One of our favorite campgrounds in Southern California is at Table Mountain in the Angeles National Forest. We had timed our visit to coincide with ARRL Field Day and had been able to snag one of our favorite spots, Site #10. Table Mountain Campground offers well-separated sites, particularly at the top and bottom of the campground, and clean and tidy vault toilets. Firewood is available for purchase on site. Xaria lost absolutely no time getting down in the dirt on our arrival.
It’s been an odd kind of year in many ways for reasons that might become clearer as you read through this review of 2018. I guess the most unusual part of the year was we didn’t have a family holiday. That being said, we traveled, and we certainly have lots of plans for the future. It was also a year of significant transitions, and new beginnings as you’ll soon hear.
Stourhead is a world-famous landscape garden owned by the National Trust and located in the county of Wiltshire. In Autumn, it's the changing colors you come to see. The trees surrounding the central lake are ablaze with reds, browns, and gold. The views were absolutely breathtaking!
I wonder when Paul Theroux wrote, "Riding the Iron Rooster" (that describes a year of traveling by mainly steam trains in the China of the Eighties) whether he could have, even in his wildest dreams, imagined the bullet train that now runs from Shanghai to Beijing.
The Chongyang Festival, also known as Double Ninth Festival, takes place on the 9th day of the 9th lunar month in the Chinese lunar calendar. Chinese ancestors considered it an auspicious day worth celebration and the tradition continues today. To understand the true meanings of Chinese traditional festivals, Yueya Kindergarten has celebrated Chongyang Festival for the last eleven years.
My favorite place to visit growing up in Nanjing was Zhong Shan Ling (home of the Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum). Every year my parents prepared snacks and took us by bike or on the bus to this special place. We would climb up all the steps to Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s tomb, marvel at the exceptional architecture, take in the amazing views of the city below, and have a picnic in the shade of a tree. Dr. Sun Yat-sen is the founding father of modern China and his resting place in Zhong Shan Ling has made a lasting impression on many Chinese people’s hearts.
A lot has changed in China since I first went there in 1994. My last trip was in 2007, and many people, including my wife, Yafei, have been telling me that much of China is unrecognizable as so much has changed. It’s hard to imagine this, but these changes hit home during the first week of the girls’ trip to Nanjing. Yafei enrolled our daughter, Xaria, into a local kindergarten and the vast contrast between now and then was plain to see.
My goals for taking Xaria to China include letting her see my homeland and the area where I grew-up, expose her to Chinese culture first-hand and let her experience a preschool to further improve her Chinese language skills and have the opportunity for plenty of interaction with children of her own age. At the beginning of our second week in Nanjing, Xaria started going to kindergarten.
After what seems like an age of planning and preparation, and with more of the same on the horizon, our family travels have begun. Well, it has for the girls. Yafei, Xaria, and Yafei's parents left for China on October 2nd, for an eight-week visit to Nanjing and the surrounding area.
For Mummy's 25th (again) birthday we headed to Agua Caliente Country Park, CA. Famous for its hot springs, the park is located 26 miles north of Ocotillo on S2 (also known as the Great Southern Overland Stage Route of 1849 - now that's a mouthful!).
We were all looking forward to our first teardrop outing of 2018 to Anza Borrego Desert State Park; it seemed an age since we were last out camping. January is the best time of the year to come out to the desert, and we had booked the same site at Borrego Palm Canyon Campground as we had last time.
Xaria was excited as we approached our weekend at the Paso Picacho campground in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Joining us would be the boys Alex, August and Asher. Also, it had been six weeks since our last camping trip to Table Mountain in Angeles National Forest, and Xaria was keen to be out in the teardrop again.