Thursday, February 27, 2014


Feb 26, 27, 28
We drove from Parker to the northwest side of Phoenix and are staying at Desert's Edge RV Resort for 3 nights.
We set up in a nice spot with an orange tree, a 10 ft cactus and an oleander hedge.  There are a few oranges on the tree and it is in blossom and the fragrance is beautiful.   I didn't realize that orange trees would have blossoms at the same time as fruit is on the tree.

Once we were set up we drove about 30 minutes east to Scottsdale where Daryl's sister Pam (from Kelowna) was visiting a friend.   We stayed for dinner and had a really nice time with Pam, Sue, Betty, Anna and Bruce.

The next day we got laundry done, looked for a place to get the truck washed and then headed about 30 minutes south to Sun City where Ken and Liza are renting a house.  Daegan and Keeva were so excited to see their favorite neighbors and we had a great dinner and good time talking.   We left there with 2 big bags of oranges from the trees in their backyard and this morning, as I type this, I'm enjoying fresh orange juice.

The plan today is to go shopping with Liza and then Daryl, Liza and I will go and watch Ken play baseball.  He joined a league when they came here in January.

A nice couple from Drumheller are in a site near us and came over for a dog fix as they left their 2 big dogs with her Mom and she misses them a lot.

Weather continues to be beautiful, sunny and warm and then down to about 10 at night.  we put the furnace on for 30 minutes when we get up and that's all it takes.  Apparently it will rain here on Saturday, but it hasn't rained since before Christmas.

Tomorrow we are going to visit friends in Mesa and ten heading to Lost Dutchman State Park
east of Mesa and then probably go south from there, so won't have internet again for awhile.   Seems that the internet connection we get in RV parks restricts being able to add photos for some reason?   I need a techie on site!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sitting in MacDoanlds and finally have internet again!

Feb 19th - Day 11
We drove from our Cottonwood campsite in Joshua Tree National Park to Ambroy Crater today with a side trip to Pioneerville.  We really enjoyed JTNP and the scenery was really interesting with the different types of vegetation; Cholla cactus, Ocotilla trees, Joshua trees, creosote bushes and so much more.  
The round rocks and various rock formations were really interesting too.   Got cold quickly as the sun dropped around 5:30.  Nightime temps down to 10, but warmed up quickly when the sun came up around 6:30.   We are dry camping in a parking lot at Amboy Crater (free).   Just one other camper here; a couple from AB.  It's their first time south and they are also using the Frugal RV guide.  First time we have been able to let the dogs off leash and they have had fun finding sticks to chew and playing.  It's also much warmer here at night.  7:30 and it's still 20C.   We are on historic Route 66.  We are also on a major train route and see them go by at a distance.   I-5 was major freight truck traffic; this is the train route.   Pioneerville was where Hollywood used to film the Westerns.   We stopped in 29 Palms to get groceries and gas.   We drove past a dry lake, Bristol Lake, where they extract Calcium Chloride.  Much warmer here after the sun goes down than what we had in Joshua Tree N.P.   

Feb 20th - Day 12
Lots of train traffic went by at our stop at Ambroy Crater.   We had a short drive today from Amboy Crater to Kelso Dunes in Mojave National Preserve.
We are the only people in the dispersed campsite.  Cost $0.  A little cool here, as a wind comes up, but the sun is intense.  Went for a walk on the dunes and the sand is definitely a challenge to walk in.
 Dogs having fun off leash again today.  We had a bit of a drive on Route 66 and saw Roy's cafe which is apparently famous?  

Feb 21st - Day 13
Very cold night - down to 2.5C at 6:30.  By 8 AM it was up to 13C.  We headed east and crossed into Arizona.  Took a brief look at Lake Havasu, the campsite was full so we continued on to Cattail Cove State Park which is on Lake Havasu just south of Lake Havasu City.   Dogs got in for swim today.   Got the last campsite.   Next door neighbour is from the lower mainland and then Bob Shapiel? from Campbell River who was the CIBC bank mgr recognized me and now we are invited to the campfire for the long-term campers.  Nice large campsites with power, water, nice bathrooms with free showers.   Probably would have stayed a 2nd night, but they are booked.  

Feb 22nd - Day 14
We drove back into California along the "Parker strip".  It's a very popular place for people to winter.   We are camped at Empire Landing for $15 a night (no water or power, showers and flush toilets).  although they also have serviced sites for $30.   Dogs got to play in the river today which was great as it hit 30C.  Found about a few more places to go from fellow campers.   Diesel ranged from $4.09 a gallon in California to $3.80 at our last fill up in Parker.  Missing having internet and going through a bit of withdrawal at not looking at Pinterest and card blogs but reading new books more and catching up on back issues of the Economist.  

Feb 23rd - Day 15
Still at Empire Landing.   Just hanging out and enjoying the sun and letting the dogs get in the river for swims.  We are on the California side of the Colorado River looking a very short distance to the Arizona side.  We're on BC time here, and they are on Alberta time across the river  Up to 31C today.  But by 4:30, as the sun starts to fade, it cools down rapidly.  Went down to about 10C last night, but it's up to 20C by 9:30.  It's dark by 6PM with lots of pinks and oranges in the sky to the west.   There is a coyote that makes his appearance along the edge of the river around dusk and we saw him again this morning.  There are also wild burros  (well, not owned by anyone yet pretty tame) that live in the desert and we saw 2 at the Visitor Center this morning.  There are two Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas near here and people bring their OHV (off highway vehicles) and camp here and then spend the day in the desert.  I saw a hummingbird yesterday and we hear some songbirds but haven't seen many.  We are looking for a scorpion light. Daryl has already squished a scorpion that was right beside where he had the dogs on a sit.   A scorpion bite would make the dogs quite sick.  We need to give the dogs their last pee break after it's dark, so this light is like a little flashlight and a scorpion will glow bright green when the light shines on it.   The diamondback rattle snake is in this area too, but doesn't usually come out until March - April.  It's been hotter than normal though, so they may come out sooner.   We will be very cautious from now on about where the dogs are allowed off leash.  Cactus are another potential injury for the as they have no concept of what would happen if they brushed against one as they were running around.  Not like running around in BC forest where a black berry bramble would be the main problem.  The "Parker" strip has a combination of private houses with their own docks, RV Resorts, and BLM campsites like we are staying in.   During the day there are jet boats and pontoon boats driving past, but after sunset it's really quiet.  Finding some very good prices on wine and alcohol.  Bought 1.75L of Gordon's Gin for $14 US. and a litter of vodka for $10.   Some pretty decent wines for $5-7.  Met a nice couple from Oregon, who had lived in Whistler for 20 years and their daughter lives in Duncan.  This morning they heard that there was snow falling in Duncan.  Pretty happy to be in shorts today!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Feb 16th

Happy to have found the Apple store and it was open on a Sunday and they fixed our laptop.   Nice warm day!   Daryl had a swim in the pool.  I took a tumble off the sidewalk outside the Apple store, rather embarrassing and I put a hole in the knee of my favorite jeans, skinned my knee and knuckles and wrenched my back so feeling a little sore.  Had a drive around some of Palm Springs and it really is beautiful with all the palm trees, bougainvillaea and flowers.   Tomorrow I think we will be heading to Joshua Tree National Park for 2 nights of camping.

Feb 15th - Day 7 and into warm weather!

Madera to Indio:   We passed acres and acres of walnut, pecan, pistachios, almonds and grape vines.  Apparently Selma, California is the raisin growing capital of the world.   I now will have second thoughts about eating Sunmaid raisins that are grown next to a 6 lane highway with all the traffic and emissions coating the grapes.  Lots of smog as we neared Bakersfield.   President Obama was in Fresno yesterday to see the effects of the drought.  Lots of signs about the political aspects of water and lost jobs.  "Food grows where water flows".  We are now heading east through acres of orange groves.   We stopped at a stand and bought 6 different types of oranges.  In looking at the map, we really are at the outermost suburbs of LA it seems.   Tons of traffic leading to Palm Springs and on the opposite side of the freeway, an accident has caused a tremendous traffic jam for miles.   at 5 PM, we got the last spot in a RV park and are finding out that a nice climate = more dollars for an RV site.

Happy 88th BD Mom!!!

Today we drove from Redding to Madera.  We left the I-5 and took Hwy 99 and a bit of Hwy 36 which runs through some really pretty orchard country.   Almonds, pecans, pistachios, peaches; blossoms on some of the trees.   Up to 22C and as a special Valentines Day treat, parked the RV in the WalMart lot!  2 other RVs with us too and IHOP for brekkie.  Talk about living the high life!
We took a rest day and stayed at the 7 Feathers RV site another day.  We slept in, had lattes and hot showers.  Did laundry and took a few photos, but still raining.  Apparently, there are flood warnings a bit north of here.  We drove into Canyonville to get a few groceries and, at the hardware store, saw some great  looking rubber boots by BOG.  Daryl ended up buying a pair, but they didn't have the cute ones with dogflowers on them in my size.  Then we went to the casino for lunch, got our "players card" which gave us 10% off the RV site, 3 cents off gas and $5 to gamble.  I got $10 since it was my birthday month!  We came out ahead by $16, a mug and deck a cards after about 30 minutes.  Gambling is so not our thing.  Back to the RV and then to the pool for a swim, they keep it warm enough for me to get in easily and enjoyed hot tub and then back to the RV.  The downer today is that our Mac Air appears to have crashed for some reason.

Still raining!

We left Canyonville this morning for a short drive to Grants Pass where Daryl planned to buy new tires for the truck.  We took the dogs for a walk to an off leash dog park and we had lattes and enormous cinnamon buns at a nearby bakery whole the tires were put on.  Picked up the truck again and headed south and very soon the drizzle turned to pouring rain again.  The weather report for the coast was pretty dismal so we changed plans and are heading for Palm Springs.  We talked to Ken and Liza in Phoenix and it's hot there,  and there is an Apple store.  The Mac Air has crashed, so there won't  be photos in the blog till it's up and running again.

At the first rest stop in California, the fragrance in the air was so amazing, like being at a spa with the wonderful herbal (eucalyptus?) woodsy smell.  Too bad it was raining, as it was a very beautiful rest stop along the Klamath River.

As we drove south we passed the Shasta reservoir and it looked quite strange as there was so much of the shoreline showing.   We read that about 90% of California is experiencing drought conditions and the Shasta Reservoir is only about 30% full.

We are at an RV park in Redding tonight and once again have internet and cable, so we are watching the Olympics!  A mild evening as we walked the dogs before bedtime and heard the frogs croaking in a little creek.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On the road again!

I retired last August and this winter is the first time that Daryl and I were free to load up the 5th wheel and the dogs and take to the road with no particular timetable. We decided (well, I decided) not to leave until February because I wanted to be at my granddaughter's first birthday February 8th. We left Campbell River and parked outside Melissa and Jeff's place for 2 nights and really enjoyed the birthday party. I can hardly believe Isla is already one! She took all the people and attention in stride and had a good time!

Being pretty delicate, I was really apprehensive about freezing to death in the RV with the below zero weather in Vancouver, but we were able to plug in and run a heater, had our really warm sleeping bags as well as having Daegan on the bed to keep us warm and hot showers & Lattes at Melissa and Jeff's place.

Feb. 10th we left for the States and immediately hit a road block at the border -- oops, wrong lineup. We were in the bus lineup but the US Customs officials were pretty accommodating and after a brief inspection, set us loose. We travelled as far as Kelso, Washington the first night and got a hotel room due to the continuing cold weather. The next day we continued on I-5 and stopped at the 7 Feathers Casino Resort north of Grant's Pass. Very nice resort for a great price, $40. Power, water, cable, pool, hot tub, beautiful heated shower rooms, dog run and of course, the Casino. Not sure we'll sample the Casino as I think the dogs will bark their brains out if we aren't with them.  In fact, I think we will stay for 2 nights.  We both commented on how weird it feels to be able to just play it by ear and not feel like we have to get moving.

 I am really impressed with the State rest stops. Due to the time of year, it seems to be mostly truckers who stop, so we find areas that we can let the dogs off leash and they get to have a good break from the drive. They are really good travellers. I wonder if every stop has very different smells for them? We stop every 2-3 hours and today, by mid-day,  the temperature hit double digits!  I will put away my winter coat and get out my spring coat! It's still very grey though, no sunshine yet, but the daffodils are showing colour so we must be headed in the right direction!