Camping

14 articles in category Camping / Subscribe

If you own an RV and use it infrequently over a couple of years, things are bound to break. Adjustments are necessary, even if things were working perfectly “the last time you used it.” Ask me what happens when you get the leaf springs in your truck replaced. What? The back of your car gets higher. And what does that mean for your trailer? It needs to crank up higher to hook up to your hitch. 21 inches on the Jeep now. My jack couldn’t cut it. And no amount of raising blocks underneath the jack stand would give me the height I needed. So I tried adjusting the hitch – making it lower to match the …

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  Nothing lasts forever when you’re an unemployed travel blogger, especially not posh places on the beach. I knew that soon my adventures would have to take a hiatus while I looked for work to beef up the coffers. I knew soon that Lola and I would have to find somewhere cheap and decidedly more horrible to live. That’s why I chose to spend three glorious days at the Jalama Beach campground, just south of the air force base in Lompoc, CA. The beach is difficult to get to from the highway. It’s about 14 grueling, hilly miles on a road with no shoulder and many hairpin turns. I’d recommend making this trip either early in the …

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If you’re wondering why there has been a serious hiatus in posts lately, it’s because California is expensive. It would be one thing if everything was equally expensive, and it didn’t matter where I stayed. But no, things in Cali are a strange mix of “OH MY GOD HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY CHARGE THAT MUCH AND GET AWAY WITH IT?” and “Oh. It’s $5 extra.” What I’m trying to say is that prices are all over the place, and I’ve had a hard time finding a home base with internet. Hell, I’ve had a hard time finding places to stay AT ALL, and even when I do find something reasonable, it takes me a whole day of …

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I spent the holidays in Pismo Beach, a medium sized resort town north of Santa Barbara. The main attraction is, of course, the beach, which is long and pristine and allows dogs. Sign me up. The nice thing about Pismo in particular is that the majority of the beach is public, state park land with beautiful dunes and sweet-smelling eucalyptus. At Oceano State Park you can pay $10 to drive out and camp on the sand. (We did not, because Sacagewea’s 4wd went out back in Amarillo.) Between Pismo and Oceano is a grove of eucalyptus where a huge colony of Monarch butterflies spends the winter. Though my lens was a bit too short to capture them, …

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As we left “the Big Sur,” we entered San Simeon, which is more rolling and brown than the high cliffs north of there. At Piedras Blancas beach you can watch the elephant seals in their rookery. They’re sleeping, okay? I know, not very exciting. Every once in a while one would grunt and toss sand on their back. The males are huge and a little more active than the females. I saw a few playing (fighting?) in the waves. Inexplicably, the seals are guarded by a fence that says “Do not feed the squirrels.” The sunset was gorgeous, like the sky was on fire, one evening. Of course, I didn’t have the camera until the last second, …

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After many hours on Highway 5 amid very dry, dusty conditions and a sense of brownness everywhere, I finally made the turn toward the sea. It is one of the final legs of my journey: California Highway 1. At first, I was a little nervous. There were a LOT of people on the 1 around Santa Cruz, and the drive wasn’t all that pretty. Lola and I can’t drive very quickly around the bends, and traffic was piling up behind us, with no place to turn off. We headed south. Monterrey was much the same. You may ask why I didn’t stay in any of these places. At $50 a night, just for an RV spot, it …

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I am FINALLY out of the mountains. Hello, Nevada! I knew I was past the hard part when I exited the HUGE Virgin River Gorge outside St. George, Utah to be greeted by the town of Mesquite, which has a desolate and lovely view, yet can still grow palm trees I visited Valley of Fire State Park, which borders Lake Mead. It gets its name from the bright red sandstone rocks that are pitted and shaped by the strong wind. You can see three sets of mountains from the vista (usually) though today snow was happening. For once, I didn’t have to avoid it, and it avoided me. The park gets only 4 inches of precipitation annually. …

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We woke up to MORE SNOW. Even though I’m sure that it was gorgeous, I’m pretty glad that we drove the road down into the canyon at night before it iced over. I took one look at it in the morning and I knew that there was no way I’d be able to go back that way. At least the wind had died down a bit and the sun had come out, so Monty and Niko and I hit the Pa’rus trail. It is the only trail in the park where dogs are allowed, and it snakes along the bottom of the canyon along the beautiful Virgin River. We took many pictures of snow covered canyon walls …

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Amarillo, Texas is a city in the middle of nowhere. It is a necessary city, one that cuts the grueling interstate drive across the nothingness into halves. I’ve been through before, but I’ve never stayed for more than an hour, because, why would I? There are far more interesting places west and even east of here. Plus, it’s Texas. In my mind it’s the home of cowboy-republicans who drink too much, talk too much and carry a gun, right? Believe it or not, Amarillo has been kinda fun. Okay, I was FORCED to stay because I was having work done on Sacajewea, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve had a nice time and found Texas …

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Finally, after traveling all the way through southern Iowa and into Missouri, I have found warmer weather! I’ve not traveled much in the middle of the country. There are probably many things to see, but none of them are obvious. I am trying a few things out to see where they take me.  In this story, I headed for what I thought might be exciting campgrounds. My first was Geode State Park in Iowa. This is a misleading name. There were no geodes (as in the rocks with pretty crystals in them) from what I could tell. I looked. There was a very pretty man-made lake and many long trails, which Monty and Niko and I took …

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