Saturday, May 31, 2008


A hike on the Enchanted Mesa trail.

Friday, May 30, 2008


This is the cliff with the eagle’s nest. Last summer we watched a pair of golden eagles feed their almost fully fledged chick there. You can’t see the nest in this picture. I’m just showing you the general proximity. It’s easier to spot the nest when there are eagles flying back and forth to it with food.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


We gave up our spot at Gulf Waters, for the parking lot at Circus Circus in Las Vegas, Golden Shores in Long Beach, and Newport Dunes in Newport Beach. It’s soo good to be at Ridgway.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ridgway state park

An uneventful day. Traveled from Green River, around Grand Junction, through Delta, and through Montrose. We’re at Ridgway State Park.

Now this is how it’s supposed to be.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


There are so many things we have to say about how crazy California makes us; I don’t know where to start. Maybe I shouldn’t. At any rate, getting up and leaving at six am on a holiday is a great way to avoid LA Basin traffic. We made a smooth escape. We survived the mandated speed differential. Cars 70 (they go 80), and trucks and vehicles towing, 55. We drove 55. Saw diesel for $5.19 in California. Paid $4.84 for it just across the state line in Primm, Nevada. Spent the night in Mesquite.

Through St George, Cedar City, Beaver, Richfield, Salina, and across the badlands in Utah. The San Rafael Swell; absolutely nothing for a hundred miles. I can show you. I took a picture.

Settled in for the night in Green River.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


We finished off the lifers. We got all three. Three new birds to add to our life list. Got up at six and went back to Crystal Cove State Park this morning. Coastal sage scrub. The thrasher sang for us. The gnatcatchers danced. The wrentit…. elusive. We got fleeting looks. Then, after an hour of teasing, one popped out of the brush three feet from my knee. Too close, too quick to see with binoculars, but I didn’t need them. A quick but clear view. Wrentit. Count it.

Leaving long beach

Actually we left last Thursday. Drove down the coast to Newport Beach and set up at Newport Dunes RV Resort. A five star destination resort right on the bay. Sounds great, doesn’t it? I’ll send pictures.

We’ve explored a little. Irvine. Tustin. Costa Mesa. Brother David’s old stomping grounds. The back bay wildlife refuge behind Laguna. Balboa Island. Saturday we drove Pacific Coast Highway down the coast to Oceanside. Hot pastrami sandwiches at Angelo’s for lunch. It might be a good idea to spend the rest of my life as a vegetarian now. Drove a bit farther south to Encinitas then Solana Beach for some birding. Took the interstate back to our coach.

This will be our fourth night here. Tomorrow…. leaving California.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Two and a half life birds. California specialties. California gnatcatcher. California thrasher, and wrentit. We got the gnatcatcher and thrasher within fifty feet of the car. The wrentit has been more difficult. We’ve heard it several times. We’ve been within thirty feet of it. But it’s a rotten little bird. It’s not like the spotted towhee who climbs to the top of the biggest bush around to sing. No. The wrentit sings from cover. It’s such a distinctive song though, it’s unmistakable. We’re counting that one as a “heard only”.

Two and a half lifers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Palos verdes

Last weekend we drove up the coast to Palos Verdes. It’s just a few miles. Went looking for a California Gnatcatcher. Didn’t find one, but we got some good coastal California views.

Long beach

There are several different ways to get to Catalina. This might be the coolest.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Long beach

It was a good bicycle ride this evening. We rode down to Cherry Beach, where Judy and I used to go as kids. This is the first time we’ve gone back there together. We both remember where our spot was; nothing to mark it but sand, but we still know right where it is. That was our getaway in the old days. Once we got to that spot, it was just us. There were friends around, but still, it was just us. No parents and no way for them to contact us. They didn’t know where our spot was. It was there we planned our getaway.

It worked.

Long beach

The Queen Mary.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Long Beach

Every day, on the hour, the Queen Mary sounds the ship’s horn. They probably don’t sound it at night since we haven’t noticed it then. There is a WWII submarine tied up next to the QM. I still fondly remember the tour of a submarine I got with cousin Ed when I was a teenager. Turns out it wasn’t the submarine that was open for tours that weekend but we didn’t find that out until we were already below.

The big dome next to the Queen Mary where the Spruce Goose used to be is now the check-in site for cruise ships. Long Beach is a cruise ship harbor. Next thing southeast of us is a park. Just southeast of that is a jet-boat harbor for Catalina Island boats. There are two that alternate ends of the trip.

Judy dropped our bikes off at a shop on 4th and Cherry street for a tune-up. The bikes take a beating from the Texas Coast salt air. They got pretty rusty and stiff. Had to replace a few cables. She cruised through Carroll Park on the way back, and struck up a conversation with a woman there. Turns out she is Buzzy Lyons’ wife. Didn’t catch her name. Buzzy still lives in his parents’ house. He was off golfing. He is retired now and golfs every day. Murphy is down and out and gone. No-one knows where. His house is being rebuilt.

We had a visit with Janet Bigelow. She lives with her sister Bev now. She’s thinking about moving to Arizona to be with one of her kids. The cement face of the tunnel at Cherry Beach is still there, but the tunnel under Ocean Boulevard to Bixby Park is gone. They just finished restoring the bandstand in the park. The Villa Riviera hotel is still here but it’s in a giant bag, getting refurbished. So is the Art theatre. The Union 76 gas station on the corner where some of us worked is gone. It’s a vacant lot with a chain link fence around it. Roger Lawson has reportedly moved to Oregon to be with one of his kids. The city streets sure are narrow for the Jeep. We’ve already checked out the direct route back to the freeway in the Jeep to make sure we don’t get the motorhome onto any of those tiny city streets.

Stopped at Anaheim and Pacific for lunch. Hot pastrami sandwich and tacos. An orange city bus went by. There were only two people in it. The lighted display on the outside; the one you can control from the inside, said: “Emergency 232. Call police!” We called the police to report it. Bus number 11048. Westbound. Spent a surprising amount of time on hold, waiting for an available operator. When we did get connected to the police, they seemed interested though.

Heat wave for May. Blue sky. 90 degrees. At the temperature goes up, the volts in the park go down. We’re supposed to get 120 volts on each leg. We’re getting 110. When it drops below that, we get a low-voltage warning in the coach. We turn off the air conditioners, concerned we might damage the motors if we run them on too low a voltage. The RV Park is full. Guess the infrastructure can’t handle as many rigs as they can park. Is this called a brown-out? We can turn the air conditioners back on at night to sleep.

Life in Long Beach.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Golden shores

There is a small marine biological reserve right across from us. We get to watch it drain and fill each day with the tides. There are families of Caspian terns and Elegant terns that live on the shore. The young birds are big enough to fly, but still the parents feed them. The youngsters fly out to meet the adults and coach them back to the right place to land and hand over the fish they just brought back. You can tell which kind of tern it is by the tone of the conversation. Elegants are a little lighter; Caspians a little heavier.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Golden Shores

It’s not exactly our Gulf Waters patio, but we still get our morning coffee.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Life in California

I have been meaning to describe where we are in Long Beach, California. It’s a very pleasant place. The RV spaces are a little close together, but considering we’re right on the edge of downtown in a big city, it’s very nice. Downtown is not old and shabby like it used to be when we were kids. It has been rebuilt with pedestrian malls and sidewalk cafes. The climate is mild; warm days, cool nights, but not cold. There is a pedestrian/bike trail that goes in both directions from here. The trail markers indicate that it goes fifty miles upstream along the Los Angeles River. We don’t really want to go fifty miles up the Los Angeles River though. The other direction, it goes past ports and marinas and ends up as a clean-swept cement path right on the beach. It’s an easy twenty minute bicycle ride to Cherry Beach from here, and only thirty minutes to Belmont Pier. Sister Sue’s house is just a few blocks past that on Roycroft, just off Second Street.

But before I got to describing how nice and quiet it is here: major bust. Right here in the park. They descended in a swarm. Six police vehicles. A dozen officers. Guns drawn. Suspect apprehended while he was still trying to park his rig in the space opposite us. No shots fired. He went into cuffs immediately. High risk sex offender. Parole violation. She wasn’t in any trouble at all until they found the heroin and meth in her purse in the coach; then she went in cuffs too. I had a great view of the whole thing out the windshield.

It took awhile to get the motorhome searched and the suspects removed. It didn’t take Judy long to get a conversation going with the police as they were wrapping up; offering them food and drink. One guy admired our motorhome from the outside, so he had to end up on the inside for a tour with a bottle of water to drink.

Life in California.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

We don’t have the same Mother’s Day experiences as we used to, because we don’t have small children around. Let me relate the start of our daughter’s morning.

A small child waking her asks what she wants for breakfast.

“I think I’d like eggs and sausage.”

“You’re having cinnamon rolls.” And off zooms the child back downstairs.

A little while later:

“Do you want breakfast in bed or do you want to come downstairs and eat?”

“I think I’d like to come downstairs and eat.”

“You’re having breakfast in bed.” Zoom.

It’s all good.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Long beach

It’s a funny thing, reserving camp sites in California. You don’t reserve space where and when you want; they tell you what you can have. I have a couple weeks of work to do, so we only want to move on weekends. It ends up we’re staying at this park through a week from Thursday. That’s it. If you stay in this park on a Friday, you have to stay through, or at least pay for, the whole weekend. We only got into this park because there was a cancellation on the day Judy called. Thursday is as long as we can stay. On Thursday we move to another park. They had space for us, but that weekend is memorial day weekend. Their rule is that if you stay any part of memorial day weekend at their park, you stay the whole four days, Friday through Monday.

Life’s pretty funny here in California.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Long beach

We had Chinese food for dinner one night at Caesars. It seemed like a good idea and it was only twelve or fourteen dollars per item. We ordered three items. But there are surcharges when you order it sent up to the room.

By the time they got all the surcharges tacked on, it was a hundred dollars. A hundred dollars for a Chinese food dinner. Guess I shouldn’t’ have had that eleven dollar bottle of beer; or Judy shouldn’t have had that eight dollar cup of coffee. It was damn good Chinese food though.

Still screwed up on time. We were up at five this morning for our last sunrise over the parking lot at Circus Circus. We watch the construction cranes high in the air and wonder where all the cable goes. For some of the functions there really isn’t much net change in the length of cable required, but when they drop the hook all the way to the ground the extra cable has to be coming from somewhere. There doesn’t seem to be any giant spool of cable anywhere though.

We beat the rush hour traffic out of Las Vegas, headed south. Stopped at the state line and topped off the tank at $4.20 per gallon. Over the state line in California it costs $4.50.

We were through the Los Angeles basin traffic and settled by noon, just before the Friday afternoon crush. We’re downtown at Golden Shores RV Park right across from the Queen Mary; about where Rainbow Pier used to be. Judy’s sister Sue lives in Belmont Shore about four miles away down Ocean Boulevard.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Las vegas

Caesar’s Palace. A $1 bottle of water costs $2 in the vending machine in the hall. It costs $4 if you drink one from the counter in the bathroom. If you get it delivered to you at the pool it costs $8.

What a country.

We’ve retrieved Annie from sleepover rover. We’re done with sleepover Caesar. We’ve returned to the motorhome at the Circus Circus RV Park and leave tomorrow morning before rush hour.

Tomorrow afternoon, Long Beach, California.

Las vegas

Serious culture shock, arriving in Las Vegas, compared to our remote existence on the beach. The conference has been great though. It’s for small firm practitioners, like Ken and me, and always provides interesting insights on ways to do what we do.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Time travelers

We like Brother Bill’s advice: forget the clock and go with Light, Dark, and Hungry.

We have settled into a rhythm that has clock references though. I can’t stay awake past nine and can’t sleep past sun-up. Guess that will work wherever we go.

Las vegas

The Jeep was done by Thursday noon. A new starter motor. We hooked up and headed west from Benson on Interstate 10. We stopped for the night north of Phoenix at a familiar RV Park, Pioneer. Good overnight stop right off the freeway. And my favorite part: they have quail. Headed out early Friday morning.

We drive back and forth all over the western United States, but this last section was particularly good. A new road for us; highway 93. A drive northwest from Phoenix to Las Vegas through the Sonoran Desert; a rolling saguaro sea. We drove from one desert to another. Gradually the saguaro cactus diminished; then a surprise, a Joshua tree forest. When the Joshua trees subsided, we were left with the sparse creosote and yucca of the Mojave desert. Gone from the lush sonoran desert with its saguaro cactus and palo verde trees to the sparse creosote and yucca of the Mojave.

Next up, Hoover Dam. That’s a dramatic drive across, but another surprise. They’re building a suspension bridge waay above it. Judy the acrophobe’s hands started sweating as soon as she saw it. Soon her feet were sweating too. That doesn’t look like a bridge we’ll ever get to drive across. It will streamline traffic flow across the Colorado though. It will eliminate every motorhome stopping to open every cabinet door for homeland security inspection before driving across the bridge.

Friday afternoon we checked in to the Circus Circus RV Park in Las Vegas. It’s an asphalt parking lot. That doesn’t matter though. It’s only for one night. Saturday morning we take care of some errands, like dropping Annie off at Sleepoverrover, move the coach to the storage section in the afternoon, and go check in to the conference hotel for a week. The conference starts Sunday and finishes on Wednesday. Ken Roth and I both attend this conference, so we stay on a couple days after the conference for our partner’s meeting. Quiet time to reflect on how we’re doing, what we’re doing, and what we want to do.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


A different kind of bird feeder.