"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing"
- Helen Keller

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Beautiful Hike

Lake Berryesa

Sunday John and I finally took the time to hike the hills near our campground. We had heard there was a five mile loop that had a trailhead just a short way up the road, close enough to walk to the trailhead. We got to the map of the trails and the loop is called the Blue Ridge Trail loop, 5 miles and listed as difficult. Now many of the tails we have taken that were listed as difficult we would consider as moderate so we decided we were up to the task and took off. In the case of this trail - difficult means difficult. It may be the most challenging trail we have hiked to date. 
Lake Berryessa

The climb up is pretty steady and steep for about 2 miles, some stairs and switchback. The stairs at times were the height of 2 steps and for my short little legs they became difficult after the first 50 or so (I didn’t count but I’m sure there were at least that many). After we finally reached the top of the first peak we looked out to see we would have some downhill and then up again to another peak and after that one another. The hardest parts near the top.There we are walking and climbing over rocks and some on very narrow paths with steep drop offs. One area I realized I needed to keep my eyes on the rock trail and not look out - my anxiety for heights was definitely at peak alert. I did survive it and the rewards were the views from the top. On one side there were wonderful views of Lake Berryessa and on the other views of the valley all the way to Winters and if you looked way out it the distance the white capped Sierra’s were visible.
Putah Creek, our campground is visible 
The downhill was not as steep but by this time our legs were pretty tired. I need new hiking boots and my toes were taking a beating at the front of my boots. Were happy when we finally reached the bottom trail head and had only a short distance to go to get back home (almost 4 hours later). Our legs are still recovering, my calves hurt the most from that uphill climb. I’m still glad we took the hike.

Rain has come to our little valley and we are expecting significant rains in the next week. I may even get another blog in as library time may sound very good if I’m stuck at home inside during the days. Two blogs in a week - I’m amazed. 

Happy Trails...........................

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lots of news!

Putah Creek that runs through the campground

I know its been awhile but our internet has been a challenge. I can get on through our managers wifi (he’s connected directly to the parks satellite internet) but we know they have a pretty limited data contract and so we try not to abuse it. Its actually hard to abuse it because the signal is not very strong and disappears completely on a regular basis. I’ve learned that when I do have a signal I get my email right away then if it stays up I check Facebook so I can catch up on family. Once in awhile, usually late at night I can get on Pinterest or sometimes a blog or two. Before we came here I use to spend a couple hours in the morning cruising through the blogs I follow, now I try to get to a few when I get in town and find a wifi. The cafe we were using for wifi has a new owner and the last time we were there the internet wasn’t working and the owner said he was having issues with AT&T. Our guess is they raised his rate and he doesn’t want to pay it. We will return to check on it eventually. The library here has wifi and that is where I try to go now. I just wished they served coffee - the internet and coffee just go together for me.

We have been keeping busy. John continues to work on lots of projects around the park and I am doing lots of knitting. I’ve learned to knit some hats and I really enjoy it. I want to learn some more things so I will go back to my class next week, the instructor took a couple weeks off but we start in again next week. I have a special project I want to do - a baby blanket. Do you want to know why???? 

John and Mitch
Here’s the biggest news we want to share. We are going to be grandparents!!!!!! Our youngest son Mitch and Emily are expecting a baby May 12th. They have been together almost 3 years and while this wasn’t exactly planned, they are excited about the baby. We are too! We got to see Mitch shortly after we heard the news. He was on a business trip to Livermore, CA, which is about 2 hours from us so we drove down to meet him for dinner. It was good to spend some time with him and be able to give him a big hug.
Janie & Mitch

So this May 12th date has made us switch up our plans a little bit. We had planned to spend the spring/summer in the NW and then head back to Iowa but now we are headed back late April because I want to be there when the baby is born. That makes for an interesting spring. Our plan is to leave here February 1st and start heading up the coast. We want to visit John’s brother in Bellingham WA before we head back. We know this is not the best time of the year to travel north as it rains a lot but we’ll just take it slow. We have a couple months to get there and our plan is to get to Washington around the first of April. 

Ed and Jan, fellow work campers
We are finally getting out and seeing a few things. Besides the trip to Livermore we also went with our fellow work campers, Ed and Jan, to San Jose to see the Winchester Mansion. This house was built by the widow of the Winchester fortune (Winchester rifles). After her daughter and husband died she was sure she was being haunted by the spirits of all the people who died from being shot by a Winchester rifle. She contacted a psychic who convinced her she needed to build a house to appease the spirits and so she did. Everyday she had a seance to find out what they were to build that day and let me tell you they (the spirits) had her build the strangest house you have ever seen. It is sprawling and has hallways and doors that go nowhere or one staircase that actually just takes you up to the ceiling. It is definitely the strangest house I’ve ever seen and what I learned is this lady was certifiably nuts! Sorry no photos of the house are allowed. The tour only takes about an hour so we found a mission nearby, Santa Clara Mission, at Santa Clara College. It is actually the 5th building for the mission, as several times it burned to the ground and there were a couple temporary sites along the way. It is a beautiful church and as a benefit it has lovely gardens surrounding it. Its hard to believe that roses are blooming in November but they sure are. 
Inside the Mission Santa Lara

Thanksgiving here at the park, the owners host a dinner for everyone. There were about 100 people attending. It was a nice easy way to have thanksgiving. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend.

We have a weekend trip planned to Sonoma in a December. A little vacation as a treat for Christmas. It is close enough we could drive there and back in a day but I would like to do a little more exploring than that so we are staying 2 nights. That will give us time to go to a few wineries and drive to the coast too. We have heard a drive to Bodega Bay is worthwhile.  Don’t know if I’ll get to post agin before then but I will definitely share that trip with you too. So until then, a few flower photos from the gardens at Santa Clara Mission and..

Happy Trails..........................

Monday, November 5, 2012

Busy Month

Lake Berryessa, just across the dam from us
I know it has been too long since my last post so I think I am going to do several posts to catch up and post them gradually this week when I am in town.  We actually have been really busy. When we first arrived here I was really worried about keeping busy since there really isn’t any specific work for me but that hasn’t been an issue. John has been working more than his 24 hours a week so we are banking some hours for other days off. He is part of the maintenance crew and they are doing lots of renovation projects around the park. I think he likes the work and is enjoying the guys he works with. He works 6-8 hours a day Tuesday to Friday.

One of the all ways in our haunted house
The week before Halloween we all worked to put together a haunted house for the kids. It was a lot of fun and I learned that I was a great screamer, I don’t scream very often so it was a surprise to me. John manned a chainsaw (chain removed). He started the saw and I started screaming, it was pretty effective. We don’t usually get into Halloween so this was fun. The kids also trick or treated through out the park.

We had another nice surprise when friends of ours Tom and Donna Clapham came to visit for a night. We got to see them in Bend OR awhile back and they were just passing through. Went in town for dinner and had a wonderful time. Donna sat and helped me with my knitting, on something I was stuck on. She also showed me all the wonderful projects she had knitted for a store in Portland for their displays. They were beautiful and she gave me one as a gift, I can’t tell you how surprised I was. It is beautiful and wonderful as a wrap on cool nights. Thank you Donna.
Isn't it beautiful!

Speaking of knitting, I am really enjoying my class. The rest of the class is doing a blanket project while I work on a hat for John. Even though I am not doing their project I am learning a lot about how patterns are written and how to read charts. I’ve almost finished the hat, when I get it done I’ll have John model it for you. I have been really lucky with the help from Donna and we added a work camping couple and Jan is a long time knitter so when I get stuck or don’t understand she has been there to help me. I have tried to learn on my own before and was never successful but now with the class and help from these great ladies I may actually get the hang of this.

I have some other things to write about: a trip to Travis AF Base, a short visit to Napa, farmers markets, fellow work campers and possibilities in Oregon for February and March.
Our campground Halloween cat - Baby, he's not very scary and fun to have around

I’ll also have a happy event to report on - my son is coming for a business trip to Livermore CA, just an hour and a half away! We are going to use some of that accrued time to take Tuesday off and meet him for dinner. Now that is a happy day!!

Happy trials............................