Pinnacles N.P. & Monterey, CA

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.

Pinnacles National Park, Paicines, CA 03/23

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.

Look At All The Holes! Woodpecker, Paicines, CA 03/23

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.

I Love The Happiness On Kevin’s Face, Paicines, CA 03/23

We soon headed back home. It rained a little throughout the afternoon but the clouds were sure dark just north of us.

This Old Barn Just Needed To Have A Picture Taken! Tres Pinos, CA 03/23

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

Low Clouds On A Beautiful Morning. Hollister, CA 03/23

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.

Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey, CA 03/23

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.

The Custom House, Monterey, CA 03/23

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.

Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey, CA 03/23

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.

A Colorful “Train” Monterey, CA 03/23

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.

Harbor View Doesn’t Get Much Better Than This! Monterey, CA 03/23

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.

Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 03/23

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.

Is That Part Of The Statue? Monterey, CA 03/23

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.

Pre-Evacuation & Evacuation Update

Note: This travel journal entry is from the week before we were evacuated. You can read that crazy story from last Friday’s blog post. Update below. Pre-Evaucation we were in the San Diego, CA area.

Path Leading To Garden At Mission San Diego De Alcala, San Diego, CA 02/23

We went to Mission San Diego De Alcala. This building was completed in 1813. It was the relocation site of Alta California’s 1st Mission. The night before we came we watched a very informative video of the history on the Mission’s website. It was good to have that information before we went and saw. We knew there were several masses going on today and we definitely didn’t want to be a distraction. We started at the gift shop. She was so friendly, gave us a map and a time between the services that would work for us to see inside the church. We walked out and I saw a sign saying $8.00 per adult. We went back into the gift shop to pay but she said we didn’t have to pay today. Very kind. 

Mission San Diego De Alcala, San Diego, CA 02/23

The white walls of the church were brilliant white against the blue sky. Beautiful!  We saw the 5 bells and read they are rung together once a year for a celebration. Later Kevin heard one bell ring at the start of the next service/mass.

Church Bells Reflecting In Old Brick Pathway, San Diego, CA 02/23

It had rained right before we got there and there were puddles everywhere. I got photos of bricks, worn down in the middle – the shape of sandals – with reflections of the bells. The grounds were beautiful, of course, with several very peaceful gardens. When the church had cleared out, mostly, we walked into the side door (following the guidance of the map). We stepped inside but we saw people praying so we left. We wanted to be respectful and didn’t want to to intrude. As we were finished up walking around it started to slowly drop rain.

Taking Wool From Sheered To Sewing, San Diego, CA 02/23

We then decided to go to Old Town San Diego. I didn’t expect much from this place. We both thought it would be old-looking buildings selling tourist stuff. Were we wrong! This place was great. We got parked in the free parking lot close by and then walk to the grounds.

Old Town San Diego Shop With Potbelly Stove In The Middle, San Diego, CA 02/23

The buildings were just like back when. All workers are dressed in period costumes. Some buildings had burned and been restored. Each building had some history in it.

“Secrets Within The Walls” San Diego, CA 02/23

Have you ever heard about a document being found in a wall more than 100 years old?! The story in the picture above was a great discovery! Incredible!

My Favorite Candy! San Diego, CA 02/23

By this time it was around 3:00 pm and we were pretty much done. One more stop… Cousins’ Candy Shop where they have world famous handmade saltwater taffy. We were able to watch the workers wrap the fresh made taffy in wrappers. I “needed” some. Soon Kevin started looking at mine and I said, “NO way! Get your own.” “Ok” he said, laughing, and got his own bag.

Road Closed Past The Campground, Jamul, CA 03/23

On one day the road in front of the campground had signs “Road Closed” and barriers across because the creek was completely flooding over the road. Then to my shock? I big box truck just drove right on through and all the other vehicles, probably 8. No one pulled over nor turned around. They didn’t even slow down. Kevin said he would drive through it; I said I wouldn’t because I follow rules. HAHA Silence…crickets… 

As we were ready to leave on travel day I went to take the trash to the dumpster and I didn’t know where the dumpster was. I asked Kevin and him being the most amazing man grinned and said, “I  am so glad you don’t know where the dumpsters are!” That is because he is so loving and always takes out the trash. The morning was sunny. Kevin did amazing driving through all of Los Angeles! The traffic wasn’t bad at all this Sunday morning. Not too crowded and only slowed down a bit where I-5 and I-10 go down to two lanes (bad design!) and then just north of Burbank. 

Giant Waterslide? Kevin Wishes It Was! Sylmar, CA 03/23

At one place we saw water rushing down an open canal. It turns out it is the Los Angeles Aqueduct. It looks like a giant waterslide and Kevin wants to ride. 

Freeway Lanes On Opposite Sides, Castaic, CA 03/23

We came upon a very unique thing: at Castaic, I-5 north was on the left side and I-5 south was on the right side. It just seemed odd. Kevin came up with a good reason – and he was right – it is too much of a grade, because it is steep, for one side so they built it on the other. The south bound lanes, on the right side, were definitely way up higher than the north bound. Anyway, interesting. You can read about it here:

Orchards, Bakersfield, CA 03/23

After getting set up a campground for the night we drove 12 minutes to Coalinga,CA. We passed the state prison and state hospital. I told Kevin that I remembered seeing signs “don’t pick up hitchhikers” and would know that meant there was a prison around. Apparently I said the word wrong and Kevin did the biggest belly laugh I have seen in years! I said, “high-checkers”. He kept having me repeat it and then he would go into his fit of laughter. It was awesome! And no, there wasn’t a sign to not pick up hitchhikers. HAHA We ate at New China Restaurant. The food was very good and we must have been hungry, only had snacks during the day, because we consumed all the food! Kevin’s fortune cookie gave us laugh: Happiness is found in those things that make you happy. HAHAHA Well, duh. On the way home, Kevin asked me, “What are you not suppose to pick up near a prison?” Just to hear me say “high-checkers”. Silly guy. I laughed too!

Hum, Duh? HAHA Coalinga, CA 03/23

Update: Casa de Fruta, Hollister, CA ended up having cancellations so we were able to stay here through the time we were suppose to be at San Benito Campground. That campground is still closed from the flooding. The campground where we have reservations for next (on 03/26/23)? Yeah- it is still closed from the flooding as well! That place hasn’t told us they are closed. They even sent the email to do a pre check in and I did. It is only by us being vigilant that we even knew it was closed. So yesterday (3/23/23) was a busy day of finding new places to stay. It has worked out and I can’t wait to share that with you in the next post. We are so thankful for each other, for our home (home-on-wheels) that is with us and has no damage, and for those unexpected changes that can open up new places to see and things to do. 🙂

Evacuated From Flooding In California

The Only Way Out Of San Benito RV Campground, Paicines, CA 03/23

EVACUATION!!!! Friday March 10, 2023

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. 

Banks Overflowing With Water At The Campground, Paicines, CA 03/23

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.

A Few Evacuees From San Benito RV Campground, Paicines, CA 03/23

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.

Our Truck/5th Wheel With Other RV Evacuees At Target Parking Lot, Hollister, CA 03/23

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. 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. 

Man From Food Bank Offering Food & Place To Stay To Flood Evacuees, Hollister, CA 03/23

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.

Set Up With The American Red Cross, Hollister, CA 03/23

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 

Flooding In Fields, Hollister, CA 03/23

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.

Flooding Everywhere You Look. Hollister, CA 03/23

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.

Flooding In A Field, Paicines, CA 03/23

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.

Rivers Flooded, Tres Pinos, CA 03/23

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. 

All Set Up At Casa de Fruta, Hollister, CA 03/23

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! 🙂

San Diego, Part 2. Lighthouse & A Dessert Cart!

I Loved Taking This Photo Of Point Loma Lighthouse! San Diego, CA 02/23

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.

Looking Down The Stairs From The Top Of The Lighthouse! San Diego, CA 02/23

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. 

OH, Kevin Is So Smart! HAHA San Diego, CA 02/23

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

View Of San Diego From Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, CA 02/23

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. 🤣

Could Just Sit Here All Day! San Diego, CA 02/23

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.

Pools & Crashing Waves. San Diego, CA 02/23

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. 

HAHA San Diego, CA 02/23

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

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery,San Diego, CA 02/23

After lunch we went back to Point Loma to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery 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!  😉

How Do We Decide Which One?!Jamul, CA 02/23

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.

San Diego, Part 1 (Catchy Title, Right!)

Look At Each Person & See How They Are Enjoying This Day! San Diego, CA 02/23

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. 🙂

Good idea! Border Park, CA 02/23

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.

View Out Our Window At Pio Pico Campground, Jamul, CA 02/23

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.

“Welcome Chiefs Fans To Arrowhead West” 🙂 San Diego, CA 02/23

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! 🙂

Museum Of Photographic Art, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 02/23

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.

Lunchbreak! Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 02/23

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!

Louie Matter’s Fabulous Car! Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 02/23

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. 

San Diego Automative Museum, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 02/23

Read for interest the sign about the car!

World’s Largest Outdoor Pipe Organ, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA 02/23

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.

San Diego, CA 02/23

His socks have music notes on them!

Watching Planes Land At San Diego, CA 02/23

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.

A Problem, A Delay, And Our First Harvest Host.

Desert Olive Farms, Brawley, CA 02/23

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.

ATV’s Enjoying The Gorgeous White Sand, Brawley, CA 02/23

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.

Sugarcane Next To Harvest Host Farm, Brawley, CA 02/23

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.

We Are Parked Next To Another 5th Wheel At Desert Olive Farms, Brawley, CA 02/23

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!

Clyde Telling Us Great Information, Desert Olive Farms, Brawley, CA 02/23

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.

Brawley, CA 02/23

Thanks Clyde and Grace!

Hanging Out In The Desert.

Bubbles? Read About It At The End Of This Blog. 02/23

After we left Lake Havasu, AZ we got set up at Davis Dam Camp Park. I saw online the history of this place. This campground is the exact site where the town was for the people building Davis Dam starting in 1946. So cool – even the same roads in the same spots. There were more than 100 houses back then. Most of the houses were actually picked up and moved to areas south of here once another city started up and Davis Dam Camp was changed to surplus property. There are a few houses remaining and are still lived in.

View From Inside Our “Home On Wheels” Colorado River, AZ 01/23
View From Inside Our 5th Wheel, Colorado River, AZ 01/23

We have a good campsite. Looking out our living room windows, which face west, north and south, we see a dry marsh, a day area across the river, and the Colorado River. The sunsets were beautiful over the mountains. 

Quilt I Am Making (With Reflections From The Sun!HA) Bullhead City, AZ 01/23

The next day I was able to do some sewing. I used the fabric with the black background, one with colored stars and one with colored dots. Also added the fabric that went with it with a blue background and colored swirls. I did a 3-Yard quilt pattern. It was fast and easy.

Colorado River, Bullhead City, AZ 01/23

At one point, Kevin needed to pick up a delivery at Dollar General. Low and behold, who is there? The lady that worked at the Dollar General where we dropped off Fed Ex all the time in Needles, CA last Spring! It was like ole home week! We had a quick catch up; she is working in this new store now. It is so fun to run into people we have met along our travels.

Looking Towards Davis Dam, Colorado River, Bullhead City, AZ 01/23

Part of the great fun of this travel-life is meeting people. Whenever Kevin goes outside here at Davis Dam Camp, he talks with the guy across the road. Everyday the guy “slowly” drinks his 6 pack of beer during the day and then later says, “Well, guess I’ll go in and watch a little TV. Before bed.” HAHA Slow, southern drawl.

No Words, Just Beauty. Bullhead City, AZ 02/23

On Saturday we were off to Quartzsite, AZ and the RV Big Tent Show! The sun was just coming up over the mountains and made a pretty sight. Loaded with diesel, soda, and donuts, we headed south on 95. Now, let me remind myself here…whoever made the road names in Arizona obliviously didn’t talk with the one making the road names in California! Both have Hwy 95, both run right next to Colorado river and state line! It can get confusing! Anyway, we took AZ-95, then CA-95, then over to Parker and on AZ-95. HAHA The 2.5 hour drive seemed to go by quickly. Parts of the way down were new to us. We scored a parking spot two rows from the front entrance! Since the show had just opened for the day, there were few people around but it quickly got busy. We were very glad to be there at the start of the day so we could ask questions at different vendor booths. We spoke with people at booths for batteries, cleaning outside of RVs, Thousand Trails, Escapees, metal detectors, and on and on.  Next we went outside to the booths. We decided to get some ice cream for lunch. 🙂 While in line for Tasty’s ice cream, a guy next to us walked over and asked if we are on YouTube. Nope. He said we look really familiar to him. (I have one of those faces that people feel they know me or have seen me before.) He was very nice and looked a bit puzzled. There was a nice seating area under a canopy for those eating ice cream. It took a while to eat- they were huge!

Interesting Tw0-Tone Rock Mountain! Bullhead City, AZ 01/23

A ride was our thing to do the next day. While driving yesterday, over Route 66 east of Oatman, I saw on my Garmin RV 1090 the name of a road, Silver Creek. That road goes down the mountain and into town. We should drive it. 🙂 The road started as paved but then quickly turned to dirt. There were lots of signs saying not to shoot guns within a mile of the road…those signs were riddled with bullet holes! HAHA (Not funny but kind of funny!) We saw a lot of dirt roads perfect for ATVs and there were quite a few ATVs out and about.

Gorgeous Green At Around 3000 Ft Elevation. Outside Of Bullhead City, AZ 01/23

The higher elevation we got, the more green wild grass we saw growing all around. That is cool; it is February!

Perhaps A Tribute? Saw Along Dirt Road, Outside Of Bullhead City, AZ 01/23

It one point, we saw a guy with a Jeep; he was outside by the tire. Kevin said he thought the man was airing-down the tires but we stopped to check to see if he needed anything. He was very appreciative and said so, and yes, he was just airing-down the tires. When we joined the blacktop – Route 66 – we went down through Oatman and saw a few burros in the street. It was a great drive.

Colorado River, Bullhead City, AZ 02/23

One evening we walked to the south end of this campground and down to the beach. We saw ducks in the Colorado River. They would float down stream, bobbing their heads and bodies into the water getting food. Then, at the same place, all of them (there were almost 100), would turn in a nice, wide, sweeping curve and head up stream. They would paddle to stay in one place for a minute then a group would fly north to where they started. It was fascinating to watch! Almost like a human carnival ride: gather up, okay, go.

Yikes: Took a walk along Colorado River one evening. We saw where the Colorado River has an overflow to the side. In between the river and this overflow is what looks like an island. The overflow part was dry. Kevin headed us over there and was going to get on the top of the “island” to see the other side of the river. We looked and water came slowly moving towards us on the dry part.

As you can see, the area quickly filled in with river water. I said, “Hum, must have rained somewhere up north.” Kevin said, “Or, eh, they turned the faucet at the dam.” HAHAHAHAHA We have never seen a large river rising slowly before! Very interesting.

Bullhead City, AZ 02/23

I leaned down to take a picture of the sun behind a tree with a reflection in this little way. Looking at the picture, I got photobombed! By bubbles! It is the funniest thing. Doesn’t even look real. 🙂

You can see the “bubbles” here from this view. 🙂

1 Year Of Full-Time Traveling!

Yesterday was the one year mark when we started traveling Full-Time. Before that, we had camped more than 180 days in less than 18 months so yes, we had a good idea that we would like this lifestyle. And, we sure have! Thank you, Readers, for coming along with us through my travel journal which is part of this blog. Kevin and I love sharing our journey with you. Now, how about a “brief” HA reminder of the year….

Kevin and I tease each other that he “needed a desk” and so we went from a 25 ft Shadow Cruiser to a 36 ft Alliance Avenue.

Going to NASCAR in Las Vegas was a blast! Even though I am deaf, I could feel the vibration of the cars. It reminded me of an old organ as the sound swells- that is what I felt as the cars zoomed past us.

This was our first time to the south rim of Grand Canyon. As the sun set, the wind blew dirt through the air and made for stunning photos.

We spent a few months parked in Flagstaff, AZ. From there, we were able to explore most all of the northern 1/2 of the state. This photo is near Leupp, Navajo Nation.

Boondocking (means without power, water, or sewer) at 8000 ft elevation outside of Flagstaff among the gorgeous Ponderosa Pines.

We thoroughly enjoyed Hopi Tribe’s Pow-Wow. They had a saying on some shirts they were selling that said, “Don’t worry, be Hopi.” The people were so friendly and a delight to visit with. (They allow us to take some photos.)

This sign cracks us up every time: “PP by the TP.” 🙂 In other words, the Pee Pee bathroom is by the Tipi.

See the twisty road? This drops you into Oak Canyon between Flagstaff and Sedona. It is a stunning drive and we drove it several times over a few months, just for fun and beauty. 🙂

Kevin and I are planners. In fact, we have plans and reservations set clear to the end of the year. However, we are also flexible. Stop when you see something interesting and here we did. This is Hubbell Trading Post. It has a fascinating history and is a working trading post even now. Inside the visitor center was a lady working on a loom, and on her cell phone. Kevin laughed because that is what I do when I am quilting…take a break, check my phone. HAHAHA

Jerome, AZ started out with several mines. The views from high on the mountain, down to the valley, are breathtaking. You see the red rocks of Sedona and the clouds rolling past. This town is on the side of a mountain and it keeps sliding. In fact, the jail has slidden more than 150 ft down the mountain. It is quite a vibrant little town with shops, restaurants, and museums.

After camping with my brother at Hualapai Mountains we found we had time to go to the 4th of July festivities. An outdoor laser light show instead of fireworks = awesome! Nicely done, Flagstaff, AZ.

What do you do if you aren’t sure if Starlink is working, due to leaves budding out at the campground? Well, of course, you drive out to the middle of no where, turn on the generator to power Dishy of Starlink, set Dishy on top of the truck, and then open up your laptop and watch a movie! In case you are wondering, yes, it was amazingly fast! HAHAHA

Walnut Canyon was an amazing walk. See the Native American dwellings there in the side of the canyon? They sure had a climb up and down.

Some Native American dwellings were on top of large dirt mounds. This is Tozigoot National Monument.

Montezuma Castle National Monument was stunning. I can’t imagine how people got up there!

Did anyone else think like Kevin did when he was younger and thought Petrified Forest National Park had trees standing up, you know, a “forest”?

Farm equipment stopped for the night. This was in Dodge City, KS.

Fall is a great season to visit Missouri. The color of the leaves are so beautiful. If you haven’t already, go back and read Kevin’s memories of growing up in Missouri. He shared them in the blog when we were visiting there.

Old Towne Albuquerque, NM. Across from the square is a gorgeous Catholic Church. We weren’t able to tour it because it was closed for renovations but we were able to visit the small museum. We were so intrigued, we bought a book of the journal of one of the nuns. It is a fascinating read.

Santa Barbara, CA was a great place to visit. We liked the delicious seafood, the museums, the Christmas Light Parade and of course just watching and being mesmerized by the ocean.

View from our campsite at Malibu Beach RV Park, Malibu, CA. What a place to be for Christmas and New Years Day!

Are you still reading along? 😉 I know, this was long but I just wanted to grab a few photos to remind you where we have been. It has been a great 1st year of traveling Full-Time. Hears to another great year! Are you ready? 🙂

New, Tears, Win, Quilt, Again

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.

Now THAT Is Talent! Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

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!

Train Smoker, Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

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.

View from Mountains from Rodeo Arena, Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

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!

Center Camp Has A Lovely Sunset View, Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

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

Charla, in Red, Serving Mac & Cheese, Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

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.

“I Win!” Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

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. 

The Quilt I Made Being Used For Trivia! Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23
The Team With My Quilt 🙂 Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

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?!

The Status Crowes, Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

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.

Boom Bandits, Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

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.

You Missed A Spot! Also, Date Palm Tree Farm.

Evening Photo Of Our Home On Wheels, Palm Desert, CA 01/23

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.

All Set Up! Palm Springs RV Resort, Palm Desert, CA 01/23

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.

Watching Football At The Lodge At Palm Springs RV Resort,Palm Desert, CA 01/23

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.

“You Missed Some Spots.” Palm Desert, CA 01/23

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.

Palm Springs, CA 01/23

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. 🙂

Us: Charla & Kevin, Palm Springs, CA 01/23

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. 🙂

Refreshing On This 70° Day! Palm Springs, CA 01/23

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.

The Only One We Knew! Palm Springs, CA 01/23

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

Visiting And Learning History, Palm Springs, CA 01/23

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 Ladder Stays On The Date Tree, Indio, CA 01/23

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.

“Chasing 70°!” Oh Yeah! Palm Desert, CA 01/23

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.


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