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 …

Another Day, More Miles

It was a long day yesterday and we drove another six hours once hubby had Maxx up and running.

We had nice clear roads!

The roads and weather were great so we were happy to get in some miles and finally called it quits just after 8:00 p.m. in Jackpot, Nevada. About a half hour out of Jackpot we started getting light snow, the roads were still okay but we were a little worried about not finding a place to stay because it was definitely time to stop for the night. We pulled into Cactus Pete’s Casino and noticed there was still room in the parking lot, but since it was cold and snowing we thought we would take a drive around their RV Park and guess what? We manage to snag the last spot and only $20.00 a night 😄 It was nice to have power for the night and we were happy to have a spot in case it didn’t stop snowing and we had to stay another night.

We were a little concerned when we left Ely, NV and had this view out my side window.

But this was the view out the windshield and the temperature was in the mid 40F so we figured we were okay to continue.

This is how our drive started.

So on to today. The snow stopped shortly after we arrived last night and the temperature was 0C (32F) when we headed out just after 8:00 a.m. We would have delayed our start even longer but Jackpot was expecting snow to start at 10:00 and we only needed to make it a half hour to Twin Falls, ID where the weather was much better. This weather was the reason we wanted to make it past Jackpot last night but plans sometime change without any approval from us so we made do … and it worked out, the roads were bare and dry and the temperature quickly picked up.

Oh oh a little more snow but roads are still dry. I forgot to take a picture but five minutes later the snow was gone and the temperature was up 4C (38F).

Today we drove through Nevada (okay only half an hour but I’m counting it :-)), Idaho, Oregon, and Washington! We hope to make it to Omak, WA tonight and then it will be a short drive home tomorrow.
I know there are those of you who are probably thinking what’s the rush, stay put, slow down, it doesn’t need to be a mad exit from the country. Well for many of us it does, and not because of the media hype about the border closing down. We have absolutely no concern that Canada will refuse us entry, even if we were sick, and we are not. The real problem is that most of us carry additional medical coverage while we are out of Canada and most insurance companies have given us until March 23 to be back in Canada, at which time our coverage will expire. Now there is some leeway if you have a valid reason for not making it back but let’s face it, insurance companies are hard to get money from, so I don’t want to have to fight them if something happens and we need medical coverage after March 23rd.

An interesting gorge in Twin Falls, ID.

It was clear sailing once we hit I—84, a perfect driving day.

I did get an email from the Canadian Snowbird Association and if you have medical coverage through them they have chosen not to put in an end date. We get our medical coverage through my pension and it’s better coverage and cheaper plus we had planned to leave on Tuesday anyway so, I’m okay with the March 23rd date … even after our breakdown yesterday.

It was beautiful in Oregon!

We are going back as Volunteer Park Hosts at Bear Creek Provincial Park and it opens on March 27th, if it opens. Who knows right now with all the closures going on, and I just read this morning that Ontario has closed down it’s provincial parks until the end of April so I expect that will also happen in BC. Based on what we knew when we started our trip home we felt we needed to be home as soon as possible because we also need to self isolate for two weeks. Whether the park opens or not at this point we just want to be at home and we are not that far away now!

And still sunny and warm in Washington!

So I guess what I’m babbling on about is we all have our reasons for hurrying home or staying put and I respect that and wish you all safe and healthy travels 😄
And sadly the flip flops came off this morning 😦 It wasn’t a lot of fun standing in the snow covered grass last night with my flip flops so I finally gave in and put on my boots this morning … but have no fear! I put my flip flops in the truck and as soon as we crossed into Idaho I ditched the boots and put my flip flops back on. I know they will probably come off again tomorrow when we get home, but let me have today 😁

Until next time …

Two Long, For Us, Driving Days 😦

We had two long driving days, well long for us, 6 hours each. Our original plan was to spend a night at a casino in Susanville, CA, and we stuck to that, but then we were going to spend the next two nights in Carson City, NV.

There was heavy smoke north of Klamath Falls which we thought was coming from forest fires in California.

We did contemplate skipping Susanville and going right into Carson City but Susanville was free camping and Carson City wasn’t. Added to that Highway 139 from the California border into Susanville was mostly rough road which was shaking us, and Maxx, all over the place so by the time we hit Susanville we had had enough driving for one day.

But as soon as we left Klamath Falls the smoke cleared up so we aren’t sure what fire it was coming from.

The casino turned out to be a good choice because, along with being free, we were told by security, when we checked in, to park at the back of lot near the road and close to a pole so that we could plug in (15 amp).  Now plugging in isn’t a big deal to us but we will take advantage when we can and to top it off the Wi-Fi was strong and fast even at the back of the lot. The only downfall we could see was that the lot is far from level so we did have to use blocks under the wheels on one side … but we can handle that 🙂

A great view from the casino parking lot.

So Susanville was a great stop but Carson City was not to be 😦

I have been watching the weather since we left home last Monday and it seemed that Sunday would be a particularly cold day everywhere. As we have travelled down we kept watching the weather and planning our stops, which would have put us in Carson City, NV on Saturday and Sunday. The weather on Saturday was forecasted to be a high of 25C (77F) and an overnight low of 1C (34F) and on Sunday it was to drop to a high of 8C (46F) and an overnight low of -9C (16F).

On our way to Carson City, looks pretty nice out and the temps were around 11C (51F) at 8:30 a.m.

Since Sunday was going to be cold we thought we would just hang out in Carson City and enjoy some time in the hot tub, but then a few kinks were added to that plan.

The first one was a red flag warning for Susanville through Carson City. That means heavy winds and they were to start at 11:00 a.m. Saturday and go until 11:00 a.m. Monday. I have no idea how they predict the exact time but it didn’t matter, we didn’t want to be around for the wind.

We made it to Reno with no wind, actually I will cheat a little and tell you we missed all the wind 🙂

So the second kink? After Carson City we hit our highest pass (8100 feet) of the trip near Mono Lakes and the forecast for that area on Sunday was showing a high of 1C (34F) and a low of -13C (9F) and an increasing chance of precipitation … and we all know what kind of precipitation those temperatures bring … SNOW 😯

So in the end we decided to skip Carson City and go over the pass on Saturday when the temperatures on the pass where forecasted to be 24C (75F), and that is exactly what we got for most of our day. This entire trip has been fantastic warm sunny weather, we could not have asked for better travel conditions and with the sun coming in the window we had the air conditioner on for most of the trip.

Mono Lake Summit at 8100 feet was clear and dry and the temperature were 22C (70F)

Today we will venture further south toward even warmer weather.

Until next time …


Way To Go Bend, You Redeemed Yourself 🙂

Our last day in Bend dawned sunny and cold but it quickly warmed up. We did some chores in the morning, I hit the outlet mall which was a big disappointment because all the stores I wanted were gone 😦 and hubby hit Harbour Freight for some additional taillights for the back of the RV. Our new e-bikes are wider than our old bikes and we didn’t notice until I did the light check before we left Kelowna that they were partially blocking our rear taillights.   So fortunately I am married to a very talent man and he was able to easily add two more taillights to the bike rack for under $40.00. What a deal when you consider what it would have cost if someone rear ended us!

Not a great picture but they definitely are more noticeable than the lights on Maxx which, because I was so close, you can’t even see!

Shortly after noon hubby had the lights installed and I had come back empty handed from the outlet mall. The temperatures were rising quickly so we pulled out our bikes and headed out for a ride.

Shortly after we started we were off the road and onto a nice path through the forest.

Maybe fifteen minutes later we came out of the trees and joined onto the Deschutes River Trail, which follows along the Deschutes River.

Eventually the trail ended at the rapids. We followed a narrow dirt path up the river but had to turn around. It was becoming a mountain bike exercise and I was in flip flops and was afraid of catching my feet on the boulders, but honestly I really had no interest in riding that kind of trail so the flip flops made a good excuse 😀

We were shortly back on nicely paved trails and I was a happy camper again.

By this point we were getting hungry, and thirsty … it was really warm out! So we headed off on another bike trail toward 10 Barrel Brewery.

This year all of our favourite Bend breweries have let us down. We have been to 10 Barrel before and didn’t really find anything we liked but, since we weren’t have any luck at the other places, we decided to give it a go … and it was a great choice! This time both the food and the beer were excellent, and sitting on the patio under sunny, warm, skies made it all perfect.

Ten 4oz tastings for $12.00 and we found a few that we really liked.

I don’t usually post pictures of food but this was really good. We had a small pizza with a caesar salad and a bowl of Pumpkin Curry with rice. We shared all three dishes but couldn’t finish them … but it was yummy, especially the curry ☺

The picture below shows a bike station that was out in front of the brewery. We have seen these at a few breweries and they are really cool. There is a pump to inflate tires and several bike tools on cables in case you need to do some repairs. Maybe to many people are drunk biking and hitting things which is why the repair stations are there 🙂 Nope that wasn’t us, we are responsible bike riders!

After our late lunch we headed off again on another trail which was covered in leaves and so very pretty.

We also made a stop at McMenamin’s Pub and Brewery, which I have written about before, click here to check out that blog. The first time we were there the servers were very snobby and were not the least interested in customer service. The next time they were great and we found a Morning Foam Coffee Stout that we really liked, so we made a special effort to visit again on this trip. Yup they have come back full circle to terrible service, so terrible in fact that it gave us something to chat about with our seat mates at the bar … and they no longer have the Morning Foam Coffee Stout 😦 In the end we did manage to get a few sample and found another stout that we did like, Terminator Stout, and after much effort were able to get a growler filled.

Such a beautiful place and that is why we like to visit. This building was built in 1936 and was home to St. Francis Catholic School. In 2004 it was turned into a hotel where McMenamin’s Pub is located.

Our time in Bend came to an end and we headed down the road … with maybe a few extra bottles of beer, and a growler or two 🙂

Until next time …

Highway 97 to Bend, Oregon

We had a beautiful drive down Highway 97 into Bend, Oregon! The weather was sunny and warmish and traffic was light.

Mount Baker in the distance.

Three Sisters in the background

Right around the time we needed a bathroom break we came up to the Peter Skene Ogden Rest Stop. I have written before about how I went to Peter Skene Ogden Senior High so I always feel a tug to stop at this rest stop. The added bonus is the opportunity to view Crooked River from above, 300 feet above to be precise!

I had to walk fairly close to the edge to get this picture for all of you … I don’t do heights so this should show you how much you all mean to me 🙂

 By noon we were set up at Scandia RV Park and after a quick lunch headed out the door to get some running around done. The only downfall to Bend is how pricey their RV Parks are! Scandia used to be one of the cheaper ones but is now just under $50.00 a night 😦 however we love Bend and the location is good so we figure it was worth the splurge.

Peter Skene Ogden Bridge (behind the rail bridge) over Crooked River. Hubby did this one, it was way to close to the edge for me!

We ended our day with a stop at a few of our favourite craft breweries and ended up walking out of most of them 😮 Bend was letting us down as most of the breweries had changed their taps and all of our favorites where gone … even our Pumpkin Spice Ale with the sugared rim at Silver Moon was gone, and that is honestly the main reason we come to Bend!

At least we picked up all the tax free items we wanted and as an added bonus we also filled up our 30 pound propane tank for just under $18.00 … we just filled one before we left home for $37.00! Really Canada there should not be that big of a difference!!!

Until next time …

Wow … Rufus Landing You Rock!

We had a great … did I mention FREE … boondocking night at the COE park in Rufus, Oregon.

There are trains but they are across the Columbia River and we saw them but barely heard them.

The site is between the highway and the river so we did get some traffic noise, but unlike last night when we were in Chelan, it was more of a background noise rather than cars stopping and starting, so it didn’t bother us.

As you could probably see in yesterday’s pictures there can be wind, which makes it a favourite location for wind surfers and kite boarders, but there are berms throughout the site that you can tuck yourself behind to get away from the wind.

We were able to find a great spot that still allowed us to be on the river but also protected us from the wind.

Around 8:00 p.m. the winds totally died down and the next morning the river was like glass … as you can probably see in the many, many, sunrise photos in this blog 🙂 … I do love my sunrises!

Hubby drank his morning coffee and watched the fish feeding and jumping out the bedroom window. All I heard was “I wish I had my fishing rod”!

From the door of Maxx as I went back in to drink my coffee.

We spent last night in Bend, Oregon and will be here again tonight as we have some tax free shopping to do and of course we have to hit a few Craft Breweries and try some Pumpkin Spiced Beer 😀

One last photo before we folded up the steps and headed for Bend.

Until next time …

A Beautiful Fall Day

When we left Chelan, WA at 8:30 this morning it was 16C (60.8F) and sunny, we couldn’t have asked for better weather on our first day in the states.

It was so nice outside this morning that I wandered around with my coffee and played with the squirrels.

We headed down the west side of the Okanagan River toward Wenatchee.

This tunnel always freaks me out! Even though I know it is high enough for Maxx I still duck my head 🙂

But the view as you come out is very pretty.

We took Eastmont Avenue instead of Highway 28 through East Wenatchee. We remember when they built the new section of Eastmont and always wondered where it went, but never did take a drive and check it out when we were in Wenatchee without the RV. Hubby checked out google maps before we left and found out that it bypasses all the stop and go on Highway 28 through East Wenatchee and it turned out to be a great, and very pretty, route.

Wenatchee, Washington

We eventually joined back up with Highway 28, headed over toward Quincy, WA and then down to I90, turned onto I82 and headed through Yakima, WA. We prefer this route as it avoids Blewett Pass, takes the same amount of time, and we have never crossed the pass without hitting snow.

The snow is pretty on the mountain and that’s were we hope it stays!

We had great weather and roads for our entire trip today and had to stop at a rest stop to change from our sweaters to short sleeves because the temperatures we in the mid 70F (24C)

We spent the night near Rufus, OR at a COE Park just below the John Day Dam. It was a great free location and will become a regular stop when we travel this route in the future.

This was our view at the first place we stopped and while it was entertaining we decided it was a little too windy.

So we moved over to this little bay and it was perfect. This is our view from our chairs outside our front door … you can’t beat this for a free nights stay!

Until next time …

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 …

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 …