Cloverdale – “Don’t Despair You’re Almost There”…

We almost skipped the wine country in the Sonoma area because we have been there so many times. I know… sacrilegious right??? I came to my senses after further reflection and a glass of wine of course. Hwy 101 would take us right through the Russian River, Anderson Valley and Dry Creek area so we finally decided that a four day stop over would be just perfect. I also hemmed and hawed because the RV Parks in this area are not great nor plentiful. After a lot of research, I reluctantly booked a site at the Cloverdale KOA. The reviews were okay but the road getting there was going to be interesting in our big ass coach. Four miles of narrow but well paved roads that were windy and steep according to what I had read. After the 16% grade at Laguna Seca, I figured it would be a piece of cake. Easy for me to say since I wasn’t going to be driving!!

The one piece of Hwy 101 that we both agreed to divert around was in SFO…as much as I loved the idea of cruising over the Golden Gate Bridge in the Road House, Wally was adamant that he didn’t want to drive through all the traffic in SFO. We took the Richmond route around the bay which is really scenic as well. The traffic was still heavy but it wasn’t bad at all.

Heading into Richmond…

Definitely not as exciting as the Golden Gate Bridge but very pretty.

Soon we were toodling along through the vineyards and reminiscing about the areas we had visited before as we passed through Santa Rosa, Windsor, Healdsburg and on up the valley. The temperatures were also climbing, down right hot compared to the coastal area we had just left behind.

The four mile adventure up the windy, steep but well paved road was a bit of a white knuckler, especially for me as I was sitting on the side of the road that dropped off, had no shoulder and no guard rail. Little did I know that there was more of this to come on our Hwy 101 road trip. Wally is a great driver so of course we arrived no worse for wear.

Yes, this sign was actually on the last sharp turn on the steep windy road to the KOA. Sorry its blurry, but that’s how I felt too!!!

The Cloverdale KOA was a welcome oasis …beautiful grounds albeit “rustic” but not as rustic as the Laguna Seca Campground. A large rolling property on the hillside with a pond, cabins, pool and great walking trail for Bentley. We really enjoyed the birds, wildlife and roaring camp fires at night. It was remarkably warm during our stay in this area which seemed odd for this time of year in Northern California but hey, we weren’t complaining.

Now these are some seriously “rustic” pinball machines. The game room at the Cloverdale KOA was filled with these relics. The weird one below is a very, very old PAC-MAN game which didn’t work very well. DANG!!!
Totally worth the crazy drive up the hill…such a beautiful setting.

There are no shortage of things to do in this area and our next three days were filled with winery visits, exploring Healdsburg (which we have always loved) and a day drive to the Anderson Valley area.

Great outdoor living space at this hotel in Healdsburg.

Healdsburg is a dynamic small town in the middle of the Sonoma Valley wine area. Very picturesque with an old town square, great restaurants and shops. It has a fun vibe and we really enjoyed sitting outside for lunch at Willi’s and visiting the Rock Pile Winery tasting room.

All this in one alley off the main street …what more do ya need!

We also visited a long time favorite – Ridge Winery. This winery has some serious viniculture history and produces amazing wines. Their Monte Bello Cabernet was among California’s finest wines of the early winemaking era in the 60’s. We particularly love their Zinfandels and in the day, when we had a 500 bottle wine cellar, there were verticals of Ridge wines in there. Their first zinfandel was made in 1964, from a small nineteenth-century vineyard nearby and in 1966, the first Geyserville zinfandel was produced.

Look at those old vines…

The Dry Creek General Store is another one of our fav’s…established in 1881 this place is a destination lunch stop in the area. The deli has incredible sandwiches and picnic supplies, many folks pre-order box lunches to take to wine tasting but it is also a charming place to have lunch.

The Dry Creek General Store not only has great food…it has some cool history and fun shopping!

So many beautiful places in this area….YES, I am glad we stopped over here!!!
Picnicking in the Anderson Valley at Navarro Winery.

One of our all time favorite finds on this stopover was Penny Royal Farm. Sheep graze in the vineyards and this small Agri-Farm not only makes some excellent wines they specialize in goat/sheep cheese. The cheese and wine pair was amazing…a must do if you come to this area.

Yes …we bought cheese and wine.
The fennel dusted goat cheese and pinot noir pairing was da bomb!!
Another great wine stop near Healdsburg.

Tired of wine tasting..how about a game of bocce ball!!!
Or just enjoy a picnic and the serene setting.

There is truly no shortage of things to do in the Sonoma area and our four night stopover was filled with fun and sun. If you are thinking about a trip to this beautiful valley check out the Sonoma Valley website and IMHO stay the hell out of Napa…well, unless you enjoy pretentious and expensive, then I would say go for it!!!

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Raceways and Cliff Sides

I am way behind on updates from our 101 trip…sorry but we are having so much fun that its been hard to find the time to write. Don’t hate me because I’m honest, okay???

Monterey was on the 101 agenda as a great base camp to check out the area. We had been there many moons ago but never really explored north of the city of Monterey. When I was looking for a place to base camp in the area, the Laguna Seca Raceway campground came up. It is in the perfect location close to Monterey, high up in the hills with killer views over looking the valley and had partial hookups (water and electric but no sewer hookup). Sounded good plus there were no big events going on so it would be relatively quiet.

I was intrigued by the raceway as Wally had told me loads of stories about his batchelor days and going to Laguna Seca with the guys for the races and camping. After some further research, I knew we had to go up a very steep hill to get to the campground and got the feeling it would be rustic. No deal breakers so I booked us for four nights.

What goes up …must come down!!!

Boy howdy was the road steep, we crawled up the 16% grade like a snail. Yes, the campground is very rustic, not much care or upgrades happening here. Our original campsite was a mess, also on a steep hill and the front of the driveway was so rutted that I knew we would bottom out the coach trying to back in. Luckily, the very nice camp host found us a different site further up the hill. It didn’t have much usable outdoor space but the views were killer…did I mention that the water isn’t potable??? High arsenic levels…thankfully I knew that ahead of time so we went into the site with a full tank of water. After the very busy, kid filled “RV Resort” in Buellton, rustic was just fine as was the peace and quiet!!!

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is an 11-turn, 2.238-mile jewel of a road course on California’s beautiful central coast. While the track is a favorite of racers and fans worldwide, many focus on one specific section—officially Turns 8 and 8A—or more commonly known as The Corkscrew.

The raceway and grounds, we were camping to the far right up on the hill. There was literally no one there like in the photo. (Photo courtesy of WeatherTech)

I had to see this famous one-of-a-kind turn so after getting set up in our “rustic” site, we hiked around the raceway after watching some practice driving being done. Here’s what makes the hard-left, hard-right combination so spectacular according to the raceway website:
“At the apex to Turn 8 (the lefthander and entry to The Corkscrew), the elevation change is a 12 percent drop. By the time a race car reaches the apex of Turn 8A (the righthander), the elevation is at its steepest – an 18 percent drop. The Corkscrew drops 59 feet between the entrance of Turn 8 to the exit of Turn 8A—the equivalent of a 5½ story drop—in only 450 feet of track length. From Turn 8 to Turn 9, the elevation falls 109 feet, or just over 10 stories.”

Holy crap, after reading this and seeing it with my own eyes I was really wishing there were some races going on. We inquired about any opportunities to tour or get on the track but unless you are paying big bucks for a driving class or are part of a racing club but we got a black flag which means no go!

We spent the next four days exploring up and down Hwy 1 in the car. Killer hikes, great view points, amazing restaurants, quirky coffee shops and loads of fresh produce that was being grown in the Salinas area made this a wonderful area to explore. Other than some windy days, the weather was spectacular and the Monterey area did not disappoint.

What a great walk, the flora, fauna and birds along the way were all so photogenic.

We fell in love with the small city of Pacific Grove, it hit all the markers for us on the potential places to live except affordability. The average house price is $1.1M…eeekkkk! Check out this cute place…only $849K but it has been remodeled!

This area has such charm and a great waterfront park with a 6.2 mile oceanside walking path. We had a great dinner at Passion Fish and loved the walking trail.

Walking with a buddy is always fun!

Our two favorite hikes were both along the ocean cliffs with not only great views but some fun sealife too. The 7,000 acre Wilder Ranch State Park has several hiking options along with some neat old California ranching history. We did the Old Cove Landing Trail. This easy 3 mile hike follows the ocean to the scenic overlook above Wilder Beach which is a snowy plover preserve. Just beyond, you’ll find Old Cove Landing, where schooners anchored in the 1800s. Continue along the coast on the Ohlone Bluff Trail to post 8, where there’s a spur trail leading to Fern Grotto Beach. A quarter mile beyond the spur trail is Sand Plant Beach. From there, head downhill over the railroad track and back to the parking lot. So much to see along the way.

Thats a pile of seals down there!!!

For more cliffside ocean views and hiking, a drive along HWY 1 to Big Sur is just the ticket. Wild and scenic, Hwy 1 is not big coach friendly but traveling in a car is just fine.

Love the coastal fog in the background of this photo.
So many great hiking and photography options along Hwy 1.

Pfeiffer Beach in the Big Sur area is definitely off the beaten path, but well worth the drive. Just south of Big Sur Station on Highway 1 is unsigned Sycamore Canyon Road which winds its way down to the shore. The two-mile long road is paved, but it is twisty and narrow so RV’s and trailers are not allowed (look for the yellow “Narrow Road” sign at the turn-off). Oh, and there many be a few water crossings!

From the parking area you have a short walk down to the beach. At this location Sycamore Canyon Creek empties into the Pacific and a rocky point protects some of the sand at the cove. Waves crash hard all around and the beach north of here invites exploration at lower tides. Tide pools can be found here at low tide too. The focal point of the beach is Keyhole Rock which has an amazing natural arch at the base where salt water, and even the last rays of daylight, can pass through. This beach is beautiful at sunset and frequently professionally photographed. It was incredibly windy the day we were there and the waves were huge making the beach a bit scary and awesome at the same time.

The noise in the video is the wind…no picnic on the beach that day. The waves coming on both sides of these rocks were huge…no good pics unfortunately.

Loved this part of California and our 5 days there went way to quickly. Next stop…Cloverdale CA for some more wine tasting!!!

The Back Roads of Buellton


Buellton is a small town off Hwy 101 in the heart of Santa Ynez Wine Country. Yep, more winery’s to visit…oh darn!!! The Santa Ynez Valley is producing some amazing wines but it is often overshadowed by Napa and Sonoma who seem to get all the hype. While Buellton itself has very little charm (in my humble opinion), the location couldn’t be better for exploring this stunningly scenic area. All you wino’s will remember that this region was made famous after it was featured in the movie Sideways and many people like to visit the different spots that were in the movie.

With only four days to explore the area, visiting the Sideways haunts wasn’t high on the agenda. Honestly, we were feeling a bit wined out but hey, when in Rome… We decided the best way to spend our four days was to intersperse some wine tasting with some back roads driving and a few trips to the beach. We are definitely water people so any excuse to get our feet in the sand is gonna happen. Bentley was in total agreement about the beach too.

Our first stop after we got set up at the the Flying Flags RV Resort was the Figueroa Brewing Company in Buellton. In need of a brew and some chow, this was the perfect place to spend a few lazy hours, listening to some local music and sipping some local beer. We sat with some nice locals who shared their deep fried Mac and Cheese bites with us and we talked about beach fishing. Wish I had gotten the guys name but what a sweetie, he offered to lend us some fishing gear and told us all his favorite spots.

Cold brew and music… a great way to soothe the driving aches away!

We promised Bentley a trip to the beach so we took a drive looking for a dog friendly beach, which in California isn’t always easy. Most state parks don’t allow dogs on the beach – not sure why, seriously, the birds poop everywhere and don’t pick up so what the heck. Thanks to a nice ranger at the Refugio State Beach, we found a place to bushwhack down to a deserted beach. Bentley wore himself out frolicking and running so he barely had the energy to bushwhack back up to the car. A tired dog is a happy dog for sure!!!!!

Yikes that was a steep climb!!!

Feeling rejuvenated and ready to taste more wine, our plan was to visit the tasting rooms the next day in Los Olivos which is just 6 miles north of Buellton. This tiny historic town is home to about 1,400 people and has all the charm that Buellton didn’t get. Dozens of wine tasting rooms, great restaurants, boutiques, art gallery’s, hotels and Airbnb’s make this a great destination. If only they had an RV park, we might never have left!!!

Los Olivos …you are a charmer!

In 1885, Alden March Boyd, of Albany, New York, paid $8,000 for 157 acres, together with the original and only dwelling house in the area. What an investment!!! He planted five thousand olive trees and called it Rancho De Los Olivos.  We saw plenty of olive trees still being farmed but grapevines have definitely become a primary crop in this area. There are however, several places to taste olive oil that is being made locally.

Olive orchards at Rancho Olivos (photo courtesy of Rancho Olivos)

Foxen Canyon Wine Trail starts in Los Olivos and stretches north, winding its way through beautiful wineries and vineyards. Even if you are not that into wine, this beautiful area is a feast for the eyes. Driving the backroads in the Santa Ynez Valley and finding all the hidden gems can be a great way to spend a day, or two, or three….we spent hours just toodling around through the rolling hills.

With such lush grass, that’s one happy cow, yep, its a female. I checked it out!!!

From Los Olivos, a great driving loop on Hwy 154 /256 takes you through some incredibly beautiful country. You can stop along the way in the sleepy little town of Santa Ynez or the super touristy town of Solvang. Just be advised that the mega tour buses roll into this little Danish town and traffic can get backed up…we were there during the week but I can only imagine what its like on a busy weekend. My idea of hell actually…

We have been to Solvang when we were living in SoCal so we didn’t feel the need to relive that with a walk down memory lane. Solvang means “sunny field” in Danish in case you were wondering. This hamlet was founded in 1911 on almost 9,000 acres of the Rancho San Carlos de Jonata Mexican land grant, by a group of Danes who traveled west to establish a Danish community far from the midwestern winters. Boy, did they find a paradise for sure.

We did however find a neat mission just on the edge of Solvang, where we were able to take Bentley for a nice walk while we explored the grounds.

Solvang for sure!!!

We lived in SoCal for 5 years and Santa Barbara was one of our favorite beach towns. Many times, we hopped the Amtrak Train from Glendale and rode through the rolling hills, coffee and newspaper in hand. A walk on the beach, lunch on the pier or at one of many awesome restaurants, then back on the train we would go. Great day trip, so we had to revisit SB for at least one afternoon.

Oh Santa Barbara, we missed you!!!

Santa Barbara is just 43 miles from Buellton so we of course took a longer scenic loop and made a stop to hike at Cachuma Lake. This is a holding reservoir for water in Santa Barbara County and thanks to the record rainfall in Cali this winter it was full, lush and green.

Could this be a prettier area to hike???
Back in Santa Barbara, we found plenty to keep us busy for the afternoon.
Farmer Market…oh yeah. Fresh heirloom tomatoes…oh yeah!!!
I LOVE LEGUMES….so many to choose from…oh yeah!!!
So much fresh produce, we also scored some awesome small artichokes and beautiful strawberries….OH YEAH!!!

Another great drive we took from Buellton was to Jalama Beach County Park. Finally a beach where dogs are allowed to put their paws on the sand…well, at least while on a leash with their humans. If you walked far enough down the beach you could accidentally, not on purpose of course, drop the leash and let Fido run free. Shh….

Getting to Jalama Beach is an adventure in itself …A sign 4.5 miles south of Lompoc off Highway 1 will direct you onto Jalama Road. We followed this scenic, often narrow and windy 14.5 mile road to the coast. The park entrance will be at the end of the road, seriously this is the end of the road. Jalama is subject to high winds and rough surf but boy is it beautiful. There is also a rustic campground, store and grill that serves a mean cheeseburger.

A true gem, this funky little store was a hoot to poke around in while I waited for that awesome cheeseburger.

I hope that cute pooch got a bite of their burgers!

If you don’t mind a funky, rustic vibe and a hell of a drive if you have a big ass RV, this would be a great place to stay for a few nights. Think big ole bonfire on the beach at night with very few people around. The cabins in the picture above sit high up on the bluff with an awesome ocean view. There are also some non-beach RV sites up there.

Back in Buellton, we still had some wine tasting left in us so we decided to finish our four, whirlwind days with a cruise down Foxen Canyon Road. Back Roads Rule!!!

Tiny little grapes starting to set already.

I was fascinated by the wine growing AVA’s and the influence the ocean has on farming in these wild hills and canyons. Pinot Noir loves the cool affect that the ocean can bring in but there are also hot areas like Happy Canyon that support growing the Syrah grape varietal. The microclimates in this area are crazy.

Zoom in to check out the different grape growing areas and their varietals.

This beautiful area of California deserved more than a four day stop and it sure kept us busy. No shortage of things to see and do, no shortage of great restaurants and certainly no shortage of world class wines. Our four days of backroad adventures were definitely a 10!

Delicious oysters at Industrial Eats in Buellton.
Just a few bottles to add to our wine rack!

A “Winey” Week in Paso Robles, CA


Seriously, we have been whining for a week… I can’t possibly drink another glass of wine, I am wined out, I am sooo corked, yes, it’s a tough problem to have!

We spent eight days at the Cava Robles RV Resort which for some people is a destination by itself. The resort is built in the rolling hills just outside Paso Robles and its natural setting offers more than views…which are just beautiful. The resort boasts numerous amenities, including pools, spas, fire pits, a wellness center, walking trails, a bistro, a small store and dog parks. From wine tasting to outdoor movies, there’s something for everyone to do.

Cava Robles was the perfect place to base camp with our friends Donna and Steve who drove down from Portland Oregon in their new Serenity coach to explore the area wineries and the food scene with us.

Not only did we see the Golden Eagles at Cava Robles, we saw loads of other species, like hawks, buzzards, western bluebirds and finches, just to name a few.
We enjoyed the walking trails and did 2-3 miles of walking with Mr B everyday.

We love having friends join us along the way and its always great to spend some quality time together. The four of us are major foodies ( with a big wine drinking problem) so not only did we enjoy some nice meals out but we also crafted some great meals together.

Celebrated Steves birthday…Grilled Herb Crusted Lamb Chops served with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes and a Artisan Lettuce Salad with Blue Cheese.
Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza hand crafted and cooked in our Uuni Pizza Oven.

I gotta say I tend to fall in love with a lot of places we travel to and start day dreaming about living there some day. Paso Robles was no exception …it meets a lot of our VIC (very important criteria) for potential places to live someday.
Small town – check … 32,000 people.
Friendly – check…everyone we met was happy to share their favorites places or tell us about the area.

Food scene – check …no shortage of great places to eat or drink. Did I mention an amazing ice cream place.

Sitting outside at Jefferys BBQ…so yummy!
We had a great meal at Hatch Rotisserie too.


Happening – check… Art festivals, wine festivals, farmers market, a local coffee roaster and a vibrant downtown area.

The Art in the Park featured some great artists doing iron works to photography.


Weather – mostlycheck …low amounts of rainfall, mild autumns but kinda hot in the summer. It was a bit windy while we were there and the evening temps really drop.

Wine – CHECK… YEAH, baby does Paso have wineries!!!! Brewery’s and Cider Tap Houses too.

And boy howdy did we taste wine…Onx, Halter Ranch, Cass, LXV, Lazzzare, Diablo Paso, Bodega, Monochrome, Adelaida, Hermans Story, Tobin James, just to name a few!
Yeah, we might have bought a little bit of wine…this was just one days worth!!! Don’t get all judgy now!


Natural Beauty – CHECK …thanks to a very rainy winter in CA Paso was especially green and lush.

So green…
The art at Sculpterra Winery was just beautiful. This is the place to bring a picnic and spend the afternoon sipping wine.

On top of all that, Paso is only 32 miles from the beach which Bentley greatly appreciated. The sand dollars were everywhere on the beach, tiny but everywhere. Some great shells and barnacles too. The Paso area also has some great hiking nearby, which we didn’t have time to do thanks to all those damn wineries…whine, whine.

Bentley went crazy on the beach at Morro Bay. He was so excited when he smelled the ocean and couldn’t wait to get down on the beach.
Morro Bay is a great little beach town just off Hwy 101. Stop at Taco Temple for lunch…fresh, a local seafood – ling cod tacos!!!

Our eight days went far to fast and I honestly could have stayed in Paso for a month or two. I feel like we just scratched the surface of all there is to see and do in this area. Definitely have to come back and stay longer next time!!!

Fire pits with real burning wood…YAY!!!


Bye, Bye Paso…we will definitely be back.

Making Lemonade from Lemons – A unexpected stop in Riverside CA


One thing we learned from this mobile lifestyle is to expect the unexpected. Even though we do plan our travel, have routes we want to take and reservations for places we want to stay – sometimes S*it happens!

We had an oil leak on the coach motor when we arrived in Palm Springs last November and we had (okay, the mechanic) thought it was repaired. Turned out that wasn’t the problem… when we got to the staging area by the exit at ORPS where we hooked up the car, Wally noticed the dripping had started again. DAMN IT…we were right on time to breeze through LA before rush hour traffic ensued DAMN IT!!!!

Luckily, we were able to get ahold of the mechanic and he came out to check it out. Okay, so we sat there for over an hour waiting but he did show up. Seems after some inspection, the oil cooler housing gasket was really the problem. After some phone calls, we were told that the gasket kit was available in Riverside CA (no where else BTW) at the Caterpillar Dealer. The other good news was that they had time to look at the coach that afternoon and could most likely get the repair done the next day. All good news so far…

The mechanic who did the work for us felt really bad that he missed the real issue and helped us get on the road to Riverside. He paid for the gasket kit ($40), wrapped an absorbent diaper around the housing and zip tied it on. This temporary fix would help keep the oil from getting all over the front of the car which is towed directly behind the engine area.

We made the short 55 mile drive to Riverside, saw the engine doctor and were put on the schedule for Friday am. At that point we were hopeful we would be back on the road Friday but had to rearrange some reservations and find a place to stay the night. We had plans to meet friends in Paso Robles on Sunday and had decided to leave a few days prior to that …just in case! Sometimes intuition is spot on!

We spent the night at a expensive and somewhat divey RV park just 5 minutes from the Caterpillar Dealer in Riverside. Didn’t even bother to put all the slides out or hook up the sewer as we knew we were leaving at 7am the next morning! The area we stayed in was in a very industrial area right off I215.


But I was hopeful we could find something to occupy us the next day while the coach was being worked on. Love the Trip Advistor App.

So this is when lemons started turning into lemonade…We had a great burger and beer for dinner at Heros Restaurant and Brewery in downtown Riverside. Turns out we were within walking distance to the very old, historic Mission Inn so after we tucked in all that food we took a nice walk around the area. Who’da thunk Riverside had such a cool old downtown. Apparently, this part of town has gone through a resurgence…use to be all you would get in Downtown Riverside was stabbed! Ya, thats a fact as told to me by some locals.

The grounds are at the Mission Inn are absolutely stunning…

Bellies full, we went to bed early. 6 am came and we were up getting ready to take the coach to the doctor. Now remember, we have two pets who can’t stay onboard the coach if work is being done. After loading Bentley in the back of Ernie and Sucia in her big travel crate with a litter box and food, off we went to drop off the coach. Yikes, its early…and coffee was the first order of business after we left the Road House. Yay, for Starbucks!!!

Fueled up from coffee and somewhat awake now, we decided to head over to the California Citrus State Historical State Park for a walk.

We got there at 8am and were the only ones on the trails…what a hidden gem this place is. This 300-acre park preserves some of the rapidly vanishing cultural landscape of the citrus industry and tells the story of this industry’s role in the history and development of California. There are fruit tastings and guided tours at museum/visitor center.

Bentley hiking…what???

In 1873, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forever changed the history of Southern California when it sent two small Navel orange trees to Riverside resident Eliza Tibbets. Those trees, growing in near perfect soil and weather conditions, produced an especially sweet and flavorful fruit. Word of this type of orange quickly spread, and a great agricultural industry was born.

Ah, the good ole days when most of Southern Cal was orange groves …can only imagine how beautiful it was.

In the early 1900s, an effort to promote citrus ranching in the state brought hundreds of would-be citrus barons to California for the “second Gold Rush.” The lush groves of oranges, lemons and grapefruit gave California another legacy – its lingering image as the Golden State – the land of sunshine and opportunity. It was awesome to be in the middle of these lush groves and see how the city has grown up all around them. Love it that this bit of Cali history is being preserved.

Bentley enjoyed a long walk in the orchards while Sucia stayed in her kennel in the car. Thankfully it was a cool day so the she could enjoy all the great smells with the windows cracked. The orchard were all blooming and the sweet smell of citrus wafted all around us as we hiked around and through orchards. So many varietals of fruit…lemons, oranges, grapefruits and even an avocado orchard. I can’t say enough about this fantastic park….if they only had overnight RV sites, it would be heaven!

As it turns out, the museum wasn’t open yet…seriously, we were there at 8am…so not like us! I was optimistic that the coach would be done by noon and really wanted to see the UC Riverside Botanical Garden so off we went. Will have to see the musuem another time!

So many varietals of oranges

Love tangelos…so hard not to sneak in there and pick a few!

Fruit trees take a lot of water and all of the canals like the one in the picture in the right were originally dug by hand. The picture on the left is of a water control channel which keeps the whole damn place from washing away in big rain storms. Guessing that wasn’t there in the early 1900’s.

We drove back roads through some beautiful neighborhoods, turns out Riverside has some lovely areas and is not just a industrial blight with a violent history!

I had no idea how huge and sprawling the UC Riverside campus is…there are 40 acres of botanical gardens containing more than 3,500 plant species from around the world. Located in the foothills of the Box Springs Mountains on the east side of the University of California, Riverside Campus, the Gardens covers 40 hilly acres.

We wandered over the four miles of scenic trails and really enjoyed hiking the NW trails up into Box Springs Mountains… the views were stunning over the mountains and back down onto the campus plus we got a serious cardio workout!

Great hike up above the botanical gardens

Back at the car, I was sure the coach must almost be done so we made a quick call only to find out that they didn’t actually start working on it until almost 11 am…how rude…why were we up and at the service desk at 7am?

Well, so far the lemon of a day was all lemonade and we were starving by then so lunch was in order. Wally was craving pizza and we thought it was only fitting to go to the California Pizza Kitchen! Yes, it’s a chain but I gotta say the grilled artichoke, goat cheese and arugula salad with a champagne vinaigrette was delicious.

After a long lunch, we still had some time to kill and the world’s biggest paper cup was not far away so why wouldn’t we go check it out?

So its not actually paper…huh?

Turns out it was just down the street from Quinns Caterpillar and by now I was getting a bit anxious to get on the road. Driving in rush hour LA traffic is something we occasionally had to do when we lived in SoCal but wasn’t high on either of our bucket lists of things to do in a big ass RV.

As we rolled into the Caterpillar lot…Lo and behold there was the Road House rolling out of the work bays. Fingers crossed she was done and good to go! Yep, $794 later we we ready to roll. But to where one might ask…not back to the divey RV Park down the street for sure. We decided the traffic on the 210 looked doable and the route to Paso Robles (258 Miles) on google maps suggested going I5, over the grapevine and cutting over to Hwy 101 just south of Bakersfield.

We have never seen the southern california hills so green!

Long story short, we drove through some beautiful mossy green rolling hills, dusk turned into darkness and by the time we drove into Cava Robles RV Resort it was way later than we ever like to be on the road. That said, we backed into our site, put our the rear slide, took a long, hot shower and crawled into bed. Dang…we were just happy to be there!!!

Were our eyes really getting this fuzzy???

Our Winter Paradise


There’s no doubt it has been a rainy, cool winter here in the desert. 3.49 inches of rain fell in one day on February 14th – Happy Valentines Day! The normally bone dry, arid mountains are a beautiful mossy green this season. Despite the cooler than normal weather, we have had a great winter here in Palm Springs at the Outdoor Resort. It feels like we have found a small slice of paradise at this beautiful RV resort.

Bentley loves the desert too!
Did I mention we have beautiful sunsets here too??

So what is a RV resort you may wonder? According to Wikipedia, a recreational vehicle park or caravan park is a place where people with recreational vehicles can stay overnight, or longer, in allotted spaces known as “sites” or “campsites”. An RV Resort infers a bit more luxury and amenities just like any typical vacation resort, right? The word “resort” means different things to different people and is loosely used, but if you have ever been to a real resort, the difference is quite clear.

Tennis anyone?
Lunch by the pool at Bella Roma?
In addtion to the two big club house pools there are 6 satellite pools and hot tubs

On our travels around the western US, we have stayed in all varieties of RV parks, resorts, state and regional campgrounds. From basic to very high-end, so when we happened to find the Outdoor Resort in Palm Springs, we knew it was a very special place. Not only does it have all of the amenities you would find at a five star vacation resort but as the name implies the lifestyle is all about being outdoors. That really sold us on coming back.

The view of hole number one on the Executive golf course with the El Saguaro Club House in the background.

2 golf courses, a tennis complex, a pickleball complex, 2 huge club houses, 8 swimming pools, a hair/nail salon, a restaurant, a fitness center…the list goes on and on. If that isn’t enough, the activities department keeps things interesting with concerts, comedy shows, dances, BBQ’s, food trucks …you name it.

Concert on the green


The Outdoor Resort is community just like any other and while most people that winter here are retired, we do have some families that winter here too. What’s great is that people are active, interesting and generally very friendly. It’s not the sort of place where people just drive into the garage and never come out again until they have to go someplace! Okay, so no one has a garage but just sayin!!!

Nope, its not all sunshine and lemons at the Outdoor Resort!


Our lemon tree has contributed to many recipes and drinks this season.

Happy Hour is probably the most common get together here…just take a walk around the resort around 4 or 5 and you will see loads of people, hanging out on their patios with friends, enjoying a beverage, watching a movie on their outdoor TV’s, playing cards or just catching up.


Our back patio is the perfect place to host Happy Hour!


The hummers agree too…

The biggest difference is that there is no house to take care of and all 1,213 lots have some sort of recreational vehicle parked on them. All of our 137 acres of beautiful landscaping is taken care of by someone else – score – that means more time to play. It’s tiny house living for sure but there is never a lack of things to do at the resort. Because the resort is a privately owned community, run by a non-profit Board of Directors, there is plenty of opportunity to volunteer as well. Some how I got sucked into being the Chair of the Dog Owners and Friends Committee – go figure!

Last year we rented a lot here for three months with absolutely no intention of buying but somehow by the end of the second month we were looking at lots. We bought a great site on the ninth hole of the smaller par three golf course. Not only is our back yard beautifully landscaped but our view out the coach windows and from our patio is of the rugged San Jacinto Mountains. Thanks to the higher than normal rainfall, the mountains have been snow capped for weeks so the view is just spectacular.

Our coffee spot on the back patio is sunny in the mornings and a quiet place to start the day.
Our backyard.

Beside the beautiful Outdoor Resort, why Palm Springs you may wonder… well, the winter climate lends itself to being outdoors. Beyond that, we just like the area, its more small town like but with a great diversity of people, restaurants and a plethora of shopping within a 5 mile radius, the airport has loads of direct flights, a dry climate means no bugs – yay and lots of great hiking and outdoor options. Clearly the resort is 5 star, we have met so many great people in the community and made so many new friends. So combine all that and you have a winter paradise!!!

Concerts and friends…


We are just starting to wrap up our winter stay in Palm Springs, the patio furniture will all go into storage next week and the Road House will be rolling again the first week of April. Our plan is to take two months to drive up Hwy 101…all the way to Port Townsend Washington where the Road House will will board a ferry – with all of us on board too, cross Admiralty Inlet and deposit us on Whidby Island which is just 34 miles from Anacortes on Hwy 20. The crossing is only 30 minutes and the COOL thing is it will enable us to get to Anacortes without ever getting on I5. As much as we have enjoyed our time in the desert and all of our fabulous friends here, we are looking forward to rolling into some new adventures.


It’s National Margarita Day!!!

Did you know that Friday, February 22 is National Margarita Day 2019 in United States of America?

Not sure who’s clever marketing idea it was but wherever you stand on national food holidays — from loving the lunch prompt to thinking it’s made-up and absurd — I say, just embrace your inner mixologist!!!

The bottom line is you can get killer deals on margaritas at tons of different restaurants across the country. You can even score deals on margarita essentials like blenders and margarita mix at a bunch of different retailers. There’s a good chance your local watering holes and neighborhood restaurants are running National Margarita Day 2019 deals of their own.

I am personally not planning to go anywhere but my sunny patio overlooking the golf course in sunny Palm Springs!

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Because I want to properly honor the day, we will be serving Honey Palomas along with a Cheesy Potato and Crab Gratin, Caesar Salad and Sea Salt Caramels for dessert at our Friday Night Cocktail and Cards Soiree tonight.

Raingeddon…Happy Valentines Day from Palm Springs

You know that saying “when it rains it pours”? Well, it has been pouring here in the Coachella Valley all through the night and all damn day. No mercy from the rain gods…road closures, swift water rescues, flash floods in the canyons and roads washing out high up in the San Jacinto Mountain communities.

The water hazards on the golf courses here at the Outdoor Resort are now giant lakes!!! In the big picture all is well here at the Outdoor Resort. There isn’t much outdoor recreation going on here today but at least the ducks and geese are happy.

 

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Road closures all around the Coachella Valley

 

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This wash was completely dry on Wednesday.

 

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So thankfully for all the trained professionals who are out rescuing people.

 

According to the Palm Springs Visitors Center, rainfall is almost non-existent and the humidity is low in the Palm Springs area, reflecting the minimal annual rainfall total in Palm Springs is limited to about 5.8 inches, with 10 or fewer days each year during which rain actually falls in Palm Springs, Ca.

Well, I am happy to report that today we have had 3.59 inches so far making it the 3rd wettest day in Palm Springs history. But Palm Springs isn’t the only city seeing heavy rainfall. Other parts of the desert are experiencing wet conditions including Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert and other surrounding cities. Many roads and events throughout the valley are being closed and canceled.

 

 

 

Some fellow RV friends who are on the other side of the San Jacinto Mountains in Aguanga sent me this video today. It was taken at the road coming into their RV Resort…Nope, they are going anywhere soon!

I did make it out and down the street this morning about a half a mile to the store with only a few water crossings.

 

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Palm Springs officials have since been asked residents to “shelter in place” as emergency services have been “heavily impacted.” That said, thankfully we are high and dry here at the Outdoor Resort! Our plan is to shelter in place at some friends who are renting a place nearby, cook a big Valentines Day dinner feast and drink some really good wine. Raingeddon be damned!

 

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Woo-Hoo, some blue skies are finally peeking out.

 

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We usually have a beautiful mountain view but all you can see are clouds today.

 

The upside to all this rainfall is that the valley should have a amazing wildflower season. According to the Anza-Borrego Foundation, this winter’s rainfalls, the heaviest in a decade in the area, have wildflower experts predicting a record bloom at the state park.

WILD FLOWERS… perhaps there is a silver lining!

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A Month in Louisville, KY

I spent the month of December in Louisville helping my mother recuperate after a 5 day stay in the hospital. We had plans to both be there for 10 days to help get her ready to move to a senior community in Arizona and honestly, it was a good thing I was there three weeks earlier. With an aging parent, the moving process that most of us would breeze through just takes more time.

 

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PODS is a great way to move…they have great customer service and communicate the process very well.

 

I stayed with my cousins who live nearby so my sanity mostly stayed intact. We really enjoying the holidays together, cooking and baking together. They have some wonderful friends who happily included us in their holiday celebrations.

 

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The New Years brunch feast.

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A delicious Australian dessert…Lambingtons. Made by my talented cousin June.

 

In between driving my mother to appointments, packing the condo, trips to the Goodwill and Margrets Consignment Shop (how many shoes, pursues and clothes can one person have??) we did manage to get out to try some new restaurants, attend a concert, see some christmas lights, tour the Copper and Kings Brandy Distillery. No, not Bourbon on this trip, we have done so many of those tours on prior trips. Yes, we did eat some BBQ too!

 

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The Louisville Palace is a beautiful concert venue.

 

Louisville really is a very livable city and generally, people are incredible friendly. Easy to get around, shopping and services abound, a great restaurant scene with just about any ethnic choice you many be craving, art and a rich southern history. Housing is very affordable and there are four seasons…but Louisville won’t likely ever make our short list of places to live. Why, you may ask…well it is cold, gray and rainy in the winter, humid and hot in the summer – two strikes and your out. Sorry Louisville, I do love you but you failed my weather criteria.

 

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Yummy… Shrimp and Grits and a local brew.

 

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A gorgeous day for a walk…

 

This was the longest I have been away from my hubby and pets, so boy was I glad to get back to Palm Springs where we are wintering. The critters were both very happy to see me.

 

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Bentley was at a kennel for 10 days while Wally was in KY with me so boy was he glad to be sleeping on his own bed at home

 

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Hitting the bottle…Bentley loved his christmas present from his Kentucky Cousins!!!