Off To Ontario … Oregon not Canada :-)

After our two nights in Rufus, OR it was time to move on. We were watching the weather and it appeared that the storm had passed through our route to Ontario while we were in Rufas so that was good.

A beautiful morning

We were both up early, and had finished our coffee so we decided to get an early start, we were on the road by 7:15 a.m, it was 49F/9.5C with clear blue skies. Usually, at this time of the year, we have breakfast first and hit the road around 9:00/9:30 a.m. because we don’t want to run into icy roads but the temps were good with no high passes before Pendleton, OR. Our highest pass of the day was from Pendelton, OR to La Grande, OR so we decided to stop in Pendelton for breakfast just to give the mountain pass more time to warm up.

The scattered clouds made for a pretty sunrise but then they quickly disappeared.

I think we made the right decision because I-84 to La Grande showed signs of a very recent light snow fall but the roads were clear and mostly dry.

It’s beginning to look like Christmas 🙂

The picture above was taken at the peak of the summitt and once we passed over that the rest of our trip into Ontario, OR was clearing sailing.

Until next time …

Multnomah Falls

Every year when hubby does our route planning a visit to Multnomah Falls makes it on the list and so far every year a visit has fallen off the list because, for many reasons, that route has not worked out for us. Even this year it didn’t appear it was going to work until I pointed out that we could take the route he had planned and make a side trip to the falls which is what we did 🙂

Multnomah Falls is the most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest and that was obvious by the number of people, from all different parts of the world, that were there on a rainy late October day. The falls are fed by underground springs from Larch Mountain, rainwater and snowmelt. At 620ft/189m Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s tallest waterfall.

We were able to get one of the few spots in the parking lot and make the five minute walk up to the base of the two tiered waterfall.

Along with many other people we continued to walk up the paved trail to the bridge which spans the falls at the top of the lower falls. This bridge was constructed in 1925 and provides a perfect view of the lower falls 78 foot/24 metre drop and the top falls 542 foot/165 metre height!

A view of the bridge from the base of the falls.

Looking up to the top tier of the falls while standing on the bridge.

Looking down at the lower falls.

We then continued up to the top of the waterfall. The trail, which is still paved but pretty rough with frost heaves, consists of eleven switchbacks and is very narrow with many sections having no railing on one side.

I’m not great with heights so it was taking all I had to continue up the trail. As long as I looked straight ahead I wasn’t doing to bad but when I had to move over to the side with the straight drop down to let people by there was some real panic going through my head!

We made it up more than halfway and then decided we had seen enough, really how pretty is a waterfall from the top looking down, it is much prettier looking from the bottom … at least that is my theory and I was happy to start back down the trail and hug the cliff side of the path 😄

I’m really glad we hiked the trail but I was happy to be back at the bottom of the falls.

Until next time …

A Day Along The Columbia River Gorge

We planned to spend two nights in Rufus, OR because we wanted to drive along the Columbia River Gorge, do some hiking and view some waterfalls. Normally, when we overnight in Rufas we boondock at Rufas Landing but because we wanted to leave Maxx, with our bikes attached, alone all day we decided to pay the $40 a night and stay at the Rufas RV Park. It is a well maintained park so we felt comfortable leaving Maxx for the day.

The scenery along the Gorge is very pretty, even in the rain!

We headed out after breakfast under cloudy skies and light rain and it rained off and on for the entire day … sometimes it was just spitting and other times it was raining so hard we couldn’t see anything out the window.

Fortunately every time we stopped the rain also stopped 🙂

Our first stop was in Cascade Locks where I wanted to take pictures of the Bridge of the Gods, for no other reason than a friend of ours mentioned how terrifying it was to go over the bridge as a passenger on a motorcycle so we wanted to check it out. We didn’t drive over the bridge because it’s a toll bridge and it seemed silly to pay a toll both ways just to drive over a bridge so we settled for pictures instead, and it was very pretty.

Our next stop was the Boneville Dam where we wandered through the Visitor Centre. I wasn’t really impressed with that stop but I did get a few pictures of the fish locks which were interesting.

Then we had a decision to make, should we stop at Multnomah Falls first or go onto Costco and hit the falls on the way back? I can’t count the number of times I changed the position of the falls on our GPS route during our drive because it was raining hard, and then it stopped, and then it started … but at the last minute the rain stopped as we were driving by so we made a quick exit, found a spot in the parking lot, and headed up to the falls. I have too many pictures of the falls for this blog so check in tomorrow for those pics … but here is the view from the parking lot, just a hint of what we saw.

An hour later we were back at the truck, we really wanted to do some longer hikes and visit some of the less popular waterfalls but the weather just wasn’t cooperating 😦 We just got back in the truck and the skies opened up so we decided to continue on to Costco where we picked up hubby’s Kirkland Irish Cream and my Prosecco for the winter … Oregon is a no tax state after all and it wasn’t far from the falls 🙂

After Costco we headed to Camping World where we picked up a new water hose to replace our more than nine year old hose that was getting kinks in it. We picked up a new hose for free because we received a $30 coupon when we renewed our Good Sam Road Side Assistance.

By now we were getting hungry so of course we checked out a few local breweries in Hood River.

And then it was back home to Maxx for a quiet evening before we pull up stakes and move further south.

The sun was just setting as we arrived back at the RV Park.

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 …

Our Last Longer Than Usual Travel Day

Once again we were up and on the road earlier than usual.  So here is the thing, you have probably gathered from my blog, I am an early riser … hubby not so much.  He is almost always awake when I go out for my walk but he is not ready to take on the world that early in the day.  So when we say we are having an early travel day I am up for leaving when the sun comes up, hubby is up for leaving around 7:30.  Now I played a little sneaky when we were in Ontario, Oregon and set the clock for MST (the time zone in that area) even though we had agreed that we would keep on PST … so in my mind hubby would think he was leaving at 7:30 but we would really leave at 6:30 😀  And guess what?

Yup it didn’t work :sad:, he was to smart and caught on, but we were on the road by 7:15 so I’m counting that as a win 🙂

It was cold start this morning, similar to yesterday, but I still had my flip flops on … however I have conceded that I will have to put my boots on tomorrow morning 😦  Although the forecasted temperatures at home are warmer than we have had the last few mornings, it’s still not flip flop temps first thing in the morning.

You know it’s cold when the water from the sprinklers freezes as soon as it hits the ground!

We started the day with sunny skies and more interesting views than yesterday.

Our trip today took us through the Blue Mountains between La Grande, OR and Pendleton, OR.  This was our highest pass of the day and there was no sign of snow on the roads so that was definitely a win!  The downhill portion, at a 6% grade, is more of a challenge than the climb.  There was a sign warning of the grade, and then a mile later there was another sign stating “Second Warning – 6% grade” and again a mile later was a third sign stating “Third Warning – 6% grade”.  Shortly after the second warning sign was another sign listing vehicle weights and the speed they should be doing before beginning the downhill portion, hopefully after all of that drivers understood there was a 6% grade coming up 😀

Hey have you heard this is a 6% grade 🙂

A quick stop in Pendleton, OR topped up our tanks with the last diesel we will get under $5.00 a gallon … just $.001 under $5.00, but still, it’s under.  Washington state will be our most expensive fuel of the winter.

It was nice to turn off I-84 and head toward Omak, WA along Highway 17 N which winds along the shores of Lenore Lake and past Dry Falls, all of which provide stunning views.

Our plan was to spend the night in the parking lot of the Walmart in Omak as we usually do, but we arrived earlier than planned and hubby wanted to flush our tanks.  I had read that the Carl Precht RV Park at the Stampede grounds had done some upgrades so we splurged, it cost us a whole $22.50 with our Good Sam discount, and spent the night there instead of Walmart.  It will be a much quieter night and will allow us to fill up the truck without dragging Max along.

We spent the evening pulling out our Canadian wallets, passports, Canadian SIM cards, printing off our duty free list, and completing our ArriveCAN app.  We are now all prepared for our border crossing tomorrow.

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 …

Plans Changed, Meh… It Happens

Shortly after I posted my blog early yesterday morning hubby went on-line to get a reservation at Skyline Wilderness Park in Napa, CA.  Our plan was to arrive on Wednesday and spend three days there.  We normally don’t make reservations when we are travelling because we like the casual life of changing plans, jello wiggling, but this can be a busy park, and it is the only reasonably priced place in the San Francisco area, so reservations seemed like a good idea.

And that’s where the jello wiggled, we could get a spot for Wednesday night but after that they were fully booked, so we decided to do another eight hour driving day so that we could spend two nights in Napa.  Since we were both awake, we got on the road at 6:00 a.m., after we checked the weather on the Siskiyou Pass.  We were going to hit our last major pass much earlier in the day than we had planned, but the temperatures where well above freezing so even with the light rain we were getting we thought we would be okay …. And we were, the roads were wet but great to drive on.

So much for our sunny skies 😦

We got a big smile on our face when we entered into California and drove through the agriculture inspection station … for the first time in eight years I remembered not to buy fruits and vegetables in Oregon, but what made us smile was the inspector’s comments “Just heading south?”  Yup we responded, “Welcome Back” he said  😀  That was it, no questions about fruits or vegetables just a big smile and a very friendly welcome … that made our day!

There was fresh snow on the passes but the roads were wet with no slippery sections.

And just a short section of fog.

We arrived in Napa at 2:00 p.m. which left us lots of time to check out some of the craft breweries 🙂  I know Napa is wine country but we have never been impressed with their wines.  Of course, we come from one of the best wine valleys in Canada so it is harder to impress us!  But Napa does have an up and coming craft brewing industry and some of them aren’t bad.

The sun looked like it was going to make an appearance once we hit California but it didn’t last and we were back to rain.

Looking at the upcoming weather forecast I see sunny skies and flip flops in my not so distance future 🙂

Until next time …

Finally, Some Sun

We had a long driving day yesterday and definitely broke our “no more than three hours of driving a day” rule, but that’s okay we were happy to do it for several reasons.  First the COVID numbers in Washington state are still pretty high so that was a good reason to avoid spending a night there; second our early start would have meant pulling into Cabela’s were we planned to stay around noon and that was too early for a parking lot stay; three we needed to get groceries to fill our empty fridge and that would be cheaper in Oregon; and lastly we were going to stay at Armitage County Park in Eugene and it is much nicer than a parking lot.

Pretty view out of our front window at Armitage County Park.

I have a little more information to share about yesterday’s border crossing … there were only two lanes open, one for cars and the other for cars and RV’s.  We had planned to use the Nexus Lane but we arrived before it opened and with no line up there was no reason to wait for it to open.  When we cross in Osoyoos we need to drive through the x-ray machine after clearing customs and then pull over for an agriculture inspection, at the Sumas crossing we drove through the x-ray machine on our approach to the booth so that also helped speed up our crossing.  We were asked all the usual questions, any fruits or vegetables, alcohol, how much cash did we have on hand, and were we both fully vaccinated but we were not asked to show proof.  We actually think that they are just not used to asking this question yet as it was almost an afterthought just before he sent us on our way.

The car lane to the left of us was a lot longer but we just drove right up the RV lane, the two units in front of us were just driving up to the booth.

We woke up to drizzle yesterday in Abbottsford but it stopped as we were pulling out and we had blue sky and sun for the rest of the day, it sure was nice after seventeen days of rain.  But rain aside we did enjoy our time on the coast and had lots of visits with hubby’s family and our son and daughter-in-law and I am willing to put up with rain for family time 🙂

Columbia River

Although it was a long day, we did make it through five major cities pretty quickly.  RVs are allowed to use the HOV lanes in Washington, as long as there are two people in the vehicle, so that saved us a lot of time.  We were also able to use the Express Lane through Seattle so that also saved us a lot of time.  In Oregon RVs, well units towing and are over 10,000 pounds, must stick to the two right lanes but we went through Portland at noon so traffic wasn’t too bad.  We did pass twelve police cars with lights and sirens traveling north through Portland but I can’t find anything on the news to explain that.

Today we have one more mountain pass to get over in southern Oregon and then we will no longer have to worry about snow, and the weather is looking like that shouldn’t be an issue today 🙂

Until next time …

And We Are Off!

Note … this is a quick blog to let everyone know how our crossing went.  We are currently sitting at Camping World in Burlington, Washington where hubby is dumping our tanks, which lasted for 17 days while we camped at his sister’s place.  We won’t pick up our cell phone service until we stop tonight in Eugene, Oregon so I thought I would take advantage of Camping World’s Wi-Fi to let you all know about our crossing.

Today is the day we have waited for for the past year, the opportunity to head to warmer weather for the winter.  We were up early and fully expected to line up at the border with a million other Canadian Snowbirds wanting to do the same thing as us.  I expected the lineup to look like this line of RVs waiting to get into Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alberta!

 

 

 

 

Yesterday we were hearing stories of RV’s lining up at border crossings first thing in the morning so that they could cross at midnight when the border opened.  So we were very happy when we pulled up at the Sumas crossing and there were only two RV’s in front of us.  This turned out to be the quickest border crossing we have ever had!  We were under five minutes and didn’t have to open the RV for an agriculture inspection.  We realized that the only time we ever have to open the RV is when we cross at Osoyoos, B.C., every other crossing asks the basic question and sends us on our way.

Since we were through the border before 7:00 a.m. we are going to spend the night in Eugene, Oregon instead of Lacey, Washington.  That gives us the added bonus of picking up groceries, alcohol, and our cell phone plans with no sales tax 😀

Thanks everyone for your wishes yesterday, I will write more once we have access to Wi-Fi.

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 …