2015/2016 Snowbird Wrap-Up

2014-10-28 -009- Avenue of the Giants

We arrived home safely and I spent St. Patrick’s Day working on the inside of Maxx. He has now been wiped clean from top to bottom and I even went through all the cupboards and took out the stuff I haven’t used for a year. In the next few days we will start washing Maxx on the outside, it sure will be nice to see out of clean windows again!

It is nice to be home and we sure enjoyed having our three grandsons drop over to visit with us while we ate breakfast 🙂

Over the past five months:

  • We covered 8,085 mi (13,012 km), down from 9,451 (15,211 km) in 2014/2015 and 14,093 mi (22,680) in 2013/2014.
  • We spent $1,526.24 on fuel compared to $2,350.54 in 2014/2015 and $5,041.40 in 2013/2014.
  • On average we paid $2.096 a gallon for diesel, down from $3.128 in 2014/2015 and $3.813 in 2013/2014!
  • The most expensive diesel was $2.739 per gallon in Bishop, CA; our cheapest diesel was $1.559 per gallon in Yuma, AZ. Fuel costs made up 8.68% of our budget.
  • RV parks made up 20% of our budget.

And I know I say this every year but I think it is important … hubby and I have now spent two and a half years living full time in Maxx and we still love it, and each other 🙂

Until next time …

Chelan, Washington – A Full Circle

We had an easy drive to Chelan, which was a nice break after our travels yesterday!

This is what we saw for most of our drive, freshly planted fields, sunshine, and nobody else on the road.

This is what we saw for most of our drive, freshly planted fields, sunshine, and nobody else on the road.

Although we did come across snow on Highway 172 just as we were starting our decent down a five-mile long hill, but it was only on the sides of the highway and the road was dry.

2016-03-15 -002- Highway 172 WAWe had a great view of Lake Chelan as we were coming down the hill.

2016-03-15 -003- Highway 172 WAI thought it was only fitting that we spend our final night in the United States in Chelan since we spent our first night here when we began our trip last October.

It also seemed only fitting to honor it in the same way as we did in October 🙂

 2015-10-15 -001- Lakeshore RV Park

We had dinner at hubby’s favorite restaurant/pub BC McDonald’s, great food, great prices, and great Wi-Fi!

Tomorrow we will head home to help celebrate our youngest grandson’s 7th birthday. There is a reason that we returned home early this year but I will save that news for later.

Until next time …

Well That’s Not Good :-(

For the past week I have been carefully monitoring the weather for our trip north and I knew a cold front was coming but our travel plans had us ahead of it. Well that all changed when we arrived in Butte, Montana. Originally we planned to spend last night in Idaho Falls, Idaho but as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog they had heavy wind warnings, which didn’t bode well for our drive the next day. When I double-checked the weather forecast for Butte it looked okay for yesterday and today but starting tomorrow they had snowfall warnings and cold temps for the next week. So it seemed okay to spend the night in Butte and then move onto Missoula today, but what actually happened wasn’t so good! Apparently the weather front was in a hurry and we woke up to a winter wonderland this morning.

2016-03-14 -001- Butte, MT

So we snuggled under the covers with our coffee and killed time until the snow melted on the raods. During that time hubby checked the I-90 highway information and cameras and it appeared the passes were clear in our direction of travel. The front was coming from the south and heading north east with Butte in the center and we were heading north west. We really didn’t want to hunker down in Butte for a week waiting out the snow so once the road cleared we headed out. All was well until we were about 20 miles west of Butte.

It started to snow … that wasn’t suppose to happen!

It started to snow … that wasn’t suppose to happen!

And then it really came down!

And then it really came down!

That fun event lasted for about forty-five minutes. At one point, when the snow started sticking to the ground, we considered pulling off at a rest stop but hubby was worried we would be buried in snow and stuck there for a week. The roads weren’t slippery so he felt we should continue on and, since I trust his driving, I agreed. It turned out that was a good decision as the snow stopped about a mile after the rest stop and by the time we pulled in to Missoula, Montana the roads were almost dry.

(Maxx had a cute face on his front cap when we stopped at the gas station.

(Maxx had a cute face on his front cap when we stopped at the gas station.

So now the next decision was, do we stay in Missoula or carry on to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho? Originally the plan was to stay in Missoula but it looked like the snow in Butte may be head toward Missoula tomorrow, so we decided to take a chance and move on. Again the travel gods were with us because, other than a one pass, the drive into Coeur D’Alene was fine.

But things weren’t looking up 😦  Unfortunately the Passport America RV Park I had picked out in Coeur D’Alene for our two-day stay was a bust, we felt safer staying in a Walmart parking lot. Off we went to the nearest Walmart, but their parking lot was small, crowded and backed right onto I-90. We decided Coeur D’Alene just wasn’t welcoming us, so we headed off to a Walmart along Highway 2 on the south side of Spokane, Washington. Finally after seven and a half hours, and three states, we were finally settled in for the night!

Hopefully, now that we are through the mountain passes, it’s clear sailing from here on home … after a stop in Chelan, Washington 🙂

Until next time …

Goodbye Utah

After six nights in Utah we moved on with the intent of spending last night in Idaho Falls, Idaho but a look at weather forecasts had us scrapping that plan.

Utah did give us a beautiful sunrise for our last day!

Utah did give us a beautiful sunrise for our last day!

Idaho Falls had a wind warning in effect starting today and the passes between Idaho Falls and Butte, Montana had some snow warnings. Both of those warning were enough for us to drive another three and a half hours into Butte and it worked out well as we missed all the problem weather … that’s the beauty of jello solid plans 🙂

On our drive yesterday we hit the first rain we have seen since our drive from Phoenix to Yuma last November, but a least we didn’t hit snow and it did get rid of all the bugs on the windshield. We did drive through a pass with snow on the sides of the interstate but it wasn’t long before we dropped in elevation and drove through farming land.

At least the roads were dry.

At least the roads were dry.

Shortly after the snow started to disappear we came across a large farm with about 250 head of cattle and it looked like each cow had a very new calf beside her. They were so cute to watch that I forgot to take picture!

We also saw more wildlife between Salt Lake City and Butte than we have seen on any of our travels. I saw a very cute red fox right beside the road in Utah, and hubby pointed out four elk and two large herds of antelope in Montana. I don’t have a single picture to show off but I have the memories 🙂

After we set up at Camp Walmart we had a great dinner at Metals Sports Bar located in downtown Butte in the Metals Bank and Trust building built in 1907. The restaurant features the original tellers line and a very impressive bank vault, which is now used as a private dinning room.

Until next time …

Antelope Island State Park, Syracuse, Utah

After touring Salt Lake City we drove out to Antelope Island and spent a few hours touring the island. There is a fee of $10.00 per car load (up to eight people) to enter the park; if you are camping on the island the fee is $30.00 per night.

Antelope Island is the largest island in Great Salt Lake and is home to bison, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope. We also saw a bobcat and were told there are coyotes, badger, owls, hawks and falcons.

Mule Deer

Mule Deer

2016-03-12 -017- Antelope Island, UTWe had no trouble spotting the bison, in 1893 twelve bison were brought into the park and were the beginning of todays herd, which is now at 500 to 700! Every year in the fall the park holds an annual bison roundup to assess the health of the herd and sell off extra animals. I wonder how they decide which bison to sell? It makes me think of the poor turkey who was invited for Christmas dinner thinking he was a guest, these poor bison think someone is checking them over to make sure their health is okay and all of the sudden they end up as a Bison Burger 😦

Little herd of bison

Little herd of bison

2016-03-12 -020- Antelope Island, UT

Big herd of bison

Big herd of bison

This guy jumped out of the gully to cross the road just as we came around the corner … he could have done some damage!

This guy jumped out of the gully to cross the road just as we came around the corner … he could have done some damage!

 Antelope Island is also home to Bridger Bay swimming beach. The shore of this beach is made up of Oolitic sand which are round grains of sand formed when mineral grains or brine shrimp fecal pellets are coated by concentric layers of aragonite, a form of calcium carbonate. Okay I’m not fond of walking on fecal matter but I also read that this is similar to how pearls are formed and I have to admit the sand was pretty neat. Bridger Bay is also popular because the water is so buoyant that people can easily float.

2016-03-12 -007- Antelope Island, UT 2016-03-12 -008- Antelope Island, UTThere are many hiking trails on the island and we plan on returning in the future to stay at the campground and do some hiking. On this trip we spent our time driving the roads on the island and admiring the great views and animals.

2016-03-12 -011- Antelope Island, UT 2016-03-12 -012- Antelope Island, UTUntil next time …

Salt Lake City, Utah

We settled into our spot at Great Salt Lake State Park for $20.00 a night, which included power, water, and awesome Wi-Fi. Our space is not what you would expect for a state park, we are camped along the shores of Great Salt Lake in one of five RV spots at the marina.

2016-03-12 -002- Salt Lake City, UT

Our spot among a few RV’s and sailboats.

2016-03-12 -001- Salt Lake City, UT

We had a great view of Antelope Island from our site!  See tomorrow’s blog.

However for what we are getting for our $20.00 we are not complaining J Great Salt Lake is a remnant of prehistoric Lake Bonneville, which covered more than 20,000 square miles. Today the lake is around 75 miles long and 35 miles wide and averages 13 feet deep, although in areas it can be up to 35 feet deep. It is the largest lake between the Great Lakes and the Pacific Ocean, and is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere.

Four rivers and many streams empty into the Great Salt Lake but the lake has no outlet, which causes a high concentration of salt when the water evaporates. Water evaporates at almost the same rate as water comes into the lake, which allows the lake to remain at 4,200 feet above sea level most of the time. The Dead Sea has a salt level of 33%, north Great Salt Lake has a salt level of 25% and south Great Salt Lake has a salt level of 14%, the ocean only has a salt level of 3.5%.

Fish cannot tolerate the high saline levels in Great Salt Lake but brine shrimp, brine fly larvae, and algae thrive in the lake and provide a good food source for many species of birds.

After lunch we took a drive into Salt Lake City with a population of 191,180 (2013) in the city and 1,153,340 (2014) in the entire metropolitan area. Salt Lake City is Utah’s state capital and is bordered by the Great Salt Lake and the snow-capped peaks of the Wasatch Range.

Pretty impressive building that sits atop a hill overlooking Downtown Salt Lake City.

Pretty impressive building that sits atop a hill overlooking Downtown Salt Lake City.

Pretty impressive building that sits atop a hill overlooking Downtown Salt Lake City.

Pretty impressive building that sits atop a hill overlooking Downtown Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City is home to the headquarters of the Mormon Church with is located downtown on the 10-acre Temple Square which is also home to the 19th-century Salt Lake Temple. The well known Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs in the square’s domed Tabernacle. We tried to find a parking spot so that we could walk around Temple Square but didn’t have any luck … perhaps next time. We were able to find a parking spot in front of Salt Lake City’s City Hall, which was also very impressive.

2016-03-12 -003- Salt Lake City, UT

Until next time …

Utah Highways

We are really impressed with the roads in Utah so far. Today’s trip took us up I-15 and it was smooth with only a few gentle hills. This is pretty unusual for most of the interstates we have travelled; they are normally very rough and sometimes hard on Maxx’s innards.

I-15 … not really happy about all the snow on the hills L

I-15 … not really happy about all the snow on the hills 😦

The roads in Zion National Park are a pretty red.

The roads in Zion National Park are a pretty red.

Although the speed limit on I-15 is 80mi, 130km, an hour we sure saw a lot of vehicles pulled over by highway patrol!

We spent last night at Camp Walmart in Springville, Utah and it turned out to have an added bonus, there was a Mongolian Grill within walking distance and hubby and I love a good Mongolian Grill!

Lot's of snow!

Lot’s of snow!

Today we are headed into Salt Lake City where we plan to spend two nights at a State Park on Great Salt Lake.

Until next time …