What DO retired people do every day? May 2012

This retired couple finds PLENTY to do! Last week we spent a day in Sacramento, checking out Ikea and RC Willey, Costco (we joined!), and Mel's Original Diner (lunch, doncha know). Had a blast, looking at everything! Picked out a few things, too. Here's a sampling of our week:

Jimmy - multiple times - at a cabinet in Ikea.

An early morning stop at Grass Valley's Grower's Market @ North Star House on Saturday mornings is a definite for us. We also each bought a sweet breakfast treat, but have no photo 'cause we ate 'em as soon as we got them! I tried the mushrooms above (shiitake and oyster) and liked them very much. Half of these yummy things are already gone!


Also on Saturday was the 16th Annual Llama show at Nevada County Fairgrounds. A cool afternoon with rain and/or T-storms forecast, we wore jackets, just in case. The photos below represent only a handful of llamas (plus a few alpacas) who were competing in various categories. Not as in, who's the prettiest or who can spit the farthest, but as in performance. It was fun to visit each stall and see which animals were friendly or inquisitive. Some had their fiber trimmed like you might see on a poodle.

I took a bunch of pictures and a few are downright funny! These animals would nuzzle your cheek if you let them. Jimmy got quite a few "kisses," more than me! We learned a few facts, as well: Llamas DO NOT SPIT, unless they're arguing over food, they've been mistreated, or have not been raised properly [like humans?], or you're doing something that aggravates them, like shearing or trimming their nails, etc.

Nice "do!"

Jimmy with "Major Spot."

Getting a "kiss."

Bad hair day?

Barely six months old, cute! cute! cute!

Rag mop?

And this is Bella, wearing her prosthesis. She stepped in a gopher hole (how ignominious !), broke her leg and was very unhappy. Eventually fitted with the artificial leg, she sprang back to life, so to speak. She even merited a front-page write-up in the Grass Valley Union newspaper. Neat story!


We are lucky enough to buy a house near a spectacular multi-use path alongside a narrow canal... and one day we tackled it on our bikes. Four-and-a-half miles long, this path winds serpentine-like ever so gently up... the incline scarcely noticeable. At one point we have to cross a ravine - as does the water in a huge tube - on a skinny bridge. Just makes it more interesting! The canal water is crystal clear and occasionally we see a small trout! We think being close to the water keeps the path cooler, or at least it feels that way. Up and back is only nine miles, and we felt refreshed at ride's end.

New flowers were blooming and I don't know their names. The broom and native lilac were still in evidence, but they've been joined by the pretty blossoms below.

Colorful ending!


Ring of Fire! May 20, 2012

Right time. Right place.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a... an annular eclipse!

First picture, thru the special eclipse viewing glasses.

And here at 6:32 pm PDT is the Ring of Fire - amazing to see!

Last picture as the sun and the moon begin to part company, so to speak.



Getting to Know You ... May 2012

... getting to know all about you! And loving what we see and do! From the Co-op we joined today, loaded with regional and local natural foodstuffs, to the things I've listed below, to the Galleria of Roseville, and every nuance in between, we're happy to be in Northern California. Included is the coffee shop I'm in, with its high-speed Internet, allowing me to post this.

We're staying in one of two RV spaces at a mobile-home park, on a month-to-month basis, allowing us time to look at homes for sale in the area. While convenient and relatively inexpensive, it does not boast high-speed Internet (more like very low speed). Otherwise, we're close to grocery stores and everything else modern America deems important to survive. And good news: We found our home! So, while we wait for escrow to close, we explore!


One of our day trips was to the Empire Mine in Grass Valley, CA -- site of the largest and richest gold mine in the state. From 1850 to its closing in 1956, it produced 5.8 million ounces of gold. Let's see, if gold is selling today @ $1600/ounce - well, you can do the math!

A visit to the blacksmith shop on the grounds. Love that sign.

Two words: SHOOT ME!

Jimmy attempting to push an ore car. 😄 During most of Empire Mine's productive years, mules pulled ore cars thru 367 miles of horizontal tunnels. And get this: A good mucker could shovel one of these cars FULL to its 2,000 lb capacity in less than six minutes! (I repeat the above two words!)

One of the gorgeous dogwood trees on the grounds.
I'd rather be standing in the trees above ground than shoveling muck below!

Residence of the mine owner, William Bourn, Jr. This two story country home, styled after the noble estates of nineteenth century England, was built in the late 1890's. The architecture is distinguished by a remarkable redwood interior, leaded glass windows and massive granite walls. We toured part of the home and it is, indeed, remarkable.  Or as we'd say, "Nice little place!"

Exbury hybrid azalea, with buzzy-bee, in front of the house.


There's lots to see and do here in NorCal, and we are taking advantage of our time by scoping out places. In Auburn we discovered this park - the confluence of the South and Middle Forks of the American River.

This picture and the one below show the Foresthill Bridge, towering 750' above the North Fork. It's the tallest bridge in California and the third tallest in the world! Some kind of work was being done to/on it, but we drove over it anyway ... kinda scary being that high up. On a different note, for future reference, this park has quite a few hiking and biking trails.

Hwy 49 bridge over the river leads to Cool. Cool, huh? 
Don't think I'd want to kayak this fast water, tho.

Confluence of Middle and North forks.
Notice people in the water; it may not be cold, but this water is certainly not warm!


Near the house we are fixin' to buy is a 5-mile multi-purpose path alongside a canal -- quiet and shaded by tall trees, it's a wonderful place to stroll or even power-walk (below). We've been on it several times, although not the entire distance. Biking is also allowed and we hope to hit the trail on our bikes soon.

Here's a photo of the house we're buying,
nestled among the beautiful trees of the Sierra Nevada Mountain foothills.

And a colorful azalea in the front yard.


A short road trip took us to the longest single span covered wooden bridge in the country. Located in Bridgeport (which is no longer a town, just the state park), the bridge is temporarily closed to foot traffic due to "some structural problems," but they'll be corrected and the bridge will reopen. Other activities from the visitor center include wildflower walks, bird walks, and gold panning tours. O boy! During the gold rush, placer mining claims on the river were some of the richest in California.

Hooray! The park has been taken off the closure list!

Jimmy at the edge of the South Yuba River.
We saw big kids in the water, zipping downstream with float boards. Fun!

Long span - I sure would like to walk across the bridge to the other side.
Maybe someday.

Along with light, there is a person at the end of the tunnel.

We're looking forward to lots of light and many happy experiences here.  Heaven knows there is plenty of opportunities to hike, explore, dig around, kayak, swim, and shop.  I think we'll make out just fine.


When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain - Sat., May 5th, 2012

Did you see the moon this evening? The moon reached its closest approach to Earth, about 221,802 miles, during the same time as the full moon, which means the moon appeared up to 16% bigger and 30% brighter than usual.

Here in Grass Valley, CA, the Full Moon rose @ 8 pm... and we were outside waiting for it to top the mountain. The sky was perfectly clear. And suddenly there it was: What a beautiful sight. Through binoculars we could see valleys and peaks and little men operating an orange cheddar cheese factory! (And, we also spotted bats flying in the foreground.) The clarity of this huge celestial body tonight was "out of this world."


Grass Valley... at last - Monday, April 23rd

No longer will we have to hum the song, "California, here I come." We are here! We drove over Donner Pass (elevation: 7239') on Monday, the 23rd, followed Rte 20 down to Grass Valley, and parked Tergel at the Nevada County Fairgrounds for two nites. The journey here only took 3 1/2 wks, which is darned good for RV'ers who are accustomed to all manner of intriguing side trips!

We are in the land of tall trees, esp the towering Ponderosa pine. At 2,500 ft elevation, spring is still with us; it's such a gift to behold the vibrant colors. I don't think I've ever seen flowering dogwoods rivaling the trees here in Nevada County: White, pink, red, yellow - all in full bloom. The same with flowers - beautiful and bright. The air smells as crisp as the spring temperatures. Just right.

Our goal is to look for a home in this area, which sounds sort of crazy since neither of us has ever been here before. But there you have it, and now we plan to look around. The towns of Grass Valley and Nevada City are only three miles apart. Nevada City can get more snow in winter because it's roughly 500 ft higher in elevation. Both towns are picturesque, old gold-mining towns.

Because we don't know how long our quest will take, we needed to find a new place - more reasonable - to camp with Tergel. The fairgrounds charge $30/nite - high for the surroundings. Jimmy found a small "senior" mobile home park where we could settle in for only $350/month, and so we moved. It's very quiet here, and we're comfy.

We got down to brass tacks right away, checking out details with City Hall, the visitor's center, a stop at Grass Valley's wonderful Carnegie library, Safeway, a coffee shop or two, etc., and the local Coldwell Banker realty. We enlisted their help in our search for a home.

Of course, all work and no play is not our style. Sat, the 28th, Grass Valley hosted a car show in their "downtown" streets, which was fun. Lots of flames! Sat and Sun the fairgrounds featured an annual House and Garden show - we attended both sunshiny days, walking and looking, storing info and brochures for possible later need. Alice and Tom drove up from Roseville on Sunday to visit and browse the show with us. Nice to see them again!

In between, we've walked thru other people's houses! Looky-loos. Maybe, just maybe, we'll find one - the perfect house for us. The pictures below are random.

Nice, big ol' trees in the yard of a house we looked at.

Biggest dogwood blossoms on really big trees!

Alice and Tom taking a break in Tergel.

More dogwood blossoms! Yellow ones....

No, I don't remember what year this classic car is. It has flames, tho.

California poppies are in bloom all over the area. Wow!

Jimmy was partial to some cars more than others. This one was eye-catching, for sure!

Pink dogwood near the fairgrounds. Simply gorgeous.

... to be continued...!