Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cable cars, motorcycles and boats.

Life has been busy since we landed in Bethel Island.  All the workampers are great folks, we get together often, actually the past 2 Sundays we have had wonderful cookouts and it promises to be a great summer. 

Through Facebook I found out that a friend of ours from back home was in San Francisco so we made plans to meet her and her friend and do some sight seeing.  First stop was Alcatraz.

From San Francisco it looks so small but it is bigger than you think, 12 acres.  Today it is a National Park but first served as an Army fortress then as the famous maxium-security federal penitentiary.  The last inmates left the island on March 21, 1963, it was closed due to deteriorating buildings and high operating costs.  I think we will have to watch the movie "Escape from Alcatraz" again now that we have been there.

                                                   Nikki Anderson and me on the Rock.

A typical cell.

Who is this criminal?

This is the cell of the famous breakout in 1962.

Looking at San Francisco from the rock.

Time to get off the Rock and head into the city.  We wandered through Fisherman's Wharf at Pier 39 checking out the sights.

These sea lions were the coolest thing.

San Francisco is known for it's sour dough bread at Boudins.  They can do some awesome things with bread such as this gator.  We bought some bread and it was wonderful.  Nikki tell Brad the garlic volcano was fabulous.

OK lets see, Alcatraz check, Pier 39 check, sea lions check, Boudins check now onto the street and cable cars.

This is where they turn the cable cars around.  It was such a hoot to ride them and I want to go back!

We jumped off the cable car, said good bye to Nikki and Brad, jumped on a street car headed back to the pier to get the truck and go home..

Street and cable cars check!
  Thanks Nikki and Brad for a great day.


The couple that lives behinds us are Sally and Dave.  They invited us to go on a motorcycle ride with them and of course we said yes.  Our destination was Sonora in the Sierra Nevada Foothills in the heart of gold county.  There was 7 bikes altogether after we made a few stops picking up people.  The country side was lush and green as we passed by orchards, vineyards and farms.

We stopped in one small town call Angels Camp to have a cold one.  Walking to the local watering hole I noticed these plaques in the sidewalk.

In 1865, Samuel l. Clemens (Mark Twain) penned The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, a tall tale of the life and happenings of the gold rush town, Angels Camp. The narrator details a story he heard in a tavern. It is about a frog, Danl Webster, who could out jump any other frog, and a man, Jim Smiley, who was the curiousest man about always betting on anything.  The story was published and delighted audiences worldwide but didn't appear to have much impact on Calaveras County until much later.  Today at the Calaveras County Fair there will be 10,000 frogs entried.  Mark Twain lived outside of town on Jackass Hill in a cabin, today you can still see remains of it.

It was a great day for a ride and we enjoyed making new friends.  On the way home we crossed over the bridge I spoke about in my last post, remember the narrow one with semi trucks, well here it is.


Friday evening Larry & Barbara invited us next door for dinner (they are workampers and our neighbors)  and to meet their friends Bill & Patty.  We had a very tasty dinner and then made plans for Saturday to go boating on the Delta in Bill & Patti's boat.  It was a perfect day to be on the water.  But I have to say it was kind of strange to be in a slough riding along and next to you on the levee cars are passing by.

Our ride for the day.

                                                                        Barbara & Larry

A captain needs to pay attention to the nautical charts when on the water or this could happen.

The captain smashed his face into the dash board once he hit hard water, a call was made to the Coast Guard and he was rescued, then brought to Sugar Barge where an ambulance was waiting.  Once he was checked out it was determined that he was drunk he had a ride in a cop car instead of a ambulance.  Not a good day on the water for this guy!

I want to thank Bill & Patty for a great day on the water.


Oh and lets see I also planted my garden in the past two weeks.

Tomatoes and peppers.

So as you can see life has been busy.

I will leave you with this and thanks for following.

Monday, April 16, 2012

We Have Arrived at Bethel Island, CA

On the road again headed to our summer workamp position in Bethel Island, CA.  We left Kingman AZ on I-40 headed to Bakersfield CA for the first leg of the trip.  Crossings into CA, everything we head about the roads are true, they are in poor condition to say the least. 

The Mojave Desert was hot and windy but once we crossed over the mountains the scenery changed to lush green grass and trees.  I enjoy the desert but must admit it was nice to see the color green.  As you know we are from the east coast where I-40 begins and it ends in Barstow CA so we had to pulled off the side of the road so I could get this picture.

The night was spent in an Escapees park which I won't bother rating because we pulled in and pulled out the next day.  We usually don't travel two days in a row but we were expected at Sugar Barge on Thursday. Traveling on HWY99 I can't tell you how many grape fields we saw for miles and almond trees as well, pretty impressive.  I look forward to visiting several wineries.  From 99 we took CA4, now there is a lesson to be learned here.  We usually map quest our route and go with it, well we should have called Sugar Barge and asked for the best route.  A lesson learned the hard way and one that won't be forgotten.  Anyway,  we are traveling on a levee road enjoying the sights and come to a bridge with a stop light, no big deal and we wait our turn because it was a one lane bridge.  Well we come upon another bridge that wasn't a one lane bridge but should have been.  We crest the small incline, turn and what do we see, semi-trucks and cars crossing the bridge!  There was nothing we could do but keep going.  I came to a complete stop as Mark started across with maybe 6 inches clearance on both sides.  There was a semi that was almost across the bridge and he must have seen the terror in my face as he stopped and started waving me on across.  I was watching Mark with my breath held but I had to start moving as there is a line of traffic behind us.  White knuckled, heart racing, I slowing hit the gas and just keep as close to the center as I could and hoped for the best.  I am happy to report that we both made it through fine but will find a different route come this fall.

                                         Sugar Barge RV Resort & Marina in Bethel Island, CA 

                 First let me give you some information about the area which is known as the Delta:

The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is an example of an inverted river delta, one of only a few worldwide. The narrow end of the delta emerges on the seafront and the wide end is located further inland making it an inverted river delta.   It is the largest estuary on the United States' Pacific Coast.  The delta consists of myriad small natural and man-made channels (locally called sloughs), creating a system of isolated lowland islands and wetlands defined by dikes or levees. The delta islands are not islands in the classic sense, but are referred to as such because they are completely surrounded by water.  An extensive system of earthen levees has allowed widespread farming throughout the delta. Its peat soil makes it one of the most fertile agricultural areas in California and arguably even the nation.   Certain specialty crops, such as asparagus, are grown in the delta in quantities unmatched anywhere else in the United States. Chinese workers contributed to construct hundreds of miles of levees throughout the delta's waterways in an effort to reclaim and preserve farmland and control flooding.  The levee system allowed farmers to drain and reclaim almost a 500,000 acres of the Delta, then a tidal marsh. 

Pretty interesting stuff.  There are no ground campfires allowed because of the peat soil as the fire would continue under ground so all fires are to be above ground, we have a Pit-to-Go that we will use. 

Our job is a 6 month gig, I will be working in the office taking reservations and checking folks in while Mark works on the grounds doing landscaping and general maintenance, etc.  What a hoot to see Mark mowing grass as I have been the one to do it for 24 years.  We work 2 days a week which right now are Tuesday and Wednesday and Mark stands security duty once every 5 weeks.  So we have 5 days in a row to play and explore.  The marina is a big part of the campground business with fisherman taking to the waters as there are several species of fish to be caught such as black and striped bass, crappie, perch, bullhead, catfish and sturgeon.  There are 114 sites with about 20 of them being long term residents that are employed building a power plant near by.  We are 1 of 4 workampers for the season.  Two of them have stayed over from the winter season.  Everyone is very friendly and helpful, just the kind of place we have been looking for.  We work for our full hookup site, free propane, $20 a week for laundry, free fire wood and ice.  In about a month the bar and restaurant which is above the marina will be open which offers wonderful views of the waterways, we will be able to purchase food at half price.  So there you have it, our new home for six months.  The only problem we have encountered is horrible cell phone reception on the island, our carrier is US Cellular and we are considering suspending Mark's line.  Reception is good once off the island, text messages go through fine, so that is the best way to get ahold of us or by email.  Oh, they also rent campers, boats, and jet skies which we will take advantage of at high price.

                                                    Our site located on Komfort Street

                                  The office where I will be working with the pool on the right.

                    This is a shot down the main street headed to the marina, the office is on the right.

                                             Looking back at the campground from the levee.
                                                                     The boat launch.
Up top at the bar and grill area looking onto the waterway.  We will be spending lots of time here come this summer. 
                                                            Another view from up top.
On Sunday we put the kayaks in the water for the first time since we left Wilmington.  It was a prefect day with lots of sunshine.  What a great time we had skimming across the water and enjoying the wildlife, as a matter of fact we saw a seal but he was too quick for me to get a picture.  We are able to keep the kayaks in a long term berth for right now so we don't have to load them back into the trailer, perks of workamping here.

Living life on the Delta...

                                                                 Sugar Barge Marina.
Next weekend officially opens the season on the Delta with a boat parade around the island.  We will be sitting up top with a cold beverage in hand watching as the decorated boats float on by, and people ask "What will you do when you retirer?", now that's a silly question.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Peep Week with my YSA Sistahs

We landed on North Topsail Beach and quickly moved in to this wonderful house that we rented last year.  It is the perfect space for the Sistahs, everyone gets their own room and the main floor has lots of light with a large work area once the furniture is moved, rugs are rolled up and tables are set up.  Creativity flows when we are all together.  This is the 6th year that we have been getting together and just because I have become a gypsy nothing has changed, you can't keep me from my sistahs from different mothers.

The Sistahs have moved in!

The Sistahs work on different things through out the day, walk on the beach collecting shells, take naps, then cocktail hour begins while one of us prepares the evening meal. 

Below are some of the great things that were created.

Martha is all about Vintage and the water colors on the right she used as a child, now becomes a display of old photos.  She also enjoys working in mixed media covering notebooks with cool things.  If Martha can glue something to something else she will do it.

Gini worked on pinning 2 quilts together and of course she made burp clothes.  I believe Karen gave her the vest and she added the embellishments.

                                 Kari was sewing night and day pumping out beautiful quilts.

                                                              Kari is also a good artist.

                     Karen stayed busy making 2 tee shirt quilts, a wall hanging and printing on fabric.

Julie was busy working on mixed media, some jewelry, and she taught us a class on making these cool necklaces. 

Gini, Julie and I probably would have gotten more done if we weren't so busy playing Word with Friends!

                                             I worked on tie dying shirts and making jewelry.

                                                              And always remember:


A wonderful time was had by all.

I am the luckiest girl in the world to be a part of this amazing group of talented women.

YSA Rocks!!!

I fly back to the west coast on Tuesday,  Mark and I will pull out on Wednesday headed to Bethel Island CA for the summer.  We will be workamping at Surgar Barge RV Resort and Marina.