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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Getting Ready to hitch-up and head out

Putah Creek

Our four month stint here at Canyon Creek near Winters, California is wrapping up. This is the longest we have ever stayed in one place. Plenty long for me even though I have really enjoyed this area. John and I were discussing yesterday what we would miss when we left this area and what we won’t miss.

What we will miss:
John, Steve, Larry, and Chuck

First and foremost, as with most places we stay, it will be the people we have met while here. John has had a great group of guys to work with.  Larry is the operations manager and John’s boss. He is a bit of a renaissance man, he has experience in lots of areas and there is almost nothing he is afraid to try and he makes working around here fun most of the time. Adolofo and John (another John) are full time staff and have been fun to get to know. Then there are the other work campers that John has worked with. The one he has spent the most time with is Steve. Sometimes I joke that they are like “Laurel and Hardy do construction”. We also had Ed and Jan, and Mary Ann and Bernie for awhile and it was great to get to know them. For me, it has been the women in my kitting group which I’ve written about before. Last Thursday instead of the usual class they had a get together at Steady Eddy’s for me. What a nice way to say good-bye. My instructor Naomi gave me a fun book of designs for babies and toddlers which was a big surprise and a fun one. I will miss them all, Mary Ann, Annie, Sannie, and Betty were the regulars that I had the pleasure of getting to know. I thank them all for making my time here special.
Sannie, Annie, Mary Ann,
Naomi, Janie, Betty

Second, we will miss the beautiful countryside and Putah Creek. We are tucked into the hills in a truly wonderful place. The creek runs through the park and I will miss walking along it and watching for all the different birds along the way. On our way here from Winters there is one view that I just love. When the light is just right (I wasn’t able to catch that on the camera) it actually looks like the hills have been painted on the sky. We also have come to enjoy the valley with its abundance of fields filled with produce and groves and groves of different fruit and nut trees as well as plenty of grape vines.

Third, the fresh produce. The Davis farmers’ market is amazing. We did our last shopping trip last Saturday and I will really miss this shopping experience. We came to rely on it for part of our groceries. It has spoiled us for fresh produce. I also bought some Alpaca yarn at it last week. Its not often you get to buy yarn and see the animal it came from but she brought her lamas along, cool!

The llama "Gianna" my yarn is from

Next we will miss the little town of Winters. It is a pretty little town that has most of what you need and sometimes more. Preserves became our favorite little spot for a drink and dinner. Our favorite bartender Kelsey (I think she may be the manager) has always made us feel welcome. We were able to get her to stop and let us take her photo with another of the servers. We will miss her and this delightful little bar-restaurant. We also enjoyed Steady Eddy’s, Putah Creek Cafe, and the Buckhorn. John also appreciated the Ace Hardware store and I had the Spin a Yarn shop. We also were able to use the Winters library on a regular basis. Yes a gem of a small town in Northern California.
Not the best photo from mt phone but it is Kelsey and another server at Preserves

My favorite view driving from Winters to Canyon Creek

What we won’t miss:

This list is pretty small. We have been confused about how this park is run. It seems like they do cosmetic things while letting important infrastructure go. Like painting walls and restoring floors in buildings that are in serious need of new roofs. When that roof leaks all that cosmetic work will need to be redone. Also some of the drama that seems to occur. We also will be glad to be back to areas where we have cell phone service. It really hasn’t been as bad as we thought it would be, we learned to plan better to keep in touch with family. Getting to places we have better internet will be good too. Though it has improved and I can get on to read email and do some surfing,I really can’t upload any photos or down load any videos (like youtube) etc. We usually have our own air-card but we cancelled the one we have knowing that we will be going to a different carrier with more data. We are holding off on that for a couple months as we may not have a signal at Heceta Lighthouse in March so will put off until we know we will have a signal, that means a couple months of finding wifi and using my phone but that’s ok, we’ll make it work. 

The other thing I won’t miss is being on my own so much. If I were working too that wouldn’t be an issue but with John being the one putting in all the hours ( believe me we will ask a few more questions on our next job to make sure that doesn’t happen again) that leaves me on my own for a lot of the week. Thank goodness for learning to knit or I would have been incredibly bored. John and I are use to being together and being free to go out and do things together and that is how we like it so I will be happy to have my guy back with me. 

Now it is just getting everything put away, review our hitch up procedures (time to pull out the check lists). We’ve decided to leave on Friday just because we are ready to go and the weather looks like it will be good. I think our first stop will be either Fortuna or Trinidad  on the California coast. I’m still planning but that’s the fun part. After California we will continue up the coast and try to stay at many of the wonderful Oregon State Parks along the coast. On the road again, just sounds wonderful, we’ll have to pull out that Willie Nelson song.

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

Monday, January 21, 2013

San Francisco

Our first view of the city from the ferry

This weekend we finally made it to San Francisco. This is the one last trip we wanted to make before leaving this area. There are still many other things to do here but we will leave them for next time. I think we put this off because we really didn’t want to drive into the city, but after looking at alternatives we found out about the bay ferry. There is a terminal in Vallejo which is just about 35 miles from us. There is free parking until March and it stops at the Ferry Building near the financial district and at Fisherman’s Wharf. A day pass was $24 each. This is a wonderful way to go into the city. The ferry ride is very comfortable with nice views and takes about an hour. In the winter the schedule is a little different so fewer departure times. We left at 10 am and returned at 8pm (last departure from the ferry building is 7pm).

Lots of seafood at the Wharf

Street performer
The weather was almost perfect. We needed jackets in the morning and evening but the afternoon was sunshine and high 60s. Our plan was to go all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf and then walk, ending up at the Ferry Building for the ferry back. Fisherman’s Wharf is a fun area. We arrived and found one of the many places serving fish. It was so beautiful out we just got lunch to go and sat out in the beautiful sunshine near the water to eat. From there we worked our way over to Ghiraridelli Square stopping at the National Park visitor center for the Golden Gate Bridge and National Bay area Seashore. Got my passport stamps and enjoyed all the exhibits on the area. Of course we needed to stop for a little of the chocolate too - they were giving out samples so yippee it was free! Saved money there so we could stop at the local Irish Pub for a pint, only $7 each--ouch!

The visitors center

A swim in the bay anyone?

Golden Gate Bridge

Can't beat  the chocolate

The cable car station is very close to the square and who could come to San Francisco without taking the cable car? Looking at the map we decided to take a ride to Union Square and then it would be an easy walk to the Ferry Building when we were ready. The ride is a blast. I’m glad I wasn’t walking up all those hills. I also love all the apartment buildings. If I lived in a city I would want to live in places like this close to everything --no driving. Union Square is a busy place, we had forgotten how busy big cities are. We walked around marveling at all the people and buildings. The longer we are on the road the less we enjoy all that craziness. Since we really don’t shop much anymore it didn’t take to long to be ready to walk back to the Ferry Building. 
memorial at Union Square



In order to get there we had to walk through the financial district. The high rises here are huge and I can’t help but think about all this extravagance and how these companies brought us to the edge of a financial collapse that we still haven’t fully recovered from. 
Back at the Ferry Building we enjoyed all the vendors outside selling their wares and had more fun in the shops. Unique items throughout with lots of food mixed in. We picked out another seafood restaurant for dinner and enjoyed the great fresh seafood. John had a fish stew that had a little bit of everything in it. 
love these apartments

Golden Gate Bridge

More apartments I'd love

Ferry Building
The sun was going down and we still had an hour until out ferry arrived so I took advantage of the evening light and sunset to play with my camera, haven’t done that in awhile.

All in all, a great day.  There definitely is a lot to see and do in this area and we are glad we had the opportunity to do some of it. Just 2 weeks left and we will be on the road again.

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

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Another year flew by......

On the drive to Chico to meet up with friends New Years Eve

For the last 2 weeks I’ve been thinking about writing a year in review post. I think sitting still gives me writers block but tonight I want to get this written so tomorrow when I go into town I can get it uploaded. That has been a bit of an obstacle too. Our connection to the internet here at the park has improved a little after they added a new router but they are on a satellite system right now with data limits. So I do get on and read email and Facebook and sometimes blogs too but I don’t download or upload anything. 
Jeff and Sheryl Bright on New Years Eve

New Years Eve dinner in Chico

So where did we go in 2012? Texas (Austin, Port O’conner, Galveston, Houston, Rockport), New Mexico (Elephant Butte, Navajo Lake & Albuquerque), Arizona (Winslow, Grand Canyon, & Sedona), Colorado (Durango, Colorado Springs & Loveland), Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota (Mitchell, Custer Park & Mt. Rushmore), Wyoming (Sheridan), Idaho (Lake Pend Orellies), Montana (Missoula), Washington (Spokane and the Tri-city area), Oregon (Bend, Diamond Lake, Crater Lake, Harrisburg and Valley of the Rogue), and northern California (Lake Siskiyou, Redding, Winters, Sonoma, Napa, San Jose, Livermore, Davis, Vacaville, Fairfield & Sacramento).  I’m sure I missed a few spots.  I was suprised when I sat down and looked at the map with how may places we actually had been.

It was time filled with meeting up with friends old and new, and family along the way. We saw our oldest son get married and our youngest letting us know we are expecting our first grandchild. What a wild ride and a wonderful year.

So what’s on the horizon? We finish up here in California at the end of the month and will head to the coast. We will follow the coast up and hopefully spend a month at Heceta Lighthouse and then on to Bellingham, Washington to visit family. Then it will be the fast track back to Iowa to be there when our first grandchild enters the world in May.
After that we may head north along the shores of Lake Superior once again this time with friends Jeff and Sheryl, and not sure from there. We are contemplating doing the east coast and down to Florida for the winter & maybe finding a work camping  job there. We will leave those decisions until much later but if you know me, I like having a basic plan even if it changes completely along the way. It always helps me to have a framework, even if as we say that framework is made in “jello”. 

So all in all a great year in 2012 and looking ahead to a great year in 2013. It will be an extra special year because, wait for it..................................a new GRANDDAUGHTER!
Just got that news yesterday after their latest ultrasound. I am from a family of men. I have 3 brothers, and then got married and had 2 sons and over the years about 8 hockey sons. So I have been surrounded by men most of my life. I am so excited because now because there are women coming into my life. First Melissa and now Emily and a granddaughter. What an incredible blessing. I am thinking pink already, I have knitting class tomorrow and will be looking at yarn for a blanket in pink.

I hope everyone is enjoying 2013 already!
Naomi, my most excellent Knitting instructor!
Knitting at Steady Eddy's
Well I'm sitting at the library getting ready to post this and thought I'd add a little. Had fun at knitting today, it was cold at the store so we all headed up to Steady Eddy's for coffee and warm place to knit. This group is the the thing I will miss when we leave here. It is a fun group of woman and I have learned so much from my instructor Naomi. Since I started this class in October I have knitted 12 hats, 4 scarves, 1 baby blanket, 3 hand warmers, & one cowl. Now when I sit in front of the tv I feel like I have to have some knitting in my hands. I think I'm addicted. I did pick up the yarn for a pretty pink blanket for the coming granddaughter and of course I will have to make a few hats and maybe a few headbands too. I'm combing the online sites for ideas. This is going to be so much fun. Well time to get this posted.
Naomi and me with my first baby blanket. :)

Happy Trails......