Point Sur

I passed this cool old lighthouse last month, coming up the Pacific Coast south of Carmel, CA. It’s called the Point Sur Lightstation and according to Wikipedia:
In 1874, the ship Ventura ran onto rocks just north of Point Sur, and many people died. The captain was drunk, but the absence of a light contributed to this tragedy.

So they built a lighthouse on top of this rock. Here’s the history and you can take a tour.

Here’s a view north from the lighthouse.

Here’s a new mid-sized reference map. (dragable, clickable, you know the drill… :-)

Categorized as Vacation 1

Meet Jill

Jill, of course, is the name of my sweet little 1988 Mazda B2200 that has undergone an amazing transformation. I bought her from Riley and his mom as the summer approached. I needed an efficient, dependable truck, with a camper to sleep in.

Jill only had about 87,000 miles on her and has been in the family since being acquired from the old couple that bought her initially. In other words, 1000 miles per year.

Riley and his buddy replaced the timing chain, points, plugs, filters and I went up to Washington and picked her up early summer. As I traveled around those first few weeks I was able to debug her remaining issues and the drive train and catalytic converter were fixed here in the valley by my local boys. New tires and belts were acquired on the road.

The camper shell was transformed when I first got Jill back here to the valley. Steph and I bought some thin wood to offset the ribs in the camper bed and then layered foam and blankets on top. Shelves were built and two plastic containers with three drawers each were installed. These things hold every thing I need!

Every window in the camper was blacked out with contact vinyl and security bolts were installed to lock it down when I climb in for the night. We also took off the tailgate ribs and replaced them with custom created pads.

This is an extended cab with two fold down seats which made all the difference as I was able to put my food storage, ice chest, and electronics back there, including an AC inverter to charge up my stuff. I also strung up a cord to hang up my wardrobe.

The best thing was the big water jug I bought, and filled with our fresh well water on every trip. I could pull it up on the tailgate and fill my drink or brush my teeth!

Update: I’ve implemented a Post Link feature to this collection of photos from previous posts. Click on the little blue pin in the upper left corner to open the post where the photo originated from.

Sixteen thousand miles later, she’s home…
SlideShow (Meet Jill)
Categorized as Vacation 1

North Yellowstone

I was coming home from Billings, Montana this morning and decided to take Hwy 89 heading south out of Livingston. I’ve driven by this route a few times because it goes through the north end of Yellowstone National Park and they charge $25 bucks per car.

I remembered that I now have a National Park Senior Pass, I’m free! So I went through brand new country today and it was gorgeous. The valley south of Livingston has communities built around the wide Yellowstone River. These places don’t even have names, they’re just beautiful homes on a beautiful river.

I breezed right through the park entrance with a smile from the ranger and money still in my pocket. The photos here represent my drive south, exiting at West Yellowstone.

Update: Here’s that south of Livingston area I was talking about… btw, I’m using Steph’s point and shoot that she got free as a Staples in-store credit, ten year ago. It’s amazing what a talented eye and great photo editing software can do!

SlideShow (North Yellowstone)

Categorized as Vacation 1

Tripta Town

I drove into town this morning to pick up a few things at Broulim’s, but I was daydreaming about road trips and just suddenly turned right at the light.

I kept going and cruised on through Tetonia. The smell of fresh cut hay made me veer towards Felt and soon the wide open fields were flying by.

In Ashton I was stuck in the right lane by a large farm vehicle so I went with it and soon a swollen Henry’s Fork full of fisherman was following me as I drove North.

I didn’t stop until Bozeman Montana and I felt like Forest Gump standing at the end of the pier, except turning around was not an option…

If I go left I’ll end up at the Farmers Market in Butte. (Wait, wasn’t that my dilemma this morning :-) If I go right, a whole new box of chocolates await.

I went right, hello Billings Montana!

SlideShow (Tripta Town)
Categorized as Vacation 1

Stephs Take

These are shots that Steph took with her camera during the last trip. I love this opening shot as we were coming home through Jackson and people were gathering to watch the moose family hanging out in the water.

SlideShow (Stephs Take)
Categorized as Vacation 1


Here’s some leftover pictures from the last trip. They’re also the last photos taken with my now deceased camera.

The opener is what I call Moon Proof in reference to this post, followed by a shot from the window, the full picture of a surprised grandson, some more Civil War era shots from Franklin and then moonshine with the kids the night before we left.

SlideShow (Leftovers)
Categorized as Vacation 1

Sixteen States

My sweet little truck has just brought us home from the South! We left a spot just East of Denver this morning at 0420, totally missed the Denver rush hour and came in the back way from Rock Springs. I projected a 1400 driveway pull-in and I hit it!

Here’s a list of all the States I’ve been in since starting my summer vacation, and it adds up to sixteen. Some States were visited more than once.

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

I’ve also driven the truck 16,000 miles since buying it from Riley in June. Besides the work he and his buddy put into it I’ve added a new catalytic convertor, replaced the transmission fluid, replaced the carrier bearing, replaced all of the belts and bought four new Uniroyal Tiger Paw tires and a new windshield. New shocks are going in shortly.

If you take good care of your ride, it will bring you home :-)

Categorized as Vacation 1

Hole Lotta Nutin

We got a great early start today with a Continental Breakfast at our motel and then shot through the Oklahoma City commute without a slowdown. Headed up I-35 knowing that I needed to find an oil change place shortly.

This is the second time I’ve racked up over 3,000 miles on a trip and needed to change the oil on the road. The last spot was Kingman, AZ, land of coincidence, where I bought two new tires to go with a quick oil change.

Today I was heading to Wichita Kansas, thinking it would certainly be able to handle an oil change. I was a little concerned that both cities had seven letters…

I found a Jiffy Lube and true to tradition they pointed out my frayed fan belts and warned of dire, stuck by the the side of the road, consequences if I didn’t replace them. Actually, they were a concern so I said go for it. Again, an oil change turns out to be a vehicle saving experience!

I left Wichita with a sense of peace knowing I’ve done everything I can to insure this sweet little ride pulls us safely into our driveway tomorrow.

Now, back to the post. There is a whole lot of nothing along I-70 between Salina, Kansas and Denver, Colorado. We did encounter a Turnpike south of Wichita that was cool ($1.95 to use the road) but other then that, boring…

The top story of the day is, I finally accidentally killed my poor spot infected point and shoot camera. A cup of water spilled on it, I turned it on, and the photo below is the last one it will ever take. May this little pain in the butt rest in peace…

btw: Here’s the first picture I took with this camera:

So, the camera lasted from June 10th, 2011 to August 8, 2012. It’s been in the shop once for spots on the sensor, developed new ones six months later, and died a wet death.

Panasonic is off my camera list…

Categorized as Vacation 1

Heading Home

I made much better time then I expected this morning. We left the South at 0400 and hauled ass. Made a brief stop (somewhere…) for catfish sandwiches. The temperature was well over a hundred on I-40 heading West and we were slow-cooking with the windows down.

Currently hunkered down in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We found a great motel coming into town that had everything needed: A/C, Continental Breakfast, etc… Steph just fed me Beanie Weenie and a tuna-fish sandwich, there’s a torrential rain/thunder storm happening, and we ain’t going anywhere tonight.

We traveled 650 miles today. We still have 1200 miles to go. The scheme is to shoot North from here, hit I-70 to Denver and then come in the back way through Jackson.

I also need to get Jill an oil-change tomorrow morning. This girl is cruising magnificently and I’m looking forward to parking her in our garage and letting her cool off for a bit…

Categorized as Vacation 1

Wilson Dam

I drove down to Muscle Beach this morning, oops I mean Muscle Shoals, Alabama (Venice, California was last month) to visit Wilson Dam.

SlideShow (Wilson Dam)
Categorized as Vacation 1

Battle Of Franklin

The Battle of Franklin took place during the night of November 30, 1864 and left 9,500 Union and Confederate soldiers dead, wounded, captured or missing.

The Carnton Plantation served as the largest field hospital in the area for hundreds of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers along with five dead Generals.

I drove to Franklin this morning and took some photos of the cemetery. It struck me that I was standing on ground that once had slaves working in the fields and on the plantation. I can’t say that about Driggs, Idaho thankfully…

SlideShow (Battle Of Franklin)

Categorized as Vacation 1

Cedars Of Lebanon

I drove up the Music Highway yesterday morning, into Music City. I always hope that a big city I first encounter will be different than other big cities I’ve been to. Unfortunately, Nashville has the same issues every other place has: traffic jams, lots of people, etc… It’s Saturday so there was no way I was going to venture into downtown. Maybe tomorrow morning?

Steph’s son-in-law Michael loaned me his GPS for this little trip and I’ve had charging issues with it. My truck is old so it has an old cigarette lighter and the GPS cord expects something newer I guess. I finally got it charged up and I told it where I wanted to go!

Cedars of Lebanon State Park, 328 Cedar Forest Road, Lebanon, TN and damned if it didn’t take me right here. It’s a nice State Park and for $20 I get a space, and nice neighbors. It was raining heavy when I arrived but I still managed to break Park Rule #1 (no alcohol) and walked over to meet Wayne and Karen, who were also breaking Park Rule #1.

These two are my age and they’ve been hanging out here for a few days. They sold their mobile home and have been living out of their van with their 5 month old pit bull named Blue. Nice people! Karen even let me use her cell phone to touch base with Steph.

The conversation drifted to their daughter Megan, who died last year from a massive stroke at the age of 23. (Yea, I know…) We had quite the discussion about how doctors use every part of an organ donors parts, even down to your tiny veins for children. Very sad about Megan, they said she was really nice.

I went back to the truck to work on this post and when I re-surfaced they invited me over for a hamburger. I brought over my radio playing jazz and we hung out for the evening. I now have two new friends!

I’m currently hunkered down in my truck cave writing this, still playing jazz from my portable radio, typing these words by my little light here in the cave, and I feel totally secure. There are families camped here with kids riding their bikes around. Nice!

Wayne has invited me over for coffee and breakfast in the morning and then, since they’re leaving tomorrow, I’m going to follow them out of here to my next destination: Franklin, TN. I was heading to downtown Nashville tomorrow but after hearing their stories of dereliction, addiction and gangs I’ve decided to take their advice and go explore a civil war graveyard in Franklin :-)

SlideShow (Cedars Of Lebanon)
Categorized as Vacation 1

Dead Corn

Driving through the Heartland of America last week, the number of corn crops we saw that didn’t survive this drought, was staggering…

What are the environmental wackos going to do? Ethanol is going to be scarce, and pricey! Oh yea, food prices are also going up…

SlideShow (Dead Corn)

Categorized as Vacation 1

Camp Heritage

Steph’s spending a few quality days with family and I thought I’d just mosey down to Pensacola, FL and unwind on a beach. I figured the driving out to be eight hours and then realized I wasn’t up for it. I need a break, take a short drive and settle down in a campground somewhere.

There are two types of historic downtown’s in these old cities. Those that are revitalized with small businesses catering to tourists and those that aren’t. Jackson was the latter, with derelicts and street people just wandering around aimlessly.

I found a campground called camp Heritage, Inn Humboldt. It’s got everything I need to relax: showers, wi-fi, A/C, swimming pool… It’s even got a Mexican restaurant nearby where I just had a great Shrimp Chimichanga, minus the cheese. :-)

I’ll regroup here and plan my day for tomorrow. Oh, they also have HBO!

Categorized as Vacation 1


Three days, six States, and 1800 miles down the road, I fulfilled my goal of getting Steph to the South to see her nine year old grandson, Dillan.

The look on their faces, priceless… The look on Dillan’s face, shocked!

SlideShow (Reunion)