Travel Log

January 1 through December 31, 2002

Go back to the year 2001

(Quakertown PA)

We started out this morning, as I described it, "island hopping along the Atlantic Ocean," 104 miles to the Verizzano Bridge to Staten Island, then just a short distance to the Outer Bridge Crossing that took us to New Jersey and the North American Continent. Passing through the New York City area is really tough on the motorhome. This time the holes, bumps, and vibrations broke a brace that helps support the battery rack. We pulled off the highway 4 or 5 times before we could find the source of the heavy metal thud that kept coming from under the front end.

Sharyn was concerned that some of her cups and/or glasses would also break as they were rattling around in the cabinets in a rather noisy manner. Luckily there was no such breakage. We passed through New York City in December 2000 and that time a bolt supporting the slide assembly snapped.!

As we left Southold this morning Jordan was sitting in the co-pilot's chair, while Sharyn was on the couch. When a black cat ran across our path we decided not to tell Sharyn (from the couch she couldn't see the road ahead of us). While Sharyn is the only one who believes in that "black cat" stuff I have to admit that that cat set the tone for the day. Later on in the day we stopped for some groceries, and while Sharyn and Jordan were in the grocery store I tied the broken brace to the chassis so it would stop banging back and forth.

Since we had started off rather tired, and the day wasn't going too well, we decided to stop early and call it a day. Unfortunately, the campground we chose was the pits. As we pulled in it was more like a low-cost housing project than a campground or RV park. The interior "roads" in the campground were too narrow and had low branches and encroaching shrubs everywhere -- with no way or place to turn around. In the process of trying to get out, a leaning tree got up against the awning over the bedroom slideout and bent the mounting hardware. By running out the dinning room slide on the opposite side we got the motorhome to lean away from the tree just enough that Sharyn was able to direct me out. We left that place with a damaged slide awning and, probably, numerous small scratches on the side of the motorhome.

The next campground we tried we called to confirm that they were open all year. They were, and the man gave Sharyn detailed directions how to get there. About ten miles later when we got to where you turn off the main road the man was there with his car to guide us the last several miles. That was quite an accommodation.

Unfortunately, the bent mount on the bedroom slide awning prevents us from running that slide out tonight. Oh well, tomorrow may be a better day.

Odometer reading = 30,258
Miles for day = 209


(Charlottesville VA)

Last night when the owner led us to our campsite he said, "You can pay me in the morning," so when I went to the office to pay we spent an hour or so talking (a Pennsylvania campground office in January is not too busy). Anyway, we didn't get on the road until noontime. That pretty much put a crimp in our plan to get to Phil and Kim's in one day and to arrive before dark. We kept going back and forth about whether or not to make it a two day trip, but since there was a major snow storm moving into the southeastern part of the Country, we weren't sure what the situation would be in Charlottesville tomorrow. When we hit the Virginia State line we decided to go for it -- which we did.

Odometer reading = 30,604
Miles for day = 346


(Charlottesville VA)

Not too much activity today, although the one thing on my agenda was to do something with the mounting bracket on the bedroom slide so we could put the slide out. By loosening the end of the bracket we were able to put the slide out, but we are going to need several replacement parts to accomplish a proper repair.

Odometer reading = 30,604
Miles for day = 0


(Charlottesville VA)

I don't know what happened this morning, but Jordan was up and had the coffee going before anyone else was awake. WOW!

Later on Sharyn and Jordan went shopping and did not return until past dinner time. After Katlin had been home from school for several hours waiting anxiously for Grandma and Aunt Jordan to return she asked me why, if they are trying to get rid of stuff in the motorhome to make more space, they went shopping to buy more stuff. I told her that was a great question and that she should ask them when they returned. She did ask, but I didn't hear any answer!

Anyway, it's past midnight and I just finished watching Charlie Rose and his guest Lawrence Lessig, author of The Future of Ideas -- The Fate of the Commons in a Digital World. I've read several reviews of the book, and Charlie Rose was the second interview I've seen (heard) with Lawrence Lessig. Buy the book -- I intend to!

By the way, neither Grandma nor Aunt Jordan are home tonight (means they're not in the motorhome). They and Katlin are camping out in the TV/play room in the basement, watching videos, sleeping on the floor, and having a "girl's night out." I'm sorry I wasn't invited.

Odometer reading = 30,604
Miles for day = 0


(Charlottesville VA)

This afternoon Jordan, Katlin, Phil, and I went to the range at the Rivanna Rifle and Pistol Club where Phil is pretty active. We did a few rounds at the plinking range with Phil's AR-15; We also did a few rounds with Phil's Glock 34 and my Sig 229, but there was another couple using that range which precluded us from doing the IDPA, closer range, timed rapid fire stuff we wanted to do so we moved to the PPC range which we had to ourselves.

I didn't even know that Katlin shot, much less that she does pretty well for an almost 9 year old. Since the first time Jordan fired Phil's Glock 34 (his latest handgun acquisition) she has had no interest in shooting any other handgun. Since he got the 34 I don't think Phil has used anything else in competition -- of course he bought it strictly for match shooting. I prefer my Sig 229, but then I'm not too good.

This is a video clip of Jordan firing 10 rounds with Phil's Glock 34 (download time with a 56K modem is almost 2 minutes).

Odometer reading = 30,604
Miles for day = 0


(Charlottesville VA)

The forecast for today was 4 - 6" of snow, with another 1 - 2" to fall tonight. Well happily we only got about half an inch and it doesn't appear that there's any more to come tonight. That's good, because we're out of here in the morning; hopefully headed for warmer places.

As for RVers who linger too long in the higher latitudes, they will understand why everyone else is further south. Our motorhome is heated (and cooled) by two roof-mounted heat pumps and we like them a lot. However, when the outside temperature gets to about 30 degrees the heat pumps shut down and the system switches over to LP furnaces, which also do a fine job of keeping comfortable temperatures inside, even when it's subfreezing outside. The problem comes from the combination of being too far north at the wrong time of year and having a limited LP storage capacity. We have a 20 gallon tank that we generally lasts us about six months. However, when the temperatures stay as cold as they've been and the furnaces replace the heat pumps as our primary source of heat we run through a tank of LP in a week. The point is that we used the last of our LP gas last night and, it's now almost 10:pm and the heat pumps are still running. We all sincerely hope that the outside temperature, which is just at freezing, does not get any colder tonight (no LP gas, no heat below 30 degrees). We do have a portable 1500 watt electric heater, but that will hardly do the job. Tomorrow, as we head south we plan to take US-29 down through Lovingston, Lynchburg, Danville, etc., which should take us past a number of LP distributors.

This afternoon we drove out to Louisa to visit with our son Shane and his friend Michelle. We've never been to their place before and found it quite cozy, set on 13 acres back in the woods and fields a quarter mile back from the road. It was a pleasant visit but we didn't stay too long because with the continuing threat of heavy snow (it snowed lightly all day) I wanted to be sure we'd be back before dark.

Odometer reading = 30,604
Miles for day = 0


(Fayetteville NC)

We had set the alarm for 6:am so we could see everyone before they left for work/school/baby-sitter. We lucked out last night because the heat pumps maintained a comfortable temperature all night.

It was a little before ten o'clock when we pulled out of the driveway. Because of snow west and south of Charlottesville we headed east on I-64 to Richmond, then south on I-95. We wanted to put some distance between us and the incoming snow.

We still had to deal with an empty LP tank that needed filling. At one point where I-95 was running parallel to US-301 we saw an LP facility on 301 so we exited at the next exit and came back on US-301 to the LP place. It turned out that they built and serviced LP delivery trucks, but didn't sell LP. So we lost some time. Next attempt was when we again got onto US-301 and stopped at a campground that was open all winter and sold LP gas, or so it said in the campground directory. The problem was there was no one around to pump the LP. We decided to stay on 301 for awhile and see what else we might find. Eventually Sharyn spotted a gas station with an LP service tank in the back. We made a U-turn and took on 17 gallons of LP for $44.

We then got back on I-95 and decided to head to the FamCamp (the Army calls them Travel Camps) at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville NC. We arrived at 5:pm and the camp office was closed. The sign said take a spot and sign in tomorrow. The campground roads are gravel, but the the sites have new concrete pads, 50 amps, water and sewer. We might stay for two nights so we can check out the commissary, buy some groceries, and get all our stuff better organized in the motorhome.

Odometer reading = 30,903
Miles for day = 299


(Fayetteville NC)

Today was a relaxed and easy, yet productive, day. Sharyn and I went to the commissary where we bought lots of dried beans for soup, a wide selection of fresh vegetables for stir frying, and other assorted stuff. We also went to the PX where I found a soft bristled brush on a telescoping pole for washing the motorhome. The one I have, and all the others I've seen have bristles that are not as soft as I want. When we got back to the motorhome Jordan was up, showered and dressed, and had done some picking up and further condensing of all of her stuff.

The car was totally covered in grime from the trip from Charlottesville so I decided that I'd wash it using the new brush thing. It worked very well and the temperature climbed sufficiently while I was doing the car that I decided to do the motorhome as well. This was the first time the motorhome's been washed since last summer when, over a three week period in New Brunswick, I waxed it. The reason it hadn't washed it sooner was that I didn't want brush marks in the waxed surface.

While I was washing, Sharyn and Jordan were continuing to make Jordan's stuff fit into the motorhome so it wouldn't have to stay on the kitchen table, couch, piled on the floor, etc. Actually, at this point they have the motorhome 95% back to regular. It looks and feels good.

As I write this I realize that it doesn't sound like we would have enjoyed the day, but the fact is we did. We are considering extending for another day.

By the way, some of the places we've stayed at have mosquitos, some have other flying/crawling insects; this place has swarms of helicopters -- kind of neat!

Odometer reading = 30,903
Miles for day = 0


(Myrtle Beach SC)

Several years ago Greg looked at a 32' Blackfin fishing boat in or around Norfolk VA. The boat was in beautiful condition, and the engines had only 15 hours on them. He didn't buy it and I've always felt bad that he didn't. Anyway, he's been looking at Black Fins again, and has focused on a 32' in Southport NC (just east of Wilmington). He called us last night and asked if we could take a look at it, and perhaps confirm that it's the same boat he passed up the last time and, if it is, to confirm that it still looks clean. Well we did that today and it is the same boat and it still looks good. The only thing is that one of the engines was missing. The broker, who met us at the boat, was surprised at that, and I suspect somewhat unhappy with the owner for putting him in the position of showing a boat with a missing engine without any information or explanation as to how come. Anyway, the broker said he'd get hold of the owner and then call Greg.

From Southport we headed to Myrtle Beach, about 75 miles down the coast, where we tried to get to Camping World before closing time. They were locking the doors as we drove in. Oh well, we're spending the night in the parking lot so we'll be here when they open. We need some replacement parts for the slide awning which will probably have to be ordered out of Atlanta. If so, we should still be able to have them on Friday, before the weekend, so we can head on to Sumter. We also want them to check the wiring to the tail lights on the Honda that do not come on with the motorhome lights when the Honda is in tow. The tow bar and tail/brake light harness were installed by Camping World in Manassas Va. One thing we like about Camping World is that an installation they perform is guaranteed for as long as you own the unit. It may be that the tail light problem is not related to the installation, but there is voltage going into the connector at the front of the Honda, and the tail lights do work if the Honda lights are turned on. We'll see in the morning.

Odometer reading = 31,094
Miles for day = 191


(Sumter SC)

I woke up at 6:am and, since there were several other motorhomes in the parking lot, I didn't want to start the generator. That precluded the electric coffee pot, and the French Press didn't seem to be worth it, so I boiled water for some Taster's Choice instant coffee. Sharyn was up only a few minutes later and we woke Jordan at seven. Anyway, we had breakfast, etc., and when Camping World opened at 8 o'clock we were there!

Before noon they had fixed all our problems and we were on our way to Sumter and Shaw AFB.

It feels good to be back here again. The fact that it's sunny, breezy, and 72 degrees, with the scent of pine trees in the air doesn't hurt. We got all set up before having cheese, wine, and crackers ouutside at our picnic table. After some wine, cheese, and conversation, Jordan and I went to the FamCamp office to upload to this site and check our e-mails.

Odometer reading = 31,197
Miles for day = 103


(Sumter SC)

Sharyn and Jordan did several loads of wash, plus Sharyn did a bunch of ironing that she's had for awhile. Yesterday I made myself a list of things that I've been wanting to get done for some time, and today I knocked off six of the ten items on the list. The one that's been bothering me the most was the cycling on and off of the water pump when no one was using water. Several weeks ago I had called Shurflo, the pumps manufacturer, and they sent me two new replacement check valves which I installed today. Tomorrow I should finish off my list.

This afternoon, as I was still working on my list, Sharyn and Jordan went to the commissary for milk and a few other things, plus they checked out the BX.

That doesn't sound like much, but it was a low key, yet constructive, day for everyone.

Odometer reading = 31,197
Miles for day = 0


(Sumter SC)

Today began with no particular plan but soon developed into a very major clean up and reorganization. I started with the remainder of my list from yesterday while Sharyn began unloading all the basement compartments, redoing the bedroom closet and some other cabinets as well. Some stuff got unloaded from the car (our portable shed), while other things were relocated to the car. This photo does not really give a good feel for the extent of the project, but this photo does a good job of conveying the seriousness with which the job was pursued. We were probably about 20 minutes from finishing up when it started to rain. That wasn't bad because at that point we were able to get the remaining stuff under cover inside of a minute. Had the rain come several hours earlier it would have been a totally different matter. It was a very productive day

I tried to update this website this morning (and check our e-mail) but the office is closed for the weekend. Don't know when you'll ever get to see this!

Odometer reading = 31,197
Miles for day = 0


(Sumter SC)

The original plan, if you want to call it that, was to leave here today. However, we didn't wake up until after 9 o'clock. After some coffee and conversation we sort of came to "we really don't have to leave here today," so we didn't. We went for our first "walk," but only did a mile (out of consideration for one of the participants). We haven't been able to do our daily walks here because some sort of "exercise" has been going on and walkers, runners, and/or joggers have not been allowed on the roadway.

We didn't do very much, but soon it was time for dinner. After that Jordan wanted to know how to play Canasta so she and Sharyn played several hands. I then said that I'd join in which I did. It's now midnight and we're getting set for bed. The plan now is that tomorrow we'll be up at six and on the road by eight. I think that'll work.

Odometer reading = 31,197
Miles for day = 0


(Screven GA)

Last night, while setting the alarm for 6:am we realized that that was only 5 1/2 hours away. We set the alarm 7 o'clock instead.

I went to the FamCamp office and uploaded the website, checked e-mail and bank statements, and we were on the road just before 10:am. Travel was uneventful; we took US-15 south to I-95 which we stayed on until just south of Savannah where we exited onto US-17 (basically) to US-84 west.

When we left this morning, Savannah was our targeted destination as we've never been there and understand that it's a beautiful place to see. However, when we stopped for lunch a half hour or so before Savannah, it was raining (as it did most of the day) and quite unpleasant. We decided that neither the weather nor the time of year lent itself to a touristy visit to this ante-bellum city, plus campground rates in and around Savannah are kind of high. Better we do Savannah under better circumstances -- probably when we head south from the Canadian Maritime Provinces in the fall of 2003.

In the meanwhile we continued on to "Happy Acres Resort" in Screven GA. Located eight miles north of US-84, a narrow 2-lane highway that pretty much comes and goes from nowhere, I expected a run down, rather dumpy kind of place. What a surprise! It's neat and clean, and nicely maintained. We checked in at the rather dusty old country store across the road where a very friendly and helpful lady, of about the same vintage as the store, gave us an update on the local weather -- "supposed to dry out tonight, but no guarantee" -- and then drew us a map of the best way to get back out of here. The campsites themselves, while on the grass, are as clean and neat as any we've ever been in.

Odometer reading = 31,435
Miles for day = 238


(Okefenokee Swamp GA)

This morning was sunny and bright and we took off for Stephen C. Foster State Park which is located within, and is a part of, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. We arrived shortly after noon and, given our choice of campsites, selected this one. This is Sharyn and Jordan walking back to the campsite.

After getting set up we walked one of the elevated nature trails that wandered through a minuscule portion of the 396,000 acre wildlife preserve.

In the Okefenokee Refuge (wildlife preserve) there are 110 miles of waterways well suited for canoeing or kayaking. There are three of us, but we only have two kayaks. If tomorrow is another sunny day we will rent a canoe and paddle at least a couple of these 110 miles of wilderness waterways.

Odometer reading = 31,546
Miles for day = 111


(Okefenokee Swamp GA)

It was a beautiful warm and sunny day today and, as planned, we rented a canoe that the three of us could go out in together. Adjacent to the campground/park office there is a boat basin with docks for small boat rentals, the Park Rangers' boats, and a launch area for kayaks, canoes, and other private boats. From this basin there is a canal that runs out about a half mile to "Billy's Lake." This "lake" is a body of water about 4 miles long and perhaps 100 yards wide. The east end of the lake is where the East Fork of the Suwannee River enters into it. Just west of that point the Middle Fork of the Suwannee River enters the lake from the north. At the western end of the lake the combined flow of these two branches exit the lake and continue for about another four miles where they are joined by the North Branch of the Suwannee River. The Suwannee River, having been spawned in the Okefenokee swamp, now being complete, begins is southwesterly trek into and across the State of Florida where it eventually flows out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Now that you've got the description of this portion of the river I'll continue with what we did today. The three of us took canoe #12 and paddled out to Billy's Lake through the 12-15' wide canal that connects the boat basin to the lake. When we entered the lake we turned to the right and headed east, following the northerly shoreline. We hadn't gone too far until we came upon a 4-5' alligator sunning himself on the bank. As I was taking the picture I remarked that either alligators don't have eyelids, or he was watching me. Jordan suggested he was watching me! Sharyn was uncomfortable with, I believe, the entire scenario; alligators in close proximity, a canoe that seemed less stable than our kayaks, the black water and dense shoreline of the Okefenokee swamp, etc. She said she'd like to go back and for Jordan and I to go without her. She had never been too enthused about going out into the river/swamp to start with, but was pretty game to try it anyway.

We did bring Sharyn back to the boat basin where Jordan and I switched the rental canoe for the kayaks. As we proceeded back out the canal it was only two or three strokes with the paddle before I took note at how much less effort was required to move the kayak through the water compared with the canoe. We again headed east on Billy's Lake. Progress was rather slow as Jordan was intent on not missing any sight or sound along the shoreline. I was anxious to get to the Middle Fork of the river because I like the narrow, more constricted, waterways where you are close to both shorelines and can examine everything in much greater detail. For everything that's happening on the more open water there are a thousand things happening where the water meets the shoreline.

When I got to the Middle Fork, Jordan was far behind me, still way down the lake and out of sight. I didn't want us to get onto different tracks through the swamp so I came back down to the mouth of the Middle Fork to wait for her. We she caught up we started up the Middle Fork. What a beautiful experience. At this point the current running against us, which was not discernible on the lake, became somewhat of a factor. Also, Jordan wanted to be sure she had enough arm strength to get back, plus there is an "off the water" time of 5:pm. If anyone has not returned and gotten "off the water" by that time, the search and rescue boats will go looking for them.

We were back well before that time, and as we came into the basin Sharyn was there to meet us.

The next time we're in this area we'll have to do some much more extensive kayaking in these waterways. Sharyn says so long as it isn't "bad alligator" season she'd go with me. She was surprised that she didn't like the canoe. She says she feels much more secure in her kayak.

PS: Stephen Foster never saw the Suwannee River!

Odometer reading = 31,546
Miles for day = 0


(Old Town FL)

As we started out the 17 mile driveway from the park to the highway I commented that it was on this 17 mile drive that Sharyn had first driven our 27' Travel Master. We asked Jordan if she'd like to drive the motorhome out to the highway and she said she would. It was a groundbreaking morning; Jordan drove the motorhome for the first time, and Sharyn, for the first time, hooked the Honda up to the motorhome.

Except for stopping at Winn-Dixie in Lake City, and my missing a couple of turns, it was an uneventful trip to Old Town. We were heading to a campground in this area where we stayed several years ago. As we turned into this campground we realized that it was the wrong place, but we stayed here anyway. This place is okay, but the other place was right on the Suwannee River and I was looking forward to kayaking on the river.

Odometer reading = 31,669
Miles for day = 123


(Lehigh Acres FL)

Today was another day where the plans changed as the day progressed. We didn't pull out of the campground until thirteen minutes past noon, but that was okay. I've concluded that you can hurry, be unrelaxed, and maybe leave earlier. Or, you can not worry about it, go with the flow, be relaxed and leave whenever it happens. As far as I can tell there's no reason not to proceed with the latter system.

We proceeded in a southeasterly direction until we picked up I-75 at Ocala. Just as we had the Interstate in sight we came to a supermarket where we pulled in to get some groceries and, while in the parking lot, have lunch. While Sharyn and Jordan were in the store I called the FamCamp at MacDill AFB to see if they had any available spaces left. They still had a few but the lady said she was signing people in as we spoke. It sounded unlikely that there'd be anything left by the time we'd get there. We were probably about 225 miles from Sharyn's mother's house (our destination) so I said we'd might as well go for it, which we did.

For people who have decided not to travel over 200 miles in any one day, and who don't drive at night, we seem to be doing a fair number of 200+ mile days, and frequently not arriving until after dark -- such as today. We may have to get our life's priorities back on track!

Anyway, we're now at Sharyn's mother's, or more properly stated, we are parked on the shoulder of the road across the street. Having visited for an several hours, I left Sharyn and Jordan in the house talking while I came back out to the motorhome to take my shower. Having done that, and feeling very good as a result, I am doing this page. I'll then walk across the street in my pajamas and upload this to the server.

Tomorrow we'll check into a campground somewhere in the vicinity.

Odometer reading = 31,956
Miles for day = 287


(LaBelle FL)

The day started very very early. I was lying in bed awake, wondering what time it was. It was still dark. Finally I pushed the button on my watch to illuminate the dial (I hate to do that because I figure the amount of battery power it takes to light the dial for one second would probably run the watch for a month). It was 4:10am, much too early to get up. As I was wondering "what to do now?" I realized the Sharyn also was awake. I asked her if she wanted a cup of coffee, to which she laughed and replied, "no." A long time later, I was even more wide awake and it was clear that my sleep for the night was over. As I started to get out of bed Sharyn, who also was still awake, asked me what I was doing. I said, "getting up." It was 5:15 and we were soon having our "coffee and conversation." We had gone to bed at 12:30am, so at least I had about 3 1/2 hours sleep. Sharyn said she never got to sleep because she kept getting up to check on noises she heard outside the motorhome, and to see who was trying to steal the kayaks off of the Honda. It's now 7:30pm and I'm having trouble staying awake.

Sharyn's sister Sandy, who has been living with and taking care of her mother for over a year, left this morning to go fishing for the weekend. Around midmorning I took the motorhome to LaBelle Woods RV Resort, about 25 miles away, where we had stayed this past spring. It's a nice campground but this time of year it's pretty crowded. While I was there and getting all set up, Sharyn called to ask me to bring her a change of clothes, etc., as it had become apparent that Sharyn was going to be spending the night with her mother, who cannot be left alone.

Anyway, to shorten the story, I went back with some stuff for Sharyn; visited a while, then returned to the motorhome with Jordan. We'll be back to Sharyn's mother's first thing in the morning.

When we left Charlottesville on January 7 we figured to take a month to get to Sharyn's mother's. There was no need to hurry (once we got south of the snow threat) so we were going to poke along and stop and see anything that struck our fancy -- spend more time in Sumter for instance -- visit Savannah, for instance -- and we definitely would have spent more time paddling the Okefenokee Swamp. However, somewhere enroute we got a phone call that Sandy's son Michael was getting married on Saturday, January 19. We picked up our pace considerably to get here for the wedding. Today's the day, but no one has seen or heard from Michael, or the "bride," for a number of days. Everyone's best guess is that they went back to California. Oh well, wait until next time.

Odometer reading = 31,980
Miles for day = 24


(LaBelle FL)

We (Jordan and I) got up and went to Sharyn's mother's. Sharyn had cleaned and scrubbed everything and had the place well under control. Her brother Alan had stopped over, so while he was there to watch his mother Sharyn and Jordan took about 75 pounds of laundry to the Laundromat in the nearby shopping center. I said I'd stay at the house, but when an hour and a half passed and they still weren't back I decided to walk down to where they were. It turned out that it had taken them six machine loads to wash all the stuff. Anyway, from the Laundromat we went next door to Publix to pick up something for dinner.

As we got back to the house Aunt June and her 93 year old boy friend were just getting out of their car. I had heard of him, but never had met him. He looks and moves as though he were in his early 70's. In a conversation you'd think he was 60. I hope I'm that good ten years from now, never mind in another 31 years when I get to be his age. Pretty impressive -- and a very nice man besides!

After they left Sharyn made dinner for all of us, including Susan, Alan's wife, who stopped by to visit. After dinner Alan and Susan left and the three of us just talked as we would if we had been back at the motorhome. Sharyn's mother basically can no longer get out of bed, and she sleeps pretty much all the time, so while it's her house it's almost as if she wasn't there.

Still no word from Sandy but Sharyn's pretty sure she'll be back tomorrow.

Odometer reading = 31,980
Miles for day = 0


(LaBelle FL)

The big event of the day was when Sandy showed up this afternoon. Tonight Sharyn came back to the motorhome with me and Jordan. It's super much better with her here.

Odometer reading = 31,980
Miles for day = 0


1/22/02 and 1/23/02
(LaBelle FL)

I opted to stay at the motorhome while Sharyn and Jordan went to Sharyn's mother's. Not much happened at either place.

Odometer reading = 31,980
Miles for day = 0


1/24/02 to 1/28/02
(LaBelle FL)

Basically Sharyn has been visiting at her mother's house every day, sometimes with Jordan and/or me. It looks as if we are going to leave here on Wednesday, January 30.

Odometer reading = 31,980
Miles for day = 0


(LaBelle FL)

Since we are leaving here tomorrow we all went to Sharyn's mother's for the day.

Odometer reading = 31,980
Miles for day = 0


(Zolfo Springs FL)

Well, we're finally back on the road again. We didn't plan on going too far today, only to the Escapee park at Zolfo Springs -- it's an Escapee park we've never been to before. We arrived just after noon. The place is quite nice. I don't know what I expected, but it is nicer than I was surprised at how nice it is.

We didn't do anything for the rest of the day but relax, read, and generally recuperate. Jordan and I did go to Wal-Mart to get a third fold-up chair for sitting outside.

Today would probably be described as the first leg of our trip to Alaska.

Odometer reading = 32,059
Miles for day = 79


(Zolfo Springs FL)

Sharyn did lots of laundry in the laundry room located in the rear room of the clubhouse. I washed the car and did some reading in the library which is located in the room on the left in the clubhouse.

We also met and talked with Bill & Carol Williams, our neighbors across the way who told us they make jewelry that they sell at crafts shows. That's technically true, but when we saw his work it did not conform to my expectation. It would be more accurate to say that they manufacturer very fine, high quality, one-of-a-kind pieces. For example, two of my favorites (just from the few he showed us), are this pin and this cross. Their business is called Precious Treasures and they can be reached at

Odometer reading = 32,059
Miles for day = 0


2/1/02 and 2/2/02
(Zolfo Springs FL)

We didn't do anything yesterday (as far as I can remember), but today we had had planned to go to an RV show in Ocala. However, when it was time to get up and get ready to go, the one who yesterday most wanted to go, was less enthused. I had had questions about whether it would be worth the 125 mile trip to Ocala so it was fine with me not to go.

Instead, I did some work on the water system in the motorhome. Three problems we've had for awhile have been; (1) the water pump keeps cycling on every several minutes, (2) when the water runs there's a vibration from the water pipes running under the floor, and (3) when we're hooked up to city water pressure, over a period of a day or so, our water tank overflows. Numbers (1) and (3) I think were related -- water pressure leaks back through the water pump (probably the check valve). The only problem is that several weeks ago I replaced the check valve and it didn't seem to make any difference. However, it's been several hours since I replaced it again this afternoon, and I think that cycling on problem may be fixed. It will take awhile to see if the check valve fixed problem (1) also. By the way, while I was in there I also relocated the water pump from the floor of the compartment to the side. That freed up a substantial area for storing water hose, extension cord, etc.

I also removed the rear panel of the compartment and used electrical tape to fasten the water lines in such a manner that the vibration has been substantially reduced. Not a bad day.

Odometer reading = 32,059
Miles for day = 0


(Zolfo Springs FL)

Sharyn and I went to the kielbasa cook at the clubhouse where kielbasa on a roll with onion, etc was only a dollar. Almost as good a deal as 10-10-220!

Jordan complained that she couldn't watch the Super Bowl because I watched the news, and then she missed half time because, "Mom had to see the dance scene in The American President which she's already seen ten times."

By the way, before we leave here, here's a picture of our site.

Odometer reading = 32,059
Miles for day = 0


(Bushnell FL)

We checked out of Zolfo Springs this morning. We paid $50.02 for five days camping, plus $11.94 for 124 kWh of electricity, for a total of $61.96. That's pretty reasonable. It's also only the second time we've paid for metered electricity on a short time stay.

When we stopped for lunch I took note of Jordan's hair which I thought looked exceptionally good, so I took her picture.

In November 2001 Escapees purchased Sumter Oaks RV Park, an existing RV park near Bushnell FL, to convert to another Escapee (SKP) park. Since we don't know when we'll be back in this area again we decided to go there and check it out. It's probably less than 100 miles from Zolfo Springs, but it took us 131 miles to get here. When we were planning to go to the RV show in Ocala this past weekend I had studied the map to see just how to get to the fairgrounds in Ocala where the show was to take place. We didn't go to the RV show, but when we left this morning for Sumter Oaks, which is about 40 miles south of Ocala, I started driving north to the Ocala fairgrounds. We had gone about 100 miles when Sharyn asked me, "how much further to this place?" As I began to answer I realized what I had done. Luckily we had not yet gone past Sumter Oaks, but we were in the process of doing so; and we were 30 miles to the east of where we would have been had I been going to the right place. I guess it's like the bumper sticker says, "Dumbness Happens."

Anyway we did get to Sumter Oaks, and while it's pretty nice now, it's potential is terrific. I'm sure that after Escapees has had it for a year or two it will be one of their nicest parks. We like it -- mostly because we like the large Live Oaks that spread over the entire campground. Jordan likes it better than Zolfo Springs because she says the people here are much friendlier here. Tonight they had a spaghetti dinner at the clubhouse and we went.

Periodically we come across a sign that I think has some particular humor or interest. I'm going to start photographing such signs and post them on this site. When I've accumulated several I'll start a separate page, perhaps called "Interesting Signs." In the meanwhile, here's the first sign.

Odometer reading = 32,189
Miles for day = 131


(Bushnell FL)

The first thing that happened this morning, after coffee and conversation, was that Sharyn and Jordan went to the club house for a line dancing lesson (not too many people showed up). They were gone for considerably longer than that because apparently all the women sat around and talked about their RV'ing experiences and the pros and cons of full-timing.

While they were line dancing I changed the water filters on the motorhome. We use two filters in series with the first a half micron sediment cartridge and the second a half micron carbon block The carbon filter is referred to as a "polishing" filter as it also removes chlorine, odors, and most other disagreeable characteristics, "polishing" the drinking water -- and, because of where it's installed, all the water coming into the motorhome. The water passing through these filters, according to Sharyn, is better than any of the bottled spring waters that she used to buy before we installed this filter system.

We also put our name on the waiting list to purchase a long term lease for one of the lots in this park. There are a total of 125 lots, 25 of which are leased to Escapee members. The remaining lots are available for Escapee members who are looking for short term campsites for a few days or weeks. We don't know if we wish to purchase one of these leases or not, but for $20 we become #71 on the waiting list. We'll think about it as we wait for our name to work it's way up the list. Probably somewhere around a two-year process.

Later this afternoon Jordan and I went to Winn-Dixie to get some fresh vegetables to make for dinner. We passed over the yellow peppers at $1.99 each.

We're probably going to stay here through the weekend.. Sharyn likes it here, and if she's happy I'm usually happy too!

Odometer reading = 32,189
Miles for day = 0


2/5/02 through 2/10/02
(Bushnell FL)

We've been here for awhile and we're all ready to move on to visit with Ron and Peg in Umatilla. Unfortunately several days ago we called Texas to have our mail sent to us here. The accumulated mail filled two mailers, one of which arrived yesterday (Saturday). Therefore we are now waiting for the second mailer which should be here tomorrow. We have decided, however, that if it doesn't come we'll leave anyway and someone will come back with the car to get it.

Anyway, for some pictures! During a good part our coffee and conversation time I sit in the drivers seat, which by then has been swiveled around to face the living room area. Also, during coffee and conversation, Sharyn will at some point go outside to have her cigarette. This is my usual view of Sharyn at that point. If you look carefully in the lower mirror you will see some guy standing there. He is camped diagonally behind us and has been there for several days. The other day when I was talking to him he was rather reserved and not overly friendly. Well this morning he sure was friendly with Sharyn, asking her if she was a "single." I guess he thought I was the hired driver.

Later this morning (after the guy went back to his own RV) Jordan and I walked the perimeter of this campground, twice. That's just over 1.1 miles and I had trouble keeping up with Jordan. It's not clear to me how she walks so fast. She was 30 seconds ahead of me when we completed our second lap. However, my pulse rate was 76, Jordan's was 124. She didn't look like she was suffering.

Finally, this is the camp store, office, and laundry room as seen from our campsite. I took this picture because I like the building, particularly the roof line. I thought that they should get rid of all the dryer vents that destroy the esthetics of an otherwise attractive building, so I applied a little Photoshop and got rid of the vents, the electric pole, "no parking" sign, and the bulk LP gas tank. Sure makes the place look better. Unfortunately, the change in pitch (which is what I like) where the roof comes out over the porch is visually lost in the reworked photo.

Odometer reading = 32,189
Miles for day = 0


(Umatilla FL)

This morning we checked out of Sumter Oaks and were on the road by 11:30. Actually we were only on the road for about three miles until we stopped at a welding shop where the guy fixed the bracket that had broken on New Years Day as we bounced and jostled our way across the "highways" of New York City. For $10 you almost wish you had two broken brackets so you could get two such bargains!

Anyway, from Bushnell we took US-301 north to Routes 42 and then 450 to Umatilla and our friends Ron and Peg where, as we usually do here, we parked by the horse barn. Once upon a time, a lifetime ago, the four of us used to sail the waters between Long Island and Nantucket. Then we had fun sailing; now we have fun talking about what we used to do. Is there some kind of a message there?

We stayed up talking until midnight when we finally called it a day.

Odometer reading = 32,244
Miles for day = 55


2/12/02 and 2/13/02
(Umatilla FL)

As of this writing we've been here for three relaxed days (actually I guess that's not too amazing since we have few days that are not relaxed).

One of the things that we've been working on is going through the mail. We had our mail forwarded from Texas to General Delivery at Bushnell FL and it didn't arrive there until Monday morning. We picked up the mail on our way out of town. Sharyn is now in the process of going through it.

Yesterday Jordan went driving with Peggy and Julie. Actually Peggy and Julie have been doing very well in the formal competitions they have entered. Later in the day Sharyn, Jordan, and Peggy relaxed and talked about . . .?

This morning Sharyn, Jordan, and Peg went to a mall somewhere not too far away. I guess they had a good time because malls seem to do that to them.

Ron came home from work early and we shot some skeet out in the field by the lake (I forgot to take pictures). Tonight we again ate with them, and again we ate a little excessively -- especially the bread, pie, and ice cream. We plan to leave in the morning and we told Ron and Peg that next time they should come and visit us!

Odometer reading = 32,244
Miles for day = 0


(Perry FL)

This morning, being Valentine's Day, began with Sharyn giving me an wonderfully appropriate Valentine's Card. Is that a cool card, or what?

After coffee and conversation we said good-bye to Peggy, Sharon, and D'Ayn (Peggy's daughter and granddaughter), and pulled out of the driveway heading north for Perry FL. Four hours and 150 miles later we pulled into the Westgate Motel and RV Park. We've stopped here twice before and it works out well as a stopping point between mid-Florida and the Panhandle. Besides it's a Passport America campground with 50 amp hookups and only costs us $11.

About a half hour before we arrived, Sharyn was saying that she thought it was too bad we hadn't bought an Allegro Bus, a diesel pusher, instead of the unit we bought. When we arrived at the campground we were parked next to an Allegro Bus -- it sure looked nice. The bus had Alaska license plates on it and I asked the owner how long they had lived in Alaska. He's probably in his late 60's and he said that when he and his wife got married they went to Alaska for their honeymoon and stayed there. Now they're retired and travel full-time.

That bus was on our right, and on the other side of the bus was a Winnebago that had been next to us at the Escapees Park in Bushnell FL. They are on their to Alaska. On our left was another motorhome with a retired Air Force man and his wife; they are also on their way to Alaska. We may well meet any or all of these people in Alaska this summer. Actually we all plan to cross into Canada between the middle of May and the first of June!

Odometer reading = 32,395
Miles for day = 151


(Panama City FL)

Of the three motorhomes heading for Alaska that were parked together last night, we were the next to last to pull out this morning. The Air Force guy was gone when we woke up.

As we drove west on US-98 along the Gulf Coast we crossed the bridge over the Ochlockonee Bay. Several years ago we found a small area down on the water at the end of the bridge where we had pulled in with our 27' Travel Master. It was a very pretty place to stop for lunch so we decided to do it again. We weren't sure we'd be able to turn this rig around without unhitching the Honda, but we'd find out. It turned out there was no problem swinging a wide left turn and parking under the trees. We briefly checked out the shoreline of the bay before returning to the motorhome for lunch. Here's another picture of us parked under the trees.

From there we continued on to Panama City and the FamCamp at Tyndall AFB. I suggested stopping for our "two o'clock coffee" but Jordan vehemently vetoed the idea saying that, "we've just had lunch." I acquiesced and we continued on to Tyndall.

There were no available spaces in the FamCamp so we are in the overflow area. We are #3 for a site so that's not too bad -- particularly when the overflow sites have water and electric!

Odometer reading = 32,551
Miles for day = 156


(Panama City FL)

Before noon today we had a regular campsite and we moved out of the overflow area. However we have a site with no sewer connection, although we have water, electric (30 amps) and cable. We are now #4 on the list for a full hookup site which will include sewer and 50 amp electric.

After moving into our site Sharyn and I drove down to Bonita Bay Outdoor Recreation Complex which is the name of the water recreation area on base about a half mile west of the FamCamp. This is the northerly point of the facility as seen from the US-98 highway bridge. The Gulf of Mexico is to the right, just beyond the trees. The FamCamp is in the woods to the left and across the water from Bonita Bay Point. After checking it out (it hasn't changed since we were here in April of last year) we went to the commissary where we bought $191 worth of groceries -- Mother Hubbard's cupboard was truly bare. While we were there I stopped in at the base barber shop and got a very much needed $5 haircut.

Odometer reading = 32,551
Miles for day = 0


2/17/02 through 2/22/02
(Panama City FL)

During this past week we haven't done any "big" thing, but we've been moderately active with miscellaneous stuff. We've shot some pool, done daily walks (with some short sprints), driven around town, explored a secluded, sandy white beach hidden behind the drone launch area, gone shopping, did laundry (Sharyn and Jordan did), read our books and magazines, etc. On two occasions I went kayaking by myself when I couldn't interest anyone else in going with me (maybe I need a dog).

Over the last several days the hose that we use to connect to the water hookup had developed a number of leaks to the point that it sprays water all over the place and we can't leave the pressure on. While the pressure here is probably in the 125 pound range, we've been hooked up to higher pressure in the past with no problem (we have a pressure reducer where the water goes into the motorhome to protect the motorhome plumbing). Anyway, this afternoon Jordan and I went to went to buy a new hose. While we were out I tracked down a Sony 707, a Zeiss lens equipped digital camera which I've been reading about, but have never seen or handled. We finally found one, in Sears of all places. In Sears or anywhere else that's a very impressive camera! If you're really interested in an extensive review of this camera, click here, but take note that you must "click" your way through the entire 13 page article.

When we got back to the FamCamp and I rolled up the old hose I looked more closely at the leaks. The campground is alive with squirrels which pay no attention whatsoever to the presence of people; even at a distance of two or three feet they totally ignore you. The holes in the hose are like deep, narrow, chisel cuts. The squirrels did it!

Tomorrow we move on to the Naval Air Station at Pensacola and the FamCamp on the Gulf of Mexico.

Odometer reading = 32,551
Miles for day = 0


(Pensacola FL)

We pulled out of Tyndall AFB FamCamp around 11:am and headed west towards Pensacola. Everytime we drive along the Gulf Coast we comment how much we like this stretch of Florida. It takes a while to get past all the commercial congestion in and around Panama City , starting just west of the air base, but after that the scenery changes back and forth from undeveloped rural, to small water oriented communities, to a few larger, upscale communities, most noticeably Fort Walton Beach.

It took longer to get here than I had anticipated, primarily because my time estimate was based on the distance, while I had forgotten how much of that distance would be in covered at 30 or 40 mph due to the numerous communities we would be passing through. By the time we arrived at the FamCamp at the Naval Air Station it was 3:pm and I was starving. I had repeatedly suggested that we stop and have lunch, but Sharyn and Jordan, neither of whom ever seem to get hungry, kept saying "we can eat when we get there." That was okay when it was expected to be slightly more than a two hour drive, but when it became clear that it was going to be a lot longer than that I really got hungry.

Anyway, we finally arrived to a nicely improved campground. Since we were here a year ago they have installed new full hookups at each campsite (last year there was only 30 amp service service and no sewer), poured new concrete slabs, and seeded the entire facility. I suspect the grass was part of the necessary reclamation after all the digging and construction that led to these improvements. The final result are first class campsites under the spreading live oaks.

Odometer reading = 32,679
Miles for day = 128


2/24/02 and 2/25/02
(Pensacola FL)

This is much more pleasant than the site we had at Tyndall, and the difference it makes is somewhat striking. Last year we had a much better site at Tyndall than the one we had this year. Also, our site here is much nicer that the site we had here last year. Last year we liked Tyndall better than here; this year it's reversed. We may have to reevaluate our ideas about different places we've stayed. It may be that the campsite we stay in unduly taints our overall appraisal of the place itself. In any event, we're enjoying ourselves.

There are a number of military facilities in the Pensacola area and there is a "Navy Exchange Mall" that is not part of any facility, but seems to be for the use of all the facilities. Unsurprisingly, we went there to check it out, buy some groceries, a birthday present for our granddaughter, etc.

We haven't done any kayaking for several reasons; one, it's been kind of cool, only around 60 degrees, and second, it was here that last year a young boy had his arm bitten of by a shark. A week later a man was bitten about 5 miles further down the beach. Between the sharks in the salt water and the alligators in the fresh water I suspect that warmer weather would make no difference.

Today I finally got around to sending all of our Canadian campground receipts back to the Canadian tax authorities. We will be getting back over $60 US that we paid in sales tax at Canadian campgrounds this past summer.

On the way back from the post office I stopped at the National Museum of Naval Aviation which is about a mile down the road from the FamCamp. I had just stopped by to see what was there and if we should all go there tomorrow. It's similar to the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio, only much smaller. I was walking around looking at stuff when I got close to a guide who was leading a tour group and got caught up with what he was saying. The tour and the guide were terrific and I stayed with them for about a half hour. We definitely have to go back tomorrow, but on the way out I checked to confirm that this particular guide would be there tomorrow -- unfortunately, he only does one tour a week, and today was it! Oh well, we'll go back tomorrow and have a different guide, and wander around some on our own; it's still a great museum.

Odometer reading = 32,679
Miles for day = 0


(Pensacola FL)

We all went to the National Museum of Naval Aviation, but unfortunately we didn't get there until almost one o'clock. It was unfortunate because we had to leave at 5 o'clock when they closed up, even though we still hadn't seen everything. We did take one of the guided tours, and while he told us some interesting stuff, the guide I heard yesterday was much better on the historical significance of what we were looking at. Today's guide emphasized the historical evolution of military aircraft rather than the great history of some of these individual planes.

After the tour ended we continued to walk around and tried to see it all, but we ran out of time. We did get to check out a number of fighter cockpits, including this one being flown by Sharyn and Jordan. Sharyn also checked out a retired plane of the Blue Angels. So did Jordan!

I should have mentioned that The Blue Angels, the Navy's precision flying team, are stationed here at the Air Station.

One of the planes on display with an interesting history is this Stearman trainer that was flown on two occasions by Ensign George H. W. Bush when he was a student pilot here at the Pensacola Naval Air Station. When Bush got his wings at 18 he became the Navy's then youngest pilot.

There is way too much in the museum to describe here, but if you're ever in the Pensacola area it's a definite place to visit -- and get there early.

Odometer reading = 32,679
Miles for day = 0


(Foley AL)

Because we were leaving Pensacola this morning Jordan got out earlier than usual for her morning walk/jog. An eight mile exercise trail runs right past the FamCamp so it's very convenient, and it's a beautiful trail besides. At one point I stood on the trail with the camera waiting for her to come by. Here she comes -- and there she goes!

We pulled out of the FamCamp shortly before noon and headed for Alabama and the Escapee Park just outside of Foley, about 25 miles south of Mobile. Last year as we were passing through Mobile we saw the battleship Alabama docked just off of US-98 and we stopped to see it. Jordan said she'd like to see it also, so we'll spend a couple of days here and just take the car to Mobile tomorrow as a day trip.

This morning I wished Sharyn a "Happy Anniversary," as, I thought that today was the first day of our third year of full-timing. It turned out, however, that we started on February 25, 2000, so I was two days late on the anniversary bit. Anyway, I went back through Quicken and put together some numbers:

Distance covered: In two years (2/25/00 to 2/24/02) we drove 31,029 miles; 17,612 the first year, and 13,417 the second year.

Cost of fuel: In two years we spent a total of $5,703 on gasoline for the motorhome. In the last 12 months our fuel cost was $2,195 or $183 per month ($6 per day). Over the last 5,000 miles we have averaged 7.45 mpg.

Cost of campgrounds: In two years we spent $6,390 on campgrounds (which includes water, sewer, and electric). In the last 12 months we spent $2,960 or $247 per month ($8.11 per day).

Odometer reading = 32,717
Miles for day = 38


(Foley AL)

This morning, for whatever reason, Jordan didn't want to get out of bed. By the time she finally got up, showered, and dressed, we had a rather late start to Mobile to see the battleship Alabama. Sharyn decided that since she'd already seen it last year she'd stay home to clean and maybe do some laundry.

Anyway Jordan and I took off for the Alabama. The ship is divided into three separate self guided tours and we did all of them. This is Jordan below one of the main gun turrets. Those are 2700 pound projectiles that were fired 21 miles by six 90 pound bags of powder.

This ship, and I suspect all battleships, are very impressive. A powerful war machine and self contained city of 2,500 fighting men that helped the America win the Second World War. Today it's a museum, but I think it would be more appropriate to call it a war memorial.

After we finished the battleship we checked out the hangar with the aircraft display. Unfortunately, the hangar had been partially cleared out to make room for a big fishing tournament that was going on. (Fox News, ESPN, etc.,were all on the scene. The Fox News camera man filmed Jordan as she walked around.) From the hangar we then went to the book store/gift shop only to find out it was past closing time. Oh well!

Odometer reading = 32,717
Miles for day = 0


3/1/02 and 3/2/02
(Foley AL)

We didn't do too much these two days except for laundry and a trip to Wal-Mart for groceries.

Except for today, when it was in the 70's, daytime temperatures have been in the 40's or low 50's, with nighttime temperatures in the low to mid 20's. It was like that in Pensacola also; much , much colder than normal. One night while in Pensacola the temperature set an all time low for the day. These kind of temperatures don't encourage a great deal of outdoor activity.

Odometer reading = 32,717
Miles for day = 0


(Biloxi MS)

This morning we left the Escapee Park in Alabama and headed for the Keesler AFB FamCamp in Biloxi, Mississippi. This is the third time we've been here. Sharyn likes the Casinos (she basically plays the nickel slot machines), the beaches, and the large ante-bellum houses overlooking the Gulf.

We traveled US-98 and US-90 all the way to Biloxi. It would have been quicker to take I-10, but we prefer the "two lane roads," and opt for them whenever feasible. It was cloudy and cold, but we enjoyed the drive -- including lunch on the side of the road just short of the Alabama-Mississippi border.

Once again the temperatures are in the mid 20's (at 9:pm), but the campground host says the cold weather is supposed to break tomorrow. We're ready for that!

Odometer reading = 32,823
Miles for day = 106


(Biloxi MS)

The largest part of the day was spent by Sharyn and Jordan checking out all the stores and malls in Gulfport, Mississippi, about 15 miles west of the Biloxi. They had previously, at my suggestion, dropped me off at Barnes & Noble where I found some a few books and a comfortable overstuffed chair. By the time they came back to get me I had selected what appears to be an excellent book on JavaScript I bought the book with the idea that I may make some changes with respect to the links on stringbean's home page.

By the time we got back to the motorhome it was almost 8:pm so we ended up having beans and turkey hot dogs for dinner.

Because we are in the overflow area, 30 amps but no sewer connection, we've been trying to avoid filling our "gray water" tank which holds the waste water from the sinks and shower. The largest source of gray water, by far, is the shower. We are only 30 feet from the shower room so I took my shower there. That's the first time in well over a year that I've showered other than in the motorhome. It was quite pleasurable; a large shower stall with probably 100 pounds of water pressure and unlimited hot water. I told Sharyn that for as long as we're here I'm going to use that shower.

Odometer reading = 32,823
Miles for day = 0


(Biloxi MS)

Today's plan was "hit the casino's." Believe it or not Sharyn had a zip lock sandwich bag full of nickels that she save from the last time we were here and she was ready to get back to the nickel slot machines.

We went to the first casino and probably were not the ten minutes when Sharyn won about a half gallon of nickels which then financed her and Jordan for the rest of the day. After an hour or two we left and went to another casino, taking the first casino's nickels with us. When we left the second casino it was past dinner time, and that casino now has most of the nickels that came from the first one. Sharyn still has her zip lock bag of nickels, and it's even a little fatter than it was this morning, but the half gallon of nickels was left behind.

It looks to me as if almost all the slot machine players are grandparents and great-grandparents. I looks like some of them play the same machine nonstop for hours because they're not mobile enough to move to another machine. When an elderly woman next to Sharyn won $1,027, she said that at least she was getting back "some of the money she had lost." We wondered how much money this woman had lost prior to this win, and at what point she would have quit!

Well, it's now 12:45am tomorrow and I've been told I should turn off the lights -- goodnight!

Odometer reading = 32,823
Miles for day = 0


(Biloxi MS)

This morning Sharyn and I were still sleeping when we awoke to hear Jordan talking to someone. The campground host had come over to tell us that there was a site for us and could move out of the overflow area. It didn't take much to just pull in the slideouts and move to our site in the new section of the campground; we didn't even unplug the coffee pot. Jordan drove the car over in her pajamas.

This is a nice site with full, all new, hookups and we've decided that we'll stay in Biloxi until at least two of us are ready to leave.

For recreation, different people engage in different activities. Some fish, some play golf, some do chess, while others pursue NASCAR. Sharyn and Jordan engage in shopping. This afternoon we all took a recreational jaunt to a nearby mall here in Biloxi. From the mall we then went back to the base where we hit the PX and the commissary. Unfortunately, I don't "do" shopping and I think I'll stay home on their next mall visit.

By the way, we may finally be out of the frigid winter weather and we are thoroughly enjoying the change.

Odometer reading = 32,823
Miles for day = 0


(Biloxi MS)

Coffee and conversation went on for several today as we sat outside and enjoyed the warmth and sunshine. We actually had to put out the awning to allow us to get out of the sun that by noon was getting too hot.

We returned again to Gulfport and the malls and discount stores located there. This time I got out at Barnes and Noble and told Sharyn and Jordan they could shop to their heart's content and just pick me up on their way home. They didn't return for me until after six o'clock. Sharyn said she was shopped out and exhausted! Can you imagine?

I told Sharyn that if we ever settle down someplace there has to be a Barnes and Noble in the area. That, plus broadband Internet access.

Odometer reading = 32,823
Miles for day = 0


(Biloxi MS)

The other day the fellow next to us was cleaning and polishing his four-year-old motorhome that looked as if it was still in the showroom. He uses Meguiar's Gold Class that he buys at Wal-Mart, and he polishes his unit twice a year. Today I washed the car and the motorhome and Sharyn bought some Meguiar's Gold Class. I polished a small portion of the front of the motorhome and it seems to do a nice job, and does it fairly easily. I guess I'll start doing the entire unit. I waxed it for the first time last August-September (it was a three week process). Since there is a six month old coat of wax on the motorhome, this application should be easier than the first one.

The other thing that I finally accomplished today was I finished reading Lone Star -- A History of Texas and the Texans by T.R. Fehrenbach. This 700+ page book is a dynamite history of Texas from the days humans first walked its land over 40,000 years ago, through the Spanish and French invasions, the golden age of cotton, cattle, farmers, cowboys, and oil empires. This is a great book, but since I only read after going to bed (I read the last ten pages this afternoon), it probably took me three months to finish reading it. Anyone who has any interest in the history of Texas or the history of the Southwest should read it (it may be out of print). ISBN 0-02-032170-8

Odometer reading = 32,823
Miles for day = 0


3/9/02 and 3/10/02
(Biloxi MS)

On the 9th Sharyn did four loads of wash. It seems that for just three people we make a lot of dirty clothes. That evening we discussed whether or not to leave the following day, the 10th. Sharyn and I were willing to leave but we didn't feel very strong about it either way. Jordan seemed to want to stay so we decided not to leave.

The following day Sharyn and Jordan went back to the base (the FamCamp is located off base) to do some grocery shopping in the commissary. We seem to save about 30%, a sizable savings, when we do our grocery shopping in a commissary. As they were leaving Jordan asked if they were going to go to the BX also -- I knew the answer to that one! This time I was even smarter; I said, "I'll stay home."

Odometer reading = 32,823
Miles for day = 0


(New Orleans LA)

This morning we were up at 7 o'clock and on the road shortly after ten. I love the days we move, particularly if we have been in that same place for several days. It's always a great morning, with the expectation for a new day, new roads, new things, and somewhat of a new adventure. Like I said, I love it! Some people that do this spend six months in the south and then move north for six months in the summer; they never move except for twice a year. I can't relate to that at all. I usually begin to get itchy after 2-3 days. I can't explain to myself how we stayed at Shaw AFB in Sumter for a month last fall, and I would have been content to remain even longer. Sharyn feels the same and she's not sure why either.

Anyway, we are at a Bayou Segnette State Park on the west bank of the Mississippi, about 15 minutes from downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter. This could be our third time passing through this area and we've never stopped to check it out. This time we will.

Actually, we already started. As we approached New Orleans from the east on US-90 we crossed over a very narrow bridge (I'm glad nothing was coming the other way) and saw an old fort off to the left. Fort Pike was built after the War of 1812 (when the British attacked New Orleans and sailed up the Potomac and burned Washington DC) as part of a defense system to insure that no foreign nation could ever again invade the United States. The fort overlooks the Rigolets, a narrow body of water that connects the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Pontchartrain, a 40 mile wide lake located just behind New Orleans, thus protecting New Orleans from an attack from the rear.

Here Sharyn and Jordan peer out from one of the gun casements on the lower level. Here they explore what remains of the gun emplacements on the upper level.

Odometer reading = 32,920
Miles for day = 97


(New Orleans LA)

There is a fair amount of water in and around this park that lends itself to kayaking. The park area also provides some very good alligator habitat. As a matter-of-fact, in 1996 they "removed" a 13 foot alligator from the campground area. Unfortunately, Sharyn saw his head which is now on display in the office and has informed me that she's not going kayaking around here, and "don't even try to change my mind." Actually I felt better seeing the head of a 13 foot alligator. I had envisioned a much longer snout and jaws.

Since kayaking was not on today's menu, went drove into the French Quarter where we drove around for awhile, including driving the length of Bourbon Street. That's quite a street. Sharyn commented that New Orleans would be a better Spring Break destination than Panama City (which filled up with college kids the week after we left). After driving around for awhile we parked the car and spent the rest of the afternoon walking. Some of the jazz musicians playing in the street are really good. I found the mimes, while interesting, less impressive (some prefer vanilla, others prefer chocolate).

Anyway, after several hours we stopped off in a corner cafe for some lunch. Here Sharyn and Jordan try to decide what to order. Not too much later we came back to the campground, but as of now (9:pm) we plan to return to the "Big Easy" tomorrow.

Odometer reading = 32,920
Miles for day = 0


(New Orleans LA)

Today Sharyn and I returned to the French Quarter in downtown New Orleans. Jordan didn't like New Orleans at all and chose to get dropped off at Barnes and Noble about four miles from the campground.

Sharyn and I walked the length of Bourbon Street and a good portion of Royal Street, one block over and famous for its antiques shops.

At one point we stopped at a coffee house for a hot cup of coffee. It was a both a good and an interesting stop. Good, because for $2 we each got a cup of coffee to warm us up (it was cool outside and we didn't have jackets), got to use the bathroom, and got to sit down and rest our feet. This is Sharyn waiting for the ladies room. Notice that all the people in the picture are pretty ordinary looking people. Well, what made the visit interesting was that about ten minutes after this picture was taken there had been a change of customers. I told Sharyn it looked like the bar scene from Star Wars. I had no trouble taking the picture of the regular looking customers, but did not feel comfortable photographing the Star Wars scene. It would have been a much more interesting picture.

We visited a good number of antique shops, almost all of which have very high quality, expensive items. Beautiful stuff.

Later in the afternoon we stopped for something to eat. Sharyn had a blackened "Nu Orleans" hamburger while I had jambalaya, a crawfish pie, and a file gumbo (just like the song). It was all good, but I liked the crawfish pie best.

During the course of the day I took many photos. I have put small versions of 22 of these photos on a separate page which totals 238K and should take approximately 66 seconds to download with a 56K modem. To go to that page click here.

Also, today is our son Phil's birthday. Okay Phil, here is our birthday message to you.

Odometer reading = 32,920
Miles for day = 0


(Lafayette LA)

For a number of days the plan has been that when we leave New Orleans we'll drive north along Louisiana Route 18 to Baton Rouge. Route 18 follows the west bank of the Mississippi River and passes by a number of old antebellum plantation homes, including this one. Those 28 live oak trees are estimated to be more than 250 years old, and it was specifically to see these trees that we took this route. We also looked forward to driving almost 100 miles along the bank of the river. Unfortunately, the levee runs between the road and the river for the entire distance so it was more like we drove along the base of the levee for 100 miles. We didn't get to see the river except on two occasions when we stopped and climbed up onto the levee to look.

Anyway, for any tree oriented people, here is another view of some of those great trees.

The RV park we stopped at just west of Baton Rouge was full so we headed west on US-190 to Lafayette where we stopped in a $27 per night campground. If it wasn't that it was late and I was tired driving we would not have stayed for that price. It's a fine, high quality, RV park with all the amenities (swimming pool, sauna, rec room, games, fishing lake, etc) and someone has to pay for all that, but we only wanted an electric outlet and a place to park for the night. By way of comparison we paid $6 per day at the State Park in New Orleans -- admittedly, quite a bargain. There really is no answer to this issue for the campground owner. Letters to the editor in all the RV magazines present both my point of view as well as those who want even more amenities and say they're willing to pay more for them.

Odometer reading = 33,088
Miles for day =168


(Longville LA)

We started out this morning with the plan to just drive west on US-190 until we felt like stopping. US-190 goes right through Livingston, Texas, which is our immediate destination. If we got there today that would be fine; if not that would be okay too. We stopped several times as we traveled; once for groceries, once for our "2 o'clock coffee" (which we are supposed to stop for every day, but frequently do not), and Jordan wanted to know how we'd ever get anywhere if we kept stopping. Also, Louisiana's washboard highways tend to make one keep the speed in the 50 mph range.

Again, the first place we stopped was booked solid for the weekend so we continued on to this campground which is basically empty. While I didn't take a picture of last nights $27 campground, there were 120 campsites with 12-15 feet between RVs. This campsite cost us $13.

.Odometer reading = 33,225
Miles for day =137


(Livingston TX)

Last night it poured down rain and Sharyn was concerned that the lake would raise up and surround the motorhome, or the ground would get so soggy that we'd be mired in the mud and not be able to get out. Luckily neither of those scenarios came about and we left the campground shortly after 11:am.

It was a relaxed and uneventful ride to Livingston, during which we did make one consolidated stop for lunch and our 2 o'clock coffee, even though it was not yet 1 o'clock.

We arrived at the Escapees Rainbow's End RV Park here in Livingston, Texas, which is also it's corporate headquarters, and it felt good to be back here again. Many RVers are under the impression that Escapees is just another membership campground association like Coast to Coast or Thousand Trails that one joins to save money on campground fees. That's not what it is at all. Escapees is actually a membership/support organization that does a lot of good things for RVers, members and otherwise. The fact that Escapees also has campgrounds is a very nice perk, but not the whole story. As one Escapee said, "I'm a member of several camping clubs, but I am an Escapee." If interested see

By the way, I made dinner tonight, stir fried/sautéed vegetables -- not exactly, but something like that. We all share the cooking, cleaning, dishwashing, shopping, etc., but tonight during dinner I raised the point that we don't share the driving. I suggested that on the days we travel and I drive three or four hours or more I should not be part of the dinner preparation/cleanup for that day. I suggested that an alternative plan would be that we share the driving. There was no overwhelming enthusiasm for either plan, but I suspect the first one has to fly.

Odometer reading = 33,350
Miles for day = 125


(Livingston TX)

This morning, after an extended coffee and conversation, Sharyn surprised me with a breakfast of bacon, eggs, and grits; my favorite breakfast.

Later in the day we went into town to buy some milk and groceries at Wal-Mart's Supercenter.

This evening we went to the "ice cream social" at the club house where we met and talked at some length with a couple who have been full-timing for six years. She is very much like Sharyn in that she enjoys what she's doing, but at the same time she sometimes just "wants to go home."

Odometer reading = 33,350
Miles for day = 0


3/18/02 and 3/19/02
(Livingston TX)

Yesterday I went to DMV (actually the Polk County Tax Office) to see about getting Texas plates for the car and the motorhome. Both vehicles had to have Texas inspection stickers before they could be registered in Texas, so I took the Honda and had it inspected. Today I took the motorhome into town and had it inspected also. Then I went back to the tax office where I registered both vehicles and got Texas plates. Since we've been using Escapees here in Texas as our mailing address for almost two years, have our vehicles registered here, and tomorrow will be registering to vote here, I guess that we can say we're Texans. What's a "Texan?" Or a "Virginian?" Or most anything else? It's hard to say.

When I returned from town, I also changed the oil and filter in the motorhome while the engine was hot.

Odometer reading = 33,364
Miles for day = 15


(Livingston TX)

It was rainy, misty, and dreary most of the day. One thing we did get done was go through all the accumulated magazines, papers, pamphlets, and assorted junk that had gradually begun to permeate the entire interior of the motorhome. This was something we've been going to do for several weeks but somehow never got to it.

On the bulletin board in the clubhouse there was a sign from "Tony lot 219" who had a 100Mg Zip drive with ten 100Mg Zip disks, all for $60. I want to buy the disks but I can't find Tony. There is no Lot 219 since the 911 address system came in, and the lot that used to be 219 is not Tony. After an hour of searching I gave up looking.

As evening approached, Sharyn went to the laundry room and did a whole pile of ironing.

Odometer reading = 33,364
Miles for day = 0


(Brenham TX)

We left Livingston this morning, still heading for Alaska, but with the LBJ Ranch and historical park our immediate destination. As we were heading in a general southwesterly direction along narrow two lane roads through the country, we found ourselves passing through the tiny hamlet of Magnolia where our daughter-in-law and granddaughter used to live. What are the odds of that -- too bad they don't live there anymore. By the way, a short time time later we drove through the town of Cut and Shoot, Texas.

When we pulled into Artesian Park Campground just west of Brenham, Texas, I said to Sharyn, "this must be Allegro country." Probably 25% of the units here are Allegros. As we were setting up a number of people came over to introduce themselves and talk to us. They are part of the Regional Allegro Club for (I think) Louisiana and East Texas.

The campground office was locked (with the keys left in the door) but we followed the directions on the door and put a check in the box. Later on I went to the owners home, next to the office, and tried to sell her a website. I didn't know they already had one. As I'm writing this I have yet seen the site linked to above. I'll see it when I get online and upload this page.


Odometer reading = 33,499
Miles for day = 135


(Johnson City TX)

I had a strange knot, or catching, that started in my left side last evening and worsened during the night. I don't know what it is, but when it happens, it "grabs" and it hurts. As long as I hold my torso vertical it's okay, but when the muscle is called upon to hold up, or straighten up, the torso it grabs, not unlike a "Charlie horse." Standing or walking without it grabbing is difficult.

Anyway, this morning, since I was somewhat incapacitated, it was Sharyn who dumped the holding tanks, disconnected the water and electric, etc. As she was doing this several of the guys from the Allegro Club came by and we were all standing around at the back of the motorhome talking and telling stories. By the time we all finished talking it was past noon and we got underway.. If we spent any time at all in this part of the Country we'd join this group. They're really a nice bunch and they seem to have a lot of fun.

The drive to Johnson City where we plan to visit the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Park was without incident.

From here we might go to Lackland AFB in San Antonio, about 85 miles south of here, and I'll see if they can find out what's wrong with my side. The medical facilities at Lackland, I believe, are the largest medical facilities the Air Force has in the Continental US.

Odometer reading = 33,630
Miles for day = 131


(San Antonio TX)

This morning it turned out that none of us were particularly interested in going to the LBJ National Park. The literature we picked up at the campground office seemed to indicate that it wasn't what we had expected it to be, so we headed south for San Antonio.

Perhaps unfortunately, by the time I went to bed last night the thing in my side had subsided considerably, and by this morning was probably 85% improved. I say "unfortunately," because I did go to the hospital at Lackland, but the doctor could not find anything. He said he was sorry that he had not been able to examine me when it was bad. He did have chest x-rays and a urine analysis done to preclude any lung or kidney involvement.

After sitting with me for several hours in the emergency room, I finally convinced Sharyn that I'd probably be another number of hours and that she should go to the commissary without me and that I'd walk back to the FamCamp and the motorhome. As it turned out I got back to the motorhome before she did.

A unique feature of the laundry room at this FamCamp is that the machines do not require coins -- they are free. As soon as I finish typing this, we're both going over to the laundry room where Sharyn will do what laundry we have accumulated while I update this site. The telephone line for Internet access is also in the laundry room.

Odometer reading = 33,702
Miles for day = 72


(San Antonio TX)

Yesterday I forgot to mention that we were in the overflow area with no hookups. That really wasn't a problem since we had no need for either heating or air conditioning and just about everything else runs off the 12 volt batteries. In addition, the particular overflow site we were in is probably the nicest site in the entire campground (actually they're all quite nice).

Anyway, this morning we did start up the generator to make coffee. That's only because last night we set up the wrong coffee pot. Shortly after that the girl came over and told us we could move into site #12, a full hookup site that had just been vacated.

After moving over to the new site we went to the BX and commissary for some shopping, browsing, and groceries (I don't shop, I drive). When we returned to the motorhome we sat around for awhile reading the Sunday papers, after which Sharyn began to make dinner and I washed the windshield and front end of the motorhome, both of which were quite buggy.

Tomorrow, if we stick with our plan, we'll go to Del Rio, a small border town about 150 miles west of here. It happens that there is an Air Force base there with a FamCamp.

Odometer reading = 33,702
Miles for day = 0


(Del Rio TX)

We left Lackland this morning, as planned, and had gone less than five miles when it started to rain. We were pleased by the fact that within another ten miles the rain ceased, and shortly thereafter the sun came out and the world was beautiful.

Back on February 4, 2002 I posted a picture of a sign that I felt was interesting or unusual, and I said I might begin a separate page of such pictures if I can accumulate enough of them. Well here's another, (we had to turn around and go back to get this picture) and here's the new page, even if there are only two pictures on it at this time.

We arrived here at Laughlin AFB just outside of Del Rio and checked into the FamCamp which is only 200 yards from the BX. We walked over to check it out but found it to be quite small. This is a small base with only a limited number of personnel that probably couldn't support a larger BX.

By the way, there is an Escapee campground in Hondo, about a mile of off US-90, so we decided to drive by and check it out as we passed through the area. We did so, and there's no reason to check it out again. Like the Escapee place in Pahrump NV, we didn't like it at all. Probably due to the desert-like environment in both places.

Odometer reading = 33,846
Miles for day = 144


(Del Rio TX)

It was probably around noon time before we left the base and headed for Del Rio and the bridge to Ciudad Acuna in Mexico. Since our auto insurance does not extend to Mexico we parked the car at the US end of the bridge and walked across. We only spent about an hour in Ciudad Acuna, walking up one street and then down the other. None of us liked the place. Unfortunately, while I had the camera over my shoulder, I totally forgot about taking any pictures in Mexico.

After getting back to the US we returned to the FamCamp just in time for me to watch the news with Britt Hume. While I watched the news Sharyn and Jordan sat outside doing their own thing (s).

Odometer reading = 33,846
Miles for day = 0


(Del Rio TX)

This is a rather relaxed base and we all find it "comfortable" here. Jordan says it's her favorite of all the places, bases and campgrounds, that we've been to. It's a small base and there isn't a great deal here, although the base commander's policy is that all FamCamp occupants are welcome to use any and all base facilities. That's kind of nice.

I went to the library because I was told that I could connect my laptop to a phone line there. I turns out that the computer facilities at the library are the nicest I've seen anywhere. They have a large, well lit, separate room with thirteen Internet connected terminals, all equipped with new Dell computers, 19" monitors, and networked printers.

There is a 2.5 mile walking/running trail that Jordan has been using on a daily basis. We have not gone back to town because there wasn't much there, and what was there we didn't care for. The entire area, and pretty much everything between here and San Antonio, is impoverished.

Odometer reading = 33,846
Miles for day = 0


3/28/02 through 3/30/02
(Del Rio TX)

We still haven't been back to town, or even off base, for that matter.

The weather here has been quite enjoyable; daytime highs around 80 degrees, humidity in the 30% range, and a nonstop breeze out of the west. Yesterday afternoon security came around warning everyone of a storm system approaching with 70 mph winds, hailstones in excess of a inch, and possible associated tornados. We took down our flagpole, put away all our outside stuff, and waited for it to happen -- it never did.

Today the wind blew at 30 mph, gusting to 40, all day. Fine sand and gritty dust permeated the motorhome and the car (I had left the car windows open!). Even the keyboard and the area where you slide your finger to control the cursor got coated with grit (but cleaned with a damp cloth). The accumulation on the counters and the table are obvious and easily wiped clean. Carpeting and upholstered services are just as dirty, if not a obvious or as easy to clean. A slow and tedious cleanup will be in order.

The other day Sharyn and I had our lipid profiles done at the clinic, largely due to the extreme helpfulness of clinic personnel who expedited the normal time-frame to accommodate our leaving here the day after Easter. After a year of extremely low fat (<40grams/day?) dieting, my numbers have changed very little, and to the extent that my cholesterol goes down a little, proportionally, my HDL's go down more. As I understand it there 's not too much that can be done to raise your HDL's. My Cholesterol/HDL ratio is 7.36 -- borderline deadly! Sharyn says her numbers "are not for public disclosure."

Odometer reading = 33,846
Miles for day = 0


3/31/02 (Easter Sunday)
(Del Rio TX)

Sharyn had wanted that we'd all get up early this morning and go to Sunrise Service at the base Chapel. That was the plan until we stayed up until 1:am last night. Anyway, we did get up at a somewhat reasonable time, had our coffee and conversation (Sharyn and I -- Jordan was still in bed), and eventually I left to do my two mile walk, which I'm now back to doing. When I returned, at five minutes to eleven, Sharyn was all ready to go to the 11:15 service at the Chapel, and Jordan was only a few minutes from being ready. I couldn't get showered and ready in time, but told them I'd be dressed and ready to go to the Easter Sunday breakfast/luncheon buffet when they returned.

I was ready and we did go to the buffet that was at the "XL Club," which is the on base officers club. Not only was the physical facility very nice, but the food was was pretty much unlimited both in selection and in quantity. Sharyn and Jordan both went for the breakfast selections; warm Belgium waffles, fluffy french toast with maple syrup, cooked to order omelet bar with Chef Ralph on the grill, homemade flapjacks with butter, scrambled farm-fresh eggs, home fried potatoes, crispy bacon and pork sausage, assorted petite pastries and fruity muffins. While they didn't have all of that, Sharyn certainly had her fair share. Actually she had missed the "omelets to order" bar and had finished eating when I mentioned it. She then went back to get herself a custom omelet Jordan was very good and was not glutinous in any way.

While they went for the breakfast stuff, I preferred the luncheon selections which included; slow cooked roast beef with au jus, oven-browned turkey, Virginia ham with sun cured raison sauce, southern fried chicken, broiled red snapper filet, peel-and-eat shrimp, whipped potatoes with gravy, baked yams topped with melted marshmallows, Juan's famous broccoli and cheese soufflé, baby carrots, green peas with miniature onions, chilled cranberry sauce and rolls.

There was also a long dessert bar with Maricela's fresh baked pies, assorted gourmet cakes, and an ice cream bar with six or eight different toppings.

I, like Sharyn, also ate too much. Neither of our bodies are any longer use to eating food in such volume and when we got back to the motorhome Sharyn immediately laid down on the bed and fell asleep. Shortly thereafter I did the same thing on the couch. Jordan reminded us both that gluttony was one of the seven deadly sins.

Later in the day, after we recovered from the excessive eating I watched some of the news casts and Sunday talk shows to see what were the latest developments in the Mideast, while Sharyn and Jordan relaxed outside with their reading material.

As an unrelated aside, I have a problem with Photoshop 4.0 and I need help. If you know anything about Photoshop, please read this.

Odometer reading = 33,846
Miles for day = 0


(Fort Stockton TX)

We left Laughlin AFB this morning and, heading west on US-90 through Del Rio, somehow we missed our turn and ended up back at the Mexican border. We did a U-turn in front of the border checkpoint and got back on track, heading in a northwesterly direction towards Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico -- our next destination. Jordan wonders how her mother and father have managed traveling around North America for two years by themselves.

As we passed by Langtry TX, where Judge Roy Bean, known as "the law west of the Pecos" used to hang out, we stopped to check out his courthouse, which turns out to have been a combination saloon, courthouse, and dancehall. It was a lot smaller than I would have thought. The sign behind the bar tells the story while Sharyn stands at the bar waiting for service.

After spending about an hour in Langtry we again got back on the road, all parts of which look pretty much the same, and continued on to Fort Stockton (a town, not a military base) which was our target for today. This campground will never make anyone's list of favorites, but then it appears that perhaps nothing green exists in this part of Texas.

Odometer reading = 34,043
Miles for day = 196


(White's City NM)

We started out shortly before noon and continued north towards New Mexico and Carlsbad Caverns. As we were going down the highway I told Sharyn and Jordan that if there was anything else we were going to need for the next several days we 'd have to get it in Pecos as that would be last real town we'd come to before we got to El Paso near the end of the week. They said we didn't need anything, and it was just as well since it turned out that Pecos was not the town I thought it would be. On the map it's a pretty big dot; in reality it's not much more!

We eventually stopped for our 2 o'clock coffee at a roadside "picnic area." Literally, a wide spot in the pavement. While we were there a truck loaded with hay pulled in to check his load and I asked the driver where the hay had come from since we hadn't seen anything green in 500 miles. He was hauling it down from New Mexico.

Anyway we soon after got to White's City at the entrance to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. After getting set up in the RV Park, apparently run by Best Western, Jordan and I drove to the Park's visitor's center to check things out. The visitor's center is five miles into the park and the views and terrain are quite spectacular. Unfortunately, I had left my camera in the motorhome. Check back tomorrow when I should have some real pictures posted.

Odometer reading = 34,187
Miles for day = 144


(White's City NM)

Today, the three of us drove down the five mile entrance road to Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the visitors center. The entrance to the caverns themselves is a cave opening at the surface (where all the bats fly in and out), but the tours, self guided and otherwise, begin at a point 750 feet below the surface. Obviously, the natural way to enter the caverns is through the cave opening at the surface which then leads to a 20% downward sloping trail through the cave to the vast open areas below. The way is steep and often slippery. The "unnatural" way to get down inside is to take the elevator from inside the visitors center. There was no support for taking the natural entrance.

Anyway, having arrived down in the cavern we decided to follow a mile and a half trail that led us through some of the narrower subterranean openings as well as some of the large chambers. While I did get a few pictures, for the most part they were way out of focus as there was not enough light for the camera to "see" anything to focus on. Jordan thinks that bats are super cool, but unfortunately they winter in Mexico and will not return here until later in the month. Accordingly will missed the opportunity of seeing a prolonged cloud of a half million bats emerging from the cave at dusk.

One thing I though very interesting is that while there were signs of ancient Indians being in and about the cave entrance, there's no indication that they ever ventured down inside to any real depth, although I can well imagine that the half million bats that make the cave their summer home, and fly in and out at dawn and dusk every day, could have contributed to a reluctance to explore the inner depths in a pre flashlight era.

I guess I'm not a rock hound or a cave enthusiast as I was more impressed with the surrounding countryside and the roadway leading into and out of the National Park.

The campground at White's City is not particularly nice, but it's functional, and it's right at the entrance to the National Park..

Odometer reading = 34,187
Miles for day = 0


(El Paso TX)

This morning we are off and on the road back to Texas. This time we're heading for El Paso at the westernmost tip of the state. We had not gone too far when I stopped just to take this picture with the Guadalupe Mountains in the background. As we continued along the mountains and the highway got closer together. We thought it interesting how all of a sudden the mountains just pop up from the flat desert floor, almost like a stone wall, with no intervening area of rolling foothills gradually becoming steeper and eventually becoming mountains. By the way, the tall peak in the distance is Guadalupe Peak, and at 8,749 feet it's the highest point in Texas.

Later on in the afternoon we stopped for lunch at a roadside rest area. Two interesting things about this place were this sign, which made it to our "Interesting Signs" page, and these steps. We're not sure what the steps are for, but all these rest areas have them. You can see there's a foot path leading from the other side of the sign out into the desert, so I followed this footpath to see what was at the other end. Well, it just goes out into the desert as it originally appeared to do. As I followed it I noticed that the further I went the less traveled it appeared to be and, also, that there were lots of pieces of toilet paper out there. We concluded that since these rest areas don't have any "facilities," it's a bring your own toilet paper and "do your thing." We may be wrong, but I don't think so.

A few comments and/or observations:

(1) All through western Texas we've passed over numerous bridges that, according to the signs, were passing over various "rivers," "canyons," "draws," and "sloughs." One notable thing that they all have in common is that they are all bone dry.

(2) We've seen three roadrunners. They look just like roadrunners. We've not seen any coyotes.

(3) We pass numerous entranceways, or driveways, to ranches. In many cases the driveway (never paved) goes over the distant horizon with nothing in sight. Some of them have a small sign on a post saying "six miles," "10 miles," or whatever. The concept of distance and space certainly varies in different parts of the Country. In Texas you may have a driveway ten miles long! On Eastern Long Island ten miles will take you through half a dozen towns.

(4) You can drive through the desert all day and you don't get any bugs on your windshield.

Odometer reading = 34,332
Miles for day = 145


(El Paso TX)

I forgot to mention it yesterday, but we're at the Fort Bliss Army FamCamp, pretty much in downtown El Paso. In the FamCamp directory there is a half page ad for this place that says it's the newest and most modern FamCamp in the system. That's part of why we're here, and it certainly is a very nice campground.

This morning Sharyn and I went to the "Family Building" where the laundromat, computer room, exercise machines, etc. are located (second building). Sharyn did the laundry while I went online in the next room.

Later in the day Jordan and I went to Barnes and Noble on the other side of town.

Our left rear leveling jack leaks down and leaks fluid. We're going to have to find someone who rebuilds hydraulic cylinders. Of course it's Friday night and the weekend starts tomorror. All our problems seem to occur on a Friday or Saturday.

Odometer reading = 34,332
Miles for day = 0


(El Paso TX)

It was a bummer of a day for Jordan today as she didn't feel well at all. Sharyn and I went back to the BX but the only thing we bought was a marked down T-shirt for $7. Jordan couldn't believe that was all we had bought.

Actually, we also bought a newspaper which I read when we got back to the motorhome. Other than that it was pretty much coffee and conversation all morning, then conversation without coffee most of the afternoon and evening.

It all kind of points out the #1 requirement for a couple considering full-time RVing -- you need not love your spouse, but you sure better be best friends. Actually, it's more like love is nice, but you better be best friends as well. While I haven't cleared it with Sharyn, I think we pretty much make it on both points.

Tomorrow morning we're off to White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.

Odometer reading = 34,332
Miles for day = 0


(Alamogordo NM)

As nice as the Fort Bliss FamCamp was, we didn't care foe El Paso at all. It felt good to be on the road again, heading north to Alamogordo, Holloman AFB, and White Sands National Monument.

It took less than two hours for the drive up US-54 to Alamogordo, then six miles west on US-70 to the FamCamp at Holloman AFB, which in turn is only six miles east of White Sands. I was surprised to find out that Holloman AFB had a FamCamp, since it is where the F-117 stealth fighter was was developed, and is still a primary base for the F-117 which is still probably close to the cutting edge of stealth technology. I thought that security would preclude having a FamCamp on base. We have been told of tight security here and been warned not to have a camera in the car if we drive anywhere near the flight line. I've never seen an F-117 although I saw a TV documentary on the development of the technology and the original testing of the prototypes at Holloman. If I recall correctly the plane had been flying for six years (night time flights only) before the existence of the plane was even acknowledged by the Air Force.

Anyway, we're now set up at the Holloman AFB FamCamp and we've paid $70 for a week long stay. We almost never stay that long anywhere, but this area and base "feel" comfortable and the daily rate was $14 so if even if we only stay for five days we'll break even.

Odometer reading = 34,417
Miles for day = 85


(Alamogordo NM)

Today Sharyn celebrates 35 years of marriage to a guy who loves her very much!

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!

Odometer reading = 34,417
Miles for day = 0


(Alamogordo NM)

Today, as on most days, we had an early start on coffee and conversation and a late start on anything else we do. Our late start today had to do with our visit, six miles down the road, to White Sands National Monument.*

The "sand" is really powdered gypsum. Rain and snow in the San Andres and Sacramento Mountains, that ring the Tularosa Basin, dissolve the gypsum contained in the rocks that were pushed up from an ancient seabed when the Rocky Mountains were formed some 70 million years ago. Normally such dissolved minerals are carried to the sea by the rivers flowing down from the mountains. In the case of the Tularosa Basin, however, there is no outlet to the sea, so the water flows into a dry lake bed called Lake Lucero where it either soaks into the ground or evaporates, leaving even more gypsum on the dry lake bed. The unrelenting winds then blow the gypsum across the land and the dunes are formed.

Anyway, so much for the details. I took a number of photographs, but in the bright sun, and with the brightness reflecting off of the white sand, I could see absolutely nothing on the camera's LCD display. It was literally a "point and shoot," and hope you're pointing at the subject (also hope you've zoomed in or out an appropriate amount). With that explanation, here is a picture of Sharyn and Jordan part way up a dune. Here is another picture of both of them, but because of the distance between them it gives a better idea as to the scale. This might have been my favorite picture if I had "pointed" a little better. I kind of missed the dune. Finally, Sharyn contemplates her world.

I frequently have difficulty deciding whether or not I'm putting up too many pictures. For viewers with broadband access, more pictures are a non-issue. For those with 56K modems it can get kind of onerous. I try to work it down the middle.

* The difference between a National Park and a National Monument is frequently a matter of money. National Parks are sites that are deemed more significant, often are physically larger, and always get more money. The National Parks and Monuments in this Country are an incredible "perk" available to the American People. It is one area where we both think that the Federal Government is really doing a great job!

Odometer reading = 34,417
Miles for day = 0


(Alamogordo NM)

Today we went into Alamogordo and visited the Chamber of Commerce to get some local maps and to find out if there was anything in particular that we should see while in this area..

From town we drove the car up to the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation where we checked out Casino Apache at the Inn of the Mountain Gods. I had two nickels in my pocket, and on the first nickel in the slot machine I won 35 cents. It was all downhill from there and I ended up losing $3.10 of my own money, plus a handful of nickels that Sharyn gave me out of her plastic bag (leftovers from the casinos in Biloxi). Jordan lost a couple of dollars and Sharyn's bag is empty. The reservation is high up in the Sacramento Mountains at an elevation of 7,900 feet, or some 2/3 of a mile higher than Alamogordo, and it's pretty country. It does not have the extreme poverty look that so many of the reservations seem to have.

Two attractive buildings on the reservation were the Catholic Mission and another church, probably of Protestant denomination.

On the way back through Alamogordo we stopped at Wal-Mart and then Golden Corral for dinner. At the Golden Corral we all lapsed back into our former eating habits, but then we knew that was going to happen.

All told, today we put over a hundred miles on the car, not getting back to the FamCamp until after dark.

By the way, a short distance north of Alamogordo we saw Osama hanging from a pole.

Odometer reading = 34,417
Miles for day = 0


(Alamogordo NM)

Today was a particularly good day. After almost two years of setting up our flag pole in a workable, but very inconvenient, manner, that has been addressed once and for all. Check this out. Now all I have to do is insert the base assembly into the receiver tube and then put the pole into the base assembly. If you're not familiar with our old system you can't appreciate how cool this is! Yesterday when I spoke to the welder and described what I wanted, he estimated the cost for labor and materials at $50 to $75. Today, when the job was done the total bill was $48.

While I was at the welding shop Sharyn and Jordan went up the mountain to Cloudcroft, a small, but unique shopping village. That worked out very well all around. They got to shop all day at their leisure, hit all the stores, and not be under pressure by having me along and knowing that I wasn't "having fun." I was good for me because I wasn't there. When I got back to the FamCamp I washed the motorhome and painted the flagpole mount assembly.

Tonight we called our grandson Patrick to wish him a happy eleventh birthday. Having gotten a dirt bike he is a very happy birthday boy. If he gets his helmet tomorrow so he's allowed to ride it, he'll be even happier.

Odometer reading = 34,451
Miles for day = 34


(Alamogordo NM)

Today I got Photoshop 5.5 and I've been playing and experimenting with it all day. For images intended for a website it's a super, major improvement over 4.0 because it does not cause an image file to grow larger just from having been through Photoshop, plus, of course, you can "Save For Web" and reduce the file size as much as you want (with accompanying loss of quality). If you're interested, see for what the "Save For Web" option can do.

While I was playing with Photoshop, Sharyn and Jordan spent 20 minutes driving around the base looking for the post office. After that, since we are only 75 feet from the laundry room, and the machines only cost 50 cents, they decided that this was the time and place to do laundry.

This afternoon, for the first time since we we've been here, the wind stopped blowing and we turned on the air conditioning (remember there's no shade here).

Odometer reading = 34,451
Miles for day = 0


(Alamogordo NM)

In response to my inquiry, "what did we do today?" Sharyn replied, "You played with your computer, Jordan and I went grocery shopping, and Jordan cleaned and sorted her stuff."

She forgot that I also went to the base library this morning and took out a couple of books that I've been reading.

Also, Jordan made tonight's dinner (tonight was her night) and for the first time in a long time we ate outside. Just like they're no bugs on the windshield here, there are also no bugs when you eat outside.

Odometer reading = 34,451
Miles for day = 0


(Alamogordo NM)

We were sitting outside enjoying the sunshine, cool breeze, and dry air, having our coffee and conversation, when we heard the people across the way (who we had met previously) talking about their metal detector. Since we had looked at metal detectors some time back, I was interested in their conversation and walked over to their site. A short time later Sharyn came over also. It wasn't too long until there were five couples, all of whom happened to be Escapees, discussing and talking about all kinds of RVing experiences, pros and cons, places to go, etc.

After an hour or so that began to break up and Sharyn and I went back to our motorhome. Since we're leaving here tomorrow we decided to go to the commissary and do some grocery shopping while we could get the benefit of commissary prices.

Odometer reading = 34,451
Miles for day = 0


(Santa Fe NM)

We were up early, but didn't leave the FamCamp until shortly after ten o'clock when we headed north through Alamogordo on US-54.

Sharyn's been wanting to see Sante Fe since we passed close-by almost two years ago. Late this afternoon, after traveling a little over 200 miles we finally pulled into town. The drive was quite enjoyable as the nature of the landscape seemed to change every 50 miles or so. This picture was taken through the windshield when we were approximately 50-60 miles from Sante Fe.

Tomorrow we'll start checking out Sante Fe.

Odometer reading = 34,682
Miles for day = 231


(Santa Fe NM)

It was 64 degrees in the motorhome when we woke up this morning; kind of cold. We pretty much set the thermostat for 68 degrees when we go to bed at night. We find that a comfortable sleeping temperature, but we're never sure whether we need to set the thermostat for heat to 68 degrees, or cool to 68 degrees. Since we've been in Alamogordo and Santa Fe it seems that there's about a 30 degree temperature swing from daytime to nighttime.

Anyway, around midday we left the campground and headed for the old "downtown" section of Santa Fe, about four miles down the road. We spent almost four hours walking around, and even with all that time we didn't get very far. I'm not a shopper, but I have to say that the shops sure have some beautiful stuff. Sharyn and I both like the "Southwest" look, in architecture, as well as home furnishings, clothing, pottery, jewelry, etc. Basically everything they sell in these stores.

The only things we bought were a silver bracelet for Sharyn, made by a Zuni lady, and a turquoise and silver necklace for Jordan, made by a Pueblo lady. Both of these pieces were bought from Indian artist/vendors who had their stuff laid out on blankets in front of the Palace of the Governors on the Plaza at the center of downtown Santa Fe. The Palace of the Governors was built approximately 1610 by the Spanish Government of the day and is now the oldest government building in the United States.

Tomorrow we'll return to the downtown area and walk and look some more. It's very nice, and there's a lot we've yet to see. For instance Sharyn been saying for almost a year that she wanted to visit the Georgia O'Keefe Museum. We were within several blocks of it today, but didn't make it.

Odometer reading = 34,682
Miles for day = 0


(Santa Fe NM)

In order to be sure we'd finish downtown Santa Fe today, we got up and left early. Our first stop was the Georgia O'Keefe Museum because we wanted to be sure that if we ran out of time at least we'd have seen that. Today's Wednesday and the museum is closed on Wednesdays. What a bummer.

Having already parked the car we walked the several blocks to the old downtown area and pretty much picked up where we left off yesterday. Once again I have to say that even I'm impressed by all the really magnificent stuff that's in these shops -- much of it quite expensive, but really magnificent! After four hours of walking around and visiting these shops, with two coffee shop stops for me to rest, I requested that one of them should drive me back to the motorhome as I could walk no more. That idea was countered with why don't I just leave and come back to pick them up in front of the Palace of the Governors at 5 o'clock.

On my way back to the car I walked past a place that had such nice stuff on display in the window that I had to go in and look. They had some very nice Indian artifacts, including a well worn, and somewhat torn, "Apache war shirt." It was very old and fragile, made of white (but dirty) leather, with fringed sleeves, and some beadwork on the shoulders. The price was $35,000. They also had several, what looked like deep quivers, but were actually fringed leather, sleeve like, rifle cases. They were in the $6,000 range. Amazing stuff, but certainly not for the casual shopper.

On the way back to the motorhome I passed the block where we had seen Borders Books, so I went there instead. Basically all I needed was a comfortable place to sit down and I figured an overstuffed chair at Borders would work. Besides I could see about a book on Photoshop 5.5. To my surprise they had several and I bought one of them. I was surprised they had any because Barnes & Noble in El Paso did not have anything for 5.5. Anyway, when it got close to 5 o'clock I returned to the Governors Palace and picked up Sharyn and Jordan. Sharyn looked totally exhausted and said that Jordan could outwalk her and that she was truly dragging. Having dropped out three hours earlier, I could relate to that.

When we got back to the motorhome we all just sat and watched the news until Jordan, whose turn it was to make dinner, got up and started dinner preparation. We're all worn out.

Odometer reading = 34,682
Miles for day = 0


(Albuquerque NM)

This morning we were up at 6:30 so that we could be to a Ford Warranty Service place that does motorhomes for an 8:am appointment. Sometimes the factory AC/heating doesn't work when we start the engine. It usually comes on after we've traveled a mile or so, but we wanted to have it fixed while we still have some warranty left. It was our plan to get to Gallop NM today, but we didn't get out of the repair place until after 2 o'clock so we only came as far as Albuquerque, where we are now at the Kirkland AFB FamCamp.

Odometer reading = 34,748
Miles for day = 66


(Gallup NM)

We left Albuquerque midmorning, heading west on I-40 until we were about halfway to Gallup, at which time we got off the Interstate and onto Historic US-66 that took us to within a half mile of Red Rock State Park where we last stayed in October, 2000. We again checked into the park and took the same site we had last time.

We plan to stay here for several days and use this place as a base while we visit the Zuni Reservation (about 35 miles southeast), the Navajo Reservation at Window Rock, Arizona (about 25 miles northwest), and of course Gallup, claimed to be, " . . . truly the international source for authentic [Native American] jewelry, pottery, and world-famous Navajo rugs."

Odometer reading = 34,889
Miles for day = 141


(Gallup NM)

This morning as we had our coffee and conversation the sun was cresting over the red sandstone rock cliffs behind the motorhome. As the sun rose higher behind us, we watched the sunlight flood the red rock that encloses the western edge of Red Rock State Park, starting at the top and working its way down the face of the cliff. These sandstone cliffs encircle the campground on three sides creating an area perhaps 1,000 feet in diameter. The Outlaw Trading Post, built in 1888, now serves as a camp office and general store. The new addition on the right side is the post office for Church Rock NM (which I guess is where we really are). To complete the photo presentation, this is a view of the cliff behind (to the east) of the motorhome, taken late in the day as the sun was getting lower in the west.

Sometime around midday we drove to Zini, the town that serves as the center of the Zuni Reservation. Once again we checked out a number of places that sell jewelry, pottery, and other Indian crafts and items of art. Again, very nice stuff, but you can't buy everything that's nice. We stopped at the Route-53 Cafe, a tiny little place in the middle of Zuni, Indian owned and operated. I intended to use the picture I took in October 2000 to put here, but for reasons I can't explain, the picture isn't where it's supposed to be.

When we returned from Zuni we stopped in Gallup, which is loaded with trading posts, Indian pawns, etc., but it was almost 6 o'clock and everything was either closed or closing. There's enough in Gallup that we've decided to stay over until Monday when these places open again.

Odometer reading = 34,889
Miles for day = 0


(Gallup NM)

Last night the heat pumps went off and the system switched to the gas furnaces. We found out that last night's temperature went down to 22 degrees! I thought we were finished with those kinds of temperatures.

Jordan and I had decided to hike up to Church Rock, two miles north of the campground. We left at noon for a hike that the campground brochure says takes an hour and a half. Suffice it to say we didn't get back until 4:30, and we were dragging. Part of the problem was that the brochure shows a simple map depicting four trails. The reality is that there are hundreds of trails, including goat trails, crisscrossing all over the place. Many of them dead end, either at the base of a rock wall, or at the edge of a precipice. Anyway, the map showed that the easiest assent was to circle around to the right (east) and come up from the rear. That's what we ultimately did, backtracking numerous times from dead ends.

At one point when we were probably about a half mile east of the rock we met a herd of goats coming the other way along the trail. As we got closer to each other the goats left the trail, but were soon followed by a pack of six to eight dogs that encircled me in barking, not too friendly, manner. When I first saw them coming I was concerned that it might be a pack of wild dogs, but by the time they had encircled me I could tell that they weren't wild, but not exactly looking to play either. Jordan was about 75 feet behind me and I yelled at her to pick up a stick. So far the dogs had ignored her but I wanted her to have something in her hand in case they moved on towards her. At that point I could not pick up anything because to try to do so would have put my face right into the face of a dog. Had it not been for one chow-looking dog that seemed intent on getting to me, the others, except for their number, were not too threatening. Happily, following along some distance behind the dogs was an elderly Indian woman, with her walking stick, following along behind her goats and her dogs. As she passed on by the dogs went with her, but as Jordan said, she could have called the dogs off when she first approached.

Earlier in our walk, thinking of mountain lions, I thought that I should have brought along a handgun. Looking at chow dog spraying saliva 18 inches from my leg, I knew I should have. Also, I forgot to take pictures of the dogs.

As the goats with the lady and the dogs disappeared we once again took up on the best way to get to Church Rock. Eventually we were successful and called Sharyn on the radio telling her get the binoculars and see if she could see us. She was able to see us and said she didn't realize that we were actually going to climb up to where we were and that she didn't like us up there. In this picture, taken later in our descent, you can see where we stood when we called Sharyn -- and waved our arms wildly so she could spot us. This was what the campground looked like from Church Rock.

Having gone up from the eastern side we decided to descend along the western side, both because we had already seen the eastern side, plus we thought that maybe it would be easier since we could see what looked like a pretty good trail below us. We were wrong again! After getting to the trail we had seen from above, that trail ultimately dead ended overlooking a deep gorge with a dry riverbed way below. After backtracking several more times, always climbing up or down, there was very little that was level, we spotted a guy below us and yelled down if he was going up or down -- he was coming up, and a short time later he emerged not far from where we were resting (even the campground is at a 6600 feet elevation). He suggested that the easiest way for us would be to go back around Church Rock and descend on the other side. Neither one of us was inclined to try that, and I don't think either one of us thought we could make it that far.. This guy said it was quite difficult the way he had come up, that he had had to work his way up a 30 foot "chimney" by pressing his back against one wall and his feet against the other.

We proceeded in that direction deciding we'd deal with the chimney when we got there. We didn't like that trail at all. In some places it was barely discernible. Also, up until this point the trails had been such that if you fell you could get up and continue. Now, however, if you fell you'd keep going. After going not too far we came to a point where we could see a much better trail below us and we were talking about how or if we could get down to it. About that time two ladies with a white lab came by on the trail below and sat down to rest. The dog spotted us and I told Jordan that dog was going to try to get up to where we were, and that if he was successful, we would then go down the way he got up. That's what he did, and that's how we got down. Amen for white labs!

From that point on it was a piece of cake. We passed dozens of people. Prior to that we had only seen the guy who climbed the chimney and the goat lady. We had, unknowingly, come very close to biting off more than we could chew.

Odometer reading = 34,889
Miles for day = 0


(Gallup NM)

First of all, on the way into town on US-66, we took note of this view of Church Rock from the highway (but this really belongs in yesterday's entry).

As for today, it began with Sharyn and Jordan going back to Zuni while I stayed home and worked on yesterday's entry, which was only typed today. When they returned to the campground, Jordan stayed at the motorhome while Sharyn and I went into Gallup. We walked up and down the main street (Route 66) which is loaded with all kinds of Indian Pawn, trading posts, and other Indian items for sale. I think that Indian stuff must be the basis of Gallup's economy. Sharyn and I both like all this Indian and Southwest stuff. I told her we couldn't live here because we'd both be buying everything.

The weather, at least in April, could not be nicer. Sunny, dry, and beautiful; what might be described as "perfect." Maybe a little too windy.

Odometer reading = 34,889
Miles for day = 0


(Towaoc CO)

We left this morning heading north for Colorado and Mesa Verde National Park with its "cliff dwellings." About twenty miles north of Gallup, however, we made a left turn and took a detour to Window Rock, AZ, the Headquarters, or Capital, of the Navajo Indian Nation. We didn't know exactly what we'd find there, but it didn't make sense to pass within 20 miles and not check it out.

As we pulled into Window Rock there was what appeared to be a large flea market going on in big parking lot. Of course we found a place to park the motorhome and walked over, but it wasn't as big as it appeared. Also, while some of the Indians were selling beautiful jewelry or other items that they had made, others were selling discount CD's, old car parts, or used clothing.

Window Rock proved to have been an excellent stop, however. While I like all this Indian stuff, I don't wear jewelry, and don't have a house. I've been trying to find something to buy that I could use or wear. Yesterday I found a leather and silver belt in a Gallup Indian Pawn that I liked, but it was marginally too small. In Window Rock we went into a large Navajo Arts and Craft store, owned and operated by the Navajo Nation, and found almost the exact belt. At $259 it was a lot more than I would have spent and I said to Sharyn, "Do you think you can negotiate the price in this place?" Neither of us thought so, but when I asked the lady, "Can this be negotiated?" she said, "No, but you can get a 50% discount for cash." I told her I'd go find an ATM machine, but when it was all set to go I asked how much with a credit card and she said she'd give me the cash price. Neither Sharyn or I can understand the philosophy behind such a pricing system, but I really like the belt a lot.

Anyway, we left Window Rock and got back on track for Mesa Verde. We were at Mesa Verde in October, 2000, and stayed at a campground just opposite the entrance to the National Park. That's about 10 miles east of Cortez. Due to our usual late start, plus our sidetrip to Window Rock, it was past the time by which we usually stop, plus we were all tired, so we stopped at The Ute Mountain Casino and RV Park, an Indian run facility 10 miles south of Cortez. Tomorrow we'll take the car the 20 miles to Mesa Verde.

Odometer reading = 35,057
Miles for day = 168


4/24/02 - - -
(Albuquerque NM etc.)

Around midnight on April 23 we received a phone call that Sharyn's mother had had a massive stroke. We were in Towaoc, Colorado, about ten miles south of Cortez. After calling several airlines it became apparent that there was no viable way to fly from Cortez to Fort Myers, Florida. We made plane reservations for Sharyn and Jordan to fly from Albuquerque the following day, April 25.

We drove back to Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque and they got their flight as scheduled. Unfortunately Sharyn's mother died a half hour before they got there. The following day I also flew to Fort Myers.

There won't be any more entries to this site until we return to the motorhome at Kirtland AFB.

Odometer reading = 35,324
Miles for day = 268


(Albuquerque NM)

We flew back to Albuquerque yesterday afternoon and found everything just as we had left it. We'll stay here for several days until Sharyn says she's ready to go. Today is her birthday.

Once again, they'll be no further entries here until we're back on the road.

Odometer reading = 35,324
Miles for day = 0


(Towaoc CO)

This morning we left Kirtland AFB and Albuquerque NM heading back towards Mesa Verde in southwestern Colorado. This time instead of going through Gallup we headed in a northwesterly direction along US-550, a route we have not traveled before. As we approached Shiprock NM, we pulled off the road and took this picture from Farmington, a full 30 miles from the Shiprock itself. It's a good depiction of both size and distance.

We are now back at the Ute Mountain Casino and RV Park where we received the phone call about Sharyn's mother twelve days ago. Tomorrow we'll take the car to Mesa Verde National Park, about 30 miles from here, and the next day we should be heading for the Grand Canyon.

The following four photos never got incorporated into the text:

(a) Jordan had been looking for one of these necklaces for a long time. She never found one because, as we have learned, it's something from the "plains Indians," more likely to be found in Oklahoma, not in the southwest. When Sharyn and I found this one in a trading post in Gallup we grabbed it. Jordan was thrilled.

(b) We were impressed by the color and design of the Interstate overpasses where I-25 intersects with I-40 in Albuquerque, designed to fit in with the color and architecture of the area.

(c) US-550 somewhere between Albuquerque and Shiprock.

(d) Sharyn reading her book yesterday morning at the Kirtland AFB FamCamp.

Odometer reading = 35,571
Miles for day = 247


(Towaoc CO)

To be sure that we would not sleep too late we set the clock (actually the cell phone) for 8:30 am. As I was pouring my coffee and thinking that I really hadn't felt like getting up I realized that it was only 6:40 -- when we were in Florida I had reset the time East Coast time, two hours earlier than Colorado.

Anyway, we took the Honda to Mesa Verde National Park where we went down into the "Cliff Palace," the largest of approximately 600 "cliff dwellings" located throughout the park and surrounding areas. While the Cliff Palace had 217 rooms and was home to perhaps 200 - 250 people, a more typical cliff dwelling had only 1 - 5 rooms and housed a small family group.

Anyway, we spent the afternoon at the park. As we were leaving I took this picture looking back from the entrance road.

After returning to the campground we had dinner and then Jordan went to the pool where she swam some laps before moving into the sauna. Later in the evening Sharyn and I went to the casino where we soon lost six dollars in the nickel slots.

We liked the concept of Indian casinos, seeing them as a way for the Indians to improve their financial situation and help raise them out of what seems to be endemic poverty. Tonight, 90% of the people in the casino were Indians. That's not helping. This casino, however, is located in the middle of nowhere which may make it non-typical insofar as the make up of it's customer base is concerned.

Odometer reading = 35,571
Miles for day = 0


(Monument Valley UT)

Leaving Towaoc, on our way to Grand Canyon National Park, we first went by Four Corners where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico all come together. In this photo Sharyn has on foot in Utah and one foot in Arizona, while Jordan has one foot in Colorado and one foot in New Mexico. Four Corners is located on the Navajo Reservation and the Corners marker is surrounded by many Navajo vendors selling all kinds of Navajo Crafts. Sharyn and Jordan each got a necklace.

From Four Corners we headed into Utah and through Monument Valley, a rather awe inspiring place. This is a closer view, taken as we drove by, of one of the "monuments" in the previous photo. We passed through Monument Valley in 1970, with a 6 year old and two babies in diapers, pulling a 19' travel trailer behind an International Travelall. Monument Valley having evolved into what is is today over a period of several hundred million years, it doesn't seem to have changed much over the last 32 years.

Just north of the Arizona border we stopped at Goulding's Monument Valley Campground. Situated in a rock canyon the campground is picturesque and well done, but at $30 for the night it's too expensive for my taste, particularly when all we want is basically a parking space and an electrical outlet.

The major event of the day was when Sharyn got to put the "Utah" sticker on our travel map. Until today the motorhome had never been to Utah and that blank space on the map really bothered Sharyn.

Odometer reading = 35,697
Miles for day = 126


(Grand Canyon AZ)

As we pulled out of the campground we went less than a mile before crossing the line into Arizona. A half hour later we came into Kayenta, a small Indian town with a population of 5800 where we did find a "supermarket" that had skim milk (we all drink skim milk), which is not too easy to find in sparsely populated areas.

Continuing on we came across several areas where the wind blown sand and dust reduced visibility substantially, but fortunately these conditions were short lived. We did notice when we stopped for lunch, however, that the table was covered with a very visible swirled pattern of dust and grit. Of course while the table top is easily wiped clean, all other surfaces are equally covered, even if not as visible or as easily cleaned. I told Sharyn that when we get out of all this desert country I'm going to change the air filter in the motorhome. We'll also go through a super vacuuming and perhaps beat all the cushions with a rug beater!

When we got to the main campground at Grand Canyon National Park they were full. The other campground, run by the National Park Service, has no hookups, but only cost us $7.50. No hookups, or dry camping, really isn't a problem for one or two nights so long as we don't need air conditioning (which we don't). Basically, except for the microwave, TV, and heat pumps, everything else runs on 12 volts. We may go for an inverter which would take care of the microwave and TV (plus Jordan's blender).

Before dinner we went over to the edge of the canyon because I was anxious for Jordan to see it.

Odometer reading = 35,876
Miles for day = 179


(Grand Canyon AZ)

Our plan for the day was rather simple. First we would visit the new information center and bookstore, then we'd take the shuttle bus to Hopi Point out on the western rim road, from which we'd then walk along the unimproved foot trail that follows the edge of the canyon and go as far as Mohave Point, a distance of just under a mile.

I took about 40 pictures during the course of the day, but once again this is a place where photographs just can't convey what's here. You really have to experience it for yourself.

As for the walk along the edge, the area we walked yesterday was on a paved portion of the trail that for the most part is not at the very edge. The portion we did today was a small piece of the unimproved trail which is actually just a narrow foot trail, the result of other people have gone that way. For the most part it's probably two feet wide, and in some places there is no space at all between the trail and the edge of the canyon. There were many places that Sharyn didn't like at all, and most of those places I wasn't crazy about either. Jordan didn't appear as concerned as we were, but there were places she wouldn't go either. One thing we all agreed on was you either walk, or you look around -- you don't do both at the same time.

Since I had trouble selecting 4 or 5 photos to put on this page I made a separate page with 12 reduced size pictures. The entire page is only 146K and should download with a 56K modem in about 20 seconds.

Odometer reading = 35,876
Miles for day = 0


(Kingman AZ)

After we dumped our holding tanks and topped off the water tank we were on our way towards Las Vegas. As we were traveling west on I-40 we were so buffeted by wind that Sharyn thought we should stop and wait for the wind to stop. The weather forecast for Grand Canyon was for winds out of the southwest at 20-30 mph gusting to 50 and that's probably what we experienced. Of course there was a major headwind component -- we never have a tailwind!

We stopped at one of several campgrounds in Kingman, Arizona. Tomorrow we plan to go on to Nellis AFB in Las Vegas.

Odometer reading = 36,047
Miles for day = 170


(Las Vegas NV)

As we approached Kingman yesterday afternoon, and as we were leaving this morning, there were numerous signs warning that trucks and RV's were prohibited from driving across the Hoover Dam. This was as a result of the attacks of September 11 and the resulting security concerns regarding the dam and the billions (maybe trillions) of gallons of water the dam is holding back. To understand the significance of such a restriction you have to know that the road from Kingman to Las Vegas goes across the Hoover Dam.

Anyway, I had read that the RV restrictions had been lifted some time ago, but was reassured when the campground owner confirmed it. About two miles from the dam all traffic was diverted off of the road for a security check. We were further diverted into a side area where we were asked to submit to search of the motorhome, which we did. The search wasn't too thorough, but I'm sure "profiling" was part of the process (as it should be). It should be know that everyone at the checkpoint was soft spoken and polite, but there was also at least one guy standing there with an AR-15 in his hands.

After passing through the checkpoint we continued on across the dam, and then another 30 miles into Las Vegas and the Nellis AFB FamCamp.

My upgrade to Photoshop 6.0 was waiting for me at the FamCamp office so the first thing I did was load it and start playing. It's going to take awhile -- it's much different than 4.0 or even 5.5.

After an hour or so we went to the commissary to get some milk, bread, etc.

Odometer reading = 36,170
Miles for day = 123


5/12/02 to 5/17/02
(Las Vegas NV)

It's been a while since I updated this page, but we're still in Las Vegas, and we've had lots of distractions. Because they're going to be a fair number of photographs in his entry, I have to preface it all by saying that in addition to getting Photoshop 6.0, I finally reconciled myself to the fact that I wasn't going to be able to buy the camera I wanted, a Sony 707, for the price I wanted to pay, so I paid the best price I could find (mail order) and my camera was delivered to the FamCamp several days ago. Now I have two new toys and I'm enjoying them thoroughly!

Several nights ago we went to the Las Vegas Hilton where we saw Wynonna Judd (with respect to photo quality, bear in mind that I have reduced the file size of this photo from 60.2k to 20.0k with some minimal loss in picture quality). After the show we stopped at TCBY in the hotel lobby for a "cool one." Coming out of the hotel I took this picture, plus this one of the car in the parking lot.

Driving the "Strip" (Las Vegas Boulevard) one night, we had this limo in front of us at a stop light.

Another evening we took some pictures in the motorhome, including this one of Jordan. One afternoon I took this one of Sharyn. This afternoon, right in our campsite I took these pictures of doves and a quail. The quail were kind of skittish of me and Sharyn sitting there and sort of stayed behind the shrubs. While waiting for one of them to come out from behind a shrub, a road runner strutted right in front of us about ten feet away. I was caught unawares and didn't get his picture. As an aside, it was only a few months ago that I found out that road runners were real birds, not just cartoon characters.

In addition to taking pictures, we also went to several malls, Barnes & Noble to buy a book on Photoshop 6.0, Camping World to have some repairs done on the motorhome, commissary, BX, did laundry, and cleaned the motorhome. We probably did other things as well, but it's late, I'm tired, and I can't remember anything else anyway. By the way, we all agree that we like Las Vegas. The weather is quite hot with the daytime temperatures running in the mid-90's, but the humidity is only in the 20% range, plus there is always a breeze. Jordan says she like to be stationed here at Nellis AFB.

PS: If you'd like to know more about this super cool camera, check out this review at

Odometer reading = 36,236
Miles for day = 65 (trip to Camping World)


(Las Vegas NV)

Yesterday, for whatever reason, I thought we were leaving here today. It was Sharyn's understanding that we were staying here today to do final laundry and generally get ready to leave tomorrow morning. That was fine with me anyway, so today Sharyn did laundry, I messed with my camera and computer, and basically we had a non-formatted day.

Odometer reading = 36,236
Miles for day = 0


(Lone Pine CA)

We were up and on the road by 10:am which is really pretty good for us. We had talked about only going as far as Pahrump NV and staying at the Escapees place there, but we stopped there once before and didn't care for it at all. It's the only Escapee place we've been to that we felt way about. Instead we decided we go as far as Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley, but a road that showed in our atlas, but did not exist on the ground, caused us to have to go through Pahrump anyway because there was no right turn off of the road we were on. As we approached Pahrump we reconsidered staying there, but the wind was blowing sand and dust everywhere. It was so thick that visibility was less than a mile so we rejected the idea of staying, having just reclaimed the motorhome from the previous dust storms we'd experienced.

We did fill the gas tank in Pahrump, figuring it would be the last chance before California where we anticipate seeing gas costing another 50 cents per gallon. We paid $1.379 per gallon, and the next gas station we came to was at Furnace Creek in Death Valley. It was $2.69 per gallon; almost twice what we had paid 75 miles earlier. By the way, we took note of the Tumbleweed Tavern next door to the gas station in Pahrump.

As we were approaching Stovepipe Wells we saw that it also was engulfed in windblown sand and dust so we decided to go on through to Lone Pine, which we did. (In September 2000 we went from Lone Pine to Las Vegas and took three days for the trip -- today we did it backwards in one day).

Anyway, climbing out of Death Valley heading west we climbed 4,000 feet in 14 miles and soon after began six mile 9% descent, only to begin climbing again not too much further down the road. Brakes and transmissions sure would last longer on the East Coast. By the time it all began to level out a bit (relatively speaking) I stopped to take this picture. Sharyn didn't like the road out and says she's had enough of Death Valley and that she sees no need to go back again. I might agree with her. Two years ago I wrote here that we thought Death Valley might well be used as a nuclear waste disposal site and we stand by that today.

Eventually we got to Lone Pine and checked in at Boulder Creek RV Park. The wind is blowing here as hard as it has been everywhere else, but there is sufficient ground cover immediately upwind of the campground that the sand and dust that was everywhere else doesn't seem to be a problem here -- at least it won't accumulate so quickly!

This is the same place we stayed last time we were here. That time we planned to stay for one night and ended up staying six days. Sharyn really enjoyed the pool, the spa, the coffee and muffins served in the clubhouse every morning, and pretty much everything about the place. We'll stay here until she's ready to leave.

Odometer reading = 36,494
Miles for day = 258


(Lone Pine CA)

On our first morning here I was the only one to get up to the clubhouse for the morning's coffee and fresh baked muffins. The sign said, "There are two muffins for each of our customers -- please share." Since the guy in the site next to us pulled out at 6:45 this morning, I figured I could have his muffins and there'd still be enough for everyone else.

Eventually Sharyn and Jordan were up and dressed and we decided to go to "town" and check things out. We parked the car in front of a newspaper vending machine, bought the Los Angeles Times, and then walked up one side of the street to the north end of town, then crossed over and came back down the other side -- checking out 8 or 10 stores as we went. As we got back to where we had left the car Sharyn declared that she was starving so we went into nearby PJ's Restaurant for something to eat. Since we've all changed our eating habits for the better, none of us could finish the food on our plates.

Odometer reading = 36,494
Miles for day = 0


(Lone Pine CA)

The day began with confirmation that Rt-120 through Yosemite National Park, about 125 miles north of here, and our planned route west to San Francisco, is closed to all but 4-wheel drive vehicles, or those with snow chains. There is also snow and ice at Lake Tahoe, about 215 miles north of here, and the next westbound crossing through the mountains. Accordingly we've decided to head south to Bakersfield, about 150 miles, and go around the southerly end of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It's a pretty rough stretch of mountains and there aren't too many places to cross.

This is a panoramic view of the Sierra Nevada, looking west from the campground (scroll horizontally to see it all).

This afternoon while I was at a local truck tire place to have tire valve extensions installed on the rear of the motorhome, Sharyn and Jordan went to the post office to mail some stuff. It appears that there was a beauty parlor next door to the post office, and now they both have appointments to have their hair done tomorrow. Plus, the tire valve extensions didn't work.

Odometer reading = 36,504
Miles for day = 10


(Lone Pine CA)

This morning while Sharyn and Jordan were at the beauty parlor I went back behind the town and took the pictures that make up this panorama (don't forget to scroll horizontally) which is another view of the Sierra Nevada Range, about five miles north of yesterday's view. The view is to the west, with the base of the mountains about 5-7 miles in the distance. The Alabama Hills (the brown hills) are less than half that distance. Lone Pine is just beyond the trees. This is Lone Pine as seen from the south end of town looking north. PJ's restaurant where we ate yesterday afternoon is the first building on the right.

Jordan thinks that we should buy a place here! When I asked her why, she said, "because it's nice." It may be nice, but it's also the ultimate "Podunk, USA." Besides we've kind of decided that if we settle someplace it should have a military installation nearby (commissary and PX), plus a Barnes & Noble.

When I picked Sharyn and Jordan up at the beauty parlor the lady let me use her phone line to update this site for the first time since we've been in Lone Pine. It also enabled us to get our e-mail and do our banking.

Tomorrow we're headed south for the FamCamp at Edward's AFB, about 40 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Since Memorial Day weekend is coming up we're going to try to get there early to reduce the chance of there being no campsite left for us. We may stay there through the weekend because on these big holiday weekends available campsites can be hard to find so it's good to stay put. When we do leave there we'll be basically heading up the coast to Seattle and on to Alaska, with diversions to the Concord/Walnut Creek area east of San Francisco, where Sharyn lived as a kid, and to Oroville where she has a sister and a niece.

Odometer reading = 36,504
Miles for day = 0


(Rosamond CA)

Because of our concern about filled up campgrounds this Memorial Day weekend, we decided to get an early start so we'd get here early. We pulled out of Lone Pine at 8:30 and got to the Edward's AFB FamCamp just after eleven. The place was practically empty with a "pick your spot and put the check in the slot" sign-in arrangement. Even now when it's dark the place is less than 30% full.

Anyway, after getting set up Sharyn and I went to the BX to check out photo quality printers so I can print some of the pictures taken with my cool camera. They had several, but since I haven't subscribed to any computer magazines for over two years I don't know what to buy. We then went to the base library where they have a number of online computers so that I could read recent reviews of such printers. Having spent all my money on the camera I don't want to spend much on the printer ($100 - $150 would be good). I almost bought an Epson C-80, but I'm not sure it'll give me the quality print I'm looking for. Part of the idea of this camera (Sony 707) was that I'd be able to retire my Nikon film camera (which I haven't used in over two years), but could still take a picture with enough definition to print a high quality, film-like, print if I wanted to. If anyone reading this has any suggestions I'd like to hear them.

It turned out that we didn't have everything we needed for one of our vegetable dinners so Jordan and I went to the commissary to get onions, broccoli, and some low sugar, fat free, ice cream. When we got back to the motorhome I made the dinner and Jordan cleaned up afterwards. This is all done on something of a rotating basis.

We had originally planned to stay here until the weekend passed, but we may leave here before that. Some bases/FamCamps are more inviting than others. Worse case scenario, we can spend a night in a Wal-Mart parking lot. That's still up in the air for now.

Odometer reading = 36,643
Miles for day = 139


(Rosamond CA)

This is the first place we've been in well over a month that allows washing of RVs at the campsite so I washed the motorhome, the awnings, and the car.

Later on Jordan and I went to base lounge where I was able to update the website and she used one of their online computers.

We called the FamCamp at Vandenberg AFB and they said we'd have no problem getting a site tomorrow. We heading there, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles, tomorrow.

Odometer reading = 36,643
Miles for day = 0


(Lompoc CA)

We got a fairly start this morning heading towards Los Angeles where we turned and finally headed north along the Pacific Coast towards the FamCamp at Vandenberg AFB. It was beautiful -- after several months in the high desert country of the southwest we found ourselves surrounded by hills and mountains covered with real trees and lots of green stuff. Out of the desert at last! It was a welcome change.

When we arrived at Vandenberg the temperature was about 60 degrees -- a full 30 degrees cooler than what we've been experiencing.

We are wondering about our plans for spending the winter in the southwest, as neither one of us are in love with the desert country we've been traveling through.

Odometer reading = 36,868
Miles for day = 225


(Lompoc CA)

When we woke up this morning it was almost ten o'clock. It was cold, dark, and dreary -- looked like it was going to rain, but it never did. I guess we had forgotten about dark and dreary days.

Sharyn and I went to the commissary to get some groceries, after which she did laundry while I fooled around with my camera and Photoshop.

There are some interesting trees growing next to the FamCamp, but I don't have any idea what they are. Check out that cool bark! After these photos I went down the road to photograph this tree.

On the way to photograph that last tree I met a coyote crossing the road. He wanted nothing to do with me and stayed far away. On the way back I stopped to photograph these guys, (ground squirrels, prairie dogs, or whatever they are, they're thousands of them around here). As I was taking their pictures they were preoccupied with watching me. The coyote thought that was a a good time to approach them from behind and he came closer than he had allowed me to get. Unfortunately for him, all those little guys either heard or saw him, because suddenly there was no one left on the scene but me and the coyote.

Odometer reading = 36,868
Miles for day = 0


(Monterey CA)

We left Vandenberg and headed north on California Route #1, the "Pacific Coast Highway." We had not traveled too far when we passed through the community of Pismo Beach. While we had never heard of it, we assume they have a lot of beer drinkers there.

From there, and for most of the distance, the road is sort of "cut in" to the side of the mountain on one side, while overlooking the ocean on the other side. Of course the scenery is beautiful and I took lots of pictures along the way. This one would have been better if the fog had not knocked out the background. Sharyn got this one as we traversed a series of "S" turns. The bridge where the highway crosses over a deep gorge, and (finally) the motorhome parked for coffee.

For tonight we're at the Monterey Pines RV Park on a Navy golf course.

Odometer reading = 37,058
Miles for day = 190


(Oakley CA)

Today we traveled from Monterey to Concord, where Sharyn grew up through her Jr. high and early high school years. We drove the motorhome around downtown Concord (which once upon a time was all of Concord) and Sharyn was amazed at how it had changed. Actually the only two things that were recognizable were the park where she used to go to eat her lunch and the church her oldest sister was married in.

From Concord we continued on through Pittsburg and Antioch to Oakley to visit with Aunt Thelma and her son, and Uncle Harley and his wife; Sharyn's father's sister and brother. We had a thoroughly enjoyable visit that was further enhanced by the fact that when they all came out to see the motorhome Sharyn served various flavors of iced tea with cookies and snacks, and later, with help from Jordan, prepared dinner for everyone, complete with cake and ice cream. Doing all of that for seven people in a motorhome is more impressive than regular "house dwellers" might appreciate. Anyway, we all sat around talking, telling stories, and looking at photographs until late in the evening.

We spent the afternoon and night parked next to Aunt Thelma's home in what must be the neatest, best kept, mobil home park we've ever seen. Like I said, it was all very pleasant.

Odometer reading = 37,200
Miles for day = 142


(Vacaville CA)

This morning we spent a little more time with Aunt Thelma before saying good-bye and heading for Travis AFB, about 40 miles east of San Francisco. It was a relatively short and uneventful drive, except for the toll bridge where the car would have cost $2 and the motorhome would have cost $2, but the combination cost $6.25. The tollkeeper said he never understands the decisions that are made in Sacramento (the California State Capital). This is the second time this has happened to us (the first time as the George Washington Bridge in New York City -- a $27 toll). The next time I may, as a protest, unhook the car at the toll booth.

Anyway, we arrived at Travis to find that the FamCamp was full which resulted in our being put into a dry camp overflow area. With the temperature in the 90's, and under the full sun, it got pretty uncomfortable. Just as the sun was dropping behind the horizon the host came over and told us he had a 30 amp spot for us -- we took it!

We'll be here for several days at least as Jordan wants to see San Francisco and Sharyn want to have tea in the Japanese Tea Garden -- also in San Francisco. Beside Sharyn has always liked it here and says it's "very comfortable."

Odometer reading = 37,240
Miles for day = 40


(Vacaville CA)

Today we didn't do much of anything. Jordan and I went to the ITT (Information, Tickets, and Travel) Office to get some information on what to see and/or do in San Francisco. While we were there we also got some publications on places in Washington and Oregon, as well as the Oregon Coast, plus British Columbia. We also got a detailed map of downtown San Francisco which will be very helpful. It even shows Sharyn's Japanese Tea Garden.

I had kind of focused on a Canon S-820 printer that should produce excellent, Kodak quality, prints from the .tiff pictures I take with my camera. Since my birthday and father's day are coming up in a few weeks I told Sharyn she could get me that printer as a combined present for both of those days. Well, this afternoon when she and Jordan went to the commissary and BX to do some shopping, they came back with the printer they had bought at the BX as an early birthday/father's day present.

Tomorrow we're going to San Francisco for the day, but the next day, Saturday, I'll get the printer up and running and do some prints. My new "top of the list" project is to build a printer/scanner cabinet that will hold the new printer, plus my old NEC laser (black and white) printer, as well as my scanner. I want an arrangement whereby these will all be plugged in and ready to go merely by opening the front of the cabinet and connecting the necessary cable(s) to my laptop. There is a small drop leaf table behind the passenger's chair. There's a small decorative cabinet under the table now that can be put somewhere else to make room for my equipment cabinet.

Odometer reading = 37,240
Miles for day = 0


(Vacaville CA)

The game plan for today was San Francisco, and that's what we did. We had planned to leave at 8:30, but some of us are poky and we didn't get out of here until about ten o'clock.

It's 50 miles to Fisherman's Wharf which is where we parked the car. We walked around that general area (sort of like San Francisco's Times Square) for awhile, checking out some shops, etc., before taking a tour boat ride that went out under the Golden Gate Bridge, then back and around the far side of Alcatraz and back to the dock. It's a one hour ride with running (taped) commentary the entire time.

After the boat ride we drove to the other end of the downtown area and went to the Japanese Tea Room located in Golden Gate Park. Many years ago Sharyn's class from Concord High School went there on a school trip. We tried to find it when we were here two years ago, but that time we were not successful. In spite of the fact that it was cold, overcast, and windy, the gardens were really beautiful.

From the Park, we started our return trip to Travis getting on the highway heading for the Oakland Bay Bridge at ten minutes to five. Not perfect timing, but we made it back anyway. It was a long day.

Odometer reading = 37,240
Miles for day = 0


(Vacaville CA)

Yesterday, on the way back from San Francisco, we passed a TJ Maxx about ten miles from the base. Today Sharyn and Jordan went back to the TJ Maxx to return something Sharyn had bought in Los Vegas, and to check out some other stores as well.

While they were gone I set up and played with my new printer, a Canon S-820. The first two pictures I printed out were .jpg's (640x480) and while they had great color and would pass as good "snapshots" (actually they were the first two pictures in yesterday's entry; "area" and "etc."), they were not the results I was looking for. I then set up the tripod and took this picture as a .tiff at a 2560x1920 (a 14Mg file) and then printed it on Canon's best photo paper. (Don't worry, this version is only a 36.9 K .jpg). It was beautiful; clear and sharp, looked as if it came from a professional photo lab, and I'm happy. Also, since the print I made was only 4x6 inches I took one fourth of the image and printed that on a 4x6 inch sheet -- producing the equivalent results as if I had printed the entire picture as an 8x10. I'm still happy, but there's no way to show the results on a website!

Later this evening Jordan and I went to Barnes & Noble, about six miles from the base.

Odometer reading = 37,240
Miles for day = 0


(Oroville CA)

Shortly before 10 o'clock check out we were up and on our way to visit Sharyn's sister Sandy in Oroville. On the way we passed through Sacramento where I wanted to get a picture of a sign that I saw two years ago when we passed through Sacramento on our way to Lake Tahoe via US-50. Route 50 runs for about 3,000 miles from Sacramento, California to Ocean City, Maryland. The sign I was looking for, that we never did find, said:

3037 MILES

It was kind of a neat sign that I wanted to add to our Interesting Signs page. I originally mentioned this sign on this site on September 25,2000, but being somewhat superfluous, it may be that California decided to take it down. Anyway, we went some 10-15 miles out of our way to photograph this sign that we never did find.

After turning around and getting back on track to Oroville it didn't take us too long to get there. We stopped at the same campground on the Feather River where we stayed some two years ago. After some lunch we drove the car over to Sandy's house where we stayed the entire afternoon and evening, had dinner and then further conversation with everyone until we eventually left so they could all go to bed.

After we got back to the motorhome, Sharyn was outside smoking her cigarette when the sprinkler system came on and got her drenched. Jordan and I knew what had happened because soon after we heard the system come on we heard Sharyn starting to laugh. Now, as she just came in. she's soaking wet.

Odometer reading = 37,373
Miles for day = 133


6/3/02 to 6/6/02
(Oroville CA)

There's not a great deal to write about. We're still at River Reflections Campground on the Feather River. While we had hoped to be kayaking on the river, the temperature has been over 100 degrees every day since we got here so I prefer to seek air conditioned shelter.

Sharyn and Jordan have been doing lots of visiting and family socializing. Jordan particularly enjoys it because there are a number of young people for her to go and do things with. From traveling with us she was beginning to think that the world was made up of social security recipients.

In the meanwhile I've been addressing the issue of finding to find a qualified transmission place to replace the transmission fluid with synthetic fluid. Also, two of our leveling jacks have been leaking and I've had little success finding someone willing and able to rebuild them.

Like I said, there's not too much happening, but at least with this entry you'll know that we haven't driven over the side of a mountain -- we're still out here doing our thing!

Odometer reading = 37,443
Miles for day = 59


6/7/02 to 6/8/02
(Oroville CA)

These two days have been productive in addressing the transmission and jack problems.

With respect to the transmission, we installed a larger Hayden transmission oil cooler and changed the fluid, but not with synthetic. Transmatic, in Chico, is a large, "top of the line" repair and rebuild facility and we took the owner's advice in going for the larger cooler rather than changing to synthetic fluid. The owner is an elderly, semi retired, fellow who I thought was a customer waiting for his car. When I realized he was the owner (who started that business 42 years ago) his credibility factor went up considerably. The cooler actually cost us less than the switch to synthetic fluid would have.

Thomas Hydraulics, also in Chico, is a large hydraulic and machine shop facility that seems to focus mostly on commercial and industrial type repairs, but rebuilt our jacks in less than a day. They had no idea why other shops had told us they couldn't rebuild these cylinders.

Tomorrow is Sunday and we plan to be back on the road again come Monday morning.

Odometer reading = 37,534
Miles for day = 47


6/9/02 and 6/10/02
(Oroville CA)

We were supposed to leave here this morning, but over the course of our stay in Oroville Jordan has decided to stay here and live with Sharyn's sister Sandy and her family. We saw this coming, and several days ago I asked Jordan about it. We extended our time for another day so as to allow more time for Jordan to gather her stuff and make for a more orderly transition. Besides, Sharyn and I needed a little time to adjust to this change, although the more we think and talk about it, the better the choice seems to be.

Odometer reading = 37,534
Miles for day = 0


(Weaversville CA)

This morning Jordan, who has been sleeping at Sandy's most of the time we've been here, came by so that we could have one more kiss good-bye. After several hours we were once again heading north.

At Reading we turned west and headed for the Pacific Coast some 150 miles away on the other side of the Trinity Mountains. From Reading (elevation 550') it wasn't too long until we crested the first summit at just over 3,000'. A big chunk of that distance was in second gear, and I told Sharyn that if she listened very carefully she could just make out the transmission saying, " . . . thanks for that cooler, guys, it sure helps me feel better . . . and keep my cool . . . ."

Weaversville was our destination for the day. We passed through here two years ago, going the other way, and I remember Weaversville being a really nice looking town -- sort of a leftover from the 1800's. We didn't stop but drove right on through, and later I remember thinking that when we come to a place like that we should stop and enjoy it. It looks as if we'll stay here tomorrow and do just that.

By the way, this is our view from the motorhome.

Odometer reading = 37,677
Miles for day = 143


(Weaversville CA)

This morning Sharyn did some reorganizing in cabinets and closets. After that we drove into town where we parked the car and began walking. We visited an antique shop with an ice cream and sandwich counter, the Memorial Museum and History Center (where we spent almost two hours), numerous small stores and shops (most of which are in the original structures from the 1800's), and the Joss House, the oldest continuously used Chinese Temple in California.

We also checked several other things in what is called the "Museum Complex," including this original "ditcher's cabin" (check out this construction detail).

Later in the afternoon, before returning to the motorhome we went to the local supermarket to get some groceries. As I've said before, you can tell the socio-economic level of a community by what you find (or don't find) in the local supermarket. This community is more upscale than you'd know from a walk down the main street. Somewhere between 25-35% of the space in the supermarket is stocked with gourmet or specialty items -- a bigger proportion than we've seen anywhere else in a non-specialty store.

After dinner Sharyn started the laundry while I did the dishes. Then while the laundry was going we sat on the porch of the laundry room talking and reading the RV magazines that had been left there

Odometer reading = 37,677
Miles for day = 0


(McKinleyville CA)

This morning we again headed west along California Route 299. Two years ago we thought that this highway through the Trinity Mountains was one of the most beautiful we'd ever traveled. Today reconfirmed that original conclusion. The road winds back and forth as it follows the Trinity River. At one point we pulled of the road and took several pictures. Some time later we stopped and had lunch while looking out over the river.

After lunch we continued west to US-101 at Arcata where we once again turned and headed north as far as McKinleyville.

From here our plan, always subject to change, is to continue north on US-101, around the Olympic Mountains in northwest Washington, and then down the west side of the Puget Sound across from Seattle.

Odometer reading = 37,773
Miles for day = 96


(Port Orford OR)

Last nights campground was functional, plain vanilla. We were up early and on the road shortly after nine o'clock.

Once again we had to take note of the beauty of the Pacific Coastal Highway (US 101 at this point). As we drove through a portion of Redwood National Park Sharyn commented that that section might be her favorite.

We stopped rather early at Humbug Mountain State Park, just south of Port Orford. The cost was $18 which is marginally high for a state park, but it is very pretty, with the campground itself nestled between Humbug and some other mountain. It's like being in a tree lined bowl, enclosed all around except for the opening that provides access to the ocean for the creek and the foot trail, both of which pass under US-101. We took at site at the far end of the campground because that's where the trail to the beach is. After getting set up and having lunch (and changing to long pants, sweat shirt, and jacket) we walked down to the beach. Exploring the beach and the creek bed that runs through the campground and out into the ocean, Sharyn accumulated about eight or ten rocks (about 20 pounds worth)!

Since I took over 30 pictures this afternoon, I've included the following as optional (without comment):

Driftwood close-up
Log + Sharyn on beach

Odometer reading = 37,919
Miles for day = 146


(Port Orford CA)

After finishing one pot of coffee we drove the six miles into Port Orford. This was our first view of the town from several miles away. It's a tiny little seaside village with what appears to be a pretty active commercial dock, but not much else. It was Saturday, so even the dock was not showing any activity although there was a lot of equipment there. We concluded that the jail had not been used for a long time, but realized later that we had never checked to see if there was any long forgotten bad guy locked inside.

As we've said repeatedly, the Pacific coast is spectacularly beautiful. This is US-101 looking south, just before we turn into the campground.

After lunch we spent most of the day reading the paper, talking, and just relaxing in the sunshine (this is the only time I've used the delayed exposure on the camera - - which was on the tripod).

Odometer reading = 37,919
Miles for day = 0


(Newport OR)

Once again we headed north along US-101 and had a rather pleasant, if uneventful, trip to Newport where we stopped at the Port Of Newport RV Park and Marina. A good part of today's travel was slightly inland so we were not looking out over the ocean as we have been in recent days. That did not detract from the beauty of the area, however, and Sharyn commented that this may be the most beautiful part of the Country that we've seen. I think that I might give that honor to US-101 north of Tillamook, Oregon, perhaps 100 miles north of where we are now -- but then that would be splitting hairs!

Odometer reading = 38,074
Miles for day = 155


(Warrenton OR)

It was rainy and drizzling all day from the time we got up until the time we went to bed. The rain never came down hard, but the yellow highway signs with the outline of a car and the swigglely lines depicting a slippery roadway had Sharyn rather intimidated and we negotiated the coastal hills and curves. In fact we weren't going very fast and we had no problem at all from the weather. We stopped at the FamCamp at Camp Rilea, a small installation on the Pacific, just south of the Columbia River.

About a year ago I read Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage, the story of Lewis and Clark's exploratory expedition across unexplored territory westward to the Pacific Ocean. It's a great story and a great book! They spent the cold and wet winter (all winters on this part of the Pacific coast are cold and wet) of 1805-06 at Fort Clatsop before beginning their long trek back east that spring. The site of the original Fort Clatsop is only about five miles from the FamCamp, so as soon as we were set up in the campground we drove over to what is now Fort Clatsop National Monument. We spent several hours at the visitor's center and the now reconstructed fort. Down by the river they had this dugout canoe like the ones used by the expedition.

Look at these two magnificent Sitka spruce trees adjacent to the fort -- the one on the left is about 4' in diameter at shoulder level. The spruce forest is full of such trees, many of them much bigger, but you can't get far enough away from them to get a good photograph.

After returning to the motorhome we had hot soup for dinner, read for awhile, and then went to bed.

Odometer reading = 38,203
Miles for day = 129


(Pacific Beach WA)

It rained most of the night and was still cloudy and drizzly when we started out this morning, but was sunny and beautiful by early afternoon. The very pleasant lady in the FamCamp office let me use a phone line to get online to update this website and download our latest cleared banking transactions. It was the first time in four days that I had access to a phone line.

It wasn't more than five minutes after we left Camp Rilea that we were on the bridge crossing over the Columbia River into the State of Washington. Once again we were following the coastline north. The coast is no longer as rough as it was in 50 or 100 miles south of the Columbia River. Now the road frequently runs along the edge of marsh or low water mud flats only a few feet above sea level. Also, while the terrain is hilly, it's no longer the steep and rugged mountains that we had been driving through until yesterday. We stopped by the river just outside the village of South Bend to have lunch.

Later in the day, as we approached a place called Pacific Beach Sharyn began to look for a place to stay. Surprising to both of us, we were less than ten miles from a U.S. Navy Beach Resort and Conference Center with a FamCamp overlooking the Pacific. That really worked out well!

After getting set up we drove the half mile back to "town" as Sharyn wanted to get some ice cream for my birthday. She was not too happy that she was unable to accomplish this without my knowing about it, but some things are compromised when two people live together (24 hours a day?) in a space measuring little more than 8' x 36'. Because of the unexpected nature of the facilities connected with this FamCamp Sharyn decided to take me to dinner at the restaurant in the conference center. She thought it was interesting that I ordered salmon as she had defrosted salmon steaks for dinner. Now she says I'm going to have salmon two days in a row, which is fine by me!

By the way, while we were back in town I told Sharyn that Pacific Beach might be the smallest town I've ever been in; three small stores, an inn, and a bar.

Odometer reading = 38,365
Miles for day = 161


(Chimacum WA)

This morning was cloudy and dark, but not raining. Once again we headed up the Olympian Peninsula to the Strait of Juan de Fuca that separates Washington and the United States from Vancouver and Canada. This is a section of US-101 northbound through the Olympic National Forest as seen through Sharyn's windshield. We stopped in Port Angeles and had lunch parked at the end of a series of docks with Vancouver and the City of Victoria visible across the water. We then continued on to an Escapee Park in Chimacum, about eight miles south of Port Townsend.

Our plan, as I type this, is to leave here in the morning, take the ferry from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island and then drive on up to Bellingham where we are told there is a Wal-Mart Super Center where we can get what ever we need, spend the night in their parking lot, and then hit the Canadian border (20 miles beyond Bellingham) early Friday morning.

Odometer reading = 38,567
Miles for day = 201


(Chimacum WA)

Well our plans changed. We stayed here today. Sharyn did the laundry while I changed some of the grease fittings on the motorhome. I could not get the grease gun on some of them because of inadequate clearance, so I replaced those with either 45 or 90 degree fittings, as the situation required.

Later we went looking for a store to get some milk and bread. While Sharyn was cooking dinner I took the car to the car wash area and got it clean.

Tomorrow morning we leave. Really!

Odometer reading = 38,567
Miles for day = 0