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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rolling on, we were off to Tremonton, Utah where we spent one night.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our very last stop on this adventure, Prescott Valley, AZ.
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.
Until we hit the rode again, Your Random Rover, Gordon
We returned to the Bowl and Pitcher Campground at Riverside State Park to be camp hosts in the lower section.
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
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.
July 5th: Here we are on Hoods Canal and it’s much cooler. A good overnight stop.
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!
Halfway through July and we are on our own again. We have 2 days here to find new things to see in the area.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5/27/21 A shorter day, only 207 miles to Pocatello, Idaho.
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.
Just keeping the shiny side up, and reminding ourselves that over the hill is still better than under it.
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.
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
Pull Slides In, Hitch Up, and Roll Down the Road
A synopsis of our plans
With Tucson temperatures around 107 F every day for the past week it is definitely time to start. It is June 17th, Bertha is ready to go and so are we. Our plans have us leaving on the 19th and traveling less than 300 mile on any given day with a couple of 2 night stops on the way to Spokane WA, our first destination, to see the kids and grands. After leaving Bertha with son John we will head to Port Ludlow WA to spend some time with Brother Phil and his lovely wife.
From there we are off to Vancouver BC where we will embark on a 3 day cruise to Alaska. Off the ship and onto an 8 day land tour of the Yukon Territory and Alaska followed a 7 day cruise back to Vancouver BC where we go back to reality, and start doing some of the daily chores of living again. The first will be driving back to Spokane.
Interesting Note: If I understand correctly, since these are international voyages (Canada/US and US/Canada) we get the privilege of going through customs numerous times. For instance day 1: Canadian customs at border crossing into Canada at Blaine and as the ships destination is Alaska, US Customs before getting onto cruise ship.
We plan to stop on the way back because we figure by the time we clear customs (twice) and actually hit the road it will be mid afternoon. Back in Spokane we will need to quickly reorganize and depart for Heyburn Lake State Park in Idaho where we will be volunteer camp hosts for a little over a month before we even consider heading homeward.
I will post along the way as time and internet connections allow and hope that you will follow along.
Your random rover, Gordon
I lied. I am writing this post from New Mexico. As we now live in Arizona, the title isn’t completely false.
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!
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.