Seekin' My World

Brenda's wanderings and wishings

Yosemite Nature Journaling class May 15, 2018

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Destinations — Sierrashadow @ 10:57 pm

I spent four nights in Yosemite to attend an art class. The reserved campsite for the class only allowed tent camping, so I tried to get my own since I am too spoiled to sleep on the ground anymore. The computerized system of five months in advance on the fifteenth of the month is a nightmare. If you haven’t gotten something in the first three minutes, it isn’t going to happen. But persistence pays off. I kept checking multiple times a day for cancellations and slowly cobbled together four nights. It meant moving off site every day and parking in the day use parking area. The advantage in that is that it is easy to find a full sun parking space to recharge the battery.  Then after the class was over, I went to the next campsite. Good thing the ATC is so easy to open and close.

One day I parked along the meadow. I enjoyed framing Half Dome with the door at lunch.

I added a new safety feature. I store the one pound propane for the cook stove in the main propane cubby. It used to rattle around in transit. The padded bubble wrap wasn’t working that well. I saw the hiking bottle holder and thought, “I wonder if that would work?”. It keeps the bottle from tipping and moving. 

This was on my neighbors site, but it has lots of potential. It’s a US General magnetic paper towel holder for $20 on Amazon.

One of the gals brought a pretty cool chair I may look into. But $170 seems a bit steep. It swivels!

The falls were at their fullest, and the dogwoods were magnificent. 

I found a Sierra Sculptured Puffball (a fungus). What a strange and beautiful creation. 

So my trusty steed got a little more exercise, and didn’t let me down. 



Oregon coast 2018 May 3, 2018

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Destinations — Sierrashadow @ 1:08 am

Got a chance to get away and the weather looked nice enough to brave the Oregon beaches. It may have been not raining, but that doesn’t mean warm. There is a constant wind near the beach that chills your bones even though the sun is out. These are some hardy people.  My first night was at my tried and true Simms Flat, near Dunsmuir on 5. It was just finishing off a rain storm, so I took the first site again because it is the brightest.

I saw a tiny house traveling down the road. That was a first. But they sure aren’t designed for transport.

Using my Ultimate campgrounds app, I found a boat ramp that allowed overnighting, free! I always wonder if I am going to get a knock in the middle of the night, but at least I had “proof” that it should be allowed. I admit to feeling both relieved and concerned when the creepy, hippy painted van on its last legs pulled out after being there for several hours. Did he know something I didn’t? But I slept quite well, had the place to myself and was next to a beautiful river a mile or two from the ocean. Life is good.

Brandon, Oregon is very nice. The south jetty had some beautiful vistas.

Breakfast at the beach.

I thought clear cutting was no longer allowed, but evidently not.


Found a beautiful place to do my bible study at a coast guard station at Coos Head.


Pulled over to see the Winchester lighthouse. Much of the middle coast of Oregon is sand dunes. That is not my favorite view. It’s different, but after a while I want to see the waves that are just over the hills.


I stopped at the Darlingtonia Californica wayside. I stopped to paint on the boardwalk. It was the first time I got warm since it is surrounded by tall trees. I camped at Sutton, but forgot to get a picture, but this is the overlook at the end of the road. See how you can’t get all the way to the waves. That is what I don’t like about the dunes section of Oregon.


Heceta Lighthouse is a classic beauty on this coast. There were sea lion barking on the beach below the overlook, and floating in rafts in the waves protecting the young. I have never seen that before. The joys of off season travel. I walked out to the light and got the tour. They don’t let you climb it, but you can get the feel from the inside.


Devil’s chasm near Cape Perpetua was interesting. Would be very cool in a storm, when things are roaring.


Got my site at Beachside State Park. And drove north a bit looking for dinner. The Hilltop cafe was excellent. My second crab melt of the trip, but I don’t get good seafood often at home.



The  next morning when I woke up it was spotty light rain. I headed up past Newport and was going to go to Yaquina head lighthouse but decided to head inland to avoid the rain. Once I turn around it seems like it’s “Damn the torpedoes – full speed ahead”. I ended up at Valley of the Rogue State Park. It’s awfully convenient and I know I can make it home in one day from here. Any trip that ends up with this many bugs on the front must be a good one.


For my modification friends,  I am sorry to disappoint you. This trip just felt comfortable. All the systems I have in place functioned perfectly and I don’t have any great thing that I need to do to make it better. I feel sad but yet pleased. The IKEA step is great. And these down booties are the bomb. Keeping my feet warm goes a long way towards staying warm at night.



Pismo Beach April 6, 2018

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Destinations,Stuff I carry — Sierrashadow @ 5:42 am
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I had to go to Long Beach to pick up three dogs so I decided to make a trip out of it. However the main road from my house to 99 south had a bridge wash out. I decided instead of a small detour I would make a more scenic detour through Yosemite. I managed to get a site a week in advance. This was a week before they closed it for flooding.


The Falls were flowing nicely due to the warmer weather we have been having.

Then I headed for the coast and through Cambria. Just north is the Elephant Seal Beach. I have visited this several times since retirement. Every time is slightly different. This time only the juveniles were around, molting and laying around. A little boring, but still worth the visit. I must get here in December for the male fights, but that is always a busy time of the year.

I stayed at Cerro Alto again. Cheaper than at the beach and for some reason all the sites at Morro Bay State were booked a month in advance. Then on to San Luis Obispo. I went to the mission but had to keep it quick. The street parking was crazy and I had very little change in my purse. But I saw enough. 

I stayed at Oceano campground at Pismo State beach. This is the only place on the California coast where you can drive on the beach. I decided not to, but there were full sized RV’s out there. The clouds were moving in, but it was still warm and blustery.

Movin’ on down the coast to El Capitan SB. #53 is a nice site that backs up to open space. But it is a loud campground in general and the train horn adds to the ambiance. The site wasn’t so level so I had to park sideways on the pad, but it worked.


These are the bins I have been using.


A better shot of how I transport the stool.


Not all that exciting, but very rejuvenating.


Napa Valley 3 March 5, 2018

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Destinations — Sierrashadow @ 11:51 pm

I followed the Russian River from Guerneville to Jenner. Just north on One there is a great overlook that often has harbor seals. There were many beached, but no babies yet. I had just seen a Blue Planet II that showed sea lions forcing tuna into the shallows to hunt in the Galapagos. The water was too muddy, but I could see seals going after something in the cul-de-sac. Someone knowledgeable nearby said they were going after the Steelhead salmon coming back to spawn. There was also a Great Blue Heron who got quite agitated when a second GBH came into his territory. They made several loop-di-loos that made my day. Egrets and herons are my favorite birds. I also saw a raptor catch a sizable fish and fly right past me and over my head with it. Great day!

I planned to go to Bodega Bay, but 8 miles before it I pulled into Wright’s Beach to see if they had camping. I got a nice site, and I think it will be less hectic than Bodega Bay. I made myself a hot dog for lunch, the first cooking of the trip, but it was finally warm and dry enough to be out. Then I went to the beach and painted for a while. I am no Milt (for my WTW friends) but I enjoy it.

I went down the coast to Bodega Bay. Isn’t California beautiful?

I had an awesome shrimp and chips dinner, then headed back. My site was too shady, so I parked in day use and half lifted the lid to maximize sun on the solar panels. I got lots of comments. This rig really is a man magnet. I am surprised my husband lets me go alone. But he trusts me.

Tomorrow I will head straight home. But it was a well needed rejuvenation. Too bad it rained so much.


Napa Valley 2

Filed under: Bobcat travels,Destinations — Sierrashadow @ 11:41 pm
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Took the Silverado Trail up to Calistoga for my reservation at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. But that’s two hours max. The Calistoga Bottled Water company has a nice iron sculpture out front. I liked the dog.

There is a wine train at the historical station. This is the third one I have run across with the same paint scheme, Reno & ?

I finally found a safe place to pull over and photograph the mustard plants. They are so pretty. Got some good shots of my baby, too.

This was the second day on my way to Cloverdale. It was my favorite house in the Valley. I looped up and was planning on taking Geysers Road back, but when I got there it said locals only and was a very washed out gravel road. Because of the recent and ongoing rain, I decided to forgo that and double back, something I hate to do, but wisdom prevailed again.

I spent quite a bit of time wandering around the cemetery in Calistoga. I don’t know any of the history but it always interesting to see what time has done. The rains made all the mosses green and perky and the drippy Spanish moss made everything spooky.

I decided to forego the $15 to see the California Old Faithful geyser, one of only three regularly spouting in the world. They had plenty of pictures to show and it didn’t look all that impressive. If I ever get to the one in New Zealand, I will come back to round out my collection. There were these steaming pools nearby. I bet on a hot summer day you would never know they were there, but the cold air tattled on them.

This may not show it, but there was snow on the hills just above Calistoga. Made me glad I was missing the stuff at home. Probably two feet at the old house, but none at the new. So glad we moved!

The Internet doesn’t tell you how level the sites are, and Friday night with the rain I didn’t want to put Lynx blocks out to level the very sloping number 4. The campground host let me change to #5, but in the morning I had a note saying someone was coming in for Saturday night. So I cruised the park for flat sites and changed it up at the reservation kiosk. Number 41 was very nice with the creek behind me.

I have found a way to pack my wooden stool inside that solves my biggest issue with it. It was always in the way in the aisle. A good strong bungie cord keeps it in place. I have a D ring mounted on the bed rail. The clear boxes on the left are working out well with velcro on the bottom. I can bring them in the kitchen, load them up and then take them out to put in place.


Late October Arizona jaunt November 5, 2017

I  really wanted to get to the Grand Canyon after last years aborted attempt. This year my sister-in-law was available to go with me. She handled the confined quarters well, and was a great companion. There was a controlled burn nearby which allowed smoke to fill the canyon. It was better in the mornings, and progressively worse as the day went on. No camera can really do justice to the Grand Canyon, especially not just a cell phone, but I still wanted to record the visit. Nancy made fun of me because most people take pictures of their grandchildren, I take pictures of my truck and camper. But hey, I have fans to keep happy.

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Then we went to Monument Valley and stayed at Gouldings Campground. There aren’t a lot of other options, and with a novice camper along I wasn’t going to ruin it by suggesting boondock camping. The second picture shows my new entrance step, $19.99 at Ikea. I added sand tape to the steps so it isn’t slippery. It doesn’t stow as easily, but is so much steadier than the folding one I ran over. And even just an inch or two taller makes a huge difference in comfort getting in and out.

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I usually shrink the images a bit on this blog to make it easier to view on phones and tablets, but I just didn’t have the heart to shrink these (I had to after all, but left them as large as possible). It is such a awe inspiring landscape. Nothing prepared me for it.


The loop road is open to high clearance vehicles, but pretty rough. My Tacoma and Bobcat handled it well, but we were rockin’ and rollin’ in places (well, I guess not really rollin’ – that would be tragic)


Then we headed for Canyon de Chelly. I don’t know exactly where this lunch stop overlook was, but I had been looking for a place to pull over for lunch for quite a while and there was nothing but sagebrush and no pull outs at all. Came around a corner and found a wide spot with this as the view. Amazing.


I have been to Canyon de Chelly before, but it is still impressive. The cottonwood trees were flaming yellow.


Next stop was Petrified Forest. More badlands with awesome color variations. IMG_7401IMG_7403IMG_7404

And the last stop was Meteor Crater. I haven’t been there for 30 years. The crater is the same, but my have the visitor services changed. A nice museum and buildings, with a hefty entrance fee to boot ($16 per). But I really wanted Nancy to see it. IMG_7408

I hadn’t really researched camping options in Flagstaff. The KOA was even full. They recommended Greer’s just up the street, but they wanted $33 with no external services (no bathroom at all). So we decided to get a motel instead. The snarky employee at Greer’s said we wouldn’t find anything because even the rents in town were $2,000 a month. We had passed the Hotel Aspen Inn and Suites and I had noticed it looked nice. So when it came up on my Kayak search as $37.50 a night we shot on over there. With taxes it ended up being $10 more than the camping, but for that price we got 2 queen beds, 2 hot showers, TV, Wi-Fi, heat, and 2 breakfasts. And the employees were gentle and kind. It got down to 27 degrees that night, so I am glad we did it.


Major modification March 5, 2017

Filed under: Destinations,Modifications — Sierrashadow @ 3:56 pm

We have been looking for a new house. The snow storm in January where my husband had to snowthrow three times in two days did him in. He said he got older in the five years of drought. Fortunately we live where just five miles makes a huge difference on the western slope of the Sierra. I had been looking in Sonora and the pickings were mighty slim. So I figured when the market started in the spring things might open up. I walked in from an errand and my husband said, “I think I found us a house.”  He did! It is perfect in so many ways. But it is in Jamestown, not Sonora. I didn’t think he would be willing to go that far down the hill. So in less than a week, we made an offer and are waiting to see if we get it or not. For anyone who knows my husband they would be shocked. He over thinks everything, and second guesses too much.  Among the many things that made me want the house was the garage. 

I sent him an email with just those two pictures and said, “Buy me the house!” The things I will do for my Bobcat. 

I had a trip planned to Capitola this week, but the state of California closed New Brighton Beach. I went to Anthony Chabot in the foothills of Oakland for three nights. But Warren called the first night to tell me he had made an offer. I guess the realtor called and said there were two offers so he had to jump on it. We went in full price, no contingencies so hopefully it will be the best offer. So even though the excitement was over and it was just waiting, I decided I would rather be at home.  

It was a really nice place. The city lights were pretty twinkling in the distance. But I could hear train whistles all night.

And I wrote this post from a hotel room in Jamestown because they are expecting a low snow again. Timing is everything.  It will be nice to put that chapter of our lives behind us. We loved living in the pines, but Bark beetle killed that dream. Our neighborhood has been a war zone of tree felling and chipping lately.