Archive for May, 2008

Our new web site

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Dim sum, an offering of small portions of a variety of foods (steamed, baked, or fried dumplings, and roasted meats), a traditional Chinese cuisine, and in this case, highlights and glimpses of our camping trips and interests. Over a year’s worth of photos are being highlighted in a new web site that will offer seasonal, regional, and topical fare. It will also be a place to see more photos related to the stories as they appear in this column. The photos can be viewed as slide shows, and selected ones will be shown in movie format with a soundtrack.

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Our new web site was created utilizing the application, iWeb, that came with the Mac computer. Through one-to-one training sessions at the Apple Store, I have been learning how to use this along with the many features that came with our Mac.

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This site also contains a “Friends Along the Trail” page with photos of precious memories and moments such as:

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Cooking highlights will be seen on the Cooking page, such as making homemade pizza on the grill.

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Yum cha, anyone?

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Down the shore

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

Our local mountains are heating up, so its time to take our Safari to the beach, or as we say in New Jersey, down the shore. Although our 23′ Airstream Safari is right at home anywhere we take it, it seems to be especially happy to be strategically positioned on bluffs overlooking the beach where it can enjoy staying cool in the gentle breezes, while its solar panels soak up the California sunshine.

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We returned to our favorite non-hook-up beach campground, South Carlsbad State Beach, less than an hour’s drive from San Diego. The premium sites, adjacent to the beach, usually need to be reserved ahead of time. Most of these sites are now booked through Labor Day. We purposely avoided the noisy and rowdy crowds of Memorial Day and enjoyed four days of listening to the relaxing sounds of the waves

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While watching the pelicans and seagulls glide by at eye level…

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Stairway access to the beach is nearby…

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The beach and adjacent bluffs are quite picturesque…

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Especially when viewed while boogie boarding

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Larry featured homemade Spring rolls, containing pork and shrimp, which were crispy and delicious.

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I brought along good reading material, such as The Digital Photography Book, by Scott Kelby. That, along with the owner’s manual, should help me get the most out of my new Nikon D40 camera.

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This is my first digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera and I am learning to use it in a variety of light conditions. (In the photo below, darkness has already descended, and the site is only lit up by a waxing moon. No flash was used.)

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I’m also having fun using the Nikon 18-200 mm VR zoom lens, in this case to capture one of those aggressive squirrels that frequently got up on our picnic table and nibbled on anything in sight, including our flowers and roll of paper towels.

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I then remembered the cats’ reaction to Tommy and Rich playing their ukes at Anza-Borrego last December, and the ukulele frenzy seemed to work on the squirrels, too!

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Traveling and Pet Safety

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Our pets are our family. We love them and want them near us, but many pet owners are not aware of the potential consequences of not restraining pets while traveling. There are reports that the American Automobile Association indicates that tens of thousands of accidents are caused each year by dogs in front seats.

Christina Selter, founder of Bark BuckleUp, a pet safety educational program similar to “Click it or Ticket”, is on a nation-wide campaign promoting pet safety in vehicles. “Be Smart. Ride Safe”, she said at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show (hear her message in her own words).

In 2006 we carefully researched which tow vehicle would best meet our needs upon ordering our Airstream Safari. One of those needs was to have a tow vehicle that would easily accommodate two dog carriers on top of a folding back seat. We continue to be very happy with our choice of the Ford Super Duty F-250 (despite the rising price of diesel fuel). Our dog carriers (Vari Kennels) rest on the folded back seats and are secured with a ratcheted strap to bolts in the back of the crew cab.

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Our dogs are safe, and seem to be comfortable, and enjoy the view, while we can keep an eye on them.

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Carriers work well for our small dogs (Corgi and Pug), but for larger dogs, a pet harness might work better. Either way, they will be out of harm’s way by keeping them in the back seat. (Airbags can kill or injure a loved one.)

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There are many good reasons why pets should be restrained while traveling in vehicles:

  • Unrestrained pets can distract the driver, jump in driver’s lap, block driver’s vision, or get in or around pedals.
  • Unrestrained pets can easily fall off the seat while you are braking or turning, sustain an injury and distract you.
  • Unrestrained pets could get you a ticket depending where you drive.
  • If you have an accident, your pet can become a projectile with a force of up to eight times its regular weight, risking injury to the pet and all others in the vehicle. Your pet could also be ejected through a window.
  • If you have an accident, your dog might interfere or bite the emergency responders, run out of the vehicle into more traffic and possibly cause another accident, get killed or run away. (If your dog caused a second accident, your insurance rates might go up.)

So, as Christina Selter says, “Be Smart. Ride Safe.”

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About the Author

BILL, along with partner, Larry, were first-time RV'ers when they purchased their custom-ordered 23' 2007 Airstream Safari SE. Bill (a retired RN) and Larry (a retired pediatric Occupational Therapist) enjoy bringing history alive in the area of San Diego, CA.