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. ūüôā 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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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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