August - September 2017
  • Day32

    And So Ends Another Adventure

    September 2, 2017 ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Got up first this morning, as I have every morning on this trip, to have my coffee. Wanted to keep it all easy for this last stay so didn't get the stove setup to boil water. Instead, I walked to the breakfast hall in the campground to buy a coffee. Sadly, it doesn't open until 8:00.

    Rather than wait 40 minutes, I walked down the street to the gas station. It too wasn't open. But then I spotted one of those small coffee kiosks nearby. I walked over to the counter and was shocked by what I saw! Or should I say, what I didn't see.

    Inside was a buxom blonde with nothing on except for a black fishnet. Her nipples were covered with a small piece of black electrical tape and her private area with a small, red cloth. She casually asked me what I'd like and made me a coffee. I walked awAy in disbelief.

    I decided to check out the name online later. Turns out Cowgirls Espresso is a franchise and are to coffee what Hooters is to restaurants. Crazy start to the last day of my holiday!

    The kids were all up early, obviously eager to get home and reconnect with their friends. We were on the road shortly after 9. Stopped at Costco in Bellingham and picked up a ton of Tillimook cheese, Emma's favourite. The border wait was an hour, but we had no trouble getting through with our booty.

    As we approached the sign with ferry wait times posted, we were disappointed to see a two or three ferry wait to Victoria. Nothing on the Nanaimo route though. We decided to gamble on the 3:15 to Nanaimo even though the lady at the ticket wicket told us it was highly unlikely we'd get on.

    As it turns out, WE GOT ON! Great way to end a great trip. Looking forward to the next one already, although I have no idea what that will look like. For now, it's time to pay the bills for this one and then we can start saving for the next.
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  • Day29

    Over 1/2 Way Home

    August 30, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    It took us three days of driving, but we're now out of California. But not out of the smoke. It was really thick closer to the Oregon/California border but still a fair bit here in Medford, OR as well.

    Aside from the smoke taking away from the scenic beauty along parts of the route and a minor incident with the trailer where we damaged the step and now can no longer use it to get in and out, it's been smooth sailing.

    Each day has started at a leisurely pace with getting ourselves fed and washed and then readying the trailer for the drive. With everyone pitching in its been easy.

    We generally drive for a couple of hours and then stop somewhere. One day it was at a designated rest stop on the highway, another in downtown Merced, where we went for a walk and found an ice cream shop.

    Yesterday we drove through an area full of nut growing ranches and we stopped at a nut store. We picked up some pistachios and a nut mix. One of the workers invited us outside to show us a pistachio tree and explained the process of picking and processing pistachios. She also showed us a male and a female pistachio tree. Do you know how you can tell them apart?

    Then, before arriving at our campground we might stop for groceries so that we don't need to unhook the trailer.

    The KOA's have all been great. We've been able to enjoy playing ping pong or pool at most as well as use the swimming pool when it's been hot. Yesterday, in Oroville we were able to walk a short distance to a huge Casino on the property. Not to gamble but to have dinner in the restaurant. We actually didn't walk there. We were about to but were able to hop on a free shuttle cart.
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  • Day26

    North to Soledad Canyon

    August 27, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 35 °C

    Today we started the long journey back. Laura was picked up by her airport shuttle bus from the KOA at 8 this morning. I went for a run while the kids had breakfast and got the trailer ready for the road. We left San Diego around 10.

    With lots of time, we decided to go to our destination via Simi Valley so that Aaron could see the skateboard museum we missed on the way down to California. It was fascinating to see all the old boards and how far the technology has evolved from the earliest designs. Best of all, it was free!

    A short distance further and we were at our campground. Very hot! Fortunately, there is a beautiful pool for us to enjoy. We'll leave trailer setup for later!
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  • Day25

    San Diego and Tijuana

    August 26, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    We've spent four days in our final and southernmost destination. The first two days we camped on Silver Strand State beach. A very nice place to camp, almost right on the beach with several miles of beach to walk or jog and enjoy the many shore birds. My favourite was the pelican. I loved watching them hovering and circling about five metres over the ocean and then diving straight into the water for fish.

    During the first full day in San Diego we bought all day metro passes and took the bus into downtown. We walked and shopped and then caught a train out to Fashion Valley, a large shopping centre and shopped some more. We then caught the train back but got off in Old Town to walk around. We also decided to return to Fred's for a Mexican dinner. We had been there before on our last trip to San Diego, about five years ago.

    On the second day, we had to pack up the trailer and move it to the KOA as SS only had room for us for two nights. It was only a 20 minute drive. Before doing so though, we started our day as we have on most days, with a 30 minute run on the beach after coffees.

    After setting up camp at the KOA, we hopped in the truck and drove to the Mexico US border. We parked at a large outlet mall for free instead of paying $15 at the official lot. We had no wait or trouble getting across the border and had a great day, walking along Avenida de la Revolution and up to a large farmers market and shopping centre. We caught a cab back to a spot near the border and did a bit more shopping. Then walked back to the US and shopped in the huge outlet mall where we were parked. On the way back to the KOA we picked up groceries and then had a late dinner back at the campsite.

    Today was our last day, and although it was cloudy decided to go to the beach. We went to Ocean Beach first thinking it was where we were last time in SD. It was busy with a surfing competition going on. We asked and found out we wanted to go to Mission Beach, only a short drive away.

    On arrival at the boardwalk we were approached by a family leaving to catch a plane who had two extra boogie boards they didn't want and offered them to us for a very good price. So, we now had four good boards. We all got out on the water and had a good time catching waves. It wasn't too warm though so we didn't stay as long as we might have otherwise. But it was getting time to make dinner and we had lots to look forward to doing back at the KOA.
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  • Day21

    Magical Malibu

    August 22, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    We arrived in Malibu on Saturday from Ventura. We didn't have much time to explore the area after our arrival but we did follow a trail leading from our campground down to the ocean beach and went for a swim before dinner. After dinner we played some ping pong in the games room.

    Sunday we drove the short distance into Santa Monica. We started with a nice walk along the amazing sandy beach to the famous pier. From there up the hill to the shopping promenade where the kids bought a few more items of clothing. We had an excellent lunch at The Crepe Cafe located in the heart of the action along the promenade. After a little more shopping we walked back to our truck and got into our swim gear. The sand and sea were incredible! Huge area of nothing but fine sand. The water was very warm. We then returned to the campground to make dinner.

    Monday we drove to Six Flags Magic Mountain Amusement Park. Huge area with 16 roller coasters alone! Longest ride in NA, highest loop and all sorts of claims to fame. Not for me, but the rest of the family sure loved them. I was happy with The Scrambler and The Justice League where I got to ride a flying vehicle and shoot a laser gun at The Joker and other evil villains threatening to destroy Metropolis.

    Today was our last day in Malibu. We drove down to Venice Beach to experience the boardwalk and spend a relaxing time on the beach. You hear a lot about Venice Beach and we weren't disappointed. All kinds of eclectic people and shops on the boardwalk and another beautiful California beach.
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  • Day18

    Back to the Coast

    August 19, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    Two days ago we were supposed to be heading into Sequioa Park for two nights. While stopping for lunch in Visalia, CA I noticed a road restriction on a section of the road within the park that we needed to use in order to reach our campground. No vehicles longer than 22' were allowed to use that stretch of road. The only other access route would have meant a very long drive along another narrow, winding road.

    So, instead we chose to camp at a couple of different places on the route to our next destination, Malibu. First stop was was Castaic Lake, just off the I-5 North of LA. The town has a nice beach on a man made lake. We walked there just before dark. Our campground was a bit noisy but was very clean and an enjoyable place to stay.

    Our next stop was Ventura, on the coast and only about an hour away. On arrival we had a few hours to spend before we could check in at the campground so we visited a shopping Center. The kids all found a few items for the fall. We did a grocery shop at Target, also in the mall, and then drove a short distance to check in at the campground. More a luxury, RV park with big rigs and paved sites throughout but convenient for us.

    Soon after setting up, we all headed into town. The boys went on their own. We did a long walking tour through the quaint downtown area with its many shops and restaurants, then down to the waterfront and onto the longest wooded pier in California and all along the beach to Surfers Point back to the RV Park.

    After dinner we rented four cruiser bikes and pedalled along the promenade and bike path back into town and the beaches. Aaron skated. Those cruisers look great, but they are heavy and with no gears were no easy pedal where there was a head wind or a an uphill stretch. We all got a good workout. Jaden got an even better one when he pulled his brother on his skateboard!
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  • Day15

    Yosemite

    August 16, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Arrived at our campsite about 25 miles from the entrance to Yosemite National Park in time for dinner yesterday. It was about 4 hrs of driving but we also stopped en route at Cunningham Skate park so that Aaron could skate in the largest skatepark in California.

    Today we caught a YART bus from the KOA to the Visitor Centre in Yosemite. Although only about 25 miles it took close to 1 1/2 hrs to get there. After viewing the exhibits and a short video we went on a short hike to the base of Lower Yosemite Falls for lunch.

    From there we hopped on a park shuttle and got off at the trailhead to Mirror Lake. We hiked up there and then back to catch another park shuttle to El Capitan. We stayed on the bus but were able to see the huge rock face.

    We ended our visit with a drink and snack before boarding the bus back to the KOA.
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  • Day13

    Our Stay in Petaluma

    August 14, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    Today Laura arrived at the San Francisco airport. We drove together to a viewpoint above the city. However, the view was not to be. All we could see was fog. From there we drove to Golden Gate Park and did a long, relaxing walking tour through much of it. Then we drove down to Union Square and walked the many streets around the square to visit the stores. Found several good deals at Macy's. We ended our time in the city at Lori's Diner. I loved the 50's decor including a Ford Edsel in the restaurant, but the food wasn't the best. I ordered pizza but the order got lost and it was an hour before I got served.

    On Laura's second day, we took a boat to tour Alcatraz. On arrival, we headed up to the former prisoner's dining hall for a presentation by a former guard at the prison with lots of interesting stories to tell about his experiences with the inmates. Following the presentation we did a self guided walking tour of the cell block and other areas of the prison and also watched an historical video on Alcatraz. Once we were back on the mainland we walked over to Pier 39 and then to Ghiradelli Square for a chocolate treat. We planned to take a cable car ride but changed our minds when we learned that the wait time was at least an hour. Instead we walked up the hill to The Crooked Street at Lombardi.

    Petaluma is a very old city with lots of history and a great downtown so we spent our final day here. First stop was a large outlet mall not far from the campground. The kids all found some clothing or footwear to bring home for school this fall. Next we drove to downtown Petaluma and did a walking tour of the area. Lots of great shops and restaurants. Laura bought herself a vintage dress in a shop called Chickaboom. We then drove out to Petaluma Adobe State Park where an old Adobe building is located which was once the home for workers on a huge 66,000 acre ranch. After touring the museum we were able to walk through the building and see the various rooms.
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  • Day10

    San Francisco Here We Come!

    August 11, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Have really enjoyed our stay at the KOA here in Manchester. Went for a long walk to the remote beach in the morning and spent the rest of the day relaxing in the campground, doing our laundry, playing ping pong, pool and pinball with the kids, ice cream social and Karaoke last night with a large communal fire, ate BBQ'd ribs, boiled potatoes and super salad for dinner and ended the day eating peanuts in the shell around our own 🔥.Read more

  • Day8

    Long Road Trip to Manchester

    August 9, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    Quite the drive today. Left early because I knew it would be a long drive. Had no idea though that it would have a narrow, winding 22 mile stretch with endless hairpin turns. We stopped for breaks but it took from 9:30 - 7:00 to get from Crescent City to Manchester CA.

    Very scenic drive though. We took a drive through the Redwoods and stopped for a short walk to one of the largest trees named The Big Tree. The drive from Leggett to the coast was crazy. But very beautiful. Setting was much like Jurassic Park. The coastal stretch south to Manchester was also very scenic.

    I thought that the area would be more populated but Manchester has a population of only about 400. The beach is about mile from the KOA. It has no amenities. So no surfing for the kids today.

    Tomorrow it should be an easy drive to Petaluma just north of San Francisco where we will pick Laura up at the airport!
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