Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A Trip Like No Other. Part 2

After a morning Garbo walk at our local park, after two cups of coffee, after some maple breakfast sausage and crispy potatoes, it's time to recollect!

After a week filled with Brett Kavanaugh and Trump Twitter, it is  time to forget.... so back to documenting some of the DE lights, and HIGH lights of our long and slow journey up to the north west corner of Washington State, before it fades from my memory bank.

We arrive at Longsword Vineyard, located in the Anderson Valley of Oregon, following a drive through awe inspiring redwood forests, narrow mountain roads, hairpin curves and smoke...So Much Smoke!  We get to our destination in the mid afternoon, the vineyard is set in a beautiful place, there is a small tasting room, a quaint barn in which lives three old rams named Einstein, Hawkins and Newt, who roam the property at will, along with a flock of geese, many Bard Rock roosters and hens and a well fed Aussie named Rouge.

Madeleine who poured our wine, while telling stories about the vineyard owner, who named his vineyard Long Sword as he used to fence and labeled his wine accordingly.  The wines were delectable, Madelaine was delightful, we snacked on crackers and a cream cheese and sundried tomato creation along with our wine tasting.  Then bringing the left overs home to add to our morning omelette.  It was fabulous!  The Long Sword Vineyard visit was  memorable.

We went to Tri City RV Park for a short stay, to do laundry, empty our tanks, arrange and reorganise our stuff.  It was our first experience with showers where you paid a quarter for so many minutes of water and a certain amount of minutes for light while you showered.  Not forcefully enough while inserting my quarter, it flew out of my shower stall and I had to go searching for it, wrapped up in my towel, then back in there.... to wash my body and hair, taking too long, so the lights go out!

Have you ever tried to get dressed when you are wet and it is absolutely pitch black?  Then having to try to find the front door, feeling your way out, as if you were blind?  Well, let me tell you, I was  more cautious after that experience.

Try City, Myrtle Creek and surrounding small communities seemed like God forgotten places.  The economy is booming they say.  Well not here!

On to Arcane Cellars we go.  Now this place became our number one A one place for so many reasons.  The grounds, the buildings, the location, right on the Willamette River was exquisite.  We parked under a huge tree, in the shade.  Was greeted by Anne and John, who were working the tasting room while the owners were on a family vacation to Portugal, the owners home country.  Garbo got a big bowl of fresh water.  We were made to feel so welcome and were presented with a list of the available wine options.  The list was long, the wines were very nice.  We purchased a couple of bottles after tasting and went "home" to our trailer to prepare dinner, went for a walk, picked and ate blackberries from berry bushes that covered the barn we were parked next to.

After closing up the tasting room, Anne and John came by for a visit.  We chatted about life and personal experiences, both comical and serious.  What a wonderful time we had!  What a beautiful, well cared for and obviously loved place this was.  We want to go back.  No doubt.

From there we went on to a place where there was free dispersed camping, near Trillium Lake and Mount Hood.  The plan was to stay there for several days, being allowed 14 days, at no charge.  The weather was hot, it was extremely dusty and sadly previous campers had filled fire pits with trash and we did not feel good there.  The views of Mount Hood on the other hand, were spectacular, there was  the  fragrance of warm pine needles in the air, reminding us of Mariposa, but we decided to not stay more than one night.  Did what we always do, walked with Garbo, fixed lunch, relaxed, read our books, made some nearby discoveries, learned about the pioneers disappointment with bitter grass, there was dinner and dishes and time to hit the sack.

The Photographer was going to contact an RV Park in Washington in the morning, in hopes of there being an available spot for us to park, so we went to bed with fingers crossed.

At this point, tomorrow is our 11th day on the road.  Time flies!

Monday, September 24, 2018

A Trip Like No Other

After years of the Photographers yearning, wishing, hoping  and planning, we did it!
After years of digging in my heals, pushing back, saying "NO Way" it's not for me... we did it!
After years of virtual travel, via You Tube, watching Vlogs and Blogs such as "Less Junk More Journey," "The Long Long Honey Moon," the "Adventure Van Man" and such, I just had to give in.

As the Photographer never hesitated going with me, to live in my home country, Sweden, I realised that I too, needed to "bend".  So, the search for a travel trailer or fully equipped van was on!  The requirements being there needed to be a kitchenette, a bed, a toilet and shower,  plus room for Garbo!

As my American life, the start of my building a family here, all began in an Airstream, where I lived when JQ was born, an Airstream is what I desired.  I would truly have come "full circle" I felt.

The Photographer searched and researched, watched videos, we went to RV shows and RV sale places up and down California and finally settled on a T@b 400.  It provided us with all our requirements, a dedicated queen size bed and compared to a similar sized Airstreams, it had much more storage.  A much better fit for us.

Then we equipped "Betty," as we have named the adorable little trailer, with pots, pans, bedding, food and drink.  We had some trial runs learning how to use the stove.  Invited family to dinner, fitting 5 people around the little table, tight fit indeed, but it worked!  After that, off we went on our first adventure.

As our eldest grandchild was going to celebrate a Big Birthday, we decided to head north, in hope of attending a party, cheering the milestone birthday.

The Photographer planned for overnight stays in various fabulous, and some not so fabulous places,  as we, in short spurts made our way up through California, Oregon and Washington State.  Up to the  Olympic Peninsula, where we have been before, a place that we truly enjoy!

As members of a group named Harvest Hosts, we spent nights, with free overnight parking, at many fabulous vineyards, tasting the many varietals produced.  After tasting we would purchase some wine, then to "Betty" we would go, fix dinner, sip wine outside, take Garbo for walks, and enjoy the views.  What a way to travel!  We, YES, even I, LOVED it!

Our very first stop was at 6Sigma Ranch, not far from Clear Lake where it was extremely hot, but beautiful non the less.  Very smoky, sadly, as fires were raging seemingly everywhere.

From there we headed to Handley Cellars for one night, then to Blue Lake Rancherias, a casino parking lot, providing free  overnight parking and a free dump station.  The people at all these places, were kind, welcoming and friendly.  The drives took us  through spectacular scenery.  With mountain, forests, and ocean views.  At one point we passed a field with elks, some sort of gathering, like we have never seen before.  Amazing!

Oregon is next. Long Sword Vineyard is up..... to be continued...

Monday, May 28, 2018

Down Memory Lane

And then there was Mother's Day!

Nice breakfast, lazy day and all that.

We celebrated Mother's Day early at our daughters house.  Flowers on the dining room table, bubble wine and oh my gosh, Lobster Thermidor!  Prepared by the family Chef!  Fresh baked bread, artichokes a very good green salad, nice wine and a sweet desert.  What else could one ask?

The lobster dredged up a bunch of nostalgia.  Remembering The Bold Knight, a restaurant on Monterey Road, frequently visited back in the day and Vahl's in Alviso where Fredrik was introduced to lobster at the age of 12 and then he wanted to eat nothing else on his birthdays and other special occasions!  So be careful folks!  I would urge you  to not suggest to your children they try lobster, King crab, or scallops until they turn.... oh, around  the age of twenty-one!

So, with the Mother's Day gathering out of the way a day early, we were free to just "play"!  With the onset of "Thermidor Nostalgia" we, the Photographer, and I decided to do a little road trip down memory lane!  Namely Monterey Road.  A road so familiar.  A road where the Drive In movie theatre is located.  We used to go there often... the kids would lay on top of the car, to watch the movies.  Seven Trees Shopping Centre is there, where we would turn to go to the library, when the kids were young!  That same centre is  close to where Tony's Pizza is located.  And low and behold,  that old Italian Restaurant is STILL there!  The Photographer and I stopped on our way back home.  Indulged in one Stromboli each!  Yes, just the same, just as we remembered, so very good!  Still too much food to consume in one sitting, so enough for the next days lunch!  Yea, just as we remembered!

No Bold Knight, however!  We found out they closed  some where around 2016.  New apartment buildings on the old site.  An-Jans is still there, next to the railroad tracks.  Oak Hill Cemetery looks as if it's double in size.  Other than that, not much remains the same!  Saint Clair Hotel is there, No Eulipia's, No South Bay Lumber.

Memories float through our heads, lot's of memories!  It is nice that there are still some tiny shreds of "the old".  Not much, but just enough!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Viva Mexico

Finally!  After many years of resisting, I made it to Mexico!

For reasons unknown, it was not the place to visit.  Or so I thought!

The Photographer spent a lot of time in Mexico growing up!  His Maternal Grandmother lived there, and during his first few years he lived there as well!  Spending time with cousins and family, often trudging around with his Uncle.

The photographer made a sentimental journey together with JQ,  several years ago.  Revisiting many childhood places and  they had a great time.  While I stayed in Mariposa,  taking care of our place, our animals, and our Feed Store.  By choice!

Today I understand that many of my fears were unfounded.  The fear of Bandidos, drug dealers, and criminals.  Reminding myself,  that when I was leaving Sweden to move to America my Grandfather Teofil could not for the life of him understand,  why I would want to live so close to Chicago!  That was where all the gangsters lived!  For example: Al Capone and his gang.  Propaganda then, propaganda today!  Spread far and wild on the news.  Spread far and wide via movies and TV series.

Spread far and wide by the current President!

We wanted to explore one of the places in Mexico touted as one of the best places to retire, Ajijic!  A town located south of Guadalajara,  on the shore of Lake Chapala.

What a charming, colourful and delightful place it is!

A kind welcoming people, really good weather, great food, beautiful vistas, lot's of dogs and nice places to explore!  We also had a chance to see a bit of the town of Chapala.  A place less inundated by Gringos and therefore more affordable!  We would like to go back there again!  Yet another city high on my list of interesting places to visit,  is San Miguel de Allende!

Soon.... Perhaps SOON!