WEEK 1: DECEMBER 14-20, 2009

14 December 2009: Carole, the driver, flies from BOSTON, Massachusetts.

Arrival: PORTLAND, Oregon 9:00pm > Train from airport to downtown Portland, to Greyhound Bus station.

Depart: Portland Greyhound Bus station at 11:45pm.

15 December: Arrive MEDFORD Bus Station at 06:15.

Meet Przemek from Antczak Motors, from whom I bought the VW Van, and we meet the VAN at Performance Auto, in Medford, where Ken, the mechanic, has been adjusting valves and checking the van’s engine for the journey ahead. Przemek spends time with me to show me how the camper van works and all the facilities. I test drive.

15 Dec 2009 STARTING MILEAGE = 160,970

We both drive to ASHLAND, Oregon, about 12 miles away where we will stay for a few days to rest and prepare for the road trip.

15-19 December: Ashland: Stay at Earth Song House in Ashland for 4 nights.

19 December noonish: Depart Ashland Saturday late morning – had been waiting for the fog to lift.

Destination: Redwood Valley, California, same day: 325 miles – it’s the vans first long run in many a year, can she make it? YesSheCan!

After a hard drive up and down mountains in foggy conditions, we stop in YREKA (for brake fluid – see page VW Van), and later at the town of MOUNT SHASTA, California, after seeing the beautiful snow covered volcano which gives the town its name.

For a short video on part of this journey go to

Saturday, 19 Dec 2009, around 3pm: visit Crater Lake and Lake Siskiyou with delightful new friends, Michelle and her daughter, Giovanna. They invite me to stay the night – great hospitality!

For information on the area see

MAP CO-ORDINATES: 41°18′52″N and 122°18′41″W

Sunday, 20 Dec 2009: leave Mt. Shasta very early.

Here’s the route we took …

Mt Shasta to Redwood Valley, northern California

We stopped just as we exited route 5 (at point B on the map) to check the engine as we’d done a few hundred miles and the van had been in storage the past year or so. Watch the video here or go to our Van’s Facebook page in the video section at

After stopping we continue on route 20 west. Even though it’s grey and rainy, it’s a pictureque road with hills and meadows with cows, and Clear lake itself is beautiful.

From route 5 we took 20 and headed west past Clear Lake; roads more picturesque

Later in the afternoon around 4pm: We arrive at Adriana’s house in REDWOOD VALLEY, CA.

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WEEK 2: DECEMBER 21-27, 2009

REDWOOD VALLEY RETREAT: Enjoying Christmas week in this beautiful restful retreat amongst the Californian redwoods and the beauteous nature of this virgin canyon and forest. Since we are on a quest to increase awareness and interest in saving all the different species for future generations, we could not have been given a more appropriate place to stay.

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WEEK 3: DECEMBER 28, 2009 – JANUARY 3, 2010


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WEEK 4:  JANUARY 4 – 10, 2010

Monday January 4: Depart Adriana’s and drive into UKIAH and spend first night in the van at the truck stop on the north edge of town near 101. Meet Pammie at the gas station, a friendly attendant, who tells us that her regular job is constructing gas stations!

January 5: shop for supplies in Ukiah and leave mid afternoon for MENDOCINO, taking route on southern edge of Ukiah, through BOONVILLE and NAVARRO. Numerous hairpin bends on this route  between the valley and the coast.  Is it easier on one of the other routes – NO, we are told, they are all 9 degrees of difficulty! To see what we mean see video at

Spend night in wilderness amongst the Redwoods see

January 6: arrive in WILLITS, CA, and stay for rest of week.

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WEEK 5:  JANUARY 11 – 17, 2010

Monday January 11: Still loving WILLITS, CA and stay until Thursday.

Thursday 14: head south on 101 to SF area and stay overnight in HEALDSBURG.

Friday 15: continue on Route 101 south and stop in PETALUMA for breakfast . Arrive in MORAGA, east of San Francisco, late morning to stay with friends from London Business School (MBA 1988 and 1989).

Weekend of 16-17: went with friends to their ski cabin in ARNOLD, CA and visited BEAR VALEY ski resort. Sunday severe snow storm.

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WEEK 6:  JANUARY 18 – 24, 2010

Monday January 18th: Driving back to Moraga from Arnold, across the central valley, we saw a mammatus cloud formation, as shown in our main blog post. The weather became increasingly stormy and a few days later a tornado was sited in the valley close to DISCOVERY BAY and STOCKTON.

January 19: Family day – Darron and Gill’s daughter’s birthday.

January 20-23: Explore MORAGA and LAFAYETTE.

January 24: SAN FRANCISCO Academy of Sciences (Natural Science Museum)

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WEEK 7:  JANUARY  25- 31, 2010

Monday January 25th: CAPTAIN VINEYARDS tour, Moraga.

January 26: packing the van to leave for northern CA

January 27: leave Moraga and go into San Francisco to visit the area of FISHERMAN’S WHARF.

January 28: drive north from SF over GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE to SAUSALITO and northwards on Highway 101 to Ukiah.

January 29: MENDOCINO COLLEGE, UKIAH National Geographic Film of Michael Fay’s walk through the Redwoods

January 30: MENDOCINO COLLEGE, UKIAH meeting of Redwood Futures and other Mendocino county movers and shakers to examine strategy for Redwood economy in the region.

January 31: MY BIRTHDAY celebration in WILLITS, CA.

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WEEK 8:  FEBRUARY  1- 7, 2010

The week was spent exploring Ukiah and Willits area, including:

Saturday February 6: Willits SOUP FESTIVAL in Aid of ‘Our Daily Bread’ Food Bank.

Sunday February 7: City of 1000 Buddhas in TALMAGE, near Ukiah.

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WEEK 9:  FEBRUARY  8- 14, 2010

Monday February 8th: drive back to SF area and stay in MORAGA for next 10 days. Writing, updating skills in social media, editing photos and videos, plus paperwork and paying bills!

February 9-11: exploring WALNUT CREEK and ORINDA.

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WEEK 10:  FEBRUARY  15- 21, 2010
2nd week in MORAGA, CA.

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WEEK 11:  FEBRUARY  22- 28, 2010

Monday February 22nd: left Moraga for California coast south of SF bay.  Drove over Dumbarton Bridge and met Pacific x at SAN GREGORIO. South on coastal Route 1 to PIGEON LIGHTHOUSE (stop over).

February 23: MONTEREY and PACIFIC GROVE coastal drive, next through CARMEL (MISSION) and continuing on Rte 1 south to RAGGED POINT. Very difficult driving conditions – head wind, heavy rain and mud slides.

February 24: left RAGGED POINT 3:30am due to noisy and stormy weather conditions. Continued on Route 1, stopped outside HEARST CASTLE at 4:00am, arrived SAN LUIS OBISPO around 5:00am. Drove south to AVILA BEACH for hotel stay to recover from our scary drive on the coastal route. Read the post we wrote on this blog for details of our drive on 23/24 February at

February 25: From Avila visit SAN LUIS OBISPO Farmers Market – a must see!

February 26: INN at AVILA BEACH writing

February 27: AVILA BEACH – Chile earthquake sets off advisory for tsunami watch along entire coast of USA, including California. Spend day interviewing Inn guests and watchers on the cliffs about their views on climate change, natural disasters and risks of living in California.

February 28: MORRO BAY – photographing huge waves at Morro Rock and a day picnicing in the Van.

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WEEK 12:  MARCH  1- 7, 2010

Monday March 1st: back to AVILA BEACH – it’s sunny! Talk to FOX News crew outside nuclear power plant. Coffee on the sea front in village of Avila Beach. Meet some very lovely and interesting people – see post on Facebook.
March 2: AROYO GRANDE – 15 miles south of Avila Beach to shop for groceries, phone gadgets and investigate rental prices to stay in area.
March 3: PASO ROBLES to view a rental and stay overnight

March 4: Stop at ATASCADERO on way back to SAN LUIS OBISPO and from MacD’s see a Vintage Ford pulling into gas station. Rush out to take photos and find out that going to an old folks home in SLO. See pictures in photo section (click on PHOTOS TAB at top of page)
March 5: Drove out to LAGUNA LAKE, SAN LUIS OBISPO early morning. Met a fellow VW traveler and we planned a weekend trip together. Later in nearby MacD’s met a young man fitting the restaurant with new wall art – one wall display is a lovely photos of finish line of Golden Gate Marathon 1978.
March 6: SAN LUIS OBISPO early morning chat with a group of locals over coffee in MacD’s. Wonderful advice from Hans about kayaking at Pebble Beach.
March 7: MORRO BAY day.

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WEEK 13:  MARCH  8- 14, 2010

Monday March 8th: left Avila Beach for SANTA BARBARA.

March 9-13: Explored Santa Barbara area.

March 13: SANTA BARBARA Farmer’s Market and Harbor walk.

March 14: CARPINTERIA, 10 miles south of SB, to watch surfing competition at nearby Rincon beach, California.


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WEEK 14:  MARCH  15- 21, 2010

Spent all week in CARPINTERIA,  thanks to a new friend, Laurie. I am staying in her beach cabin and helping her with some chores around the house and garden.

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WEEK 15:  MARCH  22- 28, 2010
2nd week in CARPINTERIA
March 27: First VW meeting at NOJOQUI FALLS, north of Santa Barbara.
At our first VW event we were mesmerized by the number of vintage VWs. See lots of PHOTOS on our Facebook album at

On our way back to Carpinteria, visited SOLVANG and the Mission. Photo here on this blog at

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WEEK 16:  MARCH  29 – APRIL 4, 2010
3rd week in CARPINTERIA – we love it here!!!

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WEEK 17:  APRIL 5-11, 2010



APRIL 7: meet Scott, CEO of Airhead Parts, in Ventura, CA. BUENAVENTURA beach.

APRIL 8: SANTA BARBARA for whale watch.

*** Note on van from friends in MORAGA – what a coincidence! They are staying for one night and saw my van in same street as their hotel ***


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WEEK 18:  APRIL 12-18, 2010


APRIL 16: leave for OXNARD to visit mechanic – TYRONE’s; then out to coast rte 1 through MALIBU to SANTA MONICA. Visit English Pub and Santa Monica Pier.  Never knew this is end of Route 66.

APRIL 17: SANTA MONICA to BUENA PARK to stay with Laurie’s parents, Jean and Ed.


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WEEK 19:  APRIL 19-25, 2010

BUENA PARK all week.


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WEEK 20:  APRIL 26 – MAY 2, 2010

April 26: Buena Park packing the van.



!!! ALERT !!! van pops a spark plug from cylinder number 3! We stay the night in the Mall outside Barnes and Noble bookstore.


May 1: Windsor Park, LA to Canyon RV Park, near YORBA LINDA, CA off route 91, Exit 41A – Gypsum Canyon Road.

*** !!! ***     HIGHLIGHT     *** !!! ***     HIGHLIGHT     *** !!! ***     HIGHLIGHT

MAY 1-2: Orange Empire Bus Company’s ‘Spring Fling’ at Canyon RV Park – great weekend camping and entering the SLOW DRAG RACE. We made the final after competing in 10 rounds and almost won!



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WEEK 21:  MAY 3-9, 2010

May 3-4: stayed at Canyon RV Park park two more days – very peaceful.

May 4: overnight stay in MacD’s in YORBA LINDA

May 5-6: HOLLYWOOD – trying to find that elusive sign in the hills! Up and down Santa Monica Boulevard – stay two nights near Pine and Santa Monica Blvd.

May 7: visit GRIFFITH PARK and the OBSERVATORY, view of downtown LA, eat in China town. Overnight in office parking  area near Yorba Linda.

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WEEK 22:  MAY 10-16, 2010

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WEEK 23:  MAY 17-23, 2010

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WEEK 24:  MAY 24-30, 2010

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WEEK 25:  MAY 31-JUNE 6, 2010

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WEEK 26:  JUNE 7-13, 2010

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WEEK 27:  JUNE 14-20, 2010

June 14: sick in van all day HUNTINGDON BEACH, CA.

June 15: south to LAGUNA BEACH and OCEANSIDE. Decide it’s a priority to head back to MA – need to be there by July 8th for court hearing to reclaim my home. Leave Oceanside for Bakersfield to get the van to a mechanic I met at the OCTO VW meeting this past weekend. Turn round and head north. Make it to BURBANK, Los Angeles environs. Overnight – street parking.

OCEANSIDE to BURBANK =  94 miles

June 16: BURBANK to BAKERSFIELD, CA. Stopped at CASTAIC for gas and breakfast, then PYRAMID LAKE visitor center on route 5, to see California water project exhibit.


June 17-18: VAN gets attention from JC’s Auto in Bakersfield.

June 19: I plan route and re-pack the van for a 16 day sprint across country!

June 20: left BAKERSFIELD, CA; stopped in TEHACHAPI and BARSTOW to cool down, then later at BAGDAD CAFE on Route 66 in NEWBERRY SPRINGS, CA. Carried on eastwards on I-40. Overnight: I-40 Fenner Rest Area, near GOFFS, CA. Miles completed today = 249.

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WEEK 28:  JUNE 21-27, 2010

June 21: nearly empty gas tank – nearest gas is at Needles and we’ll never get there! Then we found a gas station that no-one knew about .. at the 107 exit. The name on our gas receipt was SAHARA OASIS – an oasis for us, for sure! Check out their location and rest stop

They say: “We are located on Old Route 66 next to the Fenner Rest Area and can be seen from I-40. Take exit number 107”. Until we found them on the web we never knew we’d been back on route 66 again.

June 21 later: stay on I-40 east to WILLIAMS, AZ – a nice little town on ROUTE 66. Miles completed today = 220

June 22: visit to GRAND CANYON. Leave WILLIAMS and pass FLAGSTAFF but do not stop due to raging forest fires. Stop on ramp off I-40 at WINONA, AZ. Camp overnight by side of road. 47 miles only – but we did leave at midnight after hours on the computer re court case.

June 23: WINONA, AZ to LOS LUNAS, NM …. 310 miles


June 25: LOS LUNAS to TUCUMCARI, NM …. 198 miles

June 26: TUCUMCARI, NM to SHAMROCK, TX …. 205 miles

June 27: SHAMROCK, TX to JOPLIN, MO …. 445 miles

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WEEK 29:  JUNE 28-JULY 4, 2010

June 28: JOPLIN, MO to SPRINGFIELD …. visit VW mechanic ….. rest area stop early evening …. invite to stay near St. Loius but make it as far as CUBA, MO  …. 201 miles

June 29: CUBA, MO to KIRKWOOD (near ST.LOUIS) , MO …. 72 miles

June 30: REST DAY in KIRKWOOD, MO and visit Botanic Gardens for evening outdoor concert

July 1: KIRKWOOD, MO to COLUMBUS, OH  …. 432 miles

July 2: COLUMBUS, OH to ALLEGANY, NY …. 328 miles

July 3: ALEGANY, NY to RAVENA, NY …. 313 miles


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WEEK 30:  JULY 5 – 11, 2010

July 5: RAVENA, NY to MILLBURY, MA …. 152 miles

5 July 2010 ENDING MILEAGE = 170,603

15 Dec 2009 STARTING MILEAGE = 160,970




MAPQUEST route from Oceanside, California to Cape Cod, Massachusetts

9 Responses

  1. I am begging you to put a map on this site. Your sort of journey really requires it.


    • You are right and I am behind updating my route, but there’s only one of me to do the driving, photography, videography, editing, writing and internet work. Now we are almost at our final destination we’ll have time to update the route and add a map.
      Cheers, Carole

  2. My goodness! You and your little van have eaten some miles haven’t you! What an adventure 😀 xxxxxxxxx

  3. I have a millllion questions…but only 2 for now…how did you find vw mechanics while on the road? Is it something that you figured out before you started your trip, or did you “fly by the seat of your pants?”

    • I asked other VW owners and they recommended certain mechanics and also looking up mechanics at
      I met some really wonderful guys who worked on the van- Chris in Willits, Tyrone in Oxnard, JP in Albuquerque, and lastly JC in Bakersfield who spent hours getting the van ready for the across country drive which we did in 2 weeks. I’m going to write about each one of them in the THANKS page, once I get around to adding to my blog. I’ve still so much to add.

      • How often is roadhaus updated? Looked at a few in so. FL – in some cases, the websites are expired & dates of last remarks are dated.

  4. Tom, I noticed it varies in different areas. How about contacting the owner of the website and suggesting a few updates or mechanics in your area. I added a comment on JC in Bakersfield after his excellent work on my camper.

  5. I stopped at Oasis, too. I was dead tired so I slept in the parking lot for a little while, too.

    I was re-living my trip out west and this was a memorable stop. It was past midnight and the dude at the counter was pretty much asleep. It was my first stop in CA after being searched at the border for live foliage on i40.

    Thanks for posting this or I never would’ve found it.

  6. Wow, superb blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is great, as well as the content!

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