Sunday, May 25, 2008


As I sit here at my computer this morning there is a steady stream of campers walking to and from the bathroom/shower building next to us. After a rainy, muddy day on Saturday, I am sure the tent-campers are ready for a hot shower. On this Memorial Day weekend, after seeing so many young families with children huddled around campfires and trying to stay dry under tarps and flimsy canopies yesterday, we felt a tiny bit guilty in our cozy and warm home on wheels last night. Today, the sun is shining and hopefully everyone and everything will begin to dry out. Yesterday, we drove down the coast as far as Elk, CA and I wore long pants, socks and tennis shoes for the first time this year. We have used the electric heater every night (electricity is included in our space rent) since leaving Pleasanton. With nights in the low 40s and days barely reaching the mid 50s, so far it seems we may have been premature with our anticipation of good weather on the coast.

Phil drove Penny the Pace about 27 miles from Leggett, on Highway 101 (where it intersects with Highway 1) southwest to Westport Beach RV Park here on the Pacific Ocean. It was our first adventure in a very long time (since our trip back east in 2005) on a narrow, two-lane road in somewhat mountainous terrain and our brave Penny did a perfect job with Phil at the helm. I had hoped to handle the drive without a problem but unfortunately, had a white-knuckle ride taking two nerve pills in order to keep my composure. No need to do that again so I will drive the Lone Ranger on the return to highway 101 when we head north again this coming Tuesday. It is incredibly beautiful on the California coast (with more to come in Oregon) and is so worth whatever difficulty we might bring upon ourselves to get us here.
We had a great time in Pleasanton with my sister and her husband and look forward to seeing them again in late June in Washington when they come north for a few weeks.

Phil took this picture of Old Glory flying proudly in the middle of Livermore, CA. It was so pretty I am using it for my desktop and I thought it was fitting for this Memorial Day weekend post.

Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the men and women who have given their lives for our country.

The beautiful new Bankhead Theater in Livermore California. Robin and Walt treated us to an afternoon at the 500 seat auditorium where there is not a bad seat in the house. We went to see the "Spencers Theatre of Illusion." Kevin Spencer is a wonderful, world class magician and his wife, Cindy a very able assistant. It was an excellent show!

My sister, Robin and her husband, Walt saying goodbye.

Joy and her sister, Robin in Pleasanton, CA. It was sad to leave her but we put on a "happy face" for the camera.

This is our exit! Back in 1939, my mother owned a tiny restaurant called "The Tin Shack" in Santa Rosa. Pregnant with me, it was not long before she sold it in order to stay at home until I was born.

Nice little town on Highway 101. Great sign across the road!

Gas prices in Leggett California. We were glad we did not need any ... AND that we burn gasoline, not diesel.

The Pacific Ocean! It has been a long time since we have seen our old friend and it is a beautiful sight.

Gate checkpoint as we arrive at Westport Beach RV Park. The campground is down a winding driveway on the right that takes us to the beach.

Miss Penny the Pace and the Lone Ranger ... satellite dishes pointing south ... (wish we had an antenna for our phones) proudly parked after their brave drive on Highway 1. They did good!

Just a few of the tent campers in the rain on the beach yesterday. See the tent tops on the right? There are dozens more farther back from the beach. Oh to be young again!

Looking south on our beach here at the RV park on our first day (the sun was shining).

Sunday, May 18, 2008


The hot weather followed us to Pleasanton from Yuma. We had hardly put our jacks down when the weather prognosticators were telling the bay area residents to get ready for a heat wave … in the triple digits. No thanks needed, we do what we can …

We are spending some time with my sister, Robin and her husband Walt. Phil has been helping Walt with projects that need four hands—hanging new interior doors (upgrading) for one—and Robin and I have done some marathon visiting. We have gone out to dinner several times and Robin and I even played a game of Scrabble (she trounced me soundly) but I have asked for another chance. My sister is a champion Scrabble player so it is an exercise in futility but because I am a ‘WORD” person, I love the game—considered it to be a learning experience. That is the understatement of the year when you play against Robin.

Sisters update: Good news regarding both ladies! Dixie had surgery this past Friday and they removed the one and a half inch screw that has been holding her broken hip bones together. The breaks have mended (it has been nearly five months!) to the point that the doctors want her to start putting weight on that side. She is very optimistic and hopeful that she will be walking again soon. Robin has an appointment with her doctor on Monday to discuss the plan for additional treatment after her lumpectomy which is healing nicely.

We discovered there were 850 presold tickets to have your copy of Barbara Walter's book signed inside this tiny book store. The line went around the block and people were melting in the 100 degree heat.

Robin and I chose to retreat and save ourselves to fight another day but we were sad to have missed the chance to see Barbara.

This limo delivered Barbara Walters to a booksigning of her new book named "Audition"
in Danville, CA. We just missed her.

Robin and Ronald ... taking a break!

Perfumed wall of flowers in the alley on the way to the farmer's market.

Pleasanton Farmer's Market.

Exquisite orchids in abundance ...

Baby potatoes in all colors.

Beautiful berries, fragrant and sweet.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Well, after almost four years of fulltime RV living—it has finally happened. One question we are asked fairly often is: “Have you found a place you would like to live yet?”
My answer has always been, “All of them!”
My comment to Phil as we have traveled across the country, north-south-east-west has been, “You know what, I could live here.”
My explanation for this phenomenon has been when you are basically a happy person, cohabitating with someone you love and you have a passion—you can be content wherever you live or as a Mary Engelbreit’s poster does so eloquently endorse, “Bloom where you are planted.” I know this to be true because I “bloomed” in Shelton Washington for many dozens of years and it can be the most depressing place on earth in the middle of a long gray winter!

Well, that has changed. Last week we were parked in a small RV park near Mojave, CA. Driving back to Mojave through California City after having lunch in Tehachapi, this sentence just slipped out—it even surprised me! I said, “I could never live here! For me, the Mojave Desert has to be the most depressing area of California.” One thing we did find interesting in the vicinity was the brand new freeways, sweeping on and off ramps and miles of beautiful new blacktop, CA State highways 14 and 58 to be specific, for miles in all directions from Mojave. Why? For the most part, the roads in California are some of the worst in the nation. What has the Mojave area said or done to deserve these DOT tax dollars? So few people, so little traffic but brand new highways … it is indeed a mystery!

Here are a few pictures we took on our day trip yesterday to Sequoia National Park. I would have loaded more but of course, Blogger is acting up and it has taken hours to get these few into the blog. Anyway, we had a great day and tomorrow morning we will be heading over to Pleasanton for a week or so to spend some time with my sister, Robin and her family.

Round trip from Kingsburg to Kingsburg about 175 miles. Wonderful weather, wonderful day trip.

"Not recommended for trucks and busses" according to the warning sign as we started up.

Northern entrance through Pinehurst.

Middle of May and still lots of snow ...

Another item I can check off my LIFE LIST OF THINGS TO DO BEFORE I DIE. We have arrived!

Even at 7000 ft. the air is thick with pollution. The Sierra Nevada Range must have been something to see before this happened.

Mark Twain would be very disturbed about what has happened to the air quality. Studies are underway to determine the possible damage to the giant trees.

There it is! Hope you can read this info.

Awesome ...

The CCC (Civilian Conservation Crew) workers dug out the road beneath this huge rock in 1938, long before anyone could imagine the number and size of the vehicles that would use the road. Widening the highway in 1997 made it impossible to safely pass through the opening so Tunnel Rock was bypassed.

Phil is standing in front of a beautiful rock wall crafted in 1938 by the CCC workers. The clearance on this side of tunnel rock is a little higher than the other side.

At 5' 1" tall, Joy demonstrates how low the right side of the rock is. The many scrapes and burn marks above her head are telling evidence why they eventually rerouted the road around the natural rock tunnel. The ranger said, "Too many bigger vehicles on the road."

The Fox Theater on a Saturday night in downtown Visalia, Ca. There were hundreds built by Fox. One of the six built in CA, this one opened in 1930. Closed in 1996 and reopened three years later completely restored to its original grand design it is home to the Tulare County Symphony. The Fox is also available to rent for concerts, plays, recitals, weddings, meetings and receptions.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Yuma weather: 58 degrees at 5:46 a.m., not a breath of air moving as we wait for sunrise.

We learned yesterday that our Auntie’s Elaine and Beverly have arrived safe and sound in Washington . They called us just as they were crossing the border over the Columbia River. After beautiful weather for six days they were driving straight into heavy rain and low clouds. Welcome to Washington the sign says!

Phil worked with cousin, Nada yesterday. They took another load to the storage unit and he is finishing up miscellaneous small jobs. Today he will help her again and then she will be on her own for awhile here in Yuma. AndrĂ©, Nada’s “Significant Other” is not able to help her because he broke his leg in a fall on a recent trip back east. He is hobbling around on crutches and Nada commented that “some people” will go to great lengths to avoid helping her move!
Sister update: Nothing new to report. As they say, "No news is good news!"

Only three days (including today) until we journey west toward our next great adventure. In addition to seeing friends and family, I am looking forward to getting back to Washington this summer because my daughter, Bobbie has become engaged to be married. We are looking forward to meeting her fiancé, coincidentally also named Bob. She has assured me their plans will take our nomadic lifestyle into consideration so we can be there for the wedding. I was pleased to hear that promise since we were conspicuously absent during the last two weddings in the family because we were in the southwest for the winter. Tomorrow is laundry day and we have visited the used book store for a fresh supply of reading material and a couple new books on tape for the road. Phil wants to wash The Lone Ranger before we leave and I have a few things to pack away, then we will be ready to roll!

It is going to be another beautiful day in Yuma. What is it that famous Hawaiian postcard says? “Just another sh---y day in paradise!”