Saturday, April 30, 2016

Boomtown – On the Road Again

KOA - Boomtown Nevada

YES, that is snow up on that mountain!  In fact, it was nice to go over the Sierra’s along I-80 in late April and actually see so much snow. Of course, last night’s “final” snow storm of the season helped some, but it couldn’t have helped too much since the Interstate showed no sign of any storm today at all.

KOA - Boomtown Nevada

We are in Verdi Nevada, near the Boomtown Casino, at the KOA.  $39 per night, after taxes, is not bad for this area…but later in the season it will go up.  I actually pulled into the wrong park, thinking we were in the first RV park once you get into Nevada…but in the cobwebs of my mind I was thinking that we were at a KOA, but I had the nice lady look up her reservations anyway…and then point me in the direction of where KOA is.

KOA - Boomtown Nevada    KOA - Boomtown Nevada

This is your typical KOA, sites close together, sites not level, friendly people all around…real close. But so far, no kids, so I doubt it will be very loud.  And it is down and away from the freeway, so little road noise along busy I-80.

I-80, Sierra Nevada Mountains

Marcia did well taking pictures as I drove.  I know we have shown these mountains before, but they look so much more spectacular with snow on them.

I-80, Sierra Nevada Mountains     I-80, Sierra Nevada Mountains
Boreal Ridge Ski Resort

The bottom picture is Boreal Ridge Ski Resort (now called Boreal Mountain Resort), which surprisingly was closed.  I know when I was younger friends of mine would sky Boreal in May…spring skiing in short pants.  I skied…once…I broke my hand once too…you can put 2 plus 2 together on that one…

Donner Lake

It is hard to get a picture of Donner Lake without pulling over at the Vista Point on I-80, which you cannot do if you are in a 30 foot motorhome pulling an HHR. But she got two!  We have featured many pictures of Donner Lake before, just do a search in our blog search bar.

Donner Lake

It is nice to be back on the road again…it is hard to be back on the road again.  When ever we leave family, it is not easy.  Tomorrow we will attend church back in Truckee, where we could have stayed and where temps will be freezing tonight, while we will be above freezing here in Verdi.  Got permission for a 1:00 late departure, and we plan to travel all 400 miles of Nevada to Wendover. 

Bubba    Skruffy

See you all down the road …

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Trip to Alaska Continues on Saturday

Dog Eats Cake

We came to the Sacramento area this particular time of the year to enjoy birthdays with my mom and dad.  Mom had her birthday on Monday, but we celebrated on Sunday…and although I had my camera out and even inside my sister’s house, I failed to take even one picture of the event.

I picked the above picture because it reminds me of my first dog, a family dog while the five of us grew up in Sacramento.  Her name was Snooper, but we also called her Snoopy.  A Terrier/Chihuahua mix, she was a smart dog.  Mom would send her down the hall to “wake up the kids” each school day, and she would run into each room barking, licking faces, and getting us up.  She hatedA Dog like Snooper people in uniforms…going after the mailman each day, the garbage men, the meter readers, and even my brother in his Army uniform until she realized who it was.  I don’t have a picture of her, but this picture to the right from the Internet gives you an idea of what she looked like.  So why the picture of the dog eating cake?  Because one Christmas Eve, mom had a freshly baked Pineapple Upside-Down Cake sitting on the dinner table, which was half gone when we got home.  Snoopy had jumped up into a chair, onto the table, and had eaten a good portion of the cake.

Bubba and Skruffy     Bubba and Skruffy

Of course, that was then…this is now.  Two dogs, Bubba and Skruffy.  They get their “Arny” treat in the morning around 7 am, and their “Sandy” treat in the afternoon around 4 pm (when she gets home). 

Bubba and Skruffy and nightly Ice Cream treat

And of course, there is the “night night” treat each evening when normally Arny, but sometimes Sandy, gives them their nightly treat… 

Bubba and Skruffy and nightly Ice Cream treat

…a small amount of Vanilla Ice Cream.  Then there are those family meals… where things mysteriously fall onto the floor, or a hand goes under the table.  Yep, they are spoiled little dogs when we visit Sacramento.  Took Bubba to the Vet today due to an ear infection, and the had gained 2-3 said he is the perfect weight.  Skruffy, well if we weighed her, she would still be over weight, but she has lost some of her back side due to the chasing of the squirrels.

Mom and Dad getting in car headed for lunch

The plan was for Marcia and I to take mom and dad out to lunch on her birthday on Monday, but unfortunately that “health bug” got to her, and we needed to postpone it.  Ever since she has been on her new medication for the Breast Cancer treatment, every so often she wakes up and just feels like Skata for a day or two.  Thank goodness it was only for a day this time, and since Arny had dinner planned for Tuesday for all of us (Fish Tacos by Arny, Lemon Shrimp by Marcia), we waited until today (Wednesday) to take mom out for her lunch.

Marcia and Mom    Mom and Dad

Those who have been to one before know by the cell phone picture above just where she wanted to go for lunch…to the Spaghetti Factory, in Roseville.  The first Spaghetti Factory was opened in Portland Oregon in 1969.  Sacramento has had a Spaghetti Factory since the mid 1970’s, and I have been to Spaghetti Factory’s in at least three different states now.  Some are in old Railroad Stations, and I like these ones the best.  The one in Roseville is not an old station, but they still decorate it with a railroad motif.  Spaghetti all around excpet for me, I had Lasagna.  Marcia ordered a large order of Fresh Broccoli, which is lightly flavored with Mizithra Cheese, which she is “reaching for” in the above picture.  We came home with some of the Broccoli, a 5 oz container of the Cheese, and Marcia is so appreciative of Aunt Florence for turning her on to the Broccoli at Spaghetti Factory.

Planned Route for next 2 Weeks

We leave on Saturday from Citrus Heights, headed to see my daughter Stephanie in Utah for a couple of days, then up to the Tetons, and over to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. By mid-May we hope to be in the Jasper / Banff area in Canada, and by June 1st, on the Alaska Highway headed north.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Berkeley for Dinner with Son

Dave waiting for son Michael at Bart Station in Berkeley

Here I am waiting at the North Berkeley Bart Station for my son Michael to arrive from his job at City Hall in San Francisco Thursday evening.  My 90 mile drive to Berkeley was uneventful (other than a weird sound from my rear right when I pushed on the brakes once I got off the freeway in Berkeley), topped off with a great visit with my Brother Bob at his work, which I would pass within a couple of miles along my route, so I left in plenty of time to see him too.  

View of Bay Area from rest area on I-80    View of Bay Area from rest area on I-80

Had I brought my camera, I could have showed a better picture from the I-80 rest area where you can see the bay, and even the city of San Francisco off in the distance. The first picture at the Bart Station was taken with my Kindle Fire, all the rest are from my cell phone…hence, not the best pictures in the blog today.

Michael picked the Bangkok Jam Thai Restaurant for us to eat at for dinner.  It had beMichael at  Bangkok Jam Thai Restaurant en many years since I ate Thai food, the last time being at a Library Convention in some town out of state from my old Arkansas home.  Michael, who is 29, would not have dreamed of eating this type of food ten years ago, but now he likes all sorts of different foods…thanks I am sure to his girl friend Anna for some of this change.  Anna had a meeting to attend on campus at U.C. Berkeley (Cal), so I did not get to see her on this trip.  She actually graduated a year before Michael from Cal, but she still attends some meetings on campus with a group she is a part of.  Missed you Anna…see you in September when we are back in the area.

I ordered the Ginger Bangkok Street Dish with prawns over brown rice.  Michael had a chicken dish with green beans and other veggies with Jasmine Rice.  HDinner at  Bangkok Jam Thai Restaurant is dish was a bit more spicy than mine, but I really liked the perfect amount of Ginger taste in my dish, and it was lightly spicy.  One thing I found out at Thai food the first time I ate it is that it can be very spicy hot…so you have to watch what your order.  I love Ginger, and sometimes Ginger can be a bit too spicy…but not last night, it was just perfect.  Michael has eaten here a few times before, so he knew exactly what to expect with his dish.  We both enjoyed our dinner, it was real nice... and always nice to have a meal with one of my kids.  In a little over a week we will be having a few meals with my daughter Stephanie in Salt Lake City.

After dinner we walked down and then across the street to iScream Ice Cream.  I had a half a scoop of Blueberry Ice Cream, topped with another half a scoop of Meyer Lemon Cream Ice Cream.  (Sorry you did not come Marcia, I know how much you love Meyer was DELICIOUS!)

iScream Ice Cream

On the trip home the traffic was a bit thicker than I anticipated for 8:30-10:00 pm.  Part of it was due to work on the Carquinez Bridge.  Essentially this is where the Sacramento River and the San Joaquin River enter into the San Francisco Bay.  The experts say that this is just a narrow continuation of the bay, and the rivers enter the bay just a few miles upstream.  Essentially, is it where the river delta ends, and the big bay begins in my book.
Brake Masters
Although I did not have any brake sounds on the way home from Berkeley, we decided that it was time to get new brakes in our HHR today, which we have owned since 2011.  Previous to us owning it, it was a rental car with one of the big rental car agencies.  I called Brake Masters here in Citrus Heights around 1 pm, and the guy said that if I had it down there within 20 minutes they could get right on it.  I printed out a coupon found on their website, and off I went, arriving in 18 minutes.  They pulled it in within 5 minutes, and 20 minutes later they had finished an inspection, and we put new disc brakes on the front, cleaned and adjusted the back drum brakes, and flushed and replaced the brake fluid, all for $230.  By 4:20 I was back at my sister’s house. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Day Trip to Lake Oroville

Lake Oroville is the second-largest reservoir in California behind only Shasta Lake up above Redding in far Northern California.  At capacity, Oroville will hold 3,500,000 acre feet of water, and is currently holding around 3,400,000 acre feet.  What is so interesting about this figure is this…back in mid-December the lake was at an all time low (since initial filling) of 600,000 acre feet.

Lake Oroville Low Levels of 2014 and 2015

A typical picture found on the Internet showing the lake at its low.  Boats could not launch or be taken out.  Overall the drought lasted five years.  Governor Brown says California is still in a drought, to me, the affects of the drought would have been lessen had he allowed the building of the Auburn Dam during his 1970's term ... but that's another story.

Lake Oroville, April19, 2016

Today we found a lake that was full, as shown in this panoramic view above.

Lake Oroville, April19, 2016

Yes, those are the same boats (taken from a different angle) as in the first picture.  I think the boaters are going to have fun this summer…and farmers north of Stockton (which is about 50 miles south of Sacramento) are very happy because they will get all the water they need this year for their crops because Shasta Lake is also near capacity.

Lake Oroville, April19, 2016

Although this boater, who is getting a tow, may not be as happy…perhaps all he did was run out of gas…then again, perhaps he blew an engine.

Lake Oroville, April19, 2016

Now this is a different type of house boat…

Lake Oroville, April19, 2016    Lake Oroville, April19, 2016

It is just so nice seeing all that water!

Lake Oroville, July 7, 2013    Lake Oroville, July 7, 2013

Above are pictures we took back in July of 2013, when the lake was down…but not down at historic lows.  These pictures were taken at the same spot as the other ones I took above (excluding first picture got off Internet).

Lake Oroville, April19, 2016

We also drove over to the dam, where I got this panoramic picture above.  The water is very high, only 7 feet from the top.  Oroville Dam is an earthen dam and is the tallest dam located in the United States, measuring over 770 feet high and 6,920 feet across. The dam was the largest earth-fill dam in the world until succeeded by Aswan High Dam in Egypt.

West View off Oroville Dam

Here's a panoramic from the other side of the dam, looking west towards Oroville.  Wish it was a clearer day, you can see the Butt Mountains from this view, but today it is hidden in the haze.

The Broken Plate Restaurant

Oroville is 65 miles away from Citrus Heights, and we left at 10 am.  Arriving at 11:30, we decided to get a bite to eat before proceeding to the lake.  I had found a well recommended place which is fairly new called “The Broken Plate”, a Greek – Mediterranean Cuisine.  After having high hopes for some authentic Greek food, since the owner is from Greece, Marcia and I had our hopes dashed.  Not saying the food was bad, it just wasn't the type of Greek Food we had hopes for.

The Broken Plate Restaurant     The Broken Plate Restaurant

First, it is another Greek Restaurant where you walk up to a counter, place your order and pay…and they will call your name when your food is ready.  Second, the The Broken Plate Restaurant, Pizza Conemenu had some Greek items on it, but the Gyro (pronounced "YEE-ro" or “yiro") that I had was dry and looked to me as being precooked out of a package.  Mom and Marcia both had a Greek Salad, but they did not put on the olives on Marcia’s salad…and the salad was nothing special and barely “Greek” at all. Now dad, he ordered what they call a Pizza Cone.  Pictured right, it is like a Pizza which is in the shape of a Ice Cream Cone.  Dad said it was good and he would order it again.  Personally, I think that anyone who can create a Pizza Cone, which he has won awards with by-the-way, could serve some more authentic Greek foods, prepared in-house and not just opened and served out of the box delivered by Sysco or some other food distributor.  But again, it is just our opinion…and it did not even have Greek Avgolemono Soup! Boy, we sure miss our Greek Restaurants in Tarpon Springs as we travel.

Over all we had a wonderful day, topped off by a stop at a Foster's Freeze on the way home.   While the three of them had ice cream, I had a Raspberry Ice Tea, and we headed for home, arriving back shortly after 4 pm. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Skruffy Dog in the Clouds, Placerville Trip

Skruffy in Clouds

Yesterday I was sitting down resting after dumping our tanks.  While at my sister’s house, we use a blue tote to empty them, which is not an easy task sometimes.  As I was looking up in the sky, I see this cloud which starts to look a bit like a dog. As I look at it more and more, I realize that it looks more and more like Skruffy running.  You see, she “hops” when she runs.  

Skruffy running

Looking through some of the hundreds of pictures I have of Skruffy, this one to the right came closest to hat I was talking about.  Over the years her hair has been much longer than it is now…which is one of the reason she was called Skruffy when I rescued her.

Mom wanted to travel up to Placerville the other day to have lunch at the Buttercup Pantry.  We have been up there a few times, but this time I brought my camera to get some pictures of it.  On the way up there, I decided to drive by Folsom Lake to see how high the lake really is.

Folsom Dam

Here is the dam above, and lake below. 

Folsom Lake

This is the highest I have seen Folsom Lake in a few decades now.  Not that it has not been this high for 20+ years, but it has not been this high the past four years that we have been coming to California during our travels. It is nearly 80% full, and they need to have room for the rest of the spring snow runoff coming out of the Sierras.

Buttercup Pantry in Placerville     Buttercup Pantry in Placerville

The Buttercup Pantry restaurant is right in the downtown area, has a small parking lot, but is well worth any parking problems to eat there.

Buttercup Pantry in Placerville

Despite the sign, they let me use the front door….

Buttercup Pantry in Placerville

This is some entryway in picture above…

Buttercup Pantry in Placerville   Buttercup Pantry in Placerville 

Buttercup Pantry in Placerville

The inside of the Buttercup is very interesting.  The food was good, and it was a nice drive up and back.  Since we are only going to be around for about a month, we told mom that we would try and go somewhere every week … the smile on her face told me that she was very agreeable to that!

18 days till departure...