Big News – We Bought A House

Our new home in Inverness Florida

After 5 full years full time RVing and 6 previous years most time RVing, we have bought a new home in the central Florida community of Inverness.  Its a huge change but we both knew when the time was right.  We have loved traveling and exploring all over North America but now its time for something different.  A new chapter is exciting.

Inverness is a nice small city near the Nature Coast of Florida along the Gulf of Mexico.  We are 20 minutes from the coast and at 82 feet above sea level we’re high enough to be out of the flood zone and out of the hurricane insurance zone.  Our home is near the Withlacoochee State Trail, a 60+ mile long hike bike trail.  We are surrounded by some of the best  kayaking in the US.

Of course its with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to Goldie, our beautiful home for the last 2 years of this adventure.  We have it listed on RV Trader, ebay motors, Facebook and many other websites.  We look forward to passing her on to the next explorers.  Here’s a link to our one of our ads…https://rvdaily.com/viewlisting.php?listing_id=140440

Beautiful Goldie

Our blog will continue although perhaps we will post less frequently.  We will continue to travel.  We will also enjoy hobbies, a new community and long time friends Sam and Debi who live nearby.  It will be great cooking in a big kitchen and gardening on a third acre lot.

 

Posted in Florida, RV | Tagged | 8 Comments

Year end, Decade end 2019 Summary

The years and now decades seem to just fly by.  Here we are at the end of another year and another decade.

This year we traveled to 15 states in the US  and 1 Province in Canada.  We put 10811 miles on the Holiday Rambler Ambassador motorhome and 14236 miles on the Honda CRV.  That’s a lot of driving.

Goldie boondocking
near Moab

Goldie on the Columbia River

2019 was a year to explore the West again.  We started in central Florida and headed West through the Florida Panhandle.  We stopped briefly in Mexico Beach but it was still so devastated by Hurricane Michael we couldn’t stay.  Next stop was Cajun country and Abbeville LA.  On our way to South Texas, David and Kathryn hosted our RV in their driveway and we had a nice visit.  Many RVers spend their Winters in southern Texas near Harlingen and Brownsville.  We stayed for 2 weeks and discovered a lot.

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse – Florida

David and Kathryn

Texas sunset

Next stop Big Bend National Park , one of the most remote parks in the NPS system.  Then it was on to southern Arizona and the Escapees Rally in Tucson.  The Rally was great to share with friends Paul and Kay and Martie and Phil.  After the rally we toured Northern Arizona with so many natural and archeological sites.

The Rio Grande at Santa Elena Canyon

Kay and Paul

Martie and Phil

Di at the Grand Canyon

Tuzigoot NM

Desert Southwest
rock art

A major goal of the year was to attend the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike completion of the first transcontinental railroad across North America.  The celebration began in Ogden Utah and then the actual site at Promontory Utah.  At least 25,00 people joined together to commemorate the event.  Union Pacific Railroad brought the 844 and recently rebuilt Big Boy 4014 steam locomotives to the great delight of railfans of all ages.  Our steam train adventures continued with the Durango and Silverton and Cumbres and Toltec railroads.  Friends Grant and Arrabelle gave us a tour of Santa Fe.

Historic pose at the Golden Spike

Us in front of the Big Boy

Us on the Durango and Silverton

Grant and Randy on the Cumbres and Toltec

Then we were on to the Pacific Northwest to visit our son Jason  and his family.  Granddaughter Awen was about to start school and needed a month of grand parent care to transition from daycare.   We had so much fun.  The PNW tour continued on to the Olympic Peninsula, Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles and Olympic National Park.  Mark and Lyn joined us for some of our tour.  We enjoyed a ferry trip to Victoria BC and a Victorian Teahouse.

Di Awen and Connie

Jason and Awen

MV Coho ferry,
Victoria BC

Coho salmon caught off Ilwaco WA

Mark and Lyn on the Olympic Peninsula

Our journey back to Florida started with a successful mushroom hunting season in Oregon.  Martie and Phil gave us a nice tour of Eugene.  Then we traveled south thru California and Nevada before returning to Arizona.  Sharon and Mike entertained us in Sun City and then daughter Ginger joined in Benson for a whirlwind tour followed by more time with Mark and Lyn exploring the desert.  From there we took I-20 for a change staying at a the very nice Paul Johnson State Park in MS.  Then into central FL meeting up with Paul and Kay again and then spending time with Ginger and her family.

Newport Bridge, Oregon

Iconic Heceta Head Lighthouse

Good chanterelle harvest

King Boletes

Sharon and Mike

Mother and daughter
at Saguaro NP

All in all it was a year of family, friends, trains and western travel.  2020 looks like it will be a year of big changes.  Happy New Year to  all

 

Posted in Arizona, British Columbia, Canada, Colorado, Desert, Durango, Florida, History, national parks, Oregon, RV Travel, trains, Utah, Washington | 5 Comments

Southern Arizona

We have come to love Southern Arizona.  Recently our daughter met us in Tucson and we explored some of the highlights together.  It was a great visit.  Our first stop was Saguaro National Park which protects the flora and fauna of the Sonora Desert.  The Sonora Desert is a green desert with abundant wildlife and an amazing diversity of plants.

Classic saguaro

Saguaro with nurse tree

Saguaro forest

Trail with saguaro

Javalina Rocks trail

Teddy-bear cholla

One of our new favorite parks is Chiricahua National Monument.  It is known as the Wonderland of Rocks.  This mountainous area is home to plant and animal species from four distinct environments – the Rocky Mountains, the Sonoran Desert, the Chihahau Desert and the Sierra Madre mountains.  Areas of intersecting ecosystems always offer the most diverse life forms.  Later in the month we returned with friends Mark and Lyn.

Chiricahua trail

The vase?

Massai Point

Alligator Juniper

Sotol

Agave

 

Mexican Jay

Cochise Stronghold is a Coronado National Forest trail site that tells the story of the great Apache Chief Cochise’s hideout in the Dragoon Mountains.  Defying overwhelming odds Cochise eluded US Army troops for years and was eventually buried in these mountains at a still unknown site.

Cochise Stronghold trail

Kartchner Caverns State Park near Benson Arizona is a relatively new cave system discovered by 2 amateur spelunkers in the 1970s.  It was only developed and opened to the public in the late 90s.  The state park people do an excellent job protecting and explaining the caverns.

Discovery

Spectacular formations

Amazing

Tombstone and Bisbee are historic towns is Southern Arizona.  Tombstone is mostly a tourist town with half a dozen or more re-enactments of the shootout at the OK corral.  While we there we witnessed a “walk down”.  In the middle of town a large group of locals dressed in period garb honored the passing of one of their actors with a slow walk through town to a memorial at a gazebo.  Beyond the shows though its still a very historic town.  The courthouse is a state park.  Bisbee is a historic copper mining town.  Its built into the side of a mountain and also has a huge open pit mine.  The local museum tells the fascinating story of mining and labor in Busbee.

Tombstone strret

Gun fight show

Bird Cage Theater

Walk down

Bisbee street

Posted in Arizona, national parks | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Exploring Oregon’s Willamette Valley

We routinely get annual maintenance done in Oregon but this time we were in for an extended stay due to a diesel engine issue.  As the western manufacturing center of the RV industry Eugene and vicinity have a lot of experienced mechanics and No Sales Tax.

Our friends Martie and Phil gave us a tour of Eugene. Eugene is home to the University of Oregon.  Martie and Phil showed us around the great indoor market and views of the city from Skinner Hill.

Thompson’s Mills is a state park preserving the last water powered mill in the state.  We had a great tour and actually saw the mill under power.

Silver Falls in the largest of all Oregon’s State Parks.  The Trail of Ten Falls wanders thru a canyon to view ten waterfalls.  We hiked to North Falls where the trail actually goes behind the water.

Posted in Oregon, RV Travel | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Shoshone California – Death Valley

While staying at the Escapees Co-op RV Park in Pahrump Nevada we made a day trip to the southern part of Death Valley National Park and the little town of Shoshone California.  There we found a great museum and an area called Dublin Gulch where miners carved homes out of the soft rock bluffs in the area.

The highway to Shoshone CA

Shoshone CA

Shoshone Museum

Dublin Gulch miners home

A short drive from Shoshone is the town of Tecopa and the China Ranch Date Farm.  The current farm was started in 1992 on the site of an old farm established in 1890 by a Chinese man who used the site on the Amargosa River to grow fruits and veggies for the miners.  The area has many abandoned mines from years of mining lead, silver, gypsum and talc.  He disappeared mysteriously in 1896.  Today the farm grows and sells many date varieties, gifts and date shakes.  Ranch parking provides access to the China Ranch Trail thru the desert, along the old Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad line and across the Amargosa River to a beautiful slot canyon.

China Ranch Date Farm

Assay office along trail

Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad right of way

Trail to slot canyon

Slot Canyon destination

Posted in California, Desert, History, national parks, Nevada | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fall on the Oregon Coast

While we certainly enjoy hunting mushrooms, the draw of coastal Oregon is much more than that.  Whale watching, lighthouses, gorgeous views, hiking, seals and sea lions are easily accessible.  We even hiked nearly face to face with huge elk.  There’s a lot of history here too but that will have to wait until next time.

View from Ecola State Park

Haystack at Cannon Beach

Scene at the town of Cannon Beach

Creek to Sea

Tidepool life at Hug Point

Green sea anemone at low tide

Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint offers tours of the 1890s lighthouse and home of the Octopus Tree, the largest Sitka Spruce in the state.

Cape Meares Lighthouse

Boiler Bay SSV offers views of surf, whales and seabirds.

Boiler Bay

Conde McCollough designed bridge

Nehalem Bay State Park sits on a spit of land separating Nehalem Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

Nehalem Bay beach

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area is a BLM site just north of Newport Oregon.  The headland juts one mile into the ocean with Oregon’s tallest lighthouse and tidepools teeming with life.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Seals on the coast

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse guards the entrance to Newport’s harbor.

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

Newport Bridge

Newport fishing fleet

Sea lions at Newport

Whale off the coast

Roosevelt Elk on the coast

Cape Arago Highway leads to three State Parks; Cape Arago, Sunset Bay and Shore Acres.  It also takes us to Simpson Reef Scenic Viewpoint which overlooks hundreds of barking sea lions.

Cape Arago Lighthouse

 

Sunset Bay

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Shore Acres SP is on the site of Asa Simpson, a very successful shipping and timber baron.  The home burned but the gardens remain and the coastal setting offers great views of titanic wave action.

Shore Acres SP gardens

Shore Acres water garden

Surf near Shore Acres

Crashing waves at Shore Acres

At North Bend Oregon the beautiful bridge over the Coos River memorializes the impassioned work of the visionary highway department engineer Conde B. McCollough.

Conde McCollough Memorial Bridge- beautiful cantilever design

Posted in Oregon, RV Travel, wildlife | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Wild Mushrooms in Oregon

Fall on the Oregon coast is a great time for foraging and enjoying seasonal foods.  Wild mushrooms are gathered in large quantities and many varieties.  Cranberries are harvested and distributed fresh.  Apples are everywhere and often found on neglected trees yet still perfectly good to eat or process into applesauce, desserts etc.

Fresh Oregon cranberries …$5

Great farmers markets

Foraging for wild mushrooms is one of our favorite activities.  Its a great reason to get out into the forest and wander for hours.  Oregon is the one state we know that offers free guided hikes to learn and collect these delicacies.  Starting at Fort Stephens State Park in September the ranger programs introduce many people to the ins and outs of collecting.  One weekend we participated with friends Martie and Phil.  We all found King Boletes with rookie Phil finding the most.  These are very easy to identify, great for cooking and improved by drying.

King Boletes

Boletus edulis in situ

Mushroom habitat in Ft. Stephens State Park

Martie and Phil

Down the coast we found Lobster mushrooms while visiting the Cape Meares Lighthouse State Park.  We weren’t even looking.  These mushrooms are very unusual yet common.  They are actually a Russula mushroom parasitized by another fungi.  Incredibly the result is a tasteless fungi becoming a delicious one that really does smell and taste like lobster.  We made into a fabulous Lobster Bisque and mushroom crab cakes.

Cape Meares Lighthouse

Lobster mushroom

While staying near Newport OR we found more Boletes, Lobsters, Chanterelles and even our first ever Cauliflower mushroom.  The headland at Cape Perpetua gave us the chance to hunt in coastal mountain terrain.  The small town of Yachats (YAH-hots) had their 20th annual mushroom festival Oct. 18-20.  We attended some great lectures, wild mushroom displays, and a market of unusual varieties for sale.  It was fun being around people as obsessed as we are.  We collected so many boletes and lobsters that we got out the food dehydrator to preserve for future use.

Yachats Mushroom Fest

Good chanterelle harvest

Cauliflower mushroom

Cape Perpetua trail

Dried King Boletes

 

 

 

Posted in food, Oregon, RV Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments