By Valerie Coffey
This has been the “Summer of National Parks” on our US tour via motorcoach — Arches, Grand Canyon, Smokey Mountains, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, Badlands! And National Parks mean WILDLIFE! Our summer has been a glorious one with agreeable weather, beautiful RV parks, incredible scenery and lots and lots of amazing wildlife.
My favorite wildlife sighting was our first mountain goat in Glacier National Park — and I just happened to catch it all on video!
I love animals. To me, it isn’t much of a vacation until you see the wildlife. Mitch will attest that I walk down trails, calling, “Mountain goats, where are you?!” or “Now is a good time for bighorn sheep to appear, hint, hint!” And sometimes it works. Here are some neat amateur pictures and videos captured by Mitch and I.
Mountain goats and bison and bears, oh my!
By Valerie Coffey
When Mitch and I planned over a year ago to visit San Francisco on our year-(plus)-long RV trip, spending time in the city was not the goal. We were in the area to pick up a friend and abscond to enjoy Napa’s wine country on Memorial Day weekend. The City by the Bay on a holiday weekend is a crush of traffic and tourists, which should be avoided…by everyone.
But as we got closer, my friend had to cancel and we decided to see the City by the Bay. So we designated one day, Thursday, to spend exploring.
San Francisco is like a home of sorts to me; I’ve been there numerous times since middle school for field trips from my then-hometown of Reno, for business conferences, and visits to see a college friend. I can feel my way around the city fairly well.
Mitch had been to the city for business, but he never had time to see much. So, it was up to me (Valerie) to plan the perfect one-day SFO experience for Mitch. My plan can work for anyone. So here it is!
As we move along in nearly 9 months of full-time RV travel, Mitch and I are often asked whether we have made progress in one of our key missions of the trip: finding another place to live that is warmer and cheaper than New England. With palm trees. Within commuting distance of a major airport for Mitch’s work and our continued wanderlust. Big enough community to keep it entertaining and convenient. Far enough away from a big city so that we can afford a big backyard space with a pool. Proximity to skiing is a plus.
As a matter of fact, we have narrowed down our choices somewhat! Here’s a little recap of our favorite and not-so-favorites.
You get what you pay for.
Mitch and I agree: In the contest of the music festivals between Coachella in Southern California versus South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, Coachella wins hands down. Here’s why.
By Valerie Coffey
Death Valley is one of America’s most “to die for” National Parks, and it’s one of my favorite places in the world. I’ve visited the park perhaps nine times in four decades. It’s a must-see National Park if you like natural beauty, mountains, the desert, or history. Here’s why:
Death Valley, situated about three hours west of Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert, is a region of extremes — it is the lowest in elevation, the hottest in temperature and the driest in recorded rainfall in North America. It’s also one of the quietest places, and perhaps the darkest region of the U.S. at night. It’s not so much a single desert valley as much as a region consisting of several valleys, plateaus, and mountain ranges in Eastern California’s Mojave Desert. Its name comes from pioneers (the Lost 49ers), who struggled to cross this part of the frontier in 1849. The hottest air temperature ever recorded on Earth is 134°F (57°C), which occurred July 10, 1913 at Furnace Creek Ranch, which is #1 on my list:
This is just one of too many stories to count about break downs in RVs … but just like us they are still loving the life!
I must admit it has been rather a MIXED BAG since our last post, we reached California:
Saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever witnessed in Trinidad:
and reached San Francisco:
We caught up with our gorgeous friend Bonnie who works at Skywalker sound- GEORGE LUCAS’S studio, and mixes sound for Disney films:
On leaving San Francisco we got about 14 miles South on highway 1 and broke down going up a hill…. Our ‘marvellous’ breakdown company ‘Good Sams’ turned out to be devils in disguise and refused to help tow us off the highway for TWO DAYS!!!!!!! (Don’t worry, a sternly worded email has been written, received, and apologies have been made)… We ended up with a parking fine and a warning from the SHERIFF that he would tow us off the hill in 72 hours:
Luckily Good Sams…
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