Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
When we last left you, we were enjoying a week in the sun in Tucson, AZ. We had a relaxing week reconnecting with our Workamping friends, John and Lucy as we stay at the campground where they are working this winter. We had a lovely socially-distant Thanksgiving dinner, we hiked the trails in the desert around the campground and made two sojourns up Mt. Lemmon on the Sky Island Scenic Byway, one during the day to see the view of Tucson from the Santa Catalina Mountains and one at night to try to do a little star gazing. The day trip was quite beautiful, though the night trip was cut short as the temperature dropped from a comfortable 40° to 19° as the sun set. Brrrr!!!
After our week decompressing, it was time to get back on the road to start heading north. Unfortunately, the coolant leak had not been completely fixed when we were in Ocala way back in August. Unbeknown to us, it turns out that several of the other freeze plugs were also rusted so as we started to pull out of Tucson, we started getting warning lights again. Though we
had to make several stops to put in more coolant, we made it to our next stop at the Escapees North Ranch RV Park in Congress, AZ. This spot just added to our frustration as we had to go over a large curb to get to our site and the refrigerator door opened sending food flying! What a mess! This park had been on our radar to check out for
a while as we had heard such great things about the Escapees Club’s campgrounds. Turns out to be more of a mobile home, permanent housing type park, pretty far out in the desert. Not really a place we would personally like to spend a lot of time.
After spending the afternoon cleaning and checking on the engine we got a fair night’s sleep and then tried again the next morning. As the warning lights were out, we thought we could make it to our next stop near Las Vegas. But nope … not to far down the road the lights came on again, so we changed our plans, canceled reservations, and found the Freightliner in North Las Vegas. Luckily, this service center has a few parking places with electrical hookups so we were
able to spend the night in their parking lot so that the coach could be looked at the next day. That was when we found that several of the freeze plugs needed replacement, that they had to pull the radiator to replace them, that it would take 16 hours of work to do so, and we could not stay in the coach. Since they had the engine apart anyway, we thought why not add a yearly service to the work order adding 8 more hours of work. Soooo …. we found a Hampton
Inn around the corner and settled in for another forced vacation during a pandemic! No one said full time RVing would be easy! Fortunately, this hotel did not have the issues of the last one and we spent 3 nights trying to avoid as many people as possible, taking walks in nearby parks, and having Uber Eats delivered to the room. It was a tad odd to feel like we were camping out … sleeping on a terrible bed, eating fast food, not getting enough sleep, no place comfortable to sit, in a noisy hotel. Being in a campground out in the woods or desert in my comfy bed, with control over the temp, and the coach is virtually soundproof …. now that feels like home!
Annnndddd while doing the inspection they found an air bag bracket that needed to be replaced, which they had to order, so it meant another night waiting but at least we were able to move back into the coach and we spent another night in their parking lot. The next day bright and early they got us in and finished all the work that needed to be done and finally, after a five-day delay, we were back on the road.
To catch up to the reservations we had previously made, we broke our 4, 3, 2 rule and drove eight hours, 440 miles, getting in after dark, to get up to Sparks Marina and RV Resort in Sparks, NV just outside of Reno. We had planned an extended stay here but to stay close to the schedule we cut it to five nights. We spent the days here preparing for Christmas, buying our Christmas “tree”, and decorating the coach, doing online shopping and shipping what presents we had gathered on our journey as well as walking around the marina.
From Sparks we continued to hopscotch through the desert and the beautiful northern California mountains and forests. We were blessed as even though it had snowed in the passes while we were in Sparks, the roads were open, clear, and dry as we bridged the gap in Sierra Nevada mountains. Once we were clear of the Mountains, we stopped at the Mountain Gate RV Park Redding, CA (noisy but close to the highway) for one night before heading up I5 through the Cascades and landing at the Seven Feathers RV Resort & Casino Canyonville, OR.
Seven Feathers is a beautiful RV Resort with lots of amenities that unfortunately we were unable to enjoy due to COVID-19, but we were able to get out and take a scenic drive out Hwy 42 to the Horefall Recreation Area of the Oregon Dunes State Park. We climbed the dunes and saw eagles flying high above us and then we drove up the coast to the Umpqua River Lighthouse State Park. Here we were able to take a private, socially-distant, masked tour of the lighthouse followed by a picnic in the car – it was a bit chilly on the coast to eat outside. On the way back we drove along the incredibly picturesque Hwy 38 along the Umpqua River. Such stunning views of the mountains and the rivers!
I spent the rest of the week finishing my Christmas crafts, Erin now has a family cross stitched stocking, and I made two more doggy coats for Rebecca’s two mutts, Teal’c and Alfie.
Now that we were ready for Christmas, we hit the road for the last two legs of the trip. We had one night at the 99 RV Park Vancouver, WA (again, noisy but close to the highway) before finally reaching the Lake Washington Beach Mobile & RV Park in Seattle. This park is a rent by the month park right on the tip of Lake Washington. The benefits of this park are that it is only about a half hour away from Rebecca’s house, it is close to restaurants & shops, and a pretty good value. Though it is right next to the Renton Municipal Airport but they mostly fly smaller planes out of it and it really has not been a noise issue. We did have a bit of an issue with the first site they put us on as it was too small, but we were able to get reassigned to a better spot quickly and we are now tucked in for a much longer stay.
We immediately went to get COVID-19 tests (which were negative) so that
we could safely join our daughter’s family pod for the holidays. We are trying to make sure we limit our contact with the outside world, having groceries delivered, and pretty much just staying at home. We did get very good news in that Erin, who had been furloughed in the summer, got her job back at the New York Road Runners. She will be working from home as is Alex, Jason, & Rebecca but we are so please everyone is staying healthy, employed, and safe.
While we are here in Seattle, we are taking care of all those pesky doctors’ appointments that need to happen every year as well as getting a couple of cortisone shots in my left hand to hopefully resolve the issues there without surgery. We are enjoying spending time with Rebecca and Jason and their furry children.
We will be here for the next two months at least, we haven’t really made any plans for the new year yet, but that is the joy of living on the road, we can make or change plans as the mood takes us, and we can hunker down here until we can get the vaccine.
This year we did not travel quite as we had planned due to COVID-19, but we did make it to:
- 18 States
- 5,019 miles by RV
- 4,631 Miles in the Jeep Exploring
- 22 Campsites
- 1 Trip to the Tiffin Home Base
- 2 Stops at Freightliner Service Centers
- And 2 Hurricanes/Tropical Storms (Isaias in FL & Zeta in IN)
To say that 2020 has been a crazy year is the ultimate understatement! Between a contentious election, hurricanes, volcanoes erupting, civil unrest, wildfires, and a raging pandemic we have all been greatly affected by the events of this year. Our hearts go out to all those of you who have or had family members so negatively affected by the virus both physically and financially. We are praying that the vaccine is widely distributed soon and that you and yours will be able to recover from this devastating past 12 months.
We hope you can find some peace this holiday season, are able to safely connect with love ones, and that we are all around next year when we can once again get together and celebrate.
Take care of yourselves and those you love!
Happy New Year!