Not The Day We Planned … Oh Well!

When we finally settled on a plan of travel for the next few days we were happy it included really short days so there was no rush to get on the road early … and then of course I wake up just after 1:00 a.m. and cant get back to sleep 😦 When I was able to fall back asleep it was 6:30 a.m. but, because we had a short travel day, I took full advantage and went back to sleep for another two hours 😀

We were on the road by 9:30 a.m. and would be set up at our destination, the Carl Precht RV Park, in Omak, WA by 11:30 a.m. … I told you it was a short drive!

We were surprised at the amount of snow and so low on the hills in Washington.

Our main reason for spending a night there was to wash Maxx and get the road salt off of him. We also needed to pull out our passports, Canadian wallets, grab our duty free list with receipts attached, and figure out how much alcohol we had in our three partial bottles.

Before too long we had sunny blue skies.

Well those were our good intentions but the RV Park in Omak still had their water shut off 😦 So we made a quick stop and dealt with everything else and then we headed off to Canada. Our plan for tomorrow was to stop at a Provincial campground just on the Canadian side of the border and I was all over that plan but hubby just wanted to get home and I always figure it is the driver’s call so home we went.

The Osoyoos, BC border crossing, always a welcome sight 🙂

As soon as we crossed the border, which was so easy with no questions due to our Nexus cards, I put our Canadian SIM cards in our phones and sent texts to the kids and my sister that we were back in Canada. When I looked up from that project I saw we were already driving through Oliver, BC.

Before to long we had passed through Penticton and caught our first good glimpse of Okanagan Lake.

We made a stop for lunch before we drove through West Kelowna.

And our excitement started to build as we came up to the exit for Bear Creek Provincial Park.

There is the park, on the point, hmm the trees haven’t even started to get buds, normally we see lots of signs of spring on our way home.

We decided to set up in the double site behind our site because we need to do some yard work in our site, but we will start on that tomorrow.

That is our site on the left behind Maxx.

So in the end it was a longer day than planned, five hours total, but we are now home for the summer and are looking forward to catching up with family and friends.

Until next time …

A Busy Afternoon

We used yesterday afternoon to get in some errands and chores, a new air filter for the truck, a car wash to get all the road salts off the truck, and a wander around Costco and Fed Myers … those last two were totally for me and I can’t believe I didn’t buy anything 😀 Hubby also checked all the tire air pressures on Maxx and the truck. I also boiled my last dozen eggs so that I can take them across the border … you never know if they will let fresh eggs through so this is better than throwing them out. We had hope to give Maxx a hose off to remove road salt but the water isn’t hooked up in Confluence State Park. I think I said this when we stopped here on the way down but I think this is a pricey state park, $35.00 during the off season and all that includes is power because everything else is shut down.

It is nice to be back into spring weather!

While we were doing those errands we debated on staying another day so that we could ride the bike trails and visit a few breweries but in the end we decided it was still a little cold for that 😦

Since we decided not to stay another day we mulled over a couple of options but so far haven’t made a decision … stay tune.

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 …

For The First Time This Winter The Jello Wiggled!

Well our plan to spend another day in Wenatchee changed when we woke up to a weather change 😦 The smoke got heavier and the skies were overcast so we decided to go out and fill up the truck, pick up some eggs, stop at the Public Market for brunch and then head out to our next stop.

Leftover pictures from The Loop ride we did yesterday.

On the right is a small scale rail line but it wasn’t running while we were there.

We have spent a lot of time in Wenatchee, WA over the years and it is nice to be in a familiar town for our first night, it makes grocery and fuel stops much easier. Years ago hubby and I were in charge of the City of Kelowna Parade Float and every year we would bring it down to Wentachee for the parade … those were some fun weekends!

There were some nice views along The Loop.

I am glad we had a chance to see the public market, and we enjoyed a nice brunch at Huck @ Pybus and were able to use the markets free wifi so catch up on emails and stuff.

Normally when we are travelling we are up and out the door early, right after breakfast, so it was strange today not to pull out until noon but we didn’t really have anything planned for our next stop tonight so a late start was okay.

Four hours later we were all settled in at Rufas City Park, with full hook ups. We have an excersion planned tomorrow so we wanted to leave Maxx, with the bikes on the back, in a place that seems safer than boondocking along the river.

Until next time …

So Begins Another Snowbird Winter 🙂

Weather wise is feels like it is really too early to be heading south but it is near the end of October so it must mean its time. We had an absolutely beautiful fall with weather in the mid to low 20C/70F and overnight temps around 10C/50F but that is suppose to change tomorrow with cooler temps and rain in the forecast so it was the perfect time to leave 🙂

We had hope to see a pretty sunrise this morning but it was overcast and very smoky from the fires in Washington. In fact our first day of travel was so smoky that I couldn’t get inspired to take a single picture along our route 😦

This was our easiest border crossing yet and even though we crossed at the Omak, WA border crossing, for the first time ever we did not have to wait for an agriculture inspection so I figure we are off to a good start!

We arrived at Confluence State Park in Wenatchee, WA in the early afternoon and decided to set up in a non power site for $25.00 USD a night. I think that is pretty pricey for no services and winter time but we wantef to be close to the bike trails. With our inverter and solar panels we run like we are hooked up to power so we were happy to pay $25.00 instead of $45.00 a night.

Our plan for Wenatchee was to spend two days and do some bike riding along their bike trails, that coincidentally has some breweries along the route, but as we driving in the smoke and threat of rain had us reconsidering. We thought we would end up driving to a grocery store to pick up eggs, fill the truck with fuel, and then hunker down in Maxx for the evening while all prepped for an early morning departure.

You can just see Maxx in the distance, it is a nice site with views of lawn and trees no other units.

Once we pulled in to Confluence State Park, where the Columbia and Wenatchee rivers meet, the smoke lightened up and the skies cleared some. Hubby quickly got the bikes ready and we headed out on the Apple Capital Loop Trail which runs right by the state park. We were able to try out three local breweries, have some happy hour appies and make it back to Maxx just before dark.

After riding the trail and looking at tomorrow’s weather we decided to give Wenatchee another day and ride the full Apple Capital Loop Trail, but that is a tale for tomorrow.

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 …

Home Again!

It’s always that feeling of relief when we cross back into Canada and I’m not really sure why other than we are closer to home and family, but also because if something goes wrong medically it will be far less hassle than trying to deal with travel insurance companies.

In hindsight that first twelve hour day (Friday 1 April) was actually a good thing as it put us ahead of a storm system that was coming through on Monday.  I was receiving high wind warnings for all the cities along our route home, but being ahead of schedule allowed us to miss the worst of it.  We did have some strong winds through out Sunday night and early Monday morning but it died down some before we left … and for the first time the wind we still had, actually helped us because it was behind us … boy did we get great fuel mileage during the first hour of our drive!  As soon as we crossed into Canada the winds stopped and it was clear sailing all the way home.

Almost back into Canada

We have been very lucky on our return trip this year, usually, we hit a bit of snow and a lot of rain and that didn’t happen this year.  We had clear blue sunny skies almost the entire trip, we did have a huge downpour while we were in line at customs but it quickly cleared up once we were back on the road.

Coming into Penticton, B.C.

Once we left Penticton we followed Okanagan Lake all the way home.

Hello Kelowna, it’s nice to be back!

After an easy border crossing, just the usual questions, we were on our way.  Two and a half hours after we left Omak, WA we arrived back at our summer home and it sure is nice to be back 🙂

And we are back at the park for the summer

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 …

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 …