Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Silver Strand State Beach San Diego

Our first outing since returning from the Rocky Mountains.  We made this plan way back May when reservations for the State parks first open.  We had heard silver strand was lovely and it is.....You are literally right on the beach with the sound, smell and visuals of the waves lapping at the shore.

It's also a parking lot with no privacy so you need to focus on what is in front of you and tune out the rest.  Of course currently one of our neighbors is feeding the seagulls directly in front of our rig kind of taking away my peacefulness.....sigh.  A second neighbor elected to pull in forward meaning they directly face our seven feet of parking lot under our awning with their 7 feet of parking lot under their awning.  I guess I would have opted to back in as then we'd each have privacy.  I mustn't quite understand RV etiquette yet.

I'm still enjoying it....just learning about my style.  I know there must be ocean sites with less distractions.  I'm hoping a trip to the Oregon coast next summer provides a little more solitude.  I long for the peaceful dry camping sites we had on our  Rocky Mountain trip.

I'm a little reluctant to share.....but I was responsible for the rookie move of hooking up the water to the wrong outlet.....and not noticing until we totally filled up the black water tank and started leaking water out all outlets.  Thankfully the black tank was totally empty and we were only leaking fresh water, but still embarrassing in a parking lot.  A parking lot with no dumping at the sites, so we had to re hook up the trailer, take it to the  dump station, and then spend the next half hour sloshing the water out of the interior.  Not the best way to start, but I think I will never make that mistake again.

The first night was crystal clear and had Mark hoping for the elusive green flash.....not this time.

But it was pretty

I spent the majority of my day with Madli's stole, completing three 12 row repeats and moving into the next skein of yarn.  There are six skeins in total and they move through three greens and then into fuchsias.  I'm putting beads in every 6th row for a touch of sparkle.

Last nights sunset was enhanced by the cloud cover

and this morning we are watching for a predicted coastal flooding due to an unusually high tide.  We're prepared to move if we need to but at the moment it's not looking too threatening.

All in all I would not choose this spot again.  The fact that not all vehicles are required to back in creates a lack of privacy I'm not comfortable with.  I don't mind being on top of each other to experience the beautiful ocean but I really don't want to by eye to eye while your shaving with your electric razor under your awning six feet from my door.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

and we're off!

Our next adventure starts Monday when we take off for a local beach front state park. The Strand between Coronado and Imperial Beach on the Southern California Coast.

We've been home from Colorado for three weeks during which time I've attended the bead retreat of a friend which was held in San Diego.  It's rare for me to be on the other side of the table so to speak, but I took three classes with three top talented bead teachers and enjoyed each one.

The airstream was off being 'diagnosed' although Mark is a very thorough diagnoser himself and wrote a paragraph of his findings for each of the problems we've experienced.  Sadly we needed to pick up the airstream to go on our next outing so not much was resolved, although one of the two fantastic fans was restored to working order.

The fridge has trouble switching between electric and propane resulting in a very warm fridge between sites.  The water heater leaks all over the bedroom solution  yet, the second fantastic fan needs to be replaced and the converter which overheats and causes the fan to run continuously remains unresolved..  The factory solution is to install more vents which we find unsatisfactory.

Nothing is unsafe or earth shattering but with a brand new airstream we would like things to work.

We're hanging out in the airstream tonight in the driveway because we miss it.

We'll be so happy to be back in our cozy environment.  We'll be posting photos of our beach location and enjoying the surf.

We spent time perusing our local San Diego aistream group's rally plans and hope to enjoy a side plan in February when we also plan to go to Tucson.  2016 will be the year of the airstream with a long summer trip planned up the West Coast and ending in Seattle where I will teach at Fusion Beads.  I'm also hoping for the Albuquerque balloon festival next fall.  Life is good!  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Ridgefield to Las Vegas

The reverse trip through todays scenery was as magical as the first time through. I continue to be amazed by scenery unlike any I'm familiar with and I thought I was reasonably well traveled, but I haven't done a lot of road trips in these parts.  I've driven cross country twice and I've been to  Colorado and  Wyoming before but I've never passed through the canyons near Zion and Bryce.

Last night I looked to see if we might make more mileage today but there are woefully few places to stay 1 to 2 hours south of Las Vegas and in 98 degree heat camping without electricity seemed ill advised.  So Las Vegas was our goal and we arrived at 1:00 which was really 12:00 as we gained back an hour.  It's hard to be so close to home but carrying on would have put us going through LA and arriving in San Diego during rush hour so we opted to stay at the Oasis.  We'll head out early tomorrow morning and insure a mid afternoon arrival.

Here are a few of todays shots.  My camera was seemingly acting weird, throwing up a busy icon after every photo.  It turns out that some of my best shots were interspersed with a video that was accidentally in process.  If I can sort out how to edit the video and capture some of the stills I'll be pleased with some great photos, but until then......

It's been a great trip but it's time for a little home time.  My other life beckons.  I have some work to do for my March Bead Retreat and I'm volunteering to be a witness for Kellie DeFries, the crystal ninja who is going for a guinness book of world records for a car with the most crystals on it and of course visiting with my friends, some knitting and I think the studio could use a good deep cleaning.  I'll FaceTime with grand babies, get my hair done, welcome a friend in my home and attend a bead retreat.  Then it will be time to head out again for our beach adventure.  By then I'll be ready to be back in the airstream!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What views!

Today we left Rifle Colorado for the five hour ride to Ridgefield Utah on Interstate 70.  The first 50 or so miles we had driven on our way to Breckenridge so I drove and was very relaxed.  Past Grand Junction Mark took over and the fun began.   This is a reasonably isolated (as in no services for 106 miles) stretch of road, but the vistas were unbelievable.  Huge formations, some red, some more Malta like as in lack of color, some huge rocks, many looking like castles.  It was a magical ride and I loved it!

Here are a few of the photos I managed to capture from a moving car window.

The diversity of the landscape on this one trip astounds!  We have a few more miles of undriven route 70 tomorrow before joining up with the familiar 15 and the scariest pass we encountered on day two of this trip.  For sure Mark will be driving this time and I will still be grateful to be past it.  One last night in Las Vegas and on Friday we hope to be home mid afternoon missing the Friday night commute!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Breckenridge Sunsets and onto Estes Park

We experienced some great sunsets in Breckenridge and exquisite weather.  One of our Breckenridge days was devoted to a trip to Leadville and a scenic railway which took us high up a mountain with stellar views of the changing aspens.  Wow, we could not have timed it more perfectly.  The trees were in there full bright yellow sparkling glory.  This girl who is fearful of sheer drops and high mountain rides is somehow much more comfortable when there are train tracks involved.

This is purportedly a really tight curve which has been grand fathered into this rail system but would not be allowed.  Folks on each end of the train were able to wave to one another!

Here are fellow caravaners Jane and MaryBeth enjoying our stop.

Here is one of our last nights in Breckenridge and a magical sunset.

This is a line of airstreams traveling from Breckenridge to Estes Park on the Peak to Peak.  We were the fourth.  Caravaning, at least in this caravan is an accidental occurrence.  We are given a window of time to arrive at the new destination and each rig is on their own to get there.  When going between two points approximately 3 hours apart it is inevitable that you will get a few airstream stacked up on the route.

Estes Park was wonderful with lots of Elk sightings a visit with Bead Artist Wendy Ellsworth, a farewell lunch and one last happy hour.  This was the shot of our last Spruce Lake RV Park.

This morning we prepared early and got on our way with a stop in Boulder to have coffee with the lovely and talented Kinga Nichols, an accomplished bead artist.  Her space is artistic and creative in every corner.  It was a fun visit.  We stopped short of our original daily goal of Grand Junction and tucked up in a new RV park right off the 70.  Traffic noise is an issue, the the surroundings are serene.

I will be writing a blog post on what we learned in this our first caravan and longest travel to date.  We look forward to more and my comfort zone is slowly being stretched......

Thursday, September 24, 2015


We've done a lot here and I hardly have photos to show for it.  We arrived Monday and pulled into the beautiful  Tiger Run RV park.  The sites are long and the property has a river running through it, lots of aspens and darling little log cabins scattered throughout.  It's a multi-use park with people buying ownership of either a space or a cabin and it's very nicely maintained.

Vail is close relatively speaking, and as I'd never been we took a drive.  It was pretty and we enjoyed a nice lunch at Sweet Basil.  From there we stopped at the Main Street of Frisco where I discovered a very good bead store which is sadly going out of business.  After 14 years the owner is retiring so I am hoping it is a happy time and not for economic reasons.  I did help them with their goal of selling all of their inventory.

We woke up to a glorious sunshiney day although morning temps were in the high 30's so definitely a chill in the air.  By the time we were ready to go out it was in the mid 60's, perfect for exploring.

The Aspens are prevalent and iconic.  We were told they only started changing color to their brilliant yellow last week and will likely be done next week so we arrived with perfect timing.   These in downtown Breckenridge are painted blue to raise awareness of deforestation.  They are striking.

This is the one of the many charming views in downtown Breckenridge.  It seems flowers are everywhere.

Thanks to our very well traveled hosts and co-hosts each stop comes with a list of possible places to explore.  This view was from the top of the Carter steps.  The trail head begins at Carter park which is a few streets off the Main Street and is full of cute historic homes.

Shopping tips.....Olive Fusion was a wonderful shop full of teas, olive oils, spices and flavored sugars.  The sugars ranged from ginger sugar, cardamon sugar, cherry sugar, lavender sugar and many more.  They would be a fun addition to Christmas cookies, sprinkled on popcorn, in your cup of tea or in my case, on my mornings French Toast!  The other store I really enjoyed was Slopeside Cowboy which had a huge selection of fancy cowboy boots (I didn't succumb to the temptation to own a pair of sparkly aqua cowboy boots) and some really eclectic clothing.

Today we're off to a railroad ride through the Aspens starting in Leadville, I'll take the camera!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Party's over

Not really, but it was strange to wake up yesterday morning to an entire empty row of RV sites where the night before 26 rigs had been.

After my Canyon Rim ride to see the Colorado Monument I had to make a difficult decision.  Would I travel to the next site which reportedly had some difficult roads or would I choose safe and drive highway 70 to arrive in Breckenridge two days early and meet backup with the caravan there.

I chose Breckenridge but I still have mixed feelings.  The photos of the next destination were breathtaking and there would be dry camping backed directly up to a reservoir.  A beautiful spot for sure.  A catered dinner over looking the resevoir with the camaraderie of being with other air streamers.....choosing to miss it was hard.

I have a tattoo which says 'Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone' and I try to live that way, so I felt a little disappointed in myself.  But then, the edge is relative.  I knew when I signed up I would be challenged and I'm glad I'm here and while terrified I am glad I experienced the monoliths of the  Colorado Monument from above and enjoyed a wonderful meal and a spectacular setting.  I just chose not to challenge myself two days in a row.  I'm ok with that.

The ride to Breckenridge was also full of stunning scenery.  Also wonder of wonders I decided to try knitting while riding.  I get car sick...a 20 second glance at a map can render me nauseous for a long time.  Beading is definitely out, but while in Grand Junction I came across a great yarn store and bought a soft alpaca yarn and cast on a mindless cowl.  The key is I can knit without looking so I was able to knit 3 or 4 inches of cowl on yesterdays trip and still see the scenery and best yet, not get car sick.

Photos begin in Grand Junction and go on to include some of yesterdays scenery on highway 70 between Grand Junction and Breckenridge which is mostly due East across the state.

Downtown Grand Junction has an art series, with a different sculpture on each street corner.  They were fun to explore and here i give you two of my favorite.  San Diego used to have a similar program called Urban Trees along the waterfront but they haven't done it for a few years now and I miss it.

I especially loved this whimsical steam punky rocket ship (?)

So I stated in the fist Rocky Mountain caravan blog that I was aiming for a pair of earrings completed at each stop and after a couple of disappointing design attempts I was falling short of the goal.  I decided to try to step it up again and I now have three pair.

This pair can almost be counted as two since a simple flip on the earlier and the can be worn on the reverse side.  These are all in the 'fancy' vein as they are being designed for a series called 'Going Formal' which I will teach on a cruise ship.  

Finally as promised scenery from yesterdays ride.  

The color of the aspens is so vibrant.  Having grown up in Massachusetts I miss fall foliage season but the views here promise to provide a visual treat.

 The Tiger Run RV resort between Frisco and Breckenridge is beautiful.  Large large cement lots bounded by trees for privacy and lots of places to walk to.  Today we are going to explore Vail as I've never been, and tomorrow we'll try for being a bit more athletic and outdoorsy.  Tomorrow night we look forward to the rest of the caravan arriving.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Colorado Monument

The ride from Dinosaur to Grand Junction was a bit over 130 miles and took around 3 hours.  We did traverse one rather high and somewhat scary mountain pass but I'm getting a little more used to them and taking them slow and steady I seem to survive.

I love this shot of the caravan leaders airstream in front of us.  The scenery was breathtaking.

It's interesting to me that it is so substantially different than anything I am used to.

It rained all night in Flaming Gorge before we left, but cleared up for our drive.  Left in it's wake was this dramatic sky.

We settled into the new campground in Grand Junction Colorado which is in an industrial area, much different from our serene surroundings in Flaming Gorge.  The main attraction was a tour to the Colorado Monument.  I totally understand the appeal, but for someone who is terrified of windy mountain roads with sheer drop offs, the ride to experience the monoliths was not comfortable.  I do realize it's me, 47 other people on the bus had no issues at I clung to Mark with my eyes closed barely breathing.  But when we stopped and got out, the scenery was magnificent.

This was a view across the canyon at sunset.  The haze is caused by the California wildfires.  Once we got back on the bus, as the sun continued to set, there is a definite purple color to these canyon views...I however was unable to look.

Perhaps this shot gives you a sense of the scale we are talking about....we were riding around on the top of this canyon, on a huge bus!

From the visitors center (where I got my National Park Passport stamped!)  was a view of this Mesa where we were treated to a catered dinner complete with white table cloths and excellent food.

Here is a fun shadow portrait of some of the caravaners taking photos of the view.

Today we're off to the Wine Festival in Palisades!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The road to Dinosaur Mountain

Flaming Gorge was a rainy two days.  The ride there was reasonably tame and the campground hosts greeted us beautifully.  We hunkered down and enjoyed the rain with outings to a nearby resort who put together a temporary shelter for our great chili cook off.  We were beautifully hosted at the Flaming Gorge pine forest rv park.

As usual I had some trepidation about the ride to the next destination, knowing we had ten switchbacks to negotiate.  The beauty of being in a caravan is that we followed three other airstreams and were followed by one as well.  We also use CB's to communicate enroute.  The good news is it was easily negotiated at a very slow speed and I wasn't even scared.

It was one of the shorter distances between two venues at 66 miles and an hour and twenty minutes.  The new campground is wonderful.  Dry camping, but often that is where the best views and sites are I am learning.

I opted to take the afternoon off of the group activity of seeing dinosaur bones and cook a nice meal, take a walk and knit.  It worked really well for me.

Here are some of the views that I took during the drive.  The skies here have been so dramatic.

During one of the TEN S curves on the way down the mountain we came along this river.

I especially like it when there are guardrails!

Two photos of what look like red painted rocks.  Very pretty stuff.

Tomorrow we are off to Grand Junction, about a three hour drive and a three day stay which is always nice.  We'll have two free days, one of which we are using to attend a local wine festival.

This trip has been exhilarating!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Last day in Jackson

We had a group breakfast at Dorman, chuckwagon style which I am guessing means outdoors.  Fortunately I had my down jacket in the car and thoroughly enjoyed a Wyoming french toast breakfast, two eggs over easy and crisp bacon!  A great start to the day.

A little further up the road we traveled to Jenny Lake and opted for the Hidden Falls trail.  This could be accomplished by a 5 mile round trip hike or......a shuttle boat and a 2 mile road trip.  We chose the shuttle boat which was very scenic.  I did however where my 'cute' hiking boots!

these were both from the boat ride

and this was the top of the hike with the hidden falls

We also stopped at the Teton Pass visitor center where I was able to obtain my senior national park pass.  These are available at the age of 62 and grant you the ability to enter all national parks for free!  A nice perk for being 62.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Jackson Wyoming

We arrived midday in Jackson and got settled into our rv park home for the next four days.  Unlike Madison where we had much distance between campsites, here we are all in a row, or several rows actually, which makes a good photo op.  We're also at the foot of a mountain covered in pines which makes a nice backdrop.

Just a few of the 26 rigs we are traveling with!

Getting ready for our 'float' down the snake river.  We had a choice of white water rapids or the gentler, drier float and we picked the float.  Having once been dumped on a white water raft I have no desire to repeat the experience.

Here was the second of the two boats.  The scenery was spectacular.  The weather was perfect, and lunch at the end was delicious!

This is Nick who was our guide.  He did both white water and floats down the snake river in the summer and is a ski instructor in the winter.  In between seasons he visits his older brother in Venice Beach California.  I'd say he's living the good life.

and in between adventures I'm still managing some beading time.  My goal is a pair of earrings in each venue, we shall see.  These were accomplished on my 'trailer day' in Madison.   

Today we're off to downtown Jackson to explore!