Monday, May 26, 2014



Unbelievable, we have been on the road for a month and it sure seems to be longer than that. I think it's because of all the RV troubles early on in the trip. One day turned into two that seem to be three, having to sit and wait in hotels rooms did not help either. In the four states we have entered, most of the things we have on our to do list we completed so far. Except for a few when the weather was still bad and the road  leading to the entrance were closed. We will try and get to them on our way back and if not... there is always next year.

I wanted to start making videos of our adventures, mostly for my Japanese family who don't understand English and the translator in blogspot in not very accurate. I got Sony Vegas 13 video editing software and have been working with it for a few days. I'm no pro at editing video, it will take some time and with time the videos should get better. If you have any hints, tips or suggestions please let me know... (I have to work on making the pictures and videos fit to full screen). I know search how to video on youtube.

We have never been north of San Francisco, CA, until this year. We do have a "to do list", but always looking for other great places to visit as we make our way north to BC Canada and back to Nevada and Arizona for the winter. If have been to any great places in the Pacific Midwest region, please feel free to let us know and if we are in that area we will make a stop.Who knows where the road will take us. 

So, without further ado, I give to you my first edited video.

Saturday, May 24, 2014



4-5 May

While in San Francisco North of the Golden Gate Bridge, we spent the weekend and waiting for our appointment at Midway Truck Repair for our rigs brakes. As there are only a few RV parks in the San Francisco area Marina RV Park is pricey, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and take what is given when safety plays a key role of your travels. Waiting for our appointment, these last two days we got some well deserved extra sleep in time, relaxing and laundry.  However, we still had time to get back to the Golden Gate Bridge and see it from the other side along with walking on the bridge. Today the weather was more helpful and clearer. We even saw helicopter tours were they flew under the Golden Gate Bridge. About the half way point on the bridge the wife was looking over the edge and saw how high up we were. She held and pulled my arm so tight hard, she almost torn it off. Needless to say, we had to turn around and head back.

6-12 May
With our rig having to be dropped off at 7:00am on 7 May, we made the hour or so drive to Travis AFB FAMCAMP (military camp ground: Family Campground... get it? Military and their abbreviations!). We arrived around mid day on the 6th. We did not do much, just sat around and looking for actives to do while we are here for about a week or so. Some sad news, two days before we arrive we just missed the Travis AFB air show, but it would not have been fun as a stunt pilot lost control of his plain, crashed and died.  Story This is second time in as many weeks we arrived somewhere and a death occurred.

We woke up at 5:00am on the 7th and was at Midway Truck Repair by 6:45am. Within a few second of looking they knew that the brakes were gone and to prevent uneven driving it was recommended that all four brakes get replaced. Lucky, for me when replacing the back brakes they found that inner tire of the rear had a nail in it. The tire was not flat I guess the nail was keeping the air in, but they replaced it with my spare and now I need to get a new spare.... when something goes wrong it just keeps piling up. The repair shop would not allow us to spend the two night in our rig while it was not being worked on, so we headed back to the base and stayed at the Air Force Lodge. Two night in the room was the same price as a week in the FAMCAMP. I have to keep in mind the RV is like any house and repairs will be required, the down side it's a vehicle too and required the same maintenance as our car. We still love our rig, while driving we don't have to leave to enter the living space and fight the rain, snow or whatever. When we are parked for long periods of time our driver seats turn in to great storage space.

Even without our rig we still had our car and we did all the sightseeing stuff we would have done anyways. We went to Jell Belly factory, Travis AFB Heritage Center, Napa Valley for lunch, wine and bread and even found time to stop at a local baseball card shop.


Unfortunately, there is no photo or video on the tour. Sorry, no behind the scenes sneak peeks. The tour is free and they show you how they are made and give you samples along the tour .. free jelly beans.. SCORE! At the gift store, you can get even more free samples. I had to try some of their new product like tabasco, booger and baby wipes. I have not had a beer in almost 2 1/2 years, but after I tried the beer jelly bean I now have a craving for a beer... how long can I hold out? We got some of the chocolate covered Jelly beans. For you fellow military personnel, there is a 10% discount with any purchase. 

Along the walls there are Jelly Belly art and most are of President Ronald Reagan.


First, it's nowhere close as Pensacola Air Station ... That's because it's Air Force and not Navy. Go Navy beat .... everyone!

The entrance is free and if you do not have military ID card to get on base, you will have to check into the visitor building just before the main gate and get a base pass.  Inside is a few displays and test cockpits you can seat in.

However, outside is where you want to be to see all the plains. 


The wife loves fresh bread and sweets. She read a Japanese blog about someone trip there and since we are in the area we had to make a stop at Bouchon Bakery. I'll go and do anything to make her happy. A happy wife is a happy home.

The Napa Valley is know for wine making, there are wine tasting rooms all over this town. As we walked around the prices range from $15 - $20 for 4 or 5 sample glasses. There is even modern art and fits the landscape pretty well.

I don't drink wine and the wife is drunk after one glass, so she got her ONE glass of wine when we ate lunch. She had a salad and I had buffalo wings. 

I started to have withdraws and we found time to stop by a local baseball card shop. Finding an actual store bring me back to my youth. Small or large, in a stores I feel a connection with the owner that he cares about the hobby and not in it for a fast buck. Now a days there are not many stores as most dealers sell on eBay (and other like platforms) with over priced shipping and handling fees and try to save cost on rent and other overhead of a store.

This spring training I got a lot of Cleveland Indians stuff signed, so I'm looking to restock for next spring. While I drive around the Pacific Midwest these players are not in high demand and I should be able to save a few bucks.

I got a few more Travis Shaw (my favorite player) cards to add to my growing collection (311) and restocked some key players along with some new rookie minor leaguers.

Thursday, May 22, 2014



3 May

Many years ago, while sleeping I dreamt of driving along a high mountain range and driving off the edge. So, evertime I drive a mountain range I fear that dream will turn into a nightmare and become reality. The last four ~ five days I've been feeling like my maker has been calling my name. Lucky for me "fair winds and following seas" (Navy term: wind at your back and clear roads ahead) was on my side. This time down the mountain we took the car off the dolly and the RV drove a lot better. Except for the times when the dolly would hit a hole and jump up or drag the bottom and make sparks. The wife would come over our 2 way radio frantically telling me to be careful.

This is the Mountain that stressed me out. Inside the red circle is the road we took.

We made our way to San Jose, CA were we stopped at Mitsuwa (Japanese grocery store).  Mitsuwa parking lot was to small and tight for our RV to enter, so we went up the road to Westgate Mall to park the RV. Since the car was already off the dolly, we drove the car to Mitsuwa.  First, we ate diner at their food court, I had Pork Katsu Curry (pork slices with white rice covered with curry). It has been close to nine years since I ate it last and my taste buds enjoyed every bite. The wife had Katsu-don (pork slices covered with egg over white rice). Sorry no pics. After we where done we got up and a worker took our trays and cleaned the table behind us, just like it's done in Japan. American fast food joints needs to start doing this. I hate to seat down at a table and see what the person before us left behind. We then walked around the grocery store and everything the wife bought was for her and nothing for me.

We were told that California has a law were we could not spend the night at the Westgate Mall parking lot, so we put our groceries away, filled the tank and headed North. We pulled over at the first rest stop we saw on I-280 for the night. It's was a really small rest stop with only four RV parking spots and one was taken by a small car (I just hate it when I see that, besides there was plenty of spots open for cars only he could have used). With our car back on the tow dolly we just fit in our lane.

4 May

With no internet, welcome center or visitor information we have nothing to go by to find somewhere close by to stay for a few days. Not even at the rest stop we spent last night had a road map posted we could look at. Goal today, find some kind of information center to plan the next few days. 


We stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge, got my National Park Book stamped at the visitor center and found a place to stay for the weekend until we can get up to Travis AFB, while we get the RV brakes fixed. There are only two RV parks in the city of San Francisco. One about 40 minutes back though the city of San Francisco to Candle Stick Park area climbing the large city hilly streets or 10 minutes over the Golden Gate Bridge. With our brakes issue it was and easy choice, we took the latter and stayed at Marin Park in Greenbrae, CA. Before taking off we walked around like tourist posing and taking pictures with the Golden Gate Bridge behind us.

The last time I was here was right after I started my retirement leave (May 2010). Almost four years ago to the day I have drove a circle around America and I found myself at the beginning of this chapter in my life (life after the Navy). Reflecting back on the last four years, it's been a great ride. I've encountered on a lot of adventures mostly good, some not so much. Meet some great people, in person and online. Saw the beauty America has to offer. I owe it all to the decision I made to becoming a Full-time RV'er, I would not change a thing. I'm looking forward to more adventures, meeting old friends and making new ones and continue to find all the hidden treasures across America.

Monday, May 19, 2014



1 May

Yosemite National Park has been on the wife's to-do list for years. So, no matter what we were going. I would drive all the way around this mountain just to make her wish come true. We took the car off the tow dolly to lessen the weight of the RV when climbing the rest of the mountains. I drove the RV while the wife drove the car behind me. With our 2 way radio in hand to communicate we left Walker, CA. After leaving the high mountains, we put the car back on the dolly but, .... guess what.... there were still more mountains to come. All the slopes and hitting the brakes every two seconds I think I killed them, but we arrived to Yosemite NP in one piece. Yosemite NP had no open RV sites, so we had to exit the park and stay at one of the state parks just outside the gate at Diamond O Campgrounds.

With nothing but time and the quite surroundings, my worries about the RV brakes turned into stress in an instant. I could not eat, drink or sleep for hours after we arrived. I knew there was nothing I can do about it now, but it was still in the back of my mind all day. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed we can make it to a town safely to get the brakes fix. Tomorrow, I hope to free my mind and we'll see what Yosemite National Park has to offer.

2 May

As full-time RV'ers we always hear talk about "take the road less traveled". In our case, in the last few days I now know why these roads are less traveled. But, what was waiting for us to see on the other side; mountains that toughed the heaven and water falls flowing from the clouds was a once in a lifetime experience.


Entrance fee $20 a vehicle. Last night when we arrived all three gates was open with no one entering but us. This morning, only one gate was open and there was a long line of vehicles forming behind us. As you drive into Yosemite from I-120 there is about 25 miles of scenic view before arrive to the valley floor.

John Muir 
The man who worked and fought to make Yosemite
a National Park, so we could see beauty that he saw. 

Once we reach the valley floor and the trees opened it was a draw dropping view. I had to stop the car and pulled over just to try and take it all in.

We drove deeper into the valley to the visitors center where Yosemite Falls are located. Yosemite Falls actually has two falls an upper and a lower. We stood at the bottom of the lowers and look up, but could not see the upper level. However, from a far we were able to see both levels. There is a hiking trail you can take to stand at the upper level, sadly we had to pass as we still had other sights to see.

Yosemite NP has a free bus route that goes around the park. We left our car in the parking lot and jumped on the bus. When we saw something we like we jumped off, checked it out then waited for the next bus to come to take us to our next stop.

The last trip of the day was one of the most recognized sights of Yosemite NP, the Half Dome. We took the path to see the Half Dome by Mirror Lake. The bus stopped and we got off, the hike is about a mile or so and while walking we saw a horse back trail tour on the other side of the stream.

You can image how Mirror Lake got it's name, as you look down into the lake and you can see the reflection of Mother Nature from ever angle. As we look up, there it was... Half Dome high above the Mirror Lake grove with a large open space. I don't know for sure, but a glacier must has washed the other half of the dome away leaving behind Mirror Lake. However it was created, it was beautiful.

With no internet or cell phone coverage in the campground and located in the middle of nowhere, I had to revert back to the time before computers and write on paper with a pen taking notes of my adventures of the day. I felt at peace with nature and the words just flowed out of my hand and onto the paper with ease.