Yuma, Arizona

Thursday 31st January 2019

Our month stay in Yuma has gone by pretty fast. It was a project month. We recovered both our sofas.

After 11 years the old beasts interior was getting a bit bashed up. So we ordered new “skins” for our sofas. This was a lot cheaper than replacing both sofas, especially since the guts were still in good nick. We removed about 10 million staples and hog ties. Please, please someone invent an electric staple remover!

When finally done, we had a few cuts and bruises and plenty of blisters from the pitiful staple removing tool.

Then it was time to redo the slide out floor.

Another few cuts and bruises and we got the floor done, or should I say Dean got the floor done. I was the gofer on this project. I think the refinished floor and sofa look quite nice.

We were thrilled to see our good friends from Canada. A whole day of non stop laughs. Thanks you lovely Canuksters.

Dean, Donna, Tom, Tom, Jan, Rose

Another couple of good visits with our Oregonian friends.

Dean, Leroy, Rose, CarolAnne

We were happy to squeeze in a hike around Muggins Mountain.

We had a nice day out in Quartzsite. This area is dead as a doornail in the summer, but come winter it is a busy town. Thousands of campers pitch up out in the nearby desert.

The RV show was finishing up but it was interesting looking at all the stalls. There were plenty of people enjoying adult beverages.

We are moving on to San Felipe in Mexico tomorrow. This will be the first time we have taken the beast across the southern border. Mama Mia!!!

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Indio, California

Tuesday January 1st 2019

Dean and I wish you all a very happy holiday season. May 2019 bring goodwill, good health and happiness to us all.

We racked up nearly 9 ,000 miles this year in the Beast.  It was time to renew our South Dakota drivers licenses which we have to do in person once every five years. It was a good opportunity to visit Deans brother Monty and his lovely spouse Kathy in Chicago and also check out old family homesteads in Iowa. We even made a quick trip into Canada to visit good friends Tom and Jan.

Of course we managed to seek out three National Parks that we had never visited in the Northeast. Only two left in the lower 48 States and those are in Colorado. There are 60 National Parks altogether and we have managed to explore 50 so far, and many of them multiple times.  We plan on driving back to Alaska this year so hope to snag a couple more on that trip.

Dean and I  finally deleted our Facebook accounts. With the breaches, hacks and unwanted advertising it got to be a hassle.  Sorry to miss any news and pictures you may post.  However you can always catch up us with through this blog or email. I have a new email address: rosekirkwood@me.com

I always enjoy seeing the huge windmill farms as we come through the Pass into the Palm Springs area. The Gorgonia Pass is one of the windiest places in California. 

Jay and Maya  popped down for a one day visit. We went on a pretty neat hike that had some ladders and twisty bits. Maya was in her element.

I was surprised how calm she was being hauled up ladders….

…and belayed down cliffs.

This hike was like a moonscape.

On another hike we found this bubbling stream which is unusual for the desert.

It flowed into a small oasis of California Fan Palms.

We were very happy Jay and Maya managed to spend a few days with us over Christmas. It was so much fun hiking the slots with them both.

Lots of scrambling through the narrow bits.

Of course we had Jay carry all the water and food on the hikes. Deans back appreciated the rest.

There have been many beautiful winter sunsets lately.  This is the pretty view from our campsite.  We are facing a nice little golf course.

Jay got to practice his short game. The Beast is in the background.

I made pumpkin and peanut butter dog biscuits for Maya and she enjoyed every one.

We had a tiny rainfall a couple of weeks back and now some lovely color is popping up in the desert.

Goodbye California, moving on to Yuma in Arizona. 








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Southern California

Monday 3rd December 2018

We love coastal hiking.  Blue skies, crashing waves and plenty of seals and sea otters to watch.

There are so many white herons on the southern California coast.

I have no idea what this is but it looks like it’s been here a long time.

The harbor in Ventura has a great walking path.

It was just the two of us for Thanksgiving dinner but we made the best of it.  At least there was no cooking for a couple of days after.

Santa Barbara always looks good. The views from the County Courthouse are lovely.

There is lots of great tile work inside the building. From the floors to the stairs and walls.

And so many pots.

The wrought iron railings are also pretty fancy.

With lots of curvy bits.

California park restrooms are becoming very socially correct.

Ahhhh! So good to see my Jay at last.  He gave us another peek at his metabolomics lab.  He just added another big machine. His lab is now up and running and analyzing such diverse things as pomegranates to earthworms.

The University campus is gridlock and we felt lucky to snag this spot for a picnic lunch.

Our grand dog Maya was also pretty thrilled to see us.

On to the Palm Springs area for all of December and we get Jay for Christmas.  Yippee!



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Saturday 3rd November 2018

Just a glimpse of Mount Shasta as we head south.


We had a nice day out at Lassen National Park. A couple miles up the trail we came across this pretty little waterfall.


One lonely Scarlet Gilia. Everything else was done for. Next time we visit it has to be in the summer when all the flowers are blooming.


Lassen is known for its volcanic activity. This cauldron of mud was bubbling away.


This little campground was neat as a pin and a lot water was keeping everything green. All the trees had had some serious trimming.


Further down the coast we enjoyed a couple of days hiking in Pinnacles National Park.


An eleven mile roundtrip hike took us through some cavey areas.


This cute Tarantula stopped to say hello.


There were many steps up and down carved into the rock.


Thank goodness for the handrail in some of the steepest areas.

We were lucky with the wildlife sighting that day. This Rat Snake was having a nap on a log as we passed by.  We even saw some Condors flying overhead but they were too far away for a pic.


The terrain was so varied and the sky was such a deep blue. What a lovely day!

Everything is big in California even the pinecones.

Moving further down the coast we stopped for a visit at Hearst Castle. This massive house was  built back in the 1920’s for William Hearst and is now a State Park.

It has a huge out door pool….

and a ginormous  indoor pool.

I guess the guy was into guest bling. This was a typical guest bedroom.

However his own bedroom was rather plain.

His personal library was a good size. How many chairs can you sit in at one time.

I liked looking at the doors.

Plenty of knobby doors.

This one was over the top with carvings.

The Elephant Seals are flocking into the San Simeon area.

This petite female is probably about 1000 lbs.  The males can reach 3000-5000 lbs.

Still traveling  south on the coast. Moving closer to my number 2 son.  Jay, get your Mom hugging arms ready.


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Sunday 30th September 2018

I finally got some son hugging time.


We had a super couple of weeks visiting with Dax and Monique.


Demonstrating some yogary skills.


I gave Monique a soap making lesson and she looks pretty happy with the results.


I sorted through some baby stuff I had stored. My mother knitted this outfit for Dax.

My Mom, Dad, myself with  the newly hatched whippersnapper in 1984.

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Dax only got to wear this pretty outfit a few times as he grew like a weed.

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We got some nice pictures with the use of Dax’s long arms.


We drove to Hood River and stopped by our old camping spot.  It sure has gone downhill.


We stayed here several summers when Dean worked at the local hospital.  I kept the grass watered and mowed and it was pretty nice back in the day.


A stop in Hood River is not complete unless we visit with our good friends Teta and Lee.  Thanks Guys for a lovely day. Teta, the grub was delicious.

We finally got our replacement roof top air conditioner delivered to our campsite in Portland. Dax was kind enough to offer his brute strength.  Dean is doing a nice job in management.


Dax made it look so effortless hauling the 110 pound box up the ladder.


It was a lot easier getting the busted one down.


All installed and working nicely. Someone looks very pleased.


We managed to have a lunch date with Paige and Rod.  It was great catching up on our families.


One last visit from Dax and Monique.  Of course a free meal might have enticed them a bit.


See you next year dear children.


What a lovely time we had visiting our good friends Sandy and Charles.  Thanks so much for the great meal and hospitality. Georgia and Gus you made the evening very special.  I think we are all aging very nicely.

I was chuffed to make a little trip to the Dahlia gardens in Canby.


Aggghhh! My happy place.


We had a few days at the Jordan RV Resort in Grants Pass.


Thanks so much Calleen and Jon for the great RV parking spot. It was a fun time.


Heading to Redding California today.  Goodbye Oregon.





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Moving towards Oregon

Thursday August 30th 2018 

We had a few nice days at Glacier National Park.  The flowers were mostly finished but there was still some snow left on the Mountains.


We were lucky to miss the smoke from some wildfires in the area.  A lovely clear blue sky and fresh clean air to breathe was great!


This Marmot eyeballed us on the trail.


I don’t think he liked what he saw because he chased us up the trail quite a bit.


The snowmelt lakes were crystal clear.


We then headed into the smoky nether regions of Montana. The beast starting conking out.  We spent quite some time and quite a lot of dollars as the beast required heart surgery. A new turbo charger was finally inserted and yippee! we were able to move on.

We moved from hot and smoky to more hot and smoky. Did I mention HOT!!!!!!


At least we got to visit The Manhattan Project National Historical Park.  There is nothing like visiting a nuclear waste site to get you energized.


The control station in the B Reactor building kept a constant watch on all the rods.


The actual reactor core contained all these tubes and rods. The technical stuff was above my head but I managed to grasp a whole bunch of scary stuff was built in a very short period of time.


Here are just a few of the signs that covered the place back in 1944.


We had visited the Trinity site in New Mexico in 2007 where the first nuclear bomb was exploded in 1945.  The plutonium came from the B Reactor.  Time to move on from the hot spots….


We had a couple of weeks in Bend, Oregon.  I think the whole of the West coast is on fire. It’s almost impossible to evade the smoke.  A little hike in the mountains helped.


This tree made a very convenient and comfy seat for Rose.


We camped on a Bison/Yak Ranch in Bend.


The Rancher raises all these animals for their meat.  It was very organic and all that good stuff.


Whaat the ???


Now that sign makes sense. The Rancher explained that the animal heads were left to be naturally beetlized. (That should be a word)  The skulls apparantly sell well to artists.


Time for a drink.  Bend has got some really good cideries.  I had to try quite a few to deskullyfie (that should also be a word also).


This is my ideal ambulance.


We had a very nice day trip to Newberry National Monument. This place is the Obsidian Mecca. The lovely black shiny stuff has been used for eons as arrowheads and the like.


Dean thought he was “the bomb “holding this hunk of pumice.


Got ya beat buddy.


A little loving of green on green .


Silver Falls State park had a nice 10 mile hike around 10 waterfalls.  Late Spring would be better for flowers and busting out water but it was still very nice.


We saw waterfalls from  the front and the sides.


Also behind.


Nothing like a good waterfall. Unless of course it’s flowers.


Moving on to Portland and my number one son, Dax.










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Thursday July 19th, 2018

We passed through a corner of Idaho on our way to Wyoming and passed several fields of blooming Rape. That’s quite a bit of cooking oil right there.


Jackson Hole was interesting to walk around although the town was jam packed with people wandering around just like us. The central park had Antler Arches on all four corners.  Guess they have a lot of Deer, Elk and Moose out here.


We were impressed with the Vertical Harvest attached to the parking garage. This hydroponic farm can produce up to 100,000 pounds of tomatoes, herbs and greens a year.


The carousels rotate to give the plants plenty of light even during the snowy winter.


It’s wildflower season at the higher elevations. Yippeee!!


We hiked along a spring fed stream and parts of it were dammed up to utilize the power for the little town downstream. The water was so pretty.


We followed the stream up….


and up…..


Finally, the spring birthplace.


This good looking butterfly opened his wings for a photo.


Dean was anxious to visit Melvin Brewing in Alpine .  Partly because Dean’s big brother is named Melvin but mostly to slurp down the IPA beer.

The hamlet has only 700 residents but this brewery is exporting their beer across the country.


They have a top notch brewing facility.


Yeah, we got plenty of Melvin to go. The camper is leaning a bit to one side packed with Melvin.



Does this guy look happy? He hit pay dirt enjoying all 4 samplers.



We stayed a week in Teton National Park.  Those peaks just bust up right from the meadows.



No, we did not climb that peak. We had a quick boat trip across Jenny Lake and hiked through a canyon. A very enjoyable 9 mile roundtrip hike although on the way down there were lot more people coming up. I am glad we got an early start.


We were lucky to see a moose noshing on the greenery. He just ignored us and kept on munching.


Dean needed a spot to soak his feet and this snow melt stream did the trick.


I thought the fence was a great recycling idea.


The next day we started out super early and hiked a trail we thought would be about ten miles.  Yikes!! After a 2000ft elevation gain up to 9100ft in first couple of hours we should have figured the trail info might not be too accurate. It was a 14 mile up and down marathon.

However the wild flowers made the whole trip worth it.



Can you see my pack is tiny compared to Deans. I carried the important stuff like my phone, tissues and bug spray.  Dean carried everything else.

The sunflowers were competing with the purple geraniums.


This monument plant had such pretty petals.


A smorgasbord of beauty.


Huge meadows of sunflowers.


We are getting tired by this time but the flower loveliness kept us going.


The Teton Range in the background was a lovely backdrop to these flowers.


I am in my element.


We had to have a rest day before moving on but that hike was so worth it. Thank you flowery Wyoming!






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Westward Ho!

Sunday 1st July  2018

We had a great trip into Canada to visit with our good friends Jan and Tom.  They own their own island near Minaki, Ontario.  We travelled to the island in their zippy speedboat.  Their summer house is fueled by solar panels and propane.

IMG_2161.jpgTom designed and built the spacious gazebo.  It was very enjoyable drinking a cocktail in the evenings while watching the sunsets.

We had fun canoeing about on the nice calm lake.


A quick dip in the chilly (freezing) lake was on the agenda.


Dean even gave paddle boarding a try with Toms windsurf board.


Hot dogs and beer.  Those guys looked pretty happy.


A lovely evening on the island.


Thanks so much Jan and Tom for a super visit on your little piece of paradise.


We hiked some around Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. Not much to see unless you have a boat.  A pretty butterfly stayed still for a picture.


This dragonfly hitched a lift on Deans hat.


We moved on to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.  Agghhh that’s more our cup of tea.  Open vistas and views. We had a great day hike of nearly 14 miles.


There were plenty of Wheeler Thistles,


and Wild Prairie Roses.


This Echinacea had a nice tuft of Buffalo hair.  There was a herd of these beasts roaming in the park but we only managed to see their fluffy hair on vegetation.


The hills were covered in wild Spurge.


The hike took a downward turn when we had to cross a few of these streams.  Up to the calves in squishy mud and water.  We also had some bushwhacking through  burned out areas.


Since I was the muddiest I got first dibs on the shower back at the camper.


We had picked a nice big batch of wild sage and that sure felt good in a tub of hot water on the old worn out tootsies.


It was very handy  spending a few days in Bozeman, Montana.  Our washing machine had conked out in Minnesota and we were able to buy a new Electrolux in Montana with NO SALES TAX.  Thank you Montana.  Of course we all know cock ups happen in threes.

IMG_2296.jpg Next it was the kitchen taps to kick the bucket. Now I have some nice new waterware.


And lastly the shower bubble on the roof was leaking but all that took was a big gob of gooey crack filler.

It rained quite a bit but we got lucky on this day with blue skies.  Time for a hike. The hillsides were covered with Larkspur and Balsam Root.


We were so happy to hike in the alpine meadows.


It was also great to be back to clear snowmelt streams.


Moving onto Wyoming tomorrow.





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Eastwards and Upwards

Saturday 9th June 2018

Driving through Iowa bought back fond memories for Dean.  He lived in this house in State Center for a few years as a small chil.  His parents owned the large house next door and ran a nursing home in it.  Dean remembered his dad building the wooden steps to the second floor  Looks like he did a good job as they are still standing firm.


The library had a wonderful display of baking pans.  All were available for check out.  What a great idea!


Moving on to Chicago, we had a lovely visit with Deans baby brother.  Monty and Kathy made us so welcome.  Thanks guys for a great time.


A humid heat wave attacked us during our stay so we hardly ventured outdoors. One quick visit to the local park was all we managed. We had forgotten how debilitating high heat plus high humidity can be.



Our next stop was Madison, Wisconsin. Dean wanted to visit the newly renovated Freedom from Religion building.


We had a nice tour of the building including a chat with Charles Darwin.


Old Charlie gets around.  Dean had a chat with him last year in Shrewsbury England.


As a Vietnam Veteran Dean appreciated this memorial.


We made a quick stop at a Mustard Museum. It holds the worlds largest collection of mustards. I enjoyed watching a history of the pungent seed.


There was mustard from all across the planet.


I should have given them one of my jars.


We finally made it to Lake Superior.  This is a nice quiet stretch by Ashland, Wisconsin.


Just a bit further up the road the waves were whipping up the red clay sediment.  It didn’t look too appealing for a swim.


We enjoyed a couple of days in Duluth, Minnesota. We had to cross the Arial Lift Bridge on our way to our campsite.


The whole lower part raises up to allow ships passage through including beasts like this at over 1000 feet long.


As we drove further up the coast into the hinterlands of Minnesota, the water became very clear and pretty.  With more than ten percent of the worlds fresh water,  Lake Superior is the largest fresh water lake in the world.


We picked up a hitchhiker in Duluth and had to do a radical eviction.


A very interesting stop at Grand Portage National Monument.  This was an important Trading Post for the British and the local indigenous population. The main trade was beaver pelts which were sent back to England to be felted and made into fashionable noggin toppers.


Much of the local travel was made in birch bark canoes.


It took and hour and a half boat ride to reach Isle Royale National Park. We passed this still working light house.  It was really isolated on the lake.  Back in the day it was a two on two week off for the light house keepers.  Now it’s automated.


The highlight of the day trip was this large batch of Marsh Marigold as most of the hiking trails were in the woods with not much to see except trees.


These were some real beauties.


Next stop is Voyageurs National Park in western Minnesota.




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South Dakota

Saturday 19th May, 2018

Our journey took us through Western Nebraska.  The Great Plains were just starting to green up. It was a nice hike up to the top of Scotts Bluff National Monument.


A cute little Rattlesnake  greeted us on the trail.  He very politely shook his rattles to let us know he was there.


You know you’ve been together a long time when you start to look like siblings.


There were quite a few hours of relaxing driving through peaceful scenery.


Custer State Park in South Dakota is famous for the 1300 to 1400 head of buffalo roaming about freely.


This guy is having a nice deep stretch after a nap.


Guess who has right of way.


Junior was giving us the teenage EYE!!!


We took a hike that supposedly paralleled the stream.  I think we waded across that sucker 20 times.


Of course we had to stop by Mount Rushmore National Monument.  The carving started in 1927 and was finished in 1941.


For my family and friends not in the USA. The old codgers (Presidents) are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln and of course Dean and Rose.  I think we would fit nicely in the granite chunk to the left of George.


We had a great time visiting the area in 1991 with our nippers. This is a pic of the Badlands National Park.

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We finished up in Rapid City renewing our drivers licenses.  We are South Dakotans  for another five years.






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