Archive for ◊ February, 2018 ◊

18 Feb 2018 Goodbye Anza Borrego……..
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I had barely poured my first cup of coffee when Sher came out dressed and packed for her day’s adventure. I quickly wrote my daily blog using some of the many beautiful pictures she takes. She has a good eye and is patient enough to seek out the best light, angle, etc. I’m a point and shoot guy and the difference shows.

We were off to the Palm Springs Airport at seven forty five and ran into little traffic on the one hundred and ten mile trek. We talked nonstop. Her visits always remind me of the days, long gone, when families weren’t spread all over the country and family reunions were common and looked forward to each year. We aren’t sure how many years Sher joined us but it was at least ten. We were able to “Sher” with her most of our favorite places; New Orleans, Key West, the West Coast, Walla Walla and Canada. She really enjoyed this year’s trip at Anza Borrego. The desert is special and has a way of finding its way into one’s heart. Memories—memories……..

I dropped Sher off at American Airlines, gave her a hug, and headed for the poker room at Aqua Caliente. I made a quick stop at Jack in The Box for a rest stop and a breakfast sandwich.

The Saturday tournament didn’t start until eleven and I had an hour to kill. I put my name on the 1-3 Hold’em list and was promised a seat would be available in a few minutes. Nada. Thirty minutes later I was called. I should have refused but didn’t and just played for twenty minutes losing four bucks. Well over sixty players plunked down their hundred and twenty bucks making a prize pool of over seven grand paying seven places. My table was full of the same old faces, just different people. Most young guns are either in Las Vegas or have figured out that poker is an extremely hard way to make an easy living.

Over time EVERYONE that plays pokers gets the same cards. That is true, like it or not. There is a thing called variance which affects the short term results. In flipping a coin one can expect, overtime, that heads will come up 50% of the time as will tails. In poker one can expect pocket AA once out of every 221 hands dealt. Once, in Laughlin, I was dealt five pocket aces in a three hour tournament seeing approximately a hundred and fifty hands. On the other hand I have only been dealt that many on this year’s poker outings. Yes, I’m whining.

Today I was about as card dead as one can get and still ended just ten out of the money. I played as well as this old boy can making just a few little mistakes. The largest pocked pairs I got were 10s which I got twice, nines once and small pairs in early position which are usually losers. Because I was playing few hands when I entered a hand the other players thought I was an OLD ROCK (plays only the best hands) and folded making my efforts marginally profitable. When we got down to three tables the blinds were 8000/16000 giving me just three of four big blinds. In the big blind with half my stack committed I looked down at 4-6 suited in hearts. Several people called and the flop came 3-5-7 of diamonds. Being short stacked and not wanting to give a “free” card to a flush I pushed in all my chips giving me a 77.2% chance of winning. One player called and turned over A-x. The A was a diamond and he was hoping for a flush. Yep, a diamond came on the river sending me home. I did cash a bounty chip giving me twenty five bucks. Poker.

I stopped on the way home for diesel and paid $3.39 the lowest price I could find. This truck is averaging 16.7 MPG when not pulling and 13.4 when hooked up to our white whale.

I didn’t have time to eat all day and was starved when I got back to the RV at Five. Judith had leftovers warmed up. We ate then played our evening Crib game. Judith caught some get cars and beat me again!!

This morning we are off to Scottsdale to see son, Douglas. We’ll stay until Friday and have lots planned including visiting a Frank Lloyd Wright creation. Last year we tried but they were sold out!

17 Feb 2018 Goodbye…..Sher
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Last Trek Up Palm Canyon—-Maybe

For all our almost fifty years of marriage we have had a routine that has worked very well. I’m an early riser and Judith…not so much. She likes the other end of the day which gives us each two to three hours of alone time each day. Yesterday was one of those rare days we changed that plan.

I was up at six thirty, followed by Sher a few minutes later and Judith greeted the day at ten minutes to seven. The plan for the day was to walk Palm Canyon early in the hopes of seeing the elusive Borrego. We arrive at the trailhead just a two minute drive from our RV Spot. Only one car was in the parking lot. Immediately we began seeing wildlife out to greet the new day. Birds were everywhere and the hum of the bees was almost deafening. Within minutes I spotted a cottontail rabbit; the first one I’ve seen in this State Park. Jackrabbits we see all the time but never a cottontail.

Yes, There Are Borregos In Palm Canyon………..

We walked within a hundred yards of Palm Oasis but didn’t see a single Big Horned Sheep, ewe or lamb. Some days the magic doesn’t work. The trip was beautiful and the early morning made it even better. We only saw one other hiker until we were over halfway back then they started showing up in droves. Most were surprise to see us and the first question was “did you see a Borrego”. One old guy asked “if they were still serving breakfast at the oasis”. Ten thousand out of work comedians and…………..

We were back at the RV at ten eating a late breakfast. We discussed the rest of the day; Judith was going to do laundry and I was getting another Reiki treatment.

Sher wanted one more good Mexican meal before departing and we decide to try a different restaurant; Pablito’s. We were seated outside, on a covered patio, in a nearly full restaurant. We broke the no drinking before five o’clock rule and ordered three beers to enjoy with chips and salsa while we waited for lunch. Lunch came quickly, was better than decent with lots of leftovers. Why again did we wait to find this place after all these years?

After lunch Judith was off to the laundry. Sher gave me an hour treatment then went outside to enjoy her last day in the desert sunshine. Winter is in full roar back in Connecticut with snow and temperatures below twenty.

I took on the evening cooking duties and baked two game hens and three sweet potatoes. On the road where Judith doesn’t make her wonderful soups and we have a small refrigerator a chicken is too big on lots of levels. The game hens fill the bill, easy to cook and are excellent.

This morning, at seven fifteen, Sher and I will jump in the truck and head for Palm Springs a hundred miles to the west. Her flight is at eleven thirty and she needs to be at the airport two hours early. That works out well for me as there is a tournament at The Aqua Caliente Poker Room. If I go deep I’ll be home by four.

16 Feb 2018 Treks In The Desert………….
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Barrel Cactus

As the shot clock winds down on our time before returning to River House we need to make our final decision on what make and model of car we will driving or towing back to The Great White North. As it will be our post River House ride it needs to be purchased in the USA. Our search started with ten models and has been reduced to three; Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and the GMC Acadia. These three models appeal to us and have the features we want and have dealerships providing service in Walla Walla. Currently, before test driving, I am leaning toward the GMC. While all three are “made” in America GMC seems a little more American to me. Our plan is to test drive all three while we are in Scottsdale then visit the dealerships in Walla Walla and cut the best deal we can. Decisions—decisions.

I was up before six and stated checking weather. More snow has fallen at River House and the gas lamp poles are more than half buried and the snow is at the tops of the split rail fences. I have been checking the weather daily on our preferred route back to Walla Walla which is on the eastern side of the Sierra Mountains taking us through Nevada and Idaho. For the last month it has looked good, however, winter has returned with temperatures in the twenties and snow on the passes. We won’t be making that trip for another two weeks and a lot can change.

I made huevous rancheros for breakfast while we discussed the day’s adventures. We decided we would take an afternoon hike and go east to an area near yesterday’s trek. We drove over Yaqui Pass and parked near the entrance to the Yaqui Well Trail and just two hundred yards from the Cactus Loop Trail. It was touted as a “short easy trail” by the volunteer at the Visitor’s Center. The rut, AKA trail, was between a foot and two feet deep caused by erosion and heavy traffic over many, many years. The “well” was at the end of the trail that IMO wasn’t either short or easy. At the end of the rainbow was a dry hole with a sign that said “under restoration”. The lack of water still makes me scratch this old head trying to understand how man and animals can/could live here.

Another Beautiful Photo By Sher………….

With the Yaqui Well Trail scratched off our list we decided to try the Cactus Loop Trail. After a hundred yards Judith waved the white flag and went back to the truck. Sher and I kept going until faced with a five foot tall rock cliff. We found a couple nice flat rocks and talked about family and growing up back in LaGrangeville, New York.

Judith and I shared the evening cooking duties. I made salmon and halibut fish and chips while Judith warmed up the tater tots and made a carrot salad. She won the evening Crib game.

We’ve decided to make one more trek up to Palm Canyon to see if we can see borregos. Judith isn’t a morning person but agreed to start the hike at seven.

15 Feb 2018 Rain In The Desert……..
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Doves At The Feeder Outside Our RV Door……………………

The day started with overcast skies with the hope of a few rain drops before day’s end. Sher has only three days left, on this year’s visit, and we want to make the most out of the time left in this special place in the desert. We have stayed at Anza Borrego State Park for at least seven to ten days for many of the seventeen years we have been RVing. Of course, with our RVing days ending in about sixty days I’m not sure when or if we’ll be returning.

Sher was up around seven. Sher has taken on the bird feeding duties which is no easy task. She puts out a pound of seeds and within seconds the birds show up and within ten minutes every single seed has been consumed. When the birds leave the chipmunks come in and clean up around the ladder holding the feeder. Yesterday we learned at the Visitor Center that Anza Borrego is the home to over 330 bird species. That amazes me as food seems to be scarce and water almost nonexistent.

Judith was up at nine and we discussed the day. After breakfast we went to the Visitor’s center and talked with one of the many volunteers. We explained what we have seen over the years and asked our seventy nine year old volunteer what else he felt we should see with roundtrip hikes less than four miles. He gave us several suggestions and we chose to drive all the way to the easternmost end of the park. Anza Borrego is the largest State Park in the United States. It is the size of Rhode Island.

We went back to the RV, packed lunches and headed out for our day’s adventure. Our destination was Blair Valley which is home to three points of interest. We made a four mile drive on a deeply rutted sand covered road. We decided to go one the trail to the Morteros which were areas used by the natives as social meeting places where the women ground grains into flour.

We were barely on the trail when it started to sprinkle. We also noticed that this part of the desert was vastly different from other areas in the park. The sheer numbers of cactus and different kinds of cacti was amazing. We followed the trail to a lone Pictograph which looked like it was placed there yesterday.

Next we drove another mile to the trailhead to a much larger display of Pictographs. It was three thirty and the sprinkles had turned to rain. The hike in was a mile and with all things considered we voted to leave this one for another day.

We were back at the RV at five. While the leftover chicken caccatore was heating up I beat Judith in the evening crib game.

Sunshine and warmer weather came to River House melting some snow causing the cameras and heating system monitors to come back to life. The snow keeps piling up adding to the amazing winter wonder land.

Today’s activities are still up in the air. More hiking for sure. Where to is the wild card.

13 Feb 2018 Catch Up Time………..
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It Is Called Slot Canyon For A Reason

The days seem to just run together. The desert is magic and revisiting places brings back memories. We also realize that this might very well be our last visit to this area with our RVing days coming to a close.

I started my day well before six and Sher joined me an hour later. I talked with John who took the early morning flight into Las Vegas to visit our new operation. Things seem to be going well and it looks as if this acquisition has given us a big leap in technology and is opening up an entirely new market. I remember clearly the transitions I made over the years from dictation machines to the credit card embossing business and then into call center recording equipment. Revenue streams always peter out and it is very important to keep ahead of the curve.

Judith was up at nine and we discussed the day over breakfast. The wind was blowing up a storm limiting our hiking choices. We decided to drive out to Font’s Point a destination about ten miles east of this Start Park. The last four miles was up another wash making for very slow going up the sandy and rocky “road”. We passed just two vehicles and had the place pretty much to ourselves. The points overlooks a deep valley exposing the wind and rain erosion that has taken place over many million years.

We did little hiking today a real break from the four to five miles we have been logging each and every day. We are keeping the old machinery running and going on hikes where we probably shouldn’t but…………..

I checked in on River House and talked with a poker buddy who has lived there all his life. He is in his early forties and tells me this is the most snow he has ever seen in Smithers. River House’s mile long driveway is still snowed in and I’m not sure when they will be able to find a road grader to get the job done. River House has a wonderfully efficient geothermal heating system that has worked faultlessly for these so many years and I’m confident it is keeping River House a toasty fifty degrees.

We decided to eat out and went to Carmelita’s Mexican Grill a place we have eaten at many times before. The place was full and we agreed to sit in the bar. Carmelita came over and spent a few minutes with us while her daughter/bartender got our drinks and took our order. The food is better than decent and reasonable by California standards. Sitting in the bar allowed us to watch the Olympics while eating. The Olympics seem to elude us at the RV Park. We’ve gotten them just once. Weird.

Feb 13th

I awoke to the coyotes yapping nearby. The coyotes here in Anza Borrego State Park don’t seem to have it very easy. It is extremely dry with fresh water always being an issue and other than an occasional rabbit or ground squirrel there doesn’t seem to be a lot to eat. On the other hand they could be in the Great White North with snow four feet deep. It is never easy……….

Sher was up at seven and after a couple cups of coffee gave me a Reiki treatment. Reiki is the closest I’ll probably every get to meditating. The session last an hour. The session starts with Sher placing her hands on the top of my head while I’m reclined in our rocking chair. Not long into the session vivid colors start to appear behind my closed eye lids; usually pinkish blue. As the session progresses circles of bright yellow appear then start to diminish in size and then close to just a ball of yellow then disappear. Weird. Even weirder is that her hands throughout the session seem to change from almost hot to very cold changing several times as she works down from my head to my feet.

Judith greeted her day at nine and we discussed the day over breakfast. Yesterday we went to the Post Office and outside someone had left a whole box of grapefruit for the taking. I grabbed three and we had two for breakfast. We all agreed they were probably the best we’ve ever eaten. Note to self; go back and get more…………………

We decided to back to Slot Canyon a place Judith and I had been to twice and Sher had gone there once before. Slot Canyon lies ten miles east of this RV Park and is an easy one mile drive off the paved road. Two cars were in the parking area when we arrived but no one was in sight. We parked and worked our way down a steep pathway into the canyon. It is called Slot Canyon for a reason; there are areas where one can hardly get through a slot barely eighteen inches wide. The walk takes well over an hour and covers about three and a half miles. The worst part is a two hundred yard climb up a thirty plus degree grade while walking in six inches of loose sand. It is never easy…..

We got back to Borrego Springs about one thirty and stopped in a wood fired Pizza place for a cold beer and two pizzas. Good but NOT River House good.

When we got back to the RV I laid down for a thirty minute nap and woke up two hours later. My alarm clocks were both busy reading.

Judith did the cooking duties and heated up Tony Roma’s Ribs with all the fixings. I get a pass on dishes while Sher visits. Love those girls…..

I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring other than a good long hike. We still haven’t seen any Borregos. The world is unfolding as it should……

12 Feb 2018 Pie In The Sky……..
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Mariaccia Band At The Open House…….

For the first time in weeks we woke up to less than cloudless skies. Some fog was down on the surrounding mountains signaling the change of weather coming our way.

Job one was trying to check in at River House. The internet dish is still covered up with snow blocking camera and system monitoring devices. Road graders are in short supply with all the snow. The world is unfolding as it should.

Cooler weather has also arrived in Walla Walla. It dipped below freezing. I keep looking at the weather there thinking about gardening and when those activities begin each spring.

Sher was up at seven and Judith started her day at eight thirty. I took on the breakfast cooking duties and made sausage and sourdough pancakes.

We started our day with a mile and a half walk to the visitor’s center. While there we looked at the ever changing displays and took in a movie about early life in the desert near Borrego Springs.

Angle Sher………

Next on the agenda was a trip back towards Temecula to attend the open house at Ricardo Breceda’s www.ricardobreceda.com display area twenty miles east of Temecula. The drive there took almost an hour but is always well worth seeing that part of the high desert. About twenty cars were in the parking lot when we arrived. We heard the music as we got out of our truck and made out way towards the tents set up behind rows and rows of sculptures. They were giving away food and drinks something we didn’t expect. I experienced my first lamb taco and I guarantee it won’t be the last.

I measured the deer that has been calling to me and decided getting it to Canada would be just too much brain damage. This Chevy has a short bed and I estimated the crate to protect it for the trip would have to be eight feet high, five feet wide and a little over two feet thick. It is never easy………

Next we backtracked towards Anza Borrego State Park then took the road to Julian twenty six miles south. The streets we packed when we arrived around three. The line at Mom’s, a popular pie shop, was way out the door. Julian is the apple pie capital of the world and where else can you find five or six shops selling pies in a town of several hundred. We walked across the street to The Apple Pie Bakery where we always get our pie and got in line. I grabbed one of the two available tables while Judith and Sher got in line. Ten minutes later they came to the table with three big pieces of pie. I had my usual; sour cherry and apple. OUTSTANDING! So much so Sher bought a whole pie to bring back to our RV.

We were back to the Park around five and settled in hoping to watch the winter Olympics. That didn’t happen even though we surfed the channels for hours. We decided to graze and all chose the left over Thai food.

Today’s activities are up in the air. When Judith greets the day we’ll go over our options and pick the hike of the day. A return to the Slot Canyon is high on the list; however, there are lots of option.

11 Feb 2018 Amazing Day……………
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Wind Caves…….

The skies have open in our part of the Great White North. While last year’s snowfall was way below normal this year is just the opposite. The biggest snow year we had experienced was 2006 when the season got started in Late October with a four foot dump. We are now above the 2006 total with over four feet of the white stuff on the ground. On Friday, while trying to plow out the road, another ten inches fell leaving my Kubota and Richard’s much larger tractor above their pay grade. Ed and Fred are trying to line up a road grader to, once again, make the road passable. To complicate the matter the temperature has plunged to fifteen below. Until Ed can get down and brush off our internet dish the cameras won’t work. It is never easy.

Meanwhile it remains beautiful here in the Desert just seventy miles from the Mexican border. Walla Walla is warming up nicely.

Sher was up at seven thirty. We talked and checked our e-mails. Judith was up at nine and we discussed the day. We packed lunches and made the wind caves our destination for the day. We have been to the wind caves before and swore to never navigate the miserable “road” into the wind caves again. We checked at the visitor’s center and “they” cautioned the road hadn’t been graded and a four wheel drive was mandatory to make the four mile trip.

The road isn’t a road it is a wash that runs up the middle of a canyon. The wind caves are a popular destination visited by 4 wheel drives, ATVs and motorcycles with the occasional hiker making the trek. The road is loosely packed sand with bowling ball sized boulders thrown in to make things exciting. I drove at about 10 MPH pulling over often for those who care left much less about life and limb.

When we got to the parking area below the wind caves there were a half dozen cars and an old guy with a white horse. Job one was eating lunch we were able to cross off our list while looking at the steep incline we were about to take. A tarp was spread between two cars and underneath was a Boy Scout group getting ready for a hike into and to spend the night at the wind caves. The group consisted of three or four adult men and a dozen teenage boys. They were laughing and have a good time and looked at us like we just landed from Mars. I’m sure they thought we were a hundred and would be involved in carry us out on stretchers before the end of the day. We smiled and started up the thirty degree incline.

On our previous trip I was so focused on seeing the wind caves I apparently failed to recognize the sheer beauty of this interesting place. Sher pointed out the amazing scenery with mouth agape. We spend over an hour climbing around and on the wind caves taking lots of pictures. Sher has an amazing eye for photography. Most of the pictures you’ll see this week are hers.

We were back at the RV at three thirty and I started immediately to make the chicken caccatore. This is a recipe that I have cooked for at least forty years maybe two or three times a year. Somewhere in this trailer is a recipe. We didn’t find it and guessed on the quantity of herbs and spices.

While the caccatore was cooking I logged on to APT and registered in the daily evening tournament which was a shootout. A shootout is where you play to win your table then all the winners move to a final table and you play down to the last man standing. I checked my table and saw several good players so realized it wasn’t going to be a cake walk. I won the table and went to the final table and sitting amongst the six players, and directly to my right, was APT’s all-time tournament chip leader. On the first play I got a deceptively good hand and eliminated a player doubling my stack. I was playing loose with the most chips and raising most pots. I limped in with K-5 off and everyone called. The flop came 5-J-5 giving me a very strong hand especially three handed. I was first to act and checked. Mr. Big put in a pot sized raise, after the flop, and I called. We did the same on the turn and then I decided to represent a bluff and go all in on the river. I did and he insta called. He had 5-4—a great hand. I had him out kicked and knocked him out in third. Winning first was pretty easy; I was on a roll, getting cards and had my only opponent outchipped 4-1. Poker.

Sunset at Anza Borrego State Park……….

We ate at six thirty and were off to the Campfire talk just before seven. We got to the campfire area and it was darker than the inside of a cow. It turns out they changed the location because of high winds. Unfortunately the sign they put up couldn’t be seen in the dark. We did go to the Visitor Center and the talk was in progress. It was about the history of big horn sheep and we missed the first twenty minutes. The sheep are on the rebound and could be off the watch list soon. Man is no longer their biggest predator. Mountain lions kill the big sheep and mortality in the lambs, is over fifty percent in the best of years, due to diseases transmitted by domestic livestock. It is never easy.

We were back at the RV at eight and watch the Olympics until we called it a day at ten.

Today we’ll start the day with sourdough pancakes then drive up to the open house and try not to buy that deer that is calling to me. When that is over we’ll drive over to Julian for apple pie then back to Anza Borrego State Park. For most visiting the Wright’s it isn’t a VACATION.

10 Feb 2018 Long Smiled Filled Day………..
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Imagine This Deer Positioned At River House Jumping The Concrete Post Fence.

Last night a call came in from buddy Bob. It has been a call I’ve be dreading for the past year but knew was coming. Ed Grundstrom, Bob’s longtime neighbor and friends of us both for many, many years passed Wednesday night. Ed was ninety one and had many issues this past year.

If it were NOT for Ed G I would have never visited Smither’s and River House would have never happened. I first met Ed when we lived in Petaluma and I was in need of an attorney. Someone recommended Ed and I called and got an appointment. I remember our first meeting like it was yesterday. I walked into his office, in Novato, and sitting on a table was a beautiful steelhead. I admired it and he told me he caught it on the Dean, a famous Canadian Steelhead River. I comment it look about twenty three pounds. His mouth fell open and said that was what it weighted. Months later he invited me on a trip to Smithers. On that trip we roomed the first night at a Smither’s hotel and talked for hours as if we had been friends forever. Over the years we fished a lot and he made many, many trips to River House. I watched his grandson, Kyle, catch his first steelhead ever with Ed standing behind him. I can still see those smiles.

I started my day at seven to another beautiful day in the desert. Sher was up a few minutes later and we enjoyed the morning over coffee. As we were talking a beautiful jack rabbit came hopping by the RV making his way right up the middle of the asphalt road.

Judith was up at eight greeting the day and getting ready for the exciting day ahead. We were out the door heading toward Temecula at nine. The first stop of the day was halfway to Temecula at the “showroom” of famous artist Ricardo Breceda. He creates amazing art that is displayed in the desert around Borrego Springs. Some of his work is displayed on www.galletmeadows.com. As we walked through rows of his work we spotted a man under one of the several tents and it was Ricardo. He introduced himself and was delightful. While one if his pieces are calling to me he has never shipped to Canada and……………. We did buy and ant and a spider a little something for my River House Garden and will tag along to my Walla Walla garden. He is having an open house this weekend and invited us for “good food, good music and Tequila”. Get’em drunk—sell them stuff.

Next I wanted to take the ladies to the Swing Inn, a restaurant I recently discovered in Old Town Temecula. They are currently celebrating their 90th year in business. The current owners are on their third generation running the show. We got there at eleven and had to wait for a booth. Our butts barely hit the seats when someone was asking what we would like to drink and served them within a minute. A super pleasant waitperson arrived a minute or two later and took our order. We gave the food and service three thumbs up. Places like that are hard to find.

Judith and Sher walked Old Town while I listened to the radio to try to get some news. I’m in TV hell unless you’re a fan of GMA, the view and other misinformational programing.

Sher Putting Her Toes In the Pacific……..

About one they came back and we started the third leg of our trip to San Clemente. Sher’s neck of the woods have had a long, cold winter and one of her favorite thing is “sticking her toes in the ocean”! I decided to surprise her and I did as she didn’t have a clue where we were going until the ocean came into view. We parked near the San Clemente State Park and walked over two miles north to a pier that just happened to have a restaurant and bar overlooking the ocean. We sat on the deck and enjoyed cold beer and Sher and I ate a dozen raw oysters. Magic. Our plan had been to show Sher Casa Romantica. Unfortunately they closed at 2:45.

Our View As We Downed Cold Beer And Oysters

We drove back through Oceanside to Temecula and unfortunately got caught up in Friday night commute traffic and the trip took well over an hour.

We have a favorite Thai restaurant in Temecula and got their just before six and took one of the few available tables. It is a nephew and aunt operation that serves great food with often long waits which doesn’t seem to bother anyone. The owner greed us with “your back” and sat us down at our favorite table. We needed no menu and gave him a list of five dishes. It was well over twenty minutes before the Satay arrived and the wait was worth every minute. Next came the fresh rolls, followed by the Tom Kai soup. Amazing. We barely had room for the sticky rice and Pai Thai Barely. It is probably the last time we’ll see this restaurant or Temecula now that our RVing days are coming to a close.

I tried to nap while Judith and Sher were shopping at Alberson’s to get ready for the mile drive back to Anza Borrego Start Park. As I get older I grow less fond of night driving but sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. There was more traffic than I expected or wanted and pulled over many times to let those that didn’t want to drive fifty on a narrow road………pass.

We arrived home at ten thirty. After a quick cup of tea we called it a long day and retired with ear to ear smiles.

Today we will walk to the wind caves which are at the end of a canyon wash road perfect for a truck one doesn’t own. We’ll pack a lunch and return mid-afternoon. I’ve cook chicken caccatore for an early dinner then walk over, under the stars, for a fireside chat at seven.

09 Feb 2018 Great Day In The Desert…….
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Our day started a little late at seven. Sher awoke to cloudless skies and temperatures fifty degrees above what she left behind in Connecticut. We got caught up over two cups of coffee. She just lost her dad, my first cousin, around Thanksgiving. Sam made it to ninety four and leaves by brother, Ron, as the oldest living son of the Lewis T. Wright family.

Judith was up at eight to beat the heat. We decided to get our walk out of the way and started up Palm Canyon with the idea of just logging a mile in each direction. Well, sometimes plans change. Sher had never been to where the springs originate and Judith and I had only been there once before. There was a nice breeze blowing and lots of shady spots to rest for a few minutes. Four hours later we back at the truck tired but happy. How far did we go? Well, we all have those step apps on our phones and one would think they would/should have been the same. Nada. Mine said 11,560 steps and 5.3 miles while Sher’s and Judith’s were dramatically lower bringing back that old saying “a man with two watches never knows the correct time”!

I had big plans for working all afternoon but those plans changed when we declared nap time and enjoyed a mid-afternoon siesta.

I broke the code on lighting up the RV Park with truck lights while running the Wifi. I put a little flashlight on the dash pointing at the sensor which automatically controls the lights and BINGO: Wifi and NO lights. Where there is a will there is a way………………………..

Judith and I shared the cooking duties. I fired up the tool box grill and cooked three big New York steaks. Judith made the salad, and cooked asparagus and boiled small potatoes. We ate outside under the stars. Wonderful. Sher always takes on the cleanup choirs when visiting.

We called it an early evening and were counting sheep by nine.

Today we have a little surprise adventure for Sher. We’ll leave around nine and drive to Temecula for brunch at the Swing Inn a Café that has been serving good food for 80 years. Next we’ll head over to San Clemente so Sher can stick her toes in the Ocean and enjoy a walk on the beach. We’ll spend several hours checking out the sites then head back to Temecula and stop at our favorite Thai restaurant.

08 Feb 2018 Long Day….Short Night
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I’m a day late and a dollar short again……. Well, some of that’s “Wright”….. We didn’t get back, from the airport, until one thirty last night. After a cup of tea with Judith it was just too late to write and post my daily blather….

I turned on the TV the minute I got up at six and within seconds I got the news I wasn’t looking for so early in the day. They were reporting over twelve hundred flights cancelled due to miserable weather across the northeast. I immediately logged onto Flight Aware to check on Sher’s flights. The good news was her 2:45 flight was scheduled to depart on time. I felt if she got out of Hartford the rest of the day would go smoothly.

With that off my mind I started checking in at River House. Yikes. The snow keeps falling and we now have almost four feet on the ground. It was snowing so hard yesterday that the internet dish gets covered in snow and we lose connectivity. I checked in on Walla Walla and it is getting warmer with daytime temperatures in the low sixties. More good weather news in Anza Borrego; it is cooling down to the high seventies. Wonderful.

Judith was up eight thirty and we decided to walk before breakfast. We walked over to the Palm Canyon trailhead a round trip of a little over two miles. While there we checked out the Campfire amphitheater which ironically doesn’t have a campfire. We plan to attend an evening talk on Saturday night.

Job one of the day was getting a backup generator ordered for River House. I’ve wanted one from the get go and even though power outages are now few and far between I believe it will be important to the new owners. I located a Generac 48KW at Home Depot in Prince George and got the blessing from our River House electrician. Josh will be doing some electrical work when the new main deck is rebuilt and will install the generator next to the main panel just outside the garage doors.

Sher’s flight was due in at 9:10 and then the almost two hour drive home was going to make it a long day. I prepared for the evening by taking a wonderful two hour nap.

I was off to Palm Springs at four eliminating driving both ways in the dark. I decided to wait for Sher at a Casino’s poker room just ten minutes from the airport. I’ve played tournaments in this room. They didn’t have an evening tournament so I tried to sign up for a 1-2 Hold’em game. Nada but they did have a 1-3 waiting list. I put my name on the board and read poker magazines until my name was called thirty minutes later.

I was seated in seat six at a table of mostly retired guys and one young player. I bought in for two hundred and checked my phone for any flight updates. I discovered that Sher’s plane was delayed and her flight was now schedule to arrive at 11:10. Yuck. I took it slow and observed the table. The young gun was a total rookie trying to bluff with nothing but amazingly won with junk when he was called. A couple other players were going all in on almost every hand. My plan was to play only good solid hands and let the chips fall where they may. I also decided to play until 10:30 then head for the airport. At ten minutes to ten I felt a message come in and checked my phone. It was a notification from Flight Aware telling me Sher’s plane was due in at 10:19. I quickly cashed out logging a ten dollar profit for my four hour effort. Better than the alternative.

I was sitting in the cell phone waiting area just outside the airport waiting to hear from Sher. Thirty minutes later she was in the truck and we were heading home. Judith was up at one o’clock when we drove into the RV Park. We had a cup of tea and caught up on things before we called it at long day at 2 AM.

Today we’re going to let Sher’s recharge her batteries and then get serious about seeing the sights tomorrow…………