Thursday, June 27, 2013

Visiting Vic’s old stomping grounds

June 20-25, 2013
Morgan Hill, California
Coyote Valley RV Resort

A big challenge in coming to Silicon Valley in a motorhome is where to stay. We planned to spend most of our time here visiting with Vic’s sisters and his mother who are in the Sunnyvale area. Last year when we visited, we decided our best option was to stay at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose.  We had full hook-ups, a quiet spot in the park and the price was good (about $25) but the surrounding area was pretty sketchy and, or course, there no extras. This year the RV section of the fairgrounds is closed due to construction so that was no longer an option. After doing lots of research on our RV Parks app cross-referenced with RV Park Reviews, we decided to try a place about thirty minutes from Sunnyvale: Coyote Valley RV Resort.  It has a 10:10:9  rating from Trailer Life with good reviews all around. 

The park turned out to be almost as nice as advertised—more of a resort feel than most—although what they call their deluxe sites are quite cramped and have no picnic tables. Other than the narrow site, the place is well run with lots of work campers touring around in golf carts guiding folks into their sites, picking up garbage and recycling (yay!) and troubleshooting as needed. The setting is also quite pretty and relatively quiet even with a few nightly trains that pass by (something I like as it reminds me of my childhood home). They have a saltwater pool and spa which are decent but there is not enough pool furniture and the pool itself needs a good cleaning or repainting. A fair amount of folks on their 127 sites seem to be long term residents who work in the nearby tech industry but they have strict regulations about RVs being less than ten years old or meet management approval. The landscaping is also pretty and well-maintained; as a result, the place looks quite inviting. The price for a weekly rate on the deluxe site (least expensive) is $350 plus tax and $10 per dog, so it is on the high side for our budget but our alternatives were quite limited.  (Good thing we had a free week in my nephew’s driveway in San Diego to help lower our average cost for a campsite as most California parks are high this time of year.)


Another BIG PLUS for our location is our drive to Sunnyvale takes us past a Trader Joe’s where Vic can get his bucket of cranberry oatmeal dunkers, a drive-through Starbucks where he can get his no water, non-fat chai latte to wash down his dunkers, and a Costco where we can stock up on our Brookside dark chocolate acai berries.  A perfect trifecta for us full-timers who value the luxury of finding these indulgences close by.
vics treats
Vic spent most of his childhood in the Bay area as he was born in San Francisco where he lived in the Sunset District until he was two when his family moved back to Cleveland, his father’s hometown, for five years. The winters were a bit too rough for the family and there were more employment opportunities in San Francisco so they moved back to The Avenues where Vic used to play in Golden Gate Park and ride the streetcars around the city as a nine and ten-year-old. 

His family then moved to the suburb of Santa Clara, about fifty miles south of SF, an area that was just beginning to transform from farm country to new subdivisions. This was a time when Hwy 101 was just a two lane road!  Vic’s family stayed in Santa Clara for about ten more years until he and his two sisters all graduated from Buchser High School. When Vic was in college at the University of Idaho, his parents moved to Sunnyvale and a few years later his younger sister settled there with her husband where she has lived for the past forty-one years! Her home is only about a mile from the Cupertino Apple Campus at 1 Infinite Loop, so you can imagine how much the area has grown and changed since the halcyon days of the 1950s. It’s interesting to go down memory lane with Vic when we visit this area and learn about the changes that have taken place the last 60+ years.
One of the sadder aspects of visiting here is that Vic’s ninety-year-old mother is now in a care facility. She hardly recognizes him anymore. I can’t imagine how difficult that is for Vic as I never had to witness this kind of decline with either of my parents. They passed quickly which I am grateful for even though I was less prepared for their death. What else is there to do but accept the situation and look for the silver linings.
vic and eulah
A cute story about visiting her these past days is that she has not lost her desire for ice cream—a “trait” Vic has definitely inherited.  Vic fed her some chocolate ice cream for an afternoon treat the first day we went to see her and her body language alone showed how much she enjoyed it, then she confirmed that it tasted “real good.”  One day we were there when she had her lunch and she ate her vanilla ice cream first.  At this point, why not?  Simple pleasures can mean so much.

On our third day here we took a trip into the city to see Vic’s nephew, his wife, and their five-month-old baby boy. They live in an apartment right in the heart of San Francisco on Van Ness Avenue while they are waiting to close on their new home in Mill Valley, near Sausalito. We had a wonderful afternoon with them seeing the baby and celebrating the purchase of their new home with champagne—well, that was my excuse anyway.  (Okay—let it be known—I love champagne. I always keep a chilled bottle out of the conviction that a girl should always be ready to celebrate something. Oh, and Marianne, if you are reading this, you are now to blame for my new obsession with  Pop, Pommery's drink-out-of-a-straw champagne. I am jealous of you once having a boyfriend who said he would always keep you in Pops. . . . Hint hint to Victor. It’s our wedding anniversary this week.)
colby collage 1
Sorry, no graceful way to segue out of that digression. Another major focus during our time here is the dogs. Vic’s sister Sandy is responsible for us owning two Portuguese Water Dogs as she breeds them and has been highly involved in the Northern California Portuguese Water Dog Club. She is also semi-responsible for us having Rico as the agreement for taking our first dog, Jetta, who was two at the time she became our dog, was that she have one litter of pups of which Rico was the first-born. We swore we wouldn't keep a pup but you can see how well we stuck to our promise. Could you let someone else take this fluffball away from you?


My sister-in-law has Jetta’s mother, her nephew (Rico’s cousin), another stud dog named Garth, and an eighteen-month-old female named Sonya.  Portuguese Water Dogs (called Porties) almost went out of existence until they were somewhat rediscovered in the 70s. The breeders have been very careful about keeping the lines healthy and pure. The breed became a little more popular when the Obamas brought their Portie Bo into the White House. The fear was that they would become too popular, but, fortunately, that hasn't happened. In our travels, we see way more Labradoodles and Goldendoodles which seem to be quite the trend for people who want non-shedding dogs. 

While we were in town, Sandy took us out to Oakdale (near Sonora) where her dog handler and groomer lives. Our dog Jetta spent about a year with him when she was getting her championship, so she went crazy to see him and be back at his place. And, lucky for us, he had time to groom her the way she should look as my attempts to groom the two dogs fall quite short of his Edward Scissorhands expertise.

Our last day here we were going to take a day trip to Monterey and do the famous 17 Mile Drive along the Pacific Coast but after reading some reviews about the construction going on and housing that has filled in some of the views, we decided to save it for another time. (We have both traveled it before years ago.) Instead, we went to Santa Cruz, one of Vic’s favorite beaches when he was a teenager. They have a boardwalk with a carnival-like atmosphere somewhat akin to the Jersey shore. Stay tuned for our trip down Vic’s memory lane.


  1. I love your new header photo!
    Enjoyed reading your post...full of a lot of people and places that are important to you...makes your post very special. The picture of Vic and his mom is quite special too. We have been through similar experiences with our parents. God bless you both! I think it was Jetta's lucky day!

  2. It sounds like you're having an interesting visit to Vic's old stomping grounds. His mother looks great for her age. Too bad about her memory. That must be difficult for Vic.

  3. I love that header photo! Too cute.

    Are you Elks members? We stay at Elks all across the country. They are usually inexpensive and the people are so nice. They are resorts but for the price they work.

    What a special trip home. Mom looks super for 90. She and my dad would get along so well. He has ice cream every

  4. Love the seal header!

    Looks like more wonderful family time. Glad Vic is getting this time with his mother.

    The dogs are so cute!! No wonder you ended up with them.

    You definitely hit the trifecta! The town is complete if it has those three locations...LOVE and need all of them.

    Enjoy the rest of your visit:)

  5. Me too, that header photo is fantastic. Great post about Vic and his home and family. It's nice to know something about where he came from. I think he's WAY lucky to have lived in San Fran. When I was a teenager in dumpy Dayton Ohio I always thought San Francisco was THE place and felt very short changed that I didn't get born into a family who lived there. Hanging out in Golden Gate park - in my dreams for sure!! No wonder they left Cleveland, I definitely would have, if I could have. Nice pictures all around of the family and those darling doggies.


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