Travelin Tiger Archive

November 9 Roseburg CA to Portland OR

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Our trip is officially over. We traveled just over 4000 miles and visited 7 national parks or monuments. Elephant did yeoman’s work and did not give us any significant problems. Tomorrow we will give her a clean up and then return her to Cruise America.

November 8 Redding CA to Roseburg OR


As the trip wrapped up we headed north into Oregon. The discussion was whether we wanted to push all the way home, or find a place half way to home. We finally decided to stop around Roseburg for the night.

On the way we were trying to not purchase any more fuel in California, as it is about 30 cents a gallon more than we anticipated paying in Oregon. We made it to Yreka California before we decided we needed to put a little fuel in to make it comfortably to Medford where there was a Costco, Ron did not want to repeat the near miss we had when we nearly ran out of fuel going thru the border on the last trip.

Ton hit the jackpot in Medford. The Costco in Medford was in it’s last week before a new store was going to be opened across town. Because of this they had a lot of stuff they did not want to move to the new store on sale. We added to our trove of stuff from the trip, and moved on to Roseburg.

In Roseburg we settled in our park and decided to visit a brewery. We chose Backside Brewery. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and had a celebratory pizza on our last night on the trip.

November 7 Monterey Ca to Redding CA

Today was about driving. Ron was not looking forward to today as we had to cover the length of the Bay Area. It was going to be about 120 miles of urban freeway driving. It turned out better than we expected. Traffic moved the whole time, no unexpected jams, and few moments of sweat as we manuevered our 30 foot elephant thru 5 and 6 lanes of traffic.

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At the end of the day we covered about 340 miles, and tomorrow we will be back home in Oregon. Now if we can only find some reasonable gas for the last 100 miles of California.

November 6 Monterey CA

Today we delivered Noi and Dang to San Francisco so that they can do some city stuff while we head north to Oregon. It was a bittersweet day as a long trip came to an end. Ton wanted to give Noi and Dang the ultimate California sendoff, so before depositing them at the hotel and heading back to Monterey for the night, we took them to In and Out Burgers for lunch. Everyone enjoyed their burger, fries and shake.

It was an excellent adventure, we covered a lot of ground, saw some excellent sites and enjoyed a lot of time together. I hope it was as fun for Jeap, Noi, and Dang as it was for Ton and I.

November 5 Monterey CA

Ron was very excited as we were going to take one of his favorite drives, the Big Sur. The plan was to drive down to the point were the road is closed. Last winter a giant land slide took out a large part of the road so at this point you drive down about 60 miles along the coast until the road is closed. It is a wonderful road with incredible views. We also intended to visit San Simeon to look at the Elephant Seal colony that has taken up residence there.

The weather was perfect, and probably because of the closure traffic was light. Big Sur lived up to Ron’s expectations though he was worried that Noi and Dang were not impressed. Ton assured him that Dang thought it was great, Noi slept a lot of the way. The detour was a one and a half lane road over the mountains and thru Fort Hunter-Ligget. It was a tough drive, but fortunately we had abandoned Elephant in Monterey and took a rental car for the day. Ron enjoyed the challenge of the road, and everyone else endured.

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On our way into San Simeon we passed thru Paso Robles. We decided to stop for lunch at Doce Robles winery. Ton, Dang, and Ron split a bottle of wine with lunch which perked everyone up. We headed to San Simeon where the juvenile elephant seals were in residence, both the adult males and females are off in Alaska. They are still an amazing site and worth a visit if you are in the area.

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We ended the night with a great dinner at Monterey Fish House. This was our farewell dinner as tomorrow we are splitting up, with Ron and Ton heading to Oregon, and Dang and Noi heading home to Thailand. We all enjoyed ourselves tremendously as the food was outstanding, and even Noi enjoyed a little wine. If you are in Monterey I highly recommend the Monterey Fish House.

November 4 Monterey CA

The day started out with a quest for a longer sewer house for Elephant. The sewer house for Elephant is about 8 ft long and we need one about 20ft long in our spot. We started out going to the PX at the old Fort Ord Army Base, but unlike most PX’s this one did not have any RV stuff, but Ton, Noi, and Dang enjoyed shopping. We next went to the Target, no hose there, but Noi, Dang, and Ton enjoyed shopping. Next door to Target was a REI, Ron knew they would not have a hose, but Noi, Dang and Ton enjoyed shopping. We next went to Wal-mart and they had a hose, and Noi, Dang and Ton enjoyed shopping. After the quest for the hose was complete it was now 1pm and while everyone had enjoyed shopping it was time to do some touristy stuff.

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We headed over to Carmel to visit another spot we enjoyed on our Pacific Coast Highway trip a couple of years ago. Los Lobos State Nature Reserve is a great place to look at both sea animals and some really beautiful Cypress Trees.

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We returned in time to whip up something and get a good nights sleep under the flight path for the main runway at Monterey airport. Fortunately it is a small airport.

November 3 Bakersfield CA to Monterey CA

Originally we planned to spend two nights in Yosemite NP, but due to very cold temperatures there and concerns about road closures we had to adjust our plans. So instead we are heading for Monterey California for the next several days and we will have to come up with some new plans.

Today was mostly taken up with driving from Bakersfield to Monterey, and some more shopping at Costco. Ton has shared her love of all things Costco with Noi and Dang and they are embracing it enthusiastically.

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We arrived in time to visit a couple of wineries in the Salinas area. Noi was interested in shooting some of the vineyards as the leaves were turning colors. Ton, Dang, and Ron were much more interested in drinking wine. On an earlier trip we had visited Passagno Winery and really enjoyed ourselves so we returned to see if it was still good. We really enjoyed ourselves and have three bottles to take back with us to California.

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Tonight we are settled in at Monterey Pines RV Park next to the Navy Golf Course in Monterey and working on plans for the next two days. Stay tuned to see what we come up with.

November 2 Death Valley NP to Bakersfield CA

We had planned to head to Zabriski point for sunrise, but everyone overslept. In the end we got there about an 90 minutes after sunrise. Zabriski point was the highlite of our first trip to Death Valley, and Ron in particular has fond memories of the place. We were happy to see that Dang and Noi were more up about Zabriski, so Death Valley had a happy ending.

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Zabriski Point

We had originally intended to target Tehachapee for the day, but when Ton realized we would be there around noon, she extended the drive to Bakersfield. After arriving about 1pm we checked into Orange Grove RV park, which is a great commercial campyard including you own orange trees in each site. If you are in the area I highly recommend you check it out. As it was still quite early we headed to Costco to fuel up, and see if there were any secret things in Bakersfield that we had not seen in other Costco’s. Yesterday California raised their gas tax by 12 cents per gallon, so even with the Costco discount we had our most expensive gas on the trip at $2.80 per gallon.


November 1 Las Vegas NV to Death Valley NP CA

We were pleaseantly surprised this morning, it turns out we both slept well. We’re not sure if it was because we were really tired, or if the freeway noise acted as a kind of white noise, anyway it was one of the best nights sleep of the trip.

We let the traffic die down for a bit before heading out. It was easy to know when traffic had lightened up as all we had to do was look out the window of Scout to get an up to the minute traffic status.

As we were heading to Death Valley the GPS was routing us thru Pahrump Nevada. Ron finds the name fun to say, and by the time we got there, everyone was coming up with different reasons to include Pahrump in the conversation including at one point a chorus of Little Drummer Boy.

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Sunset on the Dunes at Death Valley

Death Valley is one of Ron and Ton’s favorite parks. It has a stark beauty that really appeals to us, and we were looking forward to introducing Dang and Noi to it. I don’t know if we oversold the park or they hit a wall, but they did not seem as impressed as we hoped. They did enjoy sunset at the dunes, before we headed back to the campground for the night.

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The Devils Golf Course

October 31 Zion NP to Las Vegas NV

Today we headed to Las Vegas as the trip is starting to wind down and it is time to begin heading in the direction of San Francisco for the last stop for Dang and Noi. We decided that Vegas was a reasonable drive, and it gave Ron and Ton a chance to check up on our son Alex who is a teacher in Las Vegas.

Tonight we are staying in a parking lot/RV park in Mainstreet Station Casino near the Fremont area of Las Vegas. It is not much to look at, basically an extension of the employee parking for the casino. But the location is good, it has full hookups, and only costs $21. It is also located directly under one of the main freeways for Las Vegas and next to the headquarters for the Vegas fire department, so it is not going to be quiet tonight.

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Alex Dang and Noi on Fremont Street

When we planned the trip we did not realize we had picked Halloween night to be in Vegas, but it turned out to be a nice bonus. We met Alex for a buffet dinner in the casino, and then headed out to Reno street to people watch. It was everything you could expect from Las Vegas on Halloween. Really quite wild in a very fun way.


October 30 Zion NP

After an early wakeup we had two options for camping today, in the park they had availability in the dry campground, right outside of the park there is a commercial campground, after discussing the bathroom situation we opted for the commercial park as the park service is closing all of the bathrooms today for the winter.

We decided to head into the park before checking in at the campground. We took the bus to the Temple of Sinawatra to start the day. About half way down the trail Noi was a couple hundred yards ahead of everyone else when we came upon her talking to four people. It turns out it was two Thai couples from Hawaii and California. Everyone joined in the conversation. Ron and Dr. Dragon (that is the English translation of his name) were talking as they had both recently retired from the military, (Ron’s official retirement date was his 60th birthday). Dr. Dragon had been a Captain in the US Navy, at some point Ron mentioned that Dang had also retired from the Thai Navy. Captain Dragon then pointed at the wife in the other couple and said she had also been a Doctor in the Thai Navy. Dang and Doctor Jin begain talking and it turned out they had attended the Thai equivalent of Officers Candidate School together. It is a small world when two people from Thailand can renew an acquaintance from 40 years ago in the middle of a canyon in Utah! A walk that should of taken an hour turned into three hours as a lot of catching up had to be done. At the end we agreed to meet for dinner in the evening.

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Fall colors add to the beauty of Zion

Ron’s stealth run to the brewery was busted when one of his credit cards turned up missing in the morning. Everyone was worried and turning the truck upside down looking for it. After dropping Dang and Noi off for shopping at the visitors center, and another run into the park Ron was forced to confess that he had left it at the pub, and he and Ton went to retrieve it.

While Noi and Dang were making a second run into the park, Ron and Ton took care of getting Elephant settled for the day, and took a little breather. In the evening we had a very nice Mexican dinner with our new (old) friends from Thailand!

October 29 Grand Canyon NP to Zion NP AZ

Noi was up before the crack of dawn for some sunrise shots, while Dang, Ton and Ron slept in until about 7am. After Noi returned we had a fairly long drive to Zion. On the way out of Grand Canyon we stopped at a few sites for some more pictures.

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We arrived in Zion about 3pm and like Grand Canyon we were able to get full hookups for the first day and then we will have to figure out what to do for tomorrow. After arrival the three Thai women made a reconaisance run on the bus up into the Canyon.

Ron elected to stay behind and rest his ribs. After a while he decided to make a stealth run to a brewery in town to check out the local beers, and to scout for a place to watch the Timbers tomorrow.

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Sunset from our campsite in Zion

After another long day we had a late meal and everyone turned in. The plan is to head up the canyon early tomorrow after relocating the truck to another campground.

October 28 Grand Canyon NP

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These gals were hanging out at the RV dump station. They were there both days.

We started out the day by switching campgrounds. Last night we had the luxury of a full service campground in the park. But that spot was only available for the day so we had to switch to a dry spot for the second night. Temperatures are supposed to be in the high 30’s so it will test the cold weather adaptation of Noi and Dang.

After getting settled for the day we took the bus out to Hermits Rest and worked our way back to the village. A lot of the smoke had blown out of the park, and it was as clear as any of our visits there. Of course everyone, (but Ron) took a lot of pictures.

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As the day wore on we split up, Dang and Noi went for sunset. Ron and Ton opted to head back to the village for a while, and went back to the truck early to prepare for dinner.

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These flowers are all over the desert this time of the year. Ton really likes them

It was a very long day but worth the time and effort.

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