Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Surfing The Cold Wave

It seems that we resume moving south whenever it becomes necessary to turn on the heat or switch from shorts to jeans, hence the title of this blog.

We are getting so far behind on our website and blogs that we'll try to speed things up a bit.

It was quite cold indeed at Lassen Volcanic National Park so we made a beeline for the California Delta with just one stop at a beautiful RV park on the banks of the Sacramento River near the town of Los Molinos, California. Once again, our destination in the Delta was Bethel Island, near Antioch. We stopped at Fairfield on the way for a tour of the famous Jellybelly factory. We are still enjoying our 49 flavors.

This time we arrived at our friend Jerry Kimble's place on Piper Slough by land instead of water. Jerry wasn't around so we went ahead and got the van situated, put the awning out and enjoyed the warm Delta sun. Jerry soon arrived and once again welcomed us and told us to make ourselves at home. We were way ahead of him.

It was September 17. Kavenga wasn't due to be ready for the application of her epoxy barrier coat until after October 1. Thanks to Jerry, the Delta was the ideal place for us to kill some time before heading on down to San Carlos. You might be saying, "It's warm in Mexico, why not just go down and wait in San Carlos?" Well, until about October 15, it is more than warm there. It is oppressively hot and humid, a fact confirmed by several of our friends who spent the summer there. So being the pansies we are, we try to stay in the "Comfort Zone," less than 100F during the day and more than 65F at night. It should be noted however, that we observed many Puget Sounders complaining when the temperature rose above 85F this summer, so it would appear that our scale has been modified by our time in Mexico.

We stayed at Jerry's place until October 8. We ran on the levies in the mornings, rode our bikes into Bethel Island (for newspapers, groceries & lunches), drove in to Antioch for double feature movies every few days, and generally "vegged out" reading and watching TV. We had guests on one occasion, Joan and Jason of the sailing vessel Mildred Kane, whom we met in the lagoon at Barra de Navidad and nearly wound up in the hooskow with them in Lazaro Cardenas. They shipped Mildred Kane home to San Francisco Bay and have subsequently gone back to work (they are youngsters).

One constructive thing accomplished while we were there was to help Jerry get started on a facelift for his Cape Dory 36, Audrey. She has bronze winches and lots of bronze fittings on deck. We got a good start on getting them all polished up and coated with DuraTuff, which will maintain the shine for a year or more. Soon Jerry would be ready to start prepping the teak for varnish. Oops, time to leave. (Also, night time temperatures were starting to drop below 60.)

Our next major destination was Redondo Beach. One memorable stop along the way was Pinnacles National Monument. This park south of San Jose is home to half of an extinct volcano that was cut in half by the San Andreas fault. The other half is 195 miles to the south where the original eruptions took place. Fairly graphic evidence that something is going on here.

We stayed at RV parks in Paso Robles and Ojai before continuing on the Redondo Beach. We called ahead to our friends Hugh and Vickey of the sailing vessel, Snow White. Like Joan and Jason, they have returned to California and gone back to work (they are youngsters too), however they sailed Snow White back up, doing the infamous Baja Bash, and indeed getting bashed for a day or two. We had checked out a nice RV park right on the beach near LAX airport, but Hugh and Vickey insisted that we stay aboard Snow White at the Long Beach Marina. They were now living ashore, so after dinner we followed them to the Long Beach Marina and after showing us the ropes on Snow White, bid us good night and gave us the keys.

This proved to be such a good deal and such a beautiful spot that we decided to stay one extra day. We went for a run early the next morning and saw the parking lot full of movie trailers and equipment. On our way back, Steve spotted a red-headed man in a black suit standing in front of cameras beside a police car that said "Miami-Dade" on the side. "That's David Caruso," said Steve. It was indeed and they were filming an episode of CSI Miami. We also later saw Caruso's two male co-stars in the CSI Hummer. If you are a CSI fan, this was the episode where one of the CSI team is shot in the eye with a nail gun. Ouch. About four weeks later we saw that episode while staying at the El Mirador RV park in San Carlos.

We had one brief stop to make before our next major stop in San Diego. Turns out Steve has a third cousin he had never met in Rainbow, California. Dick and Peggy Van Slyke have a unique and beautiful home there with two pinball machines, a jukebox and two large scale model trains running around the ceiling of their downstairs family room. We had a very enjoyable conversation and lunch with them at a Mexican restaurant in nearby Fallbrook.

Our hard-luck story continues in San Diego--Imperial Beach actually--where we were given the use of our friends Bill and Marilyn Owel's 3-story condo, about two blocks from the beach. As in their house in Gig Harbor (that we house sat for them this summer), we felt overwhelmed by the amount of living space, having been accustomed to life in the boat and the van. We spent October 13th through the 18th here, and enjoyed running south along the beach homes to the dead end at the Tijuana Slough Wildlife Refuge. Tijuana itself is visible in the distance.

You are wondering, October 13? Didn't we say Kavenga would be ready for her barrier coat work in early October? Just before we left the Delta, we gave Jesus at the Marina Seca boatyard a call. He said the moisture readings showed that Kavenga needed to dry for another two weeks. That made our target date for arriving back in San Carlos October 21. Our last few days at Imperial Beach were overcast with daytime high temperatures in the upper 60s. Time to move further south.

Steve's Aunt Mary (his mother's sister), whom he hadn't seen for a couple of years, lives in Yuma, Arizona. As luck would have it, she was home when we called after getting on the road for Tucson from Imperial Beach. We found her place easily and had a nice visit before getting back on the road.

About 25 miles beyond Yuma, we pulled in to the M&M RV park in Wellton, AZ. This was not the best park we have stayed in but the price was good and we met some nice folks in a van similar to ours, but with a huge satellite internet dish on its roof. They let us use a wireless connection to access the internet from our van. We sent email to our friends Ron and Diane of the sailing vessel Batwing, who were also headed south, to let them know that we would be at the Tra-Tel RV Park in Tucson tomorrow night if they happened to be in the area.

Sure enough, they rolled in about 6PM the next night and we had a nice long visit. They are headed on across the border to Guaymas tomorrow. We needed to stay one extra day to pick up our mail and get the van insured for Mexico. With that taken care of the following afternoon, we headed south out of Tucson but stopped short of the border and spent the night at DeAnza Trails RV Park. It's a huge park and very nice, having been converted from a former greyhound race track.

In the next blog we'll pick up with our trip south across the border and back to San Carlos.

Hasta luego.