Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A White Christmas

With nearly two and half months of  Amazon "picking " behind me I had planned to rest up for a few days and take the Born Free back to Portola before heading over to the coast to see mom. Jeremy flew out of Reno on the 20th to visit his brother, Justin near Washing D.C. , and dropped his dog off at the RV for me to dog sit. The plan was to   make my way to his house in Portola the next day. Well, the weather did not cooperate .  I started out Friday for Portola and had to turn back due to extremely high winds. Two semi-trucks laying on their sides convinced me that I needed to turn around.

The Marina Sparks RV park let me return to my original spot.  Saturday's weather looked even worse, but I needed to get to Jeremy's in Portola. The park said I could leave the RV and be charged a storage rate so I headed off to Portola in the Jeep.  It snowed all day Saturday and all day Sunday leaving nearly three feet of white fluffy stuff. Fun, fun, fun!!!

Yep, that the Jeep under all that white stuff.

Winter wonder land behind Jeremy's house.

Monday brought sunny skies and I attempted to snowshoe out behind Jeremy's house but the snow was too deep even for my snowshoes.  Rio had to hop like a bunny through the snow as it was over her head in places.

Merry Christmas to all!  Lots of snow! Jeremy missed his connection and texted he wouldn't arrive back in Reno until mid-day today. He is going to be one tired guy...

Weather, permitting, I hope to get back to Reno tomorrow(Wednesday) and head over the hill to the Monterey area for New Years before heading south to join up with Joel  at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument for a volunteer project lasting through March. Sort of a shame to leave all that good snow behind..LOL.

Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December 16, still at Amazon

I'm on the "home stretch" at Amazon: one more week and as of today only 46  work hours left.  Mandatory overtime was called several weeks ago (it's pretty much a blur) and I have been working between 55 and 57 hours a week. The camper numbers have significantly dropped during the past few weeks, so much so that the break room is half empty.  Working 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. really is too much for many of us and there is definitely  a lot of grumbling going on.

Joel gave in and left Amazon two weeks ago.  His nephew Paul, took a turn for the worse and passed away  on Friday, so Joel pulled the jacks up and hitched up and headed to Fresno yesterday to be with family.  I pulled the Born Free out of storage (at Jeremy's house in Portola) and moved into  Joel's space at the RV park so I could finish out my commitment at Amazon.

The plan is ( and it is always in jello) once I've finished with Amazon, to stick around for a few days and house sit/dog sit at Jeremy's house while Jeremy is in Washington D.C. visiting his brother Justin, and then head over to the coast to see Mom for a few days.  I'll catch up with Joel at Organ Pipe Cactus    National Monument  for our volunteer stint in January.

Stay tuned and maybe next time there will be some pictures and something more interesting.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, November 22

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

There is not much news since my last post.  My "elf work" at Amazon is continuing.  This year I am picking the merchandise to be shipped out.  I walk a lot from one side of the warehouse to the other based on what/where the computer/scanner tells me, picking product to be shipped. The 10 hour days go by pretty fast and it not as hard as the packing I did last year.  Joel is surviving and is working in a different department stowing the merchandise that I pick and he is counting the days until we are finished with our commitment.  We start longer hours and more days next week as shopping season starts to peak.

I have managed to get out and do a little hiking on a least one of my days off as the weather has been pretty nice.  One day I headed out to explore Logosini ( sp?)canyon where there were suppose to be some petroglyphs but ran into too much thick growth to negotiate to the end of the canyon and had to  turn around.  However, the scenery was gorgeous and the wild mustangs added to the scenery.

These mustangs look really healthy and didn't seem to mind me intruding on their turf.

Another day I hiked the south west hills of Reno in search of Hunter Lake, a hike I have been wanting to do for several years. It's one of those hikes that needs to be done in cool weather.  The hiking trail  was more on old Jeep and ATV trails and fire break roads (from last years fires), and Hunter Lake turned out to be dry.  The vistas of Reno on the return trip were worth it though.

Another day, Joel and I drove over to Virginia City and explored the old mining town. We went mid week and many of the shops  and attractions were closed due to winter hours.  Sorry, no pictures, but it is a fun place to visit.

So, that's about it for now.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Back in Reno/Sparks, October 26

When I last posted, I wasn't sure what was next.  Well, I think Joel was having a little separation anxiety and wanted to get back to Sparks and get back in the Beaver so we made a B-line for Reno.  We left Tucson on Thursday  and made it to Boulder Beach, Nevada the first night, and then to Sparks/Reno on Friday.  We stayed at the Nugget Casino  for two nights and then headed up to Boca campground near Truckee, California for the night and then to Portola to drop of my Born Free.  On Monday, Joel drove back to Sparks  pulled the Beaver out of storage and headed for Baldini's Casino for a couple of nights and I stayed in Portola to winterize and clean the Born Free.  I was glad to get into the Sparks Marina RV park on Friday.  Baldini's is really noisy.

So not much has been happening.  We did wander over to the new Legends Mall in Sparks where they were having a Splash Dog competition.  What fun!

 They have two contests: one for the highest jumping dog and one for the longest jump. I just love the picture above...I think he is saying " look at me!!!"
The toy is thrown and the dog jumps out over the water to catch it and the length of the jump is measured.

Below, is one of the interesting sculptures in the outdoor mall.
 We saw this near the Baldini's parking lot.

Baldini's has now tightened up their RV parking and limited it to Player's Club members and only one night is allowed unless you get your permit extended. The City of Sparks is enforcing their "no overnight camping" ordinance unless you are in an RV park.

Fall is my favorite time of year in the Reno area and I talked Joel into driving the short distance over to Lake Tahoe and were treated with some spectacular scenery.

The lake level is pretty low, but the water is still very clear.

We started working at Amazon two weeks ago and are already counting down the weeks.  Joel is working in stowing (putting product in bins) and I am working in picking (picking the products from the bins and putting it in totes to go to the packing department).  The days are long, 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. but they go really fast.  The warehouse is huge, and unlike last year I am working different "mod" (areas) and I must walk 10-15 miles a least my feet feel like it at the end of the shift.

Well, that's about it for now.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

On to Tucson Sept 27-Oct 3

On Thursday we were able to hit the road by early afternoon and made it as far as Walker Lake, near Hawthorne, Nevada for the night and then continue on to Boulder City the next day.  We stayed at the Boulder Beach campground which was very busy.  It looked like about half the campground was been closed down for renovation.  The next morning we headed for Cottonwood, Arizona, via Flagstaff.  I think we should have stayed in Flagstaff because it was much cooler, but we headed on to the Thousand Trails in Cottonwood for a few days so we could have hook ups and run the air conditioner.  It has been really warm....95 in Cottonwood and predictions of low 100's in Tucson.

On Monday, during our morning walk, we discovered our friends Donna and Bob had arrived at the park so we knocked and their door to say hello and made arrangements to have "linner" later in the afternoon.  According to Donna, "linner" is lunch and dinner.  What a great visit we had!  

We headed on to Tucson, where it was very warm and spent the night at the Pima County Fairgrounds...hookups to run the AC would be the only reason for staying at the Fairgrounds.  It was 103.  The park is pretty basic and the showers were not open due to low occupancy but being able to run the AC most of the afternoon and evening was heaven.  

Wednesday, Joel presented himself to the VA Nuclear department for his stress test.  Sounds pretty scary. They take pictures of his heart and then shoot him up with some chemical stuff; wait several hours; feed him; and then take more pictures to compare with the first.  The worst part, was that Joel could not have anything with caffeine in it 24 hours prior to the test.  Well, if you know Joel, you know how hard that would be. He loves his coffee. Anyway, he came through the test with flying colors.  The docs said everything looked great.  

For those of you wondering about how we are doing with the Born Free and without a "towed", it been great! The VA has parking for RVs so we are able to park there during the day and I can run back to the BF as needed.  Also, its been pretty easy to get around.  We drove over to the theater yesterday afternoon and parked with no problem.  After the movie, (the new Clint Eastwood movie Trouble With The Curve...really good) we headed over to Snyder Hill for boondock camping.  It seemed a littler cooler there and it turned out to be a much shorter commute to the VA for Joel's morning eye appointment. 

We seem to be a little a head of schedule, so not sure what we will do next.  We don't have to be back in Reno until next Friday.  Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Crater Lake and more, September 24-28

I don't remember how many times I've driven by the turn off to Crater Lake and not stopped.  It always seemed like I was on the way to or from somewhere and didn't have time to stop and explore.  This time, Joel said we could stop and do a day trip.  We parked the Beaver at Diamond Lake Junction and unhooked the car and continued on to Crater Lake.  The  road  around the lake is really narrow and windy in places, so unless you are planning to camp at the camp ground and stay a few days,  a car is really easier.

Unfortunately, the sky was really hazy and smokey from all of the forest fires near Klamath Falls, but the scenery was still spectacular.

 A nice overview looking south from the first view point we came to.
 Wizard Island.
Note the huge bluffs.
 And lots of stark peaks
Mt. Thieson, looking north
 More of the crater
 Wizard island from the south side of the lake
Lots of burls on the tree stumps..

The Lodge a Crater Lake is pretty impressive.  The other side faces the lake and the view are spectacular.

A nice cozy fire, which was welcomed as it was pretty chilly out.

An interesting interior wall, faced with bark.

 One of the views from the deck of the lodge
Another view of Mt. Thieson contrasting how steep the crater is.  
Phantom Ship Rock.  We hiked up a short trail to the over look.  
I think these were called the Castle Rocks.
The drive around the lake itself is only 32 miles, but the access road to the park road is much longer.  We ended up spending the whole day exploring around the lake before going back to Diamond Junction to hook up and continue to the casino at Chiloquin which is near  Klamath Falls to spend the night.

The next day (Tuesday) we continued towards Portola, California but stopped at Hallelujah Junction and unhooked the car for a quick trip into Reno to check out RV storage, complete our Amazon drug tests, and pickup mail.  Then we continued  on to Portola so we could get the Born Free ready for our  trip to Tucson for Joel's VA check up appointments.

It's really hard work moving stuff around and getting the BF ready for the road

but we managed get everything done; put the Beaver in storage; and left on Thursday for Tucson.  Joel needs to be at the VA by Wednesday for his appointments and it is over 900 miles.  Gas prices are less than Diesel (almost 60 cents less in some areas)  and the BF is a  more fuel efficient, and we figured that we would save $$$ by taking the BF and not hooking up a car.

Brew Trail and Lava Lands, September 19-23

We headed towards Bend, Oregon with the intention of staying at Tumalo State Park just outside of Bend for a few days.  We wanted to stay at the state park  because it was close to town and it would be a short commute into Bend  to finish the Ale Trail we had started in May.  Well,  it is a pretty busy park and unless you have reservations, their system is such that only two nights could be guaranteed.  You have to catch up with the ranger to find out if you site has been reserved  if you want to extend and who knows when the ranger comes around.  I talked with the campground host, and they were pretty nonchalant and could care less as far as helping us. In other words, unlike our national parks and BLM forest service parks,  they do not hold back a certain percent for walk-ins.  We should have learned from the last experience at an Oregon state park to make a reservation.  Well, after several drive throughs, and an attempt to park in one site, we decided to continue on to the Thousand Trails in Sun River were we stayed last May.  Although the Oregon State parks are nice, most are not set up for larger rigs or "drop ins".

The Thousand Trails in Sun River was "downsizing" for the season, but we had no trouble finding a spot without reservations.  We set up and settled in.  The next morning Joel headed back over the hill to the Reim complex to retrieve a few things he forgot and will need sometime during the next year. I stayed home and had a "me" day.  On Friday we headed over to the visitor center to find out if our Ale Trail  passes would still be good this late in the season and determined they were. But....we had to finish the tours  by Saturday in order to turn in our passes, as the visitor center was not open on Sunday and we wanted to leave by Monday.  Hmmm.  Five breweries in one day?  We managed by to visit all and still function  by only sampling by and sharing.  We returned on Saturday and claimed our prize of the sili cups, a cool silicone glass which is great for RVing because it is non breakable. What is our favorite brewery? Well, mine was the Three Creeks in Sisters.

After retrieving our prize we headed over to the Lava Lands Visitor Center.  I had wanted to visit it the last time we were here, but it was closed.  It's only open Thursday thru Monday.  There are some great exhibits of the lava fields and lava beds and a great little interpretive trail through the lava beds.

We headed out on the paved trail.  Amazing this tree can grow in all of the lava. Later we took the car and drove up to the cinder cone, the round mound on the upper right of the picture.

Mt. Bachalor in the distance
 Good example of all the lava along the trail.
 This is the lookout at the top of the cinder cone. The lookout was closed because it was in service; i.e. someone was up there looking for fires.
 There is a nice, short loop from the lookout and you can see the trails we walked on earlier
The lava beds span for several miles.
 We had a good view of the Sisters.  It was pretty smokey.
 Another view looking towards the west of the contrast between the lava beds and the forest.

The next day we walked the River Lava Cave  which is a huge lava tube.  Its about a mile walk in a huge lava tube (i.e. 2 mile round trip).  Be sure to bring your own lantern or be prepared to rent one, because for the most part, except for a few stairs,  the lava tube is in a primitive condition and it is pitch black inside, thus no pictures.  The best part is that it was cool inside and no smoke!

We had a great few days, and it is time to move on south.  Stay tuned as we continue to migrate.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Toppenish, Washington, September 17

After leaving Lake Chelan, we headed towards Quincy, Washington to the Crescent Bar Thousand Trails.  One word for this place, smokey. ...  do to all of the wildfires nearby.  Joel had arranged for his mail to be forwarded to Quincy, and since the Post Office wasn't open on Saturday, we had to stay through Monday. No problem.  It gave me a chance to catch up on laundry and other mundane chores and a chance for Joel to "fix things".  This time it was replacing the awning spring that had broken.

Quincy is a huge agriculture area and reminiscent of some of the little bustling communities in the California Central Valley.  Lots of "hard"fruit is grown here....apples, apples and more apples along with peaches and pears.  We picked up some honey crisp apples which are to die for.They are so juicy you need a bib when eating them. Ymmmm.

I think these are gala apples. They are also delicious. All of the trees are over loaded with apples this year.  The harvest is just beginning and I was told there is a huge crop.

After leaving  the Thousand Trails we headed  south we notice these power wind mills.  Only problem is, that there is no wind, which is highly unusual for this area. I think the wind would be welcome in some areas to blow all of the smoke away, but it wouldn't be helpful for all of the fire fighters.

We stopped at a rest stop near Selah Cliffs and I noticed this sign.  It is so smokey that neither Mt. Adams or Mt. Rainier are visable.  Highly unusual.
But there was a nice view of the Selah Gulch  and this bridge.

Picked up the mail and headed towards The Dalles, Oregon, where we plan to spend two nights with a day trip into Portland to see Joel's new grandson.  On the way we entered the Yakima Nation ad  stopped at the little town of Toppenish, better known as the town of murals, and rightly so.  There are very few building that have been untouched by an artist hand. As we were wandering around we came upon Jim and his nice horses Frank and Jess and Joel arranged a tour of the town and some of the prominent murals.

These horses were amazing.  They responded to voice commands as well as the reins.  

A major portion of the worlds hops are grown in the region and the mural below is located on the Hops Museum.  It was closed so we didn't get to go in.  But the mural is so realistic.  All the brickwork and detail is painted.

This mural depicts the various tribal chiefs on one building and then Pepsi Cola on the other.
Every year, the first weekend in June the town hosts a "Paint a Mural Day".  Artists get together and paint a mural in one day.  The mural below is one of those and depicts a Halloween prank.

This mural is very long.  I had to stitch three pictures to get it all in.  

We continued south and caught highway 84 which follows the Columbia Gorge.  For the first time in almost a week we were out of smoke.  
We camped at Mamaloose State Park which is between the river and the highway.  It is OK for a quick overnighter, but pretty noisey with the highway being so close.

On Tuesday, we drove into Portland to see Joel's new grandson and his daughter and son.  The hospital was releasing Jennie, so we transported all of the baby stuff to Jennie's apartment.  Things have sure changed since I had children.  I remember being released with baby in arms and a diaper bag and had to be wheeled out in a wheel chair per hospital regulations.  Now days, baby has to be in an approved car seat and mom can walk out.  Joel's comment was "kids are sure expensive these days with all of the stuff".

We spent the day visiting as it may be sometime before Joel gets back to Portland.   Tomorrow (Wednesday) we head for Bend, and probably back in smokey territory.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Meet Ethan..

Joel would like to introduce you to Ethan.  Yep, Joel is a new grandpa...

Ethan was born September 15 and arrived in a tiny package of 4 pounds 14 oz, by C section.  Mom is doing well, and we hope to visit her and baby Ethan in Portland on Tuesday or Wednesday on our way south.

 Isn't it amazing to have all this technology and instant communication!  I remember when my youngest son was born (1976) and my parents were on vacation on a cruise and I had to send them a telegraph announcing the birth of their new grandchild and they had to wait two weeks before they could see their new grandson. Wow, have times changed!