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Spectacular Summertime!

The summer of 2016 was our first complete summer as fulltime RVers. By all measures, it was fantastic! We began our quest to beat the heat in earnest by going west to Eureka, California, and made a right turn onto US101 northbound. We met with friends in Trinidad, CA, for a few days of Jurassic Park-style camping before entering Oregon. The theme for the majority of the summer was coastal living, as we worked our way north along the Oregon and Washington coastlines. We stayed at many different campgrounds, enjoying lots of sunshine and a bit of wind. We visited lighthouses, state beaches, and lovely port towns.

We rounded the upper-left-hand corner of Washington state with a stop in Port Angeles, Poulsbo, and Gig Harbor, all of which are west of the Puget Sound. From there, we took the ferry from Bainbridge Island over to Seattle, enjoying the view of the Seattle skyline as we approached. Lunch on the boardwalk was our first time setting foot in Seattle proper.

Our next stop was a beautiful area east of Seattle, known as Issaquah. While there, we took the opportunity to make hit-and-run trips into Seattle. We toured the famous Theo chocolate factory, had lunch at a brewery, and Roy attended a Seattle Mariners baseball game at Safeco Field! One highlight of our time in Seattle was a visit with Lori’s sister Lisa and her family. It was good to see them all!

From Seattle, we began moving south, to Centralia, Washington; Portland, Oregon; Eugene, Oregon; and Redding, California, with our ultimate destination being San Diego for the holidays. The only hiccup was having a flat tire on the trailer just north of Grants Pass, Oregon. It went very smoothly, however! We were only delayed by about an hour, and no damage was done to the rig!

Now, we are settled into our site on Mission Bay. We’ve become first-time grandparents, and we are looking forward to spending the holidays with Roy’s family. Come December 29th, we are off to Palm Springs, followed by Arizona! Stay tuned!

 

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2016 in Fulltime RV Adventures

 

Springtime in Utah!

 

Having spent the last couple of months outrunning tornados, wind, and lightning, and having seen our share of the Great Plains, it was amazing to drop into Utah, where the scenery changed rapidly and dramatically. The hills began to gain elevation, gorges appeared, and the rocks turned red. As we went westbound on I-80 from Wyoming into Utah, we began following along rivers (equipped with fly fishermen plying their skills) and we were surrounded by snow capped mountains. One such beautiful gorge contained a rest area, which we took advantage of, and snapped a photo.

We then continued on to our destination: Salt Lake City. While the KOA Kampground we chose is located in a large metropolitan part of SLC, it is wooded and green, and the weather was great. We will be here for a week, so we intend to do some sightseeing and to catch up on our shopping and other chores. One of Roy’s favorite things to do is to tour state capital buildings, since they are often elaborate and ornate, and they make a statement about each state and its history. One of our favorites is the Utah Capitol in SLC. It was immaculate, impressively designed and was just lovely overall. We also took the tour of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which is stunning! Finally, we continued our habit of seeking out special restaurants that were previously featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. The one we chose, right down the road from our campground, was a unique Mexican restaurant with something like eight mole sauces to choose from. Great comida Mexicana!

Soon, we will make the push to Sparks, Nevada, where we will spend time with Lori’s family. Can’t wait!

 
 

Tornado Alley during Tornado Season!

So, we spent a nice week with friends in Ingram, Texas, in mid-April, precisely when the spring tornados get going in America. We spent some time listening to rain on the rooftop, but successfully avoided any serious thunder and lightning.

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But, it got dicey after that! When we left Ingram, which is near Kerrville and Fredricksburg, Texas, (both squarely in tornado alley, just like San Antonio, where we were before Ingram) we headed to the Fort Worth area. Again, we had some rain, but avoided anything serious. Other than a pretty unmemorable campground, we had a decent time in Fort Worth, and would like to return so we can spend some time in Dallas.

Next stop on our Tour-de-tornado was Oklahoma City, the HOME of tornados in springtime! We stayed at a fabulous RV park, called Twin Fountains. We liked the campground very much, and we really enjoyed visiting the Oklahoma City National Memorial, site of the most deadly domestic terrorism event in US history.

Quite a sobering memorial, but extremely well done and worth the visit. Back to the tornado theme, we left OKC a day early in order to avoid an impending storm track. We literally bugged-out, and drug our house 110 miles to the west to avoid the anticipated path of the storm. We were glad we made the move, and we only had to deal with light rain. We watched the weather channels all evening, and are happy with our decision, even though it added 100 miles to our next travel destination: Wichita, Kansas.

We enjoyed our stay in Wichita, but continued to monitor the weather. Several of the vehicles in the park had serious hail damage from the storm that blew through prior to our arrival. Again, we had some rain, but managed to avoid any serious weather.

Next on our itinerary was Chanute, Kansas, where we had to stay in a lame hotel for four nights while our RV was in the shop for warranty repairs and some optional modifications. Dealing with two dogs for those four nights was a challenge. The bright side was that we discovered some great barbecue (Billy Sims, a chain of amazing restaurants), got to spend some time with Judy and Greg Bahnmiller, and got to get our “house” upgraded.

Our next stop was Topeka, Kansas. We had several bouts of rain and the most intense lightning event one evening from 0300-0600. Heavy rain and thunder/lightning, but no tornados!

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This is our campsite in one of the nicest parks we’ve stayed in: Deer Creek Valley RV Park in Topeka. There is Lori and the dogs sitting outside on one of the better weather days here.

So, we are about to continue north, with our next destination being Omaha, Nebraska. Let’s hope that we can avoid any further tornado threats, then we will turn left and head west, out of the “Danger Zone.”

 
 

Amarillo By Morning!

For some reason, Roy feels compelled to crank the stereo on his big dually truck, while driving around Amarillo, Texas, listening to George Straight’s greatest hits! The only thing missing is the cowboy hat!

But this is a very special visit for us, since Lauren lives here, and has, for the better part of three years. We got to spend a week enjoying lots of quality time with Baby B, going to see her work, taking in the Palo Duro State Park (mini-Grand Canyon), enjoying some good eats, and just hanging out with her and her friends. So, take a look at our amateur selfies in front of The Big Texan (legendary Amarillo restaurant, home of the 72 oz steak!) and in front of several text-book Texas Longhorn cattle.

After a great time with Lauren, we moved on to Lubbock, Texas. We were only there for two days, but we liked it there a lot. We are finding that we get a good feel for a location within a day or two. That was the case for us in Lubbock. We plan to return here, and it’s on our list of future settle-down places to consider down the road. We also hit a good winery and saw Texas Tech University.

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Then, we moved on to Abilene, where we stayed for three days. The highlight for Roy was being able to play a fun round of golf. Our next stop was Austin, Texas. We spent four days getting to know Austin a bit. We were able to meet Roy’s former boss for lunch, which was fun. We also realized that Austin is a large, fast-growing metropolis that has too much traffic for our tastes. Our next stop is Lake Medina, Texas, on the outskirts of San Antonio. We’ll post more info as we can!

 

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2016 in Fulltime RV Adventures

 

Arizona Recap

Having wrapped up exactly two months in Arizona, we figured we would recap our visit!

After departing El Centro, CA, in mid-January, we rolled just across the Arizona state line and set up shop at the Cocopah Golf & RV Resort. Roy was able to golf a few times, we enjoyed the heated pool, and we spent some time learning our way around Yuma.

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Our next stop was in the open Arizona desert near an RV Mecca known as Quartzsite. Please see the previous blog post about Q!

From there, we travelled up to Congress Arizona, and stayed for about ten days at the Escapees North Ranch RV Park. While there, we took a two-day RV seminar, visited the nearby western town of Wickenburg, and we made a road trip up to Sedona.

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Our next stop took us down to Phoenix, where we stopped for an entire month. We stayed at the Desert Shadows RV Park, which is located in northern Phoenix. This longer-than-usual stay allowed us to do some needed shopping at stores we usually don’t have access to (Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Costco), to get some maintenance done on the truck and trailer, and to really get to know Phoenix. One highlight of our visit to Phoenix was to have lunch at Tom’s Thumb, a BBQ joint housed in a gas station/car wash. The food was amazing, as was the venue. We went to Tom’s after seeing that Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives had made a visit to the unusual but outstanding restaurant. If you’re ever in Scottsdale, be sure to look this place up!

We also made a day trip to the Phoenix Zoo. The weather was great, and we had a nice time! image

Finally, we were able to catch a couple of Spring Training games before we left the area. It was fun to experience the ritual that is Spring Training!

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Our final stop in Arizona was a few days in Tucson. We stayed at the Tucson/Lazydays KOA. It’s a great campground with a nice pool and a bar/cantina. Roy took one day and visited the Pima Air & Space Museum, along with the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, home of the famous aircraft “boneyard” where they store over 4000 military aircraft for future use and/or for parts. Roy took way too many pictures to post here. If you are into aviation, you must visit the Pima Museum!

Now, we have made our way further east, and will continue through New Mexico and Texas.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2016 in Fulltime RV Adventures

 

Quartzsite Arizona Boondocking!

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Another first! We are “boondocking” in the Arizona desert! “Boondocking,” in the RV world, means camping in a place where there are no utilities available (water/power/sewer). This usually occurs in a natural setting, like in the desert or the mountains. When Boondocking, you really take advantage of the self-contained nature of recreational vehicles. Why Quartzsite? There is an annual spectacle in the desert surrounding Quartzsite, Arizona, in which tens of thousands of RV owners make the pilgrimage to Quartzsite to spend some or all of the winter in sunny and warm Arizona. There is an RV show and a gigantic rock/gem/mineral show in January that is also part of the draw. So, we are here meeting with a group of friends who have been making this trip for years, and we are really enjoying ourselves. Since we have no “hookups,” we have to use our generator for battery recharging and things like satellite TV viewing and microwave oven use. We also have to monitor our water usage since we only have the water we brought with us (our RV has a 100 gallon water tank.) We really love the beauty and openness of the desert! So far, so good!

And, introducing our traveling companion Chipper! We just know that he’ll find his way into our adventures!

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Friends by the campfire!

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Posted by on January 22, 2016 in Fulltime RV Adventures

 

We Finally Found Our Sunny & 75!

We’ve finally found our “sunny and 75” climate! We spent several days in El Centro, CA at the Rio Bend Golf and RV Resort. We had a great time! Roy was able to golf, and we both enjoyed a nice, heated pool and jacuzzi. The weather was good as well. This was a good stop!

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Then, we moved on to the Cocopah RV & Golf Resort in Yuma, AZ. The great weather continued, and the golf got even better for Roy. Again, a large, heated pool was fun, and we rode our bikes, walked a ton, and explored the Yuma area. After nine days here, we are off to a new adventure: camping in the desert without any hookups. It’s a good thing that RVs are, by their very nature, self contained for use like this. Our next stop: Quartzsite, AZ

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Posted by on January 20, 2016 in Fulltime RV Adventures