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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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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Anza-Borrego and the Salton Sea

Jan 28

Anza-Borrego and the Salton Sea

Anza-Borrego and the Salton Sea – that sounds like a band name.  Or a Harry Potter book. Actually, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in California (and the second largest in the country). We’ve spent the last few days at the Palm Canyon campground which is tucked up against some mountains near the park headquarters. For one of the first times on this trip, we really feel like we’re camping. The vistas are wonderful and the sunrises have been stellar. The nearest town, Borrego Springs, was designated as California’s first International Dark-Sky Community which means the nighttime sky is just as impressive. With very little light pollution, the stars are stunning. Yesterday was a work day so we spent part of it sitting outside at our table and as it got dark we could just look up to see the night sky dissolve into an immense field of stars. Today we made our way down to Salton City on the Salton Sea. Rich told us that the east side of the Salton Sea was much prettier, and I totally believe that but we really wanted to see Salton Sea Beach. Back in the 50’s Salton City was going to be the next big resort destination. Another Palm Springs. They designed a pretty big city, laid all the roads and ran the utilities. Then people just didn’t move in. By 2000, only 978 people lived there and while it’s up to nearly 4,000 now, that is still a very small percentage of the intended population. Much of the original infrastructure is gone now but there are still some areas that are abandoned – modern ghost town stuff. The Salton Sea is a popular place for birds, though. We drove down Seaport Avenue near Yacht Club Drive (where there is neither a sea port nor a yacht club) and saw lots of white and brown pelicans, seagulls, egrets and some species of crane that did a great pterodactyl impression. I found it interesting that the birds tended to segregate themselves by species. Maybe they just don’t speak the same language, or perhaps the seagulls can’t afford the same waterfront lots that the pelicans get. The beach itself is unusual. Since Salton...

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Anaheim Resort RV Park and Disneyland

Jan 22

Anaheim Resort RV Park and Disneyland

Where do you go after three weeks on the road in an Airstream? We’re going to Disneyland! After being a bit ahead of schedule after last week’s planning oops, we figured a stop at one of our favorite places. The Anaheim Resort RV Park is about 1.5 miles from the theme parks, much closer as the crow (or Tinkerbell) flies. In fact, we can see the top of the Matterhorn from the Tardis and watch the fireworks from our picnic table. The park is clean and handy and not too expensive considering its location. Yesterday, we went to the parks with Tiki. She really liked riding the tram from the parking garage to Downtown Disney got to stay at the Disneyland Kennel Club and we got 1 day park hopper passes. The parks were almost empty – one of the real advantages of going on a Tuesday in late January. We started with California Adventure and, as is our tradition, the first stop was Soarin’ over California. If you haven’t been, it is a great ride where they lift you up into a giant IMAX dome and then play a movie where you are flying south across California, pretty much making the same stops that we’ve made over the past couple of weeks. We also flew over Anza-Borrego Desert State Park which is our destination early next week and San Diego where we’re headed at the end of February. After Soarin’ we walked around the rest of California Adventure. The most impressive part is the new Cars Land. The set they’ve built for the racing ride is a truly epic Desert Southwest re-creation and the life size Radiator Springs from the movie Cars is really cool as well. The afternoon was spent in Disneyland Park, checking out some new stuff (there’s quite the Xbox One exhibit at Innoventions, as well as a full set of Ironman suits and Thor’s gear) and visiting our favorite classic rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion, both of which have had some updates since our last visit. Today was a work day and catching up on a few errands, one of which was giving the Tardis a bath. She needed it...

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Forgetting to Plan Ahead

Jan 18

Forgetting to Plan Ahead

After about a week in the Bay Area, it was time to get away before the championship game this weekend. Our intention was to make it down to Morro Bay and the Morro Dunes RV Park which is right by the sand dunes to and the ocean. We got a bit of a late start due to some work phone calls but we made it down to Morro Bay around 2:00. Our GPS put us on the wrong side of the park so we called them to find out where the entrance was and that is when we found out that they were full for the weekend, and so are the other RV Parks in town. Since January is such a slow time for campgrounds, we’ve gotten used to pulling up to any park we’re interested in and there being lots and lots of places available but this weekend is the 3 day MLK day holiday so more people are heading to the beach in central California. Oops! This wasn’t a big problem though. We just called head to our next destination in Buellton, CA and the Flying Flags RV Park had plenty of room for us so we continued south and were at our new destination about 90 minutes later. This means we are going to miss a bunch of the coastline touring that we were going to do this weekend including heading up to San Simeon but it also means that we are now 3 days ahead of schedule so we’ll have that much more time down the road. Most of the California coast is experiencing a long drought – the longest since the 1890s. For us, that generally means clear blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures. We arrived at Flying Flags RV Park at around 4:30 pm and it was in the upper 80s.  Overnight, it got down to 36 and now, on Saturday afternoon we’re back up to 83 degrees according to my Netatmo weather station. We’re changing clothes more often than the Granthams in Downton Abbey. One of the fun things at this park is that they have a bunch of classic trailers that you can rent and stay in and many of those are...

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