The West Coast
April 2001

It has been nine months since we were on the West Coast and we were all a little excited to be on "Our Home" side of the States.  Our next stop would be Tucson, Arizona.  Tucson has become our regular stop for shampooing the carpet and upholstered furniture in our trailer.  With 90 degree temperatures and 5 percent humidity it's a great place to dry the carpets after cleaning.  The guy at the rental store even knows us now.

We also had a chance to visit our friends Bill and Sharon.  They have a great winter place on a golf course north of town.  I, (Ed), worked with both Bill and Sharon in the Structural Test Lab at Boeing during my first ten years with the company.  We also visited my uncle and aunt, Wayne and Barbara.   They spend their winters in Tucson and return to the Seattle area during the summer.
From Tucson we traveled along I-8 west to Yuma, Arizona.  There are huge areas of sand dunes here.  One of the reasons so many Snow Birds come to Yuma is that they like to ride dune buggies across the dunes all winter.
Usually the desert area in New Mexico and Arizona, is brown with very little green.  On this trip the desert was green, yellow and purple.  While we were on the East coast we heard that the Southwest was having one of the wettest winters on record.  Not flood rains, but constant rain.  (We also heard that Seattle would take back their rain if Southern California would take back their earthquakes.)
The results of all this rain was a great bloom on the desert floor.  As usual this picture can't capture the magnitude and splendor of the color.
Another interesting drive is across the Vallecito Mountains east of San Diego. 

Most of these boulders are twenty to thirty feet across.  They are stacked up here in a way that doesn't look natural.  Erosion, as I know it, wears the rocks slowly away.  But here it seems to have washed away finer soils leaving these giant boulders neatly stacked.

Headed due West during sunset is no problem if you have proper "OSHA approved" welding equipment on hand.  When the sun is low in the horizon Max gets out his "Z87.4 approved goggles".  When he's not using them for sun he likes to weld.  So far we've melted some steel, but no good welds yet.

The boys love to build things.  Since their Grandpa is a master woodworker it was a great time to crank up the saw and get out the glue.  Mitch made a small cabinet and Max made a little wooden car.  They enjoyed using the power saw, sanding table and drill press.
Working with Grandpa is really special.  The boys always look forward to visiting him and his workshop garage.
Whenever we're in San Diego we stay at "Campland on the Bay".  It's the boy's favorite campground because there is always something going on and it's just a 15 minute bike ride to the ocean.  This weekend we happened upon the "Parrot Head Club" annual picnic.  The "Parrot Heads" are Jimmy Buffet fans.  I wasn't sure whether they like Jimmy Buffet tunes or just liked to drink Margaritas.  In either case, a few tunes in the sun is always enjoyable.
We invited Cheryl's relatives over for a picnic and fired up our large grill.  Cheryl is seen here sitting next to her cousin Jim.  It was the first time Cheryl and Jim had seen each other in over thirty years.  Also in the picture is Cheryl's dad, Joe and her stepmom Shirley's daughter Susan, Susan's husband, Bruce and son, Jamie.
Notice the aqua and white motor home in the background.  It belongs to a great couple, Mike and Devra and their three sons from Hawaii.  They sold their house and are having a new one built.  During the construction they flew to the mainland, bought this RV, and toured the states for nine months.  The more we talked, the more we found similarities between us.
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