Where are Kim and Chris?

What have theses two been up to?

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Quartzsite Arizona and Southern California

After leaving Lajitas we made a beeline to Quartzsite Arizona and the Grand Design Rally. We did 877 miles in 2 days with a big grocery shopping thrown in for good measure, a bit frenetic to say the least. This destination would prove to accomplish 2 “firsts”. This would be our first “rally” of any kind and our first trip to the infamous Quartzsite. We have heard a great deal about the desert community that evolves every winter in this area and knew one day we would check it out. The rally being here and the timing just made sense!

Well, what is Quartzsite you ask… It is a town off I-10 that resembles the worlds largest swap meet… Lots of dust, people, and markets… You can buy anything from bamboo socks you can wear for 4 days before they smell (yuck), discount groceries out of bins in a tent, a beer at the “adult day care”…(Outside bar), or a new or used RV… For many RVer’s the draw is all the free camping on the surrounding Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. There are RV’s everywhere… And I guess nowhere…

 

 

We camped with about 70 other Grand Design owners about 5 miles from town. In my mind a rally should be more informative and provide opportunities to learn and share about whatever you are “rallying” about, this one did not fit that bill… However the rally experience was a good one and we met lots of nice people. The weather was unfortunate and the cold and rain may have put a damper on some social activities. We did enjoy a ginormous pot luck, group campfires, and of course the corn dog guy. Yes, up until that day Chris and I were corn dog virgins! They were actually very good!

We had planned to stay in Quartzsite longer but, wait for it… The weather stunk! We decided to head further west to Southern California. It had been almost a year since visiting mom and Chris. Our last visit was not the best, having been drawn together due to my uncle Gary’s passing (moms brother).

Big Horn Sheep keeping an eye on us
Overlooking Lake Cuhuilla

 

We found a county recreation area with a campground about 45 minutes from moms house. We thought this would be a good central location for visiting family and friends and also doing a little sightseeing. While there we took a few short hikes in the surrounding mountains and look what we found… or did they find us…

 

 

 

Originally we were only going to stay for 4 nights but we needed more time for visiting, business stuff, and some fun. As luck would have it our house finally closed! On January 31st, 2017 we became homeless. Ok, not homeless but stick and brick homeless. It is very surreal… Not sure if it will really sink in until we head home and don’t have one to pull into… Very excited about having no strings attached!

 

 

 

 

While in town we went to visit John, a long time family friend. He and my uncle were very close for many years. He is now the papa to my uncles two Bijon Frise doggies, Desi and Lucy. The girls enjoyed hanging with their cousins (so corny).

Mom and I enjoyed some time just hanging. We always like to walk at 1000 Palms preserve!

 

Mom and Chris (yes, her husbands name is Chris too…) came out to the campground a few times and Chris and I enjoyed strolling around the lake with them. We also made some very yummy meals…Yes, I do say so myself!

 

 

San Jacinto at sunset from Mom’s backyard

 

It is always nice to visit at mom and Chris’s house too! There are some awesome views, this was a particularly stormy night…

 

 

 

 

 

We were able to fit in two motorcycle days. The first day we headed toward Borrego Springs, a town in the middle of nowhere. After fighting horrible winds and some pretty chilly temperatures we were pleasantly surprised by what we saw! Chris had read an article in one of his motorcycle magazines about some interesting statues in the desert which immediately became a must see for us. Galetta Meadows statues are the “gifts of visionary town benefactor Dennis Avery and the craft of sculptor Ricardo Breceda“.  It was a great afternoon driving around checking out all the sculptures and posing! A must see if you are in this area!

 

 

A second day we just headed up into the San Jacinto mountains… Route 74 is a great scenic ride. Not for the faint of heart but another must see/do in the area. We had tea and coffee in Idyllwild, a funky little town way up in the mountains. There was actually plowable snow up there!

 

 

 

One day we got real thirsty at Costco and decided to stop into the La Quinta Brewery.  They had a few good beers of there own but we really liked the Firestone Walker guest taps!

 

 

 

 

Overnight Quartzsite campsite, not bad for free.

All good things must come to an end… We left Southern California Wednesday February 1st, officially nomads! We decided to holdover in Quartzsite one night before heading into the Phoenix area and the Superstition Mountains! This visit was much quieter… No rally, no RV show… Amazing what kind of real estate you can get for free

Oh yeah… Picking up Chris’s new toy tomorrow… He is the proud owner of a 2017 Husqvarna 701 Enduro. He is a happy camper… Pun intended!



Home Again… Lajitas

Typical Lajitas Sunset
North Mesa…

Well, after fighting some weather in the Texas Hill country we decided to head home. Our Texas home that is… Lajitas. It really does feel like home. As we have been here so many times it almost seems superfluous to post. Much of what we do and see we have done here before. Each time however we may see a little something extra or meet a new face or two. We had a great month… Really flew by… it was hard to leave as there is just always something fun to do and somebody fun to do things with.

 

 

 

 

Riding with Robin and John
Off to see Kim and Bill’s Property on the Ranch

 

Chris and I managed a few motorcycle rides… Some with friends…

 

 

 

 

 

Chris and Chris
Never a bad view…

 

Some Chris went alone or with the guys…

 

 

 

 

 

South Mesa to Fresno Overlook

 

Yikes…

We hiked a few of our favorite trails around the campground…

 

 

 

 

 

Old General Store in the Middle of Nowhere
Wow…

 

We even explored a few new ones that were off the beaten path.

and Wow…
Magic Mushroom

 

South Rim
Christmas View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Day we hiked the South Rim Loop in the Chisos! Awesome way to spend Christmas! Even better to end our day having Christmas dinner with Larry and Polly at the Chisos restaurant!

 

 

Happy New Year!
Texas New Year with my Honey

 

 

 

We hung with the regular gang and met some new friends. New Year’s Eve brought us all together, old and new… Thanks to CeCe and Tex for opening their house once again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresno…
The Girls…

I managed to fit in a few hikes with the girls…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the workout gang…

 

I worked out almost every morning at the clubhouse. Thanks Eileen for your aerobics classes, Lee Ann for sharing your tapes, and everyone else for joining me in some PiYo! Gonna try and keep it up this time.

 

 

 

 

So many friends!

 

Broke lots of bread and happy houred with many friends… Enjoyed several football games at Casa De Vistas… Always too much food, drink and fun! Then there was Mexican Train… I think the ladies are on top!

 

 

 

 

Yay Gloria!

 

We cheered Gloria as she finished her 30k race through Big Bend Ranch State Park…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazing how fast the time went… We have a list of things we just didn’t get to. No worries as there always will be a next time! Time to head out for some new adventures for awhile… Heading to Quartsite Arizona for a Grand Design Rally! Then who knows…



Exploring Hill Country…

From Natchez it was a quick trip to New Orleans. We were feeling the need for some oysters! We have been enjoying the freedom to move around more frequently without worry of rig size when we land somewhere. The truck camper is very convenient for this kind of travel. The downfall we are finding is comfort. The weather hasn’t been great and there is limited space and limited comfy choices on those dreary days and cold evenings… The fact that it gets dark by 5 has also been a limiting factor. Complaining aside…everyday is Saturday!

Having been in New Orleans several times we didn’t have the same NOLA bucket list or need to be in the city all the time. We were excited to scope out some of the surrounding bayou areas, eat some seafood, and get out on the motorcycles. We stayed in Bayou Segnette State Park about 20 minutes south of New Orleans.

Right next to our campground was an open air seafood market. Unfortunately we didn’t capture the market or our fishy purchases on camera… Oops… However we had some fun with it… First night… We bought oysters and trout… Fried oysters and broiled trout for dinner, Yum! Another night we did alligator sausage and gulf shrimp 2 ways.

We spent one day in the Garden District…

 

 

 

 

Another taking in the sights and sounds of the French Quarter… Never disappoints… Interesting people watching, artwork, music, and of course food! Would have liked to stay and play there a bit more but we had doubled up on Chris’s motorcycle because the dually is no fun in a big city… Safety first! Party in the quarter next visit.

 

 

 

We happened upon the Barataria Preserve, one of 6 sections in the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve , while exploring south of the city. Interesting geographic history…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we hiked several of the trails and spotted a couple of interesting creatures along the way… According to a fellow hiker, the snake is a black moccasin (don’t think so, but makes a good storyline!) very poisonous water snake… The spider, well we just thought he was cool!

 

 

 

 

This area was not conducive to motorcycling as it was either very congested or flat and boring… We took one ride that ended with a stop at a farm market… (I had to go potty… who woulda thunk that?) We grabbed some creole tomatoes, sweet potatoes and boudin for dinner! Love trying the local foods! All in all a good stay but ready to move on.

 

 

Working our way toward Texas, we stopped in Abbeville, a historic little town on the gulf. Rumor has it that due to the uncomfortable living conditions… heat, humidity, and swamps… it was where the original Cajun people settled since nobody else wanted the land… Having heard the restaurant up the road was outstanding, we walked from our campground to “Shucks” for dinner (pun intended apparently, lots of oysters on the menu!). We were still craving seafood and knew we wouldn’t get much of that in Texas… Wow, great night! One of the owners, David, chatted us up the whole time and told us what to try while giving us several free samples. We filled up without even trying some of our original choices. It was so good we stayed a bit later the next day and hit Shucks again for lunch on our way out!

 

Next stop Lake Livingston State Park. This would be our second time here and it turned out to be a very different experience. The weather was a bit better so we got out to explore more of the park than the last time. The girls were happy to run around a bit.

 

 

Well, as stated earlier in the post… With the weather, early darkness, and terrain, the truck camper wasn’t doing it for us. It was time to get the big rig… We spent several days switching out the campers and also fitting in a visit with the Schmidts! We got to see their new house outside of Fort Worth. Always a great time with that family!

Thankfully everything went smoothly with the camper switch and the Grand Design seemed to be as we left her, ready to roll! Sooooo nice to have all the space. Good thing too since it has basically been cold, gray and rainy since we hit Texas.

 

We pulled out of Texas Station in Gatesville, our storage place, on Tuesday December 6th. First stop Blanco Texas in Hill Country. Figured it was a good central location to hit a few breweries, state parks, and take the truck in for some warranty work. Have to love our yellow loaner! Notice the neighbor has a Grand Design Momentum too!

 

 

The weather in Blanco was cold and gray and I have been fighting a cold… we still managed to get out a bit… Oh no… limited choices due to weather…we had to go to some local breweries…We hit Real Brewery with our Momentum neighbor Gil.

 

 

 

We also stopped in for a tasting at Middleton Brewery… Belgian style!

 

 

 

 

Can’t say things have been super eventful but we know it is coming!

So excited… Mark and Sally, friends from NY have caught up with us and are spending a few days here in Blanco. We had a fun day at Perdernales Falls State Park where everyone got to stretch their legs a bit. Dinner at Old 300 in Blanco was also a fun time!

 

We all decided to leave the RV park we were in and head for a nicer location for a variety of reasons… We had a short ride to Inks Lake State Park in Buchanan Dam Texas. It was a much nicer place to call home for a while. We had awesome sites right on the lake with lots of real estate!

From Inks Lake we did several day trips. The sun didn’t want to come out but that didn’t stop us!

 

First day was Enchanted Rocks State Park, one park we have wanted to see for a few years! Mark, Sally and Molly (their black lab) joined us for a bit then we split up to do some exploring on our own.

 

 

 

 

We enjoyed a 5 mile loop trail around the “Enchanted Rock” and had some fun taking pictures. We planned on doing the summit trail afterward (no dogs allowed) but Chris was breaking in new boots and some blisters got the best of him… next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day was… wait for it… yup… cold, gray, and drizzly. No problem, the perfect day to explore Longhorn Caverns State Park.  Chris and I had done the tour before but thought Mark and Sally would enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark was a bit apprehensive at first since he had never done a cave tour but a good time was had by all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris and I had one more State Park we wanted to check out in the area.  Finally a nice day with sunshine and reasonable temperatures! Colorado Bend State Park is a bit off the beaten path but it was worth the hour and a quarter drive.  We did about 5 miles of trail… The Tie Slide Trail to a nice overlook of the Colorado River and the Gorman Falls Trail which led to a very cool waterfall.  The waterfall was a cascade of solidified limestone drips covered in moss… Hard to capture but very interesting in person.

 

Well, our plan to move on and try and find some warmer and sunnier weather was delayed a day due to the return of the polar vortex. Temps dropped from 80 degrees and sunny at 4 pm yesterday to 35 and windy at 7 pm. We woke up to 20! Heading out tomorrow…We will miss Mark and Sally but we are looking forward to visiting our Big Bend Friends! Off to Lajitas, home away from home!



Full Timing… On the Road for Good!

Wow, it has been a long road to get where we are today… the idea of full timing came to us during our 2008-2009 epic adventure (see Blog 1 using the links above). We put the wheels in motion (pun intended) in 2012 with several false starts (Blog 2 above)… So excited to finally be starting what we set out to do 4 years ago.

We left Rochester on Wednesday November 16th. Quite a bit later than expected but hopefully worth it! Thinking the house is finally sold! Waiting on a closing date but feeling confident we are embarking on a new era.

Leaving town later than expected… the weather was of course a challenge. Each day we have adjusted our route based on weather reports. We are currently traveling in the truck camper with the cargo trailer so travel is pretty easy. Being lean and mean we can make last minute decisions on where to go.

Our first night we made it just north of Columbus OH. We decided to stop relatively early and pulled into Mt Gilead State Park around 5. We were pooped and glad to find a northern state park actually still open. It has been a long week both emotionally and physically.

From there we continued our journey Southwest, still without a real plan other than to stay in warm/sunny weather… It was a beautiful day, 70 and sunny. The weather guessers said the next day was supposed to be the same. We asked ourselves “why are we rushing south?”. So, thanks to modern technology, we found General Butler State Park in Kentucky. We were set up by 2 and took a really nice 5 mile walk/hike around the park. I don’t know who was happier to get out and stretch their legs… us or the girls…

This stop was the perfect distance from Mammoth Cave National Park. We actually visited Mammoth once before. It was the first National Park we stopped at the year we took off from work to tour the country (2008-2009). I hadn’t yet started collecting hiking pins so my collection was lacking. We had to stop!

We arrived about 12:30, got tickets for a cave tour that was added for Saturday AM, yay! We also got the last spot in a Passport campground just outside of the NP. We needed full hook ups since the temperature was dropping drastically Saturday night. Totally excited at our luck!

 

Green River Ferry
Green River Ferry
Big Hollow Trail North
Big Hollow Trail North

We wanted to take advantage of the last day in the 70’s for a bit so we set out to earn that hiking pin. Amazing how “Krimbo” takes over… We both picked the Big Hollow North Trail… What we didn’t realize was that we had to take a very small ferry to get there. We were loaded with the truck, camper, and trailer… it was a bit daunting but we made it. Thankfully the ranger who manned the ferry didn’t share the horror stories until the ride back. Apparently they have “lost” a few vehicles and people… yes a few deaths by drowning… what???? All ended well and it was a great loop on a perfect day. The girls enjoyed the 7.5 mile jaunt in the woods as did we! We are really loving the mobility with the small rig set up. We pack up, drive a few hours, then enjoy where we get to for a few hours! Nice!

Saturday morning we rushed around a bit to make our 9:30 cave tour. It was good but…the crowds and rude people have a way of diminishing the experience… Great stop overall and on the road by 12:30.

Crazy wind and a bit tired since Nali woke us up at 5:30… She doesn’t get the time changes… We decided to call it a day early. Within 5 minutes of deciding to stop, we found a Passport Park just off the road in Tennessee. Nice relaxing evening, a few maintenance items and on the road again the next day!

Sunday we enjoyed a slow AM and short ride to Tunica MS where we holed up at Samstown Casino for the night. Chris needed to get some TV time and watched NASCAR and football. The evening found us gambling, cocktailing and eating dinner in the Casino but we will not chalk it up as one of our better casino experiences. We actually requested our money back for the buffet when we found nothing that we could eat… nothing that looked like it was made in the last century actually…

The Mississippi
The Mississippi
The King's Tavern building 1769, the oldest structure in Natchez
The King’s Tavern building 1769, the oldest structure in Natchez

Our last stop for the week was in Natchez Mississippi, the oldest settlement on the Mississippi, celebrating its 300 year anniversary in 2016. Natchez was first inhabited by the Natchez Indians, then African, French, British and Spanish settlers.

Many of the original buildings have been preserved and there are several historic trails throughout the city with grand examples of the historical architecture. We had a blast trekking around reading the interpretive signs strategically placed by important places. There are numerous Antebellum Homes that can be toured, maybe one day…a bit pricey for our taste.

Mount Locust Inn and Plantation
Mount Locust Inn and Plantation

We ended our day taking a short motorcycle ride up the Natchez Trace. The city of Natchez is the south terminus of the Historic Natchez Trace. We visited The Emerald Mound, an old Indian ceremonial “mound” and one of the largest examples of such. We didn’t take a picture cuz, well, it was just a big mound of grass covered dirt… You will have to use your imagination! We also stopped at the Mount Locust Inn and Plantation, considered to some, one of the most historically significant places in the South. This Inn dated back to the late 1700’s with 5 generations of the family living there until 1944. Interesting!

 

Tomorrow you will find us in New Orleans… Gonna lay low for a few days and enjoy the warm weather!




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