On the Road Again – February 2011

On February 1st we left Alameda Fairgrounds around 9:15 am and headed east.  The ride was so much prettier as all the hills are green – not that dead looking brown.  I just love seeing the cows on the sides of those huge hills chewing their cuds.  Being on the road again gives us the opportunties to see new places, meet new people and discover new things.  The night before we had said our goodbyes to our family in Pleasanton which is always hard to do  We enjoyed our time here but so ready to move on.

Once we exited off I-575 we were in new territory which made the ride very enjoyable.  On the way we saw where so much of our fruit, vegetables and nuts are grown.  This area is known for grapes, pomegranates, pistachios, and figs.  We stopped around 1 at “High Sierra Rv and Mobile Park in Oakhurst, California.  They offer full hookups, clubhouse, cable, wi-fi, tables, fire rings, dump station, and a  river for swimming and fishing.   Our site was on the Fresno River with a waterfall which was so pretty.  We received a nice discounts because we are Escapees Members.  This campground is really close to Yosemite National Park which we will explore tommorow.

The next morning we had to go to the auto parts store and buy chains for the truck before entering Yosemite National Park.  $85 later we had the chains in the back seat and headed towards the park.  Because we have a senior pass for National Parks we got in for free – sometimes it pays to be old.  LOL.  Alot of the roads in the park are closed due to snow during the winter so this will have to be a mini view of the park and then revisit sometime in warmer weather.  We were able to see the beautiful falls – Yosemite Falls which is 2425 foot drop, the Bridalveil Falls which is 620 feet but often the wind blows the falls sideways giving it the appearance of a brides veil.  The Ribbon falls is the tallest single falls in North America.  Looking at all the beautiful rock formations and seeing snow was the highlight of our day.  Not one animal was seen – guess wrong time of the year.  We had a nice lunch at the Lodge and rode the bus around the loop.  We watched a movie and hiked to one of the falls thru ice and snow.  It was a wonderful day and we enjoyed it greatly.

On the 3rd we took a ride to Bass Lake which is located in the Sierra National Forest.  Drove all around the lake and enjoyed seeing the homes right on the water.  We got a real good feel of the area and another enjoyable day.

Our next stop was Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station in Seal Beach, California.  We have stayed at this nice campground before and again enjoyed our visit.  While here we had trouble with our airbags on the hitch so had to wait until a new set was shipped and installed by Tim.  We got to do laundry and also took a ride to Barstow, California to visit with Lamar, Tim’s oldest brother.  We took him to lunch at Coco’s which was not every good and enjoyed our visit with him at the Veteran’s Home.

Another two days we hit Disneyland. Disneyland opened in 1955 and I think I have wanted to see it since the Mickey Mouse Club back in the 1950’s.  It was quite an experience  but I must admit that I like Disney World much better – bigger and more options.  The first day we did the Disneyland Park and rode the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Disneyland Railroad, Haunted Mansion, Innoventions, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey and the Sailing Ship Columnbia.   We had lunch at the Carnation Cafe which had excellent food.  We then treated ourselves to an afternoon snack at the Blue Ribbon Bakery.  Fun day.

The next day we went back to Disneyland and did The California Adventure Park.  We had fun doing so many enjoyable rides including California Screamin, Animation Academy, Disney Aladdin, Games of the Boardwalk, Golden Zephyr, Its Tough To Be a Bug, Monsters Inc, Soarin Over California and Toy Story Mania.  We enjoyed lunch at Wine Country Trattoria enjoying Italian food.  Another beautiful day.

We went to the South Coast Plaza Mall in Costa Mesa, California.  Oh my what a wonderful mall.  Has every store you can imagine especially the high end stores.  A few of them even had guards at the doors.  We enjoyed walking around and looking but the only things we bought were in the Kitchen Store.  Nice to live in a small house – cannot be tempted to buy alot.

Our youngest daughter had a birthday on the 8th of February – I cannot believe my baby is 35 – wow that makes me old.  We did receive good news that they are having another child in August.  So happy for them.

On the 11th we pulled out of the Navy Weapons Station in Seal Beach at 8 am to start our journey east.  As we started our journey we hit quite abit of traffic – this is norm for California as they have alot of traffic during the day and night. 

Off in the distance you could see snow on the mountain tops while we were in 55 degree weather.  Also as you look at the mountains you can begin to understand mud slides in this area.  Some of those homes just don’t belong on the sides of the mountains.  Another thing that amazes me about California is the old school buses.  They look like the ones we had back in the 1950’s – I remember my dad driving one in the afternoons back then.  Back then if the kids misbehaved you could throw them off the bus.  Imagine doing that today????

The speed limit most places is 65 except for trucks and behicles towing it is 55.  I must say you get to see much more when going slower. 

We stopped in Chiriaco Summit to fuel up the truck and total shock with the price at $4.269.  Yikes.  They also had a General Paton Museum – we had toured one at Fort Knox so not sure what this one was.

We stopped at a nice rest area and enjoyed our lunch.  We were both totally amazed going thru Quartsite, Arizonia and seeing all the rv’s just parked out in the desert.  They can park out here with no hookups for free and so many stay all winter.  This is really not for us as we enjoy our comforts much to much.

We stopped in Tonopah, Arizonia and fueled up for $3.549 which was much better.  Down the road was the campground Saddle Mountain RV Park.  It is an Escapee Park so we got a nice discount.  This campground is in the Sonora Desert and has 342 full hookups, pull thrus, Laundry, activities, tennis, basketball, shuffleboard, horseshoes, putting green and a pool.  We spent only one night here – would stop again.

As we were driving down I-10 we saw a sign for Chiricahua National Monument in Willcox, Arizonia.  We both looked at each other and said lets go see.  It was 37 miles off I-10 but well worth the ride.  When we reached the park the ranger told us we could not take the camper any further – but to drop it and take a ride up the mountain.  We decided to go for it and so happy we did.

It is an 8 mile scenic drive.  the Chiricahua Mountain Range is an inactive volcanic range 20 miles wide and 40 miles long.  The park covers over 11,985 acres and the Apaches called this place “The Land of Standing Up Rocks”.  The monument was created in 1924 to preserve this beautiful area.  It truly is a wonderland of rocks.  There is also a ranch called the Faraway Ranch built by Swedish Immigrants Neil and Emma Erickson in 1888.  It remained a guest ranch until 1973 when it became part of the national monument.   It was a very interesting stop and so different than most places we see.

We stayed at the Fort Willcox Rv Park in Willcox Arizonia for the night.  Full hookups, discount for passport america so we were pleased.

Sunday morning we hit the road again around 8 am and headed east.  We crossed the Continental Divide around 10 am.  Driving thru New Mexico t
hey have signs all over the highway saying Desert Storms may exist – do not stop in travel lanes.  Guess people need to be reminded about common sense.  LOL.  Just outside Deming, New Mexico we had a tire blow out on the drivers side of the camper.  Yikes it took out alot of the trim work.  Thank Goodness for the road service we have as they came out and changed the tire for us.  We then followed him back to the garage and had to buy another tire for over $200.    We stopped for lunch and headed towards Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.  Today was a hard day – we had the blow out – our oldest daughter is having problems with her feet and could not race in the New Orleans event and our youngest is pregant and was bleeding and had to go to the hospital.  Very stressful day.

Our stay at Fort Bliss in El Paso was pretty relaxing.  We did go to Home Depot and buy some tape to patch up the damaged area of the camper from the blowout.  A repair man was in the park and looked at it but it will take over 2 weeks to get the parts so we will have it fixed at a later date.  Fort Bliss has a beautiful mall right on base – while here I had my hair cut, stocked up on wine and got laundry done.  We have been to this area before so no sightseeing this time.

On Feb 16th we pulled out of Fort Bliss at 8 am and headed south stopping for the night in Ozona, Texas at the Circle Bar Rv Park for $27 a night.  Okay stop but as we have said before once we go inside and close the door we can forget about the outside world – our own bed, chairs, tv and of course computers.

Driving all day our next stop was Corpus Christi Naval Air Station at the Shields Park Naval Air Station Recreation Area.  This campground sits right on the bay with beautiful views.  Full hookup site for $15 a nite but we could only stay one night.  The wind was whipping so we did not get our walk in today but did enjoy looking out the window at the water.  The military sure has some of the best real estate in this country and we are so thankful that we are able to use these benefits now.  

We took the toll road around Houston which cost us $18 which we thought was pretty pricey but we avoided alot of traffic.
 
The campground we ad picked for the night looked horrid from the road but luck was on our side.  About a block away was Gulf Coast Rv Resort in Beaumont Texas for $17 a night for full hookups.  This campground was so reasonable because it was in the Passport America Family which we belong too.  Passport America parks are membership parks so you pay 1/2 price for a site which is quite a deal.  Real nice campground and we really enjoyed our stay.  Our only complaint was we sunk into mud 1/2 way up our tires as the ground was so soft because of all the rain.  Of course this is not the campgrounds fault – mother nature is to blame.  LOL.  We stayed two nights and were able to see alot that Beaumont had to offer. 

Saturday morning we headed to Beaumont Botanical Gardens.  What a wonderful place to visit – the Horticultural Center had a collection of botanical artwork and the Warren Loose Conservatory had a collection of lush tropical plants from around the world.  They also ad a native plant center, Japanese Gardens, Rose Gardens and a 9/11 Memorial Garden.  This was just beautiful and they only ask for a donation.

Our next stop was downtown Beaumont to see the Fire Museum.  Well downtown Beaumont is closed up on the weekends so we got to see only the Dalmatian spotted Fire Hydrant which is 24 feet tall and weights over 4500 lbs.  It is made out of fiberglass and reinforced with steel.  Kind of cool.

Next stop was St Anthony Cathedral Basilica which was built over 100 years ago.  Also locked up as tight as a drum.  Kind of sad that even churches keep their doors locked – I used to love to stop into the church
and just say alittle prayer or have a chat with our Lord – this world sure has changed.

As we were riding around we came across Spindletop Gladys City Boomtown Museum located on Lamar University campus.  They started drilling here in 1893 and finally it oil in 1901.  It was a small community with a derrick, barber shop, log cabin, saloon, post office, dry goods store, oil exchange, print shop, drugstore, carriage works etc.  It was very interesting but I think they forget how to dust – the dust was a few inches thick and smelt dirty.  It was something completly different though so we enjoyed it.

The lady in the campground recommended a good seafood restaurant so we thought we would try it out.  It was called the Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen.  As you entered they gave you a number and you sat out on the patio and listed to a live band play music.  Then your number blinked on the screen and you were seated for the best seafood dinner ever.  Highly recommend this place – our meals were outstanding.  It is a good thing we are leaving the area tommorow or I would be tempted to go back – lol.

We left Beaumont, Texas around 9:15 am and headed east on I-10.  If you follow I-10 across the state of Texas it is 880 miles long in just one state.  Being from little Connecticut this blows my mind.  We could cross our state back and forth in one day easy – even stop along the way.

We stopped along the way at a Target parking lot and had lunch – nice to have your kitchen with you.  We took a bridge over the swamp in La which was 18 miles long – it amazes me how they build these things.  We stopped for one night at Jellystone Park in Robert, La and paid only $16.65 for a night with full hookups.  It is off season still so low prices.  Really nice campground with lots of things to do – had a nice walk around the grounds and a wonderful chat with the girl in the store about camping.

On the 21st of Feb we arrived in Panama Beach, Florida and pulled into a site next to Jeff, Tim’s younger brother.  It was great seeing him again and that night we had dinner with Jim, Annie and Jeff.  Very enjoyable food and company.

While here  I saw a road called MOYLAN Road – had to laugh as this was my maiden name – wonder where that came from?????

We spent 3 nights here relaxing, stocking up on food, enjoying our company and best of all our free campsite.  Thanks Jeff.

Hitting the road again we took the back roads to be able to enjoy what this country has to offer.  The interstates are nice for a quick trip but you see nothing that each state has to offer – they all look the same from the highways.  Highway 98 east thru Tydell Air Force Base, Mexico Beach, Port St Joe, etc.  We saw a sign that said “Fish at Social Security Prices”.  We ran into a minor problem with the truck – said we needed to add water to the battery – kind of weird but thankfully we had water – nice to have everything you need right with you at all times.

We stopped for the night at Southern Comfort Campground somewhere in Florida – little pricey for what you got but good overnight stop. 

Left the next morning and headed south into Largo Florida to Lee’s Travel Park.  Pretty nice campground but our main reason for stopping here was to spend sometime with my sister Ann and brother-in-law Rich.  This worked out perfect as they are about 5 minutes away so we were able to be together for dinner each night but still have our own time.  We spent a week here and truly enjoyed every minute.  One day we went down to Clearwater Beach and sat at a beach bar for a few drinks enjoying the sunshine and warm weather.  Another day we hit the Flea Market, girls shopping day, tour of the area and just sitting around talking. 

The last night I got so sick – spent half the night in the bathroom so the next day traveling was not to enjoyable – I was dead tired.  Slept alot.&nbsp
; We stopped for the night at Pecan Park Rv Resort in Jacksonville.

On March 5th we pulled into the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek, South Carolina.  Stayed tuned