You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Full Time’ tag.

Palm trees in our Palm Springs rv park 2/14/20

We’ll wrap up our hiatus from the road in this post since we’re finally about to cover some miles. After some health delays, we finally left the San Diego region in mid-February and headed to Palm Springs (again) followed by visits to the Salton Sea and the L.A. area, ending with what was to be a brief stop in Bakersfield. From Bakersfield, we were to wander north via the coast (Big Sur and some wine country) and then the lovely string of national parks (Yosemite, Sequoia, etc…), ultimately hitting the Pacific Coast near Tacoma, WA and sliding down the coast back to Northern California. Plans were laid with the highlight of hooking up with our good friends for almost 3 weeks in SW Oregon. A potentially great summer.

Yeah, well, the best laid plans.

View from our roof 5/25/20

We saw the writing on the wall and decided that Bakersfield was the place to isolate for awhile. Our rv park had great cell coverage (needed for internet), beautiful monthly sites with blooming orange trees inches from the coach, and good infrastructure for food, mail, etc. We’ve been here since March 6 and it worked out well. Now we’re ready to leave.

And so leave we shall.

We’ve decided that it was safest to not move too often, so we’re going to bolt up the west coast to southern Washington near Mt. St. Helen’s for 3 weeks or so, then to the Oregon coast in Tillamook for a couple of months. It will be very nice to see green again and get some relief from the heat this week. The forecast is over 100 degrees for 5 days running, with one day’s high expected to be 111 degrees. Yeah, we’ll be happy with the Oregon coolness after that.

Here are a bunch of photos from between San Diego and Bakersfield. Hopefully, I can get back to shooting regularly soon. Stay safe, y’all.

Bombay Beach on what’s left of the Salton Sea is an odd place full of odd art. We liked it. 2/18/20

Sitting in someone’s yard in Bombay Beach. 2/18/20

Near Slab City, itself an odd place, is Salvation Mountain. All built with found & donated supplies, it’s pretty much the work of one guy. 2/28/20

Salvation Mountain 2/28/20

Evening at the Salton Sea 2/28/20

Some of the oil fields in and around Bakersfield. These pumps are everywhere, including business parking lots. 5/20/20

We had orange groves and vineyards to walk in next to the rv. Here’s one of several active wells in these fields. 4/4/20

Drilling for oil in the vineyard. 4/29/20

Our home. 3/21/20

Here’s a handful of shots from one of our favorite spots near San Diego: Point Loma. We went there three times, including once at the end of our time in the area. It turned out to be the last “fun” thing we did in San Diego. The first couple of times, the tide was in so we weren’t able to enjoy the famed tidal pools since they were under water. We specifically timed our last visit near low tide and we’re totally happy we did. It’s a very cool place where you can be close to nature and still have views of San Diego and the Naval facilities.

The Point Loma Tidal Pools at high tide. 12/16/19

The Point Loma Tidal Pools at low tide. 1/23/20

Point Loma 1/23/20

Point Loma 1/23/20

Critter! Point Loma 1/23/20

Home! Point Loma 12/16/19

Final stop with a view Point Loma 12/16/19

Point Loma 12/16/19

Inbound. Point Loma 12/16/19

 

 

After Palm Springs we headed to our winter resting grounds, Santee, CA. Santee is adjacent to San Diego, a place I’ve been to once for work, and home to some of Patti’s relatives. It turned out to be a great place to land for a couple of months in order to ride out the winter and catch our breath. Lots to do, beautiful beaches (cliffs!), a vibrant downtown, and plenty of recreational activities. I liked it there so much that I’d consider moving to the area but only if you get rid of the state income tax. So there’s that.

I’ll just post a few random photos of the area over the next post or two. It was an interesting winter. Followed by an interesting spring. And probably an interesting summer, just not in the way we hoped.

Our social isolation spot. Quite comfy, all things considered.

Notes on the elephant in the room: As full-time RVers, we have some interesting challenges in this collective mess we are all going through. It became obvious to us early on that our carefully laid spring travel plans weren’t going to happen. We found ourselves in a very nice RV park outside Bakersfield in early March and, seeing the writing on the wall, decided that we’d ride it out here. Bakersfield is large enough that obtaining supplies shouldn’t be a problem and Kern County (besides being the #1 oil producing county in the country!) is small enough that crowds/maintaining social isolation isn’t an issue. Our site is level, nestled in an orange grove (really nestled … our RV has blossoming trees within inches of the coach on three sides), and has crazy good cell signal. So good that both Patti and I can stream our respective shows simultaneously. Since March 10 or so we have only left for groceries, prescriptions, and visits to the vet. Don’t ask. Bottom line: we are as safe as can be. We consider ourselves to be very fortunate. 

So until at least June, we are here: walking the park and through the adjacent orange groves and vineyards with the occasional oil well dotting the fields, watching videos, reading lots of books, keeping healthy and (mostly) sane, and worrying about our friends and family. Much like the rest of the planet.

Stay safe.

The dam at Mission Trails Regional Park, just a few minutes from our winter site. Santee, CA. 11/26/19

Substitute “alligator” for “mountain lion” and this sign could be in Florida! Santee, CA. 11/26/19

The Botanical Building in Balboa Park. San Diego, CA. 12/3/19

The local artists area in Balboa Park. San Diego, CA. 12/3/19

The local artists area in Balboa Park. San Diego, CA. 12/3/19

Merry Christmas on the beach at Torrey Pines State Beach. Torrey Pines, CA, 12/16/19

Merry Christmas on the beach at Ocean Beach, CA. 12/28/19

Seals chilling at La Jolla Beach, CA. 12/28/19

Sunset at Silver Strand State Beach, CA. 12/29/19

The world’s largest outdoor organ located at the Spreckles Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. We attended a recital there that was pretty cool. 12/27/19

Hanging at the San Diego Zoo. 12/27/19

Hanging at the San Diego Zoo. 12/27/19

 

As promised, here are some shots from our two trips to Joshua Tree National Park. What a weird, desolate place with a rugged beauty. Nice place to visit, but….

Cottonwood Spring, Joshua Tree NP 11/14/19

Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua Tree NP 11/14/19

Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua Tree NP 11/14/19

Joshua Trees, Joshua Tree NP 11/14/19

Joshua Tree NP 2/25/20

Joshua Tree NP 2/25/20

A really old Joshua Tree, Joshua Tree NP 2/25/20

Petroglyphs, Joshua Tree NP 2/25/20

 

Our last stop before heading to San Diego for the holidays was in the Palm Springs area. Our first stop after leaving San Diego was … Palm Springs. I’m combining both of these stops into this post because, quite frankly, I need to catch up!

We both liked the Palm Springs area. There was lots of natural beauty to enjoy, some good dining opportunities, and the people watching was fantastic. Among other things, we enjoyed a gondola ride to the top of Mt. San Jacinto, visited the Coachella Preserve a couple of times, and went to Joshua Tree National Park twice (more on that in the next post). The weather was mild and it was a nice place to wind down after a season on the road as well as to wind up a couple of months later to get back into the rhythm. When the chance presents itself we will be happy to return. Again.

The ride to the top of Mt. San Jacinto. The view below is of Palm Springs with some of the many wind farms to the left. Mt. San Jacinto SP, 11/11/19

The view from the top. Mt. San Jacinto SP, 11/11/19

The view from Mt. San Jacinto SP, 11/11/19

The view from Mt. San Jacinto SP, 11/11/19

The view from Mt. San Jacinto SP, 11/11/19

The Thousand Palms Oasis in the Coachella Preserve 11/21/19

The Thousand Palms Oasis in the Coachella Preserve 11/21/19

Palms lining the year-round spring in the Indian Canyons 2/21/20

A spring in the Indian Canyons 2/21/20

A Native American shelter in Indian Canyons 2/21/20

 

Moving on from Williams, we headed down to Prescott, AZ. Patti has an old friend who lives there now so we swung by for a visit and we’re glad we did. She was not only able to catch up with her friend, but we were able to enjoy this little piece of the historic west while staying in a great RV park amidst boulders and hiking trails. We enjoyed some excellent meals downtown, including one at a vintage, old-school saloon that had the best Caesar salad ever. A field trip to the old mining town of Jerome was very interesting. The town was certainly more vertical than horizontal!

(As an aside, my plan was to finish up our 2019 travels before we left our winter stay near San Diego for the 2020 season. Alas, this was not to be due to pesky life issues getting in the way. The hope now is to spit out several posts quickly in order to catch up. We’ll see.)

View of Wilson Lake. My morning walk straight out of our campground. 10/25/19

Wilson Lake. 10/25/19

Wilson Lake. 10/26/19

Wilson Lake. 10/26/19

The approach to Jerome, AZ 10/28/19

Jerome, AZ 10/28/19

The view from Jerome. 10/28/19

 

Riding in style. Grand Canyon Railway 10/19/19

When we were making our plans we had a couple of weeks to fill between our stays in Las Vegas. Looking at a map we realized we were within striking distance of the Grand Canyon so we said, “What the hell” (or words to that effect) and decided to shoot over there for a quick visit. We also decided to splurge a bit, so we made reservations in Williams, AZ, for a week, along with first class seats on the daily train from Williams to the South Rim. What a fun day that was. Riding in style with comfortable seats, morning and afternoon snacks, cash bar and access to the observation car and rear deck. Upon arrival we took a very interesting bus tour of the area, peered over the rim at several locations, and enjoyed a nice lunch at the lodge before re-boarding for the return trip. All in all, it was a nice leisurely day with beautiful sights. It’s hard to take a bad photo in that part of the world.

While in Williams, we made a quick jaunt to the east and visited Meteor Crater. I had wanted to visit this place since I was a small boy (jeez, that was a long time ago) so when I realized it was only an hour or so away it was a no-brainer. Privately owned, it has a very nice visitor center with tours included in the admission price. For obvious safety reasons, access is limited to a small area on the north side of the rim, but that was more than enough to appreciate the magnitude of this hole in the ground and to be thankful we weren’t around when that rock dropped from the sky. If you’re in the area I can recommend this for a quick stop.

Needless to say I took way more photos during our brief Grand Canyon stop then I can show here. It also goes without saying that we’ll be back to this area for a longer stay.

The Grand Canyon from the South Rim 10/19/19

The Grand Canyon from the South Rim 10/19/19

The Grand Canyon from the South Rim 10/19/19

The Grand Canyon from the South Rim 10/19/19

The Grand Canyon from the South Rim 10/19/19

Roughing it. 10/19/19

Meteor Crater Visitor Center 10/23/19

Meteor Crater Visitor Center 10/23/19

Meteor Crater 10/23/19

Meteor Crater 10/23/19

Our parking spot for 2 weeks. Nice. 10/4/19

After running down 395 in Eastern California, we spent a couple of nights in Barstow doing nothing much before heading on to 2 weeks near Las Vegas, right on Lake Mead. Our site was fantastic, a pull-in overlooking the lake. Beautiful and relaxing. We went to Vegas so Patti could catch a flight back to Baltimore for some family obligations. She was gone for 5 nights while the cat and I hung out. While Patti was gone, I took some nice walks and played some poker (successfully, I might add). Between her being out of town and our taking the cat to the vet (sucking up several days) we really couldn’t explore the area together to our satisfaction. So, we took the easy and obvious solution and made plans to return for a week later in our wanderings.

Flexibility is a wonderful thing.

Here are a few shots from Las Vegas and the surrounding area. We enjoyed an awesome full moon while we were there. As always, enjoy!

Really enjoying the view out the window. 10/11/19

Peeking over the ridge. 10/13/19

These guys fed every afternoon just off the main road into Boulder City. 10/7/19

Boulder City. 10/7/19

Nice view. Lake Mead, 10/8/19

The historic railway trail/tunnels that led from Boulder City to the dam. 10/8/19

Lake Mead. The RV park is in the middle-left. The lake’s water line used to come right up to the RV park. 10/7/19

Hoover Dam, just a few miles from campground. 10/7/19

Donny! Marie! Ya gotta love Vegas! 10/6/19

 

We have been posting about our wanderings in a chronological order, until now. This post is a bit different. We are in San Diego, our final destination for the year and where we will remain until late January. We’ll spend this time relaxing, visiting with friends and family, and getting some much needed repairs to Sybil. We thought we’d take this opportunity to look back at our journey thus far.

Since we pulled out of our home county back in April, we have:

  • Spent 230 days on the road,
  • Put 6,196 miles on the RV,
  • Made 42 separate moves,
  • Spent the night in 14 states,
  • Visited 8 national parks and many national memorials, recreation areas, forests and conservation areas,
  • Took 2 unplanned and 1 planned flights (ya gotta love the expense of buying a plane ticket two days prior to departure),
  • Visited 1 emergency room (here’s a solid recommendation for the Sheridan, Wyoming ER),
  • Visited one RV service center (Reno) and were visited by 3 RV mobile technicians (for a price),
  • And saw tons of cool sights and had many, many awesome experiences.

We’ve had some difficult times, mostly concerning issues with the RV, but the good times by far outweigh the bad. We’ve learned how to drive in the mountains (a non-trivial lesson for someone who has lived at 14′ elevation for almost 40 years), how to plan a route that includes an easy truck stop to fill up the gas tank, how to find good places to stay, and how to take a walk 4000-7000 feet higher than we’re used to (answer: slowly). We’ve learned to appreciate the benefits of humidity and have suffered from the lack of it. We’re learning that there are interesting things to do and people to meet in even the most rural spots. Most importantly, we’re learning how two people can live in very tight quarters without driving each other batshit crazy (answer: respectfully).

So, a traveling season behind us and another ahead. All we know about next year’s journey is that we have a wedding to attend in Montana in May and Florida friends to rendezvous with in June/July. Other than that: we’ll see. If you stay tuned, you will, too.

Now, a sample of sights we’ve seen from inside the RV in no particular order:

We love Corps of Engineers campgrounds

Green! Much green!

Snow! Much Snow!

We’ve even seen outhouses! Hopefully this one is not functional.

Horses!

Elk!

Hail!

Sleeping horses!

Alabama Hills, CA 9/26/19

This post will be long on both words and photos because, damn, we were in some beautiful and unique areas. Oh yeah, gremlins got in the way too.

We arrived in Bishop, CA, and set up at a nice, if a bit sterile, RV park. We spent a nice day wandering about the area and taking a walk in a small canyon called Happy Boulders, not to be confused with Sad Boulders which is about a quarter mile away. This area is known for its bouldering opportunities. Bouldering, in case you don’t know, is essentially how one practices rock climbing relatively safely. Climbers walk up the canyon with large pads on their backs that they lay below them when climbing, the idea being that they’ll fall onto to the pad for a gentle landing instead on the hard ground for a less gentle one. Looked like it would have been fun a decade or two ago.

A day or two into our stay we lost our automatic transfer switch. This gizmo is critical. It automatically senses if we are plugged in and, if so, allows the power to pass into the coach providing us with all that electrical goodness (like air conditioning). If it doesn’t sense power it defaults to passing our generator power (when running), allowing our batteries to stay charged and our ice cream to stay frozen. As I said, critical. To make a long story short, I ordered a new one from Amazon, we moved to the next, more generator friendly park (in Lone Pine, CA) a day early, and a mobile technician came and installed the burnt out unit. Five days without shore power, but actually very little impact to our lifestyle. Could have been worse.

The Lone Pine area was very cool for many reasons. One of them was the fact that we were able to duck quickly into Death Valley National Park for a look around. We saw “Star Wars Canyon” (actually Rainbow Canyon) where Air Force and Navy aviators practice extreme canyon flying and the public can actually look down upon them as they streak through. Sadly, not the day we were there. We also saw real sand dunes and found ourselves at sea level for the first time since leaving home. It was a nice day.

The coolest thing in the area are the Alabama hills. The eastern slope of the Sierra Mountains rises dramatically on the west of the valley and the east side is bounded by the Inyo Mountains. Both the Sierras and the Inyos were pushed up by geologic forces a long time ago, but in between them are the Alabama Hills. These “hills” were left behind and look as they did back before the two ranges were formed. The differences between them are readily apparent. The weird geography and massive boulder formations were a magnet for Hollywood movie makers. Many westerns and even classics like “Gunga Din” were filmed here. It’s also very popular with the bouldering community. We spent a couple of days poking around here and wandering up the Mt. Whitney Portal road. It’s a really beautiful and wild place and we will certainly return.

On a more somber note, we also visited Manzanar, a Japanese internment camp. It was a sobering visit in this desolate location with way too much resonance with current events. I wish I could say we left with the thought “Never again” running through our heads, but it’s happening again as I type. Enough said.

Enjoy the photos.

On the way to boulder. Happy Boulders, 9/20/19

Happy Boulders, 9/20/19

The entrance to Star Wars Canyon, Death Valley NP, 9/27/19

The exit from Star Wars Canyon. A pilot recently crashed into the canyon on the right of this photo Death Valley NP, 9/27/19

Mt. Whitney viewed through an arch. Alabama Hills, 9/26/19

Welcome to the Alabama Hills! 9/26/19

Alabama Hills formations in the foreground, Sierras in the background. 9/26/19

Death Valley NP, 9/27/19

Death Valley NP, 9/27/19

Slacklining in the Alabama Hills, 9/28/19

Bouldering in the Alabama Hills, 9/28/19

Monument at the Manzanar Internment Camp, 9/23/19