A Lighthouse Road Trip On The Shores of Lake Huron

I love lighthouses. I always have. In fact if I were to go through my map collection, I would find several maps dedicated to lighthouse locations by state. I have lighthouse locator app on my phone. I even have a United States Lighthouse Society Passport.

We left Bambi Lake early one morning to start the hour drive that would lead us to the shores of Lake Huron. Lake Huron is the second largest of the great lakes, but has the longest shoreline, over 3800 miles.

Our first stop was the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse. The buildings were closed due to Covid, but the grounds were open for exploration.

Standing on the shore, it’s easy to understand why the EPA calls the great lakes “freshwater seas”. There is no land on the distant horizon and the waves crash to shore as if it were the ocean…

I spent more time than necessary walking along the shores picking up pretty rocks only to decide to leave them for the next person. After all, Waldo can only carry so much weight.

We had planned on going further north, but we realized we would definitely run out of daylight before we ran out of lighthouses to visit. Instead we headed south to Apena. The lighthouse there is at the mouth of the Thunder Bay River and can be seen by walking along a boardwalk atop of the Apena breakwater.

While the lighthouse isn’t as fancy as many, I still enjoyed seeing it.

Click here for more lighthouse info…

Our final destination for the day was Tawas Point State Park. There have been record high water levels in Tawas Bay and the evidence is plain to see…

After we parked, we walked along one of the nature trails to get to the lighthouse. Once again, the lighthouse was closed due to Covid, so no tours were being offered. We had to settle for an outside view…

It’s probably just as well, I think my days of climbing lighthouse stairs are over. But it is always neat to tour the light keeper’s residence.

We had ventured as far south as we thought we could and still make it back to Bambi Lake before dinner so with that, we left the shores of Lake Huron and returned to Roscommon.

Ah, so many lighthouses, so little time!

Up next…

We get locked in on a pirate ship, oh dear!

Pure Michigan!

We said goodbye to our new friend Eddie and headed north to meet up with some old friends, Mike and Dawn from Random Bits of Trial and Error. It had been a hot minute since we’d last had a chance to meet up and relaxing in northern Michigan sounded like just the ticket.

Mike and Dawn had been raving about Bambi Lake for years and we wanted to know what all the hoopla was about. Well, to start with, Bambi Lake is a privately owned lake, nestled in 240 acres of beautiful Michigan woodlands with direct access to several of the state’s ORV trails. After getting checked in, Mike guided us to our site. Since it was already mid-September, the campground was nearly deserted…

We spent lazy afternoons around the campfire and quiet evenings sharing meals with friends. Our original plan was to spend 2 weeks there, but somehow, it stretched into nearly 4 weeks.

Fall is a lovely time to be in Michigan. The changing leaves and crisp mornings leave you feeling alive…

And what could be better than an afternoon of fishing…

One of our day trips was a drive up to Mackinaw City. Our ultimate destination was St. Ignace on the Upper Peninsula for a pasty. Get your mind out of the gutter! Pasty rhymes with nasty NOT tasty. We were told the pasty is the quintessential Upper Peninsula food. If you’d like to read about the fascinating history of the pasty, click here. As we drove into Mackinaw City, we chose to pass on this lunch option…

One of the big draws of Mackinaw City is the Mackinaw (or if you prefer Mackinac) Bridge. With Lake Michigan on one side and Lake Huron on the other side, it is an impressive suspension bridge. It is 28′ short of being 5 miles long and is the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western Hemisphere. While we had no fear of traversing the bridge, many do. At mid-span, the bridge deck is 199′ or 61 meters above the water. The Mackinac Bridge Authority used to offer an escort service for people who were afraid to drive across themselves, but it has been discontinued.

My blue dot locator button is on the bridge.

It was chilly when we started the day, so we definitely were dressed for the weather…

Here, we are on the Lake Huron side of the bridge

The city has several lovely parks along the shores. We saw lots of people taking advantage of them…

A short walk from this city park is Michilimackinac State Park where the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is…

The day had warmed up nicely and once we had our fill of parks and lighthouses we headed over the bridge to St. Ignace. Unfortunately, we only had enough time for a quick drive around town, but it certainly looked like a neat place to spend the day (or two). Upper Peninsula residents are called Yoopers. Yoopers refer to people who live in the Lower Peninsula as “trolls” since they live “under” the Mackinac Bridge. Apparently, Michiganders have a sense of humor. What they are VERY serious about is, you guessed it, pasties! Mike and Dawn have a favorite place satisfy their pasty cravings, Lehto’s.

We could smell the deliciousness as soon as we drove up! Mike was kind enough to take a shot of our first ever pasty experience…

All I can say if YUUUUMMMMMMY! It was so filling, we didn’t even have dinner that night.

With our bellies beyond full, we headed back to Bambi Lake in a bit of a food coma. But, dang, it was worth it! The setting sun provided us with a perfect ending to our day trip…

More Michigan Day Tripping

Navigating Bumpy Roads

We all travel different roads and the path isn’t always clear or easy.

2020 found us hunkering down in Florida while we waited for travel restrictions to end and for RV parks to re-open. We were (and are still) lucky to be able to park Waldo at Daddy’s house. We had friends who were on the road and unable to find places to stay. The uncertainty of the future weighed on everyone.

I spent my time finding projects around the house. I remove the 1970’s wallpaper from a bathroom at Daddy’s…

I refinished a cast iron patio set our neighbor gave us…

We were in Florida long enough for me to watch the life cycle of the Echo Moth…

While I busied myself with these things, I just couldn’t find the motivation to keep writing blog posts. I marveled at how some bloggers were able to stay relevant, how they dug into the past, dreamed about the future or adapted to a changing world. In August last year, we began traveling again. I was able to motivate myself to write a couple posts, but I was still having trouble between wanting to spent more of my time enjoying our travels and not spending the time and effort it takes to write a good post. I didn’t stop taking pictures, but I did stop doing any editing. All pictures, the good, the bad, and the ugly went into a properly labeled folder with the intention to review them later. Most still sit in those folders today.

We rounded out 2020 with another fabulous season selling Christmas trees followed by New Year’s fireworks. Things were looking up. After a pretty sedate 2020 (with no campground jobs), our bank account was finally looking like it would survive. THEN along came 2021.

Steve has been doing some work for a company in South Bend, IN. Most of it is consulting, but in late March we began a month long journey to South Bend. Our plan was for Steve to spend 10 days working in South Bend then to head west to visit a friend in Utah before heading back to Florida for 4th of July firework sales. One of our first stops was in Alabama. We spent a relaxing week at a COE park, everything was lovely until…

So….that wasn’t fun! But, hey, bad weather can strike anywhere. By mid April, we were in a state park in Indiana. Our last stop before heading to South Bend. I had never given any thought to when it stops snowing in Indiana but…

What makes this unbearable for me is this is when Waldo’s furnace decided to quit!

The outside temperature is on top, but the more disturbing number is the inside temp on the bottom. No thanks!! Steve was able to diagnose the problem and we had the part shipped to South Bend. In the meantime, he bought a space heater so I wouldn’t freeze to death. As soon as we were settled into our spot in South Bend, Steve repaired the furnace and we spent the next 10 days in relative comfort. That is until the refrigerator went the way of the furnace. Yeah, I know, Waldo is 21 years old, these things are bound to happen. Well crap!! Since we have a portable fridge/freezer in Waldo’s basement, we decided to hold off on rushing to do any repairs. He did spend a lot of time narrowing down the possible causes. They ranged from minor, relatively inexpensive to major and downright costly!

We left South Bend on May 1st, I was so glad to be heading towards someplace fun! I had our entire trip to Utah planned out and reservations made. If it sounds like this is when I started truly having fun, you’d be wrong…

Yep, that’s Waldo broken down on the side of the road. I won’t go into all the details but to make a long story short, Waldo needed a new motor. Out with the old…

In with the new…

It took 15 days for the Cat dealer to replace the motor. The final bill was more than $10,000 OVER what they told us to begin with. I was sick. We had a “rainy day fund” but this wasn’t rain, this was a deluge. Thankfully, my dad was able to loan us enough money to cover the bill. There’s way more to the story and some day, if you want to hear it, I’ll write about it.

Two weeks behind schedule we began our journey west, finally! We had a great time taking in the natural beauty of Utah and spent a rejuvenating week with a friend we hadn’t seen in nearly 3 years.

We made it back to Florida the first week of June, just in time to get ready for 4th of July fireworks again. Oh yeah, what about that fridge?

We had our choice of buying a new one or replacing the cooling unit. After the repair bill at the Cat dealer, we chose to replace the cooling unit!! I’m happy to report it is working great!

This post isn’t what I normally write about, but it is exactly what real life is like. There are a lot of bumpy roads, but thankfully there are more smooth ones! I have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to telling you about our adventures. I’ve always tried to stay fairly current in reference to our location but I think it’s time I get back to editing my pictures and show you more of our wonderful smooth roads! If you want to know where we currently are, follow TheWanderingRVer on Facebook or Instagram.

Thank you for allowing me to vent. I hope all of your roads are smooth.

The Luxury of Choices

I’m sorry. Sorry it has taken me this long to write about where we are and what’s going on.

Where to start?

We’ve been very fortunate to have had a place to “hunker down” for the last several months. We were supposed to spend the summer workamping in New Hampshire. Like nearly everyone else, we had plans. Plans that were interrupted by the pandemic. We had the luxury of choices. So, what did we do instead? Well, as I wrote in one of my last posts (months ago, I know) we remodeled Waldo. We were truly looking forward to living in our new digs. When we made the decision not to travel to New Hampshire in early April, I thought a lot about what full-time RVers were having to contend with, campground closures, “safer at home” orders and the uncertainty of where the next roll of tp was going to come from. We had none of those issues, Waldo was safely parked in my dad’s yard, patiently waiting for the next adventure. We stayed IN my dad’s house. That is a big distinction and has made me question my saying we are full-timers. I’ve come to the conclusion that since we use his house as a homebase, eat, drink and sleep in it, we are more like 3/4 timers. And that’s ok.

While we waited to see how it would pan out, I knew I needed projects. I get bored easily and with no idea when we’d be back on the road it wouldn’t take long to be bored out of my mind. I started by updating the bathroom, the 1970’s wallpaper HAD to go…

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Once the wallpaper was gone and the walls were painted bright white, I knew it needed some color to tie in with the green ceramic tiles and this is what I came up with…

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Overall, I’m pretty happy with it. Now what?

I spent 2 1/2 weeks turning this…img_8534

into this…

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I added a bit of selfless promotion to Waldo (for when we got back on the road)…

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When the Florida state parks opened back up, Steve and I took a day trip to Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park. It was SO good to be out for the day…

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We hiked over 5 miles and truly enjoyed the park.

With spring turning to summer, I spent a lot of time out in the yard (in the shade!). One day while walking back to the house, something caught my eye…

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Turns out these were Echo moth eggs. Soon the coontie plants were overrun with caterpillars…

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Which eventually turned into moths…

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With our NH summer job a no-go, we had to decide how we were going to make up that money. Since the fireworks sales at New Years went so well, we decided to do it again for 4th of July. Our site was a Walmart parking lot in Clermont, FL…

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With municipalities cancelling fireworks, our sales for consumer fireworks were crazy. We had a total of 3 stocking orders and were completely sold out by 2pm on the 4th. I’m confident, we could have sold MUCH more if re-stocking hadn’t been an issue. After 12 days parked on the asphalt in 98° weather, we needed a break! We were desperate for some R&R.

Crooked River State Park in Georgia was just what we needed. We booked a weeks stay and headed north…

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It felt SO good to be “Sleeping Around” again. We visited Fort Frederica National Monument…

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Neptune Park…

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Howard Gilman Park…

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Had a baby bird take refuge on our canopy…

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Visited the ruins of a tabby sugar works plantation built around 1825…

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Tabby is a type of concrete made from oyster shells.

And we hung out at Waldo, playing Yahtzee and drinking margaritas when it rained…

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And last, but not least, had a close encounter with a rooster…

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By the end of the week, we knew we had to get back on the road. Back to living in Waldo. We have to live our lifestyle despite pandemic and riot fears. We can’t and won’t “hide out” at Daddy’s forever. That is also the luxury of choices.

We hope you are all well and coping with this new normal. And I PROMISE to keep posting!

Up next – searching for waterfalls in the mountains of north Georgia

 

 

5 Truths About Our Life on the Road

When we first decided to live full time in Waldo, I had a very different idea of what our life would be like. In some ways, it has far exceeded my hopes and in other ways, it has fallen drastically short. Here are 5 things I have learned about myself and our lifestyle:

1. We are NOT on vacation.

While most of my posts deal with all of the cool places we visit, the truth is we have to work. Neither of us are old enough to collect social security, nor do we have any type of retirement. Our only source of income is from the workamping we do. I had visions of living in Waldo the way my parents did, never staying anywhere for more than a week or two before moving on, sooner if the weather turned cold or rainy. But the fact is, we usually end up being somewhere for several months, after all, we made a commitment when we took the job. Quite often I find several months to be too long. I either get bored with a place once we’ve explored the area or the job isn’t really to my liking, but again, we made a commitment. For me, selling Christmas trees in Florida was nearly the perfect job. It was short term, it was warm and the money was great. If there was a “downside”, it was we didn’t have any time to explore the area.

 

2. Two people in 400 sq/ft can be a challenge

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We had been married for 14 years when we made the leap to full-timing. I thought I knew everything I could possibly need to know about us – nope! The biggest difference between living in an RV and living in a house is if you find you need some “space”, there isn’t any. I had a home office in our house, now my office is in the same room as the kitchen, living room and steering wheel. Steve had a garage to go putter around in, now he doesn’t. We don’t generally get on each others nerves, but it happens. We don’t generally have disagreements, but they happen. The difference is we can’t go to our separate space. Living in the confines of 400 sq/ft has taught me that I need my space more than I thought I did. Don’t get me wrong, I love Steve with all my heart.  I would never want to live this life without him, but sometimes I just need my space.

3. We’ll never get to see it all

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Thanks to my grammar school teachers, I know there are 50 states. If we spent 3 months per state, we could only see 4 a year – that’s 12 1/2 years (assuming we could drive to Hawaii). While we could probably hit the highlights in each state in 3 months, we’d never have time to seek out the out-of-the-way places we both enjoy so much. Oh yea, back to #1, we aren’t on vacation. By the way, I’ve added travel maps to the blog. You can check out where we went by year. I hope to keep it up-to-date from now on.

4. We are 6 wheels away from homeless

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I know this is a bit of an exaggeration, but it isn’t far off the mark. There isn’t much worse than seeing everything you own put on the back of a tow truck. I mean nobody ever towed off our stick and brick when it needed repairs. We’ve been exceedingly fortunate, nearly every time we’ve needed repairs, we’ve been able to stay in Waldo while the work was being done. The only time we couldn’t was when the roof was done. That wasn’t an issue because we were staying at my dad’s house. Every now and then, I get a little panicky when I think about what “could” happen. I know, no sense borrowing trouble. I just can’t help it.

5. We wouldn’t trade this lifestyle for anything!

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When I compare our stick and brick life to our RV life, I realize I wouldn’t change a thing. We love our life. We have met some of the most wonderful people, in person and online, because of the way we live. We have seen places lots of people only talk about seeing. We visited 15 National Parks in 2018 plus countless state parks. And we are doing it together! I doubt it really gets any better.

 

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Out With The Old

Almost all of the bloggers I know do a special post to mark the end of the year. I always enjoy reading them. Inevitably, it makes me reflect on our own travels, trials and triumphs.

2018 held lots of promise for us as we began our first full year of RV living and working. We knew we’d be starting in Florida, but had no way of knowing for sure December 2018 would find us back there. Hell, there were times when we were broken down, I didn’t think we’d ever make it back to Florida. But we did. We met so many wonderful people along the way. People who changed our lives, possibly without ever knowing so.

I count us a dang lucky…our adventures have been many and our trials have been relatively few, given our lifestyle.

I thought long and hard about how I was going to commemorate 2018. Usually I end up trying to pick a favorite picture from each month – a top 12, if you will. 12? Who was I kidding? We took pictures in at least 13 states, visited 15 national parks/monuments/preserves and drove through western Canada. I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to 12!

My solution was a collage made from every state we spent any real time in (and Canada will just  have to forgive my exclusion of them in this post). The following collages are in alphabetical order, not the order we visited. So without further ado, here is 2018 in review…

Arizona

Alaska Collage

California

Florida

idaho

Louisiana

Nevada

New Mexica

Texas

Washington

Wyoming

I don’t know for sure what is in store for us for the next year. We have some tentative plans and lots of hopes.

I sincerely hope 2019 brings health and happiness to you and yours! Thank you for wandering along with us.

The Day Facebook Saved Our Lives

I try pretty hard to keep my posts in order, even if it means getting behind by weeks (sometimes months) where we actually are in real life. But, something happened recently that  I think is too important to wait.

We’ve been meandering our way back to Florida. My last post was about Yellowstone NP and since then, we’ve visited Grand Teton NP, Capitol Reef NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Grand Staircase NM, Carlsbad Cavern NP and finally Guadalupe Mountains NP. This found us once again in Texas. Our plan was to catch up with some friends from our job last summer then head to NOLA to check out the WWII Museum before making our way to Crystal River, FL to visit with Daddy. We were unemployed at the moment, so taking our time was fine.

Just outside of Odessa, TX our plan, and Waldo, came to a screeching halt. We were broken down. Naturally, this happened on a Friday afternoon. With the weekend looming, no one had any interest in getting us on our way. One company Steve called said sure, they’d come look at Waldo, but “Be prepared to pay ALL the money.” Gee thanks, but no thanks.

What do you do when you are broken down in a strange place and no one seems to care? You reach out to whoever you can think of, anyone you think *might* know someone in the area. Last year, when we were working at Wind Point Park, we met Ben Miller, the promoter of Turkey Drag. I was hoping with all of his car club connections he might know someone who could help. I reached out to him via Facebook and then something incredible happened. Ben posted a “looking for recommendations” on our behalf on his page and within minutes, people started leaving suggestions, tagging friends and offering help. Someone sent Ben a screenshot of a contact on their phone. It was Jake from DropTine Auto in Midland, Texas.

Steve called Jake and explained our situation. Despite the fact DropTine is a very busy shop, Jake said we could bring Waldo there. When Steve explained he was a mechanic and could do some of the work himself, Jake said – “Great.”  To make a long story short, not only did Jake allow Steve to do 99% of the work himself, but he let us stay in Waldo in the yard. It turns out the problem was related to what caused us to break down in Alaska, only this time, there wasn’t a “band-aid” fix. The gear which runs the hydraulic pump is located on the mainshaft of the compressor and it was toast! Steve called Caterpillar and they said sure, they could get a new one for $2200 in about 6 weeks. I just cried. “6 weeks, stuck in Midland? $2200 we can’t afford that!” Jake called the manufacturer of the compressor to see if there was a replacement available. The unit had been discontinued. WHAT? But, they offered to rebuild ours for $250 plus shipping.  All we had to do was get it to them in North Carolina.

In the meantime, I had been looking for winter work. I found a seasonal job in Fort Lauderdale selling Christmas trees. Would Waldo be repaired in time for us to get there? We had already been broken down for 15 days, now we had to ship the compressor to NC and hope for the best.

DropTine is a busy shop with several great employees, but Jake allowed Steve to help out in the shop when he wasn’t working on Waldo. That was awesome! It gave Steve something to do and helped make us feel like we weren’t just taking up space in his yard.

The rebuilt compressor showed back up on Monday the 5th…

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with its shiny new gear. Isn’t that sexy?! It took until Tuesday afternoon to get everything back together. When the work was complete and we were ready to hit the road, we asked Jake for our bill. He said we didn’t owe him anything. He took into account the work Steve had done around the shop and called it even. I was floored. He also said if the shop was still busy in the spring, Steve could come back and work for him for a month or so before our next workamping job. It makes my heart happy to know there are still people in this world like him.

Happiness through the windshield…

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We have since arrived at Daddy’s house and are leaving on the 14th to head to Fort Lauderdale. I’ll keep you posted on how selling Christmas trees goes and promise to eventually go back and write about the places we’ve been.

A heartfelt thank you to Ben, his friends and all the guys at DropTine Auto!

We Made It!

As we passed from the Yukon back into the USA, not much changed scenery wise.

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One thing was certain, the road conditions turned to crap. The Yukon has done a great job of road repair and Alaska – not so much! But that’s okay – we were in ALASKA!!! After two months and over 6000 miles we were within a day or two of being at our summer home. Or so I thought. We woke up on May 1st, our first full day in Alaska, to some seriously ominous skies. Then it began…

Snow so thick we could hardly see the road. This wasn’t what I had planned! But, you know what, it was the 1st of May and had to be expected. We were trying to reach Anchorage, where we would resupply before heading to Moose Pass. Once you get on the Kenai Peninsula, shopping become more expensive in two ways: 1 you have to pay the tax and 2 you have to drive at least 45 minutes to get to the nearest store. We were just about to crest a big hill we’d been climbing when Steve got very serious looking. He pulled over as best he could and I asked what was wrong. Waldo had lost it’s power steering – completely. We got out to see what had happened and found a giant puddle of oil under Waldo. Oh man, this isn’t good! We were in the middle of nowhere! Glenallen was an hour behind us and Anchorage was 2 1/2 hours in front of us. We called for roadside assistance from Good Sam’s and waited. And waited. And argued with them on the phone about exactly where we were. I gave them our GPS coordinates and told them we were at mile marker 37. Yes, 37 – I can see it from here! Finally, the tow truck arrived and Waldo got carted off…

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We were towed back to Glenallen, the closest “qualified repair center”. I was not a happy camper! Despite the bad luck of being broken down, we had the good luck of being towed to Glenallen Fuel and Service. First thing in the morning, the lead mechanic, Dawson, came out to talk to Steve. While the 2 of them conversed, I sat in Waldo and stewed about our situation. It could have been a lot worse. GF&S let us stay in Waldo in their parking lot, so we weren’t “homeless” When Steve came back inside, he explained what had happened. A bolt had come backed of the power steering pump and broke the other bolt holding drive on the pump. I just nodded my head as if it meant something to me. How long to fix it – that was my question! The part we needed was in Anchorage, naturally. But again, luck was with us. Scott, the tow truck driver, had to go to Anchorage anyhow, he’d pick it up for us. Dawson was quite happy to let Steve do all of the work he was capable of and loaned him any tools he didn’t have.

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All in all, we ended up being there 3 days and with Steve doing most of the work, it wasn’t as expensive as it could have been. We were back on the road and I was just blown away by the scenery. Every time I thought the view couldn’t get any better, it did!

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We finally made it to Anchorage and got all the shopping out of the way. Only an hour and a half until we are home for the summer! Yea! I wasn’t prepared for the amazing scenery yet to come…

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The Seward Highway leaving Anchorage

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Driving along Turnagain Arm

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Well, here we are in Moose Pass. We parked at the bottom of the driveway and walked up to meet our new bosses, Gary and Treva. They pointed out our spot and Steve brought Waldo up the hill. I wasn’t sure Waldo could make the turn and get enough traction in the dirt drive, but he made it…

Whew, that was a climb. But what a view…

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Our backyward

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Our front yard

Wow. Now that we made it, it’s time to go to work. Up next – settling in.

Thanks for coming along. I’m getting caught up on posts, I’m only 4 or 5 behind now. If you want the latest, follow us on Facebook or Instagram!

It’s OK – It’s a Dry Heat – Part 1

It was kinda of sad leaving Sunny Valley. We had such a great time with Mike and Dawn (read Dawn’s take on our meeting here), it was hard to say “until we meet again”.

We spent the night in Kingman, AZ so we could have dinner with family…

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Our plan was to spend the next week exploring Death Valley. Death Valley is the 5th largest National Park in the United States and the largest in the lower 48. It covers 5262 square miles (roughly 3.4 million acres). It is 140 miles long and about 75 miles across at its widest.

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We decided Beatty RV Park in Nevada would be the perfect jumping off point for our explorations.  On our way to Beatty, we passed the Hoover Dam…

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And drove through Las Vegas. It was noon when we pulled into the park. We got set up in our site and headed into town, actually, to be completely honest, we were looking for a liquor store. The camp host told us we could probably buy liquor at the casino. My first thought was, yeah, what would THAT cost. After we drove around town a bit, we headed to the Stagecoach Hotel and Casino. Just for fun, we put $6.00 (big spenders, right?) into the one-armed-bandit and hit on the 3rd pull. Woohoo. Let’s cash out of this machine! And so it went. A few bucks here, a few bucks there and at the end of the afternoon, we were up enough to cover the cost of the bottle, which wasn’t as expensive as I imagined. When we got back to Waldo, there were wild burros across the street, which I thought was really neat…

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I can just hear the burro, “What, haven’t you ever seen an ass before?”

The next day, we headed into Death Valley…

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Once we passed through Hell’s Gate, the temperature started to climb. It was 58 degrees in Beatty and 75 degrees on the valley floor. The wind had been kicking up for days and it was really noticeable in the valley. I knew it would be hard to get great pictures of the overall landscape because of the haze…

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Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

So, I tried to focus on the smaller scenes…

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Our next stop was Mosaic Canyon, a 4 mile round trip through narrow slot canyons and polished rock walls…

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Looking back toward the parking area

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The canyon walls, smoothed by rushing waters

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Steve getting a picture of the landscape

From there, we walked the Salt Creek Interpretative Trail.

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Since it was only April, there was still plenty of water flowing. The water is 4x saltier than the ocean. In spite of that, it is home to the Salt Creek pupfish…

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Not a great picture, but you can see several pupfish

April is the beginning of mating season and the males were a beautiful shade of blue. As we were walking along, I could have sworn I saw a gorilla face in the mountains…

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Do you see a gorilla or was I imagining it?

I was in sensory overload, it’s hard to take in all the naked beauty at once.

It was several days before we got back to exploring. Before you get into Death Valley, there are 2 must see places. The first is the Goldwater Open Air Museum. It seems a strange place for an art museum, in the middle of nowhere, but it is definitely worth the stop…

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Fred Bervoets’s  Ode to Shorty

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Charles Albert Szukalski‘s Ghost Rider

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Charles Albert Szukalski‘s The Last Supper

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A very large metal origami crane

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Dr. Hugo Heyrman‘s Lady Desert The Venus of Nevada

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Onny Huisink’s The Beauty of Decay

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Sofie Siegmann‘s Sit Here

Just passed the museum we discovered several abandon homes and vehicles…

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This was a prelude to the ghost town of Rhyolite. The town boomed into existence in 1904 and had burnt itself out by 1916. Remains of several of the buildings give us an idea what town was like in its heyday…

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I thought one of the neatest buildings was Tom Kelly’s bottle house

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Despite the fact electricity to the town had been shut off in 1916, the last tenets of the house lived there until 1969. Tommy Thompson and his family added miniature houses to the property…

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From Rhyolite, we headed back into Death Valley. We drove along Mustard Canyon Road…

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Then visited Harmony Borax Works

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The iconic 20 Mule Team wagon used to transport the borax

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Even in this harsh environment, flowers still find a place to bloom…

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Our final hike of the day was to the natural bridge…

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I’m going to wrap up Part 1. There is still so much to tell you about! So here is my closing shot until I get to Part 2…

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Have you visited Death Valley?

Settling In – Part 2

We were given a couple days to settle in before we had to report to work. We spent most of the first day getting Waldo rearranged. I’m sure we’ll be rearranging again and again until we find “just the place” for everything. What seems like the perfect place for something frequently becomes “Why the hell did I put that there!” We’ll figure it out…

The weather has been mostly sunny and hot – just the way I like it, so naturally we stripped Trouble of all those unnecessary things like doors and the soft top. We did put the bikini top on to keep a little shade over the seats. I wouldn’t want Steve’s head to get sunburned! We needed a few things at the store and I was anxious to get out and explore the area. The GPS told us the nearest Walmart was about 30 minutes away. Off we go.  With the shopping out of the way, we headed to Sulphur Springs. There was something I had read about and had to see for myself. In the old town square, there is a lovely park with public restrooms and it was the restrooms I wanted to see. Yes, you read that right…I wanted to see restrooms. These aren’t your run of the mill relief stations…they are made with one way mirrors – no, I’m not kidding…

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From the outside, it looks like a mirrored box

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This is the view from the inside

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You feel a little conspicuous while you are relieving yourself. Note the guy in the background taking a picture…

Once I was done giggling about the restroom (Steve wouldn’t use it), we walked around the park taking in the sights…

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We decided to stop for lunch at the Corner Grub House

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We both had burgers and they were pretty good. With full bellies, we decided it was time to head back “home”.

The next day, we grabbed our cameras and set out to explore. We stopped at a farm stand and I was so excited to see fresh figs…

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We splurged on some figs, plums, tomatoes and summer squash. A little expensive but oh so tasty! I got to see my first Texas longhorns…

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And an oil pump…

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I couldn’t resist getting a picture with my MOV bottle to send back to the store with a tag line about “Big Oil”.

We made one more stop before heading back…

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How’s that for a hay field?!?

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Diesel says “Life is good here!”

Thanks for coming by!