Saturday, October 31, 2009

So Cal Samboree Part II

We had a wonderful experience at the 2009 Southern California Samboree. We met so many wonderful people, played a lot of fun Carnival games at game night and attended a very fun Bridal Gown show. Carol attended a ladies Tea. We hung out with some really great folks and just had a wonderful time at the Samboree.

The group is generally older than we are, but just an absolute blast none the less. There were a lot of 'Ham' radio operators that were part of the group that were raising money for 'Dogs for the deaf'. The founder and owner of 'Dogs for the deaf' was even in attendance and organized several dog/owner related activities. We had great breakfast buritos each morning and hot dogs for lunch. We just can't say enough about how much fun we had. The time just absolutely flew.

We met some great folks: We'd like to thank Len and Chris Bunts, Scott and Denise Thompson and Smitty and Louise Smith, just to name a few for making us feel so welcome this last week.
The dogs were very understanding while Carol and I were gone all day to various seminars, vendor activities, dinners, teas and the like. They are just the best dogs in the whole wide world.
The weather has been much more cooperative the latter part of this week. The sky is clear and the temperature mild. We can't wait to come back again!
We are headed home now and will spend the night in Bakersfield. But, we can't wait for our next Samboree event. There is one in March in Tuscon Arisona that we would very much like to attend. It's not even 2010 and I already have all of my vacation spoken for. :-(

Happy camping all! Eric and Carol

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The So Cal Samboree

Hi there everyone,

Well, this has been a very busy couple of days. We left Twin Lakes and arrived at Lone Pine to check out the Lone Pine area including the Manzanar National Monument. This is where a large number of Japanese were interned during World War II. It turns out that there was some sort of weather system coming through the area. So, we left Lone Pine after being there less than 24 hours. We were supposed to be there two days, but because of the high winds that were expected, we pulled out a day early.

We did manage to get in a visit to Manzanar. This is a place that everyone should visit. It is important to see the adversity that the Japanese were forced to endure back in World War II here in the US. Though the US may have treated those of Japanese ancestry better than the Germans did those of Jewish decent, for the Japanese, it was no party. There is only one building left on the grounds from World War II. It is the gymnasium that was used back then by the internees. The old gymnasium has been turned in to the visitors’ center. In the last couple of years have lead to the building a replica of a guard tower. Additionally, a barracks of the same type used at Manzanar was found in Bridgeport California and moved to Manzanar to help complete the displays. There are also some of the famous Japanese rock gardens that have been un-earthed at the facility. This really gives one an insight of the environment that the Japanese were forced to live in but also the spirit that they carried with themselves through the experience.

As soon as we got back to the trailer, we hooked up and headed to the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds which are right next to Lancaster in Southern California. We got here a day before the Samboree opened up, but stayed at the nearby RV park. The weather forecasters were on the mark. We woke up to 35 to 45 miles an hour winds in the middle of the night. There were supposed to be gusts up to 60 miles per hour and I’m sure there we many times the winds got up to that. It even got so windy at times that we brought all the slides to the trailer in to ride out the foul weather.

We got to the Samboree gathering Tuesday morning and got set up in the middle of very strong winds. There was a very nice reception held Tuesday night. The events start Wednesday. We are pretty much dry camping except for 20 amp electrical outlet. The winds have died down a little bit, but at times it gets a bit gusty. We’ve managed to shelter the Satellite dish in a pocket beside the back of the trailer and the rear slide out. As a result, with the Satellite, Water, propane and other stuff on board, we have all of the comforts of home. Well, that’s all for now.
Happy camping! Eric and Carol

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Traveling from Twin Lakes to Lone Pine

Carol and I had a beautiful drive from Twin Lakes to Lone Pine on our way to Lancaster for the Samboree. The weather has been perfect. We had a nice stop along the way in Bishop California where we had lunch and got some wonderful bread from Schatts bakery.

The three dogs have been such great travelers. They are perfect when we are home in the trailer or on the road. Something that we have noticed about both Bishop and Bridgeport is that the drop in the economy has hit these areas off of 395 very hard. There are a lot of closed of store fronts, but they are haning in there as best they can. Some that are still open are up for sale, but hoping for the best.
The Campground in Lone pine is very nice. They have a great little store that is open til 9:30 in the evening. They even have free wifi. Tomorrow we will go check out Manzanar and hopefully the Motion Picture museum in town. We'll keep you posted on how things are going.
Happy camping! - Eric and Carol -

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bridgeport and Bodie

We are setting out on our first and only vacation of 2009. Volcano telephone has been keeping me very busy. I’m working on a project that will allow us to control our Cable TV accounts from our Telephone billing system. I’m just hoping the Telephone software vendor hangs around long enough to provide support for their software, but enough work stuff.

We have headed out on a round-about trip to Lancaster California where we will be attending a Samboree which in laymen’s terms is a Good Sam Rally! Our path though is the indirect use of State highway 395 which travels on the eastern side of the Sierras. Our first stop is Twin Lakes RV resort which is about 12 miles south west of Bridgeport. Carol had the rig all ready to go on Friday afternoon when I got home from work. We left Plymouth around 2:00 PM and got to the RV resort around 7:00 PM. The longest (most stressful) part of the run was the drive through the Sierras, but when you live in an area where they are your back yard, you kind of have to expect that. Once we got to Minden Nevada, the steep windy roads were behind us, at least for the day. Traveling from Minden to Twin Lakes was a nice drive through some very gradual hills.
The RV park we are staying at is the ‘Twin Lakes RV Resort’. To borrow from Buzz Aldrin, as he referred to his visit to the moon, ‘This has a stark beauty all it’s own’. The RV park is in high desert, among pine trees and sage brush. It is very unique and a nice change from home. Carol’s sister Sandy called the other day and they were talking about our trip. Sandy asked if we were all packed and ready to go and Carol remarked, ‘… that’s the beauty of living in the RV, we’re always packed and ready to go!’. And that we are! On Saturday morning, I woke up and took the dogs out for a morning walk. Lily has a bladder infection, so it is important to get up and get her out to keep her comfortable. Well, as I looked at the outdoor thermometer, I saw it was 35 degrees out. A little chilly. I also noticed that we were missing a cat. It turned out that angel was a little chilly last night.

Another oddity of the area is that the deer are very tame. Apparently, those that come to visit give them lots of treats. They will come right up to the door of the rig looking for food!
Our Saturday was a full one. We spent a couple hours at the ghost town of Bodie Saturday morning. This was a very cool experience for both of us. It had been some 20 years since Carol had been here last, and I’ve never been there. I found it odd that the state put in 7 of the 10 miles as far as paved road to the the Bodie state park. This ghost town has probably over 50 some buildings still standing from the late 1800’s. The majority of the town has burned down due to a pair of fires late in the 1800’s and early in the 1900’s. There are no amenities there except for a bathroom. We found that we were getting hungery so we cut our visit short.
We then traveled to the town of Bridgeport. This is a cool old town. The only ‘Chain’ anything out here was a Shell station. There were no Starbucks, no Raily’s or Safeway and not even a Walgreens. We had a lunch at a local inn. We then walked around town. We found a very cool old jail house. There was also a museum that we would have liked to have checked out, but it closes for the season at the end of September.

After we got done checking out the town of Bridgeport, we went and found a couple of Geocaches in town. One of them was at an old helipad that used to be used by the State Parks system for life flights when someone is injured in the area. One of the great things about geocaching is that it takes it to places we normally wouldn’t go. This Helipad location allowed us a great view of the valley.

As we headed back to camp, we stopped at that one Shell station in town and topped off the tank of the Hulkster, at $3.89 a gallon, thank you very much. We paid a dollar less just 2 days earlier in Jackson at the local Safeway store fuel station. We haven’t seen prices this high since this time last year when we went to the Portland and Seattle. We also got a chance to get caught up on the weeks laundry.

We head off to Lone Pine and Manzanar tomorrow morning. Hopefully, we can update the blog on Monday evening.

Happy Camping! – Eric and Carol -

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Carols Busy Birthday week

Hi there Everyone,

The last week or so has been very busy for us. Around the 13th, we had our first storm system of the year come through the area. It was a mix of a former typhoon and a cold air mass from Alaska. It was a very windy and rainy system. We got 3 inches of rain out of the storm and a lot of wind. The trailer faired very well out of the storm as did the rest of the RV park. The trailer was really rocking and rolling at times, but everything held up great.

On the 15th, Carol started her birthday celebration a day early by getting a tattoo at a local shop. The Tattoo is of a chicken with Katie’s Name underneath it. A tattoo is something that Carol has been thinking about for some time now. Don’t expect Eric to be following suit any time soon. On Friday the 16th, the family celebrated Carol’s 48th birthday at Outback steak house. It was a wonderful gathering of friends, family and great food. The dinner was capped off with a wonderful birthday cake from Safeway that was chocolate with raspberry filling.

On Saturday the 17th, yours truly, Eric, made a speed trip to Ashland Oregon. Mike’s mom, Louise has been fighting off some sort of respiratory ailment and was pretty weak lately. So I wanted to shoot up there to see her before we left on our vacation. It was a very nice but quick visit. I got to spend some quality but quick time with Chuck and Terry Wraight. My main purpose however was to go say ‘Hi’ to Louise. Despite the fact she has been under the weather, she remembered me the minute I walked in the door. Not bad for the ripe old age of 95. When we left the hospital where Louise is recuperating, Chuck and Terry took me through Lithia park in downtown Ashland. It is obvious that Fall has arrived in a big way. There are so many beautiful trees that are changing color. It was quite the color fest.

This week, we are frantically getting ready for our trip. We are leaving Friday. We will be going down 395 and checking out Bodie, Bridgeport, Bishop and Manzanar on our way to a Good sam Samboree that is being held in the Antelope Valley in Southern California. It’s our first major trip since we went to Portland and Seattle last year.

Stay tuned for more frequent updates next week as we set out on our new adventure.
Happy camping! – Eric and Carol -

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The 2009 family reunion

This was the second annual family reunion gathering, once again, organized by Sandy Ealy. This year was another great gathering, with a couple of firsts to go along with it. This was the first family reunion where all of the siblings were able to attend. Tommy could not attend last year because he had just started a new job and could not get the time off. Additionally, Julie, Tommy's wife was able to attend this year. This was the first time in 11 years, that she was able to join Waite family gathering. Julie did attend Cortney's baby shower earlier this year, but only the ladies were invited to that event. :-)

There was a lot of fun with the games on Saturday morning and great food on Saturday evening. We introduced a new game to the Saturday events, it was a plunger relay. It was a very funny event. A non-scientific analysis by Kevin McCann determined that those that are gravitationally enhanced had better control of the plunger. The Waite brothers won the new relay event. Kevin McCann and Billy Waite won the Horseshoe tournament.

At the potluck on Saturday night, there was wonderful food after a slight panic party because the bar-b-que was giving us fits. Thanks to Todd Waite for using his truck to bring in a bunch of small bar-b-que's to cook all of the food. We also used the RVITGUY projector to show pictures taken during the events of the day.

Friday night, as Carol and I rolled in, we heard a grinding coming from the brakes. It turned out that the adjustment screw had fallen out of it's place. During the time it rolled around in the brake drum, it trashed the brakes. I spent a good portion of Sunday trying to find the brake pads that needed to be replaced. Most of the Napa auto parts stores in the Stockton/Lodi are have been closed because the owner of all of them passed away. As a result, I found the parts at the Jackson Napa store. So, I got up early Monday to run up to Jackson and get the parts. So, I was back and had the brakes back in before check out time.

Well, I guess that is about all for now. We hope you have a great day.

Happy Camping! - Eric and Carol -