Friday, May 4, 2018

Intaglios, California Pasties & Key Lime Pie

The land of Phoenix holds siblings of Alex, trees loaded with oranges and grapefruit, and good fun. We celebrate the Valentines Day birthday of Kathy and leave town loaded with citrus.

At the border between AZ and CA we hear that we can keep the fruit but not the peels. We invest time to remove peels and stash the juicy goodness in Q's refrigerator.

The crossing at Parker reminds me of childhood friends from Cody, WY. As kids we loved talking about Mr. Damon the dam man. Neil Damon and our dad worked together at the dam east of Yellowstone. Both were electrical engineers with a specialty in power design. Mr Damon came to Parker, CA after the work was complete in Cody.

Just south of our border crossing is an intaglio site. My photos are sadly funny when compared to those on the logbook by Ron Kilber. It's an impressive difference in perspective. Impressive, too, that these giant drawings have survived over time. The estimate for their creation is 500 to 1500 AD - by the Patayan people.
A few days in the Anza Borrego Desert State Park allow us to finally kick the virus that has been making us sniffle. We meet Nonny and Burch at the laundromat and get some additional recommendations for dispersed camping in ABDSP. Their set up differs from ours in that they pull a small camp trailer and set up free standing solar panels to power it. ABDSP graciously allows free camping anywhere in the park, asking only that we not leave a trace - aside from tire marks and footprints.

While we’re camped near dry Clark Lake, family in the form of Jan and John come to join us. It is the very first use of the cabaña, Stinky Pete. We set up it next to Q to provide for private use out of the wind. Jan finds it very funny when the wind blows it over. Alex cleverly anchors it to Q’s front bumper to our satisfaction.
Q is self-contained for life, including both intake and output. The Thetford is a potty with its own holding tank - and water for a flush. So moving it to the cabaña is status appropriate for company.

Our destination now is a person - 101 year old Gigi, my dear mom. We’re thankful to have a campground recommendation from John Dooley. It isn’t easy for Q to gain admission to a standard RV park where van conversions aren’t acceptable to posh RV owners, we guess. This makes camping near big cities difficult.

The drive takes us on curvy mountain roads, from ABDSP to the mountain town of Julian and west towards Santa Monica, but turning south to catch Wildcat Canyon.

The Lake Jennings campground is really lovely - and welcomes us inside with Quigley. There is a cardboard box with free key limes at the check-in station.

The Gigi (great-great grandmother to some) is Ruby. She provides all the entertainment we could ever want while in the big city. While I play ukulele, she sings and tells stories about her dad and siblings who were all proficient and talented musicians. Many of our cousins have this same ability - to hear something once and then play it.

This cousin of those cousins doesn't have it, but it is an enjoyment to strum and pluck anyway. And it is true joy to hear Gigi sing.

While visiting with Mom we discover that our friends from Cody have a relative in the same apartment complex. That discovery takes us to dinner at the home of Hugh and Anne, and we spend an evening trying to get caught up. These two former school teachers (Anne taught 5th graders during their Balboa Park week and Hugh was baseball coach - and whatever else the school wanted him to teach. They have lived on Orange Avenue for long enough to have transformed a small ranch style house into a small villa - or at least it feels like that. And it is a step back into history through their collections.

It is sweet that they serve up pasties and explain about miners carrying them to work. We wait awhile to mention that we routinely stop at Lehto’s in the UP for pasties on our way to Grand Marais and the little cabin. At Anne & Hugh's dessert is key lime pie! We leave Anne and Hugh carrying a huge bag of super sweet and juicy tangelos from their tree. Hugh tells us that they intended to be entirely self-sufficient with their fruit trees and garden. At one time they had chickens, but new neighbors objected to roosters crowing. For awhile they had apiaries, but another new neighbor informed them that he was highly allergic to bee stings. Ah well, the trees and garden remain.

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