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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Tax Free Oregon :-)

We headed out early this morning in the rain. The temperatures are still warm enough and we had expected to hit rain as we headed north so we aren’t really disappointed.

Win River Casino in Redding, California. Narrow spaces but all paved and pull through with full hook-up.

It was great to see how much the water has risen in Lake Shasta.

I took this picture of Shasta Lake on April 5, 2014 when the water levels were low.

Almost five years to the day and the water level is much higher! Although it was a much nicer day five years ago.

We drove through some of the area were the forest fire happened last year, it was pretty sad, and unfortunately felt all to familiar to what we see at home 😦

They are doing a lot of work cleaning up along the interstate.

An hour after we hit the road the sun came out and we enjoyed a very pretty drive for the rest of the day.

More pretty flowers.

Our plan was to spend a few nights dry camping in the parking lot at Valley River Centre Mall in Eugene, Oregon. We were told the mall allowed RVers to stay for two nights in the southwest corner, and they had no problems with slides out and jacks down. We would be parked right beside the Ruth Bascon Riverbank with hiking and biking trails and of course I would be very close to all the, tax free, shopping I wanted while hubby chilled at home in Maxx. Well that was the plan, but as of January 1, 2019 the mall no longer allows overnight parking 😦 Walmart in Eugene do not allow overnight stays either so we ended up at Armitage Park, which is a really nice county park with thirty-two sites and full hook-up for $30.00 a night. It also had the added benefit of being close to Camping World and Costco, which were two places we needed to visit in Eugene. So instead of two nights in Oregon we will only stay tonight … oh well I really didn’t need to go to the mall 😦

Until next time …

And The Jello Wiggles Again

The last time we stayed at the Tachi Palace Casino in Lemoore, California we said we wouldn’t do it again, it was noisy and oh so smelly in the morning. The smell is the cattle feed lots in the area and when the wind is blowing the right way it stinks! And yet we happily set sail for the Casino yesterday and had a great night. The location works well for us, and this time we parked at the back of the lot and it was really quite, no road noise at all … and the feedlots didn’t smell. Hubby thinks they must have had some rain that knocked the smell down and of course the direction of the wind or lack of wind helped. When we were there in the fall it was hot and we had all the windows open, this time the temperature dropped down nicely and we didn’t need to leave the windows open overnight, which may have helped as well. Whatever the reason, we had a great stay and will stay there again.  As an added bonus there is a gas station on site with the cheapest fuel in town 🙂

As we made our way over to I-5 we drove by onion fields

and tomato fields

and lots of almond orchards!

Now to the wiggling jello … our plan was to stay in Lodi, California tonight at a Passport America park. By the time we hit Lodi it was raining and even being a Passport America park, the RV Park is very pricey ($32.50 PA per night), especially when you are just sitting inside the RV all afternoon reading. So we headed onto Redding, California were we are staying at another Casino.

We could see the weather starting to come in but it made some pretty shadows on the grasslands.

The grass was green but I think it is so vivid in this picture because I took it through hubby’s side window, I’m guessing the tinting made the colors more vivid ☺

Win River Casino in Redding is not a free stay, they charge $26.00 a night but they offer full hook-up and a nice RV area. Plus we each received $15.00 in gambling money, which between the two of us we turned into enough money to pay for our night’s stay plus dinner!

Pretty view from the patio of the restaurant, to bad it was raining and we couldn’t sit outside.

Until next time …

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 …

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 …

Top Ten Pictures of 2018

Here are our choices for the top pictures of 2018, and believe me it was a tough choice … we finally had to close our eyes and randomly hit the delete button to get rid of the last four pictures! We would love your votes, on the poll at the end of the blog, to help us choose the best picture of 2018 🙂

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

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 2018 …

Sunrise, Cocopah RV Resort, Yuma, Arizona. Picture taken 23 January 2018.

Ferb the Great Horned Owl, Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 26 May 2018.

Water Lilies, Kasugai Gardens, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 25 July 2018.

Kettle Valley Railroad Trestles, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 27 August 2018.

SR 101, near Newport, Oregon. Picture taken 23 October 2018.

Avenue of the Giants, California. Picture taken 25 October 2018.

Mattole Road, Avenue of the Giants, California. Picture taken 26 October 2018.

Redwood Forest, Avenue of the Giants, California. Picture taken 26 October 2018.

Sunset, Caliente Springs RV Resort, Desert Hot Springs, California. Picture taken 1 November 2018.

Outdoor Skating Rink, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 26 December 2018.

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 …

We Are Home 🙂

I have to say we are very impressed with Air New Zealand. Sure the whole gate/boarding at LAX was different, but from our first interaction, while obtaining our boarding passes and checking our bags, to our on board crew, we were treated with the upmost respect and politeness.

The flowers in Aitutaki where just as beautiful as those on Rarotonga 🙂

I mentioned in a blog at the beginning of our trip that our seats where changed to middle seats when I did the on-line check-in.  When we checked in at the airport the friendly agent changed us back to a window/middle seat and upgraded us. We were upgraded to Economy Skycouch seats, which turned out to be pretty darn nice. There are three seats, all of which are wider, recline, and have footrests. The foot rests pull out and can be raised to the same level as the seats, and the armrests between the seats can be raised. We were provided with a mattress pad, pillows, and blankets and there is enough room for two people to lie across the seats and sleep … I know it sounds strange but it really was comfortable (and of course the third seat is left empty otherwise you might have to sleep with a stranger 🙂 ) When we booked our trip seven months ago we tried to get seats in Business Class (first class was way to expensive!) but they were already booked, so we were pretty happy to be upgraded to the Economy Skycouch seats and we think they were just as good as Business class.

Once we were up in the air we were provided with a great meal. Hubby and I chose chicken pasta with a bun, crackers and cheese, a salad, and a cheesecake desert … and it came with free wine! I had two glasses of Prosecco and hubby had two glasses of white wine. We followed dinner up with decaf coffee and then settled down for the night.

Breakfast was served a few hours before landing in Rarotonga and Los Angeles. We had cheese omelets, fruit, yogurt, and a mimosa.

On arrival back at LAX we went through the same routine in reverse … I still don’t get the arriving on the tarmac and being bused in, but it went much faster on our return than on our departure!

Of course our luggage was the last to come off the plane, and yes I truly mean the last piece of luggage! This was very strange because we were the second people to check into our flight and drop off our luggage in Rarotonga and the couple who were first, the ones from Calgary, Alberta who we had dinner with before we all checked in, got their luggage as soon as we arrived at LAX … there is no rhyme or reason as to how luggage comes off a plane!

By noon we had cleared customs, pick up our truck from the parkade, and headed out into the Los Angeles traffic. We thought, being a weekend, the traffic would be light but we were wrong … so very wrong! We had stop and go traffic until we cleared San Diego, California 😦

As we were passing through Oceanside, California and we were treated to views of some Naval exercises.

Shortly after we passed Oceanside, California we turned onto I-8 and we finally finished the last little bit of I-8 that we have never done before.

Bumper to bumper traffic 😦

We arrived home at 7:30 p.m. and we were both ready for bed! We brought in our luggage, dumped it in the living room and went to bed … that is a really a big deal for me not to unpack and clean up before I go to bed, but we were both exhausted and needed to sleep!

I noticed a big difference when you go away for a vacation and you live in a house and when you go on a vacation and you live in an RV in an RV Park. When you live in a house your neighbours may miss you but probably not, but when you come back to an RV park after an absence everyone misses you! We hadn’t been back for a day and people were asking how our trip was and welcoming us back. Yes the life of a full time RVer is truly gratifying and so different than living in a sticks and bricks house 🙂

Now that we are back home I won’t post everyday but I will post whenever something interesting happens in our lives.  Thank you for following along on our travels 🙂

Until next time …