New, Tears, Win, Quilt, Again

We were very excited to get on the road. We were headed to Lake Havasu, AZ for a gathering of 300 RVs and that isn’t even counting the people! “Escapees” is an RV club started by Joe & Kay Peterson in 1978. They were traveling full-time and wanted to meet up with other people doing the same thing. Years later, Xscapers, a sub group for full-time travelers who are working remote, was started. This tends to be a younger group since they aren’t retired. Xscapers big yearly get-together is called Bash and that is where we were heading.

The event is sold out (we booked in July when it opened for reservations). I thought there would be a huge line of RVs when we got to Sara (Special Activities Recreational Area) Park but no, we got right in. There were volunteers everywhere and so happy and friendly. The sections you could pick when registering where: family, solar, general, party. We picked general so we can run our generator, if needed. Got set up and walked to Center Camp to get our packet. Fun bag full of cups, shirts, and other little things. Soon it started raining and we got a notification from Bash that the opening and welcome that was suppose to be at the rodeo arena was moved into the big tent. During the welcome, Kevin sat on the front row and turned to face me so he could interpret for me since I am deaf. So sweet. Xscapers was started by the grandson of the founders. His parents even ran Escapees. What a legacy of that family! This event is incredibly organized and I am extremely impressed.

Now THAT Is Talent! Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

In the tent there was a band named Crown City Bombers, playing hulabilly. They were really fun to watch and Kevin said very talented. (I am deaf so I can’t hear how they sound.) They put on a great show and even the guy playing the upright bass, held it up over his head behind his back and played. Never seen that before!

Train Smoker, Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

The first morning was catered breakfast burritos. They knew how to do it! Making them right there but they were fast. The line was short and always moving. Later we saw the smoker they used for the potatoes that looks like a train engine. Very cute. There was music at the gazebo and people just hanging out. We visited with people. One lady came up to me and started to use American Sign Language. Her hands were shaking and she said she was so nervous and almost didn’t come over. I am glad she did. Wow! She did great and Kevin stepped in when needed. She didn’t stay long as she was helping her daughter with marketplace. The marketplace is where  people can sell things. There was another person who also signed to me. Love it! She took it in high school and her teacher had told her she should be an interpreter because she is so expressive. We agreed! Later, I sent two pictures that Kevin took to my family. My brother soon responded back that he knows one of the ladies! Small world!! I couldn’t wait to find her and tell her.

View from Mountains from Rodeo Arena, Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

Tuesday, for happy hour, the Border Hookups sang. We have seen them on Youtube. Food trucks tonight! There were two, we picked Le Chaparro. Kevin had a  navaho  taco and it was really good. I had 2 street tacos and they were fine. Standing in line we visited with a lady who learned Japanese and then went there for four months. She said it was an incredible journey. I bet. Then Joann came up to me. Her granddaughter used to be babysat by my friend Sue! When I had texted Sue the pictures of two ladies signing with me, she reply that she knew someone here! Sue texted the friend, who looked me up and yes, I was here. What small worlds!

Center Camp Has A Lovely Sunset View, Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

Next was a silent auction for charity. We bid on a pair of pickle ball rackets but didn’t win. While looking at the stuff, we spotted the lady who had signed with me. We stopped her and told her who my brother is. She was blown away of the connection. She told us later that she had a nice chat with him on Facebook and got all caught up. The evening entertainment was 90’s Rockshow. They are a band out of LA. It was funny, Kevin and I didn’t know any of the songs. I remembered that in the 90s we were listening to country music. No country music here at Bash.

Wednesday we went to Center Camp where the tables are set for people to work. For lunch, we had free hot dogs and chips. While Kevin worked, I read on my iPad. “Mrs Harris Goes To Paris.” What a darling book! I know it was a movie this past season; now I will need to watch it. For dinner, it was another food truck night. We picked DJ’s Truckin’ Good Food. We had cheeseburgers and fries. Next was Xscapers Olympics. We didn’t want to join but probably will next year. Teams of 4. There were all sorts of games spread out all over the rodeo grounds. They had 2 hours to complete them. We watched one – a bounce house where people would have to hold on to ropes – it looked like human foosball! HAHA

Charla, in Red, Serving Mac & Cheese, Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23


Thursday was Mac & Cheese Madness. I like to cook, and have a yummy recipe for Mac & Cheese so I thought I would make some. I didn’t matter to me if it won or not, just fun to cook. There were tables set around in a U shape, and, to my horror, the cookers were seat at the table behind their dish! I thought this was a “blind” competition. It became apparent that each person would hand out the samples. I was so overwhelm – how am I going to serve and try to communicate with everyone! I sat down and the tears filled my eyes. Kevin asked if I wanted to leave, and I said no thanks. I needed to do this. He sat a chair by me. I got the tears out of my eyes. I bucked up and soon the competition started. Soon the doors were open and a ton of people came in. Kevin was so good to talk with everyone while I dished up the food. ♥️ We didn’t win but it turned out to be fun.

“I Win!” Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

Friday we went to the seminar – Maximizing your Escapees benefits. It was good to learn more about the different events and programs. Escapade is the annual national rally and is the largest and most diverse gathering of the Escapees community. HOPS is Head Out Program. It includes excursions with fellow RVers that target unique locations, special events and theme-related activities. Escapees Hangouts provides more casual opportunities to make new friends and share fun, active and adventurous experiences together in a campground setting. Next session, Hollie (the director) told about upcoming events for 2023. Then she said the big announcement is the date for the next Bash: Jan 13-21, 2024, and will be held at the same place. She said Lake Havasu City is great to work with and their facilitates at the rodeo grounds work perfect. Then Hollie said for everyone to look under their benches. We causally felt under ours. Nothing. After a while she said, “This area needs to look again” and pointed around us. I stood up and Kevin lifted the bench. There it was, an envelope. She said he won a ticket to the next BASH! WAHOOOO Last year’s price was $300.00. What a great prize to win. We were already planning on attending it. The session RV Gadgets Show & Tell was great. I recognized Mark Nemeth from the Escapees magazine as tech advisor. Kevin picked up on a few things that would be nice to have. The show and tell invited people to bring their favorite gadgets. I talked to a lady afterwards who showed museum putty. I have heard a lot of talk about this. She said it really does hold. I might need to try some. 

The Quilt I Made Being Used For Trivia! Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23
The Team With My Quilt 🙂 Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

Right after that was Trivia Night. What a great way to meet new people! The 5 rounds were each different and loads of fun! One was name the song and singer. (Yeah, I couldn’t help with that! HAHA) Another was look at a paper and identify each symbol. For example, Good Sam, National Parks, etc. Another round was a paper with titles of movies about something to do with travel or on the road. You had to name the actor. Oh, we messed that one up big time. HAHA The last round was a paper listing a campground. We had to name the National Park where that campground was in. Well, it was a cool day and earlier in the day, Kevin had brought me the National Park quilt that I had made. (About 5 ladies oohed and aahed over it during the day session. So sweet.) So, I held up the map part of the quilt so my team could see. I thought that seeing the map might help their memories of where the campgrounds were. It helped a little, we thought. Then, all of a sudden, a guy from another team walked over and asked if he could hold my quilt! HAHA I said, “Yes, and if you win, you owe me $20.00!” Everyone was laughing. Then the guy took the quilt over to his team and held up the quilt. Wouldn’t you know….that team won! I hollered, you owe me $20.00. HAHA He came over and pulled out a $20.00. I said no thanks, just teasing. While we were all laughing. He kept insisting to pay, laughing right along. I suggested he give to the charity Bash was supporting. He liked that. Isn’t that the funniest?!

The Status Crowes, Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

There were two food trucks. We had another delicious burger from JD’s Truckin’ Good Food. The concert that night was a couple named The Status Crowes. They travel full-time and are a favorite of Xscapers. People call them the “Xscapers House Band.” He plays a guitar and sings and she sings and does some hand beats. They played for 3 hours.

Boom Bandits, Lake Havasu, AZ 01/23

Saturday at noon we went to see the session we hadn’t heard of before. It was: Gutted Season 2 Premiere w/ Cast Meet & Greet. This is a TV show where each team has 5 days to build out an RV, van, and school bus. The show wasn’t captioned so I just watch the video. It was the first time the cast had seen it. Then the cast went on stage and answered questions. At 5:00 was catered BBQ by BBQ Bandits. I looked them up to see if they have a restaurant in Lake Havasu and sadly, no. The meal was fantastic! BBQ pork, beef, or chicken sandwiches, potato salad, Cole slaw, Mac & cheese, I can’t remember what else. They used Sweet Baby Rays, our favorite sauce. A couple we met during trivia joined us and we had a great visit. From 7:00-9:00 PM was an act from Las Vegas named Lyte Bryte. They are a music group and wear neon flashing lights on their costume. Very fun! Everyone was invited to wear neon and boy did people go all out. Fun to see. The group performed on the gazebo. We had fun and danced along with the beat. At one point, the guy leader in the band said his pants were falling down and he needed a safety pin. After the girl sang the next song, he came back and said he was given 12 safety pins and a box of pins. The girl was surprised people had brought so many. He said, “Well, their homes are right there” and pointed to all our RVs. HAHA  At 9:00 pm – midnight, the entertainment was Boom Bandits. He is a DJ who “provides an obscene amount of fun with their professional entertainment and one-of-a-kind contraptions.” It was a dance party. We stayed for just a few minutes and then went home. Kevin could hear the beat, music, and even the DJ talking clear over in General 2 parking where we were. Sometimes, when you are ready for bed, it is nice to be deaf. 🙂 

This was our first time at a gathering like this. There were singles, couples, friends, and families. From tiny vans to honking-big motorhomes. There were people with all sorts of remote jobs. A very diverse gathering but all with the common core of love-of-travel. And with that? Not a stranger in sight.

You Missed A Spot! Also, Date Palm Tree Farm.

Evening Photo Of Our Home On Wheels, Palm Desert, CA 01/23

Time to leave Malibu Beach RV Park in Malibu, California. We laughed and laughed because, guess what…no traffic! The entire way to Palm Springs, California. There were just a few cars and trucks along the way. Very thankful.

All Set Up! Palm Springs RV Resort, Palm Desert, CA 01/23

The drive to Palm Springs RV Resort, in Palm Desert, California, was so nice. 70° and sunny. We saw mountains along the way with snow on them. We drove past the campground but knowing we can’t get in before noon, and it was 11:00 AM, we just drove on and parked at a hockey arena packing lot to wait. When it was check in time, we went to the gate. The guy was very nice and busy. He said the lady that was suppose to help him with check in/out hadn’t come back from the office. He had to open the incoming and outgoing gates. That was fine and we were patient. Got set up quickly and easily. I vacuumed again – beach sand everywhere from the slides (but so worth it being at the beach!) 🙂 Sat outside enjoying the sun for a little while.

Watching Football At The Lodge At Palm Springs RV Resort,Palm Desert, CA 01/23

Kevin tried to get the Rose Bowl game on our TV – University of Utah Utes are playing. But no channels we have had it on. We decided to walk around. The Lodge has a huge meeting room with a fireplace and a TV with couches. No one was in there so Kevin turned on the TV, looked and found the Rose Bowl game! Wahoo. At 1/2 time, the score was tied. Taco Bell was a major sponsor and for good reason, it made us crave Taco Bell! Wouldn’t you know, there was one very close here. Kevin jumped in the truck and went and got it for us. He was back right as the 2nd half started. Fun to eat and watch the game. Well, then there was an 87 and an 88 yard punt return by Penn State. Yeah, we left and went to the hot tub. HAHA We had a very enjoyable visit with 4 other couples. OH, the huge pool is heated! We “swam” around there before the hot tub. A wonderful day.

“You Missed Some Spots.” Palm Desert, CA 01/23

Kevin contacted someone recommended by this campground to wash HOWE (our name for our Home On WhEels). We needed to get the sand and salt off from the beach. The crew came the next day and we thought did a very good job. Right as they were done, Kevin noticed his “office window” was very dirty and so he asked the guys to clean it again. While the guy was on the ladder cleaning the window again, Kevin noticed…the dirt was on the inside of the window! HAHAHAHA Kevin apologized greatly and they all had a good laugh. The nice thing about this campground is UPS, FedEx, and Amazon all deliver right to your campsite! (All the other campgrounds we have been to have deliveries to the office.) They even pick up at the campsite. We have just thought that was jolly fun. We went to the hot tub. Met nice people, a couple from SLC, a couple from Canada, and a guy who is 2 days into his full-time traveling. He has a 16 ft trailer. He asked everyone their advice. Kevin said, “Enjoy the journey.”  Later that night I thought next time someone asks me that I am going to suggest keeping a journal. (This blog is from parts of my travel journal.) As full-timers, we see so many places, do some many things, and learn so much and it can get lost or mixed up. Keeping a daily journal helps keep it alive in us.

Recipes! The other night, I made a pasta salad recipe that I had marked as 5 (highest rating) stars. That got me thinking; while it was delicious, I don’t want it all the time. So then I thought I need to change the rating system in my Paprika (online recipe folder) so that I can know better about how often I want it. So, LOL, I went through all 417 recipes. It was super easy on my MacBook laptop. Since I only keep really great recipes, see note, I know they are all going to be good. Note: I have kept a few recipes and added “yuck” in the title and place the lowest star with them. Otherwise, I am afraid they sound so good that when I see them somewhere I would make them again. Example: Senate white bean soup. Yuck! So my rating goes as follows: knowing the recipes are all good, 1= yuck, 2= want one time a year, 3= want every 6 months, 4= want once a month, 5= want everyday. One recipe I had marked as 5 stars I hadn’t made since 2015! HAHAHAHA Needed to rate that a little different. Delicious, but don’t want it all the time. It took me the morning to do it and I had a blast.

Palm Springs, CA 01/23

We knew that our aunt and uncle from Las Vegas come here to Palm Springs often with their timeshare. When we last saw them, we invited them to come down here for the weekend with us. Uncle jumped on it, got reservations that evening, and we were all surprised, since it is so filled up down here. On Friday, they invited us to the hotel/condo for dinner. Our uncle made Pasties for us. It is a Celtic recipe passed down from his great-grandma from Scotland. They would make these hot for supper and then the miners would take the cold ones for lunch. Delicious! Later, he wrote down the recipe for me and I will treasure it. While he made the Pasties, our aunt went with us to the hot tub. Beautiful grounds and lovely huge tub. We had a nice conversation with Kevin interpreting. She talked about growing up and then her parents. Fun stories. When we got back, they so kindly offered the garden tub to me for a hot bubble bath. (This is the ONLY thing I miss about not having a sticks & brick house!) Loved it! He put the Pasties in the oven to cook for an hour. I got out right in time. 🙂

Us: Charla & Kevin, Palm Springs, CA 01/23

Since I am deaf, I asked Kevin to please make sure I respond to people the correct way. I am afraid I might misunderstand ASL and laugh at something or say a wrong response when that wasn’t what would be the response if I heard what exactly was said. He said in the nicest way, “I got you.” AHHHHH And then said, “I always am aware and watch out for that.” He is a keeper, 30+ years and counting! A big thing to do here in Palm Springs is to ride a tram to 8000 ft mountains. We looked online for tickets last night and saw it was sold out! It said they keep some tickets back for walk ins so today we tried it . We drove over to the base of the mountain when the road starts for the tram. It was jammed packed road. The guy in the safety vest said tickets were sold out and to try back around 3:00. We turned around and headed to the downtown area. Fancy shopping, restaurants, and shops there. We parked and we were to walk around and meet back in an hour. I saw a marker in the pavement that said: private property, permission to pass over revocable at any time. 🙂

Refreshing On This 70° Day! Palm Springs, CA 01/23

We stopped at Great Shakes and got Almond Joy shake and Butter Pecan shake. They came with a tiny donut wrapped around the paper straw. They were delicious. Lots of people dining outside.

The Only One We Knew! Palm Springs, CA 01/23

There are names of people in the sidewalks but for all the walking around we did, we only recognized one person’s name. HAHA George Lopez. We had to take a picture since that was the only name we knew. HA

Visiting And Learning History, Palm Springs, CA 01/23

We passed a statue of a golfer, walked a few steps and an older gentleman, sitting in a bright colored outdoor table and chairs asked if we knew who that was. He told us great stories about the place. A fine gentleman with a great smile. At 3:00 we went back to the tram. The guard said the wait time was 2.5 hours. It would be dark before we even got on the tram. We didn’t want to do that so we left. We went back to their condo and watched the second half of the chiefs game. That was fun. Later, I fixed dinner that I brought. I cut up a lot of ham and added it to scalloped potatoes with a side of green beans. After we ate, our uncle said “THIS is the meals I love.” He loves comfort meals and misses cooking in their assisted living apartment (no kitchen). 

The Ladder Stays On The Date Tree, Indio, CA 01/23

The next day, on our way to meet up with our uncle and aunt, we were able to learn from Autio App about the riots of 1986. It was spring break and college kids swarmed the area. They got in fights, caused a lot of damage, and even dumped water in the open convertibles. After that, the town did all it could to discourage spring breakers from coming, even, routing Hwy 111 around the city and not going through it. Fascinating. We didn’t try the tram today because we saw the tickets were sold out for this day, too. Kevin and I can go another time. The four of us went to Shield’s Date Garden. What a place! You walk in to a large store. At the far end is a theater with a movie telling the history. We asked if it was closed caption, since I am deaf. The guy was nice and tried, even handing Kevin a remote to try to turn it on. No go. Sad but thankful for the try. After the movie, we walked outside, past a lovely dining patio and the food smelled good. Through a gate to “the walk”. We saw date palm trees all around. And then we saw lemons ON a lemon tree. Kevin and I have rarely seen those. We saw: Lisbon lemons, ruby red grapefruit, date palms, soap tree yuccas, Meyer lemons, Nagami kumquat, Dancy tangerines, Cape honeysuckle, and all sorts of other things. It was a nice, long, leisurely stroll and was there about 2 hours. We bought some dates to try as we don’t remember having them before. On the way back to their condo, we stopped at Costco for gas and then inside for steaks. Next we stopped at Ralphs for mushrooms and sweet potatoes for them and potatoes for us. Our uncle sent Kevin and I outside to grill the steaks. He made the mushrooms in A1 sauce and butter. The whole meal was scrumptious.

Oh, the tram we tried to go on? It had some mechanical problems on Sunday and 500 people were stranded at the top and on the trams for several hours. I am so glad they were sold out of tickets!

I read that Rancho Oso campground, in Santa Barbara, where we were in December, is closed until March 1 due to all the problems with the rainstorms. I feel bad for the people. A lot of places have damage.

“Chasing 70°!” Oh Yeah! Palm Desert, CA 01/23

That evening I was starting to cook supper and Kevin said there was a knock at the door. He answered it and it was Karen, one of the ladies we met in the hot tub. She knew a little sign language and I was thrilled. So gave me a shell she had painted. So sweet! She gathers shells at Whaler’s Rest, Oregon (where we will be this spring) and then paints them. This one has a little beach and ocean on it. I was overwhelmed by her thoughtfulness. We had a nice visit and hope to see each other again.

The Perfect Gift For Kevin.

Sailing On Santa Barbara Channel, Oxnard, CA 12/22

Laying in bed one morning, with it just getting light out, I thought how neat it would be to be able to see the sun rise over the ocean. We saw breathtaking sunsets over the ocean. I much prefer the sunset, just because then I don’t have to get up early. HAHA Anyway, I was thinking about that and how Malibu (along with Santa Barbara) actually faces out south. Hum, I should get up and see where the sun rises. Got up and looked out the living room windows. Beautiful morning. A few minutes later, “up” came the sun. The brilliance splashing colors all over the ocean. Stunning. I just stood there, in awe. I never get tired of seeing that.

Eating Seafood Outside, Malibu, CA 12/24/22

The Malibu Seafood Fish Market is right near Malibu Beach RV Park, where we are staying. It opens at 10:00 and then cafe opens at 11:00. When we got there very few cars were in the parking lot and we walked right in and ordered. I decided to wait on buying any seafood since it would be a few days before we are ready for it and I don’t want it smelling up the fridge. We ordered the fried fish and chips. The seating is outside and it was a glorious day. The food, we rated: Once A Week. The homemade tartar sauce was excellent, with a good tasting tang. Kevin suggested this should be a new tradition – seafood on Christmas Eve. I like that. The rest of the day was just relaxing, reading, and getting presents ready and wrapped. Kevin said he wanted to give me two gifts to open this evening. It turns out he is a silly goose, like his mom. He wrapped up the toothpaste and toothbrush I had got at the store today. HA Thanks, hon. 🙂

Surfers @ Hanna Beach, CA 12/22

For Christmas, I surprised Kevin with a 2 hour sailing with Sail Channel Islands. https://sailchannelislands.com/ We got ready and drove up to Oxnard. We pulled over at Hanna Beach to watch the surfers. There were 21 out there, that I could see.

Santa Barbara Channel, CA 12/22

We continued on and followed the directions Captain Dan gave us for getting to the sailboat. We made it fine and the parking lot had a ton of parking and free. We gathered our things, including sweaters and rain jackets (didn’t use the jackets), sun block, etc.

View From A Sailing, Santa Barbara/Oxnard, CA 12/22

We walked the short way to Marina 4 gate, called Captain Dan, saw our boat, Willie in the distance, and waited for him to open the locked gate. He was a very wonderful and kind man. He used to fly airplanes and landed them on aircraft carriers. He doesn’t fly anymore because it is boring. Yes, just flying is boring compared to take off and landing on a carrier. 🙂

Sailing Santa Barbara Channel, CA 12/22

We got on the small sailboat and what a ride. Captain Dan had Kevin drive it the whole time, except for right in the line of slip at the harbor. The sea was so calm, the rocking almost made me fall asleep. I didn’t feel any “falling” part of motion sickness. So thankful! I saw a boat named, “ Vitamin Sea” and thought that was funny. We also saw a huge dredge. Captain Dan said the pipeline takes the sand out a mile and dumps it on a beach. Wow! We also a lot of sea lions.

An Amazing Sailboat Ride! Santa Barbara Channel, CA 12/22

The tour was from 1:00-3:00 PM. I picked this time for us to have plenty time to get there and also the warmest part of the day. We saw a big container ship, lots of sailboats, some regular boats, and even a crab boat which was right along the water break.

Kevin Behind The Steering Wheel, CA 12/22

Amazing. Kevin had the biggest grin on his face the entire time. A perfect gift.

Sunset at Malibu, CA 12/22

 Credit Card Fraud! Mad. I just don’t understand people who do that!?! They were sneaky in that they used the name of a place we had been last summer and charged it for $34.70. I noticed it and knew we hadn’t been back there. Kevin called the place and they saw no charge so we knew it wasn’t a mistake on their part. Next we called the card company who took care of it right away.

We went to Beverly Hills Mall for the closest Container Store to Malibu. Let me say, that was a fancy swanky mall! All the walkways are outside but it was raining ever so slightly. Beautiful place. At the mall we found the store. It took us a while to figure out what would work. I needed a shelf or containers for the cupboard under the coffee bar where so many cans rolled out on last travel day. I had measured the cupboard area before we left, which was good. Found what we thought would work and came home. It was drizzling and dark but the traffic wasn’t too thick. We stopped by Malibu Seafood and got fish and fries and fish sandwich and fries and took it home. I saw the fish market was all packed up but the guy said it was still open. I bought a pound of tilapia (2 pieces) for $9.99 a pound. Then I put the new containers in the cupboard – fit perfectly – and organized all the cans. Yay!

You Can SEE The Deliciousness! Oxnard, CA 12/22

Kevin was on the phone with Rancho Oso RV in Santa Barbara. It is the campground we were last. A package was delivered there for us. The guy at the gate couldn’t get his computer to hook to their spotty cell service so he was unable to print a FedEx label. The label would have been put on the box, FedEx would pick it up, and send it where we are. Kevin called FedEx and oh yes, they would print the label for him if the guy would drop off the box to FedEx. Well, we can’t ask that, since it was probably 20 minutes from the campground. I suggest we just drive the 91 miles each way and pick it up and that is what we did. We left around 1:00 PM and enjoyed the drive. The drive was beautiful. There was a little rain but stopped as we went up the canyon. Low clouds hung low on the mountains and very pretty. Kevin got the package just fine. Drove back down the canyon and headed south on 101. We quickly got into construction traffic that lasted about 25 minutes. At least we were moving the whole time. We decided to eat out. I looked up on my phone and found Yolanda’s Mexican, highly rated on Trip Advisor. We got right in, very happy place, and food was delicious. He had fajitas and I am enchiladas. Our rating: Once A Week. Then we drove on home in light mist. A very pleasant day. NOTE: a week or so later and California received huge storms. Rancho Oso RV and the roads were so damaged from the rain that it is closed until at least March 1. 😦

The DJ Didn’t Put The Right Spelling In His Camera. Oops. Malibu Beach RV Park, CA 12/31/22

New Year’s Eve. At 9:00 PM, we walked, in the pouring rain, across the driveway to the tent this campground (Malibu Beach RV Park) had set up professionally the other day.  They had a New Year’s Eve party and what a blast it was! Lots of cute hats and party favors, treats and drinks. There was a DJ there. It was a very fun and festive event. The DJ had a camera where you could get pictures taken, it would put it in a collage, and then text it to you. (Notice the spelled Malibu wrong! HAHA) We did it and they turned out really cute. Of course the music was loud and I could feel it. We kind of danced around with everyone.. A very nice day. If it wasn’t raining, we would have been outside all day but this was nice, too.

El Matador State Park, Malibu, CA 01/23

New Year’s Day. Even though we were up late, we woke up early. Today we drove to El Matador State Park. It is about 10 minutes west of us. We got there early enough, around 9:00 AM, that there were only a few cars in the parking lot. We paid $10.00 to park all day and walked down the steep stairs and embankment. You walk down 150 feet down  a cliff. What a glorious sight to see! There are rocks of every size on this beach. Some are extremely tall. The water has form caves in the rocks. The ocean waves are strong and violent to watch. A great place to just sit and “be”.

People Photographing Beauty Every Direction, Malibu, CA 01/23

We set up our camp chairs and just watched and read our books. Soon the wind came up and was a bit chilly so we moved back towards the cliff but still very close to the water. It wasn’t long and there was a lot of people there. It didn’t feel crowded at all, because it is so long of a beach. We saw professional photographers with a family. Everyone that came had a camera/phone out taking pictures. Neat to see. Right near us was about a 2 feet steep drop off from where the high water reaches. I noticed that almost every guy would get down it, then turn around and help the lady down. I love that! Such gentleman and made my heart happy. Kevin said he noticed that too. The guys would also help the ladies up when leaving. Around 12:30 the clouds covered the sun and it was a bit too chilly to keep sitting there so we headed home. There were 5 cars waiting for our parking spot! It was a lovely spot to be for New Year’s Day.

Peace, Calm, Still. Malibu, CA 12/22

Wait, How Old Are We?

View From Our Campsite At Malibu Beach RV Resort, Malibu, CA 12/22

Up and out of here for the day, down the mountain to Santa Barbara, California. The day was clear, sunny, and long sleeve shirt- warm. With the rain cleared, you could see Channel Islands today.

Beautiful Building! Superior Court of California, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

We went to Superior Court of California County of Santa Barbara. It is a site that everyone recommends visiting. We were able to park our big, long truck in a parking garage right across the street. (The website had suggested this place.) This building was rebuilt after the 1925 earthquake. We were like, “Ah, it isn’t that old.” Then later, I said, “Well, it is almost the same distance of time as when we were born compared to the end of the Civil War.” OH my gosh, we laughed…and felt very old! There is a breezeway in the middle of the building. We turned right and went inside. There is Spanish-looking style tiles up the walls, at least as tall as me. The app for this building is great – gives a lot of interesting information about the rooms plus, you can click on an “i” and get even more specific information.

Where Does The Door Go? 🙂 Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

Above one of chandlers, the ceiling is at least 3 stories high. There is a doorway with a small balcony – the only way to get there is through the door that goes outside! Way above the ground. HAHA The Mural Room is someplace to see. Paintings, tall ceilings, 100 year old draperies, court bench, etc. On the 3rd and 4th levels, you can see the working of the clock that is displayed on all four sides and then great views. Looking north, we see La Cumbre Peak with an elevation of 3,985 ft! Just a short ways south is the ocean. That tells you the dramatic rise of mountain here and it is beautiful.

Tuba Bands Playing An Outdoor Concert, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

We walked a few blocks to watch/listen to Tuba Bands play outdoors. The concert was outside on a closed part of State Street. There were more than 60 people in the band. Kevin said they were really good. (I am deaf, so I was only able to watch.) They played a verse and a chorus and then were done with that song. That was nice; got through a lot of Christmas songs. A guy from the city brought out more chairs and everyone in the audience was able to sit down. I thought that was very nice. Next, a school band played. After that it was a band of about 20 people. The concert went from 12:00-2:00 PM. By this time, we were hungry. We walked to Cali-Forno Pizzeria and shared a thin-crusted BBQ chicken pizza. Very tasty. Outside, we walked around and saw a street band of 9 people plus a Santa. They were very good. We don’t know their story but they were very professional looking, sounding, and instruments.

Fancy Shopping Area, Paseo Nuevo @ Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

At the Paseo Nuevo shopping area, there was also a band, with 4 guys sitting outside a restaurant. Just fun and adds a lot to the festive feel. The outdoor markets were interesting – nothing really christmasy, as in, decorations or nativity sets. I wanted to get a unique one for my friend but didn’t find even one.

Hanging Out At The Beach, Montecito, CA 12/22

The next day we slept in a little and then went back to Santa Barbara. By this time, we had seen everything we wanted to see so we drove to Santa Barbara without a plan. We turned on some side roads and then Kevin saw a McDonalds. Yes, I am hungry, I answered, when he asked. We drove around to go to the drive through…and no drive through! There were park lanes for app ordering and parking to go inside. After we ordered inside, we sat in the truck (sunny and warm) to eat. I looked online about drive throughs in Santa Barbara and sure enough, about 40 years ago they tried to get rid, or stop them. The reason is because of space. I read ChickFila really went after the city about that. So, interesting…no signs above trees to tell you what is ahead, no advertising (nice!), and very few drive throughs. What a town! Driving around we soon ended up on the more east-side beach. We were able to park for free with no time limits, took our camp chairs and walked down some steps to the beach. What a glorious day!!! Beautiful beach, water, boats, fun to people/dog watch, excellent. We were there for over 3 hours! Didn’t even read books just sat and watched and relaxed.

See The Stick Kevin Used As A Marker? Montecito, CA 12/22

At one point, Kevin notice the tide coming in. He found a stick about a foot long, walked to the edge of the water, and stuck it in so we could see how far up the beach the water was coming. Over the next while, we saw 3 different dogs put their mouths around it but then left it along. Later, a guy, a human, walked over, pulled it out, and threw it for his dog. That made Kevin and I laugh so hard, we had to hide our faces so he wouldn’t hear us. We saw paddle boards, sail boats, paraglider, divers, and helicopters. One time, a guy came back from walking, asked us if we had moved our chairs, we said no, he said, oh good, he knew this was the place he parked. HAHAHA We were the only people sitting on camp chairs on the beach. From there we went to Stearn’s Wharf for lunch, again, same place as last weekend.  No waiting as it was mid afternoon. The view was clear and food delicious.

The night before we move, travel, to the next place we like to get everything packed up and put away for the drive. I say, “Kitchen is closed” and we get pizza for dinner. Leftovers is eaten the next day for lunch while in the truck. We laughed that our tradition “pizza-the-night-before-travel-day” wasn’t available since we are in the middle of nowhere. HAHA No pizza places anywhere close to Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort, Santa Barbara, California!

A Great Place To Wait For Check In Time, Point Mugu, CA 12/22

Getting set up to leave today, we weren’t in a hurry because we only have less than a 2 hour drive and can’t check in before 1:00 PM. Drove out of Rancho Oso without meeting anyone coming up the 1 mile extremely narrow driveway. Whew, that was good. Driving down the side road I saw a shadow that looked like a tall box on the roof of the cab. We pulled over and I jumped out to see. It was the shadow of the mirror. HAHA Got down off the mountain just fine, on 101 South and then took Pacific Coast Hwy 1. We knew we were ahead of time and weren’t sure about where to go if we had to wait along the way, so we pulled off at Point Mugu. It has a hard dirt area and we easily pulled off there. Kevin lined up the truck and trailer so we could see the ocean. We went inside to use our bathroom and discovered a cupboard door, under the coffee counter, had opened, and then closed. Out came 12 cans of chicken broth -still in the cardboard thin holder, peanut butter, chili, pumpkin pie cans, etc. Sigh! Thankfully, there was no damage to the floor and no damage to the cans! As I gathered them up, Kevin set out our camp chairs to the side of the truck. What a great view of the ocean and beach!

Foot-Tall Decoration At Our Campsite @ Malibu Beach RV Park 12/22

Got to our next campground, Malibu Beach RV Park, and wow, the views did not disappoint. We have ocean view and, as Kevin said, “Well worth the money!” We got to our site and we saw what they meant by us backing down into this area. It took us probably gazillion back and forth but we got it exactly where it needed to be. In front of our site, on the other side of the black top is a curb with flowers, trees, extra, so you can’t drive over it to back in. It was our most time to get backed in but we just took our time and made it happen. After getting set up, Kevin set up the outdoor mat and our chairs. We look right off the edge of a cliff that overlooks Pacific Hwy 1, the beach, and the ocean. Just stunning. I set up my holiday yard signs with Santa at the beach. They are super cute. I placed them at our feet where we can see them as we look out over the ocean.

We pried ourselves away from our site and started walking to Malibu Seafood. I could see on the map there are trails from this campground down to it. Well, we got there and it is really steep. We turned around and walked back to the truck and drove there. Oh, you can’t turn left on Pacific Coast Hwy 1 out of this campground. So we turned right, made a U-turn at the light but our truck is so long, we had to back up in the road. Won’t do that again. HAHA Thankfully no one was behind us. Drove to the little cafe and the parking lot was completely full.

View From Our Window Seats At Sunset Restaurant, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

We looked on our iPhones and found The Sunset Restaurant. This being the weekend (Friday) of Christmas, at around 3:00 PM, I thought it would be packed. As we drove up, I didn’t care if there was a 2 hour wait, because this would be a great place to eat. Literally ON the beach! Kevin pulled up, asked a guy where to park for the restaurant, and he said it valet parking was right there. We’ll take it. HAHA Walked in and got seated right away. Wahoo. We were seated at the window overlooking the beach. It was right there. Perfect. The view, priceless. Saw the sun set to a perfect day. Thrilled to watch people watch the sunset.

As we left, we saw something that made us giggle. Not funny for the person, I am sure, but…. (sorry, not a clear picture)

Car Stuck In The Sand On The Beach, Being Pulled Out By Tow Truck, Malibu, CA 12/22

Thank you for reading. We do so many things and we love sharing it with you. I write in my travel journal everyday. You would be so tired of reading if you read it all. HAHA We try to pick out the highlights for you.

Danish Town and a Boat Parade

Shells With Golden Leaf Between – Found It This Way On Beach, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

Walking along the beach at Santa Barbara, California, we came upon this stunning display of nature. Each 1/2 of the shell is the size of Kevin’s hand. We noticed the gold colored leaf in-between the two halves. So beautiful,we just stopped and stared. And then, took a photo.

Santa Barbara Harbor, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

We headed down the mountain to Santa Barbara, California for the day. It had been raining and with the clouds on the mountains it made beautiful scenery. Couldn’t see the ocean as we came down the mountain due to the low hanging clouds. I said I felt bad for people traveling through here for their first and only time- they probably think the ocean is “right there” but can’t see it. Anyway, Kevin told me about a book he is reading about being stoic. I am deaf. When Kevin is driving, we use an app on my iPad that turns voice to text. That way he can have both hands on the wheel and not be using American Sign Language. Kevin said something and the app wrote his words, “I am learning about being stupid” instead of stoic. We laughed so hard we about choked! 🙂

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

We went to Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. It is right on the harbor. The first thing we saw was the top of the lighthouse from Point Conception. Beautiful glass work. We learned about how the weather and rocks have caused a lot of crashes over the many years. Check out https://sbmm.org/

Dinner View, Harbor Restaurant, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

We drove down from the harbor to Stearn’s Wharf. We parked along the beach, free, 90 minute limit. We walked onto the wharf. We were here in October 2016 for a shore excursion on a cruise with Princess Cruise. We went to the same restaurant we ate at back then. It was mid-afternoon and there was no wait. Got seated by the windows over looking the harbor, beach, and ocean. Perfect views!

Delicious Fish Tacos and Burger On The Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

I had Baja fish tacos and Kevin had…a burger. HAHA We rated them: Once A Week. It was a nice and relaxing meal.

That Is A Lot Of Rain Water, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

On Dec 10th, right here at Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort (Santa Barbara), in the last 24 hours, we had 2.1 inches of rain (according to weather app)! I saw a bunch of water on the seat of my camp chair and wanted to send a picture to my cousin about our “rain collection”. HAHA I didn’t want to go outside so, I opened the window and then the screen, leaned out of HOWE (our 5th wheel we named for Home On WhEels), took a great picture, closed it all back up. 🙂 

Animatronic Bakers, Solvang, CA 12/22

One day Kevin wanted to stop in Solvang at a Dutch bakery. Solvang, California is a place to check out. https://www.cityofsolvang.com/442/Solvang-History  It was founded in 1911 by three Dutch immigrants who purchased 10,000 acres. Solvang has become famous as a Dutch utopia in Southern California. They even have four windmills. People were everywhere and we had to park a few blocks away. Found a Dutch bakery with no waiting. They had cute little animatronics with “bakers” in the windows. A smart idea because it caught our attention.

Don’t Know How To Pronounce Them But They Were Very Good! Solvang, CA 12/22

We got in line and had no idea what to get. HAHA We got 2 things and they were delicious. Very flaky. After walking though some shops, we were done and headed on down the road, north on Hwy 101.

Bright Green Wild Grasses, Santa Maria, CA 12/22

We went from steep mountains to green wild grass (a color that you won’t believe if you saw it in a picture – bright green), rolling hills with short trees every once in a while. We saw horses, cattle, and lots and lots of grape fields.

Fields Surrounding House & Barn, Los Olivos, CA 12/22

Wineries all along here and the places are beautiful! Going on north we soon came to fields filled with plantings of all sorts of vegetables.

Greenhouses As Far As The Eye Can See, Orcutt, CA 12/22

I continue my rant that it should be a law that if you plant something along the road, you need a sign to say what it is! 🙂  I want to know what is growing there.

All Sorts Of Crops, Nipomo, CA 12/22

Miles and miles, as far as the eye can see. Just stunning!

Fields Seen In Rear View Mirror, Santa Maria, CA 12/22

Ah, the smell of onions.

At Oceano we stopped at a roadside veggie stand. They had the best looking strawberries and blueberries. We got them plus some Dutch apple jam made right there. Later I made homemade crepes and added the strawberries and blueberries. Yum! We took Pacific Hwy 1 down south to Santa Barbara.

Boats Going Out Of Harbor For Parade Of Light Boat Parade, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

It was a full day since we first stopped at Solvang in the morning. We wondered if we should go to the Parade of Lights boat parade in Santa Barbara. We both decided that we would go and if we found a parking spot that was easy to get into, then we would stop. If not, no worries, head on home. We drove down the street along the beach and no open spaces. At the parking lot, yes, there were some on the very end and large enough for our extra long truck. As we pulled in, we decided to park along the beach so if we wanted, we could watch from inside the truck. So smart!!! Got out, paid at the machine to park and then walked a short way to the west to Stearn’s Wharf. There were quite a few families walking that way because there was a Christmas tree lighting right before the boat parade. We continued on down to the end of the wharf and walked to the side facing the harbor. Right then we saw the boats were lined up and heading out to sea. It was a thrill to watch them. They kept coming and coming out of the harbor place. Some had their holiday lights on already. With the sun setting, it was very pretty. A guy made an announcement over some speakers and Kevin was kind even to interpret for me. He told of the route the boats would go and that they would turn into the beach on the other side of where we were standing, get as close to the beach as possible, then go along the side of the wharf for judging, then back into the harbor. As it got dark, the wind was a tiny bit cool on our faces (59°), not bad, but…since we had the truck AND it turned out to have front seat views of the parade, we walked back to the truck. We had the binoculars which was fun to see up close. Perfect viewing area; nice and warm. So fun. We are thrilled it worked out so great. After the parade, the website and the announcer had said, there would be “small” fireworks. We both know what amazing and big firework shows are so we decided to not wait around for it. We got out with not a stitch of traffic. So very thankful. A very full and fun day!

Sharing Our Full-Time Traveling Decorations With You.

When Christmas Is At The Beach…These Are The Stocking You Need To Make! 🙂 12/22

We discovered our freezer needed to be thawed. I have never done that before. Well, I guess, if you count doing my mom’s freezer growing up, yeah, I have an idea. I put all the frozen food in our cooler. Then I let it sit for about an hour. I could then peal off big chunks of ice from the back wall. I used a hair dryer to soften the rest of it and was completely easy and fast. Organized the food like I had it before when I put it back. Nice, easy, fast.

A Small Section Of Ivanpah Solar Complex, Ivanpah, CA 12/22

The drive through Las Vegas, NV and down to Barstow, CA was easy. Not the bad traffic we have had in the past. So thankful! As we passed the big solar panels at Ivanpah Solar Complex, just over the California line, the travel app Autio told us there are 174000 heliostats and 173,000 garage-door sized sets of mirrors over 3500 acres.

Helicopter With Rope Down To Two Workers, Ivanpah, CA 12/22

We saw a helicopter hovering above. Soon we saw it move with it’s long cord over a power line to people who we were working on it. That was a sight to see! 

We pulled into Shady Lane RV Campground in Barstow, CA around 1:00 PM. I had reviewed the place, of course, and read it was a good place to stop, with full hookups. As we drove in a guy was there to meet us. Very nice. Had us follow him to our site on his golf cart. The place has a lot of older motorhomes that live there permanently. Some are cleaned up outside and others have junk around. The perimeter of the small campground has a lot of old junk around – cars, barrels, equipment, etc. I saw several large, nice, newer 5th wheels around. Kevin’s eyes were big, though. The site was so level we didn’t even unhook the truck! It was okay for a quick overnight stop.

Nice To Have Your Bathroom & Kitchen For Whenever You Want To Stop! California 12/22

After a good night sleep, we woke up at 7:00 AM and headed out. Stopped outside of Barstow for diesel. With Kevin’s Open Roads EFS card, it was $4.60 a gallon. It saved us $1.10 per gallon! Yay. The EFS card was designed for over the road trucks. Open Roads has opened it up to RVers. It only works for diesel. There is an app that shows what our price would be at the pump. Kevin likes to pull in and act like a super trucker when we fuel. Our drive took us along the northern freeway of Los Angeles valley, 210. Kevin and I always marvel over how nice California drivers are. You put your signal on and they back off and let you in. So nice. We have seen this every time we have been here. At one point, we stopped at a strip mall parking lot to use our bathroom and get snacks. It is so nice to have those with you. 🙂

One Section Of Our View, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

It was cloudy as we got closer to the Pacific Ocean coast and had some soft rain. Used the wipers but the rain didn’t cause a problem for driving. We had our usual conversation about how the roads “need” to be higher so we can see the ocean over the trees. 🙂 We were finally able to see the Pacific Ocean and it is as beautiful as always. From Santa Barbara, we headed straight up in the steep mountains but our truck and HOWE (our 5th wheel name for “Home On WhEels”) didn’t bog down at all. At several passing lanes, drivers weren’t in a hurry to get around us and some just stayed behind us. Such polite people. Down the road we saw some houses, farms, and ranger station. Passed a firehouse. Then turned off to the 1 mile driveway that everyone talks about as being crazy narrow. Yes, it is narrow with hairpin turns! Sure wouldn’t want to meet anyone with the a trailer going the opposite way! But the road is good, paved, and we took it safe. Thankfully no one coming down. I had read the great advice of not going up it until checkin time because otherwise you might meet people coming down at checkout time. Good advice. This campground is right in the tall mountains, has paved roads, and each site road is terraced. What a view we have! As we parked, a guy came walking his dog. He stopped and talked. After he saw Kevin using American Sign Language with me, he said he has some tinnitus due to “guns and loud rock and roll music,” He said, “May I ask you a personal question?” Yes, we knew he was asking about how I became deaf. He was so polite and I am always happy to share. We got set up and sat outside enjoying the beauty – clouds on the tops of the mountains, rolling with the storm, sun peaking out. Later, we walked down and around the campground. We saw their playground, store, 2 huge swimming pools, hot tub with temp 102°, and the main lodge.  We went back, got our swimming suits on and enjoyed some time in the hot tub. We were surprised as it was only us there in the entire pool area.

NEW TO US AT A CAMPGROUND: The other day, Kevin and I noticed an ambulance coming into the campground. Soon it came over by us and turned down our campsite road and stopped 2 sites from us. Then, a fire truck came. Then, a coroner’s truck, white van and two police cars. Sad. We found out the next day from talking with a neighbor that a lady made coffee and took it in to wake up her husband. He had died in his sleep. Sad. The same afternoon that he died, we headed down the mountain to go to the beach. At the campground gate, in comes the fire truck. Down on the 1 mile driveway, the same ambulance as that morning. What happened now? We found out a guy 2 sites farther down from the one who died, had a stroke! Sad. Kevin and I are always mindful to live our best life we can because you never know when it will be over.

Decorations In Our Living Room And Kitchen. 12/22

This was a fun space to decorate. I made and quilted the stockings.

Stockings Hung By The Fireplace 12/22

Kevin worked out the math to get the loops looking so perfectly even. 🙂

Of Course We Need A Tree In Our Bedroom 12/22

We like the light this tree makes at night.

“Joshua” The Snowman Is Out Even In The Summer. 🙂

If you remember way back when, I posted about this darling snowman that my dear cousin, Jennette, made for me. I like snowman a lot and this one is so cute. She suggested the name, since I like Joshua Trees so much (they each have their own personality!). Joshua is always out, hanging around, even in the summer. HAHA

Oh YEAH! 12/22

If you know me at all, besides snowmen, I am a big fan of Hallmark Christmas/Holiday movies. I record all the new ones and then start watching them right after Thanksgiving. 🙂 Kevin got me this mug and it is perfect…hot chocolate with a boat load of whipped cream on top.

Charla Learning To Drive (?) & Kevin Bowling Down Decorations!

I Learned To Back Up…Perfectly! 😉

Time to learn to drive this? In March we bought our Ram, 3500, long bed, 1 ton, king cab, gigantic, mammoth truck! It is so long it doesn’t fit in a parking spot. So, I haven’t driven it. We got the bigger truck when we bought our new 2022 Alliance Avenue 5th Wheel (named HOWE, Home On WhEels). Until Oct 1, we also had our car with us to use but now it is in storage. I decided it was time for me to learn to drive! HAHA Actually, I definitely know how to drive but needed to learn about how to start a diesel truck and practice driving something so wide and long. We went over to where there is a wide road with hardly any traffic to practice.

So Proud Of My Parking! Well, Maybe Won’t Back In Anywhere. HAHA

Kevin had me practice backing into a parking space, yeah, well. 🙂 He is so great and patient and a great teacher. It was good.

When we left Needles, California, we drove to Las Vegas to meet my uncle and aunt for lunch. The casino parking lot is huge and we parked in the back along with other RVs. Very easy. Inside the casino the restaurant had a 45 minute wait…and it was only 10:50 AM! We didn’t want to wait that long so we got in their car and went to Hash House. Kevin and I split a chicken hash. After a lovely visit we were off heading north to St George, Utah. The entire drive from Needles to St George is about 3 1/2 hours. That is, until you have to stop for traffic in the bridge construction at Mesquite, Nevada. This has been under construction since we first came down to Las Vegas with our first HOWE in 2020. I knew to time it and even through traffic was pretty light it took an 1 hour to get through. That is fine and we accounted for it; glad we weren’t in a hurry. We know the campground we are going to so if it is after dark, we know where and how.

Just as we got to the campground the sun had set. We went to the office, was welcomed back, and got the info and site we had picked out when we booked the reservation. We drove to our site and…someone was in our spot! First time that has happened to us. Drove on back to the office. They said, hum, sometimes people don’t leave and after Kevin told them no vehicle was there at the trailer, said that sometimes people are out and about and sometimes they actually leave, thinking they have until the next day to get their trailer out. Yikes! After 3 owners/workers discussed it they realized it was the office mistake. Kevin and I weren’t worried, as we knew they would make it right somehow. They knew my parents are camping with us for a week and we had set their reservation campsite next to us. Well, it turns out we got an upgrade, pull through site, no additional charge, for the 2 weeks we are here and we don’t have to move sites. Yeah! Nice thing is, we are right across the road from my parent’s site so it all works out great. Even if we were on the other side of the campground, it would have been fine with us. It is nice to not have to pack up, move the slides, unhook and all that to move sites in the middle of a stay. Everyone is Happy Campers!

See His Wind-Up For Throwing? See His Mischievous Look?

Kevin is in trouble! Big time! He grabbed my cute little pumpkin Thanksgiving decorations and started throwing them at…

Pumpkin Mid-Flight!

And he scores! He knocks down a decoration frame. OH, another funny….

We had that top frame decoration upside down the entire time. 3 sets of visitors never noticed. Kevin and I thought that was hilarious!

A Christmas Tree Or A Feather Duster? 🙂

The day after Thanksgiving, my mom wanted to go shopping for a Christmas tree. She wanted to get a 4 ft one because her tree at her house is too heavy to bring up the stairs. We went to Walmart around 9:30 AM. This being Black Friday, we thought it might be crazy busy but it wasn’t. Not crowded at all. Kevin and I laughed at this “tree” and wondered if he could go around HOWE and dust with it! HAHA Okay, I do the dusting. But if I got this for him, maybe he would do it????

Thank you so much for reading. Next time we will show you how we decorated for the holidays.

Remember That Travel App?

Early Morning Reflection View From Inside. Albuquerque, NM 11/22

Remember our recommendation of the app called Autio for travelers? Well…it might be soooo good that two people totally and completely missed the exit sign in downtown Kansas City, Missouri while listening tell about Brown’s Irish Market. HAHAHAHA We were laughing so hard we were almost crying! Thankfully there are lots of ways to get heading south to get back on I-35. 🙂

Flint Hills, KS 10/22

We are only in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for one night, just passing through. As we pulled up to Mustang Run RV Park, we saw storm shelters all around the campground. Oh boy, we aren’t used to those. (We have lived in the west in mountains for 25+ years until we sold and became Full-Time travelers.)

Having Lived In The West For Many Years, We Aren’t Use to Seeing This. Oklahoma City, OK 11/22

This campground is super nice! The main building is huge with lots of cowboy deco and large sitting areas. The camp roads are concrete and each site, far apart and wide, have grass and a nice picnic table. If we come back to this area, we will definitely stay here. Oh, Kevin did say he could hear I-40 even inside HOWE (our name for our 5th Wheel- Home On WhEels). He said it didn’t bother him and was like white noise.

Kevin noticed the water pressure was bad; it would be fine for less than a second and then go to just a trickle. He thought maybe it was our new water filter – our other one had froze and broke in Missouri – so he took it completely out and nope, didn’t help. He kept trying all sorts of things. Finally he saw the craziest sight! Pieces of green plastic! Kid you not!  Turns out it came for a water hydrant where we had been staying. Kevin had the spigot hooked up to our 5th Wheel but with the temps getting cold in Missouri, he just filled up the water holding tanks instead. After he cleaned out the trap and line, water pressure was great.

Downtown At Sunset. Albuquerque, NM 11/22

This was a really long day for driving – 9 hours total. I felt bad for Kevin but when we planned it, it is the only way to get us to where we are meeting up with my parents for Thanksgiving. We both had great attitudes about the long day and knew what was coming. Since Mustang Run RV Park was nice and level and easy to get out of, we got up at 6:30 AM (still very dark), loaded up and were on the road by 7:02 AM. For most of the way I read our library book out loud. It makes the time go by fast and the landscape didn’t change much. We saw a lot of fields and even some with cotton still growing. Also lots of wind farms. At one place we saw a water tower that was leaning over quite a bit. We talked about how someone needs to fix that quick! Then, Autio (the app I describe a few weeks ago) talked bout the Leaning Tower…it is totally a tourist point. HAHA See? We wouldn’t have know not to worry about safety. 🙂 There was a lot of truck traffic; Kevin said if there weren’t trucks on the road it would be empty. Thank you, Truckers!

The Bird Is Real! 🙂 High Desert RV Park, Albuquerque, NM 11/22

We got to High Desert RV campground in Albuquerque and checked in. The lady said she herself was a little frazzled as she was having to deal with some issue. She got us checked in and we drove to our site. This is a nice campground with asphalt roads and packed red rocks on the site. Got all set up. Even with the long drive today, Kevin wanted to drive around the area a little and I thought it nice. We grabbed McDonalds and ate while driving around looking at the community. Back home we both sat outside for a long while and just enjoyed the sunset and evening.

The next day was sunny day and highs reached 64°. I did some sewing and then sat outside for a short bit in the afternoon and read. After work, Kevin and I cleaned out and organized the truck. Looks good now! This being Halloween, we didn’t go anywhere. I made a new recipe with chicken and pesto but we didn’t love it. As Kevin said, “You have enough amazing recipes that we don’t have to keep this.” I fully agree! We ate it but I won’t make it again. We watched a movie the rest of the evening.

Dinner Was So Great, We HAD to Buy Take-Home Things! Albuquerque, NM 11/22

We drove to Fiesta Park where the hot air balloon show is every October. It is huge, of course. The museum closes at 5:00 so we weren’t able to go inside. We drove around the humungous grass area and saw organized soccer games playing. That is a good use of the fields.  My friend, Kim, texted me today about her favorite place to eat here. The campground office lady had also mentioned it our first night. It is named Frontier Restaurant. It has been going since 1970s. It has a lot of rooms and can seat 300 people, the website says. You order at a counter and they have a lot of choices: burgers, salads, and all things Mexican. I got the Mexican Combo which was a beef taco (meat filled to the top!), chicken enchilada (mild was spicy!), and rice and beans. It was incredible and I definitely rate it: Every Day. Kevin had the Mexican egg dish – huevos rancheros. He had never had that before and this was a great place to try it. He rated it: Every Day. We got a cinnamon roll to share and well, let’s just say, we bought their special of 6 to take home! Oh, and 12 tortillas. HAHAHA

San Felipe De Neri Church In Old Town. Albuquerque, NM 11/22

Another day we went to Old Town Albuquerque. Once we got there, our eyes got so big! With the center a lovely, green park with a gazebo, trees, benches, etc. and shops in old buildings around that square, well, it reminded us of a town in Mexico. We were there on a cruise ship shore excursion. We pointed, “Right there is where the shop was that we bought our Mexican vanilla!” HAHA We read the sign that told us Albuquerque was founded in 1706. Farming and ranching communities. In 1793 San Felipe de Neri Church and Rectory and it is still here. As we walked around, we saw the beautiful church. San Felipe de Neri is the oldest church in this city. It has continually served the community without interruption since 1706! We walked into the courtyard and were disappointed to see the sign that said we can’t go inside the church due to cleaning and renovations. We walked through the gift shop and to the back to a tiny museum. We had 20 minutes before they closed. We saw the gorgeous capes, shawls, a bell, and many other things. There is also a display that show an altar setting with great description of each item and the meaning. Wonderful! Kevin said he likes the tradition of this church. We learned there was a lady named Sister Blandina who was here at the beginning. Her diary has been put into a book and we bought it. Can’t wait to get started on it. After the church, we walked around the plaza and stepped into a few shops. Kevin found a Penny Souvenir machine. I saw on one of them what the symbol of New Mexico stands for: the 4 lines pointing up-Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, the 4 lines pointing right-Infant, Youth, Adult, Old, the 4 lines pointing down-North, East, South, West, and the 4 lines pointing left-Dawn, Day, Dusk, Dark.

Looking East Towards Albuquerque, NM. 11/22

At the end of the week, we drove around more looking at the beauty of this city. We will have to come back here and stay longer down the road.

Bugs, Mouse, Snake, Frozen Filter, 14° Wind Chill, Plastic in Water Line, Covid…But Other Than That…! :)

But Other Than That…it was nice. HAHA

View From Our 5th Wheel In Missouri 10/22

 After spending a great time with our niece and her family (see last week’s post) we heading to Kevin’s brother’s house. The sad thing is, he and his wife got Covid last week. We weren’t sure how long they would be sick. We were still invited to park on their property and since we were scheduled to be there for 2 weeks we all hoped they would feel up to visiting before that time was up.

Kevin noticed the water hose was hooked up but with little water pressure from the spigot outside. He decided to fill up our fresh water tank and then turned off the water spigot. Also, this will help in case it gets cold and the hose freezes. (Stay tuned!)

After getting HOWE (our name for our 5th Wheel) all set up, Kevin and I drove the few miles to town to the little grocery store. And I mean, tiny store. But they have some good items in there…I found some more spice cake mixes! A few days ago I had texted our sister-in-law to give me a list of grocery items and we would stop at the store for her. We paid, loaded up the grocery cart and then took it out to the truck. Soon the clerk came out and said something to Kevin. (I am deaf and didn’t know what she was saying to him.) Apparently, you aren’t suppose to take the carts out of the store! Oops. She said she would have called the bag boy to help carry things out but she didn’t know where he was…”and that is normal”. HAHAHA We have never heard of such a thing as not being able to take a cart to your vehicle. On the way home we tried to figure why they have that rule. No clue.

Don’t feel bad for Kevin: With the sunlight starting and the sun almost up, the temp was 24° with a feels like temp of 14° Burrr!!!! The high temp that day was 42°. The next day was near the same. Where was Kevin those two days? On the beach in California – sunny and warm! 🙂 Well, he was in a conference center for work but still…. 🙂

Country Road Bridge In Missouri 10/22

Kevin and I were out on a walk down the gravel country road. He asked me how far we are walking. I said when he is 1/2 way tired, we will turn around. 🙂 Then suddenly, he stops, and looks down, and signs something. Of course, guess what I thought he saw???? I scream and run the other way! He said he was “tired” and signing it and we should turn around. Haha It was all a joke but man did I take it to be a snake in the road. 🤪🤪🤪

But later…

Kevin’s two brothers, our two sisters-in-law and us sat outside in camp chairs. The weather was very breezy but temps were in the 70s. This way we could all visit together without passing germs. It was nice to catch up with each other and have good laughs at times gone by. Kevin did a great job as American Sign Language interpreter for me, since I am deaf. Suddenly, we see a snake slithering right in the center of our large circle! Thankfully the guys jumped into action and took care of it. Creepy and definitely no picture was taken to show you!!!

I was hungry for El Nopal Mexican Restaurant in Bethany. The white queso for chips and over the chimi still has my mouth watering! A few days ago I texted our niece to see if they wanted to meet us there sometime. Yes, Sunday at 12:30 PM. We had a lovely lunch with them. Our niece’s husband is a volunteer firefighter. Last night there were several fires; he fought one that was started by a farmer burning ditches. Sadly, the fire spread to a neighbor’s farm and burned the corn. After lunch, Kevin and I drove to what used to be Missions Outreach. When Kevin was growing up it was a training center for high school kids to go for about 3 weeks. They were usually going off to desolate places so they would sleep on the ground, in a tent, having to learn rustic living. Some would be trained in helping spiritually and others were trained in how to build a building. At the end, there was a big commissioning service in a barn/building, aptly named “The Tabernacle”. Kevin remembers attending some of those. Then his dad would often help drive people to the airport in the Youth For Christ bus he had purchased. We drove the country roads to it. The name has changed and the grounds are used for big-name Christian concerts, that draw in 5-10,000 people. Plus camps and church retreats, etc. As we entered, we saw a large water slide. Kevin started laughing and I said, “Yeah, ya really ‘roughed it here’, right?!” He said the water slide wasn’t there when he was growing up. 🙂 We drove down to the pond and Kevin explained what was there, and over there, and back there. It was fun to see his description from all those years ago. Soon a guy drove up to us in a car and got out. Kevin quickly told him he had been here when growing up. They had a great conversation of how things were and are now and people they knew. He said there is a small RV campground on the property and if they don’t have a group and it isn’t full, we are welcome to stay there. That was really nice. Such a great stop.

From there we heading on just any road we saw, mostly dirt roads. We saw farms, farm houses, churches, tiny, struggling towns, and more. In one area we passed an old church and cemetery on a hill. We stopped there and walked around. We didn’t look at all the headstones but we did find one that was exciting. We found a grave of someone who was born in 1815! That is the oldest we have found on our travels, so far. I figured out the first name of Margaret and the last name of Allenbrand. I looked her up on findagrave.com and wow, wow, wow! She was born Nov 3, 1815 in Germany. The headstone, standing tall and erect, says, “Margaret Allenbrand, died Jan 27, 1892, aged 77 yrs (and a number not readable) M.” From Findagrave.com we read about her husband. He was “the owner of a fine farm of 260 acres.” We got such a chuckle out of “fine farm” and now as we drive past a farms, we have to say, “it was a fine farm…”. LOL

We drove around the greater Kansas City area. We always find it a beautiful drive along the Missouri River river bottoms. We were able to meet up with some lifelong friends of ours. They took us to Arthur Bryant BBQ. Great visiting and great food!

Yuck – Bugs! Missouri 10/22

Around all these farms are current bugs called Asian Beetle. They look like Lady Bugs (which are so cute). However, from lots of research we found they bite, if you go after them they leave a fluid that is their blood and stains everything orange, and if you kill them they stink. Great! They got in HOWE. The are on the ceilings and windows. Kevin would walk around with masking tape and sticking the bugs to it. Hundreds. Later the outside walls of HOWE were covered. When it got so cold last week I didn’t see too many. But it warmed up and we were invaded. Not kidding. We went to several places in town to look for a blue bug light and finally found one at Sutherlands. Kevin taped it on top of the slide ledge inside and it  seemed to help, at least it sort of drew the bugs in that direction. But it didn’t really work with them. You can’t read on your iPhone or iPad in bed at night because they go to the light. With them invading us Kevin got out the Dustbuster vacuum and started sucking them in.

Mice: I absolutely hate (I guess everyone does). I can’t even look at the “evidence” they leave behind. Thankfully Kevin was home from California! Went to town and bought mouse traps, mouse stick-things, and peppermint oil to spray around. (Kevin read online that detracts them.) The next morning we had one in the trap. Since then, we haven’t caught one and don’t see evidence. That night we washed, cleaned and sanitized everything! Kevin found a large hole under the kitchen island where plumbing came up through to the sink. He filled the hole with a piece of plywood and Great Stuff Foam.

Farm equipment in Missouri. Thank you, Farmers!!!!

A few days later even though the temps were in the 40s in late morning, the sun was shining and no wind. Our sister-in-law felt better and she and I went to her Sewing Hut. We did some sewing, well, I actually only sewed about 9 seams because we were so busy visiting! Love it. I really enjoyed our chat.

Sunrise in Missouri 10/22

Our last day there. After work Kevin and I sat outside. The day was nice for a sweater. I texted our sister-in-law and said that they could join us outside if they were up to it. Soon they come trudging along and sat in the driveway for a short visit. It was sad that we didn’t get to have lots of visiting time due to Covid. We were thankful to be parked surrounded by the beautiful farm lands and rolling hills of Missouri. Until next time.

Next time: On the road again, and plastic found.

New Deaf Friends! Fabric Everywhere. Relatives. Amish Community.

Autumn Beauty In Missouri 10/22

Up early and ready for shopping. 🙂 We haven’t been inside Missouri Star Quilt Co but have driven past it over the years. This is Hamilton, Missouri, where Kevin grew up. (Read last week’s post about his memories and visiting.) I read online that you start in the Main store. We walked in and were greeted by a friendly worker. Kevin explained I am deaf and was my interpreter. She did very well in explaining things: there are about 12 stores with different types and themes of fabric, sign in on an iPad to get a printed paper with name and email so points can be added from each store, the main store has a sample of each store with the name so you can go directly there if you are short on time, take a pic of what you like and the outside of the store so can find were something is, stuff like that.

My Shopping Pass, Hamilton, MO 10/22

After telling her we are traveling Full-Time, she entered for me “everywhere” when it asked where we are from. 🙂 Then Kevin left to go back to work in HOWE (the name for our 5th wheel Alliance Avenue, Home On WhEels) and I wandered around. I went into each store. I found about 6 quilt patterns that I liked, plus another 3 Yard Quilt book and bought them. Ahead of time, I had paper and pen ready so workers could write down their communication with me since I am deaf. Around noon I got hungry and texted Kevin. It was such a sunny and warm day so I started walking home to the campground. My fitness app on my Apple Watch said it was 1/2 mile. I made sandwiches, ate, and then off for more shopping. 🙂 Kevin dropped me off on his way to drop off FedEx at the dollar store. Since my new patterns use 5 inch squares or jelly rolls(the name for a roll of fabric that is 2.5 inches wide), that is all I looked at the second time to purchase. I went through every store again and bought some nice ones. It was a lot of fun.

Kevin Happy With My Purchases & Wanted Me To Get More! He’s A Keeper! Hamilton, MO 10/22

Yesterday, when we got to this campground, the host said he had talked to me for the reservations. No, I am deaf and Kevin always makes the calls. He said no, he had talked to me through interpreters on the phone. No, not me. Oh, he said, other deaf people are coming. I was pretty excited! When I got home today, the deaf couple pulled up. The campground hosts must have told them I am deaf, which is great, and the couple came over to meet us. They were in the site right next to us. Do you know how RARE it is to find someone who is traveling and deaf and a quilter????? Our hands were flying in American Sign Language (ASL) and I was beyond thrilled to communicate so freely with someone in the campground. They left the next day but don’t you know, we have been texting the second they left and text most every day. What a blessing!!! OH, and the gentleman had a question on something with the RV and Kevin was able to communicate in ASL with him and helped him out. It was fun watching those two sign with each other. Meeting them was a really highlight for us!

Gorgeous Sunset. Our Niece & Her Family’s Land. Missouri 10/22

We have concluded something. There isn’t a level spot in all of Missouri. HAHA The drive to the house of our niece and her family was very nice – sunny with a slight breeze. Our niece and her husband were so great in helping Kevin find a spot to park our 36 ft, 5th wheel on their property.

Our Niece Can COOK! Missouri 10/22

The dinner she made was outstanding! She cooked local steaks on her charcoal grill! She also cooked Vidalia onions, deviled eggs, and green beans. Delicious and we were so full!

Bring A Picnic & Enjoy The Beauty. Trenton, MO 10/22

Our niece, her husband, Kevin and I went to the Amish community of Jamesport, MO. My mother-in-law and I would come here often when we lived in the area more than 25 years ago. I like their baked goods and the bulk items. I have been looking forward to this for weeks, as I have been hungry for some good baked goods. 🙂  .

Kevin Holding Fresh Made Deliciousness! Jamesport, MO 10/22

In Jamesport, we stopped at the bakery that I remember, Annies. We saw the open sign, walked in and saw the yummy food on the counter but there wasn’t anyone there to take our money. We waited a little bit and then left. On to Countryside Bakery, which was right behind H&M where my favorite Amish store is. Oh the treats inside! We got fried apple pies, cinnamon bread, dinner rolls and the biggest gingersnap cookies with vanilla frosting inside. I am in heaven! On over to the store and I found butterscotch chips! Score! There were a lot of bags of them; I bought 4. We also got bulk: trail mix, pineapple/papyri bites, a sweet trail mix, taffy, and more. We were like kids in the candy store. By this time it was around 10:30 so we decided to eat lunch at Jamesport. I am so glad we did. We ate at Country Dutch. The fresh buffet of fried, juicy chicken, real mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, salad stuff, and other things was a great find.

Breathtaking Beauty. Trenton, MO 10/22

We had a wonderful time with our sweet relatives. They were gracious hosts. We loved our visit with them: great chats, delicious meals, softball games, seeing the land, everything was really special to us.

Let Me Push You On The Swing. Missouri 10/22

Until next time….

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