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First Adventure in our Adventurer -RV Trip #52

Over the Easter weekend, the first weekend after picking up our new RV, we headed to the coast to stay at Half Moon Bay State Beach.


We stayed in our favorite campsite overlooking the beach with Mavericks in the distance. From here, you can watch the waves and the occasional surfer.


As luck would have it, it was coastal wildflower day at the park, with music, exhibits, and even native coastal plants for sale.



Local organizations have done a great job eliminating invasive plants and re-introducing native plants in the dunes within the park.


On the first day, the sun was out and I was able to bike ride about 12 miles, from one end of the park…


…to the other.


It was rainy the rest of the trip, but Lucy was a happy dog because we still managed to get in several walks each day.




Even with the rain, we had a really good weekend. In fact, the rain made it easier to read through the numerous operating manuals that Winnebago provided, and to test out all the new systems and equipment.


The additional space in the new RV made camping in the rain more enjoyable without feeling cramped. The Adventurer is a great RV, and we like the ride, the open floor plan, and the quality build. Overall, we are very happy.

Winnebago is not perfect, however, and we have been making a list of things that need to be fixed or looked at.  The folks at La Mesa RV and Winnebago have already contacted me, and have been extremely helpful with questions. In fact, I’m already scheduled to come back to fix the issues, and they worked with me so as not to interrupt any future RV trips. Sounds good to me!


We are looking forward to our next RV trip, which will be a little different for us, as we head to Casa de Fruta next month.

Al & Debbie

Hello to our Adventurer!

Last Friday I drove to La Mesa RV and picked up our new 2017 Winnebago Adventurer 35P in the rain.


No worries! La Mesa parked my Sunstar and Adventurer next to each other to make the move easy. Since it was raining, I extended the awning so I could stay dry while moving the contents.


I posted a few photos today, and will post more later after our first camping trip!


We are very happy so far with the Adventurer. Of course we found a few issues and we are keeping a running list for La Mesa when we return, However, no showstoppers yet!

Here’s a quick video of the interior:


Al and Debbie

Goodbye to the BWB (Big White Box :- )

Almost 5 years ago we purchased a 2013 Winnebago Sunstar 26HE, which we affectionately call our Big White Box (BWB).


Highway 1 between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz, CA

Over the years we have enjoyed 51 RV trips, mainly short trips to the beaches and the mountains close to the San Francisco Bay Area. However, we have also travelled along the Oregon Coast all the up to Portland, and also all the way to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.

We’ve covered most of these trips in our blog, but we rarely talk about the BWB itself. So this post is all about the BWB. For an in depth look at her, I made this video that takes you an a tour inside and out of the motorhome.

Over the years, we’ve made a few upgrades that made dry-camping easier and more enjoyable. Here’s a list of our mods:

  • MCD solar shades to the interior – The RV came with MCD night shades, which provide privacy at night, The solar shades allow you to see out the windows even on a sunny and hot day, and obscure the view into the RV.
  • LP Connections inside and outside – The outside connection enables us to use the large onboard LP tank for grilling. The indoor connection enables us to connect a catalytic heater, which uses much less LP and electricity than the furnace on cold nights.
  • 3-stage converter/charger – This enables us to keep the RV plugged in while in storage, so the batteries were well maintained and the BWB ready to go on a trip at a moments notice.
  • Trik-L-Start Charger – This extended the benefits of the 3-stage charger to the chassis battery, too.
  • AGM batteries – I increased the size of the batteries to Group 31, and used AGM batteries because they are maintenance free and charge faster,
  • TPMS – To ensure a safe drive, we added a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), which provides a warning ahead of time of unsafe (too hot, rapid pressure loss, etc.) tire conditions.
  • Dually Valve Stems – Since the TPMS sensors are mounted to the tire valve stems, I upgraded them from rubber to metal for durability and safety.
  • Scan Gauge – Provides much more information on gas mileage and engine conditions than the factory trip computer.
  • Apple TV – I connected an HDMI cable from the built-in TV so I could connect an Apple TV. Since the Apple TV can connect peer to peer, we can watch photos and videos we’ve taken during the day on the large screen. It’s also good for watching movies on a rainy day.
  • Kitchen faucet – Replaced the original kitchen faucet with a metal faucet that pulls out for ease of use.
  • Tap lights – These illuminate the inside of cabinets and closets and storage compartments.

While the BWB worked well for us, there were things that Winnebago could improve on.

  • First, the ride of the Sunstar on anything but smooth roads could be noisy and bumpy. While improvements they have made to the suspension made traveling in windy conditions good, a smoother ride would greatly improve comfort for longer drives.
  • The Lippert hydraulic leveling jacks always worked for us, but they could be a bit finicky at times. Several times when leaving a site, the jacks down light and alarm would suddenly come on and I would have to stop and “retract” them again, even though they were already retracted. Spraying them with silicone stray before retracting them helped some, and I read that Lippert has recommended an additive when you have this condition.
  • The standard electrical system that came with the coach was, let’s just say, basic. The items I mentioned adding in the list above helped a great deal, but it should have come from the factory with at least a 3-stage charger/converter.
  • The front cap is not insulated, which made the A/C work extra hard on hot days, with a noticeable temperature different between the front and back of the RV.

However, for it’s few faults, we really enjoyed the BWB. When you have a motorhome, the drive is part of the fun. We loved sitting high above the traffic, with a great view of the road and sometimes breathtaking view of the scenery. We loved having a motorhome fully equipped and ready to go at a moments notice. We loved the overall quality of build that Winnebago provided, even for it’s entry-level class A motorhome. We loved taking our home with us on 51 memory making camping trips. We will miss the BWB.


On the other hand, we are also really looking forward to our new 2017 Winnebago Adventurer 35P. The Adventurer line is the best gas-powered Class A motorhome that Winnebago makes, as we are looking forward to some of the new amenities and additional room. I also like the name as we look forward to many more RV trips in our future.

Adventure is out there!

Al & Debbie



Monterey Coast – RV Trip #51

We visited the Monterey bay for the 5th time in the Big White Box (BWB), enjoying the Carmel Coast and also Moss Landing, where we camped at the Mosss Landing KOA. Each trip, we try to take in something different, and the highlights of our previous trips are listed below. They bring back good memories.

Elkhorn Slough Safari

Monterey Bay Aquarium, 17-Mile Drive, Phil’s Fish Market

Kayaking Elkhorn Slough, Vivolo’s Chowder House, Fisherman’s Wharf

Pacific Grove, Carmel Mission

I usually get up early to take Lucy, our terrier-mix, for a walk. Moss Landing is a great place for this, and one of the reasons we enjoy staying there. Lucy and I walk past the harbor and marina, where the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute is located,



and down a dirt pathway with the ocean on your right (note the moon setting over the ocean in the photo below) and the slough on your left.


As I walk along the pathway, I listen to the ocean surf just on the other side of the dunes, while inside the slough I hear birds calling to each other, and watch egrets patiently waiting for their breakfast to swim by. I can also usually find an otter or two swimming by (that’s an otter in the photo below out for an early morning swim).


And then there are the many bunnies that seem to love teasing Lucy as they hop to the other side of the fence or into the bushes before she can get too close. They seem to both enjoy the game.


On the way back this morning, the sun started to peek over the roof of the Moss Landing Marine Labs (MLML), which dominates the east side of the slough. MLML is a consortium of seven CSU campuses dedicated to excellence in the Marine Sciences.



While most people are just waking up, Lucy and I have enjoyed a great start to our day. To top things off, there is usually a hot cup off coffee waiting for me at the BWB, and Lucy is ready for her breakfast. 🙂



We decided to drive in to Carmel today, as the ProAm tournament was this weekend, and the Pacific Grove area was extra crowded. We intended to hike at Point Lobos, but as entered we found out that no dogs are allowed anywhere in the park! The helpful ranger suggest the dog-friendly Monastery Beach, about a mile away. It’s a great beach for walking, but the coast here is treacherous and we were advised to stay our of the water!



Off in the distance we saw another beach, but did not see a way to get there. A quick look at Apple Maps and we were on our way to Ribera Beach, a real find! If you are tired of the crowds along Pacific Grove, this is a great alternative!

You enter at the end of residential street and there are only a few parking places. Walking through these trees and down the steps (a very middle-earth feeling to the entrance 🙂 reveals breath-taking views.


The pathway meanders along the coast, but also along the top of the interesting rock formations which adds a different dimension to the views.




We really enjoyed Ribera Beach and highly recommend a walk along the beach here. The walk worked up our appetite, so we drive into Carmel for lunch at the Forge in the Forrest. We liked the food there and loved the atmosphere.


We also visited the Whole Enchilada in Moss Landing during the trip. They specialize in Mexican seafood, and we both really enjoyed our meals. They also draw a crowd to their open air market and cafe, where you can get all kinds of produce, including locally grown artichokes. It’s a fun place to stop and browse.


All too soon, it was time to pack up and travel back home. We enjoyed our stay. The trip home was more of an adventure than usual, as Highway 17 was down to one lane due to a mud-slide caused by recent rainstorms dumping over 8 inches on the Santa Cruz mountains.

We decided to stay on Highway 1 and head east at Half Moon Bay. Interestingly, Highway 1 was also narrowed to one lane above Santa Cruz due to a mud-slide taking out one of the southbound lanes. We were stopped on the highway for about 20 minutes as we waited for the road crews to do their work. The great thing about having an RV is that we simply used that as an opportunity to make lunch and have a bathroom break. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! 🙂

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