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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A Late Start

I like to leave the blinds in the bedroom open at night so I can see the sun come up as I drink my coffee. Last night it started raining and when it got light out this morning I could see damp trees with the sound of light rain on the roof and it just reminded me so much of being at home. We are now one state away from being back in BC and that always feels good. We love our winters in the warmth of the southern US but it sure is comforting to be so close to home 🙂

The only sad part about the rain was that I had to ditch my flip flops and put on my boots 😦 Since we only had a three hour drive today there was no need to get on the road early. We enjoyed our coffee and some reading time before we headed out.

We spent the first part of our day driving through farmland along I-5 in Oregon. It was pretty even though it was damp.

We made a stop in Wilsonville, Oregon at Fry’s Electronics so that hubby could do some techie tax free shopping, but he was very disappointed, he didn’t find a thing and feels the store is on it’s last legs.

It took me two days but I finally got a picture of the wild daffodils that we see whenever we drive up I-5 in Oregon in the spring.

Tonight we are in the parking lot at Cabela’s in Lacey, Washington. We found Cabela’s on our way south this fall, when we decided the Walmart we usually stay at had become to sketchy, and it has become a favorite place to stay.  Even better, the weather has improved and the flip flops are back on!

Once we were set-up we enjoyed a walk through the store, it is always fun looking at their taxidermy displays and the aquarium.

This ones for you keka ☺

Until next time …

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 …

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 …

The Jello Really Wiggled!

Our plan was to do a short drive today and stay in Florence, Oregon at the Port of Siuslaw RV Park. When we planned our trip south hubby found this RV Park and thought it would be nice to camp right on the ocean and as an added bonus we could walk to Old Town, which sounded like a nice way to spend an evening. When we arrived in Florence we realized the port was up the river, not on the ocean, and old town was nothing special, so we decided to carry on to our next stop.

We had fog once again this morning but it wasn’t that bad.

Humbug Mountain State Park was only a few more hours down the coast just south of Port Orford, Oregon. Once again we were disappointed, the park was on the other side of the highway from the ocean and didn’t look all that appealing, so we carried on. At that point we decided to carry on to Crescent City, California, which would give us an easy drive to today’s destination and we wanted to be there early anyways.

These pictures were taken at the Cooks Chasm Bridge Viewpoint which is home to the Spouting Horn.

The Spouting Horn is shooting up water on the left shore in this picture. The Spouting Horn is an ocean geyser, which is caused by incoming waves that funnel air and water into the cave below, building pressure until the water explodes into a geyser. When the water explodes it makes a sound just like a whale.

And the fog continues

But it did make for some interesting views.

Honestly we were not that disappointed to keep driving as the sun was making an appearance and the drive was just so pretty … not to mention the further south we go the warmer it gets 🙂

This is what I was hoping for, ocean pictures and sunny blue skies … I can live with the clouds as well ☺

With one last fill-up with cheaper diesel in Oregon we headed into expensive, but hopefully sunny and warm, California.

Not a great picture of these elk but what can you do when you suddenly spot them and you are going 55 mph!

Until next time …

Off to Newport, Oregon

And guess what … there was no fog! Lot’s of dark, and some low, clouds but no fog. Most of our drive was good but a half hour out of Newport, Oregon the rain started and by the time we got to the RV Park it was really coming down which made for a couple of drenched people doing our set-up 😦

This is our third attempt travelling down the Oregon coast, and one coming up the coast, in hopes of hitting nice weather but I just don’t think that is something that happens in the fall or spring.

I’m about ready to give up. It is a nice drive and we know we are safe from snow but it’s not a cheap trip. RV parks are expensive and we use more fuel climbing hills and fighting winds.

Don’t get me wrong it is well worth the trip and the views are beautiful! If you do it, make the trip south rather than north, the road winds its way along the coast but we have never had a problem towing a thirty-five foot fifth wheel. All the viewpoints are accessible heading south only and travelling north the road is narrow because there are rock cliffs along many portions of the highway in California and southern Oregon. Also if you are big rig continue on Highway 101 in California; do not take Highway 1 along the California coast, it is not meant for big rigs!

We will carry on down the coast and who knows maybe the sun will appear but even if it doesn’t, it is still a nice drive and way better than travelling I-5 🙂

There were a lot of boats in Tilamook Bay which is a popular fishing area for Dungeness Crab, Shiner Perch, Kelp Greenling, Coho and Chinook Salmon, Cockle, and Black Rockfish.

To add to the bad weather we were very disappointed in the Port of Newport RV Park! We have always stayed here because the location is great and we enjoy the views over the harbor. The price use to be $37.80 per night with full hook-ups and our Good Sam discount, which was pricey but not a lot more than the state park nearby, and we had full hook-ups plus a laundry room … and it was an easy walk to Rogue Brewing 🙂 They have now raised their prices to $50.09 with the Good Sam discount, that’s a $12.29 per night increase and it is just not worth that! So this will be our last stay. If we come back to Newport again we will stay at South Beach State Park, which is $31.00 for a site with electricity. We would have gone there but we really wanted to flush out our tanks so we needed full hook-up, and maybe we wanted one last walk over to Rogue Brewery.

Hubby had the Pumpkin Patch Ale on the right and I had the Gose and both were very good. The Gose uses sea salt that the brewing crew hand harvested from Yaquina Bay outside the brewery … I thought that was pretty cool!

After our visit to Rogue we had to go and fuel up the truck so we thought a visit to the Taphouse was also in order 🙂

I had the Cali Creamin Nitro from Mother Earth Brewery (on the left) and it was really good, hubby had the Wokau Blackberry Wheat from Wolf Tree and he enjoyed it as well.

Until next time …

Fort Stevens State Park

I could start this blog with another rant about the fog, but I won’t make you suffer through that … but we did wake up to fog once again and this time it stayed all day … such is life on the Oregon coast … okay I did rant!

We have really enjoyed our time at Fort Stevens State Park in Astoria, Oregon. Fort Stevens was an American military facility that guarded the mouth of the Columbia River from the Civil War through World War II. It was named after Issac Stevens, a slain Civil War general and former Washington Territory governor and was an active fort from 1863 to 1947.

Coffenbury Lake a picnic and swim area within the park … just in case you don’t want to swim in the ocean ☺

Sunday night we took a walk along the ocean during low tide.

And yesterday morning we took a walk during high tide, the weather was not nearly as nice but still reasonably warm.

In 1906 the sailing ship Peter Iredale ran aground on Clatsop Spit and the crew took refuge at Fort Stevens. Part of the wreck still lies on the beach today.

Low tide

High tide

On June 21, 1942 a Japanese submarine surfaced off Fort Stevens and fired seventeen shells, making Fort Stevens the only military installation in the continental United States to come under enemy fire during World War II.

Since there were no submarines to take pictures of, you will have to make do with a picture of a very big freighter near the mouth of the Columbia River. I’m sure you can use your imagination to pretend this ship is a sub 🙂

Between 1885 and 1895 long, rocky jetties were built to protect the mouth of the Columbia River. The jetties narrowed the current to help flush out sediment and keep beach sand from clogging the river mouth.

Today it makes a great place to fish during high tide but this fisherman was getting wet from the waves!

Apparently it is also a great place to surf!

Off the south jetty is a walkway to Trestle Bay where there is a wildlife bunker set up.

We didn’t see any wildlife at the bunker but there was a lot to see through out the park!

We saw lots of Elk but usually I didn’t have the camera handy, but this guy was very cooperative. He had a friend with him but his friend was being rude and wouldn’t look up so I’m not going to share his picture ☺

Until next time …