December – Streamin’ holiday cheer

December in the Northern Hemisphere, is a time of dropping temperatures and lengthening nights, leading up to winter solstice that has had cultural significance dating back to Neolithic times for people who have responded with observances often associated with the reversal of the Sun’s ebbing and the beginning of longer days, resulting in cheerful celebrations often around themes of birth or rebirth, renewal, hopefulness, and new beginnings, and characterized by people gathering, celebrating, feasting and drinking (Wikipedia).  December’s full moon is known as the both the Full Cold Moon* and the Long Nights Moon.

Recently, we received photos and cheerful news that the new owners of our Airstream Safari trailer successfully completed a round trip from San Diego to Northern California to visit their family while camping along the way.

20171025_122115 Hitched for maiden cruise

20171029_180037 Maiden cruise camping

We have cheerful memories of camping and celebrating the holidays and seasons from fall to spring over the years.  Ten years ago this month, Larry and I and our late corgi Mac and pug Pau Hoa celebrated our first December camping in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park where we met up with friends and celebrated the season.

HPIM1905 Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

I brought along my lighthouse keeper’s garb, which doubled as a conductor’s uniform, for The Polar Express* spoof performance I gave to entertain and cheer our friends.

HPIM1907 The conductor & uke player

I also brought my plague doctor’s robe and top hat to present The Nutcracker‘s Drosselmeyer giving a nutcracker to Clara* (Emma here).  (Also see “Nutcracker in the desert” and Tour of America’s “Characters.”)

HPIM1949 Drosselmeyer presents gift

HPIM1951 Emma receives Nutcracker

We then held an ukulele fest that could drive the cold winter away* (along with Dr. C)!

HPIM1954 Uke fest in the desert

Cheerfulness abounded both outside and inside our Airstream Safari.

HPIM1970 Airstream decorated for Christmas

So this December 2017, we are cherishing our home and wishing everyone Good Health and Happy Holidays!

IMG_1002 Larry's Holiday Panettone

And be of good cheer as you watch James Corden’s Most Intense Christmas Celebration Ever* and ‘All I Want for Christmas’ Carpool Karaoke!*

IMG_1020 Our holiday mantel 2017

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

November – Streamin’ gratitude

November, along with its holiday of Thanksgiving, is a wonderful time to pause and take a moment to reflect on our blessings, the fruits of our labors, our families and loved ones, our health, nature, our beautiful world and universe, and appreciate everything that inspires gratitude.  It is also a great time to be grateful for the health benefits that come from an attitude of gratitude.  The CBS This Morning video, “Why an attitude of gratitude can help your health,”* points out that research studies have found that an attitude of gratitude can have health benefits such as a sounder sleep, boosting the immune system, coping with stress, feeling happier, being kinder, motivating one to exercise and eat healthier, and feeling more satisfied with life in general.

This November we are grateful for the wonderful memories we have of our past 10 years of camping with our Airstream trailer, which was a custom factory order placed on the day before Thanksgiving.  We are also grateful for the good deal we received from the dealer (another good time to buy an Airstream is just before Christmas when most others are shopping for presents and dealers are eager to make a deal!).

Ten years ago this month, Larry and I and our late corgi Mac and pug Pau Hoa celebrated our first fall camping season at Vallecito County Park in the Anza-Borrego Desert.  We were so grateful that this park was relatively empty, quiet, surrounded by natural beauty and near the Ghost Mountain home of Marshal South,* which I photographed for the first time (see the full story here).

HPIM1749 Vallecito County Park 2007

HPIM1839 Morning Coffee

HPIM1813 Larry, Mac & Pau Hoa

HPIM1803 Larry cooks steak on Hibachi

Although we recently have passed our Airstream Safari on to a younger generation, we still have that esprit de corps of Airstreamers, exploring and appreciating each day as a gift, even when health issues arise.  In 2008, my sun-related facial skin lesions (Actinic keratoses) were treated and in 2009 one lesion was diagnosed as squamous cell carcinoma and removed through Mohs surgery.  In 2014, Larry was diagnosed having a small, slow-growing, benign pituitary gland adenoma that has been successfully managed with oral medication.  Last August, Airstreamer Sean Michael posted in this Long Long Honeymoon episode* that he also was diagnosed with a benign tumor on his pituitary gland and vlogged his Thank You!!!* to everyone for all of the positive energy he has received.  In September, Sean & Kristy vlogged tips regarding health insurance, especially while on the road, “Health Insurance & RV Travel.”*  Last month, Sean posted his great news* that this tumor is responding positively to his medication.  This is great news because a growing tumor here could impinge on the nearby optic nerve and lead to vision changes and possibly blindness.

We are so grateful for our eyes, our visual gateway to experience the wonder and awe of nature and the world around us.

DSC_0037 Stars above Airstream

Wonder and Awe* is also a breathtaking video filmed and presented by Louie Schwartzberg at a TEDx event.  “Nature’s beauty is a gift that cultivates appreciation and gratitude”, says Louie.  “Did you know that 80% of the information we receive comes through our eyes… and aren’t we grateful for our brains that can take this electrical impulse that comes from light energy to create images in order for us to explore our world?”

Gratitude* is another Louie Schwartzberg presentation given at a TEDxSF event.  Per TEDxSF, ” Nature’s beauty can be easily missed — but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

The selling of our Airstream trailer

In our younger years, we enjoyed tent camping, so shortly into our retirement, 11 years ago, we rekindled the dream of camping and explored the RV options that would make it more pleasant and comfortable.  After visiting dealers of pop up and white box, and finally Airstream trailers, we came to the conclusion that it would be Airstream or nothing!  After doing almost a year of homework and exploring all of the information and opinions in AirForums and Airstream Life, we bought a 2007 Airstream Safari SE 23′ trailer and brought it home in January 2007, as detailed in “SilverGate’s Safari is Home at Last!

HP Our Safari arrives home (Jan:2007)For the next 10 years our family enjoyed the form and function of this iconic trailer* while camping in the beautiful desert, mountain, and beach parks in San Diego County and meeting and making new friends along the way.

DSC_0130 Vallecito County Park 2008

DSC_0108 Wm Heise County Park 6:08

DSC_0017 South Carlsbad State BeachAs I entered the seventh decade of my life, my body began telling me that I should lighten the workload and yet still enjoy being a California day-tripper.*  So we decided to find the right person to buy, enjoy and love this Airstream as we have.  To this end, we first contacted friends and then placed our ad on AirForums’ Airstream Classifieds on September 13. The first responses were from dealers who wanted to buy it for resale.  There were 18 other inquires and I asked each one to tell me something about themselves, interest in Airstream, RV experience, how they would use the trailer, and what they would use as a tow vehicle.

IMG_0721 Our Airstream ad 9:13:17Two days after the ad was posted, we got a positive response that looked promising from a local, young family who came to see the trailer and decided after a few days of serious contemplation that this trailer would be a perfect match, and we agreed!  The transaction was completed with a cashier’s check, bill of sale, and the Notice of Title Transfer and Release of Liability.  I then reviewed with the buyer how everything worked and assisted in hitching up the trailer to his 2016 RAM 3500 truck.  I then followed him in our truck, filled with camping items that we no longer needed, and assisted him in parking and unhitching the trailer.

IMG_0669 Our Safari's new homeport

Our Safari was beaming, looking happy, and right at home in its new homeport!

IMG_0670 A beaming happy Safari!Also looking happy, the new owner said he and his family are absolutely thrilled with the trailer!

IMG_0672 The happy new owner!And we are happy and thrilled to pass this iconic Airstream trailer on to a younger generation that will give it love, good use, good care, and a good home!

*Encore YouTube videos: Paul McCartney – Two of Us and Transfer – Reflections of Home and Losing Composure

Desert bloom and the Corgi Banner

Heavy winter rains and the deep Sierra Nevada snowpack have resulted in the official end of California’s epic drought* and an explosion of wildflowers in the Anza-Borrego desert not seen in many years, bringing more sightseers than the small town of Borrego Springs can handle causing traffic jams, restaurants to run out of food, and tempers to flare.  We avoided the crowds by returning to our favorite, peaceful, desert campsite at Agua Caliente County Park where we were greeted by the yellow blooms of the brittlebush

DSC_0143 Blooming Agua Caliente Airstream site

And nearby blooming creosote bush and ocotillo.

DSC_0049 Creosote & Ocotillo blooms

Early morning sun rays entering our Airstream Safari trailer reminded us to deploy the awning and sun curtain to delay the need to turn on the air conditioner.

DSC_0185 Morning in Airstream Safari

Chilled navel oranges are always a refreshing way to start the day, especially in the desert.

DSC_0254 Refreshing chilled oranges

Larry began the day by continuing to work on making a banner for the San Diego Corgi Meetup group that we joined last November after seeing the joy our corgis Mac & Tasha had while attending Corgi Nation Beach Day at Huntington Beach* last fall.  We and our corgis love the monthly, local outings that are fun and help our corgis develop their social skills.

DSC_0116 Larry making corgi club banner

DSC_0151 Larry setting up sun curtain

Larry, who also designed and made our sun curtain, designed the banner and cut out the fabric, lettering and pieces at home.  Then, while camping, he positioned, pinned, basted, and sewed the pieces while relocating the table under the moving shade around the trailer.

By mid afternoon, Larry and the corgis enjoyed the air conditioned trailer, while I continued reading Alexander Hamilton outside in the shade and breeze.

 

Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow, was the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton.*

 

See and hear Lin Manuel Miranda perform “Alexander Hamilton” at The White House.*

DSC_0221 Agua Caliente campsite

We celebrated our last camping trip of the season with our wonderful neighbors, Bev and George, by flying the Human Rights Campaign* Equality flag.

DSC_0194 Bev & Geo, Bill & Larry

Before leaving, George took a photo of our corgis’ first viewing of the nearly completed banner!  Bev lovingly donated cotton balls for Larry to stuff the banner’s heart upon our return to San Diego.

IMG_0611 Larry & Bill, Mac & Tasha, corgi banner

The day after returning home, we attended the San Diego Corgi Meetup event, House of England Village Faire, and presented San Diego Corgi Meetup organizer, Geri, with their new banner!

HPIM3061 Banner's debut at corgi meetup

highres_459967678Seen right to left: Larry and corgis Tasha, Mac, Sidney, Sadie, and Rikki.                                  Photo credit: Geri S.

God Save the Queen… and the corgis!*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

Encore videos: A Corgi Puppy Grows Up! (Great Gatsby the Corgi),* his Surprise Birthday Party!*… and How Corgi Dog Changed My Life*… and To Love Somebody.*

 

Springing into action at Agua Caliente

Our rooster crowed, “Awake,” and we heard his call to action and proudly flew the flag of the United States,* along with the Human Rights Campaign’s Equality flag at Agua Caliente County Park in the Anza-Borrego Desert.

DSC_0279 Agua Caliente County Park

Like Canada geese, Bert and Janie finally, after unexpected surgeries, winged their way south from Montana to milder climes and spent the day chatting, hiking, and feasting.

DSC_0109 Bert & Janie, Larry & Bill

The following day, we drove up to Borrego Springs and visited our Airstream friends Bob and Theresa at their beautiful home.  Ten years ago, we took our 2007 Airstream Safari on its maiden cruise and followed Bob and Theresa in their Airstream Classic to our first trailer camping experience in Borrego Springs, California!  Over the years, Bert, Janie, Bob, and Theresa have joined us for desert hiking and feasting!

DSC_0237 Bob & Theresa, Bill & Larry

My breakfasts consisted of Larry’s homemade pumpkin bread, cool apple and orange slices, and reading material.  He calls it Hagrid’s pumpkin bread because it’s made from a pumpkin similar to those seen just outside Hagrid’s hut in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  These large and unusually shaped pumpkins are called Mexican Sweet Pumpkins (Calabaza de Castilla), that he bought at local Latino markets, poached and made into pumpkin bread (pan de calabaza).*

DSC_0040 Breakfast & HRC leaflet

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) represents a force of more than 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open,* honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.  HRC’s Buyers Guide helps consumers to find and choose businesses committed to workplace equality before making purchases.

After breakfast, Larry donned a plague doctor mask that I have worn at Renaissance faires (and while camping in the forest) in preparation for a surprise visit to the park’s supervising ranger.

DSC_0049 Larry as plague doctor

“Yo soy el doctor de la peste,* and I’ve brought Hagrid’s pumpkin bread as nourishment to feign off the plague.”

DSC_0058 Pumpkin bread for Maggie Tull

Agua Caliente County Park Supervisor Maggie was delighted to receive Larry and his pumpkin bread and happily shared it with the staff!  We returned to our campsite and Larry continued on his sewing projects…

DSC_0271 Project time for Larry

DSC_0072 Larry sewing HRC appliques

while becoming energized and redirecting energy toward positive change as we both stand indivisible…*

DSC_0032 Y'all means all (HRC shirt)!

Because y’all means all.*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.