2018/2019 Snowbird Wrap-Up

Our year south started off with rainy, foggy weather.

We have been home for four weeks and have had fun catching up with family and friends, made a trip to Edmonton to visit our two sons and family, done numerous loads of laundry, and lot’s of little chores. In the next few weeks we will start washing Maxx both inside and out, and clean out cupboards and storage bays.

But after a few days the weather cleared up and we had a nice drive down the Washington and Oregon coasts.

Without a doubt the highlight of this winter’s travel was our trip to the Cook Islands! Hubby and I had so much fun and can’t say enough good things about the islands and the people. While tourism is a big economic driver to their economy the thing that impressed us the most is how little that affected island life. The locals made us feel very welcome but they were not going to build massive resorts, restaurants, and gift shops to cater to tourists … and we loved that! The island is so laid back and relaxing, definitely worth a visit.

Happy hour views don’t get much better than this!

Coming in for a landing over Aitutaki, Cook Islands.

Over the past six months:

  • We only travelled through five states (Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Nevada), way down from the thirteen states we hit last year!
  • We covered 7,504 mi (12,077 km), which is down 2,731mi (4,395 km) from 2017/2018 when we travelled 10,235 mi (16,430 km). In fact this was the least distance we have travelled since we hit the road five years ago.
  • We spent $2,152 on fuel compared to $2,719.54 2017/2018; $2,150.60 in 2016/2017; $1,526.24 in 2015/2016; $2,350.54 in 2014/2015; and $5,041.40 in 2013/2014.
  • On average we paid $3.252 a gallon for diesel; up significantly from $2.598 in 2017/2018, $2.514 in 2016/2017, $2.096 in 2015/2016, and $3.128 in 2014/2015, but down from $3.813 in 2013/2014.
  • The most expensive diesel was $4.249 per gallon in Rio Dell, California (California is always our most expensive fuel), last year our highest price was $3.589 per gallon in Lodi, California; our cheapest diesel was $2.459 per gallon in Yuma, Arizona, which is up from last year when our cheapest diesel was $2.259 also in Yuma, and can you believe in 2016 we only paid $1.559 per gallon in Yuma, AZ!

It’s nice to be home and plant our gardens.

And once again we had a great winter and are looking forward to a great summer at the park. Hubby and I have now spent five and a half years living full time in Maxx and we still love the life, and each other 🙂

Hubby found this stump the first year we arrived, I call it my pants stump …I think it looks like a butt with two legs 🙂

Until next time …

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Goodbye Laughlin, NV – Hello Bakersfield, CA??

We needed to head back to I-40 for our trip to Bakersfield today and we had a couple of options on how to do that. We could head up towards Las Vegas and take I-15 down to I-40 but that was an additional eight-minute drive and we had done that route before. Another option was to head back through Laughlin towards Needles, which was the route we came in on and it was very rough just outside of Needles. That left crossing the river and driving through Bullhead City to Needles and onto I-40, and as you may remember from my last blog, we hate the stop and go through Bullhead City. But I found a way around that, we took the Bullhead Parkway which has a lot less traffic lights and moves quickly … it was definitely a good way to go 🙂

Once we were on I-40 the view was pretty much the same for the next three hours. We drove through the Mojave Desert and we were able to mark off one more section of I-40 that we have never driven before.

I’m not sure what these yellow flowers are in the picture below but they covered the desert around Barstow, CA.

Just to be on the safe side we decided to top up with fuel at one of our favorite stations, the Flying J in Tehachapi, CA. We like this station for the easy access and the separate RV fuel pumps and we also get a discount with our Good Sam card, which is a good thing because fuel is expensive in California, $3.59 a gallon for diesel, with our discount!

Where you wondering why there were question marks following Bakersfield in the title of today’s blog? Well our planned destination was a casino in Bakersfield but I suspected that hubby would change his mind and drive another hour to the casino in Lemoore, CA. Why did I think that? Well the last three times we have planned on spending the night in Bakersfield we have ended up in Lemoore … and I was right, today was no different 🙂 Not really sure why he doesn’t stop in Bakersfield, other than we are usually there in the early afternoon and there is not much to do in a Casino parking lot, we are not gamblers and I hate the smoke in casinos, so we usually push on. Yes we are still at a casino in Lemoore but we are spending an hour less in their parking lot … I don’t know, just go with me here!

Until next time …

Laughlin, NV Versus Bullhead City, AZ

Most of the people we know, and blogs we read, stay in Bullhead City, Arizona, which is right across the Colorado River from Laughlin, Nevada.

View of Laughlin from Bullhead City.

And another view of Laughlin

Beach along the Colorado River in Bullhead City.

Now we have nothing against Bullhead City but it is much cheaper, and we think more exciting, to stay in Laughlin, Nevada. Plus Bullhead City is spread out for miles down the highway and it takes forever to get anywhere there. Fortunately the only place we need to visit in Bullhead City is Sam’s Club and it is right across the river from where we are staying, so it takes less than ten minutes to get there.

Looking down Casino drive in Laughlin

And the flowers/trees are prettier here as well.

Tonight we went over to the casino for two of our free buffets and we were not impressed with the food 😦 Up until now we have always used our freebies for breakfast, so we thought it would be a nice treat to have dinner instead … lets just say we won’t do that again. The views and the service were excellent though!

That’s Bullhead City, Arizona on the other side of the Colorado River.

Until next time …

Homeward Bound

It’s funny how you can be all packed up and ready to head out and it still takes you an hour or so, and of course it takes so much longer to say goodbye and fond farewells to all our friends 🙂 After a not so quick stop at Spectrum (a little over an hour) to return our modem we were on the road by 11:00 a.m.

There was some discussion about which route we were going to take to Laughlin as a few of them were over what we call “the wee roads”, those are roads that go up and down and wreak havoc on an RV.

Since we were already part way through town when we stopped at Spectrum we decided to go up Highway 95 through Quartzite, Parker, Vidal, up to Needles, and on to Laughlin. Of course that route, and our long wait at Spectrum, had us arriving in Quartzite right around lunch time … ohh what to do … no brainer, Silly Al’s it was 🙂

The desert is in full color.

If you have never been to Silly Al’s you need to go. It’s not much from the outside and the inside is old but very quaint, and they have the cleanest washrooms I have ever been in … and if you know me, who travels with an RV so she doesn’t have to use public washrooms, that is very high praise!

And to top it off they had a great selection of beers from College Street Brewery and Mud Shark Brewery in Lake Havasu

And they even serve the Big Blue Van with fresh blueberries, the way it should be served!

After lunch it was an easy, scenic, drive into Laughlin where will we stay for a week and soak up, what will probably be the last, warmth and sunshine for a while.

No shortage of color in the desert ☺

And cause it’s my blog I had to leave you with this adorable picture of our granddaughter and her bunnies … these are much nicer bunnies than the ones that run around Cocopah resort and eat my plants!

She really loves her bunnies 🙂

Until next time …

The Countdown Is On!

We have had a busy week, dinner and bingo night with friends, happy hours, and yesterday a day of packing everything up. We thought it would take us a lot longer to pack up but I guess we were more organized than we thought 🙂

It’s time to head north when the veggie fields around the park are now Durham Wheat fields.

Today was a laundry day and a few more visits and then tomorrow we are back on the road. We have to return our WiFi modem to Spectrum in the morning and then we had planned to head to Quartzite for the night, mainly because it was a short drive and we both wanted a pizza at Silly Al’s. But like all our jello solid plans this one had room to wiggle and it did. I have a bad cold, the one that hubby and everyone else got in January and I was so proud of myself for not getting … oops that didn’t work … I got it! In my mind there is nothing worse than having a cold when it is hot out, I am already running a fever and then it is unbearably hot, and when you are boondocking in Quartzite there is no air-conditioning 😦 So we have decided to skip Quartzite and head to Laughlin, Nevada for a week, with full hookup and all the air-conditioning we want!

Maxx is very simple to prep for travel, I strap down our table and chairs, the two chairs in the living room each get a strap, I put a piece of foam on either side of our dishes.

I put a strap across our wine glass holder. I use to wrap them in bubble wrap but I stop doing that years ago and I have never broke a wine glass while travelling.

The chair in our bedroom gets a strap as well, and for the life of me I have no idea what I did with that strap!!! I just don’t understand how you can loose things in such a small space 😦 So that will be tonight’s chore, find the missing strap.

Until next time …

The Sweet Smell Of Spring

Spring is in the air … finally 🙂 When I walk I can smell the flowers, the sun is shining and the birds are chirping.

And the best part is we get to experience the start of spring all over again when we arrive home!

I came across this Heron early one morning.

We spent yesterday planning our route home and it is a pretty boring route, other than a few interesting overnight stops.

The mountain passes still don’t look good, so we will head north along I-5 for most of the trip, although hubby has planned a route that follows secondary roads as much as possible.

We will head to the lower mainland of British Columbia and spend some time visiting with hubby’s mom and siblings. Our fingers are crossed that we will find a good day to head over the Coquihalla and Connector and arrive home in Kelowna before Easter.

Until next time …

Yuma Airshow

Our first year in Yuma we attended the Yuma Airshow and enjoyed it so much that we have tried to attend again, but sadly it usually occurs after we have headed home for the winter. Not so this year 🙂 The show was a few weeks earlier than it usually is and even better, next years show will be at the end of February!

The show runs Friday night and Saturday during the day. Admittance is free and you can bring your own chairs, but you can also buy grandstand and chalet tickets. We take our own chairs along with water and lunch and sit along the fence to watch the show. The only thing we were unable to see this year was the patient on the ground that Search and Rescue rappelled down to pick up, other than that we could see everything else, so we think free is a good option.

To attend Friday night you have to print off a parking pass, which is free, but allows the event organizers to ensure they have enough parking spaces available. We had planned to go Friday night but it was MAJOR windy so we skipped it … maybe next year.

To attend on Saturday you just need to show up, but be prepared to wait in line to be directed to your parking spot. Once we were parked we were quickly loaded on the bus and driven to the main event area.  Oh, and remember to bring ID with you, I almost left my wallet at home and would not have been able to enter the grounds.

We wandered around the static displays for a while … I was bored, hubby had fun … hmm sounds like the opposite of when he goes to the mall with me 🙂

You had to pay $5.00 a person, or $10.00 a family to enter this plane.

And another $5.00 a person, or $10.00 a family to enter this plane as well.

So we admired them from outside ☺

At 11:00 a.m. the show began and it went non-stop until 3:30 p.m. Well, since the Marine Corp and the Yuma airport share runways, we did have one short stop to allow a medical plane to land.

The first plane we saw was the AV-8B Harrier II, and I thought it was really interesting. This plane is capable of vertical/short takeoff and landings. It has 22,000 pounds of thrust, which enables it to hover like a helicopter and then blast forward like a jet. I loved the fact that it would just hover in the sky and pose for pictures!

The Shockwave Jet Truck followed the Harrier, and it raced down the runway at 350mi/563km per hour before deploying a parachute to help it stop.

I’m not going to give you a play by play of the airshow but I will share some of our favorite events.

The F-35B Lightning II was also very cooperative and didn’t mind posing for pictures, but I guess if you are really into planes you would be more impressed by the fact that it can also do vertical/short takeoff and landings.

The Search and Rescue HH-1N Twin Huey performed a SAR demo where I mentioned above we were unable to see the patient on the ground, but we saw everything else.

Exiting the plane to rappel down to the injured airman.

Lifting the injured airman back up to the plane.

The MV-22B Osprey followed SAR and displayed how they would deploy troops or  provide cover fire when required. It was interesting to watch the Ospreys as they often fly over top of us at the RV Park, fortunately they haven’t felt the need to provide anyone cover fire while over the park 🙂

An AH-1 Viper helicopter gunship … sorry I don’t know what to tell you about this helicopter, I guess you will have to go to the show sometime 🙂

Through out the show we had been watching two planes, sitting on the runway right in front of us, do their preparation before their flight.

Crew preparing the A-10 Thunderbolt II for it’s flight.

The P-51D Mustang heading to the runway for it’s flight.

The A-10 made many flybys both upright and upside down.

And then it had to get serious and take out some bad guys …

It was quick to fire

And quick to disappear!

But once the A-10 was finished making sure we were all safe it joined up with the Mustang for a heritage flight, which I found really very moving. The P-51D Mustang began service in 1940 and some were still flying in the early 80’s and the A-10 Thunderbolt entered service in 1976 and is still flying today.

I got a little choked up when I saw the A-10 next to the P-51D, it looked like it was taking the smaller plane under it’s wing and making sure it got home okay … ya I know sappy, but I’m a mother that’s the way we think ☺

The organizers made a special effort to ensure all of us Canadian visitors were welcomed by bringing in the Yellow Thunder Harvards aerobatics team. Drew and David Watson, two brothers from Ponoka, Alberta, Canada piloted these two Harvard’s and they did some amazing formation flying.

But by far the most powerful demonstration, at least in my mind, was Tora, Tora, Tora, and I really don’t have any pictures that do it justice, in fact I quickly gave up and just watched the performance.

“Tora, Tora, Tora” is the Commemorative Air Force’s recreation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that signaled the beginning of the American involvement in World War II. It was designed as a living history lesson, and is intended as a memorial to all the soldiers on both sides who gave their lives for their countries and I have to say it was very powerful, I felt like I was in the middle of the battle!

Tora, Tora, Tora debuted at the Galveston Air Show on June 25, 1972 and is still running forty-seven years later. And here is an interesting fact, the Tora aircraft and pilots participated in the filming of the Disney movie Pearl Harbor … now I’m going to have to watch that movie 🙂

Yes, we will definitely be going back to watch the Airshow again next year.

Until next time …