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


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.


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


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


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.

Short, Short Trailer, Long, Long Trip: Family, San Jose, and San Francisco, CA 2016_10_10

We made it to the West Coast, to enjoy a week of family, and exploring the area like a real tourist. Even though the drought wrought area was blessed with rain, almost our whole stay, we still had a great visit! We spent the week with our daughter, Jennette and her husband, Ray, and our grands, Monta and Gabby. Our son, Josiah and his girlfriend, Sami, flew in to meet us also, so it was a great week for family.

Nanny was excited to see the wind turbines, because that meant we were getting close!!!

Are we there yet?

We set up camp at Sanborn County Park, just up from Saratoga, CA. Although we had an awful time with our reservation due to lack of any cell communications and the fact that we arrived on the Columbus day and that is a holiday for County employees. We managed to get a site for the first night, and a move to the site we would have for the rest of the rainy week! The park had an area for tent camping, RV electric hook-up sites, a dump station and a huge park for picnics and hiking.

Sanborn County Park

Sanborn County Park, we had a cook out, of course!

A fun day at Happy Hollow Zoo. I think PopPop may have had more fun than the grands!

Happy Hollow Zoo

Happy Hollow Zoo

PopPop helped someone master the stepping stones over the water.

Happy Hollow Zoo

Happy Hollow Zoo

Happy Hollow Zoo

PopPop can even make fun at Costco!

Shopping with PopPop

Do these ducks look a little spoiled? I guess the drought is real, when the ducks have to find swimming pools.

California Ducks

We celebrated Ray’s birthday with cupcakes and assorted shenanigans.

Happy Birthday Ray!

The shenanigans included lots of excitement in the bear castle.

PopPop and Uncle Josiah might be a bit large for this bear hut

Hanging out fun. PopPop where did you find that famous orange hat?

Strong Mama. And, yes, this hat does have a story! What goes around comes around, hahaha

Noooo, Uncle Josiah!

Playing outside in between the rain, at Jennette’s courtyard.

Playing outside in between the rain, at Jennette’s courtyard.

Dinner inside! Yea, more rain!

This is how low tech Silicon Valley really is.

Low tech

Who’s bigger, the kid or the cat? Say hi to Tyson!

Let’s do a family photograph!

Family photo time…

Ok, that works…I guess?

As good as it gets around here!

We all headed out on Saturday, to the Campbell Oktoberfest celebration. I somehow managed not to get pictures of everyone.

Campbell Oktoberfest. Nanny checked for trains…no grands were injured during this photo-shoot!

We had a great visit with Josiah and Sami, but they had to head back home…wish you could stay longer!

Josiah and Sami

On our last full day, we tempted more rain and headed to San Francisco. Off and on, but we had a great tour guide…Thank you Ray!


Nyah made it to San Francisco

Nyah heading into the City

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

Fun at the Fort. San Francisco, CA

Bridge view from the fort. San Francisco, CA

Yea, that hill that thinks its a street, or is that, street. Lombard Street

San Francisco, CA

Dinner in China Town at Brandy Ho’s on Columbus Avenue.

Brandy Ho’s, San Francisco, CA

After dark. San Francisco, CA

Well we had one last morning at the park, and then it was time to say goodbye to our babies.

Saratoga, CA

Saratoga, CA

Saratoga, CA

Saratoga, CA

Last smile for Nanny…you know I cried all the way to our next stop!

Saratoga, CA

I never understood my grandmother’s tears when we left…until now!

Saratoga, CA

We had to be on our way. Thanks for stopping by, this trip isn’t over yet…and you won’t believe what’s going to happen. Come back again!

Over the mountain to our next adventure

Short, Short Trailer, Long, Long Trip: Calaveras Big Trees State Park 2016_10_07


We are blessed to re-visit the awesome Calaveras Big Tree State Park, in California. We spent a couple of days here, many years ago, on our way to Yosemite National Park. This time, it was even more relaxing, and with the motorcycle, we were able to explore CA 4, which was an exciting ride.

We ran, full speed, from the cold in Carson City, Nevada, and didn’t look back! I hope we can go back again someday, but with a warmer rig or warmer weather! We were advised not to take Ebbetts Pass (CA 4) to Calaveras with our van and trailer rig, so we set the GPS for Placerville, CA and headed in from there.

This proved to be a nice drive, a semi-freeway, mingled with two and four lane roads.

We went through Lake Tahoe, never spotting a welcome to California sign!

Welcome to California!

Lake Tahoe, CA

Interesting bridges along the route

We arrived at Calaveras and set up camp. TWICE! Between picking a site and then paying, we did not realizing the first site was reserved…oh well, we ended up with a great site all the same.

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Arnold, CA

Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA. Still jacket and hat weather, but no signs of snow!

Motorcycle Ride! We finally were able to get back on the bike, and took  a ride back towards Lake Tahoe, on the the road we didn’t want to tow the trailer on. It was perfect temps for a ride and this is absolutely a bucket list place for riding. The road does go down to almost one lane, for a good portion, and I have never been on a 24% grade road before! No smoking brakes for us!

CA 4 – Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway – Alpine State Highway (depending on which map you choose to look at)

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, California

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, California

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, California

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, California

We took a short lunch break and checked out this National Forest Campground.

Silver Creek Campground, on Noble Creek. Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, California

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway passes through Stanislaus National Forest and Humbolt Toiyabe National Forest

Yes, that white stuff is snow, but I didn’t see any mosquitoes!

Ebbetts Pass Scenic Byway, California

We spent Saturday evening around the campfire of B.J. and Karen, from Santa Barbara, CA. They just returned from a trip to Alaska, and shared their experiences and tips with us. Another item to add to the bucket list! Other Saturday sights were this blue jay and the meadow near the camp sites.

Blue Jay, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

Meadow, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

Sunday, we walked the North Grove, which is an easy paved 1.7 mile loop, close to the Park entrance. Then we rode the motorcycle across the Park, which is about ten mile (one way,) and a fantastic ride to the end of the park. The great views and quiet road, led us to the South Grove trail.  This is a five mile loop hike to the Agassiz Tree, the largest Sequoia in the park, through a few other rather tall trees. As we came out at the end, there was a small gathering of people, watching us come up from the trail. It seems the rustling in the bushes was a bear! Unfortunately, we didn’t get a pic, but, we didn’t have an up-close encounter at the creek, either!

North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, California

North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

North Grove, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail. The five mile hike, which we did in the late afternoon, was not overly difficult.

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

Agassiz Tree. South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

Does this tree make me look short? Agassiz Tree, South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

Agassiz Tree. South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

Agazzi Tree. South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

A nice sunset view of the creek.

Big Tree Creek, South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA

We had a great visit at Calaveras, you need to rest up PopPop…we are off to visit the grands tomorrow!

Resting before next week with the grands! South Grove Trail, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, CA