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 …

Dry Falls, Washington

I wrote this blog on March 23, 2020 but for some reason it was never published … so here it is.
I think I mentioned in a previous blog that the route we took home this year was the route we took in 2013 when we made our first trip south for the winter, so we think it was only fitting that it was the same route we took home on what, if this pandemic goes on, may be our last trip south for the winter.
In October of 2013 we became full time RVers but because of a broken foot I was unable to travel until the end of November. We left Kelowna on November 21st with cold temperatures and light snow on the ground. As we headed out that morning we were both a little unsure about leaving our family and friends and heading out to places unknown. It wasn’t until we came around a corner and saw Dry Falls that it hit us both … we were about to see some amazing places on this new adventure we were embarking on! We pulled into the Visitor Centre at Dry Falls and I took the picture below. This was the first picture I ever posted on my blog.It was getting late when we arrived at Dry Falls this year but I was happy that there was still enough light to get new pictures

Dry Falls is the remnant of what was once the largest waterfall known to have existed on earth. There are 5.6 km (3.5 miles) of sheer cliffs that drop 122 m (400 ft.), if you visualize this area with the roar of water pouring over the cliffs you can imagine how amazing it would have been. Niagara Falls, on the US side, is only 1.6 km (1 mile) wide and has a drop of 50 m (165 ft).

We have no idea what is in store for us next winter but whatever happens we have had an amazing ride so far!

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 …

A Few Last Pictures

We are all settled in at the campground and are into day three of our fourteen day Self Isolation. I did post signs on the Camp Host sign at the front of our site, the pamphlet rack bulletin board, and on the door window of Maxx, saying that we had just returned from the US and were in self isolation until April 2nd. BC Parks did close all their parks until April 30th and the gates of the park are locked, but people still find ways to come in and wander around. In previous years they have knocked on the door with their questions on how to get sites, or when is the campground opening, so I wanted to make it clear that we wouldn’t be able to talk to them expect through the closed window of the RV.

Park Lake on Highway 17, Washington.

I also finally manage to convince our mobile provider that I was unable to go into our local store and show them my ID … they really don’t need this since we already have an account with them for our home line which we do not suspend in the winter. So at least I have some data which we can use for the next two weeks.

We had a beautiful sunset on our last night in the US.

Other than that we have been pretty lazy the last few days and today wasn’t any different. Tomorrow I want to start doing a deep clean on the inside of the RV and if nobody is around hubby will start on the outside.

It was very comforting to see Okanagan Lake on our way home.

But for now we are enjoying our self isolation … I hope wherever you are you are safe and healthy and enjoying your day 😄

Until next time …