Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Encinitas Night Life

Tom was our chauffeur for geocaching today. We had five finds, mostly in beautiful places. We had a chance to see the ocean - big waves - big surf. It's a real treat for us to see the Pacific - it is so beautiful. I think Grand Traverse Bay is beautiful but the ocean is beautiful on steroids.

After we cleaned up at Tom's, we went to meet Kevin and Amy to go out to dinner in downtown Encinitas. We had a chance to play with Maya, and watch her play and dance - she's delightful. Then off to the Via Italia Trattoria. Downtown Encinitas has a touristy quality - lots of restaurants, bars and gift shops. This restaurant was really nice - family friendly, and yummy food. Maya was so well-behaved during the meal - it was a pleasure to be with her. Afterwards we went down the street to Berry Happy Frozen Yogurt, where you make your own sundae with a multitude of topping choices! Maya had fun asking each of us "What did YOU get?"

So our last night in California was most pleasant indeed - nice family we have!

Monday, May 30, 2011

California Cook-out !

Tom, Dick and I were invited to Amy's Mom's house for a Memorial Day Picnic. How lucky are we! First we drove up to Encinitas to see Kevin and Amy's new house - what a great place. Encinitas is a beach town, and their house is about two blocks from the beach. Amy's Dad Richard did a lot of the work on the house and he is really good. He and his son Kean did Tom's new kitchen, too, with just gorgeous results.

Then we drove down to Del Mar to Joyce's house. She is always so hospitable and at ease when entertaining. She had all kinds of appetizers set out when we got there, and every kind of beverage. Amy's Dad was the Grill Master - he did chicken and ribs - yummy. We also had beans, potato salad, tossed salad, jello, and veggies. Afterwards, she served three kinds of cake! Kean said that their family motto is "Why do it when you can overdo it." !

It was a great picnic - there were a dozen of us there if you count the two babies - Dick, Tom and I, Amy , Kevin and Maya, Grace, Kean and Luke, Joyce's twin brother Kean and Fran, and Joyce's Aunt Grace.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bar Mitzvah II

Sniders' whole family:

Mike's brother Ed with Miles and Max; Jake and Adam, Kim and Mike

This is the letter that Dick sent to the kids - I couldn't say it any better!

We had a great time at the Bar Mitzvah, A good visit with Bill, Jan, and her brother Hank, on Friday afternoon and evening. This was followed by the Shabbat service. Jake had a very small part but there was a M&G after and Reiko and Erik were there. The kids stayed with Bob and Tammy.

The only downside was driving in SoCal traffic to get from Tom's to Irvine.

We had a great room (suite) at the Quality Inn at John Wayne. It was a large, beautifully landscaped 3 story complex. Our room was on the 1st floor about 50 feet from parking. The only downside was I ran out of book and they didn't have any.

Saturday started with a cook-to-order hot breakfast that was included in the room rate, and then dressing up to go back to the "temple". The service was great. It is a reformed congregation, very laid back and very personal and friendly. The entire Reines family was involved. Mike's mom Miriam, sister Sarah, who is a Rabbi, Mike's brothers and their kids, and of course Kim, Mike, Adam and Jake.

It was a hoot watching Kim read Hebrew. Parts made me laugh out loud and parts choked me up so I couldn't speak.

After the service there was a DJ, and Jake's band combined with a buffet meal.The kids ate first. The DJ was super good. He just played music while the kids ate. Then he started the action by getting the boys (aged 5 to maybe 16) involved. The first event was a musical chairs type treasure hunt. He would shout an item like "Girl's shoe" or "credit card" or "$10 bill" and the last one back with that item had no place to sit. The call for "Diamond ring" blew me away. Then the chairs were turned around and Jake's band played. He plays bass guitar. They did selections from Beach Boys to Beatles.

I thought they were good. (But what do I know?) They started in the fifth grade for a talent show and have kept at it.

Then, while the adults ate, he got the kids up and moving with "dancing", lots of hopping and clapping. Gradually he got the adults involved with more dancing. Jan and her girls are dancing animals.

We pulled the plug early. Kim was having more party at her house, both last night and today but we begged off pleading fatigue.

Then it was back on the freeway. O - M - G !!! 8 lanes wide and - Parking Lot! It took us over 30 minutes to go 15 miles! In a stick shift! If you left any room between you and the car in front, two cars would pull into it, one from each side. If you crowded the car in front, (always, it seemed, either a huge SUV or a 4x4 pick up) they would constantly slam on the brakes. I think maybe I'm getting to old for this. Rush hour at Chum's Corner looks good now.

Enjoying the celebration:

On the way back to San Diego, we drove through Oceanside and saw this sign for Steiger Real Estate. That's always fun :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bar Mitzvah I

We left around 1 p.m. to drive up to Dana Point to visit Bill and Jan. They've rented a great condo just a couple of blocks from the beach - it's beautiful there. Jan's brother Hank was staying with them for the weekend. We had fun chatting, and then we agreed to meet for dinner before the service and we left for our motel in Irvine to change clothes.

We couldn't find the Asiana restaurant that Hank wanted to go to, so we settled for Taleo - a very nice Mexican restaurant, where we got more food than any of us could finish. Luckily, Sniders had a cooler in their car.

On to the synagogue - the service was short and sweet - Jacob read a couple of prayers and did very well indeed. Afterwards cookies and beverages were served, and we had a chance to see Eric and Reiko.

Reiko and Hank

Jacob, the Man of the Hour:

Jacob and the proud papa

Thursday, May 26, 2011

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

It used to be called San Diego Wild Animal Park - the name has been changed, but it's the same wonderful place. It's a huge venue - but we've found a way for me to get around just fine - without the scooter I would really miss out!

The baby elephants are the most fun to watch:

From the tram we spotted this cheetah resting in the shade - they are very hard to spot in a wild environment.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

San Jacinto Mountains

A beautiful day to head for the hills! Tom loaded his mountain bike, Dick loaded his cache bag, and off we went. We dropped Tom at Hurkey Creek Park, and we went exploring. What great weather - what great scenery... We found a total of seven caches for the day, and a good time was had by all.

Dick's logs:

05/25/2011 You found Speed of Light Visit Log
We cameup to Idyllwild today to drop off our son the physicist (BA MIT, PhD U of Mich) on the bike trail and spend some time exploring and caching. We spotted this one and forced him to come along with us to the site. He knew of the scientist and told us about the experiment and the discovery which resulted in him being awarded the Nobel Prize. (We pretended to understand) However, he was not aware of this place or of the experimental attempt to measure the speed of light. We all enjoyed our day up here. Thanks for maintaining this virtual cache.

05/25/2011 You found Living Free Visit Log
We dropped our son and his new mountain bike off at the camp ground and drove back to start caching here. Nice hide, fairly quick find, signed the log and left our card and pathtag. Thanks for the fun.

05/25/2011 You found Pines to Palms (243A) Visit Log
After we dropped the biker off Hurkey Creek, we came back to Idyllwild to do some caching. This was a quick find. The log needs attention, full and a little damp. TFTC

05/25/2011 You found IDY Strawberry Creek Visit LogHad to look a bit but we found it and signed the log and left our micro card. TFTC
05/25/2011 You found Pines to Palms (243C) Visit LogThis hide was worth a chuckle. As we pulled up I said, "Don't need the GPS for this one!" I do that so often and so often I'm just flat wrong. We signed the very full log book where we could. It really needs to be replaced. TFTC
05/25/2011 You found SNDFISH Visit Log
We came up to Idyllwild today with our son. We dropped him off to go mountain biking while we went caching. This was our favorite find of the day. Great view, easy access and a nice sized dry hide with a great camo concept. We took nothing, signed the log and left our card and Apache Tears. Thanks for the fun!

05/25/2011 You found Dorothy & Toto's Retreat Visit Log
We came up today with our son on a combined biking geocaching trip. We truly enjoyed the hide in a quaint artsy town. Signed the log, traded sigs and left our pathtag. Thanks for the fun.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

California, Here We Come

Nice 5 a.m. shuttle from the Comfort Inn Airport to McCarran Field. Checked in with no problem - walked to gate D 37 - yes 37!

Anyway, uneventful flight to LAX to connect with American Eagle to San Diego. Dick's seatmate on the Eagle was a young Mormon missionary returning from two years in Argentina. He went on his mission right out of high school so we figured he was probably 20 years old. It was hard to think of him as "Elder Hall"! He had a really fun welcoming committee - lots of cute young girls holding a big banner.

Tom picked us up and brought us to his house, and then went back to work. It was perfect because I got all of the laundry done this afternoon. Yaay! All the comforts of home.

We went out to dinner at Chevy's - yummy Mexican food. Hooray for Southern California.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Beaver, Utah to Las Vegas, New Mexico

Another beautiful drive with awe-inspiring scenery!

We had a hectic drive around Las Vegas looking for a place to eat. Finally wound up eating at Johnny Rockets right by the motel.

Excited to be going to California tomorrow.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Grand Junction, Colorado to Beaver, Utah

We had a glorious drive today - the scenery in southern Utah is just astounding. Around every curve, we said "WOW!" I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves;

As soon as we got to Beaver we started looking for caches. The first one we found was by an alpaca farm - These have to be the cutest mammals in existence!!

Caching in Utah - this was the only tree from here to the horizon!

Pioneers had to have been the hardiest, bravest, most adventuresome people that there ever were - this wagon is very small and looks creaky and uncomfortable. So glad I was born in the 20th century!

We found the caching around Beaver to be very disappointing. The caches are not well maintained at all - several are missing and not archived. We did manage to find five - but I have to say that caching in Michigan is much more fun. We now have found caches in 49 States! Ta-da! Next Spring - Hawaii.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Farmington, New Mexico to Grand Junction, Colorado

The first things we saw when we entered Colorado were beautiful, snow-covered mountains in the distance. How great, I thought. We'll have this wonderful scenery all day long! Little did I know....

The first town we went through in Colorado was Durango - it's a really nice looking town - touristy, historic, and ultra-Western, North of Durango we drove past field after field of hay or wheat, with every type of irrigation that you've ever heard of going full blast in every field.

The road we were taking to Grand Junction went right through the mountains, entailing everything you know about mountain driving - a long, long, twisty, turny narrow road - sheer drops of hundreds of feet with only a frail looking guardrail to protect you - and sometimes no guardrail at all !! This would have been a challenging drive on a hot summer day - but wait....all of a sudden our twisty road was bordered by snow - wow - look at that - we'd better take a picture! (We thought it was some kind of an anomaly.) We actually thought that this was a lot of snow for May 21:

This is called Engineering Mountain:

Then the piled up snow was deeper and deeper. We began to see signs saying Avalanche Area No Stopping or Standing, and Icy Roads, Use Caution. And it was true. On many of the hairpin turns the road was icy and the drop-offs were perilous - how exciting (not).

We reached Silverton in one piece, glad of a chance to stretch our legs and make a pit stop. Drove around the Main street (the only paved street in town) to d0 some sight seeing and to drive on the level for a change. I foolishly thought that now we were through with the mountain driving. The sign said Ouray 29 miles. It turned out to be 29 miles of more mountainous driving, with even steeper drop-offs and deeper canyons. Holy cow.

After driving through the mountain roller coaster, driving on t0 Grand Junction was a piece of cake. Ate lunch at the Pufferbelly Station Restaurant - really - found a motel, and went caching.
The Riverwalk Park held many caches, and Dick photographed these sculptures along the path.

We found five caches this afternoon in Grand Junction. It's a beautiful city and today was a glorious sunny, warm blue sky kind of a day. We had a grat time.