Wednesday, Nov. 1st - Monday, Jan. 1st
We spent Halloween night in Kennewick, Washington and Wednesday drove the rest of the way to Portland where we spent two nights at Fairview RV Park. We spent Wednesday evening with John's cousin David and wife Karen. She fixed us a wonderful lasagna for supper and we had Tillamook ice cream for desert. Yum Yum! Thursday we went with them to the Oregon History Museum and had supper at Chang's, a Mongolian grill that's been in their neighborhood for many years. Again, Yum Yum!
One of the things in the museum was JFK's mahogany coffee table and the rocking chair his father gave him to make him more comfortable with his back pain. A quote of JFK's shortly before he died, "Mankind must put an end to war--or war will put an end to Mankind." Jackie said that at night before they went to sleep Jack liked to play some records. The last song on one of his favorite albums ended with the words he liked to here most, "Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot."
Friday we moved to Thousand Trails Campground in Seaside, Oregon for three days. Saturday we drove up to Long Beach, Washington.
Marsh's Free Museum in Long Beach is a very quirky little place. This unique instrument is called the Seeburg Orchestra. It has a flute, violin, pipes, base and snare drums, castanets, triangle, cymbals, mandolin, xylophone and piano all enclosed within the cabinet and it plays ten different tunes.
They have all kinds of stuff, like these antique vending machines of a sort, to guess your weight or measure the strength of your grip. One says "Does your lover know?"
This one was some sort of baseball game.
This one was called the Kiss Tester and measured the thrill of your kisses. They have a jukebox from a Mississippi riverboat, Jake the Alligator Man (half man, half gator) and other oddities. Kind of their Wall Drug. In the park across the street is the world's largest frying pan.
We drove around Astoria on our way back and ate at Drina Daisy, a little Bosnian restaurant we had eaten at last time we were here. Cheers, Mom!
Sunday we relaxed in the hot tub. Monday we drove down to Tillamook to the ice cream and cheese factory. We checked out their museum and had free cheese samples and each had a big bowl of our favorite flavor of that delicious Tillamook ice cream.
Tuesday we moved to Whaler's Rest RV Park in Newport for three days. We ate at Mo's again for their famous clam chowder and fish and chips. We were here three days, but it rained most of the time. We went for a drive one day down to Depoe Bay, the smallest harbor in the world, and used the indoor hot tub a couple times and ate at Grizzly Tuna and Chips. Otherwise, we just huddled in the camper and waited for it to quit raining.
Friday and Saturday we stayed at Village Camper Inn RV Park in Crescent City, California. Sunset Friday night.
Saturday we drove through Jedediah Smith Redwood National and State Park. Mom and John hiking through the waist-high sword ferns in Stout Memorial Grove, 44 acres given to the Save the Redwoods League in 1929 to memorialize lumber baron Frank D. Stout, an apt name for a lumber man of giant trees.
Mom and John straining their necks to see the tops of the 300' tall redwoods. There are three kinds of Redwoods, the Coast Redwoods (world's tallest species) from southern Oregon to central California, the Giant Sequoias on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevadas in California and the Dawn Redwoods in the remote mountain valleys of China's Sichuan and Hubei provinces. Now they are just a small fragment of an ancient world-wide forest that has a 250-million-year history.
Me standing in a burned out tree, but still alive and growing, both me and the tree, that is. Both older than dirt, as my baby brother would say.
Mom standing by Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox at Trees of Mystery. They have a nice hiking trail here, with Paul Bunyan wood carvings and stories along the way, and a sky tram ride. There is also a very nice free museum inside with the gift shop.
One of the exhibits in the museum was this Blackfoot warrior and Cheyenne woman and child. We ate at Pizza King in Crescent City this evening.
Traveling in style. He even has a second story on his mobile home. Realtors would probably call it a story and a half or a split level. Sunday we moved to Mad River Rapids RV Park in Arcata/Eureka.
A couple of mild-mannered St. Bernards that were left in the car at the mall. Everybody that walked by stopped to take a picture.
We had lunch at the Samoa Cookhouse and Logging Museum. This was our third time here. They feed you family style just like the lumber jacks used to eat. A different meal everyday, such as pork chops, meat loaf, etc. including soup, salad, dessert, drinks and fresh baked bread. Places like this fed 120 to 190 men three times a day through the 1950s. When longshoremen were loading ships thirty extra tables were set. Samoa Cookhouse opened in 1893 and is the last surviving cookhouse in the west.
They have all sorts of smaller logging equipment here. Things that were used in the offices and for cutting, planning, shaping the lumber into things like shingles, posts, toothpicks and so on.
Lots of interesting pictures that show how truly large these trees really are.
Lumbermen worked six days a week, twelve hours a day. Sunday nights they got a cold plate of leftovers and cold cuts. In 1906 men spent a small fraction of their $1.00 a day earnings for meals. By 1922 they earned more and 60 cents a day covered three generous meals.
Twelve men standing side-by-side on a tree stump.
This record load of redwood logs, the largest known to be delivered, arrived in Fort Bragg in 1952. The logs are all 40' long (7, 8 and 9') in diameter equaling 53,670 board feet, enough to build five small houses. Estimated weight of the logs is 185 tons. Due to muddy conditions, roads were often built of logs and called corduroy roads. Makes my teeth chatter just to think of it.
4th U.S. Cavalry in the Sierra Nevada Mountains east of Fresno in the 1840s.
Monday we drove to Fort Humboldt where Ulysses S. Grant once served as a young officer. This is Mom in front of a very scorched redwood in Humboldt Redwoods State and National Park. Redwood resists fire, is slow burning, easy to extinguish, hard to ignite and resists rot because it has a natural preservative. When properly seasoned it will not warp, shrink or crack. It is light in weight and easily worked. Logging began in the 1850s. The Northwest Pacific Railroad was completed in 1914 at a cost of 25 cents an inch, ending the isolation of Humboldt County.
In the Visitor's Center is the Travel Log, the largest piece of hewn redwood in the world. It took two men several days to fell a redwood, standing on scaffolding way above the base of the tree. In 1917 Charles Kellogg, using a one-man saw, cut off a 22' section of an 11' diameter tree to build his Travel Log. He and two helpers shaped the exterior. He grew up surrounded by the redwoods and his dream was to preserve the great groves of redwoods in California by awakening public sentiment in New York and across the United States. Touring his log home throughout the U.S., he sold Liberty Bonds to support the WWI effort. Its maximum speed was 18 mph. He would tour three or four months and spend the rest of the year at home in Morgan Hill or in the wilderness. He was a friend to the great naturalists, John Muir and John Burroughs and an early member of the Save the Redwoods League. He invented farm equipment, designed fireplaces, was an avid photographer and made his own writing paper. He used his voice to reproduce the songs of birds and was a top-selling recording artist with Victor Records with his bird songs. At 16 he began performing on the Vaudeville circuit dazzling audiences with his bird songs on stage and radio for many years. He toured the world sharing his stories and bird songs. It was said he was able to sing notes inaudible to the human ear and it was claimed his unique vocal vibrations could extinguish a flame or fire up the Travel Log without the use of the crank.
Gardens behind Loleta Cheese Factory in the small town of Loleta on Monday.
Carson Mansion in Eureka, now a private club. There are lots of beautiful homes in this town left from the lumber baron times, and also in nearby Ferndale.
Tuesday we took Mom to see the tallest totem pole in the world made from one tree in a shopping center in McKinleyville.
Then we drove up to Trinidad, ice plants at the beach. "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." Wm. Shakespeare
Mom on the pier at Trinidad.
We took Trinidad Scenic Drive and stumbled upon Luffenholtz Beach County Park with this awesome hike out to the cliff's edge overlooking the smashing waves. We have been to most of these places before, but we had not been here. It was awesomely beautiful and rugged. So cool.
This was my view down the beach from the end of the trail. We stopped at Cypress Grove Chevre (goat) Cheese Company in Arcata and bought several different kinds of goat cheese to try. We normally like all types of cheese. One was okay, but the other two were really nasty. Even a good red wine with it just didn't cut it. Just my opinion.
Wednesday we moved to the KOA campground at Petaluma north of San Francisco (Napa/Sonoma Valley). Lots of the vineyards in this area also had olive groves.
Kunde Family Winery established 1904 near our campground. Mom and I did a tasting here, but we weren't impressed by their wines or their prices.
Bodega Head in Sonoma Coast State Park.
Perfect sign for our camper. I'll let you guess which one it refers to. Probably changes from day to day.
We had fish and chips here at the Bodega Bay Boat House. Bodega Bay is where Alfred Hitchcock filmed the movie Birds. There was a 2005 newspaper article on the wall here about the mysterious and cannibalistic jumbo squid schooling in huge numbers off the California coast, giving anglers an exciting option to the regular salmon, rock fish and crabbing seasons. The hard fighters were being caught off Monterey, Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay. The water was warmer than normal, 55 to 56 degrees versus the normal of 48 to 51 degrees, the same as 1998 and 1999 when the squid were there. They ranged from 15 to 50 pounds, averaging 25 pounds. They used glow-in-the-dark squid jigs down to the bottom in 600 feet of water. These squid live only one year and grow up to one inch per day. To keep growing they feed on everything. The daily limit is 35 and they are extremely powerful. When they are landed they go through amazing color changes from red to pink to blue to gray. They are relatively docile once they are out of the water, but you must be careful handling them because their razor sharp teeth tear through the flesh of their prey. Mexican fishermen go out at night in the Sea of Cortez to supply the Japanese calamari market. The big white-meated squid are considered a delicacy. They live at depths of 600 to 2,300 feet. There are an estimated ten million living in a 25 square mile area outside Santa Rosalia, Mexico. There is probably an almost unimaginable number in their entire range from Chile to California and half way to Hawaii along the equator.
Friday, Dec. 17th we went to San Francisco. Here we stopped at the scenic point for our first view of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Our first sight was these girls behind the fence on the edge of the cliff, behind the sign that says, Area Closed, Stay on Trail. Getting the perfect selfie with the bridge in the background.
Golden Gate Bridge.
Looking back toward where we just came from we could see the Robin Williams Tunnel in the upper left corner. Just to the right off the picture is Angel Island and Alcatraz.
Cute little car we followed through Golden Gate Park.
Interesting sights driving through Haight-Ashbury. Sign reads "Head Rush Smoke Shop-Vaporizers-Hookahs-Pipes-www.headrushsf.com".
Typical wall-to-wall housing in San Francisco on very hilly streets.
Symphony and Opera House on Franklin Street. We drove down the crookedest street in the world, Lombard Street, and had lunch on Fisherman's Wharf, but my camera battery died, so no pictures.
Sunday we went to Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. This is the third time I have toured this house. Sarah was the heiress to the Winchester Rifle fortune and was convinced she would share in the fate of all those killed by the Winchester Rifles, unless she began building a mansion for the spirits of all those killed. A psychic told her she must build continuously, so she started with an 8-room farm house and continued adding on around the clock in the most bizarre fashion until her death 38 years later.
View from the back. Very interesting tour about a lady with some rather odd ideas. It was the best gig in town, because she paid her servants, gardeners, carpenters, etc. double the going rate for wages. Guaranteed work until she died. In 1922 she ended up with 161 rooms, 13 bathrooms, 47 fireplaces, 10,000 windows, 52 sky lights, 2,000 doors and 40 bedrooms, each of which she slept in at least once to confuse the spirits. She also had a seance room and doors to nowhere. So the servants were never quite sure where to find her. She was trapped in one of the bedrooms during the 1906 earthquake and it took them all day to find her. We had late lunch at Sweet Tomatoes today, one of my favorite places to eat.
Monday we took Watsonville Road to Santa Cruz on the north end of Monterey Bay and stopped to enjoy this view of the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum in the lighthouse.
This guy speeded around the loop here three times behind Mom and she never even noticed him. She was just too busy checking out all the sights.
Santa Cruz Surfing Museum
Surfing was first brought here by Hawaiian Princes during the summer of 1885. The three young princes rode the waves at the mouth of San Lorenzo River on redwood planks cut in the shape of olo surf boards, while attending St. Matthew's Hall Military School in San Mateo. They stayed in Santa Cruz during their vacations and started the craze of surfing on the Pacific Coast. Since 1965, 100 people have drowned along these coastal cliffs and beaches. Everywhere there are signs to stay behind the fences and away from the cliff edges.
Waxing her surf board before hitting the waves.
We could hear the seals barking here at Natural Bridge State Park and the whales breeching and spouting far out in the distance.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Casino opened in 1907. It is California's oldest, continuously operated seaside amusement park. The 75' Giant Dipper wood coaster is a roller coaster landmark. It opened in 1924 with an initial drop of 65'6" with tight twists and a serpentine tunnel. It was constructed in less than seven weeks for $50,000. It has starred as a background in several movies. It is one of ten of the oldest operating coasters in the world and has thrilled over 50 million riders. There are four full-time mechanics that inspect and maintain the Boardwalk roller coasters.
The indoor natatorium pool was 144'x64' and featured a 40' slide. It held 408,000 gallons and was replenished daily from the Pacific Ocean. It was heated from a chilly 50 degrees to a comfy 83 degrees. 30,000 people witnessed the Plunge Water Carnival performances each summer. It was the home of the record-holding Underwater Natators (human submarines), flying trapeze artists, fire divers, Stratosphere Plungers, water ballets and Slide for Life Daredevils. Today the pool is gone and it houses a museum, games, mini golf, etc.
Surfboard benches throughout the Boardwalk. We ate a late lunch at the Falafel Hut across the street. At the turn of the century 1900, lounging couples covered the beach much as they do today, but women were fully dressed and men wore hats and suit coats. Laws prohibited sitting on the beach in bathing attire. What fun that must have been in the California heat! The first Miss California Pageant was held at the Boardwalk in 1924.
Sycamore Creek Vineyard right next to our campground.
Leaving Thousand Trails Campground in Morgan Hill on Uvas (grape) Creek.
Mom at Casa de Fruta Campground near Gilroy, Garlic Capitol of the World. We just stopped here for gas and a break and drove the rest of the way to Hanford, where we spent six days over Thanksgiving with John's sister and friends. We went out for Chinese lunch on Wednesday and to Sizzler for Thanksgiving and went to the movie Wonder on Friday. Friday night I made spaghetti, broccoli salad and bread for seven of us. We had a birthday cake for Kathy and polished off that bottle of Rapazzini and two others. Good times with family and friends!
Sunday, Nov. 26th we moved to Santee Lakes Campground about 30 miles north of San Diego where this Great Blue Heron was hanging out along with lots of pelicans, ducks, egrets and coots.
Historic Old Town San Diego is a very nice place to spend a day. The original old buildings are renovated or rebuilt and have historic plaques describing them. Many have unique little shops and restaurants. Some have museums about the town. The smoking museum and shop was very interesting with old pipes, tobacco tins, cigarette packages and such, but hard to stay in there very long with the smoke.
San Diego was settled by pensioned soldiers and their families from the Presidio. By 1835 they were about 40 dark brown huts. The stars and stripes were first raised over the plaza in 1846 by marines from the USS Cyane. In 1855 San Diego had over 800 citizens plus nearly 1,000 Native Americans who were, of course, not counted. The Mission trained the Indians who became vaqueros (cowboys) and house servants to the Mexican-Californians and later to the Americans, until they were replaced by Chinese as the primary labor force. Cooking and cleaning was still left to the Indians in commercial establishments and they were employed as day laborers compensated by only food and minimal shelter.
The first mayor of San Diego was Joshua Bean, older brother of the infamous Judge Roy Bean.
The Wells Fargo Stagecoach was considered the finest passenger vehicle of its time. It traveled an average of 5 mph, changing horses at stations every 12 miles and stopping for meals at stations every 45 miles. The three benches inside held up to nine passengers. The roof carried luggage, but often provided extra seating for as many as nine more passengers with their legs hanging over the rails. The coach was painted a familiar red with the company name in gold leaf, still the signature colors of Wells Fargo. Oiled leather curtains helped keep out the dust, wind and rain. The wheels and running boards were a bright straw yellow. The coach rested on thick leather straps called thoroughbraces that served as shock absorbers. In 1861 Mark Twain and his brother rode west on the top of a coach with their legs hanging over the side rails. The rocking motion led to his description of the coach in his book Roughing It, as a "cradle on wheels". The driver handled a team of four to six horses and the shotgun messenger kept an eye out for bandits. A finished coach weighed 2,000 pounds and cost $1,250 in 1868. From 1870 to 1884 Wells Fargo experienced a wave of 347 attacks on its stage shipments. 206 of the robbers gained prison terms instead of riches for their unauthorized withdrawals. Henry Wells built the earliest commercial telegraph lines in the U.S. and worked for cheap mail delivery. He was a keen advocate of education for women and founded Wells College for Women in Aurora, NY. in 1868. William Fargo was mayor of New York City during the Civil War. He was a skilled manager, president of Wells, Fargo and Company 1870 to 1872 and American Express from 1868 to 1881. He directed the Overland Mail Company in the 1850s and was director of Northern Pacific Railroad which traversed the Great Plains in the 1870s. Fargo, ND. is named for him. Wells and Fargo met at the elegant Astor House in New York City in 1852 to form a new banking and express company. By 1855 they had 55 offices in California in gold camps, Sacramento and the coastal port cities of Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego.
Restaurant where we ate Mexican for lunch.
Casa de Bandini/Cosmopolitan Hotel was originally the home of Juan Bandini, a politician, civic leader and rancher. The one story adobe home was built 1827 to 1829. In 1869 it was converted to a two-story adobe and wood frame hotel for a stagecoach stop. It was later variously converted to a boarding house, olive factory and restaurant. It was restored and rehabilitated 2007 to 2010.
Tuesday we went to Balboa Park, the Jewel of San Diego. This park is incredibly huge and not to be missed if you are in San Diego. It includes the San Diego Zoo and many athletic facilities, tennis courts, basketball, fitness center, velodrome for bicycling, vast green spaces and about a dozen huge museums (Space and Science, Automobiles, Electric Trains, Art, Music, etc.)
Mom checking out the strange assortment of tropical plants.
Mom enjoying the rose gardens.
Neil Diamond Rose.
That's Mom and I way in the background there. I need to give John lessons on how to use the zoom.
Walking through the desert gardens.
Some very odd looking trees.
The stump was completely hollow on this tree.
Replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London.
Alcazar Garden was created as Montezuma Garden in 1915 for the Pan-Cal Expo. It was revitalized for the second San Diego World's Fair 1935-36, the California Pacific International Expo. It was inspired by the 14th century Royal Alcazar Gardens in Seville, Spain and renamed.
View of the California Tower from the gardens.
Banyan tree roots on the side hill down into...
the Valley of the Palms. We ate at Anny's Burgers in the train station mall when we got back to Santee Lakes and went for a hike along the lakes at our campground.
Wednesday we crossed the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge to see the Hotel Del Coronado. The Victorian Hotel was built in 1887 and is one of America's largest wooden buildings.
The tree on the right is a Dragon Tree, native to the Canary Islands. It was planted before 1900 and was used as a backdrop in Marilyn Monroe's movie Some Like It Hot in 1958.
Last view from the parking lot.
From there we drove over to the USS Midway which is now a museum. It was the first ship built that was too big to fit through the Panama Canal. The sculptures in the foreground are Bob Hope entertaining troops from all branches of the military.
The statue of the iconic picture on the cover of Time Magazine of the returning soldier from WWII.
From there we drove up to Cabrillo Point across the bay.
Replica of his ship in the Visitor's Center where there was a small museum and a film. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo was one of the conquistadors with Cortez in South America. Mexico had an estimated population of 25 million in 1517 which dwindled to 3 million by 1600 when the Europeans had had their way with them and spread their diseases across the continent. Cabrillo built a fleet of 13 ships at Iztapa in Guatemala. He entered the harbor here in 1542, the first Europeans to set foot in what would become the west coast of the United States.
This small finger of land is called Ballast Point and is most likely where he landed. This large natural harbor is headquarters for part of the Navy's Pacific Fleet. It is the submarine harbor. The island right across from the point is the naval base.
There is a huge military cemetery just up the hill behind the submarine harbor on Point Loma. It goes on and on over the rolling hills on both sides of the road.
Saturday, Dec. 9th we watched the golf cart Christmas Parade at our campground.
Then we drove into Yuma to watch the city Christmas Parade.
After the parade we just accidentally stumbled on a neighborhood that was all decorated to the max with music playing and everything. Very Cool.
Sunday Mom and I hit the Flea Market one more time. Monday we went to Lin's Chinese Buffet. Wednesday we moved to Cotton Lane RV Resort in Goodyear on the southwest edge of Phoenix. We visited my Aunt Ruby on Thursday and stopped at Red Robin for supper. Friday we drove over to Mesa to visit Mom's friend, Kathy and stopped at Raising Canes for supper, best chicken ever! Saturday we dropped Mom at the airport in Mesa and she headed back to the cold, so she could spend Christmas with all the kids and grandkids. Wednesday we headed back to Yuma Lakes for the rest of the 2017.
A happy hour toast to all our family and friends!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to One and All
Tarra and John