What’s Next?

Apr 20

What’s Next?

Three weeks. It’s only been three weeks since our last post yet so much has happened.  We made our beeline home and arrived on time. We cleaned up and unpacked the Tardis and I was home for a whole day before I flew to Oklahoma City for a little storm chasing. It was just a couple of days but after spending months on the road, I loved the idea of just being out for a couple of days instead of a week or more like we usually do. Also, I would much rather be in someone else’s van when the big storms roll across the plains than towing an Airstream! After a couple of days of chasing through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas, I flew back home and the next chapter began. When we started this trip, we had a number of questions that we wanted to answer but the biggest one was also the most vague. That questions was, “What’s next?” Leslie had finished writing and had published the book she had been working on for several years. I was finishing a long term project at work. We had sold our big house that we raised our kids in and they were both in (or through) college. With all of the distractions and familiarity of home, though, we couldn’t really get ourselves very far into that question. We needed to really shake things up – tear ourselves away from the familiar and jump into the discomfort of different. So we embarked on the planning and then the execution of the first leg of our travels in the Tardis. When we got home, we knew we were pretty close to being able to being able to answer the question but we needed just a little more time to process what we had learned. Here are some of the big lessons. We love Whidbey Island, and Langley in particular. While we were on the road, I wondered “What if we lived here?” about every place we visited or thought about visiting. While lots of the places we saw were fascinating or lovely, none of them matched what we love about the Seattle area and Whidbey Island. Am I done with work?...

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The Beeline Home

Mar 29

The Beeline Home

“Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” ― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America I love this quote from Steinbeck. Both Leslie and I read this book while we were on this trip. I first read it when I was in high school and perhaps something about reading it back then was part of the inspiration of our journey. At the start of our trip, we had plans for how it would work out. We also were very explicit that we would not plan how it would work out. That we would let it unfold organically and go where we felt like going and see what was there. Steinbeck set us straight that even our plan for being gone from 4 to 16 months was us trying to control the trip and that just doesn’t happen 🙂 After Big Sur, we spent a few days in Petaluma where we got to meet up with Kevin and Laura from Riveted, who we met (in person) for the first time on the first day of our trip back in January. They introduced us to David and Ann, fellow Airstreamers who live on a lovely little farm in Petaluma. We extended our stay in Petaluma for a few days so we could meet up with them and it was great fun to sit down to a delicious lunch and chat about trailers and David’s and Ann’s Airstream renovation project. After Petaluma, I had a plan for...

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Big Sur, California

Mar 21

Big Sur, California

After our stay in Morro Bay, we drove up to the Monterey Bay area for a couple of nights in Marina, California. There’s not a lot to say about Marina this time – it was a quick break to get some shopping and laundry done before heading down to Big Sur. On Wednesday morning, we packed up and headed down the coast to the Big Sur Campgrounds and Cabins right in the middle of the Big Sur area. This little campground is awesome! We were parked right under a couple of big redwood trees and a few feet from the Big Sur River. The campground is family oriented and they have a strict quiet time policy between 10pm and 8am but that was no problem because the fresh air and the sound of the river burbling by had us in bed and asleep by 10 each night. THIS is what we’ve been waiting for. After spending way too much time in parking lots, it felt great to get back to a campsite in the middle of nature. Maybe it’s out Pacific Northwest background that makes us think that it takes big trees and rivers to be “in nature” but this place has lots of it. The other part of being “in nature” is that there is NO connectivity at this campground.  No WiFi, no cell service, nothing. It was really interesting to completely disconnect for the first time on this trip. There was no email to be had and no web to look things up on, so we read and walked and went for drives to see the epic Big Sur coastline (where we would occasionally get little bits of connectivity, but not enough to get caught up again). We spent the first evening just enjoying the campfire by the river  and the second evening reading.  Very relaxing. I got up early on Thursday morning to go shoot some sunrise photos along the coast. I forgot to take into account the fact that the mountains were east of us so a 7:00 sunrise didn’t really “happen” until around 8:00 and it was windy and kind of cold, but it was totally worth it. After the bridge, I drove by...

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RVillage – Connect with other RV’ers

Mar 17

RVillage – Connect with other RV’ers

A new social network for connecting RV’ers launched this week and we’ve been using it to connect with other folks near us. It’s called RVillage and is at least partly written by our friends (who we’ve never actually met, but feel like they’re old friends) at Technomadia. Just like most social network sites, you can create a friends list of other members but the thing that makes this specific to RV’ers is being able to check in at your current campground and see who else is already there. It also keeps track of the places you’ve checked in at so you can keep a history of where you’ve gone. The site is brand new and there are still a few kinks being worked out but it shows a lot of promise to become another essential tool for the part time or fulltime RV’er, making it easier to connect with other folks out on the road in a single place rather than scanning a few dozen blogs to see where everyone is now. They also have groups that you can join, like Airstreamers or Bloggers so you can find other like-minded travelers to connect with. If you’re living the RV lifestyle, or just thinking about it, head over to RVillage (Our Village, get it?) and grab a free account today. Ours is, as you would imagine,...

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Morro Bay Photos

Mar 16

Morro Bay Photos

As I mentioned before, we tried to stop in Morro Bay back in January but we didn’t quite make it. This time, though, we planned ahead enough to get reservations at Morro Dunes RV Park which is situated right next to the beach. I love being able to walk just a few hundred yards to get right down to the ocean. The town of Morro Bay has lots of great seafood restaurants and we’ve met people who just love coming back here time after time.  I can hardly blame them, it is a lovely place and close to everything that the central Californian coast has to offer. Today we drove up Route 1 to Hearst Castle. The tours there are really well done and while the trip up to the castle itself is a bit of a harrowing ride, the bus drivers know how to do it at quite a clip. Most of the rooms that we visited could house a dozen Airstreams like our Tardis. In the spirit of “a picture is worth 1000 words” I’ll leave you with these last thoughts on this...

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Carpinteria State Beach’s Puzzle Challenge

Mar 16

Carpinteria State Beach’s Puzzle Challenge

Carpinteria State Beach’s campground is like a very large puzzle with an amazing view. The campground is located just a few miles from Santa Barbara, California and our spot was just a few steps from a beautiful beach. In order to let as many people as possible enjoy the location, though, the park has set up the campsites to be VERY close to each other. When we arrived in the early afternoon, one of the spots across from us was open so backing our 30 foot trailer into our narrow spot was tricky, not not crazily so. The sites are narrow enough, though, that there wasn’t room for our truck so I parked it in an overflow parking area a short distance away. That lot was full of other similar trucks so clearly the rest of the campground is pretty tight too. Then I was off to take a few pictures on the beach. I brought along an abalone shell which I figured would make a nice prop on the beach and I set to playing around with tight focus on the shell with the rest of the beach around me. There is an area of black rocks that look like a lava deposit but is actually Asphaltum created by nearby oil deposits. Sticky bits of tar was ashore and merge into this large rocky blob. At first I thought it was related to the drilling platforms visible near the horizon but it turns out that this stuff has been washing ashore for centuries and the local tribes used to seal their canoes with it. It makes for a pretty cool backdrop. Carpinteria State Beach also has pretty epic sunsets too. Lots of people gathered on the beach to watch the sun go down and the last few clouds glow bright red. I found a cool bit of driftwood that added a bit to the moment. The real adventure, though, was waiting for the next morning when we tried to hook up to leave. The spots around us had filled in so there was barely enough room to even fit my truck between our trailer and the one across the road, let alone to maneuver it so that it...

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Hitting the Road (again)

Mar 13

Hitting the Road (again)

It’s been a lovely 3 weeks in San Diego. Well, there was one weekend when a pretty big wind storm blew through and the Tardis was being pelted with palm fronds from the tree behind us but otherwise it has been sunny and quite pleasant. So it’s time to go. 🙂 In addition to the wind storm, we went to the Storyline conference to help us figure out some of the bigger questions in life and, while the answers were not handed to us on a silver platter, we picked up a bunch of tools to help us work the rest of that out in the coming weeks.  Storyline deserves an entire post on its own so I won’t go too deep into it here. After Storyline, we flew back to Seattle for just shy of a week. I needed to meet with some people at work and we wanted to check on the house on Whidbey to make sure everything is good still.  It is.  On the first night back in the house on Whidbey, I had this very strange sensation. Everything felt so familiar at home that it kind of felt like the last two months of our trip had just been a dream. The sudden return home, without all of the driving back, made for an abrupt and strange transition. It was great to be home, but I also missed the Tardis. I had another week full of work once we got back to San Diego so we haven’t had a chance to get out and do a lot though I did get to Sunset Cliffs to shoot the sunset (seemed appropriate) and that was quite lovely. We considered going to Legoland but it’s really expensive! So, instead, we went to the Lego store and we bought bought a kit to put together. Leslie got the VW Bus and I got a little Star Wars fighter. Not the big X-Wing one that I REALLY wanted to get, but that would be far to difficult to put together in the trailer so — maybe later. After all of the time in Tucson, and then the same amount here in San Diego, we are really ready to get...

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