April 13 Chula Vista, CA

We have now been comfortably settled in Chula Vista since the first of April. The RV park where we originally had reservations didn't allow motorcycles so we declined to stay there and had to find another place that would take us for a month at short notice. We did rather well, and are encamped at the Chula Vista Marina RV Park which is very nice and has much more to offer than the other place. It is right on San Diego Bay next to a Bayside Beach Park and the Marina. I have a very pleasant 2 mile walk through the park and marina and back to the RV every day. There is also a nearby wildlife refuge that is providing habitat for the light-footed clapper rail, which is endangered because of destruction of habitat. We got to see a couple there in cages, of course. It's a shy bird in the wild. We went here with Lara & her family; we've been having a grand time with them.

Lara, Alyssa & Justin


Riley took off on a motorcycle trip with brother Eric and Dick & Austin Scott. He should be back tomorrow. We have WiFi here but the port for sending mail from our primary server is blocked, so it hasn't been as convenient as we would like. We have to use AOL to send, but can receive on our regular accounts, so please reply to them rather than AOL.

Getting here we spent a night at City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico and then one at Roper Lake State Park in Arizona. City of Rocks was windy but we enjoyed the rocks as always.

Our campsite

City of Rocks S. P., NM

Roper Lake was hosting flocks (thousands?) of yellow-headed black birds which we had never seen before. They were noisy and beautiful--very impressive.

Yellow-headed black birds at Roper Lake
We then went on to Tucson to visit with Randy, Ginny and Rachel over a very busy, for them, Easter weekend. On Saturday we went hiking at Picacho Peak to look at wildflowers, in particular, the Mexican Gold Poppy. It was a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon. That evening we joined in the annual egg-dyeing event--such fun. We saw lots of good birds just sitting in their backyard, but I never did see a cactus wren, which was very disappointing. Next time.

Randy, Ginny, Margie & Riley

Mexican Gold Poppies

Ginny & Rachel dyeing eggs

Finished product & hands that joined in the project

We drove up through Sunset Crater National Monument stopping enroute at a ranger station where there was a beautiful crabapple tree. The drive through the park is very beautiful and geologically interesting: lava beds and cinder cones.

Crabapple blooms

Sunset Crater Volcano

Then we went on to the Grand Canyon where we stayed two nights and it snowed on us both nights. We used their shuttle bus system to get out to Hermit's Rest and back, doing a lot of hiking along the rim as well. We had a good time. What a weather contrast between Tucson and the Canyon! From there we came on into Chula Vista, spending one night enroute at Joshua Tree National Park. Riley remembers it as Joshua Tree National Monument, which was a favorite Richardson camping area from his childhood.

Our campsite in the snow

Grand Canyon of the Colorado River

It is baseball season and Justin and Steven (Juan's older son) are playing. Juan is helping coach both teams. Justin plays T-ball and has a lot of fun at it and is a very serious player. At 12, Steven's team is playing regular Little League rules and Steven is quite good--a strong hitter. I've enjoyed going to the games and seeing them play. One of the fields is quite windy and I always have to bundle up to keep from being cold.

The weather has been uniformly beautiful: sunny, warm days with a very cool breeze. The walks have been great and I have seen lots of birds. I think the bird-watching is slowing down my walking pace. Right across from the marina, two ospreys have a nest on a light pole and have baby chicks. One of the adults is always there and one day when we took the binoculars over to get a better look, both adults were there and were feeding the chicks. We could see the chicks' heads bobbing up and down above the nest. Very neat!

Lara has come every day to either visit or get me to take me to games, etc. I'm truly proud of the progress she has made and how well she is doing. We are having a good time together. Justin and Alyssa have both grown a lot and Alyssa is almost as tall as Justin; both are very beautiful. Sean is living with them and he has spent a good deal of time with me too, spending the night several times. On Sunday everyone came over and we went swimming in the pool here at the RV park. I got cold pretty quick and had to get in the hot tub, but the kids didn't seem to be bothered. It was a hot day but the breeze is steady and cool and gets to me in a way that doesn't seem to bother the kids.

A bird just landed on my screen door--not sure what it was, didn't stay long. Just looking out the door while talking to Riley by cell phone the other day I saw California Purple Finches in the hedgerow between the RVs. Then last evening while talking to Gaynell I saw a small black and white bird. I couldn't ID it, but Sean said it was a hummingbird. I've never seen one sit that still and the light was such that I couldn't tell if it had the hummingbird beak. I've been hoping it would come back in the broad daylight so I could look at it again. No such luck yet.

Lara likes movies as much or more than I do and has a lot of DVDs just as we do, but not the same ones. She has loaned me several. I liked "Shall We Dance" better than expected but it still doesn't have quite the spark that the original Japanese version did. Jamie Foxx was very good in "Collateral" but not sure how his was considered a supporting role for the Oscars--looked to me like he was the star. He was in every scene and was the good guy. You got to know his character much better than Tom Cruise's (the bad guy!). Not sure I'd want to see it again. I loved "Finding Neverland," no surprise there. Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet were both excellent. It was a bit of a tear-jerker though, and I wouldn't want to see it again soon as a result. I prefer movies that don't make me cry.

While in Tucson, I took advantage of floor space in Randy & Ginny's game room and got Justin's quilt laid out and pinned together. I have put Alyssa's top aside for the moment and have started quilting the layers together for Justin's. I would like to get it finished before we leave here and have made a good start. We shall see.

Love to all,
Margie & Riley

Bird Diary

Saturday, March 26, 2005 Randy's backyard, Tucson, Arizona

Curve-billed Thrasher
Lesser Goldfinch
Gila Woodpecker
House Finch--male & female
House Sparrows--male & female
Back-chinned Hummingbird--female
Gambels Quails--male & female
Mourning Doves
Pyrrhuloxia--male & female

April 4 thru 10, 2005 Bayside Park, Chula Vista CA

California Purple Finch
Ospreys--male & female, chicks in nest
Brewer's Blackbirds--male & female
Marbled Godwits
California Gulls
Rock Doves (city pigeons)
Mourning Doves
Pied-billed Grebe
Mallards--male & female
American Coots
House Sparrows
House Finchs
Barn Swallows (nesting under piers)
Rough-winged Northern Swallows

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