Summer in Spokane

Summer hosting at Riverside, Spokane, Washington.


The featured image is our 5th wheel’s moment of fame, appearing on KXLY Channel 4 Morning News in a story about 4th of July camping, it was a delightful surprise during morning coffee when we saw our campsite on TV.

Flowers

The following is an incomplete gallery of the wildflowers we found during our stay in the Bowl & Pitcher Campground at Riverside State Park, Spokane, WA. The unusually wet spring and early summer created quite a show.

Critters

We saw chipmunks, squirrels, marmots, quail, geese, ducks, osprey, and deer. We were able to capture photos of a few of them. Flower photography is much easier, as the flowers placidly sit and wait for you while you get the camera out and compose the picture.

The Campground and River

The Bowl & Pitcher campground and day use areas are part of the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps, circa 1933 to 1942, which in turn was part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal Program. The CCC’s work included the park’s suspension bridge, kitchen shelter, restroom, park residence, office, and maintenance shop. All of which are still in use. CCC workers also constructed the rock walls and much of the roadway of Aubrey White Parkway which is the main road along the river that leads to the park. The gem of the park is the Spokane river and gorge.

Our Site

This was our campsite for the two months we hosted for the park.

Lower Campground Host Site (#7)

As I finish writing this issue of “Random Rovers” we are nearing the end of our stay and will soon have to begin packing things up so we can head on to our August adventure. We have enjoyed being close to family and camping in this beautiful park and plan to come back next year.

Keeping the shiny side up as always, your random rovers, Elaine & Gordon.

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2022 Heading North

It is May 22nd 2022 and we are finally headed north for our summer in the Pacific Northwest. We traveled 256 miles today, starting out westward across Tucson, AZ, and then north on I10 to the I202 bypass route around southwest Phoenix, rejoining I10 to head west a few miles to the I101 northwest bypass route, then heading out of the city on US60 to Wickenburg, AZ and from there North on US93 to the tiny town of Wikieup, AZ.

Hidden Oasis RV — Wikieup, AZ

We decided to try a different park this time and were glad we did. It was a very pleasant place for a night.

On day 2 we rejoined US93 northbound to I40 where headed westbound to Kingman, Az. From there it was north on US93 and then a very short distance on I11 to Lakeshore Rd through the Lake Mead National Recreation Area continuing on Nevada 167 (Northshore Highway) and 169 (Moapa Valley Highway) to I15. Today’s total was 266 miles.

A View From The Passenger Seat

The drive up Lake Mead to I15 is a very beautiful and relaxing way to avoid driving through Las Vegas. On I15 we went through the Virgin River Gorge on the way the way to St George, Utah where we spent 2 nights.

Our Site at St George

Day 4 and we are headed due north up I15 to Willard Bay State Park. We had hoped to stay a night with the fine folks at the Provo Elks Lodge but we were a little to late. All the hookup sites were full so we opted for plan B which was to have a leisurely lunch and take a short walk before proceeding north through Salt Lake City to a nice rural camp site for night. 342 miles towing but tomorrow will be easy as we are now ahead of schedule.

Our Site @ Willard Bay on The Great Salt Lake

It made the day a bit long with 60 or so miles of big city traffic but we arrived with plenty of time to get set up, fill up the truck, and come back for dinner.

It was day 5 and we were still headed north on I15 with a little more of Utah and then on to southern Idaho. We made our planned stop at North Bingham County Park after only 149 miles.

At Bingham County Park a nice place not far from the freeway

The park was nice and its location just a few miles south of Idaho Falls made it convenient for us to do some shopping and relaxing. It rained for both of our 2 nights there but we managed to stay dry in the daytime.

Hard to believe that we had been on the road for a week but here we were heading for the last layover, 236 miles to Deer Lodge, MT, on the way to Spokane, WA. After an hour or so on I15 we left Idaho behind and entered the big sky country of Montana. At Butte, MT we took the interchange onto I90 which will take us to our destination, Riverside State Park,

Indian Creek Campground, Deer Lodge, MT

We stayed for 2 nights and visited historic Phillipsburg. It rained both nights, but the again the days were nice.

The last 273 miles took us through Montana, across the Idaho panhandle, and into eastern Washington. We stopped for lunch at Coeur d’ Alene before tackling the Spokane traffic.

Our Host Site at The Bowl & Pitcher Campground Riverside State Park

Our vacation is over. We will be starting our host duties in a couple of days. I will post some photos and maybe some tales from Spokane and the park soon.

Your Random Rover, Gordon

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…

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

Heading North Summer 2019

Almost Ready To Roll

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

An Update From Tucson, AZ

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.

B00
Street View

B001
Yes! There is a shop.

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!!

B002
Dated,  Cluttered, and Tired

B004
Light, Airy, New!!

B005
Shower is nice now

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).

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Here We Are At Pancho Villa

It is springtime and the desert wildflowers are all around us. I took these pictures during a quick walk around the park.

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.

Your Random Rover, Gordon

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