It’s Always Sunny In Central Oregon
Crater Lake and Wizard Island, What's Left of Mount Mazama

It’s Always Sunny In Central Oregon

While the Oregon Coast was brilliant, there were the drawbacks of rain, cold, and cost of living. After leaving Newport Marina, we made a sharp right turn and started traveling east. For the foreseeable future, we’ll be traveling east until we hit the Atlantic Coast. The task for now though was to explore Central Oregon. We drove through heavily forested river valleys until we hit the high desert around the town of Sisters, where we’d spend the next four nights. Sisters is a tiny town of fewer than 3000 people, just 30 miles Northwest of Bend. Sisters is surrounded by snowy volcanic peaks and Ponderosa Pine forests. Black Butte, of Deschutes’ Brewery ‘Black Butte Porter’ fame, is located just outside of town. After more than a month of rain and cold, central Oregon was a welcome change. The weather was, for the most part, hot and dry. Camping off Forest Road 100 in Sisters Oregon We rolled in…

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The Oregon Coast is Wet, Cold, and Smells Like Fish
Lunch Stop off Highway 101 on the Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is Wet, Cold, and Smells Like Fish

And so we continued North. Just over the border from California was our first stop on the Oregon coast, the city of Brookings. Brookings was built around a harbor at the mouth of the Chetco River. Like other cities on the Oregon Coast, the big industries are lumber, fishing, and tourism. We ended up staying at Alfred A. Loeb State Park, just a few miles up the Chetco. The difference between Oregon State Parks and California State Parks is huge. Oregon State Parks are well kept, clean, and efficiently run. California, not so much. The campground sits right on the banks of the Chetco and the scenery was pretty great. Brookings Oregon Harbor Most people think that the Oregon Coast is cloudy, cold, and rainy. Those people would be correct. Whenever we decided to go on a day trip we had to bring our rain jackets and rain boots. The town of Brookings was pretty nice, although we…

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The Wood was Red and the Sea was Angry, California’s North Coast
California's Wild and Scenic Lost Coast

The Wood was Red and the Sea was Angry, California’s North Coast

With the Central Valley and Wine Country in our rearview mirrors, we made our way towards the coast. We made the conscious decision to skip the California coast from the Mexico border to San Francisco. Like a lot of our decisions, it came down to money. Coastal camping in the more populated areas of California was just not in the budget. We would finally reach the coast (or close to it) for the first time at Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Nice (But Pricey) Camping Spot in Humboldt Redwoods State Park After several nights of free camping at Harvest Hosts, we were shocked back into reality by the California State Parks System. We stayed in the Burlington Campground, the largest in the park. Basic dry camping site: $35. Reservation fee: $8. "Extra" vehicle fee (more on that later): $8. Showers: $.25 per minute. Why the "extra" vehicle fee you may ask. Well, in California if you don't actually tow…

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Stuck in Lodi Again, RVing in California’s ‘Other’ Wine Country
Vineyards and Oak Trees at Jessie's Grove Winery

Stuck in Lodi Again, RVing in California’s ‘Other’ Wine Country

When you hear 'Wine Country', the first thing that probably comes to mind is Napa, or possibly Sonoma, the two most popular winemaking regions in California. When we were planning this leg of our trip we were hit with the reality that we really couldn't afford camping at $60 or $70 per night most campgrounds in those areas charge. Luckily, California offers a cheaper, more casual, less uptight alternative to the crowds of Napa in areas like Lodi, Merced, and Lake County. Yeah I know I was hard on the Central Valley in my previous posts, but there is one good reason to visit. Wine. And what better way to tour California's 'other' wine country than to actually stay at the winery itself? You can't do that in Napa! Using our Harvest Hosts member benefits, we were able to stay at four different California wineries for free. Yes, that's right FREE! While the camping was free, the nightly…

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Sierra Nevada Pale People: the Scott Family Visits Alabama Hills, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks
Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View

Sierra Nevada Pale People: the Scott Family Visits Alabama Hills, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Yosemite National Parks

Joshua Tree... check. Death Valley... check. Next on the list of California's Gold was the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Specifically the Alabama Hills, Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, and Yosemite. Our first stop would be Lone Pine California, the gateway to the Alabama Hills, and Mount Whitney. Diaz Lake Campground Looking Towards the High Sierras. The drive from Death Valley to Lone Pine was a little dicey. First, we had to climb out of the valley. There were frequent roadside water spigots for the expressed purpose of refilling overheated radiators (nice blast from the past). There were also signs warning against the use of air conditioning in order to prevent engine overheating. I figured I'd better obey if for no other reason than to prevent an 'I told you so' moment later. It was a hot, white-knuckled, climb out of Death Valley followed by a cooler but even more white-knuckled decent into the Owens Valley. Our Leprechaun…

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Death Valley, Unexpected.
Not what I expected from Death Valley

Death Valley, Unexpected.

Back home in Colorado, there's a town called Greeley. Whether deserved or not Greeley is known as sort of a dump. The constant smell of cattle feces from the neighboring feedlot doesn't help. A while ago, Greeley came up with the somewhat odd marketing slogan "Greeley Unexpected". It implies: "We know you think we're a dump, but hey give us a chance, we've got award-winning tap water!". Much like Greeley, Death Valley has a dubious reputation. I remember watching TV as a kid and seeing the standard Death Valley tropes. Wile E Coyote crawls on the ground dying of thirst. Guy hallucinates about the imaginary oasis on the horizon. But hey, if Greeley deserves a second look, why not Death Valley? After leaving Joshua Tree, we made our way to the hottest place on earth, the lowest place in North America, and somewhere I never expected to visit, Death Valley National Park. Following a brief overnight stop in…

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California… Knows How to Party: Amboy Crater, Joshua Tree, and Palm Springs
Desert Scenery around Joshua Tree California

California… Knows How to Party: Amboy Crater, Joshua Tree, and Palm Springs

We left Arizona behind just as our first month of full-time RVing also came to an end. I've gotta say it felt longer than a month. Overall we did pretty well. We were only slightly over budget and had no major breakdowns or mechanical issues. We're getting used to limited showers, and having to conserve electricity and water. I'm not yet to the point where I miss working. Not even a little. I knew Snoopy's brother Spike lived in Needles, CA, didn't know he lived inside Subway though. Up next we start our tour of California, beginning with the areas around Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park. Jackie's mom came out to visit for a week and rented a house in the city of Joshua Tree. On the way to Joshua Tree, we made a quick overnight stop at Amboy Crater. Amboy Crater is an extinct volcano just off Route 66 in the middle of the Mohave…

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Spring Break 2019! Camping Quartzsite and Lake Havasu
Wildflowers at our Dome Rock Camp Site in Quartzsite Arizona.

Spring Break 2019! Camping Quartzsite and Lake Havasu

We left the Phoenix metroplex ready to ditch the traffic and overcrowding, at least for a little while. Our next destination was the boondocking mecca of Quartzsite Arizona, and it certainly was a change of pace. Apparently, Quartzsite camping areas can get extremely busy in the winter due to snowbird RVers taking advantage of the plethora of free BLM camping in the area. We were there for the same reason, with a plan to spend a few free nights living off our recently filled/emptied water tanks, and then move on to Lake Havasu to quench our thirst for some water in the desert. We had researched camping areas on campendium (our favorite online resource to find camp sites), and found Dome Rock Mountain 14 day BLM camping area. Although we weren't sure what to expect, it turned out to be the perfect spot. There were some campers there, but not too many and there were plenty of spaces…

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How to RV Camp in Phoenix (With Kids) On The Cheap
Pleasant View Harbor as viewed from Pleasant View RV Resort. A surprisingly cheap option for Phoenix area camping.

How to RV Camp in Phoenix (With Kids) On The Cheap

We knew lodging was going to be a challenge for the Phoenix/Scottsdale portion of our trip. It was mid-March so we had to contend with snowbirds, spring breakers, and MLB spring training attendees (yes that's a real thing, I can't imagine anything more boring). State park campgrounds around the metro area were all completely booked. In addition, many if not most of the RV parks are either 55+ or don't allow kids. Even if we could find a spot in an RV park it would have been cost prohibitive. Our experiment with casino camping in Tucson was such a success we decided to continue the streak in Phoenix. After all, casino camping is free (usually), and we're on a fixed income dammit! We scoped out a few promising leads and decided to try the Desert Diamond Casino in Glendale. We weren't sure what to expect, or if camping was even allowed, but we arrived to find a nice…

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Tucson, Lots of Saguaros and Some Other Stuff
A many-armed saguaro cactus

Tucson, Lots of Saguaros and Some Other Stuff

This week our travels took us to Tucson Arizona, I was not sure what to expect other than a lot of cacti. It did not disappoint on that count. The drive was an easy couple hours of interstate from our last home in Willcox. We had decided to stay in the Casino Del Sol parking lot. I was a little nervous that RV parking would be prohibited or frowned upon, but I was proven wrong. Overnight RV Parking Area of Casino Del Sol We arrived to find hundreds of RVs covering the entirety of the back parking area. This made me happy because nothing beats free camping. Jackie wanted to spend a fair amount of time in Tucson which was an easy sell for me, considering it was costing me nothing and I'm a huge cheapskate. Of course, our stay wasn't free with the cost of sightseeing, but that was money that would have been spent anyway, and…

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