Cousin Love

My cousin Robert is here visiting from Washington D.C. That was excuse enough to have a get-together with my cousins so we could all visit with him during the short time he is here. The lunch was good… but that wasn’t important. The weather could have been a bit cooler… but that didn’t matter either.

Maybe a year without a family reunion and visits made this day even more special. Whatever the reason, it was a perfect, beautiful day to spend with the cousins I grew up with and love.

My mom and Aunt Pat are the only two left from their generation. We were blessed to have them here enjoying the day with us.


Cousins, spouses, mom and Aunt Pat.

Notice Kari (with her Cone of Shame) in the bottom right corner. I guess she didn’t want to be left out!

Preston Castle

A little over an hour away in the small town of Ione in Amador County is Preston School of Industry. Better known as Preston Castle, it was a reform school for delinquent boys. Construction was finished in 1890, and the institution was opened in June 1894 when seven wards were transferred there from San Quentin State Prison.

The State of California closed this Youth Correctional Facility in 1960.  It deteriorated over the years.  Preston Castle is listed as a California State Historical Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  In 2014, the property was deeded to the Preston Castle Foundation, which through volunteers, planned events and public relations activities is making efforts to preserve and rehabilitate the Castle.

At its peak, the school employed 200 staff and housed 800 troubled boys and young men from all over the state. 

Dave and I had a reservation on Saturday to tour Preston Castle. I had been there before with my photo friend, Darlene. Then we were allowed to tour the opened sections of the castle by ourselves to take pictures. While that was a wonderful experience, I liked this tour better. The docents were so knowledgeable and anxious to share that knowledge with us. The history was so interesting… but then I love this kind of stuff.

These are some pictures of the outside of Preston Castle. If you ever drive through Ione and look up… you can’t miss it. I highly recommend taking a tour sometime!

Crack of Dawn

The only ones up earlier than me were these fishermen!

The Saturday we were at Camanche there was a bass fishing tournament. Ron (who fishes in most of these) said it was cool to watch them take off right at “safe light”. He said he would take me to a point where we could watch.

But in order to do this we had to get up at the crack of dawn.

As it turned out the start of the tournament was much later than we anticipated, so we sat in the cold longer than we needed to. Oh well… what else did we have to do? Sleep in?… Be cozy in a warm RV?… Have coffee????…

Thank you Ron. It was nice of you to get up early for me.

As I waited for Ron, I watched all the fishermen drive in.
And they’re off! I expected them to all leave at the same time… you know, “on your mark, get set, GO”; however, they draw numbers and take off one after the other.
No color enhancement in these pictures. In fact, I was tempted to tone it down. But the first light of the morning turned the landscape a beautiful golden color.
Ron and I weren’t the only crazies getting up so early. Joyce joined us. Adam, her son-in-law was fishing in this tournament.

Don’t think these tournaments are small events. The winner took home over $4,000!

Early Riser

I am usually an early riser, even when camping. That doesn’t mean, however, that I get up and go. I usually check my phone while waiting for the coffee to brew and sometimes turn on the news. On this morning I didn’t wait for the coffee and instead headed out with Kari and my camera for a walk.

It was a good decision… it was peaceful and beautiful.

Back at camp all was still quiet and my coffee was ready.

Yeah Mon!

Our Jamaican Theme Night . . .

Bryan doesn’t stop fishing to be included in a group picture. In fact, he usually only comes in to eat and even then he might take it “to go”. So I had to add him in the background!

We hosted theme night this year with Bob and Renae. Rum Runners and Red Stripe beer for cocktails followed by Jerk Chicken with Rice and Beans and Coleslaw.

The kids… they are what make these trips so much fun! (Some of the time!!)

We already have our reservations set for next year. Nine RV spots all in a row. I wonder what our theme night will be???

Finally? For Real??

Are we finally going on an RV trip? For real?

Our Annual Camanche trip got cancelled last year, along with a lot of our other trips because of Covid. Then Dave had knee surgery so we cancelled a few more.

This morning our RV is loaded and ready to go. We had to delay our arrival day because we were having a new floor installed and workers were coming to FINALLY work on our pool.

This year we are expecting 29 people… most with their RV’s, some visitors. I am looking forward to some fun with family and friends… it’s about time!

Sugar and (a lot) of Spice!

Natalie will be ten next week. I LOVE this girl. She is confident, smart, athletic, funny, loving… I could go on and on.

She is a girly-girl… she looked so cute in her twirly dress, earrings, bow in her braided hair and nail polish . . . . . .

But don’t let all that “cuteness” fool you. Natalie is just as comfortable in her riding gear racing around the track!

She couldn’t wait for our photo session to be over so she could join her brothers riding their motor bikes.

You go girl… the world is yours!

Never Goes As Planned

One thing I have learned through the years taking pictures of little ones, or anyone for that matter, is that nothing ever goes quite as planned. I bought a giant number three balloon for Emmalyn’s three year pictures. I thought this would be a great idea for a prop, but I didn’t plan on two things:

  1. A breeze
  2. Emmalyn would not like the balloon

Oh well… it was a good reminder that photo props don’t always work out!

Oh wait… I think I detect a little smile. And the breeze turned the number 3 in the right direction. Not all is lost!