Traveling South to Arizona

Sunday 31st October 2021

The coast of Oregon is green (It must be all the rain and fog that reminds me of England). Eastern Oregon high desert is pretty barren and brown. (Probably because it hardly ever rains). Washington, Oregon, and California have such wonderfully diverse terrains and climates. From seasides to lush valleys and snowy mountains to high deserts. We had a nice stopover in the middle of nowhere. Lovely and quiet.

There’s not much traffic on highway 50 in Nevada. I guess that’s why it’s called the loneliest highway in America. That definitely suits us.

We had a quick stopover in Ely Nevada to have full hookups. That pesky cleaning and laundry has a way of catching up with us. Charcoal Ovens State Park still looks good. Nice to see nothing vandalized in such a remote park.

The smoky haze from so many recent wildfires had mostly gone by the time we arrived at Great Basin National Park. We love this park! It seems everyone else does too, as our usual first come first served campsites, are now all reservation only and booked solid. We did manage to find one spot after a trek on gravel roads, and squeezing the beast through a maze of undergrowth. We stayed 5 lovely sunny days. Since it is so isolated and at high elevation (7500-10,000 ft) this park is a great place to stargaze. We enjoyed looking at the Milky Way in a massive starry sky. There were quite a few satellites zipping by as well. My iPhone refused to give me a useable star pic but then again I am just a point and shoot pic taker.

It’s always a good feeling to hug a three thousand year old Bristlecone Pine Tree. I felt like a young nipper.

At over ten thousand feet elevation, the Bristlecone trees were pretty small on this exposed ridge. It’s hard to compete with the savage winters here. We had a lovely lunch spot next to these minis.

Dean just had to outdo me and snuggle up to a tree dated over three thousand five hundred years.

There are quite a few Aspen groves in the park, and many trees had already shed their leaves. This one had a cool looking trunk though.

I don’t know what this rock is made of, but it just looked good.

I appreciate a sit down now and then.

We did a hike at lower elevation and found a lovely Aspen grove to have our lunch and rest.

St. George in Southern Utah was our next stop. I really wanted a new walking stick and this is the perfect harvesting area for Utah Agave stalks.

Sawing off the spiky base.

The seed pods are next to go.

SCORE!!!! Three good possibles. We will store these until we get to our long layover in Phoenix, and then hopefully, one of these stalks will be be magically transformed into a Rose hiking stick.

A great day out.

After a whopping 64 mile drive we stopped for a few days at Pipe Spring National Monument. There was a very nice and cheap campground on the Kaibab Tribal Lands next to the Monument. Full hookups and good wifi. Yeah baby!

The fortified ranch house at Pipe Spring was built by Mormon settlers in 1870. It enclosed a large spring which caused major problems for the local Kaibab Paiute Native Americans. Cut off from the water they suffered greatly for many years. The buildings and spring became a National Monument in 1923.

The bedrooms looked pretty comfy.

Dean was thinking about dinner.

The spring is still pumping out water.

We managed to squeeze in a nice easy slot canyon hike.

I found a cozy nook for a rest.

Of course Dean had to outdo me.

The remnants of this ladder were lodged about 20 feet above the canyon floor. Note to self, always check to make sure no recent rainfall in slot canyon areas we might think about hiking.

After another massive 87 mile drive it was time for a couple of days rest in Page, Arizona. Glen Canyon Dam always look impressive. The visitor center is still closed but we could at least walk on the bridge. The water level doesn’t look too bad here.

Lake Powell is drying up quite a bit though. It is down over 50 feet just this year. The water level should be a long way up this road. Forget about oil, the West coast needs a water pipeline coming from the East coast. Maybe we could have a reverse pipeline and send some of our nice dry air to offset the Eastern humidity.

Our usual free parking spot to hike to Horseshoe Bend is now paid parking with several pay booths. It’s a very popular area with a steady stream of tourists.

We decided to save the $10 parking fee (wine money), and hiked from town over slick rock terrain. We actually found a rock guide that helped navigate us several miles. The 9 mile roundtrip was really interesting with lots of great views. The wine tasted pretty good as well after the hike.

Dean cautiously wiggled up to the edge of the cliff.

He got a great pic of the Colorado River at the aptly named Horseshoe Bend.

It’s been a fun trip south. We will be in Mesa (suburb of Phoenix) for the next 3 months. Would love to meet up up if you might be coming this way over the winter.

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OREGON

Sunday 22nd May 2022

We had so much rain in Oregon! It seemed like it rained nearly every day. In fact it was the rainiest April on record!! A good portion of May has also been slinging down that liquid sunshine. Of course this gave us a good excuses to visit many breweries.

Taking advantage of a sunny afternoon we explored Oregon City.

We just had to take a trip up the only vertical street in the US. No charge either.

It was originally built in 1915 as the locals living on the bluff got tired of walking up the hill. A few renovations later and this fancy elevator takes only 15 seconds to reach the top.

Willamette Falls, in Oregon City has the largest waterfall by volume in the Northwest. It is the 17th widest waterfall in the world. That’s a lot of water!

We had a great visit with Dax and Jay. Dean got a bit nostalgic for the old days of living in a house and mowed the grass. He might be done for another few years.

Stuart gave our lads a knife demonstration. They learned more about knives and sharpening knives than they ever thought possible.

I’m always up for a boy hug.

We still have our Honda Elements. Ours is the oldest. Beauty reached the grand old age of 18 this year.

Thanks for the good times lads.

We had a conversation at dinner the night before about never having a tire blowout. Of course it had to be chucking it down with rain when the blowout occurred. Also, to add to our pain, it was on a very busy interstate and by the time we were able to reach a fairly safe area to change the tire it was ruined.

This part of a pair of scissors picked up on the road, was the cause of our miserable afternoon. Still a new tire, hot showers and a few drinks helped ease the pain.

Moving on to Hood River we managed to snag some great views of Mount Hood.

It just so happens that we know of a brewery that has outdoor seating so we were able to relax with a beverage and enjoy the view.

Talking about blowouts. I think we might have a little tire jinx going on. Not too far into our 35 mile bike ride around the Hood River area I had a puncture. Luckily Stuart had a spare inner tube so all ended up well. Thank you Stuart for your extensive repair kit.

Driving on I-84 along The Columbia Gorge, you frequently see “Arms” traveling down the road. Biglow Canyon Wind Farm has over 200 windmills and more being built all the time. With a pretty constant wind coming down the Gorge these babies generate a lot of electricity.

Another great brewery. I love the breweries in the Northwest as they always have at least 1 or 2 ciders on tap, and that’s my drink. I have even converted Leslie into a cider connoisseur.

This brewery had good pizza as well as brewskis and cider.

That’s a lot of Buffalo heads.

A sunny day meant a hike at Catherine Creek.

They may not be bluebells (my favourite flower) but Lupines come pretty close, and they are certainly the right color. Next to hugging Dean and the lads I love hugging me some flowers.

We tried a bit of logging but got stumped.

There were lots of flowers to enjoy on our hike including this pretty Bitterroot.

Wild Roses smell so good.

We even had the pleasure of a little meetup with this cute Garter Snake.

Balsam Root and Lupines were bobbing in the wind. It was a lovely day out.

There is only one person in this picture who is stylin’ the hair.

Onwards to beautiful Canada. Eh!!

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California Coast

Tuesday 26th April 2022

Ventura has some cool looking windswept trees.

The guys were impressed with the curvaceous mermaid.

We sure could do with some love again.

When you are in Santa Barbara and see a sign like this what can you do but…

follow the instructions.

A group of low riders drove into town and put on a good show cranking their cars up and down (hopping). The guy driving the tan car told me it was his very expensive hobby retrofitting his car but he loved driving it around.

Pink ice plant was blooming nicely on the Monterey peninsular.

We had a good bike ride along the coast, although it was very windy. Thank goodness for electric bikes.

We rode next to Pebble Beach golf course. There were plenty of people playing the course. It costs around $600 for a round of golf. Blimey!!!

We have seen people walking dogs, cats and even parrots, but this guy taking his donkey out for a stroll was a first.

Talk about a laid back dog.

Point Reys National Seashore just north of San Francisco was a lovely place to spend a day.

It was a shame the lighthouse was closed to visitors.

We all liked the lichen.

The beaches were packed with sunbathing sea lions.

There were quite a few Mules Ears blooming.

Wild Iris was starting to pop up.

We luckily had another sunny day and no fog so a trip to the Golden Gate Bridge was in order.

I found a broom washed up on the beach and started tidying up.

Walking around the old gun battery was fun. These doors are still pretty solid after 100 years of salty air.

A little more corrosion happening here.

Golden Gate Bridge looked tiny through this lookout.

We are in Oregon now. A quick visit with our good friends Calleen and Jon in Grants Pass. Thanks for the camping spot for both of our rigs guys. We are moving slowly up the state. Between warranty and insurance both Rv’s are getting a bit of TLC.

It is cold and rainy. Note to myself. Please stay south until the middle of May. It was so hot In Indio California when we left at the beginning of the month it was hard to think of COLD and RAINY weather giving us a beatdown. Our rain jackets have had more use over the last couple weeks than the last 2 years.

O.K. done with whining. We are getting closer to our lads. Are you ready for some mum cooking boys?

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March in Indio

We had a pretty nice month in Indio until it started heating up. When the temp hits the 90’s I turn into wimpy girl.

We were lucky to have a family visit. We took cousins Candice and Lennard on our favorite slot canyon hike.

They had a good time squeezing through the slots.

It’s always a thrill coming down this very tall ladder.

Our usual lunch stop at the dragonfly.

We had such a great time! There are plans for a repeat next winter.

We had a pleasant bike ride around Palm Springs and stopped to check out Marilyn. For once some one had bigger feet than me.

I wish I looked that good in heels.

We thought this car made a nice backdrop for our bike heads.

It was getting too toasty to do much around the neighborhood so we drove up a few thousand feet to snag a piece of the Pacific Crest Trail. There were quite a few through hikers on the trail.

We had to have a pic of this pup which looks very similar to my granddog Maya. These 2 dogs were better equipped than us. Talk about stylin’

I have a soft spot for pinecones, especially if they are nice and burly. I would have kept one but Dean refused to lug the very heavy, spiky, and sticky monster back for me.

As we leave Indio we start on our EPIC JOURNEY 2022. This year we both turn 70 and will have been together 50 years. Whaaaat!!! It only seems like a minute ago we looked like this,

and this

Actually our “legal marriage” fiftieth is next year, but since we lived together for the first year I am counting that. Especially since the 70-50 sounds so good in my head.

Here is the actual marriage at the ripe old age of 21. My good friend Rhonda loaned me the lovely wedding dress.

It sounded like a good time to bust out and splurge on a mega trip. Last winter we tossed the idea around of a visit to the Galapagos, or somewhere else exotic. But, with the COVID and travel uncertainty we eventually decided on driving back to Alaska and hit the highlights we missed in 2019. We had to leave early in 2019 because a lot of the state was on fire.

Our great friends, Leslie and Stuart are gonna travel with us so we will have a nice big convoy of 2 motorhomes with tow cars (10-4 good buddy). We have never traveled with another couple before so being joined at the hip will be interesting. Luckily we are all very compatible. Stuart and I are a little bit crazy and Leslie and Dean have the calming influence which keeps us on track. Sounds like fun time for all of us!

Our plan is to amble our way up the California coast, spend some time in Oregon (gotta see my nippers) before driving into the beautiful FRIENDLY country of Canada for a leisurely meander through British Columbia and Yukon before entering Alaska.

We are keeping our fingers crossed that we don’t get snowed, rained, smoked or other crazy weather patterned out. Also it would be very nice if our rigs didn’t conk out during the journey.

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Arizona Winter

Monday 28th February, 2022

Crikey it’s already Springtime down south. We had a quiet winter in Phoenix. Played plenty of Pickleball and hiked and biked around the area a few times. There were a few rainy days in January and after a downpour we noticed this rock had sprouted a mossy coat.

Even a few flowers popped up but then everything dried up again.

We both had a little touch of Omicron in January as did many of our Pickleball buddies. It knocked us down for a couple of weeks but then we bounced back. I think we might be immuned up for a bit now. We have been vaxxed, boosted, flued and Omicroned.

Dean was able to transform this Agave into a great walking stick for me.

After Dean’s talented woodburning my stick was ready for Rose bling. A bit of glitter, paint and varnish and now I’m all set for hiking deserts and mountains.

It worked like a charm on this hike.

We were craving more smoked salmon and the local store had some wild caught sockeye on sale. Time to find a cardboard box.

Very conveniently the next door neighbors had an appliance delivered and we were able to recycle their cardboard. Now we are set for a couple of months at least.

We met with our good friends Stuart and Leslie in Lake Havasu for a few days. We had a good time biking all over town. The electric bikes sure make all those hills a piece of cake.

Lake Havasu bought an old bridge from England in 1968. It used to span the river Thames but now spans a canal in town and is a popular tourist attraction.

I have never seen so many love locks. These suckers were crammed on every available spot.

An afternoon walk along the canal was interesting. There were so many fancy powerboats. You could rent the floating Tiki bar and cruise down the canal. It was definitely a party town on the weekend we were there.

The weekend finished with a pretty nice firework show.

Stuart found a UFO for us to explore.

It is a museum dedicated to to the alleged crash of a flying saucer in 1953. I especially liked the Covid sign.

Leslie looked right at home next to Mr. Alien.

There are always plenty of old vehicles in the desert.

This Ford was getting a fill up.

After moving down to Yuma we had our dental checkups across the border. It’s great to have friends with full hookups.

Thanks Peggy for letting us stay in your luxury camping spot.

Onwards to Indio for March. I am looking forward to seeing the slots again.

Posted in Food and Beverages, Travel | 12 Comments

Happy Holidays

Monday 27th December 2021

2021 has been quite an eventful year. We have been vaxxed, boosted, trapped under a heat dome in Oregon and dodged wildfires in Washington. Life has calmed down since we arrived in Phoenix in November. We are staying busy playing plenty of Pickleball and hiking. Of course the Beast always needs pampering over the winter. After 12 faithful years the dishdrawer conked out. We installed a new one which thankfully slid right in the same hole.

We always enjoy a hike in the Superstition Mountains just up the road. The Saguaro with all the arms looks nice and healthy considering it’s at least a hundred years old.

This one is in its final death throes.

It’s always great to hike with good friends. Hope we get in a few more trips Jan and Tom.

I have been practicing the macro setting on my new phone.

It helps when it’s nippy in the morning and the butterflies are slow to get moving.

This guy was giving us a serious look as we slowly passed by. The whole area was open range.

Since it has been just the two of us this holiday season (Bah Humbug) we found a tiny 10 lb turkey and chopped it in half. We had this exact same meal at both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I have a new flower garden to play with over the winter.

We have had some very nice sunsets lately.

Dean and I wish you all the very best in 2022. Stay healthy everyone.

Posted in Travel | 16 Comments

Oregon Coast

Sunday 19th September 2021

We spent a few weeks traveling down the Oregon coast. The weather was pretty decent most of the time. Depoe Bay is always a nice stop. The worlds tiniest harbor is only 6 ½ acres. We had some really nice fish and chips too.

Yaquina Head lighthouse in Newport is very photogenic. Due to Covid, all the lighthouses are closed. At least we could enjoy walking around the outside.

Yaquina Bay bridge was undergoing some repair and cosmetic work. The giant white bandage moves along after each area is sandblasted.

You can’t stop in Newport and not visit the Rogue Brewery. There are so many taps, even a cider.

Nothing like a refreshing brew after a long bike ride.

What do you get with a bunch of sticks…

a cardboard box…

…and some wild Alaskan salmon filets. (It was on sale at the superrmarket)

That’s right a smoker. After a quick brine the salmon got peppered and placed on racks on the picnic table to get pellicaled up. Then into the fancy smoker.

After a few hours we had some delicious smoked salmon. Since we live full time in our camper we have learned to be creative when it comes to fixing grub.

Our good friends Calleen and Jon came to Florence to have some fun with their Razor on the Oregon Dunes and they invited us along for a ride.

There are over 31,000 thousand acres of sand dunes to explore. This sand rivals Florida in the fine pale yellow grains. What a fun time we had.

Florence in all it’s foggy beauty. The Suislaw River bridge made a nice backdrop.

In Coos Bay we were invited to stay at the Beechly RV Resort. We sure appreciate those nice big driveways. I like to think we make good guests since we bring our own house with us.

We had a nice hike along the Bluff in Charleston. I think we must have done this hike 20 times over the past 25 years or so.

There were several beautiful sunsets. It was very relaxing to sit on Linnae and Eric’s deck with an adult beverage enjoying the view and of course conversation.

Thanks so much Linnae and Eric for your wonderful hospitality. we give your ‘resort’ a 5 star rating.

We have not seen many people on the Southern Oregon beaches. It might be because the water is freezing. Add a brisk wind and social distancing takes care of its self.

Even the Cedar trees are big out west.

This fallen cedar made a nice resting spot.

Walking along the beach in Brookings I saw such a variety of seaweedy stuff.

This lot looks like it belongs on an Alien planet.

There are so many sea stacks along the coast in southern Oregon. The surf makes great pounding sounds hitting all those rocks.

It has been fun Oregon Coast, but now we must start heading inland. Our next big destination stop is Great Basin National Park on the border of Nevada and Utah. Since Northern California and Southern Oregon have been on fire for the last several weeks/months we will have to try and plan a route to dodge the smoke. Thank goodness our house has wheels.

Posted in Food and Beverages, Travel | 12 Comments

Washington 2

Tuesday 10h August 2021

We managed a couple of good hikes in the North Cascades National Park. It was pretty hazy due to the 2 massive wildfires just east of the park. Over 114,000 acres already burned and less than 50% contained. Thank goodness the wind was not blowing in our direction.

There were Pikas leaping about all over the place. This little guy actually jumped on my camera on the end of my selfie stick which caused some pretty loud screaming on my part. Dean had a good laugh for sure. The Pika gave me a pretty disgusted look as well.

A family of mountain goats nibbled their way across our path.

After that big hike day it was time for a rest. Blackberry picking time.

And plum picking also.

I used my handy siever thingamabob to get most of the seeds out of the blackberries

I didn’t have enough jars to make the blackberry jam so have frozen the mixture until we get back near some stores. A nice bit of plum jam though.

Time for another big hike up the mountain. There were a lot of snowmelt streams and plenty of pink Monkey flowers.

They look so pretty in a close up.

We got a lot of use out of the water filter. Lovely ice cold snowmelt. It sure beat lugging extra liters of water up the mountain.

We were surprised to see Hidden Lake. I guess the wind kept the smoky haze in the background.

There was plenty of rock to scramble across.

It sure was easier going down the trail.

Moving on to the the coast the skies were a lot clearer. This boat was a definite fixer upper.

You know you’re in the Pacific Northwest when you see lots of Foxgloves.

A nice sunset to finish our stay in Washington.

We are now moving back into Oregon and taking a month or so to travel down the coast. We hope to see our Oregon Coast friends. Linae and Eric and also Esther and Roy sure hope we can latch up.

Posted in Food and Beverages, Travel | 5 Comments

Washington

Saturday 31st July 2021

We camped for a week below Mount Rainier. A day visit to the East side of the park convinced us to keep away from the area as it was very crowded. It was time to test our hiking legs in the back country. This trail was only a bit over 8 miles but had over 3100 ft elevation gain.

The trail started out nicely. Lots of blooming bear grass. But then it got quite steep.

It was a brutal slog which took a long time as I am very slow going uphill. Thank goodness for the audio book we listened to with shared earbuds. It certainly helps with the drudge part of the hike. We finally entered the alpine meadows which were not quite in their prime yet. Still very lovely and the trail was now level. It was very nice hiking.

There were patches of Avalanche lilies to enjoy,

and gazillions of Common Blue butterflies. They were flying all around us and latched on to any source of water.

I am always happy when a close up actually comes out well. Thank goodness for digital pics. Delete is my most common tool used when editing.

Snowy Mount Rainier was a good backdrop for our hair.

We needed a day of rest so Dean did a little ebike maintenance. Living in a camper forces you to be inventive when it come to tools. This swing set worked pretty well.

We were ready to tackle another hike. This one involved a bit of snow crossing here and there.

Goat Lake was still frozen over.

Pink heather was flowering all over the place.

There were just a few Pasque flowers blooming. They look so delicate with fuzzy stems and petals.

Most of them had already bloomed but the flowers turn into these cool looking seed heads.

As we moved closer to Seattle it seemed like a good idea to have a bike ride. Close to the trail was Deans favorite brewery.

He really enjoyed this pint of Lush IPA served straight from the tap. They even had cider on tap. We took our own lunch and spent a pleasant hour.

Now we are moving up to the North Cascades area and hope to catch the flowers just right.

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Oregon 2

Tuesday 13th July 2021

We rested up for a few days in a nice quiet campground in the high desert of Oregon after our busy time near Hood River.

It seems we have missed the wildflowers here too. Summer came early but the wild sagebrush sure smelled good.

We couldn’t figure out why this car was dumped in the middle nowhere. It had quite a few bullet holes.

We rode our nice comfy ebikes a few miles around Newberry Crater National Monument. It sure is great going up the hills with power assist. My croc knee thanks me every time. With the rear baskets we are able to haul chairs and cooler.

Little trees were hanging on for dear life to the exposed posts next to this bridge.

The temperatures started to soar into triple digits so an early morning hike around Smith Rock was in order. We love Smith Rock State Park and never get tired of hiking around it. Monkey face was getting a workout. Climbers were climbing and rappelling all over.

We saw several people sitting in his mouth.

This handy crutch station is about halfway up the trail. Thank goodness they were not being used.

The lads came for a quick visit and the river seemed the best place to be in the intense heat. I felt like a queen being paddled up and down the river. We only fell off once. Thanks Jay.

At least we stayed nice and cool.

A freak wind whipped through the campground. This trailer was just 2 spaces over from us. Bad things can happen when you take off for the day and leave your big awning out especially with a light weight camper.

Finally a nice elevation hike.

We even managed to snag some cherries before the season finished.

Back by Hood River for a raft trip.

We had a lovely afternoon paddling down the Lower White Salmon. Dax used to be a river guide back in the day so he was able to expertly aim the raft so we got maximum splash.

Jay had fun trying some water tricks.

The wind was blowing so hard we were getting blown back up river the last ¼ mile. Time to get Jay onboard and help paddle!

Dax was going to run a waterfall so we roped our way down to the river.

Yikes! It was a lot bigger than I thought.

We are now heading up to Washington for a few weeks. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a few wildflowers and no wild fires.

Posted in Travel | 12 Comments