Almost every morning when I wake, I have to pinch myself to make sure it’s not a dream. I’m truly a fortunate person to be able to travel around our country pretty much at will, enjoying the experiences of the travel and the destination, wherever it may. This month I’m traveling in California as I head North for the Spring and Summer days ahead.
My Batteries Are at the End
Getting out of bed, I look around appreciating the comfort of the Coach. It was expensive for me, but I was able to wing it and knowing that it’s built solid is comforting. Especially living in it full time. The day to day maintenance can be a little grueling at times. The labor for upkeep is pretty much my own, at least for the basics. But as I stated before, when something breaks or fails (and it will) the cost of repair is often more than I planned or budgeted for repair and replacing items. Three years of travel and 20k miles is starting to take it’s toll.
[four_fifth]My concern today is the two 12 volt Interstate wet cell batteries that are coming to the end of their life. I’ve used them for a little over three years daily. The constant drain and recharge has taken it’s toll. Each day I wake with a battery charge level of 11.4 volts. Even though having a full charge at bedtime. Not good. My routine has been to I check the battery water level and the specific gravity. I’ve watched several cells move from “good” to the “poor” range which means a battery purchase is in my near future.
I’ve started researching the best replacements and come to the conclusion with my limited budget I will replace with AGM batteries. Not the cheapest, but using them all the time as I do, the most affordable long term. For now I will watch them like a hawk. At our current location I must depend on the generator to attain a full charge as there is too much shade at my current camp. As a result for several hours every morning and evening my Honda 2000 generator purrs away.[/four_fifth]
Enough with the Negative Nancy Talk. I have company! As I step down into the Coach’s main living area, they are already up and enjoying the RV experience. Close quarters, little privacy but wonderful view. We enjoy breakfast and talk of our plans for the day.
That’s when they bring out a present for me. My first thought,”what’s this for”? They proceed to tell me it’s an early Father’s Day present, since I won’t be with them during the upcoming holiday. I open the present slowly with curiosity. It’s a … baby blanket??? After a moment I recognise it as one that my Mom had knitted for them before she passed away years ago. Long pause … then it hits me, they are expecting their first child, my grandchild number six. I was so excited, we all had waited years for this event.
Emotion was running high, I will always remember the happiness written on both of their faces and the feelings that welled up within me.
After the surprise morning, we leave Jagger at home and venture out into the beautiful sunny day. Our first stop, Solvang. There we explore the village, going first into a small restaurant to purchase an “aebleskiver“. A traditional small round pastry, cooked on the stove in a special pan. It’s similar in shape and size to a “fritter”, but not deep fried. I would have taken pictures, but alas they disappeared so quickly.
From there we strolled down the sidewalk passing buildings from another time. Being there on such a perfect day, passing by the quaint shops, allowed my mind to slow down and relax. While I’m not much of a shopper I did enjoy my time with my kids and went into several shops with them. It reminded me of a Disneyland environment.
I enjoy going into bookstores to shop around. Even the few large stores that are left. Again I’m not sure why, maybe just the feeling of holding a book. Unfortunately my library, such that it was, is in my small storeroom in California. I have to purchase my books on Amazon, mainly because of the weight books would eventually impose on the Coach.
One store we wonder into was The Book Loft. A very unique store containing new and used books and a small Hans Christian Andersen museum upstairs. During my browsing I made several purchases for my grandchildren before going back out on the street to the quaint buildings, including a windmill. Another intriguing stop was the famous Hanson’s Clock Shop. The number of cuckoo and custom clocks is amazing.
Thoroughly covering all that we want to see in Solvang, we move on to the town of Los Olivos. Another quaint town here in the valley. Arriving near lunch time, climbing out of the car my Son said, “let’s go to the R Country Market“. It seemed an unusual place to stop, but they served the best Tri-tip sandwich I’ve tasted in a long time. Leaving the market we stroll down the streets of Los Olivos and randomly poke our head in a few interesting spots. One of which is a wine tasting establishment, where we sampled a few blends, before calling it a day and heading through the Santa Ynez Valley, back to our camp.
What a great day. It was a send off for me, as I will be leaving this area in the morning and heading to Moro Bay, the next stop as I head North along the California coast.
Safe Travels…Gary and Jagger.
More Photos: Paradise Campground – Solvang