Finishing Up in Oregon (Sort of)


OK, so I JUST HAD to start out this post with this sign in one of the shop windows in Weed, CA! I thought it was appropriate, seeing that we have been in Cannabis country for quite a while now, California and Oregon being overrun with Reefer Madness!

So, to kill a week before heading back to Harrisburg, we decided not to forge ahead into Idaho but to stop short in Salem, OR. The Salem Elks Lodge was our home for a week. The lodge is situated next to the Walter L. Wirth Lake and city park area. We were lucky to find space in the 38 site Elks RV lot, it seems most of the spaces are taken up by permanent residents. And it was further disheartening to discover the magnitude of the homeless population in these parts of Oregon, every corner occupied by homeless with signs trying to tug at the public’s heart strings. The park and lake area we were at contained beat up, broken down RV’s and vehicles parked everywhere, even in the tree lines. It was so unpleasant that Jeanne said she would not take the dog for a walk alone through the area. And as we checked in at the Lodge, we were quickly briefed on the need to keep all our stuff locked up, not exactly what a traveler wants to hear. But we dared fate…


Our first site at the Elks was a back-in here along the backside of the lot, a disc golf area behind us and next to the lake.


Go Ducks! Just checking out our park job…


Then we moved to a pull through on the end, a little more space…


Heading over to the park and Walter L. Wirth Lake. Guess what state we are in. Go Ducks!


Walter L. Wirth Lake seemed like a nice little fishing lake.


But then you see this stuff, not much of it moving any time soon.


They were even tucked into the trees. What a shame…


Welcome to Marijuana Mania!

Silver Falls State Park seemed to be calling our names. We learned the big trail did not allow K-9’s, so Woodrow Wilson had to stay back at the bus. The park is a busy one, but for $5 parking (no separate entry fee) it was well worth the effort. We took the Trail of 10 Falls, about an 8 mile trek, and off we went. It was a moderate hike, winding amongst and behind numerous waterfalls, very scenic. In these photos I will try to keep the names of the falls accurate, as best I can.


Welcome to the Trail of Ten Falls!


They did a great job on the trails here at Silver Falls SP. Here is a cutie I encountered on the trail…


South Falls. From the frontside…


South Falls. From the backside…


The Spanish Moss grows a bit different here on the left coast than from that of the deep south and right coast.


Lower South Falls.


Jeanne preparing to cross under Lower South Falls.


Lower North Falls.


Double Falls.


Drake Falls.


Middle North Falls.


Twin Falls. Hard angle to see, but you can see the whitewater from the 2nd waterfall on the right side of the big rock.


North Falls. This was pretty loud, the water crashing at the bottom had some good PSI’s.


North Falls from under the cliff and kinda behind…


North Falls from a distance…

The Stayton-Jordan covered bridge was close by so we just had to do a drive-by. It was a bridge that burnt down and was re-built in the 90’s.


The Stayton-Jordan Covered Bridge.


A little history lesson for the bridge…


These covered bridges always attract the cute chicks…


Nice view off the bridge. Hey, looky, another bridge!


More history…

While in Salem we checked out the Santiam Brewery for lunch and a taste of the local brewfare. A couple of gyros for lunch and wash down with a flight of samplers was just the ticket. They have a Pirate Stout, rum barrel aged with a hint of coconut, and a Russian Imperial Stout named Impersky, bourbon barrel aged, both very tasty!

Next stop was a walkabout with Woody at the Salem Riverfront Park. It was a beautiful day and we tripped for about 2 +/- miles with Woodrow leading the way. 

Time up in Salem, it was a return trip to Harrisburg and Elite Renovations and Repairs. They were able to replace some slide toppers that they had to order in a couple hours, then we hit the road southbound and down. In the blink of an eye we found ourselves back in California, in the area ALL of the locals wish to call the State of Jefferson. They’ve had a movement to try to split away from California and become their own state for several years now. I don’t know if there is much chance of that happening, but I wish them all good luck. Seeing we were on the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, moving along without reservations for where we were going to stay, we found space at the Waiiaka RV Park in Yreka, CA. Actually, for a small town, this park was not bad at all, and very quiet. We’ll see how that lasts tonight, they have what I call the Round-e-Rounds (that would be dirt track racing) across the street from the park. But the plus was the folks here at Waiiaka gave us free passes to said Round-e-Rounds, so we may be able to experience them firsthand, we’ll see.


The Waiiaka RV Park in Yreka, CA.


Another view of the park.


Our home, at Waiiaka RV Park. Convenient being next to the dog run…

Checking out the downtown area of the huge city of Yreka, we stumbled upon the Etna Brewing Co. Well twist my arm, will ya? We tried their sampler flight, but I think this was the first brewery that we have encountered nationwide where I did not care much for any of their offerings. However, among the samples, they did include a sample of their non-alcoholic root beer. Holy Cow! That was the best root beer I have ever had!


Etna Brewing Co., downtown Yreka.



Some of the Etna Brewing Co. fare.


OK, so we had JUST a taste…I guess it was not polite to wear a shirt from another brewery while doing so…


A look down through downtown Yreka.


Across the street from Etna.

Next up for us, we had to stop in and explore the big town of Weed, about a 30 mile drive south of Yreka. With all the legalization going on in this part of the country, I figured I could find a cannabis themed shirt or two. I was not disappointed. You will have to keep checking up on this blog if you want to see the shirt designs, I will make sure to post a pic or two. And keeping with my lifestyle of trying to exacerbate my gout at every turn of the screw, we found the Mt. Shasta Brewing Co. in Weed. A stop off there, some short samples of their brews, and I found 2 to my liking, the Shastafarian Porter, and my favorite the Stout of Jefferson. I had to get a growler to go of the Stout of Jefferson so I can tantalize my son Chad’s taste buds when we arrive back in Atascadero in a little over a week. Along the lines of a non-porter or non-stout, they also have a Jalapeno Weed Ale. It was different, I’ll say that. Nice spice, the heat is not bad but does build as time elapses.


Driving to Weed, now I know I thought I saw Mt. Shasta in there somewhere!


Inside Mt. Shasta Brewing Co.


All things weed…


I wonder if they do deliveries in this truck?


Welcome to Weed, CA.



Ahhhh, signs of weed!


More signs of weed…

Well, we are about ready to head over to Jeanne’s niece’s (Justine) house here in Yreka for a visit, then it will be moving day tomorrow, back to southbound and down. Until next post, thank you to ALL who gave some, and to SOME who gave all, for your service and sacrifice so that we can live in our free society, the United States of America! God Bless America! 

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Taking Care of Business in Oregon

Finished with a short stint in Atascadero, it was time to hit the road, northbound and down. We have a month to burn before we get to return for babysitting duties again, so we planned to head into Oregon for some minor repairs to be done on the motorhome. 


Saying good-bye in style. If you’ve never partaken of this nectar of the gods, you’re missing out. KBS Barrel-Aged Stout by Founders Brewing. Wow!


Woody had been chasing these guys all over Chad’s backyard the whole time we were here.


Little Miss Hailey Marie, looking rather stylish! “We’ll see you on the flip side, kid!”


Little Miss Ellie Grace. “What are you up to, missy?! That look says, ‘I am fully prepared to embark on some new adventures in babysitting!'”

We shot over to catch I-5 out of Kettleman City, then it was settle in and head north. Being one who does not enjoy really long days on the road, we took our time and our first break/stop was an overnight at the Modesto Elks Lodge. The town of Modesto is pretty much an armpit, but the Elks Lodge there is nice, on the outskirts of town, and they have a few RV sites in the back with W/E. 


Our overnight home at the Modesto Elks Lodge.

Up and at ‘em the next morning it was onward to Cottonwood, just south of Redding. Jeanne has two brothers living in the area, Dwayne and David. Dwayne owns a large piece of property there with tons of room for us to mooch-dock. A plus was, he has W/E hookups for an RV and, if necessary, access to his septic system. Woody the wonder dog had fun at Dwayne’s, rubbing elbows with his herd of chickens and two pet pigs. We spent a few days visiting with the family (Dave, his son Alex, Dwayne, his son Dwayne Jr., and his daughter Sairah. Unfortunately, we missed out visiting with Dwayne’s fiancee, Shelly, as she had previously made plans out of the area). 

Continuing north on I-5, our next stop was the Guaranty RV Park in Junction City, OR. Guaranty is a very large RV organization in that area. They have a service center, various RV sales lots, car sales lots, RV parts store, the fairly new RV Park, and an on site cafe. The RV sites were concrete pads, FHU’s, paved interior roads, and nicely kept grass areas between sites. We had a pull through site long enough to keep the toad attached. The problem keeping the toad attached, the utilities are toward the rear of the sites, so I needed 3 sewer hose sections to reach the sewer drain. I ended up disconnecting, then backing the beast up to the rear of the site so as to only need one section of sewer hose.  We had made an appointment  months ago to get some minor repairs done on our motorhome at Elite Renovations & Repairs in nearby Harrisburg, and we still had a week to kill before said appointment. Jeanne found Guaranty RV Park on line and like the commercial goes, “bada-bing-bada-boom”. We also ran into one of my fellow co-workers from Sonoma County, CA, Steve Satterwhite, who was at the RV Park to take care of some business of his own. We had a nice, albeit very short visit and exchanged a few RV tales. During our stay at Guaranty we ate a few meals at the cafe, which was pretty good food & beer, and very inexpensive.


Our home at Guaranty RV Park…


Flyers for things to do in the area, we found this one for any cannabinoid who wants to rub elbows with fellow cannabinoids. To use some of the infamous vernacular I am still trying to decipher, SMH…

Repairs appointment at hand, we drove on down the road all of about 5-6 miles to Harrisburg and Elite Renovations & Repairs. Jeanne found Elite through one of her blogosphere peeps, Nina of, and she recommended them for repair work. As it turned out, we were here as our tires “timed out” (5 years from their date of birth). Since they had some very minor cracking/blemishes on the sidewalls (I usually cover the tires for stays of over 2 days), Nina also recommended Superior Tire Service (Eugene) for tires (through Family Motor Coach Association, FMCA). And so the dance began. Besides the minor coach repairs (involving a claim with our extended warranty), we incurred some brain fart damage that would be run through our RV insurance under Comprehensive Damage. We had the passenger Captain’s chair just a touch too far back when we pulled in the passenger side slide. The slide caught the chair, ripping part of the slide trim to shreds and tweeking the passenger chair. The fun part was trying to deal with 2 insurance processes and scheduling everything in some form of orderly fashion. Both insurance companies (ProTrek, through Warranty Warehouse, for the extended warranty; Nationwide for the RV insurance) arranged for local contract assistants to meet us for photos of damage and repair items. The problem was, they all no-showed on the dates arranged. 

We ended up wasting (4) days because of the no-shows, waiting in the Elite front lot area. We used that time to run over to Countryside Interiors in Junction City to deal with the passenger chair replacement. Countryside was recommended to us by the folks at Elite as specializing in Flexsteel RV furniture. Flexsteel, in all their infinite wisdom, put their captain’s chairs together not in varying steps nor with different modular components. So if you damage, say the base plate (like we did), you cannot simply replace the base plate; the WHOLE ENCHILADA gets to be replaced! Oh joy! Steven at Countryside was very knowledgeable, patient, and helpful as we arranged for the chair(s) (this is a work in progress, more details to follow in another post).

During our down time we hit up Superior Tire Service (STS) for new shoes on the rig. They were extremely accommodating with regards to our “hurry up and wait” schedule. We got in on a moment’s notice and they promptly swapped out (6) new Michelin 16-ply 275/80R22.5’s to the tune of about $3800 & change, out the door in about 2 hours. What was even better was they said these new tires date out in about (7) years instead of (5) years. Cool beans!


The folks at Elite Renovations & Repairs (Erik, Mark, and Marty) were also very accommodating, patient, and quick to diagnose issues. This whole experience was a pain in what Forest Gump would call “the butt-ocks”. And that would all be due to having to deal with 2 insurance companies. But, after the dust mostly settled, we would recommend Elite to anyone needing work done on their motorhome. I most certainly prefer these guys over driving all the way back to Red Bay Alabama! Now, getting the passenger chair replaced by Countryside Interiors is the only thorn left in my side. They will not get delivery for 8-10 weeks, so we will have to return after our babysitting gig is completed in mid-August.

On Mother’s Day I took Jeanne and Woody over to Florence on the coast. Woody took us for a walk downtown (it’s a very small coastal town on the Siuslaw River), then I took Jeanne to Mo’s Restaurant on the river for Mother’s Day fish tacos and an adult beverage, “Some people say t-o-m-a-t-o, I say Bloody Mary!”


Gotta do the obligatory selfie, overlooking the Siuslaw River in lovely downtown Florence, OR.


Nice view from Mo’s Restaurant…We got to watch a seal or sea lion play around just off the dock…


Upriver from the town wharf.


Jeanne and Woody strolling the town’s wharf.


Here we are, in Florence. No wait, which way to Florence?


Looking down river at the Hwy. 101 bridge.


They definitely have some dang smart wildlife here in Florence. How do these birds know which numbered apartment is theirs?!?

With our attempt at making plans failing at every turn, we are not quite sure of our destination from here, what with having to come back in a little over a week for ordered parts and then having to return to Sonoma County for medical appointments at the first of the month. So you are just gonna HAVE to wait until next post to find out…


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Winding Down Our Sonoma County (CA) Stay

Our time back in our former home county fast approaching an end for this time around, we remained camped out in the back of the Petaluma Elks Lodge. I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality and consideration during my surgery process. I had a few P/T sessions to attend for post-surgery, which were pretty normal as far as surgical P/T goes (aka: a waste of my time). We also got to attend the Gladiator’s (6 year old grandson, Maximus) first Little League Baseball game of the season. Lots of picture taking…


Showing up for gameday, battle face ready…


A little pre-game fielding practice. “I got it!”


Pre-game BP, crushed it!


That searing look of concentration…


Trying out the catcher’s position…

We managed to fall into a fairly good-weathered Sunday. We took Max and his mom Jenn back to the Point Reyes Lighthouse area so we could go see the Elephant Seals. It was just a short hike near the Chimney Rock trail and we could view a large colony of the critters just across the water. But we hiked to the rescue boat house and found a small group of juvenile Elephant Seals sunnin’ themselves just a matter of feet from where we were standing. Max got a kick out of that. Lots of picture taking…


Looking down at the colony just across the water.


OK, let’s zoom in…


Opa, the Gladiator, and his mama Jenn, getting photo bombed by the sunbathers.


Jeanne and I mugging for the camera. Nice weather, even though we are in sweatshirts and windbreakers…


Jeanne, Jenn, and Max with the bay behind them.


Some of the babies sunnin’ out behind the boathouse.




The Lifeboat Station.


The Elephant Seals could care less about the humans gawking down at them…


“Do you mind, buddy? I’m trying to get some shuteye here!”

For the last 4 days of our stay in Petaluma, we moved over to the Petaluma KOA. Our son, Chad, had 4 days of training in nearby Napa, so he brought our 2 year old granddaughter, Miss Hailey Marie, with him and we picked her up for the duration of his training. Hailey had a blast “camping” at the KOA. But that is as expected; the Petaluma KOA is one of the best KOA’s nationwide, hands down. There is a ton of activity for the young’uns to keep busy. And Miss Hailey went absolutely wild on the bounce pillow, jumping on her short little legs for an hour straight! She wore Opa out just watching her! While Hailey was staying with us, we had Max and Jenn come visit as well. The two kids had a blast. Lots of picture taking…

So it was back to Atascadero, CA, for us as we returned Miss Hailey to her parents, Chad and Crissy. Crissy was still somewhat infirmed, healing up from a recent auto accident she was involved in which broke no bones but did mess up her foot and mobility quite a bit. So we did another week of granddaughter tending (x2) for Miss Hailey and 7 week old Miss Ellie Grace. And the Atascadero Elks Lodge came to our rescue again, allowing us another week at their RV lot (we were a little premature per the local city regulations, but we won’t tell if you don’t). So far, being a new Elks member, I have to say, the Elks people are just plain quality folks and we thank one and all for all their patience and assistance during this whole medical fiasco stay.


Definitely a huge negative for the once great state of CA, now fast becoming intolerable.


More of the lovely traffic of northern CA, which sadly has become the norm these days…


Little Miss Hailey visiting “the Elk” at the Atascadero Elks Lodge.


Little Miss Ellie Grace, coughing some zees…

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Oma, Hailey, and Ellie.


Chad and his new 7 week old daughter, Ellie Grace.


We had Hailey do a belated Easter egg hunt in the backyard, with Daddy looking on…


Chad, Jeanne, and Crissy supervising Hailey Marie on her egg hunt.

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Hailey not only wore herself out, she did Opa in as well!

Oh, yeah, I gotta catch you up on the case of Gout from Hell. So I finished the first 5-day round of Prednisone. From the first night of meds I got immediate, but not complete, relief from the excruciating pain in both feet. Just a twinge of pain remained and it stayed that way for about 20 days past the last of the Prednisone. But that 21st day it exploded back in a big way. The doc scripted another round of Prednisone, this one the diminishing dosage type for 9 days. I am on the 9th day now, and absolutely no sign of gout pain! Holy moly, I hope this holds out this time…

I think this must be the shortest post I have done so far. This catches us up to date for now, until next post…

Posted in Atascadero, California, Petaluma, CA, Santa Rosa, CA | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Post Surgery Life

Well, after the epidural injection did not work, surgery was in my near future. I have about had it with doctor office staff. It seems whenever I am in dire straits, the staffers seem to “only” have appointments way far off in the distance. My surgeon could only get me on the table on 2/28, so I had a whole month of intense pain to endure in the meantime. I did get a scrip for muscle relaxants and pain (Percocet!) to hold me over to surgery. For the uninitiated, Percocet is a heavy opioid that leads you to Wonderland in a big way. I took half doses to keep from going to Zombieland and that worked pretty well, left me somewhat functional.

To kill some of the wait time I got an appointment with Freightliner in Sacramento to try to resolve my Gremlins problem in my dashboard emergency warning lights and buzzers. They were good to get me in and out, but again they were not sure of the cause. This time they changed out the whole warning gauges module and said that should do it. I got to drive the bus back to Atascadero and by golly no issues for that 200+ mile drive.

We spent another week with our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, Chad, Crissy, and Miss Hailey while staying at the Atascadero Elks Lodge. It is so much nicer being able to stay in Atascadero than to do the daily driving from Paso Robles in to visit.


Miss Hailey playing with her stickers we picked up for her at Mrs. Grossman’s in Petaluma. Haily loves her stickers.


Hailey and Oma playing in Hailey’s play room.


Gotta teach them kids early…babies go in the car seat when driving to the grocery store.


More tragedy. Chad’s family pet Lucy had some serious spastic episodes while we were there. To the vet’s, they thought maybe a brain tumor, not good prognosis. Lucy returned home and March 15 Chad informed us he had to have her euthanized that morning. More crappy news for a generally crappy month. RIP Lucy!

We got hit with terribly sad news while in Atascadero – a very close family friend and one of my former co-workers/partners at the Sheriff’s Dept., Jon Watson, lost his battle with throat cancer and passed on to a much better life. We were heartbroken  that we were unable to attend his memorial service, it was just after I got released post surgery. Rest in peace, my friend!


Jon Watson, with his partner “Koogan”. RIP, my friend.


Jon and Koogan, doing what they did best!

So we returned to Petaluma counting down until surgery. Murphy, again, reared his ugly head with his screwed up list of “laws”. The day of my pre-surgery appointment with the sawbones (about 6 days out), I got the pleasure of developing a case of gout, something that I tend to do from time to time. Usually, past practice I would pop a Colchecine for 2-3 days and bingo, no more gout. Unfortunately, sawbones said I cannot take any anti-inflammatories or blood thinners this close to surgery and in any case not for about 6 months after surgery. He said it interferes with the fusion process. Great. So, back to full strength Percocet. He also gave me the good news – this surgery tends to exacerbate gout kinda big time. Great. Surgery day came and Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa actually did a good job for me. Dr. Athanassious from Santa Rosa Orthopedics (aka: The Bone Palace) also did an excellent job as my sawbones. Once I came out of Wonderland I noticed relief from the neck pain right away. But Mr. Gout was still with me. He was not just “with” me, he decided he needed to invite the whole Gout family with him. Normally I only get it in one foot or the other. Now, out of my cloud of anesthesia, I could feel gout in both feet. Doc was right, I felt the exacerbation almost immediately. Great.

It was just an overnighter for me at the hospital, thankfully. Problem was after I returned to the motorhome, the double-barreled gout intensified to the point I absolutely could not stand, walk, or even allow a simple bedsheet to rest on either foot. I’ve seen a lot of pain in varying degrees in my 58 years and was pretty proud of the amount I could take. But holy cow! This round broke me down to a sniveling simp. No neck/spine pain, oh, OK, I guess these Percocets will handle the gout. Yippee, oh boy, flying without an FAA license! (Made me pretty useless for a few weeks, anyway.) My savior was an appointment to establish a primary care physician here in Santa Rosa. She scripted me with a 5 day Prednisone regiment and AAAAAAAAHHH! Immediate relief! I just finished my 5th day and time will now tell if it will take. Now to cross fingers and hope no gout for the next 6 months. To top it all off, Miss Hailey received Little Sister Ellie Grace a little earlier than expected, on the very day of my surgery. Chad and Crissy now the proud parents of two daughters!


Early on in my attack of gout. I was lucky I could stand then…


Yeah, I survived the knife!


This is what a few Percocets can do for you…


Proud Daddy Chad with Little Miss Ellie. We were with you in spirit, son…


New momma Crissy with their second bundle of joy, Miss Ellie.


This is what relief from gout can look like. See, I can even put socks on the affected feet…


I no longer have a titanium deficiency!

While convalescing and with the gout relief, we eased back into a little more normal activity. We had the opportunity to meet up with my cousin Cheryl, whom I have not seen in, ahem, 40-some years. We had a very nice time catching up and telling stories. Luckily, she was only evacuated from her home near Annadel Park in Santa Rosa during this past fire storm in October. Her home survived the fires.


Thanks for the visit, cousin Cheryl. We enjoyed the catch up!

During the recovery period the weather has been less than optimal here in Petaluma. Lots of rain and cold. But we did find a clear day to load Jenn and Max up and head out to check out the Point Reyes Lighthouse. The day was beautiful, but cool and windy. And we all survived the daunting 330 steps (one-way) to the lighthouse. They call it the equivalent of a 30 story building. A plus was we got to see several of the whales spouting on their yearly tour north up the coast after birthing down south.


Jenn taking a selfie with Jeanne and I, trying not to get blown over by the wind.


The Point Reyes Lighthouse.


The Point Reyes Lighthouse from a closer vantage point.


After climbing down those 330 steps, it is time for a rest with snacks.


Maximus the Gladiator doing a coast watch. “Hey, Max, the whales are out in the ocean, look that way!”


With the heavy wind, critters like the red tailed hawks could remain stationary in the air while in their “attack mode” looking for Hawk snacks.


There were lots of coastal deer, chowing down on grass while whale watching with the humans. The problem was I could not be fast enough to catch the small whale spouts on camera, so hence, no photos. Sorry…


The Gladiator, tree bound.


A shot north toward South Beach and Drake’s Beach. It was a beautiful day on the Marin County coast.


Max thinking we are crazy to embark on this descent.

That about catches us up. We still have a bit of California time to burn to finish up medical issues, babysitting issues, and maybe take in a couple of the Gladiator’s Little League games, then look to head north for a change of scenery. Until next post…

Posted in California, Petaluma, CA, Santa Rosa, CA | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Stalled in Wait Mode in CA

So, here we sit, hanging out in northern CA, waiting to find out whether or not I am going under the knife for what they call an Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion. My surgeon decided to try one last ditch effort to avoid surgery by having me get an epidural injection into the area causing the numbness in my hand, the area from C7 to T1 vertebrae. Currently, it has been almost a week since the needle. The first couple of days were beautifully pain-free and numb-free. But since then, something is not right and it is a process filled with excruciating pain just to get in and out of the bed, any chairs, or the Jeep. 2 more follow-up appointments prior to the scheduled surgery are in order to make the final determination. Oh boy…

The Petaluma Elks Lodge #901 has been a life saver for us during this long, drawn out process, most graciously allowing our extended stay for the medical treatment and various doctor’s appointments. It is in a nice location on the south end of town, with Shollenberger Park just across the street. Our time here was plagued with that particularly nasty version of the flu, putting both Jeanne and I down, bedridden, for about 4 days straight. The bummer about that was it coincided with the Elk’s Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner, so we missed out on the festivities.

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Looking down the parking lot at the RV area behind the Petaluma Elks Lodge #901.

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Our home at the Petaluma Elks while we wait out the medical issues.


Paved and full hook-ups, what more could we need? Oh yeah, did I mention the cocktail lounge inside the clubhouse?!?!?


Max leading us on a walkabout on the trails at Shollenberger Park.


Max checking out the small pier on the Petaluma River.


Turtles and ducks. Ducks and turtles. After all, Shollenberger Park is a sort of wildlife refuge.


These wild looking guys were all over the place. Red winged Blackbirds…

We did manage to spend some quality time with the Gladiator (Maximus) and his family. New Year’s Eve was a start, with a yuppy trip to Stinson Beach where we noshed on cheese, crackers, and fruit. We frolicked on the beach in the near frigid weather and hunted for sand dollars.

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Here we are at Stinson Beach, pretending to be yuppie Marin-ites and dining on fruit, cheese, and crackers…

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Kinda reminded us of a fine summer day in the San Francisco Bay area…


Heading down to the beach… Stinson Beach.


Jeanne, Jenn, and Max clowning for the camera.

On a much warmer and clearer day we took Max and his mother up to Lake Sonoma to wander around the fish hatchery. We were a little early for any steelhead/salmon runs up the fish ladder, but Max got to feed some of them in the holding ponds. We also drove up to the lookout and got some nice views of the lake. To finish off the nice day at the lake we hit Old Chicago Pizza in Petaluma for one of their awesome deep-dish pies.


Inside the Visitor’s Center at Lake Sonoma.


Jeanne and the Gladiator checking out the swag in the gift shop at Lake Sonoma.


Heading over to the hatchery facilities.


We were just a tad bit early in the season for the salmon/steelhead run up the fish ladder…


…but the holding tanks were full and the fish were hungry!


The holding ponds at Lake Sonoma.


Lake Sonoma, view from the lookout tower.


Max, the budding ornithologist!

Petaluma is home to Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory. I never heard of it before, but according to Jeanne and Jenn it is a world famous printer of all manner of stickers. They also print wine labels for many wineries. We took Max on a tour of the factory where he scored sheets of stickers, an integral part of the tour, and got to play with all the stickers he wanted in the craft room.


Max, mom, and Mah browsing in Mrs. Grossman’s gift shop/craft room.


Getting ready for the factory tour.


Max standing in front of the chronological display of Mrs. Grossman’s stickers.


Mrs. Grossman’s keeps about a 3 month supply of all of their stickers on hand in their warehouse.

Max has short days at school on Wednesdays, so on one of those such days we picked him up and took him to the Scandia Family Fun center in Rohnert Park. It was rainy, so we kept it to the indoor arcade area. We let Max demonstrate his skills such as skeeball, basketball, pinball, air hockey, and motorcycle racing. We also made another trip to Scandia on a clear day and got Max started in the batting cages, preparing for the upcoming little league season.


Puttin’ a little English on that Skeeball toss…


Motorcycle Madness by Mad Max…


Cruisin’ in the Batmobile…


Max beating the britches off his Opa in air hockey.


Ahhhhh, the smell of pine tar is in the air!

Well, today is Superbowl Sunday. We will be going to Max’s house and stuffing our faces with the usual fare, rooting for Green Bay to win next year,  and otherwise still kicking back, firmly entrenched in this hurry-up-and-wait period. Sorry for the lack of excitement in this post, family visits aside, this waiting on medical “stuff” is just not a lot of fun.

Until next post…

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Ol’ Nero Must Be Sawin’ On That Fiddle Like the Ragin’ Cajun

OK, so we are not in Rome, but, dang, California sure has become a virtual inferno in 2017. No sooner had the north settled down into recover and repair mode, the south decided to ignite and, as of this writing, still burns out of control. I will try to catch you up on our doings to now, as best I can without being too boring.

So we left Sonoma County and headed back to Paso Robles and the Vines Resort. We stayed there about 3 weeks whilst visiting granddaughter Hailey and her family. That included a return visit to the Paso Robles Children’s Museum (converted fire house), a few trips to local area parks, a little babysitting time, and a general good time visiting family. While here I also made a couple of command decisions related to health and lifestyle. I have begun the process of joining the Elks club in Atascadero. Second, and more importantly, I have had neck pain issues related to a herniated disc (C6-C7) for the past 5+ years. Back in 2012 & in 2013 I had epidural injections which provided immediate but short-lived relief, both done in Sonoma County. Since then I have lived with the “pain in the neck”. Within the past 2 months the pain recruited a new teammate – occasional numbness – so I decided it was time for medical attention. I returned to the “Bone Palace”, aka: Santa Rosa Orthopedics, and started THAT process. We did a road trip up to Santa Rosa for Doctor visit and X-Ray, which showed arthritis covering basically the entire C3-T1 section of my spine. Great. So Doc set me up for PT, an MRI, and a neurological conductivity test. Pain not withstanding, I was put into “stand-by to stand-by” mode.


Hailey having fun on the swings at Atascadero Lake Park.


The flamingos at the Charles Paddock Zoo next to Atascadero Lake Park


Oma, Hailey, and Woody outside the flamingo pen at the zoo.


Hailey playing at the Children’s Museum


Oma and Hailey doing the teeter-totter.

With the Gladiator’s (Max, the 6 year old grandson) birthday and Thanksgiving both occurring very close in time, our daughter Jenn opted to host the family for both celebrations at her home in Santa Rosa. We relocated our house on wheels back to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds RV Park. Upon arrival we found the park dramatically changed. With the recent spate of disastrous fires, FEMA has purchased a fleet of travel trailers and was in process of setting them up here. What was once an RV park with single, pull-through sites, now had those pull-throughs chopped in 2 for a back-to-back doubling of the spaces. And although they allowed larger rigs like ours, our site caused our nose to hang out into the traffic lane quite a bit. Many others were situated likewise, so any navigation of the interior traffic lanes became a slalom course. Our entire stay we worried about someone hitting the front of our bus.


Our home, at Sonoma County Fairgrounds RV Park.


A look at the fairgrounds RV lot through the fog.

First order of business was Thanksgiving. The family elected to have a crab feast, so we made a run on Costco for some King Crab legs & Dungeness whole crabs. Chad, Crissie, and Hailey drove up for the weekend festivities and we stuffed our faces with crab. Hailey was not real sure of the little critters, but boy, howdy, they was TASTY!

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Hailey was not quite sure of that little critter…

Somebody’s 6th birthday was next on the itinerary. Max had a few friends over for his party and party they did. He is now into Nerf gun wars, and has no shortage of weapons. The living room became the battlefield. Cake & pizza to boot, not too shabby!


Hailey would rather eat the Nerf darts…


Max, getting loaded up for battle…


Let the carnage begin!


Nothing better than some cake after a hard fought Nerf battle…


No, Hailey is not eating both those plates full…

The Sonoma County Fairgrounds RV Park was gracious enough to extend my stay beyond their 14-day limit so I could do my PT appointments while waiting for related appointments. As it happened, I got my MRI and conductivity tests moved up because of appointment cancellations, so I was able to crank those out on the same day.

After finishing my last Doc ordered PT, we moved the house on wheels back to Paso Robles and the Vines Resort for some early Christmas celebration with Hailey and her family. I also got sworn-in as one of the newest members of the Atascadero Lodge of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the United States of America. One of the perks being an Elk is it now opens the door to parking the bus at numerous lodges all over the country. We did our maiden voyage to the Atascadero lodge and stayed in their RV lot, full hook-ups, at a wallet-friendly $25 per night. I had to giggle at myself because I actually had to go out shopping for a sport jacket and slacks for my initiation ceremony, my full-time RV wardrobe mostly consisting of shorts and flip-flops. I found all the folks here at Lodge #2733 to be very friendly and welcoming and I encourage any of you RV-ing Elks out there, if traveling through this area, to consider a stop-by for brief respite and fellowship. This is a good location, within striking distance of San Luis Obispo, the coastal communities of Avila Beach, Morrow Bay, Pismo Beach, and Hearst Castle.


Our home, at the Atascadero Elks Lodge RV lot.

While waiting for my eventual follow-up Doc’s appointment, I was able to access the report from my MRI. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but could have been worse. It basically looks like all my “C” discs have “minor” bulging, coupled with arthritic damage and the canals through the bone in which the nerves run are all congenitally abnormally small. So here I sit, hoping another appointment cancellation will move my Doc appointment up from January 15. You gotta love that “hurry up and wait” lifestyle!

Meanwhile, back in reality, we got to have an early Christmas celebration with Hailey, Chad, and Crissy. I got to re-live my young adult parent days and build a play kitchen set for Hailey. Glad to see nothing has changed, companies still make instruction manuals that would give a structural engineer a migraine! But failure was not an option, 2 hours later a kitchen was born. Whew…Chad cooked up a great platter of pork ribs and we feasted yet again, washing it down with a bit of Founder’s CBS Barrel Aged Stout. Nirvana…


Soon to be a play kitchen…


Jeanne was hard at work, making Christmas cookies in a real kitchen!


Wow, sometimes I can make things that turn out the way they is supposed to…


Now there’s some good eatin’ Christmas cookies!

Chad & Crissy then treated us to dinner and Christmas lights in Cambria. The Cambria Pines Lodge puts on a large light display. It was a nice time out, even if little Miss Hailey cried when she had the chance to sit with Santa.


Chad, Hailey, and Crissy on the “Golden Gate Bridge” display at the Cambria Pines Lodge.


Opa, Hailey, and Oma.


Oma Jeanne, Hailey, Crissy, and Chad walking through the lights.


Santa, Crissy, and an unsure Hailey.


The Krampus, in lights…

Well, that about catches us up. We will spend a couple of days back in Coarsegold, CA, with Jeanne’s mom and Fred, then back to Sonoma County to wait out the medical issues. Merry Christmas to everyone!

Posted in Atascadero, California, Santa Rosa, CA | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Santa Rosa Fire of 2017

Well, our family “stuff” survived the Coffee Park Fire in the storage unit. For this post, I think I will forego my usual wordiness and let the photos speak for themselves. This will be a photo recap of our first go-round back in Sonoma County, CA, but not a lot of captions. Amidst all the saddening devastation we did manage to enjoy some family time with Max. We took him to the Pronzini Pumpkin Patch in Petaluma, Lagunitas Brewing Co. also in Petaluma, and the Fall Fun Fest put on by Redwood Covenant Church in Santa Rosa.



From Santa Rosa it was back to the central coast area of California, Atascadero to be exact, for some more Hailey time. Until next post…

Posted in California, Santa Rosa, CA | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments