Saturday, May 4, 2024

Headed to the Maritimes


Well we're back on the road.   We've actually been on the move for a bit over 2 weeks now and I'm just starting to get caught up with putting a post together.

We are using Starlink for our internet needs and it is working perfectly.   I have not had to activate my Dish service since we can stream everything no problem.    I have the Starlink antenna mounted on a pole on the back of the Bus that I take down when we move.   I've got it down to about 5 minutes so its not a bit deal at all

As I mentioned earlier, after a short couple of weeks at the house in Tucson, we are now headed to the Canadian Maritimes for the summer.    We are taking our sweet time and wont be in Nova Scotia till June 12 where we will meet up with friends Pat & Rob who will then travel with us thru September.

We left the shack on April 18.   We spent the night in Las Cruces, NM then moved on to Santa Fe, NM for two nights, and our next after that was Denver, Colorado for 5 nights where we pick up this post.

The Map below shows our travels thru today.   We are currently in Omaha, Nebraska.

Trip Map - Tucson to Omaha

Our stay in Denver was at Cherry Creek State Park.    It's a conveniently located park with good access to Denver and the surrounds.   Full-hook ups complete the picture.

Cherry Creek State Park Site # 39

A nice backyard.    The weather has been cooperating with us to date.

You can see our starlink antenna on the back of the bus.

Cherry Creek State Park Site # 39

While in Denver I had some business to attend too.   One important stop was to the facility where I have our wine collection stored.   Its been a while and I needed to take inventory.    We pulled out all the cases from the locker, opened, counted, recorded, and then sealed the boxed back up.

Wine in Storage

Wine Storage Locker

Vino Vault Wine Storage in Denver

Since the wine is being stored at 55° it was a comfortable environment to move all the cases around.
The final tally was 176 bottles.   Most of it now is the extra good collectable stuff.

Every stop in Denver includes a day or two visit with my buddy Frank.    He and I go back about 50 years to our days working in an Electric Generating Station in NJ.

Golden Colorado

One day we took a stroll up along the side of Clear Creek in Golden, Co.    Back in the day Frank & I used to take truck inner tubes further up stream and ride the summer runoff down the rapids.   In retrospect its kind of amazing that we survived.    The water was ice cold since it was most likely snow about 20 minutes earlier.

Clear Creek Golden Co

Our time in Denver passed quickly and we were off to our next stop for 2 nights.   The Cabellas store in Sidney, Nebraska.   It was only about 3 hrs from Denver.    There were forecasts for bad thunderstorms and tornados further east so this was a great place to hole up for a couple of days.    Our decision to stay here was a good one as eastern Nebraska was pounded by tornados for the 2 days that we were here.

Cabellas RV Pk Sidney, Ne

Cabellas RV Pk Sidney, Ne

Saturday a cold front came thru with big T-storms and rain.    

Cabellas RV Pk Sidney, Ne

The Sidney store is Cabellas first, and flagship store.   They have a huge stuffed animal exhibit when you walk in.   Like Noahs Ark, I think there must be just about 2 of every animal on the planet.

Cabellas Flagship Store - Sidney, Ne

Cabellas Flagship Store - Sidney, Ne

Sunday morning we woke up to some light snow, but the temps were mid 30's so nothing was sticking to the roads.   The forcast further east was looking better for a few days so we decided to move on.

Our next stop was just outside of Lincoln, Ne (where the tornados were just 2 days ago) - at the Branched Oak State Recreation Area.    We stayed at the South Campground in site #80.    It was an electric only (50a) site but IMO it was the best one in the campground with water on just about 3 sides.

Branched Oak SRA Site 80

Laying in bed in the morning I was treated to a nice sunrise.    But red sky in morning says sailors take warning...

An hour later some T-Storms passed just to the north and south of us.

One afternoon we packed up the hounds and went into downtown Lincoln to the section of townb known as the haymarket.   Once a thriving haymarket (hence the name) it's now loaded with restaurants and brew pubs.     We walked around taking in the sights and picked a place for lunch on thier outdoor patio.

Haymarket District, Lincoln, Ne

Haymarket District, Lincoln, Ne

The train station has been moved a couple of blocks and this steam engine remains at the site of the old station.

Haymarket District, Lincoln, Ne

While in Lincoln, we had several nights of heavy storms and rain.   Nothing too severe just lots of wind and big boomers.   Fortunately the dogs do not seem to mind it and sleep right thru it.

On Thursday we pulled up stakes and moved a whopping 50 miles or so further east to Omaha, Nebraska.  Our destination was Lake Cunningham Park.   Its a city park campground run by the city of Omaha.   Its a very nice place with full hookups.    We are in site 60.

Lake Cunningham City Campground Omaha, Ne

A view of our site from the northern campground.

Lake Cunningham City Campground Omaha, Ne

An arm of the lake runs up behind our site.

Lake Cunningham City Campground Omaha, Ne

While here I wanted to take Kate to Boys Town.   I had visited here with my family when I was a kid - probably 55+ years ago.

Boys Town Omaha, Ne

For those of you who are not familiar with Boys town the link above tells more about it and the sign below gives a real brief synopsis.

Boys Town Omaha, Ne

Father Flannagan, an Irish Immigrant first founded a home for men trying to get them off of the sauce.   A common theme told to him by the men in his care was that he was too late and should have been around when they were kids.   It was this that gave him the inspiration to open a home for young boys.

Construction of The Dowd Chapel in Boys town was financed in full by Mary Dowd, a prominent Irish Catholic woman from New York after she saw the 1938 film about Boys Town that starred Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney.   

Boys Town Omaha, Ne

Unfortunately the chapel was locked and we were unable to go inside to see it.

Boys Town Omaha, Ne

"He ain't heavy, he's my brother" symbolizes the spirit of boys town.

Boys Town Omaha, Ne

We did get to tour Father Flanagan's house and were treated to a guided tour.

Boys Town Omaha, Ne

Fr Flanagan's House - Living Room

Fr Flanagan's House - Kitchen

Fr Flanagan's Desk

The pictures of the desk absolutely do not do it justice!

Over 250,000 inlaid pieces of wood make up the designs.   Many of the pieces are so small yet all of them fit together perfectly

Boys Town Omaha, Ne

The intricate designs and craftsmanship by the boys who built this over 3 years was absolutely amazing.

Boys Town Omaha, Ne

Last night another cold front came thru ushering by more thunderstorms, wind, and heavy rain.   
Today - our last day here is cool and clear.    Tomorrow we move about 313 miles across Iowa to a County Park just north of Davenport, Iowa.

Perhaps it's time I let the girls drive the bus. 

Girls gone wild - Party Bus Edition

They really have this travel thing down.   I guess its normal life for them since they've pretty much been doing it for the entirety of their short lives.     Annie is now about 14 mos and Phoebe is 10 mos and they've traveled all of it except for a couple of months.

Well that's pretty much up to date.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Winter 2024

 We've been back on the road for the past month doing our usual wintertime activities.  

Quartzsite, Yuma, and parts inbetween have been our ports of call.    We did have a big wrench thrown into the works that delayed our departure by about 3 weeks.

Annie & Phoebe early Christmas Eve

It all began on Christmas Eve.   I was working in the kitchen and carrying something, so my vision was blocked and I stepped on Phoebes leg breaking it.

Floki with her cast and the cone of shame

A trip to the vet confirmed the break.   It was a clean break and the prognosis was good but she would be in a cast for 5 weeks.   Each week we had to go back to the vet to have it changed since she is a growing pup.

Floke sports her dognut

Our job for those 5 weeks was to keep Phoebe from getting too active.   A tall order for a 7 month old!
We set up a pen in the living room where she was kept while we were not able to directly supervise her.

We spent quite a bit of time with her in our lap keeping her calm.   The vet gave us a supply of "doggy downers" to help take some of the wind out of her sails.

She never really bothered her cast so we got rid of the cone of shame and only put an inflatable dognut on her head when we tucked her in at night.

The doggy ICU

Annie seemed to realize that Phoebe was not well and really held back trying to get her riled up.

Best buds sleeping
We took them for walks, but Phoebe hadd to be in the dog carriage which she did not like at all and let us know it in no uncertain terms.

Our departure delayed, we still had the usual great sunsets most nights to keep our spirits up.

I also decided to tear into the wet bay and fix a small fresh water leak that had developed behind the panel.
Getting the panel out to expose the water lines was a challenge.   The panel was put on before the outside walls were build so it could not come out in one piece.

Wetbay with back panel removed

I decided to cut it into two pieces with my dremel to make future removals easier.

While it was apart I decied to re-route some water lines and replace some flex hose with Pex.
Once all was put back together - thankfully no more leaks.

Wetbay with panel replaced and most of the lines hooked back up

We finally got the all clear from the vet on Weds Jan 29, so we hooked up and hit the road on Feb 1st.

Hooked up at our storage facility

I had installed a new bluefire app on the ipad that connects to the engine computer and displays all sorts of parameters.   Sort of like a glass cockpit.   I designed the screen and arranged the guages.   I still need to make a few tweaks but so far I am very pleased with how the information is presented.

iPad running the Bluefire App

Even though Phoebe was out of the cast, she still had to be kept on light duty for a few more weeks and I had to do some physical therapy for her to get her muscles and joints stretched, strengthened, and back to 100%.

At first Phoebe was still in the enclosure when not supervised but now she is free roaming and only in there at night to sleep as its still too far to jump off of the bed.

Doggy PT

Our group at Quartzsite.  R-L. Me, Kevin & Bobbie, Ron & Maxine, Rob & Pat.   Robs brother and his wife were over on the far left and were making their first snowbird trip south.

Plomosa Rd Quartzsite

By the time we arrived at Q the show was already over and many had departed.   It was nice being quieter but we were only there for about 4 days before we headed off our our next stop - a new destination where we'd never been - Alamo Lake State Park north of Wendon, Az.

To get here you first drive to the middle of nowhere, then turn on Alamo Road and drive 40 miles north of nowhere.    Seriously - the nearest CVS is 80 miles away.    Ask me - I know.

Alamo Lake

Alamo has a mix of campground loops.   Some are full hookup, some electric and water, and some are dry.   We chose the dry sites which are much nicer.   More room and much more spread out.

Behind us was a deep wash that was populated by a small herd of Burros.   We would watch the head honcho try to keep his harem in line while also trying to keep one of the local young bucks from sneaking in to mate one when his back was turned.    He was a busy boy yelling and screaming all day and night!

Site E-21 at Alamo Lake

Our line up, Ron, then Rob, then me in the distance

One morning walking Phoebe we had a small half double rainbow over the lake.

And lots of great sunsets.

Here is some of the aforementioned Burros.

Burro time. Look closely

This park is a fishermans and off roaders paradise.   Great Bass fishing (there was a tournement while we were there), and miles and miles of off road trails.   The 600 mile long Arizona Peace Trail runs right by the park.

One day we drove to the only civilization in 40 miles - a nearby bar (The Wayside Oasis) that served burgers, and burgers.   Its a popular watering hold for the ATV crowd and even has a dirt landing strip.

The Wayside Oasis Patio

Leaving Alamo after 2 weeks - we followed Rob down Alamo Rd.

Alamo Rd heading south

Our next stop was Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument for a week.   Only a few miles north of the border you have to watch to make sure your cell phones dont start pinging off of a Mexican Cell tower and you get charged for international.    I turned off my cellular and instead am using wifi calling via my Starlink internet.

Our site in Organ Pipe

Rob, Pat & Olivia on the trail in Organ Pipe

There are a lot of great roads - some more 4x4 than others in the park.   With the border issues however, many of them are either closed or thier use is discouraged.

The ajo loop in Organ Pipe

Cholla Cacti

After a week in Organ Pipe we headed up to Yuma for about 10 days or so at Fortuna de Oro RV Resort.   This place is truly a snowbird paradise.   Yuma ususally has about 100,000 people in the summer but that population swells in the winter by another 100,000 RV'ers.

There are dozens upon dozens of RV parks scattered about town.    I always enjoy our time in Yuma.   A good place to get lazy hooked up to 50amp, water, and sewer.    While here I had Papi's come over to wash and wax the bus.    They do a really nice job for about $175.    Hopefully it will hold till we depart for the east coast in about 5 or 6 weeks.

Fortuna de Oro

We are here till Thursday unless we decide to extend our stay.

After here it will be back to Tucson.   In mid March we have a bunch of appointments and then mid April we will be back on the road to the east coast, the Canadian Maritimes/Newfoundland etc.

The plan is to be back in Montana about the first week of September so that we can go Huckleberry picking at my secret mother lode.

Lots on the itinerary so stay turned and enjoy the ride.