We spent the last few days of 2015 enjoying being in San Diego. One morning as we were out walking we noticed a gathering of bands and floats. Within the hour the Holiday Parade was starting and soon we were spectators watching the parade go by. Another day was spent moving the boat and watching Ryan and Beth kite board. We also helped once again to decorate the apartment for the New Years Eve party with a theme of decades. We easily opted out and spent the evening on the boat. Then the least favorite day was making sense of what we were taking to Baja. Thankful that Ryan has a garage and we can store somethings there as we migrate north and south. Looking forward to heading South!
On the Road 2016
This is the day planned for an outing to the wineries of Baja with Beth's family and Ryan's and Beth's Spanish teacher, Carolina. We tried talking only in Spanish, but after learning the basics about each other we had to move on to English. The day was windy and cold and we were glad that the two wineries we were visiting had an indoor seating venue. The wine business is growing rapidly in this area. The surrounding terrain is rolling hills covered in grape vines. Our original dinner plans had to be canceled as the location for dinner was mainly outside. We found a good alternative and were soon happily eating our meal next to a cozy fire. Our meal was topped with a dish of pepper ice cream and we soon found ourselves crossing the border back to the states.
Christmas day started out slow as everyone was taking it easy after last night festivities. Jeff left for Portland in the afternoon and we headed to the beach to watch Ryan go Kite boarding. The sport has taken over and is often the first go to when the wind is up. He has perfected the skill of flipping. We were impressed.
Jeff is in charge today and sends us off for some last minute items. Our main responsibility is to only help clean. The table is set for eleven guests. Ryan and Jeff have it all under control. Watching them cook is quite entertaining. Finally the time has come to enjoy their endeavors.
First Course: Butternut Squash Soup followed with a green salad garnished with carmelized pecans and covered with a homemade dressing
Main Entre: Beef Wellington, creamy mash potatoes, suvied broccoli and carrots that have been cooked to perfection
The Dessert: This was amazing and probably took the most preparation. In the previous days they had made 12 chocolate balls. Melted chocolate was poured into a form that could be separated. The chocolate was then placed in the fridge and was rotated every 30 minutes till hardened and the form removed. Before serving the chocolate ball had its bottom removed and inside was placed a rich chocolate brownie, several strawberries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Each person had the chocolate ball placed in front of them and then Ryan and Jeff poured a hot carmel sauce over the chocolate bulb. The result was that the chocolate bulb split open like a flower revealing the inside ingredients.
Guests included: Beth, Matt, Shadow, Cynthia and Rob , Margo and Lydia and the four of us.
The day after the Parade of Lights, the sense of being on the go caught up with us. Don and I felt that we were both getting a cold. A little too much yelling and not stopping created a good environment for illness. Fortunately we were able to be mellow for the day and seemed to have recovered after a day of rest. By the 23rd we were feeling much better and had the energy to help Jeff with preparations for the Christmas Eve dinner. Beth's parents arrived and ended up not needing the B&B that Beth had reserved so we spent the night in a small studio cottage. Small is our style and with a storage building we would feel quite comfortable. The small unique houses that surround this area are a contrast to the cookie cutter modern subdivisions. Most of the 23rd is spent shopping with Jeff to get all the ingredients for the Christmas Eve meal. A new experience for us is shopping at the IKEA store. Not sure if we enjoyed walking thru the entire store just to get to the checkout. Tasks today were helping to make the chocolate balls for the dessert and house decoration. Sleeping on the boat tonight so had to move it from the mooring to the harbor. Beth and her brother, Matt and his wife Shadow helped.
Up early and ready to head to San Diego. Out ETA is around 11:00. Glad to report that the traffic around LA was almost a non issue. Need to remember that early Sat. morning is a good time to beat the traffic. Arrived to SD as planned and by the time we had put our kayaks in Ryan's garage he and Jeff showed up. They had been working on a coding app to see if they could beat the system of basketball contests. We quickly changed our agenda to one of getting the boat ready for the parade. it had rained this week so all decorations had been stored inside the boat, which meant we had some work to do. Some improvements were made and with many hands the lights, lanterns, flags and pinatas went up. During the prep work, we got a message from a NOLS friend who had just arrived to the San Diego harbor on his sailboat. With little notice, he was psyched to join the crew for the parade. Our crew for the night included: Beth, Ryan, Jeff, Don, Donna ,Jim and 4 friends of Ryan and Beth( Eric, Scott, Kurt and Ryan). With all those helping hands the decorations went up quickly and we left the dock around 4:30. To our dismay as we headed to the starting point numerous boats were heading into anchorage and the ocean quickly came a mass of waves. Not good for the lights, lanterns and pinatas as we watched them take quite a beating. Fortunately we were able to repair a strand of lights and only lost several silver strands from the pinatas. As the sunset the seas became calm and the 70 plus boats ranging from paddle boards to huge yachts filed into somewhat of a line. Over 40,000 people lined the shores.
It was exciting to see all the effort that the participants had put into decorating their boats. We of course thought that we had the best one! We found out that the theme for this Parade, International Christmas, was actually a suggestion that Ryan had made at the previous banquet. As we circulated the shore we would often do a cheer...We say Merry you say Christmas. Most of the spectators got it and it was fun to see their participation. We did our best to impress the judges as we went by their station. Finally around 9 it was time to head back to the dock, a bit hoarse, a bit cold and a lot tired.
A quiet, cool peaceful night resulted in good sleep for both of us. We awoke early and were on the road as the sun was just coming up. Today was a mostly get behind the wheel and drive. One of our few stops found us enjoying the services of In and Our Burger. As usual we were impressed with the quality of their product and the service. Night found us at Calastic Lake campground. Just north of LA, it sets us up well for driving around the city early in the morning. Signs of the CA drought are evident in the depth of the lake. There are numerous signs of boat ramp closures. A quick call to Ryan informed us of the need to get to SD early so we could help in the boat prep for the Parade of Lights.
Finally the time has come to start the move South. As we pulled out of the driveway the sun shone briefly. Along interstate 5 there were many rivers that had overflowed their banks. Oregon did not look like it had been in a severe drought. As we headed south we kept checking the road conditions for the passes. Several in Northern Ca had the chain law in effect. As we approached Grant's Pass the rain began falling. We decided to continue on knowing that if conditions deteriorated we could always reverse our direction and take the coast road. That would add more miles and hours, but it could be a safer option if needed. At least for the time being the road signs were not supporting yellow flashing lights. The Oregon passes were currently just wet, snow however was present on the berms. We made it to CA and initially the road drops in elevation. Soon though we would be going over the passes in CA and the signs on this section were flashing yellow, warning of winter driving conditions. Numerous snowplow were parked along the roads and salt had been added to the road's surface. Snow was beginning to stick to the roads as we cautiously proceeded forward. Normally we would have been excited to see the snow falling and covering the greenery in white. This time however we were glad to see the roads transitioning back to being just wet. Soon we were camped at Sycamore Grove located in Red Bluff. We were glad to have the previous stretch of snowy highway in our past.
Sometimes our adventures are on the road between trips. We just finished spending a couple of months in the Portland area, an interesting and somewhat complicated time. Donna dealt with a cracked tooth that ultimately had to be pulled. Plans for an implant are in the future. Don was dealing with elderly parents and all the issues that go along with that. A high point though was being able to spend time with Jeff who had moved to Portland in June to work with a company called ESRI. We finished packing up our car in a rare dry moment. The rivers were flooding, the ground saturated. We were looking forward to being on the road and heading toward a drier climate.