The Beauty Around Us – Grover Beach, California

I almost cried today.

Flowers

I feel like we’ve been traveling non-stop for days, though really it’s the planning that has me feeling so beat. At last, we arrived today at Grover Beach, California – a place where we will be for at least the next month.

After settling into the RV park, we took Frodo out for quick stroll and to explore. Grover Beach – the actual Beach – the actual Pacific Ocean – is less than a mile from where we will be sleeping.

As we approached the beach, I could smell the salt in the air. There is no smell better than that of the ocean.

Grover Beach Entrance

Grover Beach was *cold. Windy. And beautiful. I darn near cried. I mean, I really had to stop and take a deep breath.

It was easy to understand the excitement of those around us.

Excitement

Dave and I are a few days shy of our 10th wedding anniversary. We’ve only taken one vacation ever, and that was on our first anniversary. This year, though we aren’t on vacation, it will definitely seem like it! I can’t imagine a more beautiful place to get to celebrate our life together.

Happy Anniversary Dave! ❤️

Dave

About the cold… *This sunbird gets cold in temperatures under 70 degrees. After recently being in 90 degree temperatures with 15 percent humidity, 68 degrees on the beach with 12 mile an hour winds, and 60 percent humidity felt cold. That’s okay. I’ll adjust!

Catching up in Cali

Sometimes when you travel, you just never know what you’re going to see. For example, you could just happen to look to your side and see a Dinosaur. True Story. Photo location: Cabazon, California

Roadside America Dinosaur

We’ve been in Chino, California for about a week now. The day we arrived I had planned to blog about our trip, knowing if I don’t write immediately – it won’t happen. Well, obviously, it didn’t happen. I took photos the moment we arrived, but the park where we were staying was, well… horrible. Sure, it looks pretty, but looks aren’t everything.

This is where we’ve been for the last few days, Prado Regional Park in Chino.

Prado Regional Park

What you can’t see in the photo is the experience, photos don’t tell you the whole story. The park is about a mile away from an outdoor olympic shooting range, and gunshots are heard from just prior to sunrise and continue past sunset every day. Three days a week the range is open for 12 hours and we were treated to gunfire sounds for more than 12 hours during those days. It was lovely. Frodo was usually able to be outside just long enough to do his business but he was quite the unhappy dog while we were there. Walks barely happened, he would get too freaked out (understandably so)!

In addition to the sounds, there was the smell. Have you ever been near a dairy farm? There are several in Chino, quite a few right near the Prado Regional Park. For most of the day the smell was so bad we were unable to use our fan or open our windows. In fact, you can smell cow manure as you drive around Chino. Feel free to knock this city right off your to-visit list.

Oh, but of course, we weren’t in Chino to sightsee, we were there to have our hot water heater system replaced – which we did. We have working hot water now! It’s a miracle! I have another RV Repair shop to recommend, thoughts to share about our experience of going a full month without any hot water, and tips about how to go about having your hot water system replaced – all… coming soon.

For a few more days we are kicking around near the shop where had our hot water system replaced, just to continue testing and make sure all is well before we depart. Currently we are in San Dimas, California and though the current place is well above our budget, it is well worth the change in venue. Even Frodo approves!

Frodo Living it Up

Hopefully the lack of gunshot sounds throughout the day will get me back into a writing mood so I can write more about the last week, and month.

San Dimas California

Until next time…

Basking in the Quiet at Craggy Wash in Arizona

Is the rest of Arizona as beautiful as Lake Havasu City? Throughout the day, I find myself staring at the sky, the mountains, and clouds.

Clouds and Mountains

Every few minutes the scenery changes and I wish I was better skilled at landscape photos, but, that’s Dave’s speciality. I usually take better photos of people or things. Like our van.

I took this photo shortly after we arrived at Craggy Wash, our home for the night.

Boondocking at Craggy Wash in Arizona

No, I do not miss having a house thank-you-very-much. I mean really, what is there to miss from a house?

In related news, over the past few days I learned I do not need Hot Water. Honestly, the fact that we don’t have hot water right now has been no big deal at all. I’m shocked that I feel that way, and I’m grateful for this little life-lesson. I thought hot water was a necessity. Apparently, it isn’t for us.

After dinner I sent Dave to grab some of his amazing sunset photos. He didn’t disappoint. Can you believe that sky? Thank you Arizona, you’re being an amazing and gracious host!

Craggy Wash Sunset Photo by Dave

 

Chilling Out in Lake Havasu City, Arizona

It looks like we’ll be staying in Lake Havasu City for a little while longer. Though our Hot Water Heater was working a tiny bit, it is now completely dead. Poof. It lives no more. As of yesterday it had a little life left in it and the manufacturer was going to send some parts our way. By last night, the Hot Water Heater was totally dead, so we went back to the local shop we’ve been working with, and more parts are on the way.

Since Thanksgiving is this week and Girard is shipping us parts via slow travel, we’ll be without hot water for quite a bit longer.

I have to give a quick shout out to the local shop we’ve been working with, Canyon Country RV, Truck & Auto Service Center. They have done everything possible to try to get us up and running, balancing calls between Pleasure Way (maker of our van), and Girard (maker of our hot water heater), and have spent a lot of time working on this issue. I overheard one of their calls today and they were requesting on our behalf that Girard overnight the parts because this is our home – of which I definitely appreciate the request! Girard declined though, but wow, huge thumbs up to Canyon Country RV! They are clearly acting as advocates on our behalf, not something I’m accustomed to at repair shops!

After spending a good part of the day at the repair shop again today, Dave and I headed over to Lake Havasu State Park for the night, and I have to say, it’s beautiful here!
Lake Havasu State Park

Though one of the reasons we chose this park was because of the high reviews of their showers (because… no hot water… remember?), we still chose to use our own bathroom this evening for a shower!

We have a Class B Van, with a wet bath. From what I’ve read, many folks (possibly even most) who have wet baths never use their shower, instead opting for campground facilities. We chose this van knowing the pros and cons of a wet bath and fully intended to use it as it is part of our home. I think by opting to take a full, 100% cold water shower, over using a shower just a hundred feet away that fully works – marks as completely and totally crazy. But you know what? That’s okay!

A Quick Glance: Columbia, Missouri

Today it was rainy and overcast in Columbia, Missouri, but in between a grocery and fuel run – we did manage to check Columbia out just a bit!

We’re both tired and run down, but we drove by Stephens Lake Park – so of course, we HAD to stop so I could take some photos! I’m so glad I did!

For one thing, I saw for the very first time ever in real life, a Little Free Library! Well hello Columbia! What a nice way to greet me!

Little Free Library

Stephens Lake Park is a beautiful place. There were people walking, running, and biking, and a few folks were there to walk their dog.

Stephens Lake Park

From the perspective of traveling with a dog, it is an excellent place to go hang out for a bit with Fido (or in our case, Frodo)! The park has a great sidewalk (super handy after a day of rain!), and trash containers never too far from reach. I didn’t notice any doggie-bag stations if they have them, but we always have those with us anyway.

The park not only had trash cans sprinkled about, they also had recycle bins! Lots of them! In fact, I noticed there were also recycle bins at the gas station, as well as clothing donation drop-off bins. Yay Missouri!

In case you are wondering, yes, Stephens Lake Park does in fact, have a Lake! A sign mentioned something about boating and fishing…

Stephens Lake Park_The Lake

What a nifty place to take in the Fall colors!

Stephens Lake Park_More Lake

Just a quite note about the grocery store. I shopped at Hy-Vee, a grocery store chain I have never heard of before and I thought it was important to mention what I found. HEALTHY FOOD! I’m adding those note so I’ll remember, but if any of you out there have dietary restrictions, this store (at least the one in Columbia) had great real food options. So if you are one who cooks from scratch, or reads the label carefully on anything that comes in a package, be sure to check out Hy-Vee, you may find some great snack options!

That’s all from here! We hit the road again tomorrow. Cherrio!

Camp Crashing

October at KOA Asheville West
The view from KOA Asheville West – October 2015

Have you ever crashed a wedding? Hmm, me neither. But lately I have been cramp crashing! Specifically, I’ve been living at a campground while we wait for our house to sell, surrounded by other people who are truly camping. It’s an interesting experience, and apparently a life-hack.

Feeling stressed? Tired? Worn out, and in need of a vacation? Surround yourself with others who are on vacation and the vibes carry over. Maybe it’s just walking past people’s campfires at night, but it’s a pretty neat trick! I don’t know what it is about campfires, but they seem to create happy, relaxed feelings. Is it just me?

This morning I awoke feeling stressed about work, and the remaining things we have left to remove from the house before we transition to completely full-time RV living. And then, I opened the window shades in our Airstream and remembered. I’m at a campground, and it’s a holiday weekend! Our “neighbor” has festive lights hanging from his RV awning and I remembered where I am and what I’m doing here. And I smiled. Life is really good. As Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

On a Clear Day, You Can See Forever!

My beautiful Mother-in-Law is visiting, yay! It’s been fun taking her around our area and sharing our forest with her.

At One with Nature

Today the weather was beautiful so we got to visit the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here we are at Chestnut Cove, elevation three thousand feet!

Pam at Blue Ridge ParkwayDid I mention the weather was beautiful?!

Clear Day

I’m so grateful to have this amazing woman in my life!

Pam

Quote Me on That…?

Just DandyThis photo was screaming for a quote, it’s just perfect for one. But… I can’t think of one appropriate. So, it will have to just be quote-less.

I had to take advantage of a rain-free day and get some nature shots. April is by far my least favorite month. At least it’s almost over!