The Month of Many Lakes – Oregon-Nevada-California

Our fond memories of Ashland, Oregon, from our first year of full-timing in the RV in 2012 compelled us to return to this cute little town.  The Shakespeare Festival gave us even more reason to spend a few days here.  I clearly remember (and that’s not something that happens frequently!) how much we absolutely loved Ashland.  We even thought it might be someplace we could live permanently.  It had a special ‘vibe’.  But, I think that now that we are in our third year on the road, and I’ve seen so many wonderful, adorable, cute little towns that Ashland is now just one more.

We spent the first few days at Emigrant Lake.  The weather was very nice albeit a bit chilly in the morning.  I must say we are enjoying our solar panels immensely.  The lake, however, has a depressingly low water level.  And the ground is so thick with stickers that Lucy couldn’t go outside.  And then we couldn’t get tickets to the plays we wanted to see.

No water in Emigrant Lake, Oregon

No water in Emigrant Lake, Oregon

We got up early (early for us anyway) to go to the Farmers Market in Ashland.  Everything was fresh, organic and yummy, as expected!

Farmers Market

Farmers Market – We bought some of that organic raspberry jam

Farmers Market

Farmers Market – We bought lots of great produce

Farmers Market - You KNOW we bought some of these morsels!

Farmers Market – You KNOW we bought some of these morsels!

As we sipped our coffee and devoured our baked goodies, we noticed these gentlemen wearing tin foil covered helmets.

Tin foil helmets

Tin foil helmets

Then we noticed the additional protestors across the street who were worried about the government doing bad things to them.

A5 2014 Sept - Ashland - protestors

A7 2014 Sept - Ashland OR pirate protestor

I’m not trying to start a political debate here.  Just found it amusing.  Time to move on.

On the road south, Mt. Shasta in the clouds.

On the road south, Mt. Shasta in the clouds.

We made a long drive down to Lake Mead, Nevada to meet up with our friends Ingrid and Al (LiveLaughRV.net).  They were interested in buying the love seat/jack knife bed that we replaced with my new desk.  So we delivered it to them.  Hey, anything for a party!

View from our BLM campsite on Government Wash Road at Lake Mead, Nevada

View from our BLM campsite on Government Wash Road at Lake Mead, Nevada

Water levels are low at Lake Mead, too!

Water levels are low at Lake Mead, too!

Ingrid and I had a good laugh when we both showed up with the same tee shirt on!  We both had fallen in love with Moab Utah last year and ended up buying the same Moab tee shirt.  Birds of a feather….

Ingrid and I bought the same tee shirts when we were in Moab Utah last year!

Ingrid and I bought the same tee shirts when we were in Moab Utah last year!

Here is Mike and Al solving the problems of the world again.  You’d think they would have it all worked out by now.  Pictures are courtesy of Ingrid’s blog.

04 lakemead-069

05 lakemead-163

Time was running out for Mike and I to spend some time up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains along Highway 395.  So we headed up to June Lake in the hopes of seeing the display of fall colors.  And we timed it perfectly!

View from our campsite #36 in Oh! Ridge Forest Service Campground on June Lake

View from our campsite #36 in Oh! Ridge Forest Service Campground on June Lake

Daily visitors

Daily visitors

08 2014 Oct - June Lake - P1010483 Deer in camp

09 2014 Oct - June Lake - IMG_0515

The weather was PERFECT!  About 80 degrees, perfectly clear sky, very gentle breeze, perfect in every way.  We took a hike up a mountain trail that gave us a great view of June Lake and Gull Lake.  It was quite a climb!  The thin air made it even more difficult.  Thought we were going to die.

View of Gull Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

View of Gull Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

View of June Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

View of June Lake from the Yost Meadows Trail

There are so many interesting things to see and do in this area, that it is difficult to choose.  We had heard about a few fascinating attractions that we just had to see for ourselves.  The Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve was established in 1981 to preserve the limestone “tufa tower” formations.  Did you know this lake is over 1 million years old?  The towers are formed as the calcium-rich springs flow up from the lake bottom.  The calcium bonds to carbonates in the water to form a type of limestone, which then builds on itself to create these towers.  As the water level of Mono Lake decreased, the towers were exposed and, of course, stopped growing.  It’s amazing (and sad) to realize how much water is gone from Mono Lake.  But the tufa towers were awesome to see.

South Tufa's - Mono Lake

South Tufa’s – Mono Lake

All of this used to be under water.

All of this used to be under water.

Mike was hungry and ready to find the place that makes the lobster taquitos that everyone raves about.  We found it in Lee Vining behind the Mobil Gas Station.  The lobster taquitos came with spicy black beans, a mango salad and broccoli slaw.  We also got a plate of their carnitas.  It was quite good!

Lunch at the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining

Lunch at the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining – Carnitas Tacos and Lobster Taquitos

With full bellies, we drove up to see the ghost town of Bodie, which became a State Historic Park in 1962.  It is now maintained in a state of “arrested decay”.  It was a wicked and lawless town where “killings occurred with monotonous regularity”.  In 1879, Bodie had a population of 10,000 people and 65 saloons.  It was described as “a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion”.  I love the “arrested decay” style of preservation.  Like it is frozen in time.  What’s left of it anyway.  You can wander around the empty streets and peak in the windows of houses and buildings and see the things that were left behind.  It was surreal.

Bodie - State Historic Park

Bodie – State Historic Park

A ghost town now

A ghost town now

17 2014 Oct - Bodie - IMG_033852

The school house

The school house

19 2014 Oct - Bodie - IMG_032640

The drive up to Bodie was beautiful, too!

Fall colors all around!

Fall colors all around!

16 2014 Oct - Bodie - IMG_036377

 

Devils Postpile in the Ansel Adams Wilderness is another National Monument that we wanted to see.  The column formations were formed from basalt lava which flowed here 82,000 years ago and fractured by a glacier passing through about 20,000 years ago.  Subsequent earthquakes felled many columns that now lie fragmented below the postpile.

Devils Postpile

Devils Postpile

Oh, the forces of nature!

Oh, the forces of nature!

We continued hiking past Devils Postpile to the 101 foot Rainbow Falls.  Then we took the 95 steps to the bottom of the falls for a better view (and enjoyed a picnic lunch down there).

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

23 2014 Oct - Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls Hike - IMG_0527

The hiking opportunities in the Mono Lake Ranger District are endless.  We enjoyed as many as we could and we will definitely return to this area again for more.  The hike to Parker Lake required a 2-mile drive on a bumpy dirt road to get to the trailhead, but it was worth it.

Parker Lake Trail

Parker Lake Trail

Arriving at the beautiful Parker Lake - 4 miles roundtrip

Arriving at the beautiful Parker Lake – 4 miles roundtrip

Now we were ready to take on a more difficult hike.  We knew we just HAD to complete the highly recommended 8-mile hike through the Virginia Lakes.  Again, we had perfect weather.  And again, we were gasping for air when we got to the steep climbing part at the summit.  Wow, this thin air really makes a difference!  But, I’ll tell you this was an amazing hike.  It ranks right up there with the best of the best in terms of beauty.

Driving to the Virginia Lakes trailhead

Driving to the Virginia Lakes trailhead

This hike rewarded us with beautiful lake after lake along the trail.

This hike rewarded us with beautiful lake after lake along the trail.

We're climbing now.

We’re climbing now.

Rock scrambling is required to reach the summit at over 11,000 feet!

Rock scrambling is required to reach the summit at over 11,000 feet!

The view from the top!

The view from the top!  The trail passed all of those lakes.

With our endorphines generating at maximum output, the return hike was a breeze.

With our endorphines generating at maximum output, the return hike was a breeze.

Enjoying lunch and the beautiful view.

Enjoying lunch and the beautiful view.

Breakfast at the popular Silver Lake Resort Cafe on the June Lake Loop was a great way to begin the celebration of our 23rd wedding anniversary, and a great way to wrap up our visit to June Lake.  Everything was perfect!

Celebrating our 23rd Wedding Anniversary at June Lake

Celebrating our 23rd Wedding Anniversary at June Lake

Cheers!

The Oregon Coast

We got lucky … the weather was perfect on the central Oregon coast!  We had a couple of weeks to kill while our new office desk was being built at Elite RV in Harrisburg, Oregon.  So we headed to the coast to explore Florence, Waldport and Newport.  We dry-camped at casinos and marinas (because we can now that we have solar).

1 Lucy poses on the beach

6 Lucy and Mike on beach

2 Lucy in the air at beach

3 Lucy wants to be carried

8 Lucy runs up dune

9 mike and lucy

14 lucy on beach

We sighted whales several times from the various look-out points.  We even took a whale-watching boat trip.

Whale 1

whale 2

Whale 3

So excited to get the tail even though this one was so far away.  I was on the shore.

So excited to get the tail even though this one was so far away. I was on the shore.

This whale is named Scar and she is with her baby

This whale is named Scar and she is with her baby

Scar and Baby

Scar and Baby

The whale's head

The whale’s head

We camped at the Newport Marina for a few days during the harvest moon.

Harvest Moon over Newport Harbor

Harvest Moon over Newport Harbor

Yaquina Bay Bridge with Newport Marina in background

Yaquina Bay Bridge with Newport Marina in background

When the fog rolls in...

When the fog rolls in…

Many of the buildings in Newport have murals painted on the sides.  Here are just a few.

Mural 1 Mural 3 Mural 2

 

We got in some farmers markets, seafood eating, hiking, shopping, touring and just enjoying the beauty of this little slice of heaven.

Lighthouse 3 Lighthouse 2 Heceta Bay Lighthouse

 

Hiking Cape Perpetua

Hiking Cape Perpetua

Beachtown 3 Mike and Lucy at pier in Florence OR

Campsite Bird Coast Sand Birds Coast 8 Coast 7 Coast 6 Coast 5 Coast 3 Coast 2 Coast 1

Our campsite at the Marina in Waldport

Our campsite at the Marina in Waldport (near Florence)

Oregon and the entire Pacific Northwest remain on our travel plans for the future.  We will be back!

The Bear – Upgrades

We decided to make a few changes/upgrades to the Bear.  These past few weeks have found us camping in RV shop garages and parking lots getting our “wish list” projects completed.  I can’t tell you how excited I am with these upgrades!!

We’ve known from the very beginning that we wanted solar panels.  Our love of camping in the wilderness, rather than in full hook-up campgrounds, required that we run our generator 4 to 5 hours a day to charge the batteries whenever we camped “off the grid”.  The Bear needs a lot of electricity, especially because of our residential refrigerator.

So our first stop was AM Solar in Springfield, Oregon.  Before I share our new solar panel configuration, I want to talk about our batteries.  We bought 4 new wet-cell batteries at the beginning of the year, but we decided to go ahead and replace them with 4 of the large L16 Lifeline AGM batteries (400 amps each).

Our 4 new L16 Lifeline AGM 400 amp Batteries

Our 4 new L16 Lifeline AGM 400 amp Batteries

We weren’t sure how much solar power we should install.  But we knew that we didn’t want to worry about power all the time.  So we met with “Marvelous Marvin” of Precision RV and put together a configuration that meets (and exceeds) our needs.

The Bear Going In For Solar Panels at AM Solar

The Bear Going In For Solar Panels at AM Solar

Marvelous Marvin Discussing Tilt Bars With Mike

Marvelous Marvin Discussing Tilt Bars With Mike

Our installation included 8 solar panels with 160 watts per panel for a total of 1280 watts.  Yeah!

Eight 160 watt Solar Panels

Eight 160 watt Solar Panels

Has all this power gone to our heads?  You bet it has!  We’re amped!  We freely run the coffeemaker, watch TV, use the microwave, hairdryer, fans, computer, printer, etc. … all without batting an eye.  These are some of the things that people in normal houses don’t even think about, and now we don’t have to think twice either.  We haven’t used the tilt bars yet, because we haven’t had to ‘work’ for the sun.  We’re at 100% before lunch and stay there all day no matter what we’re running.  We LOVE our solar power!

Our next stop was Elite RV Repair and Remodel in Harrisburg, Oregon.  We had a list of little (and one not-so-little) fix-it items that took a couple of days to complete.  Then we got to the fun stuff … my office remodel.  Up til now, I’ve used the dinette tabletop for my computer, and it’s all wrong.  I end up with a back ache and a neck ache and tingling arms.  I’ve spent two years mulling about what type of remodel to do and where to do it.  I was thinking about remodeling the dinette booth into a desk/dining combo.  Mike convinced me that I should use the space that was being occupied by the love seat/jack knife bed.  And he was so right!

Elite RV Repair and Remodel in Harrisburg, Oregon

Elite RV Repair and Remodel in Harrisburg, Oregon

The love seat was a catch-all most of the time!

The love seat was a catch-all most of the time!

Love Seat and Carpet Removed

Love Seat and Carpet Removed

06 love seat pulled out

The Floor Was Extended 10 Inches

The Floor Was Extended 10 Inches

Mark Measures For Topper Board After Marty  Builds and Installs New Desk

Desk Is Installed

Floor Is Prepped for Topping Board

Floor Is Prepped for Topping Board

Desk Is Wired For Electrical Outlets

Desk Is Wired For Electrical Outlets

Carpet and Desk Drawers Installed

Carpet and Desk Drawers Installed

It's Coming Together

It’s Coming Together

Desk Top and Wood Trim Completed

Desk Top and Wood Trim Completed

File Drawer, Printer Drawer, Large Divided Top Drawer, Double Shelf Slim Cabinet, and Electrical Power Strip.

File Drawer, Printer Drawer, Large Divided Top Drawer, Double Shelf Slim Cabinet, and Electrical Power Strip.

Corian Desk Top Matches Counter

Corian Desk Top Matches Counter

My  Stressless Chair with Attached Computer Table

My Stressless Chair with Attached Computer Table

The Computer Table Folds Down; The Chair Swivels and Reclines for TV Watching

The Computer Table Folds Down; The Chair Swivels and Reclines for TV Watching

My Ekornes Stressless Chair is soooo comfortable.  It even comes in sizes, so I got the one that’s perfect for me!

We also had sturdy new shelves built for our cabinets.  The cabinets above and below the large TV are too wide to have such a thin shelf.  They sagged!

We used those purple cups to brace the upper shelf.

We used those purple cups to brace the upper shelf.

New Strong Solid Wood Shelf

New Strong Solid Wood Shelf

Another shelf sagging under the weight of our crap.

Another shelf sagging under the weight of our crap.

Strong New Shelf

Strong New Shelf

I couldn’t resist using the old shelf for some extra storage capabilities.   We turned it over so it arches, rather than sags, and put some light stuff up there.

Old shelf inverted and placed high for some lightweight stuff.

Old shelf inverted and placed high for some lightweight stuff.

Marty, Eric and Mark at Elite RV Repair and Restoration in Harrisburg, Oregon are the greatest!

Another fun little thing we did was install a Hella fan.  We had 12 Hella fans throughout our sailboat and we loved them.  Sometimes all you need is a little air blowing on you.  This fan articulates in any direction and we had the perfect spot for one.  The Bear came with a wall light that had a broken light socket.  We never used that light anyway so we didn’t bother to repair it.  Replacing it with the fan made a lot more sense for us.

Installed Hella Fan

Installed Hella Fan.  From the looks of our weather station, we should turn it on!

Next stop, Henderson’s Line-up in Grants Pass, Oregon for a Road Performance Assessment.  We had them install new Koni FSD Shocks, Safe-T-Plus Steering Control, Motion Control Units, and upgrade our air dryer system.  Mike really likes the improved control and I love the smooth, comfortable ride.

Henderson's Line-Up in Grants Pass, Oregon

Henderson’s Line-Up in Grants Pass, Oregon

So, that’s it, folks.  Pretty close to everything on our RV wish list.  We’re very grateful that we get to live this lifestyle in such comfort.

Cheers!!

Cheers!!

 

 

 

 

The Two Happiest Days In A Sailors Life

There is an old saying “The two happiest days in a sailors life are the day he buys his boat, and the day he sells it”.  This is us on that first happiest day.

Offshore Delivery of Our New Hylas49, Aquila

Offshore Delivery of Our New Hylas49, Aquila in January 2005

We Enjoy Our First Dinner Aboard As Full-time Cruisers

We Enjoy Our First Dinner Aboard As Full-time Cruisers

Yesterday, we enjoyed that ‘second happiest day’ as escrow closed on the sale of Aquila.  We’ve had a couple of false starts on the sale these past couple of years, so we didn’t want to jinx anything by announcing it early.  But it’s official so we can celebrate now!

I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted to include in this post.  The more I thought about it, the longer it got.  You have been forewarned!  In fact, it’s taken me all day to whittle down our 7+ years aboard into one post.

First, I’ll share a couple of pics of Aquila sitting comfortably at anchor.

This Represents Many of Our Evenings That First Year In Mexico

This Represents Many of Our Evenings That First Year We Spent In Mexico

Caribbean Sea - Anchored at Barbuda

Caribbean Sea – Anchored at Barbuda

Mediterranean Sea, Corsica

Mediterranean Sea, Corsica

Sailing By Ibiza In The Mediterranean Sea.  See Us On The Bow?

Sailing By Ibiza In The Mediterranean Sea.  See Us On The Bow?

Were all of our days full of rainbows, dolphins, and beautiful sunsets?

01 rainbow in Simpson Lagoon  St Martin

1 Sailing - dolphins in Mexico

2 Sailing at sunset

3 Sailing - Sunset on Mexico coast

Many days treated us to fair winds.  Our first solo sail was from Ensenada, Mexico to Oakland, California when Aquila was brand new.  She was on display at the Oakland Boat Show representing Hylas49 Offshore Yachts.

Sailing Off The California Coast

Sailing Off The California Coast

5 Sailing - Spinnaker

Sometimes the breeze is at your back.  Perfect for spinnaker sailing!

Try taking a picture when the boat is heeling like this!

Sailing close to the wind creates more of a heeling motion. Try taking a picture when the boat is heeling like this!

Sometimes things got a bit more exciting.

8 Sailing - Atlantic Crossing-Seriously close hauled going fast

9 Sailing -Bashing Underway

This Is What Large Following Seas Looks Like.

This Is What Following Seas Look Like.

Lightning Is Striking The Water All Around Us in Costa Rica.

Lightning Is Striking The Water All Around Us in Costa Rica.

Mike Is On Deck Hoisting The Storm Sail In This Storm While Crossing The Atlantic Ocean.

Mike Is On Deck Hoisting The Storm Sail In This Storm While Crossing The Atlantic Ocean.

Following are a few pictures of clouds you DO NOT want to see ahead!

Squall Ahead

Squall Ahead

Weather at sunset

weather approaching

Weather - Storm Clouds

Oh Boy

Oh Boy

As full-time live-aboard cruisers, we did much of our own maintenance on board.

Mike Works On Generator

Mike Works On Generator

Mike Replaces Head Hoses (NOT a fun job)

Mike Replaces Head Hoses (NOT a fun job)

Mike Waxes The Hull

Mike Waxes The Hull

Mike Repairs the Radar

Mike Repairs the Radar

Mike Dives To Clean The Bottom Of The Hull

Mike Dives To Clean The Bottom Of The Hull

THIS is not what you want to see next to you!  Crocodile in Ixtapa MX.

THIS is not what you want to see next to you! Crocodile in Ixtapa MX.

Linda Varnishing Interior Teak

Linda Varnishing Interior Teak

Laundry Day

Laundry Day In British Virgin Islands

Linda Cuts Mike's Hair

Linda Cuts Mike’s Hair

Mahi Mahi For Dinner

Mahi Mahi For Dinner

Hoisting Dinghy Off Deck After Long Passage.  (think of taking your car out of the garage)

Hoisting Dinghy Off Deck After Long Passage. (think of taking your car out of the garage)

Skyping Home Using Free Wifi At The Yacht Club

Calling home using Skype at the local yacht club with free wifi.  This activity was repeated in many yacht clubs and bars throughout many countries.  Anywhere with free wifi.

The most vivid and wonderful memories of our sailing years are of visits from family and friends, as well as all the new friendships created in our life afloat.  The following is a snippet of those memories.  For unknown reasons, hundreds of my pictures were not on my backup disc (I hope they are back home in storage), so I apologize to all those friends not pictured here.   We love you all!

First up is family (of course).  The kids and grandkids sailed with us and vacationed with us in Channel Islands and Catalina in California; Ensenada and Zihuatenejo in Mexico; San Blas Islands and Bocas del Toro in Panama; St. Martin, St. Bart, and Antigua in the Caribbean; the Exumas in the Bahamas; Key West in Florida; and all along the French Rivera in France including Nice, Cannes, Antibes, Monaco and Villefranche.

This is our family when we first got the boat in 2005.

This is our family when we first got the boat in 2005.

Blake and Garrett instantly became little sailors and loved it!

Blake and Garrett instantly became little sailors and loved it!

San Blas Islands in Panama

San Blas Islands in Panama – Paige, Garrett and Blake

Bocas del Toro in Panama

Bocas del Toro in Panama – Sean, Keni and Kailyn

Lance and Kimberly in Antigua

Lance and Kimberly in Antigua

Blake and Lance on deck in St. Martin

Blake and Lance on deck in St. Martin

Sean and Kailyn in Key West

Sean and Kailyn in Key West

Villefranche, France

Villefranche, France – Lance, Kimberly, Blake, Garrett and Paige

Nice, France

Nice, France – Kailyn, Sean, Keni, Brady

Monaco

Monaco – Lance and Kimberly

Exuma Islands in Bahamas

Exuma Islands in Bahamas – Kailyn and Brady

Exuma Islands

Exuma Islands – Blake, Garrett, Paige

Bahamas

Bahamas

My sister Valarie and my aunt Nola from Texas vacationed with us three times.  First in Italy on the Italian Riviera, then Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and they also joined us in the Bahamas.   We enjoyed their visits so much!  Always impressed with their ability to go with the flow and their can-do attitude.  I was truly nervous before their first visit, which was Italy, because I didn’t want them to hate it.  Turns out they loved it!  Even after a rogue wave threw Nola across the cockpit and dislocated her thumb when she hit the floor.  And Valarie discovered that she gets a little motion sick.  They still came back for more!  Love you guys!

My sister Valarie and my aunt Nola

My sister Valarie and my aunt Nola

Nola is 'King of the World!'

Nola is ‘King of the World!’ in Italy

Our Hylas family is made up of our team of riggers, engineers, crew members, and fellow Hylas yacht owners.  All of these folks were invaluable to us and became lifelong friends.  Thank you all so much for your guidance, assistance, wisdom and love.

Aquila's Hylas Team Dave Powers and Brad Storm.  Also Sam, and good friends and fellow Hylas owners Larry and Mary Ivins

Aquila’s Hylas Team Dave Powers and Brad Storm. Also Sam, and good friends and fellow Hylas owners Larry and Mary Ivins

After taking off shore delivery of Aquila in Marina del Rey, California, our first order of business was to get her down to her new home in Ensenada Mexico.  Following is a picture of our team.  I actually can’t remember if it took us 2 or 3 days to get there, but I do remember that we had a lot of fun and learned so much!  My head was swimming with information on all these new systems I needed to learn!

Dave Powers trained us and Mike's buddies Bill Queen and Steve Langford crewed.

Dave Powers trained us and Mike’s buddies Bill Queen and Steve Langford crewed.

We spent the next 6 months learning to live aboard, learning to sail, learning to dock, learning to anchor.  In all of our 7+ years, however, Mike never learned to duck when stepping down into the galley.  He hit his head every time.  (Sorry, that makes me laugh.  I can’t help it.)  At the end of 2005, we were ready to hit the high seas.  We joined a rally of several hundred boats departing from San Diego for Cabo San Lucas.  No turning back now!  Crewing with us was fellow Hylas owners Herman and Claudine and boat show friend Kevin.  Our friends Darlene and Mark met up with us in Cabo for the partying!

Cabo San Lucas with Herman, Claudine, Kevin, Darlene and Mark

Cabo San Lucas with Herman, Claudine, Kevin, Darlene and Mark

As we cruised for the following year down the coast of Mexico and Costa Rica to Panama, we became a part of a floating community.  We formed lasting friendships and our fondest memories are of that first year when it was all so new.

Linda and Bill of svCreola on Jeanne and Gary's mvBad Attitude

Linda and Bill of s/v Creola on Jeanne and Gary’s m/v Bad Attitude

Patricia and Joe sail with us crossing the Sea of Cortez

Patricia and Joe sail with us crossing the Sea of Cortez

Janet and Allen Adden at Puerto Vallarta home

Janet and Allen Adden at Puerto Vallarta home

Anton, a fearless solo sailor, on catamaran Sukha became a best friend

Anton, a fearless solo sailor, on catamaran Sukha became a best friend

Rick and Judith of s/v Dreamweaver, Anton, and future catamaran Aqua owner Mike Mak.

Rick and Judith of s/v Dreamweaver, Anton, and future catamaran Aqua owner Mike Mak.

After transiting the Panama Canal, we spent a couple of years cruising in the Caribbean.  We enjoyed visits from some of our dearest friends and made some great new friends along the way, too!

Ray Torres

Ray Torres

Bill and Monica Queen

Bill and Monica Queen

At Frank and Patti's Home on Tortola

At Frank and Patti’s Home on Tortola

Christmas in St. Martin with Larry and Mary Ivins, s/v Berkeley East

Christmas in St. Martin with Larry and Mary Ivins, s/v Berkeley East

Carlos Ciria

Carlos Ciria

Joan and Alan Teed s/v Moonstruck

Joan and Alan Teed s/v Moonstruck

Tom and Rose Hansmeyer

Tom and Rose Hansmeyer of s/v Sojourn

Richard and Diane Trayner of s/v Ava Ryan

Richard and Diane Trayner of s/v Ava Ryan

Sue Burton, Julia Christiansen, Yvonne Cooksley

Sue Burton, Julia Christiansen, Yvonne Cooksley join us for a sail

Joanne and Barbara vacation with us in the Bahamas

Joanne and Barbara vacation with us in the Bahamas.  One of my missing photo folders.  I had to copy this pic off of my sailing website.  That’s why it’s so grainy.

Tom and Cathy Dunn of s/v Interlude.  Another one of my missing pics.  Had to copy this from my website.

Tom and Cathy Dunn of s/v Interlude. Another one of my missing pics. Had to copy this from my website.

Major respect and love goes to Ray Berndt who gets seasick and yet he volunteered to crew for us on our Atlantic Crossing.  He split the nightwatch with Mike, so I could sleep every night, and for that I am so grateful!  He was terrific companionship for Mike and the two of them could talk and reminisce about on-the-job stories all day long.  Or they would play chess.  That is, when they weren’t dealing with stormy weather or trying to sew torn sails underway.  My folder with pics from the entire Atlantic Crossing and all of our first year in the Mediterranean Sea were missing from my backup drive.  So I plucked this one of Ray from my website.  We met up with Mike Mak and Marquise Hawley of catamaran Aqua in Gibraltar and kicked off our Mediterranean adventures!

23 Ray Berndt in Portugal

Frank and Patti flew to Barcelona to visit us!

Frank and Patti flew to Barcelona to visit us!  Love you guys!

Anton and Natalia were cruising in Italy the same time as us.  Yeaaa!

Anton and Natalia were cruising in Italy the same time as us. Yeaaa!

Enjoyed Buddy-boating with Pip and Sarah of s/v Roaring Girl in Italy

Enjoyed Buddy-boating with Pip and Sarah of s/v Roaring Girl after meeting in Italy

Good friends Ray Torres and Mike McBride flew over to vacation with us on Aquila in the Balearic Islands where we met up with our buds Larry and Mary Ivins.  Our little group began the search for the perfect champagne sangria on the beautiful (and wild) island of Mallorca.  Other great friends that we met along the way include Dan and Denise on s/v Canace, Spencer and Nana on s/v Adverse Conditions, Shirley and John on s/v Solstice, Terry and Deb on s/v Wings, the McGee family on m/v Tesla, Jim on s/v Orinoco, Robert on s/v Silver Harmony, and Mark and Kimberly on s/v Swanya.  We had good times!

Lucy on Night Watch

Lucy on Night Watch

And now I’ll share a sampling of our sailing destinations.  We had a wonderful experience during our life aboard Aquila and treasure all the memories.  It was very difficult to cull my thousands of photos down to just these few.  So if you are still here with me … this set of pics is the last of this post.

Barra Navidad, Mexico

Barra Navidad, Mexico

Ixtapa, Mexico

Ixtapa, Mexico

Providencia, Columbia

Providencia, Columbia

Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Cane Garden Bay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Carriacou, Grenadine Islands, Caribbean Sea

Carriacou, Grenadine Islands, Caribbean Sea

Grenada, the Isle of Spice

Grenada, the Isle of Spice

Martinique, Eastern Caribbean

Martinique, Eastern Caribbean

St. John, US Virgin Islands

St. John, US Virgin Islands

Tobago Cays, Southern Grenadines, Caribbean

Tobago Cays, Southern Grenadines, Caribbean

Azores, Atlantic Ocean

Azores, Atlantic Ocean

Barcelona, Spain (our winter home for 7 months)

Barcelona, Spain (our winter home for 7 months)

Fuengirola, Spain

Fuengirola, Spain

Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Mediterranean Sea

Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Mediterranean Sea

Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Mediterranean Sea

Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Mediterranean Sea

San Miguel, Ibiza

San Miguel, Ibiza

Sant Feliu, Spain

Sant Feliu, Spain

Golfe de Roccapina, Corsica

Golfe de Roccapina, Corsica

Bonifacio, Corsica

Bonifacio, Corsica

Calvi, Corsica

Calvi, Corsica

Cannes, France

Cannes, France

Carloforte, Sardinia

Carloforte, Sardinia

Fort Royal at St. Marguerite

Fort Royal at St. Marguerite

Villefranche, France

Villefranche, France  (that’s Kimberly’s family in the dinghy)

Cefalu, Sicily

Cefalu, Sicily

Portoferraio, Elba Island

Portoferraio, Elba Island

Portofino, Italy

Portofino, Italy

Stromboli, active volcano

Stromboli, active volcano

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Atlantic Ocean

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Atlantic Ocean

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

La Palma, Canary Islands

La Palma, Canary Islands

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Cat Island, Bahamas

Cat Island, Bahamas

Swimming Pigs in the Bahamas

Swimming Pigs in the Bahamas

It’s the end of an era for us.  Cheers to new adventures!

 

 

 

Wildlife in Yellowstone

As promised, I’m posting some pictures of our wildlife sightings while the kids and grandkids were visiting us this summer.  Pretty much all of these photos were taken by Sean, Garrett, Blake or Paige.  The bison were the easiest to get, as they were everywhere.  The most difficult was the wolf.  We got lucky and had two sightings with Sean.  In fact, Sean also sighted a bald eagle, bull elk, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, and black bear.  Only one he missed seeing was a moose.

We had our closest black bear encounter while hiking with Garrett when we came across a mama bear and her cub.  That was pretty scary, but really cool.  Garrett got lucky and snapped some great moose pics, too.  Garrett’s photos also include a bull elk, mule deer, black bears, marmot, bison and the chipmunk.  Blake photographed elk and got some great bison shots.  Paige got the birds and the pretty lakeside shot of the resting elk.

grey wolf

Grey Wolf 2

pronghorn

Black Bear grazing 1

Black Bear grazing 2

We spotted the cub BEFORE we saw his mama!

We spotted the cub BEFORE we saw his mama!

Mama was watching us!

Mama was watching us!

She decided not to worry about us.  Whew!

We almost missed seeing this guy strolling through a meadow.

We almost missed seeing this guy strolling through a meadow.

Bison herd

Shedding the last of the winter coat

Shedding the last of the winter coat

Bison head to head

This guy was walking straight at Blake

This guy was walking straight at Blake

Bison walk down street

Female Moose

Female Moose – Nice shot Garrett!

Bull Moose

Bull Moose

Moose bull walk in stream

Mule Deer

Mule Deer

Mule Deer in meadow

Mule Deer laying down

Elk

Didn't your mama teach you to chew with your mouth closed?

Didn’t your mama teach you to chew with your mouth closed?

I know just how she feels

I know just how she feels

Elk run the show in Mammoth Hot Springs

Elk run the show in Mammoth Hot Springs

Elk in Mammoth Hot Springs crossing road

Garrett spotted this little Marmot

Garrett spotted this little Marmot

Chipmunk

Elk in field

Elk bull in field

Elk Bull eating

Elk Bull

Bald Eagle in eagle tree

Bird - Heron

Bird

We never did spot any Grizzly Bears out in the wild.  So I’ve included a few pictures from our visits to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and Habitat located in West Yellowstone.  Magnificent animals.

Grizzly Bear Habitat

Grizzly Bear Habitat

Wildlife Habitat Grizzly 2

Enjoying a bath

Enjoying a bath

Wolf in Habitat

Wolf in Habitat

Eagle in Habitat

Eagle in Habitat

 

 

Yellowstone With A Full House and a Full Heart

This past month in Yellowstone National Park has been crazy good!  I’m going to get you caught up on all of our activities with the family.  Once again, I am refraining from posting the wildlife pics and scenery pics.  I will create a separate post for those later.  We saw so many wonderful things!  But this post is about the family fun .. again!

As you may recall from my last post, our grandson Garrett had joined us in the Grand Tetons.  After enjoying a week there, we drove the Bear through Yellowstone to Mammoth Hot Springs at the North entrance to Yellowstone Park.  There were a couple of water events up that way that we wanted to experience.  White water rafting was first on the agenda.  And what fun we had!  Mike and Garrett got the primo seats at the front of the 8-person raft.  You can’t see me in this picture, but I’m right behind Mike.  Our wet ride/workout lastest about 3 hours.  This was Garrett’s first white water raft experience and he loved it.

Rafting the Yellowstone River

Rafting the Yellowstone River

We had also read about the Boiling River.  A short hike took us to this popular stretch on the river where the hot spring joins the cold river.  I took a pass on the whole bathing suit thing, but Mike and Garrett wanted to experience a soak in the Boiling River.  A few inches in one direction and the water is too hot, a few inches the other way and it’s freezing cold.  They found a good spot and enjoyed it as well as could be expected with that many people vying for a spot of their own.

Mike and Garrett take a soak in the Boiling River

Mike and Garrett take a soak in the Boiling River

For the next week, we took many hikes in the Mammoth Hot Springs area and in the Lamar Valley in the northeastern section of Yellowstone.  We got up close and personal with a black bear and her cub and saw lots of other wildlife (pics in a future post).  It was great!  Garrett thought we were trying to kill him with all the tough hiking (but I think he really enjoyed it).

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs  Beautiful Travertine Terraces

Hiking Around Trout Lake

Hiking Around Trout Lake

Slough Creek Trail

Slough Creek Trail

Antlers Found Along The Slough Creek Trail

Antlers Found Along The Slough Creek Trail

07 Northwest Yellowstone

Next we traveled up into Montana for a couple of days, spending a night in Bozeman to wash the RV and do some stocking up for when the rest of the family arrives.  Then we spent a night in the Red Cliffs National Forest Campground on our way back down to Henrys Lake State Park in Island Park, Idaho.  Again, this was to be our base camp for the next 2 weeks when the rest of the family joins us.

We Return To Henrys Lake State Park For Family Visit

We Return To Henrys Lake State Park For A Two Week Family Visit

Plans got adjusted when our granddaughter Paige’s All Star Softball Team made it to the Western Nationals Championship.  Her Moorpark team was having an incredible year going undefeated and winning District.  Then they took 2nd place at State, so we knew that qualifying for National was a given.  Kimberly and Lance took Paige to the week-long event in Sacramento and sent Blake to join his brother Garrett with us until they could get here.  In the end, Paige’s team took 9th place overall out of a softball season that started with 7,100 teams competing!  What a wonderful year she had with a great group of girls!

Moorpark All Star Softball - Paige on the far right

Moorpark All Star Softball Team – Paige on the far right

We drove to Idaho Falls airport to pick up Blake.  The Yellowstone Log Home lumber yard was on the way home so Mike stopped to load up the back of our little SUV with end cuts.  It’s so cheap and the boys love chopping the logs for our campfires.  Most campgrounds sell those little 5 piece bundles for about $5 or $6.  We filled the back of our car for less than $10!

We Put Blake To Work Loading The Firewood

We Put Blake To Work Helping To Load The Firewood

Garrett Carries A Large Stump To The Car

Garrett Carries A Large Stump To The Car

And, we just had to stop at Big Jud’s Diner again.  Blake was confident that he could finish the one-pounder by himself.  He has a terrific appetite, like many 16-year-old boys, but it proved to be more than he could finish.  I’d say he ate about 2/3 of it though and a large basket of french fries!  Garrett knew better, so he and Mike split one.

Blake Tackles The Big Jud One Pound Hamburger

Blake Tackles The Big Jud One Pound Hamburger

We had a surprise for the boys.  Mike had rented a 4-seater ATV for a day.  The original plan was for all the guys to go out on it.  But since Lance was in Sacramento for Paige’s tournament, that left a seat open for me.  Bouncing down dusty roads in a very loud machine isn’t my thing, but I went along to get some video footage and ended up having a pretty good time.  Mike took the first shift behind the wheel and drove us up to the top of Sawtell Mountain (over 10,000 feet) for some great views.  It was COLD up there!  Then he let the boys take turns driving the rest of the day.  Blake has a learners permit to drive, but Garrett is only 13 and this was his first time driving over 10 mph.  He was having a blast tearing down dirt roads doing 40 before Mike slowed him down a little.

 

Blake Behind The Wheel of the ATV

Blake Behind The Wheel of the ATV

At The Top Of Sawtell Mountain

At The Top Of Sawtell Mountain, Blake Pulls On A Sweatshirt

Garrett Takes Us Over A Wooden Bridge

Garrett Takes Us Over A Narrow Wooden Bridge While Mike Holds On!

The town of West Yellowstone was having the Mountain Man Rendezvous that week.  We learned that this is a reenactment of an 1800’s encampment where they all dress in period clothing and sell handmade things.  We walked around ‘Traders Row’, watched a hatchet throwing demonstration and a wood carving demonstration, and bought a few souvenirs.

Mountain Man Rendezvous in West Yellowstone

Mountain Man Rendezvous in West Yellowstone

An Antique and Classic Car Show was also taking place in town.  We watched the parade and then admired the cars in the park.  The boys bought raffle tickets to win a classic 1966 mustang convertible.

Classic Car Parade

Classic Car Parade With About 150 Cars

What Are The Odds?

What Are The Odds?

We took a drive over to Earthquake Lake and spent some time in the Visitor Center learning about the tragic night on August 17, 1959 when a 7.5 earthquake caused an 80 million ton landslide on the Madison River creating a new lake that destroyed homes and killed 28 people who were camping along the shore of the Madison River.

Ruins of Homes Destroyed During The Formation of Earthquake Lake

Ruins of Homes Destroyed During The Formation of Earthquake Lake

We spent the rest of the week hiking in the geyser basin and canyon area within Yellowstone Park.  It took Blake a day or two to acclimate to the elevation.  He’s a varsity soccer player and is physically fit.  So he was surprised at how tiring it is when you’re not getting the air you’re used to!

West Yellowstone Rendezvous Ski Trail Hike

West Yellowstone Rendezvous Ski Trail 5 Mile Hike

Fairy Falls 5 Mile Hike

Fairy Falls 5 Mile Hike

Specimen Ridge Trail - 4 Mile Hike Near Tower Falls

Specimen Ridge Trail – 4 Mile Hike Near Tower Falls

Yellowstone Canyon South Rim Trail to Clear Lake 7 Mile Hike

Yellowstone Canyon South Rim Trail to Clear Lake 7 Mile Hike

Hiking Past The Grand Prismatic Spring On Our Way To Fairy Falls

Hiking Past The Grand Prismatic Spring On Our Way To Fairy Falls

Had To See Old Faithful And Then Eat Lunch At The Lodge

Had To See Old Faithful And Then Eat Lunch At The Lodge

Brothers

Brothers

Kimberly, Lance and Paige finally arrive!  We had to cram pack a lot of sightseeing into just a few days.  So we focused on the geysers one day, then the canyons and waterfalls the next day.

Garrett hadn't seen his mom in almost a month!

Garrett hadn’t seen his mom in almost a month!

24 Blake Garrett Paige at Geyser Basin

25 Papa and kids at sign

That's us in the middle of the crowd at Old Faithful

That’s us in the middle of the crowd at Old Faithful … again

Brink of Upper Falls in Yellowstone Canyon

Brink of Upper Falls in Yellowstone Canyon

On another day, we rented a raft to do a float trip on the Snake River.  We were worried that we might get rained on.  We didn’t have any extra days, so we had to take a chance on the weather and fortunately we got lucky.

Float Trip On The Snake River

Float Trip On The Snake River

29 Blake paddles- Paige on front of raft

30 Garrett Papa on Snake River

31 Kim Lance Paige in raft

We also spent an afternoon at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone.  It’s a fascinating habitat for grizzly bears, wolfs, eagles, and other raptors.

Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and Habitat

Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and Habitat

Back at the campsite, we enjoyed playing corn hole, building big campfires and cooking pudgie pies.

Blake and Paige Playing Corn Hole

Blake and Paige Playing Corn Hole

Paige Scores!

Paige Makes A Big Toss

34 Kim and Paige - cornhole

Kimberly Scores!

Kimberly Scores!

36 Garrett and Lance - campsite

Garrett’s hair is never this long. He kept begging me to cut his hair. His hair is so thick that it just gets bigger and bigger. Kimberly gave him a haircut as soon as they got home. Hahaha!

Garrett Cooks A Pudgie Pie

Garrett Cooks A Pudgie Pie

38 Lance and Kim - campsite

Blake's Doing Some Kind Of Victory Dance

Inside the Bear, we celebrate Kimberly, Paige AND Garrett’s birthdays, play cards, and practice dance steps.  Lots of laughs, lots of fun.

40 Garrett Bday

Paige Learns To Play Cribbage

Paige Learns To Play Cribbage

42 Blake

Kimberly Shows Paige A Dance Move

Kimberly Shows Paige A Dance Move

Garrett Gets It Down

Garrett Gets It Down

Blake's Got His Own Moves

Blake’s Got His Own Moves

Paige Conks Out With Lucy

Paige Conks Out With Lucy

Henrys Lake Sunset

Henrys Lake Sunset

Our wonderful summer in Yellowstone with all the family visits has come to an end.  The kids are all home and preparing to start back to school, and we’re heading toward Oregon to get solar panels installed.  I’ll do another post on Yellowstone, however, before I get into all that.  Cheers!

 

 

 

Grand Tetons With Grandson Garrett

Our grandson Garrett flew into Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to travel with us for a month.  We  have been so busy having fun that I can’t find time to write about it!  This blog post will only cover the first week of his visit.  I’m so far behind that I just need to get something posted, and since I don’t have much time even now, this story will be told mostly in pictures.  We stayed at the Gros Ventre Campground which is in the Grand Tetons National Park.

Our campsite at Gros Ventre, Loop B, with river running behind us

Our campsite at Gros Ventre, Loop B, with river running behind us

Mike bought several log end pieces from Yellowstone Lumber for Garrett to chop into firewood.  We filled the back of our SUV with 9 logs for less than $10.  We hate buying those little bundles for $5-6 each that only make one campfire.  Plus this gives Garrett a good workout!

Garrett is chopping one of the small logs in this pic (he's just warming up!)

Garrett is chopping one of the small logs in this pic (he’s just warming up!)

Burning The Fruits Of Garrett's Labor!

Burning The Fruit Of Garrett’s Labor!

Mike and I recently purchased a Cornhole Beanbag Toss Game.  Mike got “schooled” by Garrett on how it’s done.  It’s not fair that Garrett is an ace baseball pitcher!  Even though this game is played by tossing the bag underhand, Garrett was still able to humiliate Mike.  Lucy had to be restrained because she got sooooo excited each time the bag was tossed.  She thought we were playing catch with her, I guess!

Lucy Tries To Catch The Bean Bag.

Lucy Tries To Catch The Bean Bag.

Each day we ventured out to explore a new area or experience something unique about the Grand Tetons.

Grand Tetons National Park

Grand Tetons National Park

It's So Beautiful Here!

It’s So Beautiful Here!

From Signal Hill

From Signal Hill

Another View From Signal Hill

Another View From Signal Hill

Bicycling to Moose, Wyoming

Bicycling to Moose, Wyoming

Garrett and Mike Bicycling Into Jackson

Garrett and Mike Bicycling Into Jackson

Hiking Around Jenny Lake

Hiking Around Jenny Lake

Hike to Waterfall at Jenny Lake

Hike to Waterfall at Jenny Lake

Hike to Inspiration Point

Hike to Inspiration Point

Walking Lucy Along The Riverfront Trail Near Jackson Hole

Walking Lucy Along The Riverfront Trail Near Jackson Hole

 

Hiked to Phelps Lake on The Death Canyon Trail

Hiked to Phelps Lake on The Death Canyon Trail

This is Garrett's Photo - The One He Is Taking In The Picture Above This One

This is Garrett’s Photo – The One He Is Taking In The Picture Above This One

Bar Stools are Saddles in The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson Hole

Bar Stools are Saddles in The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson Hole

National Museum of Wildlife Art

National Museum of Wildlife Art

We spent hours touring the National Museum of Wildlife Art and would have returned the next day, but we just ran out of time to do everything on our “fun list”.  It is a wonderful museum and I highly recommend visiting it.

Teton Village is a beautifully manicured resort and appears to cater to the wealthy.  But when Mike and I read about the Aerial Tram ride to the top of the mountain, we knew we had to do that!  In addition to hiking around up there, we feasted on the specialty waffles made at Corbet’s Cabin at the summit.  The Tram ticket was also good for a ride on the Teewinot Ski Lift, so we did that one, too.  Later, we took the Bridger Gondola up to The Deck Restaurant for dinner at their outdoor grill.

Teton Village Aerial Tram

Teton Village Aerial Tram

Found Some Snow Hiking At The Top Of The Mountain

Found Some Snow Hiking At The Top Of The Mountain

Garrett and Mike Enjoying The Altitude

Garrett and Mike Enjoying The Altitude

Teewinot Chairlift at Teton Village

Teewinot Chairlift at Teton Village

We were lucky to be in Teton Village on the evening that the Teton Raptor Center was in the Village Commons giving a presentation about their organization with live hawks, falcons, eagles and owls.  Loved it!

Teton Raptor Center Presentation

Teton Raptor Center Presentation

Teton Raptor Center Demonstration

Teton Raptor Center Demonstration

We were looking for an evening of entertainment, so we went to Dornan’s Chuckwagon Dinner in Moose, WY for all-you-can-eat cowboy grub and folksy entertainment.  The musical line-up covered many genres including country western, folk, pop, and reggae.  Entertainers ages ranged from 18 to 88.  Some were really good and a couple of them so bad it made me want to crawl under the table.  It was fun and definitely memorable!

Dornan's Chuckwagon Dinner (drinks, salad and berry cobbler on the other side) - Serve Yourself All You Want

Dornan’s Chuckwagon Dinner (drinks, salad and berry cobbler on the other side) – Serve Yourself All You Want – BBQ ribs, beef stew, cowboy beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, and I can’t remember what else.

We saw many performers that night.  They only did 1 or 2 numbers each.

We saw many performers that night. They only did 1 or 2 numbers each.

During our week in Jackson Hole, we also enjoyed lunch at the Snake River Brewing Co., poked around town in the shops and galleries, and ate some yummy handmade ice cream in town.

And, of course, we had to pose for the popular antler arch photo op in Jackson Hole.

Jackson Hole, WY

Jackson Hole, WY

Next we’re heading up to Yellowstone National Park.  Planning to stay in Mammoth Hot Springs Campground at the North Entrance.   Cheers!