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Features | Aug 1, 2015 | 0 Comments

Joanne and Tad’s 2015 Motorhome Adventure 3

Third Leg


DAY 1 – JULY 30

We left Miami last night on a non-stop flight to San Diego at 7:45 PM and arrived 9:50 PM pacific time. We decided to stay at the airport Sheraton which was very beautiful overlooking the marina.


Joanne’s cousin picked us up this morning and we went up coast a little to Del Mar and had lunch at the Poseidon right on the beach. The weather was cool and surf waves were decent, but Steve said water was really pretty flat so what do I know.


After lunch we followed the coast back south through La Joya. There were a million restaurant’s and all very quaint. The town was full of “Zonies” which is the slang term locals call the tourists from Arizona.


We eventually work our way back to the Motorhome Park to get “The Home” out of storage and hooked up at a site. Anyone that owns equipment knows the pitted stomach feeling when you go to start whatever it is after a month or more of inactivity. So I was pitted to say the least. Of course, I disclosed none of this to Joanne so the “Worry train” wouldn’t leave  the station. We arrive at the motorhome. I left Joanne in the car and I went to open up the coach and get it ready to move to the site. Walked up and the moment had arrive. I clicked the automatic lock button and no reaction. House batteries were obviously dead. I had to use the manual keys to unlock the door and get inside. Next I pushed the 12 volt activation button which is the most important switch on the motorhome. It controls the 12 volt system to the coach which runs all the digital power to the control panels for the refrigerator and AC. It cost me $200 when I first got the motorhome to find this little button and turn it on. Our AC wasn’t working and we were leaving on a trip. That is a whole other story. Good news the engine turned over with the first turn of the key so all was good. We moved the coach to its site and plugged it into power. This would recharge the house batteries and I knew we would be good. Now when you hook up to the sewer your biggest point of drama comes when you un-cap the motorhome’s sewer cap to hook the hose up to the coach. Normal procedure is to make sure the black water and grey water values are shut off so when you un-cap nothing flows out. This was another lesson I learned early in my motor homing career. Those values were wide open when I un-capped while on a lacrosse trip and I was nicknamed “The Red Adair” of sewer as I had to recap as raw sewage flowing everywhere… but that too is another story. The values were closed but I did get a nice little blast of black water all over my hand today when I un-capped today. Oh well….  Everything worked fine once hooked into power. Sliders went out, hydraulic stabilizers went down, satellite worked, hot water worked, and Jojo was happy!!! All is good. Tomorrow we are going up the coast again to Oceanside to see where Joanne lived when she was out here during the Viet Nam war.

DAY 2 – JULY 31


Today we were up early as Joanne’s cousin a/k/a Buggy was picking us up at 9:15 to head up to Oceanside/Carlsbad area to see if we could find where Jojo lived back in 1965. 50 years ago. My GPS tracker took us right there. She lived in the middle of a ball field. It didn’t feel right so we explored the area a little more and discovered with probably 85% certainty where she really lived. We continued on into Oceanside and went looking for the bank she worked at. Of course it wasn’t there anymore, but a lot of homes worth a lot of money was there. After we finished the tour down memory lane, Buggy headed us back to go to Coronado Hotel for lunch. This is a beautiful area looking back over San Diego skyline and very beautiful beaches that you can take your dog on. Bella would love this place!!! The hotel dates back to 1888 and is really nice inside.


Apparently, Buggy is a frequent visitor and I felt like we were in the “Cheers” bar. He knew everybody including the elevator guy. We had a nice lunch and then back to the motor home to get ready for the next day departure. We took a detour by the gourmet market to take on some excellent food and fine wine. We had dinner at Buggy’s looking at old family pictures and rehashing old family stories which we have heard a 100 times. Something new always presents itself in the story telling and we always conclude how did they ever survive it!!! The stories are great!! Tomorrow we leave for north of Santa Barbara and we are stopping south of LA to visit with my friend Marilyn who I haven’t seen in probably 25 years. I was very close with her family growing up so we will have a lot of catching up to do.

DAY 3 – August 1, 2015

LA-Traffic2We got a decent start. Once again not my 9 am goal, but probably 9:30. I hate to move that departure time to 9:30 because then it would be 10. Before we hit the I-8 to start our trip, I pulled into a Shell station to top off tanks and couldn’t make the turn in successfully. I had to back out which fortunately went well. Normal car gas is running about $4.00 per gallon, but for some reason diesel is 2.80/gallon. Not sure why, but I am not complaining. Only needed about 80 gallons and noticed my gas mileage average had dropped and I remembered I had cross the mountains back at the beginning of July which dropped my average.

LA-Traffic1So now we were off to play in traffic. Saturday Interstate traffic sucks. We were mostly bumper to bumper through LA on a Saturday about 1 pm. We met up with my old friend Marilyn and we figured we caught up for about 25 years. She is all grown up as she was the “Kid Sister” when I was young. We finally got north of LA and traffic got a little better. The road finally followed the water and the sun came out with that touch of smog. We got to our camp ground which is very nice, but loaded with small kids. I think I only hit a few as they fearlessly darted in front of the motorhome. We have a nice pull through, but we are parked next to a 1,000,000 Provost coach which makes our coach look like the little “Tear Drop” trailer. Good news…everything is still working except the back right stabilizer still needs assistance with the last 6 “ of retraction. This is very manageable with my trusty shovel for leverage. Off to San Simeon tomorrow.

DAY 4 – AUGUST 2, 2015

We actually had a good start this morning and left about 9:00 am. We had about a 200+ mile journey ahead of us so it was good we did. We were planning to go up the Pacific Highway, Route 1, to Carmel. The last time we did Pacific Highway was about 20 years ago. I forgot!! It was a steep, winding road with a handsome display of California traffic. We took some video so hopefully you can see it.

It is everything it is cracked up to be. The scenic vistas were unending and the weather was spectacular. Of course, Jojo was white knuckled the whole time and praying for some Florida flat land!!!  We made it to Carmel and had a little problem finding our motorhome park. I had put a waypoint in for Carmel which was nothing more than marking a spot of no interest so I could have a mileage reference point. So the GPS had me in a “Do Loop” going nowhere. Just in circles. I reprogramed the GPS and we made it fine….but…..getting the motorhome set to back in to our spot, I caught an edge of a railroad tie and bent the under part of the sewer and water access door. I had to get down on the ground and pry it open. So at least we have city water and sewer. I see a pair of pliers and the access door having a meeting before we leave. I finally cooked out last night and barbecued some lamb kabobs which turned out excellent. So tomorrow we are off to 17 mile drive and a little touring of Carmel.

DAY 5 – AUGUST 3, 2015

Today we took on the 17 mile drive and it was beautiful. Other than money, I am not sure why all the homeowners want all these cars driving around their community.


The coast line was beautiful of course and some of the homes were spectacular. One was very modern. Circular with all windows with a major view. We then drove into Carmel which is a very quaint town with no parking!!! It was packed and I couldn’t even get Joanne interested in shopping. We decided to move on and go south on CA-1 and retrace some off our trip from yesterday. I was hoping to find a restaurant with a beautiful view and no waiting. We thought this would be an impossible task. We came upon Rocky Point and it fit all our criterion including no wait. Nice table overlooking the water with excellent food.


There were a lot of fishing boats, but no one could tell us what they were fishing for. Oh well…. We continued further south for a while and then turned around. We stopped at a grocery store to take on provisions and the when by the laundromat to pick up our laundry which we had dropped off in the morning. So I am acting cool and asked the us how much. Only $58.00!!! I was dying inside, but said no problem. I really appreciate the good service. I think this guy gas a house in Pebble Beach community. We return to the motorhome and caught a movie on the Apple TV. Tomorrow we are off to Napa Valley which neither of us have ever visited.


Today we had a relatively short trip about 140 miles. Of course we forgot about traffic.


We left Carmel about 10:30 am and we were going to pass by San Francisco and go through Oakland to get to the City of Napa. The town was the only place in Napa Valley that had a RV Park. Nothing exciting happened today and no scenic vistas to be awed at. Tomorrow is Napa Valley day and a visit to a few vineyards.


Today we took on Napa Valley. The traffic was horrendous and roads were single lane. Saw 2 vineyards I wanted to visit as I have spent a great deal on their products. Caymus and Cakebread… Unfortunately, they required “Appointment Only”.


vineyardsWe took a cross over road and got lost up near Lake Berryessa. We didn’t visit any vineyards as the crowds were heavy and not enough time. Next visit we will stay at least 4 days. During the day, my GPS broke and I had to use a map!!! Yuck!!! Almost forgot how to and nobody was talking to me!! When I got back to motorhome did a search for Camping World and called them. They had one unit left and put my name on it for pickup tomorrow. So I rerouted our trip as we had to go 30-40 miles east and we needed to go west for our next drive. So I rerouted our trip from Camping World to go a different way so I didn’t have to back track. So I made changes on the computer and I could download to the new GPS later.



WilliamsWe were shooting for 9 am again, but got away by 10. It was about 40 miles to get to Camping World and to my surprise they actually had put a hold on it. Camping World was mobbed so I went up the road a little bit and pulled into a gas station wanting to top of the tank. Hey it was my lucky day. The station was out of diesel, but there was a really nice gourmet market on the same property. We were in a fairly rural area so I was surprised, but happy. We took on provisions and we were off after I downloaded new route to the new GPS. I stopped for gas and my card I used was declined. In last 2 days, I had put a lot of money on it. So I had the embarrassing moment with the cashier explaining I really don’t have bad credit, it was a security check from the fraud people. She nodded with understanding, but I don’t think she believed me. So I topped off the tank and on the road again. The road I had selected was closed for repair so I rerouted to another road further up about 50 miles. This road was closed because of wildfires.The people at the barricades said I needed to go back to Route 101 which was west of Napa. It was 3PM and 200 miles to go and no road to take me there. We had to cancel this part of the trip and we ended up in Plymouth California. Not sure what is here, we will find out tomorrow. Bummer!! Good news…The back left stabilizer is not working again. Here we go again!!!



We have discovered we are in the Shenandoah Valley. More wine country. Also the town is small, but very quaint. We cruised the countryside and it was very beautiful. There isn’t much more here so we will be off to Lake Tahoe tomorrow. It is about 80 miles from here. So we will drive around the Lake. Emerald Bay here we come!!!!


Emerald-BayToday we got a late start and off to Lake Tahoe. 78 mile trip ended up taking, what I claim are detours, Jojo said I was lost, but we made it anyway. Guess what we found? Traffic Traffic Traffic!!! We worked ourselves around to Emerald Bay and it was bumper to bumper. I felt like it was Jones Beach in New York where the next person on a beach blanket was 5 feet away. The last time Jojo and I saw Emerald Bay, we were virtually the only ones. There was no parking to pull over, but I finally found one spot and took a few pictures. The Bay itself was full of boats and people. Last time didn’t see a boat. The good part was the crowds were a lot of families having fun. So we drove back without taking one detour. Tomorrow, we head off to Yosemite.

DAY 11 – SUNDAY AUGUST 9, 2015

Day-11We were up early, but I had to do the wash and take on provisions at the local grocery store. Also, had to get down and dirty with a leaky sewer hose and won the battle. Yuck!!! We had to travel about 110 miles to Yosemite so it should be an easy run. Not so fast!!!! We had jack knife curves and narrow road over about 30 miles of the trip. It was absolutely gorgeous, but Jojo was scared to death so she was relieved to arrive. It is a little hard to see the super dry lands which are all yellow versus a plush green. So tomorrow we take on El Capitan. Thinking about taking a kite ride from the top. We will see. Maybe a swan dive off bridal vail falls. The redwood forest here are closed for 2 years so no redwoods for us tomorrow unless we drive 6 hours round trip and the traffic will be similar to Lake Tahoe.  I predict it will not happen.

DAY 12 – MONDAY AUGUST 12, 2015

Yosemite4Yosemite3Yosemite1Today we took on Yosemite and boy was it spectacular. Yes there was traffic, but it was unbelievable as the pictures portrayed. I hiked up to Bridal Vail Falls and I see elliptical workouts in my future. It was nice, but our cousin pre-warned us there would be no water gushing over the top. He was right. Just misting. Last time we visited Yosemite we could see the falls from the road. Now the growth covers the view.

Now we get back to the motorhome and I needed to bring in the driver’s side living room slide to get to the under storage. Well here we go!!! The button was dead and no movement on the slide. Now enter the stress. I checked with the campground for a mobile repair. Good news…there is no mobile repair service available!!! We were 7 miles out of Mariposa and there was a repair shop in town, but no mobile service. The passenger’s side slides worked which was a little good news. So I had a fretful night’s sleep and built my plan.

DAY 13 – TUESDAY AUGUST 13, 2015

I was up early and had read the operating manual. This was not going to be easy especially if we had to manually retract the slide I was in big trouble. The good news was the bedroom driver’s side slide didn’t go out either so it appeared to be an electrical problem. An additional problem was we had no cell service or WIFI at the campground. So communicating and emailing pictures to people that might help me was not going to be easy. The operating manual directed me to the slide breakers located on the rear compartment of the passenger side. I thought great. I will go out and flip the breaker off then on and life would be good. This was not that simple!! There were no simple switch for on/off. I decided to take pictures and videos of the area so I could show to the Mariposa repair man.


Jojo and I packed up and drove to town where we had cell service and a repair man to talk too. So now I meet Bobby and he was very helpful. He reviewed the pictures and said I had to trace the power and see if power was going to the breakers. He loaned me a power stick tester and I was off to the campground. I traced the power and found we had power all the way to last power poll that sent the power to the slides. Now a little bit of hope was beginning to show. So took so more pictures and back to Mariposa. I got some more advice and then I called Tiffin Motorhomes service department to get their opinion. After talking to service man, it looked like it was the cellonoid problem most likely. He told me to use a screw driver and connectthe 2 posts on the cellonoid which would transfer the power to the slide. It worked and we were out of there by noonish. A real nightmare was avoided. We had about a 275 mile trip to Reno which went uneventful. So tomorrow we clean up motorhome and talk to Sprad’s RV who is keeping the motorhome for repairs while we are gone.


RenoBefore I move on to today… The funniest part of yesterday I forgot to mention. I looked for a motorhome park close the RV dealership I was leaving the motorhome at for repair while we are gone!! Good Sam trip planner has been great. So I got the RV Park listing and programmed the address into the GPS. Our route went straight down Reno’s main drag. I felt like the final scene of “Romancing the Stone” where Michael Douglas showed up in downtown New York with a 40 foot sail boat double parked. We were definitely the gorilla in the room. We got some pretty interesting looks. Well we finally arrived at the “would be” Motorhome Park. I was in the middle of an apartment complex with no RV Park in site!!!  I found a place to pull over and researched the address. Simple problem…don’t put the mailing address in GPS…put the actual Park address. It definitely a very funny experience. We met with our service representative and went over the 16 items on our list. If you have read the travel log, you probably know most of the items. I got the sticker shock for the repairs estimate, but actually I thought it would be more, which it may be…work is not done yet. Tonight is clean up and pack. We drop motorhome off 8:30 in the morning and off to the airport.

Happy Travels,
Joanne and Tad

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