Friday, October 30, 2009

A Yard Full of Changes

Today the landscapers finished making parts of our yard require less water and work for maintenance. Watch the video below, then read on.....

What got taken out was the small area of lawn in the front yard and an irregular piece of lawn in the back yard. The only lawn area left to water and mow is one area in the back yard that is about 20 feet by 18 feet. That area had been larger by about 6 feet by 18 feet. The lawn area that was replaced now has weed block with shredded redwood bark on top of it. The plants are on a new drip system and get watered 5 minutes a day. Once the winter rains start that can be turned off. The other big change is that the very large liquidamber tree in the front yard has been removed. It had gotten way too big for where it was. A pine (front yard) and 2 volunteer mimosas (back yard) were also taken out.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Christening Time

Here's our new grandchildren, Amber and Isaac, at their christening
today at Saint Christopher's in Willow Glen. It was a very nice
ceremony. Big Bro Isaac and godparents and grandparents and uncles and
aunts and friends were in attendance. And their mom and dad were there
too, of course.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Video test for our next road trip....

Well, our next road trip is fully planned. We'll be going to the Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Pipe Organ Cactus National Monument, Yuma, the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Botanical Gardens and places in between, including a visit with Linda's sister and nephew in Phoenix.

We've ordered a "miniature" 1080p HD video camera and will be taking some video on this trip as well as shooting our our photographs. We'll be posting both. We've learned how to post the videos on our YouTube account and embed them into our blog.

The following video is part of one we did a couple of years ago and put on you tube. You might enjoy it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 10 - Lakehead, CA to Morgan Hill, CA

[Monday, Lakehead, CA to Morgan Hill, CA] We can report today that one cannot get anything they want at Allyson's Restaurant in Lakehead, CA. In fact, one couldn't get anything at all since the restaurant was closed. However, a quick swivel of the head to the left and we found what could best be described as a sportsman's bar and grill, the Basshole. It was open!!

We entered and found one patron playing with himself. Pool, that is. He was winning. And losing. Our waitress invited us to set anywhere we wanted. Linda checked out the specials. She got fish tacos (talapia) and John ordered the spaghetti and meatballs. His mistake was to get the full order. Leftover spaghetti, anyone? The food was good and we had a nice chat with our waitress while waiting for it. Found out her daughter is attending Humboldt State University where Jay went to school.

Got a good night's rest and went to breakfast back at the Shasta Camp Coffee Company where John had grabbed a Mocha the day before. These are the folks from Watsonville. After Allyson let us down the night before, she didn't deserve us! John had eggs, bacon, orange juice, hash browns and biscuits. Linda had an English muffin and orange juice. Her Raw Bits were all packed up already for the trip home.

Back to Lakehead Lodge to pack and load. Left about 9:37a.m. and stopped back by the Shasta Camp Coffee Company to get John a Mocha for the road.

Wilma's navigation system reported that we had 288 miles to go to get home. We attempted to make a pit stop at a Rest Area.... closed! California government is certainly outdone by Oregon in the rest stop area! We finally stopped at Corning, CA and visited the Olive Pit for a pit stop! How appropriate. Got some gifts for our neighbors who have been gathering our mail.

Further down the road, at Williams, Linda took over the driving. She drove to Danville. We stopped at a Carl's Junior in Fremont for another "rest" and some lunch. Burger for John. Salad for Linda. Then on to Morgan Hill.

All in all, the traffic was very light. The weather was overcast, so no bright sun to deal with. We made a quick stop at Nob Hill for milk and bread then pulled in the driveway at somewhere near 3:09p.m. after a trip of 1,289.8 miles. We unloaded Wilma. It will take a day or so to recover and unpack. Please, no sympathy cards are necessary (or expected).

We did follow through on our commitment... no TV in the motel room and no radio on the highway. It's very peaceful and relaxing and, of all things, we get to talk.

It was a wonderful trip. Over 520 photographs and lots of memories.

We're planning our next road trip for mid-November. Part of that trip will be to visit Linda's sister, Gloria, and her nephew, Gordon, in Phoenix. Weather permitting, we'll visit the Petrified Forest, Organ Pipe Cactus National Park, San Diego Zoo and other things along the way. John has to phone in the weekend before November 2nd for jury duty. Hopefully, it won't conflict with mid-November.

See you then!

We hope you enjoyed going along with us.

Here's the Raw Bits Twang Twang recipe for those who are interested: 2 T ground flax seed, 3/4 cup wheat bran, 1/3 cup powdered milk, 1/4 cup chopped dried fruits. Add 1 cup water 10 to 20 minutes before eating. You can add sliced banana too if available. Enjoy! Wheat bran is available in the food bins at Nob Hill and at some fruit stands. John says, "If you eat this for breakfast every day, you will no longer be unique. You'll just be a regular guy or gal!"

No photo gallery for day 10.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day 9 - Lakehead, CA

[Sunday, Lakehead, CA] Slept in until about 7:33a.m. this morning. Well, Linda slept in a bit longer, but she deserves it! John had PB on toast and a banana this morning. Linda had her Raw Bits Twang Twang. Due to the overwhelming curiosity as to what RBTTs consist of, if you stay tuned for our last posting from this road trip, Linda just might be persuaded to give out her special secret recipe.

A note about the first two pictures in today's photo gallery. Our cabin has a cute kitchenette. We think it's a Buddhist kitchenette. The sink and the stove are at one with each other. Does save room. Second picture is of what used to be a gas station next door that also did brake inspections. Gone with the wind.

Linda did something unusual (for her). She took a shower. Linda hates showers but had no choice unless she filled up a wading pool down by the grassy knoll. She decided to use the complimentary shampoo/conditioner which was in an economical reusable packet (let's call it ERP for short). It was impossible for her to open aforementioned ERP at the "tear here" area or anywhere else (thus the ERP aspect). She even tried using her teeth as tools (like she always preached NOT to do to the kids). Then she remembered her Grandmother Angie's method while on a road trip in New Mexico. She said "Here Honey, use this bar of soap. It will work just as good as shampoo". Weird feeling to rub a bar of soap on your head but it did work OK. And my hair is standing on end without even having to use any moose or reindeer or elk (can you tell I'm not sure how to spell mousse?). PS If anyone out there in blogland hates baths you can donate Linda all your foofy bath salts, etc.

We left about 9:00a.m. to go to a restaurant we saw on our "lake tour" yesterday They serve espresso drinks so John was able to get some "real" coffee (4 shots in a large Mocha). He's still vibrating! The couple that owns the restaurant just moved here about six months ago from Watsonville. As we were arriving 2 ladies were peering out the front window in fascination - not at us but at a cluster of birds around 2 feeders (one for hummers, the other for several kinds tiny colorful birds that like millet). The restaurant is very cute. They bought the whole building about 3 years ago and have been revamping it. There is a beauty shop down at the end and some other forgettable (at least we forgot it) business in the middle. The restaurant is decorated with a woodsy decor. That's where we were photographed with the buffalo. There's also a totem pole and a wooden Indian. Linda asked the lady (owner) if she was loving it here and she said that she is but that it was taking her a while to get used to being in such a small town (population about 312).

After leaving there, we decided to go back to Pollard Flat and visit the river. There were two other cars in the parking lot. The path down to the river is really nice. The US Forest Service used railroad ties (and hopefully convict labor) to make stairs down the steepest part, then they poured concrete over the rocks and left it rough to make a solid path the rest of the way down. The other cars in the parking lot were those of three fly fishermen who were all out in the middle of the river (not that deep, we suppose, or perhaps they can walk on water!) flycasting away. There are so many flies (the kind that like to hang around your head and eyes and stay with you even if you are running and waving your arms at them) down by the river that the "fly" fisherman should have caught their limit! Though we never did see them catch any fish. But the one we talked to was optimistic, at least. When Linda asked if he had caught anything he said, "Not yet" (in a cheerful/hopeful way). Maggie enjoyed the walk down and seemed to really like the river. Didn't stay too long, but took some nice photos. We think.

Having decided to "explore" on the way back to Lakehead, we took the Le Moine exit. Le Moine, you know, is French for "Lemon". The exit sign clearly stated "No Services". Perhaps it should have stated "No Services. Not Much of a Road." We wound around and crossed a creek a couple of times. We met a young man in overalls on an ATV with his dog riding on the back. He (the man) was grinning from ear-to-ear. Couldn't tell if the dog was grinning. At any moment we thought we might hear strains of "Dueling Banjos" coming from this place that appears to belong in North Georgia (sorry Jerry) or Tennessee. No, John can't squeal like a pig! Yet, but Linda's working on it. Took some "interesting" photos. One of them was of an old dilapidated couch on the front porch of an even more dilapidated (and unoccupied) house. Why would we take a picture of that, one might ask? Because we had a couch with that exact same fabric (until just a few years ago). And, for some reason, we keep seeing it (strangely neither of our children wanted it when we were ready to release it). It is the exact same fabric as Frazier's father's beloved recliner. Ah, memories!

On the way back out of Le Moine, we found a gravel side road that crossed an old bridge that crossed a creek. Had to cross the bridge and take pictures of it and the creek. Le Moine was photographically worth exploring. Wouldn't particularly want to move there. Like the highway exit sign says: "No Services".

Next exit south was Dog Creek Road. It was a narrow, all gravel road and not too well maintained. You knew you were headed for the creek because it was all downhill. Crossed a couple of old picturesque bridges. The road seemed to be getting more narrow and bumpy and we were getting a little concerned about finding a place to turn around. Met an oncoming pickup truck and negotiated safe passage so we decided there must be a turnaround somewhere ahead. Then we came to a Railroad Crossing Ahead sign so we relaxed a bit. At the bottom of the road just after you crossed the railroad tracks, was an old steel and wood bridge with a sign, "Warning Bridge Under Repair. Load Limit 3 Tons". Linda didn't want to drive across the bridge (even if John got out!). The phrase "under repair" completely spooked her for some reason. So, we found a nice place to park and walked onto the bridge to photograph the bridge, Dog Creek, the railroad crossing and tracks. John walked all the way across the bridge to photograph it. It held up! On the other side he found a sign "2 Miles to Shasta Wilderness". From the location at the bottom of Dog Creek Road you can also take a picture of the old Hwy 99 bridge that crossed the creek. Of course, it's no longer in use. As we were leaving, John stopped at one of the old bridges and was able to photograph the I-5 bridge from underneath as well. Linda's treasure was an old rusty railroad spike. It will find a place in her garden, no doubt. On our way back to a real road we saw a real estate sign offering 3,000 acres of land. John commented that they probably don't mention in their media advertisements that it is mostly vertical. The Two Old Buzzards agreed that they would much rather photograph it than own it.

Next exit south was Lakehead. So we returned to the lodge and had a light lunch in our cozy cabin. John had grapes, cheese, crackers, peanut butter, milk and a Milky Way Midnight he bought last night. Linda had a sandwich with Larrupin' Mustard Dill Sauce on grainy bread with sliced apple, lettuce, jack cheese, smoked provelone and smoked ham. Maggie had a biscuit from Black Bear Diner. Plans are to go to Allyson's Restaurant for dinner this evening. Rumor is that "You can get anything you want at Allyson's Restaurant". It's across I-5 on Lakeshore Drive, just down from where John got his coffee this morning. We will take pictures this evening and include them tomorrow when we let you know how it is. And, if you can really get anything you want...

Link to Day 9 Photo Gallery The gallery will open in its own window. When finished viewing, close that window to return here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day 8 - Medford, OR to Lakehead, CA

[Saturday, Medford, OR to Lakehead, CA] Left our comfortable Quality Inn room near 9:22a.m. after John had his waffle, cereal, coffee, orange juice, milk and a banana. Now prepare yourself for some earthshattering news. Linda did NOT have Raw Bits Twang Twang for breakfast and the world did not come to a crashing halt (yet). She forgot to bring her RB packet to the breakfast room so she made do with a boiled egg, toasted Os and raisin bran with banana and some good news/bad news yogurt. It was peach Yami yogurt (click here to visit Yami Yogurt) with probiotic and live cultures made in the Pacific Northwest from fresh, wholesome Grade A milk that contains no antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones. I swear to you that it was the MOST yummy yogert I have ever tasted. That's the good news. Bad news is that the tiny 4 oz container contained 130 calories. Oh, well, it was yummy Yami!

We mostly just drove the 120 miles or so to Lakehead, CA. Tried to call a friend of ours who lives in Dunsmuir (right on our way). An interesting lady named Angelique who was staying in Morgan Hill for a month or so in the early summer and was a volunteer at the Senior Cafe in the senior center. John had met her in the swimming pool at the Centennial Recreation Center. Linda and Angelique traded phone messages. By the time we got her message we were already in Lakehead. She wasn't going to be available today anyway, so it just didn't work out.

We made a brief stop at Pollard Flat. John had found a restaurant there in his online search for accomodations in the area. It is in conjunction with an Exxon station. Been voted best truck stop in America. The restaurant is called USA Restaurant. You'll see why later. If you ever make your way to the USA Restaurant in Pollard Flat be sure to visit the restroom. You won't forget it!

Our cabin at Lakehead is very comfy. Lakehead Lodge is owned by a young couple. Jim, our host, was very nice and very helpful. He's in the process of repainting and refurbishing the units. Great WiFi! It's very slow around Lakehead now because Lake Shasta is very, very low. More on that later. As you will see in the photo gallery, he is painting the units a very bright yellow. It's really eye catching and looks nice. You can visit their website by clicking here.

After sandwiches and other lunch goodies in our cabin, we went took a ride on Lakeshore Drive which mostly does follow the lake's shoreline. Very depressing. So many boat docks just left high and dry laying on the side of the hole in the ground that used to be the lake. We've been told that the main body of the lake at the Pitt River bridge down by Redding is low, but still commercially viable. If you're interested in investing in a depressed area in this bad economy, Burgies Restaurant on Lakeshore Drive here in Lakehead is for sale. Nice looking place. Been closed for about six months. Asking price is $349,000. Bet you can get a better deal!

Went back to our room. Worked on the travelogue (as opposed to Kellog's "travel log"). John took a nap from 4:00p.m. until just after 5:00p.m. Linda and Maggie went down to a nice grassy area at the lodge. Linda dozed off in a high-backed Adirondack chair while reading Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg. All this relaxing has just worn us both out. Life is good! Retired life is better!!

Left for dinner about 5:15p.m. When we had stopped in Pollard Flat earlier to check out the restaurant, we noticed a River Access sign. We went back and explored that before going to the USA Restaurant for dinner. The road down to the river access parking area is steep and has lots of switchbacks. But, the parking area is nice and there are steps and a long trail leading down to the river. Light was poor for photographing, we we decided we'll go back when the sun is higher in the sky (the river's sort of in a canyon) so we can take some pictures.

Back to the USA Restaurant. It's chock full of antiques and memorabilia. Lots of cute signs. Our first clue came when our waitress, we'll call her "Grandma" noticed that the Glen Beck show had just started on Fox News. She said, "Oh, good, I really like him!" (Actually, so does John). Glen's talking about how the citizens need to take back the country and Grandma is feedin' the fire with her grandhildren, who happen to be in the restaurant with her. Then, she takes off doing a little denigration of President Obama for the benefit of, you guessed it, her grandchildren, who according to all appearances seem to be at least 1/2 African American. John did notice the NRA sticker on one of the cabinets and he purchased a copy of "The Citizen's Handbook" (on display at EVERY table) for $1.75 before we left. In addition to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, it has, among much more, a complete section on Juror's Rights. Guess who has a jury summons for November 2nd.

The food was good. Linda had split pea soup (she said as good a Split Pea Anderson's) and grapefruit juice. John had a cup of split pea soup and, at long last, a hamburger steak with grilled onions, mashed potatoes and gravy! These folks were very nice and hospitable (if you weren't from the government), but there was some interesting indoctrination of the children going on there. Will Pollard Flat be the home of the next Timothy McVey?

John's chocolate bug raised it's head and we went by a market on the way back to Lakehead Lodge to get some kind of dark chocolate candy bar. Maybe it was a dark Snickers. And, maybe there was a Milky Way Midnight in the bag as well. Wait, what's this White Reese's doing here?

Sweet, sweet dreams!

Link to Day 8 Photo Gallery The gallery will open in its own window. When finished viewing, close that window to return here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 7 - Arcata, CA to Medford, OR

[Friday, Arcata, CA to Medford, OR] Left our comfortable Comfort Inn room near 9:27a.m. after John had his waffle, cereal, coffee, orange juice, milk and a banana. Linda had Raw Bits Twang Twang.

Don't mean to backpeddle, but we did receive a prompt comment from Kevin Hoover, editor and publisher of the Arcata Eye. We have published his comment on the blog. He was sorry to have missed Linda's visit. And, the two old buzzards wish to retract their statement that the Arcata Eye's credo is "The moderately objectionable weekly newspaper", and are pleased to correct it to "The mildly objectionable weekly newspaper". Be sure to visit this newpaper's website by clicking here.

Out on Hwy 1 can you say "FOGGY"? We capitalize it because it was really foggy. You saw our escapades with the winding, narrow roads before. Call this the same.

We finally went above the clouds when we got near Crescent City. John got one photograph of some clouds, sitting on the ocean below us, but only a short distance out from the coatline. Then you could see the ocean. It's an interesting view. And, John was able to take a picture of Crescent City from the same vantage point.

Didn't know if we'd have enough gas to get to Oregon (where gas is less expensive) so John bought 3.5 gallons in Crescent City before getting back on the trail.

Along the way we went through the Jedediah Smith National Forest. Very pretty. More redwoods. Their information center was closed, but the restrooms were open and they had some nice picnic tables. That spelled lunchtime for the Tarvins.

After lunch and back on the road, the highway kept following and crossing the Middle Fork of the Smith River. Finally, we rushed upon a sign that said "River Access". John went pretty hard on the brakes but assured Linda he had checked in the rearview mirror to make sure it would be safe. We drove down to the river and found one camper at the access point. Got our cameras and strolled down the foot path to the river where we found two ladies sun bathing by the river side. Yes, they were in bathing suits. We took pictures of the river there (not the sun bathers) and the water was just crystal clear. Later we joked that we should have started taking their pictures and yelled "paparazzi".

One odd thing that happened right after we entered Oregon was that we came upon road work so extensive that they had installed stop lights at either end to control the traffic flow. Fortunately, for us, our light turned green pretty shortly after we got to it.

A second thing is that there seem to be Dairy Queens only in Oregon and Washington. Haven't seen one in California. We like to get a "brown derby" which is what their double dipped soft serve cones used to be called 50 years or so ago. This was the first time we had tried one with chocolate soft-serve instead of vanilla on the inside. John decided he prefers vanilla. Linda sees no downside to chocolate covered chocolate.

And, a third thing is that we filled up our gas tank. Gas was $3.33 in Crescent City and $2.78 in Oregon. And, in Oregon they pump it AND clean your windshield. Almost reason enough to move there.

The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful. Checked into the Quality Inn in Medford around 3:00p.m. It was laundry time and, lucky us, the Quality Inn has a laundry room for guests. It's $0.75 per load and for the dryer, and it's really handy and nice. And, the laundry soap was free (because Linda stole it).

After laundering, we went to the local Black Bear Diner for dinner. John had his usual Black Bear fare, the Hungry Bear Breakfast with Chicken Fried Steak & gravy, eggs, hash browns and biscuits. Linda had grilled salmon and mixed veggies. When John was Googling the restaurant to get the address, he noticed it had about 15 reviews but only averaged two stars. We are very happy to report that the service and food were quite good and that neither one of us saw any rats in the restrooms. But then, neither of us went to the restroom. Why risk spoiling a perfectly nice evening?

Back to the room, work on the travelogue and then a good night's rest. See you tomorrow.

Link to Day 7 Photo Gallery The gallery will open in its own window. When finished viewing, close that window to return here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 6 - Arcata, CA

[Thursday, Arcata] The Comfort Inn in Arcata offers a nice complimentary breakfast. Cereal, fruit, malted waffles, bagels, orange juice, coffee, pastries, etc. etc. The waffles you cook yourself and they are very fluffy and tasty. The management puts out the batter in Styrofoam(tm) cups in just the right amount so you don't overflow onto the counter. Linda had Raw Bits Twang Twang.

Although gold prompted Arcata's settlement, it was the area's timber resources which sustained its development. Situated on the hillside overlooking Arcata, Humboldt State University (founded in 1913) is one of the oldest colleges in the California State University system. Arcata is home to the first community owned forest in the United States. They also established the first rural recycling center. And, Arcata is home to the oldest continuously operating movie theater in the US and hosts the country's oldest collegiate summer baseball team (the Humboldt Crabs).

Somewhere around 10:03a.m. we left our digs to go downtown. First project for the day was to take Linda to place a letterbox at, or near, the Arcata Eye, a moderately objectionable weekly newspaper (their motto). Our son discovered it when he was attending Humboldt State and, knowing how kinky his mom is, gave Linda a subscription. One of the more humorous parts of the paper is the local police report (view them online by clicking here.). Being a weekly paper, Linda found their offices closed. Thursday must be a slow news day. Now, Arcata is one of the few towns in America that still has a town square. Arcata's town square is a very nice park. On the corner of the square across the street from the Jacoby building (home to the Arcata Eye) is a memorial plaque about the Jacoby Building (built in the 1850s during the Gold Rush). In the photos for today you will see the plaque and a fancy elevator door if they make the cut. I was able to find a great place to stash the letterbox (whose theme is The Arcata Eye). The Plaza has a large statue of William McKinley which dates back to 1906.

After that, we found the Jiggly Bean Coffee Shop across the street from another corner of the town square. John got his Mocha fix for the day and Linda had a Tea N Tea.

Linda had come across a brochure about Arcata which listed a couple of dozen buildings of architectural significance (to someone). All were pretty old as most were originally designed and built in the 1800s. Some had been resotred. And some of the stories about the owners and occupants were pretty interesting. One building was even a sanitarium. Linda wanted to leave John there. There are several pictures of some of the beautiful, but old, structures in today's gallery.

Jay had tipped us off to a cafe in Arcata (and Eureka) called Los Bagels. Yes, bagels are their specialty. He had made recommendations. Linda had a vegetarian bagel with hummus on a jalapeno bagel. John had an onion bagel with cream cheese, salmon and capers. Both were delicious. Jay had also asked us to pick up some special sauce from there.... Larrupin' Mustard Dill sauce. He'll be happy to know that two jars of said sauce will be in Morgan Hill awaiting his next visit. Unless, of course, we run out of the jar we bought for ourselves. Then all bets are off!

We went back to the comfort of our Comfort Inn and rested a couple of hours before heading for Trinidad Beach, about 11 miles north of Arcata at the little town of Trinidad. We heard that the ocean view there was very nice for photographers. We were also considering the possibility of dinner in Trinidad.

Arriving in Trinidad about 5:00p.m. we found lots of fog. It actually made for some interesting shots at the coast, even before sunset. There was a bright horizontal band of light between the ocean and the fog (low clouds). We drove around and decided that the beach close to the wharf (and a seafood restaurant) was very picturesque for our needs. Since we had loads of time before sunset, we thought we'd check out the menu at the seafood restaurant. John had sticker shock. Average price for a seafood entre was about $25.00. We both agreed that we could go back to our motel after shooting the sunset and make sandwiches. We'd save the $60-$70 (including drinks and tip) to spend on an extra day on our next road trip!

Photographing at that beach was nice, though it was a bit windy and cold. A couple of surfers showed up and John took some shots of them, though they didn't get up on, or stay up on, their boards for very long. Can you say splash? Just about the time the sun was going down, John was clicking away with HDR shots. And, along came what must have been the sun worshippers. One was standing on the beach (but not in John's line of fire, so to speak) waving her palm frond and chanting her mantra. Another strolled out to the edge of the water (in John's line of fire). He tried a couple of shots with her in it, and then repositioned the camera to exclude her. He hasn't processed those pictures yet, so we don't know how they will be. When they are done, we'll put them in a photo gallery if they are worthy.

Once the sun had gone down, it was back to the Comfort Inn and our sandwich dinner. Tomorrow will be a rather "ho hum" day (unless we drive off a cliff) getting to Medford, OR where we will do laundry and have dinner at the Black Bear restaurant (yep, they have one here!!).

That's all for now. Lights out!

Link to Day 6 Photo Gallery The gallery will open in its own window. When finished viewing, close that window to return here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day 5 - Ft. Bragg to Arcata

[Wednesday, Ft. Bragg, CA] Time to get up and move on to Arcata! Alarm goes off at 6:30a.m. John was going to cook eggs to have with the leftover Linguica. Not wanting to have to wash more dishes, he opted for nuking the Linguica in the nice, big microwave (Whirlpool) and having it with a piece of toast and some coffee. Linda had her usual...Raw Bits, Twang, Twang.

Just a small correction to the photo gallery from yesterday. Houston, we had a communications problem. Some of the flower photos got labeled with the wrong name. For those who care, where it says azaleas it should say dahlias.

Somewhere around 7:47a.m., we hit the road. But, not before Linda took a photo of the cute doggie curtains in our doggie cottage. First stop, shoot a picture of the Botanical Gardens sign. Second stop, get gas (Oh, yes, only $2.89 per gallon!). Third stop, local espresso stand. The third stop was a disappointment. six cars lined up. Not moving very much. After an impatient five minute wait of just sitting there, John (Type A) pulled out of line and we headed for the Starbucks drive through which was on our way out of town. That didn't take very long at all. Linda (Type B) was daintily sipping her large cup of mocha (coffee plus choco milk mix) from the large pot of complimentary (my, you're looking especially fetching today) she had brewed in the room before leaving.

As we were driving north on Hwy 1, the ocean was, naturally, on our left. And, so were the pull offs and "vista points". The road was pretty winding at this point, but fearless John continually crossed the oncoming lane to get to the views. There are some nice shots of the coast in today's photo gallery. The view of the coast through the Pampas grass was taken at a place with a very picturesque name, "Blue Slide Gulch". The last 22 miles on Hwy 1 before you reach Hwy 101 is very, very winding and very hilly. John even included a shot of our GPS that shows just how winding the road is.

Aside from our goal of reaching Arcata, we had two objectives in mind. First, find the Humboldt Redwood State Park visitor center to see the Charles Kellog "Travel Log". Second, to visit the show room of the C. Crane Company in Fortuna, CA.

Oh, by the way, when Hwy 1 hits Hwy 101, Hwy 101 is also a two lane highway. We stayed on Hwy 101 until we reached the turn off for the Avenue of the Giants. This is a 32 mile road that parallels Hwy 101 and takes you through small communities and through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The first little burg was Phillipsville. The Avenue of the Giants mostly runs along the Eel River. There were beautiful groves of huge redwoods and lots of woodland plants, especially ferns. Some nice pictures in today's photo gallery. The visitor center we were looking for was at the north end of the park. John went in and asked where we could find "Chuck's RV", meaning Charles Kellogg's "Travel Log". The poor park employee's face sort of glazed over. Then John explained. She said, "I've never heard it called that before." John said, "You've never met me before!"

Charles Kellogg actually lived a lot of his life in Morgan Hill. Kellogg would tour with his Vaudeville bird singing show (this was around the 1920s, long before American Idol) for 3 or 4 months and spend the rest of the year in good ole Morgan Hill. He sold World War 1 Liberty Bonds until peacetime and after that he promoted the preservation of the great groves of California redwoods. He was a friend of John Muir and other naturalists. Kim Moreno, who grew up in Morgan Hill is working on a musical about Kellogg. It's named after the unique home he built in Morgan Hill, something along the lines of Ever Ever After. You can hear Charles's bird calls and learn more about him by visiting this link.. His bird songs were recorded by the Victor Talking Machine Company. You can also go to this link for a description of the world's oldest RV, the "travel log" and Charles Kellogg's unique talents.

After leaving the park, we headed north toward Arcata. Fortuna was our next stop and it's right on Hwy 101. We got there shortly before 12:56p.m. and stopped at the Redwood Cafe for lunch. Linda had a Fiesta (not fiesty) Chicken salad and John had the Chef's salad. Both were very good.

Following lunch, we made our way to the C. Crane Company (CCC from now on) showroom. CCC sells what could be described as high-tech applicances. Things like radios, flashlight (LED, of course), LED Lamps and light bulbs, and a world of other cool stuff. Many years ago John bought their CCRadio+ and it has performed very well. He even bought the solar power panel that will run the radio. You can learn more about them by clicking here. John had been waiting for this trip to see if a couple of gift ideas he had for Linda's birthday (back in September) would be to her liking. They were. One thing we found was that the staff there really knows their products and was able to demonstrate them very effectively.

Purchases made, we got back on the road and made it to the Comfort Inn in Arcata just before 3:11p.m. Checked in and found a very nice room with excellent WiFi. Don't know if the TV works. We don't turn TV's on when we're on a road trip. Nor to we listen to the car radio.

Since we had a nice big lunch, we decided to go by Ray's Market and get some seedless red grapes to have with our smoked provolone and asiago cheese, peanut butter and crackers. The grapes were $2.92/lb. but they are soooo sweet.

Tomorrow we look for a place for Linda to put a letterbox. We may, or may not, do a sunset shot tomorrow. The good news is, if we do, we know better what time we need to get there! Good night for now. Sweet dreams from Arcata, CA.

Link to Day 5 Photo Gallery The gallery will open in its own window. When finished viewing, close that window to return here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 4 - Ft. Bragg, CA

[Tuesday, Ft. Bragg, CA] After a nice dinner and a good night's rest, we awoke to a chilly morning about 6:33a.m. No alarm had been set. After John showered he started cooking breakfast. He cooked both Linguica sausages this morning and put half of it back in the fridge for tomorrow's breakfast. No point in cleaning the skillet twice! He scrambled an egg for Maggie and an egg for Linda and then fried up some over-medium eggs for himself, along with a couple of pieces of toast. Linda had gotten the coffeepot ready to be plugged in the night before. So, we had a nice, home cooked breakfast. It's good and it saves money for other things. Maggie had an egg and a bitty-bite of Linguica and Linda had some egg and her usual Raw Bits Twang Twang.

Then it was off to Glass Beach, a unique site, created partly by man and partly by nature. Originally the glass, now found tumbled smooth, was discarded as broken dinnerware, bottles (this was before plastic bottles) and other household items, were tossed over a concrete bulkhead into the ocean. This was before people knew that it was not good for the ecology. To local residents, it was just the city dump. The dump site closed around 30 years ago and over the years the many items that had been thrown to the rocks below became thrashed by the ocean and tumbled into sparkling treasures. The site became a state park in 2004 and cleanup efforts took place to remove any hazardous objects. The photo gallery for today shows Linda holding three pieces she found. Note: She did NOT take them off of the beach (wink!). It was a nice walk from the parking area and back, probably 3/4 mile. There were hundreds of blackberry bushes lining the walk to the beach and thousands of blackberries in various stages of ripening. Linda enjoyed a few of them but John (too seedy) and Maggie (too something else?) did not partake.

After Glass Beach we went back to the cottage, worked on the travelogue a bit and had lunch. Very relaxing.

Early in the afternoon we took off for the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden which was practically across from Shoreline Cottage. The Garden was founded in 1961 by a retired nurseryman who purchased the 47 acre property after a year of searching for the ideal location. He and his wife then began the arduous task of clearing, planting and trail building. Some retirement! I like the Buzzardbait plan much better! By 1992 the land was purchased with grants from the California Coastal Conservancy for use as a public botanical garden. It is supported by admissions and the dedicated labors of more than 100 volunteers. John and Linda got in for the Senior Rate and Maggie got in free, in fact she was paid in treats to enter. There are more than 20 sizeable collections of plants, such as, camelias, grasses, ivies, heathers, heritage roses, iris and rhododendron. The features in early October are dahlias (the most I've ever seen in one place) and fuchias. There is also abundant wildlife such as deer, squirrels, racoons, river otters, skunks, rabbits, foxes and more than 80 species of birds. There is also a pioneer gravesite, a vegetable garden and a model train area. If you walk far enough on the trails you get to some beautiful views of the ocean. Linda left Maggie and John panting on a bench and went far enough out on the path to see the ocean and get a few photos. When she returned (with water) they were revived and ready to hike back to the entrance.

By the time John got through the Botanical Garden trek, having already walked at Glass Beach, he was ready to kick off his shoes and relax. We went back to the cottage and did some more travelogue work. Linda checked out the hidden access beach area after getting direction clues from our Shoreline hosts. It was sandy beach on an inlet where there were only a few people around. Linda took some photos on the shaded path to the little known access point. She also picked up a few interesting looking rocks - mostly gray and white.

A little after 6:13p.m., we went to Perko's Coffee Shop for dinner. Linda had chicken tortilla soup and John (who had Linguica that morning) got the Linguica skillet (scrambled eggs with Linguica, cottage fries, bell peppers and onions under melted cheddar cheese...and biscuits and gravy). John's theory is that you just can't eat too much Linguica. Linda's theory is that any Linguica is too much Linguica and was thankful the room had a good ventilation system for while John was frying it up. We both enjoyed our meals.

We truly enjoyed our stay at Shoreline Cottages and would heartily recommend them to any of our friends and family. You can find more about them at Shoreline Cottages

Time to rest and get our energy for our drive to Arcata tomorrow. We'll be going through the Humboldt Redwood State Park (Avenue of the Giants). We especially want to see Charles Kellog's "Travel Log", a redwood carved out to be an "RV" on a Nash Quad chassis. Charles, aka "The Bird Singer" lived in Morgan Hill except when he was travelling in his "Travel Log". We'll also be making a stop at the C. Crane Company in Fortuna. More on these in tomorrows posting. Until then....good night!

Link to Day 4 Photo Gallery The gallery will open in its own window. When finished viewing, close that window to return here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day 3 - Petaluma to Ft. Bragg

[Monday, Petaluma, CA] Alarm went off at 6:30a.m. John enjoyed another meager, but free, breakfast at the Best Value Inn of America and Linda had her Raw Bits Twang Twang (from home) as usual. we hit the road somewhere near 7:58a.m. As we were loading Wilma, John noticed that about a dozen emergency vehicles with red lights and sirens going went by headed north on 101... the same way we were to go. Also, traffic was at a crawl. We knew from looking on Wilma's GPS map that we could take a back road and hit 101 at the town of Cotati, about five miles north of Petaluma. Wilma's navigation system complained for a mile or so, wanting us to make a U-turn and get right on 101 in Petaluma. Afer a while, she recalculated the route and gave us directions to hit 101 at Cotati. Which we did. No slow traffic. It was nice except for our uninvited hitchhiker (yes, it was a fly from Petaluma).

It's about 140 miles from Petaluma to Ft. Bragg using the route we were taking which was north on 101 to Cloverdale and then west on 128 to Hwy 1 and Ft. Bragg. Wilma thought we should take a different route, so she complained for a while when we got on 128 at Cloverdale, but she finally figured it out and recalculated the route. Sometimes women (AND occasionally men) just need to be ignored!

Hwy 128 from Cloverdale to the coast is mostly mountainous. Winding roads, little turnouts to let others pass, uphill and downhill and lots of shade from the big redwoods as you'll see in today's photo gallery. We stopped a lot along the way to take pictures of old farm buildings and any other interesting things saw. By the time we reached Boonville, CA John's urge for real coffee (large Mocha with extra shot) rather than motel coffee, not to mention all three of our needs to "rest", led us to make a pit stop. We stopped at Mosswood Market, right on the main drag in Boonville. It's a cute place that is a cafe and bakery. Linda got some decaff and some rosemary/lavendar lip balm. John got his Mocha and a yummy cinnamon roll which he shared a bite of with Linda and Maggie Mae. Linda took a photo of some artwork hanging in the shop. It was called The Hat. Back on the road.

After a while we found we were following the Navarro River on its way to the Pacific. It enters the Pacific just south of Albion, CA. It's pretty wide there. John stopped and took photos of the river entering the ocean and also up river from the ocean. These are in today's gallery as well.
We drove through Albion, Little River, Mendocino and finally to Shoreline Cottages in Ft. Bragg just at lunch time. This place is great. We're in cottage #3 which is "The Dog Cottage". The interior decorating theme is all doggy stuff. It's really cute. Not huge, but has a queen size bed and a kitchenette with full size fridge, nice stove, cookware and dinnerware. Also, a nice microwave and toaster. When we checked in, we asked about good restaurants. John was hankering for a ground sirloin steak with grilled onions. The proprietor gave us a list of their favorite restaurants in Ft. Bragg and Mendocino. They said the Ft. Bragg Steakhouse was good. After we made and ate sandwiches in our room, we went exploring.

Drove past the Ft. Bragg Steakhouse and it appeared to be "For Lease". Bummer! We found a good location to try to photograph the sunset using HDR (high dynamic range) imaging. We also went by the Chamber of Commerce and got lots of recommendations of other things to see in the area. They also said the Ft. Bragg Steakhouse was a good place for dinner. Hmmmmm?

Went back to our room and worked on the travelogue a bit and rested up to leave at 4:15p.m. to go the photo shooting site. After all, the sunrise/sunset chart John downloaded for Arcata, CA for October 5, 2009 said the sun would set at 5:36p.m. Didn't happen. Bad data. We both had to hide behind the car to "rest" while we were waiting. John actually started shooting images sometime after 6:00p.m. HDR requires you to have a set of 3 or more of the same image with different exposure values. John decided to have a set of 6 for each image. Some special computer software aligns the 6 images and combines information from each to produce a result that has a much larger tonal range than can be captured with one image from a digital camera. John took 26 sets of 6 images for a total of 156 images. One HDR image of the sunset will be included at the end of today's photo gallery. It's good that Linda can teach him how to do all that technical stuff. If you want to learn more about HDR, there's a "short" treatise at the end of today's travelogue. The sun began to disappear into the ocean at pretty close to 6:57. Then it dropped like a rock in a matter of seconds as John had been predicting for approximately 2 hours.

The photographers were now really hungry after their grueling sunset photoshoot. Deciding to give it one last try, Linda looked up the actual address of the Ft. Bragg Steakhouse and we drove Wilma there again. Turns out, the building "For Lease" is the building next door. We are happy to report that the Ft. Bragg Steakhouse is alive and well. Linda had coconut shrimp in sort of a mustardy curry sauce and a glass of "It's Not My Fault" red wine. Apparently Sally at Pacific Star Winery has just discovered a fault on her property, thus the name for one of her reds. John had a petite 5oz. Filet Mignon Steak with baked potato and salad. The Filet had a demi-glaze sauce, shitake (John has made a #$%*load of jokes about these through the years) mushrooms, and bleu cheese sauce on top. It was delicious. Upon our arrival they brought out freshly-baked whole wheat bread. Our waitress, Mary, was very friendly. She has lived in Fort Bragg her whole life. The Pacific Star Winery owner, Sally, is a schoolhood chum of hers.

We went by Safeway on our way back to the cottage to get some Linguica and eggs for breakfast. Since we've got a kitchen, John said we might as well save some money and that he would cook breakfast.

Got home. Had a snack. Worked on the travelogue, then nighty-night.

Tomorrow we'll be going to Glass Beach and to the Botanical Gardens.

Link to Day 3 Photo Gallery The gallery will open in its own window. When finished viewing, close that window to return here.

More About HDR: A normal digital camera shot can only capture an exposure range of 5 or 6 f/stops, or 5 or 6 exposure values. Your eyes can see a range of about 13 f/stops. Much more dynamic range than the digital camera. The concept behind High Dynamic Range photography is to expand that 5 or 6 f/stop range. John usually shoots 3 HDR images. One at normal exposure (0ev) one image at -2ev (darker) and one at -4ev (darker yet). This time, because the sun was going down and it was, in fact getting dark, he decided to shoot six images +3ev (way overexposed), +1ev (overexposed a bit) 0ev, -1ev, -2ev and -4ev. These must be shot using a tripod (John weights his tripod with his camera bag for stability) and preferably, a remote shutter release. The images must all be shot at the same lens opening. The exposure values change by the camera chaning it's shutter speed. John uses Photomatix Pro to process the images. That software aligns the six images and by pixel, selects pixels from each image to give you the widest range of luminance values. Once you have that, you process it further to get the tonality just like you want it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day 2 - Petaluma, CA

[Sunday, Petaluma, CA] Actually, this day wasn't very busy. But, it was relaxing and very, very enjoyable.

We had breakfast at the motel. It wasn't much (cereal, orange juice, coffee, Svenhard's pastries and lots of flies), but the price was right. John caught a fly in a Styrofoam(tm) cup, flipped it upside down and left it on the table. Can you say "Surprise?"

Picked Jay up at about 10:00a.m. sharp and off we went to what John calls the "Yacht Club". It's actually Schollenberger Park, a large wetlands area in Petaluma near the Petaluma River. Jay had hidden a letterbox there. Linda and Jay hiked out so Linda could post a "find" for the letterbox. Maggie and John waited with Wilma enjoying the windows being down and the cool of the morning. Much less wind. When they returned, they had the letterbox with them. Too many people who might have seen them stash it again. That's how letterboxes disappear, you know. The Rowing Club was having a race and there were lots of spectators and hikers and bikers about. The stamp was of a blackbird flying over a marshy area complete with cattails. Jay is an excellent stamp carver and had received lots of compliments in the logbook. He will place the letterbox in its proper spot in the morning on his way to work. To learn more about letterboxing you can go to or just google letterboxing.

Back to Jay's for the duration. We had sandwiches for lunch and then Jay started making his Pumpkin Porter (not Pilsner). He mixed and cooked and measured and cooled and finally added the yeast and put the lid on it. About a 5 hour process. This was all done outside on a day that could not have been more pleasant to be outside. Linda got to put in the pumpkin during 2 separate parts of the operation. Other ingredients were water, hops, barley, yeast, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. She documented the steps with pictures which will appear in today's photo gallery. It was so much fun to get to spend some time in Jay's house. It is a wonderful reflection of his fun and intellectual personality.

During most of the day, Jay was streaming FarmAid from the internet. Speaking of internet, at the motel last night John couldn't access their WiFi from his laptop. This has happened once before on the Washington Trip. He was suspecting that his six year old laptop's WiFi card didn't have 2.11g capability. So, John lugged his laptop over to Jay's to hook up via cable to his internet connection. Jay had a 2.11g WiFi PCMCIA card that John was able to plug into his laptop and install. Question is, will it work?

While waiting for the brew to cool before the yeast got added, Linda and Maggie took a walk. Linda was able to find a Petaluma newspaper and on the way back to Baker street had a tour of a pottery studio. She exited with a nice handmade wall vase in her favorite colors with roses on it.
After brewing his beer, Jay fired up the grill and prepared a really delicious tri-tip and some grilled vegetables and grilled bread for supper. He did a superb job on the tri-tip. It was really tender and moist. Another yummy day!

Left Jay's around 7:02p.m. to go back to the motel. Stopped at Safeway for milk, buttermilk, cookies, cheeses and a fly swatter (you remember the fly issue). No fly swatters. Sold out. The full moon was just rising. It is so beautiful. At one point it looked so much like a Halloween moon with slivers of black clouds in front of parts of it.

We're back at the motel and John says he's going to have milk and Cote d'Or chocolate (in moderation) momentarily. He did turn on his laptop and sure enough, was able to connect to the motel's WiFi with the card that Jay loaned him. Life in the geek world is, once again, good! Linda, not tired of smelling pumpkin all afternoon, brewed up a cup of Stash Pumpkin Spice dekaf tea and had a some (OK, most) of her Violet Crumble from yesterday's candy store visit. Linda had been happy to see that she logged 7109 steps today. Besides the calories weren't listed on the package in "American" English so she just kept munching.

Good night for now. Tomorrow we're off for Ft. Bragg. There will be more photos of that day...we promise.

Link to Day 2 Photo Gallery The gallery will open in its own window. When finished viewing, close that window to return here.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 1 - Morgan Hill to Petaluma

[Saturday, Morgan Hill, CA] We left home at aproximately 6:59a.m. First stop was at Safeway for gas. Second stop was at the Daily Bagel Cafe for breakfast. Linda had a marinara bagle and John had a one with everything. Third stope was the restroom at the Daily Bagel Cafe. Then, on the road for the 140 / 150 mile trek to Petaluma to visit our son, Jay. We say 140 / 150 mile trek, because John took us on a side trip to San Francisco over the Bay Bridge. He claims this occurred because Wilma (our Honda Odyssey and her GPS) didn't warn him far enough in advance to exit right. He couldn't cross two lanes of traffic in time without cutting off cars in those lanes causing those drivers to yell things at him like he yells at drivers who cut him off. (Not things for delicate ears!).

Thus, the ten mile, $4.00 side trip to San Francisco. Linda took the opportunity to shoot some photos through the windshield and passenger window of the bridge and downtown San Francisco. We're happy to report that the Bay Bridge "bypass" on the east side of Yerba Buena Island is up and functioning quite well.

The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful (a good thing in traffic). We found our motel, the Petaluma Valley Inn, an America's Best Value Inn, and requested a downstairs room. It was only about 10:30a.m., so too early to check in. We then journeyed over to Jay's house. He lives on Baker St., just like Sherlock Holmes. The origin of Petaluma's name is a Coastal Miwok phrase for "valley of the little hills". Sunset Magazine recently called Petaluma "The Perfect Small Town". labeled it "The Best Small Town in America". Jay lives in the Historic Downtown District where there are lots of interesting Victorian Homes. After taking Maggie for a nice walk, we went to lunch at Lombardi's BBQ and Deli. John had a great tri-tip sandwich with horseradish cheese. Linda had a salmon sandwich. All was yummy!

We drove the back way to Santa Rosa through Penngrove and Cotati because Hwy 101 north was jammed. Why go to Santa Rosa, you ask? To visit the Charles Shultz Museum, of course. It is a very interesting and informative place. Sadly, you can only take pictures in the lobbies and outside, not in the galleries. John was sitting on a bench in one of the lobbies when the author of a book entitled "William Mauldin" started a book signing next to where John was sitting. An elderly gentleman approached and started reminiscing with the author. This gentlemen served from 1940 to 1945 in WWII and spend nearly twenty years in the army and seventeen in the air force. He was originally from Oklahoma and was delightful to listen to. The photo below is a few of 3,588 tiles that make up a mural of Charlie Brown and Lucy at one end of one of the lobbies. The mural in its entirety can be seen in today's photo gallery. A link to the gallery is at the end of today's travelogue.

After visiting the museum, Jay and Linda wanted to go find a letterbox at the Charles Schultz Ice Arena (across the street from the museum). So we drove over there and John waited in Wilma while those two searched for, and found, the letterbox. They also made it onto the webcam outside the ice arena where you would have seen both of them had you been watching at about 3:37pm PST on Charles Schultz had famous skaters carve their name in cement. We saw Dorothy Hamil's name and Scott Hamilton's name and others too numerous to mention here.

Next we checked in at the motel and then dropped back by Jay's house to pick up Maggie. Wow, was she glad to see us! Then we drove around the countryside looking for old ramshackle farm buildings for John to photograph. We went by some buildings where Petaluma Poultry (that's who Jay works for) raises organic chickens. Then, more letterboxing at a cemetery at a country church. This was a grave matter. Linda didn't have to follow the clues because Jay had already been there and knew right where to dig (so to speak). Linda couldn't resist taking a photo of one of the Baker children's headstones. Under her name it said "Professional Shopper". As we headed back to Petaluma, the wind was really picking up as promised on the weather report. We drove by the Petaluma Poultry processing plant (yes, that's where they give it up for your dining enjoyment) and then by the administration offices where Jay works.

We parked in downtown Petaluma and walked a block to the Theater District. Maggie waited with Wilma. We had a nice Mexican dinner at Tres Hombres. The food and service were very good. The only negative was the darling child across the restaurant who kept screaming high pitched screams. Her parents never quietened her or put her in the naughty nina's corner. After dinner we stopped by a sweet shoppe in the Theater District and enjoyed looking at their offerings. They have some of the old candies like Chuckles, Violet Crumbles (made in Australia), Teabury gum, Cowboy brand candy cigarettes and tons more. Linda bought a nice bar of Cote d'Or dark choclate with orange. This is the same brand of Belgian choclate that John binged on in Brussels to the point that his eyes swelled shut!

Jay was dropped off at his house and we proceeded to our motel room.

About our room. Nice, clean and comfortable. However, let me mention something we've noticed about Petaluma. Lots of flies. Imagine a dead body in your motel room for two days. Imagine all of the flies it has attracted. Now, remove the body and leave the flies. It's almost like that. Linda has been on a murdering streak this morning and has really reduced the fly population. Yeah, Linda!! She sacrificed the outside cover to one of her favorite magazines - Nutrition Action - it's covered in flat fly remains now.

Well, time for bed. Need to be at Jay's at 10:00a.m. tomorrow. Another busy, but wonderful day!

Link to Day 1 Photo Gallery The gallery will open in its own window. When finished viewing, close that window to return here.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Norcal Road Trip About to Kick Off

Well, Wilma (our Honda Odyssey) has had her tires rotated, an oil change and lube, a nice bath and is partially loaded for Saturday morning's start of our Norcal adventure. Maggie Mae, our Mini-Schnauzer travelling companion had her "beauty appointment" today, so she's trimmed and ready to go. John is begging Linda to give him one more haircut for the road before they leave.

Unlike our last travelogue, we plan on using this blog for our daily accounting of the road trip. We might have one or two pix in the daily blog. However, the photo gallery for the day will have a link from within that day's blog entry.

Today we have finished updating our Friends and Family distribution list and have sent an email with our blog link included. Hopefully, if you are on the Fand F list, you had no difficulties finding the blog.

We've a few more things to do to finalize preparations. Our first stop will be to visit our son, Jay, in Petaluma on our way to the coast. We've not yet seen his new residence, nor his place of work. So, we're excited about that. And, Jay, a home brew beer enthusiast, has enlisted us to help him cook up a batch of something like Pumpkin Pilsner (that's not it exactly, but it is something close and it does have the word "pumpkin" in the name)! We'll be there two days then off again! Stay tuned and see you later.  ~ John & Linda