“USA 🇺🇸 ~We Made It Back to California and Gone Again, Already!”

Today we left Orange County California for Arizona, where we get to play for the winter! It was a very busy time back in SoCal for us, but mission accomplished; although, mostly work and not enough play!
*******

⬆️ We made it all the way back to California, through Barstow; continuing on I-40 and Route 66, as we had been since the East Coast, and
we are quite proud of our accomplishment ⬇️
Whilst on our big adventure; July 20th to December 9, 2021, we drove: 18,719 miles and visited 41 states!
CALIFORNIA, NEVADA, OREGON, KONA, HAWAII, OREGON x2, IDAHO, UTAH, WYOMING: COLORADO, NEBRASKA, SOUTH DAKOTA, NORTH DAKOTA, MINNESOTA, WISCONSIN, ILLINOIS, INDIANA, MICHIGAN, OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA, NEW YORK, VERMONT, NEW HAMPSHIRE, MAINE, MASSACHUSETTS, RHODE ISLAND, CONNECTICUT, NEW YORK x2, NEW JERSEY, PENNSYLVANIA x2:, MARYLAND, WASHINGTON DC, VIRGINIA, WEST VIRGINIA, NORTH CAROLINA, SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, TENNESSEE, ARKANSAS, OKLAHOMA, NEW MEXICO, ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA x2:

It was both a joy and a pleasure to be back exploring our own country, by June of 2021, after being gone for so long, overseas. But, coming back to California again (our home) by December 9, 2021, after this gigantic round-trip road trip, we just completed, we now have a lot of busy, busy business stuff to take care of. Aside from all the business, we will, like always, find some time to live in the moment; to smile, and always breath in the beauty of California.
Coming in from Arizona, on our final leg of this adventure, we arrived at Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness, at Ortega Flats, near Capistrano and as close to our home and our storage unit as we could get.
We hauled quite a few special items from our overseas travels, back here to home, from our daughters home in South Carolina; where she (they) were storing them for us. We also took off the cargo bag from atop of Rusty and stored it in Tiny; saving us about 4mpg. It was so great to get everything offloaded, safely, stored and reorganize, once more, as our small space we live in, can only take on so much!
😂
*******
After a few days of camping, since arriving in California, I was caught up enough in all areas, Tiny, (more organizing) and we both went into town, together. We did running around, checking off our list of things we needed to get done, before we leave again by December 21st; primarily taking care of closures for Daryl, following his mothers passing; to include, but not limited to making sure she gets her grave marker completed and placed.
We collected mail, and packages from our house (God Bless our tenants), did banking, and got my wedding ring out of the bank vault, and back on my finger. (It was safer in the bank while we traveled overseas). We got hair cuts, went to the grocery store, and ate shrimp tacos at our favorite Baja Taco place….all the while feeling in awe of the beautiful surroundings where we call home.
We also got to go to our home church a couple times, and as is tradition, we hit up our favorite sushi place, then went to the movies; Bond. James Bond on our first Sunday.
We have sunshine, warm days, and cool nights, but no freezing, so we can fill our clean water tank up and not worry about freezing at night.

⬆️ I jammed my knuckle on my ring finger about a year ago. It was quite a chore getting my travel wedding band off my finger…Ouch! As a result, I had to enlarge my wedding set ring to get it over that knuckle! Ugh. I will only leave my diamond ring at jewelers who do their own work; in house. I waited the 1.5 hours and it was worth it. 

⬆️ My California man, completely in his element ❤️

⬆️ Nori Sushi

⬆️ Drinking coffee waiting on my ring work

⬆️ Baja Tacos

To recap: 
We returned to California this last June (from overseas) as a result of two deaths in the family; just a week apart. Whilst we waited for the death certificate to arrive for Daryls sweet mom, as this takes awhile for California, we made good use of our time, traveling around the states, and especially seeing the grand kiddos on the East Coast; after too long being away. It was a wonderful reunion!
********
Anywazzzz, I made reservations three and a half months ago, for camping in December, knowing we needed to return to California and I had to prepay for our reservation at the Wilderness campground. It is a beautiful 8,000 acre area, and our stay is almost two weeks, but, a week before we arrived, I found out the water had been turned off, at this park and others around the area, due to drought, (yes, in December), so while will still have electricity, the showers are closed, and water hook-up permanently off at our site. I inquired about a partial refund, due to half of our promised amenities being gone, since we booked, but no go, since they consider the pricing as already so low, there is no money made off of reservations, though we were offered a full refund of $250, if we chose to cancel. Well, that’s a fine howdy do, because trying to find another available campsite in Southern California at this late date is next to impossible. I know this, because I tried for hours, when we found out about the dry well situation. So, we are hauling water and mostly boon docking. All that being said, we are extremely grateful to still have electricity. We “get” to use our outside privacy shower tent for the first time; set up for our outside shower arrangement. Yes, Tiny has it all, even an outside shower with hot and cold water!

Funny story: I took the first shower after the big guy set up the tent with a few stakes and rope to prevent it from flying away, if the wind picked up. After me, it was Daryl’s turn. I snapped this photo, from inside Tiny, feeling so proud the tent I bought for us was tall enough for Daryl. I turned away from the window for only a second, and when I looked back, I watched the tent fall over in what seemed like slow motion! My first thought was; “there is no wind…what in the world?”  Then, I realized the big guy was still in the privacy tent, laying sideways on the ground! I opened the window to ask if he was okay, and did he need any help. He said no. I waited and watched. He was sure taking a long time getting back up. Come to find out, after his shower, while still zipped in the shower tent, his foot got stuck in his swimming trunks, as he tried to pull them on. Having no solid walls to fall against, down he went and he took the tent with him! Then, while on the ground, horizontal, his foot is still stuck in his shorts, and he couldn’t get loose in the encaged tent. Finally, he kicked off his half-on shorts, unzipped the shower tent and rolled out in his birthday suit so he could stand up! 😂😂😂. In the meantime I’m howling out loud, laughing so hard, I’m sure it just drew more attention to us at campsite #5. I’m doubled over in hysterics. For the rest of the day, I would randomly burst out laughing at any given time. My eyes watered and my stomach hurts from laughing so hard! I kept seeing the tent falling over in slow motion, and that’s all it took. Daryl is perfectly fine, though his ego might be slightly bruised. The tent is good, too. A true testament to its quality, since all this happened on gravel. My hysterics continued; including up to bed time, and trying to go to sleep time. My pillow was wet with laughing tears.
********


Caspers Wilderness Park
is an 8,000 acre protected wilderness preserve, nestled among the river terraces and sandstone canyons of the western coastal Santa Ana Mountains. The park’s many fertile valleys are overtly complemented by specimen groves of native Coastal Live Oak and magnificent stands of California Sycamore. These areas are further accentuated by seasonal wildflower displays and running streams. Wildlife is abundant and can be readily viewed from any of the park’s numerous trails.

⬆️ A Coyote we saw outside Tiny, during the storm, hunting rabbits, of which there are plenty running around, here!! ⬇️
⬆️ Blue Heron


The park has a day-use area and four campgrounds: Ortega Flats (13 RV only sites), Live Oak Campground (tents and campers), Star Mesa Equestrian Campground, and Owl/Quail Group Campground. We reserved an electric site in the Ortega Flats Campground. With the water being off, there are clean port-a-potties in this campground. But, when there is water, one can walk farther in the park for more decent toilets and showers.
There are plenty of Rv’s and tent campers, even in the middle of December. Our campsite is enormous with a picnic table plus a fire pit. We had electric hookup, but no water because of the drought, as mentioned, before. The rangers are friendly and patrol regularly, which made us feel comfortable enough to leave our campsite set up, even when we left to do other things.
There are no pets allowed in this wilderness area, due to the abundance of wildlife around; not limited to Mountain Lions, which are seen pretty regular. Sadly, due to past issues in this park, relating to Mountain Lion Attacks on humans; including children, those under 18 years of age were banned from this park. The ban did not bode well for enough reservations. Currently, there are plenty of signs and paper flyers for all campers and hikers now, making it abundantly clear, of the dangers from potential Mountain Lion attacks. We are being vigilant for sure, but it also makes me sad when wildlife and human life, combined, end badly. If one goes into nature, one must assume the risk, not sue for damages or end with the death of a Mountain Lion who is only doing what comes natural.
Here is more info on Mountain Lions issues in this park and finally the lifted ban against Children visiting the Wilderness, again. We would definitely come back to stay, but only if they have water in the camp!

https://www.smdailyjournal.com/news/local/mountain-lion-attacks-bikers-in-orange-county-body-found/article_669ef907-18ac-56db-9bfb-262257aa2aad.html

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1997-dec-21-me-956-story.html?_amp=true 

********
On December 14, 2021, a big storm came in, with record rain at seas level and record snow, up in the mountains.

As we stay high and dry, inside Tiny, with 45 mile an hour gusts of winds rocking us a bit, and drenching downpours, I remind myself we are in a “dry” campground in California, during a drought, because the wells ran out of water. 🤔
*******
Currently, I am working on getting a permit to “treasure hunt” on the grounds of Caspers Wilderness State Park, where we are camping. While I wait for that application, I can metal detect on the beaches; no permit required. To break up our mostly boon docking experience, we got a hotel for two nights up in the hills, where we went after our Laguna beach wedding. We love that hotel! We also will get to the beach to play, too. It might be storming, now, but Sunshine will be back, soon. It is California, after all!

⬆️ Following the big storm, we now see the 3-4 feet of snow up in the mountains!
********
Even before the no water issue at camp, I planned a few nights for us in a hotel up in the hills from Laguna Beach, not too far from our campground. The timing happened to be perfect, because our camp needs some time to dry out, big time. The lower areas got six inches of rain!
This hotel is a favorite of ours, as we stayed here after our Laguna Beach wedding. We have stayed here several other times, too. You can see why we like it from the pictures ⬇️



********
On this day, we are doing laundry at the hotel, then we are heading to the beach to treasure hunt! I have since gotten permission to treasure hunt at the campground, too. Come to find out, the ranger told me I had to get a permit, but the powers that be said OC Parks allow metal detecting without a permit; just don’t make a mess. I have this in writing! Woot woot!

⬆️ My collapsible wagon with my treasure hunting tools.

⬆️ Laguna Beach is known for its Art. These are Christmas decorations along the roadway; cutout of a paint pallet 

Later, we got dinner at our favorite Italian Restaurant in Laguna Niguel, got a pedicure, then back to the hotel.
*********
Today, we checked-out of our hotel stay and met a friend and her kids for lunch at the beach. Pam and I met through social media and hit it off right away, then found out our homes are in the same zip code, in California. Pam is a published Author, too! She wrote a fun memoir called When in Roam; by Pamdiana Jones of her travels as a young adult, which was supposed to be for a only a few weeks, but turned into several years! You can buy her book on Amazon; Kindle at: https://www.amazon.com/When-ROAM-Comedy-Adventure-Pamdiana-ebook/dp/B08H4H82RY/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?crid=12PRRCN7UWKD1&keywords=pamdiana+jones&qid=1639760824&s=digital-text&sprefix=pamdiana%2Caps%2C182&sr=1-1

I recommend the read!
Pam, you just Rock! 😍

*******
After church and after Sushi last week, I noticed a custom mattress store that was open. We went inside and ended up buying a new mattress for Tiny, and it will be delivered on Monday to the campground! They will also take away the old mattress. The old mattress would have worked for the occasional camping outing for a long time, but being full-time campers, and me having a bad back, we are getting an upgrade. The cool thing about this new mattress, which is being built for us, there are no metals/springs, so it’s lighter weight and yet firm.
********
We had plenty of sunny days while in California, and took advantage of each one, getting to many of our favorites beaches; not limited to Crystal Cove. The Beachcomber Restaurant, on the beach there, being a big favorite of our to eat at. Vintage and delicious!


⬆️ Daryl is such a good sport, regarding my new interest in Metal Detecting. He pulls my wagon of tools and he does a lot of digging! Nope, I haven’t found any gold yet, but plenty of bottle caps! Ha! But, I’m (we) are getting exercise, fresh air and cleaning up litter, right? None, of which are bad things. 

⬆️ More Shrimp Tacos

Benguettes and Apple Crisp. Yes Please!

*********
And last, but certainly not least, our time at Laguna Beach, before leaving the area! ⬇️

⬆️ We got Married here, overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Laguna Beach holds a special place in our hearts! ❤️
********
Leaving Capistrano, we headed towards Riverside to the Citrus Farm we love. Juicing is the name of the game with all this citrus to choose from! ⬇️

********
Finally, we made it to Needles, California which is on the edge of the Mojave Desert, and was a nice halfway point to our first stay over in Arizona. We are both so over those 8-9 hour days to get someplace. Ha!

We both enjoyed a long hot shower in the shower rooms, after we arrived! This is actually the desert, but we have water! 

*******
By The Way, out of many exciting things waiting for us in the mail, I was super excited to get my brand spanking new; 52-page renewed passport! I had concerns with so many mandates and such, there would be conditions to getting my new passport, but not at all. Traveling full-time overseas really fills up the passport pages fast, too! Can’t get pages added anymore, so have to pay for a whole new passport, even if the expiration date was still six years away! 😜

Oh well. Have passport, can travel, except during these strange times. But, It’s here for our future travels though, which I am 100 percent certain will be possible again, one day….We will wait! In the mean time, it’s nice to be traveling in “America the Beautiful!”

As much as we would love to stay in California to winter, the price of fuel drives us away. It’s a $100 bill to fill Rusty, and that’s not okay! We also can’t wait to get running water and WIFI inside Tiny again! (I know, first world problems).
We will arrive in Arizona on Christmas Eve, and will remain in Arizona (moving six times), till the middle of May.
Our overall experience at Caspers Wilderness Park was challenging with the no water issues, and no WiFi, but listening to the coyotes howling at night, and seeing the abundance of wildlife was truly amazing!
*******

ARIZONA

CALIFORNIA

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Go To Home Page

Archive Blog Posts of Our Country Visits

About Us

About Us

Hello and Welcome to our Travel Blog Website, We are into our fourth year of our full-time Gypsy Lifestyle; buying one-way tickets to circumvent the globe. We enjoy writing about our experiences and taking photos of our adventuring along the… Read More