Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Tales on the Trail. It’s late June (2017) and we have arrived in Las Vegas after spending a few weeks in Fresno, California visiting Levi’s family. Our last journal entry was a few months ago in March. We were work camping at USI RV Park in Wichita, KS for a second season.
We celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary on March 15th; two of those years have been on the road! Brewy made a full recovery from her mass removal; we spent the final weeks in Kansas on hiking trips. We visited scenic spots like Colorado Heights and saw some unusual rock formations at Mushroom Rock State Park and Castle Rock Monument.
We found some excellent, pet-friendly places in town. If you are traveling with dogs and happen to pass through Wichita, stop by some of these hot spots. Fetch Bistro is the first indoor dog-friendly restaurant in Kansas and makes some tasty food for you and your pooch. Starlite Drive-In allows dogs at their double and triple features and if Fido gets a little dirty on a trip to one of Wichita’s many parks, look no further than the Dog Wash for quick convenient clean-up.
Who knew that Wichita also has a scuba diving center. Since lake dives are nonexistent in Kansas, students practice skills in swimming pools only before traveling out of state for decent river and lake dives…but still, who knew? We discovered the PADI center, Amber Waves, on a whim. After talking to the owner about his scuba instructor experience, Levi was offered an opportunity to help with pool classes on his days off and eventually taught a refresher course on his own!
Sometime around April, we finalized plans to visit my family in Texas and Levi’s family in California before heading to Las Vegas for summer work (I know, the hottest part of the year). We were researching ways to keep the RV cool and learned about window covers from SunGuard Shade Products. We ordered shades for the front and side windshields. The company sent covers matching the make and model of our motorhome along with the turn buckles. Installation was easier than we thought! Not only do the shades provide a cooler interior, but we can see outside our windows with complete privacy!
Before leaving USI RV Park, we had a little get-together with the entire park, a farewell to Levi and me and a welcome to the returning work campers! (We interviewed Heather and Ray last year about their full time RVing adventures. View the interview here.) We shall see everyone again as we are coming back for our third winter season.
So off we went at the end of April, past Oklahoma and on into Texas for our annual check-ups and vehicle inspections. I’d like to say the ride south went off without a hitch, but that’d be wishful thinking. We ended up staying in Boyd, TX (the same RV park we stayed at during our first season as Amazon CamperForce Associates) since our generator went kaput and one of the levelers was out of commission.
Some new parts and everything was in working mode..for the time being. We continued South towards Austin to visit my sister. Levi had never been, and I insisted we see the heart of Austin, Sixth Street, where history and music collide. We spent the better part of the day eating, walking up and down the area, and listening to jams…a nice change from driving.
We traveled even further South before settling in Mission for a week. We visited family and checked out some old and new hangouts like Movie Night (a video store/outdoor theater) and Victoria’s Tea Room (a quaint cafe that serves delectable sandwiches and soup). Of course, we couldn’t miss a day at South Padre Island where we took in plenty of sand and surf!
We said good-bye to my family and then continued another 1800 miles to our next destination in California. We took a couple day pit stop in New Mexico at the City of Rocks State Park near Deming. It was time to stretch our legs and seek new terrain. This place was bursting with desert life and rocky wonders!
We were almost through Arizona, passed the ginormous saguaros, when we noticed the smell of electrical wires melting. It was coming from the generator compartment. Good thing Levi had a Taco Bell craving when he did because if we had continued traveling with the electrical short, our generator compartment and bedroom area would have been ablaze in no time.
No working generator meant no central A/C while traveling and temperatures were rising to three digits…not good with four pets in tow. The chassis air conditioner worked but wasn’t meant to cool the entire motorhome. We could have stayed at an RV park with an electric source during the day and driven all night, but we prefer to see where we are going. Instead, we disconnected our generator and used our inverter to power fans in the RV as we traveled. That worked like a charm, especially using our medium-sized swamp cooler. We had put a band-aid over the “dead generator and minimal A/C on the road” issue for a day.
We stayed at an RV park just outside San Bernardino that night and left the following morning with about five more hours of driving. Three hours into the ride, the swamp cooler died. With only a couple of hours to go, Levi floored it to his family’s property where we finally parked and plugged in.
Since we’ve been here, we’ve had time to complete pending repairs and projects.With the help of Levi’s dad, the generator was fixed. It was completely taken out of the RV to replace the starter. We did a bit of remodeling inside with new furniture for the kitchen. Now we have more counter space. Levi’s mom sewed window shades using outdoor furniture material and leftover Sunguard material–a mistake on their part; they initially sent the wrong sizes and told us to keep the sections after sending the correct sizes. We are all set for warm weather!
We’ve had loads of time to visit with friends and family. We like to get fresh fruit and vegetables at the weekly farmer’s market in town. We’ve gone on a few day trips to parts of the Sierra National Forrest near Shaver Lake and Yosemite National Park. That was my first trip to Yosemite!
We’ll be taking off to Las Vegas for a few months now. This is where our full time RVing adventures began! Levi will be working as a scuba instructor at Scuba Views and I’ll be working the front desk at Duck Creek RV Park! This will be the first time in two years that we will work in separate facilities.
Levi mentioned,”Coming back to my grandparent’s property in California has been bitter sweet since the loss of my grandfather. I have many fond memories of my grandfather, many stories to recall. Though the stories may come to an end for some of those we love, the rest of us must turn the page and continue writing. We hope the next chapter leads us to something greater than the last. To quote my favorite sci-fi character, Dr.Who, we’re all stories in the end, so make it a good one.” Our sentiments, exactly!
If you would like to read or view more journal entries about our adventures, check out our Travel Journal page and if you would like to help keep us on the trail, you can use our affiliate link to do your regular Amazon shopping here. Also, be sure to check out our RV Store for the latest “RV-themed” apparel, creations of yours truly!
As always….safe travels and happy trails!