Grand Canyon in the snow
Jason and I took a side trip up to the Grand Canyon on Saturday before we boarded the Polar Express in the evening. Temperature was in the 30s with some snow and ice, making walking around the edge of the canyon a little treacherous. We enjoyed a delicious lunch in the El Tovar restaurant with the best seafood chowder I've ever had! The lodge was beautifully decorated for Christmas. Winter is the time to go to the Canyon, compared to Summertime. No crowds at all!
What a wonderful trip with had with all our kids and grandkids to Williams and the Polar Express train. We rented a nice home in Williams through VRBO that had room for all 10 of us for a two nights and had a lot of fun on the two hour train ride singing Christmas songs, enjoying hot chocolate, cookies, silver bells, and meeting Santa. If you have kids, I highly recommend taking them on the Polar Express!
Bought another Jeep Cherokee
Since I sold our 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, and we are no longer RVing, I've found that I missed having a second car, particularly, a Jeep. I loved that Jeep Cherokee that we towed around the country behind our RVs, so I started looking for a 2019 or 2020 model to purchase. I prefered to buy a used one, but I was having a hard time finding one with all the features that I wanted, like; Trailhawk model, sunroof, adaptive cruise control, Apple CarPlay, NAV with the larger display, 2.0-L I4 turbo engine, trailer-tow group, heated and vented front seats and more. After watching Cars.com and AutoTrader for a couple of months, one caught my eye because it was fully-equipped with absolutely everything that I was looking for. With only 4,800 miles, this one was perfect in every way. Turns out, it was a demo driven by a Chrysler Corporation executive in Detroit and was purchased by a local Jeep dealer here in Phoenix at an auction. I ended up saving over $10,000 by getting this 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Elite vs getting a new one with the same equipment. I wasn't sure about the color when I first saw the pictures on their website, but after seeing it in real life, I love the color. It goes very nicely with our Arizona greenery!
Why we're done with RV'ing
We have had a lot of fun RV'ing over the past 6-7 years, but they are selling so many new RVs now, we found it almost impossible to get into the RV parks, state parks and national parks when we wanted to. There was so little flexibility, we were forced into planning trips 6-12 months in advance, even 2 years in advance to get that spot at Campland on the Bay in the picture above over the 4th of July! That's the main reason we got out of RV'ing.
Done with RVing!
I know it's hard to believe, but we've sold our Winnebago Navion and aren't buying another RV! After 7 years of RVing, we're giving it up. We got into RVing because of family that was spread from Arizona to California to Oregon and Washington but most of our family is here in Arizona now, so we're just not finding that the RV-life is the right fit for us any more so I sold it back to LaMesa RV yesterday.
We have no regrets of owning RVs over the past 7 years. We have a lot of great memories, all of them captured here on our blog, which I plan to continue with our future travels. Stay tuned for our next adventure!
Quick trip to Canyon Lake, AZ
I called the Canyon Lake Marina and RV Campground on Wednesday to see if they had any spaces available for the weekend and they said the person on the call before me just cancelled, so I figured that I lucked out. After going there on Saturday, I see why people were cancelling. The lake was filled with debris from the heavy rain storms they had the previous week. Instead of nice and clear, the water was brown and filled with branches making boating dangerous. On top of that, the state was closing the one and only road in and out of the area all day on Monday to repair the washed out roadway, so we had to leave on Sunday instead of Monday, as we had planned. The campground wouldn't even refund our $70 fee we had paid for Sunday night! At least we had a fun Saturday with Kyle, Crystal, Beckett and Jason coming over for awhile.
2019 Summer RV Trip to Seattle
Click the Play button to watch a 7 minute video comprised of mostly dash cam footage (depending on your internet speed, it might take a few seconds to load).
We made our annual RV trip to Seattle, leaving Phoenix on August 10th and returning on August 25th, 2019. This time, it was in our new 2019 Winnebago 24D motorhome.
We're already planning our next outing. Possibly New Mexico to see the fall leaves turn.
Father's Day near Williams, AZ
It's summertime in Arizona! Perfect time to take a camping trip to one of our favorite desert escapes near Williams, Arizona. High temperature here at this 7,000 foot altitude was 78° compared to 105° down in Phoenix!
Exact location: 35°09'31.4"N 112°10'15.8"W
We were lucky enough to get a last-minute spot at Fool Hollow Lake campground in Show Low, Arizona last weekend. We had a beautiful space right next to the lake (Cinnamon Teal Loop, space #22). This is one of our favorite camping areas because it has paved roads and spaces, 30 amp electric and water (no sewer). My Verizon phone worked well there as a hot-spot so if we wanted to go back again and stay longer, I could get some work done.
We also drove past the townhome we owned for 3+ years on White Mountain Lake. It was fun to see it again, although the lake looked real muddy from all the rains in the Spring.
Lake Pleasant, AZ 3-Day Camping
We had a great weekend camping at the Pleasant Harbor RV Resort this weekend. This park is so convenient since it's only 14 miles from our home here in Arizona. Our son-in-law, Dave, took part in the very popular bass fishing tournament, which he has done several times before. The rest of us enjoyed the scenery, kayaking and a good BBQ dinner at Dillons on the dock Friday night. Our whole family celebrated Pam's birthday on Saturday with our own BBQ and cake. The grandkids kept themselves entertained catching bugs, fishing and playing catch.
Driving through Newport Dunes RV Resort to our space #1119.
Beautiful view from our space #1119.
Wildflowers in full bloom along the freeways of S. Cal.
March 16-23, 2019.
We had a wonderful 8 days in our spot #1119 at the Newport Dunes Resort over our granddaughter's Spring Break. While the resort is beautiful, it's a long way from Phoenix (375 miles) and the L.A. traffic made it seem like twice that far (stop-and-go traffic in an RV is no fun!). For a different point of view coming home, we drove down Highway 1 from Newport Beach to San Clemente, then took I-5 to I-8 back to Phoenix, thinking that it would have lighter traffic. Big mistake! Stop-and go-traffic on I-5 from San Clemente to San Diego was terrible. It took 10 hours to drive the 435 miles home this way! Because of traffic, we probably won't go back to Newport Dunes again. However, I-8 is way better than I-10 because of its lighter traffic and lack of semi trucks. The wildflowers were in full bloom in Southern California making for a beautiful drive.
Our new 2019 Winnebago Navion 24D handled perfectly over the 800 mile trip. Unlike our past Tiffin motorhomes, this RV still has nothing seriously wrong within the first 6 months of owning it. The only issue we had with this trip was the Sirius satellite radio cut out after driving over a very bumpy section of I-5. Something must have come unplugged behind the dash. If that's the only thing to go wrong with this rig, I'll be very happy!
Presidents Day at Lake Havasu, AZ
Click above to play video.
We made our first "big" trip in our new Winnebago Navion over Presidents Day weekend, Feb. 16-18, 2019. This was a good test of the RV, as it was 377 miles from Phoenix to Lake Havasu and back over a variety of roads. On the way there, we went out via Highway 60 through Wickenburg, then through Parker to Lake Havasu. On the way back home, we took Highway 95 south to Quartzsite, then east on I-10 to test how it handled on the freeway. I was very pleased with the handling on the entire trip.
We stayed at the Islander RV Resort on Lake Havasu for the third time in several years. We had a great spot (#467) right on the lake next to the boat launching ramp which made for some fun boat-watching. Weather was cool, but mostly sunny the entire weekend. I'm getting disappointed in the Islander Resort because they're converting a lot of the RV sites into permanent vacation rental homes. I think I'll look into different locations next time we want to go to Lake Havasu.
This is one of the reasons we downsized from our past class-A sized motorhomes. I wouldn't have been comfortable taking our 41' diesel pusher down to the lakeshore of Lake Pleasant for a quick couple of nights like we did this past weekend. We found this size RV fits our desire to pack up and head out with little planning or preparation. We dry-camped for two nights and had absolutely no problems with the new RV. The solar panels powered us during the day and we ran the generator for two hours in the morning and again in the evening. I was a little disappointed that the the batteries were down to 11.5 amps by morning. I expected them to hold a charge better overnight but we really liked staying in this new Winnebago Navion 24D. It seems a lot bigger than 25' because of the well thought out floor plan and murphy bed. I think we're going to have a lot of fun with this RV!
I made this 30-minute video of LaMesa's Johnny showing us how to work everything in our new 2019 Winnebago Navion 24D so I could refer to it later if I forgot anything.
Bigger Not Always Better
When buying a motorhome, would-be RV'r's often become distracted by size and think that bigger is better.
We have learned by experience that bigger is NOT better, at least for us.
After purchasing a new 41', 4" long 2018 Tiffin Phaeton 40IH last summer, and driving it about 7,000 miles to Seattle and back, twice, we have decided to go smaller. While that RV was absolutely beautiful, we found it to be too large for what we wanted to do. We like the "camping" feel when we go places. At 41 feet, we were very limited to the places we could go and stay. We could only stay in expensive, large, pull-through RV parks. We couldn't stay in most national or state parks because they limit your length to about 35'. We had to fill the 100-gallon fuel tank at big, inconvenient truck stops. We couldn't stop anywhere without first looking to see if there was a way out without backing up (you can't back up an RV towing a car).
With RVs, there are a lot of things that can go wrong, but at 41 feet, there are even more things to go wrong. We had this RV for five months. The last two months it has been sitting at LaMesa RV's service center, waiting to get 30 items fixed. Most of the 30 items were problems that came that way from the factory. This is our third Tiffin, and we've had similar poor quality experiences with the previous two. After 7 years of owning Tiffins, we're done.
It's time to simplify!
Last weekend, we traded the Tiffin Phaeton in for a 25', 8" long 2019 Winnebago Navion 24D. The Winnebago will allow us to go just about anywhere, as it's not much bigger than a large SUV. With the Winnebago Navion, the entire chassis is made by Mercedes-Benz. With Tiffin, the engine was made by Cummings, the transmission by Allison, the chassis by Tiffin, the dash by several different manufacturers. No wonder there were so many things wrong all the time! With the new Winnebago, the entire chassis, engine, transmission and cab are all made and serviced by Mercedes-Benz. With the Winnebago, we're simplifying from three roof air conditioner units to one, four slide-outs to one, four TVs to one, two bathrooms to one (see the trend here?). I still expect things to go wrong, but there are fewer things to go wrong in this smaller motorhome.
We're looking forward to being more nimble. The Winnebago drives like a SUV, not a semi-truck. It gets 15+ MPG instead of 8. It can sleep 5-6 adults and/or children with its ingenious queen-size Murphy bed that turns into a couch when not in use, 4-person dinette and above-cab bunk. It still has all the comforts of a larger RV; shower, toilet, bathroom sink, kitchen sink, stove, microwave and 30" television with DVD player, but in a smaller footprint. Plus, we think that it will be less of a burden packing up for short trips rather than always feeling like we had to go on long, major trips.
We are going to sell our Jeep tow-car, as I hated always having to hook it up, tow it, and being limited to where we could go because you can't back up an RV towing a car.
I wish everyone the opportunity to own an RV. We've had a lot of great memories in our 7 years of owning RVs. Certainly, the big, 40 foot plus size RVs are perfect for many people. If you like driving a long distance to stay in one place as a home base for a month or more, then the bigger-is-better theory can work for you. But, we've found that bigger is not always better.
States We've Trekked To