Author Archive

19 Nov 2017 Goodbye Petaluma……………..
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After more than a month of being Buddyless I have finally come to the realization that getting up the same time each morning, without an alarm, isn’t going to happen. Last night I was in bed by ten and didn’t greet the morning until seven twenty. That put me behind the eight ball on a travel day.

Judith was up minutes after my feet hit the floor and we agreed to stick to the nine AM departure goal. After a quick breakfast we got down to business and got the rig ready to roll. I was wrapping up outside when our next door neighbor asked if I had any books left. I still have an ad on the back of our slideout. I told her I was out but she could buy a digital one on line. Then she started asking questions about River House. It was apparent they had spent time on the website. It turned out their name was Wright and his father’s first name was Edward. His name is John. I had an uncle named John. They were one of the victims in the recent Sonoma fire and lost their home. The conversation put us behind ten minutes but was worth every minute.

We try to do most of our travel days on weekends for obvious reasons especially when in heavily populated areas. We hit the freeway a few minutes after nine and traveled at the speed limit until we hit Berkley where an accident brought all five lanes to a halt. Ten minutes later we were back up to the limit and experienced no other slowdowns all the way to San Luis Obispo.

Our plan was to spend almost two months at the Pismo Coast Village RV Park where we have stayed several times. Unfortunately they were booked on several dates which makes us move back and forth between there and this Alvia KOA five miles of Pismo Beach. We checked in and where assigned space #7. It was easy to back into and we were set up and walking around the park in less than thirty minutes.

There is a petty zoo/farmer’s market place within walking distance. We walked over there to check things out and bought a few veggies. They aren’t cheap but hey it is California…………

Dinner was simple and easy. Judith warmed up the BBQ. I invoked the no dishes on a travel day rule before taking the evening gin game.

Tomorrow I’ll set an alarm and start my day at six. The poker room is only six mines from here and holds tournaments six days a week. They start at ten and usually last until around noon. They do have cash games and I’ll probably play in those a couple times a week. Afternoons I’ll work on the River House manuals and get all the expenses documented.

18 Nov 2017 Goodbye Petaluma…………..
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We have been coming to this KOA since we started RVing seventeen years ago. Owner Woody took over for his father and has been constantly improving every aspect. The park currently has over two hundred and fifty spaces and they are full.

My day started at seven twenty. I put on the coffee and turned on the TV. For the umpteenth time the cable reception was on the blink. I converted of to the antenna getting one foreign news station and a hand full of cooking shows.

Judith was up at eight thirty and we discussed the day over breakfast. I started to cook an omelet which turned into a scramble. We agreed to start the day with a walk around the park and log a couple of miles. On the first lap we stopped at the office and checked the mail. Tina sent a birthday present; a nice walking stick for my collection.

With the daily walk out of the way I started loading everything back into the truck. I made two layers of thirteen round stones, I picked up yesterday, then covered them with a piece plywood to make a bed to for all the other stuff we’ll accumulate on this trip.

We were off to San Rafael at noon. San Rafael has changed a lot since we’ve last visited. In fact this entire area of Northern California is changing and getting more crowed each day. We walked into San Rafael Joe’s a few minutes before one. Bill and Alaine we already sitting at the table. Bill and I go way back to when the crust of the earth was cooling. We talked nonstop for the next ninety minutes catching up on things. They plan on visiting us in Pismo Beach around the middle of December.

Once again the traffic was the pits between Novato and Petaluma. On the way back I called Lee at Buffalo Billiards. He was at the helm and planned to be there for a while. Judith dropped me off and agreed to pick me up after running some errands. Buffalo was almost packed when I walked through the door. I missed the Saturday tournament and in fact didn’t even hit one ball. Lee and I talked for well over an hour to get caught up on things. He just renewed his lease for another ten years; pretty optimistic for a guy just a few years younger than I. The world is unfolding as it should.

David joined us for dinner this last night before we head south in the morning. It has been interesting having David just a few spaces away here at the KOA.

The plan for tomorrow is to head south at nine making the five hour drive to Pismo Beach. We are planning to stay in the Pismo Beach area until mid-January.

17 Nov 2017 Memories…………
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My day started at five twenty. The TV Gods were smiling; the park’s cable service was up and running. I put on the coffee and settled in to do all my mental exercises. With those done I worked on my to do list. By the time Judith greeted the day at eight thirty I was half way through the tasks for the day.

I unloaded the back of the truck and headed to Shamrock Supply to get the round stones I reserved earlier in the week. I assumed I would have to load them by myself and was prepared to do so. When I pulled around to the back three guys were there ready to help. In less than five minutes they were loaded and I was on my way back to the RV Park.

I have no idea how long it takes anymore to go from point A to point B in this very overcrowded part of Northern California. Novato is only fifteen miles away and I allowed forty five minutes to get to Bob’s and left our RV Park at ten forty five. Traffic was light and I ended up parked near his house checking e-mails to kill some time.

I’m a lucky guy and have lots of old, in every sense of the word, friends. Ed Grundstrom I met thirty some years ago and he was the man that invited me on a Steelhead fishing trip to the Smither’s area. If it wasn’t for Ed I would have never discovered Smithers and never have purchased the River House property. Ed is almost twenty years older than me and our birthdays are just ten days apart. Ed is Bob’s next door neighbor. I met Bob when I bought the Nice and we started fishing Wednesdays; every Wednesday. Al was a longtime friend of Bob’s and Al joined us on our Wednesday fishing trips. As soon as we bought our land all three came up fishing many, many times. Both Ed and Al are ninety one, Bob is seventy four and I’m the “kid” of the group just turning seventy two. Ed is on oxygen 24/7 and needs help getting in and out of the truck and restaurant. Al had a stroke on April 11th and lost most of the use of his left side. Once in the restaurant we started reminiscing about old times and the many fishing trips we all enjoyed together. We talked for two hours and came dangerously close to running out of oxygen. Al hadn’t been out of the house since his stroke and Ed doesn’t get out much anymore and both seemed to really enjoy the outing.

I spent a few minutes with Bob then headed back to Petaluma. When I got to Hwy 101 it was dead stopped at two thirty on a Friday afternoon. It took almost forty minutes to drive the fifteen miles to Petaluma. It is never easy………..

My plan was to go to Buffalo Billiards while Judith ran some errands. That didn’t happen. Lee, the owner of Buffalo Billiards, is the last on my must see list before we head to Pismo Beach.

Judith did the cooking duties and David joined us for one of his Mom’s home cooked meals.

Tomorrow we’ll drive to San Rafael to have lunch with the Schramblings at San Rafael Joes. On the way back I’ll have Judith drop me off at Buffalo Billiards to say help to Lee and to hit a ball or two…………….

16 Nov 2017 You Can Barely Get There From Here………..
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I literally poured all night. I was hoping for a dry commute into Oakland. Not. I was out the door at five thirty with the hopes of missing heavy traffic. Not. I no sooner got on the freeway north of Petaluma and before I went a mile it was stop and go. That continued all the way to Capture’s office in Oakland.

I walked in the office at seven thirty. Yikes People still do this every single workday. Really? John, Mark and Maggie were in the lobby. I exchange quick hellos, grabbed another cup of coffee and a donut and walked with John to his office. I occupied his office for many years and the view still amazes me. In the first hour pelicans flew past and the college rowing teams buzzed by. John and I talked for over four hours touching on the past but mostly looking forward to the future.

My plans were to go to Lafayette to have lunch with a friend and mentioned that in yesterday’s blog. He read the blog this morning and texted me suggesting we have lunch in Oakland saving me doubling back to Oakland to pick up BBQ. That suited me just fine. Thank you, Terry. We caught up on things ranging from Capture to our latest fishing efforts.

It was still raining when I left Oakland heading to Berkley. It was stop and go through Emeryville. Everett and Jones has been cooking up BBQ since 1973 near the corner of University and San Pablo Avenue. It was almost three and there were customers still standing in line in this tiny store front. I got carried away and ordered way too much food. Imagine that…………

The commute home was as messed up as the commute down. The days of “commute hours” are completely gone. We have crammed way too many people in this beautiful part of California and apparently most of them are working. When I got to Petaluma the traffic was stop and go and I made the dumb mistake of taking a detour through Petaluma. That added another twenty minutes to my commute time.

Sid and David joined us for BBQ which wasn’t nearly as good as I remember. A couple hours on the commute home and too long in the oven didn’t help matters. It is never easy………..

Tomorrow I’ll load the round stones for the tops of the big cement posts then drive to San Rafael to have lunch with old friends; Ed, Bob and Al. Both Al and Ed have been battling medical issues and it is going to be a challenge to go out for lunch. Where there is a will there is a way.

15 Nov 2017 Hello Seventy Two………..
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I awoke to the rain hitting the top of our RV. I checked the time; three thirty. The next thing I knew it was six thirty.

The cable TV was on the blink. Again. The frustrating part is the office won’t accept that it is a park problem and NOT something wrong with my TV. They keep asking me if I’m programming. Ubetcha. Programming, yes. Watching TV, not so much.

I was off to the doctor’s at eight forty five. My appointment was at nine fifteen and I didn’t want to be late. I figured there was little chance of being stuck in the waiting room all day. I was wrong. I wasn’t called until almost ten. When the doctor walked in he explained he had an emergency and had to go to the hospital.

Dr. Leoni is a sixty something pleasant very competent doctor; just the kind we are looking for in Walla Walla. Of course we want someone thirty years younger to join our team thirty five. The concept is by the time these team thirtyfivers want to retire we’ll be dead and a half. Dr. Leoni listened to my concerns and put me at ease. He commented several times that I was in good shape and to enjoy life. Ubetcha.

I was back at the RV at eleven discussing the day with Judith. She had been working all morning working on a booking problem in Pismo Beach. She got things worked out and even though we’ll have to move a couple of times it isn’t the end of the world.  I opened a birthday present from my Brother, Ron.  It was a wonderful coffee cup with a special saying………..Making America Great Since 1945………

Judith put together a great soup for lunch. We ate then were off to the optometrist. We wanted a second opinion on the possible need for cataract surgery. The doctor confirmed that we both need the procedure and told us what to expect. We plan to have this done in Walla Walla. The question is when?

Next we were off to the liquor store and Safeway. The liquor prices are so much less expensive here than in our neck of the Great White North. A three liter jug of Beefeater gin is just twenty four dollars. One half that size, in Smithers, Is almost sixty.

The Safeway store was huge. The potato chip isle was at least eighty feet long; decisions, decisions. We picked up all the goodies for tonight’s sausage and pepper dinner then headed for home.

I used onions from my garden and sautéed them with four green and red peppers. I cooked the Italian sausages on the Tool Box Grill over the coals I made this summer. Once they were cooked I put them in the pot with the onions and peppers for about an hour. I toasted the buns and let everyone put together their own sandwiches. Sydney brought wonderful little cupcakes for dessert. Two had happy birthday written on top.

Tomorrow I wake up at five and head to Oakland to meet with John at Capture’s office. We’ll talk most of the morning then I’ll head to lunch with a friend in Lafayette. When that is over I’ll swing back through Berkley and pick up BBQ, for dinner, at a little hole in the wall I’ve been going to for forty years.

14 Nov 2017 They Play — We pay
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I woke up six to start my day. I put on the coffee and turned on the TV with the hopes of catching up on three days of traveling and little news. This park is under construction to replace and improve the electrical and cable TV service and they are running into issues. Last night the TV worked just fine. This morning, not so much. I did switch to the analog stations. It is never easy.

The good news was it wasn’t raining and the skies looked promising for a nice day. I checked in at River House as it was just getting light. About four or five inches of new snow was on the ground and everything was covered with snow giving it that amazing winter wonderland look.

I logged onto USAToday and caught up on the news before starting on the puzzles. It looks as if the Roy Moore issue is going to expose a lot of dirt bags and it should. As a taxpayer my blood boiled when I came across this story: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/11/10/taxpayer-piggy-bank-lets-congress-settle-sexual-harassment-cases-in-secret.html . Each week it seems as if another layer of a very smelly onion is peeled away to expose more corruption, fraud and downright disgusting behavior. Is there any doubt why so many didn’t want an “outsider” inside? I’ve always believed in what I call the iceberg theory; what is exposed is only about ten percent of what really is happening. God help us, PLEASE.

Judith and I quickly discussed the day before I was off to the Graton for the ten O’clock tournament. I haven’t been to the Graton in a year but the parking lot seemed much fuller than I remember. Only twenty four players showed today for the $45 morning tournament. I was assigned seat 7, table 21. I looked around and saw a few familiar faces. There were no women and just two players under fifty. I played few hands for the first two levels getting a feeling for my opponents. I was getting decent cards and when the smoke cleared four of us chopped first for a hundred and ninety five bucks each.

I called Judith and invited her out to In-and-Out for lunch. It was almost one thirty when we arrived and the place was still full. They are well run and do an excellent job.

After lunch we stopped at the auto parts store which had a four by eight foot Help Wanted sign on the front of the store. We’ve seen an uncountable amount of help wanted signs ever since we crossed the border one month ago today. Is there any wonder the unemployment rate is the lowest in the last seventeen years. Thousands of skilled tradesmen will be needed in the Santa Rosa area alone to help rebuild all the houses and businesses lost in the recent fires.

Years ago when I build the cement posts for the garden, at River House, I bought the round stone tops at a place in Rohnert Park. Judith and I stopped their after lunch to see if they still had that style. Not only did they still carry that style they had the exact number I needed; Twenty six. I put them on hold and will pick them up tomorrow. I figure they weight about twenty pounds apiece and hate to drag them all around the country until we head back in April, but………..

David joined us for dinner. I fired up the tool box grill and cooked steaks. Judith boiled new potatoes, sweet corn and fixed a nice salad. Cherry turnovers made the perfect dessert. We talked with David for a couple of hours catching up on things.

Tomorrow is my birthday. Yikes. My, how the time flies. I have a doctor’s appointment at nine and an eye appointment in the afternoon. There will be no time for poker and I get to cook sausage and peppers for dinner. The world is unfolding as it should……..

13 Nov 2017 Rainy Road Trip…………….
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David's new RV lifestyle with new roommate

David's new RV lifestyle with new roommate

I checked the forecast before going to bed and was pretty sure there would be overcast skies and little rain in the morning. Wrong. I woke up at two to the sound of rain pounding on the roof. I assumed it was just a shower. Wrong again. It poured until four.

I started my day at six, about the time it started to rain again. I checked in with Mapquest and estimated if we left at nine thirty we should easily make Ukiah for our one o’clock lunch date with Harley and Diane. Judith was up at eight thirty and we were at the pumps getting diesel at nine fifteen. Diesel is sixty cents more a gallon than in Oregon. I asked a guy getting gas what was going on with California’s gas prices. He quickly replied “moonbeam”! Whatever that means?

We were on Int 101 heading south at nine thirty. Before we could get up to speed it started raining and rained hard all the way to Ukiah. It is never easy.

Harley was sitting at a window table at Applebee’s when we arrived just five minutes late. We met Harley and Diane way back when the crust of the earth was cooling and we entered into the Firewood business. The firewood business, Wood-Ja-Ma-Call-it, was a disaster and the only good thing that came out of it was our forty year friendship. We talked nonstop for an hour until Diane arrived then talked another hour getting caught up.

We were back on the road at three and yes it was still raining. In fact in rained all the way to Petaluma. We were shocked as we drove through Santa Rosa. Houses and businesses that were destroyed by the fires still remain untouched; just piles of rubble.

We pulled in the Petaluma KOA, at four thirty, where we will spend the next five days. Judith checked in while I checked e-mails. RVing isn’t cheap; sixty two bucks a night to park our rig. Our son David, has recently gone through a divorce, is staying here in his new toy hauler. As Judith was checking in David came driving by on his way out to buy burritos for tonight’s dinner.

Just about the time we got the rig set up David and granddaughter, Sydney, knocked on the door. We talked, ate dinner then walked over to check out David’s new rig. We met Kitten David’s new bundle of long hair and mischief.

Tomorrow I’ll play in the ten o’clock Hold’em tournament at the Graton. It is the only day I’ll be able to play as we are up to our eyeballs seeing friends, family, visiting Capture and seeing several doctors.

12 Nov 2017 Beautiful Trip Down The Coast……………
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The plan for the day was to leave for points south at nine. Steve and I agreed to go to Starbucks for coffee at seven thirty. Steve pulled up at exactly seven thirty. We drove into Newport to a Starbucks that was pretty full. We sat at the counter until a table opened up near the windows.

Many moons ago Steve worked with us at US Audio before the name change to Capture. Fifteen years or so ago he and Susan bought an insurance business in Newport and have done a very nice job growing the business. Steve understands insurance and has helped both Capture and myself out with challenging insurance issues. Over coffee I told him of (IMO) Minnesota Life taking advantage of this senior citizen and probably many, many more. Steve calls getting insurance companies to cough up money his “hobby”. Go Steve……..

Judith and I headed south at nine following the day’s game plan. We’ve traveled this coastal road many times. It is beautiful and as crooked as a snake. Averaging forty miles an hour is a challenge. Our goal was to make Klamath. It was only two when we got to Klamath and decided to keep trucking with the idea of making Arcadia. Next thing we knew we missed the Arcadia exit and trucked on to Eureka where we called it a day.

Judith did the cooking and dishes as I get a break on travel days. I won the evening gin game.

Tomorrow we’ll leave here at nine thirty and stop in Ukiah to have lunch with old friends the Fosters. We met Harley and Diane way back in the firewood business days thirty five years ago. We haven’t seen them in four or five years and look forward to catching up.

12 Nov 2017 Whoops…….In Newport
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Veteran’s day. Thanks to all that served and are serving this great country. Veterans have and will continue to a keep giving there all to keep this country great.

I woke up at seven to start a long travel day. I put on the coffee and checked the weather In Pendleton and points along our route to Newport. The temperature in Pendleton was forty with just a smidgen of fog hanging in the air. Next I checked Hood River. My main concern was wind and I was very pleased to see the forecast was for only winds of 3 MPH. When I checked Portland there was rain in the forecast which I expected. At our destination, Newport, the forecast was for light rain with overcast skies.

Our plan was to leave at nine and we hit that goal on the dot. There was light fog as we left the RV Park but that cleared before we got to Pendleton just five miles to the west. The traffic moved at the speed limit all the way down the gorge. We kept an eye out for big horn sheep and were rewarded by seeing several alongside the roadside. Magic.

Fifteen miles south of Portland we pulled into a rest area and had a quick lunch. In days past we’d find a little restaurant, in a little town, and have either a late breakfast or early lunch. In the last five years we’ve opted for pulling into a rest area or nice safe pullout and have cheese and crackers; good for the waist and better for the pocket book……….

We pulled into the Port of Newport’s RV Park a little before four. We quickly set up and called Steve. He graciously agreed to pick us up which allowed us to leave the truck hooked up in one of the many spacious pull through spots. We had dinner reservations for seven. Steve picked us up at five and we went to their beautiful home for drinks and to catch up on things beforehand. Steve collects art and has a knack for finding art jewels that others seem to overlook. He explained his latest score and walked us around showing many of that one hundred and twenty nine piece collection. Amazing.

We walked into the Clearwater, a relatively new Newport restaurant, at seven on the dot. While the waiting area was empty the restaurant was almost full; a good thing. We ordered drinks and calamari which was about as good as it gets. I opted for steamed clams and the halibut fish and chips. Steve went the seafood route and both Judith and Susan ordered filet mignon. We really enjoyed the meal and conversation and finished the meal by sharing a couple of their wonderful desserts. Great choice.

We were home at nine and after a long drive, a big meal and lots to drink I forgot all about writing and posting my blog.

The plan for Sunday morning was to have coffee with Steve before heading down the Oregon/California Coast.

11 Nov 2017 Goodbye Pendleton…….
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The rain started hitting the roof around four and woke me up. I tried to get back to sleep but gave up the ghost and started my day at five. The temperature, here in Pendleton, was thirty six and exactly thirty degrees colder than that at River House. Yes, it gets cold. It is The Great White North…….

I had more than enough time to do all my puzzles and things to do list before going to the poker room a few minutes before seven thirty. I thought sure I’d get in the first Sit-n-go. Nada. The first was already started and they were taking signups for number two. They put my name on the signup sheet and the cards were in the air minutes later. I play two $63 Sit-N-Gos and both were bordering on bazar. On the first hand of the first game I knocked one of the best “young guns”. I looked down at a pair of tens and was first to bet. He called everyone else folded. The flop came with two queens and I put in a continuation bet. He called. The river came with an ace. I decided to check and he instantly shoved the rest of his stack representing aces. I knew this guy was aggressive and I also felt he was bluffing all the way. He was shocked I call. I doubled up and was off to a good start. One away from the money I suffered two back to back bad beats knocking me out of the money. The next game started out horribly and I was down to just six chips with seven players left. I was last two act with three people already in the pot when I looked down at 5-6 suited. I pushed them in and five cards later I had a straight and quadrupled my chip stack. From there I played well with better than decent cards and took home $200.

Judith was getting ready to do laundry when I returned to the RV at eleven. I had a quick lunch and paid some bills. We now have five electric meters on the River House property, soon to be six. Getting the electrical service hooked up at the entry gate has taken longer than my first marriage. BC Hydro is the only game in town. It is never easy….

I went back to the poker room at two to play in a 1-3 cash game. There was a seat open so I didn’t wait. I played for just two hours in a very unexciting game. While I’m doing really well in satellites my cash name needs work and practice. AND with the exception of a few large tournaments my days are over trying to grind out back to back to back days of tournaments that have the potential to run fourteen to sixteen hours.

I was back at the RV at four. Judith immediately beat me in gin before I took a good long nap.

Judith heated up leftovers and we had a quick dinner before I went back to the poker room for the last satellite of this trip. One hundred and six players plunked down their $125 for a shot at 31 five hundred dollar entry tickets. I had decent cards, played very well and had a plan. That plan fell apart when I had plenty of chips with only thirty four players left. I looked down at KK with only one player left who had a large stack. In a very stupid move I pushed all in. He instantly called and flipped over AA. The cost me five hundred big ones and I have no one to blame but myself. Ready, fire, aim…………

That’s the end of the Fall Poker Classic for me. We’ll leave here at nine in the morning and make a six or seven hour drive to Newport, OR to have Dinner with the Becks.