A Month in Twentynine Palms, CA

March 10th we arrived at the Twentynine Palms RV Resort for a month long stay to visit our son Henry, his wife Mikayla and their 3 fur babies Odin, Freya and Ellie. Living in our RV allowed us to stay close to them which meant spending quality time together.  We had a wonderful visit and are so blessed to have had this time with them!

Freya, Odin & Ellie were wiped out and needed a little nap.

We met fellow YouTubers Robert and Lisa from Burns Travels.  They are wonderful folks and we really enjoyed getting to know them.

Our first adventure took us back to Joshua Tree National Park to do some exploring/hiking of places we did not see during our previous visit.

We also decided to visit Amboy, CA again.  This time we discovered a pair of Chinese guardian lions in the desert.

Our next stop in Amboy was the Amboy Crater which is an extinct cinder cone volcano.  We hiked around the top of the crater.  Then we decided to hike down into the crater itself.  This is where Dan had his unfortunate fall.  Thankfully he was only a little bruised and battered.

After Dan was feeling better we decided to visit the Cabazon Dinosaurs which were featured in the movie Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. It was a really fun stop.  Make sure to tell them that Large Marge sent ya! 🙂

Our next adventure took us to Salvation Mountain and East Jesus.  Both of these spots had been on my list of places to visit for a very long time.  It amazes me what one person can do when they are truly inspired.

 

Here are some images from East Jesus.

Our final adventure was to visit the Palm Springs Air Museum. This is a fantastic museum that allows you to get up close to the different planes they have on display.  The highlight of the museum for us was the tour of a B-17 bomber.

We had an amazing visit with the kids, but it was time to move down the road to experience some new adventures.  Until we see you again.

CA & AZ Boondocking Fun

After two weeks in two different RV parks we decided to give boondocking a try.  Boondocking has different meanings, but the short definition is camping without hookups. Our first boondocking spot was at the Big River Flat/Earp BLM.  It was so incredibly peaceful and beautiful.  It was exactly what we needed to help remind us to slow down and enjoy this amazing journey that we are on.  Every day Dan and I would pick a different direction to explore on our walks.  Chewie (our motorhome) was happy to be in his natural environment and the sunsets are absolutely breathtaking in the desert.  There are some more amazing sunset pictures at the end of the blog post.

It was surprising to us how easy we fell into this new type of camping.  We were ready for more.  We reached out to some fellow RV YouTube creators to see if they would be interested in meeting us in Quartzsite, AZ.  Much to our delight they accepted.  We decided to camp on Plomosa Road with OurEndeavor and then Nomadic Native joined us.

Camping with friends has been so much fun. We have had some really great adventures.

We drove over to Bouse, AZ to check it out. After stopping at an RV park to check out their prices we were told of a film set that was just down the road.  Much to our surprise this is what we found.  We are not sure what its purpose was but it was a really cool find.

After having a great lunch at the Ocotillo Lodge we walked over to the Camp Bouse memorial.  Check out the link to to read the interesting history that took place in the desert during World War II.

Our next adventure took us to the Desert Bar.  Dave and Karen had been here on a previous trip so they were able to show us around.  Note: Desert Bar is only open on weekends and they only take cash.  It is a little surreal to see a bar filled with music and people in the middle of nowhere.

Our final adventure (at least for this blog post) was a mini meet up of fellow YouTube creators Tom & Lori RV Life, OurEndeavor & Nomadic Native.  It was amazing getting to spend time with these awesome people.

As I said earlier the sunsets in the desert are absolutely breathtaking.

See you down the road for our next adventure.

Route 66 – Kingman, Seligman & Oatman

While we were staying in Golden Valley and Mohave Valley, Arizona we visited some amazing sites along Route 66. Our first stop was to Kingman, AZ. We visited the Powerhouse Visitor Center which also has a really neat Route 66 museum.  It hit us while we were looking at the displays depicting people with all of their belongings moving out west that we are kind of doing the same thing.  The biggest difference is that most of them were looking for a new life out west while we are simply exploring this amazing country.

After exploring Kingman we stopped at Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner.   We had a great lunch! My favorite part was their homemade root beer!

After lunch we walked across the street to check out the Locomotive Park which is home to the Santa Fe 3759 train.

Kingman at night is definitely something to see.  We love all of the old neon signs.

Next on our Route 66 tour was a visit to Giganticus Headicus located in Walapai, AZ.  Unfortunately, the store was closed but we still explored the area and took lots of pictures.

Our next stop took us to the Hackberry General Store. The store was full of really neat Route 66 gifts.  We came away with a really cool Route 66 magnet.

Then we were off to Seligman, AZ.  Seligman is the home of Angel & Vilma’s Route 66 Gift Shop.  Angel is known by some as the Mayor of Route 66.  His passion created a movement to preserve Route 66.  Unfortunately,  he was not in the shop when we were there but that did not stop us from getting a fun pic with him and picking up some sweet Route 66 gear.

On our way back to Kingman we decided to stop at the Grand Canyon Caverns.  This was an amazing experience and we are so glad that we decided to take the cavern tour.

After we moved to our Mohave Valley camping spot we explored the historic town of Oatman, AZ.  It reminded us both a lot of Virginia City, NV with the exception of the wild burros that were left by the gold minors. The burros are the stars of this cool little mining town.

Our final stop on our Route 66 tour was the Cool Springs Cabins.  The new owners have been working really hard to clean up and restore this location.  Crazy Ray was a funny guy and his peanut brittle is so good!

Visiting Route 66 is something that we have dreamed of doing for a really long time.  It was such an amazing experience.  If you ever have the opportunity to explore Route 66 you should do it.  We are excited to explore more of the Mother Road in the future.

See you down the road.

Our Las Vegas Adventures

We did some awesome things while we were staying in Boulder City, NV.  In addition to the places listed in this blog, we visited Valley of Fire State Park which deserved its own blog post.

Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone created the Seven Magic Mountains art exhibit just outside of Las Vegas.  The contrast between the brightly colored rocks and the rugged natural beauty is really amazing.

After checking out the Seven Magic Mountains we drove to Goodsprings, NV to visit the famous Pioneer Saloon.  The saloon was built in 1913.  The interior walls are covered in stamped tin and there was a roaring fire in the pot belly stove.  The Pioneer Saloon has been featured in countless movies and television shows including Ghost Adventures investigating the saloon in 2013.  We decided to have some lunch.  Dan ordered the Ghost Burger and I had the Brunch Burger.  Both were excellent.

Our last adventure took us back to Red Rock Canyon.  It was exactly one year since we last visited Red Rock Canyon.  When we explored a year ago it was raining and the mountains were covered in mist.  It was an incredible experience that not many people have had the opportunity to experience.  This trip the weather was much nicer and we were excited to be able to do some hiking.  There is just something about this place that speaks to me.

Our expressions say it all!

We hiked the lost creek trail which takes you to a seasonal hidden waterfall.  It was absolutely amazing and one of our favorite hikes so far.

Taken behind the hidden waterfall.

We both feel so very blessed to be able to explore this amazing country in our motorhome, Chewie.  We hope to see you down the road.

Happy New Year & Valley of Fire State Park

Happy New Year! We are hoping that your 2018 will be filled with health, love, laughter and some adventure too!

Since our travel plans have been put on hold due to a leaky shower we decided to take this opportunity to visit somewhere we have always talked about going:  Valley of Fire State Park.  It took us a little over an hour to reach Valley of Fire from Boulder City, Nevada using Lakeshore Drive which took us through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. There was some incredible scenery on the way.  We did stop at the Redstone Dunes to record a Motorhome Monday, but then we were on our way. We were really anxious to get to our destination.

Redstone Dunes

Once we arrived at the park, our first stop was to check out Elephant Rock.  We stopped and hiked the short hike which took us back to the road where you can see Elephant Rock.  The park does not want visitors to park on the road to view Elephant Rock so they ask that you park in the parking lot and take a short hike to see it.

Elephant Rock

Next we explored the Cabins.  The Cabins were built with native sandstone by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. It is pretty amazing that they are in such great shape.

The Cabins

Our next stop was Mouse’s Tank.  We spent quite a bit of time here hiking in to see Mouse’s Tank and also exploring the area.  There are some really amazing Petroglyphs on this trail as well.

Once we got back to the Jeep we had some water and a snack and then we were off to the Fire Wave.  Words cannot really describe how amazing the Fire Wave is and honestly the pictures don’t really do it justice.  After seeing this in person we can understand why this place is so special.

Overlooking the Fire Wave.

We almost did not take Fire Canyon Road, but we were so glad that we did.  It was spectacular.

Fire Canyon

Before we left the park we took a drive through both the Atlatl Rock and Arch Rock campgrounds to check them out.  It would be amazing to wake up and be surrounded by such beauty.

Valley of Fire was an incredible experience and we are looking forward to coming back and exploring it again.

See you down the road!

2017 Year in Review

Another year is coming to a close.  We have had a pretty amazing year filled with unforgettable moments, travel, laughter, love and friendship. So much happened this year we thought it would be cool to put it all into one post to go back and take another look at 2017.

January had an incredible amount of rain and snow in Reno, NV.  As a result numerous areas of Reno were flooded and the officials called for residents to shelter in place.  We made a decision to go to Las Vegas to get away from the cold wet weather.  The rain ended up following us but we still had a great trip.  We were not planning on going to Red Rock Canyon, but we were so glad that we did.  This is one of those experiences that stays with you long after your visit.

After we got home from our Las Vegas adventure we saw that iamjake was going to be coming through Reno so we reached out and invited him to dinner.  He accepted our invitation, and the rest is history.

We are so blessed that Jake accepted our invitation.
Sweet little Annie.

January ended with a trip to San Francisco.  On our way we stopped by iamjake’s Sacramento meet up.

Sacramento Wrangler Meetup

The next day we went to the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.  It was an memorable experience for both of us.  Walt Disney holds a special place in our hearts.  His creations have brought so much joy to so many people.   We also explored the Palace of Fine Arts.  This iconic structure is breathtaking.

In March we traveled to Rachel, NV (home of the infamous Area 51).  Going up to the Area 51 gate was a little scary but the amazing burger & blueberry pie we had a the Little A’le’Inn made everything better.

Later that month we traveled up to Portland, OR to visit Dan’s brother & his wife and to attend iamjake’s 1 year anniversary party.

April was a pretty amazing month.  Henry came home (12:56 of this video is his homecoming) from his 6 month deployment overseas, we visited the Joshua Tree National Park, Roy’s on Route 66, and Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch.

In June Henry & Mikayla were married at the San Francisco City Hall.  Congratulations you two!  May you have many years of love and happiness!

In July we traveled to Moorpark, CA to order our RV from Tom Lindstrom RV, Inc. After 6 years of dreaming we took the first step to realizing our dream of becoming full time RVers.

In August we took a short trip up above Donner Lake to explore the abandoned railroad tunnels.  If the tunnels could talk they would have some amazing stories to tell.

In September we visited the Lassen Volcanic National Park.  This park is a must do.  Every direction you look there is an incredible view.

October took us to Livingston, TX where we became citizens of the great state of Texas.  We also had the opportunity to have an amazing lunch with one of our awesome subscribers.  Thank you so much Midway!

December was a crazy whirlwind of a month for us.  We packed all of our belongings into a rental truck and drove from Reno to Boulder City, NV. After unloading and returning the moving truck we traveled to Moorpark, CA to do the delivery inspection of our 2018 Newmar Baystar 3113.  On December 8th we officially became full time RVers!

Meet Chewie, our new home.

As you can see we have had an amazing year of traveling, meeting iamjake, gaining a daughter, ordering our motorhome and fulfilling our dream of becoming fulltime RVers.  We are so excited to see where next year’s adventures will take us.  We hope to see you down the road.

Welcome to Texas!

We did not have a lot of time in Texas but we made the most of our short visit.

 

After we officially became citizens of Texas and explored the Escapees RV Park we were ready for a late lunch/early dinner.  Since we were in Texas we decided to try a Tex/Mex restaurant.  We found the Patron Grill!  They brought out chips and salsa (the salsa was warm which was a first for us).  Warm salsa is so yummy!  We both ordered the Pollo Loco.  The entire meal was fantastic!  If you are in Livingston this is a must go place!  We were starving so we didn’t even think to take any pictures of our amazing food.

The next day was ours to do as we wanted.  We decided to visit the Lake Livingston State Park.  We had the park virtually to ourselves.  Our first impression was that everything is so green. (Remember we are from Nevada.)

Lake Livingston

It was so beautiful and peaceful. After we took a walk by the lake we drove through the campgrounds to check them out.  They have a variety of campsites available from premium full hook up sites to sites that only offer water.  Dan was hoping to see an alligator but there was not one in site.  I was super bummed about that. 😉

Our next stop was the Lake Livingston Dam.

Lake Livingston Dam

On our way back to town we noticed this really cool old church and monument to the town of Swartwout.

We decided to explore downtown Livingston next.

All of this exploring sure can make you hungry. This time we decided to try some Texas BBQ.  We found the Pit Row Pit Stop Diner.  The diner has a very cool Route 66 vibe and oh my gosh the food was absolutely amazing!  The best baked beans I have ever tasted!  When we are back this way we will be visiting here again.

The next morning we were off to Houston.  Our flight did not leave until 5:00pm so we had some time to explore downtown Houston.  We found the Buffalo Bayou Park and stopped to explore and film our one take vlog.

We had our final Texas meal at the El Tiempo Cantina with one of our amazing subscribers.  We had a wonderful visit and another spectacular meal.  Thank you so much for everything Carol!

We are so excited to come back and explore more of our new home state! Until next time we will see y’all down the road!

Why We Became TEXANS and How We Did It

We are officially Texans!  So why did we choose Texas over Florida and South Dakota?  The first reason was the ease for us to fly to Texas.  Between Southwest Rapid Rewards points and a voucher our flights were virtually free.  We flew from Reno, NV to Houston, TX and then rented a car to drive the 1 1/2 hours to Livingston, TX.  Another deciding factor for us was the fact that we only need to travel to Texas every 12 years to renew our licenses.

 

This is a brief overview of the steps that we took to become citizens of Texas.  If you are looking to domicile in Texas we would recommend visiting the Texas Drivers License and the Texas DMV websites to get the most updated information and applications.

We started this process by becoming members of the Escapees RV Club.  We also signed up for their mail forwarding service.  They were very responsive.  Within a day of them receiving our mail forwarding application we received an email with our new Texas mailing address.

Our first stop when we arrived in Livingston was to visit the Johnny Evett Insurance office.  The staff was amazingly helpful and it was a true pleasure getting to know them.  In no time at all we had proof of our Texas policy and were on our way to the next destination.

Note:  To receive a Texas driver’s license you will need to provide two forms of documentation showing that you are a resident of Texas.  Current vehicle registration is one and registering the Jeep was the easy part.  Our second piece of documentation became a little more involved.  The State of Nevada does not allow Nevada agents to insure a vehicle that is registered out of state.  As a result, we had to transfer our policy to a Texas agent.  Fortunately, our Nevada agent helped us find an agent located in Livingston.  At one time, proof you had a mailing address from Escapees was accepted but no more.  Escapees suggested the insurance documents and they worked fine.

Our next stop was to the Polk County Tax Office to register the Jeep.  We had completed the applications (130-U Registration Application & VTR-270 Vin Certification, which is also how you self-certify the vehicle is out of state and not subject to a vehicle inspection) at home so this was super easy.  We brought the title for the Jeep, proof of insurance and our Nevada registration.  In less than ten minutes our Jeep was registered in Texas and we had the documentation we needed to prove our Texas residency.

Note:  Proof of insurance:  Insurance card and a copy of your policy as you will need to provide documentation that your insurance policy meets/or exceeds the requirements of the State of Texas.

Note:  Since our motorhome is being built we asked for the registration packet.  Once our coach is complete we will be able to register the motorhome via the mail.  Our lender’s title department will also file the appropriate new vehicle documents with Texas as well.

Our final stop was to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to apply for our Texas drivers licenses and register to vote.  Again, we completed the applications before arriving at the office.  Here are the items we brought in addition to the applications (one application for each of us):

  • Valid drivers licenses
  • Social Security cards
  • Proof of residency: Texas vehicle registration & insurance policy with our Texas address
  • Valid passports

Note:  Texas kept our Nevada drivers licenses.  They did give us a temporary drivers license that included a picture but we were not sure if the TSA would accept them for our flight.  Thankfully we had our passports to board the plane home. 

We will need to have the Jeep and Motorhome inspected within three days of entering Texas.  The Jeep title, and the motorhome’s too we presume, include a notation that it has not been inspected.  Once we get an inspection, we can apply for a new title without that note.  We assume the note is just to warn potential buyers that the vehicle hasn’t been inspected and may not pass.  Not a concern on our 2014 Wrangler.

Becoming Texans was much easier than we were expecting.  From start to finish it took us three hours which gave us the rest of our stay to explore Livingston and the surrounding areas.

We can now say that we are proud citizens of the great state of Texas.

 

 

 

 

A Beautiful Fall Day at Lake Tahoe

Last week was a tough one.  We both needed fresh air and amazing views to help bring us back to center.  We chose a beautiful fall day to take a drive up to Lake Tahoe.  Our first stop was the Tahoe Meadows.

 

Tahoe Meadows

We have driven by the meadows countless times on our way to the lake but had never stopped here.  The stairs take you down to the boardwalk that meanders across the meadows with the Ophir Creek running alongside.  The views in every direction are spectacular.  We followed the boardwalk and then took a path through the woods to bring us back to the Jeep.  Even though it was a little chilly, this was a great way to start our adventure.

After our brief stop at the Tahoe Meadows we were off to Lake Tahoe.  We decided to visit Sand Harbor – Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park Beach since neither one of us had been there in a very long time.  It does not matter what time of year you visit Lake Tahoe, it is absolutely beautiful.  Once again it did not disappoint.  Honestly, the pictures really say it all.  As an added bonus it was much warmer at the lake then it was at the meadow.

Our last stop of the day was Kings Beach to grab a late lunch.  We stopped at the King’s Cafe and ended up getting lunch to go so that we could enjoy it by the lake.  Lunch was really good. The view was even better.

King’s Beach
The Jeep taking us to our next adventure.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

On a beautiful September day we drove 2 1/2 hours to visit the Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Wow!  I had no idea what an incredible experience this would be.  The national park includes four different types of volcanoes.  Mount Harkness a shield volcano.  Cinder Cone (you guessed it) a cinder cone volcano.  Lassen Peak a plug dome (one of the largest in the world).  Lastly, Brokeoff Mountain a composite volcano.  Every direction you look you are rewarded with amazing views and breathtaking sites.

We stopped by the Kohm Yah-mah-nee visitor’s center to get a map and purchase a sticker for the Jeep and a magnet for the fridge.  Our next stop was the Sulphur Works.  We were both surprised to find a mudpot right next to the road.  This was our first smell of sulfur.  There would be many more.

Steam rising from the mudpot.
Our first mudpot.

Our next stop was Emerald Lake.  It may not be a big lake but it was stunning with water was so clear you can see the bottom of the lake.

Emerald Lake

Then we came to the Bumpass Hell trailhead.  We hiked the 1.3 mile trail to Bumpass Hell.  The views from the trail were absolutely breathtaking.

Once you start the decent into the valley where Bumpass Hell is located the temperature rises and the smell of sulfer is in the air.  Bumpass Hell has an otherworldly feel to it between the boiling mudpots, the steaming ground, the fumaroles and the sulfurous gas.  The boardwalk takes you right above the action and provides overlooks to get some amazing pictures of this incredible place.

After our hike we were ready for lunch.  We had our picnic lunch at the Kings Creek Picnic Area.  After lunch we continued the drive through the park.  The entire drive we were met with incredible views, beautiful lakes and amazing scenery.

Our final stop before leaving the park was Manzanita Lake.  It was another beautiful lake that is reported to have great fishing.  Dan will have to give it a go the next time we pass this way.

Heading home from another amazing adventure.

This was definitely an adventure to remember.

Exploring Abandoned Railroad Tunnels

In August we took a trip above Donner Lake, CA to explore the abandoned Transcontinental Railroad tunnels. The Central Pacific Railroad Company of California built the line from Sacramento, CA to Promontory Summit, UT, which was completed in 1869.


This section of the line was operational until it was decommissioned in 1993.  The track was no longer present; however, the railroad ties could be seen on the hillsides below the tunnels.  There are miles of tunnels to explore.  We spent the better part of the day and only explored the tunnels east of the China Wall.

The China Wall

This hike was a special one for us.  Dan’s father took he and his sister on the train down to Sacramento when he was a boy through the very tunnels that we explored.  My grandfather worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad.  My grandmother, aunt, and mother took the train countless times between Reno and Sacramento. The entire time we were walking through the tunnels I kept thinking if the walls could talk the stories they could tell.

Walking through the dark tunnels with only our flashlights to guide us was incredible.  At points you could hear the dripping of water that was seeping through the tunnel walls.

The snow sheds had a different feel to them.  Some of the shed doors were no longer attached which afforded us access to the wonderful views of Donner Lake and the valley below.

Donner Lake

There is graffiti on most of the tunnel walls.  Some of it was the usual kind that you see around but every once in awhile we came across a beautiful piece that you would expect to see in an art gallery.

This hike was an amazing experience that neither one of us will soon forget.

The roof collapsed which allowed a beam of light to shine through.

Here are the coordinates:

39°18’55.4″N 120°19’14.3″W

We’re So Bummed!!

This winter was brutal and this spring hasn’t been much better.  But we’re headed down to Southern California for a week to get a little sunshine and warmth.  We’ll be visiting a few beautiful spots while we’re there but we’re conducting some “business” too.  Watch the video to find out more…