Banjo’s Errand Days

Since we left the Alabama Hills region of California, we’ve been less exploring and more on a mission: to get the damned door finally fixed on the Airstream at a dealership/service center in Temecula, California. The irony is we’ve been in two really stellar campsites during this mission and have hardly been able to spend time in them.

Owl Canyon (a different one)

This Owl Canyon is outside Barstow, CA, where we stayed one night, and Banjo got to explore the canyon on two walks. We didn’t see or hear evidence of owls, like we did in the Owl Canyon outside of Las Vegas, but the peace there was palpable.

Almost no one was in the campground with us (I think it was closed for the season, as in: the water had been turned off and the bathrooms were locked). The sunlight on the hills was gorgeous. And a covered picnic table?!? No way! We ate out there once.

There were no envelopes in the Iron Ranger to pay with and no live rangers to ask, so the price: nada.

Travel Days

This is Banjo’s way of enjoying the sunshine—in her bed on the floor of the truck’s backseat. She’s such a good traveler.

Routinely we’ll quip, “Did we bring the dog?” as a joke about how quiet she is back there. She’s never going to let us forget her, though, believe me. As soon as we start any of the multiple preparations to leave, she’s ready.


Our campsite at Temecula is stellar with different qualities, and again, we’ve hardly been at it. I won’t even bother with how interesting the old town section of Temecula seems (haven’t been, won’t go this trip).

Temecula is considered to be in the Los Angeles area even though it’s closer to San Diego, but the bottom line is it’s a populated place. There are winery “destinations” all along the road to our campground, with decorative trees lining the vineyards, Christmas lights up already, and signs advertising wedding locations.

Needless to say, we had to pick an expensive campground just to get near the Airstream dealership. Lake Skinner Recreation Area is a developed set of preserves and parks along a reservoir, and people are happy, apparently, to pay $50/night to stay here. Holy moly.

We pulled in, dumped tanks (a full hook-up site!), and stayed hitched so we could pull out at the crack of dawn the next day to make our appointment.

Banjo, at least, got to listen to a big pack of coyotes that night, and the next morning she smelled for them as I admired the hot air balloons lifting off for rides from town.

What a boring day she has when we’re a bit anxious as the trailer’s getting worked on. We left it at the dealership (such sad parting!) and ran as many errands as we could manage without buying anything that needed to stay cold. She slept in the backseat.

Amazingly, we also found an open brewery in town that served lunch and allowed dogs. Banjo is a Very Good Dog at breweries. We took our time, lingering over several lunch items and beer tastings, waiting for the Airstream call.

As the day wore on and we hadn’t heard from the service guy, we found a park and lounged. Fully Banjo approved. She kept watch over all the park doings while we read and snoozed.

Now we’ve retrieved the Airstream; time will tell if the door hinges stay put. The service center was so swamped, they didn’t even try to make time for our other requests (a new one is that the stripping has come off from around the shower door, so you have to lift it up to open and close it, which is a bigger pain than it sounds because I have my tiny house and other projects stored in there). If the front door is fixed though, we will be satisfied.

Today Tracy’s out doing the errands we couldn’t do yesterday because we were waiting, and I’ve been cleaning everything I can find, since we have water hookups here as well as sewer and electricity.

We leave tomorrow. Goodbye, nature reserve we never visited! Goodbye Lake Skinner we never kayaked in! Goodbye all the interesting-smelling trails Banjo didn’t get to walk down. $50/night is just highway robbery, as my dad used to call it, and we’re taking off with plans to explore now.

Banjo doesn’t mind. All we do is open her truck door, take her off the leash, and say “Hop up!” and she’s in her truck bed, ready to sleep through the next travel day.

Ukulele Segment

I learned this and taped it while we were at Alabama Hills. If you want to listen, I suggest pushing your way through the very first line; I do get better.

Oh Linda Ronstadt, I’d forgotten how much I love you.