October 3, San Diego

We'll be leaving San Diego tomorrow, after a delightful six weeks of visiting with Lara's family, and heading toward Arizona.

Our extended stay here has given us a great chance to see lots of Lara, Juan, Justin, Alyssa and Sean, plus some of their cousins, and share parts of the first weeks of Cleric's life with Ashley and Andrew. We even got taken to dinner in Carlsbad by Andrew's mother, Jerene. Speaking of Andrew, his Web site (http://www.idusclothing.com/) has been nicely updated and now works well with both Safari and Firefox, in addition to Internet Explorer.

Panda at San Diego Zoo

Caribbean Flamingoes

Zoo crew, less Riley

Sean during his stay in our Chateau

Four generations of Pond descendents

Riley with Cleric, now holding up his own head

Last month I left Margie in the company of family and rode the BMW up to Redding, CA, where I joined up with brother Eric, best friend Dick and (later) son Keith for a cycle trip. We spent the next eight days touring some 1200 miles of mostly secondary roads in northern California and southern Oregon, camping out each night around a campfire and sleeping under the stars. It was a blast and I was pleased that Margie encouraged me to go, even though she really enjoys riding with me. As usual, Dick had mapped out a great route that mostly kept us off the major highways and enabled us to see some of the prettiest parts of the surrounding country while traveling interesting roads. This trip was unusual in that we started from four different locations and all rode our motor cycles to rendezvous in northern California. Keith, in Seattle, started within about 100 miles of the Canadian border and I from within 25 miles of the Mexican border, so between the two of us we rode close to 1260 miles, all on Interstate 5. Fortunately, Dick and Eric had much shorter rides to the meeting places.

One of the interesting moments in the trip came the first evening in Weaverville, before Keith (who left Seattle a day late) had joined us. Eric, Dick and I had just finished a good Mexican meal at a small joint in town and were looking for a source for gas for the cycles, plus firewood and supplies for an evening around the campfire, when we encountered a sobriety check point set up by the California Highway Patrol. After we pulled up in front of the officers they asked if we'd been drinking, and I think they were a little taken aback when Dick and I responded, "Yes." We'd both had a single beer with our meals, so felt comfortable with the admission, and had no problem convincing them that we were sober enough to drive. It was already dark by then, and we were happy to find an isolated National Forest campground not far north of town.

This site was typical of most places we stayed during the trip, uncrowded and quiet, with lovely scenery which often included a nearby stream or river. During the week on the road we managed to cool off with a couple of swims in the Klamath and Salmon rivers, and found the occasional campground with shower facilities so that we never felt the need to spend a night in a motel just to get cleaned up. We had mixed success finding decent places for breakfast and supper (we skipped most lunches), and once in Happy Camp had only one choice of eating place, a small cafe where we got lousy dinners one night and then a good breakfast the next morning. Keith had brought cooking utensils and one evening he cooked chili dogs for us over a charcoal fire, followed by marshmallow toasting. Delicious!

Near Happy Camp, CA

Falls on the Umpqua River, OR

As you can see, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, had wonderful weather (unlike some past cycle rides), and had only one minor mechanical issue when Keith had to spend a couple of hours one morning in Willow Creek fixing an oil leak on his Honda Shadow. Seems the shop where he got service just before starting the trip had failed to remove the old gasket when they replaced his oil filter, and with two gaskets in place it didn't seal properly. Happily, Keith spotted the problem before any damage was done to his engine. My (other) siblings may recognize Willow Creek as a town in the heart of the Trinity and Klamath rivers region that was a favorite camping area in northern California for the Richardson family in the late 50s and early 60s. Eric and I both noted when we rode by the Bluff Creek campground, where the family had stayed several times over the years.

Our cycles near the South Umpqua hot springs campground

Riley, Eric, Dick & Keith in the California Redwoods

We split up on the morning of the second Saturday of the ride, near Orick, CA, with Keith heading north up the coast toward home and Dick (later in the day) heading back to Penn Valley, about 50 miles north of Sacramento. Eric and I took another day to ride down Highways 101 and 1 (south of San Francisco) to his home in Aptos, near Santa Cruz, where I got to visit with a very pregnant niece Lindsey, her husband Jonathan, nephew Tyler and his mother, Wendy. After a night at Eric's I took a leisurely ride down Highway 1 along the California coast past Big Sur and Morro Rock, with a stop in Buellton on Highway 101 for some Andersen's split pea soup, on my way back to San Diego. We're already kicking around ideas for another cycle tour sometime next year. While I was away on the trip, Margie had lots of time to finish a tumbling blocks crib quilt for Cleric.

Jonathan & Lindsey in Eric's home

Tyler & Wendy outside Wendy's home

Margie and I haven't seen a lot of birds here in San Diego, aside from the usual shore birds (including a lovely Green Heron) around Mission Bay next to our RV park, but have noticed that the fall migration, with Black Skimmers, has started. On our way to Arizona we'll be stopping by the Salton Sea, and hope to see lots of birds there.
Riley & Margie

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