On our way home

Trip Start Dec 08, 2009
Trip End Mar 15, 2010

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Weeks 12 & 13  (I think)

Friday, 5 March  2010

Today was just a quiet day of food prep for tonight's dinner party.  The evening was great fun. We had appetizers and drinks outside in the pergola and a lovely dinner.  Audrey's friends Molly and Jeff, Margie, and Ed have been very gracious to us, and it was nice to be with them again before we head home.

Saturday, 6 March  2010

Today, Buzz started his two day crash course in spinning wool with Audrey a his teacher.  She was my teacher 38 years ago!  She is still a great teacher, and he is a quick learner.  While they did that, I did the laundry and read my book.  In the afternoon, we went into town for the Tauranga Ethnic Festival: a plethora of international food, merchandise, and performances.  We ate delicious Indian vegetarian food for lunch and watched Brasilian, Greek, Flamenco, and Belly dancing.  After a late afternoon siesta (keeping with the international theme) we went out to dinner at a very nice Thai restaurant and took a walk along the Tauranga waterfront.  As in many seaside cities, the waterfront is lined with bars and restaurants and is a destination for revelers on a Saturday night.  We oldies were on our way home before the parties really got under way!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

This morning I caught up on email while Buzz put the finishing touches on our suitcases and practiced his spinning.  He has two small skeins of yarn to show for his efforts, and they are quite good.  In the late morning we drove to Rotorua and went to the local Sunday flea market in the park on the waterfront.  We were fortunate to hear the Rotorua Bagpipe band rehearsing for the National competition which will be in Masterton next week.  I love the bagpipes, and the group was very good. On the way back we stopped in Ngongotaha at the Agrodome wool craft center where we saw wool being carded into roving on a giant machine and  an interesting exhibit of old and new spinning wheels including one exactly like mine.

Monday, 8 March  2010

After breakfast we packed up the car and went with Audrey to the Tauranga Fibre Craft Guild weekly meeting.  It was a great opportunity to see people spinning a variety of fibres and to see some of the things they are making from garments to blankets to handbags.  Pat Old who we met on our last trip and who as written a book on spinning was giving a class on photographing your finished product.  Around 11:30 we went back to Audrey's, threw the last of our stuff in the car, said our farewells, and headed to Auckland.  

In the evening we met Andrew Lorrey, two of his friends, and Valerie and Dan Cohen for a delicious meal at Me Ne Frego, a small Italian restaurant on Manukau Road.  This is definitely a plug for the restaurant.  The food was superb, you can bring your own wine, reservations are recommended.  We sat down to the table at 6:30 pm, the company was delightful, and three hours after we sat down, we were finally ready to leave.  It was good that the motel was only a ten minute walk from the restaurant...we needed the exercise!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

This morning we drove up to Whangaparoa, took care of our banking, checked email at the library, had one more walk on the beach at Stanmore Bay, and had a cup of tea with Helen Grayson before heading back to Auckland, the airport, and the trip to California.  Once at the airport we took our bags to the scales and made the final adjustments to be sure nothing was overweight.  It was very close.  There is increased security for travelers to the USA; so it was good we got there early.  The plane left on time at 7:15 pm.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010 Again

In one of those quirks of geography, we arrived in Los Angeles before we left Auckland!  It took us just over an hour to get luggage, clear customs, get our rental car, and head north.  The drive wasn't too terrifying once we got out of greater Los Angeles. We haven't been in so much traffic in a long time. We stopped in Santa Barbara to get maps at the AAA, and got off Highway 101 just before Lompoc to take the Pacific Coast Highway 1 north.  We drove through beautiful farmland, along the seacoast, and through the Los Padres National Forest. We arrived in San Luis Obispbo in time for dinner and are ready for sleep...at 7:30 pm!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Got about ten hours of sleep and I think we are on California time now.  We left San Luis Obispo this morning and drove north on the Pacific Coat Highway (Route 1) to Half Moon Bay. The drive is beautiful along the coast and through the mountains.  We saw the elephant seals basking in the sun, sail-surfers (or surf-sailors) in the sea, fields of artichokes, the redwoods at Big Sur, and beautiful sea vistas around almost every bend.  From Half Moon Bay we drove east and north to Lodi.  Pizza and salad for supper, some email catch up, and time for sleep. On to Grass Valley tomorrow.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

We had a very nice drive along route 49 to Grass Valley.  Along the way we were treated to orchards in bloom, vineyards being readied for spring, and glimpses of the snowcapped Sierra Nevada to the east.  Lanie and Jay Keystone greeted us and the two years since our last visit with them melted away.  We also have the good fortune of spending time with Winston, their dog and Oliver the African Grey parrot with a great vocabulary.  It is slightly disconcerting that Oliver can perfectly imitate the ring of the telephone.  Fortunately he only rings once!

Friday 12 March 2010

Today was cool, gray, and rainy.  We just had a quiet morning of reading and visiting at home. In the afternoon we went to the movies to see Crazy Heart.  We had a lovely Shabbat dinner and a relaxing evening.

Saturday 13 March 2010

Today we took a ride to the city of Chico about an hour north of Grass Valley.  Once again we saw vineyards and orchards all along the way as well as those glimpses of the snow topped Sierra Nevada.  We enjoyed walking around downtown Chico, a college town with interesting shops and architecture, and had fun at the Yo Yo museum and toy shop.  who knew that a YoYo could cost $150!!  We stopped on the way home to pick up some ingredients so Jay and I can have a scone bakeoff tomorrow! Tonight we watched the movie Thankyou for Smoking.

Sunday 14 March 2010

The day of the great Scone Bakeoff dawned bright and sunny.  I did my laundry and then wanted to load my latest photos onto the computer.  Couldn't find the USB cord for the camera. Had to take all of the luggage out and rummage through everything.  It was, of course, in the last bag we checked!  

Finally we were ready to bake.  My recipe is from Phyllis Ross (see Week 7)  Jay's is from some fancy shmancy bed and breakfast cookbook.  Both tuned out beautifully.  We had cheese scones (mine) and salad for lunch  and sweet pecan, cranberry scones (Jay's) and tea for dessert.  In the afternoon we went to take a walk in the woods in the Empire Mine State Park, a stroll around the Grass Valley shops and a drive through Nevada City to look at the beautiful victorian houses.  We had a lovely italian dinner and then went home for another movie night. Tonight it was Chicago.  Tomorrow we leave the Keystone's peaceful hideaway.  They have been wonderful hosts, and we look forward to having them visit us in NH in early summer.



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Nancy Dorner on

Did the African gray parrot talk? Safe trip on the last leg.........

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