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While you are busy making other plans…”!!

And so it is with the gypsies …. While we were planning to gypsy on for the next several years life happened and our plans got changed. Due to the severe arthritis I now have, it became apparent to us last summer that my work as a camp host needed to end, and we had to find a less physical way to support our life style.

At first, it seemed like we would be staying in our niche at Union Valley Reservoir, only instead of camp hosting, Buff would be in maintenance and I would be “retired”. This came with the opportunity to work for a longer season – April through October – which left us with six months to find a winter gig….. and we did…. We were offered the opportunity to camp host at a R. V. Park in the Napa/Sonoma area by the same folks that we worked for in Carson City years ago! Since we loved working for them back then we knew we would be happy working for them again. The park is located in the coastal mountains 30 miles North of Santa Rosa in a quaint little town named Cloverdale.

We arrived here September 8th and realized we had hit the jackpot! This is beautiful country with very moderate winters – away from the large city atmosphere – and close to the ocean, redwood trees, wineries and even the big city if one is inclined to visit it. So lots of day trips and overnight weekends to explore all that is offered. Therefore, it appeared that we would have the Sierra Mountains for six months of summer and the wine country for six months in the winter… we were doing our happy dance within a few days of landing here.

MOMS 90th 003The park is older and not a cookie cutter R. V. Park, having only 42 sites and tons of rustic charm. There are “permanent” residentsdutcher creek 008 and several sites for overnighters… all nicely separated so the overnighters do not really mix with the more permanent residents. The park has amazing views, is far enough off Hwy 101 that there is virtually no traffic noise, you can hear crickets at night and see a clear and starry sky. The grounds and buildings have lots of little maintenance projects to keep Buff entertained for hours…. The pace is slow, the folks we work for/with are wonderful and best of all – NO FIRE PITS TO DIG OUT AND NO OUTHOUSES TO CLEAN!!!

The little town of Cloverdale is delightful, about the size of my home town in Wyoming in the sixties,Cloverdale 001 folks are friendly and in no hurry. Several of the older buildings have been converted into boutiques and restaurants …. all in all a lovely place. And for Jeff…. A picture of the post office……..Cloverdale 009

We settled into our hosting job and were happily unaware that life had still more changes to our plans ….. Two months ago the park owners approached us with an offer to be permanent managers here… a great offer with free site, utilities and a nice income to supplement our social security. Buff was eager to accept this new plan right away, BUT, it took me a few days to process the fact that my gypsy feet were going to be planted in one spot again. Then one morning, sitting outside having my coffee, looking at the amazing view from my front “yard”, I realized there are lots of folks that would give anything to be able to retire here! I would have to be crazy to look this gift horse in the mouth!! We negotiated two weeks a year vacation time to gypsy around the area, Buff threw in the enticement of motel weekends at Bodega Bay from time to time….and that is when I gracefully accepted the gift that life had just presented to us.

The days go by easy…. Buff is up with the sun, having coffee on the patio, planning his day of repairs, improvements, and basic puttering that he so thoroughly enjoys. He is his own boss, a situation he has always aspired to, and sets his own schedule. I, on the other hand, wander out about eight o’clock, have coffee, then start my day slowly as I don’t really get busy until late afternoon. I do some minimal office stuff but mostly check in campers. Just enough to give me purpose in life and a reason to get up in the morning.Dutchercreek 009 Perfect.

While I jealously guard my days off, Buff finds lots to do on his that keeps him busy and happy. He hates it when we have to go to shopping or some other silly thing I come up with that forces him to leave his “kingdom“.

Dutchercreek 003Dutchercreek 002As you can see, Buff and Sierra have a choice of great vehicles to tool around in while I have the registration office as my domain…. This works out for all three of us.

There are some wild life creatures here and lots of birds to watch…. We have a hummingbird feeder that keeps us amused, as there is one male that has taken possession of it and challenges any other hummingbird to dare take a sip of his personal stash… unless, of course, it is a female who is allowed to sip nectar and watch him perform his dance for her.

For trees, we have Live Oak, Black Oak, several types of pine trees and copious other trees and shrubs that I have no idea of what they are… and vineyards all around us. Since fall is my very favorite time of year I am truly enchanted with the variety of colors that are vividly on display right now. I have been promised that spring is amazingly green and just as beautiful, since it does not snow here we have no worries about winter and we have A/C and a swimming pool for summer.

Sometimes we wake up to fog in the valley with the mountains peeking out … a very dreamy landscape to behold.dutcher creek 001 Speaking of mountains, of course these are not the Rockies, Sierras, Big Horns, Uintas or Wasatch mountains of Colorado, Wyoming or Utah… but when you start at almost sea level in the valley a 4400’ mountain looks pretty majestic after all!dutcher creek 011

Life is a circle sometimes and my circle seems to be closing … I was actually born in San Francisco during WWII where my parents were staying until my father shipped out for Germany, at which time my mother and I went to Evanston, Wyoming to live with her parents until my dad came home. All my life I have claimed Wyoming as “home”, so little did I know, that after 68 years of wandering, I would end up less than one hundred miles from my birthplace! ”California Here I Come.. Right Back Where I Started From”…..

So…. In our case, Life happening while we were making other plans has worked out well. We are content to make this our final camp with short forays into the gypsy life on weekends and vacations. I have spent the past hours looking back at our blog, all the excellent adventures we have had in the past five years, and am so grateful for each and every one of them. So many wonderful memories to think of whilst sitting in the rocking chair enjoying this time of our life….

If you are feeling sorry for us – you are wasting your sympathy – We are now happily settled into this stage of our life, are truly contented and daily grateful that life happens the way it is supposed to sometimes.

Our new address is:
230 Theresa Drive
Space 12
Cloverdale, CA 95425

Go to DUTCHER CREEK RV PARK.COM to see why we were so happy to have landed here…

Come and see us sometime…


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It has been an exciting, frustrating and delayed journey from our winter camp at Big Sur to our summer camp at Fashoda Campground in the Sierra Mountains….

We left Big Sur with a sense of sadness to leave behind so many friends we had made, but also a sense of excitement for our next adventure. (Little did we know just what that adventure was going to entail!) We were on the road April 3rd expecting to arrive in Reno by April 7th to move in with our son, Mart, while our “home” was being repaired from the falling tree incident.

This year we were invited to join the work crew that cleans and prepares the twelve campgrounds in this area prior to opening day. We were very excited about the opportunity as we would be making approximately $125 per day…. Starting our summer off in the black instead of the red as usual. But we had to arrive by May 8th in order to take advantage of this opportunity.

We had made an appointment in December, a few days after the tree incident, in order to guarantee the repairs could be completed by May 5th so we could arrive at summer camp by May 8th. The outer roof had to be completely removed and a new one installed, two ceiling panels inside had to be replaced and a holding tank had to be replaced. We were told it would take about a week, wanting to be sure everything went according to schedule we made the appointment for a full month ahead in case of delays.HOLE IN ROOF

On Monday, April 9th, Buff dropped the trailer off at Sierra R.V. for the major repairs that needed to be made to return the trailer to “like new” condition. He explained, in detail, to the service manager why the work had to be completed by May 5th. The service manager wrote on the work order that it had to be completed by May 5th/ASAP. We were assured that there would be “no problem” and we settled in to have a great visit with Mart for a couple of weeks.

On April 11th, Buff went to the repair shop to see how much progress was being made…. None…. Was told that the work order was “lost”…. later that day we were told that it was actually in “research” for parts pricing…..and should be done on time. During the next week several calls were made back and forth to get the insurance company to approve a higher estimate on the work. We were assured that everything was getting done.

On April 26th, we drove to repair shop to see how the repairs were going…nothing had been done except the leaking tank had been pulled but not replaced and we were told that there was no way it was going to get done on time and we should just take our trailer and bring it back in the fall when they could get the job done!!!! Now it gets interesting…. After thinking about this new development for about an hour I called the service manager and asked her what the hell was going on? Why had they waited so long to tell us the work wasn’t going to be done on time and exactly why this had happened? SHE comes back at me about how “your rig has been in my bay for three weeks and I haven’t been able to use it for other jobs”! Not a good move……

On April 27th, after talking to our insurance company and finding out that if we took the trailer any further damage caused by towing it would be our responsibility…. I called the service manager and told her – there was no way we were removing the damaged trailer from that shop until all repairs were completed to our satisfaction and a few other choice comments about what I thought of their customer service, etc, etc… then informed her that I wanted them to give us a “loaner” trailer so we could keep our commitment while they finished our rig. She stumbled around explaining why they didn’t have any trailer they could loan us, (even though they rent them as a large part of their business), and she would have to talk to the owner who was not available at this time.

I called our insurance company and found out that they would pay for alternative housing if our rig was unavailable to us due to repairs being made…up to $2,000… And she approved us getting a rental up to $150 p/day not to exceed the $2,000.

I called the service manager back and informed her that the insurance would pay for us to rent a trailer….. GUESS WHAT… suddenly a trailer might be available and she would get back to me!!!!

April 30th !!! Service manager calls me and they have a real nice trailer we can rent…. They had sent invoice to insurance company for $2,650 and as soon as they got the money we could pick up the rental. This all fell apart when the insurance company only approved $2,000 and we were expected to come up with the additional $650 … we also realized that they were billing for 19 days of rental and they would suck it all up before we got our trailer back!!!!

May 2nd !!! Buff put on his “bad-ass” pants and went to have a “meeting” with service manager, shop manager, owner, and anybody else that wanted a piece of his “mind”… resulting in Buff scheduling the hours for the repairs and telling them that the trailer would be ready by May 10th or other actions would be taken as we were going to start losing $125 p/day starting May 8th!!! Everybody agreed!!!

Buff made a daily pilgrimage to repair shop to make sure that his schedule was being met and we finally got our trailer back on May 10th… AMAZING… ALL WORK COMPLETED IN ONE WEEK ONCE SOMEONE TOOK CHARGE!!!! And…. The work was done very well…we are happy with the results.

So, on May 11th we finally arrived at our summer camp. We were able to get in three days of working on the cleaning crew…raking and cleaning campsites in other campgrounds since ours was already done…. Not the windfall we had planned on but still gave us a good start for the summer……Fashoda 2012 007

We love our campground, it is beautiful and we have our “own” lake that goes with it.lake views 005lake views 002

We have only 30 sites this summer…hurray… down from the 50 or 70 we have had other summers… eight toilets… down from 12 to 25 …. And…. We clean them with a power hose instead of hard hand scrubbing we have always done previously…. We get two days off every week instead of one….we can have guests stay in our site for free….FASHODA MAP 001
Rob's Visit (2)
(like Rob, Cathy and Jonathan did our first weekend here)…

we just love our area managers and the other camp hosts we work with are great…. Our friends, Steve and Karen, from Big Sur are hosting right next door to us… we actually have time to relax and enjoy being in the mountains and still be able to complete our duties.
All this and we make a dollar an hour more!! We have landed in camp host heaven!

Our opening weekend….Memorial Day Weekend…. We had a full house …. So the usual Memorial Day Weekend weather…rain… Hail… snow… mud…hit us … but these California campers hang in there and no one left until Monday!OPENING DEAY 2012 002

Will post more as the summer progresses……

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Since our last post we have had some great… and not so great… adventures…..we have celebrated Thanksgiving with some really great people, been to Point Lobos, Carmel Beach, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, the Monterey Aquarium, had visits from family and friends, and experienced what is called a “WIND EVENT”…


First, we had Thanksgiving with all our fellow hosts here…. And a better group of people couldn’t have been found. This trailer actually is able to hold ten people for a pot luck dinner with seating enough for everybody to eat, drink and be merry. We are blessed with finding some really great friends here and some fantastic cooks… the food was excellent and the company lively and entertaining.THANKSGIVING AT BIG SUR 007

Wind EventIMG_0376

The words “wind event” has meant something different in each venue that we have hosted at. In Colorado we saw some gusty breezes, with thunder and lightning thrown in for drama. In Death Valley we had dust storms and winds that rocked the trailer a time or two and left powdered sand to clean out of all the nooks and crannies of the trailer.

… but…here in Big Sur it got right down scary on December 4th when a “wind event” happened. Here a wind event is a nasty phenomenon that Mother Nature has created to scare the pants off you…..

We have a very tall redwood tree next to our site and during a strong wind there are branches that drop off from about 200 feet…by the time the branch hits ground level it has become a spear. This wind was somewhere around 70 miles an hour with gusts that sounded like a freight train coming through.

After rolling the awning up we came inside and hoped for the best. About 3:00 in the morning (unable to sleep with all the noise), we went out to see if the world was still there. The first thing we noticed was that two branch spears (about six feet long) had hit our new tent and tore right through the roof leaving large holes with the branches still stuck in them.IMG_0359 By this time you could hear trees cracking, falling with branches hitting the ground and the wind was getting worse. We went back inside hoping it would be safer and finally fell to sleep.

At about six in the morning we heard a large crash, which woke us up immediately, and Buff announced that our trailer had taken a direct hit…. With my heart pounding in my throat, we got up and opened the bedroom door fully expecting to see half of our trailer under a tree. The damage was less severe and the trailer is still livable … but a large branch, (we are talking about 20’ long and 4” in diameter), had speared the roof leaving a hole in it and damaging an interior wall. Since it hit about two feet from our bed we were instantly grateful that nothing worse had happened.IMG_0361

We will be coming to Reno April 1st, to have the roof replaced and the wall in the living room repaired. Buff has temporarily patched the roof so no rain will come in, but this is a job for the experts . The insurance company has estimated from six to seven thousand dollars for repairs…….THANK GOD WE MAKE OUR MONTHLY INSURANCE PAYMENTS!!! All it will cost us is the deductible of $125.….. We feel very fortunate that we weren’t hurt as one person lost his life during the storm.

Now on to the good stuff……

Point Lobos and Carmel Beach

We took a day with our neighbors, Steve and Karen, and drove North to Point Lobos State Reserve…. Absolutely beautiful! We saw Sea Lions and Sea Otters living wild… what a thrill. We had a wonderful few hours exploring the area and then went to Carmel Beach for lunch. POINT LOBOS 007

The beach is a large sandy area right in Carmel so we sat in the sand and watched all the posh residents of Carmel with their expensive breed dogs while eating our boloney sandwiches and feeding the sea gulls…. We had fun!!!

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

A day trip south to JPB State Park was another lovely visual experience. The trail leads to the beach where a waterfall falls over the cliff right onto the beach…. The scenery was spectacular and Buff took some great pics to share…pfeiffer burns 008

A visit with Rob, Angela and Kali and a trip to Monterey AquariumIMG_0183

Rob was able to grab a couple of vacation days (right after our wind event) and drove here for a visit. He brought his friend, Angela and her daughter, Kali, to meet us. Angela is a lovely, sweet woman that we loved immediately and Kali is so cute you can hardly stand it. We spent the first day here at the campground taking a hike and having one of Buff’s superb dutch oven stews. The next day we drove to Monterey to see the aquarium….

Now, I have never been to an aquarium and thought I would see some fish….. This place is magic and it was easy to spend several hours looking at all the exhibits and the stunning array of sea life there. My favorites were the sea horses, the jelly fish and the sea otters. It is a world class aquarium and a totally grand experience. Rob and Angela took us to dinner and it was a perfect day…..

Denise takes a break and comes for a visitDENICE VISIT 009
Denise was able to find the time between school and work to make a too quick visit… but a great one. She arrived Christmas Day and was here for two more days. Her choices were a long walk through the park, taking time to visit and photograph the stately Redwood trees in our back yard and a visit to Pfeiffer Beach the next day. She was duly impressed with everything and has decided that we have the most wonderful life… even was thinking of throwing the Master’s Degree away and becoming a professional camp host herself!!!

Between adventures we spent a great deal of time sitting by the fire, visiting and watching Denise get totally relaxed… she took us to breakfast at a local café which was well worth the price…the food was excellent. Denise hated to leave and we hated to see her go.

A fellow camp host from Death Valley comes to visit

Last year we had the awesome experience of camp hosting with Margaret at Death Valley and we quickly became good friends, keeping in touch through the year. Well, Margaret and her princely dog, Casper, dropped in for a visit right after Denise left. She showed up with a lovely bouquet of flowers and news of our friends from last year. We were thrilled to see her and renew our friendship and spend some time showing her the trees, etc. We had two movie nights and then she took us to dinner at the Park Lodge….

Wow, all this company has allowed us to try some of the local food fare and we really appreciate it.

While here Margaret landed a job for the summer taking our place when we leave…. Isn’t life grand!!!

Saturday we HAVE to work …. We have to join our Ranger, J. J. and do some whale watching …. Aaaahhhhh shucks…..

…. we are hoping for a warm, clear day and lots of whales to watch….. Next post will hopefully have pictures to share…

We ended the year quietly watching a movie until a camper knocked at our door and announced that another camper had set himself on fire and needed medical care!! Buff called the Ranger and ambulance, then went to assist. I feel so bad for the camper as he had terrible burns to his back and will start off his new year in the hospital. So that took care of any excitement we thought we had avoided…….

Looking back on the past year we realize that we have survived a flood, two flat tires on the trailer, the demise of our generator, repairing the extension on the back of the trailer along a busy I-80 and a major wind event. and….we are still blissfully happy … all just a part of being a carefree gypsy…. HOWEVER, We are hoping for a less eventful 2012.….

Until then dear Blog friends……hope your new year is happy, prosperous and the best ever……

The Big Sur Gypsies

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Well, we have been here a couple of weeks and the sense of awe increases each day… the beauty surrounding us is such that you can only take it in a bit at a time. We have discovered that when standing among the redwoods you feel a timeless serenity… almost a reverence such as one would feel in a very old cathedral or other mystical place. These trees have an energy that is majestic and elegant… Denise… you must come and see us and visit with these ancient ones. Some of these trees are over two thousand years old and though not as large as the inland Redwoods they are plenty big enough to impress even the most jaded sightseer.

The pictures we offer this time are of Carmel by the Sea and Pfeiffer Beach. The pictures of Carmel and the views from Hwy 1 were taken last week when we went to Monterey to shop. The coast here is spectacular… nothing like the ocean that I remember from Southern California days of my youth. CARMEL by THE SEA 017 This coast is dramatic and wild, with cliffs that drop off into the ocean itself and enormous rock formations standing out in the surf….. Something to see!!

Carmel is a real fairy tale place… the houses down by the beach are little goblin castles or real big mansions… Denise…. The yards have “plant monsters” growing all over them… the flowers are large and colorful and plentiful… the prices in the restaurants will make you faint so we have no idea how good the fare is…..

We spent a day at Pfeiffer beach with our neighbors and co-hosts, Steve and Karen, last week so check out those photos also. There are videos on youtube of the beach…. Go to youtube and look for Buffalo1946 to check out the surf and surfers of Pfeiffer Beach. Sierra hit that beach and took off running like a wild thing…she had a real puppy party running in the sand and wetting her little feet in the ocean…. Her friends from next door, Moose and Bear (two male doxies) are wild things at the beach and wore her out quickly.PFIEFFER BEACH 006

As you will see in the photos, Pfeiffer Beach is a wonderland… I think we have landed in Nature’s Magic Kingdom! I spent the day sitting in a chair and just watching the surf and thinking about how it has been rolling in and rushing out for all the time this planet has existed and it sure put things into perspective…. I came home in a state of altered awareness and can’t wait to go there again. Buff had his shoes off and was in the water in the blink of an eye… he is loving this to the max.

There are five couples here hosting and all of them are really great people that we are enjoying getting to know. Steve and Karen live right next to us and are quickly becoming life-long friends… Moose loves Sierra but she disdains his professions of love as she feels he is just a bit too young (still acts like a pup) for her mature ways. Steve and Karen are also NASCAR fans and they have a satellite dish… we have the big comfy tent… so we have joined forces – they bring their t.v. to our tent and we all sit and watch the race then usually fix dinner afterward and eat together…. This is just way too cool!!!

For those contemplating a trip to see us I want to mention that there are also accommodations – very pricey – at the park lodge and several motels and rustic cabin rentals within a couple of miles of the park… so if you don’t like a tent or crashing on our living room floor you can google Big Sur and check out the other possibilities in the area.

We are very excited to share this wonderland with any who can get the time and make the trip here… just let us know when you will be arriving….We “work” three days on and three days off but can plan on trading days with other hosts if you are here when we “work“ …. Our Rangers… Aaron and Matt -(Boy, the rangers are getting younger and better looking than what I remember……..) are very low key and easy to work with and have lots of info on the best places to see and even how to get some free tickets for some places.

So far the only flies in the ointment here is the poison oak (no encounters of the close kind yet) and the banana slugs… real creepy…BANNA SLUG 001. So until we have more pictures to share……love from

The sensory overloaded gypsies

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Our trip from Wyoming has sure been an adventure… some good…. Some not so much…..

We spent a week in Orem visiting mom and had a wonderful time again with her. I only wish we could drag her along on our adventures so we could share all we see and do with her. We will miss her this winter.

While in Orem we noticed one of the trailer tires was flat…took it to the tire shop… no way to fix it… so one new tire for the trailer. Just a small expense we hadn’t planned on but no big deal…

After leaving Orem we drove to Elko where we spent the night and got to see James and went to dinner with him…. Good to see you, James and to see you looking so great.

Then on to Reno where we spent a week with Mart at his really nice new house. No way to live in the trailer while there as we had to just park it in the street. So we moved in with Mart and lived in a real house for the first time in years! When we drove up to his house he informed us we had a flat tire on the trailer… different tire…same story… another new tire for the trailer… oh, well, we are free-loading from relatives so we can afford it!

Also, took the trailer in for what we thought would be warranty work on the furnace… wrong… we were informed that it was dirty , a condition not covered by warranty, but for $119 per hour they would clean it.. Ha!! Not that dumb or unable to clean it ourselves … but we still had to pay for the time they had in, plus another $60 for a switch they installed (switch cost $6.00) … can’t afford much more, so we took it back to Mart’s house. Buff took the furnace apart when we got it back …. It had a very dead mouse stuck in it…removed mouse…furnace now works great.

Had a wonderful visit with Mart, very low key… watched western movies every night, went out to eat a few times and just spent quality time with him. Got to see Denise for an evening between work and studying for her Masters Degree… really enjoyed the time even if it was short.

Next stop was Folsom where we spent a week with Rob… again, we were able to free-load as he had arranged for us to stay in the parking lot at the senior apartment complex where he works. It was better than some RV Parks where we spend $35 a night. Large lot, with grass and trees for us to enjoy next to the trailer. The weather was a bit on the hot side when we got there… time to use the generator so we can have A/C…. wrong ….. Generator blew up…. This free-loading is getting mighty expensive!!!!

In spite of all that we had a great visit with Rob, we got to spend a lot of time with him and enjoyed every minute. The people that live at the complex were so excited to have “company” and would come and visit us while Rob was busy. Invited us to come to breakfast and dinner in the dining room as their guests… some really great people live there and we were truly blessed to meet them and get to visit with them.

We even got to go to the monthly Birthday Party and see an Elvis impersonator… what a fun evening – cake, ice cream, Elvis… what more could you ask for a night out???? we look forward to our visit next spring on our way to our summer home and hopefully will see the new friends we made there.

Last Sunday we drove to our summer 2012 campground….Fashoda camp ground 012 It is so awesome… we are really looking forward to next summer…. Check out the pictures of our host site. Rob plans on going up with us when we set-up and setting up his “Weekend” retreat camp in our space! It is about a 2 hour drive for both the Reno/Carson City and Sacramento visitors… so we expect to see many of you next summer.

Boy… do we have some wonderful kids and they actually miss us when we leave instead of breathing a sigh of relief that we are gone .. Life is good.

Tuesday we left Folsom and headed to Big Sur…. Right before we got to Vacaville the bumper fell off the trailer… another adventure where Buff gets to make major repairs alongside the freeway… however, this time there was no DOT guys to help us and give us a good laugh or two like when this happened on our way to Monument Valley! Just another adventure for the nomad gypsies…..

Last night we stayed at Sea Cliff State Park….ARRIVED AT BIG SUR 002 Right on the beach .. Listened to the sound of the surf all night… check out the pictures and feel sorry for us….. Denise – if there had been a tsunami we would have been toast!

Today we had an uneventful (thank God) trip to Big Sur… we took Highway 1 and saw some of the most amazing scenery… too beautiful for words .. Not having spent much time around the ocean I was overwhelmed by the vistas and can see why Buff wanted to spend the winter here…. Mom – if there had been an earthquake we would have slid off into the ocean!

The park is a true garden of Eden… the trees and plants are so incredible. This is a true forest primevalREDWOODS AT PFEIFFER CG 009REDWOODS AT PFEIFFER CG 017 – we are surrounded by redwoods, sycamore, cypress, ferns, and Yikes – poison oak. Our site is perfect – the Big Sur River runs right through our back yard and as long as there are no floods we are thrilled to have it there. Looks like we are settled in for a lovely winter. More pictures to look at.

The universe has a real sense of the ridiculous humor – from Death Valley last winter to this – there just couldn’t be two more diverse places to spend a winter.

On our next trip to Carmel we will be able to stop and take lots of pictures to share… we do not start work until the 8th so we will be doing some exploring tomorrow and start the pictures for the next blog… so stay tuned for some totally awesome landscape scenes…

Ranger Aaron Gray stopped by to welcome us and we found out that in January we get to help with the whale watch…. Bingo… one more thing to mark off the old bucket list!! I just can’t believe how blessed we are and what an amazing life we have.

FYI: Any visitors we have can stay here for free and don’t need to make reservations… there is a site next to ours for anyone coming to see us with a trailer, it has water and electric.. no kidding!! We do need some advance notice so the rangers can make the arrangements.

No camper, no problem, you can set up a tent or crash on our living room floor (we are planning on buying an air mattress that will fit between the sofas)….. So there is no reason not to plan your winter vacation at Big Sur!!!!! It is about a four hour drive from Sacramento when not towing a monster trailer at 55 mph.

We found that taking I-80 past Vacaville and then Hwy 680 South through Martinez you don’t encounter any toll booths. At San Jose you pick up Hwy 17 to Santa Cruz, and just before you get to Santa Cruz you get on Hwy 1 and go through Monterey and Carmel. Hwy 17 is a winding mountain road but worth it for the scenery. Hwy 1 is a bit spooky in places but the views are unbelievable.

Like our other campgrounds we do not get cell or internet here at our site so we will be checking voice mail and email every couple of days by driving to a site down the road. We might get a Verizon throw away to keep here as the other hosts have one and get reception on it. So, as always…. Leave a message and we will get back at ya asap.

For any emergency you can call the Pfeiffer Ranger Station office at 831-667-0528 and they will contact us, we are in Host Site “A”…. Mom…be sure to write down that number and give it to Lorraine, Debbie and Sandy.

It’s been a long and exciting day… time to decompress and get ready for bed….. Love to all of you……

The most fortunate gypsies……

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We are once again on one of our adventures after spending six months with Mom Burt in Lindon, Utah. Our time there was a real blessing … to spend so much quality time with her.

Since Buff is now equipped with a video camera we are going to try to post some to the blog and see how it works. Your feedback is certainly welcome…..

We arrived at our campground on June 10th and were so happy with the set-up we have this year. We are based at Stillwater campground with two other campgrounds to host along with this one.STILLWATER SUMMER 2011 007 We have a total of 57 sites and TWELVE toilets to maintain…. This should certainly take off the 15 pounds I gained at mom’s eating too much good stuff. Our other campgrounds are Hayden’s Fork and Sulphur. All three are absolutely beautiful and hold many memories for me as this is my old stomping ground….it’s good to be home.

About two days after we arrived we were taking our evening walk through the campground when we found a big hairy Harley-riding biker dude sitting in a site close to ours…. My inclination was to just ignore him and continue our walk…as far as I was concerned he could stay there as long as he wanted and even pee on the table if he so desired!! But, Camp host Buff walked right over to him … determined to collect whatever fee biker dude owed… and asked him if he was planning on spending the night … (mental note: make sure our gun was loaded if he was).. Biker dude says he is getting too old to sleep on the ground and had just stopped to eat his dinner….(I breath a sigh of relief and start walking on) …. But Buff wants to collect the damned six dollars for the day use fee….he asks big biker dude where he is from…. Big biker dude says…
Buff tells biker dude that I’m also from Evanston and asks him his name…
Big Hairy Biker dude points to me and exclaims….”She knows my name”…
Now, I am certain (even with some blank areas in my memory) that in my wild wicked youth I sure didn’t hang out with the Harley crowd… so I peek around Buff to take a better look and …..

It is my cousin (?) (we share the same great grandparents) that I’ve known since he was a kid!!!!! What a pleasant surprise and after getting used to the beard, tattoos, leathers, etc. I found him to be the same dear and kind person I had always known. We had a great visit remembering the past and catching up on family news. A few days later he came for the evening and brought his daughter to meet us. We visited for awhile and then promptly bored them to death showing them our DVD’s of our travels…… not sure they will return for another round but we have extended the invitation for them to spend a few days here…..

When we arrived the Bear River was already at high water level and overflowing it’s banks all along it’s route…. We stuck a stick in our “front yard” and decided if the water got past it we would have to sand bag our site…..

A few days later the stick floated away …. we spent a couple of hours sandbagging… we decided if it got past the sandbags we would have to move to higher ground….STILLWATER SUMMER 2011 013

A few days later the sandbags had been breached so at 11: p.m. we realized that we needed to move…. I quickly put stuff anywhere I could find for it to be safe and we hitched up and moved about sixty feet to a higher area…. Got to bed about 1: a.m. and hoped the river was as high as it was going to get… we were running out of room at our site to move any higher….

The next week all looked good and I got all the stuff out of drawers and closets and set-up housekeeping again…. We loved the new area we had moved to and decided that even when the river returned to normal we would just stay there…..

Then we had three lovely days of warm weather… in the high 70’s … we celebrated the lovely summer days, danced our happy dance, cooked outside and joked about “how high is the water mama/papa every time one of us went outside….with not a thought of what was happening on the snow covered mountains above us….so… continuing on in our joyful innocence…

We were finally able to get to our last campground as all the snow had melted out of it …with the warm weather and all….so we happily spent the day cleaning fire pits and toilets…. When we got back to our site we were really tired and looked forward to dinner, a movie and early bed

Right in the middle of the movie some campers knocked on the door and told us the campground was flooding….YIKES…. Buff ran off with them and came back with a pretty concerned look on his face and told me to get the trailer ready to move … then went back to sandbag and trench to see if he could stop the water coming in…..HA!! By 10:00 when I went to find him I was driving through water…told him we had to get out NOW!!

The two couples that were camping here ran over and helped us get our stuff ready to go…even though their trailers were also in harms way…they had also been helping Buff sandbag and trench… what great people!!! By the time we got out we realized that they also needed to be evacuated …so everybody is moving trailers to higher ground in the middle of the night!! By midnight we were all safe and ready to drop!!

It was a pretty scary experience and I was very upset that I had to pack up again in a panic… then I realized how fortunate we were that we have a “home” that can be moved out of harms way and didn’t have to sit helplessly by and watch it destroyed by a flood like so many have this year.

So, we are now living in a temporary site (a large group site we have on much higher ground) and are waiting for the river to subside so we can return to our “home” site…. They expect the river to peak in the next day or two… we are hoping we can move back by Thursday as the site we are now in is reserved for Friday and we will have to move from here anyway!!!! We are becoming more Gypsy than we had planned….making little moves and not even leaving our campground!!!!!

For those of our friends and family that are thinking of visiting us this year … there is a lovely lodge about four miles from our site… (www.BearRiverLodge.com) … the cabins have kitchens with dishes and utensils, big screen TV w/DVD players and dish network, living room w/gas log fireplace, gas BBQ grills on decks and patios, outside hot tubs and a heated swimming pool…. Needless to say a bit pricey.. Sun – Thurs $229/night… there is also a small convenience store that serves burgers, etc. (and much to my dismay they have soft ice cream… drat!).

Rob, Mart and Denise…. This is where the old Bear River Station used to be where you would go on rides with Mammy and Popeye… Rob… I couldn’t find the ca-ca rock!!

Of course, there are less expensive motels in Evanston which is only 30 miles away…… or bring a tent and camp with us here for free…..

So, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise…. (again) we will keep posting on a regular basis with news and pictures…..

The Gypsies,
Buff, Frances and Sierra

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STILL IN LINDON, UT 009Buff got a new camera and took some pictures and video of our current location here in Lindon, Utah from Mom’s yard……

To the West we can see Utah Lake and the surrounding mountains and from the East a view of the Wasatch Mountains….

We have had snow off and on with some nice days in between recently, I know that compared to many parts of the country our snow is meager… but to us “Snowbirds” it is more than sufficient. I have finally decided to look at the beauty of it (from inside) and quit complaining about it …. Change of attitude helps to enjoy each and every day here.

We are completing the projects we wanted to do for Mom while we are here and now there is time for reading, television, (NASCAR racing started last Sunday) movies, crafts and a nice afternoon nap!! We are truly enjoying our time here with Mom … lots of family stories, good food to eat…yup.. I’ve gained back the weight I lost and will be doing hard time the first couple of weeks at the campground working it off… we go out to dinner once a week… a couple of great buffets near by.. And apparently in Utah you put whipped cream on everything before you eat or drink it…… when in Rome…. Alas…….

Jim’s Aunt, Dottie, is a hard core genealogist and has been helping me track down my family that immigrated to Wyoming from England in the late 1800‘s… it’s really interesting and we have been able to track some of them to the 1600’s in England. My great-great grandfather, great grandfather, grandparents and mother are all buried in the Evanston City Cemetery ….. Also found out that one of my great grandmothers was the second of three wives of a polygamist in Coalville, Utah. Found a picture of her and my grandfather and his siblings!! Very touching to see a l890 Census with my grandmother’s name on it when she was a child…

So, all in all, this is turning out to be a great experience…even with the snow….

The Gypsies

p s
Full video on U-TUBE @ buffalo1946

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