2018/2019 Snowbird Wrap-Up

Our year south started off with rainy, foggy weather.

We have been home for four weeks and have had fun catching up with family and friends, made a trip to Edmonton to visit our two sons and family, done numerous loads of laundry, and lot’s of little chores. In the next few weeks we will start washing Maxx both inside and out, and clean out cupboards and storage bays.

But after a few days the weather cleared up and we had a nice drive down the Washington and Oregon coasts.

Without a doubt the highlight of this winter’s travel was our trip to the Cook Islands! Hubby and I had so much fun and can’t say enough good things about the islands and the people. While tourism is a big economic driver to their economy the thing that impressed us the most is how little that affected island life. The locals made us feel very welcome but they were not going to build massive resorts, restaurants, and gift shops to cater to tourists … and we loved that! The island is so laid back and relaxing, definitely worth a visit.

Happy hour views don’t get much better than this!

Coming in for a landing over Aitutaki, Cook Islands.

Over the past six months:

  • We only travelled through five states (Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Nevada), way down from the thirteen states we hit last year!
  • We covered 7,504 mi (12,077 km), which is down 2,731mi (4,395 km) from 2017/2018 when we travelled 10,235 mi (16,430 km). In fact this was the least distance we have travelled since we hit the road five years ago.
  • We spent $2,152 on fuel compared to $2,719.54 2017/2018; $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 $3.252 a gallon for diesel; up significantly from $2.598 in 2017/2018, $2.514 in 2016/2017, $2.096 in 2015/2016, and $3.128 in 2014/2015, but down from $3.813 in 2013/2014.
  • The most expensive diesel was $4.249 per gallon in Rio Dell, California (California is always our most expensive fuel), last year our highest price was $3.589 per gallon in Lodi, California; our cheapest diesel was $2.459 per gallon in Yuma, Arizona, which is up from last year when our cheapest diesel was $2.259 also in Yuma, and can you believe in 2016 we only paid $1.559 per gallon in Yuma, AZ!

It’s nice to be home and plant our gardens.

And once again we had a great winter and are looking forward to a great summer at the park. Hubby and I have now spent five and a half years living full time in Maxx and we still love the life, and each other 🙂

Hubby found this stump the first year we arrived, I call it my pants stump …I think it looks like a butt with two legs 🙂

Until next time …

To Close For Comfort!

After some careful consideration and a lot of research we came to the conclusion this morning, that we either left today or we were going to have to stay for another four or five days. The highway cameras showed wet roads, but no snow, and road temps above freezing, but they were calling for snow later this afternoon on the Connector. So we decided to leave around 10:30 which would allow the roads to warm up a little more but hopefully get us over the Connector before the snow started. We also knew that once we were over the Coquihalla we could take a longer route home, through Kamloops, BC if the conditions on the Connector didn’t look good.

If you look in front of the black car in the right hand lane, with his brake lights on, you will see the vehicle who is the reason for today’s blog title. The black car’s brake lights are on because she had just cut him off as she was switching back and forth between the two lanes.

We were on the road for half an hour when a car with Washington plates (the one referred to in the picture above) decided that it was going to change to our lane whether we were there or not. I was looking at highway cameras on my phone when all of the sudden the truck and trailer were swerving off the road. It took me a few seconds to process what was going on and it took hubby a few more seconds to get everything back under control, but he did a fantastic job 😯 Fortunately, for all of us on Highway 1, she pulled of the freeway just shortly after she cut us off.

I took this picture shortly before the incident, we thought she was in front of us but I guess we had passed her. We try to stay behind crazy drivers.

The Coquihalla started off pretty good, wet but no snow.

Just as we entered the snow shed we noticed the rain was mixed with snow.

As we headed up the smasher, these terms are for those of you who are Highway Thru Hell fans, there was snow down to road level and the temperatures where down around freezing.

That didn’t last long and once we hit the summit the snow stopped, the roads dried, the temperature went up, and the sky started to brighten.

This picture was taken shortly after the one above. That’s the Coquihalla; conditions can change in no time!

It looked like we had got in front of the weather, and the cameras on the Connector showed favourable road conditions, so we decided to take the shorter route home and headed over the Connector. The Connector is 500m (1,640ft) higher than the Coquihalla but it doesn’t get the wet snow that the Coquihalla gets so it usually isn’t as worrisome.

As we neared the summit it started to snow and was just starting to stick to the road, so we think we timed our trip perfectly 🙂

The snow was tiny dry flakes unlike the wet big flakes the Coquihalla gets … I much prefer our dry snow to the wet snow on the coast.

The flakes are so small they are hard to see but we heard it got heavier throughout the afternoon.

We always feel like we are home when we come down off the Connector and see Okanagan Lake.

It is nice to be back at the campsite 🙂

Until next time …

Fingers Crossed!

Today definitely was not the day to drive back to Kelowna!

This was what the Connector looked like this morning.

Tomorrow things are looking better, and even this afternoon the roads were bare and dry. So if all goes well we should be home sometime tomorrow afternoon 🙂 I’m just a little bit excited!

Until next time …

Signs of Spring

We woke up to drizzle this morning but by early afternoon the sun was out and the clouds were parting to show blue sky. My camera and I spent some time with the daffodils this morning … they are my favourite spring flower.

Signs of spring are definitely popping up on the lower mainland of British Columbia, there is color everywhere and it is so pretty. Fair warning there is flower picture overload in this blog 🙂 After the daffodils, we moved onto the trees.

And I couldn’t leave out this pretty plant.

This was the point were my sister-in-law asked me to weed the gardens while I was down there, so it was time to stand up and back away from the gardens ☺

Nor could I leave out the trees on our drive to breakfast.

We filled up one of our thirty pound propane tanks for $16.58 CND at Costco, and we thought we were getting a good deal in Yuma at $17.65 UDS! Hopefully our new Costco in Kelowna will sell propane. The trees at Costco deserved to have their pictures taken as well.

What else was I going to do while waiting in line to drop off our propane tank

Other than going out for breakfast with hubby’s family and hitting Costco we had a pretty laid back day today, which was nice as it’s the first time since leaving Laughlin, Nevada a week ago that we have not been on the road.

I will close with pictures of the trees on our drive home from Costco 🙂

This one reminded us both of the bougainvilleas we see when we are south for the winter.

Until next time …

That Darn Jello Won’t Stop Wiggling :-)

So the weather was crappy when we woke up, still windy and rainy, and that didn’t sound like nice weather to hike around Anacortes so we packed up and left. Or really lets face it, we were so close to being back in British Columbia that we decided we should just head home, or at least to hubby’s sisters place in Abbotsford 🙂

This is why I leave the bedroom blinds open, if they were closed I may have missed the beautiful sunrise this morning. I took this picture through the bedroom window.

Our border crossing was easy, we were asked how much we were bringing back, how much alcohol (and we didn’t have to pay duty for our extra bottle of wine), any repairs done on the vehicle or trailer, and that was it. Yahoo, Canada let’s us back in 🙂

As soon as we crossed the border the sun came out, it didn’t last long but it was a nice welcome.

We will hang out on the coast for awhile and hopefully one day next week the weather will allow us to cross over the Coquihalla and Connector safely and we will make our way home to Kelowna.

Until next time …

We Made It Through Seattle

We were pretty happy yesterday when we had an easy trip through Portland, we took the truck bypass and it was awesome, but we thought that didn’t bode well for Seattle. You can’t make it through two big cities easily, can you?

Coming into Seattle, traffic is backed up but it’s not bad.

Well it turns out you can’t 😦 We crawled along at 13km, 8m, an hour all the way through Seattle, and hubby had to put up with cars cutting in and out of lanes on either side of us. We would rather drive through Los Angeles than Seattle! But we made it through safely and really that’s all that counts 🙂

Well that’s unfortunate, the one time we were able to take the express lane it was wonderful, we were through the city in no time.

I wish we could do 30 miles an hour!

We are spending two nights in Anacortes, Washington at the Swinomish Casino & Lodge. They have a nice RV park right along the water and full hook-up for only $30.00 a night. Since we couldn’t check in until 2:00 p.m. and we arrived in the area just after 11:00 a.m., hubby thought he would be nice to me and he let me loose in the outlet mall in Burlington.  While I was shopping hubby replaced our shower taps … yup he can always find something to keep himself busy, even in a parking lot!

We have a nice view, if only the weather was nicer. It is very windy here today, yes windier than it has ever been in Yuma!

When we were at the campsite last summer I thought our shower didn’t have as much water pressure as it use to but we figured that was due to the water pressure in the campsite. Then when we headed south for the winter and got to hubby’s sister’s place, where we use our pump, we had no water pressure at all in the shower. As we started travelling we had water pressure when hooked up but not when we were using the pump. It was only a problem with the shower, everything else worked fine. Since we were travelling we decided not to worry about it until we got to Yuma and hubby had some time to figure out what was wrong. Of course once we got to Yuma and were hooked up everything worked fine and life went on. About a month ago I went to have a shower, while in Yuma hooked up to water, and we had no water pressure at all. Hubby took the taps apart, did what he could to fix them, and put them back in the shower. Everything worked fine for a week and then it happened again, so hubby repeated the procedure … and on, and on, this went. He figured we needed new taps so that was the main reason we wanted to stay in Eugene, Oregon, so that we could go to Camping World and get new taps. We did pick them up but didn’t have time to replace them until today. As soon as we got set-up at the Casino I jumped in the shower and the new taps are AWESOME! I didn’t realize how little water pressure we had until now, and the new taps are much nicer than the old ones.

This is what our old taps looked like and I hate them because water would get inside the tap covers and mold would grow. I was constantly pulling them apart and cleaning them.

Until next time …


A Late Start

I like to leave the blinds in the bedroom open at night so I can see the sun come up as I drink my coffee. Last night it started raining and when it got light out this morning I could see damp trees with the sound of light rain on the roof and it just reminded me so much of being at home. We are now one state away from being back in BC and that always feels good. We love our winters in the warmth of the southern US but it sure is comforting to be so close to home 🙂

The only sad part about the rain was that I had to ditch my flip flops and put on my boots 😦 Since we only had a three hour drive today there was no need to get on the road early. We enjoyed our coffee and some reading time before we headed out.

We spent the first part of our day driving through farmland along I-5 in Oregon. It was pretty even though it was damp.

We made a stop in Wilsonville, Oregon at Fry’s Electronics so that hubby could do some techie tax free shopping, but he was very disappointed, he didn’t find a thing and feels the store is on it’s last legs.

It took me two days but I finally got a picture of the wild daffodils that we see whenever we drive up I-5 in Oregon in the spring.

Tonight we are in the parking lot at Cabela’s in Lacey, Washington. We found Cabela’s on our way south this fall, when we decided the Walmart we usually stay at had become to sketchy, and it has become a favorite place to stay.  Even better, the weather has improved and the flip flops are back on!

Once we were set-up we enjoyed a walk through the store, it is always fun looking at their taxidermy displays and the aquarium.

This ones for you keka ☺

Until next time …

Tax Free Oregon :-)

We headed out early this morning in the rain. The temperatures are still warm enough and we had expected to hit rain as we headed north so we aren’t really disappointed.

Win River Casino in Redding, California. Narrow spaces but all paved and pull through with full hook-up.

It was great to see how much the water has risen in Lake Shasta.

I took this picture of Shasta Lake on April 5, 2014 when the water levels were low.

Almost five years to the day and the water level is much higher! Although it was a much nicer day five years ago.

We drove through some of the area were the forest fire happened last year, it was pretty sad, and unfortunately felt all to familiar to what we see at home 😦

They are doing a lot of work cleaning up along the interstate.

An hour after we hit the road the sun came out and we enjoyed a very pretty drive for the rest of the day.

More pretty flowers.

Our plan was to spend a few nights dry camping in the parking lot at Valley River Centre Mall in Eugene, Oregon. We were told the mall allowed RVers to stay for two nights in the southwest corner, and they had no problems with slides out and jacks down. We would be parked right beside the Ruth Bascon Riverbank with hiking and biking trails and of course I would be very close to all the, tax free, shopping I wanted while hubby chilled at home in Maxx. Well that was the plan, but as of January 1, 2019 the mall no longer allows overnight parking 😦 Walmart in Eugene do not allow overnight stays either so we ended up at Armitage Park, which is a really nice county park with thirty-two sites and full hook-up for $30.00 a night. It also had the added benefit of being close to Camping World and Costco, which were two places we needed to visit in Eugene. So instead of two nights in Oregon we will only stay tonight … oh well I really didn’t need to go to the mall 😦

Until next time …

And The Jello Wiggles Again

The last time we stayed at the Tachi Palace Casino in Lemoore, California we said we wouldn’t do it again, it was noisy and oh so smelly in the morning. The smell is the cattle feed lots in the area and when the wind is blowing the right way it stinks! And yet we happily set sail for the Casino yesterday and had a great night. The location works well for us, and this time we parked at the back of the lot and it was really quite, no road noise at all … and the feedlots didn’t smell. Hubby thinks they must have had some rain that knocked the smell down and of course the direction of the wind or lack of wind helped. When we were there in the fall it was hot and we had all the windows open, this time the temperature dropped down nicely and we didn’t need to leave the windows open overnight, which may have helped as well. Whatever the reason, we had a great stay and will stay there again.  As an added bonus there is a gas station on site with the cheapest fuel in town 🙂

As we made our way over to I-5 we drove by onion fields

and tomato fields

and lots of almond orchards!

Now to the wiggling jello … our plan was to stay in Lodi, California tonight at a Passport America park. By the time we hit Lodi it was raining and even being a Passport America park, the RV Park is very pricey ($32.50 PA per night), especially when you are just sitting inside the RV all afternoon reading. So we headed onto Redding, California were we are staying at another Casino.

We could see the weather starting to come in but it made some pretty shadows on the grasslands.

The grass was green but I think it is so vivid in this picture because I took it through hubby’s side window, I’m guessing the tinting made the colors more vivid ☺

Win River Casino in Redding is not a free stay, they charge $26.00 a night but they offer full hook-up and a nice RV area. Plus we each received $15.00 in gambling money, which between the two of us we turned into enough money to pay for our night’s stay plus dinner!

Pretty view from the patio of the restaurant, to bad it was raining and we couldn’t sit outside.

Until next time …