Standing on the Corner

After our two weeks in the area of Williams, Arizona and the Grand Canyon, it was time to move on. But where to? Although our plans were still cast in jello, we decide to head east.

Our first destination was Winslow, Arizona, made famous by The Eagles with their classic “Take It Easy” hit record. You know the one that says “Well, I was standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona…” …”a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford”…

And, although we DID actually stand on the corner, and even looked at “the flatbed Ford”, our REAL surprise was La Posada,  a hotel in town that we had been turned onto by a fellow RVer. “You have to check out this hotel. You won’t be disappointed.” As it turned out, his comment was an understatement. The hotel has a rich history, and is undergoing meticulous restoration to its original splendor by a handful of investor/owners. Work continues to this day and the owners live and work on-site.

The hotel , built in 1930, was originally a joint venture of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad and the Harvey Company. Although it thrived for decades, it ultimately failed and was converted by the Santa Fe railway in 1950 into an office complex for the airline’s use. The current owners acquired it in 1997 and have spent much of the time since then returning it to the work of art and architecture that was originally intended. It is truly a national treasure. We were NOT disappointed, and even had a drink in the hotel bar which, like every other aspect of La Posada, takes you back to a different era when personal travel “out west” was a new reality for the common man and woman. Even the bar menu offered those beverages that were popular in the 1930s.

Because one day was not quite enough, we decided to camp in a local State Park for a couple of days before heading east and south to Show Low, Arizona, the topic of our next post.

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Wintering in Quartzsite 2017

As this is posted, Spring is upon us. Our most recent post entitled “Williams, Arizona and the Grand Canyon” is reflective of springtime, which in southern Arizona means temperatures have begun to climb. Time to move northward, but not too far north because some areas have not gotten the memo regarding Spring. That’s why we relocated to northern Arizona recently. But we wintered in Quartzsite. Here’s a brief synopsis of our time there. But it’s only brief and doesn’t really do justice to the enjoyment we had, and the people we met there.

Two and a half months is a longtime to be in one particular area when you are a full-timer. It’s not a particularly longtime if you are a snowbirds. Snowbirds are those that leave snow for winters in areas of warmer climate. Snowbirds are content to park for the winter. But we are not snowbirds. We’re originally from the high desert of Southern California.

So, it is kind of weird that we rolled into Quartzite, Arizona on January 12th and, as of today nearing the end of March, we’re still here. One thing is for sure. Quartzite is an acquired taste. Some people don’t like it here and cannot comprehend why others do.  Obviously by now, we fall into the group that likes it here. So, what is the attraction?

We cannot speak for others but, for us, we are attracted by the weather, combined with a sense of freedom and tranquility in a Sonoran Desert environment.

Last year at this time, we came to Quartzite in conjunction with Ooberfest 2016. We had  a ball meeting new folks and continuing communication with some throughout the year.  It was for that reason that we decided to attend this year’s event. Last year’s, as well as this year’s Ooberfest was hosted by David and Brenda Bott and their blog Outside Our Bubble. The event coincides with the annual Quartzite RV SHOW held for one week in January. Whereas last year we had 36 RVs and couples show up, this year we had about 76 RVs show up, mostly motorhomes. All in one giant circle. We actually had over 100 sign up, but weather got in the way, with a few days of rain leading up to the event. Even so, we more than doubled the attendance of last year’s inaugural event. Saturday of that week, we had a potluck dinner for about 120 people. Dinner was followed by a live band, Notes from Neptune, three very talented musicians. A fun time was had by all, listening to our own private outdoor concert, with dancing, multiple bonfires to keep us warm, and favorite beverages to keep everyone even warmer. Priceless. Thank you Dave and Brenda for all that you did to pull this off.

This is a photo of Bogie sitting on our dashboard surveying the beginnings of what would become a giant circle of RVs. Lots of people and dog meetings are ahead, along with plenty of shopping and errands to be run, as well happy hours and lots of socializing.

One of our fellow RVer couples operate a hot air balloon business catering to tourists in the Napa Valley in California. We met them here last year. This year, they brought their balloon with them so that they could teach their granddaughter to fly so she can become fortified. So, every morning we were treated to what it takes to fill a balloon and otherwise get it ready for flight. In addition to there “crew”, they also needed some volunteers to help. Believe me, they had NO shortage of volunteers.



You would think the skies would be crowded, what with ultra-lights and drones flying in addition to the balloon. But, there is SO MUCH wide open space here that there were no issues. Just lots of fun.



One of our MANY day trips was to Desert Bar, a VERY popular food and drink establishment in a most unlikely location 5 miles up a dry canyon on the site of an old mining area northeast of Parker, Arizona. Making the Desert Bar even more unique is that it is entirely solar powered and only open on Saturdays and Sundays for a total of 88 days per year during the season between November and March. Oh, and it’s also CASH ONLY.




This “aerial” photo shows a few friends having a beverage or two, and a whole lot of fun. Sharon in red.


Here’s our winter friends Dave and Diane enjoying themselves. Diane is always smiling and laughing. Just not now. 🙂




Even the dogs have fun. This one, Raven, getting used to boots intended to help  protect against rocks and cacti.

Needless to say, two and a half months allows for lots of memories. Way to many to document here.



Now we have moved on, as have all the others with whom we camped. Heading out to all  the points of the compass. Such is the RV lifestyle. But we will meet again, no doubt. In the meantime, we will continue to chase sunrises and sunsets.


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Williams, Arizona and the Grand Canyon

We left our BLM camp just outside of Lake Havasu City and headed north to Interstate 40, then east to Williams. When we left Havasu, the high temperature was going to be 87 degrees. We were headed for cooler temperatures just based on an elevation gain of over 5,000 feet. And over the course of our 175 mile drive, the weather was beautiful. So, after arriving at Grand Canyon Railway RV Park and getting parked in our site, we were more than surprised to see that our sunny skies were rapidly changing to darkening skies.

Within 30 minutes, we had thunder and rain. And within an hour, it was snowing. Temperatures dropped to about 30 degrees. We went from shorts and t-shirts to parkas. And then the next morning we were back to sunny skies.


By afternoon, almost all traces of snow were gone except that on the highest mountain tops.

Over the years, we have passed through Williams several times. Usually on the way to the Grand Canyon or Flagstaff. Back in the day, the town was a key destination for folks traveling along Route 66. And today,


Williams is doing everything it can to hold onto that history. Although we had been here previously, we really had not explored the area or even spent much time in the town itself.


Now that we are retired with lots of time, we had vowed to change all that. So, among other things, we wanted to spend time in the shops along the towns “Route 66” main drag.

Because we spend a fair amount of time boondocking and dispersed camping, we also wanted to check out some sites in the area that we had previously identified using online research, one of which is Dogtown Lake.


And, of course, we needed at least a day  trip to one of our favorite National Parks, the Grand Canyon. We never tire of the granduer and almost spiritual feeling we get in trying to take in how “Grand” it really is.

In this particular photo, there is more than meets the eye. The canyon on the other side is Bright Angel Canyon. The primary trail on THIS side that most people take into the Grand Canyon is the Bright Angel Trail. At the bottom in this photo (bottom of Bright Angel Canyon) is Phantom Ranch where many people stay to either hike back to the South Rim the next day, or hike up Bright Angel Canyon to the North Rim. Phantom Ranch is on the north side of the Colorado River. To get there, there is a bridge across the Colorado River which can be seen in this photo to the right of the green tree area at the bottom, which is where Phantom Ranch is located. Lastly, if you zoom to the top of Bright Angel Canyon, you can see a white dot which is the main building on the North Rim.

We spent a week in the Williams area, staying at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and RV Park. What a great RV Park!  Wifi, cable TV, indoor pool and spa, great service, paved sites. And close to everything we wanted to explore. Priceless! They even accept Passport America for a 50% discount for up to 7 days.

Photo courtesy of Good Sam Club

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2016 Financial Recap

Before we get too far into 2017, we thought we would share what our first year major categories of expense were while on the road in 2016. Granted, that we have only been on the road since July 1st, but our figures have been calculated to reflect monthly expense in each category. Our purpose for this recap is twofold. First, we want others who are considering a full-time RV lifestyle to benefit from our real numbers as they plan for living the dream. Second, seeing our actual expenses in writing will help us set goals toward cutting costs where possible.

Our travel route took us from Southern California, up the eastern side of the Sierras, into extreme northeastern California, up the eastern side of the Cascades to Bend, Oregon, then over to the Wallowas of north eastern Oregon. From there to Lewiston, Idaho, to Missoula, Montana, to Kalispell, Montana, and on north to Glacier National Park. From Glacier, we headed west to Whidbey Island and the San Juan Islands of the Washington coast for a month, then south through central Oregon and west to the Oregon Coast. From there, we traveled north once again to the mouth of the Columbia River, east through the Columbia River Gorge to Pendlton and Baker City, Oregon and on southeast to Moab, Utah for a couple of weeks, then southwest to St. George area for a month, and on south to Quartzite, Arizona.

RV Fuel – $346.50 per month.

Our motorhome runs on unleaded Regular fuel. Fuel prices have been less than $3.00 per gallon once we got out of California. Sometimes significantly less. As low as $2.05 in our travels in one area. At our present location in Quartzite, Arizona, although it is 2017 as this is written, Regular is $2.19 per gallon.

Jeep Fuel – $144.38 per month.

As with the motorhome, our Jeep Liberty runs on Regular fuel. The jeep is our transportation when we are camped. But that does not mean it is used a lot. It depends on where we are, and what we want to see and do. Sometimes it’s sightseeing, exploring back country roads or just local shopping.

Groceries – $592.83 per month.

Although others in our lifestyle might consider this typical, we think we can do better as we go forward. As it is, this is our greatest monthly expenditure. We think it is high, and our goal is to reduce it by at least $100 per month. For reference, most of our grocery expenditures are at Wal-Mart.

Dining Out – $248.61

This calculates out to about $8.25 per day for two people. Not bad. And, of course, we don’t “Dine Out” every day. Except for special occasions once or twice per month, it’s mostly breakfast or lunch, meaning McDonald’s or Subway.

Camping – $504.83 per month / $16.83 per day

Actually, we’re pretty proud of this. Although we HAVE spent as much as $50+ for one night in a RV Park with full hook-ups, we have tried to keep camping costs down. We did this by staying overnight free, or nearly free, when it made sense either by boondocking on BLM or National Forest land, or parking at Wal-Mart’s or Indian Casinos, or dreaded truck stops (too noisy). But, we also did it by staying in a RV park for longer periods to get a special monthly rate.

Laundry – $30.25 per month

Although our motorhome has a cabinet and is plumbed for a washer dryer combo, we do not have one as yet. But we’re thinking about getting one. The investment would be about $1200 when all is said and done. But it would be more for convenience than anything else. And even then, it would be most suitable for use when hooked up to a sewer. From a practical standpoint, that means being in an RV park.

Propane – $31.21 per month

In our motorhome, and presumably in most motorhomes, propane lasts a long time. Our propane costs have been as low as $.99 per gallon, to over $3.00 per gallon. Right now, we’ve most recently paid $2.10 per gallon. Our tank will take 20 gallons. We can generally go 3 weeks or so depending on temperatures.

Mail Service – $25.22 per month

We use Traveling Mailbox for mail service. For $19.99 per month, they send an email whenever mail is received at our selected address in San Diego. We can view the envelope online and then instruct to open and scan it for further viewing, shred it, or forward it to an address of our choosing. If they forward it, there is a nominal charge.

Phones -$109.28 per month

Our carrier is ATT. We have two phones and share a 5GB data plan. It suits us, but we probably/maybe could do better. This is the monthly rate. We never have any surcharges.

Dish Satellite – $80.83 per month

We generally have a flat monthly charge of $80.02 but good old Utah makes satellite companies pay extra for the privilege of operating in their state. So, we had one month where we paid $5.00 extra while in Utah.

So, that’s it. We don’t include our personal bills or other things like personal purchases, etc. Although we DO track them, every penny. Such is life married to a bookkeeper, for which I’m grateful. Yes dear.

I’m learning. 🙂

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It’s Christmas

We’re having a white Christmas here in St. George, Utah…sort of. Not much on the ground where we are, but the hills and red rocks in the area are  covered. We’re planning to visit Zion before leaving this area and heading south, but we’ll probably give the weather a day or two to allow for some snow melt. The forecast is for sunny skies for the next week or so, although it will be muy frio.

Not necessarily having anything to do with Christmas, I’ve read other blogs recently in which those who are doing the writing and posting are wondering if it’s worth all the time it takes. I have to admit that I have had similar thoughts. In fact, I’ve kind of backed off in posting of late. Since leaving Moab several weeks ago, and then staying in Capital Reef for a short time, I have not had the motivation to describe our travels,  and the things we have seen and done. Maybe I’ll do it yet, but not right now. Maybe it IS a holiday thing.

Now back to the fact that today is Christmas, the Christian celebration of our Savior’s birth. Although this truly IS the “reason for the season”, I have a tendency to get bummed  this time of year for no apparent reason. It’s not the gifts that I didn’t get. I lack for nothing. And it’s not for lack of blessings. WE have been very blessed this year.

So what is it? I don’t have an answer, but it may be family related. In my case, I essentially have no family. On the in-law side, although there IS family, getting together was always the same, as if everyone was just paying lip service to being “family” and “close” even though during the rest of the year, such was not the case so much. In that regard, it was easy to get on the road as full-timers. As a couple, along with our dog Bogie, WE are family.

Maybe my bummedness has to do with my being SO turned off by the commercialization of Christmas. OMG! When did we become SO caught up in the mad rush to go into debt each year in an effort to buy gifts? And then, because someone you may have only seen last Christmas may buy you something, you are obligated to buy them something. And sometimes, this triggers a need to buy for the entire family. God forbid we should leave anyone out. I know this alone has caused me to buy fewer and fewer gifts each year, my resentment is so great. And it’s not because I’m selfish. I’m not.

Maybe it’s a geezer thing. Maybe as we get older, things we tolerated in the past are replaced with “I don’t have to do this anymore”. Does this make me a brat… a geezer brat?

Utah is a “dry” state…sort of. Although typical retail stores can only sell booze with a ridiculous what’s the point alcohol content, there are “State” Liquor Stores in abundance. So, to my way of thinking, this has less to do with Mormon religion practice and more to do with “control”. And a revenue grab by the state. In any event, in my bummedness, I found myself standing in front of a seemingly unlimited number of brands of Tequila in my local “State” store. Although I found myself staring, with an inclination to possibly buy something, it occurred to me that I don’t even drink Tequila. I hardly drink at all.

Ultimately, I left the State Liquor Store with a Stella Artois six-pack of beer. Maybe “Stella” will get me through the day. With a 5% alcohol content, fat chance. Bah humbug! Tomorrow’s another day.

Oh, I almost forgot. Merry Christmas!

There, I’m feeling better already.


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Unbelievably, that is our average cost PER DAY for “lodging” for the month of November 2016. Since starting on the road as “full-timers” on July 1st of this year, as each month passes, we have done a bit of fine tuning pertaining to our monthly expenditures. But November camping expenses were over the top in terms of money saved. So, how did we do it?

Well, we certainly didn’t start the month very well. The first three days and nights were at a full hook-up RV park at a daily rate of $34.00. Not good if you’re trying to pinch pennies. But then, we grabbed two nights in two different approved Wal-Mart parking lots. I say “approved” because not all Wal-Marts will allow overnight parking. Usually, it is not Wal-Mart that will not allow you to overnight there, it’s the city or town in which the Wal-Mart is located. Fortunately, we have an Allstays app that pertains exclusively to Wal-Marts throughout the U.S. It indicates which ones allow overnighting and which ones don’t, along with user feedback.

Anyway, beyond staying at a couple of Wal-Marts, we then stayed in a BLM Campground for 7 days at a cost of $6.00 per day with our federal Senior Pass. Then, expecting to only stay 1 day, we checked into an RV park. But, instead of paying the winter rate of $30 per day for full hook-ups and free wifi, we agreed to help the park managers rake Fall leaves. In exchange for helping out, we were allowed to stay for free. We stayed 7 days. And then for the final 10 days of November, we are camped at another BLM campground at a cost of $7.50 per day.

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Travel Days-Flaming Gorge to Moab

Sunday was moving day. For several reasons, we were actually surprised at how reluctant we were to leave. If it hadn’t been for the altitude and the fact that winter really is setting in at Flaming Gorge, we probably would have stayed indefinitely. But as they say, we have other fish to fry down south. We’re still hoping to spend some quality time in Moab and southern Utah before pushing on to southern Arizona for the winter. But interestingly, even though we were needing to leave Flaming Gorge because of weather, in looking  at the forecast for Moab, it would appear the weather there was not much better. No snow, but rain and thunderstorms. Hhmmm…

Travel Day 2

Yesterday, we traveled from Flaming Gorge over a 8400 ft. pass and south down into Vernal.  On the northern outskirts of Vernal, we had previously noticed  Don Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant.  This time, we stopped there for lunch.  It was wonderful.  Great interior decor.  Great food.don-pedros

Before leaving Vernal, and knowing it would be sometime before having access to another Wal-Mart, we stopped there for some supplies before continuing on to Roosevelt and then to Duchesne.  Because we got a late start from Flaming Gorge, it was getting a bit late as we passed through Duchesne.  So, we decided to grab a pull-out boondocking spot that we found just south of town.  Little did we know that our “spot” was adjacent to a small box canyon that serves as the local shooting range.  For about an hour and a half we had a pickup truck drive in and the entire family spilled out with an armada of weapons, including hand guns, big game rifles and at least automatic weapon.  They took turns shooting each weapon until it got too dark to see.  I guess we were lucky they did not have night vision lenses.

So after a restful evening and nights sleep, once the shooters were gone, we were up and having our morning coffee.  For whatever reason, since it’s not typical of me, I happened to look at our route for the day as we headed towards Moab.  It was then that I noticed that in our first 29 miles, we were going to have to climb over a pass of 9,114 feet.  Now, in the old pre-retirement days, I probably would have pushed on after dark, knowing that Price, Utah was just another hours drive “up” the road, not even taking notice of this 9,100 foot pass that the map indicated was “closed in winter”.  Map?  We don’t need no stinking map. As it was, the pass was covered in snow.  But fortunately,  none on the road.  We took it easy up and over AFTER unhitching the jeep.  Except for heavy rain, and thunder and lightning close to Moab, we arrived at Goose Island campground along the Colorado river by mid-afternoon.  We settled into site #3 and wondered at the sheer beauty of this area.



Even though it was raining when we arrived (see the water staining on the canyon walls?), and continued through the night, we woke up to a sunny sky and an unexpected surprise…waterfalls that weren’t there before the rain.canyon-waterfall

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Gambling on the Weather in Northern Utah

We’re nearing the end of our two weeks at Flaming Gorge, and we decided to stay put to let a storm pass through the area. At 6500 feet elevation, we knew it might snow but we’re gambling that whatever we get will be gone within a day once the weather clears. Our “gamble” is based on local knowledge.




Nevertheless, we went from this…




To this…………………………………………………      in a matter of hours during the night. The forecast is for the storm to pass late this evening. Then, with clearing skies, it will get colder. Our hope is that the coming sunny sky will melt everything, including any ice on the road south which will be at a much lower elevation.

In the meantime, the slides are out with all of the window shades up. The furnace is on, and with a warm cup of hot chocolate, all is well with our world. We are truly blessed.

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Flaming Gorge, Utah

One of the great things about being on the road full-time is that you have no agenda. You can go where you want, when you want. With this in mind, we set our sights on somewhere we had never been. Although our near-term destination is Moab, Utah and the National Parks of southern Utah, there was one stop we wanted to make along the way…Flaming Gorge. This National Recreation Area is actually in two states, Wyoming and Utah, due to the fact that Flaming Gorge Reservoir is 90 miles long running north from Wyoming, south to Utah. We decided to see the Utah portion, described as the most scenic. Not having been here before, we did not know what to expect. Suffice it to say that we are now in our tenth day here and we are awe struck by the beauty of this area. And that’s saying something since we are here between Fall and Winter, probably the least colorful time of the year. But the weather has been spectacular. Clear blue skies every day with typical Fall temperatures…about 63 degrees during the day. Forest covered mountains as a back drop. Sometimes, words are not enough, So Here are a few pictures…



Imagine the Grand Canyon filled with water. Maybe not as big, or as deep as the Grand Canyon, but spectacular nonetheless. Your looking at 1700 feet straight down.





Just another view, but of a different canyon. This is Red Canyon. We were camped at Canyon Rim Campground for 6 days. This was our view. Boondocking at its finest.




Big horn sheep came into camp for a visit. There were a total of 16 of these magnificent animals, seven of which were rams. They ultimately decided to rest for awhile and all layed down within 50 feet of us for about 2 hours. Unbelievable. Click to enlarge.




After awhile, some of the rams wandered off for a meeting, leaving two rams to keep an eye on the females.





Our plan after six days of boondocking was to move down the road about 5 miles to Flaming Gorge Resort which includes Pine Forest RV Park. We were going to stay only one day to dump our tanks, fill up with water, gas up and fill our propane tank, all of which we did. But we hit it off with the camp hosts who offered that if we might help them rake leaves, we could stay as long as we like for free. With full hook-ups, wifi and a strong cellular signal, our decision was easy.



This was the view we had as we sat in our chairs outside our coach having our morning coffee. This RV park really IS a park-like setting, with 45 sites and some of the best facilities we have experienced. Deer camp out here everyday. And the price is right. 🙂

shed-at-red-canyon-lodge rv-park-vista


We just had to take this photo of a shed outside the Red Canyon Lodge which was down the road from our boondocking spot at Canyon Rim Campground.





The vistas in the high country above Flaming Gorge are just spectacular. Originally thinking we were a bit late in the year to be here, we felt truly blessed to see the beauty here, knowing that it gets even better at other times of the year.


This tree is not at Flaming Gorge. It actually was against a wall in the McDonald’s parking lot in Vernal, Utah, about 35 miles south of Flaming Gorge. We made a quick trip to Vernal one day to re-supply at the local Walmart. Since we were late in capturing fall color in the high country above Flaming Gorge, I couldn’t resist grabbing this “color” at McDonalds.


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Moab or Bust

Another late post due to not being in an area with Internet access. We’ve been boondocking lately and loving it, even though our postings have been delayed.

After six weeks, we finally gave up on the rain in  the Pacific Northwest. We enjoyed our time on Whidbey Island and the San Juans area. And we had a good time in Oregon, particularly Winchester Bay and Newport on the Coast. But, except for a few sunny days here and there, it was incessant rain. We made it as far as Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River, but it was a drive-thru as we headed east to Longview, Washington and then down Interstate 5 to the Columbia River Gorge (I84) and eastward.

About 10 days ago, we pulled out of Baker City, Oregon after three wonderful days there at Mt. View RV Park. This photo shows the office and store reflective of the Oregon Trail. baker-city_mt-view-rv-parkThe other out buildings, including the indoor spa as well as the laundry, showers and bathrooms were decorated with Oregon pioneer facades as well.

This is a beautiful area of eastern Oregon known for at least two things. One is the fact that the Oregon Trail passed through this valley, a portion of which is still visible adjacent to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center which is built high above on Flagstaff Hill just to the east of town.baker-city

The other thing that Baker City is known for is gold. In 1861, gold was discovered about 8 miles southwest of town. Some pioneers traveling the Oregon Trail to Oregon City, “the promised land”, near what is now Portland, found themselves retracing their steps back to the Baker City area due to the lure of gold. As a result, many residents of Baker City and Baker County are descendants of the Oregon Trail pioneers.

Prior to arriving in Baker City, we made an overnight Walmart stop in Pendleton, Oregon. Pendleton is the site of the Pendleton Roundup, one of America’s oldest Rodeos. What makes the “Roundup” unique is that from its very  beginning, it brought American cowboys and bronco busters together with local native American tribal members in a form of competition and celebration.

pendleton-woolen-mills_20161101_104250While in Pendleton, we visited the Pendleton Woolen Mills, taking the tour. Pendleton Woolen Mills has existed since the 1800s, and although they have moved their famous wool shirt manufacturing overseas, their beautiful blankets are still made in Pendleton.



Even though this building was built in 1909, after the original factory burned down, Pendleton Woolen Mills has existed for about 120 years



pendleton-woolen-mills_interiorOne cannot appreciate the patterns and colors used in the production of Pendleton products without actually seeing them in person. During our tour the Pendleton tour guide emphasized how proud Pendleton was of it close relationship over many decades with Native Americans and the company’s inspiration from native patterns.




Actually seeing the different machines used to produce a single blanket, you cannot help but think how far we have come since the days of weaving wool on looms by hand. Even looms, in their day, were considered to be a marvel. Although this particular machine will produce an actual blanket in a day, the entire process from sheep to finished good takes about 3 months.


After leaving Pendleton, we continued on our journey that will eventually take us to Moab, Utah. We stayed on Interstate 84 heading south and east. As is typical of a lot of our modern roadways that have literally become paved versions of historic and significant trails, at least parts of I84 generally follow the Oregon Trail. After leaving Baker City, Oregon, we were essentially back tracking where the early pioneers had come from.

The three-island-crossingInterstate crossed places like Burnt River and Three Island Crossing, significant elements of the trail. The latter is significant because after attempting crossings elsewhere along the Snake River with disasterous results, a place was eventually found where the river was somewhat tamed due to three islands located in the otherwise wide channel. This made for a much easier crossing in shallower and slower moving water. Today, Three Island Crossing is a state park.

We spent two nights “camping” in Walmart parking lots; one in Mountain Home, Idaho, and another in Ogden, Utah. We don’t always get the best sleep at Walmarts, but they are free and are good for re-supply missions.

From Ogden, we headed east over and through a couple of mountain ranges, and then climbing up onto the vast plateau that includes on its western edge, Evanston, Wyoming, We finally jumped off the interstate at Ft. Bridger, ft-bridgerwhich has been restored and is now a Wyoming State Park. Ft. Bridger was an important crossing point of the Oregon Trail, the Morman Trail, the California Trail and the famed Pony Express.ft-bridger-ii






Heading south from Ft. Bridger on Highway 43 is a challenge for a 36 foot motorhome pulling a 4,000 lb. Jeep. Our destination for the day was Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. Not having been there previously, we really did not know what to expect, but we soon found out that to see the “gorge”, one has to climb…and climb…and climb. Had we done a little research beforehand, we would have known to unhook the Jeep and drive the two vehicles separately. But we didn’t. We’re still learning.

We also didn’t know what to expect regarding campgrounds. We HAD researched knowing that we would be at Flaming Gorge’s southern end and had identified two possibilities for camping there. One was Lucerne Valley Marina down on the water just outside of Manila, Utah. The other, more desirable location was up on top of Flaming Gorge at Canyon Rim Campground.

Even though we were traveling late in the year, we were not sure whether there would be space in this small campground, AND it was getting very late in the day, violating one of our rules about trying to stop early in the day when traveling. And even though Flaming Gorge itself is open year-round, not all the campgrounds remain open. We passed a couple as we entered the “park”, and they were closed.

We need not have worried. With about 30 minutes of daylight remaining, we pulled into Canyon Rim Campground and found that we were the only ones there…and it was open. Having the pick of any of the sites, we chose #16 because it was located next to a clearing in the forest with wide open views of the distant ridge line. Within a short walking distance from our site, we could walk to the rim in several spots overlooking a significant portion of Flaming Gorge. Imagine a slightly smaller version of the Grand Canyon except this one is somewhat filled with water as a result of the damming of the Green River. That is Flaming Gorge. And even though there is a lake, it is still several thousand feet below the rim. Pretty spectacular. And we had it all to ourselves with perfect clear blue sky weather. Our next post will focus on our time spent in the area of Flaming Gorge.

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