Bruce The Nomad

Trip to Tucson
This travel log covers our trip back to Tucson after our activities in Oregon.

From the last episode - The Oregon coast line is really neat with many nice camp grounds and sights to see. But as often happens at the coast, the weather changed and got rainy and cold. So we headed west and spent a few days back at the Cottage Grove campground. It was nice to visit with my fellow camp volunteers again. I plan to stay in touch with Bill and Betty, and Kathy and Bob.

We continued our travel south and stopped at Lake Shasta for a few days at Lakeshore, a National Recreation Area campground. I was offered a place to park at my friend's summer home, but I was unable to safely park off the street. "Thanks any way David". While we were there I took Molly down to the lake for a swim a couple of times. She sure enjoyed herself, I had to get her to come ashore and rest for a while. One more quick swim and we walked back to the campground. I had a minor problem with my refrigerator but was able to fix it.

We continued our travels to the Bay Area. I had lunch with one of my fraternity brothers, Ralph Armenio. An hour is too short of a time to get caught up on our activities over the last 40 years. I need to spend more time here so that I can meet with more old friends for a longer period of time. We left Ralph and stopped for a couple of day at a RV park in Morgan Hill. I watched a couple of college football games - Virginia Tech vs Wisconsin and Marshall vs West Virginia. Sadly Tech and Marshall both lost. Marshall almost won it.

We drove south on 101 to Paso Robles and stayed at Lake Nacieminto. Molly got to go swimming again and she sure loved it. On Tuesday I went to see another fraternity brother, Justin Baldwin, at his winery - Justin Vineyards and Winery. WOW! What a great wine and facility. The winery is immaculate as are the grounds and all of the facilities, the B&B, dining room, the tasting rooms, and the underground cellars, and even their home. Justin gave me a personal tour and we had the chance for some catching up for a couple of hours between all of his operating duties, including his wife's since she was away in LA. They were gearing up for the harvest, which will be very soon. I plan to visit he and his wife sometime in the futur when they have some time to spare.

From the winery we drove east to Bakersfield and on to Lake Isabella in the Sequoia National Forest for three nights. Getting to the lake was an experience, especially since we were driving at dusk. We had to go through this narrow canyon aside the Kern River. Steep rock cliffs projected over the road on our right and I was afraid that I would hit them with the top of the motorhome. But we made it fine. I was also concerned with the number of Forestry fire trucks and the smell of smoke. About 3 miles west of the lake I saw a wild fire coming up over a ridge toward the highway. From the lake there is no visible sign of the fire. It may be out now. The lake isn't very big and not crowded at this time after Labor Day. There are only 4 other campsites being used out of 80. This must be a popular spot during the summer for camping as well as day use. There must be 200 boat trailer parking spaces near the boat launching ramp.

The camp is deserted except for us and one other camper, even the camp host has left. The morning was sunny with just a slight breeze to keep the temp below 75. The afternoon, however, was something else. The breeze turned into high winds that ripped off my awning. I wanted a new awning, but I guess one has to be careful what one wishes for. I saw what looked like a dust storm headed our way, by 6:30 this appeared to be smoke. The high winds rocked me to sleep and a bright and sunny day began on Thusday. I took Molly for her 2nd swim at this lake.

On Friday we made the return trip to Bakersfield to visit with my daughter Terri and family. Terri's husband, Bryan, fixed wonderful tenderloin steaks on the bbq. We spent the evening with the two kids talking and relaxing. The next day Bryan, I and the kids, Nathan and Sabrina, ate lunch at sports bar and then went and played miniature golf indoors with air conditioning. Terri had a baby shower to attend and after she joined us we out for ice cream sundaes at a special place. Great ice cream! I ate way too much. We returned to their home and I took the whole family, seperately, for a ride in the hot rod. It was great fun for all of us.
This was a favorite spot for swimming with Molly - Charlie Creek and the campground down the road about a half mile. Here are pics of the Justin Vineyards & Winery in the hills west of Paso Robles, CA. You can see the beautiful grounds and one shot of Justin's house through the trees.
These photos are of Lake Isabella located in the Sequoia National Forest in the western foothills of Sierras. Notice the smoke heading around the lake.
Here are pics of the grandkids, Sabrina and Nathan, that Terri took after a ride around the neighborhood. We didn't get photos of Terri and Bryan in the rod.
Here are a couple of shots of my buddy Chuck and his lovely wife Susan as they were making an apple pie. It was very good too! Here are photos of the lake, afternoon and sunrise, at the LTVA Camping area north of Yuma, near the colorado River. A nice dry camping spot except for the lack of phone connection.
Sunday we drove down to Dana Point on the Pacific coast just a bit south of Laguna Beach. I had dinner with Terry, a fraternity brother, and his wife Joan. It is always a pleasure to visit with them. Terri retired from his Job with Fuji Film and took a job teaching 3 wood shop courses at Mission Viejo High School. He had worked there teaching after college. He said it was a little weird going back after all these years. We dined there and shared a bottle of Justin wine.

We contined the next day over the hills inland to Temecula to see my buddy Chuck and his lovely wife, Susan. I went to the Lake Skinner campground just east of town near the wine country. This was a county park and very nice with full hook-up. For the next five days I would drive to their new home and helped Chuck with some minor home improvements, hang new lights, pictures, and miscellaneous other fun things. Chuck recently had knee surgery and was unable to comfortably climb the ladder. We had a fun time catching up, I hadn't seen them since they left Ohio and returned to California. I got the priveledge of fixing them their 20th anniversary dinner. Chuck is a good cook so it was fun to cook together with him for a couple of meals. Susan took Molly for nightly walks. I don't know who enjoyed it more, Molly or Susan.

I left on Sunday and drove south to Poway where I met a high school classmate, Jan Harlan. She went to our high school Senior Ball with my best friend Larry, now living in Oregon. We had brunch, of eggs Benedict with Dungeness crab, at a nice restaurant and we talked for hours there and back at the motorhome. We last saw each other at our graduation. What a great time we had visiting. I'm looking forward to visiting again.

Molly and I then headed south to Chula Vista, south of San Diego, to visit with my daughter and family. The whole gang was there and we spent the evening talking and sharing our adventures. All three kids are doing great in school and active in sports. Brandi home teaches Alexis, the youngest while Chloe is in Junior High and Devon is a junior in High school. He would love to have the hot rod. Brandi and Michael are proud parents. Michael fixed us a new cocktail he invented - The Matrix. It is made with rum, Triple Sec, lime juice and fresh mint and basil. Yes, I said basil. It is really wonderful. After this pleasant time of sharing Molly and I retired to the motorhome for the night. With the morning I said my farewells to Brandi and the girls, Michael was at work and Devon to school.

We drove east to Yuma where we turned north to the Imperial Dam Long Term Visitor Area at Senator Wash camping spot. Well it was nice AND HOT - 109 in the afternoon and cooled down 20% to about 86 at night. The morning was a cool 70 which, due to scattered clouds, warmed to above 90 by midday. The winter months weather, that I had researched would be 70-80 days and 50-60 nights. Not now! I didn't remember from my previous trip here that I could not get cell phone or computer card signals here. So my plan to winter here have ended. I will explore other opportunities.

Bye for now. I will send more info and photos as we finalize our plans for the winter whether in Tucson or?

Bruce and Molly


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