I lied. I am writing this post from New Mexico. As we now live in Arizona, the title isn’t completely false.
We have been very busy for the past few months. First we spent weeks and weeks looking for a suitable house. Of course, once we found it, we then had to go through the process of buying it.
What we found was/is a fixer in southeast Tucson. That’s OK because it is allowing us to make it the way we want it. It is and will continue to be a lot of work.
We are having all the old windows replaced. We’ve had the old evaporative cooler completely removed. The heating and ac systems have been checked out and are in excellent condition. We have already re-keyed all the locks, added some new weather-stripping, thresholds, and sweeps, put in a new salt free water softener system, replaced the dishwasher, refrigerator, and washer and dryer, put in a new kitchen faucet, replaced the thermostat, and some of the light fixtures and so many other things I don’t recall them all.
Inside we have started by completely redoing the master suite. We removed the popcorn ceiling, removed and replaced all of the flooring, replaced/moved the vanity, replaced the shower plumbing, shower door, added a shower bench, replaced the vents and all of the lighting. Not to mention realigning a few walls and installing all new closet cabinets, shelving and rods. Wow, it’s all new!!
With the first phase done, we decided to take a short break and head back to one of favorite quiet retreats, Columbus, NM. AKA, Pancho Villa State Park. So here we are 232 miles and several light years from our new home, relaxing. While we are here I intend to finish the new kitchen design and Elaine is working on some curtains. But it is not all work. Today we went to The Pink Store (AKA La Tienda Rosa) in Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua where we shopped for some decorations and found a very nice painting that will be perfect for the master bath. Tomorrow we head to Deming, NM to do a little shopping. Some will be necessities (Walmart), some “must haves” (the very best mexican chorizo from EL Reys Carniceria) , and some niceties (like books from Readers Cove).
It is springtime and the desert wildflowers are all around us. I took these pictures during a quick walk around the park.
Some type of Aloe
A splash of yellow
Lots of these all around
Another short walk and more flowers. Our wet winter is paying off.
Our respite ends today so we’ll clean up, pack up and head back home.
Wishing you happy adventures and safe travels wherever you wander.
That’s right, we’ve packed it all up, sold the house, moved back into Bertha (our 5th wheel rv), and are tying up the last of the loose ends. We will leave on 8/24 to search for our new home in either Green Valley or Tucson, Arizona.
Off to Lake Easton
8/24/18 An unusually easy 180 mile drive took us to Lake Easton Sunrise Resort. Great driving weather and light traffic helped alot.
We are set-up here in the woods east of Snoqualmie Pass just off Interstate 90 for three nights to relish and adjust to our newly acquired homeless condition with our possessions spread out, some traveling with us, some at son John’s in Spokane, and the balance already stored in Tucson.
Life is good we will go exploring in Cle Elum.
Stopped here and really enjoyed it. A small but comprehensive and interesting collection of telephone equipment from the days when phones had tails.
This is a place that has interested me for a long time but we never took the time to stop before. We did not buy any meat but only because we currently have no room in the freezer or refrigerator. We did succumb to some chipotle ketchup and chipotle caramel sauce. Wish we had stopped before. We also went to a local yarn store, a bakery, antique store, and a gift shop. It made for a pleasant afternoon which in itself is a very good reason for keeping the drive time down whenever possible.
Tomorrow we’ll be off to Ellensburg and Roslyn.
There are lots of places to go and see in Ellensburg but we settled for their Saturday Market and a very nice yarn store (Yarn Folks). We got a couple of heirloom tomatoes, a summer squash, and some morel mushrooms at the market and some yarn and a pattern at Yarn Folks.
We had an ice cream lunch (it is hard to beat that) in Roslyn and checked out the shops. To tell the truth Roslyn disappointed us, we remembered better times and it seems like conditions have changed. Overall we had a nice relaxing day collecting a few treasures. Tomorrow we will return for the Roslyn Farmers Market.
Wow, a really nice market! Roslyn you are redeemed. We purchased some cheese spread, a baguette and a few trinkets.
I will leave you with a view of the lake. We had a nice respite here and tomorrow we are off to enjoy the kids and grands for a few days in Spokane.
Onward To Camp John
8/27/18 220 miles eastbound on Interstate 90.
Nope, there really isn’t a “Camp John”. Well, if your son’s name is John then there is. We spent a very enjoyable week here in Colbert, WA visiting with John, Laura, and their families (Laura lives just a few minutes away in Spokane). I really enjoyed the opportunity to help out a little by playing handyman on a few little projects for John and Missy.
I’ll leave you with this dandy picture (credit: grandson Tyler) of a baby Blue Tailed Skink from John’s driveway. He was only about 2 inches long and we only kept him for an hour or so before releasing him (her?). None of us could recall ever see seeing one of these before so it was an exciting find.
Big Sky Country, Montana
9/4/18 138 miles again eastbound on Interstate 90 across Idaho and into Montana with sunshine all the way!
Easy set up at this gorgeous site! All utilities easy reach, level, and did not need to un-hitch. After getting set up we shopped in a nice antique store, and the local gift shop. But we did not need trinkets or antiques so we bought some huckleberry ice cream to console ourselves.
And Then, 2 Nights At Deer Lodge, MT
154 Beautiful miles to Indian Creek Campground in Deer Lodge.
The sites are rather close together here but Ok.
On the 6th we drove to Phillipsburg and shopped the town. Elaine found a couple of blouses and we bought a lot of candy at the sweet shop. The sweet shop in Phillipsburg is “GInormous”. It has house made chocolates, taffy, and fudge plus what must be the largest collection of hard candies west of the Mississippi. (and maybe east) From there we went on to Butte to a huge used book store, Second Edition Books, where Gordon found a paperback edition of “In Our Time”, a collection of very early Ernest Hemingway short stories and! “One Christmas” and!! “A Christmas Memory”, both hardbound in very good condition, autobiographical short stories by Truman Capote. (They happen to be my very favorite Christmas stories.) Yup, I bought ’em. Sometimes a little self-indulgence is a good thing.
The Gem State, Idaho
9/7/18 Wide open country and light traffic made this 234 mile run to the Snake River RV Park in Idaho Falls an easy drive. In packing up the night before we had noticed a water leak. Yuck. When we arrived I did some investigating. A trip to the hardware store and a little work did the trick. Good as new! Yeah!
This park really filled up in the evening with over-nighters like us. We heard train whistles all night but otherwise it was nice.
And On To Utah
9/8/18 Another 179 miles this time predominately south took us through southern Idaho and into Ogden, Utah.
Packed in like sardines here, but the clean level site has enough room and a concrete barrier wall kept the freeway noise at bay. It was just fine for an overnight. We had time in the afternoon to browse a nice local art and craft gallery and Elaine picked up a few things for current projects at Joann Fabrics just down the road.
9/9/18 Only 82 miles today. All of it southbound through the Salt Lake City metropolis.
Had plenty of time for some essential grocery shopping and went out to Chinese dinner. We enjoyed our night here.
9/10/18 Off again (this is getting old) 263 miles southbound to the St George Elks Lodge.
Could not ask for a prettier parking spot to spend the night.
Too bad we only planned on one night. We will have to come back.
9/11/18 240 miles through the last few miles of Utah, about 20 miles through the northwest corner of Arizona, almost all of the rest through Nevada, across the Colorado River and we are back in Arizona, the state that eschews daylight savings time. (I agree good thinking guys.) Maybe someday the rest of the country will wake up and quit changing the clocks twice a year. We will stay in Bullhead City for 2 nights. It will be a chance to catch up on laundry and other maintenance.
Only one more stop on our planned exodus before we reach Tucson Holt’s RV in Gila Bend. It isn’t glamorous but it has been a good place to relax and get our bearings.
9/13/18 253 miles today took us to the Gila Bend KOA Campground. Holt’s was full up due to construction workers for a project not far from here. We were greeted by a very pleasant young man who checked us in, escorted us to our site, and made sure we had everything we needed.
Our site was a 100′ long, 55′ wide, and dead level pull through. Really nice for an overnight. The ownership of this park recently changed and the improvements are very noticeable.
9/14/18 The last 134 miles took us to Justin’s Diamond J RV Park in SW Tucson.
Setting Up At Site E62
Here we were greeted by 106 degree day. About the same as it has been since we got to Utah. The whole southwest has been seeing record temperatures. By the route we chose 2,084 miles of the American west. Some of it awesome, some of it desolate but all of it interesting. This in all likelihood will be our home until we find a place to buy. We will be busy looking for a while. Wish us luck!
It is June 21st 2018 and we are off to Moses Lake to watch our grandson Tyler play in a base-ball tournament. In the previous weeks we had done some minor maintenance on Bertha. Mostly just cleaning and polishing, but also revised the undercarriage lighting, replaced the hide-a-bed with a table so we would have a little more working space inside, and removed a lot of unnecessary stuff that had accumulated in all the places I find to put it. I figured that if I hadn’t needed it I likely didn’t need to have it in my way. I am, however, sure that Mr. Murphy will find an inconvenient time to prove me wrong.
As you can see we arrived in good condition and got set up. It proved to be a good thing that we came as do to a scheduling change our son could not get a motel room for Friday night and would have had to drive back home. Instead they stayed with us so we got to have a lot more time with them.
Tyler did a great job a the plate.
And on the mound. Grandpa didn’t get any pictures of his awesome fielding.
We spent four nights had a really fine time visiting, sight-seeing, and watching baseball. The park was nice, the neighbors Friendly, and the sky was blue. What more could we ask for on a weekend with son and grandson?
From the City of Rocks we decided to head north and check out Albuquerque, NM so there will be a few more days for us enjoy New Mexico.
Don’t believe the “Resort” in the name but the park served our purposes as a base of operations for exploring the area.
We did a little trail walking at the Petroglyph National Monument where we saw many but by no means even a small portion of the 24,000 images that were pecked into the stone. Most of them are 400 to 700 years old, though some are believed to date from 3,000 years ago. The high desert landscape made walks majestic.
One of the days there, I went to a meeting of the local wood-turning club which I enjoyed a great deal. This is one of the bowls that was done by the meeting’s demonstrator. I thought it was extremely nice. Elaine and I also did a lot of just “looking around”, had breakfast at the landmark Owl Cafe. You simply haven’t really been to Albuquerque if you haven’t eaten at “Owlbuquerque”, and shopped the Old Town District. We also went to the Albuquerque Fiery Foods Festival which was a lot of fun and the samples left us with tingling lips. Soon it was time to actually “turn the corner” and start heading in a homeward direction, so it was back to Tucson, AZ with a stop over in Deming, NM.
We spent a night here as Albuquerque to Tucson would have been a very long day, we wanted to get some more chorizo sausage at the El Rey Carniceria, and we have always enjoyed the palms as it is an immaculately clean park run by friendly folks. We just stayed one night and went on to Tucson.
Justin’s was good for us on the way down so we decided to give it another shot on the way back. It was great place to rest up and get set for the long haul back to Port Angeles. When we looked at the weather in the mountains where we had planned to travel we decided it was a bit too wintry treacherous. We altered our route to go through the central valley of California and then running highway US 101 all the way home. I am sure we will see rain and wind, but ice and snow should be minimal. Our first stop after short days drive was Gila Bend.
The next morning, and a more ambitious drive to Bullhead City, AZ where we have stayed many times. They have new management and seem to be making some nice improvements,
We are off to Mojave, CA which is on the western edge of nowhere, before going over the mountains into the central valley.
The picture makes the park look much nicer than it actually was. The park was easy to get in and out of, quiet, and had pleasant managers making it a good stop. We left in the morning in a light rain heading to Rancho Cordova the next day. It was our longest day in a very long time, 350 miles over mountains and through some heavy traffic in blustery winter weather so we were very happy to get settled in for the night.
Wet rainy weather (absolutely pouring down on the coast) all the way to Eureka, CA.
We ate at the lodge and met some nice folks, but once again in the morning we were off, now turning north to Florence, OR.
What a gorgeous park! By the way these two pictures were taken during a few moments of non-winter weather. Gordon got his birthday dinner at Chen’s, a nice Chinese restaurant where we have eaten before.
North to Tillamook, OR and a chance to get cheese and ice cream at the Tillamook Creamery and some sausage at Debbie D’s. The weather turned rather nice for a few hours. What a relief!
On across the Columbia River to Longbeach, WA where we hope to get cinnamon rolls at the Cottage Bakery.
Fortified with cinnamon rolls we are heading north to our last stop, Copalis, WA.
Being blessed with a little bit of sunshine when we arrived made us very thankful. We will hide out here for a day before making the last 170 mile leg home. It was a good trip. We made some new friends, saw some new things and learned a little more about this wonderful place we live. We drove nearly 10,000 miles with over 5,000 of them towing on our 4 month winter adventure.
Your random rover, Gordon, still keeping the shiny side up and the dirty side down.
The scene above greeted us from Bertha’s rear window on a morning a few days before we left. I do believe the park was doing its very best to wish us happy travels. We are done with our latest stint as camp hosts. Overall it was another good experience, but we both feel it is time to move on. I’ll leave you with a few previously un-shared tidbits from our stay.
Every year The Pink Store in Palomas, Chihuahua Mexico hosts a customer appreciation day. DJ’s, bands, dancers, food and drink for all day. We waited for party day to shop on this trip and had a great time along with a huge crowd of revelers.
We decided to bring one of Elaine’s orchids along. She has nursed and cared for it regularly. So now some 3 months later she has been rewarded with blooms!
All the known petroglyphs found in The City of Rocks State Park. It took a while to find them and a number of attempts to get clear images to enjoy. The cross on the upper right can be attributed to either the conquistadors or possibly to early Spanish shepherds. The other four were left by various Indian tribes.
Elaine took this picture of a spectacular cloud over Deming, NM as I was driving one morning.
Now we are on our way to the big city (Albuquerque) where we plan to relax, shop, and see a few sites.
From the land of chile peppers, New Mexico, the only place that believes pain is a spice.
One day we decided to take a drive north just to see some new sites. We stopped at Lake Roberts for a little walk. It was a very pretty day and we talked to a fisherman who stated that though the catching should be good he really did not care as he was simply out for the fishing. We were kindred spirits as we were just out sight-seeing and the bonus was that some of the sights were really good.
In the Gila National Forest’s Whitewater Canyon the Catwalk Recreation Area has been built, maintained and restored since 1933. We have been here before, maybe 16 to to 18 years ago and decided to revisit as we are less than 60 miles away.
When gold and silver were discovered in the rugged Mogollon Mountains above Whitewater Canyon prospectors flocked in. A pipe line was suspended over the creek to power a mill and the prospectors walked precariously on the pipe to get to their claims. The mill closed about 10 years after it was built. The Civilian Conservation Corps rebuilt the catwalk in the mid-1930’s. In 1961 the US Forest Service again rebuilt catwalk system making it much safer, It lasted until it was washed out in a flood in 2014? after the Whitewater-Baldy Fire of 2012. Luckily for us, it has now been rebuilt and is open to enjoy. Approximately .5 miles from the parking lot, the first portion of the trail, the portion we walked, is wheelchair accessible.
It was quite chilly on the January day we visited so we were very happy to get back to the warm truck after enjoying our little hike.
We are camp hosting here for the months of January and February 2018. This park is the most remote state park in New Mexico and if you know rural New Mexico you understand that we are a long way from anywhere. Dramatic, grand, spectacular, you can pick the adjective, they all fit this magic land of boulders. They all originated about 35 million years ago from a multi-year volcanic eruption that was 1,000 times larger than the Mount Saint Helens eruption in 1980. Hot volcanic material compressed and solidified and then as it cooled and shrank vertical cracks formed. From there eons of erosion has widened the cracks to make individual boulders.
The views from our campsite.
I think that you will have to agree that this is a very awe inspiring place to park our tiny house for a couple of months.
Some of the sights in the park.
The Apache Crown Dancers are an important part of the tribal spiritual rituals.
This is one of the two Kokopelli petroglyphs in the park. Kokopelli in this form is the bringer of music that changes winter to spring and brings rain for the crops.
There are at least 5 known and documented petroglyphs here. They are fun to find and see, but please do not touch them or do anything else that could damage them. And of course do not enter occupied campsites while you are searching.
We often saw people climbing the rocks. In order to protect the rocks only free climbing is allowed.
I am not patient enough to be a wildlife photographer but sometimes opportunities do occur. This Desert Cottontail just sat patiently and kept a wary eye on me. Coyotes, Blacktail Jackrabbit, Rock Squirrel, and Spotted Ground Squirrel are other park residents.
Sorry no pictures of the raven or even of the owl that borrowed the nest after the raven was done with it, but the park does have over 100 kinds of resident and visiting birds depending on the season. Butterflies, Dragonflies and over 20 varieties of reptiles can be found in the summer.
While it is certainly impossible to define the park wth one picture, for me this one comes the closest.
The welcome center’s architecture fits well in its surroundings. Do stop in for area and park information from the real friendly folks there.
With the trails around and through the park for hiking and sightseeing, many species of birds to see and photograph or paint or draw, many desert plants and animals to discover, a very nice visitor center with helpful staff and a library of geological, botanical and biological information, and a botanical garden, New Mexico’s City of Rocks is a must see stop in the desert southwest.
“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to drive across the country coast to coast without seeing anything.” This quote from Charles Kuralt was brought to mind by the fact that we are only about 30 miles north of that great set of asphalt paths with dashed lines that criss-cross this beautiful, immense country of ours. The freeways bring convenience and are needed but we do need to get off of them regularly.
We will be here for another month or so before heading on. Which direction? Well now that just depends on the weather.