Mike Sprague

Mike and Mimi

Mike Sprague

During our 40 year career in the Air Force (both Military and Civil Service) we traveled around the world and had an opportunity to live several years in Europe and many states in the US. This August Mike retired for the second and last time so we are ready to embark on RV trips unconstrained by time and schedule. Most of our travels in the US so far have been quick trips, except summer of 2013 when completed our first cross-country RV trip starting in Williamsburg Va through Utah's National Parks, Grand Canyon AZ, NM, TX, Ok, etc... On August 17th we left Columbus Ohio to start our 40th anniversary trip across America to see every National Park, monument, and tourist trap we can see along the way. We started our adventure in Hampton, Va (formally retired) and plan to complete a loop from Columbus through New England, Florida, and California...along with all points in between. If all goes as planned we'll return to Columbus in April 2018. I use the term plan loosely, since we don't have too much planned out. So far our 33 foot National RV Tropical and Chevy Colorado toad has done well by us. Wish us safe travels ;-)

North America » United States » Ohio » Columbus March 26th 2018

Well we reached the end of an extraordinary 17000+ mile journey across this beautiful country of ours. Starting in August we crossed 28 states, visited 10 national parks, countless state parks/national monuments and museums...while camping along rivers, beside streams, within ancient lava flows, on mountain tops, below sea level playas, in deserts, forests, prairies, and along both oceans with sun rise above the Atlantic and set over the Pacific. We saw how the poorest of people live in the Slabs, the richest in Monterey, and the imprisoned in Alcatraz...we saw great human creations an even greater natural ones. After leaving Las Vegas as our final significant stop, we began a 7-day-2,000+ mile trip home along the path of Route 66 where we saw some cools stuff and camped within an ancient lava flow, but for the ... read more
Safari Motel Lobby
Roadside Lava Flow
Campgroound Lava Bubble

North America » United States » Arizona » Hoover Dam March 21st 2018

I'm doing this blog a little in reverse order to cover the most notable event first. Well it was bound to happen sooner or later and it did. The alternator on the RV seized up broke the belt and overheated the RV in the most isolated spot in Arizona along the NM border. Luckily, we've been keeping up with our Good Sam Roadside Assistance policy and it sure saved us here. It turns out nobody within 100 miles tows RVs, so Good Sam had to contract with a towing company about 130 miles from us to tow us back about 50 miles. Not sure what it cost, but it could not have been cheap. Anyway, the rig was dropped off at ACE Truck Service in Gallup NM a little before they closed for the day. The ... read more
Big Tow Truck
On Top of Hoover Dam
Low Water Around turbine towers

We left our campground near Yosemite a little early to make sure we'd have enough time to connect up the RV before heading out to Sequoia National National Park. Snow was forecast for Yosemite on the day we left and snow again in Sequoia starting on the 13th; which would give us two days of great weather to see Sequoia and the surrounding area. It was bright and sunny up on the mountain when we left Yosemite RV Resort, but the time we hit the switchback curves on CA-120, we could see a lot of low clouds in the distance. It was pretty looking at the low clouds nestled in the valley until we arrived in the fog, luckily it was Sunday so there were not too many people on the roads and the fog only ... read more
Mike Next to Unamed (Smaller) Tree
Low Clouds (AKA Fog)
Typical Central Valley View

Finally we reached our must see bucket list item for this trip, Yosemite National Park. The 6-hour drive up from Monterey was uneventful, but a little nerve racking during some of the journey; like driving the RV on CA-120's steep switch-back turns up the mountain to Groveland, our 3-day RV home. The RV park sits upon a former gold rush mining encampment aptly named Second Garrote after making a habit of hanging its law breaking residents. The hangman's tree sort of remains in front of the park along with a state historic marker detailing its proud history. I can sure pick'em... Anyway history aside, the park is really nice, quiet, and remote enough to receive wildlife visitors like deer and wild turkeys. The former mining town of Groveland proudly houses California's longest continuously run tavern, The ... read more
Beautiful El Capitan
Walk to Falls
Yosemite Sign

North America » United States » California » Monterey March 7th 2018

Monterey sits on one of the most beautiful stretches along the California coast and started as the capital under Spanish, Mexican, and US Military rule. It was named Monterey Bay by the Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino in 1602 and fortified by Spain in 1768, beginning the military's major role in the city's history. The US first mistakenly raised its flag over Monterey in 1842, when a US warship under Admiral Jones thought war had been declared with Mexico and took control of the Presidio for a day. Once the accident was realized, the US apologized and the ship sailed away. We officially raised the US Flag over Monterey in 1846 after U.S. Congress declared war following a Mexican skirmish with U.S. troops in Texas. To establish our permanent presence, in 1847 the US started construction of ... read more
Along 17-Mile Drive
Dunes in Fort Ord State Park
Strange Circular Waves off Joe's Point

North America » United States » California » San Simeon March 4th 2018

Today's weather was perfect for a road trip, so we packed up and headed to one of our most anticipated bucket list items...The Hearst Castle. William Randolph Hearst referred to the mountain top as La Cuesta Encantada (The Enchanted Hill) and we'd say it more than lives up to its name. To build his amazing castle, he hired California's first female licensed architect to assist with his plan; to build a few modest bungalows on the mountain top (with its 153,000 surrounding acre ranch) he camped on as a boy. But as things go with mega-millionaires...they added on a little bit along the way until he created one the most amazing museums and party palaces we've ever visited. The Casa Grande, (Big House) contains 115 rooms, 38 bedrooms, 42 bathrooms, 14 sitting rooms, 2 libraries, indoor ... read more
Casa Grande Main Entrance
Ragged Point in Big Sur
Coast Along Highway 1

Wow what a tour Alcatraz was! The National Park Service provides an amazing audio tour narrated by former guards, prisoners, and warden families. We picked up our headsets and audio players shortly after arriving in the prison and it walked us through the prison's history, structure, internal processes, famous occupants, and narration of escape attempts. It is so well done that Mi Hyon and I gasped or laughed simultaneously throughout the tour; it really brought life to the place! Cost of the ferry is $37.25, but it's an all encompassing cost and we considered it a bargain! I think winter is the best time to see Alcatraz and most of San Francisco since crowds are smaller and the weather isn't that much different...according to Mark Twain. In the summer, the website recommends reserving Alcatraz tickets as ... read more
Rush Hour Ride in
Cupids Arrow
World Famous Fisherman's Wharf

North America » United States » California » San Francisco February 27th 2018

On the drive in from Los Banos, Mi Hyon and I felt our spirits rise with each mile out of the desert and into green mountains, prairies, and flowering fruit orchards. The almond orchards provided a welcome hundred miles of flowers...you can't imagine how much you miss color...until you've seen nothing but desert brown for a little over a month. I know some folks love the desert, but we just like to visit it. We planned for a short 120 mile trip today and it turned out to be a great idea. We arrived at our ocean-side RV park around noon and settled in quickly. Originally, we planned to get some rest in the park the first day, but the weather was so nice we had to head out to the Golden Gate Bridge and China ... read more
Leaving the High Desert
One of the First Impressions of SF
RV Site

North America » United States » California » Lancaster February 24th 2018

Driving through Lancaster on Saturday we passed an ancient lake bed and were surprised to see it wasn't dry...the bright sun shone upon the lake with the surrounding mountains reflecting on the water. However, as we passed the lake an old Bugs Bunny cartoon came to mind..."It's a miragee...I knew I shoulda made that left turn in Albuquerque". We've often read how pioneers crossing the vast North American deserts would head way off course to reach a mirage of cool blue water...I assumed they were probably suffering heat stroke. However, if you happen upon a mirage, it's easy to be convinced that water is just on the horizon...we were convinced. A few minutes later we approached the gate at Edwards AFB on our way to stay a couple nights in the military campground. It was a ... read more
SR 71 Blackbird
F-101B Voodoo

For readers considering travel to Southern California, if Joshua Tree is not on your bucket list it should be. To quote the Park Service, Joshua Trees look like they're right off the pages of a Doctor Seuss book, but must be seen to be appreciated. They're beautiful while at the same time being strange in shape, texture, and structure. Some are large trees with branches reaching to the heavens and others equally tall without any branches at all. According to prevailing rumor, Mormon settlers named the plants because the large yucca cactus with their arms reached to the heavens reminded them of Joshua in prayer. I guess it's as good an explanation as any other. The trees, while the star of the park, are just one piece of its beauty. Large rock formations, piles of boulders ... read more
Snow Capped Mountain View
Having Fun
Climbing Lessons

Tot: 0.064s; Tpl: 0.013s; cc: 17; qc: 95; dbt: 0.0242s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb