Week 285 September 14, 2019

Loren and I began this week picnicking with friends in Jackson, California, at Kennedy Gold Mine Amphitheater. With them and a friend of theirs, we watched the outdoor performance of a play called, Alone, Together.

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Then we followed our friends’ to their home in Valley Springs, where we spent the night. In the dark, wee hours I heard a screeching voice shriek “We’re back!” It continued, and faded out to “We’re ba” “e’re ba” “re ba” until finally I realized it was the sounds of one or both our friends’ two roosters crowing, and I could fall back asleep. It was fun in the morning to see how well they’ve settled into their ranch home environment, and to see the improvements in the gardens and livestock from when we visited a couple years ago. 

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Loren and I drove back to our cabin, where we were expecting a friend to arrive that evening. It turned out he had to work later than planned so he came early the next morning. We enjoyed serving him breakfast, then spending the day together at Pinecrest. We took the hike to Catfish Lake that Loren and I had missed taking last weekend, and, we enjoyed seeing a couple of osprey flying and diving for fish at Pinecrest Lake. Loren and our friend went for a swim, and, we enjoyed dinner at the Steam Donkey Restaurant — named for historic mining equipment. Our friend then had to return to the Bay Area.

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The next evening our AirBnB hosts treated us out to dinner. They showed us around Twain Harte and we enjoyed a nice evening. That is a tree we are sitting next to, we were told it originally was inside the restaurant. Loren and I had intended to go on a backpack starting this day, but fortunately we pushed it back a day to enjoy this date. Our decision was unwittingly provident because it turned out the temperature dropped to 37 degrees! 

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Loren and I considered going on our backpack the next day, but it was still chilly, so we enjoyed a day at the cabin. The next day we again opted to pass, instead going for a good long hike around the whole of Lyons Lake. It included removing our hiking boots to ford a wide creek. That evening we were treated to a beautiful moon rising.

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The next day — essentially our last chance to go for more than a one overnight backpack, we  bailed out again, instead choosing to take a good hike to Camp Lake in the Emigrant Wilderness, where Loren and I had planned to backpack, and, have previously camped.

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It has also been nice to spend more time at the cabin than we would have if we had gone backpacking. We have seen several varieties of wildlife in the backyard, including stellar jays, chipmunk, chickarees, a couple of deer, butterflies and more flora… just delightful.

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Now, we are working on packing up… It has been an incredible 6 weeks here, almost over, except we have tomorrow with a full day planned. I’ll post about it next week…

Week 279 August 3, 2019

Loren and I were finishing our visit at Clear Lake at the beginning of this week. The campground resort owner sent us his photos of our kayak ride from last week, and, Loren took a single kayak for a ride while I did laundry on our last day there.

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We had a lovely dinner with special friends at the Blue Wing Saloon and Cafe in Upper Lake too. The restaurant is connected with historic Tallman Hotel, famous for its role as a stage coach stop in the distant past.

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We then thought ourselves lucky to be leaving Clear Lake as the prediction was for weather in the triple digits. It turned out their weather did not reach that high and instead we spent the next several days cold at a coastal KOA campground in Manchester.

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Regardless of the weather we made the best of it. We visited the Point Arena lighthouse, which was barely visible from the fog, 

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then went for a hike on the Stornetta public lands. 

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We felt fortunate that the sun came out before we hiked down to Bowling Ball Beach later that afternoon. A friend had suggested we visit here and to be sure to go at low tide as the unusual formations are only visible at when the tide is out. The sight reminded us of the Moeraki Boulders we visited when we were traveling through New Zealand.

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This friend had also suggested we travel further South on US1 to Gualala, to stop in at Alinder Gallery of photographs which includes some of Ansel Adams’ work. It was fun to see Alinder’s photographs too. Loren then indulged me in a drive even further south, all the way to see Wright’s Beach. It was too exposed to enjoy our picnic dinner, but Loren soon noticed a wonderful shade tree with a great view not too far back up the coast. 

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We visited Point Arena lighthouse for a second time to see it when the sun was shining, then finished that day with a hike to the beach, finding a different view of the lighthouse.

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The next day was our last full day on the coast. Loren offered it to be my choice of what to do. We first partook of the Rock Painting event at the KOA — mine is reflective of seeing bass and several fishermen on Clear Lake last week, and Loren’s rock choice compelled him to fill in the lips and face he visualized that were prominent on his rock.

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Then we drove north on coastal US1, up to Fort Bragg. We had a delightful dinner at Cucina Verona. We were seated at a table for two in front of the accordion player for a most memorable evening. I just had to snap a photo of one of the storefronts in town as we returned to our car.

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The next day we drove to Castro Valley. We ran some errands, then enjoyed a themed social dinner with Loren’s sister, prepared by the United Methodist Women with about 80 other members and friends attending their summer BBQ. Afterwards we pitched in to help her with some fertilization and trimming in her back yard. Now Loren and I are in Fremont, preparing to spend the next few weeks in the California Sierra mountains… internet availability will be a challenge, so please visit again – I will post here when I can. 

Week 278 July 27, 2019

Last week, two dear friends were visiting Loren and me at our AirBnB on Clear Lake. After a day’s drive along the east side of the lake together, we finished the day having ice cream at a park with Mount Konocti in view, then taking a walk around town.

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This week started with the four of us taking another drive around the rest of the lake, along the west side. We began the day with a walk at Anderson Marsh,

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then drove by the Dome home that Loren and his Dad had built 40 years ago, past the stalled refurbishing of Konocti Resort, and through Buckingham Park. We also stopped to see Bell Haven, a resort property that some years ago was in run down condition that Loren and I had seriously considered buying and refurbishing. Now, from over the gated fence we jealously admired the renovations that have been made. However we believe the costs incurred far exceed the vision that our own efforts likely would have produced. 

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Then we dropped in to see the salesman for Loren’s Dome kit, who still lives with his wife in their own dome home. We had a nice catchup visit, and learned he has recently established a new business downtown for slot car racing. While it loses money, it offers  a place for kids of all ages to have fun. By the way, Clear Lake is the largest natural lake that is wholly in the state of California. It was fun over two days of meandering around to see some of the places that have been special in our friends’ lives over the years, showing them places here that are special to us, and making some new great memories.

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Our last full day at the lakeside AirBnB was gorgeous – no clouds in the sky, and featured us hosting a BBQ. We were delighted that a cousin of mine who lives a couple hours away, and a long time friend of Loren’s who lives locally, were able to join us too.  

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Before Loren and I left the AirBnB, I caught a photo of one of the hosts’ many curio cabinets full of old phones. This one holds similar models nostalgic from my parents and grandparents homes during my childhood, especially the pink princess phone, and, the red and the black rotary models.

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Then Loren and I were off for a lunch date with our friend who lives locally. His home was burned in one of the fires here a couple of years ago. He is just now having a garage built on his property, and, had tree trimmers come to shape up some badly burned trees.

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Loren and I then relocated to van camp at a marina further north on the lake. On our first morning we went for a four hour kayak ride across part of Clear Lake and all the way to the end of Rodman Slough and back. Last week I was sure I had seen a pair of water birds walk upright on the lake, but the event ended so quickly I couldn’t point it out to anyone. I was excited then on Loren’s and my kayak ride to see several pair of what we now know are grebes, doing their mating dances which is culminated by walking on water. It was so astounding to me that I must share a video: 


We must have seen at least a hundred grebes, dozens of great egrets and night herons, many great blue herons, lots of Canadian geese, a few North American geese, some ducks and cormorants, several raptors including osprey, a flock of pelicans, one bald eagle, and one black-plumed gray bird of some unknown-to-us sort, unless because it flitted out of sight perhaps it was another heron. There are a few noteworthy geese though that seem to be confused as to their “feather” –  one American goose consistently seems to believe that s/he is a Canadian goose, and,

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a trio of two American geese and a mallard who remain inseparable in the marina. Or, just maybe they all are teaching us that different cultures can live together in peace!

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Loren and I have been additionally naturally entertained by a variety of fishing boats – a feature of Clear Lake is that it is a bass fisherman’s haven.

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Another couple of highlights this week include going to the local cinema to see the new Lion King, which had me crying even more than the first version, and, driving to nearby Blue Lakes, where we had a refreshing dip followed by a picnic lunch in the shade.

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REPOSTING in Progress: Weeks 2 to 109

This place holder is for the entries from our original blog to be added, eventually. Please check back – this re-creation is a labor of Love and will take a bit of  t-i-m-e- which, while still traveling, we do not always have a lot available to devote to this.

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To Our Loved Ones

Dear Family and Friends,

As we were preparing to leave home, some of you asked,
“Will you be on FaceBook?”
We replied, “No.”
“So will you have a blog?”
“No,” our answer again.

One friend however felt it necessary for us to have a blog, took the initiative, and went home to create this. Voila! All we had to do was learn how to make posts to it. Thank you, our friend!

We invite all to join us vicariously here, as we begin our Journey Toward Wholeness,
Claire & Loren

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