Saturday, June 29, 2013

Good Morning

I have always considered myself a night owl pretty much my whole life. I almost always worked a night shift for jobs, stayed up late, and never really got up with the sun. In fact, if I was ever up with the sun, it was because I had been up all night. So this morning was a shock to both Doug and my Mom when I actually got up with the sun!

We're camping at a gorgeous spot called Rocky Point Resort located in Klamath Falls, Oregon which is the next largest town over the California/Oregon border. When we decided to drive up this way, we began looking at campgrounds in the area and I actually found this one we're now at. It looked incredibly beautiful from the website; RVs tucked in among the tall trees, lots of birds in the area, and an out-of-the-way area with few distractions. I was hopeful, but I didn't believe the website 100%. Well, let me tell you, it's all of that and more. The grounds are incredible with tall trees everywhere, birds flying all over the area, and very little people or car noise. So, because of all the above reasons, I couldn't resist getting up with the sun and enjoying the peace and quiet as the world begins to emerge.
So good morning to everyone today and I hope you all enjoy your day.

But before I say goodbye, I wanted to fill you in on our plans for today. We're headed to Crater Lake National Park which is located about 60 miles north of the campground. The lake is reported to be one of the deepest lakes in North America at about 1,900 feet. Because of these depths, the water is said to be some of the most gorgeous blue colors people have seen. But what makes this park so interesting is that for about 8 to 9 months of the year, it's buried until a thick coat of snow sometimes up to 40 or more feet a year.

We plan on spending the day at the park exploring the area then we'll make the drive outside of Portland. Last year on our Alaska trip, we learned of a fabulous donut shop located in Portland that we actually stopped at going up to Alaska and returning. It's called Voodoo donuts and it's one of the best donut shops I've ever been to. They actually have a donut called the voodoo doll that comes with a pretzel stick instead of a pin! But they also have other donuts that are both original and odd, but it's an amazing place. And, in addition to getting donuts, you can also get married at the store.

I just wanted to catch you up on our trip so far, but we will post some more pictures for you later today or tomorrow. I took quite a lot of pictures this morning on the lake and we'll be taking lots more today at the park and around the area.  Here is the link to the pictures we posted to Flickr.

Thank you again for joining us on this amazing adventure; we're excited to have you along for the ride. And don't forget that you can always leave us comments-we love hearing from you.

And we're off!

Today was day one of our seven week journey to Alaska!  Naturally, we started the day by heading south to Highway 37 before heading over to Interstate 80.  At Vacaville we caught hwy 505 which led into I-5.  We took the 5 all the way up to (Yes, it's really called) Weed, California.  From there we took the back roads into Oregon.  We are spending the night at a little place called Rocky Point Resort just north of Klamath Falls.  Here's today's map.

Tomorrow we hope to get an early start as we are headed up to Crater Lake National Park.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Our Day in and around San Francisco

     As I sit on my Mother's back porch, I'm watching all these quail wondering around the backyard making their calls to each other unaware that I'm here. There are quite a few of them around my Mom's house and they actually live along the property line in the blackberry bushes. What always amazes me is that the quail just walk through their little space in the bushes even though the bushes are full of thorns. But the bushes are a great home for them as they're safe from predators.

It's been a very long time since I've written a post; I guess I can blame it on laziness and the fact that I knew Doug was working on the blog. But I did promise him that I would actually work on the blog this summer so I better get going!

Tomorrow, Friday the 28th of June, is our departure day for our Alaska trip and I'm very excited. I can't even believe the day is right around the corner, but I know we've done an incredible amount of work to get ready. Doug and I went to Costco in Santa Rosa yesterday and actually filled up two shopping carts with food and supplies. When we got to the check out counter, Doug told the checker that we had the two carts as we were going to Alaska. He had a look of disbelief on his face then asked us if we really were going to Alaska. We assured him we were telling him the truth then he told us of his trip up North back in 1981.

The real fun with all the food and supplies began when we got back to my Mom's house as the realization set in that all of it needed to be put away. It was overwhelming. Doug and I very rarely argue with each other, but as we unloaded the truck and loaded the RV, we were at each other for the afternoon. Plus it was really hot so that added to our dismay. And before you even think anything-I know, we live in Florida and we're used to the heat, but it's a bit different when you're out working in it trying to get so much done. But we survived it, thankfully, and tomorrow we head up North for a trip of a lifetime.

But before we begin our trip, I want to catch you up on our trip we took this past Tuesday to Alcatraz then to an A's ballgame in Oakland.

The San Francisco Bay Area usually gets rain from sometime in November to April or May each year, referred to as the rainy season. So it's very unusual to get rain during the summer months, but I guess because we had a trip planned, it decided to rain and rain it did. But we had tickets to Alcatraz and they're not easy to get so off we went for the city of San Francisco. As we waited to board the ferry that takes you out to the island, it was really raining, but once we got to Alcatraz, it stopped just like that. We were both thrilled.

Once we landed at Alcatraz, we listened to a brief talk from a ranger about the goings-on around the island then we were off to begin the adventure. Our first stop was a building at the opposite end of the island which had some incredible photographs that were taken on the last day Alcatraz was a prison. Alcatraz shut down in March of 1963 for various reasons-not cost effective any longer, the buildings were taking a toll from the saltwater, and it just wasn't working well any more as a prison. What made these photographs so special is that they were lost for almost 40+ years.

Once we left that building, we continued up the hill to the cell house building. But along the way, I began to see lots of baby birds from the seagulls, egrets, and cormorants all over the island. Apparently Alcatraz is an important area for these birds and they had just given birth to their young a short time ago. In all the years I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and on the water, I had never seen seagull chicks so I was so excited to see nest after nest of them. The birds seem to be used to people but none the less, we were cautioned to not get too close and bother them.

Once inside the cell house, we were given headphones so that we could begin the tour at our own pace. It's just such a strange feeling that we were inside this building that housed the most dangerous criminals in the country at that time. The cells are incredibly small-just big enough for a cot, sink, toilet, and a small seat with a small table-I believe the dimensions are something like 5 feet across, 9 feet deep, and 7 feet high. It's just unreal that men lived in these cells sometimes for many years.

We toured the cell house then took a side trip to the recreation yard which was the only place some of these men were allowed to be outside. It must have been torture for them because from the yard, they could see San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge(once it was built in 1937), and the Bay Bridge. Also, if the wind was just right, they could hear the goings on from San Francisco. We wondered around the yard for a bit then enjoyed the gorgeous gardens all around the island. Even with all the harsh weather conditions, the gardens are just beautifully cared for by many local volunteers.

Once we headed back to the cell house, we ventured to the isolation area of Alcatraz. If inmates ignored the rules, they were sent to this area as a form of punishment. They were placed in a cell, a tad larger than their regular cell, where this steel door was shut and they were plunged into total darkness for a period of up to 19 days. Doug and I went into one of these cells and the ranger closed the steel door for about 30 seconds and let me tell you, it was pitch black. I couldn't even see Doug and he was right next to me! I think I would have gone crazy in there even after a day.

We continued on the tour for a little longer than we headed back down towards the dock to wait for the ferry. It was an incredible adventure to see Alcatraz and walk where only hardened criminals once walked.

As though we hadn't done enough for any day, Doug bought tickets to see the Oakland A's play the Cincinnati Reds that evening. We drove across the Bay Bridge where I got to see the new span that should be opening Labor Day weekend. It was very exciting to see this new span and it's gorgeous.

We got to the coliseum just in the time for the start of the game and the weather turned out to be just incredible. It wasn't too cold, which is fairly normal for this time of year, and there was very little wind. I couldn't believe our luck as 12 hours earlier, it was raining quite a bit. So the game was lots of fun and the Oakland A's won which made for an even better time!

Once Doug and I were in the truck, we started talking about going to the In and Out burger place in Marin after the game. We tossed the idea back and forth then we decided we shouldn't eat that late. Well, once we crossed the Richmond-San Rafael bridge, we made the split second decision to get off the highway to head south to the restaurant after all. And let me tell you, there's nothing like one of their burgers and a shake to celebrate the end of a great day.

As I mentioned way back in the beginning of the post-now where was that anyway-we leave tomorrow for our great adventure. We will try to keep you posted each day, but the further north we go, the worse the internet services become. Some places are so rural that they don't have any services. So once we get to reliable internet services then, we'll catch you up on our travels. So as I say good night, I thank you for following our blog about our travels. We enjoy having you travel with us and please feel free to leave us comments as we love to read them. North to Alaska we go!!!!

Pictures from our Alcatraz adventure can be found here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Odds and Ends

Greetings from California;

First we have been here for two weeks now and the big trip starts Friday!  Kim and I are heading in to San Francisco tomorrow to visit Alcatraz.  We purchased tickets about 10 days ago.  You may or may not know that it never rains here this time of year . . . Ooops, wait a minute.  It's raining today and more rain is supposed to be on the way on Tuesday.  We also have tickets to see the Oakland A's play the Cincinnati Reds at 7pm tomorrow.  It will be the first game in the Oakland coliseum since the big sewage leak two sundays ago.  It should be an interesting day - we will get some pictures posted on Weds or Thursday.

Second, Kim and I got new iPhone 5's over the weekend.  Best Buy has a trade in program going on this week and it seems like a pretty good deal.  The program gives you a $150 credit for your iPhone 4 or 4S, and they have the 16gb iPhone 5 available for $150.  You have to pay tax (on the full ripoff retail price of the phone) and a one time activation fee of $35 but it still seemed like a good deal.  You also have to be eligible for an upgrade with your respective carrier.  If you have one of the above iPhones and are eligible for an upgrade it might behoove you to head over to Best Buy and check out the program.  Of course, the next generation iPhone is certainly around the corner and now that we upgraded it will probably be out in the next week but we really like the new phone.

Third, A funny thing happened on our way to California that we haven't mentioned yet.  As we were crossing into Arizona on I-10 a couple weeks back it occurred to me that I hadn't packed my passport.  Given that you need your passport to get into Canada nowadays and we were driving across country specifically to head north it seemed kind of important to have that item.  Kim was sleeping in the passenger seat, I didn't bother to wake her up to ask her if she had thought to pack them.  After a while she woke up and I casually asked if she had thought to pack the passports, she hadn't.

As you can imagine a moment of panic ensued.  Initially, we weren't sure where the passports were.  We thought that we had possibly locked them in our safe deposit box back in Florida and were wondering if a cross country flight might be in our future.  After further consideration we decided they were locked in our fireproof box in our house in Florida. We contacted our friends Drake and Barb back home.  They were planning to be near our house in the following week and graciously agreed to see if they could locate the passports and send them cross country to us.  

A week later they called as they were heading to our house.  Barb went to the closet where I told here the key for the box was located.  She couldn't find it!  There was a good reason for that - it wasn't where I said it would be.  Where was it?  Well, as Drake discovered, it was in the lock of the fireproof box, which we hadn't even bothered to lock!  Thank goodness our passports were in the box as we thought they were.  A big shout out to Drake and Barb for retrieving our passports and several other items that they sent cross country to us!!

Final thought for today.  Your may be wondering how bored I get hanging out here in Ca.  I mean, how many times a week can a guy play golf anyways.  Well, I am pleased to report that I have found a part time - well - let's call it a job.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words - here you go.

Yes, that's me, yes Kim's mom has horses.  Yes, I shovel almost daily - Rain or Shine!  More pictures on our Flickr account.  You can find them here.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Photo's on flickr

Hello anyone who might be reading or subscribing:

I have setup a Flickr account to post photo's of our trip.  I put about 50 or so up earlier today.  I think you can view them here.

Friday, June 7, 2013

California Dreaming

So we have been in California almost a week now.  We did the 800 mile drive on Monday  There's a whole lot of desert out there and not much else.  I drove the first 600 miles or so and Kim took over for the last 3 hours of the trip and got us to her mom's house safely.   Here's the map.

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Day miles - 809
Trip Miles - Right at 3,700

There was one exciting/scary moment on the trip.  As we were headed up Crane Canyon Road, a little over a mile from Kim's mom's house we saw a raccoon run across the road in front of us.  Although Kim was only doing 30 in a 35 mile zone, I mentioned that I thought it was a bit fast "for conditions" and maybe she should slow down.  She did, and as we came around the next corner there was a baby deer mesmerized in our headlights.  The poor thing was so scared it didn't move an inch.  Fortunately for us, we were moving slow enough that Kim was able to stop and we did not hit the deer.  Kim then hit the horn a couple times and the deer ran off.  I looked at the GPS and it showed exactly 1 mile to Mom's house!  So, to sum up, we drove 3,699 miles and then just missed an accident as we arrived in Santa Rosa.

I managed to get a round of golf in yesterday at Foxtail South right here in Rohnert Park.  We won't be leaving for Alaska until the end of the month so probably won't have a lot of posts between know and then.  If you haven't signed up to get updates via email you can do that through the sign up box on the right.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Phoenix to Flagstaff

We spent Wednesday and Thursday visiting with our friends Dan And Gail in Glendale, Arizona.  Dan gave me a Wade Miley Garden Gnome that will be making the occasional appearance in this blog as the trip continues.

Friday we drove up to Flagstaff and met up with our friends Matt, Lora and their son Jack.  Matt, Jack and I have played the Timberline Short Nine the last 2 days and Matt and I are headed over to Continental Country club for a full on round of 18 later this morning.

We also cleaned as much as we could out of the shed behind our house in Doney Park.  While in Doney we got to visit with my former Principal and good friend Glenn Gilman.  It was great to see him and fun to catch up on the happenings at my former work place.  Hello to anyone from Hopi who might be reading this!!

Tomorrow we head to California.  Here's the most recent map.

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Day miles; 142
Trip Miles - Almost 2,900

A little recap

Greetings from Flagstaff, Arizona.  We arrived here on Friday afternoon.   First, we had a fun trip through the Sonora desert visiting the Ghost town trail, Gleeson and Tombstone.

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The map is not correct, The Ghotst town trail is so small that google maps won't let me put a route through it.  Out side of tombstone is/was the most amazing living museum ever to be seen.  About 30 years ago this guy retired from the stock exchange or something like that and bought a piece of land in the desert. He then collected thousands of pieces of history from the surrounding area. I had visited this place in the past and he had always resisted selling any of his collection.  However, this year he is retiring from being retired and he is selling everything and moving to the city.
A collection of nails with the size on the head.

Amazing rocks, the tall crystal in front and the obelisk shaped one in the back are ours now.

Kim bought those 14 little milk bottles.

What a fun and interesting place!

From there we headed into Tombstone and strolled the historic main street of the city.

Our last stop was boot hill outside of town.  It was a bad day for Les!

Day total; About 250
Trip total: 2,750 or so