Category Archives: Bicycle

Easter Sunday on the Bay

Friday went pretty much as planned. We pulled out of our boondocking site near the Imperial Sand Dunes around 9:30am and headed west on I-8. There’s construction in progress on the interstate between Yuma and El Centro, but traffic was light and it didn’t slow us down much. I usually cruise at 60-62mph and we were able to maintain this speed most of the time.

We had a headwind as we crossed the desert. West of El Centro the elevation was zero – mean sea level. There’s a huge array of solar panels covering hundreds of acres with a huge transformer station on both sides of I-8 in the desert there. Near Ocotillo, there are wind generators on both sides of the interstate. This is where the climb up to Laguna Summit begins. There are three summits along the route – Tecate Divide, Crestwood Summit and Laguna Summit. All are over 4,000 feet above sea level.

Although we had a headwind, we were able to maintain a minimum speed of 50mph up the grade and the engine coolant temperature never exceeded 197 degrees. I was happy about that. We stopped and had lunch at the Buckman Springs Rest Area. This is located in a valley between the Crestwood Summit and the Laguna Summit and is a favorite stopping place for us. The exit to the rest area on the westbound side is poorly marked. There’s a sign advising “Rest Area one mile ahead” but the exit at Buckman Springs doesn’t have a Rest Area sign and you can’t see the rest area until you’ve passed it. If you are looking for a rest stop and aren’t familiar with the area, you could easily miss this one.

Getting back on the interstate, we had to merge into bumper-to-bumper traffic. There’s a Border Patrol checkpoint about a mile from the on ramp at Buckman Springs. Once again, we were waved through with no questions asked and got up to speed again.

We checked in at Mission Bay RV Resort in San Diego around 1pm. I had reserved our site here last November and paid a deposit. That locked in the price at $925/month. They’ve raised their rates since then – it’s now $1,085/month – it was $875/month when we started coming here four years ago. While I was checking in, the girl at he counter mentioned our trailer and overflow parking rent of $150/month. I told her we haven’t been charged for trailer parking here since those Dirty, Rotten Thieves stole our trailer from their lot. She looked up our account records and verified the information, but then she told me this will be our last free parking pass. So, next time we come here we will be paying a much higher price.

Although parking our coach at ViewPoint RV and Golf Resort in Mesa, AZ was difficult, the overall dimensions of the site were generous. We dropped our trailer on the concrete pad and had ample space between our coach and trailer to set up our awning mat, chairs and grills. Here at Mission Bay RV Resort, it’s a little more cozy. Our neighbor’s rig is closer to us than our trailer was at ViewPoint.

Neighbor close by

Our friend Sini Schmitt is three sites away from us. Sini came over and visited with Donna while I got us set up. Sini had friends coming down from Seattle and they planned to sightsee on Saturday. They used her friends’ rental car and Sini gave Donna the keys to her Saturn Vue. Donna took advantage of the car to get to her hair appointment, stock up on groceries and also visit her sister Sheila in Point Loma.

On Saturday evening, I grilled a pork tenderloin that Donna marinated in her mojo marinade for 36 hours. Twenty-two minutes on the grill had the internal temperature of the loin at 140 degrees – perfect.

Pork tenderloin with smashed potatoes and green beans

The RV park is nearly full with lots of young families and kids here for the Easter weekend. This is a big change from ViewPoint in Mesa, Arizona which is a 55+ park. Not many youngsters racing around on bikes and skateboards there. The weather all weekend was beautiful with highs around 70 degrees – it hit 74 on Sunday. The Easter crowds around Mission Bay Park were at summertime levels – lots of canopies, grills and volleyball games on the grass.

Donna is still trying to overcome a respiratory ailment but wanted to get some exercise on Sunday, so she walked to Trader Joe’s in Pacific Beach. It was about a five-mile round trip and she came home with a heavy load as she also stopped at Petco and bought a six-pound bag of cat food. I spent the morning watching the Formula One race from Bahrain.

Around noon, I got ambitious and pumped up the tires on my Specialized Crave mountain bike. It was breezy – I rode toward the ocean on the Bayside Walk right into a headwind. It was slow going. I kept at it and rode all the way to the boardwalk at the end of Pacific Beach Drive.

Easter Sunday and the boardwalk at the beach was crowded!

People on the boardwalk near the Surfer Hotel

Surfers in the water

The wind pushed me along on the ride back and I made good time. I stopped to shoot a couple of photos and still made it back in just 20 minutes.

A nice day to be on the bay

View from the pedestrian bridge over Rose Inlet looking toward Fiesta Island

For our Easter dinner on Sunday evening, I grilled salmon. I tried a different technique. Donna coated the salmon with olive oil on both sides and sprinkled it with salt and pepper. I also oiled the grill grates. I put the salmon skin side up on the hot grill for a few minutes, then turned it skin side down for a few more minutes on medium heat. It worked great! The fish doesn’t stick or flake when it it’s skin side up because it isn’t fully cooked yet.

Grilled salmon with orzo, spinach & feta salad

This morning I plan to head over to the Ocean Beach Recreation Center to play pickleball. Donna’s working on a article. Tomorrow Donna is flying to Albany, New York to visit her parents in Bennington, Vermont. Once again, I’ll be a bachelor for a week.

 

Whiskey or Whisky

Donna had an appointment at the hair salon in Tempe on Tuesday. We rode the Spyder there – about a 20-minute ride from ViewPoint RV Resort. I dropped her off at 11am and continued on to the Total Wine store at Tempe Marketplace. Total Wine is a big box discount liquor store. They have a huge selection and good prices.

I was looking for a bottle of Scotch whisky. I like to sip single malt Scotch occasionally. There’s a difference between American whiskey and Scotch whisky – beyond the spelling and geographic origin – they are made from different ingredients. Scotch is malted barley that’s been distilled twice and aged in oak barrels. American whiskey is distilled primarily from corn.

The aging process for Scotch whisky takes place in oak barrels – usually in barrels obtained from American distilleries after they’ve been used to age whiskey. Some Scotch distillers will then transfer the whisky to used European wine casks – like sherry casks. The aging process takes place while it’s in the barrels or casks. Once it’s bottled, the aging process stops. So, if you have a bottle of 10-year-old Scotch and put it on the shelf for five years, you still have a bottle of 10-year-old Scotch.

Scotch whisky also has distinct flavors depending the region it’s distilled in. The largest region is Highland which is known for a warm, smooth product. A sub-region is called Speyside and it’s similar to Highland Scotch but also produces fruitier flavors. Scotch produced off the coast in the islands (Islay) is often peaty and/or smokey.

My preference is Speyside or Highland Scotch that’s been aged a minimum of 12 years. Scotch that’s aged 18 or more years is usually far superior but the price jumps exponentially. A lot of people will say not to waste your money or taste buds on inexpensive Scotch. I disagree – to a point. I look at it like shopping for red wine. Anyone can spend $30 or more and come home with a decent bottle of red wine. To me, the trick is finding a decent, affordable daily glass of wine for about a third of that cost. I shop for Scotch in this manner also.

My fallback position on single malt Scotch is Glenfiddich or The Glenlivet 12-year-old Scotch. These are very popular and affordable. I like to try out different offerings from time to time. When we’re in California, Trader Joe’s carries their house brand of Scotch which they obtain from a brokerage called Alexander Murray. Alexander Murray buys from various distilleries and bottles under private labels. They carry 750ml bottles ranging from cheap 8-year-old Scotch to very expensive 25-year-old Scotch. I’ve had their 13-year-old and 15-year-old and it’s quite good.

At Total Wine, I found a bottle called Glen Ness 12-year-old Highland Scotch. It’s their house brand and I thought I’d give it a try. It was a couple of dollars less than Glenfiddich and I found it to be fairly comparable – although I think Glenfiddich has a little more complexity. That was probably more than you ever wanted to read about Scotch.

After we returned home, I took it easy for the rest of the day. The temperature reached the upper 70s and things are blooming all over the desert. Tree and grass pollen counts are high and I’m suffering from pollen allergies. Donna rode her bicycle to her physical therapy session and afterward continued on to complete a 16-mile loop.

Donna prepared one of our favorite fish recipes for dinner. She wrapped individual servings of cod with asparagus, orange juice, butter and fresh tarragon in parchment paper.  She put the parchment wraps on a baking sheet and cooked it in the convection oven.  It’s very easy. She makes four servings and we enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Parchment wrapped cod filet

Perfectly cooked

Here’s Donna’s recipe…

Fish in Parchment with Asparagus

4  15×15-inch squares parchment paper
4  5-to 6-ounce fish fillets (such as halibut or cod; each about 1 inch thick)
12 fresh tarragon leaves
2  tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces plus extra for buttering parchment paper
1  pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed (and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces if desired)
4  tablespoons orange juice

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place parchment squares on work surface. Generously butter half of each parchment square (I rub the parchment with one end of a stick of butter). Top buttered half of each with 1 fish fillet. Dry fish with a paper towel and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top each fillet with 3 tarragon leaves, then 1 piece of butter. Arrange asparagus around each fish fillet; pour 1 tablespoon orange juice over each. Fold parchment over fish and asparagus, folding and crimping edges tightly to seal and enclose filling completely. Place on 2 rimmed baking sheets, spacing apart. Bake fish packets 17 minutes. Slide packets onto plates and serve.  NOTE: Can be made 4 hours ahead and chilled, making it a great dinner for company.

On Wednesday morning, I played in the round robin pickleball matches. In the cool morning hours, my allergies seem to be a little more subdued. By the afternoon, I was going for eye drops every four hours or so. I took it easy for the rest of the day. Yesterday the temperature reached 86 degrees and we should see upper 80s through the weekend.

Desert Biking and Hiking

We’ve settled in to a weekday routine here at ViewPoint RV and Golf Resort. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, I play pickleball in the 3.0-3.5 round robin matches. After about two and half hours on the courts, I come home hungry and tired. This usually means I spend the afternoon lazing around and reading a book.

Of course I have a few small chores to attend to, but haven’t had any really big projects lately. My focus is on getting back into better physical condition. Donna plays pickleball a couple of times per week, and then walks, runs, hikes, or cycles on other days.

Friday went according to plan. I played pickleball in windy conditions Friday morning. Donna went out for a run. There were a few clouds, but the temperature reached 80 degrees. After reading in the afternoon, I went to happy hour at Lucky Lou’s and met up with the crew.

Donna prepared a chipotle chili crusted pork tenderloin for dinner and I grilled it on the Weber Q. I’m really liking our new Weber grill. She served it with sweet potato and spinach hash.

Chipotle-chili crusted pork tenderloin with sweet potato and spinach hash

I got ambitious Saturday morning and got my mountain bike out of the trailer. I haven’t ridden my Specialized Crave 29er in months. I had a notion to ride up Spook Hill. Spook Hill is a popular local hiking spot. It’s a few miles from ViewPoint and less than a mile from our old neighborhood. The last time I hiked up it was eight or nine years ago. I’d never ridden a bike up the steep climb.

The trail up is steep and much more rocky and rutted than I remembered. There were a number of people hiking up the hill – most of them looked at me on my bike like I was nuts. The trail gains over 300 feet of elevation in less than half a mile. Donna said she can hike up it in about ten minutes.

Several sections were too rutted, rocky or full of deep decomposed granite (DG). The DG caused loss of traction on my bike and I stalled in a few places. I ended up walking about 60% of the time going up. It took me 15 minutes to get up the hill – I lost time dismounting and mounting the bike and also pushing the bike up the rutted or rocky areas.

Once you reach the top, you have a commanding 360-degree view of the area.

Looking southwest – that’s the north end of ViewPoint RV and Golf Resort in the center – where we’re currently located

Looking south you can see the rest of ViewPoint, the Loop 202 freeway and the San Tan Mountains in the distance

Looking east – our old neighborhood is toward the small mountain on the left – Superstition Mountains in the background

Looking northeast toward Pass Mountain – most of the homes in the foreground didn’t exist when we lived here in 2009

Looking northwest – Red Mountain in the center – McDowell Mountain and Fountain Hills in the background

Going back down the trail, I reversed the walk/ride ratio. I rode more than 60% of the way and only walked the most treacherous sections.

This was fun but a little slippery

I went very slowly through here

I walked this rocky section to avoid hitting any hikers

While I was mountain biking, Donna was out on her road bike. I came home about five minutes ahead of her. I was whipped and done for the day.

As you can see in the photos, we had some high, thin cloud cover but the thermometer hit 81 degrees. For dinner I spatchcocked a whole chicken. Donna marinated it in lemon, olive oil and garlic. I cooked it on the Traeger smoker/grill while Donna cooked chopped bok choy on the Weber Q.

Traeger smoking away

Bok choy on the Weber Q

Spatchcocked chicken hot off the Traeger

It was an enjoyable end another day well-lived.

On Sunday morning, Donna met up with our friends, Hans Kohls and Lisa McGuire and they hiked near Lost Dutchman. Meanwhile, my friend Mike Hall picked me up and we drove his truck out to the desert near Sycamore Creek (dry) to shoot. We had a good time setting up targets against a hillside backstop and trying out a few firearms. I nearly knocked myself out trying Mike’s Thompson/Center 45-70 Government hand cannon!

Thompson/Center 45-70 – what a cannon!

That pretty much sums up the weekend. The forecast calls for cooler temperatures over the next two days, then we’ll warm up to mid-to-upper-80s.

 

Face Down Under the Sink

I usually write my posts first thing in the morning. Not this time – I’m writing at 4:30pm on Friday afternoon. If you read on, you’ll understand why.

We’re really enjoying our time here at Viewpoint RV & Golf Resort. The people here are so friendly and it seems like everyone is active. They have two golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools and five pickleball courts. On Thursday, I walked up to our mailbox which is next to a baseball field and saw a ladies softball team practicing. The coach was hitting balls as they did infield drills. They were looking good – most of these women put my arm to shame as they threw to first base.

Ladies softball practice

Donna rode her bicycle over to our friend Lana’s house to help her with organizing some stuff stored in a guest room. While she was away, I took care of a couple of maintenance items. One thing that was overdue was replacement of the filter on our purified water spout on the sink.

Rick at the RV Water Filter Store told me I should be good for two to three years on this filter since we have two-stage filtration for all of the water coming into the coach. This additional filter adds bacteriostatic filtration and is supposed to be good for 1500 gallons of water. We only use the purified water spout for the coffee maker and cooking, so we don’t run much water through it. I’ve been putting off the replacement because I remember what a chore it was last time I did it.

The filter is mounted under our kitchen sink. It has quick release fittings attaching it inline to the PEX lines plumbing the spout. The quick release fittings make removal a snap – but installing the replacement wasn’t so easy.

Purified water filter – that’s the sink drain pipe in the foreground

Removing the filter is a one-handed affair. I just pull the collar back on the fitting and pull the PEX away from the filter. The replacement filter I had didn’t come with the fittings. You can get it with or without the fittings. I figure it’s simple to remove the fittings from the old filter and install them in the new one and save a few bucks.

Old filter on top, new below

A 9/16″ wrench was all it takes – plus some teflon tape to seal the threads.

The issue with getting the new filter attached is the sink drain pipe. It prevents me from being able to reach in with both hands – one to hold the filter and one to pull the collar back on the quick release fitting to attach it to the PEX plumbing.

Instead of beating my head against the sink pipe and stretching arms to limit, I tried another approach. I took off my glasses and put my head – face down – under the sink drain pipe. Then I visualized the task with my eyes closed and tactiley worked the quick disconnect fittings. It took a couple of attempts, but I got it done!

After that my only maintenance chore for the day was to dump and flush our tanks. I dumped the tanks when we arrived last Wednesday. On Saturday I was surprised when I heard a gurgling sound coming from the kitchen sink while the clothes washer was running. This sound is an indicator of a full holding tank. I immediately dumped the gray water tank.

The tank was nearly full judging by the time it took to drain. What I didn’t know at the time was Donna had done at least seven loads of laundry – catching up from our time at RV Renovators. This alone accounts for 70+ gallons of gray water. So, I’m keeping a close eye on the gray water tank.

Friday morning I headed out early for the 3.0 to 3.5 round robin pickleball match at 8am. Donna came to the courts around 9:15 for open play. Once again I was a glutton for punishment and played 11 games over three hours on the courts. I’m feeling it now.

Pickleball courts

It was noon by the time we came home. After lunch, Donna headed out for another grocery shopping run. After she returned, I rode the Spyder to Lucky Lou’s for happy hour with the guys. We firmed up our plans for the NHRA drag races at Wildhorse Pass raceway – formerly Firebird Raceway. I’ll be up early again tomorrow as Mike Hall and Ray Laehu will pick me up at 7am. So that makes two early mornings in a row without a chance to write a post. We’ll spend the day at the races.

A cold front is stalled in the area. It got cold overnight – it was 39 outside when we woke up this morning and 51 in the coach. Today we had clear sunny skies, but the temperature only reached the low 60s. The same is forecast for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the middle of next week when the forecast calls for upper 70s!

 

Pickleball and a Movie

The nice weather continued on Tuesday – the temperature hit a high of 77 degrees with sunny, blue skies. We had a notice in our mailbox of a package being held at the park’s post office. As part of my effort to increase my activity, I walked to the post office to pick it up. This is a large park. We’re in the northwest end, the post office is located to the southeast.

It was about three quarters of mile from our site to the post office. When I got there I found they had not one, but two packages for us. One of the boxes was little bulky, the other was a Priority Mail box with a month’s worth of mail forwarded from our service (MyDakotaAddress). Carrying the two packages made the walk back seem a lot longer.

Donna’s keeping her activity level up as usual. She went out for a 16-mile bike ride Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday morning I went to the pickleball courts for the 3.0-3.5 level round robin matches at 8am. Donna came down an hour later to play on the open play court.

A pair of red tail hawks are nesting in a high voltage utility pole near the courts. I saw one of the adult hawks return to its nest with a snake in its grasp. I wish I could have taken a picture. I’m pretty sure there are immature hawks in the nest and it was bringing back the snake to feed them.

The round robin matches consisted of six games played over a two-hour period. I stayed for another hour and played nonstop, ending up with 11 games played. Donna played quite a few games as well.

After lunch, we headed over to the Harkins Theater on Superstition Springs Boulevard. We went to the 3:20pm matinee and watched John Wick: Chapter Two. It was all action and an entertaining shoot-em-up movie. We watched the original John Wick movie released in 2014 a couple of weeks ago on TV.

We don’t go to movie theaters very often. One thing that kills me at the theater is how they gouge you for snacks and drinks. You can’t bring your own, so they charge $4.50 for a bottle of water! A large popcorn, a soda and a bottle of water was $18.25! After sitting in the theater for more than two hours – with very comfortable seats – I was feeling a little stiff from the morning’s activity.

Last night, Donna prepared something new to go with the salmon cakes she made for dinner. She made a cheesy cauliflower bake. This was steamed cauliflower with cheddar cheese, bacon and green onion baked about 20 minutes to meld the flavors. It was a little labor intensive to make, but it was very tasty.

Cheesy cauliflower bake

We had a discussion about whether to call the entree salmon cakes or salmon patties. I decided to call them salmon cakes as they are made like crab cakes. Salmon patties implies something akin to a burger.

Salmon cakes with cheesy cauliflower bake

I opened a bottle of Ninkasi Total Domination IPA from Eugene, Oregon to go with the meal.

Ninkasi IPA

Before I went to bed, I checked the S-Health app on my Samsung Galaxy smart phone. It showed 12,999 steps for the day. I went over 13,000 walking from the living room to bed. The activity bars on the screenshot below show the pickleball activity and then an inactive period in the afternoon – that was the movie theater time.

Steps recorded on the S-Health app

I had to close our bedroom window in the night. We usually sleep with the window open, but a cool breeze was blowing in overnight. Today the forecast calls for a high of only 63 degrees. The next seven days will be cool and Friday the overnight low is expected to be 39! Brrr.

 

RV Renovators – Day 14 – Coming Together

When the owner and president of Germaine’s RV Sales and RV Renovators, Monte Germaine, came to our coach on Monday morning, he explained why he changed the repair plan. He told me the original thought of installing wood studs was made by the crew before they understood the construction of our Alpine Coach. They were thinking of some entry level trailers and coaches that come from the factory with wood construction. He knew an Alpine and other coaches that have all metal framing should be repaired with metal, not wood.

The guys spent Monday morning cleaning up remnants of plywood and grinding the surface of the aluminum structure. They inlaid more rectangular aluminum tubing to support the seams of the new exterior skin.

All cleaned up

Additional tubing in place

At noon another worker named James came over to TIG weld the new sections of tubing. He first disconnected the power supply and batteries to avoid damage to electrical components from the arc welder.

New tubing welded

Izzy then ground the welds flat.

Welds ground flat

The heat from the welder melted some of the foam insulation blocks, creating voids. Izzy filled these voids with urethane.

Voids filled

Clean and ready for the next step

After some more cleaning of the aluminum and the channels in the trim, it was time to add adhesive. They used black urethane adhesive made by Dow called Betaseal U-418HV. This urethane is commonly used to bond windshields on automobiles. It creates a high-strength waterproof bond that remains flexible.

Urethane adhesive for the first panel

Getting the first panel in place was problematic. They got it inside the lower trim without too much trouble, but had issues trying to seat it under the front edge trim. They decided to remove the front edge trim so they could ensure the panel was properly aligned.

Once they had the panel placed properly, they installed temporary screws and added aluminum angle channels in places to apply pressure against the underlying framework. These temporary screws and lengths of channel were mostly placed in areas where the fiberglass skin will either be cut out – such as the window openings – or ground along seams before the seams are filled.

Inside the living room they placed a 3/4″ x 1-1/4″ hardwood beam across the window opening and used long screws to pull the fiberglass against the window opening. They added aluminum angle across the bottom of the window opening to hold it tight against the lower opening.

Pulling the skin tight against the living room window opening

They added a second section of fiberglass composite skin above the window opening. At the end of the day, the front half of the slide-out had fiberglass skin. They used a forklift against a 4″ x 4″ beam and a section of plywood to apply additional pressure against the skin overnight.

First half of the new skin in place

The fiberglass has a thin plastic protective sheet over the outer surface. The black smears and hand prints will disappear once this sheet is peeled off and paint prep begins.

I had a visitor in the morning, Jim Haxby. He’s a fellow Alpine Coach owner and saw my posts about the work being performed. He lives here in Mesa and came by to see how the work is progressing. We talked for a while as I observed the work.

Later, Donna and I rode the Spyder over to Mike Hall’s place and I got her bicycle out of our trailer. She went for a ride while I went to Lucky Lou’s for a cold one with the guys. It was a beautiful day for a ride – the temperature was in the upper 70s and there wasn’t any wind to speak of. Today we expect another cloudless, sunny day with the temperature reaching the mid-70s. Perfect for bonding the new skin on the coach.

 

 

Enormous Pot Pie

The weather remains a topic of discussion as we’ve had more wet days again this week. Three quarters of an inch of rain fell in the last seven days. On average, January is the second wettest month in San Diego with a total of two inches of rain. We’re well on our way to exceed that average. February is the wettest month with an average rainfall of two and half inches.

We had some rain Monday morning, but it cleared up in the afternoon. I borrowed Sini’s car and drove over to Dan Diego’s for a cold one with the guys around 4pm. The parking lot at Dan Diego’s was empty and the sign by the door said “Closed.” I knew they changed their hours after the New Year, but I didn’t remember them closing on Mondays.

I went down the street to the Offshore Tavern and Grill and saw the guys at the bar there. I mentioned Dan Diego’s being closed and they told me that was news to them, they were about to go there. I looked up Dan Diego’s hours on my phone and it showed it open at 3:30pm on Mondays. I called Dan Diego’s and the owner, Ryan, answered. I asked him if he was open – he said, “Yeah, but the place is empty.” I told him he should check his sign! We went to Dan Diego’s for a cold one before the Alabama vs Clemson NCAA National Championship game.

I came home and tuned in the game at 5pm. Donna went out for dinner with her sister, Sheila and her nephew Connor. They went to Sushi Ota – where they serve the best sushi I’ve ever had. Donna brought home a spicy tuna roll and some nigiri for me – yummy!

As our time here is winding down, I’m looking forward to dry, sunny days in the forecast ahead, beginning Friday. I’ll need to organize the trailer and move things like our folding chairs, Weber grill and Traeger smoker/grill over to the trailer. Here at Mission Bay RV Resort, we have to leave our trailer in the overflow lot outside of the RV park.

Donna reorganized an overhead bin in the coach where she stores snacks. She used to have opaque plastic containers with lids that snap on and off. She labeled the containers so we would know what’s inside. The thing is, the labels are pretty generic and we would often forget about a particular snack inside.

Old container with generic label

She found a set of Oxo clear plastic containers with pop-up lids at Costco. She moved the snacks into these containers and now we can see at a glance what we have on hand. She’s planning to go back and get two more sets for other pantry items!

Clear Oxo containers

I repurposed the old opaque containers and used them to organize some odds and ends in one of the basement compartments. I had a few loose bicycle tools and lubes. Now instead of digging around in the compartment to find things, I can just pull out the container.

Tuesday, Donna and I went to Pacific Beach Recreation Center and played pickleball for a couple of hours. I’m going to miss the pickleball and the people we’ve made friends with at the rec center over the last three winters. We’ll find pickleball courts in Mesa, Arizona – our next destination.

On Tuesday evening, Donna cooked a chicken pot pie that she bought at Costco. Like almost everything at Costco, this was the biggest pot pie I’ve ever seen – it was over five pounds! We invited Tom and Kris Downey over to join us for dinner – they were the ones who told us about the pot pies made fresh at Costco. The four of us ate about two thirds of the pot pie – we have about two servings left over. It was tasty and I’m looking forward to reheating the leftovers for lunch!

Sini has to leave the RV park today. She’ll head up to Temecula with her son Beau. They plan to spend the night at a casino there and also visit an RV shop to get a quote on new flooring. She’ll be back tomorrow. This will be her first solo run. Although Beau is with her, he doesn’t have experience driving their 37-foot National Tradewinds motorhome. I’m sure she’ll be fine.

Speaking of returning, I posted earlier about the neighbor who left her bike in our site before Christmas. Her bike is still here. Yesterday I went to the office and asked if they could look up the person that was in site 114 and left on December 22nd. I told them about the bike and said I was leaving on Sunday and needed to figure out what to do with the bike. I only knew the woman’s first name, Lindis. They remembered her and looked up her info. We learned that she came back to the RV park two days ago. I’ll clean and lube the chain on the bike – it’s rusty – and return it to her today.

Keep an Eye On My Bike

Last month, we had a neighbor move into the site next to us on the driver’s side. It was a young woman in a large fifth-wheel trailer – I think she said it was 43 feet long – with four kids. There were two boys and two girls ranging in age from about three to 11 or 12 years old. The oldest girl took on a lot of responsibility for her siblings. A couple of times the woman – her name is Lindis – went out for several hours and left the kids in the trailer. We could hear them running back and forth inside, but all in all, they were pretty well-behaved.

On December 22nd, she packed up her trailer. She told us they had to move and were heading up to the Thousand Trails park in Menifee. It was a rainy morning and not the ideal conditions to hook up and head out. The mom and her oldest daughter made short work of it though and got the trailer hooked up to their truck. Then the girl came to our door and knocked. She said they couldn’t fit one of their bicycles – a cruiser style bike with baby seats on the front and back – and asked if we would keep an eye on it until they came back for it.

We told her to put the bike in our site by the picnic table, which she did and we saw them drive away. That was two weeks ago. We haven’t seen them since then. I’m wondering if they’re coming back. We’ll be leaving on the 15th. I’ll check with the office to see if they have a reservation to return here.

On Monday, the neighbor on the other side of us had to leave the park overnight. He told me he was coming back to the same site on Tuesday. He asked me if they could leave their bicycles in our site rather than stow them aboard for an overnight trip. So we had a site full of bikes for a day, but they were back Tuesday afternoon and retrieved their bike rack and bikes that were left in our site.

On Monday evening, Donna made garlicky tomato-basil shrimp and served it over squid ink spaghetti. This recipe is a keeper for sure.

Garlicky tomato-basil shrimp

Yesterday our friends, Hans and Lisa (Metamorphosis Road) moved into the site next us. We’ll be able to get together a few times before we leave – starting with happy hour this afternoon.

I played pickleball for a couple of hours yesterday in Pacific Beach. I’ll head over to Ocean Beach Recreation Center to play today. The forecast calls for clear skies but the temperature will only reach the mid-60s. More rain is forecast for tomorrow.

A Nice Walk

I returned the rental car to Enterprise on Friday after writing my post. The Enterprise agency is on the northwest corner of Garnet Avenue and Mission Bay Drive. After I dropped the car off there, I walked back to Mission Bay RV Resort – a distance of about a mile and a half.

This gave me the opportunity to stop at the Chase Bank across the street from Enterprise. Then I walked to the west end of Figuroa Boulevard where there’s access to the Rose Creek Trail at the end of the street (map).

Access to Rose Creek Trail

Access to Rose Creek Trail

Walking home on the trail, I realized how easy it is to take our surroundings for granted. Being in San Diego at this time of year is a beautiful thing. I took my time walking the trail and enjoyed the scenery. It’s not only people that like the winter weather in San Diego – a large variety of birds winter here.

I saw waterfowl in the creek and snapped a photo of a dapper-looking Western Grebe.

Western Grebe

Western Grebe

I thought about the flora as well. There are trees and flowers here that you don’t see everywhere. Of course palm trees are found throughout southern California.

Palm tree at the park

Palm tree at the RV park

Bird of Paradise plants can be found in gardens here – including the entrance to Mission Bay RV Resort. These flowering plants are indigenous to South Africa but have flourished in temperate climates like we have here.

Bird of Paradise flower at the RV park

Bird of Paradise flower at the RV park

Eucalyptus trees are found throughout San Diego. I don’t recall seeing these trees anywhere else in the country – maybe I just haven’t noticed them.

Eucalyptus tree

Eucalyptus tree

Donna was out for a run and our paths crossed near the park entrance. I gave a wave and continued on. Across from the RV park office is another San Diego sight – City Deco Bikes. These are rental bicycles found at many locations – especially near the beach. You can pay for a 30-minute rental (the minimum) at the bike rack and unlock a bike. You return the bike to any city bike rack and it records the amount of time you had the bike. Donna paid for monthly bike access to reduce the cost and she uses them from time to time. Sometimes when she goes out running, she likes to run to the beach. Then she picks up a city bike and rides back to the RV park and leaves it in the rack here.

City Deco Bike

City Deco Bike

As you can see in the photos, it was a beautiful day for walking. The temperature reached the mid-70s and we had sunny blue skies. This morning it’s overcast with a low ceiling. Rain will move in over the next couple of days and we can only expect to see highs in the low to mid-60s. I’m not complaining though – it’s a great place to be at this time of year.

I Am Just a Cowboy

Saturday was another warm day. The temperature reached the low 80s. Donna went out for a run before it got too warm. I puttered around. We planned on going to Donna’s sister’s house for a Halloween party in the evening. This has been an annual event for us over the last four years.

We were going to do western themed cowboy-cowgirl outfits since we both had the boots and would only need a couple of accessories. Donna changed her mind and made a creative outfit. She used cotton balls to create clouds on a blue shirt. She had a water bottle that sprayed a fine mist. When she was asked what her outfit was, she said, “I’m your up-to-the-minute weather forecast – partly cloudy with 100% chance of showers.” Then she would spray her water bottle. Fun.

I went ahead with the cowboy look. I rode the Spyder over to the Boot Barn in Kearny Mesa. I bought a Roper cowboy shirt with mother-of-pearl snaps and a bolo tie. I have a Stetson cowboy hat and I wore cowboy boots. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos from the party.

We decided to take a Lyft ride to Point Loma for the party at Sheila’s house. When I tried to schedule the pick-up, there was something wrong with the Lyft app on my phone. It located our pick-up point and I input the destination. When I tapped the “Request Lyft” button, it said “Busy” and went back to the previous screen. I tried it a couple of times with the same result. It never showed a car or driver or the wait time.

Donna opened the app on her phone and it worked fine. It showed a driver available with an ETA of four minutes. The driver picked us up and we were on our way. About half way to Sheila’s house, my phone rang. It was a Lyft driver telling me he was looking for us. I told him my app malfunctioned and didn’t confirm him coming, so we took another ride. A few minutes later, I received a text from Lyft saying they charged my credit card five dollars for a no show. How about that – a no show message as I was riding in a Lyft car. I sent an explanation to their customer service – we’ll see how that works out.

Sheila’s Halloween party is two parties at once. There are a number school kids – friends of her 12-year-old son Connor making up half of the party. Then there are the adults – parents of the kids and friends that make up the other half. We had an enjoyable evening with good food, drinks and lots of interesting conversations.

A little past 9pm, I tried to schedule another Lyft ride. My app had the same result – it said “Busy” next to the pick-up address and never showed a car or driver in the area. This time I waited to see what would happen.

After touching the "Schedule" button it shows "Busy"

After touching the “Request Lyft” button it shows “Busy”

After several minutes, my phone rang. It was a Lyft driver telling me he was in front of the house to pick us up. I had to break Donna away from a conversation she was having. We left in such a hurry we forgot to bring home leftover food and a package of pulled pork that one of the guests had smoked and given to us.

Sunday morning we woke up to a passing rain shower. It passed, leaving a thin overcast sky behind. Things quickly dried. Donna went out for a run – she ran along the Bayshore Walk path around Crown Point. Her plan was to pick up a City DecoBike near the Catamaran Hotel at the end of her run and ride the bike back to the RV park. There’s a City Bike station right in front of the RV park. She didn’t find the station she expected to find near the Catamaran. She had to walk past Mission Boulevard where she eventually found a bike station at Mission Beach.

Meanwhile I was absorbed in NFL games. The Chargers won a thriller in overtime. They came back from a second-half 17-point deficit to win 33-30 over the Falcons in Atlanta.

Today we have overcast skies this morning – it’s supposed to clear up by the afternoon and reach a high temperature in the low 70s. Sounds good to me.