Pilot Knob.. Yuma.. Chillaxin

Well we’ve spent a month back in Yuma at Pilot Knob RV Resort.  Bill and Patsy Richards are here for the month and Keith Schneider is here as well.  It’s been mostly a time for relaxing.  I’ve been playing bocce ball and poker a couple times a week.  As the month progressed the temperatures continued to rise with highs during the day near the end of month reaching high 70’s – low 80’s F (25-27°C).  

I won’t go into a lot of detail as to what we did each day but I’ll tell you about some of the highlights.  We arrived at Pilot knob on the 29th of January which was a Friday.  Fridays and Mondays are poker nights so I was usually in attendance.  Friday at suppertime is 5$ burger night at the clubhouse so we went to a few of those.  Monday and Thursday mornings are bocce ball, and I usually played.

Every other Saturday is Karaoke at the clubhouse.  I went to listen back in December when we were here.  There’s a couple here in the park who volunteer with many of the activites;   Gordon and Barb.  Gordon runs poker and both of them run the Bocce Ball games.  Barb is also the organizer of the Karaoke Nights and she had asked me to sing.  So I decided to go down for Karaoke on Saturday.  Barb almost met me at the door to ask me to sing.  After some arm twisting I agreed.  So I made my public Karaoke debut.  I sang an Elton John song and a James Taylor song. It was a little later in the evening and crowd had dwindled down a lot.  But it went over well.  So I sang again at Karaoke night on the 15th.  I did 7 songs that night.  Gordon and Barb convinced me to go with them on Wednesday to the Palms Resort to the big Karaoke competition.  This runs for 12 weeks I think beginning in December.  Every Wednesday.  Anyone can enter, and each night a singer is chosen to compete in the finals at the end of February.  I went on the last night before the Semi-Finals. Barb warned me that the winners were chosen by the crowd vote and she said it was more of a popularity contest with most of the winners being people from the Palms since the crowd was mostly Palms people.  I decided to sing anyway.  I sang Elton John’s ‘Your Song’.  I thought I did quite well but I was an unknown and I’m sure I didn’t get a lot of votes.  Oh well, it was fun.  I sang again at Karaoke the last weekend at Pilot knob and tried a few more new songs.   

Sunday February 2nd was Super Bowl so even though Bill isn’t a football fan, he knew that Keith and I are so he invited us to come over to watch the game on his big screen.  Well as it turned out we had a Super Bowl party.  Lots of snack foods and drinks during the game and Chili at halftime.  What an exciting game to watch.  And the company was equally as good.  Thanks Bill and Patsy for putting this all together….. it was fantastic.

On Tuesday we headed into Mexico for some shopping and breakfast. This was not to be our last trip to Mexico;  we ended up going twice more before the end of February.  On Thursday we went the Arizona Marketplace.  I’ve described this place in previous blogs.  We managed to find a few deals.  

On Tuesday the 11th Bill and Keith and I decided to drive to San Diego to tour the USS Midway.  The Midway is a retired US Aircraft Carrier.  It was a long drive, about 3 hours from the campground to the dock in San Diego.  But it was so worth it.  We left at 7am planning to arrive when it opened at 10am.  We forgot the time change from Mountain time to Pacific time so we arrived a 9am instead.  We walked around the waterfront area for a while waiting for the gates to open.  There is a nice park on the waterfront with a nice walking path along the water.  We took the time to take some pictures. We were right near the front of the line for the ticket booth.  At 10am the booth opened and we were on our way aboard the ship.  The first stop is the hangar level.  I was surprised at how large the hanger was; it was almost as long as the ship and as wide.  It must have been been close to 40′ high.  They had several aircraft on display in the hangar as well a theatre and food area.  Up on the flight deck there were many more aircraft on display and there were many information lectures and demonstrations where you could learn about the various activities happening during a typical day on the carrier.  Things like landing, takeoff, armaments etc.  Very interesting stuff.  Without telling about the whole tour which would take a lot of words, I’ll just say the tour is a self guided audio tour of almost the entire ship.  You see the living quarters, the various messes, the engine room, the officer’s quarters, the brig, the bridge etc.  Pretty much everything of interest onboard the ship.  Along the way there are many volunteers to answer any and all questions you might have.  I think all the volunteers are ex-servicemen.  Many were Navy veterans who served on the ships as well as Navy pilots who would have flown off carriers like the Midway.  I think we were onboard close to 5 hours.  This was without a doubt the best museum tour I have ever been on.  If you’re ever in or close to San Diego this is an absolute must see.

Our new friend Doug Laning, who we met at Quartzsite, arrived at Pilot Knob around the middle of the month with his new to him Safari Serengeti Motorhome.  Doug had a C class motorhome and decided to upgrade to a diesel pusher A class.  It’s a very nice coach and much longer than his C class.  He had a few issues to work through at first and now he has a bit of a learning curve to learn all the new features of his Class A.  Doug stayed for a week in the park and then moved out to the BLM area behind the park.  Doug joined us most days for happy hour.  Speaking of happy hour, we usually got together with Bill and Patsy and Keith for happy hour at 3pm.  We took turns hosting.  We had different people join us depending who happened to be around. It was always a good way to catch up with each other.

On Thursday the 20th Ken and Shirley Kay arrived in the BLM behind Pilot Knob for a couple nights  They joined us for Happy Hour.  Nice to see them again.  They were just passing trough on their way east.

On Saturday the 22nd Bill and I went to the Yuma RC Club Air show.  The morning didn’t look promising and it rained on our way to the field but then the sun came out and after a short delay the show went on as planned.  I came to the show last year and this year’s show was almost as good. It might be that last year’s was a new experience for me.  I do enjoy the jets.  They go screaming by at 200+ miles per hour.  Remember these are remote control aircraft.  Pretty impressive.

On Sunday the 23rd Keith headed out bound for Quartzsite for a couple of days and then further north to Emerald Cove resort near Parker.  We’ll meet up with him again in March in Lake Havasu. Patsy and Bill left on February 29th, and we’ll also catch up to them in Lake Havasu.

That’s kinda the highlights of the month.  We did make a couple more trips to Mexico and many more mini shopping trips to the Yuma Palms Mall.  Kim’s favorite was Marshall’s and mine was Hobby Lobby.  I’ve built a couple plastic model kits in my relaxing time.  Also a favorite of Kim’s is Goodwill, so we’ve made a “few” trips there as well.  

I did a couple upgrades to the motorhome while here in the park.  I ordered a new tv antenna head and installed that.  Now we get good over-the-air TV reception when we happen to be in area with TV towers nearby.  I also replaced the propane detector inside.  I replaced the handle on the side of the front passenger seat that allows the seat to move forward and backward.

It was nice spending more time here in the park this year.  We got to know a lot more people and made some good friends.  Looking forward to coming back next winter.  

So now you’re caught up again.  We’ve headed off for Lake Havasu and we’ll stay there until the weekend and then head up to Bullhead City for a week.  After that we’ll start to slowly make our way east back to Ontario.

So long for now….

Quartzsite … the Big Show

Well it’s been more than a few days since my last post.  So we’ve been at Quartzsite now for almost 3 weeks.  We arrived on Saturday Jan 11.  Our travel from Holtville took us back through Yuma and then up US 95 north to Quartzsite.  We passed La Posa South LTVA, which is our destination, and went right into town.  We stopped for fuel at the Arco station on the east side of town cause it’s an easy in and out for the Motorhome with the car dolly in tow.  Also they seem to always have the cheapest fuel.  Next we filled up our propane at the 76 station in the centre of town, also an easy in and out.  Afterwards we headed back out of town and arrived at La Posa South about 3:30 pm.  For those of you unfamiliar with boondocking in the desert, I’ll explain a couple of terms.  We are camping on BLM land which is federally owned land that is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  Much of the Arizona desert is BLM and there are many places to park with an RV and camp (boondock) for free.  Boondocking is camping without any amenities, including no washroom facilities.  LTVA stands for Long Term Visitor Area.  These are areas in the BLM system which have some facilities.  No water or electrical hookups, but they may contain dump stations and water fill-up stations and a garbage facility.  LTVAs charge a fee for either a short term permit at $40 for 14 days or long term permit of $180 for 6 months.  If you buy a permit at one LTVA’s it can also be used at another of the associated LTVAs.  You can see by the cost of the 6 month permit that it is easy very economical way to boondock in the desert even with some facilities.  So we’re at La Posa South LTVA just south from Quartzsite about 4 miles and we’re camped in the middle of the desert.  This LTVA has all the facilities I mentioned above and there are also pit toilets spread out in the area.  Fortunately for us and many of the RVers out here, we’re mostly self contained.  We have solar power and a generator.  We really have all the comforts of home.  Our only concern is conserving our power and water. No long showers, using minimal amounts of water to do dishes, that kind of thing.  We can spend 12 days boondocking without having to dump our holding tanks and get fresh water depending on how we conserve. So that’s your brief explanation of boondocking in Arizona.

Sunday, Jan 12 was kind of a relaxing day.  I did go into Quartzsite to an RV service and parts store called RV Lifestyles to get a few replacement gas struts for our outside compartment doors.  I bought a few last January when we were here.  They have the best prices I’ve seen so far.  So I got those and installed them when I got back to the motorhome.  Monday was also a relaxing day.  When we came in on Saturday we planned to park in the same area we had been in last year.  We discovered that area already occupied.  So we drove around a bit in the LTVA and found another spot that would accomodate several RVs.  We wanted a spot large enough to accomodate 5+ RV’s.  We had a bit of a dilemma.  You see in BLM boondocking there are no campsites per se, you just find a spot.  We tried to make as big a footprint as we could so that no other RV’s would park in “our” area.  We parked our motorhome in the middle and parked the car a little distance away.  Most campers try to keep some distance away from each other out of courtesy.  This seemed to work but it also meant that if we drove off in the car, our area was unprotected from intrusion.  Anyway, we really didn’t have any place to be so we just relaxed and enjoyed the outdoors.  Our plan worked well and in the end we had room for all who came.

On Tuesday our first friends, Tom and Deb, arrived.  Actually Deb arrived first in their tow car to find us and she waited with us while Tom went to town for propane etc. much the same as we did when we arrived.  Once Tom arrived we discussed how we wanted to arrange our RVs and they found a nice spot and set up camp.  We also moved our Motorhome to better accomodate others who would arrive later.  It was great to see Tom and Deb.  We last saw them in the Quartzsite area in March of last year.  We spent time catching and enjoyed happy hour together that afternoon. 

George Yates

Wednesday morning we learned that our good friend George Yates had passed away.  George and Suzie had become such good friends in a very short time.  We met them both in May of 2018 at Rock Glen RV park.  Kim had started following George’s blog a couple years before when we started thinking thinking about retiring with our RV.  They have been fulltime RVers for many years and gladly shared so much information with us.  We always looked forward to seeing them whenever we happened to be in the same area.  George always had a big smile on his face and I’m (we’re) lucky to have known him.  George welcomed us into the group of people we now call our friends last year, right here in Quartzsite.

Today also saw the arrival of another group.  Bill and Patsy, and Bob and Jo-Anne, travelled up from Pilot Knob.  Everybody found a spot and got set up.  Our group has grown.  So we gathered together in Quartzsite for the upcoming RV Show that began on Jan 18th and runs for 8 days.  This area is the Southwest RV mecca for that week.  I described it last year in my blog in detail I think.  So briefly, there are thousands of RVs here.  Some estimates are as high a 100,000 RVs gather in the Quartzsite area for show week.  There are over 50 RV parks in the town of Quartzsite and the surrounding desert is full of RVs.  It really is something you have to experience to fully understand.  After the show is over most people move on to other locations.  But during the show the town is bustling.  Crowds of people and traffic jams.  Along side the main show there are many vendors who setup their wares in the area around the show.  

Thursday Kim and I travelled in to Quartzsite to check out some of the vendors in an area near the show grounds known as Tyson Wells.  There were many vendors already open with more to come.  We thought we would wander around before the crowds show up. A couple small purchases were made but we knew we would be back again.

On Friday Keith, whom we met at Pilot Knob arrived with his RV and we had a spot for him too.  Keith is from Tillsonburg, Ontario.  Friday is also the day when many RVs arrive to the area.  There are several groups who get together in La Posa South.  There is a Wanderlodge group (Wanderlodge is a brand of Motorhome made by Bluebird),  There’s a Monaco group (also an RV Brand), and there’s also the Rainbow RVers group.  There are other various groups as well.  One more notable group is the Entegra group.  Entegra is a brand of very high end motorhomes.  They had a very large group and because of the size of their motorhomes they could only take certain paths through the desert to get to their meeting area.  Their route happened to go right past our group area.  So Friday was what we began to call the Entergra parade.  We enjoyed watching all these expensive Motorhomes drive past.  It was like having our own RV show.  These coaches start in the neighbourhood of $450K US and go to in excess of $750K US.  Yikes!!!.  It was fun just the same to watch them drive pass.

So Saturday was the start of the really big shoo.  We wanted to be there when the gates opened.  The whole gang of us arrived at the show at about 8:15 and waited for the gates to open at 9:00.  It was a bit of a chilly start to the day but we tried to stand in the sun to stay warmer.  Once the gates opened there was a flood of people and off we went.  The main attraction is the Big Tent which contains many RV related vendors.  RV parks are represented and there are many aftermarket RV accessory companies.  Outside around the big tent are more vendors and food booths.  Next to this area there are RV dealers and they have many RVs on hand, new and used, that you can view.  The thing about opening day is that many of the vendors have free stuff to give out.  It’s all promotional stuff and many offered the same types of things.  The most popular being drink coozies and lip balms it seemed.  So we all made our way around the aisles gathering all our goodies in our promotional bags.  We had quite the haul.  We sat around at happy hour that afternoon talking about our “treasures”.  It was actually quite fun.  After we made our first pass through the tent I went back to talk to some vendors about Tire Pressure Monitor Systems (TPMS).  I had done my research ahead of time so I knew what I was looking for.  I talked to several vendors and got prices etc. but didn’t buy anything.  Kim and I were home by lunchtime or thereabouts.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

Sunday morning I headed back in to the show before it got too busy to buy one of the TPMS.  I bought an EEzRV Tire monitor system.  The price was good and it has a very high rating from any reviews that I could find online. I had some issues getting the system running properly but in the end I’m quite satisfied with it.  I’ll have to wait to see how it performs down the road.  Also on Sunday was the surprise arrival of our friends Ken and Shirley from Nevada.  We had hoped to see them this winter but it seemed they weren’t going to made it to Quartzsite while we were all here.  Their stay was going to be a short one as they had to get back homes for some appointments.  But it was great to see them.  So we all had a very enjoyable long happy hour together.  I haven’t been mentioning happy hours much in this post, but it’s a given out here.  Any time friends gather together they are sure to be having happy hour together. In the evening we had a campfire together with wood that Bob had been gathering on his trip.  Campfires are rare for us out in Arizona because there are no trees to speak of in the desert and buying firewood is quite expensive.

On Monday a group of 15 of us went for pizza at Silly Al’s Pizza in town.  We went at 3:30 hoping to beat the rush but the place was packed.  So we waited for quite a long time to get a table for all of us but eventually had to break up into 2 groups.  Silly Al’s Pizza is excellent and worth the wait.  George Yates was the one who introduced us all to Silly Al’s so we gathered there for pizza while we all were in Quartzsite as kind of a tribute to him.

Tuesday a few of us went back in to the RV show and toured around Tyson Wells in the morning.  

On Wednesday morning Kim and I went into town to tour some of the Motorhomes at RV Country.  They had quite a few of the Entegra coaches I mentioned earlier on display.  As is usually the case we didn’t see any we really liked.  Phew,  that saved me a lot of money.  We really don’t like a lot of the new Motorhomes.   They just don’t have floorplans that we like.  And most have cheap leather furniture.  In the afternoon we had guests at our happy hour.  Dave and Cheryl are staying up in Parker and drove down for the show and then dropped by.  We began our happy hour with Bill saying a few words in remembrance of George and champagne was poured and we all raised our glasses to George and a life well lived.

I’m not sure who I borrowed this last picture of George from, but I hope you don’t mind my using it here. It just seemed fitting

Thursday morning we started up the motorhome and headed down to the dump station to empty tanks and fill up our water tank.  During show week there is always a long line of RVs doing the same thing, so we waited in line for 1 3/4 hrs.  Oh well it’s got to be done.  While we waited, Kim got some computer work done so that’s good.   After arriving back at our spot Ken and Shirley were getting ready to head out on the way back home.  We all said our good-byes and off they went.  We may still see them another time before we head home.  Another new guest to happy hour was Doug Laning.  He’s a fellow RV blogger from Illinois, who other members of the group know, but whom Kim and I met for the first time.  Doug’s blog is Miss Adventure Travels. Bill and Keith left happy hour early to go into the Quartzsite RC Club airfield to do some flying.  I followed later before sunset to take some pictures.  The club gathers on Thursday evening to fly planes with lights on them.  It makes for an interesting show at dusk and on into darkness.  Got some nice pictures but its hard to get good crisp shots in low light when the planes are moving as well.

 Friday morning Bob and Jo-Anne headed out on their way to the Indio, California area to visit some of Bob’s relatives.  We’ll probably see them again in a few weeks back in Yuma.  Kim and I went back into Quartzsite to another RV place called Mesa RV.  They actually had a few Motorhomes we liked.  There was a new Winnebago Horizon that was nice (and expensive).  Also they had a 2011 Holiday Rambler Endeavor 43ft.  That was very nice but still out of our price range.  We’re quite happy with our Journey but we always like looking.

Saturday we went to the Bloggerfest.  Its a get-together of blogging friends who happen to be in Quartzsite.  There were about 9 of there.  We all introduced ourselves and our blogs and then chatting together about blogging and such.  It’s mostly just an informal gathering and we didn’t stay a long time.  Happy hour again with the usual group.

Sunday morning I headed back into the airfield to take a few more pictures of Bill and Keith flying their planes.  It was a beautiful blue sky and little wind and I did get a few good shots.

Monday morning Kim and I headed out for a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park.  This is another place on my list of places to see.  We entered the park from the south entrance and there was lots of great scenery.  But the best in my mind was once we got about halfway into the park we began to see Joshua Trees.  The terrain is rugged and each area is slightly different.  Once you get into the Joshua Tree area they are everywhere.  I didn’t discover until almost the end of our trip that I had our SLR camera settings messed up so most of those pictures were pretty washed out.  I did get some good ones.  Kim got some good shots with her iphone so that’s good. We continued all the way north through the park and exited into the town of Joshua Tree.  We then headed back to camp on the north side, outside of the park.  The road east was flat and straight and you could see for miles.  It was a long day on the road, but it was worth the drive.  I’d go back again anytime.  We left Quartzsite about 9:30 in the morning and didn’t get back until after 5:30.  Most of that was driving and stopping to take pictures here and there along the road.

Tuesday morning, Tom and Deb pulled out and headed down the road to meet up with some other friends for a few days and Wednesday morning Bill and Patsy and Keith headed out on their way to Pilot Knob, back near Yuma.  Kim is doing some work now, Wednesday afternoon, and I’m trying to write this blog.  We have a couple more nights here at La Posa and then we will head down to Pilot Knob on Friday for a couple weeks.  Today is chillier that the last few days and the wind has picked up.  We’ve had some really nice sunny days here in the last 2 weeks+.  Highs in the upper teens and lower 20’s for you Celsius people, and 60’s and 70’s for you Fahrenheit people.  Well now to edit some photos for the blog and do some proofreading and the blog will be done.  And now you’re caught up!!

and now for your sunset viewing pleasure…

Hot Springs, Borrego Springs, and Palm Springs and a little more

The first post for 2020.  We’ve moved on from Pilot Knob RV Park.  We’re now down the road to the west at Holtville Hotspring LVTA  (Long Term Visitors Area).  This is BLM land but there is a fee of $40 for 14 days of camping. I’ll get back to that later.  So it’s time to bring you up to date with us over the past week and a bit.

We had our traditional Bar-b-q for supper on New Year’s Eve.  We picked up some bacon wrapped beef tenderloins on sale at Fry’s which were perfect for a Bar-b-q.  We had that along with Baked Potatoes.  It sure was nicer Barb-q-ing in the desert than at home in the cold and snow.  I remember some pretty cold New Year’s Eves standing outside cooking up some filet mignon.  We celebrated the evening with Bill and Patsy. We played some card games and a couple games of Bananagrams.  We watched the ball drop in New York city at 10 pm Arizona time.  We were back to the RV shortly after 11:30 I think.  Interestingly Yuma has quite a big New Year’s Eve celebration of their own, although we didn’t attend.  They have an iceberg lettuce drop to coincide with the New York ball drop and then do it again at midnight Mountain time (Arizona time).  They also have live music.  It’s a regular party in downtown Old Yuma.

On Thursday Tom and Deb pulled out and headed west to a boondocking area just down the road.  We also played some Bocce Ball in the morning.  Not too big of a group that morning.  The weather was almost perfect too.  

Friday we went with Bill and Patsy to the burger night at the park clubhouse.  I played some poker Friday evening.

Sunday morning we left Pilot Knob and came out to Holtville.  We want to use this as a jumping off point to explore further into California.  We found a very nice spot close to the main “road” through the camping area.  A few clumps of bushes around us give a little bit of privacy.   Not that its necessary out here since everyone is spread out pretty well.  

On Monday we headed out for a drive with a destination of Borrego Springs.  We have heard many of our friends talk about the area so we thought we would check it out.  We got away fairly early.  A little cool as we started out but it didn’t take long for it to warm up.  We headed northwest through Holtville and then north towards the Salton Sea.  The Salton Sea is a dying or dead lake.  There used to be many Tilapia in it that were introduced to the lake because of its salt water.  The salinity of the water has increased over the years to the point where almost all of the fish have died.  The surface of the lake is 237 ft. below sea level.  The history of the Salton Sea is quite interesting, you might google it if you’re interested.

We skirted around the southwest edge of the lake and then headed NW through the Anza-Borrego State Park towards Borrego Springs. 

Our goal was to see the large metal sculptures that we have heard about, out in the desert surrounding the town.  Our Google maps lead us to the area of the sculptures and we spent an hour or so taking photos of the various sculpture.  Quite an accomplishment for one person. 

We then drove around to find the business area of the town.  We passed through a residential area near the Golf Club which had some very nice houses in it.  But away from there the property was a little run-down.  We did manage to find the “downtown”.  It was quite small but did have a few stores and a small plaza.  We ate lunch at Carmelita’s Cantina.  It was a Mexican restaurant mostly.  I had a Burrito and a Taco and Kim had a Burrito and an Enchilada.  The food was very good.  Kim says better than the places we go to in Los Algodones, Mexico.

After lunch we decided to head up into the mountains to Julian.  It was quite the drive.  Lots of twists and turns.  Probably even more than the road we travelled last year up to Oatman in Arizona.  This road to Julian passes through the Anza- Borrego Park as well.  The scenery was stunning.  The road had some steep drop offs.  This is not a road to travel in an RV.  Anyway once in Julian we found it rather interesting.  Lots of shops.  The normal boutique type shops you would see in a tourist stop.  The one thing Julian seems to be known for though, is the Julian Pie Company.  The location in Julian is where the business started and where they have their store/restaurant.  They make 2000 pies a day at their shop, high in the mountains, in Santa Ysabel.  Santa Ysabel is just 10 minutes away.  They will ship pies all over the USA from their Santa Ysabel location.  I got a piece of Dutch Apple pie and Kim got a couple muffins (an apple walnut and a pumpkin) to take back the RV with us.  I had the pie later in the evening and it was great. Kim said the apple walnut was her favorite.

The tempertaure this day was about 73F (23C) in Borrego Springs, but once we got up into the mountains the temperature fell drastically and it was very windy.  It was in the in the low 50’s F (low teens in Celsius).  After Julian we began our 2 hour drive back to Holtville.  This was also a nice drive back down through another canyon.   We arrived back at the RV around 4 PM Pacific time.  Home in time to see a nice sunset and then to have some supper.  It was a long day so neither of us stayed up too late that night.

We considered taking Tuesday off from sightseeing, but once we were up and rested in the morning we decided to head out again.  This time our destination was Salvation Mountain and possibly Slab City.  And then take a drive around the Salton Sea and back to camp.  Again we got a relatively early start and drove north to the village of Niland and then out to Slab City.  On the road into Slab City, you can’t miss seeing Salvation Mountain sitting off to the right from the roadway.  This was our stop so we got out and wandered around for a bit.  We were allowed to climb on the mountain up the yellow brick road.  The entire “mountain” is a kind of paper mache.  The mountain is built on an existing mound of dirt and rock.  Straw was then used to cover the ground and adobe covers the straw.  The entire structure is covered with vivid paint.  There are some parts of the structure that are damaged but it is constantly being repaired.  The weather takes a toll on the mountain.  It is a very unique thing to see.

We then decided to take a drive into Slab City.  It’s an interesting place.  It’s somewhat like other boondocking locations but the RV’s and other structures are in all different states of disrepair.  Many of the residents are long term but there are some who are obviously transient.  You see decrepit old trailers as well a modern Motorhome.  We didn’t stop to walk around and talk to people, we just kinda took a tour.  

We continued to make our way around the eastern side of the Salton Sea.  We stopped for a brief lunch along the side of the road.  Another few miles and we came upon a couple of State Campgrounds.  Each was somewhat close to the Lake.  The first one was basically a boondocking spot with pit toilets.  It was $10 a night.  The second campground had hookups and was $20 dollars a night.  This campground had a camp host and we stopped and chatted with him for quite a while.  He was very knowledgeable about the area and the Salton Sea.  We continued around north of the lake and discovered many Date farms.  There was a much higher concentration of Date farms here than we’ve seen any where else here in the southwest. 

At this point we were only about 40 miles from Palm Springs, so we decided to continue on to there.  We didn’t have a lot of time to spend there so we located a neighbourhood called Ruth Hardy Park and toured around for a bit to see all the up-scale residences.  This is the area known as the Movie Colony.  Many of the West Coast celebrities had homes in this area.  People like Bob Hope, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant and the like.  Kim got a few photos as we drove around.  So just a quick tour and then back on the road to Holtville and our RV.  

We got back to the RV around 4:30 and relaxed a bit before supper.  Another nice sunset and a relaxing evening.  

So now its Wednesday and this will be our “at the RV” day.  I’ve used the day to write this blog and Kim has spent the better part of today doing some work.  Its a nice warm afternoon and its now about 2:00 pm.  So I’m going to stop working on the blog until later.  I’ll add some photos and get Kim to do some proofreading and editing.  I should have this post up this evening.

I’ll post again after we get to Quartzsite in a few days or so.

Another year coming to a close and a Merry Christmas to You

So we arrived here at Pilot Knob on the 8th of December and its been some time time since I posted, so I let you know what we’ve been up to.  The first couple days were spent doing a little grocery shopping and some relaxing and some more shopping….

Pilot Knob is a nice little resort.  The park is clean and has the usual amenities.  It has a clubhouse with a nice size hall for various functions.  There’s also a Big Screen TV, a billiards room and a card room.  There’s a heated pool next to the clubhouse and a shuffleboard court.  There’s another small building that houses the laundromat and a puzzle room/library.  There’s a small park-like area that has a Bocce ball court and horseshoe pits.  The park is surrounded by desert on 3 sides.  There are some regular activities every week that you can take part in if you’re so inclined.  Monday and Friday evenings is Poker night in the clubhouse.  Monday mornings is Bocce Ball.  Friday is burger night at suppertime and $5 gets you your choice of one of a hamburger/ hotdog/ chicken burger, and brown beans, a bag of snacks (potato chips etc.) and pudding.  Not a bad deal for $5.  Sunday afternoon there is an Ice Cream Social.  $1 per scoop of chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry.  There’s usually Karaoke on Saturday nights in the clubhouse.  I usually play poker and bocce ball.  We’ve been to a couple of the ice cream socials and one of the burger nights

On Thursday the 12th we went to the Arizona Market in the morning.  This an open air market with quite a few vendors.  The Market runs from Thursday to Sunday each week.  The vendors are quite diverse.  You can buy clothing, food, RV supplies and accessories, artwork, crafts, flags…quite a wide variety of things.  There is one store that I particularly like that has a little of everything.  We like to come here a few times during the season.  While at the market we met up with Bill and Patsy who were there with Bob and Jo-Anne.  Bill gave us directions to Yuma Lakes RV Resort where they were staying, so after we finished up at the market with drove out to their park.  This is a nice park also, a little larger than Pilot Knob.  It is also a Membership park, but we would have access to it through our Adventure Outdoors membership.  We may try this park at some point but we do like Pilot Knob. We stayed only a short time at Bill and Patsy’s before the six of us (Bob and Jo-Anne included) headed back into Yuma to go to Lin’s Buffet for a birthday lunch for Bob. I like Lin’s, quite a good variety of foods and of course all you can eat.  This price is right also… $8.95 for seniors for lunch.  Nice….  After lunch, back out to Yuma Lakes for happy hour and birthday cake.  After lunch at Lin’s, not a lot of room for cake I’m afraid.  

On sunday the 15th Bill and Patsy and Bob and Jo-Anne arrived after their stay at Yuma Lakes.  

On Thursday the 19th the 6 of us (Bill and Patsy and Bob and Jo-Anne) travelled to Los Algodones in Mexico to have a look around and have a late breakfast at one of the restaurants there.  Bob and Jo-Anne were looking for presciption glasses so we stopped at one of the optical places to have a look around.  If you read my blog posts from last year I talked about Los Algodones.  They are known for their inexpensive Dental and Vision care and Prescriptions. There is a small shopping area in Los Algodones called Snowbirds Alley and there are 3 different artist painters who paint signs with spray paint.  Many people buys signs for their RV’s with some kind of landscape scene on it (usually desert) and with their names on it.  Bob and Jo-Anne were having a sign made and they would pick it up later.  We went and had some breakfast.  Omelets for Kim and I.  I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but I do remember where it is.  We were there a couple of times last year too. 

Tom and Deb Duchaine arrived at Pilot Knob on Thursday as well.  When we got back from Mexico they were parked across from us.  We got back in time to join them for Happy Hour. 

I brought some of my LED Christmas lights with us in the motorhome.  I packed up my light controller and lights and wires and various other equipment in a small case so that I could have a nice Christmas light display at our site.  I got it all set up and got the bugs ironed out fairly quickly.  Looks pretty good but I should have brought more lights.  I have had quite a few people stop by to say how much they enjoy the lights.  Kim decorated inside the Motorhome with a couple small Christmas trees with lights and ornaments.  Tom and Deb have a nice display at their site and Bill and Patsy do too.  There are quite a few people in the park who decorate outside for the Christmas season.

Sunday morning Tom and Deb and Kim and I drove into Los Algodones to do a little browsing and to have lunch.  Not too many people on a Sunday Morning.  Many of the vendors were open and a few of the vision and dental places were open.  Our restaurant of choice was closed so we went to the Paraiso restaurant.  This time it was Mexican food.  Kim and I had a combination plate with a Tostada, an Enchilada and Burrito.  I liked the burrito and enchilada but not big on the tostada.  Kim liked all of hers.  Margaritas and Cervezos were also enjoyed.  

On Monday the 23rd we did a group facetime with George and Sue back in Tavistock.  Bill had set it up with Sue a couple days before and George only knew that Bill and Patsy and Kim and I were going to be in it.  George was very surprised and pleased to see so many more people there.  There were actually 12 of us gathered around the computer to say hi and chat a bit.  You could tell that George was very happy and touched by this time that we all had with him, even though from a distance.  We’re all missing George and Sue this year.

Christmas Eve in the afternoon, Kim and I hosted a small happy hour buffet.  A scaled down version of our traditional Christmas eve celebration.  Each couple brought a little something for us all to enjoy.  Patsy’s sister Gayle and her husband John were boondocking in the BLM area behind Pilot Knob and came and joined us for Happy Hour.  They’re moving into the park tomorrow morning to stay for a couple days and to join us for Christmas dinner.

Christmas day I woke at about 6:45 and got up and had some coffee and turned on the heat to warm up the coach.  Kim wasn’t far behind me and we turned on some Christmas music and opened our gifts.  Not too many under the tree this year with it just being the 2 of us.  We did a facetime chat with Josh and Tammy and the Boys at about 9:00 am our time, 11:00 am back in Ontario.  The boys showed us some of their Christmas presents but it was really nice just to see them as they bobbed in and out of the screen a few minutes at a time.  I’m not sure how long we chatted together but it was very nice.  Later in the morning we had some traditional Christmas Mimosas and some snacks to tie us over until our Christmas dinner at the clubhouse at 3:00.  We did facetime with Sarah and Jacob just before noon to catch up with them.  They were getting ready to head to Jacob’s parents place for Christmas dinner.  Christmas dinner was very good.  Mashed potatoes, Turkey, Ham, Dressing, Gravy, Green Bean Casserole, Buns and Pumpkin Pie for desert.  And even seconds.  So much food…. I know ate way too much.  I think there were well over a hundred people there for dinner together. There were 12 of us in our group.

Bob and I have played pool a couple of evenings while we’ve been here and Tom and I played some pool a few days ago.  I’ve played bocce ball a couple Monday mornings and Bob and Tom and I are regulars for the poker nights.  I’ve had some good nights at poker and some bad ones ones but I’m fairly close to even, averaged out.

On Friday we drove west on I-8 to Holtville.  We wanted to check out the BLM there to see what it was like.  Our plan is to leave Pilot Knob on Jan 5th and travel to Holtville and stay for a week or so.  That will give us a jumping off point to travel to Borrego Springs and the Salton Sea area in California.  We haven’t been to that area before so this will give us that opportunity.  Across from the BLM campground is a hotsprings.  There’s a nice pond area surrounded but thick tall palms.  Really looks like an Oasis.  The actual hotsprings looks a little rundown but I may try it out when we back there in January.  We drove on from Holtville to another small city called El Centro.  We just made a quick pass through the downtown area.  Lots of Art Deco influence in the architecture of the downtown area.

On Saturday we had a Happy Hour Fish Fry at Bob and Jo-Anne’s.  Bob brought some Walleye from back home on Lake Erie.  Bob fried up the fish and I made some home made French Fries in the deep fryers.  It was a feast and happy hour continued on into the evening.  Lots of good eating and storytelling.  We all stayed until about 8:30 in the evening.  As Patsy said…. The longest happy hour ever.  

The weather here over the past weeks has been mixed.  We’ve had some really nice warm, almost hot days, and some rather cool days.  We had some rain a few days ago.  The wind most days has been brisk so we tend to try to find a place out of the wind when we’re sitting outside.  Today is prabably the coldest yet, 11ºC or 52ºF and a cold wind.  Bocce ball was cancelled this morning cause it was too cold.

Bill has had his RC plane out a few times over the last few days.  Yesterday and Saturday, there were times when the wind was fairly light.  He flew it for a bit at sunset last night.  He has LED light strips on the wings, so it looks rather cool flying, all lit up, when the sun is setting.

Dave and Cheryl from Alberta are friends with Bill and Patsy and Tom and Deb.  They’ve been coming to Arizona in the winter for a few winters.  They pulled into Pilot Knob a few days after Bill and Patsy.  We’ve gotten to know them over the past couple of weeks.  A very nice couple.  Spent many happy hours with them.  It’s a great way way to get to know people.  They pulled out yesterday on their way to San Diego to spend some time with family.  We hope to meet up with them when we’re in Quartzsite in a few weeks.  

Yesterday Kim and I went into Yuma for some groceries and shooped at Fry’s.  Kim has a Fry’s card that gave us some really good deals.  We’ve shopped at Walmart, Albertson’s and Fry’s now for groceries and it would seem that Fry’s has the best prices and selection.

Well that brings you up to date with us here on Dec 30th. I just gave you a brief rundown on what we’ve been up to. We certainly enjoying our time in the southwest. Its really nice catching up with all our Rv friends and meeting new ones on the way. We hope you have all had a wonderful Christmastime, and we wish you a great new year in 2020.

I’ll leave you with a few sunsets to end your year and a sunrise to begin a new one.

Onward to Arizona

We left Mabank on Monday morning and drove to Big Spring, Texas that day.  We stopped overnight in the Walmart there.  There were signs posted saying no overnight parking without permission so I went inside the store and talked to the staff in customer service.  They said it was alright to stay overnight and directed me to park at the side of the store.  It was actually a nice spot.  By morning there were 4 other RV’s around us. 

Tuesday we drove to Horizon City, which is a suburb of El Paso on the east end.  During our stop for lunch I called Quail Ridge RV Resort in Huachuca City, Arizona to see if they had a spot open for us on Wednesday.  Stayed at the Walmart in Horizon City overnight.  This store was very busy so it was a little tough finding a big enough open area for us to pull into.  We managed though and throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening a few other RV’s joined us.  We’ve stayed at this Walmart twice before and we knew it would be a little noisy with busy roads all around us.  Not too bad though overnight.  While in the Walmart we bought a small electric heater that we could use to warm up the MH in the morning instead of using the furnace and propane.  This will come in handy when were in parks with electrical hookups.  For such a small unit it works quite well for our small space.

Wednesday we drove from El Paso Texas through New Mexico and on through Arizona to Quail Ridge.   We arrived about 2:30 and got all setup by 3:00.  We stopped at this park in particular because we knew our friends Bill and Patsy would be here and it would be nice to spend a couple of days with them.  Bill and Patsy were on their way back from Tuscon when we arrived so when they got back they came over to say Hi and stayed for Happy Hour.  It sure was nice to see them and catch up a little.  They are travelling with some friends of theirs, Bob and Jo-Anne. They also came to Happy Hour.  It was nice to meet them.  We made some plans to do some sightseeing with them over the next few days.

Thursday morning we all left the park at about 9:00 to go to Tombstone.  When we arrived we were about the only tourists there.  The streets were practically empty.  This made it nice for picture taking.  Last year when we were here it was quite busy. 

We strolled around for a while chatting and shopping and then we decided to go see the gunfight at the OK Corral.  This is a little drama reenactment of the famous shootout between the Earp Brothers and the McClaury gang.  The acting was a little cheesy but it was fun. 

At lunch time we went to Big Nose Kate’s Saloon for some grub.  The food was quite good and they had some live music as well.  After lunch we did a little more wandering and shopping and Bill and I decided to buy Cowboy hats.  Mine is a brown Stetson.  We began our drive back to the park around 2:00 and agreed to meet up for Happy Hour a little after 3:00.   

Friday morning the 6 of us headed off to Bisbee to go to the Queen Mine tour.  Bisbee is a mining town south of Tombstone, and the road to the town winds through a long canyon and then through a tunnel before ending in another canyon which is Bisbee.  The town at one time had a population of 20,000.  Half of these people worked in mines around Bisbee.  The Queen Mine was the biggest.  The Queen Mine tour is a guided tour and our tour guide was once a miner in Queen Mine until it closed in 1985.  He was very knowledgeable.  We assembled for our tour and had to don safety vests and hard hats and we each had a light.  The lighting in the mine is minimal so the lights would help us see things better.  We all sat on a mine trolley that the miners would have used to enter and exit the mine each day.  We travelled back into the mine about 1500 feet with a few stops on the way.  There was much to see and our guide explain the entire mining process.  There were examples of the various tools used.  What a great tour. 

After the tour we drove into the downtown area of Bisbee and found a place for lunch.  We ate at a place called Bisbee’s Table.  Great food.  After lunch we strolled around and the girls did some shopping along the way.  It was late in the day when we got home so we decided to skip Happy Hour.  After supper Bob and I headed over to the clubhouse to shoot some pool.  Bob is quite a good player and I was very rusty.  I think we played for a couple hours and chatted all the way through.

Saturday morning Bill and Bob and I drove into Tuscon to go to the Pima Air and Space Museum.  This is a huge museum with 100’s of aircraft on display.  Most of the aircraft are military  and they had pretty much everything you could imagine.  Some the aircraft were inside hangars but most were outside.  We toured the main building for a bit and got tickets for a guided tram tour of the outside aircraft.  The outside is very large so this was an easy way to see many aircraft in a short period of time. Some of the more notable aircraft to me were the B-17 and B-29 bombers and SR-71 Blackbird.  There were lots of fighter aircraft and transports as well.  I think the neatest thing about this display is that there were no rope barricades to keep you away from the aircraft.  You could walk up to them and touch them and many of them you could look inside.  You could look up into the bomb bays and look into cockpits.  That was a very enjoyable day. We had our last Happy Hour at Quail Ridge in the afternoon at Bill and Patsy’s site.  

Bill and Patsy and Bob and Jo-Anne headed out Sunday morning around 9:00 am headed for Yuma Lakes RV Resort in Yuma.  Kim and I also left and headed for Yuma.  We had a slight delay though.  When checking the RV tires pressure (a routine I do everyday we travel) I noticed our right side inside rear tire only had a few lbs. of pressure.  That’s not good, so once we were set to leave and after I started up the motorhome I used the air system on the motorhome to add air to my tire.  We’ve had to do this a couple times before.  It seems to be caused by something preventing the valve stem cores from completely sealing and air just slowing leaks out.  Anyway I filled the tire then got the car on the dolly.  I checked the tire one last time before heading off and it was fine.  Sure is nice to have our own air system for these situations.  We made a fuel stop on the way and when we stopped for lunch I called Pilot Knob RV Resort to see if they had a spot for us.  We had a reservation at the park starting the 14th of December but we decided we would just head there early.  They had a spot available.  We arrived at Pilot Knob at about 3:30 and got checked in quickly.  We were able to get the same site we had last year.  We like this spot because it’s on the outside of the park and we have an open view to west.  Now we’re all setup here for a few weeks.

The weather for the next week or so looks great. Lots of sun… temps in the low 70’s F (21or 22 C). Got some lights to put up on the motorhome and probably a little shopping to do. I’ll keep you posted.

Spending a Little Time in Texas

Last evening (Tuesday) it was very mild outside. Somewhere around 20ºC (70ºF). About 10:30 or 11:00 pm the winds picked up. Very strong gusts as well. By morning the temperature had cooled off drastically. While I outside getting everything ready to travel our neighbour RVer was doing the same so we chatted for a bit. They are also on their way to Arizona. They are staying at another campground in Yuma just down the road from Pilot Knob. I think they were spending some time in Texas as well before heading further west. We were on the road around 9:00AM and with a little sun to start out. Travelling west on I-30 the traffic was noticeably lighter than the day before. We headed west to Sulphur Springs and then southwest on Hwy 19 towards Canton. Just past Canton we pulled off into a church parking lot and had some lunch. Only about 20 miles left to travel. Wes and his friend Steve met us at an Exxon Gas Station just down the road from his place and they led the way into Mabank to the Municipal campground. Steve made arrangements for us to stay there with the local Police department. This spot is also a municipal park. There is a huge gravelled area with full hookups for Rv’s. I think Steve arranged for all the services to be turned on for our visit. Such a nice thing to do for us. Steve modestly calls it “Texas hospitality”. So we have this huge area all to ourselves. We could have huge gatherings of RV’s here. Mabank is a neat little town. Its about 30 + minutes from Dallas has a nice small town feeling about it and is situated near a fresh water lake. It definitely is a friendly town. We stayed here on our way home in March and when we were getting ready to leave the Police Chief stopped by to wish us safe travels.

We spent the afternoon and early part of the evening at Wes’s place catching up with all the news. Last year when we were here it was quite wet but much dryer this time around. Wes took us on a hike around his place. He has a large beautiful wooded area at the rear of his property that is pretty much undisturbed. Very nice!

In Canton this weekend is a huge Flea Market called “First Monday Trade Days”. It happens over the first weekend of every month of their season. This is the last show of the year and it’s usually the biggest. It looking like the weather may not cooperate this weekend though. Some cooler temperatures and some rain in the forecast. Wes has become a scrap metal artist in the last few years. He’s made some really neat pieces and he is usually a vendor at First Monday. Hopefully the weather will improve a little and we’ll all head up to the sale on the weekend. It’s known as the world’s largest flea market with as many as 5000 vendors. We’re looking forward to seeing it first hand.

Thursday we headed over to Wes’s after lunch to watch some Thanksgiving Day Football. Well Wes and I did but I think Kim was a little bored with that. Wes made us some homemade Chili for supper. It was very good.

Friday morning Wes, Kim and I headed off to the Canton Flea Market. We spent a couple hours wandering around checking things out. Kim found a few things she was interested in and made a couple purchases. We stopped for lunch part way through and had some street tacos and fresh made curly potato chips. The market was a little light on vendors. Could have been that it was Thanksgiving weekend or it could have been the weather. There were a few light sprinkles in the morning. Later in the afternoon Wes and I gave his neighbour Steve a hand to get his well working. There was a broken pipe, so with a quick trip to the local hardware store for a couple parts we had the pump working just as dark was setting in.

Saturday, Wes suggested that we go for a drive into Arlington and Fort Worth. Steve joined us for the drive. We drove by Wes’s old workplace, the General Motors Arlington Assembly Plant. It’s a huge operation, and it makes Cami Assembly in Ingersoll look rather small. Also we passed by AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Our next stop was the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. This museum is the home of many Frederic Remington and Charles Russell paintings and sculptures. A very nice stop. Of course there were other artists featured but those were the ones we went to see especially.

Our next destination was to go to Fort Worth to the Stockyards. I had no idea what the Stockyards were. It’s actually a very neat part of town. Old streets, old buildings, cobblestone roads and bars and restaurants and shops. I had never heard of it before, but if you’re ever in Fort Worth I would say it’s a must see. We stopped for some refreshments in the Stockyards Hotel. Next, on our way back to Wes’s we stopped for some Texas BarBQ at Rudy’s. It was very good but I would rate it second to the one Wes took us to in January when we were through here last winter.

Riding Tall in the Saddle

Sunday was just a relaxing day. In the afternoon we drove to Wes’s and just kind of hung out. Watched a little football and visited with each other. Kim did a load of laundry and we left to go back to the RV late afternoon. We always enjoy spending time with Wes. He’s a great host. Thanks Wes!!

Well Monday we’re back on the road. So I’ll wrap up this post. We’re headed to Arizona now. I’ll catch y’all up on the next post.

The Beginning of Another Winter Adventure

After getting home from Sarah and Jacob’s, Kim had some busy work days. She was trying to finish things off in order for us to get away earlier this year. On Sunday the 17th we had an early Christmas with Josh and Tammy and the boys. I think the boys thought it was great getting early Christmas presents. And of course we had our traditional turkey dinner. The week leading up to our departure we tried to tidy up loose ends and Kim finished up work on Wednesday. Thursday was appointment day for Kim and Friday we began packing the motorhome. Josh and boys came over Friday for supper.

Saturday morning we finished packing up the motorhome. As we were getting the car on the dolly our neighbour Bill came out to see us off. We were on the road a little later than planned but it was a nice sunny start to our journey.

When we arrived at the border crossing into Port Huron there was a fairly long line ahead of us at customs. There were 2 other Motorhomes in the line beside us . As it turned out, we picked the wrong line. The border patrol officer in our lane was taking forever to clear vehicles. It took us about an hour from the time we got in line to finally clear customs and be on our way. The other 2 RV’s were long gone by the time we got through.

We made our way south on I-94 through Detroit and continued out past the airport to I-275 and went south. This seems to us to be a better way to get to I-75 as it misses a lot of bad road south of Detroit. Our sunny day soon became a cloudy day but the drive was pretty good once we got south of Toledo. Our intention was to get as far as Lima, Ohio and then stop for the night at the Walmart. South of Findlay it began to snow big flakes with a little rain in the mix. We pulled into a Flying J to fuel up in Beaverdam, Ohio. It was nasty out. Rain/snow, windy and cold. It had become slippery as well and we decided that we would just spend the night in the RV parking area of the Flying J. Another fellow RV’er in a motorhome decided to do the same.

It was a cold first night with temps below freezing and the motorhome was c c cold in the morning. I put the furnace on and it took a good hour to warm up the motorhome. We managed to get on the road in good time and drove down I-75 to Cincinnati and then went west toward Louisville, Kentucky. The temp was starting to rise and we stopped at a rest area south of Louisville for lunch. We drove on down through Bowling Green, Kentucky and into Tennessee. We skirted around the outside of Nashville and headed west on I-40 and stopped for the night at a Walmart in Dickson, Tennessee. It was a nice mild 13ºC (55F) when I stepped out of the MH and sunny. Since this was our first Walmart stop we did a little grocery shopping and picked up a deal on a rotisserie chicken and some mac and cheese to have for supper. This was a big Walmart and had plenty of parking around the outside of the parking lot for RV’s and trucks to park. We were the only RV but there was another truck stopped for the night.

The temperature didn’t drop as much overnight but it was still chilly in the MH in the morning. I was up early and turned on the furnace. Kim got up a little while later and while she was having her breakfast she noticed some guys outside trying to load a pickup truck on a trailer. She watched as this truck shot up on the trailer and seemed to go sideways and up on 2 wheels before coming to rest on the trailer. I looked out and saw the pickup had overshot the trailer and into the back of the truck pulling the trailer. This was all happening just a few feet from the front of the motorhome. I went outside to have a look . The pickup they were trying to load had indeed overshot the trailer and crumpled in the tailgate of the towing pickup The front end was hung up in front of the trailer with the front wheels hanging above the ground. Well that was going to be a situation. I chatted with the guys with the trucks and it turns out they thought the pickup they were loading had a clutch problem. They had it idling out of gear behind the trailer and all at once it took off and loaded itself and kept going. Luckily for these guys no one got hurt. We chatted for a bit.. They were very friendly. We thought we would get out of their way so we got things packed up and set off down the road.

We continued west on I-40 and stopped for a break at a rest stop just down the road a ways to call and make a reservation at a campground in Little Rock. We needed a place to fill our water tank and de-winterize so that we could begin to use our own water. We passed through Memphis, across the Mississippi and into Arkansas. The temperature was starting to get quite nice.

We arrived in Little Rock, Arkansas about 3 PM on Monday afternoon. It was very nice outside, about 20ºC (68ºF). We are staying at Downtown Riverside RV Park. It’s on the north side of the Arkansas River that separates North Little Rock and Little Rock. It’s a nice spot for us. We have a massive pull through lot with a cement pad and full hookups. We found out about this park from reading Paul Whistlecraft’s facebook posts. We know Paul and his wife Judy from Rock Glen. Paul had posted they would be here for a few days so we thought we might see them. Turns out that they are parked in the row behind us. They didn’t seem to be at home when we arrived. Shortly after we arrived and got hooked up, 2 motorhomes pulled in next to us with Ontario plates. These were the 2 MHs we saw at the border crossing at Port Huron on Saturday. Once they got set up we chatted. We actually chatted for quite a while. Both couples are on their way to Arizona as well. While we were chatting Paul strolled by and was surprised to see us. We chatted with Paul for a bit and it was soon time for supper. Our original plan was to just stop here overnight but we thought we might stay and extra night and see the sights.

Today (Tuesday) we awoke to cloudy skies and rain was in the forecast. We decided rather than stay another night we would head off late morning. We did take the car off the dolly for a couple hours and drove to the local Camping World. Then we decided to do a little sight seeing. We drove to the Bill Clinton Presidential Museum and took a few pictures outside. We then toured past Little Rock Central High School. If you remember your history this was the location of the 1957 desegregation incident in which 9 black students were denied entry to attend the school. A showdown occurred between the Arkansas Governor and President Eisenhower. The President ordered the 101st airborne division to escort the students and federalized the Arkansas National Guard. There’s more to the story but that’s the real short version.

Next we drove to the Governor’s Mansion and got out and took some pictures and also of some of the homes in the area.

When we got back to the campground we put the car back on the dolly and prepared the motorhome to leave. Our neighbour Al stopped by to say goodbye and Paul and Judy came over to wish us a safe trip. We were on the road a little after 11:00AM and drove on down I-30. Not far outside of Little Rock our GPS started warning us of delays up ahead. We had stopped for fuel shortly after leaving Little Rock and later stopped for lunch at a rest area. Just down road from the rest area, traffic came to a complete standstill and eventually began to crawl along. We were probably delayed about an hour. Traffic on I-30 was very heavy and lots of transports. We eventually passed through Texarkana and in to Texas. Did you know that Texarkana is on the border of Texas and Arkansas? Half the city is in Texas and half in Arkansas. Hence the name. Just a short while later we pulled into the Walmart in New Boston, Texas. There is 1 other motorhome here tonight. A couple from Kentucky on their way to Yuma, Arizona. They are staying at an RV park just down the way from Pilot Knob RV resort where we are headed to in the middle of December.

Well that brings you up to date. Tomorrow we will arrive at my cousin Wes’s place and we’ll be spending some time with him.

Things to do, Things to see and Places to be

We just arrived home after spending 2 weeks with our daughter Sarah and son-in-law Jacob in Puyallup, Washington. While on the west coast Kim and I did a little site-seeing and a little shopping. Actually Kim was shopping and I was the chauffeur. Now on the other hand Kim and Sarah did a lot of shopping. We spent our evenings with Sarah and Jacob since they were working during the day. We had a great time just hanging out together. I received a very nice surprise from Sarah and Jacob. They had tickets for Jacob and I to go to a Seattle Seahawks game on the first Sunday we were there. We had great seats just a few rows from the field in the corner of the end zone. The Seahawks were hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What a great experience. The fans are very loud and I tried to do my part as well. Of course everyone wears their Seahawks jerseys and such. And by looking at the names on the back of the jerseys it was obvious that I had lots of relatives in the crowd. It definitely is a different experience to see a game live rather than just seeing it on TV. Thanks Jacob for taking me along. I loved it. Another special event was a Michael W. Smith concert that Kim , Sarah and I went to. The concert was in Bellingham, Washington, so it was a bit of a drive and the venue was an beautiful old theatre called Mount Baker Theatre. We’ve been fans for quite a long time so it was a treat to see him in concert again. For those of you not familiar with his music, he is a songwriter and performer in what used to be called Contemporary Christian Music. I’m not sure if it’s called that still. We started listening to him back in the 80’s when he was touring with Amy Grant (also a Christian Artist). After the concert we were groupies hanging out by Michael’s touring bus to see if we could get a picture with him. We waited about 1/2 an hour and Michael came out of the theatre and stopped to say hi and we got a picture of us with him. Mission accomplished. Kim and Sarah like to do these things. A couple years ago Kim and Sarah went to an Amy Grant concert and waited for her outside by the buses and Amy came over and chatted with them for a bit and they had a picture with her too. There’s actually another time when Kim and I waited outside after a Donny and Marie Osmond concert in Toronto, but that’s whole other story in itself. The 2 weeks went by fast and now we’re home again.

Century Link Field

When we left Ingersoll it was a coolish 13ºC and we returned to -6ºC and about 6 inches of snow on our car. Its time to start making our way back down to the southwest for the winter. Actually I’m thinking it was time 2 weeks ago. Not liking the cold and snow this early in the season.

This spring, summer and fall has flown by. We spent much of it at home. Got some projects completed around the house and did manage to get to Rock Glen (our home campground) a few times through the summer. I’ll try to catch you up from where I left off in my last post.

Around the 3rd week of June We drove the Motorhome up to Durham, Ontario to a place called ‘The Ridge’. Bill and Patsy spend their summers on The Ridge in their RV. It’s a great spot. There are wetlands and a pond on the property and it’s very quiet. There is also a fairly large grassy field that Bill can use to fly his RC planes. They have a huge flat gravel area around their RV that can accommodate the occasional visits from their RV friends. They have several out buildings. They invited us to bring the RV up and spend some time with them. We met Bill and Patsy for the first time in Quartzsite, Arizona back in January. Since then we have become good friends and this gave us a chance to hang out together and get to each other better. We all went on a trip to a flea market in Keady. It was kinda cool weather wise and there weren’t as many vendors as there might have been other days but it was quite large and there were many different kinds of vendors. A very nice market. One evening we went out to dinner at a place called Kettles. They had very good food…very nice. Mostly we just hung out for happy hours and evenings around the fire which was nice chatting and such. Rob and Pat joined us one day for happy hour, it was nice to see them again too. Bill was working on his ‘hangar”. He has built a small shop where he can build and work on his RC planes. It now has power and a big TV as well. It was coming along nicely at that point.

Near the end of July, Kim and our oldest grandson Aden travelled out to Newfoundland with Kim’s Mom and Kim’s brother. Their destination was Hickman’s Harbour, a small fishing village on Random Island just a very short distance of the east coast of Newfoundland in Trinity Bay. Kim’s Mom grew up in Brittania, Newfoundland which is another tiny village on Random Island. Kim’s uncle Roy and aunt Lill live in Hickman’s Harbour, and that was where they were staying. Kim and I took Aden to Newfoundland a couple years ago in the Motorhome and he loved it and was very excited to be going back. Newfoundland is a beautiful province full of wonderful people. If you haven’t been, you should put it on your list. While they were there they spent some time down by the water gathering sea glass, one of Kim’s favourite things to do do when she near any body of water (except mud puddles). They also had the occasion to go out for tour of the sound on a boat owned by one of the locals. They did some of the touristy things too like going to Trinity and Bonavista. Their last few days were spent back in St. John’s and they took time to see the sites like Signal Hill and Cape Spear.

While Kim was in Newfoundland I was busy painting all the exterior wood on our house. The front porch has a lot of exposed wood and it takes such a long time to paint. Also all of our windows are wooden so that means removing the aluminum storms from each before painting. And while I’m at it the windows all need to be cleaned. I think there are a total of 15 windows and 3 doors. Its was a lot of work but since we changed colour this time its looks really good.

In early August we took the Motorhome back up to Durham to Bill and Patsy’s place. We arrived on Wednesday the 7th and planned to stay until the following Wednesday. I mentioned earlier in the post that they had a nice flat gravel area that could accommodate other RV’s. Actually they were able to accommodate 4 other RV’s that week. We spent time with our hosts Bill and Patsy and friends Rob and Pat, George and Sue, and Ron and Lori. We spent our happy hours together and most evenings we all sat around a nice campfire. Lots of stories and lots of laughter. But we were all in on a secret except for Rob and Pat. There was actually a party planned for Rob and Pat’s 50th wedding anniversary and Rob’s 70th birthday. The party was planned and hosted by Rob and Pat’s son and daughter and was to be held at Rob and Pat’s house in Durham. Our job was to keep Rob and Pat away from their house and then get them to the party at the appropriate time. This proved to be no easy task. But all went well. Their were only a few fibs to be told in order to keep the ruse. The surprise was intact and Rob and Pat were very pleased to see many of their friends and family there to honour them.

Friends on the Ridge

Some of the friends starting leaving on Sunday and Monday. We had planned to take a short trip up to my cousin Marg’s cottage up near Lionhead on the Bruce Peninsula for an overnight visit. Bill and Patsy allowed us to leave our Motorhome at their place. The drive was nice up around Owen Sound and through Wiarton on our way up. Nice scenic country along there. Because of high water levels on the great lakes this year the access road to their place has been flooded so we knew that Marg’s husband Chris would meet us with a boat to take us the final distance to their cottage. When we arrived at the place we texted our arrival and Chris said he would come get us……. in his rowboat!! We waited for a few minutes and soon Chris turned the corner and came down the flooded roadway… in his rowboat. We must have been quite the sight. Kim got in the back with the couple small bags we brought along, I was perched in the front with a big guitar case sitting behind me and Chris in the middle rowing us slowly along out across the water to their, now island, retreat. I think there’s a song we could have been singing.. Anyway, all was well and we arrived safe. Marg and Chris’s cottage was once a lodge and had a very nostalgic feel about it. Lots of bedrooms, a nice cozy living area with a fireplace and a large kitchen and eating area, The wooden table in the eating area was very large and unique. It was left by the pervious owners mainly because they couldn’t get it out the door. My cousin Wes from Texas and my cousin Andrew from Chicago were also visiting while we there. After our arrival and getting settled we sat around the big table and had some snacks and beverages and chatted about many things, not the least of which was telling family stories. The Wilson and Rawlin families are known for telling stories, and there are many. We spent the evening playing music. Wes is a fantastic guitar player and Chris is equally talented on Bass. Chris and I stayed up late into the night playing and chatting about music in general and the Beatles in particular. We’re both huge Beatles fans. The next morning we were not in a rush to leave but we were on the road by late morning heading back to Bill and Patsy’s. We arrived mid to late afternoon and enjoyed a last happy hour with them before our departure on Wednesday morning.

Later in August we were at Rock Glen with our son Josh and daughter-in-law Tammy and the 3 grandsons, Aden, Ethan and Seth. Josh and family rented a cabin for a few days and we spent much of the days together. The boys like to come to Rock Glen because there are so many things for kids to do there. The favourites are the indoor play area with ball pits and climbing things, the indoor pool (because its nice and warm and shallow enough at one end so that even Seth can touch bottom) and mini golf. We had some nice days weather wise so that was nice too.

Moira Lake

Labour Day weekend we travelled up to Madoc, Ontario to Crystal Beach Campground on Moira Lake. Our friends Al and Mary have a trailer there and for the past few years we’ve been getting together on the Labour Day weekend with them. Al and Mary’s two daughters and their husband and fiance respectively were there as well. Much of our non eating times were spent together down at Al and Mary’s site. They have a beautiful spot right on the lake and Al has his boat tied to the dock in front. This is the same lake that we come to on the guy’s fishing time every year in May. On the Saturday there is a get together with Al’s family (brothers and sister and their families) as well as other friends in the campground. In previous years it’s been a fish fry but this year was a pot luck. It’s always a good time. We look forward to it every year. Al’s Dad passed away this past spring, I’ve known his Dad for quite a while. He was a great guy. Always full of life and laughter. He also had a trailer at the campground and would be there Labour Day weekend as well. He made us feel like part of his family. It wasn’t quite the same without Big Al this year.

Sarah came home in September for a short visit over an extended weekend. Arrived on Saturday morning and flew home on Tuesday morning. We turned it into an early Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend to surprise her. We had the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings on Saturday late afternoon. Josh and Tammy and the boys came for dinner. Of course while she was here Kim and her did some shopping on Sunday, Ha.. While I watched football at home (good choice).

We were back in Rock Glen in September and met up with 2 couples we met last September at Lazy Lakes Campground near Newfane, New York. Actually we had met them briefly earlier in the year at Rock Glen. Bill and Barb and John and Wendy. We spent a couple happy hours and a couple evenings fires with them and a few others. They’re both great couples and we always have good fun with them

Several of my former coworkers at GM have retired this year, so we went to a couple retirement parties in September. The Cami Assembly plant opened in 1989, which is when I started, so this year many of the people who started working there at the beginning reached their 30 years and are eligible to retire. Many have retired already and quite a few more over the next year or so.

Well it’s a long post but i think that covers our summer and fall at home and about.

We have tentative plans to head south earlier this year. Last winter we didn’t leave home until the first week of January. This year were planning to head out November 23rd or thereabouts. Kim has a busy week and a half ahead of her and we’re planning to have early Christmas here this weekend, and if all goes well and we have a good weather window we’ll be on our way. Once we get back to travelling again I’ll try to keep everyone updated. But those of you who follow the blog know I’m a bit of a procrastinator 🙂 I’ll try to do better ;).

A last note before I close this post. Many of you know who George and Sue Yates are. Some know them personally and some may know of them because we speak of them a lot with our friends. We met George and Sue a year and a half ago at Rock Glen. We knew they were fulltime RV’ers and we had lots of questions for them about RVing. They were very gracious to share their knowledge with us. In many ways they’ve kinda been our RVing mentors. We have since become very good friends. We always look forward to spending time with them whenever we’re camped at the same location. We’ve been looking forward to spending another winter with them in southwest Arizona. George has been recently diagnosed with cancer and this year they will not be travelling to the southwest as usual. We did get a chance to visit with George and Sue before we headed out to Sarah’s house. We had a great visit and George was feeling pretty good. Was very nice to see the both of them before we head south. George and Sue, we’re going to miss our times together in the South. Take care of yourself, George, and we’re praying for you.

At home, at work, and at play

So here it is almost summer. Time has been flyng by and it has been quite a long time since I posted to the blog.  It’s time to catch you all up on what we’ve been doing.  If you remember we arrived back home the first week of April.  It was nice to be home again but there was much to do.  We live in a century home and old homes tend to require a lot of upkeep.  

My first job was to replace our old knob and tube wiring with all new wiring.  Before we headed off to Arizona in January I went to see our Insurance Agent to find out what they required in terms of someone checking on our house regularly while we were gone.  While I was there they wanted to update some information about our house.  Oh Oh…   The first question was “Do you have any knob and tube wiring in your house?”..  Umm… yes.  Well that was the wrong answer.  They told be that I would have to have it replaced in order to keep my insurance with them.  They gave me a year to get it done.  So that is now my first project.  For those of you who don’t know what knob and tube is I’ll explain it simply.  From the early 1900’s to about the 1940’s, homes were wired with this method.  All the wiring is just 2 conductors (no ground).  Instead of the wires being together with a plastic sheathing around the outside, the wires were separate and were attached to opposite floor joists using ceramic insulators. Most electricians will tell you it still safe but the problems occur when modifications are done to the wiring.  The other issue is that the receptacles have no ground prong.  Nevertheless most insurance companies are now requiring it to be removed and replaced by new wiring.   So as you can imagine this is a very labour intensive job in a house with finished walls and ceilings.  My job was to fish wires through those walls and ceilings.  Our house is 2 stories high so without describing in detail the difficulties I’ll just say the task was very daunting.  In the end of it all I think I ran about 400 feet of new wiring and replaced many old receptacles and electrical boxes.  At some points it was very discouraging, especially at the beginning faced with such a huge task, but with Kim’s encouragement I took it one step at a time and managed to get it done.  I think it took a month to do and I spent much time on hands and knees in the attic crawl spaces.  In the end of it all I’m quite pleased with what I accomplished.  In the beginning I was thinking I was gonna have to open up walls and ceiling to getting the wiring through but I managed to keep any damage to a minimum with only some damage to walls around the receptacle boxes.  A little patching and some painting still to be done.  I saved myself a ton of money doing this myself and I’ll have an electrician come in to inspect my work and make any corrections.

Once I was done working on the wiring in the attic, Kim began to reorganize it.  We have a walk up attic and sizable area of it is finished.  But like most storage spaces they get cluttered after a while so she wanted to sort through some stuff and clear some space.  Her goal was to clear a space as a play area for our grandsons when they come to visit.  

On May 12 we attended the baptism of our niece Ashleigh’s son Robert.  The baptism was at the Anglican Church in Lambeth and quite a few family members were there.  We all went out to eat at the Mandarin Restaurant in London afterwards.  The Mandarin is very nice and the food is very good, but it’s a little pricey.  We found ourselves comparing it to Lin’s Buffet in Yuma Arizona.  We raved about the food at Lin’s in one of our blogs back in February or March. 

Next on the agenda was some outside bush and tree pruning.  Kim is the gardener so she has spent a lot of time getting the gardens cleaned out.  We have many gardens around the yard so it takes her quite of bit of time in the spring getting those ready.  We had an old yew bush in the front yard that had gotten very overgrown and this spring I cut it down to the ground.  I still have to remove the stump but that can wait a bit.  We had a Wisteria bush along one side of our front porch that had just gotten too big and woody so that has come down too.  I left the root so it will probably grow up again if we let it.  We like the Wisteria but they are very aggresive so we’ll see.  

time to relax

I bought a Polisher for the Motorhome to see if I can buff out the oxidation on the exterior of the coach.  I managed to do a very small section while I was learning how to do it.  It does make the Coach look nicer going by the small area I did.  I’m sure it has never been done before and its going to be a time consuming chore.  I’ll continue to work on that over the summer amoungst all my other projects.  

I got the pool opened up in the middle of May.  It’s not a difficult process but it takes time to drain the water off the winter cover before removing it. Then hooking up the filter hoses and the clorinator and refilling the pool.  The water was pretty clean this year so just a matter of adding clorine and cleaning up the dirt in the bottom of the pool.  It’s still been cool this this spring so even up to the point of doing this blog I still haven’t been in the pool.  Aden, our oldest grandson, wanted to be the first one in the pool this year so when they were here at the end of May he jumped in.  In and out, faster than you can blink an eye, well almost.  I think it was 10 seconds.  That’s a brave boy, I think the water was only 64°F.  I’m usually the first one in each year but he beat me this year.

In May, in Canada, we celebrate Victoria Day with a long weekend, which is the weekend before the US Memorial Day weekend.  It’s commonly referred to as May two four or May 24th.  I went on my annual fishing trip with friends from work. This tradition has been ongoing for me for about 13 years.  Some of the guys have been doing this trip for 25 years or more.  This year, like all the rest that I’ve gone on, we went to Madoc Ontario to fish on Moira Lake.  This is a great Walleye spot and we’ve always had pretty good luck.  This year there were 14 of us and we rented a couple cottages for 4 days.  Lots of great fun and lots of fishing.  We had pretty good weather again this year.  It was a little cooler than some years and very little rain.  Our last full day there I do a huge fish fry. When I say I do it I mean I do the frying and some of the other guys do all the prep work.  All the fresh cut french fries and beer battered fish you can eat, and 14 guys can eat a lot.  It’s quite a feast.  But like every year the weekend is gone in a flash and it’s time to head home. 

While I was gone for the weekend Kim had 2 of our grandsons visit her for a couple days. We have 3 grandsons but only the 2 oldest came this time. We enjoy having them visit and they always jump at the chance to come. They always have a good time together.

We managed to get some time to take the motorhome to Rock Glen (our home park) for a few days after the long weekend.  George and Suzie Yates were there so we had some time together with them at happy hour to catch up.  The weather was a little cool but that was okay.  Nice to get out in the RV again and great to catch up with friends.

We only spent a few days at Rock Glen because our daughter Sarah was coming to visit for a week. She arrived on the 24th of May (not to be confused with May 24th weekend), and we picked her up at London airport. It’s always great to spend time with Sarah. She came alone this time. Our son-in-law Jacob stayed behind in Puyallup, Washington. Kim and Sarah spent a few days shoping together which they seem to love….go figure. Our evenings together we spent binge-watching the TV series X Company. Kim and I had seen it before but Sarah hadn’t and we enjoyed watching it again with Sarah. It’s a Canadian show so she can’t see in the USA. Sarah was here for a week but the time flew by and too soon we were taking her back to the airport. Hopefully we’ll fly out to see both Sarah and Jacob in the fall.

Kim and I celebrated a milestone on June 2 this year. It was our 40th wedding anniversary. So many years it doesn’t seem quite possible. But if you were to compare our wedding pictures with what we look like now you would believe it. Not Kim of course, she’s hardly aged. Sorry no wedding pictures will be included in this blog, you’ll have to take my word for it.

Our house is brick exterior with wooden windows and trim and we have a large front porch with a lot of exposed wood.  It’s time to repaint it all so the first job was to clean the wood.  The porch especially, was very dirty and I started to power wash it.  That is until I blew up my power washer.  So I finished the rest scrubbing by hand.  Not fun!!  Next up is to do a lot of scraping and then the painting can begin.  That will be an ongoing poject throughout the summer.

This past weekend we attended the wedding of Alyssa Winegarden and Brandon Humphrey. Alyssa is the daughter of our good friends Al and Mary Winegarden. Al and I worked together a Cami Assembly General Motors for many years and have become great friends. We enjoy spending much time together with Al and Mary and have gotten to know their family quite well. The last few years we’ve taken our Motorhome up to the campground where they have their trailer for the Labour Day weekend. That’s always a lot of fun.

Kim has been working pretty much each week since we’ve been back from Arizona.  She is self employed as a bookkeeper and does the books for Maple Grove Christian campground just outside of Thamesford which is only about a 15 minute drive from home.  When we arrived home in April she put in many hours to get ready for the annual audit, but once that was over she is back to 1 or 2 days a week.  She makes her own schedule so it gives us time to do what we want, when we want pretty much.  She likes the work so for now she’ll keep doing it.  She likes the extra cash too.  

We’re back at Rock Glen for a week.  We’re here til Tuesday.  George and Suzie are here again too so we’ve shared a couple happy hours together.  Yesterday was a nice sunny day so we drove into Grand Bend for a short time and walked on the beach for an hour.  Kim was searching for sea glass.  Quite a few people on the beach but not many venturing into the water.  It would still be a little chilly in there.  So today has been on and off again rain.  It rained most of last night.  Right now though there’s no rain but kinda cool outside, so we’ll stay inside.  A good day for writing a blog I guess. 

So you’re pretty much up to date with us now. We’ve got a busy summer ahead of us.  Lots of tasks still to be done around the house.  We have plans to be out and about in our Motorhome at various times throughout the summer. I hope you are all doing well and I hope you’ve enjoyed catching up with us.  Have a great summer and hope to see some of you soon.

Ken 

The Journey, Season 1 Finale

Well, we left Wolf River RV resort on Wednesday morning. Our destination for the day was Jackson Mississippi. Our plan is to stop for the night in Jackson and join the Natchez Trace Parkway just north of Jackson and travel it up to its northern end over the following 2 days.

We travelled up I-49 from Gulfport to Jackson and stopped at the Walmart overnight. There was a lot of construction on I-49 as we entered Jackson and the road was pretty rough for a few miles. This Walmart was reasonably quiet later in the evening. In the morning (Thursday) we made a fuel stop at the Flying J nearby and then drove north to Ridgeway where we got on the Natchez Trace.

The Natchez Trace Parkway extends 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi north to Pasquo, Tennessee near Nashville. You’ve probably never heard of Pasquo before and neither had I. It’s just a four corners southwest of Nashville a short distance. It probably sits just outside of the City limits. The Trace is a two lane road that is “off limits” to transport trucks and commercial vehicles. That makes it a great road for RV’ers and cars and bicycles. It has limited access points along its route so once you’re away from any urban centres there isn’t very much traffic. In some parts you can go for miles without seeing any other vehicle. But it’s the scenery on it that people love. For its whole length it feels like you’re driving through a park. Lots of trees and rivers and fields. There are also many places to turn off the road to hike or take pictures. Rv’ers, though, need to use caution when turning off as many of the turnouts are not friendly to big rigs and anyone with a toad. We are pulling a car on a dolly so we had to have an easy off and on without having to backup. After a time on the highway and because traffic was light, we would just slow down at the turnouts and see if it would work for us or not. The speed limit on the Trace is 50 mph and it is enforced. We did see one car that sped past us pulled over by a state trooper a few miles down the road. For the most part though we didn’t see a lot of speeders. As you get closer to Nashville the speed limit actually decreases to 40 mph.

The last 25 miles or so of the Trace at the north end were very hilly and curvy so it was not really enjoyable for the driver. There was no time for me to look anywhere else except the road ahead. If we travel on the Trace again I would bypass this part. That being said, just a few miles from the end there is a bridge that you travel across that is elevated very high above the valley below and the view is fantastic.

Natchez Trace Bridge

So to back up a little: We drove from Jackson to Tupelo Mississippi on the first day of the Trace. There are some free campsites on the Trace in this area but they are very small and fill up quickly depending on the time of year. There are also some private campgrounds in the area as well but of course you had to pay there. So we decided to try something new…lol. We’ve never been to the Walmart in Tupelo so we went there. Perhaps you didn’t know but Tupelo is famous. This is where Elvis was born. His childhood home is still here and it is a tourist stop. We unfortunately didn’t visit. I was concerned about trying to park our rig there. Next time through we’ll have to see it.

This is a nice Walmart. Very large lot and there seemed to be a separate parking area just for RVs and Trucks. By early evening there were about 6 RVs parked in this area. But unfortunately for us we had a trucker pull in right beside us who had a reefer trailer and both the truck and the reefer ran all night. So, as much as we had a nice spot, I started up the MH and moved. We found another spot that was far enough away that we could only barely hear the noise. I felt for sorry for the other RV’ers who were left to listen to it all night. While I was out earlier I noticed a couple of the small Motorhomes that seemed to be travelling together. One was obviously a rental. They had parked with their doors facing each other. Unfortunately their Walmart boondocking etiquette left much to be desired. They had their jacks down and all slides out. They had their chairs out and were sitting around a campfire. Albeit it was one of those portable propane ones but that is an absolute no no. Walmart allows overnight RV parking in most of their store parking lots as a courtesy to travellers on the road, but it’s this type a behaviour that makes us all look bad. If we abuse the privilege like this we may lose it. It’s not a campground folks. If you want to sit around the campfire find yourself a site somewhere else!

So after we finished driving the trace on Friday we checked into a campground on the east side of Nashville for a couple nights. Our “go to” campground in the Nashville area is Two Rivers Campground which is situated near Opryland. There is a KOA park and a Yogi Bear park all close together in that area. We’ve stayed at Two Rivers twice in the past and it’s a great campground but it is a little pricey. I’m afraid I waited too long to try to get a reservation and they were full for the nights we wanted so we had to go with plan B. We stayed an I-24 campground and although a little cheaper than Two Rivers it just didn’t measure up. The sites were very close together and somewhat un-level. Many of the sites were quite short so space for big rigs is somewhat limited. The campground is currently being upgraded so it may improve in the near future, but as it was, it served our needs for a couple nights.

Elvis Sighting

Saturday, we toured the countryside around Nashville. We went through Franklin, Tenn. and it was extremely busy. They were having an Elvis tribute weekend with Elvis impersonators from around the country participating. We actually spotted Elvis in our campground in the morning before we left. We drove under the high bridge of the Natchez Trace that I have already mentioned. Then through Belle Meade and into Nashville.

We drove to the downtown area and parked, and then a short walk down to Broadway Street. We’ve only been downtown on week days before and weren’t expecting the crowds that we saw this day. It was almost wall to wall people. All the bars were packed and music was blaring out into the streets from all of them. We did walk around and stopped into a few shops. We always make a stop at Earnest Tubb’s record store and we stood in line to get into Jack’s Bar-b-que for lunch. We’ve had Jack’s before and so it was worth the wait. We both had the Bar-b-que brisket and it was gooo-oood (say that like Andy Griffith would it say it). Another walk around for a bit and we were done. We got in the car and drove through town to Music Row. This is the area where a lot of the music industry has their offices and studios. We just took a quick drive through and then we headed back to the campground.

The rain came that evening along with colder air. In the morning (Sunday) we packed up and headed north into Kentucky, skirted around Louisville and east on I-71 toward Cincinnati. We stopped at a Walmart in Carrollton for the night. Monday morning we drove east to I-75 and then south about 20 minutes to see The ARK Encounter. This is located just north of Williamstown. If you’ve never heard of this place, it’s a full size Noah’s Ark. The builders tried to reproduce the Ark to the size given in the Genesis account of the flood. The Ark measures 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high. Until you stand next to this thing it’s hard to conceptualize how big it really was. This boat was monstrous. Inside it has 3 decks and there are areas with examples of what the animal habitat may have been like as well as accommodations for Noah and his family. It really is an interesting place. There are many displays inside that address many questions that people may have about this period in history and the story of Noah and his family. If you go, give yourself lots of time. We spent a little over 3 hours there and we felt a little rushed.

We had planned to be back on the road a little earlier but after a quick lunch we continued north on I-75 through Cincinnati and Dayton with our destination being Arrowhead Lakes Resort in Wapakoneta, Ohio. We arrived later than planned but we were met at the gate by our friend Bill Richards. We connected with Bill and Patsy earlier after we discovered we were so close to each other. Arrowhead is a membership park but Bill and Patsy were able to make reservations for us as their guests through Coast to Coast. It was so nice to meet up again. Rob and Pat Aljoe were here too so it was nice to meet up with them again also. We last saw the 4 of them in Yuma at the end of February. One last get together before we all arrive home in the next week or so. The 6 of us got together on Tuesday evening for one last extended Happy Hour. We always have lots of conversation and lots of laughter when we’re together.

Home

Wednesday morning we left Bill and Patsy and Rob and Pat at Arrowhead and began our last driving day back to Ingersoll. I think it took us about 5 hours to get home and we rolled into Ingersoll and our driveway a little after 4 PM. Within just a few minutes our neighbour Norm came over to welcome us home and shortly thereafter our son Josh stopped by. We have a few really great neighbours and Norm faithfully kept an eye on the house and checked it fairly regularly to make sure everything was in order. Josh also stopped in every few days to check on the place and pick up our mail. It sure made it easy to be away in the south for the winter. It was good to see Josh. Even though we chatted on occasion and did some Facetime with Josh and the boys it’s not the same as seeing someone in person. We are looking forward to seeing our Grandsons Aden, Ethan and Seth on the weekend. Josh and the family are going to come over on Saturday or Sunday.

Supper out At Chuck’s Roadhouse in Ingersoll

Well, we’re home. That concludes this years’ Odyssey. I could call this adventure “There and Back Again” but I think Bilbo Baggins already used that title. We had a fantastic adventure nevertheless. We drove many miles, met lots of people, experienced lots of new things and saw lots of new places. We’ve been waiting for the opportunity to take to the road, and now that I’ve retired at least we have begun the adventure. The Journey has begun. Kim has put a sign in the Motorhome that says “It’s Good to be Lost in the Right Direction”. I like that. Thanks for sharing our Journey with us. I’ll periodically be posting blog updates throughout the summer (by now you know how regularly to expect them). We look forward to many things throughout the Summer. Our calendar is already beginning to fill. And not least of all will be seeing many of our Winter friends here and there this summer. Have a wonderful season in the North and, God willing, we’ll all meet again next year in the southwest desert.