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Old 12-26-2007, 01:36 AM   #381
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As Rich predicted, his nice routine went straight into the Dumpster as the festivities began.

So he changed gears, put on his Hawaiian shirt, brought over his ukulele, and led a sing-along as he strummed chords.

He obviously had great fun playing a tune that had me stumbling on the Hawaiian words, such as, Humuhumunukunukuapua'a, the Hawaiian state fish, also known as the Reef Triggerfish. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reef_triggerfish).

Before long, Emma also joined in with her ukulele!
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:39 AM   #382
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Then everything went nuts when The Conductor of the Polar Express came out to tell about his annual trips to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. "We’re on a very tight schedule," he said.
(But he hadn’t counted on airforums.com having a last minute breakdown.)

http://tour.airstreamlife.com/wordpress/?p=1035
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:43 AM   #383
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This was followed by the appearance of the Plague Doctor on his rounds to make sure the newly arrived were not carrying the plague, which is still a current concern.
http://travel.latimes.com/articles/la-trw-plague9nov09

The doctor became concerned when he learned that the Luhrs’ had recently visited the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) and had recent changes: a sore throat, coughing, spot in (camera lens) eye, sudden shopping spree (after giving up so many worldly possessions just months earlier), and their daughter suddenly walking like a crab.
http://www.lbcblog.com/2007/12/05/crabbies/

He eventually concluded they were not carrying the plague, but he did advise that they eat more chicken soup. They complied that very night, with the help of Larry’s jook (congee).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congee
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:46 AM   #384
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The doctor went in to write his report as Larry expounded on the plague.

A few moments later, a mysterious character, Herr Drosselmeier appeared.
He is known to be a clock and toy maker and was making his way to the Christmas eve party at the Stahlbaums’ to deliver gifts that he had made for their children Marie (Clara) and Fritz.

He showed his gifts while serving gingerbread and told the story of the Nutcracker.
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:48 AM   #385
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He then presented Emma and Austin each with a miniature wooden Nutcracker.
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:50 AM   #386
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This was a very special and magical moment indeed.
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:52 AM   #387
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This was followed by more music..

Rich on ukulele, Bill on mandolin and Eleanor sang as they performed the ever-popular Bluegrass tune, "Old Joe Clark".
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Old 12-26-2007, 01:55 AM   #388
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The days are shorter now and it was time to prepare for dinner. Larry showed Emma how to make Dim Sum (Chinese dumplings) on our roll-out dinette table. The previous night he showed her how to de-vein shrimp.

Before we knew it, we had an impromptu, pot luck dinner/feast for eight in front of our Safari.

Our folding, aluminum roll-top camping tables (from Sam’s Club) also came in handy.
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:00 AM   #389
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The next day was unstructured.

I hiked up the Overlook trail to get a higher view of the area.
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:03 AM   #390
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I then proceeded to hike on the 0.6 mile "trail" to the Visitor’s Center.

I was amazed to find the trail was actually a smooth cement sidewalk.
"What’s a cement sidewalk doing here in the desert?", I thought.

The ranger explained that it was mandated by the state three years ago so that the handicapped can have access from the camping area to the Visitors Center.
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:08 AM   #391
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The Visitor’s Center is beautiful and well designed with sensitivity to the environment.

Their theatre shows videos about the Anza-Borrego desert and the Marshal South, Ghost Mountain story.

See photos of the Visitors Center and additional information at:
http://www.desertusa.com/anza_borrego/du-abpmain.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/481694-post353.html
http://www.theabf.org/storebooks.htm

While there, I bought historian, Diana Lindsay’s book, "Anza-Borrego A to Z", a companion to one of her other books, "The Anza-Borrego Desert Region".
http://www.desertusa.com/web_cart/db/pages/5120.html

She will be speaking here on January 6 on the 75th Anniversary of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
For further info: http://www.theabf.org/cgi-bin/calendar.pl?month=1&year=2008&view=Event&event_id= 180
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:11 AM   #392
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I then started to walk back on that cement desert sidewalk/trail when I spotted Rich and Emma approaching on their bicycles.

I quickly set up the camera on its tripod and snapped some photos.
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:14 AM   #393
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Anza-Borrego Holiday Express Rolls On (started at 377)

New items and/or seasonal changes for our Safari:

We’re decked out for Christmas and New Year’s.

Emma gave us a handcrafted, metallic-silver elephant for our Safari décor.
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:24 AM   #394
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We added Chile Pepper Lights to the Mexican folk art above the LCD and really like the red color ambience that it provides to the front of the trailer in the evening.

And we still enjoy the relaxing sounds and sights of a crackling fireplace provided by the trailer’s A-V system, and the DVD, "The Happy Holiday Hearth", by Rhino Home Video:
http://www.rhino.com/store/ProductDetail.lasso?Number=970152
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:29 AM   #395
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Clustered on or near the lounge are additional items, from left to right: Silver stocking from Target, Winter issue of Airstream Life (http://www.airstreamlife.com/note.html)

A box with lighted dog collars from REI, and lights for us, voltmeter from Radio Shack, two-way Cobra radios from Camping World, hp camera docking station, and the control for one of our new electric blankets (low voltage).
http://www.comforthouse.com/blankets1.html
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:32 AM   #396
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We updated our Protocols and Checklists binder with standardized hand signals illustrated in Tour of America post: http://tour.airstreamlife.com/wordpress/?p=1003

We have found they really help and we are putting them into practice.
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:35 AM   #397
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On the last evening Larry made glogg (hot mulled, spicy wine) as we chatted in and around the safari.

The next morning we assembled for our group photo when a roadrunner tried to get in on the act.
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:40 AM   #398
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By noon we had each departed in separate directions. Lisa and family returned to Orange County, the Luhrs' returned to their home that they had bought last spring in Arizona, and we continued boondocking near Ghost Mountain where temperatures dropped to 28 degrees overnight...
(But that’s another story.)

So as the Anza-Borrego Holiday Express rolls out…

We wish you a very Merry Christmas…
and Happy New Year!

-- SilverGate, et al.
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Old 12-26-2007, 10:31 AM   #399
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One additional note:

The illustration under the photo of Emma in post #386 above is actually the book cover of a wonderful, new child’s book by New York Times best-selling artist, writer Susan Jeffers.

The Nutcracker, is written and illustrated by Susan Jeffers and is available at her web site,
http://www.susanjeffers-art.com/default800.html
It is also available at: http://www.amazon.ca/Nutcracker-Susan-Jeffers/dp/0060743867

(Hardcover: 40 pages Publisher: Harper Collins Canada (Sep 13 2007) Language: English ISBN-10: 0060743867 ISBN-13: 978-0060743864 )

Her book speaks to the child in us all…

It certainly spoke to me.

SilverGate
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Old 12-26-2007, 02:13 PM   #400
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Hey SilverGate et al... Looks like you had a fun time in the desert this trip (of course, you always do)! All those characters and activities! You're certainly out there entertaining the troops! Hope you have a great holiday season and the best of the New Year!

Ease on down the road...
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