July 3, 2017

Father's Day Camping Trip

We went camping for Father's Day. We were going with the Marty & Lorraine, and their friends that went with us to Dillons in February, Gary & Shannon, and their friends, Kevin & Jennifer. Originally we were going to go to a property of a friend, of a friend that was 300 acres of redwoods and we could take the ATV and dirt bikes and ride where ever we wanted. It sounded awesome! But on the day we were suppose to leave, we found out that the road is not trailer friendly. Like at all. Like NO GO so at the very last minute we were trying to figure out where to go and trying to find reservations at the last minute. For 4 families. On Father's Day weekend. Sound familiar? Sheesh! We have got to get better at making reservations!

We kept thinking of ideas but finally decided on heading to the coast since it was suppose to be super hot at home. Dillon Beach was full so we decided to head to Ocean Cove, which is north of Jenner on Hwy 1. The last time we were there was in 2010 so it had been awhile since we had been there. Probably the biggest reason we haven't been back was because of the road to get there. Hwy 1 is a two lane highway (one lane each direction) that is very windy along the coast with little to no shoulders and there is one section that is super steep and super windy with tight turns. It is doable with the trailers but very nerve-racking. Since they do not take reservations and are first-come, first-serve, it was our best shot.

We quickly unloaded all the toys, put them all away and packed more clothes for cooler weather and drove up, arriving in the evening. The campground is like a big area with roads that go through it. You can park where ever you want, there aren't designated sites. The camp host said we probably wouldn't get the 4 trailers together because they were at 60% capacity when we left and more people would be arriving throughout the day. We crossed our fingers, hoped for the best and headed up. The 2 other couples got there before us and totally scored on an area! There was this area, furthest from the ocean and we got the whole place to ourselves! It was awesome. At first we were slightly disappointed we couldn't see the ocean but it ended up being the best spot, in our opinion. The Mickelsen's arrived a little later that evening.

Saturday morning was beautiful! Oh my gosh! The weather was amazing! Absolutely perfect! We hung out in our campsite just relaxing and enjoying the company. 

Evan had taken his remote control car in hopes that he would be able to drive it. It turned out the other 2 families also had RC cars and the boys were in heaven driving their cars. We had this huge area to ourselves so they could drive and drive and drive.

The boys got creative and made a jump for the RC cars. Marty laid under the jump and let them jump over him. 

Saturday afternoon we took a walk to the ocean. It was so cold and windy at the water. Our campsite was totally protected from the wind and way warmer than the sites with an ocean view. This is when we truly appreciated how awesome our site was!

Kurt and his selfies with:





And me. 

We found sea anemones, crabs, sea snails. It was pretty fun. Hailey is holding a crab.

Our crew exploring the beach.

Our kids:

A group shot.

Back at camp, Nik caught a frog. 

Kurt made a tree swing that all the kids enjoyed playing on.

Evan always has to take things to the next level - he removed the board and used his feet.

Family dinner.

All the boys playing with the RC cars.

What a fun group of boys!

Sitting around the campfire:

That night we walked back out to the cliffs to watch the sunset. Talk about windy and cold!

It was a beautiful sunset though!

Kurt always gets up first and takes the dog for a walk to go potty. As soon as he left the trailer, I jumped out of bed and woke up the kids. We quickly decorated the trailer for Father's Day. I didn't get a picture of all the streamers and everything. Whoops! The kids made Kurt cards before we left so we had his cards out on the table for him when he got back.

Happy Father's Day to one of the best dads around! 

When we were sitting out Saturday morning, Kurt and Hailey got sunburns on their legs. There were not happy campers!

We left about 11 am to get home in time for dinner plans with my dad and family.  The Mickelsen's were going to leave later in the day and, I believe, the other 2 families were staying another night so we were by ourselves and this is when the craziness began!

As you drive south on Hwy 1 there are large turn outs on the side of the road for people to pull over and look at the view. We found a very large pull out that had plenty of room for the trailer. This was the pull out that we pulled into:

There were not very many cars and it would be easy to pull straight through and back onto the highway. We decided to eat lunch in the cool ocean air. We had a very enjoyable lunch with a beautiful view of the ocean. 

Well, when we went to leave we realized that lots of people must have had the same idea and had pulled into this pull out too. Unfortunately they had all parked along both sides of the pull out. If you look at the picture and at the end we had to pull through to get out, you notice that it is more narrow than the other end. With cars parked on both sides, there was no way the truck and trailer were going to fit through there. The only way out was to back out but that end was lined with cars too. It was a little crazy. Kurt and I had walkie-talkies so I could direct him back. The craziest part was when he had to back onto Hwy 1. I had to walk out into the road and stop traffic in both directions and guide him back. I just have to say that Kurt is amazing! He backed that trailer out, first try, through cars, avoided a ditch, and had to "kick it" to get it out of the pull out. Luckily no one got nasty with us or honked or anything. It was a little stressful but we got out just fine and headed down the road. As we drove away, there might have been a very long line of traffic that had piled up while I had traffic stopped. Sorry! 

Just a little back story: Friday morning, before we left, I took Kurt's truck to run to Walmart to get groceries and the check engine light came on. I immediately called him and said "what is going on with your truck?!" He came, traded vehicles with me and took the truck to a local mechanic to read the code that caused the check engine light to come on. The mechanic said it was an intermittent code about the turbo booster and that it should be fine. He cleared the code and we took the truck. 

Well . . .

It wasn't fine!!!

 Not too long after we pulled out of the pull out, the check engine light came on with the code "Engine power reduced." We weren't exactly sure what that meant. We were in Bodega Bay, which was packed with people, and traffic was moving slow so we couldn't really tell what was happening with the truck until we hit a little hill and the truck barely made it up it. Uh oh! 

Remember, Hwy 1 has little to no shoulders but we got lucky and found a nice wide shoulder to pull into. Kurt didn't want to be sitting on the side of the highway which was so busy with traffic so there was a neighborhood on the right and he decided to try to get the truck and trailer off the main road. We turned into the neighborhood and realized the road went up a hill. Nuts! The truck could not pull the trailer up the hill. It literally stopped in the middle of the hill. 

So for the 2nd time that day, we had to back out onto Hwy 1. Good times, my friends, good times! There was the wide shoulder so he tried to stick to that but if you have every backed up a trailer you know you have to swing wide and can't just back straight to where you want to go. People were not so friendly this time. They were honking and zooming around us. Let me just say, if you see someone having trouble, whether they have a trailer on them or not (but especially if they have a trailer), BE NICE! 

We managed to get the truck and trailer back onto the wide shoulder and started trying to figure out what we were going to do. Our ideas and plans changed about 50 times trying to figure out the best way to handle the situation.

We have been traveling and camping for 10 years with this truck and have never had a problem before so we have been very blessed! We actually were in pretty good moods. It was a set back but we were safe, it was a wide shoulder and we had our home with us so where ever we ended up that day, we would be "home." I called my dad to let him know we weren't going to make it home for dinner. Then we called Marty to let him know we had broken down. They were off on a hike so they headed back to camp to pack up and come to help us. They were about 2 hours away so we settled in to wait. 

We did have one little scare. Kurt decided to walk back to a campground to see if they had any openings or if they had somewhere we could tow the trailer to and camp at while we figured out what to do with the truck. He called me to ask what road we were parked in front of. I got out of the trailer and ran past the back of the trailer to read the sign. As I ran back, I noticed a car had pulled up behind us. I didn't think too much of it, ran back and read the sign to Kurt. When I turned to head back to the trailer, I saw that the occupants had gotten out of the car and were standing off to the side smoking and they were covered in tattoos. Now, I really try not to judge people and jump to conclusions but they were looking like a rough crowd. They were standing near the back of the trailer and were checking out the trailer, looking down the side of it. All the sudden, warning bells started going off in my head. They were between me and my kids. Were they just curious as to what was going on? Where they checking out to see if there was anything they could steal? What were they doing? Do people pull over just to smoke? I had no idea but I did not feel safe.

I was still on the phone with Kurt so I told him what was happening and that I was scared and said "get back here RIGHT NOW!" He was like "I am really far away! I can't get back to you quickly," which made me feel so much better! I stayed on the phone with Kurt, quickly walked passed them, got the truck keys, went to the truck, rolled up all the windows, locked the doors, got in the trailer and locked the trailer door. The kids were like "what's going on?" I didn't want them to freak out but I was freaked out! I had Evan sit in the back window and keep an eye on them. They hung out for a bit and kept looking down the side of the trailer toward the truck. They eventually drove off. Maybe they were never going to do anything bad. Maybe I totally pre-judged them. I don't know. I am just so thankful that nothing happened. 

Kurt finally made his way back to us. He unhooked the truck to drive just the truck to see what would happen. The truck was able to drive up the hill into the neighborhood without the trailer. He drove it around the neighborhood and then came back. It seemed to work fine. His sunburn was really hurting him and his leg was starting to swell so I had him lay down and elevate his leg for awhile.

The kids did great during all this! They had snacks, played games, rested and built forts while we waited.

Our plan was that when Marty and Lorraine got to us, they would unhook their trailer and tow our trailer to a camp site on the far side of the bay (the closer one that Kurt had walked to was full but she said the other one had spots). Kurt would drive our truck over to the campsite. The kids and I would stay with the truck and trailer while Kurt rode home with the Mickelsen's. Then Marty and Kurt would come back (Marty in his truck) and Kurt with one of our company trucks with the bobcat trailer and tow us all back. We had looked into getting a tow truck for everything but we would need to hire 2 tow trucks, one for the truck and one for the trailer, and it was going to cost a small fortune to get us home.

When Marty and Lorraine got to us, Kurt decided that he wanted leave the trailer in Bodega Bay and to try to drive our truck home. Then we decided that the kids and I would go with him and that Kurt and I would just drive back later that night to get the trailer with a different truck. That way Marty didn't have to come back too. So Kurt talked to the security guy in the neighborhood and explained what we were going to do and that we would be back that night to get the trailer. The security guard said that was fine and we could leave the trailer there. Marty towed our trailer into the neighborhood and we drove away, leaving our trailer behind. It was so sad.

The next adventure of trying to get the truck home started. There are several inclines that you have to go over to get home. Along the way, our truck had reduced power on a hill and we were going 5 mph up the hill. It was awesome. I wasn't even worried about that hill. There were 2 others that I was especially worried about ~ the bridge on Hwy 37 and the on ramp from Hwy 37 to Hwy 80. I thought there was no way the truck would make it up those, especially since it had had trouble on that smaller hill. We stopped at a gas station in Petaluma and Kurt and Marty looked under the hood. They took out the air filter and looked around but couldn't see anything wrong. We decided to get the truck to Hwy 37 and see if it could make it up a small hill that had a big shoulder. If it had trouble we would stop there and call a tow truck.

The truck did just fine . . . because traffic was crawling at 5 mph!!! We didn't know how the truck would really do because we couldn't go any faster. Ugh. So we continued on and finally we reached the bridge. We crossed our fingers and started up the bridge. The truck did awesome! It made it up no problem. We found that if we kept the rpms at 1500 it did okay. Next was the ramp from 37 to 80 and again, the truck did great! It was easy peasy from there!

Or so we thought!

We stopped in Vacaville for dinner. The kids were exhausted and hungry so we figured we better feed them so we stopped at Fenton's. It was so hot in the valley! We had 2 dogs with us and we couldn't leave them in the cars so we decided to turn on the Mickelsen's generator, turn on the air conditioner, call in our orders for pick up and eat in the trailer. 

Though out the day, Kurt's left leg had started to swell from his sunburn and it was getting more and more painful. When we stopped for dinner, it was really swollen and he could hardly walk on it. After he limped and hobbled about 50 feet, it would loosen up and he could walk but it was really painful until then. While the dads went to pick up the food, Lorraine and I decided I should call our friend, Erik, who is a PA and ask him what he thought of Kurt's leg. He was immediately concerned, especially with Kurt's freaky vascular history. His fear was that Kurt had a blood clot and he thought Kurt should be seen immediately. I ran, and I mean RAN, across the parking lot to where Kurt was because Erik wanted me to do some tests on his leg. And his leg failed. I guess there are several warning signs for blood clots and having any 2 of them warrants an ultrasound and Kurt had 5 of them. FIVE! Oh geez. Erik said the chances were slim that it was actually a blood clot but we didn't want to risk it with Kurt's history. If it was a blood clot, that would be bad so we needed to quickly get him checked.

We picked up our food, went back to the trailer, threw our kids in the truck and took off. I didn't want to go to the ER in Vacaville for several reasons. I wanted to be at our hospital, closer to us but that was 45 minutes away. I was trying to drive as quickly as I dared with the truck, not wanting to push it too hard and have it lose power again. Erik said he would meet us at the hospital and take the kids and dog home while we went into the ER.

We made it to the ER and spent a lovely 4 hours hanging out there. Everything turned out fine. There was no blood clot but Kurt had gotten a 2nd degree sunburn and his leg was not happy about that! We got home at 1 am.

Obviously, there was no going back to get the trailer that night. When Kurt got up the next morning, he got out of bed and fell to the ground. His leg hurt so bad. He crawled to the bathroom and then back to bed. Later, he got up slowly and walked very carefully on it until it loosened up and he could walk better. As long as he kept moving, he would do better. If he sat still too long, it would hurt really bad again.

We got one of our other trucks and just Kurt and I headed back to Bodega Bay to get the trailer. We were a little worried because we didn't know if someone had towed the trailer away because we didn't get it the night before. We crossed our fingers and headed back. The trailer was fine and just where we left it! Thank goodness!

Before we hooked up the trailer, we decided to head to Lucas Wharf for some lunch ~ clam chowder and caesar salad ~ YUM! We got the corner table overlooking the bay. 

We had a very nice, cool lunch in the awesome coastal weather! Back home it was over 100 and I think it was 70 something in Bodega. We truly appreciate and enjoyed the temperature!

We got back to the trailer, hooked up and were ready to go. It was a great, day-date. Love this man of mine!

Even with all the craziness, the trip was awesome. We had a great time at the ocean. It was so relaxing and beautiful. Next time, Kurt needs to use a little sunscreen though!

He ended up getting a huge blister on his left leg (I will spare you the blister pictures!) and it has taken a week for him to get back to mostly normal. 

The whole experience was actually just fine. We kept counting our blessings, and they were all around!  We were truly blessed. We broke down in an area with a wide shoulder, there was cell coverage (which is spotty along the coast), we had amazing weather (we could have broken down in the valley with the extremely hot temperatures), we were safe, we had everything we needed with us, the kids did great, our truck made it home, the security guy let us leave our trailer there, Kurt didn't have a blood clot, we have amazing friends who are always willing to help us, we made it back and got the trailer with no problems (even enjoying our date). I was proud of us and how we handled the day. It was crazy and stressful and eventful but we managed to stay calm, think things through and get home. We were truly blessed!

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