Back in mid-October we decided it was time to fly south for the winter, hang out in southern California for a bit, and visit with friends and family while our trailer got some much-needed repairs. Then we would push east along the southern border of the Country during the winter. Somehow, a little more than three months flew by!
Here’s how it went…in fast-forward…
From Forks, made a short stop in Hoquiam, Washington to see Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge, but we got rained out.
Stopped off near Portland again. Stayed at Big Fir Campground and RV Park. Spent one day at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge on the Columbia River to see some birds. Spent one day in Portland running some errands and getting my pie fix at The Pie Spot and Middle Eastern food fix at Nicolas’ Restaurant at the tail end of my antibiotic treatment. Apple brandy pie, pear-marionberry pie, chocolate-peanut-butter pie, and chicken apple sausage and cheddar-in-a-blanket (of pie dough) for lunch! Walked from The Pie Spot to Oregon Park and then 1.25 miles to Nicolas’ Restaurant in order to get hungry for dinner! Ate lamb and butternut squash cous-cous and beef shwarma after an appetizer of baba ganoush. What an amazing gastronomical day! Walked 1.25 miles back to the truck.
Made the long trek to Red Bluff, California in one day to avoid a storm that was barreling down on us. Spent 10 days at Red Bluff RV Park visiting with Michael’s friends and family there and helping his parents build a fence. Enjoyed evening walks at Red Bluff Recreation Area in the Mendocino National Forest – the place was loaded with birds! White-crowned sparrows, golden-crowned sparrows, one white-throated sparrow, one lark sparrow, and one merlin. The sweet songs of the sparrows as the sun was setting brought us peace at the end of the day. Spent an afternoon at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge where thousands of northern pintails, greater white-fronted geese, and snow geese were gathered for the winter.
Back to Rancho Jurupa Park in Riverside, California (our home base) for Halloween. Visited Michael’s sister and family.
Spent a little over a week in the Mojave Desert testing out our boondocking skills (more on that story in an upcoming post).
Back to Riverside to park our trailer at a storage facility and fly from Ontario Airport to Dulles to visit my family and friends in Maryland for Thanksgiving. Hung out with my dad at the house, helping him shore up the back porch in preparation for solar panels on the roof and hiking on Sugarloaf Mountain. Visited some of my dearest college friends: Sabrina in Washington, D.C. for one of her delicious home-cooked meals and Elizabeth along with her husband and brother-in-law at BJ’s in Frederick for hours of lively conversation. Drove down to the Danko family house in White Stone, Virginia to spend some quality family time with my aunts and uncles. Ate Thanksgiving dinner with my parents at my mom’s new home in the memory unit of the Edenton Retirement Community in Frederick. Flew back to Ontario Airport with my dad, since he had a week of work meetings at ESRI in Redlands following Thanksgiving (for his part-time retirement work!)
Back in Riverside, moved much of our stuff from our trailer to our storage unit in preparation for repairs to our trailer. Barely got our trailer out of the tight parking space in storage and out to a dealership in Banning for repairs. Spent a few days in Palm Springs at a cheap motel while my dad was in meetings in Redlands. Toured the Palm Springs Art Museum. Hiked with my dad at Whitewater Preserve and Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, and ate good food in Palm Springs.
Drove to Ventura (our former home base) to stay with our friends Michael and Stephanie Tiffany while the repairs on our trailer were completed. Traveled to Morro Bay with Michael (Tiffany) for some birding…and a Planning Commission hearing on the proposed removal of some decommissioned Navy jet fuel tanks (brought back memories from my days at Ventura County Planning). Visited friends in Ventura. Helped out with the Audubon Christmas Count. Got the flu. Got better. Made chocolate chip cookies with almond flour for Christmas. Helped out with a garage remodel for our friends. Went to a wedding. Got a cold. Got better. Six weeks later, our trailer was finally ready! Waited out some rainstorms. Michael got a jury summons from Riverside County!
Went to Banning to pick up our trailer, returned to Rancho Jurupa Park in Riverside. Refilled our trailer with our stuff. Michael went in for jury duty. Michael got called at the end of the day and asked to return the next day. Michael got selected for a jury! Had to plan to stay another two weeks in Riverside.
Returned to Ventura for the weekend to finish up work on our friends’ garage. Michael went back to court on Monday. Judge and two attorneys were sick. Court canceled that day. Next day, Michael got a call that the defendant had pled guilty, and the jury was dismissed! Already paid for a week at Rancho Jurupa Park.
Finally….ready to travel again!!!