January 2018 – Streamin’ new beginnings

Ten years ago we celebrated New Year 2008 at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park where I was presented the opportunity to be one of ten blogging contributors to Airstream Life Online Community.

HPIM2033 Happy New Year 2008!

HPIM2220 All aboard History Safari Express!My first History Safari Express blog post, “All Aboard…,” was launched on January 11, 2008, and began a 10 year odyssey of documenting how we used our custom-ordered 2007 Airstream Safari in southern California, while celebrating the seasons and meeting new friends.

Our Safari was built in 2006, the year Airstream was celebrating its 75th Anniversary.*

As we were celebrating New Year 2008, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was celebrating its 75th Anniversary.  In 1933, Federal land here was acquired as parkland by the State of California and the first California State Park Custodian was assigned (DesertUSA, “Anza-Borrego Desert State Park California).  See the recent YouTube video, Anza-Borrego Tour.*

HPIM2182 Bill at Font's Point

Ten years ago, I switched from a PC to a Mac* and acquired the MacBook Pro that I’m still using today!

HPIM2323 New MacBook Pro Jan:2008!

We returned to Anza-Borrego in January 2008 where I explored Palm Canyon (Palm Oasis and Planet Earth).

hpim2188l Jan:2008 at Anza-Borrego Park

hpim2109l- Bill in Palm Canyon

Crossing the bridge from 2008 to 2018 has included profound ups (our marriage) as well as downs (passing of our pug Pau Hoa and corgi Mac).  We take strength in remembering the words of Professor Albus Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light,”* from Steven Kloves screenplay for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.*

Happy and bright times in 2017 included taking our tricolor corgi Tasha on many San Diego Corgi Meetup outings (see photos) where she enjoyed showing off new collars and decorations made by Larry (who also made the jester’s collar for Sidney seen below).

IMG_1060 Tasha and friend Sidney

I enjoyed visiting Kaiser Permanente’s new, beautiful, state of the art San Diego Medical Center,* dedicated to green design while providing excellent, integrated patient care as well as exciting career and volunteer opportunities.*

IMG_0897 San Diego Medical Center

Old Man Winter was ringing in the New Year with Arctic air over much of the country as a hummingbird drank at our feeder while I wiggled my toes in sunny San Diego and listened to “The 2017 Song – A Year in Review La La Land Parody,”* sung by Tessa Netting!

IMG_1180 Celebrating the new year in our own backyard!

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

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.

Haunting echoes of Moonlight Canyon

Delayed by unexpected surgeries, writer/outdoor photographer/Airstreamer/snowbird Bert Gildart and Janie finally arrived in the warmer climes of California’s Anza-Borrego Desert to enjoy hiking, biking and overall renewal.  Last week they visited us at Agua Caliente County Park and Bert couldn’t wait to put on a camera backpack and carry a tripod onto the Moonlight Canyon Trail where he has photographed bighorn sheep.

DSC_0124 Bert Gildart in Moonlight Canyon

We entered the canyon from the east where its shady, steep granite walls hold onto the night cold, so a ways in, Bert enjoyed sitting on a boulder and soaking in the warm rays of the rising sun (to drive the cold winter away).*

DSC_0134 Chasing the chill away

A few moments later, Bert forged ahead and set the pace, while looking for suitable subjects to photograph, saying, “When I choose to photograph something, I like it to be better than the ones I have previously photographed.”

DSC_0197 Bert on the hunt

As we rose out of the canyon, the trail became steeper and the sides were lined with granite detritus as we stumbled upon elusive Ghost Flowers that thrive on gravely slopes and sandy washes.  The pale cream flower is translucent, sometimes hard to see, and is the basis of its name.

DSC_0198 Ghost Flowers on Moonlight Canyon Trail

Bert and I quickly went to work photographing this treasure trove of Ghost Flowers.  The last time I saw these flowers here was 6 years ago!

DSC_0203 Bert shoots Ghost flowers

Bert scrambled up loose granite to get another shot.

DSC_0219 Shooting ghost on sliding granite

Upon finding a suitable subject, Bert got serious and set up his tripod.

DSC_0186 Bert's Nikon on tripod, Ghost shot

He asked me to pull out two hand-held strobes from his backpack and showed me where to hold one of them as he held the other and took the picture.  Bert explained he sets the camera’s shutter speed to 250th of a second (which makes the flowers look motionless, even in a breeze) and sets the aperture at f/32 for maximum depth of field.  The two hand-held strobes, overwhelm ambient light and produce a dark or black background (Photographic artistry of Bert Gildart).  See Bert’s article and photos in his March 8 posting, “Ghost Flower.”

DSC_0179 Bert uses hand-held strobe

The Ghost Flower, Mohavea confertiflora, has 5 ragged-edged lobes with maroon speckles and a maroon blotch at the base (Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers).  These marks resemble the female bee Xeralictus and operate as floral mimicry (sign stimulus) to the male bee, which enters the flower and pollinates the Mohavea (Wikipedia).  (Below are my Nikon D40 images.)

DSC_0154 Ghost Flower, Mohavea confertiflora

DSC_0191 Ghost Flowers, Moonlight Canyon

Visiting these Ghost Flowers renewed our spirits and strengthened our bodies.  Thich Nhat Hanh reflects this in his meditation “Flower Fresh.”*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

Happy Holidays from the desert!

Recovering from post-election blues and a bout of tendonitis that scuttled last month’s trip to the desert, we sorted through our Christmas decorations and rediscovered our Nacimiento de barro bruñido that had not been displayed in a decade and was up for review.  As Larry unwrapped the pieces and placed them in the early morning sun, he experienced a flood of sentimental feelings and memories of a 2-month stay in Cuernavaca,* Mexico, attending a special class on Neurodevelopmental Treatment for cerebral palsy in 1980 when he was an Occupational Therapist.  His experience studying and living in a foreign country, knowing only a semester of Spanish endeared him to the children and people of Mexico.  Many of his patients were Mexican immigrants.  We both agreed the nacimiento continues to be an important part of our family reminding us of peace on earth, good will toward men, women and children, and will continue to have a home with us!


Larry made two holiday decorative panels that can be attached to our corgis’ harnesses in preparation for our attendance at the San Diego Corgi Meetup – Caroling in Balboa Park upon our return from the desert.  They double as table displays, as seen below!


We returned to Agua Caliente County Park in the Anza-Borrego Desert, California, last week and enjoyed 5 days of sunny weather and temperatures in the 70s!


Larry brought along his delicious homemade Craisin-date panettone (traditional Italian Christmas bread).*


I brought along Airstream Life, 2016 Winter Issue.


Larry continued on his project of making various corgi costumes, decorative panels, and accessories.  On this trip, he drafted, cut out, and sewed Airstream appliqués for panels to be attached to their harnesses…


While I hiked and photographed Moonlight Canyon.


At night, we lit our Holiday Tree of Lights and lantern candles… and will light the candles of freedom!*


And enjoyed the quiet serenity of the desert floor in winter.


Happy Holidays from Bill and Larry, and Mac & Tasha!


Though we’ve grown old, the bell still rings for us as it does for all who truly believe.*

Added feature: Watching Ryen and his corgi Gatsby in Merry Ramen Christmas Feast* helps keep us young at heart!*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.

Wash, Wax and Corgi Day at the Beach!

While some are winterizing, we are washing and waxing our Safari Airstream travel trailer for the beginning of our fall-winter-spring camping season in the wonderful mountains and deserts of Southern California, popular with snow birds as far away as Bigfork, Montana.  A full report on how I wash and wax the trailer, along with a list of my tools, strategy, procedure, and the benefits, is seen in last year’s post, “Wash, wax and treat II.”


Once again, I wore my “Ridin’ with Biden” hat, especially because I am on-board with his efforts to accelerate progress in preventing, detecting, and treating cancer with the goal of ending cancer as we know it.  As a retired RN, I appreciate Joe Biden’s passionate tribute to the nurses and all who fight cancer, as seen in the video, “Vice President Biden Delivers Remarks at the Cancer Moonshot Summit.”*


Seven years ago, I had Mohs surgery to remove a skin cancer lesion from my face, so as the sun broke through the marine layer, I put on my trusty wide brim hat for better sun protection.


Our annual washing and waxing the trailer was completed ahead of schedule, so we took a day off and rewarded ourselves and our corgis Mac and Tasha with a day at the beach!


But it was not just any day, it was the 2016 Fall So Cal Corgi Nation Beach Day at Huntington Beach, California!


One thousand people with their corgis flocked to the beach for a day of excitement and sensory overload!



Corgis played in the surf and on the beach.



Ryen, a popular vlogger, drove down from the San Francisco Bay Area with his famous corgi Gatsby* dressed as Batman for this event!


And fans lined up to meet them.  See Ryen’s vlog, “How Corgi Dog Changed My Life.”*


See Ryen’s video of the 2016 Fall Corgi Beach Day at Huntington Beach: 1,000 Corgis In Costume – World’s Largest Corgi Party!, Life After College: Ep. 516.*

By the end of the day, we were all dead… tired… but with wonderful corgi memories to dream about!*

*This is a link to a YouTube video.