Bill and Kit’s Excellent Adventure Chapter 29

 

image00112The Bill and Kit Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #29

Friday, March 27 to Friday April 3, 2009 (Part #2):

Continuing our adventures in San Diego, Kit and I moseyed along the coast from La Jolla to Mission Beach to see how some of our old handouts had changed over the years. Of course there is a lot more shoreline development and touristy type stuff but most everything seemed familiar. Apparently the San Diego beaches are quite the Spring Break destination for students on the left coast…..kind of like Florida is the destination of choice on our side of the US. Below are some pictures from our trip along the San Diego Coastline.

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I found a spot we used to really enjoy. It used to be at the foot of a steep canyon and required a walk of about 1/4 mile carrying a 35 pound surfboard. Today it is a designated Surfing Park with a road and large parking lot. Still has a very nice break however.

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Another spot was what we used to call The Sea Wall. And the surfers that hung out there were known as the Wall Crew. Well some time back the latest generation of wall rats actually affixed a sign to honor the spot. The story goes that the sign is unofficial and has been in place for years. Either the authorities have ignored it or they have never noticed it. 

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At the same location is the Surfer Motel. Back before showers and restrooms were put near the beach we used to get cleaned off by running into the motel courtyard and jumping into the pool.The motel management would yell at us so we would get out of the pool and saunter back to the beach. This practice played out a least every day throughout the summer. It actually became a game of sorts. The motel management thought we were just trying to slip in for a swim but our real goal was to get all the dried salt and sand off us before heading home. Now, 45 years later, in order to partially make amends Kit and I had lunch in the Surfer Motel’s oceanfront restaurant. They may have recognized us as the management kept a wary eye on us the whole time. 

Surfer Motel’s oceanfront restaurant

Surfer Motel’s oceanfront restaurant

Stopped by PB Surf Shop which used to be located next to the sea wall. They have since moved onto the main drag because the property owner of their original spot wanted to expand his beachside condos. At the old location they used to rent surfboard storage…..basically a cinder block roofless structure with metal pipes embedded into the walls with chains for locking your board up. As I recalled it was $10.00 per month, pretty steep for a bunch of unemployed kids. So a friend knew of an available garage about a block away that was for rent. The old women who owned the apartment didn’t use the garage and wanted to rent it out for someone needing extra storage space. We pooled our meager resources together and came up with the $25.00 per month rental fee, bought a combination lock and we were in business. As I recall there were about 9 or 10 guys keeping their boards in the garage and occasionally we would crash there as well. That lasted all summer of 1963 and on into the fall. I tried to find the apartment block that had the garages facing an alley but apparently they have all been torn down to make room for “progress”. By summer of 1964 enough guys had cars with homemade roof racks and we would get to the beach that way. During the school year there were about two dozen cars on the school parking lot with surfboards stacked on top. If the surf was up, it was off to the beach after school…..and occasionally instead of school.

Further down the coast at Mission Beach they have a Wave Pool. Kind of weird seeing an artificial wave within 25 yards of the real thing. However the kids were having a blast showing off their moves to a blasting rock beat. And the waves were always perfectly formed and controllable by the operator. Kinda fun to watch.

Mission Beach Wave Pool

Mission Beach Wave Pool

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Venturing further inland we poked around the old neighborhood. Both our houses looked fundamentally the same but a lot smaller than remembered. The wooden gate that my father made out of redwood back in 1957 is still hanging and you can still just barely make out the letter T that he painted on it.

The area used to be called Cabrillo Heights but has since been changed to Sierra Mesa. Also one of the area schools has had its name changed from Albert Einstein Elementary to Ray Kroc (founder of McDonalds and a San Diego native) Elementary. Yep, we’re in California!?

All in all, a great trip back to our original hometown and a lot of fun, poking around the old haunts and visiting relatives and friends.

Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit

Bill and Kit’s Excellent Adventure Chapter 28

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The Bill and Kit Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #28

 

Friday, March 27 to Friday April 3, 2009 (Part #1):

Following a really nice week with Suziemand Co., we headed southwest toward San Diego. Since we are both originally from the southern California area we decided to forgo the state highways and make better time by sticking to the Interstates. Traveled I-15 into California and was stopped at an Agricultural Inspection Station. Since we had a trailer and since we were from Maine the authorities wanted to make sure we weren’t smuggling lobsters into California which would unfairly compete with their sushi. Actually they were more interested in Gypsy Moths…..after a 10 minute inspection we were pronounced clean and free to enter the state…..weird thing however, we crossed the California state line 20 miles back. I guess Gypsy Moths like to jump off closer to the coast. I wonder if they wear little Gypsy Moth sun glasses and Speedos?

Stopped near Barstow for a roadside lunch and rest break. There used to be nothing of much interest in Barstow and now, after 45 years, we have discovered that there still isn’t. Well unless you count the Worlds Largest Thermometer down Baker way.

Continuing on we spotted…..SNOW…..on the summit of Big Bear Mountain. It’s 82 degrees!

Big Bear Mountain

Big Bear Mountain

We did pass over that mountain range at Cajon Pass but no need for four wheel drive as the temps only dropped into the 70’s. I bet that snow was actually some Hollywood magic put in place for the next Rambo sequel. The downgrade was long and steep with numerous runaway truck ramps…..kinda disconcerting as we saw a huge motorhome that had apparently overheated their brakes and was up to the axels in gravel on one of the ramps. Seemed to be little damage except, probably to the drivers self esteem.

Since we were traveling near Riverside we took the opportunity to stop and pay our respects to Kit’s mom and dad who are buried in the Riverside National Cemetery. Kit’s father, Frank was a WWII and Korean Veteran with the US Navy. After his service he went to college, became a civil engineer and joined the California Highway Department (now called CalTrans). Kit’s mom was a registered nurse and worked at a variety of hospitals in the San Diego area. Great people both and they are sorely missed.

Paying our respects to Kit’s mom and dad

Paying our respects to Kit’s mom and dad

Getting near the coast we were amazed at how green and lush the hillsides were. Apparently they have had some recent rains as everything was growing or blooming.

Pulling into San Diego we stopped at Don and Char’s (Kit’s sister and brother in law) at their California home. Yep these are the same folks we visited in Kyle Texas a few weeks ago at their Texas home. We were once again offered space to park the trailer, but this time we enjoyed some “Curbside Surfing”. Worked perfectly except early on Sunday morning I heard a sound that went like; “Roar….Plop….Roar…Plop…Roar….Plop….etc.” I just had to investigate…..turns out it was the local paperboy in his souped up hotrod delivering a very large plastic wrapped Sunday paper. So much for Schwinn Newsboy bicycles!

“Curbside Surfing” Don and Char's - San Diego

“Curbside Surfing” Don and Char's - San Diego

Now since I promised Char that I wouldn’t write anything about her interior decorating, especially the Tub Bed…..I won’t because I really like her. Besides I have discovered long ago if you irritate you wife’s sister…..then you have automatically irritated your wife as well.

Sitting nice and cozy in front of what has been fondly known as the Taco Bell house for 25 years, we made ourselves at home for a week. Well, other than two meals with them, we were out running around the rest of the time. They were very busy at the time with a job transfer to Texas for Donald and last minute maintenance work on the house prior to putting it on the market. Since we’d spent a week with them in Texas recently, we think (and hope) they appreciated us “making ourselves scarce” during our San Diego week. 😉

Kit and Bill met in 1963 living two blocks away from each other and were the proverbial high school sweethearts. Our dating was a bit unorthodox as neither one of us had a driver’s license so I would ride my skateboard up to her house and bring a package of red licorice and a Pepsi to share with her. Occasionally, I would go farther afield by hitchhiking…..a much safer and commonly accepted practice back then. Although it was sometimes difficult to hitch a ride, standing beside the road with a 9 ½ foot surfboard…..but believe it or not folks would actually stop!

One of the highlight’s of our week was getting reacquainted with Kit’s friend Susan from 7th grade! Due to crazy circumstances, we had not even talked to each other since about January of 1965. We just reconnected a few months ago through Classmates.com! It was wonderful to see her and meet her longtime boyfriend, Rob. He and Bill hit it off great and Susan and I spent the evening catching up on our lives over the past 44 years. She and I met for dinner another evening during our week there to continue our catching up, which was a lot of fun. We invited them to come to visit us in Maine and hope they can make it. We always love sharing our “adopted hometown” with friends “from away” as we say in Maine.

Left to Right:  Rob, Susan, Kathy, Bill

Left to Right: Rob, Susan, Kathy, Bill

In addition we visited some former neighbors who lived across the street from us. Carl and Angie kind of looked after us young folks and we have remained in touch since. Carl was a WWII navy vet who served on a Cruiser in the South Pacific. He had retired from the Navy shortly after we moved into the area. We thoroughly enjoyed catching up with them and they graciously treated us to dinner at a local restaurant.

Carl and Angie

Carl and Angie

On another day we stopped to visit the parents of an old childhood friend who prematurely passed away last year. Bill and Mary Brunhoelzl graciously invited us to spend the afternoon in their home to relate stories of the old neighborhood and to reminisce about their son Billy.

Bill and Mary Brunhoelzl

Bill and Mary Brunhoelzl

The Brunhoezels lived two doors away from Bill and we all learned to surf at about the same time and spending many enjoyable days at Pacific Beach. The picture below, taken sometime in 1961 shows (left to right): Tommy Brunheozel, Billy Brunhoezel, Don Tucker and Bill Tucker.

(left to right): Tommy Brunheozel, Billy Brunhoezel, Don Tucker and Bill Tucker

(left to right): Tommy Brunheozel, Billy Brunhoezel, Don Tucker and Bill Tucker

Two of the four kids in the picture are now deceased…..Billy and my brother Don. There remains, however fond memories of growing up in southern California during the golden era of surfing and all the great times we had hanging out at the beach.

In order to give Char and Kit somequiet “sister time”, I took off alone on an adventure to Oceanside to see the recently opened California Surf Museum.

California Surf Museum

California Surf Museum

The museum was very well laid out and contained a lot of exhibits. The most interesting thing to me was the evolution of the surfboard from very large and heavy redwood boards of the 1920’s through the what became to be known as the longboard era to today’s very short and very light performance boards. image0195image0214

While talking to the women at the desk about my growing up in San Diego during the late 50’s and early 60’s the museum curator heard us and came out of her office. Being about my age we knew some of the same surfers that hung around. I also mentioned that I had some old surf movie posters, Surfer Quarterly magazines and board decals from defunct brands that I would be willing to donate. She was very interested and gave me her card. I’ll check when I get home to see if I can find any of that stuff from 45+ years ago.

In La Jolla I spotted this interesting sculpture on top of the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art. It reminded me kayaking The Allagash, Moose and Penobscot River’s back home in Maine over the past 10 years or so. This is sometime the aftermath following the completion of a section of rapids. Is that John’s kayak stuck in the middle?

San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art

San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art

Later in the week we were able to hook up with some more family; The West Coast Herndon’s. Now, I would try and explain how we are related but that may take a page or two. Remember my bruzin Dewey…..well he is related as well. We had a great visit meeting at a very nice Mexican restaurant and then returning to Rita’s home for more catching up. Sitting are: Gale, Mike and Rita. In addition Rita’s friend Jeff, from San Francisco, joined us as well.

(Sitting)  Gale, Mike and Rita (Standing) Bill and Kathy

(Sitting) Gale, Mike and Rita (Standing) Bill and Kathy

The weather in San Diego is as we remember…..pleasant, sunny and dry with bright blue skies and white puffy clouds, when there are actually clouds. The weather, the beaches and the close proximity to Mexico have long been the draw for folks looking for a place to settle. However a lot of folks have moved here over the years. There are actually more people in the city of San Diego then in the
entire state of Maine. Most of those folks have at least one car and most of those are on the freeway system at any given hour of the day. It is a bit unnerving to be traveling down a 12 lane highway in a group of about a hundred cars all within a cars length of each other and all traveling at 80
miles an hour.

San Diego was the pioneer for the Metered On Ramps. This system actually places stop lights at strategic on ramps and allows a few cars at a time to proceed onto the freeway. Kit’s father was on the team that planned the system and to this day it makes San Diego’s highway system one of the best in the world. He also was involved in the development of the Bots Dots…..those round (now sometimes square) bumps glued to the highway strips to alert a driver as he is leaving his lane of travel. 35 years ago he brought home a pile of Bots Dots to hand out to all the kids and grandkids…..I still have mine!

All in all however if I had to choose a large city to live in…..San Diego would be it!

Stay tuned for part two…..more San Diego adventures to come.

Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit

Bill and Kit’s Excellent Adventure Chapter 27

 

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The Bill and Kit Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #27

March 21 to March 27 2009:

Finally in Las Vegas with Suzie, Kevin, Jack and Tucker for a long anticipated one week visit:

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Oh, Toby and Rosie were there to greet us as well:

Toby and Rosie

Toby and Rosie

Once again another great Dooryard Surfing opportunity:

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Spent four days watching over Jack and Tucker while Suzie and Kevin took an adult holiday to Laguna Beach, California. Toby and Rosie took their own vacation to Doggieland Las Vegas so we could focus on grandchildren fun time. Kit, I and the grand kiddles spent the week participating in and enjoying the following: Lunch at In-and-Out Burger, walks in the neighborhood, evening tubbies with 10,000 bath toys, lunch in the RV, learning how to use Velcro diapers, swinging and climbing in the backyard (and inside the house), playing “hide the little brother” with Jack, dinner in the RV, toy shopping at Goodwill…..and Target and learning all about “The Superfriends” (did you know if you put a bath towel around your neck you can actually fly…..well for about 2 seconds anyway). We accomplished all this while trying to figure out how to operate the fully automated (think Jetsons) house that Kevin has wired up. We had an absolute blast! The following pictorial shows a typical day:

Taking our responsibilities seriously we made sure they had a nutritious breakfast.

Jack and Tucker

Jack and Tucker

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And they receive plenty of fresh air and exercise.

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And of course there has to be some quiet time.

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And just to show they were none the worse for wear below are some random shots of the week.

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All in all they were a couple of angels:

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As I’ve repeated many times: “If I had known that grandchildren were going to be so much fun, I would have had them first”! Just as we do back home at camp, during the summer, Bill is the “Activities Director” and Kit is the “Chief Cook and Bottle washer”.

Jack is 4 ½ now and Tucker will be 2 on April 26th. They are just as cute as can be and of course, very active. They kept us both busy the whole time we were there with them. Occasionally, though, they would sit quietly with us to listen to stories or watch some TV.

Their house is in a very nice newer neighborhood, south of the strip. Just when you think you could be in Anytown, USA you look to the north and see all the passenger jets stacked up to land at McCarran airport and the bright lights of the strip on the horizon. From their back yard, they can also see Mount Charleston, which is often covered with snow during the cooler months.

Jack and Tuckers dad works as a sound engineer with the Cirque du Soleil show “Ka” at the MGM Grand where the kids also go to daycare and their mom just finished a 5+ year run as a stage manager for the recently closed show “Mamma Mia” at the Mandalay Bay. In order to accommodate the kid’s school schedule, she is now studying to become a Lactation Consultant and is currently working as a counselor.

Oh yea, Suzie and Kevin did return from their very enjoyable holiday to the coast and we had an enjoyable visit with them as well.

Tomorrow we are off, heading south once again toward our former hometown, San Diego, to see family and friends. However we will be back to Las Vegas…..soon.

Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit

Bill and Kit’s Excellent Adventure Chapter 26

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The Bill and Kit Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #26

 

 

March 18th and 19th, 2009:  

Spent the final days in Tucson visiting mom, taking care of family business and preparing to once again, hit the road. We have a date in Las Vegas to watch over our two youngest grandchildren while their parents take a much needed and well deserved vacation to the coast.

Friday, March 20th, 2009:

Underway to points north. Weather was clear and warm and there was very light traffic. Since this was to be a two day transit we planned to travel as many back roads as possible.

We cruised US-85N to Buckeye Arizona where we stopped at a wide spot in the road to make lunch just past Sore Finger Road (probably named that because there is a preponderance of road rage in that area).

Continuing on we headed into Quartzite, AZ and spotted the unofficial town motto which states: “Quartzite-Where it’s Always the Weekend”. Quartzite is the boondocking mecca of the desert southwest. Mostly comprised of BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land, RV’ers can boondock (dispersed primitive camping….without external hook-ups) almost anywhere by displaying a nominal fee BLM permit. We saw literally thousands of boondockers spread out over many miles. The place is amazing…..every winter the population explodes with trailers, motorhomes, hippie buses, and tents. This menagerie is all serviced by itinerant trades folks that set up in temporary canvas shelters. An actual thriving city that basically disappears in the spring. We noticed that a lot of “Winter Arizonians” have already pulled up stakes and headed for home. We might have to stay a few weeks in Quartzite on our next trip.

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Stopped in Parker, Arizona on the Colorado River (elevation 417’) for provisions and fuel then continued through Buckskin where we viewed many more boondockers camped along the river with their dune-buggies, four wheelers, boats and jet skies.

Decided to stop for the night at the Crazy Horse Campground in Lake Havasu, Arizona. This place was a zoo. It contained 635 campsites and on this particular weekend the campground was hosting a bass tournament, a triathlon and a motocross race. A more diverse group of folks you will never find.

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As it turned out they were all very well behaved and seemed to pretty much mingle peacefully. The campground was full and we were worried that with all these folk and being a Friday night there might be some late night partying. HHHowever all the “athletes” apparently took their particular sport very seriously and were mostly asleep by nine o’clock on order to rest up for Saturdays events. Now Saturday night might have been a different story…..we bailed out on Saturday morning.

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Another reason for stopping in Lake Havasu was to cross the famous London Bridge. Now the last time I crossed this bridge was in 1966 on a double decker tourist bus in London. So either Lucy really messed up and we were hopelessly lost or someone moved it. As it turns out an American bought the bridge, dismantled and numbered each piece and had the whole thing shipped to Arizona. Since there wasn’t a convenient river to reassemble the bridge over, he placed it on dry land and then dredged a canal under it from one side of Lake Havasu to the other. Bet he couldn’t get away with that today!

My fair lady Kit was nervous about crossing the bridge as she felt it might fall down. However we crossed without incident and weaved through the myriad fish and chips joints and fake English pubs. 

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Crossing the London Bridge

Saturday, March 21st, 2009:

Underway early…..still heading north. Decided to take the Route 66 National Historic Byway from Golden Shores Arizona through The Black Mountains. This portion of the original highway travels through the resurrected ghost town of Oatman, over Sitgreaves Pass and on toward Kingman Arizona.

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We had previously taken the other few remaining sections of classic US-66 and wanted to travel this portion while in the vicinity. The road was steep, winding, and had scary drop-offs with no guard rails……a challenge for any car. But with a truck and trailer…..this is gonna be interesting.

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The steepest scariest point on this portion of Route 66 is Sitgreaves Pass at 3500 feet it looked like the top of a rollercoaster before you go screaming down the other side.

As we crested the summit the road appeared to just drop away as it plunged down into the next valley. Legend has it that the dust bowl Oakies of the thirties would hire locals to drive their model T’s up and over the pass. On occasion the substitute drivers would have to actually turn around and back up as the steep grade would starve the engines of gasoline otherwise.

Now it probably wouldn’t have been too bad but on this particular day there were some real jackasses on the road. Made life kind interesting as they tended to not be very courteous.

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Eventually we entered Oatman. A once thriving mining town that turned into a ghost town when the copper played out. In the 60’s the town was brought back to life by a bunch of hippies and is thriving once again. The wild burros that roam the streets are the off spring of animals brought to the mountain to work the copper mine and then turned loose when the mine closed. They are well fed by the residents and tourists that walk the streets. In the picture below, it shows what we saw as we entered the town with our 7 foot wide trailer. As we slowly inched forward a woman, who appeared to be a local, walked along with us and asked if we actually intended to go through the town. I said sure!

Kit said #%&@#*. The women then said, “You know there isn’t anywhere to turn around at the other end”. To which I replied, “Not turning around, we’re gonna head down the other side of the mountain”. She just shook her head and walked away.

This is gonna be interesting.

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Made it…..but just barely. Fortunately oncoming traffic stopped and let us squeeze through. I think they were looking for some cheap entertainment as I dodged, parked cars, wandering tourists and the occasional jackasses.

Back on the level ground we beat feet for Las Vegas and a long anticipated reunion with our youngest daughter, Suzie and her family.

Still very much enjoying life on the scenic and unusual backroads of America,

Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit

Bill and Kit’s Excellent Adventure Chapter 25

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The Bill and Kit Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #25

March 14 through March 17, 2009 (part two):

 

Woke on day two with cold temperatures, 26 degrees outside and a balmy 37 degrees in. Cranked up the heater and invited Dewey and Bea in for coffee and breakfast. As the sun came over the hillside and flooded the canyon with warmth we ventured outside. Dewey and Bea went for a hike, Kathy settled down with a book and I took my bike down the road to explore.

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Gee I wonder what this sign out here in the middle of nowhere means?

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Oh.

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This is open range land so cattle may be most anywhere, hence the cattleguards.

Ventured down this wash for a few miles.

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There was a single track trail that paralleled the wash on and off but mostly I stayed in the wash which was kinda rough in places but I had a blast. Biking in the desert is very different than in heavily forested Maine. Stopped often to see if there were any artifacts hidden along the undercut banks scoured out by the monsoon floods. Nothing much of interest other than what might be a small chunk of turquoise embedded in a larger stone.

I did ponder the word “wash” while rolling along over the sand, pebbles, and stones and around the larger rocks. I bet the first person caught in a flash flood in one of these things felt as if he were in an industrial washing machine. He probably was spit out down river and exclaimed…..”Boy, I’ve been through the wash”. The early pioneers heard the poor soul’s words and hence forth called these large dry riverbeds “washes”….or is it washi?

Down the wash a bit I rolled alongside a fellow traveler…..not sure what made those tracks but we did hear some howling last night……however that might have been Dewey.

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Back at camp we feasted on steak and all the fixins and once again sat around the campfire as the high desert chill began to set in.

The stars, with zero ambient light and unlimited visibility, were particularly bright. Everyone was able to spot numerous shooting stars…..well most everyone anyway. We also picked out an orbiting satellite that was being illuminated by the sun from below the horizon. Broke out my stargazer’s wheel and attempted to identify the various constellations……did ID a few, and we made up names for the rest…..most not suitable for print. Since Dewey served on a Polaris submarine I took his word where the star Polaris was located. Once again, a great evening.

On day three we decide to break camp. As nice as this spot was we wanted to explore Parker Canyon Lake so we headed south and set up in a nice tandem site overlooking the mountains.

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Parker Canyon Lake

Following lunch we took the Lakeside Loop Path, a 5 ½ mile marked trail that circled Parker Lake. I didn’t get any pictures of Dewey and Bea as they were leading the way, a few hundred yards ahead…..as they wanted to hide in the bushes and make bear sounds to freak out the tourist.

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Bill Tucker

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Kathy Tucker

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The following morning, day four, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, took another quick hike and broke camp for the trip back to Tucson.

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Bill, Kit, Dewey and Bea in blissful retireville

Another fantastic adventure for Bill, Kit, Dewey and Bea in blissful retireville.

Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit

 

Bill and Kit’s Excellent Adventure Chapter 24

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The Bill and Kit Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #24 (part one)

 

March 14 through March 17, 2009:

Off with Dewey and Bea for an epic adventure in the Coronado State Forest down in Cochise County Arizona. But first, after 2 weeks of dooryard surfing we need to dump sanitaries. Found a new, modern RV service center called RV Central that features a store, propane refilling, service department and onsite storage. The fee to dump both tanks was only $5.00…..quite a bargain.

It was warm with storms in the area as we proceeded south toward the border and passed through some very nice country.

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Our original intent was to camp at Parker Canyon Lake State Park but being a small campground and that it was Saturday they were full. So the state park volunteer (host) invited us to stay anywhere in the forest, fee free. He recommended an area called Lyle Canyon accessible by high clearance, all wheel drive vehicles which he noticed we were driving.

So off we went looking forward to our first true off road adventure. As you may remember our trailer was designed and built for “unimproved” roads by Northwood, a company started by an avid outdoor enthusiast in Oregon. And the truck is certainly capable of off traversing rough roads. Now Dewey and Bea have a true off road trailer as you can see.

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Even though the signs were a bit ominous the road started out ok.

image009image011(or is it washi?), and the widest and roughest being the third.

A wash is basically a dry river bed that fills up very quickly with fast moving water during the monsoon season. For most of the year however it is dry
and makes an excellent path to follow through the wilderness, whether on foot or in a 4X4 vehicle.

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Made it through the final wash with minimal rear bumper road grading and only one minor relocation of underbelly trailer parts.  The skid bar did its job however and protected the tanks and stabilizing jacks.

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A few miles in we came across this incredible meadow that turned out to be one of the best camp spots on this particular road.

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We set up camp, had dinner and sat around a campfire enjoying many very strong adult beverages.

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This place, as so many others in our travels, was magical. If you believe in (insert your deity of choice) then this has to be one of his (her) favorite backcountry works.

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Next issue…..(Part Two) more adventures in the Coronado National Forest.

 

Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit

Bill and Kit’s Excellent Adventure Chapter 23

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The Bill and Kit Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #23

The week of March 9, 2009:

This week Dewey, Bea, Kit and I went to Florence, AZ…..the county seat for Oracle where mom owns some land. I needed to research some deed records and survey maps. So as not to make it all work and no play we stopped for lunch at a nifty Mexican restaurant that they knew about.

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We enjoyed some incredible authentic Mexican fare beneath the gaze of this fellow.

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This critter, the one on the left, is a Javelina…..a form of wild boar (the one on the right is anything but a bore) that roams the mountains of Arizona. It is as mean as it looks (the one on the left, the critter on the right is actually quite pleasant) but reported to be very tasty. In fact the motto of Arizona outdoorsmen is PETA (People Eating Tasty Animals). You haven’t lived until you have eaten Carnitas in a Cantina and washed it all down with Pacifico Beer. Life is indeed good!

 Hey…..I wonder if those Carnitas were made from that fella on the wall (the one on the left)?

As we headed up US-79 we stopped by a roadside memorial to the great late Tom Mix. Tom met his demise at this site as his 1937 Cord Phaeton went into a wash (ditch) and his suitcase flew off the rear package tray and bopped him in the head. Apparently others do not hold this great American in as high esteem as I by the preponderance of bullet holes marring this shrine. Rest in peace King of the Cowboys.

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We took a trip to the Thompson Arboretum outside Superior, Arizona. This incredible collection of local and exotic trees and plants and succulents covers 320 acres and was all the work of one individual, Boyce Thompson, a 1940 Wall Street wonder boy who was a millionaire by age 30. Following are some scenes of this beautiful facility.

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A lot of the cactus and plants were in full spring bloom…..I’ll save those pictures for later. Once again a great day, with great people in a great land.

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Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit