Archive for December, 2008

Happy New Year galaxy travelers

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

We rested and feasted while home for the holidays and kept warm and dry while our space ship enjoyed a natural washing from the recent winter rain storms along the coast of Southern California. Gas prices have now hit a five-year low and our sun now smiles down on the great Southwest, just in time for us to drive to Dos Picos Regional Park for a pre-New Year’s celebration with fellow galaxy travelers, Terry and Greg from Tucson, Arizona.

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We brought Larry’s homemade lentil soup with chicken, sausage and bacon, along with pork tamales, and chocolate biscotti.  The weather was on the cool side, but the food and hot tea warmed us up.

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(Sadie, their blond cocker spaniel, sits next to Larry, while Annie, a black cocker spaniel sits under the table, Greg is wearing the ball cap and Terry is wearing the yellow shirt.)  Terry (sometimes known as Tucson Terry) is known on Airstreamforums as TBRich where he features his travel thread “AZBAMBI… On the Road Again…“.  He also maintains his web site of the same name, which features a detailed log of their travels along with a plethora of beautiful and colorful photos. Through AZBambi Decors, Greg and Terry help others customize and personalize their Airstream interiors by making custom slip covers for the dinette, along with curtains, bedspreads, window valances, pillow shams and throw rugs. Greg made the new dinette cushion slip covers for the Luhrs’ seen here.

After lunch I enjoyed hiking the Nature Trail of Dos Picos Regional Park, located in San Diego County. Dos Picos is Spanish for “two peaks” (which are nearby) and is in a small valley filled with oak trees and surrounded by ranch land and steep rocky slopes. The Ipai (Kumeyaay) Native Americans lived here 7000 years ago. They gathered the abundant oak acorns and ground them into meal. The wide range of habitats supports birds, coyotes, foxes, possums, skunks, and raccoons. Due to the recent rains, moss grows abundantly on the rocks in shady areas.

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Along the trail I spotted a boulder that looked like a large skull.

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Snow covered the Cuyamaca Mountains in the distance.

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We re-grouped and spent the afternoon chatting.

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We talked about everything… their new interior LED overhead lights, fabrics, cushions, accessories, camping, traveling, cooking and food,  pets and even politics.  Well, New Year’s is a good time for A Year in Review – 2008… and a good time to raise our concerns for national lands and the wildlife therein (as recently done by writer and photographer, Bert Gildart)… and a time for contemplating New Year’s resolutions.  As darkness descended we talked about the Man in the Maze symbol, often used in the American Southwest by Hopi silversmiths.  According to O’odham oral history, this design depicts experiences and choices we make in our journey through life.  Greg then showed us his watchband with two A-Man-in-the-Maze gold and silver jewelry pieces made by Jason Takala (of the Hopi tribe) who specializes in Hopi Overlay Jewelry.

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I seem to recall seeing that symbol and title used somewhere else… let’s see.

We said our “See you on the road” to Terry and Greg and attempted to return to home base, but found ourselves repeatedly going in circles through the dark maze of the campground until a Park Ranger led us from darkness to the light of the Ranger’s Station at the park entrance.  Tomorrow we will reactivate the mother ship, recalibrate the flux capacitor and continue preparations for traveling to a warmer climate to greet the sun, travelers, and the new year.

Today Terry and Greg moved to William Heise County Park near Julian, CA.  I just received their report that it is cold, 35 degrees. (Current weather in Julian: temperature is 33 degrees and will drop to 22 degrees by midnight). Terry reports that the campground looks like an active lumber cutting camp with freshly bulldozed mud banks and torn up remains of trees”. He said the ranger reported that the heavy snow there earlier in the week had brought down many limbs, branches and whole trees! Hang in there, Terry and Greg, the weather in Anza-Borrego will be 70 degrees when we rendezvous there on Tuesday, and sunny through the week, which should be topped off nicely by the Quadrantids meteor shower during the pre-dawn hours of January 3.

Happy New Year! Galaxy Travelers and everyone, everywhere… Let’s toast to the New Year with champagne… or grapefruit juice… and Drive the Cold Winter Away!

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Home for the holidays

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

As you may recall from my previous post, I was having difficulty shutting down our Airstream’s vertical thrusters, and was losing contact with Ground Control, while desperately searching Airforums for a solution. I was beginning to wonder if I’d ever get back on solid ground again.  Finally, with the help of the advanced search engine, I found that the source of my problem was that I had forgotten to recalibrate the flux capacitor for vertical travel. I am happy to report that I have landed safely and we have returned home for the holidays.

This full moon, the Cold Moon, found our Safari resting on its pad at home base…

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We enjoy the holidays, including Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years, along with good reading and good music.  A nutcracker rests on our fireplace mantel, reminding me of my favorite Christmas fairy tale-ballet, The Nutcracker, by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, composed in 1891-1892; my favorite movie version is: Nutcracker: The Motion Picture, which is a video of the performance of the Pacific Northwest Ballet.  Herr Drosselmeier is a character in this story (who visited Emma last December).

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Where are you Christmas?  Well, in San Diego, back in 1904 it was in the form of America’s first electrically lighted outdoor Christmas tree at the Hotel del Coronado.

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The historic Hotel del Coronado, which opened in 1888, displays a large stained glass window depicting the legendary Queen Califia, thought by some to be the origin of the state name California.

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Last Friday we returned to the Hotel del Coronado to enjoy the sights and skating by the sea.  Their Windsor Lawn has been transformed into a spectacular ice rink overlooking the beach and the Pacific Ocean.  I enjoyed skating while listening to Christmas songs and didn’t mind the thin water areas on the ice.  A portion of the skating proceeds goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which originated in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1980 and “grants wishes” to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

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Inside the main lobby is their spectacular Christmas tree that takes up to two months to decorate.

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We returned home to continue enjoying the holidays, decorating the house and trailer, and delighting in movies, such as The Polar Express, which seem even more magical in the Airstream when Christmas comes to town.

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“All aboard”, said the conductor, “because my dancing waiters are about to serve some hot,hot… hot chocolate!

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Watching a special holiday DVD in our Safari on Christmas eve while imbibing on a delicious beverage such as eggnog might just become a wonderful new tradition for us… which just might be repeated on New Years Eve’s eve

Happy Holidays from us to you!

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.