2nd Year on the Road

On July 12, 2012 I just completed my second year of fulltime RVing.  I can’t believe I have been on the road so long.  So once again, as I did last year, I will summarized this fantastic year with some of the highlights.

Remember you can click on any pic then click again to enlarge.

Working in Texas

To start I was in Texas and decided to work for a month to help defray costs of traveling to Texas to see my family.  What a mistake that was.  It was 106 degrees and higher the entire month I worked.  Oh well I will definitely know better next time to stay away from there during the summer.

Grand Canyon of Texas

After my work duties were over I headed to Palo Dura State Park in northwestern Texas.  It is know as the Grand Canyon of Texas and a very beautiful place.  While there I hiked the Lighthouse Trail and took this pic of myself standing on the plateau in front of the lighthouse.

Taking advantage of my NM state pass

Then it was off to New Mexico where I wanted to take advantage of the last few months of my New Mexico State Pass.  My first stop was Clayton SP.

Then on to Sugarite SP, just south of the NM/CO border.  This next pic shows Lake Dorothy just north of Sugarite SP.

My next stop was Cimmaron SP and the town of Cimmaron.

Fulfilling a boy scout dream

I also visited Philmont Scout Ranch, which had always been a dream of mine ever since I was a Boy Scout.

More of beautiful new mexico

After that it was Eagle Nest SP, Coyote Creek SP (where I saw a bear), Storie Lake SP  and then on to Villanueva SP where I got my semi-annual haircut.  Finally it was off to Hyde Memorial SP.

Then in October I met up with all my good friends at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta where I stayed and partied for 10 days.  Even had a balloon land on top of my rig.  HA!

After the Balloon Fiesta I drove south to Poncho Villa SP to enjoy a Escapees Chapter 21 Rally.  Of course that also included a trip to Palomas, Mexico where I had to have some dental work done and make sure the margaritas still tasted as good as always.

A visit to the Whitehouse

Next stop on my route was Canyon de Chelly (pronunced d’Shay).  Located on an Indian Reservation it is a beautiful place and a must see for anyone in that area of Arizona.  Of course I had to hike the Whitehouse Trail, which is so beautiful.

Monument Valley

From there it was to Monument Valley, UT.  Talk about a fabulous area, don’t miss out on seeing this.

On my way to Amazon

Then I drove north to Interstate 50.  It is known as the loneliest highway in America.  And believe me it really is.  You could drive for miles and miles and never see a car or truck in either direction.  You would not want to break down on this road.

My destination was Fernley, NV, where I worked for Amazon for 8 weeks.  By the way it was probably the hardest job I have ever had.  Thankfully the 8 weeks went by fairly fast, although it took a couple of months to get healed from the aches and pains I suffered at that job.  OUCH!!!  On top of that it was very cold as well.  Four degrees when I left there.

I then drove to Reno, NV and parked my rig and flew to SO CA to spend a week with my family over the holidays.  It was really great seeing everyone and getting caught up.  I even played some golf.  Actually I tried to play some golf.  HA!  What a joke!

Time to warm up

Then I hit the road to get out of that cold weather up north and drove down to Quartzsite, AZ.  There I met up with a whole bunch of Lazy Dazers (about 20 rigs at different times) and relaxed in the wonderful Arizona sunshine.  Of course I also saw the crazy RV show and even saw a concert by Paul Winer (the Naked Book Seller) although he was fully clothed.  Great show by the way with SRO.

With the help of all my friends I was able to upgrade my rig with new LED lighting, another 12v receptacle and an outdoor motion sensor light.

Next stop – Imperial Dam

In February I left Quartzsite and headed to Imperial Dam just outside of Yuma, AZ  I really enjoyed my stay there with more friends.  Got to do a lot of hiking in the desert.  Plus don’t forget the wild donkeys.  HA!

Heading south of the border senor!

Then it was south of the border to Mexico with the Harvest Host Wine and Whale Watching Tour.  What a fabulous trip that turned out to be.  Visited 5 wineries, with great wine tasting at each.  The wineries were located in the Valley of Gaudelope with very beautiful scenery around.  Also stopped in Ensenada for a day, where we had a great lunch down at the fish market and an opportunity to stock up on lots of great seafood.  Of course we also had to have some cervasa’s (brewskies) at Hussong’s Cantina.

Later visited La Bufadora (the blow hole).  Another very scenic spot.

The wineries were great plus the wine was even greater!  Even got to see a colt that was born that very day.  How exciting!

I am NOT an illegal alien!

After crossing back into the US I drove to Tamarisk LTVA where I stayed for a week and met some really wonderful people.  We hiked ever day in the desert and one day we were surrounded by Border Patrol cars who thought we were illegal aliens.  No comprende  Senor! What a trip that was!

One of my very favorite spots

After spending so much time with so many wonderful people, I needed a break and decided to head for one of my most favorite spots in the Clark Dry Lake bed of the Anza Borrego desert in southern California.  It is 7 miles outside of Borrego Springs.  This place is so peaceful and always gives me a chance to reflect on my future plans.  It was here where I made my resume on workamper.com and emailed it to various people.  Within 10 minutes I had a call for the job I would be working at this summer. More on that later.

Back to the coast

Then it was off to the west coast to Oceanside, where I parked my rig at the Elks Club and took the train up to Orange County to see family.  It was back and forth visiting different members of my family and it was great seeing my Mom.  Love you Mom!

Heading up north

Then it was time to hit the road and head up north.  My first stop was the Trona Pinnacles outside of Ridgecrest, CA.  It is like a trip to another planet.

From there it was off to the Alabama Hills just outside of Lone Pine, CA.  This has been one place I always dreamed of venturing to even before I had an RV.  An absolute MUST SEE.

From there it was off to Mona Lake, where I stayed for about 5 days and ventured around the area seeing the tufa’s at the edge of the lake and the weird cloud formations.

I also took a side trip to the old ghost town of Bodie, CA.  Much of the town is still intact as it was a hundred years ago.  Really neat and another MUST SEE.

Then I finally made it to Oregon where I stayed at Goose Lake SP, La Pine SP and finally Crooked River Ranch.

My workplace for the summer

I met up with my area managers who I would be working for the summer in Prineville, OR.  I am the camp host at the Ochoco Divide, a NFS campground.  It is on the summit (4,726′ elevation) of Hwy 26.  This campground is nestled among giant (200′) Ponderosa Pines among other pine trees as well.  I have now been here 2 months and love this job.  I get to meet a lot of interesting people and have lots of areas to hike in.

Well that about wraps up another fabulous year of my fulltime RV lifestyle.  There were some tough times (truck breaking down) and some great times (caravan trip to Mexico) as well as taking time out to see my family, which is very important to me.  I had lots of times spent with great friends and even some time to myself to ponder how lucky I am.

I almost can’t believe it has been two years since I have set out on the road.  I would also like to thank all my wonderful followers who have been with me as I experienced each and every day.  Every day is a new adventure.

Villanueva State Park to Hyde Memorial State Park

Finally picked up my mail

I said good bye to my friends Dave and Karma and took off for the post office in Las Vegas, NM.  My package from my insurance broker was waiting for me there.  Then I head toward Ribalde, NM where I was told that my package that my son sent to Sena, NM would be waiting for me.  The post offices around  that area are very small or in the case of Sena, nonexistent.  There it was!!!  The package I was expecting from my son.  It included my Texas driver’s license.  My temporary license had expired the day before and I was getting nervous that there might be a mix-up with the mail.  However, everything worked out great and I am now caught up on all my mail.

Villanueva State Park

My next adventure took me to Villanueva State Park.  It is about 11 miles off Interstate 25 down a narrow Highway 3.  You go thru several small towns on the way but if you blink you wouldn’t even notice them.  Then you enter Villanueva State Park.  This an an unique old building I spotted on the way to the park.

Here is my campsite at Villanueava State Park.  I hiked up to the top of the cliff behind it.

Haircut time

 I have not had a haircut for 5 months and my hair was getting fairly long.  I needed a haircut badly.  In fact that was one of the items on my to-do list before I went to the Balloon Fiesta.  I noticed the girl camped next to me was giving her husband a haircut so the lightbulbs went off in my head.  I went over and introduced myself to Robin and Miet.  They are a young couple from Belgium and shipped their rig over to the US and have been here for about one month.  They are headed over to Utah and then down to Mexico and eventually South America.  Here is a pic of Robin and Miet.

First I asked her if she would cut my hair if I paid her.  She said yes but then the subject got off on distilled water for their battery.  They needed some badly.  I gave them what I had left in my rig, which wasn’t a lot but enough for their battery.  She then offered to pay me, but I suggested that she cut my hair instead and we would call it even.  So here I am getting my hair cut by a beautiful Belgium girl dressed very skimpy.  WHAT A LIFESTYLE!!!!!

 View Loop Trail

After my haircut, I decided to get some exercise.  A couple had told me about the View Loop Trail and suggested taking it to the top.  It was about 2 miles for the complete loop and the worst part is getting to the top.  This is the bridge you cross to begin the hike.

Near the top of the hike it gets very steep.

There were some spanish ruins close to the top.

Here is a couple of pics that I took while hiking atop the canyon wall.  The first is of me at the top.  It was a spectacular view of the countryside.

Looking down at my campsite.

I also took a few pics of the flowers along the way.

Once down I chatted with a guy from Granada Hills, CA who was tent camping.  It is funny how many people I have run into from CA.  He was very interested in the fact I am a full-timer and would love to do it once he retires.

On my way to Santa Fe

I packed up and headed out to Santa Fe and Hyde Memorial State Park.  I got a late start and didn’t leave until almost 3:00pm but I only have 55+ miles to get to my next campground.

Hyde Memorial State Park

It is about 100 miles to the Balloon Fiesta field where I will be staying for about 10 days.  I made a list of all the things I need to do before arriving there.  Things like doing my wash (haven’t done wash for over 3 weeks), buy plenty of groceries (and brewskis), fill up with water, propane, gasoline, and also pay all my bills.  When I arrived at the park I did not have any internet/cell phone service so I could not go online to pay bills.  BUMMER!!!

The park is very beautiful and has many campsites all nestled into the hills.  I was late getting there and finally just took an electric site for $4.  This is a pic of my site.  The leaves are all turning to their fall colors.

I wanted to stay 2 nights and then head on to the Balloon Fiesta but decided it would be better to just stay one night and then move closer to Albuquerque, NM.  I decided to stay at the Santa Fe Skies RV Park which would put me within 60+ miles of Albuquerque.  I found a Trader Joe’s in Santa Fe before heading to the campground and went wild buying all the great things they have to offer.  When I got to the campground they only had one site left.

$45 per night – You have got to be kidding!

They were charging “Balloon Fiesta prices” even though they are 54 miles from Albuquerque.  That is almost what I paid to camp the entire month oF Sep.  WHAT A RIP-OFF!!!  But I did make good use of their laundry facilities and they also sell propane there as well.  Tomorrow I just need to get a few things and then head to the Balloon Fiesta and start to PARTY!!!!!

Fun and Friends at Storrie Lake State Park

I need Internet and Cell Phone Service

I have not had good Internet or cell phone service since I left Raton, NM just south of Sugarite Canyon SP.  There I could go to the K-Mart parking lot and get a good internet connection and 3G cell phone service.  I had no service at Cimarron Canyon SP and it was very weak at Eagle Nest Lake SP.  Then I had no service again at Coyote Creek SP.  It has been about a week since I was really able to make any posts to this blog and I hate getting behind.

I like staying in touch with my family just to let them know where my adventures take me.  But I also need to answer emails, pay some bills, check how little money I have left in my accounts (OUCH!), check reviews on where I am going next, ETC., ETC., ETC.  You know the usual internet stuff!

I heard Storrie Lake SP had good internet and cell phone service so off I went.  I found a great campsite overlooking the lake and that became home for a few days.  It was only 38 miles from Coyote Creek SP but it was 1,100 feet lower and out of the mountains where I had excellent reception.  I was able to get all of the things done that I have been putting off for over a week now.  Here are a couple of pics of my campsite and Storrie Lake.

Dave and Karma beat me here

My newfound friends from Coyote Lake SP, Dave and Karma, were here when I arrived.  They were the ones I greeted in my long johns after the bear encounter at Coyote Creek SP.  I had gone up and visited them later at Coyote Creek and we had discussed where we were headed down the road.  I guess they decided that almost 21 days at Coyote Creek was enough and they headed down here.  I had to stop at Wal-Mart in Las Vegas so that is how they beat me to their site.  I got a beautiful site just 2 sites down from theirs.  We had a great time getting reacquainted.  The are from Nebraska and came to Taos, NM so Karma could have some surgery done on her shoulder and have been in NM ever since.  They also purchased the Annual Pass and are enjoying the benefits of owning it.  Here is a pic of the Three Amigos having a good time.  My hair looks crazy I know, but just got out of the shower.

Taking care of business

I have been wanting to contact Amazon, my seasonal employer this winter.  They are very good at sending me emails keeping me appraised of everything that must be done prior to starting work.  I will be working in Fernley, NV starting on Oct 30.  I contacted my rep as I wasn’t sure of the start date they had furnished me since the 30th is a Sunday.  She did confirm that it was the correct day and I did start work for them beginning on Sunday.  They also allow me to come into the park two days before my starting date and pay for all the park fees the entire time I work for them. NOT BAD EH!

I also had to contact my medical insurance broker to finish some business with him.  Then I had to contact Mike and Lisa Sylvester (the RVGUY) to schedule my annual appliance maintenance and also to check out a couple of other things.  It was good to have all this behind me!  Now the only thing left was to bring my blog up to date.

Don’t be in such a darn hurry Jimbo!

My insurance broker was sending me a package of items I had to sign.  I had suggested that he send it to Villanueva, NM where I would be stating at the state park down there.  He told me he could send it to me Priority Mail to Las Vegas, NM and I would get it sooner so I could get it mailed back to him before Oct 1.  He mentioned that I would get it on Sat.  No problem so far.  I tracked the package and sure enough the post office had it by Sat.  I packed up and left the campsite heading to the post office and then to Villanueva State Park.  NOT SO FAST JIMBO!!!  The post office isn’t open on Sat.  BUMMER!!!  I turned around and drove back to Storrie Lake SP and again parked near my friends.  I will be here until Monday morning.  I was hoping to visit a couple other state parks before I got to the Balloon Fiesta, but I doubt it now.

My Crazy Friends

I have sure had a ball with Dave and Karma.  They are the kind of people who are a laugh a minute.  They pull a small trailer but are very happy to be able to enjoy the RV lifestyle.  Besides that they are much younger than me.  Oh how I wish I could have started this back when I was their age.

I invited them over to for dinner one night and made a big pot of asparagus soup from a mix.  But to make it better I cooked up some more asparagus and added it to the soup.  It was great along with some Hawaiian rolls to go along with it.  Then we watched a movie called Blitz starring Jason Statham.  It was a great movie.  This was a Netflix movie and it was fun.  Here is a pic of my dinner party.

APB Karma

Just before we started watching the movie the ranger came by and asked if they were Dave and Karma.  It seems that Karma’s mother was getting ready to put out an APB ( All Points Bulletin) for Karma whom she thought was missing.  They were missing all right since they have been in the mountains for the last month with no cell phone service.  Her mother had grown worried so Karma called her to let her know they both were OK.  Dave then called his father to also check in with him.  I told them that parents will worry about you no matter how old you are.

Traded in my LD for a motorcycle.

Yes folks I have made the plunge!  I couldn’t resist.  Her is a pic of me on my new wheels.

Just kidding of course!!!

Dave Ellis came driving up just before sunset one night on his beautiful Honda motorcycle and matching trailer.  He was quite a guy.  Seems that he is from Whittier, CA (anyone still remember TRICKY DICK?) and he leaves his wife every now and then just to go traveling and seeing the sights.  His wife does not care to do this but allows him the opportunity to travel when he gets the urge.  When he pulled into Storrie Lake he had been on the road 2 weeks and was really ready to talk to anyone.  I told him I could lend an ear and flap my mouth every now and then as well so he figured this was a good place to spend the night.  By the way Dave if you are reading this please send me your email address.

We cooked and ate our dinner together and Dave and Karma joined us as well.  Then we had a great campfire with the wood supplied by both Daves.  It was a great time with all of us swapping stories.  Dave slept in a small REI tent that fit perfectly in the small trailer connected to his bike.  He told me that he is writing a book about his adventures along the road and was going to feature me in his book and send me a free copy.  HOW COOL!!!!

Dave was gone early the next morning and was so quiet I did not hear a thing.  NICE MEETING YOU DAVE AND GOOD LUCK WITH ALL YOUR TRAVELS!!!

Small Friends came to greet me

I had 3 small friends that I instantly became attached to and enjoyed a wonderful time together.  Don’t know their names but they sure enjoyed the grub (milk) I put out for them.  Here is one of them chowing down.  They were just kittens that someone had left at the park.  Dave found the container they were left in and I wish they would allow me to adopt them but they weren’t interested.  I got this pic of one of them.

View of lake and beautiful sunsets

Got these views of the lake and of course the beautiful sunsets.  As always, the New Mexico sunsets are spectacular!!!