Saturday, April 30, 2016

April Wrap Up -- Day 185

So here we are on the doorstep of another chapter of our adventure. We're making the transition from constantly moving, to being mostly stationary for the next five months.

And it's nerve wracking.

Before I get into the new adventure, let me first wrap up April.

Viking RV Park in Kingsburg was a welcome oasis of green after so much southern California desert. It's a tiny little park, filled with mostly permanent residents. I don't think we would have found the place, had it not been for Passport America (did I mention the awesome 50% discount? Because if you don't have PA, and you're in a motorhome, you're doing it wrong.) The funny thing about PA parks is that some of them seem to have doubled their rates to account for the discount, but the discounted rates fit our budget and are generally acceptable. This place was very no-frills, and even had pay showers (!) but being surrounded by old green trees put a smile on Anya's face, and that is priceless, my friends.

After Kingsburg, we had some bigger city needs, so we stopped in Fresno. The turtles, Luke and Leia, needed some companionship and exercise, so we picked up minnows and ghost shrimp. We added 20 new creatures to the turtlearium (that's the scientific word for their habitat. Don't bother looking it up, it's way too technical to be on the internet.) Out of the 20, almost half were consumed in the first day, because Nature is a violent place sometimes. Fresno is a rough town, if you're a ghost shrimp.

One of the things that you have to do from time to time is splurge to maintain sanity. I was craving Snuffer's (famous Dallas burger joint) and thought that Fresno might be able to offer something of a local equivalent. There was a Farmerboys® in the parking lot of the PetSmart in Clovis, and Yelp said that it was good. And while it was good, it was no Snuffer's.

The next day we drove to Arena RV Park in Chowchilla, because I really dug the name of the town. It was a quaint little place, and the site we were in was super narrow, I couldn't even get Fezzik's whole body in the lines. But they had wifi, and nice bathrooms, so it was worth the overnight.

This is from Fahrens Park in Merced

While I love to disc golf, the parks are not often designed to accommodate a vehicle as impressive in stature as our dear Fezzik. The fair citizens of Merced, being no different, had a very cool natural boulder barrier to set off the parking lot from the disc golf course. I noticed that there was plenty of room when we arrived, and didn't think that lots of people would be coming out to disc golf in the middle of the day on a Wednesday. When am I going to learn that disc golfers don't adhere to a typical 9 to 5 schedule? Trying to leave the full lot was not fun, and I wish I could say that I pulled it off without incident. Sadly, Fezzik now has a not-so-straight bumper and the roof access ladder is a little broken.

Undeterred, we ventured forth to Fisherman's Bend in Newman, CA. If you ever want to be off the beaten path, this is the place to go. It was a little run down (Anya didn't feel safe leaving the rig) and it totally seemed like the perfect place for a meth lab, so if you're looking for secluded and out of the way living with chickens and goats, I have found the place for you! I didn't take any pictures (for fear that at some point my phone may get taken into evidence), but trust me when I say the place was really green.

Ready to return to civilization, we hit up the Flag City RV park in Lodi. The sad thing about civilization is that it often resembles a parking lot. This place had ALL the amenities: nice bathrooms, laundry, swimming pool, clubhouse, flat paved sites with full hookups. But it was ugly, and the pool was freezing! Also, even with the Passport America discount, it was really expensive.

Would you like to know the remedy for a parking lot camping experience? Disc golf. For us, it was the beautiful and grueling Taylor Mountain course in Santa Rosa. 

"Before disc golfing, we spent the night at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. After getting our butts kicked by the Mountain, we headed off to Alexander Valley," Anya reminded me. It was a really physical course, with lots of elevation changes, and some spectacular vistas.

Alexander Valley RV park was right on the banks of the Russian River.

For me, being in the Alexander Valley was a dream come true. Back when I was first learning to appreciate wine, Alexander Valley Vineyards was my first favorite Cabernet. After three glorious days, we drove up to Ukiah to the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds. 

This picture just doesn't do it justice

The energy up in Northern California is so awesome. It just really feels like we belong here. While I do miss the ocean, I am loving being up in the mountains amongst the trees.

Our final week of this stage of the journey was spent at the quaint little Sleepy Hollow RV park in Willits. It is a very cool, if tiny, place with not much by way of amenities. We also got to spend time with some of our new best RV friends that we had met back in December in south Texas. It's one thing to make friends when you stay in one place. It's a bit of a different experience making friends on the road because you never know when your paths will cross again. It was really great to get to spend time with friends that we met 4 months and 2000 miles ago. 

 Some of the local residents came to see us off

And now we're here at the Redwoods River Resort, just off Hwy 101 between Leggett and Piercy, CA. New jobs, new friends, and a new way of life.

Tomorrow starts the new adventure.


  1. Aw you guys were sooooooooo close to me :( My parents stayed at Flag City, it is a nice place, but you are right, ugly, no real nature features. So glad you guys are digging Northern Cali, it is a very strange and beautiful place.

  2. It was great to see you! I love how that worked out. Looking forward to hearing how your summer gig moves you along your paths. ... Tara (and Bill)

  3. For real love your blog bro! I'm really enjoying reading about y'alls trip and vicariously reliving my travels over the same roads. We are all truly blessed to live in a place and time where great roadtrips are possible. You've got my feet itchy to hit the road again and I've started planning. At this stage in my life I have to plan. When I was in my 20s I just saved up gas money for a month or so and hit the road. A sense of adventure is a wonderful thing to have and ot obvious y'all have it in spades. I remember never stopping in Lodi on my teips through Cali because of one line in a Creedance Clearwater Revival song "Oh lord, stuck in Lodi again" I figured if John Fogerty took the time to warn my in musical form I should heed his advice. Now that y'all have stopped and moved on without getting stuck I think I'll check it out next time through. I also remember stopping at a Best Western in Willits after days of hard driving and sleeping in a tent. It was way over my budget, but the hot shower and soft bed felt like a sultans palace at the time. Can I ask what y'all are doing for the summer? Anyway, definitely try to check out Big Sur if you pass that way. Also let me know something if you don't mind. I stopped and walked through a redwood grove on a trip to Oregon, had my girl at the time with me and noticed something strange. As we walked through the "Ladybird Johnson" grove we were talking to each other and about 20 minutes into our walk I realized we had been whispering our conversation the whole time. The sheer awe inspired by those huge and ancient beings stole the volume right out of our mouths. Let me know if you hike theough a grove if the same thing happens to you. Maybe I ruined it by telling you first, but I'd bet y'all feel it just like we did. Anyway, enough of my ramblings, y'all stay safe, have fun, and keep the rubber side down. Thanks again for the read.