Rocket Man

On December 22, Donna Dee and I took the dogs for a walk along the irrigation canal behind our RV park.  The Yuma airport isn’t too far away, so when we saw a very bright light, we thought it might be an airplane.

But, then things got weird.  Really weird.  Like Korean rocket man weird.

Donna hadn’t brought her phone, and I didn’t have my camera, so we couldn’t take a picture.  We all (dogs included) froze and just stared at the spectacle and hoped it wasn’t sinister.

This thing was HUGE.

When I got back, I described it to Paul.  He said to do a Google search and maybe there was an explanation.  I started my search with “weird” and Google filled in the rest “weird light in sky”.  I guess I wasn’t the only one.

It turned out that it was Elon Musk’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.  Wow!  What a sight!

Here is a picture by Javier Mendoza of the Associated Press:

Javier Mendoza:AP

Link to news story:

Cacti, Palm Trees, and Lettuce?

Lake Havasu

We drove on after visiting the Hoover Dam, but it gets dark so early that we couldn’t find a decent campground, so we stayed at another truck stop.  When we woke up, we were shocked to discover how close we were to Lake Havasu, so we drove over and spent the day there.

London Bridge is a bridge from England that was reassembled at Lake Havasu.

Poppy and I soaked up some sunshine along the Bridgewater Channel while Paul worked on getting Sirius satellite radio connected.  Daisy took a nap.  It was a peaceful day.

Nap time:


There are often memorial plaques in picturesque locations.  This one caught our eye:

Yuma:  The Land of Sunshine

We decided to press on to Yuma, where our boler friends stay for the winter.  We joined them at Yuma Mesa RV Park.  It’s not a glamorous park, but it has all the essentials, and it’s very affordable.

Jim and Marietta (The Poopsters) took us on a drive around the area, including a stop near the border at Algodones.  We drove through the foothills and looked at the farms in the area.  Yes, lettuce does grow in the desert.  So much water is diverted from the Colorado River to irrigate the fields.  It’s an amazing feat, but I’m sure there will be long term repercussions (Aral Sea, anyone?)  Most of the workers are from Mexico.  They arrive on buses in the morning and work all day in the fields.  The buses tow porta-potties behind them.  When we stopped by one field, the workers didn’t speak English, but the cleaned and threw us a head of lettuce!  Fresh heavy wet lettuce!  What a treat!

We met Don and Glorie for lunch at a quirky restaurant called Lute’s Casino in Old Yuma.  It’s not a casino, but maybe it once was.  The decor is eclectic:

We toured Old Yuma, where Lute’s Casino is located.  It’s a cute district with interesting shops.

After lunch, we continued our tour.  We saw some really swank RV parks to see how the other half lives.  We had a really fun time.

More fields:

As the workers harvest the crop, it gets sent up a conveyor belt where it is packaged and boxed.  The process is very fast!

Notice the deep furrows for irrigation.  The fields get flooded to keep things alive in the desert.

We also found a geocache which had a travel bug.  We had never found a travel bug, but we decided to take it and move it along in our travels.  Oh the responsibility!


(Picture courtesy Donna Dee)

On another day, Don and Glorie took us to the Arizona Flea Market.  You can get anything from fresh veggies to RV dump valves!  I totally scored on veggies.  Look at my haul for only $4!  The stalls were closing, and so the man packed my bag full of extras — more lettuce!


Another special thing about Yuma is that my aunty Candice and uncle Gunner stay here for the winter too, so we stopped by to visit them.  They have a lovely park model that backs onto a date palm grove.  They also have a tangelo tree and grapefruit tree, so uncle Gunner picked us a bag full.  I LOVE FRESH PRODUCE!  They are off to California for a few days to visit their son & family, but we will visit with them when they return.

May the Force be with you

We entered Nevada when Star Wars: The Last Jedi opened in theatres.  There are some creative people working on highway signs.  I only photographed 2, but the rest of the scenery was dramatic:

I really needed The Force to help me get through the brief time we spent in Las Vegas. We stopped for 2 nights at the Sam’s Town KOA.  We were finally able to use our water systems, do laundry, and give Daisy a bath.  We also had delicious, over-priced New York style pizza.

Leaving Las Vegas (and not a moment too soon)

On our way out of L.V., we stopped at the Airstream dealer.  They had a Flying Cloud 26U (now called 26RBQ).  We have been studying the floor plans of these and watching walk-through videos on YouTube.  It was our lucky day because they had just received one on a trade.  It is a 2017, so as close to new as you can get used.  I got to see the new Landmark decor with Sandpiper ultra-leather.  I love the new look, and I know I can work with it, although I will miss my International.  Alas, I know I can’t have an East-West bed, so that used one is out of the question.  We would have to get the twin option.  In the brief time we were viewing the trailer, I cracked my head twice on the overhead lockers in the bedroom.  It’s a very bad design.  A little tidbit:  Over 50% of all new Airstreams are now ordered with twin beds.  Twins are available in all decors in trailers 25+ feet long.  A person used to pay big bucks to special order twins in Internationals, but not anymore.  Thanks for listening, Airstream!  We are still mulling over the pros and cons of the 26RBT or the 30 footer (queen or twin).

Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam

The engineering is magnificent.  It was a lot to take in.  The girls were not allowed to walk on top of the dam, which was good because it was very congested.

The buildings have an Art Deco aesthetic.  This section leads to the women’s WC.  The men’s WC entrance has black wall tiles.

I also appreciate the beauty of this building.  It is reminiscent of Queen Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple in Upper Egypt:


As we were leaving, we met another full-time couple travelling in their Airstream with their beautiful dog, Bianca.  Their website is:  She is a photographer (pixel) and he is a chef (skillet).  They have been on the road since April — house-free and seeing North America!  They even traveled through Saskatchewan this summer.

Along for the ride

We had a white-knuckle drive through Montana and into Idaho yesterday.  However, the Interstates are well maintained.

We camped last night just south of Idaho Falls at a Flying J truck stop.  They have plug-ins for RVs for only $12 per night, and the washrooms stay open 24 hours.  We think it was a pretty good deal, although the trucks do run their engines all night.  It was cold (20F), but the Chinook retains heat fairly well.  Plus, we were able to run our Dyson heater.

We had hoar frost and fog for our morning drive.  Unfortunately, we passed the Potato Museum just outside of Shelley, Idaho.  Next time, we’ll stop for a visit.  Paul doesn’t want to stop until it is warmer.

I find Idaho to be extremely beautiful.  It is rugged and there is a lot of sage brush.  The mountains were in the distance, but the fog interfered with our view.  These pictures are from our last rest stop before crossing into Utah.  Chilly!

Shortly after crossing into Utah, just past the Welcome to Utah sign, Paul said, “The battery light is on.”  Then, in minutes (minutes!), we lost all power.  Paul pulled to the side.  Thankfully, yesterday, we got a US phone plan, so we could call for a tow.  My CAA plan wouldn’t cover us, so we had to pay out of pocket and we were 30 miles from the nearest town.

Because the tow truck cab was pretty tight, and we didn’t want to leave the girls alone in the Chinook, we asked if I could ride in the Chinook.  It’s illegal, but the driver said to stay out of view and do it.  So, I went along for the ride, but inside the Chinook!  Poppy was pretty content.  We had a smooth ride, and she couldn’t hear the scary growl of the beast that lives in the engine.  She actually settled down quite a bit.

At the mechanic’s shop, they said we could stay in the Chinook while they replaced the alternator.  I ran across the street and picked up some southern BBQ, and we ate inside with the girls.

Inside the smoker:

 We thought we’d avoid the traffic in Salt Lake City by arriving around 1:30, but the breakdown cost us valuable time.  But, all was not lost.  The mechanic told us to go into Salt Lake City to Temple Square because the light display was fabulous.  So, we arrived in Salt Lake City at 5:30 and found a parking space near Temple Square.

We never would have attempted to drive downtown in a major city with our truck and Airstream.  Look at what we would have missed.

The roof on the Tabernacle is aluminum:


Outside the Temple Square, a family was offering visitors free hot chocolate.  Mormons do not drink coffee or tea, but hot chocolate is popular.  It hit the spot.  When in Salt Lake City . . .

Later we walked through a shopping district on our way back to the Chinook.
This is a fountain, although it is hovering at 32F.

The street where we parked:

The Chinook is here:

Tonight we are staying at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. No power, so we have to run the furnace. I’m sure we will sleep well after our adventures. Tomorrow it’s Sin City.

La Vie en Rose . . . Then, We Blew our Top!

We left Saskatoon on December 11.  It was about 34F (1C), but in a couple of hours it had climbed to 43F (6C).  The little Chinook was living up to its reputation of being a snow melter!  Before we had reached Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park, all the snow was gone.  The roads were dry the whole way to Lethbridge, AB.  Driving this late in the season is a surreal experience.  It looked like fall, but the sun was low and glaring.  Just past Medicine Hat, we were both blinded by the sun and neither of us saw a big wood pallet on the highway.   Eek!  We ran over it.  What a lot of noise!  Paul pulled over when it was safe, but there didn’t appear to be damage.  After a few more miles, he pulled over again, just to be sure.  We think all is well.

Lethbridge is a gorgeous city with coulees all around.  Unfortunately, it is also incredibly windy.  It certainly lived up to its reputation again.  I barely slept.  The wind was so noisy.  It sounded like it wanted to break in.  We’ve experienced plough winds before when camping, so I am cautious.  Lots of small branches came down, but nothing major.  Phew.

The sunrise was spectacular. La vie en rose?


What a lovely pink morning!  It was already 45F (7C) by the time we left. It must have been the Chinook.

We crossed into the US at Coutts AB – Sweetgrass MT.  I had special International Health Certificates for the girls, but the guard did not ask for them.  He also didn’t ask to see their food.  It was a pleasant crossing, and the Duty Free shop had excellent prices, so we stocked the liquor cabinet (basically, it’s crammed where it fits — space is at a premium).  4L for $49.

The wind stayed with us all day.  Paul was exhausted keeping the Chinook going straight.  We pulled into the rest stop past Shelby MT.  What a treat that was!  It was a new facility.  Outside, there was a street sweeper cleaning the parking lot.  Inside, there was a wall of doors — each one leading to a private WC, complete with toilet, sink, and a little strap-in chair to hold small children while mom took care of business.  However, upon our arrival, the air conditioner shroud blew off!  We had just got out of the vehicle when the wind took it sailing!  Thank goodness we weren’t on the highway.  Fortunately, I had seen an RV dealer right where we pulled off, so $200 US later, we have a new shroud.

Poppy wore her Thunder Shirt most of the way.  I think she had a breakthrough this time.  She was still so nervous, but she left us for a while and climbed up on our backpacks and pillows and hunkered down for a few hours.


Too bad the last picture is blurry, but she almost looks happy up on the back of the sofa, wedged between the Thermarest mattress, pillow, and sheepskin.  Maybe she’ll almost start enjoying the ride.  We can hope.

We are staying the night in Helena MT.  It’s surprising how many campgrounds stay open year round.  We have hot showers and electricity.  Life is good.

Chinook: The Snow Melter

Introducing our 2002 Chinook Destiny


Back in July, when our life couldn’t get crazier, I found this little darling on Craigslist in Abbotsford, BC.  IMG_4473IMG_4460IMG_4463IMG_4464IMG_4466

There is a background story, as there usually is.  A few years ago, I started looking for a small motorhome that I could take on summer adventures with the dogs when Paul was working.  I had already decided to practice retirement by taking summers off.  Yes, I could take the Airstream, but it was too much trailer for me to take alone.  The thought of backing it up by myself frightened me.  Yes, I did take my little boler on solo adventures, but I must admit, I missed the amenities of my Airstream.

About 3 years ago, I narrowed my search to a Vixen.  One day, I was driving to work early in the morning.  Thank goodness there wasn’t any traffic, because I got totally distracted by what looked like a massive Delorean.  I had just enough time to catch its name.  I even joined the Vixen Owner’s Association to help me find one.  I wrote about meeting a member of the club here:

Alas, I could not find a reasonable Vixen, but I knew I wanted something fibreglass.  Then, I discovered Chinook motorhomes late last summer, and the search was on.  From October 2016 – June 2017, I only saw 3 for sale in all of Canada.  When this one was listed, I knew it was my Destiny (pun intended).  I sent a deposit immediately, and Paul booked a one-way plane ticket to Abbotsford.  It was just as beautiful as the pictures, so he drove it home.  I prefer my wines oaky, but not my furnishings.  Nevertheless, this is a lovely motorhome.

The day after he arrived home, my boler sold, so it was a bittersweet day.  I owned my boler for 19 years, and I feel it contributed to defining who I am today.  The following week, we attended the annual bolerama (Prairie Egg Gathering), but this time with a moulded fibreglass motorhome.

People often wonder if we are going to sell the Airstream.  I believe I will always have an Airstream — maybe not the one we have, but I love Airstreams.  Our current Airstream is a little small for full-time living.  The Chinook is just a fun little getaway B+ van.  However, we have decided to take the Chinook rather than the Airstream down into Mexico this winter.  It will be more nimble.

On December 4, I finished my last day of work.  Student numbers were higher than expected, so I had to return for one final term.  On December 11, we left Saskatoon to start our soft retirement.  Our little Snow Melter will take us away this winter!