Monthly Archives: November 2015




November, 2015

I’ve been wanting and waiting ¬†a number of years to visit this “town”. ¬†Granted, you have to be a little kooky (maybe a lot), but I’ll own up to that.

Slab City or The Slabs, ¬†takes its name from the concrete slabs that remain from the abandoned World War II Marine barracks of Camp Dunlap. ¬†It is close to the town of Niland, about 150 miles northeast of San Diego. There is a group of about 150 permanent residents who live in the Slabs all year round. Some of these “Slabbers” make ¬†their living by way of Social Security, and Social Security Disability. ¬†Some have been driven to the Slabs through poverty. Others have moved to The Slabs to learn how to live completely off the grid and to be left alone, or to be, and remain, anonymous. Still others have moved there to stretch their retirement income. In the winter, the numbers swell to several thousand, living in their RVs. ¬†¬†These “snowbirds” stay only for the winter, before heading north again in the spring to cooler climates. In the slabs, temperatures during the summer are ¬†as high as 120 ¬įF.

The site seems to be uncontrolled, and there is no charge for parking. There is no electricity, no running water, no sewers nor toilets, and no trash pickup service. Many campers use generators or solar panels to generate electricity. Supplies can be purchased in nearby Niland,  located about four miles to the southwest of Slab City.

It more than satisfied my curiosity to visit a place that I’ve longed to see, but the reality of the runaways and destitute who live there saddened me. ¬†But those ¬†we saw seemed determined to survive – a real gritty bunch. Out of respect, we chose to refrain from taking pictures of people. ¬†But we did manage to take plenty of other pictures so you could get a sense of the community.





















This ¬†is an experimental, sustainable, habitable, art installation. ¬†There is no religious connotation in the name East Jesus ‚Äď it’s a colloquialism for the “middle of nowhere”. In early 2007, a man named Charlie Russell left his job in the technology industry, and moved to The Slabs. ¬†There, he collected discarded items, and used them for self-expression. ¬†Mixed-media art covers nearly every inch of the interior and exterior. The sign outside welcomes all to enter and enjoy.





The Range is an open-air nightclub complete with stage, lights, amplifiers, speakers and tattered seats, mostly from discarded cars.   Every Saturday night at about dusk, the locals and visitors meet for a Talent Show that features permanent resident musicians and anyone else who wants to get up on stage and perform. The venue is run by an old time resident of 14 years named Builder Bill.












November 26, 2015



Here we are in Indian Waters RV Park for Thanksgiving. ¬†Last night we had a delicious traditional dinner with all the trimmings. ¬†The park supplies the turkey, ham, gravy, rolls, and wine. ¬†They also supplied musical entertainment. ¬†There were about 130 people for dinner, and everyone brought a side dish to share. ¬†There was everything imaginable. ¬†Today, the holiday, we’ll take a little drive, and check out the modern architecture in Palm Springs. ¬†Then home for everyone’s Thanksgiving favorite – ravioli with meat sauce (huh?). ¬†I do miss my family on days ¬†like this, but still, I have a lot to be grateful for.

My husband, and partner in crime, Tim.

My two sons, Gene and Chris, and their wives, Jenny and Liz.

My three grandsons, Timmy, Danny, and Matt

Our families

Our good health

Our lifestyle

And lots, lots more

I hope you count your blessings, and have a wonderful day!



November 17, 2015

Since we are still waiting for the converter to arrive and be repaired, we decided to take the 2 1/2 hour drive to Sequoia National Park.


The Sequoias are very much like the redwood trees.  In fact, they are related.  But there are important differences. Sequoias don’t grow as tall, but they are massive.  Their barks and seeds are different, as is the way they reproduce. We traveled on Trail Of The Big Trees, and saw just one after another of these giants. Then we hiked to General Sherman, the largest tree on the planet !!! 


Say hi to Tim everyone!

And if the day wasn’t great enough already, check out this sunset. Can you believe it? It made the trip back a joy.



Look at how the river reflects the sunset colors- gorgeous – and not enhanced in any way.


Ahhhh – end of day…

November 18, 2015

Yahoo the converter arrived, and the electrician came and installed it. Oh happy days Рnow we can head south. But wait РTim wants to see Yosemite, just five hours north, past Sequoia National Park, while we’re in this neck of the woods. Another delay, but for good reason.

November 20, 2015


We were only able to reserve a campsite for tonight, Friday. But we arrived, purposefully, on Thursday night, because sometimes when campgrounds post or say they are FULL, someone doesn’t show up, and a space becomes available. In our case, the site we reserved for Friday was available, so we tucked right in. We got up pretty early, for us, and started checking out the park.

The Merced River flows through the valley floor, as do a number of babbling brooks, which I just love.


Yosemite is one ¬†gorgeous place. President Theodore Roosevelt collaborated with John Muir on the project. It‚Äôs pretty large at 1200 square miles, but the iconic features are all in what is called ‚ÄúYosemite Valley‚ÄĚ.

“El Capitain” is a massive rock, which reminds us of Devil‚Äôs Tower, except that it doesn’t stand alone.


Half Dome is another treasure. Some folks ask, ‚Äúwhere‚Äôs the other half?‚ÄĚ Scientists believe there never was another side, but that thousands of years of weather extremes, including glacial activity, is what formed the dome just as it appears. ( picture below)

Bridalveil Fall is beautiful, as are the other waterfalls in the park.  It plunges down 680 feet.  We were able to hike to its base.


Unfortunately at this time of year, many roads are closed that carry you higher into the park, because of snow and ice. We did manage to get to Tunnel View, which allows for a full view of the valley, and it’s iconic structures.


“El Capitain” is on the left. ¬†Half Dome is on the right in the rear, and Bridalveil Fall is in the very front right.

And finally,on the lighter side, one of you wanted know if we saw ‚ÄúYosemite Sam‚ÄĚ. No, we did not !!! And don‚Äôt ask again you long-eared, fur-wearin‚Äô, yellow-bellied, polecat smellin‚Äô, son of a varmint !!! (Had to get that in, right?)



Tomorrow we head south. Not sure how far we’ll get Рbut time will tell.


November 16, 2015

Oh hi. ¬†So glad you woke me up. ¬†Is it over yet? ¬†Is what over, you may ask. ¬†Well, we’ve been without a power converter for about a week now. ¬†In a nutshell, that’s what converts 120 volt shore power to 12 volt power, thereby running all the 12 volt devices while recharging the trailer’s battery. ¬†Most devices in the travel trailer run off of the battery. ¬†The heater’s fueled by propane, but it’s starter is 12v electric. ¬†The fridge runs on 120v or gas but the controls are 12v. ¬†The days here in Bakersfield, CA, are very beautiful, but oh the nights. ¬†It dips down into the low 30s. ¬†(It’s snowing heavily in the nearby mountains.) ¬†Thank goodness for our our wonderful quilt and socks, and my brave Tim who goes out into the night to start the truck engine, currently (pun intended) our only way to recharge the battery. ¬†We run the heater until the Casita is toasty, then, Tim goes out to turn off the truck. ¬†We hop back under the covers as fast as we can to stay warm.

We’ve hired a mechanic/electrician, ordered a new converter, and are currently waiting¬†impatiently for the part. ¬†It should be here on Wednesday, and we’ll head south on Thursday. ¬†Keeping our fingers crossed. ¬†So enough of my whining…

We are at the Orange Grove RV Park. ¬†It’s a pretty neat place to be grounded. The amenities are great – pool (which we can’t use due to weather), fitness center, club room, laundry, and pretty good free WiFi. ¬†But the best part is that it truly is set in an orange grove. ¬†All of the sites are separated by orange trees. ¬†The streets in the park are also lined with trees. ¬†The fruit’s orange and pretty, but not quite ripe. There is small drip hose around each trunk. ¬†And the trunks are painted white. ¬†It‚Äôs to prevent sunburn — ¬†really! ¬† It‚Äôs only important when the trees are young.¬†When they’re older,¬†the paint isn‚Äôt necessary, ¬†but most people keep doing it anyway because they like the way it looks.

At registration, the park asks everyone not to pick the oranges until ripe. ¬†But guess what — we’ve seen everyone sneak some, so we did as well, the ripest few. ¬†They aren’t perfect, but they’re ¬†juicy and delicious.

Here are pictures through our window blinds:

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And more:

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Just thought I’d add Tim hooking up the power cord for a little human interest. ¬†Hopefully, my next post will be coming to you from “The Slabs”. ¬†Stay tuned!




Sunday, November 8. 2015

We arrived at Tim’s sister Patty’s house yesterday.


This is Patty


Here we have Patty with Tim


Yours truly with Patty


This is a picture of Patty, her friend Robbie, and their friend Alice. ¬†Hey Alice, tun around…


Good Girl…

Patty has been most gracious, and has our trailer set up in her driveway. ¬†We plan on staying just a few days. ¬†She is really into the environment and wildlife. ¬†She has built a lovely Certified Wildlife Habitat in her backyard, which attracts all kinds of birds – and other things. ¬†While we were sitting having dinner just off the patio, a family of raccoons (three or four ), knocked at the patio door. ¬†Understand, these are definitely not pets. ¬†It’s just that Patty feels bad for all the animals here in California, because they are slowly dying from the drought. ¬†With no water, the plants don’t grow, and without plants, the poor creatures have nothing to eat. ¬†And so, every night, ¬†they stand on their hind legs and literally knock on the glass of the door, asking for food and water. ¬†Patty fills a water bowl, or two, ¬†and puts out a few cups of cat chow. ¬†They don’t seem to be afraid of her, and she’s not afraid of them, but she never crosses the line and tries to pet them or anything like that. ¬†I guess after a year or two of this behavior from a human, they feel safe and free enough to knock on her door. ¬†It is really quite amazing. ¬† In fact, Patty had plans for the evening, and Tim and I stayed home and waited for the knock with a cup of chow – Tim ready with his camera. ¬†But no luck. ¬†The¬†night came and went, no raccoons knocking. ¬†But we did manage to get these pics. ¬†Enjoy!





Tomorrow we have lots of chores to do. ¬†I won’t bore you with that, cause I know you have your own chores to do.

It’s getting a little chilly in this part of San Francisco Bay, so we’ve make plans to head south. ¬†It was so nice to be with Patty in her warm, cozy, loving home. ¬†Thanks for everything Patty! “Wrote a song about it. ¬†Wanna hear it”? ¬†Hopefully, we’ll see you in a few months.



November 6, 2015

What a day this has been!  We started out by going into Anderson Valley wine country, east of Mendocino.  We visited three wineries Рbut there were many, many more.

First was Handley Cellars.


This was a beautiful place, vineyards all around, hills, lots of colors. ¬†The tasting room building had a huge wrap-around porch. ¬†Crazy heavy wood furniture from Thailand inside. ¬†There was an electric car charging station in the parking lot. ¬†I asked if it got much use, and the host said, we have it because this is California. ¬†Fair enough. ¬†If the winery wasn’t lovely enough, check out this beauty Tim found in a bush just out the front door.


Next was Roederer Estate.


This was another beautiful place.  Just look at these gates to the entrance.




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The building and gardens were fabulous. ¬†The vineyards were old, with very hardy limbs.¬†The staff was fun, friendly, and knowledgeable. ¬†I’m not a real fan of Chadonnay, because I don’t like the “oaky” taste. ¬†Apparently, enough people feel the same way because several wineries have started to age Chardonnay in stainless steel tanks, rather than oak barrels. ¬†The hostess directed us to Phillips Hill Winery, where the Chardonnay is made in such a manner. ¬†Roederer’s specialty was “bubbly” wines – and indeed, they were special -celebratory in fact. ¬†Yahoo!

The third winery was Scharffenberger Cellars. and yes, it is the same company that makes chocolates. ¬†They also specialize in “bubbly” wines.

large-Scharffenberger Mendocino Brut LAB

Needless to say, we bought some wine from each of the three. (Note: see Wineries page)

After wine tastings, we decided to go to Glass Beach, which is in MacKerricher State Park in Fort Bragg. ¬†It is quite a wondrous a sight. ¬†The entire beach is glass. ¬†It isn’t sharp, so you can walk on it. This beach has the highest concentration of sea glass in the world. ¬†The rock formations here set up wave patterns that keep everything on the beach. ¬†As it sits, it is tumbled by the waves. ¬†Very cool.


And speaking of wondrous, check out these photos of the sunset on Glass Beach.

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After this long day, we were both hungary. ¬†We were checking out Noyo Harbor,¬†and found this little place called “The Rough Bar”. ¬†Tim took my hand and said “let’s go”. ¬†“Whoa!¬† Tim, you go in first, and if it looks safe, come and get me.” ¬†Just kidding – if you want adventure, you have to take the risk. ¬†So in we went. ¬†A very frightening place – lots and lots of middle-aged ¬†couples (read: sixties and seventies), sitting at tables, sipping wine and beer. ¬†I guess we felt safe enough, so we stayed and ate a wonderful dinner – great food, wines, and beer. (Note: see Eateries page).

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Tomorrow, we’re heading south towards Napa Valley.


November 1, 2015

The Redwood Forest is a beautiful, majestic, peaceful, inspiring place. We feel so fortunate to have spent time with these ancient trees.  It is difficult to capture the size, no matter the angle, with a simple iPhone camera. There are no adjectives to describe them, so we’ll say a few words in pictures. Enjoy!


The Rockefeller Grove.


Looking up to the sky from the base of a tree.


Me in a trunk…


Tim measuring up.


Our car is dwarfed as we drive thru the giants


A fallen tree sawed in half for the forest path.


A fallen tree.  The hole beside it is just as huge.   Note* Рwhat looks like a pole vertically in front of the tree is a redwood sapling.


Hugging a tree, and being overwhelmed.


Our night fire before bed – in a fire ring , of course. What a terrific day!