Holy Moly - three days of PLAY! Nov 26, 27, 28

Everything's coming up Disney!  In Anaheim for a week, Jimmy and I visited Disneyland Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday!  Matt joined us on Monday (Jen had to work) and we stayed and played till dark.  Despite the rain forecast for Wednesday, the four of us spent the entire day, and it didn't rain till after midnight anyway.  We rode every ride we wanted - some more than once - and we had a wonderful time!  But, oh my achin' feet!  

 Hello, Mickey!

 Thanks, guys!

 Happy couple at the Magic Kingdom Christmas tree.

 Let the parade begin!

Which one is goofy?

 Tergel and Smartie parked at the very nice Anaheim RV Resort.

Jenny and Jimmy AND Beauty and the Beast - the latter two made with Legos!

 Matt and Jimmy love to ride the roller coaster, but not me!

 Me and Matt look like we're wearing matching jeans, but those are tractor tires!

 Jimmy, me and Matt in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle on Monday.

 Howdy, Woody!

 We had a grand time in the new Cars Land attraction.

Crazy fun on Space Mountain!

Aw, sweet picture of Matt 'n Mom.

Yo Mickey - good to see you again!


11/25/12 Don't believe them if they say...

..."there's nothing to see around here," because if you look, you can always find something interesting.  For instance, here we are camped at the Elks Lodge in Wasco (ever heard of Wasco?) in the middle of nowhere all by ourselves, behind a building in a vacant parking lot.  Just one overnight stop in California's Central Valley on our way to Anaheim. Nothing to see, right?  Wrong.

 Me and Jimmy and two palm trees...

Right next to a well-kept almond orchard!

 An enormous orchard that stretches beyond where the eyes can see.

 A walk around the palm trees reveals three (empty) pipes cut off about five inches above ground.  Well, you know I'm going to look into each one!  Two had nothing but debris and/or webs inside.  One contained something strange... 

 We bent down to examine it closer -- it vaguely looked like fish, but - no way! - we knew that was crazy...

 When we saw the bees flying out, we recognized honeycombs!  If you enlarge this picture further, you can see more detail.  A passel of honeycombs and bees down in the pipe.  What a fascinating find!

We watched bees flying into and out of the pipe for a few minutes, and then Jimmy  wondered aloud, "What happens when it rains?"  "I dunno," I said, "I guess they get wet."

Well, that answer didn't set well, so Jimmy made them a breezeway to keep dry!  The bees seemed a bit confused at first, but they got the hang of it, OK.  I bet they'll appreciate his bigheartedness if and when it does rain in these parts.

In the same area we spied a lot of owl pellets.  I took a picture of it (which contained a lot of tiny skeletal remains), but I won't post that here.  Most folks wouldn't care to see dried owl poop.

We didn't spend too much more time bee/bird/nut hunting.  While we knew the rest of the drive to Anaheim would be relatively short, a timely start might allow us to beat the holiday going-home traffic.  As it turned out, traffic heading north was tied up off and on the whole distance -- lucky us, we breezed on down to Anaheim.



Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2012

It's easy to have a thankful heart with colorful sights such as these!
 From our dining room window...

Idyllic lake where Laurie and Odel live in Diamond Springs CA...

Handsome black swan, one of a pair on the grass...

 Second pair of black swans in the shallows...

  New and old amongst the autumn leaves...

Not sure what these bright berries are, but there was an abundance...

Thankful for a walk with friends on a breezy autumn day...

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


A different kind of weekend... Nov 10, 2012

Autumn in New York?  No way.  This is autumn in Nevada City, CA.  We prepared for the Alaskan cold front that was fixin' to blow our way:  Wednesday we stocked up on a ton of groceries as though we might be snowed in for a month.  I brought in the few potted plants from the back deck that would NOT like being frozen.  Jimmy freeze-proofed the outside water connections.  Thursday the temperature dropped considerably from the day before, but, while the day was cloudy, no rain or snow was predicted.  It was a fine enough day to be outdoors, so we donned lightweight down jackets for an early morning walk along our favorite canal path.  Figured we may as well get in a spot of exercise before the weather turned nasty.  

Gone is the dry, dusty summer path, washed clean in October by a couple of gentle, soaking rains.  Autumn leaves and pine straw now soften our steps. 

The water level in The Ditch (as it's called) was considerably lower than we'd ever seen it, which made seeing fish much easier.  We saw a dozen or more small to decent-sized trout.  A narrow swath of leaf litter floated atop the rushing water -- a river piggybacked on a river.

 Some trees are holding onto their vibrant autumn colors.


Friday dawned cloudy again, and much colder.  By late morning snow flakes began to fall.  It didn't take us long to throw jackets on and run out the front door!  We were thrilled to watch the flakes float noiselessly to the ground.  Beautiful big fat wet snowflakes.

 Jimmy sez the snow tastes like cold water!

Amazing sight, isn't it?  For those of us who aren't used to seeing snow fall, it was grand.  The flurries didn't last and what did fall didn't stick to the ground.  We figured we'd be safe driving down the mountain to a Grass Valley theater for the new James Bond flick, "Skyfall."  (Entertaining, noisy shoot-em-and-blow-em-up.) 

Then, sometime between dinner and bedtime, we opened the curtains and were completely surprised to see an inch of snow covering the deck... and everything else.  Snow is silent, not like riotous raindrops in the southeast that can bounce a foot high when they hit the ground.  Our outside thermometer recorded 32.5 degrees at bedtime and when we awoke Sat morning (warmer than the 20's predicted), and a light covering of snow remained on the deck.  More off/on snow/rain showers were predicted for Saturday, with a peek or two of sun thrown in for good measure.

A Most Different Kind of Weekend for Us.


Oh ho - Yolo! -- Saturday, 11/3/12

Imagine 16,000 acres of wetlands bursting with waterfowl and birds of every size - like a colossal open-air aviary - and you have Yolo Basin Wildlife Area.  Located between Davis and Sacramento, it was a convenient hop for us from our campsite at Cal-Expo in Sacramento.  We planned to return to our home in Nevada City later in the afternoon, so we unhooked and temporarily parked Tergel offsite, and drove Smartie to Yolo.  It's impossible to convey with words and the less-than-stellar photos below just how overwhelming the bird life is here; e.g., when a whole flock of birds and/or ducks takes to the sky at one time!  It wasn't especially noisy, either.  It was, however, quite special(Click on any picture to enlarge)

 Jimmy looking thru the binocs at what looked like a mixed flock of mallards and Northern Shovelers.

 Not too much blooming this time of year, but cabbage butterflies were all over a patch of yellow hawkweed.

Coots (old ones?) skedaddling away from me.  Thousands of coots are here. 

The sky is choked with birds on the wing!

The abundance of wildlife in Yolo can be attributed to the various habitats found within. There are four major habitat types:  Permanent wetlands, Seasonal wetlands, Riparian forests, and Grasslands.  Yolo offers an auto tour, which we did, plus hikes of various lengths on dry paths or gravel roads around the lakes and wetlands.  Watching the clock as we were, our hike was a short one.

According to an informational sign, approx 2500 acres is set up in infrastructure for rice production (Rice Field Management).  We saw the flooded fields.  These acres attract lots of migratory shorebirds, which we know is a fact -- we saw oodles and oodles!

 Chicory making a last stand before winter sets in.

Our binocs weren't strong enough to make out many of the duck species, as we couldn't get close (without getting soaked, that is -- ha ha).  We'll be back; next time, we'll bring our bird scope and a camera with a better lens!

Covering 25 square miles and home to nearly 200 species of birds, as well as thousands of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds, this Wildlife Area is located in the heart of one of the country's richest agricultural areas, alongside one of America's busiest people freeways (I-80), and next to the bustling Sacramento metropolitan area.  How handy for all us people to live so close!


Sacramento: Biking to Old Town - Friday, 11/2/12

Today (Friday) began cool, but not so foggy.  It was our day to ride bikes on the American River trail into Old Town.  Yesterday someone told us about "Underground Sacramento," which we thought sounded interesting - even better, it's attached to the Old Sac History Museum.  It really was a lovely morning to pedal the 8 miles into town.  Huge cottonwood trees line sections the American River, their autumn-yellow leaves a sight to behold, many already scattered along the path.

We bought tickets for the one-hour Underground Tour, which began promptly at 12:30pm.  Here again, we learned so much more about the town and the gold rush era that began it all - the tour was well worth it.   "Hidden beneath the city for nearly 150 years, Old Sacramento’s underground has long been the capital’s best-kept secret."

After the tour was over, we spent an hour or so inside the small, but well laid-out museum and then strolled thru Old Town.  Lunch was soup and sandwich at Fat City on Front Street.  We also stopped in a tiny Wells Fargo Museum, but they weren't giving away any gold nuggets.  Awwww...! 

Tergel and Smartie comfortably installed at Cal-Expo RV Park in Sacramento.

 How many of you have seen call boxes?  How many have seen call boxes on BIKE trails? 

 The museum and one of the exhibits:  Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) - celebrated Nov 1/2.

 Sacramento is located in the rich and productive Central Valley, breadbasket to the nation.  Colorful packing box labels are shown above.

The Lady Adams bldg is the only surviving bldg from the Great Conflagration of 1852.

Brannan Bldg.  Sam Brannan is considered the first publicist of the California Gold Rush and was its first millionaire.

 Be fun to ride in one of these -- for at least five minutes, maybe?

Finally, the afternoon waned and it was time to hop on the bikes and ride the 8 miles back to our Home On Wheels.  Clouds had moved in, as you can see in the above photograph of the American River as we crossed it, but we enjoyed our return ride.  In fact, we enjoyed the whole dang day!

Tomorrow:  The Yolo Basin Wildlife area, a few miles west of Sacramento.  O boy!