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Sunday, April 23, 2017

An afternoon of conversation......

7:33 am - Sunday - 50º F (that's much warmer than the last two mornings which were in the mid to high 30's!), humidity 38%, wind 5 mph out of the east.....partly cloudy skies great me this morning.  We'll be rolling our wheels in a couple of hours and hope to be at TVC* and hooked up before noon.

We had a lunch date scheduled with my Cousin Lois and her husband John at 11:30 am so I spent some time first thing in the trailer moving a few cargo rings around so that their new positions could be better used in securing the cargo for which they were intended.  Several of them I have wanted to move for months, but just never took the time to move the cargo they were securing out of the way in order to access them and move them to better positions.  It's also been a long time since I took out the throw rugs, shook them, and then vacuumed into some of the deep corners of the trailer that are mostly inaccessible when we are traveling and moving on a regular basis.  Even though we are still moving (until later Sunday) I had just reached that point where all that dirt in the corners, and the poor positioning of some of the cargo rings were really beginning to bug me.

We were meeting Cousin Lois (the daughter of my mother's brother, who will always be Uncle Bob to me) and John at Red's Old 395 Grill near downtown Carson City so we left Silver City RV Park around 11:15 and arrived almost exactly at 11:30 am thanks to us making all but one green light on our way up US-395.  As usual Lois and John were already seated and waiting for us.....I so appreciate punctuality!  We quickly settled into the booth opposite them, and began talking (there was some eating along the way, of course, but on this day the food, as good as it was, seemed a secondary consideration), and talking, and talking.....when I finally looked at my watch it was after 2:30 pm!  And that is the way it usually is with Cousin Lois and John.....we never run out of conversation.  We last saw them for dinner last Fall, I believe.....my uncle Bob, who joined us with his wife Jane, was still alive then, but it was obvious that he was failing, and this past January 5th he passed suddenly in his 89th year.  We weren't able to attend the funeral, or memorial service so Cousin Lois saved me a copy of the program for the service, which she brought with her to lunch....thank you so much Cousin Lois!  I will always remember Uncle Bob's dry sense of humor, the great stories he told, and his devotion to his family.....he was a good man and is missed every day.


We still had some final shopping and a haircut for moi to accomplish so we said our 'until next times', or as Uncle Bob would have said....."See you again, soon!" and got on our way....we stopped first at the local Supercuts where I got a haircut that will, hopefully, last me until we return to Carson City for another resupply mission in a few weeks.  Next up was Trader Joe's and then we were home by 4 pm.  We hadn't really had any exercise Saturday so we decided to make a couple of laps around the park....1.2 miles in all.....we had planned to maybe walk one more lap, but the wind was beginning gust, and TLE does not like walking in the wind, especially when the pollen count is rising.

We spent the evening watching parts of three NBA playoff games.....I don't really get interested in the NBA playoffs until the second round......typically the first round winners are easily predicted....it's the second round when things begin to get interesting for me.

Time to begin putting things away for our 40 mile jaunt to TVC*, and spend the next 4+ months working in one of our favorite places on earth!

Thanks for stopping by!

*TVC = Tahoe Valley Campground

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Being thrifty.....

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7:21 am - Saturday - 38º F, 72% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the west.....clear blue skies with a forecast high of 70º F.

We awoke Friday at high elevation for the first time in months.....we have not been too far from sea level for a long, long time, but now we find ourselves in the northern Sierra Nevadas at 4800' staring at the snow clad mountains surrounding the Lake Tahoe Basin with anticipation of a great summer to come, but first things first.

We always stay near Carson City, NV for 1-3 days prior to grinding up the Spooner Summit grade and into the Tahoe Basin for the summer.  We stock up on Trader Joe's, COSTCO, Target and Walmart supplies, and then do some serious 'junking' looking for an extra coat, pair of shorts, or shirts to be worn this summer.   Typically, when we arrive in South Lake Tahoe is is late April, or early May and the weather at 6,300' elevation this time of year reminds me more of winter than spring......by the end of June it will be nothing but t-shirts, shorts and flip flops on our off days, and by the end of August we will have run our A/C a couple of times.  You need a wardrobe that run the gamut of weather conditions for the next four months, because you will see them all from snow, to rain, to sleet, to fog, to wind, to warm, sunny days without end.

The snow clad mountains surrounding the Tahoe Basin

First up Friday morning, however, was a call from my sister Jill who lives in Michigan near Ann Arbor.  I haven't talked with her in a while, and I know she is struggling with the imminent death of her husband due to a long terminal illness.  We usually talk on the phone while she is taking a walk down a country lane near her home, and she was out early Friday doing just that.  We talked for about 30 minutes.....I was encouraged to hear her infectious laugh throughout our conversation as I tried my best to inject a little humor into her situation, although she seems to be doing very well in spite of the circumstances.  She is a strong woman, and I know she will come through this in good shape.

Next up we removed the VW from the trailer so I could organize it for limited use for the three days we will be in Carson City, and then did my workout whilst TLE did the same inside the Newell.  Around noon time we headed out to visit the numerous thrift stores in the area, and there are many (Goodwill, Salvation Army, Classy Seconds Thrift Shop, A to Zen, Carson Treasures Thrift Store, Reruns, etc.).  By the time we had run through all of them it was after 2 pm and we were both getting famished so we began driving south on Carson Street (the main drag) past the Capital buildings (Carson City is the capital of Nevada)......as we came even with a place called 'The Fox Pub' we both said almost simultaneously, "That's the place for lunch!".....and that is where we ate.  We quickly found a parking spot, and walked inside....it was about 2:15 pm so we were well past the lunch crowd......


.....usually we check Yelp before we walk into any eatery, but we just went on instinct, and were not disappointed.  This place used to be part of a chain called 'Firkin & Fox', but this particular store has separated from that chain and is now called 'The Fox Brewpub', or just 'The Fox'.  Their ratings are still suffering from their past association with 'Firkin & Fox' and their terrible service.  After we were seated I looked them up on Yelp and initially saw most of the recent reviews gave them 4, and 5 stars, but the further back you went you saw a lot of complaints about slow service.  Our experience reflected that of the recent reviewers, and we would be solidly in the 4 star camp.  

I immediately ordered a 20 oz. glass of their High Sierra Brewing Company Irish Red Ale, and TLE a pint of their Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin' (IPA)....we both loved our choices......


.....for lunch I ordered their 'Angry Fish Tacos' which comes with fries and this amazing hot sauce......I dare you to pour all of the hot sauce on your tacos......this is some of the hottest sauce I have ever had, but delicious.......

Irish Red Ale

.......we sat inside even though they had a wonderfully large alfresco dinning area as it was a little chilly to be outside in the shade.  Our service was top notch, and our food, which was served within minutes of our order being placed, was wonderfully fresh and rustic.  As we walked back to our car I was still feeling the heat of that amazing hot sauce......mmmmm!

We stopped off at COSTCO to pick up a bag of San Francisco French Roast coffee beans, and a rottiserie chicken before heading for home where we arrived just after 4 pm......a great first day at elevation.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

And the Jello jiggled......

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7:21 am - Friday - 34º F, humidity 78%, wind 1 mph out of the northeast.......CLEAR BLUE SKIES from horizon to horizon......we are not in 'Kansas' anymore, and we are definitely not in 'Coastal California' anymore......elevation is 4,500'.  Forecast high for today is 67º F.....no rain, or snow in the forecast.

Thursday our plan was to be rolling our wheels eastward by 9:30-10 am.....we had sort of a complicated getaway plan, and when things get too complicated Mr. Jello begins to jiggle and giggle.....and giggle he did.  

Our first order of business was to drive the coach over to a local fuel station to pour in $200 worth of diesel......the needle on our gauge was right on the 'E' when we exited SR-101 in Petaluma on Monday.  Now, when the needle is on the 'E' that does not mean we are out of diesel, or even close......we usually have 10-20 gallons left in our 180 capacity tank.....nonetheless, once that needle hits 'E' we are looking for a fuel station.  Normally, I am always looking for a good deal on diesel when the needle gets past 1/2 full, but there are no good deals in 'Coastal California'.....most prices I have been seeing range from $2.93 to $3.09/gallon.  I know that diesel will be less expensive when we get to Carson City where it is going for $2.31-2.35/gallon, and I was hoping to get that far, but alas we were going to have to buy diesel in California for the first time in years.  The station we chose, Valero, was just a few blocks away, but it, as well as the other local stations were not trailer friendly, so we left the trailer at the Elks Lodge while we drove the Newell over to the Valero.  The price there was $2.87/gallon (cash price), so we put in $200 worth of fuel which bought us about 69.5 gallons of diesel.....more than enough to get us to Carson City where we plan to top off our tank for the summer.  That 69.5 gallons got us back to 1/2 tank on the fuel gauge, which means we had at least 10 gallons of diesel left.  That part of our plan went flawlessly......the rest, not so much.

We arrived back at the Lodge around 10 am thinking we would drop the trailer back on the hitch and be on our way by 10:30 at the latest.  As it turned out, where we had dropped the trailer using the 'Trailer Valet' proved difficult to get at with the Newell, and after a few attempts I decided, with TLE's encouragement, to use the 'Trailer Valet' to pull it out of the parking space in which it was parked.  Since that space was sloped significantly to the back it was a grind....I had to use the low gear setting for the first time, and in that gear it does not move far very quickly.  Anyway, by the time we had the trailer on the hitch once again and began to roll our wheels it was after 11 am.

Our goal for the day distance wise was modest......just 112 miles to the Elks Lodge in Auburn, CA.  They have no RV facilities, but they do have a large gravel lot where you can park overnight for one night.  I had called Bob at that Lodge the day before and he gave permission for us to do so.......on Google Earth the lot looked big enough, and it was......but I get ahead of myself.

Our initial route took us out SR-116 which took us through lush countryside to SR-37 which took us across a long causeway surrounded on both sides by water.....




.....eventually we merged on to I-80 eastbound and just cruised mile after mile on flat, smooth Interstate......by 1:15 pm we were exiting the Interstate in Auburn and heading over to the Elks Lodge......we noticed at we were very near their 'Old Town', and were already talking about walking over to have lunch as we turned on to Pine Street where the Lodge was located.....the first thing I saw was that the entire parking lot, including the gravel area was packed with cars, and to top that the entire lot was a 'sidehill lie' (a golf term) meaning there was no way, even it we could get in, that we could park there overnight.  Foolishly I pulled into the parking lot anyway and became immediately trapped.....doh!  There was no way I was going to be able to turn around and leave until most of the cars were moved.....very embarrassing to say the least.  Bob, the Lodge secretary, came outside and we discussed my situation.  Fortunately, the meeting that was taking place inside was due to disband at 1:30, and most of the cars would be gone shortly after that.  Bob was very understanding, and gracious even though I was completely blocking a large portion of his paved parking lot with my 62' monstrosity.

When I had looked up the Auburn Lodge originally I just looked at the Google Earth view and it looked fine.......


.....you can see the large gravel lot to one side of the Lodge paved parking lot.....had I bothered to look at the 'Street View' I would have immediately known this gravel lot was not going to work......


......in the 'Street View' you can see the significant slope of the entire parking lot including the gravel portion......lesson learned....always look at the 'Street View'.....don't assume facts not in evidence!

While we waited for the meeting to end, and the parking lot to empty out TLE and I decided we were not going to stay there.....there was no way..... it was so steep we'd be falling out of bed during the night.  We decided to just get back on I-80 and begin heading east and make a new Jello plan as we drove.  There was a nice Rest Area just 27 miles east where we pulled in to have a late lunch, and to make a decision about where to stay the night.......over the course of our 20 minutes there we decided to just continue on another 115 miles to Silver City RV Park where we were planning on staying for two nights begining Friday while we shopped and met my Cousin Lois for lunch.  I called Silver City and was advised there was a site for us, so we headed out.....it was around 3 pm by this time and our ETA was between 5 and 5:30 pm.  

Almost immediately we began the long climb towards the Sierras and Donner Pass.....the grades varied from 4-6% for 50 miles and we began to see snow...... 


.......and then a LOT MORE SNOW........


.....eventually we passed the Donner Summit sign at 7,227' elevation beginning our long descent towards Reno........


.......in the distance you can see the long shed covering the railroad tracks as they snake their way through the Sierras.....without these wooden sheds the tracks would become impassible with the winter snows, and this year's snowfall is about 170% of normal.....probably similar to what the Donner Party experienced in their ill fated attempt to cross the Sierras in the winter time.....we all now how that ended........


.......the rest of our drive to Carson City, and ultimately Silver City RV Park was completely uneventful.....it was just twice as far as I had planned to drive Thursday.  By 6 pm we were in our site, and hooking things up in preparation for a cold night.....as I write I can see the snow clad mountains guarding the Tahoe Basin where we will be in just a few days.  So, plans come and go......the Jello jiggles and you make a new plan......no muss, no fuss, no stress.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Old California....

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7:13 am - Thursday - 51º F, humidity 96%, wind 4 mph out of the west.....partly cloudy skies, but the sun is visible!  Today is getaway day.....heading eastward today towards the Sierras and South Lake Tahoe.

Based on prior weather forecasts we had expected Wednesday to be a day of rain, which is why we stayed an extra day here in Petaluma......we do not like driving in the rain.....who does, right?  As it turned out Wednesday was a rather nice day, so we decided to do some more site seeing......less than a couple of miles from the Elks Lodge is the largest privately owned adobe house in Northern California called the 'Vallejo's Petaluma Adobe'.......and it is LARGE.....



.....there is a an entrance fee of $3 per adult ($2 per child over 2), but the tickets you are given are also good at the Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma, and at the Vallejo home in Sonoma if used the same day......


.....we spent about 40 minutes touring the house and the grounds.......there was a lot of quite mature prickly pear all over the property......


.....there is a nice little creek flowing through the property which separates the adobe from the parking lot......


.....from there we drove about 11 miles over to Sonoma, CA to see the one mission we had never seen.....Mission San Francisco Solano......the end of the El Camino Real (King's Highway) and the 21st and last California Mission......it was founded July 4, 1823, however, the building we toured was rebuilt from 1911-13, and is considered an authentic restoration....of course, the restoration is over 100 years old now.....


 A quite modest mission in comparison to the others we have seen

 The sanctuary

.....directly across the street from the mission is the Sonoma Barracks which housed Spanish army troops.....



 View of the town square from the second story balcony  of the barracks

......there is a nice museum on the ground floor which is definitely worth the time......from there we drove over to the Vallejo home about 4 blocks away from the barracks.....

The granery

The Vallejo Home


Behind the home is the still functioning reservoir

.....by the time we finished touring the Vallejo home it was after 3 pm and we were feeling a little peckish, so we decided to head back to Petaluma and visit a local brew pub called 'Pub Republic' (Yelp gives them 4 stars on 444 reviews!) for Happy Hour, so everything is at half price, but truth be told the beer and food was so good we would willingly have paid full price!  They have a lovely alfresco dining area for which we immediately headed, of course.....
 

 Lovely alfresco dining....we had the place to ourselves

Bleu Cheese and Bacon Sliders and Fries with Bacon and Chipotle Aioli appetizers

....we both had a chocolate porter (I forget the brewery name) to 'chase' the great food.......we always say the food must live up to the beer, and this food lives up to the beer in spades!  We had a lovely time talking and enjoying great pub food.....a perfect way to end a very enjoyable afternoon!

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Vintage......

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7:11 am - Wednesday - 48º F, 96% humidity, wind - CALM......heavy cloud cover with a forecast high of 65º F......no rain in the forecast.....YAY!

We awoke to a little rain Tuesday morning, and heavy overcast, but by 9:30 it began to break up a little which was our hope since we had plans to be outdoors most the day.  Our purpose for spending three days in Petaluma was to be able to spend a day with former elementary and junior high friends Doug and Scott who live in Santa Rosa now after long careers at Hewlett-Packard.  I have seen Scott at several school reunions, but had not seen Doug since 1999.  I got to know Doug quite well during the summer of 1969 when we both had summer jobs working at the same place in Pasadena, CA.  We had a great summer together, and I have never forgotten his wry sense of humor.

Around 10:30 we began the 30 minute drive up to Santa Rosa arriving at Scott's home shortly after 11 am.  Doug is a wine aficionado and really knows the Russian River Valley and Dry Creek wineries of Sonoma County and had offered to take TLE and I to some of his favorites for a day of wine tasting.....Doug is a wine club member at Wilson Wineries which is affiliated with several other wineries in the area meaning that as his guests we would be tasting free of charge.

After about a 45 minute drive up to the Healdsburg, CA area we made our first stop at Matrix Winery right on the edge of the Russian River Valley......



......there we met Patrick Reis who gave us a tasting tour of the winery's various varietals.....TLE and I really like Pinot Noirs and that is their specialty......Patrick spent a lot of time educating me on the finer points of the Pinot making process and I was very grateful.....thank you Patrick!

With Patrick.....he is a Pinot savant!

We spent the better part of an hour, and by the time we left I realized I needed to focus much, much more on pacing myself as we had many more wineries to visit.....:-)  Next up was Wilson Winery in the Dry Creek region who specialize in Zinfandels including numerous 'Old Vine' Zins......


Doug's favorites wines are of the Zinfandel variety, and Wilson has many to offer.....I never realized there were many subtle variations from one to another.....I continued to struggle with pacing myself......they have these little urns in which you can pour what wine you don't drink, but it seemed like a 'sin' to do that......nonetheless, I began to do just that otherwise I wasn't going to make it out of the parking lot of the second winery......:-)




I did, indeed make it out of the Wilson Winery parking lot (Scott drove us this day and he has much better self control than the rest of us) and we were off to the next winery....Mazzocco Winery where we were treated to some amazing Sauvignon Blancs (pronounced 'saw vee nyon blahnk'), and more great Zins......




  

......in all we visited four wineries in the Russian River Valley/Dry Creek regions, and thoroughly enjoyed our time with Scott and Doug......the conversation went on non-stop for close to 7 hours in all.....we finished our lovely day at Bear Republic Brewing Company in downtown Healdsburg where we were able to dine alfresco enjoying the beautiful weather we were blessed with after such a rainy start.....

Left to right: Moi, TLE, Doug Royer, Scott Royer

......we arrived back at Scott's home just after 6 pm, said our 'until next times' and were on our way back to Petaluma with smiles of satisfaction on our collective faces.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The '90'......

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6:35 am - Tuesday - 54º F, humidity 98% (yeah....it rained on and off all night), wind 1 mph out of the west.....heavy cloud cover.....forecast is for clearing skies and no rain today.

Monday being a travel day we were both up relatively early and thinking about the day's drive which would take us through the 'Bay Area'......this part of our drive north has been kind lurking out there our entire drive up 'Coastal California'.....there are about 90 miles of heavy, sometimes stop and go traffic to get around the 'Bay Area', and I have been dreading this day for the last few weeks......there are three possible routes through, or around the 'Bay Area', all of which pass through dense population areas with notoriously heavy traffic....

3 possible routes north to Petaluma

.....SR-101 (the route on the left) goes through San Francisco, and across the Golden Gate Bridge and would take about 4 hours.....the route on the right (again, above picture) is almost 10 miles longer than the middle route, and only saves a few minutes, so we chose the middle route.....the lesser of all evils.  In order to avoid driving through San Francisco on SR-101 we opted to take SR-87 to I-880 to I-580 which eventually joins up with SR-101 again to the north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Our goal was to depart the San Jose Elks Lodge no earlier than 10 am to avoid the rush hour traffic and just get the bad traffic......not the really, really bad traffic.......as we edged out of the Lodge parking lot I looked at the clock to see it was 10:06 am.  The initial leg of our day's drive took us north on SR-87, a terrible road surface, to the Taylor Ave. exit where we had to drive about 2 miles on surface streets to get to I-880.  Once we were on I-880 the road surface was much better, and initial traffic was not too bad, although quite congested.  As we neared Oakland we transitioned to I-580 which would take us over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.  The section of I-580 that passes through Oakland is terrible.....much of it is an elevated roadway and is quite uneven.  Eventually I-580 merges with I-80 for a few miles and for about 2 miles you have 7, or 8 lanes of very heavy traffic which gradually reduces lane by lane down to 4 lanes.....the result is bumper to bumper traffic....I wish I had asked TLE to take some pictures.   I did, however, ask her to take the picture of us crossing the aforementioned Richmond-San Rafael Bridge......


.....many of the bridges in the Bay Area have tolls, and the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is no exception......our cost for 4 axles (two for the Newell, and two for the trailer) was $20.....ouch!  Once we were on to the bridge the traffic thinned out significantly......


.....and I began to relax just a little, but by that time the damage was done.....I had a headache that required some vitamin 'I' (ibuprofen).  TLE, bless her heart, had been waiting to go to the bathroom for about an hour until we got out of the heavy traffic......I really need her assistance in heavy traffic, when we are changing lanes, and when it is time to change from one Interstate to another.......once we were across the bridge and it was obvious traffic was less congested she took her potty break......thank you TLE!

We arrived in Petaluma just before 12 pm, and within minutes of exiting SR-101 we were dropping our trailer in the Petaluma Elks Lodge parking lot so we could back the Newell into site #6 for the next three days.  While the sites at this lodge are pretty short, they offer full hookups including 50 amp electrical.......we have not had a sewer connection for a few months now, and rarely have had 50 amp so this is an opportunity to wash some clothes, and take some long, hot showers!

For the first time I was able to use the 'Trailer Valet' on pavement.....instead of just backing the trailer into one of the parking sites using the Newell, I disconnected it and used the 'Trailer Valet' to back it into the site.......much, much easier than maneuvering our entire 62' in a tight parking lot!

By 1:30 pm we were set up and I was sitting in my recliner letting the tension of the day's drive ooze out of my system......the rest of our drive to SLT will seem like a vacation when compared to the last 90 miles through the 'Bay Area'.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Local knowledge......

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7:18 am - Monday - 56º F, humidity 92%, wind 5 mph from the southeast.....heavy cloud cover.....30% chance of rain.....forecast high is 68º F......today is moving day!

We woke up Sunday with plans to take a bicycle ride, but knew we would have to get an early start to beat the arrival of the forecast rain at 1 pm, so around 9 am I went out the trailer to check the bikes over to be sure they were ready to ride......by 9:30 we were ready to go so I began loading the bicycles on our Küat Sherpa bike rack for the 3+ mile drive over to the Coyote Creek Bike Trail......as I was loading our neighbor, Chuck,  here at the San Jose Elks Lodge walked up and said we could access the trail from the Elk's Lodge by using local bike trails that eventually connect to the Coyote Bike Trail.  So, I unloaded the bikes and we headed across the street to the beginning of the local bike trail.....if we had not followed Chuck's advice we would had a much more abbreviated ride, as it turned out later.

The entrance the local trail is not intuitive, but with the help of Chuck's 'local knowledge' we were able t find it......the trail follows along the eastern side of SR-87, and one cannot help but notice almost immediately that there is a significant homeless problem in this part of town......the picture below is just one of dozens and dozens of encampments between the freeway (SR-87) and the local railway.......




......the bike trail itself is in poor repair, and shows years of neglect, and to some degree I am sure the homeless encampments contribute significantly to the ubiquitous piles of trash all along the trail.

Eventually we arrived at the trailhead for the Coyote Creek Trail and began our ride southward.....once again we observed numerous large, well developed homeless encampments, and were additionally disappointed in the amount of trash visible from the trail.

At about the 2 mile mark on the Coyote Creek Trail we came to a road block of sorts......


No way are we trying to cross that!



.....apparently water was being released from a reservoir upstream and the resulting water flow was about 100' wide and 1' deep.....no way we are passing through that!

This egret was wondering about our intentions

.......so, we had to turn around after just 2 miles on the trail.....as I said earlier, it was a good thing Chuck provided us with the 'local knowledge' he did, otherwise we would have had just a four mile ride instead of the 11.5 ride we ended up having.  About half way back to the trailhead I heard TLE call my name quite loudly.....she was about 100 yards back and just out of sight around a bend in the trail.....I turned around and rode back towards her voice......apparently she had a flat tire.....why is it always the rear tire?


We quickly found a 'turnout' on the trail and began the task of fixing her tube......during the process I discovered, much to my chagrin, that TLE's rear tire is due for replacement.....it has become so thin that it is easily punctured, which is what happened.  I fixed the tube, and then reinstalled the tire hoping we could make it back to the Elk's Lodge without another flat.......



......we were back on our way in about 15 minutes just as it began to sprinkle.  We were back home just before noon time, and by 12:50 pm it was raining quite hard.....whew!


Around 2:30 we got dressed up to drive over to the home of our friends Don & Josie Neff (I've known Don since Junior High School) about 10 miles away to hang out for a few hours, and then go to dinner around 7 pm with them at a local Mediterranean place called Caspian Village (Yelp gives them 4 stars on over 200 reviews).......the food was amazing!  I had the Lamb Kabobs (you can order extra meat, which I did).....TLE had the Lamb Curry.  This is one of those cool little 'hole in the wall' type places in a strip mall that you might easily overlook....Don and Josie have been going there for years, and are well known by the staff.  We sat talking and eating for over two hours and pretty soon it became apparent we were the only ones keeping the restaurant open, so at 9 pm (closing time) we got ready to leave......thank you Don for treating us to dinner!

We drove back to Don and Josie's home where we talked for a while longer then bid our adieus......as we drove home with smiles on our faces we noticed the clouds were lifting revealing the distant city lights of San Jose......a nice ending to a great day!

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