ZION

So friends, here are the photos from Zion at last.

We had such a great time on the trip to Zion with the Sun City Anthem RV club. Lots of outdoor activities, lots of happy hours and lots of shared memories.

The first day, shortly after arrival we had happy hour, heavy appetizers and then a camp fire with our two guitarists, John and Doug playing while the rest of us TRIED to sing. Out of the 40 or so there, only about two had a voice that you would want to listen to under other circumstances.  But then it was all in good fun.

The second day we hiked a couple of easy trails in Zion. It was a perfect day … cool weather and clear skies.

Having had enough hiking, we shopped in Springfield the third day  and went to an old Mormon ghost town just outside of Rockville in the old town of Grafton with our friends Scott and Donna. It had a small cemetery, a school house and a couple of other old buildings. The interesting thing about the cemetery was seeing how many people died from the pandemic flu and from Indian attacks. Also, it was interesting to see how short their lives were. Most died either as children or as young adults. You might notice in one of the photos someone was trespassing while taking photos. Naughty!

The last day we went to Kanab and we stopped to see BEST FRIENDS, a beautiful animal sanctuary just outside of Kanab. It is a wonderful organization that has made a huge impact on turning shelters into no-kill shelters. They have saved thousands of animals since inception. You can volunteer there and we are hoping to do that some day.

We also kept seeing these strange creatures as we were driving around. What? You paid $20.00 for an ostrich egg? Silly tourists.

 

At the end of the trip, our great wagon master told us he and his wife were retiring from being wagon master for this trip.  (Jack and Rochelle) He asked for volunteers and all hands pointed to Lennard, my husband.  Hmmmm … Who is going to do all the work?

IMG_2740 (2)

Could not ask for more breath taking scenery!

 

 

Back in the Saddle Again

Yahoo! We are just about to embark on a short RV trip to Zion. We really haven’t been anywhere since our return from our Epic Adventure around the U.S. and parts of Canada. It took quite some time to catch up with family, friends and things left undone for six months. Then  of course there was catching up with mail and a million other things, like Holidays, leaking faucets in the house, cleaning the RV from top to bottom, and  washing everything I had not been inclined to wash along the road.

We have all settled back into the rhythm of being in a house again. Even the dogs are back to chasing rabbits in the back yard and using the doggie door.  I was wondering if we would feel like getting right back on the road and becoming full timers, but that didn’t happen. I like living in the house, and as long as I know we can set out anytime we want for as long as we want, I’m happy with our choice.

We would like to take another long trip in the near future … maybe to the East Coast again, but we will have to settle for a couple of short trips in April.  However, in June we will be going on a trip to Montana and Wyoming for three weeks. I can hardly wait for that one.Zion River Resort IMG_1820

It will include the Tiffin Rally being held in Gillette, Wyoming and should be a lot of fun. Three friends of ours will be joining us for that expedition.

Like I said … Yahoo! Getting ready to saddle up again.

WE SURVIVED THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY !

The crack of thunder woke me up at 2:30 AM, rolling across the Pamlico Sound on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, growling, rumbling and sizzling.  With thoughts of hurricanes and nor’easters entering our head, along with the high humidity, we decided to leave the Outer Banks of North Carolina a day early and head for the high ground of Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

IMG_2629

Skyline Drive

IMG_2634

Skyline Drive Road

P1000088

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a magnificent road 469 miles long running through Virginia and North Carolina.  We were able to drive 400 miles of it from Rockfish Gap, VA to Ashville, NC.  The last portion of it contains tunnels that are too low for our RV to get through.

We stayed in Waynesboro, VA the first two nights, which allowed us to take the tow car over the Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Valley the first day.  This drive travels through Shenandoah National Park for 109 miles.  It is a concert in forest and mountains, giving those who traverse it a beautiful drive through the length of the park.  Driving back we took Highway 11 through small historical towns where civil war battles were fought.  We did make one stop at an Urgent Care, as Lennard had gotten stung the night before and his arm was alarmingly warm, red and swollen by the afternoon from wrist to elbow.  The Lovely Physician’s Assistant took good care of him and started him on antibiotics in case it was becoming infected.  I won’t post a photo…too ugly.

The second day we began our journey along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We were awestruck by the beauty and variety of scenery along the way.  There were forests, views of Blue Mountains across valleys, rocks and flowers, along with the beginning of the changing of the leaves for fall.  We would miss the brilliant fall colors, but there were few vehicles of any type on the road, so that was a plus.  That night we stopped in Lynchburg KOA and took the evening to see Popular Forrest, Thomas Jefferson’s retreat, built in 1806.  It was the first octagonal home built in America and designed by him.  In the evening we hiked to the Natural Bridge, a huge bridge carved out of limestone.  At nightfall we were lucky to see the stunning light and music show at the bridge.

The third day, while traveling to Fancy Gap  we stopped at an overlook to find about fifteen hawk watchers counting the hawks migrating through the area to the south.  We also found a crossing of the Appalachian Trail and took the time to hike a mile on it. Further down the road, we stopped at a National Park living display of early life at Mabry Mill.

Independence was only about 45 minutes from Fancy Gap, where we were camping for the evening, so we took the time to attend a Bluegrass Music jam in a historical 1908 Courthouse there.  They played “Old Time” music which is the music of Southern Appalachians, handed down from generation to generation. There were about 10 musicians there playing, fiddles, banjos, a dulcimer, and a bass fiddle. The next day was mostly traveled over the plateau portion of the Parkway.  Each day we took at least a one to two mile hike.

IMG_1146   IMG_1156

Our last day on the parkway was just as beautiful, but much more challenging, as the road over the highest point was comprised of twists and turns on a narrow road with branches hanging over the road so low they hit the top and sides of the RV.  We saved the day with a two mile hike to beautiful Linville Falls and ending up at a street festival in Ashville that night.  And… to finish off the night we ate dinner at Bouchon, a lovely French Bistro, sitting in the evening light on their patio.  One of the few nights in the last few weeks we had eaten out.  We needed a break after the day’s drive.

We had one more day in Ashville before we headed to Sevierville, Tennessee for the Tiffin Ralley.  (Our RV’s manufacturer ralley.) We would take that day to spend at the Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate.  The dogs got taken to a doggie daycare and we were off for the day.  It was so spectacular, I had to put it in a separate post!

FINALLY: BACK IN THE USA AGAIN

It’s great to be back in the USA again. As beautiful as Canada was, we are happy to be home. We will be changing our trip route to stay in the US the rest of the time, so we have our phone and internet service.

P1020612

Entering the US

We met our good friends, Tim and Jan, from the Sun City Anthem RV club along with their dog, Star at the Spokane, Washington KOA. It felt like home to meet up with friends.

Since Bella and Gypsy were literally “dirty dogs” we took them to PetSmart for grooming and when we picked them up we hardly recognized them they looked so good. I almost thought we got different dogs back.

Lennard’s great neighbors from his old neighborhood, Tom and Joanne, live in Coeur d’Alene, which is only 30 miles from Spokane. They invited us over to their home for a barbeque, and what a spectacular home they have. Tom designed it himself and put most of the living space in the kitchen and family rooms. We were lucky enough that two of their three children were there that night and their nephew. Trevor, Juliana and Greg made the evening more interesting just by being there. Their eldest son, Taylor will be getting married in a week and they were preparing to receive 80 guests for an outdoor reception in their back yard. With five acres, they have the space and what a fabulous setting with lots of trees and grass. Now that’s what I call taking on a project!

P1020616

Tom at the barbeque

P1020614

The beautiful Yard.

P1020619

Lennard and Tom relived some fond memories and we said goodbye with promises to return to beautiful Coeur d’Alene someday.

The next day we took Joanne’s advice and visited downtown Coeur d’Alene. It’s a quaint and lovely town set right on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Next to the lovely Coeur d’Alene Resort and Marina is Tubbs Hill. The city has provided a 2.2 mile hiking trail around it. Normally 2.2 miles would be easy, but in 85 degree weather with 60% humidity…not so much. And that was at 10AM! I of course got way too hot, but Lennard and the dogs just got warm. In spite of the heat, it was a great hike with extraordinary vistas of the marina and the clear, blue waters of the lake. We had lunch and several glasses of cold water to cool down before returning back to the RV Park for a little housekeeping.

P1020625 P1020629 P1020637 P1020642

Tim is a master of barbeque and along with Jan, they made a lovely dinner the next evening. Sitting outside in the RV Park with the three dogs and good friends was something we enjoyed so much. Needless to say, dinner was delicious and the company even better.

P1020661

Tim and Jan

P1020658

The plan now is for us to travel towards Grand Rapids, South Dakota to see the iconic Mt. Rushmore. I saw it about 50 years ago, and still remember being awed by it.

Wheel Bearings Up!

So, we sent our RV to the Ford place because I had seen a small oil leak underneath it while it was parked.  The mechanic found out that there was not a leak.  He said that sometimes, if you take it uphill too fast you might get a small amount of transmission fluid that leaks.  Good, I thought, nothing to be worried about.

Then he called and said our friends had trouble with their ball bearings on the same type of vehicle, and he wanted to check ours.  Yep! sure enough we had one set (do they come in sets?) that was not right.  At least it was covered by warranty and he changed them all for good measure, as we will be embarking on our trip to Alaska and around the US beginning in the first or second week in May.  It is getting exciting.

I have been planning our trip on MapQuest and the Family Motor Coach website.  Right now we have a trip that will be about 18,000 miles.  Did I say 18,000 miles?  Yes I did.  That is really ambitious, and maybe we will be back in three weeks. Ha!

Who knows, maybe we will hate it and come home after Alaska.  Or maybe even before we get there.  All our friends have a bet on just where our “This is frigging not fun anymore” point will be.  They range anywhere from 500 miles to 1,600 miles.  None of them picked any point more that 2,00 miles.  Hmmmm, they don’t have much faith in us do they?

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!

First Big Trip to the Oasis

Our first “big” trip in the new motorhome was about five miles down the road to the Oasis RV Park in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It is near the Silverton and Sun Coast Casinos.  We were charged a “locals” rate of $42.00 for an upgraded site.  We were lucky enough to get to park in-between two of our friends who are experts at RVing.  The park is very nice with wide spaces, a doggie area, swimming pool, Wi-Fi,(charged &6.00 for this) small restaurant, fitness area, and lots of palm trees.  The people working at the park were very accommodating and friendly.

Friends from the Corvette club joined us for Happy Hour and dinner and we had a great time with only several small disasters. (I couldn’t get how the microwave worked as a convection oven, but finally figured it out) But, the company and the food was wonderful.  The weather was perfect and we had a great time laughing and telling lies until the wee hours of 9 PM. What ever happened to staying out until 2 in the morning?  I guess time flies by.

We loved out queen sized bed.  Not too small after being used to a king size.  We tried out the electric fireplace, and it was wonderful!  Our two professional RVer friends were a great help and taught my husband how to empty the tanks.  The park allows a RV wash company to come through so we got the “rig” washed for $2.00 a foot.  We weren’t sure if that was a bargain or not.  Husband thought he could wash it easily too.

All in all it was a success, and we did not think we needed to take the RV back where it came from. We will see how the next venture out into the wild turns out.