Monday, January 6, 2014

Year Two Travels -- 2010

Pacific Coast Highway

Once again, I can't figure out how to make the left panel disappear.  To see our western route, you can move the map to the left out from underneath the panel.

Hi all, Dianne again.  Before Roger’s next Top Ten blog entry, here’s a recap of our year two travels (2010).  We’re taking turns with these retrospective posts because each one takes quite a while to compile.  Once again, in 2010 we covered much of the Continental U.S.! 

You can double-click on the smaller photos to enlarge them for  better viewing.

  We spent the months of January and February 2010 at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort in the Rio Grande Valley in deep south Texas. baby javelina  We saw our first javelinas, whole families of them.  They were ubiquitous in the adjacent state park, scavenging seed from the ground beneath the bird feeders.  Soon after we left the Rio Grande Valley, Hurricane Alex struck, and the state park experienced severe flooding for several months.  The javelinas were wiped out, although we hear they are finally making a comeback.

The biggest news that year was that we decided to put down roots (winter roots at least), and we signed a contract to purchase our lot at Retama Village, which is part of the same Bentsen Palm development as the adjacent RV park.
                       Breaking ground
March 1st our rent was up at the RV park,  so we moved on.  After a short stop at Goose Island on the Texas gulf coast, we headed northeast toward Louisiana and Betty’s RV park.  Betty’s is well known among RV’ers for her one-of-a-kind hospitality in Cajun country.  Here’s a photo of Roger and I with Betty at one of her daily happy hours: Betty  If you’d like to read more about Betty’s unique RV park, here’s a link to our blog entry for that visit: Betty's Abbeville, Louisiana
There is a lot to see and do in that part of 

Louisiana. Tabasco 

We toured an old cemetery, took the Tabasco factory tour, and oh, that Cajun food!!

Franklin Lock girls              Franklin Lock girls 2 Kaia and jasper bonita beach
From Betty’s we headed southeast to Fort Myers, Florida to see our daughter and granddaughter, who had moved there the summer before.  Once again, we stayed at our favorite place, Franklin Locks Corps of Engineers park.  While there, a favorite activity was the Bonita Beach Dog Park.  The third photo above shows Jasper chasing Kaia down the beach.
                    Longs sc camp site
Several months earlier we had signed up to attend the RV Dreams Rally at Willow Tree RV Resort near Myrtle Beach in Longs, South Carolina, so we reluctantly said good-bye to our dear ones and headed northeast.  The rally was a lot of fun.  Best of all, we met some friends who we keep in touch with to this day.  (Gin and Syl, Bill and Nancy, Steve and Evin – that means YOU!!)

After the rally, we revisited one of our favorite campgrounds, the very unique Four Paws Kingdom in Rutherfordton, North Carolina.
          four paws         jasper swimming four paws
No kids allowed – this RV park is all about dogs.  Here’s a link to our blog entry from that visit, if you’d like to learn more about it: Four Paws Kingdom   

                                                     Steve and Evin
We then chanced upon one of our all-time-favorite campsites, Site #40 at Stone Mountain State Park near Roaring Gap, North Carolina.  We took some awesome hikes while there, and even had a chance meet-up with our new friends Steve and Evin, who we had just met at the rally.

Mount Airy, North Carolina was next.  Roger wrote about that in our last entry, so I won’t repeat.

From Mount Airy we headed toward Indiana, with a brief stop at Pipestem Resort State Park in West Virginia.

When we were "back home again in Indiana," we parked the motor home in the driveway at the little house that our daughter had moved from.  Since we had purchased a lot at Retama Village in Texas, it was now our task to get this place ready to sell.  Most of the summer was spent there, working like dogs to get the house ready (It needed a lot of work).  Amazingly, it sold right away and we were finally officially homeless.
         ch layout in lh 1        pod leaving lh
The living room of this little house was the approximate size of our future coach house, so we measured the furniture we planned to keep, and arranged it as we hoped to do in Texas.  We found that a few things wouldn’t fit, but everything else was packed, labeled, and sent away in a storage POD.
      gemmers patterns turkey run      dianne and chuck firewood
We took time out for our annual kayak trip at Turkey Run State Park with the Gemmers and Patterns.  Chuck and I had our usual fun scavenging for left-behind firewood.

We also visited our favorite Indiana state park, Prophetstown, to visit family and ride our brand new bikes on the trails.  While there, we visited Wolf Park for their Howl Night program.  I took a short video of the wolves howling.  At the end a chorus of coyotes chimed in. 

Even hearing coyotes was a novelty for Roger and I, because we hadn’t lived in Texas yet.  Now the sound of dozens of coyotes yip-yip-yipping is a nightly event for us.  The nearby veteran’s cemetery plays taps every evening at 6:00.  Like clockwork, the local coyote packs chime in with their own unique take on “taps.”  -- Just another thing we still love about this place!

Our biggest adventures of 2010 were yet to come.  When we were finally done dealing with house issues, we headed for the west coast.  We spent most of September in New Mexico.

One of the things I’ll always remember about Taos, New Mexico was the night sky at Monto Bella RV Park where we were staying.  I hadn’t seen the Milky Way since I was a kid.  The millions of brilliant stars and thick Milky Way blew my mind.


While in Taos we also took one of our most memorable (and difficult) hikes, up to Williams Lake.  Here’s a link to the blog entry for that memorable day:       Hike to Williams Lake 


Georgia O’Keefe country was next on our list.  Riana Corps of Engineers campground at Abiquiu lake is another favorite spot for us.  We liked it so much we have been back there for a second visit.  Amazing scenery, both at the campground and especially during our hike to chimney rock at
Ghost Ranch.

santa fe house and statue                                                                      
Touring Santa Fe was like walking through an outdoor art gallery.

bandelier cliff dwellings               bandelier dianne
                           bandelier roger
Bandelier National Monument showed us our first ancient ruins.  We also toured the fascinating Los Alamos museum.

           bright angel trail r      grand canyon ba trail 
On our way to California, we stopped in Williams, Arizona and took the train to Grand Canyon National Park.  We walked part-way down the famous Bright Angel trail, timing ourselves so as not to miss our train back to Williams.

death valley                  roger alabama hills
California, here we come!  We spent some time in Lone Pine, California, with side trips to Death Valley National Park, the Alabama Hills, the Lone Pine film museum, and to Bishop, California to the awesome Schat’s bakery.
bakery goods                  


             mh mt whitney backdrop 2         mt whitney drive      
             ll trailer poster         long long trailer
The best campsite of 2010 for me was our time boondocking at Tuttle Creek at the base of Mount Whitney.  Mount Whitney is the highest mountain in the lower 48 states, and is also where the mountain drive from Lucy and Desi’s “Long, Long Trailer” classic movie was filmed.  Here’s a link to the blog entry for that drive.  Driving up the Long, Long Trailer Road

Our camp site at Tuttle Creek:

 Awesome fire pit and what a view!

We spent the month of October at the Escapees Park of the Sierras in Coarsegold, California.

         tarantula 2 hairy leg contest
  The Coarsegold annual tarantula festival was one-of-a-kind -- it even featured a “hairy leg contest” for the local women!  The big draw in the California gold country was, of course, Yosemite National Park.  We hiked the trails, rode our bikes, and really got to experience this awesome place in depth.

      yosemite framed photo      yosemite crevasse

                   biking yosemite
One of Roger’s most memorable experiences of the past five years was a hike he still talks about.  Here’s a link to his blog entry for that: Roger's Big Adventure Hike

             toyota tunnel tree
Sequoia National Park and King’s Canyon National Park were our next stops.

      morro bay       paso robles dianne
Then it was time to head for the Pacific coast.  Our destination was Morro Bay, soon to be one of our favorite small towns.  While there, we explored the excellent wineries in Paso Robles. 
          j and n wineries             pool hearst better
          hearst ocean view             hearst
Our dear friends Jay and Nancy joined us at Morro Bay to explore the nearby Paso Robles wineries and an unforgettable tour of Hearst Castle.

     friends set wb tour         r and d at grove mall
                        robyn dad at getty
After Jay and Nancy flew back to Indiana, we headed for Los Angeles to spend the holidays near our daughter, Robyn.  Together we explored Griffith Observatory, the Getty Museum, the famous Grove mall, the Warner Brothers studio tour, and trendy restaurants.  The first photo above shows the three of us on the studio set of "Friends" in "Central Perk."
     biggest loser house     la traffic
Robyn is a busy gal, so when she couldn’t be with us, she arranged for us to be audience members at two TV show tapings, Dr. Phil and America’s Funniest Home Videos.  She also told us how to find the “Biggest Loser” mansion, and we walked around the grounds there and actually saw a few cast members from that season’s show.  Roger became quite adept at navigating the infamous Los Angeles traffic! 

       christmas ocean view malibu      malibu sunset better
On a whim, we decided to splurge and move from the Californian in Acton to Malibu Beach RV Resort for Christmas.  We managed to time it for record rains and mudslides, but we stayed safe and the view from our window for our second Christmas on the road was the beautiful Pacific Ocean.  Robyn spent Christmas day with us at Malibu Beach.

  The very next morning (a Sunday) we took advantage of light Sunday morning traffic to drive the motor home all the way from Malibu through Los Angeles to Quartzite, Arizona, our first overnight stop on our way home to Texas, where this year two entry ends.

The pet photos of the year include this first photo that deserves an explanation.  Whippets aren’t commonly seen when you’re out and about.   We always had lots of attention walking our beautiful boys, and we rarely saw another whippet.  At Morro Bay we were astonished to meet up with not just two other whippets, but two whippets identical to our own.  They looked like mirror images! 

Here are a few other favorites from 2010, our last year with Jasper.  We didn't know that he had cancer, and our dear boy died less than a month after we arrived home in Texas.

             j and c roger eating         j and c sweater
Jasper bonita dog beaCH         Jasper Chaplin blue sofa
      jasper coarsegold capsite better      jasper on lap
Rest in peace, beautiful boy….


Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Nice summary!

Bill and Nancy said...

OMG...that was a wonderful year!! You really did so many exciting things:o))

However, that review reminds us that it has almost been 4 years since we've seen you two;o(( Need to fix that soon!!!

Heading East anytime soon?!?!

Gin and Syl said...

It was great to meet you at the RV Dreams Rally, but it seems like it was only a year ago. Time flies when you're having fun, and that's what rving is all about!

Suzi said...

Thanks so much for this series of posts. I haven't figured out how to "pin" yet, so I'm using my low tech skills and adding some of your interesting stops to my little blue notebook!