I love our new Thompson's Treks bumper sticker that Krista and Jason made for us as a Christmas gift. Thanks guys!
Grand Canyon Railway Polar Express
We had a great time going on the Grand Canyon Railway Polar Express with the grandkids and more family members on Dec. 16th. The train leaves Williams, Arizona and travels to the "North Pole". The total round-trip takes about 90 minutes. Hot chocolate and cookies are served along with lots of Christmas sing-alongs, and the story of the Polar Express is read over the train's speakers. Santa makes his way through the train on the way back to the station to the delight of everybody. A great time was had by all!
We stayed overnight in the RV at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park in Williams. The temperature got down in the lower 20s but the RV stayed nice and toasty with the heat and electric fireplace (who would have thought that we'd need heat and a fireplace in Arizona?).
We don't usually dry camp...
We don't usually dry camp, but when we do, it's usually somewhere beautiful. We camped out with relatives near Seligman, Arizona (
We had a great time staying in the driveway of my brother's house for three weeks in Issaquah, just east of Seattle. We always enjoy visiting with all our Seattle-area relatives, and Paul's 94 and 95-year-old parents. This year's annual family picnic was held at Paul's cousin's beach house across Puget Sound, near Kingston.
We visited Mt. St. Helens for the first time since it erupted in 1980 (see video below). We were amazed at how much the area has grown back. When we were there 37 years ago, it looked like the surface of the moon because it was so gray and lifeless.
Our son and daughter-in-law's baby due date was Sept. 2nd, so we hung out at our favorite RV park, Pacific Shores Motorcoach Resort, in Newport, Oregon for another 10 days and caught the total eclipse through a light fog (it was still pretty spectacular).
We spent a week in Medford, Oregon with our new grandson, who was born on Sept. 4th. Stayed at our favorite park in Medford: Southern Oregon RV Park.
A quick 3-day drive home to Phoenix via Susanville, CA to Reno, NV (stayed overnight at a nice park: Sparks Marina RV Park) to Las Vegas (stayed at the very average Las Vegas RV Resort - probably wouldn't stay there again) and back home to Phoenix. We were very happy to get back home to our nice, big house after 10 weeks in the RV, our longest trip yet!
Time to start planning another trip!
Day trip to Mt. St. Helens video:
Phoenix to Seattle, Summer, 2017
We left Phoenix on June 29th and stayed through the 4th of July at San Diego's Campland on the Bay in space #I-7, which was right on the bay. It was a fun-filled 10 days with live music almost every night and several fireworks shows visible, all from our camping spot. From there, we drove to Pismo Beach and stayed for a couple of nights at Pismo Coast Village RV Resort. It was a very nice spot, although it wasn't right on the ocean, but you could walk to it. We stayed at the Vineyard RV Park in Vacaville, CA for one night. I wouldn't recommend this park. It didn't deserve it's high rating on Good Sam. The next day we drove up I-5 to Medford and stayed at the very nice Jackson County RV Park for four days and visited with our son and daughter-in-law. Then, it was on to a beautiful ocean-front space #162 at Pacific Shores Motorcoach RV Resort for three days (this is our favorite RV park that we've stayed at in our four years of RVing). We went on to Long Beach and stayed at Anderson's Oceanside RV Park for two nights, which had a nice, short walk across the dunes to the beach. Then, on to Seattle for three weeks (see the next blog post).
We reserved space #I-7 at Campland on the Bay two years ago, and already have a space reserved for a week over the 4th of July for the next two years. You have to reserve two years out to get a good spot right on the bay! This isn't the place to come if you want peace and quiet! It's crazy with kids, partygoers and the like, but it's been a lot of fun and it's a great place to stay for the 4th of July because you don't have to get in your car and drive anywhere to watch the fireworks. We just walked about 100 yards from our space out onto the jetty and watched five major fireworks shows from our patio chairs, all with a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band playing live behind us, finishing with "Free Bird" as the fireworks from SeaWorld just across the bay were finishing. There's been a live band here almost every night. Saturday night will be a Journey cover band (really looking forward to that one!).
On the morning of the 4th, we packed a lunch, rented a pontoon boat and cruised around Mission Bay for two hours.
I can't think of a better place to hang out with the RV for the 4th of July!
Seattle rain finally washed off!
I finally got the motorhome washed today! I've been needing to do this since our return from Seattle three months ago. I tried taking it to Blue Beacon a couple of weeks ago but there were 15 trucks waiting in line and I didn't want to sit there all day. I usually pay $85-$100 at TNT Car Wash in Surprize, AZ, but they keep jacking up the price every time. This time, they wanted $175 but I talked them down to $120 (+ tip). I've tried doing it myself but the water spots terribly here in Phoenix. It might be time to seriously consider the CR Spotless Water System so I can wash it myself.
Allison Transmission "Recall"
Technically, Freightliner didn't refer to it as a "recall", but a "campaign", but I had to take it to W. W. Williams Company in Phoenix and sit around for two hours this morning while they performed "Campaign TT8009EN", where they adjust the settings on the TCM because Allison and Cummings decided that an adjustment was necessary. I figured that I better get it done before we leave for our 3,000 mile trip this summer. I didn't notice the transmission shifting any differently on the 20 mile drive home.
Phoenix to Seattle:
Jason joined us for a 3-week trip up to Seattle and back March 11-April 2, 2017 to celebrate my parent's 94th & 95th birthdays. My brother had a 30-amp service put into his garage so we squeezed the RV into the tight driveway between some businesses and enjoyed a week "camping" in his driveway. On the way up, we stopped at the Pomona Fairplex KOA (very poor wi-fi - worthless!!!). Otherwise, a decent park) for a night, drove to Lodi, CA the next day and stayed at the Flag City RV Resort (which we like because of the paved pull-through spaces, good wi-fi, and is a nice, mid-way stop between L.A. and Medford), while in Medford, we stayed at the very convenient brand-new Southern Oregon RV Park (no wi-fi but my Verizon phone as a hot-spot works well here) while visiting our son and daughter-in-law. Last stop before we got to Seattle was at the Pheasant Ridge RV Resort (super nice park with paved terraced spaces with a good distance between each one (Wi-fi was very slow but they're currently installing a faster version with 15 poles throughout the park. They have good fast ethernet internet in a room by the office. My Verizon phone as a hotspot works great here. They have cable TV but it's very fuzzy and has limited channels. No antenna TV channels available because of the mountain behind the park. No satellite channels because of the trees).
We averaged driving about 350 miles per day, which is the most I like to drive the RV at one time. The hills throughout California and Oregon were unbelievably green because of all the rain they've had over the Winter and Spring. We had good weather most days, except for the drive from Medford to Wilsonville, where it rained the entire way. Seattle weather was typical for March - mostly cloudy and raining about every other day. Kyle and Crystal drove up and stayed with us in Issaquah for a couple of days. We all enjoyed dinner at our favorite restaurant; Ivars Salmon House.
Seattle back to Phoenix via S. Cal. Coast:
We left Issaquah and drove the entire 450 miles to Medford, Oregon in one day, which is more than I like to drive, but we made it OK. We stayed at the Southern Oregon RV Park for a few nights, then continued on our trip back home. We decided to change directions after leaving the Flag City RV Resort in Lodi because the winds on I-5 were very strong and the forecast called for wind speeds up to 60 mph in Arizona, so we headed out to the coast on highway 152 and stayed a couple of nights at the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay KOA, where the winds were forecasted to be minimal. The park was great, except for the roads leading to it were not made for 35' long, 13' tall motorhomes. I wouldn't stay there again because of that. Our satellite radio wasn't working well the rest of the trip, I suspect, because of being scraped by low trees. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves with day trips in the Jeep to Santa Cruz, Monterey and Carmel, where we took the spectacular 17-mile drive through Pebble Beach. Our timing was perfect to return home (with an overnight stop at the Pomona Fairflex KOA again) because the wind died down for two days. The day after we returned home, the winds were howling again!
Overall, we drove 3,235 miles over 3 weeks, averaging 9.5 mpg.
2017 Lake Havasu Balloon Festival
What a beautiful four days we had at Lake Havasu, AZ this past weekend. We put our name in a year ago for a spot at the Islander Resort. They called me about six months ago to let me know that they had a spot available. We ended up with space #33, which was right on the lake with our own private beach for the granddaughters to play on. Son in-law Dave even got a little fishing in! Saturday’s festivities were rained out, but the rest of the time was beautiful. Highs were in the 60s and lows in the 50s.
Video: (click to play)
States We've Trekked To