Wednesday, November 1, 2017

October review and November plans

To - Reidsontheroad blog followers,
 
As I posted before, I have used up all my web capacity for photos on this year’s blog.  I will create a new blog in January.  Meanwhile, here are a few updates, sans photos....
 
OCTOBER UPDATE....
 
On our way back home (to South Texas) in early October, we stopped by an Airstream dealership in Austin, Texas.  We fell in love with a 25-foot Flying Cloud Airstream and traded in our 2012 22-foot Airstream for it.    Our old Airstream had served us very well, traveling with us all over the USA, Canada, and parts of Mexico.  The new one’s 3 additional feet make it seem so much roomier.  
 
We left the old Airstream at the dealership and drove 5 more hours south to Mission, where we have our tiny house.  After a few days, our new Airstream was ready to be picked up.  We decided to turn the trip into a tiny vacation.  We stopped first in San Antonio and stayed near the downtown, strolling the Riverwalk and enjoying the sites of that historic city.  The next day we picked up our new Airstream.  (This reminds me that we really have to name it.).  We took off for the Texas Hill Country, just west of Austin.  We spent a few nights in Johnson City, home of LBJ, whose ranch we visited.  This is also Texas wine country.  We did some wine tastings and then stayed overnight (free) at a winery outside of darling Fredericksburg through Harvest Hosts.  This Harvest Host site, like most, did not offer any electricity or water hook-ups.  That was ok as we needed to test the Airstream’s ability to “boondock”.  We woke up after a night off the grid to a dead battery.  So, we took it back to the dealership to get it fixed.    Good thing we discovered this while we were close to the dealership.
 
Back in Retama Village in Mission, Texas, we spent crazy weeks busily getting the house ready for our first guests.  We had a small shed built on to the back of the tiny house to store the garage-type “junk”.  What a relief to move charcoal grills, bicycles, camping gear, tools, etc from our house to the shed.  We had a shower door installed and finished buying furniture.  All, just in time for our first guests’ arrival.  Tony and Jenny, roadie friends from Nova Scotia, arrived with their R-Pod camper.  They spent a few nights with us here, parked and hooked up in our driveway, then all of us went to South Padre Island for a few days, camping near a marina.  Then, back here to show them the sights around here.  A highlight was a shopping trip to Progreso, Mexico.
 
Tonight we will be dressing up for a Halloween party at our village’s clubhouse.  Should be fun.
 
NOVEMBER PLANS...
 
George is going to visit our daughter in Todos Santos, Baja California for a few days.  (Home of Hotel California).  Then our other daughter will come down from Rochester, Minnesota to visit us for a few days around Thanksgiving.  We hope to host more friends and family throughout the winter.  We are also busy applying for more housesits.  We may spend Christmas in Panama.  
 
While we are here in Mission, we plan to take short trips with the Airstream to discover new parts of Texas.  We are going to buy a Texas State Park pass and stay in as many Texas state parks as we can.  There is a lot to see!  
 
 JANUARY BLOG
 
If you haven’t done so already, please send me your email address so that I can send you a link to my new blog in January, once I get it created.  Send your email to me at - reidkarm@gmail.com.
 
Thanks again, for following our adventures!  
 
Karmen and George Reid 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

September review; Plans for October, 2017

To ReidsontheRoad blog followers,   As I posted before,  I have run out of capacity on this blog for photos. I will start a new blog (with lots of photos) starting in January.  Send me an email at reidkarm@gmail.com with your email address so I can send you a link to the new blog in January.   Meanwhile, I will post monthly updates (without photos).  :(   September -- Hard to believe that we started September way up north, with my aunt an uncle in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada.  After spending a few days with them on their farm, we had a "holiday" with them at a cozy cabin in Jasper National Park, British Columbia.  Just lovely.  From there, we had glorious drives through the Rocky Mountains, ending up in Idaho.  We met up with our roadie friends Tony and Jenny who are from Nova Scotia.  We camped with them in Idaho, making day trips to view the beautiful scenery there.  Unfortunately, smoke from their many forest fires hid the grandeur.  We happily discovered Harvest Hosts.  It is a RV membership ($40/year) whereby we can camp FREE at wineries, breweries, museums, organic farms, etc.  As soon as we became members, we stayed in 10 locations.  All were unique and fun!  What a great concept!  We have been trying to see as many USA National Parks as we can.  The biggie - Yosemite - was still on our list to see, so we made it happen on this trip.  Joining up with Tony and Jenny again, we stayed a few nights in the northern, alpine section.  Then, down to the Yosemite Valley for more breath-taking scenery.  The day after we left the northern section, there was a 9-inch snowfall, trapping all the campers there.  We just dodged that bullet!  From there, we visited and camped at Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park and were dwarfed by the amazing, gigantic sequoia trees there.  Then, on back through the desert, staying at several fun Harvest Host sites - a fun 1950s diner, a schoolhouse converted to a brewery/restaurant, and a winery.  Then, to Austin, Texas where we bought a new Airstream!  This one is brand new and is 3 feet longer.  We traded in our old one, which has really been a great trailer but is now a little road weary.  Now back at our tiny house in south Texas, we are busy with getting the house ready.     October --- We will pick up the new Airstream next week in Austin, and will turn that into a week camping trip - with plans to stay a few days in the Texas Hills wine country, in an RV park and one night at a Harvest Host winery site. Then, our friends Tony and Jenny will join us here for a few days.  We plan to show them around the area, including a day trip across the Mexican border, and a few days on South Padre Island.  We still have a lot of honey-dos to complete in the house, but it is coming along.   Remember to send me an email with your email for the next blog.   I'll post again at the beginning of November.    Thanks again for being loyal readers!!!! Bonkers - if you are reading this, send me your email please.  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Contacting ReidsontheRoad

If you would like me to notify you when I start the blog up again in January, 2018, please email me at  Reidkarm@gmail.com

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Status Update on ReidsontheRoad Blog

Dear ReidsontheRoad readers...
 
I have reached my limit on the number of photos I can post on the blog, so I will have to create a new blog. I've decided to hold off on that until January.  So, there will be a few months without the blog.    In January (with the help of my daughter), I will create a new blog called...
 
 
...www.reidsontheroad2018.blogspot.com
 
Please send me an email if you would like me to send you a link to it when I start up again in January, 2018.  Email is reidkarm@gmail.com
 
Just to fill you in  about our recent activities...
 
* We spent about a week in the Yosemite National Park area with our friends Tony and Jenny.  It is really incredible. The first part of our stay was in the northern, high elevation section.  We did a lot of hikes, seeing outstanding views of lakes, mountains, and meadows.  Then, we went to the lower part, the Yosemite Valley, for another day or so.  When we were there, we learned that the upper part, where we had been the day before, got 9 inches of snow over night.  They closed the road and the visitors there were stranded.  It could have been us!  In the Yosemite Valley, we did more hikes.  We saw the famous El Capitan huge granite peak, and lots of waterfalls.
 
* From Yosemite, we descended about 8000 feet and camped overnight (free) in another Harvest Host site. This one is a winery/vineyard/event center in the San Joaquin Valley.   We tasted and bought some wine, and picked some veg for the road.
 
* Back up to the mountains, this time to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park.  Two parks in one.  We camped overnight under the gigantic sequoias.  We saw the General Sherman Tree, the world's largest tree.  About the equivalent of a 30-story building!
 
* Then, down the mountain again, through thousands of acres of fruit trees - avocados, citrus, olive, peach and more.  Amazing what irrigation can do (and how dependent this area is on water!). We had a long drive, through part of the Mojave Desert, and stopped for the day in Barstow, where we had another Harvest Host stay.  This one at Peggy Sue's 50's Diner!  How fun!  We ate dinner there and breakfast the next morning.  Lots of food, cute Hollywood decor, and cheap prices.  
 
Going forward......
 
I will post on Facebook more frequently so you can keep up with our adventures if you would like.  We are ending our summer/fall road trip, and will probably arrive at our new tiny house in early October.  We hope to host friends and family there for the rest of 2017.  Then, in 2018, our tentative plans are...
 
--Baja California
--Road trip to the St. Lawrence River area (Quebec, Ontario, Upstate New York, Vermont, Maine).  Recommendations of places to go would be welcomed!  
--International housesitting - hopefully in Europe and/or South America
--National housesitting - perhaps in cities that we would like to explore further
--More Harvest Host stays
----and more
 
Thanks for being faithful readers!!!
 
 
Karmen Reid 

Friday, September 22, 2017

September 18, 2017. First day of glorious Yosemite

CAMPGROUND:  Toulmne Meadows, inside Yosemite National Park.  Typical national park campground:  rugged sites, passable bathrooms, no hookups. But location, location, location!  $13/night with Senior Pass.  4 stars out of 5

 
LOCATION:  Yosemite National Park, in eastern California
 
WEATHER:  Perfect for hiking.  Sunny.  High 60.  Freezing at night
 
We got up early from the campground outside the park, and made a dash to one of the campgrounds here inside the park.  This campground is half reserved and half first come-first served. Reservations get booked up a year in advance, so your only option is to get there early, stand in line and hope for a site.  We got lucky. Not only did we get sites, but we got a site near Tony and Jenny.  We'll stay here 2 nights, then move somewhere to spend 2 more days exploring the valley part of the park.
 
They had record amounts of snow this year. The highway to Yosemite on this higher eastern side was not even open until July 4.  Campgrounds did not open until August 1.  They will close September 25, so the season is very short.  We are at 9000 feet, in the alpine meadow part of the park.  
 
We hiked one of the trails near our campground.  It is called Soda Springs, named for the springs that bubble up there that are like soda water.
 
Jenny and I hiked ahead of the boys....
 
At the spring, George tried out his water distillation straw. It is designed for people traveling where there is not potable water available.  He said this spring water tasted like iron.  
 
Nearby there was a sparkling river where he tried the straw again.  He said it tasted much better.  We took him at his word....nobody else wanted to try it.  
 
 
The hike was beautiful in the meadows, with the mountains soaring around us.  Tony enjoyed a nap in the sunshine....

Thursday, September 21, 2017

September 17, 2017. A gold mine ghost town

NOTE --- We have not had wifi for several days, so these next few posts have been delayed...
 
CAMPGROUND:  Another night at Lower Lee Vining National Forest Service Campground.  
 
LOCATION:  Outside the entrance of Yosemite National Park in eastern California
 
WEATHER:  Very pleasant.  High 65.  Near freezing at night.
 
We scurried around the campground looking for a good site for Tony and Jenny to camp in tonight.  A few campers left, fortunately, and we grabbed a site for them.
 
We drove to Bodie State Park, a ghost town that has been preserved by the park system.  In the 1800s it was a very prosperous gold mining town.  In 1879 it had a population of about 10,000.
 
We learned that part of the town was very respectable and conservative, with ladies' lunches, dress shops, schools, churches, and halls for gala events.  
 
The other part of town was full of bars and rowdy miners.   It had more than 60 saloons and dance halls, along with 3 breweries.  It had a reputation of being one of the most lawless towns in the West.  One preacher described it as "a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion".  
 
 
It also had a Chinese section for the poor, discriminated workers.  
 
The mining started to decline in 1881 and the town was soon abandoned.  
 
On our way back into town, we ran into Tony and Jenny where they had stopped along the highway for a picnic lunch.  What a great surprise!  We got them settled in their campsite, then took off to start exploring Yosemite.  
 
We went to the visitors' center in the northern part of the park.  A ranger just happened to be giving an information talk, so we joined up with that.  We stopped by the campground where we hope to get a "first come-first served" site tomorrow night in the northern section of Yosemite. 
 
We went into town and bought provisions for the next few days in the park.  
 
Back at our campground, George built anther roaring fire.  Our neighbors had cut down 3 trees today, and gave us a bunch of firewood.  So kind.
 
DINNER:  I cheated and bought dinner at a BBQ restaurant in town:  ribs, salad, rolls, and soup.  During our 4 nights together, we will do 2 dinners, and Tony/Jenny will do 2.  
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

September 16, 2017. A great day in Mammoth Lakes. It was HUGE!

CAMPGROUND:  Another night at Lower Lee Vining National Forest Service Campground.  We talked with some neighbors who come here every year. They say this is the best of this type in the area.
 
LOCATION:  Outside the entrance of Yosemite National Park in eastern California
 
WEATHER:  Very pleasant.  High 65.  Near freezing at night.
 
Today's destination was Mammoth Lakes and the surrounding area, about 25 miles south of here.  First we took the scenic loop to Mammoth.  We drove through tall  pines with snow markers about 15 feet high.  Then, on to The Devil's Postpile National Monument, an interesting formation of rocks formed by lava flows, then glaciers about 80,000 years ago.  (See my tiny head in the bottom of the photo).
 
It was surprisingly crowded.  We had to wait at the entrance gate, then could not park near the monument.  We had to park in a resort parking lot and then were shuttled to the trailhead to the Monument.  I'm afraid that this is a preview of the crowds inside Yosemite.
 
On our way out of the Monument road, we picked up a hiker/hitchhiker and took him to the town of Mammoth Falls.  He had been hiking in the forest for several days and was just too tired to walk the 15 miles or so back to his car.  We are glad we did as he gave us some valuable information about places to go later in the day.  
 
After dropping him off at his place, we had lunch in this brewpub, which claims to be at the highest elevation in the West.  It was huge....I mean epic!
 
We followed the hiker's suggestion and drove around many beautiful lakes surrounding the town of Mammoth Lakes.  All picture-perfect. There were a lot of fishermen - catching trout.
 
Then to the base of Mammoth Mountain, a very big and popular ski resort area.  In the summer, they turn the area into a mountain biker's dream.  Bikers take ski lifts up to the top of the mountain, then whiz back down on  mountain paths.  We decided to ride the gondola up and down to check out the views.
 
It was mammoth!  We went up to 11,000 feet elevation.  We can't imagine anyone skiing down these steep slopes.
 
Here is a biker getting on the lift....
 
We were even above some remaining snow....
 
The views are spectacular....
 
These are some of the paths that the bikers take....
 
They were having a bike race, so it was especially busy with bikers.  
 
Back at the campground, we were disappointed to find that it had filled up with large groups.  All the sites were taken.  People around us were setting up mammoth bars and kids were running around.  Quite different from last night with our quiet German and French neighbors. We are now concerned that we won't be able to find a spot for our friends Tony and Jenny when they arrive tomorrow.  
 
George built a fire and set up our tripod to cook dinner. This is the first time we have used this in ages...
 
DINNER:  Hot dogs with sauerkraut and the last of the leftover baked potato from one of our Harvest Host stays.