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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So You Want To Be Balloon Pilot??

Every balloon pilot that I talked to at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (AIBF) was passionate about the sport – not a surprise right? But passion isn’t going to get you up in the air, flying a hot air balloon. The Federal Aviation Administration requires a pilot’s license, or airman’s certificate, just as you would need for an airplane or any other aircraft.

 

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Mister Z, aka Naughy Zebra is a 105,000 cubic foot special shape balloon piloted by Thom Wight.

 

That license is earned after taking hours of instruction with a balloon pilot instructor, passing an FAA written test, making a solo flight, and passing a flight test with an FAA examiner. Open your check book…plan on spending $2,500 – $5,000 on training to get your license.

That’s a small drop in the basket (hee-hee pun intended) because by now you are probably hooked so you will want a balloon of your own. Of course, you can buy a used one but plan to spend about $25K for a small balloon. Want one of those special shaped, custom-made babies…Now you are really going to spend some serious money, $60K or more.

 

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 Lady Jester was one of Wally’s favorite special shape balloons. She is piloted by Robert and Sally Lupon and is 77.000 cubic feet.

 

Because the FAA regulates hot air balloons, if you need to have it repaired, the repair has to be done on a FAA licensed repair machine and you will need to get the balloon inspected annually or after any repair.

I had an opportunity to spend some time with the pilot of The Spirit of 76, Captain Jason Gabriel of Aurora Colorado. Jason has been flying for a number of years and started as crew for other balloon pilots. He loves flying, so evident by his big, infectious grin. As a matter of fact, his entire family loves ballooning too and they all crew for him.

 

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USAF Captain and Balloon Pilot Jason Gabriel (sitting) and his family/crew.

 

Jason estimates that most balloons have about a 600 hour flytime lifespan. The material, which is often nylon is really thin. The inside of the balloon is coated with wax that helps keep the air in and protect the fabric from the heat that hot air generates when the balloon is inflated. UV breaks down the outside of the material so with the combination of UV and the heat on the inside, the seams eventually give way and the material becomes too thin to hold hot air.

Jason flies The Spirit of 76 about 50 hours a year and also told me it costs roughly $120 an hour to fly – inexpensive, compared to owning a plane or a helicopter is his theory. Jason is an Air Force Captain so clearly he loves being in the air and gets his other flying fixes at work. Thanks Jason for your service and for doing the special demonstration for our Monaco Club Group at AIBF!!!

 

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The Spirit of 76 was in the first AIBF in 1976. Jason is her third owner.

 

Some of the special shaped balloons that we saw at the AIBF are corporate owned or sponsored but most balloon pilots in general are hobbyists. Google research revealed that there are careers in hot air ballooning but it is really a niche career path. Still curious about hot air ballooning…here is another link you can follow to read more.

 

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Sonrise piloted by John Rodden of Oklahoma, landed right in front of our coach. That is Wally in the blue shirt helping him.

 

I don’t think either Wally nor I are jonesing to be a balloon pilot but Wally had a ball being an impromptu crew member for Sonrise. It was an exciting morning when she landed right in front of us. I have a great video (thanks Jim for editing) of Wally in action as Sonrise comes in for a landing.

 

Another Great Day at the Balloon Fiesta

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So other than getting up at 5am again, it was a pretty amazing day at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (AIBF). Thursday morning, the wind cooperated so it was a near perfect balloon morning. All the morning events got off with out a hitch and there were so many balloons in the air it was hard to know where to look.

 

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Listening to the morning pilot’s briefing I learned why Albuquerque is the perfect place to host a balloon fiesta. So why Albuquerque you many ask?

 

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Well, turns out the wind currents and air temperature are key to the successful flying of hot air balloons, and Albuquerque has the perfect combination of these elements.

 

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The “Albuquerque Box” is a set of predictable wind patterns that make navigating a balloon fairly simple in ideal conditions. At lower elevations in the Rio Grande Valley, where the city sits, the winds are southerly. At higher elevations, the winds are northerly. So balloon pilots can launch their craft from Balloon Fiesta Park, drift down the Valley, catch another wind current and drift back north and land near the place they started. That doesn’t happen everyday but it did today and we saw many of the balloons come back and land in the Fiesta Park…heck, some were right near our coaches.

 

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The city’s cool morning temperatures also make it easier to fly a balloon; the balloons rise faster in cool air. According to the National Weather Service, Albuquerque’s wind pattern and temperatures are balloon-perfect in October. Yep, it was cool on Thursday morning but hats, gloves and a down coat did the trick.

 

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My favorite event on Thursday morning was the Special Shape Rodeo…seriously, everyone around us was grinning like a kid as we were all surrounded by 92 huge balloons shaped like Yoda, Van Gogh, Darth Vader, Simba, The Lion King, pirates, dogs, cats zebras, a giant boot, penguins and so many more crazy looking creations.

 

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After spending the morning on the field, I was ready for a cup of tea and a bite of something. We headed back to the coach where I was able to watch most of the Competition Balloon Flying right out our giant front window in the warm comfort of the coach. Somehow, we were lucky to be parked in the front row looking right over the fiesta balloon field.

 

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I took this photo right from the inside of the coach looking out our front window

 

 

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Thursday was the first day that there were events going in both the morning and evening. We were excited about the evening Special Shapes Glowdeo but unfortunately, the wind kept that event from happening. Dang wind was just to gusty to make inflating the large, special shaped balloons doable. The major sponsor for this two week extravaganza is Canon and their team of ace balloon pilots tried their best to get the Canon Balloon inflated but in the end it was a no go.

 

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The fireworks did however go off as planned and were right over the balloon field. All we had to do was step outside the coach to our outdoor seating area to watch the amazing 25 minute fireworks show right over head. All in all a great day with so many ways to be awed and amazed.

 

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Frankly, this is why you want to come to the fiesta for 4-5 days…Mother nature works on her own schedule. We will get up early again on Friday to be on the field for another full day of balloon fiesta events and hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate.

 

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WOW, WOW AND MORE WOW…

 

I can’t even begin to describe the awe and wonder that seems to happen to people when they attend the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Dawn Patrol. So many smiling faces so early in the morning! Pinch me…I am one of those people!!!

 

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Our alarm awoke us at 5 am, which by my standards is just an indecent hour to be awake. That said, today I was eager to get up and get going. We were down on the balloon field before 6 am trying to figure out what the heck was going to happen. The program for the day gives an hourly breakout of events but having never been to AIBF we didn’t know what to expect.

 

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We wandered around the massive balloon field and ended up at the pilots briefing. We found out the morning event was a go – yay!!! Weather, especially the wind dictates a go-no- go event. We learned that wind over 15 mph usually means that the balloons won’t fly – it is just to dangerous. The Sunday prior it was 25-30 MPH all day so all the balloon events were cancelled which would be a big bummer if it was the only day you could have attended.

 

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The Dawn Patrol got started a bit late, but by 6:30 am balloons were inflating and by 7 am they were taking flight. WOW…WOW…WOW…it is so cool to stand right by the balloons while they are inflating and launching. Seeing the fully inflated balloons floating through the sky, burners firing in the dark is just magical.

 

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After the Dawn Patrol was in the air and it was daylight, hundreds more balloons got ready to inflate and launch. There are “zebras” on the field which are actually people dressed in an black and white striped shirts that coordinate each balloons launch so that they don’t all crash into each other.

 

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So many shapes and sizes

 

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I now have proof that pigs can fly!!

 

Rather than explain what each event is about in this and upcoming posts, I will provide you with links in each post to follow so you can read the details if you are interested (just click on the highlighted text to follow a link). Hence to say, I hope the pictures will awe and inspired you to put the International Balloon Fiesta on your bucket list.

 

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The balloons look amazing at every angle!

 

 

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A Beautiful Bounty and a Great Big Burger!!!

Since we left Kennewick Washington the Road House has rolled through Oregon, Idaho and into Utah. The landscape is dotted with fall foliage and we are now cruising in Utah red rock country.

We love 300 mile days and try not to push ourselves much harder than that. Although, we have made exceptions and put the petal to the metal more than once to get to some fabulous wineries!

The last two overnight stops have been too easy, just off the highway RV parks.  We spent one night in rural Caldwell Idaho at the Country Corners RV Park. I had planned a simple dinner of Picante Black Bean Soup with a Spicy Hatch Green Chili Slaw and Corn Bread so we could relax once we arrived (check out the Epicurious page for the recipe) I also knew there was really nothing around that area to do!

 

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The shady picnic area would be a great place to hang out on a hot summer day.

 

The owners at Country Corners RV Park are super nice and invited us to take a walk to the garden and help ourselves. That was an invite I immediately took up after we got all settled in our site.

 

 

 

The grounds around the RV park have started to show off their fall colors. The garden itself is still producing a bounty of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, melons and pumpkins. The corn had all been harvested but we left with our pockets and bag full…what a bounty. The overnight site only cost $37 and I think the veggies alone were worth that much.

 

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There were sooooo many ripe tomatoes that I could have picked for hours.

 

The following morning we rolled through the rest of mostly flat Idaho farm land that I84 travels along. I will say the area around Twin Falls is just stunning, especially when the Snake River Canyon comes into view. We had an unexpected layover last year in Twin Falls and really enjoyed touring around the area despite our RV woes.

 

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There is a lot to see and to in the Exploring the Snake River Caynon area.

 

Our stopover on Friday night was in Brigham City Utah at the Golden Spike RV Park. This small, family owner park is another place we have stayed before and also has easy access on and off the interstate.

On the counter when I checked in was a big basket of TOMATOES!!! Sandy told me to take as many as I wanted…turns out they have a small but productive tomato garden. Couldn’t refuse a few of her gorgeous heirlooms – SCORE bounty number two!!

 

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I already ate the beauty on the left. It was perfectly ripe…so good with some salt and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

After getting settled in site 3 and taking Bentley out for some exercise, I had high hopes of visiting the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge where we could get some exercise. The short 1.5 mile walking trail meanders through the wetland habitat just outside the visitors center.  Alas, we arrived to late, the visitor center was closed and the gates all locked. We considered driving the 12-mile Auto Tour Loop that is open everyday from sunrise to sunset but we were both starving so off to Brigham City we went.

The downtown historical area is very quaint and very walkable so we got in a few steps that way. This is Utah, so that means that every town has a very picturesque Mormon Tabernacle.

Brigham City is no exception and for such a small town we were surprised that they had two. The older tabernacle was built in 1865 and is set on a beautiful square at the edge of the historical district.

 

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Just across the street is the newer Brigham City Utah Temple which was completed in 2012. The evening light made for some beautiful photography.

 

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Love the warm glow shining through the stain glass.

 

By now, we were really jonesing to visit the Peach City Diner. This cool, old diner has been around since 1937, thanks to Bill Harris who had a dream of owning an original malt shop and branding his family recipes. We love funky, old diners and by the crowd that was here last night it seems there are lots of other folks who also can’t resist the lure of handmade ice cream, a big fresh burger and sweet potato fries!!

 

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I think the doggie was headed in to order the Big Joe Bacon Cheeseburger too!!

 

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The food was great and the milkshakes were huge so they are now in the Road House freezer, waiting to make a reappearance…maybe tonight!

 

 

 

 

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Of course I had the peach milkshake.

 

Curious about the name Peach City and thanks to Google, I learned that there is a stretch of U.S. 89 from Brigham City to Willard that has become known as “Fruit Way” because of the many seasonal produce stands that line the road. Baskets full of peaches in several varieties stock their tables right now, along with pears, onions, squash, peppers and even ruby-red popcorn kernels. Shoot, wish I had know that earlier so we could have stopped at one of the local fruit stands.

Turns out this area of Utah has a bounty of things to offer so if you are ever traveling Highway 15 be sure to add Brigham City to your list of places to slow down and explore.

 

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Those Damned Frogs…

Our first day back on the road went smoothly…an easy 254 mile drive from Anacortes Washington to Kennewick Washington. We pulled into the Columbia Sun RV Resort around 3:30 pm, got set up in a nice big pull through site, ran some errands then headed out for dinner at J. Bookwalter Winery.

 

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The sites are huge with plenty of space between RV’s.

 

Our only bit of excitement was the Frog Balls incident…Our large front slide pulls in over the pantry and somehow in transit a door popped open and some Frog Balls escaped. Luckily I noticed that the slide wasn’t retracting quite right and stopped before it pulled the pantry door completely off the hinges and jammed up the slide forever.

 

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A window with a view…

 

Damned Frog Balls…I really don’t even like them and have been carrying them around for over a year, meaning to foist them off on someone at a happy hour. Hmm, I am for sure getting rid of them of them at a Balloon Fiesta happy hour!!!

Okay, so they are not real frog balls…they are pickled brussel sprouts which sound okay in theory but they are kinda mushy and sour – yuck.

Anyway, the damn jar fell out of the partially open cabinet door and wedged perfectly in the narrow area between the slide wall and the cabinet.  Wally, being Mr Smartie, figured out that if he took off the undamaged pantry door he could reach in and get the nasty frog balls. Disaster averted, slide went out and Mr. Smartie fixed the door…wife of smartie was chastised for using storage bins that were too big and put pressure on the door – damned frogs balls anyway!!!

 

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The view through the window down to the source of the problem.

 

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Stupid Frog Balls…I guess I should be grateful that the jar didn’t break and spill its nasty sour juice everywhere.

 

On the upside, The Columbia Sun RV Resort is a beautiful park, 145 big sites on 25 nicely landscaped acres with a long list of amenities such as a heated swimming pool, hot tub, exercise room, off leash dog parks, frisbee golf, pickle ball courts, laundry facilities and a store. Plenty of room for big rigs too.

 

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Not only is the park spotless and well maintained, the staff is very friendly and provide you with a personal escort to your site. Nice touch!

 

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While we were just passing through the area, there are plenty of reasons to make this area a destination visit and stay for a week…or more. Wineries…lots and lots of great wineries, 10 golf courses, fishing on the Columbia River and miles of paved trails for biking or walking. Had we not had a series of medical appointments and boat repairs to coordinate, we would have left at least two weeks earlier and spent more time meandering through this beautiful area.

Since we had limited time to explore, we headed over to J.Bookwalter Winery for dinner at their Fiction Restaurant. Happy Hour is the dealsky here but thanks to the Frogs Balls (which I dislike even more now) we didn’t make happy hour and got to pay full price for dinner and wine….wahhhh!

The food was good and we went casual… splitting a harvest salad, Wally had the house made fennel sausage pizza and I had the waygu beef tacos. We opted for a 6 oz pour of Syrah and Malbec which were very tasty but at $14 each I would say J.Bookwater thinks quite highly of their wines!

 

 

With so much to do in this area we left wishing we had a few more days to relax and explore. Note to self, always stay longer in any wine country area and DON’T buy any pickled vegetables with snappy names!!!

 

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The Road House is Rolling….

Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” is blasting in the coach as we are rolling down the highway. The next five days will be drive days…Kennewick WA, Boise ID, Brigham City, UT, Moab UT and Gallup NM are our planned overnight stops. Monday the 8th we will roll into the Balloon Festival Grounds in Albuquerque NM where we plan to meet up with friends at The Monaco International RV Group site. Bucket list event…can’t wait!
Today we were a bit slow getting out of Anacortes, taking our time to double-check everything on the coach and the car since it has been about 4 months since we (okay, Wally) has been behind the wheel. After fueling and weighing the coach at a local weigh station, we finally got on I5 around 10 am.

 

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We had a great stay at Fildalgo Bay RV Resort …great view out our front window of Padilla Bay and Mt. Baker.

 

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We had one last crab feed before leaving Anacortes. Thanks Ted and Marsha for the fresh steamed and oh, so delicious crabbies.

The left side rear side of the coach is heavier than the right side by almost 1,000 lbs so we will have to do a bit of repacking in Kennewick. Hmm, could it be that pesky wine again??? Having the weight distributed evenly makes the coach handle better and also prevents overload wear and tear on the tires.
It is nice day to be driving across Western Washington and it feels great to be “On the Road Again! Good Bye for now Anacortes…see you next spring!

 

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Headed over Snoqualmie Pass…yep, there is a bit of snow on that peak.

 

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