Tuesday, June 29, 2010

6/29/10 Hello from Agency Lake, Oregon. This is the small lake just above Klamath Lake and about 25 miles north of Klamath Falls. Our friends Mike & Marilyn live here and we are parked on the side of their driveway so we have a good view of the lake. They have incredible lake views from their deck:

And here is a picture of friends at Happy Hour on their deck:

We have been here 2 days and every day we go for walks at the wildlife refuge just down the road. Besides the Wood River going through it, there are lots of wetlands which attract many types of birds, and there are green plants everywhere surrounded by a ring of mountains, some of which have snow on the top still.

And here is a small heron which we saw today sitting on a rock at the edge of the water:

Our last post was from Park Sierra, where we were waiting for my foot to heal after having toe surgery. Our last social gathering there was a celebration because Tom & Judy Tillery were back in the park for a visit, and I promised to put a picture of them in this entry. They are so cute and it is difficult to imagine that they are about to have their 50th wedding anniversary!

The evening turned cool and we had some papers we needed to burn so the group moved out to the fire pit to end the evening:

One of the fun things about being at Park Sierra this time was all the social gatherings with good friends, some of whom were also "stuck" in the park because of medical issues.
My foot was healing fine so we were able to head for the Bay Area. One day we met our old friends, Mitz Alverson & Bev Porter for a nice visit and a tasty lunch. It was great to see them and catch up on all their news. I used to play softball on the same team with them, and Mitz and I coached at different high schools and our teams used to compete against each other quite often.

Because of our long trip last year, we hadn't seen Elaine's daughter, Tarra, and her family for about a year and a half. She and her husband, Alonzo, live in one of our rental houses in Fremont. On New Year's Day a pipe broke in the bathroom wall and there was quite a bit of water damage, which they have had to repair. Because they did all the work, they were able to use the insurance money to fix everything and do some upgrades. Here is a picture of them in their new kitchen:

Alonzo's three daughters, Ari, Alia, and Analy, have all grown so much while we have been away! They have all matured a lot and we had a delightful visit with them, especially when we got to see two of them at their softball games. They all play on different teams and all are very talented athletes. It makes me want to stay around there just to "coach" them a bit, and also go to their games! Here is a picture of these darling girls:

Gordon & Laura Bornkamp were parked next to us at the Fremont Elks club so we had a happy reunion with them too. Here is a picture of them we took at Mardi Gras in New Orleans:

Besides these visits, the goal of being in the Bay Area, and then in the Sacramento area, was to inspect the rentals, which we did. Happily, most of them look great, one needs a little TLC, and one is a major disaster. But we won't have to deal with it until the current tenants vacate, so we aren't going to stress about it!
Ron & Carol Leonard were kind enough to let us stay on their Sacramento property once again and we had 2 nice Happy Hours with them. It was fairly hot while we were there and the huge oak tree hanging over their deck provided much appreciated shade:

Our last day there we were treated to a delightful lunch by our friends Roberta Firetag and Odette Kummer. They have just had their 40th anniversary, and their son, Raymond, had just gotten married, so there were lots of great pictures to share and news to catch up on.

As we drove north on highway 5, we stopped in Corning, where there are lots of olive retail places. We tried the Olive Pit because we have been trying to find the same kind of green olives we so enjoyed in Barcelona. After tasting quite a few, we bought some picholine olives. Not as good as the ones in Spain but the closest we could come. It was very hot in the central valley, and as we started to climb, near Lake Shasta, we enjoyed the cool down. We were delighted to see that Lake Shasta was completely full of water. In past years it has been really low. And Mount Shasta was heavily covered in snow and looked so majestic as we passed it:

Mount Shasta can be seen peeking over the tops of the mountains surrounding this lake, as we walk in the wetland preserve.
We took highway 97 to get here and on the way passed at least 6 deer, several alive standing on the side of the road, but most had been hit by vehicles the night before. It feels good to be "out in the wilds" again, with all this beautiful scenery surrounding us.
The plan is to stay here for several weeks while we do some cleaning and rig repairs, and enjoy visits with Mike & Marilyn and other Canadian friends, Pat & Linda Jenkins, who are going to arrive mid-July.
Before I close, I want to show you a picture of the latest jewelry creation by Marilyn. She is an expert wire wrap jewelry maker and here are her earrings and necklace which I like a lot:

Friday, June 18, 2010

6/18/10 Well, my foot surgery was yesterday and all went well, I think. Won't know until Monday when the bandages come off and I have my follow-up appointment. Here is the picture Elaine took of me yesterday in the hospital just before they wheeled me off to the operating room:

The hardest part is sitting here on the couch with my foot up, because I am not accustomed to being so inactive! The pain hasn't been bad and I am even planning to hobble over to the weekly Happy hour at the clubhouse this afternoon. Tomorrow there will be another Happy Hour here in our neighborhood because Tom & Judy Tillery, who used to have a lot here and are now visitors, are staying on Brenda and Dave Neil's lot right across the street from us. I will be sure to get a picture of them at this event so we can post it next time.
The doctor said that Elaine can remove my stitches and do the rest of my follow-up stuff so we will be leaving Monday for the Bay Area. It will be good to see Tarra (Elaine's daughter) and family again and check on all our rentals. After that we will repeat the process in the Roseville area. The biggest bummer is that when we contacted our tenants in Woodland about coming for an inspection, they said that they will probably be moving in August! Darn - there goes some of the time we had hoped to have to return to Oregon for crabbing. But these rentals provide our ONLY retirement income so we had better pay attention to business, right??!!
The more we sit here on our lot, the more time Elaine spends on the internet looking at cruises. So she just found a great deal and booked us on it and I want to tell you about it in case any of you want to join us. As you might remember, we are going to India for most of the month of November, then flying to Barcelona to take the Adventure of the Seas back on a 14 day transatlantic. It ends in Puerto Rico, a place we have never been before. The end of that cruise is Dec. 12 and on Dec. 13 Celebrity Millennium leaves for 11 days in the southern Caribbean visiting lots of really neat islands which we have also never visited. It is very cheap, at $699 pp for an inside cabin. Yes, it gets back to Puerto Rico on Dec. 24, which might be a problem for some people, but not us. So, if you want a nice cheap cruise that goes neat places, with fun people (us), look on the Celebrity website.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Not much news to report. We have been having some medical appointments and all is well. Next Monday I have my 2 pre-op appointments and Thursday my hammertoe surgery. There is a good chance we can talk the doctor into letting Elaine handle my follow-up stuff so we can leave the area for a while. Mike & Marilyn have invited us up to their place at Agency Lake just above Klamath Lake, in Oregon, and we would like to go there. We will also stop to inspect our rentals on the way north. Then we will have to return to Park Sierra the last week in July because I have been scheduled for carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand July 30. It shouldn't take me long to heal, so Elaine's hand surgery will be on August 10. Then we hope to leave again and head up to Oregon for some crabbing.
One nice thing about being here has been having the time to schmooze more with our good neighbors, the Rodelys and Jeanne Taylor. Here is a picture taken when we all got together on our patio.

From left to right: Carol Rodely, Alan Rodely, Rodger Lyman, Elaine, and Jeanne Taylor.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

While fellow Escapee member Steve O’Bosky is working on our satellite TV system, I will have some time to finally update this blog. Our system went kaput several months ago, as we were heading back to Park Sierra after crossing the country. There was no need to fix it then because Park Sierra has good cable TV, and then we were off to Europe for a month. Now that we are going to be in this area for at least another month, this is our chance to get it fixed. Having Steve do it necessitated quite a drive up into the mountains near Kings Canyon NP, where he lives. It is beautiful up here and about 10 degrees cooler than in Fresno, on the valley floor. Yes, the weather here has warmed up quite a lot and the prediction is that we will have temps in the 100’s by Monday. A good time to shampoo our carpets and do some other much-needed Spring cleaning.
Our last blog post was from Yuma, where Elaine completed her dental implant, and we had a very nice visit with our friends, Rick & Denice Osborne. On the drive back from there we stopped once again in San Diego in order to visit old friends Kathy & Sally. It is rare that we are able to connect with them because they are also avid travelers, and they have a second home in Idaho for the summer, so we were lucky they were still in town. Here is a picture of the 4 of us at the restaurant.

Once we got back to Park Sierra, the main purpose to be there was to have some doctor’s appointments and tests, so we have been doing that in between social engagements. It has been fun to see old friends and neighbors at Park Sierra. Curt Rogers brought Elaine an old washing machine agitator to use as a fire pit so she has been having campfires and Happy Hours at our site on a regular basis. Here are a few pictures:
Carole Schneider, Dave & Mary Fountain, and Alan Rodely near our shed.

Viv & Curt Rogers, Bev Mauck, & Cecile Thompson with Rodely’s lot in the background.

Bev Mauck (on the right) a new Park Sierra member, with Susan & Betty, guests, at our ladies only Happy Hour.

Last week Carole & Dick Schneider arrived to stay at our park so we have been doing lots of wine tasting, picnicking, and Happy Hours with them. It has been fun to explore the area with them since we have done so little of it on our own in the past. We had no idea that the Madera Wine Trail had such good wineries! Our first one was the Idle Hour Winery in Oakhurst which had wonderful wines and a delightful picnic spot down by the Fresno River. We met the winemakers, a young couple named Deb and Anna Maria, and then ran into them 2 days later when we visited the Birdstone Winery for a tasting. They were there bottling a new white wine which they will be unveiling on June 12. They invited us to the party and we are looking forward to the music, food and wine and the chance to meet some more local women. Here is a picture of Deb and Anna Maria:

And here is a picture of Carole & Elaine tasting wine at Birdstone with Kimberly, one of the owners. They have wonderful wines and do a very nice tasting, and made us feel so welcome.

Another day we four drove up in the Sierras to have a picnic at Nelder Grove, which is a smaller grove of Sequoia trees than the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite NP. Unfortunately, because there has been so much snow and rain, there were waterfalls going across the road in, and lots of tree branches down, so we never made it all the way to the grove of trees. But we did stop at a sunny place for a picnic:

Memorial Day we were invited to a BBQ at our friends Gary & Ceceile Thompson’s lot. They had delicious salmon and smoked pork, and the rest of us provided side dishes. Our good friends Ken & Janice Ryder were there too and here is a cute picture of them:

It was also fun to schmooze with some other park members in attendance whom we don’t often see socially. Here is a picture of Elaine & Carole with Gary & Ceceile and Ken Ryder.

The food was delicious and here is an example of it – Cecile’s colorful berry trifle:

We will be at Park Sierra until at least the end of the month, having more medical tests and I am scheduled for foot surgery on June 17. Our health is good overall, and since these are just little maintenance appointments, you don’t need to worry about us – ok??