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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
Eric Whedon’s coach
The Cleaning Crew!
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!
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!)
Another trip over . . . Wonder what we’ll do next year!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!