Friday, January 5, 2018

That's a Wrap!

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!  When you camp in an area that doesn't have any WiFi service (or cable) the two pretty much merge together!  ;-)  So this "end of year blog" is a little late getting out...

Looking over our "goals" for 2017, which was pretty much to "complete our US map" and to take things a bit slower, spending more time during our travels, exploring...I think we were successful.  We checked off our last state, which was Ohio! by thoroughly enjoying that state.  We visited 6 cities/towns in Ohio, sampling their food (chili!), their attractions, and their beauty.  We never guessed Ohio could be so much fun!  We ended up spending 19 days there.

After 5 years on the road, and always visiting Texas (because it's there, and because it's where one of my son's lives) it's always a fun challenge to find a new place and/or a new route to take.  This year we managed to do both.  We also checked off another National Park to boot!  Visiting Big Bend in Texas was quite an experience, and like all of Texas, you can only get a taste of it because it's so very large!  Then later, after visiting my son, going through the Piney Woods area of Texas was such a lovely surprise.

Another state we were able to enjoy and spend some time exploring this year was Colorado.  In the past, it has only been for a few days, and only to visit our friends around the Denver area.  This time they met us in Colorado Springs for a week, but we camped several weeks before and after throughout the state as well and really got a great sense of what a beautiful state it is.  Having the opportunity to visit it in August was ideal for us, since their mountains are so high, most of the time one takes a chance of getting hit with snow or ice or road closures...but not so in August!  Yea!

I was also able to knock off a long time item off my "bucket list" this year, and that was to walk into and photograph a slot canyon in Utah.  What a wonderful experience that was!  Oftentimes something you've wished for, for years, doesn't always live up to your expectations, but this time, it exceeded it.  We ended up with a private tour because no one else had signed up for it that day, and the guide knowing my feelings, stayed longer, and took extra time showing me photo shots to take.  It was the highlight of our summer and one I will never forget!

With all that, we still managed to be at the birth of my last grandson, to get in (very) quick trips back east with family, and then the fast trip back to the west for a friend's wedding (phew!).  So no "vacation" out of the RV this year.  A longer than usual family visit in Washington...then to Arizona to "dry out".

Looking over our stats, they aren't to much different than last year actually...

We stayed at 62 campgrounds, for a total of 295 nights
Total campground fees: $10,758.63
(That averages about $36.47 a night, which is a little less than last year...maybe because we didn't stay in California very long this time)

Mileage for the RV: 12,945
Mileage for the toad: 11,823
Gasoline for the RV: $4,800
Gasoline for the toad: $1,130
Propane: $143
Maintenance & Repairs RV: 5,800(4 tires on toad, 6 tires on RV, generator exhaust, etc)

When you have a 10 year old RV, she needs a little TLC once a decade, then she's "good to go" again for awhile.  Now that that is done, we can relax a bit and see what 2018 brings us!

...kicking back in sunny Arizona,  Marie

If you wish to view the rest of the photos from this trip, you can at my Flickr account at:

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

December Days...

After leaving my family in Washington, we headed south to get out of the cold and the rain as fast as we could!  I love my family and I love spending time with them, but I confess, I'm not a big fan of the cold & rain!  So, being in Washington in the winter is not a big draw for me, and if my family wasn't there...neither would I!  ;-)

 Each year when we leave Washington after Thanksgiving we cross our fingers that the weather doesn't mess us up.  It's always a gamble as to which route to take, and each year we study the weather, read the reports and in the end, it's almost like flipping a coin as to if we are going to face snow & ice on I-5 or flooding & mud slides on 101.  We've had both experiences and had to back-track and move from one to the other because of them!  Fun.  This year, however, we got nothing but sunshine all the way!  Yea!  As we traveled south, the temperatures got warmer and warmer, so nice...

We decided to spend December pretty much along the Colorado River, just sitting back and "doing nothing".  We belong to Colorado River Adventures and almost never use the membership because we are rarely in the area, so decided that the wise and frugal thing to do this year was to spend the last few weeks of the year using it!  

So we parked ourselves just outside of Lake Havasu for the first week, them moved over to Emerald Cove in Earp until the end of December.  The only down-side to all of this was that the WiFi is really hard to get (here it is the last day of December and I just now was able to finally get on!!) and no TV reception at all.  So, it's a good thing we like to read and that we have a great set of movies to watch on our own!  ;-)

Christmas was quiet this year.  At our age, it's pretty much sending presents to grandchildren and getting calls from our children.  I did get a very unexpected present from a dear friend that was such a delight.  She ordered me a lap blanket from Ireland that is from "my Gorman clan".  It came with a tag that explained my family heritage, etc.  Very, very cool. 

We did get invited to join our friends for Christmas in Surprise, so we gave ourselves a Christmas present of a two night stay at a hotel near them and drove over Christmas Eve.  They treated us to a wonderful dinner that night, a Christmas brunch and a Christmas dinner as well.  We felt very spoiled.  The sun came out and the six of us had a lovely time visiting and catching up on all that's been going on in the few months that we've been away.

We will be back at the first of the year to stay again for three months.  This time I'm not going to break anything, so am planning on joining in on several of the activities they have at the resort.  Jack too, has several projects he has in mind to do.

It's been an interesting stay here.  Quiet, yet noisy.  It's quiet in that people really don't mingle much, not like at other campgrounds.  They smile, but they don't stop and chat, not even your next door neighbors, and they are very close.  Odd.  Noisy, because many of the boats are speed boats that just love to rev up their engines and zoom up and down the river.  Wow, they are loud! 

There is one more novelty here too...what I call "the three amigos"'s the wild burros that come to visit.  They seem to just wander in at will, and hang around and then leave again.  We've run into them as we've taken walks around the campground and they are either bunched together in the shade by one of the cottages or wandering around some of the RVs drinking water out of a bucket that was left out.  Kind of cute.  I only had my camera with me once, of course...

All in all, it was a restful stay and a nice way to end our year...

...kicking back in Arizona,  Marie