Tuesday, April 23, 2013


It’s been a long dry spell since my last post.  I didn’t want to bore everyone with our numerous trips to Salmon Arm doing all the little things that need to be done when we’re here.   We did have a high spot yesterday helping our daughter celebrate her birthday.  We bought take out Thai food which was tasty.  Aileen had made a gluten free cake which was very tasty.  I’ve used the hot tub twice at Bev’s and Aileen had enjoyed two baths in her full size tub.  Our motor home tub is too small for anything but showers.  I think that is still the main thing we miss from our last house.  We had a two person tub and used it most nights as our little gathering spot.
Since I had some difficulty getting travel insurance this past winter because I hadn’t had a medical in a couple years, I had the doctor give me the full treatment last week.  Our regular doctor is in South Africa showing off the kids to the grandparents so we had a retired doctor who was very nice to talk to.  I haven’t heard back on the blood work yet.
We took our taxes in last week and we’ll get the results Thursday.  That’s always depressing!   We are in need of new CPAP machines so we have started that process.  We went in for a consult last week and now have to send the quotes away for approval by our medical insurance providers. 
We are in the process of trying to put together a trip to Vancouver Island next month.   We have an invitation to a 50th anniversary party in Campbell River and Aileen is more than ready for some grandchild time with Georgia in Victoria.  We are just taking the car so it means more organizing than we normally have to do.
I’ve been doing a bit of geocaching.  I went to one today that was a little more of a hike and found out how out of shape I am.  I had been up to the White Lake Overlook five years ago with two of my brothers in law.  One was in to geocaching then while the other two of us have taken it up more recently.  With this cold weather we’ve been having, I was pleasantly surprised to see some Indian Paintbrush blooming up on the bluff.  While the view was pretty nice, the cold wind wasn’t, so I didn’t spend too long at the viewpoint.
Aileen gave me a much needed haircut yesterday morning.  She was in to her favourite hairdresser the other day for a good haircut.  She finds it a challenge getting a good cut while on the road.  Aileen has been enjoying renewing friendships with her church people as well as catching up with other friends.

A Panama licence plate isn't something you see very often.  Spotted this one in Mesa, AZ

I took Mitzy for a walk along the Salmon Arm waterfront on Sunday morning

The Salmon Arm wharf, a favourite walking spot

Jim saved this pile for us to burn

Aileen was gathering weeds for the fire

This is Little White Lake.  Salmon Arm is through the notch on the left between the blue mountains.  We are at the far end of the lake.

We are just to the left of the willow trees where the creek is leaving the lake but we're hiding behind the fir trees.  The Trans Canada Hwy is this side of the grain fields in the background

Indian Paintbrush

Almost beside the other plants, this paintbrush is much lighter in colour

Friday, April 12, 2013


We arrived back in the Shuswap yesterday afternoon after driving up from Penticton.  I’d washed the car in Penticton to get all the grit off from the snow zones we drove through.  Would you believe we had one section of about 3-4 kms where it rained enough to make the car dirty again?  Grrr!!!
We are parked at Jacquie and Jim’s in their nice RV pad with full hookups.  We went to town this morning and did a big whack of laundry at a laundromat.  I went to Telus and upgraded our cell phone minutes.  I also bought a Sierra Wireless Jetpack type air card/modem and retired our little single air card.  We got spoiled down south using the Verizon Jetpack where we could both be online at the same time.  Now we can again.  It creates much more harmony in the household, let me assure you.  The new aircard must have a much better antenna.  The old one could barely get three bars of 3G while the new one is giving us four bars of 4G, with both using the Wilson Sleek.  We couldn’t get a usable signal on the old air card without using the Sleek booster.
Maurice and Dian joined us and Jacquie and Jim tonight for a game of Sets followed by an introductory game of Spinner. Maurice won Sets and Jacquie was top in Spinner followed by Dian one point behind.
The weather makes me wish I was still in AZ.  Most of the day the temperature was only 3C and fairly wet.  At one point there were big fluffy snowflakes mixed with the rain.  
We got our mail from daughter Bev, our home base keeper, so now we have to get our income taxes done asap and get up to date with medical appointments etc.  There will be other items of business to attend to during our stay as well.  The motor home needs a good cleaning and everything emptied out of the basement and some unnecessary items sent to storage.  For some reason we seem to be bulging at the seams again.
No pictures this post.

Monday, April 8, 2013


We were on the road shortly after 8:30 heading for the border.  The road was very quiet, such a treat.  We were both nervous as usual but the young guy at the border was great.   He was very understanding about the replacement batteries and charge controller.   It was a pleasant experience. 
We got up above the snow line a couple times but the road was dry all the way except for the rain showers we drove through.  We did have a bit of sleet for one short stretch and very thick fog for a few kilometers.  We stopped at the rest stop in the trees on Anarchist Mtn and Mitzy had a ball playing in the new snow which I imagine fell yesterday.  We had our lunch there.  It was a pretty laid back ride all the way to Penticton.  Aileen called Karen for her address so she could put it in the GPS which simplified getting there.  The driveway was still good and clear so easy to back in.  I had to prune a few at the back right corner of the motor home to get far enough onto the lawn.
We went to Theo’s a nice Greek restaurant here in Penticton to celebrate our return home.  We are going to stay here for a few days and visit some friends before heading up to Salmon Arm.

Here's some pictures of a very happy pup who enjoys a few minutes in snow

Sunday, April 7, 2013


We were a little slower with our routine this morning.  It was about 9:20 when we hit the road.  We had to back track about 4 miles to get to the road I wanted then we groaned our way up the long hill.  We did pull in to the viewpoint overlooking Lewiston/Clarkston and there was a tiny bit of sun for a minute.  The pulp mill in Lewiston was pretty obnoxious yesterday as we approached Lewiston and this morning at the campsite.
We had terrible winds through most of the Palouse and at Steptoe, we unhooked the car and zipped up Steptoe Butte.  The wind was incredible all around the butte so most of my shots were taken out the window.  There were signs stating you needed an Evergreen Pass to access the butte.  I must investigate that since they don’t sell it there.
There was no wind at all going through Spokane but we did have lots of rain there as well as most other areas.  We had planned to stay at Panorama RV in Kettle Falls but what a dump!!  We are at Grandview RV Park just on the west end of Kettle Falls and have stayed here once before in a trailer and once in the motel part.  We managed to get set up and walk Mitzy without any rain.
We should be across the border into BC within an hour tomorrow morning.

The view out our front window at Catfish Junction RV Park.  The Snake River is just visible behind the pumphouse

Lewiston, Idaho on the left side of the Snake
River and Clarkston, Washington on the right.  No we did not drive the corkscrew road!

A few shots from Steptoe Butte

I was surprised to see these wind turbines, so much for the classic view in that direction!

Would that be the Devil's Tail?

Saturday, April 6, 2013


We hit the road about 8:15 Friday after our normal morning routine.  Mitzy and I walked by to see if the owl was visible but, he wasn’t.   We had nasty head or nearly head winds just about the whole day.  It made for tiring driving.  When we stopped for lunch at a rest area, I immediately dozed off for a few minutes.  I rested again after we ate.  
We arrived at Catfish Junction RV Park shortly after 3:30 Friday afternoon.  It seems to be very peaceful.  The hills across the Snake River have a delicate green blush to them.  There are train tracks across the river but we hardly hear the trains and the horn is faintly heard quite some distance further east so it isn’t obnoxious at all.  Aileen had an hour plus nap then prepared us a late supper. 
I got to looking at the map and thought it might be more interesting to go up through Lewiston/Clarkston and Spokane instead of the monotonous I-84 then Tri Cities to Osoyoos.   This way we can at least have a peek at the Palouse again.  It is about 150 kms longer but it will be nice to get off the freeway and maybe the wind won’t be as bad.
We had a nice quiet night!   If you happen to be driving along I-84 in eastern Oregon, I highly recommend Catfish Junction RV Park.  They are less than three miles from the freeway and very reasonably priced, $24 ($12 with Passport America) and have clean, free showers.  I don’t know if they have internet but our Verizon air card gave us 4G service.  We did hear some rain on the roof though.  We did our normal routine then hit the road about 8:30. 
The GPS lady got in a real snit today with the route I chose.  She spent nearly half the day trying to turn us back.  At one point, Aileen was agreeing with her when after a particularly heavy shower, we ran into slush on the road!   Fortunately, that turned out to be the high point and the road cleared within a mile or so.  US 95 in Idaho proved to be a nice diversion from the freeway.  While we did get some wind later in the day, it was easier to handle than on the freeway.  We did have a lot of elevation change though most of the grades weren’t too bad.  It’s just that there were a lot of them.  We saw some beautiful country, but would not likely do the trip again.
We made it to Clarkston, WA around 3 pm and are in Hillview RV Park.  Fortunately, they still had three spots left as I didn’t phone ahead and I would have been in trouble from the crew if there hadn’t been room.  The plan is to find a nice restaurant to have supper in a little while.  Tomorrow should see us back on the Canadian side of the border. 
We’re planning on spending some time in the Penticton area before wandering up to our home base in the Shuswap.   

Thursday, April 4, 2013


We were on the road about 8:30 this morning and arrived at Wells around 2:30.  We filled up with gas before finding the Mtn Shadows RV Park.  Shortly after we arrived, the power went out in the whole town.  Aileen was napping with her CPAP machine running and was rudely awakened starving for air.  She finished her nap using the inverter for power.  Highways #93 and 318 were a real treat to drive as they were the smoothest roads of our whole trip so far.   I-40 from Williams to Kingman takes the prize for most continuous rough road surface.  It is pretty disgraceful for an interstate freeway.
The only downside to the 93 and 318 roads is the maniac drivers.  I had to jam on the brakes yesterday and hit the shoulder to let an idiot in a big diesel pickup towing a toy hauler trailer avoid smearing a little car coming toward us.  He had to have seen the car before he pulled out but just kept coming.  I kept watching in the mirror expecting him to pull back in.  Today, we had a transport truck with a 40 foot trailer do the same thing with a motor cycle coming toward us with his lights on.
I went for a walk around the town after supper and stopped at a grocery just down the road for a jug of milk.  As I was coming out of the store, I heard an owl hoot.  After looking around, I found him perched in the end of a large sign.  I went home for my camera and hurried back to find he was still waiting patiently.  It was fairly difficult to get a picture as I was hand holding my 400 mm lens.  Since it was nearly dark (7:11 pm) I pushed my ISO all the way to 6400 which allowed me to shoot at 1/25 sec resting against a chain link fence. 
We plan to make it just over the Oregon border tomorrow. 
If you click on the picture to enlarge it you may be able to see the owl on the bottom right 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Well, the Alamo RV Park in Alamo, Nevada.  We pulled out of Williams shortly after 8 am and arrived here about 3 pm.  I was surprised the temperature was so high at about 27C.  It’s cooling down nicely tonight.  We stopped just past the new Hoover Dam Bridge for lunch and enjoyed seeing some little prickly pear cactus blooming.  Coming through Las Vegas was pretty easy.
Our plan is to stay in Wells, NV tomorrow night.  I imagine it will be cooler as it is 2,450 feet higher than here. 

The view down to Lake Mead from our lunch stop.  The Greasewood is flowering well also

Inhospitable looking ground but the Prickly Pear and Greasewood thrive in it

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


On Sunday we revisited Jerome.  There were six streets like this.  They appear to have laid flat stones many years ago to create the hard surface street.

The greeting committee

No, I didn't go in but I bet it would be interesting

We also revisited Sedona on Sunday.  This is Cathedral Peak

Cathedral Peak from along Oak Creek

Cathedral Peak from along the Red Rock Loop Road

We really enjoyed our week in the Verde Valley but it was time to move on.  Yesterday we moved up to Williams, AZ which only took a little over two hours.  We are in the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park which is a Passport America park so we only pay half price.  With the well below freezing temperatures at night, it is a bonus to have electricity to run the heaters.  It is also the gateway to the Grand Canyon.  After we got set up yesterday, Aileen suggested I head up to the Canyon while she had an extended rest.
The gate was busy when I arrived and I had about a fifteen minute wait to get through.  I spent my whole time using the shuttle to go out to Hermit’s Rest.  No private vehicles permitted March to November.  I was amazed how busy the shuttle was as it took me about half an hour in line to get on the first one.  You can get off at any stop then hop on another shuttle which usually comes along within fifteen minutes.  The lighting was pretty good for the most part so I was reasonably pleased with my photos.  It was nearly 8 pm when I made it home.
I had suggested we go out for supper so Aileen waited (and waited!) but while she waited she researched the local scene and suggested Rod’s Steakhouse.  It turned out to be an excellent choice and she had no ill effects overnight. 
Today, we headed back to the Canyon so Aileen could have another look.  The gate lineup was really bad today and took far longer to get through than yesterday.  We headed off to the east away from the maddening crowds.  It seemed nearly everyone headed for the village shopping and the Hermit’s Rest area.  Fine with us as we were able to park everywhere we went and some lots were mostly empty.  Unfortunately, the weather was not as good as yesterday but we did get some nice views.
Tomorrow we begin our trek north in earnest.  We plan to make it well past Las Vegas and if all goes well, we should be four nights on the road before crossing the border.
The Grand Canyon

Fascinating every time I see it