Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jalama Beach

 Today we drove to Jalama Beach, 14 miles off Highway 1. The drive was wonderful as it reminded us of “old California” before millions of people found this place.

We drove through miles of coastal mountain scenery seeing fewer than a dozen homes yet lots of cattle. 

 There were cheeky gulls all over the place, standing boldly on posts just daring us to chase them away.
 The sun was shining on the ocean and 
 folks were kayaking 

Then at the end of the road was a small county park right on the ocean. 


Yesterday a couple of trees started to blossom. The day before the trees were bare.

I like looking at the fine old oak trees in the Park.

Buzzards hide in the trees in the morning. Can you find 4 buzzards in this tree.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Movie Review: Star Wars redux

After seeing the first 2 episodes of Star Wars we were not going to see the rest...but we owned the remaining DVDs in the set -- so why not see them just for continuity-sake. Guess what? They were pretty good. The first 2 episodes are dogs but the last 4 are pretty good. I don't think they "work" as well as they did in the 70s, but they are a fun trip down memory lane.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Movie Review: Star Bores oh I mean Star Wars

We thought it might be fun to see the complete Star Wars sextet in order from 1-6. We rented SW-The Phantom Menace and it was awful. Bad acting, really horrible aliens, and not much of a plot. An action movie that deals with negotiations and Senate debates? Gimme a break!

Tonight we viewed SW--Attack of the Clones. It was a little better than SW1 but not good enough. We decided to drop the plan to see all six of the movies. I don't think we will even see SW4 which started the process back in 1976.

If you get the urge to see these movies you have been warned not to waste your time.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Great Blue

Chasing a Great Blue Heron for a picture is usually a hopeless task. The heron in question hangs out at the park. I see it most everyday. Yet when I get the camera out it is gone. I never even hear the flapping of wings--just gone.

Well today I caught the heron. At first it was hunkered down and I almost missed it. A telltale white feather gave it away as it blended in with the background so well. Of course I stopped and got out my iPhone camera. (the perfect time for better optics but you take what you get.) I started snapping away. The heron stretched its neck and walked very slowly (as did I) as we danced around each other. What a treat.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Movie Review: Unstoppable

Whoa! Do you want action and suspense all rolled up together? This movie does that. I sat on the edge of my chair hoping disaster would not happen.

The stars are a huge runaway train, Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. You know how big a train is...But a train careening down the track at 70 miles an hour is more than is a monster just one moment away from
wiping out the next "thing" in its path.

Rent the movie, grab the popcorn and be ready for suspense. We liked it a lot--far more than we thought we would based on the blurb on the DVD jacket!

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes

This is the second Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey Jr. If you are familiar with Sherlock Holmes, then you know there are some
expectations that have to be met. Sherlock has to be moody; he has to be smart; he has to be the "star" of the crime scene. In this story he runs across someone who might be smarter than him. Needless to say this does not go over well with our brainy sleuth.

Lots of fun action. The interplay between Holmes and Watson is good. Holmes is jealous that Watson is getting married as it means he won't have a good buddy to "play" with after the nuptials.

The setting in late 19th century London is fun to look at. A neat little story with action and suspense. If you see it, rent the first SH to get in the mood.

Movie Review: Mission Impossible

Mission Impossible 4 was released around Christmas. This series is usually a good romp without much story and Mark 4 of the series proved to follow suit. Lots of action. Lots of Tom Cruise doing his stunts. Lots of the latest kill the bad guy toys.

To get ready for the movie we rented MI-1. I tried to see it, but it put me to sleep. Filmed near the beginning of the Internet age it featured lots of keystrokes and action music but I could not find the plot (maybe because I fell asleep). Nevertheless we saw MI-4 the next day in the theatre and it was great fun. But it referred back to stuff in the precious MIs so we rented 2 and 3.

The saga has one story line...someone has taken something and Tom and his team have to get it. In the process of getting it, they travel to exotic locations do astounding things and retrieve the item in the nick of time and world disaster does not happen!

Over the series you see Tom gently age--he's no longer that cute kid in the first episode. He's matured yet he still plays the same character who is brave and true. That's what makes it a fun series. The bad guy loses and the good guys win. I like it when the good guys win.

If you want pure escapist action happening in some interesting locations, see the movie.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Morning Reflections

"Reflection" has a lot of different meanings. Is it an echo of an image or a thought process or what you see in the mirror?

Reflecting on that, I offer two pictures. One is a duck in the light of a clouded morning sunrise; the other of a pontoon boat floating on a relatively still surface of the lake.

As always reflections are hard to capture as they are illusive and ready to change without warning. So what are you reflecting this morning?

African Daisy and Climate Change

I do believe that the climate is changing. (I am not convinced in the Global Warming theory as the climate on our pretty blue ball has changed repeatedly over the millennia without the help of people and our internal combustion engines.) Given that, flowers that are not supposed to be blooming in January are. Yesterday we saw this African Daisy growing wild in the median.

A month ago I posted pictures of my ceanothus in bloom. In fact the ceanothuses have so many flowers on them now, we had to put them back on a regular watering schedule.

While the flowers are early, I love seeing the color they bring to the landscape.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Pink Light of Dawn

This morning the lake was covered in "smokes" for lack of a better word. The water looked like it had steam rising from it. As the sun started to rise, a pink glow filled the sky and the water turned the same shade. Then in a blink of an eye, it was gone.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Mod-Cons for a 21st century RVer

Yesterday I wrote about all the camping mod cons and I started to think what were those mod cons? Electricity cannot be called modern any more as RVers have enjoyed it for years. Indoor plumbing is not exactly new either. Most RVers have TV and radio (satellite for both no less). RVers have been using their cell phones for at least 2 decades. We have also been enjoying larger RVs with slide out rooms, washers and driers, double door refrigerators with freezers, microwave/convection ovens and even dishwashers. The modern RV is very well appointed with king sized beds and some even have 2 bathrooms! So what are the mod cons for the 21st century camper?

I've been pondering that question and I've concluded it's the emergence of readily available wifi.

In 1998 we took a cross country RV trip. At that time I was teaching an online class and I had to beg campground owners for a phone line so I could connect my laptop with an internal modem to a dial up server. I remember giving campground folks lessons on dial up and modems. All that has changed. In the intervening 14 years many campgrounds advertise free wifi. I'm still teaching my online class but I'm doing it from
the comfort of my RV on my own time schedule. I use my iPad and connect to my class without a hiccup!

This has led me to think what were the mod-cons for other points in time? What was the mod-con at the turn of the 12th century? Or the turn if the 18th century?

Enuf! I'll stick with wifi. What do you think?

Wintertime Camping

We are camping in a hard sided, nicely insulated 5th wheel. We have all the amenities. But there are some folks who are true winter campers. They are in tents...or should I say intense? Whatever the case, they are hearty souls who probably enjoy going about life without the mod-cons of the 21st century every now and again. As for me, I will stay in my fiver.

Kissing Tree

I wish I could say I thought of the phrase, but it was not me. I overheard a little girl tell her grandfather to come over quick as she was under the kissing tree and she needed a kiss! As you can see, the tree is covered with mistletoe.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Two Veteran RVs

We have been playing with RVs for the last 40 years. During that time we have owned 5 and we have looked at countless others.

When we were first bit by that "RV Bug" In the early 70s, one of the cutest class A motorhomes was the Cortez. It was a self contained unit, not too big at 18 feet long and it had all the mod-cons. We went looking for one but alas none were to be found in the Sacramento area. I've just discovered why--only 3211 Cortez motorhomes were built between 1963-1989. It's no wonder we did not find one sitting on a dealer's lot. They were pretty rare. Nowadays they are very rare!

What we did see was a cute little Winnebago Brave at 18-20 feet. Not nearly as cute but available. We decided that the Winnie was not cute enough and we ended up buying a Chinook Class C motorhome. If you are interested, see my March 29, 2011 post for a picture of our little Chinook motorhome.

Right now we are staying in an RV park where 2 of those old motorhomes are still being used and enjoyed. I wonder how many miles they have on them? Our Chinook had 125,000 miles on it when we sold it in 1983.

The first picture is a 1971 Winnie and the second is the Cortez (I don't know the exact year, but I'm guessing 1966). A good motorhome never dies.