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

Heffy’s Gallery

I have never devoted a post to a business before, but when I stumbled upon this little shop on Highway 101, in Florence, Oregon I immediately new I had found an unsung gem.

More pictures, information, address and phone can be found at: https://heffysgallery.com/ My only regret is that I did not take a picture of Heffy’s bust carving of Jack Nicholson. It is iconic. You will just have to go and see it yourself.

Summer ’21 1st Installment

After missing last year, as did almost everyone else, we are on the road again. The plan is to spend a month in Spokane Washington, camp hosting at Riverside State Park and spending time with family, then taking a month off on the Pacific coast with stops to relatives here and there, and finally returning to Riverside for another month of hosting. Other than heading homeward after that we really have no plans maybe just randomly roving so we don’t know when we will get back to Tucson.

Dazzo's RV Site 15
Dazzo’s RV Site 15

Our first night was in Wikieup which is really just a wide spot in the road with a few convenience stores/gas stations and diners, but it is a simple one-night stop. While not particularly commodious, Dazzo’s Rv is suitably located and has many Joshua trees and large Saguaro cactus throughout the park. When we were leaving the next morning we learned that the gas station/convenience store/restaurant/gallery where we fueled up the night before had burned to the ground. We could still smell the smoke at the park. Sad news.

Site #4 St George Elks
Site #4 St George Elks

5/24/21 and 278 miles to St George, UT where we stayed at one of our favorite places the, Elks Lodge overlooking a golf course and beautiful red rock formations. Actually, St George is a fabulous destination in itself. The city which has many historically significant landmarks also has beautiful parks and hiking/biking trails. On this trip, we visited Brigham Young’s winter home and did a little shopping on our day off the road.

Lakeside RV Provo, UT
Lakeside RV Site H7, Provo, UT

5/26/21 and another 270 miles closer to Spokane. When we arrived at the Provo Elks Lodge there were no sights available so we spent the night at Lakeside RV which was very near the airport. We never did find the lake but the campground was OK for a night.

Bannock County Fairgrounds
Bannock County Fairgrounds

5/27/21 A shorter day, only 207 miles to Pocatello, Idaho.

Junior Rodeo

We spent 2 nights here where we enjoyed watching the junior rodeo competition and also did a little shopping for provisions.

5/29/21 281 miles to Indian Creek Campground in Deer Lodge Montana. We are spending 2 nights here so we can return to Philipsburg and shop the Sweet Palace candy store. (Awesomely beautiful drive and fun shopping.) Deer Lodge will be our last stop on the way north. On the 31st we will drive the last 280 miles through Montana, across the Idaho panhandle, and on through Washington to Riverside State Park.

Bowl and Pitcher Campground Riverside State Park

Just keeping the shiny side up, and reminding ourselves that over the hill is still better than under it.

Your Random Rovers, Elaine and Gordon

Gila Bend, AZ

Why Gila Bend you ask? The town itself appears to be dying. The last grocery store closed more than a year ago. All that is left that might be of interest to a traveler are 2 truck stops, a couple of gas stations, a store that specializes in southwest yard art, a Family Dollar store and a Dollar General store. I should note that one of the gas stations also has some yard art. Just outside of town is the Sonoran Desert RV Park where we stayed 3 nights. The park and all of its facilities are sparkling clean. The sites are big enough for any RV and have full hookups including cable if you should desire it. Cell service is excellent. For a quiet relaxing respite with outstanding hosts this is the place whenever you find yourself between Phoenix and Tucson. We came because we wanted to check out our new (to us) tow rig with sliding hitch and every other bell and whistle you can find on a pickup. The truck, which we christened “R2”, performed flawlessly and I am sure will make our future RV traveling much more pleasurable. The second reason we went was to do a we bit of shopping in Phoenix without the stress of the long drive from our home. And, the final reason: We needed to have a safe outing with a change of scenery during this Covid pandemic.

Bertha and R2 at site 124
Bertha and R2 in Site 124

A lot of sunshine a little rain. Mostly pleasant weather for our short but very nice outing. We can’t wait to get out on a real trip. Vaccines and summer will get here!

Trying to keep the shiny side up. Your Random Rover, Gordon

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

Hawleys Landing

Our cruise was over, we went through Canadian customs at Vancouver, took the cruise bus back to the airport, took airport train out to the long term parking, found the truck, crammed all of our stuff in and buckled up headed out. It is nearly 3 and 1/2 hours from our stateroom to this point so our first stop was the airport shopping mall for a ‘necessary’ break. OK, now off to Blaine Washington where we went through US Customs to get back state-side. Since it was much later than we’d hoped for, there was an hour plus back up at the border. Exhausted, we stopped for the night in Wenatchee Washington after a beautiful drive through the Cascade mountains. Then on the road again for an easy drive to Spokane where we house sat for son John, did laundry, and stocked up on fresh food for our next destination, Hawley’s Landing. I think we are getting too old for this reality stuff, taking a cruise was much easier.

When we arrived for our planned 5 weeks of camp hosting we set up in an area reserved for seasonal employees and other personnel that do not need to be in the main campground. This was a pleasant surprise as we did not need to assume our duties for another week. I am sure that this is as close to a sinecure as I will ever get. Our first week of camp hosting with no responsibilities, and no scheduled activities! This was heaven!!!

002 HostSite
Our Host Site

This was our site while we hosted. Hosting here involved keeping the reservation cards up to date, campsite cleanup, and answering questions.

This was a very nice place to be for the week we rested,  and the 4 weeks that we hosted. We headed off to son John’s for a little more time with them. After that, it will be time to set our sights for home.

Just another thread in the tapestry of life

your random rover, Gordon

 

Cruising Back to Vancouver

We are now on the last leg of our Alaska-Yukon adventure aboard the Holland America Westerdam. We sailed out of Seward Alaska in the evening and by morning we were entering Glacier Bay.

Cruising at a reduced speed we enjoyed the marvelous views all day long.

After leaving Glacier Bay we continued our journey to Haines Alaska in the night.

Haines Alaska

After breakfast, we debarked and took an all-day walking tour of this small picturesque town. Ambling along we visited most of the stores and other attractions. Regrettably, the hammer museum was closed. Yes, that was on my list of “gotta see its”. Fort Seward, the Sheldon Museum & Cultural Center, and the American Bald Eagle Foundation were interesting stops.

Back onboard we are headed south on the inside passage to Juneau Alaska.

In addition to shopping Juneau’s tourist district, we rode the Mt. Roberts Tramway for an exhilarating view of the harbor.

By the time we arrived back at the ship, the drizzling rain that had plagued us most of the day ended. We are warm, dry and with a nights rest will be ready for our last port of call Ketchikan Alaska.

Ketchikan has a massive tourist district. So, of course, we shopped. Knowing that this was our last chance, we spent the morning hunting bargains.

In the afternoon we took an exceptional city and totem tour.

I will leave you a couple of views of Ketchikan’s most famous area, Creek Street. Up until 1953 all of the buildings on this street were bordellos. It has since been converted into an upscale arts and crafts shopping mall.

Tomorrow, we will spend our last day and night at sea.

During our cruise, we enjoyed a couple of Vegas-style shows in the main theater, a couple of America’s Test Kitchen classes, some breathtaking scenery from our balcony and the ubiquitous, daily, cruise ship towel animals.

Now heading back to reality,
Your Random Rover, Gordon

 

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

Wikieup AZ

And we are off! OK, friends I didn’t mean it that way so keep your clever comments behind sealed lips. Day one went very smoothly. We used the Phoenix bypass route which only really makes sense if one is headed toward Los Angeles but only adds a few miles and skirts you around most of the heavy traffic. A few more miles but a lot less aggravation.

On the way I stopped for nothing. It seems there is a ghost town here that is named Nothing. The town once had a population of 4, a convenience store, gas station and garage. After the town died another person tried to resurrect it and started a pizza business that also failed. So even though I stopped for nothing it did give me the opportunity to give you a picture of nothing.

Nothing Arizona
An Exiting Picture of Nothing, AZ

Well, if you think nothing was wonderful, the most awesome thing in Wikieup right now (other than yours truly) is Snoopy’s Rocket. You can find it and the town of Nothing on the web so I won’t elaborate further.

Snoopy’s Rocket

We are here safe and sound and fueled up for another day. Happy Hour happened, Elaine fixed a great salad dinner (it’s over a 100F so salad is perfect) and we are looking forward to what tomorrow might bring.

Dazzo's RV
Dazzo’s RV

Keeping the shiny side up and a silly grin on my face,
Your Random Rover, Gordon

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