Category: Vacation

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Food for the soul

Iceland, so many thoughts and experiences wrapped up in a short 8 days. A land that on one hand seems barren and like another planet carries with it the awe of the wonders of nature and the potential for life after what seems unthinkable in the volcanic activity. Iceland hosts 30 active volcanic systems. Black sand beaches are some of the tourist attractions in this country. Really, I wonder, are there any white-sand beaches in Iceland? The roads, the ground, the beaches -seems all comprised of this black molten material. The after-effects of the volcanic activity comprise the countryside. How can such devastation result in such beauty? It’s a different beauty, a beauty that you see and feel at once and is awe-inspiring in so many ways. There are waterfalls and rivers everywhere. An abundance of the most delicious water is available at every tap. There is a green moss that covers the ground. When you walk on it it has a spongy feel and seems to bounce right back. (I’m not saying this would be true if there were tourists walking all over it). I sought out areas where I could explore without the throngs of tourists. I did visit a number of the tourist areas which were beyond spectacular but the real enjoyment was from experiencing nature on a hike with no one in sight. Climbing to the top of a hill and seeing this green moss or listening for the running water and trying to get to the source of the flow and see the waterfalls all over the place. There is a certain magic to this country. The wonders of nature, of God, of trolls, or magic whatever you believe. Maybe a combination of all of the above. The timing of this trip was perfect and...

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Iceland -what an adventure

I could write for days about my adventures, experiences, encounters, observations, and overall feelings about visiting Iceland. Maybe I will write for days on this topic but for now, I will just summarise some thoughts and experiences from my visit that came to an end far too quickly. I was fortunate enough to manage two mini trips to Iceland within a two-week span. The break between trips was great for making more educated plans for my second go around. Let me start by summarising my overall impressions before the memories start to fade a little. On one hand, the countryside through a bus or a taxi window at times seemed dark and dreary and at other times intriguing and green. The weather was predictably unpredictable. Any Icelander would tell you to wait 5 minutes for the next weather pattern. I experienced, rain, sun, wind (gusting cold wind) and a repeat of all of the above frequently within the span of a couple of hours. My return trip to Iceland had remarkably stable good weather for 3 out of the 5 days which seems pretty rare as patterns go per the locals. Overall, visiting in early October seemed a good move. On average the temperature was in the high 30s to low 40s during the day and the rain when it came was gone within 10-20 minutes. The only time the temperature really felt cold was when the winds picked up and by picked up I mean, almost pick you up – or blew you over!! Those winds!! I like to sleep with my window open at night wherever I am and Iceland was no different. I was conscientious and of course, turned off the radiant heat in my accommodations. I was also fortunate enough to not have direct wind coming...

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Planning a trip when you fly standby!

As an airline employee, I have the privilege of being able to fly for free or at a significant discount.  This sort of travel, as luxurious and free-spirited as it sounds, is not without its share of potential stress if allowed to be a part of the packing list. Flexibility is key as is being able and willing to change plans as needed. I have an annual trip I take to the UK during the first part of October. This year I decided it would be nice to break the journey into smaller segments. Really I was just considering visiting my friends in Toronto and then heading on to the UK. As I looked at the routing I discovered that Reykjavík, Iceland was an interim point between Canada and the UK. The bright idea occurred to me to spend a few days in Iceland on the way to the UK. The planning of a trip like this entails checking loads/availability on flights and working out the timing to coordinate with less busy air travel times. I work at the Oakland airport. The closest airport for an international destination is San Francisco but the flights to Toronto were full so I decided to fly with my airline to LAX and then proceed on to Toronto from there. I arrived in Toronto between 8 and 9 pm and met up with my friend who had also just flown in and we headed on back to his and his wife’s house in Toronto for a pleasant evening of conversation. The addition of Iceland to my itinerary was so last minute that I really hadn’t had the time to properly plan. I’d done some research and had an Airbnb lined up for the nights I would be in the country. I had no idea...

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Final day @ Cape Blanco and the unfortunate adventure on the way home. (Mon May 2nd)

When I got back to my campsite after dinner and hanging out with friends I decided that even though it was well after dark I should probably break camp in preparation for leaving today. The other motive in this was the prediction of rain starting in the overnight hours and continueing till mid morning. I figured better to break camp when it is dry and not as muddy. This was an excellent choice because we certainly did get some more rain that night. Monday morning was another great hike and play session for Jazzy and Logan and the rain managed to hold off until after I hit the road around 1pm. I was in no hurry to leave the area. I left the campsite shortly after 1pm and then headed to paradise point which is just a nice beach overlook. We hung out there until the rain just was too much and then went food shopping to stock up on my favourite foods at the Golden Harvest Herban Market. Their Tuna Salad is amazing, dog biscuits for the kids, lasagna, tuna casserole, meatballs. Prepared dinners at a reasonable cost to last me a few weeks. Grateful for the Rv fridge to keep everything fresh for the ride home. One of my priorities before leaving Oregon was to take advantage of the cheaper gas prices on this side of the border. I decided on the gas at Fred Myers. Here’s where it gets interesting and embarrassing. In Oregon you aren’t allowed to fuel your own vehicle except for after hours. Here I was at Fred Myers (a local dept type store with gas station) with my RV being filled up (this is about a 20 minute process with a tank like mine). I decided to buy some window washer fluid and...

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Three years ago – -this week!!

Threee years ago in April I took my first road trip in my relatively new (to me) RV. I had purchased the RV as a way to care for my dog Sky. I had to have a way to bring her to work and have air conditioning since she was unable to walk anymore. that’s not the story this time. Sky has changed addresses and has New Views so she is maybe travelling remotely with Zulu and Jazzy. I am heading back to Oregon today. I hadn’t realised until Facebook and Google memories reminded me that I was actually in oregon at this time 3 three years ago. I went back a couple of other times in 2019 and 2020 because it is such a magical place. port orford is the area I found quite without planning 3 years ago. this time I had to plan (not my style) because now, the same campground requires reservations. Cape Blanco. Special place. here’s a Video from my 2019 trip

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A couple of days travel

I wound up spending the night near what is referred to as the Badger Springs trailhead on the 4th of January. Here’s a couple of photos from our night @ Badger Springs. We then made our towards the Grand Canyon the next day the 5th. As I was approaching the Grand Canyon I stopped to see about buying a park pass. A park pass is $35 but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it ahead of time. I pulled up to the entrance of Grand Canyon anticipating following the example of the car in front of me and purchasing my pass but the Ranger manning the station asked me if I was a veteran. Turns out as a veteran I was allowed free entrance!!! So glad I didn’t pay in advance! I took in the Grand Canyon over 2 days. On this first day I drove all the way through the park to the watchtower area and then I made my way back stopping at various outlooks on the way. The next day I went the opposite direction for a much shorter ride but a much more enjoyable experience – a really nice walk with the pups and some spectacular views of the Grand Canyon.

Airplane Toy found @ Salton Sea 0

A Fitting Find

Yesterday before I left Salton Sea I happened to glance at a pile of debris on the other side of my campsite and found this cool looking toy aeroplane with a missing nose. I couldn’t help but pick it up and make it a part of my memories of this trip. Salton Sea was ripe with drone filming possibilities. I’m not a morning person but I set my alarm so I could actually photograph a sunrise and a sunset in the same day. Here is a cool video I put together of some of my photos and videos from the 2nd of January. Overall Salton Sea was a nice detour but I was ready to find a place with a little more off the beaten path. I thought I would make my way to Senora. I left Salton City around 1.30 in the afternoon and made a pitstop at the Pilot Station to fill up my propane and water. I know Sedona is going to be colder than Salton so being sure to have enough propane for heat and for my refrigerator seems a good idea. Leaving the Pilot station I was amazed at the queue for the dump station. It looked there were about 3 or 4 dump stations and there were at least 4 or 5 RVs or Travel Trailers behind each one! What a fun thing!! I didn’t actually drive all that far yesterday. I thought I would check out a spot mentioned on i-overlander, the app I use – I have to say if I could have gotten into the spot recommended I might have stayed a few days but I wound up on a pullout over the Colorado river that was basically a decent spot for the night and certainly very quiet but a not...

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On the road again

I had big intentions in December to do a road trip to Florida to surprise my parents for Christmas. In the Covid Era of the moment a flying trip for either myself or my sister’s family was out of the question. Things changed quickly when I actually found myself in the process of possibly buying a house. The inspections would have taken place during my road trip so I had to stay home. Things changed directions on that house and then January rolled around and I found myself with still more time off and so why not try again to head to Florida. Well – things changed again suddenly and as I watched the weather forecast it seemed wisest to keep my travels closer to home to I figured I would head to the Salton Sea and who knows where else …. I spent the first night at my good friend’s house Eric & Roz in Merced, Ca. I’m in an RV so in light of the Covid restrictions I stayed in my RV in the drive of course and met with them briefly outside. It was great to see them and for them to finally get to meet the new pup Jazzy. I headed to the Salton Sea – why the Salton Sea? Well in the winter the weather is perfect! It gets up to maybe 70-75 in the day ( a little warm for me) but the evening makes up for that when it generally drops to 40 or 50 degrees. I found out about the Salton Sea last year when I ventured to Joshua Tree National Park. I found Joshua Tree just OK – dogs on leashes and not allowed anywhere besides specific paths. As far as I was concerned what was the point. I stayed in...

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Why a BLM over a regular camp ground

If you don’t feel like reading, this post is summarised by the 20 sec video at the end. A picture speaks a thousand words a 20 sec video says even more in this case! I spent the last three nights staying in Joshua Tree park at the Indian Cove campground for $20/night. I was fortunate enough to be able to chose my campsite in person versus reserving the unseen online. I don’t know if all the National Parks are arranged like this but basically the plan is to pack you all in as close to your neighbour as possible. I don’t know about you but after paying $30 entrance fee to the park and then $20/night for a camping spot that sports the amenities of a fire ring and a picnic table – no electricity or showers and imaginary privacy well I have to wonder if this actually makes sense. I only had neighbours one night and they seemed like nice enough people but I couldn’t relax outside and enjoy the stars and silence because their party included music and loud talking till late into the night. It was a beautiful park don’t get me wrong, but I guess when I’m paying for a campsite I’d like a better sense of privacy so I can enjoy nature and the experience. The main benefit to a campground over the BLM land is the ability to leave a table and chair out and have a decent sense that it will be there when you return. It is the ability to have a space to call your own for as long as you have the campground reserved. That’s the only real benefit though unless the campground offers showers and electricity too. The BLM style of camping is open space camping. The freedom to...