The LBC 2 WDC

Kate and Chris are taking a month off to move from the LBC to Washington DC. We're keeping track of our travels on this blog. The plan is to ship most of our stuff, say goodbye to our friends and family, and tow the Sentra with Beluga the Van all the way to Washington. It's our last adventure of 2012, marking the end of our California life, and our first adventure of 2013, marking the beginning of our DC life.

Preparation 12.15.2012 to 12.19.2012

The first thing we had to do before we moved was sell some of the stuff we've accumulated over the years. We had a lot of fun drinking Mimosas and haggling with the passers-bys. Kristy and Dana showed up and sold some stuff too (freeriders!). Everything that did not sell we just left on the sidewalk; in classic Long Beach fashion, it was all gone by the next day.
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/YardSale.jpg)


Next we packed everything up and had a shredding party 'cause I had accumulated thirteen years of receipts and other useless ephemera.
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/PackingDay.jpg)


Moving Days 12.21.2012 to 12.24.2012

We moved out of our wonderful Colorado Place apartment over the course of the next few days. After an exhaustive search of moving companies we decided the best option for us was to use Door to Door. They drop off any number of seven by seven by five wooden shipping containers on your moving day. You pack them up and they take them away 24 hours later and ship and store them near your new address. If you don't use one or more of the units, they refund you the difference. We had two delivered and only used one.
We did an awesome packing job:
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/MovingDay.jpg)


They transport the units on semis and move them around with forklifts:
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Our landlords threw us a little party. We're gonna miss them.
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/LandLords.jpg)


Christmas Vacation 12.25.2012 to 12.28.2012

Since we moved out on Christmas Eve we had to find something mobile to do to celebrate Christmas Day. Kate's folks drove down to Crystal Cove and we had a nice picnic (I'll upload a picture of said picnic once Trisha learns how to download images from her digital camera and email them). Crystal cove is so beautiful in the winter I couldn't resist taking a selfie using my HDR magic:
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/CrystalCove.jpg)

After our picnic, Kate had the great idea to take a spontaneous "last hurrah" trip to our favorite spots up in the central coast area south of Big Sur. So, we grabbed some grub and, with the van already packed, made our way up north on the Pacific Coast Highway. We stayed the first night at one of our go-to campgrounds, El Capitan State Beach. We got lucky and scored the most beautiful site in the park, which we subsequently learned was a handicap-only site and were told to leave. We stayed at least two more hours. Beluga the Van was looking good that night:
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/ElCapVan.jpg)


I'm going to miss this view once we've schlepped everything over to the East Coast:
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/ElCapA.jpg)


The next morning, after being kicked out for parking in the handicapped accessible (yet, clearly not occupied) site we went to one of the many hotsprings we've come to love in California (Gaviota Hotsprings). We are always extra cautious hiking to this stinky sulphur spring because of the many warnings about mountain lions on the way up. It's an easy hike; maybe half a mile of hard pack trail and then a couple hundred yards of a mud-slick game trail to the springs.
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/GaviotaSprings.jpg)

After the natural hotsprings we decided to go up to San Luis Obispo and do some wine tasting and check out Sycamore Springs and some other central coast gems.
On the way to SLO, kate and I found this amazing beach south of Pismo called Guadalupe Dumas. The ranger told us not to disturb the driftwood. She didn't say anything about not disturbing the seagulls and this happened:
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The beach was so pretty during the rain storm.
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/GuadalupeDumasA.jpg)

And the dunes were really nice too:
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/GuadalupeDumasB.jpg)


We just happened to be going through Pismo during the amazing Monarch Butterfly roosting. We would have taken a photo of the butterflies but it was too dark:
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/Butterflies.jpg)

Then, in Pismo, I met a pelican:
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/PismoBeach.jpg)

And we ate some amazing chowder and tacos at Splash Cafe:
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/SplashCafe.jpg)

During dinner, we realized that the the lukewarm (36C) Gaviota hotsprings were just an appetizer so we made our way to Sycamore Springs to rent a tub for an hour (the sulphur springs there are very hot at 40-45C):
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/SycamoreSprings.jpg)

The best thing about going to Sycamore Springs is that they had an open wifi network and we stayed the night in their parking lot (in the van) and watched Law and Order all night.

On day three of our Christmas vacation, we went to Avila Beach and Pirates Cove where Kate went on a run and I took the dog around the sea cave:

For lunch, we stopped at the Avila Farms Co-op and had some cheese, crackers, and pie:
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/PieTime.jpg)

We could have kept going up the coast but we would have been turned around near Big Sur due to landslides from the recent rains. Instead, we headed to Los Olivos and Buelton to get us some Hitching Post artichokes and table wine:
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/HitchingPost.jpg)

Of course, we ended up having pie for dinner too, but not after we had a campfire at one of our favorite camping spots down Paradise Road in Los Olivos:
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/ParadiseRoad.jpg)
.
The next morning, suddenly, turkeys:
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/SuddenlyTurkeys.jpg)


New Years Eve 2012

We've been staying the last few days at the Gumps. Kristy and Kate made a delicious dinner for New Years Eve (salmon crepe cake, stuffed dates, salad, and crispy roasted vegetables). After dinner and some champagne we met up with the Vasquez's at Nadine's Irish Mist for round three of our annual New Years Eve celebration tradition. Next year won't be the same without the 90s rock cover band and the company of G & I at the Mist. We're so happy we were able to go this year! As you can see, much dancing was done:
 (image: http://chrismarcum.com/wikka.php?wakka=California2WashingtonDC/files.xml&action=download&file=hdr_00181_0.jpg)


Goodbye California! We love you 01.02.2013

Today was our last full day as Californians. Naturally, we went to the beach. The dogs had a blast. Mia was almost dogchew and Max is lucky he didn't give me a heart attack for randomly attacking two other dogs. I would have swam but it was ass-cold today.
Our Last Beach Day in California


Our final Californian dinner was held at one of our favorite local spots, Beachwood BBQ. The Gumps, the Vazquezes, and the Pearces joined us. I turned into a big softy and blubbered my way down the street when we all had to say goodbye. It's been a tough day but I couldn't have imagined a better ending than spending time with all of our closest friends.
Beachwood BBQ


Long Beach to Green Valley. 01.03.2013 to 01.05.2013

Kate and I met with Kate's mom for breakfast at the Farmhouse Cafe. Before a tearful goodbye we saw this big cock and thought it would be fun to take a picture. It wasn't well fastened and, in the high winds that we had to battle across the desert, thought it might take flight.

 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/GiantCock.jpg)


We made good time to Arizona to visit my grandparents in Green Valley. On Friday, we all took a tour of south-east Arizona. Kate and I went on a tour of Kartchner Caverns and then the four of us all had a picnic at the Whitewater Draw where we were the dinner guests of some odd ducks.
Sandhill Cranes


The day was topped with a short trip to Bisbee for dinner at the Bisbee Table; it was a great day. In all the years that I've lived in Arizona I had never been Bisbee. We will be back to this neat little mining town.
Kate on the icy stairs of Bisbee


Thank you Nanny and Tata!
Visiting Nanny and Tata


The next day we just relaxed and got the van prepared for the move. We were treated to a visit by a very big bobcat to the backyard which you can see here in Tata's game camera video.

Southwest and South. 01.06.2013 to 01.08.2013

After a wonderful but short visit with my grandparents we said goodbye and headed out to get the tow dolly for the car. We had a bit of a late start and didn't hit the road until about 10:30. Kate wanted to drive first so she saddled up and we rode off to Texas. The wind and big rigs through semi really were a pain and made the dolly hitch sway a little bit. By the next day, we figured out how to drive through turbulence.

 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/AllRiggedUp.jpg)


The first day of driving took us 556 miles to Monahans Sandhills State Park. We were about 11 hours on the road, averaged about 11.5 mpg, which is better than we thought we would get, and progressed onward at about 50 mph including stops but our average highway speed was 60 mph. This was our "getting used ot it" day.
We took turns driving and split the distance down the middle. Kate drives the first half of the day and I drive the second half.
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/MeDriveNM.jpg)


Monahans was beautiful. The sunrise was filtered through the oil field smog!
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/SandHillUs.jpg)


They have a feral cat that comes to your campsite in the middle of the night and screams like a horrible banshee, free hot showers, and two cowboy rangers that are not in a hurry to get anything done. In case anyone wonders, we eat well while we camp:
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/SandhillBreakfast.jpg)


The trailer light on the passenger side of the car dolly was blown. In hindsight, we should have checked them before we pulled out of U-Haul rather than taking the guy's word for it. At a gas stop outside of Tyler, Tx I yanked on the wire a bit and discovered that the ground wire plug into the light socket was detached. The remedy included some duct tape and Kate's leatherman:
 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/LightRepair.jpg)

Because Beluga's radio had literally burned out (yes, smoke came out of the speakers) we bought a combination cbr/am/fm radio at this truck stop too.

Our original plan was to drive 470 miles the next day to Tyler state park. But after having no phone service and no real sites to see for the first thousand miles of Texas, we decided to say goodbye to big Tex and crossed the border to Louisiana. As this was not on the agenda, we had to scramble a bit to find a campsite. After a couple of literal and figurative dead-ends, we stopped at Cinnamon Creek RV Park about forty miles outside of Shreveport. It's just a roadside RV park but it has full hook-ups, wifi, laundry, and hot showers for 24 bucks. In total, we drove 606 miles that day and that is enough for us.

Now we're in the South and we're off to a late start today because we slept in after a long day of travelling. Hopefully, we'll find a dive to get some fried catfish and shrimp Po'Boys before head north.

The South 01.08.2013 to 01.09.2013

We had a good day of travelling on Tuesday after a good night's rest at Cinnamon Creek RV Park. The trip took us through Louisiana, where we stopped at Ray's Pege for some delicious shrimp poboys and fries for lunch.

 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/RaysPege.jpg)


I spilled hot chicken gravy all over myself, which was as much disgusting as it was hilarious. After crossing the Mississippi at Vicksburg we hauled ourselves all the way through that state and most of the way through Alabama.

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 (image: http://www.chrismarcum.com/images/Chris_and_Kate/California2WDC/Mississippi.jpg)


We stopped for the night at Fort Payne. The first campground we pulled into required us to drive down a red mud road with a steep (say 12 percent grade) road. That wasn't gonna happen. So, Kate found another spot near the airport which was okay. The wifi worked, but our site's 30amp and 20amp 110v electric unit was out so we had to draw from the backup battery. There were no bathrooms either, but the woods were sufficient. An owl and the threat of rain kept us awake for most of the night. We paid the caretaker the next morning and he apologized for the outlet and gave us a discount.

Over all, we had a great day of driving. The mileage fell a bit to around 10.5, but we added some air to six of our tires and that brought it back up to 11. The ride as 520 miles long and we crossed the midway point around 1 pm.

Kate wanted to make an early start so we hit the road again. The next day of driving would prove to be a tough one, but more on that later.

Technical Stuff You Don't Need to Worry About

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