Monday, December 29, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Minor Disappointment



I was ready for my next challenge -- but it wasn't ready for me!
This balloon -- which was not a hot air balloon -- was tethered -- and ONLY went up 400 feet.
File under: Disappointment, Minor.
Maybe another opportunity elsewhere (I am not ready for one that drifts away).
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

For Us Privileged Folks for the Holidays

Life begets life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.
- Sarah Bernhardt

a thought, quoted on an online friend's blog and for me, so appropriate for the season.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

So where do you wake up in the morning?

I was surprised when a close friend recently commented that RV parks are not in prime real estate. Really? Have you not been looking at our photos?

The entry below is where we woke up this morning. OK, it is a parking lot. With electricity, water, TV, and wifi hookups. A little store with amenities, a book exchange,a hot tub, great showers and did I mention -- OVERLOOKING THE PACIFIC OCEAN? Sitting just above Highway 1 (the Pacific Coast Highway).

I enjoy watching the sunrise over the ocean. I thought about journal writing outdoors this morning at an empty picnic table a couple of tiers up in the park. But instead I strolled about with my coffee and camera.

I often enjoy watching campgrounds wake people start their mornings. Those who come out to enjoy the quiet, some walking their dogs (or cats on leashes), others cooking, a few radios tuned to NPR (the country music crowd usually turn it up at night).

Then there are the setups. The short-termers like ourselves may be spread out a bit. A couple of chairs. Bicycles. But it is the longer-termers of most interest. In the last campground, outside Joshua Tree, there were a lot of plastic outdoor furniture and Walmart-type Christmas decorations, including those large imitation snow globes along with santa's and elves and wreaths. That whole place had the feel of a FL retirement community. Pleasant people mostly enjoying rounds of golf and 4 PM BYOB happy hours.

I can't say what people do differently here in trendier Malibu Beach but the "yards" that some have created outside their rigs have little in the way of holiday decor. Instead, at the site of the "Night Host" -- the third photo below --(the person who checks you in if you arrive after the main office is closed) has an extension to their vehicle, a sunroom of sorts (a "moonroom"?) with a scramble of stuff inside. The room is lit up and so at night, you can see the host on her directors chair watching TV with piles of papers and equipment surrounding her.
And a couple of spaces over, the patio of another big rig is setup with Buddha altars, plants, and an exotic hand-beaded birds nest.

Where did you wake up today?

Where We Were In The Morning

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's A Beautiful Morning




The best of Palm Springs.
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Life Gets EVEN Slower

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CA Wind Farm

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Hanukkah in Santa Monica

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Friday, December 19, 2008


How strange not to be home for the holidays -- although we hear that a now-renamed Latke Luncheon will continue an old family tradition.

We will miss you all...but not the weather.
(I drafted this a couple of days ago. So did I give us a "cunahora"? A yiddishism, a jewish superstition, of -- be careful what you say, it may come your way!)

We will spend Christmas in San Diego.

And we will be wending our way down the CA coast during Hanukah and we can all sing along with:
((click this link and you'll see and hear a 2-minute youtube related video))

Really -- check it out. Hanukkah in Santa Monica

Sluggish in Southern Ca

Who could blame me for being sluggish this morn? Everything is working wifi connection, our water pipes. It is ONLY 27 degrees here.

We read about the blizzard blazing a trail across the country and are wondering about friends who are traveling and about how much snow gets dumped back at home.

Alan, the optimist, thinks that the roads in Joshua Tree National Park will be open today -- after an unprecedented 2 day closure -- and would like to do some hiking. I'm game...we just have to fish our down jackets (knew they would come in handy -- but who would have thought at this location?) out of our storage area.

Keep us posted and we'll do the same.

And, hopefully, Happy Latkes to you.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Never Rains BUT it sure does snow


having problems posting

these accompany entry below
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first two of snow, followed by our mystery destination, and ending with the brownies onboard

It NEVER Rains in Southern California?

The follow-the-sun couple, AKA Barbara and Alan, have gotten stuck with the same bad weather happening all over the country. 41 degrees and rainy this morning, it plummeted to the low 30s and this:



A, his name is Alan and he comes from Afton and he is ______________ -- fill-in the blank;
antsy, adventurous, or another way to say "a traveling fool."

The couple had differing ideas of how to spend a dreary day.
He wanted to explore and she wanted to cocoon. Should we find the desert oasis? Or craft, cook, and communicate via email and Skype?

it makes it more difficult to choose independently. So she reluctantly drove shotgun (or, as he might say, as a backseat driver on the side seat) and they were off.

Albeit, the snow was not sticking much when we set out but after 45 minutes it was accumulating The roads were slushy and slippery. And the reward at the end of the drive:


Was it worth it? I'd say NO...


So, I guess after an hour-and-a-half round trip drive via 29 Palms, we are snug back in our campground slot. With my husband making brownies.

What's the weather like there? And what are you doing to ENJOY it?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Been here, Been there

Yesterday we spent our day exploring it is now -- been there, done that! I wish I could say I was impressed -- what's new to say about this place?...of excess, waste, desperation, and party attitude? The stew of Disney and Times Square. At least our new friends from Holland were looking at Vegas through a design and planning/building perspective. They were reading about the history and architecture. Us...we took the bus up and down the strip and stopped a few places and indulged in the Champagne Brunch in Paris and watched the Bellagio fountains, a few circus acts, the casino action, gondolas, the Christmas garden, the world's largest chocolate fountain, etc.

Tomorrow we return to the sanity of the National Parks.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Death Valley and Vegas Virgins

We spent a few days in Death Valley and it was very different than the images in our heads. It is not just dry and flat. It is an area of mountains, textures, shadings,and a brown palette from cream to chocolate with dabs of orange and green. Layers and canyons, which as we found out could be maze-like. Hiking was lovely in the cooler autumn temps., hovered mid 50s through lower 60s (and colder at night).
We both had fun taking hundreds of photos (SOME of which we will soon share). It is difficult to get good broad expanse shots of the views -- especially with our cameras. But also for the "big boys." When I oohed over a poster photo in the Natl Park store the ranger said that the picture had really been photo-shopped combining three different scenes together.

And Alan went swimming in the naturally heated pool, we had a fiasco of a lunch at the fancy inn restaurant (recommended by both a well-traveled online friend and Fodor's description of their "top-notch" desert-themed cuisine) and better meals at the downhome 49ers restaurant -- where we shared a meal with a Dutch couple also on sabbatical in a rental RV (very interesting perspective and itinerary).

Alan and I, even when we have been geographically close, have intentionally NEVER visited Las Vegas before. Here now and why? The two major things we wanted to do are not available -- Cirque de Soleil "O" -- seems closed till Christmas (a "dark" period on the website) and old upstate NY friends we wanted to catch up with are busy this weekend.

Just found out that the Dutch couple we met in Death Valley are here in Las Vegas -- just a couple of rows over in this RV park (right next to Circus-Circus). Going to go over and have coffee with them before we all go our separate ways.

And last night we made plans to meet our on-road friends, Katie and Bob (who we spent time with at Morro Bay and have similar RV and travel plans) in San Diego for Christmas.

Lots more stories but this is the basic outline! For now...because it's time to get out and explore.
Miss you all but not the weather!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tumbleweed and Travel

Greetings to all,

After our wonderful interlude on Santa Cruz Island, we returned to the Ventura mainland for a couple of days. Including having a delightful lunch with our friend Tim's cousin Catherine -- an intrepid traveler and courageous, creative woman -- at her home and another day trip to Ojai where we stopped at "The World's Greatest Outdoor Bookstore," Bart's Books.

Talking about books (well, sort of) I am writing a piece about women's travelogues with a focus on road trips (and coastal boating). Please send any recommendations!!

Yesterday was a travel day, through desolate roads of wind and tumbleweed. We are in Panamint, CA, in a high-desert campground outside of Death Valley National Park, and we plan to spend a few days in the park. The environment is more varied than its name implies and we, of course, plan to post photos after our hiking there. Alan has prepared a list of possibilities.

Our wifi connection here exists -- spotty and slow -- and expecting none for a few days. Definitely no cell phone. In fact, the guidebook says that this campground only uses satellite phones and if one is trying to call in from somewhere else to make reservations, that they may not be able to get through.

On another note, I did join facebook and had an initial flurry of activity connecting with folks I know who are already on. A vast array of new and old friends, some of whom I had lost touch with, and a nephew! So, if you are on,contact me there too.

We'll write more when we emerge into more civilized places.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


This is a mostly photo essay of our 2 day ocean voyage, backpacking, hiking, and sea kayaking into caves visit to this little used, mostly unheard of, gem of a national park. The park consists of a series of 5 islands approximately 20 miles off the coast of southern California across the Santa Barbara Channel. We visited only Santa Cruz Island the largest in the chain reached by high speed motorized catamaran in about an hour. It was a bright sunny day with temperatures in the low to mid 60's - perfect weather. On the way out we happened upon a pod of about 200 dolphins and everybody got very excited and started taking lots of pictures. Then after they swam off and we continued in route we came upon an enormous mega pod of what the boat captain and naturalist guessed were a couple of thousand dolphins, the sea was boiling with them as far as the eye could see and many of them traveled along with us riding in the bow wave of our boat - an incredible exciting experience.

We then landed on the Island, got our gear and backpacked less than a mile to a beautiful primitive campground where we were only one of 3 couples staying overnight. There were overhanging eucalyptus trees with clouds of monarch butterflies flitting about. We took a hike that afternoon climbing high up into the hills overlooking the island , the channel and the mainland. Then back down for an early dinner before dark where we were entertained by a procession of island foxes (the size of large housecats) walking through the campground within 10 feet of us.

Next day, a lazy morning and packed up camp to meet the boat and our guide for our sea kayaking adventure. Again because of the time of year there was only one other couple on the trip with us. After some brief intro to kayaking skills, we launched and traveled along the coast of the Island looking down into very clear water, up to magnificent cliffs and then entering numerous sea caves and arches trying to be careful not to get caught in the wave surges which could easily smash you into the sharp rocks or as happened to Robert, flip you into the water.

We had a really great time and Barbara did great in her own kayak. The photos below we hope will give you just a taste of what it was like.

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