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.

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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 ΒΌ 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.

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Monday 14th June, 2021

We stopped into see our friend of many years. We first met Pat in a campground in Arizona. Pat now lives in Salem and just celebrated her 95th birthday. Happy birthday dear friend.

Finally it was time to pick up our carpet. We thought it might fit in Jays house. He recently moved back to Oregon.

Thank you Paige and Rod for looking after our carpet for 17 years. It does not seem possible that we have been on the road for that many years.

Maya and I enjoyed a lay down.

We moved up to Portland for a week and it was fun to visit with the lads over Memorial Day weekend. A decent climbing rock was close to the campground and the lads got in some practice.

We dropped them off upriver and they paddle boarded to the campground.

I’m always a happy camper when Dax and Jay stop by.

Time to move on to Hood River. I was hoping to get some good wild flower hikes in but the Columbia Gorge was dried up. I fear the drought is all up the west coast. The views of the river are always nice though.

Another day we hiked at a much higher elevation and found more greenery. A doe with two tiny fawns crossed our path.

We couldn’t figure out why this gate was attached to a tree but had no fencing on either side.

Swallowtail butterflies were flitting all over the flowery bushes.

A couple of Admirals like Deans feet.

I even had one enjoying a rest on my foot.

Mount Hood peeped out from under the clouds for a few minutes.

A bike ride along the Deschutes river was fun.

The only wild life we came across was a very lazy slow moving rattler.

A fast flowing river enticed the lads up to Hood River. Jay is really enjoying kayaking again.

He seems to have got the hang of it pretty quick.

Dax likes to run waterfalls.

We are so happy our lads live close to each other again.

Now we heading to Bend area for a few weeks. Pickleball and hiking are on the menu.

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California Coast

Sunday 16th May 2021

It took a month to slowly move up the California coast. We were looking forward to visiting Venice Beach. It’s very quirky and a great place to people watch. What a disappointment! Many streets had homeless people camped out on the paths.

The strip where all the usual entertainers and artists worked was crowded with shelters and tents.

Even the beach was tent city. What a shame to see so many people living in such dire straits.

At least the trees looked cool.

We had a fun week in Santa Barbara. Biking…

and hiking on the beach.

The city had closed the Main Street to traffic and all the restaurants had expanded their seating areas into the road. It was a great idea and we hear that it will be kept that way at least through the summer. The restaurants were doing a cracking business. We tried to help the local economy with a bit of eating and drinking.

Even dogs were welcome.

The eucalyptus trees were blooming in all shades of pink.

This Coral tree was so pretty. The branches had no leaves, just vivid red flowers.

We did a little inland hiking. It was early April and already the hills were browning up. I sure hope the west coast is not plagued with wildfires this summer.

We moved up to Morrow Bay for a week. We have been here so many times it feels like a second home.

We always enjoy walking around the harbor. There were plenty of sea otters lounging about in the kelp beds. A few had babies resting on mums tummy.

A really cold front whipped through and I had to dig out my 1 pair of trousers. Can’t remember the last time I had any on, it’s been several years. Thank goodness I was able to repack them after a couple of days.

This bronze seat was a real eye catcher.

Springtime at Montana de Oro state park is usually a huge expanse of yellow and gold. This pic is from 2006.

This year it looks quite drab. I think global warming is taking it’s toll.

We finally arrived in Oregon. We had to put the motorhome in a garage for a few days to have some repair work done. Luckily our good friends Calleen and Jon made us welcome in their house and we had a great visit.

The motorhome had a malfunctioning lock on a bay door. Since Jon seems to own every tool known to mankind he was able to help Dean fix the problem.

Calleen has a soft touch for this pet rabbit that has run wild for several years. Of course his name is Peter.

We finally got the camper back and fit very nicely in the covered slot that Jon and Calleen let us stay in on our stops through Grants Pass. Thanks guys for our stay at the “Jordon” RV Resort.

The beast is now in good working order so we are moving up Oregon. Get your mum hugging arm limbered up lads. Will be seeing you shortly.

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Indio Spring

Wednesday 31st March 2021

February was marmalade time. We stopped by Jay’s house and picked all of his oranges.

He gave us lots of lemons too. The park we are staying at had plenty of grapefruit trees.

Since I only had to buy sugar, I felt compelled to make several batches.

Batch one done and dusted. I do enjoy a piece of toast loaded with chunky tart marmalade just like my mom made.

We have been back to the desert slot canyons quite a few times. It’s pretty nice with hardly any people about. Social distancing at its finest. This ladder was on its last death throes.

This metal one had also taken a beating. When it rains in the summer, water whips through these slot canyons and many time busts the ladders into shreds. Hiking clubs in the area always seem to replace them when needed.

Thank goodness some generous person made this steep descent nice and easy with a lovely strong ladder. It was at least 20 feet tall.

We took a drive to Bombay Beach which is by the Salton Sea. Back in the day before the sea started drying up, this whole area used to be a huge holiday resort. Now it’s a smelly, dusty dump.

A few undaunted people still live in hamlets around the toxic sea. It seems a few artists have moved to the area.

A pile of old televisions had a colorful makeover.

I am not quite sure what to make of all the doll body parts attached to the car.

The local drive in theatre looked a bit decrepit.

I liked the way this plane was recycled into a piece of art.

Dean really tried to get this bucking bronc to giddyup. There are quite a few golf courses in the area. It’s amazing to see such lush green manicured courses in the middle of the desert.

We were lucky to see a group of mountain sheep nibbling on a bit of grass. They posed and smiled for a picture.

After Dax saw a picture of me climbing this rope he thought he had better send some emergency equipment.

We are now the owners of some very pretty daisy chained webbing and carabiners. Dax even made us a couple of mini videos on how to make a harness and hitches and also make the elegant daisy chain to keep all the webbing neat and tidy. He also cautioned us not to be crazy old people getting trapped in a canyon with no escape.

Jay gave us some old climbing rope so Leslie, Stuart, Dean and I decided to do some repair work on the rope hike. You know it’s gonna be fun when someone has sprayed danger on the rock face.

This rope was badly frayed at the top.

New strapping, rope and some plastic hose made it a lot safer.

Several other ropes got some tender loving care as well.

The Ocotillo have started blooming. Not much else though as it has been a really dry winter here in the desert.

We had a nice hike in Joshua Tree National Park. Some of these trees get really big. They are actually members of the Agave family.

The mountains got quite a bit of snowfall but the desert floor has stayed very dry this winter.

The campground we are staying in has flower beds all over. Petunias and snapdragons seem to be the flower of choice.

A couple of ladies spend hours every day keeping all the beds weeded.

Hiking and eating great meals with our good friends Leslie and Stuart have made this long Covid winter zip by.

We have both had our double dose of the Pfizer vaccine and feel pretty healthy. Everyone is still masking up when shopping but now more people are getting vaccinated and places are opening up. Better times ahead!

Our plan is to move slowly up the California coast and then into Oregon to visit family and friends. We hope to spend some time hiking in the Cascade Mountains in Washington and then head back down south via the Oregon coast. It will be nice to see some grass again.

Posted in Food and Beverages, Travel | 12 Comments

Indio, California

Tuesday 28th December, 2020

We have been in our RV spot for a couple of months now. We have a pretty nice view of the golf course and hills in the background. We rented a propane heater from our neighbors which makes for more comfortable sitting on chilly evenings.

I have my little flower garden up and running. With my croc knee it’s nice to be able to deadhead the petunias without kneeling.

We have had several visits from a roadrunner. He is quick so it’s hard to get a good close up pic.

The highlight of our holiday season was having both our lads staying for a few days. We were able do some good slot canyon hiking. Our four legged granddaughter Maya was so happy to explore the canyons too.

She waited patiently for Jay to haul her up the many ladders.

Several narrow slots to maneuver through.

There was plenty of squeezing under and around boulders.

Sometimes you just have to lay back and enjoy the ride.

Dax was happy to have some nice sunshiney days down in the desert.

We even managed a bit of pickleball.

Everyone pitched in to wash Jay’s grubby car.

There were a few friendly competitions.

We borrowed our friends grill and had smoked turkey.

All the trimmings were delicious too. I used my griddle as a warming tray. It kept everything toasty hot.

This is a desert Christmas tree.

Most everything is closed in the area and the park we are staying at is really quiet as no Canadians are down for the winter. We are able to play Pickleball with a few Americans that are here. Thank goodness for our good friends Leslie and Stuart. They are our hiking buddies.

We found a new rope hike that was quite demanding.

Yikes! Which do I move first, hands or legs.

A push and a pull was all Leslie needed.

This rock was so comfy.

Not much wildlife on the trails but a cute tarantula posed for a pic.

Stuart had his drone up flying about taking good pictures. I think it would be even better if it could bring me a cocktail.

The lads were running short on soap so I had a soap making week and now have a a nice supply curing on the dash. No problems keeping squeaky clean for the next few months.

We have had several beautiful sunsets lately.

Hopefully we will all be vaccinated up quick smart and this wretched Covid will be a thing of the past. We both wish you a happy and healthy 2021.

Posted in Travel | 18 Comments

Moving Down Arizona

Friday 30th October 2020

Goodbye Colorado! We have had a wonderful time hiking in your mountain ranges this summer.

There are several Ancient ruins near Flagstaff.

The National Park Service has done a great job preserving the integrity of the ruins.

I found a nice cool shady spot.

It always amazes me how flowers can grow in adverse conditions. These hardy bloomers are thriving in a lava field.

Montezuma Castle is 100 feet above the valley. I wonder where the escalator attaches to the rock face.

Many shops are back in business. This hair salon was busy.

We took a quick trip up to the Grand Canyon and walked along the rim for a bit.

It never fails to impress.

There are a lot of areas close to Flagstaff that have suffered from wildfires in recent years. I guess there will be many more crispy forests out west after this fiery summer.

Someone creatively attached fallen wood to make a nice comfy bench. I really appreciated the sit down.

On our way south we we stopped for a few days near Phoenix. Hiking in the desert took on a surreal look.

Large swathes of cactus were burned to a nub in this area. Wildfires have taken their toll on so much this year.

We moved down to Yuma for a week. Time for dental work. I had two chipped front teeth and Dean had two disintegrating old crowns to replace. We’ve gotta stay away from the super crunchy stuff.

It was super easy crossing the border and returning was a breeze . Not too many snowbirds in Yuma at the moment.

Most of the people in town were masked up.

The waiting room has some seriously red furniture.

Dr. Ernesto did great work on both of us. We are back to dental goodness.

Finally a nice cool day so we took a hike round Muggins Peak, a few miles east of Yuma. I think we must have hiked round this mini mountain at least 6 times over the years.

I spotted a neat looking barrel cactus growing horizontally out of the cliff. I asked Dean to take a closer look.

He being the good sport scrambled up the rock face to confirm the the spiky succulent was indeed growing out instead of up.

Moving on to Indio California. We will be settled into one campground for the whole winter. It will be the first time we have spent 5 months in one place since we started full time traveling in 2004. I hope I don’t get too twitchy.

Posted in Travel | 12 Comments

Southern Colorado

Monday 7th September 2020

We really liked Creede! It was a thriving mining town back in the day. Also it has the only decent grocery store within 50 miles.

Many of the houses reminded us of Homer, Alaska. This owner was thinking outside the box or should I say fence.

Even the ice skating building had character.

Curling stones Creede style.

The fire department had a great spot.

Driving through town the road turns to gravel and heads up the mountain.

There were several old abandoned mines precariously perched on the cliffs.

After a rocky, lumpy, bumpy ride we finally made it to a trailhead leading to a section of the Continental Divide Trail.

A few miles at over 12,000 feet is always invigorating.

I like to add my bit to the many Cairns on the trails.

We had a great campsite for a few days overlooking a horse paddock. Bears were regular visitors at night. So frequent in fact that the campground electrified the trash containers at night.

This guy was the closest we got to seeing any wildlife. In the back country the cattle are just left to roam about.

The 3100 hundred mile Continental Divide Trail runs 850 miles through Colorado. We managed to hike at least 50 miles in the lower sections. We would love to hike the whole thing but would need at least 20 Llamas to carry all the gear. Also someone to pitch the tents and fix the grub would be nice.

This stretch had so many dead trees due to beetle attack.

Five miles in we found the perfect place for lunch and a rest.

There are so many peaks. Colorado has over 50 that beat 14,000 foot mark!

This was a long stretch of trail winding around a huge mountain.

We were thrilled to meet up with our good friends Leslie and Stuart. They loved the Continental Divide trail too.

It is supposed to start snowing here tomorrow evening so we are packing up and making a hasty retreat to lower elevations.

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Corner of Utah and Colorado Mountains

Wednesday 12th August 2020

We found a great spot to spend the night by Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Northwest Utah. We were the only ones in the whole campground. All that goodness for only $6.50.

Moving towards Vernal we saw a train pulling a gazillion windmill wings. I snapped this pic through the camper window in passing and only managed to get a few of them. Wind power is still doing well out west.

Vernal, a small town in the northwest corner of Utah had the most beautiful display of flowers. All the main streets were loaded with lovely displays like this. Every planter had the same pink and mauve color theme. Whoever was watering and feeding these plants was doing a fabulous job.

We had a nice hike in Dinosaur National Monument. Didn’t see any dinosaurs but this lengthy Kingsnake sunbathing across our trail was a bonus.

It was getting pretty toasty at the lower desert elevations so we drove up to this pretty hike at over 10,000 feet.

After reaching 11,000 feet the trail was all on a ridge. The views in both directions were great.

We finally made it back to Ouray, Colorado. We were there in June and hiked at the base of Mount Sneffels. I really wanted to return and hike to the top and snag a 14,000 foot mountain. The last several hundred feet was very dodgy looking shale so we decided to not risk it. I had the sniffles because I couldn’t top Sneffels.

We did manage to get over 13,000 feet which was our personal best. Good job we packed the coats as it was really brisk up there.

On the way down we stopped for our lunch and a nice rest at Ice Lake. It was pretty with lots of wildflowers about. A bit different from the last time we were there.

Ice Lake was really icy in June.

I’m always thrilled to snag a butterfly closeup. Thank you iPhone camera and selfie stick.

We stayed in Lake City, Colorado for week. At over 8,700 feet it was nice and cool. Surrounding the town are several mountains. Time to snag a fourteener.

We had been informed that it was fairly easy to get to the top of Handies Peak. That’s me on the way up looking pretty cheerful. That mountain doesn’t look very intimidating.

The top is getting a bit closer and the trail is smashing with lots of grass and great views.

Oh crapola. This part was terrifying. I had a bit of a panic attack three quarters of the way up this top section. I had a death grip on some rocks and was asking Dean if we could possibly get a helicopter rescue. I was too terrified to move up or down.

Funnily enough I am usually not scared of heights and will go to the edge of a cliff and look over but Dean hates heights and will stand way back. Now he was the MAAANNN!! He got me settled on a rock keeping me calm with a nice soothing voice. I had a drink of water and finally decided to go for it but kept my eyes only on the rocks just in front of my eyes. Definitely no looking up or down or to the sides. Dean stayed just in front giving me a verbal boost the whole time. Thank you dear husband.

Yippeee!!!!! We made it to 14,053 feet. It felt like the top of the world.

The 360 views were awesome.

All my scaredy cat feelings disappeared and we had a nice little hike along the ridge top.

It sure was a long way down but not nearly as terrifying as going up. What’s that all about? We passed a young guy going up and he asked how technical it was. Of course I had to put my Rose spin on how hard the latter part was. I got put in my place quick smart when he said he had just done 2 fourteeners that day and was trying for triple. I felt like a right wanker until I decided that I had at least 40 plus years on the kid.

After we got down to the lower flowery section it was time for a nice 30 minute lie down. In all it was a fabulous day. It was a ten miler with almost 3500 foot elevation gain. We had to open a second bottle of wine that night to celebrate.

After a couple of days our legs were rested enough to tackle a nice 10 mile stroll on a stretch of the Continental Divide which runs from Canada to Mexico. This part of the trail latches up with a section of the 500 mile Colorado trail. Once we had gained 1700 feet the trail leveled out and we had a great level hike for several miles on the top of a mesa.

We did see a bear running like crazy across the tundra but too far away for a pic. However this cute Pika posed for us.

Flowers were blooming in every rock crevice.

Columbines have such a pretty shape.

Our campground is fully booked so we are moving a few miles down the road. We thought getting campgrounds would not be a problem out here in the back of beyond but it seems every man their uncle is out camping. Every other vehicle we see is from Texas. I guess we all want the same thing. Fresh air and cooler temperatures. Keeping our fingers crossed we get a site.

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