We’re moving . . .

Due to some content we wanted to add that wasn’t easy on WordPress.com, we’ve migrated this blog to Blogger.  Please follow us at http://thejourneyisthething.blogspot.com/.

Leave a comment

SoCal FMC Mini-Rally, 2012

We just got back from visiting with FMC friends in the greater LA area.  What a wonderful spot!  We had 6 FMC coaches, 2 SOBs, and 2 folks who came without their FMCs.  We were camped at Puddingstone Reservoir in San Dimas.  It’s up in the hills between Pomona, San Dimas, and La Verne.  We got to watch planes take off from the La Verne airport, hear trains go by, see the lights of LA at night, and, amazingly enough, watch a Bald Eagle soar over our campsite everyday.

FMCers came from Northern California, Southern California, Arizona, and Missouri.  I’m finished with being amazed at how far Jim Woestman will travel for a rally. Just know you can probably count on him to attend!

Much of the weekend was spent watching the men crawl under the vehicles but there were also some intense games of Bananagrams and Blongoball, too.  We had a fantastic pot luck dinner on Saturday night and wonderful campfires each evening.  Although, come to think of it, it was so chilly on Saturday, we started the fire about 9am and kept it going until well after 10pm.

One of the highlights of the weekend was having a local RV washing company come out and wash 4 of the FMCs in our sites.  They were so shiny and clean!  Really lovely!  The guys did a great job!

Ed Marshall’s FMC

#708 – The Miller’s FMC at Puddingstone Reservoir

Jim Woestman’s coach

Eric Whedon’s coach

The Cleaning Crew!

Look, Ron! A biplane!

A dazzling SoCal sunset!

Posted in FMC Rallies, Trip Report | Leave a comment

Ocean Cove West Coast Rally

What a weekend!  Greg and Stephen planned a mini-rally that turned into a major West Coast event!  Ocean Cove is a great campground right on the cliffs on the Sonoma Coast.  It was so beautiful!

We had 11 coaches and, I think, 14 owners represented all together.  We had food, wine, . . . hmmmm, no song!  We had s’mores and filthy, hard-playing kids.  We had new friends and old friends.  We toured an old Russian fort on the California Coast and talked a lot about FMCs. And right at the end, we even managed a little sunshine for Lynn Clugston!

I’ve got a bunch of pictures up on my Flickr account — go take a look.  Here are some of my favorites from the weekend!

FMCs at Ocean Cove

FMCs at Ocean Cove

Rod & Cindy's coach

Eric & Toni's FMC at Ocean Cove

708 at Ocean Cove, CA

Dean & Laura's FMC at Ocean Cove

Clugstons and ??? at Ocean Cove

FMCs at Ocean Cove

FMCMCOC Mtg at Ocean Cove

Leave a comment

Day 33 — Groveland, CA to Boulder Creek, CA

We didn’t linger in Groveland in the morning.  We headed out and got on the road.  We had a long drive ahead and wanted to beat the Friday Night traffic over Highway 17.  And, we did.  We hit a little traffic but nothing too bad.

We called Greg’s Mom and arranged to meet them at the transit station in Scotts Valley to pick up Ruby.  She was beside herself with excitement to see us.  And, kept running back to check all the corners of the FMC for Gage.  I’m sure she’ll be surprised to see him when I pick him up on Monday.

It felt good to be home!  Our house looked GREAT!  (Thanks to Greg’s amazing mother who tidiedeverything up before we got home!)

We're Home!

Another trip over . . . Wonder what we’ll do next year!

Leave a comment

Day 32 – June Lake, CA to Groveland, CA

The big challenge of this trip happened on this day.  Tioga Pass — 9960ft. The FMC hasn’t done it before and Greg was concerned that it go well.  We left June Lake in the late morning.  Stopped to fill up with gas at the Mobil Station in Lee Vining.  We got lunch too.  This is no ordinary Mobil Station . . . They have a gourmet eatery on the premises — The Whoa Nellie Deli.  With all of us fueled up and ready to go, we unhitched and I headed up the pass first in my car (to find a spot to hitch up again before we got into Yosemite).  I really didn’t know how the FMC would do — we knew it would make it up but with what kind of grace.

708 at Tioga Pass (~10,000 ft)

Greg has three options for going uphill — 60 mph in drive, 45 in 2nd, or 25 in 1st.  We figured this hill would be a 25 mph hill.  And, it was.  Thankfully, the air was cool (thank you high altitude) and I only waited about the top for about 5 minutes or so.  We hitched up the car and drove through the gate to Yosemite.

The reason we had to hitch up is that we have an annual pass for the National Parks — going through separately would have cost us $25 but going through hitched up was free!  We bought a new pass at Mesa Verde for the new year (our pass from last year was good until the end of June for this year) and have already used it enough to pay for it.  If you are doing a road trip, an annual pass for the National Parks is a GREAT deal!

Snowball fight in July!

We drove the amazingly beautiful drive through Yosemite — which for us is something of a commuter road to the Bay Area from my folks’ house.  We decided to stop outside the park to camp.  There were a few forest service campgrounds but none that would work for us so we pressed on to Groveland where we stayed at the Yosemite Pines RV Park.  We got a fantastic site in the shade — didn’t even need the AC.  Greg took Ruth swimming twice.  We had Ruth’s birthday request dinner — all appetizers.  We had bbq meatballs, Liza’s queso dip, and Greg’s Chipotle dip.  YUM!

708 at Groveland, CA

Posted in Trip Report | Leave a comment

Day 31 — June Lake, CA

#708 in June Lake, CA

We moved the FMC to my parents yard for our last day/night in June Lake.  Mom and Ruthie and I had a girls’ day out in Mammoth.  We had coffees at a great little coffee shop there — Ruth had iced hot chocolate which was delicious!  Then we went shopping at the Van Heusen and Bass Outlets which were having redonkulous sales — 70% off and then another 30% off — which seems like it might mean free but it doesn’t quite mean free!

My girls - Mom & Ruth

We hit the grocery store next and got food for dinner and a birthday cake for Ruth.

While we were gone, Gage and Igor, my stepdad, had gone kayaking at Mono Lake, a huge salt water lake.  They got back shortly after we did — all covered in salt spray.  Gage’s hair looked fine but it was stiff!  Back into the shower for him.

Osprey pair on nest

We hung around the rest of the afternoon and evening.  It was decided that Gage would stay and hike with Bumpa a lot.  They are heading to Hawaii on Tuesday so I’d be able to pick him up from them on their way to San Francisco.

Ruthie really enjoyed her birthday cake!

We celebrated Ruth's birthday in June Lake

Posted in Trip Report | Leave a comment

Day 30 — Alamo, NV to June Lake, CA — Ruth’s Birthday!

It was actually chilly at the National Wildlife Refuge when we woke up that morning.  We had a good breakfast — pancakes!  To celebrate Ruth’s 13th birthday!  We can’t believe our little girl is a teenager now!

Packing up was easy — all we’d unpacked was chairs and the telescope.

We headed off with growing excitement.  We were going to drive the Extraterrestrial Highway today!  When we made the turn, we stopped to get a photo — you don’t get experiences like this everyday.

This highway has been designated The Extraterrestrial Highway because it travels close to the infamous Area 51.  We kept our eyes peeled but never saw any signs of alien activity along the road.

Scenery along Extraterrestrial Highway

Scenery along Extraterrestrial Highway

More scenery on Extraterrestrial Highway

The center of the Extraterrestrial Highway is The Lil’A’Le’Inn (http://littlealeinn.com/) in Rachel, NV.  You pull in and you can see all sorts of alien influences here.  Inside, there is a bar (keep the kids out of the “red zone”) and a cafe and lots and lots of merchandise.  Gage got a shirt that says he works at Area 51 but he can’t talk about it and a pin that says he’s authorized to use deadly force.  The people there were SO nice and SO friendly.  We really enjoyed our visit with them.

708 at Lil'A'Le'Inn

We headed off again — our next destination was Tonopah, NV.  (http://www.tonopahnevada.com/).  Tonopah is a Silver town.  We found a good lunch spot but weren’t thrilled with the RV park we saw.  We decided to press on.  Our next idea was Benton Hot Springs where you have a hot spring right at your campsite.  We kept driving through the desert, with more and more high passes.

Boundary Peak, Nevada

Eventually, we unhitched and the FMC was able to negotiated the passes more easily.  The best road in the world is the road between Benton and Highway 395.  It’s one of those desert roads where they just paved what they found in a straight line.  Hills . . . Pave over them.  Valleys . . . Pave over them.  The result is the Benton Bumps.  A series of tummy-tingling bumps that are better when done at high speed and with the knowledge that there could be a cow or ten at the bottom of a valley because it’s open range.  Watching the FMC do the Benton Bumps was even more fun that doing them in my car.  Wow!

#708 on the Benton Bumps

When we got to the Hot Springs, I was feeling the pull of my parents.  They live just an hour and a half away in June Lake.  We had a discussion and decided to give in to my longing . . . Benton Hot Springs may be a really cool place but . . . We headed on into June Lake.

Wild Rose, June Lake, CA

We spent the first night in the June Lake campground (National Forest Service) and had dinner with my folks at the Tiger Bar.  They have AMAZING food and great atmosphere!

We went back to my mom’s and showered and did a quick load of laundry.  Nothing like clean underwear!

I think Ruth had a good birthday!

Posted in Trip Report | Leave a comment

Day 29 — Zion National Park to Alamo, NV

We packed up and headed out.  Greg had to get some work done and print some stuff out and ship it off to a client so we headed for the Kinko’s in St. George, UT.  I went to Target and got food organized for the next few days and the kids just hung out and played on their electronics.  Greg got his work done, we had lunch, and headed off to Nevada.

This leg was tricky.  We weren’t sure where we’d sleep and there aren’t a lot of choices out there.  We thought we had a campground picked out — the pictures on the website looked good and they had good reviews so we headed off.  On the way to Alamo, NV, you drive through desert.  Lots and lots of desert.

When we got near Alamo, there was a Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge with several good sized lakes in it.  We were so surprised.  We noticed there were campsites, too but drove on knowing that it was hot and we’d prefer to have hookups to run the AC and cool things down.

shorebird at pahranagat national wildlife refuge

Well, the campground wasn’t bad but it wasn’t what we wanted, either.  We looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and drove back to the lakes.  We camped there for free.  As we drove in, Greg and the kids spotted a Roadrunner — it ran across the road and up into a Joshua Tree!  There were no hookups but the location and view more than made up for it.  We were right on the upper lake.

708 at Pahranagat

Gage playing!

Looking at the moon

There were birds and ducks everywhere.  We had a good dinner and then sat out by the lake watching the sunset.  The moon came up — nearly full — and Greg got the telescope out.  There was a nice cool breeze blowing across the lake which cooled everything down.  It was the perfect camping spot.

Sunset over Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge

Posted in Trip Report | Leave a comment

Day 28 – Zion National Park

Again, we had to move campsites.  This time, we got a site right along the river which was really lovely.  We got set up and then took off on our day trip.  We drove from Zion National Park to Bryce National Park.  The drive takes a couple of hours and is through beautiful Utah countryside — high mountain valleys and charming small towns.

Galaxy Diner in Hatch, UT

We stopped for lunch at The Galaxy at Hatch — a diner that promotes itself as having BIKERS, BURGERS, and BEDS.  The restaurant is new and they are opening a bike shop and a small motel on the same location.  The food was amazing and the people were so nice!

Millers at Bryce

Bryce Canyon is truly amazing — we made a couple of stops and Greg and the kids hiked down into the hoodoos (formations) there.  I wasn’t up for anymore hikes but stayed topside and took a bunch of photos of a raven family.

Bryce Canyon

Hiking in Bryce

Trail at Bryce

Ravens over Bryce

Ravens over BryceTired, we headed back to camp and Greg took the kids to the river to swim and splash while I put leftovers together for dinner.

Posted in Trip Report | Leave a comment

Day 27 – Zion National Park, UT

We got up early, had a good breakfast, packed up our belongings and went on one of the coolest hikes you can imagine.  As you drive up the Virgin River, the canyon gets more and more narrow and eventually becomes a slot canyon.  It’s about 30 feet wide at the bottom in some places, wider in others, and the solid rock cliffs tower above you nearly 1,000 feet.  The hike is up the river . . . In the river.

Virgin River flow

I don’t have pictures to show you because I don’t have a waterproof housing for my camera and wasn’t willing to risk it or my iPhone on this trip.

UT Zion - The Virgin River Narrows

To navigate this hike successfully, you need good hiking sandals or closed-toe shoes, dry bags (or at least good ziplocks!), and walking sticks.  As you hike up the river, you are fighting the current.  The conditions vary with the time of year and weather conditions but for us, the water was mostly mid-calf but there were a couple of spots were we swam for a bit.  Sometimes the water is thigh-high on me (so higher on Gage!) and you sort of have to help each other through.  You can’t see the floor of the river but it is covered with river rocks of various sizes so each footstep has to be carefully placed.  I only fell once!

Aquilegia chrysantha

Needless to say, we were exhausted when we got back to camp.  Greg and the kids hiked about a mile up and then turned around.  I’d stopped a bit earlier than that.  We all felt that we could have gone further but you have to get back, too.  It was probably the highlight of the trip for all of us.

Posted in Trip Report | Leave a comment