2019 – 2020 Snowbird Year Wrap Up

Despite all our best efforts we did hit snow this year, fortunately Maxx wasn’t with us … remember he was chillin at the side of the road in Nevada while we had to drive into Utah for parts to fix our wheel.

Over the past six months:

  • We spent time in seven states (Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho).

  • We covered 6,196 mi (9,972 km), once again down from previous years. Our first winter away still showed the most distance when we travelled 14,093 mi (22,663 km) from Kelowna, B.C. to Key West, Florida.

  • We spent $1,681 on fuel compared to $2,152 in 2018/2019, $2,719 2017/2018; $2,150 in 2016/2017; $1,526 in 2015/2016; $2,350 in 2014/2015; and $5,041 in 2013/2014.

  • On average we paid $3.047 a gallon for diesel; down from $3.252 a gallon in 2018/2019 but up from $2.598 in 2017/2018, $2.514 in 2016/2017, $2.096 in 2015/2016, and but still down from $3.128 in 2014/2015, and $3.813 in 2013/2014.

  • The most expensive diesel was $3.839 in Susanville, California. California was home to our most expensive fuel last year when we paid $4.249 per gallon in Rio Dell; our cheapest diesel was $2.169 in at Sams Club in Bullhead City, Arizona, which is down from last year when our cheapest diesel was $2.459 in Yuma, and can you believe in 2016 we only paid $1.559 per gallon in Yuma, AZ!

It is nice to be able to walk around the campground.

We are finally having a sunny, almost warm, day … I just want spring to arrive but old man winter doesn’t seem to want to let go 😄

There are a few signs that spring may be approaching.

The COVID-19 virus sure brought a crazy end to a wonderful winter. We hope all of you and your families stay healthy, do your part to self isolate, and that this pandemic is over soon!

Some of the Oregon Grape are about to flower.

Until next time …

Top Ten Pictures of 2019

Here are our choices for the top pictures of 2019, and once again it was a tough choice. We started off with twenty-five real contenders and in the end we sadly had to delete some great pictures of Joshua Tree National Park 😦

We would love your votes, on the poll at the end of the blog, to help us choose the best picture of 2019.

And just in case you haven’t voted for previous years and would like to, here are the links.

Top Ten Pictures of 2018

Top Ten Pictures of 2017

Top Ten Pictures of 2016

Top Ten Pictures Of 2015

Top Ten Pictures Of 2014

Top Ten Pictures Of 2013

Now off to 2019 …

Beach View from our villa in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Picture taken 13 January 2019.

Sunset from the deck of our villa in Aitutaki, Cook Islands. Picture taken 23 January 2019

Bike ride from Kelowna, British Columbia to Vernon, British Columbia along the Okanagan Rail Trail. Picture taken 9 August 2019.

Sunrise at Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 7 September 2019.

Flowers along the dyke in Richmond, British Columbia.   Picture taken 16 September 2019.

My sister’s sunflowers, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 21 September 2019

Vaseux Lake Provincial Park, near Oliver, British Columbia. Picture taken 21 October 2019.

Barker Dam Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, California. Picture taken 4 November 2019

Hibiscus in my planter at Cocopah RV and Golf Resort … the first and last time that plant bloomed all winter! Picture taken 17 November 2019

The sky is on fire over Cocopah RV and Golf Resort, Yuma, Arizona. Picture taken 23 November 2019.

This poll uses Java Script. If you do not see a poll below that means your browser does not support Java Script, either switch to another browser or leave us a comment and we will add your vote manually. We appreciate your votes.

Until next time

And We Are Off 🙂

We left Maxx in the care of our trusty neighbours and the four of us, and all of our luggage, loaded into the rental car shortly before 8:30. It was fun to have the neighbours along our road come out and wave goodbye to us before we headed west along I-8.

Even the Blue Angels put on a little show for us around Seely, California, which is their home base.

We soon left the sand behind and headed up into the hills where the topography changes from sand dunes to mountains of boulders.

It was fun for our friends to pass through a border patrol check station.

Less than three hours later we arrived in San Diego and had enough time to drop off our friend and all our luggage before heading to the airport to return the rental car.

Have you figured out where we are going?

We are off on a two week Panama Canal cruise, a trip that has been on our bucket list for a long time. Our best friends invited us along last April and we didn’t hesitate to join them and another couple that we have know for years. After we booked our cruise we were talking about our trip during one of our Wednesday coffee groups and a girl I worked with and her husband decided they wanted to come along, they are the couple who have stayed with us for the past four nights. Also unbeknownst to us two other couples that we know booked the trip, so right off the bat we will know twelve people on the ship!

As I mentioned yesterday we won’t have Wi-Fi so you will have to wait two weeks to hear about our adventure but we have no doubt it will be a fun time :smile

Until next time …

Hello Flip Flops, I Missed You

I started 2020 by ditching my winter boots and putting on my flip flops and just like that winter was gone 🙂

We had a great time at home with our daughter and her family and I already miss being with them but they are heading to Mexico tomorrow for ten days so there really was no point in staying longer. We also had great visits with my sister and friends which all made the two weeks fly by!

A generous pile of snow greeted us Tuesday morning as we headed to the airport but it was to dark to get any pictures. Fortunately our flight got out with only a short delay but I did hear that many others were not so lucky.

We had another delay on the runway as our plane was de-iced.

That delay did have us hoofing it from one side of the Vancouver Airport to the other side to catch our flight to Palm Springs but we made it … but not with enough time to have the breakfast we planned to eat in Vancouver 😦

By late afternoon we were at hubby’s cousin’s place enjoying a New Years Eve drink and a yummy steak dinner. Most years we spend New Years Eve driving home from the airport in Phoenix so it was nice to get into Palm Springs early and celebrate with a great group of people instead of siting in the truck driving back to Yuma.

Certainly a different end to the day than the start of the day!

New Year’s Day we drove back to Yuma and found a new route, there was hardly any traffic and it shaved almost a half hour off our drive.

We are not fans of driving through El Centro, CA to connect up with I-8 since it is a long stop and go drive through town, so a few years ago we found a turnoff before El Centro that took us into Holtville and then onto I-8. That route has worked well for us but this time we decided to drive down the east side of the Salton Sea for some different scenery.

Our plan was to join up with our regular route near Brawley, CA but as we drove through Calipatria, CA hubby noticed a sign that said Holtville, CA so we made a left and a new … and better … route was born.

Once we arrived back at our winter home and caught up on the news with our neighbours we unpacked our suitcases and head out for groceries. I was surprised that the grocery stores were opened, at home they are all closed on New Years Day, but it was nice to be able to pick up a few things to keep us going for a few days.

And we are back to desert sunsets 🙂

I will leave you with a quote I read and really liked …

With each New Year we get a fresh, clean page to start over. Here’s hoping that life writes a beautiful new chapter for all of you this year.

From our house to yours Happy New Year and safe travels in 2020!

Until next time …

On Our Way Home

We woke up in Yuma yesterday morning to a very blustery wind! It was a hard to convince myself to finish my 6K (3.75mi) morning walk but I did it 🙂

After breakfast we finished our packing and then pushed the door open … it was a hard push against the wind … and headed outside to take down our outdoor Christmas decorations 😦 It was sad to take them down but the wind this morning convinced us they would be safer in the shed while we were away for Christmas.

Hubby was shutting off the power to the RV while we are away so I moved everything from the RV fridge into the fridge in the shed.

Once we had battened down the hatches we had lunch and then loaded up the truck and head for Palm Desert, CA. The first part of our ride along I-8 from Yuma to Holtville, where we turned off on to Hwy 115, was very windy but once we turned off the wind died down and it was a nice drive.

We spent the night with hubby’s cousin and his wife and enjoyed a great dinner, a few glasses of wine, and three rousing games of marbles … unfortunately the guys won but we did give them a run for their money!

Now we are sitting at our gate in the Palm Springs airport waiting for our flight home and I can’t wait to see everyone!

Hubby’s cousin dropped off us at the Westjet entrance at the terminal. Once we dropped off our bag we quickly cleared security (we were pre-checked so it was easy peasy) and then head toward the gates. We were surprised when we ended up back outside!

The Palm Springs Airport is very pretty and so easy to get around, although I’m sure it did help that we arrived just after 6:00 a.m. and there was hardly anyone here ☺

 

We headed up this escalator to our gate. This picture was taken at the top of the escalator looking back toward the main building.

The gates are ahead.

We were treated to a beautiful sunrise once we arrived at our gate. The gates are in a covered area.

Hopefully the next pictures I share have some snow in them, sorry sis 😀

Until next time …

A New Border “Fence”

I have always been fascinated by the border wall/fence and the border patrol check stations … and watching the TV show Border Patrol. So when we stopped at the outlet mall in Calexico yesterday I had to check out the new border fence. And I say fence on purpose because of things I have read on the Internet, maybe true, maybe not, but here is what I found out.

This section of border fence use to look like this.

Border fence in the parking lot of the Calexico Outlet Mall.

I took the above picture in 2015 but it still looked like the same last year when we visited the outlet mall.

Apparently US Customs and Border Protection had always planned on replacing an eleven mile section of border fence in this area last year, it had been in the budget planning for years. When they began to build the fence last year President Trump made an announcement that this was the beginning of the new border wall he had promised during his election campaign and he made a visit to Calexico to officially open the new wall once it was built.

The powers that be in both Calexico and US Customs and Border Protection insist that this is not a wall, it is just a new border fence that they had plan to install all along.

I’m not sure what the real story is but the new “fence” is much more imposing and taller than the old fence!

I only took one quick picture because as you can see Border Patrol was sitting right there and I’m not sure if I’m allowed to take a picture … fortunately I’m still here so I guess it was okay 🙂

Until next time …

Happy US Thanksgiving 2019

We wish all our US family and friends Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

One of the fun things about our life is the chance to celebrate thanksgiving twice! Once with our family at home when Canadians celebrate thanksgiving on the second Monday of October and again when the US celebrates thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November.

This year we celebrated with hubby’s cousin and family in Palm Desert. We were treated to a heavy rain storm and a power outage … fortunately their daughter and son-in-law live close by and they had power so they took the turkey to their house to cook. The power was only out for about an hour so dinner was saved and we indulged in a big dinner, a few drinks, and lots of great company.

Until next time …

Heart Wrenching News and Goodbye Borrego Springs, CA

So let’s start with Borrego Springs …

If you have ever had the opportunity to boondock at Clark Dry Lake along Rockhouse Road in Borrego Springs I’m sure you will be as sad to hear this news as we were 😯 This 160 acre parcel is now closed to boondockers as the property has been sold and the new owners are no longer interested in sharing it with us boondockers.

Ruffin It With Rufus has more information on the closure but what also scared me was a reply to a comment on his last blog that indicated Alabama Hills may also be closed to boondockers soon. I guess it is a good thing we had a good visit there this year!

Hubby also went onto Campendium, which we routinely use to check out places to stay, and they no longer list Rockhouse Road as a boondocking option 😦

This is a hibiscus flower. I love it because it is so different from the usual flower.

And the heart wrenching news …

I follow a blog called Our Awesome Adventures about the travels of George and Suzie. The thing about bloggers is we have many great friends who we know so well only through blogging. You develop a friendship through your mutual blogs and comments back and forth and it is not unusual to feel very close to bloggers you have never even met in person, although we have been fortunate to meet both George and Suzie a few times at Bloggerfest.

Last night’s sunset.

At the beginning of October George had a sore back that he thought was because he had used the gym and over exerted himself. In just over a month they learned he had cancer, put their snowbird plans on hold, rented an apartment for the winter, George ended up in the hospital, and yesterday Suzie posted that they are now looking at hospice 😥

Our hearts go out to George, but also to Suzie and their family who all of the sudden are facing a heartbreaking situation. George has always been so positive, even while going through all of this, and his blogs always put a smile on my face.

As I do my walkabout this morning George you will be in my thoughts and as Suzie says, “take one day at a time”.

Until next time …

We Have Arrived At Our Winter Home 🙂

Some of you may have noticed I am a few days behind on my blogs; I did that on purpose … why? Well I didn’t want to leave Maxx alone at Caliente Springs RV Resort for two nights and have that information current on cyberspace. Most people will think I’m being paranoid but I’m okay with that, I would rather be safe than sorry.

Road markings on I-10 near Palm Desert … what lane should we be in???

So in current time we are now in Yuma, AZ at our site in Cocopah RV Resort and have been here for four days. We are now all settled in and spending time catching up with friends.

The dates are almost ready … if you like dates … and I definitely don’t!

I will probably go back to posting once a week since most of our time here, while fun for us, is pretty boring to write about in a blog 🙂

Until next time …

Palm Springs Aerial Tram

Another thing on our Palm Springs Bucket List was the Aerial Tram and we finally made that trip 🙂

We were able to get a parking spot very close to the entrance to the tram.

Once we decided we were going to go we had to decide what time of day we wanted to go. It really didn’t take much discussion before we knew we wanted to go just before sunset. So we purchased ride and dine tickets for 4:00 p.m., which we knew would give us daylight going up and city lights coming down. The tickets cost $76.00 for the two of us.

Waiting for the tram.

We didn’t think the price was bad considering it included dinner but we were very disappointed that we had to pay an additional $8.00 for parking … and that wasn’t mentioned anywhere that I saw on the website!

A tram on its way up the hill.

I wasn’t holding much hope for the quality of the pictures I took from the tram on the way up because the windows were not that clean … but I was surprised when I looked at them, they weren’t that bad 🙂

On our way up the hill.

Looking back down at the station.

The trams are circular and have lots of window room. There is no need to be the first person on the tram because the floor revolves throughout the trip giving everyone a 360 degree view.

There were lot’s of patches of colour.

The picture below shows a tram coming down as we went up. At the upper station there is a 60.83 ton steel and concrete counterweight that keeps constant tension on the haul rope. A motor at the bottom station always pulls a car down which in turn pulls the other car up … a pretty neat system.

After a ten minute, 2.5 mile trip we arrived at the top and headed out onto the many balconies to get some pictures. Sadly the haze that we had seen while at Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park was still around so I wasn’t able to get any clear pictures of Palm Springs.

The park is 14,000 acres and contains 54 miles of hiking trails but we chose not to do any hiking because it would be getting dark and we mainly came for the views and sunset.

More big rocks!

We enjoyed the views and then headed inside for a drink at the bar … $10.00 each but we also expected that as higher prices are normal in places like this … and I actually thought drink prices would be much higher.

The sun sets behind the mountains so you really don’t get a spectacular sunset. I took these two pictures before we headed inside and thought that would be it for the sunset.

While we had our drink I kept an eye out the window and noticed the sky was starting to change colour a little more so I left hubby with his drink and headed back out for more pictures.

After our drink we had dinner, which wasn’t that bad for the price we paid and was very filling.

I meant to bring my tripod to get some city light pictures and of course I forgot it in the truck, but I was able to get a few.

We watched a few movies about the park, they were really lousy quality and need to be redone and updated, and then boarded our tram for the trip down the hill.

We are glad we finally did the tram ride but I don’t think we will do it again, once was enough, but it did end on an upbeat note. On the trip down we were with a group of dentists in town for a conference. The tram operator played Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, which had everyone singing and watching the city lights. 🙂

Until next time …