The Accidental Vacation Chapter Two

Chapter Two Settling into New Digs

oregon trip 201320130912_1212177

It was just a short drive the next morning from picking up the trailer to the Oregon Dunes KOA where they were scheduled to spend two days.  There were more dune buggies in the campground than trailers.  Every trailer had at least three or four buggies.  Itty bitty kids had tiny green buggies with large red flags attached to a stick behind the seats, waving 6 feet in the air.  Marsha counted 6 adults as they piled off another fun buggy.

oregon trip 201320130912_1221186

Vince energetically hooked up his new toy, and came inside. “This is not the same mattress as the picture showed on Ebay is it?”  Marsha asked Vince as he helped her unpack and put all the stuff stored in boxes into their new places in the trailer.

“No, but we can stand it for a few days.  I didn’t bring the other mattress topper,” Vince answered cheerfully.  He walked into the bedroom, and patted the bed with his hand.  “Did you try it out?”

“No, did you?”

“Feel this.  It’s pretty firm.”

“Muh huh,” she muttered.

They had figured out that the faint smell was coming from the sewer line.

“We need to go to the store.  We need some stuff for the sewer, and I’d like to get a TV.”

“Muh huh,” she muttered.

The mattress topper that Marsha found was only for a double bed.  K-Mart was going out of business.  “Go ahead and get it,” Vince told her.  “I think that is just a double mattress anyway.”  Vince met back up with Marsha after checking out the TVs.  He was ecstatic.  The dying Super K-Mart had all their flat screens on sale, and there was a choice between LCD and LED.   The salesman told him that the LED was the newer and better model.  “Which do you think is the better picture, Marsha?” Vince asked hopefully.

“They look the same to me.”

“Look here from the side.  Ok, now come over here, and look at this one.  Doesn’t it look better?”

“Muh huh.  Which one is which?”

“This one, the LED.”

When they got back to the ATV infested KOA trailer park, the stiff mattress on the bed turned out to be a queen.  “I don’t mind,” Vince insisted.  “Put it even on your side.  I don’t mind the bump.  Here look at this new TV.”

Almost as soon as the bed was made, Marsha lay down and slept for two hours, and still felt like an elephant had sat on her rib cage when she woke up at 6:00 p.m.  She found Vince passed out on the couch with the new LED TV as a soft night light and background noise soothing him as effectively as any blankie could quiet a toddler or rocking chair and mother’s milk could lull a baby to sleep.

“Isn’t this fun?” he announced when he woke up.

oregon trip 201320130912Pancake Mill

“Muh huh,” she muttered, looking up from her computer screen.   “Are you hungry?”  They had a big lunch at the Pancake Mill, and so eating was not a priority to her.

oregon trip 201320130912 Planing Mill Muffins

“No, are you?”

“No.”  She kept pecking away at her computer to finish her blog.  He watched reruns of Big Bang Theory and the Shark Tank Show in which millionaires give money to struggling inventors and entrepreneurs. They would explore…

oregon trip decor at the Dunes201320130912_1216181

…tomorrow.

oregon trip 201320130912_on the trail

Puppy Girl decided that, for now, this was home.

oregon trip 201320130912_1224189

Is anyone in your family a home body like Kalev?  Or is there someone in your family who loves to explore?

Manny Goes to Grove Cafe in Kauai, HI

Aunt Cindy and Vince go on ahead while Manny explores the lay of the land.
Aunt Cindy and Vince go on ahead while Manny explores the lay of the land.

We, V, C, M and I,  just got back from a wonderful vacation in Kauai, HI.  Manny’s favorite place in all of Kauai was a famous restaurant in the little town of Waimea called The Grove Cafe.  Yelp gave The Gove Cafe three star rating, and told us how to get there, but Manny gave it 6 stars and a few planets.  You know when you see tour busses, that it must be a good place to eat.

"Whew, they're just leaving!"  Manny breathed a sigh of relief.  :)
“Whew, they’re just leaving!” Manny breathed a sigh of relief. 🙂

Manny loved The Grove Cafe for many reasons.

  • First of all everyone was very friendly and helpful and Manny got to drive a cart.
  • He got to explore an outdoor brick oven.
  • He got to order from the menu like a grown-up bear.
  • The waitress smiled at him a lot, and told us that he cold play outside when we finished eating.
  • It had a big room for dancing with Ute, only she wasn’t there.
  • The food was amazing.  Vince had a shrimp appetizer.  Cindy had minestrone soup and salad, and Marsha and Vince shared catch of the day with sweet potato fries.
  • There were no windows, just ledges so the ocean breezes ruffled his fur.
  • It was so fun to play outside after we all ate.
  • There was a huge banyan tree in the back yard.

You can play this song as you watch Manny in this slide show.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlYUsZFTaWo

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The weather in the Garden Isle of Kauai at the end of May couldn’t have been better. A few sprinkles were all that fell on us the entire week.

BTW We are going to have a week or two that we will rent at either Maui or Kauai.  If you are interested in taking a trip to Hawaii, and are interested in renting our timeshare, please contact me by email:  tchistorygal@gmail.com

A Drive to Sequoia National Park

I thoroughly prepared myself for a day of work. I was going to  work on my quilt.  but Mary called, and off we went to the Sequoia National Park.

These WW ! and Civil Rights pictures will become several quilts to auction off at next year's convention in LA.
These WW ! and Civil Rights pictures will become several quilts to auction off at next year’s convention in LA.

We started at Bravo Lake in Woodlake, admiring the Botanical Gardens.  You have to climb to get to the lake as you walk through the gardens to the walking path around the lake.  Bravo Lake, fed by the Kaweah River, Indian word, eah, meaning river, filled with the raucous caw, cawing of many crows.

Race for Hunger, and Berry-eating festival coming up soon!
Race for Hunger, and Berry-eating festival coming up soon!

Bravo Lake, originally boasting a Spanish was renamed after an old-fashioned pioneer fist fight.  As today, all fights have plenty of onlookers and well-wishers.  This one was no different.  When one of the fighting Irish, Tom Fowler, won, the spectators cheered him with “Bravo, bravo, Tom.  Bravo.”  The Indians living in the area promptly renamed the lake, Bravo Lake.

Botanical Gardens at the foot of Bravo Lake
Botanical Gardens at the foot of Bravo Lake

After hiking a few feet up to the brim of the lake, we took a quick look then got back in the car, and went east towards the mountains.  The beauty of the snow on the mountains almost took my breath away, and  I wanted to stop in the middle of the road, but Mary wouldn’t let me!

Bravo Lake adjusted with layers reducing the saturation of blue.
Bravo Lake adjusted with layers reducing the saturation of blue.

Mary snapped a few pictures along the way, but I was driving, but you have seen this trip before.  When we got to the first stop for Kaweah Lake, we found the Natural History museum open.

Welcome to the Natural History Museum at Kaweah Lake  Kaw, kaw, snap.
Welcome to the Natural History Museum at Kaweah Lake Kaw, kaw, snap.

It was closed when Vince, Kalev, and I visited the last time.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the museum purchasing books, and chatting with the volunteer about the dam built on the river in the 1950s to alleviate the flooding problems that had plagued the valley since 1852, when it was first settled by white settlers.  I took pictures of the notebook of old photos.  You can see the lake in the background of some of them.  I’m only including one picture in this overview post.

Can you see the reflection of Kaweah Lake off the photo?
Can you see the reflection of Kaweah Lake off the photo?

Back on the road to Three Rivers we stopped at another POI, point of interest, that Mary found on an iPhone app, a giant cow.  I thought this bull/cow was rather vulgar looking given the pipes coming and going from him/her.  I found the exhaust pipe especially humorous since cows are especially huge methane producers here in the valley, causing more air pollution than automobiles.  Apparently this bovine used to be a hamburger stand, which explains some of his/her extraneous appendages.

This place will whet your appetite!
This place will whet your appetite!

Mary, you wanted a what?

He's a catch, Mary!  :)
He’s a catch, Mary! 🙂

Then we traveled on to the next museum where they were setting up for a Veteran’s appreciation program at 7:00 p.m. tonight.

Isn't' this a cool sign.  Unfortunately the sky wasn't as pretty as Paul's just a few feet away because I was shooting into the sun.  Lucky for me Photoshop came to the rescue.  I'l show you the before and after in a different post.
Isn’t’ this a cool sign?  Unfortunately the sky wasn’t as pretty as Paul’s just a few feet away because I was shooting into the sun. Lucky for me, Photoshop came to the rescue. I’l show you the before and after in a different post.

The outside attraction here was a giant statue of Paul Bunyan.

Paul is cracking up a bit, but he was carved in 1941 from one log!  He weighs tons.  I guess I'm skinny in comparison.
This sky is natural.  Paul is cracking up a bit, but he was carved in 1941 from one log! He weighs tons. I guess I’m skinny in comparison.

Displayed on the east side of the building were both summer and winter Native American huts.  So in which one would you rather spend the winter?  You can read more about Yokuts housing on TC History Gal Productions.

Tule reeds and bark huts.
Tule reeds and bark huts.

We finally made it to my favorite stop, the Gateway Restaurant at the mouth of the Kaweah River.  Mary tried to dutifully check us in and post our food on Facebook, but wifi there didn’t work with iPhone.

The noise here is the sound of rushing water.
The noise here is the sound of rushing water.

You can see that when the water levels are up to normal – the white line on the rocks, that this would be an exciting ride in a raft.  OK, I couldn’t actually SEE the line, but the waitress assured us that it was there.  The stack of rocks piled on the boulders are for wishing.  So make a wish, but don’t tell anyone what it is.  Let me know if it comes true, though!

Can you find the stack of wishing rocks?
Can you find the stack of wishing rocks?

While we ate our fish lunch at 3:00 p.m., we read about the famous Utopian Socialist Colony founded in Three Rivers called the Kaweah Commonwealth in 1896.  They wanted to earn money for themselves cutting down the huge trees, and thus they motivated John Muir, and eventually Teddy Roosevelt to protect the gentle giants from eternal destruction by declaring the colony’s purchased property a National Park.  (The U.S. Government could do that.)  Six years after they started their colony, it ended with only a minor internal bickering.  Utopia didn’t make it here around Three Rivers.  I personally thought they were much too capitalistic. – cutting down our fine trees for profit.  Apparently not everyone wanted to labor at all, another cause of internal irritation.

A bargain shopping spree for seniors over age 62.  $10 for a lifetime pass to the National Parks.  I'm coming back when I'm older!  :)
A bargain shopping spree for seniors over age 62. $10 for a lifetime pass to the National Parks. I’m coming back when I’m older! 🙂

We could have gone back, but chose to go the 1/4 mile east from the restaurant to the entrance of the National Park.  That was the most expensive short date I’ve had – ever!  Mary paid $80 for an annual pass to get in.  We went to the station, stayed 10 minutes until it closed, then turned around and headed for the chocolate candy store before it closed.  Had I been a mere 6 months older, I could have bought a LIFETIME pass to ALL the National Parks for $10.  The only bad part of that was that the man asked me if I wanted to purchase one.  He didn’t even ask Mary who is just about my age, 30 something.  Why would he think I look 62, anyway?  I’m going on a diet as soon as I finish my chocolate candy.

Agree/Disagree?
Agree/Disagree?

You can tell that all these great times have taken their toll on my tummy.  I’m almost as big as Paul Bunyan!  Diet, diet, diet.  (tomorrow).

OK, kids don't see the humor in this sign.  Go figure!
OK, kids don’t see the humor in this sign. Go figure!  Looking at chocolate makes me shake with excitement.  Sorry for the blurry picture.  Couldn’t be helped!  🙂

“Unattended children will be given candy and a free puppy!”  Do I look 10?  What about a second childhood?  After a long wait in line to buy chocolates for Vince (hahaha), we headed back home.  What a fun surprise.  Did you enjoy the trip with me?  I hope so!  🙂

Happy Easter from Three Rivers, California, and me, Marsha Lee :)
Happy Easter from Three Rivers, California, and me, Marsha Lee 🙂 (not pictured here)

Wicked Weekend in Oz for History Gals

Some people got to family reunions.  Some go to class reunions?  Other people meet in different ways and click, and then start to do things together in a group.  Do you travel with a group of people?  Do you plan for months and all look forward for weeks and even months for just a few short days or hours together?  Before this group of women came into my life, I never had this experience with more than another couple.  I have to say it is life-changing to have, not just close friends, but people who plan and do things together.  So if you don’t have this in your life, I fully recommend it.

The History Gals Ozzed out over the Wicked weekend in Orange County, CA last weekend.  In addition to seeing Wicked, which I had never seen, we went to see the new Wizard of Oz movie, Oz, the Great and Powerful.

WickedB Traditions are developing.  What traditions do you have when you meet friends

  • A theme for the weekend’s activities
  • Gifts for everyone from everyone.
  • Lots of food
  • Girlie beauty activities
  • Plenty of stories and giggles

What do you give the gals just want to have a good time, and it’s all about the uniqueness of the situation?  Months ahead of time Leslie told us that she had some special things planned for our Wicked weekend.   I couldn’t imagine what she was doing, but the last time we got together, she made each of us a fantastic book out of many of our pictures of our trips for the last year.  So I worried and felt excited at the same time.  Not a particularly creative gifter, I asked my friend Mary what I should get.  She suggested red Isotoner slippers.  V suggested that I wait till I get there to buy anything.  So I took their advice.

I arrived first, and couldn't check in, so I waited here for Leslie.
I arrived first, and couldn’t check in, so I waited here for Leslie.

Les and I were the only ones who stayed in a hotel.  The Wyndham with a remodeled bar only five days old, was quite nice and very reasonable.

I appreciated these slow-moving critters entertaining us with their stretching necks.
I appreciated these slow-moving critters entertaining us with their stretching necks.

We ended up with an executive suite that had a beautiful view of the courtyard turtles.

Turtles

Because Les and I got to our chosen destination the night before, we had extra time to spend celebrating.  While we waited for our names to come up at Maggiano’s in South Coast Plaza, we walked over to Sears.  Almost the second we walked in, these red shoes jumped off the shelf and into our cart.  I still didn’t know what Leslie had planned, but the shoes were on sale, and while I was off buying them, she was off doing some other green or red scouting.4 Red ShoesB

I have been to South Coast Plaza, but never to Maggiano’s.  I had chicken picata, but what I really loved was the Chocolate Marshmallow Torte, which we split, and I finished my half for breakfast the next morning.  I didn’t know until tonight, but when you buy a torte, you support Make-A Wish.  Go to their website, it’s really cool!

Chocolate Marshmallow Torte

This was a weekend of firsts for me.  I had never been to a Mac make-up store.  The place was jammed with women and girls in every stage of madeupness.  They didn’t have enough artists to create a green look for all of us at the same time.  All we told them was that we needed to be green for the weekend.  Leslie probably came out the most green, but she started out with the greenest shirt.

Leslie came out looking stunning!
Leslie came out looking stunning!

Debbie’s was a little more muted, but I came out rather neonish, but I bought the look, and I don’t mind being a little green once in a while. The process was lots of fun!

IMG_1432

The Mac make-up people make up 80-90% of Hollywood productions.  The make-up comes in all colors, and includes body make-up.The Wicked Witch of the West wore Mac body make-up.  Probably Bronze Lady in San Diego sported Mac make-up, too!!!  That took up most of the day.

China Girl was my favorite character.

We ate our evening meal after the movie, Oz, the Great and Powerful, which was cute, but I won’t spoil it for you.  I will only say that the perspective was entirely different than the Wicked perspective.  I spoiled my appetite like I always do when I go to movies – with the largest order of popcorn!  No, I didn’t eat it all!  We went to Cafe Tu Tu Tango for tapas since no one was super hungry.  Tapas, if you didn’t know, are Spanish appetizers.  I am fairly uncultured, so I didn’t know that until recently.  I rely on my younger friends to educate me.

A Day In Paradise photo. How many of us WOULD be brave enough to try this?

This tapas cafe featured  belly and tango dancers who entertained us, and even drew out some of the audience to participate with them.  I was thankful that they didn’t stop at our table. Unlike my friend Sylvia, I couldn’t have stood and belly danced on demand, although I have a fairly bouncy belly.

After that demonstration, we drove to the Crystal Cathedral, when a group from our church in Oregon had visited the epic day they were inserting the first glass into it.  I learned this weekend that it now belongs to the Catholic church.  I can’t tell you all the other things I learned this weekend!!!  All I can say is that for someone as old and well-educated as I am, I sure don’t know much!!!  And that doesn’t count all the things that I used to know, but forgot!!!  So…I’m excited – so much to learn!!!  Guess I’d better get busy! 🙂

Valentine’s Day Is Almost Here

I get lots of xox’s from all of you, and V commented that he wanted some xox’s, too.  So I bought some cookie cutters with built in xox’s, but I haven’t made them yet.  But last night when I got home from my meeting, look what I found on my plate!!!

xoxox cookie

The 18th anniversary of our first date is Feb. 11.  I love how my husband is such a romantic.  He’s already gearing up.  xoxoxo to you V  🙂  Marsha Lee 🙂