Georgia 2017_04_01 to 2017_05_31: The Fun People

Fun wouldn’t be the same without all the great friends we have made along the way. Our time in North Georgia was filled with friends and family…what a blessing!

Rick and Jennifer came up to their cabin in Blairsville, the second week in April, and we had a great time with them.

They came over to Cleveland to check out our camp site, and then we took a ride, to Helen, along with some of our Paradise neighbors, Bruce and Teri, and Brian and Lynn. We had a great lunch at the Old Bavarian Inn. I look forward to their Reuben sandwiches any time I can get one.

Reuben Sandwich, Old Bavarian Inn, Helen, Georgia

However, this was not the highlight of our afternoon. It seem that a certain someone forgot the key FOB for his motorcycle. It is possible to start your bike if the key FOB is nearby (say hanging on the hook in the camper) and then one is able to drive far away from their key FOB. It only becomes apparent that one has made such a mistake, when, upon shutting down the bike, they cannot start it up again.

There is another way to start the bike, if a security code has been set up. Everyone was hungry, so over lunch, a security code was searched for in the owners manual, phone calls were made, and Iphones diligently searched. To no Avail.

NASA we have a problem.

I’m not going to name any names, but dessert on this ride was humble pie.

Humble Pie for dessert.

The guys went to retrieve the key FOB, while the ladies did some shopping in Helen.

Feeling a little Jerky?

Fortunately, Helen isn’t that far from Paradise Valley R.V. Resort, so once the key FOB was retreived, we still had time for a great afternoon of riding.

Sunday afternoon ride through the mountains of North Georgia.

Hanging with Rick and Jennifer means relaxing on the porch, enjoying the beautiful mountain view.

Best seats in North Georgia. Rick and Jennifer’s porch

Great riding.

Out riding with Rick and Jennifer.

A picnic lunch at Brasstown Bald.

Hey…we have cell phone service! Can we make it all the way to the top? In these motorcycle boots???

Getting silly after all those curvy roads.

Out for more riding with Rick and Jennifer. Hay, what’s the hold-up?

Rick and Jennifer’s cabin is not only comfy, but it has a beautiful view!

Finally got to see their dogwood tree bloom.

Relaxing sunsets.

Sunset at the cabin.

We also finally finished up the curtains for the man-cave, had many wonderful meals, and Spades! Alas, our week went too quickly…time to retire you two…hurry it up already!

Right after our week with Rick and Jennifer, we headed over to Charlotte, to spend Easter weekend with my brother, his wife and family. We had a great weekend, which included fabulous food, great games, and some hiking to work off the calories. I’m going to group their return visit to us, over Memorial day Weekend, right here. It is so wonderful to get to have more time for family! Time with Bert, and Soher is always full of love and fun.

Easter weekend with Bert and Soher, in Charlotte.

We focused on seeing a few water falls, while Bert and Soher came to visit us. Anna Ruby Falls, Vogel State Park, and Helton Creek Falls, as well as…lots of good food.

Anna Ruby Falls, with Bert and Soher.


Helen, Georgia, with Bert and Soher. Hofers Bakery and Cafe for dinner and some take home desserts.


I have to go back…they are closed! Helen, Georgia, with Bert and Soher.


Relaxing after dinner in Helen, Georgia. Bert and Russ. FUDGE!


Too many Jerky signs in this town! Helen, Georgia, with Bert and Soher.

At trip anywhere near Blairsville, has to include food at Jim’s Smokin Que.

Lunch at Jim’s Smokin Que, with Bert and Soher.

Then onto Vogel State Park and Helton Creek Falls.

Vogel State Park, with Bert and Soher.


Vogel State Park, with Bert and Soher.


Helton Creek Falls, with Bert and Soher.


View from Richard Russell Scenic Highway, with Bert and Soher.

We spent a great day with John and Janet. Of course it started out with a quick lunch at Jim’s, but we took the adventure to Paradise Hill Vineyard, for a bottle of wine and great music on their patio. Then back to our campsite for dinner, which unfortunately did not include a camp fire because of the rain!

John and Janet, at Paradise Hills Vineyard, Blairseville, Georgia.

It’s nice having some retired friends around! Gary and Debbie, whom we met in Marathon a few years ago, when they were sailing Aldeberon, have moved along to Hiawassee, Georgia. They build an adorable little retirement house and we enjoyed our visits. We really enjoyed the building project, because the “pay” was completed with fantastic gourmet meals prepared by Chef Debbie!

Russ and Gary built steps and a deck to connect the driveway to the beautiful front porch.


Completed front porch access deck.

We all know that all work and no play…is just not fun, so we made sure we had lots of time to go out and explore, a few fire-side nights by the creek and plenty of hiking outings were fun for all.

Hiking Brasstown Bald with Gary and Debbie.


Hiking Amicalola Falls, with Gary and Debbie.


Hiking Smithgall Woods State Park, with Gary and Debbie.

We made fast friends with Bruce and Teri. It seems we have lots in common, their winter home is close to our place in Umatilla. They love motorcycle riding. They just love life!

Shortly after they arrived from their winter home in the Villages, they began making preparations for the newest addition to their Paradise homestead. Their caboose arrived with much fanfare and activity. Finally by the end of the day, I spotted them relaxing in their chairs, admiring the caboose!

The Caboose arrives, Bruce and Teri’s new RV! (look how cute they are sitting their at the end of the day)

Out for a beautiful ride.

Riding the mountains in North Georgia, with Bruce and Terri.

These two love-birds do this at the end of every ride!

Love this…they do this at the end of all their rides. Sooo cute!

We are always excited when we get to spend time with our family. Especially our California gang, who don’t get back to this coast as often as I want them too. Fortunately for us, Ray’s younger sister graduated from UF (Go Gators, Yeah Maggie!) We became part of the two week loop they did from Orlando, to South Florida, to Gainseville, to Georgia and then South Carolina! Wow, I’m tired for them.

Nanny is ready for two little grands!

Ready for the Grands!

Good morning Nanny. Is PopPop awake yet?

Monta and Gabby visit Nanny and PopPop.

Out for our first Hike, at Dukes Creek Falls, located on Richard Russell Scenic Highway.

Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby at Dukes Creek Falls


Hiking Dukes Creek Falls with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby.


Hiking Dukes Creek Falls, with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby


PopPop has hiking buddies. Hiking Dukes Creek Falls, with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby


Hiking Dukes Creek Falls, with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby

There is never a dull moment with this guy!

Nanny, I stacked the shoes by the door like you asked.


Extra shoes make Nanny’s heart happy.

Time for bed! Deep sigh, Nanny is tired!

Sleeping in Nanny and PopPops camper with Thomas is the best.

Day two, more hiking, at Smithgall Woods State Park, with fun in the creek!

Hiking Smithgall Woods State Park with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby.


Having fun in the creek, under the covered bridge at Smithgall Woods State Park, with Jennette, Ray, Monta and Gabby.

We made the best of a couple of rainy days. Babyland was a big hit, with an afternoon trip to Dahlonega. The Cleveland library had lots of games that were PhD approved by Dr. Daddy! I’m not sure I ever truly appreciated an inside playground this much! Thank you Chick-fil-A.

A rainy day was meant to be spent at Babyland and holding newborn Cabbage Patch Dolls.


Babyland, taking care of the Cabbage Patch Babies. I think she will fit, I can make her fit!

An afternoon trip to Dahlonega, with a stop at the Cottage Vineyard and Winery.

Lunch at Zaxby’s ana an afternoon in Dahlonega. PopPop, stick to the story line!


Rainy days and Libraries with PhD approved games, and Chick-fil-A! Thanks for the indoor playground!


Then just like that it was time for them to leave!


Time for Nanny to cry!

PopPop says don’t worry, I won’t let her cry for long!

No crying aloud!

We loved our Georgia Mountain spring visit. Of course we have moved along and there are more adventures to come.

Thanks for following along with us.

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Georgia 2017_04_01 to 2017_05_31: The Fun Stuff

 

We are worse than glampers (glamorous campers,) we tend to take everything, including the kitchen sink with us. It’s how we roll. We made reservations for the the months of April and May at an RV park in the Georgia Mountains. We didn’t really know what we would do while we were there, so we brought plenty…just so we didn’t run out of things to do!

When all was said and done…the kayaks were the only toys we brought and didn’t use. Not bad for a two month stay. (But, in our defense…the water is very cold in April and May…Florida people just didn’t know!)

I’m busting this up into two blogs because there are a lot of pictures of all the fun things we did and all the fun people we did them with. This is the fun stuff Blog.

We made a two day trip on our way to Cleveland, Georgia. We stayed one night at O’leno State Park, in High Springs, Florida (just Northwest of Gainesville.) I love this park. It is full of CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) hard workmanship that is still in place since the 1930’s. It was one of the first nine parks in the Florida State Park system. The trails along the Santa Fe River are quiet and relaxing. We only had a night, but my evening hike was filled with birds, fish, squirrels and a snake! It was a great way to stretch my legs after a long day of driving.

We took the long way…Yeah the turnpike was shorter…Do you know how much that many axles cost???

CCC Workmanship from the 1930’s is still awesome to look at.

O’Leno State Park. CCC built the suspension bridge. Beautiful hiking along the Santa Fe River, and (bottom right) the view from our campsite.

We did one night at Casa Walmart, so we could get on our site in Paradise Valley RV Resort, first thing in the morning. Our creek side lot was beautiful. The Park itself is very friendly, quiet, and offered a variety of activities.

Our arrival the first of April allowed us to watch spring happen in full force, something these Florida people don’t see at home. Cleveland is located only 15 minutes from Helen,  offers stunning rides across the mountain (on 129 or the Richard Russell Scenic Highway,) to Blairsville and Blue Ridge, and is about 45 minutes to Hiawassee and the North Carolina State line. It was just the right home-base for our two month stay.

Everything and the kitchen sink. Glamping, at Paradise RV Resort, Cleveland, Georgia

Our first week was full of rain and cool, well actually, down-right cold for us Florida people! But we survived and took the time to have some much needed rest.

April showers bring May Flowers! Might as well take a nap Pepe!

Time lapse of our back window view. April 1st through May 28th.

We were excited when the rain stopped and we could get out and explore. After a little off-road exploring…we decided to work on my mountain skills on paved roads for a while!

Riding the Enduros to Blairsville. I’m not sure I can do these curvy mountain roads!!!

Just another riding day! Out on the Harley and a picnic lunch overlooking the waterfall at Vogel State Park.

These are some of the views on a ride to Helen, and a loop around to 129, back to Cleveland.

Roads and Rivers…along the way to Helen, Georgia.

We definitely used the Jeep on this adventure…the truck would have done fine, but…it’s a Jeep!

Dick’s Creek Falls while we were out for some off-road jeep riding.

Another Jeep adventure through Raven’s Cliff Forest Road. There was a beautiful meadow right beyond the road closed sign.

Smithgall Woods State Park was just around the corner from us. We had many great hikes and on this trip we decided to ride our bicycles. Do you want a leg work-out…yeah…forget the spin class! We even saw a bear, making his way through the woods.

Smithgall Woods State Park. We made it to the other side of the park!

Actually, the video is hilarious…I’m almost convinced to go with a paid WordPress site just so I can show you Russ getting his feet wet. He said it wasn’t deep…he was wrong!

What’s the last thing you hear a red-neck say…”Watch this!” Smithgall Woods State Park.

We parked the bicycles and headed out on the Cathy Ellis trail. It was a fairly easy hike back to the Chunanee waterfall. The problem with Smithgall Woods, is getting from the parking area to the great hiking areas. We still have several trails, like the gold mine trail, to go back and visit.

Cathy Ellis Trail to Chunanee Falls. Smithgall Woods State Park.

Russ decided we needed to check out some property for sale near Clayton…and we hadn’t checked the area out…so off we went for another day of fantastic riding and views!

Harley ride to Clayton, Georgia.

I was blessed with a new camera for Mother’s Day. I will have to change my name from Nanny Click Click to Nanny Click Click Click Click…..

Mother’s day 2017. New Camera (from Russ) and professional strap (from Josiah and Jennette.)

One thing this area of Georgia is not short on is fantastic waterfalls. We saw as many as we could and still have many more to see.

Amicalola Falls, Dawsonville, Georgia.

Amicalola Falls, Dawsonville, Georgia.

Back out of the Enduros to check out Unicoi State Park. Looks like a great place to camp, with three different areas, and just a short ride to Anna Ruby Falls.

A quick ride on the enduros, up to Unicoi State Park, just outside of Helen.

Dahlonega is a cute little town, with something happening all the time. We drove over several times to stroll through the antique shops and we had a grand time at the Art, Wine, and Jazz Festival.

Dahlonega Art, Wine and Jazz Festival.

Helton Creek Falls are located between 129 and the Richard Russell Scenic Highway. We actually found out about the other access point from a young couple in a little car, who asked if there was another way out, without having to ford two creeks! Yep…Jeep time! Creeks are on the Richard Russell entrance side. And so are the geese!

Helton Creek Falls, between 129 and Richard Russell Scenic Highway.

Our weekly trip to Jim’s. Mmmm!

Jim’s Smokin Que. Blairsville, Georgia.

The ladies at Paradise get together on Thursday mornings and do a little quilting. I was blessed with great instruction from our leader, Anne Raptis. This is my little table runner, not bad for my first quilting project.

My little quilt project at Paradise.

Also sewed a nice vest for Pepe Le Pew.

Mom made me wear this ridiculous contraptions. She said she could contain me.

She was wrong!

Early April view, before the leaves filled in.

Things you see in North Georgia.

Where’s the House?

We had so much fun on our trip to North Georgia. There is so much to do, the scenery is absolutely fabulous, and we will be back!

Creek-side, Fire-pit and a table for your drink. What else do you need?

As always, thanks for following along with our adventure. I’ll post all the picks with all the wonderful people we met and hung out with on our trip to North Georgia next!

What We do, When We’re Doing Nothing: November 2016 to March 2017

Collier-Seminole State Park

I’m not sure how to attest for this missing period of time on our blog…so I’m just going to fill it in as best I can.  We finished our Short, Short Trailer trip and returned home in mid November. We had nothing to do, except unpack and relax around the house. If you know us…you’re already laughing uncontrollably.

We returned on November 13th and headed back out the door on November 18th, to meet up with our Florida kids and grand-kids, at Collier-Seminole State Park in Naples Florida. This was a very nice, small park. Great for the kids to ride around on their bikes. We had campfires every night and ate our way through a few bags of marshmallows in the evenings and pancakes in the morning.

Marco Island sunset with the family

Russ and RJ

Family photo time, Collier-Seminole State Park

Out-takes:

It’s hard to get a good picture off this gang!

No wonder these people are a bunch of cut-ups! Apples and trees, they don’t fall very far.

Marco Island Sunset

We had a great few hours hanging out with Tommy and Alecia, as they headed South through Jensen Beach on Saol Nua. It’s amazing how many great friends we have made along this adventure!

Tommy and Alecia and the family, making their way back to Boot Key Harbor

We had a big crowd for Thanksgiving! Josiah and Sami came from Dallas to be with us, it was a great day to be thankful for family and friends.

Thanksgiving 2016

Josiah, Sami, Jennifer and Russ

Every year close to Thanksgiving, its gonna be Josiah’s birthday. This year we celebrated a day early, while the whole gang was here. Julie made a delicious cake, and Josiah’s still able to blow out all the candles, whoohoo!

Josiah’s 27th birthday…no helping with the candles, kids!

We always make time to go for a ride!

There’s always time for a ride with Rick and Jennifer

We have been blessed with so many friends since we began this adventure. Jack and Cheryl, from Zig Zag, came to visit! Yes…I promise Cheryl was there, too…she always manages to elude my camera!!! Eureka and Nyah had a good ole reunion, Pepe was being a cat.

Jack, Cheryl and Eureka came for a visit

While Josiah was in the area, we were able to spend a few more days with him up at our place in the Ocala Forest. Here’s a change up…dinner by Josiah, photography by Mom!

Dinner by Josiah

On December 5th we headed out to Indiantown to the DuPuis Wildlife Management Area. This is a free campground, although you need to go on-line and register in advance. There are no hook-ups for water or electric (we brought a generator.) They do have a dump station on site. And speaking of sites, there were no designated spots, just pull into an area and put out the table cloth. But, that also means, that after you are all set up, someone can set up too close, which is what happened to us. It was nice this time of year, no bugs, and we didn’t need any a/c.

DuPuis Wildlife Management Area, Indiantown, FL

My brother, his wife and my sister came to town, and we celebrated an early birthday dinner for my Mom. Mmmm, Captain Jack’s buried treasure. I miss Ale House! Can Mom have another birthday soon?

Early Birthday dinner for Jennifer’s Mom.

Austin and Kiera invited us to their school parties.

Parties at School

We are relaxing, right? We really need to make sure our new camper is working, so, on December 18th, we headed out to the St. Lucie Locks campground, and though it was close to home, we had a great time. We had a few visitors, a couple of hikes, a couple of bicycle rides, and a great time just watching the boats go through the locks. Russ had the whole place lit up with a ton of Christmas lights, too. This was a great campground, difficult to get a reservation, because there are only ten or so sites. We will come again.

St. Lucie Locks, Stuart, FL

St. Lucie Locks

St. Lucie Locks

Before we knew it, it was time for Christmas festivities to begin. Kiera and Chloe, twirled their way through the Stuart Christmas Parade.

Our little Twirlers marched in the Stuart Christmas Parade

Christmas in our world is always spread out over a week or two. First up, another visit from Josiah! I think he just came to see Nyah and Pepe, lol!

Josiah and Nyah. Nyah loved her lion mane, and proudly pranced around.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day with the family.

Christmas Eve, Christmas day, family fun

When Missy comes to visit, that means presents from Miss Nancy for everyone!

Opening our Christmas presents

Russ’ high school buddy, Dan and Pam, came to hang out after Christmas with us.

 

Dan and Pam, lights at the Mansion on Hutchinson

And just in case you think we couldn’t possibly squeeze any more into the schedule, all my cousins came to Jacksonville, and I had not seen them in many years. So I ran up to visit my Aunt and Uncle, and all the cousins! I was home by New Years Eve!

Hanging out with my cousins!

And that was a wrap on 2016! Do you think we squeezed enough in? It was a great year, and we would do it all again. This adventure is absolutely awesome!

Welcome 2017. What can we find to do this year? Let’s start with a camping trip to Gainseville and Chiefland, Florida. We spent January 4-8 at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, just South of Gainesville. It was a great campground, filled with beautiful oak hammocks, and a short walk to Lake Walburg. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate with us. A cold-front moved in, we had rain and a too cold for South-Florida people kinda days. But, we didn’t have a wet tent to deal with!!!

Paynes Prairie Preserve, Gainseville, FL

We moved on January 8th to Manatee Springs State Park. The weather cleared up and we had a fabulous time hiking, kayaking, and eating some really great BBQ at Anderson’s Outfitters located right in the park on the spring.

Russ trying out his Christmas gift from Josiah and Sami. Hiking trails abound. Manatee Springs State Park.

Kayaking at Manatee Springs State Park

Lunch at Anderson’s Outfitters, Manatee Springs State Park

Campground hosts, Manatee Springs State Park

Around Chiefland, Manatee Springs State Park

Love camping in the winter and a great campfire, Manatee Springs State Park

We had a great dinner with Ashton and Nina, on s/v Soul Mate, while they were held up waiting for a weather window to head out for the Bahamas. Have I mentioned how much fun we have been having with all these boating people we have made friends with. Wish we could have gone to the Bahamas with you!

Ashton and Nina, just one pic with the peacock!

And our sad day, the one we were dreading, where Nyah walked over the rainbow bridge to the special place that our fur-babies go. She was the best pup ever and our hearts are broken! Miss you girl, you are the best!

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

Miss Nyah 1-31-12 to 1-23-1017

We tried to stay home…but… So we spent a few days at our place in the Ocala National forest. More hiking and fires and a few more tears!

Hiking a section of the Florida Trail in the Ocala National Forest

Fire! Ocala National Forest

Birding, Ocala National Forest

Our place in the Forest, is just a nice ride to St. Augustine…and no trip to St. Augustine would be complete without O’Steen’s and visiting friends who happen to be in town.

O’Steen’s

We found Mike and Lori working. What’s wrong with these people! It was great to make them stop and have a drink and catch up since we last saw them back at Boot Key Harbor.

Mike an Lori, from Cheshire

And just when we think we can take a break…the bottom needs a little attention. We headed out to the inlet with Ike and John, to give the boats a little TLC.

Hey look! We still have a boat.

Now that the sailboat bottom is all cleaned up, we decided to…wait for it…take a camping trip to the Keys! Fun, fun, fun hanging out and catching up with everyone, and the weather was perfect!

Was this site, one, two or three? Camping in the Keys, Long Key State Park

We had to move two times during our stay to make it work, but it was worth it!

Kayaking in Boot Key Harbor with Cyndi and Molly, from Island Finz

Scrapple for breakfast at the Wooden Spoon. Oh, yea…he don’t like scrapple, he got pancakes!

Crane Point and Russ’ birthday with Steve and Cyndi…and Molly too.

Burdidne’s for dinner and Music of Cory and Ty. Roland and Lita, Tommy and Alecia and gang, and Steve and Cyndi.

Pepe misses being on the boat!

We slowed down for March. We have another adventure for April and May, so we need to pack and get it all together. But not until we celebrated my Dad’s birthday with a weekend trip to the Ocala National Forest, with my sister and her girl, Roxie!

Birthday Weekend for my Dad

Around the house while we were packing, our bird of paradise bloomed and Missy came to visit for a few days.

Bird of paradise, Missy and Pepe Le Pew

We did a looong day up to Daytona Bike Week…I think there’s a reason they call it a bike week and not a bike day! It’s a lot to squeeze into one day, but we did it! It was much easier with the Krispy Creme donuts on the ride home, Thanks Jennifer for the great snack idea!!!

2017 Daytona Bike Week, with Rick and Jennifer

A Couple of family birthday dinners, and we are ready to gas up the truck and head out of here.

Early birthday dinners with the family

Hey, thanks for hanging in there for my catch-up blog. You know we love you and are glad you can follow along with our crazy adventures! Stay tuned…more to come!

Short, Short Trailer, Long, Long Trip: The Last Chapter 2016_10_30 to 2016_11_13

Our end takes 14 days. All we really intended to do was get closer to I-10 and begin our way back to Florida. But, if you haven’t figured us out by now, we never take the simple route!

From Joshua Tree National Park, we decided to check out Quartzsite, Arizona.  Back in Death Valley, the couple (Dave and Nancy) who helped us out so much, sang praises of their winters on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas outside of Quartzsite, AZ. Where they pay a mere $180 for six months. We of course had to see for ourselves. This was not out of our way to some places in Texas we wanted to see, so off we went.

Leaving Joshua Tree National Park

ARIZONA!!!

Quartzsite, AZ

Once in Quartzsite, we headed out the main highway, looking for a good place to stay the night. We would check out the BLM land, but tonight we wanted some A/C, which unlike heat, we had brought on this trip, we are finally prepared for something! This was a very friendly park, they had a nice club house, laundry facilities and the managers, Mel and Ann (from Washington) were fabulous. They made cookies (made in the avocado green stove below) and coffee several mornings a week for everyone, and in the short time we were there, they had a movie night and several dinners at the club house. The only down side, was the dusty campsites…but every place in Quartzsite was just the same, or worse.

Split Rail RV Park, Quartzsite, AZ

Oh my! Can I take this home to the Lake? Yes, it still works perfectly…and no, that is not a microwave on top!

Our campsite at Split Rail RV Park

Art around Quartzsite, AZ

Cactus, its what’s green in Arizona.

Quartzsite is a winter destination for those who live in the cold Northwest. People from Canada, Washington, and points north, flood into this area when it is time to escape the cold. The town swells from 2,000 off season, to up to a million in January and February, when the annual rock and gem or RV shows are in town. The sunsets are amazing, too!

Sunset, Quartzsite, AZ

We settled in at Split Rail, and went exploring. We found the BLM land. It was expansive, but very dusty and remote. The town itself was very small. There was this great shopping area…I thought we could find a cute old trailer to convert. Which one do you like best?

Contenders for longer trailer

If I can’t have a fixer-upper trailer, how about a cool car…or two?

I really like the red one!

One thing led to another, and we found our way to R.V. Lifestyles…of course, we are just looking…right?

Just looking right?

We spent some time considering our options and talking about the things we wanted to do in the coming years. The new, two year old fifth wheel, really fit into our plan…so we added it to the family.

Our new second portable home.

It took us a few days to get everything set up, and hooked up, and ready to go. Our biggest issue was getting all this back home. This is what it looked like from Arizona to Louisiana. Did we change our name to the Clampetts? Hope we didn’t loose Granny!

Triple towing

Homeward bound. No more site-seeing for us, we gotta get this mess home!

Home, we are going home! Don’t mind my stoic look…I really am excited!

I-10 East

Triple Towing, it’s only hard to get gas!

You can only go so far in that rig. So a few miles into Alabama, we had to turn to other options.

Triple towing, not allowed in Alabama, Georgia or Florida. Plan B for getting the rest of the way home.

We are getting close!

Pepe Le Pew! We are home. I missed you!

There’s no place like home!

So that is how our Short, Short Trailer, went on a Long, Long Trip. We had a fantastic time on our trip out west. We have set in motion more camping and land travel. We just have to work out the balance of how to split up our time.

We really appreciate you following along and being patient with the time lapse of my posts. We love you all, thanks for adventuring with us. Stay tuned…I’ll fill you in on what’s been happening since we returned!

Short, Short Trailer, Long, Long Trip: Death Valley 2016_10_22

There are several reasons why Death Valley will be remembered. Although, it ought to be for its wonder and beauty, on this trip at least, we will be remembering for other reasons.

It all starts on October 22, 2016. We have spent another night at a Casa Walmart in Bakersfield, CA. We know where we need to go, only, the GPS does not recognize anything we put in for Death Valley. We settle for Lone Pine and hope for the best. As we got closer to Lone Pine, we found our sign, and we veered off into Death Valley.

We know this is a desert…but it is the end of October…and we have been freezing in several places. Anyway, I am rambling, here’s our Death Valley tale, and we’re sticking to it!

Saturday, October 22, 10:00 A.M.: Leave Bakersfield, CA, heading to Death Valley. No GPS address.

Pilot and Co-pilot, I’m not saying which is which. With vague GPS information, we are off to Death Valley

Saturday, along the way:

Trains and train tunnels everywhere. Awesome! Death Valley National Park

California, of course there are more wind turbines. Death Valley National Park

Have you seen anything green for a while? Death Valley National Park

Getting closer. Death Valley National Park

Saturday, 5:30 P.M.: Arrive in Death Valley. Take touristy photos in front of sign. 5:59 P.M. Stop at Father Crowley vista point for more touristy pictures. All is well.

We made it! Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Saturday, 6:15 P.M.: Decide to camp on the other side of the park. We need to go down, through the valley, and then back up the other side. All is still well.

I know this is elevated by Florida standards…but it’s only 3,000 ft. Death Valley National Park

We need to go down there and up yonder. Sounds good. Death Valley National Park

Saturday, 7:15 P.M.: Destination Stovepipe Wells campground, 28 miles. It should be cooling off soon, right? All is going to go hell in a hand-basket soon.

Campground 28 miles. We got this. Death Valley National Park

A little dry down here, huh. Death Valley National Park

We did that. Death Valley National Park

Saturday 7:40 P.M.: The temperature is rising. We have the A/C off. We think we can, we think we can. Radiator decided we could not.

Pull over. Fortunately, we are carrying our own water supply…do you think all that extra weight had anything to do with this problem? Naw.

Add water. Wait. Temp down, elevation rising. Can she make a 9% grade…up?

Are you kidding me? It’s 7:30 P.M. How can it be 95 degrees. Death Valley National Park

We passed a private campground a few miles back. Panamint Springs it is. Time for a U-turn.

Saturday, 8:00 P.M.: Register for site at Panamint Springs Resort. (are you kidding me, they call this a resort???)

Panamint Springs Resort. CA 190 Death Valley National Park

Panamint Springs Resort, Death Valley National Park

Saturday, 8:20 P.M.: Resident mechanic, trouble-shooting over-heating issue.

Resourceful. That’s my man! (and a little epoxy) Death Valley National Park

One of the things about camping is the good people you meet along the way. James was visiting Dave and Nancy, a couple of sites over. Dave and Nancy are heading South, to Quartzite, AZ, and James came for a get together of the Panamintvalley.com group. (yes that’s a real thing!) He had just the right socket that was necessary for removing the radiator. The Captain patched the hole with 2-part marine epoxy, let it dry, and put it back together. They also had local knowledge of the best place to get parts and other resources that we might need.

Did I mention that we were in Death Valley? In the middle of no-place. And I mean no electricity…they made their own with on-site generators. No cell service. The “resort” used a satellite phone, and the little bit of wifi they put out might open an email…if 200 others, weren’t trying to do the same thing. It looked as though we would have to wait until Monday to get out and find the parts we needed. There was running water (piped in) from nearby Darwin Camp, so we did have showers and a good nights sleep.

Views from Panamint Resort, Death Valley National Park

Views from Panamint Resort, Death Valley National Park

Views from Panamint Resort, Death Valley National Park

Views from Panamint Resort, Death Valley National Park

Sunday, October 23, 9:00 A.M.: Pressure test. Can we drive her out of here? Will we need to make other arrangements to get a new radiator at the the nearest town with an Auto Zone? Ridgecrest is 65 miles away. Dave and Nancy, were heading out, and were stopping at the only place around that received cell service…a small pull-out off of Panamint Valley Road (Minnietta Road.)  So we followed them to cell service and called Auto Zone, and amazingly, they had the right radiator for an ’04 Safari Van, on the shelf. Thanks Dave and Nancy! We really appreciate you both!

Morning walk. Death Valley National Park

Sunday, 1:30 P.M.: On the road again…

Following Dave and Nancy to phone service, and then we headed to Ridgecrest, CA. Radiator temp is holding perfect. Death Valley National Park

Yeah, I’m not too sure about that.

Hey, thanks for visiting! Death Valley National Park

Sunday, 3:30 P.M.: Auto Zone: New radiator. Sears: New socket set. Since we didn’t have any temperature issues, during our 65 mile drive, we decided to take it with us to our camping site for the night. It is October 23rd…that would be our anniversary!

Sunday 6:30 P.M.: Arrive at Trona Pinnacles. We hit some rain on the way, but this is Death Valley…its a desert, right?  Are we really going to get stuck by a train in the middle of no-place?

On our way to Trona Pinnacles. Trona Road from Ridgecrest, CA.

Not sure. Not everything you see on the side of the road is explainable. Trona Pinnacles

Campsite at Trona Pinnacles.

Happy 18th Anniversary! Every year is a new adventure, and a new place to celebrate. Trona Pinnacles

Monday, October 24, 2016, O’dark-thirty (6:00 A.M.): It rained all night. We got little sleep.  All we could think about was the flash-flood signs we had seen on the way in. As soon as it was light, we hit the road running!

Storms = flash floods? Florida ppl just don’t know. Trona Pinnacles

Monday, 9:30 A.M.: Breakfast at Kristy’s, in Ridgecrest, then heading South on CA 395. Joshua Tree National Park, is our destination today. Radiator holding up fine.

Monday, 1:20 P.M.: Pass NextEra Energy Kramer Junction Solar site. Turn left at Kramer Junction onto CA 58. Van stalls. Radiator is fine, still holding and outside temp is in the 60’s. Seems like a fuel issue, turn around and go back to Kramer Junction, which is literally a Pilot gas station and not much more. We stop. She won’t start. We call a tow truck. Nearest town for service is Barstow, CA, 35 miles East. That would be an expensive tow bill, thank you Allstate for paying some of it! Geez Louise!

NextEra Energy Kramer Junction Solar site. Kramer Junction, CA. and what a real rig looks like.

Monday, 2:40 P.M.: Tow truck arrives.

Poor baby. Kramer Junction, CA

Nyah’s first tow truck ride. She liked that comfy bench seat! Kramer Junction, CA

Monday, 3:35 P.M.: Arrive at Barstow Tire & Brake. They can’t check her out until the morning, but we can stay in the Short, Short Trailer, in their parking lot. “It’s safe,” they said! Overnight tale would be a whole other rabbit trail of a story. Suffice to say, we made it out alive…with little sleep.

Barstow Tire & Brake, Barstow, CA

Monday, 4:00 P.M.: Unload Harley, take a little ride…to the Ford dealership…just to see what they have…really!

Monday, 10:00 P.M.: Remember, we are just looking. Drive new F250 4×4 pick-up truck back to the Short, Short Trailer. Try to get some sleep already.

Couldn’t they throw in the caboose, too? Mojave Auto, Barstow, CA

All that money, and we don’t even get a temporary tag? California issues a sticker for the front window, which is a one way ticket to your destination to get tag and title.

How to get a vehicle out of California. Barstow, CA

Can you fit the gas pump in the back? Barstow, CA

Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 9:00 A.M.: Auto Zone opens, return radiator. Yep, we never installed it, it was still sealed in the box. Eat breakfast, get out of Barstow, CA.

What do you mean I don’t get the same room as I had in the van? This stinks! Barstow, CA

WAIT! YOU CAN’T LEAVE ME HERE ALL ALONE!!!! COME BACK, YOU UNGRATEFUL INFIDELS, COME BACK!!! I CONTACTED GOOGLE, SO YOU COULD FIND ME…COME BACK!!!

We need some rest, Joshua Tree National Park, we are headed your way. Thanks for sharing our adventure with us.

Short, Short Trailer, Long, Long Trip: Joshua Tree National Park 2016_10_26

Joshua Tree National Park has to be one of our favorites. I know I keep saying that every time we get to a new place…but, we really loved this park. It was calm, open and arriving at the end of October, made for perfect weather. I’m just going to let the pictures do the talking for this blog…enjoy.

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree, Joshua Tree National Park

Another Joshua Tree! Joshua Tree National Park

Hanging out in Joshua Tree National Park

Our campsite at Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park

Our campsite at Jumbo Rocks Campground, Joshua Tree National Park

Scream when you see it! Joshua Tree National Park

Wildlife. It crawled across our campsite and right up the tent! Technically known at Aphonopelma iodium…it’s still a Tarantula to me! Joshua Tree National Park

YES! This really happened…The Captain up for the sunrise!!! Joshua Tree National Park

Of course it was worth it!!! Joshua Tree National Park

Sunrise on Jumbo Big Rocks, Joshua Tree National Park

Getting off-road in the new truck! Joshua Tree National Park

Looking for Gold in the abandon mines. Joshua Tree National Park

Nyah knows what an abandoned mine shaft in the desert is for…shade. Joshua Tree National Park

Squaw Tank. Cattlemen in the early 1900’s dammed off places where water collected naturally after rains. Joshua Tree National Park.

Watch your step! Cactus abound in Joshua Tree National Park

Nyah needs a break from over-active people! Joshua Tree National Park

Out for a nice bike ride. Joshua Tree National Park

This sign says it all. If you find yourself in Twentynine Palms, this is a must!!! Joshua Tree National Park

Fortynine Palms Oasis is outside of Joshua Tree NP, and is quite a hike around the mountain, but it is amazing. A definite must figure out how to do! Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

There isn’t anything not to like about Joshua Tree National Park. We hope you get to see it for yourself soon.  This was our last park. One more stop on this Long, Long trip for us, and we really take a rabbit trail! Sure hope you can stay with us to the end. Thanks for sharing our adventure with us.

Short, Short Trailer, Long, Long Trip: California Pacific Coast Highway 2016_10_17

A one night stand at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, then we are just hours from the waters of the Pacific. We will head South for a few days of rest, at a familiar and favorite campground, before we turn and head East.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park wasn’t far enough from the cold or rain for us. We have already spent time in this beautiful park, so we only stayed one night. It was a great night.

Campsite at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, CA

Big Basin Redwoods State Park, CA

And off to the beach we go!

A quick lunch stop in Moss Landing. The Sea Harvest Fish Market and Restaurant had a few cars, but we opted for the view and a couple of PB&J sandwiches. It always amazes me they use prime ocean front property, for farming! You don’t see that in Florida.

Floating things with sticks on top…them might be sailboats!

California Rt 1, best road view ever!

Views from California Route 1

California Rt 1, bridges, curves and views

When we arrived in Pfeiffer Big Sur, we found the State Park closed due to fire. The recent rain had finally squelched all the fire, but they still needed to verify the safety of the area. This wasn’t our camping destination, but we were hoping to do some hiking here.

We arrived at Kirk Creek Campground, to this! With a view like this we weren’t surprised.

FULL…of view

So we headed up the road to Plaskett Creek Campground. Both parks are within the Los Padres National Forest, which is awesome. Plaskett, unfortunately, is across the highway from the water and the view. We were fortunate to meet up with the “fill-in” ranger, who let us know he would be at Kirk Creek the following day.  And…if we arrived at just the right time, he would still have a site available for us. Thanks Alec! You’re the best!

Our first Pacific sunset!

Plaskett Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest, CA

We moved to one of our most favorite campgrounds ever! Kirk Creek Campground. They are now on a reservation system, the last time we were this way, it was first come, first serve. We could only get two nights, but they were glorious.

Kirk Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest, CA. The views from this campground are amazing!

Kirk Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest, CA

As we are apt to do, we met some friendly neighbors. It’s a good thing, because Nyah scared their cat Fuzzy off. Fuzzy is apparently used to a little freedom, George and Cheryl set up camp, open the door and Fuzzy goes out exploring. He was very elusive when it came to pictures, but I understand he’s a pretty good mouser. George keeps a blog of Fuzzy’s adventures here.

Friends, wine, and sunsets…all is good in Paradise

We needed ice, so we unloaded the Harley, it was a good excuse  to go for a ride. Which, we have not been able to do for weeks!

Riding CA Rt 1

If you can find the trail head (on the South side of the campground,) you can hike down along the creek to this fabulous spot and just watch the waves roll in.

Kirk Creek trail, Los Padres National Forest, CA

Kirk Creek trail, Los Padres National Forest, CA

Kirk Creek trail, Los Padres National Forest, CA

Looking down from the top of Kirk Creek trail, to the goal! Los Padres National Park, CA

And this…

Beautiful. Kirk Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest, CA

We needed to be on our way. If only we could stay at all the places we liked best, all the time, we would have it made.

Looking South from Kirk Creek Campground, Los Padres National Forest, CA

The shoreline at Kirk Creek was a bit rocky and craggy for Nyah to get her feet in the Pacific, so we pulled over at the first place we thought we could get to the beach. What a spot, well worth the short hike to get there.

Nyah’s beach day

Nyah’s beach day in the Pacific Ocean. This has nothing on the Bahamas…just sayin.

Let me test this water out. Yea…not for me! What temperature is that ice water? And did you see the iceberg!

Let’s go Mom, I’m done with this place!

Is this the best they can do for a turtle?

California turtle

It’s not too long a walk back to that short, short trailer.

Short, Short Trailer along California Route 1

After we got all our tootsies warm, we headed down to Piedras Blancas State Marine Preserve. Nyah said she’d seen enough of the Pacific, but we were welcome go take another look, while she took an all important nap. These are the guys too young for mating, they hang out on the beach in the fall instead.

Elephant seals at Piedras Blancas State Marine Preserve.

The Piedras Blancas Light Station was very impressive, would love to see it up close sometime.

Piedras Blancas Light Station, CA

When we got to Cambria, we started looking for sign to take us East on 46.

Got to go East when you run out of West

Here is our last glimpse of the Pacific from a lookout on Highway 46.

Last glimpse of Pacific from Highway 46

We are heading to Death Valley, so I guess they prepare you by making the route go through Bakersfield. They take ugly to a new level…I’m sorry, I’m sure there is some part of Bakersfield that isn’t coyote ugly, we just missed it!

Bakersfield, CA

We did need to stock up on some ice and provisions, so we took advantage of a Casa Walmart stay, and since we didn’t really know when we would be near restaurants again, we had an early Anniversary dinner.

Noooo! I don’t care if they say you can. You don’t throw food on the floor!!!! Happy 18th Anniversary, I love you!

In the morning, its off to Death Valley. Tonight, I’m thinking of the Pacific Breezes.

Kirk Creek trail end. RELAX

Thanks for following along with our adventure.