Subj: 15. Where are we?
Date: Friday, November 2, 2001 8:26:33 AM

Yesterday we left Inyokern and headed south. We are now in sixth largest city in nation and the birthplace of California. The city is known for sunshine, golf, beaches, its zoo, and any number of other attractions.

We spent a couple of days in Inyokern just to finish up a few loose ends, and, obviously, we are on the road again. The trip down here was uneventful but finding the campground, during rush hour traffic, was not trivial. But we made it. We plan on enjoying this town for 4 or 5 days, not nearly enough time to see everything here but, since we've been here before, it will be enough time to enjoy some of the highlites.

Where are we? We're in San Diego at Campland on the Bay.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun

Subj: 16. Where are we?
Date: Monday, November 5, 2001 4:40:14 PM

Instead of describing where we are, we're going to describe what we've been doing.

Thursday night, we had Denise and Aaron out to the RV for a steak dinner. Unfortunately, Aaron had other obligations but Denise brought home some steak for him.

Friday we toured the area. We drove to a place called Seaport Village. A kind of tourist area right on the bay. It's actually a very pretty place and there are lots of shops for window shopping. We then drove around the town just to get a look at various locations in this beautiful city by the bay (San Francisco is not the only city by the bay). We also drove out to the end of Point Loma to Cabrillo National Monument. Point Loma is a point of land that forms the western end of the bay and Cabrillo National Monument, which commemorates Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo's exploration of the West Coast of the United States in 1542. That night we met Denise and Aaron at Anthony's, a sea food restaurant that is an icon for the city.

Saturday, we met up with Denise and Aaron and wandered around Balboa Park. We decided that Whitney needed to get out and see some of the sights so we had her with us. We didn't go into any of the museums but we walked by most of them, we also spent some time in Spanish Village, an artist community in the park. Before returning to the RV for dinner, we decided to take Whitney to Dog Beach. This is a beach where dogs can run around without a leash. Whitney was surprised several times by the waves (and so was Adriene taking pictures!) but Whitney certainly seemed to enjoy her ocean experience. Then, it was back to the RV for dinner. After dinner we had a bonfire on the beach and made Smore's.

Sunday, we met some long time friends (Pat and Roger McCollough) from Ridgecrest and went to church with them. After church we went to their favorite Mexican Restaurant for lunch. Then, we met up with Denise and toured the UCSD campus. The main point there was the Theodore Giesel library. I'm including a small picture of the library and it looks like it belongs in one of Theodore Giesel's books. Does everyone know Theodore Giesel's pen name? It's Dr. Seuss!!

Then we drove through La Jolla, just to get an overall picture of this exclusive area. Finally, we stopped in Old Town for a good Mexican Dinner at Casa de Bandini, voted the best in the area for patio dining.

Today, we cleaned up the RV and the McCullough's came to visit our home. Then we drove around and ended up back near Cabrillo National Monument but this time we went down to the tide pools. Roger volunteered for the Park Service for 8 years at Cabrillo National Monument. One of his duties was to give tours of the tide pools. When he realized that the training was not sufficient for him to be able to answer the questions he would get from the tourists, he took an Oceanography class, and did a lot of studying and categorizing the various animals in the tide pools. He even wrote a journal of his studies which took three years. As a volunteer he made copies for the Universities as well as the National Park Service. Roger's research and writings have been totally appreciated. The question was: "Why didn't you publish your works? and "This would have been and excellent thesis for a PHD degree. Well, those of you that know Roger McCollough, the answer is: "I did it for teaching the children". So, we had an expert guide.

Where are we? We're still in San Diego enjoying the sights, sounds, scenery, and weather.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun

Subj:  17. Where are we?
Date:  Thursday, November 8, 2001 3:46:36 PM

We left San Diego this morning and drove North (you can't drive west from San Diego, the ocean is in the way, and we didn't leave the country so you can't drive south, Mexico is there). We are now camped in a city which is in the metropolitan area that is know as the movie and television capital of the world. Although the major city is known as the city of angels, we are in a valley just north of the city proper.

On Monday we had a great dinner with Denise and Aaron at their place. Of course Whitney was invited and received a Great Big Bone for dessert.

Tuesday we were still in San Diego and planned on going to the zoo and visit a couple of the museums in Balboa Park. I guess we just planned on doing too much. We did visit the Zoo but didn't have time (or the energy) to make any on the museums. Larry believes the Zoo has really gone through a lot of change in the past 30 years and probably in the past 10 years. A lot of changes have been made and the zoo, which was always great, has become even better. We were so tired after the zoo, dinner was left overs. But then left overs from Adrienne are always great.

Wednesday we met up with Roger and Pat McCollough again. They took us out to Mission Trails Park. We didn't have time to do much hiking (that's good since we were still tired from the zoo) but we did see the dam that was build in the early 1800s to provide water for the mission in San Diego. After the park, we stopped by Rubio's, another San Diego icon, for fish tacos. They were great. The McColloughs also took us to an Asia Supermarket. Now this was really different. Beside having everything labeled in both chinese and english, there were a lot of items we've never seen before. First of all, about half of the perimeter of the store was the sea food market. I've never seen so many different kinds of seafood. They even had blue crab, a delicacy from Maryland!! Half the stuff none of us had ever heard of before. They also had a full case (probably 50 feet long) of different kinds of frozen seafood. It was really something.

On Wednesday, after the tour with the McCollough's we enjoyed having Denise and Aaron at the RV for dinner.

Now, where are we? We are actually camping in Van Nuys, California. Normally when we camp near Los Angeles, we stay further north in either Valencia or Castaic. We've gotten tired of Castaic RV Park and Valencia Travel Village was booked. So we found this place in the Trailer Life Campground Directory and it seems to be fine.

The Brauers
Havin' fun.

Subj:  18. Where are we?
Date:  Sunday, November 11, 2001 4:39:31 PM

No guessing games with this email. It's just too difficult to find things to describe Inyokern. That's where we are for a few days.

On Friday I won't mention what we had to do other than it required a significant change in plans. We had planned on visiting the Getty Museum but we took an unplanned trip to Ridgecrest instead. Fortunately we were able to get back in time to have a great veal parmesian dinner at Scott's apartment. Scott is Adrienne's oldest son.

Saturday was a different matter. We had planned to spend the afternoon with Jeff, Jill, CJ, and Nicolas. Jeff is Adrienne's second oldest son. We had a great visit with them. Jeff and Jill had to go by a shopping center so, of course, we tagged along. We visited a store called "Build A Bear". This is a store that is an experience, not just a shop. This is certainly a unique place. First, you pick out a stuffed animal that you would like, this is just a covering, not the final product. Then, you pick out a voice box if you want one. You can choose a standard single sound voice box, one that has several different sayings, or one you record yourself. Then you choose a heart, hold the heart close, close your eyes, make a wish, kiss the heart, and then have the animal stuffed. Then you have give the animal a bath with air and a brush.

Now you have a choice of picking out clothes and other accessories. Then you go to a computer and type in the critical information for your stuffed animal. Finally, you pay for the animal and get a birth certificate.

Adrienne and CJ "built" a Koala bear for Larry. It's name is "Paw Paw Brauer" and when you squeeze its right front paw it says, in CJ's voice, "The Brauers, Havin' Fun."

By the way, the cost of the bear was only $20.00 plus tax. But, Larry loves it and it now has a very prominent spot in our RV. So everyone know what it looks like, we've included a picture of it. Today, Sunday, we left Van Nuys and came back to Inyokern. We will be here for a few days before we start our long journey east.

The Brauers
Havin Fun

Subj:  19. Where are we?
Date:  Sunday, November 18, 2001 4:40:32 PM

We'be been staying in Inyokern since Adrienne's daughter, Carrie, has been ill. She's doing better now. We took Carrie's son, Daniel, camping last night, so Carrie could get some rest. We took Daniel to a place nearby but one that people don't think about when they hear about the Mojave Desert. It's a place that has had great climatic changes over the centuries. A long time ago it was covered by a forest and rivers. There were elephant-like creatures, rhinoceros, camels, sabertooth cats, and huge bear dogs. For millions of years sediment washing down from the surrounding mountains formed layers of sandstone. Each layer faithfully recording the Geologic history. About 10,000 years ago the area began to dry and developed into the modern desert. Local Native Americans inhabited the area. The members of the 49ers, who were temporarily stranded in Death Valley, passed through the place on their way to Los Angeles. There were miners there in the latter half of the 19th century. During the first half of the 20th century the area was used extensively by the movie and television industry. We were camped in an area that is noted for the red cliffs. I've included a picture of the area. Now, where are we?

We've stayed longer in Inyokern than planned but, it's really nice being able to change plans without much trouble. Saturday, before we left to camp with Daniel, we went to Daniel's last soccer game of the year. It was great watching a group of five year olds play soccer. They haven't really learned the concept of team work yet nor do they fully understand the game. The coach was constantly telling the kids which way to go with the ball. There is no emphasis on winning and everyone is really congratuated for playing the game. It was really a lot of fun to watch. Oh, Daniel scored two of his teams five goals.

While we were camping, we met up with two of Adrienne's sons, Doug and Scott, as well as Scott's girlfriend, and Adrienne's grand daughter Breanna. As it turns out we ended up making two dinners, one for Adrienne, me, and Daniel. Then a second one for Doug, Breanna, Scott, and Ernie. We also watched part of the meteor shower but we were sound asleep by the time the big show happened at 2:00 AM.

Now, where are (were) we. We were in Red Rock Canyon which is only about 25 miles from Inyokern.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun

Subj:  20. Where are we?
Date:  Wednesday, November 21, 2001 7:17:48 PM

This is going to a double where are we since we left Inyokern yesterday (November 20, spent the night in route, and arrived here today). Where we are now is a city that is in the Valley of the Sun, or the Salt River Valley. It's really the same valley but has two different names. The city we are in was named after the mythical bird that rose from its own ashes. It is also the home of the baseball team that beat the New York Yankees recently to win the 2001 World Series.

Yesterday, we left Inyokern in mid afternoon and decided to stop after dark. Since it's November, it gets dark early. We spent the night in an area of California known for golf courses, winter visitors, and date palms. We stayed in an RV park that caters to snowbirds. For the uninitiated, snow birds are people who normally live in the northern US and migrate to the South and southwest to get warm during the winter months. The park was very nice and had lots of activities for seniors. Since we were only there for the night, we didn't partake of any of the activities. It was probably the nicest park and best kept park we've ever stayed.

Now, last night we were at the Indian Wells RV park in Indio California.

Tonight, we are in Phoenix, Arizona at Adrienne's dad's house. It's really nice visiting relatives in your own RV. We are parked in his backyard and have everything we need in the RV. We have our privacy and Adrienne's dad has his privacy. An RV is really a great way to visit relatives. Besides the family association and the privacy, and, of course, the price is right.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun

Subj:  21. Where are we?
Date:  Friday, November 30, 2001 3:38:33 PM

After spending a total of 9 nights in Phoenix we finally decided to move on. We are now in and area known for dry air, mountains, and rich desert vegetation. We are just outside a city that the University of Arizona calls home. The city is also home to several large private companies, this is a high desert valley, and once the floor of an ancient inland sea. The Native American name for this area is "stjukshon." Now, if you can pronounce that name, you will know exactly where we are.

We spent Thanksgiving in Phoenix with Adrienne's dad. It seems like all we did was eat!!! The day we arrived (the day before Thanksgiving) we went to eat at a Mexican Resturant with sort of an Irish name. We've eaten at Carlos O'Brien's before and it is an excellent Mexican Resturant. On Thanksgiving, we ate what might actually be a more traditional or historic Thanksgiving dinner than the usual turkey. Since the Pilgrims were in Plymouth Massachuettes, they probably included oysters, crab, and lobster with their Thanksgiving dinner. We settled for Lobster and boy was it good.

A lot of the time in Phoenix was spent doing various odd jobs for Adrienne's dad. Larry stained and finished some oak slats for a bench, fixed a window verticle blind, and a few other miscelleanous things. Our stay was quite relaxing and nice. I was also able to get a few things done to the RV. Nothing major but there were a couple of minor factory recalls that needed attention.

Today (Friday) we drove south from Phoenix and we are camped at an RV resort that has over 1500 RV sites!! It also has a 9-hole, par 3 golf course, and all sorts of activities. Of course while we're here we want to explore some of the local attractions, but more on that later.

Where are we? We're at the Voyager RV Resort just outside of Tucson Arizona.

The Brauers
Havin' Fun