August 2, 2018 – Crescent City to Eureka, California

We slept late and took our time getting underway.  It was surprisingly cool in Crescent City.  We were parked right next to the City Harbor and decided to take a walk to look around before getting back on the road.  It was dark when we came in so we were seeing our surroundings for the first time  Scamp was parked in front of a large marine building.

The basin just across the street had a number of fishing boats moored in it.

The city harbor has a large, complex breakwater system to protect it from the Pacific Ocean.  We read a signboard about the tsunami of  2011, after the big earthquake in Japan, that destroyed the large marina and most boats in the harbor.

This mermaid is sitting outside the marine supply store.

The sign behind Andy has a wavy blue line to indicate the wave height of the tsunami in 1964.  He is standing high above the normal water level. The water was 20.8 feet high.

Battery Light is on the far side of the harbor and in front of the town.

We walked out on the fishing pier to get a look at the seals we could hear in the distance. Several men were cleaning up after a fishing boat had offloaded its catch. We watched the tractor-trailer drive out as we walked onto the pier.

The seals were a bit too far away to see clearly with the naked eye, so I zoomed with my camera to get a better look. How cute is that?


Several old piers were covered with seals.  Several of them were barking regularly.

This fixer-upper was sitting right behind Scamp.

I finally reset my watch to the correct time zone, Pacific in Crescent City. It was only 82 miles to our destination so we to a scenic detour through a state redwood park. There were some extra-large specimens I did not photograph because I passed them by before pulling into a parking spot.  This one behind Scamp is not too small.

I was driving by a spot with several large trees and stopped by a woman walking along the road and leaned out the window.  “Ma’am, can you pause right there so I’ll have a scale model?”  She stopped and gave me a big smile for the picture. Nice tree.

Our next stop was at the Lighthouse Grill in Trinidad, CA.

The interior is artsy and cute.  You place your order at the window and they bring the food to the table.

Here is why I always want to go to the Lighthouse. It’s a nutburger and I am crazy about them. I have been looking forward to this for months! I get at least one every time we visit Christopher.

I pulled over at the Clam Beach overlook between Arcata and Eureka.

There were dozens of seals along the shore of a sand spit.

We got to Eureka at 1403 Pacific time and visited with Son Christopher during his lunch break. Then we drove over the bridge to a Samoa Beach.

I have always been fascinated with the ice plant on California beaches.

It was a short hike over the dune.

We reached the Pacific Ocean and stood on the beach for a while, watching the waves, a surfer, and a few people coming and going.

Then we went back to the RV and took naps.

Daughter Kathy Came to Visit

We never see the children and grandchildren often or long enough. But, we did have several very nice days when daughter Kathy came to visit for a few days this week.

Our first outing was to Key West where we showed Kathy Zachary Taylor State Park. First, we walked into town for lunch at Blue Heaven. We had not been there in several years and I was thrilled to find the Shrimp and Grits on the menu (as opposed to being a Sunday-only dish in the past). Seating is outdoors under the trees with cats and chickens wandering around.  Here is the entrance.

b Gate to Blue Heaven
Gate to Blue Heaven

I have passed this, or these, trees many times and just noticed them.  Yes, it is the rare “J” Palm.

b J Palm
J Palm

After touring the fort, we took a walk along the beach.  Although there are many tiki huts here in the keys, I had never seen one under construction before.  We stood and watched for a while. Two men on the ground were handing palm fronds to the two men up on the roof, who were nailing them down almost as fast.

b Thatching Tiki 1
Thatching Tiki

It was fun to watch, but we did not stay long enough to see the finished product.

b Thatching Tiki 2
Thatching Tiki

Here is another tree I have seen many times.  This was the first time a got a good picture of it.  It is a sea grape, the largest I’ve ever seen. Can you spot Kathy and Andy posing next to the canon under it?

b Andy and Kathy Under Sea Grape Tree
Sea Grape Tree in Key West, Florida

This was to be a relaxing vacation for Kathy, so we took her on our favorite walks each day.  At Bahia Honda State Park, Kathy opted to walk in the water while Andy and I kept to the dry sand.

b Kathy and Andy on Beach
Kathy and Andy on Beach at Bahia Honda State Park

The tide was very low again so we had plenty of beach to walk on.

b Kathy Walking on Bahia Honda Beach
Kathy Walking on Bahia Honda Beach

I don’t think I have posted a papaya update lately.  It is taller than the car now.

b Papaya Tree
Papaya Tree

Dave Scott was playing at Lulu’s, so we took Kathy. I sang a few songs and Kathy took this picture. I have always like that top, but now I think it makes me look pregnant.

Dinata and Dave Scott Singing at Lulu’s

We saw this iguana on the boardwalk at Oceanfront Park.  I zoomed in on the head so you can see all the interesting detail. They look prehistoric.

b Iguana Portrait
Bright Green Iguana

We also took a nice walk on the old Seven Mile Bridge.  I spotted a strange (to me) bird in the Sea Grapes on Pigeon Key. It was busy eating.  A quick Google image search told me that it is a Black-throated Blue Warbler. I didn’t get a good clear, sharp shot; this is the best I could do.

b Black-Throated Blue Warbler
Black-Throated Blue Warbler on Pigeon Key, Florida

Someone has marked the distance on the bridge in quarter mile increments.  The one-mile mark is fun.

b One Mile Mark on Old Seven
One Mile Mark on Old Seven Mile Bridge

We saw a Spotted Eagle Ray, also known as a Leopard Ray.  It is so hard to get a clear picture of them through the moving water.  Again, this was the best I got.

b Spotted Eagle Ray
Spotted Eagle Ray

I did get a nice, good, clear picture of Andy and Kathy.  She was holding her hair, but the wind was blowing hard.

b Andy and Kathy on Seven Mile Bridge
Andy and Kathy on Old Seven Mile Bridge

I don’t know why I didn’t have the picture of Dave and me. Maybe the computer bugs ate it.

b Dinata and Dave Scott Singing at Lulu's
Dinata and Dave Scott Singing at Lulu’s

I still think that outfit makes me look pregnant.

December 29, 2015 – Coral Gables and Key Biscayne

Andy and I got to George and Jennifer’s room at 7 am so we could watch the boys while they went to the gym.  Here is Andy reading to the boys.

b01 Andy Reading to Cam and Owen
Andy Reading to Cam and Owen

While George and Jennifer were getting ready to go to the beach at Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne, we took the boys and their remote control trucks down to the rotunda. This picture should have been a video.  Cam was trying to pick up this truck, but was holding the switch on the controller and couldn’t catch it.

b02 Cam Chasing His Car
Cam Chasing His Truck

Andy was reading the newspaper while the boys played.  Owen was using the black tiles as roads for this car.

b03 Andy and Owen with Car
Andy Reading and Owen Driving His Truck

Cam could make his car go forward and backward, but didn’t get the hang of steering it.  He gave up the controller and got down on his knees to push the car in the old fashion way.

b04 Cam Pushing Car on Tile Road
Cam Pushing Truck on Tile Road

Owen, who is four and two years older than Cam learned to drive his truck very well.  After he got the hang of it, he was having a lot more fun.

b05 Owen Driving Car
Owen Driving Remote Control Truck

We spent several hours on the beach at Key Biscayne, along with thousands of other beach goers. I spent most of the time in the sand and water and did not take any pictures until we were packing up to leave. Jennifer stopped to pose for a picture for me with Cam.

b06 Jennifer and Cam on Beach
Jennifer and Cam on Beach


December 14, 2015 – I Hope I Am Past Tense

It has taken me four days to read through Big Creek and change many of the present tense verbs to past tense.  It has made me tense, mostly in the neck and shoulders. Of course I wasn’t at the computer the whole time during those four days.  I spent at least one whole day at Andy’s computer on the phone with tech support. And, there was some laundry to do.

We went to a nice Christmas party aboard Jerry and Marti’s boat, Monarch. And, one day we went to Bahia Honda State Park to walk on the beach in the afternoon.

I have read through the thing so many times that now I find it quite boring and not worthy of trying to turn into a book. I also don’t feel that I am making much, if any, progress. Each time I go through it making changes, I introduce errors. You might guess that I am a bit frustrated.

So, here are a few pictures from our beach walk; that was soothing. I had checked the tide tables the night before, so we got there a bit before low tide and had some beach to walk on. It was the first time this season that we were able to get to the north end of the beach. I was sad to see the two palm trees, subjects of many of my photos, lying across the beach.  All the recent storms have eroded much of the sand away and there are a number of other trees fallen over as well.

b Downed Palm Trees
Downed Palm Trees

Andy spotted a Great Blue Heron around a point at the south end of the beach and motioned for me to stop.  We crept around the point, but did not see the heron until Andy saw its head poking up behind some bushes.

b Great Blue Heron Head
Great Blue Heron Hiding

We moved down slowly down the beach until we could see the full heron and I took a few more pictures. It was a large specimen.

b Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron

Since the tide was low, I was able to get a nice picture of these snails in the afternoon sunshine.  They are in the nooks and crannies of many of the limestone rocks on the beach.

b Snails on Rock
Snails on Rock


I decided that Big Creek Journal was not very description and changed the title to:

Big Creek

A Closer Look at a National Park

as Told by Campground Hosts

in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Of course that will probably change again before all is said and done.

November 24, 2015 – Ocean Park

I spent most of the morning working on personal business rather than THE BOOK.  We met Ruth Olsen at the tax office to transfer the title of my Sunfish sailboat to the yacht club educational association.  Banana Split will now be used to teach children to sail.

b Ruth and Andy at Tax Office

I spent and hour or two reading and signing the contract to get the book published.  That is self-published.  I did not think it worthwhile to attempt to go the traditional publishing route. I did work on THE BOOK for a couple hours, but still did not get anything accomplished. Then, I spent several more hours extending the RV extended warranty.

We found a new place to take a walk today and I can’t believe we had not checked it out before now.  Ocean Park is behind city hall.

There is a very nice, if short, nature trail with many plants and trees identified.  I was fascinated with the red water in the solution hole.

b Red Water in Solution Hole

A solution hole is an indentation in the limestone that is naturally lined with vegetable matter and does not drain the water out the bottom. We saw bright red water like this in the botanical garden in Key West last year.  I don’t recall which plants cause it though.

The picnic table pavilions are right on the water’s edge.

b Picnic Tables on Ocean

This is where we are going to eat our lunch tomorrow.

b Picnic Table on Ocean

Four or five large birds were wading on the flats and eating their lunch.  I zoomed in to get a Great Blue Heron and a Great White Egret in the same picture.

b Great Blue Heron and Great White Egret

After watching the birds for a while, we walked along a canal to find the kayak launch. It is a great floating dock very close to the water’s surface with railings to hang onto while climbing in and out of the boat.

b Kayak Pier

There is even a board in the water at the end of the slip to hold the kayak steady in the process.

b Out of Canal

There are also a couple of picnic tables overlooking the canal.

b Picnic Table on Canal

While I was standing on the pier, a white bird flew close by me.  I thought it was one of the great whites and zoomed the camera to the end of the canal for a picture.  It turned out to be an ibis joining the others on mangrove roots.

b Ibis on Magrove Roots 2

They were so cute that I took another picture when one more landed.

b Ibis on Mangrove Roots

There is also one piece of sculpture in the park. A fisherman with a trap and a bucket of lobsters. He is not life-size but maybe three or four feet tall.

b Lobsterman Statue

We’ll have to wait and see if there is anything else for me to take pictures of tomorrow.



November 19, 2015 – Sombrero Beach

I spent four hours working on THE BOOK in the morning and then we went to Sombrero Beach for lunch and a walk.  We invited a man and woman to sit at our picnic table with us and ended up having a great visit. Joe and Tina Moore from Savannah, Georgia are here for a two-week family Thanksgiving vacation and had just arrived today by boat. They have rented a house and the rest of the extended family will be arriving over the coming week.

Sombrero Beach is a city park used by tourists and locals alike. For some reason, I did’t take many pictures and the ones I did take were not all that good. We’ll be back there often enough to get more before the season is over.

This is a Little Blue Heron, but was very red.  I spent a lot of time Googling images comparing it to the Reddish Egret, but couldn’t decide.  So, I decided the default is Little Blue Heron.

b Little Blue Heron

The tide was high for our walk again today.  I must have seen this before, but today noticed that a sea grape is growing out of the base of this palm tree.

b Sea Grape Growing on Base of Palm Tree

I worked four more hours on THE BOOK after our walk.

November 18, 2015 – Odds n Ends

I said I was going to hunker down and get busy writing THE BOOK.  Well, I have. This past week (or more) I have been attempting to spend at least eight hours per day at the computer.  It’s a job. For the most part, I have been successful, but there are always little distractions.

I’ve been struggling with the approach.  Patricia, the editor, had encouraged me to write it as a series of essays.  She said to think about the themes in my logs and make each one a separate essay.  Many days I have sat down to do just that, but in the end I get frustrated because my stories gets fractured. I think I should stay chronological and let the themes intertwine and overlap as they do in life. The hard part about that is reducing or condensing my material into a modern (meaning short) book length. I’ve gone back and forth and not settled on either approach yet. What do you think?

We had three or four days of heavy rain and high wind, accompanied by thunder and lightning.  That was helpful for keeping me indoors. So, I’ve been reading my logs, rewriting, and augmenting so much that I wake up in the night and think I am in Big Creek.

Andy had done a good job of getting me to take breaks.  I took my camera with me when I went out to stretch my legs. Andy has started taking early morning walks and once or twice this week, I got out of bed to join him.

b Sunrise

We went to the yacht club for karaoke night.  Now, I admit that I’m a karaoke singing fool of the first order. Friend Chrissy took this picture of me singing with Dave Scott.  I guess I didn’t know the words too well; I was clearly focusing on the screen.  I did have a good time and, when I wasn’t up there singing, I was singing along with whoever else was up there.  My throat was raw the next day.

b Dinata Singing w Dave Scott

Here is the view out the front window in the RV park during one of the rainy days.

b View Out Front Window

The garden has been doing well with all the rain.  So far, everything so growing nicely. The basil is ready for some light harvesting and all the tomato plants have blossoms on them. I did pull the rotting coconut out of the square pot and plant some Hawaiian papaya seeds in there.  No sign of papaya trees yet.

b Garden is Growing

One of the reasons we bought a lot in this RV park is that we are about half a mile from the grocery store.  That gives us a good excuse to walk over a mile there and back. I took these pictures here in the RV park as we took a walk. I don’t know what kind of tree this is.  All the long skinny leaves hang straight down making a great background for a butterfly picture.

b Butterfly on Tree

Many of the palm trees have produced clusters of red fruit. Some people call them Christmas palms for the red color, but it could be an African Oil Palm.  I dunno. I do know that it is not a good idea to bite one.  Trust me.

b Palm Tree Fruit

I took the afternoon off work today and we went to Bahia Honda State Park for our walk. It was very windy, which made for surf on the beach.  That is unusual here with the reef a few miles off the islands. Our timing was impeccable and we got there a high tide, which means there was not much beach left to walk on. The high winds and high tide made it an exhilarating walk.

We always see these cone-shaped sponges on that beach, but today there were plenty of new fresh ones washed up.  If I didn’t live in a motorhome, I would figure out how to clean and dry one to turn it into a bowl, or maybe a lamp shade.

b Cone Sponges on Beach

The high winds had blown mounds of sea grass up onto the beach. A sign next to the beach entrance said not to move it because it is important to the beach ecosystem: protects the beach from erosion, has little shrimp-like critters to feed the birds, and fertilizes the shore plants.

b Grass on Beach

b Bird

This little group was hunkered down behind a mound of grass apparently trying to hide from the wind.

b Birds Hunkered Down Behind Beach Grass

An egret was fishing at the water’s edge.

b Egret on Shoal

I’m not sure why I was attracted to this dead tree.

b Log on Grass

I regularly take pictures of these two.

b Dead Trees on Beach

We went to the club again this evening for trivia night.  Our team did win one round, but with no help from me.  I surely don’t know my trivia, especially sports trivia. Tonight, the themes were sports, Thanksgiving, and veterans.  I could not even hazard a guess for most of the questions.