Wednesday April 5, 2017
Back to the Cold Wet North!
We arrived home a week ago Monday (March 27) and we are adjusting to life back here. We were spoiled by the good weather and sun over the winter, we've got our parkas on and we still feel cold. We jinxed the weather by bringing out the lawn furniture last week when it was warmer, our payback is an inch or so of rain and a couple of inches of snow later this week!
Jut a couple of stats regarding the trip, we covered just over 8,200 miles and spent just under $2,000 on fuel, with the 75 cent Canadian dollar it might have been a bit more than last year in fuel cost.
It was a great winter trip, we miss our friends in Borrego Springs and Murdoch misses his girl friend Lucy and his other dog friends at the Springs dog park. We look forward to our return next fall.
Saturday March 25, 2017
Making the Miles!
We are in the Bluffton Indiana KOA, we have been moving after 3 nights in Bowling Green Kentucky where we did our last grocery shopping, made a stop at Camping World and Gander outfitters and we topped up on seafood at Red Lobster.
Last night we stopped in woods N Waters near Columbus Indiana as usual. The weather has been very agreeable, in the low 20's C with sun. We will hit some rain tomorrow in Monroe Michigan but it will still be warm, it also looks promising back home where we expect to be on Monday.
Murdoch is getting used to the one night stops, the walks and dog parks have been good for him.
We got a satellite friendly pull through here at the KOA and the AT&T service has been great, 4G LTE all the way:
We've enjoyed the return trip but we look forward to some "home time"!
Monday March 20, 2017
Still Enjoying the great weather!
While it was a bit cool in some stops we've made, today is supposed to be in the high 70's and Suzette is already in her shorts!
We are in Natchez Trace state park, we arrived here yesterday and we watched the exodus after Spring break week. Today it's quiet, we get to listen to the birds chirping and watch them work on their nests:
This is the male bluebird guarding the bird house while his mate makes the nest inside:
Sorry for the blur in the images, taken from a distance and cropped:
We got our usual site and the TV dish is clear of the trees, we got to see the new Anne release on TV last night, and some real news!
Tomorrow we are off to Bowling Green KY where we will stop for a few days and check on the weather back home and see if we want to stay or move further north.
Saturday March 18, 2017
First Campfire of 2017!
We are in Village Creek state park near Wynne Arkansas, just west of Memphis Tennessee, today is our third day here. It's has warmed up so we've spent some time outside. We are about a week ahead of our normal return schedule because of bypassing Carlsbad NM, we notice the difference in the tree leaves and in the brown grass. Regardless, it's been a good stop.
Campfires (the real kind with wood) are not allowed in our spot in Borrego Springs, we could buy or rent a propane campfire but we passed on that, maybe next year.
We had our first campfire yesterday and we will have another one tonight!
Because of Spring break we couldn't get our "satellite friendly" site so we still just have local TV, we miss our favourite programs but we should be back to Canadian TV tomorrow in Natchez Trace where we reserved our regular site. One of the good things is the performance of our AT&T wifi hotspot, we've had 4G LTE service in most stops on the trip (faster than our DSL line back home!). The phone service through AT&T is also excellent and relatively cheap as well, much cheaper than the Canadian services.
On the TV front, we will convert the internet tripod to a Shaw tripod after we ditch the Hughes internet so we can get TV when in the trees by using the tripod and 50 feet of coax to get a signal. Here in Village Creek there is a tree directly between the satellite(s) and the auto dish on the RV roof (and Al is too lazy to move the RV after it was set up so we could get reception!).
Our campsite, see the lack of leaves and brownish grass, and that tree blocking TV reception!
We will be in middle Tennessee tomorrow, we are watching the weather (and the snow!) back home, we may stay in Bowling Green KY for a bit longer time if needed, we will ask for some "local knowledge" from our neighbours back home about the conditions.
Tuesday March 14, 2017
We are in the Mt. Pleasant KOA, Lake Bob Sandlin state park here had only a couple of sites available because of the Spring break so we reserved here at the KOA. It's a park that we haven't stayed at before but it's a nice stop for a couple of days. As seen by the pictures below, it's green and comfortable. We reserved a patio site, unfortunately it's under some trees so the Sat TV dish doesn't work, but we have lots of cable channels to choose from, so we can catch up on "Bubba's local adventures"! We haven't reserved for tomorrow night at DeGray Lake but we've got our spots at both Village Creek and Natchez Trace reserved so we should be OK. As usual, we survived the Dallas Fort Worth crossing, it was a bit quieter than normal perhaps because of the Spring Break.
This is our spot, a corner patio site. Our neighbour installed a TV dish on a post near the end of his site to get TV. We may have been able to get TV if the RV was backed up to near the road but then we couldn't have hooked up to 50 amp power (the cord is too short) and at freezing temps last night we needed 50 amps to run the electric heat and save on propane:
This is the open field where we took the last picture from. To the right, not in the picture, is a pond that has fish in it. You can see the interstate in the background so we don't have far to travel to get back on it:
All in all, not a bad stop!
Sunday March 12, 2017
One of the things that we enjoy is seeing about 3 "springs" on the way home from California. Although we missed the desert blooms in Borrego Springs we are starting to see some as we head east.
We are in Ranger Texas, our second day here, it's a bit brisk at 10C. We are back in jeans and sweaters but spring is definitely popping out here.
Our RV slot has an apple tree (Al thinks!) on it and the blooms are out in spite of the cooler weather:
Here's a better close up:
We are always interested in the alcohol rules and regs in different states and how they vary. Our last experience was in Arkansas (Al thinks) where Sunday sales are prohibited although there is no indication of this rule in stores. This morning (at 11:50 am) while shopping at Wal-Mart, the cashier could not even touch or process a bottle of wine, she was under 18 (and the cash register knows this!) and she had to get an older cashier to put the sale through. That didn't work either as the state has a 12 noon earliest purchase time on a Sunday. And we thought that Ontario was conservative with alcohol sales with our "blue laws"!
We head east to Lake Bob Sandlin State Park tomorrow, we are hoping it being a Monday we won't have a problem getting in, in spite of the March breaks.
Thursday March 9, 2017
A new RV Park (for us!)
We are in Van Horn Texas after staying in Deming last night. As mentioned, we couldn't get into the Carlsbad KOA because of March break week. The run from Tucson to Deming was a bit windy, we went through alot of fuel. The run from Deming to here was a bit challenging, border towns are always fun and the interstate through El Paso was no exception, complicated by construction. The maps had suggested a longer alternate through Sierra Blanca, it would have been better.
This RV park, the Van Horn RV park is a former KOA, it's a desert park (sand and gravel), but with long pull through sites and full services, not bad for a one night stay:
It's 30C right now, one A/C is on and we had both on for awhile. There is some shade and breeze so we will spend some time outside. Suzette just reported that Murdoch chased a wild chicken (it probably was a free range chicken here!) so he's having his fun.
We are off to Monahans tomorrow.
Monday March 6, 2017
You have to be Flexible!
We are in the Lazy Days KOA in Tucson. We arrived on Sunday and we wanted to move on tomorrow (Tuesday) but we found that it's Spring Break week down here, the KOA in Carlsbad New Mexico where we like to stay is fully booked for the week. So we are staying here until Wednesday to take time to retrench and figure out alternate plans.
We have decided to avoid Carlsbad completely and head to Deming on Wednesday, followed by a former KOA in Van Horn Texas on Thursday, then we will hit Monahans Sandhills state park on Friday. Both Van Horn and Monahans have been booked, just in case. We will spend the week in Ranger and then head to east Texas.
This shuffling should move our home return date a couple of days earlier unless we have to do further shuffling!
It's comfortable here in Tucson, we did some shopping and Suzette loaded up on more books at Barnes & Noble, life is good.
A couple of site pictures:
We got a corner back in site with grass on both sides, this view shows the side that the public sees:
Murdoch is enjoying the grass, it's cool after the sprinklers water it, and he gets to see all the dogs walking on the other piece of grass! That's a grapefruit tree on the lot.
Friday March 3, 2017
Back to Yuma
As much as we didn't want to, we left the Springs on Wednesday March first and we have been here in Yuma since then. We had planned to leave tomorrow (Saturday) but the Tuscon Lazy Days KOA is booked, so we will move over there on Sunday.
As usual, we really enjoyed or stay in Borrego and Mary and Linda, Suzette's dog park friends were great in providing some interesting outings. Murdoch is really missing Lucy, he has been very quiet (almost depressed) since we arrived here. We will also miss Ed and Karen and our lunches together, as well as Ozzie and Jane and the rest of the great group of people there.
We had quite a rainstorm on the Monday before we left (Julian up the hill had about 5 inches of rain), the hills had quite a covering of snow, the most we've seen in our stays at Borrego. The drought seems to have stopped, but commentators indicate that a lot of the rain washed away into the ocean:
We look forward to the slow return home!
Saturday February 11, 2017
Non - Eclipse!
We were invited as part of Suzette's "dog park group" to drive into the desert to see the lunar eclipse, which happened (behind the clouds!). Linda and Mary did a great job of arranging the get together and our neighbour Paul and his wife kindly took us along in their 4 door Jeep, better than a test drive as we were able to enjoy the comfort of the rear seats and the smoother ride than Suzette's Jeep, it even had electric side wondows! There might be one of these in our future!
The ride into the desert was smooth, Al was concerned about taking the truck, but it would not have been a problem.
A couple of pictures:
Some views looking down toward Borrego Springs:
Folks brought along some appies and liquid refreshments and we had a great time! Thanks Mary and Linda!
We are heading toward the end of our stay here, about 3 weeks until we start the trek towards home, We've really enjoyed the time here!
Friday January 27, 2017
Enjoying the Winter
We have been enjoying the winter here. We've had a few "indoor days" as a result of the drought ending (almost) winter here and it's been cooler in the south west than normal but we are not complaining. The indoor days give us an opportunity (excuse!) to grab some meals at the local restaurants.
Over the past week we had a few rainy days and Murdoch took an opportunity to do some digging, but the ground was so wet that he did a "great" job!
This is what he looked like after:
He got his first hose down of the winter here, and will probably get another one before we leave in March.
With the rain, the hills around us are topped up with snow. USA communications, the local cable internet provider was a casualty of the snow in the mountains, They have a dish complex at Toro peak, which is west of the Palm Springs/Indio area. The internet was down for 3 days, fortunately with our satellite internet and the AT&T hot spot we were still active, but AT&T was slow as folks and businesses moved over during the outage.
The local newspaper, the Borrego Sun (http://www.borregosun.com), delayed their print run because they couldn't send the paper to the press for publishing.
The newspaper came out today with a few pictures of the snow at Toro peak:
Sorry for the blur, that's the tower:
These are the dishes on the tower, no wonder they had problems!
They had to wait for better weather to deploy a helicopter to get to the site:
It was a hassle for the newspaper but they posted this:
So California is getting some snow, but fortunately not here!
Friday January 13, 2017
This and That!
We haven't posted in a while, we are enjoying our stay here.
A couple of pictures to show what's happening:
We had another full moon a couple of nights ago (it's still full on Friday the Thirteenth!):
Another rain day today, the drought definitely seems to be paused!
There is snow on the peaks and some snow and freezing rain in the hills.
The Roadrunners are plentiful, this guy doesn't seem to be too bothered by Murdoch:
There must be a bug or lizard near that rock!
Thursday December 22, 2016
California Drought Over??
Well,not quite, but we have received significant rain here over the past couple of days and more is expected. Probably about an inch overnight, the heaviest rain we've seen in our stays here.
Lots of water around this morning, our friends Linda and Mary are off to Brawley to shop, hopefully there won't be too many washouts on their way there.
Some pictures of the campground:
That's a puddle on the edge of the fairway:
No, not water leaking around the pedestal, just a puddle:
The hills obscured by the clouds:
The site across the road:
Just for fun, during better weather we've been following the roadrunners as they trek around the park:
We look forward to some drier weather (we are spoiled!) and a great Christmas!
Wednesday December 14, 2016
A couple of Pictures
We've been taking a couple of night pictures over the past few days:
Some Laser lighting to celebrate the Christmas season!
We had a super moon a couple of nights ago:
Our neighbour down the line is intent on winning the Christmas decorations contest!
Tuesday December 13, 2016
All's Quiet Here!
We are really enjoying our time here, the resort and the town are very quiet, quieter than we've ever seen it in our years spent here. Not exactly sure why, with the US economy in good shape it should be a bit busier even this early in the season. Even Suzette's dog park friend Carlee was told that she wasn't needed to work at the hardware store this morning because it was so quiet there. Carlee is working there to keep busy so it's not a problem for her, but the local businesses must be suffering a bit. Today we will try a wood fired pizza for supper, we will see how busy it is in town and how the pizza compares to the other place in town.
Murdoch is getting plenty of exercise at the dog park but we took him for a walk this morning:
You can tell how quiet the park is here! That's the nose sticking out on our Redwood in the distance.
The view of the empty sites across from us:
At least the roadrunners are plentiful and are frequent visitors:
Sunday December 4, 2016
Settling in for the winter in California!
We arrived here at the Springs at Borrego in Borrego Springs California last Thursday, we've been setting up and are (almost!) complete.Suzette chose a couple of nice potted plants at the local nursery and almost everything else is in-place. This trip has been interesting, after the problem with the surge guard, Al left the water softener at the site in Yuma. Fortunately no one took it and Al drove back to Yuma on Friday to pick it up, much less $$ in diesel fuel than the cost of a new softener.
Lots of changes this year here at the park, Red, the gentleman on the end of the row who celebrated his 80th birthday here last season isn't here because of health issues, Pat and Greg (Pat, the lady that did all the cooking for special events who suffered a stroke last winter) will be returning later but only as campers. Donna, who was a couple of sites down from us, suffered a back injury and her and her husband won't be returning this winter.
As usual, it's pretty quiet this month but it's sunny and warm during the days so we are enjoying the stay. We had lunch in town yesterday and we look forward to exploring the shops and the area. Al is looking forward to a pizza from the new wood fired pizza place that only opened after we left last spring.
A couple of initial pictures:
The plants and sculptures are out, that's Ozzie and Jane's Redwood beside us:
The fairways aren't quite as green as last year but the sides are greener, the water application has been optimized as a result of the drought:
We've seen our first Roadrunner and an owl was on the internet repeater pole beside us this morning, hooting at Al and Murdoch as Murdoch took their first walk, so nature is all around, no coyote howls as of yet though!
Wednesday November 30, 2016
In Yuma, heading for California
We have been here for 3 nights already (and are guilty of not posting!), we skipped Picacho Peak state park after Tucson and we arrived here on Sunday.
We have been stocking up on food and refilling the propane tank. While we haven't had any real "disasters" with the RV, we had a couple of cupboard door latches that failed and the Lazy Days parts store in Tucson had spares (they are a Redwood dealer), we also got a window latch to replace the one that failed last spring. One thing that happened during our stay (that Al only discovered when packing up) was that we had a bad connection on the 50 amp plug that connects the trailer to the surge guard, the heat cause by resistance burned up both the plugs, the local RV dealer here in Yuma had replacement parts but the surge guard cannot be repaired (long story, these units aren't made to be opened up even with "no tamper" screwdrivers, there are pounds of silicone sealant inside to protect the guts from water. After 2 hours of attempts to fix the unit today Al gave up, looks like a new one (at $200+) is in our future. At least with the main RV cord fixed we have 50 amp service, but running without a surge guard is a bit risky if thunderstorms are in the area.
It's been cool and breezy, half our days have been "indoor days" as a result, but it's been sunny. We made the mistake of parking the RV so that the patio is in the shade, if we were turned around with the door facing south we would be much warmer, our neighbour did just that today.
A couple of pictures. The park is at normal occupancy levels but we picked a site by ourselves to give Murdoch some freedom:
In this shot Suzette is hiding behind the tree!
Al caught Suzette this time but she is in the shade:
We look forward to hitting Borrego tomorrow!
Tuesday November 22, 2016
In Tucson over the US Thanksgiving
We arrived here just after lunch after a night in Deming NM (the drive from Carlsbad was good and we decided to drive a bit further instead of stopping in Las Cruces).
We plan to stay here until Sunday when we head west again.
The pace here is busy, and we expect more campers as Thanksgiving approaches, but it's a comfortable spot.
Our Site, with a lemon tree that's full of lemons for the picking:
As you can see from the electric wires in the background, we are close to downtown! We will do some last minute grocery shopping tomorrow for the Thanksgiving meal.
Sunday November 20, 2016
In Carlsbad New Mexico
Today is our third day here, after we spent nights in Monahans and in Ranger Texas. The weather has turned cool, overnight it's been around -5C and when it's windy during the day we have been indoors, but the sun has been out so it's not bad.
Murdoch has been enjoying the dog park and loves eating the rabbit "pellets" left behind by the large number of rabbits here! It will keep him regular!
We didn't get a patio site which, with the cool weather, we wouldn't have used much anyway:
Tomorrow we are off to Las Cruces for a night then we spend the Thanksgiving period at the Lazy Days KOA in Tucson.
Monday November 14, 2016
What a Difference a Year Makes!
We are in Lake Bob Sandlin state park in east Texas near Mt Pleasant. We got here today after staying a night in West Arkansas at De Gray Lake state park. We have been without sat TV for 4 nights (we were in the trees!) and we had to rely on recorded programs on the satellite receiver and the new (to us) Star Trek movie on DVD. We did have local programs In Village Creek though.
It amazing how different the weather is compared to last fall on the trip down. West Arkansas didn't look any greener than the east part of the state and it's no different here.
The following are two pictures for comparison:
This is what the site here in Bob Sandlin looked like last fall (I think we back out onto a tile field from the nearby comfort station):
Roughly the same view today, it's mid 20'sC:
The trees are dropping leaves, not sure if it's the fall drop or it's caused by the dry conditions.
We were in De Gray lake last night, we got a site near the water but in the trees (the owner of an almost new Redwood took our preferred site, but that was OK!)
A picture of the site, we didn't take the truck off the Redwood as we were only staying the night:
We stay here for 2 nights then we make the trek through Dallas/Fort Worth.
Friday November 11, 2016
In Village Creek State Park
We got here yesterday afternoon and we will be here over the weekend, we are leaving for west Arkansas on Sunday. Our normal preferred spots were taken so we tried a new one (#60) which is a back in site on a quiet loop. The bad news is that we are in the trees (no sat TV!) but we have 32 channels of local TV (and Suzette didn't miss Gray's Anatomy last night!). Today we went into Wynne Arkansas to shop and we picked up the latest Star Trek DVD just in case the local TV gets boring. Actually, the local news was more "quiet" about Donald Trump than what the Canadian news websites are.
A couple of shots of the campsite:
Although the site looks uneven, the concrete pad for the RV is dead level and we have full services, our back window looks out into the trees.
This is a view from the front, the trees are dropping their leaves (along with the acorns!). Fortunately, Murdoch has mostly resisted feasting on them like he did last year. The other thing that surprised us is that there is a camp fire ban here, we found out why by listening to the local news, there are drought conditions here in eastern Arkansas and in the Memphis area, they haven't had rain for weeks. That explains the great weather we've had on the road down here.
This morning Murdoch started barking and looking into the trees, we thought he was reacting to noises from the equestrian campground a hundred yards or so away. Not so, this is what got him excited:
Not 100% sure but it looks like an armadillo, it seems to have a hole under a nearby tree. It's tail has the same look as his back. We are keeping Murdoch at a distance!
Monday November 7, 2016
In Natchez Trace state park near Jackson Tennessee
We enjoyed our stay in Bowling Green, we replenished supplies and we got our fill of lobster and shrimp at Red Lobster.
We are in the state park here for 3 nights as Al has a phone meeting with the Redwood Owners group board of directors on Wednesday (if cell coverage works!). The temperatures are great, we changed into shorts and tee shirts!
Friday November 4, 2016
At the Bowling Green KOA
We arrived here early, before noon on central time. Murdoch will go through 2 time changes in 3 days, not looking forward to him waking us up on Sunday morning!
We lucked into (by accident!) a site that we wanted to try for a couple of years, it's by itself (no one beside us) and great for Murdoch!
This is what we look at from our patio:
It's been around 20C but a bit windy. We are here for the weekend.
Thursday November 3, 2016
In Columbus Indiana
Just a short post to show that we are still on the move, we've had great weather, even the rain has only come at night or after we have set up camp!
We will take a weekend in Bowling Green to re-stock and enjoy a bit of a break.
Wednesday November 2, 2016
Edsel Murphy is alive and living in Ontario!
We are on the road, we left yesterday morning and we crossed the border without any issues. The day before wasn't as easy though! Al parked the truck on the road in front of our place and put Suzette's Jeep to bed in the garage. When he went out to start the truck NOTHING happened. We have a very good local mechanic, he was called at 4:20 pm, he came over to boost the truck, the batteries were toast ( I guess six and a half years is longer than normal life for batts).
The mechanic called the local parts store and picked up 2 new batteries and they were installed immediately when the truck was taken to the garage! Great service!
So, a re-calibration of the radio frequencies and a couple of turns of the 4X4 knob were required (it was showing that it was in 4X4 high), all as a result of the attempts to re-start and the power loss when changing out the batts.
So, we got off just in time yesterday, before the tree guys came a half hour after we left to take down 2 pines that are close to the driveway (not a good idea to fell them with the RV 15 feet away!) and the road coverage is suspended on Suzette's Jeep, it wouldn't have been good to be without a vehicle while we waited for a truck repair.
Yesterday wasn't without "Murphy's involvement", the GPS went wonky, it showed a 12 hour run to Detroit! Not sure what happened but it's working today.
We stayed in Monroe Michigan last night after a quick run through customs and it was mid 20'sC yesterday, it's the same here today, jeans are a sign of being overdressed.
This was our site yesterday:
Today we are in the Fort Wayne KOA in Bluffton Indiana:
Suzette in the dog park with Murdoch
A view of the fall colours with our Redwood on the right
Tomorrow it's off to Columbus