Friday, January 22, 2021

On Mission Bay

January 6th we decamped, bade farewells, and began our drive south to our new temporary home, Campland on the Bay, an RV park on Mission Bay, in San Diego.

January 6th.... As I was driving, Vicki began picking up reports of the assault on the Capitol, the insurrection, just after we passed through Gilroy and began across Pacheco Pass. The reports continued all afternoon and into the evening. We were appalled, of course, though hardly surprised. It has been building toward this since Oklahoma City, or before, and Trump's encouragement, as the authoritarian wannabe and white nationalist-in-chief, has been a central feature of his administration. Wednesday, January 20th, we joined with most of the rest of the world in breathing a heavy sigh of relief as Joe Biden was inaugurated. But the dunghills of racism, extremism, and authoritarianism remain, still very much intact. Other than fixing the climate, the pandemic, and the economy—what president has ever faced greater challenges?--Biden could help us toward greater unity by seeing that Trump's manifold transgressions are fully exposed, offering his followers the opportunity to see how they have been duped by him and his political party. But I digress.

We have been at Campland now for more than two weeks, not doing much except reading and going for walks in the area. The weather is slightly warmer than Middle California, even to the point of days with short sleeves once or twice. The major change in our routine is that we hooked Le Sport's TV up to the campground cable and have been watching MSNBC in the evenings. Our other pastime is playing the national Covid19 vaccine sweepstakes. We have appointments late in February but keep hoping something earlier will open up.

Mission entirely human-made expanse, post-WWII,
dredging the tidal wetlands, building a variety of parks, marinas,
trails, golf courses, etc. Now, of course, the city wants to take
back much of what was built and return it to wetlands; sic transit,

Among the largest RV parks we have seen, 500 spaces; with
all the amenities, although many are closed now; the campground
is about half full; we're parked just up from the beach

Our encampment, with Clam screenhouse

We're about 200 feet from the campground beach

On one of our daily walks, local flora

Local sculpture

A building we like, near the (ocean) beach

The beach and (now disused) pier at Pacific Beach, 2 miles'
walk from our campsite

Looking south

Part of the naval presence in San Diego; an assault ship, I think

Another day, squalls moving in

Surf's up

Downtown San Diego, from Mission Bay

Monday, January 18, 2021

Fun-filled Family Christmas, 2020

Our 2020 Christmas probably was better than most. Hunkered down in our RV, in elder daughter Rebecca's Menlo Park driveway, we got to spend it with half our immediate family--we zoomed Christmas day with the other half, younger daughter Rachel, in DC--and the center of attention, of course, was grand-daughter Penelope, approaching ten years old and a self-proclaimed Tween. Though the gifts she received favored the elder side of Tweendom, she reverted to the younger side on Christmas morning, one more time, much to our enjoyment. 

Things hadn't changed much in the neighborhood

Christmas Past and Christmas Present...a gingerbread house we
made a few years back...and a gingerbread RV we made this year
(Penelope's idea) (from Rebecca's archives)

There were many big presents, but one of the favorites was
a Sephora make-up kit from Auntie Rachel (note digital

P is really into make-up, despite the fact she is
not allowed out of the house with it...
The other big area of interest is Harry
Potter, and this HP backpack from 
Auntie Carole was a similar hit

Christmas brunch; somehow I failed to get pix of the Christmas
eve fondues, cheese and later meat and seafood; and still later the
Christmas day charcuterie and cheese board and then the
chocolate fondue... 
Will and Rachel in their holiday
Applying make-up to Grandma in the camper

Grandma, made-up
P with some of her make-up "haul"

I did not escape un-made-up

Us, Christmas, 2020; note the Christmas Family Vacation 
Wally World eggnog moose cup

Rubber Duckie New Year's greetings at a neighbor's house

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Return To Middle California, 2020; Again; And Scenes Along The Way

Our autumn return to Middle California was hastened by increasingly cold sub-freezing weather and the continuing COVID-19 super-surge. After cautiously re-stocking at the Walmart in Livingston (maybe 70% wore masks!), we took two days driving across the Lone Star State, many memories of our 13 years as Texans returning, Proust-like ("all them memories come floodin' back"), many of them good, some not, then entered New Mexico, briefly, and on into Arizona. We'd arranged to visit Montana friends Fred and Lynda for lunch at their home near Tucson, and eventually did, after spending a few days in the national forest hills above Patagonia, very near our Glorious Leader's Big Beautiful Wall, Border Patrol and private security force trucks whizzing by our campsite frequently. Anyhow, after a brief and socially-distanced but wonderful stop in Tucson, we got word of another looming lock-down in California, the Bay area actually jumping the starter gun, and so we made the jump to hyper-speed, arriving in Menlo Park Sunday afternoon. Here began our 2020 fun-filled family Christmas holidays. 

Excellent signage at the Escapees' Rainbow's End, near Livingston, TX
Among the more interesting rigs...
Our travels since September took us through both the upper and lower
tiers of Trumpistan, a representation of which, now diminished since the 
election and its long aftermath, I offer for our readers' edification

Somewhere west, or possibly east, of the Pecos, Le Sport turned 100k

Interesting rocks along the way, reminding us we'd pass by Joshua
Tree NP along the way

Remains of Harshaw, AZ, hyper-ghost town

We were camped but a few hundred feet down the road

With Fred Skinner, a former board chair I served in Montana; I swear
we were six feet apart until the photog said move closer together; we
were there, among other reasons, to help celebrate Indiana U Press'
accepting his Beethoven book for publication

Unfortunate snake impaled on a cactus in Fred and
Lynda's yard
Excellent signage at an AZ rest area; rest at your own risk

Christmas decor in our RV,  done by Vicki and grand-
daughter Penelope

Still my favorite Xmas decor, our Montana nativity scene, on loan 
to Rebecca

Friday, November 27, 2020

Thanksgiving In The Big Thicket

We've had some memorable Thanksgivings, traveling, and this one, in the so-called Big Thicket of east Texas--the Thick Bigot, we used to say in Dallas--will likely rank among them. We're holed up at the Escapees Rainbow's End "campground" near Livingston ("I presume"). It's a normal campground, a large one, plus many more acres of more permanent RV emplacements, ranging from houses with RV garages to more modest covered parking pads with utilities and storage. We have been Escapees members for a decade or so, but this, and our stay last week at the Rainbow Plantation in Alabama, are our first experiences with their properties, which are located in a number of states. The organization provides a variety of services for RVers, including even a Care Center here for invalids, persons recovering from operations, persons with disabilities, etc. Anyhow, we spent Thanksgiving at Rainbow's End for 2020, Vicki fixing a traditional dinner, and then Zooming with Rachel and Will and Rebecca and Penelope. Wet and stormy weather will keep us here through Saturday.

One of the several reception/lounge/laundry/etc. buildings

Welcome to Texas (I have a sort of Thelma
and Louise thing about Texas)

Our encampment

Wednesday, for amusement and to get some steps, we walked down
the highway (nothing else in sight) to Rudy's Honey, a honey farm,
bottler, and wholesale/retailer of some size; and bought some of
their great honey

"Raw honey" the salesperson explained: no treatment except for
filtering to remove wings, legs, antennae, etc.

Our Thanksgiving repast, 2020

Reflecting on some of our more interesting Thanksgivings in the past has led me to compile, for your viewing pleasure, a selection of Thanksgiving blog posts 2008-2019 (with a couple lapses):

2008    Koh Samui, Thailand  

2009    Mt. St. Michel, France  

2010    Gallipoli, Turkey   

2011    Menlo Park, California     

2012    Menlo Park, California; no blog post and no pix I can find! Help!

2013    Menlo Park, California  

2014    Near Santa Cruz, California  

2015    Laughlin, Nevada 

2016    Washington, DC  

2017    Washington, DC; again, no blog post, but one surviving photo; my diary notes: "November 23, 2017 All day food, T-Day. Skyped with Rebecca and Penelope. Watched almost a whole season of Great British Bake-Off with Rachel and Will. Pork roast, asparagus, yams, pumpkin cheese cake, green slime, a most satisfactory T-day dinner."

2018    Washington, DC    

2019    Washington, DC    

Thursday, November 26, 2020

New Orleans Out-Takes

Alas, we didn't get to any of New Orleans' cemeteries this time; they
were all closed or required your being on a tour to get in; having
recently seen the Cemeterio Monumentale in Milan and often visited
Paris' Pere Lachaise Cemetery, I don't think we'd have been much

Over-stocked (French book store)

The usual weirdness

New weirdness

Drummer boys; the streets are lined with them in the evening; 
New Orleans with a sound ordinance is unthinkable

Artsy-fartsy shot of the day

Sic transit, Gloria (the wrecking ball is not far)

Sign of the times (dating service)

Sic transit, Gloria, reversed: once the Kresge's,
a five and dime chain my mother worked at
in Miami for a time; now the Ritz-Carlton

Now in the Garden District

The French Consulate

As I have often observed, the French can't abide empty space

Lawn ornaments

The point of this photo was to show, as Vicki said, you cannot
rely on your neighbors to keep things up; note the paint peeling
off the wall; however, click to enlarge to see the incipient shoe
line to the upper right; what's this neighborhood coming to?

Case in point: beads adorning a stop sign across
the street

There was a time when "upscale casual" would have been an

Cafe du Monde consumes approximately 1/7 of the world's
confectionary sugar

"Dirty, disgusting, filthy, lice-ridden birds"

French Quarter version of the famous corn fence (from Sears