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February 28, 2018

High Tide Breakfast - Marine Room, La Jolla

The full moon always brings tidal extremes.   The high tide on Wednesday was nice +6.3, not the extreme of a super moon, but enough that the tide was at eye-level while enjoying the High Tide Breakfast at La Jolla’s Marine Room.
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High Tide Dinner from the web

The La Jolla Shores Hotel and Restaurant, the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, the Marine Room are collectively known as ‘The Shores’.  Just north of The Shores is the public park and Scripps Pier.

The Marine Room is noted as an elegant (very high-end) spot for dinner, with lobster on the menu every Sunday and Monday evening.  But on the mornings of the full moon a 4-course breakfast buffet is offered.  The local seafood lovers like to eat here too, when the opportunity arises:
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From the Marine Room Face Book page

I would not have paid $55 for breakfast on my own, but I was invited to join with the employees of the company where I still work part-time.  I know I should be retired, but with perks like this I really don’t mind going in a few days a week.  A shot in front of the Marine Room of Mike and I with John photo-bombing in the back ground.   We three have been together for nearly 4 decades.
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From the entrance the buffet looks awesome.
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Up close it looks even better.  Lots of meat and cheese selections with breads and bagels, eggs benedict,
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The omelet bar had 4 burners going to keep up with the demand, with Chef Bernard, himself, photo-bombing my omelet.
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The fruit selections were on the dessert bar.  Some of the best ever watermelon, along with pineapple, and other fruits.  Hoang and I really made a dent in the mixed berry bowl.  We both skipped the pastries,but I was told they were indeed good.
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The real reason to be at the Marine Room is for the high tides, with the waves slapping against the window panes.  During our visit it was a beautiful calm day, although the waves did slap our window they did not come crashing against it.
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Here’s a picture of the breakfast bunch; from left:
Hoang – who knows all the best Pho places in San Diego.  He’s also been with us for about 40 years.
Dave – the CEO out from our New Jersey corporate office.  I’m next to Dave.
Mike – the man in charge of the San Diego office
Steve – the newbee, he’s only been here for a little over 10 years
John – this is our 6th company and more than a few trips to San Felipe together
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I’m sure the reason we’re all together and why an east-coast company keeps us is the chemistry.  We really work well together, I like to call our group a ‘center of excellence’ as we are pretty good at what we do.

A gotcha, at least for me, is the Marine Room’s dress code which is business casual, “jackets and ties for men are not required but appropriate.  [They] do not permit beach or active wear in the dining room (including t-shirts, shorts, flip-flops, etc.)”  I had to buy a pair of shoes! and pants!  No Keens; no cargo shorts …. at least not in the Marine Room.  My new shoes did not show up in any of the pics!

 Kono’s Cafe in PB is a fine choice for any mortal and beach attire is preferred.

February 25, 2018

Thetford Toilet Repair

I was not sure I wanted to tackle this task, but it turned out not so difficult.  To keep the odors of the holding tanks, in the holding tanks, and not entering into the living space, the sinks in my Pulse 24A have regular ‘P’ traps, however the toilet uses a water seal to keep the odors in the black tank.

If the toilet is not able to hold a bit of water those holding tank odors can enter the bathroom. 

In our unit just finding the water supply was difficult.  I could not find it by feel, but in the picture I see it is tucked in right a floor level.  Yup it’ll be a pain to reconnect!
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I dropped the dinette and covered it with an indoor-outdoor carpet, to protect the surface … and we will want to be eating here again. 

The lower hose connects to the spray nozzle and is fine, but the hose going between the plastic pedestal and the porcelain bowl needs to be disconnected before I can separate the two. 

There are two hex screws that need to be removed before the bowl can be twisted and removed from the pedestal.
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Ok I agree the next photos are disgusting!  But with everything apart it’s time to clean, really clean!
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I purchased a Thetford rebuild kit for my unit from Amazon.  The kit includes everything needed – a new ball gasket, which is all I thought I needed.  But also a new waste gasket – yup I  need that too, nylon washers to protect the porcelain, new ball valve and a new pressure connection washer - yup used those too.
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The parts are rubber, but the kit did not include a grease.  I do have some suitable grease, but since this is a waste project I did not want to contaminate what I have.  I also added a small tube of silicon grease (rubber safe) to my Amazon order.
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By far the most difficult part was reconnecting the water supply line.  Just no way to see the alignment and doing it all by feel took a couple tries.  But in the end I am really happy with the results!  No tank odors, as clean as new!
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February 16, 2018

Lake Miramar - Urban Hiking San Diego

In 1960 the dam creating Lake Miramar was completed adding the reservoir to the San Diego aqueduct system.  This is a drinking water reservoir and no human contact with the water is permitted.

Non-powered boats are available for rent at the concessionaire.
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Before the grand-girls were in school we’d meet here for lunch and feed the ducks.  There are quite a few picnic areas around the lake.
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The 5 mile paved loop around the lake is quite popular.  On any visit expect to see joggers, walkers and bikes.  There is a bike repair station near the beginning of the loop road.  There is also a dirt path along the shore, but does not extend completely around the lake.
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I normally start on the path then pick up the road when it first rejoins the road in about a mile.
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There are lots of baby strollers.  It’s a good place for the kids too.  This marine, with his wife and twins passed me near the halfway point. There are signs every quarter mile.
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The Washington Palms are the only native California palm tress.
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The lake is indeed in an urban location.  There are homes, condos and office space on the south and west sides of the lake.
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Across the street is the Scripps Ranch Library and Evan’s Pond.  The pond is not large but does provide easy access for the kids who want to feed the ducks.  Or just be a bump on a stump and watch.
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The library is on the west end of the pond and picnic spots can be found along the north shore.
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This is a very nice county library. 
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February 12, 2018

Carnaval - Borrego Springs and Torotes

Normally we play Euchre on the 2nd Saturday of the month.  But this month I’m a single as Fran is hosting her sister’s birthday party with the gal-pals … I’m not wanted.  And I found out Thursday a single is not needed at Euchre.

What to do … There’s the Holtville Carrot Festival; the Ocotillo Wells Star Party; and the Borrego Springs Carnaval at the Mall.  With the family dinner at Manderin House in La Jolla on Friday, I knew it would not be an early start on Saturday.  Which set Carnaval and the Star Party as the best options.

Our friends Doug and Marilyn were also available for the trip.  Arriving on a Saturday there were not a lot of sites left on Main Street, but M12 was just fine with a bit of privacy and a palapa too!
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I have to admit I did not expect much from the Carnaval activities, and I was not disappointed.  It was pretty hokey, but in a fun way.  The music of Abba filled the Mall – Abba at Carnaval?
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While waiting for the parade the 3 of us walked the mall.  A nice slab of sea shell fossils was available, which polished up nicely.
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After a few minutes the parade begins!
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Yup that was the parade; and the parade replay as they returned back through the mall.
Face painting is fun for the kids, no this was not karaoke but the promised live entertainment. 

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No pictures of the star party.  Ocotillo Wells has an 11” Celestron celestial telescope and a solar scope.  Logan is the new park astronomer (amateur), and a welcome addition.  He maned the solar scope all afternoon and then the big scope for the star party.  Few folks come to Ocotillo Wells for the star parties, hence few show up, kinda nice.  The that were there when we arrived left early and the three of us had an 11” telescope, computer, videos, big screen, Logan and his assistant as our private guides to the universe.

Logan showed us the typical highlights - Orion’s Nebula, Uranus, M41, Crab Nebula, Double Cluster, Andromeda, and more were all viewed and discussed.  And the both Chinese space station and the ISS made cameo appearances.

After seeing the beautiful polished fossils in the mall  and decided to visit Shell Reef in the morning.  These fossil beds are quite amazing, although the clam and oyster shells are small compared to those common today, they far outnumber them.
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The shells are everywhere cemented to rocks of all sizes.  To give perspective Marilyn is taking a rest stop in a sea of fossil shells.
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I found what appears to be a pumpkin, at least part of one.  We’ll not be going to the Pumpkin Patch so the mystery will remain.
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Doug and Marilyn had to depart Sunday afternoon, which left me a bit of free time.  Not yet ready to leave I decided to visit the Elephant Trees.
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The trailhead is a mile off Split Mountain Road.  I’d think any high-clearance vehicle (or rental) could make it to within 50’ of the trail head and there is plenty of parking there.

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Like the approach the trail starts out wide and sandy and also turns to a rocky path.
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The trail has numbered posts, but there was not a trail guide. Going up the wash the ocotillo are starting to bloom and the barrel cactus is saturated.  This is likely from the rains they had last September.
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However outside the wash this young Elephant Tree is not doing so well, and another ocotillo has fallen victim to the draught.
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Trail marker 9 is where to spend some time, it’s a magnificent example of the Elephant Tree.  The Spanish call them Torote (tortured and twisted).  The Torote Bowl at the south end of the park also has a few excellent trees.
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Water is stored in the base of the trunk, giving it the appearance of an elephant’s foot.
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On the return side of the loop I notice a barrel cactus and ocotillo that will not likely survive the summer.
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The last numbered stop appears to be a creosote bush that has not survived, although the mistletoe parasite continues to hang on.
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Ocotillo Wells is not for everybody, it's an off-road paradise on the weekend.  But Sunday evening through Friday morning it offers a nice place to view the stars.  Back-in-the-day the entire park was open for exploration on a powered vehicle – now only street-legal are allowed to access most of the park, and the ‘green sticker’ off-roaders are restricted.  And this is one of the areas where they can let loose.

But tonight I am the only one camping on Main Street, last night it was pretty full.  After the sunset the wind again came up.  Rufus was again rocking and rolling all night.  Shortly after sunrise the wind let up a bit.
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On the ride home I was treated to a nice rainbow, it was raining in the mountains near Julian.   And the rainbow was on my side of the hills ahead!   Pot of Gold here I come!
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By the time I reached San Felipe on S-2 it was a heavy mist, and it was raining by the time I reached Dudley’s.