2019 – 2020 Snowbird Year Wrap Up

Despite all our best efforts we did hit snow this year, fortunately Maxx wasn’t with us … remember he was chillin at the side of the road in Nevada while we had to drive into Utah for parts to fix our wheel.

Over the past six months:

  • We spent time in seven states (Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho).

  • We covered 6,196 mi (9,972 km), once again down from previous years. Our first winter away still showed the most distance when we travelled 14,093 mi (22,663 km) from Kelowna, B.C. to Key West, Florida.

  • We spent $1,681 on fuel compared to $2,152 in 2018/2019, $2,719 2017/2018; $2,150 in 2016/2017; $1,526 in 2015/2016; $2,350 in 2014/2015; and $5,041 in 2013/2014.

  • On average we paid $3.047 a gallon for diesel; down from $3.252 a gallon in 2018/2019 but up from $2.598 in 2017/2018, $2.514 in 2016/2017, $2.096 in 2015/2016, and but still down from $3.128 in 2014/2015, and $3.813 in 2013/2014.

  • The most expensive diesel was $3.839 in Susanville, California. California was home to our most expensive fuel last year when we paid $4.249 per gallon in Rio Dell; our cheapest diesel was $2.169 in at Sams Club in Bullhead City, Arizona, which is down from last year when our cheapest diesel was $2.459 in Yuma, and can you believe in 2016 we only paid $1.559 per gallon in Yuma, AZ!

It is nice to be able to walk around the campground.

We are finally having a sunny, almost warm, day … I just want spring to arrive but old man winter doesn’t seem to want to let go 😄

There are a few signs that spring may be approaching.

The COVID-19 virus sure brought a crazy end to a wonderful winter. We hope all of you and your families stay healthy, do your part to self isolate, and that this pandemic is over soon!

Some of the Oregon Grape are about to flower.

Until next time …

A Few Last Pictures

We are all settled in at the campground and are into day three of our fourteen day Self Isolation. I did post signs on the Camp Host sign at the front of our site, the pamphlet rack bulletin board, and on the door window of Maxx, saying that we had just returned from the US and were in self isolation until April 2nd. BC Parks did close all their parks until April 30th and the gates of the park are locked, but people still find ways to come in and wander around. In previous years they have knocked on the door with their questions on how to get sites, or when is the campground opening, so I wanted to make it clear that we wouldn’t be able to talk to them expect through the closed window of the RV.

Park Lake on Highway 17, Washington.

I also finally manage to convince our mobile provider that I was unable to go into our local store and show them my ID … they really don’t need this since we already have an account with them for our home line which we do not suspend in the winter. So at least I have some data which we can use for the next two weeks.

We had a beautiful sunset on our last night in the US.

Other than that we have been pretty lazy the last few days and today wasn’t any different. Tomorrow I want to start doing a deep clean on the inside of the RV and if nobody is around hubby will start on the outside.

It was very comforting to see Okanagan Lake on our way home.

But for now we are enjoying our self isolation … I hope wherever you are you are safe and healthy and enjoying your day 😄

Until next time …

Back In Kelowna 🙂

I’m so sorry if I scared some of you when I didn’t post yesterday, we made it home safely just before noon and despite all the time I spent on the phone with our mobile service provider my phone, which has our data, did not hook-up. And then today is a weekend so I couldn’t call in until 9:00 a.m. and then of course it still didn’t work but fortunately our daughter dropped groceries off for us at the gate of the park and I was able … from a very long distance … to use their data to post this.

We are still healthy and so very happy to be home. We officially started our fourteen day isolation at 9:00 a.m. yesterday morning after we crossed the border and are honestly looking forward to some time to decompress after the last three days.

In the last three and a half days we have driven 2,538 km (1,577 mi), visited seven states … Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah (definitely not planned!), Idaho, Oregon, and Washington … and one glorious province, British Columbia 😄

So let’s catch you up from where I left off on Thursday. The weather and the roads continued to be great so our drive went through Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, and up to Northern Washington where we parked in the Walmart parking lot. Walmart was not our first choice but it was what we got, and the parking lot was FULL of RVs! Good thing there were very few shoppers and the store closed early so there was lots of room for all of us.

And before you get all freaked out about us spending time in Washington state, I checked the CDC stats and there are no cases of COVID-19 in Omak or it’s surrounding county. As well we have not been in contact with anyone since we left Napa in Enterprise, Utah Wednesday afternoon. Well other than the border crossing guard and he kept a very long distance!

It was an interesting trip and the second time we have done this route. But what we find so funny about this route is that the first time we did it was our first year on the road back in November 2013 and because of weather we did it in three days as well. Well actually two and half, as we went to Las Vegas and then headed east across to Florida, but basically if we had gone to Yuma that first year it would have been three days. Someday we may get the chance to take the whole route at a slower pace 😄

For those of you coming behind us I hope you take comfort in knowing our border crossing was easy … even easier than most years! We were asked the usual question about how long we were away and were we over on any of our exemptions.

We were then asked “Where are you headed?” In our case it was only a two hour drive from the border and generally most people in Canada can get home in one day but I’m curious to know what he would have said if we would not have arrived home to begin self isolation that first day. In fact I’m curious to know how people would self isolate immediately upon arrival in Canada if they live to far from the border and can’t get home that first day.

The next question was “Do you have enough food for 14 days?” We have no fresh vegetables or very few frozen ones, very few eggs and milk, because of course stores are running low on those items. Our daughter offered, a few days ago, to pick up what we needed and drop it off at the gate of the park (the park is not open yet). I gave her a list but she wasn’t able to find us any fresh or frozen veggies either 😦 Again I’m curious what the crossing guard would have said if we had nobody to shop for us?

The last comment was “I know you have been gone for a long time but you can’t see anyone until you have to self isolate for 14 days.” I got a smile when I told him FaceTime was a wonderful thing. We were provided with a pamphlet and sent on our way with a smile.

I had a large bag that hubby held open so that the border guard could put our nexus cards and pamphlet in. I figured even though the border guard was wearing gloves those gloves had held passports from who knows how many people before he touched ours. I even read the pamphlet with my own gloves on.

If I had my own data I would have posted some pictures including one of the pamphlet, but I don’t want to use up all of our daughter’s data. Basically the pamphlet didn’t tell you any more than you probably already know.

So we are home, set-up at the campground, and self isolating for fourteen days while trying to deal with my mobile phone … yup that was one wrinkle I could have done without!

Until next time …

Another Day, More Miles

It was a long day yesterday and we drove another six hours once hubby had Maxx up and running.

We had nice clear roads!

The roads and weather were great so we were happy to get in some miles and finally called it quits just after 8:00 p.m. in Jackpot, Nevada. About a half hour out of Jackpot we started getting light snow, the roads were still okay but we were a little worried about not finding a place to stay because it was definitely time to stop for the night. We pulled into Cactus Pete’s Casino and noticed there was still room in the parking lot, but since it was cold and snowing we thought we would take a drive around their RV Park and guess what? We manage to snag the last spot and only $20.00 a night 😄 It was nice to have power for the night and we were happy to have a spot in case it didn’t stop snowing and we had to stay another night.

We were a little concerned when we left Ely, NV and had this view out my side window.

But this was the view out the windshield and the temperature was in the mid 40F so we figured we were okay to continue.

So on to today. The snow stopped shortly after we arrived last night and the temperature was 0C (32F) when we headed out just after 8:00 a.m. We would have delayed our start even longer but Jackpot was expecting snow to start at 10:00 and we only needed to make it a half hour to Twin Falls, ID where the weather was much better. This weather was the reason we wanted to make it past Jackpot last night but plans sometime change without any approval from us so we made do … and it worked out, the roads were bare and dry and the temperature quickly picked up.

This is how our drive started.

Oh oh a little more snow but roads are still dry. I forgot to take a picture but five minutes later the snow was gone and the temperature was up 4C (38F).

Today we drove through Nevada (okay only half an hour but I’m counting it :-)), Idaho, Oregon, and Washington! We hope to make it to Omak, WA tonight and then it will be a short drive home tomorrow.

I know there are those of you who are probably thinking what’s the rush, stay put, slow down, it doesn’t need to be a mad exit from the country. Well for many of us it does, and not because of the media hype about the border closing down. We have absolutely no concern that Canada will refuse us entry, even if we were sick, and we are not. The real problem is that most of us carry additional medical coverage while we are out of Canada and most insurance companies have given us until March 23 to be back in Canada, at which time our coverage will expire. Now there is some leeway if you have a valid reason for not making it back but let’s face it, insurance companies are hard to get money from, so I don’t want to have to fight them if something happens and we need medical coverage after March 23rd.

An interesting gorge in Twin Falls, ID.

It was clear sailing once we hit I—84, a perfect driving day.

I did get an email from the Canadian Snowbird Association and if you have medical coverage through them they have chosen not to put in an end date. We get our medical coverage through my pension and it’s better coverage and cheaper plus we had planned to leave on Tuesday anyway so, I’m okay with the March 23rd date … even after our breakdown yesterday.

It was beautiful in Oregon!

We are going back as Volunteer Park Hosts at Bear Creek Provincial Park and it opens on March 27th, if it opens. Who knows right now with all the closures going on, and I just read this morning that Ontario has closed down it’s provincial parks until the end of April so I expect that will also happen in BC. Based on what we knew when we started our trip home we felt we needed to be home as soon as possible because we also need to self isolate for two weeks. Whether the park opens or not at this point we just want to be at home and we are not that far away now!

And still sunny and warm in Washington!

So I guess what I’m babbling on about is we all have our reasons for hurrying home or staying put and I respect that and wish you all safe and healthy travels 😄

And sadly the flip flops came off this morning 😦 It wasn’t a lot of fun standing in the snow covered grass last night with my flip flops so I finally gave in and put on my boots this morning … but have no fear! I put my flip flops in the truck and as soon as we crossed into Idaho I ditched the boots and put my flip flops back on. I know they will probably come off again tomorrow when we get home, but let me have today 😁

Until next time …

We Left The Alamo :-)

Okay it was the small town of Alamo, Nevada where we spent last night. We had an easy drive once we left Las Vegas and were parked and set up before 6:00 p.m. … still a very long day for us!

Las Vegas, NV

The not so easy part of the day was finding a place to stay. Our plan was to stay at Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge which was free with absolutely beautiful sites along the lake, but it was full of Canadian RVers returning home. So our next option was to spend $35.00 and stay at the Alamo RV Park … nope that was also full. To be honest we expected that because the Rest Area and any other pull outs were full with RV’s. We had decided to drive another two hours to Ely, Nevada but just after we pulled back onto the highway we came across a decommissioned gas station with about ten RV’s set up. We quickly pulled in and within fifteen minutes the place was nearly full of Canadian’s heading home.

We woke up to 4C (39F) and clear sunny skies, yes we were happy campers as it was supposed to be below freezing and mixed rain and snow so this was definitely a bonus! We were on the road by 7:30 a.m., we each had our second cup of coffee with us, traffic was light, the sun was out … it was going to be such a good travel day! Notice I said it was going to be a good day, not it was a good day?

What is it with us and tires? I read other blogs about things that go wrong and I always thank god that we have gotten off pretty easy … except for tires. We were fifteen minutes down the road when hubby felt and saw, and I heard the woosh, of Maxx’s front driver’s side tire run like a bull back down the highway.

It was a pretty place to break down.

Once again luck was with us and we were able to safely pull off the highway, put on our safety vests, put out our traffic cones and assess the damage. So what happen? We, and by we I mean hubby, has no idea why but all six studs sheared off the tire. When the tire let loose it took out the wheel trim molding with it. Hubby found the trim in shattered pieces down the road but a guard rail had stopped our tire so we were able to retrieve it.

Then the problem was where to find new studs and lug nuts. We were about an hours drive from a Napa store in Caliente, Nevada (we phoned around Alamo but no luck) so we disconnected and left Maxx to fend for himself while we went in search of studs and hopefully a new tire … because god forbid with our tire luck we didn’t want to run without a spare if we could help it!

Good thing we don’t have to tow this way, there is definitely snow on the hills.

The guys at True Value – Napa in Caliente, NV where so helpful! They allowed hubby to use their tools to remove what was left of the studs and worked hard to find us new studs. No luck on the studs but they were able to find them at a True Value – Napa in Enterprise, UT another hour down the road.

It’s not looking nice as we head to Utah.

And it’s really not looking nice in Utah!

So seven hours later, and a lot of extra miles, we were back on the road. Unfortunately we were unable to get a new tire so we will have to do that when we hit a larger town.

We do have Good Sam Roadside Assistance and were super impressed with it when we had the axel blow out outside of Missoula, MT and we did discuss calling them, but in the end hubby decided it would be faster and cheaper to do the repair himself. Good Sam would have towed us back to Las Vegas and we would have been there overnight … that would be a backward move and we are forward movers 😄

At least we had beautiful weather in Nevada when we got back on the road!

I had more planned for today’s blog but this has gone on long enough, and who knows if we will have cell service at our stop tonight, so I will leave you here.

And just so you know I did send our youngest a son a text with the locations of Maxx and our route for parts to be on the safe side. I wanted our children to know where to pick up their inheritance if anything happened to us … and at the rate we are spending money on tires Maxx is about all they are going to get!

Until next time …

 

Yes We Are Healthy And On Our Way Home!

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

I was thrilled to come across this field of “shamrocks” when we drove down Avenue of the Giants a few years ago! Did you know that there is no such thing as a “Shamrock Plant”? The word shamrock comes from the Irish word seamrog meaning “little clover”.

I know all our family and friends are worried about us and don’t understand why we are not already back home and believe me we wish we were … but here is the wrinkle … trailers do not tow well in snow or on icy roads 😦 And while we both want to be home we also want to be home alive.

If the roads had allowed we would have left last week when our son’s planned visit was cancelled, but there were several storm fronts coming through and there was no safe route to take. As hubby always does, he has been monitoring our options and we planned on leaving this morning and fortunately things are still looking reasonably good so we are on our way home 🙂

Our hope is to be back in Canada by March 23rd, if not earlier, but we have a few days of possible snow coming up so it will be what it will be.

Our site looks so empty and lonely. Hubby planted my two bougainvillea along the fence so it will be interesting to see how they look next winter … I’m told many people don’t water them during the summer so we will see.

It always makes me feel loved when we leave the park and all our friends are outside to wave goodbye to us. It is sad to leave but I am always anxious to get home this time of year and see all our family and friends but never more than this year. Even hubby feels the same way because he is breaking his no more than three hours of driving in a day and we are going to put on some miles each day. We will just feel much better when we are home … albeit all alone, with maybe no food or toilet paper, for two weeks of self isolation … but hey at least we are home and I need to loose the cruise weight!

We have had so much rain this year so I expected to see lots of green and flowers along the way.

And I wasn’t disappointed the Ocotillo, which are one of my favorite cactus, are all in bloom.

We noticed along our drive today that almost all of the vehicles on the roads were Canadians heading home … just a long line of RV’s with Canadian plates. Even the poor fellow at the Border Patrol station was looking bored and waving everyone through with a “have a safe travel home” comment, a smile and a wave.

We did get stopped for construction and ended up shut down with some time to get out of the truck and stretch our legs.

Looking forward

Looking back

Nice to have the opportunity to stretch but not so nice to have a delay on a long driving day 😦 I think it added another half hour to our day.

But I got a few close-up flower pics 🙂

I don’t think we will have cell service where we are stopping tonight so I am posting this as we are leaving the Las Vegas around 3:00 p.m.  As of midnight all the casinos in Vegas closed down and if it wasn’t such a long travel day we might have towed the trailer down the strip just for $@#$ and giggles 😁

Of course there is a toilet paper shortage so we can’t afford the @#$ portion of that event!

But I will leave you with my thought of the day … Yesterday I ran into Walmart to pick up some milk before we headed out today and I noticed they were out of toilet paper, but also crackers, cereal, laundry soap, and milk. Now of course I was disappointed because I really wanted milk but what occurred to me on my drive home is that people are preparing to hunker down. While they are hunkered down they must plan on eating fibrous cereal which explains the need for all the milk, and crackers which also have fibre. Of course we all know what fibre does to a body so they will be spending lots of time on the toilet thus the need for so much toilet paper. Now most houses only have one or two bathrooms so some of the household members will have to wait for the bathroom and will have accidents and that explains why they need all the laundry soap. Of course this is just my theory 🙂

Until next time …

Top Ten Pictures of 2019

Here are our choices for the top pictures of 2019, and once again it was a tough choice. We started off with twenty-five real contenders and in the end we sadly had to delete some great pictures of Joshua Tree National Park 😦

We would love your votes, on the poll at the end of the blog, to help us choose the best picture of 2019.

And just in case you haven’t voted for previous years and would like to, here are the links.

Top Ten Pictures of 2018

Top Ten Pictures of 2017

Top Ten Pictures of 2016

Top Ten Pictures Of 2015

Top Ten Pictures Of 2014

Top Ten Pictures Of 2013

Now off to 2019 …

Beach View from our villa in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Picture taken 13 January 2019.

Sunset from the deck of our villa in Aitutaki, Cook Islands. Picture taken 23 January 2019

Bike ride from Kelowna, British Columbia to Vernon, British Columbia along the Okanagan Rail Trail. Picture taken 9 August 2019.

Sunrise at Bear Creek Provincial Park, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 7 September 2019.

Flowers along the dyke in Richmond, British Columbia.   Picture taken 16 September 2019.

My sister’s sunflowers, Kelowna, British Columbia. Picture taken 21 September 2019

Vaseux Lake Provincial Park, near Oliver, British Columbia. Picture taken 21 October 2019.

Barker Dam Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, California. Picture taken 4 November 2019

Hibiscus in my planter at Cocopah RV and Golf Resort … the first and last time that plant bloomed all winter! Picture taken 17 November 2019

The sky is on fire over Cocopah RV and Golf Resort, Yuma, Arizona. Picture taken 23 November 2019.

This poll uses Java Script. If you do not see a poll below that means your browser does not support Java Script, either switch to another browser or leave us a comment and we will add your vote manually. We appreciate your votes.

Until next time

A Good Day For A Bike Ride

Yesterday there was a classic car show along the streets of Old Town Yuma so it sounded like a good place to go for a bike ride.

The weather was sunny and warm and there was a slight breeze so the conditions were perfect! 

We rode from the RV Park to downtown, a half hour ride (7.8m, 12.6km). After lunch we wandered around and looked at some of the cars.

A Willy’s Jeep with a Cummins Turbo diesel in it. That info is courtesy of hubby.

To be honest I was done about five minutes after we started looking but I hung out a while longer while hubby looked … he hangs out while I shop, I hang out while he looks at cars or wanders the aisles of home improvement stores 🙂 Honestly he hangs out more for me than I do for him!

I loved the colours of this vehicle.

Hubby says that this is a very rare car. It is a 1930 Durant built in Oakland California.

Once he had seen all the cars we made the (7.8m, 12.6km) ride back.

We stopped at our friends place in the park to get change for a Canadian $50.00 bill, cause where else are we going to get change for a Canadian bill down here! We need the money to send our youngest grandson a birthday card since his dad isn’t coming for a visit.

This truck, a 1955 Chevy with 350 CID, 4 Barrel Carb,  Headers and a 700R tranny with an overdrive is for sale for $29,500 … honestly none of that stuff means anything to me but I did think it was a pretty truck so I will show you more pics of it!

All in all another great bike ride!

Until next time …

Bad News 😦

We have been hit by the Coronavirus 😦 Well I am being very melodramatic and unfair to all those who are actually sick from the virus but I am feeling very sorry for myself. Our youngest son had a meeting in Phoenix next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and then he was going to come visit us for four nights. I was so excited that it was actually going to happen, it has almost happened a few times in previous years but then his meetings where changed or we had already headed home, so this was it! And then it wasn’t! Because of the Coronavirus his employer has cancelled all travel. Now I am happy that they are keeping my baby safe and to be fair I was concerned about airline travel with this virus but I really was looking forward to seeing him and showing him around our winter home.

A few days ago we had an intense half hour storm that came with hail! We have never seen hail in Yuma before and it was funny to see the green white!

So instead we will look forward to a visit with our oldest son who gave us good news last week, he and his wife are moving from Edmonton, Alberta to the lower mainland of British Columbia, a three hour drive from our home! In fact on Monday he started his new job, as the British Columbia Manager for the company he has worked for for many years, so he will be there when we stop to visit hubby’s mother at the end of the month.

We rode by this broccoli field the other day. At the end of the season they let the broccoli go to seed and then they harvest the seed for next year. It may look pretty but it does stink!

And the change to our youngest sons travel plans works out well for them because it looks like they sold their home in Edmonton on Wednesday, so since he is no longer coming down here they can now make a house hunting trip to Calgary next week. He also got a new job before Christmas as the District Manager for the Prairie Region for the company he has worked for for a long time and is being relocated to Calgary … three hours closer to us 🙂

And we came across a few white ducks. I have never seen them in the park before; actually I have never seen white ducks before.

So our children are all doing well and we can’t complain but I’m still disappointed about not having a visit in Yuma with our son. On the other side of the coin we can now start heading home next week like we had originally planned… NOPE, I’m still unhappy but I will get over it and we will get to see our older son sooner 🙂

And there was one white and black duck, never seen one of those before either.

Until next time …

And Back To Reality

I know from my posts it seems like we just got off the ship yesterday but we have been home for two weeks. I wasn’t able to post my cruise blog entries until we arrived home and had WiFi. So here we are two weeks later and we have finally accepted that we don’t need to eat every two hours, we have to cook, make our own bed, and do our own laundry … yes it was a bit of a let down 😦

Mrs. M sent me this picture of one of their towel animals, he is pretty funny!

I guess he was tired of hanging around and had to lie down the next day.

I have a question for those of you that use Blogger and hope you will comment with your answer. When you leave a comment on my blog and I answer you, do you get an email advising you of that?

When I comment on a post on Blogger I have no way of knowing if the author responded other than continually going in and checking on their blog. If I comment on a WordPress blog I get an email if the author responds, which I am guessing is because I have a WordPress account but maybe Blogger works differently. Anyway let me know if you can shed any light on my question.

And here is one last towel animal picture that Mr. L sent me. This is one he saw on the internet, but it sure would have got a laugh from all of us if we had to come to our room to see this guy in our bathroom 🙂

So that’s it for the daily blogs, I will go back to posting once a week or whenever something blog worthy happens.

Until next time …