We’re only a week + one day away from making it back home! Part of me feels like I could keep going forever; other parts of me miss our dogs and cats and want to be in a separate room from my kids for a change.
I thought I wasn’t going to have an RVing disaster to talk about this time….until we pulled into the campground at Brantley Lake State Park near Carlsbad, NM a few days ago and another car promptly waved us down to tell us about this:
So, yeah….that there is a very flat tire on the van. When we discovered it, we were stopped right next to the very helpful Brantley Lake campground host’s site, and he helped Dave get the spare on so that we could get to our site. The spare was pretty ancient and not suitable for another 1500 miles or so of driving, so first thing in the morning we took it to a tire place in Carlsbad. Near as we can tell, the valve just went bad on it and started letting all the air out…so they replaced the valve and put the tire back on and sent us on our way only $18 poorer. Could certainly have been much worse, so if that’s the only car trouble we have on this trip (knock wood), I’ll definitely take it.
But I’m actually not even going to make it to the Carlsbad section of the trip on the summary….mostly because I haven’t edited the Carlsbad photos yet. I’ll pick up there on my next (last!) summary post, and then I’ll deal with the post trip sadness by going back and writing all the detailed posts about assorted destinations and campgrounds.
So we left off with the beginning of our week long break from life in the RV, staying with Dave’s parents in their condo in Livermore, CA (about an hour east of San Francisco). We went back and forth about whether to camp nearby or park the trailer and stay in the condo, but ultimately the promise of long showers (and saving a week’s worth of camping fees) won out. We got a permit to park on the street in Livermore and hauled out an unbelievable amount of stuff. It made me appreciate the advantages of hauling your house with you on a long trip like this and not having to pack and unpack at hotel after hotel.
We had a great week hanging out with family and exploring. There was a lot of downtime and cousin bonding time, but we also made it into San Francisco to see a play (thanks to Nana and Grandpa for the tickets and for the younger kid babysitting):
…and to see Alcatraz:
We also saw the Oakland Museum:
And we had a lovely day where we went to Muir Woods and Rodeo Beach, thus fully achieving the cross country part of our cross country road trip (especially if you throw in our April trip to Charleston….ocean to ocean!)
Then it was time to say goodbye and start heading south and east. We had a couple of very long, boring drives through the desert before we made it to the Grand Canyon. Dave had seen the Grand Canyon as a kid, but his only memory of it was of a squirrel who tried to steal his Butterfinger. So he got to experience the awe and wonder right along with the rest of us. Verdict: Grand Canyon is worthy of the hype:
Next up we stopped at yet another National Park: Petrified Forest National Park. Not on the same level as the Grand Canyon, admittedly, but still a great stop with plenty to see:
And then it was on to Brantley Lake and our flat tire!