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 touristy 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 …

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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 pla

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 …

Washington Park, Anacortes, Washington

Hubby thought we should take a drive out to the ferry terminal in Anacortes and along the way we noticed a sign for Washington Park that said they had camping … well of course we had to check that out! We quickly realized that this was not a campground for Maxx because of the narrow roads and low hanging trees, but we did come across a scenic loop drive that was well worth the visit!

Washington Park sits on a peninsula at the west end of Fidalgo Island. The 220-acre park features camping, a boat launch, day use picnic sites and a group tenting area.  The scenic loop drive is a paved 2.2-mile one-way loop road that winds through the forested hills with views of the water. The road is narrow and has a twenty-foot maximum vehicle length restriction.

After travelling around several switchbacks, one that required hubby to turn, back up, and turn again, we arrived at the highest look out where we had views of the San Juan Islands and Olympic Mountains.

When we reached the end of the loop we drove down to the day use area … this is a beautiful park and we will do the drive again when the weather is nicer.

What’s a blog about ocean views without a seagull picture ☺

And I had to include this picture because I think it looks like a Portrait Studio Photo … welcome to the Seagull Portrait Studio … don’t worry this is just a proof, we will make those poop lines disappear in your finished photo.

Today we head back into British Columbia and as long as the weather gods cooperate we should be back home in Kelowna on Sunday.

Until next time …

Feeling Yucky and Anacortes, WA

I’m not sure if it allergies from all the pollen in the air or the start of a cold but I am feeling yucky, so today’s post will be mostly pictures cause I want to go back to sleep 🙂

Yesterday we spent some time touring around Anacortes, Washington. Anacortes is located on Fidalgo Island, in the Pacific Northwest. It is situated halfway between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia and is the port of the San Juan Islands and Victoria, British Columbia ferry runs.

We were very pleasantly surprised at how pretty the town was … even with the yucky weather we were having.

Anacortes really celebrates their history and many of the buildings in old town had pictures depicting the history of the buildings.

Down in the shipyard area we came across these fun downspouts.

Almost all of the houses were in immaculate shape, even though many of them were very old they were all freshly painted and the landscaping was perfect. There were also some beautiful large homes where the deer where enjoying themselves.

As we were driving around we stumble across Cap Sante Park were we had views of Anacortes, the Cascade Mountains, and the San Juan Islands.

The Arbutus Trees were so pretty, I haven’t seen these since I was a kid.

Until next time …

Spring Flowers, A Sunset, And The End Of SR101

Yesterday’s blog was getting long so I saved our Long Beach, Washington pictures for today’s blog.

Spring has come to the west coast, I saw my first wild flower ☺

After setting up in the RV Park we did some chores, had dinner, and then headed out to the beach to watch the sun set.

The nice thing about Long Beach is you can drive out on the sand and head in either direction for many miles. We didn’t go to far since we have driven this beach before, this time we chose to just sit and admire the view.

As we left Long Beach we waved goodbye to the Pacific Ocean and headed inland to Olympia, Washington where we joined I-5 for the rest of our trip to Canada.

Our original plan was to spend the night in a Walmart parking lot in Lacey, Washington but the thought of three nights at a state park on the coast of Washington was to appealing.

Traffic backed up, because of an accident, as we approached Tacoma, Washington. We were delayed a half-hour as emergency vehicles tried to get through three lanes of bumper to bumper traffic.

We watched these guys out hubby’s window between the cab and trailer of the semi next to us. There were very patient as they tried to get vehicles to move over.

Our biggest concern with that delay was that we would hit the start of rush hour traffic in Seattle, but fortunately the express lane was open going north so we sailed right through Seattle … what a bonus!

Heading under Seattle.

And hardly any traffic!

We are now settled in a nice spot at Bay View State Park until Thursday when we will make the less than two-hour drive to hubby’s sister’s place in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Until next time …