Winter 2019/20

So we bought a 5th wheel that’s going to stay at our place in AZ, Mesa Regal RV Resort. Really nice and updated vs our tired old motorhome. Will be spending all next winter here:

Did our usual Jan/Feb in Mexico, guess we will be missing this next year. Sunset in Puerto Vallarta:

Nice dinner in downtown La Manzanilla

 

Sunrise at our friend Dave Hope’s place

Some neighborhood residents

Sunsets are always amazing down here

The stairs – so many to walk up after a long day

Jackfruit – pretty big

Our local watering hole in Barra De Navidad

Nice dinner with friends

You don’t see a pet monkey every day

Iguanas all over the place

Great night of live music

The calm before the storm

Back to the USA – two months in Suprise AZ then back to California

2019

Haven’t posted in a while, here’s a breakdown of what we’ve been up to. Got a group of beautiful cactus flowers in Tucson last spring:

Back to Valley Springs – kind of messy when we show up there after a long winter.

Susan on one of her girls trips:

Took third place at an indoor Pickleball tournament in Stockton:

Tried to sell the Valley Springs place last summer. That didn’t go too well, we ended up renting it out one more time – will try again after this renter.

First place at the annual Snack Shack dart tournament in Nevada City, Chuck and Jenn’s place:

Northward – stopped in McCloud CA, new place for us:

Found a cougar in a bar!

Live music venue in Bend OR right by the river, we love to take our tubes and float

Cool truck at a car show there

Beautiful Pickleball facility in St George UT:

Mormon temple:

Cheap Trick band playing a free concert in Las Vegas

Interesting grill

Funky stools at a new place near Valley Springs

Down sizing our “stuff” in Valley Springs – sold off the farm tractor, my pickup truck, and Susan’s car

Back in Mesa AZ – went on some nice hikes in the area:

Susan found some interactive art exhibit downtown Mesa

Annual Mesa Regal pickleball tournament:

Random photo of us

Famous fountain in Fountain Hills AZ:

Getting excited to fly off to Mexico for a couple of months, then back to AZ, Surprise area til spring.

Fall/Winter and 2019

One of our local Valley Springs residents

Driving to Mesa, ran into a dust storm – pretty scary!

Our friend Tennessee Mike was in town with the band he drives for, got to party on the rock star bus

Have really taken an interest in Pickleball this year so bought a new paddle

Friends visiting us in Mesa – Eric Morris, Diana, Danya

Beautiful sunsets, and sunrises

Making our own Christmas ornaments at our local hangout

Susan stubbed her toe so hard she broke her foot

One more sunset

Back to Mexico, was kind of cold and rainy in AZ so very nice to be in the warm weather. Our favorite street food – Tacos Al Pastor

Gringo jam party at Hotel Cabo Blanco with our friends Nick, Kathleen, Becky and Mike

Pickleball party, appreciation for one of the organizers who works so hard

One of the local kids enjoying the sport, fun for all ages

Carlos Santana cover band out on the Malecon, beautiful evening

Great restaurant and art gallery

“Um, you didn’t need these flowers did you?”

Bronze medal in my first ever PB tournament, prize of pickled vegetables

Some pics of the house we are renting next year in Barra De Navidad

Another Pickleball party – helping one of the players out who owns a restaurant in town, specializes in Water Buffalo Hamburgers

Had to celebrate national margarita day

Beautiful Grand Bay Hotel

Susan bought a funky bag, made by local women who are learning a sewing trade

Back up in Tucson AZ, saw this interesting wall art – Calaveras means skulls

2nd Pickleball tournament, took the gold medal! (just played in my 3rd tournament and didn’t win a single game, so still figuring this all out)

Took a shuttle trip to a planetarium and there was an awesome mineral museum in the basement

Big street party on 4th Avenue here in Tucson

Back to Valley Springs May 1, then have a big trip planned for this summer/fall

Spring and summer 2018

Made it back “home” to Valley Springs. Had to immediately head to Ben Lomond to re-rent my house. Lots of work but have some great new renters now. Found out that the cute little music venue I used to work part time at had closed down, hopefully to reopen in the future:

Threw our annual shindig, fun time had by all – not sure how many more of these we will be having, considering selling this property in the next few years.

One of our favorite local towns – Make Hill:

Had a fun visit from Susan’s grandkids. Took them to a nearby swimming pond which they loved. They are getting so big, bigger than Grandma!

Lodi street fair:

Off on our summer tour in the RV, first stop Sacremento – saw a great latin band in a park downtown:

Stopped in Nevada City for the annual dart tournament, lots of fun and the hostess won!

Nice visit with Susan’s sister Becky and husband Ken in Oroville. Always seem to catch some pretty sunsets:

New town for us, Burney CA – our friend Jane recently bought property there and we wanted to check it out and help her any way we could. Nice birthday dinner downtown, then hike to Burney Falls the next day:

Out on the lake kayaking, then a hike to some natural hot springs pool next to a river. Lots to do in this area:

Our tow vehicle broke down after 7 faithful years, had to leave it at Jane’s place, will return to trailer it home soon. Visited another new town for us, Ashland OR. Cute little college town with nice downtown area. Getting out was tough with no car but we made the best of it. I rode my bike 14 miles round trip to play Pickleball in one of the local parks, met a bunch of cool folks. There is a beautiful creek that runs right through the downtown:

Some other sights in Ashland:

Then on to Coos Bay OR, highs in the 60’s – nice respite from the heat and smoke. Had a short visit with our Mexico friends Mike & Heidi

Things were not going well with Susan’s grandkids living situation so we cut short our trip and headed towards home so she could go help out. Stopped for one night in Weed CA, just about half way home:

And – after a train ride to San Francisco we now have “Smarty Pants 2.0”, 2015 Smart Fortwo. I plan to swap over the “base plate” (which allows the car to be towed behind our RV) and associated gear before selling the old one for salvage.

At the suggestion of a friend I entered a contest for concert tickets, and won! Amazing seats, fantastic show, and my friend Bryan flew in from Portland to attend with me.

Susan is getting things handled in Santa Cruz, had a nice, evening out with girlfriend Sandy, daughter Gina, and granddaughter Mikayla

Next on the agenda – re-rent the house in Valley Springs before we take off back to AZ around October 1st. Whew, the fun never ends and retirement is a lot of work!

Winter 2018

Back in AZ – went to see my 83? year old aunt Marty play Pickleball in a tournament – what an inspiration!

Checking out some local sights – old saloon at Tequila Flats:

Got to see Dweezil Zappa in concert with my friend John McGrath

Had a blast at a “Patio Dance” at our park – always so much fun stuff to do there, keeps us busy

Susan had to try a local restaurant – you cook your own steak on a 500 degree rock at your table – interesting concept

Some locals having an impromptu party – 100 degrees in April! Definitely could not live there year round

On our way home – had a nice little hike in Palm Springs, great view of the Coachella Valley from the hill side:

Got to see Susan’s cousin Robert at his place in PS. He has hummingbirds nesting on his patio. And he was sneaking some chips before dinner!

Met some new friends in Mesa who are just starting their full time RV experience. They posted us in their blog:

Fun dive bar in PS – always has good music

Last stop of our trip was in Fresno where we got together with our friend Amy from Santa Cruz. Now home to Valley Springs for lots of yard work and relaxation.

La Manzanilla (again)

Made it to Mexico again for Jan/Feb – nice and warm down there, lots of friends, inexpensive – love it.

Random beach shots:

Susan likes heart shaped rocks, her crafty friend made this for her:

Memorial for a local business owner – quite a turnout

Better than average sunset

Our friend Danya down for a visit – checking out the local art exhibition

Big draw for the locals – horseshoe tournament at Jeff and Sherry’s place:

Our resident chef Alex of Magnolia’s Restaurant checking out the new Tee shirts she sponsors for the rodeo, and the girls having brunch on the street out from

Super Bowl party gringo style:

Say what? Spaces are important

Fun hotel in Barra De Navidad we found, had a nice week there – some friends came by for a pool party

I learned to play Pickleball in Mesa, found a huge group to play with in Barra – fun game and people:

Boat ride to a bayside restaurant for lunch – spiny lobsters available

I have big hands (or small beers depending how you look at it)

Adios til next year!

Fall 2017

We took off for our second year in Mesa AZ in November. Really loving the RV park there and plan to go back next year.

I ordered some new equipment for the Dic Golf course, along with my favorite post round libation.

The LDS temple in Mesa puts on a gigantic holiday light show, just a stunning display – photos can’t do it justice.

  

Susan looking festive at our local German food restaurant

Found a fun puzzle to work on, reminded us of Star

Some BIG cacti here in AZ

New place for live music

Off to Mexico for the cold part of the winter

Summer 2017

No traveling this summer – stuck here in Valley Springs, pretty lucky weather wise and saving lots of money. Looking forward to getting back to Arizona and Mexico.

My big project was rebuilding/refurbishing my 1953 Ferguson farm tractor. Many 100’s of hours later its looking pretty good and running great:

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Had a quick overnight trip to Drytown CA where our friend Alan owns a live music club. Stayed at a funny little motel across the street called The Old Well – luckily the pool was open.IMG_1764

Great band in the club that evening:IMG_1767

Also attended the 4th annual (?) Snack Shack dart tournament at Chuck and Jen’s place in Nevada City. Always a fun time – and I won the tournament!IMG_1786

Jen, Chuck and I out on the town:IMG_1782

I’m kind of a law breaking bad-boy type:IMG_1778

Danya, Joe, Jen, Susan, myself and Chuck out for dinner:IMG_1780

Back in Valley Springs our local hangout had an Octoberfest party with a fun band playing out on the driving range:IMG_1790IMG_1793

Susan was back and forth to Santa Cruz all summer visiting her kids and grand kids. Here is Maria and Mikayla helping “Grandma Sandy” count her tip money from working the past evening:IMG_2022

I made my annual pilgrimage to San Francisco for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival. Always a great free festival and enhanced this year by Fleet Week coinciding. Here is a nice view of Coit Tower in North Beach:IMG_1807

Some famous clubs in North Beach:IMG_1808IMG_1809

Some of the Fleet Week boys getting a shot with the band at Pier 23 along the EmbarcaderoIMG_1812

Basically perfect weather for the festival:IMG_1813

Just stunning views everywhere around the cityIMG_1817

Happened to see the Marine Corps band playing in a park on my way to the festival one day:IMG_1818

Another old favorite of mine:IMG_1819

The Cheap Trick band closing out the festivalIMG_1823IMG_1825

Kind of hard to see, but one of our “ranch cats” lying in wait for a bird to come to the feeder:IMG_1840

Drove up to Sacramento to celebrate our anniversary (14 years). Our room wasn’t quite ready so we took a nice walk through one of the downtown neighborhoods:IMG_1841IMG_1842

Caught some free happy hour music at a famous old blues club:IMG_1844

Fantastic dinner on an open air patio with my beautiful companion:IMG_1845

Here’s Maria dressed up for Halloween: IMG_2057

And zombie Mikayla:

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Las Vegas, San Diego, Valley Springs

No big summer trip this year – did fly out to Vegas and San Diego but mostly hanging out at our home base in Valley Springs. Loaded up on some firewood with our yearly party coming up:

Built a nice rolling table to house our outdoor kitchen gear:

One of our neighbors came for a visit – kinda pushy and wouldn’t leave!

Had a fun party in May. Little smaller crowd then years past – awesome weather though. Fourth annual!

We got so much rain last winter – all the local lakes and reservoirs filled up!

Beautiful peak in the San Diego area – staying with our friends John and Diana who just moved back from Kauai.

Susan’s daughter Gina was in town for a visit too, had been house sitting.

Our nice pool in Las Vegas:

A funny limo I saw when I was out riding a bike:

One of my favorites in Pacific Beach – fun little deck bar right on the ocean:

The famous Hotel Del Coronado:

Got to see the San Francisco Giants play the local SD Padres – beautiful ball park.

So many decisions!

Another neighbor – Bethany, has been visiting us every few days:

Smoking dogs are the worst – they never use ashtrays! Farmers Market in Lodi.

End of winter

Back in Mesa to finish out the winter. We have really enjoyed our time here, lots of fun things to do, nice people, and awesome weather. We go to the pool here almost every day – they have a nice happy hour and live music in the afternoons:

Took the Smart car in for much needed service. They had already given out their only Smart loaner so they gave us a brand new Mercedes instead!

Since we had the loaner for the weekend we took a trip up to Sedona, kind of crummy weather and we both were a little sick – but still had fun. On the way back we drove through a little hillside town called Jerome – and also ran into some snow between there and Prescott:

Met up with my friend John again and we saw a great concert – Dark Star Orchestra.

Found a fun brewery restaurant in Chandler called “The Perch”. They house over 300 rescued exotic birds, a bit noisy at times but some beautiful specimens:

Some of the local RV park residents got dressed up for St. Patrick’s Day

Another local hanging out at the disc golf course near us.

Went to an SF Giants spring training game in Scottsdale. Got to see them play the Puerto Rican national team who was in the US to warm up for the quadrennial World Baseball Classic tournament. Perto Rico is now in the finals against the winner of Japan-USA!

So much to do here at the park – just an example of the big parties they throw here:

Susan joined a choir here and got to perform a couple of times:

Found an interesting restaurant – mostly outdoors, everyone sits around at rustic tables at night with bonfires going and live music.

Back to Valley Springs April 1st where I’m sure I will have a yard full of weeds and lots of work to do from the rainy winter in California that we missed.

Mesa and Mexico

We arrived safe and sound in Mesa AZ, our home away from home this winter. Our friends Mike & Heidi came for a visit before we all headed off to Mexico in January. We found a little old west town nearby and checked it out:

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One of the places had an old Linotype machine – something my Dad used often early in his career.

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Our resort has 2,000 spaces! Some RVs but mostly “park models” or manufactured homes.

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When I lived in Vail CO back in the 80s John Mcgrath was our next door neighbor. We both migrated to Tahoe but then lost track of each other. Had a nice lunch and visit with him, he is doing great and living in Scottsdale AZ, not far from where we are staying.

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Made it down to La Manzanilla, Jalisco – Mexico for the month of January, leaving the RV in Mesa. Had a great 2 hour flight and even got upgraded to 1st Class. Here are the girls hanging out in Heidi and Mike’s pool:

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Some local residents:

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Traffic jam on the way to the beach – in a nearby town called Cuastecomates

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One of the “Bad hombres” we’ve been hearing about:

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Our chef friend Alex invited us to a big party during Rodeo Days, always a lot of fun:

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Very new residents at Mike & Heidi’s – the chickens eat lots of bugs, but the roosters are a little noisy in the morning

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Apparently “Vacantcy” means there IS room available

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Big party at Palapa Joe’s restaurant. Jean and Joe, Rich and Pearl were leaving the next day, Mike and Heidi had just arrived, Dale and Brenda are winter long residents:

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We took a nice Mangrove swamp tour with an excellent guide. Saw lots of birds, iguanas and crocodilles.

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Susan encountered another local!

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Just another beautiful day at the beach:

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The girls hanging out at Jeff and Sherry’s horseshoe tournament party

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The second half of our stay we were hosted by our friend Dave from Santa Cruz. He threw a big party and everyone had a great time at his awesome house on the hill overlooking the bay:

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Here is a video of our room and surroundings:

And another showing the stairway we walked every day down to town:

Some more of the local residents at the rodeo days:

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And a memento for us

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We are now back in Mesa, leaving here April 1 – then towards home in Valley Springs

Winter 2016

Off on our trip south for the winter. Before we left we got to see Jimmy Buffet in Sacramento with our friends Tammy and Lance:

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Had fun at a big parking lot party before the show

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Down in Stockton one day came across a dog costume contest – pretty funny

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Susan and I celebrated our 13th anniversary on Halloween at Taste Restaurant in Plymouth CA. Susan started out with a “flight” of sparkling wine –

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Some of the neon lights in Vegas at Binion’s:

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After a stop in Laughlin we were off to Lake Havasu, first time being there – stayed in a beautiful State Park right on the water.

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Got to go for a ferry boat ride to the other side of the lake where there is a small indian casino, fun trip but the casino was hardly bigger than the boat!

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Learned how to wash my hands, after all these years!

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Some beautiful sunsets in Arizona

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Lake Havasu is the new home of the famous London Bridge:

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Saw an old Nash Metropolitan at a classic car meet up. My Aunt Lynn drove one of these across the country way back when – apparently it would break down on a regular basis.

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In Yuma AZ I came across this little owl, was just hanging out in a shopping center parking lot.

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Saw a beautiful cactus garden on one of our walks.

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Now we are in Tucson, heading to Mesa AZ for the rest of the winter December 1st – while we are there we will take some side trips; Sedona, Rocky Point Mexico, and a month in La Manzanilla Mexico.

Yosemite

Took a day trip to Yosemite National Park – Susan had never been. Pretty awe inspiring, had been many years since I had been:

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Can you spot Susan?

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Fall 2016

A few more from our summer trip. Saw this amazing house in Eureka – now converted into a club of some kind:

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Picturesque old decaying train down by the docks:

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A ;itt;e native american camp set up where we stay at the indian casino in Oroville

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Not sure why there is an electric chair in this bar, but interesting:

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Played in a dart tournament at our friend’s place in Nevada City to end our trip:

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Back home in Valley Springs – we have been overrun with turkeys! Eating all the bird seed I put out for “real” birds, pretty funny when they run off.

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Enjoying our space here – really getting it dialed in:

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I played in a disc golf tournament in San Andreas – won my division! (Grand Master)

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Went down to San Francisco to see the 15th annual “Hardly Strictly Bluegrass” music festival and caught up with some old friends:

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We always have to visit our friend Allen’s place when we’re in town for some live music:

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And I turned Republican! (just kidding)

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Summer 2016

Out on the road again for summer – first stop Boise ID. We love it there – so much to do; biking, hiking, etc. They built a new park by a man made lake for watersports:

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Disc golf in Ann Morrison park is lots of fun – too many geese though. Here they play follow the leader:

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Also in Boise – met up with an old junior high and high school classmate, Claire Kanner. Had lots of fun going out and talking about old times – she is a fellow craft beer lover.

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Some of the best bike riding we’ve found here in Boise. Beautiful paths for miles and miles along the riverside – great for exercise.

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Got a free ticket to a concert next door from our RV park – can’t beat free!

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On to Bend OR. Got to see a hot air balloon festival – one of the events featured them lighting up the balloons at dusk, spectacular:

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The river here is shallow and wide and hundreds of people float down in everything imaginable; tubes, rafts, stand up paddleboards, air mattresses etc. We bought a double tube and had a great time floating on a super hot day.

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Took a challenging hike up Pilot Butte – amazing views at the top, 7 major peaks including Mt. Hood almost 100 miles away!

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Can’t really beat free beer! At the weekly farmers market

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Another nice hike up to some waterfalls:

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Another shot of the river in Bend:

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Celebrated Susan’s birthday with some champagne and Creme Brulee:

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Then on to Eugene OR – home of the University of Oregon Ducks. Unbelievable beer store there – just like Disneyland for beer lovers:

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Stayed with our friends Mike and Heidi in Coquille/Coos Bay OR. Lumber country – here a huge barge loaded with wood chips gets towed through the bay:

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They took us out to a fun old west type performance at a local theater:

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Now here in Eureka/Arcata area. Found an amazing, famous disc golf course called the Redwood Curtain. The course was created in 1978 and is situated behind the Humboldt University campus in a giant redwood grove – amazing place to play.

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Off to Oroville saturday to visit with Susan’s sister Becky, then a few days in Nevada City for our friend’s Chuck and Jen’s annual dart tourney/party – then will be heading home to Valley Springs.

Spring 2016

Made it back from our winter in Hawaii and Mexico safe and sound. Had a nice visit with my folks in March, and celebrated my St Patricks Day birthday in Murphys CA:

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While cleaning up a wood pile at our Valley Springs place we found some new born kittens. Susan and I are both allergic but we found a girl that took them and bottle fed them until they were old enough to be adopted. Pretty cute little fur balls.

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One of Susan’s new creations in the garden, and a shot of our nice green yard – unusual recently with the drought we have had.

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A decoration at a winery we visit – and a sign in a beer bar in Stockton:

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Redid the bar top in preparation for our yearly party:

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Our fire pit area was all weeds when we got home so I decided it needed an upgrade. Had concrete poured and it looks really nice now. Beautiful hanging out there on a warm night with a fire and the full moon.

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The party was a big success, had lots of campers this time around:

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The following day we all went over to Drytown where one of our friends owns a winery, the other a bar. There was live music in each location, and we spent the night in the little motel there.

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Went to play disc golf and have a swim at Lake Amador. Thought the sign was funny – so pretty much no fun allowed at all then?

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Back on the road again. Stayed in a little town called Loomis, and had a nice visit with our friends Chuck and Jen from Nevada City:

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On to Reno – visited with Tammy and Lance. Saw a great free concert at the amphitheater right downtown on the Truckee River. Lance had fun with the tiny beach balls they tossed into the crowd:

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Heading to Boise tomorrow – then spending some time in Oregon.

Mexico #2

So many nice sunsets

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One of the locals

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Our friend Danya came for a visit

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Day at the beach with friends – Chili Relleno special

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Full moon rising, sun setting

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Hiked to a small waterfall and pools

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Fancy dinner – Bananas Foster prepared tableside

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More sunsets

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Took a taxi boat to a gorgeous resort, Grand Bay in Barra De Navidad

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Susan out on the town

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Rodeo party in town

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Super bowl party at Dale and Brenda’s house

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Mexico #1

Back down in Mexico for the winter, going like this: 1 week in Puerto Vallarta, friends Mike & Heidi’s place for two weeks, friend Dave Hope’s place for three weeks, one month in a nice hotel in town, one week hotel in Melaque, then finish off one more week in Puerto Vallarta

   
    
   
   
    
   
   
    
   
   
   

Tequila

Had a nice two day visit to the town of Tequila, got a nicer tour of a distiller there.

   
    
   
   
    
   
   
    
   
   
    
   

   
    
    
 

Kauai 2

More from the Garden Island

   

We visited a Hindu temple, no bare legs allowed but they had loaner sarongs
    
  

Gina came for a weeks visit   
    
  

Beautiful hiking trail at five thousand feet, this portion was straight up  
 

Got to play disc golf on a real golf course with carts   
  Another amazing trail with very challenging terrain