Christmas camping

My family always seems to be very busy. Hard to get together for anything. Christmas (2015) was going to be at my sister’s house in Bishop. Both of her daughters and families have moved back to Bishop so all of them were going to be there. Our mother from Arizona was also making the trek. That pretty much meant we should make every effort to get there this year. Also with retirement coming up we don’t know the next we will all be in one place.

It was a go. I got the time off. Since the house was going to be full we had planned on taking the Airstream and staying in an RV park there. Bishop can be very cold in the winter so we figured having hookups would be the best with the trailer. I made reservations. We could even use our heat pump (reversed AC) units to heat. We were going to drive half way to Tehachapi the first night and stay at the Love’s truck stop there. This would make our next leg a much easier drive.

As everyone knows, plans change.

I realized if Bishop was too cold the heat pumps would not work. The limit for heat pumps is around 30-40 degrees. We have been in Bishop in the winter when it got down to 12 degrees! That wouldn’t work. The option would be and electric heater, our propane Heater Buddy or the main furnace. Either way that didn’t necessarily mean we needed an RV park. So I asked my sister if we could park in her driveway and tap on to 15amp power. The answer was ‘Of course’. So we were now staying at the house but not in it.

Our mother was flying from Phoenix, to LAX, to Mammoth the day that we were going part way but that had a hiccup also. Her flight to LAX was just fine but the flight from LAX to Mammoth did not even take off because they feel they could not land due to weather conditions. So she was stuck at LAX. Change the plans. Go down to LAX, pickup Mom, bring her back to Visalia. Leave the next day with Mom and the trailer and do the drive in one day. OK. We can do that.

Luckily, Cindy (sister) thought of her getting on a shuttle that goes to a parking service in Van Nuys. That cut 30-60 minutes from our trip. We left around 5pm and got home around 1am.

The next day we didn’t get a fantastically early start but headed to Bishop with no issues. We got there around 4pm and the ordeal was over. Here is a shot of the mountains on the way:



I was very nice to spend the holidays with the family. As an added bonus our son Aaron and his girlfriend Rachel made it:



Also in attendance was our daughter Hannah and her boyfriend Lukas:



This made us happy to have everyone there. Can you tell?



Everybody survived, even this one:



I tried a variety of heating methods during the stay there. First night was the Dyson Hot/Cold. It didn’t really keep up. Second night was the Heater Buddy. It did well but the canister did not last all night. The final night was the furnace and it was the way to go. Of course it got down to 12 that night! It actually snowed for a bit the first day we were there. You can barely see it in this picture (we even got to stay in a gated community!):


We trucked home directly with no issues nor did Mom have any issues flying back.

We’re going to Jackson…

Insert Johnny and June Cash singing here.

Well, actually we are not going to that Jackson but the Jackson in California for an AirForums rally. We hadn’t been out in the trailer for a while (a month! since the last one in September) and always like to go to Jackson.

One technique we have started is to leave the house the night before our first night, after I get off of work. Drive part way, stay somewhere free and continue the next day with less to drive.

Jackson is around 210 miles from us which means it is perfect for this split trip. The ‘plan’ was to drive to 150 miles (of boring, familiar roads) and spend the night with the truckers. You may have noticed that plan was in quotes. That means this plan did not pan out. We were driving along with no issues until we go about 100 miles from home. We were just passing Atwater and Roxie realized that she did not bring her prescriptions with her. Ouch! Now what? Can we get some small refills at a pharmacy on the way, should we go back, what else can we do? The first thing was to stop going any further. We contacted our son who lives in Visalia and told us he was working in Fresno the next day.

That was the next plan. We would drive back to Fresno and ‘do the drug deal’. This meant we still had to drive back but at least we cut out 90 miles with the meet in Fresno. So what do we do with the trailer? I didn’t want to drive it back and forth also. We drove back to the WalMart in Atwater, which is relatively new. We spent the night there and got up around 6am. Disconnected the trailer, drove to Fresno, got the meds, drove back to Atwater, hooked backup and got on the road. We made it to Jackson around 2pm. Not too bad.

Once we got there we looked forward to relaxing, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. This was our third Jackson ‘rally’ and we love the RV park. We are looking forward to Alumafandango 2016 which is taking over the ENTIRE Jackson RV park.

The weather was very nice. We enjoyed going to downtown Jackson to eat and look around. We had the happy hour Friday night, the potluck Saturday night and the resident Airstream expert, Vinny, gave us a lesson on backing up. Here are some photos and a time lapse of the potluck.

Jack01 Jack02 Jack03 Jack04

With our upcoming retirement adventures coming up in October this will probably be the last Jackson rally for a while from us but I am sure we will find something to do…