"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Monday, December 31, 2018

A Busy, Busy December!

Placerville, CA
Elks Lodge

Between all the usual annual doctor, dentist and eye appointments we spent a lot of time visiting with family and friends.
Our oldest, Ryan, recently got engaged and we had a dinner with him and Diana and got to meet her parents in San Jose.

Diana's parents own a couple of Korean restaurants in the Bay Area so the next night they invited us over to one of their restaurants for a special meal. Her parents are wonderful and the food amazing!  There was so much and some of it prepared special just for us, not on their menu.
Pretty black squirrel.
We stayed several days in San Jose so we had extra days to visit.  First I had breakfast out with my good friend, Amy.
Then it was off to lunch with Brian.

Another visit with my high school friends, Debbie and Chris.  I really miss these two!  Some other friends were sick so we didn't get to see everyone we wanted.
Back at my parents I came across some pictures of my Dad when he was in the Navy.
He was actually out to sea when I was born.  When he returned and got off the ship a reporter snapped a picture of him meeting me for the first time.
 Our handsome Dad!
There is a nearby casino we visited with my parents and my Mom was playing this slot machine.  Wow, I guess it's the R-Rated section.  What language!  :-)
Back in Placerville it was busy visiting more friends.  Tina and John (above) are with us at the Elks Lodge as they just sold their home and are now Fulltimers too!  Happy for them!
Rene, me, Steve, Ron and John photobombing in the background.
Tina put on a get-together for local Fulltimers through RVillage.  It's like facebook for RVers.  It was a great turnout and we met several new people.

 We also spent some time with Jim and Jenny at Out of Bounds Brewery.  Steve loved their hazy IPAs.
 We did a little geocaching and came across a pond with some swans.
 While out walking with Tina we came across this sign.  We didn't see any Vikings though.
Now that all the smoke is gone we have been enjoying beautiful skies and sunsets.
Our third time in an escape room and we had a blast with my sister and an old friend we grew up with, Ken and his wife Alma.  We escaped with just seconds to spare. (Alma was on the wrong side of Ken!)

Our kids decided that instead of presents we'd rent a cabin in Tahoe for the weekend.  We got lucky with the weather and the snow storm held out until the afternoon.  After we left they received FEET of snow!
This was before the storm.  They really get a lot of snow up here.
Tahoe in the far distance coming up over Echo Pass, just over 7000 feet.
 I'm glad we didn't get the Jammie memo!  They looked adorable though!
Ryan, Shane, Brennan and Kaylee having a little sibling fun.
Diana (Ryan's fiancé), Alex (Brennan's girlfriend) and Jenna (Shane's girlfriend).
We had a feast!  Lobster, crab, shrimp, steak, potatoes, salad and so much more!  We also celebrated Ryan's 31st birthday while we were there.

 Hurley with his Daddy, Ryan.
We also had fun playing Bocce in the snow and ice.
 We left Tahoe Christmas Eve Day and headed home for Christmas with the rest of the family.

 Our daughter, Kaylee, Me and my Mom.
We had our favorite ravioli from Lucca's in San Francisco that our son picked up for us.  I made the meatballs.  There was ham and other yummy side dishes too.
 Everyone here but my sister who was with her family in San Jose.  John and Tina joined us too.
                                                                             Kevin, Judy, Tina, John, Steve, Me and Kris.
 A new brewery opened up.  That makes 3 just in the area of our small town.  Hwy 50 Brewery had some great pizza but Steve did not care for the beer.
 And for New Years....
 We had dinner out with John and Tina.  They had a special dinner for the night.  Tina and I had the Schnitzel and the guys had the Lamb Shank.  It was delicious!

 After dinner, John and Tina decided to head back to the Elks and relax.  The temps were very cold and it was very windy.  We went on to my brothers for their annual bonfire and fun.
At least the wind died down and my brothers friend showed us that if you put a small shovel of coals under your seat it really keeps your buns warm!  Nice!  We all had a Happy New Year.

And for the rest of our friends and family we couldn't be with:
Happy New Year!!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Back to the Mountains and Wildfires and Elk

Placerville, CA
Elks Lodge

Time to head back to family for the holidays.  Leaving the desert ...

and passing through Lake Tahoe back into the mountains and pines!  The temps are plunging and the winds are crazy!
Placerville Elks Lodge
Since we needed to find a new home (thanks El Dorado County, NOT) since we cannot stay at my brothers anymore.  We are now Elks members.  Well we can't get inducted until Jan 15(!) so we will head out a couple of weeks later and YET AGAIN, I have to cross Joshua Tree/Anza Borrego off the list again.  The lodge and camping area are very nice and quiet and we are happy to be here and only pay $25 instead of $60+ that this area's few campgrounds charge.
Our only complaint is the fires that have kicked up, yet again making it unbearable to be outside.  It would be really selfish to complain though as there were entire towns wiped out.  The Camp Fire has destroyed the town of Paradise a couple hours north of us.

We are used to wildfires during the summer.  Just trees and brush.  But with a town burning down, there are so many pollutants like chemicals, insulation etc that really leave a very harsh, acrid smell.  You really don't want to breathe it and are advised to stay inside.  This lasted about 3 weeks until it finally rained. We also have a couple who fled the fire, losing everything that have arrived here and their story is so sad.

Jim & Jenny's dog with his favorite tire toy!
We hoped to stay at another friends property but the drive down was just too steep for our rig.  But thanks anyway for the offer Jim & Jenny!
And the crazy busy times begin right after arriving!  Dinner with our son, Brennan and his girlfriend Alex, and her parents and niece.  Great southern food restaurant!

Since the weather was holding out and we wanted to escape the smoke for a bit, we drove up into the Sierra to my favorite hike, Shealor Lake.  At over 7600' elevation, it's a good little workout for only 3+ miles.
So happy to be out of the smoke!

Shealor Lake.
All the Aspen have shed their leaves already and soon this hike will be impossible once the snow falls.

I love all the granite out here! You have to pay attention and look for the cairns that mark the trail.

One of the cairns that mark the way.
And back down to the smoke.  Yuck. It's really even worse than it looks.
I decided to try making one of those Apple pies made with cinnamon rolls for the crust that is all over facebook.  It came out fantastic! 
Spent time visiting with my parents and later I took our daughter, Kaylee, out wine tasting.  There are several wineries, breweries and distilleries up here.

Steve was busy at Men's Weekend.  He and some of his friends that have known each other for 40+ years get together each year at this time.  What a motley crew!
At Thanksgiving the whole family was here except my nieces.  Here is Diana (my soon-to-be-daughter-in-law, Kaylee and Alex.
I took a couple of engagement pictures for Ryan and Diana.

Our town put a Pasta Fundraiser together to help those in Paradise that literally burnt down to the ground.  We help each other out up here.  It easily could've been Placerville. 
Our friend and fellow Fulltimer, John, cooked his famous sauce.
It was a huge success and our little town raised $100K for Paradise!  Amazing how people come together for each other when in need.

Whew... November just flew by!