And the road goes on forever...

Friday, July 27, 2012


Marc continues work on my mother’s roof, which was delayed when we first arrived due to afternoon thundershowers. Now it has turned hotter, so he tries to be off by 1 p.m., exhausted and with an aching back from bending over at the waist all morning working the nail gun. He figures approximately 9000 or more nails will go into this roof as he wants to make sure it meets high wind criteria and stays in place.  

Other than doing some shopping I can’t say as anything beyond my mouth has been very active while here! I have had much more time to devote to jewelry making but I am stymied in establishing a website due to lack of internet. Right now we are able to use my cousin’s Direcway dish but since he is a full timer, he could go on his way at any point. Since it looks like we may wander and not return to Yuma until the first part of September we are giving thought to what we can do for access. 

For several weeks I hemmed and hawed about making a very difficult decision regarding my services to the elderly. From all appearances, Marc’s projects with Chili’s remodels will continue, so the choice became to either consider joining him or stay behind in Yuma. I have worked long and hard to build my business to a successful level with some great clients that I enjoy immensely. It wasn’t an easy thought to give it all up. One can only wrestle and fence-sit with an opposing choice so long however, until it finally wears you out and you make a decision just to be done with it. 

Late this week I will be mailing out a letter letting everyone know that I am choosing to go on the road with my husband and they will need to find other help. Given that so many of my clients are in such dire straits by themselves, this was difficult to do. A part of me is full of regret and the other part is looking forward to new adventures in a different place every three weeks, even if it is in California! When we return to Yuma we’ll be transferring from the small fifth wheel into the big one where we can be much more comfortable living a mobile lifestyle.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Ghost of Our Fathers

Leaving Anaheim we visited with a couple of friends on our way north, where Marc proceeded to blow off a lot of steam in a bottomless 40 oz. margarita glass. Friends Mike and Shelly have a wonderful outdoor party area they’ve spent lots of time developing and we enjoyed some fabulous meals with them.
From there we pulled into Bend around 6 p.m. Saturday after the all day drive from Auburn, CA and after such a long absence it was great to see Mom. 

Settling into the appropriate chairs to visit and get caught up, it hit me how weird it was not see my father over in his chair in the corner by the window, which has now become Mom’s spot. The last time I was here was right after he died on November 1, 2010. Coming in to stay at the patriarch’s homestead without him here hit like a ton of bricks to my emotions. I suddenly missed him. Time has a way of easing even the worst of hurts however, and Mom looks like she is doing much better than the last time I saw her shortly after his death. 

I took her out on a seafood buying frenzy yesterday, where fresh Ling Cod, Sockeye salmon, and razor clams awaited my attention. Marc will be busy in the coming days canning, freezing, and smoking salmon to his heart’s content, especially as I added another case of whole fish pink salmon to the mix today.
Since Marc got so screwed finishing up his last project in Irvine, we lost about two weeks of our vacation. We’re trying to figure out how to spend the short two weeks left or whether I should call my clients to cancel my August duties and extend our time. Marc won’t have to return to a new project until after Labor Day so the time off is tantalizingly tempting. We missed seeing our friends in Coos Bay and the ocean is a siren song heard all the way here into the high desert, calling us to come over and stay a spell.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Land of Milk and Honey

I’m sure I’ve never seen lawn bowling before and probably had only heard of it in some English novel written by the likes of Thomas Hardy but there it is before me on this splendid Sunday in Laguna Beach—a bunch of oldsters dressed in their whites and obviously enjoying themselves. We arrived here via Hwy. 101, California’s coast road, looking for a park where we might enjoy some beach time.

Crystal Cove State Park stretched for a couple of miles but every parking lot wanted a minimum of a flat rate $15 to park which we felt was too costly given we didn’t know how long we would actually be on the beach. What if it was only an hour? We continued south into the small town of Laguna Beach following a sign which indicated free parking to catch the shuttle. There we found a Pavilions market, part of the same chain as Safeway and Vons, so we stopped in finding some good wine buys and decided on the spot to do a picnic with some freshly baked sourdough and cheese. We added a couple of plastic glasses and suitably equipped headed for a beachside city park which the checker had told me about. At least the parking was metered and for $2 we got an hour and a half.

The park is well done with gorgeous flora and winding walkways, picnic tables overlooking the very clear Pacific, and pieces of tiny beach interrupted by rocky outcroppings. Although picnicking is allowed, drinking is not so there went our grandiose idea of a European lunch. We chose to walk instead.
There’s no doubt at all that people here enjoy the good life. As the fog lifted from the beach and surrounding hillsides filled with expensive homes we ogled, we were passed by many hard-bodies jogging, walking dogs and staking out claims to picnic tables. Below us, children frolicked and screamed in the cold Pacific.
We never did find a place to have our picnic. We lamented California’s riot of regulations and rules, crowds and lack of freedoms. How many times had we wandered down to an Oregon beach, even in state parks, to watch a sunset over our bottle of wine or had a picnic with a bottle accompanying a fresh Dungeness crab? Parks here were either jammed packed with no parking or weren’t equipped with any amenities beyond mountain bike trails so we returned to our RV park and sat and had our European lunch outdoors on our own picnic table. The ambiance wasn’t as nice but at least the parking was already paid for.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Instrument of War or Peace?

By 10 a.m. the parking lot is already more than half full as we pull onto Navy Pier in downtown San Diego for our tour of the U.S. Midway, a 1945 era aircraft carrier which in her day was the world’s largest—the first too large to transit the Panama Canal in fact; and now a museum. The gangplank to board hums with the languages of many foreigners and groups of school children but because we did online tickets we get to bypass the ticket booth. Later in the day when we emerge, the line for tickets will snake back and forth and overlook an entirely full parking lot. Advice: come as early as you can. 

The entrance puts you on the bow end of the hangar deck where it’s possible to grab earphones and radios for an audio tour of around forty stops but we bypass this in favor of wandering on our own which we do for the next three hours. Although many areas of the ship are open to tourists, there are vast areas which are not, but everything is well done. The only area we did not get to see was the bridge, due to a long wait since they only allow 20 at a time there, for about 20 minutes. Another thing to be aware of is that there are many shipboard type ladder stairways which are steep and narrow and head room throughout the lower decks is very limited as can be seen in these narrow hallways filled with piping and electrical wiring overhead.
The hangar deck, as to be expected, is quite cavernous with several interesting stops and filled with vintage planes and pieces of planes in which visitors can sit in cockpits or ejector seats. At the stern sits restrooms, a café and gift store. What used to be the elevator up for the planes is now filled with tables and chairs and offers a viewpoint of the San Diego skyline, the Coronado Bridge and an undercarriage view of the flight deck.
Stairs lead from this deck to the flight deck, again strewn with numerous aircraft including quite a few helicopters. I take particular interest in the Huey gunship—a symbol for my generation if there ever was one; a tragic reminder of the horrendous war in Vietnam which ended up taking the lives of quite a few of my graduating high school class. To this day I remember meeting a guy who was 26 years old and newly back from flying one of these gunships into battle day after day, who had just enrolled in Chico State using the GI bill for education. His hair was totally grey—not a speck of color left in it and when I asked he told me it had turned that way over the course of just a few short days flying mission after mission deep in the jungles. Up close and personal, even though this was the virtual workhorse of the entire war, it seems fairly small.
Access to the admiral’s and captain's quarters is off this deck and we step into relative luxury, with a small bedroom with en suite bath, a large lounge room with sectional furniture and an even larger gathering room which features a large table and chairs. Both sport private galleys also and had their own cooks.
Leading off the Captain’s quarters is the Situation Room which then further leads into the radar monitoring area. It is from here that the attack on Saddam Hussein in 1991 was launched so the area is salted with the real detritus of war—for instance, the original map of first day targets in Baghdad.
The crew and much of the real workings of the ship are down below on 2nd, 3rd, and 4th decks. Aircraft carriers really are cities at sea, housing and caring for 4500 personnel, including the vaunted 200 pilots. We toured mess halls and galleys (where 225 cooks toiled), laundries, barber shops and sick bays. Three dentists did so many x-rays; they had a lead lined room especially for that purpose, and a full dental lab. Operating rooms and pharmacy were staffed by five physicians.
One of our most intriguing stops was the radio and communications rooms; a virtual nightmare of knobs. Radio frequencies were adjusted to sort out which would go to the 1500 telephones aboard; talk about a switchboard!
Some fast facts of interest: 
Original cost of $90,000,000 in 1945 
1001 feet long, 258 feet wide 
18 foot tall propellers 
18 decks 
2000 compartments 
3.4 million gallon fuel capacity, 100,000 gallons used daily 

Finally escaping the claustrophobic clutches of the ship, we made our way to Seaport Village where we enjoyed a unique three flavor pizza done up on a long board from Busters  as we watched a magnificent view of the harbor and skyscrapers. 

All in all, a great lesson in history and a very worthwhile tour if you are in the area.