Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wildlife Sightings

When we peeked out the window this morning to check the weather, we saw a group of deer out grazing.

And that got us to thinking about all the critters we get to see up here. Being very close to the Tahoe National Forest and the Tahoe-Donner open spaces we are very lucky to see these wild animals.  Unfortunately, we don't always have a camera handy when we see them but here are some that we managed to capture around our home...

<- like this  Yellow-Bellied Marmot, who blended in so well to the scenery we almost didn't see him.

We also have many Chipmunks and a wide variety of squirrels, such as Belding's Ground Squirrel (which look like prairie dogs), California Ground Squirrel, Western Gray Squirrel, and Douglas' Squirrel. They are all so fun to watch scampering about.
Raccoons too! A family of them used to live under our house, but have since moved on (thank goodness). We have seen coyote and fox as well.

Mountain Cottontail. We don't get to see these bunnies very often as their habitat is in the brush, but always a joy to see.
In the winter, we don't usually see the critters but we know they have been in the area by the cute paw prints they leave in the snow.

We also have many kinds of birds here.
<- Red-naped Sapsucker

And we have been lucky enough to have seen bear! We have Black Bear in this area. But Black Bear on the west coast are often brown. The photo above was taken of 2 cubs (the mama is out of shot) that woke us up in the wee hours one morning. They were climbing up the outside of our building, probably trying to reach a birdfeeder.

<- This photo was taken while we were out for a walk on the trails near our house.
We have had many bear sightings and even though we know there is a danger, we always enjoy seeing them!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A gift from afar...

When we got home today there was a package in the mail; home made jam from our friends at the Hotel Gran Ander in Alta Badia Italy.
We stayed there on our trip to Italy (see link on side bar for photos)
This looks really good and we can't wait to try it with our breakfast.
The lid has a picture of the hotel, and it looks just like it!

This jar of Jam had quite an adventure reaching us. Here is the story of the jam's travels....
While using Twitter to research the Alta Badia area online, we struck up a friendship with @PatitucciPhoto , @Dolomitesport @IgorTavella (More about the power of Twitter here). As it turns out, PatitucciPhoto was from our area in California. We were going to Italy to ride in the Maratona d'les Dolomite and Igor's Hotel, The Hotel Ustaria Posta was full. He suggested we contact @HotelGranAnder. We did, and stayed there and loved it!
While there we met and hung out and cycled with PatitucciPhoto. He and his wife are the sweetest couple, and live a great life there in Italy. We had a wonderful time and want to go back soon.  (More about  this and some photos by PatitucciPhoto here)
Fast forward to a few months ago....Another twitter pal @TheGearcaster was going to be in the Dolomites, we suggested Hotel Gran Ander for her and her husband. They had a great time, even went cycling with PatitucciPhoto! Since Andrea knew of the connection, he sent his homemade jam with TheGearcaster to mail to us when she got home to California.
However, due to airline security, the jam went with her husband, who was making a stop in Finland first. But it made it back to California safe and sound, and now it's here with us!
Thank you to everyone who helped to get it here, we will 'toast' you all when we eat it!

Jim wrote a review of the Hotel Gran Ander. Read it here

A visit to the Crocker

Our home in the city is practically next door to the Crocker Art Museum, but sadly we don't make it there often enough. Since we had time before heading back up the hill we thought we would go.
It has been recently expanded with a whole new giant modern wing (see pic below). They have done a fantastic job, inside and out, with the new blending with the old.
The building on the left is the original Crocker home, and the building on the right is the new modern addition.

Here are some photos of the artwork inside
 Spike, by Michael Stevens
1988 Pine and enamel, in the Upcycle collection
Notice the eyes....
One of the many large gallery rooms.

Some Echidna Evening, by Maija Peeples-Bright
1986, oil on canvas
Buns Robot, by Clayton Baily
2003, Aluminum and Chrome
Boston Cremes, by Wayne Thiebaud
1962, Oil on Canvas
In the older part of the museum

Great Canyon of the Sierra, Yosemite by Thomas Hill
1871, Oil on Canvas
Jim Moody, by Frances Moody
1953, Flesh and Blood
Gazing at the art...

We had a nice visit to the museum, and would recommend visiting it if you are in the neighborhood

Monday, September 26, 2011

The drive towards home

Wow! Has it been a week already? I guess what they say is true. Time flies when you are having fun.
We were able to unhook, dump tanks, drive down the steep windy driveway all with no mishap.
Even stopped and put gas in the RV at Costco in Gilroy (yep...the Garlic Capitol). Strangely, the pump stopped at exactly $100. Do they limit how much you can buy? Or are the trying prevent people fainting from shock at the dollar amount? 

The drive home was fairly uneventful. Stopped for a lunch break along Highway 5. The central valley is not the most scenic drive and seldom appears in tourism ads for California but is the "breadbasket" of the state. We got a photo or two of these wide open spaces...
Lots of farmland, agricultural area, and the California Aqueduct to look at.

Needless to say tsk wasn't too impressed with the scenery either....
He is the best traveling cat I know!

So tomorrow morning we return the rented RV. We had a really good time on our very first time doing this. We had no mishaps, didn't forget any important items. We were both able to drive the RV without too much distress. All in all we think it's something we would like to to again!
Thanks to everyone who came along with us via this blog and for all the great comments left. We have loved reading them all!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Party at Veronica's!

Veronica had a little get together this afternoon on the deck of her 'little house.' It feels like you are in a treehouse because it is so green and woodsy. We met some of her friends from the Carmel area. Everyone was so nice!
Sheila, who Veronica has known since grad school, and the Famous Utley.

Veronica and Dorothy
Veronica and John, maker of a killer martini (so we're told!)
Veronica's famous Avocado Cream Pie!
A rainbow came out after a brief drizzle.
Louie, the sweet neighbor dog.
The group.

It was a fun time, good food and nice people. Tomorrow morning we unplug, pull up our sewer line, pack up, and head back on the road toward home. We have had a good time with no major RV disasters...but tomorrow is another day!

Camp site cats

 Here at the campsite there are two kitties that live here. Both very very friendly, and both very large. They are known mousers..... 'run for your lives little mousies!'

Caught this guy mid meow, so he looks fiercer than he is. He does paw at you when you stop petting him though.....
And this sweet kitty just wants to sit on your lap. You just have to look at her and she starts purring! Both very cute and sweet.

It is interesting on the pets that people bring camping with them. Have seen many dogs, of course. And there are 2 other kitties here besides these that belong to some folks that have been here awhile. A neighboring RV even had a cockatiel!
So I guess it's not so odd that we came with tsk!

Last day...

What a surprise! It's foggy this morning....
Open up the blinds to the RV to check the weather and I see a passing parade of wild turkeys. gobble gobble.
We had a lovely time with Veronica and Utley last night for dinner.
Utley and Veronica
Today we are going for a run, making sure we stop and say hello to the cute piggies. And then later today Veronica is having a little party which she has kindly invited us to. Veronica and Utley both split their time between California and Mexico. They are both making preparations to head south soon. And we are heading for home tomorrow.

Meanwhile, tsk is playing peek-a-boo from the top bunk!
We will post photos later from the shindig... ciao for now...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A gloomy ride

Another foggy day here in Carmel Valley, thought we would go for a bike ride heading away from the fog. Is that possible?
But first we took tsk for a walk..... Such a good boy on his leash, and posed so prettily!

Our first stop on the ride was to see a family of piggies.They have a pen right by the side of the road with a sign that says "Yes! Feed Us!" They are pretty fat so it must be working for them... 
We headed up, up, up, Robinson Canyon Road..18% in some places.. the vistas would have been spectacular if not for the fog. But still a lovely ride. Very green mixed forest.

A windy country road that was very picturesque

Sadly, when we reached the road we were going to turn on to return, it had a gate and many No Trespassing (this means you!) signs. Google maps said nothing about a private road (danged rich people). Alas, thwarted again! But the sun popped out momentarily before we turned around and headed back in to the fog and cold. 

The view back towards home and tsk. A chilly ride back but a good ride all in all. Now for snuggle time with tsk. Later tonight we will see Utley (Jim's brother) and Veronica for some Thai food.