Saturday, April 30, 2011

Los Alamos and Bandelier

As we prepared for our Friday and the extremely strong winds that were forecast for us (sustained winds at 30-40, gusts at 60-65mph), we pulled our two slides in to make us less of a target while we were gone for the day.  Our destination this morning was Los Alamos--about an  hour from our park and quite a nice drive.  

As probably all of you know, the "Manhattan Project" was developed here and really was a big deal to the physicists and their families to move here.  They were notified of their "offer" via mail with no information about the job or location.  One man stated:  "who wouldn't take the offer of an unknown job at an unknown location for an unknown amount of time?"  They took over a boys "ranch school" that had been built in 1928 at Los Alamos and was a well-built series of log buildings providing schooling for 40+ high school-age boys from the well-to-do eastern families.  There were many well known graduates, including the brother of Lady Bird Johnson, Gore Vidal, and Presidents of Quaker Oats and Sears.   They focused on the "complete young man" which included community service, horsemanship, athletics, and a unique approach to education based on what they knew when the boys came to the school. 

Apparently the boys had one "official" chance to court the ladies during the school  year when they hosted a dance for the young ladies from a girls' school not far away.  The girls arrived in full formal attire and the boys received them in their usual shorts, green shirt, etc as their boy scout basis dictated!

The Bandelier National Park was well done and provided  us an opportunity to see the remains of the cliff dwellers caves and the pueblos of Tyuonyi--quite a large pueblo-- the area eventually was home to 500+ people.  This 1 1/2 mi trail was easy with some climbs into the actual cliff dwellings--how small!  Claustrophobia! 

Coming back the ole moho was a windy trip and when we got back to the ranch we were assaulted with wind.  At the cliff dwellings it was like being sandblasted with sand and grit so that you have it in your teeth, hair and painfully in the eyes.  Exhausting!  We definitely feel like Judy Garland in the scene where she tries to lift the cellar door but it blows back and she is unable to move it!  Not to diminish the suffering and anguish of the people involved in the awful tornadoes sweeping the south, we can't imagine how devasatating that must be.  Ours is only a small taste of that. 

We were rockin and rollin in our RV for dinner prep and listening to the Mariners game...well, Boston, take that!!  We still can't seem to get in  touch with the guy that was to order our stabilization part for us in Colorado Springs; and of course won't hear until Monday now.  In any event it looks like we will head that way next week, assuming weather and winds comply.  Happy Weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Santa Fe Ole' !!

Yesterday we were scheduled to do the front-end alignment but we got all hooked up and drove to the Freightliner place to find that they can't do the alignment after all.   No problem, we just go back to the plan of driving to Santa Fe to take in that beautiful area and hunker down for the next onslaught of winds on Friday and Saturday here. 

It's been years since we were in Santa Fe---what a delightful area.  I used to travel here on business,  but never saw "the sights".  We are in a great RV park here where the mgrs really love the area and sharing it with visitors.  There are lots of trees in the park and a great hiking trail around the perimeter that has beautiful views from the higher elevations.  We are at approx 7000' now and so a little chillier than the rest of NM.

  We spent the afternoon at the New Mexico History Museum which was well worth it--history of the conflicts this area has endured from the Spanish invasion in the early 1700s through the Santa Fe Trail that brought Americans into the area and into the Mexican-American war and then the Civil War...the westernmost battle of the Civil War was fought in Santa Fe.  Part of the museum was the Palace of the Governors, over 300 years of continuous occupation.   Beautifully done museum and recommended to all.  I thought the best quote in the museum was something to the effect that "whether it's six-guns, a law book or a friend in congress, it's all dangerous".

Today we traveled to Taos, via the "high road" (you take the high road and I'll take the low road...") which was a beautiful drive--little traffic, nice roads and beautiful mountain scenery which reminded us of home.  Our main objective in Taos was to visit the Taos Pueblo--which is a Pueblo that has ongoing commerce and inhabitants in the ancient  adobe buildings--some as old as 1000 years.  These have been continuously occupied for that length of time! 

Then on the way back we stopped at "Black Mesa" winery.  All the grapes they use are from NM and some interesting wines to taste.  As part of our tasting we got great wine glasses to add to our collection plus Jeff got a bottle of cab he liked. 

Because of the severe tornadoes, high winds, thunderstorms and flooding throughout the southwest, midwest and east, we have decided to curtail our trip this year (the worst weather in 40 years according to the ABQ weather station) and just continue north from here and then back to Seattle through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho. 

It's with great regret that we have to forego our east coast visit with dear friends,but we don't want to add to the problems of people in the areas already hard hit by this string of tornadoes and flooding.  We certainly send our most sincere prayers and  best wishes to those that are in that area and will try again next year or the next to visit our friends out east.

Today is Caroline's birthday, and we wish her the very best birthday yet!  We'll see you in June.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"Windy" is the new black!!

Albuquerque is a great city to visit--if you haven't spent any time here, please much to do and see.  We have traveled quite a lot and think the roads/bridges/medians/plantings along the roads within the metropolitan area to be some of the finest we've seen.  The bridges are spectacular and so beautifully planted. 

We visited the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History today---what a FANTASTIC museum!  This is one that I was not overly excited about, but WOW what a great find!  Super well done and only about 3 years old.  Lots of information about the atomic bomb development and testing and put in context of WWII history.  Replicas of the "little boy" and the "fat man" bombs were there, as well as information about the complete takeover of Trinity NM to house the scientists and test the bomb (the gvt bought out the whole town and the residents had 2 weeks to move out!).  An interesting aside in the museum was the pop culture take-off from the atomic bomb...from the 40's to current ie: comic books, sodas and even a current expression:  "da bomb!".

The winds continue, gusts to 55-60 mph, but settling down by midnight they say.  We have investigated getting our front end aligned and will get that done tomorrow at 7 am, taking off from there for Santa Fe area, bagging our previous route through Amarillo TX and east through TX due to huge winds, wildfires and continuing tornado threats throughout the area.
We have ordered a "super stabilizer" from Camping World that will be sent to the Colorado Springs CW for them to install for us in 7-10 that means we will have time to really enjoy northern NM and southern CO---so many lakes and trails and parks to see along the way!  We're very lucky...

Monday, April 25, 2011

On the road to, and in Albuquerque

We left at 7:15 am from Holbrook, AZ heading for Albuq, NM,  hoping to beat the worst of the winds and weather.  Just to give you the lowdown to those who have not done a RV trip before, it really takes a while to get ready to go:  briefly, the moho needs to be prepped (all gear stowed, all cupboards secured with plates and glasses protected, pots cushioned so that they don't rattle and make us crazy(ier), everything removed from countertops, tables, sink areas, shower stall, etc.   Then the slides have to be brought in but checked so no obstacle is in the way first (we have learned this the hard way!), the water, sewer, power and cable (if available---many places there is no TV hookup) needs to be emptied, cleaned and stowed, the maps, RV park catalogues, guides, phones and gps needs to be set upfront for the co-pilot (that's me!) and waters, etc. provided for the drive.  Also, beforehand, gps coordinates, road conditions, weather conditions and pee spot information needs to be retrieved and ready.

This is to say nothing of the jacks, tow car prep and maneuvering out of the parking spot, plus doing a final check and confirming all lights are in working order.  (You would laugh at us on this point, since Jeff flashes the lights and we do various impersonations of  Lucy, Desi, Jackie Gleason, etc as we signal to the other that all is in working order).

All that to say a 7:15 start out of the park is very early!  Anyway, we had a lovely first 100 miles or so, having  a banana and hardboiled egg en route to tide us over to our prepared lunch about 11.  The winds were picking up and we just made a quick stop for gas and Casey to do his thing, then for the final leg into Albuq. --really beautiful along the way with the painted hills, mesas and stormy sky above.  We again had the trucks going bananas fast but felt good getting into our RV Park by 1:30 or so.  Even so, we were drained. 

The RV wind experience is hard to's a bit like your first time on a bike without training wheels and your wheels are constantly being pulled by unforeseen forces in random directions.  En route we saw signs that read "Zero visibility possible due to dust storms...don't stop in traffic lanes" and "wind gusts may blow RV's over"...just kidding on the last one, but it sure seemed possible!

After we settled in at the Albuq RV park, the gusts continued in the 50-60 mph neighborhood and really shook the parked, jacks down moho.  In talking to others here, it has been horrific for everyone going east or west.  Some have been in this RV park as long as 2 weeks waiting for better weather to travel on to their destination.  Tomorrow we are staying put due to 30-40 mph sustained winds and gusts to 65 mph...not great traveling conditions but we'll do some sightseeing.  

Today we went hiking in the Petroglyph park--really interesting and very different from the big island (HI) petroglyphs.  These images (20,000+ in all) speak to the natives and travelers through the Rio Grande valley long ago.  The images of birds, snakes, people and weather are intriguing.  Unfortunately, Casey stepped on an ant hill when we were nearly at the end and a nice person gave us neosporin for his foot but he couldn't put weight on it so we took turns carrying him out for part of the return.  He's fine now!  We also took a walk around Old Town--really nice and not touristy like Santa Fe's old downtown.  Super nice people!

We took the kayaks and bikes off the car for today and tomorrow (and got  the car washed, too--what a dusty mess!).  Jeff has determined that the steering is too (squishy is my word) "loose-it floats"--which makes it even more difficult to control on ruts, bumps and most importantly of late, in the wind!  So, he's investigated and determined a couple things to add to the suspension to stop the sway.  He's smartly gone online to ask other RVer's their opinion of these additions, and Camping World is right down the road from us here, so we can order it, set up an appointment and then have it installed at the next Camping World.  Yeah!!!  We'll both feel much more comfortable we're predicting.

Note:  the last post was out of sequence (it was a draft I had put in a different file and then we added pictures to it, so it inadvertently got published...sorry to get it out of place!)
So, hope you all had a great Easter and we're being careful!  Thanks for all your great emails! 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mojave Desert, I-40, on to Arizona

So, last night was the Twin Lakes Rv Park in Newberry Springs.   We are not particularly picky about quick overnight stays, but this was a strange experience.  We used our "passport" catalog (this is like the 'Entertainment' coupon book except for RV parks)  to find a place along the I-40 corridor because we couldn't make it any further  in one day.   Note the name "Twin Lakes"--one would expect 2 lakes, right?  Well, one might say we found less than that.  

There are many types of RV Parks, and we have expected a variety  and have found them really pretty interesting as we go along.  This one, however was VERY interesting...This is in the middle of the desert, and viewing the abodes we passed by enroute, determined that there are many "desert dwellers" along the I-40 corridor...this was a misnomer in caps.  There were no "lakes" and the place was clearly less than kept.  The bathrooms had cobwebs spanning the mirror/sink/toilet "expanse" (complete with spiders).  We loved that we could
take Casey over to play ball and let him run free--and frankly, we're fine with this but it does make for good blogging...;-)

Williams, AZ and on to Holbrook, AZ

Yesterday we had a "down" day given all the wind, the stress of driving slow with the trucks barreling down your whitey-tightey's, etc.  We had a nice hike around the perimeter of Kaibab Lake and then had our picnic lunch.  Lots of fishermen there and they were catching trout!  We noticed all the pines that appeared to be dying and then discovered that the pine beetle is the cause...what destruction those tiny guys can produce!   The trees have been stressed due to drought conditions in the last couple of years and so the sap can't easily stop an infestation in the tree, and then they slowly kill the tree.   Really a problem throughout CA and AZ apparently.

We came back and did the "downtown walking tour" of the historic buildings along Route 66 that went through Williams.  Interesting to think about what it must have been like to do the Chicago to LA Route 66  back in the the poor towns are subsisting on nostalgia for those "good ole days" and the Nation Parks along the way. 

We enjoyed seeing all the children out--for the long Easter holiday(?)    We later had a nice relaxing dinner at the RV and then listened to the Mariners actually win a game!

Today we decided to go to our Easter Brunch a day early and wanted to get going pretty early but didn't actually get out of the RV Park until about 9:45.  The winds were continuing and we were looking forward to today's drive with trepidation.  The day started poorly since we decided to take a "loop" that really produced nothing of interest and was very stressful since we had to unhook, take the car with the "kayak sails" on a  SE direction with W winds (winds 20-25, gusts to 45+) and then get hooked back up to the RV.  We continued on after some "interesting discussion" and then took the meteor crater park exit and again with the SE direction and W winds to the museum and center.  Really super interesting and impossible to imagine what it must have been like to experience this meteor hitting the earth.  

The crater is 550' deep, 2.4 miles in circumference, and nearly a mile across...the devastation when this hit must have been unbelievable to see from space!  Wouldn't want to be here on the planet, though!

We managed to go about 50 mph the rest of the  way to Holbrook as the winds howled and rocked us as we went along, not to mention the horrific truck traffic and ridiculous speeds they maintain!  All the RVer's commiserate when we reach a park in the late afternoon, lamenting the winds, the trucks, etc.  On we go tomorrow to Albuquerque (but early, as they say the winds won't be bad until noon or so....really??).  

Happy Easter to you all!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Grand Canyon and Route 66

  Well, we decided we had to do some of the Route 66 (just south of I-40) on Wednesday as we're traveling east.  We unfortunately chose an exit about 50 miles too was really a pot-holey, desolate road!  We eventually got back to I-40 and it was almost as bad, except with lots of trucks.  We mentioned the enormous amount of commerce taking place on this route----probably 50% or more of the traffic is trucks, plus many rail tracks and very long trains traveling each way.  A note about the truck drivers:  you may have noticed on long hauls, truckers tend to race downhill to gain momentum and then try to coast and use their momentum up the next hill...DON'T GET IN THEIR WAY!

We had lots and lots of wind (40 mph gusts) and rutty roads and 300 miles to go, so it was a long day.  Interesting to see how the desert dwellers live and how few people live along these 300 miles in such a populated state.  Lots of the houses (?) were boarded up.   We didn't get to the RV park soon enough for me!

What a charming, unique town Williams, AZ is!  We will spend more time tomorrow roaming around the town, but had a great dinner out at the Red Raven last night and then the Grand Canyon today!

As those of you who have been, know, it's GORGEOUS!  I had never been before but Jeff had done a raft trip down the Colorado 35+ years ago, but hadn't spent any time on the rim.  We went to all the normal tourist stops and enjoyed the beauty of it all.  Really amazing beautiful colors.  I found it calming yet it made me alarmingly aware of the ease of stepping off the edge given the strong winds, super long drop and lack of guardrails or ped protection from the edge.  We were looking through a book in the gift shop that was about the deaths that have occurred in the Grand many that just step off inadvertently!

Tonight we went out for dinner again (this is very unusual for us...I purchased and froze fresh fish (salmon, halibut, cod) before we left along with homemade soup I froze, plus some hamburger and flank steak all in the freezer!  So super treat to go out twice in a week!  We went to a  nostalgic route 66 restaurant "Twisters" and had hamburgers...Jeff had a butterscotch malt---he was in heaven!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Fun and Sun" Tulare to Questionable Newberry Springs

Leaving Tulare we were anxious to get to divided freeway after the day before.  We did have some divided highway, but some really rough roads.  It's pretty apparent that California is not spending a lot on infrastructure currently. 

We passed some truly beautiful fields of every thinkable crop:  pistachios, alfalfa, wheat, thousands of acres of grapes, citrus and almonds, potatoes, onions, asparagus, etc.  Some of these fields are so large you can't see the end of it.  Really beautifully maintained.  So much flood irrigation--seems odd for such a dry climate.

Coming upon a family farm stand, we stopped and I was able to get some really fresh asparagus, navel oranges, local avocado, dates and a special treat of fudge for Jeff.  This was a great stop because there was plenty of room to park and turn around for our 50ft-ish of total length (which is no small feat, but we're getting lots better as we go!) and great fresh veggies and fruit. 

We got to our exit for the RV Park we were headed to today and had 7 1/2 miles yet to go off the freeway.  Just so you understand  our logistics, we figure approx 6 miles/gal, and in California the gas prices are $4.20+/gal.  So we need to add on $5 or so/6 miles off the freeway (and then back, another $5) so we have some calculating to do to determine if a RV  Park makes sense to get to or not.  Same holds true for tracking low gas prices;  Costco or the like may not make sense given the # of miles off the highway.

So, here we are at Newberry Springs RV  Park!

From Groveland to Fresno

Monday started with good weather again (which was really important since this was the day of the long, narrow, low tunnels and very curvy road and many changes in elevation).  As mentioned before, we unhooked the CRV from the Moho and began our journey into and out of Yosemite.  This was our only option to get to Fresno from our RV park--so we had to travel back into the park, past Wawona Lodge, the falls, etc.  We failed to take into account the fact that this week is National Park Week---everyone gets in for free, so rather than having a relatively low traffic Monday, it was pretty darn busy with all those cheapskates ;-)....

We noted both days in the park that it must have been an extremely unusual winter, since we saw so many trees down, snapped off, mud slides, rock slides and still lots of snow in the higher elevations.  

Traveling back through the park we knew exactly where the trouble spots would be:  low tunnels, steep grades, etc.   But nevertheless the first tunnel got to us before we were ready and the moho went in first with me behind in the CRV...that was a terror watching!  We had walkie-talkies and I'm telling Jeff, "shade left, shade left!" as I'm having visions of the top right half of the moho being ripped off by the low hanging rock inside this long tunnel!  Luckily he did an expert job of running down the middle and still allowing cars to pass in the other lane....I married well.

There were 4 tunnels of varying lengths, some with 10'5" curb side clearance (and by curb they mean the rock tunnel edge) and our moho is about 12'...hence the worry!  The pullouts are not plentiful but we still managed to only get the finger from a couple of cars, made our way to the end of the park, passed through thinking we were "out of the woods", but the curving and bad roads continued to just outside of Fresno...what's up with that?  

We continued to Tulare, where we had reserved a spot at the "Sun and Fun RV Park."  I haven't mentioned much about the parks we've stayed at yet, but we both noted how different each RV park is from one another.  This one was a bastion of cats, all well cared for, but VERY clean showers, restrooms and laundry facility.  I did 3 loads of laundry (we brought our own detergent and softener) and was finished quickly.  In every RV Park there are always a few long-term folks there for whatever there were probably half the spots long-term.  It's an interesting lifestyle, and probably perfect for folks with construction jobs, or travel-intense jobs.  Some of these folks are really set up in high-end, big $ fashion...and some are not...

We watched a wonderful story about John Muir on PBS after dinner.  Really was perfect given his affinity for Yosemite and his efforts to have it recognized as a national park.  Interesting story on this life and writings.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gold mining, Train Memorabilia, and Beautiful Country

We added a day to our Yosemite visit, as we were unhooked from the moho, we headed to Jamestown, CA, via  Chinese Camp and ended up at the Railtown 1897....this is a great place to visit if you enjoy railroad memorabilia or even if you just like history!

The Sierra Railroad Company Engine #3 was the star of the show, and was really interesting in that it was in soooo many movies from our age....Rawhide, Lassie, Back to the Future III, the Unforgiven, Little House on the Prairie, Finnegan's Rainbow, and Petticoat Junction!! We took a ride on the rail there and heard the history of the gold mining in the area....what a grand history our country had when the gold rush was on!   There was a population of 6000 within 6 months at Jamestown in the 1850's due to the gold rush.  We couldn't stop thinking about the way the potential miners found out about the gold stakes....amazing!   And the devastation to the environment as a result of placer!   

The state of Calif has come in and made a park out of the Jamestown area and it really is super interesting, with a working roundhouse and blacksmith shop plus the ole #3!   There are a million (probably 20) volunteers and in talking to a couple of them it is SOO interesting to hear about the clubs that people belong to....there was probably 40-50 motor railcars stacked up outside the roundhouse and a man came up to us to try to recruit us into the motor railcar club!  There's a club that each couple owns a motor know, the things that seat two people and go on the rails that are for repairs, etc.  These people are addicts!  This guy said he traveled 75,000 miles in the first 6 years of his club membership!   These guys are crazy!

Also, we met a volunteer that belongs to a Art Deco club that dresses up in 1920's attire (his wife makes their clothes) and they attend great parties dressed in 20's clothes!   This is a club!!! Who knew all these unusual clubs were out there!

After this we went through Sonora ,which as a great small town that was also a historic mining town and then on to Columbia State Historical Site.   They were having several "do's" going on and it was hard to find parking, but we did it, walked through the area and found a great spot for the picnic lunch we brought.  What a beautiful day (72, clear, sunny and no wind!).   We really are enjoying the area and the weather.  We need to enjoy it now, because tomorrow is lower temps and a wild drive.  We have decided to unhook the car from the moho and drive through the rest of the park and out to Fresno (about 3 hours) unhooked--I'll run in back of the moho as Jeff drives through the tunnels (where I will get ahead and do the flashing lights) and in back during the slow up and downs (this is about a 6% grade everywhere, and very hairpin-y) and will reduce the drag up and the push down.  FUN!!!  Actually, we're having a ball.

If any of you have suggestions for us to see or do during our cross-country adventure, email us or add on to the blog...all suggestions are welcome!

Saturday, April 16, 2011


We are both recovering from a cold so slept in this morning and headed out to Yosemite.  Jeff has been here 3-4 times and climbed half dome and other peaks in the valley, but this was Lorena's first trip here. 

We headed into the North entrance and used our "senior pass"  (you guys have got to get this if you don't have it already, all national parks are free with it and it costs maybe $50)  you can use it for your lifetime and is available after you turn 62.   Lorena, of course, is WAY away from this availability but Jeff qualifies! 

It's really a nice park and huge!  We headed toward Bridalveil Falls and and took a quick hike to see it close up...really spectacular and very misty!  We got pretty wet.  We then headed toward the center of the park and parked and took Casey with us on a nice long trail towards the river, and lots of leftover snow..which he immediately rolled in, tunneled into, bit, and tried to make snow angels!  What a goof!

We toured the Yosemite Historic Museum and village and checked with the Rangers regarding the viability of the 10'5" tunnels for our 12' RV...not that any of us were concerned!   She said no problem the buses go through here all the time!   It was so busy though today, Saturday, even in mid-April, that we decided to stay another day and go through it on Monday.  The only way out we have with the RV is to go through the park and the tunnels are part of that scenario.  There are two short tunnels at the 10'5" and one LONG tunnel at 10'9".   Our plan is to unhook the Honda from the back, run interference  in front with the hazard lights flashing and hope for the best...wish us luck!

Farms, Fowl and old Friends

Friday was an eventful day!   We drove through gorgeous farmlands:  olive trees, almond orchards, rice fields, vineyards and onion fields--the fields and farm houses are so neat and tidy from Red Bluff to Sacramento and then south...we saw lots of fowl:  red-winged blackbirds, wild turkeys, hawks, snowy egrets, and even the lowly buzzard.

Along the way we saw MANY kit cars, hot rods, and vintage cars heading to Redding---there was a car show there and they were caravaning...I bet we saw at least 100 cars traveling the opposite way on their own, plus many vehicles towing an enclosed car-sized trailer.  Must be a good show!

We got to Sacramento where we were scheduled to meet old friends Tom and Carolee--they were very patient with us with our changes of time and venue...such nice folks.  They came up with a restaurant close to I-5 that we could meet them for lunch and chat.  We actually got there on time (no small feat given the whole hook-up scenario and unknowns along the way).  We had a great chat and lunch and their son, Kevin, took a quick break from work to meet us and chat for a few minutes. Really a great visit with them, although of course too short.

They directed us to the closest Costco for gas (this beast drinks a LOT!)...for those of you following us from Seattle, this Sac Costco is 47 times more busy!  We waited in line for gas for at least 1/2 hour and then had to go to the first pump and then the second (they only let you get $100 of gas at a time).  We even had time to chat with the guy ahead of us in a Subaru--he was from Cheney and couldn't wait to get back!  He thought our Puget Sound traffic was better than Sac's!!

We took the highway 120 exit and soon found that our forefathers drove much smaller and more agile moho's than us ;-) was narrow and windy...our favorites!   We then got to the road to our RV Park, which  is just outside of Yosemite.   This sucker was NARROW, WINDY, and VERY much like the old Lucy and Desi movie "The Long Trailer"---we were biting our nails and going about 13 mph... we did however arrive in one piece, but did NOT look forward to going down this sucker!    An OK RV park, but good proximity to Yosemite...tomorrow!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Snow, Sun and a Rodeo!

When leaving Bend, the weather indicated "BREEZY" --not vertical flying snow--into Klamath Falls....that's what we got about 40 miles out of Bend!  The snow started as flurries and then became heavier followed by full-out vertical snow, sticking, and then followed by a white-out for a bit!  We were concerned since we had about 90 more miles to go!  

We called Bob (brother) and he said sunny and clear in Klamath Falls, so on we went.  We wanted to warn the other RVer's coming UP the hill in the other lane that they may encounter some issues, but how do you do that?  We cleared the snow and wind and Klamath was good but cold.  We chatted with Bob and Betty a bit and then went to dinner at a nice golf course restaurant 3 blocks from their house.  Convenient!  We were parked at their curb.  Casey "Noodle" had a fun time with their new adopted dog, Sammie and we retired early (SOOO tired!)

We had to send a fax first thing Thursday to transfer $ to a Roth IRA--darn, the real world creeps in!  Bob was kind enough to lead us to the Staples and then we were off to our Red Bluff, CA destination.  What a really nice drive, except the price of gas in California is well over $4/gal!  We arrived about 3:00 and set up (it normally takes about 15-20 minutes to set up at a site:  I get out direct Jeff in the site (it takes a couple of tries usually), we hook up to the sewer, water, electric and cable if they have it.  Some sites have only electric and water.  

After settling in, we went for a walk around the area and were amazed at the roses in bloom, and the lilacs and iris ready to burst!  In Seattle it's at least a month away!

 Betty (sister-in-law) had told us that her son, Nathan, was competing at the Red Bluff Rodeo this weekend and as we were walking what did we see but the Rodeo grounds!!  We went to take a look and found it to be a big grounds with lots of seating.  Betty explained that her son is the anchor on a 3-man team that has to saddle a wild horse and ride it over a course, with her son being the anchor on the rope that keeps the horse in check.  Sounds like trouble!

We went to dinner at a nearby restaurant, the Green Barn--what a classic place!   This reminds me so much a restaurant in my hometown, the 4-10...the staples of prime rib, fillet Mignon, baked potato and salad.  I wish I had a video of this, though, with all the rodeo guys coming in and their cowboy hats and boots and ordering huge steaks--it is wonderful Americana.   How much more real does it get?

We are pooped but SOO enjoying our trip.  These old farts are off to visit friends tomorrow for lunch in Sacramento and then to a RV park near Yosemite to explore there. 

Some of you have emailed asking how to respond to our blog, and I'm not sure, but you can always email us and PLEASE if you have any suggestions as to what to see, where to eat, stay, etc. as we travel on, let us know.  We welcome ALL suggestions!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bench Building and Park Caravan

We had lots of errands to run this morning including picking up a couple of extra 1/4/10's to complete the 7' bench today...we got over to Caroline's and she already had a lunch packed for the kids and was ready to roll to the park!

Jeff went to work on the additional bench and Caroline, me and the kids headed off to the RV Park where we are--Ryan wanted to see the RV again.  He had seen it when they were in Edmonds for Thanksgiving but not when it was all set up.  He really asked good questions about how we get our water, what happens when the toilet flushes, etc.  Really good for a 4 year old!

We walked to a play park maybe 1/4 mile from the RV Park, with Ryan on his bike with training wheels, Caroline pushing the huge "Anna carriage", Anna walking, me trying to hold Casey back!  When I was holding Anna's hand (walking very slowly!), trying to rein in Casey as he's pulling me along, with Caroline trying to push Ryan through dirt, grass, alternating with me trying to push him while Caroline held Anna and pushed the chariot...Wow!  We were quite the group to see!

Nevertheless we had a great time, repeated the return scenario and found that Jeff had almost completed the bench!  Ryan had fun helping him and got to hammer a couple of nails!

Josh came home from work and got a run in and then they all came over to the RV--Josh wanted to see it "in flight" mode and then had a good Middle Eastern dinner.  We get back to "home" each night about 8 or 9...we're old farts and tired tonight!!!

We're off tomorrow to Klamath Falls.  It will take us about an hour to get ready tomorrow morning, after we have breakfast, wash dishes, shower, walk Casey x2, etc.  Caroline signs Ryan up for kindergarten tomorrow--so exciting!  The drive will be about 3 hours in this rig so....we'll reconvene then!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Here we are in Bend, Oregon!!

Hi All.....everyone had such a great time at G&G's--we all got together on Saturday for a big "farm breakfast" and lots of yakkity-yak and fun for Connor and Jilly (the g-kids) plus dog Casey MacDougal (Connor calls him Casey Noodle).  We decided that we would go to the local fromagerie (where they make goat and sheep cheese) which is a pretty cool little farm just down the road from G&G's, and on the way to Bill and Marcy's hotel for the kids to have a nap afterwards.  What a good idea!  They have wine and cheese tasting there, but even more importantly, there are the new little baby goats (kids) and sheep (lambs) there on the premises!  While the adults had the wine/cheese samples, the kids played with the antique covered wagons, trains, etc.  But the big hit was afterwards getting to go to the barn and see the little TINY ones....some just born within the last day or two!!! Marcy got to hold a newbie and Connor and Jilly could pet the goats and see them nurse, etc.  What a TREAT! 

We then reconvened at G&G's and had dinner and did the yakkity-yak and were sad as  tomorrow was take-off day. 

Sunday arrived with lots of wind--just what we want for driving a moho with tow car and wind-sails (I mean kayaks) atop!  Dad treated us to breakfast out at the White Stallion (you have to admit you love the name for a farm restaurant!) and we had a huge table in the back and a great breakfast where everyone talks at once and the kids are exploring and having a good time.  We headed back to G&G's and after much yaking sent Bill and family on their way back to Spokane and then Tucson, us packing up and securing the interior of the moho, pulling in the slides, turning everything around to hook up the Honda, and heading down the road.

We had some pretty good wind at first, but really turned out fine all the way to Bend.  We got into  the Crown Villa RV Park--which is less than 1/2 mile from daughter Caroline and her husband Josh's home (and grandkids Ryan and Anna)--we can easily walk there!

We're so excited to arrive and see everyone!   Caroline has invited us for dinner so we just show up and we're taken care of!  Pretty nice!  She says she knows I was likely exhausted from cooking and cleaning at G&G's so she treated us!  Very nice dinner and conversation--Josh is a ultra-marathoner and had a 40-mile run earlier in the day but was doing just fine (I can't really longest running distance has been maybe 10 miles, Jeff has run a half-marathon...but that was YEARS ago....). 

Anna has a bad cold but such a trooper...she is sneezing and coughing and had a fever, but is game for a laugh-athon with her brother and sooo sweet with no complaining. 

Monday found us discussing with Caroline her project for us while we are there...we always like to keep busy and have the kids line up projects for us while we visit.  Caroline's project was an L-shaped bench for her patio.  We spent some time figuring it out, went to Lowe's for the lumber and had them rip it for us---you HAVE TO DO THIS if you have a similiar project---they cut the lumber to size, perfectly, for free immediately!!! No fuss, no cleanup and WOW!

Anyway, I only provide the grunt labor, Jeff does the sawing, nailing, etc. and viola! a 6' bench that looks fab!   Tomorrow a 7 footer!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Son Bill And Family Here, All's Well!

What a day!   We had a gorgeous start (albeit c-c-c-ccold!) to the day but with frost on the pumpkin...G&G have a small wheat farm with a large "farm" garage and a nice long driveway that the ole moho can pull right up to and "plug in"--thanks Dad!   We really do look like Ma and Pa Kettle, with the CRV all decked out with bikes, kayaks (bright yellow!) and other hohrah...we had to unhook the car, though, cuz we're so long and unsightly that you can't see the cute lambs from the dining room window!     (Once we figure out how the heck to put pictures in here, we'll show you!)

Bill and Marcy and kids arrived about 6 pm and we immediately scooped up the kids (they're SOOO cute) and had an adult beverage.  Dinner was well received and we had our angelfood cake, Klickers strawberries and Dad's ever-present vanilla ice-cream.  What self-respecting 97 year-old  man would not have vanilla ice cream at the ready?

The kids had a minor delay at the Phoenix airport but landed in Spokane a little early and made their way from mid-state to the SE corner via forest land, small towns, farming communities and lots and lots of wheatlands.  Bill said it's one of his favorite drives because of the variety, the ease of driving and the beauty of the landscape.  Wheat at this point in the Spring is really green and beautiful.

Tomorrow is tractor rides for Connor on Lorena's old tractor and visiting with G&G for
Bill and family.  We're going to bed in the moho to the sound of the sheep bleeting!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

First Leg Achieved!

Well!  Here we are at G&G's and a safe landing!   

When we left home this morning it was a glorious, wind-free, lovely morning!   SOOO much better than yesterday--definitely a good move to postpone a day.   We actually left home about 10:30, even though we started the process about 8:30.   This is just like having a job!  Let me tell you, we have SOP's for "everything moho"   ie:  a 14-step process to hook-up the Honda to the moho....and then we verify it by the other person.  

As old farts, we recall when you towed a vehicle and the odometer would tick away with the miles being towed....not so now!   Which is essentially the only benefit of this whole deal!!   (just kidding ; )...)  We still only have 3033 miles on the ole CRV.

We were a bit worried about the pass given the previous day's weather, but by the time we got there, it was beautiful with lots of snow piled on the side of the road but sunny and a good flow of traffic.   We did encounter some construction but  no long delays.   We took the Union Gap exit at Yakima and took a quick detour to Miner's--this is an old hangout from Lorena's first year in college days...FAB hamburgers that use Walla Walla sweet onions, tomatoes, lots of lettuce and a "condiment bar" for the goodies...Jeff loves this place.   We brought back a treat for Casey and were able to make good time the rest of the way, fueled by Miner's!!

FYI:  It's really a trick driving this caravan, and Jeff does a great job.  It's a bit scary with the tow vehicle with two bright yellow kayaks atop, two bikes on back;   we went by a farmer's home on our way through the wheatlands and a man was outside walking around his yard, saw us go by and just stopped and stared!! Can't blame him...we're a sight!

Mom and Dad are unbelievable---we should all be so lucky as to ambulate and cogitate as well as they do at their age.  We'll clean and cook tomorrow (we visited tonight) and get ready for the kidlets tomorrow!    They have a real day tomorrow--they are coming from Tucson early in the morning to be in Phoenix by 8:30 or so, fly Northwest to Spokane with a stop-over (with a toddler and baby in tow) on to Spokane, pick up a rental car and then drive 2 1/2 hours to G&G'!  They are dedicated G&G fans!  Hats off to all 4 of them! 

We'll have fried chicken, mac and cheese, raw veggies and dip, homemade anglefood cake with frozen strawberries from "Klickers"  and of course G&G's famous popcorn when they arrive.  

It's so beautiful here, the wheat is up about 5-6" (here the wheat is EVERYWHERE, so it's super green all over), plus many of the fruit trees are in bloom, even though there are less orchards than when I was growing up, it is still a beautiful time of year.  All the young calves and lambs are so cute!  The kids will love seeing them.

G&G seem to be failing a bit since last we saw them (a month or so ago?) but, I guess you have to expect that at their age, but we're so spoiled cuz  they're such a great example of good ole American hard-work, good genes and perseverance that you expect them to go on and on the same!   Good thinking on Bill's part to visit now...

We're looking forward to getting ready for them tomorrow and seeing them!!


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day Two (which is actually now Day One!)

Well, best laid plans....
Our highly anticipated take-off for SE Washington was rudely aborted when we saw the weather forecast before going to bed last night...snow level down to 1500'!!  Since we must travel over Snoqualmie Pass to get to G & G's, this was a problem.  We woke up to the news that 12" of snow was expected during the 24 hour period.  We even had snow in parts of the Puget Sound this morning!  What happened to two weeks into Spring?

Sooo, being flexible old farts we switched gears and ran errands and Jeff washed the front of the moho, but got hailed on!  Weird weather!  We got such a nice send-off from our neighbors last night, too, when they invited us down to their house for a "wine break" before finishing our packing.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, came home, made angelfood cake (for my Dad's 97th birthday) and banana bread for Bill and Marcy and Jeff and Mom (we'll see if Connor likes it--I hope so!) 

When I called Mom to let her know we wouldn't be able to make it today, she was disappointed but was glad that the sheep were turned into the pasture next door cuz the cutie-pie little guys were out, so I think Connor and Jilly (Bill and Marcy's 2) will get a kick out of them.  Connor gets to ride the tractor when he gets there!!!! (with some minor help!)

So, wish us luck as we try again tomorrow to make it across the mountains.  A friend read the previous blog and said "good luck, I think you'll need it!"  given our beginning, I suspect she's right!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Our "Prelim" Post (!)

Well, here we are at home, on the eve of our extravaganza!!  You know the feeling, when you're ready to set out on a new adventure, you're worried you haven't packed everything you need, will the house be okay while we're gone?  Will my houseplants survive?  What if we get a check for $100K while we're gone and someone steals it?  Well, okay, the last one really isn't an issue, but the fact that we are travelling for more than two months in a motor home and don't have the motor home back  from the repair shop yet probably is a bigger deal....

We leave Wednesday morning for SE Washington (awash in rain!) where we will have two nights with Lorena's parents to help prepare food and prep the house in anticipation of the arrival of son Bill and his clan at G & G's (term we used for my parents while the kids were growing up).    They are flying into Spokane (about 2 1/2 hours drive from G & G's) and renting a car to travel with two little ones (3 and 1) to visit G & G (well, plus us I guess). 

So, here's the rub:  we pick up the motor home tomorrow morning after it has been in "the shop" for a month with various we get it home and have a few hours to get it cleaned and outfitted for 10 weeks of travel!!  And we're old farts!

We have two kayaks on top of our tow vehicle (a Honda CRV) plus two hybrid bikes on the back of it (don't ask me how we're getting into the darn thing!)  We have the car stuffed with Casey MacDougal's kennel, his bike trailer (really? you say!)  emergency kit, extra water, kayak paddles, extra blankets (you never know!!), picnic basket, Lorena's pastels easel, and God knows what else!!  We haven't even loaded the motor home yet!  I'll fill you in after we've got that JOB complete!

Never mind that we're starting out on this trip with the possibility of MAYBE getting 6 miles/gal when gas is $3.60/gal!!  Aren't we smart and thrifty?!  : )

Okay, tomorrow is the big packing day!!