2000 miles later, we’re home!

Hello again from the wandering RV’ers!  We’ve finally made it home and as is always the case, we’re glad to be here.   The picture at left shows the home on wheels parked at son #2’s house where we spent two fun days with son#2, dear daughter in law,  and my brother as well.  We reveled in the lovely sunny days that we knew would NOT be waiting for us here at home. 

Here’s a pic I couldn’t resist including.  It’s “Huckleberry” the cat, my first grand-kitty!  Isn’t he a cutie!  He loves Granny, not so sure about Grandpa,  but he does love Granny!!

Onward to some of the pros and cons of our first big trip…  The cons first.

Con #1 (this is tops on my list by far) – RV Toilet Paper!!  It’s horrible!  I know it’s supposed to fall apart in the holding tank, but c’mon.  Does it have to start the falling apart process when in use ??  YUCK.

Con #2 – Worrying if we hooked everything up correctly, if we forgot anything, and if we were going to accidentally get into a spot where we couldn’t turn around.  While towing your car you CANNOT back up – or at least it is highly discouraged!!!  We didn’t always hook up everything properly, but like the intelligent folks we are, we managed to learn from our mistakes.   We did see one very unfortunate guy in a motorhome who was towing a jeep.  He tried to make a U-turn at an intersection in Yellowstone Park – and failed.  He ended up part way into a ditch at the side of the road, and the WORST part – he blocked traffic for a while which tends to really tick off drivers in Yellowstone!  How embarrassing.

Con #3 – Having to book all our camping spots in advance.  We need to learn to be just a little bit more flexible.  However, that said, you’d be a total nut to NOT book a spot near Yellowstone in the summer.  The other places were not nearly as busy and we probably could have “winged” it.  When you reserve your campground in advance it sort of forces you to follow through to your original plan – which is sometimes okay, and sometimes I think being able to modify the original plan would be a great thing.

Con #4 – Hubby will disagree with this one, but sometimes I’d love a smaller RV.  I have fond memories of camping in the woods near a lake or stream as a kid and young adult, and this big hurkin’ thing ain’t gonna fit into a Forest Service camp spot.  If I won the lotto, I would without a doubt nab a smaller RV for those times when you want to get really close to Nature 🙂

Con #5 – The bed.  Okay, this problem can be solved.  It rolls to the center and how I do hate that!!!  I think the mattress simply needs to be replaced and before we go on another extended trip, it will be.  It must be!!  I have not been dubbed  the “Beautyrest Sleep Queen” for no reason!  I delight in a good night’s sleep.  It’s a must for this gal.

Now for the Pros…..

Pro #1 – Packing up one time!  No suitcases either!  Just put your clothes into the closet and drawers and you are all set!

Pro#2 – Not having to eat restaurant food every meal!  Okay, it’s true that when on vacation it is fun to NOT have to cook all the time, but at the same time it’s great to be able to pull over to the side of the road (in a safe place) and fix lunch whenever the mood strikes.  I think it also is probably cheaper to make your own meals in the long run and quite possibly healthier!

Pro #3 – The comfort of “home”.  I really felt like I was “home” and in the comfort of my own surroundings when we were on the road.

Pro #4 – The washer/dryer combo.  Our coach came with a really neat appliance!  One I thought I’d probably never use, but I was wrong – oh, SO wrong.  The washloads had to be small, but they came out great every time!  I was fascinated with the thing.  Hubby caught me staring at it numerous times as it rolled the clothes first this way, then that… then went into dryer mode.  I LOVE that thing!

Pro #5 – The expensive ($40) under sink water filter.  I thought we were throwing away the forty bucks when we bought it.  Again, I was wrong, very wrong. This filter is a particularly good one, and I had enough confidence in it to drink directly from it daily.  We made our coffee from the filtered water every morning.  So – no worries about the water, and no dragging gallons of bottled water along.  All the water at the campsites was technically safe to drink.  But this filter just made me (actually I think BOTH of us) feel better.

General thoughts…

Now that I know I really WILL use the washer/dryer, I don’t need to pack as much in the way of clothing.   On a similar note, I probably brought more food than was necessary as well.  It’s fun to shop in a local market and grab what you might need.   There is so much beautiful countryside to see out there!  So many places we would love to go and explore… “Someday” we hope to take a six-month trip.  On that trip I hope we can go slower, spending more time in each spot.  This trip was pretty much “go, go, go”.  And what about Jinx the RV cat?  He stayed home this time but there is no way we can leave him on a six-month trip!  Next month we hope to do a one night stand with the black ball of fur and see how it goes.

One last note… most folks out there these days have a GPS.  We have one too – you may remember that I have sung the praises of “Maggie Magellan” in the past.  This trip, Maggie was somewhat inconsistent.  She led us tried to lead us down some crazy roads.  My advice is always have a MAP!  It’s a great old fashioned tool that was priceless for us.

Hopefully you have enjoyed reading about our adventure in RVing.  Now it’s back to regular life – for a while at least!!!

Lower Falls, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River

Motorhome trip Day One

Hello from Twisp, Washington on day One of our motorhome adventure!  We scurried around this morning, packing up last minute items – like all our clothes (!) and took off around 10:30.  We stopped  in Burlington where we gassed up the motorhome at the local Fred Meyer’s – using our rewards points for an extra ten cents off per gallon – yahoo!  It was in the Fred Meyer’s parking lot where I realized I’d forgotten to pack any capris or shorts.  Our weather has been okay at best, but we have high hopes for some sunshine on this trip, so without further adieu I popped into Fred Meyers and grabbed a couple pairs of shorts as well as two sub sandwiches for our lunch on the run.  Then it was time to hook up the car to the motorhome for the first time since last February when we got all the bits and pieces installed by the RV dealership.  We dug out the 5X7 photos I’d had made showing the original hook up of all the wires and connectors… it took us about 15 minutes, maybe 20 to do it, but we were successful!  The brake lights, the brake, and the turn signals all worked perfectly.  It was time to take off, headed east on Highway 20 – across the North Cascades Highway.  For folks who don’t live around here, this highway is closed from October through April or May of every year.  The first picture on today’s post shows our car and motorhome stopped along this highway.  The higher we got, the more dreary, cloudy and rainy it became…

We went over “Rainy Pass” which is 4,800 feet high and as you can see from the photo on the right, there is still plenty of snow up there!   This was also the first test of the motor home, going up some pretty steep grades.  Yup, we slowed down a bit, but all was well.  Coming down the other side was another test for the wondrous exhaust brake (jake brake).  It worked great.

We drove through the little western themed town of Winthrop and on to Twisp where our evening’s rest at Riverbend Campground awaited us.  Unfortunately, the further east we went, the more it began to rain.  It was pouring by the time we arrived at our campground on the Methow River.  Here’s hubby, working on getting everything plugged in and set up…

Tomorrow, we’re off for Coeur D’alene Idaho and we can’t help but hope for a bit of sunshine along the way.  So far, very little luck in our quest for something other than sunshine in the liquid variety.  Thanks to our neighbor Susan for the cute little book she gave us to record our mileage and gas ups.  Thanks also to our other neighbor Karen who is watching our precious Jinx.  Thanks to our friend Howard who gave John the hint to bring our own squeegee for washing the motorhome windshield – we’ve already used it!  More soon from John and Suz, traveling in “the mousetrap”.

Journey in June

Believe it or not, we are getting the trusty motor home ready for our first big (two-week or so) trip!  Can you guess where our destination is?  Okay, I made it too easy.  We’re headed to Yellowstone.  Hubby has never been, and it’s such a glorious place – a veritable “must see”, so next week, we’re off!  Instead of making a new blog to chronicle our trip, I’ll post right here on Mizsuzee’s Musings!  I doubt I will have the opportunity to post every day, sometimes we’ll be just too busy, and other times we may run into difficulty getting internet connections.  But when I can post, I certainly will.  It’s still unknown if we will be taking Jinx the RV cat.   Because of unforeseen circumstances (ie: having the RV fridge repaired due to a sudden recall) we were unable to do a trial run with Jinx.  Because of that, I can say we are certainly a bit leery of just popping him in the MH and tooling on down the highways for two weeks.  At any rate, cat or no cat, we’re going.  We’ll cross our state, spend some time in Idaho, then buzz over to Montana and drop down into Yellowstone.  We’ll take a slightly different route the way home.  Not only will this be our first “big” MH trip, it will also be our first experience towing the car behind us.   That should be interesting, especially as we cross the Rocky Mountains at the continental divide.  Hubby says our diesel pusher engine can handle the hills, and I have to have faith in that.   So please follow along as we go on our first motor home adventure!   We leave next Wednesday, June 16th and to be quite honest, we sure do hope to come across some sunshine.  We’ve had very little of that bright light in the sky for the past oh, nine months or so.   Our fist leg of the journey will be to cross the North Cascades highway, here in Washington state.  Hope you’ll check on our progress and do feel free to leave comments! 🙂

A happy birthday

The older I get the less excited I am about birthdays.  In fact I’ve begun to dread them, ignore them for the most part, and simply sweep them under a rug.  This year it seemed like we had a lot of stuff transpiring on and around my “big” day, and as it happens, people in our neighborhood decided that I got one HUGE present on the commemoration of my 54 years of life.  Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t really a birthday gift.  Here is a snap shot of “it”:

June 2009 036It’s our “new to us” Winnebago Journey motor home.   This thing looks huge, and it sort of is!  We hoped to find one that was 32 to 34 feet long, but ended up with this beauty which is 36.  What an adventure we had… or should I say journey … to get it home from Olympia WA.  We navigated rush hour traffic through Tacoma and Seattle… trucked on through Everett, and then up the narrow, winding roads to home – where it barely fits in our driveway.  We’re not allowed to keep it at home for more than three days (homeowners association rules), so it will be moved to it’s home away from home on Saturday.  We are planning our first outing in July – can’t wait!

One of my goals is to get our cat, Jinx acclimated to the motorhome, so he can become a real RV cat!  The previous owners had two RV cats that went along with them.  One was an indoor/outdoor cat like our Jinx, and we were told that he adapted very well to the RV lifestyle.  I’m still not convinced that Jinx will truly adapt, but we are sure going to give it a try.  Here’s a picture of Jinx getting comfortable with the new RV.  June 2009 032

He actually had a great time exploring every possible nook and cranny!  On the counters, the sofa, the dash, the bed, and everywhere in between.  I do worry a bit the first time he is inside and we start up the big ol’ diesel engine…. he may go WACKO!!  Again, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he will adapt to the sound of the engine, the movement, and also the fact that he will most certainly have to stay INside while we are camping.   That’s a lot for a kitty to have to learn to live with, so we shall see.

June 2009 029What I really got for my birthday was this gorgeous bouquet of flowers from my precious husband – the best husband on earth (well, I think so!!).  Then we went out to dinner at Anthony’s, a popular seafood restaurant here in the Northwest.  I splurged and got the fresh Alaskan King salmon, and ohhh la la, it was delish!

Having a birthday at my age has lost it’s thrill, but there’s still something to be said for just plain happiness and contentment.  I’m lucky because I’ve got them both…. and great kids and step kids, the world’s greatest husband (oops, already mentioned him), fabulous neighbors & friends, a great job….  well, you get the point.  I’m a lucky girl and I really DO know it.