Chilling Out in Lake Havasu City, Arizona

It looks like we’ll be staying in Lake Havasu City for a little while longer. Though our Hot Water Heater was working a tiny bit, it is now completely dead. Poof. It lives no more. As of yesterday it had a little life left in it and the manufacturer was going to send some parts our way. By last night, the Hot Water Heater was totally dead, so we went back to the local shop we’ve been working with, and more parts are on the way.

Since Thanksgiving is this week and Girard is shipping us parts via slow travel, we’ll be without hot water for quite a bit longer.

I have to give a quick shout out to the local shop we’ve been working with, Canyon Country RV, Truck & Auto Service Center. They have done everything possible to try to get us up and running, balancing calls between Pleasure Way (maker of our van), and Girard (maker of our hot water heater), and have spent a lot of time working on this issue. I overheard one of their calls today and they were requesting on our behalf that Girard overnight the parts because this is our home – of which I definitely appreciate the request! Girard declined though, but wow, huge thumbs up to Canyon Country RV! They are clearly acting as advocates on our behalf, not something I’m accustomed to at repair shops!

After spending a good part of the day at the repair shop again today, Dave and I headed over to Lake Havasu State Park for the night, and I have to say, it’s beautiful here!
Lake Havasu State Park

Though one of the reasons we chose this park was because of the high reviews of their showers (because… no hot water… remember?), we still chose to use our own bathroom this evening for a shower!

We have a Class B Van, with a wet bath. From what I’ve read, many folks (possibly even most) who have wet baths never use their shower, instead opting for campground facilities. We chose this van knowing the pros and cons of a wet bath and fully intended to use it as it is part of our home. I think by opting to take a full, 100% cold water shower, over using a shower just a hundred feet away that fully works – marks as completely and totally crazy. But you know what? That’s okay!

Lions Dog Park in Lake Havasu City, Arizona – 4 Paws Up

Our poor dog. In the last few weeks we have traveled through Arizona, Nevada, California, and now Arizona again – and in that time he has not set his paws-to-grass. Thankfully he’s fairly adaptable and was able to adjust to rock gardens but still… he’s a dog! He likes grass! We were also quite busy moving out of one RV into another, in a very tight timeframe. I think Frodo was feeling neglected. It was way past time to get this dog to a DOG PARK!

Thankfully, we discovered Lions Dog Park in Lake Havasu City, Arizona!

Lions Dog Park in Lake Havasu City, Arizona

The off-leash area was HUGE, and very well cared for – and – it has grass. In Arizona! Real grass in a dog park! Sadly we’ve seen too many parks recently labeled “dog park” that were sand pits – um – that doesn’t count!

It was really awesome to have such a large area where we were allowed to let Frodo just be himself. He’s very well behaved and loves socializing (in the photo below, he had just greeted the man on the bench, before running back to us).

Frodo Having Fun

And Frodo makes friends everywhere he goes, this was just one of his playmates today.

Frodo and a Friend

Since Frodo got to run and greet people and dogs, he was able to wear himself out from play. It’s a great thing to see him tired from playing! A tired dog is a happy dog!

A Tired Dog is a Happy Dog

We may stay in Lake Havasu City for a few days so I hope to have an opportunity to take him back to this park. If you are traveling with your dog, Lions Dog Park a must-visit park! Frodo gives it 4 paws up! For real, he’s sleeping on his back snoring right now, all paws in the air. It was really nice to give him a good play day!

Our Day Ended in Needles, California

Today was a busy day. We planned to leave Las Vegas and it’s windy, windy weather by heading just a few hours south – but had several errands to run first. We worked in the morning, then buttoned the van down and headed to Whole Foods, Home Depot, and a Gas Station for propane. It took us a long time to get everything done so we were glad our actual travel time would only be two hours. Errands still happen though, it’s just a fact of life!

We lunched at our propane-fill location but got kicked out by security because we were apparently in a (unmarked) commercial parking only lot. Okay then. It was at Home Depot then when Dave ran in to get some necessary supplies, that I finished up from lunch by washing dishes and brushing my teeth — yes — in the Home Depot parking lot. That felt odd, and hysterical at the same time.

Our Van

It was wonderful today to reach nicer weather in Needles. Last night in Vegas we experienced winds with gusts of 50mph, which, is WINDY. And chilly wind is COLD. And cold, windy weather makes me unhappy. A two hour drive straight South from Vegas gave us weather ten degrees warmer with less wind. Talk about a win-win!

Needles, California is just a small town on the Colorado River – so some folks who live here have a spectacular view!

Cool View

But it also has a lot of character.

Town with Character

And interesting plants.

Cactus

Some that look half alien. We didn’t get to look too close at this cactus/tree/thing, because it had things on the ground near it that were prickly, and Frodo appeared to get one up his nose. He didn’t like that (he’s okay), so we just kept on walking.

Alien Cactus

Tomorrow we need another trip to Home Depot so we plan to drive to a nearby larger town so we can get a few more household chores done. You can leave the house behind but not all the chores!

Over and out!

It’s a Beautiful Day in Tucson, Arizona!

We had a choice between struggling for warmth in Las Cruces, New Mexico – or getting to BE warm and comfortable in Tucson. It was an obvious choice really, and we are finally somewhere that will have good weather for a while so we don’t need to rush off anywhere.

Even though our race across the country has been at a much faster pace than we plan to travel for any length of time – it’s been an amazing journey. We have had a wonderful opportunity to preview areas where we would like to have extended time to explore. St. Louis, Missouri looks like a blast for urban photography, Columbia, Missouri will be a great place to relax, and New Mexico? Give me a month in New Mexico – or maybe two! There is so much to see and do and explore!

For now though, today we are in Arizona. And it’s gorgeous! I can understand why people spend their winters in Arizona. Who wouldn’t want to be here?

Palm Tree

Something screams H.P. Lovecraft about this plant. Maybe because it was larger than me!

HP Lovecraft Plant

The Tao of Dog says, a dirty dog is a happy dog. At least according to me. And Frodo. A dirty beard means lots of nose-to-ground time – heaven for a scent-driven dog!

Happy Dog Frodo

If an opportunity presents itself to reach out and grab something – do it.

Sharon Tucson Arizona Pull-up

But be careful around cacti, particularly when they are close to ten feet tall…

Southwest Architecture

Southwest landscaping is pretty nifty though, I’m quite drawn to it.

Southwest

And architects are smart to build in sun-shades where it is necessary.

Sun Shades

But one of the coolest things we saw today was the most unexpected!

Car Parade

Wait, are they slowing down for the camera? They are! See the wave?

Car Parade 2

This guy was awesome, he honked for us!

Car Parade 3

Reason #101 why you should always have your camera!

Car Parade 4

Arrival in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Today we left Tucumcari, New Mexico and planned a short drive to Carrizozo. Once we arrived there however, we changed our minds and simply continued South to Las Cruces.

New Mexico

We knew we were cutting it short, planning to arrive in Las Cruces just as the sun was setting (never really ideal), but it worked out perfectly.

Today’s drive was better than any movie. Between the mountains and the clouds, it was simply breathtaking. I took a few photos knowing that nothing could replicate what I was seeing, and this is the best photo from the day.

Beautiful Day in New Mexico

I look forward to learning about the area, it’s history, and exploring the landscape!

Resting in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Oh how I’ve missed this.

Dave Practicing Keyboard

Yes, we have downsized to living in a 30-foot travel trailer and a truck. But we haven’t given up everything.

With selling our house, moving into the RV, and racing to South Dakota to establish our domicile, then racing southward as fast as possible to escape freezing temperatures – this is the first time in close to three months Dave has had a chance to practice. He’s missed it. I’ve missed it.

We’re in Tucumcari, New Mexico where it is 82 Degrees and Sunny, with 15% humidity. Tomorrow we travel again (and face a cold font brining in colder temperatures). It was time to break out the keyboard and play a little. Life is good!

Tucumcari, New Mexico on Route 66: The Land Time Forgot (and a Truck/RV Wash)

We started the day in Amarillo, Texas.

Our truck and RV were desperately in need of being washed, so we planned only a short drive today because we didn’t know how long that would take. Blue Beacon Truck wash is handy for RV’ers because you can keep your vehicles hitched together and run them through as though it was an automatic car wash, but there are people managing the sprayers. That’s very useful because you can also let them know to avoid spraying directly near the window seals, or any area of your rig that is particularly sensitive.

The wait time took about an hour, during which you stay in your vehicle and you’re sandwiched between semi-trucks, so the decision for the wash is a committed one! While we waited we watched the ducks swimming in some nearby water (they are hard to see in this photo, but they’re there).

While the truck was being washed it got quite loud, and Frodo was a little concerned. He was basically okay, but I’d recommend if you are traveling with a dog who does not handle loud noises well, or is scared of thunder, you may want to walk your dog during the actual washing of your vehicle to keep your pup happy.

As far as our experience with Blue Beacon, it was definitely a good one. They did a great job and now our rig is shiny and pretty again (and no longer smelly)! The running boards and wheel wells were caked with muck and both are completely clean now. I’m happy!

By the time we had both vehicles clean, it was time for lunch and we hadn’t even traveled more than a few miles. It was a great day to plan a short migration path!

It wasn’t long before we passed through the “Welcome to New Mexico” sign and discovered Tucumcari, New Mexico on Route 66.
Palomino Motel

Most business here look like they have slept through the last few decades. It’s a little on the eerie side, but also quite cool.

Texaco

Check out that car in the front of the Blue Swallow Motel!

Blue Swallow Motel

And there was this…

Tucumcari Inn

And this… (this appeared to be free-standing art work, not related to the nearby businesses).

RV Park

Tucumcari, New Mexico: Route 66 – I was here.

Route 66 - I Was Here

Kansas to Texas, Mistaken Mud, Melted Shoes, a Donkey and an Emu

Today has been an interesting day. To begin at the beginning, we were on our way out the door ready to hit the road when… wait, something was wrong with my shoes. They looked odd, deformed, and… curled.

We keep our shoes by the door, sometimes in their proper places, sometimes just thrown by the door depending on how tired we were when we last entered our RV. Also by the front door, is a furnace vent. Apparently the rapid heat and cool cycle of the air coming from the furnace vent – shrank my Crocks! My favorite go-to-travel shoes, were suddenly at least half a size too small (and curled at the toe). We were all ready to depart, travel accessories for the day in-hand (drinks, snacks, Frodo was leashed). Argh. And I had to find a different pair of shoes. Most importantly, our Airstream killed my Crocks! They were the ones with the awesome fuzzy liner. Insert sad face, I am quite sad. I will absolutely replace those as soon as I either find them in person, or we stop long enough for me to shoot off an order to Zappos.

After the shoe incident we were on our way. Today’s journey was a quick jaunt through the panhandle of Oklahoma, and the panhandle of  Texas.

KS to TX

We saw hundreds of windmills, perhaps even a few thousand. I didn’t realize wind energy was being utilized to such a degree in the U.S., and it’s neat to see. In fact, I have now seen wind farms in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. There are families who travel full-time and home-school (aka “road school”) their children, and for those families who can pull that off – what an amazing experience that must be!  Even in our speedy migration we are still getting to see things that spark interesting thoughts and conversation.

But, back to our journey.

Texas Panhandle We took a lunch break somewhere in the Texas panhandle, and I have an important tip to share. When driving through Texas, if you see a pile of mud – avoid it. It likely isn’t mud. Sure enough, we have manure in the wheel wells of our truck and under the belly of our Airstream. Fantastic. It smells just lovely.

I think we will be migrating some more tomorrow so if we do, we will attempt to get the Truck and Airstream washed. There is a Blue Beacon Truck Wash down the street from where we are, so it looks like we’ll finally get to see how that works. As we drove past it tonight we saw a very long line there, so adding that to a travel day means we probably won’t travel too far, perhaps only an hour or two away. We’ll just see how things go and how long it takes to give our rig a (much-needed) wash down!

We saw the Blue Beacon Truck Wash while we were on our way back from Petsmart in Amarillo. We have been so busy the last few months, we somehow almost completely ran out of dog food for Frodo! Dave and I both mistakenly remembered having the rest of his food bag in the truck – and – we were both wrong! Lucky for us, they had his food in stock and he will continue going on well-fed as usual! Phew, that was a close call!

Wait, is that a…?

Donkey Surprise

It is! How about that, a Donkey!

Nice Donkey

And the Donkey has a cell-mate, an Emu! The Emu wouldn’t stop pacing so this was the best shot I could get.

Emu

Interesting. A Donkey and an Emu. Go figure!

Roadside Kansas

Today’s journey was about making as much progress south/south-west as we could go in a day. Traveling the way we do only allows us a few hours to drive each day so we’re making the best of what we’ve got! Once we get to better weather, we will slow down considerably and explore an area in detail.

For now though, we migrate. We awoke in Concordia, Kansas, and we’ll be spending the night in Liberal, Kansas. With almost 5 hours of actual driving time, plus added stops for a hot lunch (in our RV), bathroom breaks for us and Frodo – it was an incredibly long day.

Kansas Drive

Driving through Kansas is a bit on the dull side. Add in 40 degree weather, some windchill and rain, and it was hard for me to stay awake! I wasn’t the one driving, don’t worry…

Kansas 1

There was a considerable amount of farm land. Acres and acres and acres of it.

Kansas 3

Every so often there were some things to look at besides flat land, though I do appreciate being able to see miles into the distance. And of course taking photos from a moving vehicle is always a fun challenge!

Kansas 2

Frodo loves seeing wide open land. When driving through cities, he tends to nap, but with open land – he’s active and engaged and can’t stop staring. He loves getting to travel and is always happy to jump right back in the truck – even after a long day.

Dave and Frodo

Tomorrow we journey on, destination still to-be-planned. We are however almost out of dog food, so that will be our mission for tomorrow! Can you believe there are places where no PetCo or PetSmart exists for 50 miles? Yes, we’re there now – in the middle of nowhere Kansas, I mean, Liberal. Right!

P.S. If you have ever played World of Warcraft and been to Westfall, you’ve seen Kansas!