Saturday, July 24, 2010

OK... one more from me...

I alone took over 4000 pictures over the past three weeks. A couple of them are up on the blog... here are a few links to a bunch more, including some from the days (1-4) that Renee and I (Keith) spent in Colorado, Utah, Vegas and LA.

Link to Days 1 & 2

Link to Days 3 & 4

Link to Days 5-7

Link to Days 8 & 9

Link to Days 10-12

Link to Day 14  

The last few days will be up at some point!

We made it!

We're all back on the east coast, and I know that I, for one, am already forgetting some of the troubles we had with Alfie. Don't get me wrong - the state of the RV was unacceptable given what we paid for it / the customer service that Allstar claims / the level of maintenance that should be kept on their fleet. That said, the vacation was a blast, and all that's left is for us to put a few more pictures on here and give the overview of last week.

Crater Lake, as you can see from the pictures, was amazing. There were so many different types of landscapes that we saw on the trip, and I can't wait for my next trip around the US. After spending the early afternoon at / in Crater Lake, we bombed it down to Redding, CA. While on that drive, I flushed the toilet and that totally killed the cabin batteries - no air conditioning, water, lights, electric slide outs - nothing. To top it off, it was about 100 degrees as we made our way down inland CA. Our night in Redding was pretty horrible.... it felt like it didn't cool down at all, and with the noise of the highway next door / the neighbors who decided to up and leave at 3am / the sprinklers going off at all hours of the night, non of us really slept well. We got up bright and early and continued the trip to Yosemite.

As Paul mentioned, we were determined to keep our spirits up, and while the temperature continued to be unbearable on the drive we noticed a very inviting river running alongside the CA 140 while heading into the park. Our campground ended up being about 7 miles outside of the park, right on the river. We pulled in, and immediately went down to the water to cool off. We just sat in the stream, cooling down - and everything started getting better. After a refreshing break, we jumped back into the RV, drove into the park, and went to the visitor center to help plan our big day in the park on Wednesday.

Luckily there was a restaurant at the hotel next door.... as well as the fact that the temps started to drop as soon as the sun was setting on the horizon.

Yosemite was AMAZING. We hiked Bridalveil falls, to the top of Vernal Falls, up to Mirror Lake, and did Yosemite falls as well. It took us the entire day - including stopping for lunch - and was worth every step. Pictures don't even start to express the beauty of this place....

We cut the trip short and spent wednesday night in San Fran - got a good dinner in - and then had the RV picked up on Thursday. Spending time in San Fran, without having to worry about Alfie, was awesome!

The trip was unforgettable - I cannot wait to do something like that again! What a great way for me - Keith - to spend my last few months before starting the real world again!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nearing the Finish Line

With the constant degradation of the RV, we have opted to cut the trip short by one day and head back to San Francisco for a final fancy dinner and a day around the city tomorrow before flying back to the East Coast. We kept our spirits up and did our best to make do without any power the past few days in Redding and Yosemite CA. It was a test of patience and we refused the let the situation beat us.

Since we haven't been able to make any updates, I'm sure there will be more post-trip recap updates still to come. But for now I wanted to share one of my favorite stops on our trip. That was Crater Lake. We drove the East rim and made a hike down to the water, and chose to spend our time jumping off a 17-foot(ish) rock into the water instead of taking the small boat trip out to Wizard Island. The water was surprisingly warmer than we expected and quite refreshing.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What a weekend!!

Just a quick post for now... WE MADE IT! Shane and Thereasa are hitched! What a fantastic weekend celebration... We are so pumped that we were able to share their special day with them! Congrats you two!!

In other news, our Safeway Savings card continues to save us...

More to come about the Crater Lake problems that Keith, Renee and Michelle got to enjoy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Moving East

After an enjoyable night in the Dunes, we are now making eastward progress towards Sunriver. The climb in elevation has also provided us with some, very welcomed, higher temperatures. We tried to stop in Eugene but couldn't figure out a place to go. So we went a little further and stopped in Oakridge. It turned out to be a great decision.

We found a cozy brewpub called the Brewers Union Local 180 for lunch. For the second time in the trip we have found a brewtub that serves cask beer! We enjoyed a delicious lunch and sampled all their cask beers. The "Extra Knuckle" seemed to be the overall favorite.

After lunch we climbed 5000+ feet through the mountains and caught some pretty glimpses of Diamond Peak.

We are currently on I-97 about 20 minutes outside Sunriver. Hannah and Paul will be jumping out to get the wedding festivities underway. Michelle, Renee and Keith will be moving on to Crater Lake for the night. While we are all looking forward to the wedding weekend and staying in a larger condo, the RV lifestyle will certainly be missed for a few days.

Oregon Dunes

First we played in the dunes...

Then we watched another beautiful sunset...

As Seen In...Crescent City CA

The new face of hip hop.

Ashes.... and the way of today

Since you asked.... here's what we stumbled upon at the top of "Lookout Rock" - which, by the way, has no where near the views of the other rocks we walked out to at Patricks Point!

Complete with an Irish blessing on the shot glass.

We're pulling out of Woahink RV park in a few minutes - straight shot over to Bend, OR. We're dropping Hannah and Paul off, and then Renee, Michelle and Keith are on to Crater Lake for the night. I hope it lives up to expectations!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The funny thing about "holding tanks"....

.... more to come on the holding tanks at the end of this post. For now, a little on how we spent the day yesterday. A long day of driving, but the sites along the way were pretty spectacular.

After pulling in to the campground on Monday night, we let the slides out hoping that all would be OK the next morning when we went to leave (spoiler alert: we were fine Tuesday morning). With camp set up, we explored a little but mostly got down to preparing our feast. Trofi pasta & sauce, steak on the grill, focaccia with tomatoes and cheese.... Pretty impressed with our skills given that it was our first real night of cooking out of Alphie.

We all rolled out of bed around 8, and headed straight to the river for a morning wash. The water was actually pretty warm, and made for a refreshing wake-up - albeit the current was really strong, and we all almost fell over a couple of times even though it was only a few feet deep for the most part. There was one four foot eddie that was calm enough to relax in.

We eased Alphie out of the campground around 9:30. First thing we see on the road - REDWOODS! Everywhere! We got out a couple of times and snagged some pics... as requested, here's one of the five of us. You can see how wide this redwood is... and it's a relatively young one, as it's part of growth from the early 1930's after some deforestation. These trees grow 3-5 feet per year!

As planned, we stopped at the Eel River cafĂ© and had a delicious breakfast and got to take in the sights of Garberville. Next stop – Patricks Point National Park. Patricks Point is a small park right on the coast, with some incredible views of the ocean. We hiked around for a good hour, snapping a bunch of pics on the way. (re-reading paul's most recent post, i now realize some of the above is redundant. oops.)

Creepy moment of the stop – seeing ashes from a cremated body, along with a blessing printed on a shot glass. Other creepy element of the morning... (can anyone tell what I'm talking about?)

After about eight hours on the road, we pulled into the Turtle Rock RV Resort, right on the Oregon coast. The resort gets it’s name from a large rock foundation that actually does look very much like a turtle…

We set up camp, and went for a stroll on the beach. Renee and Michelle pulled together snacks for the beach (despite Hannah, Paul and Keith mentioning how cold and windy it was…). The water was FREEZING. So much for Paul’s theory that the water would be warm since the currents are coming from the South! We did find a somewhat cozy little alcove in the turtle for a couple of drinks and snacks.

We headed back, and realized that there were about 20 more minutes for the sunset, so we brought our chairs down to the beach. Sunsets are always pretty spectacular, and this one did not fail to impress.

On to the holding tanks story... there are two main tanks on an RV. Grey water – from the sink & shower, essentially, and black water – from the toilet. Well, when we picked up the RV the guy told us that a) these tanks are huge, b) you probably will only need to empty them once or twice, and c) the monitor panel that tells you how full they are isn’t all that accurate. With that knowledge, we figured we didn’t need to worry about the tanks for a few days.

As Paul was getting our electrical hookup stored away today, he noticed that water was dripping from under the RV. Hmmmm. Check the panel – grey tank is totally full, black tank is two thirds full. Hannah happens to look into the shower… water is coming up. Uhoh. We decided to dump, and hit the dump station on the way out… trailing our overflowing grey water behind us. We high-tailed it outta there as soon as we could!

Off to the Oregon sand dunes today! We’re renting buggies… giddy with excitement!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Making our way north - Garberville/Humboldt CA

Finally left Pacifica yesterday! Crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, passed through wine country, and 210 miles later landed in Garberville CA in Humboldt County. Drove through the Avenue of the Giants with huge redwood trees only inches off the road. It felt like driving through a tunnel.

Made our first meal on the grill last night then woke up this morning by taking a dip in the nearby river. We filled up our bellies at a great diner called the Eel River Cafe in the downtown area. Now we're on the road again with the final stop being in Gold Coast OR, which puts us back on our original schedule. Along the way we will be driving through more redwood forests and making a lunch stop at Patrick's Point in Trinidad CA.

Alright since Alfie the RV is back in our good graces, let's take a closer look. He certainly turns some heads!

It's almost time to mix some lunchtime cocktails! In the back of the RV of course.