Blog 33, Leaving the USA and thoughts on our journey

Blog 33, Leaving the USA and thoughts on our journey After Temecula we travelled to Las Vegas and stayed in another favorite RV park called Las Vegas Motor-coach resort.  This is another RV park that has an enthusiastic Pickleball group.  I played each morning and really enjoyed it.  One morning Stuart played after doing some work on the coach and tore his calf muscle-he couldn’t walk!  We had our car in for service that day so we had no choice but to get an ambulance to the local medical emergency centre.  We needed to check for blood clots as we were flying a few days later.  All good.  Another medical claim on our insurance! After 6 nights in this lovely place we moved the coach […]

Blog 32 Angels Camp and Temecula, California

Blog 32 Angels Camp and onto Temecula   We had a rather technical and windy drive to Angels Camp in the Gold Hills of California-not really one well suited to the coach, it would have been more fun on the Harley’s!!  We positioned our selves here to explore the Yosemite area.  Today we drove to the eastern entrance of the park.  We were not able to enter as we didn’t have a Timed Entry Ticket, but it was a 60 mile drive to get to the entrance so that’s ok, it was far enough and we got a feel for the environ. The roads around here are narrow and windy and we needed to see if driving the coach into Yosemite next year would be […]

Blog 31 Sacramento, Ca and Reno, Nevada

Blog 31 Sacramento and Reno We had 10 days staying at a resort in an area near Sacramento.  The crowd that live or stay at this resort are very nice and Pickleball mad so we got to play every day and for up to 4 hours on some days.  We were welcomed in and treated very well by all the residents at this resort. One day I needed to go shopping and went to one of the nearby towns of Folsom.  I thought I would swing by the prison and see where Johnny Cash sang his Folsom Prison Blues but I ran out of time.  There is a museum there. During our stay near Sacramento we were invited to various people’s homes for dinner and […]

Blog 30, Napa and San Francisco, California

Blog 30, Napa and San Francisco, California Our stay in Redding was just an overnighter onto Napa.  When we arrived and set up at Redding it was 109 deg-we literally didn’t go outside, just chilled out in the coach!  109 is a ridiculous unlivable temperature! The next day we moved onto Napa.  We are staying at the Skyline Wilderness park.  This is an RV park, campground for tents and horse trailers too.  Horses can be ridden in the trails here and there’s an arena and corrals-what a great facility! We are just over an hour from San Francisco so we are heading there tomorrow for an explore, even though we have both independently been there before. We got up really early for the trip into […]

Blog 29, Eugene and Grants Pass, Oregon

Blog 29, Eugene and Grants Pass, Oregon We felt sad to leave the Bend/Sisters area. Perhaps me especially-it strangely feels like home.  On our drive from Bend we travelled through the Cascade Mountains along the Blue River.  This took us through the McKenzie Pass.  Like Detroit Lake, it all burnt down in 2020 during a forest fire caused by an unusual wind storm that brought power lines down-they think this is what started the fire.  Again, we saw houses being built and people living in campers on the pad where their house used to be.  What would have been pretty forest was just charred bare hills. We had a 2-3 hour drive to Eugene, staying near Marcola up in the forested hills.  We found a […]

Blog 28, Sisters, Bend Oregon

Blog 28, Bend/Sisters, Oregon The drive over the Cascades was very pretty but the majority of it is visibly burnt, or has been burnt years ago and is now green but with no tall trees.  It’s sad but fire and flood have been changing the landscape since time began and what’s more, the fir trees need fire to regenerate… All burnt down How the woods should look! We are staying at Bend/Sisters Garden RV park and it’s a delight to stay here.  It’s probably the nicest campsite we have stayed in this year.  The gardens are landscaped and immaculate with summer flowers of all colours bordering the green lawns.  There is a lake in the middle with a fountain.  The park is surrounded by high […]

Blog 27, Idanha, Oregon

Blog 27, Idanha, Oregon After leaving Portland we set our expectations low for Idanha and its campsite.  We feel we have had a run of disappointing campsites and at times, cities and thought it would play out that way till Sisters, which is a mountain area near Bend, still in Oregon. Sisters campground is popular for exploring bend and we couldn’t book in for the dates we wanted and needed to spend 2 nights somewhere so we chose Idanha which is along the way and in the Cascade Mountains. This is one of those situations where you become pleasantly surprised.  Because the campsite is a full hookup for $35 per night we thought we wouldn’t like it here but it’s absolutely delightful.  We are in […]

Blog 26, Portland, Oregon

Blog 26, Portland, Oregon. You get some very nice views of Mt Rainier, Mt Hood and Mt St Helens when driving South East to Portland.  We’ve been to Portland before and didn’t like it, but we wondered if it was our attitude on the day, or maybe we were in the wrong area etc and wanted to give it another go. We are staying in a nice area called Bridgeton.  Outside the campground is a very busy road, and the Colombia river is on the other side of the road.  There is a large houseboat community on the river with some quirky and very nice boats.  It looks like a very nice community which must be a joy in the summer.  Like a bird on […]

Blog 25, Around the Olympic National Park, and Hoquiam

Blog 25, Around the Olympic National Park, and Hoquiam The drive around the National Park from Sequim to Hoquiam was one of the few drives I’ve not enjoyed!  It was scenic, with narrow winding roads and some lovely vistas. The wild flowers along the way were a joy to behold. A highlight along the way was Crescent Lake.  It was absolutely beautiful.  It’s 190 meters deep but because there is no nitrogen in the water it is brilliant sapphire blue and has exceptional clarity, you feel you can almost see down to the bottom!  This would have been a great spot to have stopped for a few days! However, we had nearly 30 miles of recently completed roadworks that left gravel on the road to […]

Blog 24, Fall City and onto the Olympic National Park

Blog 24, Fall City and onto the Olympic National Park   We had a second full day in Fall City, just to the east of Seattle.  We didn’t want to drive back into the city to explore, although of course there would have been so much more to see.  Instead we thought we would check out a couple of other campgrounds in the area so we can avoid the hefty US$95 per night at Tall Chief.  The others weren’t as nice but were cheaper, so at least we know what to expect next time we are here. We drove through Issaquah on our way back.  What a delightful village it is.  Hanging baskets everywhere, all gardens beautifully presented and lovely houses.  It really was lovely.  […]

Blog 23, back at Anacortes, then Seattle.

Blog 23, back at Anacortes, then Seattle. Back at Pioneer Trails, in a different site this time-one with more room. Beautiful summer flowers everywhere, so pretty. We played a game of pickleball on the afternoon we were back and then took a 6km walk.  The next day we took a drive to Deception Pass State Park for some hiking.  The park is only 8km down the road, we parked at North Beach.  We did an 8km walk around the park taking in the coast which is very pretty.  Watching the current flowing through Deception Pass between Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island is quite something. The tide can reach a speed of 8 knots creating whirpools. The lone Mariner, searching for his beloved Warrior! After walking […]

Blog 22, Vancouver BC

Blog 22, Vancouver BC Anacortes is only about an hour’s drive away from the USA/Canadian border.  Once at the border we had a 30 minute wait in the queue.You are supposed to fill out ArriveCan on the App which we had tried to do but the NZ Government Covid records couldn’t be accessed for the app, very frustrating.  Because we had been unable to complete this we thought there might be a chance we would be turned back. We had many questions fired at us but the border officer was very friendly and waved us through.  During this time, we saw 3 cars in line get turned back into the US, so it’s not a given you will just sail on through. Once on the […]

Blog 21, Anacortes, Washington State

Blog 21, Anacortes, Washington State   We only had a night’s stay in Moses Lake, but it seemed like a pleasant place. The drive from Moses Lake was very grand, one of our most scenic drives to date.  We started out following the Colombia river and then drove through the Cascade Mountains which was steep and windy. We passed through a village called Leavenworth pictured below, which looks just like a Bavarian village-the surrounding area looked just like a scene from Switzerland.  Very beautiful.  Apparently in the winter months the town is a gateway to ski areas. We popped out at Everett so we could avoid Seattle as we’ve been told the road works there are terrible.  The scenery approaching Anacortes was pretty with Mt […]

Blog 20, Worley, Spokane and exploring Coeur d’Alene

Blog 20, Worely and Spokane We had high hopes for the RV park, Praeder Ranch at Worely.  Its 40 acres of beautiful meadows and forest that’s recently changed hands.  This is us driving out there: Beautiful summer meadows with hay being harvested and the canola flowers glowing in the sun. What we were expecting at Preader Ranch isn’t what we got.  The place had gone to hell, left for rack and ruin.  The empty swimming pool, knee high grass on the volley ball court (not that we play) and shite net and surface on the pickleball court (which we love to play) gave the place a sad and ‘deserted in a hurry’ feel.  This could have been called rustic if the price was right, but […]

Blog 19, Travelling to and staying at Potlatch, Idaho.

Blog 19, Travelling to and staying at Potlatch, Idaho. We followed the river further north into Idaho.  This as a very pretty drive.  It started out as rugged mountains with a winding road, then about an hour into the drive the landscape opened out into plains planted with wheat, and some fields with Canola.  The colours were very pretty.  The wheat swaying in the breeze, changing colour as it moves, and the contrasting yellow of the Canola plants made it one of the prettiest drives we have ever done.  It’s easy to think when driving on days like this that it always looks like this, but after some research I discovered that the Canola crops are short lived and in fact the beautiful blue sky […]

Blog 18, McCall Idaho

Blog 18, McCall, Idaho. The road to McCall is quite a long and winding road.  It’s only 2 lanes which is a small road for the US, when their freeways can sometimes be 12 lanes wide!! The road follows the Payette river and goes through the Payette forest.  It’s a very pretty drive but it took lots of concentration for the driver.  We came upon a ‘narrow’ 2 lane bridge and unluckily met a large truck on it.  It was a toe curling backwards moment.  I looked down and couldn’t even see the edge of the bridge, just the fast flowing water!  I don’t know how all wingmirrors were left intact. The further you drive towards McCall the more beautiful it becomes.  We are at […]

Blog 17, Into Idaho, Twin Falls and Boise

Blog 17, To Twin Falls, Idaho.   The drive into Idaho from Salt Lake City was over some high country, which is all under snow in the winter time.  It was green and lush at this time of year and was a refreshing site after the desert and red canyons.  We peaked in altitude at about 5500 feet. We are staying at Twin Falls in southern Idaho.  This is a wide flat agricultural environment which reminds me of Norfolk, my home county in the UK, it too is agricultural.  The falls here are called the Shoshone Falls, which is Indian meaning Snake, as it’s the Snake river that runs through here-the river originates near Jackson Lake by Yellowstone in Wyoming.  It eventually makes it to […]

Blog 16, Salt Lake City, Utah

Blog 16, Salt Lake City, Utah   The drive from Moab to Salt Lake City (SLC) was very scenic, a continuation of canyons and multi coloured rock formations.  We both love Utah.  It’s such a diverse state with the canyons in the south, Salt Lake City is a lovely city and greener pastures as you head north going up into high country that in the winter becomes a winter wonderland, full of ski resorts. We only had 2 nights booked in SLC. We can’t quite remember our logic for staying only 2 nights, perhaps that we stayed and explored extensively in 2019. We find that when we stay somewhere for only 2 nights we are tired the day we arrive, we have one full day […]

Blog 15, Canyonlands

Blog 15, Moab/Canyonlands, Utah   Moab is the base for exploring the Canyonland National Park.  The park is 337,598 acres in size and the park entrance is about 40 miles away but it’s a very nice scenic drive.  Once inside the park you can choose from 3 different areas to explore, Island in the sky, The Maze or The Needles.  We chose the first option which is the closest to where we are staying and has lots of lookouts and a short walk to Mesa Arch.  Mesa means rocky outcrop or butte which can be any shape or size and Island in the Sky is a Mesa that stands on sandstone cliffs 1000 feet below, so by driving along the mesa and looking down you […]

Blog 14, Moab and exploring Arches National Park, Utah

Blog 14, Moab/Arches, Utah The drive from Monument Valley was very colourful and scenic. Moab is like a long 4 lane wide bustling town, in so much as the main road runs directly through town and the town is built up on either side.  Its’ quite noisy with lots of trucks rumbling through town and thought it was a pity there isn’t a heavy vehicle bypass. At first glance it seems there is not much of a community outside of the busy main street, but I went for a run around the back streets and there are many nice houses and large schools etc.  It seems all the roads end when they butt up against the red cliffs that surround the town. Moab is a […]

Blog 13, Monument Valley, Utah

Blog 13, Monument Valley, Utah Leaving Grand Canyon towards Monument Valley in Utah is a very scenic drive. Still green outside of the Grand Canyon. Monument Valley is home to the Navajo Indian Tribe.  They have stands along the highway selling native jewelry, pottery and other artifacts.  The scenery is amazing with photo opportunities in all directions.   We were staying at Gouldings RV park which I didn’t think would be very good, and looking at the scenery driving along the way I thought it would be in the middle of nowhere, but as we approached we drove closer and closer to the red monuments.  The RV park was nestled right in amongst the monuments.  It seemed like a very special place and amazing there […]

Blog 12, Grand Canyon

Blog 12, Grand Canyon, Arizona As we arrived at the Grand Canyon the lightening was flashing in the sky ahead.  This is good as it’s cooled the area off and apparently the rain has brought the Elk into the campsite area for a drink, I saw 2 on the way in. Last time we stayed here we could only get into a campsite just outside of the national park in Tusayan Village, but this time we scored a place right in the heart of the Grand Canyon Village.  It’s very woodsy here which is a wonderful contrast to the hot desert we’ve been in.  Tomorrow we are walking the Bright Angel trail. The Bright Angel trail is a 16km trail to Phantom Lodge which is […]

Blog 11, Sedona, Arizona

We are actually staying about 10 miles away from Sedona in a woodsy valley beside a spring fed river. We always research campsites before booking them but still they can be like a box of chocolates, you never quite know what you’re going to get.  We only have 30 amps of power instead of the usual 50 so we can only run 1 air con, we have no sewer connection although we can hold black and grey waste for 4-5 days if need be and we have no internet connection whatsoever here.  I don’t like being off line.  Having internet is like a basic human right these days.  It’s not that we want to watch you-tube or tv, but we need it for planning even […]

Blog 10, back into Arizona

Our first night in Arizona was in Blythe, just over the border.  We stayed only 1 night but enjoyed watching the Colorado river run through the bottom of the campsite.   Next stop was Mesa where we stayed at a huge resort.  It seems that Mesa is block after block of walled/gated communities for the over 55’s.  The resort we stayed in had fantastic facilities including 12 pickleball courts, workshops for pottery, needlecraft, silversmith, glass art, electronics, lapidary, woodwork, plus all sorts of sport and a huge fitness centre.  We think this is a great way to retire-having so many things to do all within the safety of the resort and with a wonderful community feel.  It was odd though as while there are nearly […]

Blog 9, Coachella Valley, California

Blog 9, The Coachella Valley We are on our 3rd day in the Coachella Valley of California.  This area incorporates Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta and Indio.  As the name suggests this is a big valley between the San Jacinta and Santa Rosa mountains.  We noticed hundreds of wind turbines as we approached the valley so that should have been an indication that it’s windy here! In fact, the wind is funnelled between these mountains through the Gorgonio Pass which is the windiest place in the States.  Yesterday we sat out a huge blow that covered everything in silica including the swimming pool where we are staying. Today is beautiful with only a refreshing gentle breeze to cool the 107 deg sun.  We are […]

Blog 8, In LA and exploring the coast

On our 2nd day here at Orange we drove out to Santa Barbara.  We thought this drive would give us a good feel for LA given that we are just south and SB is north. Passing through downtown LA Driving along the Freeway through LA is like reading a Michael Connelly ‘Bosch’ book, all the place names are so familiar to me from reading that series. We also wanted to take a look at the coast.  The drive out there was long, 2 hours but flowed reasonably well.  Typically the driving here is 80 mph on the freeway, that’s about 130km, very fast.  Of course because that’s the average speed, many motorists are going much faster.  It feels like a reckless speed to drive at […]

Blog 7, Temescal Valley and arrival to Orangeland

Temescal Valley is in Southern California.  We are about 60 miles south of LA.  The climate at this time of year is perfect, cool nights and about 85 during the day but with a refreshing breeze blowing.  We’re here to chill out and relax before we spend a week closer to LA where we will be doing lots of exploring. In this valley we are in a campsite that’s 150 acres in size and is surrounded by hills.  Just over the hill is a very nice housing development.  The area is very well presented and quiet.  I noticed when I was running through this neighbourhood that where the hills come down to the streets there are trailheads but on each one is a sign warning […]

Blog 6, Exploring downtown San Diego, 4th June 2022

The next day we headed back into downtown to park and cycle the city.  The look, feel and layout is very similar to Auckland just that San Diego city has 1.4 million people, the metro area has 3.2 million so more people which means more restaurants, more things to do, bigger and better vibe but more trash, more smells, more homeless, more crowds.  I think I prefer it more bustling though. Bottom of their Queen Street We rode our bicycles along the well planned and thought-out waterfront area. We were impressed with the Midway aircraft carrier museum ship, it’s massive. You can go onboard and explore for $26 but we didn’t really want to.  We wandered around Seaport Village which was quite small but had […]

Blog 5, Exploring the coast, 30th May 2022

On our 3rd day in San Diego we drove out past the city to the coast around the Mission Bay, La Jolla area.  Not Jolla but ‘La Hollya’ (it’s all very Spanish here in San Diego but we did learn at the Alamo that this used to belong to Spain/Mexico… We parked the car and explored the residential area by bicycle.  Some parts of this region were quite rustic and reminded us of the Manly area and other parts of Sydney.  Towards the La Jolla cave area the homes and cafes look and feel very much like parts of Auckland, including the St Heliers area. Memorial day decorations. One difference is the sea lions.  They laze on the shore line here stinking the place out […]

Blog 4, San Diego horse riding, 28th May 2022

On our 2nd evening in Bonita, San Diego we were sitting outside rugged up having a BBQ when we heard some horses go by.  I immediately ran out to clearly see that they were a pair of pure bred Friesians. This is my favorite breed and if I were to ever own a horse, this is what I would buy.  We chatted to the 2 ladies and I talked about how I love Friesians and have always wanted to ride one and whenever I paint horses it’s always this breed.  Turns out they were owed by Jacqueline, one of the riders and she was happy for me to go riding the next day, so I did!  She said she keeps the horses at the bottom […]

Blog 3, On our way to San Diego, 28th May 2022

Leaving Yuma we drove through sandy dunes for a while which seems used for wind and solar energy. Then over the Jacumba mountains climbing 4175 feet in height.  A big climb for our Tiffin but she handles it really well.  Stuart has been driving the coach very well and it takes skill to drive a big coach down a long 6% gradient range on the other side.  Accidents do happen with this extreme terrain! Once over that range, and with a North Pacific sea breeze blowing the temperature plummeted by 30 deg!  Quite refreshing. We are staying in an area of San Diego called Bonita.  We chose it because there is a regional park here where you can stay for only $34 a night yet […]

Blog 2, May 25th Arizona

24th May 2022   The city of Las Vegas presents itself very well.  There are 3D sculptures of the local animals all over and the infrastructure-big highways etc are well presented.  There are colourful plantings all around the place. As you leave the city limits you see the vast solar panel arrays and their mass of battery banks that are all helping to power the city in the desert. We drove the coach over a new bridge/bypass by the Hoover Dam where we got a good look at the low levels of Lake Mead. We arrived in Arizona a week ago. We spent a night in Kingman on the north western edge of the Mojave Desert. Kingman is a small place that is known for […]

USA travel blog 2022

Blog #1, May 2022, Arriving in US and Las Vegas It seemed like a big job putting our lives away in NZ for 5 months.  By the time we were ready to leave for the airport, we were both slightly frazzled and reflected on how long we had been preparing for our US trip, and whether we could go was determined on the very last day getting a negative Covid test.  It was all supposed to have been easy to head overseas each year but Covid grounding us for 2 years made it all seem harder.  We were very excited to get going but it’s also a lovely time in NZ.  The autumn this year has been so mild and dry.  I love the mornings in our house when the […]

How to paint a realistic portrait in watercolour

The video link below demonstrates a step by step, layer by layer approach to painting a realistic portrait in watercolour.  It assumes you have watched my: 1, Introductory tutorial 2, How to paint a realistic apple tutorial Learn all my tips and tricks from years of painting with watercolours.  Much of the video is time lapsed but the instruction is detailed to help you paint a beautiful portrait.

How to paint a realistic apple in watercolor

The link below is to a video I recently posted on youtube.  It’s a tutorial that takes you through a step by step, layer by layer approach to painting a realistic apple in watercolour.  I will shortly post another video of how to paint a portrait.  This apple tutorial is a very good precursor to the portrait study.

Impressions of our 2nd year of travelling the USA

As our 2nd year of travelling the USA comes to an end it would be fair to say that our impressions of American people have only improved.  American people are the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.  We are not so naive to think that everyone here is nice, but everyone we’ve met are, and that’s a lot of people.   This year of travel got off to a bad start for me with a torn meniscus in my knee putting me out of action for weeks.  We stayed in Florida much longer than intended, a whole month so we could be close to the surgeon, but we enjoyed Florida apart from the Yellow fly, we hope we never see another one of those blood […]

Las Vegas

We are staying at a lovely luxury motor coach resort in Las Vegas.  We are about 5 miles away from the ‘strip’ and about 8 miles from where we are going to store the coach when we go home.  The resort we are in has a main swimming pool complex and one in each corner of the resort, 3 pickleball courts and some magnificent coaches that mostly have great outdoor kitchens and tiki type bars like our neighbours below, along with palm trees and blue skies it feels very tropical.  We have met and spent time with our lovely neighbours Ron and Jerry.   Our main focus while at the resort is to get the coach and car ready for storage which we have almost […]

Lake Havasu, Arizona

We booked into the ‘Islander Resort’ at Lake Havasu many weeks ago, a week here and a week in Las Vegas before flying home.  We thought a couple of weeks in the desert doing not very much would be relaxing before heading home. We have been at lake Havasu for 5 days now. There are 3 pickle ball courts which we are playing on, a beautiful swimming pool and hot tub and many walks within the resort.  The resort is located right on the lake.  The lake itself is very pretty, it sits on a bed of limestone so it looks blue green depending on the light.  The word Havasu means blue green and Havasupai describes the aboriginal people from this area, people of blue green […]


We spent 5 nights at an RV resort near New River north of Phoenix.  This is a place we enjoyed last year, it’s in the Sonoran Desert.  The Sonoran Desert is the only place where the Saguaro cactus grow, and I love being amongst them. With a quick glance you can think there is nothing here in this desert, but it’s full of life if you take the time to look.  There are all types of cactus and many of the Saguaro and Barrel cactus were flowering which was lovely to see.   There are the typical desert snakes and spiders, although we didn’t see any, but also the Sonoran Tortoise, as big as a dinner plate, coyotes-didn’t see any but heard them.  We visited […]

Amarillo and the west

Amarillo is Spanish for yellow, so I guess I was expecting a pretty yellow town, it isn’t that!  There are a few reasons for the ‘yellow’ name.  There are small wild sunflowers that grow in the area, and all along the roadside which are pretty to see.  Also, before modern civilization this was an area where buffalo, wolves and other roaming animals used to come to because there was a large lake with a yellow coloured shore line.  Now that the city is built up the lake level has dropped and is no longer a picturesque place, otherwise I’m not sure about the name… Amarillo is a town in the Texas panhandle, it’s flat and barren and the city here is not the prettiest.  Northern […]


We pulled into a campsite in Oklahoma thinking we might stay for a couple of nights and ended up staying for a week.  The ‘resort’ was very nice, lots of friendly people, two lovely big swimming pools and lots of walking trails.  Our first night there was a Friday which is a meet and great night, so we went to that and met lots of people, members of the resort, visitors like us and people that live there permanently.  Some good music was playing and lots of people dancing.  It’s Oklahoma and soon the country music was playing which meant line dancing.  I’ve watched a bit of line dancing now and it looks like great fun.  There’s an easy looking dance called the electric slide, […]

Back to Tennessee, Graceland

We got the coach serviced and ended up going back to Tiffin for another issue that we thought was fixed but wasn’t.  They did a good job of fitting us in and getting the job done, no cost and a year’s warranty on the work.  We didn’t want to hang around the area any longer so we decided to drive up to our next planned stop which is Memphis, Tennessee, to see Graceland. We are staying at an RV park called Tom Sawyers and it’s right on the mighty Mississippi river.  We sat out by the river last evening and watched the tugs pushing massive barges up river.  The muddy river is fast flowing and swirls like a freshly stirred cup of hot chocolate.   […]


We stayed at a campsite south of Nashville that we loved and while we only intended staying a couple of nights we ended up staying for 4 nights, we met some lovely familys there. We drove down to Red Bay, Alabama which is where the Tiffin coaches are built.  Tiffin has many manufacturing and servicing plants in Red Bay and there are a few basic RV parks to accommodate coaches waiting to be attended to.  We drove to the main service area and were put in the ‘service’ queue and placed out at Belmont, Mississippi, a few miles from Red Bay, Alabama.  We were told to be ready to move by 7am the following day. The next morning a Tiffin representative came to the RV […]

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

We’ve been in Tennessee for 12 days, and we are still here!  What a lovely state Tennessee is.  We spent most of our time in Sevierville which was a very nice town at the foothills of the Smoky’s, about 20 miles away.  Sevierville celebrates Dolly Parton and claims her as their own.  There is a statue of her in the town and everything in Sevierville begins with Dolly!  She is much loved and comes from these parts but lives over near Nashville. We have been staying in a lovely RV park in Sevierville on the river.  Usually when we stay in a campsite on a river or mountain top etc we have to back in and we don’t have a window in the back of […]

Nashville, Tennessee

It’s a nice drive from Ohio to Tennessee, which is basically driving all the way through Kentucky.  Kentucky is horse country and we saw a few paddocks with horses, but you need to get off the interstate to see anything of interest in the US.  There are distilleries all through the state which I expected we would visit… and its’ the first time we’ve see tobacco growing, a beautiful green/yellow broad-leafed plant. We had meant to stay a while in Kentucky but our planning went awry and we omitted it causing our ‘Tiffin team’ driver to drive 4.5 hours!  I’m sure that wasn’t my fault… However in true form he drove exceptionally well including a congested drive through Nashville during a horrendous thunder storm, visibility […]

Exploring Cincinnati, Ohio

We are staying at a delightful campsite called little farm on the river. I haven’t seen a farm, well any animals since we arrived but we are on the river, this time the Ohio River.  As mentioned in a previous blog, the Ohio starts it’s journey in Pittsburgh where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers converge-the Ohio eventually joins up with the Mississippi.  The river is slow, wide and chocolate brown but it’s nice sitting at the edge of it. Occasionally we see a tug pushing or pulling the biggest barge like structure you’ve ever seen!  We think it might be laden with coal as there is a power station further along the river with huge chimneys. The campsite we are staying at is actually in Indiana, […]

Heading South West and exploring Columbus, Ohio

We thought we may as well take in a few cities on our way to Tennessee and Columbus was on the way!  We explored the city today, driving the car in and then cycling. It’s a lovely city with a vibrant feel, although it is Saturday today and is the food truck and music festival day, so food trucks all over and music in all the parks by the main river, Scioto.   Columbus has a population of about 1 million, and another million in the surrounding area.  Named after Christopher Columbus the city was founded in 1812.   The city was founded by both the Irish, who settled the northern area of the city and the Germans, in the south end of the city. The German […]

Heading South West and exploring Pittsburgh

After leaving the Niagara region we headed south to upper New York state.  We stayed at a place called Country Hills Campground.  This was such a lovely place, well kept and in a country setting with green rolling hills all around.  Upper state New York is very pretty, we really enjoyed our stay and travelling through the region.  Canada was very flat, so the hills are nice to see.  Jim and Denise ran the campground and were wonderful people to get to know. Leaving the region, we headed to Pennsylvania and through the Allegheny Forest.  I chose a campsite right in the middle of the forest thinking we would go hiking but being in the forest often means narrow roads to get in, damp ground […]

Impressions of Canada

We were in Canada for just under a month.  We travelled through Quebec and Ontario during that time, but these are such huge places I can’t say we’ve seen those provinces, only the highway we travelled along.  The size of Quebec Provence alone is profound, 1.5 million sq KM’s!  NZ is 268,000 sq KM’s.  I’m not sure that anyone can say they’ve seen Quebec Provence-further north it looks like a series of lakes and marsh and not many roads. Travelling along the interstate for many miles I can tell you that Canada has many trees!  Trees to the horizon, and the horizon is very big in Canada. There are ‘watch out for the moose’ signs everywhere and I watched out for them day after day […]

Niagara Falls, Ontario

We knew we were in for some wet weather at Niagara Falls so we booked in there for 4 nights as we wanted to see the falls on a sunny day.  Typically, the mornings were nice and the afternoons rainy and stormy.  We were staying at a nice quiet campsite on the St Lawrence river, 10 km’s upstream from the falls.  This is a wide and fast flowing river and as we looked across the river at land on the other side we were actually looking at a large island with the other half of the river on the other side-the flow of water along this river is incredible. We were staying on a road called the Niagara Parkway that runs along the river to […]

Montreal and onto Long Sault Parkway and into Toronto, Ontario

We were in Montreal for 4 days which was a really good rest time.  We only went into the city of Montreal once but spent all day there and explored it extensively.  I think we would have gone in a second time but the roadworks were daunting/confusing coming back to the campground and it didn’t seem worth it.  Instead we went out exploring south of the river to St Annes which was a small town on the river where it splits and creates a canal system. We rode our cycles along the road parallel to the river and enjoyed looking at some of the grand houses. We spent most of the day there.     We left the campsite this morning and drove through a […]

Quebec and onto Montreal

We spent a 2nd day in Quebec city and managed to see all new territory from the day before which was great, we feel we have seen the best of the city.   On this second day we walked from one old gate of the city, Porte St Louis to the other. On our way we found a tree that had a cannon ball lodged into it, apparently since 1759!  As we were looking at I heard the driver of a horse drawn carriage tell his passengers that ‘of course it’s an English cannonball, the French ones were much bigger!’     We’ve had a small electrical issue with the car and had a part changed and decided it would be best if I drove the […]

Arriving at Quebec

It was a day of driving in the coach to get to Wolfville to see the tides, and having spent 2 nights there in a lovely RV park we had to back track the way we came. We realise now that while the land in Nova Scotia is beautiful there’s not a lot to see.  We didn’t explore Halifax as we thought we would, but rather spend the time exploring the bigger French cities.  Halifax was the biggest city in the area, otherwise it’s crops and huge barns dotted around the countryside that house cattle and poultry.  It seems sad that no animals here are free ranging, and there were no free range meat, poultry or egg options in the supermarkets but then it does […]

The Bay of Fundy

The Bay of Fundy takes in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. We had already had a sense of the huge tides this bay produces at New Brunswick.  Now we are in Nova Scotia, at a place called Wolfville.  We chose this place as our research showed that we should see some good tide running here.  The BoF is very deep and wide as it hits the coast and then funnels up the huge bay.  We were in a village called Windsor which had a river flowing through and this is apparently a place to see a tidal bore. This is when the incoming tide rides up over the out going river-when both are running fast the water can stand up a meter in height and have […]

Into Canada

One of the reasons Arcadia is so nice is because of the trees and hills, but this area really marks the beginning of Canada and how it all looks up here!  We crossed over the border yesterday-alcohol is limited per person so we made sure we weren’t over the limit-food is fine.  It was a simple border crossing, no-one comes on board, no sniffing dogs etc, just a nice man in a kiosk asking how much tobacco and alcohol is on board. Once over the border we were immediately struck by how beautifully smooth the roads are compared to the US.   We were booked into an RV park not far from the border. It was an open paddock type RV park which was so nice […]

At Arcadia National Park

We pulled out of our campsite this morning at Rockport, happy to be moving on.  Not a long drive today but we have been positioning ourselves to get to Arcadia National Park.  It’s considered the jewel in the crown of the Maine coastline. Arcadia National Park is 47,000 acres of preserved land on Mount Desert Island.  There are walking and cycling tracks through it and roads for the car (probably not the coach).  There are also carriage trails which were designed and implemented by Rockefeller and other philanthropists around the 1930’s.  We haven’t explored yet and tomorrow it is due to rain so we won’t get to explore until Sat. It’s colder here-such a contrast to our days in Florida where it was too hot […]

Exploring Mid Maine

We left the lovely Mill Brook RV park where we made lots of friends and travelled a short distance to Saco south of Portland, Maine.  We booked in to a KOA (Kampground of America) RV park for 2 nights just so we could shop at Maine Mall in South Portland.   S needed some new clothes and we thought we would buy a mosquito net and canopy.  We bought all we needed including a Lonely Planet guide to Canada as we are heading that way.  On our way back we had an unplanned lobster roll lunch again…   When we got back to the coach we put up our mosquito net and canopy and found that it was rubbish-flimsy, too big, poor quality etc so […]

Leaving Cape Cod for Boston

We found getting in to an RV park quite difficult around Boston.  There’s very few close to Boston and those that are close were fully booked, however we were lucky to sneek into the last spot in one called Mill Brook.  This is a very nice park with very friendly people who have made us feel very welcome.  Tomorrow is the 4thJuly and there is a social breakfast for everyone and fireworks on Friday night.  Many people staying in their RV’s at this park come here from Florida in the summer to escape the hot summer down there and many of them live nearby to each other down there on Florida’s west coast-the place has a nice community feel.   We asked many people about […]

Martha’s Vineyard

The following day, our last full day at Cape Cod we caught the ferry over to Martha’s Vineyard. There are 3 villages there to visit but they are positioned like the points of a triangle about 6 miles apart.  We landed into Oaks Bluff and decided we had only enough time to visit one of the other villages, not both as we were on our bicycles.  We had a quick look around Oak Bluffs.     We rode to Edgartown which was a very nice village. Beautiful houses, a lovely harbour, close boat access to Chappaquiddick Island, and some boutique type stores. Chappaquiddick used to be joined to MV but in 2007 they separated as a result of storm damage. Because we were catching the ferry from […]

Exploring Cape Cod, “If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air, quaint little villages here and there…

We considered driving up to the tip of Cape Cod peninsular but we could get a feel of what it might be like, well as the song says-sand dunes, salty air, beach, lakes and ocean, nice but we can see that where we are, and it’s a 2 hour drive up to the top, I doubt Old Cape Cod has changed much… Instead we decided to drive to North Falmouth and do more cycling. We rode through a residential coastal area which has some very interesting houses and out to a beach, then joined up with another cycle trail, finishing with another picnic lunch.      

Towards Cape Cod

We spent a night in Pennsylvania as we generally headed north west.  We thought long and hard about the merits of going into New York city. It’s a city I’ve always wanted to visit but when researching RV parks you find only 1 in central NYC and that one sounds grim, it’s a carpark with rented RV’s and a security guard.  The others are outside of the city and that means a long and expensive train journey in. It was a tough choice as half the people we ask about NYC say it’s fantastic, the other half say stay clear of it, not much to see and a hassle with a coach-it’s funny how divisive the place is, I want to go, S doesn’t!  We decided […]

Washington DC 2nd day

We decided to take our bikes on the train into DC today so we could cover more ground.  Angie was not feeling so well and was unable to meet us.  We thought we would start at the top of the city and visit the Cathedral but it was closed so we thought we would ride through the zoo but you can’t ride your bike through there so we rode down towards Georgetown. We spent some time riding along the canal which popped us out at downtown Georgetown by the Potomac river.   We rode along the river and into the National Mall area again where we had lunch.     Cycling is a great way to get around, you can ride on the road or […]

Washington DC

We arrived here 2 days ago.  The evening we arrived we went for a walk around the wooded perimeter track of the park-It’s quite a big place.  On our walk we saw fire flies, what a delight to see, they shine so brightly! Our first day exploring DC we drove to the train station-about 10 mins, then caught the train which is mostly an underground system. We are about 7 stops from Archives which is central to all the monuments, it took about 25 mins, very efficient, clean and regular train service. Going above ground at Archives (National Archives) for the first time is wonderful.  It’s downtown and surrounded by historic buildings.  We were meeting up with Angie at 11 at the Lincoln Memorial so we […]

Shenandoah, Virginia

We travelled through North Carolina on the main highway, so I can’t say we saw much of the state this time around.  When we approached Virginia, we were still on the highway until we got near our RV park but already you could tell we were in a rural area that looked like we had stepped back in time by 50 years.  I kept thinking of the Waltons (which I used to love watching) and was singing the theme music as we drove by red farm buildings and old brick houses with white pillars out the front, grain silos and green fields.  There’s a Norfolk and Suffolk in Virginia and I thought the countryside looked very much like the Norfolk, UK where I grew up. […]

Further north to St Augustine, surprisingly historic!

The surgeon was accepting of us wanting to move on. I think he would have liked another visit as I still can’t fully straighten or bend the leg.  He said I have 2 months to get the leg straight or I will lose the ability to do so.  He suggested exercises and then showed interest in places we were going to-he recommended the Banff National park which I’ve put on the to do list-a list that gets longer!. We were happy to leave the RV park at Kissimmee after so long but also the yellow fly were so bad there we were starting to suffer with many bites that had a severe itch that lasts for weeks and are prone to getting infected.  No chance of […]


The biggest lake in Florida is Okeechobee and we are now parked right at the top of it in a very nice RV park.  The park is over 100 acres in size with wonderful facilities and barely anyone here, very nice! This is the rainy (and hurricane) season, it rains each afternoon so the locals are gone to drier land!   The lake is a natural shallow dish with a clay bottom, whereas the surrounding land is sand and limestone.  The water levels can get high in the rainy season and water has to be released through the canals and eventually into the everglades.  We drove along the lake edge for a short time today and it is water to the horizon.  The lakes here […]

Another look at Key West then back north

The next day…Ok S went to key West on his own.  I stayed on the coach and painted and exercised, trying to get more flexion in my knee, I made some good progress.  S said that he saw a very nice aspect of Key West today, more upmarket suburbs with nice colonial houses.  From the photos, it looks more like the Key West I expected to see.  It’s great that he went back and did more exploring, and brought me some great photos!  He wasn’t gone for too long, Key West is only 8 sq miles.   We head off tomorrow to stay at the Miami Zoo!  Yes they have an RV park there. We had a good but rather slow drive up from the […]

Key West

We are down in the Florida Keys.  It’s tropical down here.  Coral grows in the water, coconuts grow in the palms, Frangipani grows like a weed and Iguana’s roam around like little dogs! The fauna and flora are all very nice. The drive down from Florida City was 114 miles along Ocean Highway, an impressive one or 2 laned highway about a meter above the sea.   The sea looks to be shallow with small outcrops of trees and mangrove islands stretching out to the horizon.  The land here is very flat, it will not fare well in global warming when the sea levels rise. We are staying at a luxury RV park which means we get our own private lot with a full tiki […]

Heading South to Florida City

We are in Florida City an hour south of Miami.  We are staying in a mediocre RV park that was Hobsons choice.  We are here for 2 nights as we are waiting to get into a very nice RV park 10 miles north of Key West where we will stay for 3 nights. We are looking forward to exploring that area. We ended up having 11 days at Kissimmee (pron Kiss sim me) which was a nice stay at a very nice RV park which had 2 wonderful swimming pools.  The length of stay there was determined by my (I thought) final appointment with the surgeon. However once he had a look at my knee he asked that we return for another follow up visit.  I’ve still got poor range […]


We are still at the RV park in Kissimmee.  Very nice here and we are happy staying longer.  A short blurb on the knee.  Upon initial consultation with the surgeon on Mon he thought I may have a bucket handle tear in the Meniscus-yes, the good shoppers of Walmart were all right!  A bucket handle tear is bad as part of it flips under the knee and surgery is tricky and recovery long.  I was a bit bummed out at this prospect. The next day I had an MRI. Yesterday we met with the surgeon  Dr Blick and the good news it’s not a bucket handle tear but still a nasty tear so surgery under a general anaesthetic is scheduled for tomorrow. Surgery was today. All went very smoothly, a […]

Kissimmee Florida

Arrived in Kissimmee Florida today.  Very close to all the theme parks, Disney World just down the road.  We are in an RV park that is away from the tourist scene in a residential area. Very nice park with many swimming pools and a lake.  Stuart explored during his walk last night and then took me for a drive around in the car. Looks nice. Florida is of course famous for its oranges and gators, but because so much of Florida is low lying swamp land there are many bugs here, most annoyingly an insect that looks like a small aircraft carrier and bites like a mosquito, its called a Deer fly or known locally as Yellow Fly.  I got bitten many times yesterday and was only out for 10mins!  Typically, Stuart […]

On the road to Florida

We did a short drive to McDonough, Georgia for our first night.  Stuart drove wonderfully well, not rusty at all.  The RV park was pretty average.  Getting on the road and setting up at the end of the journey is all on Stuart, I can’t help with much at all. Stuart went for his usual late afternoon walk while I stayed on the coach.  Heading off tomorrow for Live Oak, Georgia. Big drive today, over 4 hours to get to Live Oak which is close to the Florida border.  We stayed at an RV park where you can stay with your horses.   Many people here tow huge trailers with horses doing just what we do but they go riding when they arrive, sounds wonderful! This RV park was very nice, 300 […]

2019 USA trip-Arriving

Blog 1 of May 16th2019 We caught a 7pm flight to Houston Texas.  The flight left on time, had a great meal and then we both pretty much slept until 3 hours before landing.  We spent a night at the Marriot at the airport which is just a short subway ride away and had another good sleep.  We woke on Tues morning ready to catch our flight to Atlanta, Georgia. Only 1 hr 30 mins, and equally uneventful which is good.   Once we arrived at the airport we couldn’t Uber as we had no data on our phones, so we had to catch a cab to Lawrenceville where the coach is stored.  We hit rush hour traffic and had a pretty rubbish driver so it took ages.  We arrived at National […]

North Carolina

We didn’t want to spend the weekend in the car park at National Indoor near Atlanta, so we decided to drive the coach up to a lake area.  We tried getting into many parks up here but they were all full.  Apparently this area gets pretty booked up when the autumn colours start to change, it’s quite a spectacle.  One of the few places we could get into was Mountain Falls, it’s a luxury RV resort and it cost more per night than most other places we have stayed at, but well, it is our last sojourn before heading back to NZ. This resort is in western North Carolina, about 2.5 hours north of the storage facility.  Once we started climbing into the mountains the […]

Rainy night in Georgia

We left the Hamilton State park and crossed back into Georgia.  We thought we would just turn up at the next park, as we have been doing that for a few weeks now-there are no school holidays, and it’s still too early for the Snowbirds so many parks have a lot of capacity.  However as we were approaching the next park we thought we had better check by calling ahead-they were full!  Found another option, also full-had to compromise with a third option which was a slightly scruffy park in the woods.  There was a pool but it wasn’t heated.   We had been watching the storm off the Florida Panhandle and thought that these woods would be a good place to take shelter. The park […]

Oh my sweet Carolina

We had a 3 hour drive to get to the Hamilton Branch State Park in South Carolina.  We are only just over the state line from Georgia.  We have a space at the lake edge, its beautiful here. We are away from the alligators, I asked the ranger what we can find here and he said there are lots of deer, fox, fox squirrels which are big, snakes, but there are snakes all over the US, and that’s about it, all very friendly. The drive today was all through tree lined roads, mostly pines much like Colorado and Oregon, Georgia seems to be a very green state.  As we head further north, there is an almost imperceptible sense that the weather is cooling off, although […]

Savannah Georgia, Day 2

We drove back into central Savannah today and parked near Forsyth Park.  Firstly we had a look inside the grand Roman Catholic Cathedral.  Very beautiful.     Oglethorpe’s far sighted vision not only included 22 squares for the city, but a large park too.  This park has a beautiful fountain and lots of walking paths, but it’s really about walking around the edge of the park and taking in all the stately houses.  This area is still considered the historic section of the city.     The houses are at times 4 levels tall, often Georgian in design and great attention to detail paid with the wooden and brick ornaments.  As in NZ, each house was a completely different design and colour to it’s neighbour.  […]

Savannah Georgia, Day 1

From the State Park, we are only 8 miles away from central Savannah.   We firstly went to Wormsloe State Historic Site.  This site was a grand plantation in it’s time and the entrance to it has an ornate arch way with a 1.5 mile drive way of 400 year old arching live oaks, again the Spanish Moss swaying in the breeze like seaweed in a tidal current.  There are mites that live on the Spanish Moss called Chiggers, apparently they give a very nasty bite if you get them on your skin.  During the days of colonisation, unsuspecting people stuffed their mattresses with this moss, this is where the saying, ‘Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite’ came from…   The drive way is […]

Onto Georgia, Forrest Gump country

It was a pretty challenging drive for husband today.  We are still travelling on interstate 10, which we’ve been on since Phoenix, Arizona, in a coach you can only really take 40 or 10.  On this section of I10 there were lots of roadworks which no one seems to slow down for, the lanes were pretty narrow and uneven, and lots of trucks passing us.  Some days are like that, other days are easier.  We were happy to get to Savannah.  We are staying in another state park, this time one called Skidaway.  It’s not on the coast, but we are on the edge of a vast salty marsh, and more specifically, the Skidaway Narrows-infact the whole coast along here is like that, very flat […]

See ya later Alligator…

The next day we had a day exploring around the state park on our bicycles.  We set off to the nearest alligator pond, which was only about 20 meters away! If I can’t sleep at night I sometimes think about what animals might be in the park we are staying in.  …these parks and infact most places we have been to are rich in animal life, that has been a very pleasant surprise about the US.  Here I have thought about alligators.  We have been in alligator territory since Galveston.  I would like very much to see one, but they give me the creeps, they like swampy water, they are nocturnal, they are purely instinctive, ie if they are hungry, they will find something (anything) […]

Jacksonville, Florida

We stopped on the way to Jacksonville for a couple of nights on the Suwannee River, made famous by the Stephen Foster song, and more famously sung by Al Johnson, Swannee (various sp…) how I love ya, how I love ya, my dear old Swannee…  Or the saying, Up the Swannee…When we arrived at the campground, I asked the owner if there was anything here we should know about, ie alligators, he said no, but don’t swim in the river (which was only a few metres away).  I asked, can we walk along the riverbank?   Oh yes, as long as there are no alligator’s there!  Anything else, I asked.  No, nothing else.  I told him, I’ve heard there are bears around here, is that true?  […]

Florida, the sunshine state

We had a good drive from Gulf Shores in Alabama.  Within 10 minutes of leaving heading east along the coast we passed into Florida.  Florida is the south eastern peninsular of the US, but it also runs south west, and this area is called the Panhandle of Florida, that is where we are.  We left Alabama as they were in for lots of rain, so we moved to Panama City which was still to be wet, but not as bad as other surrounding areas-this is a very unsettled time of year here.  We booked into Panama City RV Resort for 3 nights to wait for the weather to improve. This is a tightly packed RV site which has been a bit noisy with barking dogs […]

Sweet home Alabama

After leaving Slidell, we had a night in Biloxi, Mississippi.  Biloxi was a nice coastal town but essentially a casino town, and we stayed at a casino RV park.  This park and surrounding area had no redeeming features and we stayed only one night to break up our journey. The day we arrived in Alabama it was raining and as we approached Gulf Shores it was torrential with surface flooding on the roads, this made it hard to find the State Park we were heading for.  We arrived at Gulf State Park, registered and found our spot.  There are about 500 RV parking spaces here, and the park is about 20,000 acres in size. We got the coach set up and I parked the car […]

Down in Louisiana, where the Alligators grow so mean…

We both enjoyed Galveston, Texas and would have stayed longer but the rain beat us.  It rained torrentially there each day which drove the mossies crazy, which drove us crazy!  S looked at the weather map to see it was all clear further east.  We left Galveston by a 20 min  ferry journey travelling over the Bolivar Peninsular.  This would lead us from Texas into Louisiana.  During this drive the rain was torrential and the sea at times was lapping only a metre or two away from the road we were travelling along.  Having the Gulf of Mexico so close, the rain pouring down, the sky black and knowing this is the land of, and the season for, Hurricanes.  I admit I felt vulnerable! The […]

“Houston, we have a problem…”

It was a very wet Monday in Galveston so I thought backtracking 30mins in the car and visiting the Nasa Space Centre near Houston was too good an opportunity to miss.  Carolyn could think of nothing more boring so while she went off on her bicycle around Galveston I spent the day at the Nasa Johnston Space Centre which acts as the control centre for all USA space flight.  They also design and test all space technology here before its launched on a rocket. One of the first exhibits at Houston is the Boeing 747 that was modified to carry the space shuttle on its back to the launch pad and then to collect it again after it returned to earth. The public can go […]

Galveston, Oh Galveston

The drive along I10 from San Antonio was pretty stressful.  Very heavy traffic, poor driving all around, and as we approached Houston, a huge thunderstorm.  Once through the spaghetti like motorway system around Houston we got on 45 down to Galveston.  Husband drove very well and I helped navigate.  I guess we could have picked a better time than late afternoon on a Friday in rain but there you go… We are staying in a nice RV park in Galveston right by the beach. Unfortunately, on our first night here our neighbours partied all night and neither of us got much sleep.  This is the first time in all our travels that we have been disturbed by inconsiderate people in an RV park.  This left […]

Texas and the Alamo

The drive from Carlsbad to San Antonio was reasonably boring.  Flat scrubby land with oil derricks dipping into the ground to suck up more crude oil.  It was a long journey, we came down on 285 into Fort Stockton.  This was one of the worst roads we’ve been on.  Roadworks just about the whole way.  Truck tankers carrying the crude oil from one place to another and a bone shaker road with big pot holes.  Fort Stockton was not much of a picture postcard town.  It played a role in the civil war, otherwise it’s another oil and gas town.  The wider area reminded us of Queensland Australia.  We stayed in a reasonably nice park in Fort Stockton, it had more permanents than people like […]

The Bat cave

It was a long drive from Tucson to Carlsbad, nearly a 300 mile drive.  By the time we arrived here we were both tired and I hadn’t done anything!  The last hour approaching Carlsbad was over the Guadalupe Mountains where the sky blackened and the winds picked up.  By the time we got to Carlsbad it was howling about 40 knots.  We are staying about 20 miles north of the city, the caves are on the south western side but because we are here for 2 nights we wanted to be in a nice park.  This one is the nicest we could find. Carlsbad is all about petroleum and gas production.  You can smell sulphur in the air and see the derricks on the horizon.  […]


Prescott Arizona was a very nice place.  We weren’t there as long as we thought we would be as the coach repairs were completed much faster than we thought, and Affinity were too busy to deal with any of our less pressing issues. It was from Prescott that S drove me to Phoenix Airport to fly to Vancouver.  My Aunt and Uncle live there and a visit was long overdue.  While I was in Vancouver, Stuart was to stay with the coach until the repairs were completed.  Once finished he moved on to a Park near Phoenix. I arrived in Vancouver on a Tues evening, met by Dudley and Paddy-so good to see them, and looking so well.  I stayed for 3 full days and […]

Walking down into The Grand Canyon

We got up pretty early and got going so we wouldn’t be hiking in the heat of the day.  By 9 we had driven up to the visitors centre and were waiting for a shuttle.  The free shuttle ride out to the South Kaibab Trail only took about 15 minutes.   You cannot drive by car to this trail head. The track descends quite steeply along a well-made track. Already there were lots of weary people coming back up it.  This track goes to the Ooh Aah point, then to Cedar Point, then down onto a plateau which, if you walk to the end gives you a look over the river below-this is Skeleton Point.  The National Park strongly advises nobody tries to walk to the […]

The Grand Canyon

We left Zion and headed to Tuba.  We didn’t really want to go this way but our Garman would not take us on Highway 64, the road from Cameron to the Grand Canyon.  Our Garmin has the dimensions of the coach plugged in so we can be warned about low bridges etc.  Having to go the longer way meant we needed to spend the night in Tuba.  Tuba is in Navajo country and is as Indian as it gets, it was good to be immersed in this culture.  I went shopping at the local supermarket which I also think is a good litmus test for the wider community.  It was quite a large supermarket and had a good variety of products, but many shelves were […]

Zion National Park

We had a scenic drive from Red Canyon to Zion National Park via I15.  We elected to not go through the Zion-Mt Carmel tunnel.  The coach would get through there, no problem (we would need an escort that costs $15), but the roads on either side are narrow and busy, it’s just less stress to go the long way, and it’s a really nice drive. We are staying in a town called Virgin, named after the river that flows through it.  Virgin is about 14 miles away from Zion.  There are parks closer but you have to book way ahead to get closer-it’s fine where we are, in fact Zion River RV park is really very nice. There is a large swimming pool, restaurant and […]

Bryce National Park

We had an uneventful day of travel from SLC to Richfield.  Richfield was a place we stayed at on the way to Bryce Canyon.  Richfield was a nice town and we stayed at a KOA, Kampground of America.  These campgrounds are all over the US, but so far we have avoided them as they are very family focused which can mean lots of kids and kids activities etc.  We would rather stay in a quieter place.  This KOA was actually very nice, and quiet.  As with St Anthony in Idaho, many owners of RV’s here at this park have ATV’s as there are 1000’s of miles of trails in the surrounding mountains. We left Richfield the next day for a short drive to Red Canyon.  […]

Salt Lake City, Snowbird Resort

When we caught up with Tracy yesterday he suggested as something we could do while in SLC is visit Snowbird or Park City.  Both are in the mountains.  By the time we got going we only had time to see one place, so we decided to see Snowbird-we will see Park City in another year.  Snowbird is an all year round resort, owned by Robert Redford.  It’s a 30 minute drive from SLC up the mountain.  Snowbird is ultimately a ski resort, and it looks like it would be amazing to ski there.  It would have the ski runs you only dream off, long runs through the pine trees.  However, in the middle of summer it still attracts a crowd.  There are many hiking and […]

Exploring Salt Lake City

When we were at St Anthony in Idaho we met Tracy Chapman and his friends.  Tracy took us out on his Razor ATV which was great fun.  Tracy and his family live in SLC so we made contact and arranged to meet.  Tracy works as a Radio Presenter for 101.5 The Eagle.  He offered to show us around the radio station and then we wanted to take him out for lunch.  We drove into the city and had a quick explore before meeting up with Tracy-its a very nice city-wide streets, beautiful buildings, a great blend of historic and modern. It was fun being in the recording studio with Tracy and getting a run down on how  all the equipment works. After that we walked […]

Crossing the Nevada Desert

It was about a 4 hour drive across the desert heading for Elko-just past mid way.  I was surprised that there were scanty traces of civilization all along the interstate.  There were a few ranches, some very small communities, the odd house dotted along, but mostly the land is BLM-public land (Bureau of Land Management).  We drove along the interstate which in places had an 85 MPH speed limit which seems very fast. Elko was quite a large city with a population of about 20,000.  It sits on the Humboldt River so there is water!  Actually, that river runs parallel to the interstate just about the whole way.  There were a few RV parks to choose from at Elko but all close together-we chose the […]

Reno, Nevada

We rode our Bicycles into Reno from Sparks which was only a couple of miles away.  We had to detour a bit not knowing how to get over the railway lines and interstate 5.  Reno was named after Jesse L Reno a Union General in the Civil war.  It’s known as the biggest little city and in the mid 19th century was bigger than Las Vegas as there was gold and silver found nearby and later the railway was laid through Reno.  In the 1930’s Reno boomed because it was one of a few places where couples could get divorced! Reno is high desert at 4500 ft, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains.  It’s in a fertile area called Truckee Meadows and gets […]

Job completed and we leave Grant’s Pass for Reno, Nevada.

On Wed morning the job was completed by Hendersons.  They got it done quicker than they said they would and it cost less than their estimate.  We took it for a test run and ended up unknowingly on a road we couldn’t get off for 22 miles.  The road was taking us closer to the fires at Grant’s Pass.  We saw lots of roads leading into the Illinois Valley that were closed and had the army posted at the stop sign.  This was about as close as I wanted to get to those wild forest fires! Stuart was happy with the work they did and we finally got back to the workshop and had them look at why we hear a strange noise when we […]

Leaving Springfield again

 The mechanics spent hours working on our coach to determine in the end that the secondary device could not be fitted and we therefore asked that the whole kit was removed.  They gave us a full refund which was the right thing to do, but it wasted a lot of time. We headed back to Chiloquin to the Waterwheel rv park again and arrived late and tired.  The next day we made contact with Hendersons in Grants Pass that actually make the unit we are trying to have fitted.  We decided to head there next.  We had the next three RV parks lined up through Reno and onto Salt Lake City, and it takes time to unbook and rebook elsewhere but we have learnt that […]

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