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Branchville, New Jersey

We zoomed across the country from Denver to  Columbus to New Jersey with tornadoes following us one day behind. Since Sue’s son’s wedding was planned for August in upstate New York, we decided to spend the summer in the northeast and see family.

Our first stop was Branchville, NJ. Jason and Virginia live in Blairstown but there were no campgrounds nearby that could handle our large rig. The dates were also complicated by Memorial Day weekend when lots of places were already booked.  We ended up at Kymer’s Campground. This was a large, family-oriented campground with a combination of summer residents (where the RV’s never leave and all manner of deck and screen porch have been added on) and weekenders.

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Moab, Utah

IMG_1602I really, really, really wanted to see the Moab area before we headed back east so we spent a short 2 weeks there since it’s not really close to any major airports for me to fly out of for work. Well, it was amazing.  Canyonlands and Arches national parks are nearby, each displaying gorgeous red sandstone cliffs and arches formed by a variety of physical and chemical erosions.  Carving by the Green or Colorado river, glaciation and tectonic changes all played a role in the variety of formations in the area. Moab is a mecca for mountain bikers, dirt bikers, jeep riders and climbers.

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Heber City, Utah

Park viewLooking to hit some spring skiing in Utah, we found Mountain Valley RV Resort in Heber City: about 1/2 hour from Park City. It was one of the nicest parks we’ve stayed at: new, clean and friendly. It had a large clubhouse boasting a huge family room with stone fireplace and big screen tv, a workout room and game room, including ping pong! Outside were courts for basketball and pickleball as well as a nice hot tub. The view from the park was gorgeous.

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San Diego, CA and VEGAS BABY!

Vicky's ship the USS Barry
Vicky’s ship the USS Barry

We spent a month in San Diego so we could be sure to see Vicky as her ship passed through on its way to Japan.  Sue took the opportunity to put in extra work as there are many offices in Southern California.   And with our next destination in Utah, Jeff’s dream came true and we stopped in Vegas for a couple of days.   A little bit of everything in this one!

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Camp Verde, AZ

IMG_1149We found a real gem in the middle of Arizona:  Zane Grey RV park. It has a wonderful mix of multi-month residents. Many are repeat snowbirds from Canada and Colorado and other cold areas.   There is a community fire pit which people frequently use, many social events, relatively quiet and inexpensive to boot! The owners really make an effort to get people together, including providing free coffee and donuts every Saturday morning, hosting a big pot-luck breakfast once a month and providing wood, chairs, and blankets at the popular fire pit.  We ended up staying for 2 months, so this post is pretty long.  Enjoy!

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Lake Elsinore, California and Yuma Arizona

After moving 6 times in 7 weeks, we needed to take a breath and stay somewhere for a month. After finding out my brother, Richard, and his wife, Lynn, would be visiting their son in Irvine, we chose SoCal as a destination. The RV Park prices all over San Diego and Orange counties were crazy, so we ended up at a place right on Lake Elsinore. It was…..interesting. This area is about an hour east of Irvine, and 1/2 hour north of Temecula. It’s the largest natural lake in southern California, but, like everything else in the west, was seriously low due to the drought.

Can you find the frizbee?
Can you find the frizbee?

I had called the “Lake Park RV Resort and Motel” to make a reservation, and was told, “Oh, you don’t need a reservation; we have plenty of room!” Then, a few days before we arrived I called again and asked if they would accept deliveries for us. The friendly person on the phone said, “Sure, no problem. Are you on our list?” “Nnnnooo”, I replied, “you said I didn’t need a reservation but I’d be happy to make one.” “Oh, no, she said, I’ll put you on our ‘pending’ list.” Continue reading Lake Elsinore, California and Yuma Arizona

Yosemite National Park

Taft Point
Taft Point

We’ve been making a few quick hops in order to see some of the National Parks in northern California while still moving south ahead of the cold weather. I had been to Yosemite for one day many years ago when my kids were 1 and 3, so we didn’t see much beside Yosemite Falls and views from the car. Jeff had never been. Due to it being fall and California being in a 4 year drought, Yosemite falls was more of a trickle, but still beautiful.

We spent one full day there doing as much as we could – hiking out to Taft Point which looks right down on El Capitan and the valley;  driving up to Glacier point for stunning views of the valley, half dome, Vernal Fall and Nevada Fall; and  then riding our mountain bikes all over the valley, seeing the amazing cliffs from a different perspective. It would be great to go back and do some backpacking off the beaten track. The park was not overrun with tourists due to the time of year, but there were plenty of other visitors and bus tours there. Continue reading Yosemite National Park

Crescent City, California

Thanks for the tip...
Thanks for the tip…

There are several state and national parks in California showcasing the amazing redwoods. We stayed at a city park right on the ocean in Crescent City, which is near Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park and Prairie Creek State and National Park. We learned that redwoods grow on the coast, and giant sequoias grow at higher elevations inland. The redwood forests were breathtaking, and we were again blessed with warm, dry weather.

Our camping experience, however, was one of the more interesting….

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Crater Lake National Park

Not a bad lunch view!
Not a bad lunch view!

We spent a quick week at a state park in southern Oregon on the Rogue River so we could go to Crater Lake National Park. Just by luck, it was the same day as the perigee moon eclipse, and it was a gorgeous day. We spent the whole day driving and hiking around the lake, had drinks and dinner on the deck of the lodge overlooking the lake, then found a lookout and hung out with all the photographers while the moon rose.

Crater Lake was formed 7,500 years ago after a volcanic eruption which lasted 2 weeks created a chamber below the peak of the mountain. In a matter of hours, some 4000′ of mountain top caved into the chamber.  The resulting crater was gradually filled with rain and snowmelt, making it a crystal-clear, unpolluted body of water since it is not filled by any other source. The blue of the water is legendary.

The pictures tell it all….amazing place. Continue reading Crater Lake National Park

Hood River and Portland, Oregon

View of Mount Hood from the living room

Through Facebook I got reacquainted with a high school friend, Jock, just before we left New Jersey on our adventure. He has a gorgeous house in Hood River, Oregon, which is about an hour east of Portland. When we started making plans to visit that area, it worked out that Jock needed a house-sitter during part of the time we’d be there. After a harrowing trip up his 1/2-mile long, steep, gravel driveway with a hillside on one side, a sheer dropoff on the other, and a challenging turn-around at the top, we spent two weeks enjoying his amazing view and taking care of his dog, Roo.

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