Best Laid Plans

A rough itinerary for a January to March trip in the Airstream centered around visiting Saguaro & Organ Pipe national parks with stops in to see friends in Ventura en route to Arizona.

A bevy of risks piled up before the trip began. Winter storms and cold dominated early January. Duncan promised to help move his mom back into her condo in Florida as soon as the Hurricane Ian repairs completed. The move in date will be set with only two weeks notice. Friends plans to join us in Organ Pipe hinged on their custom van completing on schedule.

Planner and spreadsheet fanatic – yep, that is me in a nutshell. There trip spreadsheet filled with Plan A, B, C and D.

Even with the uncertainty, we hit the road with flexibility as our mantra. First stop, Stockton. Stockton? Yes, Stockton. As stated on the port website, “the Port of Stockton, is a unique inland Port situated on the Delta of the San Joaquin River, within the agriculturally rich community of California‚Äôs fertile San Joaquin Valley.”

With a bit of curiosity for Stockton and desire to get to the i5 to go south, first impressions exceeded expectations.

Heading south to Ventura, we met up with friends and enjoyed sunny days. While there, updates on Duncan’s mom’s Florida condo repair status left the impression completion neared.

January storms left the beach in Ventura littered with debris. Cranes worked to. repair damage to the pier. In spite of the disarray, we loved catching up with friends and seeingg their new van build.

With no official move-in date, we left Ventura for Joshua Tree. As we approached the campground and right before losing cell service, the call came in with an official move in date. Two weeks. Time to figure out how to adjust the plan.

After much discussion, heading to Palm Springs made the most sense. Given the crazy winter weather, skipping Arizona seemed like the best decision.

Duncan flew out of the cute Palm Springs airport to Florida while I stayed with the trailer. I definitely had the better end of the deal. Duncan worked worked hard every day while I read and hung out at the pool.

That’s a long Airstream

Duncan’s return called for a few days of well earned R&R. Visits to the Palm Springs Air Museum and the Modernism Week Open Air Bus Architecture tour kept us busy.


None of the plans accounted for snow in Southern California. It snowed at the beach. It snowed in Joshua Tree. Snow at the 3000′ elevation for the San Jacinto mountain.

In February 2022, we searched for shade in the 90F heat. This year, temperatures in the 50s called for raincoats, base layers and down jackets. Yes, we are whimps.

Looking for a weather window to get home between Storms, wind, snow, freezing rain and mudslides made for limited routes north. The I5 and Tehachapi Pass closed for several days due to snow. We crawled through a small window of opportunity to get over to the coast and head up the 101 to Paso Robles. Crawl is the pace we drove as anyone trying to get north had the same plan.

As always, Paso never disappoints. After a few days of wine tasting and delectable food, we searched for another weather window to get back to San Francisco. What a crazy winter in California.

In June, the plan is to head to Tahoe and up to the Canadian Rockies. Alas, these plans will most likely be thwarted by the 50 feet (FEET) of snow in Tahoe which will take quite some time to melt. Time to start a new spreadsheet.

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