Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Our First Year Living in the RV Full Time, Pt. 2

Have I mentioned I really suck at doing this on a regular basis? I know I have! Lol... hope all our friends are patient with me. Trying to catch up the first year, then look at weekly updates. That way, it won't take a month of Sundays to read, and it might be a bit more interesting that way!

My last update took us up to Bend. After Lisa's funeral (Jeff's sister), we decided to head towards the coast of Oregon. We started at Pacific City, there is a Thousand Trails park there, and worked our way down.
This is one of the Roads in the Thousand Trails park at Pacific City. Tight spots, no sewer connections. But at night, I could hear the waves through my window!

The park was overrun with bunnies! They were very cute, but a bit shy. Although they would come and take food from you...

The view from the top of the park. The Oregon coast is very stunning!

This was the beach where I began picking up stones. Lots and lots of little stones. Not really knowing what I would do with them, but I have always been a rock hound! I picked up little beach stones from Pacific City all the way down to Klamath California. I hatched my project plan in Mexico, and am in the process of finishing it up. Isn't the suspense killing you???? :)

The dogs, Zilly and Zada, really liked running around on this beach. Others were not so fun. I think it depended on the wind. We did let them off leash to chase each other around when they would. 

From Pacific City, we drove up and down the coast checking out the sights. There were some light houses, as you might imagine. It was quite cool on the coast, with the fog layer out over the water and the onshore breezes. It was really nice to need to wear a jacket in August, after the brutal heat in Central Oregon!

It was so windy and cool the day we came here, we chose not to go all the way up the walkway to the lighthouse!

One of the things we did while on the coast was to search for the BEST Fish and Chips. Lots of folks had their favorites, and we usually tried them when suggested. The cod is caught fresh out off the shore, so it is amazing. Our favorite ended up being the Chart House, in Crescent City CA. It was so good, we actually went there twice while we were camped in Klamath.

On our way down the coast, we met up with new Alfa friends, Alan and Donna Vore. Their favorite Fish and Chips place was Moe's.

Fish and Chips (and onion rings!) at the Chart House.

One of the little surprises was a campground on the Klamath river in Klamath, CA. One surprise was the fact there was NO ATT cell coverage there. If we drove up the coast about a mile, we were able to get a connection. We were there almost 2 weeks, and vowed to try to always have some cell coverage. That is where we get our internet, from an ATT hotspot. Usually it works pretty well, but streaming TV can be a challenge sometimes! While we were at this campground, there was a group of fishermen that came in from the Bay area with their huge fishing boat. They were prevented from fishing for salmon due to restrictions, but they caught a TON of Ling cod and albacore tuna! They were busy filleting fish for hours each day! On their last day, they brought us over a tray of freshly filleted albacore, and it was really one of the best fish we have ever grilled! We have been blessed with meeting some of the nicest folks! While we were there, also, there was a parade and festival at the local tribe (Klamath). We had a great time at that event!

There was a bonfire every night at Klamath!

We were actually at this campground during the eclipse, right in the middle of the perfect swath. However, it was foggy and there was lots of smoke in the air from the terrible wildfires that were raging in Oregon and California! We saw nothing.... but it did get eerily dark for a bit! The smoke made for some amazing sunsets!

Later in the month, we stopped by a nice campground to visit some other new Alfa friends, Hazel and Abdul Ahmed. They were actually the first Alfa owners we met when they backed in next door to us in Casa Grande! We hung out a couple days, gathered even more little stones (they got prettier as we went further south!), roasted S'Mores, and did some sight seeing. We saw a LOT of Redwoods driving up and down the coastline, as well. They are pretty awe-inspiring!

Beautiful rocks on Gold Beach. Can you see it shimmer?

Some of the rocks I picked up along the beaches.

Hazel and Abdul

There are lots of hikes through some of the Redwood areas. This is Jeff goofing off inside one of the trees!

We stopped at this Paul Bunyon place on the 101. It was a LOT of fun!

We rode the ski lift to the top of the hill there at Paul Bunyon. It was really cool!

View from the top.

A Mountain Jay on the mountain.

One of our side trips was to Eureka CA. There are some amazing Victorian style homes there. 

While in Redwood country, we began looking for a perfect piece of Redwood, or some really beautiful wood to use as our table We are still looking, as the size requirements are pretty difficult to work with. We want something with LOTS of character and also a live edge design. We will find what we are looking for!

There are also tons of elk in this part of the country. They hang out all over the place! And there is always a traffic jam of people taking pics! Lol...

September sent us heading back in an easterly direction as we had a booth at the FMCA rally in Farmington, NM later in the month. On our way, we had some problems. Before we even got out of Oregon! The smoke was really thick, and part of our planned route wasn't really advised. So, we struck out in a different way, which took us past Crater Lake. Of course, there was too much smoke to really see anything! Somewhere between Medford and La Pine, we had yet another flat on our tow dolly. This would make 3 in less than a year. We knew what the problem was, they had simply sold us a dolly that was too narrow for our car. Yes, it fit. But when you made turns, the front of the car pressed up on the fender of the dolly, and the fender nuts and bolts pressed into the tire, and well, put a hole in it. So, sitting in the middle of nowhere Oregon with a flat. I called AAA, who offered to send someone out with a tire in a couple hours, but that tire would cost us over $500. We've had 2 others replaced, and it's a $100 tire! Called Good Sam roadside, and they were no help at all. Same with our insurance carrier. We removed the car, and sent Jeff back down the road to a state park we had passed. He got us a site, and the plan was to go back to Medford the next morning and get the new tire. We didn't worry too much about leaving the tow dolly with a very flat tire in the grass along the side of the road. We should have. Jeff went all the way to Medford and bought a tire AND wheel at Discount Tire, then went back to where we left the dolly. Drove past a few times, and finally called me to see where it was. I gave him the mile marker number. Nope, wasn't there. So, back at the park, we contacted the state police. The deputy was really nice. He basically said that they had such an opiate problem out there in the boonies, that anything that was not nailed down was fair game. We hated that dolly, anyway! 

After this, we lined up a Road Master tow system at the Boise Camping World, and headed that way. Jeff drove the car, following behind. I began having some overheat issues with the Alfa, which didn't really resolve no matter what we did. So, once we arrived at CW, we arranged to have the radiator flushed and refilled, knowing that we had no idea what past maintenance items had been done or when. Thankfully, they had a place for overnighting when having work done there, with hookups. That was cool. All in all, we love the tow system! It makes it much easier to hook the car up, and it seems to have a lot more flexibility. We were a bit disappointed in the CW service department, though. I know some of them are better than others, but we had a couple issues on the way back down towards New Mexico, and they NEVER ONCE returned our calls. We won't be going back there.

On our way down, we stopped for a couple days in Moab, UT. Utah is one of the most stunning states, due to the rock formations and the colors. There is a lot more about Utah that we will have to check out! However, we did get a chance to see Arches National Park while there. Luckily, Jeff turned 62 before the free senior pass went away, by about 10 days! You can be we got our free senior pass before the price went up! So that was very cool. We found a nice campground right on the main highway. There was one out over the river, that was on government land, but it was totally full! Looked like a great place to stay, too. 

Jeff riding the bike rack bike at the ice cream store.

We were at Arches, but I don't have pics of the arches!

There was an awesome rock shop in Moab! This was a HUGE piece of petrified wood. I really wanted it, but didn't think it would work well in the Alfa!

For some silly reason, I have always wanted to see the 4 corners, and the Ship Rock. Kinda out in the middle of no where, but seemed interesting to me. We were able to stop and see both while going between Moab and Farmington, NM. Check!

Ship Rock, through the window.

Me, standing on the 4 corners, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
We checked into the state fair grounds there at Farmington, and had a few days of selling Norwex. This was a smaller rally, and there were not a lot of customers! I'll probably pass on these smaller, regional FMCA rallies in the future.

Our last stop in September, on our way to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, was a little place called Cochita Lake. It was on reservation land just to the northwest of Albuquerque. We had some Alfa friends visiting there on their way to the balloon fiesta, so we decided to join them. The camping was really nice there, and we had great views. The best part of our time there was totally unexpected! On the road in, there was a sign pointing off to a place called Tent Rocks National Monument. Meant nothing to us, really, but one day Dale and Susan Prichard suggested we go hiking with them at Tent Rocks. So, we went! It was amazing! The hike was good, but the formations were so unique. And we had dinner at a convent in one of the little towns nearby, too. That was fun!

Hiking at Tent Rocks.

View from the top.


Our home at the end of the rainbow!

If you are ever in the area near Santa Fe, Tent Rocks National Monument is a winner of a day trip!

As in any desert, the sunsets were amazing! I caught this one after a storm.
 Stay tuned for the next edition of Our First Year Living in the RV! It will begin with the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Where Have We Been This Year? Pt. 1

Hello, everyone! I am the most terrible blogger out there! I tried doing a different format blog, wordpress, but really didn't like it. It seemed really hard to get photos into and stuff.... I know it isn't but without any real training, I just couldn't get it. Plus, it costs $$ to maintain! This one is free, and pretty easy to do, so I will stick with it for now.

What have we been up to? So much has happened since we began this full time RV adventure back in January! As you probably know, we bought our 05 Alfa See Ya 40 diesel pusher in December of last year, and sold our home (yes, our beautiful Robson Ranch retirement home!) in January. That was when we hit the road, "homeless", and loving it.

We have also begun to do some reno to the RV. As you might imagine, being over 10 years old, there were some things... like the original carpet! Yuck! We also removed the hard RV sofa and got some really comfy lounge chairs.

We have also added some cabinetry to give us some more storage space, and a place for the coffee pot. We actually had this work done in Mexico for a fraction of the cost! You can also see the flooring we chose, an Armstrong laminate, along with the darker carpet in the slide area. As we are working on some other projects, stay tuned for more!

We've been a number of places since January. The first stop was Arizona, where we were able to winter near Jeff's dad in Chandler. At the RV park we chose in Casa Grande, we met some other Alfa owners. Who knew that there was such a community of people! We have had so much fun getting to know the other owners, hanging out with them at rallies, and events. There are a number that winter in southern Arizona, many in the Casa Grande area. One of the best benefits? Many of them know so much about this wonderful coach called Alfa! We have enjoyed getting to know them. And, after visiting with a number of Alfa owners at Quartzite and again at the 2018 alfa rally, that number is growing! Yes, I miss my friends from our neighborhood, and my friends from the fire department, and my friends from the running community! But it is nice to know that a lifestyle change like this allows for keeping up with all of those folks, AND making new friends!

Once it began to get hot in AZ, we put our attention to other places. I consider Norwex to be a totally wonderful boon to RVer's, as it has helped us save on space, and weight. So, I decided to share with other RV owners at a couple of very large rallies. The biggest was the FMCA, which was about 2,700 coaches! This was a lot of fun, but frankly, I didn't do as well as hoped. And since we have been on the road, my business has suffered a bit, as I just have so much time! Shame on me for letting such a great product go unsung everywhere I've been! Anyway, we had the opportunity to share at the Alfa Owners rally in April 2017. There, I was able to give a presentation. During the presentation, one of the ladies asked me about some water stains she had in her ceiling, that she had not been able to get out after a number of tries. I took my stuff over to her coach later that afternoon, and in 15 minutes, removed those stains with just water and a bit of Norwex laundry soap! I just love finding new ways to fall in love with Norwex!

From there, we headed to Bend, Oregon for the summer. Jeff's beautiful sister Lisa had been battling cancer for many years, and we wanted to spend some quality time with her. I know that the weeks we spent there meant a lot to Jeff, as they were very close. It was also nice to be able to spend some time with our brother in law, Steve. Having a wife battling cancer for 7 years can really be hard on a person! We were able to take a bit of a load off him, and spend some time with him, as well. Usually, after sitting with Lisa all day, the three of us would go somewhere for dinner. Bend has some really fine restaurants!

One of Jeff's favorite restaurants, which was in the front of an exclusive gym facility, has a light fixture made of bicycle chains! Very original!

We were lucky to have hooked up with a fellow Escapee (another social group for RVer's!), who had an RV hookup on his property. He allowed us to stay there for several weeks. It turns out that Bend is very crowded, and very expensive, during the summer! Sadly, Lisa lost her battle with that horrible disease in late June. The memorial service was held in late July in order to accommodate some family and church needs. It was great seeing so many family members!

One of the reasons that Bend is so busy and crowded during the summer, is the absolute plethora of outdoorsy things to do in the area. It is a beautiful state, with plenty of hiking, kayaking, etc. Jeff and I visited a number of great spots there. One of my favorites was Smith Rock. I wish I was more able to hike to his level, but we still had some fun. It was hazy from smoke the day we went, but it is really a cool place. It is also a great rock climbing place! And not too remote, but there were stokes baskets and stuff placed on the trail periodically. Pretty interesting!

With so many places to hike in the area, which is surrounded by mountains, we made a number of day trips.

This is a portion of the Deschutes River, which was adjacent to the property we stayed on. It was an easy walk down to the river. Jeff took the dogs down almost every morning!

Obviously, the dogs were not too sure about the water!

I could coax them into the water, but they didn't really like it. Zada preferred sitting on the edge!

This was a bridge over a very large gorge there in central Oregon. The bridge is part of the original Blue Star Highway. It is now a bungee jumping place. We watched...

Although they had a short wall at the cliff edge, it was still pretty dangerous!

After the memorial service, we headed for the Oregon coast. This was our first stop, Pacific City, at the 1000 Trails park there. We purchased a 1000 Trails camping pass for just a few hundred bucks. However, we have yet to really be impressed AT ALL with their parks! None we have stayed in had working sewer connections, the sites are very small and narrow, and overgrown. The interesting thing about Pacific City was the bunnies! The place was overrun! And it was just a very short trail down to the beach. We let the girls off leash a few times, and they really had a great time running around.

The trail down to the beach.

The Oregon coast is very pretty! 

There were a BUNCH of bunnies! This one took spinach out of my hand!

Stay tuned for part 2 of Where Have We Been This Year?! My plan is to catch this up to NOW (May 2018) and then post a much smaller version weekly, where we've been and what interesting things we've seen! There is still a lot to talk about to get to that point, though. Don't despair! :)