2nd Year on the Road

On July 12, 2012 I just completed my second year of fulltime RVing.  I can’t believe I have been on the road so long.  So once again, as I did last year, I will summarized this fantastic year with some of the highlights.

Remember you can click on any pic then click again to enlarge.

Working in Texas

To start I was in Texas and decided to work for a month to help defray costs of traveling to Texas to see my family.  What a mistake that was.  It was 106 degrees and higher the entire month I worked.  Oh well I will definitely know better next time to stay away from there during the summer.

Grand Canyon of Texas

After my work duties were over I headed to Palo Dura State Park in northwestern Texas.  It is know as the Grand Canyon of Texas and a very beautiful place.  While there I hiked the Lighthouse Trail and took this pic of myself standing on the plateau in front of the lighthouse.

Taking advantage of my NM state pass

Then it was off to New Mexico where I wanted to take advantage of the last few months of my New Mexico State Pass.  My first stop was Clayton SP.

Then on to Sugarite SP, just south of the NM/CO border.  This next pic shows Lake Dorothy just north of Sugarite SP.

My next stop was Cimmaron SP and the town of Cimmaron.

Fulfilling a boy scout dream

I also visited Philmont Scout Ranch, which had always been a dream of mine ever since I was a Boy Scout.

More of beautiful new mexico

After that it was Eagle Nest SP, Coyote Creek SP (where I saw a bear), Storie Lake SP  and then on to Villanueva SP where I got my semi-annual haircut.  Finally it was off to Hyde Memorial SP.

Then in October I met up with all my good friends at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta where I stayed and partied for 10 days.  Even had a balloon land on top of my rig.  HA!

After the Balloon Fiesta I drove south to Poncho Villa SP to enjoy a Escapees Chapter 21 Rally.  Of course that also included a trip to Palomas, Mexico where I had to have some dental work done and make sure the margaritas still tasted as good as always.

A visit to the Whitehouse

Next stop on my route was Canyon de Chelly (pronunced d’Shay).  Located on an Indian Reservation it is a beautiful place and a must see for anyone in that area of Arizona.  Of course I had to hike the Whitehouse Trail, which is so beautiful.

Monument Valley

From there it was to Monument Valley, UT.  Talk about a fabulous area, don’t miss out on seeing this.

On my way to Amazon

Then I drove north to Interstate 50.  It is known as the loneliest highway in America.  And believe me it really is.  You could drive for miles and miles and never see a car or truck in either direction.  You would not want to break down on this road.

My destination was Fernley, NV, where I worked for Amazon for 8 weeks.  By the way it was probably the hardest job I have ever had.  Thankfully the 8 weeks went by fairly fast, although it took a couple of months to get healed from the aches and pains I suffered at that job.  OUCH!!!  On top of that it was very cold as well.  Four degrees when I left there.

I then drove to Reno, NV and parked my rig and flew to SO CA to spend a week with my family over the holidays.  It was really great seeing everyone and getting caught up.  I even played some golf.  Actually I tried to play some golf.  HA!  What a joke!

Time to warm up

Then I hit the road to get out of that cold weather up north and drove down to Quartzsite, AZ.  There I met up with a whole bunch of Lazy Dazers (about 20 rigs at different times) and relaxed in the wonderful Arizona sunshine.  Of course I also saw the crazy RV show and even saw a concert by Paul Winer (the Naked Book Seller) although he was fully clothed.  Great show by the way with SRO.

With the help of all my friends I was able to upgrade my rig with new LED lighting, another 12v receptacle and an outdoor motion sensor light.

Next stop – Imperial Dam

In February I left Quartzsite and headed to Imperial Dam just outside of Yuma, AZ  I really enjoyed my stay there with more friends.  Got to do a lot of hiking in the desert.  Plus don’t forget the wild donkeys.  HA!

Heading south of the border senor!

Then it was south of the border to Mexico with the Harvest Host Wine and Whale Watching Tour.  What a fabulous trip that turned out to be.  Visited 5 wineries, with great wine tasting at each.  The wineries were located in the Valley of Gaudelope with very beautiful scenery around.  Also stopped in Ensenada for a day, where we had a great lunch down at the fish market and an opportunity to stock up on lots of great seafood.  Of course we also had to have some cervasa’s (brewskies) at Hussong’s Cantina.

Later visited La Bufadora (the blow hole).  Another very scenic spot.

The wineries were great plus the wine was even greater!  Even got to see a colt that was born that very day.  How exciting!

I am NOT an illegal alien!

After crossing back into the US I drove to Tamarisk LTVA where I stayed for a week and met some really wonderful people.  We hiked ever day in the desert and one day we were surrounded by Border Patrol cars who thought we were illegal aliens.  No comprende  Senor! What a trip that was!

One of my very favorite spots

After spending so much time with so many wonderful people, I needed a break and decided to head for one of my most favorite spots in the Clark Dry Lake bed of the Anza Borrego desert in southern California.  It is 7 miles outside of Borrego Springs.  This place is so peaceful and always gives me a chance to reflect on my future plans.  It was here where I made my resume on workamper.com and emailed it to various people.  Within 10 minutes I had a call for the job I would be working at this summer. More on that later.

Back to the coast

Then it was off to the west coast to Oceanside, where I parked my rig at the Elks Club and took the train up to Orange County to see family.  It was back and forth visiting different members of my family and it was great seeing my Mom.  Love you Mom!

Heading up north

Then it was time to hit the road and head up north.  My first stop was the Trona Pinnacles outside of Ridgecrest, CA.  It is like a trip to another planet.

From there it was off to the Alabama Hills just outside of Lone Pine, CA.  This has been one place I always dreamed of venturing to even before I had an RV.  An absolute MUST SEE.

From there it was off to Mona Lake, where I stayed for about 5 days and ventured around the area seeing the tufa’s at the edge of the lake and the weird cloud formations.

I also took a side trip to the old ghost town of Bodie, CA.  Much of the town is still intact as it was a hundred years ago.  Really neat and another MUST SEE.

Then I finally made it to Oregon where I stayed at Goose Lake SP, La Pine SP and finally Crooked River Ranch.

My workplace for the summer

I met up with my area managers who I would be working for the summer in Prineville, OR.  I am the camp host at the Ochoco Divide, a NFS campground.  It is on the summit (4,726′ elevation) of Hwy 26.  This campground is nestled among giant (200′) Ponderosa Pines among other pine trees as well.  I have now been here 2 months and love this job.  I get to meet a lot of interesting people and have lots of areas to hike in.

Well that about wraps up another fabulous year of my fulltime RV lifestyle.  There were some tough times (truck breaking down) and some great times (caravan trip to Mexico) as well as taking time out to see my family, which is very important to me.  I had lots of times spent with great friends and even some time to myself to ponder how lucky I am.

I almost can’t believe it has been two years since I have set out on the road.  I would also like to thank all my wonderful followers who have been with me as I experienced each and every day.  Every day is a new adventure.

Wine and Whales Tour – Final Day

Breakfast at Adobe Guadalupe Inn and Winery

Our last day in Mexico was spent at Adobe Guadalupe Inn and Winery.  The weather was beautiful and an excellent day for driving back through the mountains.  We all went over to the house where we had a fantastic breakfast with Tru Miller.  She was a very gracious hostess.  We had lots of fresh fruit and could have either an omelet or Huevos Rancheros.  I chose Huevos Rancheros and it was delicious.

I have a couple of pics of the long table in the kitchen where we ate.  That is Tru Miller in the pic on the right with the great big smile.








A big surprise for everyone…

She told us all about how she and her husband happened to purchase the grounds and build their beautiful home and stables.  She also had a surprise for all of us.  About an hour before we sat down to breakfast one of her mares gave birth.  How exciting!!  At first she named the new baby girl Sophia, but she had to change the name to Maxmillian II since it turned out to be a male.  She then offered to let us all go out where the baby was  to catch a peek.  How cool is that.

We went out back and all the mares were motherly guarding the baby.

Mares were soooo friendly…

Here I am with two mares that were so friendly.  They trotted right over to say hi to me.








The newborn…

Here is the newborn standing up.  He was so beautiful!

Ready to head back to the USA

We then returned to our rigs and prepared them for the trip back across the border at Tecate and our return to the USA.  Don and Kim went over those items that we could not bring back into the US.  It was about 50 miles back to Tecate.  Then you have to go up a long hill to the border crossing.  Naturally there were many vendors along the way.

I finally made it to the top and went thru a check point where I showed them my passport and they took down my license plate number.  Then I had to proceed to the secondary check point area.  A customs inspector came out to my rig , asked me what I was carrying aboard.  I had to declare the wine I had purchased, but since I have Texas plates I was allowed to bring more then one bottle.

It took me about 2 1/2 hours to go thru customs.  The only thing they took out of my rig was 3 eggs.  Finally I was on the road.

Where am I going next

I was planning on heading up to Anza Borreggo but it was too late in the day.  Instead I checked the nearby campgrounds on my GPS and found two that I could stay at and both were LTVA’s (Long Term Visitor Area).  Since I had bought the annual pass in Quartzsite for the La Posa LTVA I could stay at either the Hot Springs LTVA or the Tamarisk LTVA.  The were very close to each other and a short distance from Holtville, CA.  I headed to the Hot Springs LTVA but the bridge was washed out so went to the Tamarisk LTVA instead.  There were only 5 other rigs including the host so it was fine with me.

Wine and Whales Tour Evaluation

I would highly recommend this tour to anyone wishing to experience some of the beauty of Northern Baja.  Many of the people I talked to prior to signing up said not to go because Mexico was too dangerous.  Even our State Department discourages travel into Mexico.  I did not experience anything that could be remotely described as dangerous.  We visited some beautiful wineries and experienced the beauty of the Mexican countryside.  The people we came in contact with were extremely gracious and always made us feel at home.  Don and Kim are world travelers and have spent a great deal of time in Mexico.  The planning of the trip was impeccable.  Everything was taken care of for us including many of the parking spots to visit Ensenada and La Bufadora.

The meals included in the trip were to die for.  Plus the people that I met on the trip were so much fun.  This trip opened up my eyes to the real Mexico and the real Mexican people.  You can read more about it on the Harvest Host website which you can reach here.

Harvest Hosts Link

Wine and Whales Tour – Day 5 Ensenada to Adobe Guadalupe

Oops, I hit the publish button by mistake…..

If you received an email with a post only showing a few pictures that is because I hit the publish button by mistake when I was creating this blog.  I am still getting used to my Mac Pro and things are a little bit different the Windows 7.  But that is no excuse for just hitting the wrong key.

What a beautiful valley!

We awoke to a beautiful morning so I took a hike up the hill to get some pictures of the winery and surrounding valley.  What a super view.

Cows heading out to pasture.

A distant view of the small town.

My words could not properly describe the beauty of the San Bodegas Rafael Valley.  It is really something to see.

  Our rigs were all huddled close to the winery.  It had rained a day or two before and it was somewhat muddy.  But as you can see we all had plenty of room.

This is a good view of the grapes and mountains in the background.

Another shot of the valley.  When we were driving to get here we were in the mountains.  All of a sudden you come out of the mountains and see this breathtakingly beautiful valley.

They also had many other animals at the winery.  Lots of cows and sheep, pigs, and dogs.  This little piglet got out of it’s pen and when I approached it began running frantically to find the pen opening and return to its mother.

Here are the cows in the pasture.

Off to the beach at Ensenada for a short visit

We then took off to make a stop at the beach in Ensenada.  This is a view showing La Bufadora at the peak in the background.  It was rather chilly but several of us walked along the beach.

This will be our last winery…

We then all filled up with gas for our trip to Adobe Guadalupe.  The weather was perfect and we couldn’t ask for a better day.  Here we are traveling down the long dirt road thru town to the Adobe Guadalupe Winery.  It was very muddy so it took a while to traverse.

The Adobe Guadalupe Winery is owned by the Millers who retired to this beautiful place.  They are big horse lovers and built these giant stables to house their beautiful stallions.  When they retired they purchased this land and built a huge home as well.  They have turned it into a bed and breakfast as well as their private living quarters.  This is the stable that houses their beautiful stallions.  The mares are free to romp in the fields next to the house.

The following pic shows one of their beautiful stallions being led into the stable.

Of course they also have many acres of grapes as well as orange and olive trees.

This next pic shows one of the mares in the field next to the house.

Our last wine tour

Once we got settled in we walked over to the wine cellar for our wine tasting.

There we tasted some wonderful wines and could tour their wine cellar.

This next pic is of the wardrobe closet for Mrs. Millers riding apparel.

The following pics will show different views around the house.  It was very spacious.

This shows our typical Happy Hour which we had each day at 4:00.  Everybody chipped in with wine or goodies to eat.  This was always an enjoyable time of the day as we could reflect on the places we were so luck to experience.

We had a beautiful sunset that day!

Let us in!

I fixed a nice dinner and was doing some reading when I saw this at my door.

They both went away after a while.  Then when I was just settling down to go to sleep I heard scratching on my door.  I answered and it was one of the dogs.  I told him to go away but he wasn’t going to take no for an answer.  I finally gave in and allowed him to enter my rig where he proceeded to plop down on my floor and decided he was going to spend the night there.  Here he is looking out my door wondering when I was going to come to bed so he could get some sleep.

He spent the entire night sound asleep in my rig.  HA!

Wine and Whales Tour – Day 3 – Ensenada, MX

Muddy, but no problemo!

After raining all night it was very muddy in the parking lot where we spent the night.  I got up and wanted to take a few photos of some of the animals on the property.  They have both sheep and goats that made a lot of noise as I approached them.

Down to the malecon…

It was very overcast but that wasn’t going to bother any of us.  Today we were going down to Ensenada to the Fish Market.  Our whales portion of the trip was also planned for today, but not sure if we can do that because of the weather.  We arrived at the fish market where we were able to park our rigs and get out and do some walking.

The water was very choppy and Don went to check to see if we could still go on the boat to do some whale watching.  In the meantime our group took a walk on the malecon (seawall).  There was an interesting statute made of whale bones and rebar that was named “The Whale Man”.

Lunch at the Fish Market

Don checked with the captain of our boat and also spoke with some people who had just finished their cruise and determined that the water outside of the harbor was much too choppy and our chance of seeing any whales was not good.  We then decided that we would not go on the whale watch, but stroll thru Enenada instead.  We also chose to eat lunch at an outdoor restaurant across from the fish market.  The lunch was included in our tour and here we are eating lunch.  We all enjoyed it very much.

Strolling Ensenada

After lunch we all went for a stroll around Ensenada.  Many of the signs were written in English to help us American tourists purchase their products.  Also the shop owners could also speak English so it made it very easy for us to converse.

Anybody for a Disco Bar?

Or a pharmacy?  I love their stick figure advertising Viagra.

Here are a couple of nice looking restaurants.

Hussong’s Cantina – Ole !

If you ever lived in Southern California you have probably heard of Hussong’s Cantina.  It was created by John Hussong in 1892 and it has been the same ever since.  Many famous people have been their and you can read more about it at Hussong’s Cantina.

I offered to buy a round of drinks for everyone who wanted to stay.  I did get a few takers and we all enjoyed a beer. I didn’t know it at the time but Tuesday is 2 for 1 day.  Seven beers cost me only $7.50(US).  WOW, what a bargain!!!  It would cost me that much for 1 beer in the US.

Back to the Fish Market

We then returned to the Fish Market where I purchased some Red Snapper and Rock Cod.  They filleted the fish right at the market.  My total for all the fish came to less the $7.  Not too shabby!

Then we hopped back in our rigs and drove south to Estero Beach Hotel/Resort and RV Park where we had full hookups.  We had another great Happy Hour and everybody brought a dish for our dinner.  Don and Kim supplied lots of clams for the occasion.  Here we are all parked.

Our plans did change somewhat due to the heavy surf causing us to cancel the whale watch, but that didn’t stop all of our fun together.  This tour was made up of a very fun group of people.  I was the only single but felt right at home.

Baja Wine and Whales Tour – Day 1-2

Thanks Don and Kim…

I was lucky to even get on this tour.  I stopped by the Harvest Hosts booth in the big tent at Quartzsite.  I talked to both Don and Kim who are really wonderful people and world travelers.  Don mentioned that both trips had already sold out but if I was still interested to send him an email and he would let me know.  I got a reply within 2 days and they said it was a go.  I was elated!!!

Harvest Host Wine and Whales Tour

A little about Harvest Hosts before I continue.  Harvest Hosts is a unique way to stay at wineries, farms and orchards overnight without any cost.  You pay a very small membership fee and you are entitled to stay at any of the locations that are in the Harvest Host system.  I joined a couple of years ago and really enjoyed my stays at their member locations.

All of the wineries that we will stay at in Mexico are part of the Harvest Host members and anyone who is a member can enjoy the wineries just as we did.  If you are not yet a member please click on this link and it will take you to their website where you can read all about them.

Met up at county park for our first Happy Hour

The tour actually started at the Portrero County Park just north of the border town of Tecate.  We all met there and got acquainted with each other during a Happy Hour.  This shows all our rigs parked just prior to our leaving and heading to the border.

There were 11 people in 6 rigs.  The farthest from home was John and Pam who were from Missouri.  It took me a while to remember all their names but everyone in the group was very friendly.

Off to Mexico

There was rain in the forecast and so we all decided to leave the Potrero County Park about 9:00.  We were all ready and anxious to get going.  Here we are crossing the border into Mexico at Tecate.  There was hardly anything to crossing into Mexico.  The Mexican people are very friendly and eagerly welcome you into their country.

Later we found out it is much easier crossing into Mexico then coming back into the US from Mexico.

First winery and wine tasting

We traveled about 54 miles through beautiful mountainous countryside to our first stop at the Casa Pedro Domecq Winery in the Valle de Guadalupe.  This would be our first winery tour.  We were greeted with open arms and were given a grand tour of their winery. 

Our guide took us through the winery explaining the processes they went through to create their wines.  Then we went into the “Cava” which was their wine cellar.  The cellar was dug into the side of the hill and is completely underground.  There were many kegs and bottles there as you can see.

This hallway was very long and filled with many many bottles.

Some old wine producing tools.

Anybody ready to stomp some grapes into wine?

Second winery and more wine tasting

After the tour we did some wine tasting and many of us purchased some of their wines.  Then we proceeded on to L A Cetto, our next winery, which was directly across the highway down a long two  mile dirt road.  Since it had already rained that day the road was very muddy, but that wasn’t going to stop us.

This is the largest winery in Mexico.  They have many visitors that are bused in off of the cruise ships landing in Ensenada.

This gazebo was created from grape stems.  They use this area for outdoor weddings as well.

We even had our own private wine tasting room.  They were wonderful hosts.

Last winery of the day and guess what – more wine tasting

Our last stop for the day was to be Dona Lupe which is an organic winery that was just down the road from L A Cetto.  It was only a 1/2 mile down the road and we all were ready to walk to it.  But we were hit with a huge downpour before we even began.  We were lucky we hadn’t started out as we would have gotten soaked.  Steve and Karli offered to drive all 11 of us in the VW Rialta.  It was fun and here we all are minus Steve who was driving.  Thanks Steve and Karli.

Lots of good stuff here plus great pizza

They had a wonderful selection of preserves, sauces, and breads as well as some great wine.  More wine tasting!  Don and Kim, the hosts of our tour, provided super pizzas for dinner.  He we all are chowing down.

I bought a nice wine glass, some HOT hot sauce and a delicious loaf of jalapeno cheese bread.  Uuuum goood!  Steve drove us back to our rigs where we spent the night in the L A Cetto parking lot.  It rained almost all night but I was nice a comfy!