R.O.W. with Mick and Chick

(Retire Our Way) with Mick and Chick

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Getting Our Vitamin Sea

 

We spent the Winter in paradise, you know… Phoenix, AZ.  Our sticks and bricks home has been lonely for us the previous 18 months, every since Mick retired.  We were traveling all but ten weeks until this Winter (2017/2018).  Mick had cataract surgery scheduled for This Winter and we had a two week cruise lined up for the Spring of 2018.  We decided to lay low and enjoy our home and we hoped to plan a few small trips with Sugar and maybe a trip or two to Vegas until the surgeries were over.  Mick is a huge college football fan and loves the Saturday’s in the Fall and the bowl games starting in mid December and run until the Campionship game in early January.

We won’t spend a lot of time on the cataract surgeries; but, they didn’t go as planned.  Mick did the mono vision and the plan was not to need glasses.  The bottom line is both eyes healed with near sighted vision.  So, Mick still needs to wear glasses.  The good news is… he use to have coke bottle bottoms for glasses with horrible far sighted vision.  Now he has near sighted vision and doesn’t need glasses around the house or the RV.  Really only needs them to drive so street signs aren’t blurry.  But, it’s still a disappointment to need glasses.  As Mick says, he would not have done mono vision if he knew he would end up with glasses.  Oh well, it’s how you adjust to plan B that matters in life… right?

VITAMIN SEA

Have we ever said, we love to cruise?  Yep, we could probably live on a cruise ship. We always wanted to cruise thru the Panama Canal and have tours of the Central America countries.  We own a partial interest in a condo in Costa Rica (no it is not a timeshare).  We have flown to Costa Rica and driven around the country but not the other  Central American countries.

This was our itinerary.  It was a good mixture of old ports and new stops we have not seen.

The photos below are from Guatemala…

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COSTA RICA

We do like Ticos.  That’s what they call Costa Rican’s.  They are very friendly and 95% speak English.  Their second currency is the US Dollar.  The Dollar is the only currency in Panama.  In a survey a few years ago, Ticos were voted the second friendliest in the World.  Sorry, we don’t know who was number one.  Here are some photos from Costa Rica…

What sport do you think they watch in a Sports Bar…?

THE PANAMA CANAL

We were lucky and were allowed to travel thru the “old canal”.  If you are expecting “action”, forget it.  The ship literally crawls thru the canal.  It took eight hours… The old canal runs parallel with the new canal.  Watching the ship move thru the canal is like watching paint dry… You could walk beside the ship quicker than it moves. With that said, it is very interesting and worth seeing at least once in your life.

CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA

We thought the least favorite stop would be Cartagena, Colombia.  After all…. who would want to see Colombia?  Wow, we’re we blown away.  It looked like Miami with all the Hotels and condos along the coast.  If you ever have a chance to go, it is well worth the trip.

We took the tour of the old town in horse buggies and absolutely loved it….

THE WORLD CRUISE SHIP

We mentioned if we had the money we would love to cruise full time.  When we got back to port from our Old Town tour, the cruise ship called The World had docked next to our ship.  You need to Google The World, it is condos that you buy for one million $$’s plus.  We think they go up to Fifteen Million or so.  It is a condo association and the owners vote each year on what ports they want to travel too.  Of course the owners are busy people and they fly in and out of major ports to get on or off for however long they want to travel and stay on the ship.  Yes, they can let friends, relatives use their condo.

SOUTH MIAMI BEACH

We disembarked at Tampa and drove our rental car to Orlando for a week and then a week at Miami Beach.  We stayed in Orlando in a last minute deal thru RCI.  Orlando was over built with timeshares and you can always get a last minute deal for around $40 a night or $280 for a week.

We went onto to South Miami Beach and stayed at an Art Deco Timeshare thru Hilton Grand Vacation Club using our HGVC points.  We show a day and night photo of the building.  We were just down the street from where Gianni Versace was murdered in front of his home…

Directly across the street was the sidewalk for South Beach.  Very interesting area and fun to walk around…

BIG PINE KEY…

We drove down thru the Keys to Big Pine Key and visited Chicks cousin and spouse at their Class A in an RV Park.

There was still a lot of damage from Hurricane Irma…

NO NAME PUB

We had a fun time and great food at The No Name Pub on Big Pine Key.  We recommend it for good food at a reasonable price…

We did not drive to Key West on this trip.  We have been there many times in the past.  Everyone needs to see Key West.  It’s a major part of Americana and should be on your bucket list.  We flew back to Sugar and our S/B in Phoenix to plan our Summer in Tahoe.

THE TOP OF TAHOE

We have learned that RV’ing in the Summer months is completely different than RV’ing any other time of the year. When we RV, we really prefer not to make reservations.  Our preference is making up our mind as we roll along. That way we can change the direction we go… as we go. We try hard to stay on the highways not the Interstates and discover things as they come along. Not planning to far in advance and changing our mind as we go. For us, the high vacation months of June, July and August with the real peak season being July 1st thru August 15th, are not as much fun as the other times of the year. So, we try to enjoy the cooler weather in Tahoe and stay at The Ridge and let the young families have the RV parks and camp grounds during the hot vacation season. When the schools start back in session, we like to travel and hit the parks again.

We love spending the Summer months at the Top of Tahoe; or, as it is also known as… The Ridge at Tahoe.

Sunset from the Tahoe Ridge…

We love the mountains in Colorado, The Lake of the Ozark’s and the casinos in Las Vegas. The Ridge at Tahoe gives us a little of all three at one location:  the Sierra Mountains, Lake Tahoe and the casinos.

This year our timeshares started on June 3rd and had two weeks at the Ridge and then two weeks to travel in the RV. Then back to Tahoe on June 30th until the first weekend in August. We had more two bedroom units this year than we normally have. The problem with the time shares at The Ridge Are, we have to plan our vacation 24 months in advance. If you own one timeshare at the Ridge, you can reserve your week 23 months in advance. If you own two or more then you can set up your week 24 months in advance. So, we have to reserve our units two years in advance in order to get the weeks we want and the rooms that we want with the best view.  We have our Ridge timeshares for 2019 already cast in stone.

We loved being in the mountains the first two weeks of June. This was a first for us. During the past Winter, the Ridge received over 61 feet of snow. There was a lot of white on top, just like Mick and Chick, we have a lot of white on top.

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One day in early June this year, it snowed and accumulated just enough to hang around for half a day. It was fun to be in the mountains and watch it snow! We were a little concerned that Sugar would need to be winterized. But, lucky for us, it didn’t get that cold. Close but no cigar.

We have some beautiful pics we took of the Carson Valley that is on the East side of The Ridge.  In this photo, we were above the rainbow!

This year’s timeshares had a two week gap for the last two weeks in June. We made the rash decision to drive over to the Southern Oregon Coast to visit with John J, an old friend of Mick’s who owed us a 12 PAC of beer. Did we ever say that Mick likes college football? Well… John J. lost a bet two years ago and we promised that we would stop by and collect.

This seemed like a good time to do so. Mick might be good at college football but it doesn’t look like he is good at collecting bets. We drove from Tahoe to the Oregon coast and back just to collect a 12 Pac of beer? ? ? Who really won the bet? To be honest… the friendship means so much more than the payoff and we would collect that way every time.  We spent an hour or two laughing and telling stories; and, some might have even been true?

We found a couple of CG’s in Southern Oregon right on the coast. One we will gladly recommend (the video below) and one was OK but probably not  worth recommending.

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This is the River Side RV Park.

We got back to Tahoe and started our timeshares on June 30th and they ran thru August 5th. The July 4th week is always a sought after week for vacations and this year we were lucky and had two different, two bedroom units.

This is Mick, Chick, MaryAnn, Henrietta and Ike.

We had some really close, old friends come visit us and share the July 4th week. When we say “old” friends, we are not referring to their age. We have known these people since 1979 and we have been on many a vacation together. Ike and Henrietta & Jerry and Mary Ann. Jerry can no longer travel and is in a nursing home. We were lucky to have three out of four come spend the week. The six of us had rented a vacation home at the Tahoe Keys for the 4th of July, 25 years ago. So, that made this a special week, returning to the seen of the crime exactly 25 years later. How many people can say they went on vacation with some old friends exactly 25 years later to the same place?

Our grandson, Joey is going to college at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. We were asked to take his dorm furniture in our van from Phoenix, AZ to Nashville, Tennessee. When we left Tahoe we went back to Phoenix for a few days. Loaded Joey’s furniture and headed to Nashville.

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Lower Broadway Street in Nashville, TN.

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We were given a private tour of The Bradley Studios that produced hits by Patsey Cline, Red Foley, Brenda Lee, Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Roger Miller, George Jones and Tammy Wynette.

The fantastic news is… we were in Nashville the weekend before the solar eclipse. No one has ever accused us of being dumb. Yep, we stayed thru Tuesday so we could see the eclipse in the path of totality.

Mick and Chick have travelled the world but, have never been to Nashville. We loved it. Lots of things to do. Lots of nice homes to see. Lots of great restaurants.

This is the Batman Building and in the lower left is the Ryman Auditorium.

The American Pickers warehouse.

We saw something in Nashville that was amazing.  We had stopped for lunch at a Chick-fil-A and while we were eating it was pouring down rain.  We watched as a woman was trying to get in her car with a baby in a stroller.

The manager grabbed an umbrella and went out and helped her.

He then blocked traffic so she could pull out.  When we left Mick went over and told him, “You are my hero!”  That was above and beyond the call of duty and why Chick-fil-A has such large crowds.  They are famous for going out of their way to help people.  They offer that good old fashion “down home” Southern hospitality.  They say, “It was my pleasure, Sir”.

Nashville is a town that would be easy to make your home. Either as a S/B or a RV.

We left Nash and drove to North Central Arkansas for a week at another timeshare on a lake for one of their Last Minute Deals. It was at the Crown Point Resort at Crown Lake at Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas.

We had a very nice condo. In fact it was the nicest condo we have ever had on one of the Last Minute Deals. They only average about $40 a night, $280 for a week. Some “Last minute deals” are OK and some are dumps. We try hard not to stop at the dumps. The condos at The Crown Point Resort were very nice. You can see in the photos. It was a good week of not having to use the CG showers, etc… We got to relax in the condo and drive the van to a different neighboring town everyday.

We left Arkansas and headed to the Blue Springs Lake CG East of KC, MO. Mick and Chick both went to school and were raised in KC. Mick went to Rockhurst High School and Chick went to Van Horne High School.  We love going back and eating at some of the old places.

Yes, there is still a Mugs Up on 23rd Ave in Independence, MO.

A Little BBQ Joint in Independence, MO.  And we never miss eating at Hi Boys and In A Tub.

We stayed thru the Labor Day weekend and then drove to Gretna, NE to driveway camp with our daughter, son-in-law and four of our grandkids.

Mick and Chick had a fun time with our four grandkids in Gretna, NE and then headed home to Phoenix.

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Yep, that’s us driving down the Interstate listening to one of our favorite songs.  We normally do everything we can to avoid the Interstates but decided we had been gone from home a long time.  We calculated that we have only been home in Phoenix ten weeks in the past 17 months.  Mick has cataract surgery coming up in October and November.  We will then watch some college football bowl games in Vegas, go to the CES in Vegas in early January and then a two week cruise thru the Panama Canal the last of January.   So, we will be hanging around Arizona (Paradise) this Winter and enjoying our retirement!

 

WE LEFT OUR HEART IN SO MANY PLACES

CORPUS CHRISTI

We said good bye to Harlingen, Texas and headed to Corpus Christi. To be more exact, we headed to the island in the gulf just off Corpus Christi. It’s the northern part of South Padre Island. We referred to it as North Padre Island, which is incorrect but it sounds good since South Padre island is a lot farther South near Brownsville, Texas.

We caught up with Chick’s two cousins from Missouri.  They were fishing off shore.  Have a great video of cousin Ronnie cleaning their fish.  Look at our FB page, you’ll find the link.

We spent the night at Laguna Shore Village RV Park on the mainland.

Ronnie, Sharon, Harold and Leta were boondocking on the island. We would love to park with them but were having trouble with our two, eight month old AGM batteries. They couldn’t hold a charge more than one hour. Yes, you heard right.  Only eight month old and both are bad.  We would love to know if it was something we did wrong or a freak from Trojan.  We think we are good battery managers and never let them go below half.  I guess we will never know…  Later in this blog, you will hear Trojan made good and gave us two new batteries. All is well now, but in Corpus Christi we had to have a RV park to plug into shore power.

DALLAS, TEXAS

Next we drove to Dallas and driveway camped at Mick’s niece, Peggy’s home. Lucky for us her partner is a retired electrical engineer. He bought $50 worth of wire and a 30 amp plug and ran an extension out to our Roadtrek. After we left he reused the parts for another project. What a deal! ! ! It was hot enough to use our A/C and we had all the juice we needed.

DURANT, OKLAHOMA – Choctaw Casino

We left Texas going through Oklahoma and stopped at a Choctaw Casino KOA which is the number one KOA in the country. I took a lot of photos because you couldn’t believe this place. The bathrooms and showers were like an expensive Private Country Club. Yes, I wasn’t kidding, they are rated the number one KOA in the country! ! ! They are located at Durant, OK and worth the drive just to see this place.   Enjoy the photos…

BLUE SPRINGS LAKE

We were on storm watch and watched the storms throughout Texas and Oklahoma and successfully avoided anything serious. But, next we headed into Missouri and hit lots of rain. We still avoided anything serious but it was cold and rainy everyday. Poor Missouri was hit hard with floods while we were there. Lucky for us, not in our area. One night the storm blew all the new leaves off the tree directly behind us. Sugar looked like she had the measles…

GRETNA, NEBRASKA

We went to Nebraska and watched our grandson win two more State championships in wrestling. He’s an animal and had an unbelievable year. He went undefeated for the year and tied the Nebraska State Record with 42 pins.  We are proud of him! Wish him well in college wrestling.  They are visiting colleges now trying to decide which offer to accept.  It’s fun watching and listening to how the process works.

We have been conversing with Trojan batteries trying to get them to honor their warranty. We bought two 6 volt AGM batteries last August when we were on the coast in Lincoln, OR. We have been to two different RV repair shops and had copies of their tests that show both batteries are bad. Trojan insisted we have them tested by one of their distributors. So when we told them we were headed to Omaha, they sent us to one of their Master Distributors that is located in Omaha. They did their test on the batteries and agreed with the two test we had done by RC repair shops.  Hallelujah! Our Sugar Shack is well again and running on two strong AGM batteries.  Her heart is pumping strong again.   The only thing we are not happy with is the warranty on their two new batteries. They said the warranty of the two we bought last August applies to the two new batteries we just received. So these two new batteries are already into their warranty about ten months. That doesn’t seem right. I would think they should receive a brand new warranty. We really do not know if this is normal in the warranty business. If there is an expert in our group… please let us know with a post on our Facebook page, ROW With Mick And Chick.

We ate pizza at the number one pizza restaurant in the U.S., Johnny Sortino’s.  That’s our opinion but they do have signs up saying they are number in Omaha; and, that’s saying something because Omaha is the home of Godfather’s Pizza and Valentino’s.  Stop by sometime and eat their meat lover’s pizza.  We think they call it the Four Meat Pizza.  Ohhh, it is so good….

And… we ate the world’s best onion ring at Big Fred’s Restaurant.  Ok, ok, you are right….  That’s just our opinion.  But, you gotta understand, we eat onion rings everywhere we go.  Honestly, we have never had better tasting anywhere!  Try them yourselves and see if you don’t agree…

STROMSBURG, NEBRASKA

We left Omaha heading to Lake Tahoe for our Summer Timeshares. Our plan was to drive to the Reno airport and leave Sugar parked in long term parking while we flew to Phoenix for a grandson’s graduation. Omaha and Reno are both on I-80. But, we think driving on an interstate is like seeing the same four lanes, mile after mile with a lot of semi-trucks, mile after mile. So, again we looked at the map to see another way of going. Boy! Did we find one. First, we drove a little North of Omaha and found highway 92. We wanted to go thru some of the Sandhills of Nebraska where they have huge cattle ranches. We first discovered Stromsburg, NE that has a free RV park owned by the City. They are the Swede capital of Nebraska. An interesting town exactly what we try to find in our wandering around. We didn’t spend the night at their RV park because it was to early in the day; but, made note to remember for a future trip.

BOKEN BOW, NEBRASKA

We spent the night in Broken Bow, Nebraska at Tomahawk RV Park. Twenty dollars for full hook ups.  Broken Bow is another fun town to explore in Nebraska.

Here is a nice web page about Broken Bow… http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/nebraska/broken-bow-ne/

THE SANDHILLS OF NEBRASKA

One of the highlights of our trip occurred on Highway 92 somewhere between Broken Bow and Arthur. We had to slow down because there were a lot of black angus coming down the highway. We chatted with the ranchers wife and they were moving 1,300 head (just a part of their herd) to their Summer pasture. This was to many to move by trailer. So, they moved them down the highway. Both sides had fences and there was very little traffic. They spread out over two miles and we saw maybe five vehicles driving by slowly like we were. All were being very courteous. We counted maybe seven cowboys/cowgirls. This was exciting for us big city people. Something we don’t see everyday. Would you believe have never seen?  There is a nice video on our Facebook page…

LARAMIE, WYOMING

We dropped down to Highway 30 which ran parallel with I-80 to the Wyoming State line. Then when Highway 30 ended, we travelled to Laramie, Wyoming on I-80. The only stretch we were on Interstate for this trip. Well… you caught me, we did have to travel I-80 a few miles at the end going from Fallon, NV to Reno. Ha ha.  You guys are tough.

We loved Laramie and stayed at a KOA for one night. Laramie is the home for the University of Wyoming. In February, Mick watched a young man win the Nebraska State Championship in wrestling at the 285 pound level who also received a scholarship from The University of Wyoming for football. We met his parents and…. what a nice family! The match was one of the most exciting we have witnessed. He was almost pinned, on his back, when he miraculously flipped the boy that was on top onto his back and won by a pin. In just a few seconds and all in one motion. There was a second or two of stunned silence before everyone erupted in cheering. It was one of those… “what did we just see” moments? We watched the video later and still wondered, how did he do that? This is the heavy weights we were watching. Patrick was on his back and somehow dug deep down and thought, this is my championship to win, and I’m about to lose! I’m not going to let that happen! Then he flipped a heavy weight wrestler (who had beaten him before) off and onto his back, in one stunning movement. We still get chills reliving it in our mind.  We are going to watch your career in football at Wyoming.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, COLORADO

Steamboat Springs is one of those must see locations. It’s a big ski area in the Winter, but we love it in the Summer. Our timing in getting there was perfect. There was a mountain pass between Laramie, WY and Steamboat Springs, CO. The weather was predicting a little snow in our area overnight and up to two feet in Provo, Utah. When we went thru the mountain pass the outside temp had dropped from 36 to 26 and was spitting snow. Nothing was sticking to the pavement and we got thru the pass and down the hill back to 36 weather.  Whooooo. We felt fortunate

VERNAL, UTAH

We were rolling along, and spent the night in Dinosaur land at Vernal, Utah. This KOA is fantastic and Vernal is another fantastic town.   We highly recommend and would return in a heart beat. The owner is very nice and made sure we had a clear sky to the South for our satellite and put us close to the showers. We have never had this fast a wifi. Great park! ! !

DELTA, UTAH

Lucky us. We are ahead of the bad snow hitting Wyoming and Colorado. Drove thru some mountain passes today from Vernal, Utah to Delta, Utah with high winds, snow flurries and big drop offs along the edge. Questioned our decision of leaving Vernal today, a few times. OK maybe more than a few times. We could have stayed another night. But now watching the Weather Channel, it looks like we might have made the right decision and are ahead of the snow. We hope to be in Fallon, NV tomorrow and much warmer climate.

FALLON, NV

Woke up with snow on the Sugar Shack. She’s use to sand from Arizona not that white fluffy stuff that’s cold…

We drove 400 miles today in 8 hours. That’s a little more than our usual of 250. We wanted to get out of the nightly lows around 30 with snow flurries. We are in Fallon, NV with a low tonight of 40 and high tomorrow of 75. That’s ideal! ! ! We will be staying in the Reno area until Tuesday. Yeaaaaaa…

Our 400 mile drive was on “The Loneliest Drive in America” Highway 50 in Nevada. We only saw 17 vehicles going West the entire 400 miles. That’s an average of one vehicle every 23 miles. We thought this was our private road built just for us…

RENO, NV

We stayed in Reno at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino RV Park, or GSR for short. Nice park but needs work and charges too high a price for a casino. We understand it’s not an Indian Casino; but, still…. We did like that it was about a mile North of the Reno Airport. We parked Sugar at the long term parking at the airport and we flew back to Phoenix for our grandson’s HS graduation and Mick’s Ophthalmologists appointment. We found out Mick will need cataract surgery this Fall. We have been told this was coming for the last ten years.  We have put it off as long as possible knowing that cataract surgery has made vast improvements.  We got that scheduled then drove our small car back to Reno. We picked up Sugar and got her out of jail at the airport long term parking lot and drove both vehicles up to South Lake Tahoe to our timeshare. We will be here for two weeks then a two week break and then back to Tahoe from June 30th to August 6th. Our plans are to spend most Summers in Tahoe because the vacation months are very crowded to RV. Over the last few years RV sales have sky rocketed and there are many more RV’s on the road and not that many new RV parks. We will stay in Tahoe and enjoy the cool mountain air during the heavy vacation season then hit the road again in August…

A view from above a rainbow from our window at The Ridge at Lake Tahoe.

SENIOR SPRING BREAKERS

SHOULD WE GO “THE OBVIOUS WAY TO GO”?

We left Phoenix with the general thought of going to South Texas where the Winter Texans go.  We wanted to find out why Snow Birds go there instead of Arizona or Florida.

Looking at the map the obvious way to go was East on interstate 10 thru Tucson and then El Paso. But, we do not like to go “the obvious way to go” since we are retired and looking for fun and adventure and in no hurry. We love the Blue Roads, you know the two lane highways that go thru little towns where “Off The Beaten Path” stories take place. Where you can eat in a mom and pop local restaurant and ease drop on the local people talking about their day and their lives. If our GPS says it will take 3.5 hours from point A to point B, we figure it will take us 5 or 6 hours. We like to plan extra time not knowing when we will see something and take off in that direction. We might find a picnic table in a park and make sandwiches and chips and then take a nap. Believe me, this is quite a change after being a “type A” all our working lives and always in a hurry and hated to have anyone driving in front of us; or heaven forbid, pass us. We had to be in the lead. Now we look for a semi or something slow to get behind so they will get the blame for us driving slow. We always leave a nice big gap between our van and the semi, so if someone wants to pass they can pass, get in between and then pass the semi later. But, we are very content to lallygag and take our time and keep a sharp eye on the camera in back to make sure we are not holding up traffic. We pull over and let anyone and everyone go by as fast as they want. Doesn’t bother us because that use to be the way we drove and we understand.

Anyway… (back to looking at the map) we thought about taking the blue highways thru Safford, AZ but we would still end up on Interstate 10. So, we started looking a little farther North and thought, let’s go thru Show Low and stay at a nice State Park where we have been twice before and we loved. We could then go East on 60 thru Pie Town, NM another fun spot. Then past the Satellite Farm where the government is listening for Outer Space transmissions and then go to Roswell, NM where the spaceship crashed and the aliens invaded Earth and then later ran for President. Or, at least… that’s what some people think. After this last election and all the craziness… they might be right. Then we can find our way to San Antonio and down to the Rio Valley and South Padre Island where the “Seniors Spring Breakers” go and are called Winter Texans. With all of our travels over the last hundred years, Chick has never been to the Rio Valley. Mick went one time to visit his parents who were there for the Winter back in the ‘80s.  That was so long ago that nothing will look the same.

SHOW LOW, AZ

 

We went to Fool Hollow Lake State Park in Show Low and picked the Mallard Circle. We like lots 8 and 9 because they are directly above the lake with a nice view and have good paths down to the water.

An added benefit, they are directly across from the flush toilets and showers.

The Lake has a path along the shore with a bench every now and then. Very pretty. The Sun was shining and the high was in the low 70’s. We couldn’t have order up a nicer day.

PIE TOWN, NM

Everyone’s bucket list has to have Pie Town, NM on it. It has been on the CBS Sunday Morning show. To be honest it has outstanding pies but one time we bought a pie that wasn’t that outstanding. But, who cares? It’s the idea of checking one more item off your bucket list. And, the pie we didn’t care for probably would have been loved by someone else. Pie Town is a cultural experience and we will go thru there every chance we get. There are two restaurants. The older one that has been there the longest is now just a Pie Bar and no longer a restaurant. It is only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The other restaurant, a block further West is open seven days a week 365 days a year. They have a small and limited menu written on a chalk board. Go… enjoy… tell everyone else about it! This is a must see along with the VLA a little farther East.

SATELLITE FARM VLA (very large array)

This is about 20 miles East of Pie Town on highway 60 and it’s not on our GPS map. We do not know why because it’s not a secret. There is a lot of info about it online. They have 27 satellites that can be moved on rails over a 13 mile area. The office is on the South side of the highway, one of the rail arms goes cross to the North side, so you are driving thru the middle of the complex. The satellites are yuge, each one weighting 230 tons. This trip they were close to the building on one side quite a way from the highway. They looked small off in the distance. One trip in 1989, they were having an open house. We took the tour. It was very interesting. You can read one of many online information sites by clicking here… http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/14701

VALLEY OF FIRES RECREATION AREA

We spent the next night at Socorro, NM in a park that we won’t talk about. The only good thing, it was cheap. We left that park and on our way to Roswell on Highway 380 still in NM we discovered a very nice picnic area along the side of the highway. We stopped for lunch and took this nice pano photo…

We left still heading East toward Roswell and went less than half a mile when we discovered a very nice Recreation Area ran by the U.S. Bureau Of Land Management where we could have stayed the night with electricity for only $9.00.

It had paved roads and paved sites. Wow. Wish we had known about this earlier. We could have stayed here instead of Socorro, NM.

Please note on the board under the pricing that if you have the Golden pass the prices were half price. So, the $18 charge with electricity would only be $9…

ROSWELL, NM

Roswell is another Bucket List item that we can now check off. We first tried the Red Barn RV park and it was full. We had to go to our “plan B” which was Trailer Village RV Park. It turned out to be a very good park. We would gladly recommend Trailer Village RV Park. It is ran by the owner, a very nice lady with a small child. She had lots of help and a very clean well maintained park. We stayed two nights so we would have one full day to explorer Roswell.

You can see by the photos Roswell has lots of aliens everywhere in town, LOL. Their Chamber of Commerce does a good job of bringing in tourists. It’s one of those places we will tell everyone that we went there at least once in our life. I snapped a lot of photos of the museum… enjoy.

SAN ANTONIO

After Roswell we stayed in a so so park at Big Springs, Texas and then headed to San Antonio. The wind was atrocious blowing 25 to 35 MPH for two days. The first day it was a cross wind and a head wind. Our gas mileage suffered, running around 16 MPG. But… the second day it was a tail wind and we were running 22.8 MPG. It finally dropped down to 22, so I snapped a photo as evidence.

This was after 4 to 5 hours of driving so not s fluke right after filling up. Amazing what a strong tail wind can do? Also, amazing what our Class B can get compared to big Class A’s, C’s and fifth wheels. One of our advantages of driving a smaller unit. Good gas mileage can add up when you are putting on the miles that we drive. We like to travel and not sit in one location for weeks or months. Downtown San Antonio was very clean and a fun location. We saw it in the daytime and not at night which we understand is the better time to do the river walk.

GOLIAD STATE PARK, TX

We stumbled into a well kept secret. Goliad SP in Goliad, TX. It’s not a secret to everyone, just us and it turns out to a lot of Winter Texans.

We stopped at three different RV parks in Kenedy, TX and they were all full. We assume because of the Senior’s that were now heading back North from the Rio Valley area. One park was nice enough to tell us about Goliad SP and Mission Espiritu on the San Antonio River about 25 miles to the East. We loved it.

Stayed 4 or 5 nights and every night we were either alone or with one other camper. That’s why we said one of the best kept secrets. In Kenedy, TX all the parks were full and not nearly as nice as this State Park. We were there thru the week. They said it fills up on weekends by locals. We asked numerous Winter Texans and none had heard of Goliad SP. Here is the web page http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/goliad

PALM GARDENS RESORT HARLINGEN, TX

The Rio Valley (Mission, McAllen, Alamo, Donna, Weslaco, Mercedes, LaFeria, Harlingen, Brownsville and South Padre Island) have hundreds of RV parks. A few really nice parks and a lot of so so parks and a few real dumps. We picked our park, Palm Gardens Resort, online and made reservations for four nights. Thinking that would be enough to see the valley from one end to the other including the Gulf at South Padre island. Little did we know what a great park we had picked. This park was voted number one in friendliness (according to a guest) and it is old, small lots with a few big lots; but, very well maintained and clean. There are some very nice and new parks but they have very nice and new prices that are about double what we paid.  Plus they are so big no one gets to know their neighbor.

Palm Gardens Resort has a very nice swimming pool, lots of park activities, a pool hall, a ceramic shop, a library, a mail room, laundry, restrooms & showers, dinners, a Hall, game nights, etc… There is a Coffee Shop sign on one door. We went in and a small sign over the coffee pot said, ten cents per cup or one dollar per week. You can’t beat that price.  We thought we had landed back in 1960.  People went out of their way to say hi and small talk. We thought, WOW we are back in the Midwest again. We liked it here so much we juggled our schedule and decided to stay 2.5 weeks. The manager figured the weekly rates, monthly rates and our Good Sam Discount to see which way would be the lowest price. We ended up paying $15 a night. Mary and Randy manage the park and are absolutely the best! If you ever come to the Rio Valley, we highly recommend this park! It’s  not brand new and not fancy but it’s all paved roads with grass between and it has really good wifi. I had one guest tell me that every year when they come back, they are welcomed like an old friend that they haven’t seen in years. They hug them and say how happy they are to see them again, etc…. YEP, this is a park that we highly recommend and we will probably go out of our way in future years to come back here for a few weeks. … and that’s saying something when you realized we own a sticks and bricks home in AZ.

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND

This is a hot spot for Spring Breakers and we were lucky to be between the college SB’ers and Easter. We called ourselves Senior Spring Breakers…


MISSION & McALLEN

We found the old downtown for Mission, TX. Here are some photos
Mission, TX.

Mission is a fun area Just West of McAllen, TX.  McAllen is where the new stores, high rises, hospitals and malls are located.

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS

Very nice quaint City on the border and on the Gulf.  Their downtown looked a lot like Mission, Texas’ down town.  As we traveled up and down their roads we stumbled into the border crossing.

HEADING TO DALLAS

We are leaving soon and will visit with Mick’s niece and her family that we have not seen in many years.  Looking forward to a good visit and to meet relatives we have never seen.

HAPPY EASTER TO EVERYONE

Now that Easter is here, guess our Spring Break has to end!  CYA in our next post……

FIFTEEN REASONS WE LOVE OUR CLASS “B”

1. Easy to drive. It is just like driving a van. Ooops, it is a van!

2. Go anywhere. We have been on Highways with length restrictions. We just laugh. We do not worry about length restrictions. Highways with restrictions are normally the more beautiful drives. As an example, The Pacific Coast Highway which is Highway 1 that runs along the beautiful California coast, has areas that restrict all vehicles to less than 30 feet. We are 20 feet long. Yes! We have no problem driving the PCH! ! !

3. Park anywhere: fast food, restaurants, movie theaters, grocery store, etc…. We do park further to the back of a lot. We don’t want any dings on our cute little baby.

4. Quick setup in a RV park. We only plug in the 30 Amp electric cord. If you have enough solar, you do not have to even do that. We change her diaper and give her a new bottle about once a week. That’s what we call dumping and filling the fresh water tank.

5. Quick leaving a RV park. One unplugs the electric cord while the other checks the inside to make sure everything is put up and all cabinets are latched and locked.

The next four are when we have an RV park and have gone sight seeing for the day.  We are in our van instead of a tow vehicle or the pickup that tows a fifth wheel.

6. We always have our bathroom with us. More important for women than men. This could be listed as number one. We always have our own toilet with us to use whenever and wherever. Sometimes it’s hard to find a bathroom and sometimes when you do find one… it is yucky.

7. Always have our kitchen with us. We can and do… pull over and make breakfast, lunch or dinner whenever and wherever.

8. Always have our wardrobe with us. It can turn cold or warmer than you expected. We can change our wardrobe anytime we want. Have you ever wished you had brought a coat? Spilled something on your clothes? Found you were over dressed or underdressed? Bada-boom Bada-bing… our wardrobe is with us!

9. Always have our bed with us. Have you ever wanted to take a nap? To tired to keep driving? We always have our bed or our reclining chair with us. Many times, we have stopped in a parking lot, made lunch and took a nap.

10. Cheaper in RV parks. We frequently only pay for electric. Do not need full hookups.

11. Ferry boats and toll gates are cheaper. We only took her on one ferry boat ride but our cost was $20. A fifth wheel owner said he paid $120.

12. Quick and easy to clean. We wash her in the self clean quarter car washes. We have a quick routine. Mick uses the brush and then the wand. When Mick finishes he pulls into the shade and Chick starts drying the outside with two rags while Mick cleans all the window glass. We finish about the same time and off we go…

13. Better MPG. Whatever van you have, gas or diesel, it will be better than a Class A, C or fiver. We get 16 to 21 and are normally around 18 MPG.

14. Easier to stealth boondock (dry camp). After all, we look like a van not a motorhome.

15. Quieter driving down the road. Most true class B vans are quieter than an A, C or fifth. Ours is two and a half years old with over 30,000 miles and it is still very tight and quiet. No rattles or squeaks. Noise is very common in units built on a separate box rather than built inside the original van body. –Mick & Chick

Mick and Chick write a blog about their travels in a Class B, mixing in a few timeshares and a cruise or two. You can follow them on Facebook under: ROW With Mick And Chick. Go to their FB page and “Like” it to receive notices when they post another blog. Please share this blog with your family and friends…

WE ARE… ON THE ROAD AGAIN…

Goin’ places that we’ve never been
Seein’ things that we may never see again
And we can’t wait to get on the road again

On the road again
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We’re the best of friends
Insisting that the world keep turning our way

And our way, is on the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again
The life we love is making music with our friends
And we can’t wait to get on the road again

 

Last year, was a change of life year for Mick and Chick. We went from the responsibility of running a business to a blank slate. From office rent, expenses, payroll, supplies, daily schedule, production, customer service to… not getting up until you finally wake on your own without an alarm.

After we closed our LLC by signing the dissolution papers, we had a general idea of what we wanted to do after we retired. We don’t think this will be a surprise to you, but it was to travel. We retired on May 1st and left Phoenix for our “retirement Cruise” on May 2nd. After the cruise we left in our motorhome going to Tahoe, then over to Southern California. We headed North up the PCH on Highway 1 thru California, then the 101 thru Oregon and Washington. We traveled to the NW point of the U.S. then across the top of Washington on Highway 20. Thru Idaho, down to Yellowstone, over to South Dakota then down to our daughters home in Omaha. We drove thru the Midwest and slowly drifted back to Phoenix by Election Day in November.

You can read all the details in our blog.

Last year we had plans, places to go and things to see. We drove thru parts of the country that we have wanted to see for quite awhile in our little van on steroids.

Now, we are looking at this year and Act II. We have decided Phoenix and Las Vegas are wonderful places to spend the Winter. Without counting the days… we have probably spent more nights in Vegas since last November than we stayed at home in Phoenix. We have been back and forth numerous times. We love college football and bet on all the Bowl games, the National Title Game and then back to Vegas again for the Super Bowl (with our friends, Bill and Doris).

The people in this photo taken in Laughlin are from left to right: Harold, Ronnie, Mick, Chick, Sharon and Leta.

Photo taken from camp sight in Bullhead City, AZ.

Chick has two cousins that have been in AZ and CA for the Winter. We caught up with them for a week in Bullhead City and a few days in Sedona.  Next we are off to North Padre Island in Texas and who knows where from there? ? ?

Our only set plans are our grandson’s graduation the end of May and then Tahoe in June and July.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN, Goin’ places that we’ve never been, Seein’ things that we may never see again, And we can’t wait to be goin down the highway…….

HAPPY NEW YEAR-OUR REVIEW OF 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR -OUR REVIEW OF 2016

YOU ARE ‘16 GOING ON ‘17
You are sixteen going on seventeen
Baby it’s time to think
Better beware be canny and careful
Baby you’re on the Brink

You are sixteen going on seventeen
Fellows will fall in line
Eager young lads and rogues and cads
Will offer you food and wine

You need someone older and wiser
Telling you what to do
I am seventeen going on eighteen
I’ll take care of you

Remember this song, from the Sound of Music? I guess we should say, “we are 2016 going on 2017.”

Our New Years Day Brunch

REVIEW OF 2016

Knowing retirement would be the start of a brand new life we wanted to break away from our career of 45 years and start something new that would keep us active and enthused and young at heart. Looking forward with excitement and not looking backward. We are very happy with our career and what we accomplished but would rather look through the front windshield and not the rearview mirrors. Our future is bigger and better than the past.  Or… at least, we hope so. We have made the break from our old life of running a business and have jumped into our new life with both feet (and… with a little fear). We have to admit… we are loving this new life we have created with a mixture of three different ways of traveling. Reviewing 2016 and looking back over our first eight months of retirement, we have done exactly what our plans were to do. We wrote about our way of retiring in an earlier blog but wanted to reinforce some of it again. Probably saying it a little different.

Retiring a few years later than the normal retirement age we gave a lot of thought to how we wanted to spend our time in the “November” of our life. Mick was 72 and Chick was 68. Looking at others we knew who had retired, they fell into two groups. Those that were active and those that were not. Knowing how active we were before retiring, we decided to come up with something that would keep us from getting older or even worse… acting older. Our goal was to make sure we didn’t change to a sluggish life style of TV, reading our iPad, Kindle and sitting in a recliner all day. That is what happens when you decide to do nothing but eat, sleep and sit in front of a TV. Next you will need a walker because of all the inactivity. Both our parents had long retirements and they both had brothers/sisters, aunts, uncles and friends that we got to watch and see the active and non-active life style. Of course… all this depends on us staying in good health. We hope, the activity will help with that also.

As we looked back through our life and considered and thought about all of the things that interested us. The one thing that both of us really liked and really enjoyed to do together… was travel. So, after a lot of thought we narrowed it down to three types of traveling we wanted to do after retiring.

Our love for traveling included: cruising the oceans blue, our Class B, Roadtrek motorhome and mixing in a few timeshares.

CRUISING THE OCEANS BLUE

Love cruising because we love being on the water, the smell of the sea, the ports. In fact everything about going on a cruise. Mick and Chick have traveled on more than 15 cruises and plan to do one or two every year. We have cruised to Alaska, numerous islands in the Caribbean, the Mexican Rivera, Hawaii, the Mediterranean, New England, Halifax, St John and different repositioning cruises. Our next cruise we have booked will be a two week repositioning cruise going thru the Panama Canal in January, 2018.

Chick on cruise in Hawaii

CLASS B ROADTREK

Our next love of travel is our motorhome we bought it in August, 2014. Wanting to learn and adjust to this new life two years before retiring. Having studied Class A’s, B’s, C’s, fifth wheels and travel trailers, we decided the Class B was best for us because of the advantages that it offers. Small in size. Able to travel anywhere a car can go. Able to boon dock with stealth ability. But, still have all the advantages of a Class A. Like a large bed, bath and shower. A kitchen with two burner stove, microwave and refrigerator. Two front chairs that turn around. A satellite antenna for TV, an awning and an Onan generator. A/C, heat, black tank, grey tank and a fresh water tank.

We love stopping wherever and whenever we want and fixing a lunch and/or taking a nap. Things you can’t do when traveling in a car. We love not having to plan ahead on where we can stop for the next bathroom, we have one with us. Our RV is fully self contained. When we pull into an RV park, we only plug in the electric cord. We don’t pull a car. When we want to site see (which is every day) we just unplug the electricity and put away the cord. And, away we go… seeing things on our bucket list.

THE RIDGE AT TAHOE

Our third love of travel is our time shares at The Ridge resort at Tahoe. Our good friends Bill and Doris introduced us to The Ridge. Love The Ridge because it is 30 years old and looks like it is just a few years old. They keep all the towers updated regularly and have great management. Tahoe offers so many things that are rare to find at one location: mountains, lake and first class casinos. We tell everyone it combines three different vacations that we love. One of our main vacation spots when we lived in Kansas City was the Lake Of The Ozark’s in Missouri. Tahoe reminds us of that. Another love was going to the mountains in Colorado. Tahoe reminds us of that. Another love is going to Las Vegas. Tahoe reminds us of that. So Tahoe is a combination of The Lake Of The Ozark’s, the Colorado mountains and Las Vegas. It doesn’t get better than that…

Chick at Lake Tahoe

Along with the timeshares we own we use the Last Minute Deals that are available thru RCI and Interval International. Once you own a timeshare and it is placed thru one of the big travel companies, they offer special deals to help fill their units. As an example, RCI offers specials good for the next 60 days. You can rent a one or two bedroom for a week in almost any State for around $280 (or a little more depending on location, size and popularity). We like RCI better than II for last minute travel. We try to supplement our motorhome travels with a week in a timeshare every two to four weeks. We then stay at the time share and travel in our motorhome every day going in a different direction. We explore the area around the timeshare within a 100 mile radius, using the condo as a base location.

MAY 1ST TO DECEMBER 31ST 2016

Our retirement started on May 1st and we left home on May 2nd for our “Retirement Cruise”.  Flew to Hawaii, spent a few days on Oahu and then boarded the ship. Went around all the islands and then across the Atlantic, ending in Vancouver. Flew back to Phoenix and then left on May 31st for our six month travels with our Class B motorhome with mixing in a few timeshares.

Our plans took us to Tahoe at the Ridge timeshare for a few weeks, then using our motorhome we drove to Santa Barbara and up the PCH, Highway 1. We drove thru California and Oregon.  With a one week stop at our friends, Donna and Bill’s home in Lincoln City, Oregon.  Then we drove North thru Washington around the Olympic National Park.

RV Park in State of Washington

Then across the top of Washington on Highway 20 into Idaho.

Lake in Cascade National Park

Then South thru Montana, Wyoming (Yellowstone Park), over to South Dakota and then down to Omaha. We spent a month with our daughter and her family then drove to Kansas City for two weeks. We left KC for a week in Branson, MO at another timeshare and then drove back to our sticks and bricks home in Phoenix arriving by Election Day. We only stayed home a week and then drove North to Vegas. This is the best time of the year to watch college football at the sportsbooks.  We have been in Vegas with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas that we spent back in Phoenix. We are now in Vegas celebrating the New Year and then will attend the CES convention before heading back to Phoenix.

Las Vegas Resort RV Park, where we are now.

This was a short version of our 2016 travels.  We hope you had the time to read our much lengthier tales in our blogs. We try to post more often in our Row With Mick And Chick Facebook page and our longer tales in the blog.

We wish everyone a fantastic 2017 and look forward to see what our adventures will bring us this year.  Please follow us and tell others about Mick and Chick. Please spread the word…

THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST LEFT US SPEECHLESS

THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST LEFT US SPEECHLESS
(But, we have enough words left to tell about our travels)

 

OREGON – 101 drive along the Ocean

Last August we were driveway camping at the home of our friends, Donna and Bill, in Lincoln City. We spent a week with unbelievable views of the ocean, great weather, good restaurants, good company. We loved Oregon more than California. Could you believe it?  A place we will come back to often. Next year we hope to stop and visit with John J. and his family in Southern Oregon.  After all, he owes me a beer and I’m going to collect.

View of the Pacific Ocean from D & B’s home in Lincoln City, Oregon

WASHINGTON – Beautiful State –Much to do and see

Drove North on the 101, along the coast into Washington. While visiting Tacoma, we ate at The Cloverleaf Tavern on 6th Avenue a highly recommended establishment from our friend Eric L.  Great pizza!  It’s been in existence for years!

Spent the night at a KOA in Gig Harbor. Love Gig Harbor!  We were introduced to Gig harbor a few years ago by our friends Kathy and Gary. It is very upscale and beautiful. Surrounded by water on three sides.  If we could ever match those six numbers, we would consider buying a sticks and bricks home there.

KOA, electric only hook up site.

Back to the 101 and up to the NW point of the U.S. You can see Vancouver Island across the Juan de Fuca Strait.

Drove around the top of the Olympic National Forest to Port Townsend.  Spent the night with a beautiful view of the water.  We then rode a ferry across to Whidbey Island.

Spending a week we drove across the top of Washington on Highway 20, within a few miles of Canada.  This route took us thru the Cascade National Park.

IDAHO AND MONTANA

Drove into Idaho and stayed in an RV park at Sandpoint, Idaho.  We then dropped down to Coeur d’Alene for another night. Continuing East over to Anaconda, MT for a week at a timeshare. Every day we explored in a different direction.  Montana is a beautiful State with a lot to see.  One day we drove to Helena, MT and did a driving tour of the mansions built during the mining era.

Livingston, Mt was our next stop, where the “rich and famous” have homes. The RV park in Livingston is where we discovered the unusual item that someone left behind behindin the RV Park bathroom. You never know what you’ll find when you use a unisex bathroom.  This time I found a slingshot.

YELLOWSTONE NP

Next we drove into Yellowstone Park, thru the North entrance.  We stayed at the Fishing Bridge RV park for three nights. Yellowstone is a bucket list destination and a must do. Chick had visited Yellowstone as a young girl.  Mick has never had the pleasure.  Chick says it is timeless and still the same as it was 50 years ago.

Leaving Yellowstone, we went out the East entrance heading to South Dakota. Spent one night at Sundance RV park and drove by the Devils Tower.

Love this photo of the picnic tables, taken at Sundance RV park…

The Devils Tower,

SOUTH DAKOTA

Hope to spend more time here in the future…

Have you ever been to Deadwood, SD?  We stayed at the Creek Side Campground.  Highly recommend Creek Side. It’s a small park with lots of unique amenities.  Between the RV Park and the highway there is a dirt trail for quads that leads to over 700 miles of trails.  Fun, fun, fun…

This is an outhouse with modern plumbing.  Yes… they also had nice bathrooms with shower, toilet and sink in private rooms.

Deadwood (famous for casinos) and Sturgis (famous for bikers) are great places to visit and easy to spend a few extra days. Our visit to Sturgis was two weeks after their big annual rally.

Drove East on interstate 90 and did the mandatory stop at Wall Drug.  A must see…

OMAHA

Left South Dakota and headed to Omaha where we lived for ten years of our 51 years of marriage.  We lived in Omaha when our two daughters were in school from 3rd grade thru HS. We driveway camped for the month of September at our daughters home in Gretna, Nebraska just outside Omaha.  Got to visit with our daughter and her family and four of our grandchildren.  We have lots of friends and relatives in Omaha with great memories.  Almost everyday we had lunch with another old friend (saying old for how long we have known them, not how old in age they are.  Well… sometimes, anyway).

LOVE September in Nebraska where we can watch Husker Football with fanatics just like Mick! Not many things in life are better than watching Nebraska football, GBR. Or, I should say… Gooooo Biiiiiig Reeeeeeddddddddd…. I think you get the idea.  I do want to mention, they never lost a game while we were in town.

MISSOURI

Our home State where Mick and Chick were raised and went to school and fell in love and got married 51 years ago.

In October we left Nebraska and went to Kansas City, MO and Independence, MO.   We got to visit with some really old friends and relatives.  Really old…  This was like Happy Days.  We did a lot of reminiscing and visiting old sites. We parked three days in Merriam KS and ten days at the Blue Springs Lake RV Park in Missouri.  Had a mini class reunion with Rockhurst High School classmates.

We tearfully left the Kansas City area and headed to Branson, MO for a week at a last minute timeshare. Next year we hope to visit The Lake Of The Ozark’s, where we use to vacation when we were young and foolish. The difference now is we are old and foolish. We have a lot of great memories from those years at the Lake Of The Ozarks.

PHOENIX, AZ – HOME

We left Branson, MO and made it home in two days of hard driving on time for the election. We left home on this trip on May 31st and got back around the first week of November.

LAS VEGAS – COLLEGE FOOTBALL

After one week in Phoenix, we decided there were two important weekends of CFB coming up, so we headed to Vegas for ten days. We love watching games in the Sports books and betting on the games. We stay at The Las Vegas Resort. It’s not in the best part of Vegas. But, it is gated and a very nice park with $29 a night rates. It has private bathrooms with toilet, sink and shower. The people running the park and all their workers have great customer skills and loaded with charisma and always happy.  Love staying in a park where they always have a smile and happy to see you.

Here’s a hot tip…

We discovered a free app called Tunity that works great in sports books or Sports Bars. One of the problems of watching a game in a Sports Book is the sound is never on the game you are watching. With this app, you point yout phone at the TV for the game and press “Scan”. It scans the show and then finds the broadcast and plays the TV broadcast sound of the game directly on your phone. Mick also has blue tooth wireless headphones and can then hear the broadcast of the game thru the headphones.  Of course this app will work at your home, restaurant or anywhere there is a broadcast that you want to here on your phone.

THANKSGIVING – Back to Phoenix

We came back to Phoenix for two or three weeks. Had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our oldest daughter and her family. She has two of our grandchildren. We hope you can tell, we are very proud of all six of our grandchildren.

Las Vegas – again

Did I mention, we love College football? I thought so…. I might not have really told you how much though. The 40+ CFB bowl games started on December 17th and go until the Championship game on January 9th. We also attend the CES convention that is in Vegas every January.  We reserved a month at The Las Vegas Resort RV park from the 15th of December to the 15th of January 2017. So, back to Vegas we went, But, this time we did something very different. We also brought our car. Which we never do. But, when you are sitting for a month; and, you plan on driving back to Phoenix for Christmas (four days). It’s nice having the car. We checked on renting one in Vegas and it was around $400. It was much cheaper to bring our car from home then to rent one in Vegas.

CHRISTMAS IN PHOENIX

We drove home from Vegas for four days and had Christmas with our oldest daughter and her family.  They annually have the traditional Italian Seven Fishes Feast on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas from Mick and Chick! ! !

BACK TO VEGAS

Back to Vegas for the remaining Bowl Games and the CE convention.  While in Vegas we visited the new art work about 10 miles South of town on I-15.  It is called Seven Magic Mountains.

Each rock is five or six feet tall.  If you can zoom the photo you can see people standing at the bottom of each column.

We hope you enjoyed our quick review of the last four months.  We have our next post almost ready which will be a review of our year 2016.

We wish you a prosperous, happy, joyful, healthy 2017! ! !

-Mick & Chick

Avenue Of The Giants

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We left Tahoe’s nice cool weather and aimed the Sugar Shack toward the California Coast and it’s cool weather. Our goal was to go back to Fort Bragg and resume our trip up the CA 1. We just had one problem. The middle of CA was running 102 to 105 and it was a 7 or 8 hour trip (the way we drive). We deadheaded from Fort Bragg to Tahoe two weeks earlier but didn’t want to drive that long a day going back. We believe in the 250/2:50 rule. Which is drive no more than 250 miles or until 2:50 PM whichever comes first. And, that is stretching it. We really prefer the 150/1:50 rule when we are in a scenic area. But, even though we knew the heat was in the middle of California, we decided to drive back to Fort Bragg in two days and we made an over night stop at Yuba City.

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We accidentally stumbled into a really nice RV/Mobil Home park at Travel Home Park In Yuba City. Chick was looking online for somewhere to stop that would be unique or different and saw that the County Fair Grounds allows RV’s to spend the night. Mick called and made a reservation saying we were close and would be there soon. When we arrived they apologized over and over saying they had forgotten they were not accepting RV’s because the County Fair was one week away and they didn’t want vehicles on the grass for the final week. They said they had called other RV parks to help find us a place and they had found one spot left at Travel Home Park. It was a very nice park ran by two ladies that take excellent care of all the details. The restroom was very clean and you could tell they thought of everything. The laundry was very good and clean. We normally will drive by a mobil home park that also accepts RV’s but this one is an exception.image

We left early the next morning because the heat reminded us too much of Phoenix’s Summer months that we were trying to forget. We drove to Fort Bragg and spent another night at POMO where we stayed before going back to Tahoe a week earlier. POMO is one of the best ran parks we have ever stayed at. It is very well managed, clean, big lots with vegetation surrounding each site, privacy, very nice bathrooms, showers and laundry, firewood, fire pits, paved roads, the gravel lots are raked and cleaned between tenants. Their cost is under $50 a night and that’s cheap along the CA coast. They have everything except good WIFI and they do not take credit or debit, (cash or check only). We find it’s tough to stay without the Internet and good Wifi is worth it’s weight in gold. We love POMO but would love it even more if it had good Wifi.

We left on Wednesday heading North on CA-1 or the PCH whichever you prefer to call it. This is the last week or two before school starts and parks are filling up fast. It’s still possible to find a park during the week but it might not be the park you really want and the weekends are booked. We called and made reservations in Eureka, CA at Shoreline RV Park for the following Friday and Saturday night and got their last space. We were thrilled to not have to worry about the weekend and figured we would wing it for Thursday or boon-dock

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Wow, did we discover a neat place for Thursday. We were driving up the CA 1 just North of Westport probably only 40 miles North of Fort Bragg and saw numerous places to pull off along the coast about every two or three hundred feet. Each road had a sign that said State Park. We slowed down and pulled in to investigate. There was a high cliff above the Ocean and a single paved road with ten or so spaces each with a picnic table and an outhouse across the road.

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Each park had a pay station. They had envelopes for you to fill out and put in cash or a check and then slide it into a slot That fell down to the secure bottom. The pay schedule indicated the amount and listed different discounts. We had to pay $23 which is a steal in this area. We parked and listened to the surf all night! ! !

We discovered that our two AGM batteries were not working correctly after boon-docking and we watched our house batteries for the next few days.

We drove to Eureka and stayed at an RV park for Friday and Saturday night and explored around the town. Eureka is a beautiful small town with a great dune area on a peninsula that is West of the Humboldt Bay. Sorry, we didn’t get any photos to show but Eureka is worth spending a night or two.

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After leaving Eureka, we drove through the Avenue of The Giants. Wow!

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What a scenic highway. We stopped so many times and saw so many beautiful trees that we finally hit the saturation point where we couldn’t stand to see one more gorgeous turnout! ! !

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We drove into Oregon and stayed one night at an RV park about 50 feet from the berm along the beach.

We kept a close eye on our batteries and decided that one of our AGMs probably had a bad cell. After charging the house batteries the gage would drop down to 6 cell and then stay there for hours. We decided we probably had one good battery and one bad battery. We dug out our owner’s manuals and studied the batteries and the 1250 Tripp-lite inverter/charger and how to change the battery if necessary. We discovered that the manual for the inverter said the two batteries had to be the same age. Which meant if we replaced one battery we had to replace them both.

We decided we better stop playing around and go to our friends home in Lincoln City, OR and see if we could find a decent AGM battery store. We thought we might have to go to Portland thinking we would have better luck in a bigger City.

After arriving we found online there is a Roadtrek dealer in a suburb of Portland. We called and they were very nice and helpful but said they were booked solid for a month or more but offered to squeeze us in for a battery check. When I told them we were on the coast they suggested we try Les Schwab. We tried them and were referred to someone else and they referred us to someone else and so on and so on until we finally found, (we need a drum roll please)… All Start Auto Electric, Inc in Newport, Oregon. Very knowledgable, efficient and got us right in. The final result… we bought two AGM Gel Cell 6 volt Trojan batteries about $620 installed.

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The short week we have had them, we are very impressed and happy and they have stayed fully charged. How, when and why the batteries died (I guess I should say one battery) we don’t know. We bought our Ranger RT exactly two years ago in August of 2014. But the Chevy Express is a 2013, so we do not know the exact age of the batteries but…. We do know they have set in Phoenix plugged into 30 Amp for weeks at a time. The heat in Phoenix tends to shorten the life of a battery to about half what is normal. So, we can’t complain about the life of the original batteries. We are very pleased that with this problem we were able to manage it and get it fixed without turning a molehill into a mountain and now we are back on the road and feel better about boon-docking in the future with two really strong house batteries. I just wish we had some solar to help increase our boon-docking ability.

THE BIRDS HAVE BEEN SQUAWKING OUR NAME

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Well… Have you got our little hint in the title? Maybe you’re to young to know. If not, we will explain later in this post.

 

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Today’s drive is why we own a Class B “Roadtrek” instead of a Fifth Wheel or a Class A (Those were our other two choices). Today we drove a kinky road that was twisty curvy so much we wondered what it would be like just to drive straight line.

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Honestly… It went from one turn to another without a straight stretch between. It said no vehicles over 35 feet! ! ! Obviously, not everyone obeys the sign (maybe they can’t read). We had a close call with one idiot who was going South driving a pickup with a Fifth Wheel attached. He had to be 50 feet long and in the curve (where we met) he was over the yellow line a good foot. My problem was the vegetation on the shoulder was to the edge of the pavement. I use the word “shoulder” very loosely because there wasn’t one. Luckily, we were able to swerve enough to the right to miss him. The problem with cheating on the 35 foot rule is you will meet someone in a curve with no warning, just need quick reflexes to save your life and the idiot’s life.

Sorry, we didn’t tell you where we were driving. We left Sausalito, CA and drove CA 1 North and ended up at the Bodega Bay Marina RV park. It was a beautiful drive. One of those drives that made Mick wish he was the passenger like Chick so he could see the coast!

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We went thru Olema, CA and seriously thought about staying overnight at Olema RV park. From the road it looked beautiful. But, it was not on the water and no Ocean view. So, we wrote it down for future consumption if needed.

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Right after Olema is Pt Reyes and we fell in love. Pt. Reyes is one of those little towns that makes you glad you are a retired RV’er with no schedule. We did not have a reservation and were free as a bird. We parked and strolled thru the town. We saw the word Organic used a lot. There was a coffee shop with a semi long line and local wine was sold in the store. Napa Valley is just North of San Francisco. Mick bought a coffee and Chick bought an item or two from the local grocery. We seriously thought about going back to Olema RV Park And staying a night or two; but, the lure of the surf hitting the beach at Bodega Bay was too much.

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Google told us there was an RV park at the Marina in Bodega Bay and we wanted to check it out before reserving. We read Campskunk’s Post (our hero) where he said that he boon docked near Bodega Bay but we were in the mood for a park. We decided it was ok and reserved two nights. Next, we are heading to Fort Bragg and then a quick trek from West to East across CA to Tahoe for a week. We will either post from Fort Bragg or before or after another week in Tahoe. Mick says, “CYA later, alig…” (are you old enough to remember?)

Oh by the way… Our little hint, was the movie by Alfred Hitchcock, “The Birds” was filmed at Bodega Bay. If you are too young to remember get the DVD.

Another Benefit to owning a Class B Motorhome

The “Life Style” of traveling in a Class B is so unique because you always have your home with you.  Everywhere we go we have our own potty, refrigerator, bed, etc… We do not have to pull a car behind and then drive the car wherever we go but get to take our home instead.  It’s truly a different “Life  Style” that some  people just don’t get.   I  heard  the other  day that one guy owned a Trek and pulled a Smart Car.  I thought….. He just doesn’t get it..  It hasn”t dawned  on him yet and probably never will.   We don’t set up permanent in a  campground.   Only hook  up  electricity.  We dump and fill water once  a week  or when needed if sooner.  Mick calls it, “changing her diaper and feeding her another bottle.”  When we want  to  leave, we unplug and put the  cord away and  off we go.

Here is another benefit that we just discovered.   We are traveling in California. We had forgot but were quickly reminded that in CA the customer has to either bring bags to the store for their groceries or pay extra for a paper bag. The first time we paid extra for the bags. But, then my brilliant wife said, we are only taking them to our home that is in the parking lot. Just have them check the groceries and put them back in the basket. So we did.

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I passed the groceries to Chick  thru the door and she  put them up.  What a brilliant wife!  No bags, no plastic  or paper to throw  away!  Groceries where  they  belong!!!

 

From 103 to 63 in 30 minutes…

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Wow, we are in heaven! We left Tahoe last Saturday and had to meet someone in Sacramento on Monday morning over a business deal. Realizing this is high vacation time, we decided to book a KOA in Placerville, CA for two nights.

We were spoiled with the temperatures in Tahoe running a high everyday of 68 to 75. We watched our home town temps in Phoenix top at 119 and were really glad to be in the Sierra Mountains at the Ridge in Tahoe.

But… Coming down the mountain to Sacramento made us think we were back in Phoenix. A heat wave ran the temps 10 degrees higher than normal and every day was over 100. With the higher humidity it felt like the monsoons in Phoenix in August.

This is not what Campskunk dimageoes. We know, we read his posts and he stays as close to 70 degrees as possible. He’s our hero. So, we are trying to do the same! We have until this Friday to go from Sacramento to Santa Barbara and planned to slowly travel thru the middle of the State, taking our time. However… Following Campskunk’s doctrine we changed our minds and
today we drove from the East coast of Cali to San Luis Obispo near the West Coast. That puts us a few miles North of Santa Barbara, three days early. But, this is what you have to do if you are going to watch the temps and hope to never turn on you’re A/C.

When we were coming down the 101, we watched the temp gage on the dash drop every ¼ mile. In less than 30 minutes, we went from 103 to 63 and that was around 3:00 PM. It dropped 40 degrees in about ten miles. WOW! Now we are cold… but who cares?

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WE ARE BACK…

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We are back from our “Retirement Cruise” and getting ready to hit the road. We love the Islands and spent four days at Waikiki Beach before boarding the repositioning cruise. The boat was going from Australia to Alaska. Carnival offered three separate cruises in repositioning their ship: Australia to Honolulu, Honolulu to Vancouver, Vancouver to Alaska and back to Seattle. We first bought the second and third cruises back to back. Carnival called us and said there is a law (I think he said the Jones Act) that says you cannot do back to back if it leaves the US and ends in the US. This would have started in Honolulu and ended in Seattle. He said we could do this if there was a one day layover between cruises. I said, “Wow, that’s nice of you to offer to hold up the cruise one day just for us!” …After he stopped laughing.. we had to cancel the second of our “Back to Back” cruises. It was fantastic and we got our fix of sea breezes, found our sea legs again, gained the mandatory ten pounds and had a very relaxing eleven days. WhIle on the boat, we almost bought our next cruise gong into the Panama Canal in 2017 but that cruise was already sold out. We will be cruising again in early 2017. We just have to find the perfect one!
When did we really feel like we were retired? It wasn’t when we thought. We thought when we retired on April 30th that on May 1st we would feel like we were retired… Right? Wrong… that’s not the way it worked. Not for us anyway…
There were many different dates we could say we felt we were retired. The first date would be the official date we were retired which was May 1, 2016. But, then we can look back and admit that we haven’t had our hearts into working for about five years. So, we could give a date around 2011. Or, we could say we gave the company a twelve month notice and could say we felt we were retired on April 30, 2015. Or… We could admit that we did absolutely nothing the last three weeks of working and say we felt like we were retired in early April, 2016.
However, we both agreed the first day we actually felt like we were retired was on May 17, 2016. The reason… We flew to Hawaii on May 2nd and we flew home on May 16th and arrived late. Did we feel retired on our “Retirement Cruise”? No, not at all, we felt like we were on another vacation and were going back to our business and work. Of course we knew better; but, that’s what it felt like. We have taken many vacations before and this felt like all the others. We didn’t really feel like we were retire until the next morning.
YES, it was the morning of May 17th. We got up and did not have to go to our business. WOW, we had no place to go. What’s with that? ? ? We didn’t have a thousand emails that accumulated while we were gone and needed to be answered. These smart phones are fantastic because you can receive all your business and personal emails. But, they are horrible for the same reason, you can receive all your business and personal emails. Our company emails were shut down on May 1st but that was a Sunday and we traveled on Monday and didn’t get to appreciate that they were gone. We have taken quite a few vacations over the last few months and that first day back was always the busiest with lots of emails and phone calls to make! There were fires that had popped up and needed to be put out. We always had that responsibility of running our business. Wait a minute, say that line again… “We always had the responsibility of running our business”. And…… guess what happened on the morning of May 17th? We had NO RESPONSIBILITIES. We had nothing to do! ! !
Yahooooooo! WE ARE RETIRED! …and it only took 17 days for it to sink in!
NOW LET’S GO TRAVEL like a retired couple and not as a vacation…

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