Author Archives: drew

Adventure in Alabama

Kathryn was concerned when we left Louisiana that Alabama did not have an adventure. We’ve crossed the state several times, but with the exception of fuel or lunch at a rest stop, we’d hardly even slowed down in the state. 

When we headed back toward Maryland from Pensacola FL, Kathryn mentioned a few detours we might entertain. However, she needed to be in MD for a concert the following Saturday and it was looking like Drew would need to attend a Thursday meeting. Some certainties abound with RV travel, like problems occur when you’re pressed for time and things often take longer than you expect to get fixed. Three days (Friday – Sunday) is not as long as it sounds when you’re pulling you home over the highway. 

About two hours after we left (west of Brewton AL) we had our fifth blowout. This time the tread came off the tire in apparently one piece. Unfortunately that piece broke out freshly replaced fender skirt and busted the end of sewer connection, notably the bayonet connector which the sewer hose connects too. Joy. 

After finding that a tow truck would take 2+ hours to get there we started up the road to find a better place to sit than the shoulder of AL-113. Turns out there was a truck tire place right behind the the kangaroo next to the I-65 exit. They did not sell truck tires, but the fine gentleman working there took the few minute to have us pull through and change the tire for us. For free no less, we gave him $20 and our thanks. Kathryn found some adventure in Alabama after all, Adams the girls were pleased with a new accelerated return schedule. 



Portland Oregon

We pulled into Portland with some concerns about the campground. Some ‘mixed’ reviews, including comments about the neighborhood, and the train that runs nearby.

When we arrived we were pleased that the neighborhood looked fine, the camp grind seemed nice, and we did not hear any trains.

Food and beverage sets Portland apart from everything we’d seen. We visited a local GF microbreweries Gastropub. A gluten free seafood restaurant, and perhaps the best GF bakery we’ve seen.

Drew had to go back east for work, so Kathryn and the girls settled in a bit. Fortunately the campground had a nice pool, unfortunately the campground manager was a bit abrasive.

Ordinarily this would not have been an issue, except on Thursday the truck started showing a ‘wiring fault on trailer’ message. Friday afternoon it was apparent that we needed to get the truck into a shop (we couldn’t find any wet connectors nor did wd-40 provide any relief).

Saturday we asked to extend our stay, and we’re told no because we have ‘unruly children’. Not fun, panic, chaos, and a few other emotions ensued. But in the end they did allow us to stay a few extra days while we were waiting for a replacement integrated break controller.

Grants Pass – Southern Oregon

Wednesday we drove out of California’s Redwoods to a drier and warmer Oregon. The country side has been beautiful, with rivers, farms, colorful skies, thick pine forests, volcanic peaks, and pleasant people.

While searching for banana slugs, we made friends with a family in Crescent City, and bumped into them at Oregon Caves NM. After finding out that the parking lot we left Rollyhome in had a bit of a break-in history, they were generous enough to give Kathryn a ride back to stand guard (which means make dinner and have a brief time of welcome solitude). Drew and the girls then explored Oregon Caves and returned to rollyhome (and. The-charges mommy) hours later with great excitement about their visit.

Our new friends (we’ll call them the Bends) put in a pretty good pitch for visiting Bend, Oregon and we have one “flex-day” before needing to be in Portland. This is currently under consideration.

The caves were very nice. They are marble, which makes them unique (in the national park system). The caves were not as amazing as Jewel cave or Carlsbad, but still had a number of impressive formations. The tour was also more strenuous than any of the other tours we’ve taken (It was not very demanding but had more twisting and bending, leading to the girls enjoying it).

Today we ventured out East to Crater Lake National Park. The trek out had us gawking at landscape and wanting to stop quite often just to soak in the beauty. Farms, mountains, pines, Rogue River, and many parks and recreation areas that peak our curiosity.
The park is beautiful. It was formed by an ancient mountain that erupted, exploded and collapsed at the top leaving a crater that eventually filled with water. It is the Deepest Lake in the United States. We traverses parts of the western rim as the Eastern side was closed due to snow (there were still feet of some snow in the area).

Looking down into the lake and at the mountain that is inside of the lake, we realizes: There’s a crater in the top of a volcano which was formed inside of another crater which Is on top of another volcano. A live volcano. This is all surrounded by cobalt blue water and then surrounded by cliffs on all sides. Really high cliffs. Beautiful cliffs. And other random beautiful rock formations that reminded us of Mono Lake NM and Pinnacles NM.

The girls learned about it through Junior Ranger books and we enjoyed identifying the various birds we saw, some of which are new to us.

During a four o’clock Ranger talk at the lodge, we learned about the man who worked seventeen years to realize his dream of making Crater Lake a National Park. The story was fun, entertaining and inspiring. Yet, another super-star Ranger.

The girls finished their Ranger books there at the lodge as we had coffee and honey milk in a wonderful atmosphere and shares our story with a curious party. This has happened a lot lately. People are very curious and have many questions. Mostly, they seem surprised and inspired to know that people are out here doing it. It was helpful to us to know this and to see it in action as the Conscious Caravan shared with us.

Now long finished with Harry Potter, we delved once again into the depths of Jules Verne’s imagination with Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Listening to a Librivix.org recording, we have enjoyed the voices of different volunteers reed to us. The roads of Oeegon how hold for descriptions of many flora and fauna of the sea as well as the details is the mechanical workings of a submarine. The lake we experienced has an air of ocean to it as it was the nearest body of water for us.

After another conversation with more curious and friendly fellow travellers, this time a family of four from Borth Carolina, we set forth on our return trip and back in our voyage aboard the Nautilis. We enjoyed. Beautiful sky of punks and purples as The professor describes the colors of the phosphorescent sub aquatic forrest.

We stopped to emerge from our vessel at the rogue river gorge and we, like the naturalist aboard the ship, marveled at a living stump that gas healed its wound on the too if the stump by smoothing over it with bark. We walked the length of the short trail and were reminded if many others a fields and as well as the Hawai’i lava tubes.

The gorge, I learned, likely formed from the collapse of lava tubes, it is basically a canyon and narrowing of the river. Upstream, we watched the water hit a large log and spray upward.

This was a beautiful place and was experiences by us with gratitude.

Back into our vessel and down the way to our little rollyhome. Tomorrow will be a down day for the girls. They will have their free choice of activities.
I will sit out on the river and ukify the air a full heart as I watch for the Bald Eagle I saw yesterday. They will get into the good kind of mischief–the nature kind.

We may even get to see some friends we met across the continent when we began to call this crazy reality of a nomadic life a thing that we will do. In other words, when we put the will into the dream. I look forward to seeing them, whether the girls are up for it tomorrow or not.

The day will unfold when the sun rises.
For now, I will chase dreams of underwater hunting and phosphorescent forests.

Petaluma – Reyes Seashore – Muir Woods

This was our first stay on a coast guard facility. It was very nice and picturesque. It was a little further from where we wanted to see, but the price couldn’t be beat, and frankly with the sheer number of parks in the San Francisco area we had to accept some limitations.

20140614-222233-80553503.jpg

Reyes Seashore was a great experience. The girls knocked out their jr. ranger packets quickly. The we grabbed some sandwiches in Inverness before driving down in to the beach. When we got to the beach we found a box loaded with what looked like empty coffee bags made of foil. Perhaps what starbucks would ship 5# of coffee to a store in. The sign encouraged you to fill the bag up with trash, throw away and recycle whatever you picked up and return the bag. We told the girls there would be a reward for the person who picked up the most. Everyone was motivated, and I think we left quarter-mile stretch of beach nearly pristine. In the end Lilith gathered the most with Gwynevier close behind. We also removed a broken shovel, a blanket, and a bathing suit. Everyone had fun, we left the beach better than we found it, and got some exercise running to pickup any new trash we could find.

San Francisco

Not bad except for the hipster pandemic …and the parking.

We only had two days in SF, and we’d like to spend more time discovering, but we need to increase our pace if were going to get back before September.

We were able to eat at the ‘Chinatown restaurant’ – gluten free. Then the girls got their shop on, slippers, a kimono, and a fan.

20140612-164656-60416995.jpg

Kathryn’s Cast

We liberated Kathryn’s arm (maybe a week early) in Monterey. I think everyone worked at it with wire cutters and utility scissors.

Monterey was a nice break. We wish we had more time it was a fun stay with two home schooling families in the campground.

20140612-164626-60386932.jpg

PCH South of Monterey

We drove pretty far south via Rt 1 where it runs along the coast. Beautiful drive (glad we did not have the trailer). We did not go into the Hurst castle but did find the elephant seal beach (just 15 minutes or so out of the castle) awesome.

We stopped at a wine tasting and had dinner at the Firestone-Walker Brewing Co. Great steaks.

Yosemite – tours

Today was our last real day in the park. The girls took a horse riding tour and Drew (since he is allergic to fur) took the valley floor tour. Everyone met back up at the visitor center where the girls got junior ranger badges and patches. Then stopped at the store for ice cream.

While we were leaving the park we saw a rescue helicopter getting ready to take off and crowds in the field nearby (slaughter house meadow maybe). The rangers were conducting a rescue operation for some climbers about halfway up el capitan. Some climbers from Agorra (small European country) who had completed the climb earlier informed us the area where the incident occurred is called ‘Texas flake’. We’re hoping for a successful rescue.

We actually saw a rescue earlier in the week and during the valley floor tour the ranger explained that some one slipped and slid into the creek. The climbed to a rock but were flown out to avoid hypothermia.

Yosemite rescue teams are about as capable as they come.

20140530-222235-80555287.jpg