Blustery Day

There isn't much to report on the Traveling Three Cats Ranch front today. We were tired after a day of driving added to our weeks of being social butterflies. Also, it was a very windy day yesterday, and not particularly warm. It wasn't a good day for being outside, and so I was inside for most of the day.

The first item on the agenda was to fix the tire on the RV. I mentioned yesterday that it had lost pressure on our drive from Escondido. Mike jacked up the RV and pulled off the tire where he found this screw at the tread's edge.

With it being located at the edge of the tread like that, we were advised to use it as our spare now. And that's just fine. Our current spare is exactly the same tire, except that it's never been on the road. Now the tire with the screw has been repaired, but when Mike retrieved it from the tire center, he realized that the tire pressure monitor was located in the valve stem of the same tire. So today he'll have to take it back to the tire center to have the monitor moved from the new spare to the current spare, and then he'll be able to reinstall it back to the RV. It's a minor inconvenience, but it turned a one-day job into a two-day job. No matter. It just means today will go much like yesterday with nothing getting done. It's really fine. And it's really an excuse...a good one, but an excuse nonetheless.

While he was dealing with the tire, I worked on my slow-stitching. I stitched enough to move my hoop to the right, and I'll start with a fresh unstitched space this morning.

Okay, and so I hesitate to bring this up because I'm going to share a recipe that gets only about three stars from me. But it was tasty, edible, and easy, so what the heck? Try it if you like. But first...it required a spaghetti squash, and surprisingly, that seems to be something California grocery stores don't carry. Instead, they carry it in the frozen food section...something Oregon does not. So, that seemed weird. Anyway, when we were doing our grocery shopping, I'd kind of moved along from my desire to try this dish because of the lack of spaghetti squash in the produce section. Then, I was looking for some frozen corn when I spied this:

And I've never seen frozen spaghetti squash before, but okay...I'll literally bite. So I went ahead and made this recipe for One-Pan Mexican-Style Spaghetti Squash Casserole. It's an America's Test Kitchens recipe, and so you'll need a subscription to open that link. It would have taken a lot longer if I'd had to roast the spaghetti squash myself, but using frozen spaghetti squash made it pretty quick. It also gave us a chance to use some more of our avocados, which are ripening fast.

I'm not giving this a rousing endorsement. We liked it fine, but it wasn't great. It's biggest selling point was its ease of preparation. And so, if you really want the recipe and you can't open the link, email me, and I'll send it to you.

After dinner, we had our first hummingbird diner at the hummingbird feeder. He was back again this already morning.

Smitty rolled out the welcome mat when he saw this new arrival.

We took down our seed feeder. Many of you had some good ideas about why feeding birds other than hummers wasn't allowed, including problems with disease. And, yes, we had those same problems in the Pacific Northwest last year. As it turns out, it was to discourage the pigeons. We do remember there being a lot of pigeons here from previous visits. We haven't been outside much, but I can't say I've seen any this time around. Aside from crapping all over everything, it seems the pigeons like to build their nests in the nooks and crannies of RV's, including under the slide toppers where an RVer wouldn't be able to see them and might bring in the slides, crushing the birds, and potentially damaging the slides. And so the RV park isn't wanting to encourage them. Completely understandable.

Okay, so today we'll be hanging out here except for treks to the tire center. I'm going to get out the sewing machine and start sewing together the City Bank quilt blocks.

The machine has already been switched over for sewing with black thread, and it's just a matter of getting going with it. I had forgotten that it has one black border, but I'll start with the blocks today. I expect this will take a day or two to finish.


Boulder City, Nevada

It was a full day of driving yesterday through a desolate landscape. Sadie soaked up the morning sunshine for our last morning in Escondido. The light really brought out the orange in her fur.

Sadly, we took down our birdfeeders. They were not visited by even a single bird...no hummers, and no seedeaters. There were birds all around and in the trees just outside, but apparently, our food wasn't enticing enough to attract any of them.

As we drove north on I-15, I snapped this image of the Lawrence Welk Resort, just to the north of Escondido. For those of you old enough to remember Lawrence Welk, he lived here for a period of time after he retired from being a bandleader. When Mike and I were living in the area, there wasn't much to get excited about beyond high school football games, and so having Lawrence Welk as our neighbor was something we could boast about in our otherwise dreary existence.

It was around 300 miles to Boulder City, and not much to see. Here's something, though...we drove through my birthplace of Corona, California.

After we got out of the more populated parts of the cities, we began to see Joshua Trees.

Mainly though, it was just desert in many shades of greens, browns, and tans.

We drove this way when we visited the Trona Pinnacles a couple of years ago, and the landscape looked familiar.

Stopping at a rest area, this crow posed nicely for his portrait.

The one interesting thing we saw on our drive was this Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System.

This is a 377 megawatt net solar complex using mirrors to focus the power of the sun on solar receivers atop power towers. (Mike thought "power towers" was the best phrase of the day.) Those are the big shiny objects you see in the image above. The electricity generated is enough to serve more than 140,000 homes in California during the peak hours of the day. The complex will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 400,000 tons per year. Here, we were about five miles from the California-Nevada border on federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The facility is comprised of three separate plants built in phases between 2010 and 2013, and uses BrightSource Energy’s LPT solar thermal technology. Cool, huh?

We were nearing the border with Nevada, and so I had to wait a bit before I could Google this to see what it was all about. After such a dull day of driving, I didn't want to miss the "Welcome to Nevada" sign. I knew we were closing in because we could see the California inspection station on the other side of the interstate. Generally, we are relieved of all of our produce when we pass through one of these stations because I can never remember to think ahead. Not on this day, though. They don't care what you take out of the state...only what you bring into the state.

And sure enough...there we are. Hello there, Nevada!

After crossing the border, it was fairly soon that Las Vegas came into view. We needed to fill up with diesel (gas is a lot cheaper in Nevada than it is in California), and then we were on our way south toward Boulder City.

I just barely caught the sign as we drove into town.

And now here we are again...birdfeeders installed once more. We are ever hopeful.

Last night we read the RV park rules in which they ask us not to feed the birds, with hummingbirds being the only exception. We'll have to take down our seed feeder. Oh well. We're not sure why they don't want us to feed the birds, but I'm assuming it has something to do with their crapping all over everything. Just a guess.

So we have no plans today. One of our trailer tires seems to have developed a slow leak, and so Mike will have to figure out what's going on there. For now, we'll just settle in and enjoy the sunshine. There are some things to explore in the area, and there is a visit to a quilt shop in the future. For the time being, we have no schedule and no plans, and that's always a good way to start off when we've just relocated to a new spot. By tomorrow we should have some idea what we're going to do next.


Lake Hodges Ribbon Suspension Bridge

We had a really lovely last day in Escondido yesterday. Our plan was to hike out to the Lake Hodges Ribbon Suspension Bridge...a distance of about 3.2 miles out and back from where we parked. We had a relaxing morning, and the kitties shared their hammocks for a nice morning sunbath.

I'm hoping we'll have a morning sun exposure at our next stop, because the kitties have really enjoyed their mornings here.

We had only a short distance to drive and found the parking lot easily.

There were some informational signs and this map of the Coast to Crest Trail. We only hiked the short distance you can see with red arrows on the right hand side of the image below. Bicyclists were out in force.

It's an easy hike on a mostly concrete sidewalk. 

To our left was the San Dieguito River bed...dry right now. I imagine it's more scenic in the spring when things are greened up.

Before we reached the bridge, we had to walk under the I-15 freeway. If you're riding a horse, you'll need to dismount now. Of course, we had to slow our pace to keep within the 5 mph speed limit. 😁

And here we go...under the interstate. You don't see that every day.

Before crossing the bridge, there was a series of signs. I'm afraid I can't make them any more readable than you see here. Remember that you can click on the image to make it larger. But better yet, if you want to understand what makes this bridge unique, you can read more about it right here.

This sign explains a little more about the advantage and necessity of the "stress ribbon bridge" design.

And here...a little more about how it is anchored in place.

And if you know nothing else about the bridge, know this: It is the world's longest stress ribbon bridge. Kind of makes you want to treat it with more respect, doesn't it?

And here's how it looked just before we crossed over.

It was warm in the sun, and there was a nice breeze once we got out on the bridge.

If you clicked on the link about the bridge above, you'll see there are times when there is a lot more water in the lake here. When Mike and I lived here back in the late 60's and early 70's, the lake was already a dry lake for most of the year. Occasionally, there is enough rainfall to fill it, but yesterday, there was just a little bit of water off in the distance. Plenty for ducks and geese, apparently.

I took this next picture of this couple on the sly. I told Mike I might not have broken my shoulder if we'd had matching getups like these...and the tandem bicycle probably would have kept me safe too.

On the far side of the bridge was this sign. Good old Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Crossing over, we saw these signs.

And here's the span from the far side.

That was as far as we wanted to go, and so we headed back across the bridge and back to our truck. Along the way, I noticed this series of benches.

These were somebody's Eagle scout project. I like finding these projects almost as much as I like finding something built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression..

We enjoyed our hike, but we agreed it would have been nicer had it not been so darned close to the I-15 freeway. You can see in the image below that we were walking mere feet from the roadway, and it was *very* noisy. It's a little hard to get that "woodsy" experience when you have trucks and cars speeding by in excess of 70 mph. (And I'm being generous with that speed estimate. A lot of people are going a lot faster.)

As we reached the end of our hike, we came across the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmhouse. Here's the accompanying plaque. You can read more about it at that link I've given you.

It was closed, and so I just stood at the edge of the property and took this photo.

To my right was the Sikes Creamery.

Beyond was this antique milk can. My maternal grandfather was a dairy farmer. We had one of these for a while. Mike painted it a bronze color, and we used it as a plant stand. I don't know when we discarded it, but I kind of wish we had it back now.

Across the way was a community garden, and you can see there's a tower with a large birdhouse there. The birdhouse has openings for both large and small birds.

It was a nice way to spend our last day in Escondido. Today we'll be moving on to Boulder City, Nevada. We have a few things planned for our visit there. We'll do some biking and some hiking, but mostly, we're just hoping to stay warm. I've also read about a quilt shop in Las Vegas that I want to visit, and so there's plenty on the horizon.


Another Finished Quilt Top

It was a quiet day here at the Traveling Three Cats Ranch. We had a much-needed day to recharge after more than three straight weeks of socializing. It has been wonderful seeing so many good friends, and now we're starting to wind down for the next part of the journey. We have one more day here in Escondido, and then we will move on to Boulder City tomorrow.

My morning started as usual, with my morning slow-stitching. I filled my hoop.

And then moved to the next position.

By then, the kitties were fully involved in their morning naps. Smitty was soaking up the morning sunshine.

Sadie chose a space on the couch next to her catio door.

And then I went to work adding borders to Grandma's Thimbles. And now this is a finished quilt top. It ends up at 29 x 27 inches. Of course, it still needs quilting and binding, but that will need to wait until we get home. You might remember I stitched up all the thimbles when we were traveling in Colorado last fall. If you like this pattern, you can find it right here. It also comes for machine embroidery.

Having given this "booster seat" I purchased a good try now, I'm going to say it's very helpful and comfortable. In the image below, it happens to be sitting on top of my sewing machine and leaning against a wall. It took me a bit to realize the brand name goes at the edge of the chair. By that I mean, where your knees are. I had it backwards for a while. 

On the opposite side, it has an opening in the filling that advertises it helps with tailbone, lower back, and coccyx pain. And I can see how that would be helpful. I purchased it because I needed a little boost up, but mainly because I was getting neck pain. I'm not sure any of the shapes of the cushion are beneficial in my case, but the boost up definitely helps. I was able to sew for longer yesterday with no neck pain whatsoever. It gives me a good boost without being too high or too low, and it has a firmness that makes sitting in my chair more comfortable. So, I'm happy with my purchase, and my thanks go to my friend, Cathy, for recommending this cushion. If you think you could benefit from one, I found this one on Amazon...right here.

Later in the afternoon, I finished off the fourth of nine baskets.

Here are the four I have so far. 

Now I have the next one ready to stitch, and I'll start there this morning. 

And this being Sunday, I'll be linking up to

Slow Sunday Stitching

Our avocados are ripening quickly, and I put them to good use in last night's dinner. First, I tried a new recipe called Chicken Tender Fajitas. It's all made in one pan. Someone posted the link on Facebook and said it was easy and delicious, in addition to being diet friendly. Well, count me in. And it was good! You can find the recipe right here. (The recipe was from the Washington Post, and you might need a subscription to see it. If you can't see it, and you want the recipe, then email me, and I'll send it to you.)

Also on the menu, one of our favorite dishes left over from Mike's Mom. It's the simplest thing to do. Get yourself a can of grapefruit...canned actually works better than fresh in this case. Drain off the juice and add some to a ramekin, then add some chunked up avocado over the top, then a little drizzle of Catalina salad dressing. Mmm, mmm, mmm. We tried to make this last time we were down, but couldn't find any canned grapefruit. Weird. But we found some this time, and we enjoyed this salad with our fajitas last night.

Okay, and that was the end of our day. But here's something. Have you played Wordly? It's kind of fun...a daily word game. Basically, you guess at a random five-letter word. And...I learned this the hard way...if a letter appears in the word, it can be used more than once. When you finish the puzzle, it lets you upload a little image showing how you did without giving away the clue. The little daily images look like this (this one is from a previous one of my plays):

One of my Facebook friends has been teasing me about these. When I posted the picture of the finished Grandma's Thimbles quilt top yesterday, he responded telling me this would be my next quilt:

which made me laugh, but actually...it's not a bad idea!!! So many ideas for quilts...so little time. I might actually do this sometime. Just add it to my list of Quilts I'll Probably Never Start.

Finally, Mike uploaded his drone footage from our previous campsite at Lake Skinner State Recreation Area. If you want to see a little more of the area where we were previously, you can watch the video. If you can't see the video, then click right here.

So that's all I have for you today. Depending on how late I sleep tomorrow, I might not take time to blog before we head off to Boulder City. Our plans for today include heading over to Lake Hodges to see the suspension bridge there. I was going to try making some French Onion Soup in my slow cooker for tonight's dinner, but then realized my slow cooker can't hold the volume I need. It'll have to wait until we get home. But, hey! All is not lost. It gives us a chance to have Mexican food one last time here in San Diego County, where...and this is my learned opinion...Mexican food is the best tasting of any found outside of the actual country of Mexico.