December 29, 2016

Washoe Lake State Park

"We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and un-explorable, the land and sea be indefinitely, wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us. We can never have enough of nature."
Henry David Thoreau

We bid farewell to Lake Almanor with a goal to head east via the Feather River Scenic Byway toward Carson City, Nevada to connect to Highway 395. Our plans were to slowly travel south into California toward Lone Pine, skirting our beloved Eastern Sierras and then spending a few days in them Alabama Hills. travel is to live..."but the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."

Whenever we travel, Imkelina's thirst for new places and sights to explore and immerse herself in, is unquenchable. Her favorite saying is "I haven't been everywhere, but I am here now, so let's check it out." 

As we cruised down Hwy 89, we pointed our nose toward Washoe Lake State Park.
The name Washoe comes from the original inhabitants, the Washoe Indians. The park was established in 1977 to preserve a portion of the valley for future generations to enjoy. Unfortunately, that is the only way to protect our environment these days...legislate and establish, to protect and preserve.
Within the park there is a wetland and sand dune habitat that support a diverse collection of wildlife...including deer, coyote, jack rabbits, hawks, eagles, pelicans, Great Blue and Night Herons and many other migratory birds. Washoe has been called a bird watchers dream.

The campground had some very nice sites and during our stay, was pretty sparse of campers. We located a perfect pull through, so did not have to disconnect the car during our stay. With an offering of a few nice views, walking trails and a campfire under a blanket of stars and the glow of the full moon, this waypoint was perfect.

Extreme circumstances remembered in tranquil setting...isn't this the definition of adventure? While at Washoe, we kept abreast of weather conditions heading down Hwy 395 toward Bishop, CA. A big storm was brewing over the Sierras and producing some very cold conditions. Projections were as low as 17ยบ at night. Well after much debate (not really), we chose that protecting the plumbing on our Webegon was more important than viewing the wrath above and below Mount Whitney and knew we would be cruising the 395 corridor again by spring time. So we headed west toward the California Gold Country and Jackson, CA via the steep and winding "slide" call Hwy 88. Our plans now were to take our time heading back to the Central Coast Hidey Hole just in time for the holidays.

At Waypoint 39.666656  -119-7999

December 14, 2016

Lake Almanor...Where the Sierras Meet The Cascades

As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler, solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness, weakness.
Henry David Thoreau

As we bid farewell to Dick and Melinda, we headed east toward Lassen Volcanic National Park and Lake Almanor. Although at this time of year, campgrounds at Lassen and Almanor were closed for the season, we were crossing our fingers that we would locate a US Forest Service Campground still clinging to a "we are open sign". 

Fortune again shined upon us. Lake Almanor North Lake Campground, although officially closed, was not gated and allowed camping as long as you hauled out your trash. No water, no camphost.  There were only a dozen campers in the entire park, mostly fishermen, so we were quite alone in our corner neighborhood. And to not love solitude, you cannot love freedom. For when one is alone, one can truly experience freedom.

Lake Almanor is quite beautiful and from what we were told, a wonderful sportsman's paradise, so quite a haven for the fisherfolk. At this time of the year though, very few ventured out on brisk lake to test their skill, luck and patience. 

This was our 7th day on the road since leaving home and we stayed active each day, so this stop was a perfect rest stop to relax. Imkelina and Sydney hiked every trail, explored the entire campground and reconnoitered every foot of surrounding forest. Imke needed but a short break and she was ready to do it all over again. Walking and exploring are her relaxation! As for Sydney, it is no wonder she found the best nesting area and never moved once the campfire was lit.

I lazed and reflected on a thousand thoughts and with the same underlying questions...are our relationships and experiences actually the required dots that will connect us, lead us or manifest us toward our ultimate destinies? This question is my foreplay to mindlessness or "early dementia".

But these days were restful and very peaceful. Imkelina regularly shares that Mother Nature is always speaking, she is our teacher and we must listen. And to understand, we must have the peaceful mind of a sincere observer. Ahhhh...the best cure for a body is a quiet mind.

At Waypoint 40.218612 -121.176337

December 5, 2016

Lake Shasta Powwow

"All my life I've always come back to one thing, my need to feel free and the need to feel the breeze,
the ride provides a freedom this gypsy needs, where every road is another blessed memory,
a new experience to carry inside my journey, a sense of belonging to a familiar tribe,
a brotherhood that goes beyond a bloodline."
Jess Chief Brynjulson

With our motorhome dealer and Grass Valley behind us, we began our two-week "shake down cruise". Our goal was to put Webegone through a few trials and test every feature and ammenity offered with our rig.

We first headed north toward Lake Shasta to rendezvous with Dick and Melinda, beloved members of our "earthling" tribe. As I ponder about the word tribe, it brings light to my consciouness that we are born into but a little span of existence called life...and for what? To serve, show compassion, help others, celebrate and experience love. And the some of the greatest gifts of this life are our friendships. Friends not only offer their love, but share in our pain and touch our wounds. We are truly blessed with our tribal circle!

Webegone was impressive, quite easy to drive, providing enough power to keep up with traffic while dragging our CRV up Highway 5 toward Mount Shasta. We were quite pleased to see that the level of the lake surpassed what we saw during our last visit here. As we slowly drove through this brilliant forest of earth tone hues, I am reminded that this is the trees' last spark into wild color, one last celebration of hue, before the black and white silence of winter. Autumn, a mosaic of all the seasons.

We arrived at out campsite being greeted by our dear friends. They had secured a lakefront view for our first night in the "wild" with our new home. And what a splendid spot it was. We could not paint a more beautiful backdrop.

This camping trip was not only to celebrate the delivery of our new motorhome and reunite with dear friends, but also an observance of Melinda's day of birth anniversary...this was her wing ding week...year! We saluted her trip around the sun with a few walks in the woods, a few reds, some "Nasty Girl cocktails" and a nightcap of dark chocolate. Salud amiga!

The waters are quiet now, no houseboats, no ski or fishing boats...nothing but serene blue waters, almost like the lake was taking a respite. This is earth's eye admiring all the beautiful landscape that surrounds us. The colors of autumn that flood this forest truly do offer so much allure and harmony...and offer a final reminder of how beautiful leaves grow old. May each of us mirror them as our years become yesterdays.

At Waypoint 40.894217 -122.372287

November 23, 2016

On The Road Again...

"On the road again. Just can't wait to get on the road again. 
The life I love is making music with my friends."
Willie Nelson

Traveling is like flirting with life and yet another event has once again been manifested! "Webegone" has finally arrived in Grass Valley, CA and so we headed up north to formally adopt our new ride, a Dynamax Isata 3 motorhome. Several campfires, few glasses of wine, a shot or two of Crown and then the timing of our pickup led us to the name Webegon. This will be our transporter to unknown lands, our tipi in those still wild places, the escape pod from the toxic clouds of politics...our portal to new experiences.

Dynamax's annual week-long dealer show, backordered parts and an appointment from Mercedes Tech to diagnose a faulty sensor, set our pick up date back three weeks. But since time was not of the essence and we were committed to demonstrating the virtue of patience (patience is the key to concealing my impatience), we pledged to make sure that the production of completing a blemish free rig would not be compromised by a pain in the ass impatient buyer. In truth though...we were like expectant parents waiting for "the water to break."

We arrived at the dealership the day prior to our appointment, so we dropped in for a glimpse of our new rig. We found it snugly hidden among other motorhomes and secured in the pre-delivery area of the dealer's lot. Just beautiful, perfect and everything we had hoped it to be!

We left, eager for tomorrow to arrive. Our appointment had two priorities... first, complete all the necessary paperwork, transfer a couple of bucks and take possession of the keys. And second, participate in a thorough walk-through of our new motorhome with a dealer tech. Although we are experienced rv'ers and quite familiar with LP, water and electrical systems on a motorhome, a new model year may feature some new advanced technology. Therefore, we treat every walk-through as our first, because we believe that if our willingness to learn is strong, any difficulties will be subdued. But our experience was disappointing to say the least and our knowledge of the manufacturer, model and features far exceeded that of our dealer salesman.  Fortunately, we have a very accessible and knowledgeable Dynamax factory representative who will be able to help us with any future questions.

We spent our first night "camped" at our dealer's mini rv park. This gave us a chance to load it up with all the basic gear we crammed into our CRV and brought up with us. Note the priorities, liquor box for Imkelina, vacuum for me and a dog blanket for Sydney.  Plus we did some local grocery shopping and prepared the motorhome for our two-week shakedown cruise. We also were able to touch, experiment, explore and question everything within this new toy, but still had much to review.

The next morning we battened down the hatches, hooked up the CRV and headed north. We continue to take only memories, search for everywhere, quit worrying about potholes and stuff our eyes with wonder.

Thank you Webegone for drawing us to you...thank you Imkelina for your steadfastness and dedication...and thanks Sydney for always demonstrating how to enjoy the ride!


At Waypoint 40.741895 -73989308

September 26, 2016

Changing the Course...Once Again

"Change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end"
Robin Sharma

Our hopes have always been that our posts have inspired you to create your own adventures. You know...seduction isn't making someone do what they don't want to's enticing someone in doing what they secretly want to do already. So for those that have had that inner desire "to be here now"...we hope BlaNicS Waypoints has seduced you.

Well our natural wonderlands are drawing us like the wisdom of an ancient sage, for the call of adventure has been the soundtrack of our souls. So it is not surprising that after months of listening to those lyrics, we have began composing another arrangement. 

After a brief 7 month hiatus, we are once again planning on traveling the byways of the West (of the Atlantic), sooner than later, for the best place I want to be is always "somewhere else". 

Months ago we decided to change our mode of exploration..the Fox was the best travel trailer we could have owned and our RAM 2500 the most beautiful steed to pull any wagon...but...we realized we are just and always will be "motorized" rv'ers. We are thrilled to report that the Fox was quickly adopted and embraced by a wonderful couple who specifically looked for Arctic Fox Trailers and that particular floorplan. She has already experienced several new adventures...a spoiled rig for sure.

We decided we wanted to downsize even more (you recall we started with a 40' Country Coach diesel pusher and towed our CRV behind it). The Fox and RAM combined length was close to 50' and although our trailer was able to get into almost all campsites, we sometimes still needed a shoehorn and multiple passes to get our trailer parked. 

So we decided to go back to our first love, Motorized, and chose a Class C Motorhome on a Mercedes Sprinter Chassis with a "short" 25 feet length. And if we decide to tow a "toad", we would still be less than 40 feet and can disconnect when parking the motorhome.  

Yeah, we gave up a lot of carrying capacity, gear and holding tanks, but we are pretty confident we can still experience our adventures quite comfortably. And knowing that this rig drives and handles like a small SUV will enable us to be even more aggressive in seeking out those hidden natural gems to camp in.

After some intense research, manufacturer dialogue, model walk throughs, price negotiations and then doing it all over again "we" decided on a manufacturer, model and floorplan. We chose the Isata 3 RW by Dynamax.

We were very fortunate to connect with the Dynamax West Coast Manufacturer Representative who not only has been able to answer all of our questions and provide technical strategies to the build, but also offered to send us photos of our rig being assembled through the production line. So here is a pictorial walk thru of our new rig.

This is how the chassis arrives to Dynamax after upgrades to the chassis were completed by MORryde Engineering. We were surprised to see how small it's "footprint" was. After having huge capacities on the Fox, the small black holding tanks will be an adjustment. 

The box was attached next. Included were cabinetry, appliances, plumbing and electrical.

Slides, frameless windows and aluminum storage compartment doors being installed. Interior living areas are coming along nicely.

Getting ready for Dynamax's legendary full body paint job, taping, color sanding and buffing. Side panel ghosted graphics are airbrushed over multiple times with the exterior color of choice. The front bumper is painted and all the rubber stripping is removed so the inside door jams can also be painted. We were told the entire painting process from start to finish alone takes two weeks to complete.

Painted, color sanded and buffed. Final finish is all that is left of the painting process.

Next a few exterior options were added, than the Pre-Delivery Inspection and the "rain" bay test. Our rig is now ready to be delivered to our dealer. We have already planned a two week "Shake Down Cruise" to make sure everything is in working order prior to driving it back to our Central Coast Hidey Hole. Here is the finished product!

Visualize this "big kids" life is a mirror of a vintage Disney Slide View-Master with every National Park slide at your disposal. Well soon, we will once again be the storytellers...creating memories and leaving our footprints within those beautiful realms.

At Waypoint 41.7223487 -85.9357524