6 Months on the Road

Before we start on this post we wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.  We are fortunate enough that we are able to spend this holiday with family and are looking forward to good food, company and maybe a drink. :).  Wishing the same for all our Blogger friends and fellow full timers.

Wow, it seems like we were just writing about being on the road for 5 months and now we are approaching our half year anniversary.  So much has happened in that time (and before).  We made our Sunday video a recap of the last 6 months and you can see it below.  For our fellow RV’rs with spotty WIFI here is a quick summary:

  1. Planning
  2. Repairs
  3. Seeing amazing sites
  4. Loving each other and our pups.

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Roswell….. The Truth is Out There….

untitled-3932Couldn’t resist the title.  Sean is a huge X-Files fan AND has wanted to see Roswell since he was a kid.  It worked out great, not only were we passing nearby BUT one of Sherry’s good Theater friends, Chris, lived nearby so we could visit.  Before going to Roswell, Sherry had researched places to stay and we decided on a State Park called Bottomless Lakes.  The park has a series of very deep sinkholes (not quite bottomless) and full hook-ups, an added benefit.  We must have hit at a very bad time of the year.  The park was nice, well off the beaten path.  The nearest store was a good 30 minute drive.  The night skies were absolutely amazing.  On clear nights it seemed like you could see every star in the sky.

So why a bad time of the year?  Well, nights were cool but as the day warmed up we dealt with swarms of gnats, flies and then hornets.  Literally swarms of mud dauber hornets.  The first day we had several burrow their way into the RV between the slide out seals.

We ran out to the nearest Wal-Mart and purchased a can of wasp spray.  There were only two on the shelf… We should have known.  When we returned to the RV we had a nest going up on the roof.  We sprayed and they just kept coming.  Sherry noticed they were crawling in the hollow portions of our seals so Sean sprayed into and up those areas.  Dozens dropped out.  The Hornet Wars had begun.  Over the next three days we battled (had to find more Wasp spray at a local feed store) and held the bugs at bay. 🙂

Roswell was interesting.  Not as Alien driven as Sean had hoped but the mothership would have to be on display in the Walmart parking lot to please him on that. 🙂

Sean and Family? Friends?

Sean and Family? Friends?

We did tour the UFO Museum and Research Center and walked downtown.  Very interesting stuff.

We also visited the local Winery – Pecos Flavors Winery.

Vance, Chris, Sherry and Sean at Pecos Flavors.

Vance, Chris, Sherry and Sean at Pecos Flavors.

We really enjoyed the wines and conversation.  In fact, we bought a few bottles of the Alien Cabernet.  🙂

Between the weather and evil bugs (maybe they were really aliens???) We didn’t do much hiking or exploring beyond what we just mentioned.  That did mean we had time to plan out our next several stops and we decided to do a detour to Alamogordo, NM.  That was a blast but we will save the details for our next post. 🙂

On a side note.  We are running a contest on our Facebook page for a free 16X20 print of one of our photographs.  All you need to do is ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ the post about the contest to enter to win.  We know none of us full timers have wall space for pictures but if you are interested, or know someone who might be interested direct them to our Facebook page.  https://www.facebook.com/loveyphoto/?ref=bookmarks

 

 

Meteor Crater and Albuquerque

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Sean is the ultimate science nerd.

Leaving Williams AZ we took a short drive down the highway to a site just outside of Winslow.  What is in Winslow?  Well, the best preserved impact crater on the planet, Meteor Crater!!!!  OK, this is very exciting if you love science… In fact, it was pretty exciting regardless once we got there and could see the sheer magnitude of the site.  Sean has wanted to see the site since he learned about it as a child, back in the 60’s… or was it the 70’s?  🙂

OK, we were just under the speed limit. :)

OK, we were just under the speed limit. 🙂

We were only staying the night, so immediately after setting up in the RV park, which was only a few miles from the site, we drove to see the crater.  It was a short drive through scrub desert, nothing to see for miles but a few mountain ranges in the distance.    As we approached the impact site, the terrain, which had been relatively flat, rose up to form a steep ridge.  The museum and visitor center were built about halfway up the rise.  Like so much of what we have seen the last few months, the sheer magnitude of what can be found in nature doesn’t become apparent until given a perspective.  For us, driving up to the visitor center we were struck by how massive the huge ridge rising before us truly was… It was amazing to contemplate that huge wall was thrown up when a rock hit the earth….  True, a big metallic rock traveling at about 40,000 MPH, but still, a rock.low res-3763

We took some time exploring the museum and visitor center and watched the short but informative movie that shows every 30 minutes.  We should mention that the site is privately run and there is an admission fee to enter the visitor center.  low res-3726After watching the movie, we walked out to see the crater.  It was a fairly steep climb to get to the top observation deck but well worth it.  We snapped several photos and soaked in the view.

Our next ‘Ahhhh’ moment came when we were on the mid observation deck and used the telescopes set up to show various sites on the floor and walls of the crater.  One sign said there was a mine entrance on the opposite wall, we couldn’t pick it out until we looked through the telescope or our zoom lens on the camera.  Another telescope was aimed at a 6 foot silhouette of an astronaut standing near an American flag at the center of the crater.  Again, almost too small to see with the unaided eye.  We soaked in the views before returning to our RV and capturing some amazing desert sunset photos.

Leaving Winslow, we continued our journey, the next stop being Albuquerque, NM.  We had hoped to stay for several days, but had to adjust plans on the fly.  Sean had been in ABQ several years before for a conference.  He loved the city and in his spare time explored places, but wanted to spend more time viewing the petroglyphs and a few other sites.  Since our plans changed, we only had a day and decided to go to the ABQ Botanical Gardens.  Sherry had read about it and we thought it would make an interesting stop.  We spent a day wandering the gardens and the adjacent aquarium.  The gardens had a number of surprises for us.

Sean loved the train garden and stood for a while watching the various ‘garden’ trains meander along the tracks laid out through the plants.  These ‘garden’ model trains were specially designed to be used outdoors as accent pieces for a formal garden.  The history of the trains and that type of gardening was fascinating reading.  Sean swears if we settle down again he will do a train garden. 🙂  Sherry was fascinated with the Homestead farm on the grounds and became engaged in a conversation with several chickens…

Seriously, Sean pretended he didn’t know her…..

Here are a few samples from that visit.  Sean really enjoyed the waterfall shots and playing with camera settings to smooth out the falls or capture each drop.  These images have been heavily edited to enhance that effect.

We enjoyed the stop and decided a return to ABQ would be in order.  Our next stops were Roswell and Alamogordo.  More on those in the next post. 🙂

If you are interested in our thoughts about the RV parks where we’ve stayed, we have a separate page for reviews on the blog at this link: RV Parks Thoughts and Observations

You can also access the reviews on the main page of the blog through a link on the right hand side of the page.

Safe Travels!!

Cooking in the RV – Butternut Squash Soup

Hello Friends,

This post is our third video.  In it, Sherry will show how easy it is to make a nice hearty Butternut Squash soup while on the road.  If you enjoy the video, please like and share.  : )

We are curious to hear from you.  What sort of meals do you prepare on the road that are ‘just like home’?

Our next video will post on Wednesday and is of our train ride from Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon.

Happy Trails!

Lake Mead, Sedona and Flagstaff… Oh My

Hello friends!

Yes, it has been an incredibly busy month of October and promises to continue to be such for us.  We can’t start this entry without thanking everyone for the positive response to our videos.  We had no idea they would be such a hit!  Look for a video update from us each Sunday and Wednesday.  We will do our best to stick to a post each of those days and already have enough to keep us going for a few weeks.  Please subscribe to our channel on YouTube to stay up to date on the videos.  Sherry and Sean’s YouTube Channel We will try to answer questions that have come our way, especially about cooking and life in general in the RV.  Now, on to the blog:

We left Mesquite, Nevada and drove a few hours to get to a camp sight on Lake Mead.  The drive was pleasantly uneventful other than some rough roads and traffic through Las Vegas.  Yes, there were some shorter routes for us to take, but we decided to stick to interstates and keep it simple.

When we arrived at our spot on Lake Mead, we quickly set up, walked the pups and took off for Hoover Dam.  Sean had last visited the area with his grandparents back in the 70’s.  He commented several times how amazed  he was at the low water level.  We knew how tough the drought conditions were, but the sight of the water line marks on the lakes edge and the actual water line were stunning.

Since we only had a day, we tried to make the most of our time.  We started off by heading to the dam and, after passing through a security checkpoint, we stopped at an area were we could take a foot tour up to the new Tillman Bridge and across the bridge to get a bird’s eye view of the dam.  The bridge and dam are both amazing feats of engineering.  Sean remembered taking a tour of the inside of the dam and learning that so much concrete was poured in such a short time that cooling pipes had to be run through the dam to aid in the curing of the cement.  Otherwise, it would have taken decades to finally set.

We did drive down to the dam and park so we could walk across.  A note here.  Don’t bring your spare tanks of gas with you when visiting the dam.  You can’t park anywhere but the open sites due to security. We didn’t think of that when we left as we were rushing to get on with the site seeing.  OH, another note – Sean made too many dam jokes as we took our walking tour.. pun intended.

The day after our visit to the dam we crossed the Tillman Bridge with our home in tow and our next destination of Williams, AZ where we would stay at Railside RV.  Our original plan had us here only a few days but we upped that to a week so we could see all we wanted to see.  Sherry also had her heart set on riding the train into Grand Canyon National Park… Well, that will be the subject of a new blog AND a video!    : ).

The day after we arrived in Williams, we drove into Sedona.  This was a beautiful drive, winding down the mountains on a road that reminded us of the Going to the Sun Road, only a little wider.  We dropped several thousand feet and gained a few degrees.  It is probably worth mentioning that we went from 90 degree temps to 60 degree temps going from Lake Mead to Williams.  Brrrr.  There are several parks along HWY 89A worth stopping at.  One of them, Slide Rock State Park is the home of one of the top ten swimming holes in the country.. or so we heard.

Sedona was amazing, and we enjoyed wandering the small town and visiting many shops.  Sean even found a coffee mug like one used by his favorite ex-late night talk show host Craig Ferguson.

After Sedona, we holed up in the RV for a little R&R… Well, cleaning and laundry.  The weather had really turned on us and was wet and cold.  Perfect to catch up on chores and edit some videos.  The next day was marginally better so we decided to drive into Flagstaff to see the Lowell Observatory.  This was a religious experience for Sean.  Please don’t ask him why Pluto should still be considered a planet.  We toured the old observatory and heard about the conditions the astronomers faced when it was in use like climbing onto the roof to shovel snow and standing around at night in sub zero temps getting frostbite while waiting for a photographic plate to gather an image of the heavens.   Amazing.  We also had our first (but not last) Tarantula sighting along one of the trails at the observatory.  YIKES!!

In our next several blogs we will cover our trips into the Grand Canyon and a few videos on cooking and baking.  One of the upcoming blogs will cover some of the amazing people we have met through blogging and travel since we started this journey.

Our next entry will be a video blog about cooking.  Sherry made a delicious Butternut squash soup.  Yes, we will share the recipe. : )

Please pass along our links to anyone you think would be interested.

Signing off for now!

Click the link below to see more photos of Sedona, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.

Travel Photo Link

Being flexible, Snow Canyon and 4 Months on the Road

Moon Rise from our 'backyard'.

Moon Rise from our ‘backyard’.

One of the very fun things about our adventure is that neither one of us has a problem changing plans on the fly.  True, it can be a little frustrating when things don’t work out the way we plan.   Fortunately, we both approach life with the attitude that it is more about the journey than the destination.  A good case in point would be our recent trip to Zion NTL Park.

We had heard that it was important to arrive early in order to get good parking, so we got up, fed and walked the pups and then hit the road.  From where we are staying, in Mesquite, NV it wasn’t a bad drive of only 60 miles.  Some of this was backtracking on HWY 15 but we enjoy that section, especially going through the Virgin River Gorge.  A note for any future travelers; It is a very steep and winding section of HWY with several warning signs about high crosswinds.  There is also construction that narrows the lanes considerable.  Nothing that slow and careful can’t overcome.  🙂

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A few miles from the Zion Entrance.

The road leading into Zion passes through several small towns and has a number of places that would be worth pulling off to take photos of the mountains.  We arrived at the park entrance around 10 AM and were greeted with a relatively long line of cars and a sign that told visitors the park lots were usually full from 10 AM to 3 PM.  We’d already noted many cars parking in town and along the road leading to the park.  Oh well, we decided to drive on and at least scope out the park and, if needed, make plans to visit another time.  The short version is, what we could see from the road was amazing but there was absolutely no parking.  Our adjusted plans now have us returning, parking outside of the park and then riding the shuttle bus in to our hiking destination.  Like many others, we plan on seeing the narrows, a strenuous but beautiful hike.

So, after leaving the park, we started discussing our other options.  Sherry had heard of a great state park in St. George, UT called Snow Canyon and since it was on the way we decided to make a stop.  Our truck was also ready for an oil change so on the way Sean called a Chevy dealership in St. George, Steven Wade Chevy, to see if we could get in for oil, tire rotation and a brake check.  Lucky for us, the service rep said they were slow that day and could get us right in!  This is probably a good area for another side note.  We are both adamant about preventative maintenance.  One of the reasons we got our particular tow vehicle was the great extended warranty and reliability.   We’ve stuck to the recommended service schedule and pay particular attention to the biggies like tires and brakes.  After all, it would really suck to go down some of these big inclines and realize you can’t slow down.  YIKES!!  🙂  Anyway, we were able to get in and out within 30 minutes.  All was great with the truck.

Snow Canyon was a short drive from the dealership.  We paid a small fee of $6 to enter that park and drove on to the first trail, Jenny’s Canyon.  The park itself is very small but there was a great deal to see in that small area.  The Jenny’s Canyon trail is relatively short, under a mile and leads through some scrub brush and cactus to the canyon.  The trail does branch off, go right and take a steep climb to the canyon overlook, or go left and enter the narrow canyon.  For a short hike, there was a lot to see and we enjoyed exploring the narrow canyon.

Driving on, we stopped to take several pictures before arriving at the petrified dunes and Butterfly Trail.  This is a longer trail that leads over and along the dunes and into the ancient lava flow.  A very fun hike and not too strenuous.  Even the inclines were made easier by nature’s staircase along the petrified dunes.  Sean was very excited to walk on the lava flow.

As we were leaving the park we did see the camping area and thought it looked very nice.  They do have sites with water and electricity as well as a dump station.

We have just passed our 4 month on the road anniversary and as is our custom, we thought we would wrap up with a few thoughts.  Some we mentioned above, such as the maintenance needs.  It is easy to get in a vacation mindset and ignore some of the basics like vehicle maintenance.  Don’t let that happen!  This month we have been on the road more than the last two and we truly enjoy it.

Whether we are out taking a hike and exploring or staying close to ‘home’ there is always something to see if you look around.  Even if it is just watching the Gambels Quail walk up and down the stucco fence near our RV or seeing Maggie scamper after salamanders on one of her walks.  Watching the moon rise over the mountains or sitting amazed at the sight of thundershowers in the desert.  It is about the journey.

Well, enough rambling on for now.  We are waiting for weather to clear and the danger of flash flooding to subside before we make our trip back to Zion.  Hope you are all enjoying where you are and what you are doing!

For more photos, click the link below:

Snow Canyon and Assorted Nature Photo Gallery

Vegas and Sean’s Birthday!

We have been very busy the past few weeks. After we left the Yellowstone area, we travelled to Provo, UT for a couple of days.  They have a really nice Paleontology museum on the campus of BYU and a gorgeous trail to Bridal Veil Falls.  We took the opportunity to visit both of these spots while we were in the area.  The RV park, Lakeside RV, was nice with a dog park and walking trails.  It was also close to the Provo State Park and lake.

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50?!? That can’t be right!

We headed out on September 15, the day before Sean’s BIG birthday – the BIG 5-0!  We made our way to the Arizona/Nevada border and set up at a nice RV resort with a pool and LOTS of luxury amenities.  We spent the day of his birthday lounging by the pool and eating whatever he wanted.  (NORMALLY we eat vegetarian meals, but Sean wanted bacon for breakfast, so bacon we ate!)  Sherry made a cake (if by made you mean bought); Sean’s favorite is German Chocolate.  Sherry also made a favorite for dinner – tofu stuffed pasta shells and asparagus.  Nom Nom!

 

On September 21 we headed to Vegas to celebrate even more!low res-2224  We boarded our furbabies at the Animal Inn in Vegas and we stayed at New York New York.  Sherry had never been to Vegas and Sean had not been there since he was a teenager with his grandparents.  Our room was great and the atmosphere at New York New York was fun.  We joked that for the last several months we have been in quiet, forested, park areas, Vegas was a shock to our senses.  The lights, noise, and sea of humanity was overwhelming at times.  We enjoyed spending time touring the inside of New York New York.  low res-2627They have “streets” indoors that are similar to those in NYC (Greenwich, Times Square, Broadway, etc).  Vegas has the feel of a theme park like Disney – it is designed to be visually appealing and make you spend money.  lol.  This whole trip has been about decompressing and decluttering our lives, so maybe Vegas was not the obvious choice for a getaway.  We felt the whole place was a little anti-climactic.  Sherry wanted to see the Gondolas at the Venetian, but was disappointed that they weren’t as grand as they were on TV and photographs.  We both enjoyed the fountain show at the Bellagio – they played “All That Jazz” from Chicago, one of Sherry’s favorites.    Sean wanted to see some of the old hotels that were there when his grandparents took him there, so we trekked down to Circus Circus (on the monorail that Sherry thought would be a good idea – it wasn’t…) and it was not the fun, bright hotel of yesteryear.  It was a little “house of horror” looking.  It looked run down and tired.  We think the appeal of Las Vegas that is shown on TV did not come across while we visited.  Maybe we just aren’t Vegas people…

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An “old school” selfie – taken with our good camera propped up on the ironing board in the room.

However, the big excitement was the show that we booked!  We saw Zumanity, a Cirque Du Soleil show at the New York New York.  It was a sensual, funny, heart-stopping type of show.  There was a little person who did a stunning aerial silk act that we couldn’t believe!  It is only for 18+ though, so don’t think about going with kiddos – or if you tend to be offended by sexuality and language.  We had a great time.  😉  Sherry was disappointed, however, that people didn’t seem to dress up as much as she thought they would in Vegas.  Being involved in theater, she always follows the rule that you dress for a show.  Sherry wore a nice dress and heels and Sean wore a suit.  low res-2659The ticket person at the door commented that he loved to see attractive people dressed up for the show, and no offense to Sherry, but he prefers a nice looking man in a suit (wink wink).  Sherry felt pretty lucky to have such attractive arm candy.  It was odd to see many people show up in what they probably wore all day – shorts, tees, and athletic shoes.  Maybe a different show or hotel draws a different crowd.  It was also disappointing to see not many people dressing to go out at all.  low res-2652We spent two nights visiting the dueling piano bar in the hotel and other restaurants around town, and people were dressed casual or less than casual.  Sherry assumed Vegas would have more pizazz and stylish people roaming around in the evenings – it understandable during the day because of the heat and amount of walking, but at night it’s supposed to be glamorous and sexy time! Lol.  We guessed we just weren’t visiting the right places.  We sure didn’t want to spend the money for that kind of style either.  We did have a little luxury by the pool one day when we rented two cabana chairs.  They came with cushions, iced drinks, and a pool raft.  Even though we weren’t gambling at the tables or shopping at overpriced stores, we still had fun eating, drinking, and people watching.  Sherry thought the food was the best part of the whole Vegas experience.  We didn’t have one bad meal!  We also visited the aquarium at Mandalay Bay.  We realized as we were visiting hotels that many of them have selfie booths that take your picture and send it to you through email.  Sherry decided that it was a mission to find as many as possible and get a picture.  These are from all the ones we could find (minus the one from Linq because their machine had a window directly behind us that whited out the picture…):

All in all, Sean had a fun birthday and we added another experience to our adventure.  We still think that we prefer what mother nature has to offer over the man made stuff.  We are still considering going back to Vegas one more time before we leave the area to see another show.  We would both really like to see Book of Mormon while it is there.

Many (but not ALL) of our pictures from this trip were taken with our phones.  We really didn’t want to lug the good camera around while we trekked the streets of Vegas, so if you would like to see what we got, visit the gallery on our website:

Las Vegas and Sean’s Birthday Photo Gallery