Category Archives: Recreation/Vacations

Vacation 2012

We finally took the RV out on the open road, driving from Austin to LA and back with stops at the Ice Caves near Roswell, the Grand Canyon, 3 days at Disneyland, and a few days at our timeshare at the Flamingo.

Travelling with me was my lovely wife Shelley, our oldest son Brian, and his two twins Ethan and Gillian. Together we hit the road to discover America!

Our First RV Headache

After the heavy rains earlier this week, we’ve had to really check out the RV for leaks. We didn’t find any major leaks. However, we did find evidence of a significant amount of old water damage. When we purchased the RV we were told that there had been a leak along the front, but that it had been fixed. It turns out that there had been a significant amount of water damage, rot, and mold which had not been fixed.

Rotting floor

So we rolled up our sleeves and got to work this weekend.

We had to completely dismantle the closet doors and shelves to get at the rear panels. Upon pulling up the carpet we realized that we’d need to replace the flooring, at least for the back part.

Rotting wood in closet

Rotting wood behind closet rear wall

The framework behind the rear wall panelling was rotten, so we had to replace it.

We looked into using teak, but this appeared cost prohibitive. Instead we’ve opted to go with an inexpensive hardwood and paint it with Kilz.

It appears that the closet was built before the front end fiberglass end cap was installed. We really didn’t want to remove any outside panels, so we were delighted to find that we could reach everything containing rot from inside. Thank you Jesus.

I’ll post more pictures as we go.

Going Mobile

God is taking us yet another direction. We are in the process of selling our home and becoming full-time RVers. Alas, this means that we will be unable to conduct our workshops from our home anymore.

I am going to continue website coaching and smaller design projects. I’ll just be doing it from wherever I happen to be. We’ll also be rebranding from our current Website Workshops to the more appropriateĀ Nomad Websites name.

I apologize to those of you that wanted to attend one of our future workshops. I will continue to be available for 1-on-1 training while I am in the area.

Trip to Quantico, Virginia

We’ve travelled out to Virginia to attend our son Aaron’s US Marine OCS training graduation tomorrow morning. We’re settled in at the Hampton Inn, and pretty exhausted from having had to get up quite early to catch our 7:00 am flight, as well as having spent about twice as much time driving around Virginia because I kept either gettting lost or making wrong turns.

Motorcycle trip from Austin to Monterey

Saturday, July 12. Austin, TX to Santa Rosa, NM

Met up at the HEB in Leander, TX. at 5:30. Various delays caused us to delay leaving
for almost an hour.

Had breakfast in Lampasas.

Tommy had made reservations in both Santa Rosa, NM and Santa Fe, NM.
We’re were hoping to make it all the way to Santa Fe which was about 680 miles.
When we finally made Santa Rosa at about 8:00 pm, Jim “had a vision” that we should
stop there. We all felt pretty good about that.

Sunday, July 13. Santa Rosa, NM to Ridgway, CO

Ran into some wet weather, so had to suit-up.

Drove in from Santa Rosa to Tommy’s cabin in Ridgway, CO.
We stopped for dinner at the True Grit restaurant there.

After dinner we headed up the gravel road to the cabin.
It was dark, and the dust was pretty bad
coming off the road from Jim and Tommy’s motorcycles in front of us.
We were both pretty nervous about that, but made it safely to the cabin.

Monday, July 14. Ridgway, CO to Ely, NV

Woke up to a beautiful view and the sound of Jim and Tommy drinking
coffee and talking out on the deck. We had kidded about there not being any
coffee at the cabin, or if there was it would be years old. We don’t know why,
but the guys had made a pot of “years old” coffee, and I think it was the best
I’ve ever had. Maybe it was just the view.

Drove down the mountain from Ridgway to Ely, NV.

Tuesday, July 14. Ely, NV to Carson City, NV

Drove in from Ely, NV to Carson City, NV.

Things got a bit dirty at times. Here’s Tommy cleaning his face mask.

Wednesday, July 16. Carson City, NV to Yosemite National Park

Woke up in Carson City, NV a little before 6 am.
Walked down to get coffee, but they don’t make the coffee until 7.

Today we’ll be driving into Yosemite and spending the night there at
Curry Village.
The trip took us along the side of Lake Tahoe.

We stopped at a cafe next to the lake for lunch.

After leaving Lake Tahoe, we then took a scenic side trip
west over Hwy 4. At points it was slow going, being a narrow
single lane highway with hairpin turns. GPS was a great help
knowing when to slow to 5 mph to make the turns.
This picture was taken beside one of several beautiful little
lakes along the way.

Thursday, July 17. Yosemite to Seaside, CA (Monterey)

Yosemite was beautiful. Driving my bike through the valley was a
bucket list item for me.



We got up and had breakfast, then took the tram over
to the Mirror Lake trail. It was a nice 1 mile hike up to the lake. We were up
before most other folks, so had the trail all to ourselves. The lake was indeed
a mirror, with only an occassional bug causing ripples on it. With the sun barely above
the valley walls, the lighting was perfect for showing off the mirror images
on the water. We took lots of pictures!

The drive into Monterey was uneventful. We had made plans with Tommy
to split up once we got close, since he was staying in a different town.
Our GPS misguided us though as we got to the 101, so we split off from Tommy
about an hour sooner than we needed to. Tommy was ahead of us and went straight
through a 4 way intersection, and our GPS told us to go right. So we waved farewell
to Tommy, made the right turn, and then was told by the GPS that we were “off route”.

As we got closer to the coast the temperature suddenly dropped into the low 60′s.
We had to stop and take off our evaporative cooling vests and put on our outer jacket
liners.

We got checked into the Embassy Suites in Seaside, CA. They put us on the top floor (12)
with a nice view. Diner at Chili’s ended another perfect day.

Seaside, CA Friday July 18.

We’re planning on taking it easy for the next few days, wash some clothes,
maybe a few short trips around the beach towns nearby.

Found some pre-race tickets at the Shell station across the street.
Took the noon bus to the Laguna Seca race track and spent the afternoon there.
Shelley asked me as we were going into the track what the chances of finding
Jim and Tommy were, and I was about to say “about 100-to-1″ when I heard somebody
yell “Ron” and turned around and there was Jim. So I guess the odds were somewhat
better than that.

Right after getting there, there was a trick bike exhibition. This guy could ride his
bike up a 3 foot wall, stand still for minutes, and walk it over a row of barrels while
doing a wheelie the entire way

That day they were doing practice runs, and had a kids (?) race.

Saturday, July 19

We’ve bought tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, along with the behind-the-scenes
tour at 1:00.

When we came out of the aquarium, we discovered that there was some sort of
bike show scheduled following that day’s events at the track. The street was closed to
cars, and by rough estimate over 500 bikes parked along the street on both sides as far
as one could see.

Did I mention that no cars were allowed?

We heard from Tommy, and his Mom isn’t doing well, so they are going to split
off and head straight home after the races.

Sunday, July 20

My sister Vickie drove down to join us today. We did the 17 mile
Monterey loop (by car). Shelley has been here before, and wanted to show me Pebble Beach and
some of the other sights around here. The weather was perfect, and we stopped and had
lunch in Carmel.

Monday, July 21

Vickie spent the night with us at the hotel, then said good-bye in the morning.
We headed south down Highway 1 (another bucket list item). Wow.

We stopped and did the beginner tour of Hearst Castle. This was worth
taking the couple hours to do. I hadn’t realized that the castle was up so high
overlooking the coastline.

We then finished our run south arriving at Mom’s after stopping at Tommy’s
to pick up a couple burgers.

Tuesday, July 22

We headed out somewhat early, intending to make it to Williams, AZ.
At one point our GPS routed us onto another scary road, reminiscent of our misadventures
in Utah on our sabbatical. The sign on the road said “Warning, this road not maintained.”
What that means is that there were sections where most of the road had caved in. Provided
we maintained a slow enough speed to see these huge holes in the road, it wasn’t any problem.

Anyways, we made it to Williams, AZ about 6 and ready to call it quits for the day.
We’ll have a couple more long days back (about 1100 miles to go), but we may opt to take
3 days. We’re just playing it by ear.

Wednesday, July 23

We got up early (5:30) and headed out. Our plan was to try to beat the heat by doing
most of the driving in the morning. This worked out pretty well. We got into Albuquerque
at lunch time just as it was starting to get hot.

We stopped at a motorcycle shop looking
for a replacement mug for Shelley, since she had lost the top going down that “no maintenance”
road yesterday. They could only sell us the whole thing, bracket and all, so we passed on that.
We’ll need to order online when we get home. We also had them check out her helmet mic which
had been cutting in and out. We tried swapping both cables to the helmet, and in the process
realized that the old cables worked just as well as the new ones, so ended up not buying anything.

We asked for a recommendation for lunch (not a chain, preferably something local) and
they recommended Christy Mae’s. We had the Albuquerque Turkey sandwiches which were fabulous, although we should have split one. We’ll definitely stop by there again.

We then located a local movie theatre and sat out the hottest part of the day taking in
“Meet Dave”. That was really a great idea, and by the time the movie was over it had cooled
down. We didn’t need the evaporative vests all day.

We then drove until dark, which put us in Clovis.

Thursday, July 24

We’re planning on getting up early again, and heading on in. We’ll stop if the going gets
too tough or rainy. Otherwise we expect to be home by mid-late afternoon.

We managed to get onto the road by about 6:30, and made it to Abilene for lunch,
and were home about 4:00. It finally started raining as we passed through Lampasas.
We had been expecting rain because of the big storm coming in off the gulf, but I guess
we almost beat it home.

Motorcycle trip from Austin, TX to Monterrey, CA.

Saturday, July 12. Austin, TX to Santa Rosa, NM

Met up at the HEB in Leander, TX. at 5:30. Various delays caused us to delay leaving
for almost an hour.

Had breakfast in ?

Tommy had made reservations in both Santa Rosa, NM and Santa Fe, NM.
We’re were hoping to make it all the way to Santa Fe which was about 680 miles.
When we finally made Santa Rosa at about 8:00 pm, Jim “had a vision” that we should
stop there. We all felt pretty good about that.

Sunday, July 13. Santa Rosa, NM to Ridgway, CO

Drove in from Santa Rosa to Tommy’s cabin in Ridgway, CO.
We stopped for dinner at the True Grit restaurant there, then headed
up the gravel road to the cabin. It was dark, and the dust was pretty bad
coming off the road from Jim and Tommy’s motorcycles in front of us.
We were both pretty nervous about that, but made it safely to the cabin.

Monday, July 14. Ridgway, CO to Ely, NV

Woke up to a beautiful view and the sound of Jim and Tommy drinking
coffee and talking out on the deck. We had kidded about there not being any
coffee at the cabin, or if there was it would be years old. We don’t know why,
but the guys had made a pot of “years old” coffee, and I think it was the best
I’ve ever had. Maybe it was just the view.

Drove down the mountain from Ridgway to Ely, NV.

Tuesday, July 14. Ely, NV to Carson City, NV

Drove in from Ely, NV to Carson City, NV.

Wednesday, July 16. Carson City, NV to Yosemite National Park

Woke up in Carson City, NV a little before 6 am.
Walked down to get coffee, but they don’t make the coffee until 7.

Today we’ll be driving into Yosemite and spending the night there at
Curry Village.

Thursday, July 17. Yosemite to Seaside, CA (Monterey)

Yosemite was beautiful. We got up and had breakfast, then took the tram over
to the Mirror Lake trail. It was a nice 1 mile hike up to the lake. We were up
before most other folks, so had the trail all to ourselves. The lake was indeed
a mirror, with only an occassional bug causing ripples on it. With the sun barely above
the valley walls, the lighting was perfect for showing off the mirror images
on the water. We took lots of pictures!

The drive into Monterey was uneventful. We had made plans with Tommy
to split up once we got close, since he was staying in a different town.
Our GPS misguided us though as we got to the 101, so we split off from Tommy
about an hour sooner than we needed to. Tommy was ahead of us and went straight
through a 4 way intersection, and our GPS told us to go right. So we waved farewell
to Tommy, made the right turn, and then was told by the GPS that we were “off route”.

As we got closer to the coast the temperature suddenly dropped into the low 60′s.
We had to stop and take off our evaporative cooling vests and put on our outer jacket
liners.

We got checked into the Embassy Suites in Seaside, CA. They put us on the top floor (12)
with a nice view. Diner at Chili’s ended another perfect day.

Seaside, CA

We’re planning on taking it easy for the next few days, wash some clothes,
maybe a few short trips around the beach towns nearby.

Birthday Vacation in Orlando

My beautiful wife Shelley surprised me with a secret birthday vacation. On Wednesday we headed out to the airport for destinations unknown. It turns out that she booked our HGVC timeshare in Orlando for 6 days.

Upon arrival, we checked into all of the different things to do here. I must admit that the amount of things to do here is overwhelming. I opted to get a 5 day pass for the Disney adventure parks.

The first day we went to the Epcot Center. They are having a Wildflower Festival. Of course Shelley was excited about that! One of the rides we took though showed how they are using new technologies to raise crops, including things like hanging plants upside down from high tech watering troughs, and bare root water/nutrient spray systems. They mentioned that there is a behind-the-scenes walking tour available, but we missed the last one. We plan on using our 5th day pass to go back and take the tour.

We had also left just prior to the fireworks, thinking that we’ve seen fireworks before. However, as we got on the tram to the car the fireworks started, and appeared to be unlike any we’d seen before. So we’re planning on going back later today to catch the seed tour and stay until after the fireworks.

We had eaten at the English pub, and ordered the fish-and-chips and a cheese platter. We were intrigued by the Bangers And Mash we saw other diners eating. So we’re planning on making reservations for dinner to give that a try also.

Unfortunately we overdid the walking, and my new sneakers caused a blister on the bottom of each foot. So we started out the day yesterday stopping by Target to pick up some sandals and blister pads. We then took it easy at the Disney MGM/Hollywood Studios park. The main things we saw were the car stunt show and the Tower of Terror. We got rained on several times, but had with us a couple Disney ponchos we had bought the first day. We then finished up the day with a nice dinner at the Out Back. Altogether it was a wonderful day.