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. 🙂
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.
There is plenty of room between Kevin’s chair and the sewing area.
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. 🙂
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! 🙂
Sewing outside in just an incredible feeling. Doing what ya love in such a beautiful setting. Thankfully no bugs! 🙂
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.
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.)
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.)
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.
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.
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….
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.
(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.
(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.
(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!
(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.
(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. 🙂
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! 🙂
(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.
(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 stands for National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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).
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! 🙂
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
Here is the finished Yard Flag:
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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. 🙂
We leave you with this beautiful sunset. Or…maybe we will make you hungry –
Life-Changing – Should We Do It? As indicated by previous blog posts, we tend to enjoy traveling. It is the one of the big things that brings us enjoyment in life. With the work-from-home option from the Covid pandemic, and the improvement in mobile internet, it went from a dream to a real possibility. With that, there comes a lot of questions. Would we live in our travel trailer full time, with no “home base”? What does a home base look like? We looked into buying bare land and basically putting a garage on it. We looked into full scale RV resorts with park models (small mobile homes). The HOA fees were CRAZY EXPENSIVE! They would be great if you wanted to be in group activities all the time, but we knew we would be away traveling so much and not take advantage of enough of the amenities to make it worth it. Plus, in almost all of the resorts, you do not own the land, you just own the park model (trailer) on the land.
We are members of Escapees RV club, and they put out a very nice magazine. In the back of the magazine there was a two line advertisement for RV homes in Arizona. I was intrigued. It is a complete neighborhood of 2-3 bedroom homes with HUGE RV garages! The subdivision is in Fort Mohave AZ. We went down to look at it, and check out the area, and pretty much fell in love. It would be a nice home base to come back to and regroup, repair, and relax so we could get back out and travel again.
The lots were selling fast! We put a deposit down on the lot, and went back home to think about it. We no longer needed a 5 bedroom, 3 bath house. We had no real ties to where we were, so we decided to move on.
I think, for Charla and I, we think, ponder, and pray for a long time. When it is time to pull the trigger, things happened fast! All in the process of two weeks, we finalized the purchase of the new home base, rented a 10×20 ft temperature controlled storage unit, (it gets super hot in the summer in Fort Mohave) changed jobs, and put our house on the market!
Since we are having a house built in Fort Mohave, we thought it would be nice to be within several hours to where the house is being built. We found a nice campground in Needles called Desert View. We took HOWE (our travel trailer, Home On WhEels) down to Needles, California to the campground. We then returned, and got ready for next steps.
Our house sold very quickly. We knew it would. We packed up a U-Haul and headed south! The builder of our home base is very meticulous. Also, we are number 17 on the list for houses being built. We realized it would take quite a while. In the meantime, I am settling into my new job, trailer life, and our new adventure! Plus, so much in the surrounding area to explore.
Our FULL-TIME TRAVELING ADVENTURE started February 9, 2022. We have so many stories to share with you. We hope you continue to read and “ride along” with us. Thank you.
33rd trip – days 157-159, Nov 5-7, 2021 Snow Canyon State Park, UT
Friday 11/05/21 For several reasons, this day took longer than most. Of course it starts at the local Maverick gas station for gas, drinks, and ice. Since HOWE (our travel trailer’s name, short for Home On WhEels) is at the storage spot in St George (4 hours south), where it is nice and warm, we need to take a cooler. Once we get to HOWE and the fridge is cold, we can transfer the items. As we passed Rowley’s Red Barn, in Santaquin, UT, we decided we should stop. I grew up with Rowley’s as neighbors and in school. They had fresh apple cider donuts and I just had to have a box. We also got fresh apple cider and some apples. The “barn”-store has ice cream, candy, boxes of meat, all sorts of breads made in that town as well as a variety of salsas, spreads, you name it, all made locally. We like to support things made and grown locally. Down the road we went, eating our just-out-of-the-oven warm donuts. At Cedar City, we saw the remains of a van that had rolled off the side of the road. The emergency responders were there working. Usually when you pass a wreck the speeds will pick up. But they didn’t. We moved a few yards, slowly, and then came to a complete stop. So stopped, that I turned off the engine. 35 minutes. I even saw people walking around the center median looking ahead. Finally we got moving again. We saw the police standing by a barricade that stops people from going into a construction site on a bridge. On the tow truck was a pickup that was completely smashed, who obviously hit the barricade. We aren’t sure someone could survive after what the pickup looked like. We finally got to St George and HOWE. Then, the jack wouldn’t raise because the batteries are dead. Why? We don’t know. Kevin got on the ground and checked the fuse; it was good. Thankfully Kevin was able to charge it from the truck. Standing there watching him, I felt this red-hot stab of pain on my left hip. Oh, that was weird. It didn’t take long at all to get the jack going and get all hooked up. As I was getting into the truck I felt a red-hot stab of pain at the top of my right leg. Ouch. That was weird. As we were driving, I felt the pain still on the left hip and right leg. Soon I felt the red-hot stab of pain on my left shin. I pulled up my pant legs and there was this huge black ant! I squashed it immediately. I was surprised how big it was. I started squashing movements all around my body! When we got to Snow Canyon State Park and our campsite, I went in and checked and yes, there were bite marks! Ugh. We thought it was strange that Kevin didn’t feel any since he had laid on the ground. Kevin decided he wanted pizza so we drove down the canyon to the city (only a few miles). We drove to a pizza place we had been to before with our friends, Bryce and Heather. So sad, it was out of business. It was #1 on Trip Advisor. Probably couldn’t hold on through Covid, but not sure. Okay, looked up #2, drove some miles to that place and nope it was closed. Remodeling, the sign said. Looked up #3, drove around the city and this place was so packed, we couldn’t even find street parking for more than 6 blocks.We are sure it would have taken forever to get in. Keep going. The next place we found, around the city, was Pier 49 Pizza. There wasn’t a wait and the dining room was empty. Yes! We had the Dinner for 2 which included Cheese bread, our pizza of 1/2 bbq chicken and 1/2 combo, and then a dessert pizza. Very good. Not our favorite pizza but it was good for tonight. 🙂 We made many circle 8s around the town. 🙂 Back at HOWE, we sat outside and watched the stars. Too bad a large motorhome next to us kept their bright outside light on all night. It made a difference in how we could see the night sky. As Kevin went to bed…he said he had several ant bites!
Saturday 11/06/21 We skipped the lemon poppy seed muffins I made, :), and had more apple cider donuts with apple cider for breakfast. Snow Canyon State Park had a 1/2 marathon this morning. The runners start at the top and go down the canyon, which is good because it is pretty steep. We walked out to the road and saw a lady there cheering everyone on. A guy had a sign “You can do it” and was cheering. I was so impressed with the lady, she is older and a little humped over with arthritic hands. But boy, she was so encouraging to each and every person passing by (1500 people did the full length). Kevin and I cheered, clapped and did thumbs up. Kevin signed to me that the lady is the campground hostess. Pretty soon she camp over and started signing American Sign Language! Her name is Nancy, she signed. She had a friend who was deaf so she became interested and learned ASL. She went on to Rochester School of the Deaf in New York! She even taught ASL and became an interpreter. I was so happy and excited to be able to communicate with someone in my new language. She signed beautifully and I was able to understand it all. Made my day, week, month! After the race, we set up our camp chairs in the large grassy area with huge trees. It is a place for anyone who is in the canyon to sit, eat, and relax (not just campers). It was fun to watch people: trailers pulling in and waiting until check in time, bikers stopping for a bathroom break and fresh water, families who are camping here passing by us as they go on a hike (over 30 people all in a line!), and we saw 2 couples on dates who brought up picnic baskets. No matter which direction we look, we see the awesome views of the red rocks so close. Soon, Kevin was taking a nap after reading his book for awhile. We were there so long, we had to keep moving our chairs to be in the shade. 🙂 Oh, for lunch, I heated up pulled pork shoulder that I had cooked at home. I had shredded it and sealed it with my Food Saver. So in HOWE, all I had to do was heat it up. I served it on hoagie buns. I took our lunch outside and we ate right where we were sitting.
In the afternoon, we decided to go on a hike. We drove down to Johnson’s Canyon trailhead and walked. It took us to a very unique place. A very narrow canyon with big trees with green leaves and willow trees. This is something you don’t normally see around here. But alas, it is because there is a little spring of water and it made green things grow. What a sight to see – the straight up red rocks with green down in the bottom. Gorgeous. The hike was very easy and we are glad we took it. When we got back to the truck, Kevin said we needed to get antifreeze for the pipes. I suggested, strongly!, some sort of ant replant, as we don’t want them in HOWE and obvious got them at the storage spot. We went to our favorite Ace Hardware (I wrote about it when we were in this area before). It has a large fabric section – bigger than a lot of fabric stores! Plus, it even has a Post Office in it. HAHA Kevin sent me to look at fabric while he got supplies. After that, we decided to find a place to eat. Hopefully not the double-8’s around the city like last night! HAHA We found a sports bar and went it. We we able to watch the Jazz play and the mushroom burger Kevin had was one of the best, he said. I had a California club sandwich and it was yummy. My favorite was the seasoned fries (tasted like Red Robin) and fry sauce. We will definitely come back here again. Back at HOWE, Kevin sat outside for a bit. I came inside and organized my Paprika App on my laptop. Soon, off to dreamland.
Sunday, 1107/21 Breakfast was the last of the apple cider donuts and some juice. We did another walk-about this morning. This is our 2nd time camping here and is a favorite place. We like the sites with hook-ups and they have a dump station. The scenery all around is breathtaking. Checkout is at 2:00 and we plan to stay until then. We will drop off HOWE at the storage spot and then plan to stop at Mexican Restaurant in Beaver. This is getting to be a tradition or habit. HAHA
NEXT BLOG POST: it will be trip #32, which we skipped here. We have some VERY EXCITING CHANGES to tell you about. 🙂
31st trip – days 151-153, Oct 7-10, 2021 Mountain Valley RV Resort, Heber, UT
On Tuesday, Kevin took the gas tanks to ACE Hardware to be filled and topped off. Then he put them back on HOWE (the name for our trailer, Home On WhEels). Thursday he texted me while I was at work and told me when he hooked the tanks up, it must have flipped a breaker because the power was off and the refrigerator was off. I wasn’t upset or mad at all; I was thankful he found it when he did and that it didn’t happen while we were traveling. No worries, he threw out the food we had in there and I went to the grocery store and restocked.
Thursday 10/07/21 The drive up Provo Canyon was stunning. The leaves at the top of the mountains have burst out with color. Provo Peak, at 11,068 elevation, is full of all the Autumn colors. Along the Provo River, the colors are bright yellow and green. Add a little sunshine shining on the leaves and it looks like the sun shines right through them. We are in a different part of the RV park this time but it is very nice. A pool, tennis courts, bathhouse, and fire pit is behind us. As we pulled into our pull-through site, 3 little girls rode up on bikes and asked Kevin, “Do you have any kids with you?” Kevin said, “No.” Girl says “Well, do you have any grandkids with you?” Kevin said they had the sweetest voices and they must checkout all “Incoming” to see if they have new playmates. It was darling. For supper I fixed chili dogs. After eating, we went out and sat by the communal fire pit. The gas fire has the flames so high and jumping around. We were the only ones around it and it was so relaxing just to stare at the flames.
Friday 10/08/21 While Kevin worked (in the office at home), I worked on our blog and pictures. I am so very behind on the pictures. I have a gorgeous view out the windows – a bright red leaved tree, yellow and green leaved trees behind that and a mountain covered with small trees and bushes that are full of all the Autumn colors. Sometimes I just look out and soak in the beauty around us. Later it started raining. It may be weird, but I like taking pictures of windows with rain on them with something neat in the background. We had thought we would go swimming in the adults-only heated hot tub and pool but it was too rainy and was in the low 50’s down in the 40’s. For lunch we had soup and sandwiches. It is cold outside but we are toasty warm in HOWE. We watched some movies on our laptops and then for supper I fixed New York steak and rice. The steak was so tender and perfectly delicious. Since it was raining and cold, we didn’t cook outside. I just cooked the steaks in my big pot with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Yum!!!
Saturday 10/09/21 Still raining and cool outside. We had invited some friends to come up for a camping dinner and was planning on making Smash Burgers outside. We had texted during the week that if it was too cold, we could just go to a restaurant in the area. This morning we texted and all decided to get together in the next week or so. We completely understand. For breakfast I made pancakes. It was the first time we didn’t make them outside on the Black Stone griddle. I just made them on the stove in a skillet. That worked perfectly. After breakfast, we drove around. We thought to drive Hwy 40 out to Vernal, 99 miles away, but then we saw online that it is snowing along the mountain passes so we decided to just drive through Heber. We took Lake Creek Rd and I tell you, the leaves were so beautiful. We saw the tallest pine trees along side brilliant yellows, deep red, burnt orange, and green leaved trees. We got to 9000 ft elevation. 6 miles and you end up at a National Forest. It was snowing by then. What a drive! As we got back down to town, it started hailing and raining hard. We made a quick stop to Maverik (convenient gas station) for soda pops and then back to HOWE. The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing with Kevin taking a nap and I worked on photography. For dinner, I made pork chops and stuffing. It continued to rain off and on all afternoon. But after dinner, it was a balmy 42 degrees, no wind, no rain. 🙂 So we decided to try to adults-only heated pool and hot tub. The pool was fine but I quickly got out and went to the hot tub. Awww, perfect. There was some fog rolling on the top of the water. There were several couples who came and we ended up having great conversations with them. One couple has been living full-time in their RV for one year. I asked her if she had any surprises or regrets. She said only that she missed her hot tub at the house they sold and the doggie door. HAHA They are from Tennesse but love it out here. They are going to spend the winter at Las Vegas military campground. She finger spelled her name: Terri. So sweet. Another couple, full-time RVers are from Sandy, UT. They are here at this campground for a month and then going to Southern Utah RV Resort, where we will be. They even asked our site number so we can meet up! I love this life! We left the hot tub after 2 hours! HAHA I think Kevin’s hands must have been tired from all the signing he did for me since I am deaf.
Sunday 10/10/21 We both slept in until 9:20. The sun is out, right now, and we can see the snow on the mountains here. I fixed hash browns and eggs for breakfast. Check out time here is noon so we will hang out until right before that time to leave. 🙂
30th trip – days 148-150, Oct 1-3, 2021 Lava Campground site 26
Friday 10/01/21 I was a bit concerned as I looked at the weather forecast for Lava Hot Springs, ID this week. It is forecasted to be down to 29 degrees. HOWE (our travel trailer, Home On WhEels) can easily handle it but I just don’t like the cold. HAHA It turns out, I didn’t need to be concerned at all. Read on to learn more. 🙂 The drive to Lava Hot Springs, ID gave us a lot of views of beautiful Autumn leaves along the way. The Rocky Mountains around us have patches of deep red, flaming orange, and brilliant bright yellows. This seems to be the peak of the colors this year and we are thrilled. Kevin has never been to Lava Hot Springs and I was only there once during high school. The area around “Lava” is mountains but looks like big hills to us. There is a river along the road that is moving pretty fast. Lava has a population of 407 but we know there are way more visitors here than people living here. We see at least 5 campgrounds around the area.
This morning we got a call from Lava Campground saying they had accidentally put someone in our spot and would we mind going to another site. Of course, we didn’t mind and we didn’t want someone to have to pick up camp and move. It turns out we like our “new” spot. We back up literally to the steep mountain behind us. I jumped out of the truck and started snapping pictures of the red and orange leaved trees 10 feet behind HOWE. The other site was along tiny creek and had a good view but we lucked out. Supper was cold chicken strips with macaroni and potatoes salads from the grocery store. (I haven’t been well lately and didn’t have the energy to cook anything to prepare for this trip.)
Saturday 10/02/21 We woke up and headed to the hot springs at 9:00 am when they opened. The temperature outside was 39 degrees. The mineral springs are very unique in that they don’t have a sulfur smell. Good! There are 5 mineral pools, all heated naturally. The coolest one is approximately 102-105 degrees. The hottest one is approximately 112 degrees. The water felt wonderful. It is so clear you can see the bottom of the pools: some have stone that looks like flagstone and others have tiny gravel-like rocks. We hung out mostly in the “cooler” pool for 2 hours. It wasn’t busy at all and had only about 2-4 people in each pool.We got out and drove the few miles back to HOWE where we changed. Kevin had seen on YouTube videos that the place to eat in Lava is Chuckwagon. We were hungry, as neither of us had eaten breakfast. We got there at 11:15 and there was a wait. The hostess had us go to a “waiting room” which looked to be an overflow room with table and chairs. They had a nice video running on the TV of the history of the area. We liked that. 15 minutes later we were seated. This place is a mom and pop sort of place. We ordered our food and kid you not, waited more than 50 minutes to get our food. As I watched, I saw the cooks must have been short staffed because they had 15 tickets on the roundy-thing all the time. Once we got our food, it was disappointing. My favorite food in the world is mashed potatoes and these weren’t good at all…they were mushy like baby food. I couldn’t even eat them. Finally got out of there at 1:00 pm. We did what we enjoy doing: driving around town. The houses and yards look pretty well kept, for the most part. The area is so pretty with pops of Autumn colors all around. For being October, there were still some patchy green grasses in the non-watered pastures and fields.
There is a highway that passes our campground and Kevin was curious about where it goes because most of the traffic is semi trucks with either cattle haulers or refers. We drove the road, US Hwy 30 to Soda Springs, ID. The land is covered with farms from Lava Hot Springs to Soda Springs, with one mountain top (6000 ft) in between. The flat farm land goes on for miles until you see a hill/mountain. Most of the crops have been harvested already but we saw potatoes being harvested today. We also saw new growth of fall plantings. We immediately said we want to come back to this area and explore more. Soda Springs has a huge Phosphorus plant. We first thought it was a huge power plant. The name on the sign is Bayer with the same logo as the company that makes aspirin. We saw an enormous “hill” that turned out to be tailings. 🙂 Also several leech fields. We want to learn more about this place.
In all our travels, I always think it would be neat to find a roadside veggie/fruit stand and stop and get some. We hadn’t done this before but this time we saw an old pick up truck in a field that advertised onions potatoes and corn. We drove there and what a find! 50# of potatoes for $12; 50# onions for $20, ears of corn, I don’t know how much, and a canning jar of “Grandma’s Corn Salsa” for $9 that I just had to have.
Back to HOWE, we changed into our swimming suits and went back to Lava Hot Springs to soak in the mineral pools. I wanted to see it in the evening as the sun went down. There were a ton of people! We barely found a spot on the side of a pool to sit on. The sun on the surrounding trees and rocks were pretty in the “golden hour” right before the sun went down. Kevin got to visiting with a guy next to us who drives a Ram pickup with a trailer and he hauls “exotic” animals. One example is he was paid to haul a bull bison from a breeding farm in Montana down to this area. Then he let it go so that the payer could go hunting. Just the cost to haul it was $10,000! After enjoying the evening, we went back to HOWE. For supper we had chips and the Corn Salsa we bought today. It was really good and I hope I can find a recipe to match it.
Sunday 10/03/21 We woke up slowly.On the way home, we stopped in Tremonton at our favorite diner, JC’s Country Diner. We were seating in the part of the old building that is like a sun porch or green house cover. We like it because we are right next to birds, trees, and rose bushes right next to the windows. We had the Chicken Fried Steak dinner, which still is the best ever, in our opinions.
In case you are keeping track of how many trips and days we have camped, you will notice I didn’t post trip 29. It was a family reunion where people came from out of state. We met at Zion National Park for a long weekend. Suffice it to say, there was more food than we could eat, evening stories by the fire, drives and some hiking in Zion National Park and a visit to Matt’s Offroad Recovery shop. It was a wonderful time.