Apr 17, 2010


Well I think this is a new record.  We have been on the road for two days straight.  At least for the past couple of months, we haven't traveled every day.  This entry is catch up time.  On Wednesday we visited Arches National Park.  We spent the day just wandering and getting a handle on the park.  We started the morning with Breakfast at the Love Muffin in downtown Moab.  Judy had a bowl of warmed red quinoa with fresh fruit and I had a breakfast panini.  Both were excellent.  They even made us some sandwiches to go, for a picnic lunch later in the park.  Both of our sandwiches were very tasty.  We stopped at all the usual overlooks  like Park Avenue and Balanced Rock and even checked out the campground.

After our picnic lunch we took Mollie back to the RV and just relaxed for a couple of hours.  Later in the afternoon we put on our hiking shoes and headed back to the park.  We decided to do a short but "moderately strenuous" hike.  It was only 3 miles round trip but with a 450 foot up hill climb.  The objective was an overlook called Delicate Arch.  About the time you wonder if the uphill climb is really worth it, you round the bend to see the Arch.  Yes, it's worth it!

Friday we were both a little sore from the hike so we relaxed before heading into Moab for a late lunch and a little shopping.  We had an excellent lunch at the Red Rock Bakery and Net Cafe.  It was nice to have good healthy choices.  We even bought a loaf of their bread.  We wandered down the main street checking out a few galleries and tourist shops.  Judy even got me to buy a couple of shirts and she found a new 'Moab' coffee mug.  We bought a few groceries and headed back to the coach. When we checked into the Arch View RV Park on Tuesday it was half empty.  The lady who checked us in commented that she hoped she could find us a spot for three nights.  We both laughed and for the first two nights the park remained quiet and almost empty.  Thursday evening everything changed.  The park became full within a few short hours, and almost everyone had ATV's, motorcycles, and off road Jeeps with them.  We couldn't wait to get out of there.  In fact, our biggest concern was if we could get out.  Friday morning we managed to squeeze our way out of the park and were on the road by 8:30.  We will definitely come back to the Moab area, but probably not this RV Park.

Our trip east was uneventful on Friday.  The weather was good, traffic was OK, and we made it up over the mountains through Denver and then stopped for the night at the Cabela's RV Park in Sidney, Nebraska.  518 miles. A long day for us, but a good start to our trip back to Michigan.

This morning we relaxed and took our time, looked around a little at Cabela's and were on the road by 11:00.    Nebraska is not the most scenic state, at least not the part that I-80 cuts through.  So you look for anything of interest.

Like this 64 million dollar imitation log bridge over the highway near Kearney.  If you want to visit the museum you have to exit a couple of miles before you get to it.  Probably the museum is most famous for it's role in the movie " About Schmidt" starring Jack Nicholson and his RV. We also unfortunately missed stopping at the birthplace of Koolaid in Hastings Nebraska. 

We only drove a little over 300 miles today and are now at the Double Nickel Campground just off I-80 near Waco, Nebraska.We have fast internet, the park is almost empty and very quiet.  All in all, safe travels, a good day.

Until later

Apr 13, 2010


We had changed our minds and decided to go to Zion National Park Monday morning. We had even contacted a workcamper at Zion who was going to locate a camping site for us.  But the weather forecast called for cold temperatures and snow, so.... we decided it was best to keep heading in an easterly direction.

We topped off the fuel tank in Cedar City and headed east on scenic Highway 14 past Cedar Breaks National Monument (not opened yet) and soon found ourselves driving up a mountain pass with 4-5 foot snow banks.  Fortunately the road was dry.  We headed north on 89, then east again on Scenic Road 12 towards Bryce Canyon.  This road is described as one of the most scenic roads in America.  It is indeed beautiful but slow going in a 40 foot motor home pulling an Explorer.

After skirting the edge of Bryce Canyon we soon entered the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.  The area between the small town of Escalante and the even smaller town of Boulder can only be described as breathtaking.

Breathtaking in more ways than visual.  After passing through the Calf Creek Recreation Area we found ourselves driving on top of a ridge with no guard rails and no shoulder on the road, and a 1000 foot drop off on each side.  Since there was little to no traffic in either direction, I chose to favor the middle of the road.  I have this strange fear of heights, When I get close the edge of something I just want to jump.  So I focus on the road and Judy focuses on making sure I'm focusing on the road.  This went on for probably a mile before we started down into another canyon. 

We headed north out of Boulder and climbed up 9600 feet before dropping down into the small town of Torrey, just outside Capital Reef National Park.  We had been on the road for 5 hours so we decided to spend the night here at the Wonderland RV Park.  After checking in and getting settled we noticed that it was starting to snow.  It seems the snow had finally caught up with us. 

This morning we awoke to chilly but partly cloudy skies but the snow had melted. We pulled out and headed east on Highway 24 through the top of Capital Reef.  We even took time to stop at the Park Information Center so Judy could get her National Park Passport book stamped.

We continued east then north on Highway 95 to I-70  for about 40 miles before dropping back south on Highway 191 for 20 miles to just North of Moab.  We plan on visiting Arches National Park tomorrow.  I don't think we have ever seen more dramatic scenery.  This is truly a breathtaking area.

Until later.

Apr 11, 2010


Friday morning we left Barstow and headed north on I-15.  We left the highway in Baker Ca. to head northwest to Pahrump, Nevada.  Along the way we stopped for fuel and had our credit card refused when I went inside to pre-pay.  It seems that our address got changed in their database.  I had problems with the card a few days ago and when I went on line to check things out I noticed that our address had been changed to our son's address. So I changed it back.  That, coupled with the fact that our address is in Michigan and we were using the card in California, put a freeze on it.  While I was on the phone discussing the matter with their customer service department, our son called Judy's phone.  It seems the credit card company had just called our business asking personal questions and trying to find out where we were.  So how did our address get changed in the first place? Our son shares a similar first name and about a year ago he lived with us for a short time .  Just long enough for him to start getting mail.  So when he moved out of our house he of course changed his address.  It seems that the USPS thinks we are the same person and every so often still wants to change our address to his.  In our new enlightened connected age, the USPS sends out this data base to all kinds of businesses including our credit card company. So they automatically change our address without notifying us.  If I change our address they question it.  But no one questions the USPS, because we all know they never make a mistake!!!  OK, enough of my rant.  The credit card company gave us a special 800 number to call if, or when, this occurs again.  When we get back to Michigan I hope to convince the USPS to stop changing our address unless we request it.

We enjoyed the drive to Pahrump as we skirted along the southeast edge of  Death Valley.  We were only able to stay for a couple of days because duty calls back in Michigan.  Actually good duty.  We have a new grandson that's due to arrive by the end of the month and we want to be there to welcome him into the world.

We were in Pahrump to visit my cousin Carol and her daughter Mardell. They have a beautiful home in Pahrump and we enjoyed our visit with them.  My cousin is a few years older than me, so it was fun to hear her stories about my Mom and Dad that I had not heard before. We enjoyed a very nice lunch and a brief tour of Pahrump. Carol gave us 4 rocking chairs and a trunk that have been in the family for years.

They will be distributed to various family members back in Michigan as well as Oregon on a future trip. We were amazed it all fit in the back of the explorer.

This morning we hit the road again and drove through Las Vegas and headed NE into Utah.  We found a nice little RV Park in Kanarraville, Utah.

And we moved our clocks to mountain time.  Tomorrow we are heading east to Bryce Canyon  National Park.

Until later

Apr 8, 2010


Today was a travel day.  It started out rather ominous but ended well.  First the satellite dish would not retract.  We had this happen once before and had to reinitialize everything.  This time however a power down, power up did the trick and the dish stowed to it's travel position.

Then while putting things away, I noticed someone looking curiously at our Explorer.  I went out to see what was so interesting, and they showed me a nail in the right front tire.  So a quick check on the internet located a tire shop in Paso Robles, and off I went.  Frankly, I expected that we would miss our checkout time.  Once again small town service wins.  I was back at the coach in 30 minutes and we were on the road before 11:00.

We headed east to Bakersfield, up over the mountains at Tehachapi, and across the desert, past Edwards Air Force base and the small town of Boron and on to Barstow.

We ended the day at a little RV Park called Shady Lane R.V. Camp .  Not a fancy park by any means but before we could even get out of the coach to check in, a guy drove up in a golf cart and said "follow me". 

He got us parked, showed us how to hook up, and said when we could come into the office  and check in when we were ready.

Helpful people, a nice drive, no LA traffic and grilled swordfish, salad and a baked potato for supper.  What more could you ask for?

Until later

P.S.  In the picture of the RV you can see Judy's new potted basil plant, and John's dirty bug smeared windshield

Apr 7, 2010


Today was our last day in Paso Robles before we start the long trip back to Michigan.  As mentioned in our last post we found a restaurant that we really like.

Thomas Hill Bistro is hands down the best restaurant we have encountered on this trip.  Now if your idea of fine dining is a Chinese Buffet or Golden Corral than you probably won't be interested.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good hot dog or burger like most people, but if I am in the mood for something special I get picky.  You know the feeling when you spend a lot of your hard earned money only to be disappointed, well we've had several of those. In fact one of the things we like about the RV lifestyle is we can cook for ourselves even while traveling.  We do our own cooking and eat in most of the time because we can buy good ingredients and do it better ourselves.

Last week when we first arrived in Paso Robles we were looking through the local guides and came across Thomas Hill Organics.  Several things caught our eye.  Organic, locally owned, and locally sourced ingredients.  We gave it a try and were not disappointed.  We then took our friends from Michigan there one day for lunch and we went there again tonight for a last dinner before we leave here.

We were greeted by the owner, who remembered us, and since it was a warm evening we chose to sit outside.  We also had the same excellent waitress this time.  Judy chose the Ginger Carrot soup and I had the Ahi Tuna Salad.

While we waited, we enjoyed a glass of Opolo Mountain Zinfindel and fresh rosemary bread and olive oil.

We then shared a small wood fired pizza.  The pizza was unique to say the least.  It had caramelized onions, Meyer lemon slices, rosemary, sage, and a drizzle of honey.  The crust was as thin as true Italian Pizza.  In fact the pizza only took 3 minutes to bake in their outdoor wood fired oven.

We then really went overboard and shared a dessert.  It was old fashioned caramel pudding.  I can't begin to describe how good it was.  They say taste can bring back wonderful memories.  If you're our age or older, just remember real cooked pudding at grandma's house.  I had forgotten how good something so simple can be when prepared correctly.

Great food, Great Service, Great Atmosphere and Great Company.  It doesn't get any better than this.

Until later

Apr 5, 2010

Early Spring on the Central Coast

Well, I realize it's been a while since our last update.  In fact I had an email from one of our family members back in Michigan just wondering if everything was ok.  Since we last updated we have moved twice.  On Saturday the 27th we drove north to Los Olivos which is 30 miles north of Santa Barbara. I always dread the drive through LA.  We were on the road for 5 and a half hours in very heavy traffic.  I've driven in NYC ,Chicago, and Atlanta, but LA is the worst.  We arrived safely and got settled in for 5 nights at Tres Hermanas Vineyard 'RV park'.  The good news was that since we belong to their wine club our stay was free.  They have a small RV park with room for about 20 RV's.  Don't bother looking it up in your travel guide, you won't find it.  Since Santa Barbara County makes it very difficult have a RV Park,  the only way you can stay there is by earning points.  How do you earn points?  By buying their wine.  The only bad thing about staying there is that since they are in a remote canyon area cell phones and wireless cards don't work.  So that's my excuse for not updating last week.

Last Thursday we moved north 90 miles to Paso Robles and the Wine Country RV Resort.  A nice place, but a little too crowded for our tastes.  But at least the wi-fi and cell phones work here.  We have been enjoying our stay here with some friends from Michigan.  This is the first time we have seen anyone from Michigan since we left last fall.  Kind of strange.  The weather here has been cool but nice, the scenery beautiful, and the wine excellent.  You can't ask for much more than that.  We love driving the back roads and finding the small Mom and Pop wineries. You soon discover that you can't visit all of them.  We do have a few favorites including a local Olive Oil producer.  Nadeau, Opolo, Turley and PasOlivo are a few of our favorites. We also have enjoyed eating at a small local restaurant that is owned by a couple who also own a local organic farm.  They have a outdoor brick oven where they make great thin crust pizzas. 

Yesterday we drove over to the coast to the small town of Cambria.  We had a late lunch at a restaurant located on the beach.  We have eaten here a couple of times before and always enjoy sitting outside but yesterday was cold and rainy so we were forced to sit inside.  I think that dampened our spirits because the food just didn't taste the same.  Fish and chips tastes so much better when you can sit outside in the sun while watching the surf.

We will be here until Thursday when we start heading east. 
Until Later.

P.S.  No we did not feel the earthquake,  too far north I guess