Our Travels

Our retirement began February 3rd, 2006. This is an account of our travels. We hope you enjoy them. You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge the picture. Please leave a comment for us...we love to read them.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Installment #4, 2007

January 30, 2007

Thanks again to everyone that has sent us emails, left comments on our Blog and called (208-301-2060). We appreciate hearing from all of you. Remember, you can click on the pictures to see a large picture.

Quite a bit of time was spent getting VIN inspection (picture of Tony driving motorhome down Interstate 10 for VIN inspection), license plates, insurance, etc. for the new motorhome. Not sure if we are completely legal yet, but can plead ignorance if needed. Thanks Dennis/Jeanna and Mom for getting us what we needed back home.

The Big Tent opened with vendors for everything imaginable – from finger lights to ladders to window cleaners and on and on (a picture of the mass of people inside the tent). Our friends from Yuma came up for an afternoon – this called for another trip to the "best fish & chips in the USA". They came armed with two bottles of champagne to initiate the new motorhome but we decided to meet them again in Yuma for the celebration once we leave Quartzsite. Saw Elvis impersonator on top of an RV at the Main Event.

The Vietnam Wall arrived in Quartzsite for a two week stay (notice the blue sky). We took a picnic and watched it arrive with all the fanfare of motorcycles in front and behind. A couple of days later we went to the opening ceremonies and then Sharon worked a shift on the computers to help people find names on the wall (a volunteer position). It was quite an experience. Everyone wants to find a name on the wall. Often they couldn’t remember the right name or the right spelling. It was a challenge to find the correct name for everyone.

We are parked across from a 78 year old man, John. He paints murals on RVs and TV dishes. One morning we watched for a complete hour, the beginning to the end of a painting on the back of an RV. See the pictures.
We went down to Yuma (with Butch & Mary and met up with Penny & Arnie there), to go to the Arizona Swap Meet - another huge area of vendors selling almost anything you can think of from vegetables to jewelry to an electric scooter with the seat doubling as the lid of a cold drink cooler.

Last week it got warm enough to have a fire outside at Butch & Mary’s in the evening and another one last night at Tureda & Neil’s.

This week started off with Sharon going for a 20-minute ultralight flight and ending up being employed to take aerial pictures for the City of Quartzsite. That was an experience of a life time. This will give everyone a better idea of what Quartzsite is all about. Notice the two pointed fingers in the picture of the ultralight. These are two other ultralights in the air. Next pictures are aerial view of our motorhome (4 yellow dots), Butch & Mary’s motorhome (2 yellow dots). Then an aerial view of the Big Tent (1 yellow dot is Interstate 10) (2 yellow dots – Highway 95) (3 yellow dots where we are parked – just a little father to the left). Notice the white spots all over in the picture – these are RVers everywhere. Also an aerial view of the Vietnam Wall

We have had a lot of good times during the day and in the evening with Butch & Mary, Larry & Rollienna, Tureda & Neil. Jack & Jerri from Nampa came over for a visit also.

Cutest sign we have seen on back of a small car is "Be patient….I’m pushing a huge motorhome".

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Installment #3, 2007

January 21, 2007

Thanks to everyone who has sent us emails, left comments on our Blog and called. We appreciate hearing from everyone. Also, thanks for the “birthday wishes” to Tony.

1st picture is of the Wind Farm we saw in California on our way to Arizona. Hopefully, with the photos, you can double click on them and see a larger picture. Second picture is of an Arizona sunset.

After arriving in Quartzsite and getting settled into Hadlock’s RV park, we signed up for an internet service – it works half the time which is better than none, but very slow. We had to buy a tire for the motorhome – which should have been an indication of what is to come – anyone that has known Sharon for the past 40 years knows that she hates to buy tires.

We have spent a lot of time with our friends from Idaho who are down here – Butch & Mary, Larry & Rollienna, and Treda & Neil. Also visited Jack & Jerri from Nampa who Sharon hadn’t seen in over ten years. Took a trip to Yuma to see Penny & Arnie. They are close friends, newly retired, and trying out the “snowbirding” (travelling south for the winter).

We have sat around once with a campfire – but, imagine this, we are now waiting for it to get warm enough to build a fire. Unfortunately we have experienced the coldest weather that Quartzsite has seen for 17 years – freezing temperatures at night. It was cold enough to freeze the water hose outside – luckily we still had water in the motorhome tank to use. The rest of USA is now getting this weather and they are really suffering. But…to make us feel better…all contact with Moscow, Idaho, friends and relatives inform us that the snow and sub zero temperatures there are much worse than here.

In walking around all the vendors in Quartzsite (Tyson Wells - http://www.tysonwells.com/) http://www.desertusa.com/Cities/az/quartzite.html, Tony found a dash cover for the car he wanted – Sharon suggested it would be a good present for his birthday – an early birthday present – another mistake – it seems a much larger birthday present was in order later in the week.

We have ridden the bikes a little bit around. Had dinner at the Grubsteak….Tony was in heaven…he said it was just like the fish and chips and the Guiness in England.

We took a sidetrip to Mexico just southwest of Yuma http://www.greenandwhitesheet.com/wvdirectory/wvalgodo.phtml. This is Tony’s least favorite place to visit – Sharon, Butch & Mary just love watching Tony trying to escape all the children coming up to him to sell him something. Getting back across the border took a 40 minute line (or queue as the British say). All the way to the front of the line, we kept telling Tony he shouldn’t speak…easy to get into Mexico, but getting more difficult to get back to the U.S. Another side trip with Butch & Mary was to the London Bridge in Lake Havasu Landing for a boat ride to a California casino and back http://www.havasulanding.com/casino.html.

A 4/5th replica of the Vietnam Wall is coming to Quartzsite on January 24th. Sharon has volunteered to help people find some of the 55,000 names on the wall with their computer.

And now, for the biggest news. We have purchased a new motorhome. Happy 66th birthday, Tony!! Motorhome is two feet longer than previous one, a Class A (meaning it was designed and built as a motorhome instead of the class C we had which was a motorhome body on an extended pickup chassis), has two slide outs (one in living area, one in bedroom), automatic steps, two large TVs, a self-seeking satellite television dish, a pullout for the laptop in front on passenger side, and on and on but basically much more room than before and heavenly inside. We are now officially “SKI”ing (Spending The Kids’s inheritance – sorry kids).

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Installment #2, 2007

January 8, 2007

Thanks to everyone that has sent us emails and called. We appreciate hearing from everyone.
We begin this installment by letting everyone know we are trying to keep up a tradition of everyone we visit feeding us steak! A very nice steak dinner at the Los Altos Inn with Sharon’s cousin, Donna (a Physical Therapist at the local VA Hospital). We spent two days in the area with Donna. The morning we were going to continue south, we spent almost the whole morning trying to get the Wi-Fi to work so we could send the Installment #1. We finally had to call Verizon. The tech support person literally took over our wireless laptop to find out what the problem was – amazing what they can do!! – only to find out it was the ISP at the RV campsite. Once we moved on, everything was OK.

As we were driving that day, we made a stop at the Santa Cruz boardwalk – not a good choice, since the boardwalk was closed for repairs and the on-ramp to Highway 101 was also closed for repairs – a small five mile detour to get back on 101. We saw fields and fields of lettuce and artichokes – seemed we were in the area known as the "salad bowl of the U.S"; also went through Castroville which is the artichoke capitol of the world. We stopped off by the ocean and a huge marina. We spent the night in San Luis Obispo across from a high school. The next morning we took a mile long walk to Apple Farm

(a very classy lodging, restaurant, gift shop and mill house – where there was a 14 foot wheel to harness the water to provide power to press cider, grind wheat, and make old fashioned ice cream (http://www.applefarm.com/).

Next we headed for Solvang, CA (a Danish town). We saw an ostrich farm along the way.
In Solvang we saw windmills, clogs in shoe stores, very expensive glass vases from Czech Republic (http://www.zfolio.com/) and much, much more. Next stop was America’s largest orchid farm (Gallup and Stribling (http://www.americanorchids.com/) – we never knew there were so many different varieties of orchids. Stopped along the ocean for pictures of the oil rigs far out in the ocean, and ended up at a Wal-Mart in Oxnard for an overnight stay.

Next day our destination was the Crystal Cathedral south of Los Angeles in Garden Grove (Reverend Schuller’s church)(http://www.crystalcathedral.org/). What a sight to see with the organ playing music the whole time we were there, statutes everywhere, as well as water fountains and perfect landscaping.

Arriving at the Crystal Cathedral was quite an experience – there was a traffic jam on Interstate 5, signs up telling how many minutes to get how far (30 minutes for 12 miles was one – we don’t think it was accurate).

From the cathedral we drove back to see Rich & Luci and family in Alhambra, CA – they kept up the "steak" tradition and BBQed steaks on the grill with fresh home-made bread and real butter! We stayed there until later in the evening so only drove five miles down the road to a Sam’s Club parking lot. Left in the morning headed for Quartzsite, AZ with the idea that we will stay in an RV park there for long enough to rest up and regroup.
Interesting sights we saw along our last few days’ drive

  • Stretch Hummer Limo

  • Hummer pick-up

  • License plate "I love cakes" with "love" being a heart

  • Log cabin (huge) right along Interstate 5 with a roof that was made to look like it was covered with snow.

  • About 30 motocycles riding in a group on Interstate 10

  • Thousands of wind generators near Palm Springs – a huge "wind farm"

  • Full-sized billboard "Gerald ‘Our’ Ford" "1913-2006

  • Going up the pass there were 9 stops where you could fill your radiator with water

  • Started at 0 elevation and went straight up to 1500 feet, and then saw a sign that read "17 more miles to summit"

  • Sign at bottom of climb "turn off air conditioner next 10 miles"

  • Electric recharge for electric automobiles all over southern California
Temperature where we are now is about 73 degrees during the day and we hear it is snowing in Moscow, Idaho.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

January 2, 2007

Our first blog of this trip is after 5 days of travel through 4 states – Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California.

Our last job at home was to make the call to cancel our phone. As soon as I got off the phone and handed the phone to Tony so he could call his brother before we began this trip, the phone was no longer in service, so………we left Moscow. We plugged in every electronic piece of equipment we had – and as if that wasn’t enough we stopped at Wal-Mart in Pasco to buy an indoor/outdoor thermometer (wanted to watch the daily high and low temperatures rise as we travelled south). You can imagine the wires we have with a laptop, inverters, battery chargers, cell phone chargers and booster antennae, Wi-Fi booster, and GPS attached to MS streets & trips as well as the external drive when needed.

Our first "tour" stop was at the Stone Henge replica in Maryhill WA.

Since we had seen the real Stone Henge in England and the infamous "Car Henge" in Alliance….this seemed an appropriate place to take our first "trip" pictures.

As we drove, we saw all the Christmas decorations still up around the countryside, and most of the flags at half mast in honor of Gerald Ford’s passing.

Next "picture" stop was at Multnomah Falls – the 2nd highest year around falls in the nation. As we anticipated, we stayed in the Redwoods (http://www.deancreekresort.com/) for New Year’s Eve after a stop on the Pacific Ocean to walk along the beach and a short drive through the "Avenue of the Giants".

New Year’s Day we made a few stops (the "one log tree house" and the "grandfather redwood tree") before arriving in Santa Rosa to see Bev (Tony’s cousin) & Tim where Bev works – Safari West (http://www.safariwest.com)/. It has been said by people going on an African Safari that they see more African animals at Safari West in two hours than they did in Africa in two weeks. Tim & Sharon rode in the back of the pickup on hay bales for more open, better views and picture taking. Tony and Bev in the front with Bev driving. We saw elands, giraffes, gazelles, ostriches, limas – all VERY up close. Because the pickup we were riding in was the one that delivers feed to the animals, they were more than happy to see us arrive.

We took a scenic drive around San Pablo Bay and San Francisco Bay before getting to the Golden Gate Bridge. Because of this drive, we didn’t find a place to stay for the night – so we pulled into a high school parking lot – the San Rafael High School – home of the "dogs" with a sign going into the football field "no dogs allowed". Sunrise (picture) we saw at this parking lot was amazing.

Wireless mouse not working correctly and seemed to be disorientated this morning for Sharon with the laptap – rebooted computer – Tony mentioned that if Sharon turned the mouse around it would work – thought I might as well include this story, since Tony will tell everyone later anyway.

Going across the Golden Gate Bridge was an experience – I was prepared with money in case it was a toll road – surprised it was $10.00 – but prepared anyway. Tony wasn’t prepared for the "motorhomes go to wide lanes" at the toll gates – we were lucky to see the sign in time to stop and look for the "wide lanes". After getting over to the right "wide"lane, paying the fee, and getting going again, we missed the highway – which put is right in the middle of downtown San Francisco – and how happy do you think Tony was for that drive.

We kept on going through the streets and drove to Mountain View – we had read that Mountain View was "wired". Google is located here and they have made Wi-Fi free and possible everywhere. We drove to Wal-mart, got on-line and located the only RV park within miles, back up the road about 10 miles. RV park host was very friendly – told us how we could travel the USA and work along the way through workamper.com – maybe another when the gas goes up just a little higher.

We took a drive in the car before meeting Sharon’s cousin (Donna) – wound up at a small 1850s museum (http://www.sanmateocountyhistory.com/) . Interesting place with a dentist drill (cable controlled from a foot pedal) – also saw the oldest sewing machine we had ever seen. Spent the evening out to dinner with Donna at the Los Altos Inn.

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