Friday, November 25, 2011

Bates Nut Farm

Bates Nut Farm has an annual Craft Fair over the Thanksgiving weekend. They have a store where you can buy just about every kind of candy, nuts and dried fruit, as well as snacks, gifts and gift packs and baskets. Lovely place to browse. Of course the Christmas theme was in and you can get all kinds of novelties and decorations.

The craft stalls are set up on the property outside. There was everything on sale. We enjoyed browsing through the stall for a couple of hours, oohing and aahing over the hand made jewellery, photographs, paintings, home made soap, sculptures and a lot more beautifully made items. Of couse we did not buy anything that was not edible, being that we do not have place for anything more!

After we left the farm, we went to take a look at Woods Valley Campground. This is a Passport America campground. It looks like quite a nice place. Larger RVs are usually accommodated in a flat area near the pond, although we did some fifth wheels up the hill. There were several full time campers there. The park is situated in a typical southern California valley. There is no cell service and not cable TV. Satellite will depend on your site. It is quite heavily treed.

Here are some pictures of our day.

Forward unto the breach, dear friends. V strides toward the booths

Santa loading the train

Such determination to find the next bargain. Our dearest American Mom, V.

Sculptures using stones and wire

Santa's train

Patient co-shopper

This little doggie reminded us so much of our Mischief

Ranch bordering Bates Nut Farm. 

Thanksgiving at The Chateau at San Marcos

Yesterday we went for Thanksgiving lunch at the residence where V lives. It was a wonderful, restful day. A great lunch that we did not have to cook or clean up after. The lunch was a traditional Turkey Dinner with a choice of pumpkin, pecan or mincemeat pie as dessert. I forgot the camera, so we have no photos. I really do have to get into the habit of taking it and taking photos of everything.

After lunch we all went back to V's condo and she and I had a nap, while Michael started reading a book about Homer, a blind cat. After naps V and and I played Gin Rummy for 3 hours, which was great fun, then some TV together and then home.

Today we are going to Bates Nut Farm's Craft Fair. This time I will remember to take my camera.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Midnight Gremlins?

Just a quick note as I am up really early this morning.

I am sure there are gremlins, or maybe they are demons, who come out at night and throw stuff around inside the RV. I was sure it was neat and tidy last night and I come through here this morning and it looks like a hurricane passed through. Anyone else get visited by these little critters? Those of you who don't, please let me know how you keep them out of your RV.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Doing stuff in San Marcos/Escondido

The first thing we did this morning was go to Camping World in San Marcos. We needed to pay our tithe! Two things on the shopping list.

1) A new dual hitch receiver with a dropped hitch to take the Blue Ox and the bike rack. We had a Blue Ox single dropped receiver and a friend made a bracket to take the bike rack in another receiver. This all worked really well, until we took a ramp into a parking area, caught the bottom of one of the bolts that held the bracket on, bent the bolt, bent the bottom plate and compromised the whole thing. Camping World had one in stock, but it had been ordered for another customer some time ago. They very kindly sold us that receiver. Now we just have to find someone to cut the inserts shorter and drill some holes for the pins.

2) A Dish Network satellite receiver on their pay as you go scheme. Up in Canada we have Bell, but the Bell footprint does not reach this far south and west. Michael just has to go up and change the switches on the Carry Out satellite antenna. We had the choice of switching our provider to Shaw (Starchoice) which is supported down here, but as we already have the Winegard Carry Out, we decided to go this route. The Carry Out does not support Shaw.

While we were at Camping World we saw a really different truck Camper. It is mounted on a Land Rover truck and comes from Switzerland. It looked very well made and very compact. Would have loved to have seen inside!

Fits very neatly onto a Land Rover

Bikes on the back. Small Swiss flag stuck on the license plate.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Life in California

After more than a week here in Southern California, we are still trying to settle into a routine. The park is very nice and very quiet. People come and go and it does not seem as if anyone fraternises with any one else. Apart from a few nods and smiles, we haven't really spoken to anyone.

We were at Sonrise RV in Escondido the other day getting a new propane hose for the Extend-A-Stay and the guys there gave us two tickets for a Pancake Breakfast at Applebees, so this morning we were up early and made our way there. It was a fund raising benefit event for the local Charter School's basketball team.

The reason we had to get a new propane hose was that Michael had not removed the one we had on the propane tank and somewhere along the way, it fell out of the compartment and was dragged for a few hundred miles, totally destroying the end.

The weather has been cool with a few overnight showers. There is, however, quite a big rain storm coming our way. The nights are cold and we have had the furnace running off and on to keep us mostly warm and cozy inside. One of the problems we have found with this RV is that at the back, between the end cap and the bedroom there is nothing in the way of insulation. The floor is not insulated either. My side of the bed is freezing cold. Another thing to talk to Jayco about when we go there in April.

Michael has spent a few days going around tightening screws, fixing this and that. The build on the vehicle is very poor and we are going to have to spend some money on repairing all the deficiencies. One big improvement will be boosting the suspension. The back sway is really bad. We were going to put Timbrens in but after a visit to a local springs shop, we have decided to put in boosted springs and better shock absorbers. The front end will need to be tightened up as well.

This morning we took the time go for a walk about in the park behind the resort. There is a nice walking track and I will take advantage of that to get my morning exercise in. We took a few photos of the resort from the hill at the back. Nice views of the hills and valleys as well.

Kids Playground

Across the park to the hillsides behind the Resort

The upper level of the resort. We are in the center section hidden behind the RV's  that can be seen here.

Large paved area. Not sure what it is for.

Mobile homes with the new hospital in the background

Homes and hills

The lower section has narrower sites to accommodate RVs with no or only one slide

Another view of the lower section. Resort buildings with red roofs. Laundry, washrooms and clubhouse.

More lower level

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Escondido RV Resort

We moved into Escondido RV Resort yesterday and are trying to get settled in. My US$ bank account reads $64 after they withdrew the first months rent and the security deposit. This is quite scary! Bread and water for the next 1/2 month!! Ha ha.

The resort is very nice but very expensive for what they have here. This whole trip to California is proving to be way more expensive than we had planned. Had we been able to do it at a leisurely pace, i.e. going by the 2X2X2 rule, things would have been much more manageable. The 2X2X2 rule is this... Never travel for more than 200 miles, always arrive at your destination by 2:00 pm and never stay less than 2 days (we prefer between 1 and 2 weeks). The 1-2 week stay portion would be staying in membership campgrounds for nothing more than $10 a night, including electricity costs. Here we are paying $865 a month plus the cost of electricity, which will probably be about $75 a month. Heart Breaking! But we are doing this for my (step) American Mom who is a national treasure. I took early retirement to be more available to take care of her in her twilight years. She gave my Dad so much help when he was alive, this is the least I can do for her.

Tucked tightly in.


This road is actually on a slope. 

Our "front" yard. A trifle small!
We were going to get solar panels. but this has fallen by the wayside because we have dug severely into the solar budget. We will readdress this next year.  So, onward and upward. The good thing is that from here there are stores within walking distance, so unless we are going to V's house we do not need to use the car.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Change in RV Resorts

On Saturday we decided to go up to Champagne Lakes RV Resort. It was pouring with rain, so we took it slowly. From V's house to the I 15 was an easy drive and quite quick, Up the i 15 was a totally different kettle of fish and we felt as if we were on the road forever. Boy, it is a long way. Eventually got there and went into the office and got our site number and then 2 alternatives. Our assigned site was just horrible! Parked parallel with absolutely no space for the rear slide and no way we could put the awning out because it is right on the camp road. We went to look at the other 2 sites and while the sites themselves were fractionally bigger, there was a very steep road up to the area where we were sent and then a very sharp turn to the right and tight turns to get into the spaces. So, it is a no go for Champagne Lakes. We will get our $100 deposit back next week.

Our next port of call was the Escondido RV Resort. This resort is very close to V's and while it is quite a lot more expensive, it is also much nicer The sites are paved and while not very wide, they are long and will accommodate our RV very nicely. It has a small pool and a hot tub. A club house and is very close to everything. Moving in here almost breaks my heart as we have campground memberships that will cost us next to nothing to stay, but at this point in time, helping her is our priority

We move to Escondido RV Resort on Tuesday, as the winter tenant will be coming into the house.

Today the weather cleared up completely we went to Walmart and did a bit of shopping and then went to the RV storage area and washed the RV. We will not have another opportunity as washing RVs is not allowed at the Resort. Will have to look for some of that waterless washing stuff.

Sorry, no photos today!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pilot Knob to San Diego County.

Early up on Friday morning, we slipped out of Pilot Knob and the hit the I 8 West. The drive was really easy as there was NO WIND! Even as we went through the Sand Dunes Recreational area, the dust was just hanging in the air.

We drove past a lot of RV parks near the road, from some really shabby places to the Rio Bend Resort, which is a pretty pricey place even with the membership discount.

Through the towns we saw some pretty shabby homes here you cannot believe that there are actually people living.

Devil's Canyon is spectacular and the climb is from Sea Level up to over 4000 ft. The rocky hills and outcrops are so unusual and beautiful. There are literally millions upon millions of rocks of all sizes, seemingly piled up by some giant hand. I must look up the geology of this place.

Then we rolled into the greater San Diego area on the I 8 and then onto the I 15 North toward Oceanside.
We arrived at V's residence at about 12:30 and picked her up for the trip over to her Oceanside house. We had called security earlier to let them know we were coming in, but they had no record of our RV storage paperwork. Eventually this was sorted out and we were able to put the motorhome into a spot. This will just be for 4 days as V has a paying tenant for 4 months. On Tuesday we head up to an RV resort in Escondido.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance Day

Lest we forget. Thank you, Mom and Dad! Thank you to all the war veterans of all wars. If it was not for them, we might be speaking a different language and would not have the freedoms we have.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Abita Springs to Pilot Knob

I am going to put these last few days into one blog post, for the sake of brevity. Many miles, 4 nights and a host of new sights and places.

We left Abita Springs early on Monday morning and took the I12 and then got onto the I10. We loved Louisiana and we know we will be back. Definitely to spend longer than 2 days. There is so much to see, taste and experience. We found the people to be warm and hospitable, if a bit quirky too. We loved the architecture and vegetation of the New Orleans area and the eclectic atmosphere of the French Quarter. Anyway the I 12 and then the I 10 took us west over swamps, basins and through forests. There was a very long bridge on the I10 over the Atchafalaya Basin.

Bridge over the swamp

Water visible between the two lanes

Lots of water in Louisiana


Cypress swamp

Texas came upon us quite unexpectedly and when I looked at the map, it was evident that it was going to take us three days of driving to get into New Mexico. Our first night was spent at a Camping World, just West of Houston in Katy. The Camping World is huge. Unlike the wonderful store with the full hook up in Alabama, this one was just a spot in their parking lot, with no hookups. To add to that, the receptionist was a very rude young lady. However, the cashier who attended to us with our purchases was a real honey. 

The biggest Camping World I have ever seen

From Katy, we carried on the next day and stopped in Fort Stockton, Texas, where we spent the night at the Walmart. It was very quiet and a great stopover. There were about 9 other RVs in the lot.

Fort Stockton Walmart

Some other RVs in Walmart

We left really early the next morning and made it through New Mexico to Fort Willcox, Arizona. Fort Willcox RV Resort is a passport America resort, so the night cost us about $13 for full hookup. We took the opportunity to dump, flush and fill. We met the couple on the site next to us, who have just started full timing in a 30 foot C Class....oh how well we remember trying to do that! Anyway they were having some computer problems, so I helped them by sorting their laptop out for them.  The evening was absolutely gorgeous, crisp clear and a big full moon. Fort Willcox RV Park is a small park. Very neat and clean. There is a ramada which is a bit dilapidated, but functional. The washrooms were clean. Showers were about 50c for 6 minutes. There are a few fulltimers living there, but the mobile homes are neat and in good repair. A nice campground and a great overnight stop.

Our site. Only 3 other RVs there

Full moon and a beautiful sunset over the mountains

Flocks of birds

Front gate

Once more an early start and a good drive to Winterhaven, California where we are now camped at Pilot Knob RV Resort. Another membership park. 

Pilot Knob is another big RV parking lot. Looks very clean and well groomed.

We just fit onto the site without unhooking the car.

Tomorrow we do the last leg of our journey to North San Diego County. 
Below are some more photos taken from the motorhome and in rest stops. Great trip. We have averaged 10 MPG for this leg of the journey.

Flat land and wide open skies

Some states have the nicest decorations on the overpasses

Mountains and cloudes

Rest area picnic site

Another picnic area in New Mexico

Lunch time parking

A plethora of signs

Mountain ranges in the distance

Amazing rock formations

An Interstate overpass


Picacho Peak

Another rest stop

Still quite a few states to fill in on our map


Texas Canyon
Entering California