Friday, May 31, 2013

Black Butte Lake

Sister Jo, Sigh Me and I left Redding and headed south on I-5.  At Orland we turned west toward the coast and made our first stop at Black Butte Lake.  We only planned one night there but the wind was blowing so hard we stayed two nights.

The setting was lovely and it was a good introduction to RV living for Jo.  After all, we were planning to travel together for at least the next 10 days--a true test of sisterly love.

Challenge #1 turned out to be Sigh Me.  The conversation went something like this....
"I know Jo called you the 'B' word but you never should have hissed at her when she put you out of the passenger seat.  Now let's see if you can share while she's with us."

Challenge #2 was when it was time to dump the holding tanks.

So Jo found a place to sit and helped by watching the whole procedure--from a safe distance.

We had lots of company.  There were few other campers but the deer were plentiful.

And they came right through our camp with little hesitation.  

While we waited for the wind to die...

We took walks, played rummy...


and Jo knitted me a hat! 

It was a good start to the trip.
The next stop--the Mendocino Coast.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Jo's Place, Carolyn's Place and a tribute to Mom

The countryside around Redding, Ca. is just spectacular in May... 
The snow-capped mountains that guard this valley invited me, at every turn, to stop and take a photo--much to the displeasure of the cars behind me.

Sister Jo lives up in the mountains about 30 miles from Redding and several miles outside of a little town called Oak Run.

But that was not enough seclusion for her.  She also lives 'off the grid' down a long dirt road and far enough away from city noise that you can hear the breeze in the trees, count the stars and occasionally, have a bear or a skunk wander onto your back porch.
A small mountain stream runs through her property and provided the perfect music to lull me to sleep at night.

What do you do for entertainment in the mountains?  Watch the bird feeders out the windows, read books, paint colorful pictures and....

explore new spots for walks and picnics.

After a couple of days we drove back into Redding to stay with Carolyn and explore the big city.

The Sacramento River slices through Redding and provides for some very scenic parks with over 20 miles of walking trails.

The crowning touch to the river is this interesting structure called the Sundial Bridge....

Jo and I did the 'tourist thing' and walked across...

then we went and had lunch with granddaughter, Allison.

I spent the next few days parked in Carolyn's and Sam's yard.  Carolyn is quite the gardener and everywhere I looked I could see...

charming spots planted with every kind of flower....

and in every kind of container.

I am not kidding!

Besides being a master gardener, Carolyn is a super cook....

She calls this  'Beer-in-the-Butt Chicken' was delicious.

Next to photographing mountains, I couldn't stop taking pictures of Alysia.

Even 'time-out' was too cute to pass up.

Mom, Ashley, may have her hands full but we all agreed that Alysia was great entertainment.  

Jo and I started planning our week together--next stop,  Black Butte Lake.

Mother's Day came while I was with my sisters.   I found this picture hanging on the wall at Jo's house and suddenly missed my Mom.  That is Jo on her lap and me in the chair--I am the one sporting that enormous bow in her hair.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sisters and such....

My family is the 'Modern Family' with connections that sometimes defy coherent explanation.  But it is always true--that your family is what you make it, the members are those you elect to embrace.  Love and mutual respect are valued ingredients but laughter is the spice.

Redding, Calif. saw a 'sister reunion' after many many years. The relationships;
Carolyn (on far left) shares a father but not a mother with Mary (center left) and Jo (center right),
Mary and Jo share a mother and father,
Me, Toni (far right) shares a mother with Jo and Mary but not a father.
Carolyn is the youngest and I am the oldest.

Carolyn is grandmother to this adorable little pixie named Alyssa.

Jo is grandmother to this beautiful and very talented teenager named Allison.


Kendra lives next door to Carolyn and visits regularly in her golf cart. She is also another relation to the family.

Carolyn's very nice husband, Sam.

Ken (center) and wife, Andrea (left) are Jo's son and daughter-in-law.
Aunt Mary is on the right. 

The four sisters...Jo, Carolyn, Mary, Me

Mary, Jo, Me
 Jo, Carolyn, Mary

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Petrified Forest

Just outside of Calistoga I found this remarkable place.
(Italics is from writing provided at the site)

"This petrified forest, dating from the Eocene period, is the only known example of a petrified forest in California." 

"In this forest are the largest petrified trees in the world.  Here, turned to stone are gigantic redwoods as large as 105 feet in length."

"Since 1871 the quiet beauties of this forest have attracted scientists, students and visitors from all over the world."

"Trees do not turn to stone in the literal sense of the word.  Many years ago a forest grew here.  It was covered by ashes and mud from an active volcano.  Water seeped down through this dust carrying volcanic ash.  Gradually the wood was replaced by the silica, in many cases cell for cell.
So perfectly was this accomplished that very thin sections of the petrified wood can be studied microscopically and their structure determined.  This process of petrification took a long time and gradually the mud and ash that were deposited ages ago were eroded away."  

"Glowing with beauty in the petrified wood are rich deposits of minerals, crystal, opal, obsidian, silica and others."

"Out of stone trees grow oaks and firs.  From the ancient volcanic ash, which forms a sanctuary for the forest, spring living trees including white, black and live oak, fir trees, 100 year old red-barked manzanita, laurel, madrone and chaparral."

"This tree is unusual because it is the only petrified pine tree found in this forest."
"These coastal redwoods fell like matchsticks in the direction of flow from a volcanic explosion.  The source of the blast came from behind the present day Mt. St. Helena, seven miles to the northeast.  A blanket of volcanic ash covered these trees for several million years.  The ground during this time became saturated with water containing dissolved silicon and oxygen or silica from the layers of ash.  The molecules of silica replaced the molecules of the wood, turning wood to solid silica, quartz and stone."  

The Queen--length 65 ft
Species, Ca. Coastal Redwood
Age when living--2000 years.
Buried approximately 3,400.000 years.  

The discovery of this petrified forest was by 'petrified Charlie' in the year 1876.  Robert Louis Stevenson immortalized him in the book, 'Silverado Squatter'.

Approximately 30' of this tree is exposed outside of the hillside

"Excavation of the trees is done in three stages...
A backhoe digs out the hillside from around the tree trunk.
Pick and shovel work is done to get nearer to the top and sides of the tree.
Geologist's picks and brushes are then used to remove the remainder of the dirt and rocks to expose the truck itself. " 

The remaining 70' or so are still being excavated...

I couldn't help but wonder how many more of these giants are still under these hills waiting to be dug out.