Home Again, Home Again…Not SO Much (RV Series #21)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

Our unfinished Ranch House

Our unfinished Ranch House

Within an hour of porting back in Seattle, we nearly ran off of the Alaskan cruise ship, picked up the dogs from boarding, and hit the highway bound for Colorado. We’d originally talked about taking our time and staying at several RV parks on our journey home, but excitement took the wheel. Home was calling.

We decided to split the trip up into just two long days of driving. We traced our finger along the driving route on the Atlas and picked a spot 12 hours down the road.

Aleyna rode with John in the truck pulling the fifth-wheel. Alek rode with me in the SUV. I set my navigation system, put in a worship CD, and bawled my eyes out for the better part of the day.

Alek, engrossed in a book in the third row with the dogs, was unaware that his mom was having a mini meltdown. At the time I didn’t know exactly why I was so upset.

I did know that we’d set out on this RV journey some five months ago hoping Continue reading

Alaska – The Last Frontier (RV Series #20)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

Confession: I married a planner. As in a guy that actually likes to sit down as a couple and PLAN. Everything. It’s the most attractive quality in regards to planning for retirement, planning for a house remodel, or planning for company to visit. It’s incredibly annoying when it comes to planning vacations. He not only wants to schedule them on the calendar but also plan each day’s activities months in advance.

We planned our Alaskan cruise nearly seven months ago. We knew we’d be RVing up the West coast of North America so we let the cruise departure date drive our journey. We began in Arizona mid-January and we’d need to be at the Seattle harbor by the end of May to set sail for Alaska. John’s customer visits determined how long we visited each city and state in-between. That was the plan.

Except that four months into our five month journey, we were burned out and not looking forward to spending seven more days with our kids anywhere, let alone all stuck in one room aboard a vessel bound for a state no one prints on their driver’s license. Continue reading

Kennewick Compass Shift (RV Series #16)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

We built our RV travel itinerary around two factors: the northern pacific thaw and an Alaskan cruise departing at the end of May from Seattle, WA. We kept a close eye on the weather forecasts and drove north maintaining steady daytime temperatures around 72 degrees.

We’d originally scheduled two weeks in the Portland area but my teens’ rebellion combined with the never-ending drizzle was like Chinese water torture. I needed out. Continue reading

Oregon (RV Series #15)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

I say Oregon, you say _________. Oregon, ________. Oregon, ________. Did you say rain? Ducks? Weird? Bridges? Beautiful? Scratch ‘n Dent? Any or all fit the bill and all are reasons to visit:

• Rain. Crossing the border into Oregon from California, we officially traded our beach towels for umbrellas. Continue reading

Napa Know-You-All (RV Series #13)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

On our last full day in San Francisco, John called the RV repair shop to verify that the rig would be ready for pickup the following day. When I saw John’s shoulders fall during the phone call, I knew it wasn’t good news. The manufacturer sent the WRONG part?!? And no one called to tell us?!?

If you’re a Bob Newhart fan and watched his spinoff show, picture the eccentric neighbor brothers who introduce themselves the same way every time they make an appearance at Bob’s Vermont Inn. The older, wiser brother does all the talking, “Hi, I’m Larry; this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl.” We were dealing with them in real life.

The correct, driver-side axle was to be overnighted to the RV repair shop. With the weekend days and their backlog of rigs awaiting repair, we had another week to wait. My patience was wearing thin. Continue reading

Singing in San Francisco (RV Series #12)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

San Francisco makes my heart sing. It’s a city worth singing about. Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco and you can’t help but sing the Rice-A-Roni jingle when you hang off the steps of the cable car. It’s “The San Francisco Treat!”

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Alek and Aleyna hanging off the Cable Car

But the cause for my singing this week lay in knowing that our RV was getting repaired. While I show the kids the bright lights of the big city, the fifth-wheel axle would be made new. After sitting sidelined in tiny-town, CA for ten nights awaiting RV parts, we decided to forge ahead without the rig. Continue reading

Yosemite Blues (RV Series #10)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

Relieved from leaving the Malibu cliffs, we pulled into Oakhurst, CA, a mere forty-seven miles from Yosemite Village. It’s the closest town with RV hook-ups to the national park’s southern entrance. Don’t read between the lines and think that closest means nicest and full of amenities. Nope, none of that.

Fond memories of the Oakhurst, CA RV Park

Fond memories of the Oakhurst, CA RV Park

Our site was decent. Large enough for our two vehicles and our forty-three foot rolling house. Unlike Malibu, we could enjoy campfires, but only if we were willing to share space with stray cats, less than desirable neighbors, and views of metal carports and storage buildings. Fortunately, our plans include driving into Yosemite National Park most days, which means I won’t spend many daylight hours in the landfill RV Park. Continue reading

No Boundaries in Newport Beach (RV Series #8)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

If there were something to complain about our site in San Diego, it would be the six-foot chain link fence between Mission Bay and us. Apparently the fence was to keep us out of the wildlife reserve (a.k.a. the murky duck habitat). Whatever. Anyway, I didn’t care for it.

San Diego fence view

San Diego fence view

What the San Diego site lacked, Newport Dunes made up for it in spades. WOW. We fell in love with this RV Park the moment we arrived. Once again, our site backed up to a bay but this time, without barriers. No fence. No murky duck area. Just paved walking paths, mature trees, and green grass. Just ten steps from my door, I squished soft sand between my toes. Little slice of heaven to be sure.

Bay view in Newport Beach

Bay view in Newport Beach

While the sky boasted the most brilliant blue in Newport Beach, a dark cloud hovered over my heart. Continue reading

San Diego R & R (RV Series #7)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western US coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

We’re just five weeks into our five-month journey. We’ve only hitched the fifth-wheel to the F-450 four times including the day we drove it off the sales lot. Essentially, we got our forty-three foot house set up in Phoenix and didn’t move it. We are rookies.

Now the real RVing adventure begins in California. We will RV Park hop every week or so to a new location beginning in San Diego. That includes driving in California traffic, maneuvering down narrow streets lined with parallel-parked cars, and weaving through tree-lined RV parks to back into our assigned site. We are apprehensive but excited.

I was exhausted from deep chest coughing and blowing my nose. After John and I returned to Phoenix from Colorado, I crawled to Urgent Care with bronchitis and laryngitis. The doctor prescribed me Augmentin and coughing pearls remarking that the nasty stuff was going around. I didn’t have the heart or the voice to tell her it was probably a symptom of the major stress in my life.

My sentiments exactly

My sentiments exactly

Aside from emptying a box of tissues, the drive from Arizona to San Diego was uneventful. Continue reading

Bird Attack Detours us to CO (RV Series #6)

(Our family is on a five month RV trip. We are journeying West from Dallas, TX and making our way up the Western coastline finishing in Washington state before we streamline our way back to CO for the summer.)

After a great week in Las Vegas, we moved out of the hotel and drove back to the Phoenix RV Park having devised a plan to retrieve my vehicle from Denver. We considered shipping it via long-haul truck but opted, instead, to fly out ourselves and drive it back.

The trip to Colorado would also give us a chance to check on our house remodel at the ranch thus killing two birds with one stone. Now, with the burst water pipe and ensuing floodwaters at our South Denver suburban home, we had another remodeling project on our hands. This stone had better be big, as we need to kill many more than two birds during our brief visit.

Continue reading