Tag Archives: California

Just checking in!

We’ve left Idaho, and we’re settled in Oakhurst, California (see the So Where are We Now page for more details), and I have lots and lots of stuff to write about. And lots of pictures to share.

Sadly though, I have very bad internet so it might be a bit before I get an official post done. So this is just to say –

We are alive.
We are well.
We are busy.

I’ll do my best to get some real ‘catch-up’ soon!

Thanks for your patience! Here’s a Windshield Shot to hold you over…..
On our way!! Yosemite here we come! #ontheroadagain
(Starting out in Idaho)

10 Things I think I forgot to mention

10. Way back in February (yes, that was quite a few ‘yesterdays’ ago) we took a little field trip to Robson Ranch and Mining Camp, a ghost town remnant of the booming mining industry that helped settle the Wickenburg area of Arizona.
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It was an interesting day –a little history,
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a little hiking (complete with some petroglyphs that I personally never found but were documented by others in our group),
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and some beautiful scenery.
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Here’s a link to my set of pictures from the day – Robson Mining Ranch

9. In March we checked out St. Anthony’s Coptic Monastery outside of Barstow, CA. This was WAY OUT THERE.
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(It’s that little white dot on the left, halfway up! And we had already driven about 1/2 hour on that dirt road.)
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And we really weren’t sure just what to expect. What we found was a relatively new church that was quite ornate, a grouping of single-wide mobile homes (the monastery part), another older church (or two – it was hard to tell) and 5 (yes, 5) tour buses that had come up from Los Angeles. We were a bit out of our element (most of the other visitors were actually Coptic Christians and there on a pilgrimage of sorts) so aside from checking out the gift store (most items in Arabic) and taking pictures of the church, we chose not to linger.

8. Early Man Site. OK – here’s another head scratcher. Since we were already driving on dirt roads (finding the monastery) that day, we thought we’d find out just what this Early Man Site was all about.
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Well, apparently although no human bones have been found, there have been discoveries of tools and tool making rocks. Again, it was a nice hike and some beautiful views of the San Bernardino Valley and the Mohave Desert. And I suppose if I was into archaeological digs, this could hold some interest. For us – not so much. (Just keeping it real!)
Here are just a couple more pictures.

7. Remember our Berdoo Canyon Adventure coming out of Joshua Tree Natl Park?
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As we were navigating our way through that canyon, we had a certain ‘carrot’ hanging out in front of us – a date shake at the Shields Date Gardens.It kept us going, to be sure. However, by the time we emerged from the canyon, the sun was setting and the Date Garden was closed. “Hey, we’re adults,” I said. “I bet we can figure out how to make a date shake.” Without skipping a beat Jenny said, – “Tell him your dad has a gun.” Aren’t we hilarious! 😉

6. This past week my big sister had a birthday. Oh, it wasn’t one of those “Big Ones”, but it was still a birthday, and at our age, we should never take them for granted. So, although I sent her a card, called her, and wished her an official Facebook Happy Birthday – here’s one more – Happy Birthday, Elna! I can’t imagine a better big sister and I’m thankful for you each and every day! XOXOXOX

5. This past week my dear husband also had a birthday. Again, not a big decade jumping birthday, but as I said before, we celebrate each one! (Actually, we celebrate waking up and dressing ourselves. Just sayin’) So Happy Birthday (just a bit late) to the best man in my life! Love you, baby!

4. All three of our kids are either in the midst of or have already accomplished major life adjustments in the last several months. Job changes (no small thing when you have a family of 7), revitalizing a career that has been on hold for a couple of years, and moving across the country. I’m pretty darn proud of these courageous kiddos of mine, and I just want to say here in the Blog World – that I think you are ALL absolutely AMAZING!
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3. Look where we’re parked for the next three weeks!
Lake Retreat parking.
Instead of tracking in sand, now we’re tracking in pine needles. But everything is so GREEN!!! And the trees are so HUGE!!!! Ah…….

2. Tomorrow I head east to Columbus! I’ll be spending next week loving on my Ohio kids (4) and grands (7), watching ball games, enjoying Mother’s Day with my kids (that hasn’t happened in about 12 years!), playing games and enjoying all of the beautiful family chaos that I miss so much! Less than 24hrs until my plane leaves!

1. Then next Friday, I leave Columbus and fly to PA for Girls Week ’16!!!! It’s another thing I will never take for granted – a week with my precious sisters! We’ll be bopping around the countryside, trying to fit as much family and fun (oh, and maybe a bit of shopping) in as we can! Not to mention talking, praying, talking, napping, coffee drinking, etc, There are even plans in the works to connect with most of my PA kids and grands, too – super excited about that!
The Sisters

So that’s the list. There are probably more than 10 things I forgot to mention, but at least this got some of the real ancient history off the table. And, it gave me a good chance to let you know that the next two weeks might be (ok, will be) pretty quiet. At least here at RV There Yet! (And probably here at Lake Retreat where Gary will be playing the bachelor till I return.)

We’ll catch up when I get back, ‘K?

Steph

Joy in the Journey

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Sometimes we drive just to get to our destination. Sometimes it’s even a long drive. But this last week, while our drive was long (almost 1300 miles) and we were pointed at a final destination (Lake Retreat Camp in Ravensdale, WA (SE of Seattle)) we tried to take that road less traveled when it was possible and take time to stop and smell the roses (or walk in the snow as the case may be) along the way.
Want to come along?
Heading on our way! After 4 months in the desert we're excited to be heading to some trees! Washington, here we come! Oregon, we'll be enjoying you along the way. 🚍 🌳 #ontheroadagain
Although we did have to hop on to Interstate 5 for a bit to get through Sacramento, we mostly drove on Route 99 and then 97. Rte 97, in fact, took us from Weed, California right through Oregon and almost up to I90 in Washington. We drove through valleys, scaled (or so it seemed) mountains, crossed rivers and drove along beautiful lakes.
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Along with the gallery of pictures below, HERE is a link to the album on Flickr. (I’ve put captions on most of the pictures, but apparently unless you click on each picture, you won’t be able to see them. I’ll have to talk to Flickr about that!)


Our two main stops were –
Lava Beds National Monument
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Have you ever heard of this place?
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It was very interesting – lots of lava, beautiful views
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and lots of caves to explore. We weren’t really expecting to go spelunking, so we stuck with the one lighted cave (Mushpot) and one other that seemed pretty easy (Skull). As in no duck-walking or crawling easy. Yeah, we’re not into that. Of course, my phone died just as we were entering the Skull cave – so you’ll have to trust me that it was pretty cool!
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The caves found in this park were created by flows of smooth lava thousands upon thousands of years ago. In another part of the park was a huge rock outcrop with petroglyphs –
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I’ll confess that the petroglyphs were a little disappointing, but the rock itself was fabulous!
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(Full album can be seen HERE!)
and (continuing the sentence back a couple of pictures!)
Crater Lake!
We’d heard about how stunning it was – and I’m sure there is a lot more to do in the summertime when things are actually open, 
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but draped in the beauty of snow – this was still a crazy beautiful experience!
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We are so glad we bundled up and stopped to see this amazing lake that was formed when a volcano erupted and collapsed upon itself. So beautiful!
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More snowy pictures HERE!

We thoroughly enjoyed our drive from the desert to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. The scenery was varied, fuel prices were low(ish), our stops were outstanding, and arrival at Lake Retreat welcome!
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We caught sight of Mt. Rainier today on our way home from church –
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Looks like there will be more ‘sploring in our future!

PS – Here’s a music video of the song “Joy in the Journey” by Michael Card. It’s not so much about RV travel (not at all, actually), but about our journey with Christ. It’s worth a listen if you have a minute (or 3).

Four Wheel Weekend

I suppose that most weekends, if you get in a vehicle, are four wheel weekends, but this past weekend we enjoyed some REAL 4-Wheeling adventures (along with some other more normal driving around kind of 4 wheel travel!). So let’s start with Friday (The official start of a SOWER weekend. Don’t hate me.)
Friday morning seven of us (Gary opted to stay home) piled into two 4 wheel drive vehicles and set off for some back road adventure!
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I was in the lead car, in the back seat, and Bill was driving (with wife Shirley in the passenger seat). They have both done extensive four-wheeling, and his jeep has seen more crazy roads than I can even imagine. Behind us was Terry (driving) and Alice with Don and Jenny in the back seat. Terry loves these off road adventures (Alice not so much) and we were all game for wherever the road might take us!
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It was a different experience for me (being in the back seat and not being in my own truck), but I did my best to not gasp too often (or too loudly!). We made our way through some pretty impressive landscape Friday 4Wheelin-4
and finally took a small break at the crest of a hill.
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Wait, I say – we’re going down that?
Yes, and then up the other side!
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Before we took the plunge (as it literally seemed to me), we paused for a quick photo op!
We ladies –
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And the macho men!
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Soon we were back in the cars, and headed toward some abandoned mine somewhere in dem dar hills!
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As the road became less and less navigable (or so it seemed to this back seat driver), the jeep went on ahead to scope out the terrain.
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Uh-oh.
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The road gave way and the jeep was really ‘off road’ at this point!
And much to the delight of Terry, he got to do the rescue!
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The rest of the drive seemed almost sedate, and we even spotted an RV or two which had navigated the off-road-but-not-quite-as-off-road-as-us for some dry camping!
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(Apparently, during certain times of the years the less rugged areas are filled with campers of all descriptions and the air is full of the sound of dirt bikes and dune buggies!)
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We really had a great time (all vehicles returned home with only minimal damage), and it was fun to do some ‘4 Wheeling’ with friends!
Saturday was a bit more of a traditional 4 wheel adventure. Don & Jenny joined us for a big California loop – from Barstow to Mohave to Palmdale to Victorville and then back to camp, north of Barstow. We managed to fill the day with a stop at the 20 Mule Team Borax Visitor Center and Museum
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Although Boron was originally mined in Death Valley and transported to Mohave via 20 Mule Team wagons, today it is mined in one of the largest open pit mines in the country in (you guessed it) Boron, CA.
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It was a very interesting stop (and free!).
Then we tried to drive through Edwards Air Force Base. Somehow Jenny’s gym membership card just wasn’t enough of a credential to get us in. But we did get close!
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(Yes, that’s the parking lot at the gate.)
From there it was on to Mohave,
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a lovely stop at a SOWER project in Palmdale (Crosswinds Community Church) to say hello, and then a lingering stop at the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark right there in Palmdale.
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This is the (or maybe one of the) 727’s that transported the space shuttle back to FL when it landed in the California desert.
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Crazy big!
Next door were some early generations of the Blackbird stealth jet.
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So much aviation history! Another very interesting (and free!) stop.
From there it was east to Victorville (and some food!), and then north back to camp. It was a 200+ mile day – but it was all good road, good sights, and good friends. My kind of Saturday.
Sunday, after church and a bite to eat in town, the 8 of us set out to explore Rainbow Canyon, a nearby natural area. It wasn’t quite the intense 4 wheelin’ that we did on Friday, but still had some interesting spots and some ‘other worldish’ scenery!
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All in all – it was a great way to spend our last weekend in California. We start our trek to Washington State on Saturday, so Friday will be a busy day of getting ready to hit the road! And hopefully during our 5 days on the road I’ll have a chance to do a bit more catching up. I seem to be stuck on “Yesterday”!

You know there are more pictures – so if you’d like to see more, just click on the day below!
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
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Hurricane!!!!

OK – here in the high desert of California they don’t get many hurricanes. (Although it did rain last weekend and apparently that was pretty big news around here!) But while we aren’t subject to hurricanes here in our current neighborhood, we are are subject to a component of hurricanes – High Winds. And around here, high winds don’t just blow over lawn furniture, scatter trash, and send the patio umbrella into the neighbors pool (though of course there is plenty of that also!). Around here we have the added ingredient of sand. Acres and acres, and acres and acres, of lovely fine beach sand. Yesterday, the mountains that surround us were almost obscured by the blowing sand.
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(Although according to our host, sometimes you can’t see them at all – so I guess yesterday was less impressive to them than to me!)
Even with the windows closed, there is a fine coating of grit on all my counters, and there isn’t so much a dirt ring in the shower as a pile of sand. Even the cuffs of my capris had sand in them from my brief jaunts outside. Truthfully, just the sound of wind gusts over 40 mph can be quite intimidating when you live in a long skinny tin can. But oh, what a reminder of the power of our Great God!
And one other thing that wind/sand storms are good at – destroying awnings even when they have been put away for safety sake.
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Ugh.
Gary jerry-rigged some tie-downs so we could sleep without the banging of the awning hitting the roof (not to mention what other damage that might do), but we won’t really be able to assess the damage (or the repair) until the wind dies down.
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“Wind advisory in effect until 5PM Saturday”
Welcome to the desert!