Sunday, July 17, 2011

People and Peacocks

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                                       Concrete Deer                                                             Real Peacock
We arrived at the Ventura Ranch KOA Tuesday afternoon.  The site that we were assigned to was way too small for our camper, so we ended up moving to a much better site with the gracious cooperation of the KOA staff.
This  is a nice, private site.  No other camper on our street side with plenty of room to set up chairs for our many expected guests.

The drive to Santa Paula was uneventful.  We had very little traffic until we got onto Interstate 5 at Gorman and headed down the long grade to Los Angeles.  Fortunately, we were able to avoid the real LA traffic since we were able to turn off on highway 126 towards Santa Paula; a modest size California community about 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean.  The proximity to the ocean makes for cool temperatures at the campground.  It is in the mid-seventies here while it is in the eighties about 15 miles away in the Simi Valley area.   Wednesday was a day to explore the area.  We drove north of Ojai to check out a forest service campground I found on the internet.  It is in a very nice, heavily wooded setting with a stream running through it; but, the Karma (as Rosie called it) was terrible.  The camper trailers there were very old and run down.  The people were kind of scary.  It looked like a setting for a Hollywood Horror Movie.  We drove down to the beach and were struck by the smell of sardines and rotten kelp.  There were a lot of camping units along the beach front.  I don’t know how they stand the odor.   I checked the “Gas Buddy” app on my Android phone and went to a Fleet Fueling station that was supposed to have diesel for $4.05.  When we got there, the sign out front and on the pump said $4.09.   I put the nozzle in the tank and started cleaning the windshield.  That finished, I went to check on the fueling when I noticed the price was now $4.17.  I stopped the fill up at $94; not a very happy camper.  Apparently the $4.09 was the price if you were a “Fleet” member.  Arghhh!

We headed back to the campground to wait for Michelle to arrive.  She is spending two nights with us instead of making her usual 60 mile (one way) commute to her home in Pine Mountain Club from her job in Santa Clarita.  Dinner was grilled salmon for her (she has gone meatless (vegan)) and brats for me and Rosie.  She was the first one to test out the pull out bed in the couch in the camper.  She and Annie found it pretty comfy.
Thursday was the day for Heidi and our grandsons, Robert and Tyler to come out for lunch.  Rosie prepared chicken the way the boys really enjoy and I put a few pieces on the grill in addition.  Every one enjoyed lunch and then the boys (including a friend of Roberts) went down to try out the rock climbing wall.  After that we followed them to a skate park in Santa Paula, where Robert and his friend did their skateboarding thing for awhile.
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On Friday, we went to Trader Joe’s in Simi Valley before I dropped Rosie and the pooches off for lunch at Heidi’s house.  Heidi was hosting a lunch for Rosie, her sister  Gigi, and a cousin, Joy, and Joy’s infant daughter.
                                     Rosie                Joy                   Gigi                  Heidi              Tyler with Scoobie
While they were doing the “girl” thing, I had lunch at El Torito, my favorite Mexican restaurant and had the truck treated to a thorough wash and wax job at the local car wash.  We stopped again for groceries on the way home.  We are freaking out at the food prices in the grocery stores here compared to the Wal-Mart in Idaho Falls. 

Saturday morning I drove into Moorpark to watch Tyler in a Basketball Game.  His other grandparents, Bob and Connie, were there with Heidi.  Tyler made four baskets and his team won 26 to 25.  I took many pictures at the game, but I guess I am not a sports photographer; none of them are worth sharing. 
Saturday afternoon our son Karl and his girl friend Shana came over to spend the afternoon and night with us.  Karl always goes out of his way to prepare great meals when we visit them, so we grilled steaks and salmon, threw in some large shrimp and Rosie’s famous scalloped potatoes.  After Karl and Shana left on Sunday, we found a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Oxnard and stocked up on groceries and other needed items.  It was good to find some reasonable prices again, compared to the local Supermarkets like Vons and Albertsons.  Rosie did the laundry in the campground facility and we started to relax after a rather hectic week so far.

Tomorrow I have six inspections to do in Carpenteria.  Tuesday, two of Rosie’s sisters, Gigi and Helga, are coming out with their husbands to have dinner with us.  We are planning a feast of chicken, potatoes and vegetables in mushroom sauce cooking in heavy foil over a campfire.

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