Greetings from San Diego

Feb 23

Greetings from San Diego

Last Thursday, we left Tucson and drove to Yuma, Arizona which is just a bit over halfway between Tucson and San Diego. We spent the night at one of the 55+ RV parks, which I was quite disappointed that they didn’t even card me. Since we weren’t going to be there long, we didn’t even unhitch the trailer. We did soak up some much needed high bandwidth internet. It’s nice that some places still know how to provide high speed internet though I wonder if the availability is somewhat due to the 55+ nature of this park. Hmm… On Friday morning, we got up early and hit the road. We were glad that we were a bit past half way because the drive gets  more involved once you start heading over the mountains into San Diego county. We climbed over 4000 feet once we got past El Centro, CA and a lot of it was through windy mountain roads (you can pronounce windy either way, both applied). I’m told the scenery was very cool and Leslie took this picture as we drove through an area called Devil’s Canyon. I was watching the road. Eventually we descended into San Diego and we got to Mission Bay RV Resort. Situated on a peninsula next to Mission Bay Park, this RV park definitely has location on its side. We are convenient to I-5 but right on the water and with nice walking and bike paths that go much of the way around the bay. Walks with Tiki are much more pleasant now that we have actual grass for her to tromp across. Grass was a much more rare commodity back in Tucson and Yuma and she got quite tired of walking across coarse gravel — as did I. The downside of this RV park is that it is an RV park. We are effectively in a big parking lot (though close to the water, which is nice) in an urban area. The location is great for the next few weeks when we’re going to the Storyline conference just across the bay and then flying back to Seattle for most of the first week of March. After that, though, we think it is...

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So Long, Tucson

Feb 19

So Long, Tucson

We’ve been in Tucson for about 3 weeks now and now it is time for us to head off into the sunset for our next destination. We’ve had a great time here, starting with Alumafiesta and later with exploring the area and catching up with some old friends but we are definitely ready to hit the road again. As expected, being near a big city like Tucson has lots of advantages – more restaurant and shopping opportunities in particular – but it also means that we’re effectively in a big parking lot so we’re looking forward to getting back to some more camping-y places. Given that our next stop is San Diego, though, it might be a while before we get back to a camping experience like Anza-Borrego. One of our goals here in Tucson was to get our power converter fixed so that we could try boondocking. When our batteries just won’t charge, even when we were plugged in to 50 amp service for days at a time, we knew there was something wrong. We asked the folks at Sutton RV to look at it but they didn’t do a very good job since they said it was fine but it definitely wasn’t. After doing some of my own investigation and getting confirmation from both Rich Luhr and some folks at Airstream, we figured that the converter just needed to be replaced. We set up an appointment with the Lazydays RV folks when we arrived and finally got in to see them last Thursday. After a nearly comic series of mishaps (note the nearly comic – it was actually approaching absurdly frustrating) they finally agreed that the converter needed to be replaced and then discovered that they didn’t have the part. Fortunately, they came through for us and brought the new converter over to our campsite yesterday to replace it and we are now running at full power again. Hint for anyone wondering why their batteries won’t charge – don’t just check the voltage, look at the amperage as well. We were getting the right number of volts but just a tiny fraction of one amp. After spending 3 weeks in one place, though, we’ve determined that 3...

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Visiting the Boneyard

Feb 08

Visiting the Boneyard

The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, often called The Boneyard, is a United States Air Force aircraft and missile storage and maintenance facility located just a few miles from our campground. They are responsible for storing, refurbishing and destroying thousands of aircraft that are not currently usable by the US Armed Forces. If you look at the Boneyard from above, it looks like the coolest toy plane collection ever. Over 4000 planes and helicopters lined up neatly in rows in the Arizona desert. There’s actually a whole lot more than just the aircraft.  All of the manufacturing jigs from the planes are also stored there in case they needed to re-fab a part of a plane and they didn’t have any more spare parts. On the ground, though, you start to get a sense of the scale of the operation. Many of these planes are huge (C-130 and C-5s in particular) and it takes a lot of space to store them. The fighter planes are even more numerous and are packed in tightly. Some of them have already had parts removes to service other planes that are still in active use. Some are nearly ready to fly and could be back in active duty within a month or two. In some ways, it’s a bit sad to see so much hardware just waiting to be destroyed. I’m sure that many of these planes and helicopters have quite the distinguished history. According to our guide, only about 20% of the planes in the main part of AMARG will return to service and once you cross the road to the older part of the Boneyard that number drops to less than 10%. Some of this is due to planes that are past their expected lifetime – they are only expected to last for so long and once they “time out”, they are sent to the Boneyard to be scrapped. Some of the planes are destroyed because of the START treaty that requires that we destroy a certain number of B-52 bombers. If you look closely on the overhead view, you can see a few clusters of B-52s that have been clearly cut up and are left in place so that...

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Alumafiesta Begins!

Feb 05

Alumafiesta Begins!

When we started our journey, our first major destination was Tucson for the Alumafiesta rally and this week, it has begun! When we arrived at Lazydays RV resort, we saw several other Airstreams and over the past few nights the number has grown to over 100.  That’s a lot of Aluminum! Over the next few days, there will be sessions on maintenance, travel safety and the latest from Airstream as well as sessions on social media (presented by Leslie!), tours of local sites and a fair number of happy hours 🙂 It’s going to be a pretty busy week. The best part of events like this, though, is meeting other folks who are doing similar things. We got to meet up with the Mali Mish gang and Brian and Leigh from Aluminarium, people like Rhonda who we met at Alumafandango as well as Rich and Brett with R&B Events (and Airstream Life magazine) who organize all of the Aluma events (Alumafiesta, Alumafandango, Alumaflamingo and Alumapalooza). Today we took a trip up to Kitt Peak National Observatory. It’s about an hour drive up to the top of a mountain where the observatory includes more than 20 telescopes managed by groups of universities across the country including some pretty epic instruments like the McMath–Pierce solar telescope and the 4 meter Mayall telescope. All of the telescopes are fully booked by researchers though there isn’t so much activity during the day (except, probably, at the solar telescope) though the place seems to come alive around 5pm so we needed to be off the mountain by 4pm to make room for...

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Sick on the Road

Feb 02

Sick on the Road

No, not sick OF the road, we are loving it out here. Getting sick, though, is part of life and I suspect there is an increased chance when you are always in new places with unfamiliar stores, germs, etc. I got to experience this first hand on our last night in Anza-Borrego. I wasn’t feeling quite right at bedtime and in the middle of the night I woke up with that weird feeling. You know, the one where some very low-level part of your body is trying to tell you that they’ve initiated an evacuation order, the countdown has begun, but the message isn’t too clear for a while — until it is? OK, enough subtlety – I barfed. I had wondered over the past few months how that eventuality would work – it’s a pretty small bathroom. It turns out that when push comes to shove (so to speak) you figure it out quickly. Once all of the excitement is over, though, the real questions arise. How do you handle being sick on the road? We were far away from any city and we were supposed to drive that day to Painted Rock Petroglyph Site for our first night of boondocking. 250 miles to a remote location with no hookups. The first question was, do we leave at all or do we stay in place for another day so I can get enough rest. Since we needed to be in Tucson is just 2 days and we figured it would be better to get closer to a city, we decided to pack up and go but boondocking was out so we set our destination for Yuma, AZ and reserved a spot at an RV park there for the night. I was pretty out of it so that meant that I was not going to do the driving so Leslie got behind the wheel for her first day of towing (she did great!). Our insurance comes with a 24 hour nurse hotline which is a great resource when we’re on the road.  I was able to call in and talk to a nurse who not only listened to my symptoms and suggest next steps but also was willing to...

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