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August 2006

Tuesday, August 1

Mac had made an appointment in Santa Rosa to get the dash air-conditioner fixed for this morning. Heíll write about it in greater detail. While he went to do that I decided to finally do the laundry. Iíd seen the laundry yesterday during one of our drives and figured this would be a great time to get it done.

After doing the laundry I visited the local thrift store in Calistoga. Itís small but has some great items and really good prices, especially considering that this is Napa Valley. After I finished shopping I drove back to the park and waited for Mac to return.

We both are very tired today for some reason. So after lunch I relaxed with a book in the bedroom. Mac finished working for the day and then he joined me for a much needed and desired nap. The rest of the day has been spent goofing off, relaxing outside, updating the blog, etc. Isnít goofing off just the greatest thing in the world? Itís nothing to write about but it is sure fun to do.

We promised photos!  Here are photos from the Southern Oregon and Northern California coastline

More from the Northern California coastline

Some from the Redwood Forest


August 2 - 8

I know, I know, we're way behind on the blog.  Sorry all.  We've been pretty busy with work, and play, and maintenance, but enough of our excuses...


Following is one of Chris' patented mega updates!  And I still owe you photos and some details on RV repairs and wine tasting.


Wednesday, August 2


After work today Mac and I went to see Old Faithful Geyser of California.

Itís a geyser not far from Calistoga. Neither of us have seen a geyser before so it was very interesting to see one in action. When you pay your entrance fee youíre given a sheet of information regarding it. Did you know that there are only 3 geysers in the world designated ďold faithfulĒ? These are geysers that perform at regular intervals.

While waiting for the ďregularĒ bigger eruption we did see several smaller eruptions from the geyser. Some scientist believe that these smaller eruptions are good earthquake indicators. Later in the evening we felt a very tiny earthquake, I donít think it even lasted a full one second; just a tiny tremor. But it was fun to wonder if the smaller eruptions weíd seen today were signals that an earthquake was coming; and if so was this the earthquake or just a warning? Later we learned that there was a 4 something earthquake down around San Francisco.

Mac got to grill out hamburgers this evening for dinner and they were so good; much better than any burger joint could ever make! Itís great to be able to cook outdoors again. We are really enjoying it in this area of California. The weather is nice, not too hot at all. Today was the warmest with a high of 89, that itís predicted to be all week so this isnít too bad at all. The nights cool off quickly and are nice and cool so itís great sleeping weather. The days donít get warm until afternoon so the heat doesnít last long at all; wonderful weather so far.

Sunday, August 6

We goofed off a lot this morning around the RV but we finally got ourselves in gear and headed out to play tourist. We drove over to Santa Rosa, parked the car and walked around the downtown area. Every year the city has a tribute to Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip. This yearís tribute is titled ďThe Summer of WoodstockĒ and there are statues around town of Woodstock. There are supposed to be over 70 Woodstock statues around town. Last year there were 55 Charlie Brown statues I read. Hereís a link to pictures of both years statues:

We had a great time walking around, visiting shops, bookstores and finding a few of the statues. We had a late lunch while there in a middle eastern restaurant; I canít recall the name of it though. We had such a good time visiting the town that we didnít go anywhere else. We had planned on driving down to see the Golden Gate Bridge but we were having too much fun in Santa Rosa to leave.

Monday, August 7

I printed out a map of Santa Rosa and wrote down the addresses for all the thrift stores that I want to visit. So today armed with better information than I had taken last time I went shopping. I managed to find most of the thrift stores that I wanted to visit. Most were located in the ďsuburbsĒ and there were big signs so they were easy to find. The ones downtown are harder to find unless you have the exact address; there are no big signs out, only a sign on the building itself or just a sign in the window.

One store I visited was a Goodwill outlet store. They have rolling tables/bins that are very long and about 6-12 inches deep. These tables are filled with stuff including boxes and bags of stuff. You just dig through all the stuff looking for what you want. I found lots of books. I picked up a laundry basket and put the books I was interested in into the basket. When I was finished I had a basket full of books. The cashier and I agreed on a price of $10 for all the books, what a bargain!

I had a great time shopping, looking for hidden treasures, etc. I also loved driving down residential streets and admiring all the pretty landscape and flowers in peoples yards. The weather here is wonderful for growing flowers, especially roses. There are so many beautiful roses around. Iíve missed seeing all the beautiful roses. It used to be almost impossible to grow roses in Florida so there arenít many around. There are more and more around but its minute compared to out here in California. So Iíve really enjoyed seeing all the colors of roses blooming.

After a great full day of shopping I returned home to the RV. Iím getting used to the roads too, all the twist and curves, narrow in places, etc. Itís a pretty drive on either of the roads and there is a lot to see during the drive.

Mac ran out and bought steak for dinner tonight. Thereís a cut of beef that is popular here, tri-tips and weíve enjoyed the flavor and texture immensely. Hereís a link to an article regarding beef tri-tips:   Hereís a link from Oregon regarding the cut:   So another great day has ended.

Weíve loved the weather here, even on the days when itís been hot. The heat doesnít start until after noon and quickly disappears in the evening; so there may be only a few hours when the day is hot. The nights are cool, great sleeping weather. So far, weíve been fortunate that only a couple of days were in the 90ís, the rest have been in the 80ís and have been absolutely wonderful.

Tuesday, August 8

Mac made an appointment to take the RV in this morning to a repair shop in St. Helena. Heís been worried about some loss of power in the engine and other items so he wanted to get it checked out. So we drove over to the repair shop this morning taking both vehicles. We always take both vehicles because you never know how long they may need to keep the RV and weíd need the car if it turns out to be more than a day. Once it was determined what to ďfixĒ on the RV and approximately how long it would take I left for a few hours. I drove over to the town of Napa and looked around. Of course, I had not written down the addresses to the thrift stores located there so I had no clue where they were at. Youíd think Iíd learn by now, wouldnít you? But I continued on in my own ignorant way. I found downtown Napa and itís very pretty too. It has many restored/updated buildings that are now thriving shops. There were many shoppers out when I was driving through. I really enjoyed driving around and seeing all the interesting buildings.

One of the items weíve noticed and thought is very attractive is a newer trend in the constructing of highways. In several of the cities that weíve driven through either the walls along the highway or the overpasses would have some design that is appropriate to the area. In Dallas Texas several of the overpasses had a single star, in Amarillo there were the 2 boots for the double l in Amarillo. In Florida weíve seen walls that have a heron. In Albuquerque many of the walls have various Native American pictographs. There are many others that weíve seen. Here in Napa the walls have grapes and grape leaves. How cool is that!

So after the repair work was done on the RV we returned home or should I say where we are currently parked at the fairgrounds? We worked the rest of the day playing catch up on what didnít get done this morning. We then went to the grocery store and bought some precooked food for dinner. Neither of us wants to cook this evening and we donít want to go out to a restaurant. I should stop and mention the grocery store here in Calistoga at this point. Itís a great store named Cal-Mart Grocery & Deli; it has a good variety of items that arenít too pricey. Mac loves the meat section and has fallen in love with the tri-tips as mentioned earlier. Another service that they have is a large steamer table with various fully cooked foods. This is great for the tourist in the area who may not want to go to a restaurant; or folks like us who donít want to cook dinner. So we each picked out what we wanted and then picked up a few other needed items.

After dinner we sat around and enjoyed the evening. We visited with some people that are also staying here at the fairgrounds. They also have a Southwind RV that is almost a twin of ours. Theyíve been enjoying traveling around in a RV seeing various sites for several years. They arenít full-timers but they take many extended trips during the year. They also have a Porta-Bote that they carry with them. So it was nice to visit for a few hours and we picked up some good information regarding this type of boat, places to see, etc.

Wednesday, August 9:

We had our mail sent to the UPS center in Santa Rosa and it arrives today. Itís very warm today, about 93-96, which is a bummer. I donít handle heat very well, I like temperatures in the 70ís to low 80ís if Iím outdoors. There are many places in Santa Rosa that weíd like to go visit and if we didnít have to work we could visit them in the morning before it gets hot. But since we have to work and itís so hot today we didnít go visit the Luther Burbank Home and Gardens and enjoy walking around viewing the beautiful gardens. Hereís a virtual tour of the park: 

And hereís the city link to the park:  Also didnít get to go visit Railroad Square


So what did we do after we picked up our mail at the UPS? Why, we visited a thrift store, of course!  It was a great store too and had nice cool air-conditioning going. It was very close to the UPS center which is actually why we went there. Before heading back to Calistoga we stopped at a Safeway grocery store also. We really like these grocery stores. The prices are reasonable, quality is great, and the employees are very helpful. So another exciting day entered in the McClellan blog.

Thursday August 10 & Friday August 11:

I havenít done much these two days; just the usual work, doing laundry, etc. Mac has visited a few wineries while weíve been here these 2 weeks, and he will write about that soon. We found out that we canít stay in the park anymore starting Saturday; weíll have to check out. The park is fully reserved by folks that will be here for sprint car races. We finally figured out where weíll go since we really donít want to leave the area yet. Weíre going to head over to Travis AFB. That way we will still be close enough to visit San Francisco.

Friday evening we washed the RV. We havenít washed it since we were in Vegas and it is so covered in dust and just looks horrible. The washing was more of a lick and a promise wash; just a quick rinse, quick wipe with the brush and soapy water then rinse again. We hope to wash the RV thoroughly soon.

We have really enjoyed staying here and visiting the area. The weather has been great, there is much to see and do, especially if we didnít have to work and had more time! The people are very friendly too. Weíve met a lot of nice people. We definitely will visit this area again.

Saturday, August 12:

We hit the road this morning around 9:30. We donít have far to go to reach Travis AFB, only about 50 miles. We drove by several fields of vines and you can see the grapes hanging from the vines. We just had to stop and admire the grapes so we found a nice pull-off area and got out. The grapes are so pretty hanging from the vines.

We then drove on to Travis AFB and got set up on a camp site. You can see the RV Park as you enter the gate, thatís how close it is. At least it wonít be a long drive to get off the base when we go play tourist. The Commissary and BX are only a short distance away; both are large, well-stocked and open 7 days a week. Weíve already met several people in the park. Everyone is so friendly too.

There are a couple of bunny rabbits around in the park too. Two are flop-eared bunnies, and there are about 5 or 6 jack rabbits too. They are quite tame, you can walk right by them and they donít run away.

Wine Tours

As promised, I've written a few lines about my tours of Napa Valley wineries over the last couple of weeks.  You'll find it in our Miscellaneous Ramblings section at this link.  I've also included a couple dozen photos.


Sunday, August 13:

We drove to San Francisco today to see the sites. There is so much to see and do in this city!  We didnít get to see very many of the items on our list. We went to Chinatown, parked in a parking garage and headed out.

What an interesting place. A lot of the architecture is distinctly oriental; some are just plain buildings. We visited many stores, admired art in windows and in a few galleries, we listened to street musicians. We had a great time visiting there, we didnít even see half of it and we spent several hours there. Mac had asked for recommendations for lunch and we ate at an inexpensive restaurant that one of the store owners had recommended.

My only complaint is there arenít enough restrooms around for tourists. The pedestrian entrance and exit for the parking garage we used is at a small park. The line for the restroom there was incredibly long. In Chinatown all the restaurants have a sign posted that restrooms are for customers only. So to use the facilities we spent a lot of time being a customer in restaurants. Since most of the buildings are older they have stairs in them, the bathroom may have a sign stating that itís handicap accessible and it may have been redesigned to accommodate a wheelchair but how is that person supposed to get there up and down the stairs? We had a good chuckle about the stupidity of laws.

Seeing the time was flying we had to stop our tour of Chinatown and see a few other sites in San Francisco. We drove over to Lombard Street and lucked out on a great parking place. We watched several cars coming down the crookedest street in the US. Hereís a link:,_San_Francisco

We then headed out and drove along a scenic drive heading toward the Golden Gate Bridge. We admired all the beauty we saw of water, boats, buildings, etc. We finally arrived at the Golden Gate Park and had a great time. Our first stop in the park was at Crissy Field and the Golden Gate Promenade. It seems that from anywhere in the park it thereís a good view of Alcatraz Island, Angel Island, etc. Of course, our favorite view was of the bridge. We spent several hours in the park, walking the beach, walking on the fishing piers, visiting the gift stores, watching sail boats, etc. Itís a really nice place to visit, there were many locals out enjoying the day too; many families and friends having picnics on the several benches provided.

We really had a great time visiting San Francisco. We wish we could have seen more of the many places to visit but weíre getting tired so itís time to head back to the RV. We will be back to visit again, maybe not this trip, but we loved it and definitely plan to return.

Mac grilled us some tri-tips for dinner tonight. Weíve rested on our lawn chairs and visited with several neighbors as they walk by. The weather is wonderful this evening. Itís been a great day today.

More PICTURES from San Francisco

Monday, August 14 Ė Thursday, August 17:

As mentioned previously, weíre currently at Travis AFB RV Park which is very close to the base gate. Since we had arrived here on a Saturday, I was totally unprepared on Monday morning to be rudely awakened at 0700 by reveille.  I looked like someone from a comedy skit. Hereís this music blaring and my arms and legs were going every which way, blankets flying, the cat squalling from also being rudely awakened by my jumping up and all around in the bed. It was a real eye opening experience, let me tell you. I didnít need any caffeine that morning to wake me up.

Most of the rest of our stay here has been pretty tame compared to that first experience on Monday morning. Weíve been back to work, Iíve visited a few of the local thrift stores.

Wednesday afternoon Mac took the kitty over to a local vet heíd called for an appointment. Great vet too, kind and caring. He also sold us enough of K.C.ís allergy pills to get us back to Florida.

Thursday, after the workday was finished we visited the Jelly Belly Factory. We took the factory tour and then visited the gift shop. Of course, we bought jelly beans and other assorted candies. Itís a good tour and there were many children enjoying it too. Of course, most of them were there for the candy. We were there strictly to be educated and refused the free candy when it was offeredÖNOT!  Seriously, though it is a great fun place to visit, so if youíre ever in the area take the tour.  We donít have any pictures to post from our tour of the factory. We forgot to bring the camera but they donít allow any during the tour anyway.

After we finished the tour of Jelly Belly we went to Camping World and picked up a few things that we needed. We didnít stay there long because we have chocolate in the car and we donít want it to melt. So then itís back home to the RV to put away all the candy that we bought.

Saturday, August 19:

Weíre leaving Travis AFB today and heading back to Reno. We need to start moving back across country; we want to be around the San Antonio area in mid-to-late October for a convention, rally, meeting, whatever you want to call it.

We hit I-80 heading towards Sacramento; we could stay on the interstate the whole way but why would we do that? We chose to take a scenic byway and it only added about 70 miles to our journey and the views were spectacular! Mac had read also that I-80 is still a rough road with road construction needed and in progress in some areas.

From Sacramento we headed north, ultimately weíre going to get on Highway 70, the Feather River Scenic Byway. But on our way to there we are having some great views of things interesting to see. We passed through acres and acres of fruit and nut trees. There are many trees with smallish pink/purple fruit that can be seen from the road. We learned that they were plums. These plums that weíve seen are for the making of prunes. We also saw nectarines, olive trees, and many other orchards. We stopped at an orchardís roadside fruit stand with a large parking area. The fruit and vegetables that we bought were grown right at this orchard. There are many orchards that you can stop at and buy from but many of their parking lots arenít big enough for our long rig.

After enjoying lunch we continued on north and got on Highway 70, the Feather River Scenic Byway. And is it ever scenic! This was a great drive along the river. There are many places to pull off and enjoy the view. We stopped at a rest area and it was somewhat easy for me to get down to the river. We kicked off our sandals and stepped into the very cold water. Aaaah, it feels good, after you get used to the coldness of the water of course. I even got to sit down on a rock with my feet in the water. This was awesome, the sun beating down on head and shoulders with the afternoon warmth and the icy cold water on my feet. This area has a small beach that sparkles with gold, foolís gold that is. Mac had to prove to me that it wasnít real gold. I was ready to start panning and stay for days.

We continued on and went through small tunnels, climbed mountains, viewed awesome vistas and had a thoroughly relaxing enjoyable drive through the area. Hereís a link from byways regarding the area:   If you planned on camping in this area I would recommend west of Quincy CA. East of Quincy the area is less mountainous. Hereís another website from Plumas County that includes camping, eating, things to do, etc. 

We left Highway 70 and continued on another scenic byway, Highway 89, heading over to Truckee CA. This road has some great views also. On this road the climb is much higher into the mountains; I think we were at 6,000 on this climb. Many Ponderosa pines, and some trees that looked like Sequoia, we donít know if they were, they had that odd look to the bark that sequoias have though.

From Truckee we got back on I-80 and continued on to our destination. Weíre stopped in Verdi Nevada at the Boomtown Casino free RV parking area.

Thursday, August 31

To answer everyone's questions:

1.  Yes, it's been a long time since we posted

2.  No, we haven't stopped Full-Timing

3.  Yes, everything is fine, thanks for asking

4.  What have we been doing? 

  • Get up at 5am

  • Work about 8 hours

  • Go to the casino about 2pm

  • Gamble until about 9pm 

  • Somehow find time to eat a free dinner

  • Go to bed

  • Repeat 

We planned to leave here a week ago, but then Chris hit a progressive Royal Flush on a Quarter machine for $1700, so we stayed another week.  Leaving for sure (we think) on Saturday or Sunday.  Plan calls for Salt Lake City, Hill AFB, probably the Tetons, Yellowstone, Black Hills, and points East.


Many more posts and lots of photos to come.  Come back and see us -- we'll soon be on the road again!


Here's the camping fees report as of August.  We really blew the budget this month.  We paid for 11 days at Napa County Fairgrounds and 7 days at Travis AFB.  Compared to last year, we've had more days hooked up, and more free days, but we're averaging higher cost per night.  Must mean we're staying in more expensive parks?  Yep.  That's true.  Still, 111 nights free so far, that's pretty good. 


Year Avg $ per Nite # Dry # Elect # FHU # Free %Dry % Free
2006 to date $8.53 118 20 102 111 49% 46%
About this time last year $8.05 157 17 69 86 65% 35%

Continue to September 2006

What did we do last August?  Click here for August 2005

This is a "reverse blog", so earlier posts will be found above -- also see left sidebar for the blog archive index

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