Monday, April 30, 2018

Felton, California

At Daybreak (Christian) Camp, Felton CA

Cousin Rich and Marci's place, Felton CA

We pulled out of my sister’s house about 9:45…Sandy was at work, and we said our goodbyes last night, but Arny was there to see us off, help guide me down the wooden ramps needed so that we don’t bottom out on the driveway, and his biggest task was to lure Bubba into the motorhome because as soon as he came outside of the house, around the corner and off the far end of the backyard he went.  I took along the leash just in case…but Uncle Arny successfully lured him into the motorhome, and off we went.  Above you can see us safely snuggled in along the RV parking area of the Daybreak Camp that my cousin Rich and his wife Marci are the Executive Directors of.  RV electrical plug, and water, no sewer, but we will be gone by Friday, so sewer is not needed.

Lodi California (yes, “Stuck in Lodi” by Creedence Clearwater Revival) is only 50 minutes from my sister’s house, nearly all Interstate travel.  It took us 75 minutes to get there because Caltrans was repairing a section of the Interstate about 15 miles north of Lodi along I-5.  We were headed to Flying J where we filled up with Propane, emptied our waste tanks, and filled up with gas.  The GPS tried to take me over to Franklin Blvd. around Lambert Road…but stubborn me said, “That seems like a long way around….” not knowing that there was road work ahead.  Just past the Lambert exit I see the sign…and there is no where to turn now.  Took 20 minutes to go 5 miles…another lesson learned.  At 12:30 we were back on I-5…yes, an hour stop because we also needed a RV Wash at the Blue Beacon next to Flying J…lots of Elm Tree blossoms all over the motorhome.  As usual, they did a good job.  From there, we drove right to Felton, arriving at 3:15, 15 minutes later than we told Rich and Marci’s youngest son Devin…who was waiting for us at the “back pasture” to let us in.

The Campground, Felton CA     The Campground, Felton CA

Daybreak Camp, a non-denominational Christian Camp, is real pretty…although we have not taken a tour yet...that should come tomorrow.  In the picture to the left is an open lawn, very large swimming pool to the far left behind those trees, a covered pavilion area where they typically have crafts, and one of the cabins to the right.  In the picture to the right, I is the dining hall and kitchen.  The campground can sleep just shy of 200 people, more if there are RVs and tents.  Rich said that for the kids camps, they have around 110 volunteers for around 140 kids, so they can handle around 250 in total.  They are not open to the public for general camping, it is for non-profit groups.  Each year Daybreak has four different camps, one for young kids, another for older kids, another for youth, and a family camp.  Churches also use the campground, especially during the summer when each week there is something going on...but it can be used all year around, something that Rich and Marci and working on.

San Lorenzo River, looking north    San Lorenzo River, looking south

Yes, I was serious when I said “The back pasture”.  The wooden bridge above is the main road leading into the campgrounds…nothing Rich felt would be good to drive the motorhome over, although I think we are under the gross weight ... why chance is among the top 5% worse bridges in all of California.  The San Lorenzo River runs under the bridge, with the picture to the left looking north, and the picture to the right looking south.  In the first picture showing our motorhome, the river runs just on the other side of the motorhome, close to the bridge.  Little traffic goes over this one lane bridge, but when it does, it has a low rumble like thunder...or like bowling pins being knocked over in a bowling alley.  The County and Caltrans are going to have to replace the bridge soon...the work will have to be done after April and before October because of the spawning fish between October through March.  It is a county bridge, and there are about 20 homes and other establishments the bridge feeds...the camp just happens to be the first property closest to the bridge.  When this work is done, the road we are camping on will have to be used, along with the pasture road (non-paved) to give access to everyone on this side of the bridge.  Once the new bridge is put in, it will be much easier to bring RVs to the campground...but the RV area will be moved away from this road.

Redwood Tree and Pine Trees
Here is a small stand of trees just behind the motorhome, and the river runs on the other side of them.  If I am correct with my trees, the far right is a Coastal Redwood, while the other two are Pine Trees…the barks are different between a Pine and a Redwood.  They have a number of Redwoods here at the Campground, and this whole area is known for its Redwood Trees…with the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park not too far away, as is the Roaring Camp Railroads.  My Great Grandfather once lived in Santa Cruz, and was a conductor for the South Pacific Coast Railroad, later acquired by the Southern Pacific Railroad.  His pocket watch, given to him upon retirement, was given to me by mom and dad when I earned my Masters Degree in Library and Information Sciences.  Road to pasture, our way in and outWhen my son Michael earned his Masters from University of California (Berkeley), I gave it to him.  The South Pacific Coast Railroad was a narrow gauge steam railroad running between the Santa Cruz Docks (at the time it was the third or fourth busiest docks in the state),  and Alameda, with a ferry connection in Alameda to San Francisco.  Starting out on the Centerville Horse Driven Train in Centerville (Newark), Charles Burdick turned that over to his brother Henry and moved on to the South Pacific Coast Railroad.  So this area has had a large impact on our family…and it is nice to see Richard working at this Church Campground where 'our' (his and my, Rich is just a few years younger than me, his father is my father's older brother) Great-Grandfather was a conductor on a train line that ran right through Felton.   The picture to the right is the road leading to or from the pasture land, which had about a dozen pretty horses boarded there, owned by local residents. 

Not sure of everything we will do over the next three days, but we plan to head to Mariposa on Friday so that we can visit Yosemite National Park.  Marci and Rich's daughter Liz is going to have a baby any day Marci is not here, and Rich is on call to head back to the Placerville area on short notice 'after' the baby is actually born.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Spring Trip 2018

At Sister’s House, Citrus Heights, CA

Map of our Spring Trip

With nearly a month between birthdays (mom’s) and our next family commitment (Sandy and Patti have a weekend trip planned so we will be back by May 24th to help Arny with his mother), we are going to do a big Central California (and a bit of Nevada) loop.  First, over to the Santa Cruz (B on Map) area where my cousin Rich and his wife Marci manage and live on a church camp.  We will have water and 15 amp power, but the weather will not require A/C, so it will be fine.

Our next stop will the Mariposa Fairgrounds (C on Map), which will provide us access to Yosemite National Park.  Followed by Kings Canyon National Park (D on Map).  The ‘gold’ markers on the map are places we get gas…the black is where we can use a dump station, blue markers are places we will stay.  Some places, such as the black above Bakersfield at the bottom of the map, actually also has a gold marker…but the black covers it up.

From there we want to get over to the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, so we will stay one night around Lake Isabella (E on Map), then up to the Alabama Hills (F on Map) for a few nights, then near Mammoth (G on Map) for a few nights, and finally to one of our favorite National Forest Parks outside of Truckee (H on map).  The “I” on the map has a “A” marker under it, and that is my sister’s house…our starting and ending point. 


Bubba has been here at my sister’s house for 8 months straight.  Last year we arrived back at the end of August…and did not leave until the day after Christmas, leaving Bubba with Aunt Sandy and his buddy Uncle Arny.  Yes, Bubba is going with us…and “we” will have to go through his depression, as my sister Sandy goes through the depression that Arny will have.  Arny KNOWS we will be back in 24-25 days…Bubba will wonder if he will ever be back.  We have had to go through this Bubba Depression every time we leave since Bubba first bonded with Arny back in 2012.  Chances are that on Tuesday morning when it comes time to eat…Bubba will stick his nose up in the air and get back into his chair (the driver’s chair is his bed). 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Skruffy Shows Off Our Latest Motorhome Upgrade

At Sister’s House in Citrus Heights, CA

Skruffy talks about our latest upgrade

Hello, Skruffy here.  Just wanted to show off my latest hairdo …

SKRUFFY!  People don’t want to see your latest grooming job…besides, that is nearly two weeks old now.

But dad, it is NOT my fault that you did not let everyone know about my latest hair cut…about how you trim my hair right under the tree with all those squirrels watching me…laughing at me…taunting me.

Skruffy, you NEVER told me before that you have been taunted by the squirrels when I cut your hair.

And how you put me in that small sink in Arny’s garage to give me a bath.  However, I do have to say that the water in the sink is at least warm…when you use that hose out back it is FREEZING!  But hey, do you think Uncle Arny might put in a sink that is like twice the size so that I don’t feel so claustrophobic???

You know Skruffy, Bubba takes a bath in that sink too, and I don’t hear him complaining!  Besides, you are suppose to be showing off our new motorhome upgrade, now get back on topic.

Well dad, if they saw my picture up there, they probably already spotted the change.  But in case they didn’t, folks, DAD PUT DOWN NEW CARPET IN OUR LIVING AREA OF THE MOTORHOME!  There, does that make you feel better?

Thank you Skruffy…but do you think they might want to know a little bit more about the process…see more pictures…find out the cost?

Hey, “I” am not the one who did it, and as far as I know, THAT is the only picture you have to show of it!

Well, that’s because “I” was so busy ripping up the old carpet, scrapping out the padding, sanding down the Particleboard, or Pressed Wood, or Plywood with Fragments of Compressed Sawdust looking stuff that makes up our flooring.  Then, putting down the Carpet Tile was a very meticulous process, especially with that round corner over by your food dish.  Hey, I thought YOU were going to tell the story….

Come on dad, you are doing such a good job (which is MORE than I can say about the carpet job…lol)

SKRUFFY!  You KNOW that this carpet is so much better than that dirty old carpet that I pulled out of there…why it couldn’t even be cleaned any more!

Come on dad, I was just teasing you…the carpet looks good, but the smells of the old carpet are gone…

Well, that is the idea Skruffy…this new carpet does not have that “new carpet” smell, and the dust, the dirt, the mold in that old carpet is gone and all but forgotten.

What is NOT forgotten dad is how long it took you, how many trips to Home Depot you had to make, and you did not say anything about how Uncle Arny helped you lay that carpet divider between the new carpet and the older carpet up by the cockpit.

Yes, Arny did help me with that part…and it is not called a cockpit, it is called the driving area.  And yes, I did go to Home Depot more times than I expected.  Twice to look at carpet, another visit to the Home Depot in West Sacramento (19 miles away) where they actually had the carpet tiles in stock (TrafficMASTER Field Day 18" by 18" for $31 per case, 3 cases), back to the Home Depot nearby for double sided carpet tape ($19), back to Home Depot for the divider, and back to get a wider divider and return one case of carpet tile and the thin divider, and back to get a longer divider ($18) and return the two shorter pieces (Arny wanted ONE large piece, cut down from a 104” piece, and he was right, it looks great).  So the total came to $99 plus tax, which in California, added about $20 more…

DAD!  Now YOU are exaggerating…California does not have a 20% sales tax!

You are right Skruffy, but sometimes it seems that EVERYTHING is taxed here in the Golden State.

And WHY did you use Carpet Tile?

When I was the Library Director in Pine Bluff Arkansas, I had a good relationship with the Public Library in Little Rock, where they built many Libraries.  They used carpet tile in because they hold up real good, and can easily be replaced if one gets ruined by bleach, dog urine, stuff like that…but our biggest concern is the marks that the slide out puts over time on carpets.  In fact, just today the young man who bought the house that mom and dad use to live in just two doors down from Arny and Sandy’s house said that many businesses are using carpet tiles.  Eric is a professional painter, and they just painted three Sacramento County Libraries in the past month…and all three, as part of their remodeling, put carpet tiles down.  And the big factor…for a one person job like this, carpet tile was easy to deal with.

Hey dad…you did do a good job, but you say it was “easy”?  I don’t think a 12 hour job like this, with as much sanding and scrapping that you had to do, was easy at all.  But you know, it took you about 4 hours to rip up the old carpet, and scrap off the padding (day one), another 4 hours of hand sanding the floor to get the residue off, and about 4 hours to cut and lay the tiles (day two)…and 20 minutes to install that carpet divider (day four...I think you rested on day know, the day of rest is suppose to be the seventh day!).  And you did match the laminate floor AND the old carpet real well, and this carpet is easier for mom to walk on, which is important for someone with MS.  So all teasing aside…HOW LONG IS IT GOING TO TAKE FOR YOUR MUSCLES TO STOP HURTING?

Monday, April 23, 2018

Mom’s Having Another Birthday

At my sister’s house in Citrus Heights

The birthday girl

Mom actually has her birthday on Wednesday…but we got together for Liver and Onions on Sunday to celebrate, since Sandy and Patti still work, making weekends much better for these events.

Mom and Dad ready to eat

The table is set, and time to sit down.  What is that over there by dad you might wonder?

Steaks for Dad and I

Now that’s my kind of Liver and Onions!  You see…dad and I don’t do Liver, so Arny cooks us up some Ribeye Steaks…that big thick one, that was mine, and it was SO GOOD!

Liver and Onions, Potatoes and Yams

There is the Liver and Onions…along with potatoes and yams (had to open the foil to see which one you got), salad, and Marcia and I had whipped cauliflower that Marcia does so well, and which is on our diet. 

Great Birthday Meal

Here are the others…that is the back of Marcia’s head, next to her is Patti, then Sandy, then Euleda (Arny’s mom who is 95), Arny, and Patti’s daughter Ashley.  You can see the Liver is nearly gone!

Low Carb Dessert

I missed a picture of the cake…but I did get a picture of Marcia and my low carb dessert.  That is a Atkins Brownie (2 net carbs) with Atkins Chocolate Covered Almonds (1 net carb since we shared a bag) and Halo Ice Cream (4 net carbs).  Mom’s cake was Lemon Bundt Cake, with Icing….about a zillion carbs.  On Wednesday, Marcia and I will be taking mom and dad out to breakfast, and that evening dad will take mom out to dinner using Lyft.

Skruffy with Charlie and 'flying' Parker     Bubba

Patti brought her dogs over for the birthday celebration too.  That is Parker up in the air, Charlie is next to Skruffy…Bubba was inside, so I tossed in this picture I took just before his haircut the other day.
So there were four things we came out to California especially for this year….dad’s 90th, mom’s 88th, their 70th anniversary, and my son’s wedding.  Essentially, two of these are done, two more to go…what a year!

Yellow Roses outside the motorhome     Red Roses outside the motorhome
One of many squirrels     Birds at the feeder
Mallard Ducks

Spring is definitely here in Northern California.  Good rain has brightened up all the lawns and flowers, the critters are out, and this year these two ducks have shown up nearly every day we have been here.  Got to watch out when the dogs go outside, that male Mallard has a bum leg and is just a bit slow getting into the air…but so far, no incidents.

Next Monday Marcia and I are going on a 25 day trip…which I will blog about next time…along with showing our newest change to the inside of the motorhome, which is currently a work in progress….

Thursday, April 12, 2018

9,000 Mile Delivery … That’s Our Federal Spending

At Sister’s House in Citrus Heights, Ca

Dad's Hoveround

Dad’s Hoveround sprung a flat tire.  Living in a Independent Living Facility, it is a long ways to the dining hall…and if you want to go to Walmart or CVS, which are across the street, one who is 90 years old needs an electric device in order to do this.  Wednesday night of last week he called to tell me to say that his Hoveround had a flat tire.  I went over on Thursday and took the wheel off, and Arny and I determined that the tire tube could not be repaired, it needed a new tube.  Hoveround bad tire tubeTwo flats ago Arny found one eventually, but the last time it had a flat, same tire as this, Arny patched it.  Well, it sprung another leak, the tube just needs to be replaced.  A local ADA (Disability Assistance Store) could get a tube for like $30.  Amazon could get us two tubes for $10 plus change…but it would take 6 days to arrive.  Not a Amazon Prime item, but it was free shipping.

USPS Tracking Info

When I placed the order on Thursday night (the 5th), they promised it would be here by Wednesday (the 11th), yesterday.  So on Friday when I saw it was accepted at the Post Office in Fountainville, I knew things were on the way…good deal, and especially when I saw it arrived at the Philadelphia Distribution Center less than 90 minutes later.  However, when I saw 24 hours later that it was in Honolulu Hawaii…well, I knew we were in trouble.  As you follow the package route above, you can see that they say it left Honolulu on the 9th…but it did not get to Sacramento until the 11th.  Now on the morning of the 11th, before they posted that it was in Sacramento, I contacted the Amazon Vendor and asked them to look into the matter….after all, Dad needed his Hoveround!  (Well, actually, I took Marcia’s GoGo over there, which is just like mom’s, so dad had transportation, but the Hoveround is so much easier for him to get into and out of with his bad back.)

Number of mile tube traveled

So, the Hoveround tire tube needed to travel a distance of 2444 nautical miles from Philadelphia to Citrus Heights.  Instead, it traveled 9,194 miles from Philadelphia, to Honolulu to Citrus Heights…assuming that the ‘PIGEON’ they used to carry it flew directly to each location and not through places like New York or Chicago on the way to Honolulu, or to Los Angeles or Seattle coming back from Honolulu to Citrus Heights.  Heck, I have never been to Honolulu, but Dad’s Hoveround Tire Tube has!

Hoveround wheel taken apart

Here is the tire taken apart sitting on one of Arny’s work benches.  The tube to the right is the old tube…the new tube is on the box above and to the left a bit.  The hub is in two parts, and it all goes inside that grey tire to the left.

How the hubs go on Hoveround Tire     How the hubs go on Hoveround Tire

Above you can see how the hub fits, once the tire is put in place.  For such a small wheel, you would think this would be an easy job for one person…but in reality it much easier if there are two people, one to hold things in place while the other works on putting it together.  I was the holder, Arny the putter together man.

Arny putting on tire tube     Arny putting hub on tire
Arny putting hub on tire

Above Arny gets the new tube in place, gets the two parts of the hub in place, and from there I am needed to help hold it as he airs up the tube, puts on the bolts, and airs up the tube to 50 pounds. 

Tire put back on Hoveround

I went back over to mom and dad’s, and put the tire on the Hoveround … all is good.  That was our 9,000+ mile fix job…all for a $5 tire tube…one must wonder just how much that delivery job cost the USPS…

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Rainy Friday and Saturday

At Sister’s House, Citrus Heights, Ca

Accuweather Precipitation Levels past 24 hours

Around midnight Thursday it started to sprinkle…by morning it was a good, solid rain.  For the next 36 hours it rained…about 2-3 inches.  Rarely was it a hard rain, there might have been 15 mph winds, just a good, solid rain.  The type of rain that farmers really like this time of year…unless they were planning to get a crop in the ground this weekend.  Folsom Lake is now 82 percent full, which is 122 percent of its 15-year average.  They finished a new spillway last year, so the lake level can be higher than in past years.  Just this past February they wondered if it would get above half full…amazing what a wet March and a good rain in April can do for this area.  This was a warmer rain, so it rained on some of the snow pack in the Sierras, which means they had to release more water from the dams in anticipation of the high water rate coming into the lakes.  Looks like the farmers will have water again this year during the hot summer months, at least from Merced and the valley to the north of Merced.

mini lake in sister's backyard due to rain

This amount of rain means that a lake forms between the motorhome and the patio.  This picture was taken AFTER about half of the lake dried up.  I took the carpets up that lead from the motorhome to the patio in anticipation of the rain…glad I did because they would have been soaking wet.

mini lake in sister's backyard due to rain

Here is another angle…you can see the high amount of tree droppings in the bottom right of the picture, which is where the high level of the water was at.

Blossoms from Fruitless Mulberry

The tree is a Fruitless Mulberry, and the Blossoms come out before the leaves appear.  The Blossoms fall off, making a big mess…but at least they are not sticky, just love to stick in doggies tails, feet, etc., and the bottom of your shoes.  We hoped that the storm would knock them all down…

Blossoms from Fruitless Mulberry

…but not our luck…still a bunch of them up there in the tree.

Cherry Tree    Cherry Tree Blossoms

The cherry tree…now that’s another story.  It once had a bunch of blossoms on it, like in the upper right picture…but the rain knocked 95% of them off, as you can see in the upper left picture.

Lake has dried up, dogs are free

By evening, I was able to put the carpets back out, and the dogs could have free run of the yard again.  During the higher water, I put them on the leash and walked them around the water onto the higher area of the lawn.  They could not understand that…but after all, they are just dogs…who knows what they understand outside of food, petting, and sleeping.

Squirrel going for food     Squirrel going for food
Squirrel going for food

With the rain gone, the sun back, and a big blue sky…the animals came out to feast…

Doves     Doves

Birds     Birds

ALL of these bird and squirrel and dog pictures were taken today after 4 and before 8. 

Looking east after storm    Looking east after storm

Thought I might be able to see the Sierras after the storm, but it needed to pass through a few hours earlier…still clouds over the mountains to the east.

West after storm     West after storm

And with no clouds to the west, the sky did not light up for a real nice sunset…but any sunset is still nice, especially one with Old Glory flapping in the wind.