"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

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

A Very Busy December in Placerville

Shingle Springs, CA
Elks Lodge 

December was full of visits with friends, family and lots of fun.  There was a fair amount of rain and some gorgeous sunsets.

There was a visit to an escape room with Leslie, Tim, Ron & Rene with a German dinner afterwards.
Plenty of time with the grandson.

Coloma, CA
Ponderosa RV Resort
We can only stay at Thousand Trails for 2 weeks, then we bounce back to the nearby Elks for 1 week, then repeat.  We usually go somewhere boondocking for a week or two instead, but it's winter and there is a lot of snow in the Sierra.
Nice site backing up to the river.
More fun dinners with Tim & Leslie who were at the same campground a couple of times with us.

Steve & The Boys went out to a 49ers game.
My Dad has been dealing with Parkinson's for a few years and took a very serious fall resulting in many stitches and staples to his head. Most of the kids came by to cheer him up and play some games.  Brennan always has to make a face (above)
Guess my Dad thought he'd follow along.
Alex, Lindsay & my Mom having fun with Jaxon.
Ryan brought over an Oreo Cookie House.  It came with 2.  Unfortunately, many of the pieces were broken so he was able to piece together one good one.
Jaxon helping Daddy.
Jax trying to figure out what Nonna was making with the rest.
Ryan was always so artistic.  Maybe he should've stayed with Architecture?

A chilly night out at a beer joint with a drive along the "Fab 40" homes to see the lights.
These homes were built in the 1940s.  Very pretty architecture on most of them.

Some very simple decorations.
Others went all out.
You could walk, drive or take a horse drawn carriage to see the lights.
Not to be outdone, here at the campground there were some nice decorations too!

Jax and Santa
We celebrated Christmas a couple of days early with most of the kids there.  Brennan kept the Italian tradition going with Grammas sauce to make a lasagna.  It was perfect.

Lindsay made these adorable shirts for us all.  Pretty cute!
I got a goofy close up of Rocco!

Brennan, Alex & Rocco's Christmas picture.
One of our last days of the year gave us a break in the rain.  Not for long though as another heavy round of rain/snow is coming and they expect some flooding here at the campground.  We have to leave so we'll just head to San Jose a couple of days early.
As of now it looks like we'll be ringing in the New Year at an Elks Lodge somewhere TBD.

Happy New Year's Everyone!
Stay safe & Hug your loved ones!!

Next Up:
My Year End Summary/Favorite Campsites Post!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The Montana gets a Spa Day!

Surprise, Arizona
Happy Trails RV Resort 

We got a new toad!
Just kidding.  What a beauty this shiny Studebaker Champion is though!  Speaking of shiny, our Montana is getting a Spa Day finally!  Well, after we hang out with Curt and Glenda.
We met up at a small lake in Scottsdale for a little "hike", then it was off to Andreoli's Italian Grocer/Cafe for lunch.  
Always love hanging with Curt and Glenda!
Just when I almost get my ducks in a row!
Our friends John & Tina took us here and it's great if you like casual authentic Italian food.  Great Sammies and pasta dishes! Andreoli's Italian Grocer.
We only walked a little down Historic Downtown Scottsdale.  It's really cute and I'd like to check it out more.
Some beer tasting, of course, at Goldwater Brewing.

Since it was right before Halloween, some people were in costume.
Here's the spot we rented while we were here.  It was advertised as 14' tall.  Our rig is about 13' 6.  It did not look 14' to me.  No problem back in but when it was time to level the A/Cs were right up against the beams.  Not the most ideal.  Steve had to level manually.
We didn't do much, just hung out with Steve's stepmom, Bunny, her son Robert and some of the gang.
We enjoyed the beautiful sunsets of course.
Diana took some cute Halloween pictures of Jaxon Trick or Treating back in California.
I love this one!

It finally happened...  SPA DAY!!
We've been putting this off for one reason or another and finally had the time to get the rig done.  It's almost 10 years old and has needed a good deoxidizing done for a couple of years now.  We knew we didn't have the time, tools or inclination to do it ourselves so even though it was expensive, it was worth every penny!  I had called a few places and ended up with Chi Girl Detailing (short for Chicago where Jim's wife was from).  It was one of the more expensive, but the only one that could fit us in.  The methods and products were very similar to all I called.  We do not have full body paint, so oxidation happens over time even though we wax it a couple of times a year.  His price was $23/foot based on the model number of our trailer.  So what did we get for $875?
First off, Jim is the owner and does ALL the work HIMSELF! This was a day and a half process.

The Oxidation Removal and Gelcoat Polish is a 3 Step Process which included:
    Pre-Rinse & Wash (RV soap only, no chemicals used) 
    Roof Wash    
    Oxidation Removal using a Heavy Cut Compound with a Rotary Polisher
    Gel Coat Polish applied with a DA Polisher
    Slides included
    Selant (rated at 8-12 months of protection) applied using a DA Polisher
    RV Detailing with Trim UV protection
    Windows cleaned, wheels/tires cleaned and dressed.
Before & After.  It now shines like a mirror!!
We knew it was somewhat dull but, BOY once he got going you could see the difference!  It even took out all the minor tree/brush scratches.
Jim is very thorough! He would double check with a towel to make sure he got every spot.
On his trailer is all the water, scaffolding, tools and cleaners he used.  
Before and After of the other side.  Just amazing!
Polish on and being removed.
The front cap needed it the most.  It's hard to tell, but it's now super shiny!
We were SO impressed and more than satisfied with his work.  I love it when something exceeds your expectations!  He even polished the kingpin (looks brand new!), washed and dressed our steps and bike rack too.  It would've been extra for the awning, but we just put a new one on so we didn't need it.  The trailer almost looks brand new. There is no way to know how the decals will end up looking as they are made of different material, color, etc. Some came out looking better and some the same.  The "Montana" on the front is the only one that came out looking more faded.  No surprise there though.  It takes the most beating by the sun.  We are now looking into replacing it or having it removed and painted on.  A project for the spring.  If you are in the Pheonix area and in need of professional washing/waxing, we strongly recommend Jim of Chi Girl Detailing!  He was professional, prompt, courteous and always got right back to me with texts and phone calls!
The next day we left Arizona and headed back to California for the rest of 2022.  As we passed Quartzsite, we spotted The Yacht.  This thing sits on a trailer and is always parked somewhere out here in the desert for the winter.  Always cracks me up.
View from the map on my iphone.
We took the usual I-10/215 then onto 395 for a slightly different route.  As usual, when I spot something curious, I look on the satellite map for what it is then start googling or looking on Geocache.  Well, something caught my eye in the desert outside of Adelanto.  On the map it had a very unique shape.  I quickly found out it was the Thien Vien Chan Nguyen Buddhish Meditation Center.  It's open to the public and even serves free vegetarian food.  I read about it and I'd love to come back through and visit the gardens and buildings and learn more about it.  What I found out was that in 1977 a monk left Vietnam and all the sufferings the war brought.  He bought a small piece of land and practiced his new life alone for 7 years.  Later he and others built a temple, monastery and verdant oasis to relieve human suffering.
(picture from internet)
We were heading to our overnight destination outside of California City.  But what's that? Shortly after passing the monastery I saw a strange tower atop one of the mountains we were passing.  It took me a bit of searching but finally Geocaching paid off with the location.  It was what was left of the Boron Federal Prison.  Also known as Club Fed for its somewhat fancy ideology.  It was the Boron Airforce Radar Facility which was managed by Edwards Airforce.  It was a minimum security facility without walls where 540 inmates, or "workers" assembled parts for military vehicles and rebuilt forklifts for the Army in the1950s. There were no armed guards, bars or watchtowers.  There was a library, pool and racquetball court. Most workers were white collar criminals arrested for tax evasion or other non-violent crimes.  More well known "guests" included Ivan Boesky, a British Olympic Runner and Senator Montoya.  Michael Milken (bond fraud) was thought to be an addition here but actually served his time in a similar facility in Dublin, CA.  Another place I'd love to visit but it is closed to the public.

California City, CA
Borax Bill City Park
You can't tell but with the big storm coming in the temps dropped and it got really cold and windy!
Site 2.
This was a great city park.  Very small but obviously built for off-roaders.  There are bathrooms, showers, first aid area and large sites with electric, water, garbage, patio & tables.  There are several levels of fees depending on if you use power and/or water and if its mid-week, weekend or holidays.  If you don't use any hookups, it's free.  You will see and hear low flying military aircraft during the day.  It was quiet at night.  Nice place for our overnighter.

Merced, CA
Elks Lodge
One last overnighter at our favorite Elks Lodge.  Site #18.  W/E/Dump.
Driving up Hwy. 99 and enjoying all the colors of the crops.
We almost made it to Placerville without the rain spoiling our nice wash & wax job.  It figures.
Back in our favorite "D" section where we'll spend most of November and December with a couple of moves to the Placerville Elks Lodge.
Interesting clouds at sunset.
I had fun cooking up some new recipes.
Spicy Pumpkin Chili.  Turned out delish!
The fall color was pretty along the river behind our site too.

We had fun with little hikes and Western Hoe Down dinners at the Elks with Tim & Leslie and Ron & Rene.

There was a particularly warm day that we took my parents on a walk around a lake near where they live.  With my Dad's health what it is it's hard for them to get out much.

Loved the black and white swans.

Then it was off to the Bay Area to enjoy Thanksgiving with some of the kids.  It's more difficult as almost all of them work in the medical field and we can't all be together for the holidays.
A different take on the Deviled Eggs.  Green peppers, bacon & avocado.
Nice job with the table, Ryan.
Lindsay made a great Sangria with pomegranates.
The kids liked the idea of a Cajun Thanksgiving so they ordered a Turducken.  
That's a Turkey stuffed with  a duck, stuffed with a chicken.  It was good but I'd stick with regular turkey next time.

Pumpkin Cheesecake and Pie.
Hurley and Jaxon.
Some 35 Year Single Malt Glenmorangie Scotch after diner.
We played some fun games afterward too.
Daddy reading to Jax.  We stayed a couple days then had to get back home.
There was a dinner out with our daughter Kaylee to the Boiling Crab.
And another dinner out with Doug & Deanna.  Our favorite Mexican place, Casa, was still closed from a fire so we went to the old Durangos.  The food was ok and the Margaritas weren't good.  We won't go back there.  Shame, it used to be really good.  Well, it was a busy November.  C'mon December!