Monday, March 12, 2018

Silverado (and O'Neill Regional Park)

Moving to the West Coast has provided us opportunities that simply cannot be matched anywhere else. The exemplary weather and lack of salt on the roads provides an ideal environment to preserve older vehicles meaning the vintage VW community lives strong. It's no surprise that a brand new VW camping event and show was organized this year and we were fortunate to be able to attend. Being a new event it was only an overnight show so we decided to camp at a nearby location beforehand.

Located along the Trabuco Creek, O'Neill Regional Park is a major park in northeast Orange County encompassing 4,500 acres of beautiful parkland with trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. As with all our camping excursions, our van has to get ready which includes packing and washing.

Just over an hours drive and we were all setup at our campsite for the next 2 days.
Although the riverbed just behind our site was dry, there was plenty of space to explore and play.

We even managed to catch some wildlife.
Cooking and relaxing in the van is always a bonus after our busy day.

With the big event/show on Saturday I arranged to have a few members of the San Diego Vanagon (Vandiegans) group join us for the trip, luckily our site was large enough to accommodate all of us.

Saturday morning brought the big show and the accompanying rain but that didn't rain on our parade of fun!

Multiple awnings saved the day and made our experience enjoyable despite the clouds and rain.
Silverado (Oak Canyon Park) is a perfect location close to Los Angeles with plenty of flat open grass making it ideal for a VW camping event. Our Vandiegan friends managed to take some time for the environment to collect cans and bottles.
The chili cook-off was a hit.
The best part is that kids just don't care about being wet.

 It's not what you may be's mud!
Silverado was a great success and I look forward to attending it in the coming years. After 3 days of camping in the van we were both exhausted and looking forward to seeing my wife and other daughter at home.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Leo Carrillo

It's been well over a month since our last camping trip, so with two days off we wanted to make this one a good one. Leo Carrillo State Park has 1.5 miles of beach for swimming, surfing, beachcombing. For the kids there are tidepools and caves for exploring. The campground itself is a bit inland but has it's own beauty and features large campsites. For this trip we were also lucky to have another air-cooled friend and his family join us.
Of course before every trip there is a lot of work getting ready and here's my crew in the back of the van on our way to pick up mom.
Here we are all set up for some fun.

The main attraction of this campground is of course the beautiful beach and our short time there didn't disappoint.

There was plenty to do in and around our campsite including hiking, scooting, singing and playing the Ukulele!



We also had time to eat, sleep, play and watch movies in our vans.

Our friend's campfire ring and "add-a-room" had us nice and toasty during the cool evenings, don't tell my wife that it might be a new addition to our van in the future!

California State Parks can be a little expensive but sharing the sights and fun with our friends made it all worthwhile.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fountain of Youth and The Salton Sea

With two extra days off after Buses By the Bridge, we decided to take a little detour on our way back home and enjoy the scenic drive over to the Salton Sea.
The Fountain of Youth Spa RV Resort near the Salton Sea happened by accident and it's roots started back in 1938. I find it quite fascinating that there are natural hot springs in the middle of the desert but this water was originally unearthed during the construction of the All-American Canal. In 1965 the Fountain of Youth resort was started when the ideal spot was found to tap into this spring which produces 250 gallons a minute of 137 degree high mineral content water.
The healing properties of these waters is one of the many attractions that bring people from all around to enjoy. Although we only spent one night, we did our best to take advantage of what there was to offer.
This wouldn't be a proper post without some pictures of our beloved van.
Some of our friends from Buses By the Bridge were able to join us as well.
Pro camping tip - if you don't want your babies to fall out of the van, simply put them in your luggage. No babies were harmed during the writing of this blog.
The next day it was finally time to head home but not before a quick stop at Salvation Mountain.
We have visited this place once before, it remains worthy of a second visit and brief history tutorial. Dedicating 28 years of his life, Leonard Knight created this giant mountain as a tribute to God and his gift to the world with hay bales, adobe clay, and thousands of gallons of paint. It is actually the second mountain after the first collapsed under it's own weight. Today it is kept alive with help from devoted volunteers and donations as the harsh surrounding environment requires it to have constant maintenance.

Realizing the extra challenges involved with spending the week in a small van with an infant and a 4 year old, we finally made the 3 hour trek back home to our comfy bed and regular schedule. Till next time....

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Buses By the Bridge 2018

Buses By the Bridge has become an event that our family looks forward to with great anticipation and this year continued to leave us with lasting memories. Our journey began a few days before we left as I packed and prepared the van for our trip to Lake Havasu.
Here she is all ready.
We had a quick stop for lunch along the way on Route 66.
Wanting to get a good location at the event, we decided to drive straight to Lake Havasu and spend the night outside the park with 100+ other vans and buses waiting to get in. We were very fortunate to park in front of a fellow Canadian because it turned out that she had a prime spot beside the river and saved it for us.
In addition to all the events at Buses By the Bridge, the city of Lake Havasu offers many fun attractions itself. The London Bridge was brought from the city of London for $2.5 million dollars and shipped to Lake Havasu then reassembled for another $7 million.

There is also a $2 ferry to the casino at the other side of the lake which provided beautiful views of the surrounding area.

Of course we had to take a picture of our van from the water.
A new event created last year was the night time lantern walk and this year we were able to participate after I purchased a 1968 vintage red Coleman 200a lantern. I'm not sure of the final tally but picture at least a hundred people walking all around the park with a final beach lighting dedicated to a fallen VW member Randee Randar.

There were some negative parts to our weekend and having a prime spot by the river meant it was also the party area during the night. After 2 relatively sleepless nights we decided to move. The good news is due to the immense number of vans attending, they opened up some additional space on the grass overlooking the lake and main event area.
Here we are all set up in our new (and much quieter) spot with our long time Instagram friend and first time meeting in person - Bryan and his wonderful family.
On the final day there was a polar plunge but we just watched from the sidelines.
Before we knew it, we had another magnet and our 5th time attending Buses By the Bridge was over.
A big thank you to all the organizers for putting together such a wonderful event and to the old and new friends we met for adding more memories to our family album.