Monday, April 30, 2012

Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, CA.

Today we visited the Mare Island Shipyard and their museum in Vallejo, California.  California became a state in 1852 and Mare Island was founded in 1854 as a port to do business with the Orient and Far West.  Admiral David Farragut was put in charge and construction began.  The port grew and during WWII, the workers at Mare Island built 392 ships and 16 submarines.  They also repaired 4000 damaged vessels.  During WWII, 44,000 people were employed at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. We visit the oldest Naval chapel west of Annapolis, Maryland, St. Peters.  It had the most beautiful stained glass windows that we ever saw.  We also visited the home that was built for the Admiral in charge of the base.  The base was closed in 1970, but the property now houses lots of businesses, including Lennar Homes which is developing the property with new homes.

A repair drydock
One of two slides where ships were christened and set sail
The Admiral's Home
St. Peter's Chapel
The Alter
The rear stained glass windows
Put Debbie to work!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Sacramento River Cats Minor League Baseball

We decided to take in a baseball game at the Sacramento River Cats, the Class A Minor League team for the Oakland A's.  Many of their team's players are former major league players, one step away from getting back to the big leagues.  The River Cats beat the Tucson Padres 11-3.

Dinger the Mascot
Raley Field (Rally is a large grocery chain)

Reiff's Garage, Woodland, Ca.

While in Sacramento, we stopped by Reiff's Garage.  It is Mr. Reiff's house that he turned into a combination home, gas station, diner, garage, and patio bar.  We also got invited into his home, which is also filled with gas station memorabilia, but I did not take photos in the house.  You'll love this.

Mr. Reiff outside the front of the house
The diner, to the left of the front of the house
A '55 Oldsmobile in the side of the house & a plane in the roof
The backyard bar
An amazed Debbie looks out at the backyard
The backyard
Four of over 50 restored gas pumps
The garage and Mr. Reiff's Corvette
A very rare restored sign

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Scottish Games and Festival - Woodlands, CA.

We are in Antioch, California for a week at the Antioch Fairgrounds.  We will visit San Francisco again from here as well as Sacramento, Vallejo, and Pittsburg, Ca.  Saturday we drove to Citrus Heights and visited one of Debbie's former co-workers, Peggy Reid. Peggy was born in Scotland and goes back every year, so she was all for accompanying us to the Scottish Games.  We saw the opening ceremonies, the judging of the drum majors, saw highland dancers and listened to Scottish music and bagpipes.  We also saw some of the games, such as the caber toss, weight over bar, hammer throw and other sports.  It was a great day.  Please see some of the movies I took.

                                                           Opening Ceremonies


                                                            Over the bar-46 lb weight
                                                          Caber Toss-105 lb. pole

                                                                     Shot putt

                                                                      Hammer throw
                                                               Debbie and Peggy Reid

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Whale Watch-Monterey, California

Today was a special day.  We left early and drove to Monterey to go on a whale watching cruise at 9 a.m.  It was 56 degrees when we left and the wind on the water made it feel at times like 20 degrees.  It was well worth it.  We got some great shots of humpback whales.  We also saw a few dolphins and lots of sea lions.  The video below is of a humpback whale, upside down, either knocking barnacles off it's tail or sending a message to other whales.  Researchers are not sure, but seagulls dove in and picked up debris.

                                                             Click to view the video

The humpback whale jumps out of the sea
The Humpback glides by
Slapping it's fluke
Sea lions on a buoy
Sea lions on a dock
Sea Wolf II
Debbie enjoying the ride back to the wharf

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Roaring Camp Railroad, Fenton, California

After our sawmill tour, we headed to Roaring Camp Railroad for an hour and a half tour of the local redwood forest.  The old steam engine chugged up some grades between 8.5 and 9.25 degrees.  The steam and smoke poured out of the steam engine that runs on used motor oil and used cooking oil. It was a great ride through the forests.  We used several switchbacks, saw old railroad bridges, burned during a 1985 forest fire, and even caught a glimpse of the native banana slugs.

All Aboard!
The old burned trestle
The redwoods reaching for the sky

Big Creek Sawmill Tour, Davenport, CA.

Debbie had worked for lumber companies for most of her career, 13 years at Handy City and nearly 24 years at Tibbett's Lumber.  Debbie also had a short stints with William's Brothers and Double Branch Lumber before retiring.  Although she learned just about every phase of the lumber business, she never had the opportunity to see a sawmill in action.  Well, I found a sawmill in Davenport, California that would give us a tour.  This event really made her day. (you can tell by the look on her face in the first photo)  We had a tour at Big Creek Lumber, with Kristin Lovett.  Big Creek only works with coastal redwood.

Smiling Debbie at Big Creek Lumber
Debbie and Kristin
Bringing in the redwood logs
The redwood heads to the giant band saw
Cutting out the bad spots and cutting the rest to size
Sorting lumber and directing the wood outside
Sorting lumber by size and grade
More sorting
Moving the sorted lumber
The big blades get sharpened and changed every 4-5 hours
Debbie-Manny-Kristen (Manny gave Debbie a dvd about sharpening blades)
Big Creek Lumber overlooks the Pacific Ocean, what a view!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


We went to Carmel to visit the Carmel Mission and the burial site of Father Juniper Sierra.  After visiting the mission we stopped for some pizza and did some shopping in ritzy Carmel-By-The-Sea and then down to the oceanfront for a walk on the beach.

Debbie and me near the mission entrance
The outside courtyard
Debbie relaxing after the tour
The sanctuary
The Alter
Father Sierra's room
A painting of Father Sierra
The beach at Carmel-By-The-Bay
Relaxing by the beach