I have always liked lighthouses but have seen very few. I just finished the book, “Keepers of the Light” about Point Conception Lighthouse which is near Santa Barbara. Visitors aren’t allowed on the property there so we didn’t see it when we were in that area in December.
On President’s Day we went to Cabrillo National Monument. I was so thrilled to be able to go inside the house, climb the stairs, and see the light. The Old Point Loma Lighthouse went into operation in November 1855. It served mariners for 36 years, until March 1891.
At one point, we were walking back to the truck and Kevin saw a light pedestal along the path. He pointed down to it and said, “There is the lighthouse!” Oh, did we laugh! The “real” one is behind him in the photo. HA
Along our path we went into a small structure that was part of a vast coastal defense system embedded into Point Loma. It was built by the Army in 1918. During WW2, soldiers used the building as a meteorological station to support coastal artillery. Best sign said, “One time a fellow called and said there was machine gun firing going on, so the major said, ‘Get on the instrument and see where the machine gun firing is….’ He gave us the coordinates and I looked and the water was shooting up. It looked like machine gun firing…The major called back, ‘Don’t you know the difference between machine gun fire and whales?’” Master Sgt George H McGlothlin, Btty. E, 19th Coast Artillery, Fort Rosecrans. 🤣
We drove down to the tide pools parking but it was full so we went to the next one and there was one open spot. Wahoo. We sat on the bench and just took in the expanse and beauty. The blue water of the Pacific Ocean, the white spray of waves crashing, the brown sand, the green wild grass and the purple, yellow, and red of wild flowers, seals and birds. We even saw a coast guard helicopter fly past.
We walked along the dirt path towards the tide pools. It was a dramatic drop down but the stairs were short drops and weren’t hard to use. (No guardrail, if someone needed it.) Down at the tide pools, still many feet above sea level, the water would crash and wouldn’t be drained off the rocks before another crash of waves would come. Low tide was 1:00-4:00 pm today. We were there right before and could see the pools but no creatures in them.
I did a funny, making it look like I was going to push Kevin off the tide pools and down the cliff into the ocean. It got a great bit of laughs from the people around us. We could just stay there forever. But, we got hungry. HAHA
After lunch we went back to Point Loma to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery https://www.cem.va.gov/cems/nchp/ftrosecrans.aspThis cemetery has quite the history. From the cemetery you can see the mountains in the distance, San Diego and the cities surrounding it, the bay, and the Pacific Ocean. The tombstones, all lined up in rows and mathematics, are stunning. It reminded us both of Arlington Cemetery. After this amazing day, we went to Hobby Lobby for decorations for HOWE (our name for our 36 ft 5th wheel – Home On WhEels). Kevin found and bought decorations that say, “Lucky Me I Have You” and another one “Lucky Me, Lucky You, Lucky Us.” So sweet! A truly remarkable weekend (see the last post for the beginning of the weekend) with my favorite person in the whole world…despite almost throwing him into the ocean! 😉
Some new friends of ours drove down from Los Angeles area just to have dinner with us one Friday evening. It was fun to dress up a little for dinner. We had such a great visit with lots of laughs. At one point, the waitress brought out a fancy box with different knives in it and told us to each pick one for our meal. Kevin picked out what looks like a huge hunting knife. The dessert cart was out of this world! How to decide between all the fancy cookies, cakes, pies, etc. etc.?! Our pick, Creme Brûlée were delicious.
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.
Let me just say, it was good we didn’t have a long day of travel this day. We had planned to leave Bullhead City, AZ the next day but seeing that it is about 5 hour drive to Pio Pico RV Campground, Jamul, CA, and seeing how it is first come first serve to get a site, I decided to get a Harvest Host (read on to learn about it) to break up the trip and get to Pio Pico early on our reservation day. Kevin had noticed that the trailer braking system wasn’t working right. The box would take quite a while to get adjusted each time and he had to keep adjusting it. Since the box came with our first truck and was already very old, Kevin ordered a new one. (It arrived at an Amazon Locker at Circle K and we picked it up last week.) He installed it in the truck the other day but of course it wasn’t hooked yet to HOWE (our name for our 2022 Alliance Avenue – Home On WhEels). This morning he got the truck and 5th wheel hooked up, we got in and pulled out. He stopped at a large pull off at this campground. The controller wasn’t working. At all. After an hour, which he read the instructions, looked online, took off the controller, checked wires, checked fuses, checked the something at the back of the truck (he had me press the brake and that told him something)…then he realized it was actually the braking system on our 5th wheel Alliance that had broke. Underneath it, by the wheels, he could see a wire had broken. 😦 He was able to fix it but the wire and connector aren’t water proof and will need to be redone. So thankful he finally found the problem. So thankful he knew how to fix it. So thankful he had the tools to fix it. As we pulled out he said, “There is a lesson on assuming.” What did he assume, I asked. “That a 1 year old trailer wouldn’t break before an old brake controller box.” Yeah. We pulled out at 10:00 am.
The day was sunny and perfect weather. We stopped for a little break at Hwy 95 and State road 62 (CA). We had seen it before. Well, it was the pits! A gas station but so very dirty; we won’t stop there again. It has a big parking lot around it and truckers stop there but it was small, very little food, grosses bathrooms, yeah. Thankfully we have our own bathroom with us. HAHA Headed on south on Hwy 95, a new road to us. There is very little out here but a few “resort” RV/trailer parks along Colorado River. We learned from Autio (the app we have mentioned before) that Blythe, CA tried to make it big by growing pot. But failed. HA This area is all river bottoms with great soil and we see acres and acres of alfalfa and other green things we can’t identify. I texted my friend since she grew up here. This is a large farming area with desert mountains surrounding it, way off in the distance. From Blythe, we took CA State Road 78. We liked these two-lane roads.
The landscaped changed a bit to more bushes around. Off in the distance, I saw a line of light brown mountain range. I didn’t give it another thought. Until, we got close and discovered it is Imperial Sand Dunes. From the BLM website I learned: this is the largest mass of sand dunes in CA. It is sands from ancient Lake Cahuilla. “The dune system extends for more than 40 miles in a band averaging 5 miles wide. Dunes often reach heights of 300 feet above the desert floor.” We saw a lot of four-wheelers, two large groups of RVs, and 3 police ATVs around a group. Some places had beautiful dark purple flowers right on top of the sand.
Soon I looked over and saw the diesel tank pointer looking pretty far left. Yikes. Kevin asked how much farther to Brawley and I said 38 miles. He said we would make it but I was nervous. In fact, I was so nervous, I looked at my iPhone to see if I had signal in case we had to call AAA. (We did have good cell service. Whew!) About 100 feet before we pulled into the first gas station we found, a Pilot, Kevin said the low fuel light came on. Whew.
We drove on to our first Harvest Host – Desert Olive Farms. Harvest Hosts is an RV camping membership with over 4,286 farms, museums, wineries, breweries, attractions, and more where you can stay with no camping fees. You can upgrade to have over 445 golf courses. Harvest Hosts membership allows self-contained travelers to stay for one night at each place. Most places don’t have water, electricity or sewer connections. You show appreciation for the stay by making a purchase if they have something available.
Desert Olive Farms: Grace was weeding outside her house, welcomed us, and told Kevin where to park. There was already a truck and 5th wheel here and later a truck and trailer (mom/dad/2 young boys who were well behaved) would come. The place is beautiful! A small grove of olive trees next to us. On the other side of the driveway are pomegranate trees. There were a few fruit for birds left on the trees. Green grass everywhere and farms all around. We see sugar cane, alfalfa, cauliflower and a bunch of other vegetables. As soon as we parked, the guy from the 5th wheel came over. Soon as jacks were set (no hook ups at all) Kevin was seated on his chair over visiting with him. His wife has dementia and they started about a year ago traveling around the country seeing things before it gets too late.
We hadn’t eaten all day, except for snacks. I had mentioned before we got here (we got here at 2:00 pm) that I would like for us to drive around and find a nice sit down place to eat. After visiting with the neighbors, Kevin came in and asked if we should go get something to eat. The farm was to give us a tour around 5:00-5:30 pm. I wanted to eat before it started since we didn’t know how long the tour would be. We drove into Brawley and we saw Rally’s Burgers. Kevin said he wanted that and we pulled in. There was a nice place outside and the temps were 76 so I thought we would eat there. But he went through the drive through. So much for a sit down place. HA Kevin said we would eat it and drive around. That is fine; we do that often. The burgers were really good and we will see if it is chain. Drove main street and back. Then I asked what we should do now and he said we will go back home so we don’t miss the tour, in case the guy is early. Okay. I said we still had 2 hours and then and there we found the problem…Kevin hadn’t reset his watch to be off AZ time. (We had turned off automatic time zone because when you are literally across the river, the time can bounce time zones.) He thought we had less than an hour. Ahhhh We had a good laugh!
Here are a few things we learned for Clyde: *they have been growing olive trees for 12 years, *they have 6000 acres in alfalfa, sugarcane, cauliflower and a bunch of other stuff, *they have 200 acres in olive trees, *olives are shaken out of the trees for harvest in Sept and Oct, *they press the olives within 4-6 hours, *they are -151 feet below sea level (Kevin didn’t believe me when I read it on Garmin), *a person there years ago wrote on a pumpkin that he had water or needed water or something and that was the first water right so, this area has first water rights on Colorado River, *alfalfa that is baled and under white tarps will sit there for 6 months to go from 20% to 14% moisture and then shipped to China, *bales not under tarps go to san Diego, LA, or San Francisco, *they get 1 inch of rain a year but all the water they want from Colorado River which makes it the best growing place, *and a lot more! We tasted a bunch of olive oils and sometimes with balsamic. We bought Desert Olive Oil Roasted Garlic, Sun Dried Tomato Dipping Oil, and a jar of green olives. Our first Harvest Host was absolutely wonderful and we thank Desert Olive Farms for the great space, information, and delicious olive oils.
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.
Laying in bed one morning, with it just getting light out, I thought how neat it would be to be able to see the sun rise over the ocean. We saw breathtaking sunsets over the ocean. I much prefer the sunset, just because then I don’t have to get up early. HAHA Anyway, I was thinking about that and how Malibu (along with Santa Barbara) actually faces out south. Hum, I should get up and see where the sun rises. Got up and looked out the living room windows. Beautiful morning. A few minutes later, “up” came the sun. The brilliance splashing colors all over the ocean. Stunning. I just stood there, in awe. I never get tired of seeing that.
The Malibu Seafood Fish Market is right near Malibu Beach RV Park, where we are staying. It opens at 10:00 and then cafe opens at 11:00. When we got there very few cars were in the parking lot and we walked right in and ordered. I decided to wait on buying any seafood since it would be a few days before we are ready for it and I don’t want it smelling up the fridge. We ordered the fried fish and chips. The seating is outside and it was a glorious day. The food, we rated: Once A Week. The homemade tartar sauce was excellent, with a good tasting tang. Kevin suggested this should be a new tradition – seafood on Christmas Eve. I like that. The rest of the day was just relaxing, reading, and getting presents ready and wrapped. Kevin said he wanted to give me two gifts to open this evening. It turns out he is a silly goose, like his mom. He wrapped up the toothpaste and toothbrush I had got at the store today. HA Thanks, hon. 🙂
For Christmas, I surprised Kevin with a 2 hour sailing with Sail Channel Islands. https://sailchannelislands.com/ We got ready and drove up to Oxnard. We pulled over at Hanna Beach to watch the surfers. There were 21 out there, that I could see.
We continued on and followed the directions Captain Dan gave us for getting to the sailboat. We made it fine and the parking lot had a ton of parking and free. We gathered our things, including sweaters and rain jackets (didn’t use the jackets), sun block, etc.
We walked the short way to Marina 4 gate, called Captain Dan, saw our boat, Willie in the distance, and waited for him to open the locked gate. He was a very wonderful and kind man. He used to fly airplanes and landed them on aircraft carriers. He doesn’t fly anymore because it is boring. Yes, just flying is boring compared to take off and landing on a carrier. 🙂
We got on the small sailboat and what a ride. Captain Dan had Kevin drive it the whole time, except for right in the line of slip at the harbor. The sea was so calm, the rocking almost made me fall asleep. I didn’t feel any “falling” part of motion sickness. So thankful! I saw a boat named, “ Vitamin Sea” and thought that was funny. We also saw a huge dredge. Captain Dan said the pipeline takes the sand out a mile and dumps it on a beach. Wow! We also a lot of sea lions.
The tour was from 1:00-3:00 PM. I picked this time for us to have plenty time to get there and also the warmest part of the day. We saw a big container ship, lots of sailboats, some regular boats, and even a crab boat which was right along the water break.
Amazing. Kevin had the biggest grin on his face the entire time. A perfect gift.
Credit Card Fraud! Mad. I just don’t understand people who do that!?! They were sneaky in that they used the name of a place we had been last summer and charged it for $34.70. I noticed it and knew we hadn’t been back there. Kevin called the place and they saw no charge so we knew it wasn’t a mistake on their part. Next we called the card company who took care of it right away.
We went to Beverly Hills Mall for the closest Container Store to Malibu. Let me say, that was a fancy swanky mall! All the walkways are outside but it was raining ever so slightly. Beautiful place. At the mall we found the store. It took us a while to figure out what would work. I needed a shelf or containers for the cupboard under the coffee bar where so many cans rolled out on last travel day. I had measured the cupboard area before we left, which was good. Found what we thought would work and came home. It was drizzling and dark but the traffic wasn’t too thick. We stopped by Malibu Seafood and got fish and fries and fish sandwich and fries and took it home. I saw the fish market was all packed up but the guy said it was still open. I bought a pound of tilapia (2 pieces) for $9.99 a pound. Then I put the new containers in the cupboard – fit perfectly – and organized all the cans. Yay!
Kevin was on the phone with Rancho Oso RV in Santa Barbara. It is the campground we were last. A package was delivered there for us. The guy at the gate couldn’t get his computer to hook to their spotty cell service so he was unable to print a FedEx label. The label would have been put on the box, FedEx would pick it up, and send it where we are. Kevin called FedEx and oh yes, they would print the label for him if the guy would drop off the box to FedEx. Well, we can’t ask that, since it was probably 20 minutes from the campground. I suggest we just drive the 91 miles each way and pick it up and that is what we did. We left around 1:00 PM and enjoyed the drive. The drive was beautiful. There was a little rain but stopped as we went up the canyon. Low clouds hung low on the mountains and very pretty. Kevin got the package just fine. Drove back down the canyon and headed south on 101. We quickly got into construction traffic that lasted about 25 minutes. At least we were moving the whole time. We decided to eat out. I looked up on my phone and found Yolanda’s Mexican, highly rated on Trip Advisor. We got right in, very happy place, and food was delicious. He had fajitas and I am enchiladas. Our rating: Once A Week. Then we drove on home in light mist. A very pleasant day. NOTE: a week or so later and California received huge storms. Rancho Oso RV and the roads were so damaged from the rain that it is closed until at least March 1. 😦
New Year’s Eve. At 9:00 PM, we walked, in the pouring rain, across the driveway to the tent this campground (Malibu Beach RV Park) had set up professionally the other day. They had a New Year’s Eve party and what a blast it was! Lots of cute hats and party favors, treats and drinks. There was a DJ there. It was a very fun and festive event. The DJ had a camera where you could get pictures taken, it would put it in a collage, and then text it to you. (Notice the spelled Malibu wrong! HAHA) We did it and they turned out really cute. Of course the music was loud and I could feel it. We kind of danced around with everyone.. A very nice day. If it wasn’t raining, we would have been outside all day but this was nice, too.
New Year’s Day. Even though we were up late, we woke up early. Today we drove to El Matador State Park. It is about 10 minutes west of us. We got there early enough, around 9:00 AM, that there were only a few cars in the parking lot. We paid $10.00 to park all day and walked down the steep stairs and embankment. You walk down 150 feet down a cliff. What a glorious sight to see! There are rocks of every size on this beach. Some are extremely tall. The water has form caves in the rocks. The ocean waves are strong and violent to watch. A great place to just sit and “be”.
We set up our camp chairs and just watched and read our books. Soon the wind came up and was a bit chilly so we moved back towards the cliff but still very close to the water. It wasn’t long and there was a lot of people there. It didn’t feel crowded at all, because it is so long of a beach. We saw professional photographers with a family. Everyone that came had a camera/phone out taking pictures. Neat to see. Right near us was about a 2 feet steep drop off from where the high water reaches. I noticed that almost every guy would get down it, then turn around and help the lady down. I love that! Such gentleman and made my heart happy. Kevin said he noticed that too. The guys would also help the ladies up when leaving. Around 12:30 the clouds covered the sun and it was a bit too chilly to keep sitting there so we headed home. There were 5 cars waiting for our parking spot! It was a lovely spot to be for New Year’s Day.
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!
Remember our recommendation of the app called Autio for travelers? Well…it might be soooo good that two people totally and completely missed the exit sign in downtown Kansas City, Missouri while listening tell about Brown’s Irish Market. HAHAHAHA We were laughing so hard we were almost crying! Thankfully there are lots of ways to get heading south to get back on I-35. 🙂
We are only in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for one night, just passing through. As we pulled up to Mustang Run RV Park, we saw storm shelters all around the campground. Oh boy, we aren’t used to those. (We have lived in the west in mountains for 25+ years until we sold and became Full-Time travelers.)
This campground is super nice! The main building is huge with lots of cowboy deco and large sitting areas. The camp roads are concrete and each site, far apart and wide, have grass and a nice picnic table. If we come back to this area, we will definitely stay here. Oh, Kevin did say he could hear I-40 even inside HOWE (our name for our 5th Wheel- Home On WhEels). He said it didn’t bother him and was like white noise.
Kevin noticed the water pressure was bad; it would be fine for less than a second and then go to just a trickle. He thought maybe it was our new water filter – our other one had froze and broke in Missouri – so he took it completely out and nope, didn’t help. He kept trying all sorts of things. Finally he saw the craziest sight! Pieces of green plastic! Kid you not! Turns out it came for a water hydrant where we had been staying. Kevin had the spigot hooked up to our 5th Wheel but with the temps getting cold in Missouri, he just filled up the water holding tanks instead. After he cleaned out the trap and line, water pressure was great.
This was a really long day for driving – 9 hours total. I felt bad for Kevin but when we planned it, it is the only way to get us to where we are meeting up with my parents for Thanksgiving. We both had great attitudes about the long day and knew what was coming. Since Mustang Run RV Park was nice and level and easy to get out of, we got up at 6:30 AM (still very dark), loaded up and were on the road by 7:02 AM. For most of the way I read our library book out loud. It makes the time go by fast and the landscape didn’t change much. We saw a lot of fields and even some with cotton still growing. Also lots of wind farms. At one place we saw a water tower that was leaning over quite a bit. We talked about how someone needs to fix that quick! Then, Autio (the app I describe a few weeks ago) talked bout the Leaning Tower…it is totally a tourist point. HAHA See? We wouldn’t have know not to worry about safety. 🙂 There was a lot of truck traffic; Kevin said if there weren’t trucks on the road it would be empty. Thank you, Truckers!
We got to High Desert RV campground in Albuquerque and checked in. The lady said she herself was a little frazzled as she was having to deal with some issue. She got us checked in and we drove to our site. This is a nice campground with asphalt roads and packed red rocks on the site. Got all set up. Even with the long drive today, Kevin wanted to drive around the area a little and I thought it nice. We grabbed McDonalds and ate while driving around looking at the community. Back home we both sat outside for a long while and just enjoyed the sunset and evening.
The next day was sunny day and highs reached 64°. I did some sewing and then sat outside for a short bit in the afternoon and read. After work, Kevin and I cleaned out and organized the truck. Looks good now! This being Halloween, we didn’t go anywhere. I made a new recipe with chicken and pesto but we didn’t love it. As Kevin said, “You have enough amazing recipes that we don’t have to keep this.” I fully agree! We ate it but I won’t make it again. We watched a movie the rest of the evening.
We drove to Fiesta Park where the hot air balloon show is every October. It is huge, of course. The museum closes at 5:00 so we weren’t able to go inside. We drove around the humungous grass area and saw organized soccer games playing. That is a good use of the fields. My friend, Kim, texted me today about her favorite place to eat here. The campground office lady had also mentioned it our first night. It is named Frontier Restaurant. It has been going since 1970s. It has a lot of rooms and can seat 300 people, the website says. You order at a counter and they have a lot of choices: burgers, salads, and all things Mexican. I got the Mexican Combo which was a beef taco (meat filled to the top!), chicken enchilada (mild was spicy!), and rice and beans. It was incredible and I definitely rate it: Every Day. Kevin had the Mexican egg dish – huevos rancheros. He had never had that before and this was a great place to try it. He rated it: Every Day. We got a cinnamon roll to share and well, let’s just say, we bought their special of 6 to take home! Oh, and 12 tortillas. HAHAHA
Another day we went to Old Town Albuquerque. Once we got there, our eyes got so big! With the center a lovely, green park with a gazebo, trees, benches, etc. and shops in old buildings around that square, well, it reminded us of a town in Mexico. We were there on a cruise ship shore excursion. We pointed, “Right there is where the shop was that we bought our Mexican vanilla!” HAHA We read the sign that told us Albuquerque was founded in 1706. Farming and ranching communities. In 1793 San Felipe de Neri Church and Rectory and it is still here. As we walked around, we saw the beautiful church. San Felipe de Neri is the oldest church in this city. It has continually served the community without interruption since 1706! We walked into the courtyard and were disappointed to see the sign that said we can’t go inside the church due to cleaning and renovations. We walked through the gift shop and to the back to a tiny museum. We had 20 minutes before they closed. We saw the gorgeous capes, shawls, a bell, and many other things. There is also a display that show an altar setting with great description of each item and the meaning. Wonderful! Kevin said he likes the tradition of this church. We learned there was a lady named Sister Blandina who was here at the beginning. Her diary has been put into a book and we bought it. Can’t wait to get started on it. After the church, we walked around the plaza and stepped into a few shops. Kevin found a Penny Souvenir machine. I saw on one of them what the symbol of New Mexico stands for: the 4 lines pointing up-Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, the 4 lines pointing right-Infant, Youth, Adult, Old, the 4 lines pointing down-North, East, South, West, and the 4 lines pointing left-Dawn, Day, Dusk, Dark.
At the end of the week, we drove around more looking at the beauty of this city. We will have to come back here and stay longer down the road.
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 were sooo ready to get on the road, we could hardly get to sleep. We set the alarm for 6:30 AM but we were both awake at 6:00. We got up, pulled the slides in, unhooked the water, took down Starlink and we were on our way. We headed east on I-40. I put the leftover pizza in the truck and we snacked on that throughout the day. Also had homemade Oatmeal-Butterscotch cookies. I made them a few weeks ago, sealed them in Food Saver, and frozen them. I thawed them last night. We saved a ton of money by not buying pop and treats every time we stopped for diesel. The new cooler worked great with drinks in it. HOWE (our name for our 2022 Alliance Avenue 5th wheel, Home On WhEels) followed along with no problems and Kevin drove great, as usual. I read aloud a library book about Doc Holliday, the Earp brothers, and Dodge City. Perfect since we are heading that way. We both got a little giddy when we got to the place that the road was new to us, we hadn’t been on it before. 🙂 We were so engrossed in the book that we totally missed the sign telling us we were in New Mexico! HAHA Continued on over Sandia Mountains which are just east of Albuquerque, New Mexico. On the side of the road was a semi and trailer that had caught on fire. Kevin said it looked like the sleeper started first. Hopefully everyone got out ok. On top of the mountains, it started to rain just a little. It didn’t really slow us down but had to use the wipers for probably about 15 minutes.
The landscape changed to low, rolling hills. Lots of tall dry grass with juniper-pinion looking trees spread around. We got to Santa Rosa, NM around 3:00 PM. The campground was easy to get to and the guy checking us in was a hoot! He told us they have a BBQ Restaurant and showed us the menu. He said the special tonight isn’t on there. It is Himalayan Squirrel. He said it is fresh, because they found him-a-layin on the road that day! Oh that was funny.
Got to our site and set up. We got out our camp chairs and sat on the grass. It was so dry and had goat head thorns. But the space was good for one night stop. We caught up on our phones (texts, emails, etc.) and then called and ordered BBQ dinner. The campground restaurant is carry out only right now and they deliver your meal to your campsite on a golf cart. The lady asked what time we wanted it delivered, which was nice. He said we are flexible but 5:30 sounds fine. Sure enough, the lady was there.
The food was good and I would get it again if we stay here another time. We both had brisket, and I had baked beans and baked potato. Kevin had cole slaw and fries. We shared peach cobbler and a side of ice cream. Kevin said the peach cobbler was the best he has ever tasted. It was delicious!
We set the alarm for 6:00 AM but at that time it was still very dark out. Boy, what a difference with Flagstaff being same time as California right now – early sun up, early sun down. We changed the alarm for 6:30. It was barely light out and by the time we were ready to go, the sun was just coming up at around 7:00 AM. Another great day driving. Perfect sunny weather. So thankful. We snacked on homemade cookies (I told about yesterday) and cheese and crackers. At one point I said, “How can these cookies taste better than right out of the oven?!?!” Kevin said he was thinking the exact same thing. Wow, that Food Saver is great.
At Tucumcari, we turned onto Hwy 56 and went through Texas, Oklahoma, and to Kansas. In Texas, we saw miles of feed lots, full of cattle. In Oklahoma, we saw miles of corn. In Kansas, we saw miles of milo and some corn. Now the bridges are the highest point around! Flat, flat, flat. See for many miles. There are also a lot of granaries, silos, or Kevin calls them elevators.
We got to Dodge City at 2:00 PM. Got checked in quickly at Gunsmoke RV. The nice man gave us some brochures about the area. Kevin asked him his favorite restaurant and he circled several on a brochure. As you enter this campground, on the west side of Dodge City, there are sites close together. But we are in the back, on the very end and it is nice. We have a front yard and back yard, both with wooden picnic tables. There is grass, although it is dried up. The sites are wide apart. We got set up for the week and headed into town. Drove around town for a little bit. A lot of streets close to historic downtown are brick. At one point we passed a water tower and Kevin said, well, this is the highest point in town. 🙂 We see the trains on the tracks and are “glad” the campground is on the north side because in our book, all the “bad” places were south of the tracks. HAHA (Not the case these days.) OH, we read in the book about Arkansas River and how they had a bridge over it and made it a toll bridge. But today, that river is completely dried up. I mean, you can tell there hasn’t been water there for a long time. Where did the water go? (We asked a tour guy at the train station later in the week. He said Kansas and Colorado have fought over water for years and years. Some dams were built along the river in Colorado.)
Monday: Kevin enjoyed the view from his desk today. It faces west and we see a rise in the ground, up to a fence. On three sides of the campground are fields. We saw a red pickup truck today with two workers in the field. One guy would stand in the bed or on the ground and hold a tall pole. It looked like a flag pole. Kevin noticed they were doing some surveying. The went all along the west, north, and east of this campground. Fun to watch. I mostly worked on travel journal and pictures today. When Kevin was finished with work we headed off to Boot Hill Museum. We knew the place would be closing soon. The young guy taking our fee said he would give us a receipt to get in to the museum tomorrow, too, since with work and early closing, we won’t be able to come earlier. That was very thoughtful and very much appreciated. We learned so much in the short time we were at the museum. A few highlights are:
*In 1872, Fort Dodge Commander Lt. Col. Richard Dodge closed the sutler’s bar to enlisted men and forbade alcohol on the military reservation. The result was a tent saloon five miles from the fort, and the start of Dodge City.
*Railroads & Daily Life – Imagine having to reset your watch 300 times as you travel across the country. That was once the reality, because each town set its own time based on the sun’s position. Railroads operating over long distances needed a better system. On November 18, 1883, they set up four time zones across the US and Canada. Dodge City, on the 100th meridian, sat in both the Central and Mountain time zones, so the depot had a clock with each time.
*AT&SF’s first conductor, John Bender (1844-1907). Once when John Bender asked a drunken passenger for his ticket, the man hiccuped, “I wanna g-go to hell!” Benders reply? “Get off at Dodge.”
*A Town Transformed – Longhorns carried but were immune to a tick-borne disease that killed Kansas herds. Ranchers demanded a quarantine on Texas cattle, and as ranching moved west so did the quarantine line. IN the mid-1870s, Dodge City was the easternmost railhead for longhorns. By 1885, the line reached Colorado, and the Kansas legislature banned all cattle from Texas. (* taken from signs and displays at Boot Hill Museum, Dodge City, KS)
We decided to drive to the stockyard overlook. It is a large pull-off with a circular road. We got out and saw humungous fields of cattle. Even say a lot of buildings and a ton of semi trucks and trailers.
We drove on smaller roads and even dirt roads and went around all four sides. Then we turned south and happened upon Fort Dodge. The fort is now a home for soldiers. We wanted to look around but there was a sign that all visitors must check in at some hall. It was getting late so we didn’t go further. We might another day.
At the end of the Fort and across the street we found Kansas Veteran’s Cemetery. We got out and walked around. The oldest birth year we found was 1834! I looked up and read that civilians are also buried here. Left at sundown, drove a little more around town and then headed home.
Tuesday: After work, we drove back to Boot Hill Museum. We walked to where we had ended yesterday. Then out the museum, across the yard to old-time looking buildings. First we went into the General Outfitting Store. They had candies, trinkets, and clothes for sale. Next door was Long Branch Saloon. It looked real and the guy behind the counter was serving real alcohol. Two guys were sitting at a table drinking. From there, you walk through the rest of the buildings from inside. G.M. Hoover Cigars had a good display and information about cigars. Dry Goods, guns, photos, drug store, etc. all down the line. Kevin and I thought the displays were set in a way that really drew a person in to learn. Of course, from reading the library book, we are drawn to the names we “know”: Holliday, Earp brothers, Hoover, Wright, Mathewson brothers, etc. We feel like we really know them. 🙂 It is a crazy feeling. Shows what a great writer she is! We didn’t read every sign and display as we only had a short before closing but feel we got a good part of it.
Then Kevin decided we should try out the steak place the campground host recommended. Casey’s Cowtown Steak House. Let me tell you, after the first bit of my chicken fried steak and Kevin’s steak and shrimp, he said to me, “What are you going to order from here tomorrow?!” It is THAT delicious! The steak was so tender, but thoroughly cooked, that I cut the pieces with the edge of my fork. The mashed potatoes were creamy with a few skins on – definitely homemade. I am craving it just typing this. Kevin rates his steak and shrimp: “Several times a week”…which isn’t even an option on our rating scale! HAHAHA My chicken fried steak rating: “Every day.” The place is divided in different rooms or areas with plastic plates and all sorts of memorabilia on the walls. It was great. In the parking lot…mostly Ram trucks! I even started walking to the wrong one. HAHA Kevin, seeing all those trucks, giggled with happiness.
Wednesday: As soon as Kevin was done with work, we headed out to do the walking tour of Dodge City. Whoever put it together did a great job! There is a booklet that has a map, description, and good details about all 70 places. It says it is approximately 3 miles. It was fun to see the exact spot where certain buildings were. If it wasn’t the spot, they had great iron hangings from light poles that are in great detail and depict something from the area. There were also “stars” from the TV series Gunsmoke in the sidewalks. We didn’t care much about that but someone who watched the shows would probably like it. At one point, we crossed over to the train depot. Inside, a very nice worker named Carl said they would be closing in 20 minutes. I looked around and saw we could never get through the whole thing in that amount of time. So we decided to come back here tomorrow when we would have more time.
Remember how we rated the food at Casey’s Cowtown Steak House? Yeah, Kevin said we are going back for dinner. Rated every day. HAHA Tonight I had the House Sirloin and it was melt in your mouth. Kevin had a Dodge Strip (as opposed to New York Strip, the menu says). We both rated it: “Every Day”. Kevin said his baked potato was light and fluffy inside.
Thursday: Walking through Dodge City Train Depot is like walking back in time. A lot of it is original from the beginning. At one end they have made a dinner theater there. Oh, I wish it was running tonight but Carl said they are in between plays right now. Carl, the city guide, was a wealth of information.
Kevin says, “This is how you use a sun dial…stand near it…and look at your Apple Watch! 🙂
Friday: I made some cookies. After work, we drove west to see famous wagon wheel ruts of the Santa Fe Trail. We didn’t see any but read the sign. Not disappointed as the drive for the 11 miles was nice. We decided to try the other steak house that was recommend by the campground host. Prime On The Nine is at the local golf course. The grass was beautiful green and the restaurant very nice and a bit fancier than other places here. We both had the chicken fried steak and it came on top of mashed potatoes and a jalapeño gravy. We were a little weary of that because we are wimps and can’t handle spicy. But it turned out that the jalapeños just added the tiniest of kicks. Very good. We rate it: Every Few Months. (I just added that new rating because it is somewhere between once a month and once a year! HAHA) The best part was our server. She saw us signing and got really excited and animated, asking, “How do you sign….” It was cute. A real joy to see someone excited to learn and communicate. As we left, Kevin wrote the Lifeprint.com on a card and we told her about it. It is a great way to learn American Sign Language. As we walked out, she was adamantly showing it to a coworker. Back to HOWE we got things ready for a travel day tomorrow.