Wednesday, October 24, 2007

10/24/07 Again I have been negligent in updating this blog and I apologize. As usual, life has been very busy. Thanks for your patience.
We are currently at our lot at Park Sierra near Coarsegold, CA. Luckily, this is not anywhere near the fires in Southern California. Although, several weeks ago there was a fire here which came within just a few yards of some of the RV's in this park. It was fortunate that there were several other fires burning in the area so some fire fighting equipment and personnel were in the area and they put our fire out in short order. It was also a darn good thing that the volunteers in our park keep all the grass and brush cut back so that there was not a lot of fuel on the ground to enable the fire to sweep through the park.
Elaine's son, Darran, lives in San Diego and has reported that where he lives, on the beach, there is no fire danger but the sand is getting covered with soot. He is a manager for UPS and he says the drivers are returning from their routes all covered in soot, as well. Apparently not too many businesses are functioning except UPS and the hospitals. He was taking care of the cats of some friends of his who are on vacation in Cancun and when he went over there to rescue the cats from the fire, the police wouldn't let him in because the area was being evacuated. He still doesn't know if their house is destroyed or not. Other friends of ours down there are in an area that hasn't been evacuated but they are ready to go if the alarm is raised. They have already taken in their daughter-in-law whose apartment building burned on one of the first days. I'm sure there will be many sad stories for a long time to come.
The main reason that we came here at this time was to have some checkups at Kaiser and we are done with those now. We will have to leave here on Saturday, to attend the memorial service in Madera for a good friend of ours, Ray Cooper. From there we will stop in Fremont for another quick visit with Elaine's daughter, Tarra. We visited her last week but she was pretty sick most of the time we were there. This was a really a shame as Saturday was her 32nd birthday. When she was still very ill on Monday, Elaine urged her to go to the doctor and when she did, he sent her to the hospital where she has been ever since. He thought she might have spinal meningitis but they haven't confirmed that, and they have yet to determine why she is so ill and in so much pain. Hopefully, she will be starting to recover soon.
On our way back here, from Oregon, we stopped in Sparks for a visit with my daughter, Laura, who had her 35th birthday while we were there. Of course, we also got to spend a bit of time with my granddaughters, Paige (17) and Michaela (12). The next weekend, they had a swim meet in Roseville, so we got to see them again there. We were there checking out our rental house, which is due to become vacant at the end of this month. Happily, the tenants have kept it looking nice and agreed to show it to interested parties, so we have already agreed to re-rent it to another nice couple whom we have yet to meet. That will happen this coming Sunday when we are back up there to start painting the outside. Once the tenants have left and we get the inside cleaned and painted, we can turn over the keys to the new couple - by Nov. 4, we hope. Then we can start heading south for the winter.
In the Sacramento area we stayed on the property of some SKP friends of Jim and Diane FisherBaker, and they were there too, so it was a fun social time. Then, Bob and Nancy Colbert arrived, having driven all the way from Massachusetts in order to take a job in Pleasanton with John and Betsy Crawford managing a Christmas tree lot. They stayed with us for 2 nights in Sacramento and it was so great to be with them again after 2 years. They then traveled with us down to the Fremont area where we stayed at the Elks Club.
While we were in the Bay Area, we were able to visit John and Cathy Robnik, who are running a pumpkin patch in Saratoga. They have a petting zoo to take care of as well as selling LOTS of pumpkins, so they are putting in long days. It was a happy reunion with them, since we haven't seen them since last winter. The next day, Bob and Nancy, Elaine and I took BART to San Francisco so that we could have lunch with my son, Thomas, and his partner, Robert. They live in the Castro district and we found a very good Thai restaurant there. Then we all walked up a few blocks to the street that Laura and Gordon Bornkamp live on and there they were, with Diane and Jim FisherBaker, waiting to greet us on the corner. Laura and Gordon's house is old and unique and has a fabulous view over a lot of the city. Next time we go there we will no doubt take them up on their offer to stay overnight. This time, we spent the afternoon with all of them and then took the train back to Fremont. It was an absolutely beautiful day there and a fun time with old friends.
I am tacking on a few pictures so you can see what some of these people look like, in case you don't know them. Also, there have been a few questions about the last posting concerning the Nanaimo Bar recipe. The picture was of a double batch of bars. Also, custard powder is just the dry powder from a box of custard mix which you can purchase in the pudding and jello section of the supermarket. Bon appetit...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

10/6/07 Thanks for your patience, blog readers - we are back with an update. Currently we are parked in front of Mike and Marilyn Harrison's house on Agency Lake, just north of Klamath Falls, OR. The past few days have been very pleasant here, due to the company - not the weather. It has been COLD. Luckily, we have an electrical hookup and can have our forced air heater on at night or it would be freezing in here. They have a lovely home and we have been enjoying good food and lots of great travel talk, since they are not only RV friends, but also world travelers too. They were on the last transAtlantic cruise with us in May.
You might be asking what we are doing here so early when we weren't scheduled to leave Winchester Bay until the 8th. Unexpectedly, we received a 30 day notice from our tenants in Roseville and we decided to head south right away to check the place out ASAP. This will help us learn what fix up will be needed at the end of the month, and also whether we can start listing it for re-rent while our tenants are still in it. That would help us get it rented again sooner because everyone who looks at it has to give their current landlord a 30 day notice too, and then we have a problem. Of course, we still wanted to see a few friends and family on our way south, thus the stop here. Tomorrow will find us on the road again, heading for Reno where we will have the instrument cluster on our RV replaced (yes, again!), and have a few days to visit my daughter and granddaughters, who live in Sparks. Then we will push on to Roseville for the rental assessment.
As we left Winchester Bay, and drove on highway 138 over the Cascades, the road ran along the upper Umpqua River and it was one of the prettiest drives we have ever taken. The trees are starting to change color, so there was red, yellow, gold and green foliage all along, with the river having some rapids and falls, and sheer cliffs and rocks periodically rising on the other side. As we neared the summit, the weather changed from mostly cloudy with occasion sunny periods, to all cloudy and rainy with occasion snow showers!! This hurried us along as we certainly didn't want to get trapped up there overnight. Mike and Marilyn weren't due back until the next day, so we stayed at the small casino near their place, called Kla-Mo-Ya. It has a large and flat parking area, perfect for RV's with the only bummer being 18 wheel trucks pull in there too and some of those idiots still leave their engines run all night. I can't understand why they do that, since fuel is so expensive these days.
Yesterday we explored their small town of Chiloquin, which took very little time, and then we hit a rummage sale. We also made a double batch of Nanaimo Bars, which are pictured below. I made them for one of the RoVing Rods potlucks and they were a big hit. So I am including the recipe at the end of this posting. It is a Canadian recipe which Mike and Marilyn love, and which Laraine, our manager at Lake Kachess, gave to us. It is quite a decadent treat, but well worth the extra calories, if you can prevent yourself from eating the entire batch!
Today Mike and Marilyn took us to a barn sale and a yard sale, and then we drove up to Crater Lake, which is only about 30 miles from their house. Being prepared for all the snow we encountered up there helped us enjoy the beautiful views across the lake. The snow still gathered on the tree branches was also quite scenic and made it feel like December instead of early October!! After a short hike around part of the lake, to take pictures, we made a dash for the cafeteria and a welcome cup of hot chocolate. Elaine and I hate cold weather and make sure that we are never in areas where snow might be present. Seeing Crater Lake in this condition was an unexpected treat, however. We didn't dally up there too long, and were happy to return to lower elevations and warmer temps.
Here is the recipe for Nanaimo Bars:
Bottom Layer
Butter or hard margarine 1/2 cup
granuated sugar 1/4 cup
cocoa 1/3 cup
Melt in top of double boiler or in heavy saucepan.
Beat a large egg and add to above, stirring to cook and thicken. Remove from heat.
Stir in the following:
graham cracker crumbs 1 and 3/4 cups
fine or medium coconut 3/4 cup
walnuts, finely chopped 1/2 cup
After stirring all of this together, press firmly into an ungreased 9x9 inch pan. Chill while you whip up the next layer.

Second Layer
butter or hard margarine (softened) 1/2 cup
milk 3 Tbsp
vanilla custard powder 2 Tbsp
powdered sugar 2 cups
Cream butter, milk, custard powder and powdered sugar together and beat until light. Spread evenly over bottom layer in pan. Chill.

Top Layer
Semisweet chocolate chips 1 or 1 and 1/3 cups
Butter or hard margarine 3 or 4 Tbsp
(The amounts are up to you but we like more chocolate on the top so we do the larger amounts)
Melt together over low heat. Cool slightly. When cool but still runny, spread over second layer. Chill in refrigerator.
Cut into small squares and enjoy!!