Where The Hell Have I Been?

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Celebrating!! Got our building permit January 15th, 2016!

San Diego, CA              

May 2, 2016

Did ya notice I’ve been MIA since October 10, 2014? No?

Well, October 10, 2014 is the day Mark and I and the doggies returned from our four month Space Shuttle Adventure. And then, after sorting through a freakin’ gigantic box of junk mail, this happened:

We settled back into life in our downtown San Diego condo and plotted our next big adventure!

As it ends up, our next big adventure hasn’t had us traveling at all. Instead, we searched high and low for a vacant piece of land so that we could build a house.

Of course, being us, we had to find a piece of land that was so difficult to figure out and so difficult to build on, that no other sane person would buy it. And, VOILA!!! We found one!

And that’s what we’ve been doing since October of 2014…looking for land, buying land, designing a house, getting building permits, stressing out, going gray, and plotting revenge on the City of San Diego for what surely must be the worst, most aggravating building department on the planet.

anti-stress

De-stressing after a day at the building department.

It took 2.5 months to find our funky piece of land, 6 months to design our project, and 6 months in the building department to finally get our permits.

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January 15th @ the building department. Nothing says, “F.U., go home,” like a locked door and a little garbage can lined with plastic!

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January 15th @ the building department. So many cubicles…

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January 15th @ the building department. More cubicles and some awesome fluorescent overhead lighting.

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January 15th @ the building department. Very hip, if you like an impersonal institutional theme to your interiors.

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January 15th @ the building department. Details….

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January 15th @ the building department. And…the post-it notes come out….

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January 15th @ the building department. I stared at this for about 20 minutes while Mark talked to the guy in the cubicle.

We broke ground on March 21st. Let the fun begin!! (If you’ve ever built before, you know that was a totally snarky statement) Welcome to this journey. Enjoy the photos. I’ll post more pics as things progress……I’m back!!!!

march 21 construction

March 21st = Day #1 of Construction! Construction toys, big and small, start arriving on site.

march 22 construction

March 22nd. Digging down 16′ to the sewer line.

April 1 construction

April 1st. Digging up everything.

april 13 construction

April 13th. Digging some more. Some of the biggest construction toys can barely maneuver on the narrow lot!

get power april 13

Power to the people! Getting temporary power pole hooked up. April 13th

All Good Road Trips Must Come To An End!

Southwestern-most point, and Northeastern-most point of the trip!

Southwestern-most point, and Eastern-most point of the trip. But, NOT the Northern-most point!

Day 123     October 10, 2014

Palm Springs  to  San Diego, CA

We’d been on the road four months, and were getting excited about getting home. Not that we didn’t love living in the Space Shuttle, but there’s something about knowing that you’ll be home soon, that makes you very happy!

Before we got on the road this morning, we packed up as much of our stuff as possible so that the unloading process at home would go faster. And we dumped and flushed our holding tanks so that they’d be clean and empty when Fiona went back to her storage garage.

And then, before we knew it…..we were home!

  • Days on the road:  123
  • Miles driven:   17,245
  • Ferry boat rides:  7
  • Miles travelled by ferry:  unknown
  • Number of US States:  33
  • Number of Canadian Provinces:  6
  • Visits to Veterinarians:  2
  • Traffic/parking tickets:  1
  • Number of beers drunk:  unknown
Home sweet home! Looking out on the 'hood.

Home sweet home! Looking out on the ‘hood.

New Old Bike & Old Beers….The Journey Home

Mark's new old bike

Mark’s new old bike

Day 122      October 9, 2014

Sun City, AZ   to  Palm Springs, CA

We could’ve driven all the way home to San Diego today, but we made the strategic decision not to do so. We decided it’d be better to drive to Palm Springs for the night, and drive to San Diego the next day. That way, we’d avoid driving into San Diego during rush hour, plus, in the morning, at the RV park in Palm Springs, we could dump our holding tanks one last time.

So, not being in a big rush to leave Sun City, we went on a big dog walk/photo excursion around Sis and Rick’s neighborhood.

I like the little cactus

I like the little cactus

Big cactus are cool too

Big cactus are cool too

Cactus and clouds

Cactus and clouds

Sis & Rick's neighborhood

Things are so neat and tidy in Sis & Rick’s neighborhood

Just as we were ready to hit the road, and were saying goodbye, Mark noticed an old steel bicycle in Sis and Rick’s garage. Next thing you know, that stupid old bike was coming home with us. First I protested, but then, it seemed that the mere idea of owning the bike was bringing such joy to Mark, that I gave in, even though I had no doubt that the bike would become a money pit!

Mark's new old bike

Mark’s new old bike

And away we went…back to having three bikes again.

We crossed into California at Blythe. Being back in California was a monumental thing, and bitter-sweet, as it meant the end of our big adventure. It also meant the end of our supply of apples, as they were promptly confiscated at the agricultural checkpoint station.

Sometime around 4:30 pm, we rolled into Palm Springs, and headed straight to the Happy Traveler RV Park.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs

Palm Springs

Palm Springs

We were tempted to walk into town to get some dinner, but instead, on our last night on the road,  we opted to just hang out with the doggies and the Space Shuttle. We made dinner, drank beers, and played music….one last time!

The last couple of beers from  our stop in Santa Fe

The last couple of beers from our stop in Santa Fe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great name for a beer! And a "must" to bring along if you go camping or glamping like us!

Great name for a beer! And a “must” to bring along if you go camping or glamping like us!

Me And My Superpowers Are Put To The Test

In the land of giant  cactus!

The land of the giant cactus!

Day 121    October 8, 2014

Sedona, AZ   to  Sun City, AZ

Before leaving Sedona, we had a little look around town. By all accounts, the place seems to be full of t-shirt/souvenir shops, and some really nice jewelry shops. I wasn’t in the market for either, though I did find a cute t-shirt that tempted me. OK, I admit, I was also tempted by some beautiful jewelry.

Almost bought this t-shirt!

Almost bought this t-shirt!

Public art

Public art

After having to use all my superpowers to resist a t-shirt or jewelry purchase, I was hungry! So, we relaxed over a delicious lunch at Taos Cantina. Scrumptious fajitas & beers!

Eat here!

Eat here!

Lunch!!

Lunch!!

Then we visited the magnificent Chapel of the Holy Cross. I have a natural aversion to places of worship, however, this place was truly beautiful, and I’m so glad I got to see it in person. There’s an interesting history behind it as well. Google it!

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On the way to the chapel….

Look up there!! It's the Chapel of the Holy Cross!

Look up there!! It’s the Chapel of the Holy Cross!

Just a short walk from the parking area to the chapel...

Just a short walk from the parking area to the chapel…

Still walking up the path to the chapel...

Still walking up the path to the chapel…

Look, down there...it's Fiona!

Look, down there…it’s Fiona!

Final approach to the chapel on the pedestrian bridge

Final approach to the chapel on the elevated walkway

Why yes, those rocks are red!

Why yes, those rocks are red!

Entrance to the chapel

Entrance to the chapel

Great views!

Great views!

Dramatic and beautiful...

Dramatic and beautiful…

Nice views, of course!

Nice views, of course!

Candles....

Candles….

Fiona & friends down below. Red rocks above.

Fiona & friends down below. Red rocks above.

Winding and fun walkway

Winding and fun walkway

Walking back down....

Walking back down….

So cool, no matter where you stand to view it

So cool, no matter where you stand to view it

Beautiful building in a beautiful landscape!

Beautiful building in a beautiful landscape!

Every angle is better than the last angle!

Every angle is better than the last angle!

The last view as we drive away...

The last view as we drive away…

Our last stop on our way out of town, was at one of the national forest visitor centers. Now in hindsight, I can’t figure out where exactly we were. But, wherever we were, there was a nice little visitor center with a nice little theater that played a nice little movie about the Coconino National Forest.

Sculpture on patio of the national park visitor center

Sculpture on patio of the national park visitor center

So cute!

So cute!

Goodbye, Sedona!

Goodbye, Sedona!

Nature @ 65 mph

Nature @ 65 mph

Nature @ 65 mph

Nature @ 65 mph

In the land of giant  cactus!

In the land of giant cactus!

And then….we continued our drive home to San Diego…via Sun City, Arizona, where we docked for the night in the driveway at our Aunt Sis and Uncle Rick’s house.

Sun City, where the landscape is a bit more tame!

Sun City, where the landscape is a bit more tame!

Alien Abduction…..Really? Again?

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Aliens!!!

Day 120     October 7, 2014

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico  to  Sedona, Arizona

Although the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta would continue through the week, this would be our last morning at the festival. We grabbed a couple of breakfast burritos from one of the vendors, and hung out to watch the balloon skills competition.

Early morning balloons...

Early morning balloons…

Balloons & more balloons

Balloons & more balloons

Mark & balloons

Mark & balloons

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Funny balloons

Fiona (the Space Shuttle) & balloons

Fiona (the Space Shuttle) & balloons

Airstreams & balloons

Airstreams & balloons

Another one bites the dust...

Another one bites the dust…

One of many specialty balloons

One of many specialty balloons

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Crowd control

Crowd control

Lining up to watch the skills competition

Lining up to watch the skills competition

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By 11:00 we were on the road, once again heading west towards home. We made a quick stop for lunch at Hotel el Rancho, in Gallup, New Mexico, and then, back on the road.

Gallup, NM

Gallup, NM

Lunch time!

Lunch time!

The main drag in Gallup

The main drag in Gallup

Cool road side stuff....

Cool road side stuff….

 

More cool road side stuff....

More cool road side stuff….

Just moments before crossing the Arizona state line, we lost our FM radio reception to pure static. This left us in a bit of a panic, as we tried to ascertain whether or not we’d lost seven minutes of time. Not knowing whether or not we’d experienced time loss, left us also not knowing whether or not we’d been abducted by aliens. Too much X-Files?? Maybe!

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Was it an alien abduction, or just a hoax?! We’ll never know.

Arizona!

Arizona!

Arizona...very friendly place...welcoming us twice!

Arizona…very friendly place…welcoming us twice!

Instagram art. Making art out of nothing.

Instagram art. Me, making photo art out of nothing.

If you need knives, I guess this is the place...

If you need knives, I guess this is the place…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We missed the exit for Winslow, Arizona, so you’ll be spared from the usual corny photo and references to the old Eagles song (“….standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona…yada yada…blah blah blah…”).

Before dark, we arrived in Sedona, Arizona, which was a good thing, ‘cause we got to see the beautiful red rocky peaks that surround Sedona. Pretty spectacular! We checked into Rancho Sedona RV Park. Exploration would have to wait until morning!

On the road

Almost in Sedona….

First glimpse of red rocks....

First glimpse of red rocks….

Just gettin' in to Sedona

Just gettin’ in to Sedona

Very red......

Very red……

Very cool......

Very cool……

Very beautiful....

Very beautiful….

Caution: Low Flying Wizards!!

and more.....

Balloons & Airstreams…the perfect combo!

Day 119       October 6, 2014

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico

The hot air balloons launched early, sans the pre-flight flyover by those loud freakin’ airplanes. But this morning, there’d be a different kind of excitement. The winds must have not been up to snuff, and many of the balloons had a difficult time gaining much altitude.

@ 5:45 am

@ 5:45 am

There goes the fire hydrant balloon!

There goes the fire hydrant balloon!

and more.....

and more…..

More balloons & Airstreams!

More balloons & Airstreams!

Balloons & Airstreams! Beautiful!

Balloons & Airstreams! Beautiful!

Fun!!

Fun!!

We watched from the Space Shuttle as one after another low flying balloon passed overhead. It became quite obvious that the big wizard balloon was gonna be a casualty. From where we were, it looked like the wizard might come crashing down on some of the trailers, and a bunch of us went running towards it to see where it would “land.” Luckily, the balloon did make it safely past the trailers, and put down in some scrub just on the other side of the fence….and, just next to another balloon that had also had altitude issues! This day was turning out to be such good fun!!

Uh-oh!! The wizard is looking kind of low!

Uh-oh!! The wizard is looking kind of low!

Dax and Trixie guard the Space Shuttle from the balloon invasion!

Dax and Trixie guard the Space Shuttle from the balloon invasion!

We completed the day with a visit to the very cool Anderson Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, and with happy hour and hanging out with our fellow Airstreamers.

Afternoon visit to the balloon museum

Afternoon visit to the balloon museum

Airstreamers are nice people, and proud people, which meant we got to tour a couple of our neighbor’s really nice Airstream trailers. It’s funny ‘cause, we kind of have space envy when we see these nice wide and long trailers. But then we also have lots of trailer peeps that want to see our rig, and have envy over the ease and convenience of traveling in the Space Shuttle. Either way, it’s great fun to see what everyone’s got and to swap stories!

And Then….A Dog Parade Broke Out!!!

Evening Glow. The tethered balloons fired up at night.

Evening Glow. The tethered balloons fired up at night.

Day 118           October 5, 2014

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Sleep. Wake up. Watch hot air balloons. Repeat. Day #2 of low flying airplanes at 4:30 am, followed by hot air balloons…..or NOT!!

It’d been determined (by those silly airplanes) that the winds weren’t appropriate for the balloons to take off. Instead, the balloons were inflated, but remained tethered to the ground. Still, it was fun to walk amongst all of the balloons on display.

In the afternoon, we drove into Old Town Albuquerque to have a look around and get a bite to eat. Old Town was uber touristy, but we didn’t care. As long as I can get some decent Mexican food and ice-cream, I’m a happy camper.

Beautiful old church in Old Town

Beautiful old church in Old Town

We found some cool, fun, old architecture around Albuquerque

We found some cool, fun, old architecture around Albuquerque

The highlight of the day was really one of my own creations. I’d convinced the powers that be (the organizers of the Airstream rally, and it didn’t take much convincing) that we Airstreamers should have a dog parade while we were at the Balloon Fiesta. And so, on this day, at 4:00 in the afternoon, all of us dog lovers and our fun-loving doggies, gathered in order to parade around amongst the Airstream trailers and motorhomes.

The fantastic, fabulous, fun-filled doggie parade!!!

The fantastic, fabulous, fun-filled doggie parade!!!

A grand time was had by all. Some of the doggies were dressed up, and some weren’t. Some pups and their people were dog parade first timers, and I was happy and proud to introduce these people to the world of dog parades. Others of us (mostly Californians) were seasoned dog parade participants.

Dax. Post-dog parade. Dirty and downright dog-tired.

Dax. Post-dog parade. Dirty and downright dog-tired.

The parade was a big hit, and I’m happy to say that there’s been talk of making it an annual event for the Airstream rally at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta! Thank you very much, me!

Evening Glow

Evening Glow

Evening Glow

Evening Glow

Evening Glow

Evening Glow

Evening Glow

Evening Glow

Evening Glow. The tethered balloons fired up at night.

Evening Glow.

Evening Glow

Evening Glow