Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fantastic Views of Lake Botanie

After posting the blog yesterday, we made the decision not to go further north.   The BC visitor’s center checked on the highway conditions and the storm and told us it wasn’t advisable to go to Clearwater.  Too bad, we really wanted to meet up with Darrel and Sandy.

We walked around the town of Lytton.  Pretty small place and not much on the main street.   We walked over to the local market to see what we could find for fresh veggies.  Slim pickins, the potatoes were beyond use and the broccoli was pretty expensive.   We kind of figured that being such a small place.   We bought a couple of apples, onions, bananas and a small cut of meat we used in a great pasta dish we fixed for dinner. 

We took pictures of the mighty river that is now swollen causing the local ferry to shut down.   Yes, the rains continue to fall and it is time to move on.  They say the sun will start to shine this weekend and I hope it’s true. 

We decided to top off the gas tank at the same station where we were given good instructions on the Botanie Lake campground.   The same woman was there and we talked for quite a bit.   We told her we had just spotted a coyote.  She explained that it is a sign to slow down, either at the moment or in life.  Does she know me?   Then the talk about bears came up.   Everyone in the station store began telling stories about the real reason there is no trespassing; poachers.   Apparently poachers had killed four bears in the last two years and the bear is sacred.   Also, the fact that an elderly woman was eaten by a bear last year and that we should be on the lookout.  Sorry, no bear pictures but we did keep our eyes open.
The coyote that crossed our tracks.

With the rain we stopped by the video rental.   Most of the movies were outdated or we had seen some of them.   At $5 a rental we decided to move on.   We will find some RedBox rentals along the way.   There is no signal here at our site for radio either.   I have enjoyed tuning in to the CBC stations along the trip.   We are learning a lot about Canada from the people we meet, the things we read and listen to.  I will have to do a post about what we think of Canada.   Some of it is interesting to say the least.

Back up the mountain for a rest and then we took a hike to a place I thought I’d never see in person, Bontanie Lake.   It looks just like pictures I have seen since I was a child.   I’m really here and I am seeing some things I have never seen.  Pretty cool for an old dude.   We found a couple of fishermen there and continued on our hike around the lake.   Awesome is the only word I can use to describe it.   The same feelings I get at home when we go up in the mountains.   Kind of like the day trip we took with David and Kim to Juan’s old school house.
Evening came and we had our happy hour inside.  The temperature was dropping fast and with the wet air we stayed inside.   A nice pasta dinner and an old standby for a movie, Goldmember (Austin Powers), we got some good laughs and then went to bed watching a Golden Girls episode.   If people wonder sometimes where I get my lines and our private chuckles that get us some strange looks, it is mostly from SNL, Golden Girls, Three Stooges, Austin Powers, and Twilight Zone.

Off we go to Merritt for some eggs and milk at the local Wally World before heading to the Kentucky Alleyne Provincial Park.  It was below 0C this morning and when we left the lake it was 4C and 13C down below.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

We Got Lucky Twice (Long Post)

(On edit, we hear there is a storm and flooding in or near Clearwater.  We may detour to Derek and Teresa's.  I need to check the weather and reports.)

We got lucky twice.   Okay, maybe once and the other we did our homework and then got lucky.   We spent Monday night at the Cascade Casino.   After a short nap we went in to sign up for the rewards card.  They gave us $10 each to play with.   We like penny slots as they last longer.   Good thing about Canadian casinos is there is no smoking.  Makes for a nice environment.  I won $6.35!  Wow!  I guess I can buy a coffee at Starbuck’s with that.

A class C was parked next to us that night.  Yesterday morning I got cleaned up and stepped out of the trailer to “Buenos Dias!”.   The retired couple flies to Guadalajara every year and spends six months in Chapala.  They don’t use a car and walk or take the bus everywhere they go.  Very nice people and of course they love Mexico.

We walked into the downtown area of Langley in the morning.   Cute place with lots of small shops, bricked sidewalks and old-fashioned street lamps with lots of landscaping.   We needed to mail some things to the U.S. and found out that the post in many places, at least BC, are set in small shops and drug stores (correct me if I’ve got this concept wrong).  The shop we went to sold office supplies, had a small sandwich shop and the post.   As we have found so far of most Canadians, very friendly and helpful.

We also stopped at the Value store which is like a thrift shop.   Very expensive for thrift but I found a pair of jeans for $5.   In Texas they would cost $1.99.   We hitched up and said our goodbyes to the city of Langley and the Cascade Casino.

Another great thing about BC and we hope we find it throughout the provinces are the visitor’s centers. Here is a good story and one we wish we had taken a pic of.   The Langley visitor’s center is located in the events center on 200th St.   We had passed it coming in and I wanted a BC Forest Service guide.  I found their website a bit difficult to manage.   As we pulled into the convention or events center, we saw flags from all nations and people chatting out in front of the visitor’s center.   We parked and walked up and what did we see?  Four Mexican folk dancers posing for a picture.   Of course they were as happy to see us as we were of them and we had a great time in Spanish.   They immigrated to Canada and married Canadians and another was a Mexican couple who changed countries.   They miss Mexico mucho and I can understand.  The visitor’s center employee helped me find the two places I had on my list.  One is located here outside of Lytton where we are now.  BTW, they event we attended had food, snacks and coffee and they shared with us.   We each had a nice croissant.

Off we headed to Lytton up highway 1.   Gas Buddy has been working well for us and we pulled off in Mission where we found fuel for $1.37.  In Langley it was $1.52.  Quite a savings for checking on line.  A beautiful mountain drive past the Bridal Veil (?) Falls, Hell’s Gate and into Lytton.   While we were traveling the crockpot was cooking some delicious beans we would have later with our dinner.

In Lytton we stopped again at a visitor’s center.   The girl confirmed that we could stay at the forest service site 17 kms away at Botanie Creek.  They have three sites there for no fee and up far away from noise, cables and the city.  We followed her directions and stopped again to fuel up.  Here at the gas station I couldn’t get the pump to work.   A nice kid who was also buying gas offered to help me and we chatted for a few minutes.  Everyone stares at our license plates and stops to ask us.  Best of all, they wish us a very good time while we are in Canada.   The road that takes you up to the lake was right around the corner from the gas station.   We had realized while in town we were in a First Nation’s area.   As we entered the road there was the sign.  “No Trespassing Onto Reserve Land Without A Permit”.   We turned around and wondered why no one had told us.   300 meters back at the gas station we asked what we should do and a very helpful woman came out of the office.   She said to ignore the sign (she is first nation’s) it was an old dispute, don’t cross into private property and if we went to the lake which was about 500 meters away we would be on First Nation’s property.   She said we couldn’t miss the three sites as there is a small cabin for groups.   Up we went with some apprehension.   The road was paved for the first half and then changed to well-compacted what I call caliche.   Sure enough, we found it and as you can tell by the pictures it is a real jewel.  This site, by the way, is marked as motorhome friendly.  I would say nothing over 26ft if you wan to remain level and get back on the road.   The road itself though is very good.  We may disconnect and drive to town so we can post this blog, check our mail, take pictures of the river and buy some fresh produce.
The road that goes up to Botanie Creek Campground
Botanie Creek Campground (BC Forest Service)

Our site up in the woods.  Apart from the rain and cold, it's a great place to be.
Juan caught a picture of me through the window.   Nice and toasty inside.

We joked all night about what might happen while we were here but it was very quiet except for the birds singing in the trees.   We spent the evening reading and watched a DVD.  This morning it is very cold, about 5C and there is a light rain falling.   If it clears up we want to go for a hike staying within the forest service area.   This is what we are looking for and we have found it.  Let’s hope it continues this way.   That is why I said in the beginning it looks like we got lucky twice.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Taking a Rest

We made it to the ferry this morning after saying our goodbyes to Croft and Norma.  We had a blast at their house and now we need some down time.   We caught the ferry at 8:40 arriving about 40 minutes before.   We slept for a bit in the car before walking around on deck.
At the rv park in Vancouver, the Funfinder was waiting for us.  Before leaving we filled a propane tank, hooked up and headed for Langley.  I had sent an email to the Cascade Casino there and the person in customer care made arrangements for an overnight stay.  Worked out great.  We are in downtown Langley and there are lots of shops, things to see and do as well as the casino. 
We met another rver here who travels Mexico in the winter but flies down.   It was a great weekend and we are off now to find our way to Clearwater, BC to meet up with Darrell and Sandy, then to the Kentucky Alleyne Provencial Park to see Derek and Teresa before going to Kelowna with Colin and Contessa.  
After that, we will hit the road and make some miles looking for a place to stay for a week and do some exploring.   That's all for now.  We are Campbell River homesick.  We could stay there forever.  What a great place.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Island Dinner and Party

We took a stroll down to the local museum yesterday.   There is a small fishing boat in front and a machine that pulled down trees.  The parking lot was empty and no visitors inside so we passed on a tour.  We headed for the center of Campbell River and walked into the visitor's center.   They were so friendly and helpful.  They had an interesting push pin map on the wall.   Someone from Monterrey had been in Campbell River before us.  Not many Americans, but the European map was overloaded and no more room for pins.

They provided us with some maps of the Kamloops and Kelowna areas and we found some possible places to stay along the way.   Home Depot will be on our list of stops similar to Walmart overnighting but with wifi.  Sounds pretty good.   Everyone here is nice and very friendly.  

It has been raining off and on so when we returned back home we took a short nap.  Later on, Croft and Norma's on Brooks, his wife Linda and her mother Janice came over for dinner.  They had picked up some clams and scallops.   While we were having happy hour and a chat, Brooks' best friend called from up the street and had already made a big spread and invited us to come up; clams, huge shrimp, salmon, corn of the cob, cole slaw and more.   Jason has a hilltop house and the view is incredible.   We watched the cruise ships come and go as the sun went down.

We headed back to Croft's around 10:30 and we got into a deep discussion about everything and we stopped at 2 a.m.   We're up now and Brooks is fixing West Coast Bennies or eggs benedict with salmon.

We won't be going back to Vancouver today as we missed the boat and it is better to pay another day of storage on the rv.   We will head to Hope tomorrow on our way to Clearwater.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Ferry To Vancouver Island

I didn't post yesterday, we just got so engrossed in conversation with Croft and Norma that time flew by and we were ready for bed.  

We got up at 5 a.m., moved the rv to the storage section where we pay $18 a day and headed for the ferry.  Streets and Trips is doing a good job for us and we are almost through with the free trial.  I think we will pay for the full version and get a puck to use the gps.   We were number 15 in line for the ferry and hopped out of the car to get a coffee in the village.   Before we knew it, we were on the ferry sending an email to Croft to say we were good to go for lunch. 

We've only used the Galveston ferry with the rv so this was the big one.  It holds 300 cars, 12 semis and 1494 crew and passengers.   They have restaurants, shops, internet work stations and a pretty good wifi signal.    It pooped out about halfway through the crossing.  Once to the other side we followed the S&Ts to Croft and Norma's house.   All you do is take the coast highway and when entering Campbell River, look for the big rock!
Once we were settled in, we took off for the wharf and some fantastic fish and chips.   Dick's has the best and we did our share in eating up.   It's a little rainy here but this morning the sun is shining.  We may take a ferry to a nearby island for lunch.
Imagine sitting in your living room and watching the cruise ships go by.   Amazing views and this morning I will cross the street and go to the beach for some exercise.  Croft and Norma are very gracious hosts and every detail is taken care of.   It will be tough to beat when they come back to Mexico.
We like Vancouver and would like to do some touring there.   We will be looking for another place to stay.  I have started our route plan and we would like to jump up to Kamloops to visit Darrel and Sandy and then over to Kelowna to see Colin and Contessa.   I am finding some good boondocking spots already so it looks like we are in good shape.   Gas prices are a shocker but I think we are over it and we had expected it anyway.   We will be spreading out our trip so we can make 3 to 4 day stays in some places.  Canada is beautiful and the Canadians are very friendly.  I think this will be a wonderful summer.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Do You Know What The Border Agent Said?

She said, "Welcome to Canada".   Well, it wasn't quite that easy.  The crossing was easy, about 10 minutes taking the bridge from Blaine, Wa.   Then we had to wait in the office to be questioned.   After that, it was another hour before they did the rv inspection.  

There was another unexpected delay.  While we were waiting in the office 12 agents dropped what they were doing, drew their weapons and went running outside.  They had found someone hidden in a van along with two other people.  There was a scuffle, lots of screaming and thrashing before the woman was handcuffed and taken into an interrogation room.  

One of the final questions was "How much money can you access from your accounts for this trip?   We're loaded but we didn't let on (just kidding).   We told her and she said she would call us back again.  And she did.  She asked for the keys to the rv to do the inspection and verify our declaration.  They left the trailer a mess, kind of hocked my off.  

We are now at the Capilano River Rv Park for the night and then dropping the trailer in their storage area until our return on Sunday.  We made arrangements to pay today so we can leave early in the morning.  We want to take the 8:30 a.m.   If we miss it, the next one isn't until 10:40 a.m.

All in all it was a good day.  Good thing I had the opportunity to practice my Canadian with all of you who were in Mexico.  Everyone seems to understand me and I can understand them pretty well too :)

BTW, we missed the TC-1 and took the 99 North driving right through downtown Vancouver.  Wouldn't have missed for the world.   It was a relaxing and beautiful drive.   What a great welcome we have had.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Last Minute Details

We're now in Mount Vernon, Washington doing last minutes chores.   The SUV is clean and ready for inspection.  The Funfinder has been emptied of all its fresh foods.  We have eaten every veggie and fruit we had on board.   Tonight we had tomatoes, tostadas with salad and cheese.   In the car today we ate apples and bananas.   I know there is a list of what is good to go but I'd rather not deal with it. 
Tomorrow makes for a quick stop in Bellingham at Fred Meyer's for dry goods and then some inexpensive gas.   Yesterday we filled up for $3.69 and today was $3.89, still way under the usual $4.10 we see on along the highways.
There is a casino here and we are going to treat ourselves to an hour of gambling before hitting the sack.  I want to get an early start because we have some laundry to do when we get to Vancouver before taking the ferry on Thursday morning.
As soon as we arrive at the rv park in West Vancouver I will update the blog with the gory details of our Canadian border crossing.  :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Silverlake, Washington & Passport America

One of many hikes we took.  This one was a five-miler and we were up pretty high.  This is nature at its best.

We didn't like saying goodbye to my brother and SIL.  We had such a great time with them.  This makes our third trip together in the last four years.   I think we get along pretty well.  We spent last night on the coast of Oregon and had the opportunity to make several coastal stops and do some hiking before going to the state park.   Last night we had grilled salmon and rock fish with my homemade mac and cheese, salad and wine.   We finished the evening watching a silly SNL movie, "SuperStar".   

 Preparing for our time in Valle de Juarez to milk the cows (Tillamook Cheese Factory where we had some gooood ice cream)

This morning took us to the beach for quite a long walk looking for debris from the tsunami in Japan.  There haven't been any big storms recently so we didn't run into anything.   We headed back to our sites, said goodbye and off we went.  Good fun and good people.  

I had an issue with our U.S. cellphone the last week.  They ended up sending us a new SIM card to an rv park we will never return to.   I battled on the phone with them using my SIL's phone a couple of times.  I don't like using other people's stuff but we had no choice.  Thanks Michelle.   Today on our way to Silverlake, we stopped at a Safeway to see if they had phones.   A guy was there browsing the aisle of phones and said he knew a lot about them.   He pointed down to a phone display and said that we could buy a SIM and transfer everything from one to another.   I know nothing about U.S. phones but we did take some of his advice.  We ended up at a Fred Meyer's store and they had the cards.   We talked to the guy who worked there and he said, "get a new phone for $10 and transfer everything".  Sure enough, we bought the last $10 flip phone they had and called Net10.   We now have our 300 minutes transferred, a new phone, and we didn't need to drive back to a rotten rv park to get our new SIM card.

We had a relaxing drive, fixed a sandwich of Canadian bacon, garlic cheese from the Tillamook factory, stopped by the Mount Saint Helen's visitor's center for a few minutes an to take a look at the mountain then pulled into the rv park.  It's a Passport America park and the price was right.  We needed at site with good internet.  Tomorrow we need to attend a two-hour web meeting in Mexico City.   We need to unpack and clean the SUV and the trailer before crossing the border.   Everything has worked out just up to now.   We have a place to store the rv for $18 a night while we visit Croft and Norma, the phone works, I fixed my Skype problem and I won't get into that no thanks to Microsoft.  

Tomorrow we head for Bellingham to do as Croft has suggested and stock the larder before crossing into Canada.  Wow, can't believe we are almost there.  People are sending us their info to stop by for a visit and we will do just that.

A big thanks to my SIL Michelle.  She was able to put up with two Bauer boys for five days.  We hope to meet up with them in November for a weekend in Puerto Vallarta. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

In Newport Oregon and Heading North

Okay, so we have a few minutes here at McDonalds's before heading to the Chalet restaurant in Newport, Oregon for breakfast with my brother Steve and my SIL Michelle.   I haven't found the energy source that my brother uses but when I do I hope to reduce it so that he slows down.  Wow, he really moves.  We have done tide pooling, hiking, fishing is next.   This is really too much fun and I can tell you that we love the Oregon coast and will be back in a couple of years.

Making plans for our next day's adventure.

This is just one photo of 200 we have taken of the Oregon coastline.  It is truly amazing and there are state parks all along it.  We use tent sites at $19 a night and the solar continues to work well.   We have hit rain today for the first time.  We are heading north and our goal for today is Tillimook to visit the cheese factory and have some ice cream.  Even with the rain will do some exploring in tide pools and do some hiking.  The rain is stop and start and doesn't come down hard.

We are in cranberry country and have taken advantage of all the free sweet treats that lure tourists into the shops.  We have also had salt water taffy and surprisingly enough, the sugar-free is the best, it doesn't take out your fillings!   We gave in and bought some of our favorite chocolate yesterday at the wharf.  We had a fantastic seafood lunch at Ocean Local, I highly recommend it.  Michelle ordered crab cakes and they are the real thing.   Delicious.

Lighthouses are at every stop and this one is at Heceta.   We climbed to the top and took a tour.  Fantastic views.

We will be heading to Bellingham in a day or two to refresh and clean the trailer to get things ready for our Canada crossing.  Still a bit apprehensive.   I need to go through my mailboxes and collect addresses of everyone we want to stop and see and start giving some dates.  I feel bad we have kind of left Croft hanging on dates but it isn't easy.  I guess if we were full timers it would easier.   So, see all of you soon.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Oregon Coast

I haven't posted because we have been in Oregon state parks.  They are fantastic and you can have a primitive tent site for a good price.  We are with my brother from Idaho and my SIL.   We've been tide pooling, bird watching, hiking and having all around fun. 

We are continuing up the coast this morning and preparing for our crossing into Canada.   I may have found a park for in Vancouver where we can drop the trailer for $18 a night.  I need to contact Croft and Norma to see what days are good for them.

Pictures will follow.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Down The Hill From Lava Beds


We headed down the hill from Lava Beds yesterday about noon.  The snow and hail was coming down and my sister's rig was having more power issues.  I went to the visitor's center and asked about an rv park with full hookups and we found Eagle's Nest.   We drove down the hill about 30 minutes and found a wonderful rv park.   Very friendly people with a staff person from Guadalajara who speaks a little English and helped us park our rigs. 
We're under the pine trees and still getting good sunlight for the solar.  We spent the afternoon relaxing and in the evening my sister fixed lasagna with a salad and a great bottle of wine we brought over. 

Last night got down to below freezing but there was no more snow.   I woke up early and went for a three mile hike.  I followed a service road for about a mile and a half and found a place to sit down.  It was quiet and for a change there was no wind.   The birds were amazing, singing high up in the trees.   Deer came by, a group of about six walked past me.   A piliated woodpecker hacked away at the power pole overhead.  He glanced down at me a few times but was busy looking for some grub.

My sister and BIL took off for Tulelake for Sunday mass.  We opted out, I didn't feel like being in a car today and wanted to do some hiking.  They took a wrong turn and ended up near Medicine Lake and a dead end with a snow bank.  They met a friendly guy who got them back on track.   Best thing though, they got some great shots of the snow at the top.   They did some shopping and headed back to the rv park.
In the meantime, we went for an hour hike and took saw some great wild flowers as well as the woodpecker and more deer.  Afterwards, I did a workout with weights and got some sun.   A great nap followed and soon my sister was home.   We had a great mother's day dinner of pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy served with green beans.   My sister is a great cook and also makes some really awesome cookies.

Time for bed.  We are off for Glendale, Oregon in the morning.  We have some work to do.  I need to finish my paper and abstract for the national convention in Puebla in October.  We've had a great stay with my family and I hate moving on.  That's life and I am sure we will meet up again soon.  Thanks sis! 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Lava Beds National Monument

Got off to an early start yesterday and headed to California to the Lava Beds.   We made a stop in Susanville for breakfast.   I had checked on line for several restaurants the day before calling to see if they were open and what their menus were like.   Many have on line menus too which is a great thing about the internet.   Three of the places I called the phone number was out of service.  I found another that had reviews from rvers and that there were places for rv parking.   We pulled into Susanville and the Hart's was closed and out of business.  We went to Lumberjack's, which I highly recommend.  Service is okay but the food is great.   I asked about the other restaurants and I was told they had gone out of business.  I guess Susanville is suffering the economic downturn still.

Once we arrived we found some great primitive sites for $10 a night.   The park entrance fee is $10 also.   As you can see from the picture below, we picked a good one.   We made a pot of chili last night at my sister's place, had a drink and talked until 10 pm.  Off we went to bed only to wake up to snow.   It keeps coming and going and it's pretty cold out.   We are headed off to the caves this morning to do some exploring.  The caves were formed from lava tubes and one that we will visit has a cavern over 80 feet high.

There is an issue in the park with the White-nose Syndrome which is affecting the bat population to the tune of over 7 million killed so far.   As you register at the visitor's center you are given a short talk on the problem and then asked about where you have been.  This fungus was brought by a couple from Europe who had been exploring caves there.  Brought to the East coast of the U.S., it has now spread to the Midwest and they are trying to stop the spread.   The common bat here is the Mexican Free-Tailed.   We saw an oriole on our way to the visitor's center.   Yesterday many deer were along the Hwy 193 on our way up.   Truly exciting to see a herd of deer heading up the mountainside.
Me standing among the pines where we pulled over for a rest stop on our way.   We arrived to the park around 3 p.m., not bad considering we only drove 50 to 55 mph and stopped for breakfast.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Now We're On Our Way To Lava Beds

Packed up yesterday and waited for my BIL to pull around the fifth wheel.  He came down the street and I could see there was a problem with his brake controller.   Sure enough, no power to it.  We checked some things and determined we needed to take it to the shop.   We went down with them and the trailer in tow.  
We parked for a couple of hours, fixed lunch and took a nap.  Still no resolve.  We headed back home leaving their fiver behind.   At five o'clock it was ready.  
Today we are taking off stopping in Susanville, Ca.  for breakfast and then on to the Lava Beds for the weekend.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Visiting Family In Reno

We arrived in Reno around 2:30 in the afternoon on Monday.   We followed snow covered mountains all the way and as we went over the passes the wind really picked up.   The weather here is cold at night, cool and breezy during the day. 
It was great to see my BIL and sister.   They have a great retirement and also love to rv.   They bought a new fifth wheel a couple of years a go and I will post pics once we get on the road with them and they get it opened up.   For us it's a palace, three slideouts with a huge living room and residential bath.   We take off tomorrow with them to BLM land.
We've been parked out front on the street.   My BIL insists that there is no issue with neighbors or local police.  He put a small notice on the back of the trailer saying it was there temporarily and we would be leaving on Thursday.    There is a school across the street and it is a very quiet neighborhood.   We aren't hooked up and are using our Mr. Heater and the solar.  
Contessa wanted to know how we hookup the crockpot while traveling.   It sits in the kitchen sink and is connected and is connected to our little 400W inverter that is tied directly to the batteries.  We start the crockpot on high for a couple of hours and when we stop we put it on low until we get to our destination.   Meats turn out wonderfully.   We also do a pot of beans and we let them sock in the crockpot overnight.
This morning, Wednesday, Juan fixed a big Mexican breakfast.   We didn't have any tortillas so I found a small Mexican bakery about a mile away and bought them along with some pan dulce.  No lunch today. 
We are headed to Walmart to do some shopping.  Tomorrow we take off for Lava Beds Natl Monument for the weekend with my sister before heading Bandon, Or to rv with my brother Steve and SIL Michelle.   Can't wait to see them and their new rv.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Las Vegas to Tonapah

We're stopped here in Hawthorne, Nv.  for an internet tuneup and a cup of coffee.  We spent the night in Tonapah after leaving Las Vegas.  We took a drive down the strip yesterday morning to take some pictures.

If Les is reading this, here is a picture of our breakfast on Friday along with a great banana shake.  Really good, afterall, a driver needs to maintain his strength.   We didn't eat lunch and had a small dinner.

Planning our stops along the way is the most fun.  I had found two good spots outside of Tonapah for boondocking.  One was Miller's rest stop and the other was a BLM site.   The GPS cut out on us again and we lost signal.  Looks like we need a replacement but I want to talk to TomTom first to find out what is going on and to do another online download.  
We saw signs all the way for the Tonapah Station Casino.   With no GPS we pulled in there and a grouchy obese woman said, "all full" and spun around in her chair.   I asked again if there was another place nearby and she said, "DryLand", or at least that's what I thought.   I repeated it and she spun around in her chair again and yelled, "Joy Land".   Got it @#$%!  We headed over there and it was a gravel lot with some run down trailers and a sign with the rates.  It said to ring the bell.  I did and about five minutes later a guy comes across the road.  Looked just like one of the aliens in Men In Black,  overalls and a rifle.   He didn't understand us, maybe I had lapsed into Spanish but in the end he wouldn't accept $10 for primitive, it was $25 or nothing.  Creepy.
We headed back to the highway through town and ran across the Banc Casino and next to it was  free Rv Parking!   We asked at the casino and she said to stay as long as we wanted.   Done deal.  They have a Chinese restaurant so we decided to eat there.  It is closed on Sunday but she says it is the best Chinese in Nevada, owned by two guys, one from Las Vegas and the other from Los Angeles.


Tony the Chinese doorman said we could take a picture anyway.  Looks like a happy guy!

Spent a great evening after finding a Mexican restaurant and exchanging stories with the waiters from Oaxaca.   The food was good and way too much to eat.  We had a great walk after through the town.   There were five tractor-trailers in the lot when we got back and they were gone in the morning but we never heard a thing.  We watched a video we brought along called "Inequality For All" with Robert Reich.   Very interesting, some good some well, to be discussed. 
Got an early start this morning, I am anxious to see my sister and BIL, we will be there in a couple of hours.  I haven't seen them for five years.  She is making my favorite tonight for dinner after happy hour, crispy tacos.
Beautiful scenery today and we have been stopping to take pictures.   A future trip, and I have talked about it before, driving through the desert taking pictures of old rvs and mobile homes.  The desert really preserves them.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Made It To Vegas

We had a good trip today.   Juan made a great breakfast and I don't have the camera with me now but will post tonight or tomorrow.   We headed down the hill saying goodbye to the Grand Canyon.  We drove slow and sipped the gas so we could get to a place where we could find a decent price.  We stopped twice for small doses at $3.79 and $3.69 and when we arrived in Kingman we filled up at $3.43, much better than $4.49, that's over a $20 difference, good for two nights in a Passport America park.
We had a beautiful drive and the road to Las Vegas from Kingman made for excellent gas mileage, 14 mpg with a tailwind and pretty much flat ground.  Our TomTom pooped out and lost signal on the way into town.  We struggled for about ten minutes to find our way to the RoadRunner Rv Park but called and got some help. 
We have a nice pull-through site and all the hookups.  We did a major cleaning including vacuuming, dusting, and wiping everything down.  Too much dust but boy would I go back to Grand Canyon and stay in the forest for a few months.  We loved it there and it was very relaxing to say the least.
No casinos tonight though, I want a nice dinner and relax.  We may swim in the pool and have some wine before hitting the sack.  Tomorrow takes us to Tonapah and I have a BLM land site I want to check out.  If that doesn't work out, there is another PA park there along with some recommendations from my sister.  We are in her territory and they get around quite a bit in their rv. 
That's it for now, we are enjoying the trip, stopping when we see something of interest.  We stopped at Lake Mead for some pics and the visitor's center which was closed.  Closes at 4 p.m. on a Saturday?  Not very tourist friendly.   We had to pass an inspection point at the lake and the person in charge wanted to check the inside of the rv.   He said, " I don't know what you're cooking in the crockpot but it sure smells good".   Sounds like that makes a good diversion :)

Friday, May 2, 2014

More Park Adventures

Sorry no pics, the wifi isn't very hot here in the park.  :(

Finished up last night with an episode of Twilight Zone before hitting the sack.   Very cold last night, got down to -3C.   I woke up at 5:30 this morning because it was so cold.   I had left the heater on low and I didn’t put on the little fan for circulation.   I’ll make sure I do that tonight although they say it won’t be as cold. 

This morning we had some things to take care of and first on the list was laundry.   Not anything exciting to read about except for the way they manage the park and charge for things.   Laundry is laundry and sometimes it’s cheap and sometimes it’s not.  At Park Services at the Mather Campground it is $1.75 to wash and $1.00 to dry.  They have wifi in the laundry room but they wifi is $3.75 an hour.  You can walk across the street to Market Village and it is free.  

We purchased a bottle of wine at Albertson’s somewhere along the road for $5.99 and here at the Village Market the same bottle is $13.99.   What a rip off.  I worked in Sequoia Natl Park as a kid out of high school for the GSA.  I got how they work this.  The reasoning is multi-fold;  trucking in merchandise, employee housing and benefits, concession fees and taxes, well, the list goes on.  B.S.  There is a Mexican restaurant in Tusayan and we looked at the menu.  Enchiladas, a burrito supreme both served with beans and rice for a whopping $13.99.  We can make enchiladas for seven people for the price of one and I guarantee they are much much better!

Funny isn’t it, there is a Texaco station in Tusayan.   They have a big sign in front but they have forgotten to put the prices up.   Out of curiosity I pulled up to a pump to check the price, a whopping $4.49 a gallon.  However, in Valle just 20 miles south it is $3.99.   Don’t get me started on McDonald’s for wifi, it stank and there is senior coffee, a cup of joe goes for $1.99.  Yikes.   Needless to say, we gassed up in Flagstaff, have used the car very little, brought all our own groceries and we don’t buy souvenirs unless they come from the Dollar Store or Walmart.   

Oops, guess I got carried away but you get the idea.   Tourist trap!   We were having problems finding the cats at home on the cameras.  It rained last night in Monterrey and we were checking the views this morning.  No cats, or at least that’s what I thought.  What was a puddle of water on the pool deck was one of the cats.   We finally saw him running after something in the backyard.  We called the gardener and asked him to turn the patio furniture around because Little Bit sleeps out there during the day and we can check on him.

Did some scouting around in town, headed back for a great lunch.  We prepared chicken salad, tostadas, and we split a beer.   Lunch was outside in the great wilderness.  We listened to the trees for awhile and then took a good nap.  After, we went walking here in the forest hoping not to get too lost. 

Tonight it is one more sunset before going to bed early.  Tomorrow we head for Las Vegas and we will spend a little on an rv park.  I called Road Runner in Las Vegas, same place Croft and Norma stayed just a two weeks ago.  $16 a night.  We need to do some serious vacuuming and cleaning before we get to my sister’s house in Reno and we want to walk the Strip before going to bed.  Then it will be off to Tonapah, I found a good BLM site we want to check out.   We should arrive in Reno eary Monday afternoon.  My sis is fixing crispy tacos and lots of conversation.