Friday, June 29, 2012

Exciting News!

Some of you may not know that Dayna and Chris were divorced in January. They started dating again within a month of the divorce being finalized and are now going to get married again! God has worked a miracle in her heart and she has fallen in love with Chris all over again. Needless to say we are thrilled as we have always loved Chris!

A friend of Chris's has given them a cruise as a gift so they are going to get married at some exotic Caribbean beach location sometime in September! Barefoot in the sand with wind blowing through their hair. You can't get much more romantic than that!

I am sad that we won't be there but this time it's reallty just for them. We wish them a bright future of much love and happiness.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lancaster and LA

We relocated to the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds in Lancaster, CA on Thursday the 14th of June. Lancaster is hot and very windy this time of year. The only benefit is that it is only 45 miles from the San Fernando valley, and it is inexpensive. Just try finding an inexpensive RV site anywhere in the Los Angeles area.

Until yesterday we had not been doing too much. We made a trip in to Santa Clarita to meet Marie on Friday. She had a few hours to kill there while waiting for a family get together, so we kept her company at Costco and Starbucks. Sunday we went to church in San Fernando, then over to Don and Betty's for lunch and a fun afternoon of visiting. Don grilled some great marinated chicken breasts.

Tuesday I installed a new rear tire on the scooter. I installed a car tire instead of a motorcycle tire. There is a big debate in the scooter world about doing that. Many purists warn of handling problems but those who have done so say there are no issues. Since a scooter tire only lasts about 7500 miles and costs around $200 installed, I decided I would try the car tire. There are only a few that are the right size and I had one shipped to Don's where I picked it up Sunday. I removed the wheel from the bike and took it to a local tire shop for installation. Motorcycle dealers refuse to install them, citing insurance reasons. I'm convinced the real reason is they love to sell $135 tires and charge $65 to install them every 7,500 miles. I paid $59 for the tire, $20 for shipping and $20 to have it installed. For $99 I have a tire that will last at least 40,000 to 50,000 miles.

As for all the warnings about doom and gloom, let's just say I can hardly tell any difference. It's about as different as a worn out tire and a new tire. My impressions mirror that of all the other scooter owners who have gone this route, and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of us who have done so.

Yesterday we made a trip to LA. A couple years ago I was watching some food show where they were reviewing special restaurants around the country. One restaurant was Philippes in Los Angeles. Their thing is French Dip. We rode the Metrolink from Lancaster to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. Philippes is just a couple blocks from there. We enjoyed the sandwiches. They were very good and it was a fun experience. I'm not sure I would drive 100 miles to get one again, but if we are in the area it would be a good place to have lunch.

Olvera street is a couple blocks away. It is the oldest street in Los Angeles and has the oldest house that has been restored and is available for touring. Mostly is it a street with tiny shoppes selling Mexican trinkets to tourists, and several Mexican restaurants. It is the cultural center of historic Mexican involvement in Los Angeles. It's always a fun place to visit.

Nearby was the first fire station in Los Angeles with its display of antique fire fighting equipment. We found some of the equipment fascinating.

We then walked a few blocks to Chinatown. Nothing compares to Chinatown in San Francisco, but this is a very active and busy place. We wandered through some of the shops and marveled at many of the foods. They were selling shark fin for $999 per pound! Who buys that stuff?

After a quick stop to gaze at the murals in the Post Office Annex, we returned to Union Station where we boarded the train back toward Lancaster. We got off in Santa Clarita where we had arranged to meet Julie for dinner at a restaurant the family used to enjoy. We had a nice dinner and she took us back to the train station where we caught the next train to Lancaster, arriving at 9:40. We were finally home before 10.

We plan to be here until Monday and have things planned to keep us busy. Check back next week and we'll tell you all about it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


It's pronounced ah-wanga, and it's 17 miles east of Temecula, CA. That's where we have been for the past week and a half. The Escapees organization we belong to has an RV park here, and it is likely the nicest in the whole system. At least, it's the nicest we have been in so far.

The trip here was interesting. We knew it was going to be a very hot day, and I don't like towing in hot weather, so we planned to leave early. We left Mesa at 7:20 and the temperature was already over 90 degrees. By the time we reached Quartzsite for a late breakfast/early lunch at 10:30 it was already 108. When we reached Blythe at about 11 it was 112, and the temperature continued to climb as we continued west on I-10 reaching 115 by about 1 PM. We dropped down into the Palm Springs area and left the interstate and made our way up CA 111 toward CA 74. As we drove through the desert communities at the base of the mountains our thermometers both read 118, and the remote sensor mounted under the trailer read 122!

The temperature finally began dropping as we climbed up the mountain, and had fallen to a balmy 92 by the time we reached Aguanga. It actually felt comfortable! While I was nervous about traveling in such heat, we had no problems of any kind. I started the generator at around 9AM and turned on both air conditioners on in trailer, so it was only in the mid 80's inside when we arrived. I checked all my hubs with my infrared heat gun at every stop, and everything stayed in a reasonable range. The air conditioners in both the car and truck were enough to freeze us out, even in the hottest outside temperatures, but every time we got out it was like walking into a blast furnace.

All in all it was a fine trip, but not something I want to do every day. Aren't modern vehicles and RV's amazing? Can you imagine what our forefathers who traveled west in covered wagons would think about such things?

We have been busy since we have been here. Before we even got parked we were invited to join the motorcycle club here for a ride on Saturday. We rode the back roads over the mountain to Hemet where we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant. On the way back we stopped at an overlook above Diamond Lake. The trip with a group was fun. There were 7 bikes, most of them Gold Wings.

For the next couple days we explored locally, then drove over to Rancho Santa Margarita to have lunch with Marie and Adam on Tuesday. It was nice seeing them again. We had been checking Craig's List for a Droid Bionic replacement for Dianna, and found someone in Westminster who had one. We made arrangements to meet them to check it out that afternoon. The price was right and it looked new, but it did not have the SD card in it. There was also something about the way they wanted to meet that left us uncomfortable, so we passed on it.

The next day we visited two of the wineries here in Temecula. They grow some good reds here. That night we found another phone advertised for the same price in Anaheim Hills, so on Thursday we rode up there on the bike. It was in perfect condition and complete, so we bought it. Now we both have Bionics again. Dianna is very happy to have it. On the way back we stopped at the outlet mall in Lake Elsinore to do a little shopping.

On Friday we again rode to Hemet, this time by a different route, and then up the mountain to Idylwild where we had a picnic lunch. We used to backpack on Mt. San Jacinto, and one of the main trail heads we used was in Idylwild. It was fun seeing the place and enjoying the cool weather at over 5,000 feet.

On Saturday we again drove to Marie and Adam's to meet with them and Julie. None of them had ever been geocaching so we took them for their first experience. There was a trail with several caches that we could walk to from their house. Everyone had a good time looking for caches, and we found all but one. Adam barbequed chicken for lunch.

Monday we rode to the little mountain tourist town of Julian, famous for its apple pies, to have lunch. Of course, we had pie for desert. The route we followed took us all the way around Palomar Mountain. We are only a few miles from the observatory there and can see the white dome from many places along the road near here. On the way back we stopped at the Pala Casino for a break. Free soft drinks in the casino were welcome.

Today we rode down to San Diego. First we went to Coronado Island and visited the Hotel del Coronado. We had stayed there many years ago for a conference. It is one of the oldest hotels in California, made all of wood, and is quite a landmark. After having lunch in a nearby restaurant we rode to the Cabrillo National Monument on Point Loma. It is on the point overlooking the entrance to San Diego harbor and is the place where the Spanish first set foot on the coast of California in about 1540. By the time we headed home it was almost rush hour but we had no difficulty. The Burgman runs with freeway traffic at 70 to 75 with no problems.

Both of us are feeling a little saddle sore. We have put over 750 miles on the scooter in the week and a half we have been here, plus about 450 miles on the car. Tomorrow we plan to rest and prepare for moving to Lancaster on Thursday. That puts us closer to family and friends we want to see. We're not sure how long we will stay there before moving farther north; probably a week and a half or so.