Summer flowers and turkeys…

Or Getting Cereus. So after a strong cup of coffee, I was off to hunt turkeys and flowers in the Cuyamaca Mountains.

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With shooting equipment in hand, I quietly approached the direction of turkeys gobbling in the brush. A turkey hen and her poults emerged in the sunlight.

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300 of these Rio Grande Turkeys were introduced here in 1993. There are now up to 20,000 or more in the area.

I continued my morning hunt in William Heise County Park for wildlife or at least wild flowers, and was rewarded by the Lavender Monkey-Flower

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and the Wild Rose, Rosa virginiana

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A festive meal, prepared by Larry, of pork-shrimp bean curd skin rolls, served with beignets rounded off the day. See his cooking page on our web site Dim Sum Safari Express.
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We hitched up and returned home in time to see the Queen of the Night, the Night-Blooming Cereus (Cereus greggii) profusely bursting with sweetly fragrant blooms during the night of Summer Solstice.

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I then sat back and listened to turkey-in-the straw as I contemplated my next article, “Getting hitched”.

Our new web site

Dim sum, an offering of small portions of a variety of foods (steamed, baked, or fried dumplings, and roasted meats), a traditional Chinese cuisine, and in this case, highlights and glimpses of our camping trips and interests. Over a year’s worth of photos are being highlighted in a new web site that will offer seasonal, regional, and topical fare. It will also be a place to see more photos related to the stories as they appear in this column. The photos can be viewed as slide shows, and selected ones will be shown in movie format with a soundtrack.

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Our new web site was created utilizing the application, iWeb, that came with the Mac computer. Through one-to-one training sessions at the Apple Store, I have been learning how to use this along with the many features that came with our Mac.

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This site also contains a “Friends Along the Trail” page with photos of precious memories and moments such as:

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Cooking highlights will be seen on the Cooking page, such as making homemade pizza on the grill.

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Yum cha, anyone?

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Down the shore

Our local mountains are heating up, so its time to take our Safari to the beach, or as we say in New Jersey, down the shore. Although our 23′ Airstream Safari is right at home anywhere we take it, it seems to be especially happy to be strategically positioned on bluffs overlooking the beach where it can enjoy staying cool in the gentle breezes, while its solar panels soak up the California sunshine.

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We returned to our favorite non-hook-up beach campground, South Carlsbad State Beach, less than an hour’s drive from San Diego. The premium sites, adjacent to the beach, usually need to be reserved ahead of time. Most of these sites are now booked through Labor Day. We purposely avoided the noisy and rowdy crowds of Memorial Day and enjoyed four days of listening to the relaxing sounds of the waves

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While watching the pelicans and seagulls glide by at eye level…

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Stairway access to the beach is nearby…

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The beach and adjacent bluffs are quite picturesque…

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Especially when viewed while boogie boarding

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Larry featured homemade Spring rolls, containing pork and shrimp, which were crispy and delicious.

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I brought along good reading material, such as The Digital Photography Book, by Scott Kelby. That, along with the owner’s manual, should help me get the most out of my new Nikon D40 camera.

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This is my first digital SLR (single lens reflex) camera and I am learning to use it in a variety of light conditions. (In the photo below, darkness has already descended, and the site is only lit up by a waxing moon. No flash was used.)

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I’m also having fun using the Nikon 18-200 mm VR zoom lens, in this case to capture one of those aggressive squirrels that frequently got up on our picnic table and nibbled on anything in sight, including our flowers and roll of paper towels.

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I then remembered the cats’ reaction to Tommy and Rich playing their ukes at Anza-Borrego last December, and the ukulele frenzy seemed to work on the squirrels, too!

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All Aboard…

This is the History Safari Express. All aboard!!!

As our Airstream Safari makes the rounds in Southern California, we will stop along the way and savor historical aspects and highlights.

At times we will utilize our Renaissance fair and docent skills in bringing history alive to illustrate a historic point. A recent example was that while camping at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park with the Luhrs’, I portrayed the Plague Doctor as Larry talked about the plague and how it still is a current concern. See Rich Luhr’s Dec. 19, 2007 Tour of America post, “Characters“.

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We will also share the ongoing history of our custom-ordered Safari built in 2006, the 75th Anniversary of Airstream. Two solar panels were installed during the build. We will touch on its performance history in a variety of settings and conditions. We will share our ongoing improvements, new ideas, items, and seasonal decorations that enhance its ambience.

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Larry enjoys cooking and might be enticed into discussing some of his techniques along with some historical notes on a variety of foods including Chinese cuisine. For our December outing at Anza-Borrego, Larry prepared jook (Chinese rice congee), which we shared with the Luhrs’ while discussing its value as food therapy.

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We returned to Palm Canyon Campground at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park for an extended New Year’s weekend celebration with our friends Bob and Theresa. I joined them for a mid-day side-trip in their 4WD over a wash to Fonts Point with a spectacular view of the colorful Borrego Badlands. Fonts Point was named after Father Pedro Font, the diarist on the second Anza Expedition to California in 1775, bringing colonists to establish the pueblo of San Francisco.

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Thank you for hopping on the History Safari Express. On our next stop, we will be taking a hike up Palm Canyon, the most popular canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which is now celebrating its 75th Anniversary.