Visiting friends

Tanks full!!

The next day we made our way to the Missoula area.  I needed a place to dump my tanks and decided to spend the night in an RV park.  After being out with no hookups for the last 10 days, I wanted to take a good shower and not have to worry about water usage.

I drove through Missoula, MT and then on to Victor, MT and was surprised there were not too many campgrounds.  My friend Steve had suggested the Black Rabbit RV Park in Hamilton, MT just south of Victor.  So Black Rabbit it was.  Thanks Steve for a great suggestion.

The lady at the desk only had one campsite left so I was very lucky.  The longer shower was sure nice and I was able to clean up my rig from all the dust I accumulated.  After all I had been down a bunch of dusty washboard dirt roads going from campsite to campsite.

Great friends at Crooked Tree Ranch

The next day I got up and headed to my friends ranch outside of Victor, MT.  They had given me directions to take to get there and then said to call them once I hit the dirt road.  I called and Diane said they would be down shortly on one of their quads and escort me to their place.  Tad came down and led me to their place.  I would never have been able to find it on my own.

They are way up in the Bitterroot Mountains, where they have built the Crooked Tree Ranch over many years.  They used to come up there on their vacations from work and live in a trailer.  Their property is heavily populated with trees and it took them many summers just to clear them before they could start building.

This is the entrance to their ranch and you can see the Bitterroot Valley far below.


Their trailer reminded them of all the hard work they put in and had it enclosed in a log cabin.  How cool is that?


They had both 30 amp and 50 amp hookups with a dump station and water for their RV visitors like myself.  Here is where I was camped for two nights.


Driving quads – What a blast!!

The first day I was there they got out the quads.  They were 4WD and could go anywhere.  This was my first experience driving a quad.  I am hooked for life.  These things are a blast.  You can go anywhere in them.  At first we stayed on the dirt road until I got used to driving it.   We made this stop at the Bear Creek Trailhead.  What a gorgeous view of the creek.


We stopped at one of their neighbors homes built right on a creek.


Here is a pic of my gracious hosts, Tad and Diane in front of their neighbor’s home.  Those were the quads we drove over there on.


Here is another pic of a different portion of the creek.


Then we drove home through many really neat forest trails.  Later in the evening, after dinner, Tad and I took went for another ride through more steep terrain and found some bones.  I didn’t really run over them. HA!


Then we drove over to a lookout where another neighbor had built a home.  The scenery around here is breathtaking.




Here is a pic of Tad under the neighbor’s outdoor shower.


What a wonderful day!  Then back to their home where we got out the wine and enjoyed some great conversations and star gazing.  

Cabin City, MT

Taking my friends suggestions

After staying a couple of days at the North Shore campground outside of Trout Creek, MT, I continued my trek south to a USFS campground just a few miles north of Saint Regis, MT.  My friends Linda and Carole, who were part of the caravan through Canada, I stopped here and highly recommended it. Thanks Linda and Carole for the great suggestion!

I get a lot of recommendations from many people suggesting, “I stop at different places” or “don’t forget to see this”.  Of course I can’t fit everything into my schedule, but I do try to check as many out as I can.

Although Saint Regis was a bit out of my way I thought I would check it out anyway.  Just 11 miles north of Saint Regis is a very small town called Cabin City where I found a wonderful campground.  They have two loops and I found a nice spot in Loop B.  There was no electricity or dump station, but they did have water.

I found this campsite, which had lots of room and settled in.


They had a new camp host who was a gold miner and we had several good conversations about finding gold and camp hosting.  He was really a great guy.  Just in front of where I had the Sami parked was a dirt road that led into the forest.  However it was closed, so couldn’t drive down it.  But Chica and I took a nice long hike down it to see what was there.


We found a beautiful patch of flowers.



All around the campsite were trails that led off into the forest.  It was very dense up there and since we were in bear country I decided that it would not be a good idea to have Chica as bear bait so we stayed close to our camp.



Bear in camp

The first night in our camp the host came by to warn us that a bear had come into someone’s camp in the other loop and ransacked their food.  The lady was camping in a tent and was able to scare the bear off, but not after it had destroyed most of her food.

This was a case where a camper was too complacent about keeping their food in a vehicle.  The host told me that she had all her food out on the table and it was easy pickins’ for the bear.  DUH!! Not too smart.  When up in bear country you need to take precautions and not invite the bear into your camp for a meal.  Oh well, live and learn.  At least no one was injured.

I did not hear anymore about the bear the next day and two days later we will make our way toward Missoula, MT and then Victor, MT for a couple of days with my friends at their ranch.

Northwest Lazy Daze GTG

Baker City, OR

We made it to the small town of Baker City, OR for the Northwest Lazy Daze GTG.  It was great fun and I met a lot of new friends there as well as seeing some old friends as well.  The weather when we arrived was windy but the second day day was great.

Here is a pic of an entire row of LD’s that were parked at the Mt. View RV Park.  It was really cool seeing so many LD’s all lined up.


Meetings and potlucks

We had our meetings and potlucks here.  The group also supplied breakfast.  What a deal!


Here is their General Store/Office.


Some of us were working

John received a new turret for his satellite TV.  I helped him replace it as he has done so many things for me over the years.  We got it all hooked up and he fired it up and it still would not work correctly.  What a bummer!!!  They are going to send him a new unit once he gets home to Colorado.


Learning Genealogy

Donna was teaching the fine points of genealogy.  I have done some work on but was not very good at it.  She gave all her students a packet with lots of great ideas on how to create your family tree.


There was also a GTG with Pete Reed for all those that were going on the Canada trip.  We all went through our Itinerary together and everyone had a lot of questions.  We are all very excited for the trip to begin.

Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

A few of us went up to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center outside of Baker City.  It was a very fascinating place and very informative.  Here are a couple of pics from the center.





Thank you Northwest Lazy Daze

I want to thank everyone in the Northwest Lazy Daze group.  I had a wonderful time and met many new faces as well as some I had met previously.  It was a great time.  I apologize for posting this so late, but the Internet service since then has been really lousy.

Taos Sightseeing

Taos Pueblo

I awoke to dark skies and the threat of rain.  However the sun would break through now and then so since I was leaving tomorrow I thought it best to get out and see what I could.

My first stop was the Taos Pueblo north of town.  It is considered to be the oldest continually inhabited community in the US. Some of the structures are over 1000 years old, but they are re-plastered with adobe annually because of exposure to the climate.    There were spots in the pueblo where you were not allowed.  This is the Hlaauma or North House that is 1000 years old.


There were many small shops located here and there where you could purchase Indian jewelry, blankets, artwork as well as bread and cookies.  This is a few pics of the San Geronimo Church built in 1850 and is now  a Registered National Historic Landmark.




They offered a free walking tour of the Pueblo which started at 1:00, but it started to rain so decided against it.

Kit Carson Home and Museum

I drove from the Taos Pueblo to the Kit Carson home and Museum.  He lived in the home with his wife and children for over 25 years.  Admission price for seniors was only $4 and it was well worth it.  They gave a talk on how Kit Carson had settled in Taos and then there was a 20 minute video that was very interesting.  His home was rather small with only four rooms.  The shotgun (top rifle) in this next pic was one he was known to use.


This room was the family bedroom.  All the rooms had fireplaces in them to keep the place warm during the winter.


This is the kitchen.


This last room was the parlor and possibly used by overnight guests.


I really enjoyed the home and museum with all the many pictures of Kit Carson and his family.

Lots of shops and galleries

Once you are in the downtown area you can wander all over and visit the many shops and art galleries as well as really nice restaurants and coffee shops.  This shop had all kinds of western boots on display.


I saw this wooden Indian standing outside another shop.


Some of the shops had beautiful murals on their walls.



Springtime was also showing up in many places.



Started pouring rain…

The weather took a turn for the worse and the rain started coming down in buckets.  I ducked into a coffee shop and took a break until the rain stopped.

Here are some other fascinating pics I got from several spots in town.






I have really enjoyed my stay here and would highly recommend it to others.  There is lots to see and many more things to do.

Met up with old friends…

Bruce and Jan from J and B and Lady Blue fame wrote me an email and mentioned they might be coming to Taos from Chama, NM.  They showed up late Sunday and we got together for wine and cookies this past evening.  I first met them in Quartzsite this past January.  It sure was fun seeing them again and talking about what we had been doing since we departed Quartzsite.

They have just started blogging about their travels so I hope you can hop over there to check them out.

Weather conditions improving (I hope)…

I have been closely watching the weather since there are so many storms in the area.  It is supposed to be clear tomorrow so I will be leaving Taos and heading into Colorado to the Great Sand Dunes National Monument.  It will be a short drive of only 124 miles so I should get there rather quickly.  I plan on spending a few days there checking out the sand dunes.

Basking in the sun in Quartzsite

Before I left Bullhead City, I helped Willie a little with his bike and he helped me a LOT with my side step on the driver’s side.  Here is a pic of his bike.


This is a great pic of Blaze, Willie’s Gordon Setter.  Blaze is a great dog and very affectionate.


I arrived in Quartzsite late Monday afternoon and found my friends just off 532 in the La Posa West camping area.  Prior to arriving I made sure my propane tank was filled as well as my fresh water tank.  Then I dumped my grey and black tanks and headed to the site known as Roger’s 1/2 Acre.


I spent Tuesday working at getting things organized and catching up with all that my friends and I have been doing since I last saw them last year at this time.  There were five rigs including myself on Tuesday morning but it has now jumped up to seven rigs already.  It is sure fun seeing everyone again.  This is a pic of all of us getting caught up with each other.


That evening we all got together and John and Linda supplied the pulled pork and buns and everyone chipped in a dish or two.  It was a great meal.

Here is a small pic of my rig in one of my favorite places.


Wednesday a few of us walked into town to check out the flea markets.


On the way we passed the spot where they will put up the big tent for the RV show.  They were just starting to lay it out and get it ready.


Not too much going on in town yet.  Frank drove me around to pick up the Quartzsite White Sheet to check out ads for cars for sale, but no luck so far.

Then we all got together again for dinner and Roger cooked his famous Tri-tip and everyone added a dish and all was well.  Here we are gathered just before dinner.


Even Buddy wanted to get a piece of the action.


It was a great day.  We were joined by Jim and Terry from Beaumont, CA.  We even were treated to a beautiful sunset.


Stay tuned for more Quartzsite adventures.




Life in Fernley

I must apologize for being so long between posts.  After 10 hours on the job at Amazon I don’t really feel much like doing anything except relax.  As I mentioned I walk between 8-10 miles per day and the body has lots of aches, pains and bruises.  However I will try to post more often.

I mentioned that I was in the process of purchasing a nice Geo Tracker.  The seller called me and mentioned that his wife had changed her mind and wanted to keep it instead.  This was after he had told me that they never use it.  I think what happened is that he found a buyer that would offer him more.  Anyway I think I will wait until after the first of the year when I am in Quartzsite.  Then I will have all my friends there who know all about tow bars and can help me install one if it is needed.

Work has been going well and I have completed four weeks with only six to go.  We are still only working 40 hours per week (four days at 10 hours per day).  However I got my overtime schedule and my overtime day is Tuesday.  We probably won’t have overtime until black Friday.  Then it might even go up to five 11 hour days.

I have rekindled many friendships with people who worked here last year.  It is nice talking with them about what they did and where they went and what they have planned next year.  I have also met many people for the first time this year.  My friend Les from Quartzsite is working this year for the first time.

My neighbor Steve and I went up to the local casino for a couple beers and play the slot machines.  So far I am $2.96 ahead in winnings.  HAH, big deal.  I am not much of a gambler especially when I think what I have to do to earn that money.

I am getting all my medical needs looked after.  I have gone to the same Dr the last two years and he fills my prescriptions for a year at a time.  I am very happy with the care they are giving me.  I had to go to a specialist in Reno for followup.  It is about a 30 mile drive and very pleasant.

Did I tell you that the weather has turned on us here in Fernley?  Two weeks ago it was a pleasant 74 and we were sitting outside on our days off.  Not anymore. The weather in the mornings is about 19-22 and it only gets up to the mid 50’s.  We even had a bit of snow one day although it didn’t stay on the ground very long.

I have been looking for a new TV since I wore out the HDMI cable connection in the back from hooking and unhooking it to watch movies.  I started checking out the different TVs and found what they call a Smart TV made by Samsung.  With it I can hook up directly to my Amazon Prime account so I can watch their free movies.  I can buy movies too, but since there are so many good ones that are free I don’t need to spend the money.  It is also much bigger then my older TV and the football games look great.

Enough said for now as today is my laundry day and I need to check the availability of the washers/dryers.


Working at Amazon

On 10/17 I started my first day at Amazon.  Work started at 6:30am (OUCH) and there was orientation and training all day.  Last year the first week on the job consisted of 4 eight hour days.  This year they started us right off with 4 ten hour days.

I also received my work assignment.  Last year I was a packer and this year I am a picker.  I walk around with a scanner in hand and pick the items from bins that then go to the packers.  We were told that pickers walk an average of 8-10 miles per day, but I am happy with that job.  I don’t have to stand in one place all day, but move all around the fulfillment center.

My work days are Wednesday through Saturday and I get Sunday through Tuesday off.  I just finished my second week here and believe me I am really happy to get those three days off.  It gives your body a chance to recover, especially your hands.

I had some excitement over this past weekend.  As you probably know I decided to work this past summer and winter to save up for a small vehicle.  I would then have more freedom of movement while camped at different places rather then unhook my rig each time I had to go to the store.  I have been following craigslist for some time trying to get an idea what was available on the market and what it would cost.

I saw a Geo Tracker listed in Fernley, NV (how ironic) which looked really nice and was pretty much what I was looking for, however he wanted more then I thought I could afford ($4,300).  What was really ironic was that I saw it parked at the entrance to the Desert Rose RV Park where I am staying while I work at Amazon.  In fact I could look out my window and see it from my rig.  A few days later the price had come down to $3,900.  I decided to take a look at it up close.  I really liked what I saw as the owner had put a new convertible top, dash cover, seat covers and added a new tow bar.  I again looked in craigslist and the price had been reduced to $3,800 so I knew the owner really wanted to get rid of it.  I then called him up and offered $3,500 and he accepted.  I met him at the car and took it for a test drive and it ran really well so I gave him a check to hold the car until I got the remaining money from my investment account.  I am very excited and wish it could happen right now.  This is a pic of the car.  It is very clean inside and out and I can tell it has been taken very good care of.

I called my investment adviser on Monday to have them sell some shares in my account so I could pay him the balance.  However the Stock Markets are closed both Monday and Tuesday due to Hurricane Sandy so I won’t be able to get the car until next Monday when the money will be in my account.

Getting back to working at Amazon, the hands get very sore from using a scanner and the feet get sore from walking so much.  I do have good shoes so my feet aren’t too bad.  I try to switch the scanner to my left hand, but I still seem to favor my right hand.  But I am getting better with my left hand.

There was a cold front that went through here and it got down into the 20’s at night, but right now the weather is great.  It is 74 high and low 30’s at night.  I have both electric and propane heaters and have finally figured out a good balance between the two.

Saturday my neighbor and friend from last year Steve and I went to a local casino and everyone was decked out in their Halloween costumes.  What a riot.  It was a great time.  If you drink at the bar the drinks don’t cost anything (except for a tip) if you tell them you are gambling.  I had two Corona’s and only put $6 in the slot machine.  It was a really fun time.

Tomorrow starts my third week on the job with eight more to go.  Actually the time is going by pretty fast.  Before long I will be with all my friends at Quartzsite, AZ.

Heading to Amazon

I sure missed the Balloon Fiesta this year!

I just got off the phone with my friends at the Balloon Fiesta.  Unfortunately this year I had to skip it as I am working at Amazon and just finished my camp host job in Oregon.

Visited my friends from Amazon last year.

I stopped in La Pine to visit my friends Rick and Tina who I met at Amazon last year.  They were the folks who graciously let me ride with them to and from the Amazon plant.

A ride up Paulina Peak

Rick and I took a ride up to the top of Paulina Peak.  This was a favorite spot of his and it was very beautiful.  The last few miles were a gravel washboard road.

From the peak you could see both Paulina Lake and East Lake.  That is Paulina Lake on the left and East Lake on the right.  The entire area of both lakes is a caldera just like at Crater Lake only there is a land mass between both lakes.

This is another view of Paulina Lake.  The haze in the background was caused by the smoke form the Pole Creek fire out of Sisters, OR that has been going on for some time now.

Tina fixed a great meat loaf dinner.  I hadn’t eaten meat loaf for quite a while and it is one of my most favorite meals.  Thanks Rick and Tina for your gracious hospitality.

On my way to Fernley

I left Wednesday and Rick told me of a better way to get to Fernley and avoid passing through Reno.  It was a great ride but so typical of Nevada back roads.  It was two lanes, hardly any traffic either coming or going and only a couple of very small towns.  I was able to find a nice place to stop for the night behind a sand pile.


Home for the next few months

I wasn’t scheduled to check in to the Desert Rose RV Park until Oct. 12, but I called them to see if I could check in earlier.  That was OK so then I made the 70 mile drive into Fernley.

This is where I will be parked until Christmas when my Amazon contract is complete.

The weather is great here so far with high temps in the 70’s and lows in the high 40’s.  The first night here it rained but has been beautiful ever since.  By the way the tank next to my rig in the above pic is my 20 gal. propane tank that I will definitely need once the weather starts getting cold.

I don’t start work until Wednesday so have some time to get organized and look for a ride.  My schedule is Wednesday through Saturday with 3 days off.  Of course that could change once it gets busy.

The power of the blog

Writing about ski trips

I have been writing a blog since 2005.  It began with my ski trips, which I wanted to post for my own enjoyment and to reflect back on the many good times and great places.  Since then I have bought a Lazy Daze RV and now live and travel in it full time.  It is amazing how I forget many details of places I have visited, but having the blog allows me to return to those places and remember them as if I was there now.

Off to Quartzsite, AZ

In January, 2011 I accepted Roger Nickey’s invitation to join him at a Lazy Daze GTG in Death Valley over New Year’s holiday.  Afterwards we traveled down to Quartzsite, AZ where we camped out in the desert with many of our friends for a month.  What a wonderful time.  Lots of campfires, “Happy Hours”, potlucks and of course the RV show in the BIG TENT.  Then we also got to show off all of our purchases of RV accessories, food etc. to each other.  Lots of good times!

That’s where I met David and Mary Gardner.  They were camped right next to me and shared in all our good times.  David is quite the photographer and took many pictures of all of us.  You can see his great work on his blog Marking Our Place.  He also submitted his work to a sight called Lenscratch.  This article was picked up by two foreign blogs which featured his work.

The Russians are coming…

The first one is the Russian Esquire Online Magazine.  That is a pic of my rig “The Breeze” on the second row and second from the left.  How about that sports fans (or should I say RV fans)!  Not too shabby!
Below is the pic of David’s blog also showing the same pic.

Here is a blow-up of the same pic.

Not one but two

The second foreign publication that picked it up was Radek Burda, a Czech blogger.  This one even shows a pic of me standing outside my rig.  That was when I had a beard, which I no longer have.  It is clean shaven for me (at least once a week).

This just goes to show you the power of the blog.  This exposure did not come from my blog, but a friend who happened to be a super photographer.  Now the Czech people are probably looking at my mug and saying to themselves – Those crazy Americans living in a RV.  Why would anybody want to do that?  HA!

A visit from RVSue and the Canine Crew

Sue and the crew hit the divide

On the 25th I got a visit from RVSue and her Canine Crew.  I guided her to a site where she could have lots of sun for her solar panel and also be able to make use of my Internet connection.  I had my regular work to do during the day but once that was completed I was able to sit down and talk over a glass of wine.  I had originally met Sue at the Elephant Butte SP outside of Truth or Consequences, NM.

Lots of chit chat

We were able to talk about all our wonderful adventures on the road.  I do read Sues blog so I have an idea where she has been, but it was still fun hearing about it from Sue.  Of course the crew was there and made plenty of noise whenever I would come over to see them.  She stayed three nights and just left yesterday morning.  It was my day off and I was going into Prineville for food and especially propane (as I was almost out) so she felt it was a good time to leave.  I showed her several campsites I have camped at.  She is headed toward the coast and wanted to get there before the weather gets too cold.

Hold on Bridget – your turning into the woods

This is a pic of Bridget, one of Sue’s canine crew following the GPS and ready to make a left turn.  No Bridget not a left into the forest!  Click on the pic and you can see Bridget behind the wheel driving like a maniac.

There goes RVSue and the Canine Crew off to the coast for more exciting adventures.  Thanks Sue for stopping.  It was a fun 3 days.

It is always nice meeting fellow bloggers and friends on the road.