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Jalama Beach, CA – First 3 Days

After 3 days on the beach, there’s much to report . . .

Good News – 9-Year-Old Gas Cards Still Worked

When we started full timing 9 years ago, we were given Mobil gas cards. Well, they still work!

Bad News – Needed new Jeep Battery

After our first night’s stay in the Lost Hills KOA, our Jeep failed to start. Bought a new one in the Lompoc, CA O’Reilly auto parts store and changed it out in the parking lot . . .

Out with the old . . .

More Bad News – Damaged the Rear Cap of our SeaView RV

Yikes! Though there was no serious structural damage, it will still be pricey to fix.

It happened while taking a detour through this posh Lompoc, CA suburb. As we drove over a speed bump (actually a “valley”), Jan hit the brakes and the front of the Jeep rose up really fast and hit the rear cap of the RV.

The ladder will be the cheapest thing to fix

Been watching a lot of fiberglass repair videos on You

Great News – Jalama Beach

After traveling down a literally long and winding road to the ocean, we arrived at Jalama Beach at about 5 pm on Monday the 25th.

Flirt meets the Pacific Ocean

Oil-lama Beach

On our 2nd day we took a short walk to the beach and back. On our way back to our RV, we noticed a really strong tar smell. Turned out that we had inadvertently stepped on one of the tar balls (or turds) that litter the beach. The shoes that we used are now stored outside until we clean them with acetone.

Oil Turds on the beach

There are a couple of oil platforms just off the coast that we figured were leaking. However, a park ranger clued us into the Coal Oil Point Seep Field (Google it) . . .

The “largest”? Oh goody.

Jalama Burger

A great end to the first three days on the beach . . .

Get the Onion Rings, don’t bother with the fries

Oak Fire – 3rd Time is the Charm?

8/7/22 Update: As of 6:59 pm the Oak Fire is 19,244 acres with 94% containment.

8/1/22 Update: As of 6:53 pm the Oak Fire is 19,244 acres with 74% containment.

7/29/22 Update: As of 7:38 am the Oak Fire is 19,208 acres with 45% containment.

7/27/22 Update: As of 3:54 pm the Oak Fire is 18,715 acres with 32% containment.

7/26/22 Update: As of 9:24 am the Oak Fire is 18,087 acres with 26% containment.

7/25/22 Update: As of 8:56 am the Oak Fire is 16,791 acres with 10% containment.

7/24/22 Update: As of 6:59 pm the Oak Fire is 15,603 acres with 0% containment.

7/23/22 Update: As of 9:10 pm the Oak Fire is 11,900 acres with 0% containment.


We’re getting ready to leave for our RV trip this Sunday. So on Friday afternoon while walking down to our RV, I saw this . . .

June 22, Friday, 3:30 pm

Yep, another wildfire near us. It’s called the Oak Fire, and it started in Midpines which is about 7 miles from us.

At about 5 pm, I took this picture from the Pioneer Market grocery store . . .

Looking north east from the Pioneer Market entrance at 5 pm

Jan and I decided to get our RV out a day early and load it up so that we could leave in a hurry.

By 8:20 pm the fire was about 1,700 acres and growing when I took this picture from inside Idle Wheels RV park . . .

We were all getting anxious as the fire had quickly grown to 1,700 acres

As we took our evening walk around Idlewheels, we met a couple who had been evacuated from Midpines and were staying in their camper at Idle Wheels

Shortly thereafter we saw another camper in the street set up for the night . . .


Campers filling up a Mariposa parking lot
As of early Saturday the fire the Oak Fire is up to 6,500 acres

Since we arrived in Mariposa, we knew wildfires were a fact of life, and this is one of the reasons we bought the RV . . . so that we can get out of Dodge in a hurry.

Also, we investigated “escape” routes . . . roads that we could use to get out of town. These are colored GREEN in the map above:

  • Highway 49 – the northern route of this road contains hairpin turns and steep drop offs making it the worst escape route. The southern route towards Oakhurst is one of the best ways. However, part of the road is now closed because of the Oak Fire.
  • Ben Hur Road – we discovered this road when we camped at Codorniz Campground on Eastman Lake. While much of this route is ok, some of it gets very bumpy.
  • Highway 140 – this road leads to Merced and is probably the best escape route. Part of this road was closed due to the Aqua Fire, but Highway 140 is now reopened.

Agua Fire is 2 miles away

7/23/22 Update: Agua Fire is now 100% contained.

7/22/22 Update: Agua Fire is now 89% contained.

7/21/22 Update: Agua Fire is now 70% contained.

The Agua fire as seen from Mt Bullion

This afternoon I heard planes flying overhead. At first I didn’t think anything of it because we’ve grown used to helicopters ferrying water to the nearby Washburn fire. But soon there were a couple of LARGE jets overhead – flying water tankers.

DC-10 Water Tanker – 9,400 gallons of water

Besides the airplanes, we could see dark smoke rising from behind the 2,800′ foothill southwest of our house. We could smell the fire too.

Needless to say, we were concerned. We speeded up packing for our upcoming RV trip which starts this Sunday.

As of 5:30 pm today the Agua fire is 343 acres and 10% contained.

Purple Grapes!

They started turning from green to purple a few days ago . . .

Our Flame Seedless Grapes

I’ve tasted several of these small purples . . . crispy and sweet . . .

Bon appetit!

Not Your Average Software Bug

When I used to write technical manuals for medical devices, I discovered a bug in a new version of software and showed it to the engineer who wrote the software.

The engineer said “That can’t happen”.

I haven’t had any more of these alternative reality encounters until today when I discovered a bug in my RV’s Victron equipment, in particular the Victron Touch 50 display.

First off, the Touch 50 is a remarkable piece of engineering. At a glance, its display shows where and how much power is flowing in your RV:

The Touch 50 Display at Work

However, after doing some work in our RV today (chassis grounding the inverter case), the Touch 50 display looked similar to this:

0W in and 0W out? What the hell?

After powering on several electrical devices in the RV, nothing changed – the display still showed 0W in and 0W out.

I reset the display and inverter several times, but to no effect. What the hell?

Time to Google . . . I found this on the Victron Support web site:

Multiplus II – AC Input Suddenly 0

And then I discovered the “fix” . . .

Is Anyone Working on . . .

The fix is to shove a 3.5 mm headphone jack in and out of the Victron’s Current Sense jack:

Aside from the sexual overtones, this work around seems just absurd, like trying to fix a flat tire by turning on the windshield wipers. Nevertheless . . .

After jacking the Current Sense hole several times, I checked the Touch 50 display:

It worked!