Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Joshua Tree & Palm Springs

We battled to get the boys off their snow boards, but eventually they were ready for the next adventure!

No expectations! This is our motto since we started sailing Catlyn to places. And every time we were amazingly surprised! We entered the area of the Joshua Tree,

and this strange tree led us to our RV Park for the night. Lazy H was an absolute contrast to Malibu.

 We were bundled among real trailers, with porcelain dogs in their drive ways, and trucks with flat tires, and faded floral curtains and the shower with no tap. But the water was warm and the bathroom clean, and the host all smiles…

We enjoyed the little town the next morning, popping into their Sky Village,

with hidden treasures among the trash, and I found the most beautiful necklace, with a Tibetian stone.

 I left the dream catcher hanging, because no one wanted to try and slip it into our luggage.

Marco enjoyed our next stop at the Robotic Dinosaur Exhibit in Cabazon, searching in the sand for stones, and ending in the big mouth of the T-Rex, while we walked among the life sized dinosaurs imagining how the world was like, when they were roaming.

We drove through the streets of Palm Springs! It is exactly what it says, palms next to the streets, rows and rows of them. We were in an oasis in the desert, green with the waving palms, and we thought about Elvis, and Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope living here some time ago. It is still a paradise for the rich and the famous with the most beautiful little shops and café`s.

We were here for the hot springs! After the snow we soaked and defrosted in the hot tubs of Sam`s Spa and RV Resort.

 A lovely park for the family, after we were turned down at a couple of Adult Parks, where you heat up your ‘whole’ body in the spa`s! Marco collected all the kids and made a good friend, Jarred who was there for the weekend with his grandparents.

I soaked up the heat, got the time to do the laundry quickly and we ended up with a new destination after meeting people in the tub, telling us about Salton Sea! An accountant Layla, a florist Gary and Eddy living close by shared their stories with us and we left them in the tub on our way again.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Snow boarding at Big Bear Mountain Resorts.

We had two very excited boys in the RV. They were booked for snow board lessons at the Big Bear Mountain Resort, a whole four hours for the day! Dressed with three quarters of the clothes in their bags, they completed all the forms and Dad paid via internet to qualify for a discounted price.

 Marco went to the Little Bears for little people learning to ski from 4 to 12 years.

 Joe joined the group with the three beautiful girls, and I just hoped that he will concentrate on the thing on his feet as well.

I was amazed at how efficient the staff was, and even more impressed when I saw the visually and hearing impaired people, assisted by their guides enjoying the day skiing. Even paraplegic people are skiing, sharing in the snowy fun.

I know Joe is going to write a blog about his day, but although my poor feet were frozen, I could see them having the best day ever. Soon Marco was skiing down the slope, and Joe surprised me coming down a big one! The day flew past, and the two went up the lifts to higher slopes and like pro`s, they snow board down for a photo.

I watched young and old, very old skiing in this mountain, and I knew, I will do this some time too.

While we were parked at the foot of the mountain, our neighbours, Popco and Garcia assured us, that we were at the right place at the right time for a great time on the snow. The sun was shining and the icy cold wind burnt our faces and our lips. it was worse than the Caribbean sun!

Late afternoon we succeeded getting Joe and Marco out of their rented gear, and after a drink at the Beach Bar, yes can you believe it, far away from any beach, we were back in our RV, with the wet clothes on the dash board to our new destination!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Big Bear Lake, San Bernardino

After sleeping on top for a change, we were off! Joe was navigating, thank God, and Marco and I were enjoying the scenery. We had to stop at a Wal Mart, not having those in SA. I wasn`t impressed though, compared to our Game.

We were heading east on the highway to an RV park somewhere in San Bernardino. With our big camper we drove high up the San Bernardino Mountains, they were spectacular! After about two hours of climbing the slopes to a height of 7000ft, we passed the romantic Running Springs to find our camp at Fawnskin, next to the Big Bear Lake. This is one of the three most sunniest places in the world, with 300 days of sunshine per year. But do not think it was a warm sunny day… The snow was white on the slopes and the cold was creeping closer! We overnight in Pine Tree RV Park, at the foot of the mountains.

I always said, I do not have any intention going to snowy places. I just do not like the stuffed animal feeling of the thick garb. I do not like to be cold! And when Richard and Jennifer told us they are on their way to a skiing holiday in Japan, I wasn`t the least jealous. After a very cold night in the camper, with Johan putting on the heater every now and then, and me searching for socks, I didn`t change my mind on cold snowy areas. But when we started driving down the road of Big Bear Lake with the snowy mountains surrounding us, and the frozen lake edging the town, something in me changed.

It is the most beautiful little town in the world, with the most beautiful log houses around the lake, and the snow is enveloping the pine trees high up the mountains. Many movies have been made in this little and town and mountains like City of Angels, Last of the Mohigans and I know what you did last summer, and many more.

We stopped next to the Lake, where the fishermen were trying for trout. A man told me that the flavor for the day was some orange stuff and purple stuff and garlic flavor, and he proudly showed me the four trout in his basket!

We spend some time at their shopping mall, with the same characteristic as the town. I would love to come back here one day…

Joe and Marco went to the Moonridge Zoo, and saw the Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, Bold Eagle and Timber Wolf, and the gigantic Wood Bison. It was good to see the animals, but they still found it depressing to see these animals locked up in the cages. The animals in this zoo are all ‘rescued’ from people who kept them as pets, or hurt in snares or somewhere in the wild. We also visited the  Big Bear Discovery Centre, mentioned as one of the top things to do, but it was disappointing. Only a couple of poorly stuffed animals and a curious shop was on offer.

Ps. I think I was the only person on the slopes of the white snowy Bear Mountain with polka dot fabric shoes, snuggling in the snow. Carole and Jennifer, my girly friends from New Zealand, I needed some of your shoes desperately. This time without the heels...

Apollo Motorhome

Johan and Joe drove in with this huge Apollo Motorhome! So much for our nomadic lifestyle! From our Yacht all over the Blue to the most beautiful house in Auckland to a big house on wheels, 8,5ft wide and 12ft high and five beds to sleep. Keeping a bed for Jaco, our son in Florida.

I nearly lost my breath when this huge motorhome entered the parking area for the hotel. But getting used to every day a new adventure in my life, I started packing and organize our stuff into this monster. Very slowly we entered the traffic, on the wrong side of the road as well, and I take my hat off to my Skipper, remembering port and starboard so quickly. The shopping was a delight, without having to get into a dinghy, getting wet and negiotiate foreign languages, we just parked in the parking area of a big chain Ralphs, and we could shop to our delight. The prices for a change was so reasonable. No more did we pay 1US$ an apple, but 1US$ for an one pound bag! Especially the frozen quick meals were so cheap, even better priced than in our own country, and I am not even going to mention the great quality. Believe it or not, I found red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from Argentinia for less than 2US$!

Malibu is the place for us to be! We found a RV Camp, Malibu Beach RV Park,

 and after a walk on the beach Joe found some charcoal for 6US$, and soon the T-bones were sizzling on the fire. The first proper T-bones since leaving South Africa for about 8US$ / kg. But it wasn`t all there was, Johan bought some maize meal in Ralphs, and we had real South-African ‘pap’ for dinner with a tomatoe salsa sauce. South African barbeque around the corner of Hollywood !!!!

The next day we spend driving down the famous Mullholland drive, and Marco was searching for celebrities all the way! Luckily some of the beautiful mansions were built high up the hills, so we could rub shoulders with the rich and the famous! So much for recession in the USA! I`ve never seen so many Mercedes, Porche or Corvettes in my life! Just picture our huge motorhome among these beautiful cars during pick up time at all the private schools along the way!

View down the valley from Mulholland Drive

We ended the day in Zuma Beach, and missed our country for a second. We drove home, only to swop beds with Joe, for a harder mattress, but it was on the top!

Zuma Beach on the South Pacific Highway

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Los Angeles - Back in time

We said good bye at the airport to Richard and Jennifer, sharing a beer and some sweet potatoes chips and beer butter chips, but with the knowing that we’ll see each other again soon.

Marco couldn`t wait to watch movies on the flight and soon we were on our way to Fiji with Air Pacific. What a friendly bunch of stewards! A couple of hours later we were on our way to Los Angeles! We are going to the USA, and we were so excited!

We lived one day twice! We boarded the plane 13h30 in Auckland, on the 21st of January 2012, and we landed in Los Angeles fifteen hours later, but still January 21, 2012 only three hours earlier! Time travel for you! Why is it that I felt so intimidated and overwhelmed? Immediately we were shoved into rows for Immigration, but the TV screens were showing us how people were searched and for what reasons, and which forms to complete and how important everything is. Maybe I got so used to the relaxed island style of things.

We got a taxi and were soon on our way to our hotel, a day too soon, but they were more than happy to see us! After a shower and a nap, Marco woke up ready for the new day. He couldn`t stop peeking through the window, not understanding why it is not yet morning at eleven o clock. Despondent he got back into bed to try and get some more sleep!

Los Angeles! We are ready for you! We got into the bus and enjoyed walking around Down Town.

We walked the jewelery and fashion district and ended up in Little Tokyo for a late lunch.

 Tomorrow we will pick up our Motor home for a new adventure!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Good bye to New Zealand!

Richard spoiling us with Champagne Breakfast
 Time to say good bye again! But we leave with a song in our hearts, because we are taking a little bit with of every person we met. From Jennifer, a letter from the heart. From Richard, a dacari promise on Catlyn. From Hannah, their Spaniel, the tender love of a memory.

From Carole, The naughty laughter. From Peter, the sharing of a dream. From Koos and Ann, a family hug. From Cotland Lodge, the warmth of home in a far away land... Thank you to all!

We spend our last days just enjoying a home, but forced ourselves to drive a bit, and to enjoy the beautiful towns, and the green pastures and the volcanic black beaches.
One of the beaches in the Woodhill reserve
 I ended up in the strawberry fields, loving the fresh strawberries.

But we had an appointment with Andando. Our last saying good bye! the reason for us being here. Peter invited all of us, and we spend the evening in her company. But Jennifer treated me on a pedicure,

 because it was time to get me into high heels! I was honoured to wear her moms` sandals, feeling so femine for a change.

Carole brought a whole bag of shoes, and I tried them all on, and they landed all over Andando, smiling with the sweet sexy shoes all over her... thank you to all the special women in my life!

And thank you to all the men, just smiling on our silly fun.

Cotlands Lodge For Sale

Joe created a website for Cotlands Lodge (that is the lovely house we lived in while here in New Zealand). You can visit the website at http://www.cotlandslodge.com/ and see below the promotional video he made of the property.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Safety on land?

All my family and people were so scared for us leaving for the Big Blue, and tried to persuade us not to go look for trouble!  It is not safe on the ocean, out there all by yourselve! the wind, the sea....

But we were not on land yet, or an old lady bumped into our borrowed car! Our beautiful Rover was skidding over the tar road, and she landed between the trees, on her way down a two meter slope! But luckily they all got out of their cars safe! Marco was shaken and ran home, and Johan kept the Police busy. What an efficient country. It was about 10 minutes, and the Police and Ambulance pitched, and the Municipality Truck came to clean the road of debris. About an hour later, Johan got a phone call from the Insurance confirming all the details!

Thank you, thank you, thank you...