And We Are Into Warm Weather!

It was a little chilly when we left Alamo, 7C/45F, but I knew we were heading into mid 20’sC/high 70’sF so I ditched the long pants and sweater and went with capris and a short sleeve T-shirt which, along with my flip flops, are my happy clothes 😄

not a cloud in the sky

This year was the best trip south, weather wise, that we have had in our ten years of being snowbirds. I only had to take my flip flops off for two days when it rained while we were in Rufus, OR.

We weren’t on the road long before we began to see Joshua Trees and creosote bushes, yup we are back south!

Traffic wasn’t too heavy when we passed through Vegas at 10:00 a.m. but we were happy to have the I-15 and I-515 behind us. We work well together with me watching Holly (our GPS) and hubby watching the road. I’m able to tell him which lanes he needs to be in and what exits we are taking with enough time for him to move Maxx around in traffic, but it’s still nice when we get out of large towns and back on quieter roads 🙂

Through Las Vegas and onto Highway 95 towards Bullhead City.

When we reached Bullhead City at noon the temperature was a nice warm 78F/24C … yes it is nice to be back into the sun and warm weather 😀 

Normally we stay at the Riverside Casino RV Resort in Laughlin when we are in this area but unless you are staying a week, when their rate is $119.00, they are way to expensive for what you get, $30.00 a night plus tax. Since we are only here for a day or two we are staying at Silver View RV Park in Bullhead City for $25.00 a night including tax, with our Passport America card, and it is a much nicer park and we have an incredible view out our windows!

Until next time …

Darn Weather

We like to keep our travel days to no more than four hours, and usually three, but sometimes weather forces our hand and that is what happened today. Our plan was to drive from Twin Falls to Ely, NV but the weather in Ely was below freezing and windy so we made the decision to do an almost seven hour day and push onto Almo, NV. Alamo through to Bullhead City is expecting wind tomorrow afternoon but we should be tucked in for the day before that happens … anyway that is the plan … and we all know what happens to plans!

There was very little traffic on the road when we pulled out of Twin Falls but the sky had some nasty albeit pretty clouds.

But there was hope on the horizon with some sun sneaking through 😄

However most of our drive went from occasional sun peaking through the clouds to dark skies and some spitting rain and then back to sun. It was a pretty boring drive today, just long and straight roads.

We even had snow on the side of the highway around Ely, NV.

But it wasn’t long before we dropped down in elevation, the snow disappeared and the sun came out in full for the rest of our drive to Alamo, NV.

This will be our last night of cold weather and waking up to cold morning temps, we are now on our way to mid 20’sC/high 70’sF … yippee!!

The most interesting thing to happen during our seven hour drive was this spooky cloud over Area 51 … hubby thinks there is a space ship hiding in the cloud 😁

Hubby’s theory is probably way more interesting than what I found on the internet but in the interest of full disclosure this cloud appears to be a Lenticular Cloud which form when strong, moist winds blow over rough terrain, such as mountains or valleys … but it was spooky that it was over Area 51!

Until next time …

2021 – 2022 Snowbird Year Wrap Up

For the first time in our nine, well eight because of COVID, years going south we had clear blue skies all the way home, with the exception of a downpour while in line at the border crossing but it stopped before we started driving again.  Usually we hit rain as we get further north and sometimes snow, so this was a very nice change.

Over the past five months:

We spent time in five states; Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Nevada.

We covered 6,530 mi (10,509 km), up slightly from 2019/2020.  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.

This is where I always talk about fuel costs and I expected it to be our most expensive year yet given the crazy prices we encountered on our way home!  Well we definitely spent more on fuel coming home than we did heading south, but all totalled it was not as expensive as I expected 🙂  On the way south we averaged $4.013 USD per gallon ($1.32 CND per litre) and on the way north we averaged $5.022 USD per gallon ($1.65 CND per litre), more than a dollar more a gallon!  This winter we spent $2,549 on fuel compared to $1,681 in 2019/2020 and yet we only travelled an extra 537 miles this year.

On average we paid $4.436 USD per gallon ($1.36 CND per litre) for diesel, which is a $1.18 USD per gallon ($.39 CND per litre) higher than our previous high in 2018/2019.

Our most expensive diesel was $5.299 USD per gallon ($1.74 CND per litre) in Omak, WA. Every other year our most expensive fuel has been in California, so I guess I should welcome Washington to the group 😀  Our cheapest diesel was $3.199 USD per gallon ($1.05 CND per litre) and once again it was at Sam’s Club in Bullhead City, AZ on our way south … and surprisingly that is the same price we paid at the same location on our way north in 2019/2020.  But here is a shocker … I checked the Gas Buddy app and Sam’s Club in Bullhead City, AZ is now $4.779 USD per gallon ($1.57 CND per litre), a huge jump, but sadly still a good price right now 😦

For a little local perspective for our US friends, currently our cheapest diesel in Kelowna is $5.657 USD per gallon ($1.859 CND per litre).

We had a stormy, windy, evening the day after we reurned from Abbotsford.

Okanagan Lake was very angry!

Hopefully we are now home for a while 😀  Over the next few weeks we will be busy unpacking, reorganizing, cleaning up our site, and most importantly catching up with family and friends.

There are definitely signs that spring is approaching.

I have two blogs from Tucson which I will post over the next week and then I will go back to posting weekly, if there is something interesting to share 😀

Until next time …

Another Longer Than Usual Travel Day

We were on the road early and if there was ever an indication that we were getting closer to home this was it, there is snow on them thar hills.

It was -1C/32F so I put on a coat and long pants but I didn’t cave on the flip flops, it is forecasted to warm up to 17C/64F today 😀

We had a nice sunny day and light traffic.  Highway 93 north of Ely, NV was in perfect condition, nice and smooth, a much-needed relief after the roads we travelled yesterday!

Highway 93 between Ely, NV and Wells, NV is pretty much long, straight, and pretty boring so we were happy to pass through Wells three hours later and get into some new scenery.

Highway 93 Ely to Wells

We even ended up switching the GPS screen because it was more boring to look at than the road!

When we hit Twin Falls, ID we pulled over for a short stretch … and short it was because there was a bitter icy wind blowing!  Just before we turned north onto I-84 we drove across this beautiful gorge and we would have loved to stop for a better view, and pictures, but the wind was so strong and did I mention bitter icy cold!

We fought a headwind along I-84 for our first two hours out of Twin Falls and that doesn’t do much for the fuel mileage 😦

As we were on the outskirts of Boise, ID we realized they were an hour ahead of PST and would hit the city right at the beginning of rush hour.  I told hubby I didn’t think rush hour in Boise would be that bad … a quick search on Google showed how wrong I was … it turns out Boise has not only the worst rush hour traffic in the US but also the fifth worst in the world!  Well crap, if we thought Vegas wasn’t fun, Boise was going to be a nightmare.  It didn’t take us to long before it dawned on us that it was Saturday … phew what a relief, we drove right through with no delays 🙂

An hour later we arrive in Ontario, OR where we spent the night at the Malheur County Fairgrounds.  There didn’t appear to be a lot of sites here, maybe there are more but we didn’t see them.  For the Passport America price of $15.00, which included power, we were happy but I don’t think we would stay for $30.00 a night.

Until next time …

On Our Way Home

As a side note before I begin this blog … this blog should have been posted last Friday but we had so much fun in Tucson that some days it took two or three days to posted about our fun.

We pulled out of Gilbert Ray Campground around 7:30 a.m. after dumping our tanks.  Holly, our GPS, wanted us to go out to Highway 86 and then east to I-10 which would take us right through Tucson during morning rush hours.  Hubby had other ideas and we headed off towards Saguaro National Park which was a much nicer drive.

Shortly after we left the National Forest and turned onto Sabarino Road we saw flashing lights up ahead 😦  Fortunately for us we were quickly let through, unfortunately for three drivers it was a bad day that involved two cars hitting head on.

Once we were past the accident traffic was very light, the roads were good, and the scenery was pretty.

Less than half an hour later we were turning onto I-10 and had completely bypassed Tucson.

We timed our departure from the campground to avoid the Phoenix rush hour and by using the 202 and 303 bypasses it worked perfectly!

As we headed out of the Phoenix area we turned onto Highway 60 through Wickenburg, AZ where we topped up our tanks at $4.899 a gallon for diesel … and I think that will be our cheapest price for the rest of our trip 😦

Two hours of our travels took us along the Joshua Tree Forest Parkway.  We travelled this route back in March 2017 and the Joshua Trees where in bloom, which makes it pretty but we had forgotten what a rough road it was.  We will definitely try to avoid this route in the future!

We were glad to get onto I-40 but it was about that point in the trip when I decided the roads were boring and I stopped taking pictures and then we were back on Highway 93 and it was so pretty I forgot to take pictures!  We did hit the start of rush hour traffic through Vegas, along with some construction which added an extra hour to our drive today.

We stopped just on the outskirts of Vegas to top up the tank, at probably the last diesel we will get under $5.00 a gallon, and learned an interesting tidbit at the Maverik station.  It was a large station with a section for autos and a section over to the side for Trucks/ RV’s.  The sign listed diesel for $4.89 for auto’s and $4.99 for Trucks/RV’s and semi’s.  We were lined up for the Truck/RV pumps but when we pulled in the pump listed the auto price of $4.89 … great!  But when hubby started to pump it changed to $4.99, oh well we didn’t need much and were not going to quibble about $.10 a gallon.  Hubby went into the washroom and out of curiosity asked why the price changed, he was told there are weight sensors and cameras at those pumps and they determine how tall and how heavy you are, if you are a bigger rig the pump gives you higher performance diesel, hence the higher price.  Not sure if this is true or just a line to make us feel better but it does sounds logical.

Shortly after we turned off I-515 back on to Highway 93, finally the big cities and rush hours were behind us for the rest of the trip.

Our original plan was to spend the night in the lot of a closed down gas station where we parked in March of 2020 but it was a beautiful evening and we were busy chatting so hubby decided to carry on to Ely, NV.  We pulled into  a casino parking lot and called it a night.

This was a very long travel day for us for a few reasons other than we were enjoying the drive.  The main reason was we have to be back in BC on April 6th and when hubby planned our route, he was allowing time further north in case we had problems with our COVID tests.  Fortunately for us, as of April 1st we no longer needed a test to cross the border, but we do have some stuff going on at home, so we were okay with a longer day.

Until next time …

Almost Time To Move On

We have had a great time in Laughlin, NV but it is almost time to move on.  For the most part the weather has been great, the only bad thing was a few days of really strong winds!  But it was still warm and sunny and compared to what is happening at home I really have no right to complain, so I won’t 🙂

Other than some chores, some errands, and visits to the pool we haven’t done much.  We did stop at a cool looking Saloon for lunch but it turned out they don’t serve meals on Wednesday’s and in Nevada, well at least Laughlin, you have to wear a mask even while seated at your table.  You can pull it down, take a drink, and then pull it back up again … and they are very strict about this.  I’m okay with it, those are the rules the businesses have to enforce, but it doesn’t make for a pleasant restaurant experience, so we had one drink and left.  At home we have to wear masks anytime we are not seated at our table but at the table it is okay to take off your mask, but also at home you have to be double vaccinated to even enter a table service restaurant.

Although hubby did convince me to go to the buffet for breakfast one morning and we were lucky enough to get a table with a pretty view of the river.

The other day we took a nice walk along the river, it didn’t go as far as we thought but it was pretty.

That pretty much sums up our days.  We are enjoying morning coffee and afternoon tea outside in the warmth and sun and just really appreciate being able to spent our winter where it is warm.

You can see across the river where the water taxi lands in Bullhead City, Arizona.

The bridge in the distance goes from Nevada into Arizona.

I am anxious to get to our site in Yuma and see how my bougainvillea’s are doing, our neighbours have been watering and encouraging them along since they arrived so at least I know they have good company 😀

I am not expecting them to look this good, but I am anxious to see how well they have done with no water for 20 months.

Until next time …

My Happy Place 🙂

Hot sun, warm breezes, blue sky, water, sand, palm trees, and a cold drink in my hand and I am immediately in my happy place 😀  Add my children and grandchildren or friends and I am truly in my happy place.  But don’t get me wrong, I also cherish spending time in my happy place with just hubby and I and that is what we are doing this week.  Every day we wander over to the hotel and spend some time in the pool area and it has been great!

Another image from the internet because I don’t take my camera or my phone. View from the pool area.

Now ideally my happy place would be on Okanagan Lake or the ocean but I can make this work.  The nice thing about our spot at Riverside RV Park is that we are in the top loop backed up to a fence overlooking the lower park and Laughlin.  This location gives us great views of Laughlin and Bullhead City across the river and night we have a nice view of all the casinos lit up.  From our front windows we can see the planes landing and taking off at the Bullhead Airport so we also have some built in entertainment.

Until next time …

Hot Days, Warm Nights, And Loving It!

The days have been getting warmer and we are loving every minute of it.   We have spent some time relaxing and just enjoying the sun, but the truck did get a much needed bath and it looks so much better.

A few people have asked how COVID is being handled during our travels and it’s pretty much the same as at home with the exception of restaurants.  Every store, gas station or restaurant we have been in required face masks and hand sanitizing, and it was that way through Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada.  In Laughlin the casinos require face masks and the one that we walked through was making sure everyone had them on and approached people that didn’t.  We did go across the river to Bullhead City, Arizona and they ask that you wear face masks but they are not required, I would say 70% of the people were not wearing them.

View from our front windows.

What is different from home is the need to show your vaccine passport to eat in a restaurant, so far the only place that has asked for proof of vaccination was San Francisco and they had no problem accepting our BC vaccine passport as proof of vaccination.  We did go into a restaurant in Napa and were not asked to show any proof that we had been vaccinated, so I don’t think this is a California state requirement maybe just a San Francisco requirement.

Darius Rucker was playing in Laughlin and we both really wanted to go to the concert, but in the end we decided being in a large enclosed area with a lot of people was not in our comfort zone, so we passed … but it turned out to be an outside concert which we could clearly hear from our site at the RV Park and it was a great concert … for free 😀

And that about sums up our last few days 🙂

Until next time …

Put On Your Gambling Shoes!

No we are not in Las Vegas and no we probably won’t do any gambling … well maybe $20.00 in a slot machine … but maybe not.  Have you guessed that we are now in Nevada?  We are once again staying at the Riverside Casino RV Park in Laughlin, NV

We have always enjoyed staying at this park because it is cheap and we get free buffets and gambling credits plus you can use the hotel amenities and I love the pool area, it makes me feel like I’m at a resort and being pampered.  However, this year the price has gone up by $20.00 a week and because of COVID the buffet is closed and they no longer give out gambling credits.  This park can also be a little downtrodden, it’s a mix of old RVs and top of the line motorhomes which we don’t mind but it can turn some people off.  The sites are also very close together but every time we have been here, they have kept every second site empty so we have never been on top of our neighbour.  For all of those reasons we think this will be our last stay here, but for now there are lots of little chores we want to get done like getting the road mess off the truck and Maxx and giving Maxx a good inside cleaning and this is a good place to do that.

I found this picture on the internet because my pool pictures don’t do the resort justice … we really enjoy spending time here!

And you sure can’t fault the weather!  Nothing but sun shine and high 80F (30C) temperatures which makes for great pool weather 🙂

Until next time …

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, $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 Del; 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 …