Wednesday, October 8, 2014

On the road again....

Loaded and ready for....

The Beacon with our besties...when and where will we meet next?!
Lunch, al fresco, at Daniel's
(our old house)
I believe I've used this title more than once, but it is just so fitting. Our last week in Tahoe was filled with a frenzy of lasts - last dinners and happy hours and storing all those yummy hugs for our many months away from loved ones. We finally caught up with Virginia and Skip, the newlyweds and had a wonderful vegan dinner at their home in Incline; last Thai meal at Orchids with Jen, Brown, the Harts and Marc; last trip to the Beacon with Maria and Brian; and last dinner with my son, Jacob. We bid adieu to our home for a couple of weeks, generously provided by our friend, Suzanne, and Daniel made us a yummy lunch bowl on our way out of town. We'll miss Tahoe and the wonderful people there, but know we'll be back in a blink.

Bill had made reservations to spend the night in the lodge at Sierra Hot Springs. We have been there many times - for the day and for camping, but we have never stayed in the lodge, so that was a real treat. They have a community kitchen there - you can use their fridge and they have little cubbies you can label to store your non-perishables. We also brought our cooler in and left it there for easy access. They have two complete oven/stove/counter/sink workstations so several people can prepare their meals at once. It's a lovely place we keep coming back to, over and over again. The meditation pool was our first stop and we closed our eyes in the lovely pool under the setting sun, just enjoying the simple bliss. Bill surprised me the next morning with a 90 minute, much-needed massage before we took off for Spencer Hot Springs, our next stop.

Spencer Hot Springs is just outside of Austin, Nevada. When we started full-timing, back in July 2010, this was our first stop after we left Tahoe Valley Campground. Amazingly enough it was almost 4 years to the date of our last visit. This drive, in our truck, was just a bit easier, over the 7 miles of washboard road, to get there.

Only one night here as we had coveted reservations at Benton Hot Springs. We had wanted to spend 2, or even 3, nights there, but they were completely booked on the weekend, which meant we had to cut our stays short everywhere else - but it was sooooooo worth it!! The Inn at Benton Hot Springs has been around a very long time - it is a B&B, but after being there I'd say the only way to go is camp! The camping sites each have their own private hot springs tub, a picnic table and a firepit. Ours also had a creek running through it that flowed with the same hot springs water. Once we were there we REALLY wanted to stay longer, but alas, no last minute cancellations appeared so we needed to move on.

The drive down hwy 395 was pretty tough, even in our truck. Bill was fighting 30mph head winds and then, cross winds. Before we left Benton he checked the kayaks to make sure they were on tight and was quite dismayed to see we had a major fail with our new rooftop carrier. The forward, passenger side mounting bracket had jumped the roof rail. Luckily I am married to a very handy, man who pulled out his tools and in an hour or two we were all set to go.

Tent camping is quite a bit different than life on the road in Bebe!! Especially these one night stands, they were getting old fast and we were both pretty near exhaustion at this point. The frenzy of emptying our old home (Bebe) and sorting through everything we own to pack up for our next adventure (we didn't know where), coupled with more physical labor of camping had taxed us. As we traveled down the road with no idea where we would stop next Bill suggested that we get a ROOM at a convenient mid-way point between Benton and L.A. - Independence it was! I found a cute little 5 room motel, Rays Den Motel, that proved to be the perfect spot. Right off the highway, with little road noise, a mini-fridge, microwave, coffee pot, free wifi and a desk for me to get some work done.....ahhhhhhhhhh. As I looked around the room, the next morning, I had a fleeting thought that I could actually live here! Homeless and living in a tent on the road does some crazy shit to your mind!!

We packed ourselves up AGAIN and headed south "to where?" we asked each other! Hmmmm....we knew we were going to L.A. to celebrate my daughter's first sober birthday with her, and had received invites from several family members to stay at their homes, but they were all for one night - we were staying 3, and couldn't park on the street or in a hotel parking garage, because our truck was so loaded down we were worried about either theft or the clearance in a garage. I remembered that our full-timing, burner friend, Vaike, was staying at the Thousand Trails (TT) campground about an hour out of town and the idea of spending three nights at one place, even if we had to drive back and forth to LA, sounded And with full hook-ups we'd have electricity and water right at our site. Our TT membership was still good for three more days so we got a reservation, and for the total of $9 we set-up and stayed for 3 glorious days. These days were also filled with friendship, support, warmth, and a tarot reading that lead to quite an attitude change, on my part.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to Vaike and her gracious hospitality!!
Vaike's electric furnace she loaned us for
those chilly nights!
Vaike and Bill around her awesome propane firepit!

Early morning, warming up in the adult clubhouse, replete with pool tables!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Summer 2014 - Tahoe and Burning Man

It's been quite some time since I posted on our blog - since last May, to be precise. I tend not to blog much while in Tahoe as I'm home and busy doing the same stuff we do every summer in Tahoe. We did workamp again at Tahoe Valley Campground and our nomadic friends, Clarke and Elaine, of  the WhatsNewell blog, joined us for the summer. We reunited with our friends from year's past, at the campground and made some new ones, mainly Deb and John, who also full-time, but in a boat in Mexico, when they're not workamping during the summer.

Bill was training for a relay race around Lake Tahoe, with his Zummie (Air Force Academy) buddies, that he had run many times before, but not in the last 10 years. He was an ultra-runner, but after years of pounding his body into the ground the doctors said he could have a hip replacement sooner, or later, if he kept up the running. He chose to stop doing the distance and save his body. So he began his training very slowly and ended up finishing strong! It was a great race, very exciting - right up until the finish and they won their age bracket (under 70), woo hoo!

We spent a lot of time around the campfire with whomever dropped by - Billy, Daniel, our new hash friend, Brown, and Jen. We had a big welcome back happy hour that went until the wee hours of the morning and was graced by our home brewer friend, Ron & his pal Calee, and the brewery crowd - Bob, Jen, Marc, etc, etc, etc! We bought kayaks and a SUP for me and spent some time on the water, we had a hash, and our road besties Brian and Maria showed up in August, for a few weeks, before we all went to Burning Man.
Here's my man, Billy, at the Airport Bar, where we tracked him down!
RV Full-timing friends and co-workampers, Clarke & Elaine, join
my son and us at Steamers

Vegan Sushi at Sushi Pier with Daniel - Damian is THE MAN!

on the water with hash friend, Bloodweiser!

Suzanne, Joe, Jen and us celebrating at Lakeview's First Thurday night concert!

New hash friend, Brown aka Janalese moved to town and found us at the Beacon

Academy buddies got together in the Bay Area!
Daughter's In Arms - Marc, Jen & Robert at the Sky!

Kev came and joined us in Tahoe for a month!!

Steve and Julie - at the Daughter's in Arms concert at Divided Sky

Dinner at Brown's - ACTION SHOT!

Beach day with Cheek & Socs

new RVing friends John and Kristi found us at Tahoe Valley Campground

Maria and Brian hanging with us in Tahoe, again - always happy when we get to see these folks!!

Early entry at Burning Man - Bill taking care of our vents!
Burning Man this year was pretty epic for Bill and myself. We got the opportunity to come in early and help our friends, Sam and Tracy, build the perimeter art lighting around the "Man." What a wonderful experience that was - the community out there was really loving and chill, and totally set the stage for our visit "home." This year we camped with the "Hash Bike Repair Camp" - there were about 50 of us and we had great infrastructure - shower, 2 community chill spaces, gray water tank, fresh water and a kitchen. We were split up into different communal areas within our camp, each one with it's own shade and chill space, so there were lots of options to hunker down or go visiting within the camp.
Working on installing the lights around the man

Sammy! Hard at Work

Tracy and our co-workers

All dressed up for a day on the playa

Shenanigans with the crew

Our camp!

We were the first ones to arrive at our camp - but within a couple of days our early entry crew got in and began the set up. I truly felt as if I had come home - we did a lot of visiting friends and even bumped into people we knew on the playa. Except for a big rainstorm at the beginning, when they actually CLOSED Burning Man for a day to arrivals, the weather was awesome.

Big plans were in the works for us and we knew that our time on the playa would be some of the last days we spent in Bebe (our rv). After ten days on the playa, I began to get anxious about our future "plans," yes I said that dirty word! Our friends Brigid and Andy mentioned that they were leaving a day early to go visit Sierra Hot Springs (our most favorite chill space), and we decided we'd do the same. It was a fabulous idea and we spent two days there soaking in the hot springs and talking about our next adventure in detail.

Four years plus, on the road, has brought us many new experiences, close friends and a lifestyle that really seems to suit our personalities, yet we are exhausted. We first set out on this adventure to try and find that perfect place to eventually move to, and plant some roots. What we found out was that there really is no "one" place. Our favorite spot is, and remains, South Lake Tahoe - everywhere we go gets compared to SLT. After our time in Baja this winter, Baja bumped Cedar Key into third place and that's where we decided we'd like to spend six months this fall and winter. Originally we were set on buying a palapa in one of the little palapa/rv parks on the water, but after much advise and deliberation, we concurred that it was better for us to rent for a season down there BEFORE we buy. The search began in earnest for a spot to rent - we were very late in the game for renting and I was running into one road block after another. Flight reservations were booked to go down and check out a few of the places I'd found, and to take another look at the palapas we had fallen in love with online. We began watching the weather the week preceding the flight and things were not looking good at all. One of the houses we were looking to rent was in Los Zacatitos where there was a 4 mile dirt road to get to the house. With the rain that was expected we quickly changed our compact rental car to a 4wd vehicle. Then we saw the storm brewing south of Baja that was reported to become hurricane strength. On the Friday before we were to leave we had grave doubts we were going to go - even if it was just raining. Looking at houses that were boarded up would not give us a better picture than the online photos. So, Saturday, we cancelled our Sunday flight; Sunday Southwest cancelled that flight and  the hurricane hit the Los Cabos airport right about the time we were to land! The peninsula has been devastated, but luckily Los Barilles seems to have fared better than most other areas.

After our travels down the Baja in Bebe last year, Bill had absolutely no desire to drive her down again. The roads were just too narrow for our big girl and caused Bill too much stress. We've also been out of control with our spending, because of the pace we have set for ourselves. It's a very manageable lifestyle if one doesn't traipse constantly across the country and out of it, visit every pub and vegan restaurant in town and generally live the good life! We needed to SLOW DOWN in many ways and the only way to accomplish all of these objectives was for us to sell Bebe, get out of our big loan on her and figure out a different way to do things. Just HOW we were going to do that remained to be seen. We had lots of options and the last few weeks we've started to narrow them down. Unfortunately mother nature has seen to complicate all of this with hurricane Odile down there.

First things first, we wanted to sell the Subaru. We LOVE our Subie, but are totally over driving a stick - which we bought because it was easy to tow. We also needed something bigger to haul our stuff down to Baja, or wherever else we wanted to go and possibly tow a little trailer.  We finally made it down to Carson City and Reno to begin our search and ended up with a 2009 Chevy Silverado LT, whom Bill has christened Baja Bessie. She's got lots of torque and storage. We had a kayak rack installed and some running boards (aka Nerf bars) so I can get in and out of her a little easier.
Bye, Bye BeBe

Bebe has been getting spruced up and ready to sell. RV Connection in Auburn, who specializes in big rigs is going to sell her for us and will spend about 50 hours detailing her.

Last days in Tahoe with the King Fire burning almost 100,000 acres to date.

Our options are vast, our needs small...stay tuned!

Monday, May 12, 2014

San Francisco Bay Area - Spring 2014

Bill had an uneventful solo drive up I-5 and into San Jose. We met up at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds RV Park around noon. Finding a spot to park a big rv, anywhere, in the bay area is a challenge. We've come many times to the east, north and south bay and always have an issue finding a good spot. In the north bay we stay with our hash friend, Burt, in the east bay we stay at the Alameda Fairgrounds in Pleasanton, but in the south bay the only places I'd seen were way south, like in Gilroy or Morgan Hill. We were meeting a bunch of friends for dinner and didn't want an hour drive home afterwards. Somehow I discovered that the Santa Clara Fairgrounds also had rv parking. There were no reviews or pictures anywhere, but I thought for a night or two at $30 per night, we'd chance it.

It's pretty bare-bones. No internet, and from Bill's report, the showers looked like they had leprosy. The bathrooms there are for the stadium so you can just use your imagination. I asked about the safety of the place and was told that there was 24-hour security. I never felt unsafe, there were mostly older rv's, and you can see how empty it was in October. We didn't stay any longer than necessary, but I would stay there again.

I met Bill at the RV park at noon, and after we got into the site I grabbed a quick bite, and drove an hour and a half to see my daughter at the West County Detention Center in Richmond. I had gone on the website that morning to see what the "rules" were and decided to not wear the leggings I had planned on, because it said no tight-fitting clothes. I wanted to give myself a lot of time to get there as I had a faint memory that my ex had said something about getting there early. Unfortunately, I did not remember that he said that you had to CHECK IN with the front desk thirty minutes before your visit. I got there forty-five minutes before my appointed time and sat in my car playing on my phone, whiling away the time. At 2:10 I thought I'd go in and see what's what...and what was what, was that I was late checking in and could not see my daughter!! I was so angry with myself for sitting in my car when I had gotten there in plenty of time to check-in appropriately! I was so upset that my daughter would think that I stood her up, and would be waiting there for me to show up...what a bad, bad mother. I cried myself all the way home, screaming and berating myself for my stupidity. This has to be the worst thing I've ever done, as a mother. I waited all afternoon for her to call me so I could apologize.

In the meantime we had to get ready for the Silicon Valley Agnews Hash. Our friend, Bloodweiser, was haring and I really wanted to show up and surprise him. Bloodweiser came down to Borrego Springs this winter to celebrate new year's with us in the desert. It was a Dr. Seuss theme hash and I only realized this about 3 minutes before we were supposed to leave....this is the best costume I could come up with in that time.  

Right before the hash started, Lauryn called and although she sounded very disappointed, she tried to make me feel better. She was able to get me another time to see her on Saturday morning.

We went hashing and I ended up having a really good time. There were some cute person had a shirt that read "One Fish," another with "Two Fish" and then there were the red and blue fish costumes!!
Hashers love to dress up in costumes!!
The next day we were going to meet up with Tom and Schelby to see Tom's band, "Gina & The Tonics" play at a school benefit. I was looking forward to hearing his band for the first time. The venue was a little bizarre for us, with a trillion grammar school kids running around, but it was nice to sit in the sun and just chill.

While we were there a guy came up to Bill from behind and low and behold it was Rich Parmentier, a classmate of Bill's from the Air Force Academy! They spent the rest of our time there "catching up." The last time they had seen each other was thirty years ago!!

A bunch of our other hash friends showed up and when the school started doing their "program" during the band's break it was time for us to get out of there and get over to the restaurant where 20 of us were going to meet for dinner.

Thanks to everyone that showed up - it was great seeing you all!!

Saturday was my visit with my daughter. I got there plenty early, turned in my form and ID and waited in the room for 45 minutes until my appointed time. We had to go through a metal detector and all we could bring in with us was one ID and one key. There were a bunch of long tables and a glass partition with the inmate on the other side. They were scattered about the room and there was no telephone, like you see on tv, just a little grate that you speak through. I guess when it's crowded in there it's pretty hard to hear, but we were lucky and there were only about 10 of us there at that time. Lauryn looked great - we just really wanted to hug each other! We had a wonderful visit and I will see her again in a couple of weeks when she gets out.

This is PoopaTrooper - we liked the sign!!

Sunday was Mother's Day and the East Bay Hash. The east bay was were I first started hashing, so it is called my Mother Hash. My friend Becca pointed out that it was quite appropriate that I was coming to hash at my mother hash on Mother's Day!! I love the east bay hash - they run trails, long, hilly beautiful trails and this was one of them. It was the annual James Brown Hash that Zydeco and Early to Bed hare every year. We haven't hashed with the east bay in about 5 or 6 years, so we were both looking forward to this hash and hoping a bunch of our old friends would be there. They set a walkers trail, a turkey trail and an eagle trail. I did the turkey trail which was about 7 miles!! Bill did the eagle trail which wasn't that much longer, but the extra part on the eagle was a super steep climb and descentd right at the end of the was brutal, or so I heard.

It's been an awesome visit so far and we still have a few dinners and lunches with friends today and tomorrow, then we're off to Sacramento....getting closer and closer to Tahoe!