Category Archives: Travel Report

Campground Review: Cajun Haven RV Park

Cajun Haven: One Ray of Sunshine
I didn’t look closely at this campsite, but it was colorful and seemed the owner of the RV was exercising some inventiveness in decorating. To me this site was something of a ray of sunshine in an otherwise dreary environment.

We stayed at Cajun Haven RV Park as a one night stopover between New Orleans and our next one night stopover in Texas on our way toward Potters Creek Campground in Canyon Lake, TX. Reviews I found of Cajun Haven prior to camping there were a little bit mixed as they often are. In my own experience, management was very friendly, access to I-10 very convenient, and our campsite was pretty level as were the others because the campground is on a flat open field. There is a small lake or large pond at the campground. Apart from that written above and the rate of $20 for full hookups with 50 amp service, oh, and the free entertainment provided by ducks waddling around the campground there is little I can find to say about Cajun Haven on the positive side. [READ MORE…]

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Campground Report: Hat Creek Hereford Ranch RV Park & Campground, Hat Creek CA near Lassen Volcanic National Park

 

Camped in the field at Hat Creek Hereford RV Park & Campground
Because there were no camp sites available for the time slot we wished to stay we camped in “The Field” at Hat Creek Hereford RV Park & Campground which serves as overflow camping for a rig or two. We were told the field would flood when the neighboring farmer flooded his field. Oh, great… Nevertheless we took our chances based on reassurances from the campground host that wasn’t likely to happen during our stay.

Hat Creek Hereford Ranch RV Park & Campground is what I would call a rural, family oriented park. This park is situated north of Lassen Volcanic National Park which is why we came to the area. Although there are other camping options nearby including another independent park and some Forest Service campgrounds, this is the only place we could find a spot in which we could fit, and as you will see it wasn’t really a spot.

Often, it seems to me rural parks are a little less formally run, and a little less spic and span. They seem to lag a little bit in terms of maintenance and upkeep, the showers may need refurbishing, the trash need may lag in being emptied… As a child of the 60’s/70’s the word “funky” comes to mind, although that could also describe a genre of rock music. READ MORE...

The Adventure Continues

Japanese Garden, Lithia Park, Ashland, OR.
Japanese Garden, Lithia Park, Ashland, OR.

After a brief pause of something a little less less than 2 years–well, that’s brief in geological terms, anyway–my 18 month adventure of traveling the USA in a motorhome that concluded in October 2015 has resumed. It will be different this time: rather than traveling by motorhome I’ll be towing a 5th wheel RV with my new pickup truck. (Those of you who follow my blog may have caught my four part series How to Get the Best Deal on a New Car or Truck Without Ever Talking to a Salesman.) I also hope to take more time traveling the USA this time around, more than the 18 months I spent the first time. However, the biggest, most important difference of my trip this time will be that it won’t be my trip, it will be our trip, as I will be traveling with my lovely companion Diane whom I met back east on my earlier excursion. (Previously, in A Single RVer’s Guide to Finding Romance on the Road I wrote about my methods for pursuing love while RVing the country. I was extremely fortunate in my pursuit.)

Bowling Ball Beach, CA.

A few days more than a month ago Diane and I loaded up our pickup truck with things we wanted to have in our new 5th wheel and we set off from Berkeley toward Portland to pick up the new trailer. We traveled mostly along the California and Oregon coastal route because Diane is a coast lover and hadn’t yet seen much of the CA coast and none of Oregon’s.

Mt St. Helens. When she last blew in 1980 she took out something like 232 square miles of terrain. Holy cow!

On Oct. 10 after loading the RV with things from the truck we hitched the two together “officially” launching this new chapter in both of our lives. From the Portland area where we camped in beautiful Milo McIver State Park we headed north toward Seattle to visit Diane’s family. We stayed one night at a Walmart along the way in Yelm, WA, so Diane could see what “Walmarting” is like. The next day we found ourselves at the Washington State Fairgrounds RV Park in Puyallup where we parked while visiting Diane’s family. After that it was down toward the Johnston Ridge Observatory at Mt. St Helens which is highly worth a visit. There we stayed in Silver Lake at the new and sparkly Silver Cove RV Resort. This was followed by a couple days in Ashland and a couple nights in CA before arriving back in the bay area where we are now tasked with readying the rig and our lives for full-timing beginning sometime in the spring. Before then we plan to head south for a month or so to enjoy some desert warmth and sunsets at the Imperial Dam LTVA about which I penned a five post series and separate boondocking report when I stayed there back in 2014-15.

A view along the Oregon coast.

Our new fifth wheel, BTW, is an Arctic Fox 29-5T. We settled on it after many months during which we compared more than a few. Things that influenced our decision included: warranted even for full-time use; floor plan; lots of windows; large enough to live in and as small as we could get to feel that way; custom made frame; large net carrying capacity, nearly 4,000#; reputation for being well insulated; we can navigate the entire rig when the slides are closed and access most cabinets, the fridge and bathroom. The trailer is about 34′ long.

Windows abound in the 29-5T which lets in lots of light and provides ample opportunity to see the sights outside while camped.

RVing to the Stars

The starry nights were amazing. We were camped at 9400', miles and miles from the nearest city lights. The Milky Way was clearly visible. Plus, we were there during the Perseid meteor shower. We slept under the stars and set the alarm for 2 AM. Over the next hour we saw dozens and dozens of shooting stars.
The starry nights were amazing. We were camped at 9400′, miles and miles from the nearest city lights. The Milky Way was clearly visible. Plus, we were there during the Perseid meteor shower. We slept under the stars and set the alarm for 2 AM. Over the next hour we saw dozens and dozens of shooting stars. (Click image to enlarge.)

One thing I think is sometimes overlooked when talking about the adventure of RVing is that sometimes an RVing destination is a jumping off point for another kind of adventure. For example, I recently returned from a wilderness adventure into the high Sierra back country of the the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. The area I visited was in the Hoover Wilderness just north of Yosemite National Park. This trip took me to elevations above 10,000’, 20 miles from the nearest road–an area that as a younger man I backpacked to but in recent years have gone in via “four hoofed RV”… READ MORE

Mission Accomplished

Charlene at Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort
Charlene at Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort on my very first shakeout cruise.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago… well, maybe sometime in 2011-2012, I got this idea to buy an RV, spend 6 to 12 months traveling the country, then selling it. I spent quite a long time learning about RVs, deciding what kind to buy, and finally in October, 2013 I took the plunge and bought a 30′ Class C Coachmen Freelander motorhome. It was about 7 months from the time I took Charlene home until I set out on what was to be an 18 month sojourn around the states and easily the greatest adventure of my life. READ MORE…

Sunset Over San Francisco

Sunset over San Francisco Bay & Mt. Tam
Mount Tamalpais to the west, across the San Francisco Bay as seen from the Berkeley Hills, January 17 or 18, 2013. This isn’t the most spectacular shot from that night, but it’s still one of my favorites. Click on it to enlarge.

I always try to include at least one really nice photo as a lead-in to my posts so as to catch the eye and raise interest in reading further. Today, I’m using one of my favorites of the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ll tell you why I chose this particular photo for this post but first I think you might find the back-story of its making of interest.

One of my customers, a business in Marin County, CA is a gift store that has sold some of my note cards. (If you don’t already know I make a line of fine-art note cards with my awesome-if-I-do-say-so-myself flower photos.) The proprietress asked me if I’d consider making some cards for her with “local color”, shots of the bay area. I decided I’d try at least one.

To make the image for this card I thought I would go up to the top of the east bay hills at sunset and shoot a silhouette of Mt. Tamalpais across the San Francisco Bay to the west, then composite-in a sunset I liked that I’d photographed some years ago in Death Valley. That was my plan, anyway, because we don’t get that many spectacular sunsets around here. When I arrived at the top of the hills to shoot my the mountain silhouette, however, what I just happened to stumble upon that evening was one of the most amazing, if not the most amazing sunset I’d ever seen. When I say that I’m including all the sunsets of my life, not just those in the Bay Area. I was beside myself with excitement, literally jumping up and down with glee. The lead shot for this post is one that resulted from my shooting that night. So, no need to do any photo compositing or image enhancement after all.

This shot reveals why I wrote that this was the most spectacular sunset I've seen in all my years. In the murky, dark, horizontal strip it's possible to make out the Golden Gate Bridge as well as Alcatraz.
This shot reveals why I wrote that this was the most spectacular sunset I’ve seen in all my years. In the murky, dark, horizontal strip it’s possible to make out the Golden Gate Bridge as well as Alcatraz.

Now, as to the reason I chose it for this post, it’s because I thought it quite appropriate—as the sun set over the San Francisco Bay Area that night, so it has recently set on my year and a half adventure of traveling America in my motorhome. That adventure is now behind me, which isn’t to say that I won’t have other RVing adventures in the future—I’m already contemplating the purchase of a 5th wheel RV, but that won’t be until at least next spring or summer, if at all.

As year end approaches and we plan our holiday get-togethers with family and friends and our farewells to 2015, let me take this opportunity to wish to you and yours greetings of the season and a happy and healthy 2016.

Meanwhile, should you have any additional, last minute shopping to do via Amazon.com or any shopping with Amazon in the future, please bookmark and use this link. I’ll get a little credit when you do and it won’t cost you anything more. Thanks. (My Amazon link is always available via the navigation menu at the top of all pages on the blog.)

Passion Flower
One of my flower note-card shots. Passion flowers like this one grow on vines, and there are about 10 varieties growing within walking distance of my apartment in Berkeley, CA. One right next door produces an edible fruit, a yellow banana passion fruit which reminds me in taste of a grapefruit. They are just amazing flowers. I mean, look at it. Wow!

48, 49, 50… Done!

This view is from the Cedar Pass Campground at sunrise.
This view is from the Cedar Pass Campground at sunrise.

South Dakota… it’s the end of the line. It’s the beginning. In May of 2014 I set out on my See-the-USA-in-an-RV trip with the goal of seeing America’s nature and getting to the 34 states I’d not yet been to. State 48 was Kansas, 49, Nebraska, and yesterday when I awoke it was for the first time in South Dakota. I can now say that I have spent at least one night in every state of the USA. It’s the end of that goal, silly or not as it may be. It’s done.

As such it is also the beginning. The beginning of everything that is to come after attaining that goal. There is still more RVing in my future, at least enough to make the trip from South Dakota home to Berkeley, CA. There’s more RVing to do here in SD even before I begin that leg of my journey. I post this while in Badland’s National Park. Mt. Rushmore is another SD destination I plan to take in before meandering to CA. READ MORE…