Saturday, July 9, 2011

Catching Up in California

Laundry day, a perfect day to write a blog! Where did we leave you last? Ah, yes -- Coulterville, the little gold rush town with the neat museum and "Whistlin' Billy."

Mariposa County History Center, formerly the Coulterville Hotel

Whistlin' Billy, an 0-4-0 mining locomotive
Our next goal was daughter Deb's house in Mountain View, but we don't like to drive that far in a day, so we stopped at the Santa Nella RV Park in (where else?) Santa Nella, CA.

The big attraction in Santa Nella is Split Pea Anderson's restaurant, where we ate (what else?) split pea soup, served in a sourdough bread bowl. The shells of those bowls were enjoyed the next day for lunch with cheese and peanut butter. The bread that had been cut out of the center of each of our bowls became an excellent French Toast breakfast later on.

Deb had invited us to park our motorhome at the curb in front of her apartment complex. but we didn't feel comfortable with that, and besides, we had a refrigerator and freezer full of food, requiring electrical connections. Instead, we got a site at the Thousand Trails park 32 miles south of Deb at Morgan Hill. We were here three nights, then put Rosie into storage with electricity for our stay at Deb's. Although we pay nothing per night for staying here (the first 50 nights in a year) we had to pay $10 a night for the storage site. Tuesday after the July 4 weekend, we returned to Thousand Trails, pulled Rosie out of storage and back into a beautiful wide, level shaded site with what passes for grass out front.

And wouldn't you know it -- a couple of days ago, I was defending membership RV parks in a comment to  Chuck and Anneke in their blog, bragging about our park here, and the next morning the park's well pump self-destroyed! We were without water for 24 hours, and now the park tells us the new pump is working, but they won't know for three days whether the water is fit for human consumption! We're sure it will be, but the county has to do their incantations and spiral dances first!

At Deb's place we had a nice chance to get better acquainted with her friend Albert, and to see the pictures she took on their recent trip to Colombia. Albert is a native of Colombia, although he has been a US citizen for many years. Deb brought back some souvenirs of Colombia for us.

This is a "chiva." Albert's family had rented one as a party bus to and from one of their family gatherings.
This cross was carved out of salt at the "Salt Cathedral," a large underground church, itself carved totally out of salt in a huge salt mine.

Deb knows we celebrate Christmas with at least three different creches, so picked up this tiny one for us, handcarved in Colombia.
We also had a chance to go out to dinner with Deb and Albert at Rok, "A Hot Stone and Fondue Bistro." Whatever entree you order is delivered to your table seared but otherwise raw, on a lava stone heated to 700 degrees (or so), and you are expected to slice the meat and cook it to your specifications, slice by slice, on the rock! Dinner began with a bread, veggie and cheese plate with a fondue pot, moved on through the steak / pork / chicken / fish entree, to a delightful chocolate fondue with fruit slices and cake squares! All we can say is WOW!
Deb and Albert are a fun couple, and well matched in temperament.

Albert eagerly waits while Suzy dips into the cheese fondue.

Suzy ordered pork tenderloin, I ordered steak, and we split the two entrees. The black slab is HOT!
On another day, Deb drove us out to Shoreline Lake Park for breakfast at the Shoreline Lake Cafe. We sat outside at a table overlooking the lake, and overlooking as well a windsurfing class. There were also classes in sailing and kayaking at the same lake that weekend.

This fellow, the oldest in the class, was really having problems.

This one looked insecure, but soon he was out with the rest.

Colorful activities abounded.

At a nearby Duck Pond, local birders alerted us to a tree with several shorebird nests in it, with young birds in most of the nests. This was the best picture we could get that time.

I believe these are egrets.
The next project was to get Suzy's Big Red mobility scooter repaired. Our early contacts with the Scooter Store (yes, that's the name of the company, rated by Forbes Magazine as one of the top 100 Best Places to Work, both in 2004 and 2010) suggested it would take up to two weeks to pick up the scooter, take it to their facility, diagnose the problem, fix it and get it back to us. And we needed a local address. We thereupon signed up for three weeks more here at Thousand Trails. Suzy called the repair facility, found we could drop Big Red up there right away for an immediate assessment, so Thursday we drove to San Carlos. Not only did the service center immediately diagnose the problem, they borrowed a new motor / transaxle assembly they had been holding for another customer, installed it on the spot, and we were out of there in an hour and a half! Now that's service!

We'll stick around this area, see what there is to see, and in a couple of weeks, start a journey to somewhere near Fiddletown, CA (back into the Gold Country) to join our family's celebration of daughter Deb's 50th birthday. What a fine family summer in ... Our Life on Wheels!


  1. That "chiva" is so cute. But that Rok place just sounds like the place to go. Do they just have that one or are there others or do you know? I would definitely eat there. Isn't it great when your service gets taken care of like it should be. Makes me jealous.

  2. Good post - love the photos. That really is excellent service on the scooter. You don't see that very often! :) I ate at and slept outside Anderson's Split Pea Soup on Sunday night, 7/3. We might have passed each other. I liked the gas prices in that area.

  3. I think I'd enjoy that fondue restaurant a lot.

  4. All I want to know is do you get a discount at that restaurant for having to cook your own food?

    Great service on the repair job, it's nice to hear about that once in a while.

  5. Oh, I'm simply drooling at all that delicoius food. Excuse me while I wipe my keyboard :)


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