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 …

A Weather Decision

It sure was nice to wake up this morning and not have to worry about how the roads would be for our drive today. We enjoyed another evening of fast powerful free WiFi and quiet surroundings, this time in the Wildhorse Resort and Casino parking lot. So far we have camped for free all the way home 😀

Our biggest decision before heading out was whether we were going to Wenatchee, WA for a few days to do some bike riding or was it going to be to cool for that. We finally decided to go to Wenatchee and see how the weather was this afternoon and if it felt warm enough we would stay at least two days.

It was very crisp when we headed out this morning but the roads where dry and the drive was pleasant. We have sure seen a shift in the weather from the last few days, it is sunny and the morning warmed up quickly.

Half an hour after we started our day we passed into Washington and that always makes us feel like we are almost home. After driving through Washington we will cross the border into British Columbia and that will end our winter south until next year.

Four hours after we left Pendelton we pulled into Confluence State Park in Wenatchee, WA. We stayed here on our way down this winter and like the park and the fact that the bike trails leave right from the park.

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 …

Top Ten Pictures of 2022

Here are our choices for the top pictures of 2022.

We would love your votes, on the poll at the end of the blog, to help us choose the best picture of 2022.

And just in case you haven’t voted for previous years and would like to, here are the links.

Top Ten Pictures of 2021

Top Ten Pictures of 2020

Top Ten Pictures of 2019

Top Ten Pictures of 2018

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 2022 If you want more information on a picture click on the highlighted sentence below the picture and it will take you to the original blog.

  1. Sabino Canyon in Tucson, Arizona. Picture taken 28 March 2022

  1. Sunset at Gilbert Ray Campground, Tucson, Arizona. Picture taken 30 March 2022.

  1. View from Evely Forestry Site, Westside Road, Kelowna, B.C. Picture taken 1 May 2022.

  1. Okanagan Lake. Picture taken 1 May 2022.

  1. I love this picture taken at Ancient Hill Winery, Kelowna, B.C. Picture taken 14 July 2022.

  1. Once again the sunrises at Bear Creek Provincial Park didn’t disappoint. Picture taken 15 August 2022.

  1. Multnohmah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon. Picture taken 22 October 2022..

  1. It was hard to pick just two pictures from Multnohmah Falls. Picture taken 22 October 2022.

  1. We had a year of waterfalls and really enjoyed our time at Shoshone Falls, Idaho.  Picture taken 24 October 2022.

  1. We were enthralled with this Lenticular Cloud hanging above our route near Area 51 … kinda spooky! Picture taken 25 October 2022.

We appreciate all your votes as it help us narrow down which pictures we will eventually mount and hang in our new home … one day in the future when we decide to settle down 🙂

Until next time


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 …