A Little Bit Of Dreamin :-)

So we did exactly what we planned to do today, absolutely nothing. We turned on the airconditioning read, watch TV, snoozed off and on, and spent the day giving into our colds. We are hoping that tomorrow we are both back up and running.

I don’t know why the glitsky skyline around the park impresses me, but it does … but no more so than the total darkness and silence of camping in the wilderness off the grid. I guess it’s just so different than where we usually spend time that it appeals to me. I love that we can walk to anything, which is also what I loved about spending time in downtown Vancouver or Ottawa while I was working. If I had unlimited dollars I would have condos in Vancouver, New York, Los Angeles, and probably some other big cities like London, Rome, etc., but I would also have cabins in the woods on Timothy Lake, BC, and many other places, mostly around British Columbia. But since I don’t have unlimited resources I will have to make do with a week in an RV park on the small strip in Laughlin 🙂

A pretty sunrise this morning.

Until next time …

Vegetable Field Update #2

Three months ago I posted pictures of three veggie fields around our RV Resort. I then posted updates at the beginning of December and the beginning of January, now less than a month later I have another update … but you won’t see many veggies!

Field one

Photo taken November 6, 2018

Photo taken December 5, 2018

Photo taken January 9, 2019

Photo taken January 30, 2019, probably a day after the field was harvested.

Field two

Photo taken November 6, 2018

Photo taken December 5, 2018.

Photo taken January 9, 2019

Photo taken January 30, 2019. The field was harvest while we were away on our holiday and is now being prepared for a new planting.

Field three

Photo taken November 6, 2018

Photo taken December 5, 2018

Photo taken January 9, 2019

Photo taken January 30, 2019. This field is still growing, although I expect it will be harvested anytime now.

I hope you enjoyed watching veggies grow 🙂

And I thought it might be fun to end this blog with a little vegetable skill testing question, what do you think is growing in this field? Please give me your guess in the comments section and I will post the results and the answer in a few days.

Until next time …

Time To Go ☹, Rarotongo, CI

All to quickly our time came to head to the airport. We have had a fabulous week at Palm Grove Garden Resort!

So why did we choose The Cook Islands? Well we celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary last September and last July we decided we should do something special. We married young and started our family right away, which didn’t leave a lot of free cash for travelling. Although we have managed to do some pretty awesome trips, Japan, Costa Rica, Mexican Riviera, Domincan Republic, Caribbean and Alaska cruises, and of course the last five years of winter travels which included the Florida Keys. When trying to decided what to do to celebrate our anniversary we visited a travel agent who had clients that return to Palm Grove Garden Resort in Rarotongo every year. After listening to her description and doing some research we knew this was the place for us and we have not been disappointed!

If you are every fortunate enough to visit The Cook Islands here are some tips for you …

If you want cell service you can purchase a package from Blue Sky, they have a kiosk at the airport once you clear customs. For $50.00 we got thirty minutes of talk anywhere in the world, three hundred incoming/outgoing texts, and three gig of data. It worked well and we thought it was worth the money.

Bring water shoes, the coral is very sharp! We did bring our own but the resort also provided shoes. The beach in front of our resort was white sand for a long way so you didn’t need water shoes for swimming but they were very handy when we walked out to the coral reef.

The Flame Tree

Close up of the flower on the Flame Tree

Our resort also provided snorkeling equipment and kayaks free of charge and I think most of the resorts we looked at do this as well.

Lot’s of different coloured hibiscus.

At someone’s suggestion we packed our rain jackets and an umbrella but never used them. We did get the odd rain shower, and that one fairly rainy day, but never enough to wear our coats. One night after dinner we wandered down to the store and it starting raining, the rain continued until we arrived back at our villa, but it was so fine and so warm that we were dry when we walked into the villa. As I have mentioned before the rain hangs over the mountains in the centre of the island but rarely fell over the beaches.

Sunscreen is expensive so bring lots from home, and use it. We put sunscreen on as soon as we arrived in our villa but others didn’t and were very red that first night! I also brought some aloe after sun lotion and I was glad I did.

We had been told that alcohol was very expensive on the island so we picked up two one litre bottles of spiced rum from the duty free at LAX, you can bring in two litres of alcohol each. You can also purchase alcohol from the Rarotongo duty free store when you land and before you cross through customs but since we already had ours I didn’t check out the prices. Alcohol was expensive but honestly not a whole lot more than we pay in Canada and as I mentioned the Canadian dollar is a little better than the New Zealand dollar. A bottle of rum at the supermarket was $40.00 and a glass of wine at the restaurant in our resort was $7.50 and a bottle of local beer was $5.50. We purchased a nice Pinto Gris in our local supermarket and it was only $16.90 a bottle.

We had also been told snack food, like potatoe chips, were very expensive so we packed cheese, crackers, popcorn, and trail mix. Snack food is expensive and we tended to have cheese and crackers for lunch so I wish I had brought a lot more. We brought three different blocks of cheese, which I placed in a zip lock bag with a thick ice pack, and they made it here just fine and the ice pack was still partly frozen.
There was a supermarket about a three minute walk from our villa, which was great for basics, but other than the fruit juice for our drinks we bought all our other food at a large supermarket in town. The main reason we chose to bring rum is because pop is also very expensive on the island, $8.00 for 1.5 litres, but fruit juice is much more reasonable, $8.90 for 2.4 litres. So gin and tonics were out, and actually I never did see tonic water, but rum and fruit juice were definitely in!
If you like beer, Rarotongo Brewery is a good option. We purchased a 2 litre flagon (their version of a growler) mainly because we wanted it as a souvenir but also because a fill was only $14.00 and, lets face it, a cold beer on a warm afternoon while listening to the waves roll up on the sand is very enjoyable.

I saw this flower on the side of the road and thought it was pretty.

The next day I saw it used in a floral arrangement … so very pretty!

So there you have our suggestions for a more enjoyable trip to Rarotongo. If you ever get the chance to visit, take it! We would definitely come again.

Until next time …

Another Foggy Start :-(

We left Cabelas yesterday morning in a sea of fog, so dense that I wasn’t able to take a picture as the camera had nothing to focus on. Fortunately it did ease up a bit but it was still pretty yucky.

Interstate 5

It would lift for awhile ….

Interstate 5

WA 107

But then it would come right back in 😦When I read the weather advisory it said the fog would start to lift at 10:00 a.m. and sure enough at 10:08 a.m. just after we turned onto SR 101 it disappeared 🙂
Shortly before noon we crossed over the Astoria/Megler bridge … Unfortunately the fog rolled back in but it is still an impressive bridge! I wrote about it when we crossed last year so check out this blog if you want more information and pictures.And not long after that we arrived at Fort Stevens State Park where we are settled for the next two nights. We need to do a Costco trip and some other grocery shopping to fill the fridge, and we have a few sites we want to see around this area.

Until next time …

And We Are Off!

We woke up to thick fog 😦I always have this funny feeling the day we embark on our winter adventures. I’m so sad to leave family and friends, scared of having an accident or getting into a scary situation in a town we don’t know, and because I like to be totally in control I get scared of going to places I have never been … but then there is also excitement to see new places, meet new people, and especially catch up with our winter friends.  So with these mixed feelings hubby and I set off for our 2018/2019 Snowbird Adventures 🙂

The fog still hadn’t let up.

Crossing the border was incredibly easy, we showed our passports and gave him the plate number for Maxx, said where we were going and for how long, responded to the food question with “dry goods, and condiments, but no fresh fruits or vegetables” and we were on our way! No Agriculture search which we always get when we cross at Osoyoss, B.C. but never get anywhere else … I have no idea why.

The fog never really did let up, although there were brief periods where it would lift a little but it never lasted long.
Other than the usual Saturday traffic through Seattle and a half hour delay due to an accident on I-5, we arrived at Camp Walmart in Lacey, Washington safely. Our plan was to stay there, like we have many times before, but it was a little sketchy and the staff were rude when we went in to buy groceries so we left … and it was a good move! We went across the interstate to Cabela’s and enjoyed a quiet evening with beautiful views 🙂

Until next time …


Snowfall Warning For The Coquihalla :-)

We woke up to a very warm morning yesterday, although I could tell we had some really low cloud the minute I walked out the door for my walk and it was still dark. It was sad doing my final walk around the park 😦 but we plan on being back next year!

My last view of Kelowna from this side of the lake … hopefully the next time we see Kelowna it is covered in a blanket of fluffy white snow when we fly home for Christmas 🙂

After my walk I sat down with my laptop and coffee and opened up our local on-line news site only to be greeted with “Snowfall Warning For The Coquihalla” … that’s not what we wanted to see! Fortunately it wasn’t expected to start until the afternoon so we packed up quickly and hit the road a little earlier than planned.

Before hitting the Coquihalla we had to make it over the Connector and that stretch of highway is 400 metres, 1320 feet, higher than the Coquihalla.

We did hit thick fog and temperatures hovering on the freezing mark at the summit but other than that the roads were in good shape with just a skiff of snow along the sides.

This was the start of the fog, it got much thicker … so thick that I wasn’t able to get a picture because I had nothing to focus on!

Coming down off the Connector into Merritt, B.C. the fog cleared but the rain became heavier.

Heavy cloud as we entered the Coquihalla but at least we didn’t get the heavy fog.

The snow shed was clear and from here on in we knew the roads would be good!

Traffic was very heavy and the roads were wet but other than that it was a really good trip and we made it safely to Abbotsford, B.C. PHEW, that was the hard part of the trip!

The colors are always so vibrant this time of year.

Nearing Hope, B.C. and the end of the Coquihalla … or Highway Thru Hell as it is better know to the rest of the world ☺

Now that Maxx is on the coast we should have an easy drive south as there are no higher mountain passes to cross. Tomorrow we will fly to Edmonton for a week of visiting and warm squeezy hugs 🙂

Until next time …

2017/2018 Snowbird Wrap-Up

Our route south this year … a very round about way to get to Yuma, Arizona 🙂

We have been home for a week and have had fun catching up with family and friends, done numerous loads of laundry, and lot’s of little chores. In the next few days we will start washing Maxx both inside and out, and clean out cupboards and storage bays.

Our year started with a visit with our niece in Castelgar, B.C. … I think she tried to end our year with a hike to the top of this mountain!

Tomorrow we will pull into our site at Bear Creek Provincial Park where we will spend another summer at the lake 🙂

Our winter south almost ended with a blown axle just east of Missoula, MT!

But we were back on the road the next day and enjoyed some downtime in Tishomingo, OK where we drove out to Blake Shelton’s Ranch.

We left early last fall in order to attend the Albuquerque Balloon Festival at the beginning of October. Leaving early also allowed us to tour through some of the more central states that we can’t get to during the winter, and we had a lot of fun doing that!

We knew we were in for a great week at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta when we woke up to this view in the Walmart parking lot! ☺

Loved this statue in Santa Fe, NM … Rock, Paper, Scissors

Over the past six months:

  • We travelled through thirteen states; our previous record was eleven when we went to Florida for the winter.
  • We covered 10,235 mi (16,430 km), which is only 708 mi (1,139 Km) more than 2016/2017 … that really surprised us as we went so much further east than we usually do. We were up from 8,085 mi (13,012 km) in 2015/2016 and 9,451 mi (15,211 km) in 2014/2015; but down from 14,093 mi (22,680 km) in 2013/2014, which was the year we went all the way down to the Florida Keys.
  • We spent $2,719.54 on fuel compared to $2,150.60 in 2016/2017; $1,526.24 in 2015/2016; $2,350.54 in 2014/2015; and $5,041.40 in 2013/2014.
  • On average we paid $2.598 a gallon for diesel up from $2.514 in 2016/2017 and $2.096 in 2015/2016, but down from $3.128 in 2014/2015 and $3.813 in 2013/2014!
  • The most expensive diesel was $3.589 per gallon in Lodi, CA; our cheapest diesel was $2.259 per gallon in Yuma, AZ, which is up from last year where our cheapest diesel was $2.199 also in Yuma, and can you believe in 2016 we only paid $1.559 per gallon in Yuma, AZ! This past season fuel costs made up 13.14% of our budget, up considerably from 2015/2016 where fuel costs only made up 8.68% of our budget … and that is directly attributed to the higher fuel prices and more miles, not because we spent more on other line items 🙂

Standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona … such a fine thing to do!

And what would a year south be without a Quartzite, AZ sunset ☺

And once again we had a great winter. Hubby and I have now spent four and a half years living full time in Maxx and we still love it, and each other 🙂

Aside from the adventure with our broken axle this was probably the biggest thing to stand out in my mind … I was out for an early morning walk in Palm Desert, CA when this car passed me at a very high speed. I had to jump out of the way and just after it passed me it rolled three times and landed in the driveway of a house. The incident scared me so bad that I didn’t walk for a week and I wasn’t able to write about it … fortunately all that’s left of that memory is a picture I copied off the internet 🙂

And our year ended with great views up the Oregon coast

Until next time …

Back In Kelowna, British Columbia

Well hubby’s research over the last few days paid off! After looking at the weather and the Drive BC website he decided Sunday was the day we should head over the Coquihalla Highway and the Okanagan Connector and he was right!

The weather didn’t look good when we left his sister place

But by the time we hit the entrance to the Coquihalla the sky was starting to clear.

The Coquihalla or Coq (pronounced coke) as we all know it, runs from Hope, British Columbia to Merritt, British Columbia. This 115km (71mi) highway is also known as the Highway Thru Hell, thanks to a popular TV Show on Discovery that features tow truck drivers during their busy winter season on the Coquihalla.

Signs along the Coquihalla Highway frequently warn drivers to be aware of sudden changes in weather. The highway is particularly dangerous during winter season and since we are on the tail end of that, we knew this would be our biggest challenge in getting home. Fortunately the weather held out for us and we had no trouble getting over our first pass.

That brown stuff on the side of the road isn’t dirt, that’s snow mixed with sand!

After leaving Merritt, B.C. we still had the Okanagan Connector to get over, which has a higher pass than the Coquihalla. Pennask Summit sits 1,728m (5,669 ft) above sea level but once again the roads were dry, although there definitely was a lot of snow on the sides of the highway!

It was so nice to arrive in our daughter’s driveway and have that last challenge behind us! We were surprised with the amount of snow they still have in their yard as it is usually all gone by this time of the year. I’m anxious for it to melt and the spring flowers to bloom, but in the meantime I will settle for warm squeezy hugs and lots of family time 🙂

It is always nice to come down off the Okanagan Connector and get our first view of Okanagan Lake 🙂

And coming across Okanagan Lake Floating Bridge into Kelowna. There is a lot more snow on those hills than we usually see this time of year.

Until next time …

Family Time

So I don’t have a lot of pictures to show but we have been having a great time visiting with hubby’s family the last two days. A cousin of hubby’s is visiting from Saskatchewan so hubby, his sister, his cousin, and his mom have been going through family pictures. Hubby has been scanning them into the computer and the four of them have been busy identifying everyone in the pictures and having a lot of fun doing it!

We spent our last night with them sitting around the fire having a hot dog roast and a lot of laughs 🙂

Yup on the southwest coast of British Columbia it is warm enough to sit outside around the campfire … although it was good that it was a big fire and threw off a lot of heat!

So far it looks like the weather will be okay to travel the two mountain passes we need to cross to get home to Kelowna today, which is a good thing because we apparently have three very anxious grandsons awaiting our return 🙂

Until next time …

Back In Canada!

Remember I mentioned our oldest son was in London, England for work, well our youngest son is in San Diego, California also for work … does it sound like bragging? Well let’s get serious folks, I am full on bragging and very proud! But why am I telling you this? I thought it was funny that our oldest son wished me happy Mother’s Day from Europe and yesterday our youngest son was so excited when he sent us a video of an aircraft carrier he viewed from the window of a restaurant where he was having dinner. This is the son who was in the military so these things interest him, but what I think is funny about this story is the fact that we could respond to him and say that we had toured that aircraft carrier when we were in San Diego a few years ago and if he isn’t lucky enough to get there in time to do a tour he could always read his mom’s blog!!!! Yup that was just to much fun for me! Seriously out of our three children and their spouses I think he is the only one who doesn’t read my blog … maybe this will change his mind … okay probably not but I felt like I had one up on him 🙂

Our drive started off along back roads through farming communities.

So back to regularly scheduled blogging … Yesterday we packed up Maxx, got out our passports, Canadian wallets, and hubby’s Canadian cell phone and headed for the US Canada border. Before we headed out I contacted Rogers and took my cell phone off suspension so as soon as we arrived in Canada we should have been good to go communication wise, of course that didn’t happen. For some reason they removed the suspension from my phone and then immediately put it back on again, it wasn’t until nearly 6:00 p.m. that I was finally able to get them to take the suspension off … I honestly don’t like cell phone companies but what can you do!

As much as we enjoy our winters south is always comforting to be back in BC, it’s just nice to know that if anything happens, you are home and help is not far away.

It was nice to see the mountains again.

The Lynden border crossing has been redone since we came through four years ago. This is the commercial side, the one we went through was just as nice but more lanes.

Two hours after we left Anacortes, Washington we were all set up at hubby’s sister’s place and the visiting with family has already begun 🙂

Until next time …