A Very Wet Winter
It’s been quite awhile since our last blog post – time has just seemed to fly by and we find ourselves already two months into the 2017 travel season. This post will be a short summary of our 2016-2017 winter season, as well as a quick look at our 2017 travel plans.
We arrived back in Southern California in early November, 2016, and camped at the Silent Valley Club for the rest of the month. We enjoyed having a longer stay and down-time after being on the road for so long. We very much enjoyed reconnecting with family and friends in the area. Kim spent much time with her family and helping to care for her aging parents.
For December, we moved to another favorite RV park at Desert Hot Springs, Sam’s Family Spa. Sam’s proved a good choice for riding out the stormiest month of a very wet winter. A series of heavy rainstorms swept through the SoCal area, with especially heavy rain and snow events in the local mountains. We received little of the rain in the desert, but Silent Valley Club had heavy rainfall causing damage to several sections of the park roads.
For January, we moved back up to Silent Valley. On the drive up the steep and winding mountain road, CA-243, we experienced a near breakdown of our F-350 tow vehicle. About half way up the grade the truck engine overheated – we had never had an issue with pulling this grade while towing before. I pulled off to a turnout, turned on the heater to high and let the engine idle to cool down while checking for coolant leaks or other obvious issues – nothing was evident. At this point on CA-243, there was no opportunity to turn around, so the only choices were to call for a tow or carefully continue on. I chose to move on, nursing the truck and trailer up the grade and stopping at each turnout to allow the engine to cool down. In this fashion, we topped the grade and made it to Silent Valley with no further issues. What a way to start the New Year!
As soon as possible the following week I scheduled an appointment at the local Ford dealership for servicing the truck and to diagnose the overheating problem, which turned out to be a defective fan clutch. The truck was still under warranty and the clutch was replaced at no charge. Whew!
The rest of the winter went smoothly. We alternated 30-day stays in Silent Valley with required 10-day time out at other parks, Yucaipa Regional and Rancho Jurupa Regional Parks.
This was a very wet winter in Southern California and we did receive some heavy rains, wind, heavy fog, and occasional light snow or sleet at Silent Valley, but nowhere nearly as heavy as the rain in December. We rode out the winter storms with no problems.
Working on Art Projects
During our downtime this winter I reworked my Dark Sky Dreams photography website, produced five fine art print folio editions, and restarted my monthly photography newsletter. Additional information about the folio editions is available on my photography website: www.darkskydreams.com.
A Sad Passing
During our stay, Kim’s parent’s heath continued to decline. Kim spent as much time as she could with visiting her parents and helping with their care. Her folks were at the stage where they needed to be moved into an assisted care facility and her dad, Bob, was now on hospice. Sadly, Bob passed away on March 20th, his 89th birthday. Funeral services and family memorial events were held a month later on April 21 and 22. (Bob, you were the best father and father-in-law one could ask for – you are missed!)
Start of the 2017 Travel Season
We had planned to begin our 2017 travel season on April 20th when our time at Silent Valley was up, but delayed leaving to attend the memorial events. We stayed the few extra days at the Banning Stagecoach KOA, a nice little RV park conveniently located just down the hill from Silent Valley.
We hit the road on April 24th, with a short stay in Needles, California, and then on to Camp Verde, Arizona. This year we have an ambitious travel schedule in the western states, with stops in Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nevada. We have planned for visits with friends in Flagstaff, AZ; Bluff, Utah; Salt Lake City, UT; and Coeur d’Alene, ID. We also plan to see the 2017 total eclipse somewhere in Wyoming and to meet up and camp with my sister & brother-in-law, Shirley & Craig, in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Here is an overview map of our 2017 travel season:
That’s all for now. Safe travels and enjoy the journey!