A few weeks ago, we were asked to evaluate a product called the AnimAlarm, a simple solution to a very big problem for many RV owners. The Animalarm is a little gadget that wirelessly monitors the temperature in any environment. Even better, it TEXTS you when the temperature gets too hot or too cold! Read on for our Review.
We got Lucy from the Chicago pound when we still lived in an apartment, but she always loved camping in the Airstream, so we figured she’d be fine with fulltime living. She still loves it — she loves riding in the truck, she loves hiking and watching the ducks. However, Lucy doesn’t like any dog bed.
For example, dog bed covered with super soft quilting fabric:
REI air bed:
I gave up on any kind of bed, and thought a soft blanket would be nice:
Maybe we’ll try the REI bed again:
How about something soft to lie on outside?
I’ll take all dog bed recommendations!!
From Palm Canyon, our goal was to do the Pacific Coast Highway all the way up the coast to Oregon. We didn’t need to stop in San Diego, and didn’t want to back track out of the park, so we looked at the map and decided to take Montezuma Valley Road to meet up with Rt. 79 , which leads to Temecula, where you can take any number of roads to 101 and the coast. Montezuma Valley Road winds up to 1300 ft at its peak, and is wonderful practice for the PCH:
A few hours later, this route will take you past LA (worst roads ever?), and you reach the coast!
Carpinteria was our first stop, and also Lucy’s first time in the ocean:
Everyone’s tastes are different when it comes to state parks, and everyone has different needs. My needs revolve around a place being scenic, clean and uncrowded (I’ll add cheap to that list, but I know that’s asking a lot). Carpeteria, The State Park, didn’t exactly fit those needs, but overall it was an ok place to park next to the ocean.
We didn’t make reservations anywhere in California because you have to make them at least 2 days in advance, and we couldn’t really think that far ahead on this trip, so we pulled up to the gate where the conversation went something like this:
Me: Hi, do you have any spots available with hook-ups?
Rollie Fingers-looking Guy: Yep, that’s $50. Cash only.
Me: Hmm, how about no hook ups?
RF: Do you want ocean side?
Me: Sure, that would be great.
RF: That’s $50. Cash only.
Me: How about not ocean side?
RF: $35. Cash only.
So we took a non-hook up, non-ocean-side parking spot and found a place where we could walk the dog along the beach. To get to that beach, you have to walk through the high-end spots with hooks up, it’s basically a mall parking lot.
What this little town has going for it, in my opinion, is just that: Carpinteria, The Town. We enjoyed the town much more than the park, or even the ocean. Since we needed a break from cooking in the Airstream, we decided to walk to town for dinner. There were a bunch of places to choose from — sushi, upscale American, seafood, Mexican and a local diner. We decided on Nutbelly Pizza because there were people inside, they had Monday Night Football on and the pizza smelled great — which it was. On our way to Nutbelly, we passed a place called Esau’s which looked part diner – part seafood shack, but it was closed. We decided it would be our breakfast spot before we left.
Esau’s wins for best meal of the trip (so far). Here’s why:
What else we liked about the town:
It was cold and rainy the next day, so we decided to move on. Carpinteria was a good rest before we hit, what I would call, The Xanax Trail: PCH.
We spent Halloween weekend with our WBCCI group, HOTC, at the beautiful LBJ Grassland National Historical Park just about an hour west of Denton, TX. I was looking forward to this campout for numerous reasons …. 1. Boondocking. We haven’t really tested the new Airstream in a no-hook-ups-situation. 2. It was Halloween. 3. It was my birthday. It was a perfect storm of fun!!
With several cookouts, a pumpkin carving contest…
and the best pet costume contest I’ve ever seen…
it was a fantastic weekend. The only downside: it was our last outing with the group before moving to Seattle.
Here are some photos — and if you live in the area, definitely join this group– they’re so much fun!
As I mapped out the route to Alumapalooza, I couldn’t help but notice that Memphis was a comfortable stopping spot (450 miles into the drive). I also couldn’t help but think about all Memphis has to offer…. Sun Studios, the Civil Rights Museum and of course Graceland. I have fond memories of growing up with Elvis music playing throughout the house and wondered– how have I never been to Graceland?? (Deke took the trip with his folks when he was younger. Lucky.)
I felt this was an absolute must stop on our trip, so I called to get tickets for the tour and found out that Graceland also has an RV park where I could sleep, be within walking distance to The King and buy souvenirs! It’s like they knew we were coming….
Graceland RV Park and Campground
The Graceland RV Park and Campground is really nice — Elvis is giving it a big thumbs up from his mansion in the sky. It has some great amenities — a pool (although its probably one of the smallest pools I’ve seen in a while), a bathhouse with the usual, plus washers and dryers, a nice outdoor covered patio that can fit several large groups and has charcoal grills built in on one side. There’s also a tiny pet walk (not a fenced in area, but more like a big yard to walk in) that borders a larger wooded area with a playground for the kids. Each spot is gravel and has a grassy 6 ft wide yard area with a picnic table. Most spots are pull throughs, although it looked like there were 5 or 6 back in sites along the edge of the park. And some spots have large trees for shade.
Separate from the RV full hook up sites, located on a grassy knoll behind managers office, are a few primitive tent camping sites. We saw a few motorcyclists parked up there with their tents and even an SUV with one of those triangular campers.
The park is located right behind Heartbreak Hotel (where you might see this guy ) which is adjacent to the official Graceland parking lot. It takes about 5 min to walk from the campground to the ticket booth where you can board your shuttle bus to the mansion. The campground, in conjunction with Heartbreak Hotel, also provides shuttle service to Beale Street for $5 each person, each way. If you’re going to tie one on while on Beale St, the shuttle is probably a good idea, otherwise, there’s plenty of cheap parking all over downtown Memphis (and by cheap, I mean under $5 for several hours).
A free shuttle is provided to Sun Studios — but, again, Sun Studios also has its own free parking lot. Each destination is about 20 min from the RV park.
The Civil Rights Museum is in a really nice up-and-coming part of town called the South of Main Historic District. Personally, Ive become a bit obsessed with MLK lately, so this was a great stop for me. The area has several restaurants from tapas to sushi to oysters and is just a nice place to walk around. The big attraction at the museum is of course the Lorraine Hotel where Dr. King was assassinated (you can actually go into the hotel, which I didn’t know), but they also house an incredible archive of the movement.
I loved Memphis and would definitely come back for a trip in the future. I might even consider staying at the Graceland RV park simply because its quiet and well kept and the people were very friendly.
More Photos of Memphis
Here are our Graceland shots, just in case you wanted to see more!