End of the Epic Road Trip

Well, we finally came to the end of our Epic Road Trip.  It was a combination of joy and sorrow.  We were sorry to leave our home on the road and all the adventures we had, but happy to return home to our family and friends.

We were on the road for six months and five days, 16,860 miles (a lot on gravel roads).  We saw 38 states, three Canadian Provinces and one Canadian Territory. On the maps below, the red lines show our planned route and the black line shows where we really went. Our RV map shows all the states we managed to visit.ERTMAP

We traveled from the redwoods of our rugged northwest coast, to the spectacular glaciers in Alaska, to the beauty of Alberta, Canada, to the magnificent Mount Rushmore, to the splendid Niagara Falls, to the beauty of the Maine coast, to the hills of Tennessee, to the windswept Outer Banks of South Carolina, to the Blue Water of the Florida Keys, and a lot of places in-between.

We lost one camera, broke another (me), dropped a cell phone in the water (Lennard), had several repairs on the road, lost the keys to the tow car and had a fabulous time doing it.  We saw bears, moose, elk, deer, caribou, went fishing, hiked on the Appalachian Trail, drove the Blue Ridge Parkway, tried to catch crabs, ate lobster, attended a Tiffin Ralley, kayaked, went sightseeing in every place we stopped, and met so many wonderful people. We stopped in several places to see relatives and long lost friends and went to Casey and Brian’s wedding.

I did laundry along the way, Lennard cleaned the RV and tow car (who would have guessed?) and we got our mail through a virtual mail box.  We found places to get hair cuts, groom the dogs and get minor medial care.  We ate in the RV, cooked on the grill and ate outside, ate in nice restaurants once in a while, and great little hole-in-the-walls a lot.

Six months is a lot of time out of your life, but I can tell you it was more than worth it.  We really weren’t sure how long we would last or how far we would get when we started, or even if we might kill each other. In the end, we were lucky to have so many memories and to have gained such lovely new friends along the way.  Its a trip not many people could or would make, but we are so grateful we were able to. Were glad to be home and don’t have plans for another trip yet, but I am sure we will be making another one. P1000346



The Tiffin Service area in Red Bay Alabama is simply amazing.  We had heard about it, but you can’t really imagine the enormity of it until you are here.


First of all, they provide RV parking for 93 RV’s just outside the repair bays.  It isn’t fancy, but all hookups are included.  The cost is $20.00 per night and if your RV is under warranty, it is free.  How much better could that be?  There are no reservations, and it is on a first come, first served basis.  When we arrived on Friday afternoon after spending the night in Tallahassee, there were no spots available, so we went to the “overflow” lot just down the street.  Again, only $20.00 per night.  Secondly, there are about 49 service bays, some of which are doubles.  There is a steel frame area and a woodshop area. There are also two lounges, a service lounge and an Allegro Club outdoor area.  Pets are allowed in certain areas of both lounges.

It rained over the weekend, so we spent most of our time hanging around in the RV and cleaning dirty paws after walks outside.


Lennard digging a moat around our RV

IMG_3091We did venture out to the famous Rattlesnake Saloon on Saturday night.  It’s about 25 miles away and literally located under a huge flat rock, giving the resemblance of a big cave.  They have good bar food and excellent music.  Only beer is served…hey it’s a saloon! You cannot drive directly to it.  You park in a lot up the hill and a “taxi” carries you down the hill to the saloon.  The taxi is a pickup truck with benches in the bed.  It’s a really interesting and different experience.

There are a number of other attractions in the area: The Coon Dog Cemetery, The Red Bay Museum, Fame Recording Studio, Alabama Music Hall of Fame, Helen Keller Home, and of course the Piggly Wiggly Supermarket.  We will probably visit all of them while we are waiting for repairs.

It is raining again today, but supposed to be sunny tomorrow.  We are waiting for our first service evaluation and can’t leave today anyway.  I’ll keep you updated on our progress.


So to those of you who have bets on how far we are going to make it, we have made it to Fresno Ca.  No major problems, but we did have a couple of “tense” moments when we got lost in Costco parking lot.  Lennard almost took out a light pole getting out.  Just part of the overall experience!.

After driving through Barstow, we took the 58 through windmill country.  We should all have windmills generating electricity. Edwards Air Force Base is a place we have been before with the Corvette club to see the airplanes on display there.  Thanks to all the military men and women out there protecting us.

The first night was spent in Bakersfield in a nice RV park.  Tonight we are at Millerton Lake State Park just outside Fresno California. It is beautiful here and there is hardly anyone in the park so it is quiet, except for us of course. We will be hooking up with my high school girlfriend, Linda, tomorrow night and visit with her and her mom, Ruby, now 98 years young.

It is $38.00 to park here with a hook up.  And…another ten for the tow vehicle.  Quite expensive really.  But, it is lovely.   We almost lost one of the girls (Gypsy) when a BIG hawk came swooping down over her and gave her the onceover like she would be a good dinner.  Bella was under my feet, so she was safe.

IMG_1843[1] IMG_1846[1] IMG_1917[1] IMG_1919[1] IMG_1922[1] IMG_1923[1] IMG_1941[1]

I’m sharing some photos just before we took off and at our two nights stays so far.

We are missing you all already!!


Zion River Resort IMG_1820 Purple Flower IMG_1802 Yellow Flower IMG_1799 Zio View IMG_1817

I guess it would be more exciting if I wrote that we had lots of problems and then miraculously solved them on our own. Fortunately, that was not the case.  We actually had a great time with few problems.  We went with our Sun City Anthem RV Club, so there were lots of people with years of experience to give us advice and help with any problems.

We took off in a mini-caravan (just two of us) with our good friends, Scott and Donna and had am uneventful drive to the Zion River RV Resort. This is one of the best resorts in the country, offering full hookups, pool, store, camping, and…. Ta Da… it sits right on the Virgin River just a few miles from Zion. What more could you ask for.  The Resort was amazingly serene, except when our group was singing and partying till the late hour of 9PM.   The people working there were extremely helpful and just plain nice.  I would go back in minute.


We spent a great day hiking in Zion and took the easy path up to the Narrows.  The day was splendid and the river water was crystal clear. The photos above of the wild flowers were taken on the hike among the rocks near the river path.  The next day we walked around the town of Springfield and browsed the galleries and craft stores.  There were some magnificent pieces of art by local artists displayed in the galleries as well as breathtaking photos of Zion. By the way, dogs are not allowed the shuttles and only on one of the paths, so the girls spent the day at Doggie Dude Ranch just outside of Zion.

The only problem we could not could not solve on our own was the sun panel over the shower was stuck in open position.  (Not a major disturbance to life) but a little aggravating, as when we are in Alaska in the summer and it is open 24/7, we would get light in the bedroom most of the night. So, when we got back…off to the service department.

Also, my husband learned we need a more substantial sewer hose.  I did not ask any questions about that.  All in all, it was a lovely adventure and we are now feeling a lot more confident about the Epic Road Trip coming up in a few weeks.

Winterize The RV

OMG! It is going to be 20 degrees here in Las Vegas during the next week.  We got a call from a friend who has an RV manufactured by the same company as ours, (Tiffin) and they said we needed to winterize the coach.  What? Winterize? Who knows how? Not us.

So, my poor husband hightails it down to Camping World and gets the antifreeze and then gets the manual for the coach out.  Does it tell you how to winterize the coach? Yes, but do the instructions make sense? NO!

He is out in the cold for three hours working on the bugger and still can’t get the outlet valve for the water heater off.  It is in a place you can’t reach and it has a “soft” plug you can’t get off.  He finally does get it off and now he drains the water out.  OK, that is done, but now he is supposed to drain the ice maker.  Yikes, impossible task at this point in time, so he drains the tanks, lets it go at that, and prays.  We will see how that works out.

I guess this is just preparation for inevitable things that will happen while we are on the road.

I, of course, am inside making coffee the whole time.   Well, I did venture out to take him the coffee!!

Shakedown Trip to Yuma

We made our first (virgin) trip to Yuma Arizona.  Leaving from Las Vegas, we took the road least traveled. That route leads you down through Searchlight, past Laughlin and Bullhead City and then past Quartzsite to Yuma on the freeway.  The only problem was the roads from Searchlight to Quartzsite were two lane, winding and “rollercoaster” like.  My dear husband was holding onto the steering wheel for dear life. In spite of the roads, we made it safely and arrived at our friend’s hookup site in one of the communities down there.  The first night we had a get-together with another couple and the second our friends hosted a happy hour for about 16.  How nice was that?

After the get to-gethers, we had a bonfire in our friend’s  fire pit.  Our “little red fire pit” had not arrived on time to bring it with, but we did not need it.  The weather was perfect.  Even at night you only needed a sweater.

The next day we went across the border to Los Algodones.  In this safe border town you can get your teeth fixed, get new glasses and fill your prescriptions.  What a deal.  The town is filled with vendors and spenders.  It seems the town has avoided the drug cartels, because the business from the tourists is more valuable to the residents.  We would not hesitate to go there again.  You need a passport to return to the US.

The time down there was marvelous and a great place to visit.  There are lots of snowbirds who migrate there from Canada and other places for the winter, so it’s a good place to make new friends. Yahoo!

Purchasing a New RV Without a Clue

Okay, first of all, I have to say…don’t do it this way.  We were planning on purchasing an RV for some time and did some research, but not nearly as much as we should have.  We did, however, decide on a floor plan we liked. We  knew we wanted to have a dinette (to sit at and blog from) and a bed you could walk around, so it was not so hard to make the darn bed. Other than that we did not have any preferences.

So, first of all we looked at class B and C vehicles, around 24 feet, thinking we would have an easy vehicle to drive, it would be gas friendly and we would be able to go where other RVs could not.  Good thoughts, right? Well, okay if you aren’t going to spend a lot of time in it.  While we were shopping, each salesman asked us how we were going to use it.  Our reply was, “We want to go on a road trip around the US for a few months next year.”

“So, you’ll be staying in hotels then?” said the salesman, looking at us like we were dummies.

“No, we want to stay in our RV.”

“Well unless  you want to go to jail for assault on each other you might want to look at a larger option.”

On to the next option.  Now we decide to go to a RV show.  Pomona had one at the end of the summer, so we got up at 5 AM and drove all the way to Pomona to get there when it opened at 10 AM.  No problems, we arrived right on time and began our search, knowing we would not buy one… we were “just looking”.

If you have ever been to an RV show, you know it is gigantic.  After about four hours of looking around, we were thoroughly confused, lost and could not remember what we had seen. No lunch and it was hot.  We had began to think we would like the class C motorhome by now as opposed to a class B.  Finally, we found a sympathetic salesman, who sat us down and asked us, “So what do you want to use the RV for?”  Back to our answer of going around the US in an RV.  Now, we knew we needed one at least 28 feet long and were afraid to have one more than 32 feet long. Then he said, “Since you are going to travel around the country sightseeing, would you like a good view?”  Answer…yes.

“Let’s look at a class A then.” I’m looking at these HUGE vehicles and thinking, no way, they are too big. So, like good little consumers we take a test drive in a very nice Winnebago.  Wow, you can see everything.  It was marvelous. Okay, now we could see the advantage of the class A motorhomes.

We proceeded to begin looking around for the floor plan we knew we wanted and wandered into a very fancy looking area of Tiffin Motorhomes. Once we saw those, we hesitantly asked the price.   Not too, too bad. Maybe we will take a test drive.  Test drive over and sold!  We were sold and I, usually being the cautious one, was completely out of control and said, “I’ll buy that.”  My husband is kicking me and saying we weren’t ready. Thank goodness for him or we would have left with it.  It is now 7:30 PM and we are thirsty, tired and hungry.  We take off for home and stop along the way for dinner, at which time I inform my husband that that was the one I wanted.  2015 Tiffin Allegro Open Road 31SA. Decision made.  Now, all we had to do was negotiate.  We called the salesman and told him we were interested.  He gave us a price and we negotiated back.  “We don’t want to buy unless we get a substantial reduction in the price.” Three hours later we owned a new motorhome.  Yes!

We still did not realize that we really had lucked out, and had chosen a great RV with a good warranty, and it was just what we needed for our upcoming trip next spring.  Talk about being lucky even though we did not have a clue!