Monday, May 31, 2010

Back to Fort Bragg

We've spent our holiday weekend here, in the peaceful (and sometimes rainy, foggy, cool and windy) confines of Pomo Campground in Fort Bragg. This very popular park was filled to the brim with families enjoying the unofficial first weekend of Summer. This is the view out our front window in a rare moment when the lawn was not filled with kids.

We are parked next door to a site we occupied here on our first visit a year-and-a-half ago. It's very nice to be back.

The purpose of our visit to this coastal town was to join friends Robert and Marie for one of their twice a year abalone camping trips. Robert and Marie were parked just across Highway 101 in their new blue bus. It's a beauty! They were joined by several camping buddies who spent the weekend diving for, cleaning, preparing and enjoying fresh abalone. We enjoyed lots of good conversation and laughter around the campfire.

We ventured into town to do a bit of exploring. While Paul washed the squirrel, I checked out a local quilt show. (Can you believe Paul passed on that?)

The quilt show was setup in three buildings in a three-block area. In each venue, visitors were encouraged to vote for their favorite quilt. This colorful quilt, entitled Kumbaya, got my first vote.

This quilt featured "framed" photos of the quilter's family, with an explanation of each. I'm sure it is a treasured family heirloom.

This quilt received top honors for best hand applique and best hand quilting. All of that handwork earned it my vote. It's beautiful!

All I could say about this quilt was "WOW!"

With quilting fans meandering the sidewalks of Fort Bragg all weekend, many merchants created window displays to tempt quilters to come inside. These cute little socks got me...almost!

In between enjoying abalone with friends and admiring quilts, I finished off my California fabric selections for our future quilt. These four fabrics are definitely very "California". Don't you think?

Our very popular park is peaceful once again, as most of the campers headed home today. We're treating ourselves to one more night here on the coast before we head inland tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Welcome to Napa - a beautiful town nestled in a quiet valley surrounded by vineyards and wineries. These last few days, though, Napa has been all about rain. Lots of it.

We've visited more than our fair share of wineries in the valley over the last several years, so we're not really disappointed. Spending a few quiet days here at the Napa Valley Expo is just the ticket we needed to recuperate a bit after our fun-filled weekend. The highlight of our days here in wine country was a visit from Winnie friend Sue, who is a Napa local. She treated us to a tour of town and a scenic drive up Highway 29 to Rutherford Grill, where we enjoyed a very tasty lunch.

We've enjoyed our place in wine country. Now it's time to move to our place on the coast for a few days.

How great is that?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Morgan Hill Revisited

What a weekend! We returned to Morgan Hill for another gathering with our Winnebago Club, The Chardonnay Travelers. We served as co-wagonmasters for the weekend along with fellow members Mary and Bob. Official club photographer Jan sent us this collage. Isn't it wonderful?

Our home for the weekend was Coyote Valley Resort. We loved it the last time we were here and still do. The only thing we would have changed was the weather. It was chilly and windy. We even had a few raindrops!

One of the activities we planned for the weekend was a geocaching outing. After a brief introduction to the game, Paul led a group of enthusiastic new cachers on a hunt for five geocaches. This first find was right outside the park.

One evening we all ventured out to a nearby steakhouse. Doesn't this well fed and watered group look happy?

The folks at the other end of our table look equally satisfied!

It was great fun getting together with these good folks again. It had been nearly a year since we've seen them. We look forward to meeting up with several members in Iowa. And, you just never know where and when you might run into a Chardonnay Traveler on the road.

Thanks, gang, for a very fun weekend.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Our two-and-a-half week stay at the Pleasanton fairgrounds flew by. With all kinds of appointments to tend to, we were pretty much always on the run. We did manage to make time to see a few friends and have a little fun. (Although we sure didn't take many pictures!) We had a great time catching up with friends Cindy and Rick. We spent an afternoon introducing them to geocaching. Here they are at their first find, a virtual cache not far from the fairgrounds. (The sculpture is part of the cache, so I was trying - without much success - to include that in the photo.)

This picture just makes me smile. And, yes, there was a cache back there.

On Mother's Day, we joined long time friends Jean and Kevin for an early morning hike near Mt. Diablo. The highlight of the trek was this amazing rainbow.

Along the trail I just had to snap these California poppies! After all, you just have to stop and smell the flowers, right?

We didn't get to see everyone or do everything we had hoped while we were here. So, I guess we'll just have to come back! Of course, our friends can always meet us on the road somewhere. Y'all are always welcome!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Back to California

After three nights of sitting in Kingman, we were ready to roll early yesterday. We were on the interstate at 7:00, which is some kind of personal record for us. An hour or so later we crossed into California. One second later the highway went to heck!

Oh, yes! How quickly we forget! Driving in California is all about potholes and crazy drivers. And, when you're driving across the desert you can add a healthy dose of wind to that mix. Have we missed it? Nope!

Our moose crossed the desert with ease and climbed up and over the Tehachapi Pass like a champ. Soon after we arrived in Bakersfield and rolled into the Orange Grove RV Park for a one night stay. The park is aptly named. Bullwinkle is surrounded by orange trees! Each winter the park encourages guests to pick all of the oranges they can eat. (I think we'll have to come back!)

One of the things we've always loved about the drive up I-5 from Bakersfield to the Bay Area is passing by miles and miles of fruit and nut orchards. (California really is the land of fruits and nuts!) For decades, much of the food that landed on family tables came from this part of the state. This lush Central Valley was one of the things that made me proud to be a Californian.

How quickly things can change.

As we headed north on I-5, we couldn't believe our eyes. Instead of rich green rows of trees and vineyards, we saw acres and acres of fallow land. Each barren farm sported yellow signs like this one, which read: "Congress Created Dust Bowl." Most of the few orchards that remain are in various stages of distress. Some were in the process of removing the trees and plowing up the ground.

Dismayed at this sad sight, I Googled the words on the yellow signs and started to piece things together. There are two sides to every story, and this is no exception. But, between drought, federal legislation to protect a two-inch fish in California's Delta and food prices, thousands of people are in the Central Valley are without work. The state's agricultural economy has literally dried up. Unemployment is up to 45% in some parts of the Central Valley. Instead of producing food for the world, California has quickly become a major importer of produce.

No matter which side you're on, this sucks.

With nothing but bone-dry land and tumbleweeds to look at, we turned our attention to the wind. We faced a pretty stiff headwind most of the day.

You know it's windy in the Bay Area when the windmills on the Altamont Pass are all cranking. Today was one of those days.

We timed our arrival to the Bay Area on Saturday, thinking traffic might not be too bad. We thought wrong. Interstate 580 was as nutty as we remember. And, see that safety zone Paul tried to keep in front of the moose? It was filled with at least two cars right after I snapped this photo. And, there's nothing like the feeling of having a lane-splitting motorcyclist squeeze between your motorhome and the car in the next lane while you're cruising down a busy freeway in the wind.

Welcome back!

Way Behind

We've been on the move, with no time to blog.

O.K. That's not entirely true. But, it sure sounds good!

We have been on the move, though. And, just to bring you up to speed, we've made it to California. We are leaving Bakersfield this morning for Pleasanton, where we'll hang out for a couple of weeks.

More soon.