Category Archives: Arizona ~ AZ

Oregon to Texas, February 2013



HarveyTwo has brought us back to Texas!  It was a long trip, with lots of interesting detours.  Phil has returned to work, which is hard for us all, but it is necessary.  I am having trouble thinking of Houston as “home”, but it is familiar and warmer … I hope to have the kids write about some of their impressions next week, when “school” resumes. More pictures can be seen at SmugMug

February 10:  After a long day of last-minute preparations, a last-lunch from Burgerville, and lots of rearranging, we finally pulled out of Sandy Riverfront RV Park in Troutdale, which we had called home since June 2012.  We drove to Eugene, Oregon, where we spent the night.

feb11sunset2February 11: Lunch for the road was fresh-fruit-salad-in-a-jar.  We drove west to Highway 101, where we had breathtaking views of the coast.  We stopped at Turtle Rock, Oregon, where we stayed for two nights in a nice RV park on the coast.

February 12: We learned about “sneakers” and “seastacks” and played horseshoes.  We all got wet feet when the sneakers snuck up on us while we walked on the beach, but Molly actually fell in a wave!  It was COLD, but we mustered the courage to keep walking and admiring the views.  The park hosted a Mardi Gras party, which seems really ironic to us Texans.  They ruined the gumbo, though, with the addition of critters we don’t eat, so the kids only got to eat dessert!

February 13: We said farewell to Oregon.  Weeks of angst about crossing the California border were dismissed instantly when we crossed without even stopping.  (I was worried about what they might think of our worm-bin.)

feb13redwoods3We stopped at a Ranger Station in Crescent City, where we got quick advice about how to see the most while towing a big trailer.  We drove out to the beach in Crescent City for more spectacular seastacks and found the local hangout for sea lions before heading further south for the Redwood National Forest.  When we got our first views of the Giant Redwoods, I was impressed.  They are truly as awe-inspiring as I had hoped, and our monster truck was indeed dwarfed by the trees.  The forest is wet and quiet and just “feels” ancient.

February 14:  We drove to Eureka for the afternoon to meet up with an online friend of mine.  The kids got to run around a great playground for feb15hikedownawhile, which was definitely good for them.

Feberuary 15:  We decided to go for a walk before we left.  It was a LOT further than we anticipated, but it was fun – at least for the grownups.  We walked to what we thought was a “beach access”, but it was only a scenic overlook.  The cliff was steep, but a trail taunted us, so we investigated.  When we got to the bottom of the hundreds of steps, we found a rather primitive “ladder” that seemed to have been beaten by the tides into a very unstable position.  After lots of complaining that it was “not fair”, we finally convinced the kids that we had to return to the top without going all the way down to the tidal pools.  (I did test out the ladder, and it was just a little too unsteady to attempt with the kids.  Maybe 20 years ago, but not today.)  That night, we stayed at an RV park that was at the top of a hill – a dark, twisty, narrow road led us there.  If we hadn’t been so tired, it would have been a good place to explore.

February 16: We drove south through beautiful places and across the Golden Gate Bridge.

feb17February 17:  Bare feet and sandals! We arrived at Orangeland to find ripe oranges and grapefruit on the trees.  What a difference from Portland, in only seven days.

February 18:  Annie was responsible for finding something new to do in Los Angeles.  All she wanted to do was go to Hollywood – again – which really didn’t appeal to me, but this was a long trip anyway, so we needed to do something the kids wanted to do.  She found a historical ship, the Queen Mary, for us to visit.  It took us about two hours to get there, due to an unfortunate accident of BOTH parents forgetting their wallets.

feb18submarine2We did finally get to see the ship, including its gigantic engines and propellors and fascinating history as both a cruise ship and a military transport.  Adjacent to the ship is a Russian submarine, that we toured, as well – Molly left her puppy Ruby by the periscope, causing another MAJOR drama for the day.

February 19:  Happy Birthday to Molly!!  We celebrated with a trip to Hollywood Boulevard, where she was serenaded by a girl-band recording a music video.  We went to the Guinness World Record Museum, which was hokey but amusing.  Part of the Boulevard was closed, preparing for the Oscar ceremony (“not fair” that we were there on the wrong day).  We finished the day at a very enjoyable ramen restaurant in Los Angeles – Orochon.


February 20:  We drove east through fields of windmills.

February 21:  Arizona

February 22:  We arrived in Las Cruces, New Mexico and were greeted by a centipede.  For the next three days, Zoe was petrified to walk outside the RV, for fear of the “spiky thing.”  Our RV park was down the road from the dealership where we found HarveyTwo, 10 months ago.

23febsand1February 23:  At last, we reached White Sands, a destination that had intrigued me since our return from Calgary, in the fall of 2011.  We watched the movie in the Ranger Station and bought the obligatory sleds before driving to the dunes.  Again, my breath was taken away by the splendor of nature.  We climbed the hills of cold sand, under the perfect blue sky.  Molly and Zoe had the most fun with the sleds, but they preferred just rolling down the hills.  Annie, Phil and I each tried it, but it was anticlimactic.  We took dozens of photos, which we will put online soon.  We chatted with some horse-riders, who had been riding in the sands all day long.  I have never seen such sweaty tired horses!  As the sun set over the mountains, even Annie didn’t want to leave.

February 24:  Weather kept us in Las Cruces for one more day.  Windstorms were just not a thing we wanted to endure with our trailer.  We spent a couple hours hunting for Geocaches instead and relaxed.  If you have never heard of Geocaching, it is like a treasure hunt, following clues and GPS coordinates that are posted on a website.  We found four, and we rather enjoyed ourselves.

feb25welcomeFebruary 25:  We entered Texas!  A long way, still, from Houston …

February 26:  We arrived in Kerrville and visited with Aunt Linda for a little while.  It was a momentous day:  Happy Anniversary to my parents, and Happy Birthday to Nana!

February 27:  Katy, Texas!  (I’m still not sure how we crossed Texas in only two days.)


Tucson to Orange, Part Tres


Today, we arrived in California!  The temperature had dropped nearly 20 degrees by 5:00!  ❤  We just drove through a humongous wind farm: San Gorgonio Pass.  I really want to tour a wind farm one of these days.  Too bad we didn’t plan better today …

Now, it is midnight, and it is currently 65 degrees outside!  It is predicted to be in the 70s all week!  Loving this!!  Except that the kids want to go swimming.  I don’t like cold water.  Hope the pool is in the sun tomorrow.

The following pictures show what happens when we arrive at our destination … after dinner, that is …  Tonight we ate at Whole Foods and walked out of there $120 later … sigh.

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And, that is how traveling ends for us.  Hopefully, this blog lives up to “your” expectations!

Tucson to Orange, Part Dos


Driving days usually start with the kids all immediately bickering about something and claiming to be hungry.  It could be legitimate.  I tend to forget to feed them when I’m trying to remember all the OTHER stuff I need to do.  Plus, I can not understand how they can feed themselves every single day but not on a day when we’re traveling.  They also immediately demand music.  We have recently implemented a 10-minute rule:  no requests or interruptions til we’ve actually been on the road for 10 minutes.  Phil and I really need a few minutes to gather our thoughts and make sure we didn’t forget something … like lowering the tv antenna …  It’s a work in progress!

This slideshow is from yesterday:

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Our very first RV trip, in 2009 was a challenge because we had never done it before.  We struggled to figure out how long we could drive before we had to stop.  On that trip, Zoe was 8 months old, and she defied all of us and wouldn’t sleep enough in the car.  She was, however, just like her sisters and refused to sleep or be happy once the sun set.  Anyway, my point is:  on that trip, we finally figured out that if we drove for 45 minutes, we could stop for 10 minutes, and everyone was happy.  Any longer in the car resulted in a LONGER break, and nobody was happy.  We did drive for longer, if Zoe was asleep, but that was totally unpredictable.  We did a lot of running around in rest stops.  🙂  Our next big trip was in 2011, when we drove to Calgary.  We didn’t do much better.  Everyone got really cranky when we tried to drive too long, and Zoe still wasn’t happy riding at night.  We depended on electronic gadgets a LOT on that trip (iPod, iPad, DVD).  The trip to Florida was more relaxed, but we still needed those gadgets …

Well, we haven’t used any of those gadgets on this trip!  Our new truck has everything except a DVD player.  I think that it is a slippery slope:  if you have a DVD player, everything else is needed.  The kids only have cameras now.  (They keep forgetting their iPods.)  I have been using the MacAir for the last two days, and they haven’t even really been begging for that.  We do have Sirius radio, and that is always on.  Road trips are impossible without music.  Now, if they would only let me have MY music occasionally.

So, yesterday, we drove across Arizona.  We stopped twice in 4 1/2 hours.  Today, we drove another 4 hours, with one stop!  Wow!  I never would have thought that was possible.  Today, however, we bribed the kids differently:  we surprised them with spending money when we stopped at a gas station.  Told them they could buy whatever they wanted … ok, I’m a mean mom – I told them no candy or cookies.  They are used to that rule, but they were excited by chips and chocolate milk and mom saying “yes”.  I’ll have to try that more often!

The next pictures will be in the next post … revealing what happens when we arrive at our destination.

Tucson to Orange: A Day in the Life Of … Blog Carnival

I am writing this blog entry to be a part of a series organized by another blogger for “We Choose This Life”.  I’m still trying to figure this blog-thing out, but here goes!

Blog Carnival – the blog which inspired this post.

This blog post will document the process of travel for our family of 5:  parents (Janis and Phil), daughters (Annie, Molly and Zoe) – plus a cat (Meme) and a bunny (Biscuit).  We sold our house in April, and we are currently in the honeymoon phase of full time RVing.

We are driving cross-country over a period of 3-4 weeks, from Houston, Texas to Portland, Oregon, for Phil’s job.  We are driving only on the weekends, and then he is flying to Portland each work-week.  Last fall, we drove to Calgary, Alberta in 6 days – it was about the same distance from Houston.  We survived, but none of us really desire to race across the country like that again.

After 4 days in Tucson, we re-packed everything and hit the road at about 1:00 on Saturday, June 2.  The closing up, packing up and hooking up process took us about 3 hours today, but we were not hurrying.  I’m writing this on our MacBook Air, while Phil drives … right now, we are on I-10, west of Tonopah, Arizona.  The kids are serenading us by singing “Feel So Close” by Calvin Harris (Sirius Hits 1).

**After feedback, I have decided to remove the slide show.  It is too difficult to see  when you don’t have an awesome internet connection …**  You can see the photos on our smugmug account

The routine for closing up is a work-in-progress.  We prefer to travel with clean clothes, so I try to do as much laundry as possible before we leave.  I am getting better at “keeping up” using our Splendide all-in-one, but Phil’s work clothes take the most time.  Sheets and towels are doable, but it is easier to do the big stuff at the park laundry facilities.  We also like to travel with clean dishes.  We swam all day yesterday instead of doing mundane tasks like dishes … and then when Phil got home, we went out to dinner, and it was such a late night that we didn’t do the dishes … sigh.


The beds have to be made, then all the “extra” stuff gets piled on them so the slides can be pulled in.  (and the floors get vacuumed right before the slides get moved)  Once all that is done, the RV is really snug.  There are other tasks to be done that I try to get the kids to do, like catching the fur-babies and snacks and water…  I really need to write a list because Phil and I tend to get cranky when we are trying to do the last bits: the kids don’t want to be outside or in the truck.  They want to be INtheWAY!  Today, there was the added bonus of extra-rotten-sister-fights which really made it hard to remain in a decent mood.

*Update 1, 7:30 pm:  We arrived at the River Breeze RV Park in Ehrenburg, Arizona, around 6:30 and set up in record time.  Here is why:  Our site is right next to the pool!  The kids did not get to swim this morning, so that is all they wanted to do … well, Annie wanted to eat dinner *and* swim.  I just wanted to sit down in front of the computer and work on this blog!  So, I made a salad, and they are all over there swimming.  I am sitting on the lawn, sipping wine, watching the sunset.  This is a very interesting park.  We are one mile from the California border.  The Colorado River is somewhere near us, but the park is FULL.  It has a lot of permanent residents in Park Model units and a lot of active weekenders here for some ATV fun.  Nobiggee for us!  As long as we have hookups, wifi and moderately-friendly staff, we are happy.  Oh, and if I can walk around barefooted, that is a huge bonus!

**Update 2, 9:30 pm:  Phil is washing dishes, and the kids are watching Harry Potter.  I started a load of laundry and fed Biscuit some lovely chard that we received from an unschooled in Tucson today.  (Traded compost for veggies!  It doesn’t get better than that!)  Now, I am sitting on my bed, in the dark, editing the photos for this blog post.  Tomorrow, I will work on the photos from the actual road-trip!  I can’t figure out how to make two slide shows in one post, so it will have to be a separate post.

B is for Beaver



Drove south from Fillmore, Utah … Arizona, Nevada, then back to Arizona.  Lots of crisscrossing over mountain passes.  The kids had pretty good days up til now, but they let it all out today … tomorrow, we are taking a break from activities, so hopefully their behavior will improve before we go to see the Grand Canyon.  Planning to take a train tour!


Sunset south of the Hoover Dam.  We were bummed out because we couldn’t see the dam from the new bridge.  We will have to go again some day.