It’s Nice To Be Home!!!

We were welcomed by warm squeezy hugs from very excited grandchildren! Of course grandma and grandpa were just as excited 🙂

So I thought I would share how our expenses broke down compared to last year but I also want to share this fact … last year, through out our travels, the price of gas varied by $.57, this year the price of gas varied by $1.64!!!

Over the five months (149 days because we came home for Christmas) that we were away:

  • We covered 9,451 miles (15,211 km) this year, last year we covered 14,093 miles (22,680 km) but last year we went out to the tip of the Florida Keys;
  • Spent $2,350.54 in fuel compared to $5,041.40 last year and $3,546.69 for RV Parks compared to $3,703.34;
  • Averaged 13.01 miles to the gallon compared to 12.74 last year;
  • Spent $151.49 in tolls and parking ($120.00 for parking at the Las Vegas airport when we came home for Christmas) compared to $49.50 in road tolls last year (mostly in Florida and a few in Houston);
  • Cell phone and internet cost us $444.34 compared to $685.19 last year, mainly because we switched to Roam Mobility for our cell phone this year, a move we are glad we made;
  • Last year hubby cleared just over $1,000 in winnings between Las Vegas and his win in Fort Langley, BC on our return trip, this year we spent $36.80 … still not bad for 5 days in Las Vegas at the start of our trip, mainly because we did win several times;
  • This year I probably took another 3,000 pictures but I saved 1,671 versus the well over 3,000 pictures I took last year and the 864 I saved. I guess I need to pare down this years pictures 🙂 ;
  • And again, the most important fact of all …. Hubby and I have now spent eighteen months living full time in Maxx and we still love it and each other!!

Of course the figures above don’t take into account the sad exchange rate on the Canadian dollar but there’s not much I can do about that, although it did cause us to really consider what we were purchasing.

Now that we are home I am going to take some time off from blogging, but will try to post once a week, or more often if we are travelling. Thanks for spending our second snowbird year with us 🙂

Until next time …

Crossing the Border

An incredibly easy border crossing yesterday! We crossed Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. and drove right up, nobody in front of us. The only questions asked where:

  • How long were you gone?
  • Do you own a lot down south?
  • How much are you brining back?
  • Any alcohol or tobacco?
  • Any chicken, turkey, or eggs? What?? This was a new one and of course I chicken and eggs 😦

Apparently there is Avian Flu in the US so as of two months ago you can no longer bring back any “wing” products. We were told to pull over at the curb on the Canadian side, take our chicken and eggs and dump them in a freezer and then we could be on our way. As a fellow blogger always says “easy, peasy” 🙂

Until next time …

Warm Squeezy Hugs Here We Come :-)

Yesterday we left Chelan, WA and made our way to Omak, WA for the night. Spending the night in Omak gave us a chance to fill up the truck and propane tanks for way less than we will be spending once we cross the border (even with the lousy exchange rate right now!). Hubby also wanted to visit the Omak Big R but sadly it has now changed to North40 and the prices are not nearly as good as they were 😦 .

But now we are filled up, packed up, have put away our US cell phone and wallets, pulled out our Canadian cell phone and wallets along with our passports, and now we are heading home for warm squeezy hugs from our grandchildren … yup there are big smiles on our faces today!

Until next time …

Lady of the Lake

Those of you who know me well will probably know what the words “Lady of the Lake” conjure up in my mind, but this is a different Lady of the Lake 🙂  Yesterday we took the boat called Lady of the Lake up Lake Chelan to Stehekin, with stops in Field’s Point and Lucerne. We have wanted to take this trip many times but up until now it has never worked out, since yesterday was warm and sunny so it seemed like the perfect time to do it.

A perfect day to be on the lake!

A perfect day to be on the lake!

2015-03-27 -004- Lady of The Lake, Chelan, WA

These geese entertained us while we waited to board.

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These geese entertained us while we waited to board.

Mid air collision!

But they survived :-)

But they survived 🙂

Lake Chelan is one of Washington’s largest inland bodies of fresh water. The average width of the lake is less than 2 miles but the lake extends 55 miles into the Cascade Mountains, with depths over 1,500 feet. Twenty-seven glaciers and 59 streams feed the lake and the scenery up the lake was beautiful!

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Many passengers got off at Lucerne where they were headed for Holden Village, a year round Christian retreat.

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It was really interesting watching them off load luggage and groceries; they make a human chain up the ramp to a bus, which takes passengers and cargo the 12-mile drive into Holden.

2015-03-27 -019- Lady of The Lake, Chelan, WAStehekin and Lucerne are only accessible by boat or seaplane, or by foot if you’re up for a 50-mile hike! The hamlet of Stehekin is located at the head of the Lake Chelan and has approximately 95 full-time residents. Residents order groceries from a store in Chelan by completing an order form and sending it to the store along with a blank cheque. The store fills the order and staff from the Lady of the Lake boat pick up the groceries and deliver them on their next trip up the lake. Mail is also delivered to these communities by the boat.

2015-03-27 -021- Lady of The Lake, Chelan, WA

Arriving in Stehekin

Arriving in Stehekin

When we arrive in Stehekin we had an hour before the return trip so we enjoyed lunch at the lodge and wandering through the village. There are many hiking trails in this area and you can camp or stay at the Lodge.

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There are lots of places to stop and have a picnic.

There are lots of places to stop and have a picnic.

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Six hours later we arrived back in Chelan with wonderful memories of a village nestled in nature and almost untouched by modern life!

Until next time …

Chelan, Washington

We are enjoying three days in Chelan, WA where we spent many long weekends before we retired.

Chelan is nestled at the edge of the Cascade Mountains on the shore of Lake Chelan in North Central Washington. We are staying at the Lakeshore RV Park, which is run by the City of Chelan, and are enjoying a beautiful view of the lake from almost every window in the RV.

2015-03-26 -001- Chelan, WA 2015-03-26 -002- Chelan, WA

During the winter season the rate is $30.00 a night and we have never had a problem getting a site. During the summer months the rate for our site is $60.00 a night and you better have reserved long in advance! When we come here in the summer months we stay for free at the casino in Mason, about ten minutes from Chelan. We just can’t bring ourselves to spend $60.00 a night and we never plan that far in advance, so the casino has always worked out well 🙂  Plus they have some sites at the front of their parking lot that have power, but we generally stay in the field at the back under the trees.

The big advantage to staying at the RV Park is the fact that you are right in town and can walk to restaurants, shopping, etc. and it’s only forty-five minutes from Wenatchee so we always made a visit to Costco and Fred Myers.

Last night we walked up to our favorite pub BC McDonalds and had another great dinner with awesome service. I have read many terrible reviews on Trip Advisor about this restaurant but hubby and I have been coming here for many years and have never been disappointed … both the service and food are fantastic! We do sit at the bar because we enjoy the interaction so maybe that’s the difference, but we have never had a reason to complain. Last night we noticed the pub had a lot of updating done but fortunately they kept the original bar and the cabinets behind the bar, which the bartender told us, were shipped over from Spain in 1914.

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This picture really doesn’t do the bar justice!

When we commented on the new granite countertop he told us that last fall the water pipes from the hotel, which the pub is part of, broke and dumped three feet of water in the pub. Fortunately the flood was discovered about 45 minutes later, the doors where opened to allow the water to disperse, the recovery company was called and the old bar and cabinets where saved! And after four months the pub reopened in time for us to visit 🙂

According to the Chamber of Commerce the Chelan Valley is one of the fastest growing wine regions in the county, with several vineyards producing award winning wines.  We have never visited a winery in this area because the Okanagan Valley of BC, where we live, produces 82% of BC’s vineyard acreage and it’s own fair share of award winning wines and we have no shortages of favorites 🙂  But that sounds like a topic for a summer blog!

For now we will enjoy being back in short sleeves and flip flops and wander the streets of Chelan 🙂

Until next time …

British Columbia Versus California

On Whale Wale Watching …

Almost two weeks ago I wrote about our whale watching tour in Marina Del Rey, California and how happy we were that we were able to spend three hours watching six grey whales frolicking in the ocean. Two days after we did our tour my sister and brother-in-law took a whale watching cruise off the coast of Tofino, British Columbia and after looking at the pictures she sent me I think their tour won, but I will let you judge for yourself 🙂

Our pictures of grey whales

2015-03-14 -015- Whale Watching Marina Del Rey 2015-03-14 -016- Whale Watching Marina Del Rey 2015-03-14 -019- Whale Watching Marina Del Rey 2015-03-14 -026- Whale Watching Marina Del ReyMy sister’s pictures of the whales they saw

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They did spend the first few hours of their tour watching grey whales, maybe even the same ones we saw … maybe they had made their way up to BC by then 🙂  As they were heading back to port their captain was told there were orcas, also known as killer whales, near by, so he turned their boat around and head off to find them. And find them he did! They were lucky enough to spend another hour watching the orcas frolicking and breaching the ocean. On the way back to port my sister told me she was talking to two people and facing the back of the boat when two killer whales breached at the same time, almost as if they were saying goodbye!

I’m very happy with our whale watching tour and I enjoyed being out on the ocean in my shorts on a beautiful sunny day while my sister was bundled up in her winter coat for her tour, but I still think she wins!

Until next time …

Heading North

The other day we drove through Nevada, back into California, and then into Oregon where we planned to spend the night at Camp Wal-Mart in Klamath Falls. Fortunately I checked the weather forecast as we pulled into town and noticed that there was a special weather statement … yup snow was forecast for the next three days 😦  So what to do? Well we could have found an RV Park and hunker down for three days but that didn’t really appeal to us, so I checked the weather in Bend, Oregon, where we had planned to head next for a two day stay. There was no snow in the forecast for Bend so we decided to make it a really long day and drive through heavy rain … and some wet snow, but we finally arrived in Bend around 7:00 p.m (a seven hour day for us … we can’t remember the last time we drove that long!).

When we woke up the next morning there was some slushy stuff in shady areas on the ground but clear blue skies so things looked good. Well they did look good until I hit send on an email to friends saying our weather was looking good and then I turned and looked out the window to see this scene!

What the heck, we just had blue skies!

What the heck, we just had blue skies!

But it didn’t last long, less than five minutes later this is what the view out the window looked liked 🙂

Now that’s better!

Now that’s better!

We have decided to head straight up Highway 97 back to the Okanagan rather than going through the lower mainland of BC, mainly because the mountain pass we would have to drive through from the coast to get home is still getting heavy snowfalls. We will also have a chance to visit with hubby’s mom at the end of April so it seemed like a wise move to avoid the chance of bad roads.

We had one scary moment as we left Nevada and headed into California. For the first time in all our travels they actually asked if we had any fruits and vegetables, and of course I had just done our grocery shopping a few days ago. Normally I plan ahead and I usually don’t have much and up until now we have always been waved through. But this time, since we were only briefly passing through California, I completely forgot about emptying the fridge! So the inspection agent asks “Do you have any fruits or vegetables”? Hubby looks at me, so I answer “Yes, I have both” with a sinking heart thinking there goes my lunch along with everything else L The inspection agent gives us a look and then kinda of raises his eyebrows, gives a slight smile, and says “Carry On” … wow did we dodge a bullet there!

We took Highway 139 through Northern California into Oregon and it was just like driving on Highway 33 in BC.

2015-03-22 -001- Highway 139

Today we are leaving Yakima, Washington and heading onto Chelan, Washington, one of our favorite weekend spots (we are getting close to home 🙂 ) where we will stay for the next three nights … and so far the roads and the weather have been great

Until next time …