2022 – 2023 Snowbird Year Wrap Up

It was a real challenge this year trying to find a good route home, given the not so great weather we had this winter. California was out of the question because of all the snow they had, which cause our usual route to be piled high with snow and not an option towing Maxx. Our second most used route through Eli, Wells, and Jackpot Nevada wasn’t showing promising weather with snow in the forecast for most of our travel days. With those routes out hubby went sleuthing and came up with a route through the high desert plains in Nevada and Idaho and it turned out to be a great route. We did have some snow on the sides of the highways and in the evening once we stopped in Winnemuka, NV but the roads all stayed dry and the temperatures were above freezing so all in all it was a good trip back. Not as nice as last year but way better than what we were expecting so we were happy.

These are the bougainvillea plants I planted in March 2020, they are doing really well considering they get no water during the summer.

Over the past five months:

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

We covered 6,076 mi (9,778 km), down slightly from 2021/2022. 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 way gas prices have gone up. Unlike last year when our prices on the way home were much higher than the way south, this year our prices heading home were much lower than our trip south. On the way south we averaged $5.167 USD per gallon ($1.91 CND per litre, which is more than we were paying at home) and on the way north we averaged $4.206 USD per gallon ($1.55 CND per litre, which is much less that we are paying at home). Just shy of a dollar less a gallon heading heading home than heading south. This winter we spent $2,563 on fuel which was only up $114 over last year but we also travelled 560 miles less than we did in 2021/2022 … still not as big a difference as I expected.

Our most expensive diesel was $5.675 USD per gallon ($2.09 CND per litre) in Oceanside, CA which puts California back in the top for the most expensive state after Washington won out last year. Our cheapest diesel was $3.659 USD per gallon ($1.35 CND per litre) in Fallon, NV.

I took this picture of my Osteospermum during the last rainfall in Yuma.

I am currently still enjoying my two weeks with three of our grandsons and hubby is holding down the fort at the park. The weather hasn’t been great, still a chill in the air but I did take off my coat yesterday when I took the dog out for a walk so maybe there is hope that we will soon have spring temperatures.

There are buds on the tree at City Hall so there are signs that spring is approaching.

Until next time …

Phew It Worked Out

I think last night, when we we were parking Maxx and waiting for him to auto level, I was the coldest I have ever been. I was so happy to get inside and warm up and we had a great, toasty warm, night. Walmart delivered with free WiFi and very quiet night.

We left this morning under sunny skies, no snow, and temps at freezing …we were so happy when we woke up and looked out the winter to see no snow on the ground and a dry parking lot.

The guy in the picture below pulled in late last night, judging by the crap on his truck and trailer it doesn’t look like it was a fun trip. But the encouraging thing for us was that all that frozen stuff was melting and falling off his truck and trailer 😀

Nothing personal Winnemucca but I was happy to wave goodbye to you before your next storm comes in later this morning! Once we were back on Highway 95 I thought the view was pretty, even with all the snow on the mountains, because this route takes us through the valley rather than over the snowy mountains so we can enjoy the view and not the driving through it.

The roads in Nevada have been awesome, very well maintained and a very smooth drive. Unfortunately that all changed when we entered Oregon, the road was terrible for the first twenty-five miles! So bumpy I was starting to get nauseous, but Maxx handled it like a pro and nothing moved around. The sky also changed as soon as we entered Oregon 😦

We did have a few snow flurries during our drive through Oregon but nothing stuck to the road and the roads remained dry so it was a good drive.

The skies brightened and the topography changed once we crossed into Idaho and even though the second picture shows storm clouds on either side of the highway we drove right through the middle of them.

We topped up the tank with fuel, at the slowest pump we have ever seen, and joined onto I-84 for a very short trip back into Oregon.

Nice looking weather!

Our plan was to spend tonight in Ontario, OR but the weather was looking okay so we decided to continue another 2.5 hours and cross the Blue Mountain pass, our highest mountain pass of the trip, between La Grande, OR and Pendleton, OR. We figured it would be better to cross this afternoon when the weather is warmer and there is more traffic on the road. We thought this would be a better option than tomorrow morning when the roads wouldn’t have had a chance to warm up and clear off.

This was as bad as it got and it lasted maybe ten minutes.

It turned out to be a great move and seven hours after we left Winnemucca we are settled down in the parking lot at Wildhorse Casino in Pendleton enjoying a drink to celebrate getting through the hardest part of our trip home 🙂 It should be clear sailing from here on in.

Coming down into Pendelton, OR our stop for the night.

Until next time …

A Very Very Long Day

We left Laughlin as the sun was rising and waved goodbye to the last of our sort of warm weather. Yesterday we arrived in shorts and flip flops and today we are in jeans, boots, and jackets because the weather in Winnemucca, NV, our stop tonight, is calling for rain and possibly snow 😦 We had a long drive today but it was necessary to put us in the best position for travel tomorrow. There is a snow storm coming in to the Winnemucca area tomorrow and we want to get out of that area and put some miles on before it hits.

The weather was great when we hit the road early this morning.

We could see the snow on the hills as we drove through Las Vegas … yup that is where we are headed 😦

And then we were out of Vegas back on more boring straight highway.

I was looking forward to seeing some new highway when we turned toward Tonopha and I guess it was a little different, definitely less creosote bushes and more sage brush … but those pesky snowy peaks are still there looming in the distance!

Four hours into our trip, with a stop to top up the tank (hubby doesn’t like to get much below half a tank) and a washroom break, we left Beatty, NV behind and turned north toward Tonopha, NV. This is a route we have never taken and the roads where lined with sage brush which reminded us of the Kamloops area in British Columbia.

When we originally planned our trip home we were going to spend our second night in Tonopha but if we had done that we would have been driving through a snow storm tomorrow or spending a few days hunkered down in Tonopha. After checking weather we decided our best option was to skip Tonopha and drive a very long day today which should get us ahead of the snow storm … I guess we will see how that works tomorrow.

Five hours later and a half hour south of Tonopha we hit this …

There were only some small sections with snow and we were still under sunny skies and temps in the high 30F/5C, it was cooling down quickly but the roads were dry and the snow was sparing. That view only lasted for a few minutes and then we were back to this.

We topped up the tank in Tonopha and headed off on the second half of our trip … crap we are only halfway 😦

When we left Tonopha the wind was really howling and sadly for our fuel mileage it turned into a headwind as we drove further north.

We had four hours left of driving and the topography hadn’t really changed, the clouds were moving in but the temperature had gone up 10 degrees.

With three hours left we passed through Hawthorn, NV and found some interesting things, a military depot and a lake. This is a quick photo of the Hawthorn Military Depot which I think I will do a blog on the next time we come through this area, it has some interesting history.

And it was nice to finally see some water, this is Walker Lake.

An hour out of Winnemucca, and after we turned onto I-80, we ran into the nasty weather we were expecting. The tail end of this storm with the next one starting around noon tomorrow.

After an eleven hour day we finally pulled into the Walmart in Winnemucca, NV where the skies had cleared and we though the weather was looking better … and then we stepped outside! Holy crap it was cold and windy, and then an hour later it started to snow. I’m not sure what tomorrow holds but I would really like to get out of here before the next storm arrives.

And FYI a report from Miss Kansas in Cocopah shows Paul & Penlope are doing well 😀

Until next time

Homeward Bound

After five, not as warm and sunny as we would have liked, months we are heading home 🙂 The weather was definitely a disappointment this year but we still had a great time with lots of socializing and maybe too much eating and drinking!

We left under sunny blue skies but the cold wind kind of made me happy we were leaving, if I have to be cold I might as well be cold at home! Once again Maxx cooperated after his five month nap and we had no problems getting him prepped and hooked up, but the lights on our bike rack didn’t cooperate 😦 The driver’s side tail light on the bike rack wouldn’t work but the tail light on the rear of Maxx worked so, after hugs from the neighbours and a farewell to Penelope, we headed out. We arrived early for our 10:00 a.m. Spectrum appointment to cancel our internet so hubby fixed the light in the parking lot … gee I love how handy he is 😀

The light he fixed is on the left at the bottom of the bike rack … and I love our new bike bag!

A half hour later we were on the road and headed to Laughlin, NV the first stop of our trip home. I had a chuckle when, while texting with our son-in-law, he said he knew we were on our way to Laughlin. I share our RV calendar with him so that someone knows where we are travelling from and to and where we plan to spend the night, so I was happy he was on top of our travels. If we change our minds and stay somewhere different I always update my calendar right away and some days when the jello is really wiggling I can update the calendar alot which means he gets alot of notifications but he has put up with it for years and I feel so much better knowing someone can track us if we ever disappear. Now you may wonder why our son-in-law does this and not one of our three children, well we chose him because, with his job, his phone isn’t far from him and he was willing to take the job on. And while texting with him today I thanked him for doing this and he told me “That is why I’m your favourite son-in-law” and yup that is true and not just because he is our only son-in-law 😀

I only took one picture today because this is a route we have done many times and I have taken many pictures of it and honestly I was just bored and couldn’t bothered.

This was pretty much what our route was like, long, straight, and up and down.

Four hours later we were set up in the back parking lot of the Tropicana Casino in Laughlin, NV. After filling the truck and a propane tank we chilled and got to bed early because we have an early start tomorrow.

Until next time …

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 …