanso, California today.

So, we've checked in at Oakzanita Springs - and will be here a couple of nights. They are predicting snow here on Saturday night, so we'll be heading out from here on Saturday.

We are also listening to two events online this evening:
  • From Mobile Internet Aficionados - a group that we've joined for help in mobile solutions for RVers
  • From the same folks (Chris and Cherie) with their "open" group - Technomadia - they have a personal blog on Facebook by that name

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Meeting up with friends -- JoAnn and Dave

The last few years I worked at IBM, I managed a global team with members all across US and Canada, and even two folks overseas (Germany and Australia). While early in my management, we had opportunities to get together face-to-face, in later years, that didn't happen as much. One of my employees, JoAnn Woodruff, had worked for me for a few years (I think maybe 4?) and I had never had the opportunity to meet her face-to-face. We remedied that yesterday, when JoAnn and Dave came to visit Miss Daisy!

They then took us to see their boat, the Nordic Star.
It is a beautiful boat! FYI - there are a lot of similaries between motorhomes and live-aboard boats!

Tonight, we met them for dinner at Southwestern Yacht Club, where they are members (and where they hope to eventually be able to move their boat.

Dave and JoAnn
It was GREAT to finally get to meet JoAnn in person!!!

Visiting the USS Midway

As some of you know, a few years ago, Dwayne and I volunteered on the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor. Dwayne had visited the USS Midway back in 2004; it had just opened then. We drove down into San Diego to visit the USS Midway Museum today. Joe Krenek had kindly provided tickets for us, so not only did we not have to pay, we also didn't have to wait in line to purchase.

Arriving at USS Midway at 10am

We started on the hangar deck. I think they said that the normal complement of planes would be 68, and when they were in the hanger (which I think was 4 acres large) that there would barely be room to walk. They were setting up for some event this evening and had brought in couches that you see there in the middle.
RVers know all about "Navy" showers - though I don't know anything about purple pipes in the shower.
Then we went up on the flight deck.
The docents were GREAT!
Docent on the landing operation

Docent on the bridge tour

Docent on the take-off (catapult) operation
The folks on the Midway are volunteers - I asked about volunteering - thankfully to volunteer on the Midway takes a larger commitment (40 hour class, I think) - so we won't be coming back to volunteer here!
Some of the helicopters on the flight deck from the point of view of flight control (way up on the superstructure).

Flight control

Looking off the front of the boat from the bridge - that's the USS Ronald Reagan (a nuclear carrier) off the bow.
Can you decode the message?

Can you see the flags spelling out the message?

These were the lenses off the side of the Midway that would be used to tell the pilot if he was on target or to waive him off to make another run

Dwayne and some of the airplanes on the Midway

This aircraft wasn't assigned to the Midway - I think the audio recording said that they thought it was too big to land on the Midway. But, two of them had had to land on the Midway when the carrier they were associated with was caught in too bad weather to return to their assigned carrier.
It was a fascinating day - we were there 10am - 3pm, and walking and climbing and listening pretty much continuously!  Thank you, Joe!!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

That's an interesting rig!

We drove down to San Diego today and checked in to the Mission Bay RV Resort. It is right on Mission Bay and very nice - we were able to get a Passport America rate (50% off the normal rate).

While we were waiting for check in, this rig pulled in:
RV from Switzerland
The information on it indicates that it is from Switzerland. Uhm... you can't drive to California from Switzerland, right?

They are parked a few spaces down from us; I hope we'll have the opportunity to talk with them while we are here.

Edited to add: when we drove out this morning, we noticed that they have their travel website on the front:
On my phone, it translates to English; I'm not finding that to be the case on my laptop.

Are geese nocturnal?

Or is it just the ones at the Thousand Trails Campground in Menifee that are up all hours of the night, partying and carousing????

This morning, as we were getting ready to leave the camp ground, I saw a group of them sleeping (standing up on an unoccupied campsite a few down from us). I almost went to wake them up so they would be tired and sleep during the night instead....

I took pictures of a few of the birds around our campground yesterday and today:

Joe K had looked this up in his bird book - we think it is a Black-crowned night heron - it has long white feathers that come from the back of its head - they are down his body on the other side from where I was taking his picture. These stayed around our motorhome a lot while we were at Wilderness Lakes (this one is on our green "carpet" outside our door).
I think this may be a juvenile of the Black-crowned night heron
Another picture of the juvenile bird. They are about the same size as the one that is more black/white though.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Meeting up with friends - Joe and Barbara Krenek

We had a wonderful day today visiting Temecula with Joe and Barbara Krenek. Joe and Patti worked together at IBM - Joe beat Patti to retirement by about 6 months - we both congratulated ourselves on our ability to survive life after IBM!

Before leaving today, we took some bird pictures at the campground.

Not sure what kind of bird this was, but it was right at our campsite
Egret near the exit to the campground
Joe and Barbara took us to old town Temecula where we enjoyed the beautiful weather, quaint shops, and good conversation. They also took us to one of the Temecula wineries for lunch - we had a great day!
Joe, Patti, and Barbara in Temecula

Courthouse/civic buildings in Temecula

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thursday, 2/19 - Back to Thousand Trails

Today we moved back to a Thousand Trails park - this time to Wilderness Lakes. This will be our 30th night in Thousand Trails parks, so considering the annual dues + our family courtesy card (less than $500/year), our nightly rate is down to about $16/night - which is really cheap. From now on, each night we stay just serves to make the nightly rate less. We're enjoying using the membership that Pop and Peggy bought so many years ago!

On our way, we stopped at Sonic for a late breakfast - we ended up driving through a bit of Corona to get there, but when we found the Sonic, it was quite different for a Sonic, with a large inside/outside eating area.
An eating counter that is outside but looking into the order area inside the building at the Sonic in Corona.
The lady who took my order said that it had previously been a Carls Jr, but that she thought they might be making more of this type of Sonic so people could sit down to eat in areas where the weather would be auspicious (like southern California).

We have traveled to Menifee to stay in Wilderness Lakes Thousand Trails. It is a nice park with canals/lakes running through it so many of the sites are on water. It is very crowded, but we were able to find a site on a lake.
Dwayne sitting outside (between the picnic table and Miss Daisy)
It is really pleasant here! It was hot when we first parked, but in the shade and with the breeze, it is very comfortable. The geese are rather noisy at times (one of our park neighbors walked by and told us that we needed to keep "our" geese quiet, that he would give us one warning and then report us to the camp authorities!) - some people seem to feed them and the whole crowd will go zooming over to where the food is being provided.

This park is hard to get into - I had to look over a long period of time to find some days that we could get in a row. If we are coming back here next year, I'll need to try to get a reservation just as soon as we are allowed (I think 90 days out - I need to research that).

Canyon RV Park

We stayed at Canyon RV Park for 3 nights - the first place we've paid directly for nights since January 9! It was pricey ($54/night senior rate) and right under the freeway (91/241 interchange) but it was near the folks we wanted to visit in the LA area, so it was worth it.

A couple of pictures from Canyon RV:
Ropes course at Canyon RV - Dwayne is standing over near the RV trailer on the left - so you can see how large the structure is! The park had a large "youth" area (which was empty since we were there during the week in February), but I am sure they enjoy using this.

A funny reminder sign on the way out of the park!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Meeting up with friends -- Mai Quach

On Tuesday, we met up with one of Dwayne's former co-workers, Mai. We met her at one of her family's sandwich shops near here - Lee's Sandwiches. The shop where we met her is in a "Little Saigon" area of Westminster, CA.

We did not realize that tomorrow (Thursday, 2/19) is Chinese New Year - if we had known, we should have planned to be with Mai and her family during this holiday. But, we got to see the area already preparing for the holiday.

In the sandwich shops, and in the open markets, there are "Mai trees" - these trees with yellow blooms are considered "lucky", so you want to have them in your home on new years. Mai said that since her name is "lucky", her friends would want her to be the first one to visit her in the new year, to bring "luck" to their homes for the upcoming year.

Mai tree, and Mai, and Dwayne

Mai tree, Dwayne, and Patti
"Dancing lady" orchids in the open market

One of the Lee's Sandwiches shops
We had a wonderful visit with Mai, enjoying delicious food at Lee's and at a Vietnamese/French restaurant in the area. It was so interesting to hear about Mai's family and how they came to the US - and made Dwayne and me grateful for that we were able to be Americans just by being born here.

If you see a Lee's Sandwich shop (there are more than 50 around the US), stop in and try their drinks (we can specifically recommend the coffee and boba drinks) or food - I think you'll enjoy them!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Meeting up with Friends -- Sue Bennett

We wrote in our Christmas letter that we would be traveling around the US and Canada and for folks to let us know if we could meet up with them as we traveled. A former IBM manager of Patti's, Sue Bennett, contacted us and said that if we were in southern California, she would love to see us. So, we let her know we'd be in the area, and last night, we got to meet up with her!

It was great to talk with her and remember times working together at IBM and to hear what she is doing now.

One picture of our trip down from Idyllwild:
Looking west as we were driving down

Sunday, February 15, 2015

What a beautiful day!

We had such a beautiful day today!

There are squirrels here with "magnificent" tales - I got a picture of one this morning...

We then went to worship with Idyllwild Bible Church - their pastor will be preaching on the 7 last "words" of Christ on the cross in a lead-up to Easter - it promises to be a powerful series - I wish we could be here for the whole!

After a quick stop to change at Miss Daisy, we headed off to see some of the trails in the area.

We first went to Devil's Slide Trail from which we could see Tahquitz Peak. It was a 2.5 mile trail - we may have made it a mile before deciding to turn back.
Hiking trails in the area

Dwayne leading the way

We stopped to take some pictures

Neat looking tree - See how big it is compared to Dwayne!

We then drove to Lake Fulmor - we had driven past it on our way up here in Miss Daisy - what a beautiful lake and the reflections of the trees in the lake were so pretty!

Dwayne taking a picture at the lake

Then we drove on further toward Banning - again, on the road that we had driven up with Miss Daisy.
A view of the road down toward Banning

Overlooking the valley toward Morango Valley

Smokey the Bear

I remember learning about Smokey the Bear when I was a kid - that a young bear was found after a wildfire in a forest and he became the poster symbol of fire prevention in forests.

It is neat to still see Smokey protecting against wildfires!!!


The small town where this campground is located is called "Pine Cove" - and it deserves the name based on the number of pines that are located here.

Dwayne collected a few of the Sugar Pine cones - they are very large and almost look like they have been dusted with sugar on the edges.

He was looking online this afternoon and found that they sell for over $100 for 100 of them... hmmm... maybe retirement income???