Snow on the Napa Hills

While I was on my USA Swing last August and September, the door of my fridge broke off. The top hinge, which is a plastic tube molded into the door, cracked off. My good friend Kevin did a temporary repair while I was staying with him and Shelly in Memphis. Eventually, that broke off too. Getting things repaired on RVs is not an easy task. The nearest RV Repair shops to Marin are in Petaluma, Napa, and Sacramento—all at least 45 minutes away and all have at least 2-week back-ups. My dealer in Sacramento has a 3-month backup waiting period. And, it turned out, the repair places in Petaluma won’t service Dometic products. “They don’t pay us back,” one said.

But I did find Dan Shavlick’s RV Repair in Napa (45 minutes with no traffic). His wife/office assistant Jodi made me an appointment for 2 weeks later. I needed to be there at 8:30 am since there is a line-up waiting at the door when it opens.

I took this little video of the winter wine country scenery on my way. It is unusual to see snow on the hills surrounding the Sonoma and Napa County valleys.

Map of Route from Marin County to Napa Valley

My route from Marin County to Napa Valley.

Dan took photos of my broken hinge and will get back to me when Dometic sends him a new door. Fingers crossed that will be within the next month. Meanwhile, I am using a small Igloo Playmate Ice Box.

Happy New Year 2019

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season. I spent Christmas with my son and his family in the Bay Area, then headed south to Pasadena for a few days to open more presents with my daughter, her husband, and their two energetic sons. From there I drove to the California desert to explore a part of my state that was too hot to be in when I drove through last September. Here is the link to my YouTube video.

By the way, for those of you didn’t get the memo, I set up a new YouTube channel so that I could have one for my personal/writing vlogs and another for my RV travel vlogs. This video is on the “Rambling in Ramsey” channel. The other channel is simply called “Mary Ames Mitchell.”

If you don’t feel like watching a video, here are the pretty pictures. The first two are of North Shore on the Salton Sea. I wish you could hear the seagulls.

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I think this next one is of Slab City. I didn’t realize I missed that eccentric town until it was too late to backtrack.

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I spent the night boondocking at a BLM (Bureau of Land Management, i.e. free) camping area called American Mine Road.

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Then drove around Yuma, Arizona the next morning. I also bought gas there. Gas in Arizona is a dollar cheaper per gallon than in California.

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From Yuma, I cruised through sand dunes swarming with zooming dune buggies. It looked like fun.

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Then through the Anza-Borrego Desert.

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And through Julian, elevation 4000 feet (so check out the snow). There was no place to park, so I couldn’t pull in and walk around as I had planned.

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I spent the night at the Vail Lake RV Resort in Temecula. Very nice.

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Here is the view from my van the next morning.

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A lovely, peaceful place to enjoy a cup of coffee. Annie liked it too.

Revised Route for my USA Swing

2018 Swing around the USA Map

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, one of my goals for purchasing Ramsey was/is to see all the National Parks within the contiguous United States before I turn 76. I reached the goal of visiting all the California NPs within the first year – not counting the Channel Islands, which I had already visited. Nine years to go. I added the locations of the National Parks to my initial draft of the route for my upcoming swing around the country and made a few alterations. I only have nine days to get from Pasadena to St. Paul, Minnesota. There are a lot of National Parks on the way. Doubt I’ll make it to all of them.

Getting Ready for a Swing around the US

2018-AugSep-US-Roadtrip

Hi. I am getting Ramsey ready to take a six-week road trip around the US. First I’ll drive from San Francisco to Pasadena to deliver my daughter’s dog, Basil. He’s been staying with Annie and me while his family was on their summer vacation. From Pasadena, Annie and I will drive to Vermont for my niece’s wedding, passing through Minnesota. There is someone very important I want to see in St. Paul. After the wedding in Vermont, I will take the Henry Knox Trail from Westfield, Mass, where I left off in June, to Cambridge. I have a box full of my book, Henry’s Big Kaboom, so I can hand them out to all the libraries along the trail. From Massachusetts, I’ll travel through Virginia to Memphis, then west and home again. I picked up a stack of maps from AAA yesterday.

As part of my preparations, I dedicated this WordPress blog to just my travels in Ramsey. I’ve renamed the blog and given it a new banner. I also made this little video. What do you think?

I will create a different blog about my book writing later.

The Dodge mechanic gave Ramsey a thumbs up after his 16,000-mile check-up. I’ve washed the rugs and taken everything out of the drawers and lockers I don’t use. I emptied the gray and black tanks and washed them out with a power hose. Now all I have to do is fill up with water and propane and pack.

One hitch is that I realized too late that my passport has expired. Crossing my fingers, I have an appointment with the office in downtown San Francisco to see if I can get an update before my departure in two weeks. Otherwise, I won’t be able to swing through Canada on my way from Minneapolis to Vermont as I want to.

If anyone has suggestions about what to see along my proposed route, let me know in the comments section. That’s it for now.

 

Lighthouse Road Trip – Epilogue

Ann Delfin sent me the group photo that our PleasureWay RV group took of ourselves on the last night of our nine-day rolling rally. Here it is.

PleasureWay RV Club Lighthouse Rolling Rally - Group Shot

PleasureWay RV Club Lighthouse Rolling Rally – Group Shot

Here is a map showing the lighthouses and RV Campgrounds we visited.

Lighthouse Rolling Rally

And here is the whole trip starting in Anacortes compiled into a 25-minute YouTube video.

Thanks again Tim O’Malley for organizing everything.

Death Valley, not a great place for an old dog.

A trip I intended to last five days turned into a three-day dash to, through, and from Death Valley. Annie, my fourteen-year-old corgi, did not do well in the heat, which is why I cut the trip short. It was still an amazing get-out-to-see-my-country experience. Here’s the vlog.

And here’s the route.

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