May 31, 2010

The Rock

"Ladies and gentlemen, I, Ranger Bob, cordially invite you to become inmates of Alcatraz" Remember that line? It was from The Rock, and after watching that movie so many times, it was really kind of odd walking around Alcatraz Island at sunset on Saturday.

Sherry had training in San Francisco all week, so Andy and I flew up for the long holiday weekend. We took in all the touristy sights we could cram in with a transit pass and walking shoes. The highlight, however, had to be the Rock at night. The golden sunset added so much to the institutional pink of the buildings. It was great to get Andy into a setting his parents have talked about for his whole life. It was such a terrific (non-camping) trip, but it is good to be back home so my feet can heal.

May 16, 2010

Tin Mine Time

It has been such a busy Spring, that we haven't had time to get out for a hike through Tin Mine Canyon. We made a point of catching up this Saturday morning (after a stop at the Farmer's Market). The creek was still running through most of the canyon, but dried up before it got to the parking area. There were lots of wildflowers still in bloom, especially these wonderful Matilija Poppies, which always remind me of a fried egg.

After breakfast, we hooked up with Sherry's Dad, Art, for a trip to the Koroneburg Old World Festival (aka Ren Faire). The setting is the fictitious estate of the Baron Heinrich Von Lauffer, located along the Rhine river (aka Santa Ana River) in 1450. They have a small Ren Faire on the grounds every year between Mother's Day and Father's Day. Not too big, not too small, just the right size for some cold ale, wenches and bad jokes. We munched on Prime Rib and pulled pork sandwiches, mushrooms and pear ale.

May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

For years now, I've enjoyed a camping trip with my Mom for Mother's Day. When we were both younger, it was backpacking to Hoegee's Camp in the Angeles National Forest. Now, it is an overnighter in the RV. This year, we headed down to Newport Dunes.

Located in the "California Riviera" (according to their literature), the Dunes is the country club of RV parks. Until now, I've never stayed at a park where fire pit rental is $25 a day. Despite fees for just about everything, the dinner we had at the Back Bay Bistro was a tremendous value. For the price of a fire pit, I had fresh bread and salad, Asian style vegetables and rice with grilled ribeye, and dessert. Awesome meal.

The next morning, we rolled up the awning and headed over to Balboa Island. We did a three-mile round-trip walk across the island, across the ferry, and after a great breakfast on the waterfront, we went on a harbor cruise and out to the buoy to see the California Sea Lions. Can you still call it camping if you never cook a meal? Great trip. Love you Mom!

May 5, 2010

I Think We Need T-Shirts

May 2, 2010

It Was Supposed to Be...

This weekend was supposed to be a guy's trip with Andy bringing three of his buddies along. Unfortunately, troubles at school for the buddies eliminated that possibility; though right up until the morning we left, it was on again and off. With our hearts still set on Joshua Tree, we decided to bring my Godson and the dogs for the trip.

Anthony had specific goals for the camping trip. He wanted to walk the dogs, climb on rocks, put sticks in the fire, and fly a kite. We got to do all of those, except for the camping part. By nightfall he was ready to be back with Grandma, and so we doused the fire and headed back home Saturday night.

Our trip was anything but smooth sailing. When we got to JT, we learned that all of the campgrounds were full, so we could aim for the BLM dry camp with no campfires allowed, or try out a private campground in Joshua Tree. We did a drive through JT with a few stops for Anthony's list, and along the way, a bottle of olive oil fell from the cabinets and exploded on the floor. Adding to the aggrivation was counting how many times Anthony asked if we were camping yet. After completing the circuit, we ended up at the JT Lake RV Campground, across the valley from the National Park. It is run by some visionary young folks who have a music festival there every year, and it definitely had a hippie vibe to it.

Our dog Digger was perfect, but Scooby must have suffered a brain trauma because she lost several IQ points and started acting possessed. After experiencing 90 pounds of dogs fighting in the front of the RV while I'm driving, I'm sure that was her last camping trip. I've posted all of our trip photos at this website.