WheRVe we been? Our travels, 2nd quarter 2018

Wow. So uhhh… all that not leaving the Lone Star State we did in the first three months of 2018? We more than made up for it during the 2nd quarter!

Here’s a summary of our travels from Texas (home of our younger son and my side of the family) to Washington (home of our older son and Tim’s side of the family) and Idaho, mapped with a little help from Google.

RV miles traveled this quarter: about 3,215.

It’s not exact, but it’ll do.
I deliberately left out one-nighters, and some of our stops in WA lack labels because I had to zoom out so far to show our path from end to end.
(source: maps.google.com)

Texas to Washington, March 31 – April 12: We spent our first night in north Texas, having received a quick and positive answer to a last-minute, “Hey, I just realized we’re passing through. Are you guys free?” Erika & Tony, with whom we became friends through the Heartland RV Owners Club, not only secured us a spot in the RV park where they live, but also treated us to dinner!

In many ways, the RV community reminds us of our military community. We’ve got friends all over the place; they welcome us even on short notice; they offer generous support and assistance of all kinds; and we pick up right where we left off, no matter how long it’s been since we last saw each other.

After that, we stopped for a few days in Norman, OK, where the The Toad got upgraded tires, wheels, and axles from our friends at Performance Trailer Breaking; and we got to reconnect with a college friend of mine and her family for Easter dinner (that’s her bunny in the photo below). Moving on to Utah, we stayed for a couple of nights at the beautifully secluded and pleasantly uncrowded Fremont Indian State Park, before continuing to Hill AFB in Ogden to restock the fridge and do the laundry.

– Our scenic spot at Fremont Indian SP
– Flower, the bunny
– The face I make when I find dollar washers and dryers (hurrah for access to military RV parks)
– A nice, long hiking day in Sevier, UT
– A trail with a view, perfect for an afternoon run at Hill AFB

Skagit County, WA, April 14-30: At long last, we arrived in Washington on April 12, but had to hang out on the east side of the Cascades for a couple of days while we waited for a non-blizzardy time to cross Snoqualmie Pass — yes, in April! The primary reason for our visit was to help Tim’s folks clear the last of the stuff out of the house they’d just sold, in order to downsize to a 5th wheel. Like son, like father much? It was a perfect time to experience the best of a PNW springtime. The tulips and cherry trees were in bloom, the sun was out more often than it wasn’t, and although temps were a little chilly for my taste, we were able to enjoy several outdoor activities.

– A colorful afternoon at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
– Tim reminiscing with his mom, over a tub full o’ family mementos bound for storage
– An ornamental cherry tree (maybe one of these?) at our campground
– A view of the Columbia River, from our holding spot at the Wanapum Rec Area
– Midpoint of a “sluggish” run

Here’s an outdoor activity for ya: We ran our first race together in Mount Vernon, in the rain, with temps hovering around 48 degrees.
This was a 5K to benefit the non-profit agency one of Tim’s sisters works for, Community Action of Skagit County.
The things we do for family!
(photo credit: Community Action)

Jefferson County, WA, April 30 – June 1: For the entire month of May, we hung out close-but-not-too-close to our older son and his girlfriend, and were able to spend as much time with them as possible, juggling get-togethers and adventures around their full work schedules and community commitments. They had their home; we had ours.

– Hello, Port Townsend, and what fine beer you have.
– The boy, his girl, and me, at the first stop of what turned into a pub crawl. They let me tag along!
– Tim spent the first week of our stay on a hiking trip in the Grand Canyon. Off you go, dear.
– Time for rhubarb at the farmer’s market
– If you visit western Washington, don’t forget to look up every now and then

– A 10-mile hike along the Lower Big Quilcene River Trail
– Another race together, the 40th annual Rhody Run 6K
– I may have been a little excited to spend Mother’s Day with one of the reasons I get to celebrate
– Hair color shenanigans to cement my reputation as an RV park “rebel”

But yeah, it was still too chilly for me.
I got caught doing my “I can’t believe I have to wear this much clothing in May, and I am still effing cold” dance.
(photo credit: K. Eichmann)

Central & Eastern Washington, June 1-22: We helped Tim’s folks kick off their first month of full-time RV living by traveling together to a few different campgrounds. In order, we stayed at the resort located inside Sun Lakes/Dry Falls State Park, the municipal park in Bridgeport, a privately owned RV park near Dayton, and a military recreation area near Cheney. And yes, by “traveling together,” I mean we helped each other fix things that broke on or in our respective 5th wheels. Ha!

– Tim’s parents have an inflatable kayak, and we are now considering adding one to our collection of adventure gear
– A hot hike with Tim’s folks, to the ancient Indian caves above the lake
– This unwanted stowaway outsmarted our traps twice, and also dodged the root beer mug, before finally taking that one. final. bite. SNAP!
– In-laws, arriving to join the mayhem. I mean fun.
– Such different scenery than the green forests of western Washington

– Tim’s dad, a talented amateur photographer, got some fantastic shots of the rolling hills of The Palouse. The best one I got was this one of him!
– Another stowaway was hiding inside our tire covers. This is the kind of stowaway we like, but we sent him hopping off into the grass, where he’d be happier.
– The oft-photographed Palouse Falls

Coeur d’Alene, ID, June 22 – July 6: And now we’re kicking off the third quarter of 2018 in a hometown from Tim’s past. He graduated from high school here, and his family still has several friends in the area, so it’s been a trip down many of their Memory Lanes.

What’s better than having a dog?
Having friends nearby with two dogs, one of which is a wriggly, pees-on-contact-but-I-don’t-care puppy!

With all the moving around we’ve done this quarter, it finally happened: I forgot which state we were in.
Let the record show that I have since taken preventive measures.
Not. One. Word.

Tim and his parents recreated a typical family road trip, during opening night of the classic car weekend in Dayton.
What a long, sweet trip it’s been.

Where to next? We’ll head east to Minnesota to visit one of Tim’s cousins, then we’ll work our way back to WA for a little more family time in August and early September. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter for updates as we go!


We started full-timing in August of 2015, but I didn’t think to do an annual review until the end of 2016, and it was just a listing on Facebook of places we’d visited. After that, I started using a quarterly format.

1Q 2018      4Q 2017        3Q 2017        2Q 2017        1Q2017        2016

“Win standoff with a bison” wasn’t even on my bucket list. Nevertheless: check!

About mmmmm, maybe half a mile into our 7-mile hike at Antelope Island State Park today, we encountered a speed bump. It had four legs, a gigantic shaggy head, and likely weighed in at about 2,000 pounds.

Dude. Are ya kididng me? We're trying to hike here!

Dude. Are ya kidding me? We’re trying to hike here!

Bison!

Hundreds of them roam the island. We know not to approach them, not even for selfies (oops — see below), but this guy clearly hadn’t read the signs. And he was in our way. So we made noise, and waved our arms, and begged, and cajoled, and finally seemed to annoy him enough that he wandered off down the hill toward the females, as I suggested.

But first, and since you insist on standing there, lemme take a selfie anyway.

But first, and since you insist on standing there, lemme take a selfie.

(Disclaimer: I do not recommend this strategy. We emerged unscathed, but also aware that things could have gone sideways quickly. But at least we didn’t put him in our car because he looked cold.)

Anyway, after that the hike was far less exciting, but wickedly strenuous. We gained about 2100 feet of elevation in 3.5 miles, and it took nearly 2.5 hours to reach the 6596-foot summit of Frary Peak. Per park signage, the hiking level is “Difficult.”

The last half mile, however, was what I would call treacherous, in that a fall could cause serious bodily harm — if ya live to limp back down the mountain and into an ER. I talked to myself for that whole last stretch, thanking my feet for taking cautious steps, my legs for holding me up, the rocks for providing footholds, and the breeze for providing oxygen so that I didn’t hyperventilate. I also sang songs. “One Singular Sensation,” “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy,” and “Baby Got Back” all made my mental playlist. Don’t judge. I made it to the top because of them.

Island map. From the summit (see the number 6576 about halfway down?), we could see the entire island!

Antelope Island
From the summit, we could see the entire thing, lots of the Great Salt Lake surrounding, and distant mountain ranges I am too lazy to look up on a map.


Going up -- and thinking this rock outcropping slightly resembles a bison head. Also, I'd been hiking in full sun for an hour, so if you don't see it, it's me, not you.

Going up — and thinking this rock outcropping slightly resembles a bison head.
Also, I’d been hiking in full sun for an hour, so if you don’t see it, it’s me, not you.


My guys, ascending.

My guys, ascending.

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Made it! Man, that was a tough climb. And there's no shade or water, so plan carefully if you decide to give this one a try!

Made it!
Man, that was a tough climb. And there’s no shade or water, so plan carefully if you decide to give this one a try.

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Views from the top...

Views from the top…


... south end of the island...

… south end of the island…


... and the reason we didn't spend much time at the top. If you don't move, the flies infest you. I count eight there on my knees, and the SOB's bite.

… and the reason we didn’t spend much time there.
If you don’t move, the flies infest you. I count seven there on my knees, and the SOB’s bite.

After our hike, we took a quick swing through the park’s historic Fielding Garr Ranch, which dates back to 1848 — and bonus, offers running water in the public restrooms instead of the usual state park pit toilet with empty hand sanitizer dispenser.

After our hike, we took a quick swing through the park's historic Fielding Garr Ranch, which dates back to 1848 -- and bonus, has running water in the public restrooms!

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We couldn't resist taking a peek inside the sheep herder's wagon. RV of the times!

We couldn’t resist taking a peek inside the sheep herder’s wagon: RV of the times, with cookstove, bunk, and storage areas!


Final glimpse of the bison -- this time from a safer distance, and with the engine running!

Final glimpse of the bison — this time from a safer distance, and with the engine running!

Malan’s Peak: Haven’t been to Salt Lake, but we can see it from here!

View from Malan's Peak, elev. 6980 feet That's the Great Salt Lake in the distance.

Panoramic view from Malan’s Peak, elev. 6980 feet, with the Great Salt Lake in the distance.

Three generations of men in this family are preparing to hike the 215-mile John Muir Trail together next month.

Two of them are here; the other (Tim’s dad) drives from WA to meet us in CA in about ten days.

I went with Tim and our son yesterday on their first training hike, which took us on a 5.3 mile in-and-out (or 4.8 mile, or 5.8 mile, or 7.8 mile, depending on which web site or whose Health App tracking you believe) from Taylor Canyon to Malan’s Peak, in Ogden, UT.

Normally, a hike of that length — even one as strenuously uphill as this one — would take us 3-4 hours, including long stops for meals and views. But because both boys were testing new backpacks and various pieces of gear, this one took us six. Yeah, ouch.

Preparing to depart. No, they're not related. Why do you ask?

Preparing to depart.
Apple, meet tree.

Beginning: Everyone's so happy and unsweaty and excited!

Beginning:
Everyone’s so happy and unsweaty and excited!

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Our views along the way…

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Charming alternative to the usual rock cairn

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Next six shots: views along the way

The wildflowers were in bloom, treating us to spectacular colors.

Summit! Clearly, we'd had it with packs and poles, dropped them where we arrived, and kept walking to the edge...

Summit!
Clearly, we’d had it with packs and poles, dropped them where we arrived, and kept walking to the edge…

... for this reward

… for this reward

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Don't let the smile fool you. Everything hurt, and my knees were not at all looking forward to the descent.

Don’t let the smile fool you. Everything hurt, and my knees were not at all looking forward to our descent.

On the way back down the mountain, we took breaks to test water filtration equipment...

On the way back down the mountain, we took breaks to test water filtration equipment…

... and cool tired tootsies (downstream from the filtration experiments, of course!)

… and cool tired tootsies (downstream from the filtration experiments, of course!)

Upon our return home, all three of us took advantage of the hot tub here at Century Park, to soothe our aching muscles before going to bed.


Gear switch (because I don’t know where else to put this): We were featured recently on Heartland RV’s Facebook page. Check out the interview here!

Thanks for the publicity, Heartland!

Thanks for the publicity, Heartland!