A Travellerspoint blog

April 2016

Road Trip to The California-Mexico Border


Before leaving for Oregon I applied for Global Entry passes for Dale and I. When we travel for work I usually carry lots of equipment and it is always a worry when I get stuck in security and my equipment goes on down the line. We also hate the lines in security.

We’d hoped to go thru the interview process in San Francisco or Portland but there were no interview openings until July and August. We got our Conditional Approval while we were at the South Beach. I looked again for interview openings but when there was nothing in Northern CA, I secured interview appointments down in El Centro for Wed afternoon.

Our plan was to go to El Centro via Anza Borrego on Tues, then drive to El Centro for the night. On Wed, we would go to our interview then return home thru Joshua Tree. We’ve been wanting to go thru these 2 parks for several years so this would be a good excuse.

We arrived home from Northern Cali on Monday, repacked and left again on Tues morning. We’d planned to take our RV but then last minute decided to leave the RV at home and hotel it.

The drive down to Anza Borrego was beautiful. We were surprised and wished we were in a sports car instead of our truck. We could imagine driving on the 2 lane roads winding thru the hills, flying low! Someday.
We were so surprised in Anza Borrego. There were so many flowers, so much green. http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=638 I had Dale to stop several times for photos.

We made it down to El Centro and after checking into the hotel got a recommendation to eat at D’poly. As it turns out there are 2 restaurants, one a taqueria. We went to the taqueria, as recommended. A little place but great food.

We made our interview and it was as others had posted, simple and quick. We were out in about 15 minutes. Now we had to wait for our passports to be linked.

We started for home but had to have another meal at D’poly, this time, the restaurant. Again the restaurant was hardly larger than the taqueria and food was so good. Dale was the only non-Hispanic in the place.

We drove home via Joshua Tree. https://www.nps.gov/jotr/index.htm. We were under pressure to get home but stopped at several pull outs in the park. The cactus were beautiful and unusual. At the last pull out I stopped to shoot photos of some rocks. As I was shooting I realized there were Big Horn sheep running around the rocks. I’d read that it is unusual to see them.

Nearly too late I remembered my telephoto lens, I ran back to get the lens but then only got one photo. This was a sad lesson on why I need to carry all this stuff, even when it is across a road.

We will return to both Anza Borrego and Joshua Tree, hopefully, next spring. Next time we will camp in the RV for several days at each place.

Now for our next trip.

Posted by Miss Chris 17:32 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature driving national_park anza_borrega_state_park joshua_tree_national_park Comments (0)

Family Time in Fort Bidwell

Helping the kids and grandkids in Fort Bidwell

overcast 40 °F

When our granddaughter Christabel first decided to open a café, in their new hometown of Fort Bidwell, I told her that we’d give her a weekend of work. That we’d wash dishes, cook or do what was needed. That would not include tickets to Europe with cooking lessons, or other travel.

For those who don’t know, Bel has opened her own Café, although Nate, Bekki and Elias also provide help. She is open on Sat-Sun from 6am-noon. They bake various items and offer a breakfast special. The café is located in the Ft. Bidwell Hotel. The hotel has a commercial kitchen with a dining room that has 6 tables. There is a parlor which can be used for a catered meal. IMG_201603..3621049_HDR.jpg
We drove to Fort Bidwell on Tuesday. What should have been a 6-hour drive turned into an 8+ hour drive. We’d been concerned about ice on the road as a storm was hitting. I checked the roads conditions several times. In the morning the Cedar Pass, Hwy-299 was snowed over, but by afternoon, the road webcam showed the road as clear. We drove on our merry way.

We reached the 299 and sent a text to Nate & Bekki that we were on our way over the pass as there would be no service for most of the remainder of the drive. The pass was clear and we were sailing along until we went over the summit. The highway on the other side of the summit, where there was no webcam, was ice, completely iced over. The RV started sliding, yikes! Dale and I about dropped our stomachs. Dale was driving and slowed down to a crawl, maybe 5MPH. We inched down the mountain and made it to Nate’s, lots later than planned.

We had Wed, Thurs and Fri to help kids, cook, shopped for food and babysat. Bel had a dinner she was catering on Sat evening, her 1st catering job. We did what we could to help prep for that.

Elias and I walked on Friday, Sat and Sun mornings early. I shot photos and we talked. He showed me his favorite places for views. We drove up to the cemetery on morning and shot photos there as well. We did a little research on-line and found info on the early Fort. Then we walked trying to find the location of sites.

Bekki took me one afternoon to the other side of the valley where I shot photos of the late afternoon views. We looked for the local wild horses but did not find them.

Dale did give Bel lots of kitchen time, his specialty is cooking bacon just perfectly. Bel was more than happy for him to cook the bacon. I figured out how to work their espresso maker and trained Elias to be a barista.
Sunday afternoon arrived and it was time for us to leave. We’d cooked and cleaned and babysat. We were ready to move on down the road.

Posted by Miss Chris 23:58 Archived in USA Tagged travel driving outdoors grandkids rv_travel fort_bidwell Comments (0)

Sunset Beach at Sunset

Some alone time

overcast 70 °F

After all of the keeping up with kids, Dale and I were happy to have a couple of days to ourselves.

We left the South Beach campground on Sunday and drove south on Hwy 101. This is the coast highway in Oregon. We needed to work our way to Fort Bidwell, but pulling our RV we were a little concerned about road conditions. We were not wanting to pull the RV over a snowy or icy pass. We decided to take a more southern route across.

On our way down we found a small seafood market open. Until then, all had been closed. We stopped immediately and I ran in. There was fresh caught wild salmon and fresh oysters. We were ready for a feast!

As we looked at campgrounds that would be in the area of our route we found the Sunset Beach Campground. There were a couple of others around the Sunset Beach but after driving thru those we just kept going. We drove into Sunset Beach and found a space that was perfect. The site was in the corner and there were no neighbors. http://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=182

There had been rain in the area, but it let up before we arrived. About sunset, the clouds parted and we walked to the beach across the street. I took the camera and started shooting photos. It was so beautiful.

For dinner, we set up our Downton candelabra, silver flatware and ate our salmon Downton RV style. IMG_20160320_214206865.jpg

That was a perfect ending to our alone time. Ever onward, we were off to Ft Bidwell in the northeast corner of California and then down to the southern border.

Posted by Miss Chris 07:32 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip nature walking oregon driving camping rv outdoors sunset_beach oregon_state_beaches Comments (0)

A Cold Pre-Easter Oregon Beach

Celebrating Easter, having fun at the State Beach


It was cold and cloudy on Saturday morning but kids work up early and started playing outside as if it were a warm summer day. We had 5 young grandkids camping: 3 boys – 3, 6 and 8; and 2 girls: 4 & 5.

The 5-year old quickly started taking the 4-year old around the campground, sometimes carrying her. The 4-year old seemed to be happy for the attention of a little girl, instead of dealing with her 2 brothers. The girls walked, holdings hands, talking and talking and talking.

Meanwhile, the boys found a sand hill behind the campground. All 3 were happy to dig and play in the sand.
Mid-morning we all walked down to the beach but not together. Christine and I left a bit later than the rest and we ended up north of everyone.
But a walk down the beach and there were kids running in the freezing water, boys with their shoes on even. They didn’t last long and were soon huddling by a log shivering. Fortunately, we’d told Justin to bring clothes for them so he arrived with clothes and immediately took them back for warm showers.
As Sunday was Easter, Jen had suggested that we have an egg hunt on Saturday, as we’d all be leaving on Sunday. And Jen being Jen had made an Easter basket for each kid.

Jen and Zoey had stuffed plastic eggs, some with chocolates and some with other things. As it turned out, Christine had done the same thing so we had double the eggs for kids. While kids ran amuck Jen hid the eggs.

This was Cassie’s first Easter, she and Christine only arrived from China last year. Cassie wasn’t sure about the Easter basket but as soon as the other kids started showing her the treats Cassie was fitting right in.
Kids had their egg hunt. Before hiding the eggs again, they made sure to eat all of the candy. They shared the next egg hunt but not the treats!
Kids did not ask to go to the water again, they instead had fun riding bikes and scooters around the campground, where it was warmer. And adults and kids played Frisbee on the large grassy area.

It was an early to bed for kids giving the adults a nice wine time. We don’t know when we will all be together again and Dale and I treasure these times.

Posted by Miss Chris 20:58 Archived in USA Tagged nature walking beach oregon camping rv outdoors grandkids south_beach oregon_beaches Comments (0)

Camping at South Beach


On Friday, after the park, we returned to our RV, packed it up and headed for the South Beach State Park. http://southcoastoregon.com/ Clayton/Jen and kids, Justin/Christine and kids and Dale and I all had reservations for campsites. The campsites were scattered around the park, as we reserved them late.

Dale and I arrived 1st at the park. We couldn’t remember our site number so stopped at the ranger kiosk to look up our site #. As we were looking at a map, a ranger drove up and asked if she could help. She recognized our last name and said that they’d tried to call as our site had a broken water outlet. We advised her that we had 3 separate sites, all scattered. The ranger then told us that we could all camp in a closed area and have 3 sites together.

As it turned out the sites the ranger assigned to us were larger than the open sites, had a large grassy area behind and they were away from the crowded open area. Got lucky that time.

We set up our RV and then set up the tent for Justin. They would arrive late so we wanted everything to be ready for them.
After dinner and kids were asleep, we sat around the table outside, drinking some beer and wine. We waited for Justin and Christine to arrive so we could then party on.

Posted by Miss Chris 20:32 Archived in USA Tagged nature travel oregon camping rv outdoors family_travel south_beach_oregon Comments (0)

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