A “Winey” Week in Paso Robles, CA


Seriously, we have been whining for a week… I can’t possibly drink another glass of wine, I am wined out, I am sooo corked, yes, it’s a tough problem to have!

We spent eight days at the Cava Robles RV Resort which for some people is a destination by itself. The resort is built in the rolling hills just outside Paso Robles and its natural setting offers more than views…which are just beautiful. The resort boasts numerous amenities, including pools, spas, fire pits, a wellness center, walking trails, a bistro, a small store and dog parks. From wine tasting to outdoor movies, there’s something for everyone to do.

Cava Robles was the perfect place to base camp with our friends Donna and Steve who drove down from Portland Oregon in their new Serenity coach to explore the area wineries and the food scene with us.

Not only did we see the Golden Eagles at Cava Robles, we saw loads of other species, like hawks, buzzards, western bluebirds and finches, just to name a few.
We enjoyed the walking trails and did 2-3 miles of walking with Mr B everyday.

We love having friends join us along the way and its always great to spend some quality time together. The four of us are major foodies ( with a big wine drinking problem) so not only did we enjoy some nice meals out but we also crafted some great meals together.

Celebrated Steves birthday…Grilled Herb Crusted Lamb Chops served with Rosemary and Garlic Potatoes and a Artisan Lettuce Salad with Blue Cheese.
Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza hand crafted and cooked in our Uuni Pizza Oven.

I gotta say I tend to fall in love with a lot of places we travel to and start day dreaming about living there some day. Paso Robles was no exception …it meets a lot of our VIC (very important criteria) for potential places to live someday.
Small town – check … 32,000 people.
Friendly – check…everyone we met was happy to share their favorites places or tell us about the area.

Food scene – check …no shortage of great places to eat or drink. Did I mention an amazing ice cream place.

Sitting outside at Jefferys BBQ…so yummy!
We had a great meal at Hatch Rotisserie too.


Happening – check… Art festivals, wine festivals, farmers market, a local coffee roaster and a vibrant downtown area.

The Art in the Park featured some great artists doing iron works to photography.


Weather – mostlycheck …low amounts of rainfall, mild autumns but kinda hot in the summer. It was a bit windy while we were there and the evening temps really drop.

Wine – CHECK… YEAH, baby does Paso have wineries!!!! Brewery’s and Cider Tap Houses too.

And boy howdy did we taste wine…Onx, Halter Ranch, Cass, LXV, Lazzzare, Diablo Paso, Bodega, Monochrome, Adelaida, Hermans Story, Tobin James, just to name a few!
Yeah, we might have bought a little bit of wine…this was just one days worth!!! Don’t get all judgy now!


Natural Beauty – CHECK …thanks to a very rainy winter in CA Paso was especially green and lush.

So green…
The art at Sculpterra Winery was just beautiful. This is the place to bring a picnic and spend the afternoon sipping wine.

On top of all that, Paso is only 32 miles from the beach which Bentley greatly appreciated. The sand dollars were everywhere on the beach, tiny but everywhere. Some great shells and barnacles too. The Paso area also has some great hiking nearby, which we didn’t have time to do thanks to all those damn wineries…whine, whine.

Bentley went crazy on the beach at Morro Bay. He was so excited when he smelled the ocean and couldn’t wait to get down on the beach.
Morro Bay is a great little beach town just off Hwy 101. Stop at Taco Temple for lunch…fresh, a local seafood – ling cod tacos!!!

Our eight days went far to fast and I honestly could have stayed in Paso for a month or two. I feel like we just scratched the surface of all there is to see and do in this area. Definitely have to come back and stay longer next time!!!

Fire pits with real burning wood…YAY!!!


Bye, Bye Paso…we will definitely be back.

Making Lemonade from Lemons – A unexpected stop in Riverside CA


One thing we learned from this mobile lifestyle is to expect the unexpected. Even though we do plan our travel, have routes we want to take and reservations for places we want to stay – sometimes S*it happens!

We had an oil leak on the coach motor when we arrived in Palm Springs last November and we had (okay, the mechanic) thought it was repaired. Turned out that wasn’t the problem… when we got to the staging area by the exit at ORPS where we hooked up the car, Wally noticed the dripping had started again. DAMN IT…we were right on time to breeze through LA before rush hour traffic ensued DAMN IT!!!!

Luckily, we were able to get ahold of the mechanic and he came out to check it out. Okay, so we sat there for over an hour waiting but he did show up. Seems after some inspection, the oil cooler housing gasket was really the problem. After some phone calls, we were told that the gasket kit was available in Riverside CA (no where else BTW) at the Caterpillar Dealer. The other good news was that they had time to look at the coach that afternoon and could most likely get the repair done the next day. All good news so far…

The mechanic who did the work for us felt really bad that he missed the real issue and helped us get on the road to Riverside. He paid for the gasket kit ($40), wrapped an absorbent diaper around the housing and zip tied it on. This temporary fix would help keep the oil from getting all over the front of the car which is towed directly behind the engine area.

We made the short 55 mile drive to Riverside, saw the engine doctor and were put on the schedule for Friday am. At that point we were hopeful we would be back on the road Friday but had to rearrange some reservations and find a place to stay the night. We had plans to meet friends in Paso Robles on Sunday and had decided to leave a few days prior to that …just in case! Sometimes intuition is spot on!

We spent the night at a expensive and somewhat divey RV park just 5 minutes from the Caterpillar Dealer in Riverside. Didn’t even bother to put all the slides out or hook up the sewer as we knew we were leaving at 7am the next morning! The area we stayed in was in a very industrial area right off I215.


But I was hopeful we could find something to occupy us the next day while the coach was being worked on. Love the Trip Advistor App.

So this is when lemons started turning into lemonade…We had a great burger and beer for dinner at Heros Restaurant and Brewery in downtown Riverside. Turns out we were within walking distance to the very old, historic Mission Inn so after we tucked in all that food we took a nice walk around the area. Who’da thunk Riverside had such a cool old downtown. Apparently, this part of town has gone through a resurgence…use to be all you would get in Downtown Riverside was stabbed! Ya, thats a fact as told to me by some locals.

The grounds are at the Mission Inn are absolutely stunning…

Bellies full, we went to bed early. 6 am came and we were up getting ready to take the coach to the doctor. Now remember, we have two pets who can’t stay onboard the coach if work is being done. After loading Bentley in the back of Ernie and Sucia in her big travel crate with a litter box and food, off we went to drop off the coach. Yikes, its early…and coffee was the first order of business after we left the Road House. Yay, for Starbucks!!!

Fueled up from coffee and somewhat awake now, we decided to head over to the California Citrus State Historical State Park for a walk.

We got there at 8am and were the only ones on the trails…what a hidden gem this place is. This 300-acre park preserves some of the rapidly vanishing cultural landscape of the citrus industry and tells the story of this industry’s role in the history and development of California. There are fruit tastings and guided tours at museum/visitor center.

Bentley hiking…what???

In 1873, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forever changed the history of Southern California when it sent two small Navel orange trees to Riverside resident Eliza Tibbets. Those trees, growing in near perfect soil and weather conditions, produced an especially sweet and flavorful fruit. Word of this type of orange quickly spread, and a great agricultural industry was born.

Ah, the good ole days when most of Southern Cal was orange groves …can only imagine how beautiful it was.

In the early 1900s, an effort to promote citrus ranching in the state brought hundreds of would-be citrus barons to California for the “second Gold Rush.” The lush groves of oranges, lemons and grapefruit gave California another legacy – its lingering image as the Golden State – the land of sunshine and opportunity. It was awesome to be in the middle of these lush groves and see how the city has grown up all around them. Love it that this bit of Cali history is being preserved.

Bentley enjoyed a long walk in the orchards while Sucia stayed in her kennel in the car. Thankfully it was a cool day so the she could enjoy all the great smells with the windows cracked. The orchard were all blooming and the sweet smell of citrus wafted all around us as we hiked around and through orchards. So many varietals of fruit…lemons, oranges, grapefruits and even an avocado orchard. I can’t say enough about this fantastic park….if they only had overnight RV sites, it would be heaven!

As it turns out, the museum wasn’t open yet…seriously, we were there at 8am…so not like us! I was optimistic that the coach would be done by noon and really wanted to see the UC Riverside Botanical Garden so off we went. Will have to see the musuem another time!

So many varietals of oranges

Love tangelos…so hard not to sneak in there and pick a few!

Fruit trees take a lot of water and all of the canals like the one in the picture in the right were originally dug by hand. The picture on the left is of a water control channel which keeps the whole damn place from washing away in big rain storms. Guessing that wasn’t there in the early 1900’s.

We drove back roads through some beautiful neighborhoods, turns out Riverside has some lovely areas and is not just a industrial blight with a violent history!

I had no idea how huge and sprawling the UC Riverside campus is…there are 40 acres of botanical gardens containing more than 3,500 plant species from around the world. Located in the foothills of the Box Springs Mountains on the east side of the University of California, Riverside Campus, the Gardens covers 40 hilly acres.

We wandered over the four miles of scenic trails and really enjoyed hiking the NW trails up into Box Springs Mountains… the views were stunning over the mountains and back down onto the campus plus we got a serious cardio workout!

Great hike up above the botanical gardens

Back at the car, I was sure the coach must almost be done so we made a quick call only to find out that they didn’t actually start working on it until almost 11 am…how rude…why were we up and at the service desk at 7am?

Well, so far the lemon of a day was all lemonade and we were starving by then so lunch was in order. Wally was craving pizza and we thought it was only fitting to go to the California Pizza Kitchen! Yes, it’s a chain but I gotta say the grilled artichoke, goat cheese and arugula salad with a champagne vinaigrette was delicious.

After a long lunch, we still had some time to kill and the world’s biggest paper cup was not far away so why wouldn’t we go check it out?

So its not actually paper…huh?

Turns out it was just down the street from Quinns Caterpillar and by now I was getting a bit anxious to get on the road. Driving in rush hour LA traffic is something we occasionally had to do when we lived in SoCal but wasn’t high on either of our bucket lists of things to do in a big ass RV.

As we rolled into the Caterpillar lot…Lo and behold there was the Road House rolling out of the work bays. Fingers crossed she was done and good to go! Yep, $794 later we we ready to roll. But to where one might ask…not back to the divey RV Park down the street for sure. We decided the traffic on the 210 looked doable and the route to Paso Robles (258 Miles) on google maps suggested going I5, over the grapevine and cutting over to Hwy 101 just south of Bakersfield.

We have never seen the southern california hills so green!

Long story short, we drove through some beautiful mossy green rolling hills, dusk turned into darkness and by the time we drove into Cava Robles RV Resort it was way later than we ever like to be on the road. That said, we backed into our site, put our the rear slide, took a long, hot shower and crawled into bed. Dang…we were just happy to be there!!!

Were our eyes really getting this fuzzy???

Our Winter Paradise


There’s no doubt it has been a rainy, cool winter here in the desert. 3.49 inches of rain fell in one day on February 14th – Happy Valentines Day! The normally bone dry, arid mountains are a beautiful mossy green this season. Despite the cooler than normal weather, we have had a great winter here in Palm Springs at the Outdoor Resort. It feels like we have found a small slice of paradise at this beautiful RV resort.

Bentley loves the desert too!
Did I mention we have beautiful sunsets here too??

So what is a RV resort you may wonder? According to Wikipedia, a recreational vehicle park or caravan park is a place where people with recreational vehicles can stay overnight, or longer, in allotted spaces known as “sites” or “campsites”. An RV Resort infers a bit more luxury and amenities just like any typical vacation resort, right? The word “resort” means different things to different people and is loosely used, but if you have ever been to a real resort, the difference is quite clear.

Tennis anyone?
Lunch by the pool at Bella Roma?
In addtion to the two big club house pools there are 6 satellite pools and hot tubs

On our travels around the western US, we have stayed in all varieties of RV parks, resorts, state and regional campgrounds. From basic to very high-end, so when we happened to find the Outdoor Resort in Palm Springs, we knew it was a very special place. Not only does it have all of the amenities you would find at a five star vacation resort but as the name implies the lifestyle is all about being outdoors. That really sold us on coming back.

The view of hole number one on the Executive golf course with the El Saguaro Club House in the background.

2 golf courses, a tennis complex, a pickleball complex, 2 huge club houses, 8 swimming pools, a hair/nail salon, a restaurant, a fitness center…the list goes on and on. If that isn’t enough, the activities department keeps things interesting with concerts, comedy shows, dances, BBQ’s, food trucks …you name it.

Concert on the green


The Outdoor Resort is community just like any other and while most people that winter here are retired, we do have some families that winter here too. What’s great is that people are active, interesting and generally very friendly. It’s not the sort of place where people just drive into the garage and never come out again until they have to go someplace! Okay, so no one has a garage but just sayin!!!

Nope, its not all sunshine and lemons at the Outdoor Resort!


Our lemon tree has contributed to many recipes and drinks this season.

Happy Hour is probably the most common get together here…just take a walk around the resort around 4 or 5 and you will see loads of people, hanging out on their patios with friends, enjoying a beverage, watching a movie on their outdoor TV’s, playing cards or just catching up.


Our back patio is the perfect place to host Happy Hour!


The hummers agree too…

The biggest difference is that there is no house to take care of and all 1,213 lots have some sort of recreational vehicle parked on them. All of our 137 acres of beautiful landscaping is taken care of by someone else – score – that means more time to play. It’s tiny house living for sure but there is never a lack of things to do at the resort. Because the resort is a privately owned community, run by a non-profit Board of Directors, there is plenty of opportunity to volunteer as well. Some how I got sucked into being the Chair of the Dog Owners and Friends Committee – go figure!

Last year we rented a lot here for three months with absolutely no intention of buying but somehow by the end of the second month we were looking at lots. We bought a great site on the ninth hole of the smaller par three golf course. Not only is our back yard beautifully landscaped but our view out the coach windows and from our patio is of the rugged San Jacinto Mountains. Thanks to the higher than normal rainfall, the mountains have been snow capped for weeks so the view is just spectacular.

Our coffee spot on the back patio is sunny in the mornings and a quiet place to start the day.
Our backyard.

Beside the beautiful Outdoor Resort, why Palm Springs you may wonder… well, the winter climate lends itself to being outdoors. Beyond that, we just like the area, its more small town like but with a great diversity of people, restaurants and a plethora of shopping within a 5 mile radius, the airport has loads of direct flights, a dry climate means no bugs – yay and lots of great hiking and outdoor options. Clearly the resort is 5 star, we have met so many great people in the community and made so many new friends. So combine all that and you have a winter paradise!!!

Concerts and friends…


We are just starting to wrap up our winter stay in Palm Springs, the patio furniture will all go into storage next week and the Road House will be rolling again the first week of April. Our plan is to take two months to drive up Hwy 101…all the way to Port Townsend Washington where the Road House will will board a ferry – with all of us on board too, cross Admiralty Inlet and deposit us on Whidby Island which is just 34 miles from Anacortes on Hwy 20. The crossing is only 30 minutes and the COOL thing is it will enable us to get to Anacortes without ever getting on I5. As much as we have enjoyed our time in the desert and all of our fabulous friends here, we are looking forward to rolling into some new adventures.


It’s National Margarita Day!!!

Did you know that Friday, February 22 is National Margarita Day 2019 in United States of America?

Not sure who’s clever marketing idea it was but wherever you stand on national food holidays — from loving the lunch prompt to thinking it’s made-up and absurd — I say, just embrace your inner mixologist!!!

The bottom line is you can get killer deals on margaritas at tons of different restaurants across the country. You can even score deals on margarita essentials like blenders and margarita mix at a bunch of different retailers. There’s a good chance your local watering holes and neighborhood restaurants are running National Margarita Day 2019 deals of their own.

I am personally not planning to go anywhere but my sunny patio overlooking the golf course in sunny Palm Springs!

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Because I want to properly honor the day, we will be serving Honey Palomas along with a Cheesy Potato and Crab Gratin, Caesar Salad and Sea Salt Caramels for dessert at our Friday Night Cocktail and Cards Soiree tonight.

Raingeddon…Happy Valentines Day from Palm Springs

You know that saying “when it rains it pours”? Well, it has been pouring here in the Coachella Valley all through the night and all damn day. No mercy from the rain gods…road closures, swift water rescues, flash floods in the canyons and roads washing out high up in the San Jacinto Mountain communities.

The water hazards on the golf courses here at the Outdoor Resort are now giant lakes!!! In the big picture all is well here at the Outdoor Resort. There isn’t much outdoor recreation going on here today but at least the ducks and geese are happy.

 

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Road closures all around the Coachella Valley

 

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This wash was completely dry on Wednesday.

 

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So thankfully for all the trained professionals who are out rescuing people.

 

According to the Palm Springs Visitors Center, rainfall is almost non-existent and the humidity is low in the Palm Springs area, reflecting the minimal annual rainfall total in Palm Springs is limited to about 5.8 inches, with 10 or fewer days each year during which rain actually falls in Palm Springs, Ca.

Well, I am happy to report that today we have had 3.59 inches so far making it the 3rd wettest day in Palm Springs history. But Palm Springs isn’t the only city seeing heavy rainfall. Other parts of the desert are experiencing wet conditions including Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert and other surrounding cities. Many roads and events throughout the valley are being closed and canceled.

 

 

 

Some fellow RV friends who are on the other side of the San Jacinto Mountains in Aguanga sent me this video today. It was taken at the road coming into their RV Resort…Nope, they are going anywhere soon!

I did make it out and down the street this morning about a half a mile to the store with only a few water crossings.

 

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Palm Springs officials have since been asked residents to “shelter in place” as emergency services have been “heavily impacted.” That said, thankfully we are high and dry here at the Outdoor Resort! Our plan is to shelter in place at some friends who are renting a place nearby, cook a big Valentines Day dinner feast and drink some really good wine. Raingeddon be damned!

 

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Woo-Hoo, some blue skies are finally peeking out.

 

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We usually have a beautiful mountain view but all you can see are clouds today.

 

The upside to all this rainfall is that the valley should have a amazing wildflower season. According to the Anza-Borrego Foundation, this winter’s rainfalls, the heaviest in a decade in the area, have wildflower experts predicting a record bloom at the state park.

WILD FLOWERS… perhaps there is a silver lining!

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A Month in Louisville, KY

I spent the month of December in Louisville helping my mother recuperate after a 5 day stay in the hospital. We had plans to both be there for 10 days to help get her ready to move to a senior community in Arizona and honestly, it was a good thing I was there three weeks earlier. With an aging parent, the moving process that most of us would breeze through just takes more time.

 

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PODS is a great way to move…they have great customer service and communicate the process very well.

 

I stayed with my cousins who live nearby so my sanity mostly stayed intact. We really enjoying the holidays together, cooking and baking together. They have some wonderful friends who happily included us in their holiday celebrations.

 

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The New Years brunch feast.

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A delicious Australian dessert…Lambingtons. Made by my talented cousin June.

 

In between driving my mother to appointments, packing the condo, trips to the Goodwill and Margrets Consignment Shop (how many shoes, pursues and clothes can one person have??) we did manage to get out to try some new restaurants, attend a concert, see some christmas lights, tour the Copper and Kings Brandy Distillery. No, not Bourbon on this trip, we have done so many of those tours on prior trips. Yes, we did eat some BBQ too!

 

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The Louisville Palace is a beautiful concert venue.

 

Louisville really is a very livable city and generally, people are incredible friendly. Easy to get around, shopping and services abound, a great restaurant scene with just about any ethnic choice you many be craving, art and a rich southern history. Housing is very affordable and there are four seasons…but Louisville won’t likely ever make our short list of places to live. Why, you may ask…well it is cold, gray and rainy in the winter, humid and hot in the summer – two strikes and your out. Sorry Louisville, I do love you but you failed my weather criteria.

 

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Yummy… Shrimp and Grits and a local brew.

 

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A gorgeous day for a walk…

 

This was the longest I have been away from my hubby and pets, so boy was I glad to get back to Palm Springs where we are wintering. The critters were both very happy to see me.

 

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Bentley was at a kennel for 10 days while Wally was in KY with me so boy was he glad to be sleeping on his own bed at home

 

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Hitting the bottle…Bentley loved his christmas present from his Kentucky Cousins!!!

 

Another Year On the Road and On the Water.

Times sure does fly when you are having fun. I can’t believe we just celebrated the two-year anniversary of our mobile lifestyle. It’s been another great year traveling in the Road House and cruising in the Beach House. Feels like we have been on the go all year having logging over 6,000 miles on land and over 125 hours motoring in the Beach House.

 

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Are we still loving it???
YES, YES, YES… Having the time and flexibility to explore this beautiful country and having good health are gifts that we don’t want to squander. Not having to huddle up all winter long in the gray, rainy Pacific Northwest – bonus points!

 

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Do we miss working???
No, Hell No…After 2 years of being retired, I can’t imagine going back into the work force full-time. We are really enjoying a more leisurely lifestyle, being outdoors more, spending more time with friends and traveling.

Wally has been able to channel some of his creative energy doing projects for the coach and the boat. He has done some more really nice improvements this year such as a raw water anchor and galley spray down system on the boat and just recently installed a Paykel Fisher dishwasher on the coach. Love having a handy guy!!!

 

 

What about living together in such small spaces???
I think we have adapted well because no one has been smothered in their sleep again this year. That may seem like a low bar and yes, we do get on each others nerves once in a while but hey, what 25 year plus married couple doesn’t. The biggest downside is the amazing collection of pet hair that I am constantly removing from both the Road House and the Beach House. I know it was in our house too but the hair had 2,500 sq foot to coat everything. A more creative person would be using all that soft fur for slippers, purses or who knows what!

 

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This alien looking ball of cat and dog hair was what the repairman pulled out of the inside of the dryer in the coach…eek! No wonder the dryer stopped working.

 

Do you miss all the “stuff” you got rid of?
We don’t miss the stuff per se but it is a pain sometimes rearranging what stuff we have just to get to the stuff we want. Having so little stuff is really interesting however. Seems most of our adult lives is spent working hard to accumulate “stuff”, not really realizing how irrelevant it is nor knowing that it will eventually be so freeing not to be tied down to all that “stuff”. Our goal now is just to accumulate experiences and not “stuff”.

 

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Now the million dollar question…isn’t this lifestyle costing you a fortune???
This may surprise some of you but our mobile lifestyle isn’t more expensive. We have certainly made some changes to our budget since we are no longer working. Not having a house to take care of most definitely helps the bottom line plus I love to cook so we have more dinners at home these days too. We have been good savers, mostly in our company 401K programs but the winner mega-lottery ticket would sure be nice. I have been the keeper of our budget for years and to be truthful, when we were working we did not think too hard about buying what we wanted, when we wanted. That mentality has definitely changed now that we are living on our savings. We did exceed our budget again in the second year on the road but that was because we purchased a lot at the Outdoor Resort Palm Springs – more on that in the next post. The mobile lifestyle can be anything you want it to be as can the costs associated with it, so budgets are different for different people. Suffice to say, we are way more careful with our cash these days plus when you have nowhere to put new stuff, you just don’t buy much new stuff. Plus, we love being debt free and plan to stay that way.

 

 

What about the pets???
They love being with us and most of the time we love being with them (except when I am in the middle of the daily pet hair removal exercise). Bentley isn’t the easiest dog to travel with as he is so wary of strangers and is afraid of other dogs. Ever since he was attacked by an off leash dog two summers ago, he positively doesn’t want to be around other dogs. At least with people, he does warm up and will greet you with a nub wag after he has accepted that you are not the scary, evil person he thought you were. This summer on the boat was harder for him as some of the remote areas we cruised in had limited access to shore. He was glad to be back on land where he can run, run, run, lay in the sun, hang by a roaring camp fire or play ball.

 

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Sucia has done exceptionally well this year…so much less stressed than last year. She has been healthy and happy but wow can she shed! She did great this summer on the Beach House and didn’t seem to mind all the long days of motoring. She has found all the great sun spots on the boat and in the coach now too. She loves, loves, loves the hummingbird feeders we have strategically hanging outside the coach right now.

 

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What about lessons learned???
In our second year, we have really embraced flexibility and not getting too hung up on having a set travel schedule. I think this concept is easier for Wally than me as I love to plan our travel. That said if we aren’t loving a place or get behind schedule closing down or opening up the boat, well c’est la vie…such is life!

 

 

Missing friends or family??? Duh, just get on a plane or a train or a bus and go visit. Hmm, great idea and we have both done separate trips to see friends and family at different times this year. This being retired thing really rocks!!!

 

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Drumroll please…One can have too many provisions on a boat. Yes, the theory that if one jar of chicken bullion is good why not get two or three will be a theory that I may have to revisit next summer when I re-provision the boat for the season. Damned if I am not still using the second jar of Better than Bullion! Seriously, I did perhaps buy a bit too much of some things but boy was I spot on about the quantity of alcohol, coffee and pet food to load on board!!!

 

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No one regretted that huge box of brownie mix!!!

 

Checklists. We are big believers now in check lists…seems we tend to forget things or where we put things or what things we even have. We do have a small 5×10 ft storage space near Anacortes Washington where we keep all the stuff that we couldn’t part with or things we use seasonally on either the boat or the coach like the pressure washer or carpet cleaner. Some very, very good friends in Anacortes who have an amazing storage area under their garage also let us store some of our nicer wines there – thanks Millers!!! The other reason…the really big reason we have checklists for the coach and boat is it is easy to forget how to actually run, start or set up after we have been off the coach or boat for a season. Yikes, is it an age thing??? I keep telling myself, no..its because we aren’t doing it actively…you know use it or lose it!

 

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That was a fine line up of wines…thanks to the awesome wine cellar excel spread sheet that Wally keeps up.

 

Another lesson we learned during our first year that still holds true is….DON’T ALWAYS TRUST GOOGLE MAPS!!! Shit, Damn, Hell did we learn that one the hard way our first year on the road, more than once. We are right at 60 feet long with Ernie on the tow bar behind us. It isn’t easy turning the coach around when we are towing and we can’t back up at all with Ernie being towed so our maneuverability is limited. Best I can tell, Google maps doesn’t give a damn about that little but important factoid! Shortest or fastest route, sure thing. It can be so much more relaxing to get off the interstate and travel back roads or smaller highways so this year I have been especially diligent about looking at routes and roads and not just trusting google to get us there.

 

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This bridge kept getting narrower as we crossed the Snake River. I think we were both holding our breath until we got to the other side.

 

So what are we going to do this winter???
We arrived in gloriously warm Palm Springs in mid-November and settled in very quickly to our beautiful new site at the Outdoor Resort Palm Springs. We will be staying there all winter…yes, 5 months!!! Last winter we split our time between California and Arizona. In conclusion, thankfully we agreed that while we really like Arizona and have some wonderful friends there…the choices of RV Resorts in which one might want to spend the entire winter paled in comparison to the Outdoor Resort Palm Springs. Gravel lots with no landscaping or privacy vs lush green landscaping, loads of privacy, paved lots with palm trees and grass …hmm, sold! We also really like the ease of getting around Palm Springs, the access to great restaurants and all the fun active folks that we met there.

 

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Our beautiful winter backyard.

 

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Our favorite outdoor morning coffee spot.

 

We love exploring in the coach and there is so much of the US we still want to explore but really who wants to do that in the cold of winter? November through March is a great time to be hanging in a warmer climate but that criteria rules out a whole lot of the US.  In future winters, we would like to explore Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and over as far as Florida…well, once hurricane season is over. Our migration back and forth to the boat will be when we do our short hops, 1-2 weeks stops to explore other states like Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Nevada.

 

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So are you going to continue the mobile lifestyle???
Yes sir’ee Bob we sure are and have no plans to move back into a house at this point. North America is a big continent and best I can tell, we are not getting any younger so Carpe Diem…

 

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Off-line but back in the Desert

I have been off-line for over a month as my time has been mostly filled with helping my aging mother work through medical issues and a possible move to a senior community in Arizona. Getting old sucks best I can tell and getting old by yourself without a great support system double sucks.

My mother currently lives in Kentucky which for the most part has made helping her more challenging. Luckily, we have a good relationship, she trusts me but quite frankly doesn’t always heed my advice or follow through on some of her medical issues. Very frustrating for me??? Yes indeed it is and I often just have to take a deep breath, try to be patient and keep trying to move things along.

 

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There is nothing like a beautiful sunset to help make everything right in the world.

 

When my mother recently decided that it was just getting to hard to live alone in her cute 2 bedroom condo, I took her lead and got busy trying to find a senior community that would provide her more support, activities and social interaction with folks her own age.

We decided that Arizona would be a good place to look as she had lived there in the past and really liked the climate. Bonus points for the great availability of medical care and for at least being on the West Coast. Our route plan for the winter was perfect as we were going to be in Sedona Arizona in early October so I made plans to look at communities in Prescott, Peoria and Mesa.

Earlier in the year, I had reached out to an organization called A Place For Mom. A Place for Mom was founded 15 years ago to help families navigate the maze of senior housing options. The consultant that I have been working with was incredibly helpful and in addition to help with housing options she educated me on possible resources to consider in the future including financial aid, veterans benefits, etc.

Our week in Mesa was busy with Mom stuff but we did have time to see friends, take in a baseball game and do some hiking. We parked the coach at Usery Regional Park which is one of our favorite Maricopa County Regional Parks.

 

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Chilling in the desert…

 

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The Fall Star Game in Peoria Arizona was a blast.

 

The good news is we found a great senior community that I hope my Mother will love living in. She will still have her own apartment that opens onto a pretty courtyard with a pool. With a small kitchen and a screened in patio in the back she will still have lots of privacy but so many more options like assistance getting to the store, medical appointment, the bank or the post office. Both Wally and I really liked the setting and the community. We had lunch in the one of the dining rooms and I was giggling about how all the ladies coming to lunch were dressed up, had their faces on and looks so adorable. Being a southern lady, my mother will be right at home here…all her clothes have matching shoes, purses and jewelry! There are so many activities, 2 great dining rooms with white table clothes and menus, a hair salon, laundry service…heck, I could live there right now. Well, okay I would definitely have to step up on the snazzy outfits.

 

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So I am kinda color coordinated and have a kinda snazzy visor!!

 

Feeling good about our recommendations, we made the 5 hour drive to The Outdoor Resort Palm Springs in California where we are spending the winter. It has been great catching up with friends we met there last year, playing pickle ball, hiking and getting settled on our new lot. More on that soon….

Seeing my mother aging and how isolated she has become has been an up close and personal reminder to continue enjoying our gift of health, honor and cherish our dear friends and family and quite frankly, party like rock stars while we still can!!!

 

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A Red Rock Country Birthday

Sedona Arizona is simply put, magical. I can’t think of a better place to meet up with friends, hike and celebrate my birthday than this stunning area. The combination of red rocks, desert landscape and beautiful twisted juniper trees make the vistas a visual treat to behold. The colors are constantly changing on the red rock backdrop as the sun moves through the sky and the clouds cast shadows. The sunsets over these vista’s can look like a fire in the sky.

 

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It’s no wonder this area attracts photographers in droves and inspires artists from all over the world to visit, set up a canvas and paint. This area is often called “Red Rock Country” after these most famous, natural landscapes.

 

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Sedona is a four-seasons playground with something for everyone, from the spiritual and metaphysical to more hardcore pursuits such as mountain biking and hiking. It’s an incredibly beautiful place and surprisingly diverse. In less than an hour you can go from a lush zone by the river, into places with autumn foliage and places with open red rock that make you feel like you’re on another planet.

 

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I know I am waxing poetic about Sedona but wow do I love it here. The great thing about our mobile lifestyle is that it is possible to fall in love often, which I do. But the Sedona love bug has grabbed us both hard. Definitely on the short list for someday but for now we still aren’t ready to stop traveling and choose one place to call home.

 

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We came to Sedona to meet up with friends, celebrate birthdays and hike. On my birthday, we did a beautiful hike with Joe, Sharon and Cooper. We took the Little Horse Trail which took us out to Chicken Point where we were surrounded by red rock views.

 

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Later that day we hosted a big rib feed for a group of friends at our coach at the Rancho Sedona RV Park where we are staying. The spread of food was awesome as were the wines that everyone brought. Wally’s St. Louis Style Ribs smoked on the tragegar, Tom’s Famous Cowboy Beans, Kim’s Most Excellent Potato Salad, Birthday Brenda’s Zippy Cilantro Coleslaw, Sharon’s Smokey Traegar Roasted Vegetables and Kim’s Green Chile Cornbread followed by a TJ’s Pumpkin Cheesecake covered in Caheta, Pinenuts and Whipped cream. Did I mention that the wines were incredible??? WOW, did we feast, laugh and just have a fabulous night together!

 

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It was such a fun group…full-time RVers Sharon and Joe from Texas, who we met last year and have since become great friends. Laurie and Tom who we have hiked with, boated with and travel with for years. Tom’s birthday is just a few days after mine so we try to have a birthday meet up every year. Kim and Jim who are also full time Rvers who recently joined us at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and then just happened to be 30 miles away from us the next two weeks. Jim and Wally were colleagues at Intel so it has been fun to get to know them better. Besides a love for travel, we all share a passion for great food and wine – gee, is that a surprise???

It was great to spend time with friends but I also really appreciated hearing from so many friends around the country who called, texted, FB messaged, emailed and sent cards…It was like you were all here with me, XXOO …what a great Birthday!!!

 

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