Saturday, November 02, 2013

Honeymoon - Newport, OR - Day 5

Last day of our honeymoon. We both woke up very early and noticed that it was raining. Apparently Bozo had been up for a little while and couldn't get back to sleep. Then we opened the sliding glass door to hear the rain and the waves and she was out! lol How are we ever going to sleep at home again??

Up around 9am for breakfast, which wasn't too bad for a larger hotel. They had square egg patties that Bozo made into a little sandwich. The rest was the usual bread, cereal, yogurt, and oatmeal fare with a waffle maker to boot.

During our breakfast we also saw the news about the LAX shooting. We had seen bits and pieces here and there but chose not to listen further until today. We just didn't want to disturb our minds with the information. Our flight today was not impacted and it seems like only flights from home that may connect with LA are impacted. So, we were on schedule. Until there was a mechanical issue and we needed to change planes. But it was only about half an hour delay so that was okay.

Our drive from Newport to the Portland Airport was beautiful. It alternated from sunny to foggy to rainy and back again. We were going through forest much of the time and took a bit longer route through Salem to avoid getting on I-5 quite as quickly. We stopped at a Country Pride restaurant at a truck stop and had a good fried lunch. The server was awesome! Apparently we looked like we were in a hurry so she rushed us along. We weren't in as much of a hurry as we apparently looked. But it was good to have fast service! When we got off at the last exit before the airport for gas, it was raining and started to hail just slightly. I yelled, "NOOOO! We have to get under the gas station cover!" We hadn't gotten any extra insurance for the rental car. lol The last thing we needed was hail in our last 10 minutes with the car! No worries. The hail ended quickly.

No trouble returning the car and the shuttle from Alamo Car Rentals to the Portland International Airport departures was about half the time as it was to get to the car rental. That was a nice surprise! We had planned for at least 20 minutes since that's what it took to get there.

Nothing much different at the airport except TSA had black bands on their badges. There may have been more security but it wasn't overwhelming and getting through was just as fast. Though I have to acknowledge that we are both middle aged white women and have the privilege of not generally being the ones profiled. So others' experiences may have been different during this time particularly.

The flight was mostly uneventful. Just a bit of turbulence that made the flight attendants sit. I kept saying that as long as he was handling coffee, we were okay. Then he sat. Arrgh! Didn't last long though. Because of the plane switch, we missed our city bus and had to wait an extra 45 minutes. No big deal in general but the waiting time was beginning to add up and we were ready to just be home.

Finally home, all was intact… with the pungent smell of burlap still in the air! lol We made a quick trip to the post office and picked up a package…. a gift… from REI! Yes!

The Honeymoon was exactly as a Honeymoon should be! And now we settle back in to our lives!

Remember to move the clocks back an hour tonight!!

View from our room at the Elizabeth Street Inn

Friday, November 01, 2013

Honeymoon - Depoe Bay, OR - Day 4

Started the day in our usual fashion… breakfast with an ocean view. Then back up to our room to relax a little and make plans for the rest of our time in Oregon. Bozo found a great walk-in price for a hotel in Newport, OR, which is slightly closer to Portland International Airport, so we decided to head that direction. On our way out of town we stopped to take a few more photos of places we had been in Depoe Bay.

There is construction between Depoe Bay and Newport so it took us awhile to get here. It also made us change our plans because a couple of beaches we were considering were right where the construction and the long waits were happening.

We checked into the Elizabeth Street Inn with an awesome view of the ocean and then headed out to explore. We ended up at Nye Beach area and walked around looking at the little shops. We met a book seller at Books on Beach who recommended we check out the Sylvia Beach Hotel, which has all its rooms named after different authors with the appropriate decor to boot. It was great! No Karouac for me but there was Steinbeck. The best room was Agatha Christie with a wrap-a-round porch overlooking the ocean and a huge room.

We then followed the advice of the innkeeper at Channel House and headed to the Bay Blvd where we got a great view of the Yaquina Bay Bridge while enjoying seared tuna and grilled calamari at Local Ocean. Great atmosphere right across the street from the marina where they get much of their food and with garage doors that were open for some fresh, albeit fishy, air. We both realized that we'd not had grilled calamari before, only fried, and it was so so so good! It was served with poblano peppers so we also each got a little surprise burn in our first bite.

After dinner, a walk along the boulevard, and then a quick crossing of Yaquina Bay Bridge I finally got my Tillamook Ice Cream at Nye Beach Sweets. Not that I needed it or even that I really wanted it at that time. But if I was going to get Tillamook near Tillamook it had to be today. Creamy coconut with mudslide… yummy! Bozo got a children's sized mudslide. Wuss!

That's when the gluttony started. It continued when we folded to trying out the salmon chowder provided by the hotel as an appetizer. For us it was an evening snack I suppose. Then a few hours later they provided chocolate chip cookies and some coffee… decaf for us! I think there is something to our Honeymoon ending that is making us splurge in many ways. We're trying to make it last longer and we want to squeeze out every pleasure possible from our remaining time here.

We have tomorrow to make our way slowly from here to Portland and catch our plane at 5:30pm. It's nice not to have to rush!

Marina directly across the street from Local Ocean

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Honeymoon - Depoe Bay, OR - Day 3


Everything is starting to sink in and dissipate at the same time. We are both relaxed and well-recovered. We started the day with the usual breakfast in the BandB… hard-boiled eggs, granola, fruit, yogurt Afterwards I went back to bed for a little while and Bozo went out and called her parents. Around 1:00pm we went out. It was a good thing but really we only went so they would clean our room. lol

We were going to do a drive but where we wanted to go was a little further than we'd wanted to travel and it was raining so we started in Depoe Bay. They have quite a few shops for such a small town but most of them are cheapie souvenir shops. There was one that sold local artists' work so that's where we spent the most money. We also made a stop at the Whale Watching Center where we found out that 0 whales have been spotted in the past 2 weeks. Phew! I was glad we hadn't missed seeing any during our stay so far.

Then we decided to have a seafood lunch. The original plan was to go out for a nice seafood dinner. But once we went back, it was unlikely we'd be willing to go out again! lol So this was a very good compromise. We went to Tidal Raves and had a great ocean view table. Bozo had Red Curry BBQd Shrimp and I had Pacific Snapper. Both were delicious!

From our view in the restaurant we could see a little beach cove and four people were down there. We went to explore and found a rope that you're supposed to follow and use to keep you from falling. I assumed there was probably a safer way but off Bozo went and, of course, I followed. The rope ended a little before we got to the bottom and with the drizzle, it was a little slippery. But we made it… and it was beautiful. A ton of slick black rocks and some shells along with some garbage, of course. I think I've been pretty clear in previous entries that I am not a huge fan of water and even less a fan of being in place where I could easily be trapped by water. So I explored in unease. The other four people down there were all over 70-years-old and were studying bugs. Apparently one of the men was a well-regarded entomologist who studies the chromosomes of bugs to learn more about evolution. One of the women had been his college student about 50 years ago. They teased us about coming down the rope, "I can't believe you came down that rope!" and Bozo laughed and asked if there is another way. The former student said, "No! But I can't believe WE came down that rope either!" and then showed us her dirty butt. lol We headed back up before they did.

Back in the room again. We puttered around, took another jacuzzi, looked at all the wedding photos we have so far, and then watched our annual scary Halloween movie. But Bozo was being a big baby about how scary the fog rolling in was and that we are basically alone in this Inn. I took pity and chose one I didn't think would be quite as scary. But then it just turned out to be cheesy. Darn! One time a year I get a chance to scare the bejeezus out of her and I blew it for the second time in a row. We saw "The Amityville Haunting." I do not recommend it!

Not a bad way to spend Halloween at all! Next year she's getting "Saw" though!

The fog, the swirling ocean below, and some rocks just to complete the Halloween effect!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Honeymoon - Depoe Bay, OR - Day 2

Today was all about relaxation and recovery. We were asleep by 9:00pm last night and up around 8:30am for breakfast. That felt great! The sound of the ocean outside our room and the total darkness from their window covers… the perfect combination for solid sleep.

We jacuzzied (I'm making it a word!) late in the morning then watched some tv and movies most of the day. We did have to make a little trip to Newport for a couple things I forgot and that apparently they don't have in tiny Depoe Bay.

We grabbed some coffee and did some more relaxing. Then, out of pure relaxation and laziness, Bozo went back to Bonepile BBQ again for chicken and pulled pork. Good… again. I like their cole slaw a lot! We also added potato salad this time, which was good too but not as good as the cole slaw. These were the kind of deep conversations we were having today!

We finished Amazing Race Season 16. Not represented well by "the mean lesbians." I'm also working on finding my scary Halloween movie… Bozo will only watch once each year so I gotta make it good!

Once it was dark we jacuzzied again with bath salts. It's so incredibly relaxing to be outside in the cold on the balcony in a jacuzzi with the ocean sounds all around.

I know this is a boring blog entry but it was definitely the down day that we both needed after the few months that we've had!

The breakfast spread with an up close and personal view of the ocean at the end of the room:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Honeymoon - Depoe Bay, OR - Day 1

Up early again… 4:15am. Out the door by 5:00am for gas and to return the rental car. Everything went very smoothly and we were on our plane and flying toward Portland by 7:00am. Soon… time to relax! We arrived on time at 8:30am and got the next rental car. We used National for the wedding guests but this time found a great price on Alamo. But it was quite a ways from the airport on a shuttle (gotta remember that when we return!) and the clerk was in some competition for up selling that did not sit well with two overtired women who who still had their receipts from a very smooth rental the previous 5 days. She just kept arguing that we were wrong when we had our receipts. lol Moving on.

I brought my GPS to help us get where we needed to go. But we also needed some breakfast… preferably from a funky little Portlandish cafe. It's hard to look those up specifically so we were just going to settle for whatever we found in an area full of breakfast places. On our drive we ended up in the Montavilla Neighborhood and decided to stop at a place that looked like it fit the bill. And it did! The Country Cat Dinnerhouse and Bar was great! The food was great and there was plenty of it. But one of the servers also took time with us to look at a map (you know, that paper thing with lines representing roads!) of where we were heading and gave us some excellent suggestions where to stop along the way. On the same street (SE Stark St), was Bipartisan Cafe where we got coffee. Also a funky little place and some pretty good coffee.

We headed out of Portland toward Highway 26, which we took us up toward the coast. This is a much longer way to Channel House in Depoe Bay, OR where we'll be spending the rest of the week. But we thought we'd take the scenic route now in case we don't have time on our way back to the airport. Turns out we were both  a little more tired that we thought and needed to stop at a rest area for a little nap. That worked! Refreshed (sort of), we were definitely safe to drive and ready to move on. We basically circled around the Tillamook State Forest and headed south on Highway 53 toward Highway 101. This was definitely less along the ocean than I expected. But I really love driving through forest as well so it was totally fine. We went through Wheeler and then found a little Mexican Bakery Lunch Stop where we had an excellent burrito and Bozo bought a small loaf of jalapeño bread. I have no idea the name of the place. I took a photo of it but there's no name. Weird! I'd recommend it though! lol

We met a couple at the Mexican Bakery who recommended that we stop in Tillamook at the Cheese Factory for some samples. He said they also make ice cream that is to die for. But when we got there it was SO crowded that we decided to pass it up. We are planning on possibly going back up that direction for a couple different scenic stops during the week so maybe it'll be less crowded at that time.

By this point we were both ready just to be in Depoe Bay. We arrived around 4:30pm and got somewhat settled before heading back out to get some food and snacks to have in the room since we do not plan to leave at all tomorrow. Aside from it being our Honeymoon and that we're both exhausted from planning and having our wedding, I'll put up a photo that will show you why we have no intention of leaving for a day. We went to the little corner store and then got some dinner at BonePile BBQ, which was awesome. I don't know if we're just hungry or if the food we have been finding has actually been consistently excellent. I don't feel that hungry so I think we've just gotten really lucky with our choices and timing!

Back in the room for dinner and a movie, "So This is 40," while we waited for sunset over the ocean. At 8:30pm the movie was over and we were exhausted. So off to bed we went…

This is the view from our jacuzzi and one of the reasons we have no intention of leaving the room tomorrow:

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Stebbins Cold Canyon - Hiking

We got up early to be at Stebbins by 7:30am to beat the heat and the crowd. We succeeded at both! We had most of the front side to ourselves, which made climbing the stairs a little easier. Then we encountered a few more people on the backside. The trail is well-marked and very easy to follow. It was also very dry and, as usual, lots of rock hopping. We decreased the amount of time it took us to complete the loop by nearly an hour. Neither of us believed the time on my phone was accurate when we finished. lol

I took my hiking poles and wore my Asolo boots to see if my knees would be in better shape for the descent. Nope! Maybe the boots are too heavy or perhaps it was because I haven't worn them hiking in awhile as I've opted for lighter weight most of the time. The scar I have on my foot was protected by mole skin but I also thinking the more solid boot helped with that. It's all about finding the balance. Speaking of balance, I think yoga has helped me with the rock hopping a lot. But now I need a little more strength to protect my knees.

Here's the route:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Casini Ranch - DD-l - Day 3

Bozo got up early to take Satoko kayaking with Rachel and Natacha. There were out for awhile along the Russian River and it sounded like they had a good time and that Satoko did well paddling for the first time. I got to have some alone time to read and tend the fire. I made eggs over the fire, which were awesome. I'm getting better and better at making those! Then others started getting up and bringing their breakfast foods to our campsite. The peach cobbler from last night seemed to be the favorite breakfast item. lol

After breakfast, Bozo took me kayaking on the river. We thought the current was going the "wrong" way. Turns out there was a strong enough head wind to make the current nearly moot. We went in a couple circles trying to figure it out. ha! But we're new to kayaking and neither of us have been in an inflatable kayak so we get some slack. After we got the kayak back on shore, I went for a little swim. The water was like a bathtub where I was already wet. Then took my breath away as I dipped in deeper. Eventually it was all just warm and refreshing.

We spent a little more time at the campsite then Bozo took the bike to ask for our late check out. Turns out we needed to leave the campsite but we could stay in the park on the beach. Pressure packing is not the best way to end a camping trip. But we all got everything packed up. Bozo and Natacha went to get the kayaks to paddle them to the beach. I ran along the shore to find them in case they beached and needed a pull. Once they got the kayaks back to the beach, Natacha took Margaret-Rose for a paddle while Bozo and I packed up the other kayak. Heather went for a swim, a real swim like with laps. I went for a swim, a fake swim like playing around in the water just to cool off. Then we folded up the second kayak and off we went toward home.

A quick stop at Bubba's BBQ for a quick chicken BBQ sandwich and then home through just a little traffic and no median fires.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Casini Ranch - DD-l - Day 2

We all got up pretty slowly this morning. The night had not been as cold as we expected. But there was that one lone snorer who seems to follow me wherever I camp. Otherwise, it was a pretty good sleep. Bozo started a fire. I made eggs in a paper bag over the fire while Lorrie and Satoko had cereal. Rachel and Natacha showed up late morning and we made plans to visit the ocean. Early afternoon Margaret-Rose showed up with Kai and decided to stay at the campsite to relax while we headed toward Goat Rock to see baby seals and face the sand throwing wind. By the time we got back Susie and Heather had arrived and were getting setting up.

Soon, of course, food started becoming the focus. Saturday night camping is potluck night. We brought 2 kinds of chicken brats, veggie brats, and some veggies to cook in the fire. There were also potatoes cooked in the fire, many different salads, some turkey burgers, corn on the cob cooked in the fire, avocados, random chips, and I'm sure some other items that I'm forgetting. Susie made peach cobbler and gluten free peach cobbler for Natacha's birthday. SO good!!

The evening was spent around the fire chatting. Although there was a point when it started getting dark that Satoko had gone for a walk and not returned yet. Bozo and I weren't too worried until others started talking about their experiences getting lost in campgrounds. Bozo went out on the bike to search then came back without her. So I took off on the bike, Bozo walked, and all but Margaret-Rose went out to look for her. I wasn't sure who found her but she said she wasn't lost so we had worried for nothing.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Casini Ranch - DD-l - Day 1

Bozo, Satoko, and I were on the road by about 3pm today. Along the way, along the interstate, there was a brush fire right next to traffic. Scary! Things went pretty well most of the way but traffic got horrible at Hwy 37 and then again along the 101. After about an hour longer than expected we made it to Casini Ranch. Another line up... to get in this time. Finally to the campsite, we got both tents set up and at some dinner. I thought Rachel and Natacha might show up tonight but we eventually got a text that they would be here tomorrow morning. So we sat by the fire and relaxed.

We gave Satoko the option of sleeping in our big tent or having her own smaller tent. She opted for the privacy. So we gave a walkie talkie, showed her how to use it, and off she went.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Stebbins Cold Canyon - Hiking

Distance - 4.75 miles
Time - 4 hours
Trails - Homestead and Blue Ridge Trail

We decided to go with one of our Meetup groups to Stebbins Cold Canyon to finally check it out. It's one of those hikes that's near by but unless you know where to park, it's difficult to find. Now it seems so easy to find! lol We met up with the group in Davis at 9:00am and were on the trail by 9:30am. We started with eight but one person had to turn around when it started getting a little too difficult and two people ran on ahead at a faster speed than the bulk of us wanted to travel. It took us about 4 hours with our stops and taking a casual pace.

Here is the description listed on the Meetup:

Here is a brief description:
Stebbins Cold Canyon Trail - The full hike is a 4.75 mile loop hike up Cold Canyon and then to the Blue Ridge with spectacular views of Lake Berryessa and the surrounding area. Lots of steps and rocks. A great workout!
Length/Degree of Difficulty:
•Loop trail - 4.75 miles, strenuous, elevation gain of 1500 feet 
•Trail Condition: maintained, traihead well marked but otherwise unmarked, trailbed obvious, footing rough along ridge.

What I didn't attend closely enough to was the word "strenuous!" lol I'm not sure we would have gone had we noticed that so it was good we hadn't. The hike ended up being beautiful! There were definitely a lot of steps  to climb and rocks to shinny over but the view of Lake Berryessa and the rest of the valley below was just incredible. The sky and lake were both so blue... different shades.

We stopped quite a bit to catch our breath for photos and to take in the views. The air temp changed periodically so that it would be so hot and then we'd walk through a cool spot. At the top we even got a little chilled. That kept things pretty comfortable overall.
As usual, coming down was such a relief at first. Then that started getting painful too. Tired legs definitely make the downhill more difficult. And Bozo with her bolted together knee was enjoying this part less than any of us. Thankfully it was pretty quick and we got back to the cars. I would definitely recommend going the direction that we did. I'd rather climb up the stairs and up the bulk of the rocks going up than going down. The Blue Ridge side also seemed a little more exposed so I imagine it being very hot climbing that side.
Afterwards we headed to Winters for some beer (Bozo, Arlene, & May), a Coke (Daphne), and an iced coffee (me) along with sandwiches and wraps at Steady Eddy's Coffee House. Very good reviews on the sandwiches and the drinks.

Definitely a great hike to be done again and again... now that we know where the trailhead is!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Sly Park Recreation Area - Day 2

Bozo got up around 6am to go down to the lake to reflect on her past year and to think about her next year. I stayed in bed! lol She came back to the tent and we ended up sleeping until about 9am. We got the fire started and began thinking about breakfast. Rachel and Natacha showed up around 9:30am and started getting set up in Site 64.

LJ showed up about an hour later. After settling in a little we had to figure out how to spend our one full day there. It seemed a little cold to be in the water so we decided to hike to the waterfall. Rachel stayed behind to get some work done. Boo! I know that feeling!

Trail Map for Sly Park Recreation Area
The hike was about 2.4 miles roundtrip and was beautiful. We were on the lake much of the time and then along a river that ended/began at the waterfall. There were a lot of people playing in the water and sunning near the waterfall. We put our feet in the water and it was VERY COLD! No thanks! lol It did feel good on my feet but no interested in submerging. Bozo, Natacha, and LJ walked across the river and climbed up to the waterfall. I tried to watch them but couldn't see through the trees. It looked a little dangerous from what I could see so I'm probably glad I didn't see them!

Sly Park Recreation Area Waterfall
We were a little hungry on the way back. We'd eaten a container of almonds among the four of us so that wasn't enough food. What were we thinking? We did have plenty of water so that's a good thing! Passing by one of the campsites, we saw a boy, maybe 9-years-old, who captured a gosling in a fishing net. The mother goose hissed at him and went after him and he finally let it go. But he was laughing and the woman he was in front of didn't do anything about it. LJ and Bozo talked to a ranger who happened to walking past so he went over to the campsite to speak with the boy. It's very hard to see young people doing things like that without anyone correcting them. In general, it's hard to understand people who don't value wildlife. I could go on and on but I won't.

Back at camp I think Rachel was getting a little concerned about the amount of time we were gone. We sat for a little while and then started getting things ready for dinner. Bozo had prepared chicken with vegetables and then just plain vegetables to be heated in the fire. Rachel and Natacha have a solar cooker and had been making a lentil dish all day. LJ brought meatballs and watermelon. So we had a meal with lots of variety. Natacha had also made a spreadable cheese out of cashews with no dairy. I love that stuff!

After dinner we had a cheesecake also made from cashews with no dairy. SO GOOD! They'd brought some candles for Bozo's birthday too so we got to sing Happy Birthday and then eat way too much dessert. As it started to get dark, we played a word game in which each of us would write down 5 words or phrases on 5 different pieces of paper. Then we each take a turn trying to get our team to say the word. The second round is the same words but you can only say one word to get your team to say the word. Then you can only act it out. It was actually a very fun game... made more so by our choices of words and very silly descriptions and acting.

Once it was dark, it was time to settle in around the fire and chat. The loud group above us was eerily quiet! I think perhaps others had also complained about them and assume they were warned that they would be kicked out if another complaint came in. OR... the previous night was fueled by alcohol and they were using it tonight. Either way, it was the kind of environment I prefer for camping.... QUIET!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Sly Park Recreation Area - Day 1

We left town around 2pm and made quick time up to Pollack Pines area. We did stop at a Starbucks in Placerville to grab some coffee for the evening. We were in the Sierra Spur Area of Sly Park Recreation Area in Site 63, which is a small area with sites close to and with a great view of Jenkinson Lake. The sites were a little slanted so it took some doing to get our tent in a position where we could at least sleep level. The rest of the tent was on an angle. Granted, we did use our REI "Queendom" Kingdom 6 so it's not a small tent to maneuver.

We got everything set up and Bozo pulled out the chicken fingers that she had prepared and a fresh salad. That definitely made things easier than setting up and then having to cook right away. It took us a little while to be able to relax but eventually we had the fire going and rested. We were waiting for Natacha and Rachel to get there knowing it would be a little later in the evening when they would arrive. Eventually we got a text from them that they were having car trouble and would be coming up in the morning.

The weather was perfect! It was in the low 70s when we got there and the low 40s at night. Perfect!

During our relaxation, a group above us on the hill became louder and louder. Eventually the music was so loud that they had to yell at each other to talk. I felt like I was at a bar instead of camping. Instead of hoping they would quiet down, which we often will do, I called the gate house and complained. They got to the group really quickly and things quieted down pretty well. But then through the evening people from the group would be at the bathroom near our site and would make comments. The ones I heard were, "Wah wah wah" and "Oh, those are the people that don't like us." So nothing really significant but I thought it was strange they knew who had complained. People can be vindictive so it didn't feel safe that they knew who we were. They continued to be noisy through the night off and on but nothing like the "bar scene." The best was "Shhhhh" periodically through the night. lol Oh... and these people were in their 30s! lol I guess we stereotyped and assumed they were 20-somethings. Sorry 'bout that!

Stayed up until midnight...  HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOZO!

When we went to bed, I listened to my iPod to help me sleep and block out the noise. But I made the cardinal mistake regarding listening to relaxation mp3s. I had only listened to them when I couldn't sleep and felt somewhat anxious. So I had trained my brain to feel anxious and wide awake when I turned on that particular music. I switched over to the book "Blink" and with the reader's calm voice, I was asleep very quickly!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Slow Tug Sail

We were invited by friends to sail with them. Well... they would sail and then pull us in their inflatable boat. I'm not sure I've been clear about my discomfort with water so maybe I'll make it clear now. I'm very uncomfortable in water. And to be out of control on water seems even worse! Even though when I've been in control, it's not always turned out great! You might remember my Dump in the Boundary Waters!

We met our friends in Suisun City where they had their little tea cup sail boat docked. We had some lunch at Athenian Grill then headed out to the water... after blowing up the inflatable boat. It's been very windy in NorCal recently. Very! But there was almost no wind as we started out on our adventure. So not only could the little sailboat not move but towing us made it even more unlikely. So we tacked a lot and paddled a bit until we got past the wind blocks (I don't remember the formal name for them! lol) and then we picked up a little speed.

We stopped for a break at the public dock and also spent some time checking out the Suisun Wildlife Rescue Center where they are rehabilitating many different kinds of birds, a one-eyed coyote, and a raccoon. Some of them are too injured to be returned to the wild so they are used in education programs all around the area.

Back into the water and the wind picked up. That was nice as we didn't have to paddle as much and could just enjoy the ride. The sky was so clear that the sun was just beating down on us! Lots of sunscreen! We got to another wind block made of trees, which was where our friend had said we would turn around. So we did and with the wind behind us, it was much faster for a little while. Back in the marina, lots of blocks again so more tacking. We still didn't really have to paddle so it was pretty relaxing. I told Bozo later that I had thought about taking a nap. Turns out she had too! lol

We were asked twice during the trip if we needed some help. I'm sure it looked a little funny for a tiny sail boat to be towing an inflatable boat. lol It was very nice of those people to ask!

Afterwards, we got all our stuff and the inflatable boat out of the water. Then our friend said he wanted to try to lift his little sailboat out that way instead of sailing it home. While his wife and I took the stuff to the cars, he and Bozo ended up lifting the boat out of the water on their own and got it apart enough that it could be carried up to the plaza area. After all was put away, our friend walked the 7-minute walk home pulling his little sailboat. Like a boy and his dog... but not.

Data from my Spot one-way GPS:

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Coloma Resort with the Trailerettes

It's funny for us to camp at a "resort." But we were with the Trailerettes and, of course, they are in trailers. So that's where they go. We'll get our vintage trailer soon enough and then it will make a little more sense. As it was, we got to Coloma Resort on Saturday late morning. The resort is across a single lane historic bridge that takes you away from the main road and also Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park, which has a working frontier village and some historical buildings that are not in working order. After we got settled we walked back across the bridge to the village and had a nice time walking around seeing people in the clothing of the time and doing the work of the time.

The people at Coloma were very friendly! They check you in then lead you to your site in their golf cart... also carrying wood in our case. We had a choice between two sites... each had water and electricity. Perfect for our little tent! lol The sites were not actually that great and I'm not sure we would recommend tent camping here unless you're on the grassy tent space near the river. We didn't know about those so didn't think to reserve them. Besides, the sprinklers were all on so maybe they weren't available! heheh Anyway, apparently this year we were this years Trailerette Trolls since we were basically under the bridge. Angela had that distinction last year and learned her lesson to ask for a site along the river among the Trailerettes. We did go back and ask about switching to a couple of available sites closer to our group and they wouldn't let us do that. We found out later that they had let a couple other people move closer so I guess they really needed a couple of Trolls. hmmph!

We had missed out on the Friday night happy hour and also the morning coffee in pajamas. Saturday night was the potluck with SO much good food and SO many cute dogs running around begging. We started getting to know a few more people and actually remembering a few from the Halloween trip last year. Bozo remembered people by their costumes and people remembered her as the Stick Man. lol That evening was the theme song competition. All of the entries were so good we decided not to vote and to develop a song book instead. I am going to go there... that is so typical of a group of women! lol And I like it!

We tried to get creative with some "Fancy S'mores" so I soaked them in Cognac then we had dark chocolate and shortbread cookies. Well apparently I got too into the Cognac so the marshmallows all stuck together and then when I tried to put them on the stick they just melted right off. SO... I learned that you should really just set the marshmallows in the cognac for a couple minutes then roast the rigt away. We did enjoy the shortbread cookies though! lol

Everyone went to bed pretty early so we headed back to our site as well. Some reading in the tent and then to sleep. Of course there had to be THAT ONE GUY who doesn't have an inside or "everyone else is the park is sleeping, maybe I should keep it down" voice. If you are THAT ONE GUY... practice talking quietly before you go camping. It really is very annoying and people send you really horrible wishes. Okay, maybe that's just me. Funny thing was that I couldn't tell who he was talking to because it was just him. So maybe it was the voices in his head talking back and I should have more compassion! Okay... moving on!

The morning excited started with me experimenting with cooking an egg in a paper sack. The sack was too small but it was what we had the Cognac in so it's what I used. It was supposed to be a traditional lunch sack. This is what it was supposed to look like. Didn't quite turn out that way and I lost the egg and bag to the fire. I'll try again with the appropriate equipment. The video shows it with bacon but we don't eat pork so it'll just be eggs. I wonder if that causes any problems!? We'll just have to see.

Eventually we made our way back over to the Trailerettes. Some of them were already taking off but others were still hanging around playing White Elephant. They had extra gifts so Bozo and I each had a go. She got a horseshoe wall hook and I got a hodgepodge of stuff including a sheer 50s style apron, 2 tin decorative plates from Colorado and Disney World, and maybe something else that neither of us can remember.

After a little while, we headed back to our site and got things packed up before heading out through the back roads. We ended up in El Dorado eating at Poor Red's BBQ. The basic rule, if I haven't told you before, is that when you can't find parking because of all the motorcycles, it is some good food! After that, we headed home via Hwy 49, Hwy 16, and then on to I-80 the rest of the way. Safe and sound!

Over the weekend, one Trailerette had an accident on the way to the campout where she lost control of the trailer and car, the trailer flipped and split in half while the car hit a guardrail. The driver wasn't hurt at all. Then after the weekend, another Trailerette's trailer came unhitched and passed her on the road. It came to a stop along the shoulder so no damage was done. But those were some scary stories and reminders to make sure we get everything checked out once we do buy our own trailer!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Samuel P Taylor State Park - Camping

We needed to get a camping trip without Blue over with. Not the most pleasant way to plan a camping trip but that was the reality. So Saturday morning, we headed out to Samuel P Taylor State Park to see if they had any walk up sites. It was about a 90 minute drive and we intended to hang out on some beach if we couldn't get a campsite and then head home in the evening.

We chose Samuel P Taylor because of the Redwoods that were said to be all over the place and the trails everywhere. The reviews also said the sites were packed together and that seemed to be the case with most of the sites.

When we pulled up, the attendant gave us two choices. One was a non-reservable (Site 45) and the other (Site 31) had been abandoned because someone had gotten ill. Sit 45 was on a rise and was a decent size for a 4-person tent. But it looked directly over another site right next to it and then the road. The other site, I can't remember the number, had a very large group in it so that didn't seem attractive. Site 31 was very small with room for 2 small (maybe 4-person) tents on either end. It was basically connected to Site 32 and divided by only a wooden fence. So the two sites together would be perfect for 2 families to camp together. That actually seemed to be the theme for the entire campground... that you need a couple families or couples to camp together or you're in strangers' spaces. We chose Site 31. There wasn't anyone is Site 32 when we got there and that was nice. No one ever showed up to stay in that site so that was even better!

We got our 3-person tent set up then went for a walk through the Redwoods. Amazing! Just amazing! It was getting to the end of the day by the time we were out there so we didn't get to go too far. Back at the campsite, I kept thinking that it felt like it was going to rain. So eventually I put up my Kelty Noah's Tarp so that our chairs were covered such that we could still sit out by the fire. It did start to drizzly but it was very pleasant! The tree coverage also kept us from getting wet much of the time.

We went into the tent a little earlier than usual because the rain got a little harder. We watched "The Closer," our current series while listening to the rain. After awhile I started to worry that maybe the tent wasn't totally waterproof. I think it actually was waterproof but there was some sagging in the top and touching the mesh. I decided to go out and move the Kelty over the tent just to be safe.

As an aside, we haven't used the 3-person tent (REI Taj) in several years because with the two dogs we needed the REI Kingdom 6 ("Queendom") to have our side and also room to keep the 2 dogs separated. After Cacciatore passed away, we kept using the "Queendom" because Blue, as she got older, needed to wander more. So that tent gave her the space to do that. Without the pups, a) we didn't want to use the tent and not have them with us, b) we just didn't need that space, and c) that site would not likely have been able to handle such a large tent.

Getting the Kelty moved in the dark and drizzle was a little more difficult than I expected. Bozo helped keep it steady and we eventually got it all worked out. With the tent covered and the hour late, we headed off to bed again to sleep in that beautiful rainy sound that I have missed so much since moving from Minnesota!

REI Taj with Kelty Noah's Tarp above
After a good night of rest, we woke up to a little more drizzle, which didn't last long. We mainly lounged by the small fire, walked around the campsite recording site reviews, then packed up and headed out. We stopped at Two Bird Cafe for Easter brunch. I'm not sure how well we fit in with our dirty clothes and smelling like a campfire. But no one gave us a second look so that was good.

Back home relatively early to enjoy our Sunday evening before returning to our weekdays. It was a good and easy camping trip. I wouldn't say that we enjoyed ourselves all that much as it truly was a "get it over with" campout.... being our first without either of the dogs. But it was relaxing to be out in the fresh air around such beautiful trees. Also, the people in the campground were all very quiet with only a couple spurts of music and no loud voices at night. Honestly, that's a first since we moved to Cali. I guess it will get easier but we are still in the stage of not wanting it to be easier... we want Blue back!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Svea 123 - Vintage Compact Backpacking Stove

Svea 123 by twotiredoc
Svea 123, a photo by twotiredoc on Flickr.
Picked up this little gem at a Sierra Club Gear Swap. I bought a cook set that we wanted to take some parts from for our car camping. I opened it up while there and saw something inside but figured I'd examine it more closely when we got home. When I did examine it more closely, turns out it was this Svea 123 compact backpacking stove! I had no idea how to use it so I went to my usual source for instructions... YouTube! Of course there were plenty of videos to help me out. So I followed all the instructions... lit the match... and whouuph... it works! The warning that it sounds like a jet engine was helpful because it certainly was loud compared to my little Whisperlite.

Pretty good deal... for ONE DOLLAR!

For those of you that enjoy this kind of thing, here's the history of the Svea 123 from Wikipedia:
Svea stoves were first made by Nybergs Lödlampfabrik, which also manufactured blowtorches as well as other machinery and equipment. Founded by Carl Nyberg, the firm later became one of the largest industries inSundbybergSweden. In 1922, the business was taken over by Max Sievert, an early associate of Nyberg’s, and renamed Sieverts Lödlampfabrik (later known as Sievert AB). The Svea 123, introduced in 1955, is considered to be the first compact backpacking white gas stove[1] and one of the most popular camping stoves ever made.[2]Its distinctive “roaring” sound has been likened to that of a jet engine at takeoff.[3] In 1969, the Svea brand was acquired by Optimus,[4] another Swedish manufacturer of portable stoves, which has continued production of the Svea 123 to the present day. Because of its simple design[5] and reputation for dependable performance,[6]even under extreme conditions,[7] the Svea 123 enjoys a devoted following.
The popularity of portable camping stoves such as the Svea coincided with the increase during the 1950s and 1960s in the awareness of the environmental impact of backpacking,[8] particularly in heavily-traveled areas,[9] and the rise of the Leave No Trace ethic in the 1970s and 1980s.[10] At the same time, scarcity of fuel in over-used camping areas as well as regulatory requirements (open-fire bans) also contributed to the need for a substitute for open campfires for "wilderness" area cooking.[11] Eventually stoves that were lighter in weight than the Svea, as well as those of other designs that were capable of burning a wider variety of fuels (useful when camping in other parts of the world where white gas is difficult to find) knocked it from its perch as one of the most popular backpacking stoves after nearly 50 years of production.[12]However, the rugged and durable Svea 123—often described by long-time users as "bomb-proof"[13] -- still remains popular and continues in wide use.[14]

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Sly Park Recreation Area Day Trip

Blue is not doing great. Her pulmonary hypertension got much worse and she needed to have pleural fluid removed from both sides of her lungs. Approximately 1 litre (take a look at your 32-oz Nalgene bottle) was taken from her 37-pound body. She's been breathing easier and feeling better since then. Think about how it feel to have a cooler full of water removed from your body and you might understand how she felt. We decided to take advantage of her feeling better and get her into the woods a little. We didn't think she was well enough for camping so we took a day trip up to Sly Park Recreation Area near Pollack Pines, CA.

There's a beautiful lake that is surrounded by campsites and boating services. We went in to check out some of the camping areas and spend a little time breathing in the wooded air. We stopped to use one of the restrooms and ended up parking there to walk around a little. Blue was so excited she started trying to walk around all over the place. We actually had to stop her from over exerting. But it was awesome to see her smelling everything and trying to get down by the water. Dogs aren't allowed in Jenkinson Lake anyway but it was just a little too far for her to get down there on her own.

We found one of our next campsites as well. The Sierra Spur campsite 63, which has a great lake view. Sites 62 and 64 were pretty good too. The lake is close by and there are only a few sites within the spur.