Heading North to Alaska (finally)

After two long years of waiting, we are finally making our way to Alaska! We left Arizona at the end of April, and have been slowly making our way north to the border. We will be meeting up with our friends Al and Karen on Sunday in Shelby, Montana, and plan on crossing into Alberta Canada on Tuesday, May 17th. We will be stopping in High River for a few days, and meeting up with Don and Kathy, our “neighbors” in Yuma.

In a matter of days, we went from the mid 90’s in Arizona, to our first winter weather advisory! It was actually enjoyable to finally get out of the heat.

Now we are getting pounded by the wind in Shelby. The motorhome has a full wall slide with a slide topper. After listening to it get battered around for an hour, we decided to put the slide in for the day. Definitely not a day to be driving an RV.

We had a nice winter in Yuma. Dan’s parents were able to rent a park model in our RV park for two months. Dan’s brother Gary and his wife Julia were also able to fly down for a visit, along with their daughter Jasmine, who lives in Arizona. Makena was even allowed to visit in the park model. Everyone looks so excited!

Dan’s mom Joan loves to line dance, and they have classes two days a week in the park. The line dancers also participated in the park’s Mardi Gras parade, and Joan donned her mask to dance along the streets!

Our friend Ellen (who is behind Joan in the picture above holding the Red Hat ladies banner) turned the big 70 this March, so we had her and Tom over to celebrate! Ellen loves her cannoli’s!

Happy 70th!

We had a few outings/meals/card days at Dave and Marilyn’s house. Marilyn decided it was time to bust out a giant bottle of wine that she had stored in their garage for the past 6 years. Nothing like 110 degree summers to properly “age” the wine!! The cork disintegrated as Dan tried to get it out. As you can expect, it was not the best testing wine! It was only fitting we used dixie cups for our tasting!

We had a nice surprise visit from our friend Judy. She has recently retired and decided to escape the weather in Wisconsin and visit some friends of hers in Sun City. They all made the trek out to Yuma for the day. These ladies enjoy golfing, and making “sand angels” in the sand traps on golf courses! Avid blog reader Keith promised to be with Judy the next time they visit!

Jasmine turned the big 30 in April, and her mom Julia, and sisters Brooke and Carmen flew down to help her celebrate. We were able to meet up with them for brunch, followed by an afternoon at a nearby park, where we attempted to play pickleball on the tennis court.

Carmen (mom to be), Julia, Jasmine, Brooke and I
Pickleball in sandals

This is our ninth year of full-time RV’ing, and this will be our first summer where we will not be working. It’s time to play tourist! For us, the price of gas has dropped about 50 cents per gallon since we left Arizona. Depending on what day it is, it’s either going up, or going back down. There’s nothing we can do about it, and we have waited two years for this trip. I plan on keeping track of all our expenses once we cross into Canada. Karen has done an excellent job planning our route, and we have booked almost all of our campgrounds already. We have a few flexible days in Canada on the way to Alaska.

Canada has an app, ArriveCan, that you have to complete before you cross the border. We have entered as much information ahead of time (passport and vaccine information), and then you have to complete the rest of the information 72 hours ahead of your arrival. So we will finish that up Sunday. From what we have heard so far, this app makes crossing the border a lot more efficient, because they will have all your information on file, and won’t have to enter the data as you cross. We shall find out on Tuesday how well it works for us.

INSTAGRAM

I have been looking into setting up an Instagram account for our travels. I think it will make it much easier to post updates than blogging. IG allows you to post up to 10 photos, and that’s what most people like to look at anyway. If I do set up an account, I will just post links on this blog, to each post that I do on Instagram. I’m not sure how much internet/cell service we will be getting in Canada and Alaska.

Back in 2014 when we were working at Crazy Horse, I recall talking with one of the college students working there for the summer. When I mentioned that I had a blog, she said “that’s old school, why don’t you do Instagram?!” Well, 8 years later, I guess I’m getting up to date with technology! I will let you know when I get that set up. I noticed they have Instagram for beginners videos on You Tube, so I will be watching a few of them!

Let’s get this long awaited journey started!

Quote of the Day: “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before” – Dalai Lama

Oops She Did It Again!!!

This is an unauthorized blog post from Dan.  Makena and Jonell are the normal posters, but this good news needed to be shared.

Jonell made two hole-in-ones at the Westwind Golf Course in Yuma, Arizona.  Her first ace was on hole #6 at the beginning of February and her second occurred last week on the same hole. Wow!! That’s two hole-in-ones within one month of each other. Way to go Jonell!!! 😀🏌️‍♀️⛳️

Here are some photos showcasing this tremendous accomplishment!! 

Awesome job Jonell!! Good luck as you shoot for your third ace!!!


Quote of the day:  All my life I have been trying to get a hole-in-one. The closest I’ve come is a bogey.  Lou Holtz

Happy tails from Yuma

Hello everyone, it’s me, Makena, your favorite dog blogger!

Keeping my peeps informed!

I’ve had a pretty busy social schedule these past few months, so let’s get caught up! First up was meeting my new cousin, Winnifred. She was a little too wild for me, so I let my other cousin Reagan keep her busy while I watched from a safe distance.

Winnie and Reagan sharing a bone

I stayed safely behind the pet gates that are in place at Aunt Madge’s and Uncle Pudge’s house to keep their cats safe from the dogs. Given my petite figure, I can fit through the gates, but the dogs can’t. Winnie couldn’t figure this out!

When it was time for my 5:00 pm canned food time, my mom kept my plate in the dining room. The other dogs were not happy watching me eat. Yes, I can be a “big tease!”

My parents went to visit their friends Dave and Angie (with a surprise visit by Jeanine!), but they decided to leave me home. Usually I tag along as Angie always has good dog treats, but after the weekend with my cousins, they decided more “dog time” might overwhelm me. No one will ever break into their house, as they have their own triple alarm system! Angie did give my mom a special treat bag to take home for me, much to the dismay of her own dogs. Thanks Angie for the chicken treats. They were stinky and delicious!

Three dog night

After we left Wisconsin, we visited with Aunt LuAnn in Texas. There was no escaping her animal kingdom. Three dogs, two cats and a guinea pig! I enjoyed walking in the woods, at the appropriate social distance, with my cousins, and a friends dog.

I even stopped and posed for a photo, but the big dogs crowded me out (actually, I’m just hiding in the back on my new purple leash).

I was trying to hide from my cousins at Aunt LuAnn’s house, and ran into the closet to escape. Only to run into one of the cats, doing the same thing. The cat was not too happy to see me.

Hello kitty!

The other cat seemed to like me, and wanted to sniff my face, not my butt like the dogs do.

And speaking of butt sniffing, my aunt had a pet carrier that she thought I would like. All her dogs have outgrown it. My mom and I tried it out, and I liked it at first.

But it didn’t prevent the dogs from sniffing…sigh.

ugh

I really wasn’t sure what to do with the guinea pig. I just ducked down and hoped it didn’t see me.

We are back in Yuma, Arizona this winter. I’m enjoying the warm weather and sunshine. Occasionally strange people knock on our door and drop off packages. I always make sure to inspect each box, in case there is a treat or two inside!

After a two year absence, I am happy to see my Canadian friend, Buddy, back here in Yuma! My parents said we will stop and visit with him on the way to Alaska in May. Yay!

Buddy and I

Well that gets you caught up with me! I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy! Take care everyone!

Quote of the day: “Everyone thinks they have the best dog. And none of them are wrong.” – W. R. Purche

Getting caught up with our latest travels

Goodbye Wyoming

After six years of work camping at Luton’s Teton Cabins, we left for the final time on October 10th. Our goal was to stay ahead of the snow as we made our way back to Wisconsin, where we hoped to stay until the first week of December. We are the little blue dot on the lower right of the weather radar image below. We did manage to stay ahead of the snow, but eventually the cold weather caught up with us in Wisconsin, so we left earlier than we wanted. We are currently in Arizona, and should arrive in Yuma on Sunday December 5th, the day we were hoping to leave Wisconsin.

Minnesota

We stopped for a few days in Minnesota to visit Dan’s brother, Gary and his wife Julia. They had a few trees come down in their driveway this past year, so we were actually able to park in their driveway, which worked out quite well for us. We had a nice time visiting with them, as well as seeing their daughter Carmen, Luke and kids. And we had a surprise visit from Aunt Sue. It’s nice to be able to start seeing people again.

One highlight of our visit was attending the University of Minnesota men’s hockey game against St. Cloud State. It was my very first college hockey game, and despite the Gophers losing, a good time was had by all.

It was also the first time I had seen cheerleaders on skates!

Prior to the game, we walked around the arena where Dan and Gary found several team photos from when their dad played hockey at the University.

Stu is #10 in the back row on the right.

Wisconsin

We headed on over to Dan’s sisters house (Linda and Doug’s “Camp Meyer”) and spent a few weeks there, as our main base. From there we were able to see Kami and Kyle’s families and make a few short trips to Dan’s parents in Oconto Falls. We did make a few quick trips down to the Milwaukee area to visit with some friends and family, but simply did not have enough time to see everyone that we wanted, as the weather quickly turned unseasonably cold, with lows in the 20’s.

I did manage to have some puppy time with my sister’s new German Shorthair Pointer, Winnie! She’s been busy tormenting her “big sister” Reagan.

For many years, my sister Margie and I did a Christmas cookie “Bake-a-thon,” where we spent an entire weekend making over a dozen different varieties of cookies (usually double and triple batches), to be given out as gifts. It was always a fun, but exhausting weekend. Since Dan and I have been on the road since 2013, we have not been able to get together to do this.

This year we did manage to do a scaled down version of our cookie baking. It was much easier just making single batches of a few cookies! Reagan decided to play the role of the chief cookie inspector (she has a bit of a guilty look, not sure if she snuck a cookie off the table!)

TEXAS

Our plans to stick around for Thanksgiving did not work, so we headed South to Texas to have Thanksgiving with my sister LuAnn. She was very excited to receive a box of freshly baked cookies! (it’s the state of Wisconsin – she has it sideways!)

After a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at friends of LuAnn’s, we did manage to do some hiking to work off all the turkey! Makena did go along on the hike – she’s just hiding behind all the big dogs (she plans on blogging soon!)

ARIZONA

As stated above, we should arrive in Yuma on Sunday, where we plan on staying for the next four months. We are currently in Tucson, to give Makena a break from all the travel in the past two weeks. Being in her kennel several hours a day, day after day, seemed to bother her this time. So we decided to just stay home for a few days, and she is already feeling better. The sunshine and warm temperatures have helped us all.

Quote for the day: “It’s all about the quality of life and finding a happy balance between work and friends and family.” – Philip Green

More visitors and moving on

We finally left the 48th state (Arizona) in April and made our way up to Wyoming for the summer to work.  But not before our friends from Yuma, Dave and Marilyn, stopped in for a quick visit.  Thanks to a tip from Jack and Ruth Ann, the four of us took a very scenic, but winding road over to Tortilla Flats, Arizona, population 6!  The town was originally a stage coach stop in 1904.  Now it is a fun little tourist town.  And I do mean little, as this is the entire town:

img_3577

The original school in Tortilla Flats.

We did stop in for a cold beverage and lunch at the saloon, which had saddles as the bar stools.

Cheers from Marilyn!

And I was immediately drawn to (or suckered) into this sign:

The next day the four of us ventured out to Airbase Arizona, Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa, Arizona. I will do a separate blog post on that, as it’s hard to just select a few photos for this post.

After leaving Arizona, we headed back to Transwest Truck Trailer RV in Frederick, Colorado, for some quick service work on our motorhome. The motorized front shade/visor had been giving us problems for the past several months. We have talked with both Newmar and the manufacturer of the shade, AutoMotion, but neither could come up with a solution. Newmar did send us a remote, so we could manually raise and lower the shade. Since it was still under warranty, we wanted this fixed.

I also was doing laundry in our motorhome when I heard water running. It’s never a good thing to hear water running when you are in an RV! The hot water valve going into the washer did not shut off at the end of the cycle, and water was spurting out the back. Fortunately, the washer sits on a pan, which caught the excess water. This could have been a lot worse! We did try to take the washer out to look at the back, but this unit is bolted down so well it wouldn’t budge if an earthquake struck. Dan called Transwest and asked if they would look at it, and since it is a Splendide, they said they could. Apparently they will not service other brands of washers.

Newmar agreed to overnight parts to Transwest since we had made them aware of our issues. The motor on the shade was replaced (and works perfectly now) and the intake valve on the back of the washer was replaced. It took the technician four hours to get the washer out of, and back into the closet. We e-mailed Newmar and suggested they put in an access panel in the closet, so you can reach the back of the washer/dryer. Hopefully we will not have any more issues with that, as the bulk of the repair bill is just getting access to the machine. But everything was covered under warranty, and we were soon on our way to Wyoming.

As we were driving up I-25 into Wyoming, a truck passed us and blew a tire. We knew we couldn’t escape the flying debris, and pulled into the next rest area to check for damage. Oddly, our exhaust pipe was the only thing damaged. We felt we really caught a break.

What you can’t tell from the picture above is how close to the ground the pipe is. We started calling Ford dealers and RV dealers in Wyoming to see if we could get this repaired before the muffler hit the ground or the tire. The Ford dealers said they were too small to fit an RV into their shop, and the RV dealers were unable to get us in. One dealer recommended calling Central Truck and Diesel in Casper. Dan called and explained our situation, and they said to “come on in.” They said they could order a new tip, but it would be several days before the part arrived, or they could just bang it out and reweld it on. We opted for the latter. It took the service technician three hours to repair, and then we were on our way.

We finally made it to Luton’s Teton Cabins at 8 pm, and got up and started work the next day. This is our sixth summer now (and hopefully last, as we really want to go to Alaska!) It’s going to be a super busy summer, as we are booked solid at the cabins.

Quote of the Day: “The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at and repair.” – Douglas Adams