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May 31, 2024

Old Town–a few less visited sites

 As life returns to our usual routines, there has not been much to consider blog worthy.  So I decided to hop on the trolley to Old Town and visit the lesser known section of the park.

My first stop was the McCoy House and Museum.

It’s fairly impressive for a small FREE museum.  But it takes a lot of time to read the various captions on the graphics.

Some period furniture is placed as it might have been used.

Again it is a lot of reading.  I’m sure Fran would really enjoy it ;)
She’s the reader!

The only original pieces are in pieces!

The house was built in 1869 by Sheriff James McCoy who lived in this two-story house with his wife Winnifred until their deaths.

In 1995 the State park began research and excavation on the home.  In 2000 it was opened to the public.

I also wanted to visit the recently opened ‘Iipay ~ Tipay Kumeyaay Mut Niihepok (Land of the First People)’

Visitor’s may remember the brick Department of Transportation building that was on this site.  They’ve relocated across the street.  The site is now the Kumeyaay Interpretive Garden.

I saved my cell phone for some pictures and did not scan the QR Code.  But if I had it would lead me to the Walking Tour Map on the web HERE.

Without the map and its verbiage I just wandered around, taking a few pictures.

The walk follows the ‘River of Life and River of Ancient Life.

Most recently extinct would be the grizzly bear.  Although the state animal, the last known bear was killed in the 1920s.

Each of the numerous stamps in the concrete lists the animal's Kumeyaay name, its English and Spanish name.


Near the center of the garden is a large mosaic depicting how the Kumeyaay viewed the night sky.

The San Diego River once flowed just on the north side of Old Town and south of I-8.  The river is now routed north of I-8.

I decided to include the picture of the coyote, as in legend it was a two-faced animal that was not to be trusted.

Can you see the two faces of the coyote?

The old CDOT parking lot remains and would be a great location for the Kumeyaay to show off their heritage.

CDOT parking lot

Across the street is the Presidio Hills Golf Course in continuous use since 1932.

The oldest surviving adobe built in 1810, but declined over the next century until the it was restored in 1931.  It's been in continuous as the Golf Club House since.

The pear orchard was gone by this time.  Fran also took her first golf lessons on this course.  The course has also hosted the Junior World Championships, awarding titles to Tiger Woods, Lorena Ochoa, and Phil Mickleson.

This clubhouse also is of some import for the two historic names linked here.

Mr. California, Leo Carillo, is a grandson of Josefa (Bandini) Carillo.  I dedicated a blog to him that can be found HERE.

(Note: Casa de Bandini is my favorite Mexican restaurant)

I’ll let you guess the other name and please leave it in your comment.  Hint he restored and/or preserved much of early San Diego history, using his own funds.  He was a good ice skater, who played golf and really liked lilacs.

May 21, 2024

The Graduate !!!

 It’s official! Kg is a graduate of Cal State Long Beach. She worked hard, studied even harder, and made it on the President’s Honor Roll each semester. And she did it in three years! We couldn’t be prouder!

Just Grandpa bragging a bit ;)

She'll be heading to Boston for post-graduate and masters studies !  Boston? Seafood !!! A road trip is in the works :)

May 19, 2024

Home !!!

There’s no place like Home, Home Sweet Home.

We travelled 7,055 miles in 74 days.  That comes out to an average of 14.17 mpg.  A bit disappointing, but acceptable considering the WIND and mountain roads.


  • Visiting family
  • Enjoying the eclipse on a perfect Ohio day
  • The beauty of Shenandoah NP
  • The history and music of the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • The awesome southeast seafood


  • WIND it just never let up.  If all that wind had been behind us, we could be in Hawaii!

Biggest Surprises:

  • Congaree NP, sure it’s a swamp but something different for us.
  • Clovis NM, the Heart Beat of Rock and Roll
  • Run For The Wall riders.  A couple hundred motorcycles were heading east in a classic staggered formation.  My brother has done the ride twice.

Biggest Scare:

  • We were on the leading edge of the devastating Storm that ravaged Houston.  Torrential rain with lightening.  One bolt of lightening hit a tree a couple dozen yards outside Fran’s window.  The clap of thunder, the explosion of the tree and Fran’s scream were all simultaneous.  We were fortunate to not be in the worst of that storm!  Houston was hammered!, 7 deaths and many thousands without power.

In a previous post I mentioned using Diesel Kleen to the fuel when traveling in the Midwest.  I’ve added their Bio Kleen as well.  I only add a bit to the last fill-up when I know the RV will sit for a few weeks.

New on this trip was a GlocalMe device that converts cellular service to Wi-Fi.  Using an eSIM it will connect to most networks.  It worked quite well, even when we had no T-Mobile service.  The data is a bit expensive, my 30GB package was $59 for 30 days.  I use a VPN also for additional security.  Being able to check traffic, plan stops, use email, all things Internet while traveling was worth it.

We’ll be heading to Kg’s graduation from Long Beach State next week.


May 11, 2024

Final Days on the East Coast

We had this brilliant idea of either long driving days to the Everglades, or bike riding a few of Georgia’s Islands.  Islands it is.

And then … RAIN !!! Bucket loads!  But as we approached Tybee Island it cleared!  Sweet!

It’s Sunday and there is NO free parking on the island.  But the Post Office is closed …Isn’t that federal, not island property?  We didn't get a ticket!

The bike path is pretty lame, going only along 2nd Ave (2 blocks off the beach), no boardwalk :(

We did get down to the beach

And the pier.

I have been craving a fish taco!  A taste of home.  And Pier 16 is said to have the best on the island.  Only it’s not at the pier ;)  Still a pretty good taco plate.

As we returned to the Post Office, the rains also returned!  At least our ride was dry!

With constant rain, heavy at times, we moved on to Florida.  Where Big Talbot Island provided a great ride.

It is 6.3 miles out and then back

A fun ride!

We continued south on FL A1A to the St Johns River Ferry.  Only $14 for Rufus to enjoy the ride to Mayport.

And it was lunch time.  Singleton's Seafood Shack is next to the ferry landing.  My bestest ever oyster Po Boy!  Next time east I'll have to ask Gay where her favorite can be found!  And Fran’s Deviled Crabs were darn good too!

We continued south to Daytona Beach, where they not only race on the track, they drive on the beach.

Or just dip their toes in the water …

Finally reaching Cocoa Beach, and the end of my Atlantic Pilgrimage. 


I may be a Hodad, but I can still dress in style.

And from Ron Jon Surf Shop we finally pointed Rufus west, passing through the Ocala National Forest, with a nice lunch stop on the lake.

A wonderful night at Salt Springs

And what we thought would be a fun stop was again dampened with torrential rains!

But it was nice to be at home on the beach for a couple days.  It didn’t rain all the time!

The air quality alarm went off about 5:30 am!  I replaced the LP sensor with a multi gas sensor, and it indicated the RV had been closed up and CO2 levels were high.  This thing is a bit too sensitive as it will go off with a wine spill!

But I was up for a sunrise!

We planned to meetup with our niece Janet and family Eglin Air Force Base for a visit.  Guest passes are issued at the Air Force Armament Museum.  We arrived early, thanks to an hour time difference and my early wakeup alarm.

We took a quick walk around the outside exhibits, lots of exhibits!

All exhibits are labeled with a bit of information about the plane and its manufacture and use.

This missile was manufactured in San Diego by General Dynamics.  As the factory would down we played volleyball at Missile Park.

An F4 Phantom.  As a Navy AT I worked on their electronics.  I knew the AF also flew them.  But why the tailhook ???

Not just fighter planes but exhibits of heavy lifting.

The last B25 built!  Those brave men under Lt. Colonel Doolittle launched themselves from the USS Hornet, providing the first attack on Japanese soil.  The team trained at Elgin AFB.

Sleek and fast

A lot more exhibits outside and even more inside!, as Janet arrives to escort us through security checks and obtain base passes.  We followed her home .. A home with a driveway long enough for the Rufus!  The kids played in the backyard while we chatted.

Notice the house is right on the water!  The benefits of an officer's wife!

We all enjoyed Marion's pizza for lunch!

Cute, energetic Anne; Blue is a wonderful young man;
and Janet their awesome mother

Westward Ho!!! We now head west with just over a week to complete the drive.  We do not want to miss Kg’s graduation from Long Beach State.  GO Sharks!

May 10, 2024

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park is a relatively new addition to the National Park System. 

The Park protects the largest bottomland old-growth hardwood forest in North America.

To be clear this is an RV day trip!  There is NO overnight RV parking within the park boundaries.  But so worth a day trip diversion.

The park covers over 26,000 acres of the Congaree River, and contains the tract of old growth bottomland forest in the US.

Prior to a grass-roots roots effort to save the swamp, logging of the old growth cypress trees was performed.

In 1976 the Congaree Swamp National Monument was formed.

In 2003 the Monument was elevated to Congaree National Park.

John and Sharon (On the Road of Retirement) stopped at Congaree in 2022.  Their blog can be found HERE.  We’ll be doing the same boardwalk they hiked.  The trail is an elevated wooden boardwalk 2.4 miles

There are numbered stops along the boardwalk, having the tour pamphlet is handy.

The mud under the boardwalk is called Dorovan muck.  It is 8’ of clay and decomposing leaves.

Large Bald Cypress trees are seen throughout the walk.

The boardwalk winds around many of the old growth trees.

The spikes rising from the ground are not stumps, but ‘knees’.  The purpose of the roots generating these knees is not known.

The rich muck produces the some of the tallest trees in the east.

There were 5 turtles at the overlook of Weston Lake.

Loblolly Pine trees are the tallest trees in South Carolina.  This one is over 150’ tall.  I didn’t get a picture of the height, but check out the unique bark.

The remains of an old still

And a water snake

Although we could not stay in the park, we found a nice spot next to a loblolly pine.