Brake for Nature

Flying South for the Winter

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.

Michael standing by our truck and trailer at the Hoquiam River RV Park

At the Hoquiam River RV Park

Reflections of evergreens in the glassy waters of the Hoquiam River adjacent to the Hoquaim River RV Park

Hoquiam River adjacent to the RV Park

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.

Michael standing with our truck and trailer under tall firs at Big Fir Campground and RV Park

Big Fir Campground and RV Park

Michael photographing sandhill cranes at Ridgefield NWR

Michael photographing sandhill cranes at Ridgefield NWR

Five sandhill cranes in a pentagon formation in the sky at Ridgefield NWR

Sandhill cranes at Ridgefield NWR

Three sandhill cranes landing in a field at Ridgefield NWR

Sandhill cranes landing at Ridgefield NWR

Michael standing under an old, sprawling oak in the glow of the late afternoon sun at the Carty Unit of Ridgefield NWR

Oaks at the Carty Unit of Ridgefield NWR

Christina standing in front of the Pie Spot in Portland

Pie in Portland!

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.

Some of Michael's friends around a table at a Mexican restaurant in Red Bluff

At Carlito’s in Red Bluff with some of Michael’s friends

Michael and his father sitting at a table at Carlito's Mexican restaurant in Red Bluff, CA

Michael and Dad at Carlito’s again in Red Bluff

Michael all decked out in his field gear on the trail at the Sacramento NWR

My field biology dork all geared up at the Sacramento NWR

Greater white-fronted geese, northern pintails, and mallards gathered at the edge of a pond at Sacramento NWR

Greater white-fronted geese, northern pintails, and mallards at the Sacramento NWR

Four greater white-fronted geese in the air at the Sacramento NWR

Greater white-fronted geese at the Sacramento NWR

Black-tailed deer (buck) at the Sacramento NWR

Black-tailed deer at the Sacramento NWR

Peregrine falcon perched in a tree at the Sacramento NWR

Peregrine falcon at the Sacramento NWR

Back to Rancho Jurupa Park in Riverside, California (our home base) for Halloween. Visited Michael’s sister and family.

Christina on the couch at Michael's sister's house with their jack russell and pomeranian on her lap

Olive and Emma happy to see us at Michael’s sister’s house

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!)

Our trailer parked at a storage facility in Riverside

Parking Foxy at a storage facility in Riverside

Christina on a trail on Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland with the leaves in their yellow and orange fall colors and leaves all over the ground

Hiking the Yellow Trail on Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland (Christina’s childhood backyard)

Christina and her dad sitting on a large white rock on top of Sugarloaf Mountain with a view of southern Frederick County

On top of Sugarloaf Mountain at White Rock with Christina’s dad

Michael and Christina at a table with their friends at BJ's in Frederick

Dinner with Elizabeth, Will (in front), and Patrick (in back) at BJ’s in Frederick

Michael reading at an outdoor table with mugs of coffee and tea on the table in Frederick

Enjoying some down time at the Frederick Coffee Company

Nighttime view of Thomas Circle all lit up in Washington, D.C.

View of Thomas Circle in Washington, D.C. from Sabrina’s rooftop – forgot to get a pic of Sabrina’s wonderful dinner 🙁

Christina's childhood home in a rural part of Maryland with a bright red Chinese maple out front

Christina’s dad’s house (and Christina’s childhood home)

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.

Christina admiring basketry at the Palm Springs Art Museum

Basketry at the Palm Springs Art Museum – I want to learn how to weave baskets!

Glass art display at the Palm Springs Art Museum

Glass art at the Palm Springs Art Museum

Desert valley with mountains on both sides at Whitewater Preserve

The canyon at Whitewater Preserve

View of Whitewater River on the trail

Whitewater River on the trail at Whitewater Preserve

Sign at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve surrounded by desert plants

Valley of desert shrubs and cottonwood trees in the glow of the late afternoon sun at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve

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!

Scene from the beach at Morro Bay with Morro Rock and the ocean

Morro Bay

Part of Morro Rock against the sky with wispy clouds reflecting the sun

Morro Rock

Sign "Death from drowning happens once in a lifetime" at Morro Rock

At Morro Rock

Michael and Christina at a table at Dargan's Irish Pub with the Tiffanys and friends

Dinner at Dargan’s in Ventura with the Tiffanys (right), Rochelle, and Bailey (left)

Christina with Rick and Angelo at a restaurant in Ventura

Dinner at Stephen’s Market and Grill with (from left) Rick and Angelo

A baking sheet with chocolate chip cookies made with almond flour

Christmas cookies!

New Sheetrock on the garage wall at the Tiffanys

Garage work at the Tiffanys

Tink, the small-eared cat, sitting on the bed like a human at the Tiffanys

More pet love – Tink, one of the Tiffanys’ three cats

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!!!

One thought on “Flying South for the Winter

  1. Pingback: Water Under the Bridge - RV Plumbing Troubles | Brake for Nature

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