Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Bounder has landed in Clovis, CA

Monday 9/14/09 This is our last day in Sacramento for sightseeing but we are both just dead tired and need the day off. Trust me, it's not easy being a professional sightseer and it's especially hard on Wills back going through museums as there is a lot of standing involved and that seems to be the hardest on him. So we are taking the day off and the Governor's Mansion, Crocker Art Museum, etc will just have to to be another trip.

This day will now be all about cleaning up the RV inside and out (Will doesn't think that's work) and I have some clothes to wash and of course a sudoku puzzle to complete and newspaper to read....a busy day. We both know the trip is almost over and as Will says, "he has his nose pointed towards the barn." It has been an absolutely wonderful trip and we had a great time and saw and did so many amazing things. It would be very hard to pick out a favorite.

Tuesday 9/15/09 Today we are headed for Stockton, CA. Many, many years ago when Will was in the Navy he met on the Midway ship, Mr. Jim Bird who became a really, really good friend and helped Will get through the electrician course which was a 2 year course completed in 14 weeks. Will said if it wasn't for Bird, he and lots of other guys would never have passed the course and got their certificate. He said Bird was just a "ball of brains" and the smartest guy he ever knew. So we were off to Stockton to visit him & his wife Alice and Birds brother in law, Butch who Will also met in the Navy at that time.

We got there about noon and I met Jim Bird for the first time and I must tell you it was wonderful just listening to those two reminisce about old times in the Navy. Honestly, some of the tales Bird told were hysterical. I so enjoyed listening to those two carry on. After being there only a couple hours unfortunately we received a phone call from Wills sister in law that his brother, Lloyd had been admitted into the Reedley, CA hospital for a collapsed lung. At this point it seemed we really had to cancel our stay with the Birds and head home to find out how serious Lloyd's condition was. We were sorry to leave so suddenly but they understood and we promised we would come back another time and complete the visit.

With that we got back on highway 99 and headed for Clovis, CA where fortunately Will had already rented an RV space for September so we knew where we were going....Villa & Shaw, space #37. When we arrived Wills kids, Kim, Bill & Eric were there waiting for us. We backed the RV in.....and darn if the RV didn't hit a tree on top & break a small light...our first accident in all this time. But fortunately, it will be a cheap fix and Will will take care of it when he has the RV serviced next week.

We jump in the car, stop at Burger King for dinner and head off to the Reedley hospital to check on Lloyd. It's hard to believe that they "lost Uncle Lloyd" in the hospital as the hospital is not that big. They didn't have him registered and couldn't find him, so we had to call his wife, Betty to find out his room number. (What you bet the hospital bill finds him!!!!) Well of course he was as ornery as always and taking a breathing treatment at the time but we saw him, talk with him and Will felt much better. We then stopped by their house to see his wife, Betty. All and all we were glad we had come home a day early and by this time thoroughly exhausted....with that we drove home in the dark, said our goodbyes to the kids, took a shower and then it was lights out..... A perfect ending to a absolutely wonderful trip.

I have so enjoyed writing this blog and thank you for the nice comments about it. If only someone would pay me "big bucks" to go around the world doing this I would be oh so happy to continue. Sad to say that's not going to happen but if Will ever invites me back "on the road again" I shall fire up the old computer and do it again. Much love to family and friends and the great adventure has ended...... Good Night!

Monday, September 14, 2009

ATour of the State Capitol, Sacramento, CA

Sunday 9/13/09 Today is another touring day of downtown Sacramento so we start moving around early so we can make our 9:41 am bus. I must repeat myself again....what a bargain for $2.00 round trip each. We board our bus, which is right on time, and tell the lady bus driver we want to go to the State Capitol . She informs us her last stop will be only 3 blocks away so we are on our way again. It's a great ride down, it was like a personal guided tour as eventually we were the only ones on the bus and being Sunday....there was NO traffic.

After getting off the bus we are walking on the outskirts of the Capitol which has beautiful grounds. Of course not knowing where to go we venture into the first spot we see & BINGO... it's the security office for tours. After our "airline departure" where we put our valuables on the xray belt, walk thru the metal detector and see if you pass. Fortunately, we didn't have to take our shoes off. They tell us where the tours begin & we head down there to sign up for the next available tour...which will be 11 am & it's about 10:20 am so we are glad we got here early. It is a beautiful building & the first floor has exhibits in some of the offices that are decorated as the office would have looked in the early 1900's. Also on this floor is the Rotunda, Arnie's office with the $30,000 Grizzly Bear that he donated to the California people...and that would be on the $1.00 a year salary he accepts for being Governor.....what a guy!!

The tour starts in the Basement Wing so we hurry down so I can go inside the bookstore/gift shop to buy some postcards. They also have a Museum Theater down there with 4 different movies you can watch, unfortunately, it is not working now and the State of California doesn't have the money to fix it....(I just added that!) But who cares, we gather for our tour with the other 15 people and our guide, Anna who is from Europe. Now Anna was a wonderful person/guide who told us so many interesting facts about the government in California and she was especially attentive to the young people on the tour, asking them questions, talking with them and just a warm, wonderful person. I think each of us felt so lucky to be our her "watch."

We head back upstairs to the third floor & she takes us into the Assembly and Senate Gallery, explaining all about the two house legislature and how it works. I think our favorite thing we learned was: Do you know what the red star on the California Flag represents? Of course, I'm thinking what red star? She tells us to visualize the flag & what's on it, so people are taking guesses but of course no one gets it right. Do you know????? Answer: It represents Texas......go figure that one. It seems that California & Texas were the only states that were not a Territory before being admitted into the USA as they already set up for it by having their own government already in place and the best part California had just discovered GOLD (which made them real they admitted them right into the Union as a State. Texas is the only other state admitted this way....and the star on our flag pays tribute to Texas. Now Will & I are sure that we have NEVER heard any of this information before and found it so interesting.

We saw the Rotunda and she explained all the symbols & what they represented. She showed us signature flaws in workmanship as the workman/artist can't sign their names so they create "something" that represents their signature. In the Assembly high on the ceiling is a small frog with his tongue sticking out at the legislature's from far above. Representing....don't take yourselves so seriously. On the first floor on the tile floor, 2 tiles are upside down one is perfect, mistakes are made everywhere. It was a wonderful tour and lasted about 1 hour and if you are ever in Sacramento you should take it. We learned so much...of course our sorrow is - we won't remember most of it but I won't forget the red star & Texas!!

After the tour it was time for lunch but because it's Sunday most places are closed in the downtown area. We find out they have a downtown mall with a food court & it's about 3/4 of a mile walk so we head over, The downtown pedestrian mall reminds you of Fresno, empty store fronts & bums but they say they are "developing it" yeah, that sounds like Fresno too! We find the food court & Wills choice is a steak sandwich which he says is delicious.....which is not a word he uses often with food. I of course use that word ALL the time & find Panda Express which is without a doubt....a very guilty pleasure of mine. Stomachs full we walk back towards the Capitol for our next destination, the Leland Stanford Mansion

Leland Stanford was one of the four men who loan the money to build the railroad out of Sacramento over the mountains & joined up the rest of the railroad in Promontory, Utah. It seems the Big Money guys in San Francisco wouldn't lend a dime towards this project so these four business men in Sacramento put up $150,000 total and became big billionaires. That's Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, C. Huntington & Mark Hopkins. Leland Stanford was at one time the governor of California & purchased and built onto this beautiful home...4 floors and 19,000 sq ft. They had one son who died before his 16th birthday of typhoid in Europe at that point their focus changed & they gave much money for children's causes. The first being Stanford University, which is named after their son, Leland Stanford, Jr. After Leland Senior died, his wife Jane donated this home to a Catholic orphanage in 1900 which became an orphanage for girls for more than 50 years. Fortunately, much of the furniture was stored in the attic and when the the State of California bought it back to restore it as a historical landmark they had a lot of original furniture. The other good thing that happened was Mr. Stanford had pictures taken of each and every room so in the restoration process they were able to find antiques that were very similar to the original. It is an absolutely beautiful place and Will & I were the tour so it was pretty terrific and we were so glad we got to see it.

Now the only bus stop we really know of is outside the old Sacramento Historical District so we walk down there about a mile or so and decide to take a ride on the old Steam Engine train. We buy our tickets for the 4 pm ride which is a 6 mile ride along the Sacramento River. We only have a few minute wait and then board the train. Instead of an inside car we sit in the outside car which is an old sugar beet transport car that has added some bench seats. It's a beautiful afternoon with a stiff breeze and pretty full train and it is a wonderful ride. We go about 3 miles past Capitol Avenue along the Sacramento River, pass beautiful covered boat docks, a bicycle/running/walking trail and everyone pauses to watch & wave at the train. After the 3 miles they unhook the steam engine take it down another set of tracks & attach it to the other end & back to the station we go. We have now missed our 4:41 pm bus so decide to go into a bar & Will has his coveted 7/7 drink & I have my coveted diet coke/w lime & the best part is they serve peanuts & you can throw the shells on the floor. My kind of place!!! We nurse our drinks for 45 minutes, eat peanuts, watch football & then head for our bus. To say we are dead tired is an understatement. We head for home, I settle for "the peanuts" as dinner while Will has a can of soup.....then a showers & a real early has been a long & very fun day. Much love to family & friends.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Historic Old Town Sacramento, CA

Saturday 9/12/09 The only thing Will has ever wanted to see in Sacramento was the Railroad Museum It seems once upon a time he went with the Tollhouse Senior Center on the Amtrak from Fresno to Sacramento but only got a small taste of the museum and has always wanted to go back. Of course, on our great adventure....we can do that!! So with local bus schedule in hand we walked over to the bus stop only 2 blocks from our RV park to wait for the bus. Parking in Old Sacramento is expensive and it cost us seniors only $2.00 each round trip on the bus and actually Will was all for it. Driving in an unfamiliar downtown is not much fun for either of us. Our bus came on time, I asked the bus driver if he could let us off at the Railroad Museum stop and of course he was great & oh so easy.

The museum opened at 10 am and we were there at 10:15 am...nobody was going to cheat Will this time! Now I have never been to Old Sacramento or the Railroad Museum and just couldn't believe how fabulous everything is. We had planned 3 days down here and of course immediately I was sure it wasn't enough time but that's the plan. The bus stop was only a few blocks from all the action so we went directly to the RR Museum & paid our senior admission & entered an unbelievable place. All I can say is if you have not been here you should definitely put this on your things to see list (have I said that before??) When we entered we took a 45 minute tour with a RR docent & learned some amazing things about Abe Lincolns connection to the railroad, how it started in Sacto not in San Francisco, how time zone were established, the Chinese workers contribution and just amazing information. We then struck out on our own going thru the restored train cars they had in the museum. We saw a dining car with tables all set & menus, a steam engine, a mail car (this was amazing) a private car owned by 2 gentlemen, and just so much more. All of these rail cars are on train tracks in a round house & can be moved & used. The museum has 3 floors, the mezzanine level is a complete story on Abe Lincoln in regards to the railroad and a wonderful 20 minute film on the beginning of railroading. The third floor is the Toy Train Gallery which is probably more unbelievable then all of it. There was so much to absorb that it was hard to take it all in. We spent over 5 hours in the RR Museum and probably could go back but that will have to be another trip.

After leaving the RR Museum we proceeded to walk around Old Town which are many of the actual old building with wood sidewalks built throughout. The whole area seems to be approx 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile and we just wandered in & out of the shops. Also located down there is a rail road steam engine with old rail cars that offers rides every hour on the hour along the Sacramento River for approx 6 miles. You can also take a boat cruise from this area plus there are horse drawn carriage rides (similar to Central Park) around Old Town. and of course many, many restaurants, candy stores & ice cream shops....there is no shortage of food.

We also toured the Wells Fargo History Museum which is of course a huge advertisement for Wells Fargo bank, but they did have a working telegraph, gold scales & history of the Pony Express. We also visited the Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum which is a replica of an 1800's one room schoolhouse. They had many old photos, school books, and a schoolmarm (docent) seated at the teachers desk. I must say all the docents in every museum were incredible nice and so helpful & informative, they really make the tours so enjoyable and to say I asked a few questions....would be an understatement!!!

Our bus that runs ever hour on the hour was coming at 4:41 pm & by now we are totally exhausted, get a coke & head over to the bus stop to wait for our bus. At exactly 4:43 the bus shows up, we board & are glad we have left the driving "to them." On the return bus ride our bus stops directly in front of our RV park & we can't believe our good luck. It has been a wonderful day "on the job of sightseeing" - I have finally seen Old Town Sacramento and have a Sacramento Bee newspaper in hand....a very good day. The bus ride is only 10 minutes so we are home before you know it. A very quick dinner, shower & this party will be over early tonight.

Tomorrow we take the bus and go back into town for hopefully a tour of the Capitol & more museums, will keep you posted. Much love to family & friends & it's "lights out for us" very soon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Almost home....W. Sacramento, CA

Thursday 9/10/09 The day before "moving day" Will stays home to get the RV ready...air in the tires....and thanks Billy Boy, the air compressor works fabulous. Wash windows, check under the hood...the standard Will Lyon stuff. I worked on the inside, cleaning up, vacuum, wipe everything down & before very all looks great. A very warm day in Redding they expect 102 but after the Northwest it feels great to us.

On our last evening here in Redding our dear neighbors LaVar & Lonnie invite us out for dinner....Chinese food to be exact. Because Lonnie is a native from here she knows right where to take us. Fortunately, for Will they did have a menu with "letters" listed in front of it so Will could order (actually I ordered for him) number A and he was happy. I had my standard, Tofu & Veggies.....deeeee licious! It was a wonderful dinner which afterward we went home & fed the ducks & Canadian geese the day old popcorn. We were so lucky to have LaVar & Lonnie as neighbors for this week and we will certainly miss them. We promised we would come visit them at their home in St George, Utah. Honestly, I couldn't imagine spending a week in Redding but it was a wonderful city & week with lots to do & see in this area, I wouldn't hesitate to come back & stay in the exact same park and neither would Will.

Friday 9/11/09 It's hard to believe that eight years ago on this very day the USA suffered the tragic lost of all those innocent people. I'm so glad Nancy was able to be away from New York this week as ever year it seems to get harder not easier on 9/11.

We said our good byes to LaVar & Lonnie, take some pictures and then we are off on our way to Sacramento. Actually, we are staying at Sacramento Capitol West RV park which is located in West Sacramento and the ad in Trailer Life says "only minutes to Old Town" so we shall see. Gosh, this is a big driving day for Will - 170 miles from Redding to Sacto. We plugged the address in the girlfriend/GPS and took off. This is my first time in W. Sacramento & it seems to be the "sleazier" part of Sacto that is trying to become respectful. However, for 4 days the location is great. As a matter of fact right outside the RV park is a city bus stop that will take us into Old Town Sacramento for $1 so we are going to try that tomorrow. The park is actually pretty nice, and we have a great shade tree for the RV in the hot afternoon sun and Bill, the manager is a very nice person and very helpful. Not only was the price right we paid for 3 days and they gave us the 4th night can't beat that!

We have been down the block to a grocery store, Will has washed the Saturn & is now taking a shower & I'm finishing up the blog....another good day. I really can't believe the trip is almost over and that we have been gone for over 3 months. It really has gone by so fast. Much thanks to Wills' kids...Kim, Bill & Eric who will get my car in running order & my house opened up. I can just imagine the dust bunnies in that place. Oh well, I don't have to worry about it today. Much love & thanks to family & friends.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Waterfall Winner Is: Burney Falls, Burney CA

Tuesday 9/8/09 In recapping our sightseeing day...not much went RIGHT. Our first plan of the day was to go and explore Lake Shasta Caverns The literature says the tour starts off with a catamaran ride across Lake Shasta, followed by a bus trip to the caverns and then they take you on a tour through the caverns. We showed up about a half hour before the 11 am tour & the sign on the door said, if you have bad knees or a bad back....tell us! So of course we told them about Will & asked what problems were involved and they said.......... 700 steps! My gosh, even if you didn't have bad knees or a bad back 700 steps were just too many for us. We said thank you and turned around and left. As we were getting into the car I couldn't help but notice some of the people waiting for the tour to start and God Bless them....if they made it.

Oh well, second on our list for the day was take the Shasta Lake Dam tour that they offer 4 times a day for free. The literature says you must be there 1/2 hour before the tour starts and we missed the 11 am tour so will now go on the 1 pm our lunch there & take the tour. On our way there we took the "scenic route" where you can stop at a lookout point an see the "three Shasta's"...Mt Shasta, Lake Shasta and Shasta Dam. What an impressive sight that was, I bought the postcard of that one.

When we arrived at the Dam we were told by the visitors center that due to "problems" with the generators all tours have been cancelled until further notice. We looked at each other & said, "your kidding" but he wasn't. They said we could watch a movie that SHOWED a dam tour which actually turned out to be an episode of California Gold. It was well done but we of course would have rather taken the tour as they take you down an elevator 43 floors below the dam. After the movie, we had our lunch at their picnic tables and then took a walk (no cars allowed but you can walk out there) across the dam to the spillway. This is really an awesome the literature they said, the concrete used in this dam would build a 3 ft wide sidewalk around the world...that's a lot of cement. The lake is very low (aren't they all?) and it was very quiet on the lake as it was the day after the Labor Day holiday. A beautiful and very impressive sight.

We decide to move on to the third item of the day...Wiskeytown, CA which boasts they have 4 waterfalls. Will remembers visiting this place in the early 70's and wants to go back. Because Redding has the same temperature range as Fresno it is now pretty warm & pushing 100 degrees. It's not to far and we soon arrive at the Visitors Center for Wiskeytown only to discover that Wiskeytown is now underwater due to the construction of a dam & lake in the area. And the waterfalls.....3 of them are rated difficult and the mileage of the trails are 3 to 5 miles. There is only one waterfall that has a fairly easy trail to it. We take the literature, get back in the car and say the "hell with it, let's go home & turn the A/C on & call it a day...which we did. I must say this was the first time in this entire trip we have been shut down on everything...which is probably incredibly lucky. Home we went to feed the ducks & Canadian Geese that live in the Sacramento River where we are parked. We sat our with our neighbors, LaVar & Lonnie, a very nice evening.

Wednesday 09/09/09 Today we are headed for McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park, Burney, CA. Will says he has also visited this waterfall & just remembers that it's spectacular. Now this will be a long driving day as you head out east on hwy 299, north on hwy 89 then back south on hwy 89 pass Hat Creek and Old Station, swing by Lassen Volcanic Park & back to Redding on hwy 44...Will estimates it will be 150 miles round trip....but they say Burney Falls is worth it. We pack up our trusty picnic lunch and head off about 10 am, for whatever reason we just can't seem to get going any earlier than that. The country is amazing here, in Redding it is so hot and just outside you start climbing in elevation and it cools off. It takes nothing to be in the "trees" and manzanita around here.

Finally we arrive at the State Park which cost $7 for our "senior car" to enter the park. Of course Will says nothing is the same, he doesn't remember it being a State Park or having to just drove up to the Falls & saw it. He was right about that....the Falls are located a very short distance from the entry point of the park. We parked our car at the closed Visitors Center and headed to the lookout point. I was not ready for this incredible sight...but hands down Burney Falls is the Waterfall Winner of the Great Adventure Trip of 2009...... Absolutely beautiful, it is incredibly unique and they say the most popular waterfall in northern California. This waterfall is spring fed and 100 million gallons of water per day flow over the 129 ft falls. We estimated the width was at least a football field which included 2 very strong waterfalls (the main ones) then halfway up there is seepage from the basaltic rock which creates its own waterfall. More amazing is that one half mile upstream, is dry during the summer months. All this water is flowing into a gorgeous pool at the bottom that I can only describe as the "turquoise color of Hawaii water." It then flows into a stream that empties into Lake Britton some ways down.

They have a beautiful 1.2 miles round trip trail that loops around the falls but is very steep at the end so we decide to walk down by the falls pool. From the top of the falls to the bottom the temperature changed enough that we had to put our sweatshirts was that much cooler plus spray at the bottom. As you follow the path away from the falls, along the stream it gets warmer again. We walk aways until we come to a bridge that crosses the stream & the trail started uphill....we then turn round and go back. Actually, just being down at the bottom of the falls is really "the very best!" We then returned to the car, drove through the tents & RV campsites, drove down to the lake which had a nice sandy beach and then headed out of the park.

Continuing on hwy 89 we stop at Hat Creek RV Park & Campground. In visiting with our neighbors LaVar & Lonnie, Lonnie told us she grew up in Hat Creek & her mom & dad owned the store, the RV park & I'm sure other property around there and actually she stills retains ownership of it today. So we enjoyed visiting the RV Park which was quite nice, we saw the post office where her mother was postmistress & the store they owned. We then headed back through Old Station, Shingletown and back to Redding. A full day but Burney Falls was certainly worth the drive....if ever you get a chance to see this waterfall.....don't miss it!!!!

Well we are home, and it has cooled off, LaVar is feeding the ducks day old popcorn, Will is down in the hot tub at the pool & I'm finishing up the blog for the day. Another good day in our great adventure. Much love to all family and friends. Nancy update: I received one picture of the gorgeous view from their room and the calendar says they have been to Ravello, Praiano & Sorrento...that's all I know.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Lassen Volanic National Park, CA

Sunday 9/6/09 Because of the Labor Day weekend we have decided to stay home & take it easy. Of course the first order of business is find a grocery store. With no Super Wal Mart in the area we locate a Winco, good enough so off we go. After a few wrong turns we finally found it...we had no address to give the girlfriend/GPS, so we were on our own. This Winco was located in a gigantic shopping center with Costco, Wal Mart & everything else...a good place to go back to!!

With that chore done, lunch over we decide to go & see what the Redding Big League Dreams Sport Complex was all about. This time we have an address & girlfriend takes us right to it. Unfortunately, it was closed for the holiday but still our lucky day. We met the head caretaker of the place, who was just closing up but invited us in & then took us on a personal guided tour. What an amazing place, first off they have three baseball parks that are 3/4-scale replicas of Boston's Fenway Park, Wrigley Field & my beloved New York Yankee Stadium. In the middle of the 3 ball fields is a restaurant with views of each stadium, so you can have dinner or "stadium food" sit inside & watch any or all games. They also have TVs inside that are tuned to current baseball games playing. In addition to these fields they have 2 other baseball fields plus soccer fields. It is a city park and cost $3.00 to get in but they give you a $1.00 token back towards food. Actually, there are 11 of these parks around the country and owned by Mike Garvey (ex Dodger player) & group. Of course we learned all about this on our personal tour. We are going to go back on Thursday evening for dinner & a baseball game....hopefully!

That evening we invited our neighbors LaVar & Lonnie from St George, Utah over to have watermelon with us on our outside picnic table. They are a wonderful couple, LaVar is 88 & you should see him...amazing. Lonnie is (age unknown) but a native of Redding & knows everything there is to know about this area. We so enjoyed our time with them and loved all the interesting stories they told us. They usually spend 3 months or so at this campsite so we will have them for our neighbors the whole time. Lucky for us!

Monday 9/7/09 Happy Labor Day to everyone...of course this is Wills' & my job....sightseeing so of course we will be working today. On the recommendation of Lonnie & LaVar we are going to see Lassen Volcanic National Park . It is about 50 miles from Redding on Hwy 44 but they said it was worth the drive & we shouldn't miss it. Of course we have our National Park Pass so it's free to us & off we go with our packed picnic lunch.

The area is so much like the Fresno area as you leave Redding, the brown dry hills with oak trees, then as the elevation starts you get the green pines like Shaver. Now the elevation is climbing fast & the highest point on the park road will be 8,753 ft. When we arrive & "flash" our pass we head to the Visitors Center for more information on what to see and of course buy postcards. We are told if we don't stop it takes one hour to complete the drive but of course we have lots of planned stops. We stop at several look out points to see the lava beds mixed with many old growth trees (I just love that term, old sounds like US!) The landscape is beautiful and so varied. We stop at Summit Lake North for lunch, a beautiful small lake & have our picnic at one of the tables. A very peaceful and beautiful view until some pit bull (off leash) comes snarling at us, fortunately the owner came forward & said to the dog, "be nice" and with that they put the leash on him.

We continue on our drive with our destination to see Bumpass Hell which is where the concentration of sulphur fields are & they have build a raised boardwalk that you can walk along and see the boiling pots, as they are called. Before arriving there we have taken a 1/2 mile walk on Devastated Area that shows the eruption that took place in 1916 & the boulders that came down with an avalanche. The power of that eruption is not comprehendable. We continue on & see Kings Creek, an absolutely beautiful meadow with purple flowers & a creek running through it.

Finally we arrive at Bumpass Hell, it seems Mr. Bumpass (I forgot his first name) discovered this area of sulphur fields & they named it after him....Bumpass Hell, go figure. They tell you that the walk is round trip 3 miles and I'm fearful Will might have trouble but he wants to push on. We see all types of people, old, fat & whatever have done he is game to give it a try. We set out & it is a pretty good trail but a gradual one...always going up. We stop many times along the way to rest, I keep asking him, "how he's doing" and the answer is always good so we push on. We keep asking the people coming down....are we close and most answers were, about half way...maybe still a mile or so & it feels we like we shoud be there. Finally, we smell the "rotten egg smell" and know we must be close. At this point we reach the top and we can see the boardwalk, the sulphur pots, a small, incredibly blue lake & discover the trail down is a very steep grade down to the bottom. We start to go a short way when Will realizes he won't make it bacj out and says he will go back to the top of this trail, sit on the bench & wait for me. He insists I should go on down there and I do. All I could think of going down & coming back up....was Thank God Will didn't try was really rugged. People carrying kids on their backs, wearing thongs, I honestly don't know how they did it. We both thought (after it was done) they should have a better warning for that trail. Anyway, I headed on down and walked the boardwalk, saw the sulphur streams & pots. One of the boiling pots was shooting/bubbling at least 4 ft up into the air, it was something to see. I didn't want to stay to long as I knew I had that walk straight up & out & didn't want Will worrying if I made it. So off I went, resting at many spots along the trail and finally I got to the top. After a short rest for me we headed down the trail which of course went very quickly....gosh it's so much easier going back down the hill than up!!!!! It was a great hike and we both enjoyed the day. Back in the car we continued on our way to the Southwest entrance & out of the park. The ranger at the visitors center had given us a short cut back to Redding so we didn't have to drive into Red Bluff on I-5. The short cut was a real country road, winding & in some places only wide enough for one car. Fortunately, we never saw another car on this road. Finally, back on Hwy 44 and heading for Redding...only 17 miles at this point to go. We make it home dead tired and I mean dead tired. We eat our lunch watermelon for dinner & then I jump on the blog because if I take a shower first & get my "jammies" on .... it's all over. It was a fun day & we can cross this National Park off our list. Tomorrow is Lake Shasta for a tour of the dam & go see the caverns. Signing off with much love to family & friends.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A week in Redding, CA ???????

Friday 9/4/09 We leave Weed, CA heading for Redding, CA which we plan to stay only a couple days, maybe. When we arrive at our RV park, Marina RV Park and discover that it is right on the Sacramento River, I mean right on the river with a small rapid in front of us, and they have a week "special rate" we can't resist and take the one week. It's a great little park and has the friendliest people & unbelievable as it seems....lots to do in Redding & the surrounding area.

After dinner we decide to take a ride down to Sundial Bridge and Turtle Bay Exploration Park (which is just a couple miles from our house) to see what it is. Well they have this pedestrian bridge, with lighted, green glass floor & the bridge is a gigantic sundial. It's absolutely beautiful and this bridge crosses over the Sacramento River which is a wide, fast moving body of water. The weather is warm, it's been in the 90's today and there are so many people out there walking on the bridge and the trail that runs along the river. They also have a Botanical Garden & Turtle Bay Museum so we decided we will come back tomorrow & spend the whole day exploring. We meet some people visiting from Livermore and they said the bridge was built in 2003 and actually have a very nice conversation with them. Honestly, the whole area was beautiful and to think I don't know if I even had heard about Redding, but so's great.

Saturday 9/5/09 Thankfully, we are back to "flat" ground and in a residential neighborhood for my morning walk. I take off to explore the neighborhood. First off I discover right across the street is a movie theater that has 8 movies playing, hopefully we can see one of them. This neighborhood seems to be on the south side of Redding, which is old but nice however it appears the town is moving in another direction. A lot of the businesses in this area are closed up and it has seen better days. But for's great, not much traffic.

We take off at 10 am to return to Turtle Bay Museum which is a family type place. We head first for the Amphitheater for the live animal show....different kinds of birds, turtles, fox, porcupine...telling us about each of them. This is the last week end they have on display Sue, a T Rex dinosaur. It seems it is owned by the Chicago Museum but tours around the country (didn't she come to Fresno?) so we of course went in & learned all about Sue which actually was very interesting.

We visited the bird aviary, where you go in & can feed the birds with a popsicle stick with food on the end of it. You buy a stick for $1.00, hold it out to the bird & he lands on you or the stick & eats it. Fortunately, we got out of there with only spending $2....but it was very fun.

We then viewed the railroad and logging exhibits. An art gallery made out entirely of Lego's which was absolutely amazing to see. We visited the Millhouse and even have lunch in the Cafe at Turtle Bay. No picnic today. After lunch we crossed over Sundial Bridge & was able to see the time markers on the lawn so you could tell what time it was by the shadow of the bridge. We then headed to the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. There are paved trails thru the 20 plus acres that include many trees, plants, a children's garden, two water displays and plants from around the world....South Africa, Australia, Mediterranean, Pacific Rim, etc. A wonderful, well marked garden and fortunately the weather was in the low 80's and near perfect for being outdoors. We spent almost 6 hours at this place today and had a great but tiring day. Tomorrow we are taking it easy, going back to Turtle Bay for an outdoor farmers market & then grocery shopping somewhere. We have a well planned itinerary for next week, amazing as it seems....there is lots to do & see here...will keep you posted.

Update: Nancy & Howard arrived in Rome, flew to Sicily and are headed for Catania.....somewhere in Italy. Much love to family & friends and this adventure is almost, but not quite over.......

Thursday, September 3, 2009

4 More Waterfalls in Skiskiyou County, CA

Thursday 9/3/09 I think we have crossed over the line in obsession of waterfalls. If we find they have some in the area we are visiting....then we must try & see them. Today is our official sightseeing day and there are 3 historic towns in the area that we are going to try & visit. First up is Dunsmuir, CA a very small, old town. We park the car on Main Street (every small town has a Main St) find the visitors center, pick up brochures & then walk up & down the main street. The visitors center recommended we visit the old Amtrak Station as they have a wonderful display of old pictures & memorabilia, which we tried to but the sign on the door said - Only open on the first Saturday of each month 10 am to 12 you think the visitors center would know that, guess I have to take care of that also. It's a cute town but absolutely dead with lots of empty stores, so we head out of town to find their waterfall, Hedge Creek Falls. It is very close to town, with a parking lot right at the trail head & a very short hike of only about 10 minutes. We proceed down to the waterfall which sits on the Sacramento River but as we have found out that at this time of the year the water is pretty "light." It is very nice & we are able to walk behind the falls & we think this is the closest we have ever gotten to one of the waterfalls as we were able to put our hands in it. No one else is around so it is very lovely and we sit awhile then head back up.

Next stop is the town of McCloud, CA, they have 3 waterfalls - McCloud Falls, the Lower Falls, Middle Falls and Upper Falls. We pass by the town of McCloud as the waterfalls are in a state park and approx. 10 miles down from the town. It is a beautiful recreation area with an RV park (no hooks up, not for us) lots of hiking trails but we follow the sign to the Lower Falls as they have picnic tables & we have brought our lunch. From the parking lot you can walk right over to the railing & observe the falls which are very nice with a fabulous swimming pool & natural rocks all around that I'm sure is jammed in the summer with swimmers. Surprisingly, their are other people here, of course all retired folks, like us. After lunch we discover a wonderful paved path that says it will take us directly to the Middle Falls and it is only about 1 mile. Will says he is definitely up for it & wants to go so we head off down the walkway. It's going pretty good & it is a slight incline, which is always good for coming back....going down hill. However, we get to the end of the paved path & discover it is 1/2 mile more down a dirt path. We forge on but now I'm getting leery (besides we forgot our water bottles back in the car) Will insists we go on, so we do. After a short while we run into a lady coming back & she says it's still a way to go but absolutely worth it....however there is a downed tree on the trail & we will have to climb around it. I want to go back but Will, being stubborn says no & we continue on. We come to the tree & climb up & around and I fall & slide down. Fortunately, I only cut my palm as I reached for a limb but no real damage done. We hear the water & now we can glimpse the falls so of course we push on. Not much further & we are was fabulous, the best waterfall yet. It was very wide, at least 50 ft wide with a 30 ft drop - absolutely beautiful. We just sat down on some rocks & watched & listened. At that point Will looks up & sees a railing with people looking down at the falls & us.....yes, you could drive right up to the falls & see it.

As we get up to head back we run smack into a lady & her dog that have hiked down from that parking lot & we start to talk. First off she says the view from down here is 100% better than from the parking lot...which makes us feel a lot better. We introduce ourselves, she is Ingrid Howser & her yellow lab, Summer, she retired from Fresno City College around 2000 and lived in Madera. She worked for Joaquin in Financial Aid for about one year. Talk about a small world, we just couldn't believe it. They are now living in the town Shastina, CA & on her day off her & Summer find another place in the area to explore. As we are chatting she offers us a ride back to our car which is parked at Lower Falls, all we have to do is hike up the switch back trail to the parking lot above. I immediately say yes!!! The thought of walking back plus climbing over the tree....this is too good to pass up, actually she is an angel in disguise. With that we climb back up, a mear 15 minutes up that trail & into her car. I sit in the back with Summer (who is now laying on my lap, she's tired) & Will is in the front seat w/Ingrid. We all decide before going back to our car to complete the trip & drive on to see Upper Falls which is very close by. This one can be observed from the parking lot, it is nice and it completed the package - we saw all the three of the McCloud Falls.

We then head back to our car & Ingrid tells us some great stories, like the time she was car jacked from Trader Joe's parking lot at Barstow & Blackstone in Fresno. An incredible story, a wonderful lady and we felt like we had made a new friend. Thank you again Ingrid, you and Summer made our day a complete joy, it was wonderful meeting you. With that we head off to to see the historic town of McCloud, which had less to see then Dunsmuir. It was a short visit & we had one more town to go, Mt Shasta.

Now Mt Shasta was our favorite of all the towns, including Weed, where we are staying. It was a bustling Main Street with lots of shops and people, a Farmers Market. We parked & walked up and down both sides, in & out of shops. We even stopped by Ingrid's husbands shoe store that they own in Mt Shasta. We met him & told him of our afternoon, which Ingrid had already called him. We invited them to dinner in Weed this evening but unfortunately they had other plans....maybe another time! By this time we are dead tired & ready to go home. When we arrived home I was desperate for a shower & Will laid down on the bed & was "out like a light."

We had seen that on Thursday night in Weed at Weed Brewery, actually Mt. Shasta Brewing Company they play bluegrass music on Thursday from 6 to 9 pm. We love bluegrass music and it starts early enough for we decided to go, eat dinner & stay & listen to the music. After our nap we head on down for all of the above. They serve polish hot dogs & veggie brats - Will orders chili with his & I have a side of artichoke dip...Will is buying dinner, so we went all out. Now neither of us drink beer as a matter of fact we can't stand the taste of it....but we decide to try a glass of their special, a cherry beer, of course we also order cokes because that is the safe drink always. When the beer comes, Will takes a sip & says it's pretty good, I can't believe it so I take a sip and I'll be's not bad, not good but not bad. Will has a couple more & so do I, we are starting to feel a little buzz off only a couple sips & then the next one is taste just like beer. Now the beer had sat awhile, so what happened, we don't know but that was the end of our beer drinking. We ate our dinner & drank our cokes & waited for the music. Finally the music arrived, there were 5 musicians & they did a pretty good job. The place was filling up with people, some very strange had mountain men, people with tattoos & piercings & lots of normal people. We stayed for about an hour of the music & decided we were to tired & wanted to go home & go to bed. After returning home I decided to wash our shoes & some clothes so I could do the blog & keep myself worked. Tomorrow is moving day...we head south to Redding, CA. Signing off now & going to bed with much love to family & friends.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jet Boat down the Rogue River to Hellgate Canyon

Sunday 8/30/09 We have been here a week and are definitely ready to "move on" tomorrow. We saw and did everything we wanted to in this area and are now headed down to Grants Pass, OR for our jet boat trip down the Rogue River. When we started the trip up Hwy 101 we wanted to take the "mail run" boat trip out of Gold Beach, OR but Will was not feeling well that day so we cancelled the reservations (there's always a reason things happen) and said, maybe when we come back, fully knowing that probably wouldn't happen. As luck would have it while we were visiting Crater Lake we met a "biker couple" who told us of a jet boat ride out of Grants Pass, OR on I-5 so when we got back we called & made reservations. Our reservation are for Tuesday 9/1 and they only have one boat a day leaving at 12:45 pm it seems the jet boat ride plus lunch ended Aug 31, it's the same 2 hour scenic ride plus lunch - $49; the dinner version - $57 was already sold out so we settled for just the scenic ride - $37 and we are definitely looking forward to it.

Monday 8/31/09 Grants Pass is another short trip of 75 miles so we always seem to pull into the RV park by lunch time. This RV park is out of the expensive book, Trailer Life but is right in the old part of town and only 2 miles (& on the same street!) as the jet boat excursion office. It's a small park and right between a Subway & Carl's Jr and across the street from Wendy's. We can even see the Burger King sign from the bedroom. This place has every fast food restaurant know to man. After we get settled we head out for the Super Wal Mart to buy groceries & stuff. It's a bonus for us when we find a town with a Super Wal Mart because you all know how Will feels about Wal Mart!!! I do notice that they have a nail shop inside Wal Mart and decide after we return home to go back & treat myself to a pedicure. Actually, it is becoming more of a necessity as I can't see well enough to cut my toe nails anymore so I just enjoy the luxury of it.

When I return I discover they can't take me for 1 1/2 hours so I set out to find another nail shop, as you know there is ALWAYS another Asian nail shop. I find one about a mile away next to a closed up Gottschalks, now there is a bit of nostalgia for you! I go in, they can take me immediately & I settle in for some pampering. When I return home I fix a pretty nice dinner (I do cook on occasion) we watch a little of Monday Night Football to see how Brett is doing and then it's another day....gone, just like that.

Tuesday 9/1/09 Grants Pass is a very hilly city so my morning walk is not easy and I'm really struggling by the time I return home and of all days missed my street & walked further than my 3 miles. However, it's jet boat day and I am excited, I wash some clothes, walk over to the Visitors Center to buy some postcards and Will has lunch. Now actually we are very early, and remember we are only 2 miles from the place but we decide to leave anyway and just check out the historic part of town. This really is a cute town with lots of great shops to wander in and out of. Great old restored houses to look at but we only have today and then we leave again Wednesday morning.

With that we arrive at the Hellgate Jetboat Excursion office to pay for our tickets & find out what we do. Of course they have a big, beautiful office with LOTS of things to look at & buy but I just pay the $74 tab, the lady hands me a card & says cross OVER the bridge & they load at dock A. We are on this side of the bridge & think it's strange they don't bus us to the dock but we get back into the car & cross over the bridge & now find we are away from the Rogue River & wind up in a Bi Mart parking lot.....a much cheaper version of Wal Mart. Now this town is composed of lots of one way streets & we have no idea how to even get back to the excursion office. In the parking lot I approach this man & tell him we are lost & are looking for the jet boat dock. He is a local & knows right where it is but because the streets are so "screwy" he says follow me & I will take you there. Of course we are delighted & have no options but to trust that is exactly what he is going to do. We follow close behind him & he drives into the parking lot directly across the street from the excursion office & shows us where we need to go ...UNDER the bridge (that would be - walking under the bridge & wait over there at dock A) Now obviously I heard wrong in the first place (she says) but of course I'm mumbling that the directions were not clear enough. Ok, no damage done, remember we left early and now we are the third couple in line and I clearly want to be in the front row.

Now the front row has of course the best view, but they say it is also the wettest. My seat is on the left side...first seat, first row & Will is next to me. The boat holds about 60 people and is completely sold out. We get loaded up and off we go and we start out really fast and then he just stops & everyone gets wet. Fortunately, the sun is out and it is a hot day, the low 90s, so the water feels really good. We head on down the river while the drive/guide tells us about the Rogue River, the wildlife (we saw 3 deer in the river) and the birds (several osprey & their nests) Beautiful houses line both sides of the Rogue River for several miles then as you get further out, no new houses are allowed. The river is shallow this time of the year and pretty empty of fisherman, rafters & swimmers which was lucky for us as he was able to go from side to side and then when he did his 360 spins.....they were fabulous. Everyone held on perfect (just like he showed us) that he did more (so he said) then he normally does. The best part was, the front row stayed pretty dry while the second & third got drenched. Actually the lady on the outside right (I was outside left) also was my seat was perfect. The trip was FABULOUS and anyone who gets near this town should definitely put this on their "to do list." When we got back I was sorry we weren't staying another day so we could go again.

After we got back to the dock, we went back to the excursion office to purchase our $8 picture they took of our entire boat as we were leaving the dock. They had a camera person standing on the bridge above us & he snapped a picture as we were leaving. Of course we bought it & a wonderful memory of a great day. Oh yes, I couldn't resist telling the manager when I was in the excursion office he needs to instruct his help on being clearing on directions about boarding the parting shot. With that we went home exhausted, I guess it was too much excitement for the day. Treated ourselves to dinner at Carl's Jr. and then home to collapse.

Wednesday 9/2/09 Another moving day, gosh I'm was getting used to staying in locations for a week so moving every two days is much different. We each have our jobs to do, Will of course unhooks all the outside stuff & does what he does and I do my inside jobs, all the shower stuff on the floor, rugs up, counters cleared, windows closed, doors locked, etc. - we move the heater & big TV together, hook the car up to the RV & are now ready to head out. We have a little further to go, approx 100 miles to Weed, CA, yes that right, we have crossed back into California. It's hard to believe we left June 1st and have been gone for 3 months, we just can't believe how the time has flown by and of course all the wonderful things we have seen. It truly has been a wonderful opportunity for both of us & we are grateful.

We arrive in Weed, CA about lunch time and after lunch head on down to the Visitors Center. Weed is at the base of the awesome Mt Shasta which is beautiful & still has snow on it in many places with a cloud that sits above it & looks just like a halo. Will remembers coming here many years ago & riding a tram up to the top, which he wants us to do. Unfortunately, they lost that tram some years back due to an earthquake or bad weather...all we isn't running any longer. Today we decide to visit the old downtown area & go into the local museum. It was our very good fortunate to meet Sam Catalano, an 88 year old Italian, who was born in Weed & has lived here all his life. As a matter of fact his sister lives in Fresno, at Sierra & First Street & his cousins owned Catalano's Market....a small world. Sam was absolutely delightful and we spent several hours with him learning all about him, his family and the town of Weed & surrounding area. It was delightful.

Afterwards we headed out of town about 10 miles to view a Living Memorial Sculpture Garden, a place to remember, a place to mend. It seems some years back a Vietnam Vet returning from war and struggling with the healing process, set out to build/weld these sculptures as a way to help himself and others that were struggling. The setting is high desert, some trees and the different sculptures that display different scenes. You drive into the area and then are able to walk and view them. There is a bench at each sculpture, with a title & you can sit & just observe. The first one I went to was POW MIA, a soldier in a cage, as I sat down on the bench I just started to cry. Some of the other titles of sculptures are: Those Left Behind, a woman holding a folded flag; The Greatest Generation, Those Coming Home & many more. If you have a chance, please go in & look at this web site to experience what this is www.WeedLMSG/org It was a wonderful experience & one I won't soon forget. The absolute silence of the desert, the wind, the sun it was an emotional experience.

One last note......wishing daughter Nancy & boyfriend Howard a wonderful 11 day vacation in Italy. They leave tomorrow..Thurs 9/3 for "the boot" of Italy - Sicily & the Almafi Coast. Have a wonderful time you guys and don't forget to buy me something!!!!! Signing off with much love to family & friends.