Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Thanksgiving in San Diego

This post covers: Nov 19 to Nov 25

After getting everything moved into the new coach on Friday evening, we headed for the San Diego area on Saturday to spend Thanksgiving with our older daughter. Thank goodness for driving on a weekend day so we didn't have to deal with the awful traffic San Diego has during the week. I had found a county park that had good reviews a few months ago and made reservations then since I wasn't sure how busy it would be over the holiday weekend. We stayed at Sweetwater Summit Regional Park in Bonita. It was only a 15 minute drive to our daughter's place. The space I picked out was on the end of a row so we had no one off our left side just a nice view of the area. There is a highway a little ways past were we parked but the noise was only really noticeable during rush hour times.

I'm guessing this park gets hopping in the summer as they have lots of activities for kids including a water park. While there were still a far number of people camping here, there wasn't any noise issue. The park doesn't have a restriction on the number of dogs and since we had a large spot, we were able to set up several of their pens so the babies had lots of area to walk around when we were all outside.

The weather was great the week we where there except for one rain storm right after we got there. Kim got to spend several days out with her daughter and they worked up a great Thanksgiving menu for us! One afternoon we all (including the daughter's fiancΓ©) went on a San Diego bay cruise and had a nice dinner downtown. The sunset over the bay was spectacular.

We also found several trails at the park to hike and get the babies out for walks on. The only issue we had at the campground was an infestation of ants, so we had to be careful with leaving food out. We were in the older section of the campground with all dirt, they have a newer section with paved sites so we might try that next time to see if there is still an issue with ants there. I've seen a few other reviews that mentioned the same issue with ants. We also had some nice sunset views from our site and I took advantage of the evening weather to try out the new TV!

This turned out to be a great week and the campground was as dog friendly as any we've been to. Most of the others were respectful of watching their babies and keeping them on leash. The only part of the week that was stressful was watching the weather since we had to be back in Reno by Sunday since Alan's surgery was scheduled for Monday morning. As the week progressed, there was a winter storm predicted to blow in over the passes west of Reno on Saturday night so we ended up cutting our stay short so Alan left with the motorhome on Friday but more on that in the next post.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Time to Upgrade!

Since we decided to go full-time (and even some before to be honest) we have been thinking whether our Super C was the best home for us to take on the road. As I've talked about on the RV saga page, we did a fair amount of work to make it more homey and comfortable for us. Despite all of the work, there were still things that didn't make it feel the way we wanted it to and we weren't sure it would ever feel just right. Most of this is because it is a Super C chassis and it always felt like we were in a truck, not just when driving but even when settled somewhere since the front seats always face forward and are set lower than the house portion. We also lost several feet of space due to the front engine design.

Every time we were around dealers with nice selections of coaches we would take time to look and see what's out there and get ideas of what we like. We had seen some 1-2 year old diesel pushers at one dealer that we liked but they always had something that just wasn't right. Often it was the lack of a king bed. We just don't get why they build such nice and expensive class As and then put in an RV queen bed. I'm sure we can't be the only ones that like having a larger bed and with having three furry-babies that sleep with us, it's mandatory.

After getting settled into our site in Palm Desert, we walked over to Holland Motorhomes which is right next door and started looking at their selection. One of their salespeople, Harry Carroll, started showing us around and answering more questions than most salespeople we have dealt with. After looking at several coaches and finding two we really liked, Harry let us know that is was almost time for the lot to close. I actually appreciate that he was a family person who needed to get home and let us know this but he got us all the information we wanted on the coaches before we left. We set up a time to meet the next day.

It was a long night of talking about what we wanted and where willing to do to get into a new coach. When we went back we knew that the Newmar Baystar we had looked at the day before was our preference after looking through it again. Our favorite feature is the full wall slide that opens up the interior and gives a shotgun home look since you can see front to back. I had to get over the fact that I was giving up a diesel for a gasser but after doing all the research I couldn't think of a good reason to have to stay with a diesel. I know there are lots of advantages to diesels but when we looked at all the other features we wanted and the price difference to get a comparable coach that was a diesel, it just didn't make sense to us.

Holland Motorhomes and their staff were easy to work with as talked about a deal. Our biggest sticking point was making sure we got a fair trade in for our Super C. As it turned out Super Cs are apparently popular in this area due to all the off road vehicle riding people do in the area and the fact that they tow great. We got what we thought was a fair deal and became the proud owners of a new coach!

Actually we didn't get it that day of course. Holland does a front to back inspection of a coach before delivering it, so we had to get that scheduled. Since we were buying it from a California dealer and not registering it in California (they have crazy sales tax!), we also had to set up taking delivery outside of California. The dealership does this all the time so it was a simple process but did add more time to getting the coach. The process involves their driver taking the coach across the border while I followed in one of their cars and then meeting with a notary to sign all the paperwork showing the coach wasn't delivered in California and isn't being registered in California. I then got the keys and was able to head back to begin the process of moving.

We found again that the Holland was willing to work with us on this process. We had thought about trying to do it at the campground as the site next to us was open. We decided against this since by the time I was going to get back from the out of state delivery, there would only be an hour or so of daylight left and there is minimal lighting in the campground. Holland let us pull our old and new homes next to each other (door to door) right in their main lot which is well lit all night and got us all plugged in so we could take our time and spend the night in their lot after getting moved.

The night security guard came by and let us know he would be around all night and introduced us to his K9 but made sure we knew that his dog was friendly with other dogs as he saw our babies running back and forth. What we did was set up our pens between both motorhomes so we could carry stuff across without having to step over anything but the babies could run back and forth but we wouldn't have to worry about them getting out. The move definitely stressed them out, they just couldn't figure out what we were doing and they were already a bit stressed after having watched us packing up stuff the past day as well.
The babies living in the mess of packing
Spella and Prada helping unpack
We got everything moved over and placed somewhere in about 4 hours (we are still working on final places for everything). By this time we were all exhausted and the babies were plenty stressed out so we tucked everyone in for the night and set the alarm for early the next morning. The next morning we made sure we hadn't forgotten anything in the old motorhome, made sure everything in the new coach was secured somewhere and headed off for San Diego.

So far we are enjoying the new home and all the extra space inside even though the new coach is the same length as our Super C. The class A layout just makes such a difference in space. We'll cover issues as they come up and the good and bad we learn along the way and how this space works for the babies.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Palm Springs Area

Post covers: Nov 12 to Nov 18, 2016

We left Reno for a week long stay in Palm Springs. We decided to break up the trip into a couple days. We left on Saturday and drove to Lone Pine, CA for a one night stay at Boulder Creek RV Resort. We picked it after looking at reviews of the places around Lone Pine. When we got there the staff was helpful and friendly as we checked in. We got settled into our space and Kim immediately met some of our neighbors that also had a couple of weenies and then also met some other neighbors that travel with three Saint Bernard mixes. Some times we think we are a bit crazy traveling with all our kids and how we treat them so it's nice to see others are just as committed to their four legged kids as we are. We had a nice relaxing evening in and left early Sunday morning for Palm Springs.

After reading about others experiences with Thousand Trails and looking at the type of places we like to stay at we decided to buy an annual zone pass and see how it goes using their campgrounds for the next year. They specifically mention that they are dog friendly and don't state any limits on numbers. As with all multiple campground companies, you are best to check with each individual campground you will be visiting to make sure they don't have different rules than the main rules. If anyone needs helpful information on Thousand Trails and their options, I would recommend going to the blog and looking at their page on Thousand Trails. They have some great information on their experiences and what they have learned about Thousand Trails. They even have a recommendation on who to talk with when buying a membership and their recommendation to talk with Jim Randell was right on. He was helpful, get us the deal we wanted and got us into the Palm Springs campground for the week after we signed up.

When we got to the campground, which is actually in Palm Desert, we got checked in at the front gate and learned that sites weren't preassigned.
The staff suggested we park the motorhome and take our toad and drive around to pick out the space we like. We haven't had this option at anything but some government campgrounds. We found the spot we like and got backed in. The campground is full of palm trees which adds to the ambience but you do have to watch out for the them when getting into your site. Later in the week I watched someone back into a palm tree with their bus before any of us could warm him he was close. Luckily I don't think he hurt anything. The campground is incredibly dog friendly and it looked like 75% of us there have furry kids. With their fur-friendly attitude there was no issue with setting up the pens for the babies.

This is the desert so creatures do show up at all times!
This little roadrunner came by one morning to say hi. He didn't mind the babies even though they certainly wanted to get out of their yard to go say hi. The only wildlife we founded issues with were the burrs around the area. The babies got them in their paws several times and we tracked inside as well and had to check the floor to make sure none of us would find some by accident.

Next door to the campground is Holland Motorhomes. We are always looking at options so visited the lot after getting settled in and toured some motorhomes before they closed. I'm working on a whole post on that adventure and will update our RV Saga page so standby for that.

We enjoy this area as there are so many things to do in the area. We spent one day visiting the Joshua Tree National Park area and the old west motion picture set town of Pioneertown. When we visit national parks with the babies, we have to plan carefully since there are not many places that they are allowed. They did enjoy walking down Main Street of Pioneertown though as hardly anyone was around so we had the run of the place.

We were in Palm Desert for the full moon and the moon rise was gorgeous from the campground:

On the last night before we started our next big adventure we had a date night at Palm Springs Village Fest. The town closes several blocks of Palm Canyon Drive and all types of vendors set up. We found everything from a block of farmer's markets items, to all kinds of food vendors, to artisans selling everything from all types of art work, soap, candles and everything else we would want to look at. Since most items aren't an option we settled for getting some fresh bread, flour tortilla chips and homemade dips for the chips. Dinner was a nice Italian place with outside seating, Sammy G's Tuscan Grill. We would recommend it and the calamari appetizer was in the top 10 of ones we've had. Also their house made Sangria was tasty.

Next up our adventure and then on to San Diego for Thanksgiving with family.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Reno, again

Post covers Oct 30 to Nov 11, 2016

So we find ourselves back in Reno for Alan's medical follow up and he also had a class to teach over the weekend of the 5th and 6th. We decided to stay back at Gold Ranch RV park as we had a nice stay there last time. Staff is friendly, spaces are adequate size. Not the largest but okay for us and the babies and that they allow us to put up the fences for the babies to sit outside with us is huge, as I always mention. There are some full-time residents but their spots are kept up nice and neat and it is hard to tell they live there.

On this trip to Gold Ranch, we met a new neighbor. Emmitt is a pot belly pig who lives with his family in a 5th wheel. Emmitt is the sweetest kid and so very friendly. He is tolerant of dogs and seems to care more about having a snack of grass then worrying about anyone else. His family has a ramp for him to walk up into his RV. We didn't get a chance to get his picture but will try on our next trip to Reno. He also has a parrot for a friend and they would both hang out with mom on warm days outside.

The babies got in some nice walks while we were in Reno. We got in one trip to Lake Tahoe and got the babies out to play in the water for a bit. It was on the cool side so they didn't spend a lot of time in the water. While at Gold Ranch, there was mountain lion sighting in the hills north of the park so for a few days we were careful of where and when the babies went for a walk. We aren't sure what happened to him but after a few days the warning signs were taken down. Hopefully he just moved on.

Kim had a weekend alone with just the babies while Alan went to Portland to teach a class. She got to have some extra time with family during this time. As I mentioned before, the main reason for being in Reno was for Alan to have a follow up MRI and appointment with the neurosurgeon. This past summer they found a couple spinal lesions in Alan's lower back. After getting a second opinion from this neurosurgeon and his opinion being the same as the one Alan saw in Medford, Alan is going to have the lesions removed by the neurosurgeon in Reno. This will mean yet another trip back to Reno as the neurosurgeon's schedule wasn't conducive to having the surgery done before Thanksgiving. We had already had plans to spend Thanksgiving with our daughter in San Diego and their only opening before Thanksgiving wouldn't allow enough recovery time to go to San Diego. So the surgery will be Nov 28th after we spend Thanksgiving in San Diego. They predict about 2 weeks of initial recovery and then we will be off for Christmas in North Carolina with the other daughter and then spending the rest of the winter in the south somewhere. So we left for warmer weather for a couple weeks!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Another week in Nevada City

Post covers Oct 23 to Oct 29, 2016

After all the adventures in Reno we decided it was time to get away from there even though we knew we had to be back the first week of November for Alan's MRI and follow up with the neurosurgeon. Since we didn't want to go too far and saving money is always good we headed off to use our membership at Harmony Ridge Resort. We also noticed that babies were getting a bit stir crazy and while staying at Kim's mom's house allowed them to have a small yard again, they didn't enjoy it like their own place so it was time to get them a break as well.

We actually ended up in a different spot then we normally stay in but even though it is only a few spaces away it turned out to have a better view through the trees and we were able to get the Dish satellite to work on all channels! This was also our first chance to try out the cell booster we bought. Alan did a bunch of reading on options and after comparing reviews with cost ended up buying a refurbished WeBoost 4GM from Amazon. We couldn't see much difference between it and the newer 4GX and the savings buying a refurbished unit was significant. For this first trial, I just put the outside antenna on the front bumper (the only easy to access magnetic surface) and we noticed a difference in making phone calls and getting iMessages through. In the past we often would lose a call if we moved very much and had to be in just the right spot. On this trip we didn't have this issue, so far so good. I didn't get much chance to check it out with data as the wifi was working pretty well at the campground. It helps that there were only a handful of others in the park.

So one of the plans was to be able to get out and do more while here, especially getting the babies out for more walks and short hikes. As it turned out the first couple of days there were rainy so the walks turned into short walks between the raindrops and lots of letting them out to go potty under the awning. What we have learned helps with getting them tired and not as stir crazy is to go for some long drives with all of them. Even if we aren't able to get them out for a hike just the drive and a short potty stop somewhere wears them out (of course the burger they usually get as a treat to share doesn't hurt their feelings either).

We did a nice afternoon drive with them one day to Loomis and got lucky enough to have a break in the rain for an hour or so. We found a large park, Loomis Basin Community Park, that was all dog friendly and we all got a nice long walk around the area. Prada found it to be to her liking as there are lots of squirrels there with big bushy tails. She has an attraction to squirrels even though we are sure she wouldn't know what to do with one if she actually got close enough to catch one.

By mid-week the weather had cleared up and we decided to take a day trip to San Francisco. It is about a 2-1/2 to 3 hour drive. The weather in San Francisco was some of the best we have ever had there. Sunny and in the high 60s. The babies got to play at Crissy Field for a while and even dipped their paws in the bay. They haven't gotten to see the ocean since August so it was good treat. As you can see they liked playing in the thick grass more than anything.

 If you go to Crissy Field, they have an off leash dog area by the water but as in most of these areas you have to watch out for the large dogs that run up to the little ones. Spella with all her issues is especially frightful when a large dog runs up to her even when they are friendly. One of the frustrating things at these areas is that even when you tell the dog's human that your dog has issues they almost always say the same thing "but my dog is friendly." For some reason they don't listen  to us anget that ours is a little special and isn't initially friendly when scared by a large dog.

After a romp at Crissy Field, we headed downtown for lunch and some shopping. We found a nice corner Italian restaurant with outdoor seating that was fine with the babies sitting with us. We always get a kick out of sitting out eating with the kids as the looks we get are precious. The babies are spoiled of course so not everyone gets us having one in the stroller, usually Vinnie, and the other two either on their own chairs or in a lap. Oh well, we have always felt there is something wrong with a person who doesn't like animals. After lunch, we stopped at two of our favorite places for snacks to take back, Molinari Deli on Columbus Ave for some of their salamis and cheeses and then on to Stella Pastry and Cafe also on Columbus for their fresh made cannolis and whatever other sweets look good.

We then headed back towards Nevada City but our timing was awful so we got to experience the great bay area traffic and it took a bit longer to get back. Even with that we couldn't argue with the day. The weather was as good as you could ask for, we found great food and the babies got to play and were tired campers by the time we made it back to the motorhome.

The rest of the week was some time around the campground and short walks in the area. Towards the end of the week, we noticed that another weather front was headed in with the forecast showing snow over Donner Pass that we would be driving over to get back to Reno. After two days of this forecast staying the same including a winter weather watch, we decided that it would be safer to leave for Reno a couple of days early rather than chance that the pass would be clear by the time we needed to leave. Since Alan had his MRI appointment scheduled, there wasn't an option to delay leaving for Reno. Next update from back in Reno.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Back in Reno - Gold Ranch RV

Post covers Sep 11 to Oct 22, 2016

After some time in the trees in Nevada City, we needed to head to Reno to get Kim ready for her girls trip. She is heading to North Carolina to visit our younger daughter and then head to Disney World. Our older daughter is going to meet her in Reno and then they will be driving to North Carolina (Kim doesn't fly). To top off the trip, Kim's mom will be flying to Orlando to meet up with everyone and then she and Kim will drive home together. Wow, that made me tired just trying to describe all of that πŸ˜….

So Alan got to spend a week with the babies at Gold Ranch RV park and then went to the mother-in-law's house to dog sit her babies as well as ours. Living in Reno, I've seen Gold Ranch and even been in it for work but of course we have never stayed there. The park sits on the west side of Reno in Verdi by the California border. While it sits right off of I80 the traffic noise while noticeable isn't overwhelming and sitting outside is not an issue. The spaces are decent size with plenty of room for the babies pen. We did ask about putting up their pen and were told that the main issue is having it on the grass when they mow. We also saw that several others had pens up so we put ours up and watched for the days they mow and didn't have any issue with the park staff complaining about the pen. The staff here was friendly and helpful throughout our stay including when extending the stay by a couple of days, though we did have to move spaces for the last few days.

We took this opportunity take the motorhome in for some needed work. One of the slides has been acting up and the other needed the seal replaced. We were able to get some of the work completed but the shop wasn't able to completely fix the one slide as it will require them taking the slide out and they didn't have the availability in their schedule to dedicate the time. Guess we will have to find a shop somewhere else in our travels. It still works but we are worried about it leaking. Also had to take the motorhome to an engine shop as it was been running hot on hills. We've had issues in the past with this and have had a couple items fixed. Ended up taking it to Wayne's Automotive in Sparks. They were great and spent a lot of time diagnosing the issue and seem to have found the problems (they replaced both the fan clutch and radiator, seems the radiator that was put in a couple of years ago was an aftermarket one that doesn't work as well as an original manufacturer one, who knew). We are now keeping fingers crossed that we won't have any further issues with the engine cooling system.

Alan had time on several of the days to get the babies out into the desert for some exploring. They grew up in the high desert so they had fun running around in the dirt again but I think they have gotten use to the beach for the last year and like that better.

It was also a good time for Alan to do some teaching with one of his friends and get all his medical certifications up to date and catch up on some of his consulting work.

The day Kim came back, Alan got the motorhome back out to Gold Ranch for a short stay there. Alan had an appointment with a neurosurgeon that following week. As it turned out after the appointment, Alan needs to have some more MRIs done along with probable surgery but in the meantime it's off for a week before that.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Relaxing in Nevada City, CA

After spending time on the coast and then a few days in Mt Shasta, we decided to head closer to Reno as we needed to be there by 9/25 but weren't ready to get there yet. So we headed to Harmony Ridge Resort were we have a camping membership and we could stay there for no extra cost, always a plus. We've been going there since we first stated RVing about 8 years ago and finding it relaxing to go there especially once school has started and the campground is not very full. Harmony Ridge has always been dog-friendly  and there has never been an issue with setting up our fences for the babies to play in with us. We have  a few favorite spots there that are a bit wider and more screened from others and we were able to get our favorite one for most of the stay. We did have go into another site for the first couple days and then move but it was just a couple spaces away so no biggie to move. All of the RV sites are full hookup and some have been upgraded to 50 amps, making it nice on the few hot days we had so both ACs could run along with the hot water heater and microwave. Yes there are times we like to be spoiled!

Harmony Ridge is 3 miles outside of Nevada City and sits in a bit of a valley. This is nice as it makes it quiet with no road noise. The only issues with were it sits is that there is very little wind so on a hot day there isn't any relief and it doesn't cool off at night as much. The valley also doesn't have great cell coverage. It has gotten a little better of the years we've been going there but even with our Verizon phones we only get 1-2 bars if we are in the right spot. I've been looking at cell boosters and will be getting one before much longer so we don't have this issue as often. The campground is situated in the trees so getting a satellite signal is difficult and I was only able to lock onto one Dish satellite and only got about half the normal channels.

We spent more time exploring the area since we had two weeks to enjoy. One of the fun times we had was an evening at Naggier Vineyards. We have been there many times and always enjoy going. One evening we went and listened to the music on their patio (after a bit of wine tasting of course). The evening happened to be the harvest moon night, so we were treated to quite the moonrise.

While there we found that they were having a wine and food pairing one afternoon so signed up for it and it was quite the event. The chef made some amazing small plates and the pairing with their wines was perfect. The employee that was our host was knowledgeable about the wines and vineyard and shared lots of information with us. It was a fun afternoon and we were glad we went.

The area around Nevada City has many hiking trails and we took the babies on several as well as enjoying some just for ourself. One of our favorite spots to take the babies is the Rock Creek natural trail just a couple miles from the campground. This website describes it better than I can. There is also the Pioneer Trail that starts in Nevada City and crosses a pedestrian suspension bridge and loops back to Nevada City.

Nevada City has a farmer's market on Saturday mornings and while small we found a nice variety of organic fruits and veggies, along with a couple meat vendors that featured organic raised meats. That Saturday night we went to a small production of Revolution at the Nevada City Theatre. It's a play featuring live 60s music, the people playing the band members were talented musicians.

We left Harmony Ridge on Sep 19 and headed for Reno to spend some time with family and get Kim ready for her girls trip. More to come on that adventure!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Labor Day in Mt Shasta, CA

Wow, I'm learning that keeping up a blog is a lot more work than I thought it would be. I've read that on others blogs but until you actually start doing it yourself I guess it doesn't sink in. So with that, here's my late update on our Labor Day weekend stay. After leaving Eureka, we had a slow drive over highway 299. I actually thought the road would be a lot like the drive on highway 199 from Crescent City, CA to Grants Pass, OR but turns out that 299 has lots more curves and hills to it, so the drive was much longer and slower then we anticipated. Thank goodness we didn't have timeframe to meet. We also certainly noticed quite a change in the weather as we drove over the coastal mountain range into Redding CA. We went from nice 60's degree weather to high 90's πŸ˜“. Definitely glad we weren't staying in Redding, so we headed up I5 for the city of Mt Shasta. By mid-afternoon we pulled into the KOA. As is typical for a KOA, the staff was friendly as we checked in and our space was ready for us. While KOAs are kids friendly and often a little noisy over weekends and holidays, we have found all of them to be dog friendly and never have had an issue when we had our 5 furry kids and no issues with our current 3.
This KOA was no exception, we also chose this campground as we wanted to stay somewhere that wouldn't be too hot but also on our route. As we are getting use to this full-time gig, we were also concerned over being sure we found a decent place to stay over a holiday weekend. When booking I saw that the KOA sits just on the outskirts of downtown Mt Shasta and we found it easy to head downtown to explore and walked there several times. We always enjoy being able to walk and explore areas we stay at so this made for a nice weekend.

The space we stayed in was on the end of a row so we had no-one on our right side and like
all KOAs we have stayed at so far, this one had no issues with us setting up the dog fences so the babies could play outside while we sat out with them. All we had to worry about were people walking by on the loop road but this wasn't an issue for us. We found that almost everyone here was respectful and kept their four-legged babies on leashes when walking.

The campground had a nice view of Mt Shasta as well
The babies enjoyed the area and we found a city park near the campground that had some nice trails to take them on and we also drove up by the Mt Shasta ski area and did a little hiking in that area. One day we decided to drive down to Redding thinking it would be a nice change and we would surely find some places to take the babies. What we found is that Redding doesn't allow dogs at any of their nice parks. The only one we found that allowed the babies was inhabited by homeless and was not cared for with garbage lying about the park. We would not recommend Redding as a place to take your 4-legged babies. While in Redding we were able to find a nice hamburger joint, Damburger, and found the burgers great and when I asked for a few patties for the babies they melted cheesed on them and boxed them up separately for us. The babies gave the burgers a paws up rating.

Over the weekend the town of Mt Shasta had several activities going on. On Saturday we went to the car show on Main Street. There was a nice collection of classic cars and several vendors. On Sunday the Rotary sponsored a concert in one of the parks. So we enjoyed Mt Shasta and would easily spend more time there in the future. On Labor Day we left for Nevada City, CA and a stay at Harmony Ridge but more on that in the next post which I will get done much quicker than it took to get this one out.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cooling off in Eureka, CA

After spending a few days on the east side of the Pacific Coast Range outside of Medford, OR it was time to head back to the cooler weather on the coast. While we were in Medford for Alan to attend to some medical appointments, they were experiencing a heat wave and it was close to 100 degrees each day. Not Kim's favorite weather! The drive back to coast was slow as is usual for hwy 199 but no other issues. We spent the first night outside of Klamath, CA at Kamp Klamath RV Park. Alan booked this one based on looking at a map of the area and some limited reviews and honestly it wasn't one of his best choices. The park is in need of work and has a mix of full-time residents and us travelers. Alan also thought it was right on the river looking at the pictures but alas it wasn't and the space was tight. Luckily it was only for one night so the four legged babies didn't complain too much and the park had no concerns with the several dogs. There was a very unique chicken coop on the property.  Rate was $34 for the night.

We left Klamath for Arcata, CA and a stay at the Mad River Rapids RV Park which is just on the outskirts of Arcata and a not very far from Eureka. We actually picked this as our second choice after the one we thought we wanted to stay at wasn't available for the stay we were planning. Sometimes fate is a good thing and we ended up enjoying our stay here. The park does have a mix of long-time residents and travelers but the park is so well kept up and everyone keeps there sites nice that we didn't mind and everyone was so friendly. The lady in the office, wish we remembered her name, was quite the sweetie and helped us get settled in and helped us throughout our 12 day stay. The park is very pet-friendly and it seemed like at least 3/4 of the campers had a dog(s) or cat. Almost everyone was respectful with cleaning up after them (our biggest pet peeve about other pet owners!) and there was no issue with dogs not being on leash. While there isn't a designated dog run area, there is lots of room to walk around. The space was plenty big enough for us and while we like room between our neighbors, this one was quite adequate. They offer cable TV but we used our Dish satellite and were able to receive a full signal. Verizon service was okay with 2-3 bars, however their wifi is very slow and we used our phones as hotspots most of the time.

The Eureka area has lots of exploring that we found to do. The babies especially love the beach, of course living by it for a year before we started full-timing probably has something to do with it. We found a beach just a couple miles from the RV park that the babies played on several times, never many people on it so they got lots of running room!

Some of our other favorite things we found were some of the breweries in the area. The most unique one was Humboldt Regeneration, it sits in a self storage place and is easy to miss but so worth finding. They offer a unique variety of brews, friendly staff and are dog-friendly. When driving up it doesn't look like much but you have to give it a shot.

There are also many places to hike in the Redwoods, way too many to list but all worthwhile hikes. Vinnie especially loved the fallen, hallowed out trees and the girls had fun running through the woods and all the new smells.

Next we are off for some place to stay over Labor Day weekend that isn't too hot or too noisy.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Our First Week

Our first week of full-timing has come and gone and despite a few hiccups we are excited with all the prospects ahead of us. We headed out of Brookings on Saturday 8/13 and decided to head up the Oregon coast. Our first night was a quick stay at Darlings Marina & RV Resort outside of Florence, OR. The park sits on Siltcoos Lake. They have some spots right on the lake but we ended up in one of their spaces up the hill from the lake. The area is tight and we had to carefully maneuver the motorhome into the space. It was a nice overnight stop over for our trip but not someplace we'd want to spend much time at due to the tight quarters. The staff was friendly and helpful and they are very dog friendly and our furry- kids were good with staying here. There are many lakes in the area, besides a short drive to the ocean, to take the kids and let them play. We were able to wear them out after getting settled in. The park also has it's own pub and deli with a small but nice selection of beer and cider and exceptional fresh-made pizza.

We left Florence on Sunday morning and headed to Newport, OR for a stay at Beverly Beach State Park. We've been here before and it is a nice place with beach access as part of the park. Spaces are nice with plenty of room. We did find that we had limited cellular service on Verizon so doing any work online was not possible, luckily the Starbucks in Newport had good wifi so I was able to get my work done there. Also the spaces are in the trees and well shaded which is nice but does prevent using satellite TV.

Newport and the surrounding area is a great place to spend time with lots to do, both outside activities (hiking and other activities) and sights to see. We also found a couple fun breweries in the area with Newport being the home to Rogue Ales.

After a few days at Newport we headed towards Medford, OR with a quick stop in Junction City, OR to have some items fixed in the motorhome that were missed when we had a bunch of items upgraded before heading out full-time. This was a pain but having our couch not secured to the floor properly wasn't a good idea πŸ˜€.

We then headed to Valley of the Rogue State Park which sits on the Rogue river between Grants Pass and Medford. We needed to be in Medford for a couple of days for some medical appointments so decided try this park. The weather was hot while we were here for two nights (highs in the high 90s) so it was nice that we had a 50amp site and could cool off the motorhome. The babies like their comforts of course! The site was nice and wide and the one we picked backed up to the Rogue river. Unfortunately the access to the river was minimal so Vinnie wasn't able to swim since he'd probably get swept away and Alan didn't really want to go swimming  to recover him. The site offered enough sky view that getting satellite TV was possible and the Verizon service was adequate to get online.

Besides taking care of appointments, we visited Jackson and Ashland while there. Jackson is a cute little town with many little shops and cafes to explore. The babies enjoyed taking a break at one of the coffee shops!

Ashland is the home to the Oregon Shakespeare festival and lots of shops, restaurants and other things to see. We didn't get much time to see Ashland but we have been there before and enjoy the town.

We enjoyed both state parks and like that all Oregon state park campgrounds are dog friendly and don't have an issue with the number of babies as long as they are well mannered and cared for. We also have never had an issue with setting up our fencing to sit out with the babies at any of the state parks. After two nights, we decided to head back to the coast since the temperatures were predicted to be even hotter over the weekend (100-105!) and not what any other us were ready for yet.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Here we go!

About 2-1/2 years ago, also when we started this blog, we started thinking about embracing the full-time RV lifestyle and jumping into it. Due to many different work and life situations it didn't work out at that time. We started thinking about this idea again and with some recent events that happened in our lives, which maybe I'll talk about some day, we decided to jump in with both feet. Kim did all the hard work and got our house on the market and we got a full priced offer within 4 days! We are now heading out after doing lots of downsizing and putting some items in storage (thank goodness for great relatives). For the next couple of months we are planning on staying in the Northwest then head south for the winter months. We will update as we change locations and talk about how we make this lifestyle work for us and the furry babies and where are good places to stay with 4-legged kids.

We are excited to make this change and start a new part of our life and look forward to sharing it with everyone.

One of the recent changes that I will mention now is that we lost Bruno to canine lymphoma on July 28th. He fought a great fight and was a real trooper going through almost 6 months of chemotherapy but unfortunately did not go into remission at the end. We are thankful for the many years we got to be Bruno's humans and the joy he brought to us. He is now resting peacefully with his big brother, Merlin. This blog will always be Five Dogs and Us in their memory and they travel with us in spirit and watch over their brother and sisters.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Umpqua Lighthouse State Park

With four days off over Easter weekend (March 25th-28th, 2016) we took off for Umpqua Lighthouse State Park outside of Reedsport, Oregon. Our daughter, Danielle, and her four legged baby, Gucci, got to come along as well for a nice get away for all of us.

We had stayed here once before and found the park small and in a nice location. The spaces have nice spacing with trees between all the spaces. The park even has yurts and cabins to rent. The yurts look like they'd be a nice get away.

The area is dog friendly and as in all the Oregon state parks they have no issue with all our furry kids camping with us. Spella approved the site and she and all the kids enjoyed new smells to check out and there was a nice 1 mile hiking path around Lake Louise just a short walk away to get them out on.

Just down the road is the Umpqua Lighthouse and it is open for tours on some days.

We found the best bakery, Sugar Shack Bakery, for donuts and other sweet items in Reedsport and they were even open Easter morning so that became the Easter treat for all of us.

While we were there we also went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. It is worth the time to see all the critters there and they have a nice educational aspect.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Catch Up Time

So it's been quite a while since I've gotten any posting done. We've had quite the change in our lives to say the least. In a very sad turn of events, Merlin became very sick with sudden onset in July of last year and we had to make the difficult decision to end his suffering. It was the right decision for him as he could no longer get up at all and didn't even seem to know where he was. He is now resting comfortably.

In August we made a move from Merced, California to the lovely southern Oregon Coast. We had spent a year living in the central valley of California and decided it wasn't the best environment for us and the kids (4 legged of course) to live in. We now live in a small town and get to visit the ocean every day besides getting a peek-a-boo view of it from the deck of our house. Having rain all winter long was different for us after spending many years in Reno but it is a nice change, especially not having shovel snow.

Of course with the move our travels have been limited while we settled into a new home and down sized at the same time (1/2 the size of our previous home!). New jobs also occupied our time as well. It's funny how they don't want to give you lots of time off right after starting πŸ˜€. We have also been busy taking care of Bruno. Right after Christmas he was diagnosed with lymphoma and has been receiving chemotherapy since. I'm happy to say that he is doing much better and acting like his old self. He has just five treatments left and he seems like the lymphoma has gone into remission.

We are now hoping to start more traveling and I'll report on our first trip of the year in the next post. Stay Safe on the road everyone!