Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2015 - The year in review

This year in review will reveal how the best laid plans can dissolve quickly in a bowl of Jello....

Seventeen days into the new year we attended, and participated in the wedding of our youngest daughter, Sharon to the love of her life, Rod.  It was a wonderful way to begin the new year, and within a few days of the wedding (January 20th) we were back on the road after having spent 5 weeks at the home of our middle daughter Katie whose own wedding date was October 17th, but that will come later in the year in review.

 The kids

 Father and bride

 Parental units of the bride and groom

 Man and wife

Farewell breakfast with Tim and Laila

We had big plans to travel into Texas to visit family and friends after spending a few weeks at the home of our good friends Tom and Darlene in Wittmann, AZ.  We drove the entire 300+ miles to their home in one day and had a wonderful 3+ weeks with them as we always do.  

During that stay we made dental appointments at the office of Dr. Eva Urena to have teeth cleaned, and TLE's crown re-installed.......this is where the Jello began to jiggle.  Within a few minutes Dr. Urena had determined that the root canal that TLE's crown had been attached to had begun to decay, so she had to pull it in preparation for the installation of a dental implant to which a new crown could be attached.  This completely changed our winter/spring plans.  We had planned to journey into Texas, and then north to Indianapolis for the INDY 500 then back to South Lake Tahoe for the summer........the Texas and Indianapolis plans quickly evaporated into the ether as we had to return to Dr. Urena in late April for TLE's implant surgery.  So we made a new plan to spent the next 5-6 weeks boondocking in northern Arizona and southern Utah so we would not have a long distance to travel back to Los Algodones, Baja California, Mexico.

Around February 13th we once again rolled our wheels north to the Verde Valley where we planned to do some boondocking off of Thousand Trails Road on some National Forest land where dispersed camping is allowed for 14 days each month.

Initially we spent about 10 days camping at this wonderful spot, and then put the coach into storage at the local Thousand Trails campground just down the road for 8 days while we traveled to and from TLE's college reunion in Pasadena, CA.  

Out to dinner during the reunion

On our way back to the Verde Valley we stopped off at Tom and Darlene's for a couple of days and then headed back to pick up our coach.  We had planned......there's that word again....to head back to the dispersed camping land, but it had been raining on and off for a week, and the red clay was soggy and there was no way we were going to drive a 40,000 pound rig out there when it was like that.....so it was on to Plan B.  We ended up finding a nice local RV park that took Passport America and ended up staying there for 13 days while we went hiking around Sedona, and I worked on coach projects.....

Hiking Sedona

We had a wonderful 13 additional days in the Verde Valley, but alas it was time to move further north to the Lake Powell area to one of our all time favorite boondock sites at Lone Rock....

 The livin' was easy at Lone rock (in the background)

....in all we boondocked for 16 consecutive days at Lone Rock without dumping our tanks and taking on water......that still remains our personal best.  It was at Lone Rock that we formulated our plan to add two additional solar panels to make recharging our batteries easier even though we were able to get back to 100% every 2, or 3 days.

All good things must come to an eventual end, and finally it was time to move further north to Monument Valley for a few days, and then on to Goosenecks State Park in Southern Utah....

.....we took the sunset tour of Monument Valley and were just blown away, but it was all too quickly time to move on to Goosenecks State Park where we planned to initially spend a week, but hoping to spend 2 weeks.....

Our Goosenecks boondock site.....photo courtesy Steven Dempsey and his amazing drone!

.....we ended up staying for 14 days, and just loved our time there.....we hike the Honaker Trail to the San Juan River, and made the pilgrimage to Four Corners where the borders of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado intersect.....

 The Honaker....

Four corners....

It was now April 16th and time to begin migrating back toward Los Algodones and TLE's dental appointment to have her implant surgery.  As you will recall from our blog while we were in Goosenecks the fuel pump on the VW went out while we were taking a short day trip into Mexican Hat for lunch.  We had to wait all afternoon for a tow truck to arrive from 90 miles away to haul the VW back to our boondock site at Goosenecks.  Ultimately we hauled the VW in the trailer all the way back to Wittmann, AZ and the home of our good friends Tom and Darlene where our new fuel pump was awaiting our arrival.  Tom helped me install the new fuel pump and we were good to go once again.

We spent about a week at Tom and Darlene's home before it was time to make the trek to Los Algodones and TLE's dental implant surgery on April 27th.  We found a small RV park in Winterhaven, CA just a few miles from Los Algodones where we stayed two nights.  The surgery went without a hitch and we were on our way north to Riverside to see our kids for what we thought would be just a few days.  As it turned out Dr. Urena said TLE would need to come back in 10 days for a post operation checkup to be sure all had gone as it should, so we we ended up staying at my daughter's home again for about 8 days driving the VW back down to Los Algodones for the checkup.

By May 8th we were making our way north on US 395 to Lake Tahoe.....it was raining as we departed Riverside, and by the time we reached Bishop, CA that afternoon there was a lot of snow visible on the east slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  We spent one night in Bishop and were once again on our way to South Lake Tahoe......

Southern Sierra Nevada near Lone Pine, CA

Lee Vining, CA

.....all along US 395 there was snow, but it was a beautiful travel and uneventful travel day which saw us arrive at Tahoe Valley Campground early afternoon.....our home for the next 15 weeks......

 Back 'home' again....

We were in South Lake Tahoe from May 9th until August 28th, and it was a wonderful summer.....

 We got 6" of snow in mid May

 Finally.....t-shirt and short pants weather!

 With my good friend Tom McCloud at the Emerald Bay vista point

 Did the Mt. Tallac hike with Richard and Rhonda.....what an amazing day with amazing friends

 The 4th of July is around the corner

 The bike path to Squaw Valley with TLE and Terri

 Doing my favorite Emerald Bay ride - 18 miles round trip!

In mid July we drove the VW south to Arcadia, CA for the wedding of my brother's daughter Danielle to Miguel.....what a wonderful time spent with family and friends......

 Man and wife

 What an amazing family!

 Hilary (sister) and Caroline (niece)

 Nick, Rod and Christopher

Ryan (nephew)

.....it was a whirlwind 4 day  trip that took us a week to recover from......lol!

 Breakfast with TLE

 It must be fish taco Wednesday!

My daughter Meredith surprised us one evening with an unexpected visit

Our time in South Lake Tahoe was once again unforgettable, but it was time to move on to our next assignment.......lighthouse hosts at Cape Blanco Lighthouse.  We arrived in Cape Blanco after 2.5 days of traveling on August 30th, got settled in and then did our annual orientation meeting on the 1st.  We spent just once month this year, but were joined by Mike and Lizzie this time.....we first met them at Amazon.com in Campbellsville, KY in November of 2012, and this was the first time we had met up since then.

There were many beach walks

On the job as lighthouse hosts

Spent a day making a run up the Rogue River on Jerry's Jet Boats

....we had a wonderful month stay at Cape Blanco, but by September 30th it was time to roll our wheels once again.....we had an appointment at A.M. Solar in Springfield, OR to have two additional solar panels installed......this appointment has been our long range focus ever since the early spring when we had decided we needed to expand our solar array.....

 From 2 to 4 panels!

We were at A.M. Solar for two nights while our system was being upgraded, then we moved over the the Valley River Mall whilst TLE flew south to SoCal to my daughter, Kate's bridal shower.....it was a total surprise for Kate!  I picked TLE up in Portland on our way north to Whidbey Island were we parked our coach, and then spent the better part of our stay visiting with friends on Lopez Island......

 On the Port Townsend/Coupeville Ferry

  Where we parked our coach on Whidbey Island

  On the ferry to Lopez Island

We had a wonderful time with Gary and Karen Alexander at their home on Lopez Island (part of the San Juan Islands)

 Lunch in Coupeville on our way home from Lopez Island

We once again rolled our wheels on October 11th headed for Spokane and a visit with my mother and my sister, as well as my sister's family, as well as to fly home out of Spokane International for the wedding of my daughter Katie....yep......our third wedding of 2015.  While we were down in SoCal we parked our coach at a local RV park......and upon our return we moved over to my sister and brother-in-law's home where we stayed for about 10 days.....

 The extended family

 Man and wife

Father of the bride

.....we had a wonderful time at the wedding, but by the time we returned to Spokane we were ready for some alone time, but we would have to wait another 10 days before we began our trip back to SoCal for the holidays.

Ensconced in the driveway at my sister Hilary's home in Spokane

Finally October 29th came and it was time for us to begin our long journey down US 395 to SoCal for the holidays......it was time for TLE and I to recharge our personal batteries taking the better part of 3+ weeks to drive the 1300+ miles home.......

 The beauty of US 395

 Fairgrounds in John Day, OR

 Riley, OR

 Got snow coming into Standish, CA

 South Lake Tahoe.....the lake level is WAY down!

 Conway Summit vista - Mono Lake, CA

 On the shores of Mono Lake for our one night stay

 17 degrees the next morning at Mono Lake....time to get to lower elevations!

We had a wonderful drive south on US 395.....it was everything and much more than we had expected......we covered over 700+ miles of US 395 we had never seen before, but by the time we arrived at Mono Lake for our planned  4-5 day stay we had to finally face reality....it was just much colder this year than last at this same time.....we woke up to 17 degree temperatures at our Mono Lake boondock site with ice on the inside of the windows.....it was time to get to lower elevations, and quickly!  After just one morning at Mono Lake we fired up the DD and headed for Bishop, CA where we would lick our wounds for a few days while awaiting UPS shipments of, among other things, a new 31' foot 50 amp cord for our shore power.....I discovered our 33 year old cord had shorted out the morning we departed our Mono Lake camp.

Tri-County fairgrounds in Bishop, CA

Keough's Hot Springs

Once we had that and a few other items we again headed south with due dispatch to Ventura, CA where we spent 10 delightful days in warm sunshine and really learning more about our solar panel upgrade.  We got back to 100% every day we were there by early afternoon!

 Warm at last......Ventura, CA

 There were many sunset fires

As I wrote previously we spent a delightful, wonderful 10 days parked next to the Pacific Ocean on Rincon Parkway just north of Ventura.  As much fun as we had meandering slowly down US 395, the 10 days spent listening to the surf, watching the tides come and go with an amazing sunset every evening were the highlight of our trip back to SoCal and our family for the holidays.  

On Saturday November 21st we broke our camp on the Rincon and drove the last 140+ miles to Riverside where we would be until December 30th when we once again rolled our wheels to meet up with our nomadic friends plus some of our kids for New Years in the desert.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas with our kids, their families, and extended families.

In all we covered just 7,703 miles in our 2015 adventures.....one of our lower annual mileage totals, but we created a million new memories.  Our plans to travel into Texas to visit friends and relatives, and work at the Indianapolis 500 once again melted into a pool of melted jello with our visit to our dentist, and we made a new plan......that is what this nomadic life is all about.......adapt, be flexible, have few expectations and live life as it comes at you.

We are now 12 days into 2016 and already long range plans are coming into focus that will carry us well into 2017!  Stay tuned as we continue the adventure!

Thanks for stopping by!

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