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Parrottrek Journal 2010

Check out our map page to see where we've been

September 12th - Right Here, Right Now - Watts Bar Lake -
As the lyrics to that oldie but goodie by Jesus Jones "Right here, right now... there is no other place I want to be" fill my head, I can't think of a better thought to be having. And since a warm fire, a great sunset and some super snuggly birds to enjoy it all with keep calling for me, not to mention their wonderful co-parront that built the fire and the fact that we have nowhere to be for a few days, I'm going to do something I rarely do. I'm going to sign off before I finish this entry. Good night all. May your Sunday evening be wonderful as well!

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We are currently staying at Caney Creek RV Resort on the banks of Watts Bar Lake. We were only going to stay here 2 nights,

but it has turned out to be such an amazing place, we have extended our stay to indefinitely... ...

We spent a day on the water in a canoe, watching nature and enjoying the views, which included...

observing what our fun little house on wheels looks like as a lake house. Not too shabby if you ask me.

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Each morning I've been greeted with miles of jogging trails through the park and forests

The afternoons have been filled with tough choices such as where to swim, the lake or the pool

The birds are in heaven with lots of sunny days and quality family time

With a scene like this, who would be crazy enough to leave this place?

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We are thrilled to hear that these two companies will be together another three years! However, Frank and I are going to embark on new adventures next year! But have no fear, the fun on Parrottrek will continue!!

Kenny, Jay Adair and Brandon announce their 3-year deal

The Copart Dragster on the line ready to race

September 25th - Copart Announces 3-year Sponsorship of the Legendary Kenny Bernstein Dragster -
Copart, Inc. (NASDAQ: CPRT), a leading online vehicle auction, is proud to announce the company will be the primary sponsor for Kenny Bernstein’s legendary Top Fuel team in the National Hot Rod Association for three more years.
Copart CEO Jay Adair and Kenny Bernstein will sign the contract extension on the show “NHRA Race Day,” airing on ESPN2 Sunday, Sept. 26, at 6:30 – 7 p.m. ET.
Copart began its sponsorship of the Kenny Bernstein Top Fuel team with driver Brandon Bernstein in the 2010 season, taking over for Budweiser, who had sponsored the team for 30 years. The new sponsorship got the attention of the racing media and fans, and turned the well-known dragster from red to blue. Since that time, Copart has made membership free and made it more convenient for members to search for and view vehicles offered at www.copart.com, demonstrating the company’s commitment to provide the most efficient bidding environment possible.  
“We felt last year that sponsoring the dragster would be a perfect fit for us to get the word out to car enthusiasts and do-it-yourselfers about Copart and the more than 50,000 vehicles to choose from each day at Copart.com,” said Adair. “Now we want to build on the momentum we established this season and continue increasing awareness of Copart.”
Six-time NHRA champion and Hall of Famer Kenny Bernstein said Copart has done an excellent job with sponsorship execution and has really embraced the sport.
“It says a lot for the sport of NHRA drag racing to be able to attract sponsors the caliber of Copart,” said Kenny Bernstein. “The Copart family has become our extended family and we’re looking forward to partnering with them in the years to come.”
Brandon Bernstein, who has been driving since 2003 and has 18 career victories to his credit, continues his playoff push for the 2010 season this weekend at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Super Start Batteries Fall Nationals in Dallas at the Texas Motorplex – the third of six races in the “Countdown to 1” playoffs to determine the Full Throttle championships in pro categories.

Copart, founded in 1982, provides vehicle sellers with a full range of remarketing services to process and sell cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles to dealers, dismantlers, rebuilders, exporters, and to consumers. Copart remarkets the vehicles through an Internet based auction utilizing its patented VB2 technology. Copart sells vehicles on behalf of insurance companies, banks, finance companies, fleet operators, dealers, car dealerships, the general public and others. The company currently operates 153 facilities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. For more information, or to become a member for free, visit www.copart.com.

What this Means For Us -
While we are very excited for the team, the owners and the sponsors of this amazing organization, we have decided not to accept the three year deal of hospitality. We have seen so much out here on our travels, made friendships that will last forever and whom we'll still visit on our travels. We've checked almost all of the items on our bucket list and added a few more. We've seen the sights and explored the U.S., but we are ready for a new set of maps and a new journey. Perhaps one with a few less, or maybe more, miles.
What will we do next year?? We aren't entirely sure, we have some ideas, some plans, some goals, but since we have situated ourselves in such a way financially and mentally, we literally have the world at our feet. So please stay tuned to see what 2011 brings.
Our initial plans are to spend about 5 months in California. Suzy is state-wide certified in Massage Therapy and loves it. Our plan is to stay in California long enough for her to return to school and accrue enough hours to become Nationally Certified and be able to work wherever we go. Frank has been reintroduced to the world of sailing over the last few years and plans on taking his basic keel-board knowledge even further. Keep checking in with us here on Parrottrek as our journeys, our travels, our adventures and our love of discovery and life, continue.

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Camped on Hilton Head Island, overlooking the Inter-coastal Waterway

Cody helps plan our excursions for the next few days

Beautiful evening music on our own private deck, steps from our front door

Watching the sunset from the deck

September 28th - Hilton Head Island, South Carolina - Day One -
Hello to all of you out there in modern technologyland. Here is the trivia question of the day... ... How in the world did people full-time RV 20 years ago? The World Wide Web was hardly in existence, cell phones were only in high end cars and not hanging off the hip of every single American, including those in their tweens. It wasn't until roughly 1998 that companies by the multitude began to create webpages to show people where to go, where to stay or what to do, let alone sites like this that show our family and friends what we are up to and where in the world we are, so how did anyone plan an extended trip without hours and hours of research?? Frank and I are relatively spontaneous people. Yes, we are responsible Americans when it comes to planning for our future in regards to retirement saving and long term goals, but in the short term world, there are times when we don't know where we are going to spend one of our weeks off until we leave a racing event, and we like it that way. For example this week. Just last Friday, we were sitting in the living room, talking about where we should stop along the way from Dallas, Texas to Reading, Pennsylvania. The great part about this year's work schedule is that the NHRA has rearranged a few of the races so we are able to take time off in places we haven't yet been to and take roads we haven't yet explored. Our initial plan was to head south from Dallas to Austin and take a tour of the Collings guitar factory, where Frank's guitar was born. Thanks to the World Wide Web, and a handy paper map, I guess some things are here to stay (yippee! I love maps!) we noticed that HIlton Head Island, a place we have only heard wonderful things about, was right on our way to Reading. That is another great thing about this country, there are many many roads that lead to many many places, so we always have lots of options. So, back to my original question. How would we ever have found where to stay and what to do without having to make a million calls? Answer, who the heck really cares. With a simple Google search of Hilton Head RV resorts, we solved our problem of where to stay and with the manilla envelope of maps (color me happy) and coupons and travel guides of the surrounding areas, the what to do while we are here question has too been answered.
It is Tuesday night and we are on the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway here in South Carolina enjoying the views of the marina and the sunset from our own private deck. Earlier this evening we met some wonderful neighbors who have a bird, a sailboat and a love, as we do, for living the RVing lifestyle. Here's to new friends, new places and new memories to be made and six more days to work on making them.

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Trails through neighborhoods

Trails along the beach

Riding along through nature

And by the marinas... ... oops!

September 30th - Sailing Along - Hilton Head Island - Day Three -
We have purposely skipped over the adventures of day two, since there were none. The photo on the left is all that happened. Rain, rain and pouring rain. At least we still had a nice view of the water, even in the rain, and thanks to the RV resort having cable we had a HGTV day, with a couple Law and Order episodes thrown in. Since we don't subscribe to TV ourselves, it is a nice treat every once in awhile but after spending a day vegged out in front of the television I quickly remember why we don't have it on a permanent basis, there really are precious few good shows anymore, but that is a discussion for another day. We are happy to announce that today's weather was much nicer than yesterday, so we left Holmes and all is House Hunting friends behind and went for a long, long bike ride all around the island. My best guess would be that the total ride was about 15 miles. We left at around 11am and returned home around 3:30.

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Watching the rain

One stop we made was at a bike shop, where I finally found the perfect new basket for my bike that I have literally been looking for all around the country.
After our bike ride, we headed down to the marina that we had ridden by earlier to see if we could take an evening sail. Sure enough, we found a man aboard a beautiful 45 foot Morgan that would be setting sail in just a couple hours for a sunset sail so we headed home, grabbed a couple sweatshirts, along with fresh camera batteries, and headed back to the marina where we enjoyed happy hour at the Boathouse before embarking on what turned out to be a beautiful evening. Hmmm, perhaps next year's travels will involve a sailing venture... ... remember our previous big announcement??? Maybe this is what we'll do next year... ...

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Lounging on the deck

Wind in our sails

Enjoying a gorgeous sunset

Toes over the water - such a great evening

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Cody has found a new chew toy

The pool and its glorious views

Our intracoastal beach house

A new basket for my beach cruiser

October 4th - One Fun Weekend Island Style - Hilton Head Days Four - Eight -
What a place this is. Even though the entire island is only 55 square miles, they sure can pack a lot of fun into it. However to put this perspective, please keep in mind that Manhattan is only a mere 23 square miles and has over 1.5 million occupants in it , not counting tourists, where Hilton Head has a population of 33,862 people, and considering that we are here after all the regular vacationers have left to do things like go back to work and put the kiddos back in school, we practically have it to ourselves. And enjoyed it thoroughly. We've taken long walks down the beaches, short walks to our deck and dock, lots of leisurely reading days and bird bonding time and some beautiful pool lounging. From the pool you can see the Intracoastal Waterways and watch all the sailboats cruise by.
Another day's activities involved a drive around the island and through a few of the residential areas which are all beautiful. For those of you who have been here, I'm sure you can visualize it, but if you haven't been here, just like Frank and I until a few days ago, it's not like anything you've ever seen. As you drive down the roads and streets of the city it appears that you are surrounded by forests of trees and beautiful wooded areas, BUT, right behind the rows of trees you observe from the roadways are all the stores, shops, restaurants and activities one can imagine, including block long malls, Super Targets, Home Depot and 16 cineplex movie theaters, very nicely hidden from view unless you want to visit them. Also mixed in within the eco-friendly city are gated communities of homes and neighborhoods, marina villages and rows and rows of boat docks within these marinas which is one of our favorite places to explore, and if we too didn't have to report to work in a few days, we might just stay on this island indefinitely.

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We took a walk through the marinas

... and along the beach

The infamous Hilton Head lighthouse

Our evening visitor on the dock

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The day begins with amazing views, which were only the beginning

Sitting in our neighbors driveway was this gorgeous bobcat

On our morning bike ride he watched a hawk hunt for breakfast

Once we arrived back home Charlie was sunning himself in our backyard

October 11th - 14th - Unbelievable Nature, Close Up -At Home in Florida -
Above are just a few of the animals that we have seen on our morning and evening bike rides. The bobcat was a first this year, but most of the others are common sights to see around the 4000 acre nature preserve that surrounds our neighborhood. Hopefully we'll have more photos to post soon. Sorry, for the short post, but we are off to dinner with friends, and then a movie.
 

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The 37 foot Tartan

The 28 and a half foot Hunter

Hmmm, where would the birds go?

A manatee swimming in the marina

A Parrottrek Day - October 16th - Near The Sebastian Inlet of Florida -
As most of you know, sailing is one of our favorite activities. And since we have decided to slow down our wild cross-country adventures by land next year, we have put a lot of thought into embarking on some water adventures. No, we aren't going to head out on the high seas and sail around the world... .. well, at least not until we have a few more hours of soloing (or would that be dueting?) on the local seas. Spending a week or so exploring more of the Intracoastal Waterway, which goes as far north as Maine as far south as the Keys and as far west as Texas, before getting into the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean, is something we are researching. In order to get an idea of what sort of boat we might be interested in, and what sort of boat would be appropriate for such journeys, we contacted a boat broker. We met Kevin Welsh, of Edwards Yacht Sales at the Eau Galle Yacht Club Marina yesterday and looked at a beautiful Tartan 37 and then at a Hunter 285. They were both great boats, but since our current plans are still just R&D we will definitely look at many others before taking the plunge. All the while were looking at these boats we chatted with Kevin about everything from sailing to RVing to how great it is spending time in Florida to numerous other topics. We ended up spending over half the day with him and ended up having lunch with him and his wife, where the topic of RVing came up again. Kevin and Cindy were going to be camping about an hour south of us for the weekend, so they invited us to go along. Since our motorhome is happy, parked and all set up at home, we figured going for just one night would be a lot of work, but told them we would drive up for the day in the Jeep, and so we did.

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The Hobie tandem kayak with pedals

A new way to kayak

A baby dolphin splashes around

Mama wasn't far off

This morning's drive down south was beautiful. The sun was shinning, the top was down on the Jeep and the waters were filled with sailboats tacking back and forth. Once we arrived at Long Point Campground, nestled along the banks of the Indian River, which is also part of the Intracoastal Waterway, we knew we were in for a fun day. From each of the campsites there is a break in the trees where campers can dock their boats, kayaks or jet skis. A few months back Frank and I were looking into getting a two-person kayak. One that had pedals along with oars, in case you wanted to go faster, or get more of a full body workout. It also had the option to purchase a removable mast and sail. However, lacking the appropriate location to store it while in transit and considering that the sleeping quarters were, well, non existent, it was quickly vetoed. As it so happens, Kevin and Cindy had just purchased a tandem Hobie and were nice enough to let us take it out for a spin. While on our cruise around the Indian River, we found ourselves pedaling in the middle of a school of dolphin. There were big ones, little ones, playful ones and ones that sped off in the opposite direction as soon as they saw us coming. Most of them were too quick to capture on film, but I did catch one baby playing in the waves and his mama who circled us about 4 times. It never ceases to amaze us the people we meet out here on our travels, the experiences that new found friends give us and the amazing things we see and discover. But that's what we love about our Parrottrek days!

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A great day to be on the water

An osprey sits in the trees above

Headed back to camp

The sunset on our drive home

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We're ready for our morning ride

Swimming in the warm and wonderful Atlantic Ocean

A view of the Space Shuttle on the launch pad from the beach.

Playing with shells

October 19th - A Happy Birthday -
Florida in the fall is one of the greatest places to be, especially these last two weeks. We've been greeted with sunshine each morning as we head out on our daily bike rides with the birds, followed by warm afternoons that make decisions such as lounging around the backyard reading or day dreaming vs going to the beach or pool, very difficult. So to solve this problem, we headed to the beach with books in hand, this way we could kill two... ... hmmm, they really need to come up with a better saying than that, our babies highly object to it. We spent a few hours on the sandy beach, building sand castles, collecting shells and floating on the warm waves. It was amazing to feel the power of the sea and something I had never really focused on before. The way the currents pushed and pulled our bodies around as the waves came in to shore, all with a view of the Space Shuttle Discovery as it sat on the launch pad of Kennedy Space Center awaiting its November 1st launch, but might be here to see February's launch.

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A hitchhiker on my basket

We finished off the day with an evening bike ride followed up with cocktails and appetizers at the Plantation House, a restaurant within our resort just a short walk from home.

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Some tricky maneuvering

Coming in for landing

Oops!!

Bradley and Cody give flying tips

October 20th - Flight School -
Over the last 15 years, Frank has owned several radio controlled planes. They have varied in size, shape, color and style but most of them did have one thing in common. Most of them were destroyed by crashing into trees or culverts when his wife attempted to learn to fly them. In fact one went MIA in a neighbor's 2 acre wooded backyard on Christmas Eve. Talk about an awkward time to knock on someone's door to see if we could search for a crashed plane. His most current radio controlled plane seems to be a bit more indestructible than the last few, no, I haven't yet attempted to fly this one, I figure the poor guy should own it at least a month before I get my hands on it, but it has ended up in a few trees and crash landings with Frank at the yoke. It's a good thing we have very nice neighbors, since their driveways and trees have been used many many times when Scout has needed to make emergency landings. He's a tough little guy, since in order to get him out of the trees we pretty much had to turn him into a pinata and then reassemble his landing gear and insides once he was freed from the crash sites.

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2006

2007

2008

2009

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October 25th - A Long Time Coming - Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge Completed -
Around the time our travels began, back in 2005, the construction of the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge was just barely underway. As we drove over the bridge today, it didn't seem much different than any other bridge we have driven over in the years since its construction began, except for the fact that we knew what was underneath us. If we weren't a 12 foot tall vehicle we wouldn't have been able to catch a glimpse of the views below, but then I'm sure blocking the view of all the looky-loos was the plan. On each of our drives across the actual dam, which was usually twice a year, we took a photo of the progress of this monstrosity that covers a 2000 foot cavern between mountains in the middle of the desert. Most of these photos have been snapped through the front window of the moving motorhome, so you'll have to forgive us since a couple of them are blurry, but you at least you can see the progress that was made between each of our drive-bys. The only photo I seem to be missing is what the mountainsides looked like before they were penetrated by progress, however if I dig deep into our past travels I'm sure I could find one or two, but I'll save that for another day. Today I am still marveling at the fact that these two sides of the bridge matched up as precisely as they did in order to make our drive across what was thin air a few years ago, a seamless passing this afternoon.

March 2010 - The two sides finally meet up

October 2010 - We finally got to drive across it

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The view of the dam and Lake Mead from the bridge, at 70 mph

The crazy walkway to the observation deck that is part of the bridge

November 12th - Happy Veteran's Day -
I have the utmost respect for the men and women who fight for our freedom. I must admit my greatest fear is to be thrown into an unknown place where a gun is placed in my hand and I'm instructed to fire into the flesh of people who are aggressing me. Perhaps I'm a chicken, because there are amazingly strong Americans who can do this. Strong Americans who can put all of their emotions aside and fight to the death for people they have never met, people they don't even know or like, people who have done nothing for them other than to live and breath the freedom and air that floats across the grand old USA for the rest of us, including chickens.
I have caught a glimpse of what these people fight for over the last 10 days. My battle might seem small in the grand scheme of things, but I have been fighting for my greatest American Hero who happens to be my 74 year old father. I've been fighting to get him back to health, fighting to find out what's been going on since we last left town, fighting to keep him alive and with me. Frank and I returned to Santa Barbara after the Las Vegas race for a couple days on a somewhat anonymous visit and found him unconscious on the floor of his kitchen. After a very panicky 911 call and half the night in the emergency room, where they found nothing medically wrong with him, they admitted him for observation to make sure it wasn't some sort of seizure that might happen again over the next few days. As the days past he slowly improved, slowly came around and slowly turned into a glimmer of his cheery self. funny thing is, the doctors are still at a loss to tell us what caused all of this, other than perhaps a broken heart, after loosing my mom and having to live all by himself over the last several months. Alone in his hospital room one evening, Pops confided in me that going back to his old house, the house that I grew up in, the house where all the memories of us and my sweet mother, who past away less than a year ago, still dance and echo through the halls, isn't something he has any desire to do. Seeing the rooms, the photos and not having her by his side, as she had been for 45 years, is too much to handle, so the hunt for a new home began. To spare you all the details, I'll fast forward and let you know that finally, on Monday evening, a mere 16 hours before Frank and I had to leave town and return to work, the most amazing place was suggested to us. A place that took him in with open arms and a beautiful home environment without an inch of red tape.
Just as Frank and I are counting down the days until our racing travels end and a new adventure unfolds, my dad is embarking on a new chapter in his life. A chapter that includes a new place to live with a great social element in sunny Montecito, California where he's happy to have us visit. A place that is far enough away from his old neighborhood of Goleta to feel like a world away, just as he wanted. And most importantly a place that will treat him like gold, just as he deserves.

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Avila Valley Ranch

Award winning clam chowder

Watching surfing from the pier

Lunch at Longboard's

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November 20th - Sweet Home Santa Barbara - Santa Barbara, California -
Thomas Wolfe once said "You can't go home again". I'm not sure I completely agree with that statement, since we've spent the last couple weeks in our home town and feel as welcome as ever. I guess you can't go home again if you acted like the main character in Wolfe's book, with the same title, who wrote horrid things about the places and people of his hometown. Bad enough to receive death threats and angry hate mail that warned of what would happen to him if he did set foot back in the city limits of his home town. So for some people I guess this statement might be true, but for the rest of us, or at least those of us who aren't completely mad, visiting your home town every so often, is quite nice. The familiar sights and sounds and the tastes of the wonderful restaurants we used to frequent feel as welcoming as the arms of our loved ones as they wrap around us. It takes going away from a place like this to realize what it is and what a beautiful place we were fortunate enough to grow up in.
Our roles have been reversed this week, from being the ones shown around new places, to being the tour guides. Our dear friends, Kurt and Philly are here to visit us for a little over a week, so we are showing them all around Santa Barbara County. We've gone as far north to visit Avila Beach where we hit the beautiful and historic Avila Valley Barn, where we bought armloads of fresh fruit, vegetables and homemade baked pies for Thanksgiving as well as stopping to enjoy some homemade ice cream. We've had clam chowder overlooking Pismo Beach and watched a bit of a surfing competition, hosted by the Western Surfing Association, from the pier in Pismo. We've played demo crew at my parents house in order to spruce it up and make it ready for a nice family to move into. We've had a well rounded week.
We spent today in Santa Barbara with lunch on the wharf at Longboard's Grill, which coincidentally is where Frank and I went on our first date over 15 years ago. After lunch we took a drive down State Street, the main drag of downtown Santa Barbara and then headed to the harbor where we boarded the Double Dolphin for a sunset sail. We watched seals do their dolphin impersonations by swimming on their sides with one flipper far enough out of the water to make everyone on the boat grab their camera thinking they were about to snap a shot of a bottle nose dolphin, only to watch a seal pop his head out of the water and bark a sound that almost sounded like a laugh. We enjoyed a glass of wine as the sun went down, the 360 degree views of the mountains around us from the water and the aerial views of Santa Barbara and Goleta all lit up as we drove home via San Marcos Pass. Lucky for us, Kurt and Philly will be here for another 7 days, since there are still so many sights we want to show them, some that Frank and I haven't been to in years. I never realized just how much fun you can have playing tourist in a place that is so familiar, perhaps we should do this more often and in more cities around us.

Watching pelicans fish

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Longboard's from the water

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The hills of Santa Barbara

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I love being rocked by the waves

The seals wave as we sail by

Our captain and first mate

Kurt and Philly enjoy the views

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Beautiful Mission Santa Ines, our starting point. This would have been a group shot, but alas, it was raining

Bonnie, our navigator with map in hand is ready to lead us to our first stop on the tour

Good thing we stopped here first, since we spent half our time looking around Jeanne and Michael's amazing house and grounds

Our gracious hosts even let us feed the horses. This one wouldn't let Sharon feed any others. :)

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House #2 wasn't as grand, but it did have a lot of Danish flair... and very friendly lamas that made very soft scarves.

House #3 had us asking "What time is Christmas dinner?'

The stocking were hung by the chimney with care at our final stop

December 5th - Its Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas - Mission Santa Ines Holiday Home Tour -
The holiday season is upon us and I am not yet feeling very Ho Ho Ho-ish. Or I should say, I wasn't feeling it until three good friends took me to tea at Mission Santa Ines and then on a very fun holiday open house tour around town. The town of Santa Ynez and Solvang light up around this time of year. As you drive down the streets you feel as though you might just be in a Lifetime Holiday Movie with Christmas carols playing through town, wreaths hung from every lamp posts and all the trees wrapped in twinkly lights, and when you're with these three crazy gals, you sort of feel like you are walking along with the stars in the movie, since everywhere we go everyone seems to know them, wishes them a Merry Christmas, or stops to chat. Lucky for us this holiday movie didn't have any drama, aside from some rain, and did have lots of holiday cheer, laughs and little bit of coffee and Bailey's to warm us up after having to leave the warm confines of the car and the cozy homes we saw along our tour. Once we left the Mission we headed to the hills of Los Olivos where we spent over an hour touring the beautiful MJ Ranch which was designed by its owners, who were nice enough to show the four of us a couple hidden wonders in their home, along with handfuls of carrots to feed their family of horses. Our next stop was a lama ranch nestled in the town of Ballard. The lama would come right up to the fence and almost pose for us when we pulled out our cameras. I am happy to report that not a single one tried to spit at us. Within the ranch was a gift shop where they handmade the softest scarves your neck has ever felt made from the wool of the very lamas pictured above, so I decided to help Santa mark my name of his "she never sent me a letter, so I have no idea what to get her" list.
What the first two homes lacked for in regards to Christmas decorations were more than made up for in our last two stops on the tour. One was a Cape Cod style home that had a different Christmas theme in each room, including the most inviting Christmas table all ready for friends and family which made my Bah-Hum-Bug attitude begin to dissolve, and by the time we were almost asked to leave the last house because the four of us couldn't drag ourselves away from the warm fire where the Christmas stocking were carefully hung, my plans to decorate were being charted in my head, so I am happy to report that am I no longer feeling Grinchy. Happy Holidays!

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All aboard the trolley

Vicky and Jennifer joking around

Lots of festive homes to see

Our trolley driver, Mario

December 10th - East Side, West Side, All Over Town - Santa Barbara Christmas Trolley
Can you believe there are only 15 days till Christmas? This year has flown by so quickly and even though there's no place like your hometown to spend the holidays, especially since we have talked to many friends who are spending the holidays in places such as Minnesota , where its 13 degrees, Iowa which is at a whopping 8 degrees and Washington where the mercury has been sitting at 35, I can't stop thinking of all the different places we've been to this year and think of what they might look like under a blanket of snow. However when I walk outdoors and feel absolutely no windchill factor, I realize that spending the winter here in California, where it was a delightful 65 degrees this evening and no long underwear was needed in order to leave home and hang out with friends on the Santa Barbara Christmas Trolley, is exactly where we want to be. Over the last 5 years Frank and I have spent most of the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas in Las Vegas at the National Finals Rodeo, so we haven't been able to relish in Santa Barbara's holiday hoopla which we used to take for granted. Even though Christmas Vegas style is something everyone should see, its quite fun to return to a familiar place and see it again with new eyes, so for now, or at least the next 8-10 months, we will enjoy this familiarity until we get too antsy sitting still and head to another wonderfully sunny, warm, near the beach location for the 2011 holiday season.

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The trolley drove through the Milpas round-about 8 times... WAY fun!

Big kids and little kids are getting sleepy

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The only snowman you'll find around here, thankfully.

Last time we took a trolley ride together was 1998.

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