Monthly Archives: September 2013

Changes in the ‘Hood

Living the RV lifestyle means you can change your neighborhood. Sometimes the neighborhood changes around you.

Last week, the Mission Bay RV Resort was a quiet place with lots of open space. There were only 70 or so RVs here. The weekend forecast called for warmer weather with highs in the 80s. On Friday, the RVs started rolling in. The security guy told me 71 RVs checked in Friday afternoon. More came in on Saturday.

By Saturday afternoon there were about 175 RVs here. The place was no longer open and quiet. There were kids playing and people joining together for happy hour and dinner. The place was rocking. Quiet time was respected though. Shortly after 9pm the place quieted down.

I grilled fresh bluefin tuna for dinner. Donna bought it that morning at the farmer’s market at Mission Bay High School. You can find a farmer’s market just about every day of the week in one of San Diego’s communities. Donna served it with wasabi cream sauce and peas with mushrooms.

Bluefin tuna with wasabi cream sauce

Bluefin tuna with wasabi cream sauce

On Sunday morning, people started packing up and leaving. Today I’m guessing we are back to about 70 RVs here in the park. It’s quiet and open again.

On Saturday, I drove up to Sun City with my daughter, Shauna, to visit my step-dad. He served in the Marine Corps in Korea. He’s 82 now and lives alone since my mom passed away last September. He enjoys having visitors, but seems to get tired after an hour or so. We sat and talked on his front porch. We saw sky divers parachuting nearby. There’s a sky diving school at the Perris Airport just north of Sun City.

On the way back to San Diego, we stopped at Camping World in San Marcos. Instead of repairing the ice maker in our freezer, I decided to buy a standalone ice maker. I bought a small Dometic brand ice maker for $179. It will pay for itself in a couple of months. I’ve been buying ice cubes for the cooler almost daily at three dollars a bag.

Donna continued to work on her book all weekend. Sunday was all about NFL action for me. The San Diego Chargers have always been “my team.” I watched them play an excellent game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys were up 21 – 10 in the second quarter and I was a little concerned. The Chargers dominated the third quarter though and went on to win 30- 21.

Today I’ll ride my bicycle. This afternoon I would like to go to the optometrist and see if I can find new glasses. My prescription hasn’t changed much, but my glasses are four years old. They’re in good shape, but the wire frame is hard to fit into my helmet when I ride the scooter and I’m afraid they might break, which would not be good.

Another beautiful sunset on Mission Bay last night

Another beautiful sunset on Mission Bay last night

Riding Loops

Yesterday, after I posted to the blog, I scootered Donna to her exercise class. While she was working out, I treated myself to a big breakfast. I went to The Broken Yolk Cafe on Midway Drive. They’re open for breakfast and lunch only. Their breakfast menu is extensive.

Their specialty is huevos rancheros, which is based on a traditional Mexican farmer’s meal. A lightly fried corn tortilla is topped with refried beans, salsa, avocado and two eggs. There are many variations of this theme.

I opted for eggs benedict. It’s always been a favorite and I can’t remember the last time I had it. It was served with hash brown potatoes. The service was speedy. I took my time eating and savored the meal. After I ate every morsel, I realized I haven’t been eating meals this large. The size and richness of the breakfast was a little too much.

By the time I finished breakfast, it was time to pick up Donna from her hour-long class. We returned home and I prepared for a bicycle ride. I planned to do a few laps of Fiesta Island.

Most of Mission Bay and the surrounding municipal park are man-made, including Fiesta Island. Mission Bay is the largest man-made aquatic park in the country. The total area is 4,235 acres (46% land, 54% water).

Originally, Mission Bay was a tidal marsh. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo named it False Bay in 1542. Development of area began in the 1800s.  In the 1940s, dredging began and an ambitious plan to create a recreational area took shape. Work continued over the next few decades.

Twenty-five million cubic yards of sand were dredged to create land forms and clear the bay. Mission Bay Park is owned and operated by the City of San Diego. Regulations were put into place restricting the amount of land and shoreline that could be used for commercial leaseholds. No more than 25% of the land and 6.5% of the water area can be used for private purposes. This ensures public access for recreational use.

Fiesta Island is really an isthmus. The entrance to Fiesta Island is a narrow spit on the southeast end not much wider than the road. The main road follows the perimeter, except for a small area on the east side. This area is an aquatic center.This is the only area of real development. There are no facilities on the rest of Fiesta Island.

Map taken from internet

Click to enlarge map

The road around the perimeter is about four miles long. There is a shortcut road that’s about two and a half miles around. All traffic is one way, counterclockwise around the island.

I rode my bike to Fiesta Island and did the long loop. I did another lap on the short loop. It was a little boring to continue lapping around so I left the island and took the bike path toward Sea World.

Our location at De Anza viewed from the north side of Fiesta Island

Our location at De Anza viewed from the north side of Fiesta Island

San Diego is criss-crossed with biking and walking paths. I rode along a series of bike paths past Dana Landing to Mission Beach. I made a loop, going north on the boardwalk. Then I crossed Mission Boulevard at the Catamaran Hotel and took the bike path along the bay through Crown Point.

Near the RV resort, I entered the Rose Creek Bike Trail. I wanted to see where it went. It’s a narrow path with fencing on the sides in some parts. It wasn’t a favorite of mine. It abruptly ends at the intersection of Damon Avenue and East Mission Bay Drive. I returned home on the busy East Mission Bay Drive.

My total mileage was just over 23 miles. One week ago, on Saturday, I got on the bike for the first time in a long, long time, and rode seven miles. It’s amazing to me how quickly our bodies can adapt.

In the afternoon, while Donna was working on her book, I went to the beach. I walked the beach at La Jolla Shores to the Scripps Pier. I’ll have to describe that area in another post.

Last night, another old friend came by. John Swingle and I went to school together. I’ve known him since I was in eighth grade. He and his wife, Bonnie, took us to dinner at King’s Fish House in Mission Valley. We’ve been out of contact with each other for many years. It was great to enjoy a meal and conversation. We caught up a little on each other’s lives. We’ll have to get together again. There’s so much catching up to do.

Today, my daughter, Shauna, will pick me up. We’ll take her car to Sun City and visit my step-dad, Ken Keller. I think I’ll take it easy today and not wear myself out on the bike. Donna just got back from a long ride and she’ll spend the day trying to meet her Monday book deadline.


Posting to a blog is fun, but it’s also demanding at times. I try to keep things interesting. I also try to use proper grammar and punctuation. I probably should have paid more attention in English class. Fortunately, Donna proofreads and edits my posts.

Here in San Diego, I’m starting to  find a daily routine. This will make it more challenging to come up with interesting posts. The rewarding side of the blog is knowing that people actually read it. It’s nice to have comments posted. The WordPress software also tracks statistics. Today, I’m humbled to announce a running total of more than 10,000 hits on this site.

Yesterday we had cooler weather. The high was about 70 degrees. It’s a cool 52 degrees this morning. The forecast is for much warmer weather this weekend with temperatures around 80 degrees.

Yesterday we had a visit from my old friend, Gary Stemple. He was driving by the area and stopped to chat. Gary is a financial planner and also Chairman of the Board for a non-profit organization that builds housing in Tijuana, Mexico. They’re in the process of building 15 dwellings next week. They can build a house with three rooms for about $4,000. The house may not be to the standard we’re accustomed to, but for the people that need housing there, it’s a big step up.

Gary filled me in on some of the activities of our friends in the area, including our friends, Mark and Judy Fredin who live in Clairemont. I learned that another old friend, Gene McMahon, lives with them! While I was out running errands on the scooter, I stopped by the Fredins’ house to say hi. Gene answered my knock on the door. He took one look and said, “Mike Kuper.” I said, “Hey, Geno.” I was surprised that he recognized me that quickly. I’m not sure if I would have instantly recognized him if I wasn’t expecting  to see him. We last saw each other in the late 1970s.

Re-connecting with old friends is really great. We had such a tight-knit group growing up here. I’m looking forward to meeting more of the “old gang.”

Later, Donna and I rode the scooter up to La Jolla. We stopped at a place that does nails and massage. She had a manicure and pedicure while I had a one-hour full-body therapeutic massage. My lower back has been a bother. Massage helps.

We grilled large prawns for dinner. Donna served it with a spaghetti squash casserole. Delicious!

Grilled shrimp with spaghetti squash casserole

Grilled shrimp with spaghetti squash casserole

We’ll head out in a few minutes so Donna can attend her exercise class. I plan to bicycle this morning and go to the beach this afternoon.

Tonight we’ll hook up with another old friend, John Swingle. We’re going out to dinner with John and his wife, Bonnie.



Afternoon Snooze

I didn’t post to the blog yesterday. It wasn’t a matter of laziness. Well, maybe that was a factor. It was mostly because Tuesday was nearly a carbon copy of Monday. I bicycled to Mission Beach in the morning. After I returned, I showered and rode the scooter to La Jolla Shores in the afternoon while Donna worked on her book.

While I was at La Jolla Shores, I walked on the sand to Scripps Pier. Architecture students from UCSD were making geometric shapes in the sand. It was a class assignment! I wish I’d taken pictures of some of the interesting shapes.

On the south end of the beach, I saw something I’ve never seen at La Jolla Shores. A seal was on the beach taking a nap! I’ve seen seals at La Jolla Cove; they’re a common sight there. But this was the first time I’ve seen one on the beach at the shores.

Afternoon snooze on the beach

Afternoon snooze on the beach


Yesterday we changed up our routine. Donna started  an 8-week exercise class (boot camp) in Point Loma. We scootered over to Liberty Station, where the class was held in a park. I dropped her off at 8:45am. Then I rode to the Embarcadero.

The Star of India is an iconic sight there. She is the world’s oldest active sailing ship. She was built in the Isle of Man in 1863. She sailed from Great Britain to India and New Zealand early on. Later, she was re-purposed as a salmon hauler from Alaska to California. Nowadays she is a maritime museum.

Star of India Maritime Museum

Star of India Maritime Museum


The Star of India was here when I grew up in San Diego. I found additional historic ships docked alongside. One was a Soviet submarine. It’s B39, a Foxtrot class, diesel-electric submarine. It was part of the Soviet fleet from 1967 to 1994. It passed through various owners before it became part of the San Diego Maritime Museum in 2005.

C. W. Lawrence and Soviet submatine

C. W. Lawrence and Soviet submarine

On the dock next to the submarine is the cutter C. W. Lawrence. This tall ship is actually a replica built in 1984.

Giant sculpture at Navy Pier

Giant sculpture at Navy Pier

From there I continued south to Navy Pier. There’s a small park there commemorating naval battles during World War II. The aircraft carrier USS Midway is docked there. Built in 1945, she was the largest ship in the world when she was commissioned. She served in the Vietnam War and also in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. She was decommissioned in 1992 and now serves as a naval museum.

I tried to capture the enormous scale of this vessel. She was the first ship built that was too big to transit the Panama Canal.

USS Midway stern

USS Midway stern

USS Midway midship

USS Midway midship

USS Midway bow

USS Midway bow

After I picked Donna up from her exercise class, I went for a bicycle ride. The wind was challenging on the way west. I knew it would be welcome on the return trip. I rode out to the Ocean Beach Pier.

View of Ocean beach from the end of the pier

View of Ocean Beach from the end of the pier

Surf's up!

Surf’s up!

From there I rode to Mission Beach and followed the path around Mission Bay back home. It was a 20-mile loop. Today I’ll take a day off of the bike. The weather is much cooler today, but the forecast calls for rising temperatures over the next several days.

Pelican Surfing

I woke up this morning and thought, “Oh no, another sunny day with blue skies and moderate temperature. I can’t take it any more!” Yeah, right. It’s 63 degrees out as I type this at 8am. Today we’ll see high temperatures in the mid 70s. Pretty hard to take, right?

Yesterday set the template for my retirement. I posted to the blog first thing. Then I bicycled along the bay, through Crown Point to Pacific Beach. It was a beautiful morning and a great ride. I’m so inspired by this place to take up cycling again. I was an avid cyclist most of my life. The last four years in Michigan I didn’t ride much.

Estuary at Crown Point

Estuary at Crown Point

I rode along Riviera Drive to the boardwalk at Pacific Beach. It seems funny to me that we call it the boardwalk. It’s a concrete walk.

View from Riviera Drive across west Mission Bay towards Mission Beach.

View from Riviera Drive across west Mission Bay toward Mission Beach

View from Riviera Drive across west Mission Bay towards Pacific Beach.

View from Riviera Drive across west Mission Bay toward Pacific Beach

I rode slowly up the boardwalk to Felspar Street. i stopped in the bike shop there. I need a new liner for my helmet. They didn’t have the one I need. When I rode back, I followed Pacific Beach Drive. There’s a walking/biking path along the bay that takes you east to Crown Point Shores. I rode along this path.

Pacific Beach boardwalk south in the morning

Pacific Beach boardwalk south in the morning

View north to Crystal Pier from the Pacific beach boardwalk.

View north to Crystal Pier from Pacific Beach boardwalk

As I rode under the Ingraham Street overpass, I was reminiscing about old times there. When I was young, we would go there and build bonfires from wooden pallets and party.


After I returned, I showered and took care of a few chores. Donna was working on her book. She has a deadline to meet and wants to get it done this week. I went out on the scooter to tour around.

I stopped at the bank to make deposits. Then I stopped at Surf Taco on Mission Boulevard. I had rolled tacos with guacamole. Yummy.

I rode up to La Jolla Cove. I saw pelicans surfing the swell there. Pelicans take advantage of aerodynamics. They will soar very close to the surface of the water. This creates an aerodynamic phenomenon known as ground effect. The air compresses slightly under their wings, creating lift and reducing drag.

Pelicans take it a step further. As a wave swells and approaches the shore, it pushes a wave of air ahead of it. Pelicans glide along in front of the swell and ride this wave of air. I call it pelican surfing.

I continued on to La Jolla Shores. Much of my mis-spent youth was spent right there, under the lifeguard tower on La Jolla Shores.

View from the L Jolla Shores lifeguard tower south towards La Jolla cove.

View from the La Jolla Shores lifeguard tower south toward La Jolla Cove

View from the La Jolla Shores lifeguard tower north towards Scripps Pier.

View from the La Jolla Shores lifeguard tower north toward Scripps Pier

On the way home, I stopped and bought a wild king salmon filet. I soaked a cedar plank and grilled it. Donna served it with Mediterranean quinoa, green beans and artichokes sauteed with sundried tomatoes.


The only downer of the day was the cable TV at Mission Bay RV Resort. It only has a handful of channels and no ESPN. No ESPN equals no Monday Night Football! Oh well, if Monday was an indication of how the next few months of retirement will be, I’ll gladly suffer it!

Settling In

After three nights here, I already feel like we’re settling in. On Saturday, Donna defrosted the refrigerator and freezer. We retrieved our bicycles and other gear from the trailer. The trailer is parked behind the RV resort office, about a quarter of a mile away from us.

We rode our bikes south on Mission Bay Drive. I wanted to give Donna a little tour of the area so she could get the lay of the land. When we came back, we continued on past the golf course, over a bridge made for bikers and hikers. The bridge crosses Rose Inlet.

Rose Inlet - Rose Creek empties into Mission bay here. Campland is on the right, De Anza on the left.

Rose Inlet – Rose Creek empties into Mission bay here. Campland is on the right, De Anza on the left.

On the other side of the bridge is another RV park called Campland on the Bay. This part of Mission Bay is called Fiesta Bay. We bicycled through Campland. It’s a large RV park with a lot of amenities including a pool, boat rentals, cafe and bar. It’s also very crowded. The sites are tightly packed and kids are biking, skateboarding or just roaming throughout the place. In a word, it’s a zoo.

Mission Bay RV Resort restricts guests to a 30-day maximum stay. After 30 days, you must leave the park for 24 hours before you can return. We’re looking at alternatives for our next move.

Saturday, I rode the scooter to the Santa Fe RV Resort. It’s on Santa Fe Street in Rose Canyon, a few miles from here. This park also has very tight sites. It’s right next to I-5. I don’t think it will be suitable for us.

From there, I rode to Costco on Morena Boulevard.  I stocked up on K-cups for our Keurig coffee maker. As I was leaving, a guy walking by laughed out loud. He said, “Shopping at Costco on a scooter…man that takes restraint!”

This area is my old stomping grounds. I grew up here in Clairemont. I rode up the hill to Cadman Park and took a look at the old neighborhood. As I cruised past the corner of Taos Drive and Fox Avenue, I saw a woman unloading things from the trunk of her Mercedes. She waved and I stopped. I flipped open my faceshield and said, “Hi, Chris.” It was Christine Brutschy Becker. She said, “Who are you?” She didn’t recognize me under the helmet. I think it’s been at least 15 years since we last saw each other.

I helped her unload some potting soil and she invited me in. We sat and talked. The Brutschy family was an important component of my teenage years. I spent a lot of time at this house. I haven’t been here in many, many years. It was great to relax and talk. We caught up a bit on each other’s lives. It was great to also hear about our mutual friends.

By Saturday afternoon, the RV resort was rapidly filling with weekenders. Donna and I walked around De Anza Cove and enjoyed the weather. We also enjoyed watching people on the water. There were ski boats and jet skiers on the bay.

Jet ski on Mission Bay

Jet ski on Mission Bay

Later, Donna’s sister, Sheila, picked us up and we went to her place for dinner. Donna posted about that last night.

Sunday was all about NFL action. The Chargers lost a heartbreaker in Tennessee.  They’re plagued by injuries on both sides of the ball at the moment. I think the offense will be there; it’s the defense that has me worried about their season.

While I watched football, Donna went shopping with her sister, Sheila. She bought fabric to make room darkening shades for the bedroom. This park has street lights that shine into our window at night. The day/night shades we have allow too much light through. She also bought  groceries and restocked out newly defrosted refrigerator and freezer.

We received another mail delivery. Our new license plates for our motorhome arrived from South Dakota. I installed them yesterday.

New plates on our coop for two

New plates on our coop for two

Today is another beautiful day in San Diego. I plan to take a bike ride this morning. I’ll explore on the scooter this afternoon. Donna’s out on her bike, riding around Fiesta Island as I type this. She’ll work on writing her book for the rest of the day.


Back to Business

Donna here. I’m really happy to be in San Diego. It took eight weeks to get here and I enjoyed every mile of the way. What a beautiful country we live in! And San Diego is one of America’s most beautiful cities. I’m really enjoying the sunshine. And I’m loving that we both have family and friends here.

Last night, we joined my youngest sister, Sheila Connor, and her friend, Dr. Jeff Sandler, for an amazing dinner. Sheila whipped up Grilled Salmon with Orzo, Feta and Red Wine Vinaigrette. I have the recipe if you want it. For an appetizer, she made heirloom tomatoes with buratta which is a super creamy mozzarella. Yum.

Sheila is also a good cook!

My sister loves cooking, too!

Our plan is to stay in San Diego for a few months, which feels odd because we’ve been on the go ever since we left Michigan and that’s become the norm. So far, this full-time RVing thing has felt like a very long vacation. But now it’s time for me to get back to work.

I have a book manuscript due to my publisher by the end of the month. I worked on it some while we were on the road, but didn’t make much progress. Fortunately, I had a pretty good head start on it before heading out.

The working title of my book is The One-Minute Organizer’s Guide to a Cleaner, Happier Home. Scheduled for publication in October 2014, it will include my favorite organizing and cleaning tips, which brings me to the gist of this post. I want to share a few tips for RVers.

We purchased a Dyson DC44 Animal rechargeable vacuum cleaner for our motorhome and I highly recommend it. It’s portable, easy to store and runs up to 20 minutes on a charge, so we can use it even when we don’t have an electrical hook-up. And it works great, especially for cleaning in tight spaces like around the toilet and under the driver and passenger seats. It’s not cheap though. We paid $300 for it on sale, but the regular price is more like $350.

Vinegar is my go-to cleaner. To clean the toilet, let out the water and then pour in 2 cups of vinegar and let it sit for at least five minutes. Then brush and flush. To clean countertops, mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle, then spray and wipe with a microfiber cloth or paper towel. To remove stains from Corian countertops and sinks, just rub with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge. It really does work like magic!

To clean a spill on your carpet, blot the excess with a clean, white towel. Then pour a little hydrogen peroxide on it and continue blotting until the stain is gone (or almost gone). Cover the area with a clean, white cloth and step on it to blot up as much moisture as you can. Then set something heavy like a skillet on top of the cloth and leave it overnight. I spilled red wine on our upholstered dinette bench the other night and following these directions, I got it out with no trouble at all.

One of the benefits of living in a small space is that it’s so much quicker to clean. I can clean my entire home now in less than 15 minutes. The trick to keeping it clean is to clean often. I wipe countertops daily, clean spills immediately, and vacuum three times a week. And I am always amazed how much dirt that little vacuum cleaner picks up! If you have pets, you’ll want to vacuum more often.

I promised in an earlier post that I would show you how I re-purposed clear plastic shoe boxes as storage containers. In the front of our coach, on each side, we have long, narrow, horizontal bins. I used three shoeboxes to organize and store various household items such as batteries, envelopes and stamps, tape, scissors, stapler, etc.

Front overhead storage

Front overhead storage

I used more shoeboxes in the bathroom in our medicine cabinet (the one on the center shelf in the photo below is labeled “First Aid”) and under the sink.

Center bathroom cabinet

Center bathroom cabinet

In the bedroom, I store all of my undergarments and socks in two fabric bins I bought at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I use a Clever Container hanging jewelry organizer to store all of my earrings, pendants, and bracelets. And my necklaces are hung on the inside of the closet wall using 3M Command Adhesive hooks. I originally hung them on the back side of a cabinet door, but they banged around as we drove down the road – and every time I opened the door – so I moved them.

Jewelery storage

Jewelry storage (hanging organizer is pulled out so you can see it better)

Fabric storage bins

Fabric storage bins for undergarments

Also in the closet, we each have a tiered pants hanger. There is a bar that holds each pair in place that lifts up for easy removal and hanging. I like it. I also like the slim, grippy hangers I bought to replace all the plastic hangers I was using before. They do a great job of keeping clothes in place. And they don’t take up as much space.

Tiered pants hanger

Tiered pants hanger

What are some of your favorite cleaning and organizing tips for your RV or motorhome (or small house or apartment)?





I didn’t post yesterday. We were up early and prepared to hit the road to San Diego.

Thursday was a laid back day. Donna rode her bike down to the Emma Wood State Park and back. I watched dolphins in the surf.

If you look closely, you can the dolphin. Click on pic to enlarge.

If you look closely, you can see the dolphin. Click on pic to enlarge.

Later I rode the scooter to Ventura. The old downtown area looked nice and there were people on the street. We didn’t see very many people on the streets in the northwest. The only way to get from Rincon to Ventura or to Carpinteria to the north is via US101. I wanted to buy a few things at the store, so I had no alternative to blasting down the freeway.

We walked on the beach in the afternoon. Donna prepared Dijon-Glazed Flat Iron Steak which I grilled for dinner. It was tender and tasty! She served it with a side of sauteed veggies.

It wasn't as rare as it looks in the photo.

It wasn’t as rare as it looks in the photo.

Friday morning we pulled out of site #16 a little before 9am. Even though we would travel less than 200 miles, I knew it could take five hours or more. Our route took us down US101 to I-405. Near the junction with I-405, the traffic slowed. It was stop and go for about half an hour. The traffic started to flow again around Santa Monica.

Our cheater set up in space #16

Our set up in space #16

There aren’t any rest areas or good places to pull out until you are south of Camp Pendleton. We stopped at the rest area there, just north of Oceanside. I’ve driven this stretch of road hundreds of  times, but this was the first time I’ve pulled into this rest stop. It’s large. There are three buildings with restrooms. There’s a walking path behind the buildings with an ocean view.

Traffic on I-5 was heavy in north San Diego county. We arrived at the Mission Bay RV Resort around 1pm. We had to drop the trailer in a lot behind the office. This was a little tricky as I had to maneuver between cars. It took a lot longer than I expected. This is the first time we’ve dropped the trailer in eight weeks of travel.

The RV resort is a large paved area with 260 full hook-up sites in the middle of a mobile home park. This mobile home park is somewhat upscale. This is the result of the price of real estate on Mission Bay. When I was in high school, we used to come down here in June to watch the Unlimited Hydroplane Gold Cup races on Mission  Bay. The RV resort didn’t exist back then.

We were backed into our site and hooked up in no time. This will be a new experience. We’ve booked a full month. This will be the first time we’ll be stationary for 30 days since we hit the road.

Later, my youngest daughter Shauna visited us. She’s a grad student at Cal Western School of Law. She drove us to Old Town. The Old Town Mexican Cafe has some of the best authentic Mexican food. The tortillas they serve are made onsite. I had the chili verde and it was delicious.

Shauna doing a balancing act

Shauna doing a balancing act

After dinner we relaxed and watched a couple of movies on TV. Today we’ll do some housekeeping and grocery shopping. We’ll also do some biking around the bay.

Cheating at Rincon

Yesterday we continued our journey south. We followed the 101 through the coastal range.  We found the Pacific Ocean once again at Pismo Beach.

Driving through Santa Barbara, Donna spotted a gas station on the north end of town with a large lot and open access to the pumps. We took the next exit and back tracked to the station. I didn’t want another low fuel episode.

When we resumed our travel on 101 south, Donna saw police action in the northbound lanes. We don’t know what was going on, but traffic on the northbound side was at a standstill for about six miles!

We were headed to Rincon Parkway. It’s a section of Old Highway 1 on Faria Beach, owned by Ventura County. The county marked nearly a mile of beachfront with  RV parking spaces. There are 127 spaces, each about 45 feet in length. Only RVs are allowed – you can only park a car here if it’s in the space with an RV. Otherwise cars are only allowed in the day use area.

We tried to fit our 50-foot length into a space that looked promising. Although the people on either end were willing to give us some room, it just wasn’t going to work. We drove on down the road and looped back to the Seacliff exit on 101.

This time I tried to park along the seawall where there were more open spaces. I tried to back the trailer in and jackknife it behind us to reduce our length. I was still over the line marking the space allowed.

Donna came up with an idea. Every 15 spaces or so is an area with a dumpster and a pay kiosk. If I drove on the sand between the kiosk and the seawall and then pulled up into the paved parking spot, I might be able to place the trailer in a position that cheats a little behind the dumpster.

It was a tight maneuver, but it worked. I wrote a check for space #16 for one night and placed it in the envelope at the kiosk. I only paid for one night in case we had trouble with our parking scheme.

Our cheater position

Our cheater position

I unloaded Donna’s road bike and changed the front inner tube. By the time I was done pumping her tires, she was dressed and ready for a ride. She rode for about an hour while I walked the beach and watched the surfers.

The view south from our site.

The view south from our site

Donna relaxing after her bike ride

Donna relaxing after her bike ride

Last night we had a campfire on the sand. Donna made s’mores over the fire. We went to bed with the windows open. The sound of the surf crashing on the beach was soothing. Waking up to that sound was a pleasant way to start the day.

Sunset at Rincon

Surfers catching the last wave of the day

No one knocked on the door, so I guess we won’t have any grief over the way I’m parked here. I’ll write another check and we’ll stay overnight again. I’ve booked a month at the Mission Bay RV Resort in San Diego, starting tomorrow. We’ll head out early tomorrow and make the 180- mile drive there.


Yesterday was all about the drive. We had planned on a short drive to Morgan Hill, but decided that we should push on.

We were ready to hit the road a little after 10am. While I was posting to the blog, I watched our neighbors pull out. I jumped up and stepped out the door. I called out to them just as they were about to pass by – their TV antenna was still up. It probably wouldn’t have survived the first overpass!

We cruised south on US101. Before I knew it, we were in San Rafael. I wasn’t looking forward to a drive through the bay area. The traffic thickened quickly. Drivers made insane maneuvers in their cars. We crossed the San Rafael – Richmond Bridge. By this point, I was concerned about our fuel level.

I usually fuel up when we’re at half a tank or so. Pulling a rig this size into a gas station isn’t easy. Most of the time we’ll do a drive-by to look the station over and decide if we can get in and out of it. Getting out is the key. Many times pulling up to the pump isn’t an issue, but getting out might not be possible.

Once we were in the metro bay area, cruising down I-580 through Berkeley and Oakland, I didn’t want to exit the interstate. The streets in that area can be narrow and I wasn’t sure of what we would find. We didn’t see any gas stations near the off ramps.

We continued south. By the time we got to Milpitas, the gas gauge was rapidly falling to the red zone. We last gassed up in Brookings, Oregon. I couldn’t risk it any longer. Donna was checking Gas Buddy on her smart phone. I exited the freeway and she searched for gas on the GPS.

We found a station. I drove past it into a small industrial park. I saw a way I could get to a pump and exit. The road into the industrial park was a dead end. Oh no! Every business we passed had a small parking lot with only one way in or out. I really thought I’d been trapped with no way to turn around. But at the end of the road, there was a cul-de-sac and it was just wide enough for us to get turned around.

We haven’t had an issue finding gas before this. We always found a station large enough right on the highway. I was getting a little frazzled by it all. When we turned around and entered the station, it turned out to be tighter than I thought. I barely made it to the pump. Our tires were right up to the curb with only millimeters to spare.

I pumped 60 gallons into the tank. Turns out we weren’t in the dire situation I feared. The gas gauge must be pessimistic. We have a 75-gallon tank.

Once we got past that drama, I thought it would be easy going. South of Morgan Hill, the wind picked up. We were getting slammed with wind gusts from the west. I thought of my friend Jimbo. He was a long haul trucker and described his work as “hours of boredom, broken up by moments of sheer terror.”

As we continued south, the wind grew even stronger. It shifted and was now coming from the northeast. This was a partial tailwind. At times the road would change direction and we would have a direct cross wind. A couple of times, the intensity of the wind was so strong that I felt out of control. It was all I could do to stay in our lane.

When we pulled in to a rest area, the truck lanes were filled. Everyone driving a big rig needed a break! I pulled on through and parked along the side of the exit.

Donna made chicken salad wraps while I walked around and tried to relax. I’ve never been this tense while driving before. We got back on the road and drove about 10 miles to the RV Ranch outside of Paso Robles. The wind continued to blow until we went to bed.

This morning the air is still. We’ll head out soon. Our destination is the Rincon Parkway. It’s a county park on the old Pacific Coast Highway a few miles north of Ventura. There are RV spaces marked on the roadside, right on the beach. The cost is $27 for 24 hours. There are no facilities – rigs must be self contained. We will dry camp for a couple of days there.