Southern California Gratitude – A Thanksgiving Adventure in “Stewie” November 2016
By Jen Kogen of RV Rental By Advanced
Our Southern California branch recently had the honor of hosting visitors from Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday. Sean & Agnes, flew in from Orlando, Florida on Friday November 18th for an adventure with “Stewie”, our recently upgraded Ocean model, Advanced RV. Avid Class B enthusiasts, the couple has been admiring ARV quality motorhomes for quite some time. So, they decided to spend their November holiday week touring Southern California and the Utah Parks. Theirs was a very well-planned (but not *overly* planned) 1500 mile, off-grid exploration.
Their loop from our checkout location in Laguna Niguel thru parts of California, Utah and Arizona, included visits to: Doheny State Beach, Mohave Desert, Valley of Fire State Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Sedona and Joshua Tree National Park. They camped 100% off grid for the entire trip, keeping warm even in snowy 17 degree temps on “Stewie’s” 400 amp-hour batteries. Our guests even enjoyed a complete 4 course Thanksgiving feast without requiring hookups!
Sean and Agnes planned their their trip perfectly, arriving into nearby John Wayne Airport around mid-day. They camped the first night at the Doheny State Beach Campground, just 5 minutes from our checkout location. Here, they were able relax after a long journey, get to know “Stewie” & prepare for a fresh start the next morning. The best part of this plan could be the fact that they altogether avoided Friday afternoon Los Angeles traffic!
Here are a few photos and descriptions Sean & Agnes shared from their trip:
A full rainbow at the Kelso Dunes in Mojave. We woke up really early our night there and went for a morning hike. We hiked to the dunes and on the way back were hit with a few sprinkles of rain. Agnes told me to turn around on our way back and this was right behind us. There is no trick photography here. This rainbow appeared in all of its majesty right between us and the dunes. Nature never ceases to amaze me. We were the only people around…I felt like this rainbow was all for us.
Trail head at Kelso Dunes in Mojave. We were afraid to take the RV on the pretty badly washboarded road to Hole in the Wall campground, so just before sunset we reached the Kelso Dunes trailhead. The sign said no camping but we had stopped in the Mojave Welcome Center first and the ranger said we could head out there and camp so we did. Quiet was not even the word for it. We were the only ones around for miles.
Valley of Fire State Park outside Vegas. This seriously has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. How this park has not garnered more attention truly blows my mind. 15 minutes outside the city limits of Sin City is one of natures most remarkable spectacles. Do not miss this park…it is worth going to Nevada just for this even if it takes you hundreds of miles out of your way.
Our campground in Zion National Park. wonderful place to kick off the many magnificent drives in Zion…truly a national treasure.
The town of Springdale Utah. This is the little town outside the gates of Zion National Park. This is where we stopped in the morning after camping to do laundry. Wonderful Laundry facility where I met the elderly lady owner when transferring my clothes to the dryer. I made sure to tell her that her place of business was not only one of the cleanest laundry mats I had ever been in, but that the machines were all industrial sized and ready for huge amounts of laundry. She thanked me and said ‘I always felt that if you go into a place to clean your clothes, people should expect the place to be clean as well.’ I can’t argue with that logic. By the way, big plug for Wildcat Willies in Springdale where we ate breakfast. It is not reviewed as well as some of the other tragically ‘hip’ places in Springdale, but after waiting in a hipster coffee house for 20 minutes and the line barely moved, we walked out and went to Willies. The yelp reviews are not that great, but don’t trust them. Food is great, and really reasonably priced.
The one I was really looking forward to…winter camping. This was the campground in Bryce Canyon National Park. We got down to 17 degrees that night. Some people might say winter camping is insane, but this is the test of the Advanced RV I really wanted. Tank heaters on, Espar Diesel heater set to 73 degrees, a few extra blankets…and zero surprises. No frozen pipes, no bone chilling cold and a hot shower for each of us in the morning! Even after cooking dinner on the induction stove the night before, 2 cups of coffee each on the Kuerig in the morning Watching 3 hours of Apple TV, and cooking eggs and hash for us in the morning…we still had 37% battery life left!! And remember…this is the small battery pack, 400 Amp Hours…simply amazing.
BLM camping outside of the ‘Red Rock Zone’ in Sedona. The city of Sedona has seen fit to quadrant off an area the size of Rhode Island and ban all camping inside that area unless you are in an approved campground or you pay the city for a ‘Red Rock’ pass. Paying for that privilege seemed really dumb for one night so we asked the Welcome Center where we asked if there was any free camping. The nice gentleman told us that he does not pay for a pass either when he tent camps and showed us Forrest Road 525 outside the zone. There were about a dozen pull offs but only one was empty. We took that spot and had a wonderful night listening to the coyotes howl.
Agnes cooking Thanksgiving dinner in the RV! Four course meal prepared on an induction stove. Didn’t even stress the battery pack.
[for more information about Advanced-RV Lithium Battery System: check out Mike’s Video on YouTube]
The dry lake bed on BLM land outside of Joshua Tree National Park. We had not scheduled ahead for reservations (at all on this trip for the most part) and all the campgrounds in Joshua were full. So the ranger station told us about this land and we headed for it. There were about 20 other people camping but everyone spaced really far out to give others room. Beautiful night under the stars.
“We had so much fun with Stewie, there is no way we could have asked for a better vehicle or a better host than you. You made this entire thing so magical for us its hard to explain. We have been telling people about it at work all day. They can hardly believe that such a vehicle exists.” Sean M., from Orlando, Florida