There are some things you see that just leave you in wonder. You aren’t quite sure how or why they look the way they do, but you know it is something special. Valley of Fire State Park is one of those things. I mean, the rocks actually look like they’re on fire because they’re so red. It is such a beautiful thing.
We really enjoyed this State Park – and some people enjoyed the Visitor Center much more than I did. I let Mom and Dad look at the creepy crawly creatures like Tarantulas in the Visitor Center. I passed on that one and played with Cash outside.
Dad and I did hike up one of the rock hills to get a better view and take some pictures. It was an easy little climb and well worth it for these views.
Only 1 block away from the beach in Oceanside, California, Paradise by the Sea is high-end RV resort that rather than just a campground. With fairly luxurious amenities and as close to the beach as you can get in this area, Paradise by the Sea brings their A game.
From the moment you arrive and get checked in, every aspect of your stay here is top notch. The check in area is very nice with your basic campground store inside. Once you’re escorted to your site, you discover the concrete RV pads awaiting your rig. While the sites themselves are not the most spacious, they aren’t cramped either. There is decent enough room between sites to eat outside at the provided picnic table and watch football in the beautiful California sunshine. Another great thing about this park is they have 24 hour security on site. When you’re in the park, you have no idea what is going on outside the concrete walls around the perimeter. While it isn’t in a bad area, it also isn’t in the best area of town. The security team monitors the premises all day and night which is a very nice feature.
We thoroughly enjoyed the pool and hot tub area and frequented the hot tub on a nightly basis. The best part of the hot tub is the adults only aspect. After a certain time each night, the hot tub is officially adults only. No children are allowed to be in the area. They can enjoy the pool, but they are no longer welcome in the hot tub corner. The pool boasts luxury chairs, tables, and umbrellas and even a glass fire pit in the corner.
The bath houses are nice, new, and very clean. While the showers themselves are kind of small, the privacy and cleanliness are some of the best we’ve ever seen. The laundry room was also nice and spacious with plenty of machines for the size of the park.
All of this is just a block from the beach which is accessible via the gated back entrance to the resort. Just use the code provided by the front office and come and go as you please. At the gate, they post the tide times so you know what to expect once you get to the beach. There’s also a beach sand rinse-off area when you come back in so you can clean yourself off before going back to your RV or jumping in their showers.
Surfer’s Cove is another great little area of the park. It’s a common area with lounge chairs, fire pits, and ambient lighting to set the vibe straight to beach mode.
They also have a peaceful little nook called Paradise Gardens – this area is a secluded, private garden that’s great for reading, meditating, or just relaxing away from everyone.
Some things to do in the area:
Must visit The Baked Bear – the closest location is in Carlsbad (original location is in San Diego)
Susie Cakes – we found this bakery with tons of delicious gluten-free and gluten-filled goodies that were just divine – located next to The Baked Bear in Carlsbad
Also, this post is WAY over due and you’ll realize that when you see these next pictures from Mom and I in Disneyland. We took a day trip over to Anaheim from Oceanside because – hello, Disneyland – our favorite place. It was decorated for Halloween when we went – I know, I know – it’s May. I’m catching up.
And, Cash was such a little baby! He is such a beach bum!
And because every post should end with beautiful scenery and sunsets —
I love this city. My mom taught me to have a great appreciation of these sparkling lights while I was growing up. Then she planned a trip for the 3 of us to visit Vegas on my 21st birthday. Her and I have made a trip out there almost every year since and this year, we got the opportunity to stay for an entire month. News Flash: we didn’t want to leave.
The Las Vegas RV Resort is close enough to the Strip to take a $10 Uber ride and be dropped off wherever you want to go (use invite code kaylak138 to receive $5 off each of your first 2 rides [for a total of $10] – then I get $10 off my next ride, too!). We were able to visit the Strip multiple times each week, but still not live right on the Strip which was nice. There’s also a place called Sam’s Town right next door and we learned it’s where the locals go. We loved this place, too! There’s wonderful BBQ restaurant called Big Mess BBQ as well as a steakhouse called The Angry Butcher – both were AMAZING. The highlight for me may have been the Dunkin’ Donuts though because I love me some Dunkin’ iced coffee (and haven’t had it in forever since it apparently isn’t real big on the west coast yet).
As far as a rating goes, we’re giving this one a 5 out of 5 for being the best in the area. Sure, it isn’t perfect, but I think it is the best you can get within this proximity to the Strip. It is a pretty great park and we love the amenities. The one thing we really wish it had was some grass for the dogs, but I’ll talk about that next.
The RV park is quite large, but it is pretty spacious. The sites aren’t too crowded, but unfortunately there is no grass for the dogs. This isn’t entirely their fault though. Las Vegas isn’t too conducive for growing grass, but it did make it hard for the pup, especially one who is still potty training and learning that grass is good and inside or concrete is bad. Cash had difficulties understanding where was ok to go and where was off limits.
The facilities were great though. Lots of bathhouses were spread throughout the resort including some individual rooms – yes, entire individual bathrooms. The individual bathrooms were really nice with very large showers and lots of counter space. There was plenty of room to get ready and not feel cramped which is a nice change of pace from most bathhouses. This first set of images is from one of the private bath stalls while the second set of images is the bathhouses spread throughout the park.
They also boasted a great pool and hot tub area that even has cooling misters for the hot summer days. The pool is heated in the winter and closes after the first freeze, but the hot tub remains open year round. The pool was perfect for lounging in the desert sun and soaking in that Vitamin D. We frequented the hot tub nearly every night during our month long stay.
The small workout room isn’t much, but I’ll take anything I can get. This is one of the most under provided amenities by RV parks in my opinion. So many people are full-time RVing now-a-days that I think it would be highly beneficial for RV parks to start offering a small workout area. Even things as simple as small weights and a treadmill or a stationary bike would be enough to make a lot of people happy. This one had not only a treadmill, stationary bike, and cross country skier, but it also had a Bowflex and weights. I frequented the workout room quite a bit while we were there which was so great.
They had several dog parks, but the one complaint many people had was that they ask you to only let your pet do their business in the dog park to keep the smell in that area. They claim that because of the dry desert, the smell lingers. We saw several times where owners were attempting to get their dog to the park, but the pups can’t always make it. Luckily, we’ve been training Cash to use a portable grass mat/catch tray so we didn’t have to worry about this, but other people definitely have issues with it. It just isn’t feasible to expect an animal to only go in one area that can be quite a long ways away. While we weren’t there in the heat of the summer, we heard a lot of people say dogs sometimes have trouble walking to the area on the hot asphalt in the summer. Many people have strollers or wagons to transport their pets to the park in during the hot summer days.
A final note about this park – it isn’t in the best area of town, but it is the only RV park in the area with 24 hour security. This includes a security guard gate that is very strict about letting people in (they won’t even let Uber in without giving you a call). They also drive around at night with flashlights ensuring there are no suspicious activities occurring.
Overall, this was a great RV park and we’ll be back in future for sure
With today being National Puppy Day, I figured it was absolutely time to share how we came to find our dog while living on the road.
When we started discussing getting a dog to join us on this journey, we had some requirements. We all agreed the dog needed to stay small and not shed. After lots of research, we decided that a Miniature Goldendoodle was the perfect dog for us. We then started searching for a reputable breeder and man, the waiting lists for these pups was so long. We know that means they’re a good breeder, but we were having trouble nailing down the timing of a puppy being ready to go home with where we would be located at the time. It just wasn’t working out for us.
Then one day, a Facebook add popped up for a place called PuppySpot. Pictures of two sweet pups popped up and they were ready to go home in 2 weeks. Were we ready to bring home a puppy that soon? Not quite. Were we going to bring home a puppy that soon anyway? You bet. We fell in love with sweet Cash right away.
So how’s this PuppySpot thing work anyway?
Glad you asked. 🙂
Once we clicked on the Facebook ad (thank you Facebook for knowing we had been searching for Mini Goldendoodles), we were led to the PuppySpot website where they showed us dogs that matched our criteria. We immediately knew that we wanted one of these 2 pups we were being shown. I put in an inquiry and received a call from a Puppy Concierge within about 5 minutes. They answered all the questions they could and then went to the breeder for more information on the questions they were unsure of.
The great part about PuppySpot is they guarantee your puppy is not coming from a puppy mill. They work hard to keep relationships with reputable breeders to ensure you’re receiving the best puppy you possibly can. Cash came from a sweet breeder from Arkansas who helped me choose between the 2 pups we were indecisive about. As soon as she started talking about the pups, I immediately knew Cash was the one for us. I immediately paid for the sweet pup and they began making travel arrangements.
One of the best parts about PuppySpot is you can purchase their puppies no matter where you are located. Travel is included in the cost of your pup. Cash came to us from Little Rock, Arkansas, but we were in Northern California at the time. He had a long day, but he flew via United Airlines from Little Rock to Eureka, California with 2 layovers in Houston and San Francisco. During his trip, he was fed and provided water by the sweet agents from United Airlines.
Even though we had never met before, it was like he knew we were his fur-ever family. He was SO happy to see us when he arrived. He just snuggled right up to us and shook his little booty which we’ve now learned is how he shows his happiness. He’s a happy puppy – he shakes his moneymaker a lot!
I should have written this post 6 months ago, BUT I’m blaming being a puppy parent for slacking off on the blog (I need some sort of excuse don’t I?).
Welcome to the family Cash and thank you PuppySpot for getting us our perfect pup!
Here’s a few of our favorite pics from his arrival weekend and the first few weeks after! (Also, scroll all the way down for some entertaining videos from his first weeks at home!)
Cute puppy videos ahead!
First up, first bath for Cash – those little whimpers though!
Running outside for the first time!
Cash loves giving Daddy a bath!
Cash at the beach playing with a palm tree.
And for the video GOLD right here – Cash Superman Sliding Under the RV Doors!
While we don’t usually review a campground when we’re only there 1 night (I don’t think it is fair and we can’t give a campground a just review based on a few hours), I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about this campground. It was still heavily under construction while we were there, but it is going to be a fantastic campground when it is complete (and you’re reading this at least a few months after our stay so it is likely complete by now!). We’ve been a full-time RV family for almost a year now and this Gila Bend KOA is one of our favorite campgrounds we’ve stayed in to date.
Let me start out by telling you about the owner of this KOA. His name is Scott Swanson and his background is top notch. He came from the entertainment industry, but he also worked hard to turn his family’s RV park around (a different RV park). Let’s pause for a minute and let me tell you, when I say entertainment industry, I mean he was the post-production manager for GILMORE GIRLS. YES. GILMORE GIRLS. <Insert squeals of joy here>
Let’ start by talking about Kamp K9. Most (if not all) KOA campgrounds have a dog park for your pups, but this one is really one of the nicest ones we’ve seen. With 3 separate areas for social and non-social pups and their humans, there are areas both grassy and rocks for pups to choose their turf. They had toys to play with and a water dish and fountain to help wet their whistle after a rough play session.
And now for the humans – the pool. Scott went all out on this one. Between the travertine tile surrounding the pool and the nice lounge chairs, we could hang out at this pool all day. The pool is the absolute nicest we’ve seen at any campground and it has a ledge all the way down one side for sitting and relaxing. Just off the edge of the pool is a gorgeous turf area with a swing. And since pets aren’t allowed in the pool area, it is a nice place to kick off your shoes and feel the grass between your toes. Oh, did I mention he keeps the pool heated to a beautiful 90 degrees? Because, he does. It was a PERFECT place to wallow in those post-Vegas vibes. I even sipped some Bee Cosmopolitan juice by the pool (because you know I stocked up on that from The Juice Standard before I left – I SO wished they would ship their fresh pressed juices – hint, hint!).
The bathrooms just aren’t quite done being built (at the time of our stay in November 2017), but based on everything else we’ve seen Scott incorporate at this KOA, we’re certain they’ll be just as wonderful. There were a few other things like the mini golf/putting green area under construction, but some other nice features were the huge laundry room and the beautiful landscaping. I just love a good desert landscape and this campground really accentuated their nature environment with over the top, beautiful landscaping.
The Ranch House is a large common area where many of the activities happen and I must say, it appears that there is always something going on here. Lots of activities from water aerobics to chair yoga and everything in between.
He also has one very unique RV site that I must tell you about. I’m certain this one will be a tough spot to get as I imagine it will always book far in advance. One of his upgraded sites not only has a concrete patio for the humans, but it has a private fenced in dog run for your pup! Yes, your very own private dog run to play in with your pup. I. JUST. LOVE. IT. Why don’t more campgrounds offer this upgrade? We would absolutely pay more for a private fenced in area for our sweet Cash.
And also, because we mentioned Cash – here’s a few sweet photos of him protesting the next car ride.
Be sure to check out this KOA if you’re ever near the little town of Gila Bend, Arizona! Let us know how everything is now that it is finished. We’d love to make it back here one day! Send us pics if you see updates!
To be completely honest, I didn’t get many photos of Elk Country RV Resort. I didn’t mean to not take photos of this beautiful location, but we picked up our brand new puppy the weekend we spent here so we were a little distracted, to say the least!
Elk Country RV Resort and Campground is in a little town called Trinidad, California. The area is gorgeous as it is right in the middle of the Redwood National Forest. We were able to visit an area called The Trees of Mystery which takes you up to the top of some of the Redwood trees via a sky tram / gondola type vehicle. It was so beautiful and we’re so glad we got to see this area. While we weren’t here very long, we were also here plenty of time to see the gorgeous Redwoods. These trees are indescribable, but as large as people tell you they are, you can’t fully comprehend the breadth of their size without standing next to some of the largest ones and just staring at them.
Here’s a few photos of the elk in our campground. They weren’t kidding when they said elk roam the area and frequent the campground!
This first picture is taken from INSIDE the RV. The elk were right there!
I’m not doing a full review on this campground as we drove in, slept, and drove out first thing in the morning. We never even saw the place in much daylight, but I just have to say how nice the people at Shady Lane RV Camp are! This little place is in Barstow, California and I just love that they call it a camp instead of a park!
While it is a tiny overnight stop kind of campground, it is just off the interstate and a great location if you’re ever headed from Oceanside, California to Las Vegas. We simply needed a place to sleep and we were happy to support a family owned campground like Shady Lane.
The only thing I managed to get photos of was the Shady Lane Time Machine – a phone booth converted into a “time machine.” It truly was a work of art!
The restrooms were nice, but I want to focus on the laundry facilities here because they are fantastic. There is no shortage of washers and dryers at this campground. They even have large commercial washer and dryers which are great for getting the chance to wash the bed comforters. It was great to be able to clean these items without trying to stuff them into a regular washing machine.
Security here is tight though and every person staying at the resort is required to wear a bracelet (think the bracelet you receive to get into a concert or fair or club or something like that). It was quite strange to have to wear one of these to stay an RV resort and with a 9 week old puppy, he just wanted to chew them off.
They have a nice playground for children as well. And, if you’re wanting to venture out to San Francisco for a tour, they actually have their own tour bus and tour. It sounds like a great option if you’re interested in seeing San Francisco without the fuss of driving into the city.
With close proximity to Napa Valley, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit a winery recommended by our friends. We took a trip over to Cuvaison Winery, a beautiful little dog-friendly winery. I’m not a huge wine fan, but I absolutely loved the wines we tried. Cash had his very first outing and here and they loved him! They brought him water and treats and just loved on him the whole time we were tasting the wines. He was in pure puppy heaven.
We also luckily left this area just before it was ransacked by wildfires. While the KOA and the Cuvaison winery survived, many of the places around them were not as lucky. Many wineries in the area did not survive the fires and the KOA ended up housing many people who lost everything. We were very lucky with our timing and leaving the area when we did, but we’re so thankful we got to spend the time there we did!
This place was recently purchased by new owners and they’re doing great things to this park. Some aspects were still under construction while we were there, but I imagine they’ve completed most of the projects by now.
They have multiple pool areas; however, only one was open while we were there. This very large pool and hot tub area was heavenly. The water comes from the hot springs so you get the mineral properties from the water. I will caveat that by saying, unlike other hot springs pools we visit, these do have added chemicals in them. The state of California requires all pools – even those from hot springs – be chemically balanced. This means that even though you’re still getting the benefits of the mineral water, you’re getting the negative effects of all the pool chemicals as well. We still loved this place though as the hot tub and pool were fantastic.
They also have this adorable mini golf course that was built by some of the regulars for everyone to enjoy. It was such a cute little putt-putt course and they did a great job building it. It was challenging too!
While we were there, they were finishing up construction on the second pool and workout area – all of which I believe is going to be adults only (and you know how much I love adult only areas). This pool looks absolutely stunning and the workout room is top notch. They weren’t quite finished, but I still wanted to show some pictures of this area so you can get an idea of what it will look like once complete.
The bathouse and laundry room were both average, nothing spectacular, but nothing bad either. I do really like the bathhouse being inside the pool area. It was nice to jump out of the pool and right into the showers.
Some of the other amenities of the resort include a gate that is secure after dark not allowing visitors in, a dog run area, pickle ball courts, horse shoes area, and Bocci ball courts.
And, last, but certainly not least, by now you probably realize I’m a huge fan of cacti and desert landscaping. The folks at Catalina Spa RV Resort have done an excellent job incorporating all sorts of different types of cacti throughout the RV park. I just adore these plants. They’re just eye-candy to me!
While at Catalina Spa RV Resort, we visited a Dig-Your-Own-Cactus store and it was pretty awesome.
One of my bucket list items on this journey was to visit Forks, Washington. How often do you get the opportunity to visit the real life location of one of your fantasy book/movie worlds? It is a rare opportunity as most fictional locations are truly fictional. So, we decided to spend a weekend in Forks, Washington – home of the Cullen vampire clan. Our RV park, Three Rivers Resort, was located right on the Treaty Line; and if you’ve watched the movies or read the books, you know exactly what that Treaty Line stands for.
This RV park was gorgeous. It is definitely one to stay at to get away for a weekend (not one for cell service or good internet connection). The scenery is stunning. I just love the beauty of feeling the trees completely surrounding you. It was a tight fit for our RV, but we managed to get in and I’m so glad we did. Everywhere you looked from the RV, all you could see were these beautiful, forever tall trees.
While in Forks, we got the opportunity to visit many of the places that inspired Stephenie Meyers while she was writing Twilight. We visited Forks High School, Bella’s truck, the hospital (including Dr. Cullen’s parking spot), The Swan residence, the Cullen residence, and so much more. It is so wonderful to see a small town embracing the fictional world created by an author that is beloved by so many.
We also went to La Push and wow, it was more gorgeous than I ever could have imagined. So gorgeous, it may be enough to persuade you to become Team Jacob 😉 It’s La Push, baby.