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 fiancé) 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.