Thursday, July 31, 2008

On Vacaction

Location, Walnut Creek, CA

On Tuesday we drove to Walnut Creek. The drive took about 6 hours with stops for coffee, gas, and lunch. It is actually an easy drive with the car. We averaged 25.9 MPG which is good as there is no way to maintain a set speed because most drivers still want to go fast and the heck with fuel mileage.

Yesterday, Wednesday, we drove to the Mendocino wine country of Anderson Valley. We stopped in Healdsburg at Rodney Strong winery for a taste and then went to lunch in downtown at HBG for a sandwich. We ate outside as the temperature was perfect. In fact, the temperature was perfect all day.

We drove to Boonville and Philo. In Philo we stopped at Scharffenberger which is known for their champagne’s and had a taste or two and also bought a bottle of their Brut for later consumption.

A side story here: years ago son Craig worked for a man who had a ranch near Philo and did trenching for the wineries when they installed irrigation pipes. The lady at the winery knew everyone locally including many of our friends who live in the surrounding area but did not know Craig. It was a nice to talk to her and find out who was doing what. Oh, the man Craig worked for sold his ranch to Kendall Jackson, the big wine retailer in California. And so it goes.

By the time we started back home it was getting late so we stopped for Mexican food. It was a short evening as we all headed to bed.

No pictures today as I forgot my camera. Bummer.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Drain line is in!

Location, At home, CA

Boy, am I glad this past week is over with and we are leaving in the morning for Walnut Creek. I couldn’t face another day of slave labor such as I have been doing. Although in truth, I am done with the worst part.

Today I got the 2 tunnels under the curbs opened enough to get the new drain line in. It involved digging with a hand trowel and cutting several roots. I then turned off the water to the side yard and cut the water line where it passed under the drain line. There was not enough room to get the new bigger line through the opening. I installed a “U” in the water line which now allows the drain to pass into the sump.

Drain line under curb.

New sump with water line "U" visible.

Do I look like a happy camper or what?

I had to buy an adaptor to go from the old 2 inch line into the sump. That little piece of plastic cost $15.00!!!!!!! Ouch! My next shock was the cost of three brass hose bibs to replace all the old ones on the before mentioned water line. I replaced the line going to the bibs as it had a slow leak. One of the bibs cost $13.95 and the others were $7.95 each. I told Clyda that we need to rethink this home ownership bit.

After lunch I installed the drain line and sumps and checked the line for slope to make sure it would drain properly by running water down the line. After I was satisfied with that, I buried the line. I didn’t want to leave it open while we are gone as that clay ground would be dried like cement by next week. I cleaned up all my tools and temporarily installed the old gate and short piece of fence to close in the yard while we are gone.

I have been going through a pair of gloves every 2 days. Even wearing gloves, I still have lots of blisters. All will heal by next week I hope. The remainder of the fence project is not as labor intensive but Clyda has been buying plants for the flower bed along the fence so they will need to be taken care of soon.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Digging, Digging, Digging!

Location, At home, CA

Yesterday was a very painful day. Digging, digging, digging! And it was HOT! But with pain comes success.

In the morning I ran some errands before the days labors began. I needed a haircut, I had banking to do, and I needed to buy the new drain line and sump boxes. After that was all accomplished, I started on the digging. The one remaining stump proved to be very stubborn to remove. I dug all around it but couldn’t find any roots on three of the sides which left the side near the neighbor’s wall to dig. I used an 8 ton bottle jack to see if that would break the stump loose but to no avail. I could tip the stump all the way to the wall so that meant the pivot root is near the wall.

I finally uncovered a large root wrapped around the drain line. After much chopping with an axe it seemed like the stump should budge. No chance, so there must be another root down there. By this time I was soaked with sweat and about out of energy from all the day’s efforts. My neighbor Tom helped clean out the dirt as I continued to chop and dig.

About that time Paul who was waiting for company to arrive walked over and suggested that his tractor might do the job. Not one to turn down an offer like that, I accepted. A few minutes pulling with the Kabota and that bad boy was out of there! Woo Hoo! Thank Goodness for Paul. The stump had completely wrapped its roots around the drain line.

With a little time left in the day I proceeded to knock the concrete out of the drain basin at the inlet to the drain.

After showering and resting for a few minutes it was time to set up the BBQ and tables in the cul de sac for a neighborhood get together. We have these once or twice a year. This one was well attended and the weather cooperated so we stayed out until 9 PM or so. A great way to end the week.

Today, Sunday, I dug the dirt out of the drain basin and along the drain line where it was still buried and removed the line in several pieces. I worked on opening the hole under two cement borders which is going to be somewhat of a problem. Roots from the trees and junipers have grown along side of the line and these are going to be difficult to remove. I knocked as much dirt off the juniper stump as I could and now I can at least move it by myself.

The result of all this effort yesterday earned me blisters on my right hand in places I have never had blisters before. They will get a chance to heal starting Tuesday as we will be in the Walnut Creek helping our friends Cindy and Gary celebrate their recent retirement. I am looking forward to that.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pouring cement and digging!

Location, At home, CA

I had mentioned in my blog of June 11th that my camera had quit working while we were at Mammoth and also the GPS wouldn’t come on as we prepared to drive home. Here is an update on those subjects.

First the GPS: I charged the GPS in the truck as we drove from Tehachapi to Santa Paula and over lunch behind a service station I tried to see if it would come on. Wonder of wonders, it did. It told me it was loading which to me indicated the battery had become discharged and the software was in memory. I managed to navigate home with the unit but was not comfortable with the way it worked. I received an email from Magellan which told me how to restart the unit by holding the ON button for so many seconds then doing it again for so many seconds. It worked! I did ask them how long the battery should normally hold a charge but have not received an answer yet.

The camera: After calling Canon and receiving assurances that they would fix it for nothing, I received 3 emails from them. One was a UPS shipping label, one was instructions on how to ship the camera and I forgot the third. Anyway, I double packed the camera and shipped it off. It eventually arrived at their repair facility in Elgin, IL and I received an email telling me that along with a tracking number. Today, I received an email saying the camera is being shipped back to me via FedEx and I should receive it within 4 days. How cool is that?

Now on to other happenings. Today was another Aleve day of pain and work. We started out by pouring the first section of fence footings for Paul this morning. It went fairly quickly as we mixed the cement with his mixer which holds 2-60 lb bags at a time. We actually did it in about an hour.

Later, I started digging in the bed we removed the junipers from yesterday to find the drain line. The ground is really too hard to dig much so I started soaking it with water. I did manage to dig the section along the new fence only because that had received water from the neighbor’s yard so digging was not a problem.

The drain is not buried very deep which helps. I do need to remove the juniper stumps before I can finish the digging and Paul came to my rescue again. He used his Kabota tractor with the ripper bar attached and we managed to get most of the stumps and roots out. All except for the big Armstrong stump. That will require hand digging and chopping of the roots to get that big baby out. The ground is really nice and loose after a few passes with the ripper bar. Tomorrow, more of the same followed by more Aleve.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

More "Slave Labor"

Location, At home, CA

Work, work, work, that’s all I do. The fence project is progressing but has now taken on another whole dimension. One project begets another project. Oh woa!!!!

On Tuesday I removed the remaining short piece of old fence and the gate. The 2 gate pots required a little persuasion to get them out of their holes. To accomplish this I used two 8 ton bottle jacks and a stainless steel rod to work against. I first drilled a hole in the post with a Forstner bit to accept the rod. By simultaneous pressure on both jacks, the pole was induced to come out of its hole where it had resided for loo these past 40 years.

The holes are too small to receive new 4x4 posts so I will use a 7 foot 2 3/8s round pipe. I have done this before on my other gate and it works well.

On Tuesday I bought the pipes and cemented them in. These will only be 5 foot high as the gate can only be that height so it doesn’t overwhelm the front of the house and also, the gas meter reader needs to be able to look over the fence with his scope to read our gas meter.

Craig had brought up the subject of replacing the water drain line to the street while all the fence construction was going on as the drain gets overwhelmed when we have a large downpour. Fortunately, he has always been here to keep the drain open so there has been no water damage. I guess this would be the time to do it.

We checked the slope from the top of the present drain to the street and we have about 1 foot 3 inches of slope. This is fine if we were putting in a new drain and nothing was in the way. However, 40 plus years ago we planted junipers as a hedge along the property line and the drain is buried under the hedge. There is no way to get the new drain through that hedge.

So, last night the decision was made to remove the hedge. When originally planted, all the junipers were to be of the low spreading variety but somehow a larger Armstrong variety got planted in one place. This was unknown until the plant became mature and grew very big. Each year it required extensive pruning to keep it in check. So….. it was time to remove it.

I started chopping this morning on the low junipers near the street and that went fairly well. The Armstrong was…….very Armstrongish. It had limbs 4 inches in diameter and lots of dead branches internal to the hedge. It finally took Paul’s chainsaw to reduce it to a mere stump. I piled all the cuttings up and reduced them to compost with my shredder. I filled 10 garbage cans with the shredding’s. By the time I finished the shredding, and cleanup with Clyda’s and Craig’s help, I was beat. I feel all of my age tonight. However, 2 Aleve should do the trick as Paul needs help pouring a cement footing for his fence tomorrow.

Making "small chips".

Cutting the stump with Paul's help.

Hedge removed with only the small stumps remaining.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Main fence is done!

Location, At home, CA

I just couldn’t stay away from the fence yesterday knowing there were things I could do in preparation for putting the boards up. I removed the form boards from the curb and mounted the boards at either end of the fence so I could run a string line to use as a guide for the fence board height. I made a template so I could mark each board where the screws will go. By doing this, all screws will be in line for the whole fence. It just looks better this way. The screws are #6 by 1 5/8 long and are coated just for fences. No rusty running marks on my fence!

Today, I started putting up boards. Son Craig helped for a couple hours which really made progress zoom. I marked boards and he drove the screws.

Craig at work while I marked the boards.

Neighbor Paul comes to check progess.

Completed fence.

The main section of boards was up by lunch time but the remaining 2 sections took the rest of the afternoon. Each board was tried in place, marked for cutoff, marked for screw holes, sawed to length, and painted on the cut end before installing. These boards were cut off because an existing block wall on the neighbor’s side hides the lower foot of the boards and it was decided that each board should but cut off to avoid dirt building up and rotting the boards.

The main part of the fence is done but I have a small end section to replace as well as a gate to build. That is next for this project.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

More fence work

Location, At home, CA

On Thursday I set all the remaining post and cemented them in. Then I set the forms for the curbing under the fence. Between Paul and I there were enough old form boards to complete the job. This was all done during the heat of the day with high humidity. By Thursday night I was pooped.

Checking the posts for level.

Posts in and forms ready for cement.

Friday morning I picked up more bags of cement and Paul brought out his cement mixer which really made the job of pouring the curbing go fast. We can mix 2 of the 60 pound bags at once so the job was quickly done.

Mixing cement.

Filling the forms.

Later I bought 15 pressure treated 2x4’s each 8 feet long which will be the stringers for holding the boards to complete the fence.

Last night we were invited to dinner with Clyda’s cousin Bea and her husband Jack who were dog sitting for their youngest daughter Sally at Sally’s house. It was a very enjoyable evening and we didn’t get home until midnight. Consequently, I slept in this morning.

Paul came over this morning and I asked him to help me put up the 2x4 stringers today. After deciding which spacing to use, based on our other common fence, we quickly put up most of the stringers. I used his hammer drill which really drives the 3 ¾ inch screws in easily. Love that drill!!!!.....After lunch we finished the last 2 sections which required a little thinking as they are along a wall for the neighbors flower bed.

Setting the lower stringers.

Stringers all in.

I cleaned up the tools and cutoff pieces of boards and now am ready to start putting up the fence boards. Maybe I will wait until Monday.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Digging holes

Location, At home, CA

The last two days have been rough on this old body. In fact, it required 2 Aleve before I went to Elks for dinner last night just to get going.

Yesterday I took down the fence in sections by sawing off the nails at each post with the Sawzall. Love that Sawzall! For now I just stacked the fence sections along the back fence and will deal with them later.

Next, I removed the posts of which very few were actually holding up the fence. Most were rotted off just below ground level. What really held the fence up were two posts which had been reinforced with 2 inch pipe which was then cemented into the ground. On these I used a bottle jack to pry them out. I also used the jack on a couple of the more stubborn posts which hadn’t rotted off.

I started trying to dig out those posts which rotted off using a drill with a long extension and a wood bit to drill into the piece still in the ground. This met with limited success. The real tools are a heavy duty vacuum to suck up the dirt in the hole and an ice chipper with about a 4 inch blade on the end of a hefty metal handle. I borrowed the blade from Don last night. It worked wonders!

By noon today I had four of the nine holes cleaned out and by 3 PM all the holes were done. I drove to town and bought 7 4x4 pressure treated posts 8 feet long and 10 bags of redi-mix concrete. By 6:30 this evening I had the 2 end post set in cement and the new posts painted with a product to deter termites.

Digging the last hole.

Cementing in the first post.

Painting the posts with termite preventive.

Tomorrow I will set the rest of the posts.

Monday, July 14, 2008

If you play, you must pay!

Location, At home, CA

You know the saying “If you play, you must pay”. Well, today I did, pay that is. After 2 weeks or so of “play” time in Mammoth, today it was back to the old grind. I started the day off with my usual walk. I ran into a lady who I see every day when I walk and she stopped to ask me if I had walked during the fire. I told her I was out of town the whole time and she said this was the first day she has walked because of the smoke and ash. She said it “felt like getting out of prison” after all the time cooped up in her house.

After breakfast I washed the truck and then went to the UPS store to send the camera off for repair. With a stop at Trader Joes for a few items and the bank to deposit some checks, I was home fairly quickly. The big task today was fence board painting. I set up the saw horses and loaded it up with boards.

After lunch I started and finished painting all sides by 3:30 this afternoon. While the final side was drying I cleaned the RV refrigerator and dumped the holding tanks. Whew!!!!!!! I am tired.

Clyda had gone grocery shopping and picked up a couple of nice steaks for dinner. A few minutes on the grill and “good eats” as Elton Brown would say.

I am scanning the internet RV websites to see what I missed while we were gone. Lots of folks in Alaska right now regardless of the fuel prices. We don’t have another trip planned with the rig until Oct I think and that will be a short one. I do still plan on the annual desert trip this fall. It is costly but what the heck, we’ll stay home when the money runs out.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The GPS lives

Location, At home, CA

We arrived home about 3:15 yesterday and immediately started the unloading process and the laundry. By 7 PM we were ready to quit for the day and have some dinner but the fridge was bare so we drove to the local Cal Taco for Mexican food. It was adequate but filled the need.

This morning after church I washed Clyda’s car which was badly needed from all the ash which had accumulated on it. I need to wax it also but that needs to wait until I get the truck washed tomorrow.

I have the camera ready to mail to Canon per their instructions. Apparently my problem is well known and they say they will fix it for free on their website. After talking to one of their people I received three emails with instructions for mailing and a pre-printed UPS label. So off it goes tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t take to long as the Grandkids arrive the middle of August. It would really be a bummer to not have a camera while they are here. I have also been thinking about a new SLR digital camera but the cost is hard to justify right now.

Oh, by the way, the GPS lives. I had it on charge for the trip home and decided to see if that would bring it back to life. I tried turning it on in Santa Paula and wonder of wonders it came back to life and worked all the way home. I had stored t in my truck center console and I think it got too hot and drained the battery. The program went into some kind of recovery mode but came back after a good charge. I am sure I didn’t help the battery by storing it in the heat.

A little retrospective is in order concerning the “Gap” fire burning in our coastal mountains. This has been a widely publicized fire with national attention because of the large number of houses close to the fire area. This fire still burns and about 1000 firefighters are on the line. The local high school has been set up as a relief area for food and rest for all the firefighters and looks like a disorganized mess to the untrained eye. There are cooking facilities, Uhaul trucks, RV’s for sleeping, tents pitched every where for crews to sleep in even on the tennis courts, and stacks of supplies piled every where. All organized chaos. Or so it seems.

For the past several years as we have been traveling in our RV we have been fortunate to “miss” most if not all the major natural disasters in our area. Winter rains have produced floods which a few years ago cut off all roads to our part of the California coast, and we were gone. Last years “Zaca” fire burned for months back of our coastal mountains and rained ash on everything but we were on our 4 months trip around the USA and missed it. This fire also produced a lot of ash along with power outages as the fire burned near major power lines but we were gone. Our son Craig has had to endure the hardships of dealing with all this each time something happens and for that we are grateful. We do get to cleanup some of the mess from the ash and I am sure we will be dealing with it every time the wind blows. This winter there will also be mud flows from the burned area but maybe we will be gone again. One can only hope.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Eating well in Tehachapi

Location, Tehachapi, CA

We left Glass Creek on Tuesday morning and stopped in Bishop at Schat’s Bakery to pick up Mule Bread and a cherry breakfast roll to take to Budd and Brenda’s. We also got a large cinnamon roll to eat.

We stopped at Independence at the new Indian Casino north of town for fuel. Diesel was $5.059 per gallon. Cheapest around. Thanks to Ron and Becky for telling us this as they rolled south on Monday.

We arrived in Tehachapi and parked in our usual spot. The same place we were two weeks ago on our way north.

On Wednesday we pulled wires through a PVC conduit so Budd now has separate 30 amp electricity where he parks his RV and also separate where I park.

The weather has been hot, about 92 degrees most days but cools down at night. We have not spent a lot of time outdoors. We checked out the farmers market yesterday after having an ice cream at Coldstone. It hit the spot!

Every morning we pick Armenian pickles from Budd’s garden and also the neighbor’s garden. We pick boysenberries, zucchini, yellow squash, peas, and beets. We have made an Asian pickle recipe with the cucumbers which is very good and also had vinegar pickles for lunch. Last night we had Harvard beets fresh from the garden for dinner. Tonight we are having zucchini pancakes. Needless to say, we eat well.

We will go home tomorrow. We have been waiting for the smoke and ash to clear out from the California coast before returning home. We do have smoke and haze here from the Piute fire north of us but no ash.

No pictures again as our camera quit. I called Canon and it looks like they will repair it for free as the problem was known to them. I will mail it when we get home.

My GPS also quit. it is dead. I emailed a request to Magellan but have not received a response. I bought it at Costco so guess I will take it back to them and see what they say.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Nearing the end

Location, Glass Creek, CA

Keeping track of what happened each day has been difficult this past week. One day we had lunch at the Silver Lake Resort and then drove up the road to Mono Pass and walked up the ridge to look down into Walker Lake. It was a very warm day so we didn’t walk very far.

On Friday the 4th of July we drove to Mammoth Lakes about 9:30 in the morning and parked near the grocery store so we would have a good seat for the 4th of July parade. We went to the “Friends of the Library” book sale in the bank parking lot. As usual, we bought lots of books. This sale had been scheduled for the Memorial Day weekend but a late season snow had cancelled the sale.

The parade started at 11 AM and included the usual small town groups. It was very nice. After the parade we took our chairs and walked to a nearby park for a “pops” concert. We had brought our lunch and ate it while waiting for the music to start. It was a very nice concert which concluded with patriotic songs.

On Sunday we drove to Lake George and hiked up the trail to Barret and TJ Lakes. It was a nice hike of around 1 mile round trip and an elevation gain of 2-300 feet.

It has been very hot the last few days and will continue hot this week.

We have been monitoring the fire situation in California as a fire started near our home. Some people were evacuated and power was lost several times as the fire burned near a major power line. The fire came within a mile of our house but our son Craig kept and eye on everything. The ash and smoke was the biggest problem and I am sure it will be a continuing problem every time the wind blows.

Ron and Becky left for home this morning and I guess we will head that way tomorrow with a stop in Tehachapi to help Budd pull some wires. We should be home on Friday.

Here are some photos from our McGee Creek hike.

Flowers along the trail to McGee Creek.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Eastern Sierra camping

Location, Glass Creek, CA

Ok, so it has been a long time since my last entry so this will be a long posting. We packed up the RV and headed for Glass Creek on Saturday, June 21st by a round-about way. We drove to Nipomo, CA and parked in Ron and Becky’s driveway. It was really hot, about mid 90’s, so we stayed inside until late afternoon when we could venture out and enjoy the patio. They fed us a nice salmon dinner.

On Sunday morning we both left early for the drive to Tehachapi via Hwy 166 from Santa Maria. I had never driven this route before but knew it was somewhat hilly and would also be hot. Other than no passing areas on the road, the trip was fine. We stopped in Maricopa for lunch at a vacant lot. We continued east for several miles then north on Old River Road to Hwy 203, the East Bear Mountain Blvd which goes through a couple of little towns before climbing rather sharply to join with Hwy 58 which took us to Tehachapi.

We parked in our ex-neighbors Budd and Brenda’s yard which has room and electricity for 3 RV’s. This makes a nice stop and breaks up the trip into easy drives each day. It was quit warm so the afternoon was spent on the patio in the shade. Brenda fed us a nice dinner and we all retired early.

By 9 the next morning we were ready to head north after a stop for fuel. Our trip was via Hwy 58 to Mohave then north on Hwy 14. Just south of Bishop I blew a trailer tire on the driver’s side front. Fortunately the shoulder was wide enough to pull off where it happened. The tire was quickly changed with Budd’s help and we were soon back on the road. This tire like the blowout in January took the side wall out.

We had planned to stop in Bishop for lunch at Schat’s Bakery and did do that although a bit late. There is RV parking across from Schat’s near the ball field. The lot was quit full when we arrived and the line for sandwiches was even longer inside. We all ordered and ate outside under umbrellas. It was very good as usual.

I walked across the street from the bakery to the Visitors Center and looked up a tire dealer in the phone book. Only one listed so that made the choice easy. After a call to them to confirm that they did indeed have the tires I needed I pulled next to their shop. The ladies to Ron and Becky’s tow car and headed for shopping at K-mart in Bishop then to Glass Creek Ron also left with his RV while Budd stayed behind just in case there were problems. An hour or so later and lighter in the pocketbook by $800, I had 5 new Special Trailer tires.

Budd and I finished the drive to Glass Creek where the ladies were sitting in a camp space but the resident campground host was reluctant to let us camp in the usual spot. (More on that later). Clyda had a call from our neighbors Paul and Kathy who were in Bishop and arrived shortly so that makes 4 couples camping together. Good times.

I will put our next several days into categories which will be easier to read I think.


On Wednesday we drove to Bodie, the mining Ghost town, north of Lee Vining. We arrived near lunch time so drove to the picnic area for lunch which we had brought with us. After lunch we toured the town which is in a state of arrested decay. Buildings are stabilized as needed to preserve them. Mostly, buildings have had new roofs added to keep out the weather. As we were preparing to leave I wanted to take a group photo using the timer on my camera. The pictures were awful. All washed out as if over exposed. Bad News!!! My camera quit working and no amount of fixes worked. Bummer!

A valley of wild iris on the road to Bodie.

The Standard mill at Bodie.

Scenes of Bodie.

Of course we had to stop in Lee Vining for ice cream on the way home. It has become sort of our “thing to do” while camping together.

On Thursday we elected to hike around Convict Lake south of Mammoth. This also has become a required thing to do each time we camp here. We always follow it with lunch at the Convict lake Resort served outside under the Aspen trees. Lunch is a little upscale but well worth the price. We justify it by doing the hike first. This year the wild flowers are magnificent. Someone told us that these two weeks will be the best time for flowers this year.

On Friday only Budd and I elected to hike Mammoth Pass from Horseshoe Lake to Reds Meadow Pack Station via Mc Cloed Lake. Becky and Clyda drove us to the trailhead and we started hiking about 10 AM. The trail begins with a moderate climb to Mc Cleod which we reached in 15 minutes after detouring around some snow banks covering the trail. The lake is very full and some of the shore areas are under water. After spending a few minutes admiring the view, we headed for the connector trail to the Mammoth Pass trail. 10 minutes walk put us on the Mammoth Pass trail which continued up a slight rise until it started gently down through the trees. This trail has had few hikers yet this year judging from the few foot prints. This made for very nice footing as we hiked. We encountered more snow as we headed downhill but not enough to slow us down except for pictures. As we descended we entered the burn area from the 1991 Rainbow fire which burned 77,000 acres. Most of the trees are now broke off and falling down which makes for an unusual sight. The trail got steeper as we descended and also was looser footing as it is all pumice. We had lots of wild flowers in this area. We arrived at Reds Meadow just as the noon bell was being rung. We washed up then had lunch at the restaurant. Lunch was hamburgers followed by cherry pie ala mode which made the hike worth while. After lunch we walked to Reds Meadow campground nearby and looked at the hot springs bath house. No one was using it at the time which is unusual. I was wishing I had brought my towel along as this is a nice warm bath we have partaken of in the past.

We walked on to Socher Lake where the trail ended at a rock wall. We had to climb up a goat trail to get to the real hiking path and the bus stop at the road. A few minutes wait and a bus came by and took us back up to Mammoth Mountain Inn where Becky and Clyda were having a glass of wine at the Yodeler restaurant.

This was a very nice hike.

Saturday we drove south to McGee Creek and hiked up the McGee Creek trail for a couple hours. The main reason for doing this hike was the wild flowers. Someone we had met told us about them. They truly were varied in variety and spectacular in colors. We hiked to where the stream from the falls runs across the trail. The hike to the falls was about another hour so we elected not to do that. We also turned around because other hikers told us the mosquitoes and no-see-ums were bad further up. After arriving back at the parking lot, we ate lunch at a picnic table.

Other activities:

On the days we didn’t hike we stayed around camp, took trash to the rest stop, got water at the rest stop south of us and played Mexican Train dominos. We also played “washers” with a set Budd had brought. A lot of reading was done by the group also.

Camping at Glass Creek:

We have enjoyed camping here at Glass Creek for many years and especially like the free and open camping. With no specific sites, we could arrange our camp as we wished to accommodate anyone who joined our group. Sad to say, that has come to an end. With a Forest Service Volunteer on site, camping has now been restricted to specific areas. Much of the previous camping space has been cordoned off with rocks and brush or logs. The camp host tells you where you can and cannot camp. Supposedly, the number of campers has been restricted to 50 units. The chances of finding a camping site are now iffy after driving all day and expecting a camp site. You are just taking a chance that there will be a spot for you. The official reason for the restrictions is that the traffic over the tree roots is causing the trees to die. It is true that many trees have died and have been cut down. A total of 1200 new trees have been planted this year with only 1 in 20 expected to survive. It remains to be seen how all this will play out over time.

Also, the OHV (off highway vehicle) people have taken over the campground and most campers are now towing trailers with motorcycles, or ATV’s and I even saw one trailer with two of the 4 wheel “mules” come into the campground. Later the “mules” were driven around the camp tearing up the dirt with very aggressive tires. Doesn’t make sense to me why people feel the need to do this.


Budd and Brenda left on Monday for home and Paul and Kathy left on Wednesday and will stop at Budd and Brenda’s for a few days before going home.