A few days after being evacuated due to flooding in California: It was forecasted to rain later so Kevin suggested we drive to Pinnacles National Park this morning. It was a gloriously beautiful morning- sun shining and everything looks spring-fresh. Pinnacles is about 40 miles south of where we are at in Hollister, CA. We knew we wouldn’t do the hikes to the Pinnacles because of severe rainstorms coming.
We stopped at the store and he got his National Park passport stamped. The ranger told us the original volcanos that started these pinnacles were 100 miles away and moving due to being on the fault. Pacific plate is going under the Sierra Nevada plate. I find that so fascinating.
We were told Bear Gulch is the best place to drive since we aren’t hiking. We went there and walked around. Kevin spotted an acorn woodpecker and was mesmerized watching it. I loved watching him watch the bird.
We soon headed back home. It rained a little throughout the afternoon but the clouds were sure dark just north of us.
We walked to Casa de Fruta restaurant for dinner from our campsite. It took less than 5 minutes. We laughed about if it started raining when we were walking home: he said I would ask him to walk all the way and get the truck and come back and pick me up, but I said I would call Lyft/Uber. HAHAHA
Today was sunny and warm and we went to explore Monterey, CA. So excited for this place. I have heard about it, we drove past years ago, but never stopped. The fog hugged the mountains in the valley of Hollister. The green grass and yellow wildflowers really popped. We saw workers in the fields. Driving along the coast we see it is a lot of sand dunes there and some are pretty tall. I had read last night the website for Old Fisherman’s Wharf and it is good thing, as they gave detailed instructions and GPS points where to park. That helped since there is construction in some of the parking lots. We got there really early with only a few cars in the lot.
We walked along the harbor path and a short distance away to Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Beautiful clear skies, blue water, colorful boats, and bright colored buildings over the water. The water is extremely clear and we can see the bottom quite a ways out.
We stopped at The Custom House. This is the oldest government building in California. From 1822-1846 Monterey was the capital city for Mexico. On July 7, 1846 the US military raised the US flag there. A sign is at the door: “Earthquake Warning – this is an unreinforced masonry building. Unreinforced masonry building may be unsafe in the event of an earthquake.” The wharf was built of stone in 1846 and was later used for commercial fishing in the early 1900s.
We looked across the harbor and saw another pier with a long wooden building. There were vans, crates, and all sorts of happening there. It is the Monterey Fish Company, Monterey Abalone Company and Robbie’s Ocean Fresh Seafood. Kevin said it was so very loud with all the seals talking. I am deaf so it was quiet to me! HAHA The seals would gather there as something was thrown into the water for them to eat. They were enjoying whatever it was.
It was fun to walk past the shops on the wharf. One point we saw a train coming right at us. Well, it was a train of garbage dumpsters all hooked together. Bright colors of lime green, and blue and black. It was funny but a smart way to move them.
For lunch we ate at Rockfish Harbor Grill. We were the first ones there and they gave us the best spot, they said, right at the end corner with great views. I had fish tacos and Kevin had shrimp Alfredo. We both said it was fine but not worth the price. Rated: Once A Year. However, the views were worth the cost. This weekend is Whalefest Monterey. Lots of booths set up, performers of music, synopsis, all made for a people drawing event.
We decided to walk the 1/2 mile to Cannery Row. Kevin likes when old buildings are repurposed. This place has a lot of history. It was incredibly busy with people everywhere.
At one point we saw a statue of several people. At the top was a seagull on the man’s head. It was holding still and looked to be part of the statue! HAHA By this time the sky was getting cloudy but it wasn’t cold at all. Fun to look at the old building bustling with people going through all sorts of shops. Down by the water it was fun to see people playing in the sand.
So thankful the weather was pretty fine for exploring this weekend.
It started out as a normal Friday. We had no idea of the “not-normal” that was coming! Here at San Benito RV Campground, Paicines, California, it had been raining a lot that week. I sat down at the table and starting putting together our travel blog for the weekly post that day. Kevin was doing his remote job. It was raining hard. I suddenly saw someone in a yellow vest run over – quickly – and knock on our door. Kevin answered, since I am deaf, and we were told that the campground was being evacuated…”you can leave your trailer here if you want but you must go!” Boy does that get ya moving! We talked for about 10 seconds if we should go to a hotel or not. We didn’t know how long the evacuation would be. Kevin said, “This is our home” so we started throwing things to pack up our 2022 Alliance Avenue 5th Wheel. Kevin emptied the black and gray tanks and put some water in the fresh tank because we didn’t know where we would end up and for how long. I had breakfast dishes and pan but just put them in the sink. We got packed up pretty fast.
At first, Kevin said, he thought it was probably the campground being overly cautious but then…we drove over the one-lane bridge at the campground entrance and then he knew why everyone had to leave. The creek we thought, even laughed at the idea a few days ago, would never fill up had indeed, filled up, was over the banks and just a few inches from overflowing the bridge. This is the only way in/out of the campground. Yikes!!! As we left we stopped a worker on a golf cart and asked how we would know when the campground opens. He said they will email us.
Heading down the road past another river crossing the water was out of the banks and flooding all around including the road. We were a parade of trucks and RVs moving out. We estimate there were probably about 100 RVs in the campground.
So…where do you go, with a 36 ft 5th wheel, when evacuated? Pretty quick we decided to go to a Target parking lot we had seen in Hollister, which is about 30 minutes away. There we could get a plan together. As we pulled in there were about 15 other RVs from our campground. Kevin went over and talked with one guy who said he was staying here in the Target parking lot tonight. I was pretty sure we could stay in this parking lot for the night, too, but that would be a last resort for us.
We walked through the pouring rain across the parking lot to the Panda Express for an early lunch. We needed to eat and think. 🙂 I remember reading that Thousand Trails (a campground membership) had helped someone find a different place when they had to leave a campground a few weeks ago. So Kevin called member services; it was an hour wait but they called back. The lady was helpful and had to look a lot of places up because so many were full of evacuees or evacuated. She finally came up with Thousand Trails Russian River. I quickly looked it up on the map and it is about 4 hours away, even farther north than San Francisco. She said it was open and we had her change our reservation to that for tomorrow through the end of March. Very helpful. I continued to use my laptop to look up some campgrounds in this area for several reasons: 1- north of us is getting even worse rain and flooding 2- we really want to explore this area we are in 3- then to come all the way back down to our next reserved campground in Morgan Hill, CA the end of March is just a lot of back and forth. I found two campgrounds in Gilroy, CA, 30 minutes north of Hollister, CA. I don’t know if they had openings but the roads to them were closed due to flooding. Every direction out of Hollister practically had closed roads due to flooding. I even looked around San Jose. Kevin called one resort in the San Jose area and it is $95.00 a night and only a few sites left because of all the evacuees. That was more than we wanted to spend if we could find something cheaper. He called Bolado Park in Tres Pinos that we passed on the road. Left a message since they are on lunch break. (Never called us back.) I checked a few others out online through RV Life, Good Sam, Compendium, and even Harvest Host. Kevin then called Casa de Fruta campground. https://www.casadefruta.com/index.php The lady said they were closed for this day because workers couldn’t get to work due to the flooding but to be at the campground after 8:00am tomorrow morning and we should be able to get a campsite.
We saw a Food Bank truck pull up and park in-between two RVs just down from us. Soon a man came over and he obviously knew we had all been evacuated. He said there was a place we could go, even had hook ups, and gave us the address. I am deaf but Kevin told me the man said 3 or 4 times, if we need food we were welcome to go to the food bank. Kevin told him thanks, we didn’t need food, but a place of the night would be great.
We headed to where he told us which was just about 8 minutes away. It turns out this is San Benito County Farm Labor Association located at the Migrant Housing Center with rows and rows of housing. We saw signs for “evacuees” and followed them. We stopped at the big building and it turns out the American Red Cross had set up here for flooding evacuees. So cool! We have never had that before, actually, never been evacuated before. They told Kevin they had 4 RV spots and 2 were taken and one person was coming so we could have the other spot. We wondered about all the others who the food bank man had offered to come. Another person in an RV came up but he said he would go to the Elk’s Lodge. It turns out this place is government owned and ran by the county. The Red Cross was here for the flooding evacuees. A county worker told us to pull around and then follow him. It was some tight turns but we made it fine. Followed up zig-zagging through the rows of houses and to the back where there were some stationary travel trailers that look like overflow housing. We weren’t given a site, just pull off here, on the road, no hook ups, but that was fine. Our 5th wheel is self-contained. We were way high above the flooding and could stay there just fine. We are so thankful! Of course Kevin had to stop his remote work this morning. He told his boss we were being evacuated and he said be safe and see you on Monday (online). So nice. Once we got settled at the Red Cross Evacuation Site, Kevin put up Starlink and he did some work for a few hours. With all that is happening, we decided we wanted to go out for dinner, especially since tomorrow is a travel day…somewhere. HA
We drove out and oh, the gate doesn’t open. Well, it is the entry gate; the exit gate is way over there. Drove back around and the exit gate would open but, we don’t have a code to get in. This could be bad. Kevin parked right there and walked through an open gate in the fence to go the main building. There was a van that pulled away from the main building and the lady stopped to talk to him. He said we needed a code and she told him there isn’t a code, it is a badge. She ended up giving her county work badge to him and said to drop it off at the main building tonight. So nice! Kevin had picked Running Rooster Restaurant. There was a 50 minute wait but we figured by the time we found somewhere else and waited it would be the same or so. The hostess used American Sign Language with me and we had a nice little chat! She learned ASL 5 years ago. Her name is Nikki. It was a fun surprise. It is a cute restaurant with all sorts of American food. Kevin had a burger that he said is better than Red Robin and I had BBQ chicken, bacon, onion pizza. Delicious. Brought home most of the pizza for Kevin’s breakfast tomorrow. 🙂 We were pretty exhausted from the day and were in bed around 8:30pm. We stayed up and read for awhile. I read that another campground 30 minutes north of here was evacuated at 3:00 AM and they had to leave their trailers there, leave immediately. Wow!
To wrap up this day: we are safe, we are together, and we have our home with us. We were calm and able to think things through. So much to be thankful for.
Some answers the next day.
We slept really well; Kevin said he slept much better at the American Red Cross Evacuation Center than he would have in a parking lot at Target. We pulled out around 7:20am. The road out is a maze and the exit road is blocked due to flooding so we had to zigzag around. Kevin did great, I got out and spotted a few times but thankfully the road worked fine for us to navigate through. We headed to Casa de Fruta and saw a lot of flooding along the way. I would look at fields and say, “I don’t think there is suppose to be a lake right there.” 😦 For roads that had been closed yesterday the signs were just set to the side because they know another storm is coming. We got to Casa de Fruta and wow, what a neat place. I said later that if we have to be stranded somewhere, this is the place! It has a lot of history, the grounds are huge and gorgeous, there is a fruit stand, deli & wine building, treats, restaurant, gas station w/ diesel, a campground, and a train to ride. We pulled in behind another trailer and Kevin went to the office. Yay, we got a site. I felt extreme relief wash over me. We have a site until March 16. The lady in the office told Kevin that they usually only let people stay here up to a week at a time but since we are evacuees, they will let us stay for another week IF there is a cancellation. They have 2 clubs coming in for this weekend and they are booked solid. Thankful we have a place for at least the next few days. This campground, like the rest of the place, is great – all asphalt, long nice wood picnic tables, and all have electricity, sewer and water. We see there is a river behind here and said, oh, it won’t flood up here…and our eyes got BIG as we looked at each other and said, “That is what we said about San Benito RV Campground!” 🤪HAHAHAHA Seriously, we are much higher than the river and a good distance. 🙂 Kevin called San Benito RV Campground ranger number and a lady answered. Turns out she is staying at a hotel as an evacuee. Kevin told her about a package that was delivered to the campground for his work and that is in their office. She said the hotel doesn’t give out paper and pens anymore so please text her the information about the package. He said he would give her a FedEx label to have it mailed somewhere else. She was very nice and willing to help. (Note: this package wasn’t worth life and limb but if the campground was opening today he just didn’t want it to get shipped back in all the shuffle.) She said San Benito RV Campground is closed until at least March 21st. Good to know. I cancelled our reservation for Russian River campground that started today. It is a long ways and since we have Casa de Fruta, and Kevin has a box he needs, plus we would like to explore this area, and our next campground is back here at Morgan Hill, we decided to stay in this area longer. It was a good comfort that we had a site if needed and Thousand Trails member services helped a lot yesterday. Kevin tried to call Russian River several times but no answer so we didn’t even know if they are evacuated or not. They are getting the same storms.
At 10:30am, the San Benito RV Campground lady that Kevin talked with on the phone called. She said they were allowing a small window of time for people to get their RVs and anything they left at the campground and get it out. He asked if we could get the box and she said yes. We didn’t leave anything at the campsite there. So we jumped in the truck and headed out.
The road is closed but of course we can go to get our things. There is a long, spread out “parade” of people coming and going. Trucks going in, trucks and RVs going out. We were so surprised at how much land is flooded and the rivers flowing out of their banks. We got to the campground and stopped at the check point right before the bridge. After helping the people in front of us, the lady there told us many RVs/trucks have gone over this bridge but “cross the bridge at our own risk.” We drove to the office and no one was there. Kevin called the lady who said she would have someone there. Just a few seconds later the lady from the bridge came up. As she opened the office door and let him get the package, she said that Rancho Oso (where we stayed in December; it’s near Santa Barbara, CA) had so much damage they are closed until at least July 1. They are taking this time, since no one is camping there, to redo the roads and fix up some things. She said this here campground is closed until at least the 21st but they are looking at staying closed and doing some much need things around there. If they can find the money, she said. That is a good idea – get things in better shape while the campground is closed. It is hard for the workers who live there, she said, because they were also evacuated. I hope they will be able to find a place to stay while things get upgraded, if it does. All the rivers are way out of their banks around here. So much water. There are mountains all around so the rivers get that water besides just the rain right there.
Back home Kevin worked all day. Even though it is Saturday, he wanted to make up for missing yesterday. Might as well, can’t get around and explore right now with lots of places flooded.
We continue to count our blessings. We didn’t get upset and actually had some good laughs throughout this ordeal. It was an experience…all part of the adventure. Coming up next week I will share more things of what happened after these two very full and eventful days! 🙂
I really like maps! In fact, when we drive, I often have the map on my iPad plus the paper map out as I follow along. 🙂 For Christmas, Kevin gave me a Garmin RV 1090 GPS (*see note below). It is as big as my iPad. The great thing about this one is it is for RVs. You add your trailer and truck information and then it sets the route based on length, height, and weight. It has a lot of added features that I devour, including direction and elevation. 🙂
Leaving Desert Olive Farms, at -151 elevation, we headed to San Diego, California. The road goes up to around 3000 ft. At the steep climbs every little while we saw a sign “Radiator Water” and then a concrete tub. That is a good idea. Garmin RV 1090 took us on I-8 to the San Diego valley instead of a short cut that we saw. Good thing! Once we got to the campground, we found that the short cut road doesn’t allow vehicles/trailers our length because of tight turns. So glad we didn’t have to try and backtrack! It was a great drive. Less than 10 miles from the suburb and up a mountain we were at Pio Pico Resort and Campground.
This campground is first come first serve, even with your reservation. We found a great site with gorgeous views out each window. There is a creek that runs along the back of our site. Lush trees, palm trees, and thick grass around and on the sides of the mountain. On the front side of our site we see a mountain with green grass, big bushes, and a few rocks. There are a lot of squirrels and rabbits here.
This day was Super Bowl and Kansas City Chiefs are playing. If you remember when we wrote about our travels to Missouri in October, that is where Kevin is from. (Yes, Chiefs are based in Kansas City, Missouri.) We had thought we would go to the club house here to watch but Kevin found the game on our TV so we stayed home and watched. I immediately made some pumpkin butterscotch chip cookies and hot dogs wrapped in crescent rolls with cheese. Add chips and salsa and we had a party. The game was so close and KC was behind until the 2nd quarter. Then they pulled out a win. Awesome fun! The next day while just driving around and looking at San Diego we saw a restaurant that was called Kansas City Barbecue. The sign said, “Welcome Chiefs fans to Arrowhead West!” Very cute! 🙂
We had never been to Balboa Park although we have been to San Diego quite a few times in the past. We went this time and wow! Balboa Park is 1200 acres of attractions, 19 museums, San Diego Zoo, and gorgeous grounds. The history is interesting. At first 1400 acres were set aside for a park like Central Park in NYC but for years nothing was done. Later it became the Panama- California Exhibition 1915. We weren’t sure why Panama was in the name but then learned that the Panama Canal had just opened and San Diego wanted to show the world it was a great place to stop. They built all sorts of buildings for this event. The buildings are mostly still there; they look older than they are because they were built to resemble an old Spanish look. The decorating wasn’t made to last very long and it is a constant upkeep on it. Twenty years later they had another Exhibition. In World War 2 it was used by the military and housed soldiers. It had plenty of room to house, practice, and store all things needed. The name Balboa is for Vasco Nunez de Balboa, who was the first European to see the Pacific Ocean. We got there around 9:30 am knowing some museums opened at 10:00 am, or so their website said. We found a lot of parking open at the Air and Space Museum. We walked the “6 minutes” according to Siri to the plaza. The Museum of Photographic Arts was my #1 pick and Kevin said let’s go there first. The website was wrong and it opened at 11:00 am. No worries, we spent some nice time sitting on a bench at the duck and koi pond. (See the first picture.) The weather was sunny, warm, perfect. So fun to watch the ducks and even more fun to watch the people. At 11:00 am we went to the museum. I was thrilled so much because I saw online they are the first in the US to host the 2022 Sony World Photography Awards! This display didn’t disappoint at all! I am glad Kevin enjoyed it so much, too.
When we were done at that museum we were hungry so we grabbed sandwiches, chips, and drinks at Park Cafe, right next to the photo museum. I had tuna salad sandwich and he had hot ham and cheese panini. We took it outside, back to the bench we sat on this morning and enjoyed. Next we went to the San Diego History Museum. We were both disappointed in this one. We felt it didn’t give a lot of information. One fun fact we learned was: lumber was depleted in the backcountry around San Diego. The cost to ship lumber on the train from Oregon and Northern California was very expensive. Simon Benson owned large tracts of forest along the Columbia River. He had the logs float down the river. The tree-length logs would be lashed together like firewood and towed behind a boat down the coast of California. This process continued until just before WW2. In 35 years, 120 rafts arrived…1 raft = 6 million board feet = 460 residences. 120 rafts = 720 billion board feet = 55,200 residences. Wow!
We enjoyed Balboa Park so much we went back the next day to see more! We went to San Diego Automotive Museum. Kevin really liked it and so did I. The most fascinating exhibit to us was: 1947 Cadillac “Louie Matter’s Fabulous Car.” It took 7 years and $75,000 and by 1952 his dream car was made.
Read for interest the sign about the car!
Spreckels Organ Pavilion is the home of the largest outdoor pipe organ in the world. It has more than 5000 pipes ranging in length for 12 inches to 32 feet. They give a concert, for free, every Sunday at 2:00 pm. It seats 2500 people! The organ can make all sorts of sounds. For this concert there was the organ, a drum, a singer, and a 7-person choir…all doing Beatles songs! Kevin said it sounds great. Even though I am deaf and can’t hear anything, I enjoy watching the performance. I see the famous organist moving his feet to play different notes and in his body language I can sure tell he is enjoying what he is doing. The drummer liked to swirl his head around – I would have a headache! HA He was having fun. The singer and choir had happiness on their faces and I could sure see the love of music on their faces.
His socks have music notes on them!
I had a thought, I know, scary! HAHA Would’t it be fun to read from my travel journal the entry from 1 year ago. We started doing that every night before bedtime and what a great way to reminisce. This blog is part of my travel journal that I write in every day. But oh my, the blog posts are so long as it is so I do have to cut out a tons. Otherwise…you would be reading all day long! 🤣
*With regards to Garmin: we have noticed that several times the end point isn’t right. So I always check the directions with my other sources.
We were very excited to get on the road. We were headed to Lake Havasu, AZ for a gathering of 300 RVs and that isn’t even counting the people! “Escapees” is an RV club started by Joe & Kay Peterson in 1978. They were traveling full-time and wanted to meet up with other people doing the same thing. Years later, Xscapers, a sub group for full-time travelers who are working remote, was started. This tends to be a younger group since they aren’t retired. Xscapers big yearly get-together is called Bash and that is where we were heading.
The event is sold out (we booked in July when it opened for reservations). I thought there would be a huge line of RVs when we got to Sara (Special Activities Recreational Area) Park but no, we got right in. There were volunteers everywhere and so happy and friendly. The sections you could pick when registering where: family, solar, general, party. We picked general so we can run our generator, if needed. Got set up and walked to Center Camp to get our packet. Fun bag full of cups, shirts, and other little things. Soon it started raining and we got a notification from Bash that the opening and welcome that was suppose to be at the rodeo arena was moved into the big tent. During the welcome, Kevin sat on the front row and turned to face me so he could interpret for me since I am deaf. So sweet. Xscapers was started by the grandson of the founders. His parents even ran Escapees. What a legacy of that family! This event is incredibly organized and I am extremely impressed.
In the tent there was a band named Crown City Bombers, playing hulabilly. They were really fun to watch and Kevin said very talented. (I am deaf so I can’t hear how they sound.) They put on a great show and even the guy playing the upright bass, held it up over his head behind his back and played. Never seen that before!
The first morning was catered breakfast burritos. They knew how to do it! Making them right there but they were fast. The line was short and always moving. Later we saw the smoker they used for the potatoes that looks like a train engine. Very cute. There was music at the gazebo and people just hanging out. We visited with people. One lady came up to me and started to use American Sign Language. Her hands were shaking and she said she was so nervous and almost didn’t come over. I am glad she did. Wow! She did great and Kevin stepped in when needed. She didn’t stay long as she was helping her daughter with marketplace. The marketplace is where people can sell things. There was another person who also signed to me. Love it! She took it in high school and her teacher had told her she should be an interpreter because she is so expressive. We agreed! Later, I sent two pictures that Kevin took to my family. My brother soon responded back that he knows one of the ladies! Small world!! I couldn’t wait to find her and tell her.
Tuesday, for happy hour, the Border Hookups sang. We have seen them on Youtube. Food trucks tonight! There were two, we picked Le Chaparro. Kevin had a navaho taco and it was really good. I had 2 street tacos and they were fine. Standing in line we visited with a lady who learned Japanese and then went there for four months. She said it was an incredible journey. I bet. Then Joann came up to me. Her granddaughter used to be babysat by my friend Sue! When I had texted Sue the pictures of two ladies signing with me, she reply that she knew someone here! Sue texted the friend, who looked me up and yes, I was here. What small worlds!
Next was a silent auction for charity. We bid on a pair of pickle ball rackets but didn’t win. While looking at the stuff, we spotted the lady who had signed with me. We stopped her and told her who my brother is. She was blown away of the connection. She told us later that she had a nice chat with him on Facebook and got all caught up. The evening entertainment was 90’s Rockshow. They are a band out of LA. It was funny, Kevin and I didn’t know any of the songs. I remembered that in the 90s we were listening to country music. No country music here at Bash.
Wednesday we went to Center Camp where the tables are set for people to work. For lunch, we had free hot dogs and chips. While Kevin worked, I read on my iPad. “Mrs Harris Goes To Paris.” What a darling book! I know it was a movie this past season; now I will need to watch it. For dinner, it was another food truck night. We picked DJ’s Truckin’ Good Food. We had cheeseburgers and fries. Next was Xscapers Olympics. We didn’t want to join but probably will next year. Teams of 4. There were all sorts of games spread out all over the rodeo grounds. They had 2 hours to complete them. We watched one – a bounce house where people would have to hold on to ropes – it looked like human foosball! HAHA
Thursday was Mac & Cheese Madness. I like to cook, and have a yummy recipe for Mac & Cheese so I thought I would make some. I didn’t matter to me if it won or not, just fun to cook. There were tables set around in a U shape, and, to my horror, the cookers were seat at the table behind their dish! I thought this was a “blind” competition. It became apparent that each person would hand out the samples. I was so overwhelm – how am I going to serve and try to communicate with everyone! I sat down and the tears filled my eyes. Kevin asked if I wanted to leave, and I said no thanks. I needed to do this. He sat a chair by me. I got the tears out of my eyes. I bucked up and soon the competition started. Soon the doors were open and a ton of people came in. Kevin was so good to talk with everyone while I dished up the food. ♥️ We didn’t win but it turned out to be fun.
Friday we went to the seminar – Maximizing your Escapees benefits. It was good to learn more about the different events and programs. Escapade is the annual national rally and is the largest and most diverse gathering of the Escapees community. HOPS is Head Out Program. It includes excursions with fellow RVers that target unique locations, special events and theme-related activities. Escapees Hangouts provides more casual opportunities to make new friends and share fun, active and adventurous experiences together in a campground setting. Next session, Hollie (the director) told about upcoming events for 2023. Then she said the big announcement is the date for the next Bash: Jan 13-21, 2024, and will be held at the same place. She said Lake Havasu City is great to work with and their facilitates at the rodeo grounds work perfect. Then Hollie said for everyone to look under their benches. We causally felt under ours. Nothing. After a while she said, “This area needs to look again” and pointed around us. I stood up and Kevin lifted the bench. There it was, an envelope. She said he won a ticket to the next BASH! WAHOOOO Last year’s price was $300.00. What a great prize to win. We were already planning on attending it. The session RV Gadgets Show & Tell was great. I recognized Mark Nemeth from the Escapees magazine as tech advisor. Kevin picked up on a few things that would be nice to have. The show and tell invited people to bring their favorite gadgets. I talked to a lady afterwards who showed museum putty. I have heard a lot of talk about this. She said it really does hold. I might need to try some.
Right after that was Trivia Night. What a great way to meet new people! The 5 rounds were each different and loads of fun! One was name the song and singer. (Yeah, I couldn’t help with that! HAHA) Another was look at a paper and identify each symbol. For example, Good Sam, National Parks, etc. Another round was a paper with titles of movies about something to do with travel or on the road. You had to name the actor. Oh, we messed that one up big time. HAHA The last round was a paper listing a campground. We had to name the National Park where that campground was in. Well, it was a cool day and earlier in the day, Kevin had brought me the National Park quilt that I had made. (About 5 ladies oohed and aahed over it during the day session. So sweet.) So, I held up the map part of the quilt so my team could see. I thought that seeing the map might help their memories of where the campgrounds were. It helped a little, we thought. Then, all of a sudden, a guy from another team walked over and asked if he could hold my quilt! HAHA I said, “Yes, and if you win, you owe me $20.00!” Everyone was laughing. Then the guy took the quilt over to his team and held up the quilt. Wouldn’t you know….that team won! I hollered, you owe me $20.00. HAHA He came over and pulled out a $20.00. I said no thanks, just teasing. While we were all laughing. He kept insisting to pay, laughing right along. I suggested he give to the charity Bash was supporting. He liked that. Isn’t that the funniest?!
There were two food trucks. We had another delicious burger from JD’s Truckin’ Good Food. The concert that night was a couple named The Status Crowes. They travel full-time and are a favorite of Xscapers. People call them the “Xscapers House Band.” He plays a guitar and sings and she sings and does some hand beats. They played for 3 hours.
Saturday at noon we went to see the session we hadn’t heard of before. It was: Gutted Season 2 Premiere w/ Cast Meet & Greet. This is a TV show where each team has 5 days to build out an RV, van, and school bus. The show wasn’t captioned so I just watch the video. It was the first time the cast had seen it. Then the cast went on stage and answered questions. At 5:00 was catered BBQ by BBQ Bandits. I looked them up to see if they have a restaurant in Lake Havasu and sadly, no. The meal was fantastic! BBQ pork, beef, or chicken sandwiches, potato salad, Cole slaw, Mac & cheese, I can’t remember what else. They used Sweet Baby Rays, our favorite sauce. A couple we met during trivia joined us and we had a great visit. From 7:00-9:00 PM was an act from Las Vegas named Lyte Bryte. They are a music group and wear neon flashing lights on their costume. Very fun! Everyone was invited to wear neon and boy did people go all out. Fun to see. The group performed on the gazebo. We had fun and danced along with the beat. At one point, the guy leader in the band said his pants were falling down and he needed a safety pin. After the girl sang the next song, he came back and said he was given 12 safety pins and a box of pins. The girl was surprised people had brought so many. He said, “Well, their homes are right there” and pointed to all our RVs. HAHA At 9:00 pm – midnight, the entertainment was Boom Bandits. He is a DJ who “provides an obscene amount of fun with their professional entertainment and one-of-a-kind contraptions.” It was a dance party. We stayed for just a few minutes and then went home. Kevin could hear the beat, music, and even the DJ talking clear over in General 2 parking where we were. Sometimes, when you are ready for bed, it is nice to be deaf. 🙂
This was our first time at a gathering like this. There were singles, couples, friends, and families. From tiny vans to honking-big motorhomes. There were people with all sorts of remote jobs. A very diverse gathering but all with the common core of love-of-travel. And with that? Not a stranger in sight.
Time to leave Malibu Beach RV Park in Malibu, California. We laughed and laughed because, guess what…no traffic! The entire way to Palm Springs, California. There were just a few cars and trucks along the way. Very thankful.
The drive to Palm Springs RV Resort, in Palm Desert, California, was so nice. 70° and sunny. We saw mountains along the way with snow on them. We drove past the campground but knowing we can’t get in before noon, and it was 11:00 AM, we just drove on and parked at a hockey arena packing lot to wait. When it was check in time, we went to the gate. The guy was very nice and busy. He said the lady that was suppose to help him with check in/out hadn’t come back from the office. He had to open the incoming and outgoing gates. That was fine and we were patient. Got set up quickly and easily. I vacuumed again – beach sand everywhere from the slides (but so worth it being at the beach!) 🙂 Sat outside enjoying the sun for a little while.
Kevin tried to get the Rose Bowl game on our TV – University of Utah Utes are playing. But no channels we have had it on. We decided to walk around. The Lodge has a huge meeting room with a fireplace and a TV with couches. No one was in there so Kevin turned on the TV, looked and found the Rose Bowl game! Wahoo. At 1/2 time, the score was tied. Taco Bell was a major sponsor and for good reason, it made us crave Taco Bell! Wouldn’t you know, there was one very close here. Kevin jumped in the truck and went and got it for us. He was back right as the 2nd half started. Fun to eat and watch the game. Well, then there was an 87 and an 88 yard punt return by Penn State. Yeah, we left and went to the hot tub. HAHA We had a very enjoyable visit with 4 other couples. OH, the huge pool is heated! We “swam” around there before the hot tub. A wonderful day.
Kevin contacted someone recommended by this campground to wash HOWE (our name for our Home On WhEels). We needed to get the sand and salt off from the beach. The crew came the next day and we thought did a very good job. Right as they were done, Kevin noticed his “office window” was very dirty and so he asked the guys to clean it again. While the guy was on the ladder cleaning the window again, Kevin noticed…the dirt was on the inside of the window! HAHAHAHA Kevin apologized greatly and they all had a good laugh. The nice thing about this campground is UPS, FedEx, and Amazon all deliver right to your campsite! (All the other campgrounds we have been to have deliveries to the office.) They even pick up at the campsite. We have just thought that was jolly fun. We went to the hot tub. Met nice people, a couple from SLC, a couple from Canada, and a guy who is 2 days into his full-time traveling. He has a 16 ft trailer. He asked everyone their advice. Kevin said, “Enjoy the journey.” Later that night I thought next time someone asks me that I am going to suggest keeping a journal. (This blog is from parts of my travel journal.) As full-timers, we see so many places, do some many things, and learn so much and it can get lost or mixed up. Keeping a daily journal helps keep it alive in us.
Recipes! The other night, I made a pasta salad recipe that I had marked as 5 (highest rating) stars. That got me thinking; while it was delicious, I don’t want it all the time. So then I thought I need to change the rating system in my Paprika (online recipe folder) so that I can know better about how often I want it. So, LOL, I went through all 417 recipes. It was super easy on my MacBook laptop. Since I only keep really great recipes, see note, I know they are all going to be good. Note: I have kept a few recipes and added “yuck” in the title and place the lowest star with them. Otherwise, I am afraid they sound so good that when I see them somewhere I would make them again. Example: Senate white bean soup. Yuck! So my rating goes as follows: knowing the recipes are all good, 1= yuck, 2= want one time a year, 3= want every 6 months, 4= want once a month, 5= want everyday. One recipe I had marked as 5 stars I hadn’t made since 2015! HAHAHAHA Needed to rate that a little different. Delicious, but don’t want it all the time. It took me the morning to do it and I had a blast.
We knew that our aunt and uncle from Las Vegas come here to Palm Springs often with their timeshare. When we last saw them, we invited them to come down here for the weekend with us. Uncle jumped on it, got reservations that evening, and we were all surprised, since it is so filled up down here. On Friday, they invited us to the hotel/condo for dinner. Our uncle made Pasties for us. It is a Celtic recipe passed down from his great-grandma from Scotland. They would make these hot for supper and then the miners would take the cold ones for lunch. Delicious! Later, he wrote down the recipe for me and I will treasure it. While he made the Pasties, our aunt went with us to the hot tub. Beautiful grounds and lovely huge tub. We had a nice conversation with Kevin interpreting. She talked about growing up and then her parents. Fun stories. When we got back, they so kindly offered the garden tub to me for a hot bubble bath. (This is the ONLY thing I miss about not having a sticks & brick house!) Loved it! He put the Pasties in the oven to cook for an hour. I got out right in time. 🙂
Since I am deaf, I asked Kevin to please make sure I respond to people the correct way. I am afraid I might misunderstand ASL and laugh at something or say a wrong response when that wasn’t what would be the response if I heard what exactly was said. He said in the nicest way, “I got you.” AHHHHH And then said, “I always am aware and watch out for that.” He is a keeper, 30+ years and counting! A big thing to do here in Palm Springs is to ride a tram to 8000 ft mountains. We looked online for tickets last night and saw it was sold out! It said they keep some tickets back for walk ins so today we tried it . We drove over to the base of the mountain when the road starts for the tram. It was jammed packed road. The guy in the safety vest said tickets were sold out and to try back around 3:00. We turned around and headed to the downtown area. Fancy shopping, restaurants, and shops there. We parked and we were to walk around and meet back in an hour. I saw a marker in the pavement that said: private property, permission to pass over revocable at any time. 🙂
We stopped at Great Shakes and got Almond Joy shake and Butter Pecan shake. They came with a tiny donut wrapped around the paper straw. They were delicious. Lots of people dining outside.
There are names of people in the sidewalks but for all the walking around we did, we only recognized one person’s name. HAHA George Lopez. We had to take a picture since that was the only name we knew. HA
We passed a statue of a golfer, walked a few steps and an older gentleman, sitting in a bright colored outdoor table and chairs asked if we knew who that was. He told us great stories about the place. A fine gentleman with a great smile. At 3:00 we went back to the tram. The guard said the wait time was 2.5 hours. It would be dark before we even got on the tram. We didn’t want to do that so we left. We went back to their condo and watched the second half of the chiefs game. That was fun. Later, I fixed dinner that I brought. I cut up a lot of ham and added it to scalloped potatoes with a side of green beans. After we ate, our uncle said “THIS is the meals I love.” He loves comfort meals and misses cooking in their assisted living apartment (no kitchen).
The next day, on our way to meet up with our uncle and aunt, we were able to learn from Autio App about the riots of 1986. It was spring break and college kids swarmed the area. They got in fights, caused a lot of damage, and even dumped water in the open convertibles. After that, the town did all it could to discourage spring breakers from coming, even, routing Hwy 111 around the city and not going through it. Fascinating. We didn’t try the tram today because we saw the tickets were sold out for this day, too. Kevin and I can go another time. The four of us went to Shield’s Date Garden. What a place! You walk in to a large store. At the far end is a theater with a movie telling the history. We asked if it was closed caption, since I am deaf. The guy was nice and tried, even handing Kevin a remote to try to turn it on. No go. Sad but thankful for the try. After the movie, we walked outside, past a lovely dining patio and the food smelled good. Through a gate to “the walk”. We saw date palm trees all around. And then we saw lemons ON a lemon tree. Kevin and I have rarely seen those. We saw: Lisbon lemons, ruby red grapefruit, date palms, soap tree yuccas, Meyer lemons, Nagami kumquat, Dancy tangerines, Cape honeysuckle, and all sorts of other things. It was a nice, long, leisurely stroll and was there about 2 hours. We bought some dates to try as we don’t remember having them before. On the way back to their condo, we stopped at Costco for gas and then inside for steaks. Next we stopped at Ralphs for mushrooms and sweet potatoes for them and potatoes for us. Our uncle sent Kevin and I outside to grill the steaks. He made the mushrooms in A1 sauce and butter. The whole meal was scrumptious.
Oh, the tram we tried to go on? It had some mechanical problems on Sunday and 500 people were stranded at the top and on the trams for several hours. I am so glad they were sold out of tickets!
I read that Rancho Oso campground, in Santa Barbara, where we were in December, is closed until March 1 due to all the problems with the rainstorms. I feel bad for the people. A lot of places have damage.
That evening I was starting to cook supper and Kevin said there was a knock at the door. He answered it and it was Karen, one of the ladies we met in the hot tub. She knew a little sign language and I was thrilled. So gave me a shell she had painted. So sweet! She gathers shells at Whaler’s Rest, Oregon (where we will be this spring) and then paints them. This one has a little beach and ocean on it. I was overwhelmed by her thoughtfulness. We had a nice visit and hope to see each other again.
Up and out of here for the day, down the mountain to Santa Barbara, California. The day was clear, sunny, and long sleeve shirt- warm. With the rain cleared, you could see Channel Islands today.
We went to Superior Court of California County of Santa Barbara. It is a site that everyone recommends visiting. We were able to park our big, long truck in a parking garage right across the street. (The website had suggested this place.) This building was rebuilt after the 1925 earthquake. We were like, “Ah, it isn’t that old.” Then later, I said, “Well, it is almost the same distance of time as when we were born compared to the end of the Civil War.” OH my gosh, we laughed…and felt very old! There is a breezeway in the middle of the building. We turned right and went inside. There is Spanish-looking style tiles up the walls, at least as tall as me. The app for this building is great – gives a lot of interesting information about the rooms plus, you can click on an “i” and get even more specific information.
Above one of chandlers, the ceiling is at least 3 stories high. There is a doorway with a small balcony – the only way to get there is through the door that goes outside! Way above the ground. HAHA The Mural Room is someplace to see. Paintings, tall ceilings, 100 year old draperies, court bench, etc. On the 3rd and 4th levels, you can see the working of the clock that is displayed on all four sides and then great views. Looking north, we see La Cumbre Peak with an elevation of 3,985 ft! Just a short ways south is the ocean. That tells you the dramatic rise of mountain here and it is beautiful.
We walked a few blocks to watch/listen to Tuba Bands play outdoors. The concert was outside on a closed part of State Street. There were more than 60 people in the band. Kevin said they were really good. (I am deaf, so I was only able to watch.) They played a verse and a chorus and then were done with that song. That was nice; got through a lot of Christmas songs. A guy from the city brought out more chairs and everyone in the audience was able to sit down. I thought that was very nice. Next, a school band played. After that it was a band of about 20 people. The concert went from 12:00-2:00 PM. By this time, we were hungry. We walked to Cali-Forno Pizzeria and shared a thin-crusted BBQ chicken pizza. Very tasty. Outside, we walked around and saw a street band of 9 people plus a Santa. They were very good. We don’t know their story but they were very professional looking, sounding, and instruments.
At the Paseo Nuevo shopping area, there was also a band, with 4 guys sitting outside a restaurant. Just fun and adds a lot to the festive feel. The outdoor markets were interesting – nothing really christmasy, as in, decorations or nativity sets. I wanted to get a unique one for my friend but didn’t find even one.
The next day we slept in a little and then went back to Santa Barbara. By this time, we had seen everything we wanted to see so we drove to Santa Barbara without a plan. We turned on some side roads and then Kevin saw a McDonalds. Yes, I am hungry, I answered, when he asked. We drove around to go to the drive through…and no drive through! There were park lanes for app ordering and parking to go inside. After we ordered inside, we sat in the truck (sunny and warm) to eat. I looked online about drive throughs in Santa Barbara and sure enough, about 40 years ago they tried to get rid, or stop them. The reason is because of space. I read ChickFila really went after the city about that. So, interesting…no signs above trees to tell you what is ahead, no advertising (nice!), and very few drive throughs. What a town! Driving around we soon ended up on the more east-side beach. We were able to park for free with no time limits, took our camp chairs and walked down some steps to the beach. What a glorious day!!! Beautiful beach, water, boats, fun to people/dog watch, excellent. We were there for over 3 hours! Didn’t even read books just sat and watched and relaxed.
At one point, Kevin notice the tide coming in. He found a stick about a foot long, walked to the edge of the water, and stuck it in so we could see how far up the beach the water was coming. Over the next while, we saw 3 different dogs put their mouths around it but then left it along. Later, a guy, a human, walked over, pulled it out, and threw it for his dog. That made Kevin and I laugh so hard, we had to hide our faces so he wouldn’t hear us. We saw paddle boards, sail boats, paraglider, divers, and helicopters. One time, a guy came back from walking, asked us if we had moved our chairs, we said no, he said, oh good, he knew this was the place he parked. HAHAHA We were the only people sitting on camp chairs on the beach. From there we went to Stearn’s Wharf for lunch, again, same place as last weekend. No waiting as it was mid afternoon. The view was clear and food delicious.
The night before we move, travel, to the next place we like to get everything packed up and put away for the drive. I say, “Kitchen is closed” and we get pizza for dinner. Leftovers is eaten the next day for lunch while in the truck. We laughed that our tradition “pizza-the-night-before-travel-day” wasn’t available since we are in the middle of nowhere. HAHA No pizza places anywhere close to Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort, Santa Barbara, California!
Getting set up to leave today, we weren’t in a hurry because we only have less than a 2 hour drive and can’t check in before 1:00 PM. Drove out of Rancho Oso without meeting anyone coming up the 1 mile extremely narrow driveway. Whew, that was good. Driving down the side road I saw a shadow that looked like a tall box on the roof of the cab. We pulled over and I jumped out to see. It was the shadow of the mirror. HAHA Got down off the mountain just fine, on 101 South and then took Pacific Coast Hwy 1. We knew we were ahead of time and weren’t sure about where to go if we had to wait along the way, so we pulled off at Point Mugu. It has a hard dirt area and we easily pulled off there. Kevin lined up the truck and trailer so we could see the ocean. We went inside to use our bathroom and discovered a cupboard door, under the coffee counter, had opened, and then closed. Out came 12 cans of chicken broth -still in the cardboard thin holder, peanut butter, chili, pumpkin pie cans, etc. Sigh! Thankfully, there was no damage to the floor and no damage to the cans! As I gathered them up, Kevin set out our camp chairs to the side of the truck. What a great view of the ocean and beach!
Got to our next campground, Malibu Beach RV Park, and wow, the views did not disappoint. We have ocean view and, as Kevin said, “Well worth the money!” We got to our site and we saw what they meant by us backing down into this area. It took us probably gazillion back and forth but we got it exactly where it needed to be. In front of our site, on the other side of the black top is a curb with flowers, trees, extra, so you can’t drive over it to back in. It was our most time to get backed in but we just took our time and made it happen. After getting set up, Kevin set up the outdoor mat and our chairs. We look right off the edge of a cliff that overlooks Pacific Hwy 1, the beach, and the ocean. Just stunning. I set up my holiday yard signs with Santa at the beach. They are super cute. I placed them at our feet where we can see them as we look out over the ocean.
We pried ourselves away from our site and started walking to Malibu Seafood. I could see on the map there are trails from this campground down to it. Well, we got there and it is really steep. We turned around and walked back to the truck and drove there. Oh, you can’t turn left on Pacific Coast Hwy 1 out of this campground. So we turned right, made a U-turn at the light but our truck is so long, we had to back up in the road. Won’t do that again. HAHA Thankfully no one was behind us. Drove to the little cafe and the parking lot was completely full.
We looked on our iPhones and found The Sunset Restaurant. This being the weekend (Friday) of Christmas, at around 3:00 PM, I thought it would be packed. As we drove up, I didn’t care if there was a 2 hour wait, because this would be a great place to eat. Literally ON the beach! Kevin pulled up, asked a guy where to park for the restaurant, and he said it valet parking was right there. We’ll take it. HAHA Walked in and got seated right away. Wahoo. We were seated at the window overlooking the beach. It was right there. Perfect. The view, priceless. Saw the sun set to a perfect day. Thrilled to watch people watch the sunset.
As we left, we saw something that made us giggle. Not funny for the person, I am sure, but…. (sorry, not a clear picture)
Thank you for reading. We do so many things and we love sharing it with you. I write in my travel journal everyday. You would be so tired of reading if you read it all. HAHA We try to pick out the highlights for you.
Walking along the beach at Santa Barbara, California, we came upon this stunning display of nature. Each 1/2 of the shell is the size of Kevin’s hand. We noticed the gold colored leaf in-between the two halves. So beautiful,we just stopped and stared. And then, took a photo.
We headed down the mountain to Santa Barbara, California for the day. It had been raining and with the clouds on the mountains it made beautiful scenery. Couldn’t see the ocean as we came down the mountain due to the low hanging clouds. I said I felt bad for people traveling through here for their first and only time- they probably think the ocean is “right there” but can’t see it. Anyway, Kevin told me about a book he is reading about being stoic. I am deaf. When Kevin is driving, we use an app on my iPad that turns voice to text. That way he can have both hands on the wheel and not be using American Sign Language. Kevin said something and the app wrote his words, “I am learning about being stupid” instead of stoic. We laughed so hard we about choked! 🙂
We went to Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. It is right on the harbor. The first thing we saw was the top of the lighthouse from Point Conception. Beautiful glass work. We learned about how the weather and rocks have caused a lot of crashes over the many years. Check out https://sbmm.org/
We drove down from the harbor to Stearn’s Wharf. We parked along the beach, free, 90 minute limit. We walked onto the wharf. We were here in October 2016 for a shore excursion on a cruise with Princess Cruise. We went to the same restaurant we ate at back then. It was mid-afternoon and there was no wait. Got seated by the windows over looking the harbor, beach, and ocean. Perfect views!
I had Baja fish tacos and Kevin had…a burger. HAHA We rated them: Once A Week. It was a nice and relaxing meal.
On Dec 10th, right here at Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort (Santa Barbara), in the last 24 hours, we had 2.1 inches of rain (according to weather app)! I saw a bunch of water on the seat of my camp chair and wanted to send a picture to my cousin about our “rain collection”. HAHA I didn’t want to go outside so, I opened the window and then the screen, leaned out of HOWE (our 5th wheel we named for Home On WhEels), took a great picture, closed it all back up. 🙂
One day Kevin wanted to stop in Solvang at a Dutch bakery. Solvang, California is a place to check out. https://www.cityofsolvang.com/442/Solvang-History It was founded in 1911 by three Dutch immigrants who purchased 10,000 acres. Solvang has become famous as a Dutch utopia in Southern California. They even have four windmills. People were everywhere and we had to park a few blocks away. Found a Dutch bakery with no waiting. They had cute little animatronics with “bakers” in the windows. A smart idea because it caught our attention.
We got in line and had no idea what to get. HAHA We got 2 things and they were delicious. Very flaky. After walking though some shops, we were done and headed on down the road, north on Hwy 101.
We went from steep mountains to green wild grass (a color that you won’t believe if you saw it in a picture – bright green), rolling hills with short trees every once in a while. We saw horses, cattle, and lots and lots of grape fields.
Wineries all along here and the places are beautiful! Going on north we soon came to fields filled with plantings of all sorts of vegetables.
I continue my rant that it should be a law that if you plant something along the road, you need a sign to say what it is! 🙂 I want to know what is growing there.
Miles and miles, as far as the eye can see. Just stunning!
Ah, the smell of onions.
At Oceano we stopped at a roadside veggie stand. They had the best looking strawberries and blueberries. We got them plus some Dutch apple jam made right there. Later I made homemade crepes and added the strawberries and blueberries. Yum! We took Pacific Hwy 1 down south to Santa Barbara.
It was a full day since we first stopped at Solvang in the morning. We wondered if we should go to the Parade of Lights boat parade in Santa Barbara. We both decided that we would go and if we found a parking spot that was easy to get into, then we would stop. If not, no worries, head on home. We drove down the street along the beach and no open spaces. At the parking lot, yes, there were some on the very end and large enough for our extra long truck. As we pulled in, we decided to park along the beach so if we wanted, we could watch from inside the truck. So smart!!! Got out, paid at the machine to park and then walked a short way to the west to Stearn’s Wharf. There were quite a few families walking that way because there was a Christmas tree lighting right before the boat parade. We continued on down to the end of the wharf and walked to the side facing the harbor. Right then we saw the boats were lined up and heading out to sea. It was a thrill to watch them. They kept coming and coming out of the harbor place. Some had their holiday lights on already. With the sun setting, it was very pretty. A guy made an announcement over some speakers and Kevin was kind even to interpret for me. He told of the route the boats would go and that they would turn into the beach on the other side of where we were standing, get as close to the beach as possible, then go along the side of the wharf for judging, then back into the harbor. As it got dark, the wind was a tiny bit cool on our faces (59°), not bad, but…since we had the truck AND it turned out to have front seat views of the parade, we walked back to the truck. We had the binoculars which was fun to see up close. Perfect viewing area; nice and warm. So fun. We are thrilled it worked out so great. After the parade, the website and the announcer had said, there would be “small” fireworks. We both know what amazing and big firework shows are so we decided to not wait around for it. We got out with not a stitch of traffic. So very thankful. A very full and fun day!
We discovered our freezer needed to be thawed. I have never done that before. Well, I guess, if you count doing my mom’s freezer growing up, yeah, I have an idea. I put all the frozen food in our cooler. Then I let it sit for about an hour. I could then peal off big chunks of ice from the back wall. I used a hair dryer to soften the rest of it and was completely easy and fast. Organized the food like I had it before when I put it back. Nice, easy, fast.
The drive through Las Vegas, NV and down to Barstow, CA was easy. Not the bad traffic we have had in the past. So thankful! As we passed the big solar panels at Ivanpah Solar Complex, just over the California line, the travel app Autio told us there are 174000 heliostats and 173,000 garage-door sized sets of mirrors over 3500 acres.
We saw a helicopter hovering above. Soon we saw it move with it’s long cord over a power line to people who we were working on it. That was a sight to see!
We pulled into Shady Lane RV Campground in Barstow, CA around 1:00 PM. I had reviewed the place, of course, and read it was a good place to stop, with full hookups. As we drove in a guy was there to meet us. Very nice. Had us follow him to our site on his golf cart. The place has a lot of older motorhomes that live there permanently. Some are cleaned up outside and others have junk around. The perimeter of the small campground has a lot of old junk around – cars, barrels, equipment, etc. I saw several large, nice, newer 5th wheels around. Kevin’s eyes were big, though. The site was so level we didn’t even unhook the truck! It was okay for a quick overnight stop.
After a good night sleep, we woke up at 7:00 AM and headed out. Stopped outside of Barstow for diesel. With Kevin’s Open Roads EFS card, it was $4.60 a gallon. It saved us $1.10 per gallon! Yay. The EFS card was designed for over the road trucks. Open Roads has opened it up to RVers. It only works for diesel. There is an app that shows what our price would be at the pump. Kevin likes to pull in and act like a super trucker when we fuel. Our drive took us along the northern freeway of Los Angeles valley, 210. Kevin and I always marvel over how nice California drivers are. You put your signal on and they back off and let you in. So nice. We have seen this every time we have been here. At one point, we stopped at a strip mall parking lot to use our bathroom and get snacks. It is so nice to have those with you. 🙂
It was cloudy as we got closer to the Pacific Ocean coast and had some soft rain. Used the wipers but the rain didn’t cause a problem for driving. We had our usual conversation about how the roads “need” to be higher so we can see the ocean over the trees. 🙂 We were finally able to see the Pacific Ocean and it is as beautiful as always. From Santa Barbara, we headed straight up in the steep mountains but our truck and HOWE (our 5th wheel name for “Home On WhEels”) didn’t bog down at all. At several passing lanes, drivers weren’t in a hurry to get around us and some just stayed behind us. Such polite people. Down the road we saw some houses, farms, and ranger station. Passed a firehouse. Then turned off to the 1 mile driveway that everyone talks about as being crazy narrow. Yes, it is narrow with hairpin turns! Sure wouldn’t want to meet anyone with the a trailer going the opposite way! But the road is good, paved, and we took it safe. Thankfully no one coming down. I had read the great advice of not going up it until checkin time because otherwise you might meet people coming down at checkout time. Good advice. This campground is right in the tall mountains, has paved roads, and each site road is terraced. What a view we have! As we parked, a guy came walking his dog. He stopped and talked. After he saw Kevin using American Sign Language with me, he said he has some tinnitus due to “guns and loud rock and roll music,” He said, “May I ask you a personal question?” Yes, we knew he was asking about how I became deaf. He was so polite and I am always happy to share. We got set up and sat outside enjoying the beauty – clouds on the tops of the mountains, rolling with the storm, sun peaking out. Later, we walked down and around the campground. We saw their playground, store, 2 huge swimming pools, hot tub with temp 102°, and the main lodge. We went back, got our swimming suits on and enjoyed some time in the hot tub. We were surprised as it was only us there in the entire pool area.
NEW TO US AT A CAMPGROUND: The other day, Kevin and I noticed an ambulance coming into the campground. Soon it came over by us and turned down our campsite road and stopped 2 sites from us. Then, a fire truck came. Then, a coroner’s truck, white van and two police cars. Sad. We found out the next day from talking with a neighbor that a lady made coffee and took it in to wake up her husband. He had died in his sleep. Sad. The same afternoon that he died, we headed down the mountain to go to the beach. At the campground gate, in comes the fire truck. Down on the 1 mile driveway, the same ambulance as that morning. What happened now? We found out a guy 2 sites farther down from the one who died, had a stroke! Sad. Kevin and I are always mindful to live our best life we can because you never know when it will be over.
This was a fun space to decorate. I made and quilted the stockings.
Kevin worked out the math to get the loops looking so perfectly even. 🙂
We like the light this tree makes at night.
If you remember way back when, I posted about this darling snowman that my dear cousin, Jennette, made for me. I like snowman a lot and this one is so cute. She suggested the name, since I like Joshua Trees so much (they each have their own personality!). Joshua is always out, hanging around, even in the summer. HAHA
If you know me at all, besides snowmen, I am a big fan of Hallmark Christmas/Holiday movies. I record all the new ones and then start watching them right after Thanksgiving. 🙂 Kevin got me this mug and it is perfect…hot chocolate with a boat load of whipped cream on top.
Up early and ready for shopping. 🙂 We haven’t been inside Missouri Star Quilt Co but have driven past it over the years. This is Hamilton, Missouri, where Kevin grew up. (Read last week’s post about his memories and visiting.) I read online that you start in the Main store. We walked in and were greeted by a friendly worker. Kevin explained I am deaf and was my interpreter. She did very well in explaining things: there are about 12 stores with different types and themes of fabric, sign in on an iPad to get a printed paper with name and email so points can be added from each store, the main store has a sample of each store with the name so you can go directly there if you are short on time, take a pic of what you like and the outside of the store so can find were something is, stuff like that.
After telling her we are traveling Full-Time, she entered for me “everywhere” when it asked where we are from. 🙂 Then Kevin left to go back to work in HOWE (the name for our 5th wheel Alliance Avenue, Home On WhEels) and I wandered around. I went into each store. I found about 6 quilt patterns that I liked, plus another 3 Yard Quilt book and bought them. Ahead of time, I had paper and pen ready so workers could write down their communication with me since I am deaf. Around noon I got hungry and texted Kevin. It was such a sunny and warm day so I started walking home to the campground. My fitness app on my Apple Watch said it was 1/2 mile. I made sandwiches, ate, and then off for more shopping. 🙂 Kevin dropped me off on his way to drop off FedEx at the dollar store. Since my new patterns use 5 inch squares or jelly rolls(the name for a roll of fabric that is 2.5 inches wide), that is all I looked at the second time to purchase. I went through every store again and bought some nice ones. It was a lot of fun.
Yesterday, when we got to this campground, the host said he had talked to me for the reservations. No, I am deaf and Kevin always makes the calls. He said no, he had talked to me through interpreters on the phone. No, not me. Oh, he said, other deaf people are coming. I was pretty excited! When I got home today, the deaf couple pulled up. The campground hosts must have told them I am deaf, which is great, and the couple came over to meet us. They were in the site right next to us. Do you know how RARE it is to find someone who is traveling and deaf and a quilter????? Our hands were flying in American Sign Language (ASL) and I was beyond thrilled to communicate so freely with someone in the campground. They left the next day but don’t you know, we have been texting the second they left and text most every day. What a blessing!!! OH, and the gentleman had a question on something with the RV and Kevin was able to communicate in ASL with him and helped him out. It was fun watching those two sign with each other. Meeting them was a really highlight for us!
We have concluded something. There isn’t a level spot in all of Missouri. HAHA The drive to the house of our niece and her family was very nice – sunny with a slight breeze. Our niece and her husband were so great in helping Kevin find a spot to park our 36 ft, 5th wheel on their property.
The dinner she made was outstanding! She cooked local steaks on her charcoal grill! She also cooked Vidalia onions, deviled eggs, and green beans. Delicious and we were so full!
Our niece, her husband, Kevin and I went to the Amish community of Jamesport, MO. My mother-in-law and I would come here often when we lived in the area more than 25 years ago. I like their baked goods and the bulk items. I have been looking forward to this for weeks, as I have been hungry for some good baked goods. 🙂 .
In Jamesport, we stopped at the bakery that I remember, Annies. We saw the open sign, walked in and saw the yummy food on the counter but there wasn’t anyone there to take our money. We waited a little bit and then left. On to Countryside Bakery, which was right behind H&M where my favorite Amish store is. Oh the treats inside! We got fried apple pies, cinnamon bread, dinner rolls and the biggest gingersnap cookies with vanilla frosting inside. I am in heaven! On over to the store and I found butterscotch chips! Score! There were a lot of bags of them; I bought 4. We also got bulk: trail mix, pineapple/papyri bites, a sweet trail mix, taffy, and more. We were like kids in the candy store. By this time it was around 10:30 so we decided to eat lunch at Jamesport. I am so glad we did. We ate at Country Dutch. The fresh buffet of fried, juicy chicken, real mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, salad stuff, and other things was a great find.
We had a wonderful time with our sweet relatives. They were gracious hosts. We loved our visit with them: great chats, delicious meals, softball games, seeing the land, everything was really special to us.
We headed east on Hwy 50 out of Dodge City, KS. At Wright, KS, we both saw a train in front of us. There was another train on the siding and I wondered how long we would wait for both trains to get across on the one track. Kevin started slowing down to be prepared to stop. Then as we got close, we saw the road turned a sharp left and didn’t go over the tracks at all. We started laughing and realized we BOTH thought the road crossed the tracks. We were belly-laughing.
Then Kevin felt so bad for the guy behind us, as we had been slowing down to 35 mph on a road with a speed limit of 65 mph. Oops, sorry guy.
I started to read our library book out loud but put it down as there was so much to see along the way! We both really like taking the side roads because you get to see America and how people live, as opposed to the freeways. Lots of farms and little communities. At one point, we pulled off at a Kansas rest area. So nice to just open up HOWE (our name for our Home On WhEels, 5th wheel) door and use our own bathroom. Then on the road again. We drove to the fairgrounds at Hutchinson, Kansas and got there a few minutes after 11:00 am. When Kevin called them for reservations, he was told it is first come first serve, they have 200 full hookup sites, and only fill up during state fair week, in August.
As we pulled into the campground, Kevin said, “We are in the middle of a HDT Rally!” HDT is Heavy Duty Truck. That means these are semi trucks pulling very long 5th wheels. He was like a kid at Christmas to see all of the big rigs but said he was “embarrassed” to be seen in, you know, our 3500 diesel 4 door long bed 3/4 ton truck (a big, powerful truck as far as pickups go.) 🙂 A Rally is where people with something in common get together for a few days. We dropped off HOWE and headed out. To pay for the camping site, it is self-pay station, $30 a night. Right near there was a guy outside with his HDT and very long 5th wheel. He and Kevin started talking. Kevin told him 30 years ago, he was driving these. The guy said, “Do you know what we call your truck over there?” No, what? “LGT…Little Girly Truck!” Made us crack up! Later in the day, Kevin would start chuckling and he said he was remembering what the guy called our truck. HAHA
Years ago, Kevin drove a box truck from Kansas City to Hutchinson with stops along the way. We drove around the mall where he used to deliver to Learner, Lane Bryant, Limited, Victoria’s Secret, etc. The mall now is almost completely dead. No stores inside to speak of and a Harbor Freight at one end. A movie theater there. 30 years later and nothing is the same or familiar but it was fun to drive around. That is why we picked this town to stop for the day.
You might have read where I write about the land being flat. 😉 See, Kevin and I have been living in a valley surrounded by tall, steep, rugged mountains for years. So things like flat lands, rolling hills and water towers are fun to see again. 🙂 This picture is a water tower with people painting it.
We continued around the town. We went to the salt mine, Strataca and just looked at some displays outside. We didn’t want to go on the tour that goes 400 ft in the ground. The buckets used to pull out the salt carries the weight of 2 elephants!
It was around 1:00 pm by this time so what to do. I researched and found Reno County Museum close to downtown. We very much enjoyed it. Some things we learned: *Ben Blanchard discovered salt in Reno County in 1887. *We saw a brick with words “Don’t spit on sidewalk.” This refers to Dr Samuel Crumbine’s campaign to prevent tuberculosis in the early 1900s. *We learned that different men would run their new rail lines around each other to try to one-up the other guys. *Wherever the railroad went, that is where the towns stayed alive, at least when the trains were the main transportation. *Kansas was able to decide for themselves if they were going to be a slave state or a free state. There were 7000 votes cast…but only 3000 registered voters!! *Clinton Hutchinson started the town. It was on the edge of the county and at that time, the county seat would be around the center of the county. He got his political friends to re-draw the county border lines so Hutchinson would be in the center, and thus, the county seat. He was quite the swindler! * Ben Blanchard bought 280 acres around Hutchinson and tried drilling for oil. Didn’t find any. But then he discovery salt in the ground. In the 1880s, in the Midwest, salt was more valuable than oil!
Back at campground, we walked around looking at the semis and their 5th wheels. We even saw an Alliance Paradigm. 🙂 That is the same company that made our 5th Wheel, Alliance. There was maybe 20 semis there. We sat outside and enjoyed the evening. Look at all the Smart Cars. They are so tiny next to the big trucks. People put them on sideways behind the cab of the truck and then use them to scoot around town. 🙂
Saturday we left Hutchinson, Kansas and headed north. We like to drive on the country roads. Even if it takes longer, we don’t care because you see so much more of life. We drove clear up to about 15 miles south of Nebraska boarder, then turned east on Hwy 36.
I am 100% deaf. I lost my hearing 2 years ago. I often use apps, example AVA and Live Transcribe, where it will put the words it “hears” in writing. They work ok, not great, and only if one person is talking and no noise in the background. I had noticed with the latest upgrade for Apple iPhone, they now have Live Captions and a microphone setting. I turned it on and we tried the microphone. It works great! A million percent better than the apps. I am pretty ecstatic about it. As we drive along, we see historical markers on the sides of the roads. We like to stop and read them but it is impossible with our total length for our truck and 5th Wheel of 54 ft! Then I remembered an app put out in part by Kevin Costner. It is called Autio. I downloaded the app and tested the live captions part and it worked! The app notifies you when there is something interesting. Then you click on it and hear a voice. The iPhone Live Caption picked up the voice and typed out the words and grammar perfectly. What a thrill!!!!!! What did we hear? We learned Hiawatha, KS has the longest continually running Halloween parade in the country. Why? Because back when, people would do cruel and bad tricks. Started in 1914. Fun things to learn! Just so you know, we aren’t affiliated with Autio and we aren’t sponsored by them. (No one sponsors us, HAHA!) But we highly recommend this app to EVERYONE that does any traveling and likes to learn fun and interesting tidbits.
Where did we stop next? Hamilton, Missouri. Kevin is going to write and tell you all about his home town area next time.