A Trip To Southern New Mexico

We are nearly done with the house. We only want to move the TV and remodel the fireplace. Everything else inside is complete including, the master suite, living room, kitchen, utility, sewing room, guest bath, guest bedroom, and our office space. We even have docking for the RV now. We have built an extended patio and some raised bed gardens, plumbing included. Outdoors we still lack pavers for the added patio area as there is a cement shortage currently. We hope to be able to purchase them in February and possibly get that project done before we leave to go to Spokane for the summer.

We needed a break so we put some food, clothes, and a few personal items into Betha, our 5th wheel, and headed ESE to Columbus, NM, and specifically Pancho Villa State Park, for a short respite. We have spent numerous short vacations in this area and always enjoy the quiet desert beauty. So, on the 6th of January, we headed out.

Site 10 at Pancho Villa State Park

We decided to stay at a campsite where we had camped before and found it to be quite comfortable. The 70-degree weather certainly didn’t bother us.

Sunset in Columbus, NM

That evening we enjoyed this almost unbelievable, brilliant sunset. In itself, it was worth packing the essentials and taking the drive.

One simply must walk across the border and visit the Pink Store when one stays in Columbus, NM. The selection of Mexican arts and crafts is amazing and their restaurant is very good. Their margaritas? Well, I am writing home about them. We always go when we pass through the area. Google “The Pink Store” for more information or check out my earlier post “Poncho Villa”. On our last day here we drove up to Demming and did a little shopping.

Elks Lodge #413 Silver City, NM

We hitched up and went 86 miles north to Silver City for the last 2 nights of our little getaway. Just like the first stop, we have been here many times before. We had planned to spend our day here shopping in the old part of town where art, craft, and antique stores abound. Unfortunately, the covid outbreak has taken its toll. Only 3 or 4 stores were open.

However, one was a real gem. These segmented wood turnings were among many other very nicely crafted artwork to be found at the Grant County Art Guild in the Silver City Arts & Cultural District. Most of the stores are only open 4 days a week right now. So with cold and windy weather, we headed back to Bertha to relax and prepare for our drive back home tomorrow.

May you always have a clear conscience, and enough coin to buy a pint.

’til the next go-round, Your Random Rover, Gordon

Homeward Bound

It is September 1st and we are heading home for the winter. We drove about 230 miles to our first stop, Canyon Pines RV Resort on the Little Salmon river just south of Pollock, ID. We traveled 2 very steep and long downgrades, White Bird Pass and The Lewiston Grade. Engine braking made it much less harrowing than on trips past. Our site is very pretty and the sounds of the rapids are quite nice.

Our Site at Canyon Pines

We spent 2 nights here which afforded us the chance to drive up Hells Canyon. We only went a few miles up the Salmon River from Riggins and the scenery was excellent.

Back to the task at hand, a few more miles south down the road took us to the Mountain Home Elks Lodge where we spent Labor Day Weekend.

Site 1 at the Lodge

Right out our front door, I found many Agaricus Campestris mushrooms. Unfortunately, most of them were past their prime. Sad, because this close relative of the common grocery store white button mushrooms, Agaricus Bisporus, is quite tasty.

Field Mushrooms

Rolling on, we were off to Tremonton, Utah where we spent one night.

Site 49 Aspen Grove RV

The next day we were headed to Deer Creek State Park near Heber, Utah where we stayed 3 nights. Because we eschewed the Interstate as much as possible, we were able to purchase ripe local peaches and delicious sweet corn which we found at roadside stands along Utah highway38. About halfway between Tremonton and Heber on Utah highway 6, we stopped at the Tie Fork rest area. It is certainly a unique and enjoyable place even if you don’t need a break.

A few more miles and we arrived at DeerCreek.

Deer Creek State Park Site 14

While here we explored the towns of Heber City and Midway. Bought cheese and ice cream at an artisan creamery and relaxed.

It is now September 10th and we are off to Hillview RV which is about 6 miles south of Price, Utah. We have time here to do some exploring.

Our site at Hillview RV, Wellington, UT

With 2 full days here we did a little exploring The first day took us back up the road to Price where we viewed the Utah State University Prehistoric Museum and then on to Helper where we saw antiques, crafts and the Big John statue..

Our next stop was the Circleville RV Park in Circleville, UT. We wished we had planned more than one night. As it was a very pleasant park with many things to see and do nearby. And on the way we found a great spot for lunch.

Our site in Circleville

Kanab was our last stop in Utah. We stayed at J&J RV which was on the edge of town giving us the opportunity to check out some of the area attractions.

Our Home For 2 Days In Kanab

Simply because we felt that Kanab to Prescott would be more of a drive than we cared to do and because it has been many years since we have been in Page we decided to spend a night. We checked out a couple of trading posts and went out for dinner.


Site 8 At The Elks Lodge in Page, AZ

Our very last stop on this adventure, Prescott Valley, AZ.

At the Elks Lodge in Prescott Valley

We enjoyed a day wandering around historic Jerome, AZ an old mining town and now a tourist attraction with many places to spend time and money.

On our last day we traipsed Whiskey Gulch which is the historic district of Prescott, AZ and ate ice cream for lunch. A fitting end to this years odyssey.

I will leave with a picture of the sunrise as we were hitching up to head to Tucson.

A Great Way To Start The Day

Until we hit the rode again, Your Random Rover, Gordon

Riverside August 2021

We returned to the Bowl and Pitcher Campground at Riverside State Park to be camp hosts in the lower section.

Host Site #7

We had impressive views from our campsite.

And many more from park trails along the Spokane river.

There were many flowers and lots of critters to watch even in the heat of summer. We saw squirrels, marmots, ducks, geese, osprey, deer, and numerous wildflowers in the park.

We enjoyed a few evenings with family at their homes and here in the park and were able to do a few little things for them. We plan to head back here next summer so that we can spend more time enjoying the “inland empire.

Now that we have completed our hosting duties we will be spending about 3 weeks heading home via a route that we have not taken before and are looking forward to many new sights along the way.

All that glitters is not gold (Shakespeare) — Your Random Rovers

Another View of our Host Site

Summer Vacation

It is July 1st and our first month at Bowl and Pitcher / Riverside is complete so we are off on a month-long vacation. Our First stop is Yakima. Though we have passed through more than once, we have never spent any time here. The Yakima Elks Lodge has an RV park that is an easy drive from Spokane.

Did some shopping and then walked the grounds of a beautiful arboretum which is just a few miles from the Elks Lodge. We were really looking forward to cooler weather. Spokane and Yakima are hotter than Tucson. Soon we will be on Hoods Canal where we will probably exchange shorts for long pants.

Little Creek Casino Shelton WA

July 5th: Here we are on Hoods Canal and it’s much cooler. A good overnight stop.

Port Townsend Elks RV

July 6th: We will spend 3 nights here to see brother and sister-in-law in Port Ludlow and a few old friends in Sequim. Still enjoying cool marine air.

July 7th: 6 nights on the beach at Copalis, WA with John, Laura, Missy, and Jasmine. What a great time!

Tillamook Elks RV

Halfway through July and we are on our own again. We have 2 days here to find new things to see in the area.

Polk County Fairgrounds

We did not make reservations early enough to stay closer to Corvallis. But the fairgrounds here in Rickreall, OR are clean and quiet. Also they were close enough so we could see brother Stephen and sister Julie while we were here. We also found time to shop in Dallas and Independence, OR.

In Prineville at Crook County RV

On the afternoon of our arrival, 7/25, we did a driving tour of Prineville and purchased a few supplies. The next day we went to Bend. We couldn’t believe how much this whole area has grown. The population of Bend has exploded. When I was last here in the mid-’60s, it was a cowboy town of around 15k. Now it is a city of 106K! Exploring a little of Redmond took up our last day here.

It is July 28th and we are heading to our last vacation stop, Hood Park near the Tri-Cities. On the way north we stopped for a break at Shaniko and lunched at Maryhill Park in Washington.

Hood Park

We are spending 4 nights here relaxing before returning to Riverside for another month of camp hosting. We are beginning to plan our return to Tucson in September.

Sacajawea State Park

On our last day we toured this Washington state park at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers and enjoyed the interpretive center there. Our little vacation has been blessed with family, good friends, and nearly perfect weather. We couldn’t ask for more.

Happy trails to you from your Random Rovers…

Arizona’s White Mountains

We have our remodeling project about 80% complete. We haven’t done much of anything with the landscaping but we will. We have been working inside almost continuously because with the Covid-19 crisis and the summer heat it has provided our only viable outlet. But now we have decided that we need to take a break. So, with Bertha loaded and checked we are going camping for a few days.

Ready To Roll

231 miles from the Sonoran desert to the Coconino National Forest at 7,000 feet above sea level. Much cooler here and pine trees instead of saguaros.

Our Site With Forest Behind Us
And A Meadow In Front Of Us

We plan to do some sightseeing and relaxing. Though this resort is lacking in amenities, it is very pleasant and the scenery is beautiful.

One of the many wildflowers we saw.

And another

Mostly we relaxed and enjoyed the mountains.

Excitement

We found out that the little road in front of the campground was the prime location for landing the aid chopper to transfer patients for the ride to larger medical facilities. We are out in the country here. We had two visits during our stay. That is as exciting as things got which was fine with us.

Sonoran Desert Resort, Gila Bend, AZ

On the way home we decided to stop for the night at the KOA Journey in Gila Bend so we could do most of the clean-up and dump duties in cool of the morning and then do the easy 2 1/2 hour drive home. Our first surprise was that it was no longer a KOA campground, but no fear folks, the same great people are running it. We did have a disappointment however. Just down the road a bit from the campground we had planned to shop for yard art at Holt’s Shell as they always had great prices and a good selection. Unfortunately, Holt’s has closed and is being replaced with a Pilot truck stop. We headed on homeward in the morning arriving safely and in fine shape to start planning our next escapade.

Your Random Rovers

Homeward Bound

Wow, can’t believe I did not write and post this a year ago when we got home. Anyhow, I am writing it now and posting it for the record.

With our stint as campground hosts at Hawley’s Landing completed, we hitched up Bertha and went back to Colbert, WA to spend a few more days with the kids and grandkids before heading home. I replaced the main AC unit as planned and the starter motor on the truck which wasn’t planned. John was a big help with both projects and all went well. We did a little travel preparation shopping and then simply enjoyed time with family.

It is September 17th and since all good things must end someday: We’ve said our good-byes and we are headed south, back to our remodeling project and our Tucson friends.

Our first day took us back to Indian Creek RV in Deer Lodge Montana where we spent the night. The next morning found us on the road again heading across Montana to Billings where we stayed at the very first KOA campground. Ok, nothing really exciting, but a decent enough place and certainly a landmark in RV history.

02BillingsKOA
Staying at the KOA in Billings, Mt

Off we go again, now on to Kaycee, Wy. Home of rodeo bareback champion and country music star Chris Ledoux. While here we visited the Chris LeDoux Park and a very fine museum of early Wyoming ranching.

11ChrisLeDoux
Chris LeDoux

 

12KayceeJail
The First Kaycee Jailhouse

 

13CampingKCRV
Staying at Kaycee RV Park

The last of the consecutive days of driving. We are driving on to Cheyenne, WY where we will spend a day sightseeing and resting.

21HerdOfBison
A Herd of Bison

 

22CheyenneSculpture
One of the Many Sculptures around Cheyenne

 

23BisonRanchRV
Our “Premium” Site at Bison Ranch

We found Cheyenne to be a charming modern city that is very proud of it’s roots. Unfortunately, the Bison Ranch was a disgustingly filthy and overpriced tourist trap.  If we were to come this way again we would find other accommodations.

Sweetwater Events Complex in Rock Springs, WY

276 Miles from Cheyenne Took us to Rock Springs, Wyoming where we spent the night at the Sweetwater Events Complex. Though not by any means pretentious we would recommend this a great stop. The staff was friendly, the sites level and clean and we shared happy-hour with some great neighbors. We couldn’t wish for more.

Back at the Provo UT Elks Lodge

We have planned a day of site seeing so will spend a second night here.

 

Elaine With Waterfall

 

The View From 8060 Feet

We took a driving tour Northeast of Provo, gaining about 3,500 feet in elevation, where we had beautiful mountain views and bought some really good apples from a roadside market.

St George Elk Rv Parking

With 2 nights in St George (our last R&R stop) We headed to the Red Reef Area near Leeds, Utah for an easy day hike.

Red Reef Trail

 

Another View of the Red Reef Trail

Sad to say just a two more nights and we will be back in reality.

Will I still be able to deal that?

Zuni Village RV in Kingman, AZ

 

KOA Journey in Gila Bend, AZ

Our last 2 nights on the road for this long journey. It September 31st and we are home safe and sound. This has been an awesome trip. I wonder where our hearts will lead us next.
Your Random Rovers

Denali, Anchorage, and Seward

An all-day bus tour of Denali National Park was in our schedule today. On it, we saw lots of flowers, wildlife, and of course some awesome scenery. Unfortunately Mt Denali, previously Mt McKinley, spent the entire day hiding in the clouds. The weather was misty, cloudy, and damp but we felt lucky as some people come here and all they get is pouring rain.

How did that mushroom sneak into the flower gallery?

In addition to the caribou, grizzly bear, and grouse above we also saw moose, deer (sorry no pictures) and lots of other small animals.

 

 

Although the day was less than photogenic we had a good time and would highly recommend the Denali tour. After the tour, we took in the visitor center and returned to the hotel for dinner. For the last 2 days of our land tour, we will be traveling by train to Anchorage and then on to Seward where we will board the Westerdam for a 7-day cruise back to Vancouver.

 

 

Some of the Scenery Heading to Anchorage

In Anchorage, we stayed at the Captain Cook Hotel. In the evening we decided to go find some fish & chips for dinner which we did and then returned to our room to rest up for the next day. Since we did not have to leave until after 11 AM we went out to breakfast rather than trying one of the hotel restaurants. After that, we sauntered off to the nearby Saturday craft market which we enjoyed. Then it was time to head to the train for Seward.

The ride to Seward was highlighted by many glaciers and mountain scenes. We saw a number of Dall sheep but I was unable to get any pictures.

Overall the land portion of our trip was something that we will always remember. It was both exhausting and worthwhile. Our Alaska trip would never have felt complete had we simply done the cruise and seen some of the port cities. We will be stopping in numerous port cities on the way back.

Looking forward to some shipboard relaxation,
Your Random Rover, Gordon

Off to Denali

This morning we boarded a chartered jet to fly from Dawson, Yukon to Fairbanks, Alaska. You guessed it! Once again through customs as we are heading back into the USA. From the airport we took a bus into town and got a short narrated tour of Fairbanks and a stop in downtown for a lunch break where we had ice cream and enjoyed the park.

InFairbanks1

Then off to our hotel and  on our own for the afternoon. We shopped the town a little and went to the heritage center.

Moose and cariboo antlers form this arch
Athabaskan Antler Arch

Over 100 moose and cariboo antlers form this arch leading into the Morris Thompson Heritage Center. The arch is meant to evoke memories of adventures and times spent together. We spent quite a while touring the excellent exhibits here. Wandered the town a little more, found some local craft beer, and went back to our hotel for dinner.

The next morning it was back on the bus for more adventures.

We stopped and learned a little about the famous Alyeska Pipeline.


Hopped aboard a train of the amusement park variety to go see a gold dredge and then…

Panned for gold! As you can see we did pretty well. (Those little specks add up to about $40 dollars worth!)  Back on the bus and on to Anchorage.

020 RestStop

This was a nice stop with lots of nice jewelry but didn’t buy any.  Back aboard and off to Denali where we will spend 2 nights, our chance to see one of the many wonders of  Alaska. We can’t wait to get off the bus and relax but don’t want to miss anything.

010ViewFromRoom

This is the view from our hotel room just outside of Denali National Park. We shopped some of the tourist stuff, found some dinner, crashed and got ready for our park tour tomorrow.

Today was one more great thread in our tapestry of adventure, with more to come,

Your random rover

From Skagway, AK to Dawson, YT

000Volendam

Volendam in port at Skagway

July 13th: We left the Volendam to start our land tour of The Yukon and Alaska. We spent the afternoon and night here in Skagway.

 

Downtown Skagway

I took these pictures in the very early morning. In season, Skagway is a very busy tourist destination. We shopped and visited various interesting stores and museums here at the start of the gold rush trail.

 

Steam Engine and Plow

000WPR

On The WhitePass & Yukon Route

In the morning we rode this narrow gauge railroad up the Chilcoot trail to Fraser crossing into the Yukon Territory.

004Creek003Trestle

Steep, Treacherous, And Beautiful

It was much easier for us than it was for the prospectors who carried all their supplies up the trail. It took the earlier travelers up to a week to get this far as they had to move their necessities in stages going up the steep grade.  (One ton of equipment, food, and other needs was required by law to head up the trail.)  At Fraser, which is near the summit (2,885ft), we cleared Canadian customs and left the train to proceed via tour bus to Carcross, YT.

 


Carcross, home of the Tagish/Carcross First Nation, was known as Caribou Crossing, YT until 1904 when it was renamed because the Canadian postal system started having miss-delivery problems with Caribou Crossing, BC. We spent a pleasurable hour or so here shopping and stretching our legs before heading on to Whitehorse, YT.

007MilesCanyon
Miles Canyon

About 10 minutes from Whitehorse we stopped to view Miles Canyon, a basaltic canyon carved by the Yukon river, that when combined with the Whitehorse rapids  was a major impediment to travel on the way to the gold fields. I should note that though Whitehorse, the capitol city of the Yukon, has many attractions worth visiting we simply took a short walk through town, did a little shopping, and went out to dinner as I was not feeling well and we were both tired.  Tomorrow we are off to the historic town of Dawson, the miner’s gold rush destination.

001 Montague
Montague Roadhouse

Our first stop, the remnants of one of the road houses along the Whitehorse/Dawson Overland Trail. The roadhouses and their companion buildings served as shelters, restaurants, and stables for the arduous 6 to 10 day trip. We will make the entire one day in a modern coach. We took a rest stop at the village of Carmacs where we checked out a combination hardware store, gas station, and gift shop. The coffee was ok and we did get to stretch our legs.

002 Carmacks
Five Finger Rapids on the Yukon River

We took another break here at the only difficult stretch of water for the miners headed to Dawson.  Named Five Fingers because four islands break the river into five channels, four of which can be deadly.  Though it looks peaceful in the photo, the currents are powerful and run in multiple directions around the basalt islands.

We had a nice buffet style lunch at a pleasant RV campground on the bank of the river and then headed on toward Dawson City.

 

This is Moose Creek Lodge, our last place to stretch and relax today.

006Dawson
Main Street Dawson

We finally made it! This was the longest day of the gold rush tour but we will spend 2 nights here and hopefully get a little rest while we do some sightseeing tomorrow. They are still actively mining in this area and there is much history to explore. By the way the highway is the only paved street in town.

 

The cabins of Robert Service and Jack London

Of course, we shopped the town, and visited some of the museums and visitor centers. Dawson was home to Jack London, famous novelist, short story writer, and chronicler of the gold rush era and also to Robert Service the most famous bard of the period.

 

Some Sights Of Dawson, YT

Tomorrow we fly to Fairbanks, AK so we get to go through customs again, Yipee!

May all your travels lead to happiness, your Random Rover

A Few Days With Family

 

Prior to heading off to Alaska and the Yukon Territory we had a few days with our Spokane family (John and Laura and their respective clans) and then a little more time with family in Port Ludlow, WA (Phil and Anette).

003Birthday
Happy Birthday!

For Delaney’s special day we had a patriotic birthday party.

 

Complete with fireworks!

We also had time to help with a few projects. Our time was short, but knew we would be back in Spokane again before heading south for the winter.  With cruise embarkation getting emanate we left Bertha (our 5th wheel) at John’s and headed west over the Snoqualmie Pass and across Puget Sound to visit with brother Phil and sister-in-law Anette. 

We had a wonderful time catching up with some of Phil’s clan. There are no better hosts anywhere. We were able to go out crabbing twice and of course that meant that we gorged multiple times on the best of all the crustaceans. 

Live Dungeness Crab
Live Dungeness Crab

All too soon it was time to move on again. So we went off on another Washington State Ferry to Whidbey Island and then north to Birch Bay for a last night in the USA before departing from Vancouver, BC.

Ready to Drive off Whidbey Island Ferry
Ready to Drive off Whidbey Island Ferry

I have been remiss not posting until now, but there are so many pictures to go through and remembered events to put in order. I am working on posts about our cruise north , our land and air travels through the Yukon Territory and Alaska, and finally our cruise back south.

Enjoy what you have while you can,

Your Random Rover, Gordon

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