Tag Archives: rv

We are back home in Clemson

After our fun times in Moab we drove on and got to Denver. We got in pretty late at night and had a hard time finding the rv park I had picked to stay at because there was a lot of construction in that area. Luckily we got there and Chris realized that I had picked out an rv park right next to a white water park so he could kayak in the morning.

Chris bought this really cool cherry wood acoustic guitar in Denver. We went to 2 different pawn shops but ended up getting this one for a good price from a unique place. The guitar sounds really good and Chris has already started to get better at playing it. After that Chris and I walked back to the rv where Chris saw a guy driving an old Jeep wrangler in distress. Of course Chris had to get out and go offer this fellow jeeper a hand in getting his car started again. Chris started walking over to him and then realized it was the creepiest looking guy ever in the front seat. He looked like Quasimodo except worse!! Luckily the Jeep started before he got there.

We drove through the city and went to Wynkop Brewery to have some yummy micro brewed beer and food. It was a 2 story bar/restaurant and of course we sampled every beer that they had. Chris fell in love with this one Chili flavored beer that they had and actually bought a growler of it to take home. It actually smelled and tasted like chili.

The brewery was right by the baseball stadium in Denver and there just happened to be a Rockies game that night so we decided to buy some tickets and head to the game, even though they were already losing. Instead of buying some scalpers tickets, another couple overheard us talking about going to the game and offered us their seats for 20 dollars only a few rows up in left field (they didn’t really want to go anymore since the Rockies were losing).

Oh ya and we had a really crazy experience on our drive to Denver at a KFC that involves me hitting an awning and Chris dragging the dirt bike behind the rv for 250 feet remarkably causing very little damage.

After Denver we drove FOREVER to get to St. Louis. Once we got there we checked out the law school, looked at apartments, and went to get drunk at the zoo err I mean Jammin at the Zoo :) We only had two days there so it was very stressful to try and learn the city and where I wanted to live for my first year of school.

We left St. Louis and did the full drive back to Clemson in one long day. We haven’t written anything because we have been super busy trying to move out of our apartments.

Nightmare in Nevada

As most of you know from our earlier posts, the gas gauge on the rv does not work. It does move around sometimes but it never reflects how much gas we actually have. There has been a few times on this trip that we have thought we ran out of gas, but so far Grand Canyon was the only place it actually happened….until yesterday.

If any of you have ever been to Nevada, not including Los Vegas, you would know how bad our situation was. After my last post when we hung out in that McDonalds for 4 hours, we bought 38 dollars worth of gas. The gas pump clicked off so we thought we were good to go. We had been filling up intermittently when gas prices looked good.

I am driving while Chris is fixing things all over the inside of the rv. We are going though the desert and mountain ranges of Nevada where every ten miles or so, you might see an unmarked dirt road. We drive for almost an hour and then see a sign that says next gas 71 miles. (We hadn’t seen a gas station in our first hour of driving). We think nothing of it because we thought we had a full tank of gas…opppssiees, we were wrong.

The rv started skipping when I would push on the gas petal and then all of a sudden, the accelerator wouldn’t go anymore. I yell out to Chris and he comes up to the front and gets in the drivers seat. We couldn’t even pull off the road because there was a 4 or 5 foot drop on each side covered with gravel. We coasted until we completely stopped; we were parked in the road in the middle of NO WHERE.

Here is where the next problem comes in, that gas tank we are supposed to keep on the back for these situations has only less than a gallon in it; meaning we could only get 10 miles or so on that.

Another problem; we have zero cell phone and internet service. Yes I do have aaa but that doesn’t help if you can’t call them to bring out extra gas to you.

And one last problem; the nearest gas station is 65 miles each way. We used the GPS to try and figure out where we could drive the dirt bike to and fill up the gas tank. Well not only is a 130 mile round trip a long time to be on the dirt bike, but the 5 gallon tank won’t even get us all the way to the gas stations.

How does someone get out of this situation?? Well I don’t know about normal people but Chris and I loaded up our under a gallon in extra gas and started the rv. We were hoping that we could at least get off the road to prevent an accident. It takes a minute or so to start up because we were so empty. Chris starts moving again wheennn……

We see a small factory and a few trucks on the right hand side. They had a parking lot that we could pull over in and maybe get a landline to call for help. This was the first building we had seen since we left the small town so we were sooooo lucky that we ran out of gas right there. You might think that’s the end but there is more…

This happened to be a factory that made gasoline. (Yes I know that is not the official term, refinery for crude oil ect. Just accept it for the point of the story) Who runs out of gas right in front of a gas factory??? We walk in the building and meet a young guy named Bruce who just happened to be filling up one of the company cars to go into town. He said even though they are completely not allowed to give any gas to non employees, he agrees to give us a few gallons after filling up his car. Then another employee pulls in needed gas so Bruce said he would give us a couple gallons from his fill up too.

We were saved. After we got 8 gallons of the freshest gas this old rv has ever had in it. We tried to offer Bruce some money for the gas to pay for it or at least so he can buy a case of beer or something on us. He refuses and said it was the right thing to do to help us out.

Chris and I were so astonished that this actually happened to us. We got back on the road and made it to the gas station with plenty to spare (although it took us almost 200 dollars to fill it back up) In that little town we got some Mexican food and then drove another 80 miles to an rv park for the night where we got to take SHOWERS. (you would be that excited too if you had to sit next to us in a restaurant) We are currently in Utah, about 5 hours from Moab, and plan on spending tonight and tomorrow night there. Hopefully we stay out of trouble for those couple hours and don’t worry, we will pay WAY more attention to the gas level after that scare.

Border Patrol

It is around 11 o’clock Pacific time….yes yes we made it to CALIFORNIA!! Well we are driving west on I-8 and realized that we are literally driving next to the Mexican border; we even have to go through border patrol checks. They make you stop and ask if you are a USA citizen and if we are the only two people in the car. We were scared we were going to have to get out and get searched. Luckily, that was not the case; Chris and I must look American enough.

Soooo this lead to us thinking about how many Mexicans we could smuggle in the rv without being seen. Here is how it works out: 4 above the driver cab; 3 in the bathroom; 1 under the couch; 1 under the table; 1 under the dirtbike cover on the back of the rv; 2 (one in each of the kayaks on the roof while putting the skirts over them so no one could see in.) So overall that means we could smuggle at least 12 Mexicans into the country safely!

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Haha hopefully everyone found that amusing and not offensive. Chris also figured out that if he was to actually smuggle Mexicans, he would get a beat up Ford F150 and dress like a redneck. He would add stickers that would say “Voluntary Boarder Control” “Terrorist Hunter” and other redneck things. He said this would be the best way to sneak them around.

In case you are wondering….YES we have seen people get caught so far. There are bright lights, fences, and hills everywhere. Cars and border patrol are hiding everywhere. We have seen at least a few people get caught just a few feet from the highway we are driving on. Literally California is on our right and Mexico on our left. Hopefully we don’t have to stop at anymore checkpoints now since they know our smugling plan. Well we will be in San Diego in about 2 hours; I will make sure and update if we see any funny signs or any more really cool busts.

Phoenix, AZ

Can anyone here say HOT! Because that is how Chris and I would describe Phoenix. We had only a 2+ hour drive from Sedona, but that short drive feels very long in 115 degree heat and NO air-conditioning. We saw probably at least 20 trucks stopped on the side of the road, broken down from overheating. It was still very hilly and had lots of steep grades so after a while; Chris pulled off the highway to try and find some shade to park in and let the rv “cool down.”

At this point, we couldn’t figure out if it was better to have to windows open or closed. The breeze felt like a blowdryer blowing hot air on your face and with the windows closed, we had to have ice packs on our neck to keep cool. We had to drive through Phoenix anyways to get to San Diego and I wanted to stop and see one of my favorite cousins Kaine and his preggers girlfriend Lacey.

We show up to their new apartment complex (Costco across the street..haha another obsession with my family) and Chris and I drove around until we found 3 spots we could take up in the back. We get ready to walk in when we realize that the back door won’t close and lock. This is a nice area of town, right by downtown Scottsdale but Chris and I have 3 laptops, xbox, flat screen tv ect., way too much to risk leaving it open. Chris proceeds to take apart the door handle (for about the 3rd time) and try to fix it. It took him about 30 minutes and we were all yucky and hot.

Kaine called to make sure we weren’t lost and I explained our little situation. Instead of us walking to their place, they came and picked us up from the back and took us out to dinner. We went to this really cool restaurant and ate outside on couches (they also have these really cool misting things that hang from the ceiling all over around there). For some reason I can’t remember the name of the restaurant (Kaine can comment about it if he is not too busy at work to check out our cool blog..haha) They had at least 75 beers on tap, most of which were ones that Chris and I have never heard of, yummy.

We ate and chatted about our trip, Kaine’s work, family, and the new baby Dillon Robert (of course not born yet, only 7.5 months pregnant). I don’t know how Lacey does it being pregnant in the heat down here, it must be intense. Chris liked looking at all the really cools cars and lifts that you could see everywhere around there (Westlake people, the downtown there is kind of like Crocker Park but bigger).

After dinner we went back to their apartment and hung out for a little while longer. We got the see the baby’s new room and all the decorating they have already done for it. It was great to get to see both of them. I met Lacey at Thanksgiving this past year and that’s the last time I saw Kaine too since they live soooo far away in Arizona. They seem really excited for the new baby and both seem really happy.

Around 9 o’clock, we had to get back on the road so we could get a few hours out of phoenix before morning traffic. We said our goodbyes and packed back up in our very hot rv. You would think that since it was dark it might have cooled down, but no. Hot Hot Hot Hot.

Chris knew we couldn’t make it too far because the rv had started making noises earlier and he wanted to stop for the night and replace the spark plugs wires again and the bushing. We only made it about 45 minutes down the road he said we had to pull over. So he gets out to check the engine and realizes that we have NO oil. (he had just done a full oil change before we left.) Unfortunately we are in the middle of no where (nearest gas station is 6 miles back from where we came from). Chris unloads the dirtbike and of course I am going with him (no way am I sitting in the rv on the side of the road alone for 20 minutes)

Thanks for the dirtbike, we got the oil and luckily no damage was done to the engine. Chris knew at that point that we really needed to stop at the soonest rv park (about 30 miles down the road). I gave him directions and then accidentally fell asleep ( I was tired from unpacking from the Grand Canyon, doing a bunch of loads of laundry, and a counter full of dishes earlier). So we miss that park and instead end up at a different rv resort another 30 miles down the road (truly a blessing in disguise).

Around midnight we pull in and go to sleep, running the air conditioner but it is still soooo warm in the rv. We had to pay to plug in because you couldn’t sleep in a rest stop with no cool air.

In the morning, we wake up at 9 am and Chris goes outside to start working on the bushing before it gets too hot. So he is banging and banging, using a hammer and a crowbar to try and get the old one off. The noise brought out the owner of Oasis Rv Park, Jim, on his golfcart, asking if Chris needed any help. We thought we were going to get yelled at because we still hadn’t paid from pulling in the night before, but instead he offered Chris some really amazing help. The owner called a shop and actually lent Chris a car to go and drive there!! The first shop couldn’t do it so he went to a second one about 30 minutes away. I can’t believe that the owner was so nice and willing to do that for us. I stayed behind and answered all his Illstreet calls and cleaned up again.

While Chris was driving he swears he saw Big Black (from a MTV show he likes called Rob & Big) He said the driver looked exactly like him and he was driving a new, clean, black Jeep Cherokee with big wheels, tinted windows, and had a big silver BB sign in the back (Big Blacks symbol).

He gets back and thanks the owner for being so nice and they chat about how hot this place is in the summer. 117 today. The owner of Oasis is retired from the navy and traveled all over the world. He decided to buy some land and his dream was to live in the Sunbelt and own an rv park, not necessarily for the money but more for the lifestyle. He said in the winter, it is packed full of people here. He told Chris that we can’t leave until later because the rest of the drive is very hilly and hot (he basically said the rv couldn’t make it if we left now.) So basically we have been sitting here, Chris working and me watching a movie, drinking water and still sweating with the ac running. Later on he also gave Chris a tire patch kit and an aircompressor as well. (we had somehow run over a pair of scissors in our journey)

At this point, we can’t wait to get to San Diego where we will be staying with Chris’s Uncle Kevin until the 4th of July. We are only about 3 hours away and should get there tonight, hopefully experiencing some much cooler weather.

Sedona, Arizona

If any of you have ever driven from the Grand Canyon to Sedona, you will understand how difficult the drive is to do in a rv. I had lines of cars following me because it is a twisting, turning, slow, difficult drive where you have a 7% grade and drop 2000 feet in a couple of miles. I was scared to go over 15-20 mph because I didn’t want to be responsible for driving us off a cliff. Occasionally I would pull over and let the train of cars pass me (I know if I was driving a normal car, I would be none to happy to be stuck behind a slow rv). Although at one point, I had a car continuously ride up on my tail and start honking; let’s just say I didn’t pull over for them. In fact I went even slower and Chris took care of the rest (imagination at work).

So once again a 2 hour drive turned into a 3 or so hour drive. The only problem with that was we HAD to check in at the rv park before dark. Unfortunately, we didn’t know if dark meant sunset, headlights on, or pure blackness. Well anyways we made it and got the pleasure of following a fire truck down into Lo Lo Mai rv resort.

Don’t worry; there wasn’t a fire, just a rattlesnake that they wanted to get rid of. So we checked in and decided to order some yummy pizza because we were too tired to cook and too hungry to go without eating. While waiting for our food we saw lots of wildlife. The rv resort has a huge pond with geese and ducks (missing our own little Koozie Duck), raccoons, dogs, cats, skunks, snakes etc. (the owners liked feeding wild animals). It was actually pretty cool. There was a creek nearby and lots of trees (shade is always appreciated. It was 32 dollars a night but the park was very secluded, clean, friendly, and had good bathrooms and laundry area.

We were soooo tired but we still had to set up camp. Our neighbors were impressed that we still even hung our cool outdoor lights even though we just hiked up the Grand Canyon. The only downside to Lo Lo Mai was that we had NO cell phone service. No calls in or out and no internet. That wasn’t too bad for us because it was the weekend so Chris didn’t need to answer calls and we were too tired to talk to anyone. We could still send and receive text messages so we weren’t completely disconnected. Chris tried to put a movie in but we basically just fell asleep.

Ah, a bright new day and OW we are SORE. Man you think you are tired after the hike but try walking the next day. Sedona is known for their amazing red rocks and the Jeep Tours that you go off-roading on. Instead of paying $150-200 to have someone else ride us around in a Jeep (Chris’s Jeep is sitting at his parent’s house in Spartanburg) we decide to take the dirtbike out

We change into grungy clothes, fill up our camel backs (small backpacks that hold 2 liters of water each) and head off to the trails. At first, the trails aren’t how I remembered them. I had been there with my family some years ago and I remembered it being more extreme (trust me we hit those just a little later on). We stopped first at some old ruins that we had to hike out to. They were really cool and built under this cliff. After seeing those, we asked the woman at the beginning of the trail where the best places to go were. She sent us off on 60 miles of fun riding (although I am sure Chris wished at some points that I wasn’t on the back, it’s much easier to ride with only one person.)

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We finished riding and we were hot, thirsty and dirty so we decided to go into Sedona and check out the downtown area. (Lo Lo Mai is about 8 miles south of actual Sedona) We got smoothies and checked out some of the tourist shopping; most of it was out of our price range. Instead of eating there, we drove back to West Sedona where we saw a nice Mexican restaurant that had happy hour specials from 4-6.

We go it and sit at the bar because we were still dirty from riding. We get $4.00 big margaritas, chips and salsa, and calamari. The drinks and food were delicious but the best part of our night came a little later on. A couple came in and sat down next to us at the bar. We ended up small talking about the food and drinks and then Chris and I find out that they have been living in Sedona for 7 years. We ask them what else we should see or do before they leave in the morning and they proceed to tell us about this amazing, secluded place to see the sunset.

After getting detailed directions, we start to tell them about our trip and explaining how Chris runs his own business from the road and was South Carolina’s entrepreneur of the year this past spring. Well that must have set of a light bulb in Terry’s head, (the couples names are Terry and Jeanette). He is a venture capitalist, and he and Chris started talking business and cars. We continue talking, finishing our drinks and they remind us that we have to get going if we are going to catch the sunset. We go to leave and they say “instead of driving all the way out to that other place, why don’t you just come back to our house and watch the sunset from our balcony.” Chris and I of course agree.

We follow them back and pull up to an amazing house (even nicer than the houses we had driven around looking at earlier). They have a fountain in front, two very friendly dogs, a donkey that lives next door, and a view that is breathtaking. We couldn’t believe how friendly and nice they were! Inviting two dirty strangers inside their beautiful house to hang out with for the night. We pour some wine and tequila (not mixed of course) and go upstairs to sit on the top balcony and watch the sunset.

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We stayed there until past 11 o’clock just talking, looking and the view, having the guys look at some amazing cars Terry has, and feeding carrots to the donkey next door. At the end of the night, Chris of course gets their information (venture capitalist + entrepreneur = hopefully a good idea and a lot of money some day)

We had such an amazing night, probably one of the most entertaining we had so far on this adventure. Who knows, Chris might even have found a future investor in his business.

The looooonggg 24 hour drive

(Carlsbad, NM to Grand Canyon, AZ)

We woke up in Carlsbad on Tuesday around 7 am, knowing that we still have about a eleven hour drive to do that day (which turned into at least 16 since we were going through the mountains) We started to pack up camp and Chris took to dirt bike around before he loaded it up on the back of the rv. While riding in the park he saw 5 wild pigs roaming around. We also saw our skunk friend from the night before and 2 ringtails. Ringtails look like a mix of a big cat with a raccoon tail.

Later that day I was driving and started see rain clouds out on the horizon. They looked really cool because you could literally see where it was raining. Then the lightning began, and we were driving right into the storm. Chris was in the back working and all of a sudden the wind picks up to 40-50 mph and it started POURING. I start freaking out (as you know by now, anything out of the ordinary while driving the rv scares me) and then it starts hailing. Chris tells me to pull over and all of the other cars on the road pulled over too. It was a super bad storm that we waited out for about 10 or 15 minutes. Look at the size of the hail Chris picked up.

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So it started to look like we had only seen the beginning of the storm and Chris thought it might get even worse if we stayed any longer. (Remember we have kayaks, a solar panel, dirk bike, etc. on the outside of the rv.) So we drive on and everything turns sunny again. Chris gets out to check on all that equipment and when he gets back in the rv, he sees this huge bird sitting on a rock right outside out window. He gets out the camera and starts to take really close, cool pictures. We later find out (after watching all of the professional photographers take pictures in the Grand Canyon) that this bird is an endangered California Condor. (Chris and I can do and awesome condor impression if you ask us to.)

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We continue driving through New Mexico and realize that we are going right through Roswell (the place with all the UFO action). Of course we stop and go to the UFO museum and gift shops. We learned a lot about the government and air force’s conspiracy to cover up the alien ship crash landing in Roswell that contained 4 extraterrestrial beings. Many people swear to its authenticity while the government said it was a weather balloon and 4 test dummies inside. Who is right…..that is for you to decide.

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Chris had done a report on UFO’s back in the day and was slightly more interested in all the museum documents than I was. We had a lot of fun there messing around with alien stuff and it was a good stop on our trip.

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We then ended up on a 100 mile scenic drive in New Mexico, past Smokey the Bear National Forest (the danger level for forest fires is very high right now, you can’t have campfires anywhere). It was a beautiful drive through the mountains. No matter which window you looked out of, the views were breathtaking. We even stopped in a lava field to collect some rocks for the salt water fish take Chris has.

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The only bad part of the drive was that the rv doesn’t go above 40 when going up steep mountains so it turned a 75 mph drive into a lot slower one. Hours later, it was 8 pm and we were driving into Albuquerque, NM. We planned on just driving through but Chris really need to buy some hiking boots. (He had ruined his previous ones while working on the rv and decided that it would be no problem to just scoop up a pair on the road…NOT) We find four sports stores that had Columbia shoes and only one of them was still open. Luckily we go to the Sports Authority just in time to pick up some new boots and a walking stick for me. (Once again me=clumsy which doesn’t bode well for steep grand canyon hiking)

I get back in the drivers seat and continue on past the famous, historic Route 66. While we were going down the road, all of a sudden a truck driver pulls up next to me and flashes his brights. Then he pulls in front of me and hits his break like 5 or 6 times. I freak out and tell Chris because it was looking like something was wrong. We pull off and Chris goes out to check our lights. We realized that for the past 200 miles, when we have our lights on at night, the break lights were permanently on. The turn signals were also wired backwards Oppppsiess. Haha at least we corrected our mistake and didn’t get in an accident during those first 7 states.

I drove until around 1 am and we were still about 300 miles away and was sooo tired. Chris took over the wheel and I went to bed. He drove us another 200 miles while smoking a cigar until he got too tired to drive. Around 3:30 am our day ended and we both went to sleep at a rest stop for a couple hours. Unfortunately, the alarm would be going off in about two hours…..

Carlsbad, New Mexico

We drive into White City and see one gas station, general store, hotel and not much else. We got there in time to check into our rv park and pay $20 dollars to plug into the night. We park and hang up our cool, new, fun rv outdoor lights and make fun with our neighbors. We bring out the chairs and and our grill (for hot dogs) and started talking to our campsite neighbors. There were a few fun 40 something couple from Montana. Well we shared storied and moonshine until we realized that our hot dogs had been on the grill for over 20 minutes. (they were still yummy) After that we were pretty tired and new we had a busy day ahead of us so we just decided to watch a movies and go to bed.

Today we woke up around 9 (since we are now in the mountain time zone) and closed Illstreet for the day. Chris answered the first few calls but since we were going to be 800 feet below the ground, we knew we couldn’t get phone reception. We hiked down the natural entrance to the National park after driving the 7 mile scenic route on the way in. The natural entrance was awesome and definitely worth the hour walk over the elevators.

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Yes mom, it was steep but my knee held out fine and Chris made sure to keep and eye on me. We took TONS of pictures today and even paid for a group tour of a restricted part of the cavern. After a few hours of hiking, we went to a very expensive grocery store and then hung out for an hour until the bats were released. Around 7:30 at night, hundreds of thousands of bats exit the cave to go out and eat for the night. The exit in huge swarms and it was really cool to see. Unfortunetly no cameras at all were aloud because they mess up the bats flight. Sooo we got to see it, but if any of you want to see it,you will have to go to Carlsbad.

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We had fun riding the dirt bike in that area because the weather is just so perfect. We are happy to be our of the humidity of South Carolina. After the bats, we were really tired from all our hiking. We snuck back in the campground from the night before and built a fire overlooking the desert. It is not that easy to find firewood when a. its dark  b. there are prickly things everywhere  c. there is hardly any trees in the desert. Chris took his machete and started to cut down a dead tree so we made it work. We met 2 people tent camping by us when we went to warn them about the skunk action. They were a guy and girl only 17 and 18 from Wisconsin driving across the country doing a similar trip to ours (except they don’t have a sweet rv). After the fire, we just put a movie in and went to bed since we knew it would be a longgg day tomorrow.