Filling Propane…

I need to fill TheVan’s propane, let me take a shower!

I laughed when my neighbor told me she made a home gym as she could be done with her workouts faster than the old days: she told me she would shower and look pretty before going to workout at the gym.

Driving TheVan is much like that for me. Several years ago I was washing my hair too frequently, so it would be oily. Thankfully, with COVID shutdowns I can go longer now, but like growing out my gray, there was an awkward stage. I am not sure how my mom’s generation washed their hair once a week, but I am more self-conscious when I drive TheVan to look clean.

I got over my bad hair day and, thankfully, as I was on my hands and knees with my cheek to the ground to read the full level on the propane tank dial…I learned there was an automatic shut off at 80% full. Apparently, it can cause leaks with overfilling and I just had the valve replaced. So, I wanted to keep an eye on the dial while the teen filling the propane tried his best to convince me he had done this before and…luckily I didn’t shower as I got dirty.

I read that I should push myself outside of my comfort zone frequently. TheVan is like a security blanket “Binky” pushing me to try new things every trip we take. When I hear Bigfoot in the bushes (rabbits on leaves sound BIG), I make a beeline for TheVan and quickly lock the doors. I swear I heard Sasquatch in Bishop, CA flopping into the water like a hungry alligator.

Pleasant Valley Campground, Bishop, CA

It is helpful not to read thriller novels. Fantasy. Fantasy is good camp reading.

Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredients (RV grocery list for 2 weeks)

(1) Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredients (2 weeks, Roadtrek Agile) grocery list using a old style YETI Roadie as a freezer for Dinner. Clean, Prep and Repackage everything in Ziplocks.

(2) Soup (Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods) with WASA Whole Grain Crispbread and Ricotta for Lunch.

(3) Oatmeal, Berries, Walnuts, Flaxseed, Half and Half for Breakfast.

(4) Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Pretzel Bits, Nuts and Protein Bars for Snacks

(5) Gatorade, Crystal Light “Pure”, Malibu Coconut Rum and Wine for Drinks

(6) Cottage Cheese, Rice, Canned Pumpkin and Dog Food for the pups.

Dinner List:

– 2 Kroger Hickory Smoked Bacon Wrapped Beef Tenderloin Filet (serve with salad)

– 2 Kroger Hickory Smoked Bacon Wrapped Pork Filet (serve with salad)

– Black Pepper

– Sea Salt

– Red Wine Vinegar

– Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for dressing and finishing dishes)

– Olive Oil (for cooking)

– 2 Tablespoons teriyaki sauce (p.179) “Sticky Teriyaki Aubergine (eggplant)”

– 3/4 oz unsalted peanuts (p.179)

– 1 fresh red or yellow chili (p.179)

– 4 scallions (p.179)

– 1 large eggplant (14 oz) (p.179)

– 1 lemon (p.177) “Peas, Beans, Chili, & Mint”

– 1 fresh red chili (p.177)

– 7 oz fresh podded or frozen peas (p.177)

– 7 oz fresh podded or frozen fava beans (p.177)

– 1/2 bunch fresh mint (1/2 oz) (p.177)

– 1 3/4 Parmeasan Cheese (p.169) “Easy Rustic Gnocchi”

– 1/2 bunch fresh thyme (1/2 oz) (p.169)

– 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (just buy Gnocchi) (p.169)

– 12 oz asparagus (p.169)

– 14 oz floury potatoes (just buy Gnocchi) (p.169)

– 2 heaping teaspoons Dijon mustard (p.165) “Asparagus, Eggs, & French Dressing”

– 1/2 bunch of fresh tarragon (1/2 oz) (p.165)

– 12 oz asparagus (p.165)

– 4 large eggs -hard boiled-(p.165)

– 1/2 small red onion (p.165)

– 7 oz baby spinach (p.163) “Speedy Spinach Curry”

– 3 1/2 oz paneer cheese (tofu) (p.163)

– 2 teaspoons rogan josh curry paste (p.163)

– 1 onion (p.163)

– 3/4 oz unsalted cashew nuts (p.163)

– 1 lime (p.147) “Sticky Mango Shrimp”

– 1 heaping Tablespoon mango chutney (p.147)

– 1 teaspoon curry powder (p.147)

– 6 cloves of garlic (p.147)

– 10 oz large raw shell-on king shrimp (p.147) (just buy frozen cooked shrimp)

– 2×5 oz tuna steaks (ideally 3/4 inch thick) (p.145) “Asian Tuna Steak Salad”

– 8 oz frozen edamame (p.145)

– 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce (p.145)

– 2 heaping teaspoons pickled ginger (p.145)

– 7 oz radishes, ideally with leaves (p.145)

– 2 teaspoons hot chili sauce (p.133) “Crispy Squid & Smashed AVO”

– 2 limes (p.133)

– 1 ripe avocado (p.133)

– 2 heaping Tablespoons whole-grain flour (p.133) (just buy frozen calamari)

– 8 oz squid (p.133) (just buy frozen calamari)

– 1 oz chorizo (p.125) “Smoky Chorizo Salmon”

– 8 black olives (p.125)

– 4 sprigs of fresh basil (p.125)

– 10 oz ripe mixed-color cherry tomatoes (p.125)

– 2×5 oz salmon fillets (p.125)

– 1 cup sprouting cress (p. 15) “Hoisin Chicken Lettuce Cups”

– 1 romaine lettuce (10 oz) (p.15)

– 2×4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts (p.15)

– 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce (p.15)

– 1 ripe mango (p.15)

– 1/4 heavy cream (p.117) “Creamy Mustard Chicken”

– 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard (p.117)

– 2×4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts (p.117)

– 1 red onion (p.117)

– 7 oz mixed mushrooms (p.117)

– 7 oz broccolini (p.101) “Chicken Noodle Stir-fry”

– 5 oz medium egg noodles (p.101)

– 2 Tablespoons black bean sauce (p.101)

– 2×4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts (p.101)

– 1 oz unsalted peanuts (p.101)

Our Different Waist/Backpacks (with packing list)

(1) Amazon: Genuine Leather Large 7 Pocket Waist Pack with Organizer, Card Slots (Black)

Genuine Leather Large 7 Pocket…

Main Compartment:


Mary Kay Ph lipbalm (2)

Liquidgel eye drops

Hand sanitizer

Pocket tissues

First Aid ziplock: pills, matches, advil, necessities set, 

band-aids, cotton pads with alcohol

Masks (2)  ziplock: contact lens case, bandana, 

yellow bandana

Rain Poncho (2)


Duct tape

Deet spray

Protein bars (2)

Side: Dog poo poo bags

Side: Rape alarm (coyote/bear) (130 db loud sound)

Behind Wallet:


Post-it notes & pen

Business cards

Excess credit cards

Leatherman juice

Paracord with whistle and compass

Front: wallet, change, phone

(2) Amazon: Osprey Daylite Daypack, Cosmic Red

Osprey Daylite Daypack , Cosmic Red

Mosquito face net

Trash ziplock

Clothing bag: socks, knit cap, knit gloves, white bandana, yellow bandana, pee pee squares

First Aid Ziplock: Walmart small first-aid kit, WoundSeal (stops bleeding), Pills

Main ziplock:

    Hand sanitizer

    Anti-itch cream

    Folding brush, mirror

    Triple Antibiotic Ointment

    Repel Deet Free Lemon Eucalyptus

    Duct tape


    Waterproof matches

    Dryer lint


    Basic Swiss Army Knife

    Water Purification Tablets and Crystal Light (2)



    Hand Sanitizer on Cotton Pads


    3 AAA batteries

    Camp mirror

    Pocket tissues


    Emergency Thermal Blanket

    Protein Bars (2)

Side pocket:

    Potty shovel


    Paracord with compass

Rape alarm (coyote/bear)

Front pocket

    Tissues, headlamp, mask, post-it notes, pen 

dog poo poo bags, mono scope

(3) PetAmi Airline Approved Backpack Dog (This isn’t our exact backpack)

I think because my Dad grew up on a farm and my brothers’ summer jobs were working on farms, the men in my family tend to be handy. My husband’s father was an engineer, his brothers are handy and engineers…my husband is Mensa like Albert Einstein and should only be allowed to wear loafers. The $0.99 cent store is your friend in assembling waist/backpacks.

Scott Hamilton once said, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”

Scott Hamilton once said, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” I am often amazed at who the REAL disabled are compared to the DIFFERENTLY ABLED…

I wasn’t aware until this morning that there is a Disability Pride Month…for the DIFFERENTLY ABLED.

South Lake Tahoe Family Reunions

My Dad’s parent’s family farm was in Winton, California off Mercedes Avenue which, in hindsight, is probably why he loved owning Mercedes sedans. A Public Accountant (PA before CPAs) later in life, school started as a one room schoolhouse where the teacher taught him English for the first time. He would tell stories of swimming in the Merced River growing up, which we slept next to during our recent Yosemite trip. I believe Mom and Dad even honeymooned in Yosemite which was about a 2 hour drive from the farm where they married in the backyard Japanese garden.

From the farm it is about a 3 hour drive to South Lake Tahoe (SLT), where my Aunt holds family reunions every 5 Years. She divides up the family into 4 family day groups that plan a meal and an activity. As our vacation home is in SLT, I was able to come up with a few activities. The last time I spoke with my Aunt she was game for a few more. This post is the blueprint to our last Family Reunion and maybe the next?

Day 1: was arrival and dinner at Forest Suites Resort. My Aunt and Uncle would always rent the big, stand alone, suite that could hold us all. Forest Suites in SLT units come with kitchens which is nice for potlucks made by the day group. They are located right behind the Heavenly Gondola which allows you to walk to the casinos, shops and restaurants at Heavenly Village. Their price point is more affordable than Lakeland Village as they are not on the beach. Lakeland Village does have a free shuttle to Heavenly Village Transit Center and also the Transit Center at the “Y”. We ate dinner and shared an update of ourselves.

Day 2: was a morning hike from Van Sickle Bi-State Park to a waterfall. Some of the Aunts and Uncles needed to turn around before the falls because of the incline. I believe dinner was a potluck with the day’s group providing the meal and the elders shared about their time spent in Japanese Internment Camps.

A good alternative is the Lam Watah hike to Nevada Beach.

Day 3: was the Tallac Historic Site with tours of the Baldwin Estate and Pope House.

Tour Selections
1.5 Hours – Pope House Only
2.5 Hours – Estates and Pope House

Good alternatives would be Vikingsholm Castle, Taylor Creek Visitor Center or a lake cruise from Ski Run Marina. The hill up and down to Vikingsholm could be a deal breaker for seniors, but there is a Nifty 50 Trolly/South Shore that will take you from the “Y” to Vikingsholm as parking can be a problem. I couldn’t find a Nifty 50 schedule for this year, which is hopefully just a COVID problem.

Day 4: was a beach day at Lakeland Village. As owners we could reserve the Lakeshore Room for the entire day instead of hourly. It was a huge success with families bringing games and puzzles. A full time resident let us use his SUP paddle boards and kayaks, so we didn’t need to rent from Ski Run Marina (walking distance) which also has boat and jet ski rentals. We did catering from Baja Fresh which closed, but now SLT now has a Chipotle that does catering.

Day 5: Travel Home

My Aunt really has this down after several sucessful family reunions…ENJOY!

2022: From Tahoe to Yosemite

Yosemite Valley sign coming from El Portal where we stayed at Indian Flat RV Campground.
1 mile dog friendly, paved, loop trail.
This exhibit was closed for repairs, but we parked across the street and took a picture,
John Muir camped at this spot.
We got an early start on Tioga Road and left the pups in TheVan. It was a steep hike on the return walking the original stagecoach road.
2 mile hike with the pups in backpacks and a shuttle to the parking lot/Visitor Center.
Tuolumne Meadows video with road construction noise. The Visitor Center was closed.
Video of the site of Ansel Adams’ first Yosemite picture.
Mirror Lake hike with the pups in backpacks. 2.5 paved miles from Yosemite Valley Visitor Center.
We left and came back on our way home to get a picture of the tree and boulder. The boulder was left by a moving glacier.
It cost 1.5 million dollars to build in the 1920s.
Tunnel View: the most popular photo stop!
My favorite photo John took of Yosemite Falls.
John’s tree photo at Olmsted Point off Tioga Road.

Driving back from Yosemite, pictures to follow…

We got an early start this morning and we are trying to beat rush hour traffic in Los Angeles on the 5 Freeway on a Friday…wish us luck!

I wasn’t able to use the digital mapping app (Relive) this trip as I tried a GPS tour app called “Just Ahead” which I highly recommend! For someone who lacks spontaneity we stopped at every pullout finding where John Muir camped; where Ansel Adams took his first Yosemite picture; the most popular photo spot of Yosemite: “Tunnel View” with all the surrounding mountains and a waterfall; etc.

See the below photos for some web screenshots and web description of “Tunnel View”. John was the photographer this trip as a long day in Yosemite with “Just Ahead” drained my battery.

Spot of Ansel Adams’ first Yosemite photo.

You almost need 4 days in Yosemite: (1) Yosemite Valley (2) Tioga Road, we turned around at the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center (3) Wawona Road, we turned around at Mariposa Grove (4) Hetch Hetchy Road, saved for our next trip. We did get a Yosemite 3 Day Pass in addition our National Park Pass.

John thought driving Tiago Road and Wawona Road were just as hairy as Going to The Sun Road at Glacier National Park (narrow with no guardrails) but the cliff fall was higher at Glacier.

For driving convenience I would recommend a stay near Yosemite Valley for easy access to each direction/road. We stayed at Indian Flat RV Campground. Based on some of the reviews we read, we were pleasantly surprised and enjoyed our visit. With a drought there were not many green RV spaces, but you could hear the Merced River right across the street and it was 10? minutes to the “Yosemite Park” photo opportunity sign. Waterfalls are usually dry by August.

Garmin inReach at Indian Flat RV Campground

Our diet was pretty simple: I bought a wide foot long sub in Tahoe and it made 4 individual lunches. We also had lunch inside Yosemite at “The Ahwahnee” hotel and another at “The Wawona” hotel. Dinner was our boxed soups from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods with a roll(s).

Packing we did pretty good as we needed cold weather gear for Tahoe and hot weather gear for Yosemite, plus a selection for Hell’s Kitchen fancy dinner wear. Replacing Roadtrek pillows with pillows stuffed with winter jackets was a key space saver.

John thought my new summer “uniforms” of black, capri, bootcut, yoga pants and short sleeve tunic tops, both purchased on Amazon, made me one of the best dressed at The Ahwahnee hotel for lunch. John usually doesn’t like my uniforms, so Score!

Sigh, we just got down the Grapevine on the 5 Freeway and it is bumper to bumper traffic at 2:30 p.m. with a paramedic truck and a police car passing us.

Pictures to follow when John makes his selection.

What is a launch pad? (Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular)

I wasn’t sure how to meal plan while staying in Tahoe on our way to Yosemite. John calls Tahoe our NorCal “launch pad”, but we have no storage except a small owner’s closest; the refrigerator and freezer needs to be empty when we leave as we are on a rental program; we have nowhere to plug in TheVan; and we need to go to a campground to fill with water or empty the tanks. It is a nice “layover”, but all packing is done in SoCal. This goes back to my post that I need to work on my spontaneity.

I think I have our diet figured out for this trip. When in Tahoe, we revert to our college days of hitting all the Happy Hours. If we walk to the restaurant we feel pretty good about the calories. Unfortunately, the 55+ metabolism shift is real, so I have been cooking soups at our SoCal home hopeful to lose the “Quarantine 15” (pounds), the new college “Freshman 15”. Some spill prof containers should do the trick and, hopefully, we can then eat at restaurants and drink without guilt.

Each of our daypacks will have 2 soup thermos containers 1 for oatmeal and 1 for soup. I also bought an 8 oz Thermos for water/Gatorade and chia seeds for a quick Omega 3 snack, plus we each have a Thermos for water. In theory, this could all be made the night before and stay warm/cold for an early start. Love the Cuisinart Stick to purée soups.
Whole Foods has packaged soups that stay fresh for about a month in the refrigerator for lunches while we are at the cabin. About $5 for 1, 12 oz serving.
For TheVan I was able to get boxed soup at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. If I shred a chicken and buy some rolls, I think we will do great. About $5 for 2, 16 oz servings.

Saturday we have tickets to Pink Floyd’s Laser Spectacular show and we were lucky enough to score Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen reservations, 2 months in advance, for dinner and a show with former members of our SoCal cooking gourmet club who moved to Carson City, Nevada (about 45 minutes down the mountain.) If you want the lay of the land watch Bonanza and Big Valley TV reruns. A fun day trip is Virginia City (about 1 hour away).

My cousin took me to a Beatles laser show in San Francisco when I was still in high school and I remember thinking it was pretty cool!
People have been posting on Facebook that Hell’s Kitchen Lake Tahoe is a tough reservation to get, they weren’t kidding! 2 months out and I had to be super flexible with the arrival time.

If you are thinking of a trip to South Lake Tahoe checkout for current happenings. is geared more toward Incline Village.

I am not sure if it is politically correct to post, but here is a screenshot from the “I love Tahoe” Facebook page describing common lake stereotypes. I think I am the “2nd Home Owner” wearing my ski goggles upside down, lol!

We first started coming to South Lake Tahoe for family reunions where we would hike, tour some of the old mansions, boat, have a beach day, go to the casinos…something for each age group and we thought it would be great for retirement! I’ll try to write more about our past sightseeing when we get home. Cheers!

SoCal to South Lake Tahoe, CA (George Thorogood)

Friday we left SoCal for South Lake Tahoe, CA. I think we passed 5 accidents as people were leaving town for Memorial Day, on Monday, before we crawled onto the 395 Highway for six more hours of driving. It took over 10 hours this trip, usually we are a little over 8 hours.

We had Sirius XM Beatles top countdown playing in TheVan (our blind dog has taken a dislike to listening to audio books, the voices must confuse her), Trader Joe’s peanut butter pretzels, organic mozzarella sticks, organic apple slices and facilities….life was good as we sat in traffic!

A personal driving highlight this trip was me telling John to slow down his driving speed and with anger he said everyone was riding his bumper…they finally passed us and one was a Sheriff that pulled over a car that passed us!

I was also feeling happy that I went to the DMV and got a 2 month extension for our registration tags as I couldn’t pass the SMOG test with enough driven miles after the Sprinter emission recall work. Otherwise, we definitely would have been pulled over for expired tags! The video below is the 395 Highway when we hit the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

One day we would like to take a week or two and stop at several spots on the 395 HWY to sightsee.

We thought about spending the night at a rest stop in Mammoth, but we realized we had George Thorogood tickets bought in 2019, before COVID, with a show that was rescheduled for Saturday. John didn’t want to be tired for his college years band with a poor night’s sleep at a rest stop.

In Tahoe, we rode the South Lake Tahoe, CA Lakeland Village shuttle bus, that had a sign to wear masks, about a mile to the concert in Stateline, NV and we walked to Bally’s casino where I was the only one wearing one.

Stateline, NV, where the Tahoe South casinos are located, and South Lake Tahoe, CA are like the old Coca-Cola commercials teaching everyone to live in perfect harmony. The political advertisements in Tahoe (from Reno, NV) are a trip with the bigger the gun the better… 2 weeks after 2 mass shootings.

George Thorogood: Popular in 1980’s rock radio with “I Drink Alone”, “Bad to the Bone” and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” hits.

It should be a fun trip. John is working remotely; the weather is cool for Summertime with the nights just dipping into freezing (TheVan isn’t winterized); the lake level is down, but the water level still looks pretty as the lake is deep and does not look drought desperate (which we are in California).

The high peak (West) is Mt. Tallac at 9,739’ feet. Lake Tahoe is 22 miles (35 km) long, 12 miles (19 km) wide and is deep enough to cover the Empire State Building (1,644 feet).
Looking towards Round Hill (East). The water should be near the whiteish horizontal boards that access the boats tied up when water levels are higher.
TheVan: I LOVE when our 19.6 feet fit into a parking spot at our “cabin” especially because if we needed two spaces we wouldn’t be allowed!

We will be here a few days before driving into Yosemite. As May is Mental Health Month: Peace Be With You.