Salt to the Sea — a Book Review

I think I can safely say that this is the best book I’ve read all year………      

                                                                                                                                   ……so far, anyway!  

Ruta Sepetys’ book, “Salt to the Sea” takes place in East Prussia as World War II is drawing to a close.  Thousands of refugees are desperately attempting to get to the Baltic Sea where they hope to be evacuated in ships and escape the approaching Russian army.  The story is told through the eyes of three refugees….. Joanna,  a Lithuanian nurse, Emilia, a Polish teenager, Florian, a Prussian young man and  Alfred, a sailor on the Wilhelm Gustloff.  

This is historical fiction at it’s fin...

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Rancho Seco Campground

Okay… I’m going to let you know right up front….although I am placing this in the “reviews” category, it isn’t a thorough review.  Why?  Because, frankly, I didn’t check out all that Rancho Seco offered so, therefore, I don’t know enough to comment on it.  This is what I DO know…..

We wanted to take our grandkids on a camp-out with us and since they were (at the time) 2, 3 and 4 years old we needed someplace “easy”.  We settled on Rancho Seco because it is a short drive from our home being located at 14960 Twin Cities Rd., Herald, CA.,  and provided the basics we needed for our camping experience.

Rancho Seco allows for both tent and RV camping, providing water and electric at the RV sites.  Although, they don’t provide sewer hook ups there is a dump station available...

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The Homecoming of Samuel Lake — A Book Review

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake came out in 2011 and I don’t know how I missed it because it is completely my cup of tea.  

Samuel Lake is a preacher who finds himself without a congregation.  He returns with his wife and family to their hometown and his wife’s family farm.  The deceptive thing about the title of this book is that you expect it to be about Samuel Lake……and, it is.  But, he’s really not the primary focus.  The main characters are really his kids similar to how the kids are the main characters in “To Kill a Mockingbird”.  

I believe this is Jenny Wingfields first novel but she is already a successful screen writer. That made sense to me after I discovered that about her as the entire time I was reading this I could totally visualize it as a film...

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The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

We took our annual trip to Sunset Beach last month and while we were there I got the urge to go check out the New Brighton State Beach which wasn’t too many miles up the coast line.

Greg and our friends had checked it out several years ago when I had to stay home to care for my mother. New Brighton’s campground is right on the coast and actually has some sites with hook-ups.  This is pretty much unheard of for California State Parks.

I have to admit….. I was being driven by the “grass is greener” syndrome.  Maybe we could have the best of both worlds at New Brighton……camping on the coast AND hook-ups.  It would be awfully nice to not have to constantly be mindful of our water use……wouldn’t have to use the campground showers, or use the generator to charge up the batteries...

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The Perfect Re-Purpose!

I’ve discovered a wonderful purpose for these totes that stores provide for the purchase of multiple bottles of wine.  

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Okay… if I have a wine tote that holds six bottles from CVS  it can only mean that my sisters were in town!  

Now, I’m not sure why it took me so long to come up with this (and I highly doubt I’m the first) but it’s an excellent reuse of this type of tote.  It turns out that these are the perfect shower tote for those times when you need to use public showers at certain campgrounds!

First of all, it’s vinyl which is great because vinyl doesn’t mind if things are wet!  You know…. like wet shampoo bottles or wet shower shoes...

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Return to Graeagle

We returned to Graeagle this September and, once again, had a wonderful time.  On top of the usual 3 R’s…..Resting, Reading and Relaxing….we made a point of checking out some places that were new to us including some RV parks.  Now, I don’t feel that I can review these RV parks because I haven’t stayed at any of them.  So, I’ll just share what I saw and some facts that are available.  

The first one is Clios Rivers Edge RV Park.  Clio is a tiny, tiny town located next to Graeagle.  This RV park is the first one I came upon online when I originally was looking for something in the area.  It’s fairly large and all sites have full-hook ups including cable and Wifi.  The park is situated in the trees but, to us, it felt claustrophobic….the spaces just seemed very close to each other...

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Shelter Cove Minus the RV

We opted to return to Shelter Cove this summer but instead of RVing it we rented a house large enough to host the entire family…..which, at this point, is 9 adults and 3 kiddos.  Driving cars over that steep and winding road wasn’t nearly as daunting as hauling RV’s over it.  So, getting there was a lot less stressful if you don’t count the challenge of getting everything to fit in the trunk of the car!

The home we rented was located on Lower Pacific Rd. and backed up to the ocean.  So, when you walk in the front door you are immediately greeted with the glorious view of the ocean via the almost total wall of windows and french doors across the back of the house.

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That view alone made the house rental a hit.  Wow!

Leaving the 5th wheel at home also meant leaving the dogs at home as t...

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Freestone!

We were back in the land of “The Birds” and our friends said they’d made a new discovery last year when they camped in Bodega Bay.  This was a discovery worth sharing and making into a tradition.

Just 5 minutes or so past the town of Bodega is the town of Freestone, a place we’ve breezed past on our way to Sebastopol more than once without a blink of an eye.  

Just turn left on the Bohemiann Hwy and there you are.  

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Our destination was the Wildflour Bread Bakery where delicious breads are baked in a wood fired brick oven.  

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The bakery is only open Friday through Monday and when we got there the line was out the door.

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But, they must be very used to these crowds and had a great system for quick service…...

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Seems It’s Always About The Water….

Last November we made our annual trek to Sunset Beach.  Sunset Beach, being a California State Park, does not provide any hook-ups.  We decided to stay 5 nights therefore, our challenge was water…… making sure that the water in our tanks was enough for 5 days as well as having enough space in the holding tanks.

There are two ways to seriously conserve water in an RV…..

#1.  plan meals that require very little clean up and…..

#2. take advantage of the coin operated showers.  

I rocked the meal preparation part (in fact, stay tuned for Water Saving Tips Part 2 coming your way soon) so we probably could have skipped the coin operated showers completely but Greg agreed to take all showers in the park facilities while I agreed to using them on hair washing days only.

So, Greg headed over ...

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Fallen Land — a Book Review

I can easily say that Taylor Brown’s debut novel, “Fallen Land”, is the best thing I’ve read all year.  Of course, it’s only February.  But, I will bet that by the time December rolls around it will remain one of my top picks if not THE top pick.  See, when I finished reading the last page I was sorry there was no more, certainly didn’t want to return it to the library and was tempted to go back to the beginning and start again!

Fallen Land

 The story takes place during the last days of the Civil War, in the devastated south, at the time of Sherman’s march to the sea.  This is not a story of the Civil War but rather a story of surviving the dangerous, lawless land left in its wake.  A land left with little resources and filled with groups of marauders looking to take advantage of the vulnerable...

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