Saturday, October 31, 2009

10/30/2009 – Catalina State Park – Tucson, Arizona

We drove to Tucson, Arizona on October 30th and set up our camp for the next few days in Catalina State Park.  There are nice long pull through sites with water and 50amp electric and lots of space between sites.  It is very reasonably priced compared to other RV parks available in the area and we’ll be here for a few days.  Here is a photo of our campsite:


And here is a Tucson sunset with almost a full moon:


10/27 – 10/29/2009 – Sun City, Arizona

We arrived at the Sun City Elks lodge and set up camp, had lunch, then went to visit Ken’s Aunt Mable.  We always enjoy getting to see her when we are in the area and we take her out to lunch or dinner a couple of times while we’re there so she can get away from the retirement apartment cafeteria food.  This time she had some new equipment for her cable tv provider for Ken to set up for her, and we also moved some furniture around.  I helped get her email set up and working again and bought her a book to help out in the learning process.  This photo is of Aunt Mable holding her dog, Gracie, and Ken:


And a Sun City sunset:


10/26/2009 – Congress, AZ

We arrived at the Escapees RV Club campground, North Ranch, in Congress, Arizona with plans to spend a couple of nights there.  However, a cooling trend was predicted for the next couple of days along with winds, so we decided to stay for just the one night.

10/23 – 10/25/2009 – Laughlin, NV and Trip to Hoover Dam

We left Visalia on the October 23rd with plans to stop for the night in Boron.  By the time we got there, it was still early in the day and we had already toured that area, so we decided to continue on to Laughlin, Nevada.  The following day, we visited with Ken’s cousin Verna and her husband Art then went out to dinner with them.  Here is a photo of Verna and Art:


On Sunday, we packed our lunch and headed out to see Hoover Dam.  In our past travels through this area, we had never seen it and Verna and Art had shown us some photos they had on their computer of the new bridge being built there to route traffic away from the dam.  After crossing the Colorado River to the Arizona side, we came across this unfortunate truck accident at the bottom of the hill:


Here are a couple of photos of Hoover Dam and an informational sign about it’s size:



The next two photos are of the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge as it appeared the day we visited there and of a sign that gives an idea of how the bridge will look when it is completed:



Art had advised us to return to Laughlin on the Nevada side, and we were very glad we did.  Traffic was backed up from the dam about 5 miles to Boulder City of Phoenix people headed home from Las Vegas!  When we got back to Laughlin, we visited with Verna and Art for awhile before returning to the RV to get ready to travel the next day.

10/21 – 10/22/2009 – Visalia, CA

After leaving Fresno, our next stop was Visalia, CA.  We set up camp at the Elks lodge camping area which had upgraded to 50amp service since we last stayed there.  We don’t have any photos from our stay there as we were there mainly to pick up our mail and do a little shopping.  We did have a meal at the lodge which they called a “chili sizer”.  It was what I would call a chili burger and was pretty good.  A salad and root beer float were also included with our meal.

Friday, October 30, 2009

10/19 – 10/20/2009 – Fresno, CA

We left Sacramento and drove to the Elks Lodge in Fresno, CA for 2 nights.  We planned to see Jan’s youngest brother Dean who moved there about 1-1/2 years ago.  After getting set up, we drove to Dean’s apartment, got a tour, and then took him to Red Robin for dinner.  The next day, Dean had a doctor appointment and he asked me to go there with him.  I met him there, and shortly before his appointment, a sign language interpreter arrived to go in with him too.  California has a law where an interpreter must accompany a deaf person to a doctor’s visit.  That worked out great since I don’t know sign language.  After the appointment, Dean took me back to the Elks lodge so he could see our RV.  After that, we took him to a late lunch at In-N-Out Burger.  Dean had never been to one before and really liked their french fries (one of Dean’s favorite foods).  Here is a picture of Dean and Jan:


10/17 – 10/18/2009 – Sacramento, CA

We traveled from Redding to Sacramento, CA and set up camp at the Sacramento Elks Lodge for a couple of nights.  We then traveled to visit good friends Ron and Carol.  Ron updates the RV Elks Travel Guides and we wanted to buy more current issues.  We visited with them for a short while then met Ken’s cousin Jeanne.  Ken hadn’t seen Jeanne since sometime in the 1950’s, so it’s been a long time and we had a great visit.  Jeanne took us out to dinner the first night there…thanks, Jeanne!  The following day, Jeanne and Ken went through old family photos after which we took Jeanne out to pizza.  Here is a photo of Ken and Jeanne:


10/16/2009 – Lassen Volcanic National Park

We packed our lunch and headed out to Lassen Volcanic National Park for the day.  As we got nearer to the park, there was a sign posted saying the road was closed 10 miles into the park.  We asked about it as we entered the park and were told that they were plowing snow and hoping to have it open, but weren’t sure when it would happen.  We stopped at the visitor center and viewed the displays there then continued on to where the road was closed.  There was a short hiking trail which we took, and we did get a great view of Lassen Peak:


Ken is standing by Hot Rock:


We returned to the picnic area and ate our lunch and returned to the visitor’s center to find out the road might be opening soon.  We turned around and went back to where the road was blocked and waited for it to open.  It was well worth the wait.  Here are a few photos from beyond the roadblock.

Lake Helen:


Brokeoff Mt.


And finally here are a couple of photos from the Sulfur Works area:



Saturday, October 24, 2009

10/15/2009 – Turtle Bay Exploration Park – Redding, CA

We arrived at the Redding, CA Elks lodge on October 14th, got set up in our site then headed out to get in our Costco fix.  When we got back, we talked with Laurie and Odel who were camped a couple of spaces over from us.  Laurie handles the membership for the Escapees Boomers BOF and has a fantastic fulltime RV travel blog titled Semi-True Tales of Our Life on the Road.  They told us about the exhibits in Redding that were interesting and also informed us that the weather would be better on Friday for going to Lassen National Park.

On Thursday, we headed out to the Turtle Bay Exploration Park for a tour. 

As we headed toward the main exhibition building, we came across this strange sight.  Just how often do you see someone out walking their porcupine?


The primary exhibit we wanted to see was called The Art of the Brick which was all art work completed with Lego blocks.  It was pretty amazing.

Here is a human heart:


There was this huge t-rex:


And then there were picture in picture type displays.  There was one titled the future that was of a computer chip in black and white, but if you looked at it sideways, it read “tomorrow”:


Tomorrow Another was called Crowd and it also looked like an eye:


When the artist was setting up his exhibit, he built this lego pencil (spelling out the word “yes”) in the main lobby.


The other big exhibit at the park was titled “The Scoop on Poop!”  It was very well done, with humor, but still educational and tasteful.


This must be the educational, tasteful and humor part here:


This is the Sundial Bridge that crosses the Sacramento River.  It was built to connect the cities walking/biking trails.


10/11 – 10/14/2009 - Grants Pass, Oregon

We left Winchester Bay on 10/11 and arrived at Grants Pass, Oregon later that afternoon.  Our campsite was the parking area across the street from Henderson's Line-Up where we had an appointment the following morning to repair the ride height valve on the RV and check the front tires for wear.  Robert Henderson and his crew do outstanding work and we can highly recommend them.  This was all accomplished early in the day, but due to predicted rain storms south of here, we decided to stay 2 more nights and wait out the bad weather.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

10/8 – 10/11/2009 – Winchester Bay, OR

We had a great time at Winchester Bay, OR! We pulled in here having no idea where to stay so we pulled off the road, had lunch, then explored the area. One area had full hookups for $20 a night, but it appeared to be dark all the time. The dry camping areas looked more positive and we found a sight we could stay at comfortably for few days and set up camp. Our major goal while here was to catch some dungeness crab and pig out on them. That turned out to be a very difficult task. After assessing the situation, we drove to North Bend/Coos Bay the following day to see what we could find. We bought a crab pot, propane cooker, and were ready to go back and get the big ones! As luck would have it,we did not have any luck. Out on the docks, we met several very helpful people and we had a great time, but after several attempts, we only captured one very under-sized crab. But…I was determined to dine on dungeness crab! I’m slightly ashamed to say I resorted to buying crab at the local seafood market. Not a bad idea after all! We had an excellent meal!

10/7/2009 – The Oregon Coast

We took a drive north from Newport to do some sightseeing. Our first stop was at Cape Foulweather where we spotted whales. None of them cooperated for a photo, but we did get some pretty good scenery pictures along the way.

This photo is from Cape Foulweather.


A view from Boiler Point.


The Devil’s Punchbowl.


The Yaquina Head Lighthouse


And one more photo along the Oregon coast before we headed back to the RV.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

10/6/2009 - Newport, OR - Oregon Coast Aquarium

We left Salem and arrived at the Newport Elks lodge at about noon. We got set up and headed into town to try a bowl of Mo's Original clam chowder. It was very good!
After lunch, we drove south on Hwy 101 and toured the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

They had numerous exhibits of some very unusual fish.

and a moray eel.

some rays


and feeding time for the sea lions and harbor seals.

We would have really enjoyed seeing the sea otter exhibit, but it was unavailable due to repairs this week. Overall, the aquarium was one of the best we've ever visited. The photos just don't do it justice and it was well worth the stop.

10/2 - 10/6/2009 - Salem, OR

We spent four nights in Salem, OR staying at the Elks lodge. When we arrived, we were greeted by our Escapees friends, John and Linda. They joined us for dinner at the lodge. The next few days were busy with visiting Ken's cousins. His aunt Hazel passed away in February and Ken's mother passed away in July, so there were many memories to share.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

10/1/2009 - Rufus, OR - LePage COE Park

We got started a little later than usual but finally left the Spokane Elks lodge and started our winter travels. We turned south at Ritzville, WA and continued on to Pasco where we stopped for lunch at a place that used to be a small vegetable stand. It is now a huge building and they've added a deli. After lunch, we continued on our way and crossed into Oregon and headed west following the Columbia Gorge. Our overnight stay was about 5 miles east of Rufus, OR in LePage Corps of Engineers campground. We had a nice pull through site along the John Day River with electric and water.

9/9 - 10/1/2009 - Spokane, WA

While in Spokane, we saw both grandson's play in football games at the Lakeside High School football field in Nine Mile Falls. This first photo is of Demetrius (#6) in the background.
And here is Dominique (#14) in his game.

In addition to time with family, we took the RV in for an oil change, and both of us had doctor appointments to get us caught up before hitting the road again. I received a steroid injection in my back on 9/30 and we were ready to head out again on the 1st.

9/6 - 9/9/09 - Prince George, BC to Omak, WA

We left Prince George on September 6th with plans to overnight in Cache Creek or Merritt. Neither location worked out and we continued driving to Kentucky Allyne Provincial Park where we found one campsite left that we could squeeze into for the night.

On the 7th, we drove to Omak, WA and spent a couple of nights just so we could feel caught up on things prior to going to the Spokane Elks where we knew we would be busy with family and volunteering at the club.

9/5/2009 - Prince George, BC

On our last day in Prince George, BC we drove to the Railway & Forestry Museum and looked at an exhibit on bridges that was in the building. We decided not to look at the outside portion of the museum as we could see most of it driving along the road and there didn't seem to be anything that we really had to see.