Turtle Bay Exploration Park
After having a typically awful free continental breakfast at the Bad Choice Inn (uh, Stage Stop Inn), we hit the road again and drove ninety minutes north to Turtle Bay Exploration Park. What a cool place to stop with kids. Kaylie and Emmett ran over Sundial Bridge (with glass bottom) while a few fishermen below tried catching salmon from their small motor boats.
The 4th graders at Kaylie's school take a one day trip to Sacramento (it's an extremely long day...even longer if you're a chaperone). They fly up to Sacramento on the first Southwest flight of the morning and take the last flight home at night. Even though our entire family could spend a week in Sacramento for the price of one of those trip tickets, I still felt sad that Kaylie would miss her class trip. Jack made me feel a little better thought when he told me how great the flight was...and the pizza. No plane ride with friends or pizza...but here's the Capitol, and how about some Chinese food?
If we had driven I-5 all the way from Los Angeles instead of navigating a super long detour through San Luis Obispo, then we might have been able to make it to where I really wanted totay for our first night. The Railroad Park Resort looks like one of those places where parents take one for the team and let the kids have their choice of hotel for the night. Come on, how cool would it be to sleep in a caboose?!
On our way to drop Jack and Matt off at the airport (now rushing due to delay caused by car-top carrier incident), a weather alert interrupted the regular radio programming. When does that ever happen in LA? Turns out there was a mudslide that shut down I-5 - the main thoroughfare
between Southern and Northern CA - the route I was planning to take to get us to Oregon. So to avoid getting swept away in mud or stuck in traffic, we took a very round about way to get to Sacramento.
After loading as many bikes as I could, I dragged the kids out of bed and hit Starbucks as the sun was rising. We drove up Hwy 101, from LA to San Luis Obispo. It's a very scenic route and my preference for getting to the Bay Area (not so good for getting to Sacramento). I've driven by the Madonna Inn a zillion times but have never stopped. So today we stopped for a bathroom break, which turned into a lunch break (and then another bathroom break). The kids LOVED this delightfully tacky theme-room hotel. In the gift shop they have postcards of each of the bedrooms. I think the kids' favorite spot was the bathroom with its quilted doors and child-sized potty and sink. And how can you not love drinking from these fine colored goblets? Cheers!
Almost ready to go! Ah, I've never seen our garage so clean.
Question: How are we going to get all those bikes to fit?
Answer: We won't.
Turns out we were missing a set of straps for the bike rack, and it was nearly impossible to get 4 bikes on anyway, so at 5am, I made the executive decision that one bike was staying at in LA. Hope the renters can use a bike! Unfortunately, we kind of a need another bike if we're ever going to do a family bike ride. So keeping our eyes out on craigslist.
The motorhome we ended up buying was located in the not so close city of Kaiser, Oregon. To save from having to pay California's use tax (like sales tax), we have to keep the rv out of California for one year. So, instead of driving the rv to our house and loading it up with our stuff, we loaded up my suv and drove it to motorhome.
Matt flew up to Oregon to pick up the rv, get new tires and figure out how all the tanks worked (important to know the difference between the black tank and fresh water tank) before the rest of us arrived so that we'd have a smoother transition into rv livin'. Matt ended up with a last minute flying companion. On our rough pack of the suv, we realized there was NO WAY all of our stuff would fit. So Jack got a last minute plane ticket and we got four more bags on the plane instead of in the car.
Epic fail #1: On the way to the airport to drop off Jack and Matt, we stopped at Matt's office where I accidentally destroyed our roof-top carrier. The carrier had hinges on the side and is supposed to lift open on the long side. The top is NOT supposed to slide back (unless you ram it into a cement wall and completely break off all the hinges). DOH! Carrier was tossed into a nearby dumpster and a big load of camping gear was left at home in last minute storage.
WHAT?! It's already the middle of December?! The days just keep flying by and that blog I promised everyone back home... is still blank. Well, now I guess it's got two sentences. Okay, nobody really wants to hear me ramble anyway... Since we started this crazy trip in October and it is now December, I'm going to back date all posts so they stay in chronological order. And I think since I'm so behind, I'll just upload pictures for now and try to add in details and whatever I might remember later.
Just a little background for those friends who are like, "Woah! What happened to Heather? Has she gone off her rocker? Yes. Did Matt kidnap the family? No. What's going on?"
I think Matt was the originator of the "living in an rv" idea, but when he proposed it to me a few years ago, I thought he was a bit nuts since we had just had a baby (our 3rd at that). I did however, agree to do a two week rv trip that involved driving from LA to Salt Lake City in our car, and then trading our car for a 25' rental motorhome. We left my user-friendly suv in the parking lot of Camping World while we cruised around Yellowstone, Glacier and other parts of Wyoming with our three month old baby, 6 year old daughter and 8 year old son. Before we left home, Matt did sign a contract stating that I could return home with the baby (on a plane) if the trip turned out to be a disaster.
Well guess what? The trip was awesome!!! Other than one kid barfing all up inside the car the first day, and the baby screaming during the packed elevator ride down the Hoover Dam (darn ear pressure), and the Corelle dishes flying out of the rv upper cabinets as we hit a bump (they're made of glass)... well...once all that was out of the way, the rest of the trip was great! It's possible I was living in a fog, but really, I do think we all had a good time.
Skip ahead to August 2015. Our oldest, Jack, started middle school. Middle school requires carpooling and waking up when it's still dark and heading out the door by 7am. So yeah, that's one thing. Our youngest, Emmett, was supposed to be starting preschool M-F (so this was the year as a stay-at-home-mom that I was supposed to reclaim my morning hours- play tennis, find good recipes, and maybe do something about those gray hairs that have been reproducting like gray hares...sorry, Jack LOVES puns). Somehow the old idea of traveling in an RV and seeing all the sights of America came bubbling back up to the surface of my brain. This time Matt thought I was the one who was crazy. Once he realized I wasn't kidding, the two of us went back and forth on the idea for a few weeks. Each day we researched more, and each day we thought it would be impossible to do everything that needed to be done to leave our house and lifestyle. The kids however, were sold on the idea pretty quickly, "Uh, no school?! YES! YES! YES! When can we go?"
Matt put aside his consulting business to learn everything he could about rvs, engines, carrying weights, 4 wheel down towing, health insurance on the road, renting your house, and about a zillion other things from clog-resistant toilet paper to Sams Club. It was seriously very overwhelming for both of us. We are not impulsive people. We are planners, savers, and researchers. But somehow, after a few months of planning, we were on the road!
Oh man, this is getting kind of long. Sorry. Feel free to just skip ahead to the photos.
Blah blah Blah... let's get the show on the road!
I'll be sharing our travel plans, some reviews, cooking ideas (because I know you are all jealous of my easy-bake oven), and ... oh who am I kidding?! I'll be lucky to get our photos posted!