Category Archives: Kayak

Carting the Kayak

We had a quiet afternoon on Wednesday indoors to beat the heat. On Wednesday evening, Donna made a new-to-us dish for dinner. She pounded boneless, skinless chicken breasts, then topped them with a mixture of spinach, garlic, onion, feta and spices, rolled up the meat around stuffing and browned it. It was excellent served with a side of orzo topped with fresh tomato and kalamata olives cooked in the pan with the chicken.

Chicken

Chicken stuffed with spinach and feta

Thursday morning I inflated the Sea Eagle kayak with the foot pump. We strapped the kayak onto the cart and pulled it down to the river. The kayak was easy to pull with the new cart.

Kayak strapped to cart

Kayak strapped to cart

We pulled the kayak out of the Crescent Bar RV Resort through the emergency exit and walked down the road to a trail that led to a small beach on the Columbia River.

Trail to beach

Trail to beach

It was about half a mile from our site to the beach. The cart worked well and even rolled through the sand without a problem.

Donna with the kayak where we launched

Donna with the kayak where we launched

After removing the kayak from the cart, I pulled the pins and took off the wheels. The cart folded and easily fit in the rear space of the kayak. We don’t have to worry about leaving the cart on the beach when we go out on the water.

Although we didn’t have the wind gusts we’ve been experiencing over the past few days, there was a fair breeze blowing across the river from the west. The river flows slowly south through Crescent Bar – right to left in the photo. The wind created a chop coming across the river.

Wind chop on the water

Wind chop on the water

We paddled upstream to get a feel for how hard it would be to go against the current. The wind was more of an issue than the current was. It’s a fairly big body of water here. I was surprised at how shallow it was for the first 20 feet or so from the shore. I’ve seen power boats here so maybe it’s not quite as shallow as it looks through the clear water.

There weren’t any boats or jet skis out this early. We hit the water around 10:30am and the day was already heating up. We paddled upstream and found a boat anchored in a small cove. There was a big house on shore with a beautifully landscaped property. We assumed the boat belonged to the homeowner. No one was aboard and I wondered how they got from shore to the anchorage or anchorage to shore.

When we turned around to head back to the beach where we launched, we found that coming down river was harder than we expected. The wind-driven chop pushed the rear of our kayak, turning us to starboard. We kept heading out into the channel instead of hugging the shoreline. It took a lot of corrections to keep us on track.

While we were out on the river, a couple of F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets passed overhead. They were practicing low-level flight maneuvers and banked 90 degrees as they roared past us. This area is a designated as a low-altitude military training corridor. In certain areas of the country, the military can conduct low-altitude flight (below 10,000 feet above ground level) without regard to the 250-knot speed limit imposed on regular air traffic below 10,000 feet AGL.

We headed back to the RV park around 11:45am. On the way back, we met a couple that saw us go out. They were kayakers too and wanted see where we launched from. We gave them directions to the beach.

In the afternoon, we made a run to Quincy on the Spyder. I dropped Donna off at the Akins grocery store and rode over to the post office. I had a package there from the RV Water Filter Store. This was the first time I had something delivered to the Post Office addressed to General Delivery. I’ve heard that general delivery works well if you are in an area with a smaller post office. The Quincy Post Office qualifies as small. The clerk was friendly and she retrieved my package right away. Big city post offices seem to have issues with keeping track of general delivery mail. I was hoping that our regular mail from our service in South Dakota would be there, but it hadn’t arrived. I’ll have to go back there this morning to get it.

Yesterday the temperature reached the upper 90s. Today the forecast calls for a high of 102 degrees. I’ll make the run to town before noon to avoid the worst of the heat. It looks like this afternoon will be a good day to read another book and maybe take a dip in the swimming pool.

Tomorrow I’ll take Donna to Pangborn airport in East Wenatchee to pick up a rental car. She’ll drive the rental car over Cascade Mountains to meet her sister Sheila in Issaquah where she is running a marathon on Sunday. Donna will spend the night with Sheila at her hotel, then she and her nephew Connor will meet up with Sheila at the finish line.

Donna will come back Sunday evening. We plan to head out of Crescent Bar on Monday and go to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.

Little Deschutes River

The campground here at Sun River Thousand Trails is carved out of a pine forest. The tall trees are preventing me from acquiring a Dish network satellite signal. We don’t watch many TV shows, but I like to watch racing – especially Moto GP and Formula One.

On Sunday morning there was a Moto GP race at the Catalunya track in Barcelona, Spain. I looked at our data usage and it appeared that we were on pace to end our data cycle with a couple of gigabytes to spare. So, I found the race in a 1.6GB file and downloaded it to watch later.

Donna and I walked down to the pickleball courts and found friends we’d met the night before, Lance and Bonnie. We warmed up a bit, then joined them for a doubles game. I haven’t played in weeks and Donna’s been off the court even longer. I expected to be a little rusty but I didn’t think I would play as poorly as I did. I’ll need to stay on it while we’re here! Later, Julie and TJ joined us on the courts. They were all playing at a higher level than we were.

The heat wave in the west continues and we expected the high temperature to reach the 90s – it topped out at 94 degrees yesterday. After lunch we loaded our Sea Eagle kayak in TJ’s truck and rode with TJ and Julie to the east end of the campground where the Little Deschutes River runs past it. On the way there, we spotted a young buck and a couple of does in the campground.

Deer in the campground

Deer in the campground

The Little Deschutes River runs north and empties into the Deschutes River. We found the rest of the group from the night before there – they had air mattresses and inner tubes and were floating down the river.

Donna and I inflated and assembled the kayak and entered the river. We floated downstream past the area where TJ, Julie, Lance, Bonnie, Mike and all the kids were hanging out.

Little Deschutes River

Little Deschutes River

Then we turned around and paddled our way upstream to our entry point and pulled out. It was a good workout coming back upstream.

Paddling upstream

Paddling upstream

After packing up the kayak and putting it in TJ’s truck, I walked back home while Donna floated on her back down the river and then hung out with the group. I wanted to get out of the heat and watch the Moto GP race I’d downloaded. It turned out to be a very good race.

Last night I grilled green chile turkey burgers on the Weber Q. I paired the burger with an unusual IPA – Hopocalypse Double IPA from Drake’s Brewing. It was brewed with blood oranges and was very tasty.

Hopocalypse Blood Orange Double IPA

Hopocalypse Blood Orange Double IPA

This morning we walked over to have coffee with Lance, Bonnie and Julie. We sat at Mike and Michelle’s site and talked. Mike was on a call and I think TJ was sleeping in. After my cup of coffee, I left the group to write this post.

Today will be another hot one with temperatures in the 90s. Tommorow is supposed to be warm also, then we’ll have a cooling trend with the highs in the 60s by the weekend.

 

*Just so you know, if you follow one of my links to Amazon and decide to make a purchase, you pay the same price as usual and  I’ll earn a few pennies for the referral. It’ll go into the beer fund. Thanks!

 

Up Against the Wall

I’ve written about the RV community and how we have made many new friends. We find ourselves in the same areas at the same time every now and then and it’s fun to get together and reconnect. On Tuesday we had a different experience. Blog reader Michelle Zenkovich and her husband Matt were visiting Mesa, Arizona. Michelle messaged me and we arranged to meet up at 5:30pm at the Beer Research Institute (BRI).

Donna and I rode the Spyder and arrived a few minutes early. Matt and Michelle were already there and had a table. After introducing ourselves we sat together and ordered beers. Donna, Michelle and Matt each ordered a flight of four four-ounce samplers while I went for a pint of 48OG IPA brewed onsite.

Matt, Michelle and Donna at BRI

Matt, Michelle and Donna at BRI

After a bit of conversation, we ordered food. Donna and I split a machaca taco plate.

BRI taco plate

BRI machaca taco plate

Matt had the machaca tacos also while Michelle ordered the southwest poutine.

Southwest poutine

Southwest poutine

We ate and talked until 7pm, then it was time to head for home. I’m sure Matt and Michelle were jet-lagged after a long day of travel from West Virginia.

On Wednesday morning, I hit the pickleball courts early. They weren’t as crowded as last week and I hardly had a break between games. I ended playing 12 games and I was getting a little sore.

Towerpoint RV Resort had a free lunch scheduled for newcomers at the courtyard by the swimming pool. Donna and I attended and had a plate of sliced beef – I think it was a tri-tip – that was overcooked and tough. If it wasn’t for the mashed potatoes with a generous serving of gravy, I don’t think I could’ve choked the meat down. I’m exaggerating, of course. It wasn’t that bad and you can’t beat free lunch! We also had green beans and a salad with it. We met other park visitors along with the activities director and chatted for about an hour.

After lunch, I went to the hardware store to buy clips to hang some things in the trailer. Our new trailer is taller than the old one. This gives me plenty of room to mount things on the walls instead of stacking everything on the floor.

Kayak paddles and washing brushes mounted on the trailer front wall

Kayak paddles and washing brushes mounted on the trailer front wall

I’ve been looking at cabinets to mount on the side walls and a solution for securing the bicycles. I have a mountain bike and a road bike and Donna has her road bike. In our old trailer, I tied the bikes to the roof bows and suspended them. I’d like to find a way to either hang them from the side walls or even mount them securely to the floor. They would be much easier to load and unload and I have the space to do that now.

I shot a couple of photos to give a sense of the size of this trailer. The external dimensions are 24′ 8″ overall length, 8′ 6″ wide and 9′ high.

Trailer tight in our site

Trailer tight in our site

Close fit by our neighbor's place

Close fit by our neighbor’s place

It will be interesting when the time comes to leave Towerpoint RV Resort and tow the trailer out of here. We won’t leave until April 15th. Hopefully some of the sites around us will be empty by then, giving us more room to maneuver.

I got another seven games of pickleball in this morning.  Later, I’ll drop Donna off for a hair appointment. While she’s there, I’ll head over to the Elks Lodge in Tempe and see about joining. Our friend Dave Hobden sponsored us and I have an application. Elks Lodges usually have RV parking and inexpensive hook-ups. This will give us another alternative for places to stay while we travel about. It’s another sunny, beautiful day. The forecast calls for warm weather and sunny skies with no rain in the next 10 days.

 

Lunch on the Lake

I didn’t post Saturday morning as I had much to do. So, I’m writing this post Saturday evening and will share it Sunday morning.

On Friday, Donna’s sister Pam and her husband Gene came down from Lake Placid. Shortly after they arrived, we went to the farmers’ market at Bolton Landing. Pam and Gene rode with Donna’s other sister Linda and her husband Tom. Donna and I scootered over to Bolton Landing. It was about a 10-mile ride over the hill to Diamond Point, then up along Lake George to Bolton (map).

The farmers’ market was fairly sizable and had a number of interesting vendors. One of the booths had the largest assortment of mushrooms I’ve ever seen. They also had “Shroom Shakers” which are small spice shakers with powdered mushrooms. Donna bought the pioppino mushroom shaker. I’m not sure what she plans to do with it.

Some of the mushroom selection

Some of the mushroom selection

It was nearly 1pm by the time we got there. I didn’t have the best night’s sleep and was out of bed before 6am. I was hungry when we started shopping around at the market and feeling the lack of quality sleep. After 40 minutes of browsing, I was ready to move on and find lunch. It was like herding cats to get everyone interested in lunch and figuring out where we were going.

We went about a mile away to a restaurant called Algonquin (map). Donna and I arrived first and snagged a table on the lower deck which is barely above the Lake George water level. We enjoyed a good meal and lots of conversation. Although it was a warm and sunny day, sitting outside on the water was pleasant.

Linda. Tommy, Gene, Pam and Donna on the Algonquin deck

Linda. Tommy, Gene, Pam and Donna on the Algonquin deck

After lunch, Donna and I scootered over to the Price Chopper market in Warrensburg before we headed back to the campground. I broke down and bought Dogfish IPA made in Delaware. I just can’t appreciate the New York IPAs. I relaxed for a while. The Prednisone I’m taking to counteract an allergic reaction is playing havoc with my stomach. That’s why I didn’t sleep well the night before.

We gathered at Tom and Linda’s place for happy hour. We swapped a few jokes and stories before Tom grilled burgers for dinner. We sat outside until about 10pm before we called it a day.

During the night, Donna had to call security at 2:30am. There was a group of people whooping it up outdoors somewhere in the vicinity of our site. Sometimes, in places like this, you get city people out for the weekend. They rent a cabin on the property – they’re not RVers and have no clue of RV park etiquette. Even after a visit from the campground security, they partied on until 4am. Shame on the campground management.

On Saturday morning, I wanted to prepare for our move day on Sunday. The weather forecast was calling for thundershowers after midday. So I wanted to have things packed away while everything was dry. The temperature rose quickly and it was very humid out. Donna went for a hike up Hackensack Mountain and hiked the trail in the opposite direction from the first time she hiked there about a week ago.

While Donna was out hiking, I deflated our Sea Eagle kayak and packed it away. I took some time to reorganize some of the items in our cargo trailer. It was worth the time and effort – I’m pleased with the results. I ended up working for a few hours and took the windshield covers down and packed away our chairs and the outdoor carpet. When Donna returned, she helped with the awning. I had her working the switch to pull the awning in a short distance at a time. Then I would use my push broom to sweep the tree debris from the awning so it wouldn’t get rolled up in the fabric. This was a slow process and I’m feeling it in my arms and shoulders.

All those passes back and forth along the 19′ foot awning with a heavy broom was a workout. I’ve been working on my upper body strength over the past couple of months and I’m up to doing 45 push-ups daily. After the broom workout, I didn’t need the push-ups.

By 2:30pm, I had everything loaded in the trailer, including the scooter and Traeger wood pellet fired grill. The rain held off and I thought maybe we would stay dry all day. Donna went to the store in Linda’s car and picked up some snacks and beer. We sat outside for happy hour at our table with Linda and Tommy. We could hear thunder around us and the weather radar app showed thundershowers to the north, east and south of us but it was clear over us and to the west.

The happy hour was cut down to a happy half-hour when the thundershowers found us. Large rain drops suddenly pelted down and chased Linda and Tommy home while we dashed indoors.

Last night our party neighbors were at it again. After midnight I went over to the cabin site behind us. A large group of college age kids rented the cabin and had tents set up in the sites behind it. They were playing beer pong on the picnic table and shouting at each other and cheering. I told them it was after quiet time – quiet time is 10pm to 8am. They pretty much ignored me. I called the park security and met the security guy. I told him about the partying until 4am the night before. He went over and talked to the group. Whatever he said got their attention and it was quiet after that.

Today I only have a few things to do before we hit the road. We’ll head toward Cabela’s in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. I want to purchase a few things there and it will likely be a good dry camping place for the night. From there we plan to go to an RV park near Baltimore that offers shuttle service to the train into Washington, DC.

Kayaking the Schroon River

We unpacked the Sea Eagle SE-370 inflatable kayak yesterday. I filled it with air using the foot pump and we loaded it in the back of Tommy’s truck. Tom drove us to the kayak rental place in the campground on the Schroon River (map). We had easy access to the sandy beach and launched the kayak there.

I hadn’t been out in the kayak since we left San Diego. We paddled in unison and headed upriver. At the first bend, we had two out-of-control rental kayaks bearing straight at us, forcing us to take evasive action that ran us into the branches of an over-hanging tree. The people in the rental kayaks were totally oblivious as they paddled madly past us.

We put that behind us and continued upriver. We saw people tubing and kayaking downriver as we paddled along, but didn’t have any problems with the traffic. About a mile upriver, there’s a one-lane bridge connecting East Schroon River Road with Schroon River Road at the Warren County fairgrounds. This is where the bus drops off people tubing down the river. The bus must have arrived there just ahead of us as there was a gaggle of tubers in the water at the bridge.

Traffic at the bridge

Traffic at the bridge

A couple of days ago, Donna walked across that bridge after hiking on Hackensack Mountain. As she was crossing, a vehicle towing a travel trailer approached the one-lane bridge. The driver didn’t wait for Donna to finish crossing – she drove onto the narrow bridge and stayed tight to the right to give Donna room. As she passed by, Donna heard a loud screeching sound. The trailer was making contact with the bridge railing. Donna looked back as the trailer passed by and saw scrape marks on the metal rail. The travel trailer was damaged for sure – all because the driver was too impatient to allow a pedestrian to finish crossing the bridge.

As we paddled to the bridge, we saw Tommy there taking photos of us.

Tommy's photo of us approaching the bridge

Tommy’s photo of us approaching the bridge

We continued upriver past the bridge

We continued upriver past the bridge

Once we passed the bridge, we only saw a few other kayaks. The river current is moving slowly in most places and paddling upriver wasn’t too hard. We stopped where a pond formed on the west side of the river and ate ham and cheese sandwiches that Donna had packed for us (map).

The river bends and twists back and forth from there. The outside of the bends have deeper water. In the deeper areas, the current is slow. In some shallow areas, it picks up speed but the paddling wasn’t too hard. It was very quiet along this stretch with no houses or roads in sight.

Looking back upriver from the bridge

Looking back after we passed the bridge

What's around the bend

What’s around the bend?

Quiet, deep water

Quiet, deep water

We turned back and headed downriver. The current didn’t hinder us much going upriver, so it was no surprise when it didn’t carry us with any speed downriver. At one point, Donna wanted to see how fast we could sprint. We paddled with quick strokes and picked up speed quickly, but found it was hard to keep our paddling in sync to stay the course. We’ll have to work on that.

We only saw a few fish in the river and some geese. I expected to see more wildlife. We saw a few fishermen but no one was catching anything. We pulled out at the kayak rental beach and Tommy came back to pick us up. We were out on the river for over an hour and it was pleasant.

Last night, I grilled chicken leg quarters on the Traeger. We dined at Tom and Linda’s table – Donna made mango salsa to put on the chicken and we had white rice and a side of green beans with garlic and parmesan cheese that Tommy made.

After dinner, Donna, Linda, Tommy and their daughter Felicia went to the rodeo. I stayed home and soaked my feet in a warm salt water bath. The infection on my feet healed while I was taking antibiotic (Keflex) but it looks like it’s returning! I followed the salt water bath with triple antibiotic ointment. I hope I don’t need another visit to the doctor.

Today I’ll hook up to the campground cable TV and watch the Moto GP race at Indianapolis. Donna and I attended the Indianapolis round of Moto GP twice in the past.

Diverging Plans

We haven’t had beach weather, but I can’t complain. The daytime high is in the mid to upper 60s and overnight the low is in the upper 50s. In the afternoon, the wind blows 10-15 mph from the west/southwest. The wind makes it feel cooler than the thermometer shows. That will change over the next few days as the temperature will climb to the upper 70s and maybe hit 80 degrees.

I scootered over to the Pacific Beach Recreation Center on Thursday for more pickleball. Donna stayed home and worked on final preparations for her booth at the upcoming annual conference of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). She and her friend Ramona Creel are setting up a bookstore to sell books written by NAPO members.

Our plans diverged again yesterday. I had a doctor appointment in the morning. It was a follow-up visit after being diagnosed with high blood pressure late last year. I’ve been checking my blood pressure periodically. It seems to be erratic. I see variances of as much as 30mm Hg on the systolic (high) reading. Doctor Ryan thought I needed another medication to control my blood pressure better. He said it’s most likely a hereditary condition. Although regular exercise and proper nutrition can help (I already do this), I need medication. So now I take lisinopril every morning and atenolol at bedtime.

When I returned from the doctor, Donna was working on responding to a bid for speakers. Before I went to the doctor, I unpacked our Sea Eagle kayak and pumped it up. Donna’s sister, Sheila, and Sheila’s son Connor came over around 11:30am. The three of them went out on the bay in the Sea Eagle. I went to get my prescription filled at CVS. Then I rode to Chase Bank to deposit a check. From there I went to Costco. I bought a few 22-ounce bottles of craft beers and a bottle of wine. I also bought a case of bottled water which I strapped on the back seat of the scooter. When I got home it was after 1pm and Donna had left for a late lunch with Sheila and Connor.

I spent the afternoon reading a book in a chair outside in the sun. My daughter, Jamie, called from Texas. She’s having issues with her heart – something about a valve not operating properly. She wanted to know family history of heart disease. Unfortunately, I wasn’t much help. I haven’t talked to my biological father in more than thirty years and haven’t had contact with his family either. I know my paternal grandfather died of a heart attack, but he was in his 80s at the time. My mother is Japanese. She came to the USA after she married my dad. I never met her mother or father although I did meet her brother and sisters when I was a kid. It’s a long story, but I don’t know anything of the medical history on my mother’s side either.

While I was reading, I saw our neighbors across the way come out of their Lazy Daze class C motor home. I recognized them from their blog. It was Jim and Gayle (their blog is Life’s Little Adventures). They’ve been full-time RVers since 2008. We chatted briefly before they had to dash off to meet up with friends. Turned out they knew all about our trailer being stolen last year from my blog and I knew about their mountain bikes being stolen in Salinas last year from their blog.

Donna’s lunch with Sheila stretched out all afternoon. By 5pm, I was ready for liquid refreshment. I opened a bottle of Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout. It is a tasty concoction – sort of a liquid peanut butter cup.

Liquid peanut butter cup

Liquid peanut butter cup

I didn’t think I would have any issues with milk stout. I’m lactose intolerant and milk stout has lactose in it, but not that much. I was wrong. The last two times I had milk stout, my stomach was rumbling soon after. I need to cross it off my list of beers.

Donna, Sheila and Connor returned around 6pm. We sat outside and chatted. Their late lunch had turned into an afternoon margarita fest for the adults. I ordered a pizza for delivery from Woodstock Pizza in Pacific Beach. While we were waiting for the pizza, Connor took up a hula-hoop challenge. The challenge was to spin the hoop around his body and drop to his knees without stopping the hoop. It took a few attempts, but he got it. The next step was to drop to his knees and continue hooping while he stood up. It took several attempts, but he stayed with it and finally got it.

Dropping to his knees while hooping

Dropping to his knees while hooping

Now stand up without losing the hoop

Now stand up without losing the hoop

By then the pizza arrived and we ate at the table outside.

I have a couple of projects to attend to today. Donna is going with our friend, Sini, to a yoga class by the beach at the foot of Law Street in Pacific Beach this morning. Another friend we met at the PB rec center, Laurie Beth Jones, is coming over to visit this afternoon. Like Donna, Laurie is an author – she writes about spirituality and leadership and has published 14 books, the same number as Donna.

 

King Tide

In yesterday’s post, I said we’ve managed to avoid the holiday shopping crowd. I spoke too soon. We had to buy some supplies for Christmas dinner, which we’ll prepare at my step-dad’s house in Menifee.

Our first stop was Costco – I wrote a little history of the Costco #401 on Morena Boulevard in this post. We pulled into the parking lot at 11am. I thought that 11am on a Monday should avoid the worst of it. I thought wrong – the parking lot was an absolute zoo.

Gridlock in the Costco parking lot

Gridlock in the Costco parking lot

I didn’t try to park close to the store. I pulled into the row closest to the boulevard. After a couple of slow laps, I found a car pulling out and snagged a spot. We only needed a few items, most important of which was the spiral cut ham. I also picked up a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne for Donna in anticipation of New Year’s dinner at Hidden Shores. We were in and out in a reasonable amount of time despite the crowd.

From there, we drove north to the shopping center at Nobel Drive. Again, the parking area had a lot of traffic, but there were plenty of spaces if you didn’t try to get too close to the stores. Donna went to Trader Joe’s while I walked to Cost Plus World Market. I replenished my supply of Tomolives there – they have them for $2.99 for an eight-ounce jar. This price is as good as anything I’ve seen online and there’s no shipping expense.

Donna had a coffee date with the author of The Homeless Hero, Lee Silber. Lee ended up cancelling – he couldn’t miss out on the high surf. We’re having a condition known as King Tide in San Diego. King Tide occurs when the sun and moon are in a certain alignment. The additional gravitational pull this creates results in very high and extreme low tides. This is accompanied by large waves. Yesterday, the swell was six to eight feet out of the southwest. This made great surfing conditions for experienced surfers.

The King Tide was made even more enjoyable for the surfers with clear, sunny skies and air temperatures in the 70s. Pretty hard to beat, right?

I spent some time working in the trailer. I deflated and packed up our Sea Eagle 370 inflatable kayak. I cleaned the trailer up a bit, but I still have much to do before it’s ready for travel.

I took a walk through the park after I left the trailer. I saw a rig that I don’t believe I’ve seen before. It was a camper on a pick-up truck with a driver’s side slide-out! I don’t think I’ve seen a camper with a slide-out before. These days everything has to have a slide-out I guess.

Truck camper wide slide-out

Truck camper with slide-out

Last night Donna prepared a simple dish of spicy Italian chicken sausage with a red wine sauce over whole wheat spaghetti. I enjoyed the plate with a bottle of Stone IPA while I watched Monday Night Football. The Cincinnati Bengals secured a playoff spot by intercepting Peyton Manning four times en route to a 37-28 victory.

Simple dish with IPA for Monday Night Football

Simple dish with IPA for Monday Night Football

We have beautiful weather in store once again today. The King Tide continues. I might take a ride to the beach and check out the surfers before I get to it in the trailer.

Who Buys This?

We’ve had cooler weather over the past few days. The daytime highs reach the lower 70s while the overnight low is in the mid 50s. The cool nighttime temperatures prompted Donna to add a comforter to our bed. We sleep with the windows open – the cool night air feels good. In the morning, it’s usually about 60 degrees in our coach, but it quickly warms up as the sun streams through the windows.

On Saturday, my daughter, Shauna, and her roommate, Kat, came over to enjoy the nice weather on the bay. They wanted to take our Sea Eagle SE370 inflatable kayak out. One of the removable seats had been losing air. I suspected a leak around the fill valve. I unscrewed the plastic valve and sealed the threads with Teflon tape before they arrived. This seemed to do the trick, it’s holding air fine now.

Shauna and Kat paddling in

Shauna and Kat paddling in

I went to Costco to pick up a couple of things the other day. In some states, Costco sells liquor – California is one of them. While I was walking down the liquor aisle, I saw a few cabinets with bottles locked up inside. Out of curiosity, I walked over to see what was there.

What I saw boggled my mind. When I think about shopping at Costco, I usually expect to find common goods sold in quantity at discount prices. These liquor bottles were anything but common. The quantity was the usual 750ml. I don’t know if these prices reflect a deep discount or not – they’re way out of my league.

How about a bottle of Chivas Regal 62 Gun Salute  Scotch for $2,999.99? Well, they kept it under three thousand, right?

Chivas Regal 62 Gun

Chivas Regal 62 Gun Salute

Then I saw a bottle of Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac on offer for $2,999.00!

Remy Martin Louis XIII

Remy Martin Louis XIII

The icing on the cake was a bottle of L’Or de Jean Martell cognac priced at $3,399.00. They didn’t bother with the 99 cents.

L'Or De Jean Martell cognac

L’Or de Jean Martell cognac

I don’t recall seeing these bottles before. I wonder if it’s something special for the holidays? I appreciate fine whiskey and cognac, but I have to ask – do people really buy liquor at this price point? There must be someone willing to pay that price or they wouldn’t have it in the store.

Maybe someday, when I order a million-dollar-plus Newell coach, I’ll celebrate with a bottle of L’Or de Jean Martell.

Ruckus by the Bay

After I posted to the blog yesterday, Donna and I went out in the Sea Eagle kayak. We paddled south along the east side of Mission Bay. As we cruised south, we had a tendency to veer to the right. We tried various paddling techniques, but couldn’t really understand the root cause. After awhile, I told Donna to paddle normally (she was up front) and I would make adjustments to keep us on course.

Old Mission Bay Visitor Center

Old Mission Bay Visitor Center

We paddled past the old Mission Bay Visitor Center, which sadly is no longer open. Budget cuts strike again.

We continued paddling south for more than 30 minutes and reached the Hilton Hotel. We saw a couple of other kayaks out on the bay and a few jet skis and power boats, but all in all, it was a relatively quiet day.

Hilton Hotel viewed from the bay

Hilton Hotel viewed from the bay

We turned around at the Hilton and headed north, back to De Anza Cove. The paddle back was much easier. Our difficulty in holding our course on the way out was a combination of the current (the tide was going out) and wind effect. On the way back, the current helped us and the wind was quartering at our backs from the southwest.

Looking north as we paddled back

Looking north as we paddled back

It was a pleasant cruise on the bay. We spent a little over an hour paddling. I wondered if I would have sore shoulders, but I’m not sore at all this morning.

After we rinsed the kayak off and loaded it in the trailer, we returned to our coach just in time to see the FedEx guy make a delivery to us. I thought it would be my new road bike tires, but it turned out to be three large boxes sent from the Brillo people to Donna. One box contained a new wet/dry mop she wanted to test out and the other two boxes contain 100 packages of Brillo’s eraser sponge that she requested to fill goodie bags for an upcoming speaking engagement.

Anyway, I went online to track my tire package and found that it was sent via USPS. It showed “delivery attempted, notice left.” What? I didn’t have any notice. I clicked on the link for more information. The mail carrier indicated that he attempted delivery on Wednesday at 4:43pm. I was in the coach at that time, no delivery attempted here. I went to the park office to see if a notice was left there. They told me no package or notice was left there.

I rode the scooter over to the local post office on Cass Street. I explained my situation to the guy at the counter and he went into the back to look for the package. After awhile, he came back empty-handed and told me to talk to the office manager. I gave her the tracking number and told her what was shown on the web site. She pulled up the tracking information, then went into the back.

She came back and told me that my address, site 111, isn’t valid. I told her that I received mail the week before that was left at the office, not delivered to the site. This time, nothing was left – no notice, no package. She told me the mail carrier on Wednesday wasn’t the usual guy on that route. Russ, the usual guy had my package and would deliver it today. I thanked her, but I was thinking, is it okay for the guy to say he attempted delivery and left a notice when no such thing happened? She seemed to think it was okay. No accountability. No wonder the US Postal Service is in such dire straits.

On the way back, I saw a USPS delivery truck on East Mission Bay Drive. He turned at the golf course parking lot. I followed him. When he came out of the golf course office, I asked him if he was Russ. He was. I told him what happened. He had my package. He asked me for ID, then he handed it over to me. Whew, problem solved.

It was lunchtime by then. Donna made street tacos from leftover pork tenderloin – they were delicious! I had a few more things on my agenda for the day.

My first project was replacement of the air filter on the scooter. I had received the new air filter I ordered on Wednesday. The air filter is in an airbox on the left side of the scooter. Most modern engines utilize an airbox which not only houses the air filter, it’s a Helmholtz chamber. Helmholtz chambers are resonators. Engineers calculate the mass and velocity of the air and design the air box to resonate at a frequency that coincides with the engine rpm at maximum torque output. This resonance force feeds air into the intake and increases power.

Intake airbox

Intake airbox

Some guys think they’re hot rodding their engine by removing the airbox and clamping a filter directly to the intake to maximize airflow. Not a good idea. This old school, shade-tree thinking actually robs power.

The old air filter was dirty and in need of replacement. It did its job, dirty on the outside but clean on the downstream side. It had 6,000+ miles on it. I think next time I’ll replace it after 5,000 miles.

Old, dirty air filter

Old, dirty air filter

Prisitine, new filter

Pristine, new filter

With that job done, I took my new bicycle tires over to our trailer and set up my bicycle work stand. The work stand made it easy to remove the wheels from my bike and install the new tires.

Bike work stand outside the Busted Knuckle Garage (our cargo trailer)

Bike work stand outside the Busted Knuckle Garage (our cargo trailer)

My bike is road ready again!

The last item on my agenda was picking my teams for this weekend’s football pool and turning my sheet in. I rode out of the RV park on Mission Bay Drive. I rounded the curve near the intersection at the entrance to I-5 where there was a concrete island separating the lanes. Just then, I saw a car on my side of the road heading straight at me! I swerved quickly to the right curb as he sped past me, inches away.

When I reached the intersection, I saw traffic backed up as far as I could see in the opposite (southbound) lane of Mission Bay Drive. I wondered what that was all about as I continued north. When I reached the parking lot for the boat ramp, south of the visitor center, I saw police activity. There were at least 20 patrol cars in the lot with lights flashing. The lot was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape and the road was closed. The police were turning cars back, thus the big traffic tie-up.

I turned around and rode the scooter down the center line and took an alternate route. When I reached the tavern, I pulled up the local news on my smartphone and saw what the ruckus was all about.

A California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer had stopped a woman in the parking lot. He was investigating a hit-and run accident and had taken her into custody. Details are sketchy, but the report said shots were fired and then the handcuffed woman drove off in the CHP car. More shots were fired by the officer as the car sped away.

The woman drove the stolen CHP car to Friars Road, hitting several cars along the way before she was finally stopped. More shots were fired on Friars Road. I don’t think anyone was killed, but I’m not sure of the extent of injuries at this point.

Today, I want to go out on my road bike in the morning. The temperature will reach the mid 80s this afternoon. I don’t have any other plans.

Break Out

The weather guessers called for a warming trend to begin yesterday. The predicted high for the day was the upper 70s. A swing and a miss! The wind shifted and came from the northeast after noon. The thermometer hit 91 degrees with 4% humidity. It still feels dry this morning though the humidity is up to 20%.

Donna and I went out for bicycle rides yesterday around 11:30am. She was on her road bike and rode to Crown Point Shores, then looped back around the east side of Mission Bay to ride Fiesta Island. I rode my mountain bike and stayed on the east side of the bay.

As I rode past the Hilton Hotel, I saw groups of people who were obviously attending a conference or seminar. They were in “break out” sessions sitting in circles in the grassy areas behind the hotel. I thought about the many times I participated in similar sessions when I was in the corporate world.

We would usually fly to a desirable location for a conference, then end up in meeting rooms all day. At least these people were outside enjoying the sunshine. I don’t miss those corporate conferences or commercial flights. I haven’t passed through airport security once in the last 18 months. There was a time when I was boarding an airplane once a month or more.

Setting up lunch behind the Hilton Hotel - Fiesta Island is across the bay

Setting up for lunch behind the Hilton Hotel – Fiesta Island is across the bay

By the time I returned to the RV park, the wind had picked up. There was a package left at our front door. FedEx had dropped off the Cycle Pro Mechanic Bicycle Stand I’d ordered from Amazon. I had a similar stand, but it was in our old cargo trailer when it was stolen.

I unpacked the stand and set it up. It’s a nice unit. I like it better than the stand I had before. I’ve been lax on bicycle maintenance. Lack of a suitable work stand is one reason. Now I don’t have that excuse and I’ll have to get back into the habit of cleaning, lubing, adjusting and inspecting our bicycles on a routine basis.

I expect the new tires I ordered for my Orbea road bike to arrive today. I’ll break out the bicycle stand and put it to good use making my bike road ready.

Before dinner, I rode the scooter to the Vons grocery store in Pacific Beach. We needed some fresh vegetables. When I defrosted the refrigerator the day before, I left Donna’s green vegetable bags on the counter. That didn’t work out so well.

I grilled chicken thighs for dinner last night. With the change back to standard time, it gets dark early. Sunset is around 5pm. This means I’m grilling in the dark. We have enough light to grill, but I sure like it better when I’m grilling in sunlight.

After dinner, I opened a bottle of locally brewed stout. It was Alesmith Speedway Stout. This is a coffee flavored imperial stout with chocolate. I thought it would make a good dessert. Whenever you see the word “imperial” in the description of an ale, you can bet it is a strong beer. This was no exception, Alesmith Speedway Stout has 12% alcohol by volume (ABV). The high gravity required to brew a 12% ABV ale made the beer a little too heavy for me.

Alesmith Speedway Stout

Alesmith Speedway Stout

For my taste, the stouts made by Belching Beaver are hard to beat. Their pumpkin spiced stout is subtly spiced and is very drinkable. Their milk stout is a treat and the peanut butter flavored chocolate stout is absolutely delicious. These stouts are brewed to a more normal 5-5.5% ABV.

Today, the predicted high temperature is in the mid 80s. Donna and I will take our Sea Eagle kayak out for cruise on the bay this morning while it’s nice and calm.