Posts Tagged With: full time rv’ing

Visiting Friends in CA Wine Country

My friend Holly flew out from Florida to spend a few days with us in California Wine Country. We stayed in Napa Valley, but didn’t actually go to any wineries there. Instead we visited some amazing wineries in Sonoma thanks to my friend Sue. More on that later.

First we picked up Holly at the Oakland airport and since San Francisco was “sort of” on the way back to our campground in Napa I thought we should really go see the Golden Gate Bridge. If you know us, we avoid large cities like the plague! Since our mode of transportation is a large dually truck we prefer wide open spaces and San Francisco would be the exact opposite of that. I would love to visit that city, but until we are traveling in a smaller car I’m not sure how that’s going to happen.

Anyway, San Francisco being “sort of” on our way back to the campground means about a 2 hour detour if you are at all familiar with California traffic. 🙂

I think it was worth it to see this awesome bridge!

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The next day it was time to visit some wineries! My friend Sue who used to live in Fernandina Beach now lives in CA. I kept telling her we would meet up with her eventually in our travels and it finally happened. She knew I wanted to visit some wineries and she knew of some great ones to take us to in Sonoma. What a blessing Sue was to us that day! I like wine, but I’m not at all familiar with what is good. I mean I typically have wine out of a box in my RV fridge if that tells you anything. Sue took us to 3 great wineries and I have never tasted wine so good before. What a great day we had with her and her daughter and grandson! My kids enjoyed playing with her grandson all day which made it not so boring for them to spend the day visiting wineries. 😉

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Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards

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Jacuzzi Family Vineyards

The next day the kids got to have their fun. We participated in the Six Flags Read-to-Succeed program this year and got free tickets for the kids to go to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vellajo, CA. Strangely I realized I hardly took any pictures and I have no pictures of the kids! I guess that’s what happens when I’m hanging out with my friend.

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Chris likes to call everyone a “joker” so this was perfect for him. It happened to be one of our favorite rides that day too!

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The next day we went to the Jelly Belly Factory Tour which was so cool! This was on my bucket list of things to do in CA.

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It’s a self-guided free tour that is very informative. You walk around the entire factory viewing the different stages in the process of creating a Jelly Belly jellybean. At each area there are videos and information plaques to explain what is going on.

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Look at all those jellybeans resting!

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This is where they made assorted bags.

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The pictures in the background are made of Jelly Bellies.

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Sue and her grandson joined us for this also.

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In the gift shop you can sample as many different flavors as you want. They also have really gross flavors like rotten eggs, dirty socks, vomit and some others. Eww! You can buy a game with those flavors mixed in with normal “good” flavors and dare people to try one and they hope they try the right one. This game is called “Bean Boozled” and you just have to hope you’re not the one to pick the wrong flavor. My kids bought a bag of those and have been having fun with it, but I refuse to participate. I do not want to take a chance on eating a jelly bean that tastes like boogers, gross!

On our last day with Holly we went to Point Reyes National Seashore. We didn’t get to explore much of the park because we didn’t realize it would take so long to get there. Again… California! I should know it takes a long time to get anywhere in that state.

There is a lighthouse there that I really wanted to see, but they told us at the Visitor Center that it was a 45 minute drive to get there, which would mean another 45 minutes back to the entrance afterward. Nobody felt like driving that far after the drive we just had so we ended up just going to one of the beach accesses which was beautiful!

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And we got Junior Ranger badges while we were there! The Junior Ranger book is quite long and we didn’t finish it while we were there, but the rangers were kind enough to swear them in as new junior rangers on the honor system that we would complete the book on our own which we did.

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We had so much fun hanging out with Holly and Sue that week! As with all visits with friends, the time went by way too quickly. It was time for Holly to head back home and we moved on to the Redwoods in Northern California. Stay tuned for a post about that later.

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Pacific Coast Highway – Day II

If you missed my post about Day 1 you can see it here: Pacific Coast Highway – Day I.  The next day we headed north of Santa Cruz. Everything we did this day was thanks to the advice of my blogger friend at Weekend Campervanning, and it turned out to be such a fun day!

Our first stop was at Ano Nuevo State Park to see the elephant seals. Wow! So many seals and they make such interesting sounds. Check out my YouTube video below to hear them yourself.

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Beginning of hike to go see the elephant seals; beautiful views along the way!

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So many elephant seals all in one place!

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These seals migrate to this beach twice a year to breed and to molt. At this time of the year they are there to molt or shed their first layer of skin. I found it so interesting that they migrate thousands of miles each year. How do they know to keep coming back to this exact location? Fascinating! I could have literally sat there and watched these animals all day long, but after about an hour or so my people were getting anxious to move on to something else.

Our next stop was at Bean Hollow State Beach to check out the tide pools which were very cool!

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On the way back down towards Santa Cruz we stopped at a couple of beautiful view points. Notice how some pictures have clear, blue skies while others are foggy? It’s very strange how we can drive just a few miles down the road and the skies go from completely foggy to clear!

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Our last stop was at Swanton Berry Farm to pick fresh, organic strawberries. Yummy!

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While we were in this area we stayed at the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA campground. This was a very expensive campground and not what we normally spend, but it seems everything in this part of California is expensive so we had to splurge. This KOA though is one of the nicest we have ever been to. Our campsite had a deck/patio in back, a great place to relax! The activities for kids at this place were awesome! The kids loved the bounce pad the best.

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The pool was under construction, but it was too cold when we were there anyway so we didn’t mind that it wasn’t open yet. They had a very nice playground, mini golf, a climbing wall and scheduled activities each day including bingo which we loved.

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One of the scheduled activities included a hole-in-one contest at mini golf that Jesse won. His prize was a free bike rental so we tried out the four-seater bike to ride around the park.

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We enjoyed our stay at that KOA so much and really enjoyed visiting the nearby areas along the Pacific Coast. After we left there we went to stay at a Thousand Trails park for free for 2 weeks to offset the cost. 😉 I know, it’s not technically free since we had to buy the membership to Thousand Trails, but if we stay at enough of those parks throughout the year it really makes camping cheap, and helps to offset the more expensive places we go.

 

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Pacific Coast Highway – Day I

If you read my last post about Yosemite, you might remember I mentioned our unfortunate truck incident that turned out to be a blessing because of the rental car we were able to use to drive the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. After Yosemite we headed to the coast to visit the areas of Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz. These areas are pretty congested with lots of traffic and tight parking spaces so we were pretty happy to have a smaller car for this!

On day 1 we explored from Monterey south on Highway 1 until we couldn’t go any further due to road closures.

Our first stop was at the Dennis the Menace park in Monterey. The boys loved this! What a unique and fun playground!

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Then we headed on down to the 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach. It costs $10 to drive this scenic drive, but if you stop and eat at a restaurant along the way you will get that back. We didn’t stop though because as you can imagine restaurants in this area are quite pricey. $10 off wouldn’t have made much difference.

The first part of the drive was very foggy! It was hard to see much of the ocean. There are several viewpoints along the drive to stop and take pictures.

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One area had some nice tide pools to explore.

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Once we got to the Lone Cypress tree viewpoint, the fog cleared a little bit so we could see the beautiful blue water of the Pacific. This was definitely the prettiest stop along the drive.

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Our next stop was at Carmel-by-the-Sea, a cute little town with lots of shops and restaurants. We had planned to find a place to eat lunch there. We walked around for over an hour checking out restaurants and could not find a single place with reasonable prices for lunch so we ended up just getting some sandwiches at a market/deli and continuing on our way.

Then we drove down Hwy 1 and stopped at many vista points to admire the view and take pictures. The fog would come and go along the way, and in some ways the fog made things look more mysterious.

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Looking down over the ocean covered in a thick layer of fog was a really cool site to see. It was kind of like being in an airplane looking down at the clouds below you. The fog just hovered over the water.

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Our last stop was Point Lobos State Park. The fog cover was so thick there we weren’t able to see much.

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Pretty eerie look with all the fog, don’t you think?

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The next day we drove north to Santa Cruz and beyond to see elephant seals and more. Stay tuned…

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Yosemite National Park

When people ask me what is my favorite place we have been, I find that is a very difficult question to answer. This country has so many beautiful national parks to explore and it’s hard to pick just one. Some of my favorites are Bryce Canyon, Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton. Now I can add Yosemite to my ever-growing list of favorites because I just loved it!

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We had to take a few days off work to visit Yosemite because we stayed at Yosemite Lakes RV Park where there is no cellular coverage at all. That’s okay though, sometimes it’s nice to go somewhere and disconnect and really focus on enjoying our time at the park.

On our first day driving into the park we were lucky enough to spot a bear grazing in the grass beside the road. We pulled over to get a few pictures.

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Our first hike was to Lower Yosemite Falls. I have to say that when we were there in early May the rivers and waterfalls were raging and so powerful! The large amounts of rain and snow that California received over the winter have resulted in amazing falls to see in Yosemite.

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Lower Yosemite Falls

We hiked a portion of the trail up to Upper Yosemite Falls but did not make it the whole way. It’s a long way up there, but the views along the way are beautiful even if you don’t make it all the way to the top.

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Next we went to Bridalveil Fall which was overflowing onto the trail. As soon as we got close to the falls it seemed like it started pouring rain even though it was a sunny day. The spray from the falls was like a drenching downpour. And our feet were freezing walking through the ice cold water.

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Bridalveil Fall

There were some ponchos to borrow on our way up to view the falls; Chris was the only one smart enough to grab one. The rest of us got soaked!

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Ooh, that’s cold!!

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Raging river below the falls

After this we went to Tunnel View to see one of the best views in all of Yosemite. You can see El Capitan on the left, Half Dome in the distance in the middle and Bridalveil Fall to the right.

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The next day was a cold and drizzly day in Yosemite so we just took care of getting the kids’ Junior Ranger books done and watched the park movie which was very interesting.

On day 3 (our last day in the park) we did a really long hike to Vernal and Nevada Falls. We hiked a total of 9 miles which included a mile each way from the parking lot to the trailhead. We had hoped to also hike the 2 miles to see Mirror Lake after this but we were all way too tired after this hike to do it. Next time!

The hike up to Vernal Fall is very crowded, but starts to thin out once you get past this waterfall and continue on up to Nevada Fall.

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Vernal Fall

There is so much spray from this waterfall that you get soaked on the way up. It felt like we were getting rained on in the picture below.

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With the spray comes beautiful rainbows!

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Once you get to the top of Vernal Fall, there is a large flat area to rest, let your clothes dry and have a snack before continuing on up to Nevada Fall.

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Top of Vernal Fall

Continuing on up to Nevada Fall was strenuous but so worth it!

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Nevada Fall

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Top of Nevada Fall

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There was a nice, large flat area at the top of this waterfall also which was a great place to rest and have lunch.

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Starting our hike back down the other side of Nevada Fall

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We really enjoyed our stay at the RV park because we got to park next to the Travaglino family. They are the ones that started the Fulltime Families group. Fulltime Families runs all of the rallies we attend and it is through that group that we have met so many other like-minded traveling families. We are so thankful for FtF. We had met the Travaglinos before, but never had the chance to get to know them very well. We enjoyed hanging out by the campfire each night and getting to know their family better.

Unfortunately one night while we were sitting around the campfire someone ran into our truck. An RV was pulling into the campground at night and took a turn too wide and the back end of his RV hit the back of our truck. With us always traveling we wondered how in the world we’re ever going to get that taken care of. I prayed that God would help us work out all the details and that something good would come out of the inconvenience. Well it did! First of all, the other guy’s insurance took care of everything and they did it quickly. They got it fixed at our next stop in Santa Cruz within a week, and meanwhile we had a nice fuel-efficient rental car to use to sight-see around Santa Cruz and Monterey. If you are at all familiar with Highway 1 (also known as the scenic Pacific Coast Highway), you would understand that having a smaller vehicle for that was a true blessing. The timing could not have been better to have something besides our big truck to drive around in for a few days. Romans 8:28 says that all things work together for the good of those who love God. I find that promise to prove true in our lives all the time, and this was one of those times. 🙂

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Sequoia National Park

After leaving Las Vegas it was time to head into California. First stop was Sequoia National Park located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We had planned to also visit Kings Canyon while we were there, but the only day we had available to do that ended up being a rainy and cold day so we didn’t make it.

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Anyway, Sequoia was beautiful of course but we only spent one day there. We stayed in Lemon Cove about 30 miles from the entrance. I had assumed we could make a few trips into the park in the evenings during the week, but on our first visit on Sunday we quickly realized that was not feasible. The hard part about visiting Sequoia is that you have to drive a very long twisty & windy road up a mountain before you get to most of what you would want to see and do in the park. So even though we were only 30 minutes from the entrance, it was probably another hour drive before we got to any hiking trails and things to see. And that hour drive was the source of some complaining of car-sickness because of the windy road. So we decided in order to more full experience this and Kings Canyon (which is connected to Sequoia), we will come back again someday and stay at a cabin or lodge inside the park. That way we will only need to do the carsick-inducing drive once and then spend a couple of days exploring once we’re in there.

Of course the main attraction at Sequoia are the enormous sequoia trees.

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General Sherman is the biggest tree on earth. Not the tallest nor the widest, but biggest by volume. Interestingly, the top of the tree is dead but the volume keeps increasing. The trunk grows wider every year, adding enough wood to equal another tree.

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A tree’s trunk tells its history. The rings in the tree below show that the tree lived about 2,210 years and marks within some of the rings show scars from at least 80 different fires

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Can you spot the boys and me in the picture below? We are so small compared to these giants!

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The area of the park where you go to see these trees is at a pretty high elevation, so there was still lots of snow left in May.

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After admiring the giant sequoias, we went to hike up Moro Rock. You get beautiful panoramic views of the entire park from up there.

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Lastly we went to the Tunnel Log to see if we could fit our big truck through it.

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We fit!

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We stayed at Lemon Cove RV Park which was a nice little park with a pool. Even though it was very cold up in the higher elevations of Sequoia, down where we stayed it got quite hot that week. An added bonus to staying there is we met another Fulltime Family staying at the park. We really enjoyed getting to know them during the week at our nightly “happy hours” and hope to meet up with them again soon.

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The drive into Sequoia from Lemon Cove is very pretty, passing by Kaweah Lake…

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…and the cute town of Three Rivers and the currently raging Kaweah River. Please be careful if you visit any areas with raging rivers like this. Two people died falling into this river during the time we were in the area. The water is so rough right now due to all the heavy rain and snow CA experienced over the winter, and the rocks are so slippery. I believe the people that died fell in when they slipped on the rocks.

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One day was certainly not enough to fully experience Sequoia, there is much more to see so we will hopefully go back again someday and visit Kings Canyon while we’re at it. Next we moved on to Yosemite, one of my new favorite parks!

 

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The City I Did Not Want to Visit

Las Vegas or Sin City. What do you call it? Vegas was never high up on my bucket list of places to go, but somehow we ended up there for a week between Utah and California. It was a good stopping point and there were several other Fulltime Families in the area. But, were we really going to take our kids to Sin City? I was very apprehensive about going there, but some friends reassured me that there are plenty of kid-friendly things to do in the area. So we went.

I am happy to say that despite my misgivings, we had a great time and I’m so glad we went. I honestly did not see anything that weird or inappropriate. I’ll admit, this traveling lifestyle has taken me out of my comfort zone more than once, and this was one of those times.

One of the really fun things we did was hike at Red Rock Canyon. I know it seems strange to hike while in Vegas, but this was a really great place to get away from the busyness of the city. There are so many hikes at this park, but we only had time for one. We did the Calico Tanks hike which was amazing. It is an out and back hike with lots of rock scrambling which our kids love.

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At the end of the trail you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city of Las Vegas off in the distance.

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The next night we went to the Pinball Hall of Fame retro arcade. All arcade games are only a quarter and we had so much fun playing these games that I remember playing in the 80s. Donkey Kong was always my favorite, but I’m not very good at it anymore.

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The best part about our week in Vegas was getting to know the Arnold family better. We had met them before at FtF rallies but had not gotten the chance to spend much time with them. We had dinner with them several times that week, played lots of games together and explored Vegas. They already knew their way around the strip so I felt okay about going to see it during the day with our kids. I was pretty sure we should not stay after it got dark.

It was really a lot of fun exploring all the hotels. This one was one of my favorites.

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Excalibur Hotel

The New York New York hotel was pretty amazing with a roller coaster outside.

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So I said we would not stay past dark, but somehow we ended up staying until 10pm! And it was awesome! We had a great dinner at Nacho Daddy where they have so many unique options for nachos. I tried Thai Chicken nachos and Chris tried buffalo chicken nachos. Both were delicious!

Walking around the strip at night was so pretty with all the lights. And like I said earlier, we did not see anything that made me feel uncomfortable with kids. We did see people handing out flyers for prostitutes, but they do not hand them out to people with kids which I was glad about.

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We watched the fountain light show at the Bellagio Hotel which was so pretty!

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I was so happy that Bunny and Eric were there with us. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it nearly as much without them to show us around.

Another night we went back to watch the Nathan Burton Comedy Magic Show. We were able to get a good deal on tickets through Groupon and it was a kid-friendly show. We all loved it!

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The kids with Nathan Burton after the show.

We stayed at the Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort. This was the nicest and safest place we could find in Vegas, but it was very crowded. It’s definitely not our favorite type of place to stay. You probably have heard me say before that I love state parks where we have lots of space, like the super large space we had at our last campground at Sand Hollow. It was hard to go from that space to this!

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Very crowded and tight sites!

This RV park at least had a pool which was fun for the kids. And us adults enjoyed the hot tub one night while the kids stayed home and played games.

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I am so happy that we did not skip Vegas just because I had heard so many bad things about it. I’m sure there are lots of bad things that go on there, but there are also lots of good, family-friendly things to do. A friend of mine wrote a great blog post about all the fun things they like to do with kids in Vegas: A Kid-Friendly Guide to Vegas.

There were many things in her list that we did not have time for, so I guess that means that one day we’ll actually return to Las Vegas. I never thought I would hear myself say that! 🙂

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Sand Hollow and Snow Canyon State Parks

While visiting Zion National Park we stayed at Sand Hollow State Park in Hurricane, UT. This was an absolutely beautiful state park and our campsite was huge with gorgeous views all around!

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The Sand Hollow Reservoir was right behind our site.

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This campsite was so big that the kids decided to design their own national park in our back yard. They named it Red Sands National Park. They made a map with trail information and junior ranger books for Chris and me to fill out. They used an app on my phone to map how long each trail was and then led us on some trail hikes.

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I love to watch their creativity blossom at places like this!

We also visited Snow Canyon State Park in nearby St. George. This was a gorgeous state park with lots of fun hiking trails.

First we hiked a short trail to Jenny Canyon which is a slot canyon.

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Then we hiked the Lava Tube trail which was a new experience for us and something the boys really enjoyed. We were able to walk around in the lava tubes which are like underground caves. These lava tubes were formed during a volcano eruption many years ago.

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Then we climbed up this slick rock to an amazing view point.

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See the black hole in the ground below? That was one of the lava tubes we explored. I’ll admit it’s kind of creepy down there. It’s very dark and we only had our cell phone flashlights which don’t shine very far into the dark.

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There is so much to see and do in Utah which is why we keep returning. It was time to move on to more adventures but I sure hated to leave the incredibly spacious campsite at Sand Hollow. Wait until you see the site we moved to next. I’ll give you a hint, it was NOT spacious!

 

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Painted Desert, Slot Canyon and Hoodoos

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument spans almost 2 million acres in southern Utah. It can be difficult to find where to go or how to find information about hikes and other things to do there. It’s not your typical national park or monument with an entrance station and visitor center with all the information you would need. Thankfully I learned about some really cool hikes to do near Lake Powell from another Fulltime Family. All of these areas we explored were within 30 miles of where we stayed in Page, Arizona.

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First we went to the Paria Rimrocks Toadstools (also known as Hoodoos). The parking lot for this is right off US 89 between mile marker 19 and 20 heading northwest away from Page. It’s a pretty easy hike of less than a mile to get to the “toadstools” which are cool rock formations.

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Check out the yoga class going on in the picture below. What a cool spot for a yoga class!

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Some of this hike looked like we were on another planet. It actually reminded me of the Badlands in South Dakota.

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After this hike we continued on up US 89 to mile marker 31 to the Paria River Valley Road scenic drive. This is a 6 mile long dirt road past some beautifully layered, multi-colored cliffs. The colors and painted desert look was just stunning!

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On this drive you go through the Pahreah ghost town, a cemetery and the site of an old movie set. Some scenes from The Outlaw Josey Wales were filmed there.

Lastly we backtracked down US 89 back towards AZ to mile marker 26 and turned down House Rock Valley Road. About 8 miles down this dirt road is the Wire Pass Trailhead. From there you can hike to Buckskin Gulch, the longest and deepest slot canyon in the southwest. The canyon is 12 miles long but we only hiked for a few miles. We love hiking in slot canyons with the tall towering cliff walls high above us on either side and narrow passageways.

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We had such a fun day exploring these various locations in the Grand Staircase. There are many other hikes and locations to explore in this park, but it is so spread out so we only visited the few that were near where we were staying in AZ. If you are ever in this area I hope you’ll find the highway and mile marker information useful.

Categories: National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

More Random Thoughts

It’s been quite a while since I first posted some random thoughts about life on the road. You can view that post here: Random Thoughts about Life on the Road. I figured it’s time for an update now that we’ve been on the road for a little over 2 years. I usually only post about destinations we visit, but I think some people like to hear what it’s like to live in an RV fulltime.

I’ll start with some funny things that have happened. Living in campgrounds and RV parks means you get up close and personal with neighbors sometimes. I remember one time sitting at our kitchen table eating lunch while I watched our neighbor out the window in his bathrobe letting his dogs take care of their business. Still in his bathrobe after noon? Sure why not? I sometimes stay in pajama pants all day!

Another time we had one of the only campsites with a porch swing. One day Chris left to go somewhere, and I guess our neighbor assumed we all left with him because he used that time to make himself comfortable on our porch swing. I thought it was cute and hilarious! I didn’t want to embarrass him by letting him know the kids and I were still inside, so I just took his picture out the window so I could show Chris when he got home. 🙂

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Then there was the time our GPS took us down a dirt road on the way to a campground in Idaho. Oh boy was that a mistake! If I hadn’t been so nervous at the time I might have thought to take some pictures, but you’ll just have to use your imagination. This was a long one lane dirt road up and down hills and over a narrow wooden bridge. There was no way for us to possibly turn around so we just had to keep going and hope for the best. Thankfully we made it to the campground safely, although with a very dirty truck and RV. At least the campground let us wash the vehicles there and they let us know of a better road to take when we left.

Another funny thing happened in Dodge City, Kansas. We were on a very long drive and needed a place to spend one night before we continued on the next day. We pulled into a cute little RV park right off the highway in Dodge City called Gunsmoke RV Park. The lady that checked me in was quite interesting. She informed me that checkout time was at noon sharp! If we planned to stay until 12:01 or later we better pay up or get outta “dodge”. I suppose that was supposed to be a funny play on words since this place was in Dodge City. Anyway, since we were just passing through for the night, she didn’t have to worry about us overstaying our welcome, we were on our way bright and early the next morning. Besides the strange welcome, she read me a super long list of rules for the park. One of the weirdest rules was that our truck must be perfectly lined up in front of the RV. It could not be parked sideways or diagonal; it must be perfectly lined up. What?!? I wonder if they come out with a yardstick and make sure everyone’s RV and truck are perfectly in line? There were so many other weird rules that I don’t remember now, but that was definitely not the most welcoming place we have been to.

I spend countless hours trip planning and trying to book us into the best possible campsites with lots of space, privacy and amazing views. But every once in awhile we end up in a very crowded RV park so close to neighbors that you don’t even want to sit outside unless you enjoy sitting beside your neighbor’s sewer hose. Yuck! We were recently at a campground where a truck camper pulled in next to us as close as he could possibly get. We still can’t figure out the logic behind why he did that. He had to squeeze himself in between us every time he needed to get something out of his storage compartment. I could see the top of his head every time I looked out the window and I could have handed them ketchup through our windows if they needed any. Talk about being up close and personal!

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I definitely prefer a view more like this one.

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I’ve learned that I absolutely love the west, but I miss friends and family in the east so we end up doing a lot of back and forth. Whenever our truck and home take a turn onto an interstate going west I get super excited!

Some people assume we are on a permanent vacation, but that is just not the case. When people we meet at campgrounds realize we fulltime RV they think we won the lottery or are somehow independently wealthy. No, we still work and it’s a constant balancing act between getting our work done and fully enjoying our current location. And trip planning is like a second job for me. Imagine having to find where you’re going to park your home every single night of the year. And I’m picky! I don’t want to park at some junky run down RV park. I like amazing views and space and kid friendly locations. And of course I have to make sure wherever we go that there is Verizon coverage.

Some days are just regular days; we’re not out exploring and doing exciting things every day. We have real life like everyone else. We work, we do school, we clean and do laundry, etc. We just replaced all 4 tires on the RV, had annual maintenance done which included re-sealing the roof, and we had to replace our refrigerator. There seems to be no shortage of things that need fixing or replacing in a house or an RV, so in that respect it’s not all that different from living in a house.

The #1 question people ask me is “how do you get your mail??” Good question, and I wondered that too before we embarked on this adventure. The RV community has already figured that out for us. There are several mail-forwarding services that cater to fulltime RV’ers and boaters. We have a mailing address in Florida which is the address we use for our driver’s license and registration. All of our mail goes there and when we receive mail the service scans the envelope and sends me an email so I can view it online. I can select the option to have them open it and scan the contents, or hold it until I can have it forwarded or have them shred it. Most RV parks allow us to receive packages so when I’m at a location that will allow that I can have the mail forwarding service send our mail to us there. I also make heavy use out of my Amazon Prime membership when I’m at a campground that allows deliveries.

Life on the road can certainly be challenging, but it is so worth it! I absolutely love waking up to new and exciting places and adventures every week or so. I love that we have been able to see so much of this beautiful country, places we never would have seen if not for living in an RV, including some hidden gems that I would never have even known about. I love the priceless memories Chris and I are making with our children. I love the close family bonding we experience living in such close quarters 24/7. Okay, so maybe I don’t always love that when the kids are fighting, lol! But I honestly would not trade this life for anything! I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to live this way.

If you have any questions, send them on. I’m happy to answer questions people have about this lifestyle.

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Second Nomadiversary

Two years ago today we moved out of our house to begin this amazing adventure on the road, and what an incredible ride it has been! We started out saying we would do this for 2 years, but we quickly realized that there is far too much to see in this beautiful country to stop after 2 years. So we are onto more adventures for year 3.  But first I would like to share this video of the highlights of our second year on the road, as well as give an update about what we’ve been up to lately.

If you missed our 1st year nomadiversary video you can watch it here: One Year Nomadiversary. This is why I blog. I am certainly not a professional blogger and I don’t do it for money, but I like to keep this as a sort of travel journal so we can look back and remember everything we did. It is really fun to look back at prior blog posts and nomadiversary videos and count our blessings. If it helps anyone with travel planning or inspires you to travel, that’s an added bonus.

In 2 years of travel we have visited 24 states and 24 national parks/monuments. It’s hard to say what has been my favorite experience so far, but in 2016 I would say it’s a tie between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.

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I never did get around to sharing last year that we were interviewed by Epic Education Radio. Here is a link to the podcast if you would like to listen. http://www.anepiceducation.com/eer069-family-rv-living-in-the-usa/  Honestly I probably didn’t share it because I am generally shy and not comfortable talking in an interview like this. But some people said they liked it and it was helpful, so here it is for your listening pleasure. 🙂

It has been a while since my last post. Since then we have been spending time with friends and family in NC and FL. We stayed at Ft. Clinch State Park twice to visit friends in Fernandina Beach where we used to live.

Ft. Clinch has 2 campgrounds: one on the beach, the other on the river. We stayed on the beach side last year, you can read about that here: Ft. Clinch State Park. This time we stayed on the beach side for 3 nights, and stayed on the river side the rest of the time. These pictures are from the beach side.

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Chris enjoying evening happy hour on the beach hammock.

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Both campgrounds are wonderful, but I think we like the river side a little better. The river side campsites are larger and surrounded by trees so you get more privacy at those sites. We also had a lot more room for friends to visit.

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The boys got a new slackline kit for Christmas which was fun to try out with friends.

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And I finally got to beat Doug at Mexican train dominoes which means I don’t have to eat a bison burger! 🙂

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The sunsets behind our site were glorious!

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After Ft. Clinch we moved on to the Gulf Coast of Florida to St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach. I will write about that next time. Cheers!

 

Categories: Our Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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