San Fransisco, CA


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 27-10-2008

Using Napa as our home base, we drove the highway into San Francisco via Oakland, saving the Golden Gate Bridge for the return trip. We parked near Fisherman’s Wharf and walked and walked, taking in all the smells of the sea. Hoards of people selling crabs and shrimp surrounded us as we made our way to a restaurant over looking the ocean. The waiter started us off with a loaf of sourdough bread and I can’t remember a time it tasted so wonderful. With the exception of Nikki who had a hamburger (and she’s our “pasta-vegetarian!) we all enjoyed a delicious seafood lunch.

After our meal, we waited in line for the much anticipated cable car ride. We jumped on and rode to the end. Ken, Andrew and Nikki sat on the outside and sucked in their stomachs as other cable cars passed by closely and swiftly. We all jumped off at the very end and walked through an amazing mall full of expensive designer shops, saranated by holiday music (isn‘t it a bit early??) Nikki was in heaven and wanted to simply camp out for hours but alas, we needed to hop back on the cable car before dark so we had to literally DRAG her out of the mall!

We lured Nikki out of the mall with the mention of Ghirardelli and CHOCOLATE!! We all enjoyed a yummy and oh so high calorie desert at the famed Ghirardelli ice cream shop and the kids loaded up on chocolate, their “Halloween candy” for the season!

We departed SFO on route to the famous Golden Gate Bridge. The kids were SO excited! The day was beautiful with white puffy clouds and a soft warm breeze. Seeing this magnificent human endeavor is something one can tire of seeing. We parked on the north side of the bridge at the overlook and just took it all in. Breathtaking.

Our next visit into SFO included a stop at “Heaven on Earth”, Sausalito. This little town on the bay is densely populated with little quaint houses and some newer more ambitious endeavors. The little shops that dot the streets are full of wonderful colorful things – nothing that one really needs but fun to look at anyway. Ken and I stopped by the restaurant that was the site of our first “real” date. (Ken surprised me and flew me from Los Angeles to San Francisco so we could have dinner overlooking the water in Sausalito. Any question on why I married this man??)

We left Sausalito for a much more ethnic locale, Chinatown!! Ken is of the opinion that when in a town such as this, eat where the locals eat, the more crowded the better. We lunched at a place where I still am not quite sure what it was we consumed but it was yummy nonetheless. We dodged the raindrops and headed to a wonderful “hands on” museum near Golden Gate Park called Exploratorium. Wow!! Fun for children and adults alike. We got to run inside a tornado, create an earthquake and see how it is that we really can’t listen if we are occupied with ANY other activity other than simply listening. Pretty darn cool!

On our way back to Napa, we surprised our new friends from Canada. They were happy to see us and we them as we chatted away while the kids jumped right back into their new friendships. We helped them with their trek through California, ensuring they skip their plan for Barstow and trade it for a more fun week in Malibu! Good thing we got to them when we did!

The kids won’t soon forget this wonderful city, San Francisco!

Napa, CA


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 27-10-2008

“Days of wine and roses laugh and run away, like a child at play.”  Ahhhh!  Napa Valley!  We arrived to beautiful weather (hot actually) and warmed our bones after some cool weather in the more northern parts of California.  Ken did his homework and found a fantatic campground which was on the Napa Valley fairgrounds.  With only 18 sites, it was one of the cleanest little campgrounds we have stayed, so far!  One of Gretch’s best buddies, Betsy, lives in Napa and is “in the know” about everything happening in the region.  We met up with Betsy and her two children at St. Helena High to watch a Friday night football game – something we really wanted to do on this trip.  While St. Helena lost,  it was such fun to watch a good ole’ HS football game.  The next day, Betsy toured us around Napa, taking us to quaint coffee shops (is that Mrs. Mondavi sipping a cappucino?) and famous wineries.  One winery was literally a castle.  It was like walking around the grounds of a midevil city in Europe.  Our next winery included a tram ride up a steep hill – a big hit with the kids.   After laying our some serious cash, we all got some little (teeny weeny) samples of their various wines and the kids got to sample some apple juice.  It was a lot of fun but we will save our money next time and just buy some wine at the store!  We also got together with an old friend from high school, Cheryl Davidson and her son Drew.  She met up with us and we visited an old grist mill.  It was tucked into the hillside of Napa and was so interesting to see how they milled flour in the “old days!’  Cheryl hopes to take an RV trip with son Drew so it was great to share with her what we have learned so far.  Go for it Cheryl!!  Napa was a great location for us to visit San Francisco and my all time favorite city, Sausalito!

Redwoods, CA


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 24-10-2008

“WOW!!  I have never seen such HUMONGOUS trees!” exclaims our 9 year old Lauren (Poohnut).  She was right – the redwoods were nothing short of amazing,  Stellar really.  Emerging from the ground as if they had an appointment in heaven.  We camped at a super cool campground, among the groves of trees.  One of the things that made it “cool” was the playground.  It included a fort which only a kid could design.  We spent several hours just taking in the fresh smell of the trees and watching the kids play (after school of course!)  One of our favorite memories is playing pool in the game room.  We are a family of pool players, in case you didn’t know!  At least, we act like we are!  It was such fun to see the kids take on Ken and myself at the pool table.    And, we learned not to mess with Poohnut at the air hockey table.  Whew!!  We met a great couple who were hosting at the RV park.  We shared our dream of living in Brazil again one day and they got so excited!!  They are inspired to do the same one day!! We shall see if our roads come together again one day! Now off to the wine country, a location which has ranked at the top of my list for months!

Eureka, CA


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 22-10-2008

Eureka!  The last time I was in Eureka was in 1975 when I was a teenager.  I can still remember the intense smell of all the paper mills.  You couldn’t escape it. With an attitude typical of a 15 year old know-it-all, I barely got out of the car!  This visit was a lot less smelly but nontheless interesting.  We had no reservations and thought we would just “wing it”, a term my husband has grown very fond of lately.  We found a giant parking lot which doubled as a campground.  On the postiive side, it was right on the bay and we had a beautiful view.  We met some unique folks, aka “rif raf”.  Walking through the town of Acadia (just outside Eureka and the town belonging to Humbolt State University) we came upon many shops selling LPs. Yes, old records are making a comeback, at least in the eyes of the follks in Eureka.  We also came upon many shops selling the paraphania for smoking plants, if you get my drift.  The town was a bit too sleepy for us (can we also call it a bit “unconsious”?) and while we enjoyed the view, we were ready to move on after a couple nights. . .

Oregon Coast


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 20-10-2008

 Beverly Beach

THE BEACH!!  THE BEACH!!  We finally arrived at the ocean and we were all SO darn excited!!  You would have thought we had never seen the ocean and in some ways, it felt like it.  We have been to so many places over the past four months and time just takes on its own dimensions.  We feel like we have been on the road for more like 2 years as our minds are so packed full of memories.

Our first campground on the Oregon coast was tucked into the redwoods.  It was a short walk to the beach.  Hobie came along with us and ran as if in the movie, “Born Free!”  The smell of sea air is one of the best in the world of smells and we all couldn’t get enough of it!

On our way to our next stop, we met a guy on a bicycle who stopped near us to check out the view.  He had a couple packs on his bike and we asked he why he had a hubcap tied to his packs.  He figured he needed to cart around something that was useless to make photos more interesting.  We nicknamed him, “Hub Cap Man.”  He was en route to Mexico just like us and was such a neat guy!

 Bullards Beach

This next stop was fun and we met some great people.  We met “Urban Cowboy” from Redding CA.  He was such an upbeat guy and was traveling with his wife and a bunch of friends.  Then there was Renee and her daughter Isabelle.  They owned a brand new Air Stream and were trekking acorss the United States with no agenda and no time frame.  Really great gals.  As we sat to have dinner, we noticed a bunch of bikers coming into the campground.  Could it be. . .HUB CAP MAN??  He and his buddies were camping and we got to talk with him more and find out about his life. 

The nearest town was “Bandon” and it was a cool little seaside town with a fishing pier.  Andrew wanted to go “crabbing” so we rented him a crab ring and let him loose on the pier.  All the guys on the pier took him under their wings and showed him different techniques for catching crabs along with donating some of thier zingers and kit kats.  Good group of guys.  Well, Andrew,  (now my very favorite son!) with six hours on the pier caught not one, not two but EIGHT crabbies!!  WHOO HOO!!  We all love crab so much (well Nikki is a bit indifferent) so we were excited beyond belief.  We cooked up the crab and donated TWO to Hub Cap man and his buddy, one to Renee and her daughter and another to our nice single neighbor next door and her dog Pierre.  You better believe after that success that we BOUGHT Andrew his VERY OWN crab ring!  What did he do the next day?  He went and caught FOUR more in just two hours!  We had crabs coming out of our ears!

 Harris Beach

Our next stop was our closest campground to the beach.  We had a great spot and a nice view of the big trees and the top of the ocean and the FOG.  We met the Giguere family (   from Canada who are also full time RVers.  They were such a great bunch and had two daughters, ages 9 and 12.  Nikki and Poohnut were BEYOND happy to find new friends and we didn’t see our daughers again until Sunday when the family were leaving the campground.  It was great to chat with another family who has this same dream of travelling the country with preteen children.  We made a big pancake breakfast for them on their departure day and it was sad to see them go.  BUT, their trek is similar to ours (including 3 months in Mexico) so we are planning on having our paths cross again. 

Andrew took off for another crabbing adventure.  His head was rather big from his quick success at the last locale and was hoping to duplicate his success in Brookings, the town nearest to Harris Beach.  His new crab ring unfortunately got caught on some rocks so we had to leave it there over night, hoping we could get a boater to help us bring it up the next day.  Well, the next day his ring was nowhere to be found.  Huh??!!  Where did it go?  Must have been a crab ring snatcher so it was CRAB RING PART TWO.  No luck in Brookings so we are looking forward to some beaches and bays in California for more crabs.  GO ANDREW!!

We depart Oregon was so many happy memories.  What a great state with some of the best state campgrounds!  We paid no more than $18 a night which was such a deal for what we got!  Highly recommend taking some time to visit this amazing state!

Now off to California where we look forward to paying state taxes again and a whole lot more for a campground. 

Portland, OR


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 13-10-2008

We really enjoyed visiting a city once again.  Portland is a wonderful town full of really cool little places to eat and shop.  What made it really special was a get together with Lauren’s second grade teacher from Arizona, Mrs. Olson.  She used to live in Portland and visits often as her husband, Whit, still works in the city. We met her and her husband at a funky cafe called the “Cadillac Cafe”.  Great find.  Lauren was so darn quiet at breakfast like she was sitting with the President.  Made me remember when I would run into my teacher when I was young.  I never knew they left the school!

As we were leaving the cafe, Mrs. Olson and Lauren called one of her best buddies in Arizona, Natalia.  Natalia was also in Mrs. Olson’s second grade class.  Talk about confusing the poor child!  She wondered how Lauren AND Mrs. Olson could be calling from the same place.  Sorry Natalia!

We took a drive into the city and walked all around.  Did I see a NORDSTOM??  Ken and Andrew visited the infamous “Voodoo Donut” shop as seen on the Anthony Bordain show (one of Ken’s heros).  What a gothic kind of place.  Ken bought some pretty funky donuts – like the one with a pretzel stick in he guy’s heart and the body bleeds out red jelly when you took a bite.  And then there was the Coco Puff donut or the Fruit Loop donut.  How about a peanut butter and bacon donut?  Did I hear YUM??  Quite a culinary experience to say the least!

Our campground was in what appeared to be an enchanted forest.  Very lush and beautiful, dark and damp!  Quite a change from dry arid weather of AZ.  Lauren loves the ideas of living deep in a forest so she played outside for hours among the ferns. 

We visited the nearby town so we could use the intenet and the kids could do their school work.  With so many darn trees, our motosat can’t reach the satelitte 22,000 miles up in the air.  Love the trees but they play havoc on our ability to communicate with the outside world!  The little espresso place was cool and the owner, Linda, shared with us the adventure of her godsister.  She is travelling around the world on a BOAT with FOUR kids!!  Made our adventure seem a bit more tame!  We also visited the used book store and picked up a bunch of cool books at a dollar a book. Such a deal! 

Now to the OCEAN which we have been wanting to see since DAY ONE! 

Mt. Hood, OR


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 10-10-2008

As we left the Columbia River, we headed up, up and away to Mt. Hood.  Our friend, David Keys, said this is a “MUST” so we decided to take a detour en route to Portland this famous Hood!  One of the goals of this RV trip is to stay in shorts and t-shirts as much as possible.  Well, this “detour” involved hauling out the BIG winter coats!  Man!!  At first, we were squealing about how beautiful the light snowfall was.  It gave us an early feeling of the holiday season and a warmth in our hearts!  Then as we turned to visit Timerline Lodge (again a “must see” according to our friend David) the snow starting getting heavier and the temperature was dropping.  I was SO afraid of SLIDING our big mama down the slick hills.  Ken seemed so calm (doesn’t he always??) so I remained calm.  Finally we parked at the lodge and got out to exlplore.  It was SOOOOO cold, definitely NOT t-shirt weather!  Hobie got his first taste of a snowball and you would think we fed him a ribeye steak.  It was a lot of fun and we are glad we make the trek, even though we risked our lives and our RV! 

Columbia River OR


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 10-10-2008

Our entry into Oregon was a beautiful one.  We camped at a little spot on the Columbia River.  This area is world famous for its kite sailing.  The wind blows almost every day on this river and people simply surf or sail, using the power of the wind.  It’s a really neat thing to watch.  Across the river was Washington State which the kids thought was so cool ( and so did I!)  The kids had such fun playing at this simple campground.  They found a plum tree and collected enough for us all to eat for days (and days!)   Andrew, Nikki and Poohnut loved playing, “King of the Hill’ where the goal is to be the last one standing on a big hill.  The game yeilded some very dirty offspring in need of showers!!  Next stop, Portland!

Hells Canyon, ID


Posted by whalerho | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 08-10-2008

We had such a great time in Boise visiting Aileen and Veronica’s family. Veronica’s husband, Scott, suggested we try a “very cool campground” in Hell’s Canyon developed by the Idaho Power Company. While he said it was one of the nicest he has ever stayed in, we didn’t expect campground utopia!

It was so beautiful and clean.  We were right on the Snake River which made my fisherman son very happy!  Ken and Andrew fished away the hours.   Andrew perservered and returned to the RV with a GIGANTIC fish.  What the heck kind of fish, I could not tell.  Many of the people in the campground crowded around to congratulate him on his catch.  Seems the fish was a “carp”.  While it was quite impressive, it didn’t make for very good eating.  SO many bones!!  Good try Andrew and good try Ken for thinking of ways of cooking it! 
After morning school, the girls were entralled with the rocks and flowers and make up little areas as their “houses”.  Simple days. . .
Our views in the morning were nothing short of spectacular.  The name of this canyon should be  really be “Heaven’s Gate” as it made your soul soar upwards!  Definitely one of our favorites.