Almost the Whole Pacific Coast - Winter/Spring 2016 travel blog

Lake Mead

Lake Mead

our campsite

solar farm

Is that snow?


Today’s route looked straight on the map, but we haven’t driven so many twists and turns since we left Maritime Canada. By the end of the day nearly all the clothes in closet were on the ground and we found a white plastic piece and a piece of molding in the hall. We have no idea where either piece came from, but it’s bound to become obvious eventually. A half day drive took us through three states, two time zones and altitudes that ranged from 300 to 3,500 feet. Once again we were surprised. We are trying to be more cognizant of elevation changes, but it’s impossible to check every point along the planned driving route. We bought diesel for $1.91 and gloated later when we saw diesel for $3.30. When we head to the Pacific Coast, that’s the price range we’ll be dealing with in California. We wonder what the price was before the barrel price of oil plummeted. If we’re ever going to visit California, this is the time to do it. We had a vague notion of starting in southern California, stopping at national parks like Sequoia and Yosemite that we haven’t seen in over forty years and then heading north. But looking at those elevations has given us pause. Camping in snow is what we left home to get away from. Our ultimate goal is Vancouver Island and we’ve been reading that temperatures there are milder much earlier in the late winter. Perhaps with diesel more affordable than usual, this will be the year to double back and visit those parks at the very end of this trip. It’s hard to decide; no wonder most people just take a tour.

When we visit an area for the first time, we often look at campgrounds as we mosey around to discover a great spot for a return visit. When we drove around Lake Mead the last time we were in Las Vegas, we found such a campground and are delighted to be camped overlooking the bright blue waters of the lake and the colorful hills around it. Even though El Niño has sent some extra liquid to the Pacific Coast the winter, the large ring of white above the water line, still dramatically illustrates how much the water level has fallen. Our campsite was at the water’s edge once upon a time. Now we would have to walk about half a mile to get our toes wet.

After a few days of boondocking, it’s nice to have full hook-ups, even though our new batteries were up to the challenge of not being plugged in. In the bright sunshine the three solar panels on our roof kept us at full charge until the sun set. Then a little augmentation from the generator, kept things humming. We left Quartzsite with enough water on board for a few more nights of thrifty living, which will be what we need when we boondock again for a longer period of time at the fireworks festival in Lake Havasu. But now that we have full hookups, the washing machine is churning and we had a dinner that involved a micro wave, toaster oven and coffee pot all running at the same time. No more one pot meals for us.

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