American Gypsy Gibberish… 2013 The Year in Review

We’ve come full circle this year at American Gypsy Gibberish ~ Writing on Eight Wheels… looking back at the 6,500 miles logged in 2013.

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This is going to be a rather lengthy post but I know I’m going to have a hard time picking out just a few highlights of the past twelve months. In an effort to keep the word count down (Yes, really, I’m trying here! LoL) I’ve added several links (Orange Text) to posts that have more details of our favorite destinations in 2013.

It seems hard to believe were closing out another year on the road. It’s true, time (and the miles) sure do fly when you’re having fun! At this point I’d like to thank my better half, Joe (a.k.a The Boss & Mr. Gibberish) my incredible partner in this crazy gypsy life we’re living. Not only does he make my life a journey I never thought possible, but he does all the driving as well!

He took the time yesterday to create this awesome map of our travels from 2013! Each location marker is a place we spent at least a night or two (or many more!).

Our 2013 Travel Map

Our 2013 Travel Map

(If you’d like to see an interactive map {click here}. You’ll have to opt for the blue “View Map” button when prompted)

We started off the year right here at Pioneer Trails RV Park in Anacortes, WA. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. This is a very comfortable and homey park settled in the pines of the Pacific Northwest. It truly does feel like coming home to hibernate in a way.

Here are a couple of links from the things we did during our stay last year.

Deception Pass – Beautiful!

Pioneer Trails RV Park – Review 

The next stop for us was Salt Lake City, Utah. As I recall I was happy to get into the sunshine. I wonder if I’ll feel the same way by the time this April rolls around. My guess would be yes. LoL

Salt Lake City from afar. 2013

Salt Lake City from afar. 2013

More from Salt Lake City…

Neff’s Canyon Trail – A trail not hiked 

Strolling along in SLC

Bonneville Salt Flats

A Look Around the City (SLC)

By the end of May it was time for a little break and boy did we take advantage of the down time! We managed to stay in eight different states from May 28th to July 1st!

We started the road trip with a two night boondocking stay on Antelope Island – It was amazing! Not only were we stunned by the beauty but we were lucky enough to not get hit by the little brine flies that infest the place at certain times of the year!

Antelope Island 2013

Antelope Island 2013

Scenes from Antelope Island – Utah

Bear Lake – Utah/Wyoming

We made a quick stop in Jackson, Wyoming because we just had to check out the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. The bar was great and the abundance of antlers was overwhelming!

Antlers galore! Jackson, WY 2013

Antlers galore! Jackson, WY 2013

Jackson, Wyoming

Luckily our road trip was before the government shutdown that caused the closure of our national parks. We were able to spend three amazing days in Yellowstone National Park. It was even more incredible than we imagined it would be!

Grand Prismatic Spring -Yellowstone 2013

Grand Prismatic Spring – Yellowstone 2013

More from Yellowstone…

Making Our Way Into Yellowstone

Yellowstone – Day One

Yellowstone – Day Two

From Yellowstone National Park we made our way into South Dakota and fell in love with the Spearfish – Deadwood area! I’m not sure how we’d handle the cold of the winters there, but it was absolutely gorgeous in June 🙂

Mt. Rushmore 2013

Mt. Rushmore 2013

Devil’s Tower (WY) Crazy Horse & Mount Rushmore

Touring Deadwood … Razor Style

We did spend a couple of days in North Dakota, making it up past Watford City and into Williston to check out the oil boom happening in the Bakken Oil Fields. The Boss was offered a job there but after touring the area we turned it down. Knowing we would have to live in the camper set up in a storage unit was a major factor in turning the job down.

Indoor RV living in Williston ND 2013 (No Thanks!)

Indoor RV living in Williston ND 2013 (No Thanks!)

As it turned out, the day after we turned down the job in ND he got an offer for a much better position in El Segundo, CA. Hmmm… fun in the sand and sun? Yes please! The job with its usual crazy hours (80 plus a week) lasted from July 1 through October 8.

We spent most of that time at a small residential mobile home park that offered a few RV spots in Gardena, CA. It was ummm… “quaint”.

Our first time living in a "trailer park"... lol Gardena 2013

Our first time living in a “trailer park”… LoL  Gardena 2013

We did have a week of downtime during that long stretch and we took full advantage of it. Leaving the H.O.W. behind (Shocking… I know ;-)) we took a ride up the Pacific Coast Highway.

Crowne Plaza, Ventura Beach, CA 2013

Crowne Plaza, Ventura Beach, CA 2013

Our Mini Vacation PCH to Ventura & Pismo Beach, California

The Boss went back to work and I went back on vacation! I took a much-needed trip home to spend time with family and friends.

Me and my "babies"! August 2013

Me and my “babies”! August 2013   All grown up with wives and lives of their own.  Yikes, talk about time flying by!

A Visit Back to Connecticut

Mr. G. and I planned it just right and were able to spend the last couple of weeks of the El Segundo project staying directly on the beach. As it turns out, October is great time to stay at Dockweiler RV Park. Weekends got a little busy, but during the week we had the place practically to ourselves.

Dockweiler RV Park, Playa del Rey, CA 2013

Dockweiler RV Park, Playa del Rey, CA 2013

Dockweiler State Beach – Playa del Rey, CA

The last down time of the year started with lots of fun and more family time. We attended a beautiful beach wedding, saw 2 Expos at the Pomona Fairplex, relaxed on the beach, and took some nice rides on the Marvin Braude Pike Path. On one trip we managed to bike all the way up to Venice Beach. While there, we got tattoos on our ring fingers at House of Ink! There’s another bucket list item checked off 🙂

Forever together... Venice Beach - House of Ink 2013

Forever together… Venice Beach – House of Ink 2013

4×4 Show, RV Show, A Beautiful Wedding, Bikes, Tattoos & Beach Boondocking … oh my! 

After making our way up the California coast on PCH through Big Sur, Morrow Bay, Marina, and San Fransisco we headed inland over the Oakland Bridge. From there it was through Vacaville, Sacramento, eventually to Truckee then into Nevada.

Boondocking on Rincon Parkway, PCH, Faria Beach. 2013

Boondocking on Rincon Parkway, PCH, Faria Beach. 2013

Our site at Morrow Dunes RV Park. 2013 (We're in the middle)

Our site at Morrow Dunes RV Park. 2013 (We’re in the middle) Morrow Rock in the background.

Spectacular coastline north of Big Sur. 2013

Spectacular coastline north of Big Sur. 2013

I remember Donner Pass being the focal point of many jokes. Thankfully we both have an equally twisted sense of humor!

Glad we have a fridge full of food... LoL  Donner Pass 2013

Glad we have a fridge full of food… LoL Donner Pass 2013

Donner Lake was quite pretty.

Donner Lake, CA

Donner Lake, CA

We made it to Reno on October 27th and liked it so much we stayed all the way through Thanksgiving. Mr. G smoked a turkey that was the best I’ve ever eaten!

Smoking the turkey. Best  ever!
Smoking the turkey… the most juicy and delicious turkey ever! 🙂
Our delicious Thanksgiving feast! Reno, NV 2013

Our delicious Thanksgiving feast! Reno, NV 2013

Fun times in Reno

Going Off-Road in Reno – Hungry Valley

Then with nasty winter weather moving into the area…

Yep, it definitely time to hit the road! Well, after it melts of course.

Yep, it’s definitely time to hit the road!

Our little H.O.W. doesn't like the cold! We had our first experience with frozen plumbing in the bathroom. Ugg!

Our little H.O.W. doesn’t like the cold! We had our first experience with frozen plumbing in the bathroom. Ugg!

… we decided to head to the desert.

Quartzsite, AZ and Slab City, CA have been on our bucket list since we hit the road. So we decided this would be a great time to check them both off. Quartzsite was definitely a lot of fun! If you ever get a chance to check it out – go. And while you’re there visit Beer Belly’s Adult Day Care, Barb and Chuck are a blast! Everyone we encountered in Q was friendly, welcoming and helpful. It was a great spot for our first lengthy boondocking stay. I have to say, I’m so proud of us for making it a full 14 days without having to dump and refill our tanks! Free living rocks! 🙂

Our free campsite on BLM land in Quartzsite, AZ 2013

Our free campsite on BLM land in Quartzsite, AZ 2013

Other than the perk of living on the cheap, that part of Arizona had some of the most amazing sunsets we’ve seen.

From our BLM site on Dome Rock Road 2013

From our BLM site on Dome Rock Road 2013

From the market place next to Beer Belly's. 2013

From the market place next to Beer Belly’s. 2013

We Made it to Quartzsite! 

A Sunday Drive in the Quartzsite Hills

Now, as for Slab City – I’m glad we got to spend two nights there. Yes, it was cool to see and definitely different from anywhere we’ve stayed so far. But honestly, something about it just made me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps I’ll put together a dedicated post on the subject in the future, but for now here’s a bit of what we saw.

Slab City 2013

Slab City 2013

Slab City 2013

Slab City 2013

Slab City, CA 2013

Salvation Mountain – Slab City, CA 2013

The Range - Slab City 2013

The Range – Slab City 2013

While the place did make me a bit uncomfortable at times, there is something to be said for those free spirits who call Slab City home. They are living outside the “norms of society”, marching to the beat of their own drum and living on their own terms. I think that is indeed a very cool thing.

And finally – after logging a little more than 6,500 miles this year, here we are again … back at Pioneer Trails in Anacortes, WA.. I can’t think of a more fitting or poetic way to end 2013 then where it began. Yes, we certainly have come full circle.

Where our HOW will be parked for the next 3 months or so.

Home is where you park it and this is where we will be calling home for the next 3 months or so. Life is good :-)

Wow, what a year! It’s been so much fun to sit back and look at everywhere we’ve been. I’ll be the first to admit that being away from family and friends is difficult, to say the least. And yes, living on the road can be trying. Sometimes even stressful enough for us to contemplate going back to a more traditional and stationary existence. But, in the end, we always conclude unanimously that the positives outweigh the negatives and that this is the best lifestyle choice for us.

We’re looking forward to 2014 being another year of exploring this beautiful country we are blessed to call home… and to making more memories and friends… one mile at a time.

As always, thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read about our travels. It means so much to me to have you following along on our journey. 🙂

Best wishes to all of our family and friends for a Happy Healthy & Safe New Year!!

~Cheers~

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SNAFU at the Salton Sea

Situation Normal All Fouled Up… at the Salton Sea…

The Salton Sea

The Salton Sea

I think I may have jinxed myself the other day when I said we made it out Slab City without incident. I really should know better, but… what can I say? I was happy to get out of there.

Anyway, after a quick Facebook status update to let people know we were out of there and passing the Salton Sea, we ran into a little snag. Being on the road full-time “bumps in the road” are inevitable. But it still stinks when you hit them.

After being flagged down by a fellow RVer … we stopped and found this…

Ought-Oh! That doesn't look good.

Ought-Oh! That doesn’t look good.

Yes, that’s our bumper starting to rip apart. Where it’s welded to the frame is fine but the bumper itself peeled apart… which caused our bike rack to flop down and drag along the pavement. Thankfully we didn’t drag it for too far as we were flagged over by the very nice gentleman who let us know it happened.

But it was long enough to do some damage to my pretty little sage green bike. Ugg… 🙁

Looks like I need a tire and rim. Bummer!

Looks like I need a tire and rim. Bummer!

Joe’s bike got a little wear mark on the front fork from mine grinding into it but it could have been much much worse. Thankfully we didn’t lose the entire bumper which could have caused an accident. Wfew!

So with a view of the pretty Salton Sea in the background, Mr. G. got to work removing our spare tire and bike rack and then securing the bumper back up using tie-down straps.

I'm so glad he can handle any SNAFU!

I’m so glad he can handle any SNAFU!

The good news is – we can safely get to Washington now. The bad new is – we now have my bike in the camper (making quick bathroom breaks and parking lot over-nights a bit of a hassle) and our spare tire and Joe’s bike piled are now on top of the stuff already in the bed of the truck (making us look like we’re trying out for a remake of Sanford and Son.

Sanford and Son... on the road again! (Sorry if you're too young for the reference.)

Sanford and Son… on the road again! (Sorry if you’re too young for the reference.)

Like I said, little things like this happen when you’re logging as many miles as we do. We are very thankful everything worked out and that nobody was hurt during this little SNAFU. Hopefully this will be the last snag for the rest of this trip. It’s roughly 1,000 miles to Anacortes… wish us luck!

Guess that’s all for now. As, always, thanks for stopping by 🙂

~Cheers~

Our First Boondocking Christmas…

Boondocking on Christmas you say?

Yes, that’s the deal this year. But, we are in a place where we are certainly reminded of the reason for the season.
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This is a picture of Salvation Mountain in Slab City, CA.
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Welcome to Slab City.
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This is our boondocking Christmas spot.

This is our first year trying an off-grid Christmas so it’s going to be an experience. No utilities, no hustle & bustle, no gifts, no long lines, no decorations …. NO problem!  On the other hand, being so far away from family and friends is a huge bummer.

Still, I’m thankful for the true gift of love and to be on this amazing gypsy journey with my soul mate.

So, from our little house on wheels … Merry Christmas to all of our family and friends spread throughout this beautiful country of ours!!

Peace & Love

And yes, of course…

~Cheers~

Moving on … to Our Christmas Eve Destination

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After spending a few nights in Blythe, California at the McIntyre County Park (review after the holidays) we are heading to our to Christmas Eve destination.

In my last post I hinted that it was about 150 miles or so from Blythe.  Today I’ll give you one more hint.

One of this place’s claim to fame is a man made religous monument of sorts. We’ve had this place on our bucket list for a while now and I can’t think of a better time of year to visit.

I hope everyone is enjoying time with family and friends and making the most of the holiday!

~Cheers~

A Christmas Miracle!

A Christmas Miracle… of sorts 😉

use me

Okay, maybe calling it a miracle is a stretch, but I’ve been trying to fix this SNAFU for so long now it certainly seems like one!

I’m almost afraid to post this because whenever I think I’ve gotten things all figured out something else goes awry. But, tis the season to believe in miracles… so, here goes –

I’ve managed to fix my bad link issue in the “Follow Us” button…  Woo Hoo!!!

It looks like it was a problem with the JetPack plug-in. I’m not knocking the plug-in here. I’m sure it was something I did wrong during the export/import process when I transferred my site from WordPress.com over to self hosting. At any rate, I’ve done several test runs and everything seems to be in tip-top shape. Fwew!

The reason for this post is to let followers know that when removing and then re-installing the JetPack plug-in you may now have a defunct subscription. If this is the case, please take a moment to enter your email address in the box and then re-click my “Follow Us” button when you get a chance. It’s located on This Page just bellow my profile in the side bar.

Thanks so much to everyone following us along on this crazy adventure we call life! 🙂

P.S. – You’ll never guess where we’re heading for Christmas…

Hint – It’s about 150 miles from where we are today 🙂

That’s all for now. As always, thanks for stopping by!

~Cheers~