Our Travels

Our retirement began February 3rd, 2006. This is an account of our travels. We hope you enjoy them. You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge the picture. Please leave a comment for us...we love to read them.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

2008 Travel - Installment #5

Our last stop before heading home was with friends in Willits, California – they have the best of both worlds – in the middle of the redwoods and 30 miles from the ocean. Our animal repertoire has grown as you can see by the pictures…a neighborhood dog sitting in the most unusual position, the sea lions down by the Noyo Harbor near Fort Brag, the typical sea gull on piling, and two small deer just watching us as we stopped by the side of the road.

Our friends took us on a sight seeing tour of the area…Mendocino was my favorite and a place I would like to go back to for a longer visit. Pictures are of some of the many items in a small exquisite store – "Highlight" http://www.thehighlightgallery.com/ – zoom up to notice the prices of this "art".
Another cute store was called "Out of this World" http://www.discountbinoculars.com/About-DB.html

In the visitor’s center, they have a model of historic Mendocino village circa 1890. We took a picture of one of the homes in Mendocino which is typical of all of them – it seems filmmakers have used Mendocino County for more than 100 years (beginning in 1904) – the one filmed there that most everyone will know is "Murder, She wrote", along with James Dean’s "East of Eden", "Same time, Next Year", and "The Fugitive". http://www.mendocinocoast.com/

Other sites and good pictures are below - the skidder for logs, the redwood logs, the coast line, and the marina.

One last picture of a golf course for our blog this year – a golf course in the redwoods. As I have walked around courses with my brothers and sons, I notice they try to go over a tree at times – would like to see any of them try it in the redwoods.

On Thursday, March 20, Day 86 of our 2008 winter journey, we headed for home driving through the California scenic highway 101 through the redwoods. When we got to Crescent City, Ca, we headed northeast to get to Interstate 5. Friday, we were able to maneuver through Portland, and head down Interstate 84 with out any trouble until a tire on the tow dolly blew out – picture shows what "blow out" means to us. The only way I could make Tony get out and stretch during the long drive home was to locate a geocache at the rest stops that we had to go find and log.

Wal-Mart must be missing our business – we only stayed in one night in Wal-Mart the whole trip, boondocked 34 nights, 43 nights in RV parks, four nights outside friend’s homes, four nights in rest stops, and one night on the side of the road.

We are closing this year’s winter blog – with the hope that we will be able to catch up around the house, do a lot of camping soon, and plan a trip across the water in the fall.
Thanks to everyone who kept in touch with us on our adventure. We hope you enjoyed reading about this year’s trip.

~~Tony & Sharon

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 13, 2008

2008 Travel - Installment #4

For the past month we have been boondocking in the desert in three different locations. Our activities were very relaxed for three weeks while we were near Yuma. We were able to do quite a few geocaches close by. I even painted one picture after a little coaching from Jeanne at the camp. Tony is making use of his camera and becoming even more of a camera bug. He set up his tripod and videotaped the sun set and got some good pictures of the eclipse of the moon. This picture shows Tony outside with the laptap taking pictures of the underside of the motorhome with the web cam attached to the broom handle....what for?? Better ask Tony.

After moving to another desert location with Penny and Arnie, we immediately travelled to San Diego to see some of the local sites. We took a tour around USS Midway – an aircraft carrier. It was well worth the trip and very interesting. One picture is of the Midway flight deck and the flags spelling out “Volunteers Make Midway Magic”. Another Midway picture is the spot where the sailor could jump if something went wrong as he was guiding the planes onto the deck. It was very interesting to hear the volunteer talk about how the planes took off and landed (picture of arretser cable). There is a pdf file that really shows everything about the ship.

We watched someone making flowers from palm leaves – an art I had never seen before as we wandered down the wharf looking at the modern art (picture shows one titled "out of school"). The London Bus carrying tourists always makes Tony feel at home. We watched the seagulls going after something in the ocean but could never quite figure out what it was. The Nurse and Sailor statute is located in San Diego and carries quite a story.

A drive to Coronado beach with a walk in the Pacific Ocean was a lot of fun. We went to see the Hotel del Coronado

Wood is a scarce commodity for our evening fires. So….when Penny noticed someone unloading lumber in the nearby dumpster, we went “dumpster diving” (the picture shows Tony fishing for the wood). Arnie did find some “iron” wood out in the desert, but that proved to be just what the name implies – hard as iron – very hard to split as shown by the picture of Tony trying to split it. It also didn’t burn very well.

A day trip to El Centro gave us an opportunity to watch the Blue Angels aerobatics team in practice.

Our desert location at Ocotillo Wells proved to be very private until Friday night. Then we sat around the campfire watching hundreds of motorhomes, trailers, 5th wheels, toy haulers, etc. come down from the twisty, windy moutain road to have a week-end full of fun. Our private area became very public in a matter of hours. We thought it would be fun to watch all the activity over the week-end until the next morning when there was a 9 mm bullet hole in Penny & Arnie’s camper. We had all heard noises in the night but didn’t realize what had happened at the time. Needless to say, we left almost immediately.

We moved near the entrance to the Joshua Tree National Forest just off Interstate 10. Because of the charmed life we lead, we are here right when the desert is in full bloom which evidently only lasts a short time. These pictures are of some of the many flowers in bloom now.

Besides the wild flowers, homes around towns and cities we have visited have flowers blooming everywhere which is quite a different site for us Idahonians at this time of the year.

Our desert living has turned up a few animals very close to us – a rabbit, lizard, bird, and tortoise. The most fun to watch was the desert tortoise. He was probably out most of the day in the hot sun, but as soon as the sun was about to set, he “hurried” back to his home which we had found earlier - a half-moon-shaped hole dug in the sand.

We have taken day trips to the Salton Sea, Borrego Springs, and the Anza Borrego desert. Note the difference in the two golf courses – Salton Sea (the sand) and Borrego Springs (the lush grass). The pelicans on Salton Sea were the only life around that area – the web site paints it as a wonderful place to go. Originally this was planned to be an elite section but the odor around the water prohibited the development of the area.

Interesting side trips gave us a chance to spot this old Harley Davidson as bikers were touring the area. old Harley Davidson

The General Patton Memorial Museum was a great refresher course in history, but my favorite part of the whole place was the big 'map' on a 'table' that filled the entrance room. The three dimensional map almost covers a 20 x 20 foot space and weighs close to five tons. It was created for the Colorado River Aqueduct project and had been taken apart to transport to Washington, D.C. in 1928 for congressional hearings prior to the passage of the Boulder Canyon Act. Construction on CRA began in 1933 and water was delivered by the system starting in 1941. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California donated the map to the Patton Museum in 1988. The map has different horizontal and vertical scales in order to keep it a manageable size, and is made of 250,000 jigsaw-like pieces of fiberboard to show the 50,000 square miles covered by the aqueduct project.

On our day to Riverside to go to the Fleetwood Motorhome factory tour (no pictures allowed), we found a very unusual restaurant where someone had recycled every thing possible into a humorous work of art – fountains out of old shovels, trees out of Barbie dolls and McDonald’s toys. One picture we took of two people struggling to pull a wagon with a horse driving the wagon. On the way, we again saw the hundreds of wind generators explained on this website.

A drive through the Joshua Tree National Park was an education in the differences in elevation (900 feet to over 5000 feet). At one lower elevation we saw a patch of ocotillo cactus. Higher up the cholla cactus was dominating the landscape. Picture is of a Joshua Tree (not found until we got up even higher). Higher yet was the section where there were only huge granite boulders. We walked around the boulders until we found the Arch Rock and on further to see the Skull Rock.

A trip to 29 Palms, California to look at the "Oasis of Murals"....I particularly liked the one entitled "Operation Iraqi Freedom" which includes the historical toppling of the 40-foot bronze statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad.

One more day trip to round out this blog was to Palm Springs, Cathedral City, and Palm Desert. It appears that Palm Springs is dying out and the rich and famous have moved east to Palm Desert. We did take a ride up the tram – in December, we came south to get away from the cold and snow and then paid money to go up to 8000 feet to see snow five feet deep after riding in the world’s largest rotating tramcars that rotated two complete times before reaching the top (two and one-half miles in ten minutes, from 2600 feet to 8500 feet) The views were spectacular in the Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness Area. We did watch a film on the history of the Tramway and how they had to use helicopters to help build it .

Penny & Arnie are now headed south and we have chosen to head north. First we made a stop at friends in Alhambra and now we are continuing north on Interstate 5 to visit others. We are certainly out of the 85 degree temperature now and keeping track of the temperature in Moscow as we continue homeward.

Thanks again for all your calls, emails, and notes on the blog. We appreciate them all.

~~Tony & Sharon

Labels: , , , , , ,