NH to CA

This year we waited until after the Christmas and New Years holidays were over before heading south for the winter. So, on January 3 we left New Hampshire and headed south. But we did not dawdle. Winter Storm Grayson was approaching and we made a beeline south. The blizzard conditions were expected all up and down the Atlantic coast from New England to Georgia. We figured if we didn’t get going we would might never get out. The first three nights of our trip were spent in hotels since campgrounds were closed, and it was freezing. We took a more inland route to avoid the coastal weather.

This is an abbreviated blog post. Here are a few pictures from the 4,000 miles we drove over the last four weeks.

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Had to drive through some slop. Will need a wash when it gets above freezing

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Keeping west of the coast, down I81, avoiding winter storms.

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Wind Creek Casino, Atmore, AL. A good overnight stop.

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Palm Trees! Gulf Shores AL (it’s still cold)

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The weather was cold and windy for the week that we were at Gulf of Mexico, Gulf Shores AL

It’s been a gloomy winter.

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Gulf Shores State Park, AL

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Another casino overnight stop. Isle of Capri at St. Charles LA

And then on to Texas. It’s still chilly. We had to stop at Luling TX for some good Texas BBQ. Luling is an old oil town.

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Luling TX

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The Alamo, San Antonio TX

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RV park with barn for your horses.

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Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp, Tucson AZ

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Tucson AZ

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Boondocking in the desert at Quartzsite AZ

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Entertainment at Quartzsite AZ

We drove through Joshua Tree National Park. The government had shut down for a few days while we were there. The Visitor Center was closed but we were still able to drive around. We did not see any employees anywhere.

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Joshua Tree National Park during Government Shutdown

We parked in a camp spot for a picture, but we did not stay overnight.

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Joshua Tree National park

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Joshua Tree National Park

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Anza-Borrego State Park, CA

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Anza-Borrego State Park CA

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The Pacific Ocean!

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Sunset on the Pacific

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Route 66 Ends at the Santa Monica Pier

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Hello from the Santa Monica Pier

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Pacific Coast Highway at Malibu CA.  Cars parked on both sides of the road on a Sunday afternoon, as they go down to the beach. The RV park that is half way up the hill on the right is where we will be staying. Great view overlooking the Pacific.

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Sunset over Pacific, Malibu Beach RV Park

We had stopped along the way to visit friends and relatives in Alabama and in Arizona. Our daughter is in Los Angeles, that’s why we are here, and will stay in this area for a little while before making a more leisurely return trip to New Hampshire.

Posted in Alabama, Arizona, California, Daily Post, January | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A Travato Meetup

Our new Winnebago Travato Touring Coach has not been just sitting in the garage. It has been out for routine maintenance such as a tire rotation and alignment and an oil change. It’s good to go.

This weekend we joined seven other Travato owners for a little meetup in Vermont. Vermont is beautiful! Our drive was two and a half hours and we enjoyed every mile of it. The fall colors are just beginning to change.

Vermont

Along the way we stopped at the Vermont Country Store and King Arthur Flour Bakery Cafe and Gift Shop. We have been there before and they are some of my favorite stops.

Another Travato owner invited several other owners to converge on her front yard at her home near Montpelier. We all found each other on a Travato group on Facebook. It was cool to meet them all in person. And the weather was outstanding!

Travato Party!

Saturday morning we all went for a drive. A parade of Travatos! It did get some attention.  For sure it was an interesting site to see as we went to try to get a picture of all of us parked in front of the Vermont State House, and then to a restaurant for brunch and then to a maple sugar place.

A Travato Parade

Success! We were able to park six of us in front of the capitol building.

The Vermont State House in Montpelier

After brunch we continued our parade to a maple sugar farm for some treats.

Bragg Farm Sugarhouse and Giftshop, Montpelier VT

After that we all went our separate ways to explore on our own for a while. How could we resist a stop at nearby Ben & Jerry’s Factory!

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

The town of Barre VT, The Sculpture City, was our next stop. There are several sculptures carved in granite here. One of my favorite ones was Unzipping the Earth, designed and carved by Chris Miller. The largest zipper in America.

Unzipping the Earth

Fun weekend!

Posted in Daily Post, September, Vermont | Tagged | 5 Comments

Some Maine Sights

Our friend, Peter, lives in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, and we stopped in for a visit. He showed us around Portland, Maine; some lighthouses; and some beautiful sights.

Our first stop was at Two Lights State Park at Cape Elizabeth. Here can be found what remains of one of four World War II batteries placed here to protect Portland Harbor. But not only that, it is a beautiful place.

WWII Battery 201 – Protecting Casco Bay

Here are some more pictures from our day:

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Two Lights State Park

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Two Lights State Park

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Two Lights State Park

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Two Lights State Park

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One of Two Lights

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One of Two Lights

And then over at Fort Williams Park:

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Lighthouse

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Portland Head Light

The next day we were on our own. We found ourselves close to Lenny, the World’s Only Lifesize Chocolate Moose located inside the Len Libby Chocolate Shop in Scarborough, Maine. Lenny was made from 1,700 pounds of milk chocolate in 1977. Naturally we had to stock up on some of their home made chocolates! Good stuff.

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Lenny the Chocolate Moose

And then a tour of Allagash Brewing Company, a local independent Belgian-inspired beer maker.

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Allagash Brewing Company

Then a trip up to Freeport, Mine, to the LL Bean Flagship store. While we were there another Travato was in the parking lot. This is special since these campers are relatively new and are not common. We met them and have made new friends. We will see them again soon.

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Another Travato!

We were allowed to park free overnight in the parking lot, it was a nice quiet stay.  It began raining in the morning and rained all the way home, back to near Keen, New Hampshire.

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Rain Rain Go Away

The last few days have been fun but could have been better. Too many tourists and crowds and traffic for our liking. The last time we were here it was in September and much quieter in certain areas. We will try to make it back this way again in the fall, after school is back in session and the tourists are fewer.

The Travato handled beautifully, no problems at all. We averaged just over 16 miles per gallon.

We are back at home for now but will be leaving in a couple of weeks to make a one month long trip to Minnesota.

……….

 

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Posted in August, Daily Post, July, Maine | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Little Maine Trip

The Brechtmobile has not been out since we returned from Iowa about two weeks ago. We have been busy acquainting ourselves with the ins and outs, doing some decorating and tweaking, getting our New Hampshire licence plates, and packing.

After living in a 34′ Class A RV for the last five years you would think I got this but it was hard deciding what I needed to pack for this smaller rig for a four day trip. Did I underpack? There is a lot of empty space yet.  We will see.

The NH/Maine border is only about two hours east of where we are in Swanzey, New Hampshire. We left around 9:00 AM and headed East stopping for coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts in Concord NH. Being able to park just about anywhere a car can park is such a treat! No more having to find a safe place to park, unhook the car, and then return and hook up again after. Which we wouldn’t have done here anyway just for coffee. Previously we would have just skipped it.

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Coffee Time

So, refreshed, we continued Eastward. Our first stop was for lunch in York, Maine. Seafood was a must, so we picked Fisherman’s Dock. I had lobster stew, which was wonderful, and Bernie had the grilled salmon.

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Lobster Stew at Fisherman’s Dock

After lunch we drove up the Atlantic coast to see what was happening.

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York, Maine

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York, Maine

It was a beautiful day, a Monday. The beach was packed with people, traffic was heavy, and there was NO parking for us, so we kept on going. We were also hoping to see a cliff walk that is supposed to be so beautiful but parking was by permit only (for the locals) and the public parking was filled up there too.

We have been here before but must have been at an off time because it was not like this.

We were able to find a place to park at the Neddik Lighthouse. This is a popular tourist stop with a small parking lot. A steady line of cars drove through the parking lot and right out again with no luck.

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Cape Neddik

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Neddik Lighthouse

We had enough of this so made our way to our campground reservation. Aaaahhh, relaxation.

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Pinederosa Campground, #L7

……………..

 

Posted in Daily Post | 1 Comment

Our New Wheels

We had already decided the Travato 59K made by Winnebago Industries was the perfect camper for us from now on. We searched 100 miles in every direction around our town and found only a few for sale. But none were just right for one reason or another. For the amount of money these cost we were not going to settle for less than what we wanted. These are built in Forest City, Iowa. The manufacturer does not sell them directly but a dealer, Lichtsinn RV, is one mile from the factory and sells the Winnebago RV’s so we contacted them and secured the perfect one for us at a good price. And they would accept our current RV in trade. So ROAD TRIP

This was not a leisurely vacation, we were on a mission. Forest City is 1,500 miles from our house. It took us four days to get there, driving the big rig on Interstate 90 most of the way. The trip was mostly uneventful.

Lichstinn RV has several parking spots with electricity for their customers so we parked there when we arrived and plugged in. The next morning our Travato was parked next to us and we got our first look at it. It was perfect! By the end of the day all the paperwork was done and we transferred all of our belongings from the old to the new.

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Old vs. New

And we made some new friends also getting their Travatos! One drove in from Michigan and the other drove all the way from North Carolina to make the trade. Customers come here from all 50 states to buy their Winnebagos.

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New Friends

On the way home we drove a bit of the Great River Road down the Mississippi River before turning and going back east. It was another four days of driving but it was a lot more fun than the trip west. The Travato handles very well and is a joy to drive.

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On the Great River Road

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The Great River Road

We stopped briefly at the RV/Motorhome Museum in Elkhart, Indiana. We have been here before but stopped again just for kicks.

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RV/MH Hall of Fame

We got a kick out of seeing this old hippie-style camper bus. My, how things have changed.

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Different Generations

The Travato is only 21 feet long. This allows us to buy gasoline at any gas station and go anywhere and park anywhere a car can go; places we would have bypassed before.

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Overlooking Lake Erie

It’s easier now going the back roads and the two-lane state highways, roads we thought twice about previously. Vermont is gorgeous! And this saved us several miles that we wold have had to drive had we stuck to the Interstates.

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Driving Through Vermont

And now we can park the camper in the garage! It was a tight fit!  🙂

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A Few Inches to Spare

Once we unpack and repack in a more thoughtful and efficient manner we will be taking more local trips throughout the summer and fall. In the winter we have bigger plans.

The big camper got about 7.5 miles per gallon. I think we got about double that but we need to check it out further. The Travato is built on a Dodge Ram ProMaster 36L 280 horsepower V6 front wheel drive gas powertrain.

More to come!

Posted in Daily Post, June | Tagged | 6 Comments

Upsize Downsize

BIG CHANGES

I know, I know, it’s been ages since my last post.  So much has happened, let me fill you in.

We arrived in Southwest New Hampshire the first week of April and are now renting a house!  That’s right, our days of living full time in our RV are over. We decided that we like it right where we are so this is where we will set roots. So, upsizing! Much of our time has been spent moving everything from the RV to the house (who knew we still had so much stuff?), fixing up the house, gathering furniture and more stuff, and of course spending precious time with our family.

And, yes, the RV is for sale!  Let me know if you are interested! We’ll give you a good deal.

2010 Itasca Sunova 33C

And as long as we plan on being here for a while we have become official New Hampsire citizens.

New Hampshirite!

Some of our time has been in New Haven, Connecticut, while our daughter finished up her PhD at Yale!  Woo! We have a doctor in the family. Yale is such a beautiful campus. But it’s doubtful that we will be back to see it again.

Yale University

Of course the MAIN reason we have settled here is this little guy:

Our Grandson

There is a fair amount of wildlife around here. I spotted this little fella in our back yard! We have seen fox, deer, turkeys, raccoon, and a bobcat. Hope to spot a moose one of these days, have heard reports of sightings. There are black bear around too, but probably (hopefully) will not see one in our yard.

Porcupine

BUT we are not done traveling!  Nope.  We have been a lot of places over the last five years or so, but there is more to see.  And since we have a house now, and we don’t feel like driving that bus any more, we are switching to a much smaller and more agile camper-van very similar to this one. So downsizing!

Winnebago Travato

We will be going to Iowa to pick it up in about a month from now. I will be blogging that! There will be other shorter, more local trips around New England; and perhaps a big road trip from New Hampshire to Los Angeles, California, and back to New Hampshire his winter. So stay tuned.

Posted in Daily Post | 15 Comments

Here We Go!

The north is calling! The winter snowbird season is coming to an end and so we have begun our trek back up to New Hampshire for the summer. But we don’t want to go north too fast, it’s still cold and snowy up there. After spending a couple of months at Gulf Shores State Park on the Gulf of Mexico we only went about 20 miles to the Escapees Rainbow Plantation just west of Foley AL for a few days.

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Escapees Rainbow Plantation, Summerdale AL

The annual Foley BBQ and Blues festival was great! Got us some good BBQ there!

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Foley BBQ and Blues

On a different day we went to an arts and craft festival at Fairhope AL. The Azalea Trail Maids were there too. They are a group of high school seniors chosen yearly to serve as “Official Ambassadors” for the city of Mobile AL. They were being interviewed by local media when we saw them.

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Azalea Trail Maids at Fairhope AL

After a few days around the Foley and Mobile AL area we ventured a bit further north, spending one free overnight at the Wind Creek Casino at Atmore, Alabama, and a couple other one night stays in small RV parks by Montgomery AL and Fort Payne AL.

Right now we are in an RV park very near Chattanooga Tennessee. How could we resist a visit to the Chattanooga Choo Choo? It was a real train, and is now a train car hotel. Each Pullman Train Car has been converted into a nice hotel room with a queen size bed. And there is a dining car too. Cool.

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Chattanooga Choo Choo

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Chattanooga Choo Choo Pullman Car Hotel Rooms

We enjoyed Chattanooga very much. It’s a very nice little city. Just outside the city is Lookout Mountain. You can get to the top by car or take the Incline Railway–The World’s Steepest Passenger Railway. This has been designated as both a National Historic Site and a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

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Incline Railway, Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga TN

At the top of the mountain is Point Park – Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, a ten acre memorial park overlooking the city.

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Point Park, Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga TN

After that we drove back downtown and across the Tennessee River to the “North Shore.” We got a kick out of the dance steps they had in various places along the sidewalks.

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The Hokey Pokey

Coolidge Park, a waterfront park on the North Shore (of the Tennessee River), was busy with people on this nice Saturday afternoon. The park features a beautifully restored 100-year-old carousel, a Pavilion, and an interactive play fountain. The water has not been turned on yet so I was able to get this shot of one of the fountain animals with the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge.

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Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge, Coolidge Park, Chattanooga TN

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Coolidge Park Carousel

Hundreds of people were enjoying a walk on the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge across the Tennessee River. We did too.

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Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge

Naturally, the Chattanooga Choo Choo song is stuck in my head now.

  • Distance from Gulf Shores AL:  426 miles
  • Lodging 11 days:  $305
  • Gasoline:  $130
  • Distance to get to New Hampshire: 1055 miles to go
Posted in Alabama, Daily Post, Tennessee | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments