Saturday, September 26, 2015

Roadtrip Day 079


Roadtrip Day 079

9/25 Friday

Ack! One of the monster Class A diesel pushers near us fired up and decided to depart at 6-something this AM. He took out a shrub and garbage can in his attempt.

And woke us up. Ronnie couldn’t get back to sleep at all. I tried for a coupla hours.

I think we are the only tent trailer in this swanky resort. Lotsa half-million-dollar Class As, Class Cs almost as big as the As, huge 5th wheels, and the occasional “dinky” trailer. And us. Last night was ok but as soon as the sun rose, it got warm. Ronnie is making tea and pancakes. After that, I think it’s pool time. Or a ride in the airconditioned car to the airconditioned grocery store.

The pool is very nice.

$2 margaritas at 4:30 happy hour. That was nice of them. Back to the trailer now. Thinking about dinner.

Spaghetti and a nice, cold Coke chased by a Milky Way. A walk around the Marina and waterfront park. Talked to some guys who said they’re catching yellowtails nowadays. Tropical fish in San Diego. Huh. Some reading and then bedtime. Lovely, cool evening.

Roadtrip Day 078


Roadtrip Day 078

9/24 Thursday

Prepping to travel. Dog beach start. Organize and prep time. (Ick!)

Some leftover stew for brunch (Yum!) and carrot cake for dessert (Double-Yum!) and we finished our load, prep, and hitch efforts. Decided to go all the way down to Chula Vista (ok, it’s actually a negligible distance) and stay at the luxe RV resort at the marina there for the weekend. Full hookups, pool, etc. Very nice. Spent the afternoon in the pool after setting up. Excellent.

Pizza dinner at Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, which is often pronounced Fay-lee-pay’s in this predominantly Hispanic area. I got spumoni for dessert! LOVE IT!

Settle in now for a pleasant evening. Got the fans running but might not need ‘em as we get on toward bedtime. Took a nice walk out along the marina and shore. Lovely, lovely evening.

Roadtrip Day 077


Roadtrip Day 077

9/23 Wednesday

Late morning after a late night. Sunny and hot today. Getting ready to take the girls to the airport.

Dropped the girls. Ran to REI, Target, etc. to prep for leaving tomorrow. Had Popeye’s for lunch. Yum!

Girls arrived safely. We had stew for dinner and watched “Evolution.” Love that movie.

Roadtrip Day 076


Roadtrip Day 076

9/22 Tuesday

Dog beach starter, of course. Kinda grey today. Still very pleasant temps and no actual rain yet but significantly overcast, The girls had been thinking about a trip to Mexico but decided against so we’ll see what the day brings.

Bar crawl for the girls on their last night here.

Roadtrip Day 075


Roadtrip Day 075

9/21 Monday

Transition day. We’ll be leaving Lynn’s today to return to Bill’s. Later. Also having dinner with Jeff Sabo this evening. Another perfect day. Just a couple more here. The girls fly home Wednesday and we’ll be heading back to the wilderness(ish) from the posh civilization of the San Diego area. But that’s a coupla days from now. Meanwhile…

Beach touristing for the girls and then back to Bill’s. A little Popeye’s for lunch. Love dat chicken from Popeye’s.

Met Jeff for dinner at a Vietnamese place. Followed that with fro-yo. He had to get back to finish all the chores on his plate. We cruised back to Bill’s and the girls were ready to crash but Ronnie wanted (more) mango sticky rice from a nearby place so she and I went there. Unfortunately, they said it was only luch that they’d had it a coupla nights ago when Ronnie ate it and they had no good source of fresh mangos, so no mango sticky rice. We searched around for something else but eventually gave up and hit the sack ourselves.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Roadtrip Day 074


Roadtrip Day 074

9/20 Sunday

Football day in television land. I haven’t watched football in 73 days! Ok, except for Thursday Night Football a coupla days ago. Ryan had a baseball game to play. Six-year-old baseball players are so cute.

Seahawks on the late game. They lost. *sigh* A nice marshmallow fire in the firepit was a little hot for my taste in this weather but emotionally nice wrapping up an idyllic weekend in La Jolla.

Roadtrip Day 073


Roadtrip Day 073

9/19 Saturday

In the land of the lotophagi, it’s hard to keep track of the passage of time and activities. Beach, pool, food, hanging out… ya know.

The girls went out for a “girls’ night.” It was gonna be just a little while. Right. They came crawling back in at who-knows-when and had a little drunken pool time. Most amusing. Yes, that’s all four girls, Chloe and Casey *with* Ronnie and Lynn.

Roadtrip Day 072


Roadtrip Day 072

9/18 Friday

Transition day. After a dog beach morning, we’re reorganizing and heading over to stay with Ronnie’s sister, Lynn, at her place in La Jolla, not a terrible jaunt from Bill’s place in San Diego.

We got there in the afternoon after Lynn had picked up the boys from school. Ready for a nice weekend with the nephews/cousins. They’re very cute and charming. Some time at the beach, some time at the pool, some time just sitting around chatting.

Roadtrip Day 071


Roadtrip Day 071

9/17 Thursday

Tojours le dog beach.

Chloe has an online D&D game scheduled for 5-9 tonight, so we’re working that into the schedule. Some of us will watch Thursday Night Football instead. (wink)

Roadtrip Day 070


Roadtrip Day 070

9/16 Wednesday

Dog beach starter for the day. No rain yet this am but plenty last night after yesterday’s long rainstorm.

Afternoon zoo trip.

Dinner at Islands restaurant.

Early bedtime.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Roadtrip Day 069


Roadtrip Day 069

9/15 Tuesday

Ronnie went with Bill and the dogs to dog beach early. I had a shower and downloaded some e-books from the library. The girls woke about when Ronnie and the gang got back from dog beach.

Had some rain during the night and a big rainstorm now (lunchtime). Very pleasant. Talking about carne asada burritos from the little local stand then doing some New Orleans boiled shrimp dinner.

Deciding on what to do here with the girls. They have a couple of desires.

But not today. They walked the neighborhood, admired the canyon view, and we chatted. Shrimp on the stove. Dinner in just a bit. YUM! Rain again. Glad to be inside. Still comfortable temperatures, however.

Roadtrip Day 068


Roadtrip Day 068

9/14 Monday

Travel day. Down, down, down, the steep, winding mountain highway from 8K feet down to sea level. I’m glad Ronnie was driving. Beautiful scenery.

Got down to “civilization” and followed traffic along the freeway to San Diego. Made it. Hooray! Parked the trailer in Bill’s secondary driveway with his little trailerable boat and settled in. Had a lovely dinner, played with the dogs, then went to the airport tog et Chloe and Casey.

Phew! Bedtime now. Not gonna be cold tonight.

Roadtrip Day 067


Roadtrip Day 067

9/13 Sunday

Seahawks! Guess we’ll hear the final score at some point. Another beautiful day here. I might be well. Feel pretty good waking up. I’ll see how the morning progresses.

Took a ride. Got hamburgers. Pretty good day for me. Definitely better. Hooray.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Roadtrip Day 066


Roadtrip Day 066

9/12 Saturday

Thought I was all better but after waking my cough came back and my sinuses and throat were icky. Resting, watching movies, reading. Even I’m kinda bored with myself but I have zero energy to do anything.

Because we’ve usually only been able to get mediocre wifi, I’ve been somewhat casual (quick) when selecting books from the library; so I’ve gotten a few Tom-Clancy-type things. I wanna call ‘em “jingo porn” or something like that. Pretty vile stuff, disguised as good-vs-evil. I’ll bet somebody already has invented an appropriate name for this genre. I’ll look for it next time we have wifi. Meanwhile, it’s creepy to think that many Americans find this kind of pre-Biblical nasty violence more appealing than our Constitution or even their own Bible, which, at worst in the Old Testament, calls for an eye for an eye, not endless torture to ferret out a piece of information which *might* be *possibly* useful in their investigation. They’re the “bad guys”, i.e. not us; they deserve it.

I gotta be more selective in my selection process. I need to get back to writing my own violence porn but I just haven’t had the energy. Maybe tomorrow. The Roman army certainly believe in excessive response. (grin)

Roadtrip Day 065


Roadtrip Day 065

9/11 Friday

Temperatures here are lovely. Chilly enough, but not icky cold at night. I’m still kinda sick so my day has been reading and resting. Leftover Mexican food. A bah-humbug attitude. Lovely here, despite me. Saw a flight of two tilt-rotor aircraft cruising over the lake. That was cool.

Interesting mix of housing here. Some ordinary middle-class places, probably post-WWII vintage still sitting among the new “log-cabin” looking McMansions. 7K, 8K, 10K, who knows? square feet and lots of floor to tall-peaked-roof windows with lovely views of the lake for low-7-figure prices. Ok, maybe mid-7-figure prices.

Interesting contrast to the real estate signs we saw in the desert before we started up the mountains. Out there, you could get 20 acres for $15K.

Roadtrip Day 064


Roadtrip Day 064

9/10 Thursday

Travel day.

We had a quick breakfast and broke camp. Bye, Bryce Canyon, you were fascinating. We drove Utah Highway 14 which is a fascinating, beautiful drive. An incredible variety of scenery packed into a fairly short run.

Past Vegas and on to new territory - to California. In Barstow, we left the interstate for the state highway to Big Bear Lake. Finally left the desert and started climbing up the mountains toward BBL. Wow! What a steep climb. Many switchbacks with a posted speed limit of 15 mph. Endless climbing but that was taking us out of the 100+ degrees of desert driving to the temperate cool of higher altitudes.

Relying on our guidebook to cheap camping, we searched for what sounded like a lovely, quiet spot a *bit* out of the hustle-bustle of BBL itself. However a couple of miles up a rutted mud road, looking for a place 7 miles along there, we gave up when we came to a huge water hazard in the road. Knowing that rain was in the forecast, we didn’t wanna get stuck back of beyond so we turned back.

This involved having Ronnie, who was driving, back the trailer a good way down the narrow dirt road to get back to a wide spot where we could turn around and head down. She did a workmanlike job of it and soon enough we were heading back to the campground right at BBL. Happily, they had a site available for the long weekend. Price is on the higher end of our camping expenditures at $20/night but on the good side, that includes showers. Excellent.

Set up camp then drove into “downtown” BBL for food. Decided on a Mexican restaurant and watched Thursday Night Football. How civilized. After that it was back to camp to crash after a LONG day. I thought I was getting well but it came back into my upper respiratory and Ronnie did all of the work of takedown, setup, and most of the driving.

She’s a peach. A badass peach.

Roadtrip Day 063


Roadtrip Day 063

9/9 Wednesday

Better. Slept ok and throat and nose are clearer. Drove Ronnie to Bryce Point so she can hike down into the canyon. I’m resting and catching up here until she calls me to pick her up.

I think (hope) I’ll be all better by tomorrow.

Ronnie had a great hike. I met here for an ice cream at the Park’s General Store when she was done. I spent the afternoon resting and she did some cleanup/prep for departure tomorrow. Early to bed tonight. I’m mostly better but have no energy. Sleep.

Roadtrip Day 062


Roadtrip Day 062

9/8 Tuesday

Sill sick. Movies and books and sleep. Maybe getting better.

Drove to the end of the road and stopped at all the overlooks on the way back. Ronnie drove. I got out and enjoyed a coupla views.

Roadtrip Day 061


Roadtrip Day 061

9/7 Monday

Sill sick. Movies and books and sleep.

‘nuff said

Roadtrip Day 060


Roadtrip Day 060

9/6 Sunday

Yep. I’m sick. Sore throat. Stuffy nose. Ick. Movies and books and sleep.

Roadtrip Day 059


Roadtrip Day 059

9/5 Saturday

Good morning, sunshine! A big glass of cold Ovaltine and some Hostess powdered donettes to start this lovely day. Conveniently, the price-gouging store has pre-staled the donettes so I don’t have to worry about them going stale at some future point. They’re already there. Oh well, they soften up nicely in Ovaltine. Yum.

Quiet day. I seem to have a bit of a sore throat, so I’m spending the day reading and resting. Bummer.

Roadtrip Day 058


Roadtrip Day 058

9/4 Friday

Ah! A perfect night, cool but not freezing cold. Ronnie crawled out of bed to make tea and pancakes and she opened some curtains to a fabulous sunny morning. She opened a couple of clear zip-ups over the screen windows a bit to let in the slightly cool, refreshing morning breeze. Ok, I can handle this.

The park newspaper is well done and has a list of hikes with difficulty level noted. There’s a shuttle which runs all day for easy, free transportation. Lots and lots of fascinating geology to see.

We drove to a little store just outside the park to get some groceries. Man! Talk about price gouging. After we reentered the park, we realized that we could have gotten a bit less gouged at the general store near the Park Hotel. At least we grabbed some pizza-by-the-slice there for lunch. Stocked the fridge and read and rested the afternoon away. It’s 6pm now, and we’re having dinner in a brief downpour. Hooray for being inside.

I think it’ll be an early bedtime tonight.

Roadtrip Day 057


Roadtrip Day 057

9/3 Thursday

Leaving Las Vegas. Our very own personal movie. Woke to find Ronnie already down at the pool swimming and having coffee. When Mary and I get ready, we’ll join her for breakfast. Then, we gotta pack and get outa here,

Another extravagant breakfast. Yum! I need a stomach pump. We casually packed and checked out after a last few moments enjoying the view from the 61st floor. We grabbed a shuttle to our car (remember, it was in the limo lot – Ha!) and loaded in our luggage plus Mary and her luggage. I switched the fridge from propane to 12V, reconnected the electrical umbilical to the car and we drove the strip to enjoy the sights.

A leisurely cruise along the strip, checking out the architecture and fantasy, then working our way to the airport to drop Mary for her flight.

Bye! And a huge thank you! It was a lovely and delightful visit.

From the airport, Ronnie and I got ourselves back onto the I-15 heading Northeast. We intended to camp *somewhere* in nature and somewhat higher in elevation to have cool nights. I drove for a while, then Ronnie took over. We decided to try for Bryce Canyon. As we left the interstate and started along secondary highways, we kept a lookout for cheap hotels or available campgrounds in case Bryce was full for the big holiday weekend.

Amusing anecdote. We stopped at a Subway at the meeting of two highways in the middle of nowhere. We walked into an empty store to order sandwiches and the woman working the counter started telling us what she didn’t have and how she’d been swamped and had no time to prep/restock. Ok. We got something to eat which was not quite what we wanted but it was something and continued our travels. Bryce or bust. Or back out to a nearby motel or something, anyway.

Finally arrived at around 7pm and celebrated to see that both campgrounds at Bryce had availability. Success! We cruised into the Sunset Campground and chose site 232. It’s a good one. (wink) Quick setup and early to bed. Tired.

Roadtrip Day 056


Roadtrip Day 056

9/2 Wednesday

Slept like a brick in an actual bed in an airconditioned room. Pretty nice. Opened the curtains to the Olympian view of the tiny insect mortals already cruising the strip in search of… I dunno. Something. Still a lovely view.

Late breakfast after a lazy morning getting started. I had eggs benedict. The cooks did a fine job on them. They were changing over to lunch service as we finished. We decided to hit the pool. Sitting in the shade was less hot than I feared and the pool was less cold than I feared. A little time in the water. A little time on my chaise, reading and ordering frosty drinks from leggy waitresses. Yes, waitresses. This is Vegas. They’re still trying to pretend it’s the 50s. No “servers” here.

4 pm and it’s back to the room for a long shower and a soak of my GoPro which I took to the pool. A little rest in the airco, maybe some more reading, then we’ll hafta think about what and where to eat dinner. Decisions, decisions.

We dressed and wandered the extensive and extravagant shops for a while, then settled on Italian-ish dinner. Oink! We all had fabulous dinners but we shared a wonderful appetizer of calamari fried with hot peppers. I loved that dish. Perfectly done calamari and the addition of the hot peppers made it supreme.

After dinner, we wandered some more. Mary played some slots and won some money. Eventually, we headed back to the room to try to digest all the wine we’d had.

Interesting peripheral note. We were planning to attend the Free to Be Unschooling Conference in Phoenix at the beginning of October. We talked to MJ while in Las Vegas and heard that she had just been invited to *speak* at Free to Be. AFAIK, she’s still in negotiation but it looks like we’ll be meeting with MJ at F2B and listening to her give a talk and moderate a coupla panels. She did a talk at the LIFE is Good Unschooling Conference last May and she was delightful. I guess the F2B folks heard it, or heard about it, and decided to offer her a speaking slot. This will be fun!

Roadtrip Day 055


Roadtrip Day 055

9/1 Tuesday

Travel day. Vegas. What can I say?

We broke camp and drove up the highway a bit to see the scenery. Beautiful. But it was time to get on down the road, so we got back to the I-15 and pointed the nose of the car toward Las Vegas.

We stopped for gas at a place which also had a Popeye’s franchise. Ok, then. Luv dat chickin from Popeye’s. Spicy chicken and red beans and rice onboard and we continued on to Vegas. We changed time zones back to Pacific as we cruised into Vegas and began the search for the hotel, the Encore, a sister hotel with the Wynn. We’d been told that we needed special parking cuz we were towing the tent trailer so we eventually found their entry and asked the valet captain. He called *somebody* who led us to the limo lot. Parked and met Mary in the lobby.

Lafayette, nous sommes ici!

Mary led us to a glorious, extravagant room on the 61st floor with a full-wall view of “the strip” and beyond. Spacious and comfy. I immediately took advantage of the separate shower and tub in the capacious bathroom.

We went for a drink. Well, of course. Mary has the magic gambling touch and she won some money. We wandered the spacious gambling and shopping areas, lusting after all the name-brand goodies. I really could use a new watch and I saw a couple I liked, but $10K (or more) seems a *bit* much. For a watch. Ok, ok, I know there are people who pay ten times that for a watch but, c’mon!

After all that shopping, we needed dinner. Decided on a place which, well, it’s kind of American tapas or dim sum – choose and share several small plates of varietal things. The scallops were very nice. Drinks? Of course.

Full, we wandered a bit more. Then Ronnie and I lost some money while Mary won some more. We had another round of drinks and I gave up and went up to the room. Ronnie and Mary gambled longer. I watched some tv. First time in 54 days. The girls eventually returned and we closed the curtains on the neon night and slept.

Roadtrip Day 054


Roadtrip Day 054

8/31 Monday

Travel day.

Wow! Got pretty chilly at this altitude and we had a HUGE rainstorm during the night. The camp  host said to watch for moose cuz they frequented the campground but we didn’t see any. No bears, either.

We broke camp and drove down to Provo. Laundry and lunch, then our bank stuff. OMFG! We had to have some stuff notarized. We got the original crazy OCD woman for a notary. It was kind of amusing in retrospect but it took twice as long as it needed to with all her fiddling. She’d take a stack of mixed papers – legal and 8.5X11 an shuffle them. Turn 90 degrees and shuffle. Turn another 90 (now 180 from original) and shuffle, making all the 8.5X11 slide to a new position, so she’d hafta do it again. Ack!

Eventually, we escaped and drove down to Cedar City, UT. Up Utah 14 into the mountains for a lovely campsite at about 8K feet. Gonna be another *cool* night. Lovely campsite. Too bad it turned out that it was nestled in a triple switchback of the highway and we hear road noise most of the night. 18-wheelers grinding up and 18-wheelers compression-braking down.

Vegas tomorrow.