Category: Vacation

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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...

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Joshua Tree – National Park

I spent a great weekend with family in the Orange County area- Sky and Zulu relaxed and so did I. I wasn’t sure of my destination after my weekend with family until the night before I left. I had been torn between the idea of driving the coast along the Pacific Coast Highway or, since I was already south, heading to Joshua Tree. The news of a landslide in the Big Sur area made me decide to steer clear of the coast for now and make my way to Joshua Tree. I had found a BLM campground via my trusty app, FreeRoam. When I pulled into the BLM campground I found around 15-20 others were already there and that it was overall a busy spot but on the road towards the campground I had found a couple of nice pullout spots so I found my campsite at a more private location not too far from the official BLM campground. Today was spent driving through Joshua Tree Park – stopping along the way at some cool spots. Joshua Tree is the sort of place that you really can’t experience it in a single day. Most of the attractions seem to be at the north side of the park but the drive itself is fun and relaxing. The pass is good for seven days so I intend to make the most of my time here. I drove through a couple of parks to possible consider as a place to spend the night but overall the parks were too popular for me until I drove into Indian Cove. Indian Cove is not accessible from the main road through the park. I had to exit the park and then drive back in through another route just a couple of miles eastward of my exit...

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Summary of my unplanned Carmel Vacation in Carmel

My trip to Carmel was meant to really just be an overnight quick getaway.  I had no intention of spending 3 nights there by any means, but, that is just what I did.   In general I am not really a person who knows how to go on vacation and get away from the miscellaneous things that need to be done at home.  Although my dogs are with me all the time at home around my place, it is a whole different thing to be going on vacation with them and focusing on activities that all three of us can do together.  At home my dogs only come with me when the weather is good and even then I don’t usually eat out with them or do much more with them than take them to work or to the beach or a park. In Carmel, I never left the dogs behind in the hotel room or the car.  They went to all my meals except for my first dinner.  They went to parks with me and then the best of all to be able to hang out with me in the Cypress Hotel Lounge and just lie there on the carpet whilst the different performers played was perfect.  The dogs first meal out on this trip to Carmel was at the Forge in the Forest Restaurant.  They were a little restless at first but loved their chicken strips dinner which I ordered for them from the canine cuisine menu. Overall they were real angels and though I say that with prejudice I am being quite honest in my assessment of their behaviour.  I received a number of compliments on their behaviour even from other dog owners. One lady said she had been advised against getting a dog such as an Australian shepherd because they are...

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Carmel Vacation, The Birthday Party (night 2)

After our great dinner at Forge in the Forest and a quick walk on the beach to enjoy the sunset we headed over to the Cypress Inn.  Cypress Inn is known for their Dog Friendliness!  They did not disappoint.  There was a dog that had just turned 3 that was fortunate enough to have his birthday party at the Cypress!  Just take a look at his birthday cake. There was a great music for most of the evening provided by Lee Durley & Joe Indence. The music was a jazzy laid back style and very relaxing and enjoyable.  We went back to the hotel and checked into a new room (number 22) for the night.  I had observed that the cottage across from the one I stayed in the first night had a really cool little patio that backed up to empty land and woods.  This is the best little cottage.  Love the patio and the amenities!  

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The unplanned vacation. Day 2 (Nov 5th, 2015)

Day 2 began with a 9am breakfast with Dana & Kurt.  We all went for a quick walk on the beach afterwards and Dana & Kurt headed on home to Southern California.  I had intended to leave after 1 night and head back home.  Then I realised, I really had nothing pressing at home and could actually use some true decompression time.  Why not stay another night! The pups and I went to Garland Ranch Regional Park  where we enjoyed a couple of hours of exploring. We had dinner at Forge in the Forest and when I say we had dinner that’s what I mean!!  They had the Hen House  Chicken Strips and had no problem wolfing them down in a hurry!!  I ate here before a few years ago and have to say that the previous visit seemed more dog-friendly.  Last time there were stainless steel dog dishes and the staff didn’t act afraid of the dogs.  The staff on duty on this particular night seemed to dread the dogs on patio even though this is one of the things they cater to.  Sky and Zulu were not deterred and enjoyed their dinner and I enjoyed my dinner very much as well.  There was nice fire place going on the patio and all the patrons, with or without dogs were very friendly.    

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It started with a rainbow!

Monday, November 2nd, 2015.  The day was an okay day.  I was doing a lot of driving to help out a neighbour of mine with some work of his.  Unfortunately the day had also been spent re-living some events from a few days earlier which were not quite so pleasant.  I couldn’t seem to break the mesmerism of the in-harmony which had occurred the previous week.  Then I saw the most amazing thing.  In the distance a beautiful rainbow.  As I got closer, it became obvious that the end of the rainbow was right in front of me.  It was amazing as far as I was concerned.  I have never seen the end of a rainbow it wasn’t until a few days later that I realised that my dash cam had actually captured this phenomenon! Unfortunately, in my awe of the rainbow I failed to notice that the traffic in front of me had come to a halt and as such I rear-ended the car in front me.  I wasn’t going fast but distraction had taken me away from the more important task of full attention on the road and not the rainbow.  I had to get towed and wound up in a rental car but all along I kept thinking to myself, ‘there must be some sort of blessing in this unfortunate incident’.  ‘Something so beautiful as this rainbow must have some blessing to accompany it.’ See my next post …    

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