Travel Day to Flagstaff, AZ.

All Ready For Travel Day.

Saturday 04/30/22 Travel Day. Today we go to Flagstaff, AZ. We got ready to go and pulled out of Needles, CA at 9:00 am. I followed Kevin in the car. We didn’t need fuel but decided to stop at Kingman to top off. Kevin wanted to use his new Fuel Discount Card so he found a place that had the cheapest diesel. He pulled in line and I went around to the car pumps. I couldn’t figure out the pump machine. It said my card had a chip and to do something different. I couldn’t find where to do anything different. Pulled out and parked. Kevin had 2 semi’s in line ahead of him. It took, I kid you not! over 50 minutes in line. My blood sugar was in the basement (we hadn’t eaten breakfast because we were in a hurry and wanted to get on the road.) I started getting dizzy and seeing stars. We went inside to find a fast food but they only had a sit down restaurant with a long wait. We didn’t want that. So we each got some crackers and cheese. I felt better after eating. I-40 is a horrible road – lots of deep holes, ruts, and bumps. We got to J & H RV Park in Flagstaff about 2:00 pm. The drive is usually 3 hours but we stopped for gas and Kevin drove slower due to the bad roads. Despite the bad roads, he said he liked driving the 5th wheel and it was very fun. 

Told Ya The Roads Were Bumpy! Poor Hamburger Buns! HAHA

J & H RV Park: went in to the office and met Joann and her daughter. Joann got us all checked in. She is very funny. There is a huge and steep volcano mountain to the west of us. We have Ponderosa Pines all around. Big bushes behind which makes a nice view for Kevin from his office windows in HOWE (our 36 ft 5th wheel we named for Home On WhEels). So very nice! Inside HOWE, ah, the food in the pantry crashed to the floor. I told you I-40 is very bumpy! The hamburger buns didn’t survive their shape. HAHA

All Set Up. Starlink’s Dishy Is Working Great!

Asked at the office their suggestion for dinner. They said LaFonda and Fat Olives. We went to LaFonda. There was a 30 minute wait. We just sat in the car and then they texted when our table was ready. The Mexican food was delicious. We agreed, better than the one in Mohave Valley. I had shredded beef taco and you could see and taste the not-hot peppers and onions. My chicken enchilada was the same. Kevin had chicken chimi and thought it was divine. Score! We rate this place as “eat every day”. When we got outside, it was chilly and I was a little cold. I said to Kevin as we got in, “I am going to turn on the seater heater.” He starts laughing, trying to hide it.  I said, “OH, I am going to turn on the heater seater.” At this point, he was crying laughing so hard. When I realized the words that came out of my mouth, I started laughing too. Being deaf for 2 years as made me forgot how to say the right words sometimes. 🙂 I texted this funny to a bunch of friends. Some said that is what they are now going to call it!! HAHA. One of our friends call it a “rear defroster”. We like that too.

The next day: I am in search of a good grocery store. I found there is a place called Bashas’. Their website has a great history section and it is fascinating. There are two stores here in Flagstaff. After checking the reviews, I will go to the one a little farther because it is the bigger of the two. It was about a 15 minute drive but easy. I was happy with the store. Good produce, much better prices than Safeway, a small but nice meat/cheese counter, and super nice people. I wanted some queso blanco cheese to try out a new recipe. They didn’t have it. The recipe says you can use white American cheese. So I wrote on my little notebook what I would like. The gal, Jocelynn, was great help. She signed with American Sign Language: thank you. I signed, “sign, you?” She said a little! Her aunt is deaf. I was thrilled to have a tiny conversation with her. At the customer service, I wrote asking how to get a Bashas’ loyalty card and she gave me the paper and pointed where to fill things out. Very nice. I have decided this will be my weekly grocery shopping store while in Flagstaff.

Before I left this morning, I put the ingredients in the crockpot for Italian Chicken w/ Cream Sauce. When I got home from the grocery store, I could smell it outside. Deliciousness! Dinner was delicious. I added a green salad, crusty bread, and fresh watermelon. After clean up, we played one round of Ticket To Ride. What a fun game!

Text to friends: All my plastic bottles give a “pop” sound when I open them and squirt out. Example: mayo, laundry detergent, shampoo, etc. We went from elevation of 300 to 7000. HAHA We are now in Flagstaff. The first one, the mayo, squirted all over the plate. I was making us sandwiches. Since then, I open rrrreeeaaaalllll ssssllllloooowwww. HAHA

We Rate This As “Eat Everyday!” El Rincon Restaurants Mexicano, Sedona, AZ.

We left home at 3:00 pm to go see my aunt and uncle who were staying the week in Sedona. Sedona is about an hour away. We got to where my uncle suggested we meet and the restaurant was the same as the one we liked so much in 01/21. After dinner, my uncle and aunt drove us around and showed us Sedona. Neat places to come back and explore. We had a wonderful evening.

Grand Canyon Rail & Hotel Package, Part 2.

Grand Canyon, South Rim

Saturday 04/16/22 GRAND CANYON RAILWAY & HOTEL At 9:00 AM there was a Wild West Shoot-Out that our train ticket said to watch. It looked cute and lot of fun for kids. After that, everyone was allowed to board the train.

Fred Harvey Luxury Coach

Let me tell you, our train car was incredible! It had an upper deck and we had the  two forward facing front seats. There were full windows everywhere and you could see 360 degrees plus the sky. A perfect way to see the countryside. We had complimentary snacks and drinks. The hostess was a former airline stewardess. She said she liked this a lot better. She was entertaining and fun. The train ride is 65 miles and takes 2 hrs and 15 min.

View From Back Of Train

The route goes from the ponderosa pines, down to pinion-juniper trees, desert with very few trees, then back up to ponderosa pines just before you get to Grand Canyon Depot. As we got off the train, we noticed the wind was blowing really hard. We walked across the street to see the Grand Canyon.

Our First View Of Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim

It was really unlike anything we had seen before. Very different from the north rim. The wind was so strong and blowing dirt like crazy. I literally had dirt that I could crunch in my teeth.

View Of People In The Strong, Biting Wind

After looking for a little bit, we went to the Arizona Steakhouse, which was included in the Grand Canyon & Train Package. There was a 45 minute wait so we went back outside and walked around. When it was our turn, they texted Kevin (great way to do it so we didn’t have to stay close). This restaurant is fine dining. The meal included an appetizer, entree, and dessert. We had tortilla soup which was different then what we have ever had. It had lots of beans and tomatoes. It was more of a broth than creamy. We liked it. Next we had the burger (I can’t remember the name) that had pepper jack cheese, aloha, and guacamole. It was so tall that I used a knife and fork to eat mine. The meat was very flavorful. For dessert we had cheesecake. Roll us out the door!

Our table was by the window so we could see the walking path on the rim right next our window. We noticed that no one was smiling as they walked! The wind was truly miserable. People would hustle to the edge, take a picture, and then hunker down, face down, and walk quickly away. After lunch, which was nice and slow and leisurely, we walked to our hotel.

Way Down Below You Can See Colorado River At Grand Canyon.

We had to be on the bus for our sunset tour at 5:00. But we had time to get back. Oh, I forgot to say, masks were required for the train and the shuttles and buses at Grand Canyon. The views were so pretty. The wind was incredibly strong. In fact, at some places, it would literally blow us back and we would have to take a step back to catch ourselves. That is strong wind! The last stop was to watch the sun set. She knew exactly the time it would set, 7:03. We were at that stop for about 15 minutes before.

Strong Winds Carried A Lot Of Dirt Into The Air At Grand Canyon National Park

It was a very powerful view. From when the tour started until the sun set, the cloud of dirt (and maybe smoke) got thicker and thicker. At the setting sun time, the dirt made incredible photography! I took a ton of pictures. It will be hard to whittle them down to just a few.

Sunset View Of Grand Canyon.

Sunday 04/17/22 GRAND CANYON RAILWAY & HOTEL We didn’t want breakfast this morning, so we jumped on the shuttle around 8:30. I thought the shuttles would be packed but there was only one other couple on. We took the shuttle to the Visitor’s Center. It didn’t open until 10:00 but it is limited in what you can see there due to covid restrictions anyway. We saw the bookstore was open so Kevin was able to get his National Park passport stamped.

Person Painting The Beautiful Grand Canyon.

Then we went to the rim. You can definitely see a lot more here than by the village. We took our time and walked the Rim Trail. Today? No a bit of wind! The few people we saw out and about all had smiles on. We continued our walk along the rim to the village. We ended up getting a box sandwich lunch from the lunchette there. We sat on a bench and Kevin said, “We don’t get much better view for lunch.”

El Favor Hotel At Grand Canyon.

We walked inside the El Tovar which was the first hotel there. It is very dark wood and dark inside. Some of President Theodore Roosevelt’s game that he caught are mounted there on the walls. We sat outside on the large porch in rockers and watched people for a little bit. Soon it was time to walk to the train for our 3:30 train ride back to Williams.

Looking Down The Train Rail. Another Train On Other Track.

Our tickets were for the same awesome seats as before. This hostess was great, too. She had plastic champagne glasses and offered champagne or cider to us once the train started. It went nicely with the complimentary food, including hummus, which I like. The train got “robbed” and any money given went to a charity. When we got off the train, our bags were there on a cart for us to grab. We were in the car by 6:00 pm. We drove home to Needles. We got hungry and so stopped at Kingman for supper. McDonalds was fine. As we got our food and were walking out, Kevin heard a worker yell, “bus!” There was the largest tour bus ever with people getting out and walking to McDonalds. This was at 8:00 at night on Sunday night. Looked like a lot of high school age kids. Glad we were there right before them. 🙂 The entire ride home was lovely and we had great time visiting. We got home at 9:00 pm. It was an amazing birthday gift.

Note to reader: There are several ways to see Grand Canyon, South Rim. You can drive your vehicle and park at Grand Canyon. There you can take the shuttles around. There are also packages you can purchase. One is a train ride from Williams to Grand Canyon and then back to Williams all in one day. The package Kevin got us included: dinner Friday night, hotel in Williams Friday night, Saturday breakfast, train ride on Luxury Dome to Grand Canyon, lunch at Arizona Steakhouse, Sunset Bus Tour of Grand Canyon, hotel at Grand Canyon, Sunday train ride on Luxury Dome to Williams. There are many options to pick from. See the options at thetrain.com

Grand Canyon Rail & Hotel Package, Part 1.

Williams, AZ

GRAND CANYON RAILWAY & HOTEL Kevin’s work is off on Good Friday so we had planned accordingly. 🙂 We left home (HOWE, our Home On WhEels) in Needles, CA around 8:00 and drove to Kingman to pick up our mail and a stamp. Before we were Full-Time, I had had a stamp made with my name and return address. It makes it nice when sending out notes and cards. I had one made up with the new mailing address.

Williams, AZ

Then on to Williams, AZ. We hadn’t been east of Kingman so the territory was new for us to see. The area has lots of pinion-juniper (cedar) trees. As you climb elevation it gets into Ponderosa Pines. Very pretty. There isn’t a lot of stops along the way on I-40. At Williams, we walked around the old downtown main street. There is a lot of history and it is along Route 66. A sign said, “ In 1926, the Old Trails Highway was officially designated US Highway 66,  and it became the “Main Street of America.” In 1984, Williams was the last route 66 town in America to be bypassed by the interstate highway system.” When we were ready for lunch, we went to Pine Country Restaurant. Kevin rated his patty melt as a once a week and a rated my hot roast beef open faced sandwich with mashed potatoes as every day. They say they are famous for their homemade pies. We saw some and they are piled high! But we were too full to try one. We would definitely recommend this restaurant.

This Stop Light Was In Williams, AZ.

Next we went to the Visitor’s Center for some history.  Inside is hanging the Last Stop Light on Route 66. We laughed that we also saw the last stop light before I-90 in Wallace, ID last July.

Beautiful Monument From Desert Storm, Williams, AZ.

Next we walked along a memorial park that is in between the both directions of the street. There we saw  “Desert Storm Monument. Constructed January 1991. To show community support for William’s servicemen and women involved in the Gulf War. Candles representing each individual burned inside continuously until their return.” WOW! What a beautiful thought and way of supporting those off to war. It is made of concrete bricks with glass windows to see the candles burn. Touching! Williams in named for William Sherley Williams 1787-1849. He was “a colorful mountaineer, guide and trapper who is generally credited with being the first American to explore Northern Arizona – 1830 or earlier. Williams lived at different times among the Osage and Ute Indians, and earlier had been a Baptist circuit rider in Missouri. He was killed by Indians in 1849.” After that, we went to the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and checked in. Our room is very nice and….has a bathtub!!! I was so thrilled. I love love love taking a hot, bubble bath and that is all I miss about a stick and brick house. We walked to the train depot and got our tickets for the train. When Kevin asked the person about a script for the train, she went and checked with someone. A lady came out and said yes, she had received Kevin’s email about me being deaf and she would have a script put in our hotel room. So very nice. Kevin wanted to spoil me with The Grand Canyon Package. We got the luxury package of everything and it was so wonderful. It included: hotel at Williams, luxury train car ride to Grand Canyon, hotel at Grand Canyon, luxury train car ride back to Williams, all the meals included, plus Sunset guided bus tour of Grand Canyon. After we got the train tickets, we ate supper at the restaurant there. We had taken our swimming suits just in case but there were a lot of kids in the pool and it was crowded so we didn’t do it. We went back to our room and I had a wonderful 1.5 hour long bubble bath! Kevin set a chair next to the tub put my iPad on it so I could see it from the bathtub. I watched a movie. Doesn’t get better than that! HAHA Funny though, we slept horribly! The bed was too soft and we kept waking each other up as we rolled around. 

Next blog, train ride to Grand Canyon!

Route 66: Things We Never Knew.

Honoring US Military Along Route 66, Needles, CA.

Kevin and I never paid much attention to old Route 66. We knew of it, of course, but didn’t know much about it. That is, until we stayed in Needles, CA. Desert View RV, our first stop as Full-Time RVers, is literally on the side along Route 66. When you drive through the city of Needles, you see glimpses of the past on Route 66 most everywhere you look. Most of the buildings, gas stations, restaurants, and motels are empty now and sort of run down. But often, there is one that is open. Even at a hardware store you can see the history on the walls and floors. Wagon Wheel Restaurant is still going and is our go-to place for dinner while in Needles. (We wrote about this place in a past post.) We often say to each other, “Wow, if those buildings could talk!” You would hear all sorts of stories, both big and tall, and history.

Sun Setting On Rock Monuments Along Route 66, Needles, CA.

We like to take walks in the evenings after dinner. When in Needles, CA, we would head out of the campground and there is Route 66. We turned right and soon we saw along both sides of the 2-lane road, rocks that are piled up about a foot or so high. There is one with the name of Jan, who was the wife of the man who first put up the rocks, as the story goes. Her name is spelled out with rocks and then a curved border around it. Walking farther down we saw words written out with rocks for the US military: USAF (US Air Force), Navy, Army, POW (Prisoners of War), etc. Each rock border is a little different from the others. I read in the Needles paper that the city helps with setting out little flags. The flags only last about 3 weeks due to the desert winds. Each time we walk past, we stop, pause and remember those who have gone before us.

Heading east from Needles, CA, you find Route 66 leaves where Interstate 40 has covered it and veers to the north. At Boundary Cone, a very distinct mountain “cone”, the road turns east and heads up and over the Black Mountains.

Burros At Oatman, AZ.

Along the way you come upon a town named Oatman. It is an old mining town that has found a way to stay alive. It is all about the burros (donkeys). 🙂 The burros were brought to the area with prospectors. The burros would haul ore and rock in the mines and water and supplies outside. They can smell water 20 miles away! As the mines shut down, the burros were released in the hills around Oatman. Their average lifespan is 30 to 35 years.

Burros Come Right Up To You Looking For Food!

When we drove through Red Rock Canyon, outside of Las Vegas, we saw signs all over that were very much a warning…”Don’t feed the burros! $500.00 fine!” Every time we saw those signs we barreled over laughing because at Oatman, they sell you food to feed the burros! 🙂 What a difference.

The town is a fun place to visit. Lots of souvenirs and food can be purchased. I bought some preserves from the local area. Most of the short Main Street has shops open in the old stores.

Gun Fight At Oatman, AZ

Every day at noon and 2:15 Oatman has an old-fashion gun fight in the middle of the street. The entire Main Street (route 66) is blocked and people gather around on all sides to watch the fight. The “robbers” wanted to rob a bank, of course. At one point, they waddled over to a storefront that has an actual ATM machine. They shouted at the machine to give them money. It was funny and cute! 🙂 After the gun fight, they pass around a cowboy hat to collect money for children’s charities. A very nice way to end the show.

A Lovely Bench To Sit, See, Remember.

We continued on Route 66 up the road that goes over Black Mountain. The drive is fun with all the crazy turns. At almost the top of the mountain pass, we saw a large gravel parking spot. We pulled over and got out to look at the views. We stumbled upon quite a treasured area. Here there are markers of memories of people who have passed. There is even a bench to sit and take in the amazing views. Some markers have names, dates, and/or stories about the person. We looked it up and found The Graveyard at Sitgreaves Pass

Markers Of Loved Ones.

You can read more about the place called Sitegreaves Pass. From this point you can see three states, California, Nevada, and Arizona. Some people even get married here.

191 Turns With No Guardrails!

If you look at a map, you will see that Interstate 40 goes south and around the end of the mountain. Kevin and I just shake our heads and wish someone would tell us why Route 66 went up and over this steep mountain with all the twists and turns. Kevin wonders about the old cars in the heat with poor brakes. We know it follows the old mining path but still. 🙂 If you know, please write it in the comments!

How Do You Make Quilts While Out & About?

Kevin Holding Up Carpenter’s Wheel Quilt

In a campground, boondocking (no hook-ups, out in the “boonies”), outside, in a 24 ft travel trailer or 36 ft 5th wheel, from next to lakes, mountains, and deserts…you can make a quilt anywhere. 🙂

Current Sewing Area In Our 2022 Alliance Avenue 32 RSL

In our new HOWE (our Home On WhEels) there is plenty of space for my sewing area. It is in the living room opposite of Kevin’s desk.

Living Room In 2022 Alliance Avenue 32 RLS.

There is plenty of room between Kevin’s chair and the sewing area.

Sewing Machine Storage Case.

We got this sewing machine case when I started quilting in February 2020. The case made it very nice to take my machine and supplies with me when I went to sew with my friends. Now it is the perfect protection for the machine when we are on the road. Trailers/5th wheels are very bouncy going down the road. My machine, in the case, rides with us in the truck. 🙂

Ottoman in 2022 Alliance Avenue 32 RSL.

Our new HOWE has this nice seating bench with storage. This is where I put my fabric, cutting mat and iron. Hum, it isn’t full yet…need to go to fabric store! 🙂

Utah Lake State Park, Provo, UT May 25-31, 2021

Sewing outside in just an incredible feeling. Doing what ya love in such a beautiful setting. Thankfully no bugs! 🙂

Camping Solstice Motorcoach Resort, Mesquite, NV Nov 20-25, 2020

Even sewing in our first HOWE (25 ft 2020 Shadow Cruiser) worked just fine. I set the SewEzi table next to the dining seat. There was plenty of kitchen counter space for measuring and cutting fabric.

Some campgrounds have a community room/clubhouse where you can set up for sewing and spread out. I have had a blast sewing with friends in a few.

Quilt for “Wrap Ukraine With Quilts”.

This is the latest quilt I finished. When I had the blocks all made and sewn together for this quilt top, I didn’t know what I would do with the quilt. As soon as I finished the quilt top, my sewing group from where we used to live said they were going to make quilts for Ukraine. Hellocottons.com has a great story about knowing people in Ukraine. I got teary eyed when I realized most of the fabric I had used are the colors of the Ukraine flag. When I took it to the longarmer, we started looking for a design. We saw the sunflower design and she said she thought the sunflower had something to do with Ukraine. Kevin looked it up on his phone and it is Ukraine’s flower! So yes, that had to be the design. (Longarm done by Terri Wetzel. On Facebook: Craftee2Quilts.)

Yard Flag.

I like to make yard flags. I make them for different seasons and holidays. This one is from a kit my sister-in-law gave me. (Kevin made the wood sign when we first started camping back in Sept 2020.)

Folding Corners Pattern.

This quilt block is one of my very favorites. I made this one into a yard flag for St Patrick’s Day while in Needles, CA.

Yard Flag For Autumn.

Well, I won’t bore you with more quilt pictures. 🙂 Hopefully it gave you a little insight in how I make quilts while out and about.

Things We Changed & Our Favorite Thing. Plus, Kevin’s Firm Restriction!

Boondocking – Camping With No Hook-Ups Out In The “Boonies”.

If you have been reading along (Thank you!!!), you know that we camped almost 200 days September 2020-January 2022. We have always loved to travel whether by car, airplane, ship, or trailer. We wanted to travel more. So in February 2022 we sold our house, quit our jobs, Kevin got a new job, and we started RVing Full-Time. In March 2022 Kevin decided he wanted a desk and we went from a 25 ft 2020 Shadow Cruiser travel trailer to a 36 ft 2022 Alliance Avenue 5th wheel.

Several of you have asked for more information about our new HOWE (the name we give our Home On WhEels). Today we are going to share with you some of the changes we made (not a lot), things we added, and what our favorite things are.

(Charla:) I love to cook, and eat 🙂 , and the stove/oven we have in this HOWE exceeds all my expectations. The brand is Greystone. In our first HOWE, the stove/oven was small and a different brand. The stove top worked fine but the oven would burn biscuits on the bottom and not be done on the top. Well, worry no more! The Greystone stove top has three large burners and I am able to put large pots/skillets on all of them at the same time. Now for the oven, oh my! Just look….

Homemade Fudgy-Cookies!

I think the oven might just be one of Kevin’s favorite things! HAHA It makes delicious cookies, biscuits and everything I have cooked. Everything cooks perfectly 100% of the time, so far. I do have to add some minutes on the cooking time but that doesn’t burn anything.

Setting Up Kevin’s New 77-Inch Desk

(Kevin:) I work in IT, and need room to spread out. We joked about me needing a new desk so we bought a new trailer! Well, there is more truth in that than I would like to admit. When we bought HOWE II we requested they take out the couch in the back. That left us with a blank canvas! After looking at a lot of posts and YouTube videos, I settled on IKEA drawers and table top. I measured the area where the desktop was to go, and thought it would fit. We ordered everything for pickup, so we did not have to fight the maze of IKEA! We brought it back to HOWE II and I put it together. The side compartments built into the trailer lift up for storage, and they cleared the table top by 1/4″! I would say that is pure talent and skill, but mostly it was just luck. I love the new desk. The view from the windows beats any corner office I have seen.

Splendide Washing Machine
Splendide Dryer

(Charla:) Best decision we made, since getting the new Alliance Avenue was having the dealership install a new Splendide brand washer and dryer. For me, it is nice to not have to find a washer and dryer at a campground. While the laundry rooms at the campgrounds we have recently be in are nice, you just never know about them. Yes, these are smaller than the typical house appliances, but for the two of us, I can get all our laundry done in just a few loads each week. The spin cycle can shake the 5th wheel a little bit but it isn’t worse than desert winds.

Picking Up Our New Starlink

(Kevin:) Because of my job, I need reliable internet. Cellular data is great, and would meet my needs, but the coverage is spotty. I looked into different alternatives, and found Starlink. If you haven’t heard of it, it is a new company owned by Elon Musk and is working with SpaceX. They are putting up a grid of low orbit satellites to provide high speed internet no matter where you are located. Well, we purchased it! I was like a kid at Christmas!

Starlink’s Name For The Receiver is “Dishy McFlatface.” 🙂

(Kevin:) The setup is amazingly simple. You plug it into the provided wireless router, plug in the router, and use the app on your phone to finish setup. When we first received it, it was BLAZINGLY fast! Most times, over 150 Mbps. Recently, it has slowed down some, but still very serviceable for our needs. The more birds Elon puts in the air the faster and more reliable our connection will be.

Adding A Map

(Charla:) I have a slight obsession with maps. A few years ago, I started highlighting a map to show the road trips we took. The map soon completely wilted with all the marks. 🙂 When we travel, you will often see me with Apple Maps on my iPhone and a paper map or two on my lap. Kevin surprised me with this map. But he has a firm restriction! We can only fill in each state that THIS new HOWE has been. HA! OH, and, we can’t count a state if HOWE just drove through the state. HOWE has to spend at least 1 night in that state before we can add a state sticker. 🙂

Sad, Sad Looking Map

I want to write in Sharpie above this map, “This Home On Wheels Has Been To…”. HAHAHA (Kevin and I have been to most states in the US.) When we plan our Full-Time routes, we just pick where we want to go. But now, as I look at this map every single time we go in and out the door, well, makes me want to plan a little differently so we can stay 1 night in a state that is near. Oh dear! 🙂

Our Skin Is So Happy With The Water Softener!

(Kevin:) Our experience with a lot of campground water is that the water is HARD. It makes our already dry skin drier. It was starting to stain the toilet bowl. Time for a water softener! The brand name is On The Go. It ties into the input hose from the campground water supply, and feeds HOWE nice soft water. Typical home water softeners need to regenerate with salt pellets – 40 pound bags – this one regenerates with regular table salt! The size we bought takes two containers of salt. (cans? cylinders? paper tube with a metal spout on top) After installing it we noticed an immediate difference in how our skin felt, and the toilet bowl thanked me too.

Stop The Splinters.

(Charla:) Under our mattress is a sheet of plywood. The rough edges of the plywood would snag the sheets. I would also get splinters making the bed. I thought of this one night – put Gorilla Tape (similar to duck tape) over the edge. We used a wide tape, put half on the top and then folded the rest over the side and underneath. No more snag sheets and splinters!

(Kevin:). HOWE II has excellent tinted windows and MCD pulldown shades. The only exception is the door. Someone could step right up and look in our trailer! It also generated a lot of heat coming through the window. The answer was privacy window film. The first time I tried installing it, it fell down the first day! I then read the instructions – the second time was a success! It gave us privacy, as well as cutting down the heat coming through.

It was fun sharing these things with you. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have an idea that you think we might like to try? Let us know.

NASCAR A Loud Race? Not For Me, I Am Deaf.

NASCAR at Las Vegas March 6, 2022

NASCAR stands for National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing.

Panoramic View

Sunday 03/06/22 NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway! We had watched some RVers on Youtube and saw that they camped AT the race. That looks like a lot of fun. A few weeks ago, we decided to get tickets. Not for camping, as we didn’t know the set up for work and such.

Our First Time To A NASCAR Race And We Sure Had Fun!

Off we went early in the morning. Got to the speedway with ease since we were early. The race starts at 12:30 but we were there at 10:00. Fun to walk around the Fan Zone outside the gates and see all that was going on. Then inside, we walked the length and saw a lot of food vendors.

This Guy Was Very Talented! Lots To See In The Fan Zone.

We found our seats…literally on the very end of the entire seating and next to the last from the top. Seats 1 and 2, row 81. We thought these were perfect as we could see the entire race track. Thankfully, no one sat in the three rows in front of us so the view was completely clear. Later, we both commented on how both of us thought we would see some rowdy and drunk people. But we didn’t see anyone like that at all. Kevin said the price of beer was too much to get drunk on. HAHA It was clean, the bathrooms spotless, there were stadium seats with armrests and they were clean. Very impressed.

The Great Smells of Food… Like A Campground When Everyone Is Cooking Outside. 🙂

For lunch, Kevin got one sausage dog with peppers and onions on it on a regular bun. It cost $13! I got pizza and we didn’t even look to see how much that was. HAHA

NASCAR @ Las Vegas

The race was great. Everyone had ear protection on. Of course being deaf, I couldn’t hear the engines but I could feel it and it was incredible. It felt like a big ole pipe organ, playing a chord of low notes and it would swell and get bigger and bigger. I loved it!

Clearing The Track After A Wreck

We didn’t have anyone we wanted to win so we picked #11, FedEx, since Kevin receives and sends a ton of stuff with them for work. #11 was doing great..until he blew the transmission lap 219 or so (out of 267).

Look At All The RVs parked at the race!

We decided to leave after the FedEx car was out. Where did we go? Well, don’t forget to read last week’s blog to see where we went after the race. Kevin wanted a desk! 🙂

He Wants A Desk…Need Bigger Home-On-Wheels? YEP!

Brand new 2022 Alliance Avenue, 32 RLS, 3 Slides, 35 ft 3 in Long, Wide-Belly 101 in

Sunday 03/06/22 Kevin wants a desk! There isn’t space in HOWE (our name for our travel trailer – Home On WhEels) to have a desk so he works from the dining room table. Since we are now traveling Full-Time, a desk would be much better. Kevin has been researching travel trailers the whole year we have been learning about Full-Time. He found he likes Alliance the best. This day we went to NASCAR Race in Las Vegas. (I will tell you more about that in the next blog.) When we left the race Kevin had me look up Johnnie Walker RV in Las Vegas. He had found them online last night and they have Alliances for sale. I was sure they wouldn’t be open on a Sunday but they were. They closed at 5:00 and this was about 4:00. We stopped in, told them we knew they closed soon, and we just wanted to see the Alliances they had. Robert, the salesman, took us to see them. They had the floor plan we were interested in. Alliance Avenue 32RSL. We looked at it and ah man, soooo beautiful! Light and bright with tons of windows. Truly, our dream floor plan, too. Oh my gosh, from what we see, it is everything we want. The back has a huge couch but we will take that out and put in a large desk for Kevin to work. Robert took us to the office and ran some numbers. Pretty soon, we were filling out all the paperwork. Done! HAHA We left, got in the car, looked at each other and said, “What did we just do?” Laughing our heads off!!! But oh no, we don’t have a truck big enough to pull it because it is a 35 ft 3 inches long, 5th Wheel. Last night, he had also found online a Ram truck, 3500, diesel, long bed, with a 5th Wheel hitch in Kingman, AZ.

Our New Truck, Hitching Up New HOWE

Monday 03/07/22 We went to Martin Swanty Ram in Kingman. The truck that Kevin found online was sitting right there for us. 🙂 Chuck was a good salesman. He had on jeans, boots, a Car-Hart jacket, and a hat. Looked like he just came in from the farm. HAHA He gave us the keys and let us test drive it. It is the truck for us and we bought it. We didn’t have a Wells Fargo check with us so they said for us to take the truck home and bring a check tomorrow. Wow! As we left, I asked them their favorite place to eat. Chuck said LaCatina Mexican is his wife’s favorite and she would eat there every week. So we went there, just down the road from the dealership. The food was fine.

Tuesday 03/08/22 Called Robert and told him that we got the truck and have new insurance for the new truck and new HOWE. He said it would be ready for pick up on Monday. Then I thought about campgrounds. If you have been reading along (thanks!) you know that we booked a campground in Flagstaff for a base this summer. It is much cooler than other parts of Arizona and we want to explorer Northern Arizona. It seems that “most” (slight exaggeration!) people in Arizona camp in Flagstaff for the summer! I had a hard time finding a place even though we were booking it back in February. I remember when Kevin booked the one in Flagstaff, they had told him it was a small site, but wide. He called and there is no way a 35 ft 5th Wheel will fit in the site and they had all the other sites filled. I had a little panic as I knew all the other places around we had called were full. I found a few places and since I am deaf Kevin called them. All full. You can be on the waiting list, #12. No thanks. Thankfully the campground in Flagstaff called us a few days later and had a bigger site for us. Next was to talk to our current campground named Deseret View RV in Needles, CA. We were able to get a bigger site. So very thankful how things are working out. It is just amazing.

Later in the day, we back to Kingman. Stopped and picked up our mail. Kevin got a “Employee Appreciation” box from his work. It had healthy snacks, lavender essential oil, a Starbucks gift card and several other things. What a great company! At the dealership, we gave them a check. Back at HOWE, I made stroganoff for dinner. I had bought a garlic butter spread and I put it on some sliced tiny French bread from Smiths then heated in the oven. Very delicious. 

Wednesday 03/09/22 Laundry day. Got me thinking…what is it like to have a washer and dryer in an RV? Our new Alliance Avenue has places for them and hook ups ready on both sides of the closet. I started researching and even asked the question on a Full Time Living Facebook page. I found out there are two kinds. One is a combo (hardly anyone likes this!). The other kind is a stackable but can be apart, too. Lots of great reviews on having them in the RV and Splendide is the brand to have.

Thursday 03/10/22 Kevin called Robert at Johnnie Walker RV and asked for the couch to be taken out and how to get a washer and dryer. He gave Kevin a number to call for Service. Kevin said the service guy was really nice. He would have the couch out and they would order and install my washer and dryer. He moved out inspection time from 11:00 on Monday to 2:00.

I tried baking potatoes in my crockpot. They turned out great! It took about 5 hours on high but they were tender and fluffy. We had chili and fixing on top.

Johnnie Walker RV in Las Vegas, Backlot For You To Stay A Night Or More To Make Sure You Know How To Work Everything

Sunday 03/13/22 We felt we didn’t need to leave until around noon so hung out. We hooked up HOWE to our new-to-us truck and I will tell you, we couldn’t even feel it behind us when driving! It felt like we were cruising in our car. We drove to Johnnie Walker RV, parked in the driveway and walked in. He walked us to the gate, gave us the code, showed me our new HOWE -getting the washer and dryer installed right then- and went to the back of the lot. We are very impressed! They have several full hookups plus in the corner, a nice large bricked patio with clean plastic chairs, picnic table, umbrella, fire pit, grill with grilling utensils, horse shoe and pits, mini golf and nice palm trees. They really thought about the customer.

We sat on the patio for awhile reading and then decided to go to Walmart. Kevin needs a bunch of stuff (grease gun, etc) but they didn’t have it. I got some food. Then home to read. For dinner I made grilled cheese sandwiches. Oh, this large Walmart had Grandma Sycamore brand bread! I was so excited. HAHA

Our New 2020 HOWE Next To Our Old 2020 HOWE! 🙂

Monday 03/14/22 We were told by Robert that new HOWE wouldn’t be ready today. We are a little disappointed but we guessed that would be the case. No worries. Kevin worked and I read. Later that day, they parked HOWE right next to HOWE. Wow! It is huge! 35 ft 3 inches compared to 25 ft. Chris, one of the shop guys, said we can walk around and look inside but not to move anything in to it yet. So excited. So amazed at this new one.

Tuesday 03/15/22 Our walk-through was at 11:00 am. Chris showed us lots of things. We found a few things that need fixed, liked a light bulb out in the fridge, etc. At noon we signed the papers, gave them the check, and it is officially ours! Moving in time. Kevin loaded up old HOWE in totes and then would bring it to the door of new HOWE. It is fun to decided where to put everything. There is a lot of room and still empty spots.

Kevin Got His Desk!

Wednesday 03/16/22 Chris came over and did a few things. Kevin got his work desk all set up. We had them take out the back couch (77 inches long) before they gave it to us. Today Kevin finished putting together his work desk that we got from IKEA. It is great! Nice cabinet drawers on both sides. The desk top barely allows for the side table storage to be accessed. Wow! Today Kevin finished putting all the wires and L-brackets to secure it. We went to the store and got groceries to stock up the fridge. It is a blast setting everything up. We said to each other that we don’t even need a stick and brick house now. Kevin said we would pull HOWE into the garage and sill work from HOWE. I said we would sleep in HOWE since our bed is so comfy. Then we laughingly said we would just live in HOWE inside the garage. HAHA

I Can’t Reach This Cupboard…So Kevin Uses It For His Snack Stash!
Enjoying The Fireplace. It Even Has a Heater.
This Is The Way Kevin Watches Church! HA
Perfect Spot For My Sewing Table!
Looking Good!
Pulling Into Desert View RV, Needles, CA

Please check out this website and see more pictures of the inside of our new 2022 Alliance Avenue 32 RSL. Ours looks just like the company pictures. Alliance RV

YEP….Kevin got a desk! 🙂

How Do You Get Mail When You Travel Full-Time?

Along Route 66, Needles, CA.

Monday 02/21/22 Happy President’s Day. Today Kevin is off work. I made pancakes for breakfast. As I got out the mix, I wondered if it was just flour because the batter didn’t bubble up as normal. I went ahead and made a pancake and gingerly tasted it. Yes, whew, it was pancake mix. HAHA (In the past, I had it in a container with a dry eraser pen written on it but it wipes off too easily). After breakfast, we got in the car and drove to Kingman, AZ. It is about an hour from Needles, CA. We wanted to gather our mail. For full-timers with no “home” address there are companies who will give you a real street address where the mail comes. We use iPostal1. They will take a picture of the outside of the mail and we see it on the iPostal1 app. We then have several options: hold for pickup, open it and scan it to us, shred it, or forward to where we are. Our postal box is in a Staples. It was easy to pick up.

St Patrick’s Day Yard Flag I Quilted.

Here is the finished Yard Flag:

Kevin Made the Wood Sign in His Wood Shop When We First Got Our Trailer, Sept. 2020.

Tuesday 02/22/22 I was happy to get sewing again. I made a 12 inch “Folded Square” out of material for St Patrick’s Day. It turned out really cute and I want to use the pattern again. After dinner, we watched together the recording of the History Channel – Abraham Lincoln. It is sooo good! We like how they interview experts plus act out the scenes. 

Wednesday 02/23/22 We have been “full-time” for two weeks. It is going great and feels like the others times we have “lived” in HOWE. Today I decided to tackle laundry, especially since Kevin told me he has just one clean shirt left. HA The laundry room here at the campground is very nice and big. It has four large washers and four huge dryers. Plus a nice table in the middle to fold clothes. The washers are $2.00 a load and the dryers are $1.50. I said the best going away present for someone who is living in an RV is a box of rolled quarters! 🙂 The office has them for sale, which is nice. The washer was easy to use and get started, so was the dryer. The laundry day went very fast because the washers only take 28 minutes while mine at our former house takes 52 minutes. 🙂  I didn’t dry my pants but just hung them out around HOWE. Kevin kept thinking I was standing by the door.

Found Roxy’s Quilt When We First Checked Out This Area in Arizona.

Friday 02/25/22 My adventure out today was going to Roxy’s Quilt Shop. We had found the fabric store last October when we first came to the area to see about having a house in Fort Mohave. We have been in a few times and the ladies are always nice. It is a small shop but they have a huge room where you can rent a table to sew on. This time I went myself. I showed my little notebook that says “I am deaf” and looked around. I found some backing for my St Patrick’s Day yard flag. The lady who helped me remembered me and wrote down, “Where is your husband?” That is cute. Next stop was to Smith’s. I love sending out cards and I like them to be very nice cards. Over the years, I would get them at Papyrus but a few years ago they closed. Thankfully, I had a good stock. Now I needed more, as I have gone through that box already. I looked online and it seems you could order online but then it sent you to a local store. The stores are all in other businesses, like Smith’s and Safeway. I went in and look down the card isle. I didn’t see any and they only had 2 packages of cards. So disappointing. I happen to go around the other isle and there Papyrus was! Score! I was so excited. I bought 3 different boxes. One has a cactus on the card and envelope. So cute and very appropriate for this area. 🙂

We had to go to the storage unit to get a copy of our marriage license for Kevin’s new employer so I can get benefits. All morning we joked about us not being married. It was pretty funny. We have been married for 33 years!

Looking at Elk through the glass window at Hualapai Mountain Lodge.

Saturday 02/26/22 I fixed breakfast burritos with eggs and a new-to-us brand of tortillas. We warmed them in the microwave and I will be definitely getting them again. Then, off to Kingman. Picked up our mail and sat in the car going through it. Our new bank debit cards came and we got those activated. After Kevin spent time throwing the discarded mail and envelopes in the back seat with quite the dramatic flair 🙂 he started looking up places for lunch. I asked if we could drive 20 minutes to Hualapai Mountain Resort. Their website says, “The Hualapai Mountain Resort started as a feeding hall for the Civilian Conservation Corps during the depression. Back then if (sic) was known at (sic) the Pine Lodge and later as the Hualapai Mountain Lodge.” It was incredible to drive just a few miles and be at 6100 ft in elevation and see pine trees and snow. The highest point is the peak at 8000-some ft. We walked in and was lucky to be seated by a huge plate glass window. Through it, we saw 3 elk. I asked Kevin if they were real because they were so close. Yes, they are real. They would slowly stand up, go to the water bucket, and then wander around during our whole meal. What a delightful find! Kevin had a burger and I had hot turkey sandwich. The garlic mashed potatoes are the best I have ate in Arizona, so far.

Have a Great Laugh Over the Text Below at Hualapai Mountain Lodge.

After texting pics to my siblings and parents and saying we “ate with the elk” My sister asked what we ate. Kevin said, “Elk burgers”. HAHAHA No, he didn’t but that was such a funny answer!

POW in Rocks Along Route 66 in Needles, CA

As the sun was setting, we went on a walk along the road leading to this campground. It is the historic Route 66 and along the way, there are rocks placed in patriotic words. For example, POW/MIA, USAF, etc. They each have a little American flag. This evening I found a covid mask near the POW that said, “never be forgotten”. Here is a link to more information about the monuments.

Storm Moving Across Valley to Mohave Valley, AZ.
Storm Over Needles, CA.

A Rest Stop, Anyone Need to Stop?

Rest Stop, on in the middle of Golden Valley, AZ. Isn’t that hilarious? We just laugh out loud every time we see it.

As you read in our post last week, we are now traveling full-time. We sold our house, quit our jobs, Kevin got a new one (so he can work remote from anywhere), and we are starting our new adventures. Since we want a home base, we are having a house built in Fort Mohave, AZ. Home is “where you park it” and our home is named HOWE. It is our 25 ft travel trailer, named for Home On WhEels and pronounced How-ee.

Oleander Blooms

We decided to start our full-time travels in Needles, CA. The campground is named Desert View RV. The picture above was taken from inside HOWE. You can see the blooms on the Oleander bush and this is February!

Homemade Salsa

This area’s growing season is October – March. I found a farmer’s market at Triple Farms Produce. The fresh salsa I made was delicious. Again, in February. I smile.

RV Lock

We got tired of locking and unlocking HOWE with a key. So Kevin researched and found this keypad. He bought it and it makes locking and unlocking much easier. The install was pretty easy with great instructions.

New Bak-Flip

Kevin order a “Bak-Flip” for our truck. He had thought about buying a shell but we looked at them and decided this other way was a better way. Since Kevin had to work at home (Home Is Where You Park It), I went to Lake Havasu, AZ, about 40 minutes away. We had been to this place last week so I knew where I was going. He was nice to tell the worker on the phone that I am deaf. As I got there, I parked across the street because the tiny parking lot was full. As I went through the front door, the nice man walked out with another customer. He smiled and I handed him the keys and pointed to the truck. Then I plopped myself at the end of their counter where there was a bar stool. I got out my pad of paper, my iPhone and my iPad and started reading my book. The guy gave me a thumbs-up when he came in. It was very nice and it took about 1 1/2 hours, which we knew. After I paid, I wrote on my pad is there anything I need to know about the new thing. He wrote did I want him to show me how it works? Yes, thanks. Back at home, Kevin was very pleased with it and started loading up totes for the “warehouse” – what he called the back of the truck. 🙂

We like to look around the area, wherever we are. So many things to see and discover. We decided to try Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Needles. Inside there is a lot of memorabilia about Route 66. We ordered our Diet Pepsi drinks and then another lady, Kim, came over. She saw us signing American Sign Language and asked if we are deaf. We told her I am. She said she is hard of hearing, 40%, has hearing aids but doesn’t use/like them because it makes everything too loud. Her parents and siblings all have hearing loss. We connected right away. She was interested in us and we in her. Soon she took our order, haha, and then brought back her 8 year old girl, Minnie. She is a firecracker and full of life! She asked a ton of great questions. She asked me to teach her everything in ASL. HAHA I told her to give me 3 words and I would teach her the signs. She wanted Minnie Mouse, wheel, and I can’t remember the last one. After visiting for awhile, Kim said they needed to go and let us eat our food. I signed the whole time I am talking. I signed and said to Minnie that it was very nice to meet her. She said, with a dramatic brush of the hands as she pointed to my hands, “Oh, you don’t need to do that stuff…I can hear you!” Kevin, Kim, and I about fell over laughing so hard. As we left, Kim gave us big hugs and was so happy to meet us. We told her we would be back. As we left, Kevin told her “Don’t settle” on hearing aid settings. Go back, get it adjusted. It is a great speech he gives a lot of people with hearing aids and I think it is wonderful. I told Kevin in the car, “Well, there is our community.” We found out later that they have a YouTube channel. You can check it out here: RealTruthTalk

Baseball Tournament in Overton, NV

One Saturday, we got up at 5:45 AM and started driving the car to Overton, NV (2- 1/2 hours away). We went to watch our friend, Bryce, a senior in high school, play a baseball tournament. We have attending a lot of his baseball games over the years. We stopped at Searchlight, NV for drive-through breakfast at McDonalds. We had quite a shock because the total was $20. Two breakfast burritos, two egg biscuits, and two drinks. Where we used to live, that would be a dollar per burrito and drink and about two for each biscuit. He double checked at the window and the order was right. The receipt showed the biscuits were 2@$10.98, the burritos were 2@about $6. My goodness! We wondered if all the McDonalds have jumped in price. Kevin said he would put his brother, who likes McDonalds and lives in the Mid-West, on a search-and-learn mission. HAHA Bryce’s team played two games, one at 9:00 and one at 11:00.  They lost the first one and won the second. He is always a joy to watch. He has a great attitude and encourages his teammates. The weather was perfect, sunny, slight breeze every once in a while but not cold. After the games, we decided to go home the back roads and it was great. We went south out of Overton past the east entrance to Valley of Fire, which we went to last year. The road is a great, paved, two lane road. At times we could see Lake Mead. The landscape would be flat and then climb through a canyon. At one point there are some red rocks, like Valley of Fire. A lot of people where parked there. In front of us, there came a pack of people on bicycles. They were going 40 mph. We passed them and then came around a corner where the traffic was completely stopped. We could see flashing lights way ahead of us. Thankfully, we only had to sit for 5 minutes and then the traffic started up again.  We never saw what the problem was. The road ended up on the east side of Las Vegas Valley, at Henderson. I didn’t want to cook that evening, so we went to Wagon Wheel. They were very full but there was an empty table. Kevin had the western burger and really liked it. I had the roast beef skillet and let me say, it tasted as good as mine! Crockpot roast beef, shredded, in gravy, over mashed potatoes. Back home, we sat outside and read our books…in February! LOVE this weather. 🙂

Desert Sunset from Desert View RV in Needles, CA

We leave you with this beautiful sunset. Or…maybe we will make you hungry –

Kevin Cooking On Our Blackstone Griddle

🙂

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