Posted by: edandracheltravel | December 13, 2008

Update No. 28, Menifee, California

Well, it’s true. As much as we have loved staying put in the San Diego area, we have decided to move on. We arrived near San Diego in October, 2006, never intending to set foot in the big city. Body work needed on the pickup after a tree jumped into the roadway as Ed was backing required three weeks there, a rental car and several trips into San Diego.



While we were on one of our local exploration trips Rachel spotted Bernardo Shores RV Park in Imperial Beach, about ten miles south of downtown San Diego, just at the bottom of the Silver Strand, a narrow strip of sand separating the Pacific from San Diego Bay that runs from Imperial Beach to Coronado. After looking the park over and talking about the possibility of “settling down” for a longer period–though still in the RV, we made an open-ended reservation starting on October 1 of the following year. When the repairs were finished on the truck, we hitched up and pulled north to Menifee–the same park we are in right now.


It was while we were here in November, 2006, that we learned that Ed’s father had died in Prescott Valley, Arizona, near Ed’s brother, Neil. He had been in very poor health and declined rapidly after Ed’s mom’s death in May that year (click on the “About” button above for details). All that is part of Update No. 27–which was never posted.  If you’ve been keeping up with our earlier travels, you may note that we stopped our updates with No. 26 posted on January 2, 2006. If you would like to receive Update 27 as an e-mail, just contact us at barnharted@aol.comwe will send it. If you are just joining us and would like the whole story of our journey from Washington State to Maine, to the South and across to Arizona and into Mexico for a month, then to California and back to Washington in 13 months, also e-mail us your mailing address, and we’ll burn the 26 previous updates onto a CD and mail it to you. 


For the last year and a half, our lives have centered on service to the Lord. We have attended Horizon Christian Fellowship in the Clairemont area of San Diego, pastored by Mike MacIntosh and Mickey Stonier (see link at right). We were involved in several ministries, among them greeting at both Sunday morning services, facilitating Focus on the Family’s Truth Project (also see link) and visiting patients at area hospitals. The training classes we have taken, facilitating The Truth Project and the Sunday and Wednesday services we have attended have equipped us to take the Good News on the road.


What prompted us to resume traveling fulltime was a trip to a cousin’s memorial service in Auburn, California. My cousin, Rick, and I had not been close, but when he took his own life, I felt compelled to attend the service to support my Uncle Floyd. We had all had dinner together in Auburn in 2006, the first time I had seen Rick in years—and, as it turns out, the last time. He had recently been treated for cancer, and I am convinced that the medications he was on during recovery contributed to his suicide.


Rachel and I took the convertible to Auburn with a stop-over in Old Town Sacramento to spend some time at the California State Railroad Museum and an unsuccessful attempt to see friends there. We attended the service on Saturday and visited with relatives. On Sunday we attended the Calvary Chapel near where we were staying and then visited family some more. That afternoon we left Auburn heading south on Highway 49—Gold Rush Country!


We spent three days driving the entire length of the highway from near Grass Valley in the north to Sonora in the south. We drove through all the old gold rush towns as we came to them and spent the night in two. We spent part of one day walking the restored streets of Columbia, California, now a state historic park. One day was spent driving through Yosemite National Park. Neither of us had ever been, and we were awestruck by the grandeur and beauty of the place (also the display of Hetch-Hetchy Railroad locomotive #5 and a West Side Lumber Co. caboose just outside the park entrance).


The last day of the trip was spent not shooting down I-5 to San Diego, but instead fulfilling a rail-fan’s lifelong dream of seeing a train passing over itself on the famous Tehachapi loop. That required leaving I-5 at Bakersfield and traveling up Tehachapi Pass to the loop, then across the Mojave Desert and down Cajon Pass to San Bernardino and Riverside, and then to San Diego.


The morning after we got home, the conversation went something like this:

Rachel: “Do you . . . ?”

Ed: “Yes, I do.”

Rachel: “When?”

Ed: “As soon as we finish facilitating the current Truth Project.”


Nothing more, nothing less. That day we informed the RV Park people we were vacating our site on December 1! We had decided separately at the same time that we were ready to travel again.


Earlier I mentioned the convertible. Soon after we got to San Diego we realized that a 21-foot truck is not the best vehicle to maneuver in a big city. We began thinking about a smaller car, and since we were in a Mediterranean climate, we got a 2006 Sebring convertible! It gets twenty-six miles to the gallon, it’s silver grey to match Ed’s hair, and as Rachel says, “What’s the use of having long blonde hair in San Diego if you don’t have a convertible?”


Giving up the RV site was not easy. When we got to Bernardo Shores on February 1, 2007, we were on an inside row between and across from other RVs. We were happy with the site, but the one we had reserved for that October was on the end of a row with a partial view of the lower end of San Diego Bay—an estuary and wildlife refuge actually. All the while we were in those two spots, we had coveted (I know we are warned not to covert, but . . .) a site that backed right up on the water with a view clear up to the Coronado Bridge and the City of San Diego skyline. Since those sites are practically inherited, we had no hope of getting one.


One night in June as we returned from our Wednesday night Bible study, we stopped to visit with the park manager as he was making his evening rounds, and we asked him about some changes we had observed in the site we coveted. He said that the elderly man who had lived there had gone to live with his daughter and the RV was being donated to charity. I casually asked if he had a long list of people waiting for the spot, and after thinking it over for a moment he said that he didn’t think so. At 8:00 the next morning, I was at the office, and they told me we could have the site!


Moving from one site to another required quite a lot of effort. By this time, we had a 10 X 10 foot storage shed completely full of stored items up to a 42-inch level around the outside walls with a partially completed model railroad mounted to the walls above that! We also had a 10 X 10 foot canopy with a large heavy gas fire pit and four large chairs, an outside bar, a large barbecue, and much other “stuff” one accumulates when not planning to move. A week later, we were moved, shed, canopy and all, and enjoying a wonderful view out our back window. In fact, the view was so incredible that we moved our table from the side of the RV to the back window and moved Rachel’s piano to the side. That way we could enjoy the view at every meal and, since the table is glass, we could have the view from everywhere in the RV.


Did I mention that Rachel has taught herself to play the piano in the last year? How many people say, “I wish I could play the piano.”? Well, wishing doesn’t do it; hard work and hours of practice do it. She is at Level 3 of the Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course and has a repertoire of more than 75 songs! She has carried a plastic Casio keyboard with us for the last five and a half years and started learning on that. When she advanced beyond its capabilities, we got her a Yamaha weighted electronic keyboard that plays and sounds just like a piano. In fact, as I write this, she is playing “Café’ Vienna.”


So, leaving San Diego was difficult emotionally as well as physically. We had grown to love the church family at Horizon, had enjoyed being close to Ed’s old friend, Bob Moore (formerly from the Tri Cities of Washington), had loved all the things to do in San Diego, had loved the mild weather and—in fact, there was not one thing we didn’t absolutely love about San Diego. But, we felt called to move on, to “hit the road,” to scratch our “hitch itch.”


We rented a U-Haul truck, loaded everything we wouldn’t be carrying in the RV (or the truck or the car) and on October 13, we left in the U-Haul for Florence, Montana, and the home of Rachel’s sister, Katherine and her family, where we already had some things stored. We stayed in motels along the way, the first night in Pahrump, Nevada, where we had sidetracked slightly in order to visit Uncle Bob and Aunt Edna just before they moved to Enterprise, Alabama. The second night was in Provo, Utah (temps in the 40’s, and we were not used to that!). The last night on the road was in Dillon, Montana, and by afternoon of the fourth day, we were In Florence, just south of Missoula down the beautiful Bitterroot Valley.


It was parent/teacher conference week in Florence, and Matt and Robby, our two school-aged nephews, and Chris, their older brother, were there to help us unload the truck and carry all the heavy things up a flight of stairs to the storage area. Before we went to bed that night in Rachel’s other sister’s small unoccupied house on her parents’ property nearby, the truck was ready to return. We spent five days visiting family there before flying back to San Diego, where we were met at the airport by Wes and Bonnie Oosterman, friends from Vermont whom we met in San Diego, who had a vegetarian pizza for us from Aladdin’s in Clairemont! What great friends!


The last month in San Diego was spent readying the RV for travel, disposing of shed (the model railroad had been dismantled intact and trucked to storage in Montana), canopy, barbecue, RV steps, etc., etc., etc., much of which we sold or gave away. Goodwill made out very well in those last days too! We made a list of those things we wanted to do (or do again) before we left, and between that and seeing friends for breakfast, lunch and dinner many days, we accomplished most, but not all, of the list.


So, here we are two weeks after leaving San Diego. Tomorrow we will drive to Riverside to hear Pastor Greg Laurie teach at Harvest Christian Fellowship who, along with Mike MacIntosh, our Horizon pastor, was a protégé of Chuck Smith who started the Calvary Chapels in Costa Mesa during the time of the Jesus People movement. We will finish the day by driving to La Verne to visit and have lunch with Ed’s Aunt Betty.


On Monday Ed will pull the RV to Indio, California, with Rachel following in the convertible. We’re not used to being apart, even for a short time, but that will enable us to have the car for local trips once we have arrived at our destination. We will be in Indio for three weeks before moving on into Arizona and later, Texas, where we will spend the rest of the winter. Our plan is to travel north in the spring into Oklahoma and Kansas (where Barnhart ancestors lived before migrating to North Dakota and later to Washington State).


After that we will go as far north as St. Joseph, Missouri to visit Adrea, who played in Musikkapelle Leavenworth when I directed it, and then back and forth across Missouri to see Mark Twain country and my mother’s birthplace, Billings, Missouri. That is near Branson, so we plan to spend some time there too. We will head south into Arkansas after that and then into Tennessee, North Carolina and finally into South Carolina where Walhalla celebrates Oktoberfest.


There we hope to tie up with The Little German Band and Dancers with whom I played there three years ago. After that we will go to Helen Georgia, about 80 miles northwest and attend their Oktoberfest before heading for the Atlantic Coast at North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida for the winter of 2010. After that? Of course, these are our tentative plans, but we may change them if we find a place where we want to spend more time. Also, we know that we make plans, but God directs our steps. We will be listening for that small, still voice.


Incidentally, while serving at a Thanksgiving outreach at church last month, we met and served with Greg Windle, who works for Qualcomm and who is a computer whiz. He suggested we start a “blog,” gave us the information we needed, and this is the first result, soon to be refined and improved as we learn what we are doing, how to include a few photos, and so forth. Thanks, Greg.


And so, until next time, we wish you a very meaningful Christmas at a time when the United States and the world need the Good News of Jesus Christ more than ever, not forgetting it is his birth we celebrate.


Please e-mail us at with comments or questions, and we will answer individually or on our next posting on this site. Thanks for visiting. 


Update 28 Links:

Horizon Christian Fellowship:

The Truth Project of Focus on the Family:




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