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Thursday, April 25, 2013

SOUTH CARLBSAD STATE BEACH

After leaving Sycuan Casino in El Cajon we continued westward with the final destination being D.D.#2's location. 


But first, we made another stop.   South Carlsbad State Beach, right on the Pacific Ocean.  The thundering surf greeted us with pounding waves, foam, sea birds, enthusiastic surfer dudes and plenty of rocks for John to treasure.  

We settled into our spot right on the Pacific.  Site 204 was perfect for our forty feet of motorhome and fourteen feet of trailer that carries our Miata.  

As soon as the slides were out and a few things put in their places, we were down the stairs from the high bluff and onto the beach.  


John was searching for his rocks and I was on the hunt for sea glass.  

There was only one problem.  The ocean greeted us with huge waves and surf that would chase us out of it's reach.  Twice, the surf won the race. 

Both of us had on our hiking shoes, on the beach - need I say more?   My hiking shoes are waterproof as long as the water does not go over the top of the shoe.  

Yep, you guessed it!  I was soon walking in sand and water that had taken residence in my shoes.  (It was freezing cold for just a short while.) 

I cannot imagine that the wet suits could keep these surfers warm.  But, I have never had one on, so how would I know.  They just looked cold.  They would sit out there for what felt like hours waiting for the perfect swell that would give them the thrill ride of the day.  

Perseverance provided a good ride for these surfers.  
What surprised us was the ages of these surfer dudes!  Some are as old as us.  And of course, we are older than dirt!  

So......does that make them older than mud?

As I was walking the beach in my less than successful hunt for sea glass, I did spy one shore bird that I am unable to identify.







 Help!   Name that
      Bird!!!!




 From the shore-side of the beach, I  moved to the cliff side.  Nestled into the rock cliffs, there would be little caves.  This one had rocks washed into the opening.  




And I found many of these little creatures scampering among the rocks and larger boulders.  

The issue with these guys is that they are burrowing in the soil parts of the cliffs and breaking down the stability of the cliffs.  

Hopefully, the powers that be will be able to find a way to relocate these guys.  

It would be a shame to see these cliffs washed into the Pacific.  

Being the artist I am, I found great beauty 'painted' in the sand.  A wave would come thundering onto the shore bringing sea weed, moving pebbles and rocks.  Then the ocean would return to its self and start anew.   



It would leave patterns that looked as if the Pacific used big heavy brushes on the seaweed and fine bristled brushes to fan out the grey shades, giving me ideas for paintings. 

A strange occurrence happened as I was walking Oliver and Olivia.  Suddenly I was attacked!  A bird whizzed by my head.  It came back again flying right over my shoulder screaming at me.  

All I could think of was a Blue Jay.  It was not a Jay, but a Mocking Bird.  I have never been before been attacked by our Mocking Birds at home, or what was home.  

The campgrounds were full of color from various plants.  The first, I do not know the name, but this plant also lines the highway leading to the State Beach.  


The second is the Bottle Brush plant.  Phil Dahl has a much better photo on his blog.  Of course, Phil called it a Toilet Brush plant.  



Our last night at South Carlsbad State Beach was a beautiful evening.  I played with the sunset photos for a change of pace. 

The previous night, we did not have a sunset.  Actually there was one, it was hidden by thick clouds. So this was a treat.  I took about ten photos.  



Thank goodness, I did not choose to post all ten sunsets.  

After dumping and taking on water, we left South Carlsbad State Beach and continued our trek to Jojo's.  

At first, it was just cloudy.  The clouds grew heavier as we worked our way north to a higher elevation. 

Then, there was mist.  

But, when we arrived at the top of the mountain, the sun was shining!  The pavement was dry!  No clouds, no mist!  

We drove further down the highway, then another then to I-5, then I-15 and on to 215.  Always changing lanes kept John on his toes and my eyes and ears tuned to our not always correct Garman GPS. 

Finally we arrived!  We are parked in a church parking lot for a while.  Saturday, we begin the process of installing the skimmer and waterfall in Jojo's pond, so get out your shovels and come join us!
  



THE END!



May you be blessed with the richness of God's everlasting love.  







Sunday, April 21, 2013

DUST AND CAN HORSES JUMP OVER THE CA. 78?



Desert dust and the fairy sparkles / glitter that comes with it is neither a pleasant sight nor a pleasant feeling when I rub my hand over a flat surface. 

Thus, I clean dust out of corners and polish the cabinetry.  Vacuuming the carpeting and washing tile in the kitchen and bathroom area and window washing becomes the excitement of the day.  Grit is everywhere!  

I love the desert, I do not love it's high winds and dust storms.  Thus, We leave Blair Valley which is one beautiful part of the Anza Borrego State Park.   

We drive through Warner Springs and the Palomar Mountain Range.  As we approach Temecula, we see wild horses!  Are they really leaping over the highway? How do they have the strength to make that huge leap? 

We leave the beauty of the mountains and descend into the valley containing cities of Temecula, Murrieta, Oceanside, Carlsbad etc. One city stretches into another, and another...on and on.  

Did I mention traffic?  People in California drive like there is no tomorrow!  Everyone is in a hurry to be somewhere.  For an environmentally conscious area of the U.S. these people burn more fuel with their high speed driving.  

NancyJo explains this phenomenon.  She says people live far from where they work in order to have 
IMG_20130419_153349_439.jpgaffordable housing.  Thousands and thousands of people commute an hour or more to and from work.  What a rat race!  

Our first stop is San Marcos Camping Word for a part to our toilet (another story in itself), and a part for our awning, (still another story).   

We spent two nights 'on the road' in the Home Depot and Walmart lots respectively.  We had hoped that there would be a cancellation at the Carlsbad State Beach for the weekend. But no luck.   

We are now in dry camping at the Sycuan Casino in El Cajon.  Our 'neighborhood'  consists of green, rolling foothills and a parking lot and the casino containing six different restaurants and more slot machines, roulette wheels, blackjack tables than I have seen since Las Vegas. 

We left with our money still in our pockets.  

Tomorrow, we head back to Oceanside  and Carlsbad State Beach.  

Hopefully, I will soon have photos of the Pacific Ocean and more activities to share with you. 

No, horses cannot jump over the highway.  They are more work of Ricardo A. Breceda: Sculptor/Designer.  He  is the 
sculptor that created the works in Borrego Springs 
and Anza Borrego State Park

Thanks for stopping by and...God bless!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

In Monday's post, I was sharing my concern for John.  As I was writing the post, he was sleeping.  He took a four hour nap.  Nap?  Even babies don't sleep for four hours straight!  

When he awoke I told him that we were going to head directly to San Diego area to find an internist.  

Promptly, he declared that he was fine and invited me to go for a walk and to explore one of the foothills behind our motorhome.  

Off we went.  John began making his way up the "mountain." He was searching for interesting rocks. 
Assured that he was okay and being the rock hound that he is, I let him explore.  I follow him for a bit just to check his balance and breathing while moving around on the rocks.  He seemed fine.  I left him to his own pursuits and I started my own exploration.  

In other words, I decided to see how high and far I could not climb before I would "chicken out."  I needed to clear my mind and this was the way I was going to do it. 

On the way up, I set small goals.  Let me see if I can make it to the barrel cactus.  Yep, I made it.    Now, let's see if I can make it to that pretty rock over there.  Yep, I made it.  Further and further I made it up the "mountain."  

About half way up, I stopped, looked down to check my progress and to see John.  John was no where in sight.  I called to him and he answered, so I knew that he was fine.  
After more climbing, I took a photo of the motorhome and Blair Valley in the background.

The valley was so quiet, so still after days of blowing wind and sand.  It looked so peaceful.  Well, it was right then. 
Up and up I climbed. Some of the upward progress was more horizontal to assure a smoother passage to the top.
This  group of rocks was at the top and my goal.  Would I go left or right?  I had no idea.  Here, I encountered agave plants.  One time I had to go directly between two nasty plants and the so enjoyed their sticking their razor sharp points into my legs.  

Thank goodness for long jeans that day.  I decided that their roots really needed to be harvested for Tequila and I was about ready to volunteer for the harvesting job.  Think Margarita.  

Finally, I made it to the top!  Whooo - hooo!  I called out to John,,,,,no answer. He could not hear me.  The views of Blair Valley and Little Blair Valley were breathtaking!  Did I use my camera?  NO!  I was too spellbound to remember to photograph it.  

Surprisingly enough, the top of the "mountain had a nice flat area where I could walk around, take in the views, and photograph a Beaver Tail Cactus in bloom.  When will I remember to take  ALL the photographs????  The views were so breathtaking.

The sun was quickly dropping closer to the horizon.  I decided that I'd better work my way down.  

Going down was easier than going up, especially with my new hiking sticks for additional balance and pushing off or securing my foothold as I would go down "tricky" locations.  

One spot was a challenge since I have bilateral total knee replacements.  I think I may have increased the bend in my left knee!  It sure did give me a jolt as it bent.  

But that is not the "best part."  Not long after my "manipulation" of the knee, I was trying to step over another rock and the next thing I know I am down, face first in a crevice in the hillside and my head was trapped.

Not only was my head between a rock and a hard place, but my left arm and shoulder were underneath me.  (Sorry Dr. D.  I know you told me not to fall on my shoulders!)

I  could not lift or turn my head.  I could only wiggle my hand and arm.  It was trapped!  Panic started to take hold.  I knew that I did not want John to know what predicament I had put myself into.  I did not want to endanger him.  

I relaxed.....wiggled my arm from under my body.  But I still could not get my head dislodged!  I pulled....no luck.  I tried to move my head left and right....no luck.  I could not get a foot hold for leverage.  

Relax some more....think....I am not sure how I did it, but pushing into the crevice and turning my head just a bit, I was able to twist and turn and back out, little by little. 

Okay, I was out, but still had maneuver into a sitting then standing position.  It took a while. But since I am writing this, you know I got out.

Going down the rest of the way was much slower and even more careful.  I was less confident, the sun was setting and John was now calling for me.  I answered.  I  knew that I also had to explain the blood on my arm and legs.  

Needless to say, I am here.  I have bumps on the front and back of my head.  My left hand, elbow, upper arm and hip will attest to the fun I had that sunny Monday on the "mountain."

Would I climb again?  A resounding YES!  Would I be sure of my foot plant...another yes!  

I love this life of full timing and the adventures it affords.  I think I am living my second childhood and it is sooo much fun.  

As I close this saga, I do request that you forget about my silliness and all pray for Kelly of the Bayfield Bunch.  She is having medical issues and we want nothing but the best for her and Al.  

May God bless you all with his abundant love.






  






Monday, April 15, 2013

CLOUD HALOS THE MOUNTAINS AND FAIRY DUST IN THE DESERT

Stratocumulus clouds again surround Blair Valley.  A few Winds blow sandstorms over the dry lake coating everything.  Wind speeds are twenty to thirty miles per hour with gusts over fifty.  

We are prisoners here in Blair Valley, California. Advisories warnings state that driving high clearance vehicles is not advisable. Like it or not, here we are.  And I don't like it.  

I found this explanation of why the clouds are surrounding the mountains and find it interesting enough to share with you.  


Orographic Clouds
forced by the earth's topography
Orographic clouds are clouds that develop in response to the forced lifting of air by the earth's topography (mountains for example).

Photograph by: Holle
Air passing over a mountain oscillates up and down as it moves downstream (as shown in the diagram below). Initially, stable air encounters a mountain, is lifted upward and cools through expansion as it rises. If the air cools to its saturation temperature during this process, the water vapor within condenses and becomes visible as a cloud.
Upon reaching the mountain top, the air is heavier than the environment and will sink down the other side, warming as it descends. Once the air returns to its original height, it has the same buoyancy as the surrounding air. However, the air does not stop immediately because it still has momentum carrying it downward. With continued descent, the air becomes warmer than the surroundings and begins to accelerate back upward towards its original height (beginning the cycle again). It is during the upper-most ascent phase of this cycle that clouds develop. In regions where air is descending, skies are clear.

Photograph by: Holle
The lifting of moist air can result in the generation of clouds, while lifting drier air may not produce any clouds at all. The oscillations continue as the air moves further downstream from the mountains but are eventually dampened out by mixing and friction.


The desert floor sparkles as if fairies have tried to send a bit of shiny cheer.  I am not cheered today.  It is grating on my nerves today.  I long for peaceful breezes, not howling winds. 

Our dust allergies are creating itchy eyes and much use of tissue.  Oliver and Olivia's eyes are runny from the stinging sand getting into their eyes.  John and I use our sunglasses to help keep the sand out of our eyes.  

If windows are left open in the coach, everything is coated with fine sand interlaced with minerals that sparkle in the sun. I love the sparkles.  I do not love the stinging sand.  

Yesterday, Sunday morning,  the weather was sunny and peaceful.  We sat outside and read.  It was a peaceful and beautiful calm day.  It did not last.  The wind started.  It grew more powerful blowing sand stinging our legs and faces. 

Sunglasses protected our eyes from the relentless wind and sand. A mask protects John from the blowing sand and dust.  

I am concerned about John with all the find sand, grit, fairy dust in the air. 

Just a year ago he was fighting for his life in the ACCU, Adult critical care unit of the hospital. Respiratory failure was the diagnosis. I am always concerned about him, but this is really getting me down.  

It is enough to be awaking during the night to check his breathing, trying to keep him active enough, but not too active.  

When we get closer to the San Diego area I am going to have to find a Physician to check him out.  His blood pressure and energy level has become erratic.  

Finding an unknown Physician is troubling.  What I will try to do is find an Internist at Loma Linda Hospital.  I believe, but am not sure that it is a teaching hospital.  Teaching hospitals are usually up to date on the best and latest treatments.  

On a positive note, John and daughter Jojo went into Julian, California and came home with two pies.  An apple cherry and a strawberry rhubarb.  Wonderful pies.  

Until next time....please keep us in your prayers....

God bless!

  


   

Monday, April 8, 2013

DESERT WINDS HAND US A DETOUR

No hike for us today.  Nope, nada…. not in this wind!  Surely you did not read in my last post that Blair Valley has less wind….Surely not.  Did I really say that?  I must have since Leigh chided me for it this morning.  

Of course I had to fuss at her for not posting a recipe on her blog as she usually does.  Because I love it when Leigh posts a recipe, I have decided to add an occasional recipe here.  Today's takes more time than I like to spend when prepping, but it was worth the time and effort of cutting, slicing and dicing. 

 BACK TO THE WIND....
Fast forward 18 hours. This morning Winds were whipping.  Tumble Weed was tumbling.  Sand was soaring through the air, much to my chagrin.  Last night, I used The Solution to clean the car and part of the motorhome had them all nice and shiny – again.  The soaring sand driven by the whipping winds left their dirty dust deposits right where I had been working.  I must add a few rain drops fell to create little mud drops all over said car and motorhome.  Not cool.  Not cool one bit!

Oliver and Olivia had no desire to go out into the wind.  I insisted and they wasted no time taking care of their business and were standing on the steps waiting for me to get there and let them in.  Another time, Oliver would just stand and look at me asking why were outside.  And Olivia, with her nose to the ground as usual was a bit distracted. 

BV north clouds surroundThe winds created a strange cloud effect today.  It looked as if the clouds were  surrounding us just on the far sides of the  mountains all around us.  It was as if the mountains would not let the clouds in. I felt as if we were sitting the hole in a donut and looking outward.  

Sooo, what do you do on  the day you had planned a mountain hike?  Of course! You cook.  Even RV Sue indulged in a day of cooking on her rainy, windy day.  So what was cooking in our motorhome?  I made green lentil stew.  John mixed up Jalapeno Corn Bread and I made all natural, fat free granola bars for our hikes…..if we ever get to go. 

We did run into a bit of a problem when John went to use the oven to bake his cornbread.  Overnight, a critter, we suspect a mouse moved in, got a paper towel, shredded it and had begun to make a nest.  Okay, so I am naive,  I had no clue that mice roamed the desert.  We have seen ground squirrels, lizards and other creepy crawly things that go bump in the night out there in the sandy desert, but a mouse?  Good grief. 

            Green Lentil Stew
Green Lentil Stew

Ingredients:
3 cups French green lentils

1 large, chopped white onion
2 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup good Extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon ground cumin

6 red potatoes, cut like French fries
2 tablespoons mild curry powder

1 tablespoon ground mustard
3 stalks medium-diced celery
4 carrots cut into rounds
2 quarts vegetable broth
2 large Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

1 handful of chopped parsley
2 handfuls of cilantro

Directions:
In a large bowl, cover the lentils with boiling water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse.


In a large pot on medium-low heat, saute the onions, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and cumin for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and very tender.


Add the celery and carrots and saute for 10 more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and lentils.
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 1 hour, until the lentils are cooked through.

Add curry powder, ground mustard, balsamic vinegar, diced Roma tomatoes, fresh parsley and fresh cilantro  and simmer 5 to 10 minutes. 

Check the seasonings and adjust to taste
Serve

Jalapeno Pepper Cornbread:
Japalino Corn Bread

Go to market and purchase box of cornbread mix
Add one finely diced Japalino Pepper (seeds and membrane removed!) to the mix
Follow directions on box. 

Serve hot!  

As I finish this, the winds are beginning to abate.  There is still dust and dirt in the air …… so much that the mountains look black! 

IMG_20130405_191117_100.jpg       
   

 THE END.....S


Until next time….

God Bless you and keep you under his mighty wing!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

BLAIR VALLEY, CALIFORNIA AND A QUICK TRIP TO JULIAN

For now, I am going to skip a few days of events.  I have a camera full of photos taken to share.  But, the camera is missing, AWOL….I think (hope) it is hidden in the crevices of our daughter’s car or in her trailer. 

Monday, we said good-by to Borrego Springs with it’s high temperatures and mighty winds.  We said hello to Blair Valley with cooler temperatures and less wind. We are looking forward to visiting Ghost Mountain (Marshal South home/Yaquitepec), Morteros Trail, Pictographs/Smuggler Canyon and Oriflamme Canyon. 

All explorations must wait until daughter, Jojo returns next weekend.  Jojo has lived in southern California for almost
twenty years, but has not had the opportunity (excuse) to visit all the sites we are exploring.  She has visited many, but not all. 

Meanwhile, we rest, rest some more. John climbs the foothills around us.  We take short day-trips to Julian for groceries.  

IMG_20130403_143351_318The winding road to Julian is decorated with the blooming of Lilacs and  yellow Brittlebush and another bush with red blossoms that I have yet to identify. 

IMG_20130403_172817_639



Our trips to Julian are abbreviated.  Neither of us enjoy countless shops selling things manufactured in China, etc.  One stop we did make for a was at the Miner’s Diner established in 1928.   Some of the d├ęcor dated back to the Gold Rush in Julian in 1867.  We were there for a milk shake for John and a chocolate soda for me.  
IMG_20130403_160852_650

The milk shake was delish and plentiful.  The soda was a disappointment.  It was not like the ones I remember.  

Gold was not the only thing discovered in Julian.  It was discovered that the climate, soil and elevation teamed together to provide an ideal place to grow apples.   Apples and apple pies seemed to be the theme theme of the town.  We have yet to purchase a pie.  We want wait to share one with Jojo and Cathie when they come next weekend.  Otherwise, we would be putting on more extra pounds. 

We returned to the Blair Valley Campground.  Instead of driving straight to the motorhome, I find another dirt/sand road to explore.  This is what we found. 

IMG_20130403_181718_676













IMG_20130403_182040_283
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Look at the size of this critters head!

All photos were taken by standing on the drivers seat of our car.  


Thank Goodness for convertibles!

Today, we are off to explore Palomar Mountain State Park. 

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The End......







Until next time......God Bless