A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: Meike Carter

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
This is our first Christmas in the RV and the first Christmas without our 20 year old daughter Michelle. It was definitely untraditional, slightly emotional yet completely stress free. I remember the holidays as being jam packed with grocery & Christmas shopping, holiday parties at work and for each kid, presents for teachers. Homemade goodies for work, and usually long drives in the car across the states to visit family. We noticed that nobody would return the favor and visit us, but for the kids sake we wanted to keep the tradition, no matter how far away we were stationed.
By the time the holidays were over, we were so worn out but had to get prepared for work again. There was very little time to decompress and chill before diving back into swing of every day life.
This year is different. We don't have to return to work, Landon is homeschooled and we live in our house on wheels, allowing us to create our schedule as we see fit and changing our backyard along the way. We have less space to live in, but we use all the space wisely and feel comfortable with what we have. Any knick knacks or clutter is definitely a no go. With that easy new stipulation Christmas shopping gets much less complicated. We will scale down to only the items necessary instead of buying several random things just to fill the space. I have been paying more attention to the quality of a product and ask myself if it's really a want or a need item. Once a month I go through my drawers and cabinets just to reevaluate what items have not been used and donate them once a bag fills up. It is not that hard getting rid of things, it honestly feels uplifting knowing that I might help someone else who can make better use of it.
Tony knows that I am always working on my YouTube channel, that I need extra equipment for my GoPro, carrying cases for equipment and hiking gear. That narrows his range of presents for me down and I can improve on my hobbies. This Christmas Tony gave me some microphone buffers because he knew that I was embarrassed about the crackling sound of wind overshadowing some of my audio. Still new at editing, producing and narrating my videos , it can get pretty intimidating when the equipment isn't putting out top quality.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that I need to embrace imperfection in order to learn from it and produce one video better than the last.
One thing I learned is to stay passionate about your work and to continue growing in your field of "happiness ". A hobby does not have to turn into a business, in some cases it can make you seize up, not allowing the creativity to flow. It starts to feel like a chore rather than a hobby. If that happens just take a break and find some inspiration.
Well, traveling has always been a hobby of mine, ever since I was a little girl. Raised in Europe, my parents traveled every summer with me and my sister. One summer, we tent camped along the Adriatic sea in Italy. Some bad weather moved in overnight dumping a tremendous amount of rain. I remember the tent caving in under the pressure and the water rising in the tent. That night we had to run to the car and seek shelter. The next morning a beautiful sunrise woke us and my sister and I wanted to play on the beach. The sand was covered with beached jellyfish and I was in awe with these wobbly creatures, trying to examine them.
One trip over 30 plus years ago created a passion and everlasting memories.
Since then I continued traveling and always get excited to visit a new place. My grandmother used to say that I have the "Wanderlust" wearing my traveling boots with ants in my pants. It's true! I can't seem to stay put in one place for long. The world is too beautiful for me not to explore.
Find your passion and create those memories, it has more value than any material items.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! IMG_20181217_163557_785.jpg

Posted by Meike Carter 11:02 Comments (0)

Hoping to see whales at Point Reyes, CA

B4B545ABB085AA3A70982E21B2D52A51.jpg Recently I found out about the whale migration along the west coast, with Point Reyes being the perfect place to watch these gentle giants.
The migration usually takes place mid December and continues throughout the Spring. With Christmas just a few days away, we thought it would be a great opportunity to drive all the way out to Point Reyes. B4B5C415F5EBF7888280C936637D7D6F.jpg 20181222_145101.jpg
One super cool fact is, that once you cross over the San Andreas, you leave behind the North American plate and enter onto the Pacific plate. The landscape looks different, very lush with juicy green hills and tons of cattle farms. Wildlife is abundant here, you might just have to wait for a herd of cows to cross the road. 20181222_140839.jpg
Our first stop was at South beach, where Tony and Landon spotted a seal in the surf. We tried to get closer to get a better look but it disappeared. 20181222_140434.jpg 20181222_140400.jpg
After a while we were eager to make it to the absolute point of the island in hopes of seeing a whale. We poured ourselves a cup of coffee and waited. No whales today.
But we did see some obnoxious elephant seals on Chimney Rock. That beach was covered with them. 20181222_152857.jpg 20181222_153523.jpg
We were quite amused with their behavior, the sounds coming from the beach were like a bunch of clogged drains getting flushed. Most of them layed like oversized slugs in the sand, while the ones awake were fighting and running each other off the beach, chasing one another in the water. Landon really got a kick out of that.
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We drove back to South beach hoping to catch a sunset. I almost decided against it, because it had been overcast for the majority of our visit. 90_CBD1CF15BB72151EC37E1439E97971CB.jpg 20181222_162715.jpg
Miraculously a sliver of sky opened up and this is what we saw. It was so breathtakingly beautiful, no editing was necessary. CBD0DAAFF7FCF6A6B38C3CC8F5C867D1.jpg CBD06B32CF4E9F44EA139812B3E4B45E.jpg 20181222_165333.jpg
Thank you Point Reyes for making this day so memorable !

Posted by Meike Carter 00:58 Comments (0)

Season 2. Winter Journey

Welcome back to our Journey! 20181207_165601.jpg
Merry Christmas from Travis AFB. We finally arrived at our final destination for this season, after traveling 4000 miles. It is bittersweet I have to say. I did not want to stop, thinking of settling down for a few months did not sound appealing, but at the same time I saw a new potential in our future. We can get our much needed doctor appointments knocked out, our poor little Jeep can get worked on and our home can get thoroughly cleaned.
We reserved our site until May on a very conveniently located campground on the Air base. The days Tony is in college I don't have to worry about feeling stuck in our rig, because all the necessities are within reach with the grocery store, shopping center, hospital and restaurants all within walking distance. Our first day alone turned out pretty eventful, Landon and I marched all the way to the passenger terminal at the base airport and we came back with useful information for our upcoming surprise trip. IMG_20181217_163557_785.jpg
Our first expedition took us an hour from here, to Marin Headlands. In that area are approximately 6 National parks. You know that we have no choice but to see them all! I love our parks. 20181217_121423.jpg
That morning the local weather channel advised of massive waves along the coast of San Francisco area. The waves are called "Sneaker Waves" and appear suddenly. In the past people walking the beach have been swept off the beach by Sneaker Waves. Usually they are 20- 30 feet high, but can reach up to 50 feet. This was way too intriguing and we had to see that in person. 20181217_131801.jpg
The waves were definitely powerful, with my camera I was not able to zoom out far enough to capture the size of the waves further away. They were extremely huge! The ocean roared while I marveled at the beauty of it. IMG_20181217_163557_785.jpg
We hiked along the cliff, tasting the salt in the air. 97F7898CC48A270AE93DD8138182F8CF.jpg
As we hiked back, we picked up more brochures for the other parks nearby. But first and foremost we had to see San Francisco's most famous landmark. 97F6D9E799980C96E7454CD1A6DC21C1.jpg
Our day was very eventful and I fell in love with the Bay Area. 20181217_130143.jpg 20181217_141258.jpg

Posted by Meike Carter 13:23 Comments (0)

Lake Success, CA our last stop this season

Still trying to attempt visiting Sequoia National park, we found an Army Corps of Engineers campground on Lake Success. 20181203_100702.jpg
The area was pretty much on the other side of Mount Whitney. At this point we were directly across from Alabama Hills, where we boondocked a couple days before, just facing Mount Whitney from the West. The weather channel still mentioned road closures and heavy snow on the mountain range, especially toward Mammoth mountain. E44205C3E91A383AD08B53EFD2972814.jpg
We had to sit down and reevaluate our plans. As much as we wanted to push on, it was not a good idea doing that with our home on wheels. Besides that, we were not equipped with snow chains and a break buddy.
We were within reach of our final destination. Pushing on to San Francisco and reporting to college would complete our first journey, giving us peace of mind and stability with a steady place to set up our Winnebago. Yet, I was not ready to call it the end of our trip. E442C4D79E6C481DC6EF4489B3F6B216.jpg Once we started traveling and finding all these amazing places I was hungry to see and learn more. This was a difficult decision. We decided to drive towards San Francisco, take a little break and plan all the big trips into the now closed National parks once the weather gets milder.
We finished our first Journey, driving 3999 miles across the US, starting in South Carolina and finished it in Fairfield, CA.
With all our ducks in a row, getting Tony's classes and college schedule, enrolling Landon into K12 in CA and setting up all our medical appointments, we are ready to explore the State of California.
A new map has been created, using the festive color green for our Winter Journey, to keep track of our mileage log. A handful of amazing new places have been already picked to explore, that I will continue to share with you.
Season 2: the Winter Season has begun.
Happy Holidays!

Posted by Meike Carter 13:13 Comments (0)

Quick overnight stop at Lake Isabella, CA

Our plans changed due to Winter storm Carter. Originally we wanted to hike Mount Whitney and drive further north towards Mammoth lake, but some roads were closed off and we had to come up with plan B.
We decided to skirt the Sierra Nevadas going South and stay overnight at Lake Isabella. 1237E35FCA6D7003F400047D1DACF95B.jpg I was sad leaving Alabama Hills, but also looking forward to a campsite with electricity, running water and internet. After several days of dry camping it was exciting to have these luxuries. We arrived the RV park around noon, set up and immediately gathered all the laundry and washed clothes in the nearby bath house. It was nice to watch TV and catch up on the news and the weather. We were advised of a winter front that was moving over the Sierra Nevadas toward Lake Isabella. Literally within a couple of hours the sunny sky turned grey and stormy and the temperature dropped significantly by the time the clothes were dry. I fixed a big pot of white chicken chili, turned on our fireplace and cuddled up on the couch. 20181129_140600.jpg
For some reason I did not sleep as well as I did when we were in the boonies. The next morning I began uploading my newest YouTube video, but with only 2 bars on the local WIFI it took 2 hours to complete. While waiting on the video to finish, I took a hot long shower, pampering myself after days of quick dips and washing my hair in the kitchen sink.
Once the video published we rolled out of the RV park and headed towards Bakersfield. We needed to stock up on groceries and fill up our diesel and propane tank. Just in case we can't find anything for the night.
12375606E9E613E8E756D1C8F9DF2559.jpg The road from Lake Isabella towards Bakersfield was extremely tight and curvy with mostly 6% grades. We were advised not to pull our Jeep while driving thru that part of the mountains but we tried it anyway. Let me tell you, I was terrified at times but Tony handled the rig very well. It had to be one of the most nerve wrecking trips I have ever been on. Tony's shirt was drenched and my hands clammy from hanging on to the" O crap" bar.
We high fived each other once we arrived Bakersfield safe and sound. It was one of the most scenic routes I have ever been on, it would be more enjoyable in a smaller vehicle. 20181201_113856.jpg

Posted by Meike Carter 12:50 Comments (0)

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