How time flies when you are having fun. This post has some of the good , the bad, and the ugly of travel. Every bit of it a privilege, and at over 100 days on the road I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.
We stayed in a rv park next to a train yard that had over a dozen of rail sets, the train system is alive and well in the big easy. Also about a half mile behind us was a well known area for street racing. It’s called Da Pad, Utube has videos you can watch, we heard it almost nightly while we were there. The burned rubber on the concrete was so thick in places it looked like blacktop instead.
I clearly took some time off from this for the Holidays, so much so as I had to look to at my last post to see where I had left off. December 12 seems so long ago, when it’s only been 16 days. I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas, is still enjoying Hanukkah, and any other joyous activity this season brings.
We left Santa Rosa/Petaluma and headed down to Gilroy, CA The Garlic capital of the US. We spent a few days there, headed over to the coast to see Carmel by the Sea and drove down the coast as far as Big Sur.
When we were north of San Francisco, everyone kept telling us how expensive Napa and Sonoma were and we had just visited a half dozen little wineries in a few days, so we continued from Gilroy to Paso Robles. More wine country, different, but lots of little places to enjoy. We were most impressed by the difference of scenery to the coast than we had experienced before.
I forgot to tell you we were headed to the San Simeon Coast, the home of Hearst Castle and a bunch of fun elephant seals. I had a blast watching them, hopefully you will enjoy them too.
I haven’t taken many photos since this time. From Paso Robles, we headed east and south and moved everyday, until Christmas. We moved through Bakersfield, which was touted as a relatively unpleasant place to live, spent the night in Mojave, CA, then Needles, on to Buckeye, AZ, over to Lordburg, NM, and into Texas.
First, VanHorn, Ozona, Fredricksburg, Austin and currently San Antonio. We will be heading to Corpus Christi on Monday. I have a few photos from Austin and San Antonio. I will update the blog with those next time. All I will tell you, if you have a chance to go to a conference or a long weekend in San Antonio. Do it, the river walk area is beautiful, food is fun between bbq and tex/mex, I would highly suggest to miss it in the summer.
I had never been to this part of California before. I experienced my first glimpse of Redwood trees. Absolutely fantastic and amazing to see nature at her finest. Crescent City had plenty to offer for a few days. Let me show you…
Hope all of you have enjoyed the Thanksgiving Holiday, got some shopping done or simply enjoyed some time away from the daily grind. Since last I updated the blog, we made our way down the Washington and Oregon Coast, spending the Holiday in a KOA at the Oregon Dunes. Miles and piles of sand the families as far down as LA come up to play on with their ATV’s. It was fun to see families out enjoying the outdoors and each other. Lots of mud and noise. They also let you drive on the beach itself in this area. I’m sorry to report I didn’t get any photos while driving on the beach. I was busy enjoying the moment. The Dunes are close North Bend, OR and Coos Bay.
We left the Portland Area and headed north into Washington. We stayed first in Gig Harbor about an hour outside of Seattle. We avoided the major city in favor of quieter adventures. We drove around the area and found the most amazing Ymca camp. I would have loved to spend a few weeks of my youth there. After a few days we moved on to Port Angeles and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The strait is the water border between the US and Victoria, BC, Canada.
We are making our way down the coast. Staying a few nights in Lincoln City near Devil’s Lake, and then will head down to North Bend just north of Coo’s Bay to spend 5 nights. There are Dunes there to play on and explore the area over the Thanksgiving Holiday. We are thankful for your support of our adventures and wish everyone the warmth of family and friends, as well as a safe and grateful holiday!
We’ve been out of decent internet service for a bit. According to Verizon Unlimited, after you use 25 GB it slows to a snails pace and is no fun to use whatsoever. Lots of big volcanic rocks out west, most of them pretty stunning. I will show you some of the more famous and a few not so famous but still good views nonetheless.
We drove into Portland today. I didn’t take any photos. I realized that I am definitely not a true city girl. Some beautiful old churches along side new style architecture, the hustle and bustle of traffic with packed parking lots. There are more homeless tent sites here than I expected. We saw many in Las Vegas as well, but these looked a little more permanent along the side of the highway leading into the city as well as on some of the city streets. I can’t put the words together to describe how seeing them made me feel, other than sad. I understand we all make choices, and some poor choices lead us to places we never imagined for ourselves. I’m sure some would choose differently if they felt they had a choice and some aren’t even aware what choices exist. I don’t know what the answers are, or the how or whys some have ended up where they are. Another reminder to count your blessings and be kind to one another.
We stayed in Mammoth lakes, CA and had the chance to visit friends there. It was a 2 hour ride into Yosemite from there but a lovely ride across Tioga Pass and into the park. The roads have been very kind to us and the journey itself is so beautiful, there just aren’t enough superlatives to describe it all. I found Yosemite less striking than Bryce Canyon or Arches National Park; but still I am extremely grateful the land has been set aside for all to see. We didn’t see any bears, but there are signs everywhere reminding you that you are in active bear country and need to be smart with your food, and any ‘pretty’ smelling items. I was borderline paranoid, which Jeff enjoyed thoroughly.
We had to head south, we wanted to head into California and into Death Valley, but Mother Nature had other plans, Santa Anna Winds running 30-40 mph with gusts as high as 70 mph. Winds of that speed don’t mix well with our RV. We were also concerned about winds carrying sparks into other areas we had no idea where and wanted no part in trying to outrun disaster.
We headed to Lake Havasu City, AZ spent a night there and then headed into California via Newberry Springs, CA. near Barstow. I saw more trains moving than I had in my entire life. Every 30 minutes or so, one would go west and then another east. Barstow is a huge train hub apparently, who knew? There is also a huge USMC logistics base there. They must dispatch most of their equipment from that location, I sure saw enough to make anyone say oooorah! From there we headed up 395 to Lone Pine, CA , a gorgeous place with plenty to see. The following pictures are from 2 days of exploring the area, Whitney Portal road, Horseshoe meadow road, and movie road.
We visited with friends and family for a week in Vegas. As you well know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! I have a few photos of the Hoover Dam as I took the tour, but the rest of the fun isn’t my story to tell. I will share that there were plenty of sights to see and a few I wish I could un-see. I know I am getting older because I was confused by quite a bit that I saw, thinking, why? more often than why not?
The last group of big photos I took sat in the camera for awhile. I was feeling like the blog was becoming more like a job, than simply sharing our views and excitement. Below you will see a small place and wide open spaces outside of Washington, Utah called Little Black Mountain and then Zion National Park. We may be going back to Zion after Thanksgiving. Most of the year, you can only see part of the park in a private car. 20 years ago, you could see all of it in a private car all year long. Now, the park is so popular, they take people on giant tour buses and you hop off and on at different spots.