River raft trip to Cache Creek Canyon in northwest Yolo County over the past weekend. It was another trip organized by Chris Hilton and his merry crew of ex-Adventure Guides families.
Cache Creek is not snowmelt, so it's not cold water. Penny and I both tried our hand at guiding the raft. I was a bit more successful than she was. At the rapids called Mothers, which is just below the bridge, she slid out of the raft and into the churn. We pulled her back in, and found her Grand Canyon hat floating by just past the rapids.
Rita's side of the family, family reunion, at Union Valley Reservoir, halfway between Sacramento and Tahoe. Coolest thing I did was get my hydroslide (knee board) wet, getting pulled behind the boat. Don't even know when the last time I was able to do that!j
Plan was to head up there on Tuesday, June 13, but due to a cold front with snow at the higher elevations, we didn't get up there until the evening of Wednesday, 14 June. RV performed well, though the furnace didn't always kick on with the heat, but the weather was mild, it wasn't a problem. Returned on Sunday, Jun 18.
Last weekend, we camped in the RV at Uvas County Park, west of Morgan Hill. It rained nearly the entire time, though it spared us for the waterfall hike on Saturday afternoon, then again late Sunday morning. The falls were running nicely, beautiful area back in there, and I have to say, I'm pretty sure it was the first time I've even been there!
Archer was very hesitant to cross the shallow, but fast moving water at the end of the loop trail. He wormed out of his harness and ran back up the trail looking for an easier route. We thought we'd lose him! To get him to cross, and join us again, we had to pretend we were leaving him behind. He finally took the 'plunge' and crossed, coming right up to us, no muss, no fuss. Next day, when the whole family went on the same loop, Archer didn't have much of a problem crossing. That dog brain of his remembered!
We'll definitely go back, but maybe not in the RV. It's pretty cramped and really made for tent camping.
Today was a leisurely day, a zero day, as backpackers call them, where there is nothing really on the radar, and the plan is to log zero miles.
We had a slow morning, sleeping in a bit since yesterday was such a full day. We finally got ourselves roused and dressed, and by mid morning, we were down at the harbor having a lovely breakfast on the patio.
Rob and his kids.
As we were waiting for our order, I heard a loud series of --bangs-- , two of them, followed by a short pause, then four more. I was the only one at the table that heard it, but it registered in my mind they sounded peculiar, unlike the usual backfire from a car. A minute later, I saw a police car moving fast toward the direction of the noises, with its full lights flashing and siren wailing. Moments later, more police cars, followed soon by fire trucks, paramedics, an ambulance, and even a helicopter. A few of us patrons on the patio that had heard it were convinced it was gunfire. For a full report, see the video below (apologize in advance for the 10-15 seconds of ad you will see when you run the clip).
Wow. We didn't know all that at the time. So after breakfast, we made our way down the length of the harbor to the beach. It just so happened that the Scholastic Surf Series was well underway. Seems it's a high school surf contest.
Sha-ka-laka! It was fun watching the surfers going after the 4 foot swells, coming in sets of four. The announcer (who did, by the way, use that term!) was pretty good, even telling surfer jokes. This one was my favorite: Why is a savings account better than a surfer? Because the savings account will make money and eventually mature.
We hung out on the jetty just south of the beach where the crowd was parked.
Penny and Harold on the jetty in Oceanside.
But the pool calls, and by 11AM, we were there, poolside. I was out first, staking a claim on a choice table, lounge chairs, etc. After all, we'd be there all day!
Today was the day that I'd be meeting a friend, Jeff, who lives local, then we'd head out to Stone Brewing Company's brewery and restaurant for lunch. He came by, right on time, and Rita came out to the pool to take over kid splash watching.
Jeff and I drove over the hill to Escondido, and found Stone in a semi-commercial/industrial area. There isn't even a sign out front I could photograph. Place was nice, good food, the Brussels sprouts, caramelized with bits of pancetta mixed throughout, is highly recommended. Jeff brews his own and is taking a master brewers class at the local university. Yes, he's taking it seriously.
The relief on the wall at Stone Brewing Company
After quite a long lunch, talking about nearly everything, we made our way over to Spin Records in Carlsbad. It's a cool, local used record shop that I like to hit whenever I'm in town. Picked up a CD/DVD combo from The Smashing Pumpkins and a disc of the late, great Doc Watson, then we were on our way back to the harbor, driving the in-town route, California style.
When we got back to our place, Vicky and Claire were already there, with Claire splishing and splashing in the pool. Jeff hung out with us at the pool for a little while, then had to split. I donned by swim trunks and played in the water with the kids some more.
Vicky and Claire hung around until we all got waterlogged, and we went back upstairs to clean up. Ted arrived a bit later in the evening, and we headed down to the Harbor again for dinner. There is a nice Italian place that serves Stone Brews, and we all filled up on pasta, pizza and pilsner. Luckily, it was a quiet evening and there was no gunfire or other violent acts. As we left the restaurant and strolled toward the ocean, we saw a blue heron on the dock, working on his dinner. He (assuming this bird was a male) was a good sized bird, and sure must have had eyes tuned for looking into the water. As we watched him hunt, we saw him extend his neck down toward the water, then lunge, quickly striking at a fish near the surface. He did all this without his feet ever leaving the dock. Those birds can stretch! The pictures I took of him didn't turn out great, but you get the gist of it below.
It was another good day, we were exhausted, so we bid farewell to the Oceanside Jaworski's and got ready for bed, the trains running well into the evening.
We're off to the San Diego area for Spring Break 2014!
Panorama view from our balcony
This trip is going to be all animal themed. On the itinerary, we have a trip to the Safari Park in Escondido, the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, and the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. All animals, all the time! Harold is gonna absolutely love it! He is SO into wild animals and sea creatures, he may just find his calling during this trip!
Today, the cab arrived at our house at 6:20AM, right on time. The driver whisked us to SJC, and we easily caught our 8:30AM flight to SAN. At the other end, after a bit of haggling at the rental car counter (apparently, you can't combine discounts and deals together online at the Hertz website, even though their site lets you do it), we were off to Oceanside.
Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center
Since it was still early, we stopped by the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center in Carlsbad. What a nice little find! We saw lots of animals, penned (as in, caged) and in the wild (in the form of a snake crossing the path behind the Discovery Center's building), beautiful views of the lagoon (with a smokestack in the background framed by highway 5), and we learned a bit about the local ecology. Rita was considering going to Legoland today, but this place was a much better use of our time. It's educational, free from rampant commercialism, and free (though I did leave a healthy donation in their contribution vessel). Recommend for families with little kids!
Friendly reptilian resident!
The view toward the ocean.
Harold petting the snake.
Afterward, we got to the timeshare/resort/hotel/place-we-are-staying, and though it was still early and our room was not ready, the staff allowed us to have use of the pool. Weather was great, not too hot, but sunny and warm, and the kids dove right in. After a while, that is, after I got my head around changing into my swim suit in the cabana's bathroom, I joined the kids in the pool. They love playing 'surfboard' with me, which is where I go horizontal underwater, and they stand on my back, pretending to surf. I didn't have goggles, so my eyes quickly started to burn a bit, so I had to do the best I could underwater with my eyes closed.
We got the call after an hour that the room was ready and inside we went. Cleaned up, then headed up to cousin Ted's and his family's house up the 78 in Oceanside.
Ted, just where I like to see him!
Had it been THAT long since we had been to their house?!? They had done some serious remodeling, opening up the family room space and moving some things around; it looked great! Ted was making burgers and since it's well known that I do a good burger, he asked me to patty up the meat and toss them on the grill. And what a grill it was, Ted shelled out some bucks on a new grill, what a beauty! Today was also cousin Claire's birthday, what a great coincidence, so we got to celebrate with her!
Penny, Mom Vicky, and birthday girl Claire.
After some good visiting, we remembered it is a Sunday night, and Ted has work the next day, Claire has school, so we said our see-you-tomorrow's and departed, back to our place near the Oceanside harbor. Tomorrow is a zero day, and I'm meeting up with a local buddy, and we're going to lunch at a brewery nearby.
It was a long day, but a good start to Spring Break!