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September, 2005
September 1-11
After arriving in San Francisco, we have enjoyed our visits with Ben & Jill. Mostly, we have been hanging out and catching up. We had dinner at Pacific Cafe, have done some gardening at Ben's house and for his clients, walks with the dogs, geeking on the computer, a shopping trip to Urban Ore in Berkeley, and just plain enjoying ourselves.

Sunday night, we had dinner at Oyaji, a Japanese restaurant close to home. It was our first experience eating sushi, anda good one at that. We had salmon, albacore, and shrimp rolls and also some Nigiri, a slice of raw fish served on a small rice ball (believe it or not, this was our favorite). In addition to the good eats, we had saki and Japanese beer, and the finale was a serving of green tea ice cream for dessert. Another great dining experience in San Francisco.

A long walk on the beach with the dogs and a cookout were the highlights on Monday. Mike's grilled pork tenderloin was the feature for dinner and Jill's dessert of grilled peaches and ice cream was delightful.

Tuesday, we took the dogs to Fort Funston dog park. It was Lucy's first trip to a dog park and she had a great time, enjoying every minute off the leash. I was afraid of her wandering, but her thing was to stop to sniff, then catch up with us. She was very social, but a little timid.

On Thursday, we headed east to Bass Lake campground in the Sierra National Forest to camp with Ben & Ruby for the weekend. It was a great place, not very busy so we had the campground to ourselves until Saturday afternoon. Ruby had a great time playing ball & fetching it from the lake. Lucy's favorite spot was lying in the sun, but I think she liked hanging out on the beach too.

We took the floaties out on the lake expecting the water to be really cold, but it was nicely refreshing. We enjoyed our time spent with Ben playing dominos & dirty clubs, conversing, hiking, playing with Ruby, and catching up on lost time. Once again, saying goodbye was hard.
September 12 thru 14
After doing laundry and having breakfast at Ben's, we left San Francisco at about 11:30 and drove as far as Gilroy. I have wanted to see the circus trees (trees that have trunks formed in basket, heart, and other various shapes) at the Bonfonte Gardens. The trees were sculpted back in the 1930s and have been relocated to Gilroy and placed in an amusement park. Unfortunately, the park was closed and we didn‚??t get to see the trees. This is the 4th time we have visited this area, and have wanted to see the gardens, finally came to see them, and once again it didn't work out ‚?? oh well, maybe next time.

As we were going to the park, we stopped at the VW dealer to see if they could do an oil change on the Volksbox, so we set an appointment for the next morning. Mike felt we should treat the Volksbox to a new supply of oil for being so dependable for us. We also stopped at a truck/RV wash and had the thing hand scrubbed. The bugs that we accumulated on the cab-over during the trip have all disappeared & it looks clean and shiny once again.

We spent the night at the McAlpine Lake & RV Park ($35) in San Juan Bautista.

The morning of the 13th was spent at the VW dealer in Gilroy. We left at noon and headed south on US 101. Our plan was to head east on US 58 toward Bakersfield to get to the desert. Once we turned on 58, a very windy road, we heard a very loud screeching sound coming from the rear driver's side brake. We headed back to San Luis Obispo where the VW dealer referred us to an RV service garage where we made an appointment for the next morning. We spent the night at El Chorro County Park near San Luis Obispo. A very nice spot that has very few campers.

Wednesday, the 14th has been a bit more of a challenge. The problem was determined to be the wheel bearings and the parts are not available until Friday (we found this out at 3:30, after hanging out around the garage). We are now at a Best Western nearby to wait for the repair on Friday. Hopefully, our extended warranty should cover the repair, motel & food expenses.

We did walk to the historic downtown area of San Luis Obispo this morning, then hung out at a little Japanese Garden for a while too. The Villa RV service station has been very accommodating.


San Francisco to San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo to Oxnard September 16-23
The Volksbox repair was completed be 2:30 in the afternoon and Ricardo assured us that it wouldn‚??t break again. After reading some of the forums on the internet, we realize that this is something to have checked frequently and we will request it be done when the oil is changed.

After about 2¬Ĺ hours, we arrived at Mary & Lance‚??s home in Oxnard. Had a great time visiting and catching up on the last year or so. Our attempt at playing a game of Euchre didn‚??t go too well because we had forgotten some of the rules, but it was fun anyway.

On Saturday, we toured the historical section of Oxnard, stopped at Hollywood Beach where we watched the dolphins playing in the channel, and searched for a geocache. Rose was the first to spot the Tupperware box hidden in a shrub. We logged our visit and left behind our 2 shells from the ‚??2shelldroppers‚?Ě. Lunch was fish tacos (another first for both of us and very good) from the Hook, Line, & Sinker seafood restaurant.

Sunday was a day for going to the Farmer‚??s Market and visiting some tall ships that had come into the harbor for the day. We bought fresh veggies for salad and scallops to have for dinner. While fixing dinner, Lucy & Garbo got into it and Lucy ended up with a wound that required surgery the next morning. We are now convinced that dogs should not be allowed in the kitchen together ‚?? it makes for competition and aggressive behavior. Lucy had some surgery on Monday to clean the wound & put a drain tube in it. She got through the surgery just fine & slept for the next 14 hours. In the morning, she was doing much better and had some of her appetite back.

Mary and I went to the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens and had lunch in downtown Santa Barbara on Wednesday. The gardens were beautiful, although there wasn't a lot in bloom. A willow sculpture by Patrick Dougherty was very interesting and attractive (more information available at the botanical garden's website at www.sbbg.org). While we were doing that, Mike & Lance went to a shooting range and plunked at targets and to a cigar store.
Oxnard to Indio, CA (233 miles) September 23-
After a wonderful week visiting Mary & Lance and a visit to the veterinarian to have Lucy checked out (she is healing quickly and the wound doesn't seem to bother her at all), we have headed for the California desert. We took a bit of a roundabout route, but wanted to avoid LA. The route took us through the Antelope Valley where there were fields of lemons, oranges, avocados, and many things we couldn't identify along the roadsides. We stopped at a fruit stand to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies to last a few days.

We did go through San Bernadino where we were married 37 years ago. On I-10 near Palm Springs for about a 10 mile stretch, there are windfarms along the roadside for as far as the eye could see. The pictures just don't capture the numbers of them, but Mike did a great job taking pictures as we rolled down the freeway. We were planning to stay in Palm Springs but an ad for the Shadaw Hills RV Resort ($23/night weekly rate) in Indio sparked our interest. Our plans are to stay put for a week and do little day trips to check out the area. It is really warm here, mid 90s during the day and dropping to around 70 at night. The AC has been running most of the time again. It is hot but feels comfortable.

Driving through Palm Springs, we came across Bob Hope Drive, Monty Hall Road, the Pickford theaters, etc. It is very pretty, beautifully landscaped along the roads (seems like they would want to do a better job of cleaning up the litter), and mountains that surround you wherever you go. The RV park is very clean and nice - not real full because the snowbirds haven't arrived yet, but it sounds like they filling up soon.

Tuesday, September 27 A drive through Joshua Tree National Park today led us to sights we've never seen before. Many were almost surreal in the way the clouds appeared and the way the boulders kind of piled up on each other. We approached the park from the southern entrance and were initially disappointed that we weren't seeing Joshua Trees. They started to appear a few at a time, then as we drove toward the western part of the park there were whole forests of them.

The road to Keys View led to a hilltop where you could see for miles - the Salton Sea was visible and beyond that, a mountain top in Mexico. Unfortunately it was hazy, so we didn't get to see Mexico.

Mike was especially thrilled because he saw some wildlife - a snake slithering near the roadside. We read that sidewinders are found in the area, but he wasn't sure if thats what it was.

When we returned to our site at the RV park, it was already occupied - kind of through us off until the manager told us a mistake had been made and we would have to move. They gave us a free night for the inconvenience, so we will be staying here one more day, leaving on Saturday, October 1.

Wednesday, September 28 Laundry and housecleaning day - a couple of hours and we're free to head for the pool. We had window shades made for the RV today - they snap on the outside of the windows to provide UV blocking and help to keep this thing cooler in the sun. I'm sure it is a good investment and will help wherever we go, since most campsites are in the sun for at least part of the day.

Friday, September 30 The carpet and floors got cleaned today and the exterior yesterday, so we are ready to roll once more. We will pull out in the morning. This evening, we shared a bottle of wine with Bob & Shelby from Florida. They have been travelling for 3 years, just got back from spending the last 6-months in Mexico. It was great hearing their stories and recommendations for places to visit and to stay.

Created on 08/30/2005 09:59 AM by bridge
Updated on 10/01/2005 09:22 AM by bridge
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