Pechanga, Yucaipa CA Then Home

After nine weeks on the road, you would think our routine for leaving a campsite would be ingrained. Rarely do we forget anything. I wash dishes, breakdown the table, secure the contents of the refrigerator and cabinets, stow the laptop, latch the bathroom and shower doors, close any open vents or windows, and then double and triple check to make sure I didn’t miss something. JT dumps the holding tanks, cleans the toilet, stows the camp stove and table, folds up the outdoor mat, raises the stabilizer jacks, and coils up the electrical cord and water hoses.

Usually, Jon fills the black tank full of clean water and flushes three or four times to clean it out. He runs in and out of the trailer twenty times or more checking to see if the tank filled enough to flush out the yuck in the black tank. This was not the case when we prepared to leave San Diego. He hadn’t been around for what seemed like fifteen minutes. Then I heard water running, a whole lot of water, spilling over the toilet edge, in a waterfall, onto the floor, into the heater vent, under the sink cabinet, and seeping into the bedroom carpet. “Flood, flood. Where are you?”

JT rushed to turn off the water and open the dump valve while I flung towels on the floor. Instead of leaving by our noon checkout time, I sat in the laundromat watching towels go round and round in the dryer. It was bad enough cleaning up a flood because the trailer had a leak, but to cause a flood. Grrrr! Good thing our faux pas occurred on the fourth flush of the tank and not the first.

We hit the road about 1:30 p.m., just enough time to make it to Yucaipa before they closed. Barely thirty miles out of San Diego on Interstate 15, we heard a noise that sounded like we ran over something, except the trailer didn’t buck the truck like it does when hitting a pothole or going over speed bumps. Did the spare tire fall off the back of the trailer? Jon put on the flashers and pulled the rig over. The spare was in place. Everything seemed okay and then we noticed the treadless tire on the rear passenger-side of the trailer and the section behind the wheel to the bumper that had curled up on itself. Five tire failures in one year. What were the odds?

We limped into the nearest town, Escondido, and found a parking lot at a Mexican restaurant where Jon could change the tire. After lunch at the restaurant, we drove to the nearest Discount Tire Co. store to ensure the spare and the rest of the tires had sufficient air.

Too late to make it to Yucaipa, we stopped at Pechanga Casino and RV Resort for the night. I had heard casino RV spots were reasonably priced so I didn’t expect the $50 rate for a pull-through deluxe site. Then again, the sites were nice. They offered plenty of amenities such as a pool, clean bathrooms, and a shuttle to the casino, if one was inclined to flip their pockets inside out and donate their cash to the reservation.

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Pechanga RV Resort

Journey’s Inn was a perfect place for breakfast the next morning, a reward for our troubles of the day before. The rock covered walls, large windows overlooking the golf course, and the hills in the background, along with a tasty breakfast, soothed our worries away.

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Journey’s Inn
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Journey’s Inn Lobby View
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Journey’s Inn Outdoor Seating
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Pechanga Resort Golf Course

Pechanga is in the middle of a $285 million expansion which will include an additional 568 rooms, a 70,000 square foot spa, convention space, pool complex, and two new food and beverage outlets. The completion of the expansion is expected by the end of 2017.

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Pechanga Expansion Construction

We continued on to Yucaipa Regional Park, arriving by 11:00 a.m., which allowed us time to have our pick of spots. A friend Jon has known since grade school came for dinner and they enjoyed sitting at the picnic table and catching up on their lives.

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Jon with Ed Simpson. The bearded ones look like they coordinated outfits.

The next day, my friend and her husband picked us up for lunch, and a drive to the Oak Glen Preserve and Southern California Montane Botanic Garden, a Wildlands Conservancy. We followed the trail around the garden grounds and rested at the Discovery Center. The following photos were taken during a previous visit to the preserve during the fall.

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Entrance to The Wildlands Conservancy Southern California Montane Botanic Garden
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Historic Farming Equipment is Displayed Along the Loop Trail
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Farming Equipment
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Aquatic Feature Includes This Creek and a Pond
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View From Botanic Trail

Wouldn’t it be nice if every picture taken turned out perfect? This is definitely not the case for me. Where the heck did that water bottle come from and why do Jon and I look like we’re sitting on kindergarten chairs? One of these days, I’ll remember to check the foreground and background for distracting objects, and the placement of people.

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Dan and Susie Bloomer with Jon and I

On Friday, March 17, 2017, we headed for Sky River RV in Paso Robles so they could repair the damage from the tire failure. Loaded up with what trailer contents would fit in the truck, we drove home with memories of all we had seen swirling in our heads and sadness in our hearts that our Winter 2017 trip had ended.

The Statistics:

  • Number of Nights – 65
  • Total Miles Driven – 7,285
  • Miles Pulling Fifth Wheel – 4,596
  • Diesel Fuel – 583 Gallons
  • RV Parks/Campgrounds – 22
  • States – 4

Until next time, safe travels.

San Diego CA

Tuesday, March 6, 2017, and time to head toward home. But first, San Diego beckoned us to stay a few days. We try to make it to San Diego a couple times a year to visit with our son Kevin, breath in the sea air, and soak up the rays. Campland by the Bay is our favorite place to park the rig.

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Campland by the Bay Marina

I must have been exhausted because I was content to hang around the campsite for three days. Kayaks, bicycles, and paddleboards available to rent at the marina and even my camera could not entice me to stray too far.

We finally ventured beyond the confines of the resort to walk along the Mission Bay path on Friday. Sadness overcame me when we walked past the abandoned mobile home park across Rose Creek from the Campland RV park. The city kicked out the residents and is planning the future of the property and surrounding area.

We’re glad to know the city has spared Campland by the Bay from the same fate for at least three years. The city extended the campground’s lease, due to expire during 2017, for at least three years and possibly up to five, while the city receives feedback on options and contemplates its final decision.

Known for its gastropubs and breweries, it made sense for San Diego to host the Best Coast Brew Fest, which benefits Cancer for College. Our son invited us to the event on Saturday, March 11. With our little plastic mug in hand, we lined up at Mission Brewery’s tap truck for a taste of the dark lager.

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Mission Brewery’s Tap Truck

After samplings from a few more of the 50 breweries represented at the fest, we moseyed on over to the food trucks. Two for the Road served up tasty lobster rolls and salmon burgers. We considered ourselves lucky to find a park bench to serve as our dining table and chowed down while Saved by the 90s played in the background.

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Food Trucks at Best Coast Beer Fest
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Saved by the 90s Band San Diego

Kevin’s sunglasses reflects the festival scene.

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Kevin Todd at West Coast Beer Fest

Kevin’s girlfriend, Bailey Bishop, models the latest fashion trend in jewelry for the beer fest crowd. Munch on a pretzel while standing in line for the next taste.

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Bailey Bishop at Best Coast Beer Fest

As the day progressed, the lines grew longer. With blue skies and warm weather, no one really cared. They visited with their friends and sipped their tasties.

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Embarcadero Park, Venue for Best Coast Beer Coast

A couple takes time out to enjoy the view and watch the low tide.

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Takin’ A Break

San Diego is a casual city, and on warm days residents and visitors alike don shorts and T-shirts, with sandals or tennis shoes. A red polka dot dress and pair of stilettos screaming, “Take my picture,” caught my eye and the lady in red agreed.

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“Take My Picture, Please.”

Uber and Lyft drivers picked up some extra coin by driving inebriated beer fest attendees to their next destination. I was so glad to exit our Uber driver’s car after a Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

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Beer Fest Attendees Catching an Uber or Lyft Ride

The Cherry Blossom Festival at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park sounded like fun. We stood in line to pay our fee then crowded in with everyone else to view the pink blooms. Dodging running children, strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs on the narrow dirt paths became a challenge. The Festival was not the time to expect a serene stroll among the flowers and trees. Discouraged by the long lines at the food counters, we left to eat lunch in the courtyard of Panama 66, the restaurant next to the San Diego Museum of Art.

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Japanese Friendship Garden, Balboa Park
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Cherry Blossoms
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Koi

Later we walked along the street between the buildings toward the Fleet Science Center watching street buskers on the way. The performers are usually legit: musicians, jugglers, caricature artists, mimes, and magicians. This is the first time I found a group suspect.

Somehow I had never before managed to take a picture of this statue in front of the House of Charm.

 

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El Cid Statue and House of Charm

 

A large crowd had already gathered when we arrived. Three of the young men collected money from the circle of people while another promised an exciting stunt involving the five people selected from the crowd and standing in the open circle. Ten minutes later, the action began. The five people bent their backs, and the announcer took a spot several yards away. He ran toward the five people and performed a flip over their backs, and that was it. End of the show.

Although the trick was cool, the man who dropped twenty bucks in the hat expressed his displeasure of seeing only one stunt after the leader of the gang goaded him for fifteen minutes. Many people walked away shaking their heads and possibly feeling duped. Fortunately, we were not among them.

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One Stunt Performer

The magician at the other end of the street who passed a hat at the end of his show, however, was worthy of our money.

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Magician Performer

We ended the day at The Headquarters at Seaport Village. While waiting for our table at Puesto (great place for tacos) we wandered in and out of the stores, took pictures with the balloon art, and visited the San Diego Police Headquarters museum.

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#WhatLiftsYou @ KelseyMontagueArt
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Jon’s Long Lost Aunt? Alas, No Jackie Todds in the Family Tree.
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The Fog Rolled in at Sundown Turning the Sky Gray.

It was now Monday, moving day again. We wanted to spend a few days in the Anza Borrego Desert. With no reservations, we were out of luck. It didn’t make sense to go for only one night, so we headed up Interstate 15 toward Yucaipa Regional Park to visit with a couple of friends.

Safe Travels!

Morro Bay and Cambria

Road trip in December, could it be true? The dealership called to let us know our trailer was ready for pick up after its third roof repair, the service manager promised no leak after a downpour the night before. Seven days until Christmas with presents under the tree and menu set for the big day. “Morro Bay here we come.”

On December 19, 2017, we snagged a spot at Morro Dunes RV Park, our go to park in the area for its location within walking distance to the beach and Morro Rock.

We opted for an early dinner of salmon for me and fish and chips for Jon at Dutchman’s Seafood House. From our window table, we watched seagulls trailing fishing boats as they entered the harbor, otters playing in the bay, and the sun sinking into the sea. Then it was off to the grocery store to stock our refrigerator.

The next day we drove up to Cambria. We had often passed by without stopping, time to check it out. We walked along the streets wandering in and out of antique stores and one-of-a-kind gift and art stores. Usually, the offerings in touristy locations repeat from one store to the next, but not here. Each establishment had unique items to purchase.

Our favorite store was the Garden Shed where we admired birdhouses, hats, gloves, aprons, and all types of garden tools and indoor plants. The back of the store opened onto flagstone and mosaic-tile paths lined with fountains, statuary, pottery and repurposed items.

Tucked in the corners of the property are five more stores. Junk Girls was my favorite. They display their handmade products and items rescued from the landfill in such a way the browser feels compelled to purchase at least one item to take home.

We stopped in at Robin’s Restaurant for lunch. I ordered the salmon bisque and salad and Jon had the southwest bean soup and Garlic Bread. We can’t speak to other menu items, but we both enjoyed our selections.

The Cambria Historical Museum offers a walking tour for download, which details the people and families that inhabited the town dating back to the mid-1800s.

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Cambria Historical Museum

On our way back to camp, we visited Harmony Cellars, in Harmony, California. We were disappointed to learn they had no chardonnay for purchase. Although Rieslings often run too sweet for our taste, Harmony’s Riesling was a refreshing complement to the vermillion salmon we bought at Dockside Fish Market.

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Harmony Cellars Tasting Room

After a breakfast of raspberry topped pancakes on our last full day, we drove out to Museum of Natural History Morro Bay State Park. The museum overlooks the Morro Bay Estuary, features interactive exhibits of the Morro Bay site and panoramic views of the coastline. A leisurely lunch at La Palapa in Los Osos and a walk in downtown Morro Bay topped off our day.

Signs directed us to Mission San Miguel on our trip home. We had often passed by without stopping and now it was time to visit. Franciscan Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen founded Mission San Miguel in 1797. The church was completed in 1821 along with the interior frescos designed by Esteban Munras. The original frescos still decorate the walls of the church, which has never been repainted.

As we left with our memories, we headed home with renewed Christmas spirit and anticipation for a wondrous holiday with our family.

Until next trip, safe travels.

The Trail Home

We plotted a route home and left the Grand Tetons on August 12, stopping for lunch at the Heart & Soul Bakery in Pinedale WY. Pinedale is a place I’d like to spend some time in the future. They offer an abundance of recreational activities in the winter and summer months, from swooshing down hills on skis and riding snowmobiles to hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and hunting. You can even hop on the free wagon shuttle to get around town.

The Rock Springs/Green River KOA in Rock Springs WY,  just north of Flaming Gorge National Recreational Area provided a nice spot for the night. After setting up camp and eating dinner, we took Highway 530 on the west side of the gorge to an overlook and then a marina. In the distance, beyond sagebrush-covered hills, stood tops of buttes banded with red, orange, yellow, and white. A few miles later, a small herd of pronghorn antelope was feeding a few yards off the road.

The Flaming Gorge Reservoir area is a great place if you have a four-wheel drive vehicle and/or a boat. Having neither we couldn’t get close enough to see the canyon walls and the water below. The next morning we packed up and took the east road, Highway 191, crossed over the reservoir bridge and made our way to Dinosaur National Monument.

We arrived early enough to snag a spot along the river in the Green River Campground and take the tram up to the dinosaur bones and see other sights in the area.

When I read they displayed dinosaur bones, I imagined boredom setting in while we wandered around a building housing glass-covered tables filled with bones. Instead, the two-story building protects a preserved dig site from weather and erosion. The bones are still encased in the sandstone mountain.

 

Next, we took the driving tour around the park. First stop, Swelter Shelter where a short walk later we viewed petroglyphs. I can see why some people would believe in ETs after seeing the carved designs in the sandstone. The images do look otherworldly.

Hills across from Split Mountain Campground show how the earth has lifted revealing the different layers of sediment.

Erosion from wind and rain on the sandstone created Turtle Rock and Elephant Toes Butte. The tour pamphlet did not mention the three mounds in front of Turtle Rock, so I named them The Three Crabs.

Our final stop on the tour was the Josie Morris Cabin. Josie arrived in the area in 1914 and built several cabins on her homestead. The cabin shown in the pictures was built in 1935. She tried married life five times but eventually chose to live alone and work her land by raising and butchering cattle, pigs, chickens, and geese. Until her death in 1965, she lived without electricity and burned wood for heat inside her cabin. The box canyon in the photos is where she corralled her livestock. I admire Josie for her bravery and toughness to eke out a living on her own terms in such a hostile environment.

The next morning we took US Route 40 out of Vernal UT, the gateway to Dinosaur National Monument. In Vernal, they decorate their streets by lining them with baskets and planters brimming with purple and white petunias. The petunias distract from the billboards and signs advertising the businesses.

We then turned southwest on US Route 91, west on US Route 6 and south on Interstate 15 to the Big Mountain Campground just a few miles east of Nephi and south of Provo. This campground was my favorite of all the places we stayed. The huge trees provided shade, and the green grass and sprinklers cooled the air. They rent cabins and offer tent spots in addition to the full hookup sites for RVs. It looked like a perfect place for a writing retreat, family reunion, or just a respite from traveling. I would have liked to stay there more than one night, but we had to get back on the road.

US Route 6 took us through Utah and Nevada, connecting with US Route 395 in California after an overnight stay in Tonopah NV. Jon and I did a double take when we saw a Tesla charging station in the middle of this old mining town. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stop to get a picture.

We decided to stay a few days in June Lake, one of our old stomping grounds from when we took our kids on vacation. Jon finally got an opportunity to wet a line after renting a boat at Gull Lake Marina. Although both of our mouths watered for fresh trout, Jon wasn’t able to catch our dinner. We opted for dinner out that night at the Sierra Inn Restaurant.

On August 19, we pulled up in front of our house with visions of a luxuriously long hot shower and a good night’s sleep in our king size bed.

In case you are interested, here are the stats from our Yellowstone Summer 2016 trip:

  • Nights – 44
  • Total miles driven – 4,780
  • Miles pulling fifth wheel – 2,525
  • Diesel Fuel – 379 gallons
  • RV Parks/Campgrounds – 12
  • States – 6
  • National Parks – 3
  • National Monuments – 2
  • National Forests – 8
  • National Historic Trails – 3