Wednesday, July 31, 2013

7/31/13 - Orinda, CA

We had breakfast and just sat around and talked this morning.  Lorna went to the hairdresser at noon.  Jim and I went to Trader Joes and then to the Lafayette Recreation Area.  We walked around the lake.  We also found a geocache after Trader Joes.  We went back to Lorna’s and around 6 pm we drove to Oakland to Home Room.  This restaurant was on the Food Channel on the “ Food Paradise: Cheese” episode.  The restaurant specializes in mac & cheese, and it was packed.  Come to find out, Home Room is on the same property where David had his podiatry practice.  The old building had been torn down and this building was built in its place.  Lorna said that David would have gotten a kick out of eating mac & cheese where he used to work.  A few blocks down was a geocache so we showed Lorna how to locate one.  Before leaving Oakland Lorna took us by her parents’ house where she grew up.  She still owns it.  When we got back to her house we had some Riesling and cookies.

7/30/13 - Orinda, CA

Jim fixed pancakes for breakfast this morning.  We left around 10 am and drove about 30 miles to Lorna’s house in Orinda.  Orinda is in the hills just west of Oakland.  Lorna was married to Jim’s good friend David.  David and Jim had known each other since elementary school in Tyler.  David’s family lived across the street from Jim’s family.  David died in 2009 from Multiple Myeloma.  He was Jim’s best man at our wedding.   

We have the Casita parked in Lorna’s driveway and will be here for a few days.  After arriving Lorna and I went to the grocery store and then picked up her dog, Mia, from the groomer.  We all sat outside for a while in the sun and then fixed supper.

Monday, July 29, 2013

7/29/13 - Pleasanton, CA

We left camp this morning and headed a little closer to Orinda.  We are going to visit our friend Lorna who lives there.  Lorna should be coming home from Hawaii today and we will go to her house tomorrow.   

We stopped at Santa Clara University to visit Santa Clara Mission.  Then we drove to San Jose de Guadalupe Mission just outside Fremont.  Lorna called just before we entered the mission and said that her flight from Honolulu was still scheduled but her daughter’s flight from Maui had been cancelled.  The tropical storm is the cause.  She should be back in California around 9:45 tonight if nothing goes wrong.  If she is delayed, we will stay here in Pleasanton another day.   We got a site at Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.  After unhooking we drove to Main Street and went to Handles Brewing and then across the street to Main Street Brewing.  We stopped at Home Depot and Walmart before returning to the Casita where I cooked supper.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

7/28/13 - Monterey, CA

We had breakfast and didn’t get in a hurry for anything this Sunday morning.  The sea fog was in the air this morning but not as thick as yesterday.  Jim paid some bills and reconciled his bank account.  Around 11 am we went down to the shooting range in the campground and shot our pistols.  Then we went back to Casita for lunch.

We discussed taking the 17 mile scenic drive around the Monterey Peninsula.  We did this the last time we were here so Jim decided we would take a drive to Point Lobos State Natural Preserve.  We hiked four trails in the park.  We saw sea lions, Brandt’s Cormorants, guillemots, sea gulls, and lots of flowers.  There is a stand of Monterey Cypress trees here.  There are only are two naturally growing stands on earth.  This reserve was acquired to protect these trees.  It was the site of a whaling station from 1862 to 1879.  There was also an abalone cannery here once and a granite quarry.  Whalers Cabin, built by Chinese fisherman in the 1850’s, is now a museum.  We left the reserve at 6 pm and went back to the Casita for supper and for Jim to update the blog.  We called my son to go over the mail he had for us.

7/27/13 - Monterey, CA

We woke this morning just before 7 am to a heavy sea fog in the area.  You couldn’t even tell that we were on a high cliff.  There was no view like yesterday when we got here.  It should burn off during the day.  This weekend is the Garlic Festival in Gilroy.  We thought about going to it but decided to hit another mission and some brewpubs in Santa Cruz.  We drove to Mission Santa Cruz.  This mission was completely destroyed by an earthquake and there is a half scale replica to tour.

We ate lunch at Aldo’s, a DDD restaurant on the beach near the Santa Cruz lighthouse.  We had grilled rock codfish and grilled asparagus with cheese bread.  Then we walked out to the lighthouse.  Jim found quite a few breweries in the area so we visited Sea Bright Brewing, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, and Santa Cruz Ale Works.  The bartender at Santa Cruz Ale Works used to live near us in Houston. We gave him a Karbach Saison beer we had in the Silverado.

Next we went to Rustic Brewing and we traded one of our Karbach Saisons for one of their Saisons.   On the way back to the Casita we stopped at a vegetable/fruit stand and Jim bought a Hami melon, 3 bunches of broccoli, and 10 artichokes.  Then we stopped in Marina at English Ales for one more beer before returning to the Casita and I fixed supper.  We talked to some really friendly people and had an enjoyable day.

Friday, July 26, 2013

7/26/13 - Monterey, CA

When we got up this morning it was 53 degrees.  Hopefully today will not be as hot as the last few days since we are leaving and will be closer to the coast.  We stopped at Hollister to get some groceries and let Jim call about a place for us to stay the next couple of nights.  There was another mission between us and our campsite so we stopped at Mission San Juan Bautista.  We drove to our campsite that is near Monterey and Carmel.  This is a regional park and has Mazda Raceway next to it.  There is not a race this weekend so it should be quiet.  Also here is a rifle and pistol range.  We can see it and hear it but it isn’t so loud that it bothers us.  Our site is on the very top of the hill next to a cliff and we have a really great view of the countryside and homes below.  There is a Bigfoot cab over camper next to us.

We unhooked and drove into Carmel to Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo (Carmel Mission).  This is where Fr. Junipero Serra died and was buried.  Fr. Serra is responsible for founding the first nine of the twenty one Spanish missions in California.

It was rush hour when we left so we drove into Monterey to Peter B’s Brewpub.  It was closed today to get ready for a Sysco company function.  Next door in the hotel was Jack’s Lounge that served their beer so we went in there and shared one.  We went to Peter B’s last time we were in Monterey.  We also walked out on Fisherman’s Wharf.  Then we went back to camp and I cooked us some supper.  It was 61 degrees at 6 pm.  There is a lot of mist blowing in from the coast at 8 pm. 

7/25/13 - Pinnacles National Park, CA

We went on a 2.2 mile hike this morning.  It was 58 degrees at 7 am when we got up.  We started hiking today at 9 am and it took us 1½ hours to hike the Rim Trail/Moses Spring Loop.  Half way on the hike was a really pretty reservoir. There is a cave on this loop trail also.  It was closed because of bat season.  Good thing we hiked through the other cave on the trail yesterday.  It was 80 degrees when we got back today.  It got up to 102 degrees this afternoon.  Jim worked on the pictures for the blog and then we went to the pool from 3 - 5:15.  We sat outside while we were cool and played our Phase 10 dice game.  Then we got everything ready to leave in the morning.  I watched the last episode of Hell’s Kitchen.

7/24/13 - Pinnacles National Park, CA

There were about 70 quail foraging through the campground this morning. We went for a hike today.  After talking to the Ranger, we took the Old Pinnacles Trail to the Balconies Cave Trail and Balconies Cliff Trail.  This was a 6 mile round trip hike.  It was 58 when we got up this morning and when we got off the trail it was 101.  We started at 10 am and finished at 1:35 pm. We took four containers of water and drank three of them. We stopped after getting through the cave and had lunch. We forgot to take our flashlights for the cave but we met two girls from Ohio that let us tag along with them through the cave.  After returning to the Casita we laid down to cool off.  I didn’t think I would make it the last 30 minutes.  I was so hot.  Then we went to the swimming pool.  It was marvelous!  Just as we were getting out of the pool, another Casita came into camp.  The couple has a 16 foot Spirit and they have two kids and a dog.  Instead of a side dinette it had bunk beds.