A Travellerspoint blog

San Diego Explorations ~ January/February 2015

Birch Aquarium and Balboa Park with all it's diversions

San Diego

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We thoroughly explored San Diego this visit with trips to the beaches (various dive bars), Old Town, Stone Brewing, Birch Aquarium and Balboa Park. We love San Diego's laid back and friendly vibe. We saw our friends Darryl and Nancy and had some great food, all while enjoying pleasant weather.

Birch Aquarium

We spent a rainy afternoon wandering the halls of this notable aquarium on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego. As the pictures show the variety and beauty of the specimens were outstanding; it was so peaceful and tranquil we were swept away.

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Balboa Park

We had time on our hands and so bought a weeks pass to visit the many museums at Balboa Park which also included entry to the San Diego Zoo. Our first stop was the San Diego Air and Space Museum exhibiting an excellent cross section of aviation history.

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San Diego Automotive Museum

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San Diego Natural History Museum

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San Diego Model Railroad Museum

By far the most fun exhibit, Brad was ready to volunteer and take up residence with the old guys that ran the museum.

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Botanical Building

How lovely to walk among the beautiful specimens featured in this unusual building.

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San Diego Zoo

I love a good zoo and this did not disappoint!

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Love, love, love San Diego!

Posted by curlysharon 10:13 Comments (1)

The Robinson Family Christmas 2014

Robinson reunion in San Francisco!

The Sunset District, San Francisco

Seasons Greetings! Keeping true to my word of more timely blog posts I offer for your viewing enjoyment the 'Robinson Family Christmas 2014', hosted by Loretta (our daughter) and Jeremy (her boyfriend) at their lovely home. All was festively decorated according to Robinson specifications, beer and fridge well stocked and presents under the tree. We were greeted at the door by Zero, their adorable 2 year old Corgi who enjoys the distinction of grandpuppy and center of attention. Our son Tom and his girl Ally flew in from Seattle and soon the good times were rolling!

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Our first day out was for bar hopping and dim sum in Chinatown with a visit to the Fortune Cookie factory...

Chinatown

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North Beach, Coit Tower and Telegraph Hill
Crossing over to North Beach we were determined to show Ally as much of San Fran as possible being a newbie to the city. So a climb up to Coit Tower the landmark dedicated to SF firefighters was next, which led to another climb up and down Telegraph Hill. The views were worth the hike and we even spotted the famous wild parrots that make their home on the hill. Loretta our Sherpa guide pressed on, and soon we were sipping much needed libations at Pier 23 Bar on the Embarcadero, enjoying the sunset.

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Presents Aplenty!

Because Tom had to be back to work on Christmas day we exchanged gifts early. My best gift was being all together as it had been 4 years since our last family Christmas. The gifts were numerous thanks to Nana Marie (Brad's mother who keeps Christmas in her heart throughout the year) and everyone felt spoiled indeed! What cheer, laughs, hugs and food, with smiling faces all around because sometimes you do get exactly what you wanted for Christmas.

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We're so thankful to Loretta and Jeremy for the kind hospitality and grateful for the time together. We have been blessed in many ways and look forward to what we hope will be a Robinson family tradition!
Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy New Year!

Posted by curlysharon 14:56 Comments (0)

Summer Travels 2014 continued

Coastal Washington, the Olympic Peninsula & Leavenworth

Ocean Shores

Our first Washington campground was just outside the coastal town of Ocean Shores where we checked out the Lytle Oyster farm, made friends with the locals at the Green Lantern and the Pirate's Cove, went to a bike rally and even rode our bikes on the beach!

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Olympic Peninsula

From there we had an overnighter on the Olympic Peninsula to Sol Duc Hot Springs resort where we hiked and soaked. We explored Rialto and Kallaloch beaches and met up with Brad's 2nd cousin Ashley as she was vacationing with her friend on the peninsula. We had lunch together at the beautiful and rustic Quinalt Lodge. We took in the ancient yellow cedar stand with the oldest being somewhere around 2000 years old. These groves have not burned for more than 1000 years and contain the oldest trees in Washington.

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The weather was fantastic and the oysters were delicious! We bought them by the quarts and had oyster casserole, fried oysters and bbq'd oysters baked in the oven in muffin tins!

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La Conner, Seattle & Birch Bay, Washington

We traveled to the picturesque town of La Conner on the Swinomish Channel where we explored the surrounds including Whidbey Island, Deception Pass, the Oyster Bar restaurant (best oysters I've ever had!) and Taylor Oyster farm. We made a trip into Seattle to visit Tom & Ally and stayed in a lovely B&B in the University District. Later, we had Tom & Ally out for a visit to La Conner and rented them a cabin for the weekend.

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Spot prawns were our favorite lunch, steamed daily at the local fish market!
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Blaine, WA and Vancouver, BC

Traveling north our next three weeks were in Blaine, Wa known as"The Gateway to the Pacific Northwest" on the border of Canada. We enjoyed the campground of Birch Bay filled as it was for Labor Day and we explored the area including a day trip into Vancouver to visit Chinatown for some wonderful food.

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Mt. Baker, northern Cascade mountain range. Elevation10,781 ft

As we drove around we could see Mt. Baker in the distance (approximately 100 miles east) and we decided to go up for a hike. We were rewarded with many beautiful vistas, a waterfall and a good hike in the Mt. Baker Wilderness as it's called.

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Shelton, Washington Oyster Fest!!!

Finally, the crescendo of our 'Summer of Oysters', the Shelton Oyster Festival home to the West Coast Oyster Shucking Championship and the Washington State Seafood Festival! Held at the Shelton fairgrounds the camping area was more of a free for all with tents and big rigs sprawled in no particular order and parties (and partyers!) overlapping! The seafood (not just oysters) was so delicious we made a valiant effort to try it all along with downing pints of micro brews and taking in the crowds and the live music. We did our best to keep up with the other revelers but by Sunday afternoon we were spent and in need of a nap, boy those folks can party! After all, this was our first year at it but we'll be back next year to celebrate again!

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Leavenworth, Wa & Octoberfest

After limping away from the campgrounds in Shelton it was time to head up to the mountains and prepare for our 2nd weekend of festivities; Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Wa. We had visited Leavenworth 4 years earlier on the maiden voyage of our 5th wheel but had missed the world renown festival in the alpine town by a week. We vowed to return and this was our year! The Bavarian village of Leavenworth is nestled in the Cascade mountain range and home to Oktoberfest the first three weekends in October, with Oom-Pah-Pah bands, lederhosen, dirndl girls, veal & sausages and of course the beer! We camped nearby but stayed for 2 nights in Icicle Village (the downtown area) of Leavenworth to avoid driving and therefore indulge ourselves entirely. The venues were large to accommodate the crowds and the music was lively with several bands playing all the time. The hearty joviality was infectious with everyone singing, swaying and toasting! The town was all dolled up and the quaint shops doors all open & welcoming (wellkommen!). We hope to attend many more Oktoberfests, maybe come early to explore the picturesque area more but after 2 weekends in a row of major fun we were ready to head south once again.

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Eugene, Oregon and back to California

As our 'Summer of Oysters' came to a close we beat feet back southward. We made a quick stop in Eugene to visit a dear friend that I had not seen since my days in Alaska, 20+ years ago! We had good (quiet) fun with Cher and again hit the road southbound to California.
In closing this post I'd like to add that I'm happy to have gotten it down (and uploaded) before the close of the year! I hope to be more diligent about posting regularly, maybe even get the man for whom it's named to post occasionally! Happy trails to all our friends in the New Year!

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Posted by curlysharon 11:11 Comments (1)

Spring and Summer Travels 2014

Summer of Oysters! Part1

Oregon House, Nicolaus & Coloma, California

We headed to Lake of the Springs campground to do some early fishing at Collin's Lake and enjoy the scenery. The drought had greatly reduced the lake level so that we fished shore areas that had been under water. The fishing was slow and disappointing but we stuck it out and were rewarded with some tasty trout.
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We moved to Nicolaus to visit our friends Tammey Joy and Richie Severson and made some new friends during our stay. We toured the Sutter Buttes and drove along the levees and met up with our friends (and the Steel Workers Bike Club) on their bike trip for lunch.

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San Francisco Sunset District

Our daughter Loretta and her beau Jeremy moved back from Chicago and moved into the Sunset District so we flew our son Tom down from Seattle for a quick family reunion in San Francisco. Always great to see the kids!

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Cloverdale, CA to Newport, Oregon

Heading north we traveled to Cloverdale to see our friends Jimmy & Glenn and enjoyed quick visit to Mendocino Brewing for a pint of Eye of the Hawk before hitting the road again. It had been awhile since we had traveled the wine country and then the redwoods, always breathtaking. Finallly to the coast of Oregon and a quick over nighter in Coos Bay and onto Newport, Oregon. It was great to leave the warm weather behind and embrace the coastal climate.

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Olalla Lake

Our friend Julie from Hoovers Bar in Newport suggested that we try out the local fishing hole at Olalla Lake and we enjoyed bringing home some tasty trout. One of our favorite towns, Newport was our home for 3 weeks and we were able to further explore the area. We checked out the state parks and light houses, enjoyed the historic Nye Beach neighborhood and further north Depot Bay and the Devil's Punchbowl. And of course we made several trips out to Yaquina Bay Oyster farms for our first taste of oysters not to mention all the spectacular seafood eats around Newport. We saw our friends Jimmy and Glen again and raised a few glasses at Rogue Brewing, and I celebrated my 49th birthday with Brad at Waves Restaurant.

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Nye Beach and Devil's Punchbowl, Depot Bay

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Yaquina Head Lighthouse

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Pacific City

Next we headed up to Pacific City, a lovely town that we had not been to before. We really liked the campground with it's towering pines and pristine beaches, great hiking trails and friendly critters. We found Netarts Bay oyster farm and sampled their oysters, not our favorite but good nonetheless. Brad and I celebrated our 25th year of marriage with a picnic at the beach. We look forward to coming back next year.

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Lincoln City

We spent the 4th of July weekend at Lincoln City (2nd year in a row) which was fun but boy was that little campground packed! Had some good times at Snug Harbor Bar with the locals.
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Seaside & Astoria

We were happy to head north again to the touristy town of Seaside where we had the pleasure of entertaining our son Tom and his girl Ally for a couple of days. We ate, drank and laughed and took in the sights, even climbing to the top of the Astoria Column to take in the views.
Brad and I also visited Ft. Stevens State Park to see the abandoned base that had been built during the Civil War at the mouth of the Colombia River to defend against the British. Later it was attacked by a Japanese submarine making Fort Stevens the only military installation in the continental United States to come under enemy fire in World War II.

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As always, it was time to travel on and we were headed to Washington and the Olympic Peninsula.....continnued

Posted by curlysharon 14:15 Comments (2)

Winter Among the Palm Trees

Palm Springs, San Diego and Quartzite, A Palm Springs, San Diego, Phoenix & Quartzsite, AZ

Palm Springs, Thousand Palms

We found ourselves once again among the palm trees and endless sand wintering in the desert ahead of the Canadian invasion of snowbirds. Being in southern California allowed us to visit family in Phoenix and Orange County and further explore the Palm Springs area. First I made a trip alone to visit my brother and his wife John & Lisa Cooper at their home in Phoenix, AZ. My sister Darla Robertson was also there and we had a little reunion which was short but fun filled. I then drove back to Palm Springs and together Brad and I drove to Irvine, CA to see our daughter Loretta (visiting from Chicago) at Brad's mother's house. We got to spend the afternoon together before it was back out to Palm Springs, whew!

Phoenix, dinner out with John & Lisa Cooper who treated Darla and I to an evening at Durants legendary restaurant!

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Irvine, CA, Brad's mother Marie Aspenwall & Loretta Robinson
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Thousand Palms resort

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Jamul & San Diego
We bounced back and forth between Palm Springs and Jamul, CA (in the hills 1/2 hour from San Diego) 3 weeks at a time (Thousand Trails rules). We made visits to Stone Brewing (both the San Diego & Escondido breweries!), the Gaslamp Quarter and the Pacific Beach area and got to catch up with friends that were controllers that Brad had worked with. Our son Tom made a brief visit before Thanksgiving and we showed him around San Diego a bit. We had fine weather for the most part and really enjoyed San Diego, can't wait to explore more next year!

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Stone Brewing Escondido

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Pacific Beach, Gaslamp Quarter with Tom Robinson

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Irvine, Ca Marie's 82nd Birthday at Sam Woo's Restaurant for DimSum with Lance & Tina Robinson (Brad's brother & his wife)

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Quartzsite, AZ

Some friends we had met in Jamul invited us to Quartzsite to check out the rock and gem show and campout for free in the desert. We had heard about Quartzsite last year but never made it out there. A new hobby we started together is jewelry making (wire wrapping) so this trip was also an opportunity to pick up some stones, etc. for projects. It was fun to meet some new friends Kathy & Jim Studer and to campout under the stars. The rock and gem show did not disappoint; we found some great stones and inspiration from the talented artists there.

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Morgan Hill, CA

As the snowbird invasion was upon us in southern Cal it was time to hit the road as all the campgrounds were at capacity. We decided to make for Morgan Hill (east of Monterey Bay near Gilroy). As we traveled I-5 we were astonished at the dust bowl that has become the central valley since this severe drought. Visibility was poor as the topsoil swirled in the wind and there was absolutely nothing green. Once we were in the Salinas valley things were green again, it's got to be one of the most fertile valleys in the country with its rich black soil .
We had never stayed at Morgan Hills RV Resort before and were pleased with the surroundings (although dry and brown) as we were located a short distance from Uvas Canyon County Park and great hiking trails. We made a few hikes around the canyon with its splendid redwoods and waterfalls and Brad did a brutal hike up to the top of the mountain by himself. We finally got a few solid days of much needed rain which greened everything up considerably and made our last hike gorgeous.
We got to know some of the locals at the MH (Morgan Hll) Tavern and visited the overpriced El Toro Brewery, ouch! We made up for it with a trip to Phil's Fish House, on the coast in Moss Landing just over the Santa Cruz mountains from us. If ever you are passing through and if you love fresh seafood, you must stop at Phil's and have an Anchorsteam on tap with oysters on the half shell & ciopino, superb! We will definitely be back in the fall to explore more of the Morgan Hill area.

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Phil's Fish Market, Moss Landing
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So it's off to the Sacramento area once again to see friends, get tattooed and do some fishing!

Posted by curlysharon 12:38 Comments (1)

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