A Travellerspoint blog

End of 2016/Beginning 2017

Peoria, Arizona to Newport Beach and back again

Peoria, Arizona

It's always great to get back to our "home pad" at Casa Del Sol in Peoria, Az and settle in for awhile. Even better is seeing old friends again and catching up over cocktails! The day we rolled in our good friends and fellow full-timers Jimmy & Glenn had a beautiful al fresco dinner homecoming for us! Glenn made us his homemade lasagne which was the largest and most delicious we've ever had, what a lovely welcome after a long day of traveling.
After setting up the Tiki hut and outdoor kitchen Brad surprised me with beautiful flowers and we were ready to party. We hosted "Friendsgiving" dinner attended by our Casa pals and the turkey and fixings were great but everyone agreed Brad's fried chicken was a most excellent addition!
It was especially nice to have the holidays at home and to decorate a bit. Brad treated us to his world class dry aged rib roast (which he also smokes and then roasts to perfection, I made a Yorkshire pudding to accompany it, so decadent! I also had to include some pics of the cheese souffle I made as it took a couple of trials to get it right.

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Quartzsite, Arizona

We planned a trip to see family and friends in So Cal after the holidays to avoid all the crowds and traffic. Our travels take us through Quartzsite, Az where we like to stay a couple of days to check out the rock and mineral shows. A little too rainy for rock hounding this trip but I did get to shop at Gem World, a favorite of mine with all kinds goodies for jewelry making. Brad joined the Quartzsite Yacht Club, the largest yacht membership in the US with reciprocity across the country, ha ha.

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Newport Beach, California

We had stormy weather on the way to Newport Beach, that pretty much describes our stay this February; stormy and wet mostly. Still we managed to get out and walk and bike and enjoy beautiful Balboa Island and beach communities. It was especially nice to see the folks (Brad's parents) and spend time with Lance and Tina Robinson, Brad's brother and sister in law. We visited all our favorite bars and were introduced to some new places and of course enjoyed delicious meals and seafood.
Our newly wedded daughter Loretta and her husband Jeremy drove down for a weekend during our stay (we had a month at Newport Dunes Rv Resort) and we had fun showing them around a bit. All said, we loved our annual stay in lovely Newport Beach, it always goes by too quickly.

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So back to Peoria to finish off the winter dry and warm until April when we migrate north for Spring and Summer! Peace & safe travels ♡♡♡

Posted by curlysharon 10:46 Comments (2)

Fall Travels 2016

California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico

Widen Wedding San Francisco

As reported in part one, we traveled over 10,000 miles in the 6+ months we were on the road. We came back from the Pacific Northwest early in order to attend our daughter's wedding in San Francisco the first week of September. We had fine weather and a lovely gathering of family and friends to help us celebrate Jeremy and Loretta's union & celebrate we did!

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Coloma, Ca
Soon after the wedding we had another reason to celebrate, Brad's 52nd birthday! We decided to make a "Grand Tour" of the Gold Country saloons since we were camped on the American River in Coloma, Ca. We also attended Oktoberfest and the Weiner Dog Races in Placerville, silly fun indeed!

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Reno, Nevada[b]
We said our goodbyes to folks in California and headed east through the Sierra Nevada mountains. We had decided to no longer traverse Hwy 5 south from Sacramento anymore as that road is so hard on our rig. For 2 years in a row we've sustained damage as a result of driving Hwy 5 resulting in travel delays and expensive repairs. Besides, we had missed seeing family in Utah for the past two years and were overdue. We stopped a couple of days to visit good friends in the Reno area and to see the world renowned National Automobile Museum. Displaying historic automobiles from the late 19th century and from throughout the 20th, most of the vehicles are from the collection of the late casino owner William F. Harrah.

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[b]Salt Lake City, Utah

We were excited to see our family in the Salt Lake area and were able to catch up to almost everyone during our stay. We explored the city, enjoyed an energetic (strenuous) hike up Big Cottonwood Canyon with Brad's cousins. We were rewarded with spectacular views of the fall foliage and climbed to an elevation of around 8500 feet to alpine Lake Blanche. Always a pleasure, we look forward to seeing our Utah family more on our new route.

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Moab, Utah

Having never been to the National parks of southern Utah (Brad hadn't been in over 30 years) we were both entranced by the beauty of Arches National Park, located a short drive from Moab. We had decided to concentrate our explorations in Arches and see as many of the formations as we could hike to. Many beautiful arches are accessible by car and a short walk and there are varying degrees of hiking trails. We scrambled up narrow paths and down sheer sandstone cliffs, no jokes it was at times anxiety ridden but we overcame and felt elated to have endured! We also drove the LaSal Loop around the mountains of Moab. Next visit we'll concentrate on another of the 5 national parks; Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Brice, Zionsville and Arches.

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Pagosa Springs, Colorado

As a final treat, our itinerary included traveling to New Mexico which took us briefly through southwestern Colorado. We were so glad it did as we came upon the mesa verde town of Pagosa Springs for overnight. As you see the springs run right through the quaint town and we hope to spend more time in the future.

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Ojo Caliente, New Mexico

We finally made it to our favorite resort in New Mexico, Ojo Caliente a natural hot spring spa that is situated among red rock cliffs in the area of Taos. We treated ourselves to 3 days of soaking in the many different pools and pampering by the spa staff (massage for me!). We left feeling completely relaxed and ready to make the trek back to our winter home in Peoria, Az.

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We wish you all a happy 2017, a year of further exploration and friendly times! Cheers and safe travels!

Posted by curlysharon 09:00 Comments (1)

2016 Spring/Summer Travels

Journeys in the Pacific Northwest

We had an awesome travel season, April through October this year, logging over 10,000 miles! Beginning in Peoria, Az and traveling as far north as Seattle we visited new parks and old friends. First up, our annual camping trip to Collins Lake in Oregon House, CA (north of Sacramento).

Collins Lake
We meet up with our Roseville, Ca friends every April at privately owned Collins Lake resort rain or shine to boondock by the lake and fish for trout. We'll it usually pours rain at least once, this time was a bit soggier but that didnt stop the good times of fishing and beer drinking! The party continued at our friend Scott's house for bbq'd brisket, a specialty of his.

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Oregon Coast

From northern California we headed up to Oregon and our first destination there in Florence on the coast. We stayed in our member campground of the Thousand Trails (TT) system at South Jetty just a mile or two from downtown Florence, a pretty tourist town west of Eugene. As the name implies the jetty affords a long beach out to the windy head, great for walks and shell scavenging. The town of Florence has great restaurants and bars and is situated on the Siuslaw River with a quaint harbor.
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This last pic is fried oysters over poached eggs and greens, a Sunday morning favorite!

Oyster Farms in Oregon

Speaking of oysters, Brad and I love seafood and especially oysters that we buy and consume by the quart shucked. We will drive an hour or more to our favorite farms on the coast to indulge ourselves, all oyster beds are not the same! We mainly have them fried (Brad is a master fry chef!) also bbq'd and wrapped in bacon and roasted, so delicious! There's an abundance of excellent seafood along the coast, we always ask the locals who are happy to oblige.

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Newport Oregon and surrounding areas

Always a pleasure to visit Newport, a large working harbor town and home to Rogue Brewery this is one of the larger coastal cities in Oregon. Our favorite oyster farm is located on the back Bay road and the Mad Dog Tavern on the way is always a place to quench the thirst. Nye Beach district abounds with shops and eateries and beautiful views. Brad was fully recovered from his hip replacement surgery (Oct 2015) and walked miles of beaches finding some great pieces along the way. We also met up with our good buddies and fellow full-timers Jimmy and Glenn and a very old friend Jeff Birchell who was a witness at our wedding and had been living in Newport all these years unbeknownst to us. We also visited the towns of Waldport (festival with car show) and Yachats (groovy pub with ocean views).

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The Oregon Country Fair (OCF)

Having been accepted into the Traffic Crew of the Oregon Country Fair Brad and I were happy to be invited to have the rig on the premises instead of having to tent camp. Brad proved himself to be a valuable crew member driving stakes for designated parking areas. I helped my friend Cher handing out crew tee shirts. I have already detailed our OCF adventure in an earlier post and so will refer those that are interested there
http://bradandsharon.travellerspoint.com/33/

Some eerie pics of the booths after the fair...
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Long Beach, Washington
After the OCF we headed across the Colombia River to Washington and the town of Long Beach where again, we stayed at a TT park new to us. We found Long Beach a welcoming and bike friendly place with a coastal trail running the length of the town. We explored the North Head light house and Cape Disappointment light house and made a trip to nearby Oysterville for (you guessed it) fresh shucked oysters. We also made friends at Long Beach Tavern and had a fabulous dinner at The Pickled Fish restaurant, with views of the ocean. We were fortunate to be there for the annual SandSations Festival sand sculpting on the beach We definately will be making Long Beach a regular stop on our travels.
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[bOcean Shores, Washington [/b]
After Long Beach we traveled to the southern portion of the Olympic Peninsula and a favorite town there Ocean Shores for the annual Bike Rally in late July, a weekend full of music, bikes and bikers! This time we saw some daring biker stunts (wheelies and balancing) and had an awesome time at the Green Lantern, our favorite tavern in the area where we got our groove on to the band's playing.
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Aberdeen, Washington

A friendly bar keep told us about the Kurt Cobain Memorial Park in the neighboring town of Aberdeen (an old logging town) so we decided to make a day trip to check out his hometown. As the lead for the grunge band Nirvana, Kurt lived as a kid in a modest home near the Wishkah River (yellow house pic) where under the Young Street Bridge he would hang out and write poetry which later he used as lyrics for his songs. Known to locals as Cobain Landing, it's a quaint little memorial to Kurt who committed suicide in 1994 at the age of 27. We figured the trip would not be complete without stopping in to a few taverns around his digs.

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Port Angeles, Washington

Our travels took us to the north of the Olympic National Park to the town of Port Angeles where we enjoyed exploring the coast and a trip to Sol Duc Hotsprings where we hiked to waterfalls and soaked afterwards. The beauty of the old growth forests and towering mountains with pristine lakes takes your breath away and keeps you coming back.

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Teddy Bear Picnic, Veneta, Oregon

We had to cut our travels short as our daughter Loretta's wedding was the first week in September and it was time to head south to San Francisco where the nuptials occurred. On our way back we stopped over in Veneta, Oregon to see some Fair friends and attend the ' Teddy Bear Picnic', an event put on by the OCF to thank the volunteers for their Fair service. It turned out to be a scorcher weekend with temps reaching 103°!!! The only thing to do was plunge in the lake and head to the bar to stay cool!

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We sure had fun with all our friends in the Pacific Northwest and look forward to seeing them this summer. Our journeys took us far from the tall trees and misty beaches to the city of San Francisco for the union of Loretta and Jeremy and beyond to the southwest and places I had never been... More of our travels in the following posts, to be continued!

Posted by curlysharon 10:34 Comments (2)

The Oregon Country Fair 2016

Traffic Crew

The OCF

Our travels this summer included volunteering at the Oregon Country Fair held in Veneta, Oregon every July for 3 days. The work involved with getting it ready for the public is truly heroic as they convert forestland and fields of grass into a fair venue complete with art, performers, food vendors and artisans and lots of colorful characters. Brad was invited into Traffic Crew which begins months in advance to stake out all the parking areas and put up fences and then during Fair directs and parks the incoming cars. Brad had no problems 'controlling' traffic (25 years of Air Traffic) and was a hard worker all around. I worked at the Traffic Desk with my girl Cher Bear who invited us to join the Fair Family last year. It was great to greet everyone and hand out the crew T-shirts to Traffic people as they arrived at camp.

We arrived a week before Fair and were treated to 4th of July Fireworks. The best part was being allowed to have our rig instead of tent camping. It was awesome to have all the conveniences of home albeit boondocking. We met some new friends and caught up with the old ones and enjoyed a magical time with Fair Folk!

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By the time Fair started we were completely surrounded by campers and tents! We also participated in 'The Lime Green Parade' on Friday, opening day for the Fair

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Brad on Traffic Crew and other colorful Traffic folk, the costumes help to get the public in the mood as Traffic folk are the first and last contact with Fair goers.

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A few of the many venues around OCF, everything has to be made of natural materials and recycling is a huge part of Fair experience with all the food venders using only recyclable containers. The food at the OCF is off the charts good, organic and healthy. Our treats this year included lamb kabobs , salmon quesadilla, savory crepes, spanakopita and lavender cupcakes plus lots of fresh juices, no alcohol is served at the Fair!

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We look forward to next year's Fair and if you are in need of some magic in your life, come along!

Posted by curlysharon 11:05 Comments (1)

Winter in the Desert

Late 2015 to February 2016

Peoria, Arizona

We traveled to Arizona earlier than usual (1st of October instead of late) because Brad had been dealing with severe pain due to his hip. It seems the Robinson's hips are genetically problematic and as Brad's was bone on bone it was time to replace the joint with a new titanium one. The new surgery for hip replacement is less invasive (incision from the front of the leg) and Brad was on his feet shortly after surgery walking around. Needless to say Brad rehabbed in a couple of weeks and as of this writing is completely healed and walking without pain again.

It was so warm when we arrived (105F !) that Brad bought and erected a Tiki hut for shade and to set up his outdoor kitchen in. It has since become a favorite hangout for our friends in the neighborhood and a few other Tikis sprang up. It's so nice to extend our living environment to outside and especially to have Brad's trifecta of cooking apparatus; his smoker, fryer and grill! We also have our little convection oven outside for more counter space for me!

We visited my brother John Cooper and his wife Lisa and Lisa and I attended a "Day of the Dead" tea together.

The last pic in the group is of Brad's awesome fried chicken, sooo good!

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Newport Beach, California

We headed to So Cal for the holidays and stayed at Newport Dunes RV Resort on the back bay of Newport Beach for the month. It's a favorite of ours as just a short bike ride away you can be on Balboa Island and take a quick ferry ride over to the peninsula and then on to the boardwalk where you can ride up the coast.

One of our favorite dive bars (right off the ferry) and our first stop for a coldie is "the Class of 47" where we hang with the locals when low and behold who should be perched on a stool at the bar, none other than Dennis Rodman! He enjoys rather an infamous reputation with some of the more affluent residents of Newport Beach but is a favorite among the blue collars. We got to know him as he regularly hung out at the "Class of 47" and he admired our tattoos (which helped him remember us, too) and on one occasion he favored me with a bottle of his vodka, signed the bottle and insisted that we take a pitcure! Well, I still have the bottle, (thanks Dennis!) and one of these days I'll crack it open and try it with someone who likes vodka (Brad does not) to ascertain it's desirability...

Being in Newport enabled us to see Brad's family easily and we also enjoyed the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade with all the rich guy yachts decorated with lights and the opening ceremony fireworks.

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Christmas Eve with Jack & Marilyn Robinson

We spent Christmas Eve at Brad's father's with his brother Lance and wife Tina and were treated to Chinese dinner out. So good to see the Robinson men together (between them they have 7 hip surgeries!).

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Christmas Day with Marie Aspenwall

We spent Christmas with Brad's mother and Lance and Tina and went to Dim Sum at Sam Woos for lunch, Chinese twice in 2 days, yum! (If you have not tried Sam Woos in the Irvine, Ca area it's the best outside of San Francisco China Town!)

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Visit with Adam and Sarita Wetzel

My nephew Adam and his family were on holiday from Fairbanks, Alaska where they live and we were able to get together for an Italian feast at Buca di Beppa and send them off with presents for the kids Hazel and Christian.

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Quartzsite, Arizona

After the holidays we headed back to Arizona with an overnighter in Quartzsite to rock hound a little, the weather was chilly and wet so we hightailed it back to Peoria. I did manage to find a pretty stone to make a necklace for a friend.

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Peoria, Az

We made it back to our home base and Brad got the Tiki hut set back up for me to decorate and promptly bought new flowers to replace the ones that had gotten frost bitten while we were away. Seems the month of December was pretty cold here, anyway we had John and Lisa over in the hut for a luncheon and settled back in for the rest of the winter.
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The Barret Jackson Car Auction, Scotttsdale, Arizona

Brad being able to walk comfortably again we checked out the Barret-Jackson car auction held in Scottsdale and saw some fantastic cars and trucks. Quite the venue, we recommend the event, lots to see!

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Waste Management "The Players Championship", Scottsdale, AZ

We also attended the "TPC" golf tournament put on by Waste Management this year in January, we had perfect weather as you can see. the pics are of a little roadrunner bird that ran by, also of Phil Mickelson at the tee and one of Jason Dufner looking right at me as he walks down the fairway (for you golf followers).

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Sharon's Projects
These are some of the projects that kept me busy the last couple of months: "Goddess Earrings" (see the woman figure?), Chiastolite "Cross Stone" cabochon necklace with beaded bezel, "Spring Bee" quartz cabochon pin with beaded bezel and copper bumble bee, and "Dragon" beaded lighter cover.

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Lastly, looking forward to our summer travels up the coast of Oregon and Washington but for now the Tiki hut feels like home! XoXo ~ S
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Posted by curlysharon 14:50 Comments (2)

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