Back At the Flagler Famers Market

Bromeliads R Us is back at the Flagler Beach Farmers Market and we will be there every Friday on the 1st street side and on Sunday on the Route 100 side. I now carry Bromeliads that are more Sun resistant and salt resistant that I get from a farmer in Miami, in addition to all the other bright colored Bromeliads. See you there!


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Dateline July 30, 2013: Monterey to San Diego + Golf

coast cal 2It was time to leave awe-inspiring Yosemite and head to the California coast, our target was the Monterey Peninsula. We arrived at the Monterey Fair Grounds, a great facility with RV slots that are available when large events are not going on like horse shows.  It is funny when you see a sign “Don’t Wash Horses Here”, where there is water for an RV site.  They have horse stalls right behind the RV sites.  It was a very convenient location and the camp hosts could not have been nicer.

The weather was rather nice but the temperature hit a high of 64 degrees, we were a little concerned since we had a tee time  at the Bayonet Course the next morning at 7:50 am. We headed out to Monterey for a walk around town. monterey streetThe last time we were there was before we were married at a Citrix Systems conference.  They had a magical dinner at the Monterey Sea Aquarium  as part of the conference, so it was a little walk down memory lane. buildings on bayWe did a little shopping, purchasing some chocolates but avoided the tourist items. Of course we were always looking for items for the grandchildren. Night was coming so we headed back to the fair grounds.  We met a gentleman in the slot next to us and joined him for a drink and some conversation.  He told us about a great seafood restaurant called Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Creek and decided to have lunch there after golf the next morning.

Golf was at  7:50 am, there was no marine layer to our surprise and the sun was out as we hit our shots off the first tee at Bayonet. bayonet1The PGA played their championship there in 2012 so we knew it would be a good challenge.bayonet2jr Of course we always find the local animals as we did on this hole as we were ready to putt. The course was a good test of golf and it had some glorious views down to the bay. By the time we finished the marine layer came in and the temperature started to drop.  Glad we had an early start to the day. bayonet3We put the clubs back in the RV and headed to Moss Creek to find Phil’s Fish Market. Off the highway, down around several corners, across a bridge,  back into where the fishing boats unload fish processingand we found the restaurant.

We cannot say enough about the food, it was fabulous and very reasonable. We had oysters on the half shell and split a fresh snapper sandwich, that was so big we couldn’t finish it together!  Just incredible!  Not only was the food wonderful but you can sit outside right on the water when the weather is good. We would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone passing by the area!phils fish market

After lunch we headed down to Carmel to walk around town and make a stop at the Hogs Breath Saloon. The stores in Carmel are very interesting and we found a children’s store and picked up a few gifts for the grandchildren.  We then headed over to the Hogs Breath only to find out that Clint Eastwood no longer owns it and had opened a new place down the road a piece. Disappointed but happy we saved ourselves from drinking all afternoon at Clint’s!

We then headed over to the Lodge at Pebble Beach and sat down for a glass of wine in the bar and took in the view of the famous 18th hole looking over Carmel Bay.  One of the great experiences in golf and enjoying a drink is at Spanish Bay on 17 Mile Drive.  The outside patio has benches around gas fire pits, the temperature is in the lower 50s, the fire kept you warm. We ordered a bottle of wine and waited for the arrival of the Scottish bagpiper, he starts bagpipe fogplaying in the fog.  You could only hear him and then he would walk closer, continue to play and then move closer where you could finally see his image through the fog. The experience is hard  to describe because it is a combination of golf, weather and the Scottish heritage of golf.  As he arrives near the patio, he continues to play and both the adults and the children enjoy a wonderful and memorable experience.  On top of that Phil Mickelson had just won the Open at Muirfield Scotland the day before.bagpipe clear

The next morning we headed down the Pacific Coast Highway thru Big Sur, towards San Simeon State Park and Hearst Castle. The California Big Sur coastline is beautiful, the marine layer moves in and out, you never know when you will get a view in the clear.  coastlineJanice saw an elephant seal, could not stop, then all of a sudden a sign for an area where you could view the seals.  These are northern elephant seals and during June and July they come onto the beach to molt and need the heat of the sun and beach, it is called a “haul-out”.  seals1We watched them come out of the water and work their way up on the beach, lumber  around on the sand, find a place to sleep use their front fins to push sand on their large bodies and occasionally a few would get into a slight territorial dispute. 2 sealsWe stayed for a while it was fabulous watching these animals. We headed over to the state park for a quiet evening.

First thing the next morning we headed over to the Hearst Castle for the tour. Hearst Castle’s history begins in 1865, when George Hearst purchased 40,000 acres of ranch land. William Randolph Hearst  spent his youth camping on the property, inheriting what had grown to more than 250,000 acres. He had spent much of his youth traveling thru Europe and visiting many castles.  He envisioned building a castle of his own and hired architect Julia Morgan to help him build the castle. castle  They completed the majority of the work together in 1947.   It had 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways—all built to house his specifications and to showcase his legendary art collection. His empire of entertainment, newspapers and magazines was legendary.  An invitation to Hearst’s home was honored by many in sports and entertainment including Winston Churchill, Calvin Coolidge, George Bernard Shaw, Charlie Chaplin, Errol Flynn, Lionel and John Barrymore, Clark Gable and so many other famous people.  guests_mainMarian Davies became his constant companion and confidante.  During the depression Hearst Corporation was in heavy debt and she gave Hearst $1,000,000 to save the company. Hearst also had a zoo on the property but when those financial difficulties came in the late 30s, he sold or gave away most of the animals which took until 1953.  Closing the zoo they caught most of the animals, the real survivors were the zebra herd that occasional can be seen grazing by the highway.  all the animals to local zoos and closed the zoo.zebraThe Hearst Corporation still manages cattle on much of the property.  The  remainder is part of the California Parks system. When we walked thru the reception area we asked a gentleman at the information desk where some of the good local wine was in Paso Roble, California.  He suggested Adelaida Cellars.  He happened to be a weekend tasting room host.

Off to Adelaida Cellars Tasting Room we went.  It was probably an hours drive and worth the trip.our-hilltop-view  We entered the tasting room and handed the card given to us by their colleague for a free tasting.  Not a problem we enjoyed al their wines and purchased a few bottles of rose and four bottles each of their Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel for the RV wine rack!  Having enjoyed their hospitality and wonderful wines, we made some sandwiches and enjoyed eating on their terrace.  We joined their wine club and look forward to receiving some fine wines at home.  We than drove to San Luis Obispo about 30 miles away for the night.

We made the long drive down the Pacific Coast Highway through Santa Barbara and then into Malibu.  We were excited to see this community of the “rich and famous”.   There was a great campground just up the hill off the Pacific Highway that overlooked Malibu beach. malibu view

They had wonderful picnic areas and we headed down with our cocktails to watch the surf. john malibuAsking about “what to see?”, they said it was just a residential town with little access to the large homes and of course the famous people.  Oh well, we can now say we spent the night at Malibu Beach!

In the morning we took a beautiful drive over to Simi Valley for our visit to the Reagan Library.  (Reagan Library Post)  The experience was exciting, memorable and educational.  The library is a “must see” if you have the time in the Los Angeles area.  Leaving the Reagan Library we were surprised by the number of cars parked along the road leaving the library.  It opens at 10:00 and that is the best time to get there.  Being mid day we thought taking the “405” through Los Angeles would be easy, well by local standards, it may have been, but it was more like rush hour on the Long Island Expressway driving into New York City.   The only one that could drive fast on the “405” was OJ Simpson!!

Arriving in Long Beach later in the afternoon we had made reservations at a city owned chief johnpark, literally downtown and a few blocks from the harbor with the Queen Mary.  We got set up and John cooked dinner on the grill.

Having made an appointment at the local Mercedes dealer for early Saturday morning we headed over to get the brakes replaced, getting 70,000 miles on one set wasn’t too  bad.  Thinking it would be a half day, problems came up that caused it to take all day.  Fortunately we had made reservations for a two night stay.

Sunday morning we drove down and looked at the Long Beach Pierlong beach pier with views of the Queen Mary and all the boats in the harbor and then worked our way down the Pacific Coast Highway to Huntington Beach (Surf City).  When we arrived in Surf City, there were giant crowds everywhere for the final day of the US Open Surfing Championship.  We now understood why we were not able to get a campsite and had to make reservations at a Marriott Courtyard.

Janice was going to qualify for the USGA Senior Women Amateur at Sea Cliff Country Club in Huntington Beach on Tuesday.  Since John was the caddy it was important that we both played the practice round that afternoon, the course being closed on Monday.    We had a nice afternoon of golf and returned to the hotel for the night.  It isJohn and GiGi comical about traveling in an RV, you get so use to preparing your own food, seldom do you eat out.  We stopped at a local Safeway and picked up a cooked chicken.  Our room had a sliding glass door out to the parking lot, so we pulled the RV next to the room for any needed item, sort of the best of both worlds.  Monday morning we met Gigi Kimball for breakfast at Ruby’s at the end of the Huntington Beach Pier for breakfast.  Gigi was visiting family in the area and was also going to qualify for the USGA event.

pier After breakfast we headed out to Yorba Linda for the Nixon Library.  Like the Reagan Library, this is a great educational experience which we wrote up (Nixon Library Post).

Tuesday morning Janice was the first group with two other golfers to play the qualifying round.  She played beautifully until the 17th hole where she took four putts on the par 3.  This caused her to be in a playoff with 6 other players for one qualified position and two alternate positions.  A great par on the first hole, a par five, unfortunately three players had birdies and went on to see who would be the last to qualify.  Worst for her it was the second year in a row that she lost on a playoff hole.

Not to worry, there is still the USGA Women’s Mid-Amateur qualifier in early September!

Next destination:  San Diego.  We made wonderful friends on our Alaska trip and then again in Canada last year with Ann and Ruth.  They live in Ocean Side, just north of San Diego and we were looking forward to stopping and seeing them on our way to San Diego.  We arrived in time for the cocktail hour and witnessed a beautiful sunset from their lovely home right on the beach.Ann and Ruth Pier ViewAfter cocktails we shared some wonderful wine with a steak dinner.  They asked if we wanted to spend the night, which we did, leaving earclockly in the morning for our round of golf at Torrey Pines.  What a wonderful evening with two outstanding people from our Roadtrek world!

We had plenty of time to make the drive to Torrey Pines for our 8:30 tee time.  This was a special day ending our time in California, having completed over 1,600 miles driving down the Pacific Coast Highway.  The beauty of the pacific coast is striking with mountains most of the way along the coast.  Ending this portion at Torrey Pines was a special thrill.  Both of us have always wanted to play the course going back to when celebrities had their names associated with the annual events.  This was always the Andy Williams San Diego Open played here from 1968-1988 and now known as the Farmers Insurance Open.  Tiger Woods won the only US Open played at Torrey Pines in 2008 which also was his last major championship victory.

The morning was perfect for golf, slightly overcast and a comfortable 60 degrees.  We were paired up with two gentlemen from the local community.  Torrey Pines is actually a San Diego Municipal golf course and is very reasonable to play for local residents.  We teed off on the first hole of the South Course.  The course is a great test of golf with breathtaking views. The course is above the ocean with cliffs down to the beach some of the holes butt up right on the cliffs like this par 3 below, quite majestic.par3 John had a great time and was in good form as can be seen from this shot!john shotGolf at Torrey Pines finished, it is time to start back east with our first stop in Arizona to see Lelia and her mother Betty Lou.  Lelia has bought a lot in Flagler Beach and is in the process of building a home.  We look forward to them becoming our new neighbors in Florida.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dateline July 29, 2013 Richard M. Nixon Library

Nixon Library

Nixon Library

We visited the Richard M. Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, Californi, where President Nixon was born and was buried in 1994 on the grounds of the Library, next to his wife Patricia.  We discussed as we went through the museum and library that it was John’s first time to vote and Janice could not, as she was not old enough to vote for him in the 1968 election, since you had to be 21 in order to vote.

History of Richard Nixon’s presidency and later political influence has not been taught as the real memory of the Nixon years was Watergate.  So let’s get that out of the way before we talk about the Library and all that is available to any of us that choose to visit.

Nixon Resigns because of Watergate

Nixon Resigns because of Watergate

The Library does an excellent job of spelling out all the activities that led up to his resignation, from the “Enemies List”, drawn up by John Dean to have the IRS perform audits, which the Director of the IRS refused to do, up through the bundled burglary of the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Complex in Washington D.C. leading to the cover-up.  With the House of Representatives voting to impeach, him he chose resign rather than going to trial in the Senate.  As we will discuss, it was not the end of this President’s actions on behalf of the country he loved to serve.

The early years:

Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California to parents that were local merchants, all in the

Nixon's boyhood home in Yoba Linda

Nixon’s boyhood home in Yorba Linda

family worked in the family store. He graduated from Whittier College and then graduated from Duke University Law School in 1937, returning to California to practice law. He and his wife, Pat, moved to Washington to work for the federal government in 1942. He subsequently served in the United States Navy, serving in the South Pacific during World War II.  Nixon was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946 and then to the U.S. Senate in 1950.  His pursuit of the Alger Hiss case established his reputation as a leading anti communist and elevated him to national prominence. He was the selected as the running mate for Dwight D. Eisenhower for the Republican ticket in the 1952 election. Nixon served for eight years as vice president. The media attacked him for a “fund” that 1952-nixon-checkerswas put together after his 1950 election to the Senate to pay for travel and other campaign activities.  Nixon addressed the country on television and radio in a broadcast paid for by the Republican National Committee (RNC) ($75,000), listened to by over 60,000,000 people, the largest audience as of that date and discussed the charges.  He told people to let the RNC know if they thought he should stay on the ticket.  He said one gift he would not return was a black and white dog that the Nixon children had named Checkers.  He gained overwhelming support, stayed on the ticket and they won the 1952 election.  The speech became known as the “Checkers Speech”.

He served as Vice President through 1960 and was nominated for president.   He waged an unsuccessful presidential campaign, narrowly losing to John F. Kennedy and then lost a race for Governor of California in 1962.  During those years in between running again in 1968 he spent time working within the Republican Party becoming the “big winner” of the 1966 mid-term elections helping many Republicans get elected.  He had returned to  the political field and threw his hat into the primaries leading up to the 1968 election.. He knew that one defeat in the primaries and he was not going to represent the party in the 1968 election.  He won them all and went on to defeat Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 election for president.

The library does a great job taking you through those early years of his career leading up to the presidency.  The exhibits of his years in the White House were well documented and because he lived for so many years beyond his presidency, he had filmed comments recorded on the various issues of his years as president.

Nixon’s domestic accomplishments while in office included:
1.  ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) which he fought for getting the Senate to pass it, but only 30 of the 50 states ratified it.
2.  He improved integration of schools with only 10% being integrated upon entering office and 70% integrated upon leaving, basically ending segregation.
3.  Revenue sharing was established with a share of federal tax revenue, with virtually no restrictions, was given to the states, cities, counties, and townships.
4.  He ended the draft creating our all voluntary armed forces.
5.  New anti crime laws were established to help stop organized crime through the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or as we know it RICO.
5.  He started the process of ending the Cold War.
6.  Recognized and fought against foreign oil price gouging.
7.  EPA  He implemented a broad environmental program which became the Environmental Protection Agency.  Many of us remember the lakes and rivers that were toxic from chemicals and sewage dumped into them.  Most are environmentally save for recreation. Love Canal in Niagara Falls, NY was discovered in 1977 and the EPA policies put in place by Nixon went on to clean it up and hold Hooker Chemical responsible for the pollution from chemical waste.  We all gained an appreciation for our environment and sensitive to anything that would spoil it, however as of late, it has been used for ridiculous political ends.
8.  He was the only President to achieve a balanced national budget between 1961 and 1998.

Nixon’s international accomplishments included:
Some of his most acclaimed achievements came in his quest for world stability. During visits in 1972 to Beijing and Moscow, he reduced tensions with China and the U.S.S.R. His summit meetings with Russian leader Leonid I. Brezhnev produced a treaty to limit strategic nuclear weapons.

The Chinese government had so much respect for the president that they had a needlepoint made of the meeting between Zhou Enlai, Mao and Nixon and given as a gift to the Nixon Library in 1991.

Needlepoint of Nixon, Chairman Mao 1972.  Made in 1991

Needlepoint of Nixon, Chairman Mao  and Zhou Enlai 1972. Made in 1991

In January 1973, he announced an accord with North Vietnam to end American involvement in Indochina.  Our POWs in North Vietnam were returned to the United States.  The flag below was made by our POWs in North Vietnam, from various materials over a week of work and used for 18 months as there symbol of love and respect to our country.

POW Flag "Hanoi Hilton"

POW Flag “Hanoi Hilton”

Each evening when their activities were completed, the flag was taken out and hung where all the POWs would salute it.  It flew all night and the men would salute it in the morning before the guards arrived for the day  It was hidden in mosquito netting and was not found upon many inspections.  It was carried out  of the prison upon their release, sewn between two North Vietnamese handkerchiefs.

In 1974, his Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, negotiated disengagement agreements between Israel and its opponents, Egypt and Syria.

Upon leaving office, he was deeply in debt, having personally run up over $1,000,000 in legal bills and other debts, including back taxes to the federal government.  1974 was a hard year and a low point for him.  The man that had politically recovered so many times before was ready to rebuild his reputation.  Financially strapped and in need of repaying his debts he contracted to write his memoirs for a $2 million advance and contracted to do interviews with British television personality David Frost for $600,000.  He sold his Florida home and other real estate holdings along with the book becoming a best seller was able to retire his debt.  He traveled back to China in 1976 and was warmly received, which led to other international travel.  Internationally, leaders did not understand the fuss over Watergate.  In 1978 he started do do small speaking engagements and continued to write political best sellers.  Meanwhile, Nixon began to reclaim a place on the national scene. He dispensed his advice to all who would listen, including talking to President Jimmy Carter about normalizing relations with China in 1978. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush began to consult him although they did not publicize that fact.

Nixon died from complications of a stroke on April 22, 1994, and his funeral drew

Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, GWH Bush and Clinton at Nixon Funeral

Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, GWH Bush and Clinton at Nixon Funeral

luminaries from around the globe, including every living President. President Bill Clinton’s eulogy dwelled on Nixon’s great accomplishments, particularly in foreign affairs, rather than on his constitutional crimes, remarking “May the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close.”

Nixon’s legacy is very interesting and a visit to the Nixon Library is a great historical experience.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dateline July 26, 2013 Ronald Reagan Foundation and Library

Air Force One Looking Out Over Simi Valley

Air Force One Looking Out Over Simi Valley

We drove from Malibu over the coastal mountain roads to Simi Valley, sometimes at 15 MPH due to the curves in the roads. It was fun to look at the homes of the rich and famous, but nothing really prepared us for the entrance drive and view of the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. There was a portrait of each president on the drive up to the summit of the hill where the library is situated and the views over the landscape of the valley below was spectacular.

regan look real

Upon entry to the library you are taken on a tour of his life. The emotions that we felt were based on having so experienced the years that he had impacted our lives. Starting with his boyhood, the exhibits take him through college at Eureka and on to his job as a sports announcer. He would announce a game by reading the ticker tape and make up all the surrounding detail that we have become so use to while listening to sports on the radio. He was “discovered” and asked to visit MGM for a screen test. The more memorable movies included playing the Gipper in “Knute Rockne, All American” (1940), Kings Row (1942) and Bedtime for Bonzo (1952).  When World War Two broke out, being near-sighted, he was not eligible to serve overseas and spent the war making Army films for training purposes.

The history building up to his entry into politics, included becoming president of the Screen Actors Guild and helping to solve the union issues within the entertainment industry.  He spent his years with General Electric Theater, while touring the various plants, talking with both management and labor became part of his political movement to conservatism away from the “New Deal”.  He first entered the American political scene by delivering a nationally televised speech on behalf of Barry Goldwater’s candidacy in the final stretch of the 1964 presidential race. In his famed “A Time for Choosing” speech of October 27, 1964, Reagan conveyed his conservative ideology. He opened by acknowledging that he wrote the speech himself. He spoke of America’s “tax burden,” the necessity of a balanced budget, anti-communism, and individualism.  He condemned “a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital,” bureaucracy, public housing, and welfare. Reagan concluded:
“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last
best hope of man on Earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.’

“The Speech” really started the interest in getting Reagan into mainstream politics. He ran for Governor of California in 1966 winning the election over current California Governor Jerry Brown’s father, Pat Brown, running for a third term. In a paper published by Kevin McKenna, “The “Total Campaign”: How Ronald Reagan Overwhelmingly Won the California Gubernatorial Election of 1966″  McKenna says “He was a political neophyte campaigning on an eloquent message of change in a primary and general election battle against the most experienced and established candidates of the two major political parties. Condemned by his general election opponent as an extremist, his superior campaign operation brought him to victory with the aid of a shifting political climate.

Elected he served two terms and entered the national stage first in being a rival to Gerald Ford for the 1976 nomination and then winning the nomination against George Bush in 1980, selecting him to run as his VP candidate. The exhibit of the campaign is very well done, you feel the emotion of it as you watch the famous debate seen with Jimmy Carter where the question is asked “Are you better off now then you were four years ago?” followed by the follow-up questions about paycheck, economy, security and so on. Still one of the most talked about debate performances and one that all since have been compared to.

As you walk through the displays you are hit with so many memorable events, the assassination attempt by John Hinkley and his recovery in the hospital, it was as though it was happening in front of you!  Move on to the Air Traffic Controllers strike and to the bombing of the barracks in Lebanon, the Grenada invasion and so many more.  Each event is bought to life with sounds, video and pictures.  The relationship and negotiations with Gorbachev where very well covered and bought to life with Gorbachev, after agreeing to our Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) research being part of the INF agreement (INF denoting “Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces” Reagan ended the Reykjavik conference.  Despite its apparent failure, participants and observers have referred to the summit as an enormous breakthrough which eventually facilitated the INF Treaty (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty), signed at the Washington Summit on December 8, 1987.  Reagan famously talked about “Trust But Verify” and this was the first time that the United States was able to inspect and verify that the Soviets did what they said.  There were many accomplishments during his term and like all of our leaders some disappointments.

One of the halls is Air Force One.  T. Boone Pickens made the display possible with one of AIR FORCE ONE REAGAN LIBRARYthe Boeing 707s (civilian numbers) that serviced Richard Nixon thru George W. Bush, retired from service in 2001 rests high on display in a three story atrium looking out on the hills of Simi Valley.  There is a number of other transportation vehicles including the presidential limo with the license plate:  GIPPER.  Marine One, the presidential helicopter is also on display.  Touring the plane was fun, as you went farther towards the back, the seats got smaller for the press.  The press pays the price of a first class ticket plus $1.00.  President Reagan loved chocolate cake, but Nancy was strict about him having it.  Reagan made sure that a chocolate cake was always in the back section of the plane.  He would then find out who had a birthday and would pick up the cake, take it to the person and sing Happy Birthday.  He then could have his slice!  The other candy on board were numerous jars of Jelly Bellys, his favorite jelly bean.

The spirit that he inspired in all of us will not be forgotten.  He believed with all of his heart in what was good about America and the American people.  His quote upon leaving the presidency:  “I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it and see it still…..And how stands the city on this winter night? More prosperous, more secure, and happier than it was eight years ago. But more than that; after 200 years, two centuries, she still stands strong and true on the granite ridge, and her glow has held steady no matter what storm. And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom, for all the pilgrims from all the lost places who are hurtling through the darkness, toward home.”

As you finish the tour of the library there is a wonderful and emotional presentation of the celebration of his life after passing away in 2004 from the years with Alzheimer’s.  It brings tears to your eyes as once again you say good-bye to someone who affected us all.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dateline July 21, 2013: The Redwood Forest and Yosemite..WOW

Yosemite and the Falls from Glacier Point

Yosemite and the Falls from Glacier Point

One of the largest trees in the Redwood Forest

One of the largest trees in the Redwood Forest

The introduction pictures says it all, these parks are some of Gods greatest accomplishments. After our entry into the park we stayed at BenBow, a quiet spot along the way with a fantastic RV park but more important a wonderful restaurant, the Benbow Inn,  which we had stopped and had dinner at on our tip to Alaska. benbow innWhile having a drink in the bar at the Inn late in the afternoon, we met a couple from Southern California, he was a golf pro and she was a kindergarten teacher. We started talking about golf and he gave us a list of courses we should play.  She mentioned some restaurants we should not miss. We enjoyed a lovely dinner with them, each of us sharing a bottle of wine that we had bought with us.  We then retired around 11pm to get ready for our trip through the forest.

We learned much while at the Redwood forest. Do you know how many years it takes to grow a Redwood tree that is 10 feet in diameter? Here was a piece of wood where the information was brought to growth

As we drove through the various forests, there are National and State Parks along the way, the majesty of these trees is remarkable.forest The forest seemed to go forever and the redwoods were large with many smaller ones starting their life. An amazing thing about redwoods is their ability to stay alive even after a fire has partially hollowed out the main trunk.tree hollow

Of course we could not miss the redwood you can drive through, of course our Roadtrek would not fit, so we walked up to the tree and watch normal cars drive on through.    John represented our car and walked through the tree and stopped for a quick picture!  The beauty of the redwoods cannot be caught in a photograph, one must travel here and walk through the forest.  It is one of the great experiences we have enjoyed in our travels.

As we left the Redwood National Forest, we headed for the next overnight stop at Cache Creek, the golf pro we met at BenBow had recommended the golf course. Once we arrived we only waited about a hour and a half to play.  Cache Creek Club HouseIt is a fabulous course, managed by Troon Golf.  We played with another gentleman and had a great time, it was well worth the stop! Cache Creek also has a casino, well not really the Vegas type.   Janice went to play roulette that evening and the way the Indians play it, the wheel has only red and black and when it lands on one of the colors, the dealer turns over a card which then is the number for the bet, ..YIKES..the good thing was she got a casino card which gave her $25 towards anything on the complex, including gas.

The next morning we left for Yosemite and drove in through the west gate to the park.  What an entry through the two rocks that lean against each other!

West Entrance to Yoseite

West Entrance to Yoseite

The beauty is incredible and while we tried to capture the majesty, as you could see in the first photo, it just gets more and more spectacular.  After passing through the entrance we headed into the park, we could not get over the vistas of the mountains and running streams.driving in We had no idea this was only the beginning. We drove into a parking area where we could catch the shuttle to ride around the park.  We stopped at the Lower Falls stop and took a short hike out to the driving in 2Lower Falls, we  briefly considered the upper falls until we realized we would need to climb to the top and decided to take a pass. Sitting at the base of the falls was a spectacular view of the lower and upper falls. The picture on the left is of the upper falls.

After hiking out we stopped at the visitor center and then at the store to get some items for dinner.  We started our ride down to Oakhurst to camp and made a “must stop” at the Wawona Tunnel View, it was magnificent! driving in The 36 mile drive to the campground took about 90 minutes. We arrived at the High Sierra Camp, a private camp just south of Yosemite, and made a quick dinner and started planning the next day.

In the morning, Saturday, we decided not to go back into the main section of Yosemite, but rather head to Glacier Point. What a great choice!!  The fabulous views along with the history made for a glorious morning.  Looking at the rock in the picture…………point2the glaciers spanned 1,000 feet above the rock!What beauty was carved for us to witness!!

This view is looking at the valley we had visited the day before, holy cow!topviewLooking down into the valley across the mountains were  the most beautiful vistas ever!


What else can be said, we headed down the mountains planning on seeing the giant sequoia trees, but the area was closed to vehicles, other than shuttle buses since the parking areas were full.  We would have to drive 20 miles back into the park for a shuttle, so we skipped. We left the south gate at 1:00 p.m., the line of vehicles to get into the park was 3 miles long.  It was a Saturday so a lesson learned.  Go to Yosemite early in the morning or on a weekday!

On to our next stop the Monterey Peninsula.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dateline: July 17, Washington to the Redwood Forest

Sunset Will and Cathy's

Sunset at Camp Wilson – Will and Cathy’s on Whidbey Island

Leaving Coeur d’Alene and heading through the rest of Idaho, 20 miles and on to Spokane. Both of John’s parents grew up there before meeting in Seattle at the University of Washington. It had been so many years ago that we took a pass on visiting old home sites and golf courses where John had his first lesson and headed out into what is called the Inland Empire of Washington state. We have to admit it was more like the midwest. We hit a stretch of highway where the planting fields were actually labeled so we could tell what was growing. We would guess what it was until we saw the sign and could tell if we learned anything.

As we got towards the Columbia River, bridge2John talked about the Gingko Petrified Forest, which he and his family would stop at when traveling between Seattle and Spokane. The building was as John remembered and we took a tour of the museum and engaged in a conversation with the Washington State Ranger managing the facility. We discussed dates of the town of Vantage, where the park was located and she described the “Ice Age” process that left the petrified forest behind and the gorge which the Columbia River flowed through. She also told us about the Washington State Camping Park system and mentioned the one about 5 miles south of her museum. We were going to travel farther towards the Cascade Mountains, but decided to try the local park.campsite2

They had full services, for you non-RV campers, that is electric, water and sewage dump. (Wish it could be described better! Oh, it is “Full Service”). As we approached the camp, it looked like an oasis in the brown desert graces. There were tall trees that protected the area from high winds. The only sign that bothered us was a no walk sign in an area because of rattle snakes. We found a camp site that looked over the Columbia River and settled in for the evening.

From Campsite

From Campsite

A rum and diet coke toast to the park followed by a great hamburger and it was to bed for the night. The great news was that it was a clear shot at the satellite worked for a few minutes of TV and catching up on the news of the world, a few minutes was all we wanted!

Morning took us out of the park on our way to Seattle. It was fun to get up and through Snoqualmie Pass where John learned to ski starting in first grade. Down the other side and we made our way across Mercer Island, one of John’s home locations and over Lake Washington into Seattle. We wanted to go down to the fish market at Pikes Place and found a good spot to park. Pikes Street Market SignIt was only 9:30 so the crowds had not hit the “tourist area” yet. We stopped in the Old Curiosity Shop, that John had gone to as a Cub Scout. Do things really change or was it always a tourist trap!!! There is even a Ferris Wheel.DSC_0679 We walked along the shops in front of the piers and finally decided to climb the stairs to the Pike Street Market. It was like climbing a mountain, just kidding, but a long up hill climb.

We headed into the market, the sales people at the fish market were throwing the big salmon fish throwing just like you have seen in so many old pictures in Seattle , like “Sleepless in Seattle.” throwWe then were too early for lunch, but wanted to go to Lowell’s, which was a favorite place that we would take John’s mother to meet an old family friend Mavis Leyrer.  Her children grew up with Carol, Will and John on Queen Anne Hill.  We had some chowder, it was fantastic and then headed back to the fish market. The flowers in the market were gorgeous. flowersWe called John’s brother Will to see if we could bring some Salmon for dinner and he said no, he had it all arranged for Saturday night dinner and they already had chicken for that night.

As we had mentioned in our Montana blog, we had to pick a part up in the area to fix the RV. We stopped, it was not in yet so we requested a good wine store that we could spend some time at. We were directed to the Wicked Cellars. We met the owner and had a fun time learning about different Washington State wines. We bought 4 bottles and headed back to get the part for the RV. We picked up the part and headed for the Whidbey Island ferry in Mukilteo (We had to use the name!) We arrived at Will and Cathy’s about 5:30, he was kind enough to point out that it was cocktail time,(Thank God, it being 8:30 at home, we thought we may have missed it!) so we enjoyed some wine and then a wonderful chicken salad dinner.

In the morning, we cleaned the RV and Janice Janice with Will fixing the Roadtrekwent to work replacing the part. All went well and the vehicle was good as new. We went to the fish market, not quite accurate, it was a truck and trailer outside the grocery store where you could get fresh seafood. Will picked up some beautiful salmon and muscles for dinner that night.

Will and Cathy invited John and Mary Hoverson, John was a childhood friend of John’s growing up in Seattle and had been at Kansas University and a fraternity brother of John’s good friend Mike Baxter from high school in Topeka. Mike and his lovely wife Kathy live on Amelia Islandwill and cathy just north of us in Florida. Will’s son Stephen and his wife Lauren came out from Seattle. We had a wonderful time in Anchorage with Lauren’s parents on our Alaska trip two years ago, playing golf until 10:00 at night  and having a wonderful dinner at the house.  We then metjohn deer them a few nights later for dinner downtown Anchorage at Club Paris, just great steaks!.

The family deer came to visit and John could not resist taking a few snapshots of his buddy. Dinner was tremendous, Will makes the best salmon on the BBQ. It was a great evening. Sunday was a day of rest and we just had a quiet day with Will and Cathy.  What a wonderful weekend.

Monday it was back on the road. We took the ferry to Port Townsend at the North East tip of the Olympic Peninsula. The day was to see all we could of this great national park. As we crossed on the ferry we passed one of Submarines heading back to port, escorted by our Coast Guard, it was a wonderful sight. sub

Driving up to Port Angeles, we found the road out to Hurricane Ridge. Only pictures can tell this story.

We took a hike around the ridge, even throwing a few snow balls. john snowAs you see from the pictures, the views are mounts

Driving back down to Port Angeles we started the drive on Highway 101 around the mountains on the Olympic Peninsula and worked our way through a few rain forests and on down to the Columbia River to cross over to Astoria, Oregon. We drove through Astoria. What a wonderful port town with great heritage. We left town and headed out to Fort Stephens, Oregon for the night.

We woke up and got an early start to drive on down the Oregon coast. The beauty along the way was stunning, coastthe only problem that day was the rain and overcast costing many views which we believe would have been wonderful based on all the one’s we did see and took pictures of.

Then there was Bandon Dunes! bandonA site on the Oregon coast that all golfers long to play. We arrived in the early after noon, got out of the RV,  just to return for another layer of clothing. We watch a few groups go off the first tee, dressed for winter! The course, what we saw was beautiful, had the temperature been 20 degrees warmer and the mist of rain, not present we would have been tempted to play. We left with no hats or shirts, since we believe you have to play the course before wearing any trinkets and trash. Exception to the rule is Augusta National where you can only purchase goods if you attended a round at the Master’s. We continued down the rest of the coast to Crescent City and the beginning of the Redwood Forest.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dateline July 11, 2013: Coeur D’Alene

Floating Green #14

Floating Green #14

As we entered Coeur d’Alene we were looking for a campground then noticed we were right next to the famous golf course so we turned into the gate just to take a look. We parked and headed over to the Pro shop to get some additional information, of course you cannot help but notice the famous floating green. We went to the counter and talked to one of the assistant golf professionals, she was very nice just graduated from college. She told us the rates and available times, even though the price was a bit stiff we decided we could not pass it up and set a time for the next morning at 8:50.

The staff told us a recommended camp ground so we headed off for the evening. The next morning we headed right tot he course, our “fore-caddy” met us at our “roving hotel” and put our clubs on the cart and took us over to the pro shop to check in. For those of you not familiar with golf a fore-caddy is different than a regular golf caddy because he does not carry clubs just helps give direction, look for golf balls and carry your putters (some of the time). It was a little windy but a beautiful morning so John and I were ready for the experience.

Ready to get started!

Ready to get started!

The course was in impeccable condition, there was staff hand watering all the areas except the fairways which were watered in the evening. Staff was walking down the fairways with buckets to fill in all the divots, unbelievable condition.   The golf holes were beautiful and very memorable. wow hole

What Vistas!

What Vistas!

The fairways were lined with pines, views of the lake from everywhere. The greens were flawless.

As we came down about the 6th hole out of the wood on the left cam 2 very young fawns jumping and playing. We thought they had been brought out on queue, they were so playful and cute.fawns playing

We watched then for maybe 5 minutes then out of the woods came Mom to tell them it was time to move on.fawns enough

On we continue playing golf and then it cam time for the famous 14th hole, jandj float signthe floating green. For those not familiar the length of the hole can be changed so it can



be 100 yards or 200 yards, all done by underwater lines. We played the hole and Janice hit the green, a small boat then takes you out to the green to putt. Janice then made her par. par on float The floating green is impeccable maintained and views of the lake with the sail boats is spectacular.

We completed our round and had lunch, it was a wonderful day and we were so happy we took the opportunity to play such a spectacular golf course.  Janice thought the experience, beauty of the course and condition was better than playing Pebble Beach which Janice has played a number of times.

On to Seattle our next stop.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment